Gauntlet of Strength: Shura

emma_the_gentle_blade_sekiro_wiki_guide

Relive battle memories of the "Shura" and face a gauntlet of extraordinary foes.

Gauntlet of Strength: Shura is a Gauntlet event in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Gauntlets of Strength are single-life challenges where players are thrown into a series of battles against various enemies. To access the available gauntlets, interact with a Sculptor's Idol, and select "Gauntlets of Strength" - this feature was added to the Free Update, Patch 1.05 across all platforms.

To access this Gauntlet on a "fresh" game, you must kill Isshin Ashina (Shura Ending), Demon of Hatred and Owl (Father) in order to unlock it at a Sculptor's Idol.

 

Gauntlet of Strength: Shura Rewards

 

 

Gauntlet of Strength: Shura Featured Bosses

 

Gauntlet of Strength: Shura Bosses

 

Emma, the Gentle Blade
Isshin Ashina
Demon of Hatred
Inner Father

 

Emma, the Gentle Blade

emma_the_gentle_blade_sekiro_wiki_guide
Location Ashina Castle
Weakness ??
Reward None

Emma, the Gentle Blade (柔剣 エマ, Yawaraken Emais a Boss in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. She is part of the Isshin Ashina boss fight that happens if players select to betray Kuro when meeting The Owl at Ashina Castle.

 

Emma, the Gentle Blade Location

 

Emma, the Gentle Blade Rewards

  • Rewards: None

 

 

Emma, the Gentle Blade Strategies

Video Strategies

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Strategy Writeup

For this fight it be best to let Emma start the encounter and for you to react to her. Most of her attacks are multi-hits so don't be greedy trying to get an attack in until her combo is exhausted. When she puts her blade away and it gleams, run away to avoid the attack while circling back to counter hit her.  If you're close to her you can interrupt her Ashina Cross with a sword swing.  Be cautious as she likes to grab often, sweep moderately, and thrust sporadically. Alternate deflecting her combos while chipping away at her health to take her down. Shinobi Firecrackers can be used before her combo or after to get some free hits in if players like.

If you defeat the boss you will see the writing "SHINOBI EXECUTION" upon the screen.

 

Attacks & Counters

Attack Counter
Phase 1
Single Slash Deflect
Dash Slash Deflect
2 slash combo Deflect
Sword & Hilt Flurry Deflect
Grab Run away and counterattack or go behind her and counterattack
Sweep Jump to posture break or Run away and counterattack
Thrust Mikiri counter or Run away and counterattack
Ashina Cross Backdodge through it or Run away and counterattack or interrupt with an attack.

 

Emma, the Gentle Blade Lore

If you give her sake, Sekiro asks her about her skill with the blade. She assert that she doesn't wish to harm any human but would like to kill a demon given the opportunity. 

Emma also mentioned that she learned her sword skills from Isshin , and from her move set is clear she has not only mastered the Ashina Arts (as Ashina Cross is the secret technique of the Ashina Style sword arts), but also incorporated her own moves into the style.  

Emma, the Gentle Blade Notes & Trivia

You cannot apply a weapon buff such as Divine Confetti or Bestowal Ninjutsu prior to the fight as Sekiro will automatically sheath his sword when approaching Owl to initiate dialogue.

Isshin Ashina

isshin_ashina_boss_sekiro_wiki_guide
Location Ashina Castle
Weakness Shinobi Firecracker
Reward Memory: Isshin Ashina
Combat Art: One Mind

Isshin Ashina (葦名一心, Ashina Isshin) is a Boss in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Bosses are special Enemies that feature a special display on-screen when defeated, such as "Immortality Severed" or "Shinobi Execution". You will need to perform multiple Deathblows on them in order to defeat them, and filling their Posture Gauge is the only way to accomplish this. However, decreasing their health will make it so their Posture Gauge depletes more slowly, assisting you in accomplishing this feat.

 

Isshin Ashina Location

 

 

Isshin Ashina Rewards

 

 

Isshin Ashina Strategies

Video Strategies

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Strategy Writeup

Phase 1: Deflect Isshin's standard attacks and follow up with your own attack. Most of his attacks are slower than Emma's so be sure to adjust to the slower pace of this fight. He likes to use Ichimonji and Ichimonji Double often so be ready to deflect it to gain a window to counter attack him or run away asap so he never uses it. Do not approach him until he changes his stance as he will delay the Ichimonji to get you off guard. When Isshin puts away his sword and it gleams he will do Ashina Cross, so run away and counter attack him near the end of the attack. Theres a loop players can get Isshin in by swinging at him once, he will avoid and spin slash you. Players should swing watch for his counter then dodge backwards and counter attack. He will follow up with a dash swing and players can repeat this semi regularly. Be careful as he likes to grab and thrust often. Occasionally, Isshin may do a sweeping attack after a slash dodge backwards or jump over it and attack his posture.

