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Xenoblade Chronicles 3 arts guide | The best arts for each build

The craft of arts

Picking the best arts in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a key part of building a well-rounded party, and, especially on higher difficulties, you need to put some careful thinking into how you build each class. Now that Xenoblade 3 has been out for a little while, we've updated with a few of the intermediate classes you find from chapter 2 onwards. As always, be aware there will be mild spoilers below.

Early in the game, you unlock the option to add a second set of arts to your loadout, with more slots unlocking until you reach level 40.

Secondary arts are dependent on you unlocking and probably mastering the class they come from, so it’s worth spending some time – or Nopon Coins – leveling up several classes even if you plan on just sticking to one.

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Best Swordfighter build

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Swordfighter art selection screen

The Swordfighter isn’t the best attacker class, but it does have some merits if you’re after a straightforward attacker role.

Best Swordfigther arts

These are basic arts, but Air Slash and Edge Thrust in particular can still deal a respectable amount of damage:

  • Air Slash
  • Edge Thrust
  • Sword Strike
Swordfighter Secondary arts
  • Night Hunt (Stalker)
  • Violent Flurry (Thaumaturge)
  • No Love Lost (Strategos)

This build boosts attack power from back strikes with Night Hunt, while lowering enemy defense with No Love Lost.

Violent Flurry is a strong choice for anyone since it could ignore enemy defense completely, but if you’re after something with a bit more oomph, try the Ogre’s Giant Swing. Its knockback effect can’t be beat.

Swordfighter Gems

Since the Swordfighter is a no-frills class, your best bet is an equally straightforward approach with their gems.

  • Steelcleaver (attack boost)
  • Steady Attacker (increases auto attack speed)
  • Empowered Combo (damage boost when cancelling arts)

Best Zephyr build

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Zephyr art selection screen

Zephyr is a solid defender role at any point in the game, and you can make it even better with the right arts and gems.

Best Zephyr arts

Zephyr excels at evasion, but also has some unique aggro-generating skills.

  • Air Fang
  • Wide Slash
  • Butterfly Blade OR Glow Ring

Butterfly Blade is the foundational skill and boosts aggro by 70%, so it’s always handy.

Air Fang is essential, as it deals higher damage if the enemy is targeting you. In some cases, though, it’s best to use Glow Ring instead of Butterfly, since Glow Ring forces one enemy to target you.

Zephyr secondary arts

Defenders are the most versatile class in Xenoblade 3, since you can mix support skills in the mix to give them an even better method of controlling crowds.

  • Advanced Cooldown (War Medic)
  • Energy Grenade (Yumsmith)
  • Hidden Thorn (Flash Fencer)

Advanced Cooldown is the key skill here, since it creates a broad field that raises the defense of any ally inside, including you. That’s pretty excellent for a defender class.

Energy Grenade and Hidden Thorn help whittle down your opponent’s health. The grenade deals continuous damage, and Hidden Thorn inflicts bleed, which also saps their HP.

Zephyr gems

  • Tailwind (agility boost)
  • Ultimate Counter (deals attack damage when you take a hit)
  • Perilous Presence (starts battles with aggro)

This is a fairly standard defender build, but it gets the job done. Perilous Presence is especially important, since you can quickly get defeated if an enemy group targets your healers first.

Best Medic Gunner build

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Medic Gunner art selection screen

The Medic Gunner is a tough class to get to grips with at first, especially since its arts recharge with time instead of by auto-attacking.

Your best bet is focusing on support early on, and then with more classes unlocked, you can turn it into a strong ether attack class.

Best Medic Gunner arts

In the game’s early phases, you have a bit of a branching development path for the class. Medic Gunner is the only way to inflict Daze for a while, which is good for combos.

It also has two healing skills and a field art placement, the latter of which is the only way to charge the class talent art and heal in larger numbers. Since healing is so limited until chapter three, we recommend sticking with the Daze-healing art combo.

  • Myopic Screen
  • Group Heal
  • Vortex

Later when you’ve got healing covered more efficiently, you can swap out Vortex for Ether Cannon and deal better ether damage.

