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Nioh guide: stances

What they do and when you should use them

Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.


Nioh stances and ki usage

Stance Ki used when attacking Ki lost when hit Guards block attacks Ki used when evading
Stance Ki used when attacking Ki lost when hit Guards block attacks Ki used when evading
High Lots Lots Nope Little
Medium Some Some Yes Little
Low Little Little Yes None (attacks blocked)
Ki usage when attacking, blocking and evading

Even Nioh’s combat system has an additional layer on top of what you’d expect from any other action RPG. After you escape the Tower of London and visit the dojo for the first time, you’ll learn three stances. You can change your stance on the fly during combat and sometimes have to choose your stance based on your enemy.

  • High stance sacrifices defense for offense — you’re going to deal more damage, but you’re also more open to attack.
  • Medium stance falls in the middle, balancing offense and defense.
  • Low stance emphasizes defense at the expense of offense — you’re better defended against attack, but you’ll deal less damage.

Different enemies require different approaches. You can break through the defenses of a constantly-blocking enemy with a high stance attack, or you can buy yourself some time to figure out an aggressive enemy with a low stance.

Sometimes, the physical height of your enemy can determine your choice of stance — high, medium and low also describe the height of your swings. If you find yourself swinging over the head of a crawling demon, switch to low stance, and your hits will land.

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