Initially published on July 29th, 2016 at blog.talesofgame.com (with slight modifications)
The Mystic Arte is one of Tales of’s signature features in its battle system. Known as Hi-Ougis in Japanese, these skills were originally meant to be kept secret; a special treat for the player to discover in battle after meeting specific conditions. Nowadays, it has escalated into a standard for every playable character to have at least one of these. Whether you need that extra push in the middle of a battle, or you want to finish off that one boss in style, these Artes are here to do the job.
This list will only focus on Mystic Artes performed by playable characters on their own, which means that there’ll be no dual or villain Mystic Artes here. To avoid spoilers, the game will be mentioned with the name of the Mystic Arte. If you haven’t played the game before, it’s probably best to skip that entry and move on to the next.
10: TALES OF DESTINY 2/R – ZANKUU TENSHOUKEN
Tales of Destiny 2 is one of the earlier games in the series that went all out in the Mystic Arte department. Tales of Destiny R is also guilty of this. Between the two games, there is a Mystic Arte that is not only flashy, but is also a nice nod to the relationship that the two users have:
You can feel the weight of each slash that the user makes, and the Arte is capped off with a rising slash causing multiple hits against the target. Special mention to Tales of Destiny R for having a means of activating this Arte under special conditions, which I dare not spoil. All of this makes this Mystic Arte a satisfying means to end the battle.
9: TALES OF XILLIA/XILLIA 2 – GRAND FINALE
An aspect of Mystic Artes that I appreciate is how beautiful they look in execution, and this one performed by Rowen from Tales of Xillia fits the bill:
Grand Finale is a Mystic Arte in the Xillia universe that puts me in awe whenever it’s performed. Encaging your enemies with multiple geysers and further solidifying this with Rowen’s magic is quite the spectacle. That, and the pace Rowen takes while performing this is what differentiates a Mystic Arte from any high-tier spell.
8: TALES OF INNOCENCE – SEIRYUU HOUTENRETSU
Transformations and outside help is commonplace for Mystic Artes. We’ve seen frogs, phoenixes, and robots, but how about this:
Hermana Larmo channels the power of the loyal dragon, Vritra, and envelops the battlefield with a pyrokinetic blast! It’s hard for me to have this list published without this Arte. I mean, who doesn’t want to use the power of a dragon to vanquish foes?
7: TALES OF GRACES – MALIK BEAM
In Tales of Graces, we are introduced to a knight instructor by the name of Malik Caesar. As a honed veteran in the field, Malik has earned the respect of many knights in the academy, including lead protagonist Asbel Lhant. An honoured knight needs just one Mystic Arte that best represents his pride:
6: TALES OF DESTINY R – LAYER SPHERE
Johnny Shiden–or Karyl if you prefer, is a unique character in the series. Not only can he serenade women with his lute, but he can also use his soothing chords in battle. We’ve seen different characters use odd weapons like umbrellas and bubbles, so it’s not too surprising to watch Johnny assault foes with his singing voice. His Mystic Arte though, takes this to the extreme:
*Video c/o PikohanRevenge
Surrounding your foes with multiple speakers just to obliterate them by blasting their eardums? Only in the Tales Series would you see something this zany, but amazing at the same time.
5: TALES OF HEARTS R – SOLAR WIND
Swordsmen in the Tales universe often perform Mystic Artes that involve them slashing their opponents multiple times in quick succession. Many of them are very good, but I didn’t want to oversaturate this list with Artes that are similar in execution. Out of all of these skills, this one by Kor Meteor made the cut:
*Footage recorded by omegaevolution
Solar Wind gets the slight edge over moves like Savage Wolf Fury only because it’s done in midair as opposed to the ground. Not only that, but Kor puts a large exclamation point at the end by causing a large shockwave to electrify his opponents. Way to use the earth’s core, Kor.
4: TALES OF ETERNIA – ELEMENTAL MASTER
Ever wanted to blow up your foes in one fell swoop in a Tales game? Then let’s take a look back at one of the classics, Tales of Eternia. Enter Max, the leader of the Shileska Army. Max has a handful of Artes that takes time to charge, but the results are worth the wait. So what happens when you use an Arte that takes the longest to charge?
Talk about domination! Max fires three large elemental blasts in quick succession, rises into the air through the power of earth, and launches a gigantic laser that covers the entire screen! Eternia enthusiasts may notice that I may be cheating a bit with this entry; technically this isn’t a Mystic Arte. However, it’s hard to deny that Elemental Master in all outward appearances performs like one. I guarantee that if Max were to appear in a modern Tales game, this Arte would get the Mystic Arte treatment.
3: TALES OF DESTINY 2 – INFERNAL SUFFERING
Rolling back to Tales of Destiny 2, enter the mysterious Swordsman, Judas. He has a Mystic Arte that radiates both style and patience in its execution. Learning that this is an extension to an already good Mystic Arte makes this all the more satisfying to see in its complete form:
I love it: The line delivery, the multiple slashes to the opponent building up to the worst kept spoiler in series. He then finishes off the Arte with a Demon Attack-esque move. This was a huge deal for Tales of players back in the day. Tales of Destiny on the PS1 remains to be the best-selling game in the franchise, so to see a nod to a cast member who didn’t receive much attention in the original was a nice treat for fans. This Mystic Arte also appears in other games, but the execution and quotes don’t compare to Judas’ original performance.
2: TALES OF DESTINY 2/TALES OF HEARTS R – CRAZY COMET – TWINKLE STAR – MIX MASTER – PRINCESS OF MERMAID
There are a wide variety of intergalactic Mystic Artes, so naturally one of them had to be represented here. Out of all of them, I feel that this one originally executed by Harold and later by Beryl Benito takes the cake. Check it out: (Timecode 5:52 on the video)
*Video c/o MasterLL
It’s essentially Big Bang x4, and each spell in the sequence definitely delivers. The idea of unleashing this medley of spells without giving your opponents any breathing room is satisfying to unleash.
Before we move on to the 1 spot, I just want to give an honourable mention to the following Mystic Artes that are good in their own right, but didn’t make the list. Again, be wary of spoilers before looking these up on your own time:
- Tales of Phantasia – Jiraiya
- Tales of Destiny – Thunder Sword
- Tales of Eternia – Aurora Sword
- Tales of the Abyss – Brilliant Overlord
- Tales of Vesperia – Gousenbakusatsu Ultra X Bomber
- Tales of Zestiria – Heaven or Hell
1: VARIOUS TITLES – INDIGNATION
The first spell performed in the entire series. This spell has an iconic place in the franchise that its spell rank had changed several times throughout games. The fact that it was a Mystic Arte in some Tales of games is the reason why it’s on this list. Out of all of its incarnations, the one that I prefer the most is this one:
The best part about this Mystic Arte is using it against the Time Traveller in the Coliseum, and the whole opening of Tales of Phantasia plays out, exactly as I last remembered it:
… What? That’s not how you remembered it? Odd. Anyway, this Mystic Arte takes the number one spot because of its legacy, and how much it has evolved in the franchise.
So, what are your favourite Mystic Artes? Are there some that you agree or disagree with on this list? What kind of Mystic Artes would you like to see in future Tales of games like Tales of Berseria? Feel free to share in the comments section below.