Only on PS4: We’re going to die a whole lot in Nioh so you don’t have to. After hours of frustration, we’re here to reveal all our best tips for every boss.
Tired of getting killed by the seemingly endless array of Yokai, Oni, Tengu, and other crazy Japanese mythological monsters in Nioh? We know your pain. Here, we’re going to break down all the best strategies to defeat these hulking behemoths.
We’re not just covering the boss battles, but also how to reach each boss. Before each boss-specific section, we’ll reveal the most-straightforward path to encountering these challenging creatures. Just to make your life a little easier if you’re prone to getting lost… like us.
Team Ninja purposefully avoided making Nioh easy — and they succeeded with flying colors. This is a hardcore action game through-and-through, and if you’re not prepared to die (and die a whole lot) then this game is going to be one long series of frustrations. Ritual seppuku isn’t the answer. Just keep scrolling down for a few tips, tricks, and secrets that just might help.
More Nioh guides, walkthroughs and secrets on Gameranx:
How to Defeat Every Boss | Locations, Strategies & Secrets Guide
[Work-in-Progress: Check back soon as we progress through the game!]
Derrik, the Executioner
- Location: Tower of London – Fight to the outside of the the tower and take the stairs up into the secondary building with the shrine. From the Shrine, reach the spiral staircase to encounter Derek.
Derrik is the first battle, and isn’t to hard if you’re quick on your feet. Shed all that heavy armor and use light / medium gear to keep your improved quickstep. Derrik’s most common attacks are a three-hit quick combo, and a charge attack. Dodge away from the quick combo, and at a distance when Derrik charges forward, wait for his swing then attack him from the side / behind. Get in a few hits after each attack to defeat Derrick’s first form.
This is when the real battle begins. Derrick turns into a giant creature, moves faster, and has far more HP. His attacks are slightly altered, but he still uses two basic, common attacks.
- Two-Hit Combo Axe: Derrick swings his axe twice. This is faster and wider than his previous combo,
- Axe Charge: Exactly the same as before. He charges forward — simply quick-step out of his way.
The second form works like a longer version of the previous form. If you want to be especially safe, hang back and wait around the tower walls. When Derrick charges, you can easily get in 2-3 attacks before retreating. Only attack after his charge to be completely safe.
Once you take Derrick down to about 60% health, you’ll unlock the Living Weapon attack. Press [Circle+Triangle] to activate Living Weapon and instantly defeat Derrick.
- Location: Isle of Demons – Get the Residence Key in the house with the Oni demon that appears, then fight through the burning village down to the beach. The boss activates as you approach the bandit ship. Don’t forget to circle up the hill path to the right of the ship to unlock a shortcut from the burning village shrine.
Onryoki is the first true challenge and roadblock in Nioh. This isn’t an easy battle, and you’ll need to learn the art of Ki Burst.
- Ki Burst [Tap R1] has two functions: you can instantly recover scratch-stamina use, and it will dispel demonic shadows. Learning how to use Ki Burst will make this battle manageable.
It helps to learn about the demonic shadow spots — these areas slow your stamina regeneration to a crawl. But, there’s a benefit to these spots; your stamina use is much, much lower while you attack while immersed in a shadow spot. That means you can attack more often before your stamina gauge is empty.
If you’re really good, you can swoop into a shadow spot, unleash a flurry of attacks, then hit Ki Burst to recover your stamina instantly AND dispel the shadow at the same time. This is a risky maneuver, but it’s also really, really cool to pull off.
In its form form, Onryoki wields two massive balls on chains, launching spinning attacks that are especially annoying to dodge. Don’t try to dodge away, instead dodge toward the chains to slip through safely. If you dodge away, you’re bound to get caught inside the chain’s hitbox.
- Chain Swing [Left]: His standard attack, unleashed when he faces you. Watch the arms to predict which direction the chains will come from.
- Chain Swing [Right]: Usually unleashed when you’re attacking from behind or the side. This attack swings around, and is a little slowed than the [Left], which inadvertently makes it kind of tricky to dodge through.
- Chain Slam [Forward]: The safest attack, this forward-slam is easy to weave around and attack Onryoki from behind. Simply dodge left or right and attack while Onryoki tries to recover.
The trick to this fight is taking it slow. Wait for his forward-facing slam attack, hit him from behind with 1-2-3 combo attacks, then retreat before Onryoki retaliates with another chain swing attack.
Once Onryoki is down to about 60%, he changes form. His chains break off, and he’ll begin to attack with his claws only. Both iron balls will still be on the battlefield, and Onryoki likes to grab the heavy weights and pitch them at you. He’ll also begin summoning shadow spots in the arena, and he can summon more than one at a time.
