A brief history of Passenger’s shocking gameplay: From bottom to middle tier
Real life references aside, Passenger has been famous in fandom and generating many memes.
Passenger received a lot of hate and slander upon launch, declared as “yellow waste” and “the worst 6*.” So did Hypergryph, for implementing terrible decisions and gameplay. In fact, during Passenger’s release, Chain Casters were actually buffed, but it was so insignificant that nobody talked about it afterwards. Hypergryph really did Passenger dirty. (They did the 5* Chain Caster Leizi even dirtier, but I will perhaps leave that for when the Chain Caster module happens.)
They did Passenger so dirty until a cult started on Bilibili, which even made Jesus and God related copypastas (about Genesis and seven sins). “God is kind, so God does not kill.”
Anyway, did you know that Hypergryph looks at memes and discuss them? Thanks to Chinese fans making enough noise, Hypergryph decided to buff Passenger. I mean, a high school student who was first to finish his gaokao (high school final exams) even requested a Passenger buff on national TV in China.
The next Chain Caster buff came with Dossoles Holiday, and unlike the first buff, it was very well received. The difference in Passenger’s increased DPS was easily apparent, and the hate had reduced a lot. Any slander that continues to exist would be unreasonable. Passenger can even solo DPS at Risk 18 in CC Wild Scales as a result. (The Passenger cult grows. God regains his power.) For EN, Reno D also started making more Passenger videos. Have to thank him for being the only reliable person who makes good Passenger showcases while others were slamming him to no end.
Since the Dossoles Holiday buff for Chain Casters worked so well, it is likely Hypergryph took this as a reference for the Chain Caster modules during Near Light. This increased Passenger’s DPS even more (God has gained even more power), placing Passenger as the second-best Caster (as agreed by the Arknights community) tied with Ceobe.
This means that Passenger eventually becomes a mid-tier Caster who offers a large range, high burst during Skill, and lots of crowd-control.
Recently, during Crimson Solitaire (new Integrated Strategies), Passenger even makes it to the top three casters. He has gone so far.
With this, nicknames like “Godsenger”, “Passenjesus” and "Passengod" have become solidified in EN too, especially on Reno D's videos. But it is not easy to utilize such power. I had to watch many Bili videos to learn, so let me show you what I have learnt.
Chain Caster buff explained
These are traits for Chain Casters in general. It applies for Passenger, Leizi and, later on, Pudding.
Original: Attack deals Arts Damage and jumps between 4 enemies. Each jump deals 20% less damage and inflicts a brief (0.2s) Slow.
Post buff: Attack deals Arts Damage and jumps between 4 enemies. Each jump deals 15% less damage and inflicts Slow (0.5s).
Basically the decay is reduced and the slow increases by more than 2 times. It is very significant.
Passenger’s ATK has increased by 78, making his ATK higher than Eyjafjalla. Max-level Passenger has 689 ATK after his buff, while max-level Eyjafjalla has 644.
|Original skill damage||Current skill damage||Percentage increase|
|Touch of Static (S1)||50885||61085||20.05%|
|Focus Command (S2)||57859||70986||22.69%|
|Glorious Shards (S3)||17563||20592||17.25%|
S3’s damage is of course lower than S1 and S2 due to the short duration. Note this, for if we ever compare his Skill damage to other operators, Passenger will surely lose and this will not be a fair comparison. However, he will win in Skill DPS and kills faster than everyone else.
Which Passenger Skill to use? Glorious Shards (S3) takes center stage in all the gameplay videos for its high burst and large range. Focus Command (S2) actually gives Passenger more consistent damage over time and chains 1 more enemy, so it is not bad either. However, “damage over time” is really not Passenger’s strength, so generally I do not use it. His strength lies in burst damage, which S3 provides. As for S1, it provides more Slow. While useful, it sort of becomes irrelevant when the module gives his trait even more slow.
These values exclude his Talents. The Talents are extended even further with the attack buff and reduced damage decay.
