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Sekiro boss guide: Old Dragons of the Tree and the Divine Dragon

Gathering dragon tears

Sekiro Old Dragons of the Tree and the Divine Dragon boss guide FromSoftware/Activision via Polygon
Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

Sekiro’s Divine Dragon boss fight will get you the item you need to finish the game. It’s a much easier fight than you’d expect for something so pivotal (but don’t you worry, there are much, much tougher fights coming).

There are actually two parts to this fight — the Old Dragons of the Tree and the Divine Dragon. In this guide, we’ll show you how to defeat both parts with our favorite items and strategies for both parts.

The best Prosthetic Tools, items, and skills for the Old Dragons of the Tree and the Divine Dragon

There’s nothing special you need for this fight — like we said, it’s surprisingly easy. You can use whatever Prosthetic Tool you want, but focus on offensive ones. Tools like the Shinobi Firecracker or the Loaded Umbrella aren’t going to do you any good.

For the Old Dragons of the Tree, we like the Mortal Draw skill. It works well against groups — and you don’t have to worry about saving your Spirit Emblems for the second phase. We also like having the latent Breath of Life: Light Shinobi Art for this phase — you’re going to perform enough Deathblows that you’ll probably walk out of the fight with more Vitality than you walked in with.

Each phase of this fight has its own status effects. For the Old Dragons of the Tree, bring something that cures poison like Antidote Powder or something that boost your poison resistance like the Green Mossy Gourd. You probably won’t need it, but it’s good to have on hand. For the Divine Dragon, there’s going to be lightning, so Eel Liver isn’t out of the question. Again, though, you probably won’t need it.

The Old Dragons of the Tree

General strategies

The Old Dragons of the Tree are a swarm of worm-like dragons(?) that play flutes and vomit poison. Each one that you kill will knock a chunk off of their collective Vitality. You have to kill a lot of them — 25 by our count — but they’re not too tough.

There’s not a lot of strategy involved in this first part. Just swing away.

Old Dragons of the Tree’s attacks

Let’s talk about the Old Dragons of the Tree’s attacks, how to identify them, and what you should do about them.

Tree eruption

The biggest attack you have to worry about is … weird. You’ll see the dragons hunch over and look down at their flutes, then stretch upward. Shortly after that, a tree will pop up through the clouds right where you’re standing.

The best way to avoid this is to just keep moving. It can be hard to spot the dragons praying at their flutes when you’re focused on beating the pulp out of them. A hit will take a good chunk out of your Vitality, but it’s survivable.

Poison Cloud

Occasionally, all of the dragons will start barfing up poison. And that’s kind of it. As long as you don’t stand right in it, you’ll be safe.

This attack is one of the reasons we like the Breath of Life: Light skill. With it, you can basically stand in the poison cloud, take the damage, then shrug it off with your next Deathblow.

Flute whack

Sometimes a dragon will whack you with its flute. There’s not a lot going on here, but we figured it was worth mentioning.

Brown dragons

About halfway through the dragons’ Vitality bar, brown versions of them will start popping up. These dragons participate in the attacks, but killing them doesn’t drain the collective Vitality bar.

You don’t have to avoid them. Killing them is still satisfying, and it’s not like it takes a lot of time or effort.

Sekiro’s attacks

This fight isn’t like most other boss fights (or even low-level enemy fights, for that matter). You’re not really responding to much, and your only goal is to deal a boatload of damage. Have fun with it.

The Divine Dragon

General strategies

After the Old Dragons of the Tree, the Divine Dragon is pretty intimidating. It’s not a haphazard fight. You have to take your time and avoid some pretty serious attacks. But it’s very manageable.

The advice that applies throughout this fight is: Run back and forth. You can avoid the vast majority of the Divine Dragon’s attacks just by running left and right.

Divine Dragon’s attacks

Let’s talk about the Divine Dragon’s attacks, how to identify them, and what you should do about them.

Perilous Attack: Two horizontal swings

The only Perilous Attack you’ll have to worry about for most of the fight is an attack with two horizontal slashes. The slashes project out toward you. It’s possible to avoid them by running side to side, but it’s better to jump over them.

Three overhand swings

The most common attack the Divine Dragon will unleash is three huge overhand swings with its huge sword.

It’s possible to (mostly) block these attacks, but it’s much easier to just sprint left or right.

Snake Dive

We’re calling this attack a “snake dive” because we don’t know what else to call it. The Divine Dragon will dive forward and duck its head into the clouds. It will snake forward just past the line of trees, then finish with an upward snap.

The Divine Dragon seems to only launch this attack when you’re in front of the line of trees, so … don’t do that. Stay just behind the line of trees and this attack won’t matter to you.

Aggressive phase

When you get the Divine Dragon down to about a quarter of its health, it will go berserk for a little bit — about 45 seconds or so. It happens so quickly, with all the attacks coming rapid-fire, that we’re going to lump them all together here. You can see our experience with this section in the video above — we survived it, but it wasn’t pretty.

Watch out for the Divine Dragon’s new (we didn’t see it in the rest of the fight at least) Perilous Attack thrust. Don’t try to Mikiri Counter this one — the sword is the size of a bus, what are you thinking? Just get to the side.

The Divine Dragon will also continue to use its three overhand slashes and two-slash Perilous Attacks through this section.

Try to keep your distance during this phase (something we didn’t really do in the video above). This will give you plenty of time to react to the Divine Dragon’s attacks. Just ride out the minute or so, then go back to running back and forth behind the tree line.

Sekiro’s attacks

Most of this fight is about avoiding the Divine Dragon’s attacks. You can’t actually deal any damage with your sword(s). But you’re not helpless.

Lightning Reversal

There’s only one way you’re going to deal any damage in this fight, and that’s with Lightning Reversals. It doesn’t work like it has in other fights, though.

As you’re sprinting back and forth avoiding attacks, watch the five trees that pop up in front of the dragon. Eventually, one (sometimes two) of them will glow with an incoming lightning strike. Grapple to that tree. Just before you land, you’ll get hit by lightning from above. You’ll get lifted up into the air, so you’ll a couple extra seconds to redirect it. Make sure you’re locked on to the Divine Dragon, then let it rip.

When you land back on solid clouds, start sprinting again and watch for your next opportunity.

And that’s it. That’s about 90% of this fight.


After five Lightning Reversals, the Divine Dragon’s aggressive phase, and one more Lightning Reversal, the dragon will slump over with its sword resting on the ground (clouds). Run up to the sword, then along it until you get right next to the dragon’s head.

You know what to do next.

Divine Dragon drops, items, and rewards

Defeat the Divine Dragon, and you’ll receive a Memory: Divine Dragon and the Divine Dragon’s Tears item.