Parrying in Elden Ring
How to Parry
First, you must have a Shield equipped in your left hand with Parry or another parry skill. Then when the enemy makes a parriable attack, press the skill button at just the right time so your shield is coming up just as the enemy's arm is coming down. You'll know it works if your enemy recoils and you take no damage from the attack. If you didn't get the timing quite right, your shield will still block some of the damage from the attack but the attack will continue and you'll take a big hit to your Stamina.
For most parriable enemies, a single successful parry is enough to bring them to their knees and make them vulnerable to a critical hit. Other enemies (usually bosses) must be parried multiple times before they fall. Unlike Stance damage, an enemy's parry counter doesn't decay after a period of inaction, so you can take your time between parries without fear. Be aware though that some parriable enemies won't become vulnerable to a critical at all: instead, they'll just stumble briefly, giving you time to land some normal attacks before they start attacking again.
Under the covers, each parriable attack has a certain range of frames (often only one) in its animation where it can be successfully parried. Similarly, each parry skill has a certain range of frames during its animation where it can successfully parry. If an attack's parriable frames line up with your parry frames while the attack's hitbox overlaps with your shield's, it will be parried. Because this depends so heavily on finding that moment of overlap, it's a good idea to choose a parry skill with a large number of parry frames!
Not all enemies are parriable, nor are all attacks even from enemies that are! As a rule of thumb, the following categories are more likely to be parriable:
- Humanoid enemies. Soldiers are parriable but Giant Bats are not.
- Enemies that aren't huge. Omens are parriable but Trolls and Golems are not.
- Attacks with weapons, particularly when the weapon is swung in an arc. Tree Sentinel's Halberd Combo is parriable but its Horse Bash and Charge Attack are not.
- Physical attacks. Margit's Swing Flurry is parriable, but his Hammer Smash is not.
- Flails and Whips attacks cannot be parried.
- Ranged attacks are never parriable, except with special parry skills.
The best way to determine whether a particular attack is parriable is to try parrying it a few times. If it seems like you're getting the timing right but the parry still isn't happening, you're out of luck.
Parrying doesn't have to be limited to melee! With the Carian Retaliation skill (or the corresponding sorcery), you can parry most magical projectiles. It works a little differently than a normal parry: when a projectile hits the blue orb created by the skill, it vanishes and is replaced by three glintblades that will fire back at the enemy once they come in range. There are a few caveats, though:
- Parrying a spell won't give you an opportunity for a critical hit.
- Parrying a spell won't give you any invulnerability frames.
- Each use of the skill can only parry a single projectile. This means that parrying isn't safe if multiple projectiles are flying towards you at once, since only one of them will be stopped and the rest will still connect.
Parrying isn't for everyone. It requires more precise timing than dodging or guard countering attacks and you often take a lot of damage if you get the timing wrong. Even if you nail your parries, you'll deal less total damage per critical hit than if you were using jump attacks or guard counters to try to stance break your enemy instead, since those attacks do damage even before the critical. Still, there are a few great reasons to learn to parry:
- Interrupting: Bosses in Elden Ring often make it hard to get an attack in edgewise. They hit quickly and frequently, with relatively few openings for you to counterattack. Parries can be the best way to interrupt these relentless assaults and ensure you ca safely whittle down your foe's HP.
- Crowd Control: When you successfully land a parry, you get a few frames of invulnerability where other enemies around you can't land attacks. When you land the follow-up critical hit you get even more invulnerability frames, and when that animation completes enemies around you will stumble back and give you room to escape. This makes parrying an excellent tool for dealing with groups of enemies without getting overwhelmed.
- Fun: Elden Ring is all about honing difficult skills for satisfying results, and parrying is a prime example of this. Learning all the parry timings for a challenging boss and never letting them land a hit is fun because it's such hard work at first. Once you become an experienced parrier, many boss fights start to look like a walk in the park.
