The following is my (Insert Your Name Here) review of the skills in Epic Battle Fantasy 3.
The Epic Battle Fantasy series feature a wide variety of skills and spells, many of them reappearing throughout the games. Some skills considerably more useful than the others, but you will have to use a variety of them to stand a chance of winning. I will tell you how to effectively use these skills, but you will have to pay attention.
Before I start my guide, I will disclose the following things:
- I like to play it safe. That means the first thing I do when entering battle is to cast a lot of buffs - no suicidal all-or-nothing strategies here.
- My style of play revolves around Lance's magical skills. That means his physical skills and Natalie's magical arsenal will be severely underrated. If you prefer to charge with Matt's BFS or spam Natalie's spells, this guide may not be for you.
- I will divide skills into 3 categories, and will not tell you which category the game thinks that the skills fit in:
- Normal Skills: Skills available to only one character.
- Special Skills: Skills available to more than one character.
- Limit Breaks: You know it.
The Skill System
The skill system of EBF3 is relatively familiar to other RPGs: After you finish a battle, you will receive an amount of points called AP (short for Ability Points) based on which foes you defeated. These AP points can then be spent on learning new skills or upgrading already learned ones, using the Skills section in the game menu. There are some points to remember, however:
- Some skills may have "requirement skills". This means you will need to learn all the skill that are asked before you are allowed to learn that skill.
- Skills are not technically locked by level unlike in most other games. They can be learned at any level, providing that you have enough AP and you have learned all the requirement skills needed. Since skills in this game are fairly AP intensive, and AP gain is greatly improved by foe level, you should naturally only have access to higher powered skills in later areas.
Physical and Magical Skills
Offensive skills in EBF3 are categorized based on what type of damage they deal. Physical skills use the player's Attack and the target's Defence to calculate damage, while magical skills uses the player's Magic and the foe's Magic Defence instead. The game has stated that it will not give much clue on what skill is physical or magical, so we will have to do a lot of remembering:
- All Normal Attacks are physical.
- All of Matt's skills, except Fright and Screamer are physical
- All of Natalie's skills are magical.
- Lance has a few physical as well as magical skills. Generally, skills involving his gunblade (such as Snipe and Unload), Crush and Tank are physical, while skills using his shoulder guns (like Bullet Hell and Antimatter), or his CB (Airstrike) are magical.
- Unleash's damage type depends on the user's weapon. All of Matt's are physical, while all of Natalie's are magical, while Lance's vary. You can check the Unleash's damage type by reading the weapon's Unleash information: "Attack" means it's physical, while "Magic" means it's magical.
Matt's Earth skills, and the only Earth skills the team have. They are quite useful in the Forest, and are very good at slaying Monoliths later on. They are terrible against anything that doesn't touch the ground though, and there's a lot of flying enemies in the game.
Matt's Fire skills. Very useful in the Forest and Glacier areas (particularly against the Tundra Mammoth), but quite useless in the endgame - sadly, despite appearances, they're useless against Skull Ghosts, since they are immune to physical attacks.
Matt's Ice skills. Their only purpose is to kill the Sand Worm, the Giant Squid, and some Jellies. They aren't even good in the Volcano, since Seiken will eclipse them.
Matt's Poison skill. Poison is overpowered in EBF3, so don't be fooled by this skill's measly power - the initial damage is irrelevant compared to the damage you can deal through Poison status. Just mind that you don't use it on poison-proof enemies - they'll HEAL every turn from the status.
A skill that drains HP from the enemy. We already devoted Natalie to healing, and Lance also has a few good healing skills, so this is not really worth using, especially since its power is relatively low.
A weak but high-accuracy skill. You won't use it often, but it can be useful against the Swift Crows early on (especially when they spam their accuracy debuff). Buy one rank to have it and to unlock other things.
Look, Matt's got a hit-everything skill! It's not very strong, but it's useful for picking off weakened foes, saving Lance a turn for the next wave. There are also some swords that can deal some interesting status effects, so this skill could also be used to do that to the entire enemy wave.
Gets stronger when someone dies or Matt's HP is low. Sounds cool and theoretically useful, but this isn't the kind of game that facilitates high-risk play until you can spam Auto-Revive; and by the time you can do that, you'll have better skills and strategies to use.
