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Aether Archetypes Tier List (Vantage)

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Overview

The objective of the Aether Archetypes Tier List is to identify and evaluate units that are suitable for the archetype's play style. 

Requirements

The main criteria for this archetype is as follows:

  • Damage done during Vantage.
  • Reliability to activate Vantage.
  • Damage done in Player Phase.

For more details regarding the archetype, you may refer to the Aether Archetype Guide for Vantage

For each tier, there will be 2 possible sections (if applicable).

  1. Units: For this section, only units with an exclusive weapon will be considered. If a unit is present in the tier, it is implied that we are referring to a unit's performance using his / her preferred weapon.
  2. Weapons: For this section, we are implying the performance of the generic weapon itself. Some examples of suitable unit candidates will be named. The suitable candidates will be a mix of budget and premium units.

Summary

In general, units that has a sufficiently high base Attack perform well in this archetype, as it influences the performance of the unit in both Player and Enemy Phase. This could be useful in not only providing extra damage during Vantage, but also the ability to take units out in the Player Phase. Weapons with damage boosting mechanics are also largely favored, such as the effects from Blade tomes.

Outside of certain notable examples, Vantage units are largely ranged units. This is mainly for Player Phase reasons; it grants the attacking unit target selection by taking out the most problematic unit on the opponent team. That could either be a hard hitting nuke that is too difficult to take a hit from, or a hard counter such as those with Hardy Bearing or Firesweep.

That is not to say that melee Vantage could not be successful. For the most difficult set-ups, the damage dealt by the nukes are way too high for even a tank to handle. As such, special disruption such as Pulse Smoke or smart usage of Halloween Hector's Duo Skill could be imperative for the melee Vantage's survival in a high pressure situation.

Tier 1

Units / Weapons in this tier exhibits a remarkable level of consistency against the most difficult set-ups.

Units
Weapons

The following are weapons that are considered in this tier. Examples of compatible units for the weapon are also listed below.

Broadleaf Fan+

Tier 2

Units / Weapons in this tier works well against most set-ups. They might struggle against more adept defensive set-ups which make an effort to counter against the archetype.

Units
Weapons

The following are weapons that are considered in this tier. Examples of compatible units for the weapon are also listed below.

Blade Tomes (Red, Blue, Green)

Tier 3

Units / Weapons in this tier do work in some set-ups, however they lack the consistency when compared with the other units or weapons in the higher tiers.

Units
Weapons

The following are weapons that are considered in this tier. Examples of compatible units for the weapon are also listed below.

Tier List Explanations

Tier 1

Laevatein

Laevatein’s weapon is essentially a Blade Tome effect on a melee weapon, and the offense boost granted by a Blade Tome could not be understated. The sheer power of her sword grants her immense power in the Player Phase and Enemy Phase alike. Being a melee unit also allows her to have higher bulk compared to most of her ranged Blade counterparts, meaning she is often able to enter the Vantage HP threshold with ease assuming the enemy’s Specials are disrupted. This does meant that against more adept set-up, Pulse Smoke would be highly crucial to Laevatein's ability to take hits.

Laevatein still needs to wary of buff nullifications such as those from Lulls, and Panic sources. However, as ranged units could not inherit Dull Close, and the Lull skills are much more difficult to obtain, Laevatein is much more difficult to counter than traditional Blade tome users. 

Keaton

Keaton works very similarly to Laevatein, as his weapon, Wolfskin Fang, provides him sheer firepower that can sometimes match hers by hitting twice in both Player and Enemy Phase. Keaton also possess the advantage of being a melee unit with additional bulk when compared to a ranged unit, though his weapon allows him to charge Specials much faster than his peers. This grants him the ability to run defensive Specials such as Sacred Cowl, Aegis, and Miracle, and further improves his ability to take hits. Similar to most melee Vantage units, using Pulse Smoke would further enhance Keaton's ability to take hits and retaliate.

Keaton would however, struggle to break down Brave Ike, as Urvan neuters Keaton's double attack rather badly despite Ike's color disadvantage. This is especially problematic for Keaton, as he does not have any other damage boosting mechanics outside of his double attacks. 

Tharja

Tharja’s weapon, Tharja's Hex, is a personalized Blade Tome without the cooldown penalty, which is already amazing unto itself. Furthermore, her personal tome’s refine effect further debuffs her foes’ Attack and Speed by 4 in combat on both phases, making Tharja not only more durable when attacked but also more likely to out-speed enemies. This boosts not only her reliability in entering Vantage range, but also her ability to KO prominent threats in player phase.

