Content of the article: "Chainer Rankings – Aug 20 update"
CG Ace Formidable across the board. Wild Card Ace boasts impressive average damage, a good bit of utility, and ramps up a bit with unlocks in lieu of traditional burst damage. I don't put much stock in his HP Charge and MP Charge lines as they cut into his damage a lot and shouldn't be necessary in typical setups. Support Hand+, however, is excellent, as the potential benefit for being able to set up mirage from a damage dealer is great. High natural evasion and demon killer passives also make him particularly noteworthy against a certain upcoming trial. Physical type magic damage is somewhat of a mixed bag at the current stage of the game; we aren't seeing phys immune bosses like Bloody Moon that completely shut down opposing damage types anymore, but the recent trio of high MAG trial rods with magic killers on them are something Wild Card Ace can't benefit from. There are definitely enemy types that Ace would perform better against if he had normal magic damage, so physical type damage is still not entirely a positive thing, despite often being the case.
RemV2 Ace, but stabulous. Benevolent Beauty Rem is another physical type mage with strong average damage but lacking in burst damage; unlike Ace, she doesn't ramp up with new unlocks, so you either just deal with it or run an LB damage build if burst is vital. Rem's additional element over Ace isn't an enormous boon, but her support kit has great potential; party dispelga is excellent to have on anyone, and her AoE HP regen + reraise + mitigation cooldown is a stellar option if your party is dispelled (perhaps by Rem herself) and/or shit hits the fan.
MachinaV2 Excellent free unit, though primarily excellent for his support kit. Steadfast Soldier Machina has similar average damage to prior free units, but also similarly high burst damage, so it is worth thinking about taking advantage of that in some setups.
Bahamut Dark Fina At a glance, a more traditional CWA mage, but with a few things to wrap your head around. Umbral Dragon Dark Fina's damage is in a whole tier of its own, with a few caveats: she has the 6x chain cap, but paradoxically low TDW passives, her MP consumption is outrageous, and her strongest skill is dark-locked. To address these: Umbral Fina hits the TDW cap with her own STMR whip, Save the Queen, and a couple of Benevolent Beauty Rem's TMR Knowing Tag (also helping to bulk her up a bit). Ideally, she would like one of the MAG TDW STMRs we've seen already (Selphie, Christine, WOTV Gilgamesh or Nagi) but she's not massively disadvantaged without them, or even at 150% TDW. Umbral Fina's diverse killers also prevent her from feeling too slot-starved to function effectively. Additionally, while her MP consumption is indeed outrageous when you're going for the constant LB fill damage route, the average damage of the Impact skill route is barely worse; she can still make use of her high burst potential (albeit dark only) by simply using the LB fill skill only when you plan on nuking hard. Overall, I don't think that Umbral Dragon Dark Fina's flaws are enough to drag her away from the #1 mage position.
Dancer Penelo Another bloody mage. Access to ST mirage is a bit of a joke, and 70% ST breaks are probably not worth dropping a 80+% breaker for, although good for emergencies. AoE 30% magic mitigation tied to an undispellable SPR buff, however, is actually worth writing home about for many team compositions. Like Rem and Ace, Penelo has little meaningful burst damage, and 130% imperils are barely a consideration when pairing her with others in the future. As harshly as I'm looking at her, Penelo is still a good unit overall, but doesn't stand out among her contemporaries in my eyes. Will be interesting to see when the 400% TDH cap drops, given the precarious state of the game's timeline currently.
Forest Beauty Fran Untamed Fenrir Edel came out about two months ago, and Kadaj almost three. Blue Sky Belle Fran is about as powerful as those two, but with different chain families, and the option to act as a finisher if you're truly desperate. Also worth mentioning (debatably) that her heavily backloaded LB can also function as a pseudo finisher or chainer with a dupe. Probably best to stick with Steadfast Soldier Machina if you have no other options.
Elena If she were ranked as a physical or magic chainer, she would fall a bit outside of the top 5's damage. Despite this, her ability to keep up 40% mitigation easily as well as having truly disgusting levels of bulk herself (15k HP and 800+ DEF/SPR without even trying) make Elena a pretty strong unit. Burst damage is not her forté and she doesn't play great with others right now due to her LB chain being a non-trivial part of her damage and an important part of her rotation. On that note, her rotation remains more or less the same as before, with the change of Speed of Light being able to T cast anything meaning that her skills unlocked from Aurora/Blossom Arts are far less clunky to use when needed; better access to dispel and being able to use both Way of the Aurora/Blossom cooldowns on her own is nice too, when relevant.
Morgana Morgana, honey, babe, darling, what did they do to you? Not content with just being an underwhelming unit upon release in both global and JP, ability awakened Morgana continues to ride the train of disappointment. As an authority on all edge cases and weirdos of FFBE, I'll be making this comprehensive. Evoke skills have indirectly been strengthened by increased access to evoke damage boosts recently, including Celestia's TMR, Gentiana's STMR, and Yunalesca's STMR. These are separate from EVO MAG, which would have had interesting implications for Morgana if her chain damage wasn't a joke; even with full access to STMRs, her chain damage is going to be outdone heavily by any recent mage with any access to killers. Morgana's remaining option is a sad one: a weird pseudo support, contributing meh finisher damage, 70% breaks, esper gauge fill and imperils. Pass.
Sol Straightforward and effective. Sol can opt for a 5x CWA burst if you're into that, but otherwise works as an ordinary stacking quad chainer. Innate 200% TDW makes him quite a beginner-friendly unit to use, as well as nice for when you're scraping the bottom of the gear barrel in dark visions. He's just shy of the top 5 of mages.
Kimono Fina Not-so-straightforward, but still effective. Kimono Fina has similar damage to Sol with greater burst, but is burdened with a unique rotation, only two elements available (has to use both for maximum output), and CW frames which nobody worthwhile really uses anymore; if you want to be a bit cheeky, you can awaken Sol's Solar Divinity skill to +1 to keep it as CW while not being much weaker than the +2 CWA version. Kimono Fina's support kit remains as clumsy as ever, with the new CD not helping her case much outside of niche elemental resistance and emergency restoration.
Zenaida A whole month without a power spike for physical units? Not if Zenaida can help it. With a dupe pair and no external help, Zenaida puts out exceptional damage as it is. If you can afford to use external chains on her LB turns, her damage hits absurd new heights; does this kind of just make her a weird finisher in practice? Kinda. Going forward, I'm probably not going to assume you're using her LB to finish every other turn, but as it stands, she's still #1 in pure chain damage. Let's not even talk about the passive and active killers, four imbues and imperils, and wholly unnecessary 74% breaks.
Fina & Dark Fina A bit novel of Gumi to dispense a trophy unit when you drop 12k lapis for an accessory and TDW materia, but sure. Fina & Dark Fina perform about as well as you'd expect from a mage pair released almost a year late with zero buffs to their kit.
A few oddballs this time. As usual, let me know what you think.
- A Bad Update to the Highest Turn 1 modifiers list.
- Wiki Ratings Update (FF Vaan and Trolls)
- Wiki Ratings Update (FF Espers Redux Redux Redux Redux)
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