- Ground Claw: A simple claw attack. Swings his arm forward and down. Short-range but quick. Usually follows up with a Ground Pound, so don’t try to attack!
- Shadow Ground Pound: This is a primary attack, usually coming after his basic claw swing. He’ll jump and pound both fists into the ground, summoning a shadow spot. He can do this attack more than once in a row (with a short pause between attacks) and summon multiple shadow spots. Make sure you dispel those!
- Iron Ball Throw: The two iron balls will remain in the area. When Onryoki gets close to one, he’ll retrieve and bowl it directly at the player. Dodge left or right, he telegraphs the attack far in advance.
The trick of this battle is just realizing those shadow spots aren’t as dangerous as they look. If you can use Ki Burst properly, they’ll help you attack Onryoki even more. Wait until after a single Ground Claw or Ground Pound, then attack. Just be prepared for another Ground Pound. If you’re fighting near an iron ball, Onryoki will almost always retreat to get the iron ball, so you can usually count on that.
It’s all about patience and attacking when you have an opening. Onryoki looks much more intimidating than he really is. Just watch his attacks to get a feel for his openings, and know that Ki Burst will give you enough stamina to quick-step away after you’ve spent all your stamina on an attack chain.
- Location: Deep in the Shadows – Very straightforward, just follow the main path in the caverns down to the second Shrine. Continue down into the bat cave until you reach a large chamber with dead bodies hanging from the ceiling. Drop into the arena to initiate the boss.
This boss is fast, though most of her attacks can be dodged if you’re fast with the quick-step button. Fighting Hino-Enma is all about knowing when she’ll attack, while on the ground, and responding accordingly. Despite some annoyances (like her flight), Hino-enma doesn’t dish out damage like Onryoki, making this kind-of a breather boss.
- Basic Swipes (4x Combo): Hino-enma’s basic strikes come in different forms. She’ll either attack once, or continue the chain into a combo.
- Blood-Sucking Grapple: This is one attack you want to avoid. When she throws out both hands to “hug” you, roll away. It’s very short-range, so if you use a long-sword or spear, it’s an easy attack to escape.
- Flight Charge: She’ll fly directly toward you. This can be unleashed both while she’s on the ground or while flying. She’ll pause after whiffing the attack, making this a good chance to hit her from behind.
- Kunai Throw (Flying): While in the air, Hino-enma will throw three kunai in an arc. Not too dangerous, and can be blocked or dodged.
- Sonic Blast (Flying): Best to dodge this powerful energy blast.
Hino-enma is quick, and she doesn’t expend her stamina fast like other fast-paced human bosses. During her basic combo, she’ll also summon Yokai Realms, so be prepared to dispel these areas, or only attack when you know you’re safe from taking damage.
A spear can be pretty useful in this fight. She’s too quick to easily circle around, so most of your attacks will need to follow a pause in her pattern. Strike after her swings, especially right after a charge or a spinning combo.
Annoyingly, there’s really nothing you can do while she’s flying. Continue to circle-strafe around her and dodge as she unleashes attacks. Eventually, she’ll charge and leave herself open.
- Location: The Spirit Stone Slumbers – You’ll find this boss through the locked East Gate. Get the key by following the wall to the left of the gate. There’s a corpse with the key beyond the shrine-like structure in the dead-end.
Nue is an electricity-spewed four-legged monster. He has some serious stamina weaknesses you can exploit, but the instant lighting strikes that land around the front of the monster’s face can easily overwhelm the unprepared. Be ready to attack Nue’s exposed sides.
- Two-Claw Swipe: A basic attack. It lunges forward and swings both claws. Nue recovers fast from this one.
- Tail Spin: The simple spin attack is too slow to dodge directly through. Retreat instead.
- Electricity Arc: With its mouth open, Nue will shoot out a lance of electricity from it’s jaws. It slowly arcs, giving you time to attack the side of the torso, or even swipe the side of the head.
- Lightning Summon: When Nue roars, a series of lightning strikes will track you. They land almost instantly, so be prepared to keep moving. They don’t track you very well, so you’ll dodge as long as you’re moving.
The best time to attack Nue is during the electricity arc attack. It always starts on your right. Quickly rush forward and hit the left shoulder / left side of Nue. This is a good time to drain Nue’s stamina with kicks or by removing the Yokai Realm circles. Demons can only recover health in a Yokai Realm, just try to avoid taking damage while you’re in one of those circles.
