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Welcome to another edition of Should You Summon, a secondary opinion piece to help you decide whether to summon for the latest characters or not. The middle of the month brings along another Gala Remix banner, which introduces two new units, as well as a returning Gala unit on focus summoning rates. Tying to the second part of the Faith Forsaken raid event, the banner releases the last apostle of the Northern Church, Basileus, as well as the leader of the Five Archangels, Sandalphon. The adventurer Gala Elisanne also returns on focus rate for those who have been unable to attain or summon her so far.
The Wing of War
Though he betrayed his comrades while performing the resurrection of Satan, the apostle Basileus now seeks to atone for his actions that have brought calamity to Grams. Basileus enters the game as the fourth five-star wand adventurer in the wind element, but the third to have a mostly offensive kit. While units Maribelle and Summer Sinoa are solid staple damage options within this element, neither of them have solidifed into the defined meta like units such as Gala Notte or Gala Ranzal. With the right tools then, Basileus has the potential to be an excellent meta pick for the element.
But I am getting ahead of myself there. First, lets discuss more about his overall adventurer kit, and in what way it synergises to create a defined playstyle for him. As an Apostle adventurer, Basileus comes with a sigil mechanic, tied to his first passive ability Michael’s Covenant. This inflicts the ‘Locked Sigil’ debuff for 300 seconds at the start of quests, and grants Basileus a unique force strike that can deal damage to multiple targets and enemies. The force strike has three charge levels:
- Level 1: 6 hits of 56% damage.
- Level 2: 9 hits of 56% damage.
- Level 3: 12 hits of 56% damage, totalling 672% damage.
This passive ability also creates a combat zone around the user and grants them one of two combat styles depending on whether any enemies are within this unique zone or not. If enemies are within it, Basileus will engage in close-quarters combat, otherwise Basileus will engage in ranged combat when no enemies are present. Depending on which combat style Basileus is engaged in, his standard attacks and the effects of both of his skills will be changed.
For his standard attack patterns, ranged mode deals significantly more hits per standard attack combo chain compared to close quarters (36 hits to 5 hits). The drawback though is that the standard attack of ranged mode will not deal as much damage and generate as much SP as those of his close-quarters combat.
His first skill Ventus Impalement (3,148 SP cost) will either:
- Deal 1 hit of 1,734% damage to surrounding enemies, reduce their strength by 20% for 15 seconds, and grant the user a defence amp (maximum team amp level of 2) while in close-quarters combat.
- Deal 4 hits of 280% damage to the target and nearby enemies and inflict stormlash while in ranged mode.
His second skill Spiritus Sanction (5,520 SP cost) will either
- Deal 1 hit of 1,980% damage to enemies ahead, dispel one buff from each target, and create a debuff zone around the user for 10 seconds that reduces the defence of enemies within by 5% while in close-quarters combat.
- Deal 5 hits of 307% damage to enemies in a line and inflict stormlash while in ranged mode.
Just from reading this information on its own, you would presume that, besides applying stormlash, there is very little benefit to stay in ranged mode when the overall damage output of its standard attacks and skills is less than that of close-quarters mode. However, reading further into the Michael’s Covenant passive ability, we see that the debuff timer for Locked Sigil’s can be reduced by 15 seconds per 25 hit-combo (internal cooldown of eight seconds). Ranged mode allows him to also gain hits rapidly, which ties into his second passive ability Hits = Overdamage. For every 15-hit combo, Basileus will receive an overdamage buff based on 30% of the user’s strength at the time (does not stack). Do note that this will be removed whenever the combo counter resets.
By removing the effects of Locked Sigil, Basileus will be granted the ‘Sigil Released’ effect, in which Basileus’s combat zone will be removed and instead Basileus will receive benefits to his skills, standard attacks and force strike, that combine the best aspects of both combat styles. For his force strike, it will now deal its maximum damage potential with only one charge level. His standard attacks meanwhile generate as much SP and deal slightly more damage than that of his close-quarter mode, while dealing 49 hits in one combo. His first skill Ventus Impalement will now deal 7 hits of 313% to surrounding enemies, and apply the effects of both his close quarters and ranged combat variants. His second skill Spiritus Sanction will now deal 5 hits of 453% damage and apply the additional effects of both his ranged and close quarters combat modes. However, instead of creating a debuff zone around Basileus, the skill will instead reduce the defence of enemies hit by this skill by 10% for 10 seconds.
