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: Ranked
This week’s Summoner Duels rotation is Summoner Duels Ranked, in which players bring a team composed of five units, one of which is the Captain. Unlike Summoner Duels Survival, there are no opportunities to ban units from the other player’s team, so you must be prepared to deal with common meta threats, or pick a god and pray you don’t run into a unit that beats your whole team.
The Map: Four Rooms
Four Rooms consists largely of open floor tiles with no movement restriction, with a few water tiles dotted around the edges of the box that roughly separate the map into four rectangular “rooms” with paths between them. This map is largely open and unrestricted, so cavalry have the advantage when it comes to range and terrain control. Flying units may be able to use the water tiles on the top and bottom edges of the scoring box to threaten the other team while blocking movement from non-flying units, but this is not a tremendous advantage in general as the other team can simply walk around the edges, or if they have range 2 like bows and tomes they can threaten tiles on the other side of the “moat”.
Earth Rendering, which activates if the Captain is inside the scoring box at the start of turns 2, 3, and 4, moving the scoring box one row closer to your “side” of the map per turn. So one row up if you’re the player starting in the top right, and one row down if you started in the bottom left. If both players have a Captain with Earth Rendering inside the box, the skills will cancel out and the box will not move.
Flash of Steel, which allows the Captain to follow-up attack before the foe can counterattack, a Desperation-style effect that is always active when initiating combat. It does not guarantee a follow-up attack. It also grants the Captain and any allies within two spaces a “Null Guard” effect, neutralizing any skills that increase their foe’s Special charge or slow their own.
Rallying Cry, which activates at the start of turns 2, 3, 4, and 5, granting a visible Bonus of +6 to Atk, Spd, Def, and Res to the Captain and any allies within 2 spaces of the Captain.
Flash of Steel is a strong effect when used on the right Captain, particularly against Far Save units like Ascended Fjorm. It allows units that can follow-up attack to strike twice before being countered, and potentially activate a Special on the second hit depending on their Special charge. A fast unit like Ascended Laegjarn or Volke can use this skill very well to activate high damage Specials like Deadeye and Lethality. Units with lower Speed and a guaranteed follow-up can also use it well unless their foe has some effect that blocks their follow-up, such as Hardy Fighter. Melee units can also make good use of Flash of Steel, like Brave Eirika and Legendary Sigurd, to activate a Special on their second hit before the foe can counter. However, this strategy is vulnerable to seals such as Deflect Melee or Deflect Missile that reduce the damage from consecutive hits by 80%, unless using an effect that pierces the damage reduction such as Deadeye.
Earth Rendering is a solid choice of Captain skill that is useful on most teams, since it can deny the opponent space and make it easier to score box points. It has no effect on combat, but can certainly impact the outcome of games if one player is using it and the other is not, as moving the box towards your side of the map generally makes it easier to control the box and get the 2 points at the end of each turn.
Rallying Cry is a generally mediocre choice and probably the worst of the three, though it is easy to use on many different teams and generally is still a useful effect. Buffing stats by 6 can certainly win some combat matchups, but there are other ways to do it via skills like Atk/Spd Menace or Atk Tactic. It does synergize well with some particular effects such as Bonus Doubler, which can turn a buff of +6 to all stats into a +12, or a +18 if it’s also combined with something like Legendary Eliwood’s Bonus Doubler buff. Players using visible buffs, from Rallying Cry or otherwise, need to be wary about effects like Sudden Panic which can turn those bonuses into penalties, unless using one of the rare few effects that provides Null Panic like Rouse Atk/Spd 4.
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 of Summoner Duels Ranked 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 most teams they face in Summoner Duels Ranked or Survival to include one of the three - though there may be some teams that do not. This season, the bonus allies are Legendary Caeda, Legendary Leif, and Legendary Ephraim.
