Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition

Best Arts | Which Arts Should You Level Up?

Best Arts.jpg

A tier list to the best Arts in Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition (XC1) for the Nintendo Switch. This guide will show you which arts to level up first for each character in order to build the strongest team.

Arts List Updated!

The team have edited the arts list page! After some more time getting to know the game, we have changed the ranking to further reflect what we have learned. Check out our new Best Arts List!

Author's Apology

We do know that several people have followed our rankings and the sudden change may have sparked some confusion. We do apologize for the experience our dear users have experienced and we hope that our users would continue using our guides.

Some Art Changes Explanation

Here we explain some of the drastic changes to some arts we had after the updates.

Art Change Explanation
Thunder Bullet Thunder Bullet We originally placed Thunder Bullet as Sharla's main damaging skill. We instead focused her art skills to healing and survivability which is why it was moved down to B tier.
Enchant Enchant Enchant is a great art and it should be maxed out, At first glance atleast. Enchant's duration is already off the charts at lower levels and leveling it gives your allies a measly 50 damage buff per level.
Head Shot Head Shot Sharla is a bad character for Chain Attacks but Head Shot solves that problem (somehow). Head Shot together with a x2 or x3 multiplier can deal tons of damage and allows a physical art team to reach a x5 multiplier.
Say Sorry Say Sorry Originally an S tier art, we moved Say Sorry down to B tier since the damage it provides doesn't justify the removal of enemy debuffs. Specially when it can even remove topple and Daze which you don't really want to happen.
Aura Bullet Aura Bullet 10 second buff for an existing aura. We originally thought it's great since it allows aura users to further abuse their aura art. But after a while, it becomes too unwieldy and most of the time, becomes a useless art if no ally has any auras up.
Metal Blast Metal Blast Metal Blast follows the same problem as Thunder Bullet. We switched up her healing arts above (with the exception of Head Shot) and moved almost everything below.
Lock-On Lock-On We bumped up Lock-On to S tier due to Seven's insane tanking capability with it. Lock on forces the target to fight you but it's true worth lies in it's 50% critical chance buff. With Critical Drain, this allows Seven to regain massive amounts of HP without any healers to help her.
Dunban's Aura Skills We put 4 of Dunban's aura to a high tier due to their sheer effectiveness. But do note that you can only have 1 aura active at all time so it is wise to choose at most, 2 among the four suggested auras to level up.
Thunder Thunder Thunder is a niche Art in that it requires a condition to be used. It can be easily used by comboing with Tempest Kick but the AIs inability to be able to use this art properly made it reach the C tier. Only level up Thunder if you plan to use Dunban as a party leader.

We listen and we act as fast as we can. If there are further questions, leave it in the comments below and we'll do our best to provide answers to the best of our abilities.

Which Arts Should You Level Up?

The following criteria was used when deciding which Arts you should level up first. Keep in mind that each character can be played multiple ways, so no Art is entirely useless, though some are inherently more useful than others.

AP Farming Guide


Not surprisingly, an Art that works in many situations and will pretty much always work in your party's favor is an Art you should level up. This may seem obvious, however, Arts with high utility are an essential part to a character's kit. The first thing to consider for each Art is its effect.

Synergy with character

There are some Arts that are pretty good on their own, but when the character that learns them is considered, they start to feel less useful. A good example is Melia's Starlight Kick, which can be used to inflict Topple on a foe. Normally topple is something you want for a character, but in order for her to use it, she would have to equip two physical arts, which is a bit counter-intuitive for Melia, the best ether attacker in the game.

(Once again, this Art is not entirely without its uses, and can be made use of for Topple Locking. However, generally speaking, Melia should not be using physical arts due to her low strength stat.)


Not considered for Monado Arts of course, but for other Battle Arts, this is a big thing to consider. If an Art is very powerful, but has an extremely long cooldown, you'll generally only be able to use it once, maybe twice per battle, save for long battles with tough bosses. While a long cooldown typically means a very strong skill, sometimes the benefits just aren't quite worth the long wait times.

Best Arts Tier List

The following tier list shows the priority for setting/leveling up each art by character. We highly recommend setting/leveling S and A Tier Arts, while B and C tier Arts are optional for most characters. If you want to see a particular character's best Arts, use the table to jump ahead.

Jump Ahead
Shulk Reyn Dunban Sharla
Riki Melia Seven -

Shulk Best Arts

Shulk is a special case, in that unilke other characters, he has access to all of his arts in battle. This means that setting skills is not somehting you need to worry about with him, and instead, you only need to think about which skills should be upgraded first.

