Should You Pull (Aug 18, 2017)
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Original Post / Discussion: DefiantHermit's Should You Pull? Malboro Killers Banner - Aug 18
Hello fuck everyone Eve, /u/DefiantHermit here once again for another filler banner, featuring a oddly placed cast of units to allow for some breathing room after the Nier Fiasco.
Only note here this time around is that I'm swapping TMR ratings to the letter rating system because it's so much easier on me. Oh, and fuck Eve.
Without further ado, here's my analysis for the Malboro Killers Banner!
Unit Overviews[edit | edit source]
|Rarity||5 - 6|
|Trust||Soul of Thamasa|
Furry pink mage is back, but without enhancements still. Starting with stats, T.Terra has excellent base 150 MAG (+34 with pots) and it’s further boosted by a great +60% MAG from passives, for a fantastic total of 294 MAG.
Equipment selection is amazing for a mage, being able to wield Daggers, Swords, Staves, Rods and Guns and wear Robes, Clothes, Hats and Shields. The addition of Swords allows for massive Letters and Arms shenanigans, to bring her MAG far above other mages.
T.Terra’s skillset is pretty varied, with relevant spells being Firaga (180% AoE 1 Hit Fire Magic Attack), as her only -aga, Holy (230% ST 1 Hit Light Magic Attack), offering some elemental coverage with mediocre modifier and Ultima (280% AoE 1 Hit Magic Attack + Ignore -25% SPR - normalized to 373%), which is a fantastic Dual Castable Magic Nuke. To add some icing on the cake, T.Terra has access to DC’able Arise (ST Revive with 100% HP) if you ever need it.
Abilities are where T.Terra shines. She comes with innate Dual Black Magic (Use Two Black Magic) if you ever want to use her as a finisher with Dual Ultimas and the nice Auto-Refresh (Recover 5% MP per Turn), but unfortunately no other innate means of recovering MP.
Inherited Power (+30% MAG/SPR & +100% Silence Resist) provides extra damage, magical resistance and a neat silence immunity, while Premonition (30% Chance Dodge Physical Attack) offers some great dodge chance for a squishy mage. Finally, Maduin’s Blessing (AoE 3 Turn +40% Fire/Ice/Thunder Resist) provides a restricted combination of bar -agas if you ever need it.
T.Terra’s main role revolve around the use of two skills: Magi Awakening (Self 3 Turn +80% MAG/SPR) and Chaos Wave (If Magi Awakening was Used Last Turn, Use 360% AoE 10 Hit Magic Attack + Ignore -50% SPR - normalized to 720%, Else 180% AoE 5 Hit Magic Attack + Ignore -50% SPR - normalized to 360%).
The downfall of most self-buffing skills is that the stat boost is generally not worthy of the turn wasted casting it, as they’re very close in numbers to already available party-wide buffs and the unit ends up losing damage if he just attacked twice instead. This is not the case for Magi Awakening, as a +80% MAG boost is double of what’s provided by the most common party-wide MAG buff, Focus, and only really matched by bards. Just so you can more directly compare the skills, Focus provides T.Terra +73 MAG, while Magi Awakening gives +147 MAG.
But stat boosting is not Magi Awakening’s only role. It turns Chaos Wave into a heavy damage, 10-hit ability, with a great base 720% modifier and the potential to rise up to 1440% if chained with a second T.Terra. When the boost ends, though, the damage potential drops significantly to base 360% modifier and the potential to rise up to 540% when chaining.
Unfortunately, being magic based has its downsides, namely the inability to attach an element to her chain and the inability to be Dual Cast, making it impossible to reach a full chain bonus (+300%) with Chaos Wave, capping it at +200% (210% for your finisher if he gets the last hit). This means that not only does T.Terra lose a ton of potential damage, but your finisher loses about the same thing (+100% damage loss). And that’s considering just the turn after casting Magi Awakening, because numbers are way harsher when Chaos Wave isn’t upgraded.
As a final icing on the cake, her LB is a (270% -> 390% AoE 9 Hit Magic Attack + Ignore -50% SPR - normalized to 540% -> 780%) that can fill in the unupgraded Chaos Wave gaps, specially if you level it up a bit.
Global Trust Mastery Rating: Soul of Thamasa - 12 DEF 12 SPR Accessory, +30% MP, Use Two White/Black/Green Magic - Accessory - S Rank
T.Terra’s TMR is fantastic. It’s a Dual Cast Accessory that has an amazing built in+30% MP. It’s significantly better than the standard DC materia, as a materia slot is gonna be more valuable for your support units than an accessory, most of the time and the MP boost is ridiculous. The downside here really is that most high-end mages either have built-in DC or are ability based, so this is mainly an accessory for your support units.
