Assist is a new mechanic introduced in Dissidia 012, allowing players to equip a character with a secondary character to perform a pre-determined attack at will by pressing L+Circle (1 bar) or L+Square (two bars). The inputs are context sensitive, performing an attack when the player has free control or during an attack or escaping from an attack while being staggered or under attack.
Every playable character has an assist version of themselves, except Feral Chaos. Aerith is only accessible as an assist character and is unlocked by importing a save data from a paid demo "Dissidia 012 [duodecim] Final Fantasy Prologus". Each character has a set of moves that cannot be customised, one ground bravery, one aerial bravery, one ground HP and one aerial HP. The attack type is determined by the spent assist bar as well as the player's or opponent's position, position referring to being grounded or airborne.
Assist is designed to be an anti-thesis to EX, it is a separate resource from EX. Equipment that boosts assist in some way typically downgrades EX in a similiar manner. Assist characters, when making contact with an opponent will deplete their EX gauge or cancel their EX mode if it is active. EX mode depletes all of the opponent's assist meter and hitting an assist character while being in EX mode will inflict an "EX Break" that locks the opponent's assist meter as well as rewards the player with the current stage bravery.
Due to it's flexible nature, assist has become a defining aspect of the game. It is a much easier resource to build quickly, it allows characters without HP links to convert to HP damage, punishing whiffed moves from a distance, escaping from incoming damage or even turn it in the player's favor. Characters who can play well defensively are also often capable of taking advantage of assist effectively and thus can create notable gaps in character strength.
- 1 How to build assist meter
- 2 How to use assist meter
- 3 Assist Break
- 4 Assist Change
- 5 Assist Charge
- 6 Assist Chase
- 7 Assist Depletion and Depletion Rate
- 8 Assist Duration
- 9 Assist Gauge Up Time
- 10 Assist Lock
- 11 Abilities that influence Assist
- 12 Accessories that influence Assist
- 13 Equipment that influences Assist
- 14 Equipment set bonuses that influence Assist
- 15 Assist Damage Tables
- 16 List of Assist Characters
How to build assist meter
- Whiff an attack
- Connect an attack
- Land an HP attack (EXP to Assist and / or Side by Side accessory required)
- Receive damage (A Comrade's Vow accessory required)
- Ground Dash, Reverse Ground Dash, Free Air Dash, Reverse Free Air Dash, Air Dash and Reverse Air Dash (Assist Gauge Up Dash ability required)
- Connecting attacks during EX Revenge, meter will be rewarded upon EX Revenge ending
Situations where assist meter will not build
- During Assist Lock (outside of EXP to Assist or Side by Side influx)
- During EX Burst or EX Revenge
- During player's assist character's presence (e.g no whiffing during Jecht assist combo)
- Immediately cancelling an attack state into another attack without returning to neutral first (a state where you can guard, dodge, jump etc.)
- Taking damage (without A Comrade's Vow accessory)
Once you have one or two assist bars, you can use them at will.
How to use assist meter
- L+Circle (uses 1 bar): Assist Bravery attack
- L+Circle when taking damage (uses 1 bar): LV1 Assist Change, locks your assist gauge
- L+Square when not taking damage (uses 2 bars): Assist HP attack
- L+Square when taking damage (uses 2 bars): LV2 Assist Change, does not lock your assist gauge
Hit an assist character during EX mode to lock the opponent's assist meter and acquire the stage bravery. It is not ideal to suffer from the effects of Assist Break.
When taking damage, the player can opt to escape from the current attack sequence by using one assist bar with L+Circle or both assist bars with L+Square. The effects differ depending on which one you perform.
LV1 Change: Player character is sent upwards (or downwards if performed at a ceiling) and the assist gauge is locked for 1250 frames or 20.83 seconds. During this time the meter can only be built via landing HP attacks with EXP to Assist and / or Side by Side accessory equipped. During a LV1 Change the assist character can suffer an additional hit to trigger a special cancel window for the character who performed it, that allows cancelling a recovery period into another attack or a dodge.
The assist character can also suffer from the effects of an HP attack, in that if the opponent has Side by Side equipped, the HP attack that connects during LV1 Change will grant them a chunk of assist meter as if it landed on the player character itself.
