Combat basics and character building so you can stop dying to Alice. Minor spoilers ahead.
Since this has been requested, and much of the complaints so far are about combat, this guide will explain in depth about basic and advanced combat; as well as provide example builds.
The tier list is gathered from my testing of each character and tries to be as unbiased as possible. Still, it is my opinion and I welcome any debate on this.
So, combat basics.
If you are playing on keyboard, you can click your skills and tactic skills.
You start with 1 combo line and unlock a second combo line at level 15. By default, you cannot switch between combos mid way through. Combo abilities unlock as you level up. Each character gets 5 abilities for each of power, rush, and break.
Once your tactic bar fills up, you can use a tactic skill OR an item. Press your menu button or RAlt on keyboard to select an item. Unequipped tactic skills can also be accessed this way.
All combos cost AP. AP regenerates when not attacking, guarding, or dashing. When switched out, your character will continuously regenerate AP regardless of what that character is doing.
After at least 2 attacks, you can chain into another character. This increases your Chain power, which gives you a damage bonus the higher it goes. This is the single most important part of the combat system for most of the early to mid game. Switch out your character once your AP runs out. This lets you deal increasing damage while removing downtime for AP regen.
Using a tactic skill ends your Combo but not your Chain power. If you want to use a tactic without ending your chain, use it after at least two attack in your combo, then immediately chain to a different character. Waiting too long will also end your chain.
Guarding reduces the damage you take from an attack, and pressing a direction lets you dash. Unfortunately dash cancelling and dash invincibility are disc abilities.
To preface this, Forget about power rating. It is the single most useless rating in this game.
When choosing your combo skills, you will see a lot of different info. The most important ones to note are the type of skill (Power, Rush, Break), the range of the skill (close, mid, long), and the hit count.
Generally, as a rule of thumb, higher hit count greatly outperforms lower hit counts. Medium range skills are the most versatile while close range skills are generally weaker. This is completely due to the attack area and risk of being hit. Close range attacks will only hit enemies directly in front of you. Hitting multiple enemies with a close range attack is impossible for most skills. Long range attacks have the opposite problem. If you’re even relatively close to an enemy, half your attack will miss.
Some skills have the “power increases when performed after X combo skill.” Try your best to match these up, as this increases the damage output by about 50%. The opening slot only has three opening skills. Use these to apply buffs to future skills
When building a combo, try to also synergize the attack range. Mismatching a close range with a long range will cause at least one of them to miss completely. Try out different skills and combos as well. Some skills may sound good on paper, then end up being trash. Good examples are Uni’s Assault Raid; a close range opening skill for a character with primarily long range skills, and Rom’s Slow Blitz; a skill that travels slower than your character’s walk speed.
This tier list will also include two suggested combos as well as list notable skills for each character. It will be ordered from S tier to B tier. There is nothing below B tier as all characters can clear all content with some extra level ups.
The single best character in the game.
Rom can do basically everything. She has strong skills for dps, strong AOE skills, can heal, buff, and is one of two characters that can revive with tactic skill. As a primarily magic dps, she also benefits from enemies being weak to basically every elemental attack.
Above are two different combos. The first combo is accessible very early on in the game. The second combo has raw damage output. There isnt a single enemy that cant be taken down in two full combos of just twin saw solid.
Twin Saw Solid:
Its probably the single highest dps skill in the game. It does great damage, combos into itself, and has a short animation. Will be your go-to boss killer when using Rom.
Early skill that can pierce enemies along its path, dealing AOE damage to a large area. Will also automatically seek your target enemy. Pairs well with Flame Blitz for an AOE combo.
One of the few opener combos that makes you step backwards. Synergizes well with Rom’s long range attacks.
Ram is a DPS. She doesnt do much else besides that, but she does it extremely well.
Despite being a close range dps, Ram has two skills that, when paired, will absolutely destroy any enemy she hits. Ram performs best after being chained in, as she will teleport directly to the enemy. Unfortunately, Ram lacks support abilities.
A high dps skill by itself. Has significant effective range despite being a close ranged skill.
The strongest dark element attack. High hit count and can be paired with Reflective Knock to boost its power.
Uni is a support/nuker. She is primarily a long ranged support with incredible nuking abilities.
Uni’s main value comes from one specific combo skill and her EXE. Her EXE deals one of the highest damage per use. You want to build her with faster Goddess Gauge build up, such as pairing her with Noire in lily pairing.
