NOTE: because of the number of Blades available in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, there may be some unmarked spoilers regarding their acquisitions and mandatory appearance down the line. You have been warned.
Blades (Main game only)
- Mythra is, bar none, one of the best Blades in the entire game, befitting the Aegis's "true" form and a mandatory one at that. On top of her semi-unique element of light (since KOS-MOS and several Downloadable Content Blades also have it, while Poppi can be customized to have it), her Blade Art and Battle Skills make her ridiculously powerful: the ever-useful "Recharge Boost" allows Driver Arts to recharge faster, "Critical Up" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, "Foresight" increases accuracy and evasion by up to 50% while at maximum Affinity during combat, making her surprisingly survivable for an offensive-focused Blade, and "Glint" further boosts Mythra's Critical Hit ratio. However, it's her final passive ability, "Lightspeed Flurry", is where her real power lies - upon landing a Critical Hit, a portion of the recharge for Rex's Driver Arts or Blade Specials is shortened from 20% at level 1 of her Affinity Chart to 100% at level 5. Combined with a Core Chip boosting Critical Hits (the "Moon Matter Chip" being the best choice, but basically any that increases the chance of scoring a Critical Hit will work) and Aux Cores with similar effects, players will endlessly spam Rex's Driver Arts and Blade Specials whenever Mythra is in play, making her not only capable of dealing the most damage-per-second, she'll be out-damaging the rest of the party's Blade Specials just with Driver Arts alone. She's also the only Blade in the game who can reliably pull off a solo Blade Combo in the early-mid gamenote ; in the Post-End Game Content, with the right load-out (such as a few accessories that heal or charge the Party Gauge upon a Critical Hit), it's possible to solo Superbosses with her and Rex.
- The best Greataxe Blade is undoubtedly Zenobia: while not quite as effective as Mythra when it comes to Critical Hit rate nor possessing Lightspeed Flurry, she also has Recharge Boost and Critical Up as Blade Arts. However, Zenobia can deal more damage than Mythra to make up for her lower Critical Hit ratio because of her Battle Skills "Carnage", "The Indomitable" and "Greatest Warrior", which rely on increasing damage dealt upon fighting bosses/Unique Monsters/Superbosses, higher-level enemies and more than one enemy during combat, respectively. Her Affinity Chart is also easy to complete, since it requires simply hunting down Unique Monsters and completing Merc Missions based on her; completing it means Zenobia further offsets the damage difference between Mythra by a wide margin. Furthermore, if Rex is her Driver, he'll gain the Driver Art "Power Swipe" with Launch properties, perfect for Driver Combos, and Zenobia's Level 2 Blade Special "Adamantine Axe" deals more damage to Toppled enemies by 100%, which can be increased to 150% at level 5 on her Affinity Chart. While most Greataxe Blades are really good, Zenobia stands out as the best due to her insane attack power and passive abilities that takes advantage by fighting the toughest enemies in the game. Even with the Power Creep of the Downloadable Content Blades, Zenobia is easily a top 15, if not, top 10 Blade. Her main weakness is that her Level 1 and Level 2 Blade Specials aren't effective for Chain Attacks when the aim of the latter is to maximize damage by hitting the opponent as many times as possible.
- Poppi QTπ has the highest attack power out of all Blades in the game, made possible by maxing out her Poppiswap slots, acquiring Master Mods and reaching S+ ranked Trust with Tora, something neither Zenobia or any other Blade has; made further possible since she has six Aux Core slots spread out through Poppi's three forms, and QTπ's Battle Skill "Overclock" (a weaker version of KOS-MOS' "Hyperclock") increases damage dealt by 100% when Affinity is at maximum during combat at level 5 on her Affinity Chart. As the most heavily customizable Blade, Poppi can be of any element, including light, and gives Tora the only party member in the game access to the entire Break-Topple-Launch-Smash Driver Combo sequence via Poppi's forms, while possessing the Driver Art "Speedy Sword" from QTπ, which has the best Break properties of all Driver Arts in the game since it hits three times, ensuring Break is dealt each time. Furthermore, Poppi QTπ's other level 5 Battle Skills of "Nanomachine Repair", where 1.4% of total Hit Points are restored per second if HP is 30% or less, and "Reflection", which adds a 15% chance to reflect enemy attacks, means Tora can easily get out of sticky situations by himself without help. The only difficulty with QTπ is her level 5 Affinity Chart requirements are extremely hard to complete, which includes dealing 9,999,999 damage in a Chain Attack and finishing enemies with a Driver Combo 250 times. However, put in the effort and Poppi QTπ can also solo Superbosses, some of whom can be beaten in less than three minutes. It's little wonder she's considered the best damage dealing-Blade in the game, since "Eye of Shining Justice"-Pandoria needs support due to her low Critical Hit rate and this Super Mode only lasts 90 seconds.
