Witcher Wiki
Witcher Wiki

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt features a real-time battle system that provides players with a variety of options and strategies for defeating enemies. As a witcher, Geralt of Rivia is equipped with swords, crossbows, magic spells, and other items to defeat all that stand in his way.

Basic Combat[]

There are two types of attacks: fast attacks and strong attacks. Fast attacks are quick strikes that can be strung together easily into long combos. They don't inflict very much damage, but allow Geralt to maintain an offensive flow. Strong attacks are slow but powerful attacks that deal significant damage, but relying on them too often can leave Geralt open for punishment. Weak opponents cannot parry strong attacks.

Geralt has the ability to parry blows. Parrying attacks is an easy defensive maneuver that can absorb some damage. Geralt can perform counterattacks by pressing the Parry button right before an enemy's attack strikes him. Counterattacks knock enemies off balance, allowing a few ripostes. Counterattacking and parrying are most effective against humans and nonhumans because they use melee weapons. However, two-handed weapons, such as pikes, cannot be parried. Geralt cannot counterattack while holding an item in his left hand, such as a torch.

Geralt can evade attacks from enemies in two ways: dodging and rolling. Geralt can perform a swift short-range dodge in a chosen direction. Timing is essential: if you try to dodge too early or too late, you'll be hit by the blow. Dodging is a very fast move that lets Geralt rapidly continue attacking. Rolling out of the way allows Geralt to dodge more sweeping blows and increases the distance between him and his target. It's generally more effective at evasion that dodging, but it is slower and it takes longer to recover to continue attacking.

The effectiveness of Geralt in combat can be affected by several buffs and debuffs. Geralt can get buffs by drinking potions, drawing on places of power, sharpening his weapon on a grindstone or improving his armor on a workbench. Some debuffs are poisoning, bleeding, and stunning.

Horseback combat[]

It is possible to fight while riding a horse. This kind of combat has the following features:

  • Attack combos are not available. Instead, you deal slow, powerful single strikes that might not hit very small targets. These attack deal much damage. Strikes dealt while galloping cannot be blocked.
  • While riding towards an enemy at high speed, holding the attack button makes time slow down for a few seconds and shifts Geralts riding position towards the enemy to help the attack make contact. This helps to determine when to release the button for an accurate strike. Combining the enemy target selection and the slow motion attack system greatly improves accuracy and effectiveness during mounted combat.
  • The only sign available is Axii, which you can only use on Roach.
  • Roach gets scared as you fight. Her level of fear is represented by a fear bar. If this bar gets full Roach rears up and knocks you off, forcing you to continue fighting on foot. The fear bar fills up very fast when fighting undead enemies. Using Axii on Roach empties the Fear bar. Equipping Roach with horse blinders limits how scared she gets.

Fighting on horseback isn't ideal against undead enemies, like Ghouls; packs of quick enemies, like wild dogs or wolves; or in tight enclosed areas where you don't have much room to move. However, it can be very effective against groups of humans with mixed weapons, including archers. In open areas where you don't get stuck against obstacles you can quickly charge in and out of the fight avoiding most of the damage from melee fighters while picking off first key targets, like archers. They never seem to be able to block the attacks. This also keeps the fear level under control.

The Nekker warrior decoction is very helpful for mounted combat: it increases damage dealt by 50% and makes Roach immune to fear.


Geralt's weapon arsenal includes swords, axes, crossbows, bombs and magical spells.


Witchers use two types of blades: steel swords and silver swords. Steel swords are most effective against non-magical beasts, humans and non-humans. Silver swords are most effective against monsters and magical creatures. The color of the vitality bar of an enemy indicates what sword type is more effective against them. If the bar is red, use a steel sword. If the bar is silver, use a silver sword.

Geralt draws automatically the most suitable sword when he enters combat. However, you can manually switch to the other sword or even go unarmed. Silver swords can be suitable against non-magical beasts: they deal significantly reduced damage -less than a steel sword of the same level- but have no other obvious drawbacks. On the other hand, steel swords, secondary weapons and unarmed punches are completely unsuitable against Magical creatures. Their significantly higher health makes using lower-damage steel swords inefficient, and magical creatures often stun Geralt for a couple of seconds if he hits them with anything other than a silver sword, including barehanded punches.


Crossbows are one-handed weapons best used for knocking down flying foes and when attacking from a distance. Crossbows are the only weapons that can be used while swimming, diving or piloting a boat. They can be used on horseback. You can choose which bolts to use with your crossbow in the inventory panel. Some bolts have special attributes. On land crossbows don't inflict as much damage as swords or signs, and serve more as a tool than a weapon.

Crossbows deal far more damage underwater than on land, which means they often kill enemies with just one shot. This also switches over for monsters that are normally land creatures. For instance, if a Wyvern somehow got stuck underwater, one is able to kill the enemy in just a handful of shots.


Bombs are explosives that can be thrown at enemies from a distance. They can be acquired as loot or crafted. Some have crowd control effects, including stuns, slows, blinds and burnings. These are best used as engagement tools for strike-combinations.


Signs are simple, yet powerful, one-handed magic spells that are used commonly by witchers. They aren't as effective as full-powered magic spells, but allow witchers to be more versatile against their opponents and are great to use in the heat of combat. There are a total of 5 signs: Aard, Axii, Igni, Quen, and Yrden.

For an overview of the signs see The Witcher 3 abilities or, for a detailed guide, see Guide to Witcher Signs.


Stamina is primarily used to cast signs. Prior to Patch 4.0 it's was also used for other things like sprinting or jumping.

Stamina regenerates constantly, which can be boosted in several ways like using a Tawny Owl. The rate is affected by the weight class of the gear Geralt is wearing. When wearing full medium armour (or none) all values will be at their default. Wearing heavy armour reduces stamina regeneration by up to 25% when wearing a full set. Alternatively wearing light armour increases stamina regeneration by up to 25% when wearing a full set. These variations will also affect any stamina regeneration boosts like from the aforementioned Tawny Owl.


Adrenaline is one of the point values used in combat, located just under the stamina bar. As you deal damage to your opponents, your adrenaline meter will go up slowly, throughout three sections of the bar for three adrenaline points. The higher your adrenaline, the more damage you will do (up to a maximum of +30%) and the less damage you will take. It can be increased before a fight with an alghoul decoction or the Maribor Forest potion. It can also be increasing with an ability from mutations.

You will lose adrenaline if you get hit in combat, leave combat, or use the following abilities that use adrenaline:

At max level, the Resolve ability will prevent the loss of adrenaline points when hit in combat. The Rage Management ability lets you use adrenaline to cast signs instead of stamina. The Adrenaline Burst ability increases its generation by 5% and using signs now generates adrenaline. The Focus ability allows both higher weapon damage and sign intensity, based on how many adrenaline points you have.

Abilities and Leveling[]

Geralt earns experience points (XP) after completing quests or defeating opponents. Once a certain number of experience points is gained, Geralt will level up, earning one Ability Point. These points can then be used to learn a new ability or upgrade an existing one. Ability Points can also be obtained by activating Places of Power.

Achieving the maximum level (70 with base game, 100 with Blood and Wine expansion) and reaching every place of power will not provide enough ability points to max out every available skill, thus the player will have to choose which abilities they want to unlock.

To use an unlocked ability, it must be placed in an Ability slot. You can change your abilities by purchasing a potion of clearance which will refund all of Geralt's invested ability points. (At the start of a New Game +, one of these is automatically added to the inventory). Experimenting with different combinations and builds will help you against any adversity you might face.