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Axe of the Blood God: Kat Tackles More of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and Nadia Gives Kuja a Beating in Final Fantasy IX

On this week's Axe of the Blood God podcast, Kat survives another extended play session with Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and Nadia polishes off Final Fantasy IX's big bad.

Article by Nadia Oxford, .

Axe of the Blood God is our weekly RPG podcast hosted by Kat Bailey and Nadia Oxford. You can find the previous episodes here.

In this week's episode of Axe of the Blood God (download link here), Kat gets elbows-deep into Xenoblade Chronicles 2 just as I finish off Final Fantasy IX.

Today's podcast is a bit laid back, but what's better than chilling with your homegirls on a Friday afternoon? Sorry; I promise never to say that again. Just listen to the episode, please. Kat and I talk at length about the strengths and weaknesses of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and I talk about my final showdown with Final Fantasy IX's Kuja. I'll sum up my thoughts on Square-Enix's classic RPG next week, so stay on the edge of your seat. Do not move. I'll know.

Want to share your thoughts on RPGs? Email us at usgamer@usgamer.net. We may read your letter on the show! Keep those Perfect RPG Teams coming, folks!

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Show Description

Kat and Nadia talk about the peculiarities of Xenoblade Chronicles 2's battle system, what do with common Blade cores, and more as Kat continues through Chapter 3 of the Switch's new RPG. Then Kat and Nadia discuss Final Fantasy IX's big final battle and conclusion in Final Fantasy IX Report #10!

Music from Axe of the Blood God is courtesy of Lena Chappelle, who has also contributed the themes to Active Time Babble and Roleplayers' Realm. I also use music from the RPG Music Pack over at rpgmaker.net. Check it out!

This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments 20

  • Avatar for FTLMantis #1 FTLMantis 9 months ago
    Oh no, Nadia, you gave some pretty weird advice!

    The common core crystals are really important. You get way more of them, so even though your odds of getting a rare blade from them are lower you should still use them all. About 1/3 of my rare blades so far have come from common core crystals.

    The way you get the really strong attacks from your specials is by looking at the top right corner after you use any first special attack. Every element has a tree of elements associated with it that appears after you use a special of that elemental variety. If you follow along that chain using specials of at least the level in the tree you're at (ie level two or higher for second tier, three or higher for the third) and of one of the two elements that comes next in the tree you'll progress to the next tier. The third tier in the tree triggers specials that do a bonus 10x more damage than the same special used without the tree. You'll also generate an orb that makes the enemy resistant to the element that the orb represents, but can be shattered during the "driver combo" you unlock later to extend your combo.

    For example, if you start with a fire special (say Pyra's level 1 special) a tree will appear that lets you choose between fire and water for the next special. If you, for example, use Dromarch's level two special you'll advance along the tree towards the water side, which matches Dromarch's element.

    That last tip in particular is key! The battles will take forever and be incredibly boring if you don't follow it. I'm honestly amazed you were able to enjoy the game without it, Nadia, I think I personally might have died of boredom. I suspect other people who didn't enjoy the game probably missed this critical element and so had a horrible time with the mid/late game combat.
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  • Avatar for FTLMantis #2 FTLMantis 9 months ago
    And one more piece of unsolicited advice: you'll do best with a dedicated healer, tank, and damage dealer. That way when your team mates change blades to accommodate the combos I mentioned before you won't get caught out without one of either, which will quickly end with you dead. Giving Wulfric to Rex is best, as he's one of the best blades and should go on your damage dealer.

    Sorry to be this guy- I don't want to be a jerk- hopefully the advice is well received. I just enjoyed this game more than I expected, and hope you will too, Kat.
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  • Avatar for The-Challenger #3 The-Challenger 9 months ago
    @FTLMantis My main gripe is that every enemy has too much damn hp. The combo system is nice but it didn't help curb my boredom. But, I intend to finish this game since it cost me close to a hundred fucking dollars.
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  • Avatar for FTLMantis #4 FTLMantis 9 months ago
    @The-Challenger I see where you're coming from. For me the battles can feel really good- when everything is clicking you feel like you're conducting an orchestra. But when you have to spend a full minute hacking at whatever lame variety of volf you're fighting it can get pretty bad. I've basically started running past anything that I don't want to fight for a quest/affinity bonus or just to try it (for uniques) and am still pretty over leveled. Might be worth trying!
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  • Avatar for The-Challenger #5 The-Challenger 9 months ago
    @FTLMantis Good advice. The random battles in this series really slows the overall pace of the game.
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  • Avatar for dohlrich242 #6 dohlrich242 9 months ago
    I'm glad you explained the elemental tree to kat and Nadia, if you didn't I would have. Common cores are super important, I stock pile them, bond a crystal if I don't get a blade I like I release the common blades unless it has good skill or I need a specific element for a character. I just started chapter 4 and have 4 rare blades. 2 came from common, and 2 came from rare crystals. Make sure you boost your luck. There is a chip you can get that boosts luck by 50 equip it to one blade and equip that blade when you bond crystals to better your chances of getting rare blades.

