With the recent launch of Netflix’s The Witcher, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has seen a massive resurgence in active players. In fact, the game even broke a new record for the most concurrent players just a few weeks ago! If you’re one of those players, either returning to the game or picking it up for the first time, you’ll quickly find that the armor you wear in The Witcher 3 can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your playstyle. That means that with the right armor set, you can get significant boosts to your preferred style.
In this article, we’ll detail what the best sets are for five different styles of play; pure swordplay, tanky defensive combat, monster-hunting, casting signs, and specialising in alchemy. We’ll also break down where to find the Grandmaster armor diagrams for each set; the ideal endgame armor for each of the five styles. All of these are found in the Blood and Wine DLC and can be worn from level 40 onwards. Finally, if you want to play through the Blood and Wine DLC quickly, or simply don’t want to spend time finding diagrams and crafting armor, skip to the end for an honorable mention.
Witcher 3 Best Armor for Swordplay: The Feline Armor Set
For our first playstyle, we’ll be looking at the best Witcher 3 armor for swordplay. This is the armor you’ll want to get if your style of play focuses on speed and aggressively attacking with your sword and using combat skills, rather than focusing on signs, alchemy, or anything else. For this style, you’ll want to find the Feline school armor. To find the Grandmaster diagrams for this armor (your ideal late-game armor), you’ll need to head to an estate in the far north of Toussaint. Here, you’ll find the armor diagram in a safe which is hidden behind a painting.
From there, head out into the nearby swamp to find the Ardach Palace Ruins. This is the location of one of the bandit hansas, so it’s full of enemies, but you’ll find the boots and trousers diagrams in a chest here. Finally, the silver and steel sword and gauntlets diagrams can be found in a cave south of the swamp. Once you have them all, you’ll be able to craft the final upgrade to the Feline set.
Feline school armor is light armor, so it doesn’t provide as much raw protection as the other school sets. However, it also doesn’t slow you down so much, supporting a nimble style of combat that focuses on dodging. The set doesn’t focus on either Strong or Fast attacks, but instead helps you switch between them. The 3-piece set bonus means that every time you use a Strong attack, your Fast attack damage will increase for the next five seconds. The increase is 10% for each piece worn, up to a huge 60% bonus! Plus, if you have all six pieces, any attacks made against an enemy’s rear deal +50% damage and stuns them, though the latter effect costs an Adrenaline point.
Witcher 3 Best Armor for Defense: The Ursine Armor Set
If you want to play The Witcher 3 defensively, with heavy use of the Quen sign, then there really is only one choice for you; Ursine Armour. Not only does this heavy armor set offer the best overall protection among the Witcher school sets, but it also boosts the Quen sign considerably. Grandmaster Ursine armor, which you’ll want to aim for, requires you to be level 40. Half of the diagrams can be found in Flovive, a village in the Blood and Wine DLC. Head north-east from Beauclair, cross the lake, and head inland a short way and you should find it. The armor diagrams are in a chest in a cave below one of the houses.
The second half of the Grandmaster Ursine diagrams aren’t far from Flovive. Simply head north and slightly west from the village, towards the end of the river which can be seen on the map. There, you’ll find a cave. Head inside and defeat a giant centipede lurking at the back of the cave; the diagrams can be found on the corpse of a Witcher in this area.
Ursine Armor’s set bonuses focus on boosting Geralt’s defensive abilities from the Quen sign. That makes it perfect for high-difficulty playthroughs where even a single hit can cause huge damage. With at least 3 pieces equipped, you’ll gain a chance that a new Quen shield is activated automatically whenever yours breaks. The chance is 5% for each piece worn. With all 6 pieces of the set, including the Ursine swords, the damage you deal with Quen abilities goes up by 200%; great for causing backlash damage with Explosive Shield and Quen Discharge!
Witcher 3 Best Armor for Monster-Hunting: The Wolven Armor Set
Out of all of the Witcher school armor sets, it is the Wolven set which is perhaps the most “Witcher-like” of the sets. It doesn’t necessarily boost any particular style of play, but if you want to be as effective as possible at hunting monsters of all kinds, this armor is the one to go for. (Besides, it’s also the armor of Geralt’s own school, so it’s arguably the most appropriate for him!)
To find the Grandmaster diagrams for Wolven armor, you’ll need to head for the Termes Palace Ruins. This site can be found east of Beauclair, in the Blood and Wine DLC. Work your way through the ruins, fighting Barghests and Wraiths, until you find a satchel which contains three of the six diagrams. Then, turn around and keep progressing through the ruins until you find a corpse, which has the second set of three.
