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13 Hardest Bosses In Sekiro, Ranked

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FromSoftware is known for a number of incredibly difficult video games. These games inspired the “soulsborne” genre that challenged die-hard fans, including 2019’s hit Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Players stepped into the shoes of a shinobi warrior as he learned ancient martial arts while fighting in an epic war for power, land, and honor.


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True to form for any game developed by FromSoftware, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice didn’t make it easy for players. They would encounter a few seriously difficult bosses and mini-bosses across the various areas of the game. Some of the hardest Sekiro bosses continue to give fans a rough time years after the game’s release.

Updated on January 11th, 2023 by Scoot Allan: FromSoftware released another huge hit with the highly-anticipated Elden Ring. The announcement that FromSoftware would be releasing a new entry in another fan-favorite series called Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon further excited fans. FromSoftware’s success with Elden Ring and the anticipation for the new Armored Core has fans jumping back to other games like Sekiro, which featured some incredibly difficult bosses.

13/13 The Remaining Seven Spears Are Challenging

One of the Seven Spears from Sekiro

The Seven Spears of Ashina were legendary warriors and loyal samurai generals from Isshin’s takeover of the game’s central location. Only a few of the titular seven survived in the game’s present day. They were some of the earliest challenges players faced in Sekiro that forced them to utilize developing combat skills.

Gyoubu Masataka Oniwa was the first of the Seven Spears encountered in the game when he attacked Wolf on horseback at the castle’s gates. Deflecting and side-stepping are key to defeating him. Mikiri Counters in combination with the earlier skills will also help players take out Shikibu Toshikatsu Yamauchi and Shume Masaji Oniwa.

12/13 Jinsuke Saze Is An Ashina Elite With A Quick Attack

Ashina Elite Jinsuke Saze from Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

The Ashina Elite are blue-robed warriors who specialize in quick techniques from the art of Iaijutsu, making attacks from a sheathed stance. Jinsuke Saze guards the Ashina Castle Dojo and is especially talented with his sword technique, making it hard to predict the mini-boss’s devastatingly quick attacks.

Players will have to be quick with their deflections in order to survive the powerful attacks as well as break the posture of one of Sekiro‘s most frustrating mini-bosses. Ujinari Mizuo features a similar move-set, though the red-eyed version of the Ashina Elite might give players almost as much trouble as Jinsuke Saze.

11/13 Lady Butterfly Tests Players To See If They Are Truly Ready

Lady Butterfly from Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

The “soulsborne” genre can be so difficult that fans have identified certain bosses as “gatekeepers.” They provide an elevated challenge early in the game that tested players to make sure they are ready for the increased difficulty. Lady Butterfly acts as the player’s first real boss challenge in Sekiro and tests players while also breaking them out of their usual tactics.

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Fans of Dark Souls and related games might be used to a slower style or a battle of attrition. However, Lady Butterfly forces long-time players to step into the quick and aggressive gameplay that separates Sekiro from some other FromSoftware games. Players will need to get in close and get used to deflecting Lady Butterfly’s projectiles and quick attacks in order to survive.

10/13 The Guardian And Headless Ape Battles Are Horrifying

Headless Guardian Ape from Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro was not an easy game for casual gamers, as it pitted players against human warriors as well as powerful monsters that included mythical snakes and cursed apes. The Guardian Ape battle is a multi-phased horror show that forced players to be quick on their feet. The Headless Ape phase scared players trying to memorize the monster’s moveset and avoid his Terror-inflicting roar.

The monster even returned later in the game, but this time the player was forced to fight both the Guardian and Headless Ape phases at the same time. The battle even occurred in a small cave to make the fight even more impossible. Of course, like with any Dark Souls game, that makes the victory that much sweeter.

9/13 The Various Headless Are Deadly Terror-Inducing Monsters

The Headless mini-boss from Sekiro

Wolf encounters a few mini-bosses known as the Headless who are sure to make even hardened players back away quickly when they first meet them. The Headless are monstrous ogres reanimated without their heads. This can cause Terror to build up in Wolf which is one of the quickest ways to a sure death in Sekiro.

As Apparition-type enemies, the Headless usually require additional items like Divine Confetti or unlockable weapons like the Phoenix’s Lilac Umbrella prosthetic with the Projected Force skill. In video games where you can kill almost everyone, even the Headless make skilled players want to run away.

8/13 The Shichimen Warriors Are Very Powerful Necromancers

Sekiro fighting a Shichimen Warrior

The Terror status is one of the most harmful inflictions in Sekiro that can quickly take out Wolf with zero chance of resurrection. It’s part of what made the Shichimen Warrior mini-bosses so challenging when they appeared a few times throughout Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

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The Shichimen Warriors are powerful necromancers who hurl tortured souls at Wolf in a series of unrelenting attacks. Without the Phoenix’s Lilac Umbrella, it’s nearly impossible to defeat the Shichimen Warriors. They continue to prove how important it can be to upgrade the various tools included in the Shinobi Prosthetic.

