The Asgardr Report aims to provide high-level Fire Emblem Heroes content on a regular basis. Each article will contain 3-4 topics related to the end-game content of the game; Aether Raids (Offense & Defense) and Arena.
For this edition of Asgardr Report, we would do things a little differently by discussing the content released in the month of December 2021 first. We would then discuss the winners and losers for 2021 in the game.
This month in Fire Emblem Heroes
In this segment, we would focus on units or skills that the author thinks are new and going to be meta-relevant moving forward due to the updates introduced in the game. For this month, this segment would cover all the content introduced for the month.
Announcement of Summoner Duels
The introduction of Summoner Duels does mean that we have another potentially competitive mode in the game. This meant that from this month’s edition onwards, we will also look into a unit’s potential in the mode. We will also specifically focus on the game mode in the next edition of Asgardr Report, so stay tuned!
Ash’s relevancy in Aether Raids is already covered in this month’s Aether Raids Tier List update with the excerpt below:
Ash’s personal C skill is essentially Summer Tana’s weapon, which grants the teleportation effects on allies. While as a normal unit this effect might not justify a slot, the story changes when said unit is a Mythic, as the mobility gained from the effect is exceptionally helpful in a myriad of scenarios, be it securing Aether structures or accessing areas that were previously inaccessible (such as on the Lost Castle and Springwater maps).
Similar to Nailah, Ash can also be used in a Galeforce perspective due to her guaranteed follow-up and guard nullification when transformed, and the mobility aspect of her personal C passive would continue to be useful to either extend plays or even allow her allies to initiate without relying on Wings of Mercy. This versatility allows Ash to be one of the most versatile Light Mythics, with the only main competition being Peony.
Ash also has immense potential in the new Summoner Duels; Opening Retainer enables the user to have plenty of space control especially when paired with a ranged unit, and Ash herself is a rather potent melee brawler that has both player and enemy phase potential should her weapon’s conditions be met. Ash as an Infantry also meant increased accessibility to her specials, which chains well with Infantry Pulse and Secret Maneuver leader skill.
FEH Pass “Sparks”
While it is not a unit release, the ability for FEH Pass subscribers to be able to free summon after 40 pulls in almost all banners (which includes seasonals and mythic/legendary banners) will have a knock-on effect on the meta due to their increased accessibility, even if it is behind a paywall. This is especially true as the proportion of subscribers at the tail-end of the competitive scene in both Aether Raids and Arena is substantially higher.
This meant that should there be a meta-defining unit being released, it is more likely that the said unit will be even more common than it already is. Should there be impactful units of similar strength to units such as Duo Peony, Bridal Catria, or Ninja Corrin, they will be more prominently seen across all modes, such as Aether Raids and the recently introduced Summoner Duels. This can already be somewhat observed with the recent introduction of Ascended Fjorm, as despite the 9-month headstart with 3 banners, Fjorm leapfrogged Valentine’s Henriette to be one of the most common Far Save units used by Aether Raids Offense players.
Another example, the upcoming New Year Dagr will likely be a popular target due to her unprecedented 200 BST scoring. This is because of her enhanced scoring as a Duo unit (195 BST) with a personal B skill which increases the arena scoring further. With an unprecedented effect BST of 200, this will likely have a direct impact on arena scoring for the week where she is a bonus unit. The gulf between a player with New Year Dagr and a player without is going to be problematic for the players attempting to score as high as possible in the mode.
In a way, the introduction of the free summons from FEH Pass will likely result in a more competitive metagame of all fronts be it in the Arena, Aether Raids, and Summoner Duels, and it is unfortunately imperative for players to keep up should they have the financial capacity to do so.
- Yen’Fay is a solid addition as a 185 BST arena unit and is significantly cheaper compared to Tempest Trial options.
- Snow Globe and Winter Rapier are extremely viable options especially when a unit specializes in dealing with specific ranges (Snow Globe for a ranged specialist, Winter Rapier for melee) as they can stack with the Unity A skill for even more bonus stats based on the penalties.
- Fury seal is revealed to be part of the Tempest Trial for the New Year. The ramifications will be discussed in the next edition.
Asgardr Hall of Fame (December)
There are no updates for this month. Please refer to the previous month's Asgardr Report for the list.
2021; Winners and Losers
As 2021 draws to a close, we can now look back at all the changes in the game and determine the winners and losers for the year, be it units, movement type, or anything else in the game.
Armored Units being named a winner of 2021 is no surprise. The introduction of the Savior Skills starting from the Valentine’s Banner has shaped the metagame as a whole. The ability to specialize to deal with a specific range is valuable as enemy phase units now have more skill slot flexibility in the A slot compared to being stuck with either Distant Counter or Close Counter all the time. While it is unfortunate that clearly balanced units such as the likes of Brave Hector gained the most from this change, it can be said that even the most underpowered ones such as the likes of Draug and Gwendolyn are at the very least usable thanks to the skill.
The Save skills also had knock-on effects throughout the section, which goes to show how game-changing (or game-breaking for some) the skills are in the current state of the game. An honorable mention goes to Cavalry with Legendary Sigurd, Trace Skill, Legendary Sigurd, Pathfinder for more mobility shenanigans, and Legendary Sigurd.