Why would you want Trance Terra?: Because she’s a pretty strong mage, being able to provide a solid 20-hit (elementless :/) chain every few turns (and 10-hit in-between) and has additional supporting skills for your party as bonus.
What about the future? T.Terra’s enhancements are serious business and close up the gap between her and physical chainers, as not only does she get more MAG, some elemental resists and a massive boost to Magi Awakening. It now provides a +120% MAG/SPR boost to self, grants Dual White Magic and freaking Dual Cast Chaos Wave!
Being able to DC an ability is quite an improvement and also ramps up the final achievable chain modifier to cap.
|Warrior of Light|
|Rarity||4 - 6|
|Job||Warrior of Light|
Here’s another chance to grab one of the best tanks in the game! WoL comes with base 124 DEF (+30 with pots) and a good +30% DEF passive, for a total of 200 DEF. His SPR side is a bit worse, coming with base 125 SPR (+30 with pots), but with no passives, for an underwhelming total of 155 SPR.
Equipment selection is so huge that many damage dealers would kill to have a fraction of it. WoL can basically equip every single weapon type, with the exception of Harps, Whips, Throwing Weapons and Guns. And he can wear every single type of armour available that’s not gender-locked. This opens up a few different builds for specific content, even a staff focused one with Shard of Genius for magic heavy fights.
His skillset consists of Sentinel (30% Chance to Defend an Ally (Reduce +50% Phys./Mag. Damage)) as a rather mediocre innate cover chance and The Light is With Us (3 Turn 50% Chance to Defend Allies (Reduce +50% Phys./Mag. Damage)) for some excellent AoE Physical Cover. When you need to guarantee a ST cover, WoL can serve as a provoke tank, using Brave Presence (1 Turn +100% Chance to be Targeted) for that sweet guaranteed target chance, even though it’s for a turn only (unenhanced).
While his tanking set is very good, what helps set him apart from everyone else is his supporting set: Embolden (AoE 5 Turn +45% ATK/DEF) acts as a great physical buff and Pride of Warrior (30% Chance Counter Magic w/ Self Recover 25% HP/MP) is a fantastic counter, providing some amazing HP and MP recovery for when WoL needs to take magic damage and osmose abilities.
There’s even Raise (ST Revive with 30% HP) as a backup revive if you need your healers to be focused on healing and Hope (+100% DEF after HP drops below 30%) as a fantastic defensive crisis buff.
He also comes with the Erasers: Armor Eraser (AoE 3 Turn -45% DEF/SPR Debuff) and Arms Eraser (AoE 3 Turn -45% ATK/MAG Debuff), which are phenomenal AoE breaks that allow your tank to perform an additional crucial role on your team.
Global Trust Mastery Rating: Light's Blessing - Brave/Faith/Regen Auto-Buff (20% ATK/MAG) - Materia - D Rank
That’s not very exciting. Brave and Faith gets automatically overwritten by any semi-decent buff you might run and regen is just a passive HP recovery, so you might as well as get some +X% HP materias instead.
Why would you want Warrior of Light?: Because he’s a fantastic tank that is staying relevant for a loooong time. He’s not only a fantastic cover and serviceable provoke tank, but his supporting set is phenomenal and he just gets much better with enhancements.
What about the future? They were not playing around when they designed WoL’s enhancements, for they very much solidify him as one of the best tanks available. The Light is with Us gets a boost to 75% cover chance and 70% magic damage reduction; Brave Presence gets a +2 turn upgrade (so WoL can do other things while guaranteeing target) and Hope gets an upgrade in the DEF boost and even some SPR boost when WoL’s in peril.
|Rarity||4 - 6|
Previously considered one of the worst 6 units, enhancements breathe new life to Soleil and she definitely becomes worthy of your time. As a dancer, you’ll want her dancing/supporting your party each turn, so her only relevant stats are MP and HP. She comes with a pretty good base 172 MP (+85 with pots) and a hefty +35% MP from passives for a grand total of 346 MP. She’s a bit squishy on the HP side, though, with only base 3192 HP with a single +10% HP passive.
Her equipment selection is meh for a support unit, but workable, as she’s able to wield Daggers, Staves, Rods, Whips and Throwing Weapons for the weapon lineup and wearing Clothes, Robes and Hats for armour. Weapon selection means she can use whips or staves for the extra SPR/MP, but not being able to wear more defensive armour or shields hurts her survivability a bit.
