Overwhelmed by the amount of armor choices in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Here's your guide to the best and worst sets for your rupees.
While he may be late to the party compared to other big sprawling world RPGs, Link has finally shown up to the world of armor sets. The overall consensus is that he looks fabulous. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has given us a wealth of new looks for our favorite hero, and like most armor sets in any game, several of them power him up with a range of awesome abilities. However, some of them, while they might look cool, tend to fall short of the more powerful sets, and others just plain suck. Thankfully, I've compiled a handy-dandy list of all the coolest and lamest armor sets you can get in BotW, ranked by just how useful they are in-game and for how long they're useful. I think it's an important distinction to make, because if there's one thing Zelda games love to do, it is give you an item that only works for one dungeon or area that you'll never use again.
Before I get started, I'd like to take note of some honorable mentions. The "Of the Wild" armor set would have made it into the "Good" side of the list for its awesome synergy with the Master Sword, but I left it off because it just takes far too long to acquire, needing you to complete EVERY ONE of the game's 120 shrines. By the time you get that, the game will be a breeze, so there's really no need to get it other than to have it. And I mean, no judgment there. If you want to get it, by all means, go for it. It just doesn't work for this list.
Also not being rated are the single-piece sets, even the ones that look like they match (old shirt and well-worn trousers). Though I do want to give a shout-out to the Champion's Tunic, which gives you the awesome ability to see your enemies' remaining HP, something you don't really get too much of in Zelda games. It's a great heads up, and you get it right at the beginning of the game. What's more, when fully upgraded, its armor rivals that of the higher-end armor chest pieces in the game, making it a solid choice all the way through your run.
On with the show!
15 BEST: Ancient Set
I know this is the best armor in the game. I know it allows you to soak up Guardian damage and increases the amount of damage you do with ancient weapons if you have the whole set. Unfortunately, just like the "Of The Wild" set from this game —and the Golden Train from LoZ: Spirit Tracks before it— this set takes entirely too much time to grind out for it to actually be useful. Even with its awesome raw defense, that gets even better when you upgrade it, it's barely worth the trouble. It's just another armor set that might as well be a status symbol, which feels kinda out of place in a game where you can attempt to beat the final boss from the minute you start playing it. And again, getting this armor feels awesome for the completionist in all of us, but it's just not practical. So it gets to sit in the corner. Don't worry though, it's got good company. Like...
14 WORST: Dark Link Set
Here I go again, crapping on Zelda II. But it's not my fault this time! Here, BotW just made a lackluster armor set based on the game's final boss. Now don't get me wrong, the style of this armor couldn't be cooler, but the bonuses this set confers are just lackluster, even if it didn't look cool. All it makes you do is move faster at night. In a game that has fast travel, it's a pretty moot point. And when a lot of enemies in the game have ranged attacks they can smack you with as you go by them Sonic fast? Even moot-er. Now, it's got a base armor stat comparable with a lot of mid-level armor sets, but most of them have much more useful per-piece and three-piece traits. It's kinda sad, really, how easily it got beaten.
Kinda like Dark Link in Zelda II.
But hey, it's awesome for dress-up!
13 BEST: Snowquill Set
Weather effects are a new thing for the Zelda series, outside of being used for barriers until you get an item you need. This time around, large swaths of Hyrule are subject to varying weather conditions. This leaves Link either freezing or sweating his tunic'd ass off. If he isn't clothed in gear to withstand the conditions, he's not going to make it very far.
That's why there are outfits like the Snowquill set. It fends off the icy conditions with its two-piece bonus, and once you equip all three pieces, the set makes you unfreezable. No one likes to get turned into an ice cube when they're fighting for the future of Hyrule. Its stat line is right along the lines of normal armor as well, so there's no defense penalty to ensure you don't freeze to death. I mean, you can also not freeze to death by eating food right before you're about to pass out (gotta love video game logic), but that'll burn through those much-needed victuals before you even get to where you're going.
12 WORST: Gerudo Vai Set
This armor set is on here because it makes you look like a hot, hot Gerudo chick.
That is, according to this NPC named Bozai. He's really creepy and objectifies women, exposing players to the rather uncomfortable realization that Hyrule has sexual harassment just like our world.
Man, those last two sentences really clarify the first one, don't they? I'm sure glad I read both of them before sprinting to the comments section to complain about it.
On the plus side, making you look like a female Gerudo (to no one but the female Gerudo, let me just be clear there) means you can enter Gerudo village and progress the game. The armor set also provides heat resistance, but considering there are at least two other armor sets that can do that without getting Link sexually harassed, this armor set stays right here. Nevertheless, it is a nice-looking armor set that can make for some really hilarious poses (see above).
