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  • A basic yet helpful guide for FH

    (Per request) FH: A helpful guide.

    Here are a few things I'll be touching on in this guide:

    * Recommended units
    * General FH information
    * Basic squad formation/strategies

    (Why) should I change my set up? What's different about the past few FH? How are people scoring so high? And most importantly, how can I score high? These are all very important questions that I hope to answer as effectively as I possibly can.

    First off, it's important to remember one crucial thing to online gaming, never get stuck in your ways. The game is always changing and so should your strategies. With that being said, I'm sure some of you who have been a part of multiple FHs are wondering why you can't score high or perhaps what you thought was a good score, is now considering below average. The solution? Reevaluate your squad. Maybe you need to switch someone out or maybe you just need to change your spheres. With that said, let's go over a few things.

    Q: What's different about the most recent FHs?
    A: Brave Frontier recently starting limiting the amount of units they put in each stage, they released better units, and put a stronger emphasis on 4 things: mitigation, high hit counts, elemental weakness, and BC gen.

    Those last 4 things are basically the core to creating a solid FH squad. But who fills those roles? Well, the easy answer is to throw names most of you know (i.e Maxwell, Shera, Cardes, Lario, etc.) but I want to go deeper than that. I am aware that not everyone has those units and you're well within your rights to want to know if there are any solid replacements. While there aren't any perfect replacements for some of the "perfect" units, I'm going to walk you through each of the four basic requirements and list all of the units that fit that criterion.

    MITIGATION:

    * Shera- solid stats, good BC gen, and her 26 hit SBB makes her perfect for FH

    * Darvanshel- solid stats, decent BC gen, adds 50% def buff, but lacks the recommended hit count

    * Oulu- good hp/def, handy LS, and it's SBB gives a 100% def buff. However, he/it should only be used if you do not have any other options OR if you're running a defensive strategy (I'll get to that later)

    * Narza- tied for 5th in highest normal attack hit count, well balanced stats, prevents status ailments, and adds bb fill buff (gauge fills ‘x’ amount every time you're hit). His perks are off set however by the fact that doesn't even attack in either his BB/SBB. He as well as Oulu should not be used unless you're running a defensive strategy.

    If I were to be completely honest, I'd say that mitigation is almost a necessity. Some people argue that it's not NEEDED and I say they're right. It's not 100% needed but it makes things 100% easier for you to score high. So, don't go without one, find a friend mitigator if you have to.
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    General Spark Info/Units with high hit counts

    Regardless of whether you decide to take a mitigator or not, you'll want to bring unit with high hit counts so that you can produce the maximum amount of sparks possible.

    Q: What do you mean by sparks?
    A: A spark is generated every time two different hits strike the enemy at the same time. You'll actually see the word "spark" every time it happens.

    Q: Why would I want to spark?
    A: You will deal extra damage to the enemies, rack up extra points, and create more BC (battle crystals) than when you don't spark.

    Q: What's the best way to spark?
    A: There are a few different things to take into account but the simplified answer is, systematically hitting the enemy as many times possible with units that have a high number hits in their normal attack, BB, and SBB.

    Q: How do I know when to cast my units BB/SBB in order for them to spark?
    A: "Every unit has their own animation. Some are quick to hit and others are not. Learning which ones are what will significantly improve your damage control for sensitive situations and help you produce the maximum amount of damage/sparks for any given situation."

    Q: What's the best way to learn a unit's animation?
    A: Taking them to a low level quest and using them repeatedly. Watch them attack; see if there's a delay between you casting it and them attacking. You can even count in seconds if that helps you. The idea is to examine and study the unit; that way you'll know what order to cast them to produce the most sparks.

    Q: What units have a high hit count?
    A: Excellent question!! Allow me to list them off you...because there's A LOT.

