Demon of Hatred (who I’ll now be calling DoH for the remainder of this guide) is an optional boss in the late-game of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
After defeating the Divine Dragon, head back across the bridge below the Old Grave Sculptor’s Idol and work your way back to where you fought General Naomori Kawarada early on in the game. You’ll find a Sculptor’s Idol surrounded by flames that will transport you straight to the Flames of Hatred Sculptor’s Idol, located on the battlefield where you fought Gyoubu Oniwa.
Arriving at the battlefield, you’ll see the angry, fiery demon smashing up the place. It’s time to fight him, and it’s not going to be easy. Before I get into his various attacks, there are a few tactics that you need to remember for this fight before you get involved:
- Make sure you have the Suzaku’s Lotus Umbrella Prosthetic Tool, its protection against fire is invaluable in this fight.
- This fight is all about staying patient and chipping away at DoH’s Vitality until its gone, so don’t focus on Posture at all. We will not be doing any Deflecting in this one.
- You can only heal at certain times (which will be mentioned below) and you will have plenty of opportunity to do so. Never try to heal outside of these moments or you’re likely to get punished.
- DoH has a lot of range, so he will always want to keep you at a distance where he can do the most damage to you. To counter this you need to stay close to him at all times, literally right under his feet, where we can avoid most of his attacks and do some damage of our own.
- When you’re close to him, continually run around DoH in a counter-clockwise direction, as this will help you to avoid pretty much all of his attacks. Do this and wait until DoH attacks and then get your hits in before he starts his next attack. He will continually try to create a bit of distance between himself and you – if he jumps a short distance away then sprint straight back towards his left leg (right as you’re looking) and start circling him again. If he jumps a long way away then don’t try and close the gap as you’ll get caught, just wait for his attack and react accordingly (see below).
- Try and keep the fight as central as possible so that you don’t get caught against a wall and have always got a good camera angle locked on DoH. If he’s backed against a wall then lure him out into the open and re-engage.
When you enter the battlefield, sprint straight up to DoH and start attacking. If you’re quick enough, you’ll get two or three hits in before DoH even starts the fight, giving yourself a head start. Don’t overdo it, just get your couple of hits in and then start sprinting around him in a counter-clockwise direction.
If you keep running around him in this counter-clockwise direction you’ll avoid pretty much all of his attacks, and you’ll be able to get a couple of hits of your own in before he recovers from his attack. There are a few attacks where you need to act slightly differently, the first of which is the double stamp shown below. When DoH performs this stamp, keep running around him in a counter-clockwise direction but move a bit further back from him too, as the second stamp will hit you if you’re too close.
You also need to watch out for when DoH starts to glow and jumps up in the air, as he’s about to come crashing to the floor in a ball of flames. Luckily, this attack actually gives us a great opportunity to get some major damage in. When DoH jumps, stop running, stand still underneath him, and pull out your Suzaku’s Lotus Umbrella and hold it. This will protect you from his fiery landing, but hold it until the flames disperse and then press the attack button to cause a big chunk of damage to DoH. You’ll have a split second to get another normal attack in too before you go back to sprinting around him in a counter-clockwise direction.
You also need to watch out for DoH’s Perilous/Red Kanji attack, which sees him charge through you causing massive damage. You’re likely to avoid this anyway if you’re running around him counter-clockwise, but if you find that you keep getting caught then jump to the right when you see the red kanji symbol appear and you should get out of the way in time. When DoH performs this attack he’ll create a lot of distance between himself and you – this is your opportunity to heal if you need to, or you can also sacrifice one of your chances to attack to heal if you’re desperate. When DoH creates this distance, keep at a mid range and he’ll usually step forward and hurl two lots of fireballs at you; when he does this, run towards him in a circular motion from the right and close the gap, get a hit in, then start circling him again. You can use your Umbrella to block these fireballs if you want but it isn’t necessary, and for the sake of conserving your Spirit Emblems I prefer not to.
Also watch out for when DoH occasionally stumbles forward into a stunned state following your attack, as this gives you a great opportunity to get about four hits of your own in without danger. Don’t get greedy, just get a few hits in then start circling again.
Keep at this and you’ll eventually open DoH up for the first of three Deathblows. When you hit the first Deathblow it will take DoH a few seconds to recover and get back into fight, and it’s tempting to start attacking here to try and give yourself another head start. This is pointless as your attacks will do no damage; instead, run back, heal up if you need to, and wait for DoH to perform his first new attack of this phase. DoH will step forward and raise his left arm up before slamming his whip down, sending fire hurtling along the ground towards you. To avoid this, keep running to the right and jump when the fire starts coming towards you, then grapple when you’re in the air to pull yourself towards DoH and close the gap. Get a hit if your own in when you land and then start circling him again. This move can repeat whenever you’re at range, so watch out for it and react accordingly.
The rest of the second phase plays out exactly the same as the first phase, apart from his other new attack which you can see below. When you’re at range, DoH will step forward and start waving both of his arms around in the air, but he ain’t dancing. Instead, he’ll summon fireballs that will fly through the air towards you, much like how the Shichimen Warrior attacked earlier on in the game. When this happens, run to the right and towards him in a circular motion and you’ll avoid all of the fireballs and close the gap. Get a hit in and start circling him again.
Keep reacting to these attacks and following the tips from the first phase and you’ll eventually hit DoH for the second Deathblow. As soon as you do this, sprint backwards as quick as you can so that you can avoid the first instance of DoH’s new Perilous attack, where he spins around in a circle, slashing you twice if you’re in range and circling himself in flames. If you’re quick enough you’ll avoid this attack entirely, and then get ready to run and jump out of the way when you see DoH come jumping towards you before closing the gap and going back on the attack.
This is likely to be the one and only time that you can completely avoid this Perilous attack, as for the rest of the fight you’ll be too close to him to be able to run completely out of the way of it. When you see him pull his left arm back and the red kanji symbol appears, get ready to jump. DoH is either going to sprint towards you with his whip dragging alongside him (which you can just jump over), or he’s going to perform his double spin and circle you in flames. If he’s spinning, jump over the first whip and then stay on the ground to duck under the second whip, then close the gap and start circling again. Be wary of the flames that you’re temporarily encircled by as they will cause significant damage to you.
Other than these two new Perilous attacks, the third phase plays out the same as the other phases, although DoH does perform a few more lunges (just keep running right), and he also seems to be more aggressive following your Umbrella attack and when you grapple towards him. In these two instances, don’t bother trying to get an attack in after your Umbrella attack or after grappling towards him, as I personally found it to be too risky during this phase. Instead, just start circling him after doing either. Keep at it and you’ll eventually open him up for the third and final Deathblow.
Killing him will earn you Memory: Hatred Demon, which can be used at a Sculptor’s Idol to permanently increase Attack Power, two Lapis Lazuli, and a big chunk of experience points. Now wipe your brow and go for a long lie down.