The Trial of the Sword is the most difficult side-quest for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The DLC arrived in part two of the game's Expansion Pass as a multi-floor challenge that must be completed with a bare inventory and no saves allowed. This might remind players of the Eventide Island challenge found in the base game, but cranked up to the extreme. Breath of the Wild will be close to five years if not older by the time its sequel arrives on the Nintendo Switch in 2022. With the impending release of another gigantic open-world adventure, some players might be eager to tie up any loose ends remaining in the 2017 masterpiece.
The Trial of the Sword Guide
The Trial of the Sword challenge guards the greatest reward found in the game to match its incredible risk. After successfully completing all 51 floors split among Beginning, Middle, and Final Trials, your Master Sword will finally be imbued with enough energy that it never runs dry, remaining powered up in perpetuity. Those that are beleaguered by weapon breaking will find the Trial of the Sword to be the key to their problems, but only the most dedicated heroes will prevail.
To find the Trial of the Sword, first head to the Lost Woods and approach the Master Sword’s pedestal. The Master Sword must already be in your possession as this is a trial for players in the ‘end game’ stages of Breath of the Wild. Before you start any of the Trials, there are a few key tips you should always follow.
If you don’t have a maxed out set of heart containers, you’re going to want at least 15-20 hearts for the most difficult floors of the challenge. The more you have, the better off you will be, so 25-30 hearts is ideal, but always make sure you have food or potions that can overheal you if you don’t have the max number. Ensure you’re at full health by resting at an inn or by using an overhealing item. It’s also a good idea to use a strong defense or attack enhancing meal or potion right before you enter the trials. Make sure you save immediately before starting as the ability is removed once the Trial of the Sword is in progress.
Waste not, want not
Because you will find yourself with no weapons or armor as you begin each set of trials, you must make the most of everything that can be found on each floor. The Beginning Trials have 12, the Middle Trials have 16, and the Final Trials contain 23 floors. Items found on every floor can be carried on to the next, but each set of Trials is self-contained so nothing transfers between the Beginning, Middle, and Final Trials. Make sure you have a picture of regular treasure chests in your compendium, you can use the seek function to find buried chests on some floors.
Using your weapons and Sheikah slate abilities wisely is most of the challenge for the Beginning and Middle Trials. Pick up absolutely everything that you can, even if it's a tree branch or rusty weapon. Bombs are your best friend. Since they are unlimited and only constrained by a cooldown, the two bomb types can be used for many situations.
Round bombs can be rolled into unsuspecting enemies and regular bombs can be used to extract items from crates and barrels without wasting weapon durability. You can drop bombs into updrafts to deal with enemies and recover chests on platforms without wasting arrows or just plop them behind you to deal with persistent pests on your heels. There is no shame in cheesing the AI with a bombardment of Sheikah-powered explosives.
A welcome respite
To give a little rest for a weary Link, there are floors that provide a calm stockpile of items and ingredients for the remainder of your trial. Each set of the three trial levels has safe rooms placed throughout their floors. The Beginning Trials have one, the Middle Trials contain two, and the Final Trials give you a generous three rest areas.
Make sure you crouch immediately and head over to any fairies floating around to snag them for an extra life before they fly away. After checking the trees for apples, ponds for fish, and crates for hidden goodies—remember, use bombs instead of your weapon durability—proceed to the campfire and cook any ingredients you’ve collected to maximize their effectiveness.
Beware of going overboard with your meals! It’s not advisable to cook more than three ingredients together in order to maximize the number of times you can heal. In some cases you might find ‘Hearty’ ingredients like truffles, radishes, and bass. Cook these alone with no other additions.
Just one cooked hearty ingredient will completely refill all hearts, no matter how many you have, so make the most of them. After cooking everything you have in the most effective manner, double check that you haven’t left behind any stray arrow bundles, weapons, or unopened chests. These are your only source of respite for each set of trials so maximizing their assistance is key to finishing the challenge.
It’s all about Ancient Arrows
After making your way through the Beginning and the Middle Trials, you might think, “this isn’t so bad.” The Final Trials hold 23 floors of unrelenting Breath of the Wild battles, each one more daunting than the last, save for the lavish three floors of relaxation. As mentioned previously, don’t waste any ‘Hearty’ ingredients found along the way and cook them on their own. The most important tip for the Final Trials is to be on the lookout for Ancient Arrows. Ancient Arrows are the strongest projectile in the game and can down a Lynel or Guardian in one well-placed shot.
Found within the most difficult challenge yet in the Trial of the Sword are nine Ancient Arrows to use against the more difficult foes you’ll encounter. I personally saved them for flying Guardians and Lynels, but there are walking Guardians to contend with as well. For the walking Guardians, I recommend practicing the shield parry on their laser beam attack. I've found most success using ZL to focus them at a shorter distance—maybe 15 in-game feet, it takes practice—and pressing A to parry right as their cycloptic eye flashes blue.
There are more than enough Ancient Arrows to deal with the hardest adversaries found in the Final Trials, but you won’t want to miss or waste any of them. Using your Stasis ability to ensure a clean hit is always a good idea, but it won’t last long on the tough guys. The floors in which you’ll find Ancient Arrows in the Final Trials of the Sword are:
- Floor 6: This is the first rest area found in the Final Trials. One of the chests found here will have the first set of three Ancient Arrows. Don’t miss everything else available and remember our previous tips for these critical rest stops.
- Floor 10: This is a Death Mountain-inspired floor with lava, rocks, and an enemy camp. It’s not a very difficult room to deal with since you aren’t spotted right from the start. A chest can be found in the lava containing three more Ancient Arrows.
- Floor 14: This is an icy floor with a large enemy camp in the center. After dispatching all hostile forces, you can melt a frozen chest to find the last three crucial Ancient Arrows. There’s a Meteor Rod back on Floor 9 that can melt ice blocks by equipping it and standing near the ice without wasting any shots.
After the last area of respite on Floor 18, you’ll start encountering stationary Guardians, then walking and flying varieties on the next floors. There are only two Guardian Skywatchers and one White-Maned Lynel to deal with, and they are all on separate floors, so seasoned players could get by with only three Ancient Arrows. It’s up to you to decide which enemies will be worth the one-hit kill, with nine arrows total, you should be able to vanquish anything that gives you too much trouble.
You have the power
With these tips and a little luck, you can finish the most difficult challenge found within The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The Master Sword is waiting for you to unlock its full potential and you can only do so by completing the Trial of the Sword. Once finished, you’ll be granted the best achievement in BOTW. Not only is it a weapon that never loses durability, but it’s the weapon of lore, the Blade of Evil’s Bane, the Sword that Seals the Darkness, powered up for as long as you wield it.
If you’ve already finished the Trial of the Sword, please leave your tips and tricks in the comments below. For more on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, our strategy guide for the game has you covered. Be sure to check out our extensive selection of guides for more information on your favorite games.