Phase 2: In this phase the same tactics of Phase 1 will work but we must adapt to the new fire attacks and the onslaught of slashes. After the deathblow to enter phase 2, players have a moment which they can use Ichimonji double to damage Isshin's posture. When Isshin brings his sword up vertically with a raised leg he will step creat fire and slash sending a firewave outwards. Pick a direction and rotate around him rushing to get a counter attack in once the attack is over. At times, if you are early you may get nipped by the sword. When Isshin sword is parallel to the floor he will engulf the whole room in fire. There are a few safe spots scattered about. Usually run to a corner and avoid the glowing spots. Prepare yourself to deflect a 1 swing, series of slashes, and a final slash. They all can be deflected which will grant players a window to attack if done right. Players can prevent his attack by using Shinobi Firecrackers as he starting the attack. If you see Isshin stomp the ground quickly pick a direction and run as he will send a vertical firewave to your location. Players can circle back and attack him once safely.

If you defeat the boss you will see the writing "SHINOBI EXECUTION" upon the screen.

 

Strategy 2 (Mist Raven)

Phase 1: Treat it like a normal sword fight, similar to Emma. There's a few moves in particular to watch out for

  1. If you start an attack and he dodges it, get ready to deflect, otherwise he will immediately hit you. Because of this, it's unwise to start a skirmish with him with a combo, stick with a single attack.
  2. When his sword gleams preparing for the Ashina Cross attack, sprint far away from him in a wide arc. The moment it finishes, continue your sprint towards him and punish him. This move is very difficult to deflect correctly.
  3. When he prepares to do the Ichimonji chop, wait a moment and then use the Mist Raven to teleport behind him for 1-3 free hits. Because of it's delayed onset, this might be tricky. Running directly away from it is also an option.
  4. If you need to heal, run around him until he opens a combo or the Ashina Cross. When it finishes, you have time to heal without being punished.
  5. His grab is similar to Emma's and can be difficult. It has a slow onset but a huge range. You could jump over it and slash him, but the timing is tricky. It's much safer to run/jump away from it as soon as you can. If it does hit you, roll towards him when you get up so you can punish him from behind if he follows up with a slice (this also applies to Emma)

Phase 2: Just like phase one only now you have to counter the fire moves

  1. When he does the vertical chop that sends flames outwards, immedately sprint/jump to the right or left. This attack has unlimited horizontal range so never run directly away from it.
  2. When he fills the whole arena up with fire, run to a spot with no fire. He will then send flames upwards and prepare to attack you. Wait until the moment before he dashes towards you and use the Mist Raven to teleport near him (try to teleport to a spot without fire). Wait for him to finish his ball of swords move, then punish him.

If you use Mist Raven correctly, phase 2 is actually easier because many of the fire attacks can be easily punished.

Attacks & Counters

Attack Counter
Phase 1
Example Attack Example Counter
Example Attack Example Counter
Phase 2
Example Attack Example Counter
Example Attack Example Counter

 

 

Isshin Ashina Dialogue

“Sekiro... You were a most unkind and inauspicious man... but for some reason I could not bring myself to hate you. It seems... I must cut you down before you fall to Shura.” Upon defeating Emma, the Gentle Blade.

”Shura... I never did think... I’d have to kill your kind again!” At the beginning of the fight.

”......... Sekiro... It was not... to be...” Upon his defeat.

Isshin Ashina Notes & Trivia

  • The samurai facing the general with the spear in the opening cutscene of the game is actually Isshin twenty years earlier.
  • While the One Mind skill is not required for the "Height of Technique" trophy/achievement, Isshin Ashina must still be fought if you wish to acquire all trophies; namely for the "Shura" ending trophy and the "Man Without Equal" trophy for beating every boss in the game.   

Demon of Hatred

The Demon Of Hatred
Location Ashina Outskirts
Deathblows Required 3
Weakness Malcontent
Divine Confetti

Suzaku's Lotus Umbrella
Reward Memory: Hatred Demon
Lapis Lazuli

15,000 Exp (NG)
 
18,750 Exp (NG+)
28,125 Exp (NG++)

Demon of Hatred (怨嗟の鬼, Demon of Resentment, Ensa no Oni) is a Boss in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Bosses are special Enemies that feature a special display on-screen when defeated, such as "Immortality Severed" or "Shinobi Execution". You will need to perform multiple Deathblows on them in order to defeat them, with this generally accomplished by filling their Posture Gauge or depleting their health. Decreasing their health will make it so their Posture Gauge depletes more quickly, while depleting their health bar entirely will open them up to a Deathblow, as well.

