Valentine's Rudolf

Analysis by lordhelpme
Valentine's Rudolf - Emperor of Rigel


Obtainable as a 5 only

Hero Stats

Max Avg Total Stats at Lvl 40
HP 46
ATK 43
SPD 21
DEF 41
RES 29

Stat Variations

Level 1 Stat Variation
Low 23 9 3 10 6
Middle 24 10 4 11 7
High 25 11 5 12 8

Level 40 Stat Variations
Low 42 39 18 38 25
Middle 46 43 21 41 29
High 49 46 24 45 32

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.

Skill Sets

Lord of a Dead Empire (Near Save)

Build by lordhelpme
Thorn Lance A Atk/Def Unity
Alternate: Sturdy Stance 3
Positional Assist B Crafty Fighter 3
Alternate: Slick Fighter 3
Alternate: Sol
C A/D Near Save 3

+ATK or +DEF / -SPD

SSteady Breath

Show Explanation/Analysis

Weapon: Thorn Lance

Assist: Positioning Assist / Flexible

Special: Bonfire / Sol

Passive A: Atk/Def Unity / Sturdy Stance / Close Def 

Passive B: Crafty Fighter / Slick Fighter / Wily Fighter 

Passive C: A/D Near Save / D/R Near Save 

Sacred Seal: Steady Breath / Atk/Def Form / Sturdy Stance 

  • The Emperor of Rigel’s maximized stat distribution alongside the defensive capabilities of his Thorn Lance and melee range makes him a natural choice of Near Save ally, focusing exclusively at fighting against close-range enemies. Enhancing either Atk or Def is recommended here to develop his innate strengths further. 
  • Since Valentine’s Rudolf doesn’t have to concern himself in the slightest with ranged opponents by merit of Near Save, his A skill is completely open for standard stat-enhancing options. Atk/Def Unity is particularly standout due to its ability to effectively reverse any penalties affecting those specific stats, though Rudolf’s low Spd makes Sturdy Stance another option for protection against foes able to break through Thorn Lance. Although it does come at the cost of his damage output, Close Def may be considered for maximum durability against melee threats. 
  • A Fighter skill should ideally be equipped in his B slot, specifically one that guarantees Rudolf’s follow-up attack as he otherwise has no means of doing so. Of those available, Crafty Fighter, Slick Fighter, and Wily Fighter should take priority for their more generally useful bonus effects: Guard (Crafty), debuff immunity (Slick), and buff nullification (Wily). 
    • Just be mindful of which A skill you combine with your chosen Fighter skill, as some overlap may occur — for instance, Slick Fighter goes directly against the debuff reversal effect of Atk/Def Unity, whereas Crafty Fighter + Sturdy Stance and Wily Fighter + Close Def are wholly redundant. 
  • For his Special, those with three-turn cooldowns are recommended (i.e. Bonfire and Sol) as Thorn Lance’s Slaying effect lets Valentine’s Rudolf activate them on each counterattack, provided he is given some type of Breath support. This can be through something like the Steady Breath Sacred Seal or specific units such as Thorr and Summer Hilda, in which case Rudolf’s Seal is open to any standard stat-booster.

Afterglow (Far Save)

Build by lordhelpme
Thorn Lance A Distant Stance
Alternate: Distant Counter
Positional Assist B Hardy Fighter 3
Alternate: Crafty Fighter 3
Alternate: Bonfire
C A/R Far Save 3

+ATK or +DEF or +RES / -SPD

SDeflect Magic 3
Alternate: Warding Breath

Show Explanation/Analysis

Weapon: Thorn Lance

Assist: Positioning Assist / Flexible

Special: Aegis / Bonfire / Sol

Passive A: Distant Stance / Distant Counter / Distant Storm / Distant Def

Passive B: Hardy Fighter / Crafty Fighter / Slick Fighter / Wily Fighter / Special Fighter

Passive C: A/R Far Save / A/D Far Save / D/R Far Save

Sacred Seal: Deflect Magic / Form Skills / Stance Skills / Warding Breath / Steady Breath / Mystic Boost 

  • Although he’s generally better off specializing in melee match-ups, Valentine’s Rudolf also has the option of equipping Far Save instead to fight against ranged foes specifically; however, due to his weaker Res relative to Def, this does require a hefty bit more of investment. A +RES IV is recommended here in addition to the standard +ATK or +DEF to cement his magical resilience.
  • Rudolf’s inherent inability to counterattack at range makes an A skill that enables this the first priority here. Distant Stance is undoubtedly the best option of those currently available as it also grants a welcome +5 Res, but the original, tried-and-true Distant Counter works perfectly fine given the former’s scarce availability. Distant Storm is an interesting alternative for its +5 Attack for greater damage, but its chip damage can be somewhat unwieldy to work with. 
  • As for the remainder of his build specifics, Valentine’s Rudolf has two main options he can choose from, depending on personal preference and skill availability.
    • Hardy Fighter:
      • For one, Valentine’s Rudolf can center his defensive capacity around the usage of Aegis and Hardy Fighter: a powerful B skill that not only negates enemy guaranteed follow-ups, but moreover multiplies the effectiveness of damage-reduction-based Specials like Aegis. 
      • Simply put (as to cut through its rather lengthy description), through its unique effect, Hardy Fighter amplifies Aegis’ original 50% damage reduction against ranged foes into a staggering 75% — with another five points subtracted from whatever remains. This results in Valentine’s Rudolf becoming extremely durable against such foes (especially considering his innate follow-up denial), and this can be looped pretty consistently in every combat through Breath support.
      • Further, this sheer damage mitigation can be stacked further with the Deflect Magic (or Deflect Missile) Sacred Seal to gain bonus protection against Brave weapon wielders, and Rudolf may even opt out of a countering A skill entirely to double down on simply absorbing damage. 
      • This all being said, in exchange for becoming a wall, Rudolf’s damage does suffer so team support to Atk will likely be needed to make up the difference so that he can actually dent enemy health.
    • Traditional Tanking:
      • Alternatively, Valentine’s Rudolf can opt for a more traditional route in which he relies on the secondary effects of his designated Fighter skill plus support to both withstand enemy pressure and retaliate in kind. 
      • Fighter skills that enable follow-up attacks (e.g. Crafty Fighter, Slick Fighter, Wily Fighter, etc.) bear the same usefulness here as they do within the context of Near Save builds. That being said, Rudolf’s default Special Fighter does make for a more compelling option here.
        • This is due to the fact that Rudolf’s durability against range isn’t terribly impressive and many modern long-distance threats have an easy time in moving past his Impact effect, making it potentially more attractive to simply focus on OHKO’ing them before they have a chance to double at all. 
        • For these purposes, Special Fighter works best as it enables immediate Bonfire activations while leaving both his Sacred Seal and teammate selection free to focus specifically on maximizing his damage.


