Breaking down every character’s special mechanics in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT

One of the biggest flaws of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is the lack of any tutorial explaining each character’s unique abilities. Knowledge of these abilities is essential to playing competitively. Knowing each character’s strengths and weaknesses is how you construct your entire strategy.

Luckily, we have you covered with a quick rundown of every character’s unique mechanics. It’s not a complete character guide by any means, but it will help you get started in learning your character of choice.

Warrior of Light

The Warrior of Light is the game’s tank. His EX Skill allows him to force all enemies to target him, essentially pulling aggro. He can then use his Shield of Light ability to block incoming attacks and gain buffs for doing so. He pairs especially well with Marksman, since he can keep quicker characters from chasing them down.

Garland

Garland is the exact opposite of the Warrior of Light. He gains buffs by continuously attacking his opponents, making him a natural pick for more offense minded players. His EX Skill is essentially a command grab, which does continuous damage and buffs him. His combo ability is low, which makes activating his self-buff difficult, but doing so will make him a monster on the battlefield.

Firion

Firion is a combo oriented character who has the unique ability to cancel his bravery attacks into other bravery attacks. Each of his grounded bravery attacks is a three hit combo, and he can switch between all three combo strings as he wants. His EX Skill increases his movement speed and causes his attacks to drain HP, and he can trade his HP attack in for a counter stance. He essentially occupies the middle space between Vanguard and assassin, being one of the quicker vanguards in the cast.

The Emperor

The Emperor’s unique ability allows him to aim certain spells manually. This, combined with his large number of traps, make him a good area control character. His EX Skill allows him to cause meteors to rain down on his foes. If hit by the last meteor, the opponent will be temporarily stunned and prevented from moving. This allows The Emperor to follow up with a punishing area of effect spell centered right on the opponent’s head.

Onion Knight

The Onion Knight is a specialist that can both cast magic and strike with physical attacks in his base form. When his EX Skill is charged, he can use it to change jobs into either a Ninja (if he mostly used physical attacks) or a Sage (if he mostly used magical attacks). The Ninja plays much like an assassin, while the Sage plays like a Marksman. While in one of these advanced jobs, using his EX Skill again will change him into the other one. His HP attacks get bonuses based on which job he is currently in, so make sure to equip the one for the job you use most often. Changing jobs also restores his HP and Bravery, so be sure to use it in a pinch. You can also switch jobs to get the drop on the opponent. Become a Ninja while being chased down as a Sage to suddenly become an offensive threat. Change to the sage while someone is running away from you as a Ninja, to hit them from afar.

Cloud of Darkness

After a set amount of time, Cloud of Darkness will become engulfed in darkness. This powers up all of her bravery attacks to a new “fully charged” form. Usually these attacks deal extra damage, come out quicker, and hit a larger area of effect. Using her EX Skill converts all of her attacks to their fully charged form for a short period of time and you can cash in this buff to fire a laser which acts as an HP attack. Note that most of Cloud of Darkness’s skills hit long range like a Marksman though she is a vanguard, meaning her attacks have super armor when clashing with the attacks of other classes.

Cecil

Cecil has the ability to change jobs between Dark Knight and Paladin using his EX Skill. The Dark Knight has many powerful grounded options, but is weak in the air, while the Paladin has many powerful aerial options but is weak on the ground. Each job has its own specific HP attacks which are also better in the air or on the ground. Switching jobs increases Cecil’s stats temporarily.

Kain

Kain is a very potent Assassin in the air or on the ground. His biggest problem is that his HP attacks are somewhat lackluster. Luckily he has a second way to deal damage in his EX Skill: Jump. Jump homes in on the opponent and attacks wherever they are after leaping into the air. At level 1 and 2 it deals bravery damage and applies a self-buff. At level 3, it deals HP damage while applying the self buff. This is Kain’s primary method of finishing off opponents.

Golbez

When Golbez starts a match, he is accompanied by a shadow dragon familiar. As long as he has access to this familiar, his bravery and HP attacks all get massive buffs. After taking enough damage, however, the shadow dragon disappears and Golbez enters a weakened state. He can use his EX Skill when it is charged, to resummon his shadow dragon or, if the dragon is already present, use a massive area of effect ice spell.

