Hardest Sekiro Boss To Easiest, Ranked

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice may be an all-new FromSoftware IP, but has quite a bit in common with the studio’s old games. The first similarity that comes to mind is the difficulty, and highest on the list of things that make the game difficult are its bosses.

As we did with Dark Souls 3 and Cuphead, we’ve ranked all of Sekiro’s bosses from easiest to hardest. This list only includes what are largely accepted as the main bosses of the game and not tougher regular enemies or “mini-bosses.” The ranking is based on our personal experience with the game, which may differ from your own.

Let’s get started, shall we?

14. Folding Screen Monkeys

The encounter with the Folding Screen Monkeys is more of a puzzle than a fight. You’re tasked with figuring out a way to hunt down four monkeys that will run from you when alerted of your presence. An NPC in the area will brief you about the abilities of three of these four monkeys, leaving you to figure out the last one’s quirk on your own. The lack of any serious danger puts this boss at the very end of the list.

13. Divine Dragon

While the Divine Dragon boss fight undoubtedly packs the best visuals in the game, with an excellent soundtrack to boot, it doesn’t offer much in the way of a challenge. After a forgettable first phase, you are treated to another puzzle of sorts, the solution to which should become immediately evident. The only challenge is evading the Divine Dragon’s flurry of attacks in the third phase of the fight, but you needn’t worry about that either if you have a resurrection charge handy.

12. Gyoubu Masataka Oniwa

It’s no surprise that Gyoubu the demon finds himself at the bottom end of this list. He is meant to be the first boss of the game, after all. He may be nimble, but his attacks are quite easy to read. If you still find yourself struggling to deflect or dodge his blows, running is a valid option here as you encounter him in one of the largest open areas in the game.

11. Genichiro Ashina

While you aren’t required (or expected) to win the first time you come across Genichiro Ashina, it is, in fact, possible to beat him, though that doesn’t change the outcome of the prologue. Beating him during your rematch, however, is mandatory. His first phase sees him dish out all the same moves he had in the prologue – he doesn’t mix it up much and is quite easily punished with Mikiri, jump, and step dodge counters. The second phase of the fight may, at first blush, seem like it ups the challenge, but the new attacks Genichiro gains are quite well-telegraphed and actually make it easier to deal massive counter damage.

10. Corrupted Monk (Apparition, First Encounter)

While the Corrupted Monk’s illusion isn’t the easiest fight in the game, the reason it finds itself so low on the list is that its challenge can be reduced significantly with the right combination of consumable items. Even without these, you can afford to be aggressive in this fight, as while he is deceptively quick on his feet, most of his attacks are preceded by a relatively slow windup. The boss does deal high posture and vitality damage, however – the slightest misstep, and you may struggle to regain the upper hand in the fight.

9. Corrupted Monk (True Form, Second Encounter)

The second and true encounter with the Corrupted Monk sees him gain a few new tricks and three health nodes. Dealing three Deathblows to an enemy with an already high health pool does seem like it would be a chore, and it is. Good thing is, you can knock the first two down in seconds if you grapple to the tree branches above the boss at the beginning of the fight, as this allows you to perform stealth Deathblows, twice in a row. You will still have to fight him head-on to whittle down his third health bar, but his moveset remains roughly the same, with a couple variations and a penchant for occasionally spawning illusions.

8. Headless Ape

Your rematch with the resurrected Headless Ape starts off seeming identical to the second phase of the Guardian Ape fight, but things become a tad more complicated after the first Deathblow is dealt, as a second, brown ape joins the fray. While you can ignore the Guardian Ape’s bride, it isn’t very easy as it tends to follow most of the Headless Ape’s attacks with one of its own, greatly reducing any attack windows you may get.

7. Guardian Ape

Despite the fact that the final bout with the Headless Ape sees you face off against two apes for the price of one, the first fight feels harder still. The boss has the most challenging and diverse moveset during the first phase of this fight, and a higher health pool to boot. The second phase is relatively straightforward, as deflections become much easier, and can lead to the boss getting staggered, allowing for several free hits. There is a new Terror-building attack to contend with, but that is quite well-telegraphed and easily evaded.

