What are Arcane Weapons?
With the introduction of Rearmed Heroes in September 2022, Fire Emblem Heroes finally throws a bone to older, more powercrept units in the form of Arcane Weapons.
Arcane weapons are essentially modern, inheritable prf weapons possessed by Rearmed Heroes. This time around, Rearmed Robin tears Zenith asunder with the too-proudly named Arcane Grima. You can inherit it to other units that use dragonstones without losing the original hero - meaning that even after inheriting Arcane Grima, you can still use Rearmed Robin in combat.
This allows summoners to drastically increase the power level of older units, particularly those with unexceptionally performing refined breaths or lack thereof, such as Halloween Dheginsea, Kana (F), and Nowi.
Note that prf skills cannot be equipped at the same time as Arcane weapons. This means that skills such as Sirius (I and +), True Dragon Wall, and With Everyone! (I and II) cannot be equipped when using a rearmed weapon.
Arcane weapons can also be stat refined for additional stats after inheritance, allowing your chosen inhertitor to become even stronger and bulkier with +5 HP and another stat of your choosing.
Keep in mind that the units and builds displayed in this article are indicative of an archetype showcase, rather than a full endorsement for that specific unit. Additionally, the best character to give a new weapon to is always your favorite! This article serves to make suggestions based on what might be best in the current metagame
Analyzing Arcane Grima: The Pros and Cons
Arcane Grima is a powerful weapon with the following effects:
- Slaying, or accelerates Special cooldown count by -1
- If the user keeps themselves above 25% HP:
- All stats +5 to unit during combat
- Unit gains a guaranteed follow-up attack
- Deals additional damage based on 15% of unit's Atk
- Restores 7 HP after every successful combat
- And finally, the usual dragon vs ranged unit interaction (targets ranged enemies' lower Def or Res)
As with Arcane Éljúðnir before it, Arcane Grima grants a combination of effects that other weapon types would kill to have right now. It's not difficult to see why: CD -1 enables more frequent and usually more effective Specials at higher coooldown, the added follow-up confirms more damage and kills (assuming Null Follow-Up isn't active or an issue at all), and extra damage and healing (a great fallback effect on a weapon whose effects can potentially taken away with low HP) make for a solid dragon all-around. Unlike the sword, Arcane Grima grants spectrum stats also, making it an accommodating, appealing choice for dragon of various statlines.
Several negative considerations are in order, as they are with any weapon:
- Bear in mind that despite its flexibility, units reliant on its guaranteed follow-up may have stunted combat still versus Null Follow-Up skills.
- It also lacks key combat effects such as penalty neutralization, Guard and damage reduction — though those can easily be supplemented with allies and passive skills such as premium stances, Unity skills, Dragon's Wrath, Dragon Wall, and Caduceus Staff.
- While the 25% HP minimum condition for all non-slaying effects seems easy enough to uphold, a lot of dragons are expected to tank many hits. In moments of inconvenience, they may weather too much battle to the point where all their combat effects are lost. The weapon's innate healing will help stave this off, among other recovery methods such as Bulwarks, Finishes, or healing Specials.
- Above all, the overall currently number of PRF-holding dragons that improve from having it or prefer it over their existing weapons is actually rather small; though, this is a good thing as it narrows down objectively improved units rather considerably.
As a small note and possible annoyance, inheriting Arcane Grima also requires its inheritees to have Flametongue as a prerequisite skill. This is typically no big deal for non-armored dragons as they can simply inherit Flametongue from Robin herself, unless you need other skills inherited onto her (likely as part of an arcane merge "chain"). Specifically, for armored dragons wanting either Hardy Fighter 3 or A/S Near Save 3 in addition, though, you'll have to inherit Flametongue from a list of oddly rare units. To illustrate, Garon is notably the cheapest source but requires Heroic Grails, and other choices may be far too rare or premium for such a mundane purpose.
Above all else, Fire Emblem Heroes is a game of favorites and we simply recommend putting this on an existing high-investment favorite of choice. If you didn't already have someone in your heart of hearts, though, there are subjectives and objectives to consider for applying this Arcane weapon to an overall pool.
DO consider if:
- The unit's current weapon effects are overall not versatile + effective enough with reasonable support in PVP modes.
- The unit does not have an existing PRF weapon of their own.
- The dragon requires improved follow-ups to break reliance from Quick Riposte or to simply outmatch other speedy enemies.