While at range, Nue will sometimes call down lightning strikes. This is a good time to charge forward and strike Nue’s sides. If you’re lucky, you can wedge yourself between Nue’s legs on the left and continuously attack, while Nue tries to move, he’ll sometimes take your player character with him. While stuck, Nue can (basically) only use the Lightning Summon roar to get you off.
Always attack and circle strafe to the left, and rush in for a long attack combo when Nue uses the electricity arc, which can also be interrupted. If you’re standing in a Yokai Realm, you’ll be able to keep attacking while Nue is interrupted, then Ki Burst to escape before Nue summons more lightning.
- Location: The Spirit Stone Slumbers – Deep in the catacombs, you’ll find a helper NPC at the third underground shrine. She’ll lead you to the final boss of this mission.
Tachibana Muneshige is a 1-vs-1 duel, and like you, he’s very susceptible to stamina loss. More than any of the previous bosses, you can exploit the Samurai’s low stamina, stun him, and land a killing blow. The kick attack is especially useful here, able to completely stun him when he’s on the brink of losing his last bit of stamina.
Exploiting Muneshige’s low stamina is our favorite way to beat the boss. It puts him on the defensive, and even with all those cool attacks, it leaves him very vulnerable to follow-up attacks. With all that said, he’s the fastest and most challenging boss yet. This is a “fair” fight — he’s human with some enhancements, just like you. Just don’t let him grab you with his glowing red hand!
- Katana Strikes: His basic attack is just like your’s — unpredictable and very fast. Be prepared to dodge or block at any moment, and be ready for multiple attacks in a row. Thankfully, the more he attacks, the more stamina he drains from his gauge.
- Sword Buff: Between attacks, Muneshige will charge his sword with spiritual power. You can interrupt this buff while it is summoned. If you’re in a good position, swoop in and stop him. It’s only temporary though, so you can always outlast the effects.
- Arrow Shot: At range, Muneshige will shoot an arrow at you. Like his other attacks, it’s very fast. Watch for his crouch and dodge when the bow appears in his hands.
- Red Hand Grapple: If you’re standing close, blocking, the boss is blocking, he’ll often attempt to grab you. This is slow but extremely powerful. Dodge away to escape.
Use the central pillars to keep the boss away while his sword is buffed. He’ll often use up his stamina attempting to attack, and he’ll get caught on the pillar. When he’s low, that’s when you want to get aggressive. Even if he blocks, strong attacks will drain his stamina, and kicks will do wonders. Use a Killing Blow when he’s stunned or stab him on the ground, then follow-up with an attack or two while he’s getting up.
- Location: The Silver Mine Writhes – The silver mine is mostly linear. Starting from the top, you’ll move down, clearing gas with filtration devices. Past the Central Mine door (find the key on the ledge to the right) you’ll reach the second shrine. Unlock the shortcut door and drop into the area below.
This massive boss looks more intimidating than it really is. With only a few attacks and no form change, it’s all about patience as you whittle down the monster’s health and avoid falling into the poisonous gas pit. The safest place to do most of the fighting is right next to the filtration machine — it only works temporarily.
- Poison Gas Spit: The creature rears back and spits a poison gas cloud. Small radius, easy to dodge. Watch for the centipede’s direction, it will track you perfectly until it spits.
- Paralyzing Spit: Exactly like the poison gas attack, except that the spit will temporarily paralyze the player. If you’re far enough away, it’s possible to recover before the centipede can attack you while you’re vulnerable.
- Head Slam: A basic attack. The centipede rears back and slams its head down on the ground. Slow and easy to read. It will pause after launching the attack, giving you time to get in some quick slashes.
You can attack the lengthy tail of the creature. It only takes a few attacks to completely sever the tail, making it easier to attack the centipede’s back. Keep circling and roll to avoid the poison spit attacks. The centipede is surprisingly quick, and most of the damage you take will come from the centipede simply stampeding into you.
The best time to attack is when the centipede completes a head slam. Like all other enemies, the centipede can also exhaust itself by using all of its stamina. When it retreats to collect the missing segments of the tail, that’s a good time to use a powerful drop attack.
It’s much easier to circle-strafe behind the centipede in the lower level, but you’ll only have a short amount of time to fight until the poison gas returns. You can also cycle around the area, running up the ramp and using the filtration device, then dropping down to fight the boss.
- Location: The Ocean Roars Again – Found very early in the area. After crossing the rickety makeshift bridges, you’ll reach a raised platform that leads out to a dock with a Yokai Realm and an impressive door. The door leads into the boss battle.
