Kingdom Hearts 2 – Ability Ranking Guide

I’m going to be placing the abilities into two categories: Action and Support. Nothing too crazy about this, I’ll just be including the Growth abilities with Action, and moving Aerial Recovery from Support to Action as well. None of the other Supports straight up add onto Sora’s base kit, so I feel it’s a bit out of place.

Ability Tier List

Note: I’ll also be placing how much RV each attack adds to a boss, just in case you’re curious.

Action Abilities

First up, the Action Abilities. These Abilities give Sora something new to work with as part of his basic kit, and they’re all gained through story progression, or leveling your Drives. Don’t forget to do that, by the way. [Guide up here!]

Guard

Guard is your first defensive option, and can deflect nearly anything. It opens up enemies, makes you invincible against long lasting attacks as long as you keep Guarding, and links into Sora’s combos at the end. Solid S tier.

Axel 1, assassin, Demyx, Xaldin, Thresholder, Prison Keeper

Upper Slash

Upper Slash is a neat alternative combo that allows Sora to send a single enemy flying into the air in the middle or end of a combo, or to finish off a boss in the middle of a combo since it counts as a finisher. Good for regular mob enemies to keep them disabled longer and to deal more damage with a follow-up aerial combo, but gets outclassed later in both damage and utility. C tier.

Lance Soldiers and Gargoyles, kill Dark Thorn with it, 

Horizontal Slash

Horizontal Slash is an amazing alternative combo that really amplifies your aerial damage. Not only does it deal extra damage just for hitting a different button after your first aerial hit, but it even counts as a finisher for boss kills. One odd quirk is it acts as a pseudo-Air Combo Plus. Normally, without any Air Combo Plus, Sora can do a 1-2-Finisher combo. Horizontal Slash can take place here to replace the second hit then follow up with the Finisher, but it can even extend the combo by just inputting it again, making the combo 1-Horizontal-Horizontal-Finisher. Throw on more Air Combo Pluses for an extra HS with each one, and your air combos will do massive amounts of damage. Extremely useful, A tier.

Finishing Leap

Finishing Leap is a great alternative ground finisher that sends enemies around Sora into the air, and hits through barriers like the front of Large Bodies. It’s basically a straight upgrade to Upper Slash from earlier, with the only downside being you can’t activate it in the middle of a combo. It being a Finisher, however, means it synergizes very well with a Finishing Plus’d Magnet, which always comes out as a Finisher. Extremely useful on Critical Mode, or once you get Rumbling Rose. A tier.

Aerial Recovery

Aerial Recovery is the first of your two reversal options — get sent flying and hit jump to regain your balance, free to do anything you could normally do. As soon as this occurs, you’re given parry frames for a brief period, which will defend you against another attack if you time it well, and may even leave room for an opening on the opponent. Just keep in mind using a reversal forfeits protection from Second Chance and Once More, so sometimes it may just be better to eat the damage if you’re low. A Tier.

Retaliating Slash

Retaliating Slash is the second of your two reversal options — get sent flying and hit your Guard button to immediately retaliate either in front of Sora or towards whatever he’s locked on to. You don’t get any invincibility or parry frames unlike Aerial Recovery, and in order for it to work you’ll need to actually hit and stagger something; if you don’t, you’re likely eating another attack. Since using a reversal strips you of your Second Chance and Once More protection, I would stay away from this one save for very specific boss encounters. D tier.

Slapshot

Slapshot is one of the latest combo mods you get. Sora performs a very quick upward strike with the Keyblade, and then very quickly moves on to the next attack. It’s a neat time saver, and I just love how it looks. That being said, it hardly does any extra damage, doesn’t pierce guards, and can even sometimes whiff on enemies depending on how short your Keyblade is, or where they move. On the flipside, if you’re dextrous and have Combo Master, you can cancel a Reflect into Slapshot, into another Reflect, more than doubling your damage output. A really cool option you have if you can pull it off, but its normal application is still generally an upgrade to your combo game. B tier.

Dodge Slash

*sigh* Dodge Slash, Dodge Slash, Dodge Slash. It’s a combo mod where Sora does a full on dance number while he’s attacking enemies around him. I’m going to be honest with you, this ability is HORRIBLE. Sure, it parries things pretty often, but it doesn’t do insane damage, doesn’t pierce anything, takes a REALLY long time to finish, and even whiffs sometimes, leaving you open to a retaliation. Save yourself some AP and a headache, avoid this one at all costs. D tier. No, you know what, this ability sucks so much I’m making a new tier for it. Garbage tier.

