While there are a number of helpful instructional clips on YouTube, I’m surprised by the lack of good written guides to help with superbosses in the original Xenoblade Chronicles. I was on a tear last night and beat all five of them after finishing the last section of the game. I used a team of Shulk, Dunban, and Seven at levels 87-88 with liberal use of topple-locking. I did little to no grinding outside of the side quests I completed during pauses in the main story, and absolutely no crystal/gem farming (no patience for that these days). I figured I would try to make a brief guide summarizing principles that I found helpful in beating them.
For those new to this game, topple-locking is a combat strategy in which you perpetually keep your enemy in the topple +/- daze state to prevent them from attacking you. This is achieved by stacking topples and dazes to the point that your enemy cannot recover by the time you’re able to use your topple/daze arts again. For most of the game, this is done best with a team of Shulk, Reyn, and Dunban, each of which eventually gain access to topple and daze arts. Later in the game however, after you obtain the seventh party member and they learn their topple art, they should either replace Reyn or Shulk in my opinion. This is because it becomes increasingly more important to bypass the cooldowns of topple/daze arts with chain attacks in order to keep topple locks going. Seven is the fastest chain attack meter-builder in the game, followed by Dunban, then Shulk. Chain attack meter is accumulated by landing critical hits, activating the special effects of arts by using them in the right conditions, and getting burst affinities.
2) Party Composition
As above, I believe the best team for superbosses is Shulk/Dunban/Seven, though an argument could be made for Seven/Reyn/Dunban, and Shulk/Reyn/Dunban may be up there too. Certainly other teams are viable, but these are the easiest to topple-lock with and I’ve had more luck with them than others.
I’d go for weapons with 3 gem slots first and foremost. Then as high crit rates (critical hits build chain attack meter) and damage as possible.
I tend to use lighter gear with open gem slots (weight factors into the accuracy of attacks), though I sometimes use heavier/unique gear if it comes fitted with the kind of gems I like to use (agility, spike defence, debuff resist, etc). Dunban has a skill you can link to decrease the weight of gear and keep it at zero.
For the super bosses (or any enemy that’s more than a few levels above you), agility and night vision gems will be most important as these will allow you to actually hit them. The formula for how likely your attacks are to land partially depends on the difference in agility between you and the enemy, and the more levels an enemy has on you, the more their agility is buffed. I dedicated two gem slots to agility plus (max +50 agility) as well as two slots for night vision (max 50% increased attack accuracy at night) on each character.
Each of the super bosses has either a counter spike or a debuff spike to deal with. For this reason, depending on the boss, I’d dedicate 2-3 gem slots to either spike defence or debuff resist gems (max 100%) on each character. While this isn’t an issue for the superbosses, there are certain high level unique enemies in the game that have daze or topple spikes which require daze or topple resist gems (debuff resist doesn’t work on these as they are considered status ailments). Alternatively, the spikes can be disabled with Monado purge.
Finally, I used the last slots for topple plus (increases topple duration) on shulk/ Dunban (only had two topple plus gems) and haste/double attack on seven (synergistic with a passive skill they get that turns all double hits into crits; great for building chain attack meter). Daze plus isn’t useful on any but the weakest of the superbosses as the rest are immune to daze.
5) Skill Links
First of all, it is helpful to do side quests and unlock the 4th and 5th skill trees for most characters as these trees often have some of their best skills. In general, I would link skills that increase chain attack meter-building (increased chance of burst affinity, more meter with burst affinity, build meter with auras, etc) and tension building (increased tension with arts, don’t lose tension with incapacitation, etc). Having high tension is yet another factor in how likely your attacks are to land and it also seems like it helps you build chain attack meter more quickly. After that, I’d link skills that increase chance of chain link (Shulk and Reyn have these), and finally, skills that increase agility (straight up agility buffs and agility buffs at the start of battle with higher levelled enemies). You may also consider linking skills that lower equipment weight as this is another factor in attack accuracy.
I found the most important arts to upgrade for Shulk were his break arts, slit edge, backslash, battle soul, light heal, monado shield, and monado armor.
The most important arts for Dunban seemed to be heat haze, steel strike, gale strike, worldly slash, electric gut-buster, and soaring tempest.
The most important arts for Seven appeared to be final cross, air fang, double wind, spear blade, and shut down. It’s also super important to use either lock-on (increased crit rate) or speed shift (haste and increased double attack rate at the cost of defence) as these will help build chain attack meter more quickly. I couldn’t say for sure which one seemed to help build meter faster, but I believe it may be speed shift.
I believe Reyn works best with his topple art, his berserker aura, and a bunch of red arts, though I didn’t use him as much.
The first part of each superboss fight tends to be the hardest as you have to build tension before your attacks really start to hit consistently and your chances of multiple links in chain attacks goes up. Also, seven cannot use their topple art until they’re at max tension. It was the beginning of battles that I found myself scrambling to heal and using monado armor more often in order to stay alive. Once you get a chain attack off with multiple links and a good set of topples going, it gets much easier.
With Shulk/Dunban/Seven, I suggest you control Shulk. Seven should be in the second position as you cannot link Shulk’s 25% increase chain link chance to her. If you link this skill to Dunban and put him at the end, he’ll give you a higher chance of chain links.
While controlling Shulk, you want to use shadow eye to improve your physical arts before using slit edge, air strike, and backslash from the correct positions in order to build chain attack meter. You should also use battle soul pretty often to keep your talent meter up so you have access to his monado cyclone topple. Use light heal and monado armor as necessary to keep people alive.
During chain attacks, Shulk should break the enemy if they’re not already broken, use monado cyclone if they’re already toppled to extend the topple (I tend not to do the initial toppling with this move as the super bosses seem to resist it), use battle soul if his talent meter is low, or use one of his physical attack arts if in the correct position to get the bonus and increase your meter for the next chain attack.
Seven should use final cross if its ready (she’s at full tension) and the enemy is already toppled, use air fang if the enemy isn’t already broken, activate lock-on or speed shift if she doesn’t already have an aura active, or use a physical art if she is able to get the special effect from it and build more chain attack meter. I wouldn’t use final cross unless the enemy is already toppled as the super bosses tend to resist it otherwise.
Dunban should use steel strike to topple the enemy if broken or already toppled, activate his heat haze aura if he doesn’t have an aura already active, or use a physical attack Art.
And there you have it. Ended up a bit longer than I planned, but that’s my general advise for tackling the superbosses. A bit of a heads up for the individual bosses: Final Marcus has a Counter spike, I believe Ancient Deadala and Blizzard Belgazas do as well, Despotic Arsene has very high agility and halved topple duration, and Abyssal Abassy has an instant death spike that requires debuff resist as well as halved topple duration. Also, once you’ve whittled their health down enough, a few of these bosses will use auras that can really give you problems. By keeping them perpetually toppled, you won’t run into this issue.
Hope people find this helpful! I’m too lazy to list the locations of the superbosses now and these are easy enough to find online. I’m very interested to hear other people’s experiences/opinions if they disagree. I’m by no means saying the above is optimal, just what I’ve had success with.
- Dream Unit Design: Shulk
- Anyone else drawn to hard and technical characters?
- Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and 2 : a wonderful JRPG franchise (Spoilers clearly flagged)
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