Backstabs are a venerable FromSoftware tradition at this point. No matter which of their games you play, Backstabbing is a quick way to deal massive damage to an enemy. But, with FromSoft games adding more innovations with each title, their key gameplay features are not always necessarily the same. Has Backstabbing changed much in Elden Ring? We’ll walk you through how to use this key combat feature in our Elden Ring How to Backstab guide.
What does backstabbing do?
In Elden Ring – as in many FromSoftware games before it – Backstabbing an enemy instantly deals a critical hit. This can deal enough damage to take a weaker enemy out of the fight, reducing the number you have to deal with. Or, if you can manage to perform a Backstab against a boss, it will shave off a large chunk of their health bar. Backstabbing is always useful to aim for.
How to Backstab in Elden Ring – vulnerable enemies
In order to Backstab an enemy in Elden Ring, you have to get behind them while they are vulnerable. Then you need to press the light attack button (R1/RB/Left click by default). If this is done correctly, the enemy will then be locked into the Backstab animation. But how do you ensure that an enemy is vulnerable?
Enemies can be in a vulnerable state in one of two ways.
Elden Ring has benefitted from FromSoftware’s work on Sekiro in a number of ways, the most obvious being the stealth system. If you can approach an enemy without them noticing you and get behind them, you can then activate a quick Backstab to deal huge damage to the unaware foe. With this stealth method, you can often reduce an enemy’s health to zero before combat even begins!
Enemies can also be temporarily stunned by breaking their stance. This can be achieved in a number of ways. Charged attacks and jumping attacks deal stance damage, and huge amounts can be dealt by Parrying and Guard Countering. Once enough stance damage is done, the enemy will be placed in a vulnerable state. The visual indicator for this varies from enemy to enemy but is usually fairly obvious. Kneeling for example. And another key indication is that they will stop attacking you, even in mid-swing.
Backstabbing in PvP
In a change that is only noticeable in PvP, Backstabbing is no longer as inescapable as it was in the Dark Souls series. The animation that activates when Backstabbing an opponent is no longer fully inescapable. Players with lightning-quick reactions will sometimes be able to escape before they are locked into the Backstab. This change is sure to shake up PvP interactions. But single-player purists don’t need to worry, backstabs are still utterly inescapable for PvE enemies once triggered.
More Elden Ring content
We’ve been waiting to get our hands on FromSoftware’s Elden Ring for so long, we almost can’t believe it’s finally arrived. Other than our Tier List, We’ll be here to walk you through every step of your journey through the Lands Between. Join us for all our Elden Ring content and guides over the coming days and weeks!