Flash Step

Flash Step is a combo mod where Sora’s feet glow a bit before he charges the enemy and slaps upwards. This pierces guards, does decent extra damage, and parries very often. It’s also a good way to close distance on an enemy that’s just out of your range, making it much easier to just hit attack from any distance. It also just looks really cool. Solid A tier.

Slide Dash

Slide Dash is likely the first combo mod you’ll get, and thankfully so. It allows Sora to attack from very long ranges, closing the distance very quickly and effortlessly. It doesn’t do any extra damage, but that range is AMAZING, and really allows for your combat to open up instead of having to walk all the way over to an enemy, likely missing out on your punish window. A tier.

Vicinity Break

Vicinity Break is a combo mod that allows Sora to attack in a wide range around him. The attack pierces guards, and can hit a lot of things, making it great to charge Drive Gauge with. That’s kinda all it’s good for, though. It can have some use for some specific attacks that certain bosses do, but you won’t be using it very often, and if you do and don’t kill every single enemy afterwards, they’ll probably retaliate. Although I guess that’s grounds for a Reflect if you time it well… B tier.

Guard Break

Guard Break is a ground Finisher that has Sora reel back and strike, knocking the enemy airborne. This attack, as its name suggests, pierces guards, comes out quicker than your normal ground finisher, and does AMAZING damage. It can even combo into other Finishers if you have a Finishing Plus, making it great for dealing heavy damage quickly. Solid A tier.

Explosion

Explosion is… insane. It’s a ground Finisher where Sora plants his feet into the ground, summoning 3 light orbs that spin around him, dealing multiple hits. It has a huge radius, pierces guards, does ENORMOUS damage (even more than Guard Break), and grants some invulnerability during the attack. It even combos from Magnet if you have Finishing Plus, making for an absolutely devastating AoE attack. For such an amazing attack, of course it has downsides. It uses Sora’s Magic stat for damage, which is almost always lower than his Strength stat, and deals a very hefty amount of RV. That being said, the pros definitely outweigh the cons, make sure you use this one! S tier.

Aerial Sweep

Aerial Sweep is a combo mod that has Sora jump from the ground and spin the Keyblade as he travels upwards. It lets Sora go from grounded to airborne immediately by attacking without hitting jump first. It’s decent damage, and combos off of Upper Slash which you get around the same time, letting you continue juggling an enemy without much issue. It’s downside is that it gets outclassed soon after obtaining it, and it deals more RV than it has the right to. C tier.

Aerial Dive

Aerial Dive is a combo mod that has Sora jump from the ground and spin the Keyblade as he trav- hey wait this is just Aerial Sweep. Yeah, Dive is basically the same thing as Sweep, but travels a longer distance and deals less RV. There is literally no reason to use Sweep once you have Dive. B tier.

Aerial Spiral

Aerial Spiral is a combo mod that has Sora spin multiple times in the air. It’s basically the air version of Slide Dash; you close distance on an enemy while in the air, and can then continue your combo afterwards. Just like Slide Dash, this really opens up aerial combat allowing you to start combos from much further distances. A tier.

Aerial Finish

Aerial Finish is, well, an aerial finisher. Sora spins around violently, doing very hefty damage, and possibly hitting multiple targets. Sadly, it can whiff targets occasionally, and given that Sora is locked into the attack throughout the full animation, leaves you helpless if the whole thing doesn’t connect. I prefer not being risky over the potential for big damage, so I don’t use it, but I would put it in A tier.

Magnet Burst

Magnet Burst is the other aerial finisher, and has Sora spin around with a very short cast of Magnet, pulling enemies in before pushing them away. This works well versus enemies that aren’t immune to Magnet, which is almost all of them. For those that ARE immune, this attack also pierces guards, so that’s a plus. However, the position that it puts enemies in can be a little bit problematic to follow up on, since it usually scatters them in a ring around Sora. You could potentially do more Magnet Bursts with at least 2 Finishing Pluses, but there’s a chance of you leaving the range it works in for the further enemies. I personally don’t like using it, but I’ll put it in B tier.

Counterguard

Counterguard is a wide attack Sora can perform after Guarding an attack. This can be useful in certain situations to completely cancel enemy attacks, but it deals too much RV to be used over something like Reflect, which does the same amount, or Guarding until you have a distinct opening to attack normally, which would do more damage for less RV. It also just comes out really slowly, which doesn’t exactly feel that great. C tier.

