The Hirata Estate level early in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a very useful place to learn the ins and outs of the various battle systems in From Software’s latest title. Hirata gives you several new Shinobi Prosthetic tools that are great under various conditions, lets you fight and stealth a bunch of different kinds of fighters, and puts you up against bosses who will teach you things you’ll use for the rest of the game. Until you get that equipment and learn those techniques, though, Hirata can be pretty tough–especially when you face Juzou The Drunkard, a mid-boss who has a lot of backup.
You’ll find the huge Juzou right before you get to the last portion of Hirata Estate, where he guards the way forward. He’s got a bunch of regular fighters protecting him, and requires two deathblows to beat, making him a tough enemy to best. The good news is, there are a lot of ways to get the upper hand over Juzou if you’re quick, careful, and patient. You can even get help battling him.
Here’s everything you need to know to bring down Juzou The Drunk without getting wrecked repeatedly in the process. We’ve got plenty of other Sekiro guides as well, including one that’ll help you find some key early-game Shinobi Prosthetics, tips for beginners and to die less, a rundown of what the deal is with Dragon Rot, Rot Essence, and Unseen Aid, and a guide for beating other tough fights, like the Chained Ogre and Blazing Bull.
Use Stealth To Clear The Area
As you approach Juzou by crossing the water near him, you’ll see him surrounded by enemies, and you should see a building off to his left with a wood walkway leading up to the main Estate. Head to the left and sneak into the building to find two enemies you can take down. From there, if you take the wood walkway, you’ll wind up behind Juzou and most of the enemies around him. Sneak along the wall and you can deathblow at least one of them; when everyone starts to come for you, run back to the wood walkway and through the hut to find a place to hide. Everyone will eventually stop looking for you, allowing you to use the same move over and over again to clear out the minions. The fight with Juzou is much easier when he’s not flanked by a bunch of helpers getting in your way.
The same logic that goes into the last step applies to Juzou himself. As a big, tough mid-boss, he usually requires two deathblows to defeat–but fighting him straight-up is a great way to get yourself killed in the process. Once you’ve killed everyone around that can alert Juzou, you can use the same wood walkway approach on the left side of the arena to get behind him and lay down a deathblow. This will immediately knock out one of the deathblow requirements for Juzou, making the fight fully half as difficult. You can’t get two stealth deathblows on him, though, so don’t even try–once you’ve attacked Juzou, you have to finish the fight, or he’ll get all his health back.
Enlist Some Help
You don’t actually have to fight Juzou all alone. Just out in the water ahead of him is a samurai loyal to Hirata who means to take on Juzou as well, and he’ll join you in the battle if you talk to him first. You can get the samurai’s assistance just about any time, but he’s most effective if you’ve cleared out Juzou’s helpers and backstabbed him once. With all the other obstructions cleared away, run out and talk to the samurai after Juzou starts chasing you and he’ll join the fight. He’s great for distracting Juzou, allowing you to slash away at the Drunkard’s back. If you’re quick and smart about it, you can even kill Juzou before he manages to finish the samurai off. Just be sure to be careful that Juzou doesn’t turn his attention, and his attacks, to you. When that happens, you’ll want to have your guard up.
Watch Out For Poison
Juzou’s tough with his sword, but he’s not doing anything you haven’t seen before in fighting other warrior enemies. The new trick he brings to the fight is drinking from his flask and then blowing the contents out at you. If you see him go for a drink put some distance between you and him. He’ll likely unload his stinky sake all over the battlefield, which carries a poison effect if too much hits you. He’ll also use the drink on his sword to make it poisonous, which means you could take poison damage even when blocking.
Wear Down Juzou’s Vitality
If you decide to fight Juzou straight–which is pretty good practice–you’ll find that even when blocking him repeatedly, you won’t do much damage to his Posture. That’s because Juzou is a boss character with a lot of Vitality, or health points. Enemies with a lot of Vitality recover Posture very quickly (and you’ll notice that your Posture recovers faster when your health is high, too). The trick to getting Juzou into deathblow position is dealing damage to him. The best way to do that is to watch his moves and look for counter-attack opportunities. Those are when you successfully parry a blow and then can follow up immediately with a slash of your own, which will get through the enemy’s defenses. Fighting Juzou toe-to-toe with your sword can be tough, but it’s definitely doable. Don’t be afraid to try Shinobi Prosthetics like the Firecrackers to mess with him a bit, as well.