11 BEST: Flamebreaker Set
Oh, look! An armor set that provides heat resistance and doesn't turn you into a sex symbol!
Well, maybe some people would find it sexy, but I'll bet it's considerably less than the previous set.
Anyway, the Flamebreaker set is specially made for you by the Gorons, the big burly piles of yellow and brown muscle who excel in making big swords and turning you into a walking garbage can. As a walking garbage can, you can walk right up to Death Mountain and put the hurt on Calamity Ganon without being incinerated by the lava's searing heat first — so that's a big plus. Being as you need to actually get to Death Mountain to complete the game, the Flamebreaker edges out over the Snowquill set by a tiny, tiny margin, even though Snowquill gets quite a few more points in the style department.
Unless you like looking like the Crushinator, that is.
10 WORST: Rubber Set
Yep, okay. That is a giant fish helmet. God, why couldn't this set have a better bonus? I WANT TO RUN AROUND HYRULE WITH A CATFISH ON MY HEAD. But no, the Rubber Set is only good for nullifying shock damage, which is something that can be done with the Thunder Helmet, making the other two armor pieces useless and leaving Link's head catfish-less. The armor set will rot in my pack as I wear other things while striking down my foes. Still, the whole time I'm adventuring, I'm wistful for the sheer ridiculous moments I could be creating with a fish-for-a-head.
For example: run through a Moblin with a spear.
As its impaled body slides down, the last thing it would see is a pair of bright blue eyes peering out of the nose holes of a rubbery black catfish with luxurious gold trim. It would see a stoic yet supple pair of lips under the catfish's mouth, giving no expression other than cold formulaic slaughter, a face it has made thousands of times. But it never will again.
"I shoulda stayed in the Lost Woods," it would think to itself as it felt its life fading out of it's gaping wound. "Killed by a kid in a friggin' fish helmet."
9 BEST: Barbarian Set
Wouldn't it be funny if the armor bonus for this set was to give Link bad breath or something? You know, because he's covered in bones? Anyway, I digress.
The Barbarian armor is for people who want to kill things very fast. One-piece bonuses boost Link's attack power, while two-piece bonuses make Link's charge attacks cost less stamina, giving you more hard thwacks at your most hated enemies. Its armor stat line is right down the middle with the ones we've covered so far, giving you 3 defense before upgrades. It's a solid set for grinding out rare items required for armor set upgrades and other cool things, and anything that makes the quality of life better is definitely worth something.
Like most other armor sets, this one can be dyed different colors, and I'm personally looking forward to running across the fields of Hyrule in bright pink furs with white skull accents, my two-handed axe swinging freely, forcefully separating a crowd of Bokoblins from their cooking fire.
8 WORST: Soldier's Set
Alright, now this set is decent since it has a higher stat line than the normal armor sets, but only by one point of defense. The rift does get bigger as you upgrade the set, but the biggest downfall to this set is its lack of bonuses. Yes, it's available early in the game, but so is the Champion's Tunic, and it has the same stat line. On the plus side, it does make you look like a super-cool knight and all, but it's the sheer lack of bonuses that hold this piece back.
Towards endgame, you're going to be looking for the armor set with the best perks, not just defense, which means this is going to get chucked real quick in favor for other armor sets higher on this list. Besides, once you have topped up your hearts, defense really doesn't matter that much. Who knows, maybe you can get it dyed a pretty color!
7 BEST: Radiant Set
Have you ever wanted to be the best luchador Hyrule has ever known? Shigeru Miyamoto has. If he didn't, he wouldn't have given the green light to the Radiant Set, the absolutely coolest-looking armor set in the game. What's more, the full armor set provides you with protection from skeletons at night. They completely ignore you, which is a good thing since they tend to pop up every ten seconds or so. As well, you also hit harder with weapons made of bone, which makes it even better, since bones are a go-to thwack-sticks when you're running low on viable weapons, not to mention the actual bone weapons you'll find later on down the line.
However, all of that is completely irrelevant when you take into account that this armor makes you look like a luchador by day and a giant glow-in-the-dark skeleton by night. There is literally nothing better than this armor set in terms of sheer awesomeness.