 

Demon of Hatred Information

The Demon of Hatred is what becomes of a specific NPC once he is tragically consumed by the immense wrath and bloodlust burning within him. Though the NPC failed to become the Shura of legend due to Isshin's intervention, he has now transformed into a powerful Demon (鬼, Oni) after many years. For the sake of Ashina and its people, it must be dealt with.

 

Demon of Hatred Location

 

Demon of Hatred Rewards

 

Demon of Hatred Strategies

Video Strategies

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Strategy Write-up

BEFORE ANYTHING: MALCONTENT is an upgrade to the Finger Whistle, and when used will stun the boss, for enough time to remove roughly 1/4 of his actual vitality with regular sword strikes, and this can be repeated up to THREE TIMES before becoming ineffective. Similarly, using Suzaku's Lotus Umbrella can help BLOCK A MAJORITY of both FIRE and PHYSICAL attacks done by this boss.

This fight will be a test of endurance; the boss's Posture meter is roughly the same as its vitality meter. As such, take any opportunities you can to attack but do not feel like you have to rush it. You will most likely deplete the full vitality bar before a Posture break.

For the duration of the fight, stay as close to the boss's leading leg as possible. Remaining close to the leg and sprinting around it counter-clockwise will avoid most of his attacks. The main exceptions to this are his leaping explosion attack, and his Perilous attack (which may still be avoided by circling around). Luckily, both of these can easily be avoided. The explosion can be avoided by sprinting directly away as he leaps and grappling back during the aftershock, and succesfully landing a hit immediately after grappling will sometimes stun the boss, leaving it vulnerable to a couple of free hits. The Perilous attack can be avoided simply by jumping, as you will only be hit if you are on the ground. Using the distance created by the Perilous attack, he may do one of three things; a vertical slash towards you, a slash at the ground, or a swath of fireballs.

Both the ground slash and fireballs can be avoided by sprinting directly at the demon with a slight focus on his leading leg. The fireballs can also be avoided by running away from the demon. If you run back at the boss after the first volley, he will throw a second. He often uses his fireball attack directly after his perilous attack. The vertical slash has a longer startup, allowing you to react and sprint to the right side to continue pushing towards his leg. If during your attack he prepares a stomp and you don't feel confident that you can dodge or sprint out of the way, block it. The demon is not fast enough to break your posture in most cases and you will take no vitality damage from blocking anything that does not have fire damage.

After the first Deathblow, he will crouch and remain stationary for a time. Your attacks will not deal damage during this, and there will be a minor explosion at the end that will deal knock-back but no vitality damage. However, with proper spacing, you can run in after the explosion and get in a hit or two before he leaps back. The rest of the second phase is much like the first, with the exception that the vertical slash now has fire that spreads on both sides. This fire can be avoided by jumping immediately after the slash connects with the ground, or preemptively as the slash now opens up an opportunity to grapple back to the demon in a similar manner to his leaping explosion. Avoiding the slash itself will work the same as the first phase. Aside from this, the second phase is much like the first with extra damage.

The second Deathblow will trigger the third phase immediately, allowing you to get more hits in this time around. The third phase introduces some new attacks; a Perilous attack that creates a ring of fire around both of you and a follow-up Perilous attack, a second Perilous attack added to his initial Perilous dash, and homing fireballs similar to the Shichimen Warrior, albeit faster for this boss. The new Perilous attack is a slash and can be avoided by jumping over both initial slashes (made easier if you flip off of the demon) and jumping over the follow-up Perilous attack.

The main trouble with this attack is not the slashes, but the limited arena space you now have to work with. (NOTE: You can avoid the ring of fire completely by running far away from him at the beginning of the phase). Touching the ring will build up the burn status and knock you back, limiting your ability to avoid the boss's attacks for a short time. He will commonly follow this up with his dashing Perilous attack, sometimes choosing to immediately do another dash Perilous back into the circle, and sometimes attacking from outside the circle. It will disappear after a short time, allowing you to once again make use of the entire arena. His other new attack, the homing fireballs, will deal heavy damage and Burn status with the possibility of knocking you down and preventing you from getting back up until death. The best strategy for this attack is to be as close to the demon as possible and circle around in either direction. Continue to do this until he slams his foot down and poses, signaling that he is finished with the attack and is now open to be hit.

