Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the latest game from developer From Software and it’s perhaps their most difficult game yet. Boasting a nuanced combat system players will need to slash, dodge, and deflect against a variety of fearsome foes. While many of the core enemies are terrifying, Sekiro’s bosses and mini-bosses are toughest foes in the game. Because of this, one has to one wonder what the easiest and hardest bosses are in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
When compiling this list we focused on the first playthrough of Sekiro. This means a bosses difficulty in New Game Plus or above will not factor into our decision. Additionally, we will be including both bosses and mini-bosses. Since there is very little distinction made between the two – outside of a few getting cutscenes – we will be including them all.
However, both the Great Colored Carp and Great Serpent will not be on this list. Since they are more environmental hazards than traditional boss fights. The first time to meet Genichiro Ashina will also not be included since no matter what you do the fight will end the same. We based our choices on the enemies move set, the general strategy when fighting them, and how they fair when you first meet them. Lore and the general presentation of the battle will not factor into our list.
Here is every boss and mini-boss in Sekiro ranked from easiest to hardest:
43. Mist Noble
I don’t really understand why the Mist Noble is even considered a mini-boss. Not only can you land an insanely easy stealth blow on this enemy, but the subsequent battle is over in seconds. The Mist Noble has such a low Posture that it’s easy to initiate a second death blow before it can even retaliate. The time it takes to read this entry is longer than the actual fight with this boss. While the lead up to this fight is tense, killing the Mist Noble never feels gratifying.
42. Leader Shigenori Yamauchi
The very first boss you face in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is Shigenori Yamauchi. However, most of you will have probably forgotten about this boss since the fight is over in a matter of seconds. Unlike the Mist Noble, Yamauchi at least puts up a fight and he’s designed to be the tutorial boss that teaches the player about Posture. Because of this, his easily dodgeable moves and low Posture gets a pass. This is designed as a teaching moment, not an in-depth battle that’s going to test your skills.
41. Folding Screen Monkeys
One of the strangest fights in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the Folding Screen Monkeys are essentially one giant puzzle. Locked in an arena, you’re tasked with taking down four elusive monkeys that need to be countered in unique ways. While the battle is certainly creative, it offers very little challenge. The only monsters that attack you are ghost apes that deal Terror damage. These can kill you if you’re not paying attention, but since the monkeys only require one to two hits, it’s rare you’ll ever come close to dying.
40. Okami Leader Shizu
Okami Leader Shizu is less of a real mini-boss and more an environmental hazard you have to remove. Until this foe is defeated, she will rain lightning bolts down on your head, making swimming through the water nearly impossible. However, once you confront Okami the battle is pretty simple. As long as you can close the gap, Okami won’t stand a chance. Just make sure to jump anytime a lightning bolt is coming at you.
39. General Naomori Kawarada
The first real mini-boss you face is General Naomori Kawarada. Located in the Ashina Outskirts, Kawarada can be a rather intimidating foe. His blows hit exceptionally hard and your lack of healing gourds can make this fight tricky. However, since there is no fog to lock you in with him, players can simply run away if the battle proves too tough. Additionally, you can land a very easy stealth blow on Kawarada, making the fight much easier.
38. Gyoubu Masataka Oniwa
Perhaps the best entrance in all of Sekiro, Gyoubu Masataka Oniwa is the second boss you come across. Don’t let his intimidating stature fool you, Oniwa is remarkably easy to take down once you learn to not take him head on. Since you can grapple to Oniwa after certain attacks, it’s easy to get some slashes in and dash away before he can retaliate. You can also use firecrackers to startle his horse and give you another easy window for attacks. As long as you play it safe, Oniwa is quite a simple fight.
37. Shinobi Hunter Enshin of Misen
The Shinobi Hunter is a glorified Mikiri Counter tutorial, but if you can’t manage the timing he will prove to be a bit tricky. All of his attacks have a significant amount of range, which makes dodging them difficult. He’s also not alone and if you don’t take out the guards beforehand this fight can get out of hand quickly. However, since you can land a stealth death blow on him and thin his ranks before the battle, the Shinobi Hunter comes in at number
36. Chained Ogre (All Versions)
This big brute was certainly the first roadblock many players encountered. His intimidating size, impressive range, and devastating grab attacks make the Chained Ogre a force to be reckoned with. Thankfully, you can land some free hits before the fight starts and the Chained Ogre leaves himself open after a lot of his attacks. It also has an extreme weakness to fire, which makes the Flame Vent an excellent tool against this boss. Just be careful of the ogre’s grab because it will punish anyone not quick enough to dodge it.