- KOS-MOS, by default, has the light element, and while slightly Overshadowed by Awesome if she becomes Rex's Blade (since he already has Mythra through story-related events)note , she possesses Hyperclock, one of the strongest Battle Skills in the game: at level 5 on her Affinity Chart, whenever KOS-MOS reaches max Affinity in combat, her Driver takes 30% less damage from enemies, while simultaneously dealing double the amount. Combined with the "Crit Heal" strategy (see the next section), the need for a healing-based Blade becomes almost unnecessary (except for healers like Ursula below). Also, KOS-MOS' "Encephalon" Battle Skill at level 5 reduces the amount of Aggro build-up from Driver Arts and auto-attacks by 40%, ensuring her Driver won't always be the enemy's target, although this is her weakest ability due to her making the Driver rather bulky when moving around the battlefield. Thanks to her naturally high damage output that's boosted via Hyperclock, despite Ether Cannon Drivers having the lowest Critical Hit chance of any weapon, their Driver Arts hit multiple times, thus giving them the chance to score a Critical Hit, regardless; additionally, she has Critical Up as a Blade Skill, too. Finally, the Battle Skill "Phase Transition Tech" at level 5 nullifies enemy defense and increases the damage of her Blade Specials by 100%, with her Level 2 Blade Special "H-Effect R" capable of restoring Hit Points to the entire party upwards to 50% of damage dealt to enemies. KOS-MOS's only flaw is being the rarest Blade to acquire in the game.
- The best defensive tank in the game by far is Poppi α: not only does she draw Aggro easier with certain Poppiswap items, with a "Dilation Chip" as her Core Chip and "Block Rate V" as an Aux Core, she can reach the highest block rate in the game at 94%! When maxed out with a Master Tank Mod via Poppiswap, she has a 50% physical defense and 45% ether defense, meaning even un-blocked enemy hits will do jack against her. Alongside "Ultimate Shield" (either via Aux Core or through Poppiswap), there's a 50% chance to negate damage entirely. Auto-attacks from Superbosses can only do up to 800 points of damage to Tora; even the most powerful attack in the game, "Falak Buster", often a One-Hit KO on most Drivers, can be blocked and will only do roughly 5000 points of damage, more than enough for Tora to take since he already has a naturally high pool of Hit Points. Finally, Poppi α's Driver Art "Big Boost" for Tora has the Topple effect, which will be advantageous since Poppi QTπ's Driver Art Speedy Sword has Break, starting the Driver Combo sequence for Tora.
- Ursula is flat out the best healer Blade: one of her Battle Skills, "Beary Healing" at level 5, restores the party's Hit Points by 40% upon being switched into combat, making this exceptionally efficient whenever her Driver or the rest of the party is low on health, easily recuperating over 3,000 Hit Points. Even her Blade Specials are useful, such as Level 2 "Beary Helpful", an Area of Effect attack that, upon landing a hit, restores 50% of damage dealt to the party. Just about the only downside is the last tier of her Affinity Chart's unlock requirements, which is to take many, many music lessons via Merc Missions, considered one of the worst for of all Blades in the game.
- Upon unlocking Pneuma, the game explicitly details how utterly broken this Blade is: sure, it's only available upon reaching a full Party Gauge, can only be used once per battle and has a duration, this Blade can activate any element on the Blade Combo chain and shatter all elemental orbs during a Chain Attack. Inevitably, this Blade will deal more damage than Mythra can, particularly upon achieving a "Full Burst"; even without triggering a Chain Attack leading to a Full Burst, this Blade has all of Mythra's Battle Skills, including Foresight. Also worth noting is throughout this Blade's activation, Rex cannot be knocked out no matter what, perfectly viable against a One-Hit KO from the Final Boss and certain Superbosses. This is before mentioning this Blade's effects on the party, which includes raising Critical Hit rate to 100%, decreasing enemy Break resistance by 50% (the same function as a legendary-tier "Master Scope" accessory), a 50% increase to accuracy and evasion and doubling the chances of enemies dropping items.
