Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a thread for discussing character specific combos; those should be done on a character's individual sub-forum. This thread is basically meant to compile and provide information on each Assist's damage and properties for easy reference if needed.
NOTE: This guide is INCOMPLETE. I'll be working on it over time.
The Basics of the Assist System
Assists are a new feature in DDFF, and possibly the biggest change to it from DFF. A character can pre-set an Assist character for them in the Customization menu, which can be any of the other characters except themselves and Feral Chaos.
In battle, attacks build up the Assist meter, though a successful attack will build greater Assist than a whiffed attack. All whiffed attacks generate the same anount of Assist gauge, and repeatedly whiffing the same attack builds less and less Assist. The amount of Assist generated by a successful attack varies, though it seems to depend on the strength of attack and the number of hits. Attacks which do not harm the enemy in any way, such as Lightning's Cure/Cura or Onion Knight's Strength/Magic Booster, do not build Assist, but they do reset the timer before the Assist gauge decays.
If the character does not make any moves in a while (blocking and dodging do not count), the Assist gauge begins to deplete, depleting at a faster rate the longer the inaction.
Once the Assist gauge has been build up sufficiently, the Assist can be called upon in one of three different ways. Calling them using the L+Circle buttons will use up on complete bar, and will call the Assist to use its BRV attack, which is pre-set and differs depending on the enemy or the character's position (refer to each individual Assist for when and where they'll use their different attacks). On the flipside, if L+Circle is used while the player character is caught in an attack or while staggering, the Assist character will take the hit for them, freeing them and sending them flying upwards or downwards (the default direction is upwards, but they will be sent downwards to escape an attack if necessary). The Assist is automatically locked after this, which prevents the character from building (or losing) Assist for a period of time. If the Assist is locked repeatedly over a short period of time, the time for it to unlock grows.
The L+Square option requires 2 Assist bars. Using it will cause an Assist to use their HP attack (again, which one depends on position and each individual Assist). Using the option while caught in an attack results in the Assist blocking the opponent's attack while freeing the player character in the same manner, interrupting any attack in progress the opponent might be using. The Assist gauge is usually not locked after this, though if an attack manages to catch the Assist before it disappears, the gauge will be locked as per normal.
It's possible to use the escape option using Assists while caught in an Assist attack. The L+Circle option will not lock the opposing Assist, but the player character is then free to attack the Assist who will likely be attacking thin air. The L+Square option will block the Assist, locking the opponent's Assist gauge.
Blocking any Assist successfully or causing their attack to clash with another attack of equal or better priority also locks the Assist gauge.
Properties of Assist attacks
Assist attacks are unaffected by invincibility frames granted from Wall Rush. Thus, Wall Rushes are usually an ideal moment to call in an Assist.
Most Assist attacks end in two possible ways: Wall Rush or Chase.
An attack that ends in a Wall Rush, obviously requires a wall to connect first. Unlike player Wall Rushes, the opponent does not gain invincibility frames after a Wall Rush, allowing the player to immediately follow their Assist with their own attack for devastating combos.
Chase attacks will be followed by a gold X, which when accepted, teleports the player to the enemy's position in mid-air, giving them free reign to launch an attack while the enemy is still stunned by the Assist attack. The time they have before the opponent recovers depends on the Assist itself.
All Assist attacks do not build any EX Force. A successful attack will cause depletion of the opposing EX gauge. Again, this varies on the Assist, but the general idea is that the more number of hits, the greater the depletion. In contrast, sucessfully locking an Assist oher than through means of using the L+Square option to escape an Assist attack causes all the EX Force in the arena to fly to the player that locked the Assist.
Successfully connecting an Assist attack on an opponent in EX Mode results in an EX Break. This immediately knocks the opponent out of EX Mode, and with the exception of Gabranth, grants the player the Stage Bravery. Conversely, if an Assist is locked by a character in EX Mode, there is an Assist Break, granting the player that locked the Assist the Stage Bravery.
Individual Assist Attacks
How useful each Assist attack is depends greatly on the character they're Assisting as well as the player's own skill. There are usually multiple combo videos out there for various Assists, though sometimes the best way is the try out different Assists and get a feel for them.
For those who can't be bothered, here's a rough table of all the Assist attacks in the game.
(G) - Assist occurs when opponent is on the ground
(A) - Assist occurs when opponent is in the air
(PG) - Assist occurs when player is on the ground
(PA) - Assist occurs when player is in the air
O - Assist appears near the opponent
P - Assist appears near the player
C - Chase
GS - Attack guard staggers (is of Melee/Ranged Mid priority)
GC - Attack guard crushes (is of Melee/Ranged High priority)
AB - Attack absorbs (draws the opponent closer to it)
U - Attack is unblockable
LG - Attack is susceptible to the link glitch and will continue pursuing the opponent even if they have been knocked away or escapes with an Assist
WR - Wall rushes in the direction specified in the bracket. If there is no bracket, then WR depends on the direction they are struck by the attack.
