Note: For more information, check out our Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris guides and features hub.
Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris – The basics of combat
Ideally, you should already be familiar with the acquisition of sword skills in Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris. That’s because your sword skills are the abilities that’ll trigger skill connects and chain bursts during fights. Don’t worry because we’ve got a mini-guide for sword skill basics to help you out.
Additionally, you can check out the tutorial tooltips from a savepoint or via Kirito’s Tent (on his desk). These should help you remember some of the related in-game concepts despite the questionable presentation.
To equip any sword skills you’ve unlocked via your skill tree, you’ll need to go to your skills menu and select them. These commands will correspond to the four face buttons (ie. X, Y, A, B if you’re using an Xbox gamepad).
Note 1: For the rest of this guide, I’ll simply refer to the gamepad controls when using an Xbox controller.
Note 2: You can see an image below of the skills menu/skill palette along with the different types we’ll discuss further in this guide.
Sword skills use a resource called SP. To make it simpler, it’s just the three purple bars at the bottom of a character’s panel when you’re in combat.
Most sword skills have a requirement of 100 SP or one purple bar. If you’ve generated that much by way of normal attacks, then you can use a sword skill by holding the right shoulder button (RB) and pressing on the corresponding face button (X, Y, A, or B).
Note: You can also assign a sword skill as a “combo finish.” The ability will trigger at the end of a 5-hit combo.
Sword skills help break the enemy’s guard and put them in a “hazard” state. This will allow you to punish them when they’re in a “break” state, followed by “fatal,” and “downed.”
Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris has tons of “bullet sponge” (or is it “slash sponge”) mobs and bosses that have extremely high health. The idea is to continue unleashing combos that do thousands of damage, making most fights a breeze.
Let’s say you’ve got a couple of sword skills already as Kirito (likely Sonic Leap and Vertical), you’ll learn a bit more from the game’s training dummy and sparring matches in the first chapter.
Skill connects tend to be the most basic combo you’ll slowly perfect. The idea is fairly simple: Use one of your sword skills (ie. Sonic Leap) and, once you see a “flashing star,” quickly use your other sword skill (ie. Vertical) — ie. hold RB then X (for Sonic Leap), followed by holding RB then Y (for Vertical) when the skill connect window is flashing.
You can also increase the skill connect’s window of opportunity (giving you an extra second to follow-up with another attack) if you use the “Essence of the Blade” passive. It’s found in the upper right section of the main skill tree leading to the Berserker class.
Equip that passive via your skills menu/skill palette:
Skill connects are very useful especially if you’re fighting duels (1v1 battles) since you only have one character to rely on.
The deadliest combos you’ll need to master in Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris, however, are chain bursts. These have a ridiculously high chance of putting the enemy in a hazard state, allowing you to unleash countless hits until you’re removing entire chunks of their HP bar.
Chain bursts, however, are more complicated because they rely on (1) locking on a single target, and (2) timing your sword skill in conjunction with another character’s. For instance, if Kirito does the Sonic Leap, then you should quickly follow-up with another sword skill from, say, Eugeo or Asuna, once the ability connects.
The timing has to be precise at certain times because certain skills have longer animations before they actually hit a target. There are a few methods to help you out:
1. Character swap
This is the most basic method, but it’s also bound to give you a few headaches due to the way Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris‘ camera moves around. Anyway, you’ll first need to use a sword skill with, say Kirito. Then, hit the left trigger (LT) to swap to another character (ie. Eugeo). Quickly use one of Eugeo’s sword skills and pray that you got the timing right.
Note: Try not to use skills with unbelievably long cast times (like Vorpal Strike) to connect your bursts, as these will just ruin your timing.
2. Soul Linkage
This one is more complicated once you have multiple characters in your party, but it’s a fairly effective method to boot. The idea is to open up with Kirito’s sword skill, then, immediately hold the left shoulder button (LB) to open the Soul Linkage panel. This will show you the sword skills equipped by one of your characters. Hit the button for that sword skill so they can cast it.
Note: Opening the Soul Linkage panel will cause the passage of time to slow down. You could also press up or down on the D-pad to speed up or slow down combat if you wish. Heck, you could turn Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris into something akin to a turn-based strategy game.
Why stop there? If you have LB held down, you could press left or right in the D-pad to swap to other characters, hitting the corresponding buttons for their skills. This will allow you to combo with multiple companions in quick succession.
Here’s an example (just assume that I’m using some basic sword skills for these):
- Kirito: Hold RB + X = Sonic Leap
- Hold LB to open the Soul Linkage panel to access Eugeo’s skills. Keep LB held down.
- Eugeo: Hold LB + X = another Sonic Leap = chain burst.
- With LB held down, press right to access Alice’s skills.
- Alice: Hold LB + X = yet another Sonic Leap = chain burst.
- With LB held down, press right again to access Asuna’s skills.
- Asuna: Hold LB + X = Linear = chain burst.
3. Soul Linkage/Ex Skill Tactics
The third method somewhat automatic and should save you a few headaches. If you hold LB and open the Soul Linkage panel, you’ll notice a number of tactics that are available for certain characters.
One of these is tactics is “Never miss a chain opportunity.” Select that and hit the left trigger button (LS) to assign that tactic. This will allow a character to use a sword skill and open up a chain burst opportunity when possible.
As far as I know, this is only possible if the character has “Attacker” selected as an Ex Skill (seen in your skills menu), and it won’t be available for every character you meet. For instance, at the start of the second chapter, only Eugeo, Alice, Medina, and Ronie have “Never miss a chain opportunity” as an option. Sortiliena, meanwhile, has “Work toward chain burst attacks.”
4. Mind Break
“Mind Break” is a combat skill found in the upper left section of the main skill tree heading to the Scout class. This combat skill uses up 300 SP/three bars, but it instantly puts your target in a “hazard” state. Make sure you equip that in your skills menu as well.
Since you’re picking up “Mind Break,” don’t forget to grab the “Clear Mind” passive which is right next to it. It’ll increase the window of opportunity for your chain bursts.
Give Kirito and your other characters access to both the “Clear Mind” and the aforementioned “Essence of the Blade” passives. These are to ensure that everyone has more time to do skill connects or chain bursts.
Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris is available on Steam. For more information, check out our guides and features hub.