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Since every character in the game gets a total of 16 arts each once they're high enough level and/or get far enough in the story, but everyone except Shulk can only equip 8 of those arts on the battle palette at a time, the game forces you to forego some arts for the sake of others, which has been a great source of frustration for me over the course of the game, as I've wrestled with which arts to go with, especially since I hate wasting AP. Each character only has access to a certain amount of arts in the beginning of course, but later on as you get stronger, you get more and better arts, and you'll probably inevitably replace quite a few for every character throughout the game. But my question is, once you have every character in the game, and are far enough into the story, and high enough level, that you have every art available for every character...which 8 arts do you generally settle on for each one of them? And do you switch some of them out depending on your party or the enemy you're fighting? Do you change things a bit depending on whether you're controlling the character, or have them as an A.I ally? I'm just curious about everyone's choices. You can provide your reasonings too of course, if you want, or don't, it's up to you. Anyway, I'll go first (obviously ignoring Shulk, since he can freely use all 16 of his arts anyway):
Reyn: I generally have him equipped with Berserker, War Swing, Lariat, Bone Upper, Dive Sobat, Sword Drive, Wild Down, and Shield Bash. I usually have him A.I controlled, but if I'm controlling him, I'll switch out War Swing for Magnum Charge (the A.I unfortuately fails to make the Berserker > Magnum Charge > Sword Drive connection it seems...). I'll switch in Last Stand in place of War Swing if I'm fighting dangerous red enemies. I do wish I could have all 10 of these arts equipped at once at all times, but otherwise Reyn's imo not too bad when it comes to sacrificing arts compared to some others, really. I will say that while it becomes obsolete and unnecessary later on, especially once Reyn learns Last Stand, which is better and more versatile; Guard Shift is very useful and helpful early on in the game. I've had it save my bacon against strong one-shot kill physical attacks from stronger enemies many times.
Dunban: One of my personal favourite characters to control. Probably my second favourite after Shulk. My usual palette for Dunban is Peerless (no brainer), Final Flicker (the 20% HP drain is not a problem at all with Critical Drain, and it's not even close to being as severe as Shulk's Battle Soul, which drains 50% HP. More Blossom Dance is always very good), Soaring Tempest (crazy good for enabling lots of Blossom Dance), Gale Slash, Worldly Slash, Electric Gutbuster, Steel Strike, and Demon Slayer. I know, I know, Demon Slayer is a meme art, but it's so fun and cool, and I rarely need anything else in place of it! XD If I'm fighting Nebulae, which we all know are insanely resistant to physical attacks, I'll swap out Electric Gutbuster and Demon Slayer, and go with Tempest Kick and Thunder instead, since they're ether arts, and Tempest Kick allows you to use Thunder to attack enemies in front of you (a combo that the A.I sadly (but not surprisingly) doesn't utilize...). Thunder is a pretty powerful art when used like this, but it's just such a shame that you need to use two art slots to use it effectively. If I'm fighting dangerous red enemies, I'll swap out Electric Gutbuster and Demon Slayer for Serene Heart and Jaws of Death. I don't like having 3 auras at once, as it's usually a waste, but in this case I'll use Peerless to buff my allies, then Serene Heart to reliably be able to hit the enemy, and then Jaws of Death for when I'm in a pinch. Still, I feel like my agility is getting so high now post game that I might not need Serene Heart anymore, even against red enemies. Speaking of Dunban's numerous auras...Spirit Breath and Heat Haze are both decent regular auras to use in place of Peerless when Peerless is on cooldown I guess, but I have some problems with them...Spirit Breath is only useful on Dunban if you're controlling him, since the A.I will only use it when suffering from a debuff, which is just the most horrible trigger requirement for a good art that I've ever seen...As for Heat Haze, 100% critical rate is obviously amazing for building tension and party gauge, but I hate that it removes all aggro, since Dunban is supposed to be a tank on top of being a damage dealer. I guess it doesn't matter if you also have Reyn in the party, but yeah. Of course, post game none of that matters anymore; Peerless's cooldown should be about equal to, or better than the effect time (since Dunban has a skill that increases aura time by 10 seconds) at that point, meaning you'll have no downtime, and won't want to use any other auras, and you'll also be able to skill link Seven's skill that turns all double attacks into critical hits, and equip gems to get 50% double hit rate from auto attacks, and 50% Haste, making both Spirit Breath and Heat Haze less useful by comparison. But yeah, Dunban has a lot of good stuff, and I definitely had a harder time sacrificing arts with him than with Reyn...I do wish I could have more arts equipped on him at all times...About 12 would be good, so I could include Tempest Kick, Thunder, Serene Heart, and Jaws of Death on my palette without removing any of the other arts I use. That went on a bit...Sorry about that, I just really like Dunban. XD
