Combat in Dark Souls 3 will be covered on this page. Everything from the basics like blocking, rolling, spells, etc; to the more advanced techniques like parrying, iframes and poise.

In addition to basic actions, certain combinations of button inputs can be used to perform a variety of other actions. Please see the Skills page to understand the usage of Battle Skills.

Combat Moves

  • Dashing

Push the left stick all the way in a direction and hold the ☓/B button while in motion to dash.
Dashing consumes your stamina. Push down on the left stick (L3 button/LS) while dashing to jump in the direction you're going.
You can set this for either the L3/LS button or ☓/B button in the main menu.

  • Rolling

Push the left stick in any direction and press the ☓/B button to execute a roll in the direction you pushed. Rolls have i-frames, which temporarily make the player invulnerable at the beginning of the animation. Most players would advise rolling against attacks to help newcomers get the timing right.

A roll can also be performed while the player is getting up after being knocked down, providing the same i-frames as a regular roll but moving a much shorter distance and using a different animation. This roll can only be perfomed during the start of the getting up animation, which is when the player can be stuck again. This is a better alternative to letting the animation finish.

  • Backstep

Press the ☓/B button while you aren't pushing the left stick in any direction to quickly step backward. Backsteps do not have i-frames.

  • Using Ladders

Go up to a ladder and press the ○/A button to climb or descend it.
To descend more quickly, hold down the ☓/B button and push the left stick downward.
While on a ladder, press the R1/RB button to attack upward and the R2/RT button to attack downward.

Attack and Defense

  • Target Lock-on

Push down on the right stick (R3/RS button) to target (lock on to) a nearby foe.
If multiple enemies are nearby, move the right stick around while locked on to change your target.
Once you lock on to a foe, you'll continually face the foe as you move around.
If there are no enemies nearby, pressing the R3/RS button will reset the camera.
Locking on requires a minimum distance from the target.

  • Right-hand Weapon Actions

Press the R1/RB or R2/RT buttons to use the weapon in your right hand to attack.
Press the R1/RB button for a regular attack, which has a smaller stamina cost and does less damage, and the R2/RT button for a strong attack, that takes more stamina but deals more damage. They also can possibly deal different types of damage, the Estoc being an example.
Hold down the R2/RT button to launch a charged attack, which does extra damage. Holding does not need to be done all the way, and can be dropped earlier to change the strong attack's timing.
If the weapon's strong attack has a 2-hit combo, you can also choose to charge only the first, the second or both attacks.

  • Left-hand Weapon Actions

Press the L1 button to use the weapon in your left hand to attack.
If you have a shield equipped, hold down the L1 button to take a guard stance. A guard stance allows the player to tank through hits and reduce their damage by a percentage depending on the shield, at the cost of stamina. How much stamina a shield takes to block an attack is dependent on its stability, and heavier weapons tend to take more stamina to block.

  • Dual-hand Weapon Actions

Press the △/Y button, and you'll use the weapon in your right hand to take a dual-wield stance.
Press the △/Y button again in dual-hand mode to return to single-hand mode.

Holding the △/Y button lets the player dual-hand the weapon in his left hand.

Dual-handing allows for the use of new movesets, weapon skills, an L1/LB special attack/block, and multiplies the player's strength by 1.5, allowing him to wield more weapons and get better scaling from them.

Special Actions

  • Roll/Backstep Attacks

Immediately after rolling or backstepping, press the regular attack button for a quicker attack.

  • Skills

Pressing L2/LT will execute the Skill of a weapon/shield/catalyst two-handed or equipped in the player's left hand. Skills are individual to weapons, though many weapons share  Skills, and require focus to be performed. Attempting to perform a Skill without Focus will result in a failure, or in a weakened/partial version of the skill.

  • Parrying

Most of the smaller shields, some of the medium sized shields and some weapons share the skill Parry. When seeing an attack coming, the player can choose to parry the attack and, if he gets the timing right, the enemy becomes vulnerable for a Riposte. Many attacks cannot be parried, however.

The parrying animation has startup frames, parry frames, and ending frames. To properly parry, the attack must hit the player during the animation's parry frames.