In addition to that, using LV1 Change while the opponent is in EX Mode and connecting with a move will trigger an Assist Break. This will reward the opposing player with a bravery break on top of locking the assist meter for the player who used LV1 Change.
LV1 Change can be used to punish long lasting attacks such as Cloud's Omnislash Version 5 or even Jecht's Jecht Beam. The player has to time the LV1 Change early in the attack animation -or prematurely even- and then position their character to hit the opponent who is still performing the attack in question. The effectiveness of this technique is often match-up specific and not all characters may be able to take advantage of it equally.
LV2 Change: Similiarly player character is sent upwards or downwards, the assist gauge is not locked and this time the assist character functions as a block with Highest priority, a trait only seen with Exdeath's Omni Block. This will stagger any character -or assist character- who is using a melee priority move, low or high alike and deflect projectiles. This will not work with Unblockable moves and the assist character is very briefly vulnerable at the end of the change animation and thus, can be hit to lock the escapee's assist meter (see Assist Lock) by delaying an attack accordingly.
Projectiles that appear in a barrage such as Vaan's Crossbow can also take advantage of this by having active projectiles on the assist character's location long enough to outlast the blocking period. The downside is that this trait is more common in bravery attacks than HP attacks and as a result, this interaction may not come into play as often as desired.
LV2 Change comes with strong benefits but it takes longer to build by whiffing alone. It's ability to stagger characters who are using melee priority HP attacks is a valuable asset and characters who can land an attack after using LV2 Change are in a position to benefit from it greatly, discouraging opponents from hitting them altogether. Ranged priority attacks ignore this block priority and thus moves with said priority can bypass this in a safe manner.
A mechanic that generates an assist bar for a player upon "taking a risk". The amount of meter generated depends on the situation.
Assist Charge generates 1 assist bar:
- Player must be under 200 bravery, "near bravery break". Indicated with dim bravery numbers.
- This player must then land an attack against an opponent who is performing a bravery attack
Assist Charge generates 2 assist bars:
- Player must be in near death state (indicated with red hue over the player character and it's HUD as well as a low-key beeping sound)
- Player in near death state must then land any attack against an opponent who is performing an HP attack
It does not matter at what point in the attack this interaction occurs, as long as the opponent is considered in a specified attack state and the player's unfavorable condition is met, the Assist Charge can happen. This can reward aggressive players after landing an HP attack or punish players for using an HP attack carelessly. It can be likened to a sort of a comeback mechanic seen in other fighting games.
Some assist characters have attacks that end with a chase prompt. By pressing X during this time, the player can slow down time and immediately move into the opponent character's vicinity and follow up with an attack of their choice as the slow motion effect wears off.
This usually makes it much easier to apply HP damage in many parts of any stage, but it is worth noting that obstacles such as pillars in World of Darkness or walls in Pandaemonium can halt the player's transition, losing the combo opportunity altogether.
Depending on the assist's knockback (e.g. Sephiroth), your followup can miss if performed too early.
The Assist Chase also has a maximum distance, though the exact details of it are unspecified. It can be seen in large stages such as The Rift if a player uses the assist to punish a move from across the stage.
Assist Depletion and Depletion Rate
Assist Depletion (Passive)
After two seconds pass, the assist meter will begin to deplete on it's own. This time period will initiate after the immediate assist gain acquired from an attack instead of after an attack state ends.
Assist Depletion can be delayed by performing an attack. Cancelling an already whiffed attack into another attack without returning to a neutral state contributes towards this fact, despite this sequence not generating any additional assist meter on whiff. Moves that do not generate assist meter such as Jecht Block also reset this timer.
The default depletion rate for two full assist bars without further action is 10 seconds.
Assist Depletion (Effect)
This is a different, albeit more straightforward form of Assist Depletion that can be inflicted on an opponent upon landing an HP attack.
Whenever an HP attack connects, a set percentage of assist meter is detracted from the opponent. This will only come into effect with the help of the Battle Hammer accessory and / or Judgment of Lufenia's set bonus that provides a raw 15 % assist meter depletion. If an HP attack inflicts wall rush damage, further meter depletion is inflicted.
