Guard (ガード, Gādo?) is a recurring combat ability that allows characters and enemies alike to block incoming attacks and negate damage partially or completely.
Calculated by the character's AVD (Avoidance) stat and the enemy's HIT stat, Guard is an ability that automatically triggers upon being hit, putting the character into a blocking animation and canceling any damage the attack would have incurred. The rate of guarding can be increased by the Sidestep (Parry) combat skill, though even at full skill level, it is randomized.
Guard is similar to its incarnation in the first installment. If a character's short range attack is guarded by an enemy, they will be penalized by a slower recovery from the attack, leaving them vulnerable to counter attacks.
Guard can be manually activated by holding . Because guarding can be invoked at any time, it only reduces damage instead of negating it entirely.
Functioning similarly to the first two installments, Guard produces a blue shockwave when a character blocks an incoming attack. Because of the prominence of the Fury Guard and Anti-Attack Auras, the chance of a normal Guard is very rare, and considered inferior to Guards produced with the Fury Gauge as it interrupts a character's current actions and produces no aura. Unlike the Fury Guard, a normal Guard can block Major attacks.
A Fury Guard appears when a character's Fury Gauge is at 100% and the character is immobile, it negates all incoming Minor attacks, but Major attacks and symbology will break it and will stun the character, leaving them vulnerable.
Guard returns to its earliest form, triggering based on chance to negate enemy attacks. It produces a blue and white aura when used, forcing the character to stop and block the incoming attack. The Energy Shield skill can be equipped to dramatically increase the rate of Guard.
Several factors can be added to equipment through the synthesis feature to trigger special effects while guarding.
Guard returns as an important feature in combat. With the three main components of the attack triangle—Quick Attack, Strong Attack, and Guard—, the character can counter or be countered in combat. The player-controlled character can guard by pressing the button. Guards can block quick attacks, but they will be broken by strong attacks.
Guarding just before an enemy's quick attack lands will activate a counter, in which the enemy attack is blocked and the character uses a special ability to counterattack for large damage. This adds a SP bonus to the Reserve Rush Gauge.
If a character is standing by when a guardable attack is unleashed in fron of them, the player will be able to guard against it. Guarding is not possible while attacking or moving. Successfully guarding lowers damage by 30% to 70%. The amount by which damage is reduced depends on the character's GRD stat.