A multi-hit variable-element skill, and one of the most versatile skills in the game. It allows Matt to reliably damage foes in any situation, provided he switches to the right sword. It also comes with a hefty MP cost, and element-specific skills are usually stronger, but it's handy to have if you have AP to burn. Also has some synergy with the Rune Blade; use it on anything not resistant to Holy or with super-buffed Defense, and you'll probably regain all the MP you used to cast it and then some.
Matt's Holy skill. Extremely useful in the final area, useless everywhere else - luckily, you're going to obtain this in the late game, so the latter part doesn't matter. It also comes with a chance to stun the enemy, giving you some time to breathe.
Hits enemies with different effects based on the currently-equipped weapon. It's an interesting idea, but pretty situational - 99.5% of the time, you'll have better things to do on your turn.
Buffs the entire party's Defence by a certain percentage, which degrades by 5% at the start of each successive turn. A general Defence buff is very useful in all situations, and becomes very important in harder difficulties. I recommend that you use this at the beginning of every battle that you think will be even slightly challenging - and in tougher battles, make sure you reapply it as needed.
Buffs a single party member's Attack by a certain percentage, which degrades by 5% at the start of each successive turn. You will usually want to have other members use a Beer on Matt, but it's still quite nice to save an irrelevant bit of money.
Buffs the entire party's Evade by a certain percentage, which degrades by 5% at the start of each successive turn. Quite useful if you have a turn to spare, but you'll usually want to prioritize Protect over Reflex in most situations.
Reduces the enemy's Magic Defence. Its damage is not too high, but it is one of Matt's few magical skills, and Screamer also hits the entire enemy wave. The main purpose of this skill is to support Lance and Natalie's magical shenanigans - and thanks to its low damage, you can even use it on Dark-resistant foes to lower their Magic Defence.
Summons NoLegs to use a random item. Cute idea, but very unreliable in practice, since you can't control what item NoLegs brings or who it goes to; odds are it'll fail you when you need it the most. Well, at least it doesn't use up your item stock...
Natalie's non-elemental skills, which do random damage based on their level. They can do a lot of damage for a little MP, but they can also do practically nothing. You should only use Lucky Star early on, when Natalie lacks more effective spells; once she gets access to other skills, invest in them.
Natalie's Fire skills. Fire is a good element, and these skills could do quite a lot of damage if you invested in them. Since we focused on Lance in this walkthrough, this will not be the case.
Natalie's Thunder skills. Thunder is the third best element in the game (next to Bomb and Poison), being able to deal with a wide variety of enemies, from the Forest's bees to the Cosmic Monolith. We won't be using this much, since Lance is our primary magic attacker, but if you want Natalie to do some damage in between healing and buffing, these skills are probably the way to go.
Natalie's Ice skills. Ice is generally not an effective element in this game, so we won't miss them too much. Keep moving.
Natalie's Poison skill. It's almost identical to Nettle, except that it deals magical damage. Focus on upgrading Natalie's support skills first, but try to keep Toxic upgraded when you have AP to spare - it comes in handy against several foes.
Natalie's Dark skills. Sadly, Dark skills never found their place in the game, and this only gets worse in the final area - which, as might you expect, contains almost exclusively Dark-resistant enemies. These are definitely bottom-priority skills; most things weak to Dark in EBF3 are also vulnerable to other, more effective elements.
Natalie's Holy skills. They're awesome, and it's a shame we can't use them to our advantage.
Compared to Natalie's other healing skills, Heal is quite useless. Healmore is already capable of fully restoring full health to the team, so only being able to heal a single player is a waste of a turn.
Don't listen to the game's advertisement that this is the most useful skill in the game - it is only the second most useful. Yes, Healmore can heal the entire party at once. Yes, it's an integral part of Natalie's skillset, and it will save your team at least once per area. No, it's not the most useful, and do you know why?
This is why. When cast, Regen slightly heals your party and gives them all 5 turns of HP regeneration. This skill allows you to free Natalie from her duty as a full-time healer, giving her time to buff the team and maybe even do some damage. It also acts as a counter to Freeze and Poison effects. This is the most useful skill in the game, and you better love it.
