Contained within are thorough guides to the five characters of Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun. In here, you will learn what Hayato’s, Yuki’s, Mugen’s, Aiko’s, and Takuma’s special capabilities are and how to best use them. Also inside are some strategy tips for dealing with types of enemies and some other useful tricks to help you accomplish your missions without getting caught.
Definitive Guide to Characters
Hayato, the ninja mercenary, is your first character. Hayato excels at infiltration and distraction: he can disrupt patrols and trick guards into looking the wrong way, and is one of the more agile characters, able to go where others can’t. However, he lacks the ability to lure guards into traps, and his long-range options are limited.
A: Stealth Kill
- Hayato can stealth kill an enemy with his ninjato. His stealth kill is one of the fastest and quietest. Use it to take care of any guards within his reach.
- Hayato can take out a guard at a distance with a throw of his shuriken. This is Hayato’s only relatively quiet long-range option, and it can be useful for taking out guards that are out of reach. However, it has a few disadvantages that you need to be aware of.
- First, the shuriken has a limited range and travels in a straight line, so Hayato needs to have a clear line of sight on his target.
- Secondly, the victim will cry out when they get hit: notice that when you aim at a target, a blue circle appears around them. Any enemies within that circle will hear the guard when they get hit.
- Thirdly, the victim will take a couple seconds to die, and enemies that see them writhing in their death throes will be alerted (Hint: you can pick up the victim and set them down during the death animation to skip that).
- Fourthly, for some reason, Hayato only carries one shuriken, which means that after throwing it, you need to go and pick it up again before you can use it.
- However, the advantage of the shuriken is that it allows Hayato a reusable way to take out an enemy relatively quietly from a distance. Use the shuriken to take down guards that are out of reach: just make sure that no one will hear them scream or see them die, and make sure that you pick it up after.
D: Throw Stone
- Hayato picks up a stone and throws it, making a clatter that distracts guards for a few seconds. Unlike the shuriken, the stone travels in an arc, allowing Hayato to throw it from behind cover. When you throw the stone, any enemies that are within the blue circle will turn and look towards the noise for a couple seconds, giving Hayato or his friends time to stab them in the back or run past them. This ability is infinite use and has a short cooldown, so feel free to use it as much as possible. Just make sure to move fast, because they won’t be distracted forever. You can also throw the stone at cattle or oxen in levels where they’re available, causing them to kick backward and kill anyone unfortunate enough to be standing behind them.
F: Matchlock Pistol
- Along with Yuki, Aiko, and Takuma, Hayato gains a matchlock pistol partway through the game. The pistol can one-shot kill most enemies and will stun samurai, but it has a number of disadvantages. Firstly, firing it will make a lot of noise. Secondly, Hayato only carries three shots and must reload before firing again, which takes a couple seconds. This means that the pistol is a last-resort weapon: use this only if you don’t have any other options, such as you need to take out a samurai that’s in the way.
Hayato makes no noise while running. This allows him to sprint right past patrolling guards.
Hayato can carry one body on his back. He walks slowly while doing so and makes some noise while doing so. Be careful not to walk into any enemy’s line of sight while carrying a body.
Hayato can climb vines, swim, jump, and balance on narrow walkways, and he has a hookshot to quickly climb up to rooftops.
Hayato can perform a leaping kill to kill/knock out an enemy from above.
Our young, bubbly thief girl Yuki is based around luring and trapping enemies. She can trick guards into abandoning their posts or leaving their patrols, allowing her friends to move past them or pulling them into ambushes. By herself or with the help of her friends and some careful maneuvering, Yuki can wipe out entire areas of enemies. However, Yuki suffers from a slow takedown and has no long-range options besides the pistol she gets later.
A: Stealth Attack
- Yuki takes out an enemy with a few stabs of her knife. Yuki is fully capable of killing anyone, but her attack takes a bit longer than Hayato or Mugen’s and is a fair bit noisier. Be particularly careful of any nearby enemies before you send Yuki to kill a guard.
S: Little Trap
- Yuki places a pressure-triggered trap on the ground, which will kill the first enemy to step on it. Setting up the trap takes a few seconds and makes some noise (Yuki apparently can’t stop herself from humming while she sets it up), so don’t put it near any enemies. However, once it’s set up, enemies won’t see it until it’s too late.
