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How To Beat Inner Isshin in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

How To Beat Inner Isshin in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

How can you make the hardest boss in Sekiro Shadows Die Twice? By slapping “Inner” in front of his name and ramping up the difficulty by giving him new attacks and an even more aggressive AI. Thankfully, you only face Inner Isshin in the Gauntlet of Strength: Severance and Gauntlet of Strength: Mortal Journey boss rush mode.


Inner Isshin in Sekiro Shadows Die Twice is the same as Isshin, the Sword Saint. Your muscle memory of the previous engagement will definitely aid you here. Just be prepared for those extra spicy new attacks that catch you off guard.

Fighting Inner Isshin in Sekiro

Fighting Inner Isshin in Sekiro

Inner Isshin is basically Isshin, the Sword Saint unhinged. This boss-rush exclusive boss gets a much-needed removal of the Genichiro phase; hence, there are only three phases. You only have to fight Inner Isshin one-on-one.

Isshin is much more violent in this version with the addition of new attacks to throw you off-kilter. Most of his new attacks come out in the second phase as combos. However, the first phase has a unique Mortal Draw AOE attack that he fires off at the start of the fight.

There is not much else to this fight other than keeping up with these newly added attacks. Everything else remains the same. If you can’t recall how he fought, we highly recommend you brush up on his moveset with our extremely detailed guide on Isshin, the Sword Saint.

  • Have at least 3 Ako’s Sugar for each Isshin, the Sword Saint’s phases. Posture kill is way more efficient than a health kill so we will need Ako’s Sugar to deal better posture damage. Pop one right before every phase.
  • Loaded Umbrella (or any of its variants) helps nullify all his charged combat art attacks.
  • Other than the maximum number of Healing Gourds, it would be best if you stocked up on all the healing items you can get your hands on. Pellets, Rice, Divine Grass, and Sticky Rice Balls are of tremendous value since this fight is a long undertaking.
  • If you have been hoarding Jizo Statues till this point, this is the right time to use it. You won’t lose these items while boss rushing so it is safe to use even if you end up dying.
  • The Sakura Dance combat art will automatically perform Lightning Reversal when he starts using lightning attacks in the third phase.

Phase 1 Strategy

Inner Isshin Phase 1 Strategy

The first phase on Inner Isshin in Sekiro Shadows Die Twice is simple with only a single new attack (check it below). The rest of the fight is you staying close to the boss and reacting to his every move with precision.

This phase will be over pretty fast with proper reactions. Buffing up with Ako’s Sugar and Divine Confetti is recommended to deal more damage.

Whenever he goes for a combat art attack, either use the Umbrella to take the brunt of the attack and counter it with a Projected Force follow-up attack, or you can dodge to the side and bonk him from behind.

The better strategy here is to stay close and let him do all the attacking while you deflect them perfectly. His slew of perilous attacks and your Mikiri counters will make quick work of this phase. Bait him to do thrust attacks and Mikiri Countering them is highly advised.

The only new attack in this phase is:

  • Charged Double 360-Degree Mortal Draw: Sheathes his sword and charges it up to unleash an extended full-circle Mortal Draw-esque slash. Another farther-reaching slash will follow after a bit of delay. It is the starting attack of the first phase.
    • Reaction: Run out of the slash radius to easily avoid it. Or you can defend the first slash with the Umbrella and before the second slash launches, bounce off Isshin to deal some posture damage and put out some hits while descending.

Phase 2 & 3 Strategy

Inner Isshin Phase 2 strategy

Just a disclaimer: Inner Isshin’s Phases 2 and 3 are the same as before, so we will cover them both in this section.

The second phase is where Inner Isshin gets into his new groove. The spear comes with a ton of new attacks that you must re-train your brain for if you want to make a difference. Buff up again for both phases and get ready for a wild ride.

Again, combat arts can be easily defended against with the Umbrella. Sticking to the medium range is preferred since you can comfortably react to his far-reaching spear attacks.

Also, at this distance, he will attempt to use a lot of combos that end with a thrust. You can easily Mikiri counter them. Needless to say, we need to build up his posture fully and not aim for an HP kill.

At the end of each combo, hit him at most twice and try to maintain the medium distance. You should not over-extend or get greedy with your attacks or else you’ll get severely punished and end up dying prematurely.

The fight is generally the same compared to Isshin, the Sword Saint’s second phase, just the inclusion of these new attacks or combos:

  • Sword to Spear to Pistol to Sweep: Attacks with the sword first then with his spear followed by a single harder-hitting pistol shot and then ending with a perilous spear-sweeping attack.
    • Reaction: Deflect the two initial attacks by timing the block right then wait for the pistol to charge and block it just in time, this will push you back if you deflect it. Get ready to jump over the sweep or jump backward to avoid it.
  • Charging Sword Sweep to Spear Uppercut to Charged Force Slash or Spear Thrust: This attack has two versions with different endings. When farther away, rears his sword and comes rushing towards you with a perilous sweeping attack then goes on to perform an uppercut with the spear, this sends him flying. He will then perform either of these two attacks from mid-air; a perilous spear thrust or a charged vertical force-extended sword slash.
    • Reaction: Jump backward when the sweeping attack kanji is about to disappear. The jump will put you out of range of the uppercut. For the thrust simply dodge into it to Mikiri Counter it. For the force slash, turtle up behind the umbrella to nullify it or you can dodge to the side to ignore it.
  • Jumping Overhead Spear Slam to Two Spear Strikes: He jumps in the air and attempts to land an overhead slam. He then goes on to perform two slow spear strikes.
    • Reaction: Tap block as he is about to land from the jump. Next, time the next two blocks since these attacks are pretty slow.
Third Phase

As for the third phase, it is the same as the second but lightning reversal makes it incredibly easier. To make it even more straightforward, when you see him go for a lightning attack, use the Sakura Dance combat art, and it will automatically perform a lightning reversal for you.

Three lightning reveals are enough to bring Inner Isshin down.

It is your final dance in Sekiro and good thing you have danced with Isshin before. Just keep up with the cadence of the attacks and you are going to conquer this fight. It is all about your deflection skill at this point.

Rewards for Defeating Inner Isshin in Sekiro


Bringing down Inner Isshin in Sekiro Shadows Die Twice will reward you with these goodies:

  • Memory: Inner Isshin
  • Another’s Memory: Tengu. This is a new skin for Sekiro. You can equip it by interacting with the Sculptor’s Idol and selecting the “Change Form” option.