35. General Tenzen Yamauchi
What makes the fight against General Tenzen Yamauchi difficult is this mini-boss is surrounded by a ton of soldiers. However, the battle against Yamauchi can prove challenging if you don’t bother to take out the guards first. With rifleman and a soldier that will alert others if he spots you, utilizing the game’s stealth mechanics is a must. Once you take down Yamauchi’s bodyguards the actual one on one fight is quite simple. Just be patient and deflect his strikes until you can land a death blow.
34. Divine Dragon
Don’t let this dragon’s epic battlefield and size fool you, this fight is comically easy. All of its moves are extremely telegraphed and dealing with the root monsters is pretty simple if you don’t let yourself get surrounded. It doesn’t help that the only way to deal damage to the dragon is by firing a bolt of lightning at him. Very few of the skills you’ve learned matter in this battle, which makes the Divine Dragon an oddity. Even though it gets props for having one of the most cinematic battles in the game, the Divine Dragon doesn’t pose much of a threat.
33. Tokujiro the Glutton
Unlike Juzou, Tokujiro is a much easier fight since nothing really has changed since you last encounter this foe. Tokujiro uses the exact same moves as Juzou and his angry ape companions die in just a few hits. Additionally, once you reach Tokujiro you should have a lot more health and better knowledge of how to deflect strikes. This transforms a boss like Tokujiro into a bit of a pushover. The lack of new moves, makes fighting Tokujiro simple, even if you’re not great at Sekiro.
32. General Kuranosuke Matsumoto
The last of the generals, Matsumoto only gets the edge over his allies thanks to all of the guards having ranged weapons. This makes engaging him head-on suicide, as a volley of bullets will instantly kill you. It doesn’t help that the soldiers are closely clumped together, making stealth tricky. While the battle between you and Matsumoto is easy enough, the variety of guards and limited space makes this boss quite tricky. Remember to use the roofs to hide from gunfire or land a stealth death blow on the general.
31. Sakura Bull of the Palace
Another reskin boss fight, Sakura Bull of the Palace is simply easier than the Blazing Bull because you’ve fought this boss before. Nothing really changes in this fight, but the confined arena can make dodging a bit difficult. Just stick to the beast’s right side and whack at it whenever it charges past you. Remember to abuse firecrackers in this fight too since that will let you land some free hits before it can retaliate.
30. Armored Warrior
Unlike other enemies, you cannot directly kill the Armored Warrior with a death blow. Instead, you’ll need to shove this big oaf off the bridge once you break his Posture. Figuring out how to actually kill the Armored Warrior is most of the challenge. Sekiro doesn’t directly explain that you need to knock him away so this can prove to be a frustrating challenge since no other foe prior requires you to use the environment. Yet, once you realize how to defeat this enemy, the Armored Warrior is not that bad. A few of his attacks can certainly kill you, but almost all of them can be deflected.
29. Genichiro, Way of Tomoe
The second to last boss in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is more of a warm-up for the last enemy in the game. Boasting only one health bar, Genichiro will attack you with the same second form moves he used during the last fight with him. This makes his fight pretty simple if you remember to get aggressive and break his Posture bar early. While Genichiro can drain your health bar with his lightning attacks, having the second fight just be a repeat shouldn’t give many players trouble.
28. Blazing Bull
Now we are starting to get into some of Sekiro’s tougher combatants. Unlike the Bull of the Palace, the Blazing Bull can prove to be quite difficult. Coming swiftly after the fight with Gyoubu Masataka Oniwa, the Blazing Bull will test your ability to quickly sprint out of the way. Its attacks hit really hard and this animal can be quite relentless. There’s very little room to properly dodge and counter-attack, so you’ll need to wait for the perfect opportunity to strike. It doesn’t help that the Blazing Bull has a bad habit of killing you the moment you resurrect.
27. Juzou the Drunkard
Juzou the Drunkard is an early game boss that be quite a demanding fight if you’re not smart about managing his minions. Being able to stealth kill a lot of them or simply run away from the fight if it gets too tricky does lessen the tension. But, Juzou is an intimidating foe that has a surprising amount of reach with his sword. This fight definitely teaches you about punishing big, slow attacks and how to manage crowds of enemies. Being able to recruit the other soldier into helping you also helps, but he isn’t necessary to kill the bandit leader.