- There's no denying Zenobia is the best Greataxe Blade in the game, but fellow Greataxe Blade Dagas comes the closest for a different reason: at level 5 on his Affinity Chart, "Kaiser Zone" increases damage dealt and Area of Effect attacks by 120% at max Affinity for the entire party, a perfect combination alongside high damage-dealers such as Fiora, Poppi QTπ, KOS-MOS and Zenobia. This makes Dagas the best offensive support Blade in the game with the single most useful Battle Skill; only Pneuma and Shulk has him beat due to their respective Battle Skill sets. Dagas is no slouch either, having the same Greataxe Driver Arts T-elos and Zenobia have, with three Aux Core slots to further increase his own damage potential, next to his Arts Plus and Critical Up Blade Arts. To put Kaiser Zone into perspective, players must reach 200% with Elma's Overdrive to even match its damage capabilities, no easy feat to do within the latter's 90 second-duration. Dagas' downside is he's the only Blade in the game who has two Affinity Charts - Kaiser Zone's 120% effectiveness and getting three Aux Core slots requires players unlock the second Chart after completing his personal Sidequest.
Downloadable Content Blades
Due to the result of Power Creep, DLC Blades get their own section.
- Not only does T-elos have the same damage multiplier and weapon type as Zenobia, she possesses incredibly powerful Battle Skills that also rely on increasing damage. Like KOS-MOS, she too has Phase Transition Tech, meaning she can hit the damage cap in combat very quickly, and Critical Up and "Arts Plus" (boost the power of the next Driver Art) for Blade Arts, but its her exclusive Battle Skills "Heaven's Tracker" and "Heartbreaker" that take the cake: at level 5 on her Affinity Chart, the former increases damage her Driver deals by 200% each time a party member falls in combat (upwards to 500%), while the latter increases damage dealt for every enemy defeated by 100% (upwards to 300%). With the Crit Heal strategy in use, it's easy for T-elos' Driver to regenerate from damage dealt by enemies other than a One-Hit KO, and unlike KOS-MOS, she's one of the easiest Blades to get in the game by simply finishing the story and continue play via Post-End Game Content, without the need to enter New Game+.
- While he's only (initially) available in the game's Challenge Mode, Shulk turns out to be one of the best Blades following Poppi QTπ, Eye of Shining Justice-Pandoria and Fiora, possessing the highest auto-attack value at 1974 with S+ ranked Trust, more damage than what normal Pandoria can do. His Battle Skills, at level 5 on his Affinity Chart, include "Monado Speed", a slightly weaker version of Foresight, yet affects the entire party during combat, and "Monado Enchant", which increases damage dealt by the party by 40%; furthermore, he's also of the light element like Mythra and KOS-MOS (and Poppi QTπ upon customized by players). However, it's his "Vision" Battle Skill that makes him broken: if an on-coming enemy attack, one that's likely to be a One-Hit KO occurs, the attack will be negated against the party so long as players successfully complete a button challenge (alongside a 60-second Cooldown); it even works against defensive enemy Arts that can cause "Shackle Blade" or "Doom". Meanwhile, Shulk's Level 1 Blade Special "Monado Purge" at level 5 on his Affinity Chart has a 100% chance of getting rid of the "Awakening" status in Challenge Mode, turning fights into a cakewalk, while Level 2 Blade Special "Monado Cyclone" increases Critical Hit damage by 85%; since the latter Blade Special is an Area of Effect that hits a lot of times, it ensures maximum damage is inflicted as much as possible. While Shulk isn't as good at dealing Critical Hits like Mythra, Zenobia or Fiora, nor does he recharge Driver Arts as quickly, his damage passives are so high and the effects of Vision are so powerful, his pros outweigh his cons, making him another character who can solo Superbosses.
