Battle Mage?

@zaffy2005 In regards to the Phantom besides the normal attack and weapon action the only Photon Art I use is "Voelkermord/Massenvernichtung" which is typically shifted into. Alongside this I cast Ramegid Type-0 and then either use Rabarta (Multi 3/Abundant 3), Gigrants Type-0, or Ilgrants (Concentrated 3/Brilliant 3). I also have Ilzonde for movement which you can replace with Safoie Type-0 if desired.

A large part of the reasoning for this on my end is that the Phantom's Rod is unfortunately very slow and the damage you get out of it doesn't exactly shine outside of techniques or damage-over-time setups like shifted Massenvernichtung allows. The priority here then is that instead of playing to elemental weaknesses you are throwing up Rabarta to create an ice-tornado for multiple hits (which is great for building the Phantom Mark on larger targets) or are shooting Ilgrants in rapid-fire to deal the bulk of your damage. When the Phantom Mark is ready you can detonate it with the Weapon Action and then get to setting things back up. If you are fighting mobs, you can set down shifted Massenvernichtungs, Ramegid Type-0, and then simply run into a mob using Gigrants Type-0 to cut enemies apart.

@VanillaLucia still horrible with names, is Massenvernichtung the one with the normal mode being a quick 360 swipe and the shifted version setting up a rather sizable circle of constant AoE/DoT that follows you around? That's been my go-to. Set it up, then skate around alternating the rod action and evade buttons as it seems to do more damage when you're moving. Makes the Tokyo Key missions a breeze, just plow through everything. And as far as movement goes, skating around the circle of the latest Urgent Quest, the only ones who ever keep up with me are Dark Blasts using their movement boosts, and possibly Etoilie's doing their own version of skating. Everyone else gets let in the dust even before they inevitably run out of PP and are stuck.

Haven't quite figured out the Mark thing yet. Not entirely sure what I'm looking for as far as building one up, or even if "detonation" is just a matter of holding the button or if I have to actually hit that mark with the shot. Maybe I just haven't gone up against anything that lives long enough to build Marks up.

@zaffy2005 The marker turns blue when you have built it up about 20% of the way and glow purple when completed. If you have the Phantom Mark Lock-On Bomb (L) ring (or something along those those lines as you do not want the other Bomb ring) all you have to do is lock-on to the part you want to detonate and any time you hold the Weapon Action (until you hear the sound cue and see the glowing blue particles around your character) you will become temporarily invulnerable as you detonate the Phantom Mark which is very powerful when applied to a weakspot. This unfortunately does not work on mobs (unless you really are underpowered) because of how fast they die but you definitely want to utilize this on bosses as part of your burst damage.

@VanillaLucia ok, I think I remember seeing a glowing purple ring during a Persona UQ, but it kept disappearing, or popping up on different parts. Do I have to focus on one specific target? And if the enemy moves and one of its limbs or something blocks line of sight, will that undo the mark? Like so many mechanics in the game there's almost no clear details on how it works (honestly half the Phantom's skills might as well be in Mandarin for as well as I an understand it).

@zaffy2005 The Mark will stay on an enemy until it is detonated or the enemy dies; when you detonate the Mark, it will be on the part your Weapon Action hits, no matter where the Mark is. There are, however, two rings that change this; one will cause the detonation on the spot with the Mark (ie,. where the last hit landed) despite where the Weapon Action hits, while the other will cause the detonation to occur where you are locked-on. The former is good for situations where you are manually aiming or where you can't lock on to the weak spot (less useful), and the latter is for when you can lock-on to a good weak spot (more useful).

@AndrlCh Would that be the Phantom Mark Lock-on Bomb Lucia mentioned? I'll have to see if I can find a decent price for that on the market. Or see if I've got the right "maybe someday I'll need this" junk taking up space in storage to make one.

@zaffy2005 I do not recall there being a benefit to upgrading the ring (beyond the stats you get from it) so you should be able to run some quick Exploration Quests to gather the resources needed to craft the ring and simply use it that way.

@VanillaLucia Turns out I do have the materials just sitting in storage, since I never make rings and rarely even bother upgrading them (mostly just because I wait until "upgrade ring" is a weekly/tier mission). And being an L-ring I can slot that to a unit if I wanted, right? Now, what would happen if I slotted both types of Phantom Mark rings to units?

@zaffy2005 I have never used both of the Phantom Mark rings before at the same time so I am curious on how that works considering the two conflict directly with each other (one detonates where the marker is and the other detonates where you lock-on) though I wonder if that becomes a toggle. I definitely do not feel it is worth two units for when you can throw on other rings (Atomizer Lovers (L), Party Toughness (L), and potentially something else like Leaping Dodge (L) if needed though there aren't many essential rings I can think of for the Phantom).

@VanillaLucia Yea, can't help wondering if they'd stack somehow (double detonation?) or just cancel each other out.

Haven't even used ring unit integration yet so I don't even know if there's any point in leveling the ring up fully before "attaching" it (or whether I'll need to use up another inventory slot carrying that ring the whole time).

"Leaping Dodge" is another one of those things the in-game description leaves much to be desired. Does it replace the normal "evade" action? Is it something that has to be mapped to the sub-pallete? And what does it actually do?

@zaffy2005 From what I recall the Phantom Marker Bomb-related rings do not give you anything beyond bonus stats for leveling them up (which are removed when you install them to a unit anyways). So you do not need to upgrade those rings in particular.

Leaping Dodge (L) is an active skill you place onto your subpalette. Leveling this ring up reduces the cooldown the ring has so you can use the skill again so I heavily recommend getting it to +20 if you are interested in using this ring and especially if you are planning on using it often.

@zaffy2005 Based on the swiki's entry, it looks like having them both equipped just makes it so that the normal type of detonation never happens (ie. detonating where the Weapon Action hits), with Lock-On taking priority. In scenarios where you have multiple enemies with Marks all within detonation range, the one you lock-on to will detonate on the locked-on point and all the others will detonate on the Mark location.