26. Shichimen Warrior
This fight comes down to one thing, do you have any Pacifying Agents? Just like other From Software games, Terror is a status effect that will instantly kill the player if you sustain too much of it. Because of this, the Terror-focused boss can be challenging if you lack any Pacifying Agents to reduce your build up. Yet, if you go into this battle with some you shouldn’t have that much trouble taking this creature down. While it’s ranged attacks can be annoying, the Shichimen Warrior leaves enough openings that’s it’s easy to build up a death blow on it.
25. Ashina Elite – Jinsuke Saze
I must have died to this mini-boss about a dozen times before I figured out how to kill him. A foe capable of literally killing the player in one shot, Jinsuke might appear to be an intimidating foe at first. However, once you learn the timing for deflecting his moves, this old man can quickly be defeated. The flash right before he draws his sword is an easy tell that really simplifies this fight. Alternatively, using the Raven Feathers to get behind can reduce the difficulty of this boss.
24. Shigekichi of the Red Guard
The last of the Juzou reskins, Shigekichi gets the edge over his counterparts thanks to the soldiers with him and his use of fire. Despite using the same attacks as the others, the switch to fire-based moves makes dodging critical. Additionally, if you don’t manage to get rid of his buddies this fight can go from hard to downright cruel. To really succeed in this fight, take your time and pick off the other soldiers before engaging Shigekichi directly.
23. Long-arm Centipede Sen-Un
Your frustration with the Long-arm Centipede Sen-Un will entirely depend on how good at deflecting you are. Set in a large shrine full of smaller variations of this foe, you can quickly escape death by just retreating to the rafters above. Outside of Sen-Un, all of the minions can be quickly dispatched turning this into a one on one battle. As long as you can deflect the centipede’s rapid strikes you can easily break its posture and land a death blow.
22. Lone Shadow Longswordsman
The Longswordsman may seem like a tricky fight the first few times you face him, but the trick is to play defensively. Since you can land an easy death blow on this mini-boss from the hole in the ceiling, the difficulty of this battle is cut in half. Once the fight begins, if you play defensively and only strike after his combos finish you shouldn’t have any issues. Just make sure to keep your guard up to ensure that he doesn’t stun lock you with his attacks.
21) Snake Eyes Shirafuji
Snake Eyes Shirafuji is a brutal opponent that can devastate your health bar. With a variety of quick hitting ranged attacks, Shirafuji can keep you at bay. Thankfully, her long-range grab attack is extremely punishable. However, that doesn’t make this fight any easier and you’ll need to really memorize her combos if you hope to succeed. Did we mention that she will have soldiers shooting at you during the fight? Turns out that Snake Eyes Shirafuji doesn’t fight fair.
20. Shume Masaji Oniwa
Another general, Shume Masaji Oniwa is a ranged combat that will use his spear to keep you at bay. While this will prove tricky, you’ll face Oniwa when you have a lot of health and quite a few tricks. This lessens the difficulty of the fight but doesn’t make it easy for skilled players. The burning environment will restrict the spaces you can dodge, forcing you to “get good” at deflecting his blows. Pro tip: backstab his friend before the fight and use the ninjutsu that turns him into an ally. It will save you a lot of headaches.
19. Long-arm Centipede Giraffe
Apparently From Software thinks it’s hilarious to lock you in a tiny room with a boss that takes up 60% of it. Enter the Long-arm Centipede Giraffe, an exact copy of the last centipede except you have nowhere to run in this fight. This entire battle boils down to your ability to expertly deflect and then jump off their head when they attempt a Perilous attack. There’s almost no room for error in this fight since the centipede has a really long range. Yet, if you get your deflect timing down this boss can be quickly defeated.
18. Snake Eyes Shirahagi
What is it with From Software and poison lakes? Snake Eyes Shirahagi is essentially the same fight as Shirafuji, only this time you’re on a tiny island. All of the same strategies still work for Shirahagi, but the toxic environment and multiple gunmen elevate this fight. There’s a lot to manage here and if you’re not diligent with taking out Shirahagi’s back up then you’ll certainly end up dying – a lot.
17. Corrupted Monk (Ghost)
Don’t let this ghost’s size fool you, the Corrupted Monk is quite difficult and nimble. Its spear gives the Corrupted Monk some serious range, allowing it to constantly keep you on the defensive. While you can play the Posture battle with the monk, it’s simply easier to just go for its vitality after it whiffs one of the combos. The real challenge comes from how hard the Corrupted Monk hits, as one slash can cut your health bar in half. Even with Divine Confetti, this is a very tricky fight that only gets harder when you face the real thing later on.