With his adventurer kit explained, you may be wondering how best to utilise him to get the most out of his adventurer kit. Well, for the most part you will probably stay in close-quarters combat, and only engage in ranged combat to initially activate the overdrive functionality of his adventurer kit, as well as to apply stormlash. While ranged mode does have the advantage of allowing him to activate the benefits of his sigil released sooner, the downsides are too harsh of a penalty to make using. This is even taking into consideration the use of Gala Notte’s chain co-abiltiy combo = shapeshift prep, which would synergise well with Basileus’ significant ability to generate hit count via his ranged mode. The number of times Basileus would be able to dragon into a strong form such as Gala Reborn Zephyr before sigil released would, in most cases, not make up for his respectable adventurer damage, in combination with Gala Beast Volk’s excellent damage passive and respectable amp utility.
Overall, Basileus offers plenty of tools and damage opportunities that make him an excellent all-around unit within the wind element, even without his sigil released bonuses. He is currently the only unit to possess two skills that apply the stormlash affliction, allowing him to deal with the melody counter of the Iblis’s Surging Cascade fight on his own without too many problems. Basileus’s ability to dispel buffs within the wind element, even with just one skill, is great in an adventurer field that is still lacking in options without using skill shares. Applying defence down, as well as improve the survivability of his teammates via his strength down and defence amps, provide him another layer of support on top of his great kit. Basileus also possesses a reasonable force strike option with or without sigil released, allowing him to do decent shredding of the overdrive gauge during the berserk phase of the Legend Ciella fight. And when you finally can utilise the full effects of Michael’s Covenant either later into the battle or as an automatic unlock in certain fights, Basileus has some of the best damage potential within the wind element. If there was one downside to note it would be the lack of passive abilities which contribute to further improving his damage, such as flurry or punisher effects. While this means he may not quite reach the peak of wind adventurer damage output, I would still recommend summoning Basileus if you need to add an excellent damage dealer with respectable support capabilities in the wind element.
Wind continues to possess the best co-ability options to further boost damage in boss fights. His best backline options will come from the adventurers Gala Notte, Yukata Lathna and Mona, who provide a good mix of baseline damage boosts (critical rate, strength, and wind element damage respectively), as well as the ability to shapeshift into Basileus’s equipped dragon more frequently. Excellent alternatives would include the adventurer Nino, who comes with the baseline dragon haste co-ability and combo = critical rate, which increases her critical rate passively by 1% per 10 hit combo, to a maximum of 20%. A skill haste co-ability, such as Humanoid Midgardsormr, would be a respectable alternative to abuse Basileus’s skills slightly more frequently. Outside of these specific choices, any sort of equivalent replacement with the baseline co-ability would be fine if you are not in possession of these units.
For wyrmprints, I’ll suggest a standard damage setup popular within the wind element that will get you through most content with or without the curse of nihility debuff, and assuming the availablility of the poison and stormlash afflictions:
- Bloody Little Queen (+14% Critical Rate (Wand adventurers))
- Sweet Surprise (+25% Stormlash Punisher)
- Memory of a Friend (+20% Flurry Strength)
- The Plaguebringer (+25% Poison Punisher)
- A Small Courage (+20% Skill Damage)
- Savage Hawk (Lance’s Boon) (or equivalent Sword Psalm III wyrmprint)
- Any 20% Skill Damage wyrmprint available from Rise of the Sinister Dominion
In a heavy defence buff team, make sure to equip wyrmprints which provide strength and critical damage doublebuff to take advantage of them.
Gala Beast Volk continues to be the premier dragon for the wind element, possessing an excellent damage passive ability that grants adventurers 100% base strength increase, a 15% stormlash punisher and 15% poison punisher effect, and an increase chance of inflicting afflictions by 100%. His dragon form provides additional support utility with his team wide strength amp generation (maximum team amp level of 3). However, in content where the boss applies unavoidable afflictions, it may be better to run the dragon Gala Reborn Zephyr, whose damage passive, while slightly worse than Gala Beast Volk, is still a respectable choice for wind adventurers. He also possesses an excellent dragon form, which could allow for better break damage potential. For players missing out on these Gala dragons, your next best choices are Midgardsormr Zero or Zephyr, each with their own benefits and drawbacks when using them. Free to play players should stick with High Midgardsormr as their best dragon for boosting damage output of wind adventurers, whose unbinds can be farmed from the associated High Dragon Trial fight.
