Sifu: Best Skills to Unlock Permanently

Adiba Chowdhury
By Adiba Chowdhury
19 Min Read
Credit: Sloclap

Not sure which martial art skills to invest in? Keep reading to learn about the best skills you should unlock permanently in SIFU.

Developed by French videogame studio Sloclap, Sifu tells the story of revenge. The unnamed protagonist is the son of a master martial artist or Sifu, who witnesses his father’s murder as a young child. Although he, too, is killed for being a witness to the murder; he is revived with the help of a magic talisman.

Fast forward to 8 years, the young child has now grown up to be a skilled martial artist himself. His goal is to hunt down his father’s murderers and take revenge. And in order to do that, he must use the experience he earns to learn more skills. However, there is a catch. The magic talisman that had brought him back to life has a unique drawback.

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Although it can revive a dead person, it ages them significantly. That means every time you die in the game, you age up. And the number of skills you can learn is affected by your age. Meaning you’ll be locked out of learning certain skills when you grow past a certain age.

We will go over a range of topics in this guide. Firstly, we will list all the skills you can unlock in Sifu, categorizing them based on the maximum age limit of unlocking them. Moreover, we will also list our top 10 picks for the best skills that you must unlock in Sifu. Furthermore, since the protagonist forgets his skills every time he dies, we will go over how you can unlock these skills permanently so that they carry over in every lifetime.

The Complete Skill Tree List of Sifu

In Sifu, the players will be revived instantly upon death but will age significantly in the process. Although players will start the game in their early 20s, they will age up to the age of 70 before being met with permanent death. As stated earlier, the list of skills available to learn grows shorter with age. Below we have listed all the skills you can learn in Sifu, categorizing them based on the maximum age limit of permanently unlocking them:

Unlockable up to Age 30

  • Thigh Cut Focus: A focus strike that can be performed with bladed weapons only. Allows the player to slash an enemy’s thighs.
  • Raining Strikes: A combo that allows players to land multiple blows at the speed of lightning.
  • Slide Kick: Allows players to run towards enemies and slide to knock them down their feet
  • Weapon Mastery: Allows you to contunue using a weapon until it breaks entirely

Unlockable up to Age 40

  • Vertical Strikes Focus: A focus strike that targets an enemy’s solar plexus to leave them stunned for a long period of time.
  • Invert Throw: Allows you to dodge an enemy’s attack and switch positions at the last minute
  • Hook Intercept: A hook attack that allows you to withstand all enemy attack during its build-up
  • Chasing Trip Kick: Push an enemy and follow up with an attack to knock them down
  • Crotch Punch: Lets you quickly dodge an incoming attack and hit them in the crotch. Low blow.

Unlockable up to Age 50

  • Double Palm Focus: A focus attack that allows you to push down an enemy with destructive force
  • Flowing Claw: A fast combo attack that allows you to claw an enemy’s face and follow up with a roundhouse kick.
  • Chasing Strikes: Allows you to perform raining strikes on an enemy after pushing them
  • Crooked Foot: Lets you punch an enemy in the face and throw them down after successfully parrying their attack
  • Duck Strike: Duck right as an enemy takes a swing at you and strike them in the abdomen

Unlockable up to Age 60

  • Face Smash Focus: A focus attack that can only be performed with bats. Allows the player to stun the enemy with the bat by jamming it in their face.
  • Weapon Catch: Allows you to catch any object thrown at you if you successfully parry at the right time
  • Pushback Cancel: Allows you to instantly regain your balance after being pushed back
  • Ground Counter: Allows you to counterattack with a parry while on the ground
  • Environmental Mastery: You can now kick objects on the ground to send them flying towards an enemy

Unlockable up to Age 70

  • 360 Swing Focus: A focus attack that can be performed with Staffs only. Allows you to knock down multiple enemies over a large area of effect.
  • Strong Sweep Focus: A focus strike that allows you to strike at an enemy’s knee to incapitate them for a while
  • Snap Kick: Make the first move by running towards an enemy and kicking them real hard in the abdomen
  • Spin Hook Kick: Allows you to perform a three hit combo that finishes off with a tornado roundhouse kick. Can be performed to hit multiple enemies at once.
  • Charged Backfist: Leave an enemy stunned with a charged punch

Top 10 Best Skills in Sifu

Sifu’s skill tree system is really unique. If you’re not careful and have aged up significantly, you might get locked out of learning some of the best skills that this game has to offer. To help guide you, here is our pick for the top 10 best skills that you should unlock permanently as soon as you can.