Attacks, Indicators & Counters

Attack Indicator Counter
Phase 1
Unblockable Attacks
Explosive Body Slam Fire spreads to his entire body. Everything will be brighter. He will crouch down to ready the jump. Finish any attacks to completion (you have a decent amount of time). Sprint away, making sure to not get caught on walls, barriers or trees. After he lands, wait a second before grappling back to guarantee a double aerial attack.
Hand Drag Charge Danger Indicator and sound will show. His right hand go back and down to the ground. Jump as soon as possible (backwards if you can) and begin running towards him to try to avoid follow-up ranged attacks.
Ranged Attacks
Fire Whip Slam Only occurs at range. His left hand will raise up and back. Continue sprinting forward and angle left to avoid attack.
Double Fire Throw Only occurs at medium range. His left hand will pull back. Hope you're close enough already to duck under the first one. If you're about to be hit, try to deflect to mitigate some damage. The second throw is smaller but closer to him, so don't walk forward if the first one hit. Alternatively, if you have the Suzaku's Lotus Umbrella prosthetic, you can avoid taking damage from the fireballs altogether by quickly activating it as soon as you see the windup.
Fireball Summon Only occurs at range. Both hands will go up and will start waving. Run sideways and towards him. If you've reached him, run in a circle around him. The last fireball comes out at his last hand wave.
Melee Attacks
Right Foot Slam Only occurs if you're on his right. Raises right foot and holds it for a second. Basic block is a safe defense. Alternatively, risk timing a dodge attack.
Two Foot Slam Only occurs if you're on his left. Raises left foot. Basic block is a safe defense. The second (right foot) slam should be dodge attacked.
Fire Melee Combo Occurs in melee range. Winds left hand back. Step-dodge the first swipe forwards or to the left, sprint around his side to avoid the right foot slam and attack freely while avoiding the rest.
Head Slam Occurs if you're right in front. Brings head up.
Beware of this if he's strangely still.
Basic block is a safe defense. Avoidable if you're already sprinting around him.
Phase 2
Fire Whip Slam Explosion Similar to the normal Fire Whip Slam, but his body will have more fire and be brighter. The normal Fire Whip Slam may still occur. Sprint right and jump just before impact (or, if you have Suzaku's Lotus Umbrella, use it to block the attack). Rappel to him to follow up.
Phase 3
Fire Whip Swing Combo Danger Indicator and sound will show. His full body will wind up for the attack. Jump over the first swing. Don't jump (duck under) the second swing. Run behind him to avoid the third swing and attack.
Double Hand Drag Charge This will usually occur in lieu of the single charge. Danger Indicator and sound will show. His right hand go back and down to the ground. Jump over both charges, making sure not to jump too early for the second one. Try to position yourself against a wall for the second charge, allowing for easy and fast follow-up.

 

 

Demon of Hatred Lore

  • The Sculptor is confirmed to be the Demon of Hatred. Eavesdropping and talking to him prior to confronting Owl and drinking enough sake with him will unlock a secret dialogue with Demon of Hatred throughout the boss battle. Knowing who the Demon of Hatred is, will also lead to a change in dialogue with the old lady in the watchtower in which she actually talks about the Sculptor.


  • Lore Theory: The Malcontent affects the Demon of Hatred because of the Sculptor's previous relationship with the ring's old owner, the Shinobi Kingfisher, in a similar way to how Father Gascoigne in Bloodborne could be stunned by playing the music box his daughter gives you.   
  • Lore Theory: The Sculptor knows he will either become the Demon of Hatred, or something like it, due to his own past and the immense bloodlust he feels. Hints towards his ultimate fate include:
    • When you speak with him at the beginning of the game, the Sculptor mentions how carving statues of Buddha reflect those who carve them. He then immediately and constantly laments how the only Buddha he can carve, no matter how many times he tries, are those with wrathful faces rather than serene ones.

    • Similarly, when speaking to the Sculptor after meeting with the Divine Heir, you are given the chance to ask the Sculptor what the Buddha showed him, to which he replies with: "Fire, that's all I saw,".

    • One of your first clues comes when afflicted the Sculptor is affected by Dragonrot, wherein he is adamant about being unable to die from it, hinting that he is aware of his humanity slipping away from him.

    • Dialogue shared by the Sculptor when you have given him Unrefined Sake explains that, once in the past, he would have almost  explicitly become a Shura had it not been for Isshin "saving him," by cutting off his arm.

