Burst Strike/Blink Strike ★★★★ – One of the staples of the fighter, Blink Strike allows the user to quickly close distance on a target, and deal a powerful stab that can send smaller enemies tumbling backwards. It has just about everything a fledgling fighter needs to start out, as it closes distance, creates openings, and can deal impressive damage.
Broad Cut/Broad Slash ★★★☆ – A defensive and utility-based attack, Broad Slash will allow you to retreat while throwing out a slice that covers a wide arc. Its one of the more difficult fighter skills to use, but its use in crowded battles is undeniable.
Flesh Skewer/Soul Skewer ★★★☆ – A control-based ability that has some applications against surprisingly large targets, with the upper limits including monsters such as giant skeletons and saurians. I find it most useful on pawns rather than on an arisen.
Skyward Lash/Heavenward Lash ★★☆☆ – Skyward Lash will do a series of fast, upward swings in an attempt to ward off flying attackers. This attack does have some surprising application against large enemies, such as ogres or cyclopes, and does deal sizable damage. In most natural situations, however, it is too short-ranged to land against typical enemies.
Tusk Toss/Antler Toss ★★☆☆ – While an impressive and satisfying attack to land on enemies, its main application is merely to severely punish lightweight targets, and the attack sees most of its use in the early-midgame where smaller, low-knock-resistance enemies are common. The actual damage dealt is somewhat low, which especially shows through when trying to use it on large targets that aren’t sent flying. Heavy attacks, in fact, have much more effect in such situations.
Hindsight Lash/Hindsight Sweep ★★★☆ – A powerful counterattack ability, Hindsight Sweep starts with a step backwards. During this time, you are immune to damage. You then follow up with a lunge forward to deliver a counterattack, which is more powerful (and has very strong stagger) if you successfully avoid an attack with the first step. You can tell if this effect triggers if you hear a ‘hollow’-sounding stereo wind noise when an attack nears you. Interestingly, the move can be cancelled before throwing the slash by using a jump, making it useful for pure defense as well.
Stone Will/Steel Will ★★★☆ – If you don’t mind giving up an attack skill for this, Steel Will can grant you massive boosts to your survivability, cutting damage down by half, and greatly improving resistance to staggering and knockdown effects. Its most useful in hard mode gameplay, where enemies will do highly-boosted damage.
Compass Slash/Full-Moon Slash ★★★★ – Coming out fast and covering all sides, this move not only deals out decent damage and can work well against intense crowds, but it also can be activated in the middle of being attacked or stunned, providing quick escape from otherwise dire situations. Though it requires timing, Full Moon Slash also has some invulnerability frames that can be utilized to avoid the damage of entire spells or attacks. On other vocations that use swords (Assassin and Mystic Knight), this is by far the best shared skill.
Downthrust/Downcrack ★★★☆ – An awkward, but very powerful punishing move. This is an optimal choice of attack against downed, large foes such as toppled ogres or dragons.
Legion’s Bite/Dragon’s Maw ★★★★ – Unleashes a rapid, fierce combo. Though somewhat high in stamina cost, it’s extremely powerful, can hit many targets at once if it gets them caught inside, and during the combo will render you invulnerable to all hits. Small bit of errata, however – only the final hit from Dragon’s Maw can kill enemies, which can be important if you’re using it on a large nearly-dead target that can just walk out of the attack while it’s happening.
Shield Summons/Shield Drum ★★☆☆ – Beats on your shield to draw enemy attention towards you. Can draw in melee flying enemies, but they usually won’t stay put unless held onto. Best used as a utility for helping pawns usually.
Shield Strike/Shield Storm ★★★☆ – Lays out a powerful shield bash that can throw enemies off balance very easily, even through enemy blocks. The damage on this skill is low, but it’s a very reliable way to break through, especially if your stagger isn’t strong enough to break through with a heavy attack.
Springboard/Launchboard ★☆☆☆ – Stands steady to throw an ally high into the air on your shield. Useful for stunts to reach flying enemies or quickly climb very tall giants, but is otherwise mostly a gimmick. When you use a springboard (or other tandem move), you automatically latch on to an enemy when in range, and annoyingly, you also will automatically use a tandem move like this when you move in range of an ally using it.
Cymbal Attack/Cymbal Onslaught ★★★☆ – Throws out a rapid barrage of shield hits. It acts much like your light attacks, but can break through enemy blocks much more quickly.
Sheltered Spike/Sheltered Assault ★★★★ – A series of rapid stabs forward with your guard up, providing fierce and strong damage while you keep yourself safe. It’s arguably the best attack possible for fighting large, immobile enemies. Just make sure to keep mashing the skill button to throw out more strikes! Do note pawns seem to miss with this attack a lot, since it roots you in place.
Perfect Defense/Divine Defense ★★★★ – Holds up a guard with absolute protection against all damage types, regardless of shield used. Perfect pairing with a shield-summons, allowing you to draw in enemies to your range, then unleash on them with Dragon’s Maw. The caveats include that you cannot immediately counterattack using this technique, and that it will constantly use up stamina while active, with additional hits eating up more stamina.