A Beginner’s Guide to Dissidia Final Fantasy NT’s Four Core Classes

Now that the Dissidia Final Fantasy NT beta has gone live, players are realizing that this isn’t a traditional fighting game. It has much more in common with the MOBA genre than most other fighting games. Characters come in several different classes, and mastering these classes is key to winning games. You have to work as a team, fulfilling your role and completing objectives. You can’t just jump in and hope to combo your way to victory.

If it were easy to make one to one comparisons with other fighting game archetypes, we would, but you aren’t going to find grapplers, zoners, and rushdown characters here. Every class in Dissidia has put its own unique spin on the fighting game archetypes we are familiar with. Step one to getting good at Dissidia is to know your classes inside and out, and make sure that you are playing the right class for the role you want to play on your team.

Vanguard

Vanguards are the heavy class of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT. They have the most HP, and their melee attacks hit the hardest. Their attacks can also interrupt and beat the attacks of other classes in the game. When compared to MOBA classes, Vanguards would be the tank.

True to their tankish nature, Vanguards are slow. In fact they have the slowest melee attacks in the game (which isn’t saying much considering how fast-paced Dissidia is.) Their attacks also have the most knockback of any class in the game. A clean hit from a Vanguard can knock an opponent clear across the map.

Vanguards tend to have physical attacks with a ton of range, allowing them to out-poke their opponents. Characters with massive swords like Cloud and Sephiroth make up much of the Vanguard class. If a Vanguard has any ranged ability, it’s likely a large AOE attack.

When playing a Vanguard, you want to set yourself up as a problem the opponent has to handle. Your large HP pool makes you hard to take out of the fight, and your borderline absurd knockback allows you to disrupt and isolate key opponents. Vanguards always want to be where the opponent currently has the advantage, and use their powerful attacks to stomp out the enemy. Vanguards can hold their own in a one on one fight, but when at all possible, vanguards want to be attacking someone that is already engaged. This frees up your more mobile characters to hunt down weakened enemies or capture objectives.

Vanguards are at home in the middle of a multi-person brawl. The huge range on their physical attacks makes it easy to hit multiple enemies at once, allowing you to punish opponents that are ganging up on your teammates. Remember that many vanguard attacks will interrupt and beat the attacks of other classes. This also makes them a decent class to play if you are a button masher.  You know who you are.

Although Vanguards are easy to play as a singular character, they are harder to play on a team. Vanguards are, essentially, a team’s problem solver. If a team is being pelted from afar by a Marksman, then it’s the Vanguard’s duty to take them down. If an Assassin in threatening to kill another team member, then it’s the Vanguard’s duty to knock them away. If a core crystal is being attacked, then the Vanguard needs to defend it. A Vanguard cannot fight wherever they want. They have to go where they are needed.

Assassin

In contrast to the Vanguards, the Assassins are the light and quick class of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT. They have less HP, less knockback, and less range than Vanguards and they do less damage with individual hits. However, Assassins have the greatest ability to combo their hits into each other. This gives them the highest DPS of any class in the game. 

Assassins love to be in one-on-one fights. Their quick attacks are largely safe when blocked. Many of them are safe on whiff if the opponent is far enough away. They can’t interrupt the attacks of Vanguards but they can interrupt the attacks of other classes. All other things being equal, a skilled assassin will always have the advantage in a one-on-one fight.

The flip side of this coin is that Assassins may be the worst class in group melees. Most Assassins have no ranged attacks, and what they do have are just quick harassment tools. Their attacks almost always target the enemy directly in front of them, and have no capability to hit a group. Aside from blocking and dodging, an Assassin has no capability to defend themselves from an attack on all sides. When ambushed by a group of enemies, run to your nearest Vanguard and let them take care of it.

That’s not to say that you always want to be running away. Rather, you want to be an opportunist. If an enemy’s Bravery is close to a breaking point, find them and do a quick combo to get a massive boost to your own. If you find that you have a lethal strike on any enemy in the game, find them and deliver the blow with your quick HP attacks. If you find yourself stuck in a one-on-one fight, that’s fine. Dash cancel most of your moves and push the enemy in a corner in order to deal the most damage. You always want to be fighting, but you never want to be outnumbered.That’s not to say you don’t want to outnumber others. Teaming up on an opponent two on one as an Assassin is fantastic. Your attacks are so quick; you can easily continue to combo your opponent to death with a little bit of assistance. Just be wary, because gang-ups like this tend to attract the attention of enemy Vanguards, and Assassins become significantly weaker in a two-on-two battle.

