List of Changes - August
Nifl: God of Ice has been placed in Tier 1 (defense icon added)
Charlotte: Wily Warrior has been placed in Tier 2
Nyx: Rulebreaker Mage has been placed in Tier 2
Orochi: Merry Diviner has been placed in Tier 3
Benny: Sensitive Soul has been placed in Tier 2
Arete: Requiem's Beauty has been placed in Tier 5
Ullr: The Bowmaster has been placed in Tier 2
Surtr: Pirate of Red Sky has been placed in Tier 1
Naesala: Sea's Shadow has been placed in Tier 1
Vika: Sea-Dark Wing has been placed in Tier 3
Hinoka: Fair Pirate Pair has been placed in Tier 2
Lifis: Terror of Iz has been placed in Tier 3
Eirikia: Pledged Restorer has been placed in Tier 1
Marth: Prince of Light has been placed in Tier 1
Marianne: Serene Adherent has been placed in Tier 1
Gatekeeper: Nothing to Report has been placed in Tier 1
Pelleas: Ashnard's Orphan has been placed in Tier 3
Arden: Strong and Tough has been promoted to Tier 1 (from Tier 2)
Valentine's Henriette: Overflowing Love has been promoted to Tier 1 (from Tier 2)
Laegjarn: Sheathed Steel has been promoted to Tier 2 (from Tier 5)
Winter Tharja: Normal Girl has been promoted to Tier 2 (from Tier 3)
Winter Fae: Holiday Dear has been promoted to Tier 2 (from Tier 3)
Winter Cecilia: Festive Instructor has been promoted to Tier 2 (from Tier 3)
Zephiel: The Liberator has been promoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 4)
Effie: Army of One has been promoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 4)
Finn: Lance of Legend has been promoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 5)
Kjelle: Fair Fighter has been promoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 4)
Lukas: Buffet for One has been promoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 4)
Summer Ogma: Blade on Leave has been promoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 4)
Valbar: Open and Honest has been promoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 4)
Winter Sephiran: Hoary Sovereign has been promoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 4)
Bridal Sanaki: Apostle in White has been promoted to Tier 4 (from Tier 5)
Winter Eirika: Gentle as Snow has been promoted to Tier 4 (from Tier 5)
Eliwood: Knight of Lycia has been demoted to Tier 2 (from Tier 1)
Kempf: Conniving General has been demoted to Tier 2 (from Tier 1)
Sigurd: Holy Knight has been demoted to Tier 2 (from Tier 1)
Julia: Heart Usurped has been demoted to Tier 2 (from Tier 1)
Perceval: Knightly Ideal has been demoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 2)
Sirius: Mysterious Knight has been demoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 2)
Hel: Death Sovereign has been demoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 2)
Thrasir: Omnicidal Witch has been demoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 1)
Norne: The Volunteer has been demoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 2)
Legendary Seliph: Scion of Light has been demoted to Tier 4 (from Tier 3)
Sothis: Girl on the Throne has been demoted to Tier 4 (from Tier 3)
Naesala: Sky's Shadow has been demoted to Tier 4 (from Tier 3)
Weapon Refinery & Remixes
Ares : Black Knight <TIER 3>
Resplendent Eldigan : Lionheart <TIER 3>
Dark Mystletainn got a slight bump as it now gives him more damage and on-special damage boosts. However, unfortunately the build’s concept had largely fallen through the cracks due to the prominence of damage reduction, which makes the classic build of Vantage sweeping using a special much more difficult to perform. As the refinement does not fix the issue stated above, Ares and Eldigan stay in place in their current tiers.
Finn : Lance of Legend <TIER 3>
Finn’s double attacking in both the player and enemy phase might sound good on paper, but in reality is marred by his movement type as cavalry still lacks any form of enemy phase skills to augment the double attacks in the enemy phase. This meant that usually, Loyalty Spear is simply going to be used as a player phase weapon, which in that sense makes Finn not an upgrade over many of the modern lance cavalry in the game right now.
Bridal Sanaki : Apostle in White <TIER 4>
The combination of ATK and RES could potentially pose Sanaki as a decent magic check in Aether Raids Offense, and the potential boosts in her ATK is admirable. However, she shares the same issue with many of her movement class; skill access and allergy to bows. While her weapon does open her up to be used in some ways, she simply does not cover enough grounds due to her movement limitations.
