Aurora is the future 5★ Duelist Defender featured in the Edelweiss’ Vow banner, which will run alongside the Break the Ice event. Aurora is the first 5★ of her archetype, characterized by a heavy departure from the usual Defender skillset in favor of powerful damage abilities, to the point where many consider them to be Dreadnought Guards that happen to require Defender Chips to promote. As we will see throughout this article, Aurora shares some of the issues that Eunectes, her 6★ counterpart, has had since her release. We will explore how her kit attempts to overcome these issues, and whether these fixes work or not for her archetype.
Much like Eunectes, Aurora’s archetypal niche seems to be geared towards extremely powerful bursts of damage to duel threatening elite enemies with ease, but unlike the Dreadnought Guard archetype which was specifically designed for this purpose, Duelist Defenders are inherently flawed in their approach.
Duelist Defenders heavily discourage helidrop-style strategies by virtue of their insanely high DP cost and poor-to-none quick SP charging methods, as they will not be able to gain any SP while they aren’t blocking enemies (even from outside sources such as Liskarm or Warfarin). As we will also see later, Aurora both needs and punishes support usage, creating a really strange design that often turns her into a less useful Defender for way more DP than she’s worth. For now, let’s look at her stats.
Aurora’s stats are significantly lower than her 6★ counterpart in all but Defense, at which she wins by about 10 points. Her Attack and HP stats, on the other hand, are significantly lower, which is to be expected from the decrease in rarity, but still hurts her usage as the offensive beast she’s supposed to be.
Compared to regular Defenders, Aurora fares significantly better against Arts enemies thanks to her higher HP reserves, but suffers from a lower Defense stat as well. The worst part, however, is definitely her block count of 1. Due to this severe limitation of her archetype, Aurora can only act as a normal, tanky Defender intermittently and inconsistently.
If Aurora’s skills are currently inactive and under 50% of their required SP, Aurora will not attack normally and recover 3% (+0.5% at P5) of her Max HP every second.
This Talent is… questionably designed, to say the least. One of the biggest issues with Eunectes is that her Attack was far too high to consistently block anything that couldn’t kill her long enough to charge her skills in time. The solution to this was to simply face Eunectes backwards, so that she wouldn’t cut down enemies before she actually got to block them. Aurora’s Talent seems like a bandaid fix to this as it barely accomplishes anything: she will still need to be faced backwards to charge the remaining 50% of her SP, and meanwhile she’s losing on powerful attacks .
The HP regeneration is very good and the main effect definitely helps Aurora patch her archetypal trait, but it definitely could have been much, much better.
As a final note, this Talent also interacts poorly with her future Module, which will boost her SP recovery to 0.2 when she’s not blocking any enemies, diminishing the uptime of the Talent and the benefits Aurora gets from them.
Skill 1: Homeland Protector
When activated, Aurora’s block count increases by 2, her Defense goes up by 210% and gains Status Resistance for the duration of the skill. After the skill is over, Aurora is stunned for 5 seconds.
This Skill is able to turn Aurora into a really competent Defender for 30 seconds, but it mixes extremely poorly with her archetype as a whole. The massive Defense values she gets with this skill would let her stall enemies for other Operators to take down, but as previously mentioned her archetype practically requires no offensive support in order to continue blocking enemies for as long as possible.
In the end, Aurora’s massive bulk means nothing if she rejects the DPS that could take advantage of her stalling, and that same DPS would decrease her uptime to unusable levels when deployed, making even her 20 necessary SP take an eternity to charge up.
Skill 2: Artificial Snowfall
When activated, this Skill increases Aurora’s Attack Interval by 25% (to 2 seconds under normal circumstances), boosts her Attack by 75% and makes her attacks inflict the Chill status effect for 2.5 seconds. Additionally, attacks targeting enemies with the Freeze status effect deal 330% damage. The Skill has 9 ammo and ends when all of it is used or it is deactivated manually
This Skill is obviously designed to be Aurora’s heavy burst damage option, and on paper it works quite well. Despite the 20 second charging time (which, as discussed, turns into a lot more due to her archetype). 9 hits of 5.5k damage is truly nothing to scoff at. She can also inflict Freeze by herself, as the duration of her Chill infliction is higher than her Attack Interval.
In practice, however, this Skill is severely gimped by a multitude of factors. 5.5k damage per hit is quite powerful, strong enough to down most non-elite enemies, but this also means that the next enemy to enter her range will waste additional ammunition in order to be Frozen again, severely limiting her usefulness against many targets. This, of course, can be solved by supporting her with other Freeze-inflicting Operators (one of which, Kjera, is a limited time event reward, and the other one, Gnosis, a 6★), but then she runs into the same problem as with her previous Skill. More ranged DPS in her lane means less time blocking, and less time blocking means even worse uptime.
So, should I pull for Aurora? Is she powerful enough to overcome the usual difficulties her archetype faces? Can she hold a candle to other powerful dueling Operators? The answer is NO. Aurora’s skillset is interesting and not too terrible on paper, but in practice it’s extremely counter-synergistic with her archetype, failing almost at every turn to have any cohesion. It is extremely difficult to take advantage of Aurora and almost impossible to properly support her, and even when you do the results may be underwhelming. If you get her while pulling for Gnosis, I’d sincerely recommend ignoring her altogether.