2019 has been a wild ride for Epic 7 players. With numerous buffs and nerfs, we’ve seen many heroes rise and fall throughout the year in the meta. With 2020 nearly upon us, let's take a moment to look back at some of the most popular characters throughout the year that drastically made an impact on the meta. We’ll be taking a look at the early speed reliant teams, the notorious reign of Silver Blade Aramintha and other teams, all the way up to the recently nerfed one man army Corvus.
Early 2019 marked a brand new year for Epic 7, with the recent nerfs of the holy trinity (Elson, Tieria, and Rikoris) and the addition of Kayron in December 2018, the current meta then revolved around quick speed cleave for both offense and defense. Speed imprints were very popular in this era. Vildred, Cidd, and Schuri were often spotted with Celeste and CDom offering a speed oriented playing style. Diene was also very popular early on in the year as a speedy buff support, while Destina, Angelica and CArmin were often used as stalls.
5-Star Moonlight Heroes was still very rare early this year. Those blessed with Martial Artist Ken were able to fend off the swift cleave heroes who dominated the scene, while the majority took advantage of Kayron’s immortality to counterplay the speed cleave. A shameless narcissist emerged in the final week of January. His name is Violet. With his ability to evade and counter attack, he swiftly started to outplay blue heros in arena. Those blessed with Assassin Cartuja further enhanced Violet’s presence on defense.
Players who missed out on Diene as a support now had access to Tamarinne, an idol who was introduced in early February. (But only buffed a week or two after massive complaints.) Tamarinne was very popular due to her synergy with Iseria. The Tamaseria strategy consisted of Iseria using her S2 to reset all of Tamarinne’s CD, bypassing the 9-turn initial transformation cooldown. This became one of the most popular pairings in the meta, and is still used often today.
February also introduced the heavily anticipated Luna to the global servers. Luna is a dragon knight that has the ability to attack with the “weaker element” making her S3 a very reliable single target defense break. Her high scaling on S1 allowed her to be a powerful hitter. Players started using Luna alongside Tam and Iseria in the meta for her S1 alongside Tam’s dual attack.
This month marked the introduction of Silver Blade Aramintha and along with the speedy CC meta. When paired with Hurado and speed imprints, Silver Blade Aramintha had to ability to shut down all types of counterplay and stall teams that were slower than her due to her constant stuns preventing enemies from taking action. Legend and Champion tiers were dominated by Silver Blade Aramintha and Hurado due to a lack of counterplay options.
With the addition of Silver Blade Aramintha, Smilegate released a brand new hunt, Azamaniak. This hunt offered players a way to counter the current CC meta shift with the introduction of the immunity set. Though this was the popular approach against Silver Blade Aramintha, Hurado alongside speed imprints made it fairly hard to contest against Silver Blade Aramintha teams.
Charles was introduced soon after as a bruiser-type tank with the ability to remove debuffs. Charles was a popular counter to the then-current speedy Diene meta. With his ability to remove buffs, and damage output as a bruiser when equipped Elbrus Ritual Sword, he swiftly became a new utility against the blue meta.
April introduced two new moonlight characters to the meta, Sage Baal & Sezan and Crescent Moon Rin. Lela Violin was released mid April and was also nerfed due to Silver Blade Araminta's synergy with the artifact. This was still a great option for other AOE mages to deal with immunity set. High effect resist build started to emerge as the meta started to shift more towards CC. Speed teams slowly shifted to speed CC teams and effect resist stalls slowly started to emerge.
Sage Baal & Sezan instantly became meta due to his ability to “cut-in” with his passive S2 and remove all enemy’s buffs. Players who were blessed with both Sage Baal & Sezan and Silver Blade Aramintha were able to breeze through Champion and Legend with minor setbacks. The playerbase soon took notice of how “unfair” arena became due to players who purchased many mystic medals had the upper hand in arena.
Epic 7’s first collaboration and along with it introduced two new characters to the meta: Dizzy and Baiken. Both characters were popular additions to their meta but Dizzy was arguably the one that made a more lasting impression.
Baiken who was released in May became a popular CR booster with the ability to potentially neutralize one enemy before granting all allies 25% combat readiness. Baiken who has a base speed of 113 was currently the 3rd fastest CR booster in the game, and was the fastest CR booster that was able to deal damage.
Alongside Sage Baal & Sezan or Hurado, Dizzy is essentially a CC oriented hero like Silver Blade Aramintha. Creative Dizzy teams started to appear from swift CC built Dizzy who relies on crippling enemies to stall counter attack Dizzy who relies on stunning enemies.
High effect resist teams started becoming more prominent. Non Silver Blade Aramintha speed cleave started to become less common in champion. Immunity set or high effect resist is now an expectation when approaching an enemy team. Due to stalls slowly becoming more popular on offense, DEF Break team started becoming more popular as an offensive team.
Angelic Montmorency was released at the end of May, and by early June player had enough time to fully invest in her skill tree. Angelic Montmorency dominated the meta as a Sage Baal and Silver Blade aramintha counter. High effect resist Angelic Monto, CArmin, Destina, and Angelica were very common stalls to thwart off speedy CC heroes.
With the introduction of Fallen Cecilia in June, stall teams started to become more prominent. Fallen Cecilia’s barriers alongside cleansers such as Angelic Montmorency and Destina made it possible to counter play Silver Blade Aramintha and Dizzy.
