Quickenings are powerful combos that consume the Mist Charges of one to 3 party members. The power of the attack is based upon the combination of attacks executed to release a devastating finishing attack or “Concurrence.” This unique system is much like a slot machine and a little difficult to understand.
To obtain them, you must unlock the special Quickening panels on the license boards. Each character can only unlock three panels total. It doesn’t matter which panels are unlocked, as Quickenings are based on the character and the number of Quickening panels unlocked rather than the chosen panel itself.
The only thing to keep an eye out for is that certain license boards have panels hidden away behind Quickening panels. Each board has four Quickening panels, but the remaining unused Quickening panels will disappear when a character reaches the maximum of three unlocked. Any panels bottlenecked behind unpurchased Quickening panels will become accessible, so keep this in mind when planning which to buy, just like with Esper choices.
Unlocking one panel earns a character a level 1 Quickening. Unlocking two panels produces the character’s level 2 Quickening and a second Mist Charge. Unlocking three panels releases the character’s level 3 Quickening and adds a third Mist Charge.
Quickenings consume Mist Charges based upon the level. Level 1 consumes one Mist Charge; level 2 uses two Mist Charges; and level 3 devours three Mist Charges. Thus, a character with two Mist Charges can use a level 1 or level 2 Quickening.
Quickening system is much like a slot machine. As the initial attack occurs, up to three lines of text appear in the bottom-right corner of the screen, one line for each character participating in the attack. Think of these lines as the wheels of a slot machine.
The “wheels” randomly cycle through four possible outcomes. They will display the name of a character’s level 1, level 2, or level 3 Quickening or the words “Mist Charge.” When they appear in white, the player can activate the command by pressing the button shown to the left of the line of text. Note that lines appearing gray in color aren’t available.
With a little luck, there will be a white line or two available from which to choose, but eventually three gray lines will appear. Press the R2 button when this occurs to shuffle the commands again in hopes of getting a white line or two.
The player can initiate as many attacks as possible within the four-second time limit. By achieving certain attack combinations, the party unleashes a powerful Concurrence that delivers a devastating final hit to the target and any nearby enemies.
Cost Vs. Available Mist Charges
Characters can only perform an action if they have the Mist Charges to fuel the attack. For example, let’s say Vaan enters battle with three Mist Charges and begins his assault with his level 3 attack, Pyroclasm. This will immediately drain all of his Mist Charges, meaning that he can no longer participate in the combo. His teammates, however, likely still have Mist Charges and can perform additional attacks.
Don’t count Vaan out just yet, though. Keep an eye on his command line and watch for the words “Mist Charge” to appear. Press the corresponding button when these words appear on-screen to completely refill Vaan’s Mist Charges as the commands reshuffle. Now he can use any of his attacks again.
The phrase “Mist Charge” may appear for a character whenever that person has completely drained his or her Mist Charges. Always use the Mist Charge command when it appears, as combos can continue to grow until the timer runs out.
When Mist Charge is activated, the Quickening slots will reshuffle automatically with possible attacks. By chance, Maelstrom’s Bolt appears and is triggered. Ashe spends her Mist Charges down to nothing again while using her best Quickening attack twice in a row.
Managing The Clock
The clock pauses whenever you trigger an attack command. It doesn’t start to move again until the next animation starts to play. Enter the commands quickly to save time, but don’t do so in haste. The combination of attacks is very important, so choose the next action carefully and quickly. Note that a small amount of time is added back to the clock each time a command is entered. As the clock winds down, the bar also speeds up with each successful attack, so eventually there’s no time to shuffle or even read the command lines.
Quickening chains are always reliable for a few hits, but once you’ve burned everyone’s available Mist Charges, it’s usually down to speed and luck to extend the chain. But with some advance planning, you can arrange it so that you can pretty much always do enormous Quickening chains with one squad.
First, set aside 3 characters on whom you’ll only unlock one Quickening license panel.
Then, give each of these characters the license for an Esper that uses up three Mist Charges upon summoning. There are four, Famfrit, Chaos, Ultima, and Zodiark. These characters will then have three Mist Charges, but only level one Quickening attacks.
So, anytime this trio performs a Quickening, it should be pretty easy to score a lot of hits, since three fighters times three Mist Charges is a nine-hit chain at minimum, and anytime you “roll” a Mist Charge, you’ve stocked three more attacks. With this kind of setup, once you get good at reacting to the Quickening minigame with constant level-one Quickenings, 20+ hit chains become commonplace, and 40+ hit chains are feasible!
The only catch with this setup is simply that it requires lots of foresight. Since there are only four Espers who require three Mist Charges, it makes sense to pursue this strategy for one team of three fighters, then set up the other three fighters as normal, with full Quickening unlocks. Try to assign Famfrit/Chaos/Ultima/Zodiark to one-Quickening characters who are assigned Jobs that also benefit from those Esper license unlocks, too. (Check out the Lock Chart in the Zodiac System Job section, just before this Espers & Quickenings breakdown. Esper assignment is one of the most important and counter-intuitive aspects of party building.)
Concurrences arrive at the end of a Quickening when certain conditions have been met. The conditions are based upon the number of level 1, 2, and 3 attacks that are used during the Quickening. For instance, the weakest Concurrence requires that the party perform three level 1 attacks during the Quickening. The toughest, Black Hole, requires four of each level. Obviously, it’s easier to perform some Concurrences than others and there’s a little luck involved, too. It’s usually easy enough to get Ark Blast once everyone in the party has three Mist Charges.
Any damage caused by a Concurrence is non-elemental. The names may make them seem like elemental attacks, but resistances don’t come into play. The only creatures that can resist a Quickening are those with an immunity to physical damage.