She does, however, share some similar problems with other Blade Tome units, as she is susceptible to Panic and Buff Nullification – Dull Ranged is especially problematic for her due to the accessibility of the Skill. She still stands out among Blade tome users, though, as she has additional benefits over them with no extra drawbacks.

Halloween Hector

Halloween Hector is not a traditional Vantage unit; he does not rely on attacking the opponent on the Player Phase to sweep foes using Vantage once he’s in the proper HP range. His Duo Skill allows him to essentially activate a Bolt Tower on demand, therefore negating the need for him to deal heavy damage in Player Phase in order to then KO on Enemy Phase. It also is capable of disrupting most Specials that derive charges from Infantry Pulse by disabling them before turn 1, which provides Hector with some degree of protection. Furthermore, his personal weapon, Conjurer Curios, also provides some synergy in boosting Hector’s ability to take the opponent out in a single hit due to the extra stats it provides him when they are damaged (or on odd-numbered turns). Finally, his high base stat total meant that he should be able to survive at least a single hit that is not special charged. This is applicable for even effective hits from armor effective mages, such as the likes of Micaiah and Micaiah with a ghost and Micaiah in a Yukata. The combination of all these factors makes Halloween Hector a phenomenal Vantage unit.

Kronya

In terms of consistency in activating the Vantage effect, Kronya is potentially second to none. Athame, Kronya’s personal weapon, will grant her the ability to attack first on Enemy Phase provided the opponent does not have full health. With the help of Savage Blow (C skill and Sacred Seal) and a Bolt Tower, this task is not difficult to perform. Furthermore, Kronya having a Vantage effect on her weapon means that she can use her B-slot to perform other tasks – boosting her Vantage damage with a Special via Special Spiral, or reducing the amount of units that counter her by using Null C-Disrupt are notable examples. Lastly, her Vantage requirement is independent of her HP. When coupled with her bulk as a ranged unit, Kronya becomes surprisingly difficult to take down even when specials were considered.

Her consistency, however, comes at the cost of firepower; compared to other Tier 1 Vantage units, Kronya’s raw stat distribution does her no favors in terms of damage output, and Athame granting a slight boost of 5 Attack and Speed when the foe does not have full HP pales in comparison to other damage boosting mechanics. Kronya also needs to watch out against healers that did not remove their assists, which could prevent her Vantage condition all together.

Broadleaf Fan+

Broadleaf Fan is a seasonal weapon that can be obtained from Summer Lilina. Not only does it provide the standard -7 debuffs to all stats that is pretty much universal of all daggers, but it also deals additional damage depending on the amount of penalties inflicted on the enemy. By default after the said unit attacks, the Broadleaf Fan’s effect grants an extra 14 damage from the dagger debuffs, and this could be further augmented by Atk Smoke and Spd Smoke. However, that damage boost is only present when there are debuffs on the opponent, as the player phase presence of this weapon leaves a lot to be desired without any support. This makes running debuff support imperative to ensure that the said Broadleaf Fan unit has some resemblance of a Player Phase.

When Sabotage is considered along with ploys and chills, it is possible for a Broadleaf Fan user to retain somewhat of a decent player phase by using a dancer with the said skills. This method of boosting damage is much more difficult to counter compared to Blade Tomes, as self-debuff nullification (such as the one in Idunn's personal weapon) is much less common compared to foe buff negation. Using a Sabotage (specifically Attack or Speed) on a dancer also off-load a potential C slot on the main unit (which most of the time, Pulse Smoke is preferred). The combination of the above 2 factors makes them one of the most consistent Vantage unit in Aether Raids.

Broadleaf Fan is highly recommended to be equipped on a unit with a high offensive statline (high Attack and Speed) for a much stronger Player Phase. This opens the possibility for the said unit to be paired with a debuff support dancer to potentially take 2 prominent threats out.

Legendary Leif

Legendary Leif shows a lot of promise as a Vantage unit due to two reasons. Leif’s personal weapon, Meisterbogen, allows him to attack twice in both Player and Enemy Phase, and prevents follow-up attack if Leif initiates combat when under player control. The protection from follow-up makes Leif more capable of surviving at least a single hit to get into Vantage threshold, and attacking twice in the Enemy Phase provides Leif a substantial damage boost to potentially sweep the defense team using Vantage. Leif’s personal Special, Njörun's Zeal, also provides him an extra action if it is fully charged, which is essentially Galeforce except it has 3 cooldown instead of 5. This comes with a drawback of only being able to move 1 space, which does somewhat reduce its potency as the amount of targets Leif can subsequently reach is largely reduced. The combination of Meisterbogen and Njörun's Zeal, though, makes Leif a potential powerhouse of a Vantage unit. The only glaring weakness Leif has is probably being a Cavalry, which could pose some issues against Dawn Suzu.