As this effect depletes an important resource from the opponent, it is often recommended to bring some amount of depletion into multiplayer battles. It can make regaining momentum more difficult for the opponent due to increased meter discrepancy, to the point dedicated depletion builds can drain almost entire bars of assist in one combo. Depending on the character that in itself can be a harsher punishment than 2000+ hp damage, with all available application the meter can provide.
This can often incentivise escaping with an Assist Change to avoid damage as well as worse meter status.
Assist Duration only takes effect when both assist bars are full. This effect prevents the assist meter from depleting on it's own for a set duration without attacking.
The effect lasts for 9 seconds and it can be influenced by accessories. Much like assist depletion (passive), this time period is reset every time assist gain occurs from an attack.
Assist Gauge Up Time
Exclusive to Bartz, by equipping Hellfire this can boost both assist duration as well as delay the passive assist depletion.
This can be stacked up to three times by equipping Hellfire on all three ground HP slots for a maximum of 30 % boost. This will grant 11.7 seconds of duration and the assist gauge will start depleting 2.6 seconds after the last assist gain rather than after the usual 2 seconds.
When the player uses LV1 Change to escape or if their assist character is hit or blocked during their attack, their assist meter will be locked. This duration is about 20.83 seconds and can be modified with original rules.
Whenever Assist Lock occurs, all present EX force in the stage will be absorbed by the opponent in that moment. If the opponent cannot absorb EX due to a special accessory effect, the EX force will remain on the field until an EX Core's appearence.
During this time the only way to fill the assist meter is via HP attacks while having EXP to Assist and / or Side by Side accessory equipped.
Abilities that influence Assist
EXP to Assist
An ability unlocked at LV100 that costs 0 CP. Landing an HP attack will convert 0.3 % of the acquired experience points to assist meter (a 3 % boost for the meter) and as such, can scale with special accessories that increase EXP gain. A staple ability for characters who can land HP attacks without setting up an assist first.
Effect: Assist Gauge time +10 %
Detailed under the Assist Gauge Up Time, this is an effect that is exclusive to Bartz's Hellfire HP attack. It boosts assist duration and delays passive assist depletion.
Accessories that influence Assist
As these are basic accessories, their effect can be enhanced with the help of booster accessories.
- Attractorb: EX Intake Range +1m, Assist Gauge Charge -20 %
- Pearl Necklace: EX Force Absorption +10 %, Assist Gauge Charge -20 %
- Dragonfly Orb: EX Core Absorption +10 %, Assist Gauge Duration -30 %
- Silver Hourglass: EX Mode Duration +5 %, Assist Gauge Duration -10 %
- Battle Gem: Assist Gauge Duration +10 %, EX Force Absorption -20 %
- Battle Hammer: Assist Gauge Depletion +5 %
- Bond Breaker: Assist Iai Strike +2 %, Defense -10 %
- A Comrade's Vow: AST Charge on damage +15%, EX Intake Range -1m
A Comrade's Vow
Effect: AST Charge on damage + 15%, EX Intake Range -1m
A basic accessory that fills the player's assist gauge whenever they are sustaining damage.
Whenever you're damaged, the base bravery damage of the attack is taken into account. So regardless of whether you are LV1 and have 12 DEF or if you are Lv 100 and have 111 DEF, the amount of assist gained when hit by a Jecht Stream will be the same, even if you receive 4,000 BRV damage at Lv1 or 300 at Lv100.
The formula for the Assist gain (%) A Comrade's Vow provides is as follows:
Beware that for hits that BRV Wall Rush, you'll get again the last value when you get wall rushed. So, for example, let's say you get hit by a Jecht Rush just like the assist one, and your multipliers show 5.0. The base damage for Jecht Rush is 42. According to the formula, you should get a 3.15% AST gain. However, the last hit has 19 base damage. So if you get wall rushed, you'd get an extra 1.425% AST gain.
Beware that the damage you receive from the opponent's assist will also increase your assist.
As you can see, this accessory requires pretty high multipliers to be effective, as otherwise the assist gain will be very little. Finally, it's also better when fighting against characters that rely on strong attacks that cause BRV wall rush to connect their Assist -> HP combos and powerful assists (such as Garland with Kuja or Sephiroth assist).
Source: In depth assist mechanics by NLM
These accessories do not scale with booster accessories, but some can be stacked to increase their effect.
Please note that the breakable accessories are banned in competitive play where the in-game ruleset "Official" is set to on.