Auto Valor/Wisdom/Limit/Master/Final/Summon

All the autos fall into the same boat. They give you a Reaction Command if you’re low on health, which immediately throws you into the Auto that you have selected. If you have multiple on, it’ll randomly select from the ones you have on. While it doesn’t override enemy Reaction Commands, you might go in and out of range of one and end up using either a lot of Drive Gauge or all your MP for party Limits. That being said, if you REALLY have trouble using the Command Menu, these can help in a pinch, but I would absolutely recommend you learn how to use it. D tier.

Trinity Limit

Trinity Limit is Sora’s equippable Limit, and actually has two versions. The one with Donald and Goofy I call Trinity Limit, and the one where Sora’s alone I call Solo Trinity. Both of them are great Limits, and will be useful throughout the game. Trinity Limit comes in three parts, each of which rack up hits to deal as damage as the finisher. If you get a lot of hits, this Limit can do absolute INSANE amounts of damage. It even links in to Magnet in the form of Major Drive, which will make enemies get hit out of and then get sucked back into the Magnet over and over, dealing massive damage and racking up your hits even more. Solo Trinity is its own beauty, allowing Sora to trade his MP for a really long lasting attack that can both save you from death and make nearly any attack an opening thanks to how many times it hits. It even combos into Sora’s normal combo. Absolutely amazing Ability. S Tier.

High Jump

High Jump is exactly what it sounds like; Sora jumps higher. There’s not that much to say about it. You might jump over slightly longer lasting attacks, or get to harder to reach places, but it’s not super impactful. B Tier.

Quick Run

Quick Run is a defensive option that has Sora slide over to wherever you have him pointed. As it levels up, the distance it travels and the speed it does so at both increase, allowing you to cross massive distance at the press (and hold) of a button. There’s an invulnerability period at the start which also gets longer the higher level it is, making it a very effective dodge. It also just lets you traverse the worlds a little faster. A tier.

Dodge Roll

Dodge Roll, the classic defensive option. Sora rolls. Not that much to it. It comes out quickly, has a lot of invulnerability at the start and even more as it levels up, and has pretty low recovery time, so you’re not vulnerable for a super long time afterwards. Amazing ability. S tier.

Aerial Dodge

Aerial Dodge, where Sora spins in the ai- there’s a lot of abilities that involve Sora spinning in the air. Anyway, it acts as a midair jump, parries enemy attacks at the beginning, and even sets Glide’s speed to max immediately. The jump goes higher as the ability levels, allowing for more air time at max speed. A tier.

Glide

Glide, the classic movement ability. Sora Glides. Insane, right? Great for mobility and dodging large area attacks, or getting somewhere you need to be quickly. It can help close REALLY LONG distances in fights where you need to, so don’t forget to use it in fights. A Tier.

Support Abilities

Alright, that was all the action abilities, let’s head into the Support abilities. Most of these are gained through levelling up Sora or your Drive Forms, so really, don’t forget!

Scan

Scan lets you see the enemy HP meter. It’s not only useful to see how much more damage you need to do to finish off an enemy, but also to see potentially HP gates; some bosses do different attacks based on how much HP they have. Also it’s just fun to watch the bar dwindle. S tier.

Combo Master

Combo Master lets you continue a combo even if the hits don’t connect with anything. Basically, it allows you to be more sloppy. A really cool thing it does though, is allow you to continue a combo with Reflect if you break it up with other Keyblade attacks. Great ability. A tier.

Combo Plus

Combo Plus is pretty simple. Normally Sora’s ground combo is a 1-2-Finish, but every Combo Plus equipped adds one before the finisher. This can increase your damage output by dealing more hits before a finisher, but can also decrease it if you’re not careful about counting RV, since each extra ground hit is 1 more RV (in most cases). It also just makes getting to your crowd control finishers take longer. B tier.

Air Combo Plus

Air Combo Plus is the same thing, but in the air. Since Horizontal Slash exists, it’s not a horrible idea to have 1 extremely damaging combo instead of 2 decently damaging ones, but also getting to Magnet Burst for mobs will take longer. B tier.

