How to Backstab in Valheim (& What It’s For)

Combat is an important part of Valheim’s gameplay, and there are several different mechanics and stats that affect the way a Viking fights and the amount of damage they can do. Each of the different biomes in Valheim include enemies of varying strengths and combat styles, from the Greydwarfs in the Meadows to the Fulings and Fuling Villages in the Plains. Players will also eventually slay enough enemies to pick up sacrificial items that will be used to summon the five major bosses currently in Valheim’s Early Access. Players can take advantage of Stealth in Valheim to get the jump on unaware enemies and increase damage dealt in the first strike against them using Backstab.

Like other RPG and roguelike games, the Backstab mechanic in Valheim is an advanced technique that is useful against enemies who are not yet aware of the player character’s presence and who are at full health. Every weapon in Valheim comes with a backstab modifier, letting players know how much bonus damage they will be able to do on a successful Backstab. Most weapons in Valheim have at least a 3x Backstab multiplier, and most knives have a 10x multiplier. To use Backstab, players will need to improve their Viking’s Sneak ability. Here’s how to Backstab in Valheim.

Backstab is a bit of a misnomer for this particular Valheim combat mechanic, as players don’t necessarily have to hit the enemy in the back to receive the bonus damage multiplier. Instead, they simply need to hit an enemy who is not yet aware of their presence, usually because they were using stealth and out of the enemy’s direct line of sight.

To enter stealth and sneak up on enemies, players will need to use left-Ctrl. It costs stamina, so players cannot remain in stealth very long, but the length of time can be extended by eating stamina-boosting foods. Players can also improve their sneaking skill as they improve any other skill, through its frequent use.

Players will need to stay out of an enemy’s line of sight to perform Backstab properly. They can use the indicator on the screen to determine if they have been spotted. A flat line is used to indicate the player has not been noticed. A line with a small peak tells players the enemy senses their presence but does not see them. An icon that looks like an eye tells players the enemy has seen them. Players can improve their stealth and stay hidden in most conditions when wearing Troll armor.

To execute a Backstab, players will need to approach their target from stealth without being noticed (meaning the indicator must be a flat line), and either use a melee weapon or bow and arrow to hit the enemy before they are aware of the player character’s presence. It is easier to get the backstab damage multiplier when using a bow and arrow, but because knives often have a higher multiplier, players can do far more damage using melee weapons.

Backstab will work on almost any enemy, but it will not work on boss fights. The player must summon the five main bosses in Valheim, so they will actively track the player down. Because of this, they can’t be caught unaware. Backstab also only counts if the enemy has full health. Enemies with partial health can be attacked from stealth, but players won’t receive the Backstab multiplier for doing so.

Valheim is in Steam Early Access and is available for PC.

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