Ghost of Tsushima: Legends – Everything You Wanted to Know about Hellmode

Beginners Guide for Hellmode


Hellmode, or Custom Platinum mode, is the nickname affectionately given to a new survival difficulty that allows players to select which modifiers will be active. It is considered significantly more difficult than Nightmare difficulty.

How to Find

To find this game mode, simply navigate to Legends, then:

  • With a Party: Play Now -> Survival -> Choose a Map -> Scroll down to ‘Platinum’ -> select ’Custom Mode. Matchmaking disabled’ or…
  • To Matchmake: Play Now -> Survival -> Choose a Map -> Scroll down to ‘Platinum’ -> ‘Fill Party with a GOAL of ‘Custom Mode -Perfect Completion’ OR ‘Custom Mode – Enable Difficulty Modifiers’ if not going for perfect game)


The Modifier selection will occur AFTER the game is started (ie everyone readies up). You will see shrines similar to those in Rivals near the spawn point.

You may select 1-7 of them (4 player/enemy modifiers & 3 world/environment modifiers). The World/Environment modifiers are set (Fire Spirits, Eyes of Iyo, Disciples of Iyo).

The Player/Enemy modifiers has THREE set modifiers (Aggressive Foes, Shared Wounds, Empowered Foes), with one modifier that varies by map:

  • Tool Shortage (+50% GW cooldown)= Shores of Vengeance, Shadows of War, Blood & Steel
  • Incapacitated (+50% Ability cooldown) = Village of Aoi, Blood in the Snow, Twilight & Ashes

Modifier List

In the various game modes (Story, Survival, Rivals, Trials, Raid) you will come across specific modifiers that alter the gameplay. These may augment enemy attacks, turn bodies into explosives, or make enemies immune to elements.

Below, you will see these Modifiers listed (alphabetically) and where they appear in various game modes.

ModifierWhere to FindDescription
Barbed ArrowsSurvivalRanged damage sources (arrows, bombs, darts) do +20% more damage:

– Additive with other modifiers/gear
– Applicable to Ghosts, Enemies, Hwacha
Deadly MeleeStoryMelee damage sources (katana) do +20% more damage:

– Additive with other modifiers/gear
– Applicable to Ghosts, Enemies
Dulled KatanasStoryEnemies can only be reduced to ‘near death’ with katana (require another damage source to be killed)


– Assassinations (Critical/Stealth attacks), Bombs (Flash, BP, Concussion, Sticky), Arrows (Regular, Fire, Piercing), Blowdart (Poison, Weaken, Hallucination), Intimidating Counter AOE, Spirit Pull, Explosive Blade, Staggering Arrow, Explosive Arrow, Kunai, Dirt Throw, Caltrop, Burning Blade proc, WOTF,

Does NOT Kill:

– Katana Strikes, Heavenly Strike (all), counter strike (after Perfect Parry), Hachiman’s Fury (Samurai Ult), Shadow Strike (Assassin Ult)

No melee resolve gain on strike on reduced enemies
Eagle Shaman ChantSurvival, RivalsEagle Shaman chants and buffs other enemies:

– Enemy Damage: +100% to regular damage
– Enemy HP: 50% reduced damage from incoming attacks

Upgrades regular attacks to the next level (ie regular -> blue-glint, blue-glint->red-glint); can make some attacks tougher to dodge or parry, make enemies more unpredictable

Other names: Chanter, Singer, Eagle Spearman
Empowered FoesSurvivalEmpowered Foes do 13-16% more Damage:

– Tengu Crows, Oni Archer arrows, etc seem to have a much smaller dmg increase per strike
– Charge attacks can one-shot due to the ability to get hit multiple times by the charge
– Enemy melee/ranged damage only (Hwacha/status damage seems to be the same)
EruptionSurvival, RaidBodies explode upon death, doing AOE damage:

– Body ‘explodes;: ~6.5s after ‘kill’ strike
– Range of explosion: Smoke Bomb Radius
– Damage per Explosion: 50 hp (2 explosions kill you with Base hp)
Gyozen’s Curse – TetheredStoryGhosts take HP damage when they are too far away from each other:

– Indicated by White (normal distance), Yellow (getting far apart), and Red (taking damage).
– Can be ‘downed’ by the curse itself (ie other teammate takes damage, you go ‘down’).
– While tethered, one person may go through the Torii Gate while the other is ‘downed’ and it will auto-revive.

