Ghost of Tsushima: Combat Guide

Ghost of Tsushima: Combat Guide

Game Mechanics
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Our Ghost of Tsushima: Combat Guide contains the most comprehensive details on everything related to combat and action in the game. We have separate entries for fighting bosses, enemies, and applying techniques.

While playing the game, you will face various enemies that use different kinds of weapons, like spears, axes, swords, dual blades, and even katanas. It is beneficial to become familiar with the combat mechanics.


Basic Attack Types

Before going through the advanced combat topics, let's go through the basic attack types and the controls for them.

  • Quick Attack - press Square
  • Heavy Attack - press Triangle
  • Stab Attack - hold Triangle

attack types

Quick Attack

Quick attacks are executed from the current stance of Jin. There is minimal wind up and they are executed instantaneously. There is no staggering impact on the target though.

quick attack

Heavy Attack

We can divide the flow of a heavy attack into three stages. First, there is an extra animation where Jin pulls back to give extra force to the attack. While doing this, the enemy can hit you, so time it well.

heavy attack

The moment a heavy attack lands on an enemy, a meter will start gaining a build-up, accumulating based on the attacks you hit him.

You can imagine this as something similar to Sekiro's Posture mechanic as shown below.

With enough number of attacks, the posture will become broken

Similarly, in Ghost, once the meter is filled up, a large impact animation is shown and the meter is broken.

Stab Attack

A stab attack is executed by holding the Triangle. It is not executed instantaneously as the goal of this attack is to charge it and release once the opportunity comes.

stab attack


Our first major combat mechanic is called Resolve. Conceptually, it is a measure of the samurai spirit that lets you push through the pain and injury you sustain.

The circles are built up during combat and can then be used to either heal up or execute special attacks. You will have to decide whether you will save them for healing or for landing a deadly move.

Dodging Arrows

Dodging arrows is similar to dodging melee attacks. However, you will be alerted when an enemy is about to shoot an arrow by their shouts.

You just have to become familiar with the sound of the shout. It sounds like "Doshoo".


Duels are amazing in Samurai films, and Sucker Punch wanted to bring that experience in the game.

There will be a Flash of Insight, and then the icon will show for the Standoff.

The screen will adjust as though you are in a Samurai film, with matching dark borders below and above the visible screen.


There is dismemberment in the game. However, you won't be able to target specific body parts. In the scene below, the hand of the Mongol enemy has been cut-off.


Jin can perform Decapitation to cut-off the head of his targets. It is one of the sneak attacks he can perform.


You can parry enemy melee attacks and even projectiles, like arrows. Parry the target at the last possible moment to open them up.

By waiting to trigger L1 until the attack is about to land, you can change a block into a parry. The attacker will then become vulnerable to a counter-attack. Also, you will gain some amount of Resolve.

Perfect Parrying

With a proper upgrade, a new level of success opens up. Press L1 just as the attack is connecting and the parry becomes a perfect parry. This will stun the attacker and leave him open to a special, deadly counter-attack, rewarding you a big dose of Resolve.


Basic execution of blocking is simple — hold L1, block the attack.


You can dodge in the game and do a counter-attack.

Dodging has various animations.

You execute a dodge by pressing Left Analog Stick + Circle

Attack Canceling

The game allows you to cancel an initiated attack so you can respond advantageously to your enemy. This is good for slow and powerful attacks that have a longer windup than light attacks. You might want to cancel the attack before it completes depending on your circumstances.

Using the Bow

In addition to the katana, you can also use bows in the game.

Target before unleashing.


Jumping allows Jin to traverse a gap without using a Grappling Hook.


Crouching enables Jin to hunch over so he can hide himself, become undetected, and perform sneak attacks on enemies.


The game has a concept called Stances, which helps to give you more flexibility in fighting various types of enemies. You can easily switch from one Stance to another while in combat.

Each Stance is meant to be particularly effective against a specific set of enemies in the game. Switching between Stances based on who you face amplifies your deadliness.

Stone Stance

Stone Stance is Jin's ancestral style, the traditional mode of fighting. It was developed to fight other swordsmen, so it will work effectively against Mongol swordsmen. 

You will observe that the Stone Stance mostly uses two-handed attacks.

Two-Handed Attack, Slash

Two-Handed Attack, Stab

Water Stance

The Water Stance was developed by Jin as a result of his frustration in fighting the Mongol soldiers. It is very effective for shield-bearing enemies.

This combat style is characterized by one-handed attacks, a flurry of vertical and horizontal slashes.

The combo of the Water stance typically has a pattern.

First attack, upwards.

Second attack, downwards.

Third attack, upwards.


Use distractions to bring enemies to their deaths.

This will create vibrations in the air that can enable you to sneak into their backs. For distractions, you can use Wind Chime or Firecracker.


Once you are able to distract the enemy and get into their backs, you will be able to execute an assassination.

Chain Assassination

A more powerful variation of assassination, as it enables you to slay multiple enemies in a series of actions.

Chain Assassination, Setup

Chain Assassination, First Kill

Chain Assassination, Second Highlight

Chain Assassination, Second Kill

Chain Assassination, Third Highlight

Chain Assassination, Third Kill


Another kind of sneak attack is called Slaughter (we will provide more details upon game release).

Smoke Bombs

Smoke bombs allow you to confuse an enemy that has seen you from a distance. It open leaves them for an attack.

You can even use them on enemies riding horses.

Critical Strike

Another kind of sneak attack is called a Critical Strike (we will provide more details upon game release).

Using Kunai

When spotted, use a Kunai for a quick kill

Fear as a Weapon

The Mongol soldiers will learn to fear the Ghost. Use that to your advantage.

Red Attacks

While fighting enemies, you will soon observe an attack from them where the weapon glows with a red color. We have a guide for this which you can read through the link.

Red Attack - Spear

Red Attack - Dual Blades

Red Attack - Shield

End Suffering

End Suffering is a combat mechanic that enables Jin to execute enemies that have been knocked down and about to die.

An action tip shows up, which you can initiate using the Square button.

This will make Jin execute the dying enemy, using the tip of his katana.