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