How long should an investment pay off?

We know that units become relatively weaker over time due to powercreep. Why is it ok or not ok for a unit to drop off? How strong should an investment remain, for how long, and why? What difference does it make, if any, whether the unit is top tier, middle of the pack, or lackluster on release?

For example, let’s say a seasonal banner releases when I have 500 orbs and I decide to merge the 4* special. Moreover, since baby banner units tend to be a bit stronger than those on other seasonal banners let’s say it’s someone like Raphael or W.Hilda instead of Y.Lyon. How long should I expect this unit to be effective, and why? How do we define “effective?” Best in that unit class (as in, same weapon and movement type with comparable statline)? One clean cut stronger than an unmerged version of the latest 5* exclusive? Able to win reliably at high ranks of the gamemode where they’re good? Whichever definition you choose, why should the unit be that strong for the length of time you’re proposing, or why is it bad for the game if they drop off faster than that?

Let’s also consider the common case of pulling for a single copy of a 5* exclusive. Suppose I spark one of the new fallen units. How strong should this unit be compared to strength (relative to the meta) at release, 12 months later? 18 months? 24 months? 30 months? Why should it be that way and not stronger or weaker? Why would that be good for the game, or the failure of that condition bad for the game?

Then let’s consider a unit that I might merge or ignore, a demote unit on a permanent pool debut banner. Where should this unit stand compared to their place on debut, 12 months from that time? 18 months? 24 months? 30 months? What does it have to do with the average length of time required to accumulate 11 copies if you ignore the unit at their debut? Why shouldn’t that unit drop off quicker?

What about a grail unit, either a GHB or a TT unit?

Lastly let’s consider the rarer case of merging a 5* exclusive; doesn’t matter that much if it’s permament pool or seasonal or legendary/mythic. If it’s done over, say, 4-8 months (maybe 4 months if you had lots of orbs saved at the debut and then the BHB came at a convenient time for you to finish), how strong should we expect this unit to stand in the meta one year from release? 1.5 years? 2 years? 2.5 years? And why?

I’ll offer some of my own thoughts after the discussion has progressed a bit.

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Hard to say, further complicated by the fact that PVP and PVE are two different stories.

PVE? Forever. If launch units can still clear Abyssal maps (and they can, since I cleared the last few legendary abyssals with Lilina), then any unit you heavily invest in should always be PVE viable.

PVP; now that’s a lot harder. There is no “have to” as IS can do whatever it wants. Different metas also become more important as new skills release. Windsweep and dazzling were ok, but now save skills are thing so they are much more important. NFU was good, but now everyone has forced follow ups or follow up denial, making it a near necessity.

In theory, 5* exclusive units should last longer, but that isn’t always the case because of how IS can butcher some PRFs every now and then. Meanwhile some units have boring statlines and no PRF, but since the statline is workable they can come back into importance once sufficient inheritance options come up.

TLDR, 5* exclusives should be the best investment, but aren’t always.

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This is kind of a tough question, because it’s not just powercreep in their own role that determines a unit’s relevance in a meta. Sometimes a powercrept unit still has use, and sometimes a unique unit has no use, based on the meta at hand.

As a rough example, Tibarn. At the time of his release, Tibarn became one of the major poster children for AR-D teams, thanks to his guaranteed follow-ups, 3 movement, and nigh-unstoppable Galeforce with backup Heron dancers. Nowadays, he’s almost never seen. Why? While he is powercrept by Pirate Tibarn, who has an arguably better color and sped up cooldown for easier Galeforce, Tibarn himself still performs just fine in most general content, and even Pirate Tibarn isn’t really seen in AR-D. The problem is their role got nerfed.

When Tibarn came out, the only way to stop that special charging was Guard, a sub-standard B-skill, or Sturdy Stance 4, which was available on one unit, who was also godking of all metas at the time. There weren’t many people who could block special charges. NFU was still fairly new to the scene and only on one unit as well, so almost nothing stopped his guaranteed doubles, since he was faster than the armor units who could make an attempt. But as the meta developed, we got more T4 stance skills to slow cooldown charge, and NFU not only became more prolific, but almost mandatory to run. And then Isolation effects happened and the Herons had no chance of escaping either. As a result, Tibarn kinda fell out of the niche he once held, and has little purpose there anymore.

