Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Release date: March 22, 2019
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Walkthrough – Ashina Castle (Second Phase)

Optimal routes, collectibles, secrets, combat tactics

Now that you have the ingredients of the divine incense – the lotus flower from Sunken Valley, Mortal Blade from Senpou Temple and the fragrant stone from Ashina Depths — Wolf returns to Ashina Castle to report to Kuro. All idols except for Abandoned Dungeon Entrance are deactivated, so you have to start from there.

To avoid repetitions, the instructions, tips and the hero’s route assume that you have collected everything and unlocked all paths during your first walkthrough of the location. If it’s not the case, we advise reading the relevant guide.

The road back to the castle

The inaccessibility of control points on the territory of the castle forces the hero to climb on top of the massive structure again. However, bypass routes and shortcuts that have appeared since the last visit will allow you to reach the goal faster than previously.

At the exit from Abandoned Dungeon, you’ll find a poor soldier who is waiting for changing of the guard. Kill the enemy with a deathblow in the back and sneak up to the giant with a bell who is surrounded by three dogs to deal a stealth deathblow. You can use shuriken to eliminate the dogs or kill them ‘’manually’’ by parrying.

Use your hook to get over the gates of the courtyard – theoretically, you could have bypassed the giant and his pets – and jump onto the bridge. You’ll face Ashina soldier who hides behind the cart and a samurai who is running towards him from a mysterious ministry whose forces attacked the castle.

The warriors of this establishment are protected by red armor and armed with two katanas at once. They do not have a big supply of posture, so just repel their ordinary attacks and parry the one marked by a red hieroglyph with Mikiri.

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At the end of the fight, go through the gates to the castle, pick up two pellets and talk to the mortally wounded soldier by the tree – he will advise moving through the ditch below. However, this is not the only way to the Ashina Castle idol. Before diving, we’ll walk in the direction of the reservoir.

At the gates, turn to the left, stay near the right wall and go to the Ashina Reservoir idol. Nothing has changed in this part of the location except for the exit from the well which is blocked. This means that if you fall through the hole, you’ll have to go back to the entrance to the Abandoned Dungeon.

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In case you have unlocked the shortcut to reservoir during your last visit to the castle, you can get inside the complex without getting wet. Use the hook to pull yourself to the floor above and turn to the right on the fork – in the small courtyard, you’ll witness a fight between a warrior of the ministry and an ordinary soldier.

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As the enemy with two katanas is the most dangerous, kill him with a deathblow from the back. If it does not work out, eliminate the ordinary opponent to focus on the agent of the ministry.

Having eliminated the threat, go to the empty stairs and turn to the left – behind the gates, you’ll find the Ashina Castle idol. From here, jump onto the bamboo bridge to suck in one spirit emblem – before moving on, we’ll investigate the tip from the mortally wounded soldier.

Dive deeper and find treasure carp scale in the far corner, then pick up Yashariku’s sugar at the entrance to the flooded tunnel. Around the corner, you’ll see a timid carp – rush to catch up with the fish and get another treasure carp scale.

At the exit from the corridor, consecutively cling your hook to two grip points. This will allow you to get to the opposite side of the courtyard where the ministry’s samurai fought against the ordinary soldier. There’s a bridge leading up from the roof of the nearby building but do not hurry to climb – a purple ninja awaits you there.

Return to the Ashina Castle idol and go to the central stairs. Up the steps on the right side, you’ll find two bottles of oil and a wounded warrior (another one hides at the distance). Go a little forward – three ministry fighters will come out of the front door. Hide from them on the roofs on the right side.

Wait until the enemies descend a bit further, then jump back on the stairs and sneak up to the nearest opponent to deal a deathblow. If you haven’t been noticed, repeat the procedure with the second enemy and kill the third one ‘’manually’’. In the other case, use Bloodsmoke Ninjutsu technique to continue the chain of deathblows.

