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Analysis by accidentalgreed
Donnel - Village Hero

3-4

Obtainable as a 3 - 4 only

Hero Stats

Max Avg Total Stats at Lvl 40
162
HP 43
ATK 35
SPD 29
DEF 32
RES 23

Stat Variations

Level 1 Stat Variation
5★
4★
3★
HP ATK SPD DEF RES
Low 16 6 4 5 3
Middle 17 7 5 6 4
High 18 8 6 7 5

Level 40 Stat Variations
5★
4★
3★
HP ATK SPD DEF RES
Low 40 32 26 29 20
Middle 43 35 29 32 23
High 46 38 32 35 27

IV Sets

Key stats worth increasing through nature if possible.
Complementary stats that matter, but not to the point of picking them over key stats for nature increase.
Relatively worthless stat that can safely be decreased through nature.
HPATKSPDDEFRES

Donnel's statline distribution allows for a variety of builds, meaning the IV diagram above doesn't exactly reflect how flexible his Assets are. For low investment purposes, however, players will likely be wanting an Attack asset over others, cutting his Resistance or Speed in return.

Skill Sets

Aether Raids? Beets Me. (High-Investment Mixed Tank)

Build by accidentalgreed
Recommended
Gilt Fork+ (+Spd)
Alternate: Casa Blanca+ (+Res)
A Distant Counter
Alternate: Steady Posture 3
Reposition B Lull Atk/Spd 3
Alternate: Null C-Disrupt 3
Sol
Alternate: Noontime
C Pulse Smoke 3
Alternate: Atk Smoke 3
IVs

+SPD or +RES

SSwift Stance 2
Alternate: Steady Posture 2

Show Explanation/Analysis

Weapon: Gilt Fork+ (+Spd) / Casa Blanca (+Spd) / Slaying Lance+ / Res-refined versions of the aforementioned weapons

Assist: Reposition / Flexible

Special: Sol / Noontime / Aether

Passive A: Distant Counter / Steady Posture 3

Passive B: Lull Atk/Spd / Null C-Disrupt / Repel / Close Call

Passive C: Pulse Smoke / Atk Smoke

Sacred Seal: Swift Stance / Steady Posture / Spd Smoke / Darting Stance

  • Donnel's unimpressive base Resistance and Speed might make him seem far from a primary candidate as an Aether Raids carry unit. However, dedicated investment, outsourced support (such as Brave Lucina's Geirskögul, Drive Spd support, etc), access to Gilt Fork and Casa Blanca, and an otherwise balanced stat distribution in other areas make him a deceivingly fine free-to-play choice. As the name implies, this is also Donnel's go-to for Aether Raids, specifically on Offense where he can put his infantry skill access and great Lance choices to work.
  • One main branch of this build deals with investing in Donnel's Speed specifically; while it starts out at a rather odd value, it can be specially built upon with heavy Speed swing skills such as Lull Atk/Spd, Steady Posture 3, and Speed-based Stance Seals. On Light season, Donnel can also be used alongside Peony to benefit from her Speed-based Blessing effect. As a result, Donnel becomes difficult to take down as he avoids enemy follow-ups more frequently while being able to make some himself.
  • The good ol' combination of Distant Counter and Null C-Disrupt allows Donnel to comfortably take on units with counterattack-negating skills (such as Firesweep, Dazzling Staff, etc) if you don't have a specialized solution for those tactics specifically. Against Defense setups without these, however, Null C-Disrupt essentially becomes an empty slot.
  • Universal on all Aether Raids carry units, an emphasis is placed on healing Specials over damaging. Depending on whether you use Slaying Lance or provide outsourced acceleration support (Brave Lucina's Geirskögul), it pretty much comes down to a choice between Noontime, Sol, and Aether. Additionally, for those otherwise unprepared for heavy Infantry Pulse-focused setups, Pulse Smoke is a specialty C-slot option to make combat against precharged teams much easier. Otherwise, Atk Smoke is a good and cheap option for direct damage mitigation.
  • For those unable to decide on a build due to the volume of shown skills, several possible combinations can be followed and built on:
    • Gilt Fork + Distant Counter + Lull Atk/Spd: Gilt Fork (assuming you abide by its effect conditions) and Lull Atk/Spd together provide stat control; Donnel's penalties are neutralized while the enemy can't hope to break through with their fullest might in Attack and Speed.
    • Gilt Fork + Steady Posture + Lull Atk/Spd OR Gilt Fork + Steady Posture + Repel/Close Call: the combination of Steady Posture and a Speed-based damage reduction skill allows Donnel to nearly halve most attacks coming from slower enemies. To make this work at its fullest, other sources of Speed support (such as Drive Spd, Mila's Nurturing Breath, or Peony's Light Blessing and Flower of Joy) are recommended. This build is also more reliant on outright tanking rather than attacking back due to the lack of Distant Counter.
    • Slaying Lance + Aether + Geirskögul: With the Breath-like cooldown acceleration provided by Brave Lucina's Geirskögul (among other benefits provided by the lance and Lucina herself), Donnel is able to activate Aether significantly more often. Note that Aether requires two actions to activate after the Slaying Lance's cooldown cutting.
    • Casa Blanca + Distant Counter + Null C-Disrupt OR Gilt Fork + Distant Counter + Null C-Disrupt: The classic anti-ranged build Donnel used before Gilt Fork came into existence. Casa Blanca is still a solid choice for specialty matchups against mostly-ranged teams, though Gilt Fork tends to be more general use overall as it also provides bonus control as well as extra in-combat stats.