Angel of Information
While Sandalphon may be the leader of the Archangel dragons, she enters the game as a playable adventurer, wielding a staff to heal her surrounding allies. As the partner of the apostles’ commander, Regina, Sandalphon’s adventurer kit shares several similarities between the two in not only just affects, but skill capabilities. Looking at the water healer pool in general, Nurse Aeleen currently stands out as the premier choice, due to a combination of reliable regeneration, strength amps, HP up buff from her second skill, and a reliable defence buff to combine with doublebuff effects. Looking at the 5-star pool in general though, Sandalphon only has direct competition with Jiang Ziya, who only brings the unique capabilities of cleansing the burn affliction to the table.
While Sandalphon does not come in the form of a dragon like her fellow Archangels, she does come with a unique dragon gauge mechanic, as described with her first passive ability, Heavenly Wings. This replaces her dragon gauge with a unique shapeshift gauge that allows Sandalphon to assume her ‘Heavenly Wings’ form. While shapeshifted, Sandalphon’s receives the following benefits:
- Her standard attacks will fill her shapeshift gauge.
- Incoming damage is reduced by 50%.
- Immunity to all afflctions.
- Immunity to most debuffs.
Do note that this unique transform does not benefit from facilities, wyrmprints or affinity bonuses that increase the damage of her dragon form. This also means that wyrmprints or abilities which grant buffs upon reverting from her shapeshift form will not work as well. The second part of this passive ability will grant Sandalphon the ‘Coordination Protocol’ effect at the beginning of quests, and by holding her force strike, can change their effects every 1.5 seconds, cycling between the base effect and ‘Concentration Protocol’ effect.
The benefits that these two effects grant to Sandalphon is tied to her two skills, Angelic Praise and Angelic Wings. Both require the consumption of one of her skill gauges, which acts and fills like those that are present on the adventurers Gala Alex and Gala Audric. However, unlike those two adventurers, Sandalphon does not require the need to damage the target to fill her gauge. Her unique 9-hit standard attack, which requires the user to be standing close to an enemy to deal damage to them, will also heal the user and ally with the lowest HP with 5% recovery potency. Sandalphon can hold a maximum of 3 skill reservoir gauges at once, so players may wish to hold onto some of these charges if you require rapid healing via her skills in a short timeframe.
Speaking of skills, her first one, Angelic Praise, will restore HP to all teammates with 80% recovery potency, continue gradually healing them over the next 15 seconds with 20% recovery potency every 2.9 seconds, and activate additional effects based on which Protocol buff she currently has:
- Coordination Protocol: Grants overdamage to the entire team based on 40% of the user’s strength for 30 seconds (does not stack).
- Concentration Protocol: Grants the user the ‘Rapid Analysis’ effect, which can stack up to 3 times.
Her second skill Angelic Wings will instead restore HP to all teammates with 135% recovery potency, and activate additional effects based on the current Protocol buff Sandalphon has:
- Coordination Protocol: Removes all afflictions from the entire team and increases their maximum HP by 30% if an affliction was successfully removed.
- Concentration Protocol: Fill’s the user’s shapeshift gauge by 600 UTP(unique transformation points), or 33%, which on its own would allow her to immediately shapeshift into her dragon form.
When Sandalphon does shapeshift, the current state of her skill reservoir gauge will be saved and will be instead replaced by the standard skill gauges that her first and second skill variants now have associated to them. While shapeshifted, Sandalphon’s standard attack combo chain will be changed to the typical three hit pattern of most dragons, with each generating SP to fill her empowered first skill, Celestial Skewer, and her empowered second skill, Celestial Castling. Like their names suggest, their animations are similar to that of the previously released adventurer Regina, with some changes to damage modifiers and additional effects.
