Perhaps you’ve already encountered the Headless in Sekiro. Perhaps you’re even one of the unlucky few that ran into this mini-boss very early in the game — after taking a secret route in the Ashina Outskirts. Well, you’re in for quite the fight. The Headless is a savage boss that’s going to require many of the Sekiro tips, tricks, and strategies you’ve gathered thus far. Or, if you’re still looking for a bit of help, read the rest of our guide on how to beat the Headless in Sekiro!
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Where is the Headless in Sekiro?
This is a pretty straightforward question. Just where is this tricky foe? Well, there’s not really a straightforward answer. First of all, there are actually several Headless mini-bosses in Sekiro. Although you’re far more likely to encounter the one near the “Ashina Outskirts – Stairway” checkpoint first. This guide will cover that particular creature.
While we’re at it, we should also mention that there are two paths to this Headless. The first is harder to find, but comes much sooner in the game. The second doesn’t unlock until you’re fairly deep into Senpou Temple, but gives you a tremendously easy path back to the boss fight from the nearest Sculptor’s Idol. We highly recommend using the Senpou Temple path. The Headless is a very tough fight. You’re very nearly certain to die on your first attempt, and will want the shorter walk back for repeated attempts. Not to mention you probably won’t be equipped to fight the Headless at all if it’s your first time in the Ashina Outskirts.
But don’t fret. This Sekiro guide will cover both paths to the first Headless! Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Headless Location: Ashina Outskirts – Stairway Route
If you couldn’t guess from the subheading, you want to start this route to the Headless from the “Ashina Outskirts – Stairway” idol. Then start moving forward, as if you were heading to the “Underbridge Valley.” Stop when you get to the courtyard where you fought (or will fight) General Tenzen Yamauchi. It’s the open-air battlefield with the large banner fluttering in the wind.
Now go over or through the high wall to your right. You should see a shack down a slight slope, with a paper notice pinned to the wall. You can read the note for a bit of foreshadowing… Next, go past the shack and zip to the tree branch just beyond its broken handrail. Finally, turn slightly right and look down.
See the worn ledge chipped into the face of the cliff — just about large enough to fit your hands into? Leap down to it and be ready to hit the action button (Square on PS4, X on Xbox One) as soon as you reach the handhold. From there you can shimmy leftwards, all the way to a small platform jutting out of the rock. Look down from there and you should see a much larger cliff. It’s even decorated with four stone lanterns. Jump down to reach the cave entrance to the Headless!
Headless Location: Senpou Temple – Demon Bell Route
This route to the Headless boss begins after you unlock the Shugendo idol in Senpou Temple. You eventually get here as part of the main story, so don’t worry about seeking it out right away. If you’ve already reached Shugendo, however, then read on!
Just like the Ashina Outskirts route, this path requires a bit of climbing and a leap of faith. It’s not too bad, though — once you know what you’re doing. Just start at the Shugendo idol. From there, start ascending the wooden ramps that lead up the mountain. You’ll eventually reach a peak that branches off to the left. It’s covered in red and white pinwheels. And, looking down to your right as you face the edge of the cliff, you should see more worn handholds carved into the mountain. Leap down and grab hold — just like in the Ashina Outskirts.
Continue up this path. There should only be one way forward, but it will require you to use your grappling hook, shimmy across more ledges, and/or walk up several sets of planks. You eventually need to do a back-and-forth wall jump between two sheer sides. Once you reach the top, though, your goal should be obvious. You need to head inside the shack at the top of the mountain.
There are three things waiting inside this dilapidated hut. The first is a minor “centipede” enemy. Kill it quickly by jumping forward and performing a midair deathblow. It works just like with the green lizard enemies! With that out of the way, you should see two paths: one leading up and one going down. Take the path upward first. This leads to the Demon Bell and a checkpoint — which is what we really want. The downward path, meanwhile, takes you through a tunnel and a “Shinobi Door.” Just use the “Hug Wall” command to activate the secret passage — and a direct route to the Headless cave.
