For this new game, the developers have attempted to re-balance these systems in a number of ways. Primarily, by separating the systems into Attack Stance and Guard Stance.
When a unit attacks an enemy with a friendly unit adjacent to themselves, the two units are said to adopt a Attack Stance.
In this stance, the friendly unit will provide a follow-up attack (i.e. Dual Strike) immediately after the main unit’s attack with a guaranteed chance (but possibly reduced damage).
Although follow-up attacks always occur, they have their own hit rate, so they can still miss the enemy.
To adopt a Guard Stance, a unit must move adjacent to another unit and select the “Guard Stance” command; upon doing so, the two units will combine into one (i.e. Pair Up).
The unit that triggered the command will become the other (main) unit’s support unit. Additionally, the main unit’s stats will be increased by the support unit.
In this stance, when the main unit is about to receive damage from an enemy, if the main unit’s shield gauge is full, the support unit will jump in and negate all damage from the enemy (i.e. Dual Guard).
So far, it seems the shield gauge increases as the main unit deals damage and receives damage. Each of these actions appear to boost the gauge by 2 points, towards its maximum value of 10.
Furthermore, Guard Stance has the advantage of passively negating Attack Stance.
This change means units can only benefit from follow-up attacks or protection from enemy attacks–and not both at the same time.
Also, this creates more incentive for units to remain separate, to benefit from the increased offensive capabilities, rather than combining all the time, like in Awakening.
Secondly, enemy units can adopt the Attack Stance or Guard Stance, just like the player. So players must be cautious when there are many enemies around.
Lastly, if units from both sides have adopted a stance, there is the possibility of 2 versus 2 battles. During these battles, only the main units (on both sides) receive damage.