Welcome to This Week in Summoner Duels, an article series with tips and tricks for the current week of Summoner Duels Ranked or Summoner Duels Survival. The aim of this series is to give players a brief overview of what they can expect to see in Duels, so that they can better prepare for and react to the meta. This includes the map, Captain Skills, and particular Heroes that may be powerful or relevant in the current season.
Summoner Duels: Survival
This week’s Summoner Duels rotation is Summoner Duels Survival, the variant of Summoner Duels in which players build a set of four teams consisting of five units each. Each team has its own Captain and each can use a different Captain skill. When players load into a match, each player has the chance to view the other player’s teams for about 30 seconds, and can choose two of those four teams to ban. After this, each player is shown the remaining two of their own teams and chooses one of them to use in combat. The match then plays out as normal. In this way, players can choose to ban teams that have particular units they do not wish to fight, or lack counters for, like common meta threats such as Valentine’s Chrom, New Year Dagr, Spring Sonya, or whatever a particular player wishes.
Astute players may notice that they always have a choice between two teams before loading into the match, so it is entirely valid to build three teams they intend to use, and a fourth team that serves no purpose and they have no intention to actually use in combat. Players might find it useful to build a team consisting of popular meta choices to be an easy choice to ban, leaving their more rare, interesting teams on the table. Of course, you must use your own discretion when deciding how to build your teams.
The Map: Yawning Gulf
The yawning gulf is a strange new map filled with terrain impassable to horses, including two forests, four unbreakable walls, and a square of four trenches in the middle of the map which slow cavalry movement to 1 space. All of these factors combine to make the map very bad for cavalry units. The trenches do not slow any other movement type, so infantry and flying units are on relatively equal footing, and armors maintain relevance for other reasons including skills like A/R Far Save. Teleportation skills like Ash’s Opening Retainer can allow cavalry units to teleport around the trenches, somewhat bypassing the problem.
The captain skills available this week are:
Eminence, which gives the Captain the Pathfinder effect, allowing allies to move through their space without spending any movement, as well as inflicting -3 Def and Res on foes within 3 spaces of the Captain during combat.
Rallying Cry, which activates at the start of turns 2 through 5, providing a stat buff of +6 to all stats to the Captain and any allies within 2 spaces of the Captain.
Storm of Blows, which neutralizes any bonuses on the Captain’s foe during combat. It also grants a guaranteed follow-up attack to the Captain and any allies within two spaces of the Captain.
Overall, Storm of Blows is likely the strongest choice for most teams; the guaranteed follow-up is a potent effect that can allow slow units to follow-up and all units to break through effects like Wary Fighter, though it is still disabled by Hardy Fighter and Null Follow-Up. The bonus neutralization can also be useful in some circumstances. Eminence is a decent effect that is whelming on most teams, providing some minor bonuses to mobility and stat penalties during combat, but nothing gamechanging. Rallying Cry is a generally mediocre option, however, it may have some use on teams which scale with visible buffs, such as units using effects like Bonus Doubler or weapons like Gronnblade+. However, there are many effects on common meta units which neutralize visible stat bonuses, such as Distant Def 4 and Lull Atk/Def. In addition, enemy captains using Storm of Blows disable the buffs from Rallying Cry, making it weaker this rotation compared to others.
In every season so far of Summoner Duels Ranked and Survival, there are three Bonus Allies. Using one of these allies on a team allows the player one extra loss before they get kicked out for the week, so they can lose a total of 4 times instead of 3. In addition, the bonus ally reduces the Glory lost on a defeat by 40 points. These effects are both useful, and many players will opt to use one of the three, so players should expect many teams they face to include one of the three - though there may be some teams that do not. This season, the bonus allies are Legendary Myrrh, Legendary Edelgard, and Legendary Ryoma.
Since this week is Summoner Duels Survival, it is only necessary to include a bonus hero on one out of the four teams in order to receive the bonus effects. Likewise, if a player’s team is extremely weak to a single unit, bonus or otherwise, they can simply choose to ban all opponent’s teams that use that unit. So the bonus units and other common units are not as unavoidable as they can be in Summoner Duels Ranked.
Legendary Myrrh is a flying blue dragon with high Atk, Def, and Res. Her base kit focuses on melee combat, with skills that boost her Def and Res, block foe follow-up attacks, guarantee her follow-up attack, reduce her damage taken with Dragon Wall, and block teleportation effects within 4 spaces of her if she can activate her Warp Bubble status effect. This last ability is highly useful against some teams in Summoner Duels, as many strong units rely on or grant teleportation effects: Summer Edelgard’s movement with Assault Troop is blocked, as is Ash’s Opening Retainer. This can heavily limit the mobility of the enemy team. Because of this, Myrrh is a very solid choice of bonus unit. While she does not threaten a large area of the map, her combat is relatively strong and her anti-warp is a great counter to some meta teams.
Legendary Edelgard is an axe armor with high Atk, Def, and Res. Her B skill Raging Storm acts similarly to Galeforce, allowing her to act again after combat if she initiated combat while not adjacent to an ally, in addition to guaranteeing a follow-up attack when fighting dragon and beast units. This is a decent effect in Summoner Duels, but unlike Canto, it does not allow her to move again immediately; the Edelgard player must wait until their next move for her to go again, so she is still vulnerable to being KO’d before she can act again. Her mobility is also very poor as a melee armored unit, and due to Raging Storm and Aymr requiring her to not be adjacent to an ally to activate their effects, she is a very poor user of skills like A/D Near Save unless her base kit is largely replaced, and even then she functions similarly to many other armors. While she can improve her movement with Armored Stride, 2 mov on a melee unit is still rather poor by the standards of Summoner Duels and Armored Stride will not activate unless she begins her turn adjacent to no allies. Overall, while she is a solid unit that can beat some meta threats like the above Legendary Myrrh, she is not a great fit for the Summoner Duels meta.
