Blazing Bull – Ashina Castle Gate
Location: Straight after fighting Gyouba you’ll head towards the Castle and meet the bull.
Strategy: As the bull only has one life this is a pretty easy fight. He hits hard but luckily he can’t block your attacks. Always aim to be behind him, near one of his legs and far away from the horns. When he charges towards you run into him and dodge towards him at the last second. If you get the timing of this right the fight will be easy. When you do enough damage his posture will stop recovering. If he charges at you and misses he will hit the wall and be staggered. You can then get a deathblow on him. Really you’re just waiting on him standing still to get your hits in. If you stay close he can’t sprint at you.
Prize: Prayer Bead, Shinobi Medicine Rank 2
General Kuranosuke Matsumoto – Ashina Castle
Location: Straight after the bull, there’s an idol. Then a huge staircase. This guy awaits at the top.
Strategy: He’s identical to the firs General you fight but the strategy is more similar to the second. Clear the enemies from around him, run away then jump in with a stealth attack to get the immediate upper hand. This reduces him to one life. Focus on deflecting attacks but if you don’t feel comfortable with this then the double dodge forward works perfectly well. The whirlwind art is effective when you’re behind him. If you really want an easy time you can use this, run away, dodge through him twice then use it again. Rinse and repeat until victory.
Prize: Prayer Bead
Seven Achina Spears Shikibu Toshikatsu Yamauchi – Ashini Reservoir
Location: From the Ashina castle idol, take a hard left and open a door. There’s a large drop, jump down and you’ll find the Reservoir idol. This is the area from the opening of the game. In front of the large building (pagoda) you’ll see this spear-wielding enemy.
Strategy: I hate this guy. He killed me more than most bosses. Spear, high poise and high health all combine into a brutal battle. It’s time to use that Mikiri that you should have been practising. Kill everyone and clear the area, it’s quite easy to do this stealthily, just take your time and run away if you alert too many. You can jump away to the nearby well or even back the way you came in. Once this is done you have the time for a 1v1. Get up high and even if he spots you eventually he’ll disregard it. From the top of the building you can either do a stealth takedown or jump down, sneak up and backstab him. There are three main defensive techniques to focus on. Firstly, the mikiri any time he thrusts towards you, hit dodge forward at the last second. Secondly, jumping. This is odd for souls veterans but any time he does a sweep attack if you double jump into him you’ll do posture damage and be protected. Finally, the last resort, blocking. Use this only to ensure you don’t get hit if you don’t feel comfortable with the other two. Firecrackers can be useful, these distract him and give you an opportunity to heal or just get an extra hit or two in. Don’t worry about his health bar, just focus on posture breakage. Be aggressive and focus on the mikiri counter and you’ll be fine.
Prize: Prayer Bead
Lone Shadow Longswordman – Ashina Reservoir
Location: From the reservoir idol, have a look to the left, you’ll recognise the route. There’s a tree you can grapple to and then there’s a ledge. Yes, it’s the well you started the game in. This guy is waiting for you close to where you began.
Strategy: There are two entrances to the area, both holes that you can drop into. Drop into the second hole and you can begin the fight with a stealth takedown. Half the battle done. This guy is very aggressive, reminiscent of Artorias of the Abyss in movement. Keep an eye on his left side, he always builds up to launch his attacks. Dodge towards him and swing a couple of hits. Then any time he’s close to you deflect constantly. Just hammer L1 and hit him with a normal strike whenever you see his back. The easiest way to beat him is to break his posture with this method.
Prize: Scrap Magnetite (upgrade material) Prayer Bead.
Ashina Elite Jinsuke Saze – Upper Tower Ashina Dojo
Location: You’ll come across this naturally. From the Ashina Castle idol, you’ll climb up the main castle and jump in a window. Head through the near few rooms and up a staircase and there the idol is. The mini-boss is right in front of you.
Strategy: This is a pretty easy fight once you get the hang of it. The Firecrackers are a god send yet again but he will be very aggressive. He’ll always come right at you with a double strike, double tap L1 to deflect both. When he starts to get low posture then use the crackers and start to just wail on him. As soon as you have the timing of the block down you’ll own this guy.
Prize: Prayer Bead
Genichiro Ashina – Upper Tower Ashina Dojo
Location: After you kill Jinsuke head out the nearby window and grapple up to the roof.
Strategy: Ashina is a boss who will initially cause you a lot of problems. He’s strong and pretty aggressive. In his first phase he has two lives and you should aim to break his posture. He will initially appear very intimidating and imposing but you cannot be afraid of him. Get in tight and attack constantly. Any time there’s a slight break, attack. If you hit him during most animations you’ll either break his attack or force him to block giving you a second. After your second hit he’ll always try a quick attack, deflect this. Essentially the tactic here is R1, R1, L1. The firecrackers work really well here to give you a chance to keep the pressure on with three or four extra hits. He has a couple of sweep attacks, mainly the heavy ones that you can jump. It may seem impossible at first but once you find a rhythm you’ll feel much more confident. The second phase is easier. He’s much weaker and your hits will cause him to stagger. You’ll break his posture quickly. When he attempts to use his lightning attacks, jump instead of blocking and press R1 to throw the lightning back at him. This does high health and posture damage.
Prize: Memory: Genichiro, Bloodsmoke Ninjutsu. Bloodsmoke is great for stealth.
For the previous area (Hirata Estate) click here.
For the next area (Gun Fort) click here.