Sword Saint, Isshin Ashina achievement in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sword Saint, Isshin Ashina

Defeated "Sword Saint Isshin Ashina"

Sword Saint, Isshin Ashina+0.1
5 guidesOffline Game ModeSingle PlayerMain Storyline

How to unlock the Sword Saint, Isshin Ashina achievement

  • BudaBuda392,104
    28 Mar 2019 28 Mar 2019 05 Apr 2019
    9 0 6
    This is the final boss for the "immortal severance" ,"return" and "purification" endings.

    As far as I know there are no cheese strategies so you have to do this the hard way.

    Genichiro can be killed easily by high pressure, try to deflect his attacks and attack him as often as possible. Watch out for his mortal draw attack. It has a long windup so it is rather easy to dodge. Do not use more than 2 healing gourds for this fight. You can kill him with minimal losses, use a pellet at the start of the isshin fight, there should be enough time before he attacks you.

    Now for the main fight. Isshin has 3 phases

    Phase 1: In this phase Isshin only uses his sword. He has 4 main attacks and a 3 hit combo which is very slow and should always be deflected. His first attack is Ichimonji double. Sidestep and punish. Second attack is a form of the Ashina draw technique you can unlock in the Ashina style skill tree. He charges up the attack and dashes towards you to hit you twice. Simply run away quickly and run back when he did his two strikes for easy hits. The third attack is some kind of wind slash. He slashes twice, just run to the side and try to attack him quickly. He has another attack where he slashes around him in a very wide radius. You either jump over it or run far away. You should ideally finish this phase using only 1 healing gourd. If you have less than 5 gourds after this phase, restart. The randomness of the following phases forces you to have spare healing gourds.

    Phase 2: This phase is super difficult. After you give him a deathblow he sends out a shockwave that knocks you away. You can run behind him if you are fast and hit him once or twice but watch out for the spear he draws out from the ground since he can damage you while doing it. He uses a spear and a sword during this phase. His reach is massive, keep your finger on block just to be safe even if you think you are far away. I have not found a way to bait his thrust attack for easy mikri counters but always keep an eye out for them. When he leaps up into the air you have two options: 1. Sidestep for a freehit or two. 2. Try to deflect but keep in mind that he does another followup attack sometimes that you also have to deflect. You can chip away at him whenever it is safe but I won't recommend it.

    Play very aggressive. Keep attacking him, when he deflects you have to react fast because the wind up time on his attacks is very short. Keep an eye out for thrust attacks, counter them with mikri for massive posture damage, after mikri he will be too far away for a hit, step closer, hit him and step back again.

    Phase 3: This phase seems daunting at first but it is much easier than the others. Try to memorize the wind up animation for his lightning attack. Jump into the air and hit RB at the lightning bolt and try to hit him with it for massive damage and a stun. Follow up with a hit and back off.

    Thats it. There is no easy way to kill him. This fight is a true test of skill. If you absolutely can't finish it watch one of the speedrunners do it. They have a few tricks I didn't mention.

    Guide not helping? View 4 more guides for this achievement.

    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    ImaginaryRuinsAgree with Adonias; play defensively for phase 2, but play offensively for phase 1. In phase 1, you can attack once, deflect once, attack once, deflect once... repeat until Isshin breaks the pattern, but for phase 2, his attack becomes much less predictable.

    Isshin uses the spear thrust in four ways. He can use it independently (rarely), in his 3-hit combo (less common), in his 7-hit combo (more common), and when you are in range after he fires his pistol four times. Since he always uses the thrust at the end of the combo, it is not too hard to mikiri it.
    Posted by ImaginaryRuins on 05 Apr 19 at 16:44
    FoogaThis boss fight’s 3rd and 4th phase is incredibly easy to cheese. If you keep running from him he does two range attacks, one where he whips out his pistol and the other where he does a lunge. If you run at the right side of him (your right, his left) as he does the lunge you can get a running stab into his back. Then just run away and repeat.

