Typically, we associate big freaking swords with woad-skinned highlanders exposing themselves to the English in the name of freedom. However, as with most varieties of melee weapon, the two-handed sword was as natural an evolution of the one-handed blade as the plague was to poor public health. Indeed, as with most period weapons, such swords predate even the Dark Ages, with the zhanmadao of the Han Dynasty cutting a path across China back when the Romans were still lording it over the Mediterranean with their cute little gladii.
As with the Scottish claymore and the Landsknecht zweihänder, the Samurai nodachi was a weapon of the late medieval era and, like it’s counterparts in other parts of the world, it was as intimidating as it was impractical. While it was common for two-handed sword-wielders to strap their weapons to their back, the difficulties of drawing their weapon in time to thwart a surprise attack inspired some Samurai to a clever solution - have a hapless follower close by to help unsheath the weapon in times of sudden need.
Sadly, nodachi-equipped Generals in Conqueror’s Blade won’t have such close support, although it’s probably just as well as soft-skinned personal assistants would make for too tempting a target for muskets and bows. Instead, players will have to rely on their ability to use their chosen weapon to best effect, which being long and sharp, puts it alongside poleaxes in its ability to cut through a wide arc. Since the nodachi isn’t paired with heavy armour, its General is unable to stay for too long in a hotly-contested chokepoint. However, by charging in on horseback, delivering a couple of strikes from above, then dismounting to cut a path around an enemy’s flank, they can cause significant casualties. It helps that many Nodachi class abilities are geared towards powerful and penetrating alpha strikes.
- Samurai’s March: A fearless lunge into the enemy ranks that with careful timing can be quickly followed up by a second attack. If the first strike causes an enemy to stumble, the second could well be fatal. Simple but effective.
- Dragon’s Leap: This charged attack, if successful, will cause you to spectacularly surge forward and inflict significant damage upon your foremost enemy. There aren’t many better ways in which to introduce yourself to a stranger - first impressions count!
- Tiger’s Claw: This ability proves that attack is the best form of recuperation. It’s a powerful, raking swipe that doesn’t just leave your enemy bleeding, but helps you to claw back a few precious health points just when you most need them.