Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy Character Basics Guide

Decide who to choose as your main with our basics guide on all 31

Lightning

First appeared in: Final Fantasy XIII

Combat proficiency: Close / mid-range, melee and magic

Strengths

A new addition to Dissidia, Lightning is a versatile choice in that she can switch between the Commando (melee), Ravager (ranged) and Medic (bravery boost) paradigms. Blitz covers a lot of ground very quickly and can catch unsuspecting opponents off-guard, while Launch is useful for taking the fight to the air and can combo with Flourish of Steel for some HP damage. Watera (in Ravager paradigm) is a fantastic tracking ability for pressuring opponents, and the Cure spells available in the Medic paradigm can be used to boost her bravery pool without even attacking, pressuring distant opponents to move into a closer range.

Weaknesses

Lightning’s HP attacks have slow start-up speeds and mostly lack any form of tracking (aside from Razor Gale). Lightning Strike is a good choice for hitting a sizable area, but her other HP abilities typically require she be at the same altitude as her opponent.

Learning curve: Easy

Onion Knight

First appeared in: Final Fantasy III

Combat proficiency: Close / mid-range, melee and magic

Strengths

Don’t let his small stature fool you -- Onion Knight is an agile character with extremely quick attacks. His play style is all about speed: The Multi-Hit ability is nearly instant and most of his HP attacks, such as Wind Shear, have quick start-up speeds, too. He has some decent tracking attacks and also has the ability to buff his magic and physical damage, which can pressure distant opponents into moving within your reach.

Weaknesses

The downside to Onion Knight’s speed is that his abilities are rather weak. Prepare to put in a lot of time chipping away at your opponents bravery pool before you’re able to break it.

Learning curve: Easy

Sephiroth

First appeared in: Final Fantasy VII

Combat proficiency: Mid-range, melee

Strengths

You may be tempted to take advantage of Sephiroth’s rather large katana and push offensively -- after all, he has decent range and solid mid control. However, because of his long attack animations, he’s better suited as a punishment character. Use Shadow Flare to pressure your foe from a distance -- dodging or blocking an opponent opens a window of opportunity for Sephiroth to unleash his Sudden Cruelty or Oblivion attacks. He functions pretty darn well in the air, too, and spamming Shadow Flare helps maintain control of your opponent.

Weaknesses

Using Sephiroth as a heavily offensive character can work, but you may quickly find your attacks being dodged or blocked, leaving you open for punishing counters. He doesn’t have a ton of vertical attacks, so try to stay at the same altitude as your opponent while in the air.

Learning curve: Moderate

Shantotto

First appeared in: Final Fantasy XI

Combat proficiency: Close / mid-range, snares and melee

Strengths

Shantotto is unique in that her play style involves a mix of snaring, kiting and melee attacks. Her Stun ability interrupts an opponent's attack while Bind snares them and prevents them from moving for a short duration. Bio is a great ability for kiting particularly difficult enemies, as it eats away at their bravery pool over time. Her main bravery attacks, however, are the close-ranged A Couple Attacks ability and her aerial Retribution.

Weaknesses

Shantotto’s lack of damage-dealing bravery abilities means her attacks are situational. You’ll want to land her melee attacks when possible, but do so cautiously. Don’t be afraid to snare your enemies with Bind, poison them with Bio and kite them until an opportunity presents itself.

Learning curve: Moderate

Squall Leonhart

First appeared in: Final Fantasy VIII

Combat proficiency: Close-range, melee

Strengths

Gunblade in hand, Squall has a decent ground game and an arsenal of combos that can demolish your foe’s bravery pool fairly quickly. Thunder Barret is an excellent tool for pulling casters in range of Solid Barrel, and Fusillade is ideal for starting a chase combo.

Weaknesses

Squall’s air game is mediocre and has little to offer in terms of ranged abilities. The start-up speeds for some abilities, like Fusillade, are a bit slow and can be easily dodged.

Learning curve: Easy

Learning curve: Easy

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