The Archsage’s Gauntlet is a brand-new game mode added to Xenoblade Chronicles 3 in its third wave of downloadable content. Basically, it’s a rougelite mode where you start with one party member and build a team of heroes and stat boosts. It’s also the toughest challenge the game has to offer! As is the case with most things in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, though, there are plenty of ways to fly through the toughest difficulty with relative ease. Let’s get started!
As with the previous set of challenges introduced in Wave 2, the Archsage’s Gauntlet assigns players a rank at the end of the trial based on their performance. In this case, you’ll obtain a better rank (and bigger rewards) as you clear more and more stages. For the Beginner mode, you’ll need to clear 30; for Intermediate, 50; for Pro, it’s at least 70. You may notice the words at least — the Pro gauntlet continues all the way to 140 rounds, but you obtain the highest rank (S) after clearing number 70.
There’s also a new kind of currency – blue Noponstone – and a new shop that deals only in blue Noponstone. The easiest way to gather up blue Noponstone is to complete the Pro gauntlet on the toughest difficulty. It sounds intimidating, but the closer you get to stage 140, the more blue Noponstone you get. If you make it all the way, you’ll receive a whopping 90,000 blue Noponstone! You can then spend it on character outfits, accessories, and more.
For this game mode, you’ll need to pick just one party member to start with. Each time you defeat an enemy, you’ll accrue points toward your score that you can spend on items and heroes between rounds. It’s not that simple, though, because a Nopwatch timer is ticking in the background — you’ll need to use your score points to top it off every so often, because when the Nopwatch runs out, your party receives huge debuffs. From there, it becomes nearly impossible to win against bosses.
There are also Launch Charge blocks and Shuffle Tickets. As you can imagine, these come in handy in a pinch! Launch Charge builds up over time; we’d recommend saving this for boss rounds (which appear every 10 levels). Shuffle Tickets are awarded after each boss round, and can help you get better heroes or emblems. You can also use Shuffle Tickets on Archsage’s Whimsy to get better rolls. Keep all of this in mind as you prepare for the gauntlet!
Party Member Build
Before we move any further, this build is one of Enel’s — far too many Xenoblade Chronicles guides reference his builds but don’t give proper credit. We don’t want to be another one of those! In our numerous Hard mode Pro gauntlet runs, this Full Metal Jaguar Eunie build worked out best. It’s also rather easy to use, making it ideal for newcomers to the gauntlet challenge.
Note the position of the Arts in the screenshot above. They’re placed that way on purpose, so make sure to copy them exactly! If you don’t have access to one of these Arts, it’s probably because Eunie hasn’t unlocked the corresponding class (or she needs to level up in that class’ proficiency a bit more). Here’s a complete run-down of the build and what each piece does for you:
- For Arts, we have Flamelord and Quickdraw on the top row, Aerial Slash and Fatal Barrage on the middle row, and Jackal Claw and Demolition on the bottom row. Quickdraw, Aerial Slash, and Jackal Claw all grant Eunie near-full invincibility during use, and the idea here is to cancel their Fusion Art versions into one another over and over again to exploit that invincibility. Eunie’s Talent Art, Violent Streak, doesn’t deal a ton of damage, but it does grant her more evasion in case her Arts aren’t recharged enough.
- For Gems, we have Steady Striker X, which shortens Eunie’s auto-attack interval to help her recharge Arts faster. Empowered Combo X is incredibly important, as it boosts the damage of canceled Arts and Fusion Arts by 75% — it allows that evasion strategy mentioned above to deal even more damage! Analyze Weakness X rounds off the set, strengthening Eunie’s critical hits.
- If you don’t have these gems at the max level (or at all), we’d recommend crafting them. Check out this spreadsheet for a list of the materials you need and where to get them.
- In terms of Skills, we have Frenzied Combo, Protector’s Pride, and Eye for Weak Points. The first and last skills focus on critical hits; Frenzied Combo recharges an Art by 30% if it scores a critical, while Eye for Weak Points increases Eunie’s critical rate by 2% every time she successfully attacks an opponent. This is especially helpful against bosses, who literally have millions of hit points and take a while to go down. Protector’s Pride increases Eunie’s recharge speed so that you can continue spamming evasion Arts.
- Finally, for Accessories, we have a Fraternal Badge, a Pro Ring, Viridian V, and a Thermo Headgear. The Fraternal Badge boosts Eunie’s recharge speed even further when a non-Defender is targeted by an enemy, while the Thermo Headgear provides a critical rate boost. Pro Ring, Viridian V is one of Masha’s crafted accessories, and boosts both attack and critical rate. If you don’t have this accessory yet, you could use a Ceramic Belt instead, but the decreased critical rate definitely hurts.
