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Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord combat: How to win fights in Bannerlord

Including vital information on how to use the shield, fire arrows, couch lances, and more

How do you win fights in Bannerlord? It's all well and good knowing how to rule a kingdom in Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, but are you any good wielding a sword and board? Perhaps firing arrows at your enemies is your preferred method of fighting, or maybe you like to charge foes with your lance? Whichever style of combat suits you, we have some tips on how best to use your weapons.

On this page, we'll cover how to manage your inventory effectively, how to feint, how to use a shield, where to fire arrows, how to couch a lance, and more.

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How to prepare for combat in Bannerlord

If you have not been doing so well during fights, it might be because of your equipment. Having the best gear may save you from getting skewered in seconds by enemy lances, or pummelled by a bandit warlord. Here are some tips for keeping your character equipped:

  • Only equip a weapon that you have some skills in. Check in the equipment screen to see which combat skill you'll be using with the weapon in question and make sure it is one you've been building up skill points for.
  • You'll need to equip a horse and a separate harness. Harnesses act as the horse's armour.
  • I would also recommend equipping a shield. Blocking in Bannerlord is now automatic thanks to a highly-requested update, but it's still easier to deflect blows while having a shield than just the regular weapon equipped.
  • Pay attention to what you have equipped. Some bows, including longbows, cannot be fired while you are mounted on top of a horse. Some spears are one handed or two handed, and may have the ability to be couched. If you have the right weapons equipped, you won't be caught out and will have all of the abilities you're expecting to use.
  • Bows fire arrows and crossbows fire bolts. Make sure you have the correct ammunition equipped.
  • Make sure you train in the Training Field sufficiently if you feel you're getting rusty. Note when you begin your campaign where the closest town is, so you can travel nearby at a later date. For example, Poros was the nearest settlement to the Training Field in my campaign.
  • I'd also get some training in when you visit any arena. It gives you some real world experience at no real cost. If you do particularly well, you can win tournaments or get a small amount of gold based on your performance in practice fights. Arena fights do not give skill levels by default.
  • When you get companions, make sure they have decent equipment too. You can see their equipped items by going into the inventory screen and clicking the arrows next to your name to cycle through your companions's inventory.
  • Only begin equipping heavy armour when your Athletics skill is getting high, as they do slow you down while on foot.

Mount And Blade 2 Bannerlord combat

How to fight in Bannerlord

Having the right equipment is just one side of combat. As the rest of your troops slam into the enemy, there will come times where you need to get stuck in to help your army out.

When you're starting out, I would build up your experience by defeating bandits and looters. Even if an enemy army has smaller numbers, they may have better quality troops than you have. Looters are normally the weakest troops and therefore are the best option to build up real combat experience.

Here we thought we'd give you some more general tips on how to fight with certain weapon types, how to perform some advanced techniques, and how to fight on a horse. If you're looking for how to order army around, check out our guide to managing your troops in Bannerlord.

Melee weapons

  • Fighting in Bannerlord involves you pressing the left mouse button and dragging the mouse to swing in a certain direction. The arrows that come up will show you which direction you are facing at that given time.
  • Swing your mouse as you swing your weapon for extra reach. Since it's tied to the camera, you'll be able to hit more enemies around you.
  • Blocking requires you to hold the mouse and drag it to the direction in which the attack is coming from. Shields give a larger room for error since enemies will be striking a big plank of wood or plate of metal protecting your body.
  • Timing your blocks correctly will stun enemies for a short time.
  • You can cancel attacks by blocking.
  • Lances can be used to strike enemies from further away than the standard sword and shield. They're a bit slower in attack speed generally, but you can keep a short distance between you and a melee fighter.
  • Swords can also have different lengths.
  • Some weapon types are super effective against an enemy's defence. Axes can break shields, while maces are effective against heavily armoured troops.
  • Most enemies will switch from ranged weapons to melee ones, so don't charge into a group of them expecting them to be hindered in combat.

Ranged weapons

  • Being on a horse will make it harder for you to fire arrows, even making some ranged weapons impossible to fire. You'll want to dismount your horse if you want to be more precise.
  • Getting the high ground is key if you're fighting with ranged weapons. It makes it easier to hit enemies who are far away, while making it tougher for them to hit you.
  • Headshots deal three times the regular damage.
  • Firing arrows while running or riding a horse will deal less damage than normal.
  • If an enemy is far away and you want to take a shot, aim higher than you normally would. If you decided top play with the cross-hairs turned on, you can use that as a guide of how much higher you should be shooting at. Long range shots that hit opponents will give you extra skill points for bows or crossbows.
  • Don't take any crossbow perks when you begin the game. They're too expensive, you can't use them on horses, and they're surprisingly rare.

Mounted combat

  • Do not charge into a large group of enemies without backup. If you get stuck against the enemy group, they will just repeatedly stab your horse until you fall off it, increasing the chance that you will be defeated in combat.
  • While charging, if you have a lance equipped that can be couched, press the X button to do so. You'll put your lance in a horizontal position. Charging straight into an enemy will deal tons more damage than simply swinging it. You do need to be precise with your charge though.
  • Double tap the W key while stood still to accelerate at a much faster rate. Double tapping the S key while moving will make your horse slow down much more quickly too.
  • Don't forget about your shield. It's easy to forget while riding a horse, but your shield will protect you from projectile damage and even some melee blows.
  • Try to pick off any stragglers when you can. If you're riding a horse and they're backing off to find a vantage point, it's easier to catch up to them and deal the killing strike.

You should now have all the tips you need to fight foes effectively in Bannerlord! If you're looking for more tips and tricks, be sure to check out our beginner's guide to Bannerlord; or if you're in the market for something a little more in-depth, check out our page on completing villager requests in Bannerlord.

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