Elden Ring combat guide | PC Gamer

At the core of FromSoftware games is a combat system that you need to get to grips with. This is an integral part of the experience and you need to make sure you make the most of everything that is available to you so that you can defeat your enemies. You’re going to get your ass kicked over and over, don’t get me wrong, but that’s part of the fun, right?

Depending on which Elden Ring class you choose, your gaming experience will vary greatly. For example, I chose the Samurai class, which immediately gives you a katana and a bow. Whereas if you chose Astrologer you would have more stats siphoned into spellcasting. It all depends on your style.

This Elden Ring combat guide will walk you through the different forms of combat that the game offers and how to use them effectively.

Elden Ring Combat Guide: Which to Use: Gamepad or Mouse and Keyboard?

I’m going to join the chorus of people telling you that controllers are the way to play FromSoftware games here. I play entirely with mouse and keyboard, but even I have to admit that the controls for the keyboard are far less intuitive than when using the controller of choice. If you have the opportunity, you’ll get through combat much faster on a controller, but it’s definitely possible to play well on a keyboard if you choose.


After several hours of fighting Dark Souls, I learned that blocking is FromSoftware’s speciality. Focus on almost everything you attack, although there are exceptions to this rule. Lock by pressing Q or R3 on the controller. You can also switch between targets using the mouse or the right stick on the controller. Q will also stop your lock. Trust me when I say it’s necessary. The only time you shouldn’t be locked up is if you run away or in case you are fighting something so big that you need to see more of your enemy than will fit on your screen.

(Image credit: Tyler S./FromSoftware)

Sneaking and backstab

Stealth is an added bonus to Elden Ring’s combat systems. Although you will have plenty of time to fight enemies, sometimes you will prefer to sneak past them, especially if you have fought them before. Stealth can also be used to backstab enemies to kill them in one fell swoop or at least drain a decent chunk of their health. The amount of damage you deal in these animations depends in part on your weapon’s critical strike stat, and the same goes for those Bloodborne-style visceral attacks we’ll cover in a moment.

Dodging and rolling

If you don’t have the composure of an elephant in a golden suit, you need to learn how to dodge attacks. This will be important when you are facing enemies that deal more damage than your shield and stamina can handle, or if you don’t use a shield at all.

The best way to dodge is to experiment first. As you play Elden Ring, you will face many different enemies, and they will all fight in slightly different ways. Be sure to pay attention to attack times, patterns, and what you can use to lure enemies. For example, I learned that with Margit the Fell Omen you can roll towards it when it does a launch attack and avoid the devastating attack.

Timing is everything, and if you don’t succeed the first time, try again. Your gear load will also affect your dodge speed: a light one will be the fastest, while a heavy one will give you a slow roll.


While Elden Ring allows for backstabs, it also encourages the Bloodborne style of visceral attacks. You can stun enemies with your charged and jump attacks on them. It might not work right away, but the combination of light and heavy hits landing successfully on your target can stun them. A drumming sound effect will play, making them vulnerable for a short time. Run towards the glowing part of them and use a light attack to activate a visceral attack animation that looks like a backstab.

Ashes of War

Ashes of War are additional abilities for your weapons, similar to the weapon arts from Dark Souls 3, and can be used with the left trigger. axon fire. Ashes of War is important because it not only adds skill and damage type to your weapon but also affects its scaling (the amount of damage your stats will cause the weapon to do). Take a look at our Ashes of War guide if you want a list of similarities and how they affect scaling, as well as a list of famous Ashes of War and their locations.


This will be the favorite form of combat for many players, especially those new to the series. It is fast, efficient, and does not require much stamina. To be honest, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the systems and combat mechanics of the game, it’s best to get comfortable with a one-handed sword and shield. Light attacks are available with the left mouse button or right trigger. Charged attacks are available with right-click or right trigger. Be sure to time your charged attacks though, as you guessed it, they often have a slow charge that you can hold for longer to increase the damage.

(Image courtesy of Software)


To use a two-handed weapon in Elden Ring, you need to hold E and left-click. On the controller it’s (X on Xbox, Yon Switch Pro) and the right trigger. Two-handed weapons will have their advantages, especially in battles with some bosses. This will give you the ability to hit harder at a fairly high speed.

