"Every army needs warriors whose specialty is victory. Kensei-sword saints: the guardians of our people. Every great ruler since the fall has trained as a sword saint... every one. And they are formidable. The nodachi was long thought too long too large for use in real war. They proved them wrong. Their armor is the strongest of our people... as is their will."
The living incarnations of Bushidō, the samurai way of the warrior, or as close as one can get. Masters of multiple martial arts, they are trained from infancy to fight and die for their emperor or their fellow samurai without asking why. Kensei wear heavy armor and fight with the nodachi, a longer version of the katana that cleaves enemies in a few elegant and powerful strikes. Kensei spend their lives fighting and training as they strive to attain a level of perfection few other warriors can ever hope to achieve.
Over the hakama, the cloth clothing they wear under all their armor, the Kensei wears a lacquered wooden cuirass and a gray sleeveless coat on top of this. A katana and wakizashi can be seen sheathed at his waist under his obi sash, although they are not used in combat in-game.
The Kensei can always be easily identified thanks to their massive sode that hang off their shoulders. Their kabuto has a crescent crest at its forehead. Their face mask is known as Mempo. It is constructed from iron and/or leather, and covers the face from the nose to the chin. The Kensei's Mempo, in particular, is red with a lacquered finish, featuring a mustache, a soul patch and fierce teeth, meant to serve as both protection and an effective method of intimidation against foes.
Nodachi - The nodachi is longer than the classic katana. It was initially designed to be used by a foot soldier to kill the horse of cavalry. Kensei samurai of the Dawn Empire have the strength and necessary skills to use them as effectively as the katana.
- "Kensei" (剣聖) literally translates to "sword saint" or "sword master."
- Compared to other Japanese terms used for swordmasters, such as "Kengou" (剣豪; lit. "excellent (with the) sword"), the term "Kensei" is meant to imply a higher perfection of sword mastery, encompassing a heightened moral and spiritual dimension to their mastery. Treated as an honorary title, it was a title given to legendary swordsmen such as Miyamoto Musashi, along with founders of a sword school.
- The Kensei's armor hails from the earlier Samurai periods, wearing a kozane curiass and massive sode.
- Though the Kensei's armor is made of wood, historical Samurai never wore wood armor. All accounts of Japanese wood armor predated the Samurai, as by the time of the Samurai, they were using lamellar and plate armor.
- It is good to note thought that in the universe of For Honor, metal is scarce for the Samurai who reside in the Myre, therefore wood had become a substitute.
- As battlefield weapons, the nodachi could not be carried on one's waist like normal swords as they were too long to be drawn or sheathed. As a result, they often had to simply be carried by hand.
- This can be seen with the Kensei when sprinting, as they have no sheath with them and hold their nodachi to the side. This is opposed to the Orochi, who sprints with their swords at his hip as if sheathed.
- In real life, the nodachi is more often used as anti-cavalry weapons as was the case with many Japanese swords sporting long handles.
- While the game lists Kensei as an easy character, the website lists him as a medium. This is possibly due to the Kensei being listed as medium during testing, changed for the final game, and the website hasn't been updated.
- In-game, the Kensei's side guards take the form of Kendo's "hassō-no-kamae" (八相の構え; lit. "eight aspect stance") where the sword is held close to the chest and point up into the air, modified when performed on the left guard. This offensive stance is known for being able to react to a situation from any direction (its name "eight aspect" comes from how the stance can react from "all eight sides").
- The Kensei's top guard may be a modified version of either the "kasumi-no-kamae" (霞の構え; lit. "hazy stance") or the "jōdan-no-kamae" (上段の構え; lit. "upper posture stance"). However, it is more likely that this top guard takes inspiration from the German Longsword Fencing guard Zornhut (lit. "Wrath Guard").
- The "Yossha!" Signature is a Japanese shout of victory (よっしゃー！), akin to the English celebratory phrase "Alright!"
- The "Shori" (勝利; shōri) Signature translates into "victory."
- The "Dokkodo" (獨行道; dokkōdō) Signature translates into "path of the lone one" or "way to go alone," and is a short work written by Japanese swordsman Musashi Miyamoto. It includes 21 precepts which express an honest and ascetic view of life.
- "Zutsu" is derived from "headache" (頭痛; zutsū), referring to the headbutt the Kensei performs to finish off their opponent.
