Young Xehanort is an optional boss in the international and Final Mix versions of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. His boss battle is unlocked when the protagonist returns to the Land of Departure after defeating Vanitas Remnant, on a save file in which it is still accessible. Despite this odd situation, his scene is within canon, and is considered to occur at the save file's point in the story. Defeating Xehanort will grant a unique Keyblade named "No Name", but he can be fought again by leaving Land of Departure and then returning.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Young Xehanort has a variety of powerful attacks, all of which can defeat the protagonist instantly if they are unprepared. However, nearly all of these attacks can be blocked or dodged with practice.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Xehanort employs two different phases in this fight, both which make use of his time manipulation abilities and fast strikes. If unprepared, each of his attacks are capable of inflicting serious damage and cumbersome status effects.
Once his health is reduced to 1, he will stop time and teleport to the center of the area, summoning a large clock. Riku has about a one-second window to trigger a Reality Shift to break the spell and continue onto Phase 2. If the latter is not triggered, Xehanort resets time - and the battle - back to the start of Phase 1 with 1/3 of his max health.
Riku must defeat Xehanort within the clock at the center of the area, which is continually counting down. The time allotted is dependent on both game difficulty and damage dealt. If the clock isn't destroyed before the time is up, Xehanort resets time - and the battle - back to the start of Phase 1 with 1/3 of his max health.
Kingdom Hearts III
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Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Young Xehanort is a powerful boss and one of the strongest enemies in the game. His attacks are varied and hard to predict, similar to those of the Lingering Will. Not only is he immune to all status effects, but he has a great deal of HP as well. The boss is very swift and can inflict massive damage to the protagonist, quickly knocking them out unless they have Second Chance or Once More equipped. Xehanort is also adept in defense; he can use Renewal Barrier if attacked too much, and he sometimes rewinds time after taking damage, allowing him to recover some of his lost HP.
As Xehanort's HP dwindles, he goes even further on the offensive. He will often start one of his long-duration techniques, then continue to attack with different techniques while the first one is playing out. Xehanort will also clone himself, creating four copies that can attack and move independently of the true Xehanort. However, the clones can dissipate after being hit once, so try to use a multi-hitting attack to clear the clones. His most frustrating tactic is to snare the protagonist with his Collision Magnet, then immediately following it up with another attack and a game over (although there are very rare occasions in which the protagonist can escape before Xehanort strings together another attack). Collision Magnet can be avoided easily by simply dashing towards Xehanort when he jumps in the air, and also seems to be canceled if Xehanort pulls the protagonist up against a wall.
After half of his heath is gone, Young Xehanort will begin to turn invisible. While he cannot be locked on, he does leave a faint shimmer and can be "visible" through his Ethereal Blades, so he can still take damage. He still uses his old abilities, but since he is invisible, it is harder to see when he uses them. However, he also gains new abilities, such as firing a beam that inflicts Doom and forces mashing to escape, and casting Mega Flare and Meteor to inflict massive damage.
Xehanort will attack whenever an opening to do so presents itself, but it is easy to heal safely by simply dashing far away from him first with either Slide, Dodge Roll, or Cartwheel. It is also somewhat easy to guard against his attacks by mashing , so the protagonist can also heal by using Renewal Block or Renewal Barrier and deliver damage through counterattacks. Because Xehanort leaves little time for the protagonist to act, it is unwise to use any advanced or ultimate commands, as they take too long to fire and reload. Shotlocks are also good options, but Xehanort tends to evade the Shotlock reticle, and can use Renewal Block to heal himself if the Shotlock hits him too much. If the protagonist decides to rely on Shotlocks, they should stock many Elixirs in order to make sure their Focus Gauge never runs out. D-Links can also work, especially Goofy's for Ventus and Aqua due to the Goofy Spin finisher allowing free movement and rapid blows. However, Xehanort may turn invisible in response, so it may not be ideal to use them. Finally, since Xehanort leaves little time for Keyblade combos, the protagonist's equipped Keyblade and Finish command are not important, but the Keyblade equipped should lean towards the Strength stat.
