Nioh Boss Guide
Team Ninja’s latest game, Nioh, is an ambitious project based on an unproduced screenplay by famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. It borrows gameplay elements from the Souls series and mixes them with the aesthetic of titles like Ninja Gaiden and Onimusha, resulting in a challenging, visually-striking action-adventure game.
It’s because of this difficulty that I’ve assembled a helpful guide to support you along the way. Need to know how to bring down a particular boss? No problem. Below you’ll find all the attack patterns, weaknesses, and useful equipment you’ll need to emerge victorious.
Boss: Derrick the Executioner
Having fought your way through the Tower of London, you’re greeted by the first boss, Derrick the Executioner. He’s slow, predictable, and has poor defense, but hits hard if you let him.
My advice is keep your distance and goad him to attack. He only has a few moves, all of which have long wind-ups which will allow you to anticipate them. Dodge these and go in for a few attacks whenever you have the chance. Repeat this multiple times, until you deplete all his health.
The villain Edward Kelley will then appear and use his magical abilities to resurrect Derrick, turning him into a hulking beast. For the second stage of the fight, hang back and wait for him to charge and miss. Then lay into him. After a while, you’ll get a prompt to activate your living weapon. Press the buttons indicated onscreen and finish him off.
The second boss, Onryoki, is a huge red Oni who uses the long chains attached to his arms to swing iron balls at you.
To beat him, take note of which arm he’s leading with and move in the opposite direction. If he’s leading with his right, move closer to his left, and vice versa. After he misses, this is your opportunity to attack. Don’t get too greedy, though, since staying nearby for too long will trigger him to initiate a deadly spin move.
Avoid targeting him from behind too, as he’ll punish this by turning around and launching an attack that’s almost impossible to dodge.
About halfway through the fight, Onryoki’s chains will break and he’ll have a slew of new attacks. You’ll want to avoid standing close by, as he can grab you and do an overwhelming amount of damage. Instead, stay back and wait for him to jump and slam his fists into the ground. Now’s your chance to pummel him. Keep up this routine and be sure to replenish your Ki after attacking.
Based on the flying demon from Japanese folklore, Hino-Enma is the first stumbling block for many players. She’s faster than the previous bosses and can paralyze you, leaving you vulnerable to a one-hit kill.
To even the odds, use equipment resistant to paralysis and assume a lower stance to stay agile. Remain close-by and evade her combo attacks by backing away fast. Then move in and grab a few attacks as she recovers.
When she flies up in the air, block her shuriken throws, as they’re difficult to dodge, and evade her dive attack by moving left or right. This attack will leave her susceptible to another couple of blows. Get the hang of this and the fight is pretty straightforward.
Nue is a yokai with the face of monkey, the legs of a tiger, the body of a tanuki, and snakes for tails. It’s fast and has powerful lightning attacks. Therefore, the key is to use the correct resistant materials to reduce elemental damage.
Avoid the creature’s attacks and wait for it to shoot its beam towards you. When it does, move to the left and aim for the gap between its leg and its head. This should drain its Ki in one go and leave it more vulnerable to damage, at least for the time being. Slash away and then quickly retreat.
Another opening can also present itself when the beast pounces towards you. Again, just dodge left and swipe at its stomach. Repeat this, and you’ll find its health rapidly depletes.
Boss: Tachibana Muneshige (Fake)
By this point, you should be pretty adept at dueling. Just remember to keep on top of your Ki to prevent being stunned, and to move around until there’s an opening to attack.
Tachibana Muneshige has a few moves that can punish players for complacency, including low stance attacks that can quickly segue into something much stronger.
Wait for him to miss his attacks and get in a few strikes with a weapon that possesses some range. He doesn’t have lots of Ki, so the goal is to deplete his bar and get him to fall to the ground to impale him. Alternatively, you can use yokai water pots for this purpose.
Boss: Great Centipede
At first glance, the Great Centipede is incredibly intimidating, as you can’t really get near to its head without sustaining heaps of damage.
The trick is to dodge around the ground floor and then strike at its body. It helps if you aren’t locked on. After a few blows, the centipede will come apart, revealing numerous targets you can attack. You can either use these to build up your amrita to get a living weapon, or go and attack the stunned head.
The centipede will stir after a while, and start to follow you, but is now much slower. Go kite it upstairs to the spot with the pillar (the ground floor will become enveloped in a poisonous fog) and use the environment to block the centipede’s projectiles. Get in a few heavy shots on the beast from around the corner of the wall and keep up the pressure. It will eventually run out of Ki, giving you the chance to land more substantial hits.
After it recovers, it will flee down a hole, and the fight will go back to stage one. Attack the body once again and repeat the above.
