Tired of getting killed by the seemingly endless array of Yokai, Oni, Tengu, and other crazy Japanese mythological monsters in Nioh? We know your pain. Here, we’re going to break down all the best strategies to defeat these hulking behemoths.
Team Ninja purposefully avoided making Nioh easy — and they succeeded with flying colors. This is a hardcore action game through-and-through, and if you’re not prepared to die (and die a whole lot) then this game is going to be one long series of frustrations. Ritual seppuku isn’t the answer. Just keep scrolling down for a few tips, tricks, and secrets that just might help.
More Nioh guides, walkthroughs and secrets on Gameranx:
- Nioh: 12 Quick Tips To Make Everything Easier | Beginner’s Guide
- Nioh: Upgrade Shrines & Get More Blessings | Kodama Locations [Kyushu]
- Nioh: Upgrade Shrines & Get More Blessings | Kodama Locations [Chugoku]
- Nioh: Upgrade Shrines & Get More Blessings | Kodama Locations [Kinki]
- Nioh: Upgrade Shrines & Get More Blessings | Kodama Locations [Tokai]
- Nioh: How to Make Every Boss Way Easier | Magic Exploit Guide
- Nioh: Customization Options Guide | Hair, Beards, Armor & Disguises
- Nioh: How to Respec Your Skill Points | Book of Reincarnation Guide
- Nioh: All 6 Hiragumo Teakettle Fragments Locations | Trophy Guide
- Nioh: Make the Umi-Bozu Boss Easier With These Bonfire Locations
- Nioh: All Illusory Walls (Nurikabe Demon) Locations | Secret Rooms Guide
- Nioh: How to Open Every Locked Door | All Key Locations Guide
- Nioh: Where To Get All Unique Armor & Weapon Sets | Best Gear Guide
- Nioh: The Best Amrita Farming Methods | 500k+ Souls in 5 Minutes
- Nioh: 4 Ways To Increase Weapon Familiarity & Unlock Heritage Bonuses
How to Defeat Every Boss | Locations, Strategies & Secrets Guide
[Complete!: All major bosses are now accounted for.]
Derrik, the Executioner
- Location: Tower of London – Fight to the outside of the the tower and take the stairs up into the secondary building with the shrine. From the Shrine, reach the spiral staircase to encounter Derek.
Derrik is the first battle, and isn’t to hard if you’re quick on your feet. Shed all that heavy armor and use light / medium gear to keep your improved quickstep. Derrik’s most common attacks are a three-hit quick combo, and a charge attack. Dodge away from the quick combo, and at a distance when Derrik charges forward, wait for his swing then attack him from the side / behind. Get in a few hits after each attack to defeat Derrick’s first form.
This is when the real battle begins. Derrick turns into a giant creature, moves faster, and has far more HP. His attacks are slightly altered, but he still uses two basic, common attacks.
- Two-Hit Combo Axe: Derrick swings his axe twice. This is faster and wider than his previous combo,
- Axe Charge: Exactly the same as before. He charges forward — simply quick-step out of his way.
The second form works like a longer version of the previous form. If you want to be especially safe, hang back and wait around the tower walls. When Derrick charges, you can easily get in 2-3 attacks before retreating. Only attack after his charge to be completely safe.
Once you take Derrick down to about 60% health, you’ll unlock the Living Weapon attack. Press [Circle+Triangle] to activate Living Weapon and instantly defeat Derrick.
- Location: Isle of Demons – Get the Residence Key in the house with the Oni demon that appears, then fight through the burning village down to the beach. The boss activates as you approach the bandit ship. Don’t forget to circle up the hill path to the right of the ship to unlock a shortcut from the burning village shrine.
Onryoki is the first true challenge and roadblock in Nioh. This isn’t an easy battle, and you’ll need to learn the art of Ki Burst.
- Ki Burst [Tap R1] has two functions: you can instantly recover scratch-stamina use, and it will dispel demonic shadows. Learning how to use Ki Burst will make this battle manageable.
It helps to learn about the demonic shadow spots — these areas slow your stamina regeneration to a crawl. But, there’s a benefit to these spots; your stamina use is much, much lower while you attack while immersed in a shadow spot. That means you can attack more often before your stamina gauge is empty.
If you’re really good, you can swoop into a shadow spot, unleash a flurry of attacks, then hit Ki Burst to recover your stamina instantly AND dispel the shadow at the same time. This is a risky maneuver, but it’s also really, really cool to pull off.
In its form form, Onryoki wields two massive balls on chains, launching spinning attacks that are especially annoying to dodge. Don’t try to dodge away, instead dodge toward the chains to slip through safely. If you dodge away, you’re bound to get caught inside the chain’s hitbox.