It is another bad year for flying units in general as they continue to fall behind in terms of combat potential. The main skill Flying units received is the Trace skill, which while useful to some capacity for player phase flying units, the efficacy is arguably weaker compared to Cavalry units. The options available for the enemy phase continue to be lackluster in comparison to Infantry and Armor. Lastly, outside of a few exceptions with powerful personal skills such as Legendary Claude and Eitri, it continues to be a death sentence to be a ranged flier in Aether Raids, which is rather unfortunate, to say the least.
Assuming a flying unit does not have a strong personal weapon and/or a strong personal skill, it is unlikely for the said unit to have a role in the current state of the game. This was true before 2021, and it continues to be the case going into 2022. We genuinely hope that the developers could do something for flying units.
Strong, tough, and is no longer a chump. Arden literally went from zero to hero over the span of the year. At the start of 2021, tanks are expected to tank all units, which meant that they have to be able to survive both physical and magical threats. With Arden’s paltry SPD and RES, Arden is not exactly the best unit up for the task. However, with the advent of the Savior Skills, Arden can now specifically focus on the melee targets, which is significantly easier to do as the number of physical melee threats heavily outnumbers the magical ones.
The introduction of the Steady Breath seal further cemented his place as a top-class Near Save unit, as it couples extremely well with the refine he received at the start of the year as it attacks twice on the enemy phase. This meant that Arden can activate Ignis very reliably assuming there are no Guard-based effects. Even in the latter half of the year, Arden continues to win with the introduction of Thorr, which is another option for him to obtain the special acceleration he needs to take out the foes.
Loser: Brave Claude
What is said for Arden is not only applicable for him; it is also applicable for most units with low RES, as now they can simply specialize in tanking melee foes so long as there is a Far Save unit protecting them. Specifically, units with high DEF gained a lot from this thanks to similar reasons as Arden; specializing in tackling against a specific movement type, and the introduction of easy cooldown acceleration with the likes of Steady Breath, Thorr, and Darting Breath.
This is applicable to all movement types, as now units with high ATK and DEF can finally have a role to play after almost 4 years of neglect as they were stuck as Arena Assault counters before the start of this year. While Arden is the cream of the crop in this regard, it is kind of nice to see units such as previously difficult-to-use units such as Lukas and Hinata be somewhat usable in the modern era.
While not extremely obvious, the role of SPD has largely diminished over the span of the year. As more and more units introduced in the year had some sort of ways to either guarantee or negate follow-up, it is difficult to justify the use of SPD unless the said unit had ways to guarantee or negate follow-up themselves or have some form of follow-up negation. This automatically reduces the subset of units that are capable of using SPD, with the predominant group being Infantry units due to Null Follow-Up.
The impact of the enemy-phase use of SPD is somehow even worst. Before 2021, damage reduction skills such as Spurn are all the rage. Nowadays, while not the most common, there are more counterplays to it in the form of units (Young Innes, Legendary Byleth) and Lethality. Furthermore, most of the tanks that rely on SPD are also reliant on healing specials, which are nerfed rather badly due to the existence of Fatal Smoke.
Lastly, SPD can now be mostly seen as an opportunity cost to allocate it to other more useful stats. The Save skills meant that it is now possible for a tank to stack so much support that it takes 0 damage, and the supports will not be at risk of getting taken out due to the natural property of Save skills. Basic mathematics says that 0 multiplied by any number is still 0. Be it blocking follow-ups or stopping SPD-based counter prevention such as Windsweep, all these essentially becomes moot when the tank is not taking any damage whatsoever.
The introduction of Summoner Duels somewhat made SPD a stat that is worth considering once again due to the existence of Adroit Captain leader skill, but over the course of the year, it can be argued that SPD is mostly surplus of requirements, and the number of units that could leverage the stat competitively had reduced by a substantial amount.
Winner: Hit and Run
We are introduced to Canto at the end of 2020, and throughout the year we got many more Canto effects, ranging from personal weapon effects such as Valentian Palla, Yuri, and Eitri to skills such as the Trace skills. Furthermore, the introduction of the Safety Fence effectively encourage players to go for a Turn 1 play if possible so long as all the units could make it back to the first row. Lastly, the Save skills (specifically Far Save) provide the attackers an option to shut down potential chase-down from the defense team should it be required due to dancers that cannot be isolated. These are not only applicable in Aether Raids but Summoner Duels as well, as Canto effects reigns supreme in the current meta.
Loser: Distant Counter / Close Counter
As mentioned before, the existence of Save skills meant that there is now more flexibility in terms of skill options. However, that also meant that there is now an opportunity cost of running Distant Counter or Close Counter, as nowadays it might simply be easier to run either a melee specialist with a Far Save, ranged specialist with a Near Save, or just running both saves. This meant that Counter skills are no longer as valued as before going into 2022. Perhaps that is why throughout 2021, more powerful Counter skills such as Distant Stance and Close Reversal are released, but the reception for these skills is lukewarm at best.
We hope you enjoyed this month’s edition of the Asgardr Report. It has been a wild 2021 as the end-game had shifted drastically over the course of the year, ranging from the space denial setups of Legendary Sigurd, to Bridal Catria with her Triangle Attack shenanigans just from this year alone. All these might change and evolve over the course of this year as well, so we hope to continue to keep a close look at the different late-game developments in Fire Emblem Heroes. As mentioned above, in the next edition we would be focusing specifically on Summoner Duels from the end-game perspective, so see you then, and have a wonderful 2022.