Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy Character Basics Guide


First appeared in: Final Fantasy XIII

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


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.


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


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.


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



First appeared in: Final Fantasy VII

Combat proficiency: Mid-range, melee


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.


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



First appeared in: Final Fantasy XI

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


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.


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


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.


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


  • silversunset23 - June 18, 2011 7:55 a.m.

    Am I the only one who plays as Jecht here? He's such a badass...
  • ranzatsu - May 30, 2011 2:14 p.m.

    My bests are Firion (since his ground attacks deal heavy damage), Squall, Sephiroth and (sorry if he's not on the list) Feral Chaos. I use Cloud for emergencies on party battles. Jecht's an awesome Assist, especially after a Wall Rush attack. Laguna is hateable, but his Sticky Bomb and Machine Gun attacks are fun.
  • jacobtussler - May 12, 2011 4:21 p.m.

    Zidane is my fave. Run up close, rumble rush then Meo twister. Works every time. I usually party him with Lightning, Vaan, Cloud & Yuna
  • dimadimadima581 - May 1, 2011 6:37 p.m.

    But golbez + terrible air game makes no sense at all... His Gravity float systems, which have great tracking and link into cosmic ray, EVEN if you block his meele, the magic laser / whatever still hits so block his air attacks is pointless.. My 2nd main after garland. Lack of air game is the least of his worries.
  • dimadimadima581 - May 1, 2011 6:32 p.m.

    Still maining Garland since Dissidia 1, + kuja and seph. Flare just adds to his close range hp attacks :)
  • someonetgsn - April 15, 2011 10:49 p.m.

    @Minxriot Ah, I see... sneaky editing... well at least you are unlike some internet folk who simply complain about thinks they never bothered to check. Then again, it wasn't just you who had made that comment.
  • MinxRiot - April 15, 2011 6:32 a.m.

    @Someonetgsn, Tifa was NOT originally in the list. She was added in later. I checked three times before posting that. Haha.
  • someonetgsn - April 14, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    @MinxRiot & miguju999: Tifa is second from the top on page 5. I am somewhat suprised you think Tifa was forgettable. Despite her apperent lack of involvement in the story, the internet assures me that she is quite unforgettable. Unfortunately I do not have the game personally, but I wanted to see how some of the characters may stack up against one another.
  • Mirako - April 14, 2011 3:48 p.m.

    I want to use Exdeath but waiting for computers to attack can be so boring. Is it just me or is the Ex mode duration shorter in this game? I used to use Gabranth but not as much anymore. Golbez has terrible air game? I wouldn't say so his gravity and float systems are great for grabbing people.
  • MinxRiot - April 14, 2011 4:04 a.m.

    Not surprising though that Tifa was forgotten, in the story it just seems like she was randomly thrown in there at the last minute because they felt like it. Haha
  • MinxRiot - April 14, 2011 3:57 a.m.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe Tifa is missing from this list. And also, the Emperor is not that hard to learn, frankly, none of the Dissidia characters are hard to learn how to play well. But maybe thats just how it is with me. @bigwill1221, At first I HATED playing Laguna but as I leveled him up and got used to him I actually started doing really well with him, so now I don't mind him so much. Is he my first team pick? No. Will that stop me from ever using him? Not really.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - April 14, 2011 12:07 a.m.

    Onion Knight all the way, beaches!
  • ashamaxa - April 13, 2011 11:56 p.m.

    Good Article. Im using Ultimecia as my main character and, is slow, but with a nice build-up can be deadly. Knight's Lance is awesome.
  • McSpermie - April 13, 2011 11:52 p.m.

    @Ryantalj Nice, I actually also switch between Yuna and Lightning as my main as well. I think I'm going to mainly use Yuna though now, thanks again for the article :)
  • TrAnMu - April 13, 2011 11:47 p.m.

    I freaking love using Vaan. With his moves set up right and a good assist character, you control all ranges! XD Zidane was my main character of the first game and he does have some decent long range moves. While they might not land, they do a good job of pressuring the opponent into closer range. Other characters that are fun to use are Lightning, Laguna (if you don't mind taking it slow), Kain, and Kuja.
  • Larinah - April 13, 2011 11:40 p.m.

    Great article. I personally use Lightning and Vaan, because I like how versatile they are. Also, @bigwill1221 I hate playing Laguna too. He feels so clunky, and it's hard to keep control with him. I also liked your comments on Sephiroth, Ryan. I tried using him full offense first time against Jecht, and got my ass whooped. He really does have to take advantage of any blunders your opponent makes, much like he does in Kingdom Hearts 1&2.
  • McSpermie - April 13, 2011 11:25 p.m.

    Very useful, I was hoping to find a character wrap up. Thank you. Who do you use Ryan? Would you recommend using them?
  • miguju999 - April 13, 2011 11:25 p.m.

    where's Tifa???
  • Corsair89 - April 13, 2011 11:02 p.m.

    Yuna and Cloud are the characters that I use most frequently.
  • bigwill1221 - April 13, 2011 10:37 p.m.

    Does any one else hate playing as Laguna? I feel his attacks are too slow and dodge-able to be any good(and whenever I play as him long matches FTL...) On side note.. why are computers god with ricochet shot.

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