Isshin Ashina

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.   





Isshin Ashina Image Gallery

[images go here]



    • Anonymous

      01 Apr 2020 22:01  

      Good job, guys. We murdered the talented, hot doctor, and her terminally ill war hero patient. [slow clap.]

      • Anonymous

        02 Mar 2020 00:04  

        During Ishhin’s second phase, as the flames are rising if you throw phantom shurikens at him he won’t do the rush attack. Other shurikens probably work as well, but I didn’t test it

        • Anonymous

          06 Feb 2020 23:50  

          Just finished beating him, he was the last boss I needed to kill towards to playinum trophy on PS4. Even though the game lags as***** took me about 3 hours to do this. On Emma, it's all about staying close, dodging left side and using the Ichimonji: Double. First phase: Bait him with R1 (he will dodge it) then dodge left and use whirlwind slash followed by another R1 baiting him, repeated that the whole phase. Second phase: firecrackers + Mortal draw 3-4 times and then kept running around the area waiting for him to use the fire attacks and randomly hitting him.

          • Anonymous

            04 Feb 2020 00:44  

            I just beat him with 14 attack power in NG+3 charmless/demon bell. Some things I learned. Emma? Way more a threat than Genichiro in my opinion. Be defensive but close to her, aim the perfect deflects, jump and mikiri counters then hit back twice or thrice to damage her posture, hit her vitality during her grab or after her ashina cross. Be careful, make distance before a heal, she will often break it with a distant thrust attack. Isshin? Be very patient, and almost never hit back after a deflect (or just once), conversely to his first phase saint version. Be prepared to deflect after attacking first, because he will block it or even dodge it with a wonderful step on the side! Unlike his saint version too, let him do his ashina cross to hit him in the back because he seems to have way more posture than the saint version. So you should favor decreasing his vitality over posture. In consequence, prefer to dodge his Ichimonji (true also for his fire version), even if it is tempting to deflect it. He is wide open after this move, the best Opportunity among his combos to hit his vitality. Finally when he triggers his final phase, he is without defense, at all! So this is a good time to charge (maintain L1+R1) your empowered mortal blade twice! He will take the hits, then continue with 4 uncharged mortal blade, and that's it, almost 1/3 of his vitality gone (even with only 14 attack power in NG+3, so probably OP with 50 attack!)! He seems to be very sensitive to the mortal blade, he loses his balance each time, and you can interrupt all his big moves with it. Best boss in the game for me, the music is my favorite one, and this is the most "samurai" of all boss fights. You will need your full concentration and deflects on point. Be careful with the grab attack of Isshin, very difficult to predict and dodge! Step back or run away, jumping didn't get me far enough! Good luck on your way of Shura!

            • Anonymous

              10 Jan 2020 18:32  

              I've got a question you guys, If you look at the cutscene at the begining of this fight, Isshin seems to have a scar on his stomach, my friend thinks it comes from a seppuku attempt, anyone has info on this ?

              • Anonymous

                24 Dec 2019 11:29  

                Damn, on NG++ after beating sword saint, demon of hatred, and owl father twice, this one is giving me the most trouble out of every boss in the game. i don’t know what it is but even my NG+ with demon bell didn’t give me nearly as much trouble. it may be because i’m doing this run without the charm but man is it kicking my ass

                • Anonymous

                  17 Nov 2019 17:34  

                  Ichimonji: Double on Emma, dodge and hit Isshin phase one then I saved firecracker for phase 2 and also used a divine grass. I tried the Lotus Umbrella first but didn't get much luck so I just used firecracker in the end.

                  • Anonymous

                    18 Aug 2019 13:48  

                    On an unrelated note, IDK if Isshin grew anymore height-wise in the last 20 years, but if the in-game character scale is to be believed, then General Tamura was a huge ass man. Probably the same size as Yao.

                    • Anonymous

                      13 Aug 2019 08:03  

                      I came through in NG++ using Double Ichi on Emma and Shadow Rush on Isshin (both phases), used the tanto twice and in the final phase used the Dragon's Blood Droplet after my resurrection was blocked. I found Owl Father much more difficult. Being 56 years old, my reflexes might not be as good as they were, so I need to concentrate on patience and strategy ;-)

                      • Anonymous

                        29 May 2019 07:23  

                        First time attempting this boss on NG+3, what worked very easily was, shinobi firecracker following by two sword hits and repeat. I used the ceremonial tanto at the beginning of the fight, to have 25 spirit emblems and was able to finish the fight with 3 left, so this should work at 20 spirit emblems at NG no problem.

                        • Anonymous

                          24 May 2019 20:46  

                          Phase 2 of Isshin is really easy if you use suzakus lotus umbrella, without heal you dont take damage and you dont need really timing

                          • 11 May 2019 02:47  

                            This is the proper first ending of a save tbh, it makes the subsequent playthrough seem like Sekiro was dreaming it all while dead and now he’s trying to avoid the Shura Path at any cost

                            • 08 May 2019 19:10  

                              I'm under the impression that the old Isshin Ashina could easily beat the shoot out of Genichiro if only he wanted to... He just doesn't, for some unknown reason. Genichiro is not that hard to beat. And Isshin (as The Tengu) has killed so many Interior Ministry Ninjas like it's nothing.

                              • Anonymous

                                07 May 2019 16:10  

                                I feel like Emma's fight was deliberately designed to throw you into the short-term habit of being extremely aggressive and applying pressure, which is exactly the kind of thing that will get you killed very quickly with Isshin.

                                • Anonymous

                                  03 May 2019 03:24  

                                  It’s crazy that FromSoftware was able to make 2 completely different fights with the Sam character. Also Shura ending best ending RIP Owl though.

                                  • 23 Apr 2019 13:32  

                                    I feel people misunderstand the move where he puts away his sword. I might misunderstand it too, but this is the way I think it works. If you're right in front of him when he sheaths his sword, he'll always go into a slash and then a sweep, both of which can be countered easily if you know the timing. If you're farther away and he charges for a bit, then you need to run further, since then he'll go into the dash swing. The difference between these attacks just depends on your proximity to him.

                                    • Anonymous

                                      20 Apr 2019 01:06  

                                      basically is Sword Saint phase 1 and Sword Saint phase 1 with some fire. If you can get down Sword Saint you can down this older version with little problem.

                                      • Anonymous

                                        18 Apr 2019 01:57  

                                        when he is about to attack with the ichimonji double you can dodge left on both attacks leaving him open for a heavy attack

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