Thorn Lance

Valentine Rudolf’s exclusive Thorn Lance is surprisingly simple, but it remains effective nonetheless with its intended purpose: by combining a substantial Atk/Def debuff with enemy follow-up denial on a relatively simple condition, Rudolf can mitigate a compelling amount of damage while striking back freely. Thorn Lance’s innate Slaying effect further sharpens his combat prowess through readily accessible Special activations. 

Exceptional Attack & Overall Bulk

His base Atk of 43 is staggeringly high and allows for extremely solid damage potential even with just one strike. His bulk doesn’t trail too far behind either, with his innate 41 Def enabling effortless physical tanking and great usage of Specials like Bonfire (which is only sharpened further by Thorn Lance’s mix of effects).

Armored Benefits

As an armored unit, Valentine’s Rudolf boasts numerous key advantages, though none more notable than access to the immensely powerful Savior and Fighter line of skills — both of which let him perform leaps and bounds ahead of traditional tanks by exclusively focusing on his preferred enemy-type and match-up conditions. Backed by the immense base stat total he has to work with (also by merit of being armored), the Rigelian emperor’s class altogether grants a fantastic baseline to work with for optimized performance.


Armored Drawbacks 

Although he owes much of his combat prowess to his armored status, Valentine’s Rudolf does have to contend with an innate susceptibility to effective damage and poor mobility as a result, which can be pretty annoying depending on the map he’s fielded on. 

Heavy Competition

The Emperor of Rigel is certainly no slouch on the frontlines — but when compared to the current pool of premier blue armored units at the time of writing, he does falter considerably. From Ascended Idunn and Brave Hector whose PRFs outright eclipse Thorn Lance to someone like Winter Ephraim with a much greater damage ceiling, it becomes more than a little difficult to truly recommend maximum investment in Rudolf (outside of favoritism) should you have already made investments in such units.

Low Speed

Thorn Lance’s inherent Impact effect does a great job of alleviating the detriments of Rudolf’s abysmal Spd, but the increased commonality of effects that neutralize such effects does throw quite a bit of wrench in his effectiveness — especially against foes with the means to simultaneously withstand his counterattacks.

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
Silver Lance
Learns by default at 4 ★
Unlocks at 3 ★
Lance Users Only
200 1 11
Thorn Lance

Accelerates Special trigger (cooldown count-1). At start of combat, if unit's Atk > foe's Atk, inflicts Atk/Def-6 on foe during combat and foe cannot make a follow-up attack.

Learns by default at 5 ★
Unlocks at 5 ★
Non-Inheritable skill.
400 1 16
Available Rearmed Weapons
Arcane Qiang
Weapon Evolution
Weapon Upgrades
Weapon Upgrades

Special Skills

Special Skills SP Turns
Glowing Ember

Boosts damage dealt by 50% of unit's Def.

Learns by default at 4 ★
Unlocks at 3 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
100 4

Boosts damage dealt by 50% of unit's Def.

Unlocks at 4 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
200 3

Passive Skills

Passive Skills SP Slot
Special Fighter 1

At start of combat, if unit's HP ≥ 90%, grants Special cooldown charge +1 to unit and inflicts Special cooldown charge -1 on foe per attack. (Only highest value applied. Does not stack.)

Only inheritable by armor units.
Unlocks at 1 ★
Special Fighter 2

At start of combat, if unit's HP ≥ 70%, grants Special cooldown charge +1 to unit and inflicts Special cooldown charge -1 on foe per attack. (Only highest value applied. Does not stack.)

Only inheritable by armor units.
Unlocks at 2 ★
Special Fighter 3

At start of combat, if unit's HP ≥ 50%, grants Special cooldown charge +1 to unit and inflicts Special cooldown charge -1 on foe per attack. (Only highest value applied. Does not stack.)

Only inheritable by armor units.
Unlocks at 4 ★
Threat. Atk/Def 1

At start of turn, inflicts Atk/Def-3 on foes within 2 spaces through their next actions.

Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 3 ★
Threat. Atk/Def 2

At start of turn, inflicts Atk/Def-4 on foes within 2 spaces through their next actions.

Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 4 ★
Threat. Atk/Def 3

At start of turn, if unit is within 2 spaces of a foe, grants Atk/Def+5 to unit for 1 turn and inflicts Atk/Def-5 on foes within 2 spaces through their next actions.

Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 5 ★

Other Info

Fire Emblem Echoes

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