    40+ hits:
    * Lario- 13/40

    30+ hits:
    * Maxwell- 15/33
    * Cardes- 15/33
    * Elza- 13/30
    * Len- 30/40**
    * Douglas- 22/30
    * Rosetta- 30/20
    * Zellha-12/30
    * Stya- 15**/30

    25+ hits:
    * Luther-15**/28
    * Ardas (Ziz) - 11/27
    * Miku- 27
    * Shera-12**/26
    * Rin- 22/25
    * Shida- 25/0

    20+ hits:
    * Andaria- 22/22
    * Cerise- 22
    * Eve- 17/20
    * Heidt- 20**/20
    * Lidith- 18**/22
    * Faris- 30**/20
    * Kuda- 18/24
    * Deemo- 20
    * Agni- 16**/21
    * Exvehl- 0/24
    * SGX- 0/20

    [**= Single Target attack]

    There are units that attack with single target attacks but they're not worth mentioning because you really only want AoE (area of effect) attacks to generate the most points/BC/sparks when there's multiple enemies. Additionally, if you notice, I grouped a unit, assuming they had ST bb and an AoE SBB, with their AoE hit number, regardless if the ST attack had a higher hit count. Additionally, if you're unit does not have over 20+ hits in either of their BB/SBB, they're not qualified to be a spark unit. Too many units have been released to justify using a below average unit. You will not get the desired results.
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    Elemental Weakness

    Regardless of what mitigator you have or how many high-hitting spark units you're running, in order to achieve the highest maximum scores you'll need elemental weakness points.

    Q: What is elemental weakness?
    A: Exactly what it sounds like; attacking with the enemy with the opposite element (its weakness)

    Q: How exactly does this work?
    A: There are three different ways to attack an enemy with an elemental weakness:

    * The base (original element) of the unit is already the enemy’s weakness.
    * An elemental buff has been added to the unit’s attacks
    * A unit can attack with multiple elements in their BB/SBB

    Q: How does adding an elemental buff affect the battle overall?
    A: In FH specifically, you'll rack up points for the "weak element attack" bonus. The more you hit your opponent with their weak elements, as well as how strong, will affect this bonus. This bonus alone will account for more than 50-75% of your score while using Shida. Taking this bonus seriously will literally double your chances of getting much higher points. Also, apart from points, elemental buffs will always add more damage.

    Q: At what point should I try to add the buff to my squad?
    A: Assuming you have the enemies elemental weakness buff available, always cast it first before anyone else unless there is a specific reason.

    Q: I don't have Shida. Is there anyone else who gives all of the elements like him?
    A: No.

    Q: What other units can give an elemental buff?
    A: Excellent question! Here's a list of units that give an elemental buff and what element they can add to your squad.

    All elements:
    * Shida

    Thunder:
    * Lodin
    * Orna
    * Fiora
    * Dia

    Earth:
    * Lucca
    * Zelban
    * Eve
    * Lucina

    Water:
    * Darvan
    * Eve
    * Lucca
    * Tiara

    Fire:
    * Fiora
    * Michele
    * Orna
    * Goltovah
    * Bran

    Light:
    * Melchio
    * Sodis
    * Yujeh
    * ERIC
    * Grah

    Dark:
    * Grah
    * Yujeh
    * Themis
    * Zaboeth
    * SGX
    * Ardin

    Note: Every unit is assumed to be in their final form, SBB unlocked (where applicable).

    If you notice, I did not include a section for units that attack with multiple elements at once without giving a buff. I did this because, especially in FH, these types of attacks are not as effective as an entire squad receiving a buff and attacking with said buff. Obviously these units are not all really FH worthy but it's good to know what units can help you obtain that necessary buff.
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    Basic FH Squad Formations

    Crit squad:
    - You're most likely running this type of squad for one of the these three reasons

    * You aren't aware that you have other options
    * Speed runs (less points, more runs): common tactic for old school gemmers
    * You like the feeling of OTKing everything

    This setup is probably the worst (IMO) out of all the legitimate squad formations. Why? Here's a small list of pros and cons:

    Pros:
    * You might obtain a reasonable amount of overkill points (FH point bonus)
    * Chances of dying are significantly decreased because your opponent is dead
    * One turn kill bonus (another FH point bonus)

    Cons:
    * One turning ANYTHING is FH is one of the worst ways to acquire points
    * Most likely will not produce a significant amount of sparks for the spark bonus
    * Lack of elemental weakness points/damage
    * Basically the antithesis of every FH point bonus system

    Q: What does a typical Crit squad look like?
    A: Crit squads will always have a leader that increases the damage dealt to critical hits and consist of units that provide attack, critical, def ignore (not always but often) buffs, and a few "filler" units. Buffs are added affects that alter the previous status of the unit(s).