Heavy Hewning (Heavy Blade + Hewn Lance)

Build by accidentalgreed
Recommended
Hewn Lance (+Eff) A Death Blow (3 or 4)
Alternate: Heavy Blade 4
Reposition B Lull Atk/Def 3
Alternate: Special Spiral 3
Galeforce
Alternate: Moonbow
C Time's Pulse 3
Alternate: Infantry Pulse 3
IVs

+ATK / -RES or -HP

SHeavy Blade 3
Alternate: Death Blow 3

Show Explanation/Analysis

Weapon: Hewn Lance (+Eff)

Assist: Reposition / Flexible

Special: Galeforce / Moonbow / Ignis / Glimmer

Passive A: Death Blow (3 or 4) / Heavy Blade (3 or 4) / Atk/Def Push 4 / Atk/Def Solo

Passive B: Lull Atk/Def / Special Spiral / Dull Close

Passive C: Time's Pulse / Infantry Pulse

Sacred Seal: Heavy Blade / Death Blow

  • This build focuses mainly on Special activation via Heavy Blade, which accelerates Donnel's cooldown assuming his Attack is higher than his foe's. Despite Hewn Lance's lower Mt (due in part to game balancing against its twice-hitting property), this is made up by the inbuilt Attack boost of +4 on initiation as well as other tools used here.
  • To dominate as many Attack comparisons as possible for Heavy Blade activation, an Attack-based Lull is Donnel's best bet as they nullify Attack bonuses and further lower the enemy's attack by -3. Seeing as Lull Atk/Def also plays into actual damage, it's generally the best choice—it also helps that several of its native users can offer other optimal skills, including Death Blow 4 (Dimitri) and Heavy Blade 4 (Duo Ephraim). Should Lulls not be available, Dull Close is more accessible and does a similar job strictly against melee enemies.
  • Special Spiral + Ignis is a consistent high-damage option; after charging and using Ignis for the first time, Donnel will likely be able to fire off Ignis on his second Heavy Blade-strengthed brave hit in future initiations. On builds without Special Spiral, Moonbow or Glimmer are generally Donnel's go-toes for consistent one-turn Specials.
  • Galeforce-based builds are also extremely potent due to Hewn Lance's twice-hitting property—Donnel can potentially get it going in a single blitz hit without getting struck himself. Since Galeforce has a cooldown value of 5, however, this build would require Time's Pulse or outsourced pulse support (such as Infantry Pulse, Ostia's Pulse, Rafiel's Groom's Wing, Veloria's Wolfpup Fang, etc) to charge fully to 0 on Hewn Lance's second hit.

