One of the most important moves to master in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the Blade Combo. Blade Combos allow you to deal increasing amount of damage, as well as trigger special extra bonuses with your moves. There is a lot of terminology in XC2, so before we go over what a Blade Combo is, let’s have a look at the definitions first.
Warning: This article may contain character spoilers. If the characters beginning with the letters N and T haven’t joined your party yet, then proceed with caution.
Driver Arts refers to moves designated to the X, Y, and B buttons. For Rex, these are moves like Anchor Shot, Sword Bash, and Double Spinning Edge.
Special Arts, also known as Blade Specials, refers to the move designated to the A button. In the beginning with Rex and Pyra, this refers to when you attack with moves using A. These are ranked from I-IV: for example, Pyra can use Flame Nova -> Prominence Revolt -> Blazing End -> Burning Sword.
Driver Combos are explained much later on in the game, and refer to Break > Topple > Launch > Smash attacks. We’ll explain this in another article later.
Blade Combos refer to what we’ll talk about in this article. They involve using Blade Specials successively in order to maximise damage and achieve a special effect called a Sealing Art.
An auto-attack is the regular attack that your character does when an opponent is targeted. Cancelling referring to using a Driver/Special Art as soon as an Auto-attack or Driver/Special Art lands. This is indicated when a blue circle radiates from your character, if you press the Driver/Special Art at the right time (a split second after an auto attack lands).
Fusion Combos referring to inflicting Driver/Blade combos while an existing Driver/Blade combo is in effect.
So…how does the Blade Combo fit into all this?
Firstly, charge up your special move by cancelling at the right time. This means using any of your X, Y, or B moves with perfect timing as soon as any of your regular attacks hit, which will emit a blue ring and charge up your other Driver Arts and Special Move faster:
A Blade Combo can then be started when the square corresponding to the A button has a number in it. In the case below, we’ve charged up a Level 1 Blade Special:
Simply press A to activate it and start your Blade Combo. After that, you’ll notice that in the top right hand corner, a “tree branch” of sorts appears:
By having used this Blade Special, you have activated the ability to use a Blade Combo. From there, you can “stack up” more and more powerful moves. As you can see, the next move in the sequence is either a Fire move or a Water move. If you wanted to use Fire, you would have to charge Rex’s Blade Special up to Level II (a Level I special will not make the combo progress). However, what’s even better is that you can get your teammates to keep the combo going. For example, below you can see that there is a blue rectangle indicating that Nia can launch a Water special move and keep the combo going (the ZR button only appears when Nia is ready to launch her attack):
Keep in mind that if the gauge that says ‘Heat’ at the top runs out of time, then you have to start your special again.
Since it hasn’t run out, if we press ZR at this point, you will launch Nia’s Level II Special, which also makes the combo progress. In this case, Nia’s move is Steam Bomb:
It just so happens that whilst Nia has been launching her special attack, we’ve been busy with Rex charging up our Blade Special (A button) to Level III, in the same picture above. You can also see that the highlighted part of the “tree branch” indicates where we are in the combo.
To begin with our final move of the combo – in this case, a Fire special – we simply press A when our Level III move is charged. This launches an epic attack:
This attack not only does a lot of damage, but also has two extra bonus effects to go along with it!
The first is that you activate a Seal Art. In the case above, you activate the Seal Self Destruct effect.
The second is that you have now inflicted an elemental orb onto your opponent. You can burst these for ridiculously huge amounts of damage in a Chain Attack, which we’ve written a separate tutorial on.
And this is why it’s good to have lots of different elements in your party
The Blade Special you use in the beginning determines what options you have in terms of being able to combo in different directions. For example, if you used a Water special to start your attack, the combo sequence looks totally different. Having lots of different members with different elements in your party allows you to be able to combo with any of your party members at the right moments, just when you need them.
Summary of How To Perform Blade Combos
Initiate a Blade Combo by using the A button. Then follow up with a Level II Blade Special using A (or alternatively by using ZL or ZR when your party members are ready to attack). And then follow that with a Level III or Level IV Blade Special.