- 1 What does it mean to “rework” a unit?
- 2 Tidus JP Rework Comparison
- 3 Base stats
- 4 Active Abilities
- 5 Passives
- 6 So what can we take from this and apply to Esther’s rework?
- 7 Now I don’t want to make the mistake of overestimating what we’ll get, but there are three things I feel are absolutely critical to making her an effective unit today:
- 8 The modifier on her LB, however, will undoubtedly be scrutinized more than anything.
- 9 LB Damage Boost!
- 10 Elemental Amps!
- 11 TMR/STMR Upgrades!
- 12 Higher Imperils!
- 13 Chain cap increase!
- 14 Killer Buffs!
- 15 Greatsword Imperil!
- 16 Cover/Provoke/Mirage!
- 17 Breaks!
- 18 Similar Guides
I don't mean to rant, but I'm about to go off…
TL;DR Remain cautiously optimistic about Esther's upgrades.
There are probably a precious few here that remember me as the Murder Bunny guy. For those of you that do, you'll understand where I'm coming from. For those that don't, just search through some of my old posts titled Murder Bunny's Revenge to get a better idea of how I like to have fun with the best GLEX unit in FFBE.
The update video yesterday was a nice spark of excitement, but it got me thinking a lot about what's coming, and I think the most important thing I can say going forward is:
"Let's not have a repeat of her enhancements!"
This statement is aimed both at Gumi and at those of us expectantly awaiting her upgrades. So I wanted to jot down some thoughts and share them with you after thinking more about what I saw in the video.
Alright, strap yourselves in, word salad comin' at ya!So let’s start by asking a basic question:
What does it mean to “rework” a unit?
We have had a few reworked units in the past here on the Global Side of FFBE, and frankly they have been rather hit or miss. A rather contentious example of a miss would be Reberta, a beloved dragoon unit here in Global that had issues with her signature jump attack. A year or so after she was released, Gumi gave her enhancements. They didn’t really help her case.
A few months later, they did a complete rework of her kit, along with some Latent abilities, in an attempt to settle her issues. This amounted to a set of “free enhancements” plus a few new abilities. Many of her old abilities, including her Limit Burst, remained but were essentially enhanced with increased modifiers, higher elemental imperils, and longer effect times on the imperils/imbues. Some of her abilities were also given new chain families to match her contemporaries at the time. For a hot second she actually had one of the best AR chain abilities in terms of damage modifiers which was nice for Dark Visions. But even tho her signature jump ability was finally changed to a timed jump, it was still nigh impossible to cap the pre-emptive chain that she built up at the beginning of the turn, turning what was supposed to be a unique chain-building jump attack into a hot mess, yet again.
We also saw a rework with the limited Christmas unit, Christine. This one was arguably better, and saw her become one of the most powerful ice mages at the time, with high damage modifiers on existing and new abilities, really good imperils, nearly infinite quad-cast starting on turn 1, and the addition of CWA chaining abilities to match her contemporaries.
But these reworks were both performed during the 7* era. We live in the NeoVision era now, so what does this mean for a reworked unit?
We did just get a few upgraded units last week in ESNichol, DS Sakura and Sweet Luka, and there happen to be several examples of 7* units that were reworked in the NeoVision era over on the JP side. I won’t go into all the different units that saw reworks over there, as I honestly don’t play nor follow JP that closely myself, but Deus Gaming did a nice recap of these units on his YT channel recently, so if you’re interested to learn all about reworked 7* units we might see in the future here on the Global side then check out that video. I will, however, narrow the comparison down to one unit that I believe provides the closest analogue to what we might see in a reworked Esther unit: Original Tidus.
Tidus JP Rework Comparison
Much like Esther when she first hit the scene, there was a time back in the day that Tidus was the top physical damage dealer. That was his primary role in the party, although he also had some support capabilities that sometimes came in handy. He was not strictly locked to an element, but water was his element of choice as he came with his own imbues and imperils.Esther is very similar in that she is primarily a physical damage dealer with some side support abilities, focusing (but not locked into) lightning element.Now I’m not going to do an in-depth analysis of Tidus’s rework, but I will refer to some aspects of his rework for justification purposes.
