In Elden Ring, stamina is a much more important aspect of combat than the textbook hint might suggest. Players with a basic strength build in particular have found themselves having difficulty knocking out stamina, often without even realizing it.
While Elden Ring is perfectly playable with only a “basic” knowledge of its systems, learning all of its intricacies and nuances can greatly enhance the experience. So let’s look into this in more detail.
What is stamina drain
The part about knocking out stamina in the tutorial cave just mentions that certain attacks can break an opponent’s stamina and open them up for a critical hit. While this is true, this is a slightly simplified description of the system, which is fairly typical.
Stamina knock is literally the act of hitting an opponent so hard (or frequently) that they fall to the ground and need to rest. This is a mechanic that encourages an aggressive playstyle more similar to Bloodborne and has many different methods to trigger it. As soon as the opponent runs out of stamina, the player needs to pay attention to the glowing orange dot that should appear on his body. This is the location in front of which the player must stand and press the “Normal Attack” button in order to land a “Critical Strike”.
Why it is worth knocking out stamina
Again, Elden Ring doesn’t mention this, but the location of a critical strike on an enemy can be very different depending on the enemy. Some enemies, like dragons, have it in the eye, while others, like giant stone golems, have it in the middle of their abdomen. Try to always pay attention to the yellow “sparks” coming from the enemy after the stance breaks, as these particles always give away the location of a critical hit.
But all things considered, why would anyone use a stamina drain instead of a backstab or parry? Well, first of all, position breaking is a by-product of an aggressive play style, that is, an additional hitting bonus. Backstab and parry, on the other hand, prevent the player from “attacking” in anticipation of an opportunity.
Secondly, some enemies (especially in the early game) fall to the ground after their stance is broken and take much longer to get back up than when backstabbed or parried. Not only does this give them access to more unavoidable damage, but it also allows players to easily apply status effects like Bleed or Frostbite without fear of being counterattacked. They may also receive healing.
Features of the stamina counter
Now that it’s clear what Position Break is and why people need to know about it, how does it work? Every enemy in the game, including bosses, has an “invisible” stamina meter that fills up just like all status ailments like poison or red rot. Then, as soon as the bar fills up, the status “pops up”, infecting the player with poison or, in this case, causing the enemy to break the stance. After that, the Status bar is immediately emptied to 0, and the player has to replenish it again.
For those who have played Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the stamina bar is very similar to the posture meter from that game in some specific ways. But unlike Sekiro, Elden Ring doesn’t have a visual indicator of how close an enemy is to filling up their stance bar. And while the mechanics of meter depletion are similar, the stamina meter seems to deplete slightly faster than Poison, Rot, Bleeding, or Frostbite meters. So let’s take a look at what attacks best fill this meter, how to keep it from depleting, and how to play with that in mind.
What attacks best fill this meter, how to maintain it, and how to play with it
There are three main factors that affect the damage of a stance in Elden Ring: the details of the weapon, the type of attack used, and where it hits.
Features of knocking out endurance
Each of these factors also has several specific sub-categories that contribute more or less to stance failure.
- Weapon details: This is weight, weapon type and damage type
- Attack Type: refers to all attacks available to the player when swinging the weapon
- Spot Hit: These are specific spots on monsters that are more susceptible to stamina bar damage.
Below is a table listing each of these sub-categories from top to bottom, from most to least effective at dealing stamina bar damage:
Weapon Weight Weapon Type Damage Type Attack Type Spot Hit Colossal Strike Physical Charged Heavy Attack Head Great Standard All Other Jump Heavy Attack Open Trauma Standard Slash Defense Counter All Other Other (staves and bows) Pierce Standard Heavy Attack Normal Jump Attack Normal attack
Of course, there are some deviations in the above data. For example, a two-handed weapon is generally comparable to a two-handed weapon, with the exception of its Jump Attack (using a two-handed weapon-specific input), which uses both weapons at the same time and outperforms almost all others.
How to Maintain Your Stamina Bar Level
Remember that stance stock always decreases slowly when the opponent is not getting hit. If the players step back and drink some from their flasks, there is a good chance that by the time the opponent gets hit again, the stamina knockout meter will be empty, especially if their attack patterns don’t have many hitting windows. So how do people keep it high without giving up on healing?
There are several options, but the two most common are Aggression and Mixed Damage tactics:
- Aggression: Basically, this refers to a character with high energy and stamina who can stay close to the boss and constantly attack without stopping and healing as often. Usually best for fans of colossal weapons.
- Mixed Damage: This tactic is for players with mixed builds who can drop spells, war ash, sorcery, or of course bows after retreating to heal so the boss has as little time as possible to regenerate the stamina meter.
A method that works for both of these playstyles and doesn’t require stat allocation is the use of throwing knives. Bone darts in particular are easy to craft and deal a tiny amount of rack damage on impact, stopping the bar from depleting for another second or two.