    Classic example of a Crit squad:
    * Leader: Maxwell, Zebra, Vanberk, Rowgen, Arus, or Mariudeth
    * Attack buffer: Michele, Lucca, Zergel, or Kuhla
    * Crit buffer: SGX, Maxwell, Kuda, Orna, Faris, or Aisha
    * Def ignore: Dilma, Raydn, Zephyr, Orwen, or Heidt
    * "Filler" units: Rowgen, Lilith, Logan, Mariudeth, etc.

    Spark squad:
    - Do you like to see that word "spark" on your screen? Are you the type of person that likes to hit opponent as many times possible? Then you're most likely running a squad like this. This type of squad is definitely a much more fitting squad than a straight crit squad.

    Q: What are the advantages to using a spark squad?
    A: Spark squads have a great advantage to attack a unit with a pretty sufficient amount of power or just lightly hitting their opponent, depending on what you want and what units are being used. Spark squads allow more damage control, which is very important in FH, and also provide enough BC to do it over and over again.

    Q: Sounds great! Are there any disadvantages to using a spark squad?
    A: That really depends on what units are being used and what elements are being attacked. In general, what spark squads lack in raw power, they make up for in their ability to constantly hit the enemy over and over again consistently. However, like I just said, depending on what units are being used, even though you'll hit the enemy over and over, it still may not be enough power.

    Q: What does a typical spark squad look like?
    A: Well there are typically two different types of spark squads but generally only one type is used in FH. The common type consists of an Ares lead (units that aid in bb gauge fill speed), a spark buff unit, BC buff, and "filler" units with high hits.

    Example of a spark squad:
    * Leader – Rosetta, Luther, Elza, Stya, Uda, Felneus, Zelnite, Faris, Oboro, etc.
    * Spark buff- Elza, Raydn, Luther, Rosetta, etc.
    * BC buff- Zelnite, Lario, Uda, Stya, etc.
    * "Filler" units- Lario, Stya, Maxwell, Cardes, Rin, Douglas, Rosetta, Zellha, etc.

    Spark/Crit hybrid squads:
    - This type of squad is pretty common and can also be pretty useful and handy in FH. It basically attempts to take the pros of both the straight crit and spark squads and put them into one. For the most part it succeeds but where is it tends to fail is damage control. When you combine raw power with massive amounts of hits it becomes very difficult to not deal too much damage. Therefore, a squad like this is not going to produce the max amount of points possible but it can definitely provide a substantial amount, depending on your skill and units.

    Q: What are some advantages to using this type of squad?
    A: You'll be dealing a great deal of damage to your opponents, making it basically impossible to not win the battle within three turns. You should also be able to pull in a pretty good bonus from your "Overkill", "Spark", and "Attack Bonus" bonuses.

    Q: Are there any cons to using this type of setup?
    A: Yes. As I stated before, this type of squad will most likely not be able to control how much power they'll be putting out. The reason for this is critical hits. Critical hits are stronger than your typical hit and they're unpredictable. The max cap for critical percentage lies at 70%. This can only be achieved the help of buffs or buffs + spheres. Regardless, if it’s just the base 10% or the altered, criticals can and will destroy your chances for producing 'X' amount of damage in sensitive situations.

    Q: What does a typical Spark/Crit squad look like?
    A: Well, generally speaking, you'll want to use an Ares lead due to the fact that critical squads/units do not provide much BC OR critical leader and then have a spark, attack, and crit buffer. The attack buffer is optional but they do help provide that extra damage possibly needed. Just remember the focus is maximum number of hits and maximum damage through attack and crit buffs.

    Example of typical spark/crit squad:
    * Leader- Elza or Maxwell
    * Attack buffer- Michele, Lucca, Kuda, Kuhla, etc.
    * Crit buffer- SGX, Orna, or Kuda
    * "Filler" units (2x)- Elza, Maxwell, Lario, Douglas, Luther, etc.

