BF Squad Building Guide 2021 (Part 1)

BF Squad Building Guide 2021

(Part 1)

Contents

Preface

 

Basic Information

[1.1] The Essence of Squad Building

[1.2] Introduction to Effects

[1.3] In-Battle Actions (Part 1)

 

Effects

[2.1] Effects List

[2.2] Active VS Passive Effects

 

Squad Building Principles

[3.1] In-Battle Actions (Part 2)

[3.2] Unit Roles

[3.3] Squad Building Principles

 

Basic Squad Building

[4.1] Typical Squad Requirements (Early Game)

[4.2] Squad Building Techniques (Basic)

[4.3] Battle Techniques (Basic)

[4.4] Squad for Farming

[4.5] Squad for Arena, VA, and Colosseum (Basic)

[4.6] Squad for Frontier Hunter (Basic)

[4.7] Misconceptions and Bad Habits


Preface

Welcome to the Brave Frontier Squad Building Guide 2020! This guide aims to help players learn squad building progressively to cater to ALL skill and experience levels of players in the game.

Part 1

Chapter 1

Basic Information

Chapter 2

Effects

Chapter 3

Squad Building Principles

Chapter 4

Basic Squad Building

Part 2

Chapter 5

Effects (Revisited)

Chapter 6

Intermediate Squad Building

Part 3

Chapter 7

Advanced Squad Building

Chapter 8

Final Tips

I place heavy emphasis on Chapter 3 because it forms the solid foundation we need before we even start to build the squad. Players who lack this foundation end up with plenty of misconceptions about squad building.

This guide expects the reader to be familiar with the basic features of units (such as BB, SBB, UBB, DBB, ES, and SP) and how to unlock them. Refer to the BF Progression Guide or the wiki for more information.

Quick Glossary

BB – Brave Burst

SBB – Super Brave Burst

UBB – Ultimate Brave Burst

DBB – Dual Brave Burst

NAtk – Normal Attack

LS – Leader Skill

ES – Extra Skill

SP – Skill Points (Enhancements)

ST – Single Target

RT – Random Target

AOE – Area of Effect (Targets All Foes)

KO – Knocked Out (Death)

Chapter 1: Basic Information

[1.1] The Essence of Squad Building

In essence, squad building can be divided into 4 main steps:

  1. Specify the mission.

  2. Identify the effects needed.

  3. Build a squad around those effects.

  4. Optimise the squad.

[Specify the mission] This is the most important step in squad building because the mission will dictate what kind of effects we use. Without this step, we cannot even build a squad because we would not know what effects to use.

[Identify the effects needed] This is the part where new players find a bit challenging at first since there are so many different effects in the game. Throughout this guide, we will be talking about how to go about choosing and prioritising which effects to use for a given mission.

[Build a squad around those effects] This is the fun part of squad building because you get to apply your knowledge and put it together into a squad. However, it is very important that we do this step correctly with as few misconceptions as possible, as we discuss later.

[Optimise the squad] Many players are focused on wanting to make “the best” squad. This step is only possible after specifying the exact mission and identifying the effects needed. Then, you will be ready to apply more advanced knowledge to push your squad to the limit.


[1.2] Introduction to Effects

Effects may come in the form of a useful effect (such as hp restoration), or a boost to a certain parameter or effect (such as attack boost or spark damage boost) and they form the building blocks of squad building. Effects may come from any source: LS, ES, SP, BB/SBB/UBB, etc.

As of 2020, the entire squad building process is about using precise effects revolving around the mission. Having a strong foundation in effects will not only allow us to build good squads, but will also give us very important skills such as:

  • being able to identify the good units from the bad ones

  • being able to pick the correct SP options for units according to what they are used for

Effects can be broadly classified into major and minor categories. These are the major categories that are present in almost every squad:

  • Gauge Effects (BB gauge, OD gauge, etc.)

  • Damage Boost Effects

  • Damage Reduction Effects

  • Status Ailments and Debuffs

  • Survival Effects

  • Multiple Activations/ Actions


[1.3] In-Battle Actions (Part 1)

Apart from effects, there are also various different actions to perform during a battle. It is key to know all of them since most of them will be our sources of effects during the battle.

