A year ago it was Diene, Crimson Armin, and the exasperating “stall team” meta. Then came the crippling debuff meta with Dizzy, ML Aramintha, and ML Baal. Fast forward to today, and arena defense teams everywhere are filled with counter-happy Seaside Bellonas. Fallen Cecilias, and Arbiter Vildreds, plus speedy Basars also reigning supreme. Will Elena soon become the next meta-definer?
Whether you love or hate Arena, it’s pretty interesting to see how the meta evolves.
We crunched some numbers and analyzed this week’s Arena Defense meta to find not only the most popular heroes, but also the most common team formations.
In addition, we also collected data on average team speeds, which can be used as reference when forming your own defense and offense teams.
A Brief Explanation
Over the last few days we sampled 141 arena defense teams from Champion-rank arena (Champion I-V). We recorded each team formation and took note of which hero went first, along with an estimation of their speed.
Individual Hero popularity was ranked based on frequency; we counted the number of times each hero appeared, and divided it by the total number of teams sampled.
Team formations were trickier to analyze, because there’s a lot of possible variations. We used an algorithm to measure how similar teams were to one another, and then we ranked each team based on how many other teams were “similar” to it.
For this analysis, we made up two rules to determine whether or not two teams are “similar”: (1) the fastest hero on both teams is the same, and (2) both teams have at least 2 out of 4 heroes in common.
The result is a ranking of the most popular arena defense team “archetypes”, ranked by prevalence.
Individual Hero Popularity Ranking: Top 20
|7||Martial Artist Ken||34||24.1%|
|12||Ruele of Light||14||9.9%|
|14||Desert Jewel Basar||9||6.4%|
|19||Blood Blade Karin||4||2.8%|
Unsurprisingly, Seaside Bellona and Fallen Cecilia continue to be the #1 and #2 picks for arena defense teams.
#3 Basar is everywhere, but his nemesis Lilias is not too far behind at #6.
Compared to a few months ago, Arbiter Vildred has fallen from #1 to #3 in defense team usage, most likely due to an increasing number of counters (the most recent being Specimen Sez’s buff).
Out of the top 20, the only healers on this list are Maid Chloe, Ruele of Light, and Desert Jewel Basar.
Maid Chloe is now 3x more popular than Ruele of Light. As a more offensive healer thanks to her long attack buff, Maid Chloe’s rise could be a sign of the meta shifting further away from defensive stall formations to more fast-paced, bruiser-happy, counter-happy defenses.
I love seeing more people experiment with Faithless Lidica on defense. But personally, I think she’s more suited for offense.
Elena didn’t make the list because we took this data right around when Elena was just released, so most players are probably still building her. Will she rise soon, or will Basar shut down her combo by making her allies unbuffable?.
Most Common Defense Formations: Top 10
The first hero listed in each formation is the fastest hero and first to take a turn (e.g. Basar), for every variation of that team.
“Mean Top Speed” is the average speed of the fastest hero for each team in a given cluster. “Highest Top Speed” is the overall fastest speed observed for the fastest hero in that cluster of team formations.
Admittedly, our approach to sorting through teams isn’t flawless. Assumptions had to be made. If you’re questioning why Basar/F.Ceci/Charles/SSB isn’t ranked #1, then I’m telling you that the Basar/F.Ceci/A.Vildred/SSB archetype is similar enough that we’re counting them together!
Some teams may belong to more than one cluster if they’re similar to multiple “archetypes”.
|Rank||Formation Archetype (Fastest → Slowest)||Prevalence||Mean Top Speed||Highest Top Speed|
|1||Basar → Fallen Cecilia → Arbiter Vildred → Seaside Bellona||46 (32.62%)||237||257|
|2||Basar → Maid Chloe → Lilias → Martial Artist Ken||33 (23.4%)||235||250|
|3||Maid Chloe → Assassin Cartuja → Arbiter Vildred → Seaside Bellona||13 (9.22%)||196||218|
|4||Fallen Cecilia → Ruele of Light → Arbiter Vildred → Martial Artist Ken||12 (8.51%)||205||228|
|5||Lilias → Fallen Cecilia → Arbiter Vildred → Seaside Bellona||11 (7.8%)||207||236|
|6||Lilias → Assassin Cartuja → Apocalypse Ravi → Charles||8 (5.67%)||207||230|
|7||Assassin Cidd → Basar → Fallen Cecilia → Seaside Bellona||8 (5.67%)||250||263|
|8||Fallen Cecilia → Maid Chloe → Assassin Cartuja → Charles||7 (4.96%)||199||221|
|9||Desert Jewel Basar → Seaside Bellona → Maid Chloe → Arbiter Vildred||5 (3.55%)||233||241|
|10||Faithless Lidica → Lilias → Fallen Cecilia → Seaside Bellona||5 (3.55%)||248||253|
The most popular teams have Basar going first with an average speed of 237 (up to 257), followed up by a pain train of AOE bruisers. This formation is probably pretty effective because speedy offense teams have to think twice about whether they can outspeed Basar. A safer way to counter this defense is with a tanky offense team + healer that can survive the first turn of AOE attacks and eventually out-sustain them.
For people aspiring to cleave your way to Legend one day, you’ll need to reach 260 speed on your CR pusher (including imprints) to be confident against Basar defenses.
Arbiter Vildred is often paired together with Moonlight Dreamblade and Assassin Cartuja, because proccing a miss will mess up many cleave team setups. If you see these two together, better equip that Oath Key and pray.
It’s interesting to see Assassin Cidd finding a spot in the defense meta. Perhaps because people are also anticipating using him for upcoming RTA?
Faithless Lidica as a speedier replacement for Basar is hard countered by offense teams with Fallen Cecilia, since her barrier prevents immunity from being stripped. We saw some teams using both Faithless Lidica and Basar together, with Faithless Lidica acting as the main CR pusher so that Basar can be built a slower and with higher effectiveness.
These were the most popular heroes and team formations in Champion arena for this past week. The numbers show that counter-attacking bruisers are dominating the defense meta. If you don’t have a reliable offense team to deal with Basar, SSB, and Arbiter Vildred yet, be prepared to refresh a lot.