Nioh 2 Burst Counter Guide: How to Use Feral, Phantom, and Brute Counters

Burst counter is a powerful ability in Nioh 2 that can and will save your life again and again. Here's how to do it, as well as the difference in counter types.

Burst counter is a powerful ability in Nioh 2 that can and will save your life again and again. Here's how to do it, as well as the difference in counter types.

The Nioh 2 Burst Counter is a powerful counterattack that relies on your character’s yokai nature to interrupt enemy attacks and drain their Ki, Nioh’s version of Stamina from Souls games. Performing a Burst Counter takes practice and quick reflexes. You’ll also need to know the benefits and limitations of the three different yokai shift types: Feral, Phantom, and Brute.

This Nioh 2 guide will tell you all there is to know about how to best use Burst Counter. It can’t teach you the timing of each attack, sadly. You’ll need to learn that by doing.

How to Perform a Burst Counter in Nioh 2

There are two factors that determine whether you can Burst Counter an enemy.

First, you’ll see a red glow around them during a counterable attack. Just as the attack is about to connect, you need to hit the enemy with the yokai shift-powered Burst Counter.

To use the ability, activate your yokai state. Your character will grow the glowing horns you selected at the beginning of the game. Then, while holding the shift button, press the Use button.

Every use of Burst Counter uses a small amount of Anima, the purple bar beneath your Health and Ki bars. Performing one provides Anima as well. If you fail, you’ll lose Anima and likely a large chunk of your health.

The Different Types of Burst Counters

Depending on which yokai shift you have, both the timing and the distance of the move will be different. You can check which yokai shift you’re using in the Guardian Spirit menu.

  • Feral will be a blue symbol
  • Phantom will be a purple symbol
  • Brute will be a deep red symbol

After a specific mission early in the campaign, you’ll unlock the ability to equip two Spirits at once. This will give you the option to have two of either the same or different yokai shifts.

Here’s a summary of shifts and their counter attacks.

Feral Counter

Feral is the most forgiving burst counter, closing the distance and acting as a dodge.

The dodge goes farther than you might expect and doesn’t rely on Ki, so if you’re in a bind and out of Ki, it’s a good get out of jail free card. You will be immobile for a few moments, so don’t rely on Feral too much.

Phantom Counter

Phantom is good as well, with plenty of active frames, but you have to be right up next to the enemy. A Phantom counter hardly moves at all.

The counter comes out almost instantly and is the fastest of the three options.

Brute Counter

Brute counter takes the most effort, as it has a significant wind-up. You’ll take a short step forward and give your foe a swipe with your demon-arm. The swipe has armor, meaning you’ll tank any damage you incur.

Because the Brute counter registers as an actual attack, it can stagger some enemies out of their attacks. If you don’t mind the finicky timing, Brute can do a lot of work.

All Nioh 2 Enemies Have Different Timings

Remember, every enemy in the game has a different counter timing. Certain enemies have multiple Burst attacks as well, meaning you’ll need to know multiple attack timings.

Some yokai will delay their attacks, but the counter window will never change. Once you know when to Burst counter, you’ll always know.

That’s all there is to learning the Nioh 2 Burst Counter. Whether you rely on one counter type or use Feral, Phantom, and Brute interchangeably, you’ll have an edge against the game’s tough enemies once you’ve mastered the move. 

About the author

John Schutt

John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.