This is where 7* units really struggle against NeoVision units. Without being able to equip Vision Cards, 7* units are stuck with whatever base stats they have without any way to modify them. Tidus got a straight up 100 point increase to his base attack going from 201 to 301, although he still retains the lower cap of 50 for doors. That extra 100 points, however, can then get multiplied by ATK passives up to 400%, meaning it effectively adds 500 points to his final ATK stat. This helps close the cap a bit, but many NV units have base stats closer to 400 once you get them to EX+2, plus their vision cards which typically add another 100 onto that, which is where we start seeing final ATK/MAG stats of 5k or more on NV/A units. I doubt Esther will be allowed to reach those kinds of numbers.
Most importantly Tidus got permanent double and triple cast on all of his abilities. This is pretty much standard today. He actually retains many of his old abilities, but many have seen significant boosts to their effects and damage modifiers:
- Damage modifiers range from 30x to 60x on-demand with a 160x water elemental finisher on a CD
- AoE 100% LB damage buff
- AoE water element imbues and elemental amplifiers 15% on-demand or 25% on CD.
- Permanent, undispellable self-buff with 45% water elemental amplifier!
- LB has a 70x damage modifier which is still pretty low, but comes with a 135% water imperil
which is higher than any imperil we have in Global right now!(I stand corrected! Dark Fina & Sol have a 135% earth imperil! Thanks u/jaymiracles)
- 300% innate TDH
- 190% ATK passives (unconditional)
- 50% physical and magic evasion (up from 30%) plus 50% draw attacks (new)
- 150% LB passive boost (up from 25%)
- Chain cap modifier increased by 100% (5x chain cap)
So what can we take from this and apply to Esther’s rework?
If I'm being totally honest, we actually still know very little after the news update video. We might get more in the in-game news, but I wouldn't count on it, especially since it appeared as though they had snipped the upgrades directly from the incoming news feed. They basically said three things we can expect to see:
- TMR/STMR upgrades
- New Magnus Ability
- Modifiers Increased
Don't get me wrong, these tidbits are exciting but…is that it? Either Gumi is being super cagey because they don't want to spark another manic depressive quit-wave when she doesn't meet our expectations, or they really have no idea what they're doing and could simply care less about Esther as a unit. The problem with this, however, is that increasing the level of speculation as opposed to being upfront might actually make things worse. We shall see.
You might be able to say that she's going to focus on being a primary damage dealer with the explanation of her new Magnus Ability, which buffs her LB damage, gives her a lightning amp, and deals some damage. It gets three uses, so I'm seeing this as akin to something like Tifa's or Terra's big LB buff Grandis abilities, so maybe we'll see a 250% active buff.
Now I don’t want to make the mistake of overestimating what we’ll get, but there are three things I feel are absolutely critical to making her an effective unit today:
1. Permanent triple-cast
This seems like a no-brainer here. Nearly every NV or NVA unit has permanent T-cast in their kit. The days of unlocking triple cast seem to be long gone. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that Esther will receive this at a minimum, hopefully with the added benefit of being able to triple-cast all of her abilities rather than a select few.
2. Higher Base Stats
With her base stats, she sits in a similar boat as Tidus with a base ATK of 206 but unlike Tidus she gets the max door potential of 65. Still, I think it’s reasonably safe to assume that she’ll get a little bump in her stats. Will it be 100 points? I don’t know. But as it stands today, her ATK typically caps out at ~3600, and that’s pushing some heavy whale gear on her. A 100 flat ATK boost to her base stats would get her closer to the 4k ceiling for those whaled out bunnies, while sitting closer to the 3500-3800 range for the less whaley murder bunnies, like myself.
