Genichiro Ashina is what you might call a “skill check” in the course of Sekiro. Your first “real” boss fight against him is the game’s way of saying you need to be prepared for what’s next. As such, it will test a variety of your abilities: parries, the Mikiri Counter, dodging, recovering Posture, and more. Which is exactly why we’ve put together this guide full of tips on how to beat Genichiro Ashina in Sekiro. Get ready!
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Genichiro Ashina – Important Attacks to Watch
For how powerful Genichiro Ashina seems, this first phase of his boss fight is actually pretty standard. He has a couple ranged attacks, a simple (albeit potentially devastating) melee combo, and a strong jump strike. The real danger — and the thing most likely to trip up players facing Genichiro for the first time — is his glut of Perilous Attacks. This Sekiro boss has no fewer than three Perilous Attacks that he can launch at nearly any time. Knowing how to recognize and deal with them is absolutely key.
Forward Grab (Perilous):
In addition to the normal, glowing red kanji that appears above your character, this attack is telegraphed by Genichiro turning his back slightly to the player. It looks as though he’s reaching his right arm behind his left side — possibly to draw a weapon. Instead, he will attempt a short-range grab that does devastating damage if you don’t dodge it. In my experience, this seems to be his rarest Perilous Attack.
Low Sweep (Perilous):
The preamble to this move looks very similar to the grab. Except that Genichiro will visibly trace his sword low to the ground. After which the boss will perform a low sweep with the weapon. You want to jump over this one.
Sword Thrust (Perilous):
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Genichiro Ashina has a thrust attack. It’s important because you can Mikiri Counter the move for massive Posture damage and a solid opening for a counterattack. Unlike the other two Perilous Attacks, this one is telegraphed by Genichiro pulling to his right. You can see him holding the sword forward, at the ready, too.
If you need to, head back to Hanbei the Undying at the Dilapidated Temple to practice the Mikiri Counter. But know that the general idea is that you need to dodge forward, into a thrusting enemy, to initiate the move. You can accomplish this by pushing forward and hitting the dodge button. Or, if you’re locked onto a foe, you can simply press dodge when the Perilous Attack warning appears. Not pressing forward on the stick removes the chance that your angle will be off.
This is exactly what it sounds like. Genichiro will strike a couple times, pause, strike some more, and conclude with one big, slow hit. And this is where you ought to deal most of your Posture damage. Here’s a tip: consecutive parries in Sekiro deal more Posture damage than single ones. So the more times you deflect Genichiro in a row, the worse it will be for him. And parrying the final blow will even open him up to a normal attack or two.
Genichiro loves to leap into the air and follow up with a powerful slam attack. In the first stage of this boss fight, that’s usually all there is to it. You can simply dodge to the side and use this opportunity to get a quick, easy hit against his Vitality. Sometimes, however, Genichiro gets sneaky. He’ll follow up the slam with one of his Perilous Attacks. In which case you want to keep away. There’s a small window where you can wait to see if he follows up the slam or not, and still get in a quick hit. Be ready and watchful.
Bow & Arrow:
Genichiro Ashina has three major ranged attacks (during his first two stages). The first is very simple. If you back away and try to heal at any point, he will fire a single charged shot that deals massive damage. You can easily avoid it by dodging, or just sprinting to the side as soon as you finish your drink. The second bow attack is even simpler; he’ll just jump in the air and fire a quick volley. Said attack is easy to block. Finally, Genichiro will sometimes pull back and fire two arrows at you, followed by a lunging arrow stab. Counter this by blocking the initial two arrows, then dodging to the side, and follow up with your own attack while he’s recovering.
Genichiro Ashina Phase One – Sekiro Boss Guide
Phase one of the Genichiro Ashina boss fight pretty much consists of dealing with the attacks mentioned above. You don’t need to get tremendously fancy, but you do have to be aggressive. Genichiro has relatively low overall Posture compared to most bosses. However, his gauge depletes rather quickly, and you don’t have a lot of opportunities to damage his Vitality (thereby slowing the gauge permanently).
So don’t worry about dealing too much Vitality damage. Instead, periodically perform single attacks — up close and personal. This will damage his Posture (if only slightly) while baiting him into reacting. And Genichiro’s counterattacks are a lot easier to parry than his wackier moves. But he will switch to those big combos if you give the boss time to breathe.
When you do want to damage his Vitality, look for three openings: as soon as you parry the last blow of his nine-hit combo, when he does his overhead slam, and after dodging his arrow stab. And get comfortable parrying that combo. Consecutive deflections deal more Posture damage — which becomes a useful skill later in the game.
Genichiro Ashina Phase Two – Sekiro Boss Guide
Genichiro Ashina, phase two, is pretty much identical to the first. The one major difference is that the boss follows up his overhead slam with more Perilous Attacks than usual. So that easy opportunity to damage his Vitality… isn’t so easy. Speaking of Perilous Attacks, though — make sure you have the Mikiri Counter skill unlocked from the Shinobi Arts skill tree. This is absolutely vital throughout most of Sekiro. You can also upgrade the amount of Posture damage dealt by the skill via the same tree. That’s a huge boon against Genichiro.
Genichiro Ashina Phase Three – Sekiro Boss Guide
Phase three is where things get… weird. First off, this is almost certainly your first time fighting a boss that takes three deathblows in Sekiro. Secondly… Genichiro Ashina has electricity powers now. This, too, is almost certainly new to you if it’s your first time fighting this boss.
All told, though, his thunder is a lot worse than his lightning. That is to say, the boss’s new moves look a lot scarier than they actually are. For one, they’re awfully easy to see coming — and to avoid. If you see Genichiro ready a lightning attack (always while jumping in the air) just jump to the side. This works against both his electric sweep and electric arrow attacks.
The other important note is that you can reflect this electricity back at the boss. You might have even found a note about it in the dojo downstairs, after you beat Jinsuke Saze. Long story short: Lightning attacks only damage you when you touch the ground. If you jump in the air, allow yourself to get hit, and then press the attack button before you land, you will send the bolts flying right back at Genichiro. Although I don’t highly recommend it…
I was able to beat Genichiro Ashina (and his third form, Genichiro, Way of Tomoe) just fine by jump-dodging. The problem is that there’s nowhere “safe” to practice redirecting lightning this early in the game — besides against Genichiro himself. And since it takes a whopping two deathblows just to get him to this point, you probably don’t want to chance it. Don’t worry, though! You’ll have plenty of chances to play with electricity later in Sekiro.
Besides these two new moves, Genichiro is pretty much the same in his Way of Tomoe form as before. All the old openings still work! What’s more, his Posture seems to fill up a good deal faster after he sheds all that cumbersome armor. So this battle isn’t quite the test of endurance it was before. Even better — his lightning attacks leave him wide open. That means you can get even more easy Posture and Vitality damage in, once you learn to avoid his thunderbolts.
Once you beat this form, that’s it! There are no more fun surprises. Congratulations. You now know how to beat Genichiro Ashina and Genichiro, Way of Tomoe in Sekiro. Enjoy that accomplishment while it lasts. This boss battle opens up a massive number of new areas in Sekiro for you to explore. Better get to it.