Okay, so what can she do as a support unit? Her trademark skills are four AoE dances that buff a single stat for a single turn by 60%: Schwert Dance (ATK), Cannon Dance (MAG), Panzer Dance (DEF) and Shooting Dance (SPR). For being her main skills, those are extremely underwhelming buffs for their duration. You literally have to keep reapplying them every turn to get a buff on a single stat and this majorly sucks.
She also has some longer lasting buffs in the form of Boost (AoE 3 Turn +40% ATK) and Quick-witted (AoE 3 Turn +40% MAG), but those numbers are easily replaced for other similar buffs. Soleil also comes with several ST ailment-inducing dances (30% Confuse, Blind, Silence and a 50% Sleep) and Dance (Randomly Use: (25%) 30% Confuse, (25%) ST 85% Attack w/ 30% HP Drain, (25%) ST 35% Attack w/ 30% MP Drain, (25%) 100% ST 6 Hit Physical Attack (x4 Damage)), which gives her a chance of some MP sustainability and a surprisingly good 400% 6-hit attack, even though pointless on her.
For some added survivability, she has built-in Hide (3-5 Turn Stealth) and Endless Turn (+100% Sleep/Paralyze/Confuse/Petrify Resist & +15% MP) as a strong ailment resistance passive.
Global Trust Mastery Rating: Miracle Step - 5% chance to avoid phys attack, 10% MAG/SPR, 20% MP - Materia - C
This is an okay materia for MP heavy users due to the great +20% MP, but everything else screams mediocre. 10% SPR and 5% dodge is good, but not TMR worthy.
Why would you want Soleil?: Because of her enhancements. Without Ramza’s enhancements, she becomes the current best GL bard by a long shot. The GL exclusive changes were massive and allow Soleil to perform that role magnificently. She sucks without them, though.
What about the future? Soleil’s enhancements are out now and you can check the rundown on this week’s Should You Enhance!
Kefka[edit | edit source]
|Rarity||3 - 6|
Ribbon is back to the spotlight! The unit holding it is the same mediocre clown as the last time, though. Kefka boasts an excellent base 150 MAG (+34 with pots) and an okay +40% MAG from passives, for a great total of 257 MAG.
Equipment selection is pretty standard for mages, being able to wield Daggers, Staves, Rods and Maces and wear Robes, Clothes and Hats. No Swords for Letters and Arms shenanigans so nothing to see here.
They decided to build Kefka as an ability based mage, so no innate Dual Cast or anything similar. His relevant support abilities are Mage of Destruction (+20% MAG & 50% Magic Damage vs Humans) offering a fantastic damage boost against humans, Skip (20% Chance Dodge Physical Attack) offering invaluable dodge on a squishy unit and Evil Laughter (20% Chance Counter w/ AoE 3 Turn -40% ATK/DEF/MAG/SPR Debuff) as an okay full break attached to a low chance counter.
His offensive set consists of two skills, but you’ll be mostly using only one: Light of Judgment (280% AoE 1 Hit Magic Attack + Ignore -25% SPR - normalized to 373%) and the stronger and cheaper Footsteps to the End (380% AoE 1 Hit Magic Attack & AoE 3 Turn -40% SPR Debuff). While those are decent nukes, not being able to cast them twice really spells doom for Kefka in the current meta.
Global Trust Mastery Rating: Ribbon - +5 MAG/SPR, 100% All Ailment Resist - Accessory - S Rank
Amazing accessory and still one of the best support/defensive materias. Being able to nullify status ailment is crucial for many battles and this only takes an accessory slot instead of a materia slot.
Why would you want Kefka?: For his TMR. Ribbon is really good and crucial for many units that lack innate ailment immunities. As a unit, Kefka is just not on par with other damage dealers due to a poor ability based skillset with outdated modifiers.
What about the future? Kefka’s enhancements in JPN were… meh. Light of Judgment got a significant boost to 540% modifiers, but that still doesn’t cut it. He got some extra MAG, higher counter chance and his counter break was updated to -45%, which is great.
|Cloud of Darkness|
|Rarity||3 - 6|
|Role||Physical Damage, Support|
Green nudist lady is back again, but without any new shiny updates this time around. Base 149 ATK (+34 with pots) is excellent, with a solid +50% ATK from passives to back it up, for a good total of 274 ATK.
Equipment selection is very poor for an attacker, as she’s only able to wield Staves, Rods, Maces and Throwing Weapons and wear Robes, Clothes and Hats. Literally no major weapon type, leaving only a Fixed Dice build as serious damaging option.
Skillset was great during the early 6 meta, but isn’t up to today’s standards. Relevant supporting skills are Protectga (AoE 3 Turn +40% DEF) as her only status buff and Aura Ball (AoE 3 Turn -30% ATK Debuff & 40% Silence) as a mediocre ATK debuff.