16. Emma, the Gentle Blade
Emma is a fight where there is almost no room for error. Despite her low posture, Emma can be a very difficult opponent. Every one of her attacks will cut your health bar in half and she can strike very, very quickly. She is also remarkably fast, able to cover the entire arena in a less than a couple of seconds. If she manages to land a hit you better heal yourself otherwise Emma will instantly kill you. To make matters worse, Emma is just a teaser before the real fight.
15. Seven Ashina Spears – Shikibu Toshikatsu Yamauchi
Can you perform a Miriki Counter? If the answer is yes then you’ll still have a pretty hard fight ahead of you. However, if the answer is no then this will be a damn nightmare. Shikibu has insane range and hits very hard. Even though you can easily land a stealth death blow, it doesn’t matter because Shikibu will still kick your ass up and down Ashina. This is undoubtedly the hardest general in all of Sekiro and will prove to be a fearsome challenge for even veteran From Software players.
We’re cheating a bit and lumping all the versions of Headless into one entry. Even though the fight doesn’t really change from encounter to encounter, Headless can still prove to be a very challenging opponent. His gas that heavily restricts movements robs you of your speed and dodging capabilities. Instead, you’ll have to hope you can deflect enough attacks without succumbing to the Terror status effect. Making matters worse is you’ll need Divine Confetti if you want this fight to finish in a reasonable amount of time.
13. Lone Shadow Vilehand
Located in Ashina Castle where Jinsuke used to reside, Lone Shadow Vilehand is a fast and deadly opponent. His combos are quite long and can easily break your Posture in a single flurry. To make matters worse, Vilehand uses poison which can be troublesome if the effect actually triggers and begins to drain your life. The only thing keeping this foe from being higher on the list is you can actually stealth kill his bodyguard and turn them into an alley via your Ninjutsu.
12. O’Rin of the Water
O’Rin of the Water is certainly one of the hardest mini-bosses in all of Sekiro. Her attacks are lightning fast and the ability to phase out of existence makes follow up hits very tricky. She also has a unique style that flows from one blow to another with some odd delays between strikes. Until you really get the timing down, deflecting and dodging her moves is very difficult. Even though you can land a cheeky death blow by jumping on her head before the fight, O’Rin of the Water is still a very strong foe.
11. Headless Ape + Bride
The Headless Ape is perhaps the most terrifying foe in the entire game. This brutal, huge beast can cleave your shinobi into pieces and make engagements very tricky. Despite using the same moves as the Guardian Ape’s second form, the Headless Ape is still a very difficult fight. Things get even harder when the ape calls in its mate which forces you to deal with two opponents. Your arena is already cramped, so shoving in a second big enemy can make this battle very, very difficult. Make sure to bring some firecrackers with you!
10. Lone Shadow Masanaga the Spear-Bearer
The last of the mini-bosses, Lone Shadow Masanaga the Spear-Bearer is essentially the same fight as Vilehand, just without back up and in a much smaller room. Vilehand has some very quick attacks and also deals poison damage via his sword. You’ll need to be very quick with your deflections and dodges if you hope to survive. Masanaga also regenerates his Posture very quickly, which means you’ll need to be on the offensive if you hope to win.
9. Corrupted Monk (Real One)
Just like the ghost version of this boss, the Corrupted Monk has a plethora of long-range attacks that deal a lot of damage. Broken up into three phases, the Corrupted Monk will prove to be a vicious foe if you’re not diligent about blocking. Remember, you can land a death blow during the second part of the fight which will make your life way easier. However, this still requires two full phases of dealing with this boss on a narrow bridge.
8. Genichiro Ashina
I have lost count how many times I died to Genichiro Ashina. A three-part fight, Genichiro’s first two phases consist of deflecting a barrage of ranged and close quarters attack. Ashina deals a lot of damage, allowing him to quickly dispatch your shinobi with only a few blows. Not only will you need to memorize his combos, but safe enough gourds for the hidden third part of this boss battle.
Once he actually goes down, Ashina will become much more aggressive and start hurling lightning at you. Now you’ll need to go on the offensive, forcing him to block your attacks before he starts depleting you of healing gourds. If you die you’ll need to do the whole fight over again and given how early in Sekiro this fight is, there’s almost no room for wasting consumables.
