General Team Building Guide - Counters Checklist

Counters Checklist

Do you have an approach for these?

Have your potential Arena offense team compositions go through this checklist, starting from the top and moving towards the bottom.

If your team has a valid approach for everything at EX-level and covers most of the A-level threats, it's probably fine.

Threat Level: EX

Your team needs to have an approach (ideally clear counter) for every single one of these units, as they represent a major (and frequent) threat in defense teams.

  • Gets Distant Counter from their weapon, and usually wields Vantage. Ryoma is much speedier while Ike has considerable physical soak.
  • Ideally, you want to finish both of them off in a single encounter.
  • If not possible, you can also use your own Vantage to counter their Vantage.
  • Normally, armors are actually pretty bad in defense. Hector laughs at this and remains a top threat thanks to his weapon-included Quick Riposte and his native Distant Counter. Frequently runs Vantage to remain dangerous at all health levels.
  • Either nuke in one move with a red mage, or bait with a red sword (attacking first triggers Quick Riposte, which you don't want), or use Windsweep / Firesweep, or tinker around with magic, or accept taking some nonlethal damage to lower his health and bring him into your team's nuking range. Desperate magic users are particularly good at taking him out once their Desperation kicks in.
  • In Armor Emblem teams, be wary of the skill Armor March, which could easily corner your team if you are not aggressive enough with your positioning.
  • Dangerous double-hit blue cavalier mage. Will frequently run Death Blow to dramatically increase his damage output.
  • Because of his extreme range, he's a nightmare to outmaneuver; Death Blow makes his atk high enough to threaten most units with his double-hit ability.
  • A green magic tank should be able to bait Reinhardt with ease. If not you'll need to play mind games with this one, i.e. pseudo-bait him through AI manipulation (stand right outside of his range, and hope he comes your way). He'll get destroyed on the spot by most melee attackers.
  • Very similar to Reinhardt with the Horse Movements. Difficult to outmaneuver.
  • Sacae's Blessing meant melee distant counter will not work as a hard counter.
  • Raven tomes are excellent counter most of the time, however Lyn can also choose to run Cancel Affinity to deal with Raven tomes better.
  • Most reliable counters would be Dragons and beefy Archers with BowBreaker, as they retain the ability to counter-attack.
  • Extremely potent stat distribution. Frequently come in either Brave Bow or Firesweep Bow variant.
  • Brave Bow usually is paired with Desperation, while Firesweep Bow is with Cancel Affinity.
  • Raven Tomes can easily counter Brave Bow builds, however will not work against Cancel Affinity.
  • Speedy Distant Counter users with Vantage or Quick Riposte could make quick work against Bridal Cordelia (most notably Ryoma).
  • There is no way to bait a Firesweep variant, however a flier with a Brave Weapon could easily bait and wipe her out (such as Cherche and Cordelia).
Threat Level: A

Not quite EX-level, but still units you need to have a way to get around of. It's acceptable not to have specific approaches for a couple of these as approaches can be tinkered on-the-fly for most of these units.


  • Gets Distant Counter from her weapon (she nearly always wields her native Lightning Breath+), frequently paired with Triangle Adept or Fury as well as Quick Riposte. Dangerous to attack with anything not green.
  • On the other hand, green units can easily handle her, especially if she's running Triangle Adept. Nino and Julia will quickly dispose of most of her builds.

Linde, Nino, Tharja

  • Quick mages with high damage output and low defenses (Tharja is slightly slower and gets slightly more bulk).
  • Either bait them with a unit capable of killing them back (having high res is strongly recommended), or outmanoeuver them to get into their melee range. They can't really afford to run Close Counter as they rely heavily on their A slot to increase their output.

Julia, Sanaki

  • Slow antimagic mages with huge damage output and low physical defense. Julia's Naga is also specialized for dragon killing.
  • Attacking them with magic will only really work if you're attacking from the right color. Sanaki will usually run Triangle Adept and Julia Green Tomebreaker - in both cases, green mages will do extremely poorly against them. It's much simpler to outmanoeuver and kill from melee range.


  • A pure day ruiner. Kagero can and will kill most infantry units in one engagement thanks to her Poison Dagger+ (a bane weapon specialized against infantry).
  • She's also extremely fragile and doesn't really have the means to handle most non-infantry units. Either out-manoeuver her with a dancer or a cavalier, or just bait her with a non-infantry unit and kill her on the following turn.

Chrom, Ephraim

  • Slow melee attackers with huge damage output and reasonably high def. Chrom will occasionally run Brave Sword+, which is especially threatening considering his huge base atk.
  • They have abysmal res, and can't do anything against ranged attacks. Mages are perfect to handle them. Alternately, you can have tanks of the right color duel them (but be careful about their Special, as it's pretty likely to push their atk to ridiculous values).

Lucina, Cordelia, Hinoka, Anna

  • Quick melee attackers with high damage output and low defenses. Cordelia and Hinoka will usually run Brave Lance+, Anna can warp around with Noatun once below 40% hp and Lucina has a dragon killer weapon.
  • Slightly easier to tank than slow attackers - armors will usually completely resist them unless they're weak to their color. Most ranged nukes will also dispose of them on the spot.


  • A slow green flier mage with huge atk. She has decent def too.
  • Archers will make relatively quick work of her unless she runs Iote's Shield (in which case she becomes a real threat for them, as she can also run Gronnraven+). She also doesn't have much res, which means most mages have a good shot at frying her if they manage to get to her.
Threat level: B

Depending on your unit's composition and your playstyle, these units may ruin your day or be completely irrelevant.


  • Effie is exactly the kind of unit that will be a piece of cake unless you lack magic or appropriate support, in which case she'll magically transform into an absolute monster. Huge atk frequently combined with Death Blow and Brave Lance+, great def, high hp and Wary Fighter all ensure she practically never gets oneshot and gets the oneshot on many of her foes.
  • "Just stay out of her range" may seem a little simplist, but it really is that simple (especially if she's running Brave Lance+). Any unit existing in her range at the beginning of her phase should be considered forfeited or at the very least maimed. The simplest way to beat Effie is to dance around her, either literally or with Reposition or Draw Back.


  • A faster and less powerful Reinhardt. Tends to go for Desperation paired with Luna, which thankfully isn't as powerful in defense as it is in offense.
  • Unlike Reinhardt, there are a lot of units that can afford to bait her lower damage output.

This article is part of the General Team Building Guide, a series of articles written by takaminacchan. A list of the articles in this series can be found at the top and bottom of each article.