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Chaining

Banner-Chaining.png


Chaining is a game mechanic that allows up to a 4 times increase in damage by hitting enemies in quick succession with different units, preferably with attacks of the same element. For each successive hit landed by a different unit, the hit's damage increases - normally by 10%, or by 20% if the hits share an elemental damage type ("elemental chain"), or 40% if the hits occur simultaneously ("spark chain"). The damage continues to increase until the same unit strikes twice in succession, which ends the chain.

Chaining is not explained in-game. It requires the deliberate manual timing of attacks, the selection and development of units that share the same attack pattern (a "chaining family"), as well as a familiarity with that pattern.

In the context of chaining, a unit is described as a "chainer" if they use attacks or abilities that trigger many successive hits. A "finisher" is a unit with an ability that triggers at least one or two massive hits, which can be used at the very end of a chain to profit from the chain's damage bonus.

  • Check chaining families to find which units/skills chain together.
  • Use a single shared element for all chaining units.

Chaining Mechanics[edit | edit source]

By hitting an enemy in quick succession with different units a chain is initiated, which increases the damage of your attack. A chain starts with the second successive hit. If the same unit hits twice in a row that chain ends.

Modifier[edit | edit source]

The formula for chain bonus damage is:


\text {Chain Bonus Damage} = 1 + \text {Chain Modifier} ~ | ~ \text {Max}: 4\times

Chain modifier will be increased depending on the chain type registered. These modifier are cumulative. Every successive chain will add modifier from previous chain until the cap of 4x chain bonus damage is reached.

A chain at the most basic form will be registered as either Normal chain or Spark chain:

  • Normal chain is registered if the delay from previous chain is 20 frames or less. If the frame gap from previous chain is larger than 20 frames, the chain will break.
    • Chain modifier : 0.1
  • Spark chain will be registered if there is no delay from previous hit (0 frame.) Spark Chain label will appear when such chain occurs. While spark chain occurs when all hits register on the exact same frame, the game orders them internally, see spark chain order. The first in the order will not gain a spark chain modifier, while the rest does.
    • Chain modifier: 0.4

Once the base chain has been registered, the hit will be checked for Elemental chain. Elemental chain adds modifier to the base chain.

  • Elemental chain will be registered if the hit has at least 1 same element with the previous chain. Having more same elements will increase chain modifier further. Elemental Chain label will appear when such chain occurs.
    • Chain modifier: 0.2 for each element

Example of chain modifier accumulating with 2 units chaining:

Type Chain modifier # of chain to reach cap
Normal, no element +0.1 30
Spark, no element +0.1 / +0.4 12
Normal, 1 element +0.3 10
Spark, 1 element +0.3 / +0.6 7

Damage Weight[edit | edit source]

Damage weight is a value assigned to each hits of an ability, adding up to 100%. For example, if an ability hits 5 times, and each hit has a weight of 20%, it splits the damage evenly.

However this is not always the case, and some abilities have more weight on the end of their hits, usually called backload damage. This is beneficial when chaining, as the chain modifier starts small and gradually increases, you want your strongest damage portion to hit once the chain modifier have accumulated or capped.

Separating an ability into 2 separate damage will also accomplish the similar thing. For example, a classic Divine Ruination family with 7 hits, can be separated into 6 weak hits + 1 strong hit. The strongest portion will hit once the chain modifier is capped. Hyoh is one example of this kind of user.

There are also some abilities with damage weight not adding up to 100%, essentially making the ability weaker or stronger.

Timing[edit | edit source]

The game logic is tied to the frame rate and runs at 60 frames per second. If the frame rate slows down, so does the game logic.

Whenever you cast an ability, the following will occur:

1. Movement: The unit will move depending on the movement type.
2. Motion: The unit will perform a casting motion depending on the motion type. Majority of abilities with no movement uses the glowing orb motion for 16 frames. Occasionally an ability will have 8 frames of delay, and it is unknown what is causing this. This variable delay cannot be datamined.
3. Attack Frames: The attack will start, and will hit the target depending on their frames.
3. Return: The unit will go back to their starting position, if they move at all. This is always a walking movement, regardless of the ability movement type. This action does not wait for the attack to finish and is performed independently.
4. Cast delay: If the attack is multi-casted, the unit will wait for a cast delay, and then repeat from #1. Datamine usually lists this as an "effect delay", and only the first number is used.
5. Repeat: Repeat from #1.
Movement delay Motion delay Return delay Cast delay

For a consistent chaining, abilities with no movement is preferred, since it will add a variable amount of delay based on the position of the enemy and unit. You would only use a static number from motion, attack frames, and cast delay.

Frames[edit | edit source]

Frames are the individual steps of a unit's attack animation. Each ability progresses through a specific number of frames, and attacks occur at certain frame numbers. Deliberate chaining depends on being able to trigger the start of the attack such that the attack frames interleave to make units attack in sequence.

