Owl (Father) ( 義父, Foster Father, Gifu) is a Boss in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Bosses are special Enemies that feature their own arena, a large and prominent health bar, and a variety of unique moves and abilities. 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.


Owl (Father) Location

  • In the Hidden Temple, where you fought Lady Butterfly, in Hirata Estate. This is only accessible after doing the steps for the Purification Ending.
  • See Endings for more information
  • See The Owl for NPC version.
  • See Great Shinobi Owl for the version fought at the top of Ashina Castle during the main game.
  • This boss is optional.



Owl (Father) Rewards



  • Talk (must be a certain distance behind Owl to initiate dialogue).
    • "That day... I pulled you from the battlefield, a starving cub... I had no idea what you'd become."
  •  If attacked prior to initiating dialogue.
    • "Very well!"

  • First time player uses a prosthetic tool.
    • "Hmm... The shinobi prosthetic... this was once... Curious device you have there..."

  • Upon killing the player.
    • "Good riddance... starving wolf."
  • After first deathblow.
    • "What a fine specimen you've become, Wolf. Allow me to honor your efforts-- and show you this old Owl's true power!" 
  • When killed.
    • "Defeated by my own son? The feeling is not entirely unpleasant..."

Owl (Father) Strategies

Video Strategies


Strategy Writeup

WARNING: Just as in the Great Shinobi Owl Bossfight atop Ashina Castle, this boss has access to an extremely powerful Mikiri Counter that can be used against thrust attacks by the player. This counter deals extremely high damage and will likely kill the player if they are already slightly hurt.

He uses many of the same attacks and styles as his earlier battle, but now he's faster and more aggressive. Fortunately for you, he doesn't use poison or the healing block. As always, you should make arrangements--spend money, get a new skill point--and then dedicate some attempts to learning to defend against his attacks. He will usually take one hit then deflect the second. Sometimes he'll merely guard the first hit before he deflects, but it's all posture damage.

He has a short recovery after many of his attacks--use them to punish him once you're comfortable deflecting. When he does his long attack sequence that ends with his gunpowder slash, dodge towards him as he tosses the gunpowder and get behind him to injure him. Sometimes he'll wind up a heavy overhead chop and it's possible to dodge it and punish--but if you get too far away from him while he raises his sword, he'll feint and leap into the air. If you get him with his back to a wall or a corner, you can attack relentlessly and you'll damage him outright or interrupt many of his attacks and movements for a short spell, enough to wear down his health and damage his posture.

Once his health is about half-way down, you can stop actively trying to bait attacks and switch into defense--deflecting all of his attack sequences and the occasional hit will wear his Posture away quickly. When he's on his second phase, run when he turns invisible until he drops out of it, and use Mikiri Counter to defend against his Shadowrush attacks--he most often does one after he throws a larger sweep of gunpowder and after he launches his blazing owl.

In the second phase, use firecrackers to interrupt his attacks and hurt him while he shields his eyes. Otherwise maintain the same principles as the first phase, just be ready for his owl-based attacks and don't be afraid to run from him to make some space for yourself to heal and douse your flames.

If you defeat the boss you will see the writing "SHINOBI EXECUTION" upon the screen.


Alternate strategy:

If you're having difficulty mastering deflections against this boss, a fairly reliable way to make the fight more manageable is to equip the Mortal Draw (or it's enhancement) combat art, & during the fight, keep dash/sprinting away to keep most the length of the arena between you and Owl so he has to run after you. When he starts running from far away, he usually limits his attacks upon reaching you to 1. a simple running slash, 2. a shuriken throw quickly followed by a strong slash from his left side, or 3. two side dashes followed by his Shadowstep piercing charge. These three abilities can be avoided fairly reliably. The simple slash can be dodged forward & left (passing Owls right shoulder) & quickly followed up by the Mortal Draw two uses as long as you stay within range after your dodge (if you moved too far, simply use a single dash attack to close & deal damage) then quickly run back to the other length of the arena & repeat. The shuriken slice must be dodged forward & left TWICE QUICKLY (past Owl's right shoulder again - if you dash directly at him, or to your right instead, you run the risk of dashing into his outstretched blade & trigger a massively damaging slash that can instantly kill you from full vitality in NG) & again attack with the Mortal Draw 2X. The Mortal Draw combat art will always connect on the first attack (provided you stayed close enough) & the second will usually either land directly, or force him to block & prevent his quickest counter attacks. Finally, for his Shadowstep rush, Mikiri counter & follow up with a quick single slash (he recovers more quickly & can usually escape the Mortal Draw following a Mikiri Counter).

