December Balance Patch : First Impressions

The long awaited balance patch is live, upgrading and improving some badly designed or powercrept characters who generally rot in our inventories. That being said, please refer to DJ’s article if you’d like to know the detailed numbers or if you simply need to refresh your memory about who got what. I will not talk about every character that this update affected, but only of the most significant ones.

Keep in mind that those evaluations are fresh and subjectives, and that I might underevaluate or overevaluate a character.


Actually nerfed

Titan

Titans players (and mostly racers) got hit pretty heavily by Fire Socie change which makes her unable to buff the MA of non earth players. It’s not necessarily the end of the world for them (especially with AK FLB coming soon) but it might be enough for other strong primal setups to outrace them.


You call this a buff?

Forte

Her buff gets changed from a rage type to a dark attack up. Problem being that if you’re playing magna, the normal attack up had more value (unless someone was already casting rage in your raid). The stackable ATK down is serviceable, but far from essential. Her third skill buff would have gaines a lot from receiving a TA buff or echos, instead of DA which has little value in dark.

Rackam

Poor Rackam is like the only chara whose change could be considered as a borderline nerf. His guaranteed DA buff gets cut to one turn, and in exchange he only gains a measly proc of spitfire in exchange. At least the DA isn’t a big loss in Agni grid, but still a really unconvincing change…

Siete

He was OP for a few hours when Cygames spaghetti code made him nuke for 13m damage with his second skill, and now he’s back to normal. For some reasons, they decided to abandon the idea of having Siete giving meter to his teammate (which would have fit perfectly in wind) in order to give him instead unneeded buffs for his Swordshine stacks.

Heles

Her cap are increased but they remain really low (420k and 600k). Even with the double proc on ougi for her second skill, it still feels weak compared to Percy or Sturm in terms of damage. The 10% meter gain is decent with a double proc though. The ougi damage up effect is there but not extremely noticeable unless you get to stack it a few times, and even then it seems that it’s bugged as the buff doesn’t seem to apply to all your ougis. Let’s just hope she is target for the next fire 5* and that her kit will get further buffed.


Heading in the right direction

Gandalf / Metera

They both got the double nuke gimmick, although Gandalf will be able to cast all his nukes twice whereas Metera will only double cast her next skill. They both become extremely effective nukers, Gandalf having more damage and Metera having more utility with a potential double delay, but they remain extremely niche overall.

Anthuria

She got the buff she desperately needed and doesn’t consume her tap on dodge anymore, allowing to give up to 5 turns of Hype or 4500 HP heal depending on what dance you use. The catch is that she still needs to actually dodge to proc those effects, and that’s still subject to extremely frustrating RNG.

Yuisis

Good changes overall that allow Yuisis to get a much better uptime on her first skill buff, and that makes Chivalry stacks much more rewarding to build up (although the effects remain rather subpar). Managing her cooldown between stances is still pretty awkward though, and her charge turn upon using her attack boost remains very unpractical unfortunately.

Fire Socie

Although her change was a big nerf to Titan and Grande comps, her utility and usability in Fire has fairly increased with this update. The cooldown reduction of her third skill allows Socie to have a permanent uptime on her DA/TA buff even when disabling her dance, which also allows your team to benefit from Socie’s damage and ougi echo team buff. While extremely useful for lower end grids that struggle with getting good DA/TA, for high end fire players however Socie’s interest quickly decreases as you tend to get Trium based weapons or self reliant multi-attackers and you’d rather have a third attacker instead of her.

Lancelot

More MA buffs and 30% echo, while making his self buff last longer. It’s a decent buff and definitely makes Lancelot catch up in terms of damage, but it still feels rather subpar when compared to his recently released wind version. It doesn’t help that Water has a godly character selection either.

Sarunan(s)

The Saru twins finally left their pit of mediocrity and are now usable characters. The Unia memes are now gone, and Dark Saru becomes a decent attacker thanks to his jammed buff on ougi. He can technically lower his HP although no one will bother pressing 7 times his boost to lose 7k HP, and the full debuff dispel remains useful on niche fights like UBHL. Light Saru gets a light attack up to the team on ougi (not as good as SR Sophia), a team defensive buff (not as good as SR Sophia) and a team heal (not as good as SR Sophia). Yes I know it’s a bit sad (or maybe it’s SR Sophia who is too broken)…

Clarisse(s)

Light Clarisse gets her much needed stack cost reduction on casting her first skill, allowing her to finally use all her three skills directly during the first rotation. The increased debuff accuracy on her light def down is welcomed, allowing her to reach very high debuff accuracy when coupled with her EMP passive, and the HP cut being removed is also a good news. But it would have been great to remove or reduce the harsh def penalties she gets whenever using her first skill.

Xmas Clarisse didn’t change fundamentally, but she now does the stuff she used to do better. Note that with her self DoT and her attack up buff during her field, she might make for a decent enmity attacker if nothing else.


Noteworthy ameliorations

Veight

Everyone’s favorite vampire shota finally got fixed with the one obvious buff he has always needed since his release : his ougi doesn’t remove his awakening anymore (nor can it get dispelled). Instead, Veight now gains a dodge buff on ougi, making it much easier to maintain his buffs. And even if you get hit, it will now take two damage instances for him to lose his Awakening. If you can control the enemy boss so that Veight doesn’t get targeted, he will work as an excellent budget Orchid.

