The Asgardr Report aims to provide high-level Fire Emblem Heroes content on a regular basis. Each article will contain 3-4 topics related to the end-game content of the game; Aether Raids (Offense & Defense), Arena, and Summoner Duels.
In this edition of Asgardr Report, we will discuss the relative impact of Medeus in the Aether Raids Defense metagame, how the maps have somewhat changed, and explore methods to deal with them moving forward. As usual, we would also discuss the new developments in the game.
This Month in Fire Emblem Heroes
In this segment, we would focus on units or skills that the author thinks are new and going to be meta-relevant moving forward due to the updates introduced in the game. For this month, this segment would cover all the content starting from the Book VI mid-point to the Legendary Xander banner.
Florina is the 3rd unit after Summer Tana and Ash that provides the two-space warping effect similar to a jacked-up Guidance. While Summer Tana provides the most support and Ash has the additional ATK boost from Opening Retainer, Florina has the additional niche of enabling all her allies to teleport adjacent to her so long as she is below 60% HP. Assuming she takes a flaw in HP and no Dragonflower investment, Florina would be at exactly 35 HP, which means that she is just a double Fury recoil (8 from Fury 4, 6 from Fury 3 seal) to enable the warping shenanigans. This is unfortunately not applicable for standard Aether Raids due to the Mythic boost in HP, so Florina’s niche is likely in both Chaos Aether Raids and Summoner Duels.
The elephant in the room however is her status as a ranged Flier; the lack of any meaningful combat B Passive means that her offenses leave a lot to be desired unless she is well supported. This neuters her whole teleportation gimmick due to the opportunity cost in running support units which leaves less space for a combat unit to warp in and clean things up.
Summer Edelgard is essentially a 2022 version of Legendary Edelgard as she also looks into exploiting her exclusive passive, Raging Storm. The main difference is that this version of Edelgard has a much easier time activating Galeforce due to her weapon’s cooldown reduction and double attacks with a rather flexible condition. Coupled with Assault Troop which does enable Edelgard to move much further than normal, the state of Player Phase melee Armors is now slightly better, although this group of units is extremely small, with the most competitive being Legendary Edelgard and Summer Edelgard (yeah I know, bummer).
Switching our perspective to a traditional armor of leveraging on Far Saves, Edelgard’s double attacks could be useful in the enemy phase if either she is capable of taking a hit, or she is in Vantage range. However, the former could be difficult to perform; as she needs to run Distant Counter skill for the double hits, this meant that she is vulnerable to units with armor-effective weapons such as Valentine’s Chrom, and the damage reduction from her weapon also does not help against Deadeye either, such as from Valentine’s Chrom (see a pattern here?). This meant that Edelgard’s best use is probably leveraging on Vantage with HP manipulation with the likes of Winter Bernadetta.
- Assault Troop is a new C Passive that is inheritable to any Sword, Lance, or Axe unit, with Armors probably being the best candidates due to their restrictive movement. This movement is counted as a “Warp”, meaning units such as Brave Gatekeeper and Legendary Myrrh could shut down the shenanigans, and you cannot chain Assault Troop with Pathfinder effects. A potential use case for Armored Troop would be in a superunit strategy in Summoner Duels, although one probably would still need to watch out for Armor-effective weapons.
- Summer Claude is probably one of the best demote units released in the game. While he is a ranged Flier, Summer Claude having Fallen Star access does fix some of the issues that he would be facing. However, Legendary Claude is likely still the better unit as having a Null Follow-Up effect is likely going to be more useful, especially in the enemy phase.
- Summer Dimitri comes with a conditional Brave weapon, which when coupled with Atrocity meant that Dimitri hits extremely hard. He would likely need to watch out for damage reduction effects, although one could probably argue that he can brute force his way and out-damage the reduction effects.
- Legendary Xander focuses less on taking the foe out and more on having a strong defensive presence; Null Follow-Up on the weapon and damage reduction based on the foe’s HP (watch out for Legendary Nanna!). However, Cavalry units aren’t known for their tanking properties, but their movement range and player phase, which does mean that Xander seems kind of out of place for the most part. Fortunately, his player phase can be pretty neat as the cooldown acceleration on his weapon does guarantee a Bonfire activation even after Guard.
