I find this unit pretty interesting, so I figured I’d make a thread discussing him and his implications for the game. Note that this will specifically target Arena, Aether Raids offense, and Aether Raids defense, so please keep that in mind while reading if none of those are your thing.
So I guess we’re just giving 2 CD Draconic Aura to everyone now? Cool. Anyway, Drive Null Follow Up is insane. If he were not season locked, he’d probably be as universal of a support unit as Brave Lucina and Flayn. Speedy tanks will love him, as they no longer have to forego damage reduction in favor of NFU since they can now run both. This does not just tie to DR either. A lot of combinations are now possible that were not possible before, such as NFU + NCD, NFU + Vantage, NFU + Lull, and so on. It’s worth noting that this Drive NFU is not restricted to infantry, meaning armors, fliers, and cavalry units can take advantage of him too.
Aside from the Drive NFU effect, he does not have too much that otherwise stands out. Combat wise, he is a powercrept Young Merric (and to a lesser extent, Ishtar). Even his special is better. However, we still must pick between a seasonal unit who appears once a year vs a legendary unit who appears multiple times a year but can only be used during Water season.
His stats are not yet out, but we can make the very educated guess that he will have high Atk and Spd with at best middling Def and Res. He notably comes with Atk/Def Ideal instead of Atk/Spd Ideal, and Lull Atk/Res instead of Lull Spd/Res. So there is a chance his defense stat will be slightly higher than we expect. But for now, I’ll predict a stat line of 40/38/40/25/22. We’ll see how close I am.
Okay, now for the fun stuff. I’ll split the analysis of each major PvP mode into smaller sections to not overwhelm this post with so much text.
Firstly, the Arena build.
(using OG Byleth’s art in the custom builder, just modified the stats to my prediction)
The very first legendary Hero we ever got was Fjorm, a Water legendary released nearly 4 years ago, and this is our first Water legendary that has a green color. Honestly, extremely overdue. Legendary Chrom is one of the most oppressive Arena run enders out there, and he’s well over a year old at this point. While most of the playerbase has adapted to him at this point, that does not excuse there not being another same-season legendary who can reliably deal with him and other strong blue units consistently.
L!Chrom isn’t the only unit Byleth can beat obviously; with Windsweep he also has solid matchups against the likes of B!Hector, F!Edelgard, and L!Dimitri (this one in particular depends on his Spd, but in player hands that’s not too difficult to control). He doesn’t even care about Special Fighter effects since he can run Time’s Pulse and get his prf special off immediately. Even if he can’t get into a position where he can comfortably engage, he still provides the stellar Drive NFU effect to his allies.
Byleth will be an excellent addition to any player’s Arena core if they are interested in building a legendary unit for Water season and haven’t done so. Unfortunately, this means pulling for 11 copies of him for maximum scoring potential. So anyone who already has a heavily merged Water legendary will not see him as a necessity for this mode unless in desperate need for a QoL improvement, which is not enough to justify the orb cost unless he is a favorite.
Aether Raids Offense
Unlike other units with NFU weapons, Byleth provides NFU not only to himself, but to all allies within 2 spaces so long as they have higher Spd than their enemy. Speedy tanks will love him, as they no longer need to expend their B slot to run NFU and can use skills like Spurn, Null C Disrupt, or Special Spiral. Since he would be run as a support, he can also be a good Bright Shrine soaker due to his likely Atk and Spd focused stat spread. Worth noting however that Bramimond does not give a crap about Drive NFU, so in Light/Dark season, make sure you can eat 2 hits from Bramimond or have an alternate strategy.
He could run a nice and simple support build like this that can also pick off units if he does need to engage in combat, as must support units do not have this capability, or at least aren’t anywhere near as consistent:
I stated that speedy tanks best work with him, but I’ll give a few examples below:
To no one’s surprise, he has amazing synergy with both Legendary and Brave Dimitri. Legendary Dimitri is already stacked with Spd based damage reduction in his weapon and then the insanity of Atrocity. However, if he fails to one shot the enemy, he is at the mercy of getting doubled by them or they just survive and get danced to snipe the backrow. Since they are both Water legendaries, they are guaranteed to overlap in the time where they can be used. Brave Dimitri is in a similar situation but with a built-in Breath effect, DR based on Def instead of Spd, and a free A slot over true damage and 5 different Smokes. Brave Dimitri already does not need to run Brave Lucina, so having another solid support option for him is much appreciated.
Byleth also has good synergy with Brave Claude, another 3H unit. Claude’s biggest drawback is being a flier, and thus losing access to NFU which he desperately wants. But since Professorial Text is not movement-type locked, Claude can now use NFU. Since Wind Parthia’s effect triggers if he is within 2 spaces of an ally already, may as well make that unit L!Byleth and grant the NFU effect, which is arguably the biggest thing holding Claude back
aside from Fatal Smoke.
I said it’s not movement-type locked, so I’ll go ahead and plug Winter Sothis. One of the fastest armors in the game and Byleth’s best friend, quite literally living in his head rent free. Or not anymore? Idk. Anyway, not much else to say about this. Sirius go brrr.
Ayra and the speedy godswords in general, except Mareeta, Karla, and the Ryomas.
Aether Raids Defense
You’d basically run him the same way you’d run Y!Merric or Ishtar, but with a better special and providing the Drive NFU effect to his nearby allies. Combines well with Nótt due to her Spd based damage reduction allowing her to avoid getting one shot and one rounded by slower units with forced doubles if they rush in.
With this build, he can give even Brave Hector and Fallen Edelgard a run for their money while also having the ability to deal with dragon tanks since Sublime Heaven’s power increases if he’s fighting a beast or a dragon. This makes him one of the best all-around fast green nukes, if not the best. While his role on AR D certainly is not anything new, he’s arguably the best at it.
- Drive NFU opens up many new options for fast tanks
- Ability to punish slower tanks
- Support-combat hybrid unit does not usually work well, but in this case it does
- Performs his role perfectly as a one-off (except for Arena scoring)
- Amazing art and animations
- Bramimond does not give 2 shits about this unit, which limits him in Light/Dark season
- Likely more more frail than other support units like Brave Lucina and M!Corrin, can probably only take a single hit at most
- Legendary status means you need 11 copies to optimize him for Arena usage
- Water season locked, so not as universally useful as other supports
A very strong unit with applications in every mode in the game. Any account would be happy to have him, even as a one-off. That said, I do not consider him a must-pull, especially for well-established accounts. Though every player is different, and I do not like throwing out terms like “must-pull” loosely. So make your best judgment. He does have the advantage of his niche never being powercrept, unless they release a new unit with strictly better stats who can be used in every season and has the same Drive NFU effect. Unlikely to happen for a long time. Rating wise, I’d give him a solid 10/10. Useful in a variety of roles, and isn’t too overblown like Sigurd was. He’s got my approval.
I spent awhile on this, so if it ends up going up after the datamine, then… oh well.