10. Weapon Catch

  • UnlockingCost:
    • Normal Unlock – 500 XP
    • Permanent Unlock – (5 x 500 XP) = 2500 XP

This is a pretty neat skill to have as it allows you to change the game in your favor, especially against enemies that love throwing things at you. If you block an incoming projectile successfully, you can catch it and throw it back at them. This skill will come in especially handy during a particular boss fight. Since it’s easy on the XP, you should unlock it permanently at once.

9. Weapon Mastery

  • UnlockingCost:
    • Normal Unlock – 1500 XP
    • Permanent Unlock – (5 x 1500 XP) = 7500 XP

Given this is one of those skills that can only be permanently unlocked until you hit 30, you should get down to unlocking it as soon as you can. Not only that, but the steep unlocking cost is definitely worth it. That’s because Sifu’s combat mechanics are designed to let you make the best use of your surroundings.

You can pick up objects and use them as weapons in combat. However, they will start to break off the longer you use them. Weapon Mastery is a skill that allows you to use weapons like bats right down to their handle. When a weapon goes past its breaking point, you can throw whatever’s left at enemies as projectiles. Let absolutely nothing go to waste!

8. Environmental Mastery

  • Unlocking Cost:
    • Normal Unlock – 1000 XP
    • Permanent Unlock – (5 x 1000 XP) = 5000 XP

As we mentioned just earlier, Sifu really wants you to make the absolute best use of your surroundings when in combat. And this skill helps you with just that. Environmental Mastery allows you to throw objects lying on the ground at enemies without making you waste time picking them up first.

Instead, you can make precise shots at your enemy by kicking those objects like projectiles. Although you can wait until you’re 60 to unlock it, you should still consider investing in it early because it can turn absolutely anything in the environment into a weapon.

7. Pushback Cancel

  • UnlockingCost:
    • Normal Unlock – 500 XP
    • Permanent Unlock – (5 x 500 XP) = 2500 XP

You definitely do not want to lose your balance and give the enemy the opportunity to deal extra damage when you’re on the ground. Not just that, but you might also hit a wall or an obstacle and incur extra health damage. This skill will help you out when enemies try to break your stance from time to time.

6. Ground Counter

  • UnlockingCost:
    • Normal Unlock – 750 XP
    • Permanent Unlock – (5 x 7500 XP) = 3750 XP

There will be instances where an enemy has successfully knocked you over, leaving them with plenty of opportunities to make follow-up attacks as you try to recuperate yourself. That’s why you should have Ground Counter unlocked so that you can instantly counterattack incoming attacks while still on the ground. You can basically sweep an enemy off their feet and knock them over, allowing you to get the upper hand.

5. Charged Backfist

  • UnlockingCost:
    • Normal Unlock – 1000 XP
    • Permanent Unlock – (5 x 1000 XP) = 5000 XP

You can stun an enemy with a punch by charging your attack. While they are stunned, you can follow up with a bunch of combos to take them down. This move is especially effective against strong enemies, but be sure to get the timing right. What’s great about this skill is that it transforms into a weapon-specific attack when you charge your attack while wielding a weapon. The damage dealt from this skill can be insane.

4. Snap Kick

  • UnlockingCost:
    • Normal Unlock – 500 XP
    • Permanent Unlock – (5 x 500 XP) = 2500 XP

Using this skill is a great way to catch enemies off guard. You can dash towards an enemy to close the distance between them and hit them with a kick to the waist, leaving them staggered for a brief moment. This gives you a window of opportunity to follow up with a bunch of combos to deal a great amount of damage.