For Shulk, a combination of good support and offensive ability make up his S/A Tier Arts. Really, none of his Arts are bad, and they are all worth using to some extent, but when it comes to leveling priorty, these are our recommendations.

S Tier - Level Up Immediately!

Battle Soul IconBattle Soul Shadow Eye IconShadow Eye Air Slash IconAir Slash Back Slash IconBack Slash
Slit Edge IconSlit Edge

A Tier - High Priority

Stream Edge IconStream Edge Light Heal IconLight Heal Armor IconArmor Shield IconShield
Buster IconBuster

B Tier - Upgrade If You Have Extra AP

Shaker Edge IconShaker Edge Cyclone IconCyclone Purge IconPurge Enchant IconEnchant

C Tier - Upgrade After Maxing Out Others

Eater IconEater Speed IconSpeed

Shulk Build, Arts, Skill Trees, and Usage Guide

Reyn Best Arts

Reyn is the master of tanking attacksーa human shield of sorts. His best skills are the ones that can allow him to tank attacks even harder, combined with a few heavy hitting physical attacks. Arts like Engage become a bit redundant with his already high ability for drawing enemy aggro, and Anchor Chain just seems to be a bit too niche.

S Tier - Level Up Immediately!

Lariat IconLariat Berserker IconBerserker Sword Drive IconSword Drive Wild Down IconWild Down

A Tier - High Priority

Dive Sobat IconDive Sobat Magnum Charge IconMagnum Charge Shield Bash IconShield Bash War Swing IconWar Swing

B Tier - Upgrade If You Have Extra AP

Bone Upper IconBone Upper Hammer Beat IconHammer Beat

C Tier - Upgrade After Maxing Out Others

Anchor Chain IconAnchor Chain Aura Burst IconAura Burst Rage IconRage Last Stand IconLast Stand
Engage IconEngage Guard Shift IconGuard Shift

Reyn Build, Best Arts, Skill Trees, and Usage Guide

Dunban Best Arts

Dunban is probably the best tank in the game for one reason: high agility. He is so quick that enemies will have a hard time even hitting him. Dunban is also good because of his high strength and battle capability. The Arts to prioritize for him are the ones that help him land quicker attacks and boost his attack power, as well as the battle arts that are essential for him to deal tons of damage to the foe.

S Tier - Level Up Immediately!

Soaring Tempest IconSoaring Tempest Heat Haze IconHeat Haze Serene Heart IconSerene Heart Steel Strike IconSteel Strike
Worldly Slash IconWorldly Slash Peerless IconPeerless Gale Slash IconGale Slash

A Tier - High Priority

Spirit Breath IconSpirit Breath Electric Gutbuster IconElectric Gutbuster

B Tier - Upgrade If You Have Extra AP

Blinding Blossom IconBlinding Blossom Tempest Kick IconTempest Kick

C Tier - Upgrade After Maxing Out Others

Demon Slayer IconDemon Slayer Thunder IconThunder Jaws of Death IconJaws of Death Final Flicker IconFinal Flicker
Battle Eye IconBattle Eye

Dunban Build, Best Arts, Skill Trees, and Usage Guide

Sharla Best Arts

Sharla is primarily for support and healing, so her best skills are the ones that let her support her team in this fashion. However, she's rather useless if she doesn't have any way to deal damage to the enemy, so a few Arts for damage, like Metal Blast, Thunder Bullet, and Head Shot, need to be prioritized as well.

S Tier - Level Up Immediately!

Cure Round IconCure Round Head Shot IconHead Shot Heal Round IconHeal Round Heal Bullet IconHeal Bullet

A Tier - High Priority

Covert Stance IconCovert Stance Heal Blast IconHeal Blast

B Tier - Upgrade If You Have Extra AP

Head Shaker IconHead Shaker Heat Bullet IconHeat Bullet Metal Blast IconMetal Blast Drive Boost IconDrive Boost
Cure Bullet IconCure Bullet Shield Bullet IconShield Bullet Thunder Bullet IconThunder Bullet

C Tier - Upgrade After Maxing Out Others

Tranquilliser IconTranquilliser Heal Counter IconHeal Counter Aura Bullet IconAura Bullet

Sharla Build, Best Arts, Skill Trees, and Usage Guide

Riki Best Arts

Riki boasts some of the best debuff skills in the game, capable of inflicting damage through Freezinate, Burninate, etc., which will also drain the foe's HP. His many debuffs, combined with Say Sorry, a skill that does more damage for each active debuff, make him one of the better support characters for your team. He also has Happy Happy, which might just be the best healing art in the game.

