Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – Tips For First-Time Shinobi

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – Tips For First-Time Shinobi

Sekiro has been out for about a week, so after spending a lot of time with the game, it’s time to share some tips to help out with the constant death you’re almost certain to be experiencing.

The Air Ichimonji: Double

I have to put this one first since I’ve found it to be indispensable. It’s an Ashina art. If you don’t have access to Ashina arts, the esoteric text is the reward for the “rat hunting” sidequest you get from the Tengu in a building near the Gyoubu fight arena (likely the first “proper” boss you’ll encounter). In order to get the most out of this art, you’ll need four separate skills. You’ll have to use skill points to acquire the Ichimonji skill, followed by the Ascending Carp skill. When you have those, you can then unlock the Ichimonji: Double.

Now, the Ichimonji is a single, powerful downward swing that does a good amount of posture damage. More importantly, it heals a large amount of Sekiro’s posture. The Ichimonji: Double is exactly what it sounds like – it’s the Ichimonji, but twice. The problem with the Ichimonji is that it can leave you pretty wide open, as it takes a second to get going. This is why you’ll need the air combat art skill from the first skill tree.

The air Ichimonji: Double is extremely useful. When starting it while airborne, enemies will be less likely to hit you and you’ll be able to severely damage their posture upon landing. It’s also perfect for doing right after stepping on an enemy’s face. This skill combination is a lifesaver not only during fights with regular enemies, but is also handy in boss battles. Whenever I’m close to having my posture broken, it’s almost always a good idea to make use of this art, as it recovers almost all posture damage.

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Farm Strategically To Reduce Waste

As you’re probably aware, half of your experience and currency are both lost upon most deaths. You’re going to die a lot, so it’s best to bank points and money whenever you can. If your experience bar is halfway to its next skill point then it’s a really good idea to farm rather than tread into unknown territory or take on a boss. Just find some enemies near your sculptor’s idol of choice and kill them until you’re able to bank the next skill point. Banked skill points are never lost, so this keeps your experience safe. The Gun Fort sculptor’s idol for this is a decent mid-game choice, as you can acquire about 1500 experience and almost 300 gold in just a couple of minutes.

Money works a little differently but it’s similar in principle. Money bags can be purchased from merchants for the amount of money you want to bank plus ten percent. So, if you’ve got 400 sen on you, it’s a good idea to farm until you hit 550 and then buy a money bag from a merchant. Money bags are limited, however, so if you don’t have a merchant who has any in stock, you’re gonna have to spend your excess funds before a tough fight or just hope you don’t die.

Don’t Worry About Hoarding Spirit Emblems

It’s easy to be wary of using your prosthetic tools a lot and depleting your stock of spirit emblems. However, Sekiro gives you an absolute ton of these, so there’s no reason to be stingy with them. Sure, you can only carry so many on you at once, but enemies frequently drop them and you can easily buy more for ten sen a pop at any idol.

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The Shinobi Firecracker

This unassuming prosthetic tool is honestly one of the handiest in the game. It can briefly stun almost every enemy in the game, including bosses. It has more of an effect on beasts, too. Beast bosses can be really difficult to hit at times, but all you have to do is toss one of these suckers and they’ll get startled and leave themselves wide open. Even some nigh-unavoidable attacks from late-game bosses can be interrupted by this. It takes a second to go off but it really can be a lifesaver, so remember to try it when you’re in a tough spot.

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Most Minibosses Are Worth It

I know, I know. They’re a pain in the ass. There’s no getting around it. But minibosses are your primary source for Prayer Beads. Every four Prayer Beads give you more vitality and posture, so you’re definitely going to want to take these tough enemies out. Beads are also hidden around the game world, so make sure to search thoroughly. Those rare few minibosses that don’t offer Prayer Beads tend to drop unique items of some use, too, so it really is worth taking these foes down.

Having Trouble? Come Back Later

Although you can’t farm experience to increase your health or damage, Sekiro still gets stronger as the game progresses. If you run into an area, miniboss, or boss that you just can’t seem to handle, it’s usually a good idea to try another area and come back when you’re a bit stronger. Even having new skills or just a bit more (player) experience can make a huge difference in giving you an upper hand. And maybe you’ll find a new prosthetic tool that works wonders.

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Resurrect Strategically When Fighting Bosses

Sekiro starts the game with two resurrections – one that refills on resting at idols and one that you refill by defeating enemies. But did you know you can use more than one resurrection in a single boss fight? If you die on a bosses’ first health bar, you’ll likely notice that your remaining resurrections get crossed out. However, once you use a deathblow, you can unlock additional resurrections for the second or – ugh – third phases. Just only try to resurrect with the additional ones if you think you stand a chance of winning. Otherwise, you’ll have to either kill enemies to fill up the meter in order to use it again, or use an extremely rare item.

Always Pick Off Miniboss Cronies First

Sometimes it can seem impossible to take out the trash mobs surrounding a tough miniboss. However, there’s almost always a way to clear them out and still get a stealth deathblow. If sneaking doesn’t work, try the direct approach and aggressively knock the hell out of them, one-by-one. You can always bolt and come back after a couple of minutes, as the others will forget about you.

Get Gourd Seeds Early

You can actually get the majority of Sekiro‘s Gourd Seeds fairly early on. Once the game opens up and allows you to go to all the different area, it pays to dip your toes into each instead of just sticking with one. Having more Healing Gourd swigs is always a good thing and can definitely make exploration safer.

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Switch The Item Button

Sekiro has a really good controller scheme, save for the item button. It defaults to up on the D-Pad if you’re using a controller, but that’s, well, terrible. You’re mostly going to be healing with that button, but having it set there means you have to take your thumb off the left analog stick. And trust me, you do NOT want to take your thumb off, as it’ll definitely get you killed at some point. I find it much better to switch the prosthetic tool selection button to up on the D-Pad and to put item use on the top face button. Healing and using items this way is much safer.

That about does it for our tips. Even with all of this, though, you’re still going to die constantly. Don’t think you’re not going to. It’ll happen, trust me.



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