Ghost of Tsushima Duels: Tips on how to win one-on-one boss fights

Ghost of Tsushima Duels
(Image credit: Sony)

Throughout Jin's adventure, you'll take part in plenty of Ghost of Tsushima duels. These are different to standoffs as duels are essentially one-on-one boss fights where you need to chip away at your adversary's health bar and, for the most part, they mainly crop up during the Ghost of Tsushima story.  You need to complete all of the Ghost of Tsushima duels for the There Can Be Only One trophy too, so read up on some of our tips to give yourself a leg-up, especially on the harder difficulties.

Ghost of Tsushima duels tips

(Image credit: Sucker Punch)

Ghost of Tsushima duels are a different flow to the rest of the fights in the game. You don't have any of your usual gear, addition weapons or skills and have to rely on nothing but your sword and reactions. It's all about reading your enemy, learning their moves and mastering your perfect parries. With that in mind here are some top tips for winning all of the Ghost of Tsushima duels.

1. Watch and learn their move patterns

Ghost of Tsushima Duels tips: Learn move patterns

(Image credit: Sony)

Every foe you face off against will have signature moves and animations that will occur before their stronger attacks. Blockable light swings can quickly turn into an unblockable heavy attack so be ready to dodge out of the way and remember to strike when an opportunity arises. On the other hand, make sure you go for a parry when you know an unblockable attack isn't imminent.

2. Don't be afraid to dodge

Ghost of Tsushima Duels tips: Dodge

(Image credit: Sony)

It's tempting to go all-out offensive in duels, but your foe will counter after a couple of hits. When they do, don't always try and parry. They can switch to an unblockable attack very quickly, so keep your finger on the dodge button; hitting block instead will leave you open to some serious damage. You need to balance the parrying with the dodging.

3. Use mythic moves like Heavenly Strike and Dance of Wrath

Ghost of Tsushima Duels tips: Use mythical skills

(Image credit: Sony)

While you can't use equipment like arrows or kunai in duels, you can use the mythical skills you've learnt like Heavenly Strike and Dance of Wrath. If you're struggling to get any damage in whatsoever, popping these two off will be some guaranteed hits. Just make sure you don't consume all of your resolve by using these, because you'll need it to heal up.

4. Switch armour before the fight

Ghost of Tsushima Duels tips: Switch armour

(Image credit: Sony)

The armour in Ghost of Tsushima is all suited to vastly different scenarios. Ghost Armour is excellent for stealth, Tadayori Armour is what you want if you're battling at range, and Traveller's Attire is for those who love collectibles. Problem is, they are all a bit useless when it comes to duels. You'll want to switch to something more combat-focused to give yourself an easy advantage, like the Samurai Clan or Sakai Clan Armour.

5. An unblockable attack is usually coming next if your foe sheathes their sword

Ghost of Tsushima Duels tips: Sheathed sword means unblockable attack

(Image credit: Sony)

One sign that you're about to face the wrath of an unblockable attack is when your enemy sheathes their sword. It isn't guaranteed, but most of the time, if you let them get close with a sheathed sword, they're gonna hit hard. Thankfully, if you're quick enough, you can get an attack or two in before they start the attack animation, interrupting it. So essentially, a sheathed sword is an invitation for you to get a free hit in.

6. Use heavy attacks to whittle down their stamina bar

Ghost of Tsushima duels tips: Whittle down their stamina bar

(Image credit: Sony)

Enemies in duels will have stamina bars like the standard enemies you come up against, but they're much bigger and take longer to break. As a result, even if they're going to block your attacks, make sure to use a few heavy attacks to take down their stamina bar. When you pull off a perfect parry, make sure you're following up with a heavy attack instead of a light attack too, as you'll do much more damage this way.

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Ford James

Give me a game and I will write every "how to" I possibly can or die trying. When I'm not knee-deep in a game to write guides on, you'll find me hurtling round the track in F1, flinging balls on my phone in Pokemon Go, pretending to know what I'm doing in Football Manager, or clicking on heads in Valorant.