Isshin Ashina (葦名一心, Ashina Isshin) is a Boss in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. This Complete Isshin Ashina Boss Guide gives you strategies on how to beat Isshin easily, as well as tips, tricks and lore notes. Bosses like Isshin are special, dangerous 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
Where to find Isshin Ashina in Sekiro?
- See Isshin Ashina for the NPC version, and Isshin, the Sword Saint for another ending fight.
- Ashina Castle: Isshin is fought at the top of Ashina Castle, directly after Emma, the Gentle Blade fight.
- This boss is not optional, but is only encountered in the Shura ending.
- See Endings for information on how to trigger this fight.
Isshin Ashina Rewards
What do you get from defeating Isshin Ashina in Sekiro?
- Memory: Isshin Ashina
- Combat Art: One Mind
- 10,000 Experience
- 108 000 Experience without Kuro's Charm (NG+7)
Isshin Ashina Boss Guide Strategies
Sekiro Isshin Ashina Video Strategies
Sekiro Isshin Ashina 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 dodge to the side and punish (the second strike is interruptible). Since the Ichimonji Double has such a long windup phase it is possible to get one or two hits in before dodging/countering. 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. Alternatively, if the player is somewhat close he will do a slice attack followed by a sweep. To counter, parry as soon as he draws his sword from its sheath and then jump over the subsequent sweep attack. There's 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. Isshin also has a grab, which he will occasionally do after he dodges. Dash or jump away. Or both.
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 create 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, Flame Vent, or Mortal Draw as he is 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.
Sekiro Isshin Ashina 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, as is dodging to the side.
- 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.
- 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. You need to jump straight up and then press forward slightly so that Sekiro lands right behind Isshin. It's much safer to run/jump away from it as soon as you can, but jumping over the grab allows for a couple of free hits so it's worth it to get the timing down. 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
- 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.
- 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.
Sekiro Isshin Ashina Attacks & Counters
|See Isshin, the Sword Saint||for most of the moves . he will not any combat arts besides Ashina Cross|
|If you Attack Isshin while he is in a neutral stance, he will dodge and attack|
|Dash or jump away|
Circle behind him and use ichimonji double.
|Fire Eruption/One Mind||
if you see him get in the stance, you have a few options.
find a safe spot and deflect one mind,
or interrupt him with either Flame Vent, Shinobi Firecrackers, Mortal Draw, or Ichimonji
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.
Isshin Ashina Image Gallery
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