Medic Gunner secondary arts
  • No Love Lost
  • Overfall
  • Dark Banner

This is an odd class and not one that’s really worth sticking with for long. Most of its best secondary arts come from Taion’s Tactician class and help turn it into a viable support role.

Medic Gunner gems

  • Lifebearer (increases healing)
  • Livesaving Expertise (faster ally recovery)
  • Disperse Bloodlust (reduced aggro)

Most healers need the same things, and those things are better healing and faster recovery times when reviving allies.

Best Tactician build

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Tactician art selection screen

The Tactician is a better support class than Medic Gunner, but still struggles with healing out of the box.

Best Tactician arts

  • Stormy Skies
  • Hazy Figure
  • Avenging Eagle

This is almost a purely support build, but it’s certainly the most useful in the first several chapters.

Stormy Skies is your standard healing move. You should target your defenders with Hazy Figure to help keep them alive longer with its evasion-boosing buff – a handy supplement while your healing arts recharge – and Avenging Eagle reduces your foes’ evasion.

You can also swap Avenging Eagle for Overfall if you have several ether attackers in your party, since Overfall reduces enemy ether defense.

Tactician secondary arts
  • Multiblast (War Medic)
  • Ether Cannon (Medic Gunner)
  • Energy Grenade (Yumsmith)

Tactician only has one healing skill, so Multiblast is pretty essential. The others help boost the class’ ether damage output and adds a handy way to support the team by reducing enemy HP.

Tactician gems

  • Lifebearer (increases healing)
  • Livesaving Expertise (faster ally recovery)
  • Disperse Bloodlust (reduced aggro)
  • Swelling Blessing (boosts power of buffs you apply)
  • Swelling Scourge (boosts power of debuffs you apply)

The philosophy here is pretty much the same as the Medic Gunner, though the Swelling gems are strong alternatives if you plan on going heavy with the support side.

Best Heavy Guard build
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Heavy Guard art selection screen

The Heavy Guard is probably what you think of first if "tank role" comes to mind. It's slow, it attracts aggro like nobody's business, and it's not exactly the best for dealing damage. It is your only way to inflict Topple for quite a while, though, so if you're intent on combos, make sure to pay this class some attention.

Best Heavy Guard arts

  • Bull Rush
  • Uppercut Slash
  • Variable Turret OR Solid Stance

Bull Rush is strong anyway, but it's also your Topple skill. Uppercut Slash generates aggro and is the strongest of the class' skills, but the third slot is a bit more flexible.

Variable Turret blocks all damage, but only from one enemy. It's good for boss fights against single opponents, though probably not ideal if you're attracting attention from several foes. Solid Stance reduces your damage output and damage taken by 25%. The Heavy Guard isn't going to deal the most damage of your main classes, so this is an acceptable tradeoff on whole.

Heavy Guard secondary arts
  • Wide Slash (Zephyr)
  • No Love Lost (Strategos) OR Maxiumum Voltage (Ogre)
  • Giant Swing (Ogre)

Wide Slash's evasion bonus makes it a strong pick considering your Heavy Guard is under fire most of the time. No Love Lost and Maximum Voltage are sort of interchangeable - the first one reduces physical defense and the second buffs your attack while making hits unblockable. Maximum Voltage is good if you're getting ready to deal a strong hit with Giant Swing or Uppercut Slash, though No Love Lost means everyone benefits from softer enemies.

Heavy Guard gems

  • Steel Protection (increases chances of blocking attacks)
  • Ultimate Counter (deals damage when you're attacked)
  • Steady Striker (increased auto attack speed) OR Doublestrike (chance of hitting twice with an auto attack)

The first two gems are similar to the Zephyr build and pretty much any defender class you use, but the last prospect is potentially even more important. The Heavy Guard is a slow class. It's fine for your main arts, which recharge over time, but it does mean your utility in battle is limited mostly to blocking. These two gem options help fix that.

Best Ogre build

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Ogre art selection screen

The Ogre is your second pure attacker class, and its one of the most useful throughout the game, thanks to the status effects and sheer power from its arts.

