Those looking for the best Defender builds in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 are going to have to figure out which are the best Defender gems.
In Xenoblade Chronicles 3 players will have to figure out the best ways to design their team compositions for their party. Players who prefer to dish out damage will focus more on getting in as many Attackers as possible. Those who lean more towards defense will probably aim to get as many Defenders as possible. Lastly, those who want to focus on survivability will try to put in as many Healers as they can.
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However, in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 balance in team compositions should not be overlooked and can be vital to a player's success. Defenders and Healers are a must for any party, and this guide will prepare players to pick out the best Defender Gems and the Subclasses that perform best with them.
The Tailwind Gem is a pretty niche Gem for Defenders but it's extremely useful when used on the Zephyr Subclass. This gem provides bonus Agility, which is one of the most important stats for the Zephyr. The Zephyr relies on Evasion to overpower their enemy with counterattacks, and can also protect their allies by blocking and nullifying incoming damage.
There are no other Defenders that would benefit much from Tailwind but due to the amount of power it adds to the Zephyr, it's invaluable for them. Whether this Gem is being used by AI or players, they'll still find the same amount of success using it, making it a pretty flexible Gem.
The Steel Protection Gem increases the Block Rate of the character using it significantly. Blocking is crucial to surviving powerful attacks from some Bosses. Being able to reduce incoming damage significantly through Blocking makes a large difference in survivability. Switching to control the Tank makes holding aggro a lot easier as well. The Defender Subclasses that benefit most from Steel Protection are Heavy Guard, Guardian Commander, and Lost Vanguard.
These Subclasses have higher Block Rates than any other Subclasses and benefit a lot from being able to block incoming attacks consistently. When combined with certain accessories and items, this gem can allow these Subclasses to reach around 90% Block Rate, which is absolutely impeccable. However, players will have to make sure they have a good amount of damage from the rest of the party since their damage is lackluster in comparison to every other Subclass.
The Brimming Spirit Gem is one of the most valuable Gems for every Defender Subclass since it increases the amount of Aggro generated. Defenders won't be able to Tank damage if the enemy isn't interested in hitting them. Some areas can't be reached to get items to level up the Gems without traversing Sand Dunes. However, the Zephyr and Lone Exile do not need to use this Gem if players are planning to pilot the character themselves most of the time.
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These Subclasses deal way more damage than other Defender Subclasses, which in turn will help them generate around the same amount of aggro just from their damage values. Since the AI won't take advantage of their skill set perfectly, if these two are left to be controlled by AI, then this Gem is perfect for them. The AI won't have as much trouble generating aggro with those two Subclasses when using Brimming Spirit, and since Aggro is one of the most important stats for a Defender, this gem is very powerful.
The Steelcleaver Gem increases Attack significantly. 99 Nopon Coins can get players this Gem level 10 automatically.This is a Gem that is again niche for the Zephyr and Lone Exile Subclasses. Their high base damage values combined with this Gem lets them generate a significant amount of aggro while dealing a decent amount of damage.
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The Steelcleaver wouldn't be as effective with the other Defenders, since they have lower base damage values, and rely on other tactics to generate aggro. Since this Gem has no requirements to gain its effects, it also works well regardless of whether they're controlled by AI or a player.
The Empowered Combo Gem increases damage by a large percentage when canceling Arts. This Gem's damage cannot be matched by any other and is used on the Zephyr and Lone Exile. Empowered Combo pushes their damage even higher and is a Gem that should only be used when piloting the character.
The AI will rarely cancel Arts and won't be able to maximize the value that can be grasped from this Gem. If they're being controlled by the AI, then players will be better off with one of the other Gems listed in this guide to fill this spot.
The Ironclad Gem increases HP by a great amount and is useful on every Defender Subclass except for the Zephyr. Having extra HP can never be a bad thing and being able to soak more damage as a Tank is wonderful. The Zephyr doesn't need it since they rely on evading attacks and counterattacking.
Even when the Defender Subclasses are being controlled by AI, this Gem works well since they'll do fine with or without the extra HP. The extra HP can also become extremely clutch in dangerous Boss battles. Having the extra HP can be the difference between life or death, and it buys time for the Healers to heal and revive allies. As long as the Defender is alive, most battles can be completed safely.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is available on Nintendo Switch.
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