[Top 10] Sekiro Shadows Die Twice: Best Skills To Get First

Stop Hesitating Sekiro, Goddammit

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has one of the most complex and satisfying combat and gameplay mechanics ever put in a video game. This not only includes the actual moment to moment combat, but also the other factors that go into making this such a rewarding experience, chief of which are the brilliant skills that you can get in the game.

Many of the skills that you can get in this game vastly change the way you play it and experience it. With that being said, it is pretty clear to see that some skills are just better than others and are much more worth your precious skill points than others.


1. Mikiri Counter

The power of the mikiri counter(Sekiro)

Not only is the Mikiri Counter one of the best skills in the entire game,it is one that you can get extremely early on in your playthrough. During your adventure in Sekiro’s world, you will come across some annoying enemies and bosses that use longer weapons to thrust and stab you from a distance. These attacks have deceptively long reach and insane tracking, making them very difficult to dodge and can deal a bunch of damage if you get hit.

The Mikiri Counter is the answer to this. When you have gotten this passive skill, it is then a permanent part of your repertoire and can always be used regardless of what other skills you have equipped. What you have to do for this skill to work is dodge into the thrusting attack after you see the small glow on the weapon and you see the enemy thrust towards you, which plays a small animation where you step out of the way and then stomp on the weapon with your feet in order to dish out massive posture damage. This is also followed by a small window where you can even get a couple of hits in.


Why Mikiri Counter is great:

  • Available very early in the game
  • Makes otherwise difficult enemies much easier to fight
  • Many minibosses and bosses use thrust attacks so mikiri counter is perfect for those fights
  • Relatively low cost to buy
  • An early skill that you will be using till the end of the game
  • Is always useful
  • Makes you feel like an actual shinobi
  • Really damn cool


2. Suppress Presence

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - Acquire Skill Emma's Medicine Potency & Suppress Presence (2019)

Who hasn’t dreamt of becoming a ninja? Sekiro introduced stealth as a viable strategy to take on enemy encounters by sneaking behind them and taking them out via deathblow, but quite often in the early game, you can find yourself getting detected very easily. This is where the ‘suppress presence’ shinobi skill comes in. This awesome skill allows for you to be very proficient in stealth as it is also a passive ability that makes you much harder to detect, allowing you to sneak past enemies or just getting an easy deathblow on them.


Why Suppress Presence is great:

  • Passive skill that will always stay with you and can be used whenever you’re undetected
  • Bosses and minibosses require 2 or more deathblows to kill, suppress presence allows you to stealth attack some of them to take away 1 death blow immediately
  • Makes getting around easier
  • Adds a new dynamic to the game
  • Makes you feel like a ninja


3. Shinobi Eyes

Shinobi Eyes & Mikiri Counter a destructive combo! - Sekiro The Best Skills to Unlock?

Another latent/passive skill that allows for even more posture damage to be dealt to enemies after a successful Mikiri counter. Purchasing this skill only further strengthens the Mikiri counter, which is already probably the most valuable skill you can get in the game, and Shinobi Eyes is just the perfect power up for it. This skill, however, requires that you purchase the run and slide skill before it so this is available in the middle game skill and has a fairly high price, considering you need another skill to get it.


What Shinobi Eyes is Great:

  • Latent/passive skill that you will have until the end of the game
  • Strengthens the Mikiri counter
  • Still really damn cool


4. Breathe of Life: Light

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - Unlock Breath of Life: Light and Deathblow Vitality Xbox Gameplay (2019)

Now here is a skill that is very near and dear to my heart! As everyone knows, Sekiro is a very difficult game, one in which you will keep healing again and again, which becomes a real problem when you remember that there is a limited amount of healing you can do. That is where this skill comes in, as it allows you to recuperate some health upon landing a successful death blow on an enemy, whether it is in combat or through stealth. This is useful when you’re in a tough spot and need to heal, or even when you’re getting ganked by a group of enemies. Hell, when is it not useful to just heal?


Why Breathe of Life: Light is great:

  • Heals a bit of your health upon landing a successful death blow on an enemy or boss
  • Conserves your healing gourd
  • Can be used while in stealth
  • Can be leveled up to heal more of your health
  • It just heals you man, you don’t need any other reason


5. Grappling Hook Attack

SEKIRO Gyoubu Oniwa Horseman Boss Fight. Using the grappling hook attack skill

The grappling hook attack skill is one that can be unlocked for only 1 skill point as soon as you get the prosthetic esoteric text from the sculptor very early on in the game. This skill allows you to grapple onto enemies and attack them while in mid-air, also allowing you to grapple to points but still end up locking onto an enemy and hitting them. To many, this skill may seem very situational and one that they think they might not be using all that much, but trust me, they will be finding uses for it all across the game. This skill is very useful for many boss fights in the game, such as Gyobou Masataka Oniwa and the Guardian Ape.


