The latest and last expansion for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is absolutely massive in scale, housing more content than many titles have within their whole game. While the story is certainly an important piece of Blood and Wine and there are many interesting quests to pursue during your time with the expansion, you’ll also want to pursue your sets of grandmaster witcher armor – a new tier of gear added to every witcher armor set within the new expansion.
The grandmaster sets give you access to an updated look to your armor set like the previous tiers before it while providing a bonus to all of the stats available previously on the set in question. But they also add armor set bonuses for both three and six pieces consecutively, which provide unique abilities you won’t find anywhere else. These include abilities that boost your Quen sign, allow you to apply multiple blade oils to one weapon or even let you throw bombs without any delay, which makes them extremely valuable additions to your arsenal. Keep in mind that each set requires you to be level 40 in order to equip them too.
In order to start the quest for your grandmaster armor set(s) you’ll first have to find the smith Lazare Lafargue, who is located at his stop in Beauclair. Once you’ve spoken to him you’ll find out he has spent his life seeking grandmaster witcher armor and as a result, knows the location of each piece of gear within Toussaint. Apparently the legendary elven craftsman Tyen’sail attracted witchers from around the world because of his work, who would take on immensely difficult monster contracts in order to pay him to craft their gear. Naturally this didn’t go as planned, and each of them perished during their difficult hunts – taking their diagrams with them. Now, Lafargue wants you to retrieve them and will craft them for you as a reward.
Each of these grandmaster diagrams are hidden throughout the world of Toussaint in dangerous, hard-to-reach locations but reward you with the best gear available in the game depending on your playstyle. Here’s a look at each grandmaster armor set offered in Blood and Wine, as well as where to find them.
Grandmaster Ursine Set
The Grandmaster Ursine set is one of my personal favorites within Blood and Wine. Boasting a hefty amount of damage resistance this set is one of the best defensive ones in the game, paired with a steel and silver sword that boost critical hit chance, critical hit damage, adrenaline point gain and dismemberment chance. The grandmaster armor level also provides two unique bonuses revolving around the sign Quen, which provides a defensive shield for your character. The first set bonus at three pieces of equipped gear allows a new Quen to be cast with no stamina cost once your Quen shield shatters. This bonus can be increased for each piece of the set you wear, with the entire set providing a 30% chance for the ability to kick in. The second set bonus is available at 6 pieces of equipped gear and increases the damage from Quen-related abilities by 200%, allowing your Quen knockback and damage return effects (if specced into them) to do an absurd amount of damage.
As a whole, this set is excellent for tank-based characters or ones who look for damage resistance on their armor alongside critical attacks with their weapons. Keep in mind that while this is heavy gear too, you can enchant it to make it medium or light with the Runecrafter from Hearts of Stone.
Grandmaster Wolven Set
The Grandmaster Wolven set is one of the best looking in the entire game, fitting Geralt’s background perfectly. Boasting decent defenses across the board alongside bonuses to sign intensity, attack damage value, and critical damage bonus the Wolf set is one of the most rounded available to the player. Paired with a steel and silver sword that boost critical hit chance, sign intensity, adrenaline point gain and a high chance to cause bleeding on your enemies, the set compliments an agile playstyle that is balanced between signs, swords and alchemy. This grandmaster armor set provides two unique bonuses revolving around bombs and sword oils. The first set bonus at 3 pieces of equipped gear allows up to three oils to be placed on a single sword at one time while the second bonus at six pieces of gear allows you to throw bombs without a significant delay.
This set is great for players who plan on moving around the battlefield and controlling it with signs and quick strikes. Paired with the two bonuses from the set, alchemy can also be worked into a build with this armor set – although having multiple oils applied to your sword won’t benefit you too heavily, since you can re-apply or switch them in combat anyway.