    When we were both low towards the end of the fight I noticed this and realized if you wanted to do it for the entirety of those last 2 health bars, it’s very doable.
    Posted by Fooga on 09 Apr 19 at 17:26
    Visions of GoreGreat guide! +1. I was gonna post something similar but you worded it better lol. You are spot on with it too. I died SOOOOOOO many times (it's embarrassing) trying to cheese with multiple strategies.. The best way really is to learn his moves and be able to parry. I kept trying to rush and getting frustrated. Fooga is right about his strategy, I saw someone on YouTube pull it off, I just couldn't master it.
    Practice on Genichiro until you can kill him without healing. Seriously. Don't worry about progressing the fight until you can whoop his ass. Then do the same with Isshin phase 1. That way, you go into phase 2 & 3 fully stocked, and it's not a big deal if you die learning his moves and parry timing.
    When I switched my mindset to this, I was able to focus and beat him on around my tenth attempt. toast
    Posted by Visions of Gore on 10 Apr 19 at 23:47
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  • Visions of GoreVisions of Gore758,411
    10 Apr 2019 11 Apr 2019 11 Apr 2019
    4 1 2
    First off, the guide by Buda is spot on with tips on how to fight and you should definitely follow it. This is not to compete with that guide, simply to add some tips you may not know.

    1. Do not approach this fight as trying to win at first. Look at it as training on each phase. Practice on Genichiro until you can beat him without healing. Practice dodging the black swings, learn the timing on parrying, learn the difference in his unblockable swing and thrust. You need to be able to counter his thrust every time. As you're learning his moves, if you beat him, let Isshin kill you and repeat until Genichiro is no longer a threat.

    2. Now do the same with Isshin phase 1. Practice parry timing, learn the tells of unblockable swings and thrusts. You need to be able to counter every thrust. When he sheaths his sword, run away from him and to the left, then punish him after the double slash. When he raises his sword, spam B to back Up A LOT, his two sword slashes will miss you. Run away from his whirlwind attack.

    3. You should be able to beat Genichiro and Isshin phase one without using a gourd. I felt like I needed all ten for phase 2 & 3 of Isshin because his attacks are so powerful and it's hard to tell if he's going to use a 3 hit combo or 5.

    4. Now learn his new moveset. The spear CAN be parried, timing is just different. Practice till you can do it. Master the mikiri counter! Does major posture damage! Once I realized the reach of his thrust was INSANE, countering became a lot easier. I tried many combat arts on him, I thought that "Praying Strikes-Exorcism" worked the best. You can't spam it though, punish him when you dodge an attack.

    5. For Isshin phase 3, learn the lightning parry or learn to dodge it, whichever you can pull off with confidence. Remember, phase 3 is close to phase 2 except he's more aggressive, uses the unblockable whirlwind attack, and the lightning attack.

    6. Accept that you will die on Isshin phase 2 & 3, until you learn his moves. That way you won't get overwhelmed. Since you have mastered Genichiro and Isshin phase 1 though, it won't be as frustrating.

    7. DO NOT use more than your first resurrection until you are on Isshin phase 3 and are confident you can beat him. If you do, you will have to grind out deathblows to fill you nodes back up. The first one refills at an idol, but the other two take about half a skill point worth of boosting deathblows to fill back up. If Isshin kills you twice just die.

    8. That being said, a "Bundled Jizo Statue" will replenish a node completely! Unfortunately they only work outside of battle. Save these! If you almost have Isshin phase 3 killed, and you use another resurrection, these can be used to refill the node before your next try without having to boost.

    9. You know those Dragon's Blood Droplets that heal Dragon rot? Well turns out they have another use. If you have the black mark across your resurrection nodes, you can USE THIS IN BATTLE to RESTORE RESURRECTION! This means that if you die and resurrect in Ishhin phase 3, then you can use a Droplet and regain the ability to resurrect. An example : You make it to Isshin phase 2 with 3 nodes. He kills you. You resurrect. You now have 2 nodes with a black mark. You deathblow phase 2. This takes your black mark away, and you are now on phase 3. He kills you again, you resurrect. You now have 1 node with a black mark. You use the Droplet, black mark goes away, giving you 2 resurrections in 1 phase!

