How to Parry in Dark Souls 3
The clash of metal on metal. Blade to blade. A slash. Blood. Death. Respawn. Die again. ‘Git gud’ would usually follow in a message from your opponent who just bested you in PvP. We’ve all been there.
Parrying isn’t just mashing the attack button and rolling around like a gymnast. Parrying in Dark Souls 3 isn’t an essential thing to learn but it does help in combat and when you manage it, oh boy, it feels good.
This page explains how to parry in Dark Souls 3.
Use the buttons below to jump straight to different sections of this page:
- Why is Parrying Useful in Dark Souls 3?
- How to Parry in Dark Souls 3
- Common Mistakes, and How to Improve your Parry
- How to Know If Your Parry was Successful
- What Stats Improve Parrying?
Why is Parrying Useful in Dark Souls 3?
Demon’s Souls was the first game to implement this mechanic back on the PlayStation 3. It was tough to get it right back then — and it still is today.
The Soulsborne franchise doesn’t hold your hand, or offer a scale to adjust the difficulty, or anything like that. No, it’s hard from start to finish. Victory is achieved by blood, sweat and tears and sometimes broken controllers.
Those who are strong of heart and mind are rewarded and then punished with New Game+. A type of game mode unlocked the completion of the game, that gives a further boost in damage enemies inflict on you, and allows you to start a new play-through with your current kit. It’s possible to get multiple New Game +’s.
If you’re good — knowing how to parry becomes key to successfully beating a difficult boss.
You ‘learn’ to parry at the start of the game — and from that moment (until you decide to stop playing or just use the shield to take the hits) you’ll be practicing the mechanic forever. It’s not necessary to parry in order to complete any of the Soulsborne games but it’s a mechanic that is invaluable to know.
Did you know that it’s possible to parry multiple bosses? The final boss of Dark Souls, Lord Gyn could be parried to death, but it seems parrying in Dark Souls 3 is harder to achieve even on a regular enemy. Let’s explore why. and how to parry in Dark Souls 3?
How to Parry in Dark Souls 3
To parry in Dark Souls 3, you must follow these steps:
- Firstly, you are going to want to make sure that you have a small shield, or a dagger equiped and are holding it.
- Get close to the enemy you wish to parry — we highly suggest you use the ‘lock on’ feature when you are attempting to parry.
- When an enemy is swinging to attack you, click L2 (for PS4), or Left Trigger (for Xbox).
Common Mistakes, and How to Improve your Parry
You’re most likely missing your parry because the timings have changed in Dark Souls 3. They’ve sped up the animations, so now timing is critical if you’re planning on parrying.
Not all enemy attacks can be parried — that’s lesson 1. Lesson 2, practice parrying and learn which attacks can be parried. Yes, you’ll die… a lot, but you’re learning.
What Weapons to Use
If you have a Buckler/Small Shield, they’re quick and have good recovery time. Medium shields are larger and heavier, and therefore slower — and if you miss the parry, you’ll know about it.
The Cestus and Parrying Dagger have great speed, but they’re more for an experienced player due to their speed. If you miss your parry with the cestus, you’ll have just enough time to dodge back, a luxury the others don’t offer. The Buckler is by far the best shield to start learning with.
Now for the tricky part — Timing. Timing is essential in Dark Souls 3. You’ll need to initiate your parry moments before the weapon hits you (I know, easier said than done) then hit the attack button if your parry has been successful.
The Cestus weapon is quicker, which means you can wait longer before trying to parry — with the medium shields being slower it’s the opposite. For these you must start as you see the enemies arm winding up. Since you’re slower you need to start sooner.
How to Know If Your Parry was Successful
If your parry has been successful, the enemy’s arm will be knocked back giving you a slight window of opportunity to launch an attack. Be wary some weapons and attacks can’t be parried such:
- Curved Greatsword
- Ultra Greatswords
- Great Hammers
What Stats Improve Parrying?
Another thing to think about is your stats; Agility, Determination and Wisdom — optimising these will drastically help improve your parrying abilities in PvE and PvP.
- Agility determines the probability your character will attempt to parry when someone attacks. It doesn’t increase your chance to succeed a parry it increases the attempt.
- Determination directly determines the success rate of a parry; your base success will be about 30% but it also depends on the type of shield you use.
- Wisdom affects the different ranges and angles you can parry an opponent at. Your base range will be about 1 longsword length about 45-degree angle in front of you. If you go with soft cap on Wisdom, it should give a 180-degree angle to parry and an increase in range so long as they hit.
If your mind is spinning with all this new information just think of all the deaths, I’ve endured to write this for you. I hope that with this new knowledge you’ll be better equipped for the journey ahead. Like with anything practice, practice, practice and you will be a legend at PvP and PvE. Good luck, and I hope you enjoyed How to Parry in Dark Souls 3.