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NV Lasswell Hoo boy. NV Lasswell has a few cute tricks in his base form with sizeable AoE LB fill on one chain skill and a dispel on another, though his cover and Entrust not being selectable with T skill reins in his support value. Additionally, his physical damage in the base form is underwhelming, in line with his Pyro Glacial self. Not a good look for a new NV base.
His shift form (which I imagine is what most people would be interested in) doesn't fare much better, though the dearth of mages does help. Being a phys type TDH mage who can't equip rods either is painful; any benefit of easier access to physical killers via materia and espers is outweighed by all notable killer rods only having magic killers, and needing to waste a materia slot on equipping rods in the first place. Rowen's STMR serves as a reasonable replacement for Asura's Rod against dragons, though the real unique winner for Lasswell is Rain & Fina's STMR for the LB damage. Gearing aside, Lasswell's magic damage in a vacuum isn't the worst, performing similarly on average to Sol with the advantage of having a strong burst option. Having a phys type LB finisher for burst damage is a genuine merit for dark visions, where Lasswell has a meaningful niche. For trials? The other top mages step all over him.
Kunshira Another week, another NVA chainer that time will forget, though this one we can point and laugh at because A: all of her good skills are locked to two (or more!?) elements simultaneously, and B: even 7* units have better than 75% full break skills. Aside from niche cases of mace break gauges existing or whatever, her best use case is a budget breaker for dark visions, given her resist buff CD's downside of not having fulltime is potentially irrelevant, and she does have an 85% DEF/SPR break on her LB.
NV Rain & Fina The first unit with tag chains in global. I'm not sure how strongly I'll be favouring this mechanic going forward, but I'll be keeping an eye on it. Rain & Fina are straightforward enough in their base form, effectively fire-locked and pumping out strong average damage, though lacking the burst of units like Sora and Riku. The shift form deals respectable enough Sol-tier magic damage for light, and around 2/3 of that for fire or earth elements. Additionally, they have access to Dispelga, Curaja, Full-Life and Reraise, on top of a fairly typical healer LB, albeit on a damage dealer. Worth noting that Rain & Fina in their base form can shift for the emergency LB, and then immediately shift back to the base form to carry on dealing damage.
Perhaps more pertinent than the tag mechanic is the passive for 70% increased damage against broken enemies. This is a huge bonus, though obviously binary in its value. As such, I could reasonably rate Rain & Fina above Sora and Riku for this passive and their support kit, or reasonably rate them lower for their far worse burst damage. For now, I'm placing them in the middle, noting that Riku does have those big 85% breaks for slot efficiency.
Fina & Dark Fina Dealing a bit more than half of Sol's damage, Fina & Dark Fina are among the weakest NV mages on their own merits. Granted, they can be pushed a bit further with external LB damage buffs and fill, but no amount of external support will land them anywhere near the top 5. They have good white magic like Rain & Fina, but no big emergency LB or cooldowns beyond a tiny bit of HP/MP sustain. Quirky frames for mages aren't doing them any favours either. 130% earth imperil and AoE 20% earth boost is probably not going to be worth bringing them for a physical team, and there aren't any other NV earth mages besides Dark Fina who is also riding the struggle bus. For a free-ish unit that should have stayed free: pass.
NV Lasswell & Raegen Fairly simple and powerful chainer duo. They can choose to go for a tag chain LB in their base form, or shift for an even more powerful finisher. LB spam is the way to go, and while they do benefit greatly from external support, they're still slightly edging out Rain & Fina and Sora even when fitting in a modest one LB per 4 turn rotation. Lasswell & Raegen's finisher LB is on the same burst level as Sora and Riku's, while not being hard-locked plus still having two good elements to imbue and boost innately makes them way more flexible.
Ifrit Rain It has not been a fruitful month for NVA mages. While Infernal Fire Rain's shift form is clearly aping on Terra's, his LB is something of an old Bic lighter to her raging inferno. That is to say Rain isn't very good. Average and burst in his shift are at least doing a bit better than Fina & Dark Fina, but he has no magic damage whatsoever in the base form he's locked into for a couple of turns afterwards. If you choose to stay in the base form, Rain does consistent but underwhelming physical damage, falling into the lower end of NVA damage dealers like Red XIII, and even he had good support.
Rain's one powerful attribute (aside from still having the highest plant killer buff somehow???) is his ability to set a field effect, which only Terra and Setzer have the ability to do otherwise. This means he has an actual realistic trial use case as field-setter and nethicite-spammer against Chimera, which is more than you can say for most NVAs. Uh, congratulations, Rain.
NV Charlotte & Physalis Now this is how you do an exciting free unit for new players and veterans alike. While their damage isn't outrageous (though still basically outdoing every NVA sans Tifa and Edgar), they have great mitigation buffs for a damage dealer, and they're a solid introduction to the tag mechanic. Not much else to say, except to raise an eyebrow at the passive for 200% bird killer when equipped with a heavy shield. Alim, Gumi, never change.
Wait, that's it?
As usual, let me know what you think. In particular, let me know what you think about the tag mechanic and new broken enemy passives.
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