Tier 2

Matthew

Matthew’s personal weapon, the Spy’s Dagger, has a similar mechanic as Broadleaf Fan when refined for effect, although the Dagger Smoke effect reduces the foes’ Def/Res by 6 instead of 7. In exchange, Matthew receives a +6 Def/Res boost after combat, which is admittedly useless most of the time. Matthew also struggles with having any Player Phase presence even more compared to other dagger units due to his lackluster stat distribution. This is true even when a supportive dancer is considered. Despite this, as long as Matthew manages to set up, he could maintain some level of potency simply due to the weapon’s damage boosts after his first attack.

Gronnblade+ / Blárblade+ / Rauðrblade+ 

Blades have a relatively straightforward effect, granting damage scaled on the buffs active on the Blades user. Blade perform extremely well even without an A slot Skill, which opens up the possibility for aggressive Player Phase play that snipes off problematic units. Relying on buffs does mean that Blade users are susceptible to Buff Nullification such as those from Distant Def 4 and Dull Ranged, as well as sources of Panic such as Panic Manor. 

Nino / Olwen (WT)

As Olwen’s Thunderhead is just a Blade Tome without a cooldown penalty, most of the strengths and corresponding weaknesses mentioned for normal Blade tomes applies to Olwen as well. While Nino’s Iris’s Tome can be refined, the effect from the refine is not helpful for the role. This means that Nino would be recommended to refine for extra stats instead, which makes her not that much different from a standard Blade Vantage unit.

Wrathful Pain+

Pain+ Vantage units have only one objective; spread as much out of combat damage as possible. Coupled with Savage Blow on both the C-Slot and Sacred Seal slot, Pain+ units can deal up to 24 damage to foes within 2 spaces of the target the initiate on, with up to 48 damage being dealt with the help of a Refresher. Furthermore, the weapon’s out of combat damage works on both phases; it also deals 10 out-of-combat damage in the Enemy Phase, spreading out the chip damage even further. Unfortunately, Pain+ does not provide any additional firepower in the initial Player Phase, which may be difficult hurdle for most Healers with their relatively low Attack to overcome.

Reinhardt (WT)

Reinhardt was the first unit prior to Keaton that could attack twice regardless of Speed even in Enemy Phase using Meisterschwert. Simply on that merit, Reinhardt could be used as a Vantage unit. The extra movement he possesses as a Cavalry unit could be seen as a boon and a bane; although he can move across the battlefield with ease, he will struggle whenever he encounters certain terrain (mainly the Leafy Canopy terrain and trenches). It can not be denied, though, that Reinhardt is simply a less potent version of Keaton, considering Keaton has 6 more Attack. Due to both of these units depending on attacking twice and dealing as much damage as possible when they do, what might seem to be a small difference actually scales quite a lot. 

Ares / Eldigan

Ares (and by proxy Eldigan) is a dominant force in many game modes such as Grand Conquest, and the same could be said about his application in Aether Raids. His weapon Dark Mystletainn, is essentially Special Spiral on a Slaying Edge, meaning Ares could potentially charge Specials at the end of every fight due to the Special Spiral effect and the -1 cooldown. As Special Spiral requires the Special to be on 2-charge for the effect to be fully utilized, the additional cooldown reduction enables Ares to run what are typically 3-turn specials, such as Iceberg and Bonfire, which is definitely an improvement over 2-turn counterparts such as Glimmer and Ruptured Sky.  When Ares is in Vantage range, he is likely to be almost unstoppable, which is a great trait to have as a Vantage unit. He does, however, lack in terms of being a Player Phase threat without his Special charged.

Phina

Despite being a Refresher, Phinia’s stat distribution makes her rather attractive option for a Vantage unit. Phina’s weapon, the Rapier, not only provides the Vantage effect exactly as it appears in the B-Skill, but is also effective against Armored and Cavalry Foes. This means that her B-Slot is free to use other useful Skills, such as Null C-Disrupt or Special Spiral. Phina does, however, lack the Player Phase presence relative to other Vantage units, as her weapon does not grant her additional damage against non-Armored and non-Cavalry foes.

Valentian Catria

The main reason to consider Valentian Catria as a Vantage unit is her personal weapon, Astra Blade. As it takes the difference between Catria’s Attack and the target’s Defense and deals half of that difference as true damage, it is basically constantly activating Glimmer without considering the weapon triangle. The damage boosts of this weapon applies on both Player and Enemy Phase, which means that Catria can fully exploit the weapon’s effect to sweep the defense with Vantage while being able to take out units in the frontline. A lot of parallels could be drawn between Laevatein, Keaton and Catria.

