To properly bring down almost any new enemy in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, players have to learn how to parry their opponent’s incoming attacks properly. From Software made this system extremely critical, so relying on jumping out of the way or dodging does not yield the best results. It can become demanding to effectively learn these tiny hints or feel comfortable enough to await an attack. But these tips should help every player feel right at home crossing blades with every new opponent they face on their journey to rescue the young Lord Kuro.
Parrying and Deflecting in Sekiro
Wanting to hold down the parry button and take every single attack your enemy hits with you is not the most effective method. Not only are you going to find the perfect time to start your offense, but you’re going to raise Sekiro’s posture meter consistently. Releasing this button allows you to back away from an enemy, and regain this meter.
A better method is remaining close to the enemy and freely watching their movements. If you’re not sure, you have the timing of their attacks down quite yet, hold down the parry button and block what you can. However, if you’re watching close enough, you can tell exactly when their attack is going to hit you, which is when you land the parry button. Hitting the parry button at the right moment gives you the chance to hit a deflection. Doing so allows you to put your opponent off balance, giving you the opportunity to land a killing blow immediately, rather than raising their posture meter or outright killing them.
This method doesn’t work quite as well against bosses. They have their combat mechanics you need to figure out. For example, the numerous Samurai Generals you’re going to fight have large swords or spears they’re going to attack you with, and many of them have sweeping attacks. You can parry these attacks, thereby taking a great deal of posture damage. It’s better to use the specialized blocks made for them, such as the Mikiri Counter against those with a spear, and the Mid-air Deflection against the swordsmen. You can find both of these skills in the Shinobi Arts skill tree.
Deflecting bosses take a great deal more precision and correct time. Because they hit so hard, you may not want to tempt fate and hit the parry right when they strike you, as to cause a deflection. You may find it better to parry their attacks, break away to recover your posture, and then try wearing down their posture meter as the fight continues.
Don’t Get Greedy
After you’ve successfully landed the parry and cause a deflection, your opponent is going to be off-balance. When they’re a regular grunt, you may have the chance to land a killing blow against them. When you’re fighting a boss, though, you can deal a significant portion of damage on them, but you’re not going to land a killing blow. Unless their posture meter is full, or your attack following the parry extinguishes a health bar.
You won’t have much time to land this attack. Any opponent, grunt or boss, can recover from the deflection in a short matter of time. Far quicker than you think they could. As such, if you land a killing blow against a grunt, they’re down for the count, but the bosses are going to have far more energy to continue the fight. You’ll want to land a single, well-timed attack against them, and then back off. You don’t want to overstay your welcome because the bosses in Sekiro hit with incredible amounts of damage. It’s better to get a single blow in, and then pull away. You want to practice patience with not only your parrying but with your attacks.
Pay Attention to the Game’s Audio
The key to successfully parrying and optimizing your deflection in Sekiro is to understand the audio cues the game is telling you. When you’ve correctly deflected the enemy’s attack, you’re going to hear a distinct metallic clinging sound after a successful deflection. Regularly parrying, which is preventing the full damage of the enemy’s strike and does damage to your posture meter, is a little different. You’ll hear the sounds of blades clashing against each other as if it were straight out of a good Samurai movie.
Practice, Practice, Practice
You do not have to venture out into the world to get some well-earned practice, either. You have a training dummy assigned to you whose more than willing to put their body through the worst of it so that you can improve as a swordsman. If you haven’t already, head to the Dilapidated Temple in the Ashina Outskirts and talk to Hanbei the Undying.
You can freely attack and fight him as often as you like. You should make sure you visit him any time you learn a new combat skill or parrying technique before you go out to fight a boss. You can fail against Hanbei without any consequences, and make sure you have the timing down to a pattern you understand. This strategy is especially useful when you receive the Mikiri Counter and need to learn how to fight Samurai with spears.