We find the Etrian Survivalist to be in a strange position in Nexus. It’s always been a class that exists on the peripheries of a team build, existing to contribute bits of support and middling damage rather than a full dose of each, yet here the developers seem to have leaned ever further into the style, so much so that we considered it to be the very bottom of the barrel in our class tier list. We noted there that the class isn’t bad, but rather than it feels a little out of place and faced with the plethora of powerful options in Nexus, it didn’t quite shape up. That being said it is of course possible to make any option work if you put in enough time, and whilst we’re not huge fans of the ‘dodge’ meta build that seems to be popular with the cannon bow user, there are a few Subclass options that will make your life a lot easier, assuming you manage to get there.
This is a rather obvious inclusion, certainly for anybody that has read our Farmer Subclass article in which we picked the same duo, but it’s such a valuable connection that we consider it viable both ways. In the first combination, which features the Farmer as the main and the Survivalist as the Sub, the class didn’t really evolve into a complete enemy slayer, rather it exemplified both of their exploration benefits to maximise loot and yields on every dungeon dive. The same is very much true here, though we’d certainly say that the Survivalist main does better in battle, thanks to a combination of reliable ailment infliction and a reasonable selection of damaging skills. It’s never going to break any records, and this is most definitely not a combination you want to use when building a dodge tank Survivalist, but it’s the more powerful of the two options when it comes to taking down opponents.
The main benefits here are the passives that boost exploration yields; Excavation & Godsend will give you a chance to gather items just by moving around the dungeon, Harvestry & Nature’s Blessing will increase your yields from gathering points and Double Crop can boost this even further. In terms of tangible party benefits, Slap Awake is guaranteed resurrection spell, albeit one only usable outside of battle, Earth’s Bounty will increase the EXP that your entire team gains and Waste Not will increase the items gained from battles too. Survival Wisdom and Fruitful Song will also ensure that your team retains TP more than ever!
- Harvestry, Nature’s Blessing and Double Crop will all improve your yields from gathering points.
- Slap Awake is a useful, guaranteed resurrect for parties missing this option.
- Earth’s Bounty will increase EXP gained in battle.
- Survival Wisdom and Fruitful song all synergise well with heavy TP usage team builds.
- Waste Not will increase your loot yields from battle – more loot synergises well with the Survivalist’s larger bag space!
The Zodiac is such an interesting Subclass choice, regardless of the main. As you might imagine their main goal is to inflict as much elemental damage as possible on your targets, however it’s also one of the best possible classes to choose if you’re looking to reduce damage taken from those same elements. This puts it in a rather unique position, since it can provide either benefit to a class that really requires it, and this leaves one particular question when considering it as a Subclass: Does your class have a high INT stat? If the answer is yes then you can surely take advantage of their offensive spells, however if the answer is no then you’ll be aiming at the fine selection of passives and defensive spells. Today’s class, the Survivalist, is firmly positioned in the latter column.
Mainly we’re looking at complimenting the Survivalist’s middling attacking prowess with those defensive buffs, and whilst we’re well aware that there are choices that could further it’s ailment success or it’s dodge chance, we’re looking at improving the overall party survivability. Things start out slow in the Novice Tree, where skills like Etheric Gleam, Etheric Return and Horoscope might be the main events, however the Veteran skills really get things going thanks to the defensive Anti-Ether skill, TP saving Dark Ether and the TP Up passive. With enough investment however, the real defensive game changers are available in the Master tree, specifically the Fire/Ice/Volt Prophecy skills, which completely nullify the opponents next elemental attack of a given type. This will require some prior knowledge of encounters, but having such a powerful skill available as a Subclass is something tremendously useful. It’s even possible to get a little use out of Free Energy
- Excellent passives available like Anti-Either and TP Up.
- Enough investment will unlock the Prophecy set of skills, which are excellent late game defensive tools for those willing to do some strategizing.
- Horoscope is a nice bonus for reducing encounters.
- Etheric Gleam can be used to buff elemental damage users in the party, saving them a turn to power themselves up.
Perhaps it is time to talk about that most meta of Survivalist builds: The dodge tank. We’re honestly not overly keen on this kind of thing, but we will admit that having a class that is very adept at inflicting Blind and also great at dodging does make a certain amount of sense, in a ‘distraction’ sense. We’ve all surely seen archers in other games that are capable of attracting attention, however this is almost always for a turn or two, not an entire battle. Nexus does make this possible, however like any other dodge tank it’s beholden to the gods of RNG, and when the numbers finally do let you down it’s just a bow user standing there tanking the damage. There are other mitigating factors of course and we’re by no means claiming that it’s impossible, rather that we’d prefer to pursue something a little more solid, hence the Protector.
With this choice of Subclass we are essentially opting for the best of both worlds. If you’re keen on the idea of having a dodge tanking archer then picking Protector will not only net you an excellent selection of skills for when the RNG runs out, but also plainly has some great supporting skills for a regularly built Survivalist. Front and Rear Guard are an obvious inclusion, ensuring that damage is reduced regardless of the tanking situation, and Preemptive Taunt can assist in drawing aggro if that’s your kind of thing. Healing Wall can be a help in a pinch, as can the Fire/Ice/Volt Wall skills depending on your opponent, however if we’re going to recommend any Protector skill for your dodge tank Survivalist it absolutely must be Aegis – this gives you a chance to survive a mortal blow and have 1 HP remaining, something that undoubtedly will happen eventually and you’ll be thankful you took it. Other than this, HP Up is a great passive addition alongside Phys DEF Up and Elem DEF Up.
- Excellent defensive party buffs for a supporting Survivalist, which they naturally excel at being.
- This Subclass will help a dodge tanking Survivalist immensely by providing the ability to survive a mortal blow through Aegis.
- Elemental party buffs become more and more useful in the late game.
- Very good passives for any Survivalist build, featuring HP Up, Phys DEF Up and Elem DEF Up.
Categories: Etrian Odyssey Nexus