You thought you were done with this mission? There’s a lot more pain in-store yet! Here’s how to beat the Yokai version of Shibata Katsuie in Nioh 2.
Not content with causing just one stress headache per level, right after the frustrating encounter with Maeda Toshile you’re thrown into an altogether different test.
If you're looking for the earlier double team side mission boss fight, our Shiftling's Wise Judgement page is here.
Nioh 2 - How to beat Shibata Katsuie
Below is a video of when the mechanics of this fight finally clicked into gear for me on my first blind playthrough of Nioh 2. There are a few close calls, but it shows how to deal with the sustained pressure of his attacks and punish the right openings.
There are quite a few elements of trial and error in this fight. For instance you can block some variations of attack patterns inside the Yokai Realm, but not outside of it. While other times, things you thought were safe to block burst through your guard.
It’s frustrating, and this is probably one of the highest stake boss fights you’ll come across in the game. One mistake and you’re dead - so be sure to stock up on Quick-change Ninjutsu to take the hit. It doesn’t always work, but it’s better to have it than not.
Similar to Magara Naotaka, Shibata Katsuie is a mixture of the human and Yokai bosses you find throughout the game. He attacks constantly like a human, and has ridiculous tracking on his incredibly powerful moves like a Yokai.
Right from the start of the fight he’ll rush towards you. It’s unblockable so you have to dodge this, and he’ll bounce off the walls between 2-5 times.
There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to how long he does this for. Watch out for him slamming down with his right hand then swiping upwards. This is your cue to sprint in and land a combo to his back.
Outside of the Yokai Realm - other than the charge attack - you can block many of his combos. However, a lot of them last for such a long time that you’ll get staggered.
To counter this I’d suggest stepping backwards away from the start of his combos, but being ready to throw up a guard as he closes the range. That way you’ll be ready to chip away with a cheeky attack or two of your own when he’s finished.
Don’t get greedy though. If you spend too long trying to whittle away he’ll reset into a charge attack you have no chance of dodging - back off after one combo of your own.
He has two attacks where he spins his axe through the air. The first is where he wheels his arms around his head, then leaves the axe spinning. Dodge backwards away from this and be ready for him to follow up with a charge - he does this a lot together.
The second variation of this is where he spins in a circle, then the axe continues to spin out at increasing speed and range. Back off to avoid the initial swings, then either block the last couple of revolutions or roll forwards through the attack to set up for a counter. It won’t hit you once you’re inside it’s circle.
You can either block or sidestep where he leans back and throws one axe at you.
His fiery warthog attack is simple enough to dodge roll to the side of, but isn’t safe to punish because he resets quickly. But if there’s any attack most likely to cause tears, it’s his black-and-white charge that’s the absolute killer.
The tracking on his black-and-white unblockable charge is insane. Utter madness. The range is huge and if you roll a second too late he’ll just curve his run and catch you - often resulting in curtains.
My best strategy for dealing with it is to keep Shibata Katsuie at a good distance generally, and when you see the black-and-white attack come out, sprint to the left or right then dodge roll just as he gets close.
There’s a good opportunity to get in behind him for some damage after you’ve avoided this attack.
He has a couple of Burst Counters in the real world too. The first is a simple enough flurry of flailing attacks that you should be able to punish the timing of quite simply.
There’s also one where he slams both axes into the ground to create fire puddles. It’s that original slam you’re trying to Burst Counter, not the puddles.
In the Yokai Realm, things change a little bit. His basic combos are now imbued with fire, and can cause burning through your guard.
However, the crawl that his charge changes into is blockable.
This means you need to start dodging the axe hits you’d normally block and block the crawl to stop the arena getting bogged down with fire puddles.
You can still punish his lunges and Burst Counters, but just exercise more care in the Yokai Realm.
Keep your powder dry, and keep up the rhythm of dodging and dashing in behind him to chip down his health. Armor with dodge ki reduction helps with this, especially because there aren’t many puddles to make use of health regeneration sets with.
This fight lasts a long time, and it’s easy to panic at the end and get rolled over by Shibata Katsuie’s relentless pressure. Consider summoning a Benevolent Grave to help you, although the AI doesn’t deal with his rush attacks very well.