Many mechanics are consistent across developer FromSoftware’s various Soulsborne games, with one of them being the ability to hold one-handed weapons with two hands to change up the combat style. Such a mechanic persists in the studio’s latest RPG, Elden Ring. Though two-handing is available in Elden Ring, it works differently than it does in previous Souls games. Here, we’ll show you how to two-hand weapons and explore the circumstances in which it would benefit you the most in FromSoftware’s newest game.
Why you should two-hand weapons in Elden Ring
Two-handing weapons can absolutely turn the tide of a particular encounter. This is because two-handing a melee weapon grants you additional damage and different attacks. While two-handing a melee weapon, you can use R1 (RB), R2 (RT), and L2 (LT) to attack, while L1 (LB) is used to block (though it won’t be as effective as using a shield).
Speaking of shields, you cannot use your shield when two-handing a weapon in Elden Ring. This keeps things balanced since you deal more damage with both hands on your weapon. Two-handing also makes you slightly more nimble on your feet since you won’t be carrying two heavy armaments at the same time (assuming you use a shield or other weapon at the same time).
When sneaking, we always recommend two-handing your weapon since your shield is a non-factor in these instances. In addition, there are certain boss fights that are easier when you two-hand a weapon, especially when you learn how to roll through attacks instead of blocking with your shield.
Below is a video demonstrating the damage dealt while one-handing the Dismounter greatsword. The initial attack deals 275 damage.
And here is a video showing the same weapon in action, but two-handed instead. As you can see, you’re more powerful while two-handing, specifically, dealing 304 damage. It’s not substantially more, but if you’re not using your shield anyway, you might as well dish out more damage.
You shouldn’t always two-hand weapons, though. Certain encounters require the use of a shield or a parry counter, while others feature difficult attacks to roll through. Just experiment and see what works best for any given enemy. For instance, the Red Wolf of Radagon boss can be completed without using a shield at all, so you should two-hand during that battle.
How to two-hand weapons in Elden Ring
Now that you know why you should use both hands, let’s explain how to two-hand in Elden Ring. In past Souls games, you simply needed to press the Triangle (Y) button while holding a particular melee weapon to use both hands. In Elden Ring, it’s a little different.
Instead, hold down the Triangle (Y) button and then use R1 (RB) and L1 (LB) to swap between your two sides. For instance, if your main melee weapon is in your right hand, press R1 while holding Triangle and you’ll two-hand that weapon. If your weapon is in your left hand, do the same, but press L1 instead. Most players will have their shield in their left hand and their main melee weapon in the right hand, though. Don’t accidentally two-hand your shield during a battle because that won’t get you anywhere.
Ranged weapons like catalysts or bows don’t deal additional damage when two-handed, but you still might want to use this mechanic since you’ll move a little faster with only one weapon in your hand.