Should You Summon: Winter Wardens
Disclaimer: The opinions below are written by GamePress and do not actually reflect Nintendo, Cygames, or the fairy Notte's opinions (probably. If they do, it was a coincidence).
Uggghhh. I finally. I’m not possessed by an ancient evil or a stupid robot virus. I’m not even a robot! I swear to Ilia, if this next banner features some sort of spooky possession, so help me, I’ll, I’ll...I don’t even know. I’m just too exhausted. Especially after that Gala Banner. So whatever, here’s Winter Wardens. I bet they’re all spooky monsters or something.
Until the Sea Give Up Her Dead
Oh my gosh, she’s so cute! I just want to hug her and squeeze her and- wait a minute. The last time I did that, I got possessed by The Ancient One! I- oh. Oh, that feels so, so good, Jiang Ziya. I...I think I needed some healing. I just kept getting burned, you know? But now everything is so much better!
I’m going to be straight with you. Jiang Ziya is going to take the HBH meta, and flip it right on its head, and she will do so almost immediately. And it all goes back to our old friend, Thaniel. As many of you are aware, Thaniel as been a perennial feature of HBH groups since day one. Nurse Aeleen did OK in Standard, but she just couldn’t cut it in Expert or Master due to her lack of a defense boosting ability or Burn purge for off-meta hopefuls. True, her HPS was vastly superior to Thaniel, but it wasn't enough. Thaniel’s kit, however lacking, was and is ideal for HBH. His S1 is a serviceable enough heal and Burn cleanse, while his S2 boosts defense, allowing himself and Lily to cheese the opening blast. The rest of his kit is junk though; with no Skill Prep, Thaniel is forced to run The Chocolatiers, and his passive Gauge Inhibitor is of dubious merit.
So why I have I spent a paragraph talking about Thaniel and not Jiang Ziya? Because Jiang Ziya is going to render Thaniel completely obsolete. That’s not to say you can’t still heal mHBH with Thaniel: You absolutely can. It’s just that it’s going to be much, much easier with Jiang Ziya. She is Thaniel, but better.
Let’s start with the S1. Both Thaniel and Jiang’s S1s have identical SP costs, and both are heals that cleanse Burn. They’re functionally identical, with the same recovery multipliers. Except that Jiang has a HP = 70% Recovery Potency passive, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The S2 is where the clear difference emerges. Now, granted, Jiang’s S2 has a higher SP cost. In some rare, niche cases, where teams were abusing, say, Valiant Crown or other Doublebuff passives, Thaniel has an edge here. But for the most part, you don’t spam Thaniel’s S2, you save it for key moments in the fight. So a slightly higher SP cost is somewhat irrelevant. Both S2’s provide 20% Defense for 15 seconds, but Jiang’s tacks on a Heal Over Time. That, right there, is reason number one why she is better: With her S2 providing healing, teams will recover faster and easier from mistakes. With Thaniel, for the most part, one mistimed heal, one party member taking a bit of extra damage, and that was it. The run was over, you were all going to die because Thaniel could barely keep up with healing demands. Having a virtually identical S2 but with a heal attached makes all the difference. Jiang can easily and quickly recover from minor errors and keep her team topped off faster, which really matters if you have a Lily, what with her HP conditional.
But that’s not all. If it were just the superior S2, well, Thaniel would still be toast, but that isn’t all. I mentioned Jiang’s recovery potency HP conditional. That...doesn’t matter as much as you might think. Honestly, most of the time in HBH if you’re healing up the party you’ve all had your HP tanked, and the conditional will be turned off. Oh well. No, that's not what sets Jiang so far above Thaniel he can’t even touch her. That would be her 100% skill prep. This instantly means that you have a free slot for a Wyrmprint. You can put anything there. Skill Haste, Dragon Prep, Buff Time, Strength Conditionals, the possibilities are nearly endless, and I don’t know what the meta pick is going to end up being. But it doesn’t matter. Thaniel HAS to run The Chocolatiers to even have a prayer in mHBH. That’s a limited print, and one that only helps in the first seconds of the fight. But Jiang could put anything there. Even Chocolatiers! (Please don't run Chocolatiers)
So, in the end, I’m giving Jiang a very enthusiastic maybe. Why? Because unless you are healing HBH or similarly challenging content, Thaniel (or Nurse Aeleen) is perfectly fine. Heck, Thaniel has been healing HBH for a long time, and he’s not going to magically lose the ability with Jiang here. But she’s going to do the job better, and when harder content inevitably comes out, she’ll be the one leading the charge. Again though, only if you want to play healer. Which if you’re like me, means Jiang is a dream come true. So long Thaniel, and thanks for all the fish.