Why Grappling Hook Attack is Great:

  • Can be used to close the distance between you and a fast enemy really quickly
  • Can be used to start combos
  • Does decent posture damage for being a light attack
  • Available very early on in the game


6. Chasing Slice

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice - Shinobi Martial Arts - Chasing Slice

Another super cool move, the chasing slice is also unlocked very early on in the game as it is also available right after grabbing the prosthetic esoteric text from Hirata Estate. This one is quite simple and straightforward in the sense that it is a skill that accompanies the shuriken prosthetic tool, where the character throws the shuriken and follows that up with a sliding slash. It isn’t anything too crazy, just a move to add variety to your moveset, along with dealing a little health and posture damage to boot.


Why Chasing Slice is Great:

  • Another move that can be used to close a little bit of distance
  • Very fast
  • A good follow up that does a little health and posture damage
  • The blade slash has a wide arc so it can hit multiple enemies at a time
  • Yup, this one is cool too


7. Mid-Air Deflect

Dodged into a deflect and a mid air deflect

Jumping is one of the biggest changes that Fromsoftware have implemented into Sekiro as compared to all their previous games, none of which had a designated button just for this action. Jumping allows much more verticality in Sekiro and adds an entirely new and fast dynamic to both the combat and the traversal. However, the ability to deflect while in mid-air isn’t one that is intrinsic to the character, rather it is a skill to be unlocked. It’s a useful one too, because it allows you to dodge moves that sweep the ground much more effectively (since the game has very little to no i-frames). The mid-air deflect skill allows you to deflect bullets while in the air, as well as many moves from enemies or bosses while you’re moving fast and are on the run.


Why Mid-Air Deflect is Great:

  • Allows for more verticality and agility during combat
  • Passive skill
  • Very effective against fast enemies and bosses that have a very fast attack pattern


8. Ichimonji

The best Combat Art to use in Sekiro? 'An Ichimonji Double Guide

Ichimonji is the very first skill that you can unlock through the Ashina esoteric text that you get from the Ashina Tengu. This is not a passive skill as it is a special move, of which only 1 can be equipped at a time. The move itself is fairly straightforward; Sekiro lifts the sword up slowly over his head and brings it down with a lot of force. This skill is perfect for dealing a ton of posture damage and what it lacks in speed, it makes up for in sheer power, just remember to time it right because it takes a long time to hit.


Why Ichimonji is Great:

  • Does a massive amount of posture damage
  • Also deals very good vitality damage if the enemies posture is already broken
  • Can be leveled up to hit twice, which absolutely decimates enemies
  • Second hit of the ‘double ichimonji’ comes out much faster
  • Very easy and low cost to get
  • Especially effective against the final boss of the game
  • You can feel the power of the sword through your screens


9. Ascending Carp

SEKIRO Genichiro Boss Fight Ashina Arts Ichimonji: Ascending Carp, Descending Carp and Flowing Water

Ascending carp is an amazing passive skill that is unlocked fairly early in the game after getting the Ashina esoteric text. This skill basically just inflicts significantly more posture damage that an enemy receives upon landing a successful deflect and is one that works in tandem with its twin skill, the descending carp. For the cost of only 1 skill point, it is definitely worth picking up.


Why Ascending Carp is Great:

  • Another passive skill that stays with you forever
  • Can get fairly early in the game
  • Low cost
  • Does really good posture damage upon landing a successful deflect


10. Descending Carp

SEKIRO Genichiro Boss Fight Ashina Arts Ichimonji: Ascending Carp, Descending Carp and Flowing Water

Descending carp is another amazing passive skill that works with the ascending carp skill in order to do massive damage to the enemies’ posture. The way that it works is that after you land a perfect deflect, there is a moment when the enemy must recover from it. In these few seconds of recovery, any damage done to the enemies posture gets increased from all sources, which means if the weapon is coated with fire and inflicts burn damage to the enemy, the burn damage will further damage the posture for the rest of the duration, as well as regular attacks also doing increased posture damage.

With the increased posture damage from the ascending carp and the few seconds of increased posture damage done to the enemy through the descending carp skill, you have a crazy combo of pain you’re ready to unleash upon your foes!


Why Descending Carp is Great:

  • Yet another passive skill
  • A skill that is fairly early game so you can get it pretty quick into your journey
  • Costs 2 skill points but it’s really worth it
  • When used along with its twin, the ascending carp skill, it does massive posture damage

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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
Currently Playing: Whatever I can get my hands on
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Dark Souls 3

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