Bartz

Bartz essentially levels up over the course of a match. Using any of his skills will cause that skill accumulate job points. After using it enough, the skill will be mastered turning it into a new buffed version and giving Bartz a permanent passive buff to one of his stats. By using his EX Skill, Bartz can increase the attack, defense, and speed of his entire party based on how many skills he has mastered. While this buff is active, Bartz will master skills quicker. At the start of a match, Bartz is one of the weaker characters in Dissidia, but fully mastered, he is easily the best character in the game.

Exdeath

Exdeath can switch between three modes by clicking in the left stick. In Berserker Mode, Exdeath essentially becomes a vanguard, gaining super armor and dealing more damage. In Nullifier Mode, Exdeath fills his EX gauge quickly and can suppress the EX Skills of others. In Hexer Mode, Exdeath’s attacks debuff the enemy but his attacks become weaker as a result. Each of these modes has their own unique EX Skills which function as ultimate attacks. In general, use Nullifier mode as a base form, go into Berserker mode if you are going for a kill, and go into Hexer mode if you are playing more defensively or at range.

Terra

Terra is fairly straightforward. She is one of the only characters that has a multi-hitting combo based magic (don’t let Square-Enix’s image fool you. She’s a Marksman not an Assassin). If she spends enough time not attacking, her next attack gets buffed. Her EX Skill is just a fairly straight forward self-buff. If you are looking for a beginner Marksman, Terra is a good choice.

Kefka

Kefka is specifically meant to infuriate the opponent. His attacks are all tricky making them hard to dodge or even detect. He can even place fake summoning cores around the battlefield which explode like bombs. Kefka can charge his spells by holding down his attack buttons, making them more potent. His HP attacks are also useful even if they don’t score a kill since they debuff the opponent on hit. His EX Skill applies random debuffs to all enemies in range, increasing the number of debuffs applied when charged. If you want to make your opponent throw their controller in rage, Kefka is your man.

Cloud

Mr. Spikey Hair himself is fairly straightforward. He can charge his attacks like Kefka, except A) he’s a Vanguard and B) he can dodge while charging, which makes it easy to sidestep an opponent trying to capitalize on his charge time. His EX Skill is limit break, which allows him to increase his defense and decrease his charge time. It also grants invincibility to some of his attacks. Cloud plays primarily as a response character. He likes to punish whiffed attacks for massive bravery and HP damage with his charged moves, and is better off doing this than attempting to combo.

Sephiroth

Cue the Latin chanting! Every character can cancel their attacks into dashes, but Sephiroth can do it without any startup time. This allows him to, essentially, instant-cancel (or rapid-cancel in fighting game terms) any of his moves, making it easy to combo into his dash attack or other attacks. Utilizing this unique cancel allows him to string together incredibly punishing and technical combos for a Vanguard. In fact, he is likely the most aggressive Vanguard in the game. If you are a long-time fighting game player, Sephiroth’s unique ability should appeal to you. Sephiroth’s EX Skill slows any character near him, making it harder for them to combo or run away, and making it easier for your combos to hit.

Squall

Squall is another character that should appeal to hardcore fighting game players. He flails about ineffectively when mashing but by pressing your buttons with specific timing he will pull the trigger on his gunblade with each attack, doing more damage and hit-stun. Squall can also cancel his back bravery attacks into other attacks, allowing him a certain bit of freedom in combo creation. Squall’s EX Skill allows him to draw and junction magic from his opponent, gaining a different buff depending on what class they are. Vanguards give you a defense buff, Marksmen give you an attack buff, and Assassins give you a speed buff. Specialists give you a random buff. This also gives him a stock of Ultima to cast, if he has Ultima equipped as his HP attack.

Ultimecia

Ultimecia is the most aggressive Marksman in the game. Not only are her spells fast, but she gets buffs if she manages to land her attacks in quick succession. This makes her a combo caster, but in a different way than Terra since her magic doesn’t have multiple hits. Her EX Skill is just a massive explosive spell. She too is a good straightforward Marksman to choose if you are just starting out.

Zidane

While Zidane is technically an Assassin, he plays more like a Specialist. His dashing attack allows him to steal the opponent’s attributes, debuffing them and buffing himself. While in trance, his EX Skill, this attack deals damage along with stealing. His HP attacks also steal stats from the enemy, making them decent to use even if Zidane doesn’t have a lot of Bravery. For an Assassin, Zidane’s damage output isn’t that high. He is much better suited to debuffing members of the opposing team that are proving to be a problem.

