Brave frontier intermediate guides
LAST UPDATED: 13/11/19. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND WHEN READING SECTIONS THAT COMMENT ON THE META.
Please note: Since working on this guide I have quit Brave Frontier, likely for good. This guide will not be updated anymore. I hope that in its current state, it can still be useful to upcoming members.
V1.1 [18/07/19] – Added ‘Damage distribution’ section, edited Deku’s evaluation (LS)
V1.2 [15/10/19] – Minor amendments and some meta-based adjustments
V1.3 [13/11/19] – Small changes to 'buff standards' section
I wanted to build this guide so that people who have a decent grasp on the game and what to do can learn for themselves ‘how’ to do it. My hope is to cover topics like squadbuilding, damage optimisation and the likes so that players can learn to do these things for themselves, evaluate units in these regards and take part in the discussions that the more experiences players take part in rather than just being spoonfed the results.
I like to think that I am a player of around an intermediate level, however I do make mistakes and may have some erroneous information. If you think this is the case, please contact me via discord (iuc#1105) and I’ll try to rectify it as quickly as possible. Also, I haven’t read it myself, but have heard good things about this beginner guide (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OxUB1jt6H753TDbBBfgDG9YgEkvtg18DM-AIh6Wb38g). Also, check out Two Fools (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMgSE2Bwuie8QWxBbAmyJJg); it’s a youtube channel wherein two BF pros Fafnir and Recoome (who are also prominent on the Brave Network) impart knowledge regarding various topics and just talk about the game in general. They are informative and entertaining, and I would encourage you to watch their videos when they come out (and watch the prior ones too) because they are cool and interesting, and will definitely better you as a player.
Finally, not that these guides are not designed to give you a grasp on the gameplay and navigation of Brave Frontier, only the mechanics. Anyways, let’s go into the first think I want to try and look at in detail; dealing damage.
Reading the guide
A lot of underlined unit/sphere/etc names have links attached. You can click the unit name to see if this is the case, and then go to whatever page it leads to. This might help you when I reference units in the guide; as you can quickly access the details of the unit in question (I don’t believe this is available if you’re reading this as a PDF)
This guide is quite long. I understand that. If you aren’t up for reading the whole thing, you can use CTRL+F or the ‘Outline’ tab to the left of the screen to only read up on the things that pique your interest. If you aren’t sure where to start but want a primer to damage, I would recommend reading Damage Calculation Formula, Part I, Multiple BB/SBB combos (Triple Attackers), RT,ST,AOE, Recast, Extra Action, Crit, EWD and Spark (Damage Calculation Formula Part II) (and spark/crit/ewd’s individual sections), Putting it all together, and Appendix A: Stacking. You can also simply read it bit-by-bit, which is another method that I would recommend. Getting a thorough understanding of the concepts in this guide will really help you improve your Brave Frontier skills.
I found that there are a lot of misconceptions regarding damage-dealing in BF that permeate a lot of the beginner playerbase, such as the importance of buffs, sparking, and so on. My plan here is to look at the damage calculation formula in some modicum of detail and outline the role and importance of different buffs in dealing as much damage as possible. Hopefully, then, you can begin planning setups with this information in mind and evaluate the usefulness of a unit when it comes to dealing damage. Also note that this will be looking at damage-dealing in a vacuum for the sake of simplicity. Often times damage will have to be taken into account with other variables, such as survivability in content like Dichroma, or I guess foft c9. But I feel that this should be a good start when it comes to learning how damage works in Brave.