Her Celestial Skewer skill, at a reasonable SP cost of 3,940, will deal 2 hits of 1,329% damage to surrounding enemies. If the user at the time has a stack of ‘Rapid Analysis’, Sandalphon will consume one of them to restore HP to all teammates with 60% recovery potency, and immediately ready the skill for use again. Her Imperial Castling skill meanwhile, at an SP cost of 5,240, will deal 7 hits of 313% damage to surrounding enemies, inflict frostbite, and then inflict one of poison, burn, paralysis, stormlash, flashburn, shadowblight or scorchrend. Like her empowered first skill, if Sandalphon possesses a stack of ‘Rapid Analysis’, she will then restore HP to all teammates with 50% recovery potency, and immediately ready the skill for use. To help ensure Sandalphon’s ability to maintain her unique dragon form, or to have access to it at any point of time in the fight, she comes with her second passive ability, Combat Coordinator. This ability will fill her unique shapeshift gauge by 12% whenever her HP is restored (internal cooldown of 10 seconds). Finally, it is important to note that the Heavenly Wings passive ability allows Sandalphon to generate a defence amp (20 second internal cooldown) whenever her first or second skills, including those while shapeshifted, are used.
Like Basileus, there is a lot to take in with Sandalphon’s adventurer kit, and how to get the most out of her abilities. For the most part, unless you require Sandalphon’s supportive abilities while in combat, you should stick to using the Concentration Protocol version of Angelic Praise. The rapid analysis buff stacks she acquires from using it allow her to further bolster the damage she can perform while in her unique dragon form, which is the main way she dishes out the pain to her enemies. Thankfully, due to her ability to fill her dragon gauge with her standard attacks while in her Heavenly Wings form, and her Combat Coordinate passive ability, she has no troubles maintaining it, even without other dragon haste effects. As such, most players should utilise her dragon form as much as possible for damage purposes, and only exit when you require her healing abilities to remove effects such as corrosion or affliction on allies, to heal up a damaged ally, or to grant the entire team overdamage if needed. You can also consider exiting her shapeshift form to build up stacks of Rapid Analysis again to deal a significant burst of damage upon shapeshift.
Overall, Sandalphon upholds excellent healing capabilities to rival those within the water element but has the added advantage of having a decent damage option in her Heavenly Wings form. Her potent regen from her first skill should allow her to bypass the Corrosion debuff checks in Rise of the Sinister Dominion contents, but just in case there is a strong variant of it, her ability to hold multiple skill gauge reservoirs allows her to have incredible burst healing potential. She also has strong burst damage options thanks to the usage of her Rapid Analysis buff stacks in dragon form, allowing her to contribute more significantly to the team’s damage than what most healers are capable of. This also has the added advantage of allowing her to output further raw healing upon consumption of one of these stacks. She has some excellent utility options as well, as being the only permanent water healer with overdamage, the ability to cleanse any affliction that an adventurer may have, apply afflictions while in dragon form, and generate defence amps to increase the team’s survivability.
Her only significant downside is her inability to utilise any other dragon form besides her unique Heavenly Wings form. In content without the Curse of Nihility debuff, healers commonly utilise the dragon form of Gaibhne and Credence, as the buff zone it summons allows support and damage adventurers to receive a skill charge buff whilst standing within its zone. Enabling them to output skills faster can lead to significantly quicker times in content such as the Legend Ayaha and Otoha fight. If you are not too concerned with that though, I can recommend summoning for Sandalphon if you are not in possession of a solid water healer like Nurse Aeleen, or you want a healer that possesses a lot of great tools for current and most likely future endgame content.
Co-abilities that allow Sandalphon to gain more skill points to utilise skills more often, such as the skill haste co-ability found on bow adventurers, should be at the top of the list for healing units. To increase the efficacy of her heals, co-abilities which provide buff time can also be recommended. While there is no on-element choice when it comes to a buff time co-ability, water adventurers such as Gala Mascula, Summer Estelle and Renee all possess chain co-abilities which increase the time of her buffs. These three units also provide co-abilties which can bolster Sandalphon’s damage output, so you can best optimise for both scenarios.