Wind Raider received a major nerfed that heavily impacted Sez’s performance in the meta. Smilegate offered Sez player and Wind Raider holder a recall as compensation.
Arbiter Vildred received a heavy buff this month allowing him to resurrect with an ATK buff and gaining a 100% CR boost. This allowed him to instantly one shot Silver Blade Aramintha and Sage Baal & Sezan teams.
Players started to become more vocal about their feelings towards the arena meta being revolved Moonlight characters.
July introduced the beloved Seaside Bellona, a beloved counterplay hero that retaliates against cleavers. Seaside Bellona transfers 30% of her dmg to the frontline hero. This allows her to act as a bruiser even with full damage investment. With immunity set, Seaside Bellona will be able to counterplay essentially all cleave oriented teams. Following this banner, speed cleaves are usually spotted in low Challenger and are very rare in Champion and Legend.
Lilibet made her appearance back in July. She is currently the primary counter towards heroes with resurrection. She has the ability to one shot a hero, when they die they cannot revive. This is especially useful for shutting down Arbiter Vildred in the current meta.
Smilegate also announced an overhaul for the summoning system in July. Buffs and nerfs for multiple Moonlight heroes and compensations were announced. Many top tier characters were scheduled for nerfs and buffs. The primary focus were Silver Blade Aramintha, Crimson Armin, Sage Baal & Sezan and Arbiter Vildred.
With the nerf of Silver Blade Aramintha and Sage Baal & Sezan, they are rarely spotted in Champion and Legend tier. Players who owned a nerfed moonlight characters were offered an exchanged ticket allowing them to select another five star moonlight. Fallen Cecilia became the most popular pick due to her growing presence in arena. Smiltegate also buffed multiple mage’s base speed (notably Alots and basar) as an effort to increase their presence in the meta.
Apocalypse Ravi was released in August, many players were disappointed at her underwhelming kit, yet she still has a moderate presence in champion tier arena and GvG. This is probably due to the amount of mystic medal refund that SG compensated for the playerbase. Many users blew their entire load summoning for Apocalypse Ravi shortly after the compensation.
Many non-moonlight heroes received buffs shortly after the arena moonlight nerfs. Basar’s instantly took over the meta with his AOE buff dispel that bypasses effect resist when soul burned. Defense break cleave and CC slowly became more prominent again in the meta due to Basar’s presence.
Corvus whose kit received a major overhaul became one of the most popular bruisers in the meta. With the ability to AOE stun, extra turn, and self sustain. He can essentially defensvily stall on defense till the arena penalty to kill the attacking team.
September mystic rotation featured Judge Kise, with her recent buff she is now currently the strongest cleaver in the game with the ability to receive an extra turn when soul burning her S2. She is a popular solution to Arbiter Vildred and she also has the ability to increase all enemy’s cooldown up to 3 turns.
Late September Simlegate introduced Lilias, a character with the ability to cleanse all debuffs and deals dmg using the highest ally’s attack. Early October Lilias became a very popular defensive counter in the meta for Basar, who is growing more and more popular.
October’s mystic rotation featured Desert Jewel Basar, a moonlight image of Basar. DJ Basar has the ability to cleanse all debuffs from allys, increase their combat readiness by 30% and grant them 3-turn immunity buff. Shortly after his release, Dizzy teams are slowly starting to fade. Due to Water Origin, DJ Basar is currently one of the best defensive openers in the game for a “speedy bruiser team”.
Stall teams are becoming less common due to Basar’s presence on offense. Counterplay bruisers and cleanse are slowly becoming more popular. Speed cleave are slowly making a comeback due to DJ Basar. The meta is slowly becoming a little more diverse.
Champion Zerato received a major buff allowing him to counter 2 enemies and transferring debuffs to both the enemies. His immunity to decrease hit chance became a direct solution towards Dizzy comps and teams. Champion Zerato alongside soul weavers support makes for a very strong counterplay team in the meta.
Corvus received a major nerf directly affecting his ability to single handedly stall in arena. Most Corvus owners recalled their corvus. Corvus no longer has a presence in challenger, champion or legend tier.
November’s mystic rotation featured Maid Chloe, a support that grants ATK and Resurrection buff. Maid Chloe is currently one of the top 10 most used characters in arena due to her ability to keep her allies alive. Basar can simply remove Maid Chloe’s buff, but if one of her allies is dead prior to receiving the buff, she will resurrect that ally.
Shortly after Maid Chloe's mystic rotation, Faithless Lidica made her appearance late November. She currently has the 2nd fastest base speed in the game as a CR booster, she also is granted an additional turn to cripple a single enemy that’s not protected by immunity in arena. She also has her own presence as as CR booster and a disruptor in the newly released RTA.
Elena made her debut early December as a soulweaver who is very comparable to Crimson Armin. When equipped with tome, she will receive a 30% CR bonus when an enemy uses an AOE ability. This allows her to cut in and instantly cast invincibility denying cleave from harming her team. She currently has a moderate presence in champion and legends.
The top 3 heroes in the arena defense meta as of December 2019 is Arbiter Vildred, Seaside Bellona, and Fallen Cecilia. With RTA making its debut, it’ll be exciting to see what’s next to come for the PvP scene.