List of Changes - December 7th
Dimitri: Savior King has been placed in Tier 1
Catherine: Thunder Knight has been placed in Tier 2
Seteth: Seiros Adherent has been placed in Tier 4
Flayn: Playing Innocent has been placed in Tier 1
Shamir: Archer Apart has been placed in Tier 2
Nemesis: King of Liberation has been placed in Tier 4
Navarre: Scarlet Ninja has been placed in Tier 4
Zihark: Ninja Blademaster has been placed in Tier 3
Laevatein: Ninja of Múspell has been placed in Tier 2
Lyn: Ninja-Friend Duo has been placed in Tier 1
Hana: Focused Ninja has been placed in Tier 4
Dieck: Wounded Tiger has been placed in Tier 1
Melady: Crimson Rider has been placed in Tier 5
Merlinus: Pherae's Clerk has been placed in Tier 5
Guinivere: Princess of Bern has been placed in Tier 2
Galle: Azure Rider has been placed in Tier 6
Freyja: Lady of Nightmare has been placed in Tier 2
Triandra: Nightmare has been placed in Tier 1
Micaiah: Priestess of Dawn has been promoted to Tier 1 (from Tier 2). Defense icon added.
Cecillia: Festival Instructor has been promoted to Tier 2 (from Tier 3)
Elise: Budding Flower has been promoted to Tier 2 (from Tier 3). Defense icon added.
Ashnard: Mad King has been promoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 4)
Lene: Yearning Dancer has been promoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 4)
Olivia: Blushing Beauty has been promoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 4)
Valter: Dark Moonstone has been promoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 4)
Azura: Lady of Ballads has been promoted to Tier 3 (from Tier 4)
Narcian: Wyvern General has been promoted to Tier 5 (from Tier 6)
Fae <TIER 4>
Fae’s Eternal Breath is a phenomenal weapon to provide easy access to visible buffs in most game modes. Unfortunately, Aether Raids is the crucial exception. The availability of Tactic Skills and Links meant that it is not too difficult for any unit to provide the visible buffs if required. Hence, most of the time an in-combat buff support such as Kaden, Corrin (M) and Brave Lucina is highly preferred over Fae.
The accessibility of the buff can also be a double edged sword if a player is not careful with it due to the susceptibility of Panic. This is rather unfortunate as one of Fae’s preferred builds in the past would be a tank build utilising Null C-Disrupt. With the buffs being permanently present, it can be rather dangerous to keep Fae in that role.
The refined effect is actually the best part of the refinement by providing Fae with effectively 4 ATK/DEF/RES, and on-damage acceleration which gives Fae access to 2 cooldown special retaliation such as Noontime and Glimmer. However, Fae suffers from the same woes as before with dragon weakness and mediocre speed. Hence, it is a difficult proposition for Fae to be promoted to a higher tier.
Elise <TIER 2> (Defense)
After considering the refinement, Elise’s Staff grants a swing of 7 SPD, which would enable her to catch up with the ever presence of higher speed threshold of units. While Elise’s Staff does provide the -4 foe in-combat debuffs to her allies as well, it only works if the ally is initiating combat. This is significantly worse than Brave Veronica’s weapon, which not only works in both phases, but it also has a larger effective radius.
It is expected for Elise to have similar performance in Aether Raids Defense as Brave Veronica, hence she is placed into Tier 2.
Valter <TIER 3>
Valter’s Cursed Lance upon refinement is essentially a Slaying Lance with Fury, which is identical to a refined Mystletainn. The special effect grants Valter extra stats if he is hurt, just like Peri’s weapon. The difference is that Valter does have an alternative activation condition; having the foe debuffed. This is not difficult to do with the help of the teammates’s skills, such as Temari, Sabotage and Aversa’s Night.
Another interesting use case of Valter would be to leverage on his Fury 3 recoil to easily get into Wings of Mercy range without opponent retaliation. However, this is only possible on a lower merged Valter, which does somewhat limit this application as a whole.
Regardless, Cursed Lance’s refinement does provide Valter enough stats to at least be competitive against more modern lance fliers in the game. As such, he is promoted to Tier 3.
Micaiah <TIER 1> (Defense)
Thani is a slightly different Divine Tyrfing, with the main difference being that the damage reduction is applicable to all ranged foes, and the guaranteed follow-up is tied to Micaiah’s own HP rather than her foes. Especially considering Micaiah’s low physical bulk, the damage reduction against all ranged foes (in particular bows and daggers) is greatly welcomed in an Aether Raids Offense context. The prominence of Eliwood as a frontline and the increasing popularity of Brave Edelgard could potentially cement Micaiah’s position as a powerhouse.