3. Strong Sweep Focus

  • UnlockingCost:
    • Normal Unlock – 500 XP
    • Permanent Unlock – (5 x 500 XP) = 2500 XP
  • Focus Cost: 1 bar

This is a focus attack that works well against regular enemies and bosses alike. You strike an enemy’s knee, knocking them down for a while. This gives you the time and opportunity you need to land a few more attacks. Keep in mind that this works on all bosses except the final one, which is Yang. But when you’re in a situation where you’re handling multiple enemies at once, incapacitating some of them for a while allows you to focus on others.

2. Spin Hook Kick

  • UnlockingCost:
    • Normal Unlock – 750 XP
    • Permanent Unlock – (5 x 750 XP) = 3750 XP

Spin Hook Kick is one of the best skills you can unlock in Sifu as it is not just incredibly powerful, but also useful against multiple enemies. This skill allows you to perform a three-hit combo on a single enemy before finishing it off with a tornado roundhouse kick that can knock down up to 4 people at once. This is better for crowd control than the 360 Swing Focus skill as it does not consume focus nor is reliant on a weapon to work.

1. Raining Strikes

  • UnlockingCost:
    • Normal Unlock – 1000 XP
    • Permanent Unlock – (5 x 1000 XP) = 5000 XP

Raining Strikes is an incredibly powerful combo skill that should be unlocked permanently as soon as possible. That’s because you can no longer unlock it once you are past 30. Raining Strike allows you to hit a single enemy multiple times at the speed of lightning, so they barely have the time to parry or block your attacks. Not to mention, it deals a good amount of damage even against bosses and elite enemies. So it is worth every XP!

How to Permanently Unlock Skills in Sifu

Sifu’s skill progression system may seem confusing at first, but once you understand the basics, you’ll find that it’s pretty simple. There are three main ways you can unlock skills in Sifu. One is by visiting a Shrine during any of the chapters, the other is by visiting the tree in the Wuguan, and the last way is by dying.

You can essentially unlock any of the skills as long as you have enough XP and meet the age requirement. And once that skill is learned, you can use it until you die in the game. That’s because every time you are bought back from the dead, you will forget the skills you have learned and have to spend XP to repurchase them again.

While frustrating, you can prevent that from happening by permanently unlocking that skill. In order to permanently unlock a skill in Sifu, you must purchase the skill 5 times in a single run. For example, to permanently unlock a skill worth 1000 XP, you need to spend (5 x 1000) = 5000 XP.

We understand that it may become too costly to spend 5 times as much on a single skill at once. Because in order to actually win tougher fights, you need to learn a variety of martial art skills rather than just relying on a single one. But not to worry, as Sifu isn’t that unforgiving. If you happen to die after partially unlocking a skill, that partial purchase will carry over in your next run.

However, you will need to purchase that skill once more just to unlock it to work on the permanent unlock again. Think of it as a penalty fee for dying before reaching permanent unlock. The total XP you spend on skills over multiple runs is 5 times, plus every single time you have to unlock it again on a new run. So the total cost of permanently unlocking a skill is over the course of two runs or lifelines is 5 times plus once more for unlocking, or 6 times.

For example, Raining Strikes costs 1000 XP to unlock over a single run, and 5000 XP to unlock permanently. Let’s say you purchased the skill 3 times for 3000XP, which is considered a partial purchase. But then you die. So when you respawn, you’ll see that Raining Strikes will remain partially purchased (3 times), just as you left it in your first run.

But you will need to spend another 1000 XP to carry it over in your next life. And when you do, you just need to spend your remaining 2000 XP within your second run to unlock it permanently. So, the total cost of unlocking Raining Strikes over the course of two lifelines is 6000 XP. With that being said, the skill will now remain permanently unlocked. Meaning you have to spend no penalty XP to carry the skill over if you die again.

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By Adiba Chowdhury Deputy Evergreen Editor
Adiba Chowdhury is the Deputy Editor of the Evergreen section at GameRiv. Adiba is an avid gamer, artist, and anime lover. She expresses her love for RPGs, JRPGs, and Action Adventure games by writing about evergreen titles with lasting impressions for GameRiv.