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Aether Raids Tier List Article - December 2021

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Article by Maskilraid

Summary of changes

Adjustments:

  • Annand: Knight-Defender <TIER 5>
  • Fallen Berkut: Purgatorial Prince <TIER 5>
  • Conrad: Masked Knight <TIER 5>
  • Death Knight: The Reaper <TIER 5>
  • Oscar: Agile Horseman <TIER 5>
  • Summer Hilda: Deer's Two-Piece <TIER 2>
  • New Year Velouria: Renewed Wolfpup <TIER 2>
  • Veld: Manfroy's Rock <TIER 3>
  • Solon: Church Shadow <TIER 4>
  • Iago: Nohr's Tactician <TIER 4>
  • Aversa: Dark One <TIER 4>

Placements:

  • Loki: The Trickster <TIER 1>
  • Walhart: The Conqueror <TIER 3 (Defense)>
  • Libra: Fetching Friar <TIER 3>
  • Summer Tiki (Young): Beachside Scion <TIER 2>
  • Nailah: Unflinching Eye <TIER 2>
  • Volke: Man of Mysteries <TIER 2 (Defense)>
  • Astrid: Resolute Damsel <TIER 3>
  • Ascended Laegjarn: Flame Ascendant <TIER 2>
  • Marcia: Petulant Knight <TIER 4>
  • Tanith: Bright Blade <TIER 5>
  • Bertram: Dread Cavalier <TIER 5>
  • Basilio: Feroxi West Khan <TIER 4>
  • Miriel: Rapier Intellect <TIER 3>
  • Flavia: Feroxi East Khan <TIER 2>
  • Priam: Radiant Hero <TIER 3>
  • Yen'fay: Blade Legend  <TIER 2>
  • Winter Mirabilis: Sugarplum Vision <TIER 2 (Defense)>
  • Winter Lysithea: Gifted Students <TIER 1 (Defense)>
  • Winter Artur: Silver Saint <TIER 2>
  • Winter Manuela: Silver Caroler <TIER 3>
  • Winter Ignatz: Snowscape Artist <TIER 2>
  • Thórr: War God <TIER 1>
  • Eitri: Youthful Sage <TIER 2>
  • Ash: Retainer to Askr <TIER 1>

Introduction

Compared to the changes made in Book V, the only main change that happened in the mode is the introduction of the new story Mythic; Ash. Otherwise, it is mainly business as usual with new units and skills. With that said, we are now more confident to make more drastic changes moving forward due to the lack of changes and the relative status quo of the metagame.

While this update for the tier list is relatively minor, expect bigger potential changes in the next couple of updates. Specifically, we will be re-examining the criteria and have a general discussion with the state of the different archetypes in the mode for the next update, in addition to making some finer adjustments as we go along. 

Other changes

The team continues to raise suspicion over the use of melee sword Fliers, as they lack the mobility advantage of Cavalry and the combat prowess of Armors and Infantry. One archetype we felt is falling behind is the modern speedy fliers archetype, as they lack skills to leverage their fast speed properly due to an abundance of effects that manipulate follow-ups (negation / guaranteed follow-up). This means that they continue to struggle in both player and enemy phase strategies.

We decided to spare modern lance Fliers due to Curtains with Galeforce continuing to be a half-decent strategy that could be used in some competitive sense. The same however could not be said for other generic Fliers. While this is only applicable retroactively to 1 unit, this has implications on the generic placements in the new units. 

  • Annand: Knight-Defender <TIER 5>

Overdue adjustments for some lance Cavaliers that do not stand the test of time. Both Oscar and Death Knight simply lack the offensive prowess to succeed as a Galeforce unit in the modern game, with the latter’s effect of blocking follow-up being largely inconsequential in both offensive and defensive considerations. Enemy phase Cavaliers such as Fallen Berkut and Conrad also get dropped due to the lack of competitive skill options available for defensive Cavaliers. 