- White Drop: EX Force Absorption +5 %, Assist Gauge Duration -5 %
- Cyan Drop: Initial EX Force +10 %, Assist Gauge Duration -10 %
- Cyan Gem: Initial EX Force +20 %, Assist Gauge Duration -20 %
- White Gem: EX Force Absorption +10 %, Assist Gauge Duration -10 %
- Growth Egg: Experience Value +20 %
- Glimmering Crystal: EX Core Absorption +15 %, Assist Gauge Charge -15 %
- Badge of Trust: Initial Assist Charge +40 %, EX Force Absorption -30 %
- First to Victory: Initial EX Force +20 %, Initial Assist Charge +20 %, Initial Bravery +20 %
- Fiery Spirit: Assist Armor (Assist Character endures one attack from opponent)
- Battle Ring: Free Assist (5 % chance of assist gauge not draining when used)
- Close to You: Always Absorb EX Force, Assist Gauge Charge -30 %
- Center of the World: EX Intake Range +3m, EX Force & Core Absorption +25 %, Assist Gauge Freeze
- Together as One: Initial Assist Charge +40 %, Assist Gauge Duration +50 %, EX Force Absorption -40 %
- Side by Side: Assist Gauge Charge on HP Attack, EX Force Absorption Disabled, EX Gauge Freeze
- Friendship Incense: Initial Assist Charge +50 % (Accessory breakability: 100 %)
- Friendship Resin: Initial Assist Charge +100 % (Accessory breakability: 100 %)
- Chocobo Down: Experience Value +20 % (Accessory breakability: 30 %)
- Chocobo Wing: Experience Value +50 % (Accessory breakability: 30 %)
- Chocobo Feather: Experience Value +100 % (Accessory breakability: 30 %)
- Spirit of Qu´bia: Initial EX & Assist Charge +100 %, Initial Bravery +300 % (Accessory breakability: 100 %)
- Shock of Qu´bia: EX & Assist Chance, EX & Assist Gauge Depletion +100 % (Accessory breakability: 100 %)
- Hopes of Qu´bia: Assist Gauge Charge +100 % (Accessory breakability: 100 %)
Side by Side (スタンドバイミー)
Effect: Assist Gauge Charge on HP Attack, EX Force Absorption Disabled, EX Gauge Freeze
A special accessory so potent it deserves it's own sub article. Side by Side (abbreviated as SbS) sacrifices all things EX in exchange for bolstering assist meter with a key aspect: Assist Gauge Charge on HP attack. This is a flat 30 % increase to an assist meter every time an HP attack connects and is not influenced by wall rush damage.
Think of this as a hyperbolic version of EXP to Assist. Any character that can land HP attacks without setting up an assist will acquire an amount of assist meter that can save them 3-4 whiffs on average. This is especially useful for characters who may rely on HP links or raw HPs to dish out damage such as Onion Knight, Cloud, Bartz, Golbez and Jecht. Often times these characters also suffer from somewhat slow or risky assist meter generation when it comes to whiffing, the most common form of building the resource.
As such, Side by Side can synergise with many characters at all levels of play. In small stages such as Edge of Madness, Phantom Train and Pandaemonium - Top Floor where escaping raw HPs can be more difficult, it can greatly increase the threat of getting hit as the potential punishment of sustaining an HP attack has an increased chance of occuring and elevated potency as well. Characters such as Squall who can stagger an opponent with LV2 Change and land an HP attack from it will have a distinct advantage in sustaining a meter and health lead, further bolstering the strength of the LV2 Change mechanic. Escaping a combo and making a chunk of assist meter back for it? Yes please.
Because of the disabled EX intake, Empty EX Gauge (1.5x) Pre-EX Mode (1.4x) and Pre-EX Revenge (1.3x) boosters will have a 100 % uptime from the beginning of a match with a x2.7 multiplier. This makes for an easy, good template set for character builds that can be further tailored to lean into assist meter, damage output, meter depletion or other miscellanious perks such as CP or additional experience points to complement EXP to Assist.
Side by Side can be paired with Together as One to a good effect. The initial assist meter will ensure the player is one or two hits away from securing an assist combo with meter to spare afterwards and the increased assist duration lets a character stay in a non-committal position for longer. It's not mandatory, Side by Side's effect is already powerful as it is, but the initial assist meter can make or break a match-up.
