Hi All! So after exhausting lots of Dueling Crests, clearing out the Lunatic Arena Quests, and facing off against Takumigeddon teams and the like, I’ve had the “joy” of witnessing much of what the current Metagame is like, and I wanted to share my experience with it with all of you!
First and Foremost, I want to address what probably lingers in a lot of players’ minds every time they get a new 5-star or summon the hero that everyone’s been talking about and using. When it comes to your team, I’ve found that Rarity and Color type are the only things that are fundamentally important. Rarity, as we can all guess, because the hero’s stats are significantly variant between a 4-star and a 5-star version, and Color, because only by utilizing advantages can superior-stat units be taken down by underdog heroes. To address the topic of IVs, when it comes to the Arena, I’ve found that Bane and Boon are minor, and I’ve never run into a defense team that won purely because their Takumi had a higher stat than my own. Rather; PLACEMENT and PLANNING are absolutely king in the metagame, as a combination of proper Color Advantage and Unit Movement alone trump over any stat differences between a team.
Knowing When To Draw Out Another Unit: If a unit can take the attack of another (a Camilla taking a Robin's attack, Takumi OHKO countering a Camilla's attack, etc.), then doing so early in the battle gives you a huge advantage, since the enemy team starts off with one less unit.
Sacrificing a Unit to Eat Up Another Hero's Attack: There are some maps that split up your heroes from the beginning, causing an instant 2v2 or sometimes 1v1 confrontation. When this happens, it is important to not try and save every unit you can, because there are times when it is impossible. Rather, it is important to sometimes strike first, knowing the unit you send out will probably be destroyed by another nearby enemy. But that in turn provides an opportunity to prepare another one of your units that will be able to take out the second enemy unit.
Taking Full Advantage of The Terrain: Some maps will provide structures that, if not attacked, will force the AI enemy team to eat up a turn breaking them down. Others have bridges that melee units are forced to cross first before reaching your team, allowing ranged units to take free shots at them and weaken them down first. Knowing how to utilize the terrain, and taking advantage when the opportunity presents itself, are all part of the Placement and Planning process.
Additionally, it is EXTREMELY important that you identify “what counters what. Now this is relative, as often, with only few exceptions, there are always several ways to take down a commonly-used Arena hero. Nevertheless, with each enemy unit, some counters work much more effectively than others, and I’ve summarized all my findings in the below based on the heroes I’ve seen the most in the Arena. Keep in mind that these points are in no way meant to determine which heroes are “better” to others, as at the time of writing, we are only on our second Summoning Focus Pack (Family Bonds) and there are so many more heroes down the road, but rather, to help provide suggestions when choosing which heroes to use on your team and how to use them in the Arena.
The Most Commonly Used Arena Heroes:
Hector: I’ve seen a lot of Hectors in the Arena. And I mean, A LOT of Hectors. An enemy Hector should always be avoided by non-Red units, which is not entirely difficult due to his glaring weakness of one-space movement. On every Advanced team I’ve faced with a Hector, he has always ended up being the last unit faced, even with an Azura bolstering him every turn. My personal counter to Hector has always been Young Tiki, who can be placed within his attack range and who will, most of the time, 2x attack him for an instant OHKO, or finish him off easily within two turns. However, I’ve had similar results using other Red units like Roy, Cain, and even Fir, provided the Placement and Planning is right, and that the unit has enough HP to survive one of his counters.
Takumi: The infamous archer is countered primarily by Robins and Hectors; at the time of writing, there are no other particularly significant counters. A Robin, with his Colorless Advantage can place himself within attack range of a Takumi, eat up his 2x attack and retaliate with a bonfire, or another nearby unit, melee or ranged, can finish off the Robin-weakened Takumi. This will give the Robin an automatic Bonfire to keep, which can be used to pick off a subsequent Takumi for Takumigeddon teams. For those without Robins, Hectors work just as well, if not better, as his counterattacks absolutely annihilates Takumi, or a non-flier Melee unit, though he will deal significant counterattack damage. As a bonus mention, Linde, with her inhumanly high ATK, will always decimate a Takumi provided she can get in range.
Robin: An enemy Robin should never have any of your Red units in sight, because he will ALWAYS do solid damage not worth the melee follow-up. Common counters are of course, Hector, whose counter and advantage annihilates Robin, and Camilla, with higher movement than the Robin to always be an easy OHKO. Both of these can be placed within a Robin’s attack range without worrying about any potential repercussions.
