Rather than outfit the Hero of Time with his permanent iconic green tunic, Breath of the Wild bucks Legend of Zelda tradition by giving players the opportunity to equip more than 15 distinct armor sets. Each of these sets has their own bonus and armor rating, making it both possible and necessary to swap out Link’s gear depending on the situation. While some of these armor sets are largely cosmetic and don’t offer much in the way of useful bonuses, others are total game-changers. In terms of which armor sets are absolute must-haves for players, the following 10 armors are essential and should not be missed.
10. Soldier Armor
Although there are limits to its usefulness in the long-term, the Soldier Armor is one of the better sets players can acquire in the early-to-mid game of Breath of the Wild. The hefty bonus to defense that equipping the entire set applies makes fighting challenging foes much easier. Especially early on, before Link acquires plenty of stamina and heart upgrades, having the Soldier Armor can be a lifesaver against a deadly Lynel.
That said, one of the primary drawbacks to the longevity of this set is the diminishing return on the defense bonus. Once players have successfully upgraded the armor to its second level, the defense bonus remains static. Ultimately, players are better off focusing materials on upgrading other sets not long after they’ve grown accustomed to the Soldier Armor.
9. Rubber Armor
Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in Breath of the Wild‘s version of Hyrule can likely attest to the panic that sets in when it starts to rain. Within moments, Link’s equipment will begin to flash, warning players that our hero is about to be struck by lightning. Few things are worse than not having any metal-free equipment and getting zapped by the sky before being able to find safety. Thankfully, Breath of the Wild gives players three different sets of armor to combat the world’s elements. If you’re tired of lightning ruining your adventure, the Rubber Armor is a must-have.
The Rubber Armor negates the effects of electricity while also preventing lightning strikes during storms. Not only that, it looks pretty stylish in comparison to the other elemental armor sets. One thing to note, however, is that the Rubber Armor requires upgrades to make Link fully shock-resistant. In comparison, the Thunder Helm does the same thing without the need to spend materials on upgrading it.
8. Radiant Set
Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way – the Radiant Set is undeniably cool. If players ever wanted to dress up Link like the antagonists during the Halloween scene from Karate Kid, the Radiant Set is there to help fulfill that dream.
Outside its unique appearance and eerie glow, the Radiant Set also has some pretty useful bonuses. Not only does the set make Stal enemies ignore Link, it improves attack power when using bone weapons. While there are definitely more useful and practical suits in the game, there aren’t any others that glow in the dark.
7. Flamebreaker Armor
Wooden shields, weapons, Link himself…everything is subject to a crisp burning when players enter Death Mountain. Making your way through this area of the map can be quite cumbersome without the proper protection. Thankfully, players have the Flamebreaker Armor to see them through the most treacherous parts of Hyrule’s volcanic peaks.
Similar to the Rubber Armor’s negation of electricity, the Flamebreaker Armor is a major boon for players to have in Death Mountain as it significantly reduces flame damage. Upgrading each piece and wearing the set essentially makes the Hero of Time impervious to fire damage, from either the environment or enemies.
6. Snowquill Armor
Coming in on top of the elemental armor sets is the Snowquill Armor. In terms of the elements that can present as the biggest pain for players in Breath of the Wild, cold damage is arguably the number one offender. Any time Link finds himself in one of Hyrule’s many high-up or snow-covered locations, the drop in temperature causes his life to gradually drain. Without the assistance of a warming food item or the right clothing, any extended time in the frigid expanse of the Hebra Mountains is a death sentence.
Just like the Flamebreaker and Rubber Armor sets, the Snowquill Armor is capable of completely negating cold damage when the set is fully upgraded and equipped. Considering how large this section of the map is, the Snowquill Armor is practically essential gear before venturing into the Northwest quadrant of Hyrule.
5. Climbing Set
Climbing is something that players will find themselves doing alot in Breath of the Wild. While Tears of the Kingdom gives players some nifty workarounds for needing to scale massive rockfaces, Link doesn’t have access to the Ascension ability or Ultrahand crafting options in BotW. With the sheer amount of climbing that players need to do, the Climbing Set has some of the greatest utility of any outfit in the game.
First and foremost, each piece of the Climbing gear helps Link climb faster. With the full set equipped, the amount of stamina that gets consumed when jumping up the side of a cliff is significantly reduced. Between these two effects, the Climbing Set is one that players should always have on hand ready to equip when needing to scale one of Hyrule’s many heights.
4. Shiekah Armor
There are plenty of armor sets and outfits in Breath of the Wild that increase Link’s speed at night or make enemies ignore him, but what about making enemies completely unaware he’s even there? The Sheikah Armor set is Breath of the Wild‘s version of the Stealth Camo from Metal Gear Solid, turning Link into a master of sneaking and subterfuge. Not only does the set make you feel like a ninja, it also has the bonus of helping Link look like one too.
Many players might avoid the set because of its low armor rating and lack of defense. However, when the enemies never see you coming, the defense stats matter significantly less. The Sheikah Armor is excellent to have on hand for taking out entire enemy camps without raising an alarm or sneaking by challenging foes when low on health.
3. Ancient Armor
Until players get the hang of the shield counter technique, Guardians present as some of the toughest enemies to come across in Breath of the Wild‘s early moments. The Ancient Armor doesn’t just have one of the best combined armor ratings of any set in the game, it also greatly reduces damage from Guardians’ laser beams and other ancient weaponry. In terms of the best armor set to use during the assault on Hyrule Castle, few other armors even come close.
Beyond the boosts afforded to defense and damage reduction from Guardians, Link will also do plenty of extra damage with ancient weapons when wearing the full set. The set bonus, Guardian Proficiency, transforms any Guardian and ancient weapons into some of the best armaments in the game. Wearing this armor set during the final moments of the main quest makes it an absolute breeze.
2. Barbarian Armor
Though acquiring this armor set is no easy feat, its absolutely worth the effort. Each piece of the Barbarian Amor can be found at the bottom of each of Hyrule’s labyrinths. While the effect of each piece doesn’t seem like much, collectively they amount to Link doing massive damage against enemies when players equip the set.
By the time players are ready to undergo the challenge of collecting these armor pieces, they likely have a few armor sets or outfits on rotation in their inventory. After acquiring each piece, the Barbarian Set becomes essential equipment for any player and has the potential to trivialize almost any encounter.
1. Armor of the Wild
When discussing the best armor and outfits in Breath of the Wild, its impossible to not bring up the Armor of the Wild. Link’s reward for completing all 120 shrines, this armor doesn’t just have an incredible rating and defense. Wearing the full Armor of the Wild set grants a massive power boost to the Master Sword’s beam attack when at full health. Though it’s harder to remain at full health in Breath of the Wild than in other Zelda games, when the boosted beam attack hits it can cut like a hot knife through butter.
Beyond the armor set’s incredible utility, though, it’s an incredibly iconic and nostalgic look for Link. Taking the classic green tunic and hat from the original Legend of Zelda and rendering them in Breath of the Wild‘s incredible visual style, the Armor of the Wild is as close as players will get to reliving a 3D version of the series’ origins.