Often denoted as DPS, Damage classes are a vital element of Etrian Odyssey Nexus teams. The healer will keep the team going of course, and the supports will boost the probability of victory as ever, but very little progress would be made without a few team members putting up big damage numbers. These members are essential to the team build up, and happily Etrian games have always had plenty of options for these roles, from physical powerhouses to spell slinging mages.
These damage classes aren’t always created equal however. Some might prefer to debuff before dealing big damage, or perhaps they rely on reducing the enemies’ defences prior to blasting their whole team with spells. Some may even just be simple classes that hit the enemy hard with physical attacks. Either way, it’s essential that the team is built to accommodate these, so rather than write about the positives and negatives of our 5 choices – like we did with the healers – we’re going to write about the team build that they’re ideally suited for.
5. Imperial Class
The Imperial debuted in Etrian Odyssey 4, and revolves around delivering huge chunks of damage with their Drive Blade, a weapon unique to their class. In order to deliver these attacks and indeed balance a class capable of such huge hits, large combinations of abilities must be used, and the Drive Blade itself has a significant cooldown period before it’s able to deliver again. Most class abilities outside of the damaging attacks focus on making the cooldown period shorter, or alleviating the down time in some way.
There are downsides to the class, despite this huge damage: It’s mostly aimed at dealing with single targets, the cooldown means it’s not great in random battles and despite being able to equip heavy armour they’re not the best defensively. They do gain options to deal with these shortcomings, certainly once the option to subclass becomes available, but they’ll essentially remain the single target, boss and FOE slaying option. They may require some party concessions and they’ll require some babysitting early on in the game, but it’s certainly worth it for the end result.
- Weak defences requires a supportive team in general.
- Will require more healing than other front liners.
- Your party will need other options for quickly dealing with random battles.
4. Hero Class
We’ve waxed lyrical about the Hero class already, but it’s so damned good at almost every role in Nexus that it’s also making an appearance here. It’s a class that can provide defensive buffs, party healing, ailment removal and still deliver huge amounts of damage, particularly with their afterimages. We’re convinced that they can slot into almost every team type and bring something useful to the table, without requiring the entire build to adapt to them whatsoever.
It’s the Afterimage skill that pushes it high in our Damage list here. The skill will create an Afterimage, or rather has a chance to, after the Hero uses an attacking skill. This image will last for a single turn and repeat the attack that the Hero initially used when spawning the image. The potential here is rather obvious, and in practice it often works exactly as intended, almost doubling the damage done by the Hero. There are risks, mainly around the Afterimage having little to no health or defences, but as the class grows this can be bolstered, to the point where the images may even survive further than the single round. At Master levels the class will be dealing big damage turn after turn, all whilst healing it’s teammates and buffing their defences.
- Can adapt to almost any party build.
- Will not wholly replace tanks, so a Protector works well alongside it.
- Mixes in well with other less direct healers, like Sovereign, to keep the party topped up.
3. Ronin Class
As a member of the original Etrian Odyssey roster, the Ronin is a class fondly remembered by fans, and it’s a testament to it’s design that it remains high on lists such as these. The class focuses on taking up ‘stances’ from which it can launch devastating physical and elemental attacks. They are also capable of inflicting various ailments, though we’d advise against it somewhat given their more damage weighted statistics.
Stances are still a thing for the class, in which they can take up a certain style in order to influence their upcoming ability, be it higher attack or defence. Gone however, is the forced requirement of these stances prior to some attacks being available. Now the Ronin can use an attack and automatically take up one of these stances, from which it can launch even more powerful attacks. In essence it’s weakness from prior titles – requiring a stance before any real damage could be done – is gone. What remains is just a fantastic physical damage class, able to push out big numbers round after round. They may not be able to take too many hits, but they’ll shred through opponents given the chance.
- Requires more healing than other front liners.
- Ideally suited for a team with an attack-buffing unit, like Sovereign, or an enemy-defence-reducing support, like Harbinger.
- Protector will work well alongside this, providing line defences.
- Not great at group or line wide attacks, so these will need to come from elsewhere. Check out our number 2 slot for this.
2. Zodiac Class
The Zodiac class is one that may be unfamiliar to some players, even those having partaken in prior Etrian games. It heralds from EO3, in which it played the part of the elemental, attacking spell caster. This role was overtaken by the Runemaster in EO4, and Warlock in EO5. Their skills do differ of course, but generally speaking they’re all tuned for one purpose: Dealing huge elemental damage to any number of enemy units.
Initially the class still has the limitations familiar to spell casters in an Etrian game, limiting their initial elemental spells to either splash or row damage, but once it opens up into the Veteran level these influence the entire group, and the Zodiac turns into the real random battle specialist. That’s not to say it can’t do single target well too – Etheric Charge will boost your damage and limit it to one target, making it ideal for taking down tricky FOE and bosses. The Zodiac may be the only class that specialises in elemental spells, but it does the job so well that it earns second place in our list on merit.
- Functions well in any team.
- Weak defensively, so will benefit from small and continuous heals to keep it healthy and topped off.
- No really, it has next to no defence, make sure you have supporting elements alongside it.
- Can buff other forms of elemental damage in their line, which can be used in conjunction with others in the back line.
1. Gunner Class
When it comes to pure damage numbers from the back line, nothing can stand up to the Gunner class. Aside from a small assortment of binds earned in the lower portions of the skill tree, it’s almost entirely geared towards dealing loads of damage every turn. As it grows in experience, the shots it fires off can hit the entire enemy party, or double down on a single target, dealing significant damage from the relative safety of the back line.
It’s not without other benefits however: Medic Bullet can be useful in a pinch, Cover Support can form part of your healing plans and the binds it does get can be useful, but in essence this is a pure ranged damage class all round. This gets amplified even further in the Master section of the tree, where physical damage can get a straight upgrade, and Multi-Shot adds the chance to repeat gun skills used. Their defences are poor of course, and the HP total is startlingly low, but this is offset by their high TP total and sheer damage contributions. Much like the Hero class, Gunners can slot into almost any team and feel right at home.
- High single target damage means you should take some more generalised damage units in other slots.
- Works well alongside a heavy debuffing unit, like a Harbinger.
- Can fit in with almost any team build.
- Defence increasing classes will combine well.
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