The main issue lies in Micaiah’s refined effect being locked into her own HP rather than her foe’s, which the latter is arguably a more consistent effect than what she got. This is especially applicable against units that could retaliate back, which meant that Micaiah would lose her refinement effect in the enemy phase. This would greatly lower Micaiah’s offensive potential. It is the player’s responsibility to consider this shortcoming when building Micaiah.
While her offensive potential does have the above drawback, Micaiah’s application in Aether Raids Defense is undeniable. Before, she was already a decent pick should a player wish to check against potential Armor units, now she remains so (well, except Brave Hector, because he does not follow the rules), and then some due to the guaranteed follow-up effect. Hence, we decided that Micaiah is promoted to Tier 1 in light of her defense potential.
Since the last update, there are now even more skills for Fliers to choose from. While ATK DEF Rein is a relatively useful skill for slower fliers such as Altina and Ninja Laevatein herself, the more notable skill we would like to discuss is Wyvern Flight.
Wyvern Flight shares a lot of similarities with the skill Pegasus Flight, except with some key differences; a more relaxed speed threshold (-10 instead of -7) and it basing on DEF rather than RES. Naturally, this meant that units with higher DEF stood to gain from the skill… right?
Unfortunately, stacking visible DEF is probably not as useful right now as opposed to stacking RES. This is because of a high saturation of magic damage dealers in Aether Raids Defense. Stack too high of a DEF, and those stats could be better used to block damage from a potent magical threat instead. Furthermore, most of these damage dealers are not exactly the highest in DEF, and there is also the consideration of using visible buffs to swing the skill in the player’s favour.
Hence, though Wyvern Flight probably is the easier skill to activate, the opportunity cost could be an issue for many units who want to use this skill. Most of the fliers who want to use Wyvern Flight either have too low of a RES stat to be able to take multiple magical hits, or too dodgy of a SPD stat to even pass the relaxed speed threshold (this is slightly less of an issue, but still is nevertheless).
- Narcian <TIER 5>
The Ninja weapons introduced are sidegrades to the Brave Weapons. As most melee weapons tend to either be tanking or activating Galeforce, the natural question we asked is how the Ninja weapons can be used in a Galeforce context. This is because of the inability for these weapons to be refined on top of the penalties to DEF and RES.
Due to the extra SPD, wielders of Ninja weapons are more likely to get Galeforce off if they managed to land 2 hits with Flashing Blade. When coupled with cooldown reduction from Time’s Pulse or Infantry Pulse, the Ninja weapons are yet another method that allows easy access to Galeforce. This is especially relevant for Swords and Axes, as Lances already had an easy way out in the form of a curtain on a stick. Curtains is likely still the more reliable way of getting Galeforce, however the gap did decrease significantly.
The main beneficiaries are likely Infantry dancers. Hence, we gave a bump to some of the dancers that are currently in Tier 4.
- Olivia <TIER 3>
- Performing Azura <TIER 3>
- Lene <TIER 3>
Legendary / Mythics
Legendary Dimitri <TIER 1>
Legendary Dimitri draws a lot of parallels to many infantry units who are favoured in the tier list. Specifically, the most could be drawn to Mareeta here, except rather than having a Null-Follow Up weapon, he has damage reduction instead. Should a player wish, he can inherit Null-Follow Up and be used in a similar fashion. Dimitri however does have access to his personal B skill, Atrocity. The two most notable aspects of Atrocity would be the Pulse Smoke effect and the true damage based on his own ATK in combat. The latter effect will likely be a force to reckoned with in Aether Raids Defense.
Mythic Triandra <TIER 1> Defense
Triandra is a dark mythic that completes the Dancer fairy quartet. As a Dark mythic however, she had the unfortunate privilege of facing Mila with her isolation effect from Mila Turnwheel. Triandra having a high offensive spread is a double edged sword; she does hit harder, however it can also backfire due to the 5 damage rule where dancers will always attack if she can deal 5 damage.
Triandra’s most powerful ability is her exclusive Dance Skill, Frightful Dream. This is because it inflicts Guard on potential foe, which can slow down the opponent’s special charges. This is crucial as it can disrupt key cooldown on the specials, most notably the special ones such as Noontime. The issue is of course getting it off, as it can be a problem due to the existence of Mila. Nevertheless, she remains deserving to be Tier 1 on the list.