Lily

Lily now grants the exact same buff as Katalina SSR on her ougi. Which makes you wonder why you would use Kata when you could use Lily instead with her superior cut damage (through her passive), her superior cut (against fire) and her similar heal (if you invest in her EMP) + clear. Varuna players will at least greatly appreciate this buff.

Io

QoL fixes, bug fixes, passive and skill buffs all make Io much more easier to handle (and she really needed it). Her stacks being undispelable is great news for all the people who bring her into UBH or UBHL who love to dispel your buffs. The meter consume fix forces you to delay your chain burst if you need to wait a few turns to get your CDs back, but in exchange makes it much less punitive to get 3 vortex stacks. The ougi damage buff is probably the most noticeable one as it compensates for the lost damage due to Io not using her ougi as often due to her having to consume her meter permanently.

Okto 5*

Some well deserved buffs, now it will be possible to use his Arda Favra self buff for two consecutive ougi chains if you time it right . His Aiki stacks being reduced to 3 allows you to reach its max effects in 10 turns instead of 20, which is much more handy. His Ultimate finally feels like a real ultimate skill, with a full 200% ignition and a permanent and undispelable uplift. Overall, Okto now becomes a good mid-length fight attacker, and a stellar long fight attacker. But unfortunately, still only in fights where he’s able to crit.

NEMONEMONEMONEMONE

She’s been pretty much changed from a one trick-pony that helped beginners to cheese fights to a respectable attacker, getting herself rid of this awkward “do-nothing” stance. In exchange, she will build stacks that she’ll be able to activate at any time in exchange for a weaker attack buff compared to her pre-patch self. While it will not be possible for new players to cheese boss with her stance anymore, she is now much more serviceable for people with a grid as reaching her caps will not require you to kill a character’s worth of dps anymore. And her stackable def down is always welcome too. Too bad that her stack buffs remain only one turn duration, a longer lasting buff would really have made her a must-have. Use her with Elysian for best results.

Marquiares

Most of the issues that plagued Marquiares’ kit have been fixed with this update. He actually starts the fight with 10MP (making him a great choice for Strike Time), his skills dont require obligatory MP to use anymore (instead if you have the MP it will add additional effects), making you free to use his guaranteed TA or team heal anytime you want. Even better, now his first skill will grant you automatically 10MP, allowing you always deal max damage whenever you use this skill to ougi. All those improvements wont change the fact that he hardly has a place in the Dark meta, but at least he’s rewarding to use now.

Melleau

Melleau probably went from one of the worst earth attacker to becoming a very decent attacker, which are rather rare among earth Erune. She can now boast an up to 100% 50% special mod permanent buff if she gets hit enough (5% per stack). In order to get targeted more, her second skill now provides stackable hostility up, and since getting hit too much is scary, her ougi also gives her a stackable def buff. While raids setups with too much crowd control will prevent her from getting hit, solo settings is where she will shine the most. Long fights where she’ll have the occasion to proc her emp passive will make her hit like a truck. Pair her with DA/TA buffers or Elysian for best results. Will get even better with Tezca FLB and her guaranteed TA.

Edit: It seems that the ATK up has quickly been nerfed to 50% special mod, so 5% per stack. This is why we can’t have good things. Melleau is still solid, but less impressive suddenly.


Impressive upgrades

Vane

Already teased during the event, the new Vane is a beast. Use his jammed buff, wait three turns, use it again, use his third skill. Now watch him casually throw 800k auto attacks at the face of your enemies. And don’t forget to end with a nice 5m damage ougi. For more fun, don’t hesitate to pair him with an Ultima spear or with Quatre’s extend. In any case, Vane is now water’s premiere attacker (perpetuating the tradition of DEF charas hitting harder than ATK charas) for anything that lasts less than 9 turns. Over that amount, double Varuna players might be a bit hesitant to use him if they have 2 or 3 fimbuls. Don’t forget to take his EMP support to make him extremely safe even at low HP. Pair him with Diantha or Ely for best results once again.

Birdman

Our national birdman is finally back to claim his throne of best attacker, with a new shiny unique mod buff, making him hit ludicrous amounts of damage with Korwa (and no more diminishing returns). Add to that a 20% echo buff to break auto cap and that synergizes perfectly with his assassin, as well as a guaranteed DA at least while his MA buff is active… What to ask more? Maybe to change his EMP support skill that is literally worthless with his new immunity to debuffs when buffed. But other than that, prepare to welcome back the bird king to your wind parties.

Izmir

Izmir likes to play yoyo with the meta, good then bad then good again… The changes made her get rid of her needlessly punishing def down passive making her much less of a glasscanon. The change on her attack stacks are pretty great, making her a great attacker without requiring permanent clicking. Finally, her most noticeable buff comes from her crit buff that now applies to the team (50% damage and 50% proc) for an effective obscene 25% damage boost with an excellent 3/5 uptime. Note that this buff stacks with both Altair and Minami’s crit. With her sword proficiency, Izmir could become the new core of water atma sword teams with the likes of Yuel. Great attacker, great burster, great buffer… The only downside she has is that she takes quite a few turns to ramp up and build stacks. But after a few turns, she becomes a monster.

Song 5*

Now you can get all her offensive power through her ougi buff and all her utility with para and Depravity without having one conflict with the other. And also you don’t lose 15 seconds of para anymore because of a full chain burst. Making Song 5* even more core than before (yes it’s actually possible) for Light Players.

2 thoughts on “December Balance Patch : First Impressions

  1. What exactly is bad about Siete’s update… I thought people would be happy that his swordshine mechanic gotten fixed? I’m really close to unlocking him so I’m curious.

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