Final Verdict: Maybe. If you want to heal HBH or other end game content, Jiang is the best. If, however, you prefer DPS, you can just keep letting the AI control a 4★ water healer instead.
Lily heard I was feeling bad, and used her ice to make me some frost flowers. She’s also a surprisingly good listener for someone so icy. Just don't ask her to play freeze tag. Never making that mistake again...
Despite more than a year’s worth of Adventurer releases, Lily continues to have a dominant place in the Dragalia Lost meta. She’s incredibly useful in a variety of content thanks to her ability to instantly use her skills, especially her S1 which can Freeze a surprising number of targets. Even against Freeze-immune bosses like HBH, Lily’s steady damage output and Co-ability have made her a consistent part of cutting edge teams, from the first clear of standard High Brunhilda to her steady usage in Master High Brunhilda today.
With 100% Skill Prep, Lily can instantly fire off both her skills. This is especially useful for her S1 Glacial Blossom which Freezes foes caught within it and has led to some infamous strategies that make several bosses complete cakewalks. Frozen Gale is a basic damage S2, which of course means that Lily most benefits from Water Siren to boost her Skill damage. She has the all important Burn Res that has catapulted her into most HBH runs, and a HP=100% 15% Strength conditional for even more DPS. Overall, a solid kit.
That’s not to say that Lily doesn’t have problems. She’s slowly being powercrept by new Adventures, and her personal DPS is actually somewhat on the low side, putting her about middle of the pack for Water DPS. She is also highly reliant on staying at full health, which is a serious problem in HBH where chip damage like volcanoes and Hellfire is inevitable. Still, Jiang looks to keep her party members healthy more easily, and that could really benefit Lily. Lily’s defenses are also made out of tissue paper and dreams, her being prone to suddenly exploding if her teammates don’t help her cheese various HP checks with Defense boosts or being forced to run sub-optimal defensive Wyrmprints.
Even with these flaws, Lily is still a strong, consistent Adventurer that can cheese a large amount of content, and keep her cool while doing so.
Verdict: Maybe. Lily’s been out for a while, and there are stronger DPS options available. If you do need a potent Water Wand, however, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better one.
Notte: Wow, after that talk with Lily and Jiang, I feel great! And Durant has promised to keep me safe from now on! They say he fights like...like a man possessed. CLEEEEEOOOOO! HEEEELLLLPPPPP!!!!! I don’t wanna be possessed again!
Despite my glee at the thought of having Jiang to play with, Durant is actually the Adventurer I’m most excited about on this banner, mostly because he’s a 4★ that has the potential to be quite strong. He’s a lot like Natalie in that he has phenomenal DPS potential, but is quite fragile and requires a great deal of skill to use. Not just because he’s always in danger of being one shot when he has both his Defense down abilities active, but because even the slightest chip damage dramatically reduces his effectiveness.
Durant is perhaps the first DPS focused Adventurer who has no innate skill damage at all. His S1 boosts Strength by 40% and lowers defense by 25%, while his S2 increases his critical rate by 30% and again lowers his defense by 25%. His passives give him 13% Strength and 17% increased crit damage when at full health. This makes Durant a basic attack machine. Don’t use Shinobi on this Adventurer, he’d much prefer Marishiten or Chthonius.
That said, I don’t foresee Durant taking Natalie or Ieyasu’s place any time soon. For one thing, with no Skill Damage abilities it’s hard for him to unload on a boss at a key point as he just has to keep tapping away. Plus, as good as his kit is on paper, HJP and MG50+ pack unavoidable damage, and that really neuters Durant. Plus, you know, Gleo still exists.
