Hello, and welcome to WATCH where I take a look at the coming banner and provide some of my opinions on the units: how they can be used, and general thoughts on whether the units, and their TMRs, are worth your hard-earned goods.
Here, we have a bunch of FFBE units providing TMRs for a major FF protagonist. Or, we have the “FF 7” banner!
Cloud, Elfreeda, William, and Conrad bring forth some new game mechanics via “True Doublehand,” or equipment-attack boosts regardless of whether your weapon is 1 or 2 handed. Let’s see how they do. Again, for the general ratings, here’s my scale:
- S: Top tier, unique, or meta-defining
- A: Really a great unit, with a strong future.
- B: A unit with some situational usefulness, but with some missed opportunities or outdated stats/abilities
- C: A unit that may come off the bench under very specific circumstances, to the point where you probably will forget to raise them up in the first place
- D: A unit that will still be “just ok” even if loaded up with the best TMRs. Sad!
- F: Fail!
Cloud (5-6 star)
|Role||Unit Rating||TMR||TMR Ranking|
|Finisher, attacker||A||Buster Style: +100% Equipment attack when holding 1 or 2 handed weapon (true doublehand)||A/S|
Cloud has arrived, bringing FF7 to FFBE all by himself. Fun fact, I had an NES and SNES as a kid, but my family couldn’t afford a Playstation so I never played FF7. I hear he’s pretty cool? And he likes to attack with big swords?
Being a purely physical unit, he comes with the highest ATK stat in the game, when fully potted, at 194. His base HP potted out is 4102. DEF and SPR are both in the 150s, normal. Of course, his passive, SOLDIER 1st Class, bumps all his stats up significantly — ATK/DEF/MAG/SPR get a 30% boost, and his MP/MP gets a 50% boost. That means his key stats have his ATK at 252 and his HP at 6153 (!). His MP gets up to 345, which is high for a physical damage dealer, except that Cloud doesn’t have Auto Refresh (I think you needed a materia for that in FF7). He can also only equip swords, greatswords, and… maces? along with hats/helms and non-robes.
Now, a 30% ATK boost isn’t anything to write home about, and his primary passive takes care of that. Vanguard provides “true doublehand,” which for Cloud is a 100% Equipment Attack bonus. It’s considered “true doublehand” because it works for two-handed weapons, which, importantly, have an increased damage variace meaning that they provide approximately 30% more damage compared to equivalent weapons, at the cost of not being able to dual-wield (obviously). Cloud’s main passive is based on this, meaning that he is intended as a unit that will not dual wield, and his kit makes this clear due to his otherwise mediocre attack passives.
Cloud has a a very helpful “ignore fatal attacks” in Fleeting Illusion, and although it doesn’t proc as consistently as other “ignore death” passives, it can be triggered 3 times per “life,” giving Cloud great resilience against nukes. Jenova Cellgives him immunity to Blind/Paralyze/Confusion/Virus, leaving only sleep and petrify as serious ailments. He also has a helpful 30% counter chance, which applies to both physical and magical damage. Finally, he rounds out his passives with Aggressive, providing an auto-limit of 3 limit stones per turn.
The rest of his kit is 100% attack-based. We’ve got:
- Brave Slash: 200% ST attack
- Cross Slash: 300% ST attack
- Blade Beam: 300% AOE attack
- Climhazzard: 550% ST attack
- Meteor Rain: 360% AOE attack (8 frames, 8 hits)
- Finishing Touch: 400% AOE attack
The nature of the game means that you’ll probably be using either Climhazzard or Meteor Rain with Cloud, unless you exclusively need an AOE finisher in which case Finishing Touch is there.
That’s it. Doesn’t seem all that special, but what about his LB? Oh, Omnislash, which is only, let’s see, a 2100%, 15 hit attack. Well! OK, that’s something special, although it does cost 50% more LB stones than most LBs, at 30, so that 3 per turn isn’t really speeding things up THAT much. Those 15 hits are not really for chaining, but they’re back loaded so you can boost the damage further by ensuring a chain builds towards the end of his LB. Practice with the training dummy!
The “best” sword on Cloud from a pure numbers perspective is Conrad’s TMR, a 130 atk 2-handed greatsword. It’s non-elemental, of course, so while it does big damage, it doesn’t benefit from any imperils and won’t make big chains. Alternatively, any greatsword will do, since “normal” doublehand could still apply.
~~ Math Time ~~
With Revolving Saw, Prishe’s Hairpin, Demon Main, and 2x Marshall Gloves, we start with a base attack boost of 265. That then gets a 300% boost thanks to Cloud’s TMR, plus his innate 100% boost, and then plus the two Marshall Gloves, so from equipment alone we get an attack of 1060. His innate attack is 252, plus about 150% of his base from materia gets us 543, plus our buddy Bahamut or Odin for around 63 more attack… For a total of 1666.