Mythic Freyja <TIER 2>
Unlike other Light Mythics, Freyja is a combat oriented Mythic from head to toe. Her weapon is essentially the speed based damage reduction we know and love along with Distant Counter (!), and Binding Necklace grants Freyja even more of a stat swing to Freyja favour. As a cavalry however, she lacks counterplay to follow up mechanics, which means that Bramimond is likely to tear her apart. Despite this, in a vacuum, Freyja seems like a decent tank unit out of the box,
The issue arises when we consider her competition. While her kit is solid, Freyja does not gain any Mythic bonuses from the blessings. This meant that Freyja has 10 less HP and lesser stats depending on the Mythics used. The benefits of running a combat Mythic is that players can now choose to dedicate their free slot in the form of an additional support. However, Light Mythics are not lacking in support either, be it from Eir with Temari, Peony as a refresher, or Mila just sitting there and causing a Dancer to tremble in fear due to her ugly face.
One last notable point is that Freyja is the only mythic capable of running Galeforce at the time of writing. However, even that is potentially mired with issues, as she lacks the cooldown reduction or cooldown acceleration to improve her Galeforce consistency. Hence, due to the above issues she is currently slated for Tier 2.
Catherine <TIER 2>
As mentioned in the previous tier list analysis, most melee infantry are highly rated for two factors; the ability to Galeforce and the ability to leverage SPD-based damage reduction skills such as Spurn. In the highly competitive realm of sword infantries, Catherine’s Thunderbrand unfortunately pales in comparison to her competition.
The lack of any form of special acceleration or cooldown reduction significantly hampers her potential as a Galeforce unit, and while being able to negate follow-up prevention such as those from Sturdy Impact is not too bad, she is still susceptible to guaranteed follow-ups, which could be an issue due to the increased prominence of it from the refine updates.
Seteth <TIER 4>
Spear of Assal is remarkably similar to Camilla’s Axe with her refinement, except it has slightly more stats and it removes the cavalry and flying restrictions. Due to his recency, he also has significantly more stats than Camilla as well. This means that if a player wishes to use Seteth as a support, he can also be used as a Chill soak due to his higher visible stats.
With that said, as there are better supports in the form of Brave Lucina, Corrin (M) and one other unit in this banner, Seteth is placed into Tier 4.
Shamir <TIER 2>
The initial thought of Shamir’s Survivalist Bow is to apply it on Aether Raids Defense due to its ability to negate counterattack. Unfortunately, the solo conditions are very difficult to enforce as the AI of the game does not take into account the activation of Solo skills. This meant that even if there is an advantageous position for Shamir to attack in, the AI might still not take it. This inconsistency meant that the bow can be rather awkward to work with.
As such, Shamir’s tiering is mostly based on its Aether Raids Offense potential with Spendthrift Bow, which is still a decent build for most archers anyway. This means that she is slotted alongside Norne in this comparison. While being green over colourless is unfortunate, the difference in performance is deemed to be a non-issue.
Nemesis <TIER 4>
Dark Creator Sword (DCS) is also unfortunately awkward to work with in Aether Raids Offense due to its once per phase activation condition. Nemesis’s stat distribution suggests that he is more of an enemy phase unit, which is not great for the once-per-phase condition as enemy phase units are very likely to be in more than one combat at a time. Nemesis is also unable to capitalise much in some of the Infantry skills such as Null Follow-Up and damage reduction skills due to his mediocre speed.
What Nemesis could be potentially good in is as a frontline unit in Aether Raids. DCS activating once per phase is not a bad thing as the opponent might be forced to go into a second combat just to finish off Nemesis. In a way, this is similar to how Brave Ike is used as a frontline in some teams. Unfortunately, his player phase leaves a lot to be desired, which means that people can choose to ignore Nemesis to go for the backline instead.
Flayn <TIER 1>
Flayn’s Caduceus Staff essentially is a drive that provides damage reduction. However, one also needs to consider the opportunity cost of running Flayn; fielding a healing skill means that she cannot run positionals, which can be awkward in terms of positioning. The lack of meaningful visible stat options for healers with a rather low BST also meant that soaking is likely not an option for Flayn either. However, there is also a benefit of being a healer; players now can choose not to run healing specials in favour of damage boosting specials if a player does not need the additional sustain mid-fight, as Flayn can easily top off the missing health after each enemy phase.
Flayn, at the end of a day, is a phenomenal support. Damage reduction drive is game-changing for units without access to damage reduction. However, one should also remember that Flayn does not exist in a vacuum; Brave Lucina provides acceleration, Bridal Fjorm inflicts isolation to potentially reduce the amount of incoming threats, Kaden provides much more raw stats, Corrin (M) has strong options for soaking. As Flayn competes rather well with her support competition, she is currently placed in Tier 1.
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.