    10. Don't forget about your sugars! Yellow one helped speed up Genichiro and Isshin phase 1 for me, and blue one helped on phases 2&3.
    Also, when an opponent parries you, it makes the same sound and flash of light that your parry makes. So attack until you see that, then get ready to parry.
    Good luck toast
    Showing both comments.
    I Ebon Hawk ICan you tell me exactly when you are supposed to attack Isshin during phase 2? I can get to phase 2 consistently without using any gourds, but he’s raping me in phase 2. I’ve only made it to phase 3 once. I can’t seem to do enough posture damage to him in phase 2. His spear hits also do a ton of damage to my posture and he doesn’t give me a chance to heal or regain posture.
    Posted by I Ebon Hawk I on 19 May 19 at 23:40
    Visions of GoreI understand, I was having the same trouble as you. Unfortunately the most efficient way is to counter his thrust. It does a lot of posture damage. It's much easier to fill his posture meter thanto get his health down. His reach is A LOT longer on the thrust than you expect, and the window to counter is bigger than you would expect. Mastering that counter was the only way I was able to beat him. Other than that, it's possible to get in a hit after he jumps at you, if you dodge correctly. If you need to heal, all you can do is run away, kinda in a circle, and heal after you dodge his jump attack. This fight was so overwhelmingly difficult, I almost gave up.
    Posted by Visions of Gore on 22 May 19 at 14:17
  • Lord RazorbladeLord Razorblade916,901
    22 Apr 2019 25 Apr 2019
    2 0 0
    In this video guide I will show you how to defeat Sword Saint, Isshin Ashina. This will be the final boss if you decided to side with Kuro. The fight will take place in the same spot where you lost your arm. There will also be four health bars that you need to deal with this time around.

    A few things I used in the fight to help out are high monk, umbrella, and ceremonial tanto.

    First Phase: You will be fighting Genichiro again in his Way of Tomoe form. The good thing about this first fight is he still uses all of his previous moves, only difference is that he uses the mortal blade swing. His posture is also very low, so breaking that will be priority. First you will need to get behind him before he uses the mortal blade and get a few hits. I just keep deflecting his attacks will hitting once in awhile to build his posture. When he did his thrust attack I just used high monk to jump over them and attack him with that. Just repeated this until his posture broke.

    Second Phase: Now comes out Sword Saint Isshi Ashina. The first health bar will be the most tedious one to whittle down. All you need to do is back away and lure him into attacking you. He will usually do one of three moves. One he will charge at you from a distance followed up by a combo. If you try to lure him our by running forward a bit then back again he will lunge at you and miss. Don't attack when he does this move.

    Another attack is he will use the Ashina Cross. When he sheathes his sword wait for him to lunge at you and do two quick swipes. Just simply run around him and do a thrust attack at him. Thrust attacks do a little more damage than one hit attacks.

    His last move he will do is start running around then come at you with a three hit combo. Just run round and try to get behind him for a thrust attack. If you hit him head on with this he might block it and attack back so be warned.

    Just keep punishing him on these last two attacks and he will eventually fall. This will be slow and tedious but it will be able to save your healing gourds and be less complicated for learning all of his other moves.

    Third Phase: Now he will be pulling out a spear and have a big area of attack. Plus a while bunch of new moves. All your gonna do is run away and go to one of the ends of the map and wait for him. He will usually do one of two moves here. The goal is to try to get him to use his gun on you and block it with the umbrella.

    One of the gun moves he will do is just start charging at you then draw his gun. Pay close attention for you can tell when he reaches in his robe to draw it out. Deploy the umbrella and block all four shots then when he's close enough press the RB to attack and use the gunshots absorbed into the umbrella to do extra damage to him.

    Now you are going to run to the other side of the map to ensure he keeps using his running attacks and use his gun. The other attack his he will be running at you again and do a jump attack. Deploy the umbrella to block it. He will then shoot his gun four time like before, keep blocking the attack and keep the umbrella out. He will do another jump attack and all you need to do is walk around the left side of it followed up by another attack with the umbrella.