3. Increased Modifiers (Bigly!)
At least we know for certain this one is happening. Since Esther is obtainable through UoCs, they’re not going to make her so strong that she hits the top of the damage charts, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see her chain modifiers getting bumped up to ~50x, which is at the very low end for NVA units these days. Even 7* damage dealers released on banners today tend to have at least one chaining ability with a 50x or 60x modifier on them. She might only get one or two chain abilities with these significantly higher chain modifiers, but I feel like this is a fairly reasonable and safe expectation. If they go higher then great! But I’m trying to maintain a conservative expectation here.
Her Cooldown AMoE chain (Storm Clouds) might see a high burst modifier similar to the one Tidus received in his rework, which would be nice since I don’t think I ever used that ability even once. I didn’t even bother to enhance it. But they might instead just slap a high mod on her Magnus ability and call it a day. We shall see.
The modifier on her LB, however, will undoubtedly be scrutinized more than anything.
As it stands today, her LB works out to a 28x modifier (that’s 14x with 50% ignore DEF). This was terribly outdated even before the NV era arrived, and arguably was way below average when she got her enhancements a year ago. Tidus’s rework saw a nice bump to his LB at a 70x mod, which honestly would still not be enough to satisfy most Esther fans (myself included) but would go a long way towards making her a fun and viable (albeit challenging) unit for modern content.
Most NV or Brave Shifted NVA units have at least a 100x modifier on their LB when fully maxed out, but we probably should not expect Esther to get anything nearly that high. Since Esther traditionally uses her LB quite often, it stands to reason they would give her something a fair bit lower than even the low end of the NeoVision spectrum, but it really depends on what other buffs she gets along the way and how that plays into the balance of power here.
I think the only way they would give her a higher mod (100+) is if they locked her LB to lightning element, which I really hope they do NOT do! While lightning is and should certainly be her best element, one of the things that makes Esther great is not being locked into it as a damage dealer.
Personally, what I would like to see from her reworked LB is something akin to Karten’s Frenzied Rampage CD skill, which was a 99x modifier on an AR chain, where the first 29 hits essentially each hit with a 1x mod, leaving the last hit as a 70x finisher. I wouldn’t mind if they changed the chain family to Extreme Nova, either, but that’s not as important to me.
What I hope they do NOT do is make her LB a 1-hit finisher. Frankly, this just isn’t how Esther does business. She’s never needed support chainers to help her along, and I don’t want to see that start now.
As for the rest of her kit, we’re still very much in the dark, but we can at least cover a couple of things that we know for sure we’re getting based on the news update.
LB Damage Boost!
Esther is the original LB spammer. You might say she’s a trend-setter. She is also one of the first units to have an active LB damage buff. This was one of the things that made her such a devastatingly destructive damage dealer when she first arrived. Sadly, after her enhancements this buff was too paltry to make a big difference in her damage output.
Without getting into the “pre-nerf, post-nerf” controversy, I’d like to think that she will receive a much better active buff on her LB. Nowadays finding a support unit to give your whole team a 100% LB damage buff (or even higher) isn’t all that difficult. Hell, we got a free unit on the NV Lightning event that gives 150% LB damage buff with 100% uptime so…yeah. Most NV or NVA units that rely on their LB for their damage come with an on-demand 150% self-buff. NVA Gilgamesh has a 150% active buff on his LB so we’re getting into an era where anything less than 100% just isn’t useful anymore.
We know she’ll get a big active buff on her Magnus ability, hopefully 200 or 250% for a couple of turns for one or two big bursts. Since it only applies only to herself and is a limited use ability, I think we can rest assured that it’ll be a massive active buff.
But we can’t forget about her passives! She really should receive some more passive LB damage to make it easier for her to reach the cap, but this also depends on how much they buff the modifier on her LB. Units with ridiculously high LB modifiers tend to have less passive LB boost as a way of maintaining balance, but as I said before I doubt they’re going to give her a high enough mod on her LB to compete with NV units anyway, so might as well give her a helping hand here. NV and NVA units with average LB modifiers tend to have upwards of 200% passive LB damage boost nowadays, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see her get at least 150% in passives.