7/13 Lady Emma, The Gentle Blade Is Difficult But Heartbreaking

Lady Emma the Gentle Blade from Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

The Shinobi warrior known as Wolf received a lot of assistance from Lady Emma. She was a doctor raised by the Sculptor who crafted new prosthetics for the player to use in battle. Emma served Lord Isshin Ashina and was friendly and helpful throughout the game.

But if players chose to side with Owl and follow the Iron Code, they found out why she was called The Gentle Blade. Lady Emma is really only the first phase in the epic fight with Isshin Ashin in the dark Shura ending of Sekiro. She is a memorable enemy that will continually punish players for attempting to heal themselves.

6/13 O’Rin Of The Water’s Brutal Combos Are Gracefully Powerful

O'Rin of the Water from Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

The musically-talented O’Rin of the Water might not seem initially intimidating. However, she is one of the hardest bosses in Sekiro who delivers quick combos that can take out players who aren’t prepared for the fight. She is an optional mini-boss and an Apparition-type enemy which makes Divine Confetti a useful tool in the battle.

O’Rin can be found in Mibu Village and will ask players if they know the location of her lost master. This will lead to her vicious attack regardless of the player’s answer. The battle feels more like a dance between the two warriors. Wolf had to earn his victory through artful deflections, powerful counter-attacks, and strategic deathblows.

5/13 The True Corrupted Monk Has Three Deadly Illusory Phases

Wolf vs True Corrupted Monk from Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

Players will first encounter an illusory spirit version of this boss on the way to the Wedding Cave Door which will give them an idea of its moveset. Unfortunately, that won’t help when they later encounter the True Monk at the entrance to Fountainhead Palace. While the attacks are somewhat choreographed, players will have to stay light on their feet and be aggressive.

The True Monk also has more illusory forms to complicate matters, though they can be dispersed with a Snap Seed. Thankfully, players can pull off two stealth deathblows by attacking from the treetops. They then only have to face the third phase of the True Corrupted Monk, though that is still an incredibly difficult battle filled with new attacks.

4/13 Genichiro, Way Of Tomoe Is His Most Aggressive Phase

Genichiro, Way Of Tomoe from Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

Wolf’s main rival in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is Genichiro Ashina. He was a skilled warrior and the son of Lord Isshin Ashina. He is one of the first characters players will encounter in a battle that leads to the loss of Wolf’s arm. Genichiro will appear a few times over the course of the game, though his most dangerous form embraces the lighting-fueled Way of Tomoe.

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The second phase of the boss fight at the top of Ashina Castle will test players who are still reeling from dealing with Genichiro’s fully-armored form. Genichiro, Way of Tomoe is thankfully vulnerable to lightning reversals. Players will need to focus on proper timing with Sekiro’s abilities in order to take down their rival’s deadliest phase more than once.

3/13 Hirata Estate’s Owl Father Is His Deadliest Phase

Father Owl from Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

Wolf’s father Owl is a master shinobi who followed the Iron Code to the letter. That ultimately makes him an enemy of Wolf when he threatened Kuro, the Divine Heir. Players might have a hard time with the elder Great Shinobi Owl version of the character that they face first. However, there is an even deadlier version of Owl who they can encounter in a memory.

Fans playing for the Purification Ending can find Owl in the Hirata Estate memory during his prime. This makes him even more difficult and aggressive than the Great Shinobi phase of the character. After dealing with his Perilous Attacks and prosthetics, Owl also has an intense second phase with a powerful animal form that challenged even skilled players.

2/13 The Fiery Demon Of Hatred Is A Transformed Oni

Demon of Hatred from Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

The Sculptor who helped Wolf on his mission met a dark fate when he succumbed to the wrathful emotions that guided his life. He transformed into a powerful oni known as the Demon of Hatred. One of Sekiro‘s hardest bosses was a fiery giant with huge sweeping and ranged attacks that made players rely on more familiar tactics from other “soulsborne” games.

Players will have to avoid huge one-shot-kill attacks that give little room to rest and heal while delivering enough damage to slowly whittle down the Demon of Hatred’s huge health bar. While one of FromSoftware’s scariest bosses is optional, it is one of Sekiro‘s most challenging boss fights that should prove very rewarding to players.

1/13 Isshin, The Sword Saint Is The Most Difficult Swordfight

Isshin the Sword Saint from Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

While players can face off with the elderly Isshin Ashina in the Shura ending, that wasn’t his deadliest form. Players take on the character at his peak when they encounter Isshin, the Sword Saint after defeating a two-phase Genichiro, Way Of Tomoe. This two-part battle made the ending of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice almost impossible for some fans.

Isshin in his youth is far faster than the Ashina version of the character, and he hits hard enough to take Wolf out of the fight pretty quickly. Defeating all three phases of one of FromSoftware’s best bosses provided players with one of the most rewarding victories as it tested every skill learned throughout the game in a tactical and tense sword fight.

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