  • Dead Angling

Dead angling is the act of hitting another player with the side of an attack's arc rather than the middle, making the attack un-parriable. Doing this typically requires not locking on, and moving to the side while attacking. Weapons with small attack arcs, such as Thrusting Weapons, cannot dead angle. The other player can still get a partial parry. Like the poise, it's here but work partially.

  • Pushback Attack (Kick)

Press the R1/RB button as you push the left stick forward to execute a kick that deals stamina damage on opponents using shields. The stamina damage is affected by the shield's stability and may or may not guard break, allowing a Critical strike.

According to quite a few Forum users, the amount of stamina damage a kick deals is dependent on the weapon equipped.

  • Jump Attack

Press the R2/RT button as you push the left stick forward to execute a jump attack.

  • Falling Attack

Press the R1/R2/RB/RT buttons while falling to attack your enemy from above.

  • Ripostes

Ripostes are special attacks performed on enemies that have been guard broken or parried with the R1/RB button. They deal special damage and are influenced by a weapon's critical multiplier. Many enemies cannot be Riposte'd.

  • Backstabs

Backstabs are special attacks performed from behind enemies with the R1/RB button. They deal special damage and are influenced by a weapon's critical multiplier. Many enemies cannot be backstabbed. Backstabs take a moment to begin after the R1/RB button is pressed.

  • Using Sorceries/Miracles/Pyromancies

In order to use magic (sorceries/miracles/pyromancies), you must have the corresponding catalyst (Sorcerer's Staff/Talisman or Chime/Pyromancy Flame) equipped.
Use the directional buttons (up) to select a magic, and use the regular attack of the hand in which the catalyst is equipped to cast it.
Using magic consumes your focus. Magic cannot be done without focus.
Hold down the button while casting various spells, such as "Heal" or "Sacred Oath" miracles to remain in casting mode, delaying the magic until you're ready.

  • Sweet Spots

Sweet spots are the concept that some weapons deal more damage when attacks hit with a certain part of the hitbox. Emphasis on Halberds. Sweet Spots may have influence over stagger.

Hyper Armor, Poise and Stagger

Stagger is when a weapon's hit allows for a follow up. Whether or not a weapon can stagger or for how many hits it can stagger is dependent on the weapon.  As of now, poise hasn't been confirmed to have an effect on stagger. As a special note, equip load seems to affect whether or not the player can be staggered at the ending of a roll animation.

Bigger weapons in Dark Souls 3 have Hyper Armour towards the ending of their attack animations. Hyper Armor makes the player immune to stagger temporarily, making their attacks uninterruptible. The amount of Hyper Armor an attack has is influenced by the player's poise, so equipping heavier armor when using bigger weapons is recommended, while it won't make much of a difference for players using lighter and faster weapons.

Special thanks to Juutas1988 for providing a great deal of the info compiled here.

    • 23 Mar 2017 22:16  

      Neat little tip but if you do a jump attack 1 handed and quickly follow with and R1/RB you will actually perform a roll attack, this only works while 1 handed but can be super useful in baiting out people in pvp.. i find it especially useful on UGS like fume roll attack as it is fairly quick.

      • Backstep09 Jul 2016 16:18  

        Maybe its me but I miss the backstep from DS2, I used it quite much in my PVP experience but now in DS3 I only feel that it is useful when your holding long range weapon or whips.. Does the backstep actually have Iframes in DS3?

        • Hyper armor is not balanced in this game15 Jun 2016 02:02  

          Even though having hyper armor is great, the weapon balance when it comes to hyper armor is a huge mess. Axes and maces have almost no noticable hyper armor, making them inefficient in trading with lighter weapons. Great-type weapons have amazing hyper armor but it kicks in way too late, given that they are also incredibly slow, they are at huge disadvantage when dealing with faster Greatswords. Speaking of greatswords, they too have great hyper armor but it kicks in super fast when compared to heavier weapons.<br/>From are dumb enough not to include hyper frames priority when it comes to trading.<br/>The balance is a huge mess in this game.