Of course, this is for a DH unit, not a DW unit, so his attacks only hit one time. Someone did the math here a LOOONG time ago, and it ends up being about a 30% drop in total damage compared to dual-wield, so a BiS Cloud, going on that assumption, is about equal to a DW unit with 1200 or so ATK.
But wait, there’s more! 1200 attack would be without the two-handed weapon damage variance. Adding in that boost brings the competition up to a 1300 DW unit, which is not currently possible in the game. However…! Most players don’t run non-elemental units, which brings things more in line with the chaining competition and the fact that we continually get more elemental weapons.
So, to compare, a DW unit with a 50% imperil in play must “only” have an attack a little north of 1000 to do comparable damage to Cloud, assuming similar modifiers. How to fix? Don’t go “BiS”, go elemental. His ATK won’t be as high, and you ignore the variance and “coolness” of “true doublehand,” but instead, by simply stacking “doublehand,” you will be able to slot Cloud into elemental teams. It also simplifies his equipment loadout, as you can use Bartz’s TMR instead of one of Elfreedas.
The downside to Cloud, of course, is that he doesn’t really do anything else, and his BiS build also requires a hefty number of other TMRs, including two from the other 5-star base on this banner. That said, if you want to slot a finisher, and can build him up at or near his top build, you can just run him without changing his equipment, well, ever. Other units can achieve or beat his damage numbers, but require additional setup or other units to assist.
Summary: Cloud is a finisher and can kick out some real damage. Even without everything maxed, with his TMR he’s going to be hitting some silly numbers in the ATK stat. The downside, of course, is that he’s non-elemental when at his best, and that makes him both very flexible (don’t need to match elements to still see big numbers) and sort of, well, boring.
If you pull him, consider ignoring the “true” doublehand gimmick for now and put elemental weapons on him.
Luneth: With a 50% imperil in play, Luneth can outdamage Cloud’s Climhazzard move as long as Luneth is enhanced. He only needs to have 950 attack for his 7x Cut Through to do more damage than a BiS Cloud, I believe. Luneth doesn’t provide any imperils, though, so you need to bring another unit for that.
Dark Knight Cecil: Same as Luneth, although obviously we’re working with Dark elements here. While DKC can technically outdamage both when fully enhanced, he requires some serious babysitting to not kill himself. You could also just put the same equipment on DKC and not worry about him killing himself AND do more damage.
Olive: Although her multipliers are not as high, she can imperil and break and does not require Cloud/Elfreedax2 to reach the 300% equipment boost ceiling. She’s going to be neck and neck with Cloud for higher stats, but comes with an elemental affinity.
Nyx, Flame Veritas: Ironically, the BiS builds for Cloud hold the same materia and accessories that will make both Nyx and Flame Veritas incredibly strong via Fixed Dice builds. Both can also imperil and imbue their dice with elements, although it’s not available on turn 1.
TMR Review: Buster Style
The materia that opens the door to new, non-DW builds. If you pull Cloud, of course you’re farming this materia. The key point for using it with 2-handed weapons is the boosted damage variance, in many cases adding what amounts to an “everything killer” to the unit’s attacks. Even without it, though, you can think of it as “two extra double hand” materias on other units, simplifying chaining and still boosting damage significantly.
However, it works best only on certain units, so it’s an S if you have the right units, but A if you don’t, which is still impressive.
|Role||Unit Rating||TMR||TMR Ranking|
|Breaker/Counter tank||B||Marshal Glove (Accessory):40 atk, +50% equipment attack when holding 1 weapon (including two-handed weapons), and gain 2 LS/turn||A/S|
Elfreeda is another provoke tank, and brings more doublehand to the game. Her potted HP is surprisingly low for this role at 3970 and with a 20% boost, she’ll sit at 4764. Her other stats are, well, probably the lowest for a 5-star base I’ve seen. checking Yup, her stats are essentially the same or worse than Lightning… In fact, the only innate boost she gets is a 20% boost to DEF — otherwise, the same 30% ATK boost and 20% HP boost. Weird. But, she is immune to paralyze and confusion, so that’s nice.
She can equip knives, swords, greatswords, bows, and spears, so if you snagged the Zodiac Spear from way back when, you found a unit for that spear! Although she can equip shields, you shouldn’t put them on her, and otherwise she can equip hats/helms and non-robes. Assuming you put Light or Heavy Armor on her, it activates a much-needed passive: a hefty 30% DEF and 50% SPR boost. She also gets innate Doublehand, but only 50%, although it does include 2-handed weapons (“Shin-doublehand”).
