Just like in real life, your katana is a deadly weapon throughout the course of Ghost of Tsushima, and you can expect to be able to do a lot of damage with it even early on in the game. And while you can upgrade it as you progress and uncover the island’s secrets, one of the most effective ways to take down enemies is by making good use of Stances.
Here’s everything you need to know about Stances in Ghost of Tsushima, from how to unlock them faster to the types of enemies each Stance is strongest against.
What are Stances?
Stances are essentially a series of fighting styles, and each one will give you a different boost against specific enemy types. To use them effectively, you’ll want to switch between them frequently during battle.
There are four Stances in total, which have to be unlocked in order. First there’s the Stone Stance (most effective against Swordsmen), Water Stance (best against Shieldmen), Wind Stance (best against Spearmen), and Moon Stance (best against Brutes).
You’ll unlock your first Stance the first time you kill a Mongol Leader. You can find them in encampments throughout the game, but there’s a way of increasing the number of technique points you earn in the process, so don’t be too hasty to attack them right off the bat.
How to unlock Stances quickly
In order to unlock all four Stances, you’ll need to defeat Mongol Leaders across the island.
Kill your first Mongol Leader to unlock the Stone Stance, and from there you’ll see a counter each time you defeat one that tells you how many more need to be taken down in order to unlock the next Stance. You can also check your progress in your menu under the Techniques tab.
You can speed up the process by earning extra points towards unlocking Stances. To do this you’ll need to observe Mongol Leaders training before you engage them in battle.
In order to do this effectively, you’ll need to approach the encampment quietly, without being spotted (and tempting as it is, don’t challenge anyone to a Standoff). Sneak in by approaching stealthily. There’s almost always a gap in the wall or pampas grass to keep you covered, but you can also use the weather to your advantage when you don’t want to be spotted, or change it manually if the conditions aren’t ideal.
Then, you’ll need to use your Focused Hearing ability to figure out where the Leader is. They’re pretty easy to spot, since they always wear fancier armour than the regular soldiers, usually in shiny gold or silver, and you can often find them training alone. Stay hidden and get close enough for the Observe prompt to appear. Holding R2 will allow you to watch and learn from their moves, which will give you a Stance point. Defeating the Leader will then reward you with another one.
How to switch and upgrade Stances
Switching Stances on the fly is easy. Simply hold R2 and pick whichever Stance best matches the enemy you’re fighting.
Stone Stance (R2 + X): best against Swordsmen
Water Stance (R2 + O): best against Shieldmen
Wind Stance (R2 + Triangle): best against Spearmen
Moon Stance (R2 + Square): best against Brutes
You can also upgrade the abilities that come with each Stance using Technique Points. Head into the Techniques tab in the menu to view and purchase new skills.