Inner Isshin is an optional Boss with three Deathblow Counters.
- Final boss of the Gauntlet of Strength: Severance
- Final boss of the Gauntlet of Strength: Mortal Journey
- Double Shockwave Slash: Sheathes his sword and charges up before slashing, which explodes after a brief delay into a large circular shockwave. After another delay, a second large shockwave appears encircling the first shockwave, but not overlapping with the area struck by the first.
- He will often begin the fight with this attack, but may rarely use it during the first phase at any moment
- Perilous Thrust: Steps to the right, then quickly thrusts with his katana.
- Perilous Sweep: Does a quick sweep with his katana
- Knockback Perilous Sweep: Near instantly palms Wolf dealing minor damage, then sweeps the ground.
- Perilous Thrust Combo: Quickly elbows Wolf dealing minor damage, followed by a Perilous Thrust.
- He often uses this move after blocking an attack from Wolf
- Perilous Sweep Combo: slashes twice then sheathes his katana, preparing for a Perilous Sweep
- Ichimonji - Double: He pauses for a moment to bring his sword overhead, then slams it down twice rapidly. If the first strike is dodged, he will follow up with a quicker normal slash.
- Ashina Cross: Sheathes his katana to the left and channels for a few seconds before releasing the attack. Can be dodged completely to the side. Deals chip damage if not deflected. If he is unable to reach Wolf with the dash, he will instead dash the same distance, perform an elbow jab, then dashes again a short distance followed by using Ashina Cross instantly.
- Cloud Walk: bows his head then instantly dashes a long distance forward, slashing three times upon reaching Wolf.
- If the hit is blocked or deflected, he will cancel the remaining strikes
- If Wolf attempts to use an item at short or medium distance, he will use this attack to punish Wolf.
- Two-hit combo: Several variants
- Three-hit combo: Strikes 3 times, either slowly or quickly, but at a steady pace.
- Reverse Slash: Turns around and quickly strikes once. This move is only used if Wolf is directly behind him, and he is not still winding down from another attack.
- Counter Strike: After blocking an attack from Wolf, he slashes once.
- This move has very short end lag, allowing Isshin to quickly combo into any other move
- Run-By Slash: Dashes past Wolf, striking once along the way, then readies his sword.
- This attack can near instantly combo into Ichimonji once he stops moving and readies his sword
Following the end of the first phase, Isshin pulls a large spear from the ground, gaining a new set of attacks that involve rapid short range sword swings, or slower but wide reaching spear strikes. He also uses a repeating pistol to harass from a distance as he closes in, and gains several attacks that cause shockwaves which deal chip damage even when deflected. If Wolf is not in range of any attacks, he will begin to relentlessly sprint after him, making it much harder to gain distance for healing or item usage.
- Arming sweep: As Isshin pulls the spear out of the ground, it deals damage. This move is unique to the start of the fight and does not occur again.
- Perilous Thrust: Rears his spear back, then thrusts forwards
- Perilous Sweep: drags the spear around him in a long radius.
- Perilous Thrust Combo: Swings his Katana, then slashes with his spear, followed by a Perilous Thrust.
- Perilous Sweep Combo: Dashes forward performing a Perilous Sweep, then leaps into the air swinging his spear upwards. followed by a brief charge and sends a shockwave downwards.
- Spear Pull: If any of his Perilous Thrust: attacks are not deflected or dodged, even if Wolf takes no damage as long as he in range, he may follow them up by pulling his spear backwards, making Wolf stumble.
- If the hit connects, he will slash with his sword, then swing his spear in an uppercut.
- Ichimonji - Double: He pauses for a moment to bring his sword overhead, then slams it down twice rapidly. He may randomly cancel the second strike,.
- If the first hit is avoided entirely, the second hit is replaced with a faster slash, however this hit will only connect if Wolf dodges backwards and not to the side
- If perfectly deflected, Isshin will be staggered for a moment
- Charged Slash: Sheathes his Katana and charges, before unleashing a large shockwave around him
- Dashing Combo: Dashes towards Wolf, slashing twice at the end with his Katana.
- If Wolf attempts to use an item at short or medium distance, this is one of two attacks he may use to punish Wolf
- Leaping Plunge: At any moment, if Wolf is nearby and also knocked down onto the floor, Isshin may leap and plunge directly down with his spear.