Legendary Ryoma is a sword flier with high Atk and Spd and mediocre defensive stats. His B skill Bushido II grants a variety of useful effects including Dodge, +7 damage, and removing his flying weakness. He also has access to Raijinto (+Eff), which includes a stat boost under easy conditions as well as Distant Counter and Null Follow-Up so long as Ryoma is either initiating combat or within 2 spaces of an ally. While all these effects are powerful, Ryoma is still vulnerable to being taken out in one or two hits by common meta threats like Valentine’s Chrom or Brave Eirika, especially with a Special charged before combat. As a flying unit, he can also use C skills and seals that help out his team’s mobility, such as Ground Orders. Overall, he is a decent bonus unit, but compared to most meta threats his combat is not top tier.
Overall, Myrrh is generally the most useful of these three units and a good addition to many teams should a player have her. Ryoma is a solid choice that can find a place in some teams but loses to some common threats, and lacks the movement and range to be a substantial threat on player phase. Edelgard is a decent unit with poor mobility that does not fit the Summoner Duels meta well, but she can still serve as a great counter to certain other units. Since this rotation is Summoner Duels Survival, it is easy enough to include one of these units on a single team out of the four teams to gain the bonus unit benefits to score even if you do not intend to use that team for most matches.
Units to Watch Out For
There are several units that are extremely powerful and will likely be decently common in this phase of Summoner Duels. The following list showcases a few of those, though it is by no means conclusive. Since this is Summoner Duels Survival, players must decide which threats their teams can reasonably handle, while being free to ban teams with particular units that are extremely dominant. This season, some of the top choices are as follows:
Summer Edelgard is a new meta threat with powerful combat and unique movement. Her new C skill Assault Troop allows her to move up to 3 spaces in any one cardinal direction, so either up, down, left, or right. This movement is counted as a Warp effect, so it is blocked by Legendary Myrrh’s Warp Bubble and Brave Gatekeeper’s Detailed Report. Edelgard also has access to Raging Storm, allowing her to act again after combat if she initiated combat while not adjacent to an ally. Her weapon Regal Sunshade has a variety of effects, including reducing the damage taken from her first hit in combat by 40%, and striking twice if there are a certain number of foes within 3 rows or columns of Edelgard; the required number varies based on the total number of foes on the enemy team. For summoner duels, it is usually 2 foes; this is generally an easy requirement to meet. All of these effects combine to make Edelgard a highly threatening and decently mobile unit that can be difficult to KO.
Summer Claude is another meta threat that is less dominant, but still possesses some unique effects that can make him highly annoying against some teams. His B skill Fallen Star provides 80% damage reduction against the first counterattack taken when Claude initiates combat, and provides a status effect after combat with the same 80% first-hit damage reduction until the start of his next turn. It also inflicts Gravity on his foe and foes adjacent to that foe through their next actions, restricting movement to 1 space. These effects are similar to what make Legendary Claude a difficult unit to deal with, and while Summer Claude lacks the Null Follow-Up effect of Legendary Claude’s weapon, he can still pose some challenge.
Legendary Caeda is a lance flier with a couple of rare effects that make her highly effective against the right team. Her weapon Wing-Lifted Spear deals bonus damage to armored and cavalry foes, allowing her to KO some of them in one hit. It also provides Canto 2, allowing her to move up to 2 spaces after combat. In addition, Caeda’s unique B skill Faithful Loyalty provides the Vantage effect against all armored and cavalry units at all times, allowing her to counterattack before her foe attacks, unless the foe has a skill like Hardy Bearing that disables changes to attack priority. After combat, Faithful Loyalty applies a status effect to Caeda lasting through the start of her next turn that grants Vantage against all units. Against the right team, Caeda can be an extremely difficult unit to KO because of this; she is particularly effective against teams with several cavalry threats and no Hardy Bearing. It should be noted that Legendary Lilina has a Hardy Bearing effect in her tome Studied Forblaze so she is one of the few cavalry units that can engage Caeda without fear of immediately being KO’d.
Ash is a Light Mythic available for free by completing a chapter of Book VI. Her combat is fairly strong with Horn of Opening, which grants the Slaying effect as well as blocking follow-ups and guaranteeing her follow-up if enough allies are nearby. However, what really makes her stand out is her C skill, Opening Retainer, which allows allies within two spaces of her to teleport to any other space within two spaces of her. This skill is specifically very useful on teams with great cavalry units like Brave Eirika or Summer Dimitri, who are otherwise walled by the trenches in the middle of the scoring box.
Eitri is also a highly useful unit in the current rotation, due again to her strong combat and Canto 2 effect in Grim Brokkr. Eitri’s Canto allows her to get free KOs in many cases by retreating, and she has enough Canto to retreat with the right positioning. Her flying movement allows her to freely move over the trench tiles in the center of the scoring box.
Yuri has had incredible utility for quite a while with Foul Play and Honorable Blade, and though he has more counters than before, he is still a very strong and versatile unit. His high Atk and Spd make him relatively powerful, and with the right support he can charge powerful Specials like Blazing Wind or Lethality. The March effect of Honorable Blade means that he has perhaps the single best range of any unit in Yawning Gulf, since he can move as far as a cavalry unit and is not slowed by the trenches. In combination with Canto 2 and solid combat, this makes him a force to be reckoned with. He is heavily limited by Canto Control, which is currently only available on Medeus (though it can be inherited to other units) and Mikoto’s unique Doting Staff.