One issue with Valentian Catria, however, is her weakness to bow units. This deficiency means that Catria might not even get the opportunity to drop into Vantage threshold should a bow unit take her out in a single attack. This means Catria is at the mercy of the opponent not running a bow unit, which reduces her consistency as a Vantage unit.

Tier 3

Gunnthrá

Gunnthrá does work to some degree as a Vantage unit similar to Matthew. The lack of the Dagger debuff effect on her tome compared to Broadleaf Fan and Spy’s Dagger, however, means that she tends to struggle more in terms of activating debuff, especially when considering losing Chilling Seal in favor of Vantage for this build.

Saizo / Brave Micaiah

Both Saizo and Brave Micaiah rely on the same mechanic: treating enemy debuffs as combat bonuses. Specifically in the context of them being Vantage units, this effect sacrifices firepower for more durability compared to Broadleaf Fan by channeling the debuffs into their respective stats instead of purely into Attack. However, as debuffs wear off after the foe attacks, Saizo and Brave Micaiah lose their stat boosts from their weapon effects if the attacked unit attacks, then gets refreshed. This can potentially prove problematic, as they rely on this damage to OHKO with Vantage.

Claude / Brave Lyn / Jeorge

These archers have personal weapons that are beneficial to the Vantage playstyle by providing a boost to both their bulk and their offenses at the same time. This enables these units to drop into Vantage range slightly more easily while also maintaining a decent Player Phase. Their Vantage damage leaves a lot to be desired when compared to the likes of Blades and Broadleaf Fan.

Kagero / Celica

While Broadleaf Fan is probably her best weapon choice, Kagero's Dart is a viable option for a Vantage unit. The weapon's special refine provides Kagero damage reduction during initiation, which could be rather helpful to lower her down into Vantage thresholds. However, similar to many of the other weapons of this tier, her Vantage damage is pretty lacking compared to the units in the higher tiers.

Celica's Ragnarok while does not provide any protection for her in the player phase, has an extra recoil effect which could also drops her into Vantage range with relative ease. Ragnarok does provide substantial boost in damage compared to other list in this tier, however it still pales in comparison to the prowess of Blade Tomes, which are the main weapon of choice for many magical Vantage units.

Jaffar

Jaffar plays very similarly to Pain+ Vantage users, due to his effect refined personal weapon, the Deathly Dagger, essentially doing the exact same thing with the added bonus of a dagger smoke debuff. He also could prevents counterattacks from magic users, meaning he can usually safely initiate on them. His low base 26 Attack, though, meant that he will struggle to OHKO with Vantage active, and his player phase is pretty much non-existent under most circumstances. However, the Dagger debuffs somewhat salvage Jaffar's potential inadequacies in Attack. Should Jaffar be highly invested, he has the potential to be a relatively decent Vantage unit.

Ophelia

Ophelia is pretty unique compared to many other Vantage units on the list. She could potentially rely on her personal weapon, Missiletain to charge specials extremely quickly. A notable use case would be to run a Tome Dancer, such as Azura (Young) and Soiree Rinea along with Infantry Pulse to enable a Turn 1 Area-of-Effect on Ophelia. This enables Ophelia to take down even the toughest of tanks. In a way, she plays very similarly to Pain+ Vantage units. 

However, Pain+ is likely more reliable to spread damage compared to Ophelia due to it covering a larger space all the time. Furthermore, using such a strategy meant that she could not run Miracle, which could potentially grant protection if things get a little rough. 

Odin

Odin is very similar to Matthew; a unit with a great weapon (Odin's Grimoire) for the archetype, but weighed down by his stat distribution. The difference is that Odin's stat distribution is actually worse than Matthew as he only has 22 ATK. This meant that he is weaker on both Player and Enemy Phase. Coupled with his weapon's relatively tame refine, Odin finds it difficult to compete against other mages with a better offensive spread than him.

Candlewax Bow+ / Pumpkin-a-Box+

These weapons essentially have a Fury 3 effect for free, meaning they provide the user with another means of reaching the Vantage HP threshold – through recoil. Although they likely won’t do so on their own, combining these weapons with other recoil-inflicting Skills may do the trick. These weapons also grants the user with the most Attack for an inheritable dagger/bow due to the extra Attack from the Fury 3 effect, which makes them a decent offensive option.

Ouch Pouch+

Ouch Pouch providing its user with two charges to their Special on the first turn could be decently helpful by accelerating Miracle or Area of Effect (such as Growing Wind) charges – having an early access to Miracle is very helpful as a back-up plan in case things goes terribly wrong executing the Vantage play, and Area of Effect skills could be potentially helpful by spreading more damage around the area.