Combat Basics for Beginners (Valheim)

Brave warrior, you were chosen by the Valkyries to be born again in Valheim for a single purpose: to slay the enemies of Odin who gather against him! Point being, an important part of success in Valheim is learning how to fight. In this guide, we’ll give you all the basic tips and tricks you’ll need to defeat foes both meek and monstrous on your journey through the 10th world.

By default, the combat controls are:

  • Attack – Mouse 1
  • Secondary Attack – Mouse 3
  • Block – Mouse 2
  • Forsaken Power – F
  • Draw/Holster Weapon – R
  • Jump – Space
  • Run – Left Shift
  • Crouch (Sneak) – Left Control
  • Forward – W
  • Backward – S
  • Strafe Left – A
  • Strafe Right – D

Something not listed in the control layout, but very important, is how to dodge. While holding block (Mouse 2 by default), you can press the Jump (Spacebar) key + a WASD direction to dodge.

Combat in Valheim is dictated by your health and stamina: if you don’t have any stamina, you can’t attack, block, dodge, or run away. If you don’t have any health, well, you’re dead. Your stamina is the yellow bar at the bottom of the screen, while your health is the red bar in the bottom right. 

Eating food will raise your maximum health, grant health regen, and increase your maximum stamina. For more detailed information on how food influences health and stamina, you can read our full guide on the subject here

Valheim Basic Combat for Beginners Skeleton Death
Follow this guide and you’ll be smashing skeletons to bits in no time

Your best bet while fighting with a melee weapon is to always be blocking. Blocking only works in the direction you’re facing, so try not to get surrounded. As long as you’re constantly backpedaling, you should be OK. Watch your enemy’s attack patterns, and attack when they’ve missed an attack (or you’ve blocked one). It’s also a good idea to craft a shield as soon as possible, as many enemy attacks will do more damage than your standard block can handle. A shield will dramatically increase the amount of damage you can safely block. 

If you find some enemy attacks are still dealing meaningful damage while you’re blocking, then you’ll need to use the dodge roll against those attacks. Hold block, then press space bar plus W, A, S, or D to dodge in a given direction. Try to dodge while the enemy attack is incoming, and then move in and land a few blows before backing off to a safe distance. 

Always keep an eye on your stamina bar. If it gets low, you can sprint away with what you’ve got left, or retreat while blocking. Walking and blocking both allow your stamina to regen the same as standing still, while sprinting prevents stamina regen. Not only will being out of stamina prevent you from attacking with melee weapons, but it will also cancel your bow attack if you haven’t released it yet. 

Valheim Combat Tips Tricks Basics Fighting Trolls
Trolls love getting stuck in trees, so help them do so and then kill them

Pay attention to your surroundings! If you don’t know what’s behind you, you’re liable to end up trapped and unable to avoid enemy attacks. Constantly check behind you if you’re backpedaling. Additionally, many large enemies such as trolls can be fought more easily in rugged terrain; being aware of fallen trees or large rocks can give you an advantage against such foes.

Speaking of larger enemies, ranged weapons are very effective in Valheim. Although not exactly in the Viking warrior spirit, shooting a few arrows and then running away is a solid strategy against most foes. This won’t work as well in rugged terrain, so be sure you’re comfortable with melee combat as well as with your bow. 

The bow has plenty of drop, so if you’re shooting at something more than a few paces away, aim high. As you hold down the attack button with the bow, you’ll see the reticule gets smaller. The longer you draw back your bow, the further your arrow will fly, and the more damage it will do. You’ll know your bow attack is at full strength when the circle stops shrinking.

Secondary Attacks depend on the weapon, and some weapons don’t have secondary attacks at all. With no weapon equipped, the secondary attack is a slower, stronger kick. If you have a shield equipped, your secondary attack will allow you to block with the shield. With the spear, the secondary attack throws the spear.

Test out secondary attacks on any weapons that have them; you’ll know it’s available if — with your weapon drawn — there’s a secondary attack binding listed in the bottom right of your screen.

stagger bar valheim combat guide

If you successfully block an attack, you’ll see a bar filling up to the right of your character. If this bar fills, you’ll be temporarily staggered, and quite easy for enemies to whoop on. The higher your max health, the more damage you can block before being staggered.

If you find yourself begin staggered frequently, try eating food to increase your max HP, or else dodge the attacks instead of blocking them.

If instead of holding block, you click the block button right as the enemy strike is about to land, you’ll execute a perfect block. This stuns the enemy, and lets you land a more damaging blow on them. You’ll know you did it right if you hear a distinct “PING” sound when you block — plus your enemy will stagger backwards. Practice this only when healthy, and ideally against weaker enemies first. Check out the parry in action:

You should now be ready to take on the denizens of the 10th world with axe, spear, and bow. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions!

Share this article:

Unabashed FromSoftware fanboy still learning to take his time with games (and everything else, really). The time he doesn't spend on games is spent on music, books, or occasionally going outside.

Articles: 1575
Notify of

1 Comment
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

Thanks for writing what I came on this page looking for rather than an essay about vague related Valheim topics. Respect