Damage Calculation Formula, Part I
That said, let’s have a look at the first part of the ‘damage calculation formula’, the ATK calculation formula;
‘TotalStat = RoundDown((BaseStat + FlatStat) * (1.0 + LS1 + LS2 + Sphere1 + Sphere2 + ElementalItemBuff + Non-ElementalItemBuff + Elemental/Non-ElementalBBBuff + Elemental/Non-ElementalUBBBuff + tauntBuff + extraSkill + StatusEffects + BBMod + StatusEffectBonusDamage + Overdrive)’ – From Wiki (https://bravefrontierglobal.fandom.com/wiki/Damage) (Most of this would be obvious if you knew a good bit about buff stacking in BF, which I will detail here)
Most of these are self-explanatory, so I won’t go over these in much detail;
BaseStat – The base attack of the unit. This is affected by imps. Nothing else.
FlatStat – Some BBs had a “flat stat” modifier attached to them (for example +150 ATK) that would then subsequently have all other buffs applies to it multiplicatively. This, as far as my knowledge goes, does not really happen anymore. So I wouldn’t worry about it.
LS1/2 – Leader Skills; self-explanatory.
Sphere1/2 – Spheres; self-explanatory.
Non/Elemental Item Buff – Buffs from items, like fire seals (elemental), brute elixirs (non-elemental), and what not. These are mostly depreciated.
TauntBuff – When a unit is taunting, they get an additional stat bonus. Unsure about how stealth interacts.
ExtraSkill – ES; self-explanatory.
StatusEffects – Some ailments present stat modifiers as well, which are applied additively. These are the three that effect stats:
Weakness – Def decreases by half
Sickness – Rec decreases by half
Injury – Atk decreases by half – courtesy of Wiki
Status ailment negation is mostly a commodity now, so I wouldn’t worry too much about this. However, you can apply it to the enemies in rc7 to some degree, which was why I included it.
BBMod – This is the ‘modifier’ for your brave burst. When looking at a BB/SBB/UBB on the wiki you will see something like this:
300% + 900% * [current HP / max HP] on AoE attack
This is essentially a buff applied to your atk when you are using that BB/SBB. When NATK nuking was a thing, part of the appeal was that you could reach the ATK cap without the use of a BB modifier, which made the mod from BB/SBB nuking less appealing. This is also affected by the buff BB mod. The ‘ [current HP / max HP]’ means that this attack is HP-scaling, which I will cover briefly later.
StatusEffectBonusDamage – Some units have an “increase damage against enemies afflicted with status ailments”. That’s what this is.
Overdrive – Units get a 100% buff to ATK/DEF/REC while in OD.
SP – Not on the formula but it also stacks additively with everything else.
Stat Conversions – Also not on the formula. It is important to give extra attention to these because they don’t exactly stack additively in the same way the aforementioned buffs do. Stat conversions are “lump stat bonuses” applied to your final ATK stat (or whatever stat is being converted to) taking into account buffs from the stat that is being converted from. For example, if unit A has a total 600% DEF mod, has a base DEF of 4000 and has a 90% DEF->ATK buff, the calculated conversion is 90% of (600% of 4000) (equating to 4000 x 6 x 0.9 = 21600). This is then added to the ATK stat after it has had its own buffs applied. UBB/DBB and BB/SBB conversions both stack, but each stat can only be converted to once from each of ubb, dbb and bb/sbb. So a BB/SBB REC->ATK and DEF->ATK won’t stack with eachother, for example.
Hopefully you would know a lot of this stuff already. There are a few main takeaways from this, however. The first is that all of these stack additively. Brave Frontier is very misleading in that when you look at a unit page, it lists all the stats of that unit including ES/SP and spheres. (see below). One might assume that all buffs are subsequently applied to that big number, but that isn’t the case.
