Shall I begin? ~~~ Table of Contents - Introduction - Dark & Earth - Earth & Fire - Holy - Ice - Lightning - Water - Wind & Poison - Realm: Intro, Core, 1-5 - Realm: 6-10 - Realm: 11-15, 0, 4, 14, T, KH, Beyond - Charts ~~~~ Chain Soulbreaks are among the most game-changing relics we have at the moment. Many people will shape their teams around the chains they own, especially since the metagame has shifted more and more towards mono-element teams that can smack down an enemy's single weakness, particularly in the very difficult magicite dungeons. Now seems like a good time for a new crash course in chain usage. I am stupidly verbose. Do not expect this to be short, haha. All chains provide two primary bonii: They give a 'field bonus', and then have an actual chain count. Both of these are reset when you start a new chain (so you cannot 'keep the chain going' by reusing the soulbreak before the first chain ends, that will erase the first chain and start a new one). The field bonus is 'every attack of the chain's element does extra damage', where the extra damage is either +20% (Tier 1 chains, Free Chains) or +50% (Everything else). This is true regardless of what little number percentage pops up on a given enemy. The second one, the count, is counted per-enemy. If an enemy is hit by an attack of the chain's element, their percentage increases per hit. So if you use Sky high (hits five times) during a wind chain, an enemy's count will go from 0 (100% damage, so normal) to 5 (105% damage). This means every successive hit against them will do more damage. This counts 'any damage of the chain's type' - Beatrix using Saint Cross (hits twice) will increase the count of a holy chain by 2. Beatrix with her USB active using Assault sabre will boost it by 5 (assault sabre hits 5 times for holy damage) then 4 more (as she does her four-hit holy chase) for a total of 9. Thus, the basic rule for chains is: Activate a chain, do a lot of elemental attacks or elemental soulbreaks that have a lot of hits while the chain is active, and save your big OSB or Arcane finishers for near the end of the chain. That is the crash course on 'what is a chain and how do I use it'. Now, It is generally worth using a chain bearer even if they are otherwise not helpful to your team, as they can help your primary DPS do their job much more effectively. So yes, it is generally worth using a team of Shantotto / Physical DPS / Physical DPS / Support / Healer even though Shantotto's damage won't be terribly hot. Exceptions abound, of course. Some chain bearers are way more valuable in a 'wrong type' area than others. This is /especially/ valuable in 5* (and upcoming 6*) magicites - those bosses will severely weaken either physical or magical attacks depending on the boss, and thus you will be enocuraged to go with a mono-physical or mono-magical team. Thus, for each character, I will also analyze them going 'Five Star Off Type'. Generally speaking, if a chain bearer has something supporty they can do (White magic, Bard, Support, Machinist) then that makes them more useful to being in the wrong type of battle than if they are purely DPS. Of course, if push comes to shove, at worst the chain bearer can raise the chain via an appropriate elemental ability. (As a quick specific example for clarity, using our existing 5* lightning magicites, Quetzalcoatl takes 33% damage from all magical-based abilities, which includes the magical ninja scrolls. Behemoth King takes 33% damage from all physical-based abilities, which includes the physical blink-based ninja skills. So if you are facing Behemoth King and Galuf is your chain, he bascially won't be doing any damage at all regardless of buffs, since BK severely reduces physical damage - so Galuf may be better off using his White 4 to support the party.) And of course, if you're facing down Neo-Torments, Dream battles, Odin fights, the occasional story plot battles around fests, or 3*/4* magicites, the ability for a chain bearer to self-buff may help their damage remain relevant in a wrong type team. I'll label these as 'Torment Off-Type'. Literally everyone besides Edward can 'activate their chain, do their matching elemental attack of choice to deal damage with it'. And also do other damage soulbreaks to mix in. Thus while I will mention it, a lot of focus will go on 'What do you do when things /aren't/ perfect', haha. Of course, if you simply /have/ all the chains, then do the better chain in all circumstances, that's way better. ~~~~~ ~~~~~ Types of Chains; comparing chain tiers There are four types of chains: Free Tier 1 Realm