6 WORST: Stealth Set
So if you've ever wanted Link to look like Sheik from Ocarina of Time (for reasons that totally aren't supporting your fan fiction) you can do it in Breath of the Wild. Unfortunately, it's just not that great for you. It's called the Stealth set, and it helps you sneak around better the more pieces you have. That's nice and all, but doesn't it kinda run counter-intuitively to the main idea of how Link has fought since forever? Like we've covered before, having the hero of Hyrule sneak around his enemies is just ... lame, man. Link doesn't sneak around, he strolls right up to the problem, looks it in the face, and smacks it with his sword until it dies. He's not an assassin, he's a hero, dammit.
Also, this armor is weaker than most main armor sets, since, by the law of video games, anything that helps you sneak around must have a lower armor rating than normal, making this an even weaker option when compared to the others.
5 BEST: Desert Voe Set
Check it out, guys! It's a desert set that makes you sexy, but also doesn't get you harassed! What a concept! Apparently, the Gerudo males wear even less armor than their female counterparts, yet they still offer the same base stats. Again, video game logic FTW.
Now while that might be a decent selling point for the armor, to begin with, it's the bonuses this set gives Link that takes it over the top. One piece can keep Link cool in the heat of the desert and elsewhere, while two or more also gives him defense against shock damage, which is great for the desert area they're found in, since a lot of the enemies there like to shock you.
It's a bit of work to get, but if you can pull it off early in the game, this set will be useful for you for a while.
4 WORST: Hylian Set
I almost feel bad putting this on the list. However, I can't let it go unnoticed. The Hylian set is an early-game armor set with middle of the road stats and no set bonuses. It's the Soldier set, but weaker. Ergo, it's worse. The only redeeming characteristic of this set would be that it makes you look like Robin Hood, but Link is about eight hundred times cooler than he is, so it loses once again. Once you find something better, which won't be long, you're going to toss this in the trash and forget about it until much later in the game, when you scrounge it up for nostalgia and to see what it looks like dyed in different colors.
But honestly, the Hylian set is just an echo of every other RPG that has an intro armor set that gets tossed as soon as we get something better. It's Breath of the Wild's four strength, four stam leather belt, it is the intro pistol in Doom, the regular pea-shooter in Mega Man. We've all used the Hylian Set at some point in our gaming lives. Honor its memory, for we shall undoubtedly use it again.
3 BEST: Zora Set
This is an example of situational armors being useful for most of the game. The Zora chestpiece is given to you as part of the game's main quest line, which gives you the ability to swim up waterfalls. In a game where exploration is key, having maximum mobility is paramount to all other things. And with the Zora armor, the more pieces you have, the faster you move in the water. Like all video games where you can be in the water and on land at the same time, swimming is a pile of molasses-covered butts, so every bit of move speed you can get is a godsend.
As well, the armor looks sweet, it's got decent stats, and you can get to so many new secret locations that would otherwise be inaccessible. It's a true win-win, and that's before you dye it and try to look like the Aquaman of Hyrule.
2 WORST: Breath of the Amiibo (Add-on sets)
Look, I get it. If Nintendo (or any other company) can find any way to make a crap ton of money for relatively little effort, they're going to do it. That's why Amiibos exist in the first place. But while these Amiibo armor sets are awesome, they're really crap in terms of exploitation. They give you the "Of The Wild" armor bonus without you actually having to do every shrine in the game. Instead, you just need to shill out around thirty-five bucks to get the appearance you want. You know, over half of the cost of the original game?
It's a damn single-player game, Nintendo. We do not need pay-to-win crap getting in our way here. There's no call for it. It's just a greedy, tasteless move to wring more money out of consumers. It's just tiring seeing these practices happen over and over.
On the plus side, they've all got a solid armor value as well, and there's no denying they look amazing in-game. I just wish there was a better way to get them.
1 BEST: Climber's Set
This armor may not rip your enemies apart, it may not allow you to swim up waterfalls, it may not even defend against the elements, but it offers something no other set can give: climb stamina. You are climbing everywhere in this game, from little hills to gigantic mountains.
There are so many nooks and crannies in this game you can find from hopping on your para-glider and slamming into a mountain face to climb the rest of your way up. And this armor set gives does two things to help you climb: first, all the pieces give you a climb speed bonus so you get where you need to go faster, and then the two-piece bonus reduces the amount of stamina your climb leap takes, allowing you to scale huge cliffs with relative ease. Even late game, you're going to be using this to get to those shrines in the middle of nowhere, saving you time and the headache of falling off a mountain to your death.
It's got the steady 3 armor baseline we all know and love, but as an added bonus, this armor set also makes Link look like Axel Rose back when he looked good.
YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE?
YOU IN HYRULE, BABY!
YOU GONNA CLIIIIIMMMMMBBBB...
Aaand that's it for me. See ya later.