The Blazing Bull is something of an unintuitive enemy to come upon early in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. After fighting generals, samurai, swordsmen, and spearmen, you’re attacked by a huge, thundering bull, whose horns are wrapped in flaming hay. Suddenly, everything you learned about fighting in Sekiro seems to go out the window, and you’re forced to dodge this way and that to avoid getting trampled. It’s an encounter that feels much more like Dark Souls than the rest of Sekiro.
Just because the bull isn’t a sword-wielding foe doesn’t mean your Sekiro fundamentals don’t matter, though. You can, in fact, parry most of the bull’s attacks, and you still want to wear down its Posture so you can deal a deathblow. The major difference is dealing with the bull’s speed, and finding opportunities to inflict some damage so you can drop its Vitality, and thus get to a deathblow sooner. There’s also a key prosthetic than can help in the process that’s easy to have missed up until now.
Here’s what you need to know to take down the Blazing Bull. We’ve got plenty of other Sekiro guides to help you master From Software’s latest title, including a list of must-grab early prosthetics and some tips on where to find additional Snapseeds for fighting Lady Butterfly.
Keep To The Flank And Stay Close
The Blazing Bull hits hard when it lands a blow, but it’s bad at cornering and its size means it can’t adjust to your movements quickly. Don’t dodge backward or sideways, but instead try to move in and under its horns, which are high off the ground. You can also try holding the dodge button to sprint, allowing you to quickly get around the sides of the bull. If you can stick near the Bull’s hindquarters–specifically, close to and beside its back legs but not directly behind it–you can wail away on the bull while it struggles to reposition and attack you. Keep moving, but try to stay close to places the bull can’t easily reach.
Don’t Forget To Parry, And Bring Dousing Powder
It’s counterintuitive because the Blazing Bull is a giant marauding monster, but Sekiro is a game about parrying enemy attacks, and that hasn’t changed just because you’re facing an angry, flaming animal. You can still block incoming attacks if you feel like you can’t dodge them–in fact, it’s essential to keeping yourself alive. Parries will knock down the bull’s Posture, same as with anyone else, and give you chances to get into better position or strike back with counter-attacks. It’s the fire that’s most concerning, since even though you’ll be able to block or parry many attacks, you can still take fire damage and get pushed toward the Burning status effect. Dousing Powder can help in case you come aflame. You should still avoid what attacks you can, but generally, if in doubt: block.
The Blazing Bull is one of those enemies with high Vitality, which means its Posture recharges pretty quickly, even if you go on a parrying tear. You’ll need to do some damage in order to get it closer to taking a deathblow, and really, the best way to take it down is with relentless attacks. As mentioned, you should try to get in close to the bull’s hindquarters and stay around there, where it has trouble hitting you and which will cause it to spend most of its time attempting to wheel around to get you in front of it again. Nail it a bunch with your sword from this position to knock down its health, which makes its Posture recover more slowly. Eventually you should be able to do enough Posture damage just by wailing away to finish the bull off.
One of the most useful Shinobi Prosthetic tools in the game is the Shinobi Firecracker attachment, but it’s also an easy one to miss. The Firecrackers stun enemies and are particularly effective on animals, and against the Blazing Bull they make the fight quite a bit easier. Use the Firecrackers on the bull and it’ll rear up, allowing you a bunch of chances to slice away at it.
You can’t find the Firecrackers in the world, though–you have to purchase them from the Memorial Mob, which you can do in two places before you hit the bull. The first is in the Ashina Outskirts section, in the Gate Path area. When you find the house where you can speak to the old woman who gives you the bell, head forward on the path and look to the left, just before crossing under a wooden gateway. You should see a spot where you can grapple upward. From there, look for more chances to go vertical up to the left, which will put you on something of a stone tower. Climb it to the top and you’ll find the merchant, where you can purchase the Firecrackers attachment for 500 sen.
If you missed that merchant, there’s a second chance to buy the Firecrackers right after fighting Gyoubu the Demon. Use the Ashina Castle Gate Sculptor’s Idol to warp to the arena where you fought Gyoubu, then head back toward where you first dropped down into the area. You’ll see a staircase that leads up toward a building; go around the right side to find a Memorial Mob merchant who will sell you the Firecrackers.
We’ve got plenty more Sekiro guides, including some essential beginner tips and some more expert-level items to help you stop dying, so be sure to check out our full list if you’re still struggling.