A better representation would be having the base stat of that unit, with a ‘+’ and then the total bonus including all the additional modifiers. When applying buffs, what increases is not the original stat, but the ‘+’ beside it;
This is quite grounding because it means that your stats don’t increase in the way you might think that they do. It also means that imps are more helpful than you might think. Because they increase your base stat, to which the sum of all your other buffs is applied multiplicatively, they end up having a much larger effect on your overall stat. If your imp is, say, ‘+1000’ to ATK, if your total ATK modifier when using BB/SBB plus all other buffs is something like 3000%, that 1000 ATK imp is now creating a difference of 30,000 in your final stat. Not bad, I would say. The final inference (less an inference, really.) is that all of these stack additively, to which your crit, spark and EWD bonuses are applied multiplicatively. This makes these three aforementioned values considerably more important than your ATK value because they end up having a larger effect on your overall damage. This is also true because ATK has a cap which can be realised without too much trouble, given you have a HP-scaling combo (detailed below). Spark and EWD do not have caps (crit does at 700%) and so they represent a sort of ‘infinite damage scaling potential’ that buffing your atk does not. But before we get into spark, crit and EWD (I’ll probably just cover them as a conglomerate since there isn’t a lot to say), there are a few other things I would like to point out.
Ok, let’s look at the previous example of BB mod that I posted.
300% + 900% * [current HP / max HP] on AoE attack (looks like this in game v )
What does this actually mean, and why is it so cool? Surely if this is based on your HP, it is a bad thing, as your current HP can only go below your max HP. Well, for whatever reason, what BF means when they are talking about ‘max HP’ is actually the base HP of the unit (including imps, I presume). And your current HP is just that, your current HP. Let’s do a working example of what this means.
The modifier above is taken from the SBB of Sero-Anya (who has two HP scaling combos which lends to her damage). Her base HP, as a Lord type, is 10,000. Let’s just spitball and say that in battle, my Sero has 65,000 HP. This means that the total modifier is 300% + 900% * [65,000 / 10,000], totalling to 300 + 5850, or 6150%. This is a massive increase to your attack that lends to why it is so much easier to cap ATK when you are using a BB/SBB with a HP-scaling modifier. Ignoring all other buffs, if this is applied to her base ATK of 3,800, your ‘ATK’ for that combo is already 233700, which is above the highest the ATK cap goes to in the game (200,000). This is another reason why people don’t worry about ATK (the first half of the damage calculation formula) too much. Often, it is already optimised.
Multiple BB/SBB combos (Triple attackers)
Other than HP-scaling combos, another thing you will commonly see on units is multiple ‘combos’. Some units, primarily nukers, can get up to three combos (on SBB normally). In this case they will usually have two combos native to SBB
Followed by one on SP
There is even a sphere that grants an additional combo to a unit (although note it is an ST combo targeting a random enemy), Ihsir’s Wiles;
So what does this ‘powerful attack’ mean? Each ‘attack on x foes’ is, in terms of damage, and additional BB/SBB worth’s. Hypothetically speaking, a unit with one combo with 500% mod would deal approximately half the damage of a unit with two combos at 500% mod if they sparked exactly the same, both proc’d or didn’t proc crit, etc. So you can see why having 3 combos (currently the highest number a single unit can have w/o wiles) is so helpful when it comes to dealing a lot of damage.
However, it is not the end-all when it comes to damage. Sero-Anya is a powerful unit who, despite having two combos (and being a mitigator) is able to deal a considerable amount of damage (albeit not outdamaging the likes of vanilla and chizuru) because although she only has two combos, both are HP-scaling, and she has a high 170% spark and a massive 300% EWD passive(s) along with a 200k ATK limit break on her SP. But dedicated nukers released now will pretty much always have 3 combos.
“But Iuc!” I hear you chorus. “Touka has 3 combos, and people are saying her damage is lower than Fennia and Tevarius! How can this be?!” Well you see…
RT, ST, AoE
There’s actually more to combos on a unit than the number of it. If you look above (or below as I will place a reference to Touka, who has one of each), the combos of a unit will either target ‘all foes’ (AoE), a ‘single foe’ (ST) or be a ‘random .. attack. on all foes’ (RT). All three combos have their ups and downs and are important when evaluating a unit.
– Touka’s 3 combos; AoE, RT, ST respectively
I will begin with AoE, the most obvious. Combos of this nature hit all enemies in the battle at once. This means a few things.
