- Sun Oct 09, 2022 8:20 pm
How to beat Sword Saint via spacing (Dark Souls style):
Are you a Dark Souls player who dislikes the Sekiro combat system, with its focus on blocking/deflect/posture break instead of just avoiding the blow entirely? Here's how you can beat the Sword Saint Isshin fight without ever touching the block button:
Skills you will need:
Jumping Combat Arts
Nightjar Reversal (optional but recommended)
Genichiro phase: Lock on the moment the fight starts, take a single step towards him and perform a jumping Ichimonji double. Dodge back as soon as you're able, move back and sideways, dodge it he shoots his bow, wait three actions by Genichiro, jump back in and crack his skull again. You have to wait three strikes because one of his combos has a quick third strike with the bow that has perfect tracking, if you're mid-air you will be hit. If you see him charging Mortal Blade after your Ichimonji, back up quickly, wait till he's done, and jump in for a bonk.
This phase is IMO the most difficult of the three using these strategies, but only because you really want to get through it without being hit more than once and his Mortal Blade strike can catch you out if he recovers from Ichimonji too fast. He's got low posture recovery though, so once you learn the pace he's easy.
Isshin phase one:
Switch to Nightjar Reversal if you have it, otherwise switch to Mortal Draw. His moveset during this phase is unique from the other two; he's more defensive, and faster on recovery. Nightjar Reversal is excellent because it gets you in and out of his range fast. Otherwise unpowered Mortal Draw will work, but you need to space it right at the edge of the attack range or he'll punish before you can get distance.
This phase is all about running circles around him, trying to bait out two attacks: Ashina Cross and a variant of Distance Slash where he runs sideways for a time, then sprints towards you, slashes, pauses briefly, then two more quick cuts. You want to be sprinting in circles around him constantly, ranging close enough that he's moving slowly but not close enough that he'll begin his 'normal' attack sequence. Wait for him to either start running sideways or sheathe his sword, and start moving backwards until he's done, then jump in with the in/out Nightjar combo. With Ashina he's open longer so you can get two hits in w/ Nightjar, one on the jump in, one on the reversal. He recovers faster from the running sideways attack: If you start your Nightjar attack as the third strike is in the air, it's possible to land both hits, but timing has to be absolutely perfect and it's not worth it because if you jump too early you're getting hit.
Keep circling, bait those two attacks, in/out at the end, don't be greedy. Be patient and he may never hit you during this phase. If you get hit and need to heal, go hide behind a rock.
Isshin phase two and three (strategy is exactly the same, and renders all his unique phase three attacks moot):
Switch to Mortal Draw. For the remaining two phases of this fight, we are still circling him at a sprint, which is more important now because he's got a 9mm suddenly, but can't lead his target. Always be moving at an angle to his approach, unless you're in the act of attacking. Do not stop moving if he does, he can shoot at you standing still. From now until the fight is over, you're focused on one thing: baiting out his Leaping Slam attack.
Since he's more aggressive now you will sprint-circle at a moderately increased distance. He will always run directly towards you, so circling creates a sort of equilibrium with the distance given the arena. Prioritize the distance, not the circle. Better to get hit with a round or two from his gat than clubbed in the head by his spear.
When he begins the slam attack, keep running in a circle. When he lands, start drifting more directly away from him to avoid the second part of this attack, a fast dash straight at you. The instant that dash is over, run in and perform a Mortal Draw. He will usually block it, but Mortal Draw don't give a damn. Try your best to be at the outside edge of Mortal Draw's range when you do this: If you're too close, he'll do the dash again and hit you. It isn't necessary to have Spirit Emblems to execute this strategy, unpowered Mortal Draw works fine.
If you need to heal, wait till he's in the middle of the last phase of one of his attack combos. You should know them all by heart now, since you've been running circles around him for 15 minutes.
Just keep running around him, you'll avoid all his nonsense in both second and third phase. Run in, Mortal Draw, run back out and circle. Turns the whole fight very one dimensional.
That's what he gets for bringing a gun to a sword fight.