Welcome to This Week in Summoner Duels, an article series with tips and tricks for the current week of Summoner Duels Ranked or Summoner Duels Survival. The aim of this series is to give players a brief overview of what they can expect to see in Duels, so that they can better prepare for and react to the meta. This includes the map, Captain Skills, and particular Heroes that may be powerful or relevant in the current season.
Summoner Duels: Survival
This week’s Summoner Duels rotation is Summoner Duels Survival, the variant of Summoner Duels in which players build a set of four teams consisting of five units each. Each team has its own Captain and each can use a different Captain skill. When players load into a match, each player has the chance to view the other player’s teams for about 30 seconds, and can choose two of those four teams to ban. After this, each player is shown the remaining two of their own teams and chooses one of them to use in combat. The match then plays out as normal. In this way, players can choose to ban teams that have particular units they do not wish to fight, or lack counters for, like common meta threats such as Valentine’s Chrom, New Year Dagr, Summer Thorr, or whatever a particular player wishes.
Astute players may notice that they always have a choice between two teams before loading into the match, so it is entirely valid to build three teams they intend to use, and a fourth team that serves no purpose and they have no intention to actually use in combat. Players might find it useful to build a team consisting of popular meta choices to be an easy choice to ban, leaving their more rare, interesting teams on the table. Of course, you must use your own discretion when deciding how to build your teams.
The Map: Walled Trident
This week’s map, Walled Trident, features an unusual combination of features. The scoring box has a large number of breakable walls and water tiles. In addition, there are water tiles and mountains around the boundaries of the map. Both teams start in an unusual checkerboard formation, so that no allies are adjacent to each other at the start of turn 1. The terrain of the scoring box gives flying units somewhat of an advantage compared to other movement types, since they can move across the water uninhibited. The starting positions may be advantageous for units with skills that require them to start a turn not adjacent to an ally, such as Rouse skills. Of course, this only applies to turn 1.
The captain skills available this week are:
Adroit Captain, which boosts the Captain’s Spd by 5 during combat and provides the Null Follow-Up effect to the Captain and any allies within two spaces of the Captain provided that unit’s Spd is higher than their foe’s.
Effulgence, which grants a boost of Atk and Spd +4 and neutralizes the stat penalties of the Captain and any allies within two spaces of the Captain during combat.
Dauntless, which activates at the start of turns 2 through 5, applying a status effect to the Captain and any allies within two spaces, which provides +1 Special charge per attack during combat. It also inflicts Guard, slowing Special charge during combat, on any foes in a cardinal direction of the Captain at the start of their turn.
All of these Captain skills are a good choice on the right team. Adroit Captain is great for fast units that either don’t have access to Null Follow-Up, or prefer a different B skill, like Legendary Dimitri. Effulgence is a decent effect that provides a small boost under most circumstances, but a much larger boost against enemy teams using skills like Sudden Panic or any Menace skill. Dauntless is an interesting option that can provide some extra charge but does nothing to help units charge their Special before combat, so its use is somewhat more limited. It can be useful to provide an effect similar to Steady Breath for enemy phase units, allowing them to activate Specials on their first counterattack. For player phase units, it is useful if the unit can follow-up attack and activate a powerful Special on it, since it provides Special charge on both the unit’s attacks and their foe’s, and does not require any stat check unlike skills like Heavy Blade and Flashing Blade.
In every season so far of Summoner Duels Ranked and Survival, there are three Bonus Allies. Using one of these allies on a team allows the player one extra loss before they get kicked out for the week, so they can lose a total of 4 times instead of 3. In addition, the bonus ally reduces the Glory lost on a defeat by 40 points. These effects are both useful, and many players will opt to use one of the three, so players should expect many teams they face to include one of the three - though there may be some teams that do not. This season, the bonus allies are Askr, Freyja, and Naga.
Askr is a colorless infantry beast. At the start of his turn, he applies a buff of Resonance: Blades and Resonance: Shields on himself and all allies within 2 spaces so long as at least one of those allies is from a Fire Emblem game other than Heroes. This buffs all stats by 4 in combat and blocks a follow-up attack. It also charges his and those allies’ Specials by 1 under the same conditions. His weapon, Illuminating Horn, boosts his stats in combat, gives a guaranteed follow-up attack, and provides a bonus equal to 20% of his Def stat to his own damage and reduces his foe’s damage dealt to him by the same amount. Overall, he has very strong combat and provides solid team support for most teams.