Buff a team member's Magic Attack by a certain percentage, which degrades by 5% at the start of each successive turn. You're not going to use this often because Milk is usually more convenient, but if you do, you will most likely cast it on Lance to power up his magical skills. Don't cast this at the start of the battle unless you're sure you can end it quickly - in most situations, Regen is a better choice for Natalie's opening move.
Remove all negative status effects from the team. Unlike in most RPGs, EBF3's status effects are quite nasty - especially Poison, Stun, and Doom - so having a skill that can remove them is a godsend. Try to avoid using it unless the situation is really dire in order to save Natalie's turn - you don't need to panic if only one character has Level 1 Poison, for instance - and keep some Garlic handy in case Natalie gets Syphoned.
Revives a dead teammate with a chunk of HP; if cast on living players, it gives them Auto-revive status. Quite useful, since it can fully heal your dead guys, but it could never fully replace Coffee in the battle, since Natalie also needs to heal the surviving players.
Buffs the party's Magic Defence by a certain percentage, which degrades by 5% at the start of each successive turn. It's similar to Matt's Protect, and should be used in the same way - cast it early, and replace as needed to greatly increase your longevity in tougher fights.
Same as Matt's Unleash; i.e. never use it. Unlike Matt, Natalie can't even deal decent damage with this skill!
Lance's variable-element physical skills. Snipe has high accuracy, Double Shot hits twice, and Unload hits six times, but debuffs Lance's Attack after use.
Lance's physical skills have always been something of a joke in my opinion - in most cases, Matt's swords will deal far superior damage. To add insult to injury, Unload's Attack debuff means that Lance will need a constant supply of buffs to remain useful throughout the battle. Don't use these skills unless you want to hit the foes with some status effects, which should rarely happen given the game's hatred of Lance's guns.
Debuffs the target's Defence and Magic Defence. It's a physical skill, and we have Dispel, so this skill is useless.
Hits the entire enemy wave multiple times for low physical Bomb damage. Notice the word "physical" before putting this skill in a corner and forgetting it for the rest of the game.
Same as Matt and Natalie's Unleash skills - don't touch it with a ten-foot pole.
Okay, now we're getting to the good stuff. Compared to Natalie's elemental skills, Lance's are better for the following reasons:
- Lance gets multi-target skills much earlier in the game. With proper AP management, he can learn Flameburst or Plasmawave as early as the later stages of the Forest, while Natalie must wait until near the end of Rock Lake to have a chance at learning Firestorm and Thunderstorm.
- Lance's "advanced" skills are only slightly weaker than Natalie's "expert" skills, and do exactly the same thing.
- Lance's "expert" skills are better at fighting heavy enemies, being able to focus on the target while also doing enough damage to take care of any helpers that may appear.
Of course, Natalie's spell set has a few advantages - such as having Ice and Holy, or inflicting pure elemental damage (as opposed to Lance's partial non-elemental damage on most of his magic) - but Lance has the only Bomb-element spell in the game, which is a straight-up game-breaker.
Let's get back to talking about Lance's Fire skills. They are just as useful as the other members' Fire skills, and they are the driving force to finishing the glacier area. Oddly enough, they also find a place in the Volcano as Lance's solution to Skull Ghosts. The only problem is that you won't get a fire-based gun until quite late in the game, a problem common to most of Lance's magical skills.
Lance's Thunder skills. We already know the power of Thunder in this game, so you should figure out the rest.
Lance's Wind skill. Wind skills are never relevant in the game, mainly because you get them too late for them to matter. Power Metal also deals more damage and heals the entire team, so you could just say no to this skill.
This is it; the skill I've hyped for the entire walkthrough. Airstrike chooses one from a list of 3 possible weapon types to hit the enemy:
- The "Bomb": Hits one enemy for high magical damage.
- The "Missiles": Hits all enemies three times for medium magical damage.
- The "Nuke": Hits all enemies for high magical damage.
A lot of enemies in the game are weak to Bomb, and very few (a few fire-based foes in the Volcano) resist it. Airstrike also deal a bit more damage than Lance's other skills, and the chance of spawning better variants of the bomb increases with its level. All of this makes Airstrike the best offensive skill in the game, and one of the reasons why I chose Lance over Natalie as the main attacker of the team.