7. Lady Butterfly
I imagine this is the first real boss that gave players trouble in Sekiro. Lady Butterfly is a quick, agile, and surprisingly brutal enemy. While the end of her attacks leaves great openings for counter hits, Lady Butterfly will punish anyone who gets too aggressive. Since you’ll be limited on supplies, she is the hardest early game boss. Things go from bad to worse during her second phase which incorporates illusion monsters and magical projectiles. If you don’t play it safe during this part then you will surely perish.
6. Demon of Hatred
The most “Souls-like” boss in the game, Demon of Hatred looks like a monster ripped right out of Bloodborne. Unlike other enemies, you’ll need to start slashing at its groin and behind if you want to vanquish this monster. The demon doesn’t make this easy, as it possesses a ton of fire moves, quick striking claw attacks, and scariest belly flop of all time. There are very few prosthetic tools that even help in this fight, so you’ll need to rely on your reflexes. Just don’t forget to grapple onto the demon’s head to close the gap.
5. Great Shinobi Owl
Our number 5 hardest boss is your father, the Great Shinobi Owl. Everything about this fight is difficult regardless if you go for vitality or Posture damage. The Owl has incredible range and his moves do a ton of damage to your Posture. Unlike other foes, if he actually breaks your Posture will perform a death blow and instantly kill your shinobi.
The Owl utilizes a variety of gadgets too, including fireworks, smoke bombs, shurikens, and a bomb that disables your ability to heal. If there was PvP in Sekiro we imagine fights would be something like this. Do not get greedy in this fight, the Owl has some seriously strong counterattacks.
4. Isshin Ashina
The final boss if you decide to join your father, Isshin Ashina is remarkably quick for his age. Able to deal a lot of burst damage, Isshin throws a mix of fire and big arcing sword slashes at you. Because of this, you’ll need to be constantly ready to dodge which will leave almost no room for follow up attacks. Deflecting proves to be even trickier since it’s hard to judge the range on his moves. What really makes this fight difficult is you have to face Emma beforehand, so you’ll already be put through a tough fight before Issin even arrives.
3. Guardian Ape
We’re pretty sure From Software designed the Guardian Ape to just break the spirits of its players. Unlike every fight before it, the Guardian Ape is insanely erratic and fast, making it very difficult to actually predict. There is virtually no room for counter attacks and deflecting all its strikes will get you killed. The ape will also fart on your (Yes, really) and throw is poo if you’re trying to keep your distance. Yet, the best feeling in the world is finally getting to cut this big brute’s head off with a massive sword.
That is until he picks up his damn head and the sword like nothing happened. We cannot even imagine how many players got caught off guard by this. Not only does it have a Terror AoE (Area of Effect) attack, but the Guardian Ape has an entirely new set of moves! This essentially forces the player to fight two bosses back to back with no checkpoints at all. Good luck!
2. Owl Father
Did you think you were done fighting your dad? The second battle with the Great Shinobi Owl is even more difficult thanks to his new move set. A lot of his attacks are very quick and he will start implementing more firecrackers at the end of combos. This makes this boss tricky since you cannot always dash in to quickly deal some damage before going back on defense. Some of his combos have insanely quick follow-ups allowing the Owl to always keep you away from him.
Things get even worse in the second phase when he summons a spirit owl. Not only can he hurl this bird at you, but the Owl can use it to teleport towards you. When he does this the Owl becomes untargetable so you’ll have to be ready to sprint away right as he vanishes. This is an endurance fight and if you cannot properly deflect his strikes then this giant of a man will always win.
1. Isshin, The Sword Saint
Surprising no one, the hardest boss in the game is also the very last one. Technically a four-part fight since you need to fight Genichiro beforehand, Isshin is comically difficult even by From Software standards. While the first phase isn’t that bad, but once he pulls out his spear prepare to get absolutely wrecked. Isshin has a number of combos – a few of which have different variations – making defending difficult. His range is on par with the Corrupted Monk and there is almost no room for error.
A single hit will take half your life bar, so you’ll need to play this almost perfectly. Once the fourth phase starts, Isshin gains the ability to launch projectiles and lighting. If you cannot deflect the lightning then Isshin will beat you senseless. Did we mention Isshin also uses a gun? Because apparently the giant spear, sword, lightning strikes, and wind strikes weren’t enough. If you manage to beat this foe give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve just vanquished the most difficult boss in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.