The safest and simplest way to defeat Young Xehanort is to simply use a deck of 2-4 Cure-type commands, and fill the rest with Fire/Thunder Surges. Thunder Surge is generally better because it grants access to the Thunderbolt Command Style, and Thunderbolt's finisher, being an area-of-effect attack, is more effective at striking Young Xehanort than Firestorm's. A good way to arrange the Command Deck is to have Thunder Surge, Cure, Thunder Surge, Cure and so on, so that both commands are easily accessible and it also helps with not needing to cycle through commands that are reloading. With this deck, the protagonist can basically use Thunder Surge over and over, even when Xehanort is invisible, damaging Xehanort if they hit him and often knocking him out of his combos. The protagonist should make sure to use Thunder Surge so that they go through Xehanort and winds up a short distance past him, rather than next to him, but should dash away instead if Xehanort is right next to the protagonist, as Thunder Surge has a tiny but noticeable start-up lag. Thunder Surge can even be used as a pseudo-dash in order to avoid Xehanort's techniques, like his Collision Magnet. If the protagonist is ever hit by an attack, they should immediately start dashing away, normally, and heal with Cure as soon as they are clear from Xehanort. If playing as Ventus, it's a good idea to stock up on Double Crunch Ice Cream to activate Wingblade, which allows him to hit Xehanort with a combo of Keyblade attacks that he can't easily break out of. Even after setting up a working deck and overall strategy, victory against Xehanort relies primarily on luck, due to his penchant for using unavoidable, instant-death combos.
In the Final Mix versions, the difficulty of the boss fight is slightly toned down. The protagonist can now escape after being ensnared by the Collision Magnet attack by Air Sliding before the second attack, therefore avoiding the lethal combos that were inescapable in the original version. In addition, Thunder Surge is even more useful, as it can easily lead into the powerful Rhythm Mixer Command Style.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
To provide for defense, Riku should equip Dark Barrier, Dark Roll, Counter Aura, Leaf Bracer, Second Chance, Once More, and Slow Block. His Command Deck should include homing attacks like Balloonga, Firaga Burst and Dark Firaga, as well as powerful attacks like Dark Aura, Dark Splicer, Meteor Crash and Shadowbreaker, and healing commands like Curaga. Also, make sure to have two Spirits that have healing commands, like a Meow Wow, a Komory Bat or ones that can cast Support Magic like Haste, Spirit Roar at the same time as well.
Young Xehanort is an aggressive fighter and it can be difficult to score hits on him as he can trap Riku in a flurry of combo attacks that rapidly drain his health. Dark Barrier followed by Counter Aura is an effective way of damaging him, although keep in mind that some of his attacks are not easy to block and should be evaded using Dark Roll or Shadow Slide. In Critical Mode, Xehanort can run to Riku (or not) and perform a more violent and fast combo followed by an aerial combo, which can rapidly put Riku to 1 HP and Game Over if not blocked or evaded in time. If Riku gets caught in these combos, the player shouldn't move the joystick until it ends in order for Second Chance and Once More to save him, as moving in the air cancels the enemy's combo and Xehanort purposely delays his combos to avoid these abilities, but not long enough for Riku to recover.
Xehanort tends to warp away from projectiles and attack commands, but will be open to attack when he pauses to launch his own ranged attacks. Xehanort will periodically teleport away and fire dark projectiles at Riku. Defend using Dark Barrier, staying near to or far away from him, or dodge continually. If the projectiles connect, they will inflict Slow, so quickly cure it with Esuna (Riku's spirits can have this command too) or a Panacea if Slow Block is not equipped. He can also summon giant ice blocks that must be blocked or dodged. When Xehanort prepares this attack, move close to him, blocking the ice blocks, and use Counter Aura in front of him. Make sure to watch how he warps around the arena, because it will signal which attack he will use, and will provide Riku enough time to use powerful attacks such as Dark Aura. If timed carefully, Dark Aura will keep hitting Xehanort and stops his movements for a while, dealing heavy damage.
Alternatively, continue using Firaga Burst, Baloonga, and other attack magic in conjunction with spirit attacks. Keep also in mind the Haste Support Magic after being cast on Riku can be handy, not only to speed up the reloading times but also his main combos, which can stagger Young Xehanort as well. After Xehanort takes enough hits, he will transform his Keyblade into a shield and if Riku hits it, Xehanort will counterattack. If he teleports up and falls, he will whip Riku multiple times. Get ready to block or to Shadow Slide when he reaches the ground. If Xehanort teleports constantly from right to left, he will prepare to charge at Riku. He will teleport like this twice; once he warps the fourth time, get ready to block or use Shadow Slide. If he is a fair distance away, he will start teleporting from side to side again, gradually getting closer to Riku. Get as close to Xehanort as possible when this occurs. After he teleports the third time in this manner, use Dark Barrier near him to block the lasers and use Counter Aura in front of him. If possible, utilize Shadow Slide and Shadow Strike to attack and stop Xehanort's attack.