- Chain Swing [Left]: His standard attack, unleashed when he faces you. Watch the arms to predict which direction the chains will come from.
- Chain Swing [Right]: Usually unleashed when you’re attacking from behind or the side. This attack swings around, and is a little slowed than the [Left], which inadvertently makes it kind of tricky to dodge through.
- Chain Slam [Forward]: The safest attack, this forward-slam is easy to weave around and attack Onryoki from behind. Simply dodge left or right and attack while Onryoki tries to recover.
The trick to this fight is taking it slow. Wait for his forward-facing slam attack, hit him from behind with 1-2-3 combo attacks, then retreat before Onryoki retaliates with another chain swing attack.
Once Onryoki is down to about 60%, he changes form. His chains break off, and he’ll begin to attack with his claws only. Both iron balls will still be on the battlefield, and Onryoki likes to grab the heavy weights and pitch them at you. He’ll also begin summoning shadow spots in the arena, and he can summon more than one at a time.
- Ground Claw: A simple claw attack. Swings his arm forward and down. Short-range but quick. Usually follows up with a Ground Pound, so don’t try to attack!
- Shadow Ground Pound: This is a primary attack, usually coming after his basic claw swing. He’ll jump and pound both fists into the ground, summoning a shadow spot. He can do this attack more than once in a row (with a short pause between attacks) and summon multiple shadow spots. Make sure you dispel those!
- Iron Ball Throw: The two iron balls will remain in the area. When Onryoki gets close to one, he’ll retrieve and bowl it directly at the player. Dodge left or right, he telegraphs the attack far in advance.
The trick of this battle is just realizing those shadow spots aren’t as dangerous as they look. If you can use Ki Burst properly, they’ll help you attack Onryoki even more. Wait until after a single Ground Claw or Ground Pound, then attack. Just be prepared for another Ground Pound. If you’re fighting near an iron ball, Onryoki will almost always retreat to get the iron ball, so you can usually count on that.
It’s all about patience and attacking when you have an opening. Onryoki looks much more intimidating than he really is. Just watch his attacks to get a feel for his openings, and know that Ki Burst will give you enough stamina to quick-step away after you’ve spent all your stamina on an attack chain.
- Location: Deep in the Shadows – Very straightforward, just follow the main path in the caverns down to the second Shrine. Continue down into the bat cave until you reach a large chamber with dead bodies hanging from the ceiling. Drop into the arena to initiate the boss.
This boss is fast, though most of her attacks can be dodged if you’re fast with the quick-step button. Fighting Hino-Enma is all about knowing when she’ll attack, while on the ground, and responding accordingly. Despite some annoyances (like her flight), Hino-enma doesn’t dish out damage like Onryoki, making this kind-of a breather boss.
- Basic Swipes (4x Combo): Hino-enma’s basic strikes come in different forms. She’ll either attack once, or continue the chain into a combo.
- Blood-Sucking Grapple: This is one attack you want to avoid. When she throws out both hands to “hug” you, roll away. It’s very short-range, so if you use a long-sword or spear, it’s an easy attack to escape.
- Flight Charge: She’ll fly directly toward you. This can be unleashed both while she’s on the ground or while flying. She’ll pause after whiffing the attack, making this a good chance to hit her from behind.
- Kunai Throw (Flying): While in the air, Hino-enma will throw three kunai in an arc. Not too dangerous, and can be blocked or dodged.
- Sonic Blast (Flying): Best to dodge this powerful energy blast.
Hino-enma is quick, and she doesn’t expend her stamina fast like other fast-paced human bosses. During her basic combo, she’ll also summon Yokai Realms, so be prepared to dispel these areas, or only attack when you know you’re safe from taking damage.
A spear can be pretty useful in this fight. She’s too quick to easily circle around, so most of your attacks will need to follow a pause in her pattern. Strike after her swings, especially right after a charge or a spinning combo.
Annoyingly, there’s really nothing you can do while she’s flying. Continue to circle-strafe around her and dodge as she unleashes attacks. Eventually, she’ll charge and leave herself open.
- Location: The Spirit Stone Slumbers – You’ll find this boss through the locked East Gate. Get the key by following the wall to the left of the gate. There’s a corpse with the key beyond the shrine-like structure in the dead-end.
Nue is an electricity-spewed four-legged monster. He has some serious stamina weaknesses you can exploit, but the instant lighting strikes that land around the front of the monster’s face can easily overwhelm the unprepared. Be ready to attack Nue’s exposed sides.
- Two-Claw Swipe: A basic attack. It lunges forward and swings both claws. Nue recovers fast from this one.
- Tail Spin: The simple spin attack is too slow to dodge directly through. Retreat instead.