Once you have eliminated the enemies, look into the vestibule of the castle – the door to inner rooms is locked once again, but you can see another chained ogre through the bars. At the exit of the building, do not forget to pick up five bottles of oil and adamantite scrap.

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If you wish, use the hook to climb on the buildings to the left from the central stairs (when looking at the castle) and jump at the head of the purple ninja who waits for you on the walkway. Fighting against such opponents is a major headache, so use any stealth opportunity that arises.

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From the roofs, you’ll see another bamboo partition that leads from the building next to the main entrance to the lower parapet of the castle – this is the only way for you to avoid being ambushed by a group of ‘’rats’’ in red helmets on the right side of the fenced territory.

Having climbed up, you can fight against the purple ninja or leave it for later – we’ll move in that direction anyway. Go to the edge and use your hook to jump to the tower, from which the assassin from Senpou Temple is watching the situation below.

Despite the fact that the landing point is located literally by the enemy’s side, no one will notice you. Go behind the enemy’s back and deal a deathblow, then collect the items that are scattered on the roof: a pellet in the nest and two pieces of magnetite on Nightjar’s corpse.

From the tower, you’ll see ‘’rats’’ in the nearby – three of them are hanging down from the roof of the building at the distance (they will disperse in different directions if you come closer), while two others are located on the nearby building. You can sneak up to all of them to deal stealth deathblows assuming that you didn’t come to them from ‘’that’’ side.

From the location of the last ‘’rat’’, you’ll be able to jump into a small courtyard with a lonely tree. On both sides of this tree, you’ll find valuable items – three portions of black gunpowder and two cans of oil. At the exit from the corner, a ministry samurai will be waiting for the couple of ordinary guards.

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On the road back to the parapet of the castle – you can follow the smoke trails or climb a bamboo bridge – pick up a pellet from the corpse of the Nightjar on the roof of the building from which three assassins from Senpou Temple were hanging a little earlier.

Your way will be blocked by a purple ninja – you can’t bypass him quietly so, unless you want to rush past him, a fight awaits you. When the enemy reacts to the hero’s presence, he will whistle to call the assistant dog. Use your shuriken to deal with the dog before focusing on its master.

The purple shinobi no longer pose such a threat as at times when you were exploring Hirata Estate, but you still can’t relax in their presence: use the firecracker and Mikiri (in case the enemy makes a foot lunge) and try to get behind the enemy’s back.

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In case you have trouble fighting against this type of opponents, we have bad news for you – several more are waiting behind the corner. Frankly, there’s no reason to fight against them except for additional experience, so you can rush past them to the grip point near the Upper tower – Antechamber idol.

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First of all, eliminate the vilehand ninja – a special kind of ninja that is capable to poison you with his blows. The enemy stands on the top of the building. The bamboo bridge from this building leads directly to the observation deck where you will fight against another (or two) boss.

While on the roof, you’ll have a good view of your surroundings – the parapet under the entrance to the dojo (a mini-boss is waiting there) is patrolled by two purple shinobi, while two dogs are waiting at the corner to the left. A ninja is walking right under you, and several dogs sit in the ambush around the corner.

Use your shuriken to deal with dogs – a lonely guard will most likely come to the noise. Having finished him, land between the patrolmen, kill one of them with a deathblow in the back and eliminate the second one ‘’manually’’ or by using Bloodsmoke Ninjutsu technique.

An antidote powder lies between the castle and the nearby building but be careful as several poisonous lizards are walking in the area. From here, you can get to the local pond, but you’d be better off activating the nearest idol which, as previously, is located outside the window with a grip point.

Upper Tower, Vilehand and Isshin

The starting room of the upper tower has not changed – you will still find a samurai in a blue kimono walking there. Sneak up to him and eliminate the enemy. After this, repeat the procedure with a motionless purple ninja in the center of the next room, which is no longer patrolled by enemies.

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A shinobi is hiding in the next room near the two elite warriors who are looking at the map on the floor. Attract the attention of all three opponents and use the hook to get to the ceiling. Wait until one side wins over the other and finish off the wounded victors.