So it’s hard to say. I do think it’s inevitable that changes in the meta will occur. Like, Ishtar wasn’t particularly good before her refine, but after it now has NFU/Windsweep combo for AR-D. For the metas proper, I don’t know if I have an idea of a timeline where it’s acceptable for them to fall off. My ideal answer is they shouldn’t ever completely lose viability. A unit should remain at least workable throughout the game’s lifespan. And I think skill inheritance mostly allows that, even though some are obviously far better than others due to PRFs.

At a random decision point, I’m going to say at least a year for Arena. Units have their BST increased every year, once a year now, so if you’re making a unit irrelevant by introducing a stronger version of what they do in that timeframe, that sucks. That doesn’t feel like good game design, since there are other roles to occupy. AR is harder to say because BST doesn’t technically matter there, and as a result the meta shifts with every new set of units, rather than when new high scoring threats enter the fold. So I haven’t thought about it enough to say. But I’m also going to say 6 months to year, based on this:

The units that hold up the best are those with PRF effects that have skills, rather than stats. Raw stat bonuses are easily powercrept over time, while specific skills like built-in NFU are incredibly hard to powercreep or make irrelevant. A unit like Ike, whose refine is just a few numbers tacked onto a slaying effect, will not take long to be made completely irrelevant with his refine. But a unit like Ryoma is basically unstoppable, because NFU will always have inherent value that cannot be simply “made stronger.” Others might show up with NFU but +5 to all stats, but that’s a less meaningful distinction. And a lot of times, these built-in skill effects are based on skills that have existed in the meta for a while. Take speed-based damage reduction. We had about 8 months I want to say, before that got baked into weapon effects like L!Dimitri and Freyja. That in turn makes all the speed-based damage reduction tanks before them lose favor, because why use up your B-skill for damage reduction and just get some stats from the weapon, when you can run damage reduction in the weapon and other good effects in B? It’s why Mareeta feels like she really holds up but Larcei doesn’t. Mareeta has NFU; Larcei has some stats and buff negation.

I say 6-12 months because, ideally, we’re not introducing too many new mechanics to a meta at once. One major shift occurs, rides high for a while, gets allocated to weapon effects that make previous users irrelevant, they get a few months, then on to the next mechanic. That seems like a decent cycle, giving players who invest for performance a decent length of success, but still keeping the playstyle changing to drive profits. But ideally, those outclassed units still have a role, or are at least good for PVE.

My god I talk a lot…

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For me, I don’t really care about 3-4* investments and their future proof-ness all that much. I’d hope for at least 6 months, but I’ve definitely had cases where it lasted much longer than that and I still use them (like my Caeda), and where it was a lot shorter (like my Fir, basically dead on arrival). This is generally for PvE content and such.

For AR, I don’t necessarily expect my investment to be the best at its job, it just has to do the job at a good level. For instance, take one of my favourites investments, Norne. Even if IS released another bow inf with the exact same stat line but more BST, I’d still be happy with Norne. She still does the job the same, and though someone else might do it better, I don’t really care.

For 5* exclusives it’s completely different. I’m F2P (weeeeeeeeeelllllll to be technical I bought one month of feh pass for caeda and marth), so to be a merge project, you have to be either nearly entirely future proof, or simply a favourite. I merged for example, N!Lyn (she’s my only 5* +10), because she’s not gonna get powercreeped any time soon, including in scoring, where she scores the max. In this case, I expect my 5* exclusive to last at least 18 months, minimum.

But that was a bit of a tangent. How long can we expect things to last in general, whether we build them or not? It really does depend. Some units will just have a ‘futureproof’ factor while others don’t. Generally found in prf effects, and to be the best at their job, unique prf effects.

Generally, there is a big distinction between being the best at what they are, and holding up. Example, Echidna. She’s basically worse N!Hana, but she’s still not a bad investment because she does certainly hold up in the meta, though she has a stronger alternative. How long can we expect units to hold up on average? I’d say for the most part, at least 18 months. How long can we expect units to be the best at what they are? It depends, but something between 3-9 months, though it can fluctuate, and it’s generally worse for 5* exclusives.

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Strangely enough the only investments we can really predict are CYL. I thought Fallens would be as well since they are typically/always second best banner year round, but Hardin proved that is not the case, making me regret forma souling Grima and Delthea. I guess we just got lucky F Celica had a good refine.

But when a new unit comes out and they go defunct, so far their only shot at second life is a weapon refine.