If Owl starts running towards you when at medium range, he is more apt to use one of his other move sets, including an off time (slightly delayed relative to his other animations), multi hit slash that can pivot & follow your dash to hit you in the back & flow into a multi hit combo including a sweep attack.

Following this strategy, you can quickly remove Owl's vitality in chunks & end the fight more quickly. In phase 2, continue to use the same strategy as his base move set remains the same; the only change necessary is to keep running when he enters the invisible owl teleport to avoid his drop attack & dash behind a pillar for easy protection from his fire owl projectile + Shadowstep as neither attack will move past the pillar (this also provides a safe window for using healing items or combat buffs before he resumes his offensive). The most frustrating problem I encountered during this strategy was fighting the camera as it can be easy to run into a pillar or wall while running to long range & occasionally the target lock may be lost after a dash, & if that happens, your initial attack may miss & leave you open for Owls close range offensive.


Another strategy to brute force this fight is to use a combination of Ako's Sugar, Divine Confetti, Rice, & Red Lumps to stay on the offensive, & force Owl back toward a wall to keep interrupting Owl's heavier combos & end the first phase very quickly. The second phase is a little harder due to the invisibility/teleport but the saving spirit emblems & Mortal Draw for phase 2 can keep Owl off balance long enough to quickly end this phase as well.


Attacks & Counters

Attack Description Counter
Phase 1
Zig-Zag Many of Owl's attacks initiate after a zig-zag motion designed to confuse you. After this, he can do any of the following 5 moves:  
Shuriken Throw Owl throws a single shuriken Block, deflect or dodge to the side
Double Shuriken + flip Owl will throw 2 shuriken then flip towards you in the air and then perform a single downward strike with his sword.  Deflect/block the shuriken and dodge sideways to avoid the flip and counter.
Shadowfall Just like your Mushin Shadowfall Combat Art. Owl will charge up for an unblockable thrust, and if it hits, he will jump off and come down with 2 huge slashes.  Mikiri the thrust.
Shuriken Slash Owl throws a shuriken at the player immediately followed by a running slash. Similar to the Chasing Slice Shinobi Martial Art Block/Deflect both. If well timed you can also dodge his slash to the right for a counter opportunitybut it's difficult.
Perilous Sweep Owl will move from the side and perform an unblockable sweep. Jump over it. He can perform the following after this: Jump over it and stay close to him to bait out his overhead slash. Alternatively, jump back so you can jump kick his head and inflict posture damage
Large Overhead Slash Owl will load up for a very powerful overhead slash. If you dodge to the side he will switch to a turning slash. If you dodge backwards he will perform a flip towards you and slash. 

Dodge the overhead slash at the last moment and counter. 

Circling him may be safer than performing a  dodge, as dodging too early prompts him to switch to a quick horizontal attack instead. 

You have time to get one or two hits in while he is charging up.

Backflip Owl leaps off of you. It deals no vitality damage but much posture damage. Deflect to minimize posture damage
Firecrackers Owl throws blinding firecrackers in your face, then makes them explode. He can follow up with either Shuriken Throw, Shadowfall or Shuriken Slash  Dodge backwards to avoid
Running Slash Owl runs towards you and performs a single strong slash. He can perform the following 2 moves after this: Block/Deflect. You can also dodge to the left but you might get hit by the followups.
5-slash Firecracker Combo Owl performs 3 consecutive slashes with his sword, followed by an elbow, followed by firecrackers, which he will slash through.

Deflect/block his slashes, then dodge to the right when he throws his firecrackers for a counter opportunity.

