A balance of serious firepower and blinding speed
For many fans, Nintendo’s first Direct in almost a year and a half started off on a high note as the company revealed the ninth fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s Fighters Pass DLC. In somewhat of a twist on Nintendo’s usual crossover strategy, the character hailing from 2017’s Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is not the game’s protagonist, Rex, but instead a tag-team of two of his companions, Pyra and Mythra, a choice arguably more popular amongst fans.
While Rex does show up briefly in the characters’ Final Smashes, the majority of the workload is left up to Pyra and Mythra themselves. While their official trailer was fairly standard length wise, there’s still a lot of details around their move-set that weren’t made absolutely clear. To help out, I’ve decided to put my 400 hours of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 playtime to use and see what I can ascertain from Pyra and Mythra’s Smash Bros. debut.
Arguably the most important distinction to make is one made apparent on the game’s official website: despite occupying a single character slot, Pyra and Mythra are classified as two separate characters, as fighters 79 and 80 respectively. Many may have noticed this during the trailer due to their separate specials, but either way, it’s still reassuring to know the differences likely extend beyond their appearances.
While Nintendo didn’t show off too much of either Blade’s normal moves, the ones that do happen to overlap seem somewhat similar. This could suggest that their normal attacks are shared in design, but with so little overlap it’s difficult to say definitively.
What we can state with certainty, however, is that Pyra and Mythra have a completely different set of special moves. Furthermore, their specials are remarkably accurate to their source material, with the majority of moves carrying over almost identically in execution. Luckily, since Pyra and Mythra arrived from a JRPG where shouting the names of your signature moves is very fashionable, figuring out which move is which is a tad easier.
Neutral Special: Flame Nova
Pyra’s Neutral Special, Flame Nova, appears almost identical to its appearance in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Based on what we’ve been showing, it appears similar to the spin attack boasted by the trio of Links, but much flashier in execution. Although not shown, I’d assume that Flame Nova foregoes the rising property of the spin attack for balancing reasons, and to better reflect its source material’s representation.
Side Special: Blazing End
The move’s initial low profile prevents it from being too overbearing and nigh-impossible to dodge, while its expansion upon contact ensures that it’s rewarding when it does connect. Something else worth mentioning is the small hop Pyra performs when she retrieves her blade. I doubt that this “manual recovery” will be required with the sword functioning akin to a boomerang, but rather closing in near the attack’s end allows her to maintain pressure and reduce cooldown.
Up Special: Prominence Revolt
Down Special: Blade Switch
Neutral Special: Lightning Buster
The first would be to follow standard charge move logic, where the attack becomes stronger the longer the player holds the input down. This would mean the portion where Mythra holds the blade above her head is part of the charge, whereas the flurry of strikes that follows is the payoff. The alternative would be a less “analogue” mechanic, where the aforementioned “charge” is part of the move’s start-up animation. If this is the case, I can see it performing similarly to previous DLC fighter Byleth’s Aymr, where Mythra is protected by Super Armour throughout the “charge” sequence.
The first option would make the move more versatile, but following the second route would allow for more outright strength. Given Mythra’s apparent focus on speed over Pyra’s strength, however, I think the former is slightly more likely than the latter.
Side Special: Photon Edge
Up Special: Ray of Punishment/Chroma Dust
As an aside, Chroma Dust is the only move taken from Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s DLC, Torna: The Golden Country, rather than the base game itself.
Final Smashes: Burning Sword and Sacred Arrow
Both of these moves have come directly from Xenoblade Chronicles 2, where they serve as each of the characters’ strongest special — suitable fits for a pair of Final Smashes.
Obviously Pyra and Mythra’s specials are completely unique, but the similarity of their standard moves is less transparent. Almost strategically, it seems that very few of the moves shown double up. I do expect their standard moves to be quite similar to one another’s for a couple of reasons: not only does it cut down on development in this pandemic-affected landscape, but it would also better reflect their nature as “parallels that are unique”. Obviously, this is even greater speculation than what’s come before and without more footage there’s no way to tell, but it’s always interesting to speculate.
Aside from their moves, I believe that we’re going to see another big distinction that the trailer gently teased. It sounded like little more than a battle cry when the duo claimed that nothing could stand in their way due to their “serious firepower and blinding speed”, but I think the statement could hint at their actual design: Pyra’s moveset appears to be loaded with direct and powerful hits, with Mythra looks to favour quicker strikes and combo play.
Based on this, I’m speculating that Pyra will be the more vulnerable of the pair, but also the powerhouse whose attacks can close off gaps in percentages, while Mythra is more like a traditional rushdown fighter useful for building up early damage, or using as a risky play when your own percentage gets high.
If this was the case, Foresight would likely activate when Mythra is hit during the early stages of a dodge, giving her defensive game a slight edge. It’s also possible that Pyra could also use Foresight, but it’s a safer bet to suggest that the ability might be exclusive to Mythra — that’s how it is in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but it also better reflects her rushdown archetype.
Luckily, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC never ends at the character alone, so we’ve got a slew of content left to discuss. The most pertinent of this additional content is the stage, which the trailer revealed would take place on the back of Rex’s house and surrogate father, the dragon-like titan Azurda. Whether or not the stage will be named after Azurda himself or the land of Alrest, which the stage tours, is yet to be seen, but other details in the trailer indicate that the latter is the more likely option.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 takes place on the backs of several titans that wander around an expansive cloud sea, and many of these monolithic beings can be seen in Pyra and Mythra’s reveal. At certain instances, the Titans of Gormott, Mor Ardain, Indol and Uraya are seen wandering the cloud sea, while we also see ships from the Argentum Trade Guild and the central World Tree.
Based on the footage shown, and the quality of certain models it’s likely that the titans serve as decorations rather than stops along a “travelling stage” of sorts. Along with the Titans, Rex’s fellow Xenoblade Chronicles 2 party members also cameo on Azurda’s back, making this an all-inclusive Xenoblade Chronicles 2 crossover.
Spirits and Songs
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate actually released with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 content back in 2018, in the form of spirits and music tracks. In fact, Pyra, Mythra and Rex already exist in the game as spirits amongst the other party members of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Fortunately, there’s more than enough room for additional spirits to appear on the DLC Spirit Board such as the partners of Rex’s other party members mentioned before, as well as other alternative character forms.
In terms of music, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 had three tracks bundled amongst the rest of the Xenoblade franchise. Although more can be expected to come in the DLC’s offering of new music tracks. The most likely new additions include the tracks “Drifting Souls”, “Counterattack”, “You Will Recall Our Names”, and “Incoming!” due to their presence in the trailer itself, although based on previous DLC packs, it wouldn’t be surprising if more tracks showed up.
That’s about everything I’ve managed to glean from the major information Nintendo shared through Pyra and Mythra’s reveal trailer, but there’s obviously not too much confirmed. Challenger Pack 9, containing the two Blades, is set to be released at some point in March, but we won’t need to wait that long for more information: Nintendo has announced a “Mr. Sakurai Presents ‘Pyra/Mythra’” livestream for 10pm AEDT this coming Thursday, March 4, in which the series director is sure to give us some more information about Pyra and Mythra’s first appearance in Super Smash Bros.
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