Mind tricks ARE counters dude. Trick you opponent into attacking, then block. Use an attack that is quick to recover from to get a reaction from your opponent, having an EX bar filled, the opponent does not know when you will go into EX mode. Use supporting attacks and optional combo starters (Shadow flare with Sephiroth and that Control system that shoots lasers with Golbez comes to mind), dash straight forward making your opponent block and then dodge back. Zidane can dash forward and either do a quick hit to Meo twister, grand lethal, or free energy. Whom all three is avoided by different tactics, thus making him unpredictable.
And dude, I play mind tricks when I play for challenge and against challenging opponents or when I'm having fun. When I'm farming I'm just slaying the opponent with cheap strats. Inward chaos is not that good when farming, Blackjack course in the colliseum is.
Want to get maximum AP? Fight a lvl 1 chaos with a full AP set of accessories on a bonus day or an AP+ day. All the items are 3x worth it since the battle is divided into three and you gain AP for each.
Yeah, Ex-guard is when you ex-mode while being assaulted. But you also talked about guard countering which is normally used. Since guarding with no counterattacking when you've clearly staggered the target after the block is quite useless. I'd rather dodge then.
Guard Counter is used in normal battles too and it is barely much of a trick.
However you even go as for to get an EX-guard? My characters all have EX builds and the only time I go into EX mode is when I fight in the Blackjack course in Duel Colliseum.
When farming these strats are just godlike:
Onion Knight EX mode build
Emperor Starfall spam
Warrior of Light EX mode build
Kuja EX mode build (if you can do the HP attacks correctly)
Zidane (Yeah, just Zidane)
Cloud of Darkness spamming 0-form particle beam.
Squall Beat Fang spam
Onion Knight Lai Strike build
Sephiroth Lai Strike build
Warrior of Light EX and Lai strike build
Those are the ones I use at least.
Well all the abilities is used for the character, I too play around since none of the A.I is challenging anymore. When I stop doing Bravery to HP chain and instead just doing Bravery to Bravery chain just for the fight to get longer I know I've already roflstomped the opponent.
Uhh... unconsiously strategise is strategy. I don't think of ways to kill my opponent on my spare time, that goes for thinking against counters in RTS games.
Like when fighting mages with Exdeath I know that I don't use Almagest after a block and that Grand Cross is alot better. That is using strategy. It's like Ex-canceling with Golbez, it's strategy to do devestating damage against your opponent. It's like Ex-canceling with Jecht which is just murder if done correctly.
Or luring your opponent to block the fire's your casting and then use Shield Bash against the fire, etc.