    • When one examines the hut where the Sculptor lives, you can see that its entirety is covered with dozens of ofuda: a kind of paper talisman used in both Shinto and Onmyōdō rites for purification and exorcisms, or generally used as wards against misfortune and the supernatural. More distressingly, however, is that several portions of the walls supporting the house appear to have been broken from the inside out despite the presence of these ofuda.

    • Dialogue offered by Isshin  after you've given him Monkey Booze explicitly states that he once faced a Shura in battle ("...or something like it,") and killed it, with the implication being that he believes cutting off the Sculptor's arm--and thus robbing him of his ability to kill--was enough to put an end to his bloodlust and prevent him from becoming a Shura. Isshin also explains that Monkey Booze, which the Sculptor admits he drank much of during his time training in the Sunken Valley, also goes by another name: Shura's Wine.

    • A less direct connection, however, lies in what the Sculptor divulges about the ring his partner wore throughout their time training in the Sunken Valley. ("Whistling through that ring … would fill the valley with a somber melody. Strangely enough, I enjoyed that sound. I listened to it so often.") Though the Slender Finger upgrade material implies this partner only used their finger to create a whistling sound: the Sculptor specifying how whistling through the ring his partner wore "would fill the valley with a somber melody," implies his partner also possessed the Malcontent's Ring.

    • The former is important to note both because the ring is used as an upgrade material for the Finger Whistle prosthetic, and because the description of the Ring reads as follows: "Wearing this ring as you blow the finger whistle will create a somber tune. The weeping voice is full of solitude and beauty. Possibly somber enough to temporarily quell a voice of rage."

    • It is thus possible, and debatable, that the death of the Sculptor's partner at the hands of the Guardian Ape is what finally set him down the path of becoming a Shura--although, as Isshin also explains through his Monkey Booze dialogue: "Those who go on killing will eventually become Shura. They don't even remember why... Simply enraptured... They kill solely for the joy it brings them."

  • Physically, the Demon of Hatred resembles the Sculptor (at least superficially) due to the style of its beard, hunched knees and back, possession of only a single physical right arm, and how its left arm is composed entirely of fire in the shape of (what appears to be) a coiled up grappling hook. The wispy red hair and pot belly also resemble an orangutan, a nickname Emma uses to refer to the sculptor during certain sake-prompted conversations, and implied in dialogue between the two to be his shinobi name. 
  • If you visit the Dilapidated Temple and try to enter Ashina Outskirts like you first did at the start, you'll notice that the hook spot you used is now burnt, further confirming that the sculptor was turning into a demon as he left the temple and left this mark.

Demon of Hatred Notes & Trivia

  • The Demon of Hatred can be momentarily stunned up to three times when using the Malcontent upgrade for the Finger Whistle against it. As an apparition-type enemy, the boss can also be dealt extra damage using Divine Confetti.

  • Most of its attacks can be blocked, and even countered, if you posses the required skill using the Suzaku's Lotus Umbrella upgrade for the Loaded Umbrella. (This is especially useful for guarding against/dealing with the jump attack and overhead swipe with fire the Demon likes to pull off in Phase 2 of the fight.)

  • Before defeating the Divine Dragon, if you speak to the Old Priestess located in the building where you first encounter Tengu of Ashina(near the battlefield arena and the Battlefield Memorial Mob) she will mention that she is certain the war will give birth to a demon, foreshadowing this encounter. If spoken to before this, she will ominously ask: "Do you want to see a demon?" and nothing more.

  • Fujioka the Info Broker offers the following explanation as to why the Sculptor is suddenly missing from the Dilapidated Temple: "Oh, if you're looking for the Sculptor, he's gone. He stumbled off muttering something about 'the flames...' I think he was heading towards the battlefield. But where he went and why he went there's none of my business."
  • The Demon of Hatred is the Sculptor transformed into an Oni (鬼), often translated as "demon" in English. In Japanese folklore, Onis are a type of yōkai or ogre; in which they are usually depicted as hulking beings with one or more horns growing out of their heads. According to Wikipedia: "Accordingly, a wicked soul beyond rehabilitation transforms into an Oni after death. Only the very worst persons turn into Onis alive, and these are the Onis causing troubles among humans as presented in folk tales."
  • When first met, the Demon of Hatred assumes a very distinct pose from Japanese Kabuki performances known as a mie (見え or 見得, pronounced 'mee-eh'). According to Wikipedia: "Mie means 'appearance' or 'visible' in Japanese," and as a pose is meant to "draw attention to a particularly important or powerful portion of the performance. It is meant to show a character's emotions at their peak, and can often be a very powerful pose. The actor's eyes are opened as wide as possible; if the character is meant to seem agitated or angry, the actor will cross his eyes,".

