Much like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild before it, Tears of the Kingdom lets you wield Link’s iconic Master Sword. It’s not necessarily the most powerful thing you can swing at an enemy, but it does repair itself rather than breaking like most weapons in the game. While it’s a good tool to have and you won’t have to wait too long to start pursuing it, you will have to grind your way through some shrines before you can obtain it. We’ll try to keep this as spoiler free as possible and talk around the story context, but here’s a quick run-through for how to get the Master Sword in Tears of the Kingdom.
How to start the Master Sword quest
To start your quest to reunite Link with his lost sword, you’ll have to continue your search for Princess Zelda. Both the princess and the weapon disappear in the game’s early hours, and we won’t get too into the story details about how they’re connected, but that is the crux of the Impa and the Geoglyphs questline, which will put you on the path to finding the Master Sword. To start it, find Cado outside the New Serenne Stable west of Hyrule Castle, who will direct you to Impa in a field near the stable. She wants to see the glyphs that suddenly appeared across Hyrule. You’ll have to fix her hot air balloon with the Ultrahand. Just put the balloon on the top of the basket and you should be good. However, do not proceed if you haven’t gotten the paraglider. Otherwise, you’ll be up in the air without a paraglider to drop down with.
After you and Impa have a conversation in the air, head back down to the glyph itself and look for a pool of water within the glyph. Interacting with this will start a Dragon’s Tears quest, which will involve flying around Hyrule and finding these Dragon Tears, which contain memories with some pretty huge story reveals. We won’t detail them here, but gathering each of these tears will eventually lead you to the Master Sword. But that’s not all you’ll have to do in order to see the end of the quest. You’ll have to take a quick detour to the Forgotten Temple, then be on your way to collect the tears.
Each of these tears are found somewhere in one of the 12 glyphs that have appeared in Hyrule. Because these glyphs are so big, they’re often visible from the sky. So you can see them pretty clearly by using the Skytowers to shoot yourself up into the air and dive down to collect your Dragon Tear. They’re spread across the map, so you’ll have to do a fair bit of traveling to find them all, but here’s a complete map with each location. One of the tears won’t be available until you’ve collected all the others, specifically the one in Rist Peninsula on the northwest side of the map. But the game will give you a pretty clear hint when that one’s ready for you.
To keep this as spoiler-free as possible, we won’t talk about the context here, but the thing you learn through these memories is that the Master Sword is planted in the head of one of Hyrule’s dragons. These can be seen flying around the map and minding their own business, but one, in particular, won’t show up until you’ve found all the tears or taken a different approach to this questline we’ll touch on in a minute.
To acquire the sword from the dragon, you’ll have to find a high enough surface (using a Skytower or finding a nearby Sky Island should do) to paraglide from. Then it’s a matter of getting to the dragon’s head and pulling the sword out. To do this, you’ll need at least one extra ring of stamina. This will require at least four stamina vessels, which you can get by completing any of the shrines throughout Hyrule, collecting Lights of Blessing, and taking them to any of the Goddess Statues in most hub areas like Rito Village and Gerudo Town. You’ll need four Lights of Blessing to get a stamina vessel, so in all, you’ll need to finish at least 16 shrines. If you already have the stamina, you can pull out the Master Sword and see a big important cutscene. If you haven’t, go knock out some shrines now, but the dragon and Master Sword might not be where you left it when you get back.
How do I find the Dragon of Light?
Like the other dragons in Tears of the Kingdom, the Dragon of Light has a set path across Hyrule that it follows, but in testing it myself against other players, the timing seems inconsistent. I had a friend who tracked it down tell me where it was during a certain time of day, and I waited in that spot until the in-game clock matched what I was told, and the dragon didn’t show up.
There is, however, one way to definitively know where the Dragon of Light is as long as you haven’t acquired the Master Sword yet, it will just require a bit of work. You’ll need to head to the Lost Woods, which is in the northern center of the map in the Great Hyrule Forest and deal with the Korok’s problems first. Trying to just walk, ride, or fly into the Lost Woods is a no-go because of the dark magic surrounding the forest. Regardless of whether you’re riding horseback or paragliding in, all you’ll get if you try to get into the Lost Woods by normal means is a fade to black and a scared sound from Link before being transported back to where you came from.
Fortunately, Tears of the Kingdom has given you an ability that lets you jump through ceilings in Ascend. It’s just a matter of getting below the Lost Woods. To do this, you’ll have to brave the Depths. If you haven’t been down here much, hopefully you’ve got some Brightbloom Seeds to help light your way, because we’re going deep into the Depths to get under Ganondorf’s evil magical barrier. Look for the chasm near the southwest entrance to the Lost Woods. This will be your quickest way to get underneath the Lost Woods and just below the Korok Forest.
Travel northwest, switching between your depths and surface maps for reference, until you’re just under the center of the Great Hyrule Forest. When you see giant tree roots spiraling from the ceiling, that’s when you know you’re heading in the right direction. Circle the roots until you see a lit up area on the western edge with a staircase that leads to a platform and lowered ceiling. Here, you can Ascend and swim all the way up to the surface and into Korok Forest. You’ll notice the entire place looks rancid and the Koroks here are not as jovial as one dancing, poop-slinging king Hestu. That’s because Ganondorf has exerted his influence here, and his magic has infected the Great Deku Tree with the terrible Gloom. To help him, you’ll have to head into his guts and fight off enemies who are messing up his insides.
How do I deal with the gloom hands and the boss fight?
Personally, I had more trouble dealing with the first fight against the grabby Gloom hands than I did the boss fight here. These regenerating enemies will get back up every time you take them out if you don’t defeat all of them in a short window. The best method I had was to Fuse my Bomb Flowers, which I had plenty of because I’d saved them up by using Zonai Cannons to blow up obstacles, to my arrows and aim for the space between all the hands, which meant the explosion would reach all of them at once. If you don’t have Bomb Flowers, try fusing a Zonai Cannon to one of your weapons.
After you defeat the hands, you’ll be faced by a boss: Phantom Ganon. Overall, he hits hard, but he’s slow and it’s pretty easy to get some flurry rushes off by dodging his attacks and swinging away. Keep your distance, be patient, and have some food on hand to heal up for when he inevitably manages to land a hit or two. It’s all a matter of memorizing his pattern.
With Phantom Ganon defeated, the Great Deku Tree is back to good health and is able to help you track down the Master Sword, and by extension, the Dragon of Light. The waypoint will move around the map, so you can keep track of its movements wherever your adventures take you. But remember that if you remove the sword, the waypoint will go away.
Ultimately, the Master Sword is a great weapon to have, but I found the better payoff was all the story that came from finding these tears. I’m frankly baffled that it wasn’t a required quest, but now you’ve got the information you need to complete this elusive mission..