Duels are a big part of the combat in Ghost of Tsushima. A one on one battle between two warriors where for one to win the other must die. There are a large number of duels in this game across a range of different enemy types. This guide will cover the basics and help you figure out everything you need to know about duels in this game.
With the release of the Director’s Cut edition of the game, many people are coming back to the game after several months of not playing. When you pick up where you left off, it can be quite difficult to remember everything you need to know about to game to get back up to speed.
If you fall into this bracket, I would suggest you check out the general combat tutorial so you have a refresher on how the combat works in this game in general. Duels are different to regular combat but they are all based on the same set of core fundamentals.
How To Win Duels In Ghost of Tsushima
In general combat, it is most effective to be aggressive. Rush enemies, break their guard and counter any incoming attacks. Since you are only dealing with a single enemy that is going to be considerably stronger than any other enemy you come across, you need to alter your approach in order to win duels.
The best approach to take is a defensive one. Rather than rush to an enemy and attack them heavily, you should wait for them to attack you. During duels, it is common for the enemy to counter your attack. Being too aggressive will result in you leaving your body exposed. Since a lot of the duel enemies are quite aggressive, the most effective approach to take is to react to their aggression with a flurry of counterattacks.
Use the Correct Stance
This is the main thing that people are going to forget after taking some time away. It is also one of the more tricky elements of the game to get familiar with. You always need to make sure you are using the correct stance. If you do not, you will not be able to defend yourself effectively and the enemy will be difficult for you to damage.
With a lot of story-related duels, you will find that your opponent will change their weapon during the fight. When this happens, you need to keep up. Going from a sword to a spear, you will need to change your stance to match this. If you fail to do it, you are more than likely going to die. You can find out more about this in the general combat guide for Ghost of Tsushima here.
Defensive Beats Aggressive
Before you can get good at duels, you need to master defensive tactics. Blocking, parrying and dodging. For most duels, blocking is not possible due to most general attacks being signalled with a blue glint, which means you can only parry.
Attacks with a red glint can’t be blocked or parried, they must be dodged. The positive part of a dodge is that you can also time it right to slip to the side of the enemy and attack them while their guard is down.
Master The Perfect Parry
If there is one piece of advice I could give to anyone wanting to get better at duels in Ghost of Tsushima, It would be this. Master the perfect parry. Not only does this defensive tactic stop you from taking damage from what would be a brutal attack, it also allows you to inflict serious damage on the enemy.
A perfect parry is a parry with perfect timing. When you do this, you will notice that time slows down and you will be able to unleash an incredibly powerful attack on the enemy. Depending on the armour and upgrades you have, you may be able to unleash multiple attacks. When you have unlocked the ability to counter with three attacks, it is generally enough to break the enemies guard, allowing you to unleash another flurry of attacks on top of the parry.
Breaking The Opponents Guard
As with regular combat in Ghost of Tsushima, your opponent in a duel will have a guard meter. These are often far more difficult to break compared to the average Mongol, but it can be done. If you look above your opponent’s health bar, you will see that there is a white line. This represents the guard.
As you attack an enemy and inflict damage, you will see this white bar get smaller. Attacking with a heavy attack, while also making sure to use the correct stance will also cause this to decrease. Once it is completely emptied, the opponent will have a brief moment where they leave themselves open for attack while they regain their composure. This is your golden moment to do as much damage as possible.
For more on this, check out the video guide above as this will demonstrate exactly how to do this and you will see how to identify your moment to attack.