1. Lone Shadow Masanaga the Spear-Bearer 

    Location Ashina Castle - Serpent Shrine; Hirata Estate (Owl Memory)
    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


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.

Note: For the Hirata Estate version it is possible to perform a stealth death blow and remove a health bar, to do this, you must ignore him when entering for the first time, then take a left out of the room and head straight for the Hirata Estate - Main Hall idol and rest. From there head back towards Lone Shadow Masanaga, and just before entering the room look for a grapple spot on a branch, if you grapple on to the branch and look up you should then be able to grapple on top of the large pagoda next to you, from there simply take a run and jump and you will be able to perform the death blow (grappling on the branch nor the Pagoda alert him in anyway)

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.


    • Anonymous

      29 Jan 2020 05:20  

      So easy way,have 7 attack power,16 or so spirit emblems and mortal blade,as well as one Yashariku's Sugar (raises Attack and halves your HP) ,sneak attack him from behind after ingesting the sugar,than spam mortal blade,after you do it afew times ,his posture breaks

      • Anonymous

        29 Dec 2019 01:25  

        the hirata estate one is a *****ing menace. a constant entourage of 3 annoying wolf body guards the he immediately refills once you kill them all. had to resort to some stinky cheese to get rid of this guy. still just a late game enemy with a more health and 2 death blows but with the added thing where he can tell the wolves to jump you while he also gets to do his thing it makes him really frustrating. one of the few weak points of this game. annoying cheesy difficulty that begs for a annoying cheesy method of destruction.

        • Anonymous

          25 Dec 2019 15:05  

          It was an awesome rescue, but one time when he was to kill me again somehow the armoured samurai from up on the bridge came all the way down the forest path and started attacking him. I managed to heal and buff up while he was distracted and still won.

          • Anonymous

            24 Dec 2019 19:12  

            A particularly easy strategy for the one in Serpent Shrine for me was to use a Yashariku's sugar First get the butff, stealth deathblow him and then start slashing at him like no tomorrow After about 4 to 5 parries and/or hits, his posture is done

            • Anonymous

              16 Dec 2019 17:15  

              I found that it was helpful to use the shuriken in Hirate Estate so I could stop his whistle if I wasn't in sword range

              • Anonymous

                22 Sep 2019 14:16  

                Poor guy. You can cheese him in every encounter by luring him to the edge of his programmed area. Somehow, I pity him.

                • 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

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