(D) - Downwards
(U) - Upwards
(H) - Horizontally
(DU) - Diagonally upwards
(DD) - Diagonally downwards
(A) - In the direction the attack strikes them (these attacks generally have a 'round' hitbox allowing them to WR from multiple directions)
B - Attack has a block priority of the type specified in the bracket
(M) - Block mid priority, same as that of a regular block
(MB) - Magic block priority, blocks Ranged Low attacks
S - Attack has other effects specified in the individual attack's section
All move data credit goes to ujhbn.
With the exception of Kefka's Hyperdrive, Exdeath's Grand Cross, Terra's Flood and Aerith's Holy, which are unblockable, all HP attacks crush guards.
*1 While the tenacles start whipping at 13F, they start spiralling at 37F, which is when they're most likely to start hitting the opponent.
*2 Gilgamesh's attacks have a 50-50 chance of doing either form of damage each time he's called. Excalipoor versions (lower damage roll) will increase EX gauge rather than decrease it. HP hits are unaffected and will still cause depletion if the appropriate equipment set or accessories are equipped.
*3 Guard crushes at close range only.
*4 Regardless of how much BRV the character has, Shantotto will always call upon the 2nd stage of her spells (Stonega/Blizzaga)
*5 Initiates Assist Chase at close range only.
*6 There is a 44F delay between completing the attack and the HP hit, during which time Aerith can still be locked, but the incoming HP hit will not be stopped.
*7 Apocalypse seems to track till the AI thinks it can hit the opponent. I've seen it track up to about ~6 seconds, but it could conceviably go longer or shorter.
*8 Will WR DU if Cloud reaches the ground, D otherwise.
A basic guide to how attacks below are rated:
Damage: Self-explainatory. The higher the better.
Startup: Self-explainatory. The lower the better. HP attacks are scaled differently compared to BRV attacks.
Range: Fairly self-explainatory. The higher the better.
Hitbox: Not exactly the same as range, this determines the size of the attack. Attacks with a high range need not necessarily have a large hitbox and vice versa. Generally the bigger the better as attack becomes more difficult to avoid, but attack becomes likewise easier to block.
Active Frames: How long the opponent remains suspended in the attack. Generally the longer the better, but in the event of an Assist change by the opponent, long Active Frames become dangerous as the Assists become easier to intercept and block.
Warrior of Light
Opponent is on the ground: Sword Thrust - WoL throws out his shield to catch the opponent, before slicing with his sword to knock them away.
Damage: 6, 3x3, 15 (30 total)
Active Frames: Short
Additional properties: Wall Rush (vertically), Melee Mid (shield throw)
WoL's ground Assist, while slow, has the property of being unblockable by most characters (save Cloud of Darkness, Jecht and Exdeath). The attack itself is quite fast in execution and the knockback is fairly weak, thus making it difficult to combo with an attack if there isn't a wall nearby.
Opponent is in the air: Rising Buckler - WoL swings his shield upwards to catch the opponent, dealing multiple blows before knocking them to the ground. Fairly impressive vertical reach, but limited horizontal range.
Damage: 2x4, 6, 16 (30 total)
Range: Short, Vertically Long
Active Frames: Medium
Additional properties: Wall Rush (diagonally downwards)
WoL's aerial assist is generally more useful. The attack itself has good reach and the knockdown is fairly strong. The attack is slower than other similiar attacks like Cecil's and Gilgamesh's, however. Despite that, the long vertical reach is very significant to combo from attacks that throw the opponent up like Retribution, and unlike the other vertically reaching attack, Vortex, the downward wall rush of Rising Buckler is usually much more useful. The fast knockdown frames can make it difficult to time, so practice is advised.
Player is on the ground: Shining Wave - WoL releases a series of light pillars that chase the opponent. Can go into the air.
Hitbox: Multiple, Medium
Active frames: None
Additional properties: Chase
Generally not the most effective HP attack. Useful for a distraction if nothing else, but there are generally better uses for 2 Assist bars.
Player is in the air: Shield of Light - WoL generates a shield of light that blocks most basic attacks before releasing a short-ranged beam from its centre. Standard knockback.
Active frames: None
Additional properties: Block Mid, Wall Rush
While the block has some situationally useful potential, the attack itself is generally too slow and short-ranged to be of much use. It would be more useful if the block could aid the character rather than WoL appearing near the opponent, but as it is, you could be doing better things with those Assist bars.
Overview: WoL follows a fairly standard formula for many Assists: a ground attack that knocks the opponent vertically away, and an aerial attack that knocks them into the ground. WoL's attacks are slower than most, however, though they have good range. Rising Buckler is his niche due to its vertical reach, which is the main reason to use him.