First, when it comes to content where you are trying to maximise damage against multiple enemies, such as FH, this represents far more damage than the other combo types. ST will only hit one enemy, which is a massive difference to the up to 6 that AoE combos can hit simultaneously.
Likewise, in content where you are trying to target and kill one enemy while there are many (such as many raids where you have to kill appendages of the boss before the main body for the drops you want), AoE is quite bad as what you really want is to focus damage on whoever you are targeting rather than other enemies in battle.
The next is ST. Combos of this nature hit the enemy that is currently targeted and only that enemy in battle. This consequences of this are the opposite of that of AoE;
Damage is much lower in content where you are trying to damage many enemies as much as possible (FH)
It is much more useful than the other two types of combos in content where you are trying to focus down one enemy when there are many. This is why units with two ST combos (the recent RC7 summon units) are often used for nuking, alongside or instead of units with three combos wherein two out of three of the combos are AoE.
Finally RT. This is a little different to the other two combos. Combos of this nature have a very high modifier (not quite as high as HP-scaling often reaches, but in the mid thousands). This is split across many “mini combos”. For example, a 30-hit RT with a modifier of 4000% is 30 single-hit, single-target combos with a modifier of 4000 / 30 (133%) all hitting random enemies. Does this mean you can hit the ATK cap multiple times and deal tons of damage? Well, not quite.
First of all, the modifier for each individual ‘combo’ in an RT is very low. It is easy to cap HP-scaling combos and non-HP scaling combos can still be capped with a good number of ATK buffs. A combo with a modifier of 133% is not very helpful when trying to cap, even with other ATK buffs.
Second of all, RT hits random enemies (hence the name..). This means that in terms of sparking, it’s also pretty unreliable, making it difficult to utilise one of the massive contributors to damage in BF.
Finally, RT cannot crit. At all. It is hardcoded into the game that RT will never crit. This is a big issue because crit is a tremendous contributor to damage and without it, RT damage is considerably lower than AoE/ST when it comes to a single enemy or overall.
So, to conclude the question regarding Touka, having RT as a third combo does not really increase her damage by very much. However, it does have some other applications;
Since RT is many small hits that are treated as individual combos, each hit has its own individual chance to proc ailments, BB reduction, and other such effects. This makes it effective in, for example, RC7, wherein the enemies are vulnerable to some status ailments. A unit with an RT combo equipped with 72 Forms (a sphere that gives 100% chance to apply all ailments) can devastate enemies with ailments or, in colo (although with 0bc meta this isn’t really the case anymore) with BB gauge reduction when equipped with wails of lamentation.
We’ve already covered triple-attackers and how having multiple combos significantly increases damage. Well, there’s actually a little more to it than that, and it has to do with how damage is distributed among an attack.
So we already know that units’ attacks are distributed into combos, the damage of which are further distributed into hits. The percentage of total damage that is dealt during each frame of an attack animation is already set up and is the same every time (for individual units). Let’s look at Chizuru’s SBB:
For each of the combos (the third being a result of SP) you can see at what frames of the animation damage is dealt, and then the percentage of damage of the combo that is dealt in that frame. Of course, the total distribution for each combo adds up to 100% because obviously 100% of the damage of that combo is going to be distributed over all of the damage frames of that combo. So the total damage distributed over both of the combos of Chizuru’s SBB is 200%, 100% of each of the two combos. So far so good.
But then, we look at Chizuru’s SP and see the following:
This is the third combo that is added to Chizuru’s SBB, making her a triple-attacker. But combos added by ES/SP (or spheres) don’t have their own pre-designed damage frames or distribution. They actually “borrow” frames (and subsequently distribution) from that of the combos of whatever brave burst the combo is being added to; borrowing all of the frames of the first combo and then all frames save the first hit of all subsequent combos.
