Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is full of boss battles. One of the earliest, and most surprising, is called Gyoubu Oniwa. The spear-wielding rider will ambush you just a few hours into the game. And, if you’re not prepared, his fierce attacks can be a lot to handle. That’s why we’ve constructed this handy guide full of tips to beat the Gyoubu boss battle in Sekiro.
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Starting the Boss Battle
You’ll know when you’re about to fight Gyoubu in Sekiro right away. The battle begins just after you reach Ashina Castle Gate Fortress, in the Ashina Outskirts. If you’re not there yet, just know it’s after your encounter with a certain snake.
You’ll eventually climb to the peak of the fortress. Below this area is a massive, open-ended battlefield littered with corpses. Leap down (there is no fall damage in Sekiro) and prepare yourself. Gyoubu Oniwa will arrive on the scene when you’re about halfway through the wasteland. And he might be the very first “real” boss that you face in the game.
Tips for Beating Gyoubu in Sekiro
Perhaps it’s because he’s one of the earliest encounters, but Gyoubu is, all told, a fairly straightforward boss. He bursts onto the scene atop a horse and mostly tries to stab and slam you with a long spear. He doesn’t appear to have any true ranged attacks. Nor does he change significantly after you land your first deathblow against him. This is a just a battle of timing and attrition.
There are some simple tips to take the Sekiro boss down easier, though. Specifically, Gyoubu loves to talk big right at the start of battle. He’ll run into the arena, stand in place, and begin shouting… but he won’t attack you at first. That’s your cue to land free sword strikes against him before he shuts up and runs away. I was able to consistently get five good swings in at this stage of the fight. You should, too!
After that, Gyoubu mostly follows two attack patterns. He’ll either ride away and prepare to charge back at you, or circle around and try to smack you with his spear. Staying close and parrying his blows one after another is a good way to reduce his posture. He doesn’t stagger easily, though, so be prepared to parry three or four strikes in sequence, rather than to counterattack.
That being said, I had the most success with a long-range strategy. Gyoubu is one of those rare Sekiro enemies that lets you grapple directly to him from a distance. Just look for the green circle with a downward-pointing arrow on it. This indicates that you can spring halfway across the arena and directly in front of him. Combined with the skill that lets you attack enemies mid-grapple, it’s a great way to close the distance and get free hits in.
Gyoubu doesn’t seem to expect this attack. Grappling to him nearly always gives you a solid window to land 2-3 sword strikes. After which, he typically runs away and prepares to either circle or charge again.
But be on the lookout for the chance to land even more attacks. The boss often staggers back when you land enough blows and lets you get in a much bigger combo of slashes. You can tell its happening by watching the horse. It will rear up in pain, then let its head sag to the ground. That’s your opening to get a whirlwind of nasty hits in. Or you can use this period to blast the boss with oil and fire (assuming you got the Flame Vent from the Hirata Estate).
You can also force Gyoubu into letting you grapple by dodging and sprinting away from him. He’ll often try to follow this up with a massive spinning attack, which can hit you from quite a distance, but the grappling leap should carry you over his spear (similar to when you dodge a sweep attack by jumping over it). Just be careful not to let slopes and debris block your grapple point.
Of course, if you do prefer parrying more, you can use distance to recover posture instead. Just get away from Gyoubu and hold the parry button to block. Unlike other From Software games, you actually recover more quickly when blocking in Sekiro. So just stand prepared and get your groove back.
No matter which method you choose, though, try to stay on Gyoubu’s sides. His horse will kick you from the back if you try that angle. I learned this the hard way…
How to Kill Gyoubu Oniwa in Sekiro
Gyoubu, just like all the mini-bosses you face before him, can’t actually be killed by simple attacks. You must land two deathblows in a single fight in order to seal the deal. That means you to fill the yellow Posture bar above your screen. When it’s full, a red circle will appear on the boss and you can deal your deathblows.
Luckily, lowering an enemy’s vitality and opening them up for a deathblow are tightly intertwined. Posture (the yellow bar you fill by parrying and attacking) fills up faster the lower an enemy’s vitality is. So whittling Gyoubu down over time will also make it easier to finish him off.
But don’t rest easy just because you land your second deathblow. Gyoubu needs one final push at the end of the fight. Sekiro will enter slow motion on the second killing strike, and prompt you to perform a “Finisher Deathblow.” All you need to do is hit R1 again! After that, the battle is over, and Gyoubu Oniwa will give his final speech. Congratulations!