- "Lose Something?" may be a reference to a scene from the film Monty Python and The Holy Grail. The protagonist, King Arthur, encounters a warrior known only as the Black Knight. During this encounter, King Arthur removes his opponent's arm in one stroke. The Black Knight casually denies his injury to be anything more than a flesh wound, seemingly nonplussed by his lack of a limb.
- Currently, "No Look Kill" and "Quick Kill" possibly have swapped names. "No Look Kill" originally was called "From Ear to Ear" when first released, a few months later renamed as "Quick Kill." Later on, in May 2018, the actual "No Look Kill" and the current "No Look Kill" had their names swapped.
- A possibility for the name swap may be because the current "No Look Kill" Execution did not fulfill the title of "Quick Kill," while the original "No Look Kill" was quick. Also, according to the patch notes, the names were not correct, thus a bug that needed to be resolved.
- "Kikashi" may refer to a strategy play-term in the Japanese board game Go. This term, known as "Forcing Move" (利かし), evidently means a move that corners the opponent or forces them to make a move usually in favour of whoever performed the Kikashi.
- This may be represented in how the Kensei systematically cuts their victim in a sequence that progressively leads to their final victim's execution: the Kensei first cuts at the knee to cause the victim to kneel with one hand on the ground. This is followed by a cut to that arm, causing the victim to kneel further with their head bowed. The last cut aligns to cut at the head, launching the victim away.
- "Yasuraka" refers to the adjective-phrase "with ease" (安らかに; yasuraka ni) which is commonly used together with either "sleep" (寝なさい) or more bluntly "die" (死なさい). It usually denotes when the user of the phrase is putting their victim to sleep, literally or permanently.
- Much like the Yasuraka execution, "Shizuka ni Nemure" is an execution around the idea of sleeping/resting being synonymous to dying. Translating to "rest quietly," this execution puts more emphasis on the Kensei gently letting their victim "sleep" before performing a respectful bow.
- The "Umisen Yamasen" execution's title, "海千山千" is an idiom in Japanese taken from "A thousand years at sea, a thousand in the mountains" (海に千年、山に千年) which refers to a wise individual who has received so much experience over the years that they know all the ins-and-outs.
- It also said that the longer phrase the idiom was contracted from is "A snake who spends a thousand years at sea and a thousand in the mountains will become a dragon" (海に千年、山に千年棲みついた蛇は竜になる), fortifying the idiom's meaning.
- The "Kyudoka" execution's title (弓道家; lit. "house of Japanese archery") refers to a practitioner of the art of Japanese Archery (Kyūdō). This is represented in how the Kensei draws the bow in a manner that a Kyūdō practitioner does.
- "Osoto Gari" (大外刈; Ōsotogari, lit. "Great Outer Reaping") is one of the 40 original throwing techniques in Judo, and is one of the current 67 Throws of Kodokan Judo. Classical right-hand Osoto Gari has the user step next to opponent with their left leg and reaps opponent's right leg (at the back of the thigh) with their right leg.
- In this execution, the Kensei performs a left-hand Osoto Gari.
- "En no Atari" (縁のあたり) translates to either "Strike of Fate" or "Strike of Opportunity."
- The name of this execution is in reference to a technique from Miyamoto Musashi's Book of Five Rings where, when attempting to strike someone who goes on the defense, you should try to redirect your strike to somewhere open so as not to waste the force of your strike.
- Japanese: 尋常に勝負 (Jinjou ni shoubu) - English: "Let's have an honourable showdown!"
- Male Kensei, Top heavy unblockable finisher
- Japanese: これで終いだ (Kore de shimai da) - English: "This will be the end!"
- Male Kensei, Side heavy finisher
- Female Kensei, Top heavy unblockable finisher
- Japanese: 死ね (Shine) - English: "Die!"
- Female Kensei, Side heavy finisher
- Japanese: まだまだ (Mada mada) - English: "Not good enough!"
- Male Kensei, Blocking or Parrying
- Japanese: 甘い (Amai) - English: "Naive!"
- Male Kensei, Blocking or Parrying
- Japanese: 望みはないぞ (Nozomi wa nai zo) - English: "There isn't any hope (for you)!"
- Yasuraka Execution
- Japanese: もっと真剣に戦え (Motto shinken ni tatakae) - English: "Take this fight more seriously!"
- Male Kensei, Kyudoka Execution
- Japanese: 身の程知るべきであったな (Minohodo shirubeki de atta na) - English: "You should've known your place!"
- Female Kensei, Kyudoka Execution
- Japanese: 分をわきまえぬは無礼であろう (Bun wo wakimaenu wa burei de arou) - English: "It's rude to not understand your place."