Dodging too quickly after the firecrackers are thrown will cause you to get hit by the follow-up slash, so a momentary pause is needed.  

Double Slash into Perilous Sweep Owl performs 2 consecutive slashes with his sword and ends with a Perilous Sweep. He can perform his Large Overhead Slash after this Jump over it and stay close to him to bait out his overhead slash. Alternatively, jump back so you can jump kick his head and inflict posture damage
Shuriken Slash Owl throws a shuriken at the player immediately followed by a running slash. Similar to the Chasing Slice Shinobi Martial Art Block/Deflect both. If well timed you can also dodge his slash to the right for a counter opportunity, but it's difficult.
Stomp (deathblow)

Owl will raise his foot into the air then stomp down pinning the player to the ground and stabbing them through the chest. This attack does massive damage and cannot be blocked and does not have a Perilous indicator. 

Owl will likely use this after breaking the player's posture if he is close enough. 

Dodge backwards/safety roll in order to avoid it.
Phase 2
Backflip + Shuriken Same as in phase one but he throws shuriken after.  Block/Deflect both.
Owl Teleport Owl will use his summoned owl to teleport above you and drop down with a slash You can deflect his slash, or just run away/stay away from the owl to avoid
Fire Owl + Shadowfall Owl will summon his owl to his hand and throw an unblockable fire owl projectile towards you, then follow up with Shadowfall.  Jump over the fire owl and mikiri his thrust



Owl (Father) Lore

Lore theory: Owl is implied to be the one who originally killed Wolf during the events of the Hirata attack three years prior to the events of the game. 

The first time Sekiro uses a shinobi prosthetic tool during the fight, Owl will comment on it, recognising it and implying he knew the previous owner, possibly from his time with the Sculptor and Dogan.


Owl (Father) Notes & Trivia

Resistant to poison, burn is effective though.

Unlike when fought in the present at the top of Ashina Castle, this version of Owl does not use the Shinobi Charm to prevent the player from healing.

There is an archer close to the idol who can be backstabbed (jump through the window-like gap in the wall to get behind him), allowing the player to start the boss fight with the Bestowal Ninjutsu. Because Owl will frequently try jumping away from you to escape damage, the extra reach from bestowal lets you keep striking him while he's attempting to evade you. Can be combined with buffs such as Ako's Sugar for additional damage. 




Owl (Father) Image Gallery

 [images go here]



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    • Anonymous

      24 Mar 2021 02:35  

      I'm not sure if this is helpful for anyone, but I found that you can get his first phase down instantly using a yashikura's sugar and mid air mortal draw twice. He sometimes survives but when he does he has one or two hits left before he's down. This leaves you with one phase to deal with and only down one gourd (for the healing once the sugar wears off).

      • Anonymous

        14 Mar 2021 20:10  

        Under no circumstances do you dodge towards him when he uses his gunpowder. Seriously this is the worst advice for this boss. You dodge right into his swing, going backwards if you have room or to the sides are the only play. Towards him a restart 9/10 times.

        • Anonymous

          09 Mar 2021 02:15  

          I just beat the Owl (father) and I found him a lot easier than Great Shinobi Owl. I'm not sure if its because I've gotten better at the game, got lucky, or just because I wasn't stressing out about this fight.

          • Anonymous

            27 Feb 2021 00:50  

            Oddly, the shuriken he tosses will count toward his posture if you deflect them. There's even a slight chance you might posture break him, which automatically zips Sekiro forward to be positioned right in front of him, lol.

            • Anonymous

              16 Feb 2021 05:47  

              When you face Masanaga the spear bearer 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 hapened? 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

                20 Jan 2021 12:24  

                I guess hitting him on his left and right sides helped the most to damage vitality. I saved some spirit emblems for phase 2 using the Mortal Draw to interrupt some of his attacks.

                • Anonymous

                  11 Jan 2021 06:07  

                  After i deflect a couple of his attacks he just jumps 10 feet away and regains all of his posture. **** boss.

