How To Become A Combat Expert in Stardew Valley

To reap the rewards of the mines, you need to brave the monsters within. A high Combat skill directly results in smoother and more successful spelunks in the Pelican Town mine! Not sure where to start? Read on, and master the Combat skill in no time.

A Stardew Valley farmer hones their Combat skills in the mines.
Take that!

What Is Combat?

Combat is one of the five primary skills in Stardew Valley. It measures how strong your character’s attacks are against monsters and how much damage they can take before they pass out. Combat and Mining tend to go hand in hand, as the place where you level up these two skills is one and the same – the mines. While there is treasure to be found, there are also many monsters within. A high level of Combat is necessary to get the best out of every trip to the mines!

What Are The Other Skills in Stardew?

There are five skills in Stardew Valley that you have to master:

  • Farming
  • Mining
  • Foraging
  • Fishing
  • Combat
Check your skill progression in the Skills tab.

Why You Should Level Up Skills

Gaining levels in your skills leads to many different benefits in many different aspects of the game. Generally speaking, you’ll get new recipes, access to professions, and you’ll be able to earn far more profit from each skill.

For instance, investing time and effort into maximizing the Fishing skill will allow you to maximize profits from catching fish or harvesting Crab Pots. Someone who invests in learning everything there is to know about Mining will be able to find and collect more Ore, Geodes and Gems, and earns more money from processing and selling these items. Increasing your farming skill leads to higher-quality animal products and artisan goods. Foragers have an easier time collecting resources like Wood and Hardwood.

As for why you should level up the Combat skill… read on to find out!

How Do You Level Up Skills?

In order to level up your skills, you must participate in activities that relate to each of the individual skills. For example, to level up your Mining skill, head on over to the mines, Pickaxe in hand. Different activities reward you with different amounts of experience points. For example, mining stone nets you just one point of experience, whereas mining a Diamond Node can grant you 150 experience points!

It works the same with Combat. Different monsters grant you different amounts of experience. Less dangerous monsters, such as Bugs or Dust Sprites, give you just one or two experience points. Dangerous monsters such as Iridium Bats or Mummies, grant more.

Grubs are easy to kill, but award little experience.

Why You Should Level Up Combat

1. To Unlock Crafting Recipes

You will learn many useful crafting recipes, and a couple of cooking recipes, by leveling up in Combat. Of note are Explosive Ammo, Squid Ink Ravioli, and various ring recipes; including the Iridium Band.

Explosive Ammo

Explosive Ammo is a type of ammunition you can load into your Slingshot. If you’re a fan of these accurate ranged weapons, you may want to craft yourself a few stacks of this special ammo type. Upon hitting the target, Explosive Ammo will explode, dealing extra damage to enemies surrounding the original target. You’ll learn the recipe for Explosive Ammo when you reach level eight in Combat.

Explosive Ammo destroys enemies and rocks alike.

Food: Squid Ink Ravioli and More

Squid Ink Ravioli is a cooked dish that requires Squid Ink, Wheat Flour, and one Tomato. Aside from granting a terrific 225 Energy and 101 Health – enough to keep you going for a long time, you’ll also receive two buffs upon eating this food. It increases your Mining by +1, and grants you immunity from Debuffs for three minutes. You’ll get the recipe for this dish at level nine of Combat. You’ll also learn to cook the Bug Steak and Roots Platter meals too!

Rings, rings, rings

You will learn how to craft the Sturdy Ring, Warrior Ring, Ring of Yoba, Thorns Ring, and Iridium Band, as you level up in Combat. Each of these rings is unique and worth using, but the Iridium Band is the creme de la creme. It combines the benefits of the Glow Ring, Magnet Ring, and Ruby Ring. With it, you’ll emit a constant light, pick up items with more ease, and deal more damage.

Slime Stuff

When you reach level six in Combat, you’ll get the recipe for the Slime Egg-Press. It allows you to create Slime Eggs, which can be placed in a Slime Hutch and incubated into grown Slimes. You can craft additional Slime Incubators by reaching level eight in Combat.