Freyja is a green cavalry beast. Her Nightmare Horn provides damage reduction up to 40% if she outspeeds her foe by 10 points, as well as allowing her to counterattack at range when transformed. Her unique B skill, Binding Necklace, has a complicated effect that essentially provides Freyja buffs and provides her foe debuffs based on any visible stat buffs her foe has. Overall, Freyja is a unit with decent combat who does not provide much team support and does not match up well against many of the common meta threats, though she can still work on the right team.
Naga is a blue flying dragon. Her unique C skill Divine Fang+ confers a buff of Atk and Spd +6 to nearby allies, as well as effective damage against dragon units, and a guaranteed follow-up when initiating combat. Her weapon Divine Breath (+Eff) buffs her own stats based on the number of nearby allies with dragon effectiveness, as well as slightly boosting those allies’ stats in combat if they are within 4 spaces. It also provides some damage reduction and bonus damage. Overall, Naga is a unit with decent combat and solid team support, especially if the enemy team is using dragons.
Of the bonus units available this week, Askr and Naga are both good options that have solid combat and provide stat boosts to their team. Askr has better combat in general, taking little to no damage from almost all attacks that target Def, while Naga provides arguably better team support. Freyja is a generally weaker option that is nevertheless still likely worth using on one team if she is your only choice. Since this week is Summoner Duels Survival, it is only necessary to include a bonus hero on one out of the four teams in order to receive the bonus effects. Likewise, if a player’s team is extremely weak to a single unit, bonus or otherwise, they can simply choose to ban all opponent’s teams that use that unit. So the bonus units and other common units are not as unavoidable as they can be in Summoner Duels Ranked.
Units to Watch Out For
There are several units that are extremely powerful and will likely be decently common in this phase of Summoner Duels. The following list showcases a few of those, though it is by no means conclusive. Since this is Summoner Duels Survival, players must decide which threats their teams can reasonably handle, while being free to ban teams with particular units that are extremely dominant. This season, some of the top choices are as follows:
Brave Byleth is a colorless tome flier with a variety of strong effects that make her a threat in Summoner Duels. At the start of her turn, her weapon Inner Wellspring provides a buff of Null Follow-Up and charges her Special by 1 so long as she is within two spaces of an ally. In combination with the Slaying effect on her weapon, this fully charges her Special Divine Pulse. Divine Pulse activates in combat to boost damage by 25% of her Spd, reduce the damage taken from her foe’s next attack by 75%, and boost the damage of Byleth’s next attack in that combat by 20% of her Spd. The damage bonus is useful and the 75% damage reduction allows her to survive strong hits from units, including threats like Valentine’s Chrom with charged Deadeye, since Deadeye does not bypass Special-based damage reduction. However, if not using Iote’s Shield or a similar effect Byleth will still take a large amount of damage from Deadeye, since she is weak to bows and Deadeye doubles damage. Then, after combat, Inner Wellspring charges her Special by 1 if it activated before or during combat, effectively fully charging it again for the next encounter. In addition to these unique skills, Byleth’s new inheritable B skill Spd Preempt grants her a Vantage effect against any bow, tome, dagger, or staff units she is faster than, allowing her to counterattack before her foe attacks. This can be bypassed by Hardy Bearing and similar effects.
Thief Nina is another new unit with a lot of potential, a colorless dagger cavalry. She can easily apply debuffs to the enemy team with Chill Def/Res 3, and her duo skill with Kagero boosts her Mov by 1 and spreads more stat debuffs on any foes with any Penalty as well as foes in cardinal directions of Nina, as well as the Panic status effect, reversing any stat bonuses on those foes into stat penalties. Nina’s weapon, Shadowy Quill, targets the lower of a foe’s Def or Res as well as boosting her stats and scaling damage based on the higher of Nina’s stat buffs and her foe’s stat debuffs, allowing her to deal very high damage to most debuffed foes. In addition, it has a unique Canto effect, Canto (Recall), allowing her to move after combat back to the space she started her turn on, which could easily be 4 spaces away with her duo skill active or even more if she can move through allies with the Pathfinder effect such as New Year Dagr. Though she cannot necessarily kill common Far Save units like Ascended Idunn using Hardy Fighter, Nina is a powerful offensive threat who can easily snipe vulnerable units and retreat into the shadows.