Wolven armor is medium, like most of the Witcher school armor sets that don’t focus on boosting a combat style. The set’s relic bonuses provide boosts for oils and bombs, your primary tools to get an edge against monsters. With three pieces equipped, you’ll be able to apply up to three oils to your sword at the same time. Equip all six pieces, and you’ll also be able to throw bombs instantly, without any sort of delay.
Witcher 3 Best Armor for Signs: The Griffin Armor Set
If your playstyle focuses on the use of Geralt’s signs, then you’ll want armor which complements that, and there’s no better set than Griffin school armor. This medium armor offers decent protection without leaning too heavily towards any one style of combat. (Ideal for a build with lots of sign skills but less actual combat skills.) Plus, it even lets you turn your Yrden traps into zones that overcharge your Signs! To find the Grandmaster diagrams for Griffin armor in the Blood and Wine DLC, your endgame armor to aim for, you’ll need to Fort Assar. This site is near the eastern edge of the Toussaint map, and also home to several Slyzards. Three of the Griffin diagrams are in a chest under a ruined staircase.
The rest of the Grandmaster Griffin diagrams are to the northwest of Fort Assar, at Mont Crane Castle. In this ruin, look for an illusory wall which can be opened with the lamp. Inside, you’ll need to find a crystal on a table and then activate a switch. Note that this will bring the castle’s denizens down on you, so be prepared. Once you fight your way through, you’ll be able to use the crystal to activate a portal. Head through and fight the stone golem on the other side, then claim the diagrams.
The notable thing about Griffin armor is that, aside from Ursine armor boosting Quen, it’s the only Witcher school armor that boosts signs. In fact, their relic bonuses focus solely on boosting all signs, but especially Yrden. With 3 pieces worn, whenever you cast a Sign in the normal way, you can cast another Sign without any Stamina cost in the next three seconds! This is great for attacking with Igni or Aard, or doubling down Yrden traps. The full set bonus for all six pieces boosts the size of your Yrden traps by a sizable 40%. Plus, whenever you yourself are in one of your Yrden traps, you gain stamina regeneration, all incoming damage is reduced by 20%, and your Sign intensity goes up by 100%!
Witcher 3 Best Armor for Alchemy: The Manticore Armor Set
When it comes to alchemy, there are, unfortunately, not as many options for players during The Witcher 3. This is because the Manticore school armor, which offers bonuses to boost an alchemy-centric playstyle, wasn’t added until the Blood and Wine DLC. As such, there aren’t weaker versions of this armor to craft earlier in the game. However, it’s still a great late-game armor. Plus, it’s excellent for any playstyle that focuses on using bombs, potions, and oils. (Note that the Manticore armor set isn’t called ‘Grandmaster,’ but is on par with the other Grandmaster sets.)
Unlike the other Grandmaster set diagrams, the Manticore diagrams are all scattered in different locations. First, you’ll need to travel to the Bastoy Prison Ruins, where you’ll fight an alp and find the steel sword diagram. From there, head to a small cave which is located southwest of the Termes Palace Ruins and southeast of Gélenser Farm to find the armor diagram. The trousers and boots diagrams are in a hidden area in a temple near the Prophet Lebioda Statue. After that, you’ll need to head to Murky Delve. This cave, which is south of the Palace Gardens, requires you to complete a series of tests. At the end, you’ll find the silver sword diagram and the location of the Lake of Cleansing. This final location is where you’ll find the gauntlets’ diagram.
Manticore armor, like Griffin armor, is medium. Again, this supports builds which focus on alchemy skills and not any particular set of combat skills. The first relic bonus of the set will boost your bombs; with 3 pieces, your critical chance and damage will apply to all bombs. All six pieces will grant you a very useful bonus for potions and bombs alike; the maximum number of charges that all alchemical items have rises by 1.
Honorable Mention – The Hen Gaidth Armor Set
Although it won’t be available to you until very late in the game, and is in fact permanently missable, the armor with the best actual armor rating is the Hen Gaidth armor set. If you don’t want to spend time finding and crafting one of the Witcher School sets, then it’s certainly worth finding this one. The set can be found during the What Lies Unseen main quest in the Blood and Wine DLC. Each piece of the set is in a different container, each spread throughout the cave. Note that you don’t need to craft from diagrams in this case; you’ll find the actual pieces themselves during the quest.
You’ll need to be at least level 53 to wear the Hen Gaidth armor. Stat-wise, this set offers better protection than even Grandmaster Ursine. Plus, with 3/6 pieces worn, you’ll regain Vitality just from killing opponents. The Vitality you heal back is 1% per armor piece, up to a maximum of 6%. This is certainly a significant bonus for a lot of play-styles. However, you may well still find that Grandmaster armor offers more tangible bonuses for your preferred style of play.