EX Cores can still be grabbed by players who have Side by Side equipped, but they will not receive any EX from it. The incentive for chasing after an EX Core is to then prevent the opponent from building a full EX bar faster, which is already a case when both characters still generate EX as they normally would.
The idea with a Side by Side build is to do a lot of damage or quickly offset assist meter discrepancies. Characters who have optimised builds around this accessory can end matches in potentially two or three hits that lead into a wall rush and assist every time. High base bravery, base bravery recovery and HP wall rush damage all contribute towards this fact and some characters such as Zidane can take advantage of the Aerith assist to take this to absurd heights.
That being said, the longer a fight goes on, the less of an impact Side by Side can have. If the player using Side by Side has no single hit HP attack, EX meter depletion, an assist bar available or all of the above, resolving situations with EX Revenge checkmates (also known as "Final EX Revenge") can be very difficult if not impossible. If the player cannot rely on landing HP attacks to generate assist meter, they are at the mercy of doing so in the neutral which is no different from not having Side by Side equipped. Keep this in mind when considering bringing Side by Side to battle.
Equipment that influences Assist
Only LV100 equipment and Final Strike are listed below.
- Excalibur II: EXP +100 %
- Lufenia's Edge: Judgment of Lufenia set
- Death Blade: Final Strike set
- Lufenian Axe: Judgment of Lufenia set
- Lufenian Rod: Judgment of Lufenia set
- Lufenian Claw: Judgment of Lufenia set
- Highwind: Assist Gauge Duration +30 %, Kain Highwind's exclusive LV100 weapon
- Glanzfaust: Assist Gauge Duration +30 %, Prishe's exclusive LV100 weapon
- Death Penalty: Assist Gauge Duration +30 %
- Lufenian Gun: Judgment of Lufenia set
- Supreme Pole: Initial Assist Charge +40 %
- Lufenian Shield: Judgment of Lufenia set
- Lufenian Cap: Judgment of Lufenia set
- Lufenian Helm: Judgment of Lufenia set
- Lufenian Robes: Judgment of Lufenia set
- Lufenian Armor: Judgment of Lufenia set
- Lufenian Chestplate: Judgment of Lufenia set
Equipment set bonuses that influence Assist
Judgment of Lufenia
Effect: Assist Gauge Depletion +15 %
Three equipment pieces with this set bonus will provide you 15 % assist depletion upon landing an HP attack. This does not scale with boosters but with how assist is a vital resource in the game, you could do a lot worse than making a preliminary build with this. The parts that provide this set bonus are in abundance and provide solid stats all around, although they are not necessarily the strongest picks outside of starter builds or dedicated assist depletion builds.
Effect: EX Absorption & Range Boost, Assist Charge & Duration Boost
An armor set that requires all four pieces of equipment be worn in order for the effect to take place. The idea behind this set is something akin to a glass cannon, abnormally high damage intake in exchange for a notable boost in meter gain.
Unfortunately as far as Assist is concerned, the cons outweigh the pros. The Assist Charge only sees a 10 % increase and the Assist Duration gets a +45% increase. Other sources of assist charge increase are exclusive to breakable accessories and original rules, both of which are prohibited in competitive play. Together as One special accessory provides a 40 % increase in assist duration without sacrificing necessary stats or four equipment slots.
With the Death Blade weapon being middle of the pack with 68 ATK and -1 DEF and no extra properties, the rest of the set are equivalent to LV1 gear. DEF +3 on Reaper's Shield, BRV +38 and DEF +2 for Helmet of the Dead and HP +428 for the Death Armor. By numbers alone this is already difficult to ever justify in multiplayer, but if you are messing around with friends, you can try to send a statement with this set.
Otherwise, avoid using this. There are weapons that can provide more in the field Death Blade is trying to occupy, such as Earthbreaker with 69 ATK and +20 % HP Wall Rush damage increase or Heaven's Cloud with 67 ATK and +3m EX Intake Range.
Assist Damage Tables
Much like regular playable characters, assist characters come with their own damage multipliers. The following two tables comprise of bravery attacks and HP attacks respectively and will be included on each assist character section separately at a later date. Originally compiled by Balguna.