- Electricity Arc: With its mouth open, Nue will shoot out a lance of electricity from it’s jaws. It slowly arcs, giving you time to attack the side of the torso, or even swipe the side of the head.
- Lightning Summon: When Nue roars, a series of lightning strikes will track you. They land almost instantly, so be prepared to keep moving. They don’t track you very well, so you’ll dodge as long as you’re moving.
The best time to attack Nue is during the electricity arc attack. It always starts on your right. Quickly rush forward and hit the left shoulder / left side of Nue. This is a good time to drain Nue’s stamina with kicks or by removing the Yokai Realm circles. Demons can only recover health in a Yokai Realm, just try to avoid taking damage while you’re in one of those circles.
While at range, Nue will sometimes call down lightning strikes. This is a good time to charge forward and strike Nue’s sides. If you’re lucky, you can wedge yourself between Nue’s legs on the left and continuously attack, while Nue tries to move, he’ll sometimes take your player character with him. While stuck, Nue can (basically) only use the Lightning Summon roar to get you off.
Always attack and circle strafe to the left, and rush in for a long attack combo when Nue uses the electricity arc, which can also be interrupted. If you’re standing in a Yokai Realm, you’ll be able to keep attacking while Nue is interrupted, then Ki Burst to escape before Nue summons more lightning.
- Location: The Spirit Stone Slumbers – Deep in the catacombs, you’ll find a helper NPC at the third underground shrine. She’ll lead you to the final boss of this mission.
Tachibana Muneshige is a 1-vs-1 duel, and like you, he’s very susceptible to stamina loss. More than any of the previous bosses, you can exploit the Samurai’s low stamina, stun him, and land a killing blow. The kick attack is especially useful here, able to completely stun him when he’s on the brink of losing his last bit of stamina.
Exploiting Muneshige’s low stamina is our favorite way to beat the boss. It puts him on the defensive, and even with all those cool attacks, it leaves him very vulnerable to follow-up attacks. With all that said, he’s the fastest and most challenging boss yet. This is a “fair” fight — he’s human with some enhancements, just like you. Just don’t let him grab you with his glowing red hand!
- Katana Strikes: His basic attack is just like your’s — unpredictable and very fast. Be prepared to dodge or block at any moment, and be ready for multiple attacks in a row. Thankfully, the more he attacks, the more stamina he drains from his gauge.
- Sword Buff: Between attacks, Muneshige will charge his sword with spiritual power. You can interrupt this buff while it is summoned. If you’re in a good position, swoop in and stop him. It’s only temporary though, so you can always outlast the effects.
- Arrow Shot: At range, Muneshige will shoot an arrow at you. Like his other attacks, it’s very fast. Watch for his crouch and dodge when the bow appears in his hands.
- Red Hand Grapple: If you’re standing close, blocking, the boss is blocking, he’ll often attempt to grab you. This is slow but extremely powerful. Dodge away to escape.
Use the central pillars to keep the boss away while his sword is buffed. He’ll often use up his stamina attempting to attack, and he’ll get caught on the pillar. When he’s low, that’s when you want to get aggressive. Even if he blocks, strong attacks will drain his stamina, and kicks will do wonders. Use a Killing Blow when he’s stunned or stab him on the ground, then follow-up with an attack or two while he’s getting up.
- Location: The Silver Mine Writhes – The silver mine is mostly linear. Starting from the top, you’ll move down, clearing gas with filtration devices. Past the Central Mine door (find the key on the ledge to the right) you’ll reach the second shrine. Unlock the shortcut door and drop into the area below.
This massive boss looks more intimidating than it really is. With only a few attacks and no form change, it’s all about patience as you whittle down the monster’s health and avoid falling into the poisonous gas pit. The safest place to do most of the fighting is right next to the filtration machine — it only works temporarily.
- Poison Gas Spit: The creature rears back and spits a poison gas cloud. Small radius, easy to dodge. Watch for the centipede’s direction, it will track you perfectly until it spits.
- Paralyzing Spit: Exactly like the poison gas attack, except that the spit will temporarily paralyze the player. If you’re far enough away, it’s possible to recover before the centipede can attack you while you’re vulnerable.
- Head Slam: A basic attack. The centipede rears back and slams its head down on the ground. Slow and easy to read. It will pause after launching the attack, giving you time to get in some quick slashes.
You can attack the lengthy tail of the creature. It only takes a few attacks to completely sever the tail, making it easier to attack the centipede’s back. Keep circling and roll to avoid the poison spit attacks. The centipede is surprisingly quick, and most of the damage you take will come from the centipede simply stampeding into you.
