So I post up about 1/3 of what I intended to write only to find myself losing the better part of a week instead of typing up that ability list I said I would. I think I count as a great guide write /sarcasm. Anyways at least I came back to a thread with quite a lot of good feedback that challenges people to brush up on their skills and helps the players who aren't quite as good at fighting games. My thanks are certainly in order.
If it's the Stand Slash you're talking about, I disagree only in that F-Atk is too slow a riposite move, and enemies will ALWAYS trade hits with this if they don't already outprioritize Arche. U-Atk is similarly situational, because against the things it's supposed to be used on (fliers) will also trade hits with it, and unless you dash it has no horizontal range.
Thrust is the ability you're looking for when it comes to Riposte moves (when each of you are guarding attack after attack). Thrust or Double Thrust easily starts a combo that allows for the step in and extended range of the Wide Slash attack. I didn't say that Wide Slash was slower than Slash I said it was "slower" meaning you abuse it's excess range to make up for it being the slowest attack. Arcing Slash's range can be made up using the the Dash + Arcing initiate which is generally incredibly easy to do as long as you've got a Dash actually going.
I do fairly well with Arche. It's the enemies on slopes that give me the trouble. A slime on a down slope is particularly bad, since it can tentacle diagonally at you and aside from down stab your other attacks don't really hit.
Indeed low ground can be a big tactical advantage not only for your enemys but for you as well. Best just to swap positions when that's the case.
Got some of the basic abilities done. I'll have to post at at later date for some more/the rest. Arche sure has a lot of them or maybe i'm just a really, really slow typer -.-;.
Slash - Your basic attack and “slowest”. Later abilities provide you with a way to combo your other basic attacks into it. This is a mid range and mid damage ability. Useful in the middle of a combo to add additional damage though you might need partner help to keep the combo going to perform the otherwise very slow attack.
Thrust - Your fastest and least damaging attack. Thrust is extremely useful for breaking a guard or starting a combo. It’s also useful for breaking a combo breaker (an enemy attacking you mid combo). Later in the game being able to flawlessly weave this in to any combo you are doing is essential.
Wide Slash - Your slowest and most damaging attack. Wide Slash also has almost polearm range and allows you to step in and keep your combo going. Wide Slash is an utterly invaluable ability and it is probably my favorite and most used. I almost never use Slash because of this ability.
Arcing Slash - Your most basic anti-air attack and a fairly damaging slash which is good for starting a juggle. Dash + Arcing Slash is perhaps one of the best early openers for aerial targets.
Roll - Quick mobility is incredibly useful for getting behind a target to perform a Snap Thrust. I also believe this move gives you a single immunity frame at the *very* beginning of the roll. Though performing such to avoid an attack with any measure of reliability was well beyond my level of skill.
Cartwheel - It’s like a Roll only backwards. All kidding aside this can be used in certain situations to avoid impending doom (like low jump height Downstabs).
Downstab - *Unblockable damage ability mainly used for destroying guards and pinning annoying flyers to the ground to perform land locked combos.
*There is a single enemy in the game that can block even unblockable attacks.