Isshin, The Sword Saint (剣聖、葦名一心, Sword Saint 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.
See Isshin Ashina for the NPC version. This page contains endgame spoilers.
Isshin, The Sword Saint Location
- Endgame Ashina Reservoir: Found down the tunnel at the Near the Secret Passage Sculptor's Idol.
- You have to fight Genichiro, Way of Tomoe first. If killed by either Genichiro or Isshin you have to fight Genichiro again.
- This boss is not optional if you choose to serve Kuro when talking to Owl. See Endings for details
- See Isshin Ashina for the NPC version and Isshin Ashina (Boss) for another ending fight.
Isshin, The Sword Saint Rewards
Isshin, The Sword Saint Strategies
Phase 1: He will start at Genichiro, Way of Tomoe. The fight will be pretty standard as the 3rd phase near Kuro’s room on the rooftops. Aside from the big, black Mortal blade swings he starts with. You can dodge behind him during the first swing and get easy hits in, staggering his second set of swings. He will lunge, and with enough distance, Mikiri counter makes this fight simple. He only has one Vitality bar, and once you deathblow him, a cutscene will play as Isshin steps out of him.
Isshin Phase 1: He will start a decent distance away from you. His main attacks will be a rather quick. One of his main ones being a double slash with considerable distance. He will sheath his sword and it will flash white, then he will dash and double slash. Deflecting both attacks is an option however, you can run backwards and sprint to the side. Once he slashes he is open for a quick two hits. His main slashes are a three to four hit combo, delaying between each hit. A thrust for an easy Mikiri counter, which will be telegraphed as he will end up in the thrust position before committing. Along with these attacks, he will do a long range wind attack, which can be dodge by running sideways as you can get a couple free hits on him this way as well. And a close range, full screen sweep, giving you just enough time to sprint backwards before it goes off. Once you get the deathblow in phase 1, he may continue to attack for a second before stomping the ground to begin phase 2. Deathblowing Isshin in the first phase very quickly can result in him forgetting to change to the second phase. If you keep attacking and deflecting him, it is possible to prevent him from switching to his phase 2 moveset entirely, and even perform the deathblow for his phase 2. This strategy can also be repeated for his 3rd healthbar, fighting him while he is still using his 1st phase moveset. It is, however, impossible to kill him using this method, as Isshin will eventually force his way into his 3rd phase (even if you have depleted all of his healthbars, his remaining one simply regenerates).
Isshin Phase 2: Phase 2 is a massive difficulty increase from phase 1.Once he stomps the ground, he will do knockback damage, but not Vitality damage. Pulling a spear and swiping it in a tight circle around himself. If timed correctly, you maybe be able to get a hit or two in before he begins his assault. Along with the spear, he will have a short sword with him, along with a rapid fire gun. During this phase, he will keep the wind sweep attack, using it randomly throughout the fight. He will be consistently more aggressive, moving towards you if you make to large of a gap, firing the pistol if the gap gets to large. Making a large gap, you may be able to bait him into using a thrust that can easily be Mikiri countered. He will do large, heavy hitting overheads, usually one after another that can be deflected at the cost of heavy posture damage. Dodging sideways as he descends from the overhead, you can easily dodge the hit and get a few hits in yourself. After Isshin deflects one of your blows, sometimes he will jump backwards and make a sweep at you with his spear. Right as he does this, dodging into the attack (towards him) will allow you to get several hits on him as well. Be careful doing this, as he may do another overhead directly after. Dodging can keep distance, as much as he may spam the gun, is the easiest way to bait him into thrusting, easy overhead dodges, and breaking his posture overall. NOTE: Using the Loaded Umbrella will save you from taking ANY vitality or posture damage if you are struggling to dodge/deflect some of the perilous attacks (unless he is using lightning, which doesn't come until phase 3) AND Isshin will take considerable posture damage if you are using the umbrella to deflect!! You can use the umbrella to help cheese your way through if other means are not working for you. Deathblow on this phase will move him into phase 3.
Isshin Phase 3: Almost the same as phase 2, except he has three new attacks. One being a large swing, in which he covers his spear in lightening and swings it at you. You will want to get close when he does this and jump, as to deflect it directly back at him for big Vitality and posture damage, along with a flurry of free hits. His second attack will be similar to his phase 1 long range wind attack, the main difference is instead of it being vertical, it will be more of a distance slash attack. Third new attack will be adding lightning damage to his large overhead attacks. You can deflect the lightning, although the timing can be difficult. Strategy will be the same as his phase 2 fight. Bait out the Mikiri counter along with his lightning attack, and this phase should go smoother than phase 2. Upon giving him the final deathblow, do not miss the Mortal Blade deathblow, or you will have to go at his third phase again.
If you defeat the boss you will see the writing "IMMORTALITY SEVERED" upon the screen.
Attacks & Counters
|Unsheath (Quickdraw) Attack||He puts his sword back into the sheath and readies a stance. A glint will show on the hilt.||Deflect after a delay|
|Unsheath Attack Feint||Starts the same as the Unsheathe Attack but does not do the attack. A danger indicator and sound will show.||Jump and stomp. Block when coming down as he will counterattack immediately.|
|Slam into mixup||He will jump into the air and follow up with an attack. There will be dust on the ground covering some of his posture.||Deflect the slam attack. Watch the direction of the glint for followup reactions.|
|Thrust Attack Follow-up||A danger indicator and sound will show. A glint will show in the middle.||Mikiri Counter|
|Sweep Attack Follow-up||A danger indicator and sound will show. A glint will show circling around him.||Jump and stomp.|
|Wind will form around him. His posture indicates a vertical attack.||Dodge to the side and counterattack.|
Wind will form around him. His posture indicates a horizontal attack.
|Deflect or jump on his head. Blocking will incur chip damage.|
|Double Wind Sweep||Wind will form around him. His posture indicates a horizontal attack.||Double Deflect|
|Anti-Healing Slam||Used when you heal if he's not currently doing an attack.||Deflect and counter.|
Lightning Bow, Lightning Slash
He will jump into the air and lightning will converge on him.
|Jump deflect discharging before landing. Use the stun to charge up a weapon art or heavy attack.|
Isshin, The Sword Saint Lore
- The reason why this younger version of Isshin appears is due to Genichiro using the Black Mortal Blade on himself, as a sacrifice, to bring his grandfather back from the underworld. As described by the Black Scroll key item, the Black Mortal Blade: "is said to hold the power to open a gate to the underworld. It is through this power that it creates life."
- Why this younger version of Isshin chooses to fight you, rather than let you go, can be surmised in the dialogue right before the fight: Genichiro has used the blade to bind Isshin to his final wish, which is to bring glory to the Ashina Clan and win the war (by getting the blood of the Heir) where he could not.
Isshin, The Sword Saint Notes & Trivia
- Voice Actor: Andre Sogliuzzo (English), Tatsuo Kanao (Japanese)
- The spear Isshin pulls out of the ground is General Tamura's spear, as seen in the intro cutscene, Isshin was the one to take down General Tamura, so it makes sense that he knows where the spear is buried.
Isshin, The Sword Saint Image Gallery
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