With his other debuffs, Bedtime and Behave become unnecessary. Play Dead, on the ither hand, just seems to be kind of a waste, when he has many other good Arts that could be used instead.

S Tier - Level Up Immediately!

Freezinate IconFreezinate Burninate IconBurninate You Can Do It IconYou Can Do It Hero Time IconHero Time
Lurgy IconLurgy Sneaky IconSneaky Bitey Bitey IconBitey Bitey

A Tier - High Priority

Tantrum IconTantrum Happy Happy IconHappy Happy

B Tier - Upgrade If You Have Extra AP

Say Sorry IconSay Sorry Riki is Angry IconRiki is Angry

C Tier - Upgrade After Maxing Out Others

Peekaboo IconPeekaboo Bedtime IconBedtime Behave IconBehave Roly-Poly IconRoly-Poly
Play Dead IconPlay Dead

Riki Build, Best Arts, Skill Trees, and Usage Guide

Melia Best Arts

Melia is the best ether-attacker in the game, so it makes since that her ether-based attacks are the ones you will want to focus on setting and leveling. All of her Summon Elementals have some use, with Bolt, Flare, and Earth probably being the best for raw damage. Healing Gift and Summon Aqua allow her to heal herself and other teammates, which is something useful for a team that doesn't use Sharla as the dedicated healer (she'll definitely need assistance from another healer, however).

Melia's Physical Arts are in a weird place. On the one hand, being able to topple an enemy is never a bad thing. However, unless your whole party is centered around toppling the enemy, it is hard to justify giving up any of her powerful ether attacks or buffs in place of two physical attacks. Hypnotise as well, is rather hard to justify including in her setup, when there are already so many other good Arts she can make use of instead.

S Tier - Level Up Immediately!

Summon Earth IconSummon Earth Summon Copy IconSummon Copy Summon Flare IconSummon Flare Summon Bolt IconSummon Bolt

A Tier - High Priority

Mind Blast IconMind Blast Summon Wind IconSummon Wind Reflection IconReflection Summon Ice IconSummon Ice

B Tier - Upgrade If You Have Extra AP

Burst End IconBurst End Healing Gift IconHealing Gift Summon Aqua IconSummon Aqua

C Tier - Upgrade After Maxing Out Others

Power Effect IconPower Effect Starlight Kick IconStarlight Kick Shadow Stitch IconShadow Stitch Spear Break IconSpear Break
Hypnotise IconHypnotise

Melia Build, Best Arts, Skill Trees, and Usage Guide

Seven Best Arts

Seven has several powerful Arts to cement her abilities as a speedy physical / ether attacker. However, she also has a couple skills that push too hard for her to be a tankーa role which she is only okay at. Seven's AI is not the best in the game, but given the right Art setup, she is extremely powerful when player-controlled.

(Seven is the what the last character unlocked in the game is referred to as. Be wary of spoilers when clicking on the character's skill names)

S Tier - Level Up Immediately!

Final Cross IconFinal Cross Air Fang IconAir Fang Lock-On IconLock-On Zero Gravity IconZero Gravity
Spear Blade IconSpear Blade Double Blade IconDouble Blade

A Tier - High Priority

Power Drain IconPower Drain Double Wind IconDouble Wind Ether Drain IconEther Drain Cross Impact IconCross Impact

B Tier - Upgrade If You Have Extra AP

Speed Shift IconSpeed Shift Healing Energy IconHealing Energy

C Tier - Upgrade After Maxing Out Others

Second Gear IconSecond Gear Guard Shift IconGuard Shift Shutdown IconShutdown Mag Storm IconMag Storm

Did you agree with our rankings? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Xenoblade Chronicles - Arts

Arts List and Guide

Other Guides
Which Arts Should You Level Up?


11 Anonymousover 3 years

I actually think most of this list is pretty decent aside from 5 things. For Shulk, Battle Soul is pretty bad, idk why it's in S. He is very frail and he builds talent gauge fast anyway Also this list underrates speed art, reyn's aura burst, and Dunban's final flicker. But most of all I want to bring attention to Seven's speed shift only being in B tier. It is a contender for best art in the game. Her damage output becomes insane and it allows her to fill the party and talent gauge instantly.

10 deepFlawalmost 4 years

Mhmmm, I just got blindsided by this change too. Even before the change there were some weird inconsistencies where you’d click through and the rating on the art’s page was different; not sure if this just reflects that or not. But it sucks to suddenly change it on people when it’s not like this info wasn’t already out there to figure out what’s best, and I’m hoping I didn’t get totally screwed over by it. Guess I need to go looking for other guides before I upgrade more.


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