Black Desert Online -- Kutum vs. Nouver vs. Other Sub-Weapons

Your choice of sub-weapon is one of the most important you'll make in Black Desert Online. Here's your guide to picking the right one for you!

Every class in Black Desert Online has only one best-in-slot option for their main-hand and Awakening weapons (Kzarka and Dandelion, respectively), no questions asked. However, there’s quite a bit of variety when it comes to picking a sub-weapon -- generally speaking, each class has about three or four off-hands to choose from, though the two that people ask about the most are Kutum and Nouver.

Introduction to End-Game Sub-Weapons

For starters, like Kzarka and Dandelion, Kutum and Nouver sub-weapons are yellow, boss-grade equipment, making your off-hand the only weapon slot with two boss options.

Kutum and Nouver are great end-game sub-weapons in BDO

So at first glance, Kutum might look like the defensive off-hand of choice, with Kutum being the more offensive option, but it’s not quite that simple. It's not just a question of Kutum vs. Nouver -- there are actually three other sub-weapons that can compete with them. They are:

  • Pure AP (Steel Dagger, White Horn Bow, Needle Trinket, Jubre Talisman, Estique Shuriken/Kunai)
  • Mixed Accuracy (Vangertz Shield, Leather Vambrace, Saiyer Ornamental Knot)
  • Evasion (Parrying Dagger, White Horn Warrior Bow, Blade Trinket, Rhik Talisman, Tadd Shuriken/Kunai)

BDO sub-weapon selection is crucial

To make things simple, if you're a Warrior, Valkyrie, Berserker, Dark Knight, Striker, or Mystic, you have your choice of Kutum, Nouver, or mixed accuracy sub-weapon. Every other class can pick either a Kutum, Nouver, pure AP, or evasion sub-weapon.

Sub-Weapon Choice for PvE

For grinding, Kutum is the best-in-slot sub-weapon for every class in the game simply because of the massive AP bonus it provides against monsters -- the fact that this bonus AP also circumvents the AP caps that some mobs have is just icing on the cake.

If you don’t have a Kutum, it’s actually worth noting that a pure AP off-hand will outperform a Nouver while grinding, as they have a special effect that the boss sub-weapons lack.

BDO weapons have their advantages and disadvantages

I'll explain what Special Attack Damage +1 means in the next section, but just know that it will more than compensate for the slight loss in AP while grinding.

An accuracy off-weapon might also work as a suitable replacement for a Nouver, though that mostly depends on how much you need the accuracy and whether or not a Nouver pushes you past any relevant AP caps.

Sub-Weapon Choice for PvP

Things get a little more complicated when it comes to BDO PvP, as all five of the aforementioned sub-weapons have their niches.

Even though Kutum’s AP vs. Monsters is rendered useless in PvP, it still provides higher raw stats than arguably any other sub-weapon in the game, making it an excellent choice for all styles of PvP. The 10% all-resist penetration is also a really nice bonus.

If you want an off-hand weapon that’ll let you deal more damage, then Nouver is more of a meta call. Once again, Nouver's lack of the Special Attack Damage +1 trait hurts its competitiveness with other offensive options.

It's generally accepted that Special Attack Damage +1 grants a 5% damage boost to all Back Attacks, Down Attacks, and Air Attacks, which means that a pure AP or mixed accuracy sub-weapon will be the superior offensive choice for combo-reliant classes.

BDO combos should be taken advantage of

Still, you won't be able to take advantage of your strengthened Special Attacks if you can't land a CC in the first place. For example, Warriors and Mystics are notoriously difficult to CC, or maybe you find that your attacks are easily blocked (classes without a grab may have this problem) -- Nouver's niche is in pushing damage through forward guards and super armors.

Lastly are the evasion sub-weapons. If you're running an evasion, there's really no choice to be made here. However, if you're not running a dedicated evasion build but still want more bulk, then you're better off using a more DR-oriented sub-weapon -- as you might have guessed, Kutum is the best choice here.

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Kutum may be the best all-around sub-weapon, but in the end, there's a decent selection of options for PvP. And don't forget, if you're having trouble choosing between one, you can swap between sub-weapons on the fly for specific match-ups by quickslotting them!

If you're interested in some of our other Black Desert Online content, you can find it all here!

Published Feb. 22nd 2018

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