Ninja Zihark <TIER 3>
Ninja Navarre <TIER 4>
Ninja Hana <TIER 4>
The 3 units are all remarkably similar; typical Gen 5 melee BST with high ATK and SPD, but lower DEF and RES. As of the time of writing, reds are likely to be more relevant due to the prominence of Thrasir in the Astra season, which leads to Zihark edging out both units despite the similar stat distribution.
Ninja Laevatein <TIER 2>
Ninja Laevatein is essentially a modern variant of Keaton and Reinhardt (WT), with the key upgrade being a blade tome infused in her weapon. Many parallels can be drawn with Altina in terms of performance; while Laevetein has the higher damage ceiling, she also lacks the effective nullification to Altina’s unique passive Ashera’s Chosen. Should the player choose to give up on the seal slot to patch the weaknesses, these 2 units are neck-to-neck at least in terms of performance. As such, we based Ninja Laevatein’s tiering based on Altina’s.
Ninja Lyn <TIER 1>
The most important thing to take note is Lyn’s very low 36 HP if a player chooses to run a flaw in HP. This flaw is specifically game-changing for Lyn; assuming the player runs a dual Mythic team composition, Lyn will have 47 HP. Considering Lyn’s Duo Skill being a self-refresh, this meant that she can attack up to three times assuming there is a dancer on the field. Using Fury 4, Lyn can then get into range for Wings of Mercy for her allies to provide additional assistance. Lyn is essentially the “Eirforce” strategy on steroids. In light of this strategy, it is undeniable for Lyn to be in Tier 1.
Princess of Bern
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.
Melady <TIER 5>
- Thea <Tier 5>
- Shigure <Tier 5>
- Spring Marisa <Tier 5>
Galle <TIER 6>
- Travant <Tier 6>
- Altena <Tier 6>
Merlinus <TIER 5>
Yes. Believe it or not, Merlinus is not Tier 6. However, it is not for offensive reasons. While Merlinus’s statline is not very good at doing damage at all, what he is good at is surviving. Merlinus is essentially a cavalry frontline with 2 range, which allows the team to cover a huge amount of space. Merlinus can be outfitted with skills such as Poison Strike for chip damage, Panic Smoke for additional disruption, and Courtly Mask to increase his likelihood for survival.
Essentially, if you want to flex a little, and make people cry at losing to a Merlinus, it’s actually possible. Play to his strengths and let your creativity run wild.
Guinevere <TIER 2>
The two main things that Guinevere has over other characters is dealing effective damage to all mages (similar to Kitty Paddle) and healing after combat. While it is technically true that a lot of threats in defense are mages, most of the time taking them out is a non-issue outside of more beefy outliers such as New Year Alfonse and Kiria.
What could be troubling for Guinevere is the melee frontline units. Brave Edelgard, Eliwood, Seliph could all cause issues as Guinvere lacks the firepower to take these frontlines out. Guinevere essentially traded dealing with melee frontline for the ability of taking out magic foes. Whether that is a worthwhile trade remains to be seen. As melee frontline tends to be more common right now, she is slated for Tier 2. Should more magic matchups become increasingly tanky, this might change in the near future.
Dieck <TIER 1>
Outside of his unfortunate name, Dieck couldn’t be anymore predictable. All stats +5, cooldown reduction, and the ability to follow-up similar to Tibarn’s condition. This can either be used with Null Follow-Up to ensure that he always doubles, or he could run Spurn to leverage on damage reduction. It is a strong weapon indeed that is worthy for Tier 1 in the current context.
However, it also came to the team’s attention that there are probably too many units with the similar archetype as Dieck. While this is indeed a tried and tested formula, there are a significant portion of units that went above and beyond in comparison. The divide within the units in Tier 1 is something that the team might want to look into. Right now, Dieck is slated for Tier 1, but this is subjected to potentially any adjustments in the future.
The following units are promoted in light of the availability of Trait Fruits on top of recent developments of skill access.
Winter Cecilia <TIER 2>
Winter Cecilia’s versatility increased substantially, as now she has much more skills to work with than before. Outside of the typical Special Fighter build, there is also now the Courtly Mask with Special Spiral build to leverage on damage reduction, or the Slick Fighter build to nullify debuffs. The addition of the ability to tweak the assets and flaws pushed Cecilia over the line to being a generally great unit to consider.
Fallen Ashnard <TIER 3>
Ashnard when launched used to be problematic due to the lack of enemy-phase options specifically for fliers. Now, Ashnard has multiple options to work with depending on preference. However, it can also be argued that some of these skills are rather awkward for Ashnard to leverage; his speed meant that Flight skills are potentially dodgy, and Guard Bearing only working once per phase could also be a problem. This can be somewhat patched by using the help of trait fruits to do additional adjustments if required.
As his skill interactions are still somewhat finicky, he is currently placed in Tier 3.