Best Ogre arts

  • Big Impact
  • Giant Swing
  • Maximum Voltage

The Ogre already hits hard, and Maximum Voltage ensures it hits even harder for quite a while longer. Big Impact knocks enemies down when you're in front of them, which creates an excellent chance to either redouble your attack or heal without being harassed, and then Giant Swing is just a fantastic, heavy-hitting skill in general.

Ogre secondary arts
  • Multi Blast (War Medic)
  • Energy Grenade (Yumsmith)
  • Advanced Cooldown (War Medic)

This set gives the Ogre something more to do aside from just dealing damage. Since the Ogre benefits from frontal attacks, staying near the defender is a good idea, and Multi Blast means you can help them stay alive. The same goes for Advanced Cooldown's defense-buffing field, while Energy Grenade is just a nice supplementary bit of damage dealing.

Ogre gems

  • Accurate Grace (increases dexterity)
  • Steady Striker (faster auto attacks)
  • Empowered Combo (stronger attacks when cancelling arts)

The Ogre's big downside is slightly low accuracy, which Accurate Grace helps fix. Empowered Combo boosts damage, and Steady Striker resolves the issue of how slow the hammer attacks are.

Best Flash Fencer build

Xenoblade 3 arts: The Flash Fencer class selection screen

The Flash Fencer is the first class that gives you some worthwhile debuffs, and true to its name, it plays much faster than the other classes so far.

Best Flash Fencer arts

  • Null Slash
  • Hidden Thorn
  • Acceleration
Acceleration is the Fencer's most important art, as it increases art recharge and auto attack speed, albeit at the expense of taking more damage. Make sure to have a capable defender on your team to draw aggro. Hidden Thorn inflicts bleed, a debuff that reduces enemy HP, and Null Slash boosts critical hit rate when attacking from the side. Flash Fencer secondary arts
  • Hornet (Strategos)
  • No Love Lost (Strategos)
  • Night Hunt (Stalker)

This build turns the FLash Fencer into a formidable support attacker. Hornet heals nearby allies, No Love Lost reduces enemy defense, and Night Hunt cuts aggro, which is handy if you're using Acceleration.

Flash Fencer gems

  • Steel CLeaver (attack increase)
  • Refined Incantation (debuffs last longer)
  • Lifebearer (healing increase

This set buffs attack with Steel Cleaver and bumps up the build's support capabilities with the other two.

Best War Medic build

Xenoblade 3 arts: The War Medic class selection screen

The War Medic is one of the best healing classes regardless of where you're at in the game, though the downside is it has limited attack potential.

Best War Medic artts

  • Heal Bullet
  • Multi Blast
  • Advanced Cooldown

Heal Bullet is your basic healing skill, which you can swap out for Vital Bullet if you prefer health regeneration. Multi Blast is the key healing art here, since it heals multiple times as your attack lands and heals everyone in the vicinity. Advanced Cooldown creates a defense-buffing field, which is handy since it ideally slows down the rate at which you have to heal.

War Medic secondary arts

  • Overfall (Tactician)
  • Staying Power (Stalker)
  • Giant Swing (Ogre)

Overfall reduces enemy ether defense and lets your War Medic do slightly more damage as a result. Staying Power creates a field where if you use an art inside it, the field generates an ether blast that targets the enemy you attacked. Giant Swing seems a bit random, but the Knockback effect is surprisingly helpful at keeping enemies away.

War Medic gems

Lifebearer (healing boost) Swelling Breath (stronger buffs) Lifesaving Expertise (faster revival)

Since this class is so strongly oriented around healing, your gems should focus on that as well. Swap Swelling Breath for Soothing Breath if you find revived allies get knocked out again too quickly.

Best Guardian Commander build

Xenoblade 3 arts: The Guardian Commander class selection screen

The Guardian Commander is a bit of an odd one. You need to build either build your arts around the Talent art to maximize your damage or forgo damage and just turn it into a block machine. There's not really an in-between until later in the game, when you can include some secondary arts from another defender class

Best Guardian Commander arts

For the damage route, we recommend this build, with the last two arts getting a boost in the Awakened state:

  • Shield Bash
  • Falcom Swoop
  • Imperial Sword

And if you want to opt for defense instead, you should pick:

  • Shield Bash
  • Noble Taunt
  • Grand Protection

Shield Bash is useful regardless since it causes Topple, which surprisingly few arts can do.