- Corvin is the best offensive tank in the game, having incredibly high damage-per-second for a tanking Blade, and possesses incredibly strong Blade Specials much higher than anyone else except for his Level 4. One of his Battle Skills, "Ensis Lucis" at Level 5 has the ability to give a 150% increase of damage at max affinity, and makes you have an evade rate of 25%. His other Battle Skills are very strong such as "Alae Custodiae" which increases the Party Gauge by 16 every time you deliver a Critical Hit, and he has a max Critical Hit rate of 60% with a Moon Matter Chip, which is higher than Mythra. This means it is easier to revive someone, or make getting the Chain Attack very quickly. His last one is very situational, but can make high Level Mob fights a complete joke with Zeke, as his "Ictus" battle skill boosts the recharge for Driver Arts by 2.5 whenever you evade an attack. On the art "Galactic Strike" for Zeke it has Evasion, AOE and Smash on it, and in Mob Fights with Pouch Item recharge you can spam the art endlessly, making it alongside Screw Edge the easiest art to recharge in the game and makes you unable to be hit while using it. This art by itself makes Mob Fights a complete joke, and puts him into Tier-Induced Scrappy for being too good by default. Oddly, Corvin's weapon provides Smash for all drivers, which provides Zeke with a faster means of Smash, or a means of Smash at all for Nia, making him all the more versatile. Of course, when it comes to fighting Superbosses or various challenge fights for Nopondemonioum, Mòrag is by far the best choice. Her already incredible agility skyrockets with Corvin, making her hard to hit even on Bringer of Chaos, and all his passive abilities come well together to make Mòrag unstoppable. Combined with other evasion blades like Theory or Aegaeon, Mòrag becomes an unstoppable tank. And even better, among all the 'evasion tank blades,' Corvin actually has pretty spectacular defenses and an adequate block rate, meaning the few times an attack slips through the cracks, Mòrag will be just fine.
- Even though Fiora is a healing Blade, she focuses on Critical Hit damage-per-second, making her far more viable than Mythra, despite the latter having Lightspeed Flurry. With a 15% Strength mod by default, while giving her the "Tachyon Chip" as her Core Chip and "Critical Up VI" as an Aux Core, Fiora can earn a 50% Critical Hit rate (which reaches a whopping 90% when her Affinity Chart is filled out) with a 25% increased Critical Hit damage, with Driver Arts for each party member (sans Tora) that recharges Arts every time a Critical Hit occurs. Her Battle Skills "Warrior Valkyrie" and "Explosion of Energy" respectively increases the party's Critical Hit rate by 40% at max Affinity during combat and damage dealt by 15% each time a Critical Hit lands (upwards to 300%), the latter of which means her damage output keeps going higher the longer she stays in combat. In Challenge Mode's Horde Battles, Explosion of Energy comes in handy as Fiora's Blade Specials are heavy on Area of Effect and restore Hit Points, too. Combined all this with the Crit Heal strategy, her Driver can outlast Challenge Mode for a long time; even if a One-Hit KO is present, it's incredibly hard to knock her Driver out since they'll simply regenerate from all the Critical Hits they're dealing from Fiora's Battle Skills. Alongside Poppi QT Pi, she is considered the best Blade in the game, with almost no reason to not use her.
- Elma, the third Crossover Blade via Challenge Mode, is similar to Fiora, but with a lower Critical Hit damage-per-second ratio: at level 5 on her Affinity Chart, her Battle Skill "Crisis Catalyst" increases damage dealt by 150% and Critical Hit rate by 40% upon hitting max affinity during combat. Coupled with her level 5 Blade Special "Sliding Slinger", which increases damage dealt to higher-level enemies by 100%, Elma won't have trouble against Elite Mooks and Superbosses. What's different about her compared to any other Blade in the game is she brings the "Overdrive" mechanic from Xenoblade Chronicles X, a Super Mode where additional bonuses (damage dealt, damage resistance, Cooldown effectiveness, reducing enemy resistances) are granted to the entire party the more they attack enemies throughout its duration upon activation at a full Party Gauge. While it lasts 50 seconds by default, reaching level 5 of Elma's same-named Battle Skill increases it to 90 seconds, more than enough time to defeat Superbosses. Furthermore, Overdrive can be activated even when Elma isn't the active Blade in the party. Just about the only downside to Overdrive's potency is using it negates Chain Attack.
- So long as players don't mind grinding, the salvage mechanic can make increasing each town's Development Level, as well as obtaining lots of cash, extremely easy. Sure, it'll take a while, but investing into the town as early as possible unlocks more items for every shop players come across in short order. Notably, having enough cash means players can also purchase the ever-expensive "Inherited Core Crystal", which unlocks Rare Blade Sheba, at Torigoth in as early as Chapter 4.
