Sekiro’s Owl (Father) boss fight in Hirata Estate may be the toughest in the game. In this guide, we’ll show you how to beat him with our favorite Combat Arts, items you should bring with you, and strategies for reacting to his attacks in both phases.
The best Prosthetic Tools, items, and skills for Owl (Father)
There are always items and attacks that work well against Sekiro bosses. These are our recommendations for the best things to bring to your fight with Owl (Father).
Owl (Father) is a lot like Wolf-Sekiro, which means that he can do what you can do. That renders most everything you have ineffective. Use your prosthetic spear or a thrust, and he’ll punish you with a Mikiri Counter. In short, don’t worry so much about Prosthetic Tools. This is a battle of basic moves and a couple of Combat Arts.
Mortal Draw Combat Art
You should have Mortal Draw by the time you face Owl in Hirata Estate, and it’s a great way to deal significant Vitality damage — even if he’s blocking. That’s the biggest advantage here.
Keep two things in mind:
- You can use it even if you run out of Spirit Emblems. It’ll just be a weaker version of the attack.
- You can attack with one or two swings. One is perfectly OK. Don’t take the second swing if you even suspect that Owl is about to attack you back.
Whirlwind Slash Combat Art
This early game Combat Art causes a fair bit of damage with its quick two-swing attack. It’s just short enough to substitute for a regular attack.
Owl (Father) Phase 1
Our strategy for defeating Owl (Father) is about identifying Owl’s attacks and responding to them, while stopping yourself from doing perfectly reasonable things that will get you killed.
Let’s talk about Owl’s attacks, how to identify them, and what you should do when you see them.
Perilous Attack 1: Thrust
Owl (Father) thrusts his sword and slides toward you. He stabs, jumps, spins around in a whirlwind, attacks throughout, and hits the ground. It’s devastating.
Sometimes, he’ll just do the perilous attack by itself, often with a zigzag move first. Other times, he’ll throw his Shinobi Firework and then follow up with this.
Use the Mikiri Counter to catch his blade, cause Posture damage, and take a swing or two.
If you miss the Mikiri Counter, you can still avoid this. Jump or Step Dodge behind him, and follow up with attacks.
Perilous Attack 2: Slash
Owl swipes horizontally with his sword.
Resist all urges to jump over this attack. If you get caught in the air, you’ll take approximately infinity percent more damage. (As far as we can tell, you can jump away from the attack, but dodging is still safer.) You can jump away from this attack to avoid it.
Instead, when you see the red kanji symbol appear, wait for him to start moving, and then Step Dodge through his slash.
Then it’s best to do something counterintuitive: Stand near him.
Your proximity will convince Owl to raise his sword above his head. He’s preparing for a powerful downward attack, but you’re safe for a moment. You can hit him once or twice while his sword is above his head. When you hear him make a noise, Step Dodge to his side (or behind him), and then attack. While you’re dodging, he’ll miss you, attack the ground, and take damage as you attack.
It’s tough to get the timing right on this move, because it’s easy to Step Dodge too soon. That will interrupt his attack and convince him to attack. Again, wait until you hear him grunt, and then Step Dodge.
Head stomp jump away
Owl jumps off of your head, and lands several yards away. Block the jump. When he lands, it’s a good time to heal, block to recover your Posture, or run up to him and press the attack.
This attack seems innocuous. It’s arguably his most dangerous attack.
Owl throws a shuriken and follows up with a sliding swipe of his sword. You can block both. Just be aware that blocking destroys your Posture — and you’ll be unable to move for a second or so.
A better option is to Step Dodge around him as he swipes with his sword, and then follow up with an attack of your own. This is a good opportunity to use Mortal Draw or Whirlwind Slash.
Don’t try to jump around or above his sword swipe. Taking this hit in the air is far more dangerous than on the ground. Seriously: He can clear most or all of your Vitality bar with his sword during this attack.
Owl throws one or (more often) two shurikens, jumps, does a somersault in the air, and lands with a powerful attack.
Run toward Owl as he jumps, so that you’re behind him when he lands. Then attack. This is also a good opportunity to use Mortal Draw or Whirlwind Slash.
Owl (Father) zigs left and right. His next move is a crapshoot. Could be a Perilous Attack. Could be a single shuriken. The problem with the zigzag attacks is that he can follow them up in several ways. Wait it out, and respond after you see what he’s going to do next.
Single sword swipe
Owl attacks with a single sword swipe. Time it right, and you can Step Dodge around his attack and follow up with an attack of your own.
Owl throws the same Shinobi Firecracker that Sekiro has. There are several possibilities next:
- Firecracker alone. He throws a firecracker and just stands behind the explosion.
- Firecracker + Perilous Attack thrust. He does his thrust Perilous Attack, which you can stop with a Mikiri Counter or just walk around.
- Firecracker + slash. He tosses out his firecrackers, and then swings his sword right where he’s standing.
- Firecracker + shuriken slash. He throws a shuriken, optionally slides an impossible distance toward Wolf-Sekiro, and slashes with his sword.
If you get caught, you’ll get staggered and take damage. Getting away is the best thing you can do. And that’s not difficult.
Just watch for Owl’s tell: He waves his arm in front of him to spread out the firecrackers. When you see that, get away. Or, if you’re already running toward Owl, you can run through the firecrackers before they detonate and get a hit in.
He also has a variant of the firecracker attack that we’ll talk about next.
Shinobi Firecracker combo
Owl chains several of his attacks together to form a combo that ends with a Shinobi Firecracker and a swipe. You’ll know he’s doing this (and that a firecracker is coming) when he attacks with his shoulder as part of the combo.
Block to endure this and jump or dodge away, or run behind him when he throws the firecrackers to respond with an attack.
Owl (Father) Phase 2
The second phase of your fight is almost exactly like the first phase, with a few additions.
Glowing owl teleport slam
Owl (Father) becomes transparent (which looks a lot like your Mist Raven Prosthetic Tool), transforms into the blue owl that’s flying around the arena, transforms back into himself while in the air, and rejoins the fight with a powerful downward attack.
When Owl becomes an owl, start running. If you’re lucky enough to be able to see where the owl is flying, just avoid it. If you can’t see it, run and pray for the best. Then find him and lock on again.
If you’re good (or lucky) enough to be near Owl when he lands, you can follow his attack with one of your own.
Perilous Attack 3: Owl fire
Owl calls the flying owl to his hand. The owl catches fire, and flies toward you.
When you see the owl appear in Owl’s hand, run way. You’ve got time to get some distance, which is a big advantage.
Now you have two options:
- Jump to the side of the flaming owl, which is actually really easy.
- Move Wolf-Sekiro so that there’s a wooden pillar between you, Owl, and his owl. That’ll block the attack.
He often follows this up with his perilous thrust attack. It’s best to get some distance between you and Owl (Father). If you jumped over the flames, you can catch his Perilous Attack with a Mikiri Counter (or maybe even be out of range if you ran far enough away). If you put pillars between you and the owls, those can disrupt his thrust.
He also tends to teleport right after this, so just be aware of that.
Head stomp jump away + shurikens
Owl has an upgrade to the previously innocuous head stomp, jump away attack: He throws shurikens before he lands.
Press the attack. Run toward Owl when he’s in the air. You’ll avoid the shurikens and have an opportunity to attack.
Owl (Father) drops, items, and rewards
Defeat Owl (Father), and you’ll receive Memory: Foster Father, the Aromatic Flower, and the Father Surpassed Achievement/Trophy.