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Moving along the familiar route between the floors, pick up two pellets and jump to the room with a samurai, a soldier, and an old woman. Eliminate them in the usual order (old woman, soldier, samurai), luring them into the vestibule if necessary, to avoid alarming two enemies in blue kimonos behind the corner.

Next, go to the next floor – a couple of samurai at the window should not see you – and activate the Upper Tower – Ashina Dojo idol near adamantite scrap. Inside the dojo, you’ll face the mini-boss Lone Shadow Vilehand and his ally, another purple ninja.

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Go inside the room, immediately turn to the left and sneak up behind the back of the unsuspecting shinobi. Deal a deathblow and activate the Puppeteer technique so that the former enemy fights on your side – after some time, the puppet will die if you do not reactivate the Ninjutsu effect.

Do not come close to the fight between ex-comrades or you risk getting a friendly foot blow in the face. However, do not forget to periodically poke the Lone Shadow to speed up the process. By the end of the Puppeteer effect, the first health scale of the mini-boss should be running out.

The alternative option is to sneak up to the mini-boss to deal a deathblow (with Gachiin’s sugar/ spiritfall or without them). This is not the best scenario since you will have to fight against two opponents at once.

Left alone with the Lone Shadow, beware of the enemy’s melee attacks since they gradually poison the hero even if the attack is successfully blocked. As in the case of the ordinary ninja, try to get behind the enemy’s back and use Mikiri to parry his foot attacks.

In case you have problems, just circle around the enemy at a material distance until he finishes his combination. The enemy is vulnerable for a few moments after his attack. Poke the mini-boss once and get back to your running routine. Repeat until victory.

For the victory over the Vilehand, you’ll get a lump of fat wax, a prayer bead and a straight path (up from the window) to the boss’ platform. At the exit from the frame, you’ll meet a wounded Nightjar who will ask Wolf to look after Divine Heir and Emma.

We will certainly do this after exploring other parts of the castle. Once at the Upper Tower – Ashina Dojo idol, descend back to the corridor with two samurai in blue kimonos. Eliminate them (use Bloodsmoke Ninjutsu technique) and move to the area behind the dividing screen.

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Hide behind the wall – in the passage leading to Isshin tower, you’ll face a purple ninja from the ministry. If you come closer, a flame Nightjar will jump out of the nearby room. Wait until only one of the two enemies is alive and finish off the survivor.

Climb the stairs at the far end of the corridor to meet Isshin and Emma. If necessary, you can hand over the unrealized gourd seeds. You can overhear their conversation – the old man predicts that Genichiro will return with another Mortal Blade.

On the balcony of the tower, you will find a pellet and the Black scroll that tells about the existence of another Mortal Blade. The mysterious sword is named ‘’Open Gate’’ and is believed to have the power to open the gate to the underworld.

Chained Ogre and Old Grave

There’s nothing more to do in the upper part other than fighting against the boss, so return to the Upper Tower – Antechamber idol. Kill the patrol samurai and a sentinel ninja in a purple coat, and then jump on the beam between the second and the first floor of the vestibule.

The Chained Ogre will be under you. He is an exact copy of the creature that guarded the passage to the serpent in Ashina Outskirts. Hang from the beam and fall at the monster – do not forget to timely press the attack button.

It’s hardly a good idea to fight against an opponent of this size in a tight space but there is no choice. As in the case of his twin brother, you should not hit the opponent more than two times per one attack, or you risk receiving a very serious blow (giant’s hits ‘’consume’’ almost half of your health).

The most dangerous attacks of the mini-boss are two types of grips – instant grip and grip at run. In the first case, you should jump to the side or back to avoid damage. In the second case, you should jump over the enemy’s paws. In both scenarios, start taking measures when you see a red hieroglyph above your head.