The only downside that I could think of is its unreliability early on - at lower level, it will mostly create Bombs, and this skill only shines when you got the Missiles or the Nuke variant. When using it, always target the biggest Bomb-weak threat first, just in case you end up with the single-target version.
Debuffs the enemies' Evade by a certain percentage, which degrades by 5% at the start of each successive turn. Could be useful against evasive enemies like Crows and Bees, but the AP cost is rather restrictive. Not a top-priority spell, but definitely keep it in mind once you've got the rest of Lance's essentials.
Buffs an ally's Accuracy by a certain percentage, which degrades by 5% at the start of each successive turn. It's useful if a teammate is hit with a great accuracy debuff, but most of the time, you would want to use a Softdrink to save Lance's precious turn.
Debuffs the enemies' Defence by a certain percentage, which degrades by 5% at the start of each successive turn. Useful to support Matt when Lance can't participate in the fight directly, or when Matt is tanking heavy enemies. Since those situations rarely happen, this skill will have little use.
Heals a character and removes all status ailments. This skill is outclassed by Power Metal and Natalie's Healmore, which can heal the entire team, so its main use will be as a reusable Garlic that also restores some HP as a bonus.
There are 8 special skills in EBF3. They are not available to the team from the start, and will have to be obtained by opening chests and completing quests. When you have obtained a Special Skill, you will be allowed to assign it to one in a list of characters who are able to learn the skill by learning its first level. Be careful; once a character has learned a special skill, it cannot be unlearned, and it will vanish from the other characters' skill set.
- Location: Heinkel (Quest, Vegetable Forest)
- Option: Matt, Natalie
Inflicts Berserk on an ally, forcing it to mindlessly attack random enemies with a physical attack for a few turns with greatly buffed Attack and Defence. It seems like a good fit for Matt, but it will prevent him from using his rather extensive selection of support skills, including the much-needed Protect, and any battle that can be won via mindless attacking probably isn't that tough to begin with. Use it only to gain an extra medal, or if you are feeling extremely
- Location: Rock Lake secret area (requires 20 medals)
- Option: Matt, Natalie
- Recommended: Matt
This skill removes all positive status effects and stat buffs from the enemy wave. It's very useful, since the foes in this game are very fond of buffs. Matt should learn this skill, because Natalie and Lance have way too much to worry about already.
Keep in mind that status ailments which may benefit the target are still counted as status ailments; don't think that you can remove that Level 9 Poison off of Abyss.
- Location: Joseph (Quest, Rock Lake)
- Option: Natalie, Lance
- Recommended: Natalie
Debuffs the enemies' Accuracy. It rarely works well, but when it does, it will give the team a great boost in survival chance. Natalie should learn this skill to support the team when she isn't healing or poisoning enemies; additionally, it also gives her some synergy with Matt's Reflex.
- Location: Meow Meow (Quest, The Town)
- Option: Matt, Natalie, Lance
- Recommended: Natalie
Hits the entire enemy wave with a non-elemental physical attack. May sometimes deal double damage, but with some recoil damage to the character. Meow Meow's damage scales with the user's level, and since the creator severely underestimates the amount of damage we can do in the end game, it ends up dealing very bad damage at higher levels. You may as well give it to Natalie for a decent physical skill, but we will not use it anyway.
- Location: Johnny (Quest, The Town)
- Option: Matt, Lance
- Recommended: Lance
Hits the entire enemy wave for magical wind elemental damage. Also heals the entire team. If given to Lance, this skill can double as a powerful offensive option, and as his version of Healmore (which could also easily fully heal the team in the late game). It's a very good skill - sadly, you acquire it quite late in the game.
- Location: Vegetable Forest secret area (requires 10 medals)
- Option: Natalie, Lance
Prevents the enemies from casting magical skills. It can almost fully disable spellcasters such as Monoliths and Skull Ghosts, so try to use this skill if you're feeling that the enemy's magical barrage is too strong for you to handle. You may want to give the skill to Lance, as he will be able to fire it immediately on the first turn, but giving it to Natalie to boost her support options is also a good idea.
