Elden Ring Guard Counter Explained

This crucial technique in Elden Ring does a lot of damage and is much easier than parrying. Here’s how to pull off the Guard Counter.

At the beginning of Elden Ring, you can choose to venture into the Cave of Knowledge, a tutorial dungeon that teaches you the basics of the gameplay. One of those is Guard Counter, and if you chose not to go into the cave or simply rushed through, you may be wondering how to use this critical Guard Counter technique.

It’s true that Elden Ring has a lot going on in its opening hours and there are plenty of playstyles that the Guard Counter does not benefit from. However, if you are playing with a shield, this technique is a game-changer. 

The Guard Counter is similar to a parry, but compared to the parry skill in Elden Ring or the parry timings required in the Dark Souls games, this brand new maneuver is easy to pull off. It is yet another way Elden Ring gives players more options to overcome difficult situations. 

How to Guard Counter in Elden Ring

The Guard Counter technique can be performed when you have any shield equipped in your off-hand. Next is a two-step process:

  • To start a Guard Counter, you must first block an incoming enemy melee attack with your shield.
  • Immediately after you block the attack, you must do a heavy attack with your weapon. This is the slower attack performed by pressing R2/RT on. Guard Counter will not work if you press the R1/RB light attack button. 

When you have successfully performed a Guard Counter, you get two cues affirming you. First, you will hear a whooshing sound, similar to but distinct from the parry noise. You will also see a quick cloud-like icon appear around the head of your character once you have done the attack. It will hit the enemy for a much larger chunk of damage than a regular R2 attack from your weapon. 

Following a Guard Counter, there is a chance the enemy you have countered will stagger. If your counter does enough damage — a jumping heavy attack works for this as well — you can break the opponent's Poise. They will go into a stunned position, and you can perform a devastating front stab for critical damage.

This crit will take most average enemies out completely or in one more hit after you've struck them with a Guard Counter. Remember, bosses like Margit, the Fell Omen and Leonine Misbegotten have Poise too, so using Guard Counters can also be a viable tacit to stun all enemies, regardless of health bar size. 

Just make sure you aren’t attempting to Guard Counter in the middle of an enemy’s vicious combo. The technique is still as slow as your heavy attack, and can be interrupted by a quicker strike. However, the timing window for performing the Guard Counter is more generous than any parry window in a FromSoftware game to date, so be sure to take advantage of it. 

Elden Ring doesn’t just make the shield a viable playstyle again, it introduces Guard Counters to make it a fun way to play, actively encouraging the behavior. There is a lot to miss in the early areas, but using our Elden Ring guides will let you double-check that you have all the tools you need to master the game. That includes our walkthroughs on how to find the Flask of Wondrous Physick and the locations of map fragments in Elden Ring.

Contributor

Published Mar. 8th 2022

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