Agricultural Apotheosis (Speedy Hewn Lance / Quad)

Build by accidentalgreed
Hewn Lance (+Eff) A Swift Sparrow (2 or 3)
Alternate: Life and Death (3 or 4)
Reposition B Lull Spd/Def 3
Alternate: Desperation 3
Moonbow
Alternate: Bonfire
C Joint Drive Spd
Alternate: Infantry Pulse 3
IVs

+SPD / -RES or -HP

SSwift Sparrow 2

Show Explanation/Analysis

Weapon: Hewn Lance (+Eff)

Assist: Reposition / Flexible

Special: Moonbow / Bonfire

Passive A: Swift Sparrow / Life and Death / Atk/Spd Push 4 / Atk/Spd Solo

Passive B: Lull Spd/Def / Desperation / Wings of Mercy

Passive C: Joint Drive Spd / Infantry Pulse / Flexible

Sacred Seal: Swift Sparrow

  • Overall, combines fun factor with actual viability. A much speedier approach to the other Hewn Lance builds with a nice twist in Aether Raids Defense potential. Due to Hewn Lance's Speed deficit of -5 and Donnel's average Speed starting out, however, this is reserved mostly for players willing to shell out love and resources into the character.
  • As a result of some tweaks (such as a Speed asset, dragonflowers, and merges) and higher-end Speed investment in Donnel's chosen A-slot and Seal (anything lower than Atk/Spd +4 is not advised), he can overcome difficulties in Speed and reach upwards of the 40 Speed bracket. As many tanks and defensive units opt to invest in stats other than their Speed, Donnel actually achieves a nice number of "quad" attacks on initiation, giving him the opportunity to stretch his damage by blitzing four times instead of two.
    • Due to Hewn Lance restricting enemies to one attack, Donnel is also in little danger of being follow-upped should he somehow fail to finish the job in one go.
  • The only non-straightforward aspect of the build is Donnel's B slot, and even that is a simple decision between a few choice skills. 
    • Lull Spd/Def swings Speed comparisons significantly in Donnel's favor while keeping his damage in tip-top shape especially against enemies with higher Defense.
    • Desperation is cheap, easy to get, and ultimately fun, as it allows for uninterrupted quad attacks (assuming Donnel can do so while at the appropriate health level).
    • Wings of Mercy provide offensive pressure against teams raiding your Aether Keep as it provides Donnel a means of teleporting map-wide to a damaged ally. 

Run-of-the-Mill (Low-Investment Hewn Lance)

Build by accidentalgreed
Hewn Lance (+Eff) A Death Blow 3
Reposition B Drag Back
Moonbow
Alternate: Bonfire
C Drive Atk 2
IVs

+ATK / -SPD or -RES or -HP

SDeath Blow 3
Alternate: Sturdy Blow 2

Show Explanation/Analysis

Weapon: Hewn Lance (+Eff)

Assist: Reposition / Flexible

Special: Moonbow / Bonfire

Passive A:  Death Blow 3

Passive B: Drag Back

Passive C: Drive Atk / Flexible

Sacred Seal: Death Blow 3 / Sturdy Blow 2

  • Don't be fooled by this build's lack of flashy options; it actually holds a lot of power in its simplicity as it focuses on straightfoward damage.
  • Hewn Lance is perfectly powerful by itself thanks to its Brave and Sturdy Blow/Impact effects from initiation. Therefore, only minimal investment is required to get great mileage out of Donnel if you're only aiming to make him a lower investment unit. As such, all skills shown are easily acquirable by 3-4 star rarity units and require little analysis other than: unga bunga hit hard.
  • As usual of units with access to Brave weapons, Death Blow is a run-of-the-mill standard as it applies a large amount of power on all of Hewn Lance's consecutive hits. Running both as the A slot skill and Sacred Seal grants a straight Attack boost of +12. Combined with the inbuilt Sturdy Blow effect in Hewn Lance, this makes a single initiation deadly to all but the most physically fortified enemies.
  • Drag Back not only provides positioning flexibility after Donnel is finished with a match, but also comes by default on him.
  • The C slot choice honestly doesn't matter much in the context of low-investment, though skills such as Drive Atk allow Donnel to help out his other allies, depending which stats they require.

