Combat has evolved throughout the Zelda series and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is no exception. This article covers Zelda: Breath of the Wild tips and tricks, including combat, weapons and weapon types, Perfect Dodge and Perfect Guard, Sneakstrike, Weapon Durability and more to help you become a better fighter as you make your way through Hyrule. While you can run past a lot of enemies, there are times when you’ll be forced to fight and these tips and tricks for Breath of the Wild will come in handy along with having a variety of weapons to fight with. Some of these Zelda: Breath of the Wild tips may help you survive in combat, so grab your favorite armament and get ready for battle!

Perfect Dodge and Perfect Guard

Enemies in Breath of the Wild generally attack horizontally or vertically. Evading at the last moment by pressing the X button will activate the Perfect Dodge ability that slows down time and allows Link to use Flurry Rush, a barrage of attacks in rapid succession, before the enemy can retaliate. When you see the Flurry Rush prompt after a Perfect Dodge, simply press Y rapidly to execute the attack. If you see a horizontal attack incoming, dodge back, and if you see a vertical attack coming, dodge left or right. Usually jumping attacks are vertical, giving you plenty of time to see the attack coming and dodge accordingly.

When you’re using a shield Link can also perform a Perfect Guard. Just before Link gets hit with an attack, press A while your shield is out and Link will deflect the attack. Just like the Perfect Dodge, time slows down and the enemy is vulnerable to a barrage of attacks, but you won't get the Flurry Rush prompt like you would with Perfect Dodge. Keep in mind, if you’re using a two-handed weapon your shield will not be readily active. You’ll have to put away the weapon, then use your shield to Perfect Guard. With a one-handed weapon you can shield while your weapon is out.

Sneakstrike

Pressing inward on the Left Analog Stick causes Link to crouch and walk slowly, sneaking around. If you sneak up behind an enemy you’ll be prompted to unleash a Sneakstrike. This attack from behind inflicts considerably more damage than a normal attack, but it will not execute if the enemy notices you before you get close. Make sure to use the sneak crouch so you can score big damage with an attack from behind!

Critical Hits

A critical hit is basically an attack that hits for double the normal damage. There are multiple ways to score a critical hit in Breath of the Wild. If you’re using a ranged weapon, aim for the head and you’ll score a critical hit. With a melee weapon you can attack from behind to score a critical hit. In addition, if your weapon durability is running low and about to break, throw your weapon at an enemy using the R should button and it will be considered a critical hit. Of course you can throw a weapon that isn’t about to break, but then it will break anyway unless it's a boomerang.

Charge Attacks and Stamina

Link burns stamina when running, climbing and performing other tasks. When it comes to combat, Link only uses stamina during Charge Attacks. Any normal attack will not use stamina at all. Most weapons have a normal charge attack and a maximum charge attack. Hold the Y button until you see a flash, indicating the charge attack is ready. If you continue holding Y you may see a second flash indicating the maximum charge attack is ready. However, not all weapons have a maximum charge attack option. The type of charge attack you get will vary depending on the weapon you’re using, whether it's a one-handed weapon or two-handed.

Weapon Durability

All weapons have durability in Breath of the Wild. The more you use a weapon the more likely it is to break. You’ll generally get a warning just before a weapon breaks. It’s beneficial to carry around as many weapons as you can so you always have another weapon ready to go if the one you’re using breaks. There are ways you can increase you weapon inventory so you can carry more weapons.

As you come across new and more powerful weapons, ideally you want to use your weakest weapon and save your more powerful weapons for harder enemies. All weapons will eventually break, which means you don’t want to break your best weapons, then be stuck with a bad weapon when you’re fighting a tough enemy. Keep in mind, if you throw a weapon at an enemy and it hits them, it will break instantly no matter how much durability it has left. The only exceptions are boomerangs and a few special weapons.

Some weapons will have increased durability to attack power, but even these will eventually break. At the very least, if you find a weapon with increased attack power you’ll know that you can use it for a bit longer than a normal version of the same weapon.

Weapon Types

There are several different types of weapons in Breath of the Wild. Each of these weapon types have different attacks, as well as advantages and disadvantages. Your combat style with Link should help you determine which weapon type you favor, but due to all weapons eventually breaking, there are times when you’ll have to make do with whatever weapons are available to you.

Most of these weapons come in one-handed or two-handed varieties. With a one-handed weapon you can equip a shield in the other hand and use it to actively defend while your weapon is out. A two-handed weapon does not allow you to defend while your weapon is out. You’ll have to choose between using your shield to block attacks, or using your two-handed weapon to deal damage.

