Headless (首無し) are the ruined form of corrupted heroes who once fought for their country. A fog slowing movement and preventing dashing encircles them.
The first one is found in Ashina Outskirts after a warning sign posted on a temple near where General Tenzen Yamauchi is fought, through the gates to the right. Grapple to the branch then jump forward to the right and grab onto the ledge and keep to the left, then finally land in front of a cave. Inside the cave below is a Shinobi door that leads to the Senpou Temple's Bell Demon's Temple.
The third one is found in Ashina Castle in a cave and requires Mibu Breathing Technique to reach. From the Under-Shrine Valley Sculptor's Idol, go the opposite way of the path leading to Sunken Valley to reach a plateau with monuments and graves. Here, dive into the small body of water near an ice pillar to reach its cave.
Behaviour and Tactics
- Perilous Grab: spins the sword around in a ritualistic manner then disappears, only to reappear behind Wolf for a grab. If connected, he steals Wolf's shirikodama (尻子玉) and absorbs it.
- Belly Flop: leaps high into the air and land atop of Wolf belly first if he moves too far away.
- Ghostly Projectiles: releases a volley of homing projectiles capable of dealing damage bypassing guards.
- Quick Slap: slaps with his left hand if Wolf is too close.
- Raging Smash: two overhead smashes.
- Two-Hit Combo: an overhead smash follows by a horizontal slash with extended range.
- Defilement: wherever he walks creates a debilitating aura capable of slowing down and limiting evasive maneuvers like step dodging.
Normal attacks deal minimal damage to the land variants of the Headless, so it's advised (if not mandatory) to use Divine Confetti. It's important to note that deflecting this miniboss' attacks correctly without the effect of Divine Confetti applied to the katana will still result in chip damage being inflicted to the player (even with Kuro's Charm in the inventory).
Their wide variety of sword attacks cause rapid Terror build-up, so be sure to carry some Pacifying Agent or a Mottled Purple Gourd and to consume either at the beginning of the fight to increase Wolf's resistance to such status: any Terror build-up can't be stopped by blocking, but can be prevented with a perfect deflection.
Since not many Confetti can be found before the first Headless without visiting the Hirata Estate and it's impossible to obtain Pacifying Agents before defeating the Blazing Bull, it's highly recommended to ignore this fight at the beginning of the game.
It's vital to not be greedy against the Headless and only land a couple of hits, before being ready to deflect any incoming combo.
When it disappears to teleport behind Wolf, jump forward repeatedly or face it when it reappears as its Perilous Grab attack will only be attempted if Wolf is faced away from it. Because the fog around it slows movement and prevents dashing, be sure to jump or deflect to avoid taking damage. Note that deflecting perfectly still inflicts some damage.
Everytime he's about to disappear, he'll first swing his sword around and then lift it up above his neck: turn the camera aound while walking to the spot where the minibosses disappear to avoid the incoming grab attack completely and punish him with four hits.
After receiving costant damage in a short timespan, he will end-up staggered and his debilitating aura will dissipate for a short while.
All of his attack can be avoided by dodging backward.
Phoenix's Lilac Umbrella is another essential tool to bring to this fight, not only for the Terror buildup absorption but the use of Projected Force will help whittle down the Headless quickly. By using both Divine Confetti, Yashariku's Sugar, and Malcontent, it is possible to defeat the Headless before it has an opportunity to attack: move as close as possible to the Headless, and use Malcontent to stun it, then keep attacking even after the stun wears off. If enough damage is dealt, the Headless will stagger, allowing enough time to perform the first Deathblow. After this, simply repeat the process for the second Deathblow.
One is found in Ashina Castle. From the Old Grave Sculptor's Idol, head towards the Great Serpent Shrine, but dive into the pond before passing the first bridge.
The other one is found at the bottom of the large lake at Fountainhead Palace along with a weaker, illusory duplicate, each possessing only one health bar. Due to their location, the Mibu Breathing Technique is required for both of these fights.
Behaviour and Tactics
- Cyclone: creates a tunneling vacuum, pulling the target close. If connected, he steals Wolf's shirikodama (尻子玉) and absorbs it.
- Sword Swing: swings his sword around, similar to how a Perilous Grab of the Land Variant does.
- Ghostly Projectiles: releases a volley of homing projectiles.
- Terror Wave: slashes in an arc, delivering a fast moving shockwave with Terror buildup.
Normal sword attacks do damage to the underwater variants, but Divine Confetti still deals extra damage, however since item usage, including that of Prosthetic Tools is restricted underwater, be sure to apply the buff before diving.
While Pacifying Agents can only be applied on land, the Mottled Purple Gourd can be used underwater.
These variants use more ranged attacks more frequently and need to be Deathblown only once. Focus on dodging their projectiles and dash in for a few swings until another opening.
It's not mandatory to kill the illusory Headless in the Fountainhead Palace, as he'll die once the other Headless is defeated.
- One of the few minibosses that's immune to any stealth and plunging deathblow.
- Shirikodama (尻子玉) is a mythical ball said to contain one's soul, located inside the anus. In Japanese folklore, Kappa are said to take these balls for the purpose of gaining the power of their victims. Headless seems to be doing the same, and after the attack connects, he seems to be inserting the ball into himself.
- It's heavily implied that the second Headless in the Fountainhead Palace is the unborn brother mentioned in the description of Yashariku's Spiritfall.