Character Notes & RecommendationsHave updates or suggestions? Contact us via Reddit or Discord, find our info Behind the Scenes!
Summon Board Passive selections:
Ardyn's HP is usually 0 or quite low due to his gameplay mechanic, so avoid HP DMG reduction, HP heal summon board passives. If you want to swap an HP > 80% triggered passive for something else- you can, just be aware that Ardyn may get healed back up by the healer on your team
Brothers choose 2 / 4 / 5
We prefer 2 over 6 or 7 as 6/7 is related to HP DMG/healing
Diabolos choose 4 / 5 / 6
We prefer 5 over 7 as 7 is HP DMG related
Odin choose 3 / 6 / 7
Bahamut choose 4 / 6 / 7
Ifrit, Shiva, Ramuh 4 / 5 / 7
Leviathan, Pandemonium, Alexander 4 / 5 / 6
For more details and help with summons, check Summon Hub!
Supplementary Notes to the Infographic Analysis:The infographic covers the key critical points and should be reviewed prior to delving into the in-depth notes
How-To-Play NotesChanges to how Ardyn plays are bolded below
Ardyn wants to get to 5 stacks of his "hat" special buff before his EX charges the first time. You start with 3 from his EX+ (3/3 is absolutely required because of this). Thankfully his ramp up is gone with his LD board!
Open with LD, which will grant 2 stacks!
Maintaining Ardyn's stacks are trivial as his EX will always unbreak into break, refreshing the stacks.
Dark Tornado is his LD, and is what makes Ardyn immortal. Just be sure to maintain the buff to ensure that Ardyn never becomes a liability.
The free skill use from his LD board can be used on Warp Strike generally. The other option is to use his AA if you want to push an enemy back
Warp Strike is his skill 1, has a good potency, and a BRV gain associated with it. It's his bread & butter for free skills.
Rising Phantom recharges slowly at 2 skills + 2 HP++ (note that HP++ attacks on his free turn don't count toward this). It hits excessively hard, delaying enemies, guaranteed break, and refreshes his hat buff. Free skill on Warp Strike, or on Break Reset Slash (if trying to push enemies back aggressively)
Aura of Darkness is your go-to AoE shave outside of his EX, which also gives him [Shadowstep] which is important for getting his free turns after breaking an enemy. Those are really the only cases for using Aura of Darkness.
Team Synergy Notes
Ardyn does not need a healer, but your other 2 party members do. Ardyn loves to be enchanted or be given big auras. BRV DMG, HP DMG buffs, and DEF Down debuffs are king
Sphere RecommendationsNOTE: The sphere letters below are hyperlinked to our Sphere Hub which lists all available spheres sorted by effect!
A spheres - Only focus on ATK & BRV DMG. His own sphere is excellent on him, but if you can boost his ATK further, that's even better.
C spheres - Ardyn will have a lot of trouble procing most C spheres since they trigger when healing or granting a buff (which he can do but only from S2/LD). Most of them aren't a good benefit because they scale off of iBRV, and Ardyn's isn't particularly high. So here's what we can recommend, but *none of these really belong on him*
Arciela & Krile are the best available to give him a small party battery. It belongs on another support, if you are ardently wanting to sphere Ardyn...
Y'shtola's is... okay. It will give him a small battery on every turn, and if you boost his iBRV with another support, this could be nice.
Rosa/Porom is... fine. Make him into a small party healer. It belongs on a support ideally but...
Or you can give him a sphere that he can't proc or that doesn't benefit him (like a self healing sphere like Nine). Keep in mind self healing spheres may remove his ability to cheese content when the enemy has AI to target the lowest HP.
E spheres - :( Why does Ardyn have an E slot?! With no debuffs and his HP being 0 most of the time, that means he can't proc ANY E spheres except...
Vanille's sphere "works" but really isn't best on him versus others that can repeatedly inflict breaks.
Reno's sphere "works" but again, it's outside of his role to do that.
Removable PassivesNOTE: Passives should generally only be removed if you lack CP space. There are very rare occasions where a character has a bad passive that disrupts their optimal gameplay.
Break Bonus Up (marginal effect)
Break Boost Up (10% mBRV boost for 1T after breaking an enemy is not significant enough)
Buff Speed Up (it is generally unwise to remove speed passives from your damage dealer, but technically there are no other stats tied to this).