A guide to the defensive mechanics of Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
Other KC:D Guides:
- Ancient / Treasure Map Guide.
- Console Commands (Cheat Codes).
- How to Exploit Money (Groschens).
Defensive Mechanics Guide
The first thing that I would like to clarify is that defense, unlike offense, does NOT take weapon-direction of your star-reticle into account. It doesn't matter what your weapon-polarity (the red highlighted direction indicated by your star-reticle) is toggled. Essentially, there is only one defensive orientation, and it covers attacks from one singular opponent (in front of you), no matter what direction they swing.
For the purposes of this discussion, the opponent's swing will be broken down into three phases:
- Phase 1: The opponent will draw back his weapon (watch for shoulder movement) and then begin to swing the weapon at the target (player). This phase happens before the "green-shield" icon appears.
- Phase 2: The opponent's weapon will have already begun to swing at the target (player), and follow through until just before the moment of contact with the target (player). This phase is easily indicated by the "green-shield" icon that shows up the center of your star-reticle for the duration of this phase.
- Phase 3: The opponent's weapon finally makes contact with the player, and it lasts all the way throughout the rest of the animation, followed by the back-swing.
Note: Please do not ask me how many active frames are in each phase, because I simply do not know, and I have no desire to spend my time finding out.
If you hold the block button down during any of these "Phases," you will simply block the opponent's swing. Please note that blocking a hit drains a good amount of stamina. Oddly enough, once you start oufitting yourself with the higher defensive plate armor, you'll take less stamina drain from just taking the hit rather than trying to block it (go figure) ːsteamfacepalmː
If you wait until "Phase 2" of the opponent's attack (indicated by the "green shield" icon) to press the block button, the game will enter a bullet-time-like slowdown and you will essentially parry the opponent's weapon off to the side. When this happens, priority is given to you to follow up with an attack (Riposte) which the opponent can only avoid by either doing their own perfect-block or master-strike.
This is what everyone's been waiting for. If you press block during "Phase 1" or in the early frames of "Phase 2" of the opponent's attack, you will not only parry the attack, but you will automatically (without pressing any additional buttons or inputs) follow-up with an extremely quick and unavoidable riposte that will be indicated by several different animations.
The player will either strike the opponent repeatedly in the head with the pommel of the sword, back the opponent up with several pokes to the chest, kick the opponent in the stomach, interrupt the opponent's swing with a downward slice at the head, glide into a slice at the right/left torso, or follow-up with diagonally upward slices at the opponent's thigh/lower-abdomen area. The animation is loosely based on the direction of the opponent's swing.
Despite what you've been hearing, master-strikes are NOT RANDOM. As a general rule, you have to press the block button BEFORE the "green-shield" icon shows up. My advice is to watch the opponent's shoulders for movement; that's the give-away. Though, that may just be an indication of the opponent changing stances. If you practice, you'll be able to spot the difference and even if you're slightly late, it'll still register the master-strike if you press block during the early frames of the "green-shield."
Last, but not least, I want to quickly touch on one last subject, which is combos. Anyone who's played this game for over an hour will realize that opponents just don't let you combo them. There's two ways to land a combo. The first is after a perfect-block; I've had about a 20% success rate with this. The second method, is to walk/run up into an opponent to initiate a clinch, press the special attack button (by default, it's 'F' on the PC), and when you overpower/push the opponent off, the AI will NOT block your next attack for whatever reason. This is the best time to execute your combo, I've had about an 80% success rate with this method. For best results, try pushing the opponent against a wall, so that they can't back out of your attacks.