Updated Aug 18, 2014 1:57 am
What is a Parry: Parrying is to "block" an enemies attack, but also make him stagger. Depending on the timing it is not a perfect "block", i.e. the player can still take some damage. The main benefit of parrying is the stagger, which can be followed by a critical attack.
How to execute a Parry: To parry an attack, it has to be parriable. There are some trash mobs, some bosses and even some player weapon attacks (e.g. from Ultra Greatswords) that can't be parried. If the attack is parryable, the player needs to have a weapon/shield equipped, that can parry attacks. If these conditions are met, the player can use the parry move of his weapon/shield in about the timeframe, where he would get hit by the enemy attack, to trigger the parry.
Best weapons to Parry with: Common choices are various small shields, as well as the Parrying Dagger.
How to defend against Parries: As stated above, there are weapons which have unparryable attacks. A more general perspective is to play in a way, that disallows the enemy to parry, i.e. attacking while the enemy is "stuck" in certain animations, like his own attack move, chugging estus etc.
Other Tips: There are many guides and tutorials on Youtube, how to execute parries. This site offers more of a technical statistical view below. Generally speaking: Practice, practice, practice. Start with the Hollows in the beginning of the game and work yourself through to harder opponents, followed by optimizing your technique in PvP. In PvP you also have to consider the delay/lag, so parry timing differs from mobs/bosses!
All testing were done for Patch 1.04 Calibration 1.08 on PC 60 fps in PvE. Not all weapons were tested, but the most noticeable members in category. All categories were covered though (Straight swords, Small shields etc.)
- The Monastery Scimitar has been 're-patched' as of Calibration 1.10. The graph is incorrect now, and the weapon now falls under the 'curved swords' category.
- You are not able to roll away during Recovery frames
- Parry Small Shields are Buckler and Target Shield
- Slow Small Shields are Magic Shield, Phoenix Parma, Manikin Shield and Transgressor's Leather Shield
- All the rest of small shields are considered Fast Small Shields.
- You get "Hilt parry" animation when 2-handing such weapons as Katanas, Hammers, Straight Swords, Whips, Axes, Greataxes and Fist Weapons.
- You get Block animation when parrying with Spears, Halberds, Lances, Reapers and Twinblades
- There are few exceptions in categories when weapon does not have parry animation at all (e.g. Ricard's Rapier)
- Testing of "Hilt parry" was done only with Washing Pole and Blue Flame weapons, so it is only assumption that the rest of weapons from "Hilt parry" category have the same parry frame data based on the same parry animation
- There was no testing for PvP, but most likely the frame data is the same, but you need to add latency delay to startup frames.
- Unless small shield has "make parrying easier" property in description, it does not have more parry frames even with "fancy" parry animation. In fact it makes startup and recovery longer. Thus Llewellyn Shield is the best alternative to Target Shield.
- Black Knight Greataxe (Greataxes category) has "Hilt parry" animation, but Gyrm Axe (Axes category) has Greatswords parry animation. Looks like both Greataxes and Axes have "Hilt parry" if they have long enough hilt and "Greatswords parry" if they are short and somewhat massive.
- If the item has "Spell parry" property, it has the same spell parry frames as for weapon parry.