Combo Boost

Combo Boost. Let’s just say, there’s a reason Decisive Pumpkin is regarded as the best Keyblade. Combo Boost increases the damage dealt by your ground finishers by anywhere from 10% up to 100%. Yeah, you heard that right, it can DOUBLE your finisher damage. The amount it’s boosted is based on the position of your first finisher in a combo. Let’s take, for example, Sora’s default combo. It’s a 1-2-Finish. The finisher here is at position 3, so Combo Boost boosts the damage by 30%. Having a second Combo Boost equipped doubles the bonus, so this finisher would deal 60% extra damage. That’s a LOT. Take two combo pluses, and your finishing hits will do insane amounts of damage, especially with a Finishing Plus. S tier.

Air Combo Boost

Air Combo Boost works exactly the same way, but generally ground combos are more useful and safer than air combos as the game goes on. They also deal higher RV, and the finishers don’t do as much damage as their ground counterparts, but the extra damage is still very welcome. A tier.

Reaction Boost

Reaction Boost boosts the damage dealt by Reaction Commands by 50% for each install. This includes RCs that change Sora’s attack command, like using Learn to get Jumps. Who doesn’t want more RC damage? A tier.

Finishing Plus

Finishing Plus allows Sora to follow up a Finisher with another Finisher. This might sound just okay, but consider this. Magnet is always a Finisher, no matter where you cast it. That means, if you want to follow up, you’ll have to wait for the animation to finish, then jump, and attack, and by that point, Magnet’s almost over. But with Finishing Plus, you can Magnet into a Finishing Leap. Or Magnet into Explosion. Or Guard Break into Finishing Leap, or Guard Break into Reflec-. Do you get the idea? Combat opens up very far when you have Finishing Plus (which is why Critical Mode is the best mode ever created in a KH game). S tier.

Negative Combo

Negative Combo reduces Sora’s ground and air combo length by 1. So it goes from 1-2-Finish, to 1-Finish. Seeing as Combo Boosted Finishers are such an amazing source of damage, I feel like it’s not very worth trading damage for a quicker finisher, ESPECIALLY because Finishers deal so much more RV, but it doesn’t really matter versus mobs. If you have Fenrir and the level up Negative Combo, you get instant finishers, and with Finishing Plus, you can chain Magnet Bursts together, which can be fun. If you’re trying to go for actual damage though, this ain’t it. C tier.

Berserk Charge

Berserk Charge lets Sora continue a combo forever, whenever he’s in MP Recharge. It does this by disabling the Finisher. While that might sound neat, it’s not very useful against bosses unless you know how to stunlock using nearly frame perfect inputs of Horizontal Slash. More often than not, you’ll be dealing your hits and all of a sudden the boss retaliates because of how much RV you’ve racked up. It’s not worth it, especially since you don’t want to ever be in Recharge anyway. Though, it’ll probably help in a couple of the Mushroom XIII. D tier.

Damage Drive

Damage Drive restores Drive whenever Sora takes damage. That’s really all it does. Who doesn’t want more Drive? I guess ideally you’re not taking damage, and it doesn’t charge THAT much, but it’s still useful. B tier.

Drive Boost

Drive Boost increases how much Drive is restored while in MP Recharge. MP Recharge already boosts how much Drive you gain, but this does it even further. There’s not really a reason not to have it on, especially if you’re using Drive very often or need to charge it in battle. B tier.

Form Boost

Form Boost slows the rate that the Form Gauge drains. This really makes a big difference in how long you can stay in a Form, especially useful for grinding levels on them, or melting HP bars in Final Form. The only downside is you’ll stay in negative forms longer, like Card Form or AntiForm. A tier.

Summon Boost

Summon Boost slows the rate that the Summon Gauge drains. This really makes a big difference in how long you can keep a Summon out, especially useful for grinding levels on them, or melting HP bars with a Magnet’d Genie Limit. No downside here! A tier.

Combination Boost

Combination Boost slows the rate that the Limit Gauge drains. Sometimes this makes a big difference, like for Solo Trinity, allowing Sora to do 3 combos instead of 2, but not so much on others like Trinity Limit or others that don’t depend on the Limit’s timer for damage. B Tier.

Experience Boost

Experience Boost raises the amount of EXP you receive from defeating enemies at or under 50% HP. Great for when you’re actively farming EXP, but since it’s often not going to be active as a result of you wanting to stay healthy, it doesn’t have a use outside of that, especially if it’s eating up AP that another, more useful ability could use. C tier.

