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.

  • Plunging Attack

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

•The plunging attack is the most reliable move in the game

  • 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.

    • Anonymous

      31 Jan 2018 04:12  

      I've found out that not meeting the stat requirements will cause your kicks to do nothing. All you need is a weapon that you do not have the stat requirements for.

      I tested these on the wooden shield Hollows outside of Vordt's boss room.

      With 13/11/10/10 (STR/DEX/INT/FTH), I was wielding the Long Sword (with one hand in my right), and kicked the Hollow while they had their shield up; their guard was broken.
      Next I was wielding the Zweihander (with one hand in my right), and kicked the Hollow 3x while they had their shield up; their guard was not broken. I was sure I was making contact with their shield because they would be pushed back a bit.

      I also tested kicking with shields (not meeting the stat requirements does not seem to make a difference).
      Kicking with the shield is actually bashing with the shield.
      You can only "kick" with the shield, while two handing the shield.
      Attempting to kick while holding it with only your right hand results in just a regular shield attack.
      Attempting to kick while holding it with only your left hand results in an actual kick.
      When two handing the shield, and kicking with the shield, it lacks the ability to guard break.

      • Anonymous

        13 Nov 2017 17:02  

        For fellow PC players, here are the M+K controls:
        .Dodge- space + direction of movement
        Backstep- tap space
        .Dashing- holding space while moving
        .Slow walking- holding Alt while moving
        .Jumping- tap space in middle of dashing
        .Right hand weapon light attack- left click
        .Right hand weapon strong attack- shift + left click (you can hold this for a charged attack)
        .Two hand your right hand weapon- tap F
        .Two hand your left hand weapon- hold F
        .Use a weapon skill-
        While two handing, tap/hold (depends on weapon) Ctrl and (if needed), use light attack and/or strong attack.
        .Light attack with left hand weapon/parry with left hand weapon- tap Ctrl (while one handing)
        .Block with left hand weapon- hold right click
        .Aim while two handing a ranged weapon- hold right click
        .Use secondary arrow/bolt- shift + left click (holding shift is not recommended)
        .Dash while going down from a ladder- hold space + down
        Usage of your weapon skills, depends on your weapon.
        Some weapons when held in left hand have a different behavior, see for yourself.
        Combinations of running/jumping/backstepping etc. attacks, stay the same.

        • Anonymous

          20 Apr 2017 11:45  

          It usually takes me 2 kicks to guard break lothrick knights with greatshields but I've noticed that when playing naked with just a dagger it only takes me 1 kick. Would someone please explain this? Do I deal more stamina damage when I'm lighter?

          • Anonymous

            18 Apr 2017 04:52  

            For some reason I can't do backstabs. either im doing it wrong or everything but the undead with broken straight swords can't be backstabbed. Help?

            • Anonymous

              03 Apr 2017 19:58  

              I would love for some one to clarify whether or not crit rating and crits proc when not backstabbing or riposting.

              • Anonymous

                24 Mar 2017 03:16  

                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.

                • Anonymous

                  Critical14 Aug 2016 00:49  

                  If u fall off a ledge and smash some one with r1 does it count as a critical? If so can it be affected by the hornet ring

                  • Anonymous

                    Backstep09 Jul 2016 22:18  

                    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?

                    • Anonymous

                      Hyper armor is not balanced in this game15 Jun 2016 08:02  

                      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.From are dumb enough not to include hyper frames priority when it comes to trading.The balance is a huge mess in this game.

                      • Anonymous

                        garret the destroyer07 Jun 2016 01:57  

                        good advice thank you im getting dark souls 3 and i havnt even played bloodborne or a souls game

                        • Anonymous

                          Something I noticed but never see being discussed.31 May 2016 02:32  

                          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.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.

                          • Anonymous

                            frontstabs26 May 2016 20:40  

                            Sometimes i spontaneously made stabs in front instead of back, I even managed to do it to Lorian in front.

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