Ministry’s samurai can provide a bit of help (or disturb you) with your fight against the ogre if you unlock the door to the main entrance to the castle. Having inflicted some damage to the monster, the soldiers will die from one hit but will open the path outside where there is much more room for maneuver.

This ogre does not have red eyes, so Flame Vent will not be that efficient (however, the monster will get damage from fire). At the same time, shinobi firecracker is still very useful – you can stun the opponent every 15-20 seconds.

Here’s the general strategy of the fight: make a couple of blows, run away and wait for the enemy to make a move. For the victory over this mini-boss, you’ll get a prayer bead and Shinobi Medicine Rank 3 which increases the effectiveness of healing gourds.

Pick up adamantite scrap in the center of the room and move outside through the warehouse where you have found the base for the Sabimaru tool. The samurai leader and an ordinary soldier will discuss the lack of salt standing directly opposite the door with their backs to the hero. Kill the leader from the back and eliminate the ordinary soldier in an open fight.

Now that you have mibu breathing technique, you can explore the bottom of the pond. However, we advise you to examine the nearby area before diving underwater. At the turn, overhear the monologue of the shinobi hunter – stealthily sneak up to him, for example, from the side of the bridge.

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Having dealt with the spearman, kill his comrade and reactivate the Old Grave idol. Certain changes have occurred in this part of the location in comparison with your last visit, so it makes sense to explore the area diligently. Start with the Nightjar who stands on the wall in front.

Cling to the roof, displace the enemy and go to the lower parapet of the pagoda in front of the tower that has a gunner inside. Use the hook to get to the enemy, deal a stealth deathblow and return to the control point.

Full Size
Be careful as some shinobi in the area are prone to explosive suicide

Jump onto the building with a broken roof and kill the feathered ninja with a deathblow in the back. From here, jump onto the tower and, having landed behind the structure, pull yourself to the walking ‘’gun’’ to deal another deathblow.

Go back to the ground and eliminate the Nightjar who stands near the stairs. After this, deal with another opponent who hides behind the corner of the inner fortress wall. A flame shinobi and an assassin from Senpou Temple are located near the building next to the destroyed bridge. The murder of the assassin will yield a heavy coin purse.

The surviving feathered enemy watches the conversation of two soldiers. If you finish him off, the ordinary fighters will notice the development, and you won’t be able to avoid an open fight. That’s not a problem since there’s nothing more to do in this part of the location.

Lone Shadow Masanaga the Spear-Bearer and the Headless

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From the Old Grave idol, return to the bridge leading to the great serpent shrine – currently, a samurai general and a ninja in a purple coat are fighting there. While you are waiting for the outcome of the battle, pick up a ceramic shard that lies in the nearby and finish off the wounded winner.

Pick up Yashariku’s sugar near the gates and follow the road where monkeys were previously located. The primates are absent now, but there are three aggressive dogs – one is standing on the right side of the building, while two others will run out of the building. Timely shuriken throws will solve all your problems.

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This mini-boss will disappear if you do not fight against him before you leave Ashina Castle to progress along the storyline

The room with the Great Serpent Shrine idol is occupied by the mini-boss Lone Shadow Masanaga the Spear-Bearer. If you act quietly, you can overhear him – the ninja mourns the fallen comrade who was killed by a ‘’demon’’ lurking within Ashina.

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Get behind the enemy’s back and deal a deathblow to deprive the enemy of one of the two health scales. If the player is inactive, the opponent will immediately eat Yashariku’s sugar which will consume a certain amount of his health but will increase the damage he deals.

Otherwise, Masanaga is no different from other Lone Shadow warriors – high level of aggression, poisonous melee attacks. Note that it is hard to fight against such an opponent in the limited space of the sanctuary, so we strongly advise you to lure the enemy outside.

The tactics of the battle did not change much from previous fights – parry foot attacks with Mikiri, try to get behind the enemy’s back to deliver a quick blow and try to interrupt attacks of the mini-boss with your own attacks.