Normal State

Tap

Normal Attack

Swipe Down

Guard

Swipe Up

BB

Swipe Left

Overdrive

Swipe Right

SBB

Tap on Synergy Gauge + Swipe Up

DBB

Overdrive State

Tap

Normal Attack

Swipe Down

Guard

Swipe Up

UBB

Swipe Left

Bonded BB

Swipe Right

Bonded SBB

Tap on Synergy Gauge + Swipe Up

DBB

Chapter 2: Effects

[2.1] Effects List

Parameter Boosts

Attack Boost

Boosts the Atk parameter.

Attack Boost relative to x stat

Boosts the Atk parameter relative to another parameter.

Defense Boost

Boosts the Def parameter.

Defense Boost relative to x stat

Boosts the Def parameter relative to another parameter.

Recovery Boost

Boosts the Rec parameter.

Recovery Boost relative to x stat

Boosts the Rec parameter relative to another parameter.

BB Atk Boost

Boosts the BB multiplier.

HP Restoration Effects

NA

HP Restoration

HP Restoration per turn

HP Restoration when taking damage

HP Restoration when sparking

BB Gauge Effects

NA

Fills BB gauge (instant)

Fills BB gauge per turn

Fills BB gauge when taking damage

Fills BB gauge when sparking

OD Gauge Effects

NA

Fills OD gauge (instant)

Fills OD gauge per turn

Damage Boosting Effects

There are 3 main damage boosting effects:

  • Critical Hit

  • Spark (when two or more hits land together)

  • Elemental Weakness

Critical Hit Rate

Boosts the rate of critical hits. Has a base of 10%.

Critical Hit Damage

Boosts the damage dealt during a critical hit. Has a base of 150% and a limit of 700%.

Spark Damage

Boosts the damage dealt during a spark. Has a base of 150%.

Elemental Weakness Damage

Boosts the damage dealt when attacking a weaker element. Has a base of 150%.

Damage Reduction Effects

Damage Reduction

Reduces damage taken. Some players use the term Damage Mitigation.

Elemental Damage Reduction

Reduces damage taken from a certain element. Some players use the term Elemental Damage Mitigation.

Barrier

Absorbs damage taken from regular attacks. Has its own element and HP.

Shield

Absorbs damage taken from normal attacks, DoT, and reflect damage. Has its own element, HP and Def stat.

Critical Damage Negation

Negates critical damage from the enemy.

Spark Damage Negation

Negates spark damage from the enemy.

Elemental Negation

Negates elemental weakness damage from the enemy. Does not negate the extra damage from the “add elements” effect.

Status Ailments

Poison

HP decreases every turn.

Weakness

Reduces Def by 50% subtractively.

Sickness

Reduces Rec by 50% subtractively.

Injury

Reduces Atk by 50% subtractively.

Curse

Causes the BB gauge to stop charging and makes BB/SBB/UBB unavailable.

Paralysis

Causes immobility for a fixed number of turns.

Additional Damage (a.k.a. DoT)

Additional Damage

The unit takes damage at the end of the turn. Also known as Damage over Time (DoT).

Additional Damage Reduction

Reduces the amount of additional damage taken. Also known as DoT Reduction. Some players use the term DoT mitigation.

“Elite” Debuffs

Turn Skip

Prevents affected units from taking action.

Doom

Kills the unit at the end of the turn after the doom counter reaches 0.

Amnesia

Disables the BB, SBB, and/or UBB.

Ennui

Prevents the consecutive use of BB, SBB, and/or UBB.

Survival Effects

Evasion

Allows the unit to evade enemy hits.

Angel Idol

Allows the unit to withstand a lethal attack.

KO resistance

Allows the unit to resist KO.

Multiple Activations/ Actions

Twice Activation

Allows the unit to activate BB/SBB/UBB twice. Some players use the term Recast.

Extra Action

Gives the unit an extra action.

There are a ton of other effects in the game. This chapter only serves as a summary of the key effects. We will revisit some of these effects again, and more, in more detail in Chapter 5.


