Most Weapon Skill have an latent elemental "attribute". When two attacks successfully connect with a target in succession, their attributes may line up and unleash a powerful surge of energy. This surge is called a Skillchain (Japanese: Renkei).
Each attribute is aligned to follow various other attributes. However, there is no pattern to the network of attributes that are "compatible". On top of that, various skillchains are reversible, while others are not. To understand how each one interlocks, it is often easiest to examine a Skillchain Chart.
Using a Skillchain Chart Edit
Say there are two, one-handed sword wielders, and they both have Fast Blade and Burning Blade. Now find the Weapon Skill on the Skill Chain Chart. Burning Blade is in the Fire section; and Fast Blade is in the Earth section. There is one arrow connecting them. Notice that the arrow is double ended. This means that you can start in the Earth section and go to the Fire section, or you may start in the Fire section and go to the Earth section. Both ways will result in a Skill Chain. If you start in Fire section and go to Earth you get an Earth Scission Skill Chain. Going the other way (Earth first followed by Fire) you get a Fire Liquefaction Skill Chain.
The A-B-C lettering after some Weapon Skills are a priority check for the game. Sometimes, a particular Weapon Skill can Skill Chain to more than one listing of the same Weapon Skill. A good example is Fast Blade (Earth) having a link to either Red Lotus Blade A (Fire) or Red Lotus Blade B (Wind). The game will always create the link to Red Lotus Blade A (Fire) when forced to choose between these two links. So you will always get a Liquefaction (Fire) effect. However, had the first attack been Keen Edge (Dark), there is no link to Red Lotus Blade A (Fire), but you can link to Red Lotus Blade B (Wind). Thus, you will create a Detonation (Wind) effect.
The priority check order is as follows:
A -> A
A -> B
A -> C
B -> A
B -> B
B -> C
C -> A
C -> B
C -> C
Some Skillchains listed on the chart are more powerful than others, these Renkei encompass two different element at the same time, increasing potential Renkei damage by 20% and allowing more flexibility in Magic Burst. The LVL 2 Skillchains are as follows: Fusion, Fragmentation, Distortion, and Gravitation.
At higher levels it is possible to unlock Level 2 weapon skills that act as a LVL 2 skillchain by themselves; two of these WS together, or a LVL 2 Skillchain followed by one of these WS, can produce a LVL 3 Light or Darkness Skillchain.
And for the patient few who have obtained a 4th or 5th level Relic Weapon, the Relic Weapon Skill can be used after a LVL 3 Skillchain of the same element to create another Light or Dark Skillchain. Relic Weapon Skills are still quite mysterious, so there are other Skillchain possibilities that just haven't quite been figured out yet as well.
Three or more Weapon SkillsEdit
You can do two or more linked skillchains. With three Weapon Skills the first two go as normal and the third Weapon Skill follows the Skillchain animation. The timing remains the same for each part of the chain.
- A Level 1 Skillchain can follow a Level 1 Skillchain.
- A Level 2 Skillchain can follow a Level 1 Skillchain.
- A Level 2 Skillchain can follow a Level 2 Skillchain if it is closed with a Level 2 Weapon Skill.
- A Level 3 Skillchain can follow a Level 2 Skillchain.
- A Level 3 Skillchain can follow a Level 3 Skillchain if it is closed with a Relic Weapon Skill.
See also Magic Burst for even more damage.
Level 1 Skill ChainsEdit
A Level 1 SC will do up to 50% of the damage of the second weapon skill, depending on Resistance.
Each weapon skill is associated with an element. Each element is associated with a latent elemental effect. The elements and their effects are listed to the right.
Level 1 Skillchains take on the effect of the closing Weapon Skill that is used. Skill chains can only be made by combining elements in certain orders. Not every combination will unleash a skill chain. Here is a chart showing which elements can be combined to create a skill chain. For example, if you want to make a detonation Skillchain, find detonation on the left. You see that it can be created in 3 ways: Impaction -> Detonation, Compression -> Detonation, or Scission -> Detonation. All that's left for you to do is determine which Weapon Skills have the correct attributes, and chain them together. This is explained further in a section below.
desired skill chain
= 1st weapon skill effect
--> 2nd weapon skill effect
Level 2 Skill ChainsEdit
A Level 2 SC will do up to 60% of the damage of the second weapon skill, depending on Resistance.
