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: Towering Walls
This week’s map, Towering Walls, features several breakable walls and two unbreakable walls in the scoring box. Other than that, there are a few forests scattered around the edges. The map terrain is thus mostly open field, so cavalry movement is not penalized, making cavalry units a strong choice. Flying units do not have a particular advantage this week, other than in the very rare cases where the forests are blocking movement. Infantry and armors also maintain some relevance for their other effects as usual.
The two unbreakable walls in the center of the scoring box make skills like Ash’s Opening Retainer highly useful for getting around them, particularly when paired with Canto effects. With a properly positioned Ash, a unit like Brave Eirika can teleport over the wall, KO an enemy unit, and then use her Canto 2 to teleport back over the wall to safety. As such, it is important to consider which spaces you leave open if you run into an enemy team with a teleportation effect like this. This pairs particularly well with the Erosion Captain skill, that allows the Captain to ignore effects like A/R Far Save or A/D Near Save. In addition, given that this week is Summoner Duels Survival, if you do not wish to face teams using teleportation effects of this kind, you can simply ban them.
The captain skills available this week are:
Flash of Steel, which allows the Captain to follow-up attack before their foe can counter when they initiate combat. In addition, it also grants Null Guard to the Captain and any allies within two spaces, preventing any effects that slow their Special charge or hasten their foe’s Special charge.
Erosion, which activates when the Captain is in combat, preventing Savior effects like D/R Far Save from triggering. In addition, when Savior skills do trigger in any combat, it inflicts Def/Res -4 on that foe and prevents them from counterattacking.
Effulgence, which grants Atk/Spd +4 and neutralizes penalties to the Captain and any allies within 2 spaces during combat.
All three of these Captain skills have some relevance this week, depending on the type of team used. Erosion is the most obviously powerful and probably the best choice overall, since Savior units are extremely common and useful on Summoner Duels teams; having a single unit that can bypass them can heavily limit the enemy’s ability to safely position. Units with a large threat range and mobility like Yuri or Eitri are great for this.
Flash of Steel is an interesting option to power up the Captain’s combat, which can be useful on a unit with a guaranteed follow-up that can activate a powerful Special like Lethality.
Effulgence is highly useful on “omnitank” teams that focus on one hyper-invested carry unit with high stats all around, usually merged to +10, powerful combat, and no weaknesses; often an infantry tank like Legendary Marth or Legendary Dimitri. These unit builds rely on their stats to take little damage and deal high damage to the enemy team, so penalty neutralization can be a very useful effect (though Legendary Marth in particular generally prefers not to use it, as he has a penalty reversing effect in his Exalted Falchion (+Eff)).
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 Medeus, Triandra, and Yune. 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.
Medeus is a new Dark Mythic Colorless Infantry Dragon with multiple effects that can make him a big threat in Summoner Duels. The most prominent of these is his new inheritable C skill Canto Control, which affects foes within 4 spaces of him, reducing Canto to 1 space of movement for melee foes and disabling it entirely for ranged foes. Canto is extremely prominent on common meta threats like Yuri and Brave Eirika, so Canto Control can significantly limit the extent to which they can KO a unit and safely retreat. Medeus also applies the En Garde status to himself and allies, which blocks out-of-combat damage except from Specials, which is not an incredibly useful effect in Summoner Duels but can counter some skills such as Valentine’s Lif’s duo skill or skills like Savage Blow. Lastly, he also has high Atk, Def, and Res, with ways to block enemy follow-ups, guarantee his own follow-up, and reduce enemy damage by up to 60%, so he can be threatening and very difficult to KO. Dragon effectiveness on a unit like Legendary Marth or damage-piercing from a Special like Deadeye can make Medeus much easier to deal with.
Triandra is a Dark Mythic Green Tome Flying Dancer. Her tome, Flower of Sorrow, inflicts a -4 Def/Res debuff on any foes in a cardinal direction of her while in combat. Her unique variation of Dance, Frightful Dream, inflicts a penalty of -3 to all stats and the Guard status effect on any foes in cardinal directions of her or her target ally through the foe’s next action. The Guard status, in particular, can heavily limit some foes’ ability to activate Specials. However, it is countered by Flash of Steel.
Yune is a Dark Mythic Green Tome Flier. Her tome, Chaos Manifest, grants her an attack buff and a guaranteed follow-up attack if her foe has any Penalty effect, a stat penalty or another effect such as Panic. Her unique C skill, Chaos Named, activates at the start of the turn and targets foes within 3 columns centered on her with Res at least 3 less than Yune’s visible Res, inflicting a debuff on one of their stats based on a calculation of which is the highest, with Atk being considered at -15 for the comparison.
Triandra is generally the best choice of bonus unit this rotation, for the simple reason that dancers are extremely useful and flexible on many different teams. Her Guard effect can also be quite annoying to deal with, and as a flying unit she can also carry a useful seal such as Ground Orders to help out the mobility of other units on the team. Medeus is an interesting choice with multiple strong effects; his Canto Control in particular punishes many of the current popular meta units and Medeus himself is difficult to safely engage in combat. Yune is the weakest choice of the three, though she can still provide some support with debuffs and other skills like the aforementioned Ground Orders.
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:
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. Properly positioned, this can allow allies to teleport over the unbreakable walls in the center of the map, get a KO, and then retreat back over the wall if they have enough Canto to do it.
Brave Eirika has been one of the best offense units in Summoner Duels for a while and probably isn’t stopping anytime soon. Her combat is extremely powerful, with bonus damage against armor and cavalry units, as well as the ability to unleash powerful Specials with extra damage from Moonlight Bangle. She’s a great choice to use with Erosion, as she can KO most units in the game when initiating combat, as long as she can follow-up and they don’t KO her on a single counterattack, and her Canto 2 allows her to retreat 2 spaces once per turn.
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. While she is usually walled by units like Ascended Fjorm, Erosion allows Captain Eitri to bypass Fjorm and other Far Saves to pick off other units on the enemy team.
Yuri has had incredible utility for quite a while with Foul Play and Honorable Blade, and with the new Erosion buff his combat has a chance to shine again. His high Atk and Spd make him relatively powerful, and with the right support he can charge powerful Specials like Blazing Wind or Lethality. Even without those, however, he is strong and fast enough to KO many other units and retreat with Canto 2, making him another great choice to use with Erosion.
Reginn is one of only a few units with access to Canto 3 in her Lyngheiðr. While it is only active through turn 4, that’s easily enough time to dominate most of a Summoner Duels match. Her unique special Seiðr Shell charges itself fully at the start of turn 1, and when it activates it boosts her damage by 15 and causes her to target the lower of her foe’s Def or Res. These effects together make her a great “hit and run” style of unit, with more movement than most other choices and more than enough power to threaten many common units.
Mikoto is perhaps a somewhat niche choice, but worth considering because her unique Doting Staff (+Eff) is one of the very few effects in the game that provides Canto Control, and Canto is extremely powerful in this rotation. With it, melee units are limited to 1 space of Canto, and ranged units immediately end their turn after taking their action, with no Canto at all. A properly positioned Mikoto can thus effectively protect a team from a unit like Yuri by standing in such a position that he’ll be immobilized if he KOs any of the team’s other units, and then can be KO’d on the next turn. However, as an infantry healer, Mikoto’s combat is generally nothing to write home about. Her healing can be somewhat useful, but most of her relevance comes from Canto Control, which is otherwise only available as an inheritable skill from Medeus. Doting Staff also activates the Flash status, preventing foes from counterattacking, after combat on Mikoto’s foe and any foes within two spaces of them.