With the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 a lot of people have been confused about how the battle system works. There are a lot of chains and combos that aren’t always explained well as you play through the game. This article covers the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 combat system so you can learn the battle mechanics and perform Blade Combos, Chain Attacks, and Driver Combos at will. Some of these Xenoblade Chronicles 2 combat tips can be a bit complex, but we’ll try to lay everything out as best we can.

Blade Combos

Blade Combos are essentially a series of Special Attacks. In the upper right corner of the screen you’ll see a branching path for your Blade Combo. Use your first Special Attack and a gauge will appear above the target monster’s name. You won’t have much time to act, so pay close attention to the new gauge. You need to land a second Special Attack, that’s level two or higher, before the gauge depletes. The third attack in the Blade Combo should be at least level three.

You can start with Special Attack to initiate the Blade Combo, but after that you need to make sure you’re selecting the correct element and that the attack meets the minimum level requirement. You won’t always move from level one to level two and onward with each new Special Attack. All you need to do is make sure you’re using the correct element, and that whatever Special Attack you’re using is at least the level of the active Blade Combo. For example, if you’re at a level two Blade Combo, you can use a Special Attack that’s level two or higher, but you can’t use a Special Attack below level two.

While you need to wait until you see the prompt to use other party member Special Attacks to extend the Blade Combo, you can use your own character’s Special Attacks as much as you want without interrupting the Blade Combo. Keep in mind some enemies will gain immunity to elements after landing a Blade Combo. You’ll need to use Chain Attacks to remove the elemental orbs before you start another Blade Combo.

Chain Attacks

Chain Attacks are mainly used to remove elemental immunity from an enemy. Elemental immunity is visualized by orbs, which translates to how many Special Attacks you need to hit during your Chain Attack in order to remove the immunity. Each orb essentially has three hit points, so if one orbs remain, you need to land three Special Attacks during the Chain Attack to remove it. However, if you use a Special Attack of the opposite element, it will remove two hit points at once meaning you only need to use two Special Attacks to remove a single orb.

Before you can perform a Chain Attack, you need the Party Gauge in the upper left corner to be completely full. With the Party Gauge full, press Start to initiate a Chain Attack in which each party member will use a Special Attack. Once the Chain Attack is over, the Party Gauge is completely drained.

As you remove immunity orbs, your Burst Gauge will fill. The more orbs you can burst in a single turn, the faster the Burst Gauge fills. If at least one orb is burst during a turn, you’ll get a QTE that can lead to a bonus turn for the party. If you perform Chain Attacks properly you can continue to attack over and over again so long as you’re successful with the QTE that follows each turn. Once the Burst Gauge is full you will execute a level four Special Attack to end the Chain Attack.

Driver Combos

Driver Combos are performed by executing Driver Arts in rapid succession. You don’t have a lot of time to complete a Driver Combo, so speed is essential. The Driver Combo Gauge is located above the target enemy’s name, to the left of the Break Combo Gauge. You don’t need to have an active Blade Combo going in order to perform a Driver Combo, but you do need to follow the proper chain of attacks: Break > Topple > Launch > Smash. Just check the effect listed next to the Driver Art to ensure you’re using the right attack to continue the combo. When you use a Driver Combo and Blade Combo at the same time, you get a Fusion Combo. 

Special Attacks

The Special Attack tree in the upper right corner of the screen basically serves as your Element Attack and leads into Blade Combos. You can build the Special Gauge by using Driver Arts and pouch items. This will fill your special gauge up to level three (indicated by the three glowing orbs around the character portrait). Once you reach level three the special gauge will automatically charge up to level four so long as the driver stands close enough to the blade (you’ll see the link glowing when this happens). It should be noted that the special gauge will drop back down to level three if the driver moves too far away from the blade.

Find out how to unlock every rare blade in the game, as well as how to pick locks and more in our Xenoblade Chronicles 2 game hub!