So the third combo of Chizuru’s SBB has all of the frames of the first combo, and all frames of the second combo except the first. This also means the third combo will have all the distribution of the first combo (2, 2, 2, 2, 2..), and all the distribution of the second combo except that of the first damage frame (20, 20, 20, 20). If we add all of this up, this means that the total damage distributed among the entirety of the combo is 180%, meaning that the final value after the damage is calculated (atk * crit * ewd * spark) will be 180% of the original value.
Adding this to her two other SBB combos, the total “damage distribution” of her SBB is 380%, which means that her damage is actually closer to what that of a “quad-attacker” would be. This is true for all units whose third combos are added by the unit’s ES or SP (although the numbers will be slightly different), and is another reason why it is so hard for double attackers to catch up to (most) triple attackers. But what about units who have three combos innate to their BB/SBB? Let’s look at Kaneki’s SBB:
The damage from the combos are not borrowed from anywhere, so there are no additional calculations. The total damage distribution of damage for Kaneki’s SBB will be 100% of each of his three combos, resulting in 300%. As a result, despite having worse passives, Chizuru is able to pretty confidently outdamage Kaneki. The same is true for cases such as Bayley > Arumat, and also Vanila > Kaneki.
Of course, that isn’t the end of it. You might recall earlier when I mentioned Ihsir’s Wiles:
As I previously said, when extra combos are added to brave bursts, they borrow the frames and subsequently the damage distribution of the entirety of the first combo, and then all except the first frame of all subsequent combos. So, let’s see how Wiles interacts with Kaneki’s SBB;
The distribution of the first combo will total to 100%. We then remove the first hit of distribution from the second and third combos, adding them both to the total damage distribution of the combo added by Wiles. The total is 100 + (25 + 25 + 25) + (20 + 20 + 20 + 20) = 255%. Adding that to Kaneki’s original 300% from his three SBB combos and you get 555%, meaning that with Wiles (and only in single-target damage, since wiles’ combo is ST) Kaneki is more like a quintuple-and-a-half-attacker. Although Wiles doesn’t actually give any passive damage bonuses (spark/ewd/crit/atk/etc), this significant increase in damage is enough to allow some innate triple combo attackers to outdamage triple combo attackers wherein their third is added by ES or SP. Of course, you can only get one Ihsir’s Wiles, so if you do end up running an innate triple attacker and you’re going for optimum (ST) damage, you’re only going to want one (with Wiles equipped). Also note that Wiles has a similar effect on double-attackers who have very high passives (Sero-Anya, Nia, Hakuzo) as their total damage distribution ends up at around that of non-innate triple attackers. If their passives are high enough to make up for the loss of an offensive sphere, they can sometimes outdamage the more often-used nukers. Also, since the frames are inherited and are therefore the same in the third combo some units are able to self-spark or self-pspark their own combos, or with Wiles. I won’t go into detail on that here, though.
THE BROKEN BUFFS: RECAST AND EXTRA ACTION
Recast is a buff that gives a percentage chance to immediately repeat any BB, SBB or UBB used after the action is finished. So if I proc recast on a unit using an SBB, they will SBB again afterwards. Pretty straightforward.
The effect this has on damage is also, as you would expect, pretty obvious. More attacks = more damage! Many UBBs, such as Tsovinar, Utheria, Mordred and many others grant recast for a few turns at a proc rate of 100%, which serves to greatly increase damage. UBBs that grant 80% like Arthur (who is now severely outdated) can be used in conjunction with a BB/SBB granting a recast chance of 20% or more to reach 100% (they stack additively). Getting UBB recast in your squad not only considerably ups your damage, but it also doubles any “burst effects” in your squad, such as burst OD fill, heals and the like. Recast is a must when it comes to optimising damage.
