Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord – combat system guide (how to fight)

Builds for the protagonist and his companions, advice on duels, tips on how to act during massive battles and much more

The duels in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord are partly comparable to the adrenaline- fueled battles in fighting games, where reaction speed plays a big role. Another thing is large battles, in which several tens or hundreds of soldiers from each side participate: here you already need to use the skills of commanding the army, and not reflexes.

In this guide, you will find examples of effective builds, as well as tips on how to win in duels and during massive battles.

Choice of weapons: the best early access builds

First, about the weapon. Each character has four active inventory slots. Each can contain one weapon, shield or ammunition. Pick a pair of weapon-specific skills and try to stick with them. This is the only way you can maximize the return on character parameters. Two-skill builds are recommended for newbies, but more experienced players will be able to successfully develop up to three skills. Let’s list some popular builds.

Note . These builds feature sets of weapons for the character. So far, there are not many armor in the game, so now it makes no sense to disassemble them.

Classic: sword, shield, bow and arrow

An effective set of weapons for most situations. Suitable for any beginner! Regular swords such as the spata, long, straight, or combat sword are long enough to provide an acceptable range in one-on-one battles. However, in order to kill enemies while riding, you will need to spend several hours in training and battles. While directing your troops, attack opponents with a bow and arrow, and then go into the thick of the battle.

Versatile fighter: sword, ax or mace, shield and throwing weapons

If you decide to have another melee weapon with you, then you will have to sacrifice your bow. But in return, you get something different: axes do more damage, piercing the enemy’s shields, which will be a great bonus in duels with enemy heroes. Maces are especially effective against enemies wearing heavy armor. And if you do enough damage, then you can completely knock the enemy down. The main drawback is that from a distance you can attack enemies 3 or 4 times using only throwing weapons. And to hit the enemy with its help is much more difficult than to shoot from a bow.

Cavalier: sword, shield, spear or pike, throwing spears

If you prefer to fight in close combat on horseback, here’s a great build. With this set of weapons, you will be able to deliver striking blows, form shock troops and rush into the thick of things. Throwing hatchets can be used instead of spears, but darts have a higher range. Also, since you are riding a horse, the total weight does not matter.

More advanced builds can eliminate the shield entirely or include two-handed weapons. It will be difficult for beginners to master the huge weapon, since they will have to block almost every blow. With practice, you can successfully do this in one-on-one duels, but if you are confronted by two or more opponents, then it will be almost impossible to do this. Attackers on horseback may benefit from a large sword or other polearm. However, this assembly is recommended last for beginners.

Raider: Bow and Arrow, Lancet and Sword

This weapon set is designed for ranged attacks and occasional raids. The emphasis in defense is on speed, and the very principle of the game is aimed at giving you more time to lead the troops. The lancet will allow you to repel the attack of enemy infantry, and the sword will come in handy in battle against the rapidly approaching cavalry. The build is difficult to master, but after a few hours of practice you will have the best build for big battles.

You may have noticed that crossbows are absolutely absent from this list. It is a powerful and deadly weapon, and you can take it instead of a bow, but it cannot be used without a perk. Crossbows are rare, and their cost against the background of the current curve of the economy, to put it mildly, is overstated.

Armor is a matter of personal preference. Generally, the heavier they are, the better in terms of protection, but they will also constrain your movement. If your athleticism is far from high, consider sticking to regular mail. At least until you can handle the extra loads.

Combat tips

To win any Mount & Blade 2 battle, you need to coordinate the actions of your troops, choose the correct trajectory for your hero, react quickly and understand what is happening on the battlefield. If at the very beginning of the game you are unable to complete training with instructors, while receiving a minimum of damage, then at first you will have to reduce the difficulty of battles to a minimum. You will feel that you are ready for more difficult challenges when you do not take damage when fighting a veteran instructor (miss a maximum of 1-2 hits). Arenas are another great place to test your skills. During tournaments, you can fight in 1vs1 or 1vs2 duels.