List of Assist Characters
|Cure||BRV increase||Player (ground)||60 % of raw BRV|
|Seal Evil||Hold||Player (air)||3-second duration|
|Planet Protector||Invincibility||Player (ground)||5-second duration|
|Holy||Wall Rush, Block||Player (air)||0|
Aerith is a very strong assist, right up there in terms of viability with the Kuja assist but for very different reasons. All of her moves provide unconventional utility not found in other assist characters, with Seal Evil enabling guaranteed follow-ups after initiating chase, Planet Protector nullifying all damage reactions (including HP and the damage it would've caused) and Holy creating an oppressive situation that forces the opponent to act.
As such, the player is required to approach calling her a bit differently. Aerith spawns near the player whenever called and Seal Evil, being a ranged priority trap that spawns on a player after a couple seconds demands a bit of foresight to guarantee a hit. It is for this reason that characters who can initiate chase attacks off of their key moves such as Lightning and Vaan can benefit from Aerith consistently and is often paired with increased EX absorption to complement this strategy.
Because of the lack of conventional fast close range attacks, Aerith assist falls behind as an assist punish tool, having less utility in punishing whiffed attacks outside of glaring exceptions. Her only direct attack is Holy which can deplete a bit of EX meter but beyond that she cannot deplete opponent's EX meter and thus the onus on that falls exclusively on the player's equipment. This can complicate matters when attempting to resolve a Final EX Revenge situation and characters who are known to perform best with this assist such as Tidus will not see further advancements in this field.
Aerith is a great choice, but her benefits are less about scoring hits on her own but often times bolstering what the player character can do in a specific match-up. Even then, her unique abilities can alleviate severe issues a character -or player- may face. These will be explored in greater detail below, but know that Aerith assist is well worth learning... and paying the fee for the Prologus demo.
Curative skill increasing ally's bravery.
Aerith spawns near the player to give them 60 % of their raw bravery. At LV100 this is always 400 bravery. While not the best use of assist meter in most cases, you can attempt to finish a match by blocking the opponent's bravery attack, calling Aerith to add 400 to your bravery and let that carry over the kill threshold. Or you can just use the slowdown during the assist call to prevent the opponent from using Assist Change, whichever fits your needs better.
[Special] Make opponent unable to move. Foe is freed when hit by another attack.
The bread and butter. Ranged Low priority and notable start-up compared to other conventional assists' aerial braveries, but landing this will keep the opponent in place for three seconds. As mentioned earlier, successfully connecting with this typically requires pre-emptive timing or an elaborate set up.
Seal Evil setups
The most common set up is to call Aerith right before a Chase prompt appears, then initiate chase, perform an HP attack and if the opponent dodges it, Seal Evil will hit them. If the opponent dodges right away, the HP attack will connect, guaranteeing HP damage off of a move while absorbing all EX on the field due to Chase activation.
There are a few transmutations of this setup that both players should be aware of. Once the player has initiated Chase:
- player performs an HP attack and the opponent dodges immediately, receiving the HP attack near a wall
If the players are near a wall and Aerith was called late enough, the wall rush caused by the chase HP attack can also chain into Seal Evil.
- player performs a bravery attack
This is typically performed near a wall as well as means to tack on extra damage. If the opponent dodges the bravery, Seal Evil will still connect. If the opponent does not dodge the bravery, they will sustain both the bravery damage as well as Seal Evil's binding effect.
If the wall rush is not possible, getting hit by the bravery attack will move the opponent out of Seal Evil's range. Be aware of your surroundings if you opt for this option.
- the opponent is caught in Seal Evil before the player has performed an attack during Chase
Moves such as Vaan's (SW) Katana that have a short enough knockback, but long enough Chase prompt window to delay the chase timing for Seal Evil to connect by just performing the initial Chase prompt. If the player performs a bravery attack or an HP attack after this happens, the opponent can still attempt to evade it as if Seal Evil never happened.
These timings can vary greatly depending on the character. For example, Paladin form Cecil has to commit to an HP attack during chase after using Sacred Cross and calling Aerith due to the chase window and hit stun being too short. Cloud and his aerial Double Cut suffer from a similiar problem.
Aerith can also be chained from wall rushes by calling her a bit earlier than the wall rush would occur. In chase situations where the player scores a wall rush, Seal Evil can still connect if Aerith is called as soon as the chase sequence is considered over.