The best time to attack is when the centipede completes a head slam. Like all other enemies, the centipede can also exhaust itself by using all of its stamina. When it retreats to collect the missing segments of the tail, that’s a good time to use a powerful drop attack.
It’s much easier to circle-strafe behind the centipede in the lower level, but you’ll only have a short amount of time to fight until the poison gas returns. You can also cycle around the area, running up the ramp and using the filtration device, then dropping down to fight the boss.
- Location: The Ocean Roars Again – Found very early in the area. After crossing the rickety makeshift bridges, you’ll reach a raised platform that leads out to a dock with a Yokai Realm and an impressive door. The door leads into the boss battle.
Umi-bozu is a tough opponent — it might be the toughest boss yet. There are two ways you can prepare before going inside the arena. 1) Light all three bonfires to stop Umi-bozu’s minions from spawning in the area. 2) Prepare fire buff Jutsu or collect fire amulets. Umi-bozu is very weak to fire — use weapons with the low stance to deal as much damage as possible to really lower its health fast. Each strike is infused fire if you buff.
NOTE: See the three bonfires around the arena? Interact to “Touch Your Weapon To The Fire” and give the an instant fire buff. That makes the boss MUCH easier.
The massive water-based Umi-bozu only has a handful of attacks. Stay close and use the bonfires to buff your weapons, and this monster will fall quickly.
- Tentacle Slam: The creature will use either two tentacles or one. It doesn’t matter how many it uses if you’re standing right next to the boss. It can’t hit you at close range.
- Debris Blast: A simple blast of debris. It can launch fast, so be sure to dodge even if you’re in close range.
- Water Geiser: This sustained beam is the most dangerous attack. Watch for Umi-bozu to take a deep breath, then dash and run to the side. After the attack, you’ll have time to strike back at the exposed core.
Use the bonfires to bring Umi-Bozu’s health down fast, stay close, and you’ll take down this form.
After doing enough damage, Umi-Bozu will jump out of the water and attack from the center of the arena. This time you’ll want to keep your distance. Circle around, and wait for the creature to attack with its core.
It will slam the exposed core forward, giving you time to attack. Use your Spirit Guardian and light your sword on fire to easily take care of this form. Just ignore the extra enemies that spawn, they’re too slow to give you much trouble anyway.
Save your Guardian Spirit and Fire Talismans for this part of the fight — and don’t forget about lighting you sword with the bonfires to finish this boss off for good.
- Location: The Spider Nest Castle – Get the Castle Gates Key from the back-right room of the large residence, then climb to the top of the castle keep to face off against this spider-woman.
Joro-Gumo is all about using her spider-webs to catch you in a trap. Watch out for her spit attacks, leaving behind large spots of webbing that will slow your character down to a crawl when trying to cross it. Try to avoid the webs, and you should be fine for this battle.
- Spiderweb Spray: A close range attack. Keep moving to avoid the deadly webs. It can be blocked.
- Claw 2-Hit Combo: Basic attack, it swipes with two claws at very close-range. Easy to dodge around and attack the back once or twice mid-combo.
- Claw Grab: A slow grab with two front claws — easy to dodge, and gives you time to attack the weak back of the spider.
- Lunge: A simple forward lunge. Dash around to the weak backside of the boss and attack right after it attemps to lunge. You’ll have a few seconds to get in some hits.
Hit her back enough, and Joro-Gumo will attempt to shield its back and turtle. This is actually a good time to attack — swipe at the sides of the monster, staying closer to the front, and it really can’t do anything to you at all. Just keep attacking! It may attempt to spin, but you can roll away from the slow attack safely. It’s so slow in its defensive form, it can barely fight back.
Eventually it will switch back and begin dropping more webs on the ground. If you can avoid those webs, you shouldn’t have too many problems with this battle.
- Location: Falling Snow – Kill the butterfly swarms to destroy the crystal to access the right side, near the first Shrine, then go through the back-right hole in the temple wall to find a path that eventually leads to the main temple of this snowy labyrinth.
Tougher than Joro-Gumo, this ice-based woman is faster and stronger in almost every way. She uses a variety of different ice projectiles, and her deadly knife lunge can’t be blocked. Let’s start with that attack.
- Knife Lunge: This unblockable knife attack always begins as Yuki twirls her staff, producing a smaller knife. Just as she swoops toward you, dodge away. The timing needs to be just right to avoid it. If you can avoid it consistently, this is a very good time to attack her. She’ll pause after a missed knife lunge, giving you time to strike back.
- Ice Projectiles: She uses multiple different ice projectiles — one type shoots straight forward, one in an arc, and one in a chain-like machine-gun burst. You can block many of these, but that will drain your stamina and leave you vulnerable for follow-up knife lunges. Best to dodge! Dashing left or right often works, as well.
