Next up in our Subclass series is the Arcanist, one of the more unusual Etrian Odyssey classes. We’re constantly amazed at just how creative Atlus managed to get with this series of games, somehow transforming otherwise trite and boring turn-based encounters into pitched, tactical battles. In part this is due to the world design and bestiary, but mainly it comes down to the fantastic class selection, which in the case of Nexus somehow manages to differentiate 19 different choices on what is ostensibly a flat plane of a battlefield. Further to this, after a fair amount of progression you’re even allowed to choose a Subclass, compounding the possibilities to no end. To our point then, and we already know that the Arcanist is all about laying down circles to inflict ailments, binds and indeed restore health, but how should we go about improving upon this with the Subclass choice?
If you ignore some of the more stark differences in their tool kits, our first choice – the Sovereign – doesn’t necessarily operate too differently to the Arcanist. Sure, the former focuses on team buffs and the latter more so on inflicting ailments, but they’re both often used to achieve the same thing: Negating the need for a dedicated healer by taking advantage of their passive health restoration abilities. In this regard they’re both capable of keeping a team topped up all by themselves, and their additional benefits are often considered more of a bonus than a main focus. That said, there is likely a clear benefit to combining these two that is forming in your mind, but we should expand on exactly why this is the case.
The Arcanist class is all about summoning ‘circles’, which are best imagined as ‘traps’ positioned below the enemies. These last 3 turns each, and have a chance to cause all manner of ailments and binds at the end of each of each turn. They can also be ‘dismissed’ to cause a different selection of effects or damage, or even left alone to passively restore health each round through their Circle Boon skill. It’s the latter of the two that we’re really bothered about here, because whilst the skills that focus on dismissing can be very powerful, what if you instead took the time between those 3 turns to throw the Sovereigns powerful party buffs around? Not only are you then both building up your team whilst you tear down the opponent, but you can even double down on party healing thanks to the Reinforce and Royal Veil skills.
- Increases the healing potency of an Arcanist, by using the Sovereigns buffs to passively heal in between each round of Circles. Reinforce and Royal Veil are key here.
- Possible option for increasing Elemental damage thanks to the Sovereign’s ‘Arms’ buffs.
- Tactical Decree is a great way to restore TP on long dungeon dives.
- Builds the base Arcanist into a very well rounded support.
The Survivalist class has always occupied a strange position in the Etrian Odyssey roster. In some titles they’re powerhouses, capable of dealing tremendous amounts of damage, yet here they’ve seemingly been nerfed quite significantly, mainly due to their lack of Agility damage scaling. The results is that, in Nexus at least, If you’re building a party that is designed to deal maximum damage then you’re probably going to look at the Imperial, Zodiac and Gunner, and if you’re looking for supporting roles then the Harbinger, Pugilist, Nightseeker and indeed the Sovereign are probably more your bag. Where then, does our humble archer fit into the equation?
Well, taking this option will push your Arcanist down a different route of support. There are obvious benefits, like the Sorting Skill that increases your inventory space, and Natural Instinct that will allow you to find even more materials from gathering spots, but more tangible is the very reliable form of one particular ailment in Blind Arrow; it’s unusual for a class to focus almost exclusively on a single ailment, but when it’s this successful you’ll find it much easier to plan around, a fact that is heavily supported by the Arcanist’s high base Luck stat. Topping it all off are the Speed Up passive, which increases hit rate, evasion and act speed, and with a little more investment you can access Nature’s Blessing, an even better version of Natural Instinct which this time allows for more rare items from gathering spots.
- More exploration and utility focused than the Sovereign choice. Will be more welcome in a team that has already covered all required bases in battle.
- Sorting Skill, Natural Instinct and Nature’s Blessing will aid in your quest for more and better loot.
- High base Luck stat means that ailment inducing skills like Blind Arrow will be very successful, and can be fired off between rounds of Circles.
Finally we settle upon that most powerful of elemental attackers: The Zodiac class. If you’ve been following along so far then you’re likely to know roughly where this is going, but first let’s dig into it a little. It’s an unashamedly single track class that is designed to inflict big chunks of elemental damage to groups of opponents. This is something it accomplishes with ease thanks to what has to be the best selection of spells an elemental caster has had in the series to date. No guesses for what we’re aiming to do with our Arcanist now, is there?
We’ll get the obvious bit out of the way first: Arcanists have a high INT stat, so they’ll do great damage with the Star & Binary series of elemental attacks. Furthermore, whilst they do have a large amount of TP, Arcanists also benefit greatly from Free Energy, which gives your skills a chance to cost zero TP, and Etheric Return, which restores TP when you defeat an enemy. For the more defensive Arcanist users out there, with enough skill point investment you can get your hands on the elemental ‘Prophecy’ series of skills, which allow you to completely nullify an opponent’s elemental attacks. Finally, if nothing else it’s an excellent way to increase your TP pool via the TP Up passive.
- High INT means the Arcanist will do great damage with the Zodiac elemental attack spells.
- TP Up passive is always useful, especially in some of the super long, late game dungeon dives.
- Free Energy and Etheric Return can help you to sustain TP too.
- Possible to gain access to the defensive ‘Prophecy’ skills, nullifying elemental attacks of a given type.
Categories: Etrian Odyssey Nexus
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