Sharla: Drive Boost is an absolute must of course. For the rest I usually go with Cure Round, Shield Bullet, Heal Bullet, Heal Blast, Heal Round, Head Shot, and the for the final slot, I either go with Head Shaker if I'm in a party with mainly the physical attackers, or Thunder Bullet if I'm in a party with Melia and Riki, AKA the ether team. The idea just being to go with the art that best improves chain attack synergy in both cases. I mainly see Sharla as a support character anyway, not a main damage dealer. Once I get Debuff Resist VI, Daze Resist VI, and Topple Resist VI (and skill link Dunban's Blowdown immunity skill) on everyone, so I'm 100% immune to any and every debuff and status ailment in the game, I'm going to replace Cure Round with Heat Bullet. I guess Aura Bullet would be perfect if you control Sharla, so you could use Drive Boost indefinitely, but I never play as Sharla if I can help it, so...Anyway, once I replace Cure Round with Heat Bullet, I'll only ever have to swap out Head Shaker with Thunder Bullet and vice versa, which is really not bad in this regard. Still a little annoying though, of course.
Melia: For Melia, I use Burst End (one of the few arts that reduces enemies' ether defence), Mind Blast, Spear Break and Starlight Kick for the forced topple, Summon Bolt, Summon Copy, Summon Ice, and Summon Earth. I do like to control Melia, and I wish I could have Summon Flare, Summon Wind, and especially Reflection equipped as well. Missing out on Reflection when I'm controlling her certainly bothers me, but I think ditching any of the other 8 arts I have equipped would be even worse...
Riki: Ah yes, Riki. A character I really like, but don't find that much fun to play as. My art palette for him is generally Hero Time, Happy Happy, You Can Do It, Lurgy, Burninate, Freezinate, Bitey Bitey, and Sneaky. I used to have Say Sorry equipped in place of Sneaky, but I realized that removing all debuffs for the sake of one strong hit rather than allowing the debuffs to continue doing lots of damage was only ever worth it as an occasional finishing move if I control him, so I don't see it as being very useful to be honest. Play Dead and especially Riki Is Angry would be great if I could reliably get Riki to draw aggro I guess, but he's honestly terrible at that unless you equip him with aggro gems, which is kind of a waste. It's a shame, since watching the enemies kill themselves attacking Riki would be fun for sure. So as it stands, I'm not really missing any arts on Riki. Maybe Tantrum, but yeah. Peekaboo might be fun I guess.
Seven: I find Seven's arts fairly fun to use, but the problem is that Seven is generally at her best when auto-attacking with Speed Shift (boosted by double attack and haste gems, and the skill that turns all double attacks into critical hits, as well as Dunban's Critical Drain skill), which can get a little boring for me if I'm honest, since I like to be more involved in the combat. Anyway, for her arts palette, Speed Shift and Final Cross are no brainers of course. For the rest I go with Double Blade, Double Wind, Air Fang, Cross Impact, Zero Gravity, and Spear Blade. Damage, tension gain, party gauge gain, paralysis, topple, daze, talent art gauge gain, all covered. I don't find Power Drain all that useful when I'll generally have a massive strength boost from Dunban's Peerless anyway. And I don't need Healing Energy when I have Dunban's Critical Drain skill either. Mag Storm sounds like a good combo to go with Final Cross (force topple several mechon enemies, then daze the lot of them afterwards, all on your own) on paper, at least it did to me, but I quickly realized that it has an abysmally slow attack animation, meaning you won't be gaining any additional topple/daze downtime on the enemies at all...In fact I think you lose time, it's that slow...On top of that it has rubbish damage. I really think they dropped the ball on this one, it could and should have been so much better imo...Guard Shift would be nice to have room for though, and although I personally no longer use it (I did earlier on), I bet many people use Lock-On as a second aura for (some of) the downtime when Speed Shift is on cooldown, and that's cool, I can see the use. All in all, it would definitely have been nice to have some more art slots available for Seven, but at the same time, I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything too major by not having such an option.