Asgardr Hall of Fame
The Asgardr’s Hall of Fame is a form of recognition for units that fulfills either of the following 2 requirements.
- The unit is sufficiently common in Aether Raids Offense strategies and performs at a sufficiently high level.
- The unit performs at an exceptional level even if they are less accessible without a steep learning curve.
- Summer Edelgard is added due to her ability to efficiently get Galeforce with the help of Raging Storm and Assault Troop. She is likely going to be a centerpiece of some teams in a Galeforce composition.
- Mila and Elimine are added, as they see prominent use in Chaos season.
A New Dark Era; Medeus
It has been 2 months since the introduction of Medeus, and with Medeus re-running in the Legendary Banner for July, it is a good time to review how Medeus changed the defensive metagame, and how players can adapt to the shifts caused by Medeus.
In Book V, the introduction of Nott resulted in a drastic change in philosophy when crafting defenses due to Pathfinder; cover as much space as possible. That was seen as ideal at the time due to the Bolt Tower, as having a huge threat range meant that the opponent is likely forced to engage on the first turn, leaving them no room to leverage on the Bolt Tower properly.
However, since then, having a large threat range is no longer as big of an issue; sniping out of formation units is impossible with the use of Save units and the Safety Fence meant that the attacking player has ample time to be in formation to mindlessly beat such defense teams. The introduction of Medeus reversed this trend, as there is no longer a necessity to engage on turn 1 as the effects of Bolt Tower are mitigated. This makes room for heavy overlaps in team compositions such as notorious Catriaball.
That is not to say that Nott has fallen off the map completely; her Pathfinder can also be used to create more overlaps on top of being a decent counter against Warp Bubble. However, compared to before, the focus is likely no longer on Nott; it’s on Medeus instead with his superior combat potential and blocking Bolt Tower activations.
Improvise; Adapt; Overcome
That is not to say that there are no solutions for Medeus at all. The shrinking threat range is actually beneficial for player phase strategies as one could squeeze in more Drive ATK support for their nukes. Units like Ash with Opening Retainer and New Year Peony can grant a nuke more than enough ATK to brute force their way through Far Save units. Ninja Lyn and Ninja Corrin can leverage this strategy extremely well, with the only problem being the Deflect seals. Ninja Lyn is likely the better anti-meta option as players are increasingly wary of Ninja Corrin’s shenanigans, but no one is stopping you from using Lyn and Corrin on separate teams.
Galeforce strategies can also work rather well as there is more room to line up their movement skill such as double Smites and leveraging Reposition and Canto. The big challenge for these Galeforce units would be to take out the Mythics such as Nott and Medeus, which can both be rather stubborn to take out.
Aether Raids Terrain Discussion
Outside of Medeus, another change that was introduced in the past year was the new terrains. We will first have an overview of all the terrains that are released in the game, and we will then focus on some maps based on their prominence and strength.
The above is a tier list of all the terrains in the game. Lost Castle used to be a staple for all the maps that want to lock 1 side of the approach away but is mostly superseded by the new map Jotunheimr Castle, which is probably the most centralizing map reminiscent of Spring Breeze before the nerfs during the inception of the game mode. Springwater, Spring Breeze, and Dream Castle are very useful for high-threat range team compositions due to the lack of obstruction in the middle of the map, with Springwater and Dream Castle having the ability to somewhat soft-restrict one side of the approach.
Maps in the B tier are not necessarily bad, but they are superseded compared to the maps in the higher tier. Lava Floes is a worse Springwater / Dream Castle, Desert is a worse Spring Breeze, and Lost Castle is a worse Jotunheimr Castle. C tier maps are maps that do not contribute much, while D tier maps are maps that you probably should not even consider when building the teams as they are more advantageous to the attacker than the defender.
