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Duo Ephraim; Impact on Aether Raids

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Introduction

Duo Ephraim’s Duo Skill works similarly to Legendary Azura’s Gray Waves by providing allies 1 extra movement. However, there are some key differences. Gray Waves could only target 1 ally at a time, buffs Infantry and Flying allies and could be used multiple times throughout a map. Ephraim’s Duo Skill cold potentially hit multiple allies as long as the allies are within a 2 square radius, buffs Infantry and Armor allies, and could only be used once in a map (or twice if Duo Indulgence is on the field in Aether Raids).

The extra movement could be useful for mainly 2 strategies in Aether Raids; Galeforce and Hit-and-Run. However, for the latter it is relatively difficult to justify, as Ephraim would take up a precious dancer slot, which does mean that double Mythic compositions would be much more difficult to assemble for those set-ups. Hence, specifically for Aether Raids Offense, we would focus on its application in a Galeforce composition. We would also discuss his potential in an Aether Raids Defense set-up.

Galeforce

Duo Ephraim essentially fuses traits of a Cavalry and Infantry Galeforce team composition in a single unit. 

Cavalry Galeforce team have 1 extra movement to work with, which allows for more flexible plays in terms of not only initiating the enemy team, but also getting out should it be possible. Infantry Galeforce lacks the movement; however more than makes up for it by ability to leverage on Infantry Pulse to accelerate its charge, making a 2 turn cooldown Galeforce more likely and increase its consistency in activating the skill. Duo Ephraim being an Infantry meant that it is able to accomplish the same just like any Infantry unit, but with the added benefit of the extra movement of a Cavalry unit.

While the increase in movement is largely appreciated in a Galeforce context, a team composition with Duo Ephraim still suffers from the same exact problem as a normal Galeforce team; it is still at the mercy of trap placements, in which a point blank trap still makes it difficult for a Galeforce unit to initiate on. Furthermore, his base weapon, Reginleif, while extremely powerful, does not provide any form of special acceleration, which is arguably more important in this archetype to achieve more consistency with a 2-turn Galeforce.

Fortunately, Duo Ephraim is a Lance unit, which meant that he had access to possibly the best generic weapon for a Galeforce unit; It’s Curtains…+. Otherwise, support from allies (Velouria or any Infantry Pulses) could also accelerate his special sufficiently.

In summary, Duo Ephraim is incredibly specialized in terms of its Duo Skill. It lacks the strategic flexibility of a trigger-happy Bolt Tower, but it is still relatively useful nonetheless if used well in the correct set-up.

Defensive Potential

One thing Duo Ephraim probably has over Halloween Hector is its defensive potential in Aether Raids. Reginleif might not be the best weapon on offense, however the firepower that could be derived from the weapon is undeniable. Specifically, it synergizes extremely well with Legendary Azura, as her movement buffs can be used to trigger Reginleif’s automatic follow up. It is also worth considering Reginleif’s effective damage against Armored and Cavalry foes, providing the team potential damage coverage as well.

Furthermore, as mentioned above, he could leverage on Infantry Pulse. A player could opt for an Infantry Pulse set-up with Ephraim as part of the chain. He could also utilize on Infantry Pulse to have access to either instant specials, or more powerful specials on the 2nd hit of Reginleif. 

Lastly, Duo Hinderance might actually be useful should someone choose to use Duo Ephraim in their defensive set-up, as the Duo Skill blocking effect only works when Duo Hero, such as Duo Ephraim, is on the field. Specifically for Infantry Pulse teams, knowing that a Halloween Hector could not be used to disrupt the chain could be rather useful.

Conclusion

Based on initial impressions, Duo Ephraim’s Duo Skill seems to not be as impactful as Halloween Hector’s as it lacks the strategic flexibility. However, in certain team compositions such as one that leverages on Galeforce, it could be potentially useful. It is also notable that Ephraim has a taller ceiling on defense, which could be useful if a player is paranoid of Hector’s Duo Skill and wishes to prevent it from happening using Duo Hinderance. However, the viability of the above application is likely up for debates.