Learn Attacks and Blocking

All attacks and blocks correspond to the direction of movement of your mouse. This is the most difficult mechanic that a newcomer to the game must master. For example, if you click LMB while moving the mouse to the left, then your character will perform a chopping blow from left to right. However, I noticed that all your opponents from Calradia are right-handed.

The sweeping swing of your weapon can cause it to hit other enemies, allies, or environmental elements. In other words, avoid situations where you are swinging from right to left with a wall on your right hand. To parry / block a blow, the direction of the mouse you have chosen must match the direction from which the enemy is attacking. Try to master the directional attacks and blocks at the training ground as best you can. When you feel like doing them automatically, test your skills in the arena.

Hitboxes and headshots

All shots in Bannerlord are hitbox based. There are separate hitboxes for the arms, shoulders, knees, and other areas of the body. Usually, the enemy’s armor covers every vulnerable area of ​​the body, but in most cases, less durable armor is located on the head and arms (less often on the legs). Aiming for the head or arms is often the best option to incapacitate your opponent as soon as possible. Therefore, when you can, in close combat attack the enemy with a chopping blow from above, aiming at the head, neck and shoulders.

The shield is your loyal companion

The shields in Bannerlord are large enough to block most of the hits, even if the wrong mouse direction was chosen. Also, only shields can protect you from ranged weapons. Whenever you see that the enemy is trying to attack from a distance or is close enough to hit with a melee weapon, be sure to raise your shield. Lower it only in those moments when you know that you will attack the enemy. Monitor the strength of the shield (yellow bar above the health bar of your hero). The worst thing that could be – searching for a new shield right in the middle of a fight because the old one broke.

Trick blow

Before you can make a new attack, the previous one must complete. And during this animation, you are absolutely vulnerable. At the same time, your weapon, while striking, can parry an enemy attack. To cancel the attack, use block. And it is with this mechanic that a deceiving movement is associated: you execute a blow, quickly press the block button, and then make a second blow, but from a different direction.

Stay in motion

It is important to keep moving in all combat situations. But unlike games like DOOM Eternal, where constant movement allows you to avoid damage, Bannerlord uses this to take the enemy by surprise. For example, step left, turn left (90 degrees), step right. Complete this sequence as quickly as possible: I guarantee the enemy won’t even understand what happened. Another particularly deadly move is a step back and then lunge forward with a chopping blow from above. If you are fighting against an enemy with a large shield, or have been cornered, use the E key to kick or push the enemy with your shield. This will throw him off balance slightly, close the distance and be able to deliver a quick, free kick.

How to act in major battles

In the early stages of the game, you will take part in small encounters. The outcome of battles with 5-30 warriors on each side often depends on the quality of the troops and equipment. In this case, there is no need to resort to any special tactics or positioning. At this stage of the game, your hero and his unique companions come to the fore. One skilled fighter capable of killing five enemies can win the entire battle. But tactical actions should not be completely ignored. Instead, use the fact that there is less pressure on you to take a close look at the tactical setup and positioning options of your troops.

Use archers and throwers correctly

Place archers and throwers in the first line in front of the rest of the troops, but as soon as you notice that the enemy is practically close, they need to be moved to the rear, behind the melee infantry. Try to find some kind of slope that will face the enemy, then place the archers on top. A little lower, about halfway up, place the foot soldiers, which will serve as defensive redoubts. Practice sending the infantry into battle using the Advance or Follow Me order, and then release them to “float freely” with the Charge command. To regroup with your troops, use the Move to Position command. Or move with them, ordering to follow you (Follow Me).

Don’t overdo it with the Charge team

If there is enemy cavalry on the battlefield, then your troops, who received the Charge order, can run after some enemy horse.

Avoid enemies with the best equipment

At an early stage, you need to avoid opponents who clearly outperform you in equipment or tactics. Your day can be easily ruined by a handful of steppe, sea or forest robbers. Even small groups from Cuzait or Vlandia can include deadly horse archers or heavy cavalry. Do not try to complete quests related to soldier deserters until you have at least 25-30 strong warriors (and not regular recruits). Camps of forest robbers, where there are many shooters with a long bow, are considered especially deadly and dangerous. Avoid them at least until the middle stages of the game.


by Abdullah Sam
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