Example: Divine Ruination (with 2 units)

  • Attack Frames: 70-7-5-7-7-7-7
  • Movement: 0 frame (none)
  • Motion: 16 frames (glowing orb)
  • Cast delay: 40 frames

Attack frames indicate delays from previous hit. So after the motion delay is finished (16 frames), the first hit will happen after 70 frames, then 7 frames, then 5 frames, etc.

Frames: 16-70-7-5-7-7-7-7

The smallest delay on attack frames can be used to gauge the speed and difficulty of chaining between 2 units. In this case, you will have to press the second unit within 4 frames of pressing the first unit. 5 frames delay is also possible if the unit going second is placed higher in the party position, see spark chain order. Any chain with 2 frames or lower is considered highly difficult.

The problem with chaining for many abilities comes from additional casts. When you are multi-casting an ability, the next cast might overlap the hits from previous cast, creating a smaller delay needed to chain with another unit.

Divine Ruination doesn't suffer from this since the second cast will not overlap the first, but the gap is still close enough for it to chain. It takes 142 frames delay before the second cast hits: 16 + 40 + 16 + 70.

Frames: 16-70-7-5-7-7-7-7-16-7-5-7-7-7-7

Spark Chain Order[edit | edit source]

When you are spark chaining, the game internally orders which hit is counted first or second even though they both hit at the exact same frame. This is important because a chain will be broken when a unit hits twice in a row.

The unit order for spark chains follows the party order from one to six. Unit placed in the first position will always be ordered first during spark chain, while guest unit will always be last.

Movement[edit | edit source]

None Walk Warp
Move type 0 or 4 Move type 1 or 2 Move type 3
Run Dash Through
Move type 5 Move type 6

Motion[edit | edit source]

Motion Type Animation
1 or 8 Default attack
2 Glowing orb
3 None
5 Crouch (weakened sprite)
6 Dance
4 or 7 Doesn't exist

Chaining Families[edit | edit source]

Below are the list of popular chaining "families". The requirement for a new family to be listed:

  • Have at least 3 different units with identical skill frames and movement
  • The chain can be performed without having to delay the activation of the second unit
  • The chain will not break in the middle with or without multi cast
  • Chaining is done by 2 units of the same family

Divine Ruination[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Divine Ruination.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 70-7-5-7-7-7-7 7 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Easy
Unit Ability Target Notes
Orlandeau Divine Ruination ST
Veritas of the Dark Dark Punishment ST
Agrias Divine Ruination +2 ST Enhancement required
Fryevia Frost Flower Blitz +1 ST Enhancement required
Sephiroth The Heavens Wept ST
Mario Frigo Rebel drop - Dionysus PLDS-H ST
Raegen Blades of Azure Crimson ST
Gilgamesh Secret Sword Art - Excalipoor ST Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Secret Sword Art - Excalibur ST Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Access enabled by Gilgamesh Transform (LB) when equipped with Genji Glove
Livid Shantotto Final Exam ST Single cast only
Estark Lordly Thrust ST
Hyoh Flame Blade ST
Voltage Blade ST
Servant of the Blade ST/AoE
Phantom Blade ST/AoE Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
CD Ability: 5 turns cooldown, available on turn 5
Aloha Lasswell Summer - Waves of the Ocean ST
Summer - Winds of the Sea ST
Malphasie Tenebrous Dive ST
Aerial Dive ST
Citra Holy Mind AoE Single cast, 14-hit chain.
Chains with dual-casted Divine Ruination family.
When spark chained with different unit, Citra needs to be earlier in the spark chain order, otherwise it'll break.
Dracu Lasswell Crescent Blade ST Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Magna Sacred Flux AoE Dualcast-ability requires unlocking
Pyro Glacial Lasswell Winter's Oblivion ST Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Ellesperis Human Splitter ST
Demon Splitter ST
Beryl Heaven - Force of Light ST
Counter
Lilith Vitality Melding AoE Vitality Chemistry counter
Energy Melding AoE Energy Chemistry counter
Dream Melding AoE Dream Chemistry counter
Lucius Demonic Barrage ST Demon Chemistry counter
Any Star Guard ST Star Guard counter
Access enabled by equipping Star Guard, Arngrim TMR.