Outstanding in His Field (Breath Build)

Build by accidentalgreed
Slaying Lance+ (+Spd)
Alternate: Gilt Fork+ (+Spd)
A Steady Breath
Alternate: Warding Breath
Reposition B Special Spiral 3
Alternate: Wrath 3
Aether
Alternate: Bonfire
C Atk Smoke 3
Alternate: Time's Pulse 3
IVs

+ATK or +SPD or +RES (depending on desired stat focus)

SQuick Riposte 3
Alternate: Mirror Stance 2

Show Explanation/Analysis

Weapon: Slaying Lance+ (+Spd) / Gilt Fork+ (+Spd) / Berkut's Lance (+Res) / Spd, Def or Res-refined versions of the aforementioned weapons

Assist: Reposition / Flexible

Special: Aether / Bonfire / Ignis / Moonbow / Noontime / Sol

Passive A: Steady Breath / Warding Breath / Fierce Breath / Darting Breath / Distant Counter

Passive B: Special Spiral / Wrath / Repel / Quick Riposte

Passive C: Atk Smoke Time's Pulse / Def Smoke / Flexible

Sacred Seal: Quick Riposte / Mirror Stance / Atk/Res Bond / Atk/Spd Bond / Close Def / Flexible

  • Donnel's access to Breath skills is also a path to run down on, and he can go through quite easily thanks to his nice defensive statline. Combined with some great lance weapons to choose from and other infantry-based skills, Donnel is perfectly suited for hard melee combat. You'll need to plan how to distribute Donnel's stats to your liking, however, as he can run a number of variations of this build.
  • Donnel's A slot is, of course, reserved for any Breath skill, which allows him to retaliate with accelerated Special charge on both his and the enemy's attacks. Distant Counter is also a fine option assuming you provide Donnel with an outsourced Breath equivalent from other allies (such as Brave Lucina's Geirskögul or the skill Infantry Breath).
  • Breath builds are, of course, centered around both the namesake skill and the Special Donnel is attempting to fire off with better frequency. Several skill choices come down to whether you use Slaying Lance, Time's Pulse, Special Spiral, or some combination of such. Note that Time's Pulse will have contradictory activation timing with Spiral, so using them on the same build is ill-advised.
    • Slaying Lance + Special Spiral + Aether: allows Aether to activate on every non-Guarded counterattack after Spiral and Slaying reduce its initial cooldown.
    • Gilt Fork + Special Spiral + Ignis: focuses on pure unbridled damage per counterattack, coming from Gilt Fork's beefy Atk/Def fortification as well as the high damage potential of Ignis.
    • Gilt Fork + Time's Pulse + Bonfire OR Slaying Lance + Bonfire: sacrifices healing for simple Bonfire damage per counterattack.
    • Sol + Time's Pulse + Gilt Form + Wrath OR Slaying Lance + Sol + Wrath: utilizes Wrath to gain additional damage (which makes up for the lack of healing from Sol) and passive charging when below 75% health. In layman's terms, a mini-Aether build.
    • Gilt Fork + Moonbow OR Gilt Fork + Noontime + Wrath: Moonbow and Noontime provide less potency at the cost of simply activating easily. Additionally, at base cooldown values of 2, they do not require cooldown cutting from Time's Pulse or Slaying Lance.  
  • The Sacred Seal of choice is also subject to the flexible nature of this build, but for the most part, it should be focused on improving an aspect of Donnel's enemy phase capabilities. Atk/Res Bond or Mirror Stance, for instance, improves both Donnel's magic tankability and his damage output, while Quick Riposte provides a little push in Special setup as well as closing kills better due to its additional follow-up attack.

Strengths

Excellent Accessibility

Part of Donnel's perceived mundaneness stems from him being part of the Hero Battle rotation (meaning two neutral copies are available for everybody) and his—often annoyingly enough—status as a common 3-4 star rarity pull. This comes into Donnel's favor, however, as players will very likely have an optimal Asset copy of him for the build they need and come across more than enough duplicates to perform a high-investment project whenever the need surfaces. 

