Here are the topics I hope to cover:
• Forcing a parry
• Going around a parry
• Spin Attacks
• Advanced parrying
I’d like to start with matrixing because I feel that it is such a very useful and under-used skill (and it looks super cool). Matrixing is the manipulation of the player model in order to avoid another player’s attacks. For the most part, it is another line of defense, but it is unique, because unlike your other defenses, such as a shield or parry, it leaves you open to attack your now defenseless opponent at no cost to your stamina. Additionally, your opponent is almost always unprepared for a well performed matrix.
So the question remains: How do you matrix? Essentially, it is like a duck, but instead of bending forwards you are bending backwards. All you have to do is crouch, look at the sky, and turn 90 degrees to either your left or right (the turn is optional but it increases your chances of success). The end result is that your player model is moved farther out of range because you are leaning back, your height is lowered (you can duck this way), and the opponent’s attack becomes slightly off target. This can be further supplemented by either an overhead or a stab attack, which will move your model even farther away and even closer toward the ground. With heavy two handers, like the maul, double axe, or poleaxe your player essentially bends over backwards when overheading.
When should you matrix? Whenever you think you can pull it off successfully; it is a free hit after all.
A few things I’ve realized about matrixing over time are:
1. Overheads are really hard to matrix (unless combined with a Walking Matrix)
2. Stabs are the easiest to matrix
3. Slashes are somewhere in the middle and better handled by ducks
4. Daggers are easy to matrix regardless
5. If you are barely in range, matrix!
6. Matrixes should be reaction based, and not prediction
These points are somewhat self-explanatory, but I’ll explain them anyways.
1) Overheads hit your feet, which is what makes them nearly impossible to matrix, because even though you are moving the upper half of your model, your feet remain in the same place. This can potentially be avoided by angle walking.
2) Stabs are the easiest to matrix because they only cover a very small area, a straight line directly in front of the opponent, so simply turning to the side can make them miss.
3) Slashes you can matrix by either being very close to your opponent, or almost out of range. It gets harder if you’re not within those two areas because the opponent often has enough time to move their weapon downwards and hit you.
4) Do you hate dagger spammers? Matrixing is for you! Unless the spammer is right next to you he will miss regardless of what strike he uses, allowing you to kill them in one hit (assuming you are a knight or vanguard and they are archer scum).
5) The last point while obvious is very useful. You simply matrix their attack, moving out of range, and attack, moving back into range.
I’m going to give this its own block because I realized I neglected to mention it and it is one of the most important aspects of matrixing: Attack when you are matrixing. This statement holds true for the majority of the time, unless you’re performing a walking matrix. When you matrix, you take a risk by leaving yourself completely open, but you minimize this risk by attacking, because not only do you manipulate your player model further, letting you avoid attacks more easily, but also you give yourself a chance to trade if you fail to avoid the attack.
I’ve mentioned Walking Matrixes earlier in this section, but I never actually explained what they are. A walking matrix is a passive, non-attack based dodge which can only be performed with heavy two handers such as the Maul or Double Axe. It’s done by backing up (S) and holding an angle (S+A orS+D) depending on the direction that their attack is coming from. Combine the angle backwalk with looking slightly up and your torso/head will be well out of harms way, and since you’re walking you’ll create enough distance that they won’t be able to drag it into you. As effective as this is, it isn’t foolproof. You should always parry while performing a walking matrix just in case they manage to knick your foot or something. This makes parrying dragged overheads a lot easier since you’re now facing the attack from the side, so if they do drag it into you your parry will catch it.
One final point I have to make about matrixing is that you can use it offensively. One way is to hide your attacks. This applies mostly to the stab. If you bend backwards, like you are matrixing, during your stab, the opponent will barely be able to see the weapon unless if it is huge, allowing you to get off a sneaky attack. Another way is to bait an opponent. You attack from the edge of their range and as they move in thinking they’ve earned an easy hit you matrix their attack and hit them.
This description of matrixing, despite being informative, does not do it justice. This video made by int | Moose demonstrates its power and versatility well.
Dragging is the manipulation of the player view so that your attack lands quicker (accelerated attack), or that it lands slower (delayed attack).
The accelerated attack is the one that a player encounters most often. It is achieved by looking rapidly in the direction in which your attack is going. One famous and hated usage of this mechanic is the lookdown overhead, in which the player looks at the floor as they overhead. There are, however, some disadvantages to this increased speed; you are more likely to miss if the opponent is strafing, and you might hit the opponent’s parry too early if you’re waiting for it to end. Overall, these disadvantages are negligible when considering the bonus speed.
The other lesser used kind of drag, the delay, offers a favorable alternative to using a feint, allowing you to hit opponents despite them parrying. In essence, a delayed attack works by extending the period in which the weapon is released so that it outlasts the opponent’s parry.
The delay is the polar opposite of the accelerated attack. Instead of looking down (or left or right) so that you look where your attack is going, you look in the opposite direction. For example, for the overhead you would look straight up towards the sky. An important thing to note, however, is that by looking up (overhead) or to the side (slash) for a delay, you take your aim off your opponent. If you want your delay to work properly, you have to readjust you view back in the intended direction at the last second so that it hits the opponent.
Delays, like accelerated attacks, vary from weapon to weapon, and between the different types of swings. Therefore, you might not even be able to delay with certain weapons or with certain swings. The swing that works 100% of the time for delaying (with the right weapon of course) is the overhead. You can also delay slashes with difficulty, and stab drags I will give their own little description later on.
Here are certain tips I have amassed for delays over time:
1. Dragging on the second hit in a combo makes your delay last for much longer
2. I use #1 with the following combo: Lookdown overhead –> delayed overhead –> lookdown overhead. It’s mixed up timings throw off the opponent completely and allow you an easy kill.
