Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Best Combat Arts To Use [Best And Worst Combat Arts Revealed]

Sekiro left the stove on

Fromsoftware pretty much  all the way back to the drawing board when making Sekiro. The combat gameplay went from the slow and methodical to fast and aggressive for Sekiro, bringing in a vast variety of tools and methods that make the moment to moment combat so fulfilling and fun.

This is where combat arts come in. These are essentially powerful (and insanely cool) attacks that Sekiro does in order to deal health and posture damage to his enemies. Some are situational and only work well in some specific situations and there are some that are just amazing in almost any scenario. 

So, here are the combat arts of Sekiro ranked from worst to best:


13. Ashina Cross

Ashina Cross is the final skill unlocked in the Ashina Arts skill tree. What it does is that it essentially sheathes Sekiro’s blade and holds it there until the player releases the button, which brings out the blade with incredible speed to hit the enemy, dealing decent health and posture damage.

Why this falls a bit behind the other combat arts is mostly because of its high spirit emblem cost, which is 2 emblems per attack. While this looks so goddamn cool, Sekiro can’t dodge or deflect during the charge up of this move, which makes it very risky to use in group fights. Pair this with the fact that this is a mid-game skill and has very small range, it’s not a very good pick.


Pick Ashina Cross if:

  • You’re in a 1v1 fight
  • Want to deal out an attack quickly 
  • Want to feel like a badass samurai


12. Praying Strikes

Tired of being a shinobi with your trusty Katana and just want to punch the living snot out of people? Well, the praying strikes skill is here for you. This skill puts away Sekiro’s sword and makes him strike people with his palms repeatedly, dealing substantial posture damage with attacks that cannot be deflected, for 0 spirit emblem cost.

Where this skill falls flat is the usage itself, as it is very situational. It is to be used against enemies with hyper armor attacks, though it does not disrupt the hyper armor and you can still get hit. Also, this does very little health damage (if at all) and the charged version is only slightly better in this regard.


Pick Praying Strikes if:

  • You want quick posture damage on your enemies
  • You want to save your spirit emblems for something else 
  • You’re tired of being a shinobi and want to become Ashina’s next boxing champion


11. Whirlwind Slash

Whirlwind Slash is the first combat art that players learn in the game. It’s very simple and straightforward, with Sekiro jumping forward with a horizontal slash.

The main utility of this move comes from the fact that since it has decent range and a very wide arc, it can deal damage to multiple enemies at once, making it a solid pick, especially for how early in the game you can obtain it. However, in the later game it isn’t as powerful or viable as before so consider changing it when you come across a better option.


Pick Whirlwind Slash if:

  • You want a reliable move for the early game
  • You want a move that helps in group fights
  • You want a move that can damage multiple enemies at once


10. Shadow Rush 

One of the best early game tools at your disposal. This is one of the first combat arts that the player can unlock and the first ultimate skill that can be learnt. This causes Sekiro to do an impaling thrust to the opponent, following it by launching themselves into the air, giving a small opening to sneak in a couple of mid-air hits as well.

The downside of this move is that it costs 2 spirit emblems, but it really does a good amount of damage and opens up most common enemies for a deathblow. Even the spirit emblem cost only counts if the move lands, so it’s a good pick.


Pick Shadowrush if:

  • You want an ultimate skill early on
  • You want a move that deals good health and posture damage
  • You want a move that only spends spirit emblems if it lands, making it a safe option if you miss


9. Shadow Fall

This move is essentially just a follow up to the Shadowrush ability, wherein it allows for a follow up attack after landing the initial move once you reach the ground.

The damage for this move is pretty good and allows for great mobility, with the only real downside for this move being how late in the game you get it.


Pick Shadowfall if:

  • You really like Shadowrush and want to make it even more viable and strong


8. One Mind

Oh yeah, It’s time to channel your inner anime expert and let out arguably the flashiest move in the entire game. One Mind is a slashing move that consists of1 initial slash followed by Sekiro sheathing his blade. However, that is not the end of it. Once the blade has been sheathed, Sekiro sits there in an awesome, meditative pose with an insane flurry of blade strikes encircling him completely.

This move absolutely shreds enemy health and posture bars and can make most normal enemies laughably easy as it hits multiple times, deals incredible damage, protects Sekiro from many hits during the flurry section and even deals health damage to enemies who are blocking.

This move would have been way higher on the list but it costs 3 spirit emblems to use each time, along with only being obtainable after you complete the Shura ending. Lastly, the move itself takes a long animation to do and Sekiro can get hurt or knocked out of the move while doing the sheathing animation.


Pick One Mind if:

  • You want to deal insane damage
  • You want to melt both health and posture bars
  • You just love anime


7. Nightjar Slash

This is a very straightforward move that does little damage but makes up for that with its mobility. Sekiro does a front flip and lands it with his sword.