Kuja

Kuja also plays more like a Specialist than anything else. His attacks are all good at keeping opponents  away from him or locked in place. His EX Skill, however, buffs the entire party and reduces the amount of time it takes to cast his EX Skill again, which again, buffs the entire party. Buff enough and Kuja will enter trance which makes his buffs better and easier to cast. Kuja’s goal is to keep enemies away from him and keep his allies stacked with buffs at all times. He’s really best when played in a support role.

Tidus

Tidus doesn’t really have any major gimmicks to speak of. His biggest unique ability is a longer than normal dash gauge and a variety of dashing bravery attacks. This makes him the most mobile character in the game, but he still doesn’t play much differently than any other assassin. Using his EX Skill grants you an even longer dash gauge to continue landing dashing attacks.

Jecht

Jecht is another character who will appeal to traditional fighting gamers, specifically those who enjoy long combos. His EX Skill is a universal cancel. Using it will cancel him out of literally anything back into a neutral state. He can use this to string together humongous strings of bravery attacks making him super deadly. His back bravery attack is a defensive ability that still causes damage, and this can be used in conjunction with his EX Skill to launch into a full combo.

Shantotto

Shantotto plays like a standard Marksman except her spells all power up into better multi-hit versions when she loses enough HP. This can actually be somewhat difficult to take advantage of, since many Dissidia players tend to prefer going for one hit kills. Her EX Skill is a giant energy attack that is invincible, which gives her some extra offensive capability even when not enraged.

Vaan

Don’t listen to Ondore’s lies! It’s Captain Basch Von Ronsenburg of Dalmasca!

Vaan is a specialist, but plays more like a standard Vanguard or Assassin. He has the unique ability to equip two HP attacks and combo them together, allowing him to deal a ton of damage and kill at lower bravery levels. Landing enough HP attacks allows him to enter a buffed state that makes his HP attacks deal even more damage. Many of his HP attacks also buff him or debuff the enemy as well, making them his primary form of attack, as opposes to most characters who focus on bravery. Since his bravery options are limited, he can actually manually charge his bravery using his EX skill, allowing him to go straight into using HP attacks without trading blows with the enemy.

Lightning

Lightning, while classed as an Assassin, plays more like a specialist. At any time she can click in the L3 stick to switch between her Ravager and Commando paradigms. Commando focuses on fast close range attacks, while Ravager focuses on ranged spell casting. Some players have even found ways to switch between paradigms mid combo. She can also heal herself by using her EX skill, Army of One, though it only heals HP on hit.

Y’shtola

Y’shotla is a hard name to pronounce and a hard character to master. While a Marksman by class, she also plays like a Specialist. All of her attacks debuff the opponent in some way. She can also cancel out the recovery of her bravery attacks in order to chain her spells together, but she can’t chain the same spell twice. Her EX skill is purely defensive, creating a huge aura that heals HP and increases bravery in its area of effect. She is the most support based marksman in the game, and should be used to assist other characters, rather than to attempt kills herself.

Noctis

Everyone’s favorite pretty boy makes use of his warp strike to zip around the battlefield. He can stock three charges of warp, which charges over time, allowing him extra attack and movement options. After taking enough HP damage Armiger will activate, buffing all of his bravery attacks. Once again, most Dissidia players prefer to go for one hit kills, so this can be difficult to utilize.

Ramza

Ramza starts out playing a primarily supportive role. His attacks aren’t that potent, but he has the ability to charge his EX gauges at will. When his EX gauge is full, he can buff all of his allies’ stats, or buff all of his own stats. In general, Ramza wants to buff his team first and himself second. When buffed Ramza can keep pace with any Vanguard or Assassin, making use of powerful attacks with tons of range. Just be sure to back off when his buff wears off.

Ace

Finally we have Ace, the weirdest Marksman in the game. By using his EX Skill, Ace draws cards randomly from his deck. He can stock four cards in his hand. By holding down the EX Skill button, Ace will detonate his cards, using an ability based on how many cards are in his hand and of which color. Only the effect of the color of the highest number of cards is executed. Red cards are damage spells, black cards are debuffs, blue cards are heals, and yellow cards are buffs.