You’ve read the news, you’ve seen the reactions, and heard the arguments; Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one frickin’ hard game. Like, it’s so hard, people had to use hacks to beat the final boss, there are tons and tons of rage videos on YouTube of Let’s Players dying hundreds of times, and people, reasonably enough, turn to the so-called Soulsborne or the Git Gud communities for boss guides and general tips and tricks. And, well, you know, this article is one of those guides!
Games created by From Software, a video game developer known for creating punishingly hard games, are very special—the games have massive immersive worlds to unravel its mysteries, the game doesn’t hold your hand; it respects that your skills can overcome its challenges and overcoming these challenges will reward you with a sense of accomplishment that you will never find anywhere. From Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, these games have created a massive community of passionate players that, if you ask for help, they will gladly share their knowledge so you too can experience what From Software games can offer.
And true to form, Honey’s Anime will share our knowledge on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice to new players eager to explore its world. This guide isn’t a boss guide, nor a walkthrough, but rather a guide on how to better prepare yourself for the unrelenting challenges found in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. So for new players, here are Honey’s Anime Top 10 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Tips and Tricks!
10. Spend Wisely and Invest in Gold Purses
This may be a small thing, but saving a lot of your gold/sen for that needed prosthetic upgrade or consumables goes a long way. When you die, you’ll lose a portion of your gold, and factoring in the frequency of you dying, you’ll be losing a lot. So, before diving in for a boss battle, be sure to spend your gold on consumables or buy a lot of Spirit Emblems. You also need to buy gold purses from merchants because you won’t lose these upon death. The cost of a purse is a rip-off, but it’s better to spend a little extra than lose everything when you die.
Additional tip: Level Up Before Fighting Tough Battles
This is similar to investing in purses because you’ll lose half of your experience points upon death, and starting over is both annoying and aggravating. So, when your experience bar is 50% to 80% full, go around and beat enemies to fill the remaining 20% to get that skill point. Yeah, it’s tedious to spend half an hour farming for experience, but the good news is, you’ll earn gold and items in the process.
9. Get the Right Skills for a Better Early Game
Your shinobi has a wide variety of Arts you can unlock as you level up. At the start of the game, you’ll have access to your Shinobi Arts and Prosthetic Arts skill trees, and after beating your first main boss, you’ll encounter an NPC that will give you the Ashina Arts skill tree as a side quest reward. The list of skills is overwhelming at first because you’re not sure which one to pick. For this guide, we’re going to give you a list of arts you need to unlock as soon as possible so that exploring the world of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be less frustrating.
Shinobi Arts: Mikiri Counter, Whirlwind Slash, A Shinobi’s Karma: Body, Breath of Life: Light, Suppress Presence and Suppress Sound.
Prosthetic Arts: Grappling Hook Attack, Emma’s Medicine Potency.
Ashina Arts: Ichimonji, Ascending Carp, Descending Carp, Ichimonji: Double.
-Mikiri Counter is the only effective and reliable skill to counter thrusting attacks.
-Whirlwind Slash is a good two-hit attack, but the reason we learn this skill and A Shinobi’s Karma: Body is to access the skill Breath of Life: Light skill. What this does is you get a portion of your health back after executing a deathblow. Since you’re finishing your attacks with a deathblow, you’ll regain health very quickly.
-Grappling Hook Attack is not essential, but unlocking this skill will give you access to Emma’s Medicine: Potency, a very useful skill that lets you heal more per sip of your Healing Gourd or by using Pellets.
-Ichimonji, Ascending Carp, Descending Carp, and Ichimonji: Double are skills that primarily focus on dealing Posture damage. Ichimonji: Double is an excellent Combat Art that lets you deal Posture damage to enemies and at the same time recovers your own Posture. The move is slow and doesn’t connect with other moves, but when timed right, Ichimonji: Double is very effective at destroying your enemy’s Posture.
8. Always Fight in 1 vs 1 Duels
The enemies in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice are extremely vicious, even more so because they can block, deflect, and counter your attacks, so attacking a crowd of samurai warriors is one quick way to get your shinobi killed. Always enter areas silently, use bushes to hide your presence, hide in corners, get to higher ground where you can see where the enemies are patrolling, and methodically thin their numbers so you can fight the mini-boss without interruptions or clear the areas without taking damage and saving precious resources.
7. Get Cursed, Get More Items
There’s a Demon Bell found in Mt. Kongo and ringing the bell will inflict a debuff that makes the game difficult with enemies having increased stats and damage. The other side effect, however, is that item drop rates increase significantly. The Demon Bell curse is very useful for farming upgrades for your Shinobi Prosthetics, other consumables like Pellets, and Sugars. So if you’re planning to farm for items, then the Demon Bell curse is a must-have debuff/buff. And the best part? You can remove and reapply the curse any time you want!
Mt. Kongo takes a while to reach, but you can reach the bell very early by following these steps:
After beating the Chained Ogre mini-boss in the Ashina Outskirts, go to where the mini-boss was chained and grapple up to the opening on the second floor of the building. On the second floor, you’ll see another opening slightly to the right of your current location, grapple to the branch found at the right side of the opening, and run towards the bushes. Drop down and you’ll see a hut with a note. Behind the hut, jump and grapple to the branch below. Locate the ledge further below from your current location, jump towards it and grab on. Shimmy your way to the left until you can climb up and then jump down to a large cliff below. On this cliff face, you’ll find a cave. Enter the cave until you’re on another cliff with something glowing down below. What you’re seeing is a headless monster, but don’t worry, you can avoid it. Jump down to where the monster is and run towards a small tunnel leading to a trap door. Wall hug the trap door to open it and the door will take you to the Demon Bell. Ring the bell, get cursed and happy farming!
