Sword & Small shield has been the preferred Fiona weapon for a pretty long time and it's pretty clear as it why.
Sword Fiona is easier to play, safer and easier to solo with, and just out DPS's hammer with similar stats. Hammer is much slower and harder to play, and relies on keeping Slashing High for damage. Hammer requires a lot of investment (attack speed stacking) to even compete with Sword.
Can someone tell me why they gave Amaranth Kick a 20-25% damage boost. It makes no sense to me that a kick does more damage than Stigma hammer which is the slowest smash to execute. And they buffed Focal point, Sword's sandbag DPS option.
I'm aware of all the latest buffs, but it feels like the Dev's just want to make Sword more superior. Being able to skip to the 3rd normal after was a direct buff to both Hammer and Sword, but it also made Large Shield completely useless... Again. Small Shield is mandatory of Sword Fiona. Hammer can use either or but Small shield is better due to the greater SP gain and knockdown chance. Face tanking is definitely a bad practice also...