- Location: Kamina (Quest, Kitten Kingdom Ruins)
- Option: Matt, Lance
- Recommended: Matt
Deals more damage to the target if it has defence buffs. This skill has only 25% Earth element, so you can use it against Earth-resistant enemies with little worry.
However, this skill comes with a downside: it is much weaker if the target does not have defence buffs, so Matt will have to choose between Tera Drill or Dispel against a buffed opponent. Generally, if the target's buff is not too dangerous, he should use Tera Drill, but if it also has heavy attack buffs or you want Lance to take care of it, Matt should cast Dispel instead.
- Location: Celeste (Quest, Glacier Valley)
- Option: Matt, Natalie, Lance
- Recommended: Lance
Heals a party member slightly and buffs his or her Defence, Magic Defence and Evade. Sounds great, but I guarantee that this skill will rarely be useful, mainly because it only targets a single player; party-wide defensive buffing skills can be deployed and renewed much faster. However, Guardian is useful as an emergency buff for when a teammate is downed and revived; at max level, it can max out both of the patient's Defences and give him or her a nice Evade bonus to boot.
Give this skill to Lance, as he's pretty short on buffing skills.
I'm not going to explain this much, since you perhaps are quite familiar to RPG games. If you aren't, check out the Limit Break article.
Swordsman's classic multi-hit limit break inspired by a rather popular game.
This is the strongest single-target skill in the game, and it will be Matt's choice against bosses or heavy targets. It's also a variable-element skill, so you won't have to worry about it being resisted by anything as long as you have the right sword equipped.
Rain swords from the sky, hitting the entire enemy wave 9 times for Holy-elemental damage.
This is probably the last skill Matt will acquire, so its usefulness is rather questionable. Still, it's a powerful crowd control Limit Break against anything but the rare Holy-resistant foes. It's useful in the volcano area, so if you want to scream "Ragnarok, Baby!" while destroying everything with the holy force, this will be the stuff for you.
Has a very high chance of insta-killing foes. Does not work well on bosses.
RPG logic dictates that insta-killing skills will never be useful the moment you needed it the most, and this is no exception. Depleting the Limit bar just to kill a wave of mobs is a rather ineffective way of playing, and anything stronger than a wave of mobs is probably immune to it, so you should stay well away from this skill; only level it up when you have absolutely nothing else to spend AP on.
Perhaps the most useful Limit Break in the game. Kyun heals and greatly buffs the entire team, as well as apply a heavy debuff on the enemies. It's good as a defensive as well as an offensive skill: You can use it to turn the tide from the brink of defeat, or you can use this to improve Matt and Lance's attacks to wipe out the foes much more easily. Natalie should definitely invest in Kyun, as it will pretty much be the only Limit she'll ever use.
Deals medium Holy damage to all enemies, and apply Auto-revive to all living allies.
Genesis has the lowest base power power of all Limit Breaks, and Auto-revive rarely works in your favour unless you get unlucky and get your entire team wiped out. It's a better idea to save the Limit bar for Kyun, since it's more practical.
Deals high Dark-elemental damage to all foes, and minor recoil damage to all allies. Also has a chance to inflict Death on the target.
Dark skills are usually bad in this game, but this skill's high power allows it to do some serious damage to anything not resistant to Dark. Remember to bring some Death-resistant clothing with you before casting Black Hole, or else it will backfire really bad.
Hits all enemies for high non-elemental magical damage.
Despite not having any elements, Ion can reliably clean up most foes and severely damage others, so you could call the lack of element a blessing. This will be Lance's Limit Break of choice, seeing as the others are either situational or completely worthless.
The "situational" Limit Break. Nuke deals high Fire magical damage, along with heavy Poison to everything in the battlefield. The recoil damage isn't that dangerous unless your team's defences are heavily debuffed, but the poison guarantees that Natalie will have to use her next turn to cast Purify. It's still an awesome skill, provided that you could get it early enough, and it's worth using at least once for the sheer spectacle of it (and the medal you get for using it the first time).
The "completely worthless" Limit Break. Oblivion hits all enemies for dual-elemental damage. It's a physical skill, and you probably know how I am going to react to it (protip: it's along the line of "durr, it's physical so it sucks"). The multi-elemental part also means that almost everything you encounter is going to resist this, so don't bother even upgrading this; it doesn't even give you a medal.