Her setup is a bit odd for a tank; she is a tank that will generally be breaking the enemy while countering, so her primary moves are not for dealing damage. She can do some damage, with Frozen Blade, a 300% physical attack which imbues Ice for 5 turns, and Icicle Storm, a 200% AOE ice physical attack, and finally, Frost Fall, a 300% ST physical attack with a guaranteed crit and a -50% ice resistance debuff attached. Note that a guaranteed crit is analogous to having an “everything killer” on the attack, as it bumps the final damage by 50%. Although not exactly right, the crit means that this is roughly analogous to a 550% modifier (math done with her at 900 atk and using a 2-hand weapon with variance avg of 1.3x)
Otherwise, Elfreeda includes two provokes, with Clever Smile, a 2-turn 100% provoke tied to an AOE -45% ATK/MAG break, and Vigorous Cry, a 2-turn 100% provoke that buffs her ATK/DEF for 80% which is fine. On the off turns, she has single-stat breaks, all of which first dispel the enemy prior to putting a 45% stat break for either ATK/DEF/SPR/MAG. Why you would dispel them before putting a single-stat break on them is beyond me, but it’s what she does, so deal with it.
Once she starts getting hit, her counters come into play:
- 30% chance to counter with an 80% AOE hit
- 40% chance to counter phys/mag with a -60% ice debuff
- 10% chance to counter with a 650% ST attack also with a guaranteed crit (bonus 50%).
Most of the time, she’s going to counter with the ice debuff. At about the same frequency, you’ll see a weak AOE attack. And sometimes, she nukes. If an enemy is throwing out a lot of weaker hits, and she survives, then the likelihood of seeing her nuke obviously increases — but whether it does any serious damage runs into the same issue with most provoke tanks (are you focusing on HP/DEF or ATK?). Still, if her ATK is at 900, her counter nuke is equivalent to an 11.5x modifier (!).
She can equip the same stuff as Cloud, so, again, 265 ATK base from equipment (give or take), plus her innate boost gets her to 662 equipment attack. With her own ATK barely above 200, that means that even if you throw Cloud’s TMR on her, she’s barely cresting 1000 ATK (and consuming all your best attacker gear). So that she survives, you’d then pretty much need to put a few Patriotic Recalls or a Thirst for Survival on her, getting her in the neighborhood of 8300 HP — good, but not tanky enough to bring for the big fights.
Elfreeda is, in essence, an ice version of Demon Rain’s enhanced form with no mitigation. Oh, and she learns Blizzaga because, well, flavor. The biggest difference between the two is that you don’t have to pay for enhancements for her, and D.Rain’s counters are more guaranteed to be strong. If you’re going full ice, you’re likely to be running with her 60% imperil after turn 1 given the high rate of counter.
Her LB is decent, at least, being a 820% AOE attack, but again, building her for ATK is hard and doesn’t synergize well with her roles. Use Gladiolus if you really want a LB-nuking tank since he’s less likely to die.
Summary: A provoke tank in a sea of provoke tanks. She gets you 1 unit closer to a team of blue-haired units. If she provokes and lives, her counters could be pretty solid, but with a mix of skills and no clear rotation or use to many of them, she’s likely going to be TMR fodder for most players. You could always throw Rikku’s Pouch or Pod 153 on her, but that’s true for most units that are mediocre.
Demon Rain: When enhanced, Demon Rain probably does a better overall job since his counters are much stronger, he gets a massive boost when below half health, and he has a step-up with Ignite to contribute to damage.
Other provoke tanks: Of course, you can’t get Demon Rain anymore, and he split a banner with a terrible unit (sorry Lassworm). Sure, neither WoL nor Veritas of the Earth offer mitigation on their provokes, but they also offer AoE cover with mitigation. Plus, if you’re currently using VotE or WoL for provoking, you will probably look at Elfreeda’s other skills and scratch your head.
TMR Review: Marshal Glove
As an accessory, this is either worse than Desch’s TMR or significantly better. Same rules apply as Cloud’s TMR, though — either this will significantly boost the attack for certain units, or you’ll think of it as just 40 ATK plus 2 LS stones. If you have any units where you could consider using a Doublehand build, whether it’s with two-handed weapons or one-handed weapons, then this is an S. Otherwise, even on DW it can still be a decent TMR.
|Role||Unit Rating||TMR||TMR Ranking|
|Earthy black mage||B||Mage’s Resolution: +40% MAG and +20% DEF when wielding a rod||A|
William, the stuttering black mage from Loren/Roy’s story event, returns as a unit. As the News shows, his strongest point is his… MP. His fully potted HP is a mere 3758, with no boosts, and his other stats are equally mediocre. His MAG is good, at least, hitting 181 (only a few ticks lower than Rubicante), and he comes with an innate 70% MAG boost as long as you put a rod on him. No auto-refresh, but a 30% MP boost gives him a little extra staying power in long fights; however, since he also brings Dual Cast he’s going to still eat through MP quickly. At least he’s immune to Petrify, because flavor.