                  • Anonymous

                    09 Jan 2021 13:38  

                    Somehow I found this version to be much easier than the original one. I recently spent maybe 2+ hours on the Great Shinobi, while Father went down on what felt like 10th attempt. I think that Father has way more openings for punishing (like that long combo with crackers and diagonal slash that he uses very often), and it also felt like he leaves more time to regenerate Posture, which is something I suffered from a lot with the Shinobi version.

                    • Anonymous

                      20 Dec 2020 23:16  

                      Been stuck on him since 2 weeks after the game came out, after about 500 tries i've only gotten him to his second phase twice.

                      • Anonymous

                        15 Dec 2020 23:46  

                        Stay on his face and don't give any room for him to recover. Immediate beginning of the fight is probably the hardest, because it's still him setting the pace, and not you. Once you get into the rhythm just keep pressuring him. Passive play is very risky, because he has so many ways to punish from distance.
                        Mortal draw does damage him a lot, but it's costly, and also risky due to its slowness. Owl is very fast and covers a lot of distance. Bestowal is a waste of emblems, it won't amount to a substantial damage bonus in the beginning. Worst case is that you get completely creamed immediately, because you're trying to get in all the damage you can before it runs out.
                        Utilise shuriken followed by chasing slash to close gaps fast and possibly get in a hit. Staying too far for too long leaves you open and allows him to recover. Don't give him breathers. You can get a deathblow when he has about 50% vitality, if you're relentless. Constantly trade hits and deflections. He blocks three times and switches to his own combo which typically ends up in firecrackers, which you dodge and punish. It's IMPERATIVE you avoid firecrackers by dodging to his left (your right). The big slash that follows when he does the close proximity crackers won't reach far enough to connect if you dodge, and leaves a window for you to hit. Fumbling this means massive damage to you.
                        Ichimonji can do decent posture damage, but the timing is tricky. It's generally safer to just get in a couple of sword hits, because with enough vitality damage inflicting posture damage becomes easy by just deflecting him.
                        Second phase is completely the same, save for the owl shenanigans. Just run away when he changes location.
                        If you keep on his face you probably won't even have to worry about his shadowfall except when he does it after the fire owl. Every perilous attack in close distance is avoided with jumping

                        • Anonymous

                          15 Dec 2020 05:02  

                          This fight was the second "wall" for me in sekiro (after lady butterfly) where I had to actually hone my skill beyond what I could rest on prior to it. I was able to breeze through the owl Ashina Castle fight with relative ease, but this one was a whole other beast.

                          Aggression is key. Don't give him time to breathe except when you gotta heal or regain posture. Once his hp is sufficiently low, don't give him time to breathe ever.

                          • Anonymous

                            24 Nov 2020 20:56  

                            Made it to phase 2 in first 3 attempts. The only two of his attacks took most of my heals and killed me were the gunpowder slash and red owl dive with shadowfall followup. Saw the countering tip provided here and boom won on 4th attempt. First time when fextra provided some legit useful info.

                            • Anonymous

                              10 Nov 2020 00:40  

                              No Lie, been stuck on this lad since August. Managed to beat Demon's Souls in that time, but this fella keeps grinding my nose to the dust. I finally managed to bring him to second phase this week, and I consider that an accomplishment in itself.

                              • Anonymous

                                28 Oct 2020 13:00  

                                How old is Owl? The event in Hirata Estate happened 3 years ago. Is 3 years really enough to make someone going from his prime to “a shadow of his former self”?

                                • Anonymous

                                  20 Oct 2020 22:40  

                                  I find that if you use Mortal Draw during some of his slower moves, you can interrupt them and do a lot of vitality damage. Then, once you get him around half health, you can go on the defense and try to build up posture deflecting his combos. I ended up eking out a victory this way.

                                  Even without emblems, Mortal Draw staggers him out of his overhead swing and his perilous sweep that leads into it. Additionally, side-stepping his fire sweep after the fire crackers gives you ample opportunity. Ashina Cross and Ichimonji Double also work, but Mortal Draw’s heavy vitality damage helps a lot.