(edited 1 month ago)
Dunban is probably the most arguable character for this. He has 5 good arts that are must-haves: Peerless, Soaring Tempest, Gale Slash, Worldly Slash, Steel Strike. After that, pretty much everything is decent and competes for the last 3 slots, there are no super good choices that stick out as general-use set and forgets.
Recently, I've been using Tempest Kick (without Thunder) as a purple art for chain links with Seven and Melia. It's super useful for using Burst End during a chain attack (Burst End > Tempest Kick > Zero Gravity > Ice > Spear Break > etc. > Poison).
Cure Round AND Cure Bullet on Sharla, but no Thunder Bullet? You're crazy. The cure arts suck, they never work like you want them to, they don't help with topple or daze, and Debuff Resist outclasses them. For healing, all you need is Heal Bullet and Heal Round. The stronger single-target heal art is overkill by lategame, the basic one should be a full heal. Shala's nondescript art names are a little confusing, so here are her must-haves:
Heal Bullet (weaker single-target heal)
Heal Round (party heal)
I'm not sure how effective Shield Bullet, Heat Bullet, and Aura Bullet are, but they seem like decent options. I usually have Metal Blast and Head Shaker equipped, but never use them, so maybe try the above 3.
By the way, topple and daze resist gems aren't something you should use unless fighting specific enemies. Both are actually pretty rare when you reach endgame, and the few notable unique monsters that require them are easy to prepare for. You'll want those armour gem slots for other things.
Your choices for Melia are perfect, I use the same setup, except with Reflection over Copy. Try it, you'd be surprised at how much you can get by without it, especially with level 12 Bolt and Ice cooldowns.
My Riki setup is the same as yours, except I have Behave instead of Freezinate. You've REALLY overlooked how good Behave is, and Freezinate sucks. Behave bypasses hit chance and always paralyzes, afaik (there was some super-good thing about it that I don't remember exactly), and removing crazed auras is extremely helpful for superbosses. On the other hand, Freezinate actually has worse total damage than Burninate, which has a 360 degree AOE (Freezinate is single-target). Lurgy and Burninate with gems is all you need for DOTs.
Here's what I generally use, though I tend to at least make a few small changes as I go. Especially postgame where you can't daze the superbosses.
When player controlled, replace Aura Burst with Magnum Charge.
Last two arts often get swapped around for other stuff like Shield Bullet or Aura Bullet
Last two arts are regularly swapped around for stuff like Final Flicker, Tempest Kick, Thunder.
You Can Do It
Depending on team sometimes swap out Sneaky or an ether art for Tantrum or Behave
Bolt/Flare sometimes get swapped for Wind depending on team. Some of final three arts sometimes get substituted for Burst End and/or Reflection
Final two arts might get swapped out for Healing Energy, Shutdown or other arts depending on where in the game I am and what Drones I've got (Second Gear is bad before Sword Drones, Shutdown is bad against Mechon)
In general for all characters though I tend to change things around postgame and/or if trying to fight stuff underlevelled. For those kind of situations you often need specific things, not just an all around "can survive and deal good damage" build.
Everyone is entitled to my own opinion.
(edited 1 month ago)
@Gotta_Be_Blue I'm just lazy, I just want to have a setup that is good for everything and anything, rather than having to switch out stuff and be perfect in every situation, that's why I want daze and topple resist gems. :-P I don't mind sacrificing some damage output at all, I enjoy longer fights a lot more than short ones anyway. And yeah, Shield Bullet is pretty good for protecting against vision attacks.
Anyway, everything else you said is fine, but somehow you must have managed to do some spectacular level of misreading on my paragraph on Sharla. :-P For starters, not once did I ever say I use Cure Bullet. Only Cure Round. Secondly, I said I do use Thunder Bullet, but only when in a team with Melia and Riki, while the rest of the time I use Head Shaker, for the sake of chain attacks, and I explained that this is because I mainly use Sharla for support, not attack, and I also never control her if I can help it. Finally, I also specifically said that I will be dropping Cure Round as soon as I get Debuff Resist gems, so I'm obviously well aware that you no longer need Cure Round when you have those. I don't have them yet, however. Not higher level ones, anyway.
Good list! :-)