On this Christmas night, The Fódlan Light gifts FEH players with her Legendary banner! Is it worth summoning for Legendary Byleth (F) and friends, or should you politely pass on this gift?
Wind Legendary Comparisons and Matchups; Arena Discussion
Byleth competes against and will, by virtue of sharing Wind-blessed seasons with them, frequently face 8 other Wind Legendaries: Lyn, Lucina, Hríd, Gunnthrá, Eliwood, Micaiah, Corrin (F), and Sigurd.
Out of the gate, Byleth already has a lot going for her:
- 39/43 offenses enable her to deal fantastic damage and very frequently perform follow-up attacks.
- Professorial Guide, her personal weapon, grants -1 Special cooldown, +5 to all stats, and Joint Drive Null Special Manipulation--that is, during combat, she and allies within 2 spaces neutralize effects that increase enemies’ Special charges or slow Byleth and allies’ Special charges.
- If Byleth is within 2 spaces of an ally at the start of the turn, she gains +7 Atk/Spd, Null Follow-Up, and an Orders-esque effect.
Based on these strengths, it should be no surprise that Byleth can easily dispatch a majority of Wind Legendaries with ease. Her fantastic firepower can secure OHKOs on some, while she can safely ORKO others by replacing her native Lull Spd/Res with Windsweep or Watersweep. Thanks to Professorial Guide’s Null Special Manipulation, she will always activate Ruptured Sky on her follow-up attack, which she will very frequently be able to perform thanks to her incredible Speed and Null Follow-Up neutralizing effects that prevent her follow-up (including the follow-up prevention from the aforementioned Windsweep and Watersweep).
Typically, Windsweep will be chosen over Watersweep to prevent counterattacks from physical enemies that can counterattack from any range via their weapon or A Slot (these enemies are typically more prevalent than magical enemies entirely), meaning Byleth is vulnerable to counterattacks from Gunnthrá, Micaiah, and Corrin. Byleth may struggle more in these matchups:
- While Gunnthrá’s magical bulk is quite low, her color advantage and personal Skills may enable her to survive Byleth’s first attack and counterattack with an OHKO. Because of Byleth’s low Defense, she may be the target of Chilling Seal II’s -7 Atk/Spd/Def/Res debuff; even if she does not have the lowest Defense on her team, she will likely be within 2 spaces of the ally that does, inflicting -7 Atk/Res on her anyway. With Blizzard inflicting an additional -15 Resistance during combat if Byleth has a -7 Resistance debuff, Byleth will almost certainly be OHKO’d should she fail to OHKO Gunnthrá first.
- Micaiah’s Attack and Resistance are startlingly high, and her damage output and magical bulk are only increased by New Dawn’s +6 Atk/Res during combat and Prescience’s 30% damage reduction on the enemy’s first attack and -5 Atk/Res infliction on the enemy during combat. Her native Fury 4 and Joint Distant Guard serve as the icing on the cake, resulting in Byleth potentially struggling to even deal meaningful damage to Micaiah, let alone OHKO her.
- Corrin’s gimmick of reducing damage with Negating Fang + Shield Pulse, then counterattacking for massive damage can make it difficult for Byleth to OHKO her even with Ruptured Sky; if she fails to OHKO Corrin, she will almost always be OHKO’d in return.
As for scoring, Byleth’s base stat total (BST) is treated as 185 in Coliseum modes, allowing her to score higher than most other Wind Legendaries and units in general. However, unlike Hríd, Gunnthrá, Micaiah, and Sigurd, Byleth lacks a personal B Slot, preventing her from reaching the 2400 SP bin for a higher score.
Relevance in Other Modes
Byleth’s combination of powerful combat and unique support makes her particularly valuable in Aether Raids Defense, as she heavily discourages Raiding Parties from the hyper-offense strategy of Galeforce chains. By deploying units with Galeforce, Wings of Mercy, and/or refreshes, Raiding Parties can defeat most of the Defense Keep in one turn, leaving only 1-2 units remaining so the team can break the Aether Fountain and Amphorae. However, as Galeforce is a 5-cooldown Special, these teams are heavily reliant on Skills such as Heavy Blade, Flashing Blade, and Worldbreaker to hasten their Special charge. Byleth’s Professorial Guide nullifies these Skills’ effects, making Galeforce strategies incredibly difficult to carry out if she is on the enemy team. More niche uses of Professorial Guide’s Joint Drive Null Special Manipulation include preventing enemies from balancing out ally Guard effects with +1 Special charge effects. Goddess Bearer also makes Byleth a dangerous unit to Enemy Phase, as her Orders effect grants her greater reach while the combination of +7 Atk/Spd and her Null Follow-Up effect maximize her offensive capabilities. With Windsweep or Watersweep, she can safely initiate against threats that would otherwise KO her in retaliation, allowing her to score KOs or, at the very least, good damage against much of the cast. For this same reason, she is also a great choice for Summoner Duels, though her lack of a Canto effect can leave her vulnerable to being revenge KO’d after KOing an enemy.