Exception to auto-revive is 5s to die (likely due to how long it takes for the transition for Torii gate)
Gyozen’s Curse – Reduced HPStoryReduces HP.
ImmunitySurvivalNegates all Status Damage & Status Duration*:

*Staggering Arrow DOES work (staggers for 6s), benefits from Status Duration too

– Initial Damage of an attack still counts (ie Damage from a Bomb or Explosive Arrow impact), but there is no DoT.
– Flash Bomb has no effect on enemies (no temp-stun); still builds resolve.
– Nightshade no longer adds Damage to poison (darts, blade, etc).
– WOTF adds 0 extra dmg to melee (will still be able to attack through blocking/shielded enemies).
– Fire Arrows need to be used for the ‘killing blow’ in order to count for the “Kill with Fire” objective in Nightmare Survival.
– Sarugami’s Glare does NOT blind enemies.
IncapacitatedSurvival, RivalsIncreases Class Ability Cooldown by +50%:

– Explosive Arrow (55s Base CD) -> 82.5s CD

Example (with CD%s)

1. Hunter with Explosive Arrow (55s Base CD)
2. During Incapacitated Week (+50% longer CD)
3. Uses Hunter Unleashed Technique (-15% shorter CD)

Final CD = 55s + [55s x (+50% – 15%)]
Final CD = 55s + [55s x (+35%)]
Final CD = 55s + [19.25s]
Final CD = 74.25s
Reduced HealingSurvival, RivalsReduces healing from all sources by 50%:

– Combat Regen (All Classes), Blessed Strike (Samurai), Spirit Pull +1 (Samurai) are not affected as badly due to how they apply healing.
Shared WoundsStory, RivalsWhen one player takes incoming damage, the other player also receives damage (equal damage).
Slowed RevivesSurvival, RivalsIncreases Revive Time of a downed player by +50%
Tool ShortageSurvival, RivalsIncreases Ghost Weapon Cooldown by +50%:

– Smoke bomb (120s Base CD) -> 180s CD

Example (with CD%s)

1. Ghost with Smoke Bomb (120s Base CD)
2. During Tool Shortage Week (+50% longer CD)
3. Smoke Bomb has 15% CD Reduction (-15% shorter CD)

Final CD = 120s + [120s x (+50% – 15%)]
Final CD = 120s + [120s x (+35%)]
Final CD = 120s + [42s]
Final CD = 162s
Toxic CloudSurvival, StoryBodies explode upon death, creating a Toxic Cloud AOE:

– Time from Enemy Death -> cloud: 6.5s
– Range of Cloud: Smoke Bomb radius
– Duration of Poison: 15s
– poison dmg occurs at 6s & 14s
– Poison Damage: 11hp/vomit (22hp total)
– Impact to Run/Walk speed: ~50% reduced movement
WildfireSurvival, StoryBodies ignite upon death, doing Fire AOE damage:

– Time from Enemy Death -> Burn: 3s
– Range of Fire: smaller than smoke bomb
– Duration of Burn (if Ignited): 12s
– Damage of Fire (Max Total): 50 hp
– Dmg over time: 4.2 hp/s

Difficulty / Ki Level

  • The difficulty level of enemies (and enemy composition per wave) is identical to Nightmare difficulty.
  • The spawn placements are Random.
  • It is Highly recommended to not only be well-versed in completing Nightmare survival, but capable of completing NMS without any downs, well-practiced on the Objectives, able to do duo/trio NMS, and being able to coordinate effectively with a team without getting hit.

How to Get Started

  • If you are looking to test your ability to survive, it is a good idea to practice Wave 0 with Aggressive Foes, Empowered Foes, and Incapacitated/Tool Shortage active. Try to clear Wave 0 in less than 5 minutes AND not take more than 3 ticks of damage (or drop below 50% hp)
  • Map Difficulty (Easiest to Hardest): Blood in the Snow, Village of Aoi, Shores of Vengeance, Twilight & Ashes, Shadows of War, Blood & Steel
  • It is Recommended to start on Blood in the Snow if you are after a perfect game, then experiment with maps from there to find what you enjoy/are good at

Hidden Heart

Nicknamed the ‘Toothpick’ run, The Hidden Heart achievement is a ‘hidden’ achievement that is unlocked upon completing a ‘perfect’ game of Custom Platinum (Hellmode). You must:

  • Activate ALL Modifiers (sometimes referred to as a Perfect Platinum 7 game or PP7/P7 game)
  • Complete all 5 Objectives
  • Lose 0 Zones
  • Have 0 Downs across the Team

In doing so, anyone in the party will unlock ‘The Hidden Heart’ wooden bokken skin (and gain bragging rights to say they completed the challenge)

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3011 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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