All we know for now is that she’ll get lightning elemental amps on her Magnus ability. I will be very disappointed if this is the only place she gets her lightning amps, however. I would expect a Magnus ability to give a big boost, probably at least 25% since that seems to be the going rate these days on elemental amps, but I really hope it’s higher than that. As a 7* unit she’s gonna need all the help she can get to keep up with NV units, and since the lightning amp is only to herself, I think it might be 30% or more.But this shouldn’t be the only ability that gives her a lightning amp. Storm Embrace is her standard set up CD skill that imbues and imperils lightning, and this should also come with a lightning amp, albeit a smaller one, probably 15-20% since it will likely be able to maintain 100% uptime.
So this is probably the one thing that actually worries me the most about Esther’s upgrades. While it is nice to see her Trust Masters get some stat bumps, there seemed to be a great amount of time and focus spent on discussing it during the news update. That leaves me feeling a bit nervous.
Her Trust Masters were already pretty good, and now they’re pretty damn good! The bunny jacket gets a nice flat ATK bump of 15 points! It now gives 55 flat ATK which is one of the highest for a chest piece in the game currently (MI Lassworm still holds the crown with a 56 ATK chest piece). I would have liked to see a little LB damage attached to it since we don’t really have any other clothes that give LB damage currently, but I’ll take what I can get.
The storm kickers also get a nice flat ATK boost, along with a small bump to the LB damage, giving a 20% boost instead of the original 15%. To be honest I didn’t expect them to even do this, so kudos for that. It’s still not as good as NV Riku’s TMR, but for non-limited 5* TMR it’s now one of the best accessories for physical LB damage units!
But if they’re putting such a big spotlight on the TMR/STMR then does that mean we shouldn’t expect much else? I feel like there is still a lot left to be said about what Esther’s rework should be, so I’d like to go over a few other possible upgrades that might show up in her kit.
Let it be known that there are absolutely no guarantees that we’ll see any of the following things in her new kit, but some of them would be really nice and some of them might be necessary if we want Esther to be a viable unit in the NeoVision era.
Esther already comes with the standard 120% imperil both on-demand for ST enemies and AoE on a CD skill. One of the ways they can make a 7* useful again in today’s NV world is to give them something that other NV units really want: to do more damage.
The reworked Tidus unit saw a 135% water imperil
which is higher than anything we have in Global right now (I stand corrected! Dark Fina & Sol have a 135% earth imperil!, thanks u/jaymiracles). I’d like to think there’s a good chance we see at least a 130% lightning imperil attached to either an on-demand ability, a CD skill, or possibly to her new Magnus ability. If we’re lucky it might even go as high as 135%.
While I feel pretty confident in this, they may still choose to ignore this aspect of her kit and assume that having the 120% imperil is still fine and dandy, so let’s just keep our guard up.
Chain cap increase!
With the introduction of NV Lightning, we were also introduced to the new mechanic of increasing the chain cap multiplier for units that are stuck at the 4x multiplier, which includes all TDH units. As of this post, NV Lightning is the only unit that has this innately in her kit, but her STMR grants a 1x increase to the cap to any unit.
Tidus’s JP rework granted him an innate chain cap increase of 1x in his new kit, which means if he also equipped NV Lightning’s STMR he’d hit the maximum chain cap of 6x. For a TDH unit with the added benefit of weapon variance, this pushes the damage well past what a similarly built TDW unit can do. Even at only a 5x chain cap, a TDH unit with only 1.3x average variance is doing the equivalent damage of a 6.5x chain cap. If you use a weapon with average variance of 1.5x then that jumps up to the equivalent damage of a 7.5x chain cap! If you can get your TDH unit to a 6x cap with a 1.3x weapon variance then you’re almost hitting an equivalent 8x chain cap, or a 9x equivalent if you’re using a 1.5x variance.
All this to say that an innate chain cap increase is an easy way to bump up the damage to meet the standards of the current meta. I don’t want to say it’s a likely scenario because, well…Gumi…but it feels like it could happen.