Tier 2 Free chains and Tier 1 chains have a field bonus of +20%, and the count caps at 99. Tier 1 chains except Zack's also open doing a number of hits to one target, so their counts start at 11% or 22% to that target. They each also have an unusual effect they give in addition to just the chain's effect. Tier 2 chains and Realm chains both have a field bonus of +50%, and the count caps at 150. None of them do any damage to enemies themselves. Tier 2 chains either raise the party's attack by 50% (physical), raise the party's magic by 50% (magical besides holy), or raise the party's mag and mind by 30% (Magical holy). Realm chains raise the party's attack and magic by 30%, and also helpfully hastega the party. Their field bonus and count come from any damaging attack by anyone in the realm, regardless of element (or non-elemental!) Generally speaking, Tier 2 chains are the best chains for magicite content, and magicite content is the hardest of contents, and summarily Tier 2 chains are the best chains. Realm chains are extremely good for Neo-Torments - especially since they let you trade out the Dr-Mog provided RW chain (which is much less potent! No buffs nor hastega and I believe the field bonus is only 20% instead of 50%!) for the healing RW. Realm chains can also be useful if you have a lot of attackers from the realm that are the same element (FF8 with it's ice focus is a good example of this), especially as it enables physical and magical attackers simultaneously. Still, do not discount Tier 1 or Free chains - people have beaten Odin with those, any chain is better than no chain, and some of the Tier 1 chains have effects that are desirable and hard to duplicate (Most notably Ingus and Zack). ...And Free is a good price. Free chains come from the Fat Chocobo events - as of this document the only one we've had in global is Lightning (On Reno). In Japan, the free chains also showed up as Anima Lens selections. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~Format Used~ Character: Chain Type: Extra Effect: (For Tier 1 chains) Description: Additional Soulbreaks: Torment Off-Type: Five Star Off-Type: Next Chance: Fest Occurrence: As a reminder, Torment Off-Type presumes you're using, say, a physical character in a magical party, and am facing off against anything except 5* or 6* magicites. So for example, Locke in a magical-fire team can use Steal Power to get himself an attack buff, and thus can do good damage even if all your other buffs are magic based. Five Star off Type, however, presumes you're against 5* or 6* magicites, who either hugely limit physical or magical damage. Thus Locke won't be doing much damage against a magic-weak 5* no matter what he does, and it may be more useful to have him bring Mental Break to counter Manticore's Magic Shield buff, for example, since his fire attacks won't be doing much beyond raising the chain (Which might be all you /want/ from him, mind you!) 'Next Chance' is the next time the chain shows up on a regular banner. 'Fest Occurrence' is where it showed up in Japan's either spring (so our autumn) or summer (so our winter) fests. They're split up since our fests always change at least a little, so it can't be guaranteed if they will be on there (although relics that /debut/ in a fest have always stuck around). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~Dark Chains~~ Darkness means self buffing is easily applicable, and all of these people can go physical or magical as appropriate, so that is handy. Character: Garland Chain Type: Tier 1 Dark Extra Effect: Deals 22 hits Description: Garland has a basic kit - Lifesiphon to get soulbreaks going if appropriate, draw fire on the rare occasions that matters, but he's really just darkness and heavy physical 5. Additional Soulbreaks: If you can get at a couple other of his soulbreaks, he does have access to an imperil dark one (a unique, yet!) and his awakening brings a dark radiant shield. Torment Off-Type: Being a darkness character, Garland can very legitimately participate on both physical and magical ends of things, and self buff if appropriate. It may take an artifact MagDagger or MagSword to do so, but he can then throw Dark Zones or whatnot to your leisure, or can throw Mark of Darkness. Heavy Physical, too, in case all your darkness moves are occupied. Five Star Off-Type: Same as Torment in this case - he can just /be/ a DPS mage or a DPS physical unit depending on what you want. Although obviously, in this situation he can't just buff himself and go physical in a magical torment. Mark of Darkness may be more viable for him.