Sekiro’s Guardian Ape boss fight requires patience. Learn his moves, react accordingly, and you’ll be fine.
The worst mistake you can make in Sekiro is attacking without a plan. Bosses are happy to disrupt your attacks and cause major damage. In this guide, we’ll show you how to defeat Guardian Ape with the most effective Shinobi Prosthetic, our favorite Combat Art, items you should bring with you, and a handful of strategies to react to his attacks in both phases.
The best items and moves for Guardian Ape
There are always items and attacks that work well against Sekiro bosses. These are our recommendations for the best items to bring to your fight with Guardian Ape.
- Shinobi Firecracker. Use this Prosthetic Tool to stagger Guardian Ape and attack a few times during the first phase. You don’t have to worry about it in the second phase, so don’t be shy with this at first.
- Mortal Draw. This Combat Art isn’t a requirement, but it’s a quick way to take a chunk or two from his health. If you don’t have this, here’s a spoiler-free hint (with a spoiler-filled link): Make your way to the top of the Senpou Temple.
- Grappling Hook Attack. This Prosthetic Art isn’t a requirement either, but it’s good to have for an occasional grapple attack in the first phase.
- Antidote Powder. Guardian Ape farts and flings poo, both of which cause the Poison Status Abnormality. If you’re inflicted, eat some Antidote Power.
- Pacifying Agent. This is for the second phase of the fight. It removes Terror.
You don't need all of these, but they’re helpful.
Guardian Ape Phase 1
In the first phase of the fight, blocking most of his attacks is your best bet. (His red kanji Perilous Attacks are an exception, and we’ll get to those.)
You can block almost everything that Guardian Ape throws at you, so concentrate on doing that, saving your Vitality (health), and waiting until he’s worn out from attacking to launch a few (and only a few) attacks of your own.
Starting the fight
It’s tempting to begin this boss fight with a couple of free hits while Guardian Ape is sitting down. Resist that temptation. Instead, let him come to you. You don’t want to get caught with awkward camera angles and confusing lock-on up against a wall.
Guardian Ape’s attacks
Let’s talk about Guardian Ape’s attacks, how to identify them, and what you should do about them.
Perilous Attack 1: Grab
Guardian Ape sweeps his right hand across the ground in front of him, grabs Wolf, and pounds him into the ground.
When you see this attack, jump away. A Step Dodge is riskier. Jumping puts you above his swinging hand. And if you keep pressing the jump button, you can bounce off of him. (It’s a welcome but unnecessary bonus.)
Perilous Attack 2: Belly flop
He uses his other perilous attack less often. Guardian Ape leaps into the air and (tries to) land on Wolf with a belly flop. When he succeeds, he follows that with a throw. If you see this coming, run away. It’s easy to avoid.
Guardian Ape has several combos that string moves together. He often slashes a lot (block those), loses his balance, and falls on its butt. Even if he doesn’t, he’ll be exhausted at the end of his flurry. That’s an opportunity to attack.
Tantrum on his back
Guardian Ape sweeps his arm up from the ground and into the air — the telltale sign the this attack is imminent. He falls to his back and squirms, flailing his arms on either side of him. This is a great opportunity to block and Dodge, inflicting Posture damage.
Guardian Ape farts, and the cloud it produces inflicts the Poison Status Abnormality. Jump away.
His butt may be the safest place to attack from, but watch for the gas.
Guardian Ape squats, craps into his hand, jumps into the air, and flings an enormous pile of poo from his butt. Keep your distance, and jump (or Step Dodge) to avoid it and the Poison it carries.
Most of this fight is about responding to Guardian Ape’s attacks, but we should also point out what to do when you’re on offense.
This is an expensive Combat Art, but it’s also a reliable way to chip down Guardian Ape’s health.
During this phase, you’ll occasionally get a grapple prompt on the sword sticking out of Guardian Ape. Use that to close the distance between you and get a hit or two in.
If you have the Grappling Hook Attack Prosthetic Art, you can get a few hits in while you’re still in the air.
Shinobi Firecracker and staggering Guardian Ape
The Shinobi Firecracker may be the most useful Prosthetic Tool in Sekiro because it works pretty much everywhere. Its big advantage here is that it causes Guardian Ape to stagger. And that gives you the opportunity to attack.
Concentrate on using it here in the first phase. Don't be shy about it, either. It’s not going to be much help in the next phase.
And as you see how he staggers from the Shinobi Firecracker, you’ll learn how he staggers after a barrage of attacks. Look for that, and capitalize on it.
Guardian Ape Phase 2: Headless Terror
For this phase of the fight, you need patience.
Sekiro’s Terror Status Abnormality is so destructive — get it, and you die instantly — that we’ve designed this guide to keep you away from him and that Terror-causing ability as much as possible.
He has many moves, but you can block almost all of them. Two give you the opportunity to react, attack, and get out to safety.
Perilous Attack 1: Terror AOE
When you see the red kanji symbol appear above Wolf’s head, Guardian Ape is about to spew terror. Get away as fast as you can. If you get caught, and your Terror meter builds up, use Pacifying Agent to dispel the Terror. It also causes a bit of Vitality (health) damage.
And while you’re away, it’s a great time to heal.
Perilous Attack 2: Sword sweep
Guardian Ape’s second Perilous Attack is a sweep, which is weird because it looks like his other attacks — except for the red kanji symbol that appears above Wolf’s head and the absence of a dive before his other sweep attack (which we’ll talk about later). Avoid it. Jump. Run. Step Dodge. Don’t block.
Dive and slash
Guardian Ape lunges forward and slashes his sword. Jump over it and land near his body (behind his arm). Attack a few times — two is safe, anything more is risky — and get away.
If you aren’t confident in your ability to perfectly deflect his attacks, feel free to spend the entire fight waiting for this and then capitalizing on the opportunity it creates. It’ll be slow, but you don’t get a medal for being fast. You win when you kill him.
Guardian Ape slashes his sword from side to side. You can block every one of his four attacks. And you should.
If you’re lucky, he’ll follow up with the next attack.
Overhand slash Deflect
Guardian Ape raises his sword above his
head shoulders, swings his arm from side to side, and strikes the ground. Deflect this, and he’ll fall to the ground. Attack him several times — count to three, and then watch him for movement. Don’t get greedy. As he begins to stand up again, get away — run, jump, dodge — because his Terror-inducing attack is up next. Just get away and outside of the area of effect (AOE).
If you miss this, it will turn into a multiple-hit combo. Block.
Business as usual
Several of his attacks aren’t worth breaking out into their own section. He has a jump, and you should move out of the way when you see it coming. He has slashes and other sword attacks, and you should generally avoid those or use them as an opportunity to deal some Posture damage. The latter isn’t necessary, because out strategy is all about whittling down his Vitality, which will make whittling down his Posture easier.
Guardian Ape drops, items, and rewards
Defeat Guardian Ape, and you’ll receive Memory: Guardian Ape for increasing your attack power, and the Slender Finger, which becomes a Prosthetic Tool.