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Sekiro boss guide: Lone Shadow Longswordsman

How to beat the Lone Shadow Longswordsman with a free Deathblow and liberal use of a Sekiro Shinobi Prosthetic. 

Sekiro Lone Shadow Longswordsman guide FromSoftware/Activision via Polygon

In this Sekiro boss guide, we’ll show you how to beat the Lone Shadow Longswordsman with a Deathblow and liberal use of a Shinobi Prosthetic.

Prerequisites and items to use

Whenever possible, we write our Sekiro boss guides without requirements — or prerequisites, which sounds fancier. If our strategies necessitate a skill or an item that you don’t have it, it’s not going to help.

Your fight with the Lone Shadow Longswordsman is a bit of an exception, and we’ve justified a prerequisite because it’s easy to get even if you don’t have it yet.

By the time you reach the Lone Shadow Longswordsman, you’ve already beaten Gyoubu Oniwa (the boss on the horse). Up a nearby staircase from the Ashina Outskirts > Ashina Castle Gate Sculptor’s Idol, you’ll find a merchant. Buy Robert’s Firecrackers for 500 sen, and give it to the Sculptor in the Dilapidated Temple. He’ll create the Shinobi Firecracker Prosthetic Tool. It’d be folly to fight the mini-boss without this.

You can also use Gokan’s Sugar to reduce the Posture damage he inflicts, but that’s optional.

Lone Shadow Longswordsman boss fight strategies

Begin at the Ashina Castle > Ashina Reservoir Sculptor’s Idol.

Use your grappling hook to head left toward the area where you started the game, ignoring all of the enemies along the way. You’ll pass a pot-banging enemy and shimmy across a wall to get there.

Free Deathblow

Lone Shadow Longswordsman Deathblow
Jump down from here for a free Deathblow
FromSoftware/Activision via Polygon

Don’t jump down into the first hole in the ground. (You may see an NPC there.) Walk past it and look for another hole in the ground.

From there, you can jump down and perform a Deathblow on the Lone Shadow Longswordsman. That eliminates one of his Deathblow dots. With one hit, half of your job is already done.

Strategies

The rest of the fight is about doing four things:

  1. Blocking his attacks
  2. Using your Shinobi Firecracker to disrupt his attacks and stagger him
  3. Attacking as he’s staggered
  4. Running away to refill your health and Posture

It’s no more difficult than that.

Lone Shadow Longswordsman attacks

The Lone Shadow Longswordsman’s attacks are fast and brutal. In other boss guides, we dismantle attacks and show you how to react. Not so for the Lone Shadow Longswordsman. You don’t need to know his attacks to beat him. You don’t need to respond in any other way than blocking.

Don’t try to outsmart him. Don’t get greedy and attack when he seems vulnerable. He’s likely to attack right through your sword swings. Just block.

If you ever see the red kanji that signifies his Perilous Attack, jump away from him. That is the safest and most reliable way to avoid taking damage. Using Step Dodge often doesn’t get you far enough away.

Don’t get hit. He can disintegrate half or more of your Vitality bar in a few seconds.

Shinobi Firecracker

Fight defensively. Block until you’re satisfied that his attack flurry is over, and use the Shinobi Firecracker. Or run away, and use the Shinobi Firecracker as he’s running toward you (and not yet attacking).

That will stagger him for a second or two, but that’s enough time to get in a hit or two. The first one will probably land. He’ll probably block the next attacks. They’ll throw him off his game, keep him from attacking, and cause (a little) Posture damage.

Healing and restoring Posture

The area farthest away from where you jumped into the pit is safe from his attacks, and that makes it the perfect place to heal and recover your Posture.

When you need health or Posture, run down the hall and jump up to safety. Take a chug of your Healing Gourd, block to regain Posture, and then run back to the area where you jumped down.

When you arrive, turn around and lock on. This gives you the opportunity to use the Shinobi Firecracker and attack, like we do above.

Lone Shadow Longswordsman drops, items, and rewards

Defeat the Lone Shadow Longswordsman, and you’ll receive two pieces of Scrap Magnetite (a crafting material), a Prayer Bead (which increases your maximum Vitality and Posture), and 96 sen.