Today we’ve got our first Earth Ranger since Bellona, Pavel. He is a speedster (125 base Speed) Ranger with a guaranteed ATK+ AoE, and can burn 20 Souls for an immediate extra turn on it. This allows him to use his S3 to deal high non-transferrable damage, making him a primary counter for the commonly-seen Seaside Bellona. In addition, he possesses Speed scaling and a standard S1 blind chance of 75%.
The normal banner mechanics apply:
No other 5* Heroes can be pulled on his banner
121 pulls guarantees you a Pavel, regardless of the rates
Your actual chance to pull him before you reach the pity summon timer of 121 pulls is ABOUT 61.9% (this is no guarantee, just the odds of getting there in 120 summons or fewer)
There IS a rate-up Artifact on this banner - Pavel’s necklace, Dux Noctis
Pavel is a non-limited Earth ranger with access to the strong suite of Ranger artifacts. He has Speed scaling and an insane innate speed of 125 to destroy Seaside Bellona or other squishy targets before they can get a turn. In addition, he deals a significant amount of damage on his AoE due to always having ATK+. His spike damage on S3 is also nothing to sneeze at.
However, those abilities come with a corresponding price tag -
Pavel has no survival in his kit, making him a do-or-die hero. He requires 20 Souls to burn in order to reach his maximum potential, forcing you to have a mage on the team with Tagehel’s Ancient Book. His S2 being AoE also leaves him highly vulnerable to the counter-bruisers commonly seen in the arena meta (Charles will correct his posture with just one hit.). It will likewise charge Seaside Bellona’s gauge by 4 units. If he doesn’t manage to kill her with his S2-S3 combo, he will also end up proccing her AoE reprisal.
Outside of PvP/GW, he also has limited use, as he is basically an Earth DPS hero - bosses and elites are specifically immune to his anti damage-transfer ability.
As an Earth ranger, regular Bellona supplants him in terms of versatility and even damage, as she brings both a Defense Break and max-health based damage on her S1. In addition, she has access to all of the same artifacts that Pavel has.
Pros & Cons
PROS (reasons to pull)
Anti Damage-Transfer on S3 (Ignores SS Bell’s passive, Aurius, etc.)
Strong AoE S2 with Extra Turn soulburn
Very high base Speed, with regular Speed scaling
S2-S3 combo always fully benefits from ATK+
Good artifact selection
High blind chance on S1
That being said, there are also cons to pulling right now.
CONS (reasons NOT to pull)
Requires Soulburn (20 souls) to Extra Turn
Weak to counters - especially Charles
AoE’s and attacks stack SS Bellona’s gauge
Squishy with no innate survivability or sustain
No PvE niche
In addition, there are the following things to consider at this specific time -
SS Bellona is often accompanied by counter-bruisers, who can shut down Pavel pretty hard. ML Ken can turn that pretty face into a pretty paste.
You might have just pulled regular Bellona from the last banner
You are not interested in PvP/GW or don’t have problems with SS Bellona/damage-sharing artifacts
Dux Noctis Rate-Up
The current rate-up Artifact, Dux Noctis, is a damage artifact that scales with your team’s crits, getting increasingly better as more heroes crit. It is noticeably slow to stack, as at max, it requires 12 critical hits to cap out at a value of 24%. Even more likely, you’ll be stuck at the soft cap of 18% increased ATK.
My verdict is that this artifact is not worth it. For those long, grueling PvE battles, you’ll want something like Daydream Joker instead, and a slow-stacking artifact has no place in PvP outside of Hell Cutter gigs. Also, if your team has doled out 12 critical hits, the enemy team is likely already dead.
If you DO pull Pavel, here’s a short recommended build for him.
Recommended Sets - Speed, Immunity (for FCecilia and provokers)
Substats - CDmg, CChance, ATK, Speed
Recommended Artifacts - Portrait of the Saviors/Exorcist’s Tonfa OR Iron Fan (for specializing)
Pavel needs Speed to go before Seaside Bellona or other important threats. With a base Speed of 125, he can comfortably go before most other Heroes as long as he has a Speed set and not-completely-abysmal Speed substats. (The only heroes to outspeed Pavel are Kayron, Assassin Cidd, Celeste, AColi, and CMRin - he is still within 4 base speed of them all. The only ones threatening to him in that lineup are Kayron, AColi, and possibly Celeste in a Dodomi team. ACidd can also notably deny him the souls that he needs if fast enough.)
TL;DR, Pavel can go before his intended targets and is also unlikely to be denied the first turn.
As far as artifacts go, Exorcist’s Tonfa and Portrait of the Saviors will serve you well. If you absolutely, positively, must only kill Ice heroes, take Iron Fan. For those of you feeling more adventurous and/or lucky, Pavel can also guarantee a high-damage AoE proc from Reingar’s Special Drink.
Pavel is a strong AoE and single-target DPS. He brings a unique brand of damage that is hard to mitigate and he also has the Speed to back it up. He suffers in PvE for his overspecialization in PvP, but if you’re looking for a niche tool - this is it, chief.
Just be careful that you don’t get slapped by unfortunate counters - Pavel is ~102nd place in terms of HP, and is 126th place in terms of defense. He WILL die.