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A Special Attack, also parsed as Special-Attack, is a type of powerful offensive move characters can perform in Hyrule Warriors and Age of Calamity. It can only be performed when at least one segment of the Special Attack gauge is full, which is primarily done by defeating enemies.
Special Attacks are powerful moves which have the potential to kill many enemies, but consume one segment of the Special Attack gauge when used. Using them triggers a brief cutscene-like sequence during which nearby enemies are frozen in place while the warrior attacks them. The precise effect varies - for instance, Link's Hylian Sword Special Attack is a 360° Spin Attack, while Zelda's Rapier Special Attack is to fire a Light Arrow from her Twilight Bow, which hits enemies only in a straight line in front of her.
The Special Attack gauge is filled by defeating enemies, collecting Force Fragments or drinking upgraded potions from the Apothecary. Characters begin with one segment in the gauge, and can gain two more by crafting Fierce Deity Mask badges in the Badge Market. The other type of badge which affects the Special Attack gauge is the Din's Fire line, which increases the rate the gauge fills when defeating enemies. Defeating enemies with a Special Attack does not fill the Special Attack gauge.
Force Fragments are found at random in grass or jars, or by defeating stronger enemies. The smallest Fragment refills a third of a segment, a medium Fragment refills one segment, and a large Fragment fully replenishes the gauge.
The potions available are improved by collecting Gold Skulltula Tokens. A Purple or Blue Potion fills half of one Special Attack gauge segment, a Green Potion refills a whole segment, and a Yellow Potion refills one-and-a-half segments, in addition to replenishing hearts. As of the 1.4 update to Hyrule Warriors for Wii U, and in all later versions, a "SP Replenishing" mixture can be created for 50000 rupees and 200 bronze materials, which constantly refills the Special Attack gauge for the duration of one scenario.
Age of Calamity
In Age of Calamity, Special-Attack Gauges can only be filled by defeating enemies. Each character begins with one Special-Attack Gauge segment, and can gain two more through certain Quests. The Quest Inner Knowing improves the rate at which the gauge fills for all characters. The Meals Creamy Seafood Soup, Deya Hot Pot and Creamy Meat Soup increase the rate at which the Special Attack gauge charges for one scenario.
Using a Special-Attack on an enemy will, if it doesn't defeat them outright, stun them and reveal their Weak Point Gauge.