Mechanism Analysis: When attacking enemies with 80% or more HP, increase Passenger's damage dealt to them by 20% for 3 seconds
Lone Soldier: When there are no enemies in the 4 adjacent tiles, ATK +8%
The first Talent may be tricky to activate, though a nice bonus when it does. But the second is easily met if you play right: get rid of enemies before they come close. Passenger does this well with his Slow and S3. Or you can place allies close to him
When 2.5 anniversary and Near Light comes, Passenger will get a module (new mechanic that also arrives during Dossoles Holiday) that increases his Slow to 0.8s and reduces the damage decay to 10%. He also gets extra ATK and ASPD buffs. Lovely. But global players will still need to wait. I will write about this again when it comes.
Attacks deal Arts damage and jump between 4 enemies. Each jump deals 10% less damage and inflicts a short <$ba.sluggish>Slow
Passenger’s role in the squad: High burst crowd control from far distance
As explained earlier, Passenger is a mid-tier operator by now. He cannot be on the top tier with Eyjafjalla, Surtr, SilverAsh, Thorns, etc. Being in the mid-tier (Weedy, W, Suzuran, Saga) where he can do his job well and comfortably while being also easy and convenient to play.
He specialises in crowd-control with his Slow and his high burst. Passenger’s S3 has the highest DPS out of all Caster Skills. This means that he takes a shorter time to dish out the same amount of damage compared to other Operators. Besides this burst, his range is larger than most Caster Operators.
In a game where burst damage is highly valued, many players on the CN server are borrowing Passenger for CC and buying him with the 2.5 anniversary selector as a result. (It’s only after the first buff that Passenger has had such high burst Skill DPS. His numbers were previously too low for a burst Skill.)
Why is Passenger’s burst DPS so high? Here is the description of S3 at M3:
“Immediately generate a Lightning Storm centered on the target with the highest HP within a wide range, lasting for 4 seconds. Do an additional attack dealing 150% damage against a random enemy within the Lightning Storm every 0.5 seconds. Can hold 2 charges.”
This means Passenger attacks 8 times with 150% damage for each attack. The enemies just disappear afterwards compared to using other Operators, as fast as lightning.
This is the range of Passenger’s S3. He generates the lightning storm the size of the left picture, in the range of the right picture. The right picture is also Eyjafjalla’s S3 range. But Passenger’s S3 goes beyond that due to the nature of the lightning storm.
Note that Passenger is much not a boss killer. 4 seconds of burst is not enough to kill bosses. Not every Operator is a Surtr or a Chen Alter, and that is okay. Passenger is used more in regular maps, especially the CC dailies.
Let’s pit Passenger’s S3 DPS against the other 6* Casters. (Thanks viktorlab for the DPS graphing.) These graphs are without Passenger’s module, which means the numbers go even higher when the module comes during Near Light.
In both RES and number of enemy graphs, Passenger has the highest Skill DPS out of all Casters. However, due to the short duration of his S3, his overall DPS is not as high as other Casters. Still, he now has a decent position in the meta, and it gets even better with his module.
With higher Skill DPS, Passenger is able to get rid of enemies quickly before they can even attack. Passenger’s damage numbers can actually go even higher because it excludes the attack buffs from his talents. Lower overall DPS can be compensated with his trait of Slowing, which is useful utility, and the fact that his chaining can hit up to 4 enemies.
His other big disadvantage is high DP cost, but this is where DP batteries come in. Otherwise, the buff has done Passenger a lot of good and he can now live up to the name of a 6* Caster.
Another thing about the graphs I want to highlight: Although I compare Caster DPS across archetypes, note that different Casters have their own niches and playstyle. All Operators are good, but unfortunately, not all Operators are made equal. Eyjafjalla exists and AOE Casters are still not buffed properly.
-Eyjafjalla is still the best Caster overall, with high Skill and overall DPS.
-Ifrit has the highest AoE DPS and strong debuffs but also has her rigid line range.
-Passenger excels in long range burst damage but not so much in overall DPS.
-Ceobe specialises in countering high-DEF and -RES enemies.
-Carnelian may have the best skill and overall DPS over time but is greatly limited by her archetype and mechanics, especially that she cannot attack without a Skill.