[2.2] Active VS Passive Effects

With so many different effects in the game, it is important that we know how to stack them. There are two main kinds of effects: active effects and passive effects. Active effects are effects which require activation. This may come in the form of a BB/SBB/UBB/DBB usage, or a certain condition met (such as x amount of damage taken). On the other hand, passive effects are effects that are always there and do not need any activation.

Leader Skills, Extra Skills, Spheres, etc. can have either active or passive effects depending on whether or not there is an activation is required.

Buff Stacking Rules In General

  1. All passive effects stack with each other

  2. Active effects do not stack with other active effects of the same kind

  3. Active effects stack with passive effects

  4. BB/SBB effects do not stack with other BB/SBB effects of the same kind

  5. UBB/DBB effects do not stack with other UBB/DBB effects of the same kind

  6. BB/SBB effects stack with UBB/DBB effects

  7. For BB/SBB or UBB/DBB buffs that do not stack, the most recently applied buff will override the previously existing buffs

Proc Effects

Programmed Random Occurrence (a.k.a. Proc) effects are instant effects which may have a certain probability to activate. They can be activated multiple times a turn.

Chapter 3: Squad Building Principles

[3.1] In-Battle Actions (Part 2)

The actions we use in a battle fall into two main categories:

  • To deal damage

  • To provide buffs (effects)

Actions associated with damage output

SBB

DBB

Actions associated with providing buffs

BB/SBB

Bonded BB/SBB

UBB
DBB

[Damage Output] Depending on context, either the SBB or the DBB can be the main source of damage.

[Buff Provision] Since UBB/DBB effects stack with BB/SBB effects, we usually use both BB/SBB activations and UBB/DBB activations to provide the buffs to the squad. DBB activations also come with a certain Synergy Effect that may be very important for certain missions. Bonded BB/SBB activations are used situationally.

Other actions:

  • Guard

    • When more damage reduction is needed

  • Normal attack

    • When single target (ST) damage is needed

    • For a niche method of dealing damage

    • When deliberately not using BB/SBB/UBB for certain reasons

    • As a last resort when the gauges are not filled


[3.2] Unit Roles

Unit roles are generally divided into the following:

  • Focusing the damage output onto certain units

  • Covering the remaining buffs needed from the remaining units

Without considering any passive or active damage boosting effects, there are some units who can still deal much more damage (on SBB) than others. This is because these units have multiple attacks on their SBB. Units used for their damage are called nukers. (We will discuss more detailed features of nukers in the later chapters.)

We have learnt that nukers activating their SBB not only does huge damage but also provides buffs for the squad, meaning that they also provide some form of utility to the squad. However, these buffs are usually insufficient, not to mention that the activation of UBB is also needed for buffs. Therefore, we need other units to cover the remaining buffs. Units used mainly for their buffs are called supports.

The support role is just a general role to describe any unit who provides useful buffs to the squad. There are several subcategories of the support role which you can explore later on during squad building, such as (not exhaustive):

  • Damage Reducer (a.k.a. Damage Mitigator)

  • BB/OD Filler

  • Spark/Critical/EWD Booster

Notice how unit roles are dependent on how they are used, rather than what they are. This is because there is no fixed definition that can be applied for all units, for all players.


[3.3] Squad Building Principles

The following are the fundamental principles of squad building. They provide the solid foundation that players need in order to build optimised squads, whether in early, mid, or late game.

Focus

Since there are a ton of unique missions and bosses in the game, it is impossible, in principle, to build a squad for everything. Having a specific focus will dictate:

  • what effects we put into the squad, and,

  • in which direction to optimise.

Without a specific focus, the squad loses its direction and purpose, and nothing makes sense anymore.

Battle Techniques

Building a good squad is only half the story. Knowing how to use it is just as important. These two skills are like two sides of the same coin, you cannot have one without the other. We will discuss both squad building and battle techniques progressively over the 3 difficulty levels: basic, intermediate, and advanced.

Opening Up Options

Having more options to work with opens up room for more optimised setups, and possibly alternative approaches which can

  • be the key in clearing a mission,

  • outperform your opponents in the case of PvP contents, or,

  • simply be a better squad overall.

Conversely, restricting your options also means closing the doors to potentially better and more optimised setups.

This is why it's extremely important to be flexible with how we assign unit roles (as seen in Chapter 3.1) because having fixed nuker/support labels for units will only restrict our squad building options.

