Gyoubu is the first boss that you’ll encounter in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and thankfully he’s pretty easy to deal with as long as you know what you’re doing – that’s where I come in.
The first tip that I can give you should be done in advance of the fight. Gyoubu is located just outside the Ashina Castle Gate, so some degree of preparation needs to be done at the Sculptor’s Idol at the Ashina Castle Gate Fortress. Here, make sure that you acquire the Prosthetic Arts Skill called Grappling Hook Attack if you don’t already own it – it’s absolutely key in taking down Gyoubu easily. You should also make sure that you have the Shinobi Firecracker prosthetic tool while you’re here; if you don’t then Travel to the Outskirts Wall – Gate Path Sculptor’s Idol and buy it from the Memorial Mob vendor.
Once you’ve done your preparation, take down the enemies in the courtyard and use your Grappling Hook to get on to the roof to the left of the locked door. Once you’re up here you’ll be overlooking a massive battlefield that is strewn with dead bodies and couldn’t be screaming out “BOSS BATTLE” any more if it tried. Drop onto the battlefield and head towards the Ashina Castle Gate in front of you; suddenly, Gyoubu will come charging out of the gate on horseback, swinging his spear around like nobodies business and yelling at you about not passing like some sort of possessed Gandalf.
Although he looks intimidating he’s actually pretty easy to beat and is designed to ease you into things. Using your Deflect is key here, as you can Deflect pretty much all of his attacks to deal a lot of Posture damage quickly. Just stay close to him and keep timing your Deflects as he hits you and you should quickly get in to the rhythm of things, but if you’re struggling to get the timing right then you can literally just stand and block and you won’t take any damage. On occasion Gyoubu will get his spear stuck in the ground when attacking, and when he does so you can get a quick flurry of three or so attacks in on him for some Vitality damage. When this happens and after you’ve got a few blows of your own in, use the Shinobi Firecracker prosthetic tool to stun his horse and get a few more hits in.
There will also be a few points in the battle where a Grapple Point symbol will appear above Gyoubu’s head, usually when he’s run a short distance away or when he starts swinging his spear around like a mad man. Remember that Grappling Hook Attack that I mentioned earlier? This is where we use it. When the Grapple Point symbol appears, use your Grappling Hook to latch on to him and pull yourself towards him – start attacking just before you land and don’t stop, you should get three or four hits in before he has a chance to recover.
As a side note, he has a couple of red kanji attacks that can’t be blocked, so if you see the red kanji symbol appear then simply jump out of the way. Also, try and stay on his left side, as he holds his spear in his right which makes that side more dangerous. Try not to stand behind him either or his horse will boot you in the face, which is never a pleasant experience.
That’s about all you need to know. You need to hit Gyoubu with two Deathblows to beat him and your methods for doing so shouldn’t need to change either time, so keep following these steps and you should dispatch him twice fairly easily. There’s a slightly sneaky thing to be aware of when you hit the second Deathblow, in that you’ll have to hit a third a couple of seconds after the second to perform a Shinobi Execution and end the fight. Whatever you do, don’t run around your room celebrating after the second Deathblow and miss this prompt, or Gyoubu will get a second wind and be back in the fight.
Once you perform the Shinobi Execution you’ll defeat Gyoubu and be rewarded with 1000 Exp, a Memory: Gyoubu Oniwa (which can be used at a Sculptor’s Idol to permanently increase Attack Power), and the Mechanical Barrel which can be handed in to the Sculptor at the Dilapidated Temple to unlock the ability to upgrade your Prosthetic Tool.
Have I missed anything out or do you disagree with any of these tips? Let me know in the comments below.