Still, it’s cool to see a 4★ Adventurer pushing the envelope. With Adventurers like Noelle and Emma also proving you don’t have to be 5★s to be top tier material, I have some optimistic hope that Durant will find his place in the meta. Still though, he’s not better than Natalie or Ieyasu.
Verdict: Maybe. If you don’t have Natalie or Ieyasu, then Durant is an obvious pick up. If you do though, he’s not replacing them. Still, as a 4★ he's far easier to acquire and can make an excellent budget pick up.
Sometimes I wish I could just skate by on life like Orsem. But then I remember that he often gets half burned to death by Mym when ever we need more dragon tails and stuff and then I think that maybe ice skating is a way harder sport than I thought it was.
Similar to Lily, Orsem was one of the original meta picks for HBH, and carved himself out a niche in the meta as the premier baiter. Those days are gone now though, with Summer Celliera mostly taking Orsem’s place, and even Gala Elisanne now taking up the baiter role. Much like Jiang is sure to do to Thaniel, Orsem has been largely put out to pasture. However, unlike Thaniel, Orsem actually has a pretty good kit.
With Flurry Devastation and HP 70% Crit Rate conditional, Orsem can deal out damage rather effectively, especially thanks to his Dagger Co-ability. He’s got double damaging skills, both of which have shockingly low SP costs and lend themselves well to baiting. His S2 can technically inflict Freeze, but most of the time that’s irrelevant as it can’t be used to instantly immobilize vulnerable foes unlike Lily’s S1.
Despite being largely outmoded by more recently released Adventures, the fact is that Orsem is still perfectly viable. You can comfortably use him to clear any difficulty of HBH, including Master, though be warned that you’ll have a much higher bar to clear than Summer Celliera would due to Orsem’s lower DPS and Overdrive breaking capabilities. If you’re willing to put in the work, Orsem can still perform, but expect to have a bit of a harder time finding willing groups than if you were running a more on-meta baiter.
Verdict: Maybe. If you already have a solid Water stable, Orsem isn’t anything new. However, for new players or those who want to try their hand at baiting, Orsem is a relatively cheap Adventurer to pick up, though the grinding investment will be steep.
So I found out that Kamuy’s fur is supposed to drive away evil. So, I’m permanently taking up residence on his furry back. Or at least making Cleo sew me a new dress out of his fur. I am so not taking any more chances.
While Kamuy’s fur might drive away evil, the truth is that he might just drive you away from this banner. He’s a Primed Strength dragon, being the Water incarnation of this cycle.
And Prime Strength dragons are sort of terrible. They offer only 45% Strength all the time, and a 15% boost when your S1 becomes ready. You’re better off using a regular Strength dragon in co-op 100% of the time. However, in MG and raids, buff stacking on your player controlled Adventurer instead of letting the AI have a buff they’ll probably misuse is a good tactic. That said, outside of that extremely narrow circumstance, you’re better off using another dragon.
Verdict: Really weak maybe. If you’re looking for a dragon for soloing and already have a Leviathan or Water Siren or even a Dragon Yule Jeanne (or better yet more than one) then Kamuy is passable. Otherwise, avoid him.
Like all 4★ Strength Dragons, Vody is perfectly serviceable for budget or newer players. You’ll eventually want to replace him with Leviathan or Siren, but even then he’s fine for slapping onto your AI teammates.
Verdict: Maybe. New or budget players only.
This banner has the standard rate of 4%. All units have gone into the permanent pool.
- Jiang Ziya and Lily both have a featured .5% summon rate.
- Kamuy is featured at a .8% rate.
- Featured 4★s Durant, Orsem, and Vodyanoy have a 2.3% rate each.
- Non-featured 5★ Adventurers share a 1% rate, while non-featured 5★ dragons are at 1.2%.
Final Verdict: Maybe. Probably pass on this one unless you must have Jiang Ziya right away or have a weak Water stable.
Honestly this banner isn’t anything special. Yes, Jiang Ziya is amazing, and will largely replace Thaniel. Durant is also decent enough to be worth getting. But having the forgettable Kamuy on the banner doesn’t do it any favors, and you’re likely better off saving your wyrmite for Christmas or other banners with more to them. Unless you’re excited about Lily or one of the 4★ Adventurers as well, wait for Santa.