Parry and shatter your opponent's defences like the beast you are.
There's little more important in a melee game than learning how to block. Parrying is important in For Honor, since doing so properly allows you to not only mitigate incoming damage but also use the enemy's attack against them. For Honor is aiming to replicate that melee combat feeling, so parrying is as important as dodging or attacking in general.
The first thing you need to be able to do is read the in-game animations. We highly suggest you run through the in-game tutorials first and learn in-depth how the mechanics work and get a feel for how the animations play out, as that sort of knowledge is vital and is difficult to explain in text - then we can get into the nitty-gritty of the deeper mechanics below. A great way to get used to the animations is simply to practice blocking.
In many ways For Honor is a more traditional fighting game - it might look more like an arena battler with swords instead of guns, but the way animation priority and move frame data works is actually a little more like a traditional fighting game like Tekken or Street Fighter - and it might help you to think of blocking and attacking in those kinds of terms - it certainly helped me.
How to Parry correctly in For Honor
Parrying is a pretty simple action input-wise. You'll most likely be blocking but either way, you'll be waiting for your opponent to come in and attempt to attack. Watch them carefully, keeping up your guard. All characters in For Honor parry the same way - by pressing heavy/strong attack towards the opponent that's attacking you.
Timing is absolutely key: you want your attack to connect with your opponent's attack mid-air, thus stopping it from coming in and hitting you properly. Attack too late and you'll eat the blow as if you weren't blocking. Attack too early and you'll whiff your blow and leave yourself open - neither of which is ideal.
Practice will make perfect with the timing, but you should also consider keeping an eye on the icon that tells you which direction the enemy is attacking from - it'll flash red but then also flash again right as the attack is about to connect. This is a serious helping hand when it comes to timing.
If your attack connects with theirs in the proper way, the opponent will be pushed back and you'll have an advantage. This is a lot like the move priority in traditional fighting games, as mentioned above. If you act quickly, your next action is almost certain to beat out their next action. You can just let rip with a raw attack, but what we recommend is that you go for a guard break. On that topic
How to Guard Break correctly in For Honor
One of your options after a parry, or when you hit a stalemate against an enemy, is a guard break. This move basically exists to break through an enemy's block and leave them wide open for you to lay on some real hurt. This is arguably one of the most important aspects of For Honor, and doing it right will mean you're significantly more deadly on the battlefield, especially in one-on-one encounters.
A Guard Break is performed by hitting Square on PS4 and X on Xbox One, and it lashes out with a kick to break the enemy's concentration. If you hit the Guard Break button again after your kick connects you'll then let loose with a tackle or a throw that'll send the enemy to the floor, and you'll have more than enough time to deliver a blow to them while they're getting up from that humiliation.
One of the reasons you'll want to toss out a guard break in a situation such as after a parry is because guard breaks don't interrupt attacks in progress. If your opponent is winding up a big attack a guard break isn't going to stop that attack - you'll kick them and then get a sword to the torso for your trouble. Only guard break when you know it's safe because it can be interrupted.
Guard Break Interrupt
The Guard Break counter is covered in For Honor's 'Advanced Practice' tutorial, but as the video from YouTube user Aeon Amadi above shows, the Advanced Practice tutorial actually is rather poorly phrased and doesn't really tell you how to properly use this feature of For Honor.
Basically, when a Guard Break is incoming you have an opportunity to break out of it by doing a guard break of your own with exactly the right timing. This is where the in-game tutorial goes astray - it tells you to perform your own guard break the moment the enemy's starts up, but that's actually incorrect.
Instead, time your guard break so that you trigger it right at the moment your enemy's guard break makes contact with you. You can practically use the sound of them hitting your shield as your trigger, if you want.
Much as with Parrying, too early or too late and you're going to eat your foe's blade, so time it right - you'll know when you do as the enemy will be sent recoiling and there'll be a flash of light. This resets the situation, and from there you can loop back to the top of this article - trying to find an in through a clever parry.