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‘Sekiro’ Bosses Guide: How to Beat General Tenzen Yamauchi

You’ve just defeated the Chained Ogre in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Shaking from the adrenaline, you use your Grappling Hook to get up and over the gate he was guarding, ready to move on and slice through some enemies unlucky enough to come at you warmed up. But the courtyard beyond isn’t just manned by random goons—they have a leader: General Tenzen Yamauchi. He almost certainly will kill you. Otherwise, why would you be looking up how to beat General Tenzen Yamauchi?

Sekiro Boss Guide: How to Beat General Tenzen Yamauchi

sekiro-boss-guide-general-yamauchi-battle-beat General Tenzen Yamauchi will challenge your sword skills in "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice." FromSoftware/Activision

Your duel with General Yamauchi is the opposite of the rough and tumble brawl with the Chained Ogre. General Yamauchi is a swordfighting master and a samurai who occupies a position of power far above some disgraced shinobi like Sekiro. Yamauchi fights with vicious finesse, which you’ll have to match—and top—to beat him. But first you have to set the stage for a duel with the General.

Preparing to Fight General Yamauchi

The courtyard overseen by General Yamauchi (who delegates from a chair and desk) is filled with a handful of enemy types, which should all be cleared out before taking on Yamauchi himself.

The best place to start is to the left, where you can stealth through the groundcover plants and backstab Deathblow the rifleman overlooking the courtyard.

sekiro-boss-guide-general-yamauchi-stealth-deathblow Stick to the fence on your left to backstab Deathblow your first target. FromSoftware/Activision

To keep the stealthy approach, turn around, go back into the hallway overlooking the courtyard, creep out onto the roof and go for the old man with the warning gong perched atop the wall. It’s easy to get caught at this part, but Stealth Latent Skills like “Suppress Presence” and “Suppress Sound” can give you an edge. But I found it less tedious to skip the stealth, at least for a moment.

Instead of circling all the way around to the edge of the courtyard, sprint the past the two swordsman atop the rampart after killing the first rifleman. The second rifleman is standing on the inner rampart lip. You can kill him and hop up the wall to kill the hunched man with the gong before the mass of swordsman can start slashing you to pieces. With both the rifleman and the alarm taken care of, it’s time for a little patience.

sekiro-boss-guide-general-yamauchi-second rifleman The second rifleman and the wall-top sentry should be your next two targets. FromSoftware/Activision

Hide up top for a little while until the courtyard once again settles down. Several other guards can be killed with a stealth Deathblow. All that’s important is that you make sure to wipe out everyone before crossing swords with General Yamauchi.

General Tenzen Yamauchi Backstab Deathblow

sekiro-boss-guide-general-yamauchi-backstab-deathblow With a little patience, you can land a Deathblow on General Yamauchi. FromSoftware/Activision

Like many of harder enemies and bosses in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, it will take more than one Deathblow to beat General Yamauchi. This essentially means overloading his Posture and breaking his stance twice —this makes beating him twice as hard. But it’s possible to deliver a backstab Deathblow before dueling, which can greatly even the odds.

Here’s the thing about ol’ General Yamauchi: he doesn’t have a keen memory. Hide out after killing all the guards and he’ll soon return to his little chair and his battle campaign map table. If he previously chased you up on to the rampart, he’ll take his sweet time getting back down, even pausing along the way to survey his courtyard. This gives you ample time to sidle up behind him and stick a sword in his neck.

But don’t press your luck. Hiding again to attempt a second stealth Deathblow isn’t an option (we tried). If you wait too long to take him on after delivering the first Deathblow, he’ll return to full health.

General Tenzen Yamauchi vs. Sekiro: Winning the Duel

The battlefield is prepared and Yamauchi is just one Deathblow from defeat. The time for stealth is over—honorable combat must commence. Yamauchi is an intimidating swordfighter, with a long reach and several devastating attacks. It’s easy to be tempted to jump away and otherwise keep your distance. Resist that urge.

The best way to fight General Yamauchi is as close as possible, with extreme patience. Yamauchi is a technical fighter seemingly designed to test how well you can attack, deflect and use the proper dodge. The bulk of Yamauchi’s attacks can and should be deflective. Deflect a strike, then strike back, is the general pattern. Even terrifying moves like his jumping, downward slash can be deflected.

General Yamauchi has two blows that can’t be guarded against: a whirling slash and a lunge. The whirling slash is likely the only time it would be advantageous to jump while fighting General Yamauchi. The slash is a perfect opportunity for a Mikari Counter—with a well-timed press of the dodge button (circle on the PS4 controller), Sekiro will stomp on Yamauchi’s blade, delivering a big chunk of Posture Damage to the General.

The most dangerous place to be when fighting General Yamauchi is mid-distance, because he has a deadly upwards slash which he uses to close the gap between you and him. It’s one of his hardest moves to avoid, which is why it’s worth sticking close to him when possible.

But sometimes it’s not possible, because Posture damage adds up fast while fighting General Yamauchi. This makes Gokan’s Sugar a good option. If General Yamauchi comes close to breaking your Posture, get distance as fast possible, perhaps by Grappling up to the ramparts or jumping down to a lower level, away from his sword. Hold the Guard pose to replenish Posture, but be quick about it: his Posture replenishes as well (though at a slower rate than yours).

sekiro-boss-guide-general-yamauchi-shadows-die-twice-death A dramatic death for General Yamauchi. FromSoftware/Activision

Even with this boss combat guide, beating General Yamauchi is no easy feat. But whereas some bosses in Sekiro are unique challenges that push Sekiro swordplay in different directions, fighting General Yamauchi is a test of your most basic shinobi skills. Coming into the boss battle against Yamauchi with a strong rhythm, after nailing a number of Deflections in a row, will put you in good stead.

For defeating General Yamauchi, Sekiro will receive a Prayer Bead.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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