Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep: Aqua's Ultimate Command Deck Guide
With each new installment, Kingdom Hearts likes to spice up its gameplay with a few shiny new mechanics. Chain of Memories had the card thing. Kingdom Hearts II made us use all those reaction commands. And Birth by Sleep introduced Command Decks, ever-present menus that keep all of your most powerful abilities at your disposal.
After Terra sets off after Master Xehanort and Ventus chases after Terra, Aqua is tasked with looking after both of her friends, following them amidst ancient plots across countless worlds. Among the trio, Aqua is the resident mage, boasting well-balanced stats and powerful magic-based attacks. Slower than Ventus, but faster than Terra, her moves are fluid, yet focused, arguably giving her the most nuanced and dynamic gameplay of the title. Here are the handiest commands to keep Aqua's juices flowing.
One of the first things you'll notice about Aqua is that she uses Barrier instead of Block, giving her 360 degrees of protection. Naturally, you'll want to weaponize this. With Barrier Surge, you can surround yourself with a bubble-like shield and then slam into your enemies. You can pick it up super early in the Castle of Dreams Foyer or meld it.
Easiest recipe: Fire Dash + Barrier
Fire Dash can be found through Command Boards (if you have the patience for it) or melded with Confusion Strike + Fire, Sliding Dash + Fira, or Sliding Dash + Fire. You can also swap Fire Dash out for Stun Edge in the original recipe. Stun Edge can be melded with Thunder + Strike Raid.
Easy to obtain, easy to use, Sonic Blade has become a staple of the franchise. This move will send you and your keyblade rocketing at the enemy, shooting into them over and over with a series of button prompts. Each member of the trio can pick up Sonic Blade in Olympus Coliseum after beating Hercules in the Break the Urns mini-game. If you're looking for a little extra challenge or mabe space to impliment Crystals, try your hand at melding.
Easiest recipe: Air Slide + Blitz.
After obtaining Air Slide in Olympus Coliseum, you can buy a copy of it from a Moogle. You can find Blitz in Deep Space's Turo Prison Block, or just meld it with Barrier Surge + Wishing Edge, Quick Blitz + Slot Edge, or Slot Edge + Stun Edge. The only other recipe for Sonic Blade that'll work for Aqua is Thunder Surge + Fire Dash. Thunder Surge can be melded with Thundara + Fire Dash, Freeze Raid, Stun Edge, or Confusion Strike. Check out the Fire Dash recipe under the Barrier Surge outline above.
Stop nearby enemies in time and teleport from one to the other, dealing out an onslaught of quick strikes. While it won't stop bosses, it'll still keep you nipping at their heels. You can pick this one up in Neverland's Rainbow Falls, or you can meld it if you need it sooner.
Easiest Recipe: Aerial Slam + Stopga
This is the only one with a 100% success rate. Stopga can be easily melded by combining leveled up Stop and Stopra commands, while Aerial Slam can be found in Pete's Rec Room. The only other viable recipes are Stun Edge + Slot Edge (10% success), Barrier Surge + Wishing Edge (10% success), or Stopga + Barrier (20% success). Please love yourself and just do the 100% certain recipe.
It's like Magnega, but more violent. Pull in surrounding enemies for a single powerful spin attack. While there's a chance you can pick this up by defeating Deep Space's Blobmob, the chances are pretty slim (like 1%). You're better off melding.
Easiest recipe: Binding Strike + Collision Magnet.
Binding Strike is easy. Just combine Bind and Strike Raid. Collision Magnet (which can be replaced by Magnega in the original recipe) can be melded with Zero Gravira + Magnet. Those are your safest options. For a 20% success rate, try the aforementioned Collision Magnet recipe, Stun Edge + Magnera, or Quick Blitz + Magnera.
Aqua's ultimate attack command is an homage to dual-wielding Roxas's Limit Break in 358/2 Days. Teleport around the battlefield, diving down onto your enemies with devastating pillars of light. This one can't be found just anywhere and needs to be melded. Like seriously, please meld this one. It's awesome.
Easiest recipe: Barrier Surge + Aeroga
Scroll up and check out the Barrier Surge outline earlier in this guide for that command. As for Aeroga, you really just need to keep leveling up Aeros and Aeroras and meld them together until you max out with Aeroga. Your only other recipe option for Magic Hour is Zero Graviga + Blitz. Zero Graviga's melding process follows Aeroga's. Blitz, on the other hand, can be picked up in Deep Space's Turo Prison Block, or melded with an easy recipe like Slot Edge + Stun Edge.
What could be better than a fireball hurling towards your enemies? Try three fireballs. For those of you with Final Mix, you can pick this one up in the Secret Episode at the very end of the game. Most of us won't feel like waiting that long, so let's look at melding.
Easiest recipe: Fira + Firaga.
Pretty simple. Meld two Fires to make a Fira. Meld Fire + Fira to make a Firaga. You could also do Firaga + Firaga or Firaga + Blitz.
"Hmm . . . I wonder what this one does," said no one. It's Blizzaga cubed. You can't find this one in a chest, so get melding.
Easiest recipe: Blizzara + Blizzaga.
Same thing as before, just with Blizzard this time. You can also try Blizzaga + Blizzaga or Blizzaga + Blitz.
If at first you don't succeed . . . Shoot your enemies in the face with a blast of lightning. This move takes the ranged mechanics of Firaga and applies it to Thundaga. If it connects, it can even shock nearby foes.
Easiest Recipe: Thundaga + Strike Raid.
You know the drill for Thundaga. You can pick up Strike Raid in Radiant Garden's titular Garden, or meld it with Quick Blitz + Sliding Dash. If you want to make your life more difficult, feel free to replace Strike Raid with Freeze Raid or Firaga in the original recipe.