You can raise your very own Slimes in a Slime Hutch!

Potions and Oils

Two final crafted items of note you can make if you level up in Combat are the Oil of Garlic and Life Elixir. A Life Elixir is an edible crafting item, and you’ll get its recipe when you reach level two in Combat. Consuming a Life Elixir grants you a whopping 200 Energy and restores your Health to full. It’s great to keep you going! Further, every villager aside from Krobus, Leo, and Willy like this item, so it makes for a good gift.

2. To Be Healthier

Certain Combat professions make your farmer quite literally healthier. The Fighter profession grants you +15 to your maximum health, and the Defender profession which you can take at level ten, grants you an additional +25. Furthermore, each level in Combat increases your maximum Health by +5. This means that with those two Professions chosen, you can have 180 Health instead of the starting maximum Health of just 100.

More health means you can take more damage.

3. To Be Deadlier

Leveling up your Combat skill will make killing monsters a lot easier. In addition to gaining access to craftable items that will allow you to deal more damage, there are Professions you can select that will make you deadlier. Fighters and Brutes deal 10%-15% more damage across the board, whereas Scouts and Desperados will have higher critical strike chances, and have deadlier critical strikes. A bonus to your damage is always good!


4. To Stay In The Mines Longer

There are three things that can make you leave the mine before you’re ready to:

  • Time
  • Low Energy
  • Low Health

Time is self-explanatory. If it’s close to midnight, you need to head home and return tomorrow. Low Energy is also self-explanatory; a long day of mining will drain your Energy.

Low Health is one other reason that might force you to leave the mines early. If you’re weak and the monsters in the mine are damaging you too much, you’ll need to leave. A higher Combat skill, which translates to higher Health and higher damage, means you can stay and fight for longer. This is especially true for the Skull Cavern, where the enemies are that much deadlier.

A weak combatant cannot last long in the mines.

5. To Survive The Skull Cavern

If you thought the Pelican Town mines were tough, wait till you see the Skull Cavern. This deadly area is accessed from the Calico Desert. The enemies you face here are much tougher, but the rewards are all that greater. In order to survive to reach the depths of the Skull Cavern, you’ll need to be a Combat Expert. Bring food, a strong weapon, and as many Combat levels as you can, before you try to brave these dangerous mines.

6. To Unlock Combat Professions

In order to obtain any one of the six possible Combat professions, you’ll need to grind to levels five and ten. We’ll go in-depth on just what these professions do and whether they’re worth it below!

What Are Professions

All skills have professions. You can choose between two professions at level five of each skill, and then once again make another binary choice at level ten. In total, each skill has six possible professions.

Usually, professions allow you to make a decision about how you want to engage in any given skill. For example, with Mining, if you choose the Miner profession and not the Geologist profession, you’re making a decision to focus on Ore and Metal Bars, rather than on Gems.

List of Professions

SkillLevel Five Profession #1Level Ten Profession OptionsLevel Five Profession #2Level Ten Profession Options
FarmingRancherCoopmaster / ShepherdTillerArtisan / Agriculturist
MiningMinerBlacksmith / ProspectorGeologistExcavator / Gemologist
ForagingForesterLumberjack / TapperGathererBotanist / Tracker
FishingFisherAngler / PirateTrapperMariner / Luremaster
CombatFighterBrute / DefenderScoutAcrobat / Desperado

Combat Professions

Fighter or Scout

When it comes to Combat, you need to decide if you want to have reliable damage or unreliable – but very high – damage.

Choosing Fighter will unlock the path to the professions Brute and Defender. Fighters deal 10% more damage across the board, and you’ll gain +15 HP towards your Health maximum by choosing this profession. Deciding on Fighter is deciding on a pretty standard build, that prioritizes dealing a stable amount of damage.