Here are some tips to help you improve your parrying skill:
- Practice, Practice, Practice: Mastering parries is as much a matter of building up muscle memory as it is learning to consciously do the right thing. Take the time to do dedicated parry practice to teach your subconscious just when to hit that button in order to land the parry. The woods outside Groveside Cave are perfect for this: it's full of Godrick Soldiers who have a variety of attacks, almost all of which are parriable. You can also practice on particular bosses with parry-only practice runs, where you commit to only doing damage through critical hits.
- Watch the Hand: Although it's tempting to watch an enemy's weapon when deciding when to press the parry button, it's often more reliable to watch the hand that's holding the weapon instead. This gives you a better idea of when their momentum is actually shifting towards you, which is the best indicator of when you should press the skill button.
- Notice Tells: If you're struggling to parry a particular attack, pay close attention to the enemy's entire animation leading up to that attack. Try to find a particular nuance of the animation that happens around the time you need to press the skill button, then make a couple parry attempts exactly when you see that tell. If you're too early or too late, find a different tell and try that until you find one that works consistently. For example, you might notice that parrying Tree Sentinel's Jump Attack works best if you press the button just as it pauses at the apex of its leap.
While the Parry skill comes attached to a number of shields, there are a variety of different parry skills scattered throughout the Lands Between. The "vanilla" Parry skill itself even has different parry frames depending on what type of shield or weapon you attach it to!
- FP indicates how much FP is consumed when you successfully parry. Not all parry skills use FP, and those that do only consume it when the parry is successful. You can still parry even if you run out of FP—it will just behave like the basic Parry skill.
- Delay measures how many frames (at 30FPS) elapse between pressing the skill button and being able to parry an attack. Lower is better.
- Duration measures how many frames (at 30FPS) the skill is active and able to parry an attack after the delay. Higher is better.
- Recovery measures how many frames (at 30FPS) elapse after the parry frames end but before you're able to roll again. See also Recovery Frames below. Lower is better.
|4||4||6||15||In addition to having the best delay and duration of any parry skill, this can parry attacks from a short distance away.|
|8||4||6||15||In addition to having the best delay and duration of any parry skill, this can parry spells and send glintblades back at the enemy. As FP is only consumed when parrying spells, this provides the best melee-parry without additional FP cost.|
|-||4||5||16||Unique to the Buckler, this is by far the best parry skill that doesn't require an Ash of War, as well as the best one available without leaving Limgrave.|
|-||5||5||15||The basic Parry skill is at its best on small shields.|
|3||5||5||15||Blocks projectiles in addition to parrying. This has better stats than the basic Parry skill when applied to a medium shield, although still worse than Golden Parry or Carian Retaliation.|
|-||6||4||15||If you want to parry with an offensive weapon daggers are your best bet, with worse stats than a small shield but better than a medium shield.|
|-||4||4||15||Blocks spells in addition to parrying. This has better stats than the basic Parry skill when applied to a medium shield, although still worse than Golden Parry, Carian Retaliation, and even Storm Wall.|
|-||6||2||17||With a long delay and a very short duration, using Parry with medium shields is not recommended.|
|-||6||2||17||With a long delay and a very short duration, using Parry with thrusting swords is not recommended.|
|-||6||2||17||With a long delay and a very short duration, using Parry with curved swords is not recommended.|
|-||6||2||17||With a long delay and a very short duration, using Parry with fists is not recommended.|
|-||6||2||17||With a long delay and a very short duration, using Parry with claws is not recommended.|
Different actions take more or less time to perform after a parry. Note that left-hand attacks are only possible after parrying with a shield if you're holding that shield in your right hand.
|Parry (Small Shield)||15||16||13||16||14||15||16||17|
|Parry (Medium Shield)||17||18||15||19||16||17||14||17|
|Parry (Thrusting Sword)||17||18||15||19||16||17||14||17|
|Parry (Right-Hand Fist/Claw)||15||16||13||13||14||15||16||17|
|Parry (Left-Hand Fist/Claw)||17||18||15||15||16||17||14||17|
|Parry (Curved Sword)||17||18||15||15||16||17||18||19|