"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 (Kanji: 剣聖) literally translates to "sword saint" or "sword master."
- 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.
- The "Shori" (勝利; shōri) Signature translates into "victory."
- It is important to note that while official material may shorten vowels lengths for Japanese words, it can be detrimental in how it is read in romaji along with how it is pronounced. The "o" is elongated here, but if not, it can be mistakenly read as "処理" (shori) which means "treatment."
- 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 Minamoto. It includes 21 precepts which express an honest and ascetic view of life.
- The "Shori" (勝利; shōri) Signature translates into "victory."
- "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.
- "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 his/her victim "sleep" before performing a respectful bow.
- The "Umisen Yamasen" execution's title, "海千山千" is a 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.
- Japanese: 尋常に勝負 (Jinjyo ni shoubu) - English: "Let's have an honourable showdown!"
- Male Kensei, Top heavy unblockable finisher
- Japanese: これで終いだ (Korede shimaida) - English: "This will be the end!"
- Male Kensei, Side heavy finisher
- Female Kensei, Top heavy unblockable finisher
- Japanese: 死ね (Shi-ne) - English: "Die!"
- Female Kensei, Side heavy finisher
- Japanese: まだまだ (Mada mada) - English: "Not good enough!"
- Blocking or Parrying
- Japanese: 甘い (Amai) - English: "Naive!"
- 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 serious!"
- Male Kensei, Kyudoka Execution
- Japanese: 身の程知るべきであったな (Minohodo shirubekideatta na) - English: "You should've known your place!"
- Female Kensei, Kyudoka Execution
Kensei are balanced samurai armed with nodachi. They are slower than other units but have longer melee range. They provide interesting defensive abilities and deliver devastating attacks.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Adaptable Fighting Style
- Good Melee Range
- High Heavy Attacks are Unblockable
- Many Maneuvers and Attacks Initiate Chain Attacks
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 a smoke bomb on the ground that breaks the lock.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 - Earn more Renown in outnumbered fights, by controlling objectives, and by killing enemy soldiers 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.
- Chain Starters - Helm Splitter, Swift Strike, Nature's Wrath and successful Guardbreaks count as Chain Starters.
- Throw Into a Chain Finisher - Any Throw can be followed up by any Chain Finisher.
- Heavy Attacks:
- Top Heavy Finisher Unblockable - Finish any Chain with a Top Heavy for an Unblockable Attack.
- 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 - Second Top Heavy Chain can be cancelled during its Startup by: A Side Light, a Side Heavy, a Dodge Move, or a Guardbreak. The Side Light or Side Heavy will be counted as the second hit in the chain.
- 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.
- Uninterruptable Finishers - Side Heavy Finishers and all Light Finishers have Uninterruptable Stance.
- Superior Block Dodge - Forward, Left, and Right Dodges have Superior Block property in the direction of the Dodge.
- Superior Block Dodge Attacks - Successfully blocking an attack with a Superior Block Dodge allows Kensei to perform a Dodge Attack, even if performed late in the dodge.
- Zone Attack - Cancel Zone Attack after the first Attack with B (XB1), E key (PC) or the circle (PS4).
(From Guard Mode)
|Armor Styles||Weapon Styles|
|Knights||Warden - Conqueror - Peacekeeper - Lawbringer - Centurion - Gladiator - Black Prior|
|Samurai||Kensei - Shugoki - Orochi - Nobushi - Shinobi - Aramusha - Hitokiri|
|Vikings||Raider - Warlord - Berserker - Valkyrie - Highlander - Shaman - Jormungandr|
|Wu Lin||Tiandi - Jiang Jun - Nuxia - Shaolin|