Not to be confused with stagger damage or critical attacks, like backstabbing and riposting.

Counter Attacks are a gameplay mechanic in the Dark Souls series.

General informationEdit

Dark SoulsEdit

In Dark Souls, counter attacks occur when attacking an enemy that is in the middle of an attack with a weapon capable of inflicting Thrust Damage. Successfully countering an enemy will increase damage inflicted by approximately 20%.

A counter attack can be distinguished from a normal attack by a small flash of white light upon contact, not to be confused with a flash of green light which indicates Stagger Damage.

A counterattack must be performed during a relatively small window for the bonus damage to be applied. This is usually when the enemy is at the peak of their attack animation, when the attack would have otherwise connected, or immediately afterwards, but can vary widely depending on the enemy.

Dark Souls IIEdit

In Dark Souls II, counter damage can be inflicted with any damage type, including elemental damage, instead of just physical thrusting weapons. Players can inflict counter damage against enemies from behind (without being a backstab), during swinging animation, after breaking poise and shield-breaking.

Counter-damage now scales with the critical/counter strength instead of the base weapon damage, as seen in Dark Souls. i.e., weapons with higher critical/counter strength modifier deal more counter-damage. Note that this modifier does not affect backstabs and ripostes.

Dark Souls IIIEdit

Counter damage returns yet again in Dark Souls III. When an entity is in attack frames, their absorption against Thrust damage decreases, causing them to take 30% more damage from that sub-type of physical damage.

It should not be confused with Instability, which is a different damage mechanic.


Performing a counterattack can be useful against enemies with a very strong weapon, but very poor Poise. An example of such are torch-wielding Hollows, which deal high damage (at the start of the game), but have no poise. As a result, using a fast weapon, such as a Katana, would be an effective way of performing a counterattack. The only drawback is that when encountering stronger enemies with high poise, and in NG+ and beyond, the usefulness of counterattacks begins to dwindle. 

In Dark Souls II, counter attacks are much easier to perform, specially if enemies are slow. (e.g. Ironclad Soldier) Most enemies will leave themselves open after a swing, allowing the player to inflict counter damage with ease.

Increasing counter damageEdit

  • In Dark Souls, the Leo Ring can be worn to boost the damage output for Thrusting attacks during a counterattack by approximately 40%, raising the inflicted damage bonus to a total of approximately 68%.
  • In Dark Souls II, the Old Leo Ring boosts counter damage by 12.5%. This bonus applies to most thrusting weapons and thrusting attacks in general.
  • In Dark Souls III, the Leo Ring increases counter damage by 15%. Added on top of the already existing 30% bonus for a normal counter, this causes Leo Ring counters to inflict 49.5% more damage in total.
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