Choose a Sword or Maul if you plan to be a Fighter

Choose Scout, on the other hand, for a more high-risk high-reward style of fighting. Scouts have a 50% higher chance to score a critical hit. Critical Hits deal a lot more damage than normal hits, so if you’re lucky, you can kill enemies a lot faster than Fighters can. Choosing Scout paves the way for the later professions Acrobat and Desperado.

Daggers are perfect for your crit chance and crit strike-oriented build.

Fighter: Brute Or Defender

If you’ve chosen Fighter at level five, at level ten you’ll have a choice between Brute and Defender.

Brutes don’t get any additional health bonuses but do get way more damage. Brutes will deal 15% more damage, in addition to the previous 10% increase in damage you already do. Brutes focus on raw damage and can kill enemies fairly quickly with powerful blows.

Defenders focus on defense. Choosing this profession will grant you a nice +25 to your Health maximum. Defenders don’t get an increase in damage dealt, but they’ll be able to take more punishment in the mines.

Scout: Acrobat or Desperado

If you’ve chosen Scout at level five, at level ten you’ll have a choice between Acrobat and Desperado.

Acrobats have a lower cooldown on special moves. Most weapons have a special move when you right-click instead of left-clicking. Swords block, Mauls smash in the area, and Daggers strike several times at once. Having a lower Cooldown for these moves is good in general. However, if you plan on using Slingshots – which have no special move – or Swords – whose Block move isn’t that good – Acrobat may not be the right choice.

Desperado increases the damage your critical strikes do. If you’re leaning towards a Combat build that focuses on critical strike, then increasing your critical strike chance (Scout) and then critical strike damage (Desperado) is the way to go.

How To Level Up In Combat

1. Seek Out Monsters

The only way to gain experience in Combat is to fight monsters. So, in order to level up in Combat, you need to go where the monsters are. Notably, you can find Monsters in the Pelican Town mine, the Quarry Mine, The Skull Cavern, The Mutant Bug Lair, the Volcano Dungeon, and more.

Of these, you’ll probably be most familiar with the standard Pelican Town mines, which are located in the Mountains of Pelican Town. Here, you’ll gradually be able to fight stronger and stronger enemies as you descend into the depths. The strongest enemies are found post-level 80, so that’s the best place to grind experience without leaving the city.

2. Grind Monster Slayer Quests

Feeling a little lost and directionless, or maybe just looking for a challenge? Head on over to the Adventurer’s Guild and seek out the notice board posted on the wall. Here you’ll find a list of monsters to kill and the number required before you’re rewarded. This little quest gives you a goal and can help motivate you to kill monsters, leveling up your Combat skill all the while.

The Notice Board is between Marlon and the fireplace.

3. Delve Into The Skull Cavern

While tip #1 is good, we want to reiterate the importance of the Skull Cavern in particular. To gain access to this mine, you must first fix the Bus that can take you to the Calico Desert. Either complete the Vault Bundle in the Community Center or sell your soul to JojaMart and purchase “Bus To The Desert” from the Joja Community Development Form.

With the bus all fixed up, you can pay 500 gold to Pam in the morning to take you to the Calico Desert. True to its name, the desert is pretty barren; compared to Pelican Town, at least. But it does have this one amazing place right at the northernmost point of the map – The Skull Cavern.

The Skull Cavern is a lot deadlier than the regular Pelican Town mines. All of the toughest enemies you can face in this game are located here – The Iridium Bat, The Iridium Crab, Mummies, Serpents, and more. As we’ve established, the more dangerous the enemy, the more experience you get from killing them. Therefore, the Skull Cavern is the best place to gain Combat experience.

Bring Bombs to permanently kill Mummies, or you won’t get any experience!

Meet the author

I'm a content writer and an avid video game player whose favourites are either chill RPGs or super competitive shooters with no in-between! If anyone is still reading this please help, Joja has trapped me in a guide-writing factory and I'm so tired of drinking Joja Cola.

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