- Spear Slam: Slams his spear overhead. He often leaps towards Wolf and uses this move mid-leap to close distance. He often combos into another attack depending on whether the move is blocked, deflected, damages Wolf, or is dodged entirely
- Retreat: leaps back and cleaves at the same time.
- Opening Slash: A single Katana swing that has extremely low end lag, which can easily combo into many other moves
- Frequently combos into Ichimonji, or any of his two, three, or five hit combos
- Two-hit Combo: Several variants, mostly involve a single Katana hit before a single spear hit
- Three-hit Combo: Several Variants, mostly involve only his Katana
- Five-hit Combo: He hops forward and rapidly slashes twice before landing, and then slashes with his spear once before slamming it down on the ground. He will then end the combo with one of two attacks.
- He charges for a moment before unleashing a wide shockwave with his katana.
- Visually appears identical to his Charged Slash, if not for this version ending with his sword trailing up into the air
- He may instead extend the combo further, slashing twice more with his spear before ending with a Perilous Thrust:
- He may instead begin the combo by slashing once with his Katana, then performing 3 spear swings.
- He charges for a moment before unleashing a wide shockwave with his katana.
- Rapid Fire Assault : Shoots 4 times rapidly from his handgun. If in range, he then can begin a Five-hit Combo, slash twice with his spear, or perform a Perilous Sweep:
- Point Blank Shot: Fires a single round from his gun. This shot is treated as a heavy hit, and will knock Wolf back while staggering him.
- This may be used at any moment, or replace any of Isshin's other gun attacks.
- This move is only used when Wolf is extremely close to Isshin.
- Run-by Strike: Runs towards Wolf and slashes as he sprints past, then turns around.
- Often combos into other moves once he turns around
Furious lightning now strikes the field. Isshin uses this to his advantage by performing attacks imbued with the power of lightning, alongside expanding his move set to allow for more aggressive options. After finishing a combo, he will leave less time between starting his next attack. He always begins this phase with one of his two new Lightning: attacks.
- Lightning Retreat: Leaps back and empowers the spear with lightning then quickly slashes in an wide arc.
- This attack replaces his phase 2 Retreat ability
- Lightning Slam: Leaps forwards and slams his lightning-empowered spear down in a vertical arc
- This move does not replace his phase 2 Spear Slam ability, and he may use both during the fight
- Dragon Flash: channels for a brief moment then releases two fast traveling angled shockwaves in front.
- If deflected at point blank range, Isshin will be staggered and cancel the second projectile
As with all bosses, Isshin will block two hits from Wolf before countering. Once he blocks a hit, make sure you only strike once more or else he may easily punish you with a Retreat or Counter Strike.
Many of Isshin's combos come out at a steady rhythm, even if each combo has a different rhythm, so deflecting them becomes much easier if you treat it like a rhythm game.
His first phase's move set is very similar to that of his first phase move set during the Asura ending fight, with only a few changes. Many of the strategies there will apply to phase one here.
The Loaded Umbrella, Mist Raven, Spring-Loaded Flame Vent, or Shinobi Firecracker are extremely highly recommended in this fight. The Double Shockwave Slash, even with maximum prayer beads, will always stagger Wolf. When staggered, Wolf will then always be thrown backwards into the path of the second shockwave, which will always kill him.
- The Flame Vent is the safest option, as a single charged use will stagger Isshin out of his animation, and if oil is thrown at him before hand, it will also ignite Isshin preventing him from recovering posture alongside dealing bonus chip damage over the course of the fight.
- The Shinobi Firecracker also staggers him, but with no burn effect or damage, making it safe but also pointless compared to Flame Vent unless the Purple Fume Spark upgrade is obtained for the damage bonus. However the Purple Fume Spark upgrade does delay the blast, meaning Wolf needs to scatter the firecrackers almost as soon as Isshin begins his charging in order to prevent the swing.
- The Loaded Umbrella massively reduces the knockback of the first shockwave allowing Wolf to avoid being knocked back into the second shockwave and can be held in preparation for the attack once the charging animation begins alongside dealing damage with it's counter strike once the first shockwave is finished, however it deals a large amount of chip damage to Wolf if the shockwave isn't deflected with it's use, and if Wolf is on the very edge he can still be pushed back just enough to be hit by the second shockwave and posture broken alongside taking enough chip damage to nearly kill him. It also has utility in his later phases.
- The Mist Raven on the other hand allows for completely safe avoidance of the ability entirely, and if Wolf accidentally dodges backwards into the range of the second shockwave, there is enough time to reuse the Mist Raven to dodge again, however it must be timed well to dodge the move otherwise Wolf will certainly be killed.
