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.

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

  • Swordfighter
  • Ogre
  • Flash Fencer
  • Full Metal Jaguar
  • Yumsmith
  • Stalker
  • Incursor

Defender classes in Xenoblade 3

  • Zephyr
  • Heavy Guard
  • Guardian Commander
  • Lone Exile

Healer classes in Xenoblade 3

  • Medic Gunner
  • Tactician
  • War Medic
  • Thaumaturge
  • Strategos

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.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 classes: A party of diverse classes heads into combat

Best attacker classes in Xenoblade 3

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, and Incursor should get your attention in the mid-game.

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.

Incursor unlocks later in the game, so it’s more of a mid-game class and a complicated one at that. It has the powerful skills you’d expect, but it also revolves around dealing critical hits.

Most of its art effects and power multipliers are designed with the intent that you’ll deal more critical hits than not, so this is a class you really need to consider your gem and accessory loadout for.

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 healer classes in Xenoblade 3

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.

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.