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    Types of Buffs

    One request I received was to go over all of the potential buffs, for instance what they are, who can provide them, and what they can do. Generally speaking, you break down all of the buffs in the game into three categories: offensive, defensive and neutral. Obviously, you're thinking "duh" but understanding which category a buff falls into can help you decide whether you need that buff or not for your quest.
    NOTE: I did have the time to cover WHO gives all the buffs but it will be included in the full version.

    Offensive buffs:
    * Attack- Increases attack power
    * Crit- Increases the likelihood of critical hits being produced
    * Defense Ignore- Sets defense to 0, countering the damage reduction from a unit’s defense. *It’s a bit more detailed than that but without going into the math of it, that’s as simple as it gets.
    * Defense Down- Decreases the amount of defense an enemy has. It can be stacked with weakness
    * Ailment- Provides a chance to change the original status of the enemy, either through an added buff for the whole squad or through the unit itself. Technically Atk/Def down are ailments but I’m listing them separately.
    * Spark- Increases the amount of damage dealt when sparking
    * Def/Atk conversions- Takes a predetermined amount of a units defense and adds that to the unit's attack power

    Defensive:
    * Defense- Increases the amount of defense a unit has
    * Mitigation- Reduces the damage taken by 25-50% depending on strength of buff
    * Attack Down- decreases the attack power of the enemy by 'x' amount. It can be stacked with ailments like injury.

    Neutral:
    * BC buff- Battle Crystal production is increased
    * HC buff- Heart Crystal production is increased
    * BB fill affect- When being attacked, your bb gauge will fill up 'x' amount
    * Karma- Increases the amount of Karma dropped

    Now that I’ve gone over the general info of each, let’s go over when to use to them.
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    Basic Buff Orders
    Maximum power:
    It’s really important to note that just by casting everything in the order you should, timing when to use them for maximum sparks is up to you. Also, there are SO many variations to casting or activating bb/sbb it’s hard to give a broad approach to this.
    • For maximum power to be produced from your squad, you need to first evaluate who’s on your squad and what buffs they provide. In general however, this is the order you’ll want to cast your units bb/sbb. Keep in mind that your buffs usually only last 2-3 turns max.
    • Elemental buff (Shida)
    • Critical buffer
    • Atk boost
    • Def/Atk Conversions
    • Def ignore
    • Def Down
    • Spark Buff
    • According to some research done by Xerte, well known data miner on Reddit, Spark, BC, HC buffs are added in at the end regardless of when they are cast.
    • Some units will add an elemental buff on top of other buffs, this is ideal. However, keep in mind that if you’re running the Fiora batch (Eve, Ardin, Orna, Fiora, Yujeh, and Lucca) your elemental buff will add up like this: 2+2+2=6. This basically means that all of your units will ONLY have all six elements after turn 2.
    You ALWAYS want to use Shida first on your very first turn if you’re running him on your squad. After your first turn, cast the units in the most efficient spark order since everyone will have all buffs activated.


    To make this a little more personal, let me show you what squad I ran last FH: (Picture is in the added photos section)

    This was a 3 turn kill on a 3 unit stage. I am using the Marauder set and only 3 of my units have sbb10. Anyways, the order in which I casted my squad varied per stage BUT if I was looking for optimal damage I would cast them in this order:
    • Shida- Elemental buffer
    • Shera- Atk buff
    • Elza- Spark buff
    • Cardes- Def buff
    • 2x Lario- BC buff
    If you notice, I’m not using a crit, def ignore, or any other offensive buffs. IF you were running your squad with these buffs, you would cast a little differently. I also chose the units in that order because of how quickly the attacked the enemy.

    My Strategy: The name of the game is DAMAGE CONTROL
    Since I’m running a spark/elemental focused squad AND half of my units do not have sbb10 (intentionally done to avoid producing too much damage), I typically attack full force on my first turn and control how much damage I’m outputting. My goal is to hit the enemy as many times possible while not killing them for 2 turns. On my third turn, ideally, they’ll almost be dead and I will spam them with as much power possible to rack up my “overkill” bonus.

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