Brave Chrom is a lance cavalry. He has a variety of useful effects, but his power largely comes from two things: his assist A Fate Changed!, and a unique property of his weapon Geirdriful which scales his stats in combat based on the number of different Bonus and Penalty effects currently active on him. This is a great effect in a meta with common debuffs like Stall and Panic present on many teams, and allows him to function as a sort of counter-meta choice against units who inflict those debuffs. In addition to this, A Fate Changed! allows him to Reposition an ally, Refresh himself so that he can act again, apply the Isolation debuff on himself (which also boosts his stats), and gain any buffs of the ally he Repositioned for himself. This effect can be used in many different ways, with some good pairings with meta units like Yuri or Brave Seliph for March to boost his Mov, Legendary Lucina for a guaranteed follow-up when initiating combat, Naga for dragon effectiveness, and Legendary Myrrh for Warp Bubble. He also has the new C skill Inf. Spd Tactic, which applies a Spd buff as well as the Null Follow-Up effect to infantry allies within two spaces at the start of his turn, and he can receive that buff from A Fate Changed! as well.
Brave Seliph is another extremely powerful unit. His C skill Heir to Light provides him several buffs at the start of his turn so long as there is an ally within 2 spaces, including Null Follow-Up, +6 to Atk and Spd, and March, boosting his Mov by 1. His weapon Holytide Tyrfing boosts his power in combat proportional to both his foe’s Def and the number of spaces he moved before initiating combat, up to 40% of his foe’s Def if he moved 4 spaces. In addition, so long as his HP is at least 25% at the start of combat and either he or his foe moved at least 1 space before initiating combat,, it provides an effect similar to Miracle which allows him to survive at 1 HP if an attack would reduce him to 0 HP, once per combat. It also provides Canto 2, allowing him to move up to 2 spaces after combat. These effects combine to make Seliph a powerful and extremely mobile unit that is also difficult to KO in one combat under many circumstances, though his low Res renders him vulnerable to magical attacks.
Ascended Idunn is a blue armored dragon who has proven herself to be a top-tier Savior unit in Summoner Duels. Her Dew Dragonstone provides several useful effects, accelerating her Special trigger, removing her armor weakness, granting bonus damage against armored foes, and blocking foe follow-up attacks and neutralizing her penalties if she is within 3 spaces of an ally. These effects are similar to those on Brave Hector’s refined Maltet, but Idunn possesses a much better statline. In particular, her Res is far superior to Hector’s and makes it much easier for her to survive strong magical hits. Using skills like Hardy Fighter and A/R Far Save, Idunn has become a staple on many of the top meta teams and is a unit that you need a counter for if you want to beat them.
Summer Thorr is a recent addition to the meta with huge potential in Summoner Duels. Her weapon Divine Whimsy has several useful effects, the most prominent being that it targets the foe with the lowest Spd at the start of Thorr’s turn, applying the Stall effect as well as a new effect called Exposure to that foe and any foes within 2 spaces. Stall restricts the unit’s movement to 1 space through their next action, but only if that unit was under the effect of March from a skill like Armor March or Yuri’s Honorable Blade. Exposure causes that unit to take +10 damage from enemy units, so Thorr and her teammates deal 10 extra damage on each hit. Divine Whimsy also accelerates her Special trigger by 1, and Pulses it by 1 at the start of any turn on which she’s within 2 spaces of an ally. So Thorr can charge up a powerful Special like Blazing Wind at the start of turn 2 with only one extra Pulse from a source like Valentine’s Chrom, Legendary Hector, or the Quickened Pulse seal. Thorr’s Duo skill with Loki targets all foes within 5 rows or columns centered on her, neutralizing any Bonus that is active on those foes, including both stat bonuses and positive status effects like March. It also targets foes in the same row or column, inflicting Gravity, which restricts their movement to 1 space through their next action. With all of these powerful effects, Thorr is a great addition to many teams and a unit that you should prepare to face.