Her two main support abilities are Return (AoE Cure Poison, Blind, Sleep, Silence, Paralyze, Confuse) as an ability-based Esunaga and Omni-Veil (AoE 3 Turn +30% All Elements Resist) as a pretty good AoE Elemental Resist Buff.
CoD’s offensive set revolves around human slaying, with two innate Man-Eater (+50% Physical Damage vs Humans) and Man-Eater+ (+75% Physical/Magical Damage vs Humans) and further enhancements on the later. Her damaging skills are the previously king Barrage (4x 80% RT Physical Attack), which is just not relevant today and Call of the Void (210% ST 1 Hit Dark Physical Attack + Ignore 25% DEF - normalized to 280%) as an underwhelming finisher.
Global Trust Mastery Rating: Auto-Limit - Gain 1 Limit Burst Crystal per Turn - Materia - D Rank
Vastly outdated and outperform by other equipment and materia; 1 orb per turn just doesn’t cut it for a TMR and materia slot.
Why would you want Cloud of Darkness?: You really don’t, at this point in the game. If you lack Rikku and any other elemental buffing unit, CoD can perform that role for you with Omni-Veil and provide some extra assistance with Return.
As a damaging unit, almost all other decent damage dealers will surpass her, even against human enemies due to her poor modifiers and terrible weapon selection. A FD Call of the Void build on a dark imperiled chain might be cute, but meh.
What about the future? We already have CoD’s enhancements and you can see my analysis of them here. They didn’t get changed much from their JPN counterpart, which pretty much spelled doom for the hentai lady.
Bonus: Chic Ariana[edit | edit source]
|Rarity||4 - 6|
Ariana is back for another collab and thankfully without the BDSM suit this time around! Like the last time, she’s still a mage, sporting a good base 141 MAG (+34 with pots), but only a +30% MAG passive to back her up, for a decent total of 227 MAG.
Equipment selection is what’s expected of a mage, with a small twist: Rods, Staves, Harps and Hammers for weapons and Robes, Clothes and Hats for armour. The Hammer inclusion is relevant, as her MAG passive is a “Hammer mastery”. Fortunately, one of the completion rewards for her event is a MAG based hammer (+72 MAG).
Her kit is themed on Earth and Ice magic, so for spells, Ariana has access to Stonga (180% AoE 1 Hit Earth Magic Attack) and Blizzaga (180% AoE 1 Hit Ice Magic Attack) for some elemental options and the excellent Ultima (280% AoE 1 Hit Magic Attack + Ignore 25% SPR - Normalized to 373%) for some serious nuking potential.
Her ability set is rather short, with the only relevant support skill being Singer’s Pride (+100% Paralyze/Sleep Resistance) providing some ailment immunities. One of the equipments from her event provides an exclusive Auto-Refresh (Recover 5% MP per Turn), which is also pretty nice.
Her thematic abilities are Quake Verse (200% ST 3 Hit Earth Magical Attack & ST 2 Turn -20% SPR Debuff & Grants Enhanced Quake Verse for 1 Turn) and Frozen Verse (200% ST 3 Hit Ice Magical Attack & Self 3 Turn +70% MAG & Grants Enhanced Frozen Verse for 1 Turn). These abilities on their own have weak modifiers, are multi-hit (with 10 frames between-hits) and provide either an insignificant SPR debuff to an enemy or a strong self MAG buff for Ariana.
The enhanced versions are Enhanced Quake Verse (320% ST 5 Hit Earth Magical Attack & ST 3 Turn -40% SPR Debuff) and Enhanced Frozen Verse (320% ST 5 Hit Ice Magical Attack & Self 3 Turn +90% MAG). They reach a respectable, but non-DC-able modifier, and get a ramp on the hit count (same frame data) and a boost on their additional effects. Frozen Verse is still, by far, the best one of them, but only if you can’t provide a better MAG buff.
Finally, there’s Alluring Chorus (280% AoE 7 Hit Magical Attack + Ignore 25% SPR - Normalized to 373%) as a multi-hit elementless magic ability. The frame data is wonky (7-7-8-8-16-8), so she can probably only chain with a copy. Even then, being an ability means no DC for you and being elementless means a crappy final chain modifier. Not only that, but none of your friends are going to use Ms. Grande as their unit, sorry, stick to Ultima spam. As a final note, her LB is Frozen Earth (500% -> 620% AoE 3 Hit Magical Attack & AoE 3 Turn -50% Ice/Earth Resistance Debuff), providing a great dual elemental Imperil for her abilities and whatever chain you may want to build, but costing 20 crystals and with no innate High Tides.