  • Fallen Berkut: Purgatorial Prince <TIER 5>
  • Conrad: Masked Knight <TIER 5>
  • Death Knight: The Reaper <TIER 5>
  • Oscar: Agile Horseman <TIER 5>

The introduction of Thorr as a Mythic unit alongside the release of Darting Breath seal forced us to re-examine the support units that grant special acceleration to their allies, as we believe that such an effect would probably be insufficient for Tier 1 consideration in the modern context. Specifically, Hilda only granted acceleration on damage, and New Year Velouria only worked on ally supports, so these two are slated for the drop to Tier 2. 

  • Summer Hilda: Deer's Two-Piece <TIER 2>
  • New Year Velouria: Renewed Wolfpup <TIER 2>

Lastly, we also re-examined the utility red tomes. Solon and Iago’s effects are a little too fiddly for the team’s likings to be in Tier 3, while Aversa’s Sudden Panic effect is something that is no longer unique enough to be considered for Tier 3 as well. Veld’s global Gravity, however, remains extremely unique, potentially allowing players who are struggling with taking Aether structures to do so with relative ease. That support is probably something that could not be understated. 

  • Veld: Manfroy's Rock <TIER 3>
  • Solon: Church Shadow <TIER 4>
  • Iago: Nohr's Tactician <TIER 4>
  • Aversa: Dark One <TIER 4>

Generics

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.

  • Marcia: Petulant Knight <TIER 4>
  • Tanith: Bright Blade <TIER 5>
  • Bertram: Dread Cavalier <TIER 5>
  • Basilio: Feroxi West Khan <TIER 4>
  • Miriel: Rapier Intellect <TIER 3>
  • Winter Artur: Silver Saint <TIER 2>
  • Winter Manuela: Silver Caroler <TIER 3>
  • Winter Ignatz: Snowscape Artist <TIER 2>

As mentioned in the above section, sword Fliers simply lack a competitive advantage in terms of the roles that they could play. We will potentially review the placement of sword Fliers such as Tanith in the future.

As for Artur, while Snow Globe is indeed a potent weapon, his placement heavily hinges on his match-up against Valentine’s Lif, as he is one of the most commonly used units in defense. Adjustments will be made should Lif drop in usage in the near future, and it seems that it might happen sooner than we think due to the increase in the number of hindrances enabling cavalry ranged units such as Ninja Corrin and most recently Winter Lysithea. 

Weapon Refinery

Loki: The Trickster <TIER 1>

Even before Loki’s refinement, her weapon’s utility as a mobile Tactics Room is already considered to be relatively decent in terms of shutting down the threat range of the opponent. With the refinement, Loki adds the ability to inflict Stall on the foe, which restricts powerhouses that have access to extra movement via personal skills such as Legendary Sigurd and Brave Alm. The Guard effect affliction on top of the refine is simply a cherry on top in terms of offensive support.

Walhart: The Conqueror <TIER 3 (Defense)>

The big issue with Walhart’s refine is very similar to Young L’arachel; Save skills pretty much invalidate the weapon’s viability in a defensive context, as players could simply put their save units outside the 4 spaces of affliction on Walhart, making the weapon a glorified stat stick. There is, however, a use case for Walhart’s weapon; in Lost Castle, his weapon could potentially deny players to go on the defense tiles should Walhart be placed near it, as the foe would be afflicted by Flash if they are too close to it. That is also the reason why we felt that Walhart is at least deserving of Tier 3 on defense, as Lost Castle is one of the most common defense maps.

Libra: Fetching Friar <TIER 3>

Libra’s weapon is simply a stat stick and healing, with the latter being questionable due to Fatal Smoke and Legendary Sigurd being of abundance in the current state of the game. Like many Infantry units, he can perform relatively well as a melee specialist with a Far Save unit behind due to his access to Null Follow–Up, which is extremely valuable when most meta units have some way to guarantee their follow-ups. 

Summer Tiki (Young): Beachside Scion <TIER 2>

Similar to Libra, Summer Tiki is also predominantly considered as a melee specialist role. As a Dragon, she can overcome her lack of B slot options despite being a Flier (the most ideal option being Dragon’s Wrath, as Tiki would be able to leverage the extra true damage and cooldown acceleration from her weapon). Tiki also has the advantage of dealing magic damage, which is something that most defense maps tend to ignore, meaning that taking out the foe in a single hit should not be a big issue.