Once Xehanort's health has been depleted to 1, he will freeze time and warp into a giant Clock that appears in the center of the arena. Wait until the option to perform a Mirage Split Reality Shift appears. This will trigger the final stage of the battle. Note that the symbol for activating the Reality Shift will appear for less than one second. If Riku misses the timing, Xehanort will rewind time to the beginning of the fight and regain some of his health (approximately two and a half life bars). His health must be depleted again in order to perform Mirage Split, but this time, the symbol for activating Reality Shift will remain for a longer period of time.
For the final stage of the fight, Xehanort remains inside the Clock, which is now vulnerable to attack. Though he does not attack Riku directly, he creates half-invincible clones of himself to defend the Clock. The clones will attempt to swarm Riku with ethereal blade combos, X-slashes, and fiery tornadoes, but may occasionally disappear if attacked. It is safer to evade these attacks than to block them, as blocking those attacks will lock-out the clock. While the Clock is open to attack while the clones are not on the field, as this phase is more time based than the previous one, Riku should have Spirit Roar and Haste cast on him by his spirits so that he can inflict more damage while not being restricted to waiting for his commands to reload, for the reason that if the hands on the Clock strike 12 before Riku destroys it, it will rewind time to the start of this phase and regain his lost health of the previous phase. As Xehanort will stop his attacks before it rewinds time, Riku should finish him as fast as possible when it stops attacking if the Clock is close to be defeated; however, after Xehanort rewinds time once, the total health of the Clock will decrease to the same amount as Xehanort's first phase's, and thus, for the next times this phase will restart, making it easier to destroy the Clock on the next try. Multi-hit warping attacks such as Dark Splicer and Dark Aura can bypass Xehanort's clones and remove multiple health bars off the clock, even finishing it off if at low health. Do this with caution, however, as Riku can be attacked and deflected by incoming clones, especially those which use combos and fiery tornadoes, which can knock him away when using Dark Aura.
Due to the relentless assault of the clones, leaving few to no windows of opportunity to attack, a reliable strategy is to activate commands like Firaga Burst while in midair. Releasing the commands at the apex of Riku's Doubleflight will allow Riku to avoid interruption from most of the clones' attacks, with the exception of the X-slashes.
If Riku is supposedly not strong enough to destroy the clock in time, he can, while dodging the attacks, restrain from attacking and wait until the Clock rewinds time, where next time it will have less health, to have a chance to finish it in time.
Kingdom Hearts III
Young Xehanort is fought alongside Ansem and Xemnas by Sora, Riku and King Mickey as the final boss fights of the Keyblade Graveyard. Although his health is less than that of the other two top-tier members of the Real Organization XIII, he is still not to be underestimated. Young Xehanort is able to turn his Keyblade into a whip that has a long range and can also briefly ensnare Sora and is able to summon a small rift to launch a whip attack from. He can also summon a ring of 9 icicles that he launches at Sora which deals Blizzard damage and his deadliest attack has him summoning a circle of time that stops time as he unleashes invisible attacks at Sora. It's recommended to take him out first as he's the easiest to combo, if hit twice by his whip combos, it is possible to quickly block the third attack and use Risk Dodge to fight back. The whip combo can also hit you in the air. Each member will have a dark aura surrounding them whenever they disappear and reappear to attack, which means they'll only target Sora and each of them will use a specific attack with the one with the aura appearing last. For Young Xehanort, Ansem and Xemnas will create dark mines and ethereal blades followed by Xehanort's time-stopping attack. Jump and block the ethereal blades and use thunder to destroy the mines to avoid damage. During the cyclone sequence, each member will use an attack in a specific order. For all three, Young Xehanort will use his time-stopping attack followed by Xemnas's rolling attack and Ansem's shockwave. The best way to avoid them is to jump over Xehanort's, block Xemnas's incoming attack and glide away from Ansem. If Xemnas is beaten, Xehanort will launch the icicles followed by Ansem's shockwave attack. Having Riku and Mickey active is wise as they can do double and triple damage when attacking together, if they're trying to attack your target, it's wise to stop your combos and let them land their own.
Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind
Like with all the other data rematches, even though Young Xehanort's HP bar may be the least among them, he is still extremely powerful and in addition to his attacks being much stronger, he gains access to more abilities. Young Xehanort has a tendency to teleport often and throw feint swings, to confuse Sora before attacking. He will often formchange his Keyblade into a whip for a long reach, as well. He is also capable of freezing Sora with certain attacks, so it is recommended to equip Freeze Protection through equipment such as the Snowman Rosette armor or the Crystal Snow Keyblade. Only one of Young Xehanort's attacks is unblockable, so the first instinct for most of his attacks should be to block.
If Young Xehanort teleports three times alternating side to side on the ground, he will do his three-part delayed whip combo. He starts by swinging his whip 2 times on the third teleport, then pauses, swings 2 times again, then finishes with a Keyblade swing that leaves a mark on the ground. This final hit breaks Sora's guard, and can potentially freeze Sora. Block the two sets of hits, then block and risk dodge the last hit for a chance to attack.