6. Time Your Deflections; Don’t Do The Block Waggle Dance
One common mistake Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice players make is constantly tapping the block button to anticipate incoming attacks. While dancing with your sword does deflect attacks, the animation will not let you do a perfect deflection. What’s the difference? You take more posture damage for not timing your deflections and if you’re against a very aggressive enemy, they will break your posture, leaving you open for a Perilous Attack. A perfect deflection means timing your block at the right moment when the enemy attack lands. You will still take posture damage but it will not break, you deal more posture damage to the enemy, and in some cases, you can stun an enemy if you perfectly deflect their specific attacks. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice knows people do this, so the mini-boss before your second fight with Genichiro will teach you, the hard way, that not timing your deflects will get you killed.
Additional tip: Holding the Guard button will quickly restore your posture during battle. Do this when you can.
5. Understanding Perilous Attacks and How to Counter Them
Perilous Attacks are powerful moves that deal massive damage and very hard to block. You can tell the move is a Perilous Attack when you see a red danger kanji sign on top of your shinobi's head. To avoid these dangerous moves, you need to know the types of Perilous Attacks first.
- Thrusting Perilous Attacks
- Sweeping Perilous Attacks
- Grabbing Perilous Attacks
- Special Perilous Attacks like unique spells or AoE moves
Thrust attacks can be avoided by sidestepping, but it’s recommended you use Mikiri Counter so you can deal Posture damage, and you get to stand your ground. Sweep attacks can be avoided by dodging backward or by jumping over the attack. Jumping over the head of the enemy during this move and pressing the jump button again as you land will deal posture damage, so do this whenever you can. Grab attacks vary, but normally, it’s best you jump away from them. Special attacks are extremely rare and exclusive to a number of bosses and enemies, but as a general rule, just always run away or go under the attack.
4. Get as Many Gourd Seeds and Pearl Beads as Early as Possible
The Healing Gourd is your primary source of healing and you can hold up to 10 charges by finding Gourd Seeds and present them to Emma. The more healing charges you have, the more your margin of error during tough battles will be drastically reduced. Other important items you need to find as early as possible are Prayer Beads. Once you’ve collected 4 Prayer Beads, you can upgrade your health and Posture by a lot. And, of course, the more health you have, the less likely you’ll be killed instantly and it gives you more breathing room to run away and reassess the situation.
Gourd Seeds and Prayer Beads can be found all across the world, so these are the main reasons why you should be exploring every crevice and every corner. Prayer Beads can be earned by killing mini-bosses, so that’s another good reason why you’re fighting these overpowered grunt enemies. And trust us, more health and posture will make things a lot easier.
3. Be Aggressive With Your Play Style
Posture is a bar in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice that’s similar to the stamina bar in Dark Souls. When you attack or deflect an attack you deal posture damage to the enemy. Once the Posture bar of your enemy is full, they’ll become vulnerable to a deathblow, regardless of whether the enemy’s health bar is full or not.
We highly recommend you be aggressive when combat is unavoidable or when fighting bosses because you can end battles quickly by dealing posture damage to the enemy instead of slowly whittling their massive life bars and increasing the chances of you making mistakes. Being aggressive takes some guts and skills, like knowing when to deflect attacks, predicting and countering Perilous Attacks, and pushing the enemy into a corner. Once you’ve mastered all of the above and keep up the pressure to stop the enemy’s posture from recovering, you can win battles faster, and beating bosses by using their attacks against them is one of the most satisfying moments in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
2. Bite Down and Hidden Tooth
The consumable items Bite Down and Hidden Tooth are perhaps the most underappreciated items in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and, actually, one of the best items to use during boss battles. Your shinobi can have a maximum of 3 resurrection charges at all times, but you can only use one resurrection charge if you get killed. The other 2 resurrection charges will remain unusable until you land another deathblow.
How is a voluntary suicide useful during boss battles? Using any of these items will immediately kill your shinobi and lets you resurrect while still having access to the other charges. Repeated suicide will let you use your maximum 3 resurrections. This advantage is especially useful when you’re trying to save your Healing Gourd charges or are out of healing items and it gives you more chances of landing a few more hits to beat the boss.
1. You Can Stealth Deathblow Mini-Bosses to Remove One of Their Health Bars
The majority of the mini-bosses found in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice have at least 2 health bars and these bosses can be a pain to deal with. Thankfully, you can sneak around bosses and take out one of their life bars to reduce your margin of error by a lot. It does take a lot of sneaking and avoiding detection, but the payoff is worth it. Look for openings and opportunities and land that deathblow, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is very generous in giving you an easy way to deal with the many bosses you’ll encounter.
Pro tip: Removing a health bar, running away out of range of the boss, and sneaking back again for a second deathblow will not work. The boss will completely heal, so you’re wasting your time rather than making progress.
But wait, there’s one more important tip to remember: DON'T GIVE UP! Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one of the hardest games out there, and, well, it’s a game—it’s meant to be beaten. Dying constantly isn’t going to ruin your progress, and, in fact, death is a blessing that allows you to constantly learn and evolve your strategies. The bosses have specific skills that motivate you to master your own skills, like, for example, some bosses use a lot of thrusting attacks, so it encourages you to learn and use the Mikiri Counter. Or there’s a tough boss that requires the player to deflect, so the game gives you a roadblock mini-boss that teaches you deflecting. Once you’ve beaten this mini-boss, you have already acquired the experience needed to beat the upcoming boss.
So yeah, there you have it! Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a very complex game and there are hundreds of strategies you can use on either traversing areas or beating bosses, but these are, what we consider to be the most essential tips and tricks to make your time in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice a much better and manageable one.