Legendary Caeda is a flying lance unit who deals bonus damage to armored and cavalry units while also having a powerful Vantage effect in her B skill Faithful Loyalty: if an armored or cavalry foe initiates combat against Caeda, she can counterattack before their first attack. After any combat that Caeda is in, she also gains the Vantage status through the end of her next turn, allowing her to counterattack any unit that attacks her before their first attack. Her signature weapon Wing-Lifted Spear also has a Canto effect, allowing her to move 2 spaces after taking an action, once per turn. Canto skills are generally extremely useful in Summoner Duels, as they allow units to retreat after attacking an enemy, often safely back out of enemy range. Caeda comes with Distant Storm in her base kit, allowing her to counterattack ranged foes as well as melee.
In general, she is a useful unit and a good option this week; she can KO units relatively well on player phase and is very dangerous for cavalry units to attack due to her Vantage. Armored and cavalry units are many of the common threats of Summoner Duels, so Caeda gets bonus damage against a large percentage of the meta. However, she is not immune to skills that deny counterattacks, such as Firesweep Bow, and all of her Vantage effects can be disabled by the Hardy Bearing seal, or similar effects.
Legendary Leif is a colorless cavalry bow unit with a weapon that allows him to strike twice on either phase. He also has the Special Njörun's Zeal which is similar to Galeforce, allowing him to take another turn after combat while restricting his movement to 1 space. He is a solid choice of bonus unit simply by virtue of being a ranged cavalry with good combat; he can threaten large areas of the map with powerful attacks. If he has received a skill such as A/D Far Trace, he can also use Canto to retreat after combat if he has any movement remaining.
Legendary Ephraim is a lance cavalry unit. His unique weapon Flame Siegmund (+Eff) grants him a boost to Atk and Def and a guaranteed follow-up attack if he initiates combat or is not adjacent to an ally, while also debuffing his foe’s Atk and Def by 5 and adding +1 to his Special charge for every attack during combat if he is above 25% HP. His unique B skill Solar Brace II neutralizes any effects that slow his Special charge, restores 10 HP after combat, and grants him Canto 2, allowing him to move 2 spaces after taking an action once per turn. Overall, he is a powerful unit with threatening combat that can KO many foes and retreat after doing so. He is a very strong unit in the Book III and Prior meta in regular Summoner Duels, and still a good choice in Ranked.
All three of the bonus allies are solid choices this week, units that can bring useful effects to many different teams. The best choice will depend on who you have available and who synergizes best with the rest of your team; for example, Caeda very much appreciates a movement buff from units like Legendary Azura or Hatari Azura. Caeda may also be an important unit to plan around; if the offensive units on your team are mostly cavalry, they cannot initiate combat onto her without triggering her Vantage effect unless using a seal like Hardy Bearing, a unit with a similar effect like Legendary Lilina, or an infantry or flying unit that can comfortably KO Caeda.
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.
Ninja Corrin (F) is a highly relevant unit in Summoner Duels. While she is not one of the absolute strongest units in the meta, she easily KOs many units while having access to Canto through S/R Far Trace, and the ability to act again with her Duo skill. And with the results of A Hero Rises 2022, every player now has access to her. Due to the relatively open terrain of this week’s map, Corrin’s cavalry movement is unrestricted, allowing her to threaten large areas of the map. She is best countered by using a unit with a Far Save skill that can tank a hit from her and KO on the counterattack, such as Henriette or Ascended Fjorm using the Deflect Magic seal. Legendary Caeda is also an effective counter due to her Vantage.
Legendary Sigurd is another unit with strong but not overpowering combat. His high Atk, Def, and guaranteed follow-up allow him to KO many foes, but what really sets him apart is his Special, Holy-Knight Aura, which grants him a March effect at all times, increasing his Mov by 1. If it activates during combat, it also grants March to his entire team afterwards. This is an extremely powerful effect that can allow some units to threaten huge areas of the map. This March effect can be countered very effectively by Riev, as the Stall effect essentially inverts March into a Gravity effect that reduces the Mov of any unit affected by it to 1.
Brave Eirika is another very common threat that does well in open maps like Four Rooms. In particular, she is a great user of Flash of Steel, even if the Null Guard effect is redundant, as it can allow her to activate a Special like Moonbow or Ruptured Sky before her foe has a chance to counterattack, dealing massive damage and KOing many foes outright. Her Canto effect allows her to move 2 spaces after combat, allowing her to retreat easily. She can be countered by using a Near Save unit that can tank a hit and KO her in return; Gustav is a good choice for this, as with the Deflect Melee seal he takes only 25% damage from her first attack and 20% from the second if she’s using Flash of Steel. However, players can only use one Save unit per team, so this is incompatible with using a Far Save unit.
