Blocking and parrying both are techniques to reduce damage in Valheim, with parrying having the additional effect of temporarily stunning the attacker. A parry is a block timed perfectly to the moment the enemy or projectile strikes your Viking’s weapon or shield. This guide will discuss how to perform each maneuver, and in which situations it is better to block or go for the more difficult parry.
How to Block
Any weapon or shield can be used to block. With a weapon or shield equipped, simply press and hold the right mouse button (RMB). Your Viking will face forward and raise the shield or weapon to block. A successfully blocked attack will produce a widening white circle and sparks from where the attack was blocked.
While blocking, your Viking will take less damage from attacks from the front. The amount of damage you can block is based on the Block Armor of the shield (or weapon of no shield). The amount of damage your Viking receives is also based on elemental resistances and your Gear Armor.
While blocking, you remain vulnerable from every other direction (including from above and below). Make sure to position yourself on even ground in front of your attacker or incoming projectile in order for the block to be effective.
Every time you successfully block, part of your Viking’s stamina is consumed. If you are out of stamina, you will take the full damage of the attack. You still regain stamina with the shield or weapon raised to block, so you can maintain a defensive stance or spam the RMB without worrying about running out of stamina.
Some attacks you should avoid instead of block. For example, you should avoid attacks with status effects you are not immune to, like the slow effect from a Growth’s tar balls. You should also bypass powerful sustained attacks which can hit more than once, such as the lightning breath from Yagluth. Block the direct damage if you have to, but dodge or run to the side as soon as possible.
Enemies can be knocked back when you block them. The amount of knockback is based on the Block Force attribute of the shield (or weapon if no shield). This can be a problem with lighter enemies like Bats in Frost Caves; instead of blocking them, time your attacks or take the damage and counterattack.
Any significant attack that hits your Viking will begin to stagger you. The stagger gauge will appear just to the lower-right of the screen center until you fully recover. If your stagger gauge is maxed out, you will become momentarily stunned and receive twice the damage from additional attacks.
While blocking has a significant effect on reducing damage, it does not appear to have any effect on how much you are staggered. However, if you become staggered, the block will be cancelled, and your Viking will take the full damage from the attack, along with the double damage from subsequent attacks.
Stagger will decay over time, and it takes 5 seconds for a full gauge to disappear completely. Buy some time to recover by breaking up your blocks with dodges or counterattacks, or disengage and use a ranged weapon for a few seconds.
The size of your stagger gauge is based on your maximum health. Prioritize health foods if want to use a fighting style and equipment to block frequently.
How to Parry
To parry an attack, you need to start your block (with the RMB) at the same moment that an enemy attack lands. If successful, you will hear a ping and see and extra red circle expand from the blocked attack. Note that some equipment like Tower Shields cannot parry attacks. Look at the equipment stats in your inventory: if there is a Parry Bonus attribute, then you can parry with that piece of equipment.
Like the Lox bite, the Soldier Seeker headbutt is wickedly powerful. Successfully parry it to stagger and set up a strong counterattack.
Parrying immediately staggers any enemy that is not immune to stagger. (Bosses and some enemies like Growths and Deathsquitos are immune to stagger.) If staggered, the attacker will take double damage until it recovers, even if you parried the projectile it launched at you. Note that some staggered enemies remain vulnerable for 1-2 seconds after their stagger animations stop (such as Trolls, Stone Golems, and Lox).
Compared to blocking, the effects of parrying differ in three ways:
Lowers the damage your Viking takes
Increases the stamina required for the block
Lowers the stagger caused by the attack
Lox bite is blockedLox bite is parriedParrying takes more stamina than blocking, but the damage and stagger is reduced.
The lowered damage is because parrying increases your Block Armor. The Parry Bonus stat of the blocking equipment shows the number of times Block Armor is increased. Note that if you use a shield and one-handed weapon, only the Block Armor and Parry Bonus of the shield counts.
Parrying is a risk because blocking too late will result in your Viking taking all the damage. The best time to parry is when you know the timing and the attack is not delayed (like the power attacks from Trolls, Abominations, Stone Golems, Lox, and Soldier Seekers).
Abomination raises its left leg…… but the slam is parriedDelayed attacks like the Abomination’s left leg slam can be parried, but dodging avoids the knockback and positions you better to counterattack.
Spamming block sometimes helps when you are unsure of the enemy’s timing, but it is still easy to miss the parry and take full damage. The best way to “spam” the block action is first to hold RMB, and then just before you think the attack will land, release and quickly press RMB. This technique is useful in other situations when you are blocking multiple enemies and want to parry a specific attack.
Hopefully this clears up many of your questions or worries about how and when to block or parry! If you have any other questions or comments on the guide or blocking in Valheim, let us know in the comments below!
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SurvivalSherpa is an avid gamer spending most of his time at the nexus of the survival, crafting, building, and role playing genres on any platform, especially to test indie titles in EA. AFK, life is about work and education in STEM fields, reading fantasy, and sipping great coffee in the Pacific Northwest.