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Beginner’s guide to combat in God of War Ragnarok – tips and tricks

Conquer every foe.

There are three main gameplay types in God of War Ragnarok: exploration, puzzle solving, and combat, with the core of the game being combat. You’ll spend a ton of time fighting various enemies across the nine Realms, and without some fundamentals under your belt, you’ll be sent to the Game Over screen more times than you want to count. The combat tips and tricks in this guide will allow you to confidently take the fight to any enemies in God of War Ragnarok.

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Combat Tip 1: Practice skills as you get them

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When you first start a playthrough of God of War Ragnarok, you’ll only have access to a few skills with Kratos’s Leviathan Axe and Atreus’s bow. Once you unlock a new skill in the first hours after the introduction, be sure to practice using it in the initial encounters of a zone. Not everything is effective in all situations, but building some muscle memory and figuring out consistent combos will make the more challenging fights more manageable.

Combat Tip 2: Open with Runic Attacks for big fights

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Runic Attacks, special abilities tied to your equipped weapon, are great for burst damage and status buildup. While they can help thin herds of trash mobs or mini-bosses, for the big fights, you’ll almost always want to open with every one you have access to. Doing so ensures you can focus on doing as much standard damage as possible and, depending on the Runic Attack, could chunk the boss by as much as 1/10 of their health, putting you ahead of the damage game before it even begins.

Combat Tip 3: Use Spartan Rage as an “oh crap” button

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Spartan Rage, which you activate by pressing both thumbsticks and tracked by the red bar beneath your health, isn’t meant to win you fights but give you a lifeline in a bad situation. If you have access to it and find yourself in a bind, don’t be afraid to activate and use it to restore as much health as possible. Later, you’ll unlock Valor rather than Rage, which allows you to instantly restore a chunk of your health and make yourself momentarily invulnerable.

Combat Tip 4: Upgrade your gear

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While not directly related to your combat skill, enemies in God of War Ragnarok level up as you progress. Monsters you fight in Midgard and Svartalfheim will be weaker than in later areas. Unless you take the time to upgrade or improve your equipment, you’ll be woefully behind the damage and survivability curve. Equipment you can craft or upgrade with later-game materials also helps you start crafting builds that supplement your combat skills and abilities, which is crucial to success.

Combat Tip 5: Head to Niflheim

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One of the smaller realms available to visit in God of War Ragnarok that you unlock a few hours in, Niflheim is a training area against endless waves of enemies of varying types. Initially, you’ll only be fighting Draugr and Grim, but the more enemy types you encounter, the more you can train against. Use this arena to test your build, practice new skills, and see how your abilities measure against the Game’s tougher opponents.

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John Schutt
John Schutt is a contributing writer at Gamepur focusing on guides, particularly of the shooter and Souls-like variety. He is a fan of just about any RPG. John has been an active part of Game Journalism since 2010, and is determined to continue his journey on that path.