    My biggest issue is that nia is getting all of my rare blades. When you have rare healer blades equipped to nia she can deal more damage than Rex. I have here upgraded with agility accessories so I use her as a healer tank. I purely play nia as the lead character I like her play style better, I then have Rex as a damage dealer with some support skills. When playing as a healer you have a lot more things you need to watch for.

    I am really enjoying the game it brings me back to when I first started Xenoblade 1 my excitement level was through the roof. I hope the game continues to keep me interested with all the systems I think it will, and the music some of the best in any game.

    I'm surprised at the complaints of the game, other than a few annoying voice actors, everything else is good in my opinion. I don't let scantily clad women and anime troupes ruin my experience and Nadia made a good point that pyras voice actor being mature sets her character apart from other anime girls. Pyra is much better than Fiora.

    Nadia and kat keep doing what you do I love ya"ll. Looking forward to more reports, but please no final fantasy 8 I don't want to experiance that game again. The characters were boring, and the story was muddled.
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  • Avatar for Jonnyboy407 #7 Jonnyboy407 9 months ago
    @FTLMantis this is actually super helpful.

    When you're going though the different tears of the tree, how do you know of the special you're triggering from one of your party members will take you to the next step? What I mean is - if your level 2 step is Water, and Nia has one ready, how can you tell if it is her level 2 art that is ready? (Hopefully this question makes sense)

    If you don't mind my asking, can you break down how pouch items work? I'm a bit confused by it. Edited December 2017 by Jonnyboy407
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  • Avatar for FTLMantis #8 FTLMantis 9 months ago
    @Jonnyboy407 Glad it was helpful! Your party members will actually switch to whatever blades they have that match the next elemental steps in the tree. As they accumulate special levels their names will appear at the edges of the screen with a certain amount of spinning orbs corresponding to the level of special they have. The button prompt to use the special (the right and left triggers) then actually won't appear until they've charged up enough to activate the next level of the tree, so as soon as you see those you're ready to go.

    That said, sometimes it can be advantageous to wait a little for your other party members to charge up their bars further. When you start this special chain a bar appears to the right above the enemy's health bar, and you have until it empties to trigger the next level of special. Using some of the extra time to charge up your special gauges further so you're sure you can activate the third level of special can make a big difference.

    Pouch items are medium term consumables. You use them and your driver gets some type of benefit for the duration that the consumable lasts (which is indicated in the item and can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours). So far the ones I've found most useful are the arts recharging items. Buying a lot of the cheapest variety of this item and using them constantly will let you fill your arts gauges faster, which lets you trigger combos faster.

    Hope it helps!
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  • Avatar for Jonnyboy407 #9 Jonnyboy407 9 months ago
    @FTLMantis sure does! It's good that you don't trigger the specials of your partners until the appropriate one is ready. I was hoping that's how it worked.

    Do you activate pounch items manually? I want to adavnce a few blades in thier skill trees and some require pounch items.
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  • Avatar for Wellman2nd #10 Wellman2nd 9 months ago
    @Jonnyboy407 Pouch items activate once you put them in, so for certain Blades that have the requirements it is instant once you put it in but they each have a time limit that I think only measures battle time before they expire.
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  • Avatar for JonMatias #11 JonMatias 9 months ago
    Some Xenoblade 2 combat tips for Kat (from what I played so far):

    1) Auto-attacks charge arts -» arts charge blade combos -» Blade combos prepare elemental bursts (try to destroy the elemental orbs that circle around the enemy after you perform a level III or IV blade combo, preferably with the opposite element, using a chain attack);