Absolute Mirror of Equity[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Absolute Mirror of Equity.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 70-6-6-6-6-6-6-6 8 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Easy
Unit Ability Target Notes
Dracu Lasswell Equity Slash ST
Machina Element Eiger ST
Pyro Glacial Lasswell Obliterating Mirror of Equity ST Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Absolute Mirror of Equity ST Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Access enabled by Perfect Selflessness and LB

Piledriver[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Piledriver.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
Walk 2-8-8-8-8-8-8 7 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Normal
Unit Ability Target Notes
Aileen Piledriver +2 ST Enhancement required
Lara Croft Open Wound ST
Explorer Aileen Piledriver Finish ST
Camille Earth-shattering Blade ST
Atoning Dragoon Kain Sonic Gale ST
Shinju Violent Tail ST
Lenneth Glowing Pierce ST
Leopold Sandstorm Blade ST

Quick Hit[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Quick Hit.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 22-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-20 12 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Hard
Unit Ability Target Notes
Tidus Quick Hit ST
Camille Swift Tidal Attack ST
Moogle Mog Barrage +2 ST Enhancement required
Lightning Endless Army ST Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Nalu Thunder Spear ST
Queen Armor Piercing ST Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Pirate Jake Feed the Fishes +2 ST Enhancement required
Kurasame Zekken - Sudden Downpour ST
Zekken - Twilight Rain ST Access enabled by Instant Hellfreeze, Ice Magic Unleashed, The Ice Reaper, Absolute Zero (LB - Upgraded)

Onion Slice[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Onion Slice.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 42-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7 12 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Hard
Unit Ability Target Notes
Onion Knight Splendor of the Wind ST
Splendor of the Fire ST
Splendor of the Water ST
Splendor of the Earth ST
Full Speed Bladeblitz AoE
Onion Slice ST Only the base skill and Onion Slice +1
Emilia Throwing Fall AoE Access enabled by Shadow Assist, Throwing Knife (LB)
Sephiroth Aeolian Onslaught ST
Any Shocking Slash AoE Enabled by equipping Hell Sabre
Estark Lightning Storm AoE Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
CD Ability: 5 turns cooldown, available on turn 5
Überkilling Machine Multislash ST
Domino Wind Smash ST
Hyoh Ruthless Blade ST/AoE
Forelsket Slice ST
Loren High-Voltage Twin Blade ST Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Dazzling Twin Blade ST Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Tempestuous Twin Blade ST Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity

Octaslash[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Octaslash.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 42-10-10-10-10-10-10-10 8 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Normal
Unit Ability Target Notes
Olive (Pod 153) R020: Mirage AoE Access enabled by equipping Pod 153, 9S TMR.
Olive will force this ability to idle movement, otherwise you'll walk.
Goken Wolfclaw Fist ST Access enabled by Firm Punch, Light Kick
Falcon Kick AoE Access enabled by Firm Punch, Light Kick
Prompto Circular Saw ST
Sephiroth (Masamune) Octaslash ST Access enabled by equipping Masamune, Sephiroth TMR.
Can be only used by Sephiroth.
Reberta Mystic Thrust +1 ST/AoE Enhancement required. Becomes AoE after using breath abilities.
Mystic Blitz AoE Access enabled by Mystic Thrust +2
Crimson Raid AoE Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
CD Ability: 5 Turns cooldown, available on turn 5
Mystic Assault AoE Access enabled by Crimson Raid
Ray Jack Sacred Strike +2 ST Enhancement required
Rico Rodriguez Chaos Object Homing AoE
Václav Koller Full Augmentation Potential ST Access enabled by Controversial Augmentations
Zargabaath Vengeance Blade ST Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Lucius Piercing Barrage ST
Fryevia Flower Assault ST Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Ellesperis Blood Sacrifice AoE Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Beryl Heaven - Penance Poke ST

Chainsaw[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Chainsaw.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 42-8-8-8-8-8-16 7 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Hard
Unit Ability Target Notes
Edgar Chainsaw AoE
Cupid Luna AoE
Conrad AoE
Lara Croft Full Auto Shotgun AoE
Annika Svennson I've got this! AoE

Kingsglaive[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Kingsglaive.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 82-8-8-8-8-8-8-8 8 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Hard
Unit Ability Target Notes
Nyx Kingsglaive ST
Yun Blazing Combo +1 ST Enhancement required
Lilith Serpenté - Dusk Lash ST
Serpenté - Dawn Lash ST
Lucius Crushing Barrage ST

Aureole Ray[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Aureole Ray.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 42-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4 30 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Hard
Unit Ability Target Notes
Lunera Aureole Ray +2 AoE Enhancement required.
Lid Running Fire +2 ST Enhancement required.
Invention randomly uses Running Fire.
Viktor Marchenko Security System AoE Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Malphasie Fiendish Winds AoE Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Turbulence AoE Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Lilith Serpenté - Kiss of Midnight AoE Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Lucius Blood Moon Barrage AoE Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Loren Tempest Flash AoE Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity

