Many of the most stressful battles in Sekiro aren’t actually boss fights. They’re more like mini-bosses with their own special set of rules. One of the earliest — and most daunting — of these encounters occurs at the Hirata Estate. In order to proceed through the time-displaced region, you must learn how to beat Juzou the Drunkard. There are a lot of moving parts to this one, too, so strap in! It’s time for our Juzou the Drunkard guide for Sekiro.
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Before You Begin the Fight…
You don’t actually encounter the Drunkard until very late into the Hirata Estate. He’s instantly recognizable, however, thanks to his massive size and huge bottle of nasty booze. You can tell it’s nasty because he’ll periodically take a swig mid-battle to spray poisonous goop all over you. That makes him one of the earliest enemies in Sekiro that uses poison at all. So you might not be ready for his disgusting attacks.
In reality, though, the battle against Juzou begins long before you start attacking him. Like many mini-boss battles in Sekiro, he’s surrounded by minor enemies that will gang up on you as soon as the fight begins. You absolutely do not want to let them do that. Between their outrageous numbers, and the Drunkard’s massive blows, you’ll be overwhelmed faster than you can blink.
What’s even worse is that the run-up to Juzou is filled with ranged enemies. You have to pass through an entire obstacle course of battles lined up in a straight alley, just waiting to fill you full of flaming arrows. Avoiding them altogether is the best option. It’s very, very difficult to kill the squad without taking a hit or three. And you’ll want every bit of health you can get to fight Juzou the Drunkard.
Sidestep the gauntlet with your grappling hook. You can use it to swing up to the burning buildings (which are conveniently not on fire on top) to the right of the archers. The enemies below can still spot you, however, so crouch as you move and sprint to the end if they start shooting.
Once you’re past this early hurdle, it’s time to start clearing out the Drunkard’s guards. Sadly, there is no surefire way to kill them all without putting yourself in danger. But you can get in a few easy kills. Just swerve to the side building (on your left if your’re facing the Drunkard and his army dead ahead). There’s a pair of basic enemies inside. They shouldn’t give you too much trouble, however, and killing them will allow you to proceed through the house.
From here you can either crouch under the building’s porch, or sneak behind the structure for an easy escape route. Start by sneaking under the porch. The path will allow you to get up behind a few of the guards at the back of the combat arena. Just take one or two out, run away behind the housing, and return once the enemies lose interest in you. Rinse and repeat until you’ve killed every guard the Drunkard brought to bear.
Preparing to Beat Juzou the Drunkard in Sekiro
Now comes the fun part. Nearly every boss in Sekiro requires you to enact two deathblow attacks over the course of a single fight. Juzou is no exception. However, unlike most “real” boss battles, you have some freedom to move around. You can specifically sneak up behind the Drunkard and land a free deathblow via a sneak attack on his back. That leaves him with just one pip of hit points to knock off in a fair fight.
This one doesn’t even have to be fair, either. Did you happen to notice a silent NPC standing near some rocks — just by the water that separates Juzou and the line of soldiers you dodged earlier? This helpful fellow will actually join you in your boss battle. Much like summons in Dark Souls games, he will draw attention, deal some extra damage, and just generally make your life easier. You just need to get his attention.
Try speaking to the warrior — but only after you kill the guards and stealth attack Juzou — and quickly mash through his dialogue. This will rally him to your cause. Your friend will also join the battle if enemies get to close to him. But this is dangerous. It runs the risk of alerting the enemies you ran past before the fight. Not to mention, the friendly fighter will likely take damage from Juzou before “activating.” You want him at peak fighting condition, so try to talk him into battling, rather than letting it happen naturally.
How to Beat Juzou the Drunkard in Sekiro
With all that out of the way… Well, Juzou the Drunkard is actually a pretty straightforward “boss.” He has some very heavy-hitting, but also very slow attacks. You can parry nearly all of it. Just be warned that the relatively slow blows might throw off your usual timing — you might, to put it another way, block too early.
The trick to this fight is patience. Juzou has a lot of health, even with your NPC ally chipping away at him, and it’s easy to lose the battle of attrition. As such, you need to take your hits where you can get them — and keep your distance when you’re not confident.
One major opening occurs just as Juzou is about to use his aforementioned poison attack. The attack itself isn’t very dangerous. It has a massive windup telegraphed by the enemy taking a swig from his gourd. That’s actually your opportunity to hammer away at him. Just make sure you do so against his front or his sides! He’ll eventually spew a nasty green liquid directly in front of him that will poison you if you stand in it too long. And poison in Sekiro is a very serious condition.
Don’t get greedy for hits; keep your distance; attack when Juzou is distracted by drinking or by your NPC ally. Keep to these tenets, and you should beat Juzou the Drunkard with relative ease. Once you do, congratulations! You’ve just unlocked a much harder, much more “real” boss battle in Sekiro. Good luck with that one, too…