A large, black blob, the Umi-Bozu lives in the ocean and sinks the ship of anyone who dares speak to it. It’s encountered twice in the game: once as you travel to a new island, and again at the end of the Ocean Roars Again as a boss.
Prior to this fight, ensure you’ve lit the three torches hidden around the level, to avoid lesser umi-bozu spawning in the battle. Also, equip fire amulets and any Hykotto masks you have available. These help deal massive damage to the yokai.
Umi-Bozu’s attacks are all pretty well telegraphed. Keep a look-out for its beam attack, which can result in a one-hit kill. Quickly sidestepping is the best way to get out of its way.
Joro-Gumo is half-spider, half-woman. She’s a fast mover on account of her many legs, and can slow you down by shooting webs on the floor. She does have one obvious weakness, though: her glowing back.
To get around her, use a lower stance and dodge her frontal assaults. Back away after getting in a couple of hits, then attack her from the front when she starts to shield her behind. However, be careful not to walk straight into her spinning attack.
As the fight progresses, she will become much deadlier, but the tactics remain the same. It helps if you’ve saved your Guardian spirit for this section, as this will allow you to absorb the extra damage.
Yuki-Onna, the mythical snow witch, believed to lead mountain travelers to their doom, is a formidable foe.
She has tons of projectile attacks, and can also penalize you for staying too close. Therefore, balance is important. Buff your weapon with fire and stay a distance away from her, dodging her attacks, then run close and avoid her combos. When these fail to land, turn around quickly and slash at her. If you do this correctly, she should be stunned, letting you grab a few extra hits.
Run away before she recovers, as she’ll likely summon icicles, and repeat this process until you get her down to half health. Now’s the difficult part— she’ll become a lot more aggressive.
Use long-ranged attacks such as bombs and arrows to deplete her health and activate your Guardian spirit, if you can. This will allow you to do damage without paying too much of a price. She should soon fall.
Boss: White Tiger
The White Tiger can be annoying, as he’s extraordinarily fast. Therefore, a low stance is ideal for dealing with him. To do damage, keep on his flanks and attack, saving enough energy to roll away if necessary. Avoid his charge and beam attacks, and be careful of falling behind him as he can grab you with his two tails.
At half health, use your Guardian Spirit, and get him down to lower health. Then echo the first few steps all over again. Though he’s a fast mover, the White Tiger has a small health bar and can be cut down quite easily if you’re skilled at dodging his assault.
Boss: Giant Toad
The Giant Toad is incredibly powerful, but fairly slow-moving. Get behind whenever you can and land a few shots. When he flies up into the air to ground smash, run away to avoid being caught. Wait for him to perform his spear attack and then dodge left towards him. Now you can land a few more hits.
Avoid staying too far away from him, as he does have some strong projectiles that can trigger, including crystal attacks and bomb throws. If this happens, block the former and dodge left again for the latter. Then revert to the previous strategy. Once he’s down to low health, use your Guardian Spirit to finish him off and voilà.
A woman transformed through a terrible grudge, Ogress is another impressive opponent. She has elongated claws, can breathe fire, and has a huge body that she uses to stomp people into the ground.
To fight her, assume a low stance, move left around her, and slash at her back. She will likely jump up in the air after this happens, so roll away quickly. When she lands, this is another opportunity to attack.
There are two moves you should watch out for. One is her combo, since it’s nearly impossible to get out of. And the second is her fire breath, which has a long range. Keep moving around the available space, and take your chances when they arrive.
Boss: Honda Tadakatsu
Perhaps the easiest fight in the game, the famous samurai general Honda Tadakatsu can be taken out by destroying the three purple crystals spread around the arena. In other words, it’s a gimmick fight.
You can even destroy one of these crystals before even entering the fight by blowing up an explosive barrel with a projectile. It’s an anticlimactic battle, to say the least.
After the last fight, Okatsu is a return to difficulty. When she starts moving, dodge forwards and to the left away from her combos and then go in for a quick attack. Bear in mind, however, that when she activates her Guardian Spirit this particular maneuver will increase in length. This means waiting an extra few seconds before turning to attack again.
Boss: Saika Magoichi
Saika Magoichi is the boss of the Immortal Flame mission. He’s a warrior from Japanese history known for staging a resistance against the warlord Oda Nobunaga.
The best way to approach this fight is to stay close and keep hitting him while in a low stance. Avoid his rolling gun blasts, and try not to get caught in the fire on the edge of the arena. Deal some blows whenever you’re able.
When he breaks loose, he’ll likely respond by taking flight. If he does, move sideways fast, to avoid his long-range attacks and throw some projectiles (a shuriken works fine) to force him to the ground quicker. You can steal a strong attack this way.
Boss: Otani Yoshitsugu
A vassal of Lord Ishida Matsunari, Otani Yoshitsugu appears in the Sekigahara mission. He’s a huge samurai, gifted with the power of flight.