In case you have problems, you can take advantage of the limitations of the local AI and lure Masanaga to the gates on the way to the Old Grave idol. The enemy will not go beyond this point under any circumstances, so just poke him from a safe distance.

Having obtained yellow gunpowder and a prayer bead for the victory over this mini-boss, pick up the dragon’s blood droplet from the corpse of his comrade in the sanctuary and return to the pond at the castle. We advise you to spend your savings if you have them as a serious opponent awaits you underwater.

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Another Headless mini-boss is located at the bottom of a seemingly calm reservoir. He has only one health scale instead of two and he does not move, but the protagonist cannot use prosthetic tools or useful items except for healing ones.

Your main opponent in this battle is your own greed. The enemy has only several attacks but the desire to inflict maximum damage in a short period of time (divine confetti are not required to defeat the enemy this time) will play a cruel joke with Wolf.

When the hero is far from the mini-boss, the Headless either shoots with the energy of his sword (rush to the side) or shoots several self-guided magical threads at the character (swim across the arena until they disappear). Both attacks impose terror, so do not forget to have mottled purple gourd with you.

At close distance, the mini-boss is capable of an unblockable grip – he puts his hand forward and sucks everything in front of him (deals a lot of damage) - and circular blows with the sword. In case of the first attack, swim to the side (act fast and swim as far as you can). Dealing with the second attack, swim back.

The Headless becomes vulnerable for a few seconds after each attack – use these precious moments to get closer and deal a few blows. Do not stay too long close to the enemy as the mini-boss’ response follows in the near future.

If you wish, you can first get rid of aggressive fish who swim under the water surface – in most cases, they do not interfere with the battle, but you can sometimes face them at inopportune times. Generally, just swim around the mini-boss and wait for the end of his attack to go on a short-term offensive and return to the waiting position.

For the victory over this Headless, you’ll get Ungo’s spiritfall – it works like Ungo’s sugar (temporarily reduces the damage dealt to the hero) but spends spirit emblems. Pick up three heavy coin purses, Yashariku’s sugar and a mibu possession balloon at the bottom of the pond, then return to the castle.

The boss, one of the endings and the road to Fountainhead Palace

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Having finished your business in the area, go to the Upper Tower – Ashina Dojo idol and climb to the castle’s observation tower. There, shinobi Owl (Wolf’s adoptive father), who has literally risen from the dead, asks Kuro to go with him to protect him from those who attack the precious Dragon’s blood.

The boy, seeing that the once noble ninja succumbed to temptation, will refuse and go away, while you will have a chance to talk to Owl. From the position of power, Owl will order to forsake the Divine Heir. The hero will have a choice which impacts the further development of the storyline.

If you obey the code and join your father, you will first have to fight against Emma the Gentle Blade and then against Isshin Ashina.

For the victory, you’ll get Memory: Isshin Ashina and the One Mind skill. You will only be able to use these rewards in the next walkthrough as this one will end – the hero will turn into Shura, the demon of death, eternal battles and ruthlessness.

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The alternative option is to rebel against your father and reject his offer. As the previous option does not allow to visit the remaining locations in the game world and to see the ‘’good’’ endings, we assume that you have chosen this line.

In case of disobedience, you will have to fight against Owl. At the end of the battle, the hero will get Memory: Great Shinobi and Aromatic Branch, which was taken by Wolf’s father, dooming the Everblossom.

Sit down at the idol and recall the boss battle to increase the power of your attack. After this, descend to Kuro’s room and place all the ingredients in the incense burner.

The ritual is not finished yet as you need the blood of the Dragon’s heir. Take out the Mortal Blade and complete the work to create the Fountainhead Incense. The path to the palace will open from the Wedding Cave in Ashina Depths where you have previously found the fragrant stone.

Before you go to get Dragon’s tears, we strongly advise you to visit an optional location which, among other things, will provide you with access to one more ending. We’ll share more details on what you will see there and how to get to this optional location in a separate guide.

John Davis