Dark Souls 2 Combat Tips and Strategy Guide

Dark Souls 2 Combat tips and strategies to dominate all the enemies in the game.

Combat in Dark Souls 2 can look decent but easy to a by-passer, but anyone who has spent true hours into the game would know the technical and tactical essentialities that need to be looked after while fighting, whether it’s against your average foe (which themselves are not too average) or those super-tough bosses.

For more help on Dark Souls 2, read our Soul Signs Locations, Magic Spells and Character Builds Guide.

Here’s a look at some basic combat related essentials that you should understand before you march into the harshness of what makes Dark Souls 2.

Damage Types
Sadly, there isn’t just one way of being damaged in Dark Souls 2, which is why you need a mixed balance of defenses to counter it. Same actually goes for the enemies, which can be damaged in multiple ways, so maybe it’s not that sad.

Each type of damage can only be mitigated by the corresponding defense type. So if you were to be hit by a magic attack, you shouldn’t expect your physical defenses to reduce the incoming damage.

This also applies to enemies – some enemies have high magic defense but low physical and vice versa. Thus, if you’re having trouble with an enemy because it takes no damage with a sword, try some other kind of damage to find out its weakness.


The following are the overall defense types:

  • Physical
  • Magic
  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Dark
  • Bleed
  • Poison

Status Ailments
In addition to the damage types, there are certain Status Ailments that can really be deadly.

Some can be cured with items, but most of the times getting effected by one can mean almost certain doom, as mostly difficult and fast enemies will have the ability to affect you with them.

There are the more familiar Bleed and Poison status ailments, but the two most dangerous are Curse and Petrify.

Curse reduces the maximum HP of your character whenever he/she gets hit, whereas Petrify results in you turning into stone, meaning instant death. The best method to counter Status Ailments: avoid them at all costs.

Alongside your HP, the stamina bar is your most important factor. Without it, you cannot block, roll-dodge, run, or even attack (neither physical nor magic spells.

Each of the mentioned actions take up your stamina, which is why you should always be paying attention to indicator bar, and should almost always allow your character to recuperate after performing a combination of blocking/attacking/dodging.

Stamina recovers slowly, but there are several pieces of equipment and also items that can help in boosting the regeneration rate.

Guarding and Bashing
Guarding is an extremely important part of battle, especially for melee characters. Do remember that guarding also takes stamina (only when you are hit though), and if your stamina becomes fully depleted, it will result in a Guard Break.

At this time the enemy will be able to land a Critical Attack on you, which can kill you quite easily.

Bashing on the other hand is there to completely nullify the guard of an enemy. You can do it with a Normal attack + Forward movement, which will break the guard, and is very important against foes that have an annoying habit of blocking, and also allowing you to perform a critical hit.

Some weapons and shields have the ability to Parry, which can disrupt the enemy for a while and allow you to perform a high damage attack.

Parrying is all about timing though, as you need to hit the Strong Attack Button at the perfect time when the enemy’s attack is just about to make contact with you.

If you can manage to practice this tricky but useful skill, you’ll become extremely effective in your counterattacking ability.

Backstabbing is powerful and effective, but it isn’t near as easy as it was in the first Dark Souls.

Hitting your enemy from the flank will deal extra damage, and works splendidly well against bulky and slow foes. It doesn’t work on all enemies, but you can land this on almost all players that invade you or who you invade.

Missing the backstab though can actually put you in a very compromised situation, and can result in an easy counter for the enemy, so be careful and very assured of success before you attempt to poke your foe.

Dual Wielding
Wielded two weapons is a risky move in Dark Souls, as it eliminates your ability to use a shield and block. However, on the offensive this is one powerful way to dish out tons of damage to enemies.

Just make sure you’re very good at dodging and strafing.

If your Strength and Dexterity are 1.5 times the required amount for both the weapons you are wielding, and the two weapons are compatible with each other, you’ll enter into Power Stance mode by holding the button to two-hand your weapon.

Various Types of Melee Attacks
It’s not just plain old boring slashing and poking with Melee Attacks – Dark Souls 2 likes to emphasize on tactical battles and allows you to take use of many kinds of attacks that combine with other actions such as rolling and jumping.

Plunging Attacks
These attacks are performed when falling from high places.

They are a bit difficult and chances are you’ll take some damage when you fall, but there’s no reason not to have a go at the enemy below you. Plus these kind of attacks do additional damage as compared to normal ones.

Jump Attacks
If you press Forward and Strong Attack at the same time, you’ll leap forth and do a powerful jump attack. It’s a long ranged attack and is useful, but it can be hazardous if you miss out, as you’ll be exposed to a hurtful counter.

Dash Attacks
Dashing and rolling can be combined with normal attacking to do a quick dash attack. These attacks are speedy and can really catch an enemy off-guard.

Rolling Attacks
Similar to dash attacks, these are done when you roll towards your enemy and press the normal button. This way you’ll execute a special kind of an attack that can be a great counter if you rolled to dodge an enemy’s slash at you.

Special Attacks
Some weapons have special attack moves as an attribute, and they do insane damage. However, most of these special attacks greatly reduce the durability, which can go against you, especially in boss fights. Look for weapons with such kind of special attacks to use them.

Don’t forget to share your own tips by commenting below!

Haider is a freelance contributor, who loves video games, playing guitar, and aviation. He is a competitive FPS player and also enjoys exotic RPG games like Diablo and Xenogears (his favorite game of all time) ...