Best Sekiro Combat Art? (Sekiro Combat Arts Ranked Worst to Best)

Best Combat Arts in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
We all know how well this goes...

There's an art to it.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a game full of different methods to dispatch your enemies, and the combat arts you learn throughout the campaign make you look good while you do it. Some, however, are much more useful than others, emphasizing style and flair or power and damage. 

Below are all the combat arts in the game ranked from worst to best, so you can know what is worth spending those valuable experience points on. Only the upgraded counterparts of certain abilities will be included because, as you can imagine, the upgraded version is superior. Hence, the word “upgrade.” 

#11: One Mind

Don't let the picture fool you: the fire and the low health bar are not the result of this lackluster combat art. 

One Mind is all flash and no substance. The ability involves you, after a brief slash at your opponent, sheathing your blade only to attack so swiftly that all that can be seen is a flurry of light from your slashes. It’s truly an awesome sight until you realize how ineffective it really was. 

With negligible posture and health damage, it truly isn’t worth the 3 spirits emblems to use.

Combat art Review:

  • Useful for spending all your spirit emblems just to tickle your enemy 
  • Overall, One Mind is a bad ability, which is a shame considering who you have to defeat to obtain the combat art.

Usefulness Rating: 40/100

#10: Spiral Cloud Passage 

All that blood from what equates to an intense series of papercuts. 

Basically an upgraded version of Floating Passage, Spiral Cloud Passage is also a case of all flash, no substance. It looks awesome, and can inflict vitality damage even when an enemy is blocking, but the damage it does inflict is pathetic. 

The tiny shockwaves added to the flurry of blade slashes with the upgrade do little to enhance the ability, which is disappointing considering the added cost of one spirit emblem. 

Combat Art Review: 

  • Useful for dealing vitality damage, although small, to an enemy that frequently blocks. 
  • As a whole, the ability doesn’t do anything well enough to warrant its use. Instead of looking like a ninja, you just look like a child frantically swinging a stick. 

Usefulness Rating: 45/100

#9: Ashina Cross

Whoops... I missed, which is extremely easy to the short range and slow speed of the combat art. 

The Ashina Cross costs two spirits emblems to use, and we just spend that much to make it feel better. The Ashina Cross does substantial vitality damage, but not enough to justify the spirit emblem cost, the slow speed of the attack, and the rigid accuracy of the ability. Sheathing your sword only to quickly and viciously draw it against your enemies is cool but makes for a short-range and inflexible attack.

Combat Art Review:

  • Useful for inflicting some serious vitality damage… if you get your enemy to stand still long enough. Maybe they will if you ask them nicely.
  • The Ashina Cross is an ability with one significant strength amongst many weaknesses. You can still have fun using this ability but make sure you utilize something better during the important fights.

Usefulness Rating: 55/100

#8: Whirlwind Slash

Live out your dreams of being a ballerina...and kill people too. 

The Whirlwind Slash combat art is one of the first combat arts you can get in the entire game, but it still proves useful at any point in the campaign due to one unique quality it has that many of the other abilities on this list do not: crowd control. 

The whirlwind slash, which does not cost any spirit emblems, involves Sekiro performing two wide slashes while jumping in the air. Although it does not inflict much damage or stagger enemies for long, it can be used to give you some breathing room when a group of enemies just won’t give you a break. 

Combat Art Review:

  • Useful for pushing away and inflicting damage on large crowds. 
  • Easy to use, quick to perform, and handy in a crowded area, Whirlwind Slash is a helpful ability so long as you aren’t aiming to actually kill someone. Since most of the time you probably are, you usually want to pick something stronger.

Usefulness Rating: 60/100

#7: Nightjar Slash Reversal

Despite your majesty, you'll still dish out some serious hurt once you land.

The Nightjar Slash Reversal, an upgraded version of Nightjar Slash, includes the ability to not only propel Sekiro forward with a heavy slash but to also slash at his enemies as he flips away. The ability dishes out some decent damage, allows you to close in on or create distance from enemies and looks lethally majestic. 

This ability can be purchased early in the game, but feel free to utilize it against that final boss - it does not outlive its usefulness.

Combat Art Review:

  • Useful for closing the distance between you and an enemy while dealing damage. The Reversal aspect of this upgraded combat art allows you to deal damage while jumping away from your enemies, making for a quick escape. 
  • Nightjar Slash Reversal is ideal for keeping the pressure on your enemies by keeping close, and it’s perfect for running away once you realize you bit off more than you can chew. Quick, deadly, and costing no spirit emblems, this combat art is a good fit for almost any situation, even if it isn’t the most powerful. 

Usefulness Rating: 70/100

#6: Praying Strikes - Exorcism 

With Praying Stikes - Exorcism, you can hit your enemies so hard you can punch the particles off of them!

Praying Stikes - Exorcism is an upgraded version of the Praying Strikes combat art, and, by upgraded, I mean that there is now a third attack instead of just two. Now, that doesn’t seem like much of an upgrade, but the posture damage that these three bare-fisted attacks inflict is ridiculous. With no spirit emblem cost, this quick attack can stagger enemies while racking up that posture bar. 