Ok. Now let's look at level 2 Skillchains. Level 2 Skillchains consist of 2 elemental attributes. There are only 4 level 2 Skillchains (because the 8 elements are being paired up, leaving us with 4 pairs!). You can see what they consist of on the chart to the right. Note that these are not the elements used to make the skill chain happen! These are merely which elements are in the skill chain.
As noted before, the attributes used to make the Skillchain are not the same as the elemental attributes of the Skillchain itself. Ie: Fusion is made by following a Liquefaction Weapon Skill with an Impaction Weapon Skill. Despite the fact that you just combined Fire and Lightning, the Fusion Skillchain actually has the components of Fire and Light.
Fusion = Liquefaction --> Impaction
Fusion = Distortion --> Fusion
Fragmentation = Induration --> Reverberation
Fragmentation = Gravitation --> Fragmentation
Gravitation = Detonation --> Compression
Gravitation = Fusion --> Gravitation
Distortion = Transfixion --> Scission
Distortion = Fragmentation --> Distortion
By looking at the chart, we can see that if we want to make a Distortion Skillchain, all we need to do is a Light Weapon Skill followed by an Earth. It's that simple. "Level 2" doesn't mean it has to follow a level 1 Skillchain, it's just more powerful (and more complex because level 2 Shillchains are associated with 2 elements) than the level 1 Skillchains is all.
However, level 2 Skillchains can be more powerful if "stacked on top" of a level 1. For example, you can do 3 Weapon Skills with the attributes: Earth -> Fire -> Lightning. The first Skillchain (created by chaining Earth -> Fire) will be Liquefaction. Follow that 2nd Weapon Skill with your Lightning Weapon Skill and you've now made a potentially more powerful Fusion than if you had just made Fusion alone.
Just a note: once you've made a level 2 Skillchain, you can't chain it back to a level 1. You either keep doing level 2's, or move on to a level 3. You can only chain upwards, not back down. You might also notice that you can make level 2 Skillchains by combining two level 2 elements - these are typically associated with higher level Weapon Skills. You can see which ones in the section below.
Level 3 Skill ChainsEdit
Light = Light + Fire + Lightning + Wind
Level 3 SC's are made up of four elements each. So in order to make a level 3 happen, you must have 4 elements involved, or basically two level 2 Weapon Skills (or even two level 1 Weapon Skills followed by the appropriate level 2).
Light is made by combining all the Light elements, and Dark by combining the Dark elements:
Light = Fusion + Fragmentation
Dark = Gravitation + Distortion
So basically you're only really able to make level 3's with your higher level Weapon Skills. And once again, if you chain a level 3 on top of a level 2 Skillchain, it has the potential to do greater damage than it would alone.
Level 3 Skillchains and Relic WeaponsEdit
Relic Weapon Skills such as Coronach, Onslaught, and Knights of Round each possess a L3 skillchain attribute. Just as Dragon Kick's attribute is Fragmentation, Final Heaven's attribute is +Light+ (The +'s are used to distinguish +Light+ from Transfixion.)These attributes create an extra L3 skillchain when they follow a weapon skill or skillchain that matches their own attribute. That is, to say,
Light --> +Light+ = Light
Weapon Skill Elemental AttributesEdit
You can find this same information in a different layout on the Weapon Skill Elemental Attributes page.
Just a note on these charts here. You will notice that many weapon skills have 2 or more elements associated with them. The elements are marked as A, B, or C. This is a priority marker (A being first, B second, etc). If a skill can be chained using both A and B, the game will use the A element, no matter how badly you want it to use B.
So if your first (or second, or third) Weapon Skill can't chain using it's A element, the game checks whether the B element works, and so on. If there is no match anywhere, then obviously you won't get a Skillchain. This A-B-C notation is borrowed from Aden's work (whose wonderful Skillchain chart is linked to above).