- However, the unfortunate guard that triggers the trap takes a couple seconds to die, and enemies that spot them writhing in agony will sound an alarm. Try to set up the trap out of sight of nearby enemies, and be careful to only lure one guard at a time. Another hint: if you set up the trap in or on the edge of a bush, the victim will fall into the bush and their body will disappear.
- The trap is one-time use: once it’s been activated, Yuki will need to pick it up before it can be used again. She can also pick it up before it’s been activated to reposition it if necessary.
D: Bird Whistle
- Yuki plays a little tune on her whistle, creating a loud noise that will prompt any nearby guards to investigate. Use the whistle to lure guards away from their positions or patrol routes (and, possibly, lure them to their deaths); any enemies within the blue circle will hear it and investigate (just be careful you don’t attract too much attention!).
- Keep in mind that guards that hear the whistle will try to get to your position (unless it’s out of reach) so you will need to find a place to hide or at least get out of their way after whistling. Once they reach your position, they’ll look around for a while before eventually giving up and going back to what they were doing.
- Also note: guards that hear the whistle will immediately go and investigate, even if they were previously busy with something else. You can use this to save friends from being spotted if a guard is rushing towards them.
F: Matchlock Pistol
- As with Hayato, Aiko, and Takuma, Yuki gains a matchlock pistol partway through the game. Use with caution, if at all.
- Yuki can climb vines, swim, balance on walkways, and jump.
- Yuki can slowly drag one body at a time and makes some noise while doing so. It’s slow, but unlike Hayato and Mugen, Yuki can drag bodies through the darker areas of a guard’s vision cone.
- Yuki is the only character who can pickpocket items from enemies.
Mugen may be an honorable samurai, but he doesn’t have any qualms about stabbing enemies in the back. The strongest and toughest character, Mugen excels at crowd control: he can wipe out entire groups of enemies at once and use his sake bottle to take apart patrols. He is also the best character to use against samurai. His biggest weakness, though, is his lack of agility or distraction options.
A: Stealth Takedown
- A swift strike of Mugen’s katana will take down any enemies. His takedown is just as quick and quiet as Hayato’s. Mugen is also the only character who can kill a samurai sword-to-sword, though doing so takes a couple seconds and leaves him vulnerable to attacks from behind.
S: Sword Wind
- Mugen’s most devastating technique: he rushes up to the designated area and performs a series of swift cuts, killing any non-samurai enemies within the area of effect. While this allows him to wipe out entire patrols at once, it also takes a few seconds to complete and Mugen is very vulnerable to attack while he’s performing the technique. It also has a long cooldown to prevent abuse. Make sure you only use this attack if there are no enemies that can see and shoot at Mugen while he’s busy waving his swords around.
D: Sake Bottle
- Mugen tosses out a bottle of sake as a lure. The first guard to see it will walk over to pick it up (and potentially blunder into an ambush). Patrols will move together. Like Hayato’s shuriken, Mugen must pick up the bottle before he can use it again. It is thrown in an arc, which means he can use it from behind cover, but has a very short range. And remember, it works on line of sight: make sure you throw it out where enemies can see it. Also, this should go without saying, but make sure that the lured guards don’t see you while they’re trying to retrieve the bottle.
F: Hand Cannon
- Unlike the other’s matchlock pistol, Mugen gains a more powerful hand cannon. This is the only long-range weapon that will kill instead of merely stunning samurai. However, the hand cannon makes a bit more noise than the pistols and Mugen only carries two shots instead of three. Use the hand cannon only to take out samurai that are out of reach.
- Mugen can climb ladders, but cannot jump or swim.
- Mugen can carry two bodies simultaneously and can run while doing so, though he will make noise. He can also throw the bodies if necessary.
- Mugen is the only character who can pick up and carry heavy objects like stones or barrels, but is reduced to a slow walk while doing so. He can also throw them a fair distance, and can crush an enemy with a thrown stone (nearby guards will regard this as an accident, even if there was no way for the rock to just appear out of the sky and fall on his head).
- Mugen has 6 health points compared to the others’ 4.
Elegant but deadly, the kunoichi Aiko is, in many ways, the foil to Hayato. She is good at disruption, capable of poking holes in enemy patrols and positions that the others can exploit. However, she has very limited lethal options and her long-range game is lacking.
