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Analysis by Chibi_Chu
Leif - Prince of Leonster

5

Obtainable as a 5 only

Hero Stats

Max Avg Total Stats at Lvl 40
163
HP 40
ATK 32
SPD 38
DEF 30
RES 23

Stat Variations

Level 1 Stat Variation
5★
HP ATK SPD DEF RES
Low 17 5 9 7 5
Middle 18 6 10 8 6
High 19 7 11 9 7

Level 40 Stat Variations
5★
HP ATK SPD DEF RES
Low 36 29 35 26 20
Middle 40 32 38 30 23
High 43 35 41 33 26

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

Skill Sets

“I’ve lived for this alone: to choke the life from you with my bare hands!” (Galeforce)

Build by Chibi_Chu
Recommended
Ninja Katana+ A Flashing Blade 4
Alternate: Atk/Spd Boosting A Slot
Positional Assist B S Drink
Galeforce C Odd Tempest 3
Alternate: Even Tempest 3
IVs

+Spd / -HP or -Res

SAtk/Spd Solo 3
Alternate: Flashing Blade 3

Show Explanation/Analysis

Weapon: Ninja Katana+ 

Assist: Positional Assist 

Special: Galeforce 

Passive A: Flashing Blade 4 / Atk/Spd Boosting A Slot

Passive B: S Drink 

Passive C: Odd Tempest / Even Tempest

Sacred Seal: Atk/Spd Solo / Flashing Blade

  • The combination of Ninja Katana, Galeforce, Flashing Blade, and S Drink enables Leif to be a powerful Galeforcer.
    • S Drink decreases Galeforce’s cooldown from 5 to 4 on Turn 1. When Leif initiates with Ninja Katana, he attacks twice consecutively (before the enemy can counterattack). While this would normally decrease Galeforce’s cooldown to 2 (assuming no Guard effect is active), if Leif’s effective Speed is higher than the enemy’s, Flashing Blade grants him an additional +1 Special charge for each of his attacks, decreasing Galeforce’s cooldown to 0 after 2 hits. With this, Galeforce is activated, allowing Leif to perform another action.
    • Ninja Katana is much preferred over Brave Sword because of the former’s +4 Speed compared to the latter’s -5 Speed. The decreased bulk from Ninja Katana can be a detriment if Leif fails to 2HKO, but it can also be a blessing; if Leif’s HP falls to ≤ 50% after combat, allies with Wings of Mercy can teleport to spaces adjacent to him, allowing the team as a whole to continue its Player Phase offensive.
  • Flashing Blade 4 is Leif’s ideal A Slot; in addition to granting +1 Special charge, it also grants 5 true damage if the Speed condition is met, bolstering his overall damage output. However, this leaves much to be desired in terms of Leif’s offenses, meaning his Sacred Seal needs to make up for the lack of stat boosts. Atk/Spd Solo is Leif’s most consistent option, granting +6 Atk/Spd during combat as long as he is not adjacent to an ally; given that Leif is usually the first to initiate in a Galeforce chain because he exchanges the usual Wings of Mercy for S Drink, this is an easy condition to achieve.
    • Alternatively, Flashing Blade 3 can be used in Leif’s Sacred Seal to open up his A Slot for Skills such as Atk/Spd Push 4, Fury, and Atk/Spd Solo 4. Particularly noteworthy is Atk/Spd Push 4 and Fury’s recoil damage, which can help Leif fall to ≤ 50% HP to activate allies’ Wings of Mercy. Keep in mind, however, that Leif loses 5 true damage in the transition between Flashing Blade 4 to 3, lowering his output.
  • Odd Tempest’s +1 Movement on odd turns is vital for Turn 1 initiation strategies, making it the premier choice for Galeforce strategies. Alternatively, if the Raiding Party fields a Safety Fence and meets its condition of either being outside of the enemy’s Danger Zone or being within 2 rows and 7 columns centered on the Safety Fence, the entire Defense Keep ends their turn immediately, permitting Leif and friends to take an additional turn for set-up. This means the Galeforce chain will be initiated on Turn 2 rather than Turn 1, making Even Tempest the natural replacement for Odd Tempest.
  • While a 4-cooldown Galeforce may seem unsafe due to Guard effects or on the off-chance that Leif OHKOs, he simply lacks the damage output (usually) and range to replace Odd/Even Tempest and an Atk/Spd boosting A slot or Sacred Seal. As such, if players desire for his Galeforce to reach 2 cooldown so that Galeforce with Flashing Blade will activate after an OHKO or after 2 attacks even with a Guard effect active, a combination of supportive Skills such as Wolfpup Fang, Infantry Pulse, and Groom’s Wings will need to be used.