On another note, an elgif recently came out called Master of the Hunt (obtainable by reaching HR168) that gives the equipped unit 80% UBB recast, which you can then stack with a BB/SBB recast buff to reach perfect (100%) recast. Keep this in mind when evaluating the damage potential of units’ UBBs. For example, Zegstia’s UBB gives 450% EWD, 450% Crit, 400% Spark, 400% ATK and a 50% chance 150% spark critical, but has no recast, meaning it wouldn’t really see use in meta squads, however with MoTH his UBB suddenly grants top-tier damage potential (note that he is not in meta mono fire regardless).
Extra Action is similar to recast except after a unit has acted, they instead get the chance to act again instead of immediately repeating an action. This means that you can choose a different action (you cannot guard on extra actions, however), allowing for extra flexibility, and wait for your squad to finish before attacking with everyone again so you can spark properly. Unfortunately, a lot of difficult content straight up disallows EA because the way it was coded allows for strategies like iUBB. Furthermore, if a unit has EA and recast, their extra action will also be recasted, giving them a total of four actions for that turn; this is capitalised upon in a strategy called “timlo nuking” (Lina made a video on it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6CMr75ylCc&t=142s) which allows you to deal absurd amounts of damage in a turn. The way it stacks is also a little weird. I will detail the stacking of EA here.
THE BIG THREE
Crit, EWD and Spark (Damage Calculation Formula, Part II)
So, there is actually a second part to the damage calculation formula. Simplified, it looks like this:
DMG = ATK * SPARK * CRIT * EWD
As I previously stated, there isn’t a lot to say on crit, EWD and spark that I really want to say, but suffice it to say that these three buffs are your sort of “big three” (ATK being the “little one”, sorry ATK) that you’re going to want to get as high as possible to optimise damage. I’ll briefly cover each one. All crit, spark and EWD buffs stack additively when the buffs being applied have different IDs (see Appendix A: Stacking)
Sparking occurs when two units land an attack at the exact same time. When this happens, the spark modifier is applied to those hits. That’s all, really. Spark has no cap, so you’ll want it to be as high as possible. There are some guides on how to spark well (Speedfox’s comes to mind), but suffice it to say that having dupes allows for “perfect sparking”, wherein you spark all the hits of duplicate nukers (since they, being the same units have the same damage frames). This is why having duplicate nukers is seen as a good idea. Some units “self-spark”, meaning their multiple combos spark with one another. The base spark modifier is 50%.
EWD stands for Elemental Weakness Damage. It is applied when a unit hits an enemy whose element is weak to the BASE ELEMENT of the attacker. A common misconception is that EWD applies when you have the buff “adds [all elements/a number of elements] to attack”. This is not the case, it only applies to base element. If you hit a unit with the aforementioned buff applied and do not have base elemental advantage, you will still get a slight damage bonus, but any increases to elemental weakness damage will not be applied. EWD has no cap and so you also want this to be as high as possible. This buff is also one of the reasons why mono squads are used lategame against mono element content (aside from you literally being forced to use mono squads, lol). The base EWD modifier is 50%.
(Do note that with add all elements to attack, you do get the base ewd modifier. But ewd buffs will have no effect).
Each attack has a chance to crit. If it crits, the crit modifier is applied to it. Crit caps at 700% bonus, starting at 150% – so the most you can increase it by is 550%. Crit chance starts at 10% and caps at 70%, so the most you can increase it by is 60% (which is what most crit chance buffs achieve instantly). Also note that entire combos have this crit chance, not individual hits. Observe this image of Vanilla after using SBB in lab with crits guaranteed:
– 3 crits for 3 combos, as opposed to 49 crits for 49 hits
Crit is super important for dealing damage, so if you plan on dealing as much as you can, be sure to include some crit buffs and cap crit rate when squad building.