Umi-bozu is a tough opponent — it might be the toughest boss yet. There are two ways you can prepare before going inside the arena. 1) Light all three bonfires to stop Umi-bozu’s minions from spawning in the area. 2) Prepare fire buff Jutsu or collect fire amulets. Umi-bozu is very weak to fire — use weapons with the low stance to deal as much damage as possible to really lower its health fast. Each strike is infused fire if you buff.
NOTE: See the three bonfires around the arena? Interact to “Touch Your Weapon To The Fire” and give the an instant fire buff. That makes the boss MUCH easier.
The massive water-based Umi-bozu only has a handful of attacks. Stay close and use the bonfires to buff your weapons, and this monster will fall quickly.
- Tentacle Slam: The creature will use either two tentacles or one. It doesn’t matter how many it uses if you’re standing right next to the boss. It can’t hit you at close range.
- Debris Blast: A simple blast of debris. It can launch fast, so be sure to dodge even if you’re in close range.
- Water Geiser: This sustained beam is the most dangerous attack. Watch for Umi-bozu to take a deep breath, then dash and run to the side. After the attack, you’ll have time to strike back at the exposed core.
Use the bonfires to bring Umi-Bozu’s health down fast, stay close, and you’ll take down this form.
After doing enough damage, Umi-Bozu will jump out of the water and attack from the center of the arena. This time you’ll want to keep your distance. Circle around, and wait for the creature to attack with its core.
It will slam the exposed core forward, giving you time to attack. Use your Spirit Guardian and light your sword on fire to easily take care of this form. Just ignore the extra enemies that spawn, they’re too slow to give you much trouble anyway.
Save your Guardian Spirit and Fire Talismans for this part of the fight — and don’t forget about lighting you sword with the bonfires to finish this boss off for good.
- Location: The Spider Nest Castle – Get the Castle Gates Key from the back-right room of the large residence, then climb to the top of the castle keep to face off against this spider-woman.
Joro-Gumo is all about using her spider-webs to catch you in a trap. Watch out for her spit attacks, leaving behind large spots of webbing that will slow your character down to a crawl when trying to cross it. Try to avoid the webs, and you should be fine for this battle.
- Spiderweb Spray: A close range attack. Keep moving to avoid the deadly webs. It can be blocked.
- Claw 2-Hit Combo: Basic attack, it swipes with two claws at very close-range. Easy to dodge around and attack the back once or twice mid-combo.
- Claw Grab: A slow grab with two front claws — easy to dodge, and gives you time to attack the weak back of the spider.
- Lunge: A simple forward lunge. Dash around to the weak backside of the boss and attack right after it attemps to lunge. You’ll have a few seconds to get in some hits.
Hit her back enough, and Joro-Gumo will attempt to shield its back and turtle. This is actually a good time to attack — swipe at the sides of the monster, staying closer to the front, and it really can’t do anything to you at all. Just keep attacking! It may attempt to spin, but you can roll away from the slow attack safely. It’s so slow in its defensive form, it can barely fight back.
Eventually it will switch back and begin dropping more webs on the ground. If you can avoid those webs, you shouldn’t have too many problems with this battle.
- Location: Falling Snow – Kill the butterfly swarms to destroy the crystal to access the right side, near the first Shrine, then go through the back-right hole in the temple wall to find a path that eventually leads to the main temple of this snowy labyrinth.
Tougher than Joro-Gumo, this ice-based woman is faster and stronger in almost every way. She uses a variety of different ice projectiles, and her deadly knife lunge can’t be blocked. Let’s start with that attack.
- Knife Lunge: This unblockable knife attack always begins as Yuki twirls her staff, producing a smaller knife. Just as she swoops toward you, dodge away. The timing needs to be just right to avoid it. If you can avoid it consistently, this is a very good time to attack her. She’ll pause after a missed knife lunge, giving you time to strike back.
- Ice Projectiles: She uses multiple different ice projectiles — one type shoots straight forward, one in an arc, and one in a chain-like machine-gun burst. You can block many of these, but that will drain your stamina and leave you vulnerable for follow-up knife lunges. Best to dodge! Dashing left or right often works, as well.
- Ice Burst: This area-of-effect attack almost always follows after you finish attacking you. Quickly retreat out of the ice area range when she stomps her foot down. Easy to dodge, just make sure you have enough stamina left to escape.
Her attacks also include a simple two-hit combo that leaves her over-extended and easy to retaliate with a hit of your own. Her ice-breath is easy to dodge but she recovers fast, same with her staff throw.
She’s weak to fire, so fire-based Guardian Spirits and Fire Talismans will help to make this furious battle end a little faster. Learning how to dodge that knife lunge is a priority, but otherwise she doesn’t present an extreme threat. Another boss to kill and move on.
More coming soon!