Tips to Beat the Headless in Sekiro
Phew! Now that we have a solid road to the Headless boss, it’s time to get to work. Well, that’s assuming you have everything you need, anyway. You should have a full stack of the following items before proceeding:
- Divine Confetti (rare drop from the blue samurai in Ashina Castle)
- Pacifying Agent (common drop from the ghouls in the Abandoned Dungeon – you need to “kill” them twice)
- Ako’s Sugar (not mandatory, but very useful)
- Loaded Umbrella (not mandatory, but very useful)
Now you’re ready to fight the Headless in Sekiro. It just won’t be easy… This frustrating mini-boss has quite a few tricks up its nonexistent sleeves. Specifically, it deals Terror damage with every strike. Terror is a status effect — like Poison and Burning — that slowly builds up as enemies strike you. And if it builds up all the way, as indicated by the purple bar in the middle of your screen… you just die. Longtime From Software fans might recognize this as a more severe form of Frenzy from Bloodborne.
There are two ways to deal with Terror. The first is to not get hit. That’s easier said than done, however, as Terror builds up even when you block. You must either dodge or deflect the Headless to really stop the buildup. That’s where the Loaded Umbrella comes in. It has a much more generous parry window than your sword. And since the Headless has slow, slightly unpredictable attacks, like the “normal” bloated enemies in the world, that can be a godsend.
Downing a Pacifying Agent will also remove Terror buildup, as well as slightly raise your resistance to it. Don’t quaff one just for the resistance, though. You can only carry five at any given time. Save them until you’re at least halfway to dying from Terror before taking the edge off!
Defense isn’t the only tricky thing about this fight, though. You also need a special item to do any real damage. That’s the Divine Confetti: a special buff that temporarily makes you more effective against enemies that deal Terror damage. You can carry five, but three or four should be all you need to beat any Headless in Sekiro. Top this off with Ako’s Sugar to increase your overall damage.
We’re still not done, though. The Headless has two more unique properties. First, it can teleport. That means you can’t rely on keeping your distance to let Terror dissipate naturally. Second, the Headless produces a debilitating miasma for several meters in every direction. Standing in it will make you unable to run or dodge. You can still jump in any direction, though, which is often useful as a stand-in for dodging.
The lack of mobility and dire consequences for getting hit make this a good old fashioned battle of attrition. The bright side is that the Headless is slow, prone to being staggered, and doesn’t have too much health (once you apply Divine Confetti and Ako’s Sugar). You can more-or-less hammer away at him, only stopping to parry the occasional counter. Dealing a lot of damage quickly will even dispel the miasma, allowing you to dodge again for a brief time.
Your main concerns should be A) not letting your Terror build up too quickly and B) not letting the Headless teleport behind you. The former is instant death, but somewhat easy to avoid. Just break away from your foe by jumping out of the miasma. You can even head up a ramp, wait for the creature to follow, and jump back down again to create some space. That might cause the Headless to teleport. This, too, can spell instant doom — since they’ll launch a truly disgusting Perilous Attack that can kill you in one shot. Thankfully, it’s easily avoided by turning around and hitting the Headless mid-grab. This will stagger the Sekiro boss.
Follow these tips and land the usual two deathblows. That’s all there is to it! Of course, if you do die, you can always use the Demon Bell idol to return relatively quickly.
Rewards for Beating the Headless in Sekiro
Now you might be asking: What’s in all this for me? Why should I go fight a big, headless monster inside a cave that’s so hard to reach? The answer is Ako’s Spiritfall. This handy piece of loot can be equipped as a Quick Item much like your Healing Gourd. And using it causes you to deal more Vitality and Posture damage for a short time (just as if you used Ako’s Sugar). The really nice thing, however, is that Ako’s Spiritfall has unlimited uses. It works similar to the Shinobi Tools and costs three Spirit Emblems to activate. That makes it extremely valuable and unique among Sekiro items.
And that, folks, wraps up our tips for beating the Headless in Sekiro. Thanks for taking the time to read. We hope our strategies and location guide will make this as painless as possible. The Headless is plenty good at inflicting pain all by itself, after all…