Chapter 4: Basic Squad Building

[4.1] Typical Squad Requirements (Early Game)

Requirements For Nukers

At least 2 (non-RT) attacks on SBB.

(Possible) Requirements For Effects

Gauge Effects

BC/HC Drop Rate

BB per Turn

BB on Hit

Damage Boost Effects

Critical Damage

Spark Damage

Elemental Weakness Damage

Damage Reduction Effects

Standard Dmg. Red. (BB/SBB)

Status Ailments and Debuffs

Ailment Removal

Ailment Negation


[4.2] Squad Building Techniques (Basic)

Squad Structure

When first starting out and deciding which units to put into the squad, you may do the following:

  1. Put 2-3 Nukers into the squad.

  2. Check what buffs you are missing.

  3. Fill in the remaining 2- 3 slots with support units who can cover those missing buffs.

Ensure that at least 1 unit has a good LS to be used as the leader.

Incorporation of Various Sources of Effects

When trying to fulfill effect requirements, pay attention to ALL sources of effects. This includes:

  • Leader Skills

  • Extra Skills

  • Skill Points

  • Elgifs

  • Spheres

  • Items


[4.3] Battle Techniques (Basic)

Spark Optimisation: Basic Method

Spark optimisation is key for damage output. At the basic level, I recommend using Project Sparkle as a tool to output a good order and positioning for the units in the squad.

When attacking, you should always use ×1 speed. ×3 speed messes up the movement of units and thus messes up the sparking of the units in the squad. You may click ×3 speed after your units have started their (last) attack animation.

Reading The Wiki

This is not exactly a battle technique but is very relevant to battles. Bosses run on mechanics, so you need to know what mechanics the bosses have and perform the necessary actions accordingly. Alternatively, you may also seek guides from social media.

Item Usage

In most missions, you will have access to a set of items, either your own items that you bring, or an issued set of items for that mission. Use these items to your advantage.


[4.4] Squad for Farming

Zel, Karma, and Item Farming

For maximum zel, karma, and/or item drops, we use the following:

  • Drop rate boost.

  • Units with lots of hits.

Enemies in quests have a maximum amount of materials that it can drop which can be easily reached just by having enough hits on the units in the squad.

For example, a squad consisting of 5 Geodes is enough to hit the maximum amount of karma drops in Souls Training Ground.

Parade Farming

Parades refers to Metal Parade, Jewel Parade, Imp Parade, and Summoner’s Training Camp (with exp tonics). These dungeons are focused on speed.

Requirements for maximum speed:

  • Only 1 unit attacking (the rest on guard)

  • Fast animation (such as Mifune)

  • That unit must be at the top left corner if moving type

  • Takes 1 turn to kill enemies

One way to kill the enemies in one turn is by having Mifune have a full BB gauge at each turn’s start.

An example of such a setup is:

Lugina L

LS

-30% BC cost

Karl

ES

5 BC per turn for all allies

Mifune

Imperial Savior

-20% BC cost, start of turn BB fill

Eremorn Aegis

8 BC per turn

Enhancement

4 BC per turn

With this setup, Mifune has a 34 BC × 50% = 17 BC requirement to fill his BB gauge. The setup also fills 17 BC in total, at the start of the turn.

Ensure that you have enough free unit capacity to be able to do a full 30 min parade run without interruptions.


[4.5] Squad for Arena, VA, and Colosseum (Basic)

The nature of Arena-like contents is imbalanced in such a way that the damage dealt by units activating SBB is much greater than the damage they can take, ignoring damage reduction factors. This makes survival more important* than damage output.

Effects to Have

AI and KO Resistance

The usage of AI and KO resistance effects is the first step to survival. They are effective since battles only last a few turns.

Ailment Negation

Ensure that your units are passively immune to status ailments.

BB Support

BB support is key to units activating their BB/SBB for damage and buffs. This may come in the form of:

  • BB on hit

  • BB per turn's start

KO Resistance Negation

KO resistance negation is very useful since the opponent will use AI and KO resistance effects too.

The opponent is also likely to have KO resistance negation too which calls for the second layer of defense which we will discuss in Chapter 6.5: Squad for VA and Colosseum (Intermediate).

