Elden Ring: How to parry and riposte enemies

Elden Ring Parry
Elden Ring Parry (Image credit: Windows Central)

While shields in Elden Ring are primarily meant for blocking damage, many of them can also be used to parry enemies. This move allows you to deflect an incoming blow if used at the right time, leaving your foes wide open for a critical riposte that does huge damage. Parrying isn't just good against regular enemies either; it can be used against many of Elden Ring's bosses as well, often making these tough battles much easier.

The drawback to parries, though, is that they're an incredibly high-risk move to attempt. It's very difficult to time a parry correctly due to how small the window of success for them is, and if you fail to successfully parry, you're guaranteed to get hit by the attack you're attempting to deflect. When fighting dangerous enemies that do a lot of damage, this can be quite punishing. In this guide, we'll go over everything you need to know about parrying, including what gear you'll need to parry, how to parry and riposte, and which types of attacks you can and can't generally parry.

How to parry and riposte in Elden Ring

To parry in Elden Ring, you'll first need to equip a shield in your character's left hand that has the Parry skill equipped on it. Most small wooden shields in Elden Ring feature the Parry skill by default, and some medium-sized shields do as well. Note that the Buckler shield comes with its own special Buckler Parry skill that's more forgiving with its parry timing. You can buy the Buckler from Gatekeeper Gostoc in front of Stormveil Castle for 1,500 runes after you have him open its main gate.

Next, press the left trigger (L2) right before an enemy attack is about to hit you. If done successfully, red sparks will fly, you'll hear a loud sound effect, and the enemy's attack will be knocked to the side. While the enemy is stunned and their torso is exposed, press the right bumper (R1) in front of them to perform a critical riposte. This attack will do massive damage and knock your opponent to the ground. In many cases, ripostes will kill foes in one hit, though larger enemies and human players in PvP generally won't die to a single riposte from full health.

Note that many major bosses can't be riposted after you parry them once, as one parry isn't enough to break their stance. Generally, you need to parry bosses multiple times before you can land a riposte.

What attacks can you parry in Elden Ring?

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

While you can parry most physical attacks in Elden Ring, you can't parry them all. Generally, any attack from enemies that are gigantic in size cannot be parried, and attacks from enemies using large weapons with two hands can't be parried as well. It's also not possible to parry arrows, bolts, or shield bash attacks. You also cannot parry attacks from beasts.

In terms of what you can parry, attacks from "regular" weapons and from one-handed large weapons can be parried. In addition to standard attacks, you can also parry many Ash of War weapon arts that involve physical attacks.

Elden Ring is finally here, and it's available for $60 on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and PC. It's one of the best Xbox games you can play right now if you're a fan of challenging RPGs, and we strongly recommend it.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.