Strafe around him and steal attacks from behind whenever you can. His attacks are fairly weak and aren’t really that punishing, at least until his weapon starts glowing blue. When this happens, he can one-shot you with powerful projectiles, so be ready to dodge and run. Try to deplete his Ki, to stagger him, as this will revert him to the previous stage. A spear’s longer reach can be helpful here.
Boss: Shima Sakon
This is another duel between the hero William and a famous samurai. The fight requires a lot of patience; wait for him to attack and to use up his Ki, then dodge behind and stun him with a couple of attacks. If successful, you should be able to follow this by piercing his chest with a stronger attack. Packing some yokai water pots also helps.
Specific moves to watch out for include his leg sweep, as well as his lunging attack. These have a large range, so use a mid to low stance to avoid them.
A foreboding skeletal figure, Gasha-Dokuro is a yokai said to inhabit areas near mass graves and battlefields. He’s also the boss of The Source of Evil mission.
Much like in the Umi-Bozu fight, you can interact with things in the level to make the fight easier. In this case, it’s three crystal clusters spread around the map. These make glowing spots appear that can power up your living weapon.
Your goal in this fight is to run and attack the giant skeleton’s feet and hands. Keep hitting these, and he’ll eventually rest his head on the nearby mountain. Ascend the path and use your living weapon. Do this 3-4 times and you should be able to defeat him.
Boss: Ishida Mitsunari
When you encounter Ishida Mitsunari, he’s attempting to flee, but is impaled by Edward Kelley and transformed into a monster. In this form, he wields an enormous curved blade.
Dodge his wild swings and try to get behind him to attack, then back away again. Whenever you find yourself at a distance, he will throw projectiles at you. Move out of the way by veering left or right, and wait for him to grow tired from exertion. Then repeat.
If you’ve unlocked the sloth talisman in your onmyo magic skill tree, this will also slow Mitsunari significantly, giving you an advantage.
Boss: Obsidian Samurai
Obsidian Samurai brandishes a large axe, so has an exceptionally wide reach and can inflict mountains of damage. Therefore, make use of blocking and small maneuvers to ensure you aren’t hit.
Because of his weapon choice, he’ll tire quickly, so keep an eye on his energy bar and get in close while you can. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to force him to the ground and steal a down stab.
Arguably the biggest problem with this fight is his extensive health bar, so don’t get complacent. You should eventually get the upper hand.
Boss: Oda Nobunaga
Oda Nobunaga is one of the three major figures who fought to unify Japan -- an incident that feeds directly into the events of Nioh.
He carries a sword which he constantly buffs with different elements. In order to predict his attack patterns, watch out for the color of his weapon. It’s difficult to prepare for all the different types of elemental damage he inflicts, so just do your best to cover all the bases with your available equipment.
Your chance to attack is after he misses a combo, or in between buffs. This gives you a moment to potentially stun him. Despite being a late game boss, he shouldn’t be too much of a struggle.
Boss: Edward Kelley
After chasing him halfway across the world, you finally get the chance to go toe to toe with Kelley. And he’s a total nuisance.
Specific moves to watch out for include his grab, which can be a one-hit kill. He usually attempts this after blocking with his red shield, so move away swiftly whenever this appears.
To inflict some damage, arm yourself with a spear and adopt a mid-stance. This way you can fight him at more of a distance. Keep dodging and monitoring his Ki bar, and when you see it fall below halfway go in to attack. At this point, you should be able to do a strong attack on him.
A legendary 8-headed dragon, Yamata-No-Orochi is the last story boss in the game.
Each of his heads has a special elemental attack, but they all move in exactly the same way. I recommend taking on the heads in a clockwise order. This will guarantee you’re not in view of more than one at a time. Fight each of them using a high stance and make sure to move away when the dragon jerks its head back. This signals it’s going to attack. When it misses, go in and hammer the square button to deal damage.
To speed things up, you can also bring in weapons and amulets that make use of their weaknesses (water, fire, wind, lightning, and earth). This is the most effective method I’ve found.
Boss: Hundred Eyes
After beating Yamata-No-Orochi, you’ll unlock an epilogue mission called The Queen’s Eyes. Here you’ll find the occult philosopher John Dee. After a brief cutscene, he’ll transform, becoming the many-tentacled creature Hundred Eyes. Now’s the time for the real final boss.
To stand a chance against him, attack from behind and avoid his backward swipes. When he sits down, he’ll summon laser eyes to fire at you, so either use your living weapon (if you have one available) or get rid of the eyes to avoid the unnecessary interference. They only usually take one hit to dispose of, so this should be a pretty simple task. Be wary of his crystal projectile attacks, as these are extremely powerful and require a lot of distance for you to be able to dodge them. Persistence is the key to success.