- The Slaying effect and subsequent increase in Special quality/usage is significant for unit performance.
Stray considering if:
- The overall tradeoff of swapping an existing weapon is miniscule or colludes an existing niche.
- The unit in question are forced to pass up other really good PRF skills in their skillset due to Arcane inheritance limitations (See: Sothis's Sirius, Medeus's Assured Rebirth, Nifl's Domain of Ice).
- The unit in question is predicted to have a refinery update in the next coming months.
- At this time of writing, expect units from banner in June 2019-December 2019 to update pretty soon.
- The 25% minimum HP condition will be a predicted and consistent obstacle on tanks without sustain support.
- You don't plan on using the unit extensively post-refine, making the investment largely null.
Unit Archetype 1: Armored Savior Dragons
Rearmed Robin is simply a fodder wonderland especially for armored dragons who require her base Hardy Fighter, A/S Near Save, and/or, more on-topic for the article, Arcane Grima. Arcane Grima especially fulfills a lot of Save unit checkmarks: its CD -1 combos very well with various Specials for instant triggers, Fighters, and acceleration techniques, and the extra damage and healing benefit all types of builds regardless of the unit's gameplay priority on damage, survivability, or healing.
In particular, the Breath is a divine gift to armored dragons lacking a PRF weapon of their own: this list is fortunately pretty small between Halloween Dheginsea and Winter Fae, both seasonal units who stand to benefit massively from inheriting a great combo meal of both the Breath and their choice of Hardy or Near Save.
Outside of this, it's actually pretty difficult the outright swap the existing PRF weapons of other armored dragons; many already have great packages of effects unique to them, or are simply due for a refine in the coming months. There may be a few exceptions here:
- For instance, Fallen Robin (M)'s existing Expiration may be considered underwhelming due to the unspoken "DC tax" applied to distant countering weapons, leaving him reliant on mainly just spectrum +4 stats and guard for real combat.
- Arcane Grima does not offer distant countering, but its superior set of close combat effects make this version of Robin far, far better suited for focusing on Near Saving anyway.
- Additionally, if you want a technically "bulkier" Far Save Grima — at least in terms of raw defensive stats — her male, Halloween costumed counterpart is happy to offer similar colorless coverage and more raw attack resilience in exchange for Spd-based matchups and armor effectiveness cancellation.
- It should also be noted that his default Moonstrike Breath, as great as it is already, has a recovery effect that is compatible only with damaging Specials — Arcane Grima is thus the preferred skill with builds involving Hardy Fighter and defensive Specials.
Unit Archetype 2: Infantry Dragons
Infantry Dragons are fortunately and unfortunately a more diverse in terms of potential inheritees. They are particularly known for their wider variety of different stat spreads, PRF-holding statuses, and many, MANY exclusive skills available to infantry/dragons in the pool so far, especially access to Null Follow-Up, Bulwarks, Finish skills, Time's Pulse, and certain Special acceleration Seals.
The various effects of Arcane Grima — especially its Slaying effect for superior Special retaliation options and guaranteed follow-up to overcome reliance on Quick Riposte — is in some situations enough to pass up existing unique Breaths as well. It also helps that quite a few of them are largely generic units as well (or, for some, might as well be).
Infantry dragons come in a few flavors that mix and match:
- Many of them will particularly have fairly balanced statlines
- High Res / Dragon Wall tanks
- Tanks with Spd and great secondary stat distribution in Atk or bulk
Unit Archetype 3: Miscellaneous
Flier and Cavalry dragons at this time of writing are far less numerous than the other movement types covered, making the pool of candidates actually a bit narrow. Also, they are typically pretty premium units themselves — meaning many of them have existing PRFs weapons or passives they would rather not pass up (See: basically ALL the cavalry dragons, Naga, the original Legendary Grima, Halloween Sothis, etc).
That being said, we DID just have a Halloween event with our first PRF-less flying Dragon, Halloween Naga, and those having recently invested in her are in for a nice sweet treat here. For more specific miscellaneous examples, Myrrh and Múspell's lack of player phase options and largely similar spectrum stats in their existing weapons may spur interested users into using Arcane Grima. This comes despite the gross sacrifice of Domain of Flame in Múspell's case, and Myrrh's follow-up manipulation is either shut down by Null Follow-Up already on the enemy side, or can be replicated with an ally-provided form of it on Myrrh's side (such as Legendary Byleth or Fallen Lilith).