With one-handed weapons aside from wands a normal charge grants a single spin attack, while a maximum charge provides a double spin attack. For all two-handed weapons except spears, the charge attack sees Link spin around attacking anything nearby so long as you continue to hold Y. This process drains stamina the longer you hold Y, and when you release Y Link slams the axe down on the ground, creating a shockwave that hits any enemies nearby.

Swords - Link’s trademark weapon can cut down trees or trim the grassy fields of Hyrule in addition to inflicting damage to Link’s enemies.

Clubs - While clubs can’t cut down trees or trim the grass, they are almost identical to swords in every other way.

Spears - These two-handed weapons don’t have the same area of attack as a sword or club. While you can technically hit multiple enemies at once, generally speaking this is a single-target weapon. The charge attack with a spear offers a barrage of attacks in a line with the maximum charge version adding more strikes to the attack.

Axes - Two-handed axes act very similar to swords except for the charge attack. Axes are ideal for fighting large groups of enemies.

Wands - Wands a more rare than most other weapons, but they are impressive when it comes to long-range attacks in an area. A single attack with a wand usually fires off whatever magic element the wand is for (a Fire Rod wand will shoot fireballs). A normal charge attack will fire that element in multiple directions around Link, but only a short distance away. A maximum charge will fire in multiple directions around Link at a much longer range. Wands have to recharge after heavy use, but they’re great long-range weapons.

Bows - As you might guess, bow and arrows work well for ranged attacks. There are a variety of bows and arrows that can increase you attack and offer different attack options. For instance, Fire Arrows can set fire to things, while Bomb Arrows inflict significant damage and can take the place of bombs in some situations. There’s no charge attack for a bow, but if you jump from a moderate height and attempt to fire a shot, the game will slow down so you can aim better.

Boomerangs - Similar to bows, boomerangs offer a ranged attack that generally hits a single target if you press the R shoulder button. While a boomerang can return to Link if nothing obstructs its path, you have to manually catch it by pressing A when it's close to Link again. What separates boomerangs from bows is that a boomerang can also serve as a close-range melee weapon, with one-handed boomerangs acting like a sword and two-handed giant boomerangs acting like an axe.

Weapon Type One-Handed Two-Handed Normal Charge Attack Maximum Charge Attack Range Target Area
Axe No Yes Yes No Close Wide
Boomerang Yes Yes Yes Yes Close and Long Single Target
Bow No Yes No No Long Single Target
Club Yes Yes Yes Yes Close Wide
Spear No Yes Yes Yes Close Single Target
Sword Yes Yes Yes Yes Close Wide
Wand Yes No Yes Yes Long Wide

Shields and Defense

The enemies in Breath of the Wild hit pretty hard, especially early in the game when you don’t have many hearts to spare. It’s not uncommon to die from a single attack, even if you have full health. For this reason, shields and other defensive options are very important for Link. While there are exceptions, most enemies don’t telegraph their attacks unless it’s a jumping attack. Therefore using a one-handed weapon and having a shield up at all times will help keep Link safe.

Other defensive options are attacking from a distance or using the Perfect Dodge and Perfect Guard at close range. From a distance you can toss bombs at enemies and even focus on any explosive barrels nearby. There’s almost always a hill, cliff or mountain range nearby that you can climb on top of and just rain down bombs and arrows on enemies. At first your bombs may not do much damage, but you can get upgrades moderately early in the game.

In addition to Perfect Dodge and Perfect Guard when fighting up close, remember to sneak up on enemies whenever possible. If you’re about to engage a group of enemies, make sure you attack any enemies in watchtowers first. If they see you they will alert the others and you’ll have an all out attack on your hands.

Hunting

If you’re looking to prepare some juicy dishes you’re going to need to get some hunting in. Every time you come across a bee hive, keep your distance and hit it with an arrow so you can avoid the bees and collect the honey they leave behind for meals. If you need meat, sneak up on boars, bears and other wild animals and aim for their heads. Most of these larger animals will not go down from a single arrow if you don’t aim for their head. In addition, they’ll chase after you if you hit their body and they don’t go down.

As a general rule, the larger and more aggressive an animal is, the better the meat you’ll get from bringing them down. If you can find a bear or other large animal, see if you can bring it down and reap the high quality meat as a reward. Using better ingredients will allow you to make dishes that replenish a lot of hearts or boost Link’s abilities.

For more tips and strategies be sure to check out our Zelda: Breath of the Wild game hub!