BUT legendary remix is changing that also by adding skills, so it’s almost to say most/all legendaries will eventually be amazing (IS let Lyn down so hard we know something good is coming!)

Now when Flying Ryoma hypothetically “sucks” in 3-5 years from now, will they give him a third life? Second refine? Hard to say, but it’ll be a while as other units will be in line by then.

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Good lord this thread is so long and it only has 5 posts

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F2p +10 Lynja? I’ve been doing it wrong!

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First step of getting a +10: go for a completely different unit and accidentally get way too many copies of the other

Step 2: get the last few copies you need to finish this accidental project

Step 3: profit

Or y’know be like teatime and just save

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Or do both :feh_reinyes:

I was saving for OG Lyn, but after getting her to +10 I had orbs left over, so I spent them all on the DSH banner and got Lynja to +6. I’ll finish her later.

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I’d say it highly depends on the unit themselves for sure on that answer. Because old fast Sword units are always going to need a crap ton of investment to keep up to modern day competition, while Lance Inf units at least doesn’t have nearly as much competition besides that 14% of them being Dimitri

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Was it Tibarn you were going for?

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I’ll try to keep this shorter as a list of things that help a unit have longevity:

  1. Min-maxed stats (dropping speed if you have forced follow-ups or block follow-ups are the obvious examples)
  2. Top-tier A or B (occasionally C) slot skills in their prf weapon or skills (NFU, penalty negation, Chaos Ragnell effect, etc.)
  3. Unique/niche-filling abilities in prf weapon or skill (B!Edelgard’s movement buff, Black Luna, To Change Fate!)
  4. Follow-up denial and guarantee skills and Brave effects, on prf weapons and skills (these overlap with 2, but are particularly noteworthy)
  5. For Arena purposes, high BST or effective BST (currently 180 is good, 175 is lowest acceptable, and 190 is the cap)

The more of these the unit has, the better, and the more likely they are to be useful in the long run. It’s easier to fall behind in stats if you need all of them, like speed tanks. It’s easier to stay relevant if you only need one stat, like Reinhardt only really needs attack.

With these things in mind, the 2021 Fallen banner has 3-4 units that I expect to be relevant for a long time. The Morgans and Edelgard all have all of the above except 5 is a little low for F!M!Morgan. Orson is meh. And Dimitri seems a little wonky, but his alternate-to-follow-ups weapon thing may give him some unique longevity as well.

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Seeing these new fallen heroes, i feel like units will fall off sooner and sooner (?) I have some units that weren’t good even when I merged them, but they’re still working, more or less. Nino was one of my top green units for around 2 years and she made way eventually to my +10 brave micaiah, who still works pretty nice tbh. However, my Male Morgan is underperforming since the beggining and now he finally got the refine, his fallen version is far better than him. I also have the feeling that Naesala isn’t working as well as he did, because of the speed powercreep :/ Its difficult to compete against units with too much text in their weapons using just a beak.

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For as long as you like the unit.

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A unit like Ike, whose refine is just a few numbers tacked onto a slaying effect, will not take long to be made completely irrelevant with his refine.

As someone with a +10 LIke I can only say he is already irrelevant. He can’t really compete with the new earth legendaries. He needs a Duel skill on A (to score worse than other infantry red units, because IS decided to discriminate legendaries with the T4), which prevents him from having an actual A skill.

LRyoma is also being a bit overhyped. He will have to face units like LAzura, LDimitri, LLief or LChrom, all of which have color advantadge on him or can run Deadeye to bypass his DR.

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Yeah, the hype around him is true more outside Arena than inside. Nobody is suddenly conquering Water season because they had a +10 L!Ryoma lying around.

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Best investments at a general level are:

  1. CYL units
  2. any unit that can use DR well
  3. any unit that can easily double or quad without sacrificing your wallet
  4. support units that can buff/debuff/heal or whatever they do that help units in category 1, 2 & 3
  5. $$$$$$$$$$ for desired skills for 1 through 4
  6. look at this list 2 years from now and realize you followed this to the letter without knowing :feh_thinkinglikelukas:
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DR sort of.

A lot of DR is tied to speed, and that has some of the most BS powercreep in the game, so good luck having that still be usable.

Also IS finally seems to have realized they created a problem when they started giving everyone DR instead of just a few units, so now they’re giving us things like Deadeye and even F2P deadeye on Mininnes.

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And soon we will see someone with built in Deadeye on their built in Quad weapon

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:feh_disgusting:

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