Some context: After Gangrel’s release as a GHB unit, he has been my Astra carry and omnitank unit in Astra season thanks to his prf and well-balanced stats for an omnitank relying on Speed, replacing the Vantage Tank style I used with Kronya up until then.
And this is how his build has been for a long time. In the early times, I had Lull Spd/Def instead of Null Follow-Up, as well as Atk Smoke over Panic Smoke since I lacked the fodder to give that to him at the time, but Panic Smoke is now used to ensure Levin Dagger’s activation rate. Close Counter was used instead of Close Foil because I am not a fan of how Close Foil excludes Dragons (and also because I lucked out with a Takumi pitybreaker so I could give him Close Counter) and I finally got him Close Reversal because the additional physical defense patches up one of my builds only weaknesses. I also used Spd/Res Solo Seal until Spd/Res Form’s release as a seal to give him more speed and magical tanking (and true damage), but it was replaced with Spd/Res Form because I find it easy to keep at least one or two allies close by for the damage boost, not to mention that a good deal of Mythics with support skills require Gangrel to stay within 2 spaces for him to reap the effects. I have then gradually upgraded his build to the one you see here today. With all the love I have given him, on his own, being attacked by enemies that have only been debuffed by his Dagger debuff, he literally gains over 20 additional damage (counting both the boosts from his prf, the Dagger 7 debuff, and the true damage from his Levin Dagger) per attack on that enemy and ensures they need to have 68 (in case Gangrel doesn’t double) or 136 bulk (if he doubles) in total after the debuff in order to not keel over from his attacks. And this threshold rises even higher when in Astra season thanks to the Mythic blessings and with the Spd/Res Form seal’s conditions activated. And also, because of the true damage from his prf, Gangrel has also acted as a good wallbreaker despite his “only modest” Atk stat since the true damage is enough to kill, severely cripple, or chip away enough HP from the bulky units that other units are capable of finishing them off, usually with only one attack after Gangrel has softened them up. Noontime is a standard healing special for Gangrel
Mythic-wise, he worked fine with Altina and Naga to boost himself with the blessing boosts, but then Plumeria was released which gave him pretty much everything he wanted; a refresher to make him go again, stat buffs to tank even more, stat debuffs to activate his prf (through her dance or her Sabotage Speed), and in-combat boosts to Atk and Res to help him do even more damage. Ever since, the two have been inseparable as a duo of units I use in AR against most Anima defenses, and they rarely ever let me down.
With the addition of Reginn, Gangrel could now boost himself even more and she also provided a Canto user to occasionally hit-and-run exposed enemies and buildings. Every Astra Mythic since then, from Ashera, to Thórr, to Elimine has consistently provided a measure of support that makes him even better at the role, and capable (with some thinking) to tank the new premium units with broken prf effects have entered the scene.
In terms of units, Flayn when she was introduced, was the second non-Mythic unit used due to her capability of giving damage reduction to Gangrel to further strengthen his tanking capabilities, on top of providing traditional healing and additional Guidance/Ground Orders mobility all the way up until Elimine’s introduction (and I still use her as such when I need a 4-Mythic set-up that can’t include Elimine). Fallen Lyon was used purely as a ranged tank when I needed an additional tank for cavlines (and replaced Flayn when I did). The newest member as a second unit is Ascended Fjórm, who I bring in if I feel I need a Far Saver to withstand particularly insidious ranged units who rely on taking away my ability to counterattack, like Lolichel or a fast/powerful-but-frail Windsweep 2R unit. With these secondary units, I have never felt the need to replace Gangrel as my primary unit on most of my Astra raid teams because he’s just too damn powerful for most defenses to kill. Granted, the weakness of requiring debuffs on opponents still exist and I have suffered defeats due to it when the opponent was able to properly threaten me with actual non-debuffed attackers; but when I only have to use 1-3 uses of the Escape Ladder, if at all, his effect makes him a pretty damn versatile omnitanker, especially for a 2R unit.
And of course, all of this essentially ensured that Gangrel would singlehandedly ensure that my +10 Kronya was retired entirely as my F2P dagger and Astra carry because his omnitanking simply outclassed Kronya’s reliance on her prf’s Vantage effect. Not to such a degree as not needing to think in some of the harder defenses, but enough to make Astra season, whether in Vault of Heaven or on the rebound weeks, into an absolute cakewalk for me to score high on.
He also has quite the legacy behind him as the centerpiece of my Anima Defense, but that is a story for another time. As of now, I’d say that Gangrel with the proper support is probably my pick for one of the best 2R omnitanks in the game.