“Your soul sings with the voice of Njörun. You’ve done her legacy proud.” (Max-Investment Arena)

Build by Chibi_Chu
Recommended
Light Brand (+Eff) A R Duel Infantry 4
Alternate: R Duel Infantry 3
Rally Atk/Spd+
Alternate: Rally Up Spd+
B S Drink
Ruptured Sky
Alternate: Aether
C Joint Drive Spd
Alternate: Atk/Spd Menace
IVs

+Atk or +Spd

SAtk/Spd Bond 3
Alternate: Atk Feint 3

Show Explanation/Analysis

Weapon: Light Brand (+Eff) 

Assist: Any Dual Rally+ / Any Rally Up+ 

Special: Ruptured Sky / Aether / Blue Flame

Passive A: R Duel infantry 4 / R Duel Infantry 3

Passive B: S Drink 

Passive C: Joint Drive Spd / Joint Drive Atk / Atk/Spd Menace / Other 300 SP C Slots

Sacred Seal: Atk/Spd Bond / Atk Feint / Flexible

  • Scoring in Coliseum modes is dependent on a variety of factors, one of which being the total SP cost of the unit’s equipped Skills; for every 100 SP, the unit’s score increases by 2 points. Because Leif has a personal weapon (400 SP) and a personal B Slot (300 SP), he is a great top-scoring choice for Arena, as he can reach the 2400-2500 SP bin (landing at 2400 or 2440 depending on if a 200 SP or 240 SP Sacred Seal respectively is chosen).
  • Any Assist Skill that costs 400 SP works fine on Leif, meaning he can select from any Dual Rally+ or Rally Up+ available. However, this lack of preference does not apply to Leif’s Special; because Light Brand and S Drink grant Leif a total of -2 Special cooldown, he can immediately charge 2-cooldown Specials, making Ruptured Sky the best choice. Given the ubiquity of Dragons in high-scoring Arena, Ruptured Sky is even more valuable, although other 500 SP Specials like Aether and Blue Flame can still be equipped if Ruptured Sky is unavailable.
  • R Duel Infantry 4 is vital for further increasing Leif’s score. R Duel Infantry 3 only increases his score by 2, raising the question of whether losing a combat-viable 300 SP A Slot is worth merely 2 points and 5 HP. However, R Duel Infantry 4 increases Leif’s HP by 5, all other stats by 2, and increases his score by 6 points, making it decisively worthwhile to use.
  • Any 300 SP C Slot works well for scoring purposes, but Joint Drive Spd and Joint Drive Atk are noteworthy, as they grant Leif and allies within 2 spaces +4 Speed or Attack respectively during combat. Atk/Spd Menace also deserves a spotlight, as it provides significant supportive and offensive capabilities via inflicting -6 Atk/Spd on the nearest enemies within 4 spaces and granting Leif +6 Atk/Spd as long as there is at least one enemy within 4 spaces. Increased damage output is vital with the incredibly high bulk of many top-scoring Arena units, which can be achieved through higher follow-up consistency and higher raw damage.
  • Leif’s Sacred Seal is completely flexible as long as its SP cost is at least 200.

Strengths

Solid overall statline

Despite being a Gen 2 unit, Leif’s statline holds up quite well in the current meta. 40 HP, 32 Attack, 38 Speed, and 30 Defense are decent base stats that only increase with investment (via Dragonflowers, merges, and Skills) and support. Because of this, Leif can be a surprisingly great damage dealer and solid physical defender.

S Drink; relevant Arena and Aether Raids niches

What was once tagged as nothing more than a Chain Challenge and Tempest Trials convenience is now one of Leif’s greatest strengths. The beverage of choice for the best units in Leif’s army (looking at you, Asbel), S Drink in Heroes is a personal B Slot that heals Leif for 99 HP and grants him -1 Special cooldown on the first turn of every map. Since Chain Challenges and Tempest Trials have several consecutive maps, Leif is a great unit to bring; S Drink’s healing makes him self-sustainable while its -1 Special cooldown, in tandem with Skills that further decrease Special cooldown such as Light Brand, Time’s Pulse, and Quickened Pulse, allows him to immediately activate Specials with 3+ cooldown such as Bonfire, Ignis, and Luna. As for “competitive” game modes…

  • S Drink’s 300 SP cost enables Leif to be one of the highest scoring units in Coliseum modes. Coliseum score is calculated based on a variety of factors, one of them being the total SP cost of the unit’s equipped Skills (not including the 1.5x multiplier from inheriting Skills). Every 100 SP increases a unit’s score; because S Drink costs 300 SP, Leif is able to score in a higher SP “bin” than most other units, landing at 2420 SP (the 2400-2500 SP bin) if all other Passive Slots cost as much as possible. For more details, check out this Arena Scoring Guide created by Raelet!
  • Galeforce strategies in Aether Raids Offense are still incredibly prominent and effective, with the Safety Fence structure allowing for further set-up by immediately ending the entire Defense Keep’s Turn 1. S Drink’s -1 Special cooldown decreases Galeforce’s cooldown to 4, meaning Leif can 2HKO before the enemy can counterattack with Ninja Katana’s consecutive attacks and activate Flashing Blade on each hit to activate Galeforce after combat. Alternatively, he can benefit from Time’s Pulse, Quickened Pulse, Infantry Pulse, Wolfpup Fang, Groom’s Wings, and more to further decrease Galeforce’s cooldown; by doing so, Leif can activate Galeforce even through Guard effects or with OHKOs.