    These will be the two attacks you will be using against him for the whole second health bar of his. Once you get this down it won't take long to knock his health bar down.

    Fourth Phase: This phase will be the same as the last one. The only difference is he will be using lightning attacks once in awhile. When the fight starts just wait for the kanji to pop up then jump in the air to get hit with the lightning and press RB in the air. This will throw the lightning back at him and give you a few hits on him as well. Now all your going to be doing is the same as the third phase. Use your umbrella to absorb the gunshots and get the extra damage on him with it. If you run out of spirit emblems use the ceremonial tanto to get more. Just be sure to heal up afterwards so you don't get one hit killed. Keep repeating the process until he is dead. Don't worry to much about countering the lightning just keep your distance. The achievement will pop once you execute him.

  • YhannosYhannos621,666
    13 Apr 2019 13 Apr 2019
    2 2 1
    There is a cheese strategy to get past the hardest part of this boss fight, phases 3 & 4, where he pulls out the spear. Run to the boss's right until he does a jumping overhead attack. When he does this, run towards and to the right of him to get behind him, then hold cn_RB to perform a stab, which does more damage than a regular attack. Only do one attack, then run away and bait him until he does it again. Repeat until dead.
  • cooper101183cooper101183787,974
    20 Jul 2019 21 Jul 2019
    0 2 0
    This boss took me pretty much a full day but I developed a technique which I want to share. I could never defeat his 4th phase but developed a method where i finidhed his final phase in 30 seconds. Scroll to end if this is where you need help

    Set Up
    Shadow Rush as Combat Art. Quick Slots - Ceremonial Tanto, Pellet, Ungos Sugar. Sparking Axe, Rice

    Before the fight starts use the tanto to gain 5 extra spirit emblems then use a pellet to restore health.

    I used the Mikiri Counter. So maintain distance as soon as red symbol appears do the Mikiri counter, get three to 4 hits jump back maintain distance and keep baiting the mikiri. It will take 4 counters.

    Isshin Phase 1
    Ok walk towards him bait an attack, dodge the attack. Then immediately Shadowrush him. two strikes on descentthen jump back as soon as you land do another shadow rush, 2 strikes on descent. Jumpback and repeat. You will get his posture up really quickly and finish him within a minute.

    Use your pellets to restore health. Aim to have your Gourds intact
    You should have around 10 spirit emblems left. Run to safety and use ceremonial tanto then a gourd or pellet to restore health

    Isshin Phase 2
    Ok this phase gave me the most trouble. Heres what I did.
    target him, Constantly keep running around the map. The idea is to bait him into his vault attack. When you see him jump, dodge towards him. Now, the timing of when you press dodge is critical.wait until he is in mid air before you press dodgeif u press too early he will cit you to pieces. Now hold Rb to do a charged attack then immediately jump back, maibtain distance and bait another jump attack. The charged attack does way more damage than standard. Important if u dont think you will reach him after his jump attack press the jump button as soon as he lands, this avoids his thrust attack which covers a huge distance.

    After around 10-12 charged attacks you will beat him with this method. Aim to have at least 2 health gourds left.

    Phase 3
    If u use this method this will be the quickest phase. Run over to the cliff walls (not the edge that you can fall off, the actual stone mountain area. Use your rice and ungos sugar. Get him against the wall then hit him with the sparking axe and immediatrly hit RB to use fang and blade attack. This does hugr posture damage. Normally he would jump backwards but as he is against the cliff wall he cant. Immediately launch another Sparking Axe and fang attack. This should be enough to fill his posture bar but you may need to do 1 more. Then finish him.

    Its really important that you eat the rice and Ungos sugar. These will ensure you dont die as he will still be attacking. Also u need to get him against that wall or he will keep jumping back.

    The most difficult phase is phase 3, once you get the timing of the dodge down on his jump attack then charge attack you will quickly whittle his health. Remember that if u cant get to him after his jump attack u need to jump to avoid his thrust, once i learned that i was able to always get to phase 4.
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