- Depending on the load-out, Chain Attacks: by setting up and breaking four or more elemental orbs acquired during Blade Combos, players can accomplish a Full Burst. Since damage for the latter increases depending on the number of intact orbs not broken during the Chain Attack, the damage ratio can go upwards to 5500%; only the Final Boss and Superbosses can survive a Full Burst. Such a set up can be ridiculously easy if players learn to master Fusion Combos (see below), increasing Blade Combo time between one another, and Battle Skills that take advantage of switching Blades during combat.
- In New Game+, every party member gains access to a hidden second Affinity Chart on top of their preexisting one. Zeke's second Affinity Chart features "Unleash Shining Justice", essentially the equivalent of Pneuma for Rex: by having Pandoria as his current Blade and at maximum Affinity during combat, Zeke can enter a Super Mode (the aforementioned Eye of Shining Justice-Pandoria) where he earns multiple Status Buffs, immunity to reactions and de-buffs (for instance, Topple and Breakdown), increased auto-attack and movement speed, and reduced Driver Art and Blade Special Cooldowns, on top of a large damage multiplier. Like Pneuma, this can only be used once during combat, yet it's possible to sweep the floor against Superbosses with little effort. The only thing preventing this from being an instant "I Win" button is it requires a ridiculous 30,000 skill points to unlock, Zeke cannot switch Blades while this is active and it lasts for 90 seconds.
- The "Overclocking Bangle" is a must-have accessory for any player-controlled Driver: it accelerates the Cooldown in relation to the number of Driver Arts ready after switching to another Blade. For instance, since Tora has access to a full Driver Combo via each of Poppi's three forms, this makes his ability to spam it in a matter of seconds very evident. In fact, the "Fast Blade Switch VI" Aux Core received as a reward for completing KOS-MOS "Artificial Intelligence" Sidequest can reach up to similar speeds, reducing the time between switching Blades by 35%. This is generally considered to be the best Aux Core for Ursula, since switching her into combat instantly restores the party's Hit Points via her Battle Skill Beary Healing.
- The "Avant-Garde Medal" has created an infamous strategy known as "Crit Heal": this accessory absorbs 20% of Critical Hit damage as Hit Points; by giving it to Drivers who are using the Critical Hit-based Blades noted on this page, Drivers can soak up a ton of damage, only to regenerate it in an instant. Not only is it better to use Crit Heal for Drivers who are dedicated fighters, the need to have healing Blades becomes unnecessary.
- Common Blades may have a chance at acquiring the exclusive Battle Skill "Orb Master", which Rare Blades do not have. At level 5 on their Affinity Chart, Orb Master grants a 100% chance of placing an elemental orb following a Blade Combo path. Since duplicate orbs of the same element are invalid, that means if a player triggers a Blade Combo using three different elements, all three elemental orbs will appear after a single Blade Combo. This makes earning all eight elemental orbs faster than normal, in as little as three minutes, giving players the chance to destroy high-level enemies much quicker via Chain Attacks and the subsequent Full Burst.
- By combining Driver Combos like Topple with Blade Combos, both can be stacked to create Fusion Combos, which increases the damage of everything dealt, including any damage-over-time mechanic. As an example, by using Nim to achieve a Blade Combo that leads to "Volcano" via a fire element-based Poppi QT, it's possible to hit for 300,000 damage over time, increasing every time Tora uses Smash from Poppi QT's Driver Art "Dented Shield"; hitting the damage cap for every second in an attack isn't out of the question. Mastering Fusion Combos and their affects means killing Superbosses and Challenge Mode enemies on "Bringer of Chaos" difficulty in less than four minutes are viable, particularly the latter, given that Chain Attacks and earning the Party Gauge on Challenge Mode has been Nerfed with the mode's release.
- Playing in New Game+ and bards will appear in every town, who will offer to trade valuable items in exchange for stocked Experience Points: these items include Master Mods and Ether Crystals for Poppi, making the normally onerous task of maxing her out via "Tiger, Tiger" child's play, Legendary Core Crystals, Accessory Expander Kits and Overdrive Protocols. Furthermore, New Game+ unlocks a new feature at inns where players can reduce Character Levels all the way down to level 1, thereby restocking accumulated Experience Points. Since experience is scaled based on Character Level rather than the enemy's, it becomes incredibly easy to generate enough points to trade for the bards' items, while having enough left over to put the party back to players' desired levels.