Seal Evil combos
Because Seal Evil's effect persists even after Aerith has left the field, the move allows a lot of leniency in connecting a follow-up. Solo setups such as Sephiroth's Shadow Flare into Heaven's Light can be used to good effect here.
However, in an interesting note this also means that the assist meter is not grayed out, indicating prohibited use. This means two things.
For one, the player can take advantage of Dash feinting or ground dashing to generate assist meter before performing their follow-up attack, mitigating a minor portion of Seal Evil's cost of one assist bar in the process. If the opponent received Seal Evil while being wall rushed on the ground, they will transition into the "floor splat" state if no further action is taken before Seal Evil's effect wears off, allowing leniency in building assist meter via ground dashing.
Secondly -and this is a big one-, using an HP attack with long hit stun or one that wall rushes and then calling Aerith again allows the player to bind the opponent again with Seal Evil for a second time in a row. It is an expensive trade-off, costing both of the player's assist bars but being able to land 2-3 HP attacks in a single combo can be a worthwhile investment for high base bravery and / or wall rush builds. Meter depletion applies for all those hits as well and this could be used to even generate an extraordinary amount of EX with solo combos.
Because of this, Zidane became infamous for being able to exploit this fact with his Shift Break HP and Meo Twister HP link off of his single best move, Swift Attack. With a proper high base bravery build with good base bravery recovery Zidane can inflict up to 6000-7000 HP with only two assist bars.
In practice, the combo looks like this
- Swift Attack - Meo Twister - Seal Evil - free air dash - Shift Break, call Aerith right before HP damage is inflicted - Seal Evil - position above opponent and Shift Break, call Aerith right before HP damage again - Seal Evil - Shift Break at the ceiling - air dodge - Swift Attack - Meo Twister.
If Zidane cannot secure the ceiling, it is common to omit the second Shift Break in favor of simply doing another Swift Attack instead. This is still above 4000 hp territory and with Side by Side this combo can come into play earlier than usual.
This concept can be applied to any character who has an attack with a somewhat short animation (end lag) and long enough hit stun or wall rush property to allow Aerith to chain another Seal Evil. While the mileage will greatly vary from character to character, such as Jecht using three Ultimate Jecht Shots or Tidus fitting in another aerial Cut and Run, the potential of this technique should not be overlooked. Other assist characters with lingering projectiles and traps such as Firion, The Emperor and Ultimecia can replicate this effect, again, with varying degrees of success.
List of combos
- Slashing Blow - wall rush - Seal Evil - Fire  - dash - Fire  - Fire  hits - Fire  hits - Climhazzard (2 hits) - Double Cut (midair)
Give all allies temporary invincibility.
Indicated by a golden flash around her and the player character, Planet Protector will nullify any damage caused to the player or any hit reaction caused to Aerith herself for five seconds (or 300 frames). In that sense, "invincibility" is an accurate term because nothing the opponent does can hurt or kill the player character while under this effect.
As this is not a combo attack, it cannot be used to chain a sequence of attacks together. However, due to the continuous invincibility it can allow other strategies.
The opponent can still attempt to attack the player and upon making contact the attack will act as it normally would. All bravery damage will do 0 damage and upon inflicting HP damage the damage is not only 0, but also resets the opponent's bravery back to 0 as if the HP attack connected conventionally. This can be used as a countermeasure to reset a high amount of bravery the opponent may have accumulated by running into it on purpose or to otherwise nullify an incoming attack pre-emptively.
This does mean that any sustained chase attacks will have no effect and as a result, Planet Protector can enable immediate counter attacks following the lack of damage reaction.
Exdeath can notoriously exploit Planet Protector to a good effect thanks to his grounded Maelstrom HP. By charging up this move and then calling Aerith to cast Planet Protector in the middle of the animation, the opponent is left with no choice but to deflect Maelstrom. The difficulty of this task varies by character, but a select few cannot do this at all, them being Kuja, Shantotto and Yuna. This results them in sustaining unavoidable damage which can greatly reduce their chances of winning against Exdeath in larger stages.
[Long] Cast a legendary white magic spell. Long cast time.