- Ice Burst: This area-of-effect attack almost always follows after you finish attacking you. Quickly retreat out of the ice area range when she stomps her foot down. Easy to dodge, just make sure you have enough stamina left to escape.
Her attacks also include a simple two-hit combo that leaves her over-extended and easy to retaliate with a hit of your own. Her ice-breath is easy to dodge but she recovers fast, same with her staff throw.
She’s weak to fire, so fire-based Guardian Spirits and Fire Talismans will help to make this furious battle end a little faster. Learning how to dodge that knife lunge is a priority, but otherwise she doesn’t present an extreme threat. Another boss to kill and move on.
- Location: The Demon of Mount Hiei – Found through the final temple doors.
White Tiger might be a giant four-legged demon, but it moves fast. Strafe left and always attempt to attack the bright yellow weak point on White Tiger’s eye.
- Basic Claw: A simple single swipe with one claw (left or right) — dodge to the left and attack the side after these attacks, you’ll have time to get in a few hits. There aren’t many opportunities to attack White Tiger. This is one of the better times to strike.
- Tail Spin: If you’re attacking the back / side too much, White Tiger will use an area-of-effect spin attack. Dodge away from White Tiger to escape.
- Eye Beam: One of the deadlier attacks, watch for the glow in White Tiger’s eye. It will flash, then a beam will launch forward and track you. Dash to avoid it. If you’re close and can avoid it, use this as another strong opportunity to attack.
You’ll have to be aggressive to win this duel. Attack after basic claw swipes (rush to the monster’s sides) or wait until it uses an Eye Beam to punish it while the beam is still moving in an arc. White Tiger also uses dash charges and thrown projectiles like other encounters.
- Location: The Iga Escape – Enter the upside-down ninja house and reach the frog room, then backtrack through the rightside-up structure to reach the Giant Toad ninja.
Even with its massive size, the Giant Toad fights almost like a human opponent — it’s fast, agile, and comes equipped with some killer Ninja tricks. Stay behind him, strike, and retreat before it uses a ground pound. When it lunges forward, you can also attack him from behind. Low Stance will help here, but Normal Stance is quick enough to do plenty of damage.
- Forward Lunge: This is the attack you’ll want to bait. Stay at about medium-range and the Giant Toad will slide forward, thrusting his spear and leaving his back completely exposed while he recovers. If you can dodge, you’ll have plenty of chances to attack.
- Ground Pound: Leaps in the air and smashes down. Used when you’re around the Toad’s back. Dodge away to avoid it, it has a small area-of-effect.
- Spear Combo: The spear combo is surprisingly wide, but if you dodge through the first two attacks, you’ll find the Toad’s back is open once again. Just watch out for the final attack — it automatically changes directions to face you and slams down with the spear.
At the last third of the battle, the Giant Toad will begin using explosive bombs. If you want to avoid this hassle, save your Spirit Guardian power and unleash the Living Weapon to finish the boss for good.
- Location: Memories of Death-Lilies
The Ogress is a massive opponent with a few dangerous attacks you’ll need to look out for — especially her hard-to-predict jump attacks. She’ll use giant elongated claws to strike, and shoot fire-breath in a wide arc.
- Claw Swipe: Dodge left to avoid this close-range claw attack, then follow-up with some attacks of your own. Like most bosses, she’ll respond in one of two ways — a short-range AOE stomp, or jumping away.
- Yokai Grapple: Watch for the Ogress’ hands to shimmer with Yokai Realm energy. She’ll fly forward and attempt to grapple you, dealing huge damage in the process. It’s a slow attack, so dodge and dash to escape.
- Jump Stomp: At close-range or far away, the Ogress will leap and stomp onto the ground. It only damages if you’re touching her. She’ll unleash these more often as the battle progresses.
- Fire Breath: Dangerous at medium-range, but a good time to punish the Ogress if you’re close. Unleash a flurry of attacks on her side while she’s stuck in the fire-spewing animation.
The Ogress’ most annoying attack is the jump stomp, and she’ll keep using it late in the fight. If you can drop her stamina to 0, use your Living Weapon to take down her health fast in the final stages. Otherwise, try to bait her claw swipes or fire breath. Dodge left and attack her side while she recovers from those attacks, and you’ll be able to take her down.
- Location: The Defiled Castle – Found through the first double doors in the castle exterior, after exiting the sewers.
One of the easiest bosses in Nioh. You don’t even need to fight him — as the battle begins, look for the three large purple crystals in the arena. Destroy all three to instantly complete this fight. Go in with a full Spirit Guardian and use Living Weapon to wipe out all three crystals.
