There are two hidden stats that determine the priority of conflicting actions:
Cut and Keep
When an ally and an enemy are attacking each other simultaneously, the game uses the Cut and Keep stat of their abilities to determine who will prevail.
The Cut value is the value that determines if an ability has the power to 'cut', or interrupt, another opposing ability. The Keep value is the value that determines how well an ability can 'keep' its prowess against another opposing ability.
If the Cut value of one action is greater than the Keep value of the opposing action, then the first action will prevail. If the Keep value is greater than the Cut value of the opposing action, it will continue uninterrupted. This is the main factor that is behind the basic principle of ability interruptions.
Both Cut and Keep have values from 0 to 100. Below is a table of the base values for all actions in Final Fantasy XIII-2.
Cut and Keep Base Values
Action Keep Value Cut Value
None (idle) 5 None
Defensive spells 15 None
Saboteur spells (cast by ally);
Offensive spells and ranged physical 15 10
attacks (by an enemy)
Other offensive spells and ranged 15 15
physical attacks (by an ally)
Melee attacks (by an enemy) 20 20
Melee attacks (by an ally); 25 25
Strong attacks (by an enemy)
Special attacks (used by an enemy) 40 40
Sentinel -guard abilities 90 None
(Steelguard, Mediguard, etc.)
Sentinel Provoke abilities 90 10
Sentinel counter abilities 90 25
Ultima Arrow (Serah); 90 50
Meteor Javelin (Noel)
The Cut value of physical attacks is generally higher than that of Magical attacks, therefore, physical attacks will often interrupt magical ones.
The higher Keep values (those over 90) belong to special abilities such as Meteor Javelin and Ultima Arrow, as well as the abilities of the Sentinel. The high Keep values of Sentinel abilities are an additional bonus to their already strong defensive abilities.
As long as an action's Cut or Keep value is under 90, its Cut or Keep value can be modified by the status effects of Vigilance and Curse, the passive abilities Immovable and Presses, and by Staggering. If an action's value is already at its maximum of 90, it cannot be modified.
Modifiers of Cut and Keep Values
Vigilance +20 Keep
Curse -20 Keep
Immovable (ally) +5 Keep
Immovable II (ally) +10 Keep
Pressure (ally) +5 Cut
Pressure II (ally) +10 Cut
Pressure MAX (ally) +15 Cut
Stagger (on an enemy) Keep drops to 0
NOTE: some enemies, such as the Pulsework Soldier, have a special ability that raises the Keep of all their basic actions to 85 before they are Staggered.