For abilities, he has two interesting defensive buffs which reduce the corresponding ATK stat. Withdraw buffs your team’s DEF by 110% but drops your other allies’ attack by 50%, and Open Heart buffs SPR and drops MAG by the same amount. On some team comps, the reduction can be ignored, or if you’re up against a boss that will also debuff you, bringing debuff-resistance means you can throw that up and ignore the negative aspect here.
Fossil Glare is a 50% chance to ST petrify, meaning you’ll never use this skill. Innocent Magika is a 266% non-elemental 5-hit magic attack, so even though you could chain it, the lack of elements means that, again, you’ll never use this skill.
As for the reasons why you would use William, he’s the first unit with Quake. He brings Stonga, Osmose, Stonja (200% which increases to 600%), and Quake, a 275% earth magic attack that also reduces Earth resistance by 50%. Quake hits with 8 hits, so it’s not as high of a ramp up as Tornado, but with two William’s you can easily build large Earth chains.
Looking at the frames, while William can dual cast Quake and Stonja, Quake’s frames are nearly twice as long as Tornado, which likely means that Stonja will not “cap” the chain, but should still hit late in the multiplier to give a hefty boost (plus the imperil). It’s worth testing.
The main downside for William, though, is that he really only brings Quake. The rest of his kit is not much to write home about, and he’s extremely squishy. There are also very few chaining partners — we’ll have to wait for Kid Rydia and then 7-star units before he can Quake with a non-dupe.
At least he comes with a 940% earth Nuke LB, if you feel like maxing it out. If you don’t feel like maxing it out, skip it — it goes from 460% to start (sad) to 940% (wow!). Whether he’s worth it depends on how attached you are to him as a unit.
Summary: Not a bad unit, but not great either. It’s good to see Quake but he doesn’t bring much to back it up.
TMR Review: Mage’s Resolution
Comparable to Veritas of the Waters, this does a little to help reduce the squishiness of mages by providing a 20% boost to DEF on top of a hefty 40% boost to MAG. The MAG boost by itself makes this strong if you’re running a mage-heavy team, but you’ll know yourself if you’re otherwise using MAG +30% materia currently.
Since Veritas of the Water’s TMR is not stackable, William’s TMR provides more flexibility for stacking up MAG, too.
|Role||Unit Rating||TMR||TMR Ranking|
|Not-Edgar||D||Revolving Saw (Greatsword, 2h): 130 atk, 50% accuracy boost and extra 30% damage||A/C|
Being a 5-star max, Conrad’s stats are, well, what you’d expect. Don’t put pots into him, please. The reason he doesn’t warrant an F is that Conrad is, in essence, a souped-up Edgar. If you want, roll an extra account, pull Conrad, name your account “Edgar,” and put Conrad up as your friend unit.
He can equip, well, a lot of different things. Like Edgar, he also brings quite a few chaining opportunities. Bring two of him and build chains! Whee! Then he’ll die, but now we have enough AOE cover that, well, maybe he won’t die. His LB is 17 hits, too, yeehaw!
Otherwise, fuse him for his TMR. At least he’s a 5-star unit that isn’t entirely terrible (just mostly terrible).
TMR Review: Revolving Saw
OK, this is made for Cloud. A non-elemental greatsword with the currently highest stats and, being two-handed, includes an extra 30% damage boost (on average) due to being a double-handed weapon.
If you’re not going for a TDH build, though, this would sit next to your Zodiac Spear.
Cloud’s banner is only loosely an FF7 banner, and many call this a “whale” banner. Why? Because to really use Cloud in a “BiS” build, you need to pull 3 rainbows and at least 21 Conrads (which will probably come naturally while going for said 3 rainbows). What’s more, on GL it’s worse because multiple Clouds don’t help due to Buster Style being non-stackable.
Should you pull? Well, it depends on whether you love Cloud or not. If you do, you aren’t going to follow my advice or anyone else’s for that matter. If you don’t care about Cloud, the attraction here is the introduction of “true doublehand” builds — which require three rainbows on this banner. While strong on some units (Tidus, Nyx, Fire Veritas), they will see more use when 7-stars hit — meaning that you have, what, 9 more months to potentially pull a Cloud or some Elfreedas?
Or, think of it this way: Should you pull hard? With 22 10+1 pulls on the banner (110,000 lapis, roughly more than $600 USD), you have a 37.5% chance to pull 1 Cloud and 2 Elfreedas.
Personally, I’m going to toss 5 tickets on Friday to get some units for the MK grind, and otherwise exploit the fact that this banner hits while we get free Fan Festa pulls. 5 tickets = 1 Cloud, 2 Elfreedas, 1 Conrad, and 1 William, so I should be set 🙂