- Location: The Defiled Castle – At the top of the castle keep.
Another 1 vs 1 battle, this time you’ll be fighting a possessed Okatsu. She’s quick, but won’t do much damage per attack. The trick is to drain her Ki meter and unleash heavy attacks while she’s stunned or on the ground after breaking her guard. She’s relentless, and careless with her stamina. Dodge (rather than block) to retain most of your stamina and strike back when she’s vulnerable.
- Charged Strike: She’ll brandish her knife before launching forward to stab you. Easy to read as she telegraphs, but the actual attack is very fast. Dodge left or right to avoid. After powering up, she’ll bounce into the air and launch a second charged strike — don’t let it catch you.
- Flip: Stay locked-on, as she’ll often flip directly behind you. If she retreats with flips, don’t bother chasing her. Wait for Okatsu to come to you. Attack her when she’s near — she always guards, but you can quickly sap her stamina with a kick or heavy strikes.
- Wall-Jump: After powering up, she’ll often use the wall-jump attack. She’ll retreat and cling to the side of a wall before flying directly forward. As the battle goes on, she’ll use this attack more frequently — sometimes multiple times in a row. Very similar to the charged strike, and she’ll transition from the wall-jump into the charged strike, or vice versa, pretty often.
- Kunai Throw: At medium-range, Okatsu throws an arc of kunai. These are low damage projectiles, but they’re a little tricky to dodge. Either dodge forward through the wave of knives, or block.
This battle is all about managing Okatsu’s speed, and striking when you can to drain her Ki faster. Most of your damage in this battle comes from performing Killing Blow finishers — either when she’s knocked down or stunned when her guard is broken.
- Location: Immortal Flame
At the top of the burning castle, you’ll encounter this flying, rifle-wielding ninja. He’s fast, powerful, and extremely deadly. Before attempting this battle, prepare Shuriken / Kunai at the Shrine. Saika likes to fly, and when he does, he’ll drop bombs, throw darts or fire his rifle.
You can completely stop him with a single projectile throw — when he’s flying, toss a Shuriken or Kunai to knock him down. Often, you can knock him down into the fire, adding some extra damage.
- Blade Strike: Simple light strikes. This is a good time to attack — dodge and strike him in the back while his chain continues.
- Heavy Strike: He’ll end his combos with this jump-attack. Dodge and hit him in the back.
- Spirit Guardian Wave / Charge: When he summons his Spirit Guardian, it will attempt to chase you with a few homing charges, or shoot a wide energy beam.
- Rifle Shots: Saika will fire his rifle three times in a row, or once while flying.
- Explosive Bombs: If you’re standing under Saika, he’ll throw a wave of bombs. Surprisingly, these don’t cost much stamina to block.
While flying, Saika will also attempt to grab you from above. This battle is all about patience. Block and don’t over extend yourself, Saika will punish you if you run low on Ki, but there’s not a whole lot he can do — most of his long-range attacks can be blocked easily, but do heavy damage if they land.
Saika also doesn’t have a ton of HP, so there’s no need to rush him. Spend some time collecting extra Elixirs, and you should be able to outlast him.
- Location: Sekigahara – In the first camp.
Yet another flying boss, this tricky half-man, half-Yokai creature uses double blades, moves fast, and causes problems with his self-buff. Wait until Otani stabs himself with both blades — while he’s buffing his attacks, he’s vulnerable to attacks.
The trick to this fight is: when he buffs, dodge around his attacks and avoid until he drains all of his Ki. He’ll rapidly waste his bar of Ki and stun himself if you can land a kick or strong attack. He’s fast, but vulnerable to Killing Blows. Don’t try to engage him when buffed either — his attacks are all enhanced, so his sword swings become projectiles. He does more damage, and blocking drains more of your Ki.
Let Otani wear himself out and attack when he’s drained. When he isn’t buffed, exchange attacks after he over-extends with combos or sword lunges.
- Location: Sekigahara – Second camp.
Unlike the previous battle, this boss is 100% natural. He won’t transform or unleash any special powers — not counting his Spirit Guardian ability. That means the Kick ability will do wonders in this battle. Kick after each attack string to drain his stamina and set this guy up for a killing blow — just stay back when he charges his spear with his Spirit Guardian.
- Grapple: Very close range, avoid when you’re close to him or he’ll hit you with an unblockable grab.
- Whirlwind Strike: Watch as Shima twirls his spear in the air before slamming back down. Very powerful, but clearly telegraphed.
- Living Weapon: Like you, Shima can infuse his spear with magic power. This effect only lasts a short amount of time, but he’ll use it often during the fight — usually about 3 times. Don’t let him catch you without Ki here, or he’ll tear you to shreds.