3. It is hard to hit an opponent with a delay on your first attack
4. Mix crouches and acceleration feigns (pretend to go for a fast attack, and last second delay) in with combos
5. Delaying is not only looking up. For my overheads, I look up, slightly to the right, and then bring it back down and to the left, making an oval rather than a straight line up and down.
Once again I will go through these so that you can understand them better.
1) Your first attack will always be your fastest, and thus counter to the essence of the delay; therefore, delaying on your second (third, fourth, etc.) attack will make it more effective.
2) Best combo in the game.
3) As explained above your first attack is often too fast.
4) This tactic makes your delay last for even longer and allows you to hit even on your first hit.
Remember you still need appropriate weapons.
As I said earlier I’m going to quickly address stab drags. These can be achieved in two ways. In the first way you move your attack outwards from the opponent and then back in forming as wide an arc as you can. Imagine a path akin to a curved shot in football/soccer, because it travels in an arc it will cover more distance and thus, take longer, making the timing unexpected. The second way can only be achieved with weapons that have a long stab release: Greatsword, Zwei, Poleaxe, etc. Because these weapons have a long release, you can move around the stab at its zenith before you pull it back it, unlike SoW or Claymore which would pull back in almost immediately. With these weapons, you intentionally miss your attack and then pull it into their side making an L shape. In my experience, the first type of stab drag is delays for less time than the second.
One disadvantage to delays is that they give the opponent more time. In that time, if they’re spamming they can get off another hit, or they can easily avoid delays by sidestepping
Forcing a parry is all about triggering the opponent’s twitch reflex, making them parry prematurely and leaving them open to an attack. Normally, this is achieved by feinting an opponent, but feints often leave you open to attack, and with their decreased utility post-patch it is now useful to rely on them even less.
So ways to force a parry are just ways to make your opponent panic/uneasy:
1. Get in the opponent’s face. The farther you are the more comfortable your opponent will feel.
2. Make sudden movements, looking either all the way up all of a sudden, or all the way down all of a sudden.
5. Stop a combo mid-way
6. Kick an opponent and run at them
Most players, especially when they have low health, will fall for any of these easily.
#5 is the only one that really need explaining. Normally in a fight, people combo as much as possible; if they ever stop it’s usually because they’re too far away. Therefore, it’s almost hard coded into most players’ muscle memory to try to parry after getting hit once or twice. You can take advantage of this by simply stopping your combo even when it seems like you might land another hit.
Going around a parry is akin to going around a shield, but much harder. It is almost impossible to go around a parry with a frontal attack, so the objective is to find a way to hit the opponent in the side. Pre-patch and to some extent post-patch this is possible by simply face hugging and slashing. This is why people hated the falchion, because it possessed the silly ability to wrap around your model and hit you in the side from close ranges. Slashes and overheads, however, are not nearly as effective as stabs.
Using a stab you can make an arc similar to a curved shot in football/soccer (albeit less wide than the one used for delaying) to avoid the area blocked by the parry in the front, and stab the enemy in the side. It isn’t simply “bending” your stab though; you also need to be in a position in which the opponent’s side is exposed to you to some extent. To get into this position you don’t want to be directly in front of the opponent, but rather somewhat to their side. You also want to be close to the opponent so it is easier to bend around.
Spin attacks, albeit silly, are a very good way to land hits the opponent doesn’t expect. There are three types that I am familiar with:
1. The Reverse Overhead
2. The 360 Slash
3. The 360 Stab
1) The reverse overhead is achieved by making a 180, looking up at the sky, and overheading. This allows your overhead to hit your opponent, who is now behind you, with an upwards attack. Upon seeing your back, your opponent usually drops his guard, or tries to attack you, leaving him wide open to be hit with your overhead.
2) The 360 slash is exactly what it sounds like. It is a good way of hitting an opponent who is circling around you, or it can be used to bait your opponent like the reverse overhead.
3) The 360 stab I listed just because it exists. It doesn’t really have any viability outside of being funny.
Outside of the regular “look at the tip” stuff you hear about parrying you never really hear anything else, and for me this was especially frustrating because looking at the tip never worked 100% of the time, it was more like 80%. This led me to join the mob that said “Parrying is broken in this game.” Since then, I have, for the most part, reversed that opinion. What led me to this decision? It was my discovery of better ways to parry.
One thing that you should note before I go into detail is that most of the attacks that you go “But I parried!” are the result of a discrepancy between what you see and what the opponent is seeing.
Anyways let’s begin.
1. Distance plays a very important role in parrying. I recommend that whenever you are trying to parry an attack not only do you “look at the tip,” but also that you create distance between you and the opponent. The best way to do this is not to just hold S and backpedal straight backwards, but to hold S+A or S+D to backpedal and strafe in a direction to the side. This achieves two things. First, it creates even more distance than simple moving backwards. Second, it helps prevent opponents’ attacks from hitting you in the side because the attacks that would have formerly hit you in the side would now be directed at your front. This S+D technique helped me immensely against people (Nal :p) who were very good at getting around parries at close distances.
2. This second technique is even more useful than the one mentioned above. What you do is crouch and look at the sky, much like you would for a matrix, and then parry. This creates the much needed distance between you and your opponent and creates a larger parry area (you can even parry attacks behind you this way!). The one place I found this to be most useful was against weapons that have wonky hitboxes, against multiple opponents coming from multiple directions, and against pesky vanguard spear users. I never used to be able to block the spear attacks from a close range, but this technique helped immensely.
Pairing these two new parrying techniques will help you increase you defensive skills greatly.
I hope you liked my tutorial on these tactics because it did take some time to write. My last bit of advice to you readers would be to practice these before expected results. The application of these tactics isn’t always as easy as one might think.
Feel free to ask my any questions or provide any feedback.