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Reserved for future.
---------- Post added at 01:06 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:06 PM ----------
Reserved for future.
Opponent is on the ground: Round Edge - Garland swings his sword in a circle while advancing, before knocking them to the ground, then knocking them upwards and back. Significant knockback distance.
Damage: 7, 8, 30 (45 total)
Range: Short, Combos without Hitting
Active Frames: Medium
Additional properties: Melee Mid (downwards chop), Melee High (axe knock), Wall Rush (diagonally upwards)
A highly damaging attack. The sheer speed and strength of the knockback is notable, though it can be a detriment to how fast the attack knocks them back, preventing the player from getting to the opponent in time. Opponents dodging on the ground might be left surprised as Garland continues to advance even if he misses, and now being harder to block. Still suffers for its Wall Rush direction and relatively short duration.
Opponent is in the air: Bardiche - Garland brings his weapon down in axe form in a mighty chop, slamming the opponent into the ground. Strong knockdown, but limited range and high short attack frames.
Active Frames: None
Additional properties: Wall Rush (downwards)
Powerful, but limited range and the attack itself is too fast for most characters' liking. Generally better options elsewhere.
Opponent is one the ground: Tsunami - Garland throws his weapon onto the ground, the latter turning into a snake of water that slithers towards the opponent, dealing multiple bursts of BRV damage before exploding upwards in a spray of water, dealing HP damage. Opponent doesn't have to be hit by the BRV hits to be hit by the HP damage.
Damage: 2x6 (12)
Hitbox: Large, Combos without hitting
Additional properties: Chase
Too slow to be of much use. Since the attack is mostly vertically limited, the opponent can avoid it usually by jumping into the air. Garland is also left pretty vulnerable during the attack.
Opponent is in the air: Cyclone - Garland spins in the air, creating two cyclones that slowly move towards the opponent and persist for a short period of time after Garland disappears. Can act as a Ranged High shield of sorts.
Additional properties: Chase, Absorb, Persists after Assist disappears
Too slow to be of comboing use, but has some limited use in terms of creating a short-term shield and added pressure on the opponents. There are again better uses of 2 Assist bars.
Overall: Garland is generally too fast and short-ranged for most people. Extremely short-ranged aerial attack with no active frames, and a decent ground Assist which is hampered by its range. Not the worst Assist out there, but he has stiff competition.
Opponent is on the ground: Rope Knife - Firion shoots out two electrically-roped knives at the opponent which drag them back to him, before he punches them away. Can track into the air and has long duration frames, but Firion is a bit of a sitting duck if they miss. Strong knockback.
Damage: 2x10, 25 (45 total)
Active Frames: Short
Additional Effects: Wall Rush (Horizontal)
Decently fast for a ground assist and strong, but the knockback usually happens too fast. Firion is also left pretty vulnerable if he whiffs, which isn't a good thing.
Opponent is in the air: Magic Arts: Flame - Firion releases three fireballs, one after the other, that slowly track the opponent for a long time even after Firion disappears. The fireballs disappear on contact with walls and obstacles, and can be reflected by dashing or blocking.
Damage: 10 each
Our first attack with no additional effects. The fire is meant as a bit of a distraction really. Has limited usage otherwise, and no combo potential... yeah, this isn't really a good one. Exdeath and Cloud of Darkness can use it sa a bit of a pseudo-Shield Bash strategy that Firion himself employs, getting the opponent to reflect the Fire and then blocking it with Wrath Particle Beam or Turn Guard. Beyond that, Magic Arts: Flame is one of the more useless moves, sad to say, but does have a niche use in making opponents very wary of going into EX Mode, as a stray fireball can hit them and force an EX Break.
Opponent is on the ground: Straightarrow - Firion aims a large magical arrow at the enemy and fires. Tracks during startup only.
Additional Effects: Wall Rush
Nothing ultimately special. Straightarrow can force dodges, but it's otherwise easy to avoid and slow. As a single HP hit, it can't be EX Revenged out of, but barring that, it's a pretty poor move all-around.
Opponent is in the air: Weaponmaster - Firion glows with a blue aura as he summons all his weapons in front of him to strike the opponent multiple times, before they strike one last time for HP damage and knock the opponent away. Will slowly track the opponent, but is vertically limited.
Damage: 2x11 (22)
Additional Effects: Wall Rush (horizontally)
The tracking can throw some opponents off, but vertically limited and Firion is pretty easy to punish during the attack. Ultimately, nothing really great.
Overall: Firion doesn't really have a lot going for him. Magic Arts: Flame is his most niche move, but it has almost no combo potential and Rope Knife is decent, but Garland arguably does the job better. Not the first choice for an Assist really, but if you really wanted some sort of tracking disruption, Firion could do it.