At this point, battles like this should be almost routine. It isn’t until the very next mission that you’ll encounter something completely new.
- Location: The Source of Evil – Available right at the start of the mission. Don’t fight him yet!
Gasha-dokuro looks intimidating, and he is, so don’t rush into a fight with the giant unprepared! Instead of entering his arena, talk to the NPC near the first Shrine and find all three red Amrita Crystals to weaken the massive boss. After converting a lage crystal, Gasha-dokura will focus on you. Take cover until your NPC helper distracts the skeleton with a cannon.
Activating the Amrita Crystals will reveal glowing spots in the arena that recharges your Living Weapon rapidly. That will help a lot during the fight — attack the glowing Amrita weak spots on the giant’s feet (and hands) until it is stunned. When stunned, the skeleton’ lays its head on the hill above. Rush up to the top of the crate and start attacking the head to do more damage. Unleash your Living Weapon during these periods.
- Giant Stomp: Simple — the foot stomps down while you’re attacking.
- Tail Spin: Harder to dodge. The entire skeleton spins, so it can land hits with its walking feet or the spinning tail. Both are pretty slow, so retreat and dodge through the tail. Roll toward the spin instead of away from it.
Keep up this rhythm for maximum safety: use your Living Weapon to attack the feet until it is stunned, rush up and attack the head, then recharge your Living Weapon at one of the glowing spots. Rinse and repeat until the giant create is finally defeated.
- Location: A Defiled Holy Mountain
Right at the start, Ishida’s sword is charged with energy! This is a temporary effect, and makes all of Ishida’s attacks more powerful. It also makes his weapon launch blades of long-range energy whenever he swings his sword. Basically, it’s better to hang back and dodge until this effect dissipates.
- Living Weapon: When Ishida charges his Living Weapon, stay back! Let him waste the energy, don’t try to engage — he’ll launch ranged attacks from his normal sword swings. Back off and dodge to escape the blades.
Ishida speeds up as the fight continues — using his Living Weapon more frequently. He’s a Yokai, and will summon Yokai Realms to recharge Ki. Like any one-vs-one, human vs. human boss, he’s very susceptible to stunning from lack of stamina. Use kicks and heavy guard breaks while avoiding his Living Weapon. He’ll drain plenty of Ki while unleashing barrages of attacks.
Like other bosses, save your Living Weapon for the final stretch of the fight. When he’s down to about 20% health, unleash your own Living Weapon and finish this boss off for good.
- Location: The Samurai from Sawayama
The Obsidian Samurai is a powerful opponent that does something new — he switches weapons mid-battle. He carries two types; the Giant Axe and Dual-Katanas, though he prefers (and starts with) the Giant Axe. It’s powerful, but at this point you should have no problem dodging most of the Giant Axe’s attacks. The Samurai isn’t a magical opponent, so this is a pretty straight duel, although there are some attacks you’ll need to watch out for.
- Giant Axe [Weapon Switch]: Slow but powerful. Starts with wide swings and ends combos with a small vertical jump-strike. He’ll also spin straight toward you — block or dodge left or right. Don’t stay close too long or he’ll grab you for a devastating throw.
- Dual-Katanas [Weapon Switch]: Much more difficult to avoid. Be less aggressive while he uses these katanas and wait until he switches back to the Axe. He will when some time has passed.
Wait to attack when the Giant Axe slams down on the ground after a combo. You’ll have a few seconds to get in 2-3 attacks. Do it whenever he’s vulnerable, and keep up the attacks between his combos to rapidly drain his Ki. He’ll use it fast! Like other human bosses, you can get in lots of damage by stunning his with a guard break then using a Killing Blow while he’s on his knee or on the ground.
- Location: The Demon King Revealed
The Overlord isn’t happy about being resurrected, and uses every type of elemental ability. Mid-battle, he swaps elements and takes on new powers, making him hard to predict at times. There’s no element you can take advantage of in this fight, so don’t bother creating a special loadout — thankfully, Oda doesn’t need to be 100% killed. He admits defeat when he’s low on health.
- Element Switch: Oda swaps between different Elements and gains new attacks with each.
- Lightning Strikes: Launches a series of lightning strikes from the sky. Keep moving to avoid this Nue-like tracking attack.
- Ice Spikes: Like Oda’s wife, his ice element form launches five ice projectiles. Time your dodges or block the attacks, they’ll drain your Ki so watch out.
- Spin Strike: A tough attack to dodge. He’ll spin rapidly and fly directly toward you, tracking you slightly. Dodge away or block to absorb.
