The Valheim Backstab: How to Master This Critical Attack

Wondering how the Valheim backstab works? You too can be a merchant of death with this backstabbing guide.

The combat in Valheim can be challenging at times. From getting ganged up on by greydwarf brutes to getting mobbed by draugr in a sunken crypt, there are many ways to get injured and die in the Viking survival game from Iron Gate AB. There are also varied ways to deal with all of these enemies. One is the parry. The other is the backstab.

In this quick tips article, we’re going to talk about something you might not know about — and that’s critical damage in the form of backstabbing.

How to Backstab in Valheim

The inventory stat box for bronze axe showing multipliers.

Nearly all of the weapons in Valheim have a stat block for backstabbing damage, including the best ones. The majority have a 3x backstab multiplier — even the bow — while knives have a 10x multiplier. In order to land a backstab, you’re going to have to meet a few requirements. The first is the sneak attack.

Sneak

First, you need to be sneaking. The default key for sneak on the keyboard is left-ctrl.

You'll notice that sneaking uses up a lot of stamina, so make sure that you eat some high stamina boosting foods like carrot soup and honey. 

Get Behind Your Enemy

Second, you need to be outside of your enemy's line of sight, preferably behind them. You can tell if an enemy can see you by looking at the reticle on the screen while sneaking.

  • A flat line means you’re unnoticed.
  • A slightly peaked line means your presence is noted but the enemy hasn’t seen you yet.
  • A reticle that looks like an eye means you’re spotted. The enemy may also have a red exclamation mark over their head as well.

The little bar under the reticle tells you how hidden you are, with a darker bar being better than a lighter one. If you’re wearing a full set of Troll armor, you’ll automatically be 25% hidden at all times, making it harder to be spotted, even if sneaking through a sun-drenched clearing.

A player crouching in a forest, sneaking up on a deer.

I prefer to take a page out of the book of Skyrim, forgoing melee weapons to stealth archer my enemies from a distance. Even a Troll with 600HP can lose a third of that with the right bow and arrow combo.

Backstabbing Exceptions

While it appears that nearly every creature can be backstabbed, there is an exception for the Boss fights; they actively track the player and therefore can’t be caught unawares.

You also cannot score a backstab critical on an enemy that isn't already at full health.

And that's all there is to the Valheim backstab; boost your stamina, stay out of direct line of sight, and strike true from a distance or up close and personal. For more on the Steam Early Access title from Coffee Stain Studios and Iron Gate AB, consider checking out our other great guide content here on GameSkinny!

Columnist

From Atari 2600 to TTRPG and beyond I game, therefore I am. Can generally be found DMing D&D on the weekend, homebrewing beer, or tripping over stuff in my house while playing VR. Hopeful for something *Ready Player One* meets *S.A.O Nerve Gear* before I kick the bucket.

Published Feb. 25th 2021

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