Guardian Commander secondary arts
  • Wide Slash (Zephyr)
  • Overfall (Tactician)
  • No Love Lost (Strategos)

These give your Guardian Commander more of a supporting role by letting them inflict debuffs on the enemy.

Guardian Commander gems

  • Perilous Presence (start battle with aggro)
  • Steel Protection (boosts block rate)
  • Ultimate Counter (deals damage when attaacked)

In my experience, the Guardian Commander struggles with generating aggro, so Perilous Presence is a must. You can swap Ultimate Counter with Brimming Spirit, which also boosts aggro, if you also have trouble keeping the enemy's attention.

Best Thaumaturge build

Xenoblade 3 arts: The Thaumaturge class selection screen

The Thaumaturge is a versatile healer, albeit at the cost of doing much healing. You may need to supplement with a second healer or additional skills, but its support options make it an excellent pick anwyay.

Best Thaumaturge arts

  • Rank Splitter
  • Leaping Current
  • Divine Protection

This build leans more heavily on support. Rank Splitter is your foundational art, one that deals damage and heals simultaneously. Leaping Current removes debuffs and increases attack for nearby party members, and Divine Protection casts a field that boosts defense.

You can swap Divine Protection for Violent Flurry if you want to deal more damage. It may ignore enemy defense, and considering the Thaumaturge has surprisingly high attack, it's a solid choice.

Thaumaturge secondary arts
  • Cross Impact (Flash Fencer)
  • Advanced Cooldown (War Medic)
  • Multi Blast (War Medic)

Advanced Cooldown's defense buff gives your Thaumaturge even more value as a support healer, while Multi Blast makes up for their innate lack of healing. Cross Impact provides a power boost, which works well with Violent Flurry, though you could always add Myopic Screen instead to help with combos.

Thaumaturge gems

Lifebearer (increases healing) Steelcleaver (boosts attack) Swelling Blessing (enhances buffs)

This is a fairly standard build that boosts support and healing, while giving the Thaumaturge an extra edge in attack power as well.

Best Yumsmith build

Xenoblade 3 arts: The Yumsmith class selection screen

The Yumsmith is a difficult class to build since every art works well. If you want a pure power attacker, though, this build should be a good fit.

Best Yumsmith arts

  • Extended Slash
  • Recharge
  • Determination

This build centers around Extended Slash, with its impressive damage multiplier, which is even more powerful if you attack from the front. Recharge boosts critical hit rate - making it a perfect compliment for the Incursor class too - while Determination boosts attack by 150 percent and reduces incoming damage by 25 percent if you're within a field effect, such as Recharge.

Yumsmith secondary arts Giant Swing (Ogre) Maximum Voltage (Ogre) No Love Lost (Strategos)

Giant Swing adds another strong attack to your repertoire, while Maximum Voltage boosts power even more, and No Love Lost softens enemies before you strike.

Yumsmith gems

Steelcleaver (attack buff) Analyze Weakness (critical hit rate buff) Empowered Combo (stronger attacks when cancelling arts)

Analyze Weakness helps get the most out of Recharge, and Empowered Combo works to make your two attack skills even more powerful.

Full Metal Jaguar build

The Full Metal Jaguar is a textbook attacker role, with aggro debuff options and skills that are almost all position based.

Best Full Metal Jaguar arts

Xenoblade 3 arts: The Metal Jaguar class selection screen
  • Quickdraw
  • Demolotion
  • Fatal Barrage

These all have high damage multipliers and get a handy damage boost if you attack from the right direction. The downside is some of them, especially Fatal Barrage, attract a lot of aggro, so you may want to replace one with Dead Set to remove aggro instead.

Full Metal Jaguar secondary arts
  • Staying Power (Stalker)
  • Maximum Voltage (Ogre)
  • No Love Lost (Strategos)

These make for a well-rounded Jaguar, one who can reduce enemy defense and deal extra damage with self-buffs and the unique art field Staying Power creates.

