Be they named Hoplite, Dragoon or indeed Protector, the goals of the ultra defensive Etrian Odyssey classes are always the same; draw aggro, reduce incoming damage and protect the party. If we’re honest they’re not a strict requirement for completing any of the titles in the series – it’s perfectly possible to completely skip a tank-like party member and do just fine, mainly thanks to the variety of class choices and the power of disabling your opponents. Such things are true in Nexus too, perhaps even more so thanks to the inclusion of the altogether too powerful Hero class, but they still lend themselves to most party builds and perform well, and you’ll find no better class for defending a group of otherwise squishy glass cannons. That said, choosing a Subclass for the Protector can be a tricky proposition – it’s never going to break any damage records and it’s kit already contains pretty much everything you could need from a defensive perspective, so what should you choose?
We should probably start by noting that the Protector itself is a bit of an enigma in Nexus. At certain points throughout the game you’ll find that their abilities are incredibly helpful, but outside of these points the class can feel a little superfluous, dealing little in the way of damage and providing unnecessary defensive buffs. You’re always happy to have them in boss battles and at the start of new and unfamiliar dungeons, but outside of this they can feel a little left out. This can be mitigated by taking some damaging skills of course, which ensures that they contribute frequently in less dangerous situations, but our absolute favourite option in this regard is to bring out the Imperial Subclass, a class that is capable of dealing absolutely massive amounts of damage in short periods, but that suffers down time in between with reduced defence.
The most obvious benefit here is the Drive skills, which will allow the Protector to deal large chunks of damage whenever the mood takes you. Anyone familiar with the Imperial will know that once the Drive skill has been completed, the class will suffer a ‘down time’ period, during which a Drive skill cannot be repeated and the member in question has reduced defences. In the base class this tends to require some sort of planning to ensure that the Imperial isn’t destroyed during the down time, but with the Protector main this isn’t an issue – not only does the class have massive defensive capabilities, but it can even specifically use Guard skills during the down time to improve upon them. Similarly, the Protector can improve it’s lot further with the passives offered by the Imperial, namely HP Up, Status DEF Up and even Heat Shield, which improves their defence whilst being overheated.
- Excellent passive benefits through HP Up and Status DEF Up. The former stacks with the Protector’s own.
- Drive skills have a long cool down period, however the Protector can use this time to guard the party with its various defensive skills, and even include the Imperial’s own Heat Shield passive.
- There is a defence penalty during the cool down period for Imperial, however the Protector will often have statistics and equipment that ensure incoming damage will be reduced regardless.
- Depending on your point allocation, it’s possible to gain access to Absorber, which restores some TP when an enemy weakness is targeted.
Regular readers are no doubt aware of just how much we love the Harbinger class. It features a heady mix of debuffs, ailments and damage, all nicely wrapped up in the act speed increasing shroud of Miasma Armor. The artwork is fantastic too, after all who doesn’t love a scythe wielding spell caster, but the real appeal comes from its ability to really make that little bit more difference in battle. In many ways it is the Yin to the Sovereigns Yang, choosing to cripple opponents in place of their party buffs. They’re also a perennial favourite of ours to Subclass into; if you’re running a party without one in the main slots then it tends to make sense to have access to their debuffs at the very least.
Such things are true with the Protector. The base class is already very adept from a defensive perspective of course, thanks in no small part to it’s Guard abilities, but it’s act speed will benefit greatly from the boost that Miasma Armor provides. Whilst Stifling Miasma essentially provides similar damage reduction to the Guard abilities, both combined can seriously swing the tides of a battle, tipping the scales further and further over the course of a long encounter. Of course, the Protector is unlikely to make use of the Reap abilities, but passives like Black Shroud and Black Wave can be of tremendous use, with the former further increasing both defence types whilst Miasma Armor is active. Compounding the benefits even further is Spirit Absorb, which heals the user whenever a debuff is inflicted on the enemy – it even scales with the WIS stat, which the Protector is actually quite well equipped with!
- Miasma Armor will naturally increase the Protector’s act speed.
- Stifling and Eroding Miasma are great ways to debuff the entire enemy party. Alternating these with the Protector’s Guard abilities will significantly tip the scales in your favour.
- Black Shroud is a flat increase to both Physical and Elemental defence when Miasma Armor is active.
- Black Wave can be used to restore the Protector’s TP at the end of every round, assuming Miasma Armor is active.
- Spirit Absorb takes advantage of the Protector’s reasonable WIS stat to provide healing whenever an enemy is debuffed, something that will happen quite regularly with this Subclass choice.
For new players to the series we tend to recommend that you stay away from the Hero class. Whilst it did appear on our top 5 best classes article, in which it came out top of the pile by the way, it’s for this exact reason that we tend to recommend staying away: It’s too powerful. This is a relative term of course, because no single class makes an Etrian game all that easy, but relative to the others it just has far too many benefits. It’s fantastic at both attack and defence, has plenty of supportive options, can heal for not insignificant amounts and even make afterimages that are capable of repeating all of these things for free! They’re obscenely powerful and whilst it’s something that you should both use and avoid in equal measure, they do function very well in lending their power to another through their usage as a Subclass.
Can you guess what they lend to their respective main classes? Yes that’s right; attack, defence, support and healing all in one. Their Physical Shield skill is absolutely perfect for the Protector, allowing it to attack whilst buffing the party at the same time, and upgrading this to Elemental Shield is a no-brainer for defending the other damage type. Investing in Encouragement will make the Protector heal the whole party when it uses a skill, something it’ll be doing constantly, and this even scales with the users maximum HP, which the Protector will have plenty of thanks to its own base rates and HP Up skill! If all of this wasn’t good enough, then the Clear Mind skill can be used to cleanse the Protector of ailments and binds whilst simultaneously restoring TP, and Heroic Bonds can be invested in to ensure that the Protector acts faster than ever! If we’re honest, this is one of the best Subclass combinations we’ve found in all of our time with Nexus, and it owes itself entirely to the incredible skill set that the Hero has to offer.
- Physical Shield and Elemental Shield are an excellent way to protect the entire party rather than a line, and they naturally include a damaging attack.
- Encouragement will heal the team whenever the Protector uses a skill, which will be often, and it scales with maximum HP, something the Protector has in abundance!
- Clear Mind is a fantastic self cleanse that comes with a TP restore bonus.
- Heroic Bonds can be used to increase the Protector’s act speed.
Categories: Etrian Odyssey Nexus