          • Something I noticed but never see being discussed.30 May 2016 20:32  

            So, I discovered recently that you can roll into a jumping attack (Circle/B + Forward, Forward + R2). I've found limited use for this outside of a lucky killing blow in PvP, but since it was impossible in DS1 (Haven't had a chance to check in DS2 or BB) I feel it should be noted somewhere. This seemed like the best place.<br/><br/>From the small amount of testing I did it seems you can only perform the jump attack from a forward roll (away from the camera) but if you roll in any other direction and attempt to jump attack you'll perform a standard R2.

            • Attack that can't be parried26 May 2016 14:07  

              Please make a list of the attacks that can't be parried, like the 2h ultra great attacks, or whips... I'm looking for a source that can tell me if you can or cannot parry dual wielded L1 attacks, like the gotthard rolling L1, or the whatever dual curved sword L1.

              • Parry Information13 May 2016 21:04  

                The normal Rapier is capable of parrying when equipped in the left hand. In combination with its quick staggering ability, it is an effective shield replacement and is arguably a better substitute for the parrying dagger, given that it is a fully fledged weapon.

                • Jimbo11 May 2016 21:04  

                  I don't know if anyone else has tried this, but in my experience, if you dual-wield any two weapons that are not paired, then the left-hand weapon blocks when you use L1/LB, and uses light attack when you use L2/LB.<br/><br/>I've tried this with everything from daggers and broken straight swords to Smough's Hammer, so I think it applies to everything but I may be wrong.<br/><br/>I think this go-around From has tried to reduce the amount of options and unpredictability gained from wielding two weapons with varied movesets, like people were doing with Santier's and Yorgh's in DS2.<br/><br/>I feel as though this should be reflected in the article so people can see it when they look for it.

                  • Mis-labeled PS4 button actions09 May 2016 13:51  

                    The PS4 buttons are wrong on this page<br/><br/>Interact (objects / Ladder) = X <br/>Dash / Jump / Roll / Descend = O <br/>(double tap to drop off ladder) <br/>

                    • damage type03 May 2016 15:42  

                      Idk if this is the right page for this, but is there any page that compares how the different damage types (strike, slash, thrust, regular, whatever else) work against armor? I understand that probably takes a lot of time testing, but I'm just curious if that's something in the works, or if ppl know the gist of it offhand.

                      • RIP Practical and Openly Accessible Quickstep/Quickhop/Strafedodge etc.02 May 2016 17:05  

