Dark Souls 3 Combat Tips: Using Magic, Dodge, Shield, Parrying

Dark Souls 3 combat tips: how to use magic, dodge, parrying, shields, weapon arts skills, battle bosses, use equipment and kill enemies against odds.

Dark Souls 3 combat like previous games in the series is what makes this game so iconic. Very similar to previous Souls games and is more inline with last year’s PS4 exclusive Bloodborne.

However, at its core, it is about skill and patient. The moment you get too eager to attack you’re dead. Let’s discuss some useful Combat Tips that will help you survive Dark Souls 3, but first, let’s talk about some basic details you need to know about your weapon skill and shield.

Shields in Dark Souls 3 are very useful and protective but not all shields can parry. Some of them will grant you access to your weapons skill while others will knock aside minor enemy attack if you learn master the timing. (Use bottom right trigger on PS4, Xbox One).

You have a chance to experiment with your shields to find the right mix, figure out whether you are comfortable with the versatility of being able to block and still have your Weapon Skill, or whether parrying is really more of your combat style.

Each weapon in Dark Souls 3 comes with a weapon skill, these are powerful attack triggered by using FPs. These attacks have more range and can help you win a variety of combat encounters.

Like I mentioned, using weapon kills cost FPs so you’ll have to manage and juggle FPs between your weapons and gear, skill and spells.


For more help on Dark Souls 3, read our PC Tweaks Guide, Errors Crashes and Fixes, Burial Gifts Guide and Covenants Locations Guide.

Dark Souls 3 Combat Tips

Baiting the Enemy
This a classic Dark Souls tactic. It is a very useful move but requires patience and focus. You need to wait for an enemy to attack dodge or parry to leave your enemies vulnerable.

This tactic works best against enemies that have a prolonged cooldown period between their attacks. Wait for them to attack and once they miss, you take them down. You can use Dodge or Parry but I personally recommend Dodging because that is a little easier to master then Perry.

Each enemy has a specific moveset, use that to your advantage.

Keep Track of Enemy Animations
Like I mention in the paragraph above, each enemy has a moveset and limited animations. Once you figure it out, even bosses become less difficult to defeat.

Keep in mind that each enemy you face in Dark Souls 3 is capable of killing you without remorse so treat them with utmost respect. Be patient and study their animations and don’t rush into attacking.

If you are able to predict their motions and movesets then you have an upper hand in combat. You can dodge, parry, and attack effectively.

Boss Animations
Well, Bosses are a bit tricky but they too can be vulnerable. First off, do not be intimidated with their size but do respect their ability to squash you like a bug. Because intimidation often leads to rushed attacks.

Bosses are tricky to study because they change their moves and animations once they realize you are about to win. There is brief a period of their transition to a much more scary creature, you can rush in a few attacks but get back to what you were doing earlier. Let them attack, dodge to study what they are going and use it against them.

Healing isn’t Always the Best Option

Healing in Dark Souls 3 is what you’ll be doing after pretty much every enemy encounter, especially if you’re new to the series. However, healing while you’re in a melee fight isn’t the best of choices.

While you’re drinking from the flask to heal, your enemy sees the chance to kill you. Bait an enemy to attack, dodge and put some distance between you and it, use this distance to heal yourself before going back into combat.

Another and much easier way is to just run away like a little a girl and come back once you’re healed.

Call them Out
You never fight someone where they have an upper hand, especially, if you’re enemies are greater in number. In rooms where there are more than a few enemies, try getting their attention and get them scattered.

Make a few enemies follow you (as much as you can handle) and take them to a location you’re more comfortable with. This helps if you want to avoid facing multiple enemies in rough terrain or near cliffs.

You can get their attention by shooting them from a long range, or slowly approach a group, attack and run.

Dodge Over Shield
Dodging is the best technique if you want to save your stamina. It is always better to dodge an attack rather than blocking it with shields as it costs less Stamina.

In order to get an advantage over an enemy, roll to the side (left,right) to access more opportunities of attack.

Master Dodging and Dark Souls 3 enemies will find it hard ]to kill you, not the other way around.

Shields Are Useful Too
Well, shield aren’t useless in Dark Souls 3 but where exactly are they most affective? In Dark Souls 3, there are enemies who will try long range attacks such as from a crossbow. Use your shield against such attacks.

The best part about shields, although it affects stamina, is that it blocks most of or all damage from an enemy attack. So in a situation where multiple enemies are attacking at the same time shield can protect you.

But make sure to take a few steps back to replenish the stamina before getting back into a fight.

Use Parrying Wisely
Parrying is a technique that requires you to have parry-friendly shield and a weapon that supports it as well such as a Parrying Dagger. The downside to parrying is that if you get it wrong it would cause you to take damage.

Here’s a tip, to execute a proper parry, lock onto your opponent and stand in front. Make sure you are in range of an enemy attack. Press the button when the enemy is just about to attack you.

Practice parrying early on in the game and against low level enemies to master the timing.

Use Ranged Attacks
Keep a ranged weapon in your arsenal and use it from time to time. Mixing it with your usual repertoire creates a much more effective combat technique. Many Dark Souls 3 enemies don’t use long range attacks so that means you have an advantage over them.

It is best to keep a long ranged weapon in your secondary weapon slot. Mix ranged attacks with bombs and you can deal significant damage to heavy opponents.

Magic Takes More Time
Using Magic can be a little tricky as it takes more time than your regular attacks. Make sure you have a safe distance from your enemies before you’re ready to use magic. Use different spells and experiment.

If you have any question or something to add here, feel free to comment down below!

Sarmad is our Senior Editor, and is also one of the more refined and cultured among us. He's 25, a finance major, and having the time of his life writing about videogames.