Here’s how you use this build, then: at the beginning of each battle, let Eunie auto-attack an opponent once or twice, and then start canceling Fusion Arts into each other. She’ll be completely invincible, for the most part! If she KOs an enemy with one of her Fusion Arts, however, she’s left vulnerable for a moment. To fix this, click the right stick to make her dash. In doing this, she’ll re-target the next foe and you can immediately start canceling Fusion Arts again.
Given that this build increases Eunie’s recharge speed only if there aren’t any Defenders being targeted, we’re going to try to build a team of Attackers and Healers. It’s okay to include a Defender if you really want to, but your recharge speed will decrease. It’s ultimately up to you — extra safety, but less efficiency.
It’s great that your build is done and all, but the choices you make within the gauntlet challenge itself are even more important! After the first and second matches, you’ll be able to choose a hero for free. In descending order of priority, here are the best heroes to pick (in our experience): Miyabi, Nia, Masha, Fiona, Riku & Manana, Valdi, Ashera, Zeon, Teach, and Isurd. Any hero not mentioned here probably isn’t worth your time. Basically, you want to pick up as many Healers as possible; you can also add Riku & Manana if they show up since they can inflict Break on an opponent.
Miyabi is at the top of the list because of her Empty Shell Art, which creates a fast recharge field that boosts Eunie’s recharge speed even further. Nia is a fantastic healer, and if you’re in trouble at any point you can start a Chain Attack for the sole purpose of using her party-wide healing Arts. Masha can create an Art Heal field and heal allies as well, while Fiona can issue helpful buffs to the team.
Ideally, you want to fill all seven hero slots as soon as possible, being absolutely sure you have Miyabi or Nia within the first twenty rounds or so. Feel free to use all of your Shuffle Tickets in the first two rounds to ensure you get the most helpful hero possible. As mentioned before, the first two heroes are given for free, so make your choices count! You receive an additional Shuffle Ticket after each boss round.
In addition to heroes, you’ll also have the opportunity to choose emblems in between rounds. These grant a multitude of stat boosts, and after you win some blue Noponstone you can actually upgrade their effects at the shop to make future gauntlet runs even more efficient. Almost every emblem has some use, but Moneybags, Curse to Attack, Tickle Whimsy, and Curse to Recharge are some of the best. The only emblems that don’t align with our strategies are ones like Small-Unit Tactics (we want a full team of Healers), Focus: Defenders (we want as few of them as possible), and Attract Events (events usually attract Moebius, which makes the round much more difficult to complete).
Buff up your stats each round, but be sure to save enough points to buy the remaining heroes you need just in case they pop up in the shop. It’s also a good idea to save even more points for Nopwatch refills, which become more expensive with each additional purchase. If you pick up the Moneybags emblem, you should start really saving up your points by round 70 or so. This emblem increases your attack mods from emblems for each 10,000 on your current score, which can stack up super-high.
Quick review, then: spam evasion Arts, and if you KO an enemy, click the right stick to reset Eunie’s ending lag and target another enemy. Try your best to always be in the middle of a Fusion Art; if none are available, it may be best to use your Talent Art. If that’s not available either and your party is starting to lose health, go for Launch Charge or a Chain Attack. In situations where you use a panic Chain Attack, the Attack Up After Use emblem is a great idea!
Consul J and Moebius D appear as bosses every so often, and for the most part, the best plan of attack is simply to continue spamming Fusion Arts. Do note that they heal a bit of health every so often, though, so you really have to lay on them with as many attacks as possible so that you deal more damage than they recover. Other boss rounds include Consul X, Moebius D and J, and huge variants of normal enemies. Try your best to remain invincible, deal lots of damage, and win the round!
There’s also the Archsage’s Whimsy function, which has a chance of appearing after each visit to the shop. Generally, you should avoid choosing the whimsies that cause events in the next match; as mentioned earlier, they’re usually to your detriment. You should also avoid ones that empty out the Nopwatch, as that time is vital to your success. If you make it all the way to round 140, you’ll receive 90,000 blue Noponstones on Hard difficulty. It’s okay if you don’t go that far, though! After round 70, you’ll still receive tens of thousands of blue Noponstone to spend on whatever you like.
If you have any further questions about the Archsage’s Gauntlet or Xenoblade Chronicles 3, feel free to join our Discord server! We’ve also got more guides you can take a look at below if you like. Best of luck — we hope these strategies help you earn lots and lots of blue Noponstone. You won’t even need Noah’s Lucky Seven to be able to do it!
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