Maribelle : Dire Damsel <TIER 2 (Defense)>
Maribelle’s weapon provides an interesting mechanic in the form of Cancel Affinity for adjacent units. The range requirements of the buff is something that is unfortunately a limiting factor, as it would be tough to overlap Maribelle alongside the other units to fully utilise both her Trilemma on-hit effect and the Cancel Affinity boosts. Whereas on offense, Maribelle continues to be relatively clunky when compared against other support units as she needs to attack first in order to consistently use the Cancel Affinity effect (the only exception is if the foe already has Triangle Adept, in which the cases are few and far between).
Laegjarn : Sheathed Steel <TIER 2>
The refinement of Niu not only changes the base effect, it is also tagged on Ryoma’s Raijinto refined effect with Null Follow-Up embedded on the weapon. Before Save skills, Laegjarn’s stat spread would be awkward to work with due to the lack of RES, which was awful due to the prominence of magical threats.
However, as the magical vulnerabilities could be patched over with Far Save, what is left on Laegjarn is a unit that is capable of dealing with many physical threats due to a strong ATK, SPD and DEF stat. Specifically, stacking DEF with Wyvern Flight is no longer a lost endeavour as Laegjarn could now leverage on the physical bulk in facing physical enemies, and stacking SPD is also great due to the refined effect.
The Safety Fence Era
This month’s tier list update had been a relatively awkward one due to the introduction of the Safety Fence. This is likely to result in a relatively large shift in the defensive meta, which will definitely have a knock-on effect on the offensive game as well. We initially planned to go through the Infantry class before the change, but this will be delayed as we would need more time to observe how the role of the infantry evolves along with the other movement types.
At the current state, we could only make some approximation in terms of how the game would shift, and we can only do a projection based on these approximations. One of the predictions is the fall of usage of turn-based skills such as Odd Recovery and Odd Tempest on Defense, as players could simply choose to engage in a turn where the skills are not active. This has a further impact in terms of debuffs such as the likes of Sudden Panic and Sabotages (Temari inclusive) and the return of isolation in the metagame.
One team archetype that remained totally unscathed is likely to be teams revolving around the Savior skills. This will be reflected in this month’s Tier List update.
Defensive Mythic Adjustments
We reassessed the whole cast of defensive mythics in the game for this update. Due to the increased quantity of mythics in general, we believe that we can now span the mythics over 4 tiers rather than 3. This will reflect some of the underperformers more accurately. We will be coming back for another review next month as we want to have more time observing the changes due to the introduction of Safety Fence.
- Sothis: Girl on the Throne <TIER 4>
- Thrasir: Omnicidal Witch <TIER 3>
- Hel: Death Sovereign <TIER 3>
Save Skills Adjustments
As mentioned in the previous month’s article, we aim to fine tune all the armors that have access to the Save Skills. In order to do so, we need to define specifically the traits of a good armor that uses Save Skills well. This will also be driven by the defensive meta; the prominence of the different player-phase units in the game, which means that the requirements of being a Far Save and Near Save unit can be relatively different.
For the melee end, a large majority of damage dealers are physical based, with the only prominent magic threats being Seiros (Sothis does not count). We also excluded most green armors for Near Save considerations due to the continued prominence of Legendary Sigurd. As for ranged, while there are still some physical units, a significant portion of the problematic damage dealers are magic based, which includes units such as Valentine’s Lif, Reinhardt and Legendary Lilina.
As such, we prioritized DEF, ATK and HP for Near Save units, and RES, ATK, HP, DEF for Far Save in the order stated. Specifically, SPD is mostly a dump stat for most Save units, as the speed does not really matter when the enemy does no damage to the said unit. Furthermore, the lack of consistent follow-up negation options in the B slot makes SPD stacking even more of a dodgy proposition.
For Near Save, one unit that we want to bring up is Arden. Arden exhibits the traits stated above, with min-maxed ATK DEF and HP despite being a unit that was from year 1. Furthermore, the introduction of Steady Breath seal does mean that Arden can forgo Special Fighter for another B skill such as Slick Fighter or even his personal Follow-Up Ring should he need to go through the player phase.
The units below are promoted for Near Save:
- Arden: Strong and Tough <TIER 1>
- Picnic Lukas: Buffet for One <TIER 3>
- Valbar: Open and Honest <TIER 3>
- Zephiel: The Liberator <TIER 3>
- Kjelle: Fair Fighter <TIER 3>
- Effie: Army of One <TIER 3>
As for Far Saves, the staves are a particularly interesting example; Observant Staff makes both Winter Sephiran and Winter Eirika relatively competitive options. While their A skill access are rather limited, they can still inherit Distant Def 4 which can be relatively useful specifically with Far Save. However, their lack of offensive prowess does land themselves to be slightly more difficult to use compared to actual combat units as they lack an offensive special.