Winter Lysithea is another strong choice this week. Her status as a ranged cavalry allows her to threaten large portions of the map, and her colorless tome grants her neutral matchups against most units. She is also a good user of Flash of Steel, as it combines well with the effects of her weapon Sweet Yule Log. If Lysithea’s Spd exceeds her foe’s by 10 or more when she initiates combat, she strikes twice. Flash of Steel can allow her to strike four times before her foe can counter, while also allowing her Specials to charge unimpeded, so she can do things like activate a 2-cooldown Special like Moonbow on the second and fourth attacks, or a 4-cooldown Special like Dragon Fang on the final hit. However, she does rely on Spd to follow-up, making her a weaker choice against fast units, and she is vulnerable to Deflect Magic.
Ascended Laegjarn is another ranged cavalry that uses Flash of Steel well, particularly if she has access to Deadeye. Flame of Muspell neutralizes any effects that prevent her follow-up attacks if the visible stat bonuses on Laegjarn and her foe sum up to at least 10, a condition which is easily met if her own Rouse Atk/Spd 4 is active. It also accelerates Special trigger, reducing the cooldown of a 3-cooldown Special like Deadeye to 2, or a 2-cooldown Special like Moonbow to 1. This can allow Laegjarn to activate a Moonbow or Glimmer before her foe can counter. Deflect Missile will reduce the damage from her second hit by 80%, but Deadeye prevents this, making it a great option if she can charge her Special by 1 before combat.
Yuri remains a strong unit in Summoner Duels for the sheer variety of useful effects he possesses. He has an innate March effect in Honorable Blade as well as Canto 2, allowing him to move up to 3 spaces and retreat 2 spaces after taking an action - which includes combat, but also the use of Foul Play, his unique Assist which swaps the spaces of himself and any allied unit exactly 3 spaces away from him. His combat is also solid, though he may struggle against many Far Save units; he can charge a 2-cooldown Special like Moonbow or Glimmer fully at the start of each turn using his default Time’s Pulse. He may also opt for longer cooldown Specials like Lethality or Blazing Wind in order to more effectively deal damage to units using Far Saves.
New Year Dagr has been a prominent threat in Summoner Duels since her release, largely on the strength of her Duo Skill, which grants Pathfinder to all allies within 5 rows and 5 columns centered on her position. This can easily be used to grant Pathfinder to an entire team, allowing the team to threaten ever larger areas of the map as each unit moves further into position and their teammates can move through them freely. Dagr’s combat is also solid, with her unique Jotnar Bow accelerating her Special activation in addition to debuffing her foe’s stats based on Dagr’s visible buffs, and her unique B skill Sun-Twin Wing debuffing her foe’s Spd and Def by 5 and granting her the effects of Null Follow-Up so long as she is above 25% HP.
Valentine’s Chrom is an important threat in Summoner Duels. His bow allows him to charge his and his target’s Special by 1 whenever he either uses a movement assist or is the target of a movement assist, such as Reposition or To Change Fate! In combination with the Slaying effect of Destiny’s Bow and the C skill Time’s Pulse, this allows Chrom to charge his Deadeye fully simply by using a movement assist on turn 1, as well as charging an ally’s Special by 1. With a charged Deadeye, he can do extremely high damage to most units, as he nullifies non-Special based damage reduction, doubles his damage, and is effective against Armored and Flying units - so almost every common user of Far Save skills except for Brave Hector. In particular, he can reliably one-shot Ascended Fjorm, the most common Far Save in Summoner Duels, unless she is using a very unusual build with Svalinn Shield or a similar effect. However, Far Save units are still useful against Chrom. Since he does not have Canto effect, Chrom is generally forced to attack from within enemy threat range in order to KO a unit, and cannot retreat. This can allow another one of the player’s units, protected by the sacrifice of the Far Save, to KO Chrom on their next turn.