    2) ALWAYS cancel your auto-attacks with arts (or blade combos), especially on the third auto-attack. This will increase the damage of your attack and fill up your blade combos faster;

    3) Break -» Topple -» Launch -» Smash;
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  • Avatar for Jonnyboy407 #12 Jonnyboy407 9 months ago
  • Avatar for riderkicker #13 riderkicker 9 months ago
    I beat Super Mario Odyssey this past week, so it's time to devote myself to getting through Breath of the Wild. I have spent most of the time wandering around (as I should) but realizing why I like open world games is the exploration to find stuff to do. I have found a few compared to things like Mario or Yakuza, but the experience from dying from a lot of things inc. exposure may be getting to me. I like hanging around the freakishly enormous old man as well as cooking. Will plug at it a bit more.

    Meanwhile I got back to playing a little more Super Robot Wars V. Just got to the Cross Ange part and it's a harem anime that reminds me a bit of those old 1980s anime except with more jailbait. Hathaway is a punk.
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  • Avatar for Jonnyboy407 #14 Jonnyboy407 9 months ago
    I'll stick up for the ending of FF9 - mainly not killing off Zidane.

    I look at it this way: Garnet had all the summons forcibly removed from her body, found out that her entire race was executed, learned she was physically mutilated as an infant, had to watch her adpoted mother die and witnessed her citizens massacred by bahamut.

    If the dude she kinda likes being alive gives her a little bit of happiness, I think she deserves it.
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  • Avatar for Talraen #15 Talraen 9 months ago
    I like FF9 a lot, but Necron's appearance is super lame. That said, it did lead to one of the sillier RPG stories I have, which I will now tell!

    I had finished FF9 and loved the ending (it's still one of my favorites), and that night a bunch of friends were at my house doing something that didn't involve the TV (playing Magic? Who knows!) I figured that I'd put on the ending of FF9, because I was young and stupid and thought people might care about an ending that was good because of the emotional investment of playing the game.

    My party was a bit underleveled and lacking in top-tier abilities, but I had a lot of auto-regen, which is seriously broken in FF9. I fought Necron for a bit, until he ended up killing everyone in my party except Garnet, who was Berserk and Mini and just repeatedly attacking with some crappy racket for 3 damage. However, due to Auto-Regen, Necron couldn't actually finish her off, so instead of resetting I just kind of let the game run in the background and my friends and I laughed about how silly it all was.

    Suddenly, Garnet Tranced, which healed Berserk and Mini, so I grabbed the controller, got the party back up, and resumed the fight... only to have everyone but Garnet die again, except this time she was only Berserk, not Mini. But she still seemed to be basically invulnerable, so I left her attacking for a few hundred damage at a time. I figured she'd Trance again eventually, but she actually ended up killing him with normal attacks. It was amazing, and I will never forget it.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #16 SatelliteOfLove 9 months ago
    Yeah, I've never wanted to replay IX either; the battle speed problem is solved with the PC version so that helps at least.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #17 Kuni-Nino 9 months ago
    Can Nadia do a Final Fantasy X report? I want this so bad.
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  • Avatar for Lord-Bob-Bree #18 Lord-Bob-Bree 9 months ago
    Officially, Necron is basically what you said it is: a callback to Chaos/Zeromus. But there is a theory that makes some sense, that Necron is the part of the Iifa Tree that filters out souls.

    Also, Thousand-Year Door is the best Paper Mario, and I only wish Nintendo would return to what made it good, instead of what it's been doing to the series lately.

    And finally, now that Romancing SaGa 2 is out, I am loving it, even if I don't have a handle on how everything works yet.
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #19 riderkicker 9 months ago
    @Kuni-Nino Let us know Nadia, Vita or PS4!
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  • Avatar for sketchlayerjosh #20 sketchlayerjosh 9 months ago
    Ah, the classic Final Fantasy end-boss gambit. It's never enough to fight the main antagonist. They have to be working for or merge with some kind of nebulous "embodiment of evil" nonsense. That's why Kefka is the best villain in the series. FF6 can tell an epic story with a large cast, but it never gets overwhelming because your goal of "punch that clown" remains consistent.

    Soft spot for Final Fantasy V's Exdeath, though. "I'll harness the power of The Void! I don't actually know what it is, but I'm gonna harness it, I tell ya!" The big goof.
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