The units below are promoted for Far Save:
- Valentine's Henriette : Overflowing Love <TIER 1>
- Winter Tharja: Normal Girl <TIER 2>
- Winter Cecilia: Festive Instructor <TIER 2>
- Winter Fae: Holiday Dear <TIER 2>
- Winter Sephiran: Hoary Sovereign <TIER 3>
- Winter Eirika: Gentle as Snow <TIER 4>
Moving forward, one archetype we want to look at is the use of melee tanks augmented with a Far Save unit. The requirements are likely to be different due to the skill options available for each movement type. This will likely provide a slight bump to all the lower tiered physical tanks.
- Sigurd: Holy Knight <TIER 2 (Defense)>
- Kempf: Conniving General <TIER 2 (Defense)>
- Resplendent Eliwood: Knight of Lycia <TIER 2>
- Sirius: Mysterious Knight <TIER 3>
- Perceval: Knightly Ideal <TIER 3>
- Naesala: Sky's Shadow <TIER 4>
- Legendary Seliph: Scion of Light <TIER 4>
We made some adjustments to some of the cavaliers (and Naesala with his 3 movements) in the tier list to adjust for the relative increase in power for the cavaliers in higher tiers. In particular, Legendary Seliph suffers a further decline due to prominent follow-up negation effects in many of the more difficult defense maps (his low SPD makes this even more of a problem), and healing is an unfortunate niche in the era of Fatal Smoke.
We also removed Eliwood’s defense designation as he does not fare very well against most of the tanks in the current meta due to the likes of follow-up negation, special disruption or even getting outsped. He remains in Tier 2 due to Blazing Durandal’s viability in a Galeforce strategy.
- Summer Ogma: Blade on Leave <TIER 3>
We readjusted Ogma as we believe that the difference between Norne and Ogma is not exactly substantial enough to be a tier of difference. Furthermore, his statline puts himself in a good spot as a melee tank supported by a Far Save unit.
- Claude: King of Unification <TIER 1>
Fence means that hit and run with gravity effect is definitely on the rise. Legendary Claude being the poster child of that playstyle makes him stand out as an excellent offense pick, hence we removed the defensive icon in favour of his offensive performance.
- Fallen Julia: Heart Usurped <TIER 2>
- Norne : The Volunteer <TIER 3>
While still a fairly strong unit in her own right, the player phase prowess of Fallen Julia is slightly affected by both space control (which is still relatively prominent despite Safety Fence) and teams that use Saves. Norne struggles even more than Fallen Julia due to most defensive maps focusing on their physical bulk. Spendthrift Bow itself is no longer adequate to carry a generic infantry unit to a competitive level, hence she is also adjusted.
Generics are defined as units that do not have access to a unique weapon. As such, they will be tiered based on similar units from the current tier list placements. An explanation will be provided if required.
- Benny: Sensitive Soul <TIER 2>
- Lifis: Terror of Iz <TIER 3>
- Orochi: Merry Diviner <TIER 3>
- Pelleas: Ashnard's Orphan <TIER 3>
- Arete: Requiem's Beauty <TIER 5>
While Orochi does have a personal weapon, we do not believe that it is competitive enough compared to the inheritable options especially for a green tome (Plegian Torch and Amity Blooms come to mind). Hence Orochi is classified as a Generic when considered for the tier list.
Dawning Reality & Nifl
Nifl: God of Ice <TIER 1 (Defense)>
Nifl is essentially Kempf 2.0; Flash effect on attack but much more stubborn to take down due to Domain of Ice granting Nifl and her allies damage reduction on the first hit. Being a dragon also somewhat helps rounding out the melee damage front as there are not many magic hitting melee units that are even considered the threat (again, Sothis does not count). The biggest challenge for Nifl however is the Bolt Tower, as damage reduction does not work too well when a large chunk of HP is taken away from her. That does not take away the potential frustration that you would experience when facing her on defense.
While she does have some offensive application using Domain of Ice, we felt that her defensive performance is likely to be more notable. Hence, Nifl essentially inherited Kempf’s position in Tier 1.
Charlotte: Wily Warrior <TIER 2>
A typical Axe Infantry with the ability to do a ton of damage with the help of her personal weapon. Specifically with cooldown acceleration, Charlotte is capable of getting Galeforce in a single hit without support, and one shotting is not the worst possible outcome due to this. As such, she is placed in the same as many of the one-tap Galeforce units.
