1. Lone Shadow Masanaga the Spear-Bearer 

    lone-shadow-masanaga-the-spear-bearer2
    Location Ashina Castle - Serpent Shrine; Hirata Estate (Owl Memory)
    Weakness  
    Reward Yellow Gunpowder
    Prayer Bead

Lone Shadow Masanaga the Spear-Bearer is a Mini-Boss in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Mini-Bosses are special Enemies that are uniquely named, and have 2 or more health bars. This means they require at least 2 Deathblows in order to kill, they are generally much more difficult than normal enemies, and they drop some of the best loot in the game.

 

Lone Shadow Masanaga the Spear-Bearer Location

 

 

Lone Shadow Masanaga the Spear-Bearer Rewards

 

Lone Shadow Masanaga the Spear-Bearer Strategies

Video Strategies

Flawless Lone Shadow Masanaga the Spear-Bearer

Strategy Writeup

Note: You can perform a deathblow by sneaking through the outer corridors of the shrine instead of entering directly to it. By taking this route you are able to silently backstab him.

For the Hirata Estate version of this enemy, you'll want to equip two Shinobi Tools - Loaded Shuriken and Finger Whistle. Masanaga has the ability to summon a pack of dogs to his aid by whistling, but you can interrupt this move with a quick shuriken, and if you fail to do so, the Finger Whistle will make dealing with the dogs much easier. Aside from this, it is best to constantly be on the offensive, building up their posture rather than whittling down their health.

While most interior ministry ninjas use their left hand only to throw shuriken if you are unreachable, this one uses it to perform a poison attack combo. The combo includes up to 3 "phases", the second and third one being made of double attacks. After the second motion he will pause for a second, but if you are close enough he will go through with the last part. While clearly punishable and fairly well telegrphed this attack routine is still pretty dangerous because blocking it will result in a lot of posture demage and poison buildup and the attack themselves have deceptively long reach.

Though circumstantial consistency has yet to be tested, Masanaga's AI (and possibly all Lone Shadows) seems to be vulnerable to being animation-locked with constant, slightly-delayed attacks. Pressing the attack button with about 0.2-0.4 seconds of delay before the next press will provoke a standard block, but leave no room for a counterattack, nor will the attacks be fast enough to trigger a deflection. This allows the player to repeatedly damage his posture with no threat to themselves, and can take Masanaga from full health and posture to deathblow in about 30 seconds.

Easy Flame Vent/Living Force Strategy

I discovered this strategy on my NG+ playthrough as I did not have the necessary Living Force skill at the time during my new game.  The strategy simply calls for Sekiro to overwhelm this enemy with flaming attacks and the Burning abnormality.  Assuming you have already engaged with an easy to execute backstab deathblow, use Flame Vent or Okinaga's Flame Vent as soon as he applies the attack power buff.  Quickly follow up with an attack, activating Living Force and coating Kusabimaru with flames.  Keep attacking through his guard and you will apply Burning, staggering the enemy and allowing for 2-3 additional open hits.  This will build up his posture to roughly half and significantly damage his vitality.  Once you have another opening right away, repeat the same action and you will bring his posture almost completely full.  At this point, land or deflect a few hits to finish him, or simply rinse and repeat to burn his ass a third time for an easy finishing deathblow.

Lure Away Strategy

If you bait Lone Shadow Masanaga to travel far enough from where he is originally located; his AI will default into him walking back towards his spawn point. If he reaches this state, he will no longer counter attack and simply block and deflect while trying to walk past you slowly. This is an easy way to build posture damage and not have to deal with any of his tricks or attacks. For Hirata Estate, simply lure him 3/4 of the way toward the bridge where two guards and the Club Soldier are located. For the Serpent Shrine, lure him past the first Torii  and into the high grass and his AI should start walking. 

Video Strategies

 

Attacks & Counters

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

 

 

Lone Shadow Masanaga the Spear-Bearer Lore

Lone Shadows are the Interior Ministry's most trusted agents. Each Lone Shadow is said to have a specialty, and this one seems to be good at training, or at least summoning, shinobi hounds. 

 

Lone Shadow Masanaga the Spear-Bearer Notes & Trivia

  • If you do not kill him, he will have disappeared after coming back from the Divine Realm.

 

 

Lone Shadow Masanaga the Spear-Bearer Image Gallery

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    • Anonymous

      15 Jun 2019 06:46  

      normal mob in a tiny room with 3 dogs added because they knew just fighting the mob would be trivial? is this a dark souls 1 reference?