Just like Mine Shield and Mine Square, Seeker Mine lets you summon a host of magical traps that will explode in the faces of your enemies upon contact. The only difference is that Seeker Mine's traps . . . well, they seek. They'll zero in on Unversed and chase them down.
Easiest Recipe: Mine Shield + Mine Square
You can pick up Mine Shield in Peter's Hide Out in Neverland, or just meld it with Fira + Zero Gravity. Mine Square can be melded with Fira + Stop or Barrier. You can also modify the original recipe by taking either ingredient and pairing it with Magnega.
By far the most useful of the stylized Magnet commands, Energy Magnet lets you suck the HP Prizes right out of your enemies. Just like a dementor. Or capitalism.
Easiest Recipe: Cure + Magnera.
You can also swap Cure with Cura, if you're an insufferable over-achiever who wants to make melding needlessly complicated. It's up to you!
Conjure a mini sun overhead that will shoot out a host of homing fireballs. It's kind of like a mothership with a bunch of smaller ships flying out to destroy your enemies. Except everything is on fire. You can find this hottie in Neverland's Mermaid Lagoon.
Easiest Recipe: Fira + Aeroga.
This one doesn't really have an "easiest" recipe because all six of your options only have a 20% success rate. I would recommend saving first and then trying to meld this one. If you don't succeed, just quit without saving and try again. You can also try Firaga + Aerora, Aeroga, Slow, Stopra, or Stopga. Just remember that patience is a virtue.
Freeze surrounding enemies with a devastating full arc of Blizzard magic and then shoot them off in every direction. Basically, you create exploding Unversed popsicles. For such a simple command, the recipes are surprisingly complicated.
Easiest Recipe: Deep Freeze + Blizzaga.
Deep Freeze is handed out to those of you who not only took time to look at the Sticker Album but also earn 110 points on it. Since the Sticker Album looks pointless and stupid though, we're going to focus on melding. Take Blizzaga and pair it with Binding Strike, Freeze Raid, or Triple Blizzaga. Pick your ice-cold poison. You can also meld Glacier by swapping Blizzaga for Triple Blizzaga if you're into tripling the required effort.
Similar to Terra's Quake, Ice Barrage summons a trio of ice crystals that burst out of the ground and knock enemies into the air. Once you have High Jump, you can mosey your way back to Enchanted Dominion and pick this up in Maleficent's Dungeon. If you're not quite that far yet, you'll just have to suck it up and meld.
Easiest Recipe: Mine Shield + Blizzaga.
You can also swap Mine Shield for Mine Square. The former is only technically easier because you can pick it up for free in Peter's Hide Out. Although, if you're already in Neverland, you'll already have High Jump, making melding fairly pointless. At any rate, Mine Shield can be melded with Fira + Zero Gravity, while Mine Square can be obtained with Fira + Stop.
Easiest Recipe: Fission Firaga + Firaga Burst
This is the only one with a 100% success rate. We've already covered Firaga Burst, so let's tackle Fission Firaga. You can go back and find this explosive command in Dwarf Woodlands' Courtyard after you have High Jump and Air Slide or just meld it with Aeroga + Fira, Aeroga + Firaga, or Aerora + Firaga. Your other (less reliable) options include: Fira + Fire/Fira/Fire Dash, Firaga + Blitz/Fira/Firaga, or Fire Surge + Cartwheel.
Ka-BOOM.Set off a blindingly white explosion that'll deal Fire damage to every enemy onscreen. This one's useful for just about anything.
Easiest Recipe: Fission Firaga + Crawling Fire
We already went over Fission Firaga under Firaga Burst, so let's move onto Crawling Fire. All of its recipes have an 80% success rate, with a 20% chance of transforming into Firaga Burst, which is also awesome, so don't sweat it. Just take Firaga and pair it with Slow, Stopra, or Stopga.
Suspend your enemies in anti-gravity fields and then send them flying off in all directions. It's the most convenient way to take out the trash these days. For those of you with Final Mix, you can wait until the Secret Episode to pick up this bad boy, or you can enjoy your life and meld it way sooner.
Easiest Recipe: Magnet Spiral + Zero Graviga
Check out the Attack Commands section above to obtain Magnet Spiral. As for Zero Graviga, just follow the standard rules for basic magic leveling. Your best bet is to meld two Zero Gravities together to form Zero Graviza, level that up, and finally meld it with Zero Gravity. Easy as pie. Pie that is floating freely through the vacuum of space.
Choosing a Deck
Let's be real here: Aqua has all the best commands. Now you need to mix and match your favorites to find out combinations that work best for you. Decks that excel in one part of the game might put you in hot water during another, so be prepared to adapt as you go along.
In terms of crowd control, you'll usually want to bring the fight to you. Gather your enemies into a convenient ball of evil with Magnega and then literally put them at the center of a giant fireball with Firaga Burst. Wide-ranging commands like Glacier and Seeker Mine are also pretty safe bets when you're surrounded.
If you want to focus your attacks on one bad guy in particular, then choose your moves carefully. While Mega Flare is sure to hit your target, it might not faze some of hardest bosses, leaving you open for attack while the screen is still white. If you have a clear shot, try a different projectile-based attack like Triple Firaga or Thundaga Shot. If you're getting desperate, it's never a bad idea to bust out a game-changer like Magic Hour.
And don't forget that "ultimate" attacks are what you make of them. Even if your favorite command didn't make the cut for this guide, don't be afraid to utilize it, especially if you can pair it with another ability for a combo. Maybe you're super into Wishing Edge and want to keep it in your Deck at all times. Who am I to (publically) judge you? Do your thing, Master Aqua. You know those two boys are lost without you.