Though the damage is miniscule, it allows for the player to control the engagements they have with enemies as it has decent range and allows for them to control the distance of the fight. The drawback comes from the fact that players need to have good knowledge of enemy movesets to make the most of this move.


Use Nightjar Slash if:

  • You want a simple move that costs very little
  • You want to control the distance of each engagement


6. Dragon Flash

Thank you Isshin. This is the only ranged combat art in the game and is unlocked after defeating the final boss of the game. Sekiro sheathes his blade and charges up a wind slash that flies outwards upon unsheathing.

This is a great tool for dealing with weaker enemies that tend to be very aggressive, allowing you to deal good damage to them from a distance instead of fighting them head on. Where this falls short is that it costs 2 spirit emblems and is only available after defeating the very final boss of the game. However, it can still be used with 0 spirit emblems as a solid physical move without the ranged slash.


Pick Dragon Flash if:

  • You need a ranged move to deal with aggressive enemies
  • You want to stay at a safe distance against enemies or bosses but still want to inflict damage


5. Nightjar Slash - Reversal

Not much to say about this one that hasn’t already been said about its un-upgraded version. What this does is that it allows the player to do a backwards flip after the first flip towards the opponent, essentially allowing the player to do a ‘hit and run’.

Not a very flashy move, but one that works in tandem with its initial skill in order to give a move that controls distance and range of the fight very well.


Pick Nightjar Slash Reversal if:

  • You want to control the distance of the fight even more


4. Spiral Cloud Passage

The king of chip damage. This skill causes more chip damage to the vitality of bosses and enemies more than any other skill, with Sekiro unleashing multiple flurries against the enemy. 

This is unfortunately gained fairly late in the game but it works very well against the bosses and enemies that the later game brings up, and can also be paired with buffs like divine confetti or flame vent, that just turns Sekiro into a ball of pain for his enemies!

A weaker version of this called the Floating Passage is available at the start of the game, however, and can be used early on.


Pick Spiral Cloud Passage if:

  • You want to deal a lot of health damage to your enemies
  • You want to deal a great amount of chip damage to the bosses
  • You want a fast move that is good for late game bosses 


3. High Monk

Tired of those one armed jerks that kick you to oblivion? Well, with this skill you can turn the tables on them and kick their heads in, as it is a move that allows Sekiro to jump high up and land with a ground kick, followed by even more kicks that deal posture damage.

This is very useful for the absurd amount of posture damage it does, causing most enemies to be delivered a death blow because of it. However, this skill is unlocked so far into the late game that the skill points used to unlock it would be better off being spent on ultimate skills.


Pick High Monk if:

  • You want a great way to break enemy posture
  • You want to break enemy posture quickly
  • You want a 1v1 with an enemy to be over as early as possible


2. Empowered Mortal Draw

Do you just hate your enemies? If so, then use the mortal blade on them with this combat art. The Empowered Mortal Draw uses the sword in a slash that sends out this massive red streak and does the most health damage for any skill in the entire game. The horizontal slash can also hit many enemies at once due to its massive arc.

This is one of the best tools to use against bosses in the whole game and even does insane health damage to them. The cost is high though, as the power of the move is only properly understood when 3 spirit emblems are used for it. Without the emblems, there is an absolutely huge drop in effectiveness.


Pick Empowered Mortal Draw if:

  • You want to dish out insane vitality damage
  • You want a move with very good range
  • You want to hurt bosses much more
  • You want to deal damage to multiple enemies at once


1. Ichimonji: Double

No matter who you ask, 9 times out of 10, people will say that the Ichimonji is the best combat art and skill in the game. Ichimonji makes Sekiro hoist the blade up above his head slowly and then bring it down with immense force.

This allows for some of the highest posture damage to be dealt to the enemy while also reducing the posture build up for the player themselves. The upgrade to make it double allows for a faster, secondary follow-up smash that only increases the posture damage done to the enemy and further decreases the player's posture build-up.

Not only this, but it is also one of the first skills that the player can obtain in the entire game, so its utility can be seen throughout the whole game, with it being the most effective tool at any part of the game. Pair all of this with the fact that it costs no spirit emblems to use, it certainly becomes a no-brainer about choosing Ichimonji as the best combat art in the game.


Pick Ichimonji if:

  • You want to make the game easier for yourself
  • You want to deal insane damage to your enemies
  • You want a cheap and reliable tool to dish out immense posture and health damage


You might also be interested in:

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Best Prosthetics [Best And Worst Prosthetics Revealed]

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Bosses [How To Defeat Each Boss]



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Being naturally attuned to magic and bearing the strength of a thousand men, it's safe to say I'm used to adding a creative flair to my stories, always striving to tell engaging tales.
Gamer Since: 2005
Favorite Genre: RPG
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