    • The particular mie done by the Demon of Hatred is known as the Genroku mie, one of the famous and well-known of the mie used in Kabuki, wherein the actor's "right hand is held flat, perpendicular to the ground, while his left hand is pointed upwards, elbow bent. At the same time, the actor stamps the floor powerfully with his left foot,".

Owl (Father)

owl_father1
Location Hirata Estate Revisited
Deathblow Markers 2
Weakness

Bestowal Ninjutsu
Mikiri Counter,

Fistful of Ash,

Empowered Mortal Draw

Reward Memory: Foster Father
Aromatic Flower

Owl (Father) ( 義父, Foster Father, Gifu) is a Boss in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Bosses are special Enemies that feature their own arena, a large and prominent health bar, and a variety of unique moves and abilities. You will need to perform multiple Deathblows on them in order to defeat them, and filling their Posture Gauge is the only way to accomplish this. However, decreasing their health will make it so their Posture Gauge depletes more slowly, assisting you in accomplishing this feat.

 

Owl (Father) Location

  • In the Hidden Temple, where you fought Lady Butterfly, in Hirata Estate. This is only accessible after doing the steps for the Purification Ending.
  • See Endings for more information
  • See The Owl for NPC version.
  • See Great Shinobi Owl for the version fought at the top of Ashina Castle during the main game.
  • This boss is optional.

 

 

Owl (Father) Rewards

 

Dialogue

  • Talk (must be a certain distance behind Owl to initiate dialogue).
    • "That day... I pulled you from the battlefield, a starving cub... I had no idea what you'd become."
  •  If attacked prior to initiating dialogue.
    • "Very well!"

  • First time player uses a prosthetic tool.
    • "Hmm... The shinobi prosthetic... this was once... Curious device you have there..."

  • Upon killing the player.
    • "Good riddance... starving wolf."
  • After first deathblow.
    • "What a fine specimen you've become, Wolf. Allow me to honor your efforts-- and show you this old Owl's true power!" 
  • When killed.
    • "Defeated by my own son? The feeling is not entirely unpleasant..."

Owl (Father) Strategies

Video Strategies

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Strategy Writeup

WARNING: Just as in the Great Shinobi Owl Bossfight atop Ashina Castle, this boss has access to an extremely powerful Mikiri Counter that can be used against thrust attacks by the player. This counter deals extremely high damage and will likely kill the player if they are already slightly hurt.

He uses many of the same attacks and styles as his earlier battle, but now he's faster and more aggressive. Fortunately for you, he doesn't use poison or the healing block. As always, you should make arrangements--spend money, get a new skill point--and then dedicate some attempts to learning to defend against his attacks. He will usually take one hit then deflect the second. Sometimes he'll merely guard the first hit before he deflects, but it's all posture damage.

He has a short recovery after many of his attacks--use them to punish him once you're comfortable deflecting. When he does his long attack sequence that ends with his gunpowder slash, dodge towards him as he tosses the gunpowder and get behind him to injure him. Sometimes he'll wind up a heavy overhead chop and it's possible to dodge it and punish--but if you get too far away from him while he raises his sword, he'll feint and leap into the air. If you get him with his back to a wall or a corner, you can attack relentlessly and you'll damage him outright or interrupt many of his attacks and movements for a short spell, enough to wear down his health and damage his posture.

Once his health is about half-way down, you can stop actively trying to bait attacks and switch into defense--deflecting all of his attack sequences and the occasional hit will wear his Posture away quickly. When he's on his second phase, run when he turns invisible until he drops out of it, and use Mikiri Counter to defend against his Shadowrush attacks--he most often does one after he throws a larger sweep of gunpowder and after he launches his blazing owl.

In the second phase, use firecrackers to interrupt his attacks and hurt him while he shields his eyes. Otherwise maintain the same principles as the first phase, just be ready for his owl-based attacks and don't be afraid to run from him to make some space for yourself to heal and douse your flames.

If you defeat the boss you will see the writing "SHINOBI EXECUTION" upon the screen.