-Mostima and Dusk, as AoE Casters, shine most when there are many enemies clustered together.
(In the graph, Dusk’s DPS may seem lower than Mostima, I am not sure how well the DPS calculator reflects Dusk’s Talent: Increase ATK by 2% for every enemy killed by Dusk or Little Instinct, stacks up to 15 layers.)
Cool things you can do with Passenger: As quick as lightning
After the history and numbers, let’s get to the fun part: gameplay. It is even more satisfying to see the lightning when the enemies disappear after being engulfed in light.
And as a Granblue Fantasy (casual) player, I am really reminded of Lucifer’s Paradise Lost when I cast Glorious Shards. I mean, huge columns of light and the same voice actor of Sakurai Takahiro. Another nickname of Passenger is also Faasenger since his lines have Lucilius vibes. He sort of speaks like Lucio in A Walk in the Dust. And this also naturally contributes to my passion for Passenger.
Huge range and attacking from behind is always cool
Passenger's S3 can hit enemies in all directions. Flexible targeting can be a big plus for Casters. The best position for Passenger in any map is the middle to experience the full glory of Glorious Shards.
Solo a single lane or even map and save deployment slot
When timed well, you can even save a deployment slot for maps with side lanes. But of course sometimes it’s tricky due to Passenger’s targeting. I admit that I messed up before and it’s frustrating when S3 hits the wrong enemy. Still, when it hits, it’s great.
Heck, after the module, there are more memes of Passenger solo-ing maps that last time only Magallan can do so. After the module, his Slow becomes as high as a Slow Supporter. Truly a lone soldier, like his talent.
Panic button: can even slay in the blue box
Passenger's high burst Skill DPS and large range allows him to kill enemies that one might have missed, which can potentially save a mission from failing at the last second.
Due to the enemies blending in with the darkness (which also makes the enemy invisible) for Near Light, I almost missed this enemy. Passenger’s S3 was a lifesaver and my auto was reliable.
Do cool chaining to reach places no others can reach
This is a new Contingency Contract daily map that appears during CC6. Passenger is excellent in stalling drones and the UFO. Highly buffed UFO requires a crowd control operator or two, so this is where Passenger will do well.
This is the difference between CC6 and CC7 (module):
-CC6: Passenger helps to stall drones. He also needs to use S3 to clear drones.
-CC7: Passenger chains and kills drones. They die before reaching him. Eyjafjalla barely kills the one outside Passenger’s range if they are highly buffed.
My MB-EX rerun: The chaining mechanic effectively gives Passenger a line range as long as Ifrit’s and even beyond. Eyjafjalla cannot reach this far.
Clear and stall enemies from far away
Most visibly during Sargon annihilation and Near Light maps. This map is NL-EX-1 challenge mode, so it is post-module. But the range is the same.
Passenger reaches further away and clears more with his burst. Eyjafjalla may have longer skill duration but sometimes her burst gets wasted, like in this scenario. (By the way, she dies later on because the enemies can approach her. But Passenger survives because he can stall or kill them before they reach him.)
Operators with good synergy with Passenger
Like a shounen manga protagonist, after all the tragedy he has been through, Passenger powers up with the power of friendship with his new colleagues at Rhodes Island. After spending 22 years in solitude at Sargon’s desert, he is no longer alone.
SP batteries: Ptilopsis, Saga, Warfarin, Liskarm, Saria
Many people complain that 30 SP for Passenger’s 4 seconds of S3 is too long. But it is actually alright as long as it kills the enemy. If it is any lower, Passenger may just break the game. Eyjafjalla’s status as top Caster may be in danger if Passenger’s S3 costs only 20 or 15 SP. Remember, Passenger has the highest Skill DPS out of all casters. Also, a short burst means that skill time is not wasted, which is an issue with Eyjafjalla. I find that a lot of her S3 is actually wasted. And then S3 has 2 charges.
Since Passenger specialises and wins in S3’s burst DPS, might as well try to let him cast S3 more often with the help of these SP recovery operators.
