Box art - Valheim

Valheim Sword vs. Axe | Which is better for combat?

There are many different types of weapons in Valheim, from bows to axes and swords to spears. Which weapon you choose to wield is up to you, since they all have unique perks and drawbacks. Still, for most players, the choice is between axes and swords. When it comes to sword vs. axe, which is better for general use? And which is better when it comes to combat? To understand more, it’s time to draw a direct comparison.

Valheim Sword vs. Axe Comparison | Which is best?

Valheim Sword vs. Axe Comparison - Which is best?

To decide between axes and swords in Valheim, you need to consider utility. Axes are great for exploration and chopping trees, but they aren’t nearly as effective as swords in combat. In a direct comparison between axe vs. sword, the sword is the better weapon.

Choose Axes for Utility

The main reason to use an axe in Valheim is for general utility. Axes deal slash damage, same as swords, and their power level is an exact match for swords, too. For instance, the Iron and Blackmetal Axes have the same base damage output as the Iron and Blackmetal Swords.

However, axes are the only items capable of chopping down trees. That makes them essential to both exploration and building the perfect Viking longhouse. Not only can you use them to collect wood, but they’re also a fine defense against creature mobs out in the wild. If you only have enough iron to craft one or the other, you’re better off with the axe.

Still, they do have their drawbacks. Axes are slower to attack than swords, and most of them are incapable of parrying. That means you’ll want to carry a shield, too. They also have lower durability, meaning they’ll require more frequent repairs. If you’re using one to chop trees and fight enemies, you’ll be repairing it constantly. Finally, with the exception of the Battleaxe, none of them have additional attacks. In a fight, that means you’re limited on offensive abilities.

Choose Swords for Combat

Valheim Sword vs. Axe Comparison - Which is best for combat?

As you reach further into Valheim, you’ll uncover metals that can be used to forge swords. At that point you’ll likely already have an axe, so you may wonder why you’d want to craft a sword at all. The answer is quite obvious: Swords are deliberately designed as weapons, making them much more effective in combat than axes.

The main benefit to using a sword is to have extra attack abilities. These blades allow players to do a quick slash with the primary attack button or a direct stab (dealing pierce damage) with the secondary attack button. The secondary attack also stuns certain enemies, making battle that much easier. Best of all, swords attack more quickly than axes, giving you more opportunities to block, parry, and counterattack.

Otherwise, both weapons are comparable in power. From Bronze to Iron and eventually Blackmetal, both swords and axes share the same base stats. The exception here is the Silver Sword, which deals an additional 30 Spirit damage to undead foes. Since there’s no Silver Axe, this weapon is currently the only exception to the rule.

It’s worth noting that neither swords nor axes appear at the top of our Valheim weapons tier list. The S-Tier is reserved almost exclusively for unique weapons, and there’s no unique sword in the game’s current Early Access build. In fact, the only unique axe right now is the Battleaxe, which does exactly as much base damage as a Silver Sword, but doesn’t deal additional damage to undead foes.

When it comes to sword vs. axe in Valheim, the choice is simple. Axes are better for general utility, while swords are better for combat. After all, they’re different items with different purposes. Still, you’ll want an axe to cut down trees, and you’ll want a sword when it comes time to start cutting down enemies.