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 Dialogue:

If the player manages to achieve an "Eavesdrop":

"Masanari...
I never would have believed a man of your ability could be slain...
It appears as though a demon lurks within Ashina..."

 

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.

 




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    • Anonymous

      05 Apr 2021 19:30  

      This fight becomes much easier once you learn that A) You can mikiri counter his heavily telegraphed unblockable kick, and B) if you smack him with a shuriken while he tries to blow his whistle, he can't summon dogs.

      • Anonymous

        25 Feb 2021 07:00  

        God damn does that delayed attack tip work. Poor boy went down from the temple, across the bridge and back again being able to do nothing but block.

        • Anonymous

          16 Feb 2021 05:47  

          When you face him in Ashina Castle, the first line of his dialogue is "Oh, it's you". He could be saying that "it's you the one who killed my boy Masanari", yeah, but also he could be remembering you for your chronologically first encounter at Hirata Estate. I didn't finish my first playthrough yet, just beated father, but this is driving me crazy. Could Owl's memory have actually happened? This slightly contradicts the memory of the battle, as it states something like "Owl's wish to fight with Wolf to death was granted, even if it was in an old memory", but we do know that the way that the Buddha statue works is ****ed up, since you carry your prosthetic tool the past and some more stuff like that. Maybe some of the things you did did happen and some didn't?

          • Anonymous

            06 Dec 2020 10:08  

            How many lone sahdow bosses in this game?! They are easy af . From should have made senpou straw hat monk's a mini boss instead of this scrub.

            • 25 Nov 2020 22:17  

              Mine glitched. I only got yellow gunpowder. Nothing showed up in my gift box. Doesn't respawn. Maybe i was punished for cheesing the fight dragging him to the bridge to face the big samurai and monk first... Maybe the game counts tics of health not taken by you?

              • Anonymous

                16 Aug 2020 22:10  

                I kited Akinas finest to fight him. It's a bit hard cuz their hitboxes get stuck in the doorway. I have this boss fight Akina enemies. And just back stab him.

                • Anonymous

                  16 Aug 2020 10:43  

                  I lead him out of the fire area and down to the bridge in Hirata Estate, his AI didn't fight back and i attacked him knocking him backwards as he parried and he fell in the water beside the bridge and insta killed him BUT i didn't get no prayer beads, i only needed the last 2 since this is my second playthrough, sigh.

                  • Anonymous

                    01 Aug 2020 05:05  

                    easy to kill. just remember to use mikiri when he is preparing the leg to kick you and you see the kanji. he has exactly the same moves as every other ninja in the game so you wont have to learn his moves

                    • Anonymous

                      26 Apr 2020 00:15  

                      Does he drop 1 prayer bead in the memory and in the shrine respectively? Trying to make sure if i missed his bead.

                      • 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

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