As For Honor's living embodiment of the Samurai code of Bushido, the Kensei are some of the most easily recognized warriors in all of human history. Feared and revered for their cold, calculating killer instincts and devotion to technique and precision, the way of the samurai warrior is translated accurately in the Kensei. He is slow, but can adapt to every scenario with ease, and his long nodachi can control the field around him at a surprising distance.
Whenever you finish the following chains with a top-heavy attack, they will be unblockable. Generally speaking, they are all pretty slow to start up and easy to dodge, but they can also also all be cancelled into a side light or heavy attack to help your mix-up game. When cancelling a finisher in this way with a heavy side attack, that attack becomes uninterruptible.
The first chain, Dawn of the Steel Sun (light, light, light), is a particularly narrow chain that will be hard to catch strafers with. It is the Kensei's fastest chain, though, and is a good harassment tool in duels or other one-on-one scenarios.
The next chain, Spirit of Inevitability (light, light, heavy), mixes the wide swing and narrow poke of the first chain and adds another, wider swing at the finish. The compulsion will be to finish top-heavy for the unblockable attack every time, but this chain is fast enough to help harass multiple enemies with its pair of wide arcs (if you start and end with side attacks, that is). If your foe moves around you a lot, consider this a counter offensive.
His third chain, Form of the Dragon (light, heavy, heavy), features a three-piece of swooping swings that really highlights the speed disadvantage he has for a Vanguard, but with the bonus of pretty effortless power. The first light attack will be the easiest thing to hit, but mixing up the guard will really come in handy in order to get that big damage at the end.
His last one, Doom of the Kensei (heavy, heavy, heavy), is going to be a tough one to land completely in combat. The power of the chain is undeniable, but the speed is easily worked around, especially by Assassins. Use sparingly.
Even though many of those chains will be difficult to get all of, there are valuable shortcuts to get acquainted with. The Kensei has two dodging abilities, the Helmsplitter (dodge towards, light) and the Swift Strike (dodge right/left, light). When these attacks hit, chains can be strung from them. So instead of trying to land a neutral light as a starter, you can work in these more dynamic options.
After a guard break, your next attack serves as the second link in your chains. So those heavy attacks you were having problems landing from a neutral position get a whole lot easier when your opponent is dazed.
After a throw, you can skip straight to combo finishers with a heavy attack. This is how you get that unblockable to land consistently.
To help facilitate the last two options, the Kensei has a pouncing guard break. After dashing towards the opponent, the guard break will hit the foe from a greater range than normal. This lets you stay safe just at the outside of your range while waiting for you opponent to slip up.
- Cancel your finishers into other finishers often. This is a very flexible last line of defense that many other heroes don't have, and it's just another tool in your arsenal.
- Feinting your top heavy finisher is often the best way to make it a consistent threat during any given battle. The start up animation is vivid, and if a player can react to it, they will. See how they plan to play around it and react accordingly.
- Be careful of the builds you focus on with the Kensei. Giving him too much throw distance may put your targets out of range for your finishers.
- Speaking of, always aim for a wall or some other obstacle when throwing your opponents. The stagger will further increase your chances of landing that big finisher.
- Your zone attack (light + heavy) is actually two attacks, and can be cancelled right after the first one with the cancel button, the same way you would a feint.
- Be very cautious about how often you use your pouncing guard break. For longer ranged enemies like Valkyries and Lawbringers, they will have a much easier time interrupting you before you make contact.
The Kensei has a great balance of range, power, and spontaneity that give him an edge over the competition when handled correctly. His speed is a problem, but nothing that can't be worked around with clever use of his cancels and long-range guard breaks. For more information, go to our For Honor Wiki.
Jarrett shares his love of video games and geek culture through feature articles on Gamepedia. He prides himself on his deep attraction to Japanese beat-em ups and his god-like Bushido Blade talents.