Global Trust Mastery Rating: Rhythmic Flair - +25% MAG, +15% MP - Materia - B Rank
Oh boy, had this been another MAG/HP materia, I’d be all over it. As it stands, it’s a strong MAG materia for mages that can’t equip swords, but that’s about it.
Why would you want Chic Ariana?: Because she’s… free? There was so much potential here, but unfortunately, they decided to build Ariana #2 as only a damage dealer with no supporting skills and she’s fine at that role for a free unit, but there’s nothing to write home about. Her thematic skills have very poor modifiers and don’t provide interesting enough buffs or debuffs to make her viable.
Her Imperils being behind an LB without innate support also majorly sucks. Her chaining skill is decent, but there’s a serious lack of partners and it’s elementless. All that remains is her innate Ultima, but you still need to provide a Dual Cast, because she can’t have that as a free unit, right?
What about the future? Hopefully there will be some sick-ass enhancements to make her a bit better. Out of the box, she’s a pretty good free mage for people just starting out, but nothing else.
Bonus Awakening: Popoi[edit | edit source]
|Rarity||3 - 6|
|Origin||Secret of Mana|
Popoi was one of the first units I’ve reviewed and it’s time we see his 6 form! Base 140 MAG (+34 with pots) is decent and there’s a solid +50% MAG from passives backing it up, for a great total of 261 MAG.
Equipment selection is massive for a mage, being able to wield Swords, Katanas, Rods, Staves, Bows, Axes, Hammers, Spears, Whips, Knuckles and Throwing Weapons and wear Robes, Clothes, Light Armour, Light Shields, Hats and Helms. You can pretty much freely equip Popoi however way you like and access to swords allow for some Letters and Arms shenanigans.
His skillset, though, is largely uninteresting. His notable (and now enhanceable) skills are still Acid Storm (140% AoE 1 Hit Water Magic Attack & AoE 3 Turn -20% DEF Debuff) and Burst (240% ST 1 Hit Magic Attack + Ignore -25% SPR - normalized to 320%), which just don’t make the cut anymore as non-DC-able abilities (even enhanced :/).
Popoi’s new toys are Spectacular (400% AoE 1 Hit Magic Attack), as a nuke with the same modifiers as enhanced Burst (without the bonus break) and Lunatic (Randomly Use: 35% - AoE 10% HP/MP Recovery | 15% - AoE 20% HP/MP Recovery | 35% - AoE 3 Turn -30% ATK/DEF/MAG/SPR Debuff | 15% - AoE 3 Turn -40% ATK/DEF/MAG/SPR Debuff), as a random HP/MP Heal or Full Break. The numbers are okay on Lunatic and allow Popoi to work as a “mana battery”, but aren’t worth it taking the gamble or the unit into your party.
Finally, his LB is a (270% -> 390% AoE 8 Hit Physical Attack & AoE 3 Turn -40% -> -64% MAG Debuff), which provides a massive MAG break for only 16 crystals. There’s no innate LB support, but this is quite the break.
Global Trust Mastery Rating: Fairy's Wisdom - +25% MAG, +5% MP - Materia - B Rank
Wow.. Ms. Grande just stole Popoi’s TMR and gave it more MP. It’s a solid offensive materia for mages, but nothing to write home about.
Why would you want Popoi?: You still don’t, sadly. 6 awakening and enhancements just weren’t enough to bring Popoi into the game, as nothing was really changed about him as GL exclusives. An ability based mage with “okay” modifiers just doesn’t cut it anymore.
You can try using him as a pseudo mana battery and breaker if you lack other units, but that won’t be stellar.
What about the future? Popoi’s enhancements are out now and, like I said, they don’t save the little guy. No GL exclusives kinda spell doom for him :/
Should You Pull?[edit | edit source]
Finally done with the yes madness, this time is the good ol' depends. All of the banner units are good units (to a certain degree), but it's extremely likely that any older player already has several copies of everything but the 5★, so don't bother with it.
For newer players, this banner offers a bulky elemental buffer and man-eater on Cloud of Darkness and allows you to grab a Ribbon with Kefka.
The 4s are great, with WoL being one of the best tanks in the game and Soleil being a god-damn 4 Ramza with enhancements. If you lack Soleil, this might be your best shot at getting a good bard, as pretty much all of them are locked behind 5★s.
Finally, for whales, T.Terra is back and knowing her enhancements in JPN turn her into a solid pull, if you're willing to wait. Right now she suffers from the same issues as before, namely a build focused around elementless magic chaining. If you're not a whale and pulled T.Terra, yay!
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