What's the difference between the stats/damage output when I two-hand a weapon, vs when I use a Power Stance? What effects does it have on;

  • Damage output?
  • Stamina drain?
  • Stamina damage (stagger)?

To use as an example for explanation, you can use Longswords, and my STR/DEX are equal at 30. (To avoid any unintentional ambiguation)

4 Answers 4


Power stance is used when you want specific moves, usually. Stamina drain is massively increased because the power attacks that you gain from the stance are pretty costly. The advantage is that you get all the advantages you would get from hitting someone with the same weapon twice, which can offer unique advantages compared to two-handing.

I have to use dual maces as an example here because it is a popular one and demonstrates what I'm talking about. Maces in Dark Souls 2 have pretty good poise damage (what you referred to as "stamina damage"), but it's not enough to stagger everything. An extremely popular "easy build" near launch was power-stanced maces because repeated application of the power attack would render even bosses completely stunlocked. This is because the power attack dishes out massive poise damage from both maces hitting.

Another possible application is status effects. Status effects have to be built up in Dark Souls, and "status effect damage" builds up indepedently of weapon damage. This means that it behooves the player to get as many hits in as short a time as possible to apply the status effect. So power stancing can be useful if you want to apply a lot of poison or bleed status damage very quickly.

As far as raw DPS goes, you are better off spamming light attack, as usual. It is the most stamina and time efficient way to deal damage if you aren't at risk of being hit. The power stance power attacks drain too much stamina to be good raw damage dealers. Especially with one-handed weapons like the mace and longsword, two-handing the weapon and repeated light attacks deal damage much more efficiently over several strikes than power stancing.

P.S.: As @user3574984 helpfully pointed out, caestuses are different. They are sort of "designed for" the power stance. Power stances offer unique moves for quite a few different weapons. If a weapon looks strange to you and you have the correct stats, try power stancing it -- it might result in something different than what you expected.

  • You raise a good point... I have edited my question :P
    – Ben
    Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 22:11

Broken Straight Sword on Hollow soldiers (Dex 6, Str 6, Sta 6):

  • 1 handed attack (light): 43 damage, 10 attacks in row;
  • 1 handed attack (heavy): 43 damage, 7 attacks in row;
  • 2 handed attack (light): 52 damage, 8 attacks in row;
  • 2 handed attack (heavy): 62 damage, 6 attacks in row;
  • power stance (light): 69 damage, 5 attacks in row
  • power stance (heavy): 82 damage, 3 attacks in row

Notes: The sword scales ONLY D with strength.

Caestus on Hollow soldiers (Dex 10, Str 15, Sta 6):

  • 1 handed attack (light): 90 damage, 8 attacks in row;
  • 1 handed attack (heavy): 108 damage, 6 attacks in row;
  • 2 handed attack (light): 100 damage, 5 attacks in row;
  • 2 handed attack (heavy): 136 damage, 7 attacks in row;
  • power stance (light): 128 damage, 8 attacks in row
  • power stance (heavy): 144 damage, 2 attacks in row

Notes: The Caestus scales A with strength and B with agility, its power stance light attack is very fast.

Broken Straight Sword + Long Sword (Dex 13, Str 15, Sta 6) on Hollow Soldiers:

  • power stance (light, Broken in left): 127 damage
  • power stance (light, Long in left): 130 damage
  • power stance (heavy, Broken in left): 153 damage
  • power stance (heavy, Long in left): 157 damage

Notes: Using the higher damage weapon in the left hand gives better results.

Other things worth mentioning:

  • power stance attacks apply on-hit effect twice (once for each weapon);
  • power stance attacks are (usually) slower if not chained;
  • the left hand hits stronger in power stance.

In the end, power stance is more consuming than two handed, but deals more damage. Also, using a quick weapon in the right and a high damage weapon in the left, can give you the opportunity to strike with your stronger weapon (or both if power stancing) after briefly stunning your opponent with your faster weapon. It's also worth mentioning that you must have +50% of the stats required to dual wield (rounded bottom), while to use a weapon with two hands you need less strength than required (you get +50% bonus to strength).


The only thing I have noticed from power stance is that it has some really cool move sets, such as swinging both weapons at once. And about the stamina drain, it is the same as two handing a weapon if the power stance move hits twice it will drain stamina twice if it hits three it drains three... in sure u get it even tho I probably didn't explain well I am sleepy.


The stamina drain seems significant, but it is actually equal to if you had swung your weapon twice. To think of it very simply you are going to double your damage, for double the stamina, in half the time.

Compared to a greatsword or ultra weapon it can offer similar damage, but also applies status effects quicker, can break poise faster, and generally animates more quickly.

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