We will go into details for Spring Breeze, Springwater, Dream Castle, Lost Castle, and most importantly, Jotunheimr Castle.
In the past, Spring Breeze’s destructible tiles were all solid walls, making it the de facto map for all Aether Raids defenses during the mode’s early years. The current Spring Breeze while a much weaker map compared to before, can still be used in a manner that can cause some issues for the attacker.
The most important trait this map has over the other maps is the wall placement being at the very first row. By placing a fort on the left of the wall and blocking off the leftmost column, it is possible to stop the attacker from engaging on the left side of the threat range on the left is large enough. This meant that one could focus their traps on the right side, and focus their protection on those areas as well.
Spring Breeze is the go-to map for the Cavalry Line (“Cav Line”) due to this reason; their excessive threat range makes it hard to engage from the left, and the right has the space for the Cavalry to overwhelm the foe. While there are no explicit counters for the map, the map archetype itself is mostly thwarted by a good Savior unit. Just be wary of securing the Aether Structures and you should be golden against this map.
Springwater and Dream Castle
These two maps are relatively similar in terms of layout; the left and the right have ponds that only allow fliers to occupy the tiles, and the middle has absolutely no obstruction. The ponds on the side meant that it is possible to restrict approach from one side using the Fortress, although it is worth noting that Fliers are allowed to go through, and it is also possible to snipe across the ponds as well. One difference is that for Springwater, the pond on the left is at a much more forward position, while Dream Castle is a symmetric map that allows the player to flip their structures around should they need to do so to combat the whack-a-mole structure known as Catapult.
The open nature of the map can be a double-edged sword; one could set up rather complicated dance traps and risk less of unit blocks, but attackers could also set up a double smite to the middle to engage as well. Springwater and Dream Castle are probably the go-to maps for Turn 1 traps such as Dance and Restore Trap or any compositions that use melee Cavalry such as Legendary Sigurd.
As mentioned above, the strength of the maps is also its weakness; a double Smite onto the opponent team can be easily done if a player leaves their offensive structure open in the middle. One could also look into countering the team archetypes instead by bringing Isolation units such as Mila and Bridal Fjorm.
Lost Castle used to be the go-to for blocking off one side of the map, namely the right side. However, the elephant in the room is always the two defense tiles down in the middle; not only it could be used by the attacker, but the defender also cannot block those tiles using traps, making whoever is standing above the tile susceptible to getting engaged on should there not be a Save unit covering those areas. Furthermore, the map not being symmetric meant that players could easily prepare for the map by slotting their Catapult either on the rightmost or 2nd rightmost lane.
One advantage that it has over the Jotunheimr Castle is that the fort can be placed at a lower position, locking off a larger portion of the map compared to the newcomer. However, for blocking off engagements this benefit is largely inconsequential.
Lastly, unless there are changes, Jotunheimr Castle is probably the default map of choice for most teams. The pillars on the 2nd and 4th lanes meant that it is possible to completely block off either side of the approach using the fort. This meant that traps can then be placed in the middle area of the map, and players have no choice but to either go through the traps to engage or just tank in the enemy phase.
The only blemish on the map is that the two pillars could potentially block off your attackers if you are using a Dance trap or a Rally trap, and this could be problematic in the edge cases where the attacker tanks in a position closer to your team. For turn 1 traps, players should probably stick to either Springwater or Dream Castle to prevent these kinds of interactions. If there is a rally trap on your encounter with the map, one might be able to solve it by baiting in a more forward position rather than at the max range.
For maps without gimmicks, the usual offense rules apply; high threat range teams can be solved by Save units, while low threat range teams are easier to engage on. Just follow this principle and it is likely that the attacker can still come out on top. Of course, one should always be mindful of the Aether Structures, as those can be rather deep inside the corner of the blocked areas
We hope you enjoy this edition of the Asgardr Report. One key development that happened over the course of June is Chaos Aether Raids. Hence, in the next edition of the Asgardr Report, we will touch on the Aether Raids Chaos season metagame. We hope to see you all again right here in Asgardr Report.