                        Bloodbornes Combat Mechanics are.. Superior. I even miss the simple blood splashes and the amazing hit detection. Any version of the quickstep mechanic besides the Battle arts exclusive for would of been ALL this game needed. SO MANY games end up like this. With one missing or one flawed or un successful mechanic, dynamic, or concept. One small detail absent or just executed poorly (IMO the quickstep or quickdodge is like sprint roll jump or attack and shouldn't need a special skill. Sure backstabbing would of been an issue but this isn't Bloodborne and I'm not talking about the exact mechanic but atleast the idea and implementation of it. Making it work to the tune of poise, armor and carry weight, agility, perhaps requiring you to hold down the block/guard (or L1) and pressing dodge. replacing the need to lock on and adding the ability (giving the devs the responsibility to make iframes and dodging mechanics work based on timing, iframes. etc of course but also which dodge they use... diveroll or strafe dodge based on attack angle not to mention the dead angling affect) quickly switch or choose to dive and roll or quickstep. The quickstep having its distance. speed, and effectiveness like the diveroll has a fat roll, normal roll, and fast.<br/><br/>In bloodborne the quickstep was used more than the diveroll (atleast by me while locked on) but for taking on hoards to test myself againt a lynch mob or using offensively to dodge and attack in swift succession. IN dark Sou;s id expect the quick step to be dummed down a bit so youre not just a blur and making it less sensitive and more of a tactical choice/maneuver. Without even a simple quickdodge ability were back to spamming dodge rolls instead of STAYING IN THE FIGHT rather than running in and running out, attacking and retreating and repeating. Its more like a Duel and you have more control over you character.... Now FROMSOFT could of brought in all the various weapons, armor, battle arts, magic, and I was even thinking of a battle arts system that worked like spells or miracles were you attuned them, switched between them, and they changed your offensive defensive priority, aggressiveness, method, tactics, s weel s stance and bringing in an element of footwork and even PVP fights where weapons and shields both clashed against each other as one fighter blocks or parries (I don't believe a parry is a ability to stun stagger and critical attack someone. Its the deflection of an attack in a way that lets you follow up with a riposte on the exposed defense after a successful parry IF timing and the right move is made OR maybe its countered etc etc if the hit detection is good enough attacks would even bounce oof each other while one weapon hits another, both aiming opposite directions but colliding in the melee. IF you have two early knights fight with longswords and both presss R1 at the same time attacking each other then hit detection might show clashing swords (if players position is right for the possibility). <br/><br/>Dead angling, using non lock on attacks (maybe something where instead of having to line up directily behind someone for a backstab, just to miss - mostly in the original dark souls - or it being to easy, maybe doing the same button combo as a kick could make it less easier then landing behind someone and, despite the lack of or lesser 'magnent' effect but that coupled with a specific and slgithy more complex button press istead of R1 at right place, right time.<br/><br/>I pray Miyazaki Keeps making these types of Games Maybe he'll make two more Bloodbornes as I have a theory on the meaning of a Spirtual Succesor as the term is used when referring to Dark Souls 1 as being a sequel or not to demon souls , and the same with DS2 with Bloodborne. Maybe BloodBorne told its story but id like Miyazaki to do more of Darkborn Bloodsouls games deepening the combat and fine tunning it each game. The kind of combat I'm trying to explain is not all that complicated from what ive seen games even on Ps2 or 360 do.<br/><br/>I have a vision of PVP and PVE with a story that has PVP combat deeper, funner, fully capable, and never having to make ridiculous button combinations work but simply understanding whats easy to learn, getting to know the deeper end and then being challenged to master a mear e-sports level of equal competition. (not that I want a Dark SOuls E-sports arena Versus game.. hell no but if Dark Souls was recognized as being real full dimensional swords, sorcery, melee, etc. PVP compatible game. Imagine even more than having 5 ataacks in a r1 moveset plus r1 and r2 combination attacks plus the movement contextual attacks from dodge, backstep, and dash (all original attacks instead of backstep and dash being the same or r2 not having a dodge roll attack) and then every kind of attack from any kind of angle while any possible movement I capable and not limited to the order the attack come when pressing the attack button 4 ties in a row. Skipping a 'beat' and attacking ay skip to the third attack as attacks would come in 2s like cross slashes left to right to left and then tronge or aggressive R2 attacks that come in ones after a specific R1 attack and twos if you alternate. Then you can also double press, use timing like in Lords of the Fallen did nicely, press and hold double pres and hold the second press (and any combination of timing, specific button used, and type of pressing plus order and any contextuals that are obsviou like from above or wihile dashing dodging backstepping jumping, ri[osying, charging, attacking behind shield. ***** I don't<br/><br/>know if<br/><br/>Dark Souls <br/><br/>Creators really recognize <br/><br/>the potential to be all the For Honor is trying to be, that Kingdom COm is trying to be in a purely mechanics/dynamic perspective towards combat and gameplay. Place a decent storyteller alongside Miyazaki and wed probably get the first academy award winning FANTASY sotry epic )jk) but yeah I'm that confident in the storytelling possibilities of the next 6 generations. ANother discussion but I'm not confident in the Game developers being focused on the right vision if that makes sense and doesn't sound smug or something. I just want to escape hack N slash Enough to where I don't need to look forward to my next sword or armor fashion and beating the game to get into good PVP or NG plus and lore hunting. I want all that plus the combat and adventure and gameplay and story (stay subtle even if you decide to animate NPC faces or any NPCs that aren't engaged in battle and just idle in a single animation and change their postions everytime you do something specific in the world and return to find them doing something else in another part of the room but standing or sitting or being still while juggling instead of dribbling a basketball up and down.

                        • Thanks Fromsoft*****02 May 2016 15:00  

                          Dead angle has been removed, tried today several time. Now, PvP is *****ing useless, no poise, no dead angle, and worst netcode ever.

