He may only have one functional arm, but Dunban packs one hell of a punch in Xenoblade Chronicles. The intro shows as much, following him through the battle of sword valley in which he manages to wield the Monado to great effect. Such power is too much for him, because of course there can be only one, and such events mean that the intrepid player won’t get their hands on Dunban for a fair few hours yet. When you do finally get your hands on what is technically the elder of the party, you’ll find him a powerful physical damage and tank combo who is able to push out tremendous amounts of aggro whilst simultaneously shredding your opponents defences. Let’s get into a few ways to optimise such things, shall we?
1. Traditional Tank
Our first build is the most obvious home for Dunban: The traditional tank. As you might imagine, this build focuses on a combination of damage reduction, dodging attacks and generating aggro. Happily Dunban is the king of aggro generation in Xenoblade Chronicles, so he doesn’t really need any assistance in achieving this, but we do augment him as much as possible to reduce every form of damage.
First up we must explain that Dunban is not your typical ‘damage soaking’ tank like Reyn – he’d much rather avoid as much damage as possible. To achieve this he naturally has a large amount of Agility – the stat that increases evasion – and as such we must focus on other areas for a traditional build. Ether Defence is the main issue here, mainly because spells cannot be dodged, but we also like to increase his HP total and give him some healing whilst under the influence of an Aura, something a tanking Dunban will almost always be experiencing. As usual with a tank, we like the include a Debuff reduction gem – these things are worth their weight in gold, and that last thing you need is a tank that cannot function properly.
As you can see, we like to keep the left hand side of our Arts palette free for the more ‘tank’ oriented abilities. Be sure to bring a couple of Aura arts, not only because they work with our gem set up but because they’re actually tremendously powerful. Peerless will generate a tremendous amount of aggro and increase Dunban’s damage by a huge amount, and Serene Heart is an absolute must for increasing your evasion even further. You’ll also note that we took a Break option – this is not fully necessary and really comes down to personal preference. If you prefer to bring the Break, Topple and Daze arts on other characters then you can free up the slot for further damaging abilities.
- Weapon gems come down to preference, but we enjoy throwing some debuffs on there, given that they’ll be applied very quickly thanks to Dunban’s innate double attacks and haste.
- In general, try to keep a traditional tank Dunban in equipment that increases his Ether defence – physical is unlikely to be a problem, though augmenting his HP can ensure he survives any physical hit that makes it’s way through.
- Throw some Double Attack gems on there if you’re in an easy, quest farming environment but would rather not go full damage (keep reading for this one).
- This build should see Dunban take small amounts of damage, so you can work with a Party that has limited amounts of healing, like Shulk and Melia; Sharla and Riki may be overkill in this regard.
- Alternatively pair this Dunban with a full tank Reyn and you can practically choose whichever third member you want.
2. Full Damage
Full disclosure, this is by far our favourite Dunban build, so forgive us if we get a little too enthusiastic here. Deciding to go full damage on Dunban is one of the best decisions you could make in Xenoblade Chronicles – it’s a huge amount of fun and you’ll be surprised just how much this one armed swordmaster can put out. It’s unusual for a game to really deliver on how good a character can perform during it’s intro, but even without the Monado this chap will shred his way through countless opponents.
The focus for this build is to maximise both the power and speed of Dunban’s auto attacks. This is achieved by stacking up as much Haste, Double Attack and Strength at possible, and if we’re honest it tends to reward leaving your arts on the palette. We do bring arts of course, as you’ll see below, but often it’s best to fire Dunban up with one of the two damaging aura and letting him go hog wild with swift double attacks.
As you might imagine, this build prioritises bringing damage arts over anything else. True too is that they’ll probably see limited use thanks to Dunban’s powerful auto attacks, but it’s worth preparing for any occasion regardless. The most critical items here are Worldly Slash, for removing enemy defences, and the aura’s Spirit Breath and Peerless. The latter is likely to draw a fair amount of aggro, so Heat Haze is also quite critical, and if you can end a max strength Combo with Gale Slash the enemy will take a huge amount of Bleed damage over time.
- Double Attack is already a part of Dunban’s kit, so stacking even more here will significantly increase his damage.
- Aggro reduction is a big requirement; Dunban will generate a hell of a lot, and whilst he can still tank relatively well with this build, he’ll struggle to deal with some bosses or elite enemies.
- You can remove all Break, Topple and Daze abilities and replace them with others, just ensure that other party members bring these options.
- This build works very well with either Reyn or Fiora in the party, thanks to their ability to generate huge amounts of aggro.
- Alternatively, pair this version of Dunban with two members capable of healing, like Riki and Melia, and he’ll tank through pure damage output alone.
3. Max Dodge Dunban
Our third Dunban build is probably the most infamous of all: The max agility, full dodge Dunban. As the title suggests this is all about taking very little damage by completely avoiding damage. It works by maximising his Agility, and given that he starts with a high base level and has skills that further improve it, Dunban can reach incredible levels, making him nigh on invincible to physical attacks.
Fair warning however; despite the fanfare, this really is a situational build that works best during the absolute end game. For the majority of Xenoblade Chronicles you’re better off using Dunban in a traditional tank or a damage role. It’s possible to completely invalidate some late game elites sure, and it’s a great deal of fun completely avoiding absolutely everything outside of Ether attacks, but it’s not really something we’d say you should aim for. You’ll eventually level his skills high enough to try it out, and you should do so for sure, but either of the other two builds here will suffice for just about anything the game can throw at you.
- Dunban’s Inner Peace skill is essential, since it buffs his Agility by 30%.
- Agility up with Gems is capped at an additional 50, possible with 1 high level gem.
- Situational build that works best in the late game, when Dunban’s innate Agility is at it’s highest point.
- We tend to use the same tanking arts as shown above, though with Dunban dodging everything physical you can get a little more creative.
- This Dunban should need a very small amount of healing in general, though you’ll likely want to keep one source in the party when taking on high level elites or bosses.
- He’ll also generate quite a bit of aggro, but nowhere near as much as other builds, so bear this in mind if you’re running a damage dealer like Shulk or Fiora alongside him.
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