Tornado[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Tornado.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 80-12-12-12-12-12-12-12-12-12-12-12 12 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Normal
Unit Ability Target Notes
Shantotto Tornado AoE
Barbariccia AoE
Pure Summoner Rydia AoE
Lexa AoE
Dark Fina AoE Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Seabreeze Dark Fina AoE Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Rinoa AoE
Rem AoE Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
Any Frozen Hurricane AoE Materia. Single cast only.
Dark Fina Boreas Gale AoE Single cast only.
Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
CD Ability: 2 turns cooldown, available on turn 2
Seabreeze Dark Fina AoE
Adam Jensen Typhoon Explosive System AoE Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
CD Ability: 6 turns cooldown, available on turn 1
Malphasie Thousand Wings AoE
Thousand Wings+ AoE Access enabled by Thousand Wings and Thousand Wings+
Raucous Storm AoE Access enabled by Murderous Intent (LB)
Barbariccia Tempest Eye Wall AoE Single cast only
Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
CD Ability: 6 turns cooldown, available on turn 1

Flood[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Flood.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 133-12-12-12-12-12-12-12-12-12-12-12 12 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Normal
Unit Ability Target Notes
Lulu Flood AoE
Seabreeze Dark Fina AoE Available at 7-star7 Star Rarity only
Seaside Nichol AoE Available at 7-star7 Star Rarity only
Rikku Tidal Wave +2 ST Enhancement required
Seabreeze Dark Fina Meereszorn AoE Single cast only.
Available only at 7-star7 Star Rarity
CD Ability: 2 turns cooldown, available on turn 2
Summertime Luka Aqua - Tidal Party AoE
Seaside Nichol Diver - Submersion AoE Available at 7-star7 Star Rarity only
Circe Downpour AoE 15% chance to proc when using Condemn
Predict - Downpour AoE Access enabled by Ouroboros and Premonition (LB)
Predict - Torrential Omen ST

Chaos Wave[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Chaos Wave.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 52-20-20-20-20 5 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Normal
Unit Ability Target Notes
Terra Chaos Wave AoE Activated by Unlock Magic.
Before enhancements only
Trance Terra Chaos Dark AoE Available at 7-star7 Star Rarity only
Chaos Flare AoE Available at 7-star7 Star Rarity only
Chaos Wave AoE Before using Magical Activation
Grim Lord Sakura Grim - Eldritch Wave AoE Available at 7-star7 Star Rarity only
Beryl Heaven - Ye Not Guilty AoE Available at 7-star7 Star Rarity only

Chaos Wave Awakened[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Chaos Wave Awakened.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 60-8-8-8-8-8-8-8-8-8 10 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Hard
Unit Ability Target Notes
Trance Terra Chaos Wave AoE If used after Magical Activation
Chaos Wave Awakened AoE Magical Activation +2 enhancement required to dual skill
Terra Chaos Wave +1 AoE Single cast only.
Unlock Magic +1 enhancement required
Christine Snow Burial AoE Access enabled by Winter Fall

Fatal Barrage[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Fatal Barrage.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 92-10-10-10-10-10-10-10 8 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Normal
Unit Ability Target Notes
Nameless Gunner Jake Fatal Barrage AoE Access enabled by Flame Assault, Ice Assault, Electro Assault, Light Assault, Breakdown
Heavenly Technician Lid Sunlight Beam AoE
Vagrant Knight Rain Bond with Lid AoE

Sword of Kings[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Sword of Kings.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 42-10-10-10-10-10-10 7 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Normal
Unit Ability Target Notes
Ashe Sword of Kings ST
Rasler Patriotic Slash ST
Jiraiya Thunder Strike Stance AoE Access enabled by Kuji Seal, Toad Art - Raiden (LB)

Disorder[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Disorder.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 42-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5 10 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Easy
Unit Ability Target Notes
Amelia Disorder AoE
Prompto Ballistic AoE Cannot be used with W Machinery
Kurasame Zekken - Freezing Showers AoE Single cast only. The chain will be disrupted by the motion type on its second cast.

Firm Punch[edit | edit source]

Edit the table on Chaining/Firm Punch.
Movement Frames Hits Difficulty
None 42-10-10-10-10-10 6 Single cast: Easy
Multi cast: Easy
Unit Ability Target Notes
Goken Firm Punch ST
Kaede Halberd Dance ST
Nameless Gunner Jake Flame Assault AoE Single cast only. The chain will be disrupted by the cast delay on its second cast.
Ice Assault AoE Single cast only. The chain will be disrupted by the cast delay on its second cast.
Electro Assault AoE Single cast only. The chain will be disrupted by the cast delay on its second cast.
Light Assault AoE Single cast only. The chain will be disrupted by the cast delay on its second cast.

Other Families[edit | edit source]

The rest of the chaining families that do not conform to the requirements.

  • Ultima: Delay required for the second unit
  • Quake: Delay required for the second unit
  • Free Energy: Too few units, with more to come based on the JP version
  • Graviton Cannon: Too few units, with more to come based on the JP version

Any chain family below won't be listed in the skill or unit page.