Attack boost: Eyjafjalla’s Caster buffs
Eyjafjalla’s Talent: When deployed, all ally [Caster] operators gain ATK +14%
Sure, Passenger gets compared with Eyjafjalla a lot. But why not use Eyjafjalla to buff his ATK? Anyway, I always bring these two Casters to clear enemies for two sides.
Attack and defense buffs: Skadi the Corrupting Heart
I don’t need to explain this. This can help with Passenger’s mediocre overall DPS and make his burst even better.
Weakening effect: Suzuran
Suzuran’s Talent: When enemies within Attack Range are Slowed, apply 20% Weakening effect for the duration of the Slow effect.
This means that if you place Passenger next to Suzuran, his Slowed targets will be weakened too. This gives both him and Suzuran 1.2x damage. Sweet.
Witherer supporters who reduce RES: Pramanix and Gnosis
While these two are the same archetype, they work a little differently with Passenger. They help to reduce enemy RES, which helps Passenger deliver more Arts damage.
Pramanix’s S2: Inflict -45% DEF and -26% RES to all enemies within Attack Range. She also applies a 30% Weakening effect to enemies with less than 40% HP within Attack Range.
Gnosis is a future 6* Witherer archetype that comes even after Passenger’s module. His inflicting chill and freeze can reduce 15 RES which can then increase Passenger’s DPS further. Furthermore, he applies a 25% Weakening effect to Chilled enemies within Attack Range.
Extra awesome post-module feats
These are things you can look forward to and enjoy as a Passenger user. The module may be far away, but these will be experienced on global servers sometime.
After the module, there is a new meme of Passenger decimating bosses in 4 seconds with buff army. The bosses include Patriot, Rat King, Talulah, Speaker, Jesselton, etc. With every new event, the compilation increases.
Buff army includes Skadi the Corrupting Heart, Warfarin, Saria, Pramanix and Aak. Nobody else can kill a boss this fast. Only Passenger can do it due to his highest burst damage per second.
After the module, there are more memes of Passenger solo-ing maps that last time only Magallan can do so. For example, he can solo all the crocodiles in RI-9 . Before the module, he required Skalter's buff. After the module, his Slow becomes as high as a Slow Supporter. Truly a lone soldier, like his talent.
With the new Integrated Strategies of Crimson Solitaire, Passenger easily cheeses the boss (spoiler warning for Crimson Solitaire) with constant S3 casting when he has the Hand of Spread relic that lets him gain 2SP per enemy hit per attack. This means every attack he gets 8 SP due to hitting 4 enemies. Constantly at 30SP gives unlimited S3. The wide range also allows him to kill the boss easily as he walks around the whole map.
This boss is extremely difficult to slay. Here is the stats:
-When not blocked, has chance to dodge physical and arts damage
-When blocked, is able to teleport behind himself while leaving a (spoiler) in his place
-Able to use skills that deal AOE physical damage, attacks and skills ignore some of the target's defense while causing Sanity Damage
-Will cost 30 lives if you do not kill him. Damn.
Many people are complaining about not being able to clear this boss. And there are many replies of ‘All you need is god and his hand.’ I experienced this clear for myself and it is amazing. It is otherwise brutally difficult without Passenger. Even without the Hand of Spread, his S3's wide range proves useful. Another closer contender is Rosa with her wide range bind.
Can't wait for Crimson Solitaire to come to EN someday!
Previously shunned and receiving a lot of hate due to Hypergryph’s poor decisions, Hypergryph has fixed Passenger and now he has excellent burst and large attack range, making him a valuable addition to your squad if you give him a chance.
(Now I’m waiting for Hypergryph to deliver justice to fellow Chain Caster Leizi and the AoE Casters Mostima and Dusk too. I think the Hand of Spread is possibly a prototype for AoE Caster module, which is quite good, actually.)
By the way, Passenger is expected to be on rate-up for the Standard Banner during the Dossoles Holiday event because this happened on the CN server. So if you do not have Passenger yet, have spare resources after rolling for Chen Alter, and are not too obsessed over saving for Nearl Alter, consider rolling for him.