Esther has an affinity to two different races, machines and stone monsters. Her innate killers to these two races are already pretty high so it stands to reason that they might add some active killer buffs to one or both of these monster types. Depending on what role Gumi decides to give to this new Esther, she might see a nice self-buff or an AoE buff. If they give her a self-buff we might see a 150%-200% buff to both killers, which would be ripe for stealing by mmXon if you don’t already have NVA Aileen. If they build her more as a support chainer then they might add some AoE killer buffs but I would be surprised if they’re 100% or higher.
Either way, I think this would be a nice addition to her kit. She doesn’t need any more passive killers, honestly, so let’s give her something that might actually be useful to her or others.
I know this one is a long shot, but we lack a good Greatsword imperil in Global right now, and even though we’re supposed to get the EX+2 added abilities for older NV units like Cloud at some point, we haven’t seen any indication that we’ll ever get them. Esther could be a good unit to introduce a Greatsword imperil, and would certainly see her getting more playtime on team rosters.
There is precedence for a 7* unit with a higher weapon imperil with the introduction of Relm. She came with a 35% rod imperil for 4 turns on a 6-turn cooldown ability. NVA Lightning has a similar ability but for guns. It feels like a great opportunity to revive and strengthen an old favorite by giving her a similar cooldown ability with a 35% greatsword imperil. Alternatively, they could follow the example set by NVA Edgar, with a 20% imperil on a cooldown, and a 25% imperil attached to the LB. Either of these options would be acceptable to me, as it fills a crucial void in the Global meta right now.
Esther was a pretty overloaded unit when she came out. She had lots of damage, of course, but she also had breaks, an AoE physical cover, a provoke, and after her enhancements a 3 stack mirage on a cooldown.
Esther already has 30% innate evasion in her kit, so that could potentially get bumped up to 50%, or they could simply have her provoke ability add some mirage stacks. Esther is still pretty bulky for a DD, but she’ll need something more to survive if she’s going to be a provoker, since some of the modern trials have enemies with accuracy to get around evasion. Her AoE cover might actually be one ability that gets taken out, unless they want her to be used as an evade cover tank, but again that isn’t going to be useful against the likes of Asura. If they do decide to keep this aspect of her kit alive then they’ll need to give it a longer duration with some higher mitigations in order for her to survive.
I see the more likely outcome being an easy-to-build evade or mirage based provoke unit, but they may also do away with this aspect of her kit altogether.
So, among all the other things, Esther was also a breaker. Not a good breaker, mind you, but at the time of her release 50% breaks weren’t as awful as they are now. Her main chaining move, Bolting Strike, had a 60% DEF break on it which was actually pretty handy back then. Now I really doubt they’re going to make Esther into a breaker/damage dealer type of support unit, but the groundwork is there if they choose to do so. She has an on-demand ATK/MAG break and DEF/SPR break in her kit, plus the DEF break on her Bolting Strike ability. It’s possible they could bump all of these up to something comparable to today’s breaks (80% or higher), but I feel like this is the least likely of all the scenarios discussed thus far.
So with that, I leave you with one final thought: be a cautious optimist. She may get some of these upgrades, she may get all of these upgrades, or she may get none of them and instead she becomes a full-on physical tank with DEF scaling damage…yeah, no.
No matter what happens, Esther will be a stronger unit, and I, for one, will be taking her into all the latest trials to see what kind of havoc I can create with her. I expect her to still be a challenging unit to use against modern trials, but that’s what makes them fun for me.
If you’re expecting Esther to somehow break the meta, or really to even reach the current meta, then I think you’re setting yourself up for massive disappointment. The most likely scenario is that she’ll be quite good against lightning weak enemies and not much else, but all we can really say at this point is: Who knows?
- JP – Maint, MK: FF13LR, Banner: NV (CG) LR Lightning, NVA: R.Lightning / Lightning, Enh: Vanille / Fang & More – 10/30+
- Make black magic great again !!!
- Pro Tip: Compressed FTKO Team
More about Final Fantasy Brave ExviusPost: "Why I Am Both Excited and Nervous About Esther’s Upgrades" specifically for the game Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. Other useful information about this game:
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