Tiki/Young Tiki: With her monster ATK, it is important to use Blue units accordingly, as she will destroy pretty much everything else. Cordelias with their Brave Lances, Linde with her high Magic, and Effies with their monster defenses all work well. Robin’s work well to attack her from a distance, then following up with either another ranged attack (bows, magic, etc.) If she’s still standing, a melee unit of any kind will be able to finish her off, but do make sure that she is weakened enough for the final blow.
Tharja: Tharja deserves to be mentioned in a class of her own separate from the below mentioned Red Units like Tiki above her, as she deals HEAVY damage no matter who she’s up against. And yes, this means she is fully capable of taking down Robins, Takumis, and the like if not properly timed. Typically when facing a team with a Tharja, you never want to let her have the first attack as no matter who she is up against, she hits very hard. If a Robin attacks first, she can be finished off with a subsequent attack by anyone not Green. Nevertheless, she is like a Red version of Linde; keep your distance and strike with good timing.
Lyn/Roy/Marth/Cain/Other Red Units: All red units, unlike the variety shared by the Blue and Green units, tend to not fare well against Blue units of any kind. While Blue and Green have their countermeasures, such as Hectors and the like, every Red unit I’ve seen, with a select few exceptions like Tiki, will always be dealt significant damage by a Robin’s ranged attack or a Cordelia’s instant OHKO. While they are prevalent and WILL destroy most Green Units, there are a wide variety of Blue Units who are easily capable of OHKOing all of them provided the timing and range is right. If they don’t go down from one hit (often the case of a Robin with his sub-par speed), they can always be finished off with any subsequent attack (even by many Greens)
Abel/Effie/Cordelia: Pretty much the only Blue Lance Users you will ever see in the Arena right now (this is before Ephraim and subsequent heroes have been spread to the metagame, mind you). Countering them is easy enough; Abels and Cordelias don’t fare well at all against common counters like Camilla and Hector; these Green units can even be placed directly in their range and not worry about anything happening. To any unit not Green/Melee (which means Green Mages are also potentially threatened), they will deal a lot of damage, which is exacerbated by their high movement, so place and plan accordingly. For Effies, they share the Hector’s weakness; crippled movement. However, her defense also means that a Camilla will have to chip away at her a couple of turns, and will even have to run at times if the Effie has a high enough attack. She is prone to magic attacks, including a Blue Robin’s, so be sure you have either a Hector lying in wait for her or a Camilla with another ranged attacker nearby to finish her off.
EXCEPTIONS (OP UNITS):
There are particular units whom, in my experience, defy things like the Color/Weapon Triangle and unit counters. I have been able to maintain consistent 20+ streaks of Advanced Arena battles until I ran into teams built around one of these:
AZURA: The absolute bane of every team I’ve assembled and experimented with. Azura, as you can probably guess, is deadly not on her own (though she has decent stats as a Blue Lance), but is absolutely OP when used in conjunction with a unit with high ATK/standard movement. Common pairings are Azura/Takumi, Azura/Robin, etc. Because these units are effective against many types of heroes regardless of their color, the Arena AI will always use Azura to give these units a second attack, and they will always be willing to sacrifice the unit if need be, but at your expense of 2+ units. For that reason, when countering an Azura, you not only have to consider the range of each enemy hero, but also the ADDED range of each hero if they were to move an additional X number of spaces outside the original Danger Area. Because of the map’s limited size, this makes it very difficult to account for all contingencies. At the moment, a Camilla always works well to eliminate the Azura, but that’s only if a Sing-boosted Takumi doesn’t take her out first.
LINDE: Linde is the game’s premier “Glass Cannon”. For those using her, they will account for how easily she clears out virtually everything. This includes the commonly used Takumi, Robin, and all red units who get snuffed out like a candle no matter who they are. Even Hectors take a consistent beating before being able to counter her. Her weakness lies in her poor defense stat, which means a Camilla is capable of OHKOing her every time provided the placement is correct.
KAGERO: Quickly gaining notoriety as another OP hero, Kagero’s primary advantage comes from the fact that she has automatic advantage against infantry units, which allows her to defy a lot of the Color Triangle. This causes her to shred through Takumis and Robins, and pretty much anything else that walks on two feet. Luckily, that also means she is fragile against commonly-used mounted units, like Camilla, Abel, and the like, who will always have a Movement Advantage over her. Placement and Planning, once again, are always key.
As I've mentioned previously, what ultimately allows you to win against any combination of heroes is not just utilizing Color effectiveness, but rather, a combination of Triangle Advantage along with Placement and Planning.
I hope this helps offer some insight to everyone experimenting with new units and teams from a PvP Metagame perspective. Be sure to share your experiences with certain units, and if you’ve discovered something amazing about newly-released heroes, be sure to let us know!