There's a new banner out this week and I'm here to break down the various parts and talk through what is worth keeping and what to pray to the gods you pull. As with all tier lists, this list is subjective. We've got a lot of ground to cover quickly so let's dive in.
It's good to see a mid shooter with as much shot attack as Seabook Arno, and the passive part trait is really strong. Being able to reduce all enemy power by a max of 18% is insanely good. But the AI style isn't exactly the best on Seabook. Solo fighters are comfortable shooting a target first, becoming the focal point and getting slashed, but the role as a mid-shooter is interesting. Mid shooters have the unique ability to auto guard as they burst-move and it could mean Seabook can back out of a bad spot with a shield to keep shooting. Furthermore, Seabook's shooting attack is so much higher than the more defensive Christina Mackenzie -- the only other raw 4-star mid-shooter we have right now -- who is much more defense-oriented. This makes Seabook an all-out attack monster and now the best mid-shooter in the game.
Long shooter is a crowded scene at the moment, and with Amuro Ray being hands down the best long shooter in the game (with insane shooting attack power) and the not so helpful passive part trait of shot guidance, Dearka is a budget long-shooter with an Amuro style build and a sub-par skill. Mu La Flaga is more preferable with the part trait of bonus piercing, and the more balanced stats across the board. We just haven't seen a lot of value in the shot guidance. The AI still shoots lasers into the sky the moment an enemy drops into the screen. Rockets still curve very little if at all. Shot guidance just isn't something (at least at the lower percentages) that helps enough to push Dearka up a tier.
Overall: The Astray Red Frame build is decently solid overall. It's a pure speed build with some decent ex-skills -- most similar to the Exia build. It comes with higher than average melee defense as a major contributing factor and is most suited for an IN FIGHTER with average melee attack, better than average debuff skills (head and hands), and an insane leg moves. The melee weapon leaves something to be desired, but the legs... oh the legs. We'll get to that below. Let's take a look at each piece.
The Ex skill Igelstellung has a 2/3rds growth rate so this head piece isn't the best piece for upgrading to gold, but the ex-skill itself is pretty solid. Lowering enemy shot defense can certainly help in a 3v3 or supporting role. The stats of the head piece are strong, with focal points on melee defense and armor. We'd prefer the Exia head with recovery, but that might be the best head piece right now for an in-fighter in the game.
This chest piece has some of the best armor in the game. Sheer armor is more beneficial than melee or shot defense as it seems to be used versus all attacks, and since the Exia chest has the same job ex skill, the Astray Red Frame Chest seems to be a stronger version of that chest piece. Still, ex skill cooldown reduction isn't the very best passive trait possible for an in-fighter. While extremely helpful, a sheer buff to attack or an ex-skill buffing attack would be likely more beneficial.
The arms for Astray Red Frame don't have the very best ex skill in the world, but the sheer melee attack pushes these arms to S tier for sure. With as much melee attack as the coveted Barbatos arms, as well as a really healthy balance of melee def, shot def, and armor, these arms are second only to Barbatos for an In Fighter with the added benefit of giving a strong Defender build or Melee build some teeth. And the ex skill Lightning Ball can really kick out some damage, as well as making the opponent extremely vulnerable to melee attacks after a hit. Couldn't ask for much more for a melee build.
By far the best legs in the game for melee builds, the Astray Red Frame legs bring a last-shooting style move called BISECT with massive benefits to 3v3 and 1v1 team fighters.
Not only does this powerful hit blast an opponent for an enormous pile of damage, but it also heals an entire party (at cap) by 48% and buffs everyone's Melee attack by 29% at cap. Truly, this is the last shooting equivalent ex-skill for a melee build. And like the rest of the Red Frame, these legs come with above-average armor and melee/shot defense. Hands down, these legs are the best piece in the Astray Red Frame set.
While nothing at base 4-star should really be a B-tier item, this back piece is about as close as you can come. It's underwhelming in terms of ex-skill but that's actually a little bit refreshing because soo many sets seem to have incredible back pieces with amazing ex skills (Exia, Dynames, Nu Gundam) it's a little nice to see an A tier piece on back. The stats on the Astray Red Frame Back are decent, and the ex skill is the same as the Gundam back (double saber). So while this would be an upgrade to just about any 3-star base back, it's just not the best of the best in 4-star.
The Gerbera Straight comes equipped with as much attack power as the Mace and Barbatos sword, but with a more meh ex skill/part trait. What's interesting about this ex skill (also called Gerbera Straight) is the piercing -- which is rank A for piercing. As near as we can tell, Piercing essentially helps ignore a portion of defense, which means when we start seeing heavy tank-style gunpla released, having higher pierce may be essential to defeating some especially tanky foes. So for the moment, the Gerbera Straight is just a flat S tier but if we see a shift in the meta towards more and tankier gunpla, it may become as top-tier as the mace or Barbatos sword.