 

Alternate strategy:

If you're having difficulty mastering deflections against this boss, a fairly reliable way to make the fight more manageable is to equip the Mortal Draw (or it's enhancement) combat art, & during the fight, keep dash/sprinting away to keep most the length of the arena between you and Owl so he has to run after you. When he starts running from far away, he usually limits his attacks upon reaching you to 1. a simple running slash, 2. a shuriken throw quickly followed by a strong slash from his left side, or 3. two side dashes followed by his Shadowstep piercing charge. These three abilities can be avoided fairly reliably. The simple slash can be dodged forward & left (passing Owls right shoulder) & quickly followed up by the Mortal Draw two uses as long as you stay within range after your dodge (if you moved too far, simply use a single dash attack to close & deal damage) then quickly run back to the other length of the arena & repeat. The shuriken slice must be dodged forward & left TWICE QUICKLY (past Owl's right shoulder again - if you dash directly at him, or to your right instead, you run the risk of dashing into his outstretched blade & trigger a massively damaging slash that can instantly kill you from full vitality in NG) & again attack with the Mortal Draw 2X. The Mortal Draw combat art will always connect on the first attack (provided you stayed close enough) & the second will usually either land directly, or force him to block & prevent his quickest counter attacks. Finally, for his Shadowstep rush, Mikiri counter & follow up with a quick single slash (he recovers more quickly & can usually escape the Mortal Draw following a Mikiri Counter).

If Owl starts running towards you when at medium range, he is more apt to use one of his other move sets, including an off time (slightly delayed relative to his other animations), multi hit slash that can pivot & follow your dash to hit you in the back & flow into a multi hit combo including a sweep attack.

Following this strategy, you can quickly remove Owl's vitality in chunks & end the fight more quickly. In phase 2, continue to use the same strategy as his base move set remains the same; the only change necessary is to keep running when he enters the invisible owl teleport to avoid his drop attack & dash behind a pillar for easy protection from his fire owl projectile + Shadowstep as neither attack will move past the pillar (this also provides a safe window for using healing items or combat buffs before he resumes his offensive). The most frustrating problem I encountered during this strategy was fighting the camera as it can be easy to run into a pillar or wall while running to long range & occasionally the target lock may be lost after a dash, & if that happens, your initial attack may miss & leave you open for Owls close range offensive.

 

Another strategy to brute force this fight is to use a combination of Ako's Sugar, Divine Confetti, Rice, & Red Lumps to stay on the offensive, & force Owl back toward a wall to keep interrupting Owl's heavier combos & end the first phase very quickly. The second phase is a little harder due to the invisibility/teleport but the saving spirit emblems & Mortal Draw for phase 2 can keep Owl off balance long enough to quickly end this phase as well.

 

Attacks & Counters

Attack Description Counter
Phase 1
Zig-Zag Many of Owl's attacks initiate after a zig-zag motion designed to confuse you. After this, he can do any of the following 5 moves:  
Shuriken Throw Owl throws a single shuriken Block, deflect or dodge to the side
Double Shuriken + flip Owl will throw 2 shuriken then flip towards you in the air and then perform a single downward strike with his sword.  Deflect/block the shuriken and dodge sideways to avoid the flip and counter.
Shadowfall Just like your Mushin Shadowfall Combat Art. Owl will charge up for an unblockable thrust, and if it hits, he will jump off and come down with 2 huge slashes.  Mikiri the thrust.
Shuriken Slash Owl throws a shuriken at the player immediately followed by a running slash. Similar to the Chasing Slice Shinobi Martial Art Block/Deflect both. If well timed you can also dodge his slash to the right for a counter opportunitybut it's difficult.
Perilous Sweep Owl will move from the side and perform an unblockable sweep. Jump over it. He can perform the following after this: Jump over it and stay close to him to bait out his overhead slash. Alternatively, jump back so you can jump kick his head and inflict posture damage
Large Overhead Slash Owl will load up for a very powerful overhead slash. If you dodge to the side he will switch to a turning slash. If you dodge backwards he will perform a flip towards you and slash. 

Dodge the overhead slash at the last moment and counter. 

Circling him may be safer than performing a  dodge, as dodging too early prompts him to switch to a quick horizontal attack instead. 

You have time to get one or two hits in while he is charging up.

Backflip Owl leaps off of you. It deals no vitality damage but much posture damage. Deflect to minimize posture damage
Firecrackers Owl throws blinding firecrackers in your face, then makes them explode. He can follow up with either Shuriken Throw, Shadowfall or Shuriken Slash  Dodge backwards to avoid
Running Slash Owl runs towards you and performs a single strong slash. He can perform the following 2 moves after this: Block/Deflect. You can also dodge to the left but you might get hit by the followups.
5-slash Firecracker Combo Owl performs 3 consecutive slashes with his sword, followed by an elbow, followed by firecrackers, which he will slash through.