                                  • Anonymous

                                    05 Sep 2020 23:32  

                                    Honestly, I was just able to beat him (after quite a few tries) by continually using the High Monk skill. The frequent attacks in rapid succession kept pressure on him to where he would either guard, or start a move, but be interrupted, or sash backward to be hit by the next attack. Keeping up a relentless pace was the key, especially in his second stage, when he did the double shuriken to sword jump much less often. I also had the Mist Raven equipped to quickly counter his more devastating combos, then begin the High Monk combo again.

                                    • 05 Sep 2020 03:13  

                                      It’s crucial to hold the fight in the center of the arena. The boss uses each opportunity to catch your inability to dodge near the walls or the columns! During the second phase holding the centre becomes harder but the boss’s cheating ability to punish you near the walls or columns stays. The moment he vanishes to teleport, I dashed or dodged and sometimes it was **** luck to be hit because of inability to keep the boss auto lock. In the first phase I used Empowered Mortal Draw when he used his stunning attack after using dodge counter attack and his long combo which ended with fire crackers after dodging right just before he used his fireworks (keep in mind while dodging right push immediately block in case your dodging won’t work and then your mortal strike. I didn’t have any spirit emblems but Empowered Mortal Draw still hit him hard. Seldom the boss used his jumping spinning slow attack and I punished him. If you doubt whether you have enough time to use your skill, just strike him two or three common R1. During the second phase I mostly punished his stunning attack and jumping spinning attack (he attacks with one forward powerful hit while jumping or after small combo). When he tried to hit me with his fire owl I moved behind the closest column and then to the center. Sometimes I tried to punish him while he was casting his fire owl and each of these times I was killed. Honestly this boss fight was for me more about fighting the arena and camera than actually fighting the boss himself. Moreover, use healing during your openings for attacking the boss because the boss tries to catch your while healing. Do not hold block, try to deflect or run backwards. Use jumps carefully because most times the boss will hit you in the air! I really hope my tips will help someone. As for me, I beat this boss once and it’s enough for me, f.ck this arena and columns! Good luck

                                      • Anonymous

                                        25 Aug 2020 05:09  

                                        I feel like this is another one of those fights where phase two feels easier than phase one (Along with Guardian Ape and Genechiro). Keeping in mind the location of the owl helped a lot and simply running nullifies some of his attacks.
                                        Knowing that how one fights varies from person to person here are some tips for people who may need help with the fight. I use prosthetic tools a lot in combat and swap combat arts frequently so proceed with this in the back of your head.
                                        Try Leaping Kicks to deal posture damage during the sweep attack (this took a lot of practice to get the timing down and you lose the damage from dodging the over head swing if he uses it so this may not be the best thing to do at the start of the fight).
                                        Using shuriken + chasing slice when he jumps away can help chip him down in phase one (This doesn't work in phase two due to the addition of him throwing his own shurikens, at least in my experience). Nightjar Slash Reversal can work to similar effectiveness however I find this is more likely to get blocked and, if poorly timed, can be punished severely.
                                        Oil + flame vent is nice at the start of the fight but landing it without getting hit can be difficult. Doing this can do a decent chunk of damage and prevents him from regenerating posture for a time. For the same purpose at a smaller risk and effective throughout the fight, Living Force works wonders as well.
                                        Firecrackers are nice but I find that the Fistful of ash can serve the same function without the spirit emblem cost but you won't be able to use Chasing slice.
                                        Suzaku's Lotus Umbrella + Projected Force is an easy way to deal damage while being safe and only costs one spirit emblem if timed well.
                                        Using the Ceremonial Tonto before the fight will allow more uses of your prosthetic tools at the cost of a gourd charge.
                                        Whirlwind Slash is nice after dodging an attack, same with Mortal draw but that costs spirit emblems
                                        Do not use the spear. Sorry to all the people who like range but Owl will Mikiri Counter you with the might of the Heavenly Buddha.
                                        If you have been going at this boss for a while, I find that stepping away and drinking some water and detilting helps a lot. When I first fought this boss (on my first playthrough after beating Isshin, Sword Saint) it took me 6 or so hours to beat it, It was only after stepping away to clear my head did I come out on top.
                                        That's all that I can think of off the top of my head. This fight is my second favorite and (I feel) has a lot of interesting ways to approach it.

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