So this question already covers which gives a larger boost to ancient weapons (Barb set vs Ancient Set with Ancient Weapons), granting the Ancient Set the victor.

However, I have started playing a "no pause" playthrough, based on this YouTube Video. Basically the rules of the run mean that the player cannot change weapons, or access the inventory - this means that when the Master Sword breaks, it becomes inaccessible. Ancient weapons bought from the Tech Lab are also unusable, as they only appear directly in the player's inventory, even if their hand is empty[1].

They end up using the Master Sword, and the Barb Set, to get as much damage as possible, with only a single weapon.

Which is better in this scenario against Ganon: the Master Sword with the Barb set, or an Ancient weapon with the Ancient Set?

[1]: This is possible via the Weapon Connoisseur mission - he asks to see the Ancient Short Sword, which automatically equips it to Link's Hand.

  • 2
    How do you plan on getting another ancient weapon into your hands when the first one breaks? Jan 22, 2021 at 20:10
  • @ChaseSandman That is part of the question, technically; whether or not it's even viable. I know the Master sword has enough durability to last the fight against Ganon and the Blights, but will an Ancient Weapon?
    – Ben
    Jan 25, 2021 at 2:43

1 Answer 1


Ignoring the no pause playthrough

Master Sword has 60 base damage against Ganon. With the Barbarian set, that increases by 50% to 90 damage.

The Ancient weapon most similar to the Master Sword is the Ancient Short Sword (both are one-handed swords). It has 40 base damage, which automatically increases by 50% to 60 against Ganon. So without clothing sets, the two weapons have equal base damage against Ganon. However, the Ancient Proficiency bonus from the Ancient set is 80%, increasing damage to 108, larger than that of the Barbarian set.

So an Ancient Short Sword + Ancient set deals superior damage to Ganon than a Master Sword + Barbarian set. The Master Sword does have the advantage of not breaking and can be obtained without rupees. However, the Ancient proficiency also extends to other Ancient weapons such as the Ancient Bladesaw and Ancient Bows and can be used alongside the Ancient Short Sword. In terms of damage output, Ancient weapon + Ancient set is the clear winner.

With the no pause playthrough, it is much less straight-forward

The only Ancient items that can be used are the Ancient arrows (not technically a weapon, the bow is) and the Ancient Short Sword by the Weapon Connoisseur mission. So we can only compare the Ancient Short Sword against the Master Sword, but with the Ancient proficiency bonus applied to both the Short Sword and Ancient Arrows.

The base durability of the Ancient Short Sword is 54. This effectively means that it can deal 5832 damage to Calamity Ganon before breaking, assuming that all hits are used on Ganon, use up one durability each, and no durability is used elsewhere. Calamity Ganon has 8000 HP, and loses 1000 HP for each Divine Beast (min of 4000).

The Master Sword has much more durability (200) and can last the whole fight. However, with the Ancient Short Sword, you can at least pick up the weapons in the Calamity Ganon area, whereas this is not possible with the Master Sword if you waste durability and it becomes inert during the fight. Of note, you can deal damage to Ganon in other ways such as Arrows (this is where the Ancient Arrows helps) and Urbosa's Fury. The Master Sword does have the advantage that you can get it, waste the durability to make it inert, and then use it again for other things, giving it more use than just the Ganon fight. However, the Ancient Short Sword practically mandates you to go to Ganon and use it solely for that fight if you want to use it against Ganon.

Considering all this, if the goal is to go to Ganon immediately after getting the weapon, and you have cleared at least two Divine Beasts, then I feel Ancient Short Sword + Ancient Set is better. At 6000 HP, Ancient Sword comes extremely cause to finishing Calamity Ganon by itself, but I feel this is still in its favour since the remaining <200 HP can be cleared with Ancient Arrow, Urbosa's Fury, and the nearby weapons. If you have cleared 0 or 1 Divine Beasts, it depends on how many Ancient Arrows you intend on using, which I consider to be more subjective.

  • also you can always boost your damage with food while wearing ancient set.
    – l I
    Jan 24, 2021 at 13:05
  • The only clarifications I have are 1) If I buy the Short sword/bladesaw from the Tech Lab, will they appear in my [empty] hand? And 2) will they have enough durability to match/outlast Ganon's HP?
    – Ben
    Jan 25, 2021 at 0:29
  • Food cannot be eaten in no pause playthrough @Ben editted answer regarding your clarifications. Split into two sections since some of what I said wasn't related to no pause scenario. Only Short Sword can be used for no pause (and ancient arrows). Technically yes there is enough durability.
    – BGamer
    Jan 25, 2021 at 7:45
  • Also, isn't the Master Sword automatically re-equipped when it refreshes while still selected? That would mean that one could stall until the refresh (which IIRC takes half as long in Malice areas, I know that's a thing for the Champion Abilities and I'm 90% sure for the Master Sword), then keep using it to finish Ganon.
    – Egor Hans
    Mar 4, 2021 at 13:48

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