Full Metal Jaguar gems

  • Steelcleaver (attack boost)
  • Empowered Combo (stronger arts when cancelling)
  • Disperse Bloodlust (reduces aggro)

The first two gems in this set are your usual standard attacker gems, but Disperse Bloodlust is useful if you don't want to use an arts slot for Dead Set.

Strategos build

Xenoblade 3 arts: The Strategos class selection screen

The Strategos is a debuff-oriented version of the Thaumaturge and a class that's worth unlocking for everyone, even if you don't rank them up in it.

Best Strategos arts

  • No Love Lost
  • Hornet
  • Moondog

No Love Lost is the class' best art, since it deals damage and reduces enemy defense. Hornet deals heavy ether damage and heals nearby party members, and Moondog creates a health regeneration field, making Strategos slightly better for actual healing than the Thaumaturge.

Strategos secondary arts
  • Demolition (Full Metal Jaguar)
  • Ether Cannon (Medic Gunner)
  • Energy Grenade (Yumsmith)

This build lets the Strategos make a bigger impact on the field, with two strong ether-based attacks and a skill that creates a field of continuous damage. If you're keen on combos, you can swap Ether Cannon for the Medic Gunner's Myopic Screen instead. Make sure to have a character who can use Overfall to reduce enemy ether defense too. The Strategos can't use it.

Strategos gems

  • Swelling Scourage (stronger debuffs)
  • Lifebearer (increased healing)
  • Disperse Bloodlust (reduces aggro)

If you opt for the secondary arts listed above, Disperse Bloodlust is pretty important, since you end up attracting quite a bit of aggro with this build. I opted for Swelling Scourage to increase how powerful No Love Lost's debuff is. If you'd rather it last longer too, you could change Disperse Bloodlust for Refined Incantation to get the best of both worlds.

Stalker build

Xenoblade 3 arts: The Stalker class selection screen

The Stalker would be a sub-DPS in traditional MMO terms. Its arts are slow and specific to certain scenarios, but still deal quite a bit of damage in the right circumstances.

Best Stalker arts

Rapid Shot Driving Arrow Night Hunt

Rapid Shot is your big hitter in this build, though it's rapid in name only. The art takes a while to cast, but the impressive 465 percent damage multiplier makes it worth the wait. Driving Arrow inflicts bleed, and while it's weaker than Rapid Shot, Night Hunt helps bolster its power.

Driving Arrow gets a power boost if you use it against launched enemies, though I tended to prefer Driving Arrow's bleed effect.

Stalker secondary arts
  • Multi Blast (War Medic)
  • Demolition (Full Metal Jaguar)
  • Gale Slash (Lone Exile)

The Stalker has access to a wide variety of arts, but this selection provides more, and faster, attack options with an extra bit of healing thrown in. Gale Slash has the added advantage of not increasing aggro substantially, despite being a defender skill, though you could also change it for Shield Bash (Guardian Commander) or Myopic Screen (Medic Gunner) if you need more combo options.

Stalker gems

  • Doublestrike (may auto attack twice) OR Steady Striker (shorter intervals between auto attacks)
  • Empowered Combo (stronger arts when cancelling)
  • Steelcleaver (higher attack)

This set helps reduce the Stalker's speed issue by helping them hit more often and making sure it counts when they do hit.

Lone Exile build

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 arts: The Lone Exile class on the class selection screen

The Lone Exile is a unique defender that wields strong attack arts to attract aggro, which makes choosing the best ones more difficult than you might expect. It also has fewer traditional defender options, but the one it does have is highly effective.

Best Lone Exile arts

You can build your Lost Exile in a couple of ways.

  • Jaws of Death
  • Gale Slash
  • Eye of the Storm

The point of this build is attracting attention and then using that to punish enemies. Eye of the Storm deals double the damage you take as counter damage, while Gale Slash is 70 percent more powerful when it hits enemies who are targeting you. Jaws of Death boosts your damage and increases aggro.

An alternative build is:

  • Demon Slayer
  • Soaring Tempest
  • Jaws of Death

Soaring Tempest is the important skill here, since it's one of just a handful of arts that launches foes. This is also the rank 10 mastery art, so you should try getting every character to at least rank 10 for easier combos.

