How to beat Headless Ape in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

So, you just beat Snake Eyes Shirahagi in the Ashina Depths and progressed down the passage that’s behind where she was stood. If you speak to the injured NPC that sits on the ground he’ll tell you that a giant ape did this to him, which will instantly fill you with both dread and rage as you spot what appears to be a large opening just a bit further down the passage. Surely not?

Yep, I’m afraid so. Head into the large open area and there he is, the headless Guardian Ape that we already went through hell and back against. Son of a bitch. Oh well, it’s time to beat him all over again.


Thankfully, the fact that we’ve already beaten him once means that we know how to beat him again, so you should find this encounter easier than the first. In this second battle, his first phase is basically identical to the second phase of the first battle, so we’re following all of the same tactics from that. If you can’t be bothered to click that link then let me explain.

He’ll do a number of normal swipe attacks, all of which can be Deflected for some Posture damage. He also performs a swipe where he dives forward toward you on his front – you can Deflect this if you want but you’ll take a lot of Posture damage yourself while doing so, so I suggest running backwards out of the way so that he misses you and then running back in while he’s on the floor to get some hits in.


He also has a few Perilous/Red kanji attacks to watch out for. One of these attacks is a scream which does significant Terror damage if you’re caught in it, so if you see Guardian Ape take in a deep breath just run backwards well out of his way. If you do get caught in it the scream and take Terror damage then you can use a Pacifying Agent to cure yourself. He also performs a Perilous attack where he swipes across from right to left with his sword, and you need to just run backwards out of the way of this attack too. You can see both below.


His third and final Perilous attack sees him jump in the air and go for a big swipe of his sword when he lands. He hangs in the air for a fair amount of time when he does this which gives you plenty of time to run backwards out of the way, but run back towards him as soon as he’s swiped, as he usually follows this attack up by going for the big overhead attack where he raises his sword in the air and then slams it down on you. As in the second phase of the first fight, successfully Deflecting this attack will knock him over in a stunned state and allow you to get five or six hits in for some serious damage. He does sometimes perform this move after a normal flurry of swipes too, but it seems to come far more regularly after the jumping Perilous attack.


Keep at this and you’ll open him up for the first of two Deathblows. Headless Ape does all of the same attacks in the second phase, which makes him sound simple enough, but he’s got another trick up his sleeve. After you hit the first Deathblow, he runs back to the same wall you found him stood up against, lets out a loud scream, and his buddy Brown Ape drops in out of nowhere. Great, now we’ve got to beat two of the bastards at once.


Brown Ape is actually quite weak, so we can kill him quite quickly if we know what we’re doing. He attacks a lot like the first phase of the Guardian Ape fight in the Sunken Valley, but luckily without the turd throwing this time. Rather than chucking feces about, Brown Ape prefers the simpler approach of aggressive swipes, all of which can be Deflected if your timing is good enough. Don’t forget that he’s a beast, so you can also make your life much easier by making use of the Shinobi Firecracker to lock him into stuns and take him down quickly. Of course, don’t forget that Guardian Ape is still about and trying to kill you while all of this is going on, but you need to just try and sprint away from his attacks and get your offense in on Brown Ape when you’ve managed to create a bit of separation between the two. Do not try and take on Guardian Ape while Brown Ape is after you, focus all of your attention on Brown Ape and then go back to Guardian Ape after.


Keep at this and you should take Brown Ape down relatively quickly, so now it’s time to turn our attention back to Guardian Ape. All of his attacks are exactly the same as the first phase, so revert to type and follow the same tips from the first phase.


Keep at it and you’ll break his Posture and set him up for that final Deathblow (again). Don’t forget you have to hit two Deathblows to end the second phase, so watch for your prompt and don’t miss your chance.


Ending the second phase will reward you with two Prayer Beads and Memory: Headless Ape, which can be used at a Sculptor’s Idol to increase your attack power. But wait, you’ll notice that you can hit another Deathblow on the Guardian Ape’s corpse, so hit this and you’ll kill the centipede that you pulled from his neck, which will severe the apes immortality and earn you the Bestowal Ninjutsu skill.

You can now grab the Guardian Ape’s Burrow Sculptor’s Idol and put your feet up for a well-earned rest.



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