- Male Kensei, the Daimyo's Verdict Execution
- Japanese: つまらぬ者を斬る気はない (Tsumaranu mono wo kiru ki wa nai) - English: "I have no interest in killing worthless people."
- Female Kensei, the Daimyo's Verdict Execution
Kensei are balanced Samurai warriors armed with the nodachi. They are slower than other units but have longer melee range. They provide interesting defensive abilities and deliver devastating attacks through their Top Heavy mix-ups.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Adaptable Fighting Style
- Good Melee Range
- All Top Heavy Attacks are soft-feint mix-ups
- Special Finishers in the form of Uninterruptible Lights and Side Heavies, or an Unblockable Top Heavy
- Dodge Attacks and Guardbreak moves lead into chain or finisher attacks
Available Perks for the Kensei can be viewed on the Perks page.
Passive | Stamina regenerates faster.
Unlocked at level 1
Passive | Killing soldier grants you health and stamina.
Unlocked at level 5
Passive | You can still sprint when out of stamina.
Unlocked at level 13
Allies deal more Damage, soldiers fight faster.
Unlocked at level 1
Throw down a bomb that stuns enemies for a moderate duration of time.
Unlocked at level 7
Nearby enemies have lower attack and defense.
Unlocked at level 15
Recover some of your health.
Unlocked at level 1
Fire a long bow for moderate damage.
Unlocked at level 9
Gain immunity from throw attempts for a short duration.
Unlocked at level 17
Aerial attack that deals medium damage in multiple areas.
Unlocked at level 1
Nearby allies continuously regain health.
Unlocked at level 11
Your attacks can not be blocked for a short duration.
Unlocked at level 19
- Renown: Vanguard - Earn more Renown when controlling objectives, either by capturing or defending them, to unlock your feats in a match.
- Revenge Mode - Boosts Damage and Health. All Attacks are Uninterruptible. Parry and Throws knock enemies down. Attacks are Auto-Parried on activation.
- Defense: Static - Your Guard Stance remains active in the direction you designate. Unlike most other Static Guard Heroes, Kensei also has Superior Block Dodges.
- Chain Starters - A successful Guardbreak (including Grasping Pounce) counts as a Chain Starter, and can be followed into the second Light or Heavy attack in the Chain.
- Mid-Chain Starters - Helm Splitter, Swift Strike, Nature's Wrath and Guardbreak Throws count as the second attack in a Chain, therefore can be followed with any Chain Finisher.
- Top Heavy Mix-ups - Kensei's Top Heavy Attacks in Chains all have soft feint properties to provide mix-up opportunities. As a result, all of them have extended start-up time compared to Side Heavy Attacks.
- Top Heavy Opener Cancel - Top Heavy Opener can be cancelled during its Startup by: A Side Light Opener, a Side Heavy Opener, a Dodge Move, or an Unblockable Pommel Strike (use Guardbreak).
- Second Top Heavy Cancel - Top Heavy Chain can be cancelled during its Startup by: A Side Light Chain, a Side Heavy Chain, a Dodge Move, or a Guardbreak.
- Top Heavy Finisher Cancel - Top Heavy Finisher can be cancelled during its Startup by: A Side Light Finisher, a Side Heavy Finisher, a Dodge Move, or a Guardbreak.
- Special Finishers - Top Heavy Finisher is Unblockable. Side Heavy Finishers and all Light Finishers have Uninterruptible Stance.
- Superior Block Dodge - Forward, Left, and Right Dodges have Superior Block property in the direction of the Dodge.
- Superior Block Dodge Attacks - Kensei can still perform his Dodge Attacks even when they successfully block an attack with their Superior Block property. Forward Dodge Superior Block guarantees Helm Splitter (Forward Dodge Light).
- Evasive Swift Strike - Hits at the opposite of the direction of the Dodge, and has an extended dodge property, allowing the Kensei to avoid attacks more easily.
- Zone Attack - Cancel Zone Attack after the first Attack with B (XB1), E (PC) or 〇 (PS4).
- Stunning Throws - Throws briefly stun enemies.
(From Guard Mode)
|Armor Styles||Weapon Styles|
|Knights||Warden - Conqueror - Peacekeeper - Lawbringer -Centurion|
|Samurai||Kensei - Shugoki - Orochi - Nobushi|
|Vikings||Raider - Warlord - Berserker - Valkyrie|
|Wu Lin||Tiandi - Jiang Jun - Nuxia - Shaolin - Zhanhu|