Nailah: Unflinching Eye <TIER 2>

Nailah’s weapon is very synergistic with her personal C skill, Glare, as she will be capable of inflicting Gravity on the opponent while retreating out due to the built-in Canto in her refine. The big issue, however, is mainly the lack of mobility options as an Infantry unit to use this in an aggressive manner, with the predominant way of infiltrating enemy lines being either smiting into the enemy or using Wings of Mercy.

New Heroes & Ascended Laegjarn

Volke: Man of Mysteries <TIER 2 (Defense)>

On first impression, Volke is able to inflict much pain to many tanks in the game. Upon close inspection, however, Volke’s power is predominantly in the new special he introduced: Lethality. The main way for Volke to activate Lethality reliably without risking getting taken out in a single hit would be the use of Bridal Catria with her Triangle Attack effect. This becomes relatively complicated as one could argue that the inherent power lies in Bridal Catria rather than with Volke.

If we take that out of the equation, Volke shares many of the similar problems as other nukes; instant charging Lethality means susceptibility to Ice Mirror, while not charging it means risking getting taken out in a single hit. As such, we felt that Tier 2 is probably the most appropriate. 

Astrid: Resolute Damsel <TIER 3>

Bonus Doubler support already exists in the form of Legendary Eliwood, and mobility support on a Rally also exists in the form of Annette. However, both are not supports that are particularly prominent in the offensive or defensive metagame. The Bonus Doubler effect hinging on a Rally does mean that there is also an opportunity cost of using a mobility skill, which is something that could be difficult to ignore in a positional sense. Lastly, in a defensive capacity, Astrid lacks the firepower to contribute meaningfully in combat in the current state of the game.

Ascended Laegjarn: Flame Ascendant <TIER 2>

Laegjarn’s power concentrates on her weapon, as she is able to get a whopping 18 ATK/SPD and 12 DEF/RES solely from the effect of her weapon by providing her 24 visible buffs (+6 to all stats) while also preventing follow-up negation. This makes her much bulkier than most of her ranged cavalry competition and could be useful when tackling Far Save units that can counterattack against Laegjarn. Should survivability of the hit-and-run unit be the primary concern, Laegjarn is up there in terms of sheer stats. 

Howewer, Laegjarn is still susceptible to guaranteed follow-up attacks and her RES is not exactly the best even after the stat boosts. This means that she can still be caught by ranged magical nukes such as Ninja Corrin and Valentine’s Lif in the offensive context. Defensively, buffs are much harder to utilize due to the susceptibility of Panic (Rouse 4 is not helpful and a formational liability), and penalties are easy to negate with the likes of units such as Brave Hector and the skill Slick Fighter. 

Book VI Begins: Ash and More

Ash will be reviewed in the Mythics and Legendary Units section.

Flavia: Feroxi East Khan <TIER 2>

There are plenty of units that have some sort of damage reduction on the melee side such as Legendary Sigurd and Brave Eirika. Flavia’s ability to negate it similar to Young Innes meant that taking such units out should be a trivial issue. Coupled with Flavia’s cooldown acceleration (it works both on hit and on damage, contrary to the description text), Flavia should be able to land knockouts without much issue. In terms of playstyle, she shares many similarities to Owain, with the key difference being Flavia’s slightly superior physical bulk and speed that can allow her to sustain through multiple physical combats with the help of damage reduction. 

Priam: Radiant Hero <TIER 3>

Yen'fay: Blade Legend  <TIER 2>

These 2 units are extremely similar in terms of playstyle, as both have the ability to counterattack against ranged foes. To deal with ranged foes, it is imperative for units to be able to deal with both physical and magical threats as unlike melee foes, both are of equal prominence. Unfortunately, Priam focuses too much on dealing with physical foes with his stat distribution and a rather vanilla weapon effect. Yen’fay by contrast is able to mitigate some of the damage using damage reduction, which enhances his longevity against any unit barring the most threatening ones. As such, we felt that Yen’fay is the superior unit in the offensive perspective, and it is reflected in the tiering.