Holy is the single assist attack that allows Aerith to inflict HP damage on her own. It's casting time is 8 seconds (or 480 frames) and the HP hit connects at 524 frames, roughly 1.45 seconds later.
Between frames 480 and 524, the opponent is still free to do anything. They could even attack Aerith to cause an Assist Lock to the player who used it, but they will still get hit by Holy in the end. Think of this as Starfall, the meteor (Holy) appears at 480 frames, and needs 44 frames to "reach" its target.
During this move Aerith has Block Mid priority, which means you will need guard staggering moves like Squall's Heel Crush or high priority moves such as HP attacks or LV3 Jecht Stream to intercept it.
As Holy is still a Ranged High, it can also be deflected by high priority Melee attacks or blocks that Jecht and Exdeath possess. Even Precision Block works! Needless to say the timing is nothing short of strict, on top of the opponent continuing to pressure while Holy is taking place.
Here is a video demonstrating some of these countermeasures.
|Snatch Blow (ground)||Chase||Opponent (ground)||8, 1x4, 2x10, 15 (47)|
|Strike Energy (midair)||Chase||Opponent (air)||4x4, 2x7, 20 (50)|
|Flare Star (ground)||Wall Rush||Opponent (ground)||10, 1x5 (15)|
|Force Symphony||Chase||Opponent (air)||0|
Kuja is one of the game's strongest assists in terms of application and damage output. If in doubt, pick him.
Snatch Blow on the ground does good damage and holds the opponent long enough for player to add 1-2 bravery attacks before sending them upwards with an assist chase prompt for a clean HP ender. Some characters can perform an HP attack during this attack to take advantage of wall rush damage or to reset the base bravery recovery.
It's greatest downside (aside from not being Ranged priority) would be it's somewhat slow start-up and long animation length. Escaping after the first hit leaves Kuja completely vulnerable to attacks as the rest of Snatch Blow plays out. It is here where using your own character to protect the assist comes into play, utilising a move to prevent the opponent from locking Kuja or to successfully hit the opponent for acting out the assist lock interaction. Player preference and character match-ups are both major factors in deciding the outcome of this interaction, and is something that will apply not just to the Kuja assist, but other assist characters that stay out on the field for a good moment such as Jecht.
Because of Snatch Blow's attack having a second hitbox while the spheres come back, performing a ground dodge on the first hit can result in Snatch Blow catching the opponent with the second hit. With a careful setup, only Precision Evasion can bypass this situation.
Strike Energy, while it's holding potential is not as great as Snatch Blow's it's upward knockback duration more than makes up for it, allowing for just about any character to comfortably chain into an HP attack after an assist chase. It is also quite fast on start-up and the little forward glide Kuja does before making contact adds a bit of range to the move that other notable assists such as Sephiroth, Jecht and Yuna lack. It's a textbook example of a good bravery assist. Fast, good damage and easy followups.
The animation length and melee priority are once again it's weak points. If this assist attack is used to whiff punish a move from afar and the opponent escapes from it, Kuja is left with no immediate protection from the player. Depending on the character the options for covering Kuja up above may also be limited, but conversely fitting a bravery attack at the ceiling during Strike Energy is easier and ever so slightly more damaging.
Flare Star is mostly used to bypass a potential LV2 Change with it's Ranged High priority. Even if the opponent opts to use LV2 Change during this move, Kuja assist will remain on the field unharmed. It is a valuable asset as some characters can confirm a wall rush on the ground. If you feel the opponent wants to lock him, protect him in a way that suits you.
Force Symphony has a similiar application as Flare Star. One of it's more consistent uses involves calling him and then initiating chase to force a situation where the opponent is liable to taking damage from Kuja while the chase situation plays out. Start with an HP attack and if the opponent dodges, proceed to dodge yourself afterwards. Kuja usually travels far enough to make contact with the opponent before you can sustain HP damage. In small stages this is noticeably easier to perform, just be ready to press X to teleport for a follow-up.
As Force Symphony is positioned above the opponent, taking action against this move can leave the opponent vulnerable to the player character's actions. Pay attention to the situation at hand and decide whether to fight or flight. At worst, the opponent gets away with using two assist bars but on a positive note, they have to then build up the assist meter again.
Due to the multi-hit nature of Kuja's attacks, Assist Critical Boost can be a good CP investment.