No matter what element, Oda usually pauses after every attack, leaving himself open. Sometimes he’ll only use one attack, or he’ll launch into a combo that isn’t particularly fast. Wait for him to finish, then dive in for 2-3 heavy attacks, working in a few kicks. It’s easy to drain Oda’s Ki and stun him, unleashing your Killing Blow to really damage Oda. You should be able to get multiple Killing Blows in this fight.
- Location: The Demon King Revealed
This guy is more dangerous than he first appears. His most annoying attack is a grapple — he’ll walk toward you, then teleport directly forward and grab. This attack can drain 75% of your health, and it is completely unblockable. Thankfully, Kelley doesn’t have that much health, so this can be a short boss battle.
Like Oda Nobunage, this battle all hinges on draining Kelley’s Ki with heavy attacks and kicks. Unfortunately, his has a perfect guard. His red energy shield can’t be broken, so immediately retreat when he brings it up. Don’t bother trying to attack it.
- Grapple: This annoying attack always comes after a teleport or after his red shield appears. Dodge away from it!
- Amrita Stab: Instead of grabbing, sometimes Kelley will stab forward with a blade of Amrita after a teleport. This is far easier to dodge, and doesn’t do as much damage as the grapple.
- Snake Guardian Spirit: Not difficult to escape, but when Kelley releases his snake spirit, run away until it dissipates. It will track you, so keep moving.
Kelley will slowly approach, either using basic sword-like combo attacks or teleporting forward and unleashing a stab / grapple. After a teleport (or a combo) he leaves himself open. Strike with heavy attacks and kicks after he whiffs, then strike while he’s stunned or on the ground to dish out most of your damage. Just remember to retreat when the red shield appears, and heal quickly if he gets you with a grapple.
- Location: The Demon King Revealed
The final boss requires plenty of patience, but it’s not too bad — just keep moving, wait for the snake heads to swipe at you before attacking. They like to hang back and use projectiles. When they do, they’re out of your melee attack range. Also, watch out for the evil Amrita circles in the area — you’ll take damage for attempting to remove the Yokai Realm. These are distinguished by their color. They aren’t just black and white!
Defeat the first head, and two more will appear. Defeat one of those heads, and all the heads will appear, surrounding the castle rooftop and attacking from all sides. Kill three and the center of the pagoda will be destroyed, making you pretty vulnerable to every single snake.
Start from the center and move counter-clockwise or clockwise so you’re never taking on more than two snake heads at once, and you’ll have room to retreat. The other heads will launch an endless stream of slow-moving projectiles. As long as you keep moving and don’t get bogged down in one area, you’ll be able to dodge most of these.
Wait to strike after the snake head has attempted to hit you with a swing or slam. Any snake melee attack will force the head to get closer to the rooftop, putting you in attack range. If it swings, you can also block — it will drain all your Ki, but it will recover before attacking more.
The snakes all have very low HP, so it only takes 2-3 openings to kill a single head. If you stun one, it’s easy to finish them off in a single combo.
When only one snake is left, it will be charged with the elemental energy from all the rest. It doesn’t have much more HP though, so follow the same strategy — stay back, bait a melee attack, then rush forward. Save your Living Weapon for this point in the fight to end things for good.
- Location: The Queen’s Eyes – This optional epilogue mission is only available after defeating Yamato-no-Orochi. You’ll return to the Tower of London and face the true villain of Nioh. Explore the basement of the tower to discover this villain’s secret chamber.
Before we reach Hundred Eyes, there’s one challenge you’ll have to face — three Kelley “Hollow Men” before you can enter the boss arena. To make this battle slightly easier, break the two demon tubes to the left. One attack will activate the demon inside the tube — kill them both before moving forward to activate Kelley. After one appears, immediately retreat to fight it down the hallway. It will take longer for the other two to find you down here.
Kill one, then use Living Weapon to kill another. Then you should be able to finish off the last Kelley without dealing with multiples. This is literally one of the hardest challenges in the game, not counting other optional boss battle sub-missions. It’s the only way to earn the true ending.
Now for the true final battle — Hundred Eyes is vulnerable from behind. Try to attack its back, and dodge when it summons homing energy bolts. Watch out for his spin, and keep hammering him from behind to get plenty of relatively safe hits.
After taking a certain amount of damage, Hundred Eyes will shield himself and heal, summoning a swarm of small eyes that shoot weak projectiles. Quickly kill all the eyes (they only take one hit) before Hundred Eyes exits its shielded state.
Use your Living Weapon when you can, and trust your instincts. When you complete this boss, you’ll unlock the true ending of Nioh!
There are still plenty of bosses (and sub-missions) to experience in Nioh, but these are all the unique monsters. Everything else is a repeat, or a human. They’e still worth fighting, and some sub-missions feature crazy combinations of bosses. Only Nioh experts need apply.