Burst counters are a new mechanic in Nioh 2. They’re a type of a move that uses up anima energy and has the ability to interrupt any weapon attack, including the ones with the red glow. There are three kinds of burst counter: brute, phantom and feral. Each one has a different use, and each can be further enhanced by investing points into the Shiftling skill tree. When you’ve performed at least five of each type successfully, you’ll unlock the Burst Breaker trophy. Since they require precise timing, a lot of folks are having trouble making use of them. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about Nioh 2 brute, feral, phantom burst counters.
Feral burst counter
Description: Consume 1 anima to dash forward, leaving an afterimage in your wake. Allows you to perform a follow-up attack and deal immense ki damage if an enemy’s burst attack comes into contact with your afterimage.
This one makes you dash in a long line. It has quite a lot of range, and you can use it to quickly close the distance between yourself and the enemy. It also allows you to dash without using up your ki, which is great. While we mostly recommend you use it to get closer to enemies, it can also allow you to get out of harms way even when your ki gauge is empty. It’s pretty unreliable at short range, so it’s best only to rely on it when there’s some distance between you and the enemy. It’s only available when you have a feral-type guardian spirit.
Phantom burst counter
Description: Consume 1 anima to guard against incoming enemy attacks. Guard against a burst attack at the right moment to stagger the enemy and deal immense ki damage.
This burst counter forms a protective shell around you. It’s extremely quick – you can start right before the attack connects and still perform it successfully. It has the lowest skill floor of the three, which makes it pretty desirable for beginners. The only downside is that blocking an attack with it drains ki, like a regular block. It is only available if you have a phantom guardian spirit equipped.
Brute burst counter
Description: Consume 1 anima to unleash a devastating attack. Deals immense ki damage if you successfully interrupt an enemy’s burst attack.
This one is a wide flaming swipe, and it’s the only counter that does life damage to opponents. It’s also the slowest of the burst counters, which means your timing will have to be impeccable, but it also means there are some attacks that are just too fast for it. This fact also makes it less useful against fast enemies. On the upside, it does have quite a bit of reach, and it is a ki-free way to extend your combo. It can often mean the difference between taking some damage and leaving intact. You can only use it when you equip a brute guardian spirit.
Burst counter timing
Obviously, this is the hardest part of using a burst counter. The timing depends on the type, so you’ll have to practice with each kind individually. Brute counters take the longest to perform, so if you want to counter a burst attack with one, you better start as soon as the enemy signals. On the other hand, phantom counters are the quickest to perform, but their duration is pretty short. Although if you miss a phantom counter, there’s nothing stopping you from just performing another one immediately. When it comes to feral, it’s all about the distance – the farther you are, the bigger the chances of the enemy hitting your afterimage.
Different enemies will provide you with different windows of opportunity, so there’s literally no shortcut here. You’ll just have to practice a lot.
How to change burst counter?
The only way to switch burst counters is by changing your guardian spirit. You only get one at the beginning, but you’ll unlock more as you progress through the game. You can change them at the starting point between missions.
How to unlock Burst Breaker trophy?
To earn this trophy, you’ll need to perform five of each type of burst counter. Since the ones in the Dojo tutorial don’t count, the best place would be Gozuki, the giant ox-head enemy in the Village of Cursed Blossoms. He’s close to the shrine and does a lot of burst attacks. When you die, you’ll respawn nearby and be able to go at it again immediately. So just wait until you have at least one guardian spirit of each type, then head back there and grind the trophy.
Nioh 2 doesn't pull any punches, so you might get stuck before you've even begun playing. We've written a guide to help you choose your starting weapon and guardian spirit, and another that shows how to reset skills if you invest in the wrong ones. Once you've dug in, you'll probably want to know how to unlock onmyo magic & ninja proficiency skills, or how to change and use Yokai Shift forms. Getting more skill points is always a priority, which is why we've written about locks of hair locations. If you're hunting rare soul cores, you'll probably want to know about the Mujina locations - finding them is tricky.