You should also be wary of opponents that start running away from you. Unless it’s a Marksman, who you can fairly easily catch up with, don’t bother chasing down opponents for long periods of time. When an opponent runs away, they are usually trying to stall for time, or lure you into a multi-character skirmish. Kill them if you can, but if you can’t, either land an HP attack or trust that your team will finish them off now that their bravery is low or broken. Never fight the enemy on their terms. Always fight them on your terms.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT isn’t really a traditional fighting game, but if you are a traditional fighting gamer then you want to play the Assassin. Combos, cancels, frame traps, all are key to making Assassin’s deadly. They have a high skill ceiling but they are deadly in the right hands. Don’t choose an Assassin if you are just starting out with Dissidia, but if you feel you want to up your lethality after a few matches with other classes, then the Assassin is the class for you.

Marksman

Marksman are the ranged class of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT. They are the least like anything you have seen in a fighting game, and the most like what you would expect from a MOBA. They have few or no melee attacks at all. Instead they focus on projectile attacks that can hit the opponent from across the map, or hit multiple opponents in a large AOE. Their attacks have little knockback, but do a ton of damage (sometimes more than the melee attacks of Vanguards.) An unchecked marksman can easily wipe out an entire opposing team.

The catch? Their attacks are agonizingly slow and they don’t interrupt the attacks of any other class in the game. In short, if any melee attacker gets up in a Marksman’s face, the Marksman is dead.

Rule #1 for playing the Marksman: run. Run as if your life depended on it. You don’t want to be in one-on-one fights. You don’t even want to be in two-on-one fights. You don’t want to be in fights at all. You want to pelt your opponents with attacks without them even noticing. You want to dart around the map throwing fire and ice at opponents that are currently occupied with your other teammates. You want to drop major AOE damage spells in areas where the opponents are clustered. No matter what you are doing, as soon as an opponent notices you, run. Run immediately toward the nearest Vanguard, or really any other character that can help you out.

In case your team is pre-occupied… or bad… your backup strategy is to know and love your close range spells. Most Marksmen have a spell that can put down a wide area of damage right in front of them. This is the attack you will use to put space between you and the opponent. It will take a long time to execute, but if you can pull it off you can start kiting your opponent, dashing backward, firing off a few quick projectiles, setting up the wall again, lather, rinse, repeat.

It’s at this time that I want to address everyone but the Marksmen players in the room. You, all of you, PROTECT YOUR MARKSMAN! Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is a team game. If you want to have one-on-one fights, then play in the game’s one-on-one mode. If you want to play on a team you have to act like a team, and that means priority one is protect your Marksman. This entire concept behind this class is the ability to do incredible damage at range at the expense of weakness in melee. Don’t expect your Marksman to hold their own in a melee fight. They won’t, and no matter how much you’ll blame them for it at the end of the match it will be your fault. In fact, I’d recommend against playing a Marksman unless you already know the team you are playing with. They only really work with good team coordination.

That being said, they work out extremely well when your team can get their act together. Marksmen are also natural fits for a support role, dishing out EX skills like heals and poison spells to keep the enemy weakened and your party strengthened. Since they like to stay away from the action, they are also a good choice for your lead summoner. As soon as your summon meter fills, your Marksman can break off from the pack and start channeling and hopefully they will be done summoning before the opposing team can find them.

Specialist

The name Specialist is kind of a misnomer because they don’t really specialize in anything. In fact, they kind of do the exact opposite. They are jacks of all trades, featuring both melee and ranged attacks. They aren’t as fast as Assassins but they are on the whole faster than Vanguards. They can interrupt Marksmen, but they don’t have as much range or AOE. They can combo a little, but they can’t put on the pressure that Assassins can. Their HP pool is decent, but they can’t tank hits like Vanguards can.

You would think that this makes Specialists decent characters to start out with, but you’d be wrong. You see, in addition to their middle-of-the-road stats, Specialists usually come with a special mechanic as well. Maybe it’s weapon or class changing. Maybe it’s the ability to cast buff spells on the party or the ability to lay traps. No matter what it is, Specialists have to be played differently from every other class in the game. In fact, each Specialist has to be played differently from the next. This is where they get their name.

Specialists more often than not take up the flex space on a team. They can fulfill the duties of a Vanguard, Assassin, or Marksman in a pinch, but not as well. Also certain Specialists are better at filling in for certain classes. Choosing a Specialist will cause your team to be weak in a certain area, but your adaptability has to make up for it. For example, a team with a Vanguard, Assassin, and Specialist can cause deadly 3-on-1 physical melees that will quickly score kills, while simultaneously being able to harass enemies from a distance if need be. A team with a Marksman, Specialist, and Assassin, can litter the field with magic and traps, allowing the Assassin to pick off opponents whose Bravery and HP has been whittled down, with melee support from the Specialist if need be.

Unfortunately, there is a limit to the advice that can be given for the Specialist class as a whole since each Specialist tends to be unique. The best advice is to be ready to do anything. Fight when you are needed, run away when you are weak, cast when you are ignored, and ambush when you see the opportunity. Fill in the gaps of your party and master your own particular Specialist’s signature moves to be the best asset you can to your team.

That’s all the class strategy we have for you today. Come back after the Dissidia Final Fantasy NT launch on January 30 for more tips and tricks and a full review.