Skip to main content

Nioh 2 Ki guide: Pulse, guard and dodge mechanics explained

Nioh 2 Ki guide: Pulse, guard and dodge mechanics explained
(Image credit: Koei Tecmo, Team Ninja)

Mastering the Nioh 2 Ki pulse is key to success in this soulslike. The stamina bar you may be used to from From Software’s soul series is replaced with Ki, a magical substance that allows you to string together combos and perform skills and abilities. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to use all of Nioh 2’s important Ki moves and provide some tips on how to better manage your stamina in battle. Read on for tips pertaining to the Ki Pulse and Dodge moves as well as some pointers on how they can be used in battle when you’re fighting the malicious Yokai in Nioh 2. 

What is Ki in Nioh 2?

Ki is your stamina in Nioh 2 and it, therefore, determines how many attacks you can pull off without becoming winded. Strong and Quick Attacks use Ki and deplete your bar depending on how aggressive the combo is. Ki is also impacted when you dodge and use weapon-based abilities which can be unlocked via the various in-game skill trees. 

How do you upgrade Ki in Nioh 2

How do you upgrade Ki in Nioh 2

(Image credit: Sony)

If you want to improve your Ki and attack for longer in Nioh 2 then you want to shove points into the Heart skill, which prioritises expanding your Ki pool. It would also be beneficial to split some points into Courage too, as this will improve your Ki recovery speed, meaning you won’t have to wait too long until you can attack again after stringing up a combo. Putting points into Skill can’t hurt either, especially given that this stat scales with light armour and equipment weight will determine how much Ki you use when dodging. If you find yourself needing more Ki, consider using a light armour set, and look for weapons and armour with special effects that improve your Ki capabilities. 

How to use the Ki Pulse

How to use the Ki Pulse

(Image credit: Sony)

One of the most important parts of Nioh 2’s combat system that you must get comfortable with quickly is the Ki Pulse. This is a method to regain stamina in battle that differentiates this game’s combat from many other soulslikes in the field. It’s devilishly simple to pull off but tough to master in battle.

When you expend Ki in Nioh 2 you should see a blue aura hover around your character every so often. This is the visual hint to show you that you can use a Ki Pulse. When you see the blue sparkles appear, tap R1 on your controller to pulse and you will regain your lost stamina and speed up Ki recovery in the process. Learn which parts of a combo create the aura so you can quickly land Ki Pulse’s and keep stringing together attacks without pause. 

How to purify a Yokai Realm pool with Ki Pulse

How to purify a Yokai Realm pool with Ki Pulse

(Image credit: Sony)

The Ki Pulse can also be used to purify Yokai Realm pools which will be summoned by the demon’s you face in battle. They look like murky circular spirit pools on the floor and are usually created when an enemy performs an ability. These pools slow down your Ki regeneration, so it’s best to get rid of them as quickly as possible. 

You can purify a Yokai Realm pool by performing a Ki Pulse whilst standing within them. Simply attack and then tap R1 when you see the blue aura to negate the effects of the pool and banish it. 

Dodging and guarding with Ki 

Dodging and guarding with Ki

(Image credit: Sony)

Your ability to dodge and guard in Nioh 2 is also denoted by your Ki. When you tap the X button to move in any direction that will deplete a part of your Ki bar, so keep an eye out just in case you run out of stamina. You can also dodge whilst mid-combo in Nioh 2, and this will also deplete some of your Ki. It will look more like a spirit dodge than a normal one, much like the Feral Yokai Shift’s Shadowstep dodge. 

When you pull up your weapons in any stance to guard you’ll also be using Ki. This doesn’t deplete just by holding it so keep it up at all times in battle so you can block incoming damage. It’s only when you get hit that it will hurt your Ki, but watch out - if it depletes your Ki bar the damage will come from your health instead, so don’t block too much. There are various in-game abilities you can pick up to make this easier, but the main way by which you can increase your Ki is by picking up weapons with special effects that buff your guard or tempering weapons in the Blacksmith to imbue said abilities. 

How to reduce a Yokai’s Ki gauge and negate Dark Realm Ki issues

Dark Realm Ki

(Image credit: Sony)

As well as the protagonist and their cronies, Yokai in Nioh 2 also have Ki gauges that can be broken down in order to stagger them. You should see the purple bar underneath their health gauge which depletes as you attack. Think of it like trying to break an opponent’s posture in Sekiro - once you rid them of their Ki you can perform a grapple attack that imparts incredible damage. Use this to your advantage - it’s especially useful against bosses who you may only get a few opportunities to attack. Break their Ki and grapple them for mega damage, just be careful not to hit them again when they keel over after their posture is broken. 

There’s also the Dark Realm, an often Yokai-infested area which will turn your screen grey, impeding your vision once you enter it. The Dark Realm is built to damage your Ki gauge and will impede recovery until you free the realm of its tormentor, the offending Yokai. Once you’ve defeated all of the Yokai in the Dark Realm you should see the world return back to normal and gain access to special chests and shrines. This can also happen in boss battles where the enemy will flip on the Dark Realm to impede your Ki recovery mid-battle. Consider holding out until this phase passes and using Ki recovery items like Sacred Water to offset the stamina deficit - there’s not much you can do about it here.