(last updated: 11/09/18)
STYLE takes its basis from some characters who switch styles or stances in the middle of a fight, causing them to access a wholly different list of attacks than they normally use. Gen is perhaps the most famous example of such a thing.
The upshot to STYLE is that you have two attack lists, and possibly even two sets of Stats, though they'll be only slightly different from one another at best; STYLE is about attack-list changes, not massive stat-swapping.
The major downside to STYLE is that each Mode is limited. Where a normal Ratio 1 character gets 7 Specials and a choice between 2 Supers and 1 MAX or 3 Supers, each STYLE mode only gets 5 Specials and a choice between 1 Super and 1 MAX or 2 Supers. Note that all of these moves may be distinct between modes; you may have different Supers and MAXes for each mode, for example. Also note that you only get one Signature move; you can have the Signature move in both modes, but it must exist in your character's primary Mode.
Abilities may also be distinct between Modes; the main stipulations are that STYLE must be an Ability in both Modes, and there can only be one Signature Ability for the character. Normals may also change between styles.
Dramatic Moments and Traits, however, must be the same between Modes, as they are character abilities and not Style abilities. The ANALYSIS, BURST, CHARISMA, MANIPULATE, PRESENCE, RESOLVE, RESTORE, SECOND WIND, TOUGHNESS, and VIGOR Abilities are also considered character abilities and should exist in both styles.
You may switch modes at any time you are not in combat via +mode/switch. You can switch to your alternate mode before beginning combat if you so desire, or change during combat. The major caveat is that you cannot use any other Active Abilities until your next Action. That is, you could change STYLE modes and use an attack from it, but you could not change modes, activate RUSH, and then attack.
At higher ranks, STYLE users pick up an unpredictability bonus for changing STYLE, providing increased odds to attack and react to attacks for one round. This unpredictability bonus is retained through the next round, at diminished power. STYLE users also have a minor discount to the cost of attacks that consume super. Finally, whenever a STYLE user is benefitting from their STYLE bonus, their opponent will gain super at a drastically improved rate.
One note is that very few FCs have STYLE. While it was introduced to benefit the ones who have it as a play mechanic in the videogames, the fact remains not many of them have it. As a result, OCs are probably the ones who will get the most mileage out of STYLE.
For special notes on character advancement with STYLE, be sure to read the "Style Advancement" section below.
In TOP: Style switches in TOP do not count as an Active Ability use.
D Rank: Style switches cost % reserve and % super. No style bonus.
C Rank: Style switches now have the % style switch bonus.
B Rank: Style switches cost % reserve and % super.
A Rank: Opponents gain reduced super while your style bonus is active.
S Rank: Style switch bonus is now %.
SIG ABIL: VERSATILE: You can use an active ability after swapping style
but doing so will forfeit your style switch bonus.
Characters in TOP can use +style to switch between modes and then use another active ability in the same turn with no penalties or restrictions. In other words, STYLE does not count as an active ability use during TOP.
D Rank represents a character's clumsy attempts at changing between two different fighting styles. They aren't terribly smooth at it, and it takes a bit extra effort in the form of super and reserve.
C Rank is where it still takes some concentration to blend between the styles, represented by the reserve/super cost, but the actual act of doing so is accomplished smoothly enough that gain some initiative in the form of an unpredictability bonus. Unfortunately, change is frustrating to the STYLE user's opponents, and they will gain super at a faster rate while this bonus is active.
B Rank is where a character is able to shift styles fluidly and without much effort. At this rank style shifts no longer drain your resources.
A Rank is where style shifts can be accomplished with even more finesse than before -- opponents may not even realize that a shift has taken place until they get whacked by your attacks. At this rank, the additional super gained by opponents during a fighter's Style bonus is reduced.
S Rank reflects the perfection of swapping styles, allowing the fighter to capitalize even further upon the transition. The style switch bonus is now 6% instead of 4%.
Signature Ability -- VERSATILE
Some characters have spent so much time honing the blend between their two unique styles of fighting that they have begin to blur into a single, cohesive style that encompasses the elements of both styles. Both of these styles are still unique modes that the fighter will enter, but the shifts between styles have become so fluid that the fighter can benefit from the versatility that the two modes offer more readily than fighters that emphasize the individuality of their two styles.
- You can use an active ability after swapping style, but doing so will
forfeit your style switch bonus.
- You cannot use an active ability first and THEN swap styles.
- If you are in TOP, the TOP mechanics will override the above mechanics.
STYLE is a unique ability in the game in that existing characters may learn it, but with restrictions. Just as one wouldn't expect someone to wield a whip with any amount of precision, so too must a fighter take a step back and learn to use their new dual styles as well as their single one.
If we consider this ICly, it makes sense that a character who is evolving two separate approaches to fighting will grow slower, overall, than a character who is focused on improving a single style of fighting, which provides good IC reason for the upfront AP savings of STYLE to be balanced out by the higher cost of progressing STYLE beyond the starting point. Accordingly, character advancement is a bit trickier for STYLE builds compared to other characters.
The following rules apply when spending AP on a STYLE Build:
- If you buy a package of 8 stat points, the 8 stat points will be granted to both modes. Both modes will always stay the same ratio. This is because stats reflect a fundamental growth of the character which would apply regardless of which style they are using that moment.
- If you buy DMs and Traits, the added DM or Trait will appear in both modes. This is because these "character trait" mechanics are core to the character's nature regardless of the mode they are fighting in.
- Purchases of "character trait" abilities like RESTORE and SECOND_WIND will appear in both modes of the build. Again, these types of abilities reflect the character's fundamentals and are not inherently tied to the character's current fighting style.
- Purchases of non-"character trait" abilities, like SMASH, BRACE, etc., will only appear in only one mode. This means that if you want to add EVADE to one mode and RUSH to the other mode, you need to spend the AP to buy two separate abilities. You cannot spend the AP for 1 Ability and get 2 Abilities out of it. This is because these active abilities reflect aspects of the style itself and the character will be growing the style-specific aspects independently from each other.
- Attacks are purchased 1 at a time for each mode independently.
In short, yes, growing STYLE builds will be a slower process than growing single-mode builds. Consider the AP cost savings that STYLE users receive from day one:
- 3 more specials than a non-style build
- 1 more super than a non-style build
- Up to 2 more abilities at R1 than a non-STYLE build
By these measures, you are already saving a ton on build costs by taking STYLE up front. The downside is that your STYLE character might take more AP to grow the build out, compared to a non-STYLE build.
Note: STYLE must be applied for during initial character application. It cannot be added after the fact without a really compelling justification.