I will recommend two wyrmprint setups here. The first will focus primarily on damage output, and assumes you have great uptime on frostbite, an affliction commonly found on water adventurers:
- Emissaries of the Heavens (+20% Flurry Strength)
- Moonlight Party (+22% Critical Damage when HP = 70% or above)
- Springtime Breeze (+40% Skill Damage (Staff))
- His Clever Brother (+20% Frostbite Punisher)
- The Queen of the Knife (+10% Flurry Devastation)
This second build primarily focuses on Sandalphon maximising her skill haste and buff time, to ensure that none of her allies are ever in danger of being knocked out in battle:
- Once in a Lifetime (+9% Skill Haste (Water))
- Jewels of the Sun (+8% Skill Haste)
- Study Rabbits (+8% HP)
- Bellathorna (+20% Buff Time)
- From Whence He Comes (+20% Buff Time)
When considering raw damage alone, Gala Reborn Poseidon continues to be the go-to meta dragon pick for water adventurers, due to his excellent damage passive which grants adventurers a base 70% strength upgrade and a 30% elemental damage modifier if they receive 10% of their associated dragon gauge. It is hard to deny though that Gaibhne and Creidhne being an excellent all-round choice, as the dragon provides a 45% strength passive boost, but most importantly, the skill recharge passive. This fills the specific skill gauge of a skill that Sandalphon has just use by 35%, allowing her to user her healing and supportive abilities more frequently. Halloween Maritimus is also an decent choice when it comes to supportive functionality, as he provides a 35% skill haste boost and a 30% HP increase to water attuned adventurers, both of which are valuable for healers in general. Your best free to play option is High Mercury, who provides a baseline 40% HP and strength boost to water adventurers with her fifth unbind, and a surge of strength effect which grants a 40% strength buff (immune to Curse of Nihility) for the first 3 minutes of a quest. This dragon and her required unbinds can be grinded from the associated High Dragon Trial fight.
The Grand Paladyn Returns
The adventurer Gala Elisanne continues to be an exceptional staple option for support utility in the water element. Her first skill Holy Accord, while at a reasonably high SP cost of 4,377, provides an great 30% strength buff to water-attuned allies for 15 seconds, which is split into two separate icons. One of which, being immune to Curse of Nihility, provides a small regenerative buff and a 15% strength boost. Her second skill meanwhile Celestial Ascent, which is automatically filled over time by activating her Divine Oath passive ability, will deal 3 hits of 1,375% damage, increase the user’s energy level by 3, increase the entire team’s flame resistance by 30% for 30 seconds, grant all teammates a one-use shield nullifying damage less than 30% of their HP, and grants a strength amp (internal cooldown of 30 seconds, maximum team amp level of 3). Speaking of her Divine Oath ability, it will grant Elisanne the ‘Divine Revalation’ buff for 13 seconds whenever she executes a 10-hit combo, connects a force strike, or uses a skill. This effect (not stackable) will increase her defence by 20% (does not activate doublebuff effects), and will grant knockback immunity, on top of charging her second skill. Finally, her Primed Strength passive ability increases the strength of the currently controlled adventurer by 15% for 10 seconds whenever their initial skill is ready (15 second internal cooldown).
Overall, Gala Elisanne possesses an all-around kit that, while making her a master of none, allows her to do many tasks well enough to be considered a unit worth running in many scenarios. Her strength and defensive buffs ensure that her surrounding allies not only dish out more pain to their enemies but give more wriggle room to make mistakes without being reduced to ashes. This survivability is particularly great in fights where the boss likes to buff themselves with strength, or they unleash powerful attacks. Her primed strength and significant second skill damage modifiers meanwhile allow her to at times deal some respectable damage on top of her support options. As such, I would recommend summoning for Gala Elisanne, as she is currently one of the best buff units in the water element and provides excellent utility outside of it for many autos or cooperative scenarios.
On Summoning Rates and Wyrmsigils
- Gala Remix banners have boosted rates to summon any 5-star permanent adventurer or dragon from 4% to 6%.
- All focus adventurers have an individual summon focus rate of 0.5%.
- Besides the three focus adventurers, the dragons Nimis and Midgardsormr Zero can also be sparked from the banner.
- Note: A daily free tenfold event is ongoing during this summon banner. As such, you will get 3 days of tenfold summons, so it would be wise to hold off on spending on any currency, if you do wish to summon, until close to the end of the tenfold.
Final Verdict: Summon if you have the summoning currency to spare
All three adventurers will make excellent additions to your water and wind element rosters. However, you should be warned that we are about approach limited season. This is a 4-month period of time in which limited summon banners based on Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s festivities will be released each month, with a collaborative event to top it off at the end of January. We may also have a Valentine’s banner in February, adding further to this limited season. While last year’s seasonal units were not spectacular for the most part, if the upcoming limited seasonal are anything like the Summer Hinomoto units, I would highly suggest holding back on spending your summoning currency, unless you have a plethora of it, so you not only pick them up on focus rate the first time they appear, but juggle it with new unit Gala banners on top of it. Otherwise, you may have to wait for a significant amount of time before they are summonable again, and at the danger of non-focus rates.