The first combo utilises her best skill, and being placed in the first combo slot, increases the chance the AI will also use that skill when you are not controlling her.
Able to “grab” an enemy and effectively stun them for a few seconds per skill use. This skill lets you effectively stun bosses to buy time for AP or tactic skills to regenerate. Also has a high hit count for faster Goddess Gauge regeneration.
Nepgear is a support/tanker.
Nepgear’s main value comes from her support tactic skills and high defence and hp. if you put her on defensive strategy, she will attempt to pull aggro from the enemies and free you up to attack safely. She will also prioritise healing and buffing over using offensive tactics. Her EX healing and buffs can greatly increase survivability and combat effectiveness.
Nepgear’s combos aren’t as important for her role, but her first combo is a medium ranged small enemy focused combo and her second combo is a close ranged raw dps combo.
Heals about 80% of an ally’s HP
Cheer for you:
Buffs magic attack (Hello Rom and Ram)
Neptune is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades character, but she has the stats to back it up.
Neptune is able to deal good amount of damage, has incredible support skills, and quite a fun combo. Her second combo is a string of Upper Arts, which can continuously knock down small and medium sized enemies; up to and including non boss horses.
As explained above, can infinitely knock down an enemy.
Buffs both physical and magic damage.
Type 32 EX Blade:
Incredible dps from a tactic skill. Deals more damage than most other tactic skills.
Blanc is a pure DPS similar to RAM, but uses physical attacks instead.
Blanc definitely has the stats to back up her skills. Unfortunately physical damage does not get the same buffs as magic damage. having no significant support abilities and being a close range dps puts Blanc at a significant disadvantage.
Blanc has the highest HP in the game, but also the lowest MEN stat, meaning she gets clapped by any magic damage.
A very high damaging skill that is also one of the few magic attacks Blanc has. Is very forgiving for attack range as Blanc will leap towards the enemy.
A high hit count tactic that automatically seeks out enemies. Deals a good amount of damage.
Noire is a mixed dps. She has a variety of damage options.
Noire has good stats and a good variety of physical and elemental attacks. She also has a good selection of medium ranged attacks.
Her first combo knocks the enemy back then performs medium ranged point attacks. Her second combo is an AOE focused combo that builds up its range from short to long.
A light element attack that deals good damage along with guard break. Also has a relatively short animation.
Buffs overall damage. Much stronger than a straight damage buff from other characters.
Vert is a nuker. Her kit focuses on high hit count to build up Goddess Gauge quickly.
Vert has high hit counts on most of her skills, which helps her regenerate Goddess Gauge faster. Her tactic skills also have some of the highest hit counts in the game. Unfortunately, her damage in her combos are mild at best, and her healing is weak compared to other characters.
The second highest hit count skill in the game at 12 hits. Good damage output.
Ranged attack with 8 hits. Great for accelerating Goddess Gauge regeneration.
Alice and Higurashi
Bottom of B Tier.
Both Alice and Higurashi are bad even with their best weapons.
Alice is a Jack-of-all-trades character similar to Neptune. On paper, she has many utility skills that can help disable the enemy, but she suffers greatly from long and clunky animations. She does have a tactic that revives characters though.
Protective Sign: Spiritual Experience:
The revival skill. Valuable.
Treasure: Timed Golden Pearl:
Has 24 hits! Incredible hit count results in great damage. Has a long uptime.
Higurashi is similar to Blanc in that she is a physical dps. Unfortunately, Higurashi has even less stats than Blanc. She is the only character that actively applies debuffs to the enemy.
Lowers enemy defence; making them take significantly more damage.
Far Away Festival:
Weakens the enemy generally, making it easier to fight bosses.
Tip on Alice Arena Battle
Probably the single hardest fight in the game.
If you want to brute force this battle, you will need Nepgear at least level 50. If you don’t want to grind to level 50 from level 30 ish, then use the following strategy.
Alice has two different blue yin yang attacks, which are used consecutively. This attack creates the largest window of opportunity to get in some attacks.
You can force this attack by staying outside of Alice’s range. She will teleport on top of you and perform the first yin yang attack. This attack has nearly no damage, but will always knock you down.
She will then follow with the second, slightly bigger yin yang attack. This second attack WILL one shot you if you don’t dodge it. Keep repeating this cycle and Alice will fall relatively easily. Use Nepgear’s EX Heal when you take any damage at all. Always make sure you’re full health.
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