Lone Exile secondary arts
  • Wide Slash (Zephyr)
  • Shield Wall (Lost Vanguard)
  • Maximum Voltage (Ogre)

Wide Slash and Shield Wall add some much-needed relief for all that aggro your Lone Exile draws. Wide Slash lets you evade while the art is active, and Shield Wall heals the user while they block attacks. Maximum Voltage just helps you hit even harder.

Lone Exile gems

  • Steel Protection (higher block rate)
  • Ironclad (HP boost)
  • Empowered Combo (damage buff when cancelling attacks)

Whichever build you use, the Lone Exile will take a lot of damage, and the first two gems in this set are meant to offset that issue. Empowered Combo's damage buff is a welcome one and more useful than usual, since this build attacks more often by mixing time recharge and hit recharge arts.

Incursor build

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 arts: The Incursor class on the class selection screen

The Incursor is another class you can build in two fairly distinct ways, one revolving around critical hit rates and another with more attack options, but lower damage output.

Best Incursor arts

The critical-hit Incursor would benefit from:

  • Mystic Vision
  • Aerial Slash
  • Sidewinder

Mystic Vision boosts critical hit percentage and damage. Aerial Slash almost guarantees a critical hit, has a naturally high damage multiplier, and lets you evade while the art is active, so it's essential. Sidewinder boosts your critical hit rate by 50 percent if you attack from behind, and it's easier to use than Reversal Edge.

The standard attacker Incursor build is pretty much the same, but uses Glitter Stream instead of Sidewinder, which lets you start combos by inflicting break. The downside is how weak Glitter Stream is, so only use this option if another party member has a topple skill.

Incursor secondary arts

The Incursor has a slightly odd selection of secondary arts to choose from, but our picks are:

  • Multi Blast (War Medic)
  • Hidden Thorn (Flash Fencer)
  • Energy Grenade (Yumsmith)

Hidden Thorn's bleed and Energy Grenade's damage field are a solid complement to the Incursor's high critical hit rate and help wear foes down faster. Multi Blast is a convenience that helps take the burden off your main healer. If another party member has a topple skill, though, you could change one of these for Myopic Screen and its daze effect.

Incursor gems

  • Steady Striker (faster auto attacks)
  • Steelcleaver (higher attack)
  • Analyze Weakness (stronger critical hits)

This gem set is the same one Alexandria uses and for good reason. Its damage buffs and attack speed boost are the perfect match for the class' strengths.

Lost Vanguard build

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 arts: The Lost Vanguard class on the class selection screen

The Lost Vanguard is excellent at attracting and maintaining aggro, and it has some strong attack skills as well.

  • Taunt Pulse
  • Shield Wall
  • Mighty Beat

Taunt Pulse deals surprisingly high amounts of damage over a short period of time and draws aggro, which makes it handy for setting up shield wall. I opted for Mighty Beat over Shockwave since, despite Shockwave being stronger, Mighty Beat has a smash effect to help end combos.

Lost Vanguard secondary arts Gale Slash (Lone Exile) Quickdraw (Full Metal Jaguar) Hidden Thorn (Flash Fencer)

Lost Vanguard has access to quite a few secondary arts, but this is a well-rounded set. Gale Slash deals higher damage to enemies targeting you, and most of them will be, while Quickdraw lets you evade and deals heavy damage from the front. Hidden Thorn is powerful in itself, but the bleed effect is useful for wearing enemies down faster. You could also use the Lone Exile's Soaring Tempest if you need a smash skill.

Lost Vanguard gems

  • Steel Protection (boosts block rate)
  • Perilous Presence (start battle with aggro)
  • Ultimate Counter (deals damage when attacked)

This set uses only defender gems since the Lost Vanguard is meant to block more than anything else.

You won't unlock multiple slots for gems and arts until later in the game, but you also don't have much class variety for the first few chapters either. These builds should give you an idea of how to shape your party in the early moments as you work towards unlocking heroes and obtaining the best classes in Xenoblade 3.

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