Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has been in the wild for a little while now, so we've updated our best Xenoblade Chronicles 3 classes with the remaining available classes you can unlock. That means there's quite a few spoilers from chapter 5 on, though we've avoided the major ones where possible - sticking to class names instead of the characters who unlock them.
The best classes in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 will probably change depending on your progress in the story, though there are some stalwarts that do you well throughout the entire game.
As you make your way through Aionios, it’s a good idea to keep a balanced party with two of each role at any given time.
You can technically get by with just one attacker, but having two defenders – to keep enemy attention away from the more vulnerable classes – and two healers is almost essential, especially on higher difficulties and during boss fights.
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How to unlock classes in Xenoblade Chronicles 3
The only way to unlock new classes, aside from the six you start with, is by recruiting heroes. We’ve outlined how to do that in our heroes guide, but the short version is this.
Investigate the yellow question marks on the map to uncover a new quest, follow the quest to completion, and then when the hero joins your party, their class unlocks as well.
There’s a slight catch, though. New classes only unlock for one character – the “class inheritor” – at first.
How to unlock classes for everyone else
It takes a bit of time to unlock new classes for everyone who isn’t the inheritor, since you need to raise affinity with the hero of that class.
For example, if you want to unlock the Incursor class for everyone who isn’t Taion, you need to raise each character’s affinity with Alexandria.
Completing quests for that hero’s colony, either standard quests or fulfilling Collectopedia card requests, goes some way toward raising affinity with the hero. The easiest and fastest way is just fighting alongside them in battle, though.
You can also spend Silver Nopon Coins, usually earned through taking sides in a skirmish in the wild, to rank up classes quickly. You still master arts this way, so there's no downside to using this method.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 class list
These are the classes you encounter in roughly the first half of the game. It naturally contains spoilers for unlockable classes, and we’ll be updating with the last batch of classes shortly after launch.
Attacker classes in Xenoblade 3
- Flash Fencer
- Full Metal Jaguar
- Martial Artist
- Machine Assassin
Defender classes in Xenoblade 3
- Heavy Guard
- Guardian Commander
- Lone Exile
- Lost Vanguard
Healer classes in Xenoblade 3
- Medic Gunner
- War Medic
What are the best classes in Xenoblade Chronicles 3?
Xenoblade 3’s combat system is flexible enough where you can make most class combinations work effectively, assuming you have at least one defender and one healer.
There are some that just work better than others, though, especially in tough situations.
Until you start unlocking at least one new class for each role, it’s worth having everyone master the starting classes – preferably without stacking classes, so one Zephyr and one Heavy Guard instead of two Heavy Guards, for example.
Best attacker classes in Xenoblade 3 - Early game
Ogre is the most versatile attacker to start with, though its slow auto attack speed means you don’t get to pull off quite as many skills. The blowdown and knockback effects are worth the hassle, though.
After that, it's a bit split depending on your playstyle. Flash Fencer and Full Metal Jaguar are excellent for the early game though the Jaguar class has a few caveats.
Flash Fencer is a better Swordfigther class, with faster auto attacks, stronger skills, and the always-handy bleed effect, which saps your enemy’s HP.
Full Metal Jaguar is more of a precision and position class, with high multipliers for position-based skills. There's also a powerful front-facing art and an aggro reduction art, which means you're free to attack at will and shelter near the closest defender. It also attracts quite a bit of aggro. The Dead Set aggro reduction art is almost mandatory. Its arts also have pretty lengthy animations, so bear that in mind if you need something faster.
Best attacker classes in Xenoblade 3 - Mid and late gameIncursor should get your attention in the mid-game. It's a bit more complicated, as almost all of its powerful skills revolve around dealing critical hits or attacking during enemy arts. A subset of gems, including a crit-boosting gem, is designed almost entirely for this class, so if you practice your attack timing, you can get a lot out of the Incursor.
The remaining two attacker classes offer a bit of a choice. Seraph is a late-game acquisition and technically one of the most powerful attacker classes, but it's also reliant on having a good healer. Most of the Seraph's arts damage itself somehow, so I wasn't too fond of it.
Martial Artist was, for me, a much better choice, almost like a faster and more focused Ogre. It deals critical hits, can recharge arts faster, has blowdown effects, and can even make its auto attacks faster. The game classes it as an A in attack, but the extra versatility makes it worth considering.
Best defender classes in Xenoblade 3
Zephyr is an excellent choice at any point in the game. It’s faster than Heavy Guard, and arts recharge at a better pace. That means it’s easier to attract and maintain aggro, and better yet, several of Zephyr’s arts activate an evasion effect while the art is active.
Lone Exile, Ashera’s class, is another contender for the best defender. This one is more offense-focused than the Guardian Commander class and has the added benefit of arts with high damage multipliers.
Like the Zephyr class, it’s easy to maintain aggro, which is essential in Xenoblade Chronicles 3’s more involved battles.
Best defender classes in Xenoblade 3 - Late game
You really don't get much choice with defender classes, but that's also okay since the Lost Vanguard exists. This is an excellent class, one that excels at drawing aggro, blocking attacks, and even healing itself. It also has field effects that raise defense and block attacks for all allies in range, so it's pretty much the epitome of the defender role.
Best healer classes in Xenoblade 3 - Early game
For just healing, there’s no better class than the War Medic, Valdi’s class that you unlock very early in the game. This is an ether-based class where almost every skill has a healing or buffing component of some kind, even the attack skills.
Even if such a focused support class isn’t really your thing, it’s worth having everyone unlock at least the first skill – which heals multiple times on making contact with the enemy – so you can add it to their second set of arts.
Which later healer classes are right for you depends mostly on what you want. Strategos is a more traditional healer-slash-support option, with a good debuff skill that lowers enemy defense and an HP regeneration skill.
Thaumaturge is a slightly more versatile class. This one has better offense options and can buff the party’s attack, though it’s a bit skimpy on the actual healing side.
I swapped between the two for a while, but the main thing to keep in mind is that whatever you prefer, you should never have a Thaumaturge as your only healer.
Best healer classes in Xenoblade 3 - Late game
Mid- and late game healers move away from actual healing and focus on a wide array of support skills instead. Troubadour is without a doubt the best pick for support, with a respectable range of arts including HP regeneration, debuffs, and a field effect that recharges the party's arts more quickly.
The Signifier is a strong class, but it's mainly a passive one focused on spreading buffs across the entire party. It's certainly a good choice for support, but it's often easier to have Fiona, the Signifier hero, do it instead.
Other unlockable classes in Xenoblade Chronicles 3
There are three other classes you can unlock that work a bit differently. Soulhacker is one. This is a unique class that fits in any role, since it has no base arts of its own. Instead, you learn skills by "hacking" unique monsters, which is a fancy way of saying you have to defeat them. There's an impressive selection of skills the SOulhacker can learn, so it's worth the extra hassle. You need to re-battle unique monsters you've already defeated, but by this point in the game, you can probably put them down rather easily.
The other two are Lifesage (healer) and Royal Summoner (attacker). These are only available in New Game Plus for very spoilery reasons and are the pinnacle of their respective roles.
If you're wondering which extra character to bring along for the ride, check out our Xenoblade Chronicles 3 hero guide to make the road ahead a bit smoother.