Deflect/block his slashes, then dodge to the right when he throws his firecrackers for a counter opportunity.

Dodging too quickly after the firecrackers are thrown will cause you to get hit by the follow-up slash, so a momentary pause is needed.  

Double Slash into Perilous Sweep Owl performs 2 consecutive slashes with his sword and ends with a Perilous Sweep. He can perform his Large Overhead Slash after this Jump over it and stay close to him to bait out his overhead slash. Alternatively, jump back so you can jump kick his head and inflict posture damage
Shuriken Slash Owl throws a shuriken at the player immediately followed by a running slash. Similar to the Chasing Slice Shinobi Martial Art Block/Deflect both. If well timed you can also dodge his slash to the right for a counter opportunity, but it's difficult.
Stomp (deathblow)

Owl will raise his foot into the air then stomp down pinning the player to the ground and stabbing them through the chest. This attack does massive damage and cannot be blocked and does not have a Perilous indicator. 

Owl will likely use this after breaking the player's posture if he is close enough. 

Dodge backwards/safety roll in order to avoid it.
Phase 2
Backflip + Shuriken Same as in phase one but he throws shuriken after.  Block/Deflect both.
Owl Teleport Owl will use his summoned owl to teleport above you and drop down with a slash You can deflect his slash, or just run away/stay away from the owl to avoid
Fire Owl + Shadowfall Owl will summon his owl to his hand and throw an unblockable fire owl projectile towards you, then follow up with Shadowfall.  Jump over the fire owl and mikiri his thrust

 

 

Owl (Father) Lore

Lore theory: Owl is implied to be the one who originally killed Wolf during the events of the Hirata attack three years prior to the events of the game. 

The first time Sekiro uses a shinobi prosthetic tool during the fight, Owl will comment on it, recognising it and implying he knew the previous owner, possibly from his time with the Sculptor and Dogan".

Owl (Father) Notes & Trivia

Resistant to poison, burn is effective though.

Unlike when fought in the present at the top of Ashina Castle, this version of Owl does not use the Shinobi Charm to prevent the player from healing.

There is an archer close to the idol who can be backstabbed (jump through the window-like gap in the wall to get behind him), allowing the player to start the boss fight with the Bestowal Ninjutsu. Because Owl will frequently try jumping away from you to escape damage, the extra reach from bestowal lets you keep striking him while he's attempting to evade you. Can be combined with buffs such as Ako's Sugar for additional damage.  

 

 



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    • Anonymous

      08 Jan 2021 04:30  

      For full clarity to anyone who was confused like I was, you need a minimum of two playthroughs to even get this, meaning it's not available in NG (As far as I know), you need to do one playthrough of the Shura Ending, and another where you go towards the Purification ending. You don't need to finish the Purification ending if you've already killed the Demon of Hatred on a different NG however, you just need to kill all four bosses in the gauntlet at some point on the same save file, it doesn't seem to matter what order or when you defeat the bosses, so you can do the endings in any order you wish.

      • Anonymous

        24 Nov 2020 12:54  

        Just to be sure, I did the Immortal Severance ending for my first playthrough and I missed the second hirata (So no owl father).
        Do I need to go 3rd playthrough to unlock Shura Gauntlet ? One for Shura ending and one for Hirata 2nd ?

        • Anonymous

          08 Nov 2020 18:59  

          confirmed you have to beat all the bosses in story mode before you can do the gauntlet. Gauntlet unlocked for me after I killed owl father

          • Anonymous

            07 Nov 2020 14:03  

            I think you have to beat all the bosses in the gauntlet in story mode to unlock it. My friend killed all the bosses and he has the gauntlet unlocked already. Ill update after I kill owl father in story.

            • Anonymous

              06 Nov 2020 18:03  

              sry i am french but i finished the shura ending, the two first gauntlet in ng+3 but i don t unlock the shura gauntlet. thanks for ure reply.

              • Anonymous

                03 Nov 2020 10:16  

                You must complete the other gaulents to get this one you will get Sakura dance and memory tengu then you will unlock the gualent so be vigilant you will fight inner isshin and inner genichido so it’s going to be hard on the tow you will fight also inner farther on shura he is hard but he also uses the mist raven feathers sometimes and when he does he will do a cut attack tow times so watch out also don’t at all thrust attack he will rip your postur or even die so be careful. Also Injoy this knowledge

                • Anonymous

                  29 Oct 2020 15:07  

                  How do I actually unlock these. Is it ng+ only or do I need to get past all the bosses first or something?

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