Players may perform a backstab if they position themselves behind a humanoid enemy and do a light attack with shield down. Enemies must be on roughly the same level surface as the player. Backstabs can be performed with nearly every type of weapon, although exceptions exist (see below).
Backstabs deal high damage based on the damage of the weapon and its critical rate.
Backstabs cannot be interrupted. While in the motion of backstabbing, both the perpetrator and the victim are granted invincibility frames and cannot take further damage except for damage-over-time effects such as being poisoned, under the effects of toxic, or while using Power Within. An exception to invincibility frames is Dark Souls II, where you can still take damage during a backstab although the damage is reduced.
Most humanoid enemies can be backstabbed. Most enemies that can be parried and riposted can also be backstabbed. Some non-humanoid enemies, such as the Fang Boar in the Undead Parish (but not the ones in Anor Londo), can also be backstabbed, but generally non-humanoid enemies are impossible to backstab.
It is possible for two players or monsters to backstab a single target at once (each dealing their standard backstab damage). This requires precise timing and positioning, however.
Difference between gamesEdit
The difference is very slight although most players report that backstabbing seems harder in Dark Souls II. It feels that the 'backstab window' is a bit narrow in the second game. Also for safer backstabbing in Dark Souls it's usually better to move a little bit towards the enemy's right shoulder, and in Dark Souls II towards their left shoulder. Dark Souls III seems to nearly mirror Dark Souls.
It is far easier to backstab in the first game as you can be backstabbed even while rolling and in the second game you may roll away to avoid it.
When an enemy page displays information on backstabbing (Backstab, under Characteristics), this refers to whether or not the enemy can be backstabbed.
Information on whether the enemy can perform backstabs will be listed under Abilities and are also displayed here:
- Forest Hunter Thief
- Forest Hunter Bandit
- Forest Hunter Knight
- Hollow Thief
- Painting Guardian
- Balder Knight (Rapier)
- Silver Knight
The following is a list of weapons that cannot backstab.