If Young Xehanort teleports three times in the air, he will perform his four-part green slash combo. He will perform 2 green swings of his Keyblade, pause, swing 2 more times, teleport to Sora's opposite side, swing 2 times, pause, then finally swing 3 times. Carefully block each set, then reprisal the third hit of the last set for a chance to attack.
If Young Xehanort makes an arc of ice crystals above him, he is using his Blizzard attack. A blue dome will briefly flash around Young Xehanort, then the ice crystals will home in on Sora, and may freeze him if they connect. These ice crystals can be blocked. He will cast 2 sets of Blizzard before moving on to his next move, but striking him quickly with Thunder when the blue dome flashes will prevent the second Blizzard cast. An advanced tactic is to Airstep to him and attack to knock him into the air, but the homing Blizzards will still need to be dealt with - air slide back to Sora's previous position and block, then Airstep back to Young Xehanort to continue attacking him. If neither is done and both sets of Blizzards have to be blocked, be careful of whichever attack Young Xehanort follows up with - he will usually choose either his triple guard-break combo (listed below), or his four-part green combo.
If Young Xehanort teleports three times in the same direction on the ground, he will do his triple guard-break combo with his whip. His first strike will break Sora's guard, then he will do 2 swings and 1 guard break swing, followed by 2 more swings and 1 guard break swing. Block each hit, use risk dodge each time after being guard broken, attack once, then immediately block the next set. After risk dodging for the third time, there is an opportunity to attack.
If Young Xehanort jumps into the air and dives with a green spinning attack, he will do his triple spin combo. He will do 3 dive spins with a small pause between each, before finishing with a quick fourth strike downward. Guard the three spins and the fourth hit, then reprisal for a chance to attack.
If Young Xehanort appears with a large clock below him, he will swing his whip once at Sora and attempt to time-stop him - if it lands, then the screen will go negative for a moment as Sora receives a barrage of attacks. This whip swing and its variations is the only unblockable attack that Young Xehanort can do, so dodge it or air slide away. If Young Xehanort misses this attack then he will slowly walk sideways, but he is NOT open to attack yet. He will do a small teleport and continue walking, at which point it is safe to Airstep to him and attack. Alternatively, after missing his clock whip swing, Young Xehanort may quickly teleport 3 times before standing still. If he does this instead of the walk, then Airstep to him after the three teleports as he will be open to attack.
Approaching Young Xehanort at inopportune moments may make him spin his Keyblade into a small blue clock in front of him, making him invulnerable and recovering some of his HP. Attempting to strike him in this state will cause Young Xehanort to stop time and summon Blizzards either in a dome in front of Sora, or in a horizontal circle around Sora.
The healing move is overall difficult to deal with, and the healing resets some of the fight's progress, however it is completely avoidable if Sora only takes safe openings to attack.
When half of his HP has been depleted (about six bars), Young Xehanort will begin his ultimate attack. He will warp to the center of the stage, stop time with a gigantic blue clock, and grant himself armor. The clock on the ground will slowly tick from 12:00 to 12:00, and if it completes its rotation, Young Xehanort will summon a small blue clock in front of himself and recover one full bar of HP - then restart the entire move anew, but without restoring any lost armor. The move can be ended early by depleting Young Xehanort's armor. While the clock is present, Young Xehanort will perform several whip combos:
If the clock is still active after the third whip combo, Young Xehanort will start performing his normal attacks, with some variations:
This sounds like a lot of information, but the move can be ended extremely early by landing a reprisal. The earliest point to do this is during the first whip combo, where using a reprisal on the third of the four hits will instantly break Young Xehanort's armor and remove the clock. Alternatively, risk dodging after the third whip combo's guard break and attacking will work too.
After the first usage of his ultimate attack, Young Xehanort will change some of his attacks to be slightly longer:
When Young Xehanort is at 1 HP left, he will stop time once more and perform a variation of his ultimate attack, this time using Blizzards.
After the third blizzard combo has finished, any of the whip combos and attack variants from the first version of this move may also be used.
This second version of the ultimate move can be skipped in a similar way. When he casts the first arc of Blizzard, Doubleflight and block the 2 whip hits, then reprisal to deplete Young Xehanort's armor instantly.
If the clock on this second version of the ultimate attack reaches a full rotation back to 12:00, then Young Xehanort will heal HP as before, but then start the mid-fight version of the move instead. If his HP is lowered to 1 again, he will start the second version of the ultimate attack anew with armor restored.
Notes and references