Grandmaster Griffin Set
The Grandmaster Griffin set sticks to a very interested color scheme I never quite understood…but holds up as the best set of armor for a character focused purely on signs. The set itself has good defense that falls behind the Wolf and Ursine, but provides a sign intensity bonus with every piece of equipment in the set that can’t be beat by anything else in the game. Paired with a steel and silver sword that further boost sign intensity, dismemberment chance, critical hit chance and critical hit damage, the Griffin set holds its own against the other Grandmaster sets available in Blood and Wine. It also provides two unique bonuses revolving around signs. The first set bonus at three pieces of equipped gear allows you to cast a standard sign at no stamina cost after using one before it, making almost every standard sign useable consistently without a stamina cost. The second set bonus at 6 pieces of equipped gear increases the size of Yrden traps by 40% and gives you an increased stamina regen, damage resistance and sign intensity while you stand in your Yrden traps.
This set is one of the most powerful available in the game for those who focus on signs – providing nearly a 300% sign intensity bonus if all pieces of gear are equipped and you’re standing in a Yrden trap. Combined with the ability to use your standard signs indefinitely, the Griffin set can allow you to wreak havoc against all human enemies (and most monsters) with Igni and Aaard provided you are staying with the Yrden trap during combat.
Grandmaster Feline Set
The Grandmaster Feline set may not look like much, but when paired with a heavily offensively playstyle it can do a ton of damage – plus, who doesn’t like a hood? The Feline set isn’t meant to block physical damage, but makes up for it with elemental damage resistance and attack power bonuses. As a whole the set offers nearly 75% elemental resistance and 55% additional attack power, paired with a steel and silver sword that boost dismemberment chance, critical hit chance, Aard sign intensity and cause bleeding. The set also provides two unique bonuses like the rest of the Grandmaster sets, which focus on dealing raw damage with swords to your opponents. The first set bonus at three pieces of equipped gear allows strong attacks to increase fast attack damage that follows the first swing by 60% (with the full Feline set equipped). The second set bonus at six pieces of equipped gear causes rear attacks on your enemies to cause 50% more damage and stun them at the cost of 1 adrenaline point.
This set is an absolute melee powerhouse that can cut through enemies like butter. Since the damage bonuses apply to both strong and fast sword attacks they remain valuable in every single combat situation as well, especially when combined with the two set bonuses that provide even more damage if you maneuver around your enemy. The Grandmaster Feline set may not look the best, but it when all of the buffs are stacked it can allow one melee hit to do almost 160% more damage – which is the highest number any set can help you reach within the game.
Grandmaster Manticore Set
Added within Blood and Wine, the Manticore set is a beautiful looking one that fits in perfectly with the new region of the expansion. While it may not be titled ‘Grandmaster’ in the game, the Manticore set is on-par with the other grandmaster sets stat-wise and is available as legendary witcher armor in new game plus with a new visual. The Manticore set boosts slightly better defenses than the Feline and Griffin set and focuses on alchemy. The set provides a huge bonus to your maximum toxicity, which allows you to ingest more potions and decoctions without exceeded the safety threshold on your character. Paired with a steel and silver sword that provide a bleeding effect, critical hit and critical damage bonus and for the first time in The Witcher 3: an armor piercing effect, the Manticore set is a mobile powerhouse against human and beast. The set also provides two unique bonuses that focus on alchemy. The first set bonus at three pieces of equipped gear allows your critical hit chance and critical damage bonus to apply to bombs, making them extremely powerful tools. The second set bonus at six pieces of equipped gear allows you to carry one additional charge of every alchemical item like bombs, potions and decoctions.
The Manticore set is a welcome addition to The Witcher 3 that works to make a set catering to those of us who enjoy alchemy. While it may not be as straightforward as sword combat or sign combat, alchemy has always been a meaningful part of a witcher’s skillset – and the Manticore works to compliment that by allowing stat bonuses to carry over player’s alchemical equipment. While I haven’t had the chance to experiment with a bomb build alongside the Manticore set, there’s no question that it will be a powerful and precise character build capable of plenty.