Leaf Bracer

Leaf Bracer makes Sora completely invincible while casting Cure. Just like in KH1, this can be a lifesaver, and while it’s not as easy to spam Cure in KH2, it still has a great use to save you from danger. A tier.

Magic Lock-On

Magic Lock-On removes the need to lock-on to things to cast Magic at them, like Thunder or Blizzard. This can be useful if you just want to spam Magic, but in most cases it’s better to know what enemy you’re casting at, and in Magnet’s case, you might want them grouped around you and not the enemy, which is made virtually impossible with Magic Lock-On. C tier.

Draw

Draw increases the range Sora picks up prizes in. It just makes your life easier, and can make a difference when trying to refill MP without Item Boost. A tier.

Jackpot

Jackpot increases how many prizes enemies drop. More Munny, more HP orbs, more MP orbs, more everything. Even more score orbs in the coliseum cups. A tier.

Lucky Lucky

Lucky Lucky increases the drop rate of items from enemies, like Mega-Potions or Energy Crystals. Every Lucky Lucky equipped by Sora and the party increases the base drop chance by 50%, so an item with a say, 12% chance of dropping, will have a 24% chance of dropping with two Lucky Luckies equipped. The drop chance gets better and better the more the party has on, so synth those Lucky Rings! A tier.

Drive Converter

Drive Converter converts some Munny drops into Drive Orb drops. Extremely useful for farming Master Form, not so much for anything else. Often you want Munny so you can load up on Ethers and never run out of MP. C tier.

Fire Boost

Fire Boost increases damage you deal with Fire. That’s it. The highest DPS in the game IS Fire based, so it’s definitely very useful for that. A tier.

Blizzard Boost

Blizzard Boost increases the damage you deal with Blizzard. That’s it. Blizzard can be amazing for mobs early game, but later on you’re better off Magnetting enemies and dealing with them some other way. But, it’s still free extra damage. B tier.

Thunder Boost

Thunder Boost increases the damage you deal with Thunder. Shocking, I thought it might do something else. Magnet into Thunders is an amazing way of dealing with mobs, so this makes that deal even more damage. A tier.

Item Boost

Item Boost increases the efficacy of items by 50%. A Hi-Potion normally heals the target for 60% of their max HP, but with Item Boost, it’ll heal 90%. That’s pretty good. Ethers will restore more than half of MP Recharge with it as well. Also good. B tier.

MP Rage

MP Rage restores MP whenever Sora takes damage. It depends on how much damage he takes, so the higher difficulty you are the more MP you’ll be getting back. It’s neat, but not super necessary. B tier.

MP Haste

MP Haste and its upgraded counterparts all increase how fast MP Recharge charges. The biggest amount of time you’re saving with 1 MP Haste is 10 seconds, and each one afterwards saves less and less time. But, time saved is time saved. If you have the option, turn them on. A tier.

Defender

Defender increases Sora’s defense by 3 whenever he’s at or below 50% HP. 3 Defense is a bit at the beginning of the game, not very much by the end. But, those 3 Defense could be the difference between life and death, albeit infrequently. B tier.

Damage Control

Damage Control reduces damage Sora takes by half whenever he’s at or below 50% HP. It’s basically a souped up Defender. A tier.

Second Chance

Second Chance allows Sora to take a single hit that would otherwise kill him, and instead hang on with 1 HP. The amount of times this will save you is astronomical. S tier.

Once More

Once More allows Sora to eat a combo of hits that would otherwise kill him, and instead hang on with 1 HP. The amount of times THIS will save is even more astronomical. S tier.

No Experience

No Experience does exactly what it says on the tin. You gain no exp. Forms can still be levelled up, but the only reason you’re turning this on is for a challenge. Maybe a level 1 run through the game? Test your skills. Otherwise, it has no use. No secret damage buffs or protection like some other KH games. D tier.

Conclusion

So there you have it. All the abilities Sora can equip in his ability list. Now obviously this is a generalization for MOST situations in the game, which generally revolve around normal combat. Obviously, sometimes, there are high tier abilities you want off, or low tier abilities you want on during specific situations — and for those I say… use your judgement.

Egor Opleuha
About Egor Opleuha 6970 Articles
Egor Opleuha, also known as Juzzzie, is the Editor-in-Chief of Gameplay Tips. He is a writer with more than 12 years of experience in writing and editing online content. His favorite game was and still is the third part of the legendary Heroes of Might and Magic saga. He prefers to spend all his free time playing retro games and new indie games.

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