For those who have not completed Xenoblade Chronicles, this page or section may contain spoilers regarding the plot. Discretion is advised.
Battle Arts are attacks that do more damage than a regular attack. They can also heal or buff an ally, and afflict debuffs on their foes. All characters and enemies have Battle Arts. Usage of Battle Arts is restricted by a cooldown mechanic; once a Battle Art has been used, it cannot (usually) be used again until a certain length of time has passed.
Each character has a unique Battle Art that has its own effects in battle. Some Arts cause status (buff and debuff) effects while others can heal. In a Chain Attack, all Arts except Talent Arts are usable no matter what the cooldown is at.
Each enemy also owns a set of arts. Before using the art, a short or lengthy charging animation is displayed, then the Art is unleashed. Even without a vision, the charging art moment can be recognised allowing a quick preparation to parry or manage the imminent attack.
Each character and enemy has a Talent Art. A Talent Art is the larger circle in the middle which is dull grey or white. Talent Arts are more powerful than a Battle Art, but do not become available for use again through the standard cool down mechanic; instead, they have certain conditions to fill the gauge up (using auto attacks, using certain Arts, etc). Some Talent Arts do not deal damage to an enemy. Talent Arts do, however, have a special ability during the colour multiplier sequence of Chain Attacks.
Types of enemy attacks
- Physical Attacks, red: These are attacks that make contact with an enemy. They are evadable by using Monado Speed, and can be mitigated by Monado Armour.
- Ether Attacks, blue/purple: Attacks that are created using ether (most of Melia's, Sharla's, and Riki's Arts are like this). They often include many status-altering arts that apply Buffs or Auras. They can be mitigated by Monado Armour.
- Talent Attacks, white/grey: These attacks deal a lot more damage than a normal attack (and are the symbol in the middle of the Art Palette). They can be either ether, physical, or both. They can be blocked entirely by use of Monado Shield.
Types of character arts
- Blue: These are healing, shielding, or stat-boosting arts. Although they do not inflict actual damage, they are still very useful if used correctly.
- Red: These are physical attacks. Some of these will have some blood or an arc in them. The blood represents a Bleed Debuff, while an arc shows that the attack has a wide range. The Debuff is an extra effect that happens when you use the attack. For example, Dunban's Gale Slash also inflicts Bleed Debuff.
- Purple: These are ether-based attacks or offensive status effects. Most have a requirement before it can be used. For example, Reyn's Aura Burst applies the Strength Down Debuff to all enemies in range and can only be used when an Aura is active.
- Yellow: Arts that can inflict Daze. These arts tend to require an initially toppled enemy, with the exception of Dunban's Thunder, which requires Dunban to have an aura active as its condition instead.
- Pink: Attacks that can inflict Break status. Sometimes, a Chain Attack should be used to get the enemy inflicted with Break. Shulk's Turn Strike, although it is a Talent Art, it still inflicts Break when used.
- Green: Arts that can inflict Topple status. They tend to require initially an enemy inflicted with Break, with the exception of Melia's Starlight Kick (which requires Spear Break as its condition), Riki's Roly-Poly (which inflicts Topple randomly), Dunban's Demon Slayer (which inflicts Topple on nearby enemies when used as a finishing move), and Fiora's Final Cross (which requires the highest tension phase to activate).
- Grey: A character's Talent Arts. These can fill various roles similar to other arts. Shulk's Monado arts, for example, can fill the general role of Blue, Red, Orange, Purple, and Green arts.
- Orange: Arts that grant auras to self which may or may not have effects on other allies or enemies.
The colour in the arts is not just for displaying, they are served for Chain Attacks. When the same colour of arts are used continuously, the effect / damage can be multiplied (look for the multiplier on the right of the screen). For example, if Shulk uses Back Slash, then it is followed by Dunban's Gale Slash, the damage of Gale Slash will double. The multiplier can reach up to 5 times (CHAIN MAX), and the multiplier will not rise again. If a different colour Art is cast between the colour chain, the multiplier will return back to one. If Talent Arts are cast (Grey), it will link up with the previous colour and continue the chain. Then the next person in the chain attack can cast any colour of arts, without breaking the colour chain.