The downside, of course, is that you sacrifice your shield. This means you can’t land some of the hits you would otherwise, so you’ll need to dodge perfectly to avoid damage. It will also help to find more effective armor here, but nothing too heavy otherwise you will slowly roll everywhere. Two-handed weapons are also good for bosses that deal fire, lightning, magic, or any other damage that partially goes through your shield, as instead, dodging will allow you to completely avoid damage.


If you’re playing as a class like Astrologer or Prophet, you’ll have a staff and sacred seal on top of your normal weapons. This witchcraft weapon is usually used off-hand, and it can use any spells you find and then memorize in the Place of Grace. You can get additional Spell Memory Stones, such as the one rewarded by the Red Wolf of Radagon boss.

Press the left mouse button using the mouse or the right bumper on the controller to cast the spell. Don’t forget to fix the target as well. The spells will cost you FP, so make sure you have Flask of Azure Tears at your disposal.

Depending on the spell, different tactics will be used. Sometimes AoE spells require you to be close to your target, while others will have better sniping abilities. Keep experimenting and keep an eye on your FP throughout the fight. It may be useful to equip a sword or other weapon along with a staff. It’s also worth considering the type of spell you’re using and the staff or sacred seal you’re casting it with. Some Sacred Seals, such as Seal of the Talons, enhance a certain type of spell, so it’s best to use them to cast them to get the strength buff.

(Image credit: Bandai Namco/FromSoftware)

Shields and Parries

Shields are great for blocking attacks and parrying.

You will probably want to keep two shields in mind during your adventures in the Lands Between. One with Ashes of War and one without. Ashes of War can be applied to weapons and shields to give them additional functionality. However, if you are holding something in your right hand, such as Reduvia’s dagger, you will need a shield without ash in order to use Reduvia’s Bloodblade attack. To do this, you need to press Shift and right-click.

Bows and crossbows

Bows and crossbows are cheeky and fun. They won’t be regular players on the battlefield, especially since most of the enemies you’re going to fight in Elden Ring will be able to close distances very quickly. Bows and crossbows are best used as a way to take a few shots from afar, taking out the few enemies you can spot in the camp. Even if you can’t kill a soldier from this distance, he will probably run towards you, distracting him from the crowd, at which point you can switch to a two-handed sword or something like that and finish him off.

Later in the game there will be other enemies that will make more sense for the bow and crossbow, but I will let you discover the horror of seeing the killer eagle for yourself. However, shoot from a distance before finishing him off with a blade or club.

That being said, using different arrows and bolts can be useful for dealing with certain types of damage to opponents. Fire or poison can be effective against certain enemies, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

(Image courtesy of Software)

Switch weapons

You can only use one set of weapons in Elden Ring if you wish. If you just want to use one sword and shield, so be it. But weapon switching is useful for switching between weapons with different damage types, ranges, and Ashes of War. Go to the equipment menu and you can assign up to three weapons to each hand. When customizing your mouse and keyboard, you can switch between weapons by pressing Shift and scrolling up or down. On the controller, use the left and right arrow buttons. However, be careful, these weapons will also count towards your loadout.

Horseback riding

Or should it be a “giant goat”? Either way, Torrent will be an integral part of your gear on your travels, not only as a means of exploration, but also as a sure steed in battle. While unfortunately you won’t be able to catch anything with old skulls on your mount, you do have the ability to cut and dice. You can hit from either side using the left and right shoulder buttons. You can also run to avoid attacks with the normal throw button, and even jump, which is great for avoiding the AoE attacks that mounted enemies and dragons you encounter use. Remember that Torrent also has health. If he dies, you will be knocked down and take some time to recover, so be sure to feed me rye raisins to keep him healthy.

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

summon spirit

Trust us, get the Elden Ring spirit summoning bell. Once you have it in your hands, it will be invaluable for distracting enemies. It can get a bit lonely in the Lands Between You as you travel through the desert alone, but when you’re facing more enemies or a huge boss, you’ll need help.

Assign Elden Ring Spirit Ashes to one of your pouch slots in your menu. When you see a glowing tombstone on the left side of the screen, you can summon it. This will allow you to call for reinforcements. The first Spirit Ashes you find in the game are Lone Wolf Ashes or Fanged Imp Ashes, which spawn several creatures to harass enemies. They are great for distracting NPCs, especially when you get to something like Margit the Fell Omen. You have to consider that these summons cost FP, and even if you are not a magic build, you may need at least one vial of Azure Tears as a backup you will collect more of these ashes on your journey, so check your inventory often.

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