The Sword Master appears as an aged undead wearing nothing but just a few rags and wielding a katana. He serves as a sort of tutorial for one-on-one fights in the game.
His decayed aspect and almost complete lack of garments may fool the player into thinking it would be an easy fight, but his resilience to damage at the point in the game when he can be first encountered and his superior combat techniques will prove him to be a worthy adversary.
He uses the Uchigatana's two-handed moveset and will often keep changing stances to prepare to use its skill, a powerful lunging slash. If attacked while in this stance, he will perform this weapon's secondary skill, a parry and riposte counterattack.
Once defeated, he can be summoned to aid in a number of boss fights throughout the course of the game, including:
- Cemetery of Ash
- Found guarding the back entrance to the bell tower, uphill the left path before entering Firelink Shrine.
- High Wall of Lothric
- Untended Graves
- Summonable as a white phantom for fighting against Champion Gundyr.
The Sword Master can be an unexpected powerful adversary the first time he is encountered. He has a long aggro range and will start approaching the player from a big distance, albeit slowly. His attacks are usually limited to no more than two or three slashes while holding his katana with both hands. However, he will be frequently changing his stance, preparing to unleash his weapon's skill by holding it at waist level in a sheathed-like manner. Refrain from attacking him at this moment or he will parry and follow with a riposte.
He is weak to most types of attack, so using elemental infusions or buffs will be helpful against him. He also has very little poise, so it's possible to stagger him with just a few of well-connected hits. His attacks are quite predictable too, which makes him very susceptible of being parried. It is not recommended to fight him very early in the game, tough, as he will take minimal damage while being able to deal high amounts in return.
The battle initially takes place near a cliff, so it is possible to lure him into falling with enough practice. In addition, he cannot enter Firelink Shrine, so the player may also opt to lure him to the entrance and attack him from inside.
- Wields the Uchigatana when fought in the Cemetery of Ash. Wields the Chaos Blade when summoned as a phantom.
- Weak to most types of damage.
- In order to summon the Sword Master for the Dancer of the Boreal Valley boss battle, the player must refrain from killing Vordt; otherwise, his summon sign will disappear from the area, preventing him from being recruited for the fight. The player will then have to bring him to the cathedral on the opposite side of the courtyard and kill Emma in order to obtain the Basin of Vows and start the boss battle.
- The Master's Set takes its name from this character.