Combat Art Review: 

  • Useful for staggering an enemy while you damage their posture. Praying Strikes can interrupt most enemy attacks, so take advantage of that in order to break your enemy’s posture with relentless beatings. 
  • For what it lacks in vitality damage, it makes up for with posture. It won’t be useful in all situations, but when it is applicable, it can trivialize certain fights. 

Usefulness Rating: 75/100

#5: Empowered Mortal Draw

If you can't tell what's going on, that's because there is too much awesome happening. 

One of the coolest combat arts in the entire game, rich with narrative significance, Empowered Mortal Draw deals MASSIVE damage for the hefty cost of three spirit emblems. An upgrade of the combat art Mortal Draw, it increases the range and damage of the two very powerful, but very slow, red slash attacks using the Mortal Blade. 

It takes most of the game to acquire this ability, due to its integral part to play in the story, but I am not hesitant to say that it is worth it. 

Combat Art Review:

  • Useful for inflicting massive damage on any enemy or thinning out a group of enemies. 
  • Despite its slow speed and high spirit emblem cost, Empowered Mortal Draw deals too much damage to be ignored. When you need to hit hard, use this combat art. 

Usefulness Rating: 80/100

#4: Dragon Flash

Go for the headshot with Dragon Flash's amazing range!

A combat art that includes many of the elements that make the others on this list great, Dragon Flash is versatile and powerful. While only technically being a single powerful slash, Dragon Flash inflicts massive vitality damage, decent posture damage, and can be charged to do even more damage and include a high damage shockwave. 

Although it costs two spirit emblems, its flexibility, ability to stagger, and high damage make it ideal for almost any situation. 

Combat Art Review:

  • Useful for inflicting high vitality/posture damage and for situations which require flexibility in speed. 
  • The spirit emblem cost can’t stop this combat art from being one of the best. The shockwave gives it range, the damage is close to that of Empowered Mortal Draw in some cases, and the ability to choose whether or not to charge it for that extra oomph is much appreciated. 

Usefulness Rating: 85/100

#3: Shadowfall

Look at that guy in the back! "Wha-" he exclaims. Idiot. 

Shadowfall is the most impressive upgrade in the game, vastly improving upon Shadowrush, allowing Sekiro to jump off an enemy and spin his blade on his way down for the cost of two spirit emblems. This inflicts good vitality/posture damage while also opening an enemy up for an air assassination. 

The swift, unblockable rush towards the enemy gives the ability fantastic range, and enemies are at your mercy, staggered, as you descend from the sky like a total ninja. 

Combat Art Review:

  • Useful for closing in on your enemies quickly, dealing decent damage, and staggering them as you fly in the sky. It is also useful for finishing off enemies with an assassination as you descend. 
  • Ultimately, Shadowfall doesn’t deal the most vitality or posture damage, but it has amazing range, an unblockable thrust attack, and the ability to soar in the air, only to massacre your enemies on your way down, all for the cost of two spirit emblems. 

Usefulness Rating: 90/100

#2: High Monk

You usually don't hop over flames, but it looks cool, right?

High Monk is an upgrade of Senpou Leaping Kicks by adding the slash attacks to the barrage of fists included in this combat art. Somehow costing no spirit emblems at all, High Monk staggers enemies with rapid attacks, deals high posture damage, has ridiculous range, tracks your enemy’s movements, is quick to use, and allows you to dodge most attacks in the game by jumping in the air. 

There is absolutely no need to pick style over substance here as High Monk has the most of both!

Combat Art Review:

  • Useful for staggering enemies while also inflicting major posture damage. High Monk can also be used to dodge enemy attacks while simultaneously tracking your opponent, so you end up dealing damage despite dodging.
  • High Monk honestly should cost spirit emblems considering how much it does right. It may not do much vitality damage at all, but it’s ability to do so much right with so much style makes it the second best ability in the game. 

Usefulness Rating: 99.9/100

#1: Ichimonji Double

With Ichimonji Double, bring down the house...onto your enemies' faces. 

The Ichimonji Double is the upgraded version of the Ichimonji, and, heads up, it’s broken! This ability, which includes two gigantic strikes instead of one, deals massive vitality and posture damage, allows you to recover your own posture with each strike, can be charged for even more damage, staggers enemies, and hits fast despite a lengthy windup.

It also costs zero spirit emblems, to make a good thing better. 

Combat Art Review:

  • Useful for everything, basically. It has a slow wind-up, but a quick strike, so if you time it right, you can hurt and stagger your enemy while they are attempting to attack. 
  • The Ichimonji can trivialize the game if you use it right. It’s damage and stagger potential is simply too potent for its spirit emblem cost, which is nothing. Therefore, it is quite simply the best combat art in the game. Go ahead and start smashing everyone in your path to pieces!

Usefulness Rating: 100/100

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Masochistic and proud, Kabriel enjoys games that, no matter how hard he tries, still shows him whose boss. He’s always looking for the next challenge.
Gamer Since: 2002
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Borderlands 3
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition, Dishonored 2, Resident Evil 4 Ultimate HD

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