A: Stealth Takedown
- A quick stab of her hairpin will take care of any Aiko’s enemies. Her takedown is slightly slower than Hayato’s or Mugen’s, but not as long as Yuki’s.
S: Sneezing Powder
- Aiko throws a bottle of sneezing powder in an arc. Any enemies within its area of effect will be briefly overcome with sneezing, greatly reducing their cone of vision for a couple seconds. Use this to sneak past a guard that you can’t go around, but be quick: the effect is very short.
- As a kunoichi, a female ninja, Aiko is skilled in the art of disguise and in using conversation to distract enemies. Aiko does not carry a disguise with her: in levels where it is available, she must take a disguise by other stealing some fresh clothes off a line or by killing/knocking out a designated civilian and stealing their clothes.
- Once Aiko has some clothes, she can disguise herself as a geisha or a priestess at any point, though she stands up while doing so and it takes a couple of seconds (she’s an efficient dresser: she can somehow put up her hair into elaborate styles in the span of moments). While disguised, she can freely walk through areas full of enemy guards without being spotted. However, she will lose the disguise if she climbs up a vine or jumps in the lake, or if anyone spots her killing a guard.
- Warning: be wary of samurai. They can see right through Aiko’s disguise and will attack on sight.
- While Aiko is disguised, she can start a conversation with an enemy. The enemy she starts speaking to will turn to face her and will keep their attention on her unless they see or hear something. If Aiko speaks to a member of a patrol, the entire group will stop to face her. They will keep talking to her until Aiko moves away (though I have heard that patrols will move away after a while).
- Aiko’s disguise allows you to get into areas that the others are denied and potentially open up pathways for the others, and her conversation can help others sneak past or set up entire groups for ambushes. Just be careful of where you go and who can see you.
F: Matchlock pistol
- Partway through the game, Aiko gains a matchlock pistol and 3 shots, just like Hayato, Yuki, and Takuma. Use with caution, if at all.
- Aiko can climb vines, jump, swim and balance on narrow walkways. Like Hayato and Yuki, her run is silent.
- Like Yuki, Aiko can slowly drag one body at a time. It’s slow, but she can also drag bodies through the darker areas of enemy vision without being spotted.
The inventive and cheerful old sniper, Takuma is your go-to specialist for long-range elimination, able take down any target from range. However, his close-range options are limited only to his pistol, and he is the least mobile character out of all of them. Do your best to keep him away from the fighting, where he can do the most good.
A: Sniper Rifle
- Takuma’s rifle has practically unlimited range and can kill most enemies and stun samurai. However, he requires a clear line of sight with his target, which can require some patient positioning on your part (Takuma’s scope will turn red if he can’t get a shot). Takuma only carries 6 bullets with him and cannot move while the rifle is out (justified, seeing as it’s made from his peg leg and cane). Use the rifle to take out enemies that are in the way that the others can’t reach. Just make sure that no one else will see them die!
- Takuma tosses out a grenade, killing any enemies within its range (and any teammates that are too close). The grenade can clear out groups of enemies that are otherwise unpassable, though the noise will attract attention, and Takuma only carries two of them. Use as a last resort, if it all. (Note: Takuma can also fill his grenades with knockout gas by pressing Y).
- Takuma’s pet tanuki, Kuma, can be employed as a distraction. Takuma can order Kuma to go to any position within a limited range around him, then tell him to start distracting others by pressing T. When commanded, Kuma will start chittering and dancing around until told to stop. Any guards that hear him will walk over to watch for a while but will eventually get bored and go back to what they were doing. Use Kuma’s adorableness to pull guards away from their posts and sneak past while they’re busy. Kuma will not attract any attention while he’s running around; the tricky part, though, is getting Takuma close enough so he can get Kuma to the right spot. If you try attracting a guard and they get bored, you can attract them again by repositioning and dancing around some more.
F: Matchlock pistol
- As with the others, Takuma carries a matchlock pistol as a last resort.
- As an old, one-legged man, Takuma has very limited maneuverability. He can climb ladders, but cannot swim, climb vines, or balance on narrow walkways. His run also makes a lot of noise. Also, he cannot carry bodies.