* In reality, Arena is so easy that you do not need much survival at all. You can optimise your squad to normal attack and kill the enemy on turn 1-2.


[4.6] Squad for Frontier Hunter (Basic)

Key support effects needed in an FH squad:

  • Attack Boosts

  • Spark Damage Boosts

  • Critical Damage Boosts

  • EWD Boosts

  • Twice Activation and/or Extra Action

  • BB Fill (instant)

  • Ailment Removal/Negation

Usage of a UBB

The main source of damage will be the nukers activating SBB. Since UBB buffs stack with SBB buffs, we will need at least one unit using a UBB to provide as many damage boosting effects as possible. Examples of such units are Zedus, Andaria, Ravea, and Armaiti.

BB Support

In order to use BB/SBB/UBBs when attacking each wave of enemies, we must be able to fill our BB gauges without attacking the enemy. This can be done via

  • sphere/elgif/ES/SP/LS with BB gauge effects

  • using non-attacking BBs with BB gauge effects

  • BC drop fills from the previous wave of enemies

  • Fujin Potion

OD Support

Similarly, we will need to fill the OD gauge without attacking the enemy. Thankfully, OD gauge does fill by 500 per turn, regardless of actions done that turn. This means that stalling the turns simply by guarding will eventually fill the OD gauge to full. However, this may be too slow for some players. Therefore, they may use a non-attacking BB with an OD fill (instant) effect.

Leader Skill

Lastly, we need to make sure that we have a Leader Skill with Spark Damage, Critical Damage, and/or EWD boosts. If your nukers or support units have such a Leader Skill, use them as leaders. Else, you will need to add in a unit with such a Leader Skill.

Putting It Together

We now know all the ingredients to make a basic FH squad. Put as many nukers as you can into the squad, while ensuring that all the key effects mentioned earlier are present. The FH squad will typically have the following structures:

  • 4 nukers + 2 supports

  • 3 nukers + 3 supports


[4.7] Misconceptions and Bad Habits

Before we move on to the intermediate level of squad building, let’s make sure that we do not carry over any misconceptions with us that will hinder the squad building process, thus impeding our success.

Misconception #1: Mono-elemental squads are always the best option

The priority when squad building is optimisation instead of following arbitrary themes. Mono-elemental squads are only used when:

  • There is an elemental restriction.

  • The most optimised squad happens to be a mono-elemental squad.

  • There is a heavy punishment.

Misconception #2: Buff overlaps are bad

Buff overlaps are inevitable. Check what you're missing, rather than worry about having buff overlaps. The most infamous worry is worrying about having more than 1 damage mitigator. As long as you have enough nukers in the squad (like 4-5), then it doesn't matter whether you have 2, 3, 4, or even 6 damage mitigators in the squad. This applies to every other buff.

Bad habit #1: Keeping 6 mono squads and reusing them

This can be avoided if you have a solid understanding of focus, one of the fundamental principles in squad building. You should be building squads based on the mission, rather than based on themes.

Bad habit #2: Thinking about "combos" without context

These thoughts/questions include:

  • Is x unit good with y unit?

  • Is x sphere/elgif good for y unit?

  • What unit will be good for x sphere/elgif?

  • What sphere/elgif will be good for x unit?

Squad building relies on the context first, and then the interaction between your units/spheres/elgifs.

Bad habit #3: Fixing spheres/elgifs onto units

Spheres and elgifs should remain as fluid and movable as possible to maximise the number of options that we have access to.


Links

Summoner's Library

Guides by fellow summoners

Tools and resources


Change Log

Resonance Effects section removed

Chapter 4.7 condensed

Chapter 2.9 condensed

Chapter 2: Effects moved to Part 2, and in its place is a new Chapter 2: Effects (Summary)

Chapter 5 moved to Part 2

Chapter 6 and 7 moved to Part 3

Quick Glossary moved to Preface

Essence of Squad Building moved to Chapter 1

Active VS Passive effects moved from Chapter 1.3 to Chapter 2.2

Preface and contents updated to reflect the new structure

In-Battle Actions tabulated

Contents condensed


You may contact me on Discord at Gorochu#2605 if you have any comments/questions 🙂

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