      • Anonymous

        07 Jun 2019 13:10  

        Hirate Estate revisited Masanaga: 1. Port in to the main Hirata Idol. 2. Kill the 3 fat Taro and the 3 guards around the building. 3. Walk across the charred ground (where one of the fatties was facing) 4. Aggro Masanaga into following you back over the charred ground 5. Once there, his attacks are reduced significantly and he no longer calls the hounds on you

        • 06 Jun 2019 18:29  

          The Lone Shadows might be a possible reference to the Inoue Clan of samurai even though they lived in the Tokugawa period (1603-1868) which comes right after the Sengoku period portrayed in the game.

          • Anonymous

            02 Jun 2019 19:25  

            If you jump to tree branch and then to the top of the pagoda without triggering him, you can do a running jump and get a falling deathblow on him.

            • Anonymous

              19 May 2019 19:22  

              Why do they always put these "Lone Shadow" bosses in locations where the camera has a seizure every 5 seconds?

              • Anonymous

                11 May 2019 11:50  

                So I ran past him (in Hirata Estate) and got to the idol. After resting there, I went through, killed the enemies between me and him, but couldn't sneak up on him. So, I went most of the way back to the idol. He followed me there, through a couple of kicks, I set him on fire, then I started attacking him, pushing him back towards the well entrance...and kept attacking...and he just never swung back. I mashed R1 on my way to victory, eventually pinning him in the back corner after my first deathblow. He blocked every hit but eventually his posture broke.

                • Anonymous

                  07 May 2019 03:05  

                  For those of you wondering why he's even called "Spear-Bearer"; apparently, his original Japanese name "槍足の正長" should actually be translated to something like "Spearfeet Masanaga" or "Masanaga the Spear-Footed", referencing how much his kicks hurt.

                  • Anonymous

                    04 May 2019 00:40  

                    I was first able to get to him in NG+ and luckily after he followed me down the stairs a little and taking out a couple of packs of dogs, I was able to get him into the stun lock by continuously pressing attack as mentioned in the article above. It still works as of version 1.04.

                    • Anonymous

                      27 Apr 2019 02:00  

                      Mortal blade jacks him up pretty good on NG once he's finished his perilous kick attack; not exactly the most honorable way of killing him, but it gets the job done

                      • Anonymous

                        23 Apr 2019 08:25  

                        What's with his left hand? When he did his double poison jab attack, I swear I saw a snake under his cloak instead of his hand or a blade.

                        • Anonymous

                          22 Apr 2019 07:53  

                          There's an eavesdrop opportunity at the Serpent Shrine where Masanaga is waiting if you can reach it without being detected. In it, it is implied that the dead Lone Shadow is Masanari; the lone shadow Juzou was talking to at the Hirata Estate(revisited). Masanaga comments that if Masanari was killed the way he was, then there truly is a demon in Ashina which of course refers to Lord Isshin or the Tengu of Ashina whom we encountered at the Serpent Shrine after killing Genichiro.

                          • Anonymous

                            20 Apr 2019 19:58  

                            The camera is the hardest part of the Shrine fight. Every time I start to get in rhythm with him, the camera goes on a roller coaster and he kills me with poison or his kick combo

                            • Anonymous

                              18 Apr 2019 04:42  

                              If you're struggling in Hirata Estate, you can lure him out to around the bridge area and his AI will bug out. He'll attempt to slowly walk back to his start point, but if you just attack relentlessly, he will do nothing but block. Alternatively, if you do 4-5 hits, stop, and repeat, he will usually eat the hits without even blocking.

                              • Anonymous

                                09 Apr 2019 03:01  

                                Does he only drop one prayer bead because I killed him in the memory then again in Ashina Castle and he only dropped a money bag

                                • Anonymous

                                  09 Apr 2019 02:14  

                                  Get on top of him and fight him just like you did with Genichiro, if you have to back off to heal, throw a shuriken as fast as possible if you see that he's trying to summon the dogs

                                  • 07 Apr 2019 21:45  

                                    I am near the end of the game and I am trying to get the last set of prayer beads but I can't find him for the life of me. I know he is at the Great Serpent Shrine but he is not there. Where do i go?

                                    • Anonymous

                                      06 Apr 2019 08:51  

                                      cheesed the hell out of the one in the hirata estate by luring him out of his territory and mashing r1 until his posture depleted. You're gonna wanna take out the guys behind where you first spawn in though.

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