Fairly Allocated Stats

Donnel's base stat total of 162 allows for a bit more room to optimally allocate stats, and the Village Hero does this task with reasonable success. His base 35 Attack allows for consistently good damage output across most build he runs, while 43 HP and 32 Defense make him not-too-shabby in the physical tanking department. While his remaining Resistance and Speed sit at odd and objectively average values, they are satisfactory enough so that superinvestment in these particular stats is always a worthy venture with the right skills.

Infantry Perks 

Donnel's access to infantry-locked skills such as Null C-Disrupt, Wrath, Special Spiral, Breath skills, and more is one of his main draws and differentiates him from similarly-built units in other movement types.

Lance Library and Perks 

Donnel's flexible stats and usage of lances grant him a great assortment of alternative weapons to use besides his offensively handy Hewn Lance, an already outstanding Brave-style weapon with an Impact effect built-in. Standouts include Slaying Lance, Berkut's Lance (power to the people!), and—coveted especially from lance units for Aether Raids in particular—Casa Blanca and Gilt Fork. Donnel being a lance user also allows him to benefit from refined Geirskögul, which mostly fixes Special cooldown and inheritance issues related to his usage of Breath skills.

Weaknesses

Weak Uninvested Speed and Resistance 

Donnel's Resistance starts out at an exploitable value of 23 to begin with, and minimal interference in this stat leaves him vulnerable to strong magic assaults. Donnel's Speed also sits at a pretty average default value and requires fair investment to break his vulnerability to natural follow-up attacks.

Some Builds Require Superinvestment

This is an issue that's honestly universal to most first generation units, but this applies mostly to Donnel's roles outside of blitzing with Hewn Lance. To address some of his stat weaknesses—especially in Resistance and/or Speed if Donnel hopes to tank as much as he can— expensive skills and superinvestment is necessary which may leave other areas in the dust. Even then, Donnel may have difficulty taking repeated punishment from the likes of Ophelia, Thrasir, Yune, and Legendary Julia, and his Speed might be compromised against more recent unit entries also specializing in this stat.  

Lack of Specialization

Whether this is seen as a flaw or not depends on the person as Donnel's current stat distribution arguably contributes to his flexibility. Regardless, Donnel not particularly specializing in certain stats can make other competitors in the 3-4 star rarity pool seem like more compelling choices for certain roles.

 

Weapon Skills

Weapons SP Rng. Mt.
Iron Lance
Learns by default at 1 ★
Unlocks at 1 ★
Lance Users Only
50 1 6
Steel Lance
Learns by default at 3 ★
Unlocks at 2 ★
Lance Users Only
100 1 8
Brave LanceSpd-5. Attack twice when initiating combat.
Learns by default at 4 ★
Unlocks at 3 ★
Lance Users Only
200 1 5
Brave Lance+Spd-5. Attack twice when initiating combat.
Learns by default at 5 ★
Unlocks at 5 ★
Lance Users Only
300 1 8
Hewn LanceInflicts Spd-5. If unit initiates combat, unit attacks twice.
Unlocks at 5 ★
Non-Inheritable skill.
400 1 11
Weapon Evolution
Weapon Upgrades
Weapon Upgrades

Support Skills

Support Skills Rng. SP
Reciprocal AidSwap HP with adjacent ally (neither unit can go above their max HP).
Learns by default at 4 ★
1 150

Passive Skills

Passive Skills SP Slot
HP +3Grants +3 to max HP.
Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 1 ★
40
A
HP +4Grants +4 to max HP.
Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 2 ★
80
A
HP +5Grants +5 to max HP.
Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 4 ★
160
A
Drag BackIf unit initiates attack, the unit moves 1 space away after combat. Foe moves into unit's previous space.
Non-Inheritable by Mages and Ranged units.
Unlocks at 3 ★
150
B

Other Info

Origin
Fire Emblem: Awakening

Banners Featured In

Official Hero Artwork