It should come as no surprise that Byleth also performs wonderfully in PvE modes such as Chain Challenges, Tempest Trials, and Forging Bonds. With incredible Player Phase capabilities and consistency, she is a remarkably reliable “delete enemy” button.
Banner Color Analysis
Red: Líf, Legendary Lilina, Brave Marth
Líf and Marth have valuable fodder, while Lilina and Marth are excellent units. However, value diminishes if you already have Lilina, as she does not particularly value merges.
Although Líf is one of the weakest Mythics due to his low range and somewhat middling and inconsistent combat performance, players without other Anima Mythics typically still deploy him in their Defense Keeps for his Lift Loss Reduction, frequent bonus unit status (furthering his Lift Loss Reduction and potentially boosting his combat performance to more threatening levels), and granting +5 HP and +4 Speed to Anima-blessed allies. Distant Counter and Time’s Pulse are fantastic Skills to inherit, though it may be difficult to make use of both since Distant Counter is a purely Enemy Phase Skill while Time’s Pulse tends to be a Player Phase one.
Legendary Lilina is nothing less than a Player Phase menace; from 42 Attack to the combination of Slaying, Hardy Bearing, Quickened Pulse, and +6 Atk/Res from Studied Forblaze to a 2-cooldown AoE Special, Lilina has little trouble weakening multiple foes at a time before she and her allies take them out on subsequent combats. If deployed in Aether Raids Defense with allies that grant Special cooldown reduction such as Pent and Staff units with Grandscratcher, Lilina can replace her personal Gifted Magic Special with a Blazing AoE Special instead, hitting much harder (1.5x the gap between her visible Attack and the enemy’s visible Resistance vs. 0.8x the gap) in exchange for not having it charged on subsequent combats (Lilina can recharge Gifted Magic after her in-combat attack assuming no Guard effect is active, while she cannot do this with Blazing AoE Specials).
With Near Save and Far Save dominating much of the meta, the copy-paste Infantry Sword superunit set of a healing Special, Distant Counter, and damage reduction is becoming less and less preferred. Thankfully, Brave Marth’s Genesis Falchion is filled to the brim with effects that still make him a strong superunit. These effects are activated based on the sum of the visible buffs of the 3 allies with the most visible buffs (what a mouthful): Null Follow-Up if ≥ 10, +5 Attack and 5 HP healing per attack if ≥ 25, and Vantage if ≥ 60. Alternatively, Marth can be a strong Galeforcer thanks to Slaying and Null Follow-Up from Genesis Falchion. Additionally, Distant Counter, Spurn, and Even Tempest are excellent Skills to inherit.
Blue: Legendary Byleth (F), Brave Eirika, Seiros
Strong overall, though Seiros may be a dud given her questionable fodder and the fact that many players have already summoned her via previous 8% banners and the 2021 A Hero Rises banner.
The first wallbreaker and Galeforcer that comes to many players’ minds is Brave Eirika, one of the safest and most consistently destructive initiators in the game. Binding Reginleif has -1 Special cooldown, Armor- and Cavalry-effectiveness (the former being particularly valuable with Near Save being so prevalent), +5 to all stats, 30% damage reduction on the enemy’s first attack, and neutralization of effects that prevent Eirika’s follow-up attacks, all of which skyrocket her offensive capabilities. Eirika’s personal B Slot, Moonlight Bangle, pushes her from excellent to stellar; in addition to neutralizing Guard effects (ensuring her Specials activate as planned), she also gains Defense reduction on Special activation and【Canto (２)】. The icing on the cake is that Surge Sparrow and Atk/Spd Menace are fantastic Skills to inherit, as they both significantly boost offensive and defensive potencies.
Seiros was the first Defense Mythic to unlock 7th slot units; these units end their turn immediately as long as no ally has been KO’d, allowing for Rally + Dance traps and weaponless Near Save + Far Save team compositions. Beyond her Mythic status, Seiros is a strong dual-phase unit, guaranteeing her follow-up on Player Phase and preventing enemy follow-ups on Enemy Phase. Wings of Light strengthens ally Mythics’ stats, which is helpful given that they cannot receive stat increases from blessings. However, Seiros is not the only Anima Mythic that can unlock 7th slot units, with Ótr doing the same and performing arguably better in the current meta (superior range, instant Special, and strong against the particularly ubiquitous Brave Hector). Additionally, Mirror Impact and Dragon Wall are somewhat niche Skills to inherit.