Nyx: Rulebreaker Mage <TIER 2>
Ginnungagap is an interesting weapon that has both offensive and defensive use. Offensively, Nyx stacking damage reduction is equivalent to stacking more damage, which could potentially open up Nyx to go for the one hit takedowns. The most common unit that circumvents damage reduction also happens to be magic (Duo Lif), which Nyx would have adequate RES to take a beating from him. Nyx would however struggle to take on repeated engagements, as her low HP and physical bulk could only bring her so far as damage reduction could also be seen as an effective increase in HP.
Defensively, Nyx could run Miracle and punish any unit that tries to take her down in a single blow. However, that is probably too difficult to accomplish for the most part, which is why her offensive capabilities is the main point of consideration in the tier list.
Surtr: Pirate of Red Sky <TIER 1>
The main matchup that Brave Hector could struggle with is Summer Caeda, and Surtr makes short work of her due to Steady Breath seal and instant Bonfire activations. Take Brave Hector and Valentine’s Gustav and put them in a blender, and what you get is probably Pirate Surtr. Needless to say, he is Tier 1.
Naesala: Sea's Shadow <TIER 1>
Very similar to Pirate Tibarn in many ways. Rather than using guaranteed follow-ups, Naesala uses his high SPD and initiation-based Null Follow-Up to perform his role. He also removed his reliance on Dive Bomb and even came with a Trace skill out of the box, which is rather synergistic due to Naesala’s additional movement from transformation. The biggest gripe would probably be his colour, which could be problematic when facing Nott. However, we do not think that it is going to be a huge issue as he settles into Tier 1.
Vika: Sea-Dark Wing <TIER 3>
Providing a butt load of sabotage support, Vika lands herself pretty well as a demote unit. While her combat prowess is nothing to write home about, she does have the transformation movement bonus. The main parallel that was drawn is to Naesala (the original one), which also does not have a weapon to write home about in the modern context. Hence Vika is slotted into Tier 3 above Naesala due to the additional support capabilities she brings to the table.
Hinoka: Fair Pirate Pair <TIER 2>
While being a flying ranged unit is kind of awkward if we want to enemy phase, it is not as much of an issue if it goes on the offensive. This could not be more true for Pirate Hinoka, as she is well equipped to deal with the potential increase in usage of Armored units with her ability to do adaptive damage and even double attacking against a specific blue unit that nullifies armor effective weaponries.
We considered her potential use in the defensive context as a blue check, however we do not think that she will fare well against Brave Hector specifically due to effective nullification and Mystic Boost being a common set for him. Hence she is slated for Tier 2 for offensive reasons.
Mythic Ullr: The Bowmaster <TIER 2>
As mentioned in the previous few sections, we will likely see a decrease in space control and increase in Far Save usage. Ullr is probably one of the strongest Mythic in terms of sheer firepower, and that firepower could be enough to even break through the Save armors should Ullr be provided adequate support. This can be done by either using Sorcery Blade and lining up with a mage such as Peony, or just straight up using a Area-of-Effect special when combined with Rafiel. This offensive power could be used in either offensive compositions through hit and run, or combined with a pure Save composition to aid with the cleanup.
Choose Your Legends 5 Addendum
Due to the high popularity of these units, we plan to spend more time in a separate article to evaluate the units on the banner in further detail. However we would provide a summary of the units below.
Brave Marth : Prince of Light <TIER 1>
Brave Marth is a very competitive Sword Infantry unit that competes with the likes of other units of the same archetype such as Ayra and Mareeta. However, as the archetype is largely phased out in the modern era, his tiering might be adjusted in the near future.
Brave Marianne: Serene Adherent <TIER 1>
Marianne can mostly be viewed as a ranged galeforce dancer, with the main parallels being Legendary Leif and Resplendent Azura with Curtains. Marianne provides magic damage coverage for player-phase focused strategies, which is definitely a boon in Galeforce and Ninja Lyn compositions.
Brave Gatekeeper: Nothing to Report <TIER 1>
Rather than his combat potential, which is pretty poor due to his personal B skill not having any combat based effects, the Obstruct effect and the ability to negate any form of warping skills is something that could be difficult to assess. We felt that Gatekeeper should be seen as a Support unit in the likes of Brave Lucina and Flayn, and in that aspect Gatekeeper does provide something new to the table.
Brave Eirika: Pledged Restorer <TIER 1>
Eirika’s main weakness is damage reduction, which is something that is rarely seen in the defensive context. Due to this, Eirika’s sky-high damage ceiling is usually met, and in many ways shares a lot of similarities with Reginn (Canto usage and being on a horse). Specifically, Eirika is extremely competent at dismantling Near Save units, which is something that could be increasingly relevant moving forward. Lastly, players could opt for a Galeforce build to leverage on Eirika’s guard-negation effect on Moonlight Bangle.