Infantry advantages

Naturally, the best character in the series is also the best movement type in the game. Access to Skills such as Flashing Blade, Odd Tempest, Even Tempest, and S Drink alternatives including Null Follow-Up, Lull Spd/Def, and the Spurn family significantly increases Leif’s combat performance, flexibility, and convenience of use.

Weaknesses

Low magical bulk

40 HP and 23 Resistance sum to an unimpressive 62 magical bulk, leaving Leif vulnerable to being OHKO’d by strong magical enemies such as Legendary Lilina, Lysithea, Ishtar, Sacred Stones Selena, and Bramimond.

Weak Light Brand refine

Unfortunately, calling even post-refine Light Brand a strength would give it too much credit. Widely considered to be one of the weaker personal weapons, Light Brand has the following effects:

  • Grants Leif +3 Defense, effectively increasing his base Defense to 33.
  • Deals +7 damage if the enemy has 5+ more Defense than Resistance.
  • Accelerates Special activation (-1 cooldown).
  • If the enemy has full HP at the start of combat, grants Leif +4 Spd/Def during combat.

On paper, Light Brand seems solid, as it effectively grants Leif -1 Special cooldown, +4 Speed, +7 Defense, and 7 true damage (that becomes 14 if he performs a follow-up attack). However, the conditions to achieve half of the effects can be difficult to meet. If the enemy’s HP is not 100% at the start of combat, Leif loses 4 Spd/Def, potentially resulting in a struggle to keep up with enemy stat-sticks; if the enemy’s Defense is not 5+ more than their Resistance, Leif also loses true damage, which he greatly appreciates given his only workable Attack stat; if neither condition is met, Light Brand is just a Defense-refined Slaying Edge that gives 2 less HP and 1 less Defense in exchange for 2 more Might.

Competition

With Heroes’ incredibly bloated Infantry Sword pool, Leif may struggle to shine amongst his peers if players are uninterested in S Drink’s utility. Even with S Drink, Infantry Sword-wielders such as Mareeta, Ryoma, Winter Altina, Byleth (M), Byleth (F), and Kris (M) are typically preferred overall due to their stronger personal weapons and statlines granting them greater flexibility and/or role optimization.

Of course, there is no reason to use any Infantry Sword with someone as great as Leif in the mix, but hypothetically, the aforementioned units would generally perform just as well as, if not better than him.

Weapon Skills

Weapons SP Rng. Mt.
Iron Sword
Only Inheritable by Sword Units.
50 1 6
Steel Sword
Only Inheritable by Sword Units.
100 1 8
Silver Sword
Only Inheritable by Sword Units.
200 1 11
Light BrandGrants Def+3. If foe's Def ≥ foe's Res+5, deals +7 damage.
Learns by default at 5 ★
Non-Inheritable skill.
400 1 16
Weapon Evolution
Weapon Upgrades
Weapon Upgrades

Special Skills

Special Skills SP Turns
Rising LightBefore combat this unit initiates, foes in an area near target take damage equal to (unit's Atk minus foe's Def or Res).
Learns by default at 5 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
150 4
Blazing LightBefore combat this unit initiates, foes in an area near target take damage equal to 1.5 x (unit's Atk minus foe's Def or Res).
Unlocks at 5 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
300 4

Passive Skills

Passive Skills SP Slot
Armored Blow 1Grants Def+2 during combat if unit initiates the attack.
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
50
A
Steady Blow 1If unit initiates combat, unit granted Spd/Def+2 during battle.
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
120
A
Steady Blow 2If unit initiates combat, unit granted Spd/Def+4 during battle.
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
Unlocks at 5 ★
240
A
S DrinkAt the start of turn 1, restores 99 HP and grants Special cooldown count -1.
Non-Inheritable skill.
Unlocks at 5 ★
300
B
Spur Atk 1Grants adjacent allies Atk+2 during combat.
Inheritable by all units.
50
C
Drive Atk 1Grants allies within 2 spaces Atk+2 during combat.
Inheritable by all units.
120
C
Drive Atk 2Grants allies within 2 spaces Atk+3 during combat.
Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 5 ★
240
C

Other Info

Origin
Fire Emblem: Thracia 776

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