                          • POISE28 Apr 2016 04:01  

                            the last paragraph is demonstrably false. and has been for every single dark souls game. poise does not decrease the amount of time you are stunned. the time the stun lasts is dependent only on the type of weapon you get hit by. and having more poise does not prevent you from getting stunned unless you are attacking. in all dark souls games, poise provides a small amount of hyper armor for non heavy weapons that don't already have hyper armor. idk about ds3, but in ds2 hyper armor just effectively doubled your poise meter during the critical frames of an attack. it does not decrease your "stunability" in any other frames. but in ds3, poise makes it harder to stun you during attack animations, and during roll recovery animations. if you're not attacking or rolling, ANY weapon will stun you, REGARDLESS of your poise stat. you could use cheat engine to get infinite poise, and if you're just standing or running, not attacking or rolling, and you get hit by a dagger or an arrow, you WILL be stunned.<br/><br/>so that means poise doesn't allow you to "get away after one or two hits." if i have 100 poise and you have 3 poise, and neither of us is in an attack animation, and we get hit by any weapon's R1, we will both be stunned long enough for the opponent to get another attack. it doesn't matter what weapon you get hit with, or what your poise stat is, you are always susceptible to a 2 hit R1 combo. some weapons can do a 2 hit R2 combo as well, and many dual wield weapons can do a 2 hit L1 combo. if your attack can 2 hit combo someone with no poise, it can 2 hit combo someone with high poise.<br/><br/>poise only prevents you from getting stunned and comboed if you're in an attack or roll animation. if you are attacking at the same time as your opponent, and you have high poise and he has low poise, his hit will not stun you but your hit will stun him. thus you get to hit twice and he only gets to hit once. but in ds3 poise is pretty weak, so if your weapon has no hyper armor, it's unlikely that poise will get you through much. even with havel's armor and wolf ring +2, a longsword 1h R1 will stun you unless you're using a greathammer, UGS, greataxe, or halberd. there might be other weapons that give you hyper armor but these are the ones i'm aware of so far. and to make matters worse for poise, if you're using a greathammer or something like that, you get so much hyper armor that you don't NEED havel's armor or wolf ring +2 to out trade opponents with light weapons. you could have 5 or 10 poise and your hyper armor would still get you through it.<br/><br/>the only thing i've noticed poise help with is trading with other heavy weapon users. if my opponent and i both use black knight greataxe, 2 handed, and he has 20 poise while i have 42 poise, and we R1 each other simultaneously, both our hits will go through, but he will be stunned immediately after hitting me, and i won't be, so i can hit him again. that means i do twice as much damage. but if he starts using a longsword while i keep using the greataxe, i will out trade him whether i wear wolf ring +2 or not.<br/><br/>but personally i think this is a pretty big deal. out trading heavy weapons is really important if you're using heavy weapons. it lets you turn fights around, since a single hit does so much damage. if i get hit 3 times and he's only been hit 2 times, there's no way i can kill him by trading equally with him. a hit for a hit will just kill me. but if i can trade with him and get 2 hits while he gets 1, i can turn the fight around. so i personally use wolf ring +2, since it's the item with BY FAR the best poise to weight ratio. it only weighs 0.5 units, and the only other way to get so many poise points is to equip like 40+ units worth of armor, which means i can't use it with something as heavy as morne's great hammer or fume UGS unless i have really high vitality, even with havel's ring +2. and if i have really high vitality, i can't have really high overall stats.

                            • How to dual wield left hand weapon/shield?25 Apr 2016 22:30  

                              Sometimes I accidentally dual wield the shield on my left hand but I have no idea how to do it. I'm playing on Steam PC version.

                              • Weapon Stances25 Apr 2016 20:42  

                                Many weapons in the game have a stance bound to L2 (PS4). For instance, the Uchigatana (katana) stance puts the sword back into the sheath, giving your next R1/R2 additional effects. Many of these stances aren't cut out when a shield is equipped, rather, using L2 when you have a shield on will momentarily place the shield on your back, then automatically throw it back on when you've completed the attack. Weapon rules/laws are not universal in DS3. Many weapons, even of the same weapon type, will perform differently and have different skill sets under different circumstances - ie. shield on/off, single/2h etc. Play around with the game, different types of weapons, shields etc and find what you prefer. Mostly everything is viable - there are people clearing the game using dual wield shields. Sorry for the lengthy response, take it easy.

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