Lady Butterfly is arguably the first major boss you'll find in Sekiro, found in the game's Hirata Estate memories area, following straight on from Juzou the Drunkard in the game itself and our walkthrough of the game's bosses and mini-bosses.
You'll find Lady Butterfly just shortly after the Hirata Audience Chamber Sculptor's Idol that's inside the building - kill the one grunt shortly after that, move the platform in front of the samurai suit aside and go down the hidden stairs to face her.
Below, we'll cover how to beat and kill Sekiro's Lady Butterfly, including any particularly strong methods or weaknesses they might have and any handy things to bear in mind.
For more guides and pages like this, meanwhile, cycle back to our main Sekiro walkthrough and boss guide hub.
Sekiro Lady Butterfly fight - how to beat and kill Lady Butterfly
There's only one thing you really need to do to set up for Lady Butterfly: she's solo, and there's nothing you can do to land a stealth Deathblow or anything like that early on.
The main thing is finding yourself some Snap Seeds. You'll get one from the man who's right by the secret entrance to the boss fight area, and five for stabbing the Great Serpent, which is found towards the end of the Ashina Outskirts area, but there's much more detail in our Snap Seed locations guide on the specifics. Having at least one of these is essential: in the second phase of the battle, Lady Butterfly will summon some spectral soldiers who slowly close in and attack you. Using a Snap Seed quick item will dispel them until she summons more.
The only other preparation we recommend is all the usual stocking up of healing items and backing any XP if you're close to the next level by grinding some grunts - and one thing in particular: carrying as many Spirit Emblems as possible and equipping your Shurken Prosthetic Tool, as it's going to come in handy.
How to beat Lady Butterfly
Spoilers for this actual boss fight (but what are you doing here if you care about those...) - Lady Butterfly only has one Deathblow mark but actually has two. Kill her once and she'll disappear only to reappear again rejuvinated, and you'll need to kill her again to properly leave her defeated.
The main technique that's going to help you here is that Shuriken Prosthetic. When she jumps up in the air to attack - and she'll do that a lot - then chuck a Shuriken at her to knock her to the ground. Most (but not all) of the time this will leave her open to proper Vitality damage with her guard down.
Vitality damage is essential here too, as Lady Butterfly's Posture recovers extremely quickly at full health. Whittle her down with actual damage though and it'll recover far slower, giving you much more of a chance to break her Posture with well-timed deflections and jump counters, which are going to be the main thing you'll be doing when you're not lobbing Shurikens at her in the air.
She uses two Perilous attacks: a sweep, when she's on the ground, which you need to counter with a jump and double-jump on her head for some decent Posture damage, and an aerial Grab attack. She'll often jump up in the air to throw her own Shuriken at you or perform a darting attack towards you, but about a third of the time she jumps up high will be to perform this Perilous Grab.
When she does, you need to perform a very well-timed dodge, or better just just get behind a pillar - these are your very good friends for this fight. We found it surprisingly easy to get ourselves behind a pillar and then dodge away from the aerial Perilous Grab attacks, and in doing so Lady Butterfly is left vulnerable to a couple of swipes before going back to her reliable guards and parries.
That's the other important thing to note: you can get two attacks in on Butterfly before she catches you in stun lock or parries to start attacking you. Go for a third and you're very vulnerable, go for a fourth and you're in real trouble.
The cycle, then, is this:
- Get up close and attack her twice.
- Back off or Deflect her attacks - she attacks with quite a regular, set rhythm that we found fairly easy to learn, so it's worth trying to Deflect if you can.
- She'll probably jump up in the air at this point - get moving. Whenever she's in the air just hop around to the side of the area as quick as you can, and try to put a pillar between you and her. She'll either throw Shuriken, try to jump on you, throw Shuriken and try to jump on you, or go for a Perilous Grab. Staying mobile and weaving in and out of the pillars work for us with just about all of this. Just keep moving and keep your guard up as much as possible, and do not get caught in that Grab. You can knock her our of the air with Shuriken at almost any point, and this will allow you to close the gap and get attacking sooner, rather than trying to evade her, so use those when you can.
- When she lands, hit her twice again - this is normally a chance to get proper damage on her Vitality bar, and that's essential for wearing her down. Don't get greedy.
- Dodge or deflect her attacks in response, back off, and get moving again as she jumps back up in the air. Use more Shuriken and when you run out, stay mobile, hit her twice when she lands, and repeat.
- Get the Deathblow off when you can, and then it's time for round two.
Looking for more Sekiro pages like this? First up, the first main Sekiro patch notes for update 1.03 are live. Otherwise, our Sekiro boss guide, boss list and walkthrough hub has everything in one place, including pages on Lady Butterfly, Genichiro Ashina Way of Tomoe, Folding Screen Monkeys, Corrupted Monk, Guardian Ape, Great Shinobi Owl, Emma and Isshin Ashina, True Corrupted Monk, and Divine Dragon. We also have in-depth pages like Sekiro tips and tricks to get you started, Sekiro Skills, skill tree and Esoteric Text locations explained, our deep dive on the Sekiro combat system, Posture, and Perilous Attacks, or details on all Sekiro Prosthetic Tool locations, how to cure Dragonrot and Rot Essence in Sekiro, Gourd Seed locations, a Divine Confetti farm route method, all Treasure Carp Scale locations, all, Prayer Beads locations and all Snap Seed locations, too. And when you're ready - the how to beat Isshin Sword Saint and an Isshin Sword Saint cheese, plus the many Sekiro endings.
Lady Butterfly second phase and how to beat her
The second phase of Lady Butterfly is slightly tougher. She uses mostly the same attacks, but she also has a few more tricks up her sleeve.
The first is a cloud of golden butterflies that will home in on you and deal damage each time on connects. She summons these by channelling briefly before attacking in a spinning kick move. Try to attack her while she channels for a couple of free hits, and then the same methods as before apply well - keep very mobile, jumping up, away, and dodging to get out of their reach.
The other is a summoning move, where she jumps up and clicks her fingers, to summon a load of spectral soldiers that look like ghosts. This is when you want to use the Snap Seed quick item you've hopefully got stored. Wait until after the solders have actually appeared to use it, and they'll go away. Don't waste it too early!
Otherwise, the second phase is more of the same. Two or three hits, do your own Deflects, step back, stay mobile, Shuriken her out of the air, and repeat.
That's all you'll hopefully need for tackling this encounter. Next up in our guide is the Chained Ogre fight back in the non-memory world, or you can cycle back to our main Sekiro walkthrough and boss guide hub for much more bosses, explainers and advice.