6. Great Shinobi – Owl

While the Owl doesn’t pose much more of a challenge than the Guardian Ape, the margin of error in this fight seems even thinner, especially in a New Game+ run. The Owl is nimble, his attacks have quite a bit of range, his posture replenishes rapidly, and his attacks deal massive damage. Being aggressive is the faster route here, but is also much riskier than playing it safe and waiting for the boss to attack first. Just deflecting won’t work against the Owl, however – you’ll have to step dodge with precise timing to get in a couple hits at a time.

5. Emma, The Gentle Blade and Isshin Ashina

While many of the attacks of this deadly duo are easily countered, these will test your skill with each type of counter. Make one mistake and you are likely to lose most of your health. After you’re done mopping the floor with Emma, you fight the formidable Isshin Ashina. Thankfully, he is much older and slower here, though underestimating him might be your undoing. His subtle step dodges can throw you off balance and leave you open to devastating counter-attacks.

4. Lady Butterfly

Lady Butterfly was the first boss I fought during my maiden playthrough, and it made me doubt if I’d be able to finish the game without pulling out half my hair. Despite being accessible very early in the game, this fight consistently finds itself in the top five of Sekiro boss ranking lists around the web. This kunai-wielding assassin is nimble, has ridiculous range, and regenerates posture faster than you bring it down. The only viable choice you’re left with is to bring her vitality down the few times she leaves herself open to an attack. The second phase of the fight makes this even harder, with phantom butterflies chasing after you at the end of most of her attacks. What’s more, she periodically spawns illusions that can spawn a swarm of phantom butterflies if left alone, though this simply delays the inevitable end of the fight rather than adding a significant challenge to it.

3. Owl (Father)

The second encounter with The Owl sees Sekiro’s father gain a revamped moveset, including a couple devastating Ninjutsu in the second phase that make up for the larger boss area, though these are quite easily dodged. In addition, he can, and often will, use feints to mask certain attacks and counter your thrust attacks with his own rendition of the Mikiri Counter. The prime challenge in this fight remains the same as before – precisely dodging around attacks to land your own – but it is made much harder by the more variety of moves at the Owl’s disposal. The alternative is to keep the pressure and deflect any counter-attacks, though the margin for error when being aggressive is understandably slim.

2. Genichiro, Way of Tomoe and Isshin Ashina, The Sword Saint

The final boss fight for all endings but one, is undoubtedly one of the hardest in the game. It is an amalgamation of nearly every kind of challenge you face through the course of the game that tests your reflexes, stamina, and skill with each type of counter. You’re tasked with dealing a total of four deathblows here – the highest of any fight in the game – though the first is at the end of yet another bout with Genichiro. While he does have a new trick up his sleeve this time around, he is more or less as easy to deal with as before.

The real fight begins when his grandfather reluctantly enters the fray. Isshin Ashina is resurrected as he was in the prime of his life, and the Sword Saint doesn’t waste time showing off his vast moveset. He is fast and unpredictable, though he does leave himself wide open to counters at the beginning. When he shifts to his spear in the second phase, however, those attack windows get much slimmer while the range of his attacks increases dramatically. One would expect the third phase to further up the ante, but his lightning attacks actually offer an excellent opportunity to take away large chunks of his vitality and posture at a time. It isn’t easy getting to the final phase consistently, though, even on repeat playthroughs. Your will is likely to be tested.

1. Demon of Hatred

If you’ve played any of the Dark Souls games or Bloodborne, you’re likely to know that an optional boss fight in a FromSoftware game is usually one of the hardest, if not the hardest. This optional boss is no exception to this unspoken rule. The reason is obvious as soon as the fight starts. Deflecting each of the Demon’s attacks isn’t a viable option, so you’re left hugging his feet, landing two to four hits to his vitality at a time. Dodging isn’t always an option either as some of his sweeping attacks can only be evaded if you run around him. What’s more, this beast needs three Deathblows to be brought down, which wouldn’t have been that daunting of a task if it weren’t for the fact that he seems to have the highest health pool of any enemy in the game.

Other than the puzzle bosses, if there is any fight that feels like the odd one out in this list, it is the one with the Demon of Hatred. The only viable strategy here is one usually employed against towering Dark Souls and Bloodborne bosses. It’s a good thing that there are Prosthetic Tools that can make this fight easier and that the beast doesn’t gain more than a couple new attacks per phase.


Do you agree with this ranking? What bosses did you find the most difficult? Let us know in the comments below!

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Sameed Khan

I write, game, design at times, and revel in sarcasm. You can find me on Twitter.