The Astray Red Frame shield fills in a gap for the overall build -- adding an in-fighter only part trait of reducing the enemy shooting power. While a pure Astray Red Frame build would benefit from this greatly (because the rest of the build is so focused on melee defense), a hybrid build between this and another set like the Exia set will likely not need this ex-skill trait and could benefit more from boosting the passive ex skill (Alie Strike or Gundam) or from equipping a powerful Ex Skill. The defense of this shield is certainly desirable, and it's certainly built to take the bite out of long and mid shooters, but there might be better options with a mixed build that already contains some hefty shot defense.
Overall: The Dragon Gundam build is a solid set for an OUT FIGHTER. Unfortunately, the out fighter is right now one of the worst professions in Gundam Battle Gunpla Warfare. You see, because Bandai has made such a great effort to balance out the stats of various gear, and because an out-fighter is supposed to be something between a mid shooter and an in fighter (something that prefers to shoot from short range but isn't afraid to do some melee damage), it suffers from a lack of specialization. Where a defender can focus all its gear on defense stats (primarily armor, shot def and melee def), or an in fighter can focus on melee attack and melee defense, an out fighter needs to be a jack of all trades (and a master of none of them). It needs enough shot attack to be decent at close range, but enough melee attack to put some hurt on when something charges, yet enough shot defense to take the ranged barrages from supporters, and enough melee defense to take close combat hits. Essentially, it needs everything, so it will never have gear that is incredible at one thing and weak at others. So it's not the strongest ranged, the strongest melee, the strongest tank, the strongest damager, etc. It's just not a very strong profession in general, so it's hard to get excited about gear that is all balance and no specialty.
The Dragon Gundam head comes equipped with a similar ex skill as Igelstellung, just lowering the defense of the enemy by less and doing so via a physical weapon instead of shooting bullets. It's a fine move for a head piece on a melee build, though any base 4-star is going to be more beneficial. But what is attractive about the head is how much shot attack it has. This is a strong bonus for an out-fighter, mid-shooter or long-shooter even if the ex skill isn't particularly beneficial for those roles.
The Dragon Gundam Chest has an excellent ex-skill in Hyper Mode which buffs both the shooting and physical melee attack of a fighter. Particularly useful for an Out Fighter who might alternate between shooting and close combat in quick bursts, especially with a solo/close-range style AI. But what's great about a skill like that is it can benefit a lot of different jobs. The tradeoff is, you don't get a more extreme buff of one thing (like a 30% increase in melee only or a 30% increase in shot attack only) making this more in the A tier than in the S tier. Still, this chest is perhaps better than some base 4-star pieces with lesser ex skills and balanced stats.
The ex skill for the Dragon Gundam arms is really interesting, though it seems to reduce the wrong thing. Equipped with a ton of melee attack, these arms are exceptionally strong in stats for a base 3-star piece, but seem to suffer from the out-fighter identity crisis (being good at two things is worse than being great at one thing). While the melee attack is excellent, the ex-skill blasts an enemy with a fiery storm that lowers the shot defense of the opponent requiring almost melee range to be effective. Had this ex-skill lowered the enemy's physical resistance, it would put these 3-star arms firmly in the S-tier. As is, the arms are a strong piece for an Out Fighter or an In Fighter with long or mid shooters supporting.
The Dragon Gundam legs are probably more in the A tier for specifically Out Fighters, but it's questionable. Close Shot Attack bonuses are helpful if you've got a strong close shot range weapon (machine guns I believe are the close shot range weapons), but an out-fighter would likely have better luck with a mid-range (rocket launcher) or long-range (beam rifle) type weapon based on how much shooting out fighters do. Still, with the right weapon equipped, this could be a strong piece for an Out Fighter. Stats-wise, these legs are pretty average across the board.
The Dragon Gundam back lowers the special shot power (charged shot power) of ranged enemies, but only if the wearer is an out-fighter. So for everything else, this is a C-tier level of gear, but for an out-fighter, it's solidly a B tier. It's helpful, with decent stats and above-average shot defense, but not mind-blowing.
Probably the most interesting piece of the bunch, the Feilong Flag comes equipped with an insane Beam Melee move that (in a supporting role) would be extremely helpful with beam rifle carrying mid-shooters or long-shooters. This attack pierces at the A- level (so that cuts through some serious armor) and has the added benefit of lowering hit enemy Gunpla's Beam Resist by up to 39% -- which is a particularly high amount. While this may not make the Feilong Flag the best weapon in the game, it puts it in the S tier conversation with the right supporting Gunpla. 39% is a lot of beam resist reduction, and if everyone is carrying beam rifles? Well, that'd be a problem for whoever gets hit with this thing in the first 3-10 seconds of the match. We'll call it A+ with S leaning tendencies for the right squad.
The Astray Red set is certainly better (in my opinion) than the Aile Strike and the X Divider sets, and on par with the Exia/Dynames sets, so certainly it's worth pursuing (at least those insanely powerful legs) if you are running an in-fighter. The Dragon Gundam set could be interesting on certain builds, particularly the chest piece, arms, and Feilong Flag, but suffers from the out-fighter syndrome (being too balanced all around) so you will likely find things that specialize in one trait or one stat that are stronger.
But the best pieces are definitely the Astray Red legs and the pilot Seabook Arno in this banner. So if you're gonna roll, that is what you're hoping for.
Good luck Pilots!