Winter Wonderland

Winter Mirabilis: Sugarplum Vision <TIER 2 (Defense)>

Take whatever the original Mirabilis does, shift some of the debuffs to ATK, and make her a ranged dancer. However, it can be argued that most of these changes are not favorable for her; being a ranged dancer means that she can be baited more easily, and having no DEF/RES debuff means that your units are not hitting as hard when dancers are mainly used in an aggressive manner. Shifting from a vertical range to a cardinal direction range similar to Arvis also does her no favors due to the vertical nature of the game mode. 

Winter Lysithea: Gifted Students <TIER 1 (Defense)>

Most meta tanks in the game right now are unlikely to beat Winter Lysithea in a speed race with her weapon’s 6 ATK/SPD and her A and S passives. This means that it is very likely that Lysithea is able to use her most powerful effect that hits the foes twice. As evident by Bridal Catria’s Triangle Attack, hitting twice is always a good thing in the defensive context. At least until we have more meta-relevant speed tanks, Winter Lysithea is a huge menace to face in the defensive context. 

Mythic & Legendary Units

Thórr: War God <TIER 1>

Thorr’s Worldbreaker is an extremely useful skill that grants unconditional acceleration to all allies within 2 spaces. This is especially useful for 2 strategies in particular: Save-based enemy phase strategies and Galeforce. Thorr herself is also a serviceable Galeforce unit as she also has cooldown reduction -1 and guaranteed follow-up in her weapon, which means that coupled with Worldbreaker, Galeforce will be able to activate so long as the foe does not run Guard. Her primary concern with Galeforce is her suffering from success and taking out the foe in a single strike; however, this is often a non-issue, as Mirabilis being red and bulky helps prevent this.

Eitri: Youthful Sage <TIER 2>

Eitri’s Canto 2 is about equivalent to Reginn and Otr’s Canto 3, as the reduction in Canto is offset by Eitri attacking from range as opposed to in melee. This means that in terms of usage, Eitri would share many similarities with Reginn and Otr. As mentioned in our Otr analysis, the Canto effect could be mostly seen as a boon than a bane in the defensive context, while offensively Reginn’s Canto is probably the main reason why Reginn’s considered to be one of the stronger offensive mythic units in the game. 

Furthermore, Eitri is also not alone in terms of Canto 2, as Yuri provides steep competition with Infantry skill and instant charge access while having the ability to wield Disarm Trap. 

Ash: Retainer to Askr <TIER 1>

Ash’s personal C skill is essentially Summer Tana’s weapon, which grants the teleportation effects on allies. While as a normal unit this effect might not justify a slot, the story changes when said unit is a Mythic, as the mobility gained from the effect is exceptionally helpful in a myriad of scenarios, be it securing Aether structures or accessing areas that were previously inaccessible (such as on the Lost Castle and Springwater maps).

Similar to Nailah, Ash can also be used in a Galeforce perspective due to her guaranteed follow-up and guard nullification when transformed, and the mobility aspect of her personal C passive would continue to be useful to either extend plays or even allow her allies to initiate without relying on Wings of Mercy. This versatility allows Ash to be one of the most versatile Light Mythics, with the only main competition being Peony.

Summoner Duels

The launch of Summoner Duels means that Aether Raids is no longer the only competitive mode available in the game. The format of the game mode means that while there might be overlaps, the considerations might be slightly different as well. We would like to ask in the poll below regarding the interest of having a tier list for Summoner Duels as well. We would make changes to the Aether Raids Tier List depending on the feedback received.

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About the Author(s)

Maskilraid is a writer specialising in Fire Emblem Heroes. He situates in the tiny island of Singapore, and is a fanatic in crafting Aether Raids Defence teams. He also has academic background in Statistics, providing statistical analysis of the pull rates in Fire Emblem Heroes.

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