Visions are gameplay mechanics in Xenoblade Chronicles. Using the Monado, Shulk is able to predict the future, a skill that is activated when a monster is going to use a battle art that will incapacitate or heavily injure the party member that currently holds the aggro of the monster. Avoiding incapacitation, debuffs, or damage in general can be performed though the use of a Monado skill, passing aggro to another party member, inflicting Topple upon the enemy or another of the multiple alternatives. It is possible to have a vision even when Shulk is not in the active party. When a vision tag is broken, the music changes to Visions of the Future. Visions are most commonly seen against red or yellow Level Normal Monsters, Unique Monsters, and Bosses.
There are five components to every vision tag:
2) The second tag denotes the name of the enemy's attack, which can be one of 3 attributes: physical, ether, or talent. Physical arts are labelled as red, ether arts as blue, and talent arts as white. To the left of the art name may be a symbol. If there is no symbol, this attack will affect a single target. If there is a fan symbol, it will affect every party member in a fan shape area centred around the target. Lastly, if there is a circle, it will affect the entire area around the target. Moves that can hit multiple party members will only ever show the target taking damage in the vision, so it's important to know when other characters may take a hit as well. These tags can be broken by inflicting Sleep, Daze, Confuse, or Arts Seal.
3) The third tag denotes the enemy's target. This tag will be broken when the enemy's target changes, which can be performed by inflicting Lock-On, increasing aggro to the desired target, absorbing aggro from the affected target, or decreasing aggro from the affected target.
4) The fourth tag denotes the attack's damage and the debuff it will inflict, if applicable. If the attack will be lethal, a skull icon will be present in the tag. If the character in question is in possession of an Unbeatable gem, this skull icon may be absent, noting that the character will survive, this can happen even if the attack in question will inflict Instant Death. If a vision is received for an attack that will miss, that will also be noted in this tag. This tag can be broken by buffing the target with some form of defence (likely from using a Monado Art or Sharla's Shield Bullet) and/or debuffing the enemy to lower their power. If the attack is going to be lethal, it may be possible to heal the target and give them enough HP to survive; doing this will also break the tag.
5) The fifth tag denotes the time remaining before the enemy executes the attack. Toppling the enemy will break this tag, but the timer will resume when it gets up, provided Daze is not inflicted. If an art such as Reflection or Monado Speed is used too early (such as using Reflection when the attack is more than five seconds away), no tags will be broken as the art will wear off before the attack is executed. It should be noted that toppling an enemy will pause their timer until they get up, and that this can potentially lead to an art like Monado Shield wearing off before the enemy can successfully attack.
Damage Bonus During Vision
When a vision appears, the enemy will use one of three types of attacks. Using attacks that have opposite attributes to the enemy's attack (including talent arts) will grant battle members a 50% increase in damage to the enemy. For example:
If an enemy is casting an ether attack, use physical attacks to inflict 50% more damage to the enemy. The damage is even more potent during chain attacks, so use this opportunity to quickly kill powerful enemies.
Talent Arts will also have physical or ether attributes. If an enemy's Talent Art inflicts physical damage, ether arts will still gain the bonus, and the same holds true of the reverse.
Examples of Countering Visions
1) Use Shulk's Monado Speed for enemy's single target physical attack; Monado Shield for enemy's talent attack; Monado Armour for enemy's physical and ether attacks.
2) When an enemy is using any art that will knockout Reyn, warn Reyn to use his Last Stand. As a bonus, Reyn's talent gauge will automatically be full after the warning.
3) When an enemy is using any art that will severely damage all battle members, use Sharla's Tranquiliser to change the enemy's attack to a less powerful one. As a bonus, Sharla's talent gauge will automatically be depleted to 0%.
4) Same example as #2, except the enemy is using a non-talent attack and is immune to sleep, daze, confuse, and arts seal: Enable Melia's Power Effect and summon Melia's earth or ice elements (whichever applies) to reduce damage by up to 45%. Melia can also use Reflect to repel enemy's attack back to the enemy.
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U
Shulk appears as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, and his Down Special move is a Vision in which he foresees an opponent's attack, dodges, and counterattacks.
In Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Visions appear in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 as Shulk's Battle Skill. Unlike in the original game, visions are executed by a simple reaction command (the vision works if the player correctly presses the B button). This completely negates all damage and effects of the enemy's next attack.