It is also possible to avoid it by doubling back as soon as the animation begins to escape the range of the first shockwave, then dashing inside before the second shockwave hits. However this only works reliably at the start, as the attack is always the first move used in the fight, and it becomes much harder during the rest of the battle if the attack is used later.
Despite the massive angle the attack comes out at and it's flat shockwave, turning Isshin around via the Divine Abduction will not protect you. Even when the shockwave is far above you, it will still deal damage as the attack's hitbox is a cylinder and not a disk.
The Double Shockwave Slash is the most dangerous part of phase 1, and possibly the most dangerous attack in any phase. Outside of this attack, phase 1 is mostly a test of standard deflecting and countering perilous attacks.
Isshin is very passive during phase 1 if you are able to gain distance, only slowly walking towards Wolf until he gets in range of another attack. If you need to heal, make a lot of distance and buff up before reengaging Isshin.
Isshin's extremely passive nature at a distance during phase 1 allows for many hit and run strategies. Wolf can light him on fire or poison him, then simply run away until he is at low HP. However this uses a large number of spirit emblems alongside taking a long time to execute, so it isn't recommended.
After blocking hits from Wolf, Isshin will often counter with either his Counter Strike or Perilous Thrust Combo:. If he uses Counter Strike, it is possible to deflect it and immediately attack twice more, which he may then use Counter Strike again. If he continues to use Counter Strike instead of a Perilous Thrust Combo:, it is possible to rapidly damage his Posture by simply attacking twice, deflecting, then attacking twice again and repeating.
Due to the generally long wind-up of his spear based attacks, the Mist Raven prosthetic tool can allow for easier dodging. The Loaded Umbrella is extremely valuable as Isshin's two Perilous Sweeps: are the only attacks that can break it's guard, as long as Wolf has the posture to keep blocking. The Shinobi Firecracker, particularly the Purple Flame Spark upgrade, can be used if he Isshin is preparing for a hard to dodge attack, as he may get the first hit off only to then be blinded and cancel the combo.
Despite his spear only having a dangerous edge on the very tip, Wolf will take damage if he is struck by the shaft as well.
If he lands his overhead leap attack, Wolf can roll away to dodge his follow-up plunge and hit him back
His Perilous Sweep Combo: is extremely dangerous to jump over, as he near instantly leaps into the air and deals damage, likely throwing Wolf backwards into the final strike. It is recommended to leap away from him and dodge the attack entirely rather than jump on top of him for posture damage.
Dodging sideways during his leaping Spear Slam allows for an easy punish
If Wolf is struck by the second hit of the Perilous Sweep Combo:, and Isshin uses thePerilous Thrust: finisher, Wolf may not have enough time to stand up and Mikiri Counter the thrust. However, dodging forwards regardless will cause Wolf to roll under the hit, allowing an easy punish, or successfully Mikiri counter.
His leaping Spear Slam is his most common gap closing attack, however it can be easily sidestepped and punished.
While it may not occur often, if Wolf dodges under a Perilous Thrust: somehow or walks back in front of it after side stepping, Isshin can still pull the spear back even though it didn't actually connect with Wolf
Because Dragon Flash's projectiles are angled to form an upside V shape, moving to the right will dodge the first one, and then immediately dodging left will dodge the second one.
Despite the more aggressive pace of his attacks, Phase 3 can strangely become easier than phase 2 due to the new Lightning Attacks:. Performing a Lightning Reversal will damage Isshin, meaning that the player can stay on the defensive if they don't feel comfortable attacking, and rely on Lightning Reversals to whittle Isshin's health down.
His Lightning Slam: attack can be easily punished, as it has a purely vertical hitbox making sidestepping it easy. If he ever leaps forward, and also triggers a lightning strike, it will be this move.
Fighting near the small hill can become either more dangerous or much safer in phase 3 depending on who has the high ground, as it makes the angled slash of his Lightning Retreat: able to strike further to the left if Isshin is above Wolf, alongside giving much less time to perform a Lightning Reversal if it connects mid-leap if Wolf jumps towards the incline, while making the reversal more likely to hit below Isshin if Wolf jumps backwards. However if Wolf is above Isshin, it makes the move much easier to leap over completely, and gives more time to perform a Lightning Reversal if Wolf leaps backwards instead.
|Memory: Inner Isshin|