Green: Legendary Byleth (M), Freyja, Brave Gatekeeper
Also strong, but Freyja faces fierce Light Mythic competition and Brave Gatekeeper can be finicky/niche.
Like his female variant, Legendary Byleth (M) is a successful hybrid of offense and support thanks to his personal weapon, Professorial Text. With Slaying, +5 to all, and Joint Drive Null Follow-Up, in addition to his personal 2-cooldown Special Sublime Heaven, Byleth can both deal great damage safely (in combination with Windsweep or Watersweep, both of which are counterattack-preventing B Slots) and boost allies’ offensive and defensive consistencies. Unlike his female variant, however, he has an open C Slot for his native Time’s Pulse, allowing him to ready Sublime Heaven on turn 1. Time’s Pulse is great fodder for both Aether Raids Defense nukes and Galeforcers, and Lull Atk/Res is nice for slower magical nukes, but Atk/Def Ideal is niche.
Freyja is one of the most selfish Mythics, with her kit focusing entirely on maximizing her own combat potency rather than allies’. With Distant Counter and Speed-based damage reduction on her weapon, she can be a solid Enemy Phase unit, though her low defenses prevent her from reliably attracting the attention of every enemy. On the other hand, her Cavalry movement and Impact effect on initiation when transformed can make her a solid Galeforcer. However, her lack of supportive capabilities may make it difficult to deploy her over supportive Light Mythics if players have them.
On the flip side, Brave Gatekeeper provides almost exclusively support; while Charging Horn and Quick Riposte prevent enemy follow-up attacks and guarantee Gatekeeper’s respectively, they can both be neutralized by a variety of effects. Gatekeeper’s main draw is Detailed Report, which is effectively a super-Obstruct: enemies with 1 range cannot move through spaces adjacent to him, enemies with 2 range cannot move through spaces within 2 spaces of him, and enemies cannot warp to spaces within 4 spaces of him. The lattermost effect is particularly powerful, as it shuts down surprise teleports from Skills such as Aerobatics, Wings of Mercy, Ground Orders, and Wedding-Bell Axe. However, this is admittedly niche, and Gatekeeper has nothing to report in terms of fodder.
Colorless: Ash, Brave Marianne, Yuri
Fantastic units, fantastic fodder. The strongest color in an overall stacked banner.
Did you know that you can recruit Ash for free by completing Chapter 1: Part 5 of Book VI? While this may seemingly put a damper on Ash’s pull value, Ash’s fodder of Atk/Def Unity and Lull Atk/Def is still very strong. Additionally, Offense Mythics grant higher Lift the more merges they have, allowing players with a merged Ash to score higher than those without a merged Mythic. For those that inherited Skills from Ash, her pull value is even higher, as she is a fantastic combination of combat proficiency (via Horn of Opening) and mobility support (via Opening Retainer).
Out of the 4 Choose Your Legends 5 winners, Brave Marianne has been the most divisive due to Requiem Dance, her 3-cooldown personal Special which refreshes the ally with the highest HP within 2 spaces when activated. While some desired for Requiem Dance to have an additional effect (damage or more support), it is generally agreed upon that Phantasm Tome is a fantastic weapon, granting Marianne 70% damage reduction on the enemy’s first counterattack, inflicting -6 Spd/Res on the enemy, and neutralizing their visible Spd/Res buffs. Access to Infantry-exclusive Skills such as her native Null Follow-Up and Time’s Pulse augments her consistency, making her a powerful initiator that can attack and refresh in one fell swoop. She also has Atk/Spd Unity, making her fodder some of the best in the game.
The leader of the Ashen Wolves also happens to be one of the leaders of the Aether Raids and Summoner Duels metas. Honorable Blade’s combination of +1 Movement, +6 Atk/Spd, and Slaying and【Canto (２)】effects makes Yuri a staple of hit-and-run strategies, as his strong combat can be augmented by instant Specials via his native Time’s Pulse and allies such as Velouria and Groom Rafiel. In particular, he appreciates access to Disarm Trap and the Safety Fence structure in Aether Raids Offense to secure KOs, then retreat to lock the enemies in place on turn 1 without the impediment of Bolt and Heavy Traps.
Should You Pull?
FEH is ending the year strong with one of the best 8% banners to date. With overall impressive units and valuable fodder across all 4 colors, Byleth and friends bring much to the table for almost all players, making this banner a very strong choice to pull on.
At the end of the day, though, remember that whether you summon on any given banner is dependent on your own wants and needs. You may find some units essential for particular strategies, in which case summoning may be worthwhile. Others may find some Skills essential for particular strategies rather than the units themselves, in which case they may summon for fodder. And of course, if you like a character for whatever reason, then don’t feel guilty for wanting to summon them! FEH is typically most fun when you use the units and characters you like (regardless of the reason), so always keep that in mind. ^^