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This should absolutely be the very first thing you do the moment you enter the Dilapidated Temple hub in Sekiro.
Before going off on your adventure, head to the right of the Sculptor’s Idol to find a man standing next to a shrine and offering box. Defeat him in battle, and he’ll essentially become your one-stop tutorial buddy for the entire game.
It’s highly recommended that you go through all the fundamental training sections with him before even thinking about stepping into the open world. This will get you used to the regular deflect timings, and teach you how Deathblows work in Sekiro.
Long story short: all enemies can be killed with Deathblows, with the exception of bosses and mini-bosses, who will have Deathblow Markers in the form of red orbs above their health bar. If a boss has two Deathblow Markers, you need to land two Deathblows to kill them.
You can land a Deathblow by either breaking their Posture or depleting their health bar.
As you unlock more Shinobi skills later on, Hanbei will get more training options as well, allowing you to practice your new skills on him before testing them out on enemies.
Training with Hanbei is literally free and doesn’t cost you anything, so make sure you do this first.
Unlike in Souls and Bloodborne, you don’t lose all of your experience when you die in Sekiro. Instead, you’ll only lose half of your current skill experience progress and half of your money. Doesn’t too bad, until you realize there’s no way to pick up your lost stuff when you revive.
In Sekiro, constantly dying and losing half your stuff with each death can be extremely brutal, especially when you’re in the middle of learning the patterns of a really tough boss fight. It’s possible for the Unseen Aid mechanic to proc, but the more you die, the lower your chances of actually getting Unseen Aid, so it’s best not to rely on it too much.
If you want to really safeguard your hard-earned Sen, we advise purchasing coin pouches whenever possible. You’ll find your first vendor right after the Chained Ogre mini-boss, and you’ll need to pay him 50 Sen to get his business started.
Come back to him later, and he’ll have coin pouches for sale. Think of coin pouches as soul or blood items from the Soulsborne games, where you could pop them for a good amount of currency whenever you needed to level up or buy something.
By purchasing coin pouches, you’re essentially banking your Sen for safekeeping, and you won’t have to worry about completely running out of money.
If you consider yourself a Soulsborne veteran, you’re gonna have to throw everything you know about those games out the window. In Sekiro, it’s far more efficient to guard and deflect attacks rather than dodge out of your enemy’s way.
This game’s combat system revolves around the Posture mechanic, where you have to hit your enemy repeatedly or deflect their attacks to build up their Posture meter, which allows you to perform an instant kill Deathblow on them once it’s completely full.
You could kill enemies just by depleting their health bar, but it’s far more efficient to focus on the Posture meter and get kills that way.
When you deflect attacks, your own Posture meter won’t get any build-up, and you’ll be dealing Posture damage to your enemy in turn. And if your Posture meter gets a little too high, you can back away and hold the guard button to make it decrease a little faster.
You’ll also want to watch your health bar, as more health allows your Posture to recover faster and vice versa. The same goes for your enemies as well.
Speaking of parrying, once you unlock the skill tree, I highly recommend picking up the Mikiri Counter skill. This allows you to get perfect parries on all thrusting attacks, and it deals extra Posture damage, as opposed to just deflecting it regularly or dodging it.
Sekiro likes to ambush players with tough enemy placements, but that doesn’t mean you have to take them head-on. In this game, there’s almost always an alternative path you can take, and you need to make use of the grappling hook to get the drop on your enemies.
As a general rule of thumb, when you spawn from the nearest Sculptor’s Idol, always look to the side for possible grappling points you can latch on to. Look up or down a cliff, and chances are high that you’ll find some sort of side path you can take to get a backstab on your foes.
Even when you get spotted in combat, you’ll find that you can lose enemies pretty easily by simply running away and grappling to a high point.
Whenever the alert marker goes back to yellow from red, you’ll be able to sneak up on them again and get a stealth Deathblow to take them out immediately. If you’re in trouble, grapple away and try again.
Do note that this tactic only works for non-boss enemies. While it is possible to de-aggro bosses and mini-bosses in some cases, if you break away from the fight, their Deathblow markers will get restored, which means you need to deal the same amount of damage to them again to get them down.
One of the biggest pieces of weaponry you have at your disposal in Sekiro is the Shinobi Prosthetic Tool. Once you find a new Tool, bring it back to the Sculptor and he’ll affix it to your arm.
You can equip up to three Tools at once, and you can cycle between them with just a press of a button. While it’s impossible to suggest a perfect combination to get you through the game, consider keeping the Shuriken on you at all times.
The Shuriken does extra damage to airborne enemies, and can also be a great way to lure enemies over to your position. But, of course, you need to have good knowledge of what each Tool is used for.
For instance, the Loaded Axe will instantly break Posture on enemies that have shields, allowing you to score a free Deathblow. The Loaded Spear will let you guard-break most enemies, though it’s still possible for them to deflect it. Meanwhile, the Shinobi Firecrackers will stun all animals and beast-type enemies for a few seconds.
You can switch out your Prosthetic Tools at any time, so don’t be afraid to mix it up and experiment. If you’re afraid of running out of Spirit Emblems (the resource required to make use of the Tools), they can be purchased for 10 Sen a pop at any Sculptor’s Idol, though you should be able to find plenty of them in the open world and as enemy drops.
Be sure to check our Sekiro guide wiki for more tips and information on the game.
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