Spark and critical vulnerability are relatively uncommon (de)buffs that you will find occasionally. I for one didn’t know off the top of my head any units that had either of these two buffs, however I was fortunate enough to stumble upon both on Galene’s SP skills:
What these debuffs do is increase the damage an enemy takes from either crit or spark, stacking additively with their respective buffs. So if you have a 200% spark buff and you apply Galene’s 30% spark vulnerability to an enemy, the total spark damage “buff” you are hitting that enemy is is 230%. This is useful since it gets around buffwipes and the like, and is also technically a workaround to the 700% crit cap since it doesn’t count as adding to that number.
However, as you might have already noticed, crit and spark (and EWD) vulnerability multipliers tend to be quite.. small. 30% is very low compared to the 200% spark buff that some units can apply, or even the lower mono-element spark buffs that some units like Cayena (see BB, mod 50%) can apply. So while it is nice to have and useful, I wouldn’t consider it a significant grievance if you find your squad missing either of these. I suppose when evaluating units, you can take into account these buffs by simply adding it to the ‘total spark/crit buff’ that said unit is able to grant. Elemental Weakness Damage vulnerability can be found on the SBB of Acnologia (at a measly 15%)
Spark critical is exactly what it sounds like; a critical spark. This buffs adds a percentage chance for a spark to deal additional damage based on a modifier that stacks additively with whatever spark modifier you currently have.
For example, if I use Utheria’s SBB for a 50% chance for 60% spark critical, it means each of my sparks has a 50% to have an additional 60% spark modifier (assuming hypotherically that no spark buff are applied, this will be added to the base 50% spark mod resulting in a 110% spark modifier for that hit). Again, this is a nice buff to have but relatively uncommon. Keep it in mind if a unit has a good spark critical buff, but don’t worry at all if it’s not something that your squad is capable of.
The next section will be on evaluating the damage of units. However, I understand that it’s difficult to take the meta into account when you don’t know what the standard buff values are, and other factors like it. So I’m going to put in this section the contemporary standards help for certain damage-dealing buffs. You can refer to it when going through the next section.
Leader Skills – Good damage-dealing leader skills will provide two of EWD (225%), Crit (~150%), and Spark (~150%), with very few units providing all three (Arumat). Units are now emerging with 250%+ in two of the three, these are very strong and usually end up being the best in their element (Juzo, Paris). Spark and ewd preferred usually since a ubb with crit mean it caps fairly easily. High ATK boost is indicative of a damage dealing LS and welcome but not very influential. Will sometimes have ATK cap limit break but this will often be relatively low and overwritten by the SP skills or spheres of nukers in a squad.
BB/SBB Buffs (see below):
SPARK: ~200%, (Elemental): ~50%
CRIT: ~150%, (Elemental): ~125%
TRISTAT: ~200% (Elemental): ~150%, (Self):
CONVERSIONS (from ATK/DEF/REC): ~110%, (Self):
CONVERSIONS (from HP): ~70%, (Self): ~80% (I only know of Tsovinar with this capability)
SPARK/CRIT/EWD VULNERABILITY: ~30%, ~30%, 15% respectively
SPARK CRIT: ~50% probability, ~60% bonus
CRIT RATE: 60%
EXTRA ACTION: ~25%
UBB/DBB Buffs (see below):
CONVERSIONS (from ATK/DEF/REC):
CONVERSIONS (from HP): ~200%
CRIT RATE: 60%
EXTRA ACTION: 100%
Passives (see below):
SPARK: ~160% (highest 430%) [Technically Feora has 800% but she only has 1 combo]
CRIT: ~150% (highest ???%)
EWD: ~200% (highest 300%)
Putting it all together
So, now you should know the factors that go into dealing damage and (hopefully) some stuff about how to build a damage-oriented squad and how to evaluate the damage that a unit is capable of. To finish, I’m going to look at a few units in detail and evaluate their damage, taking into account all of the stuff that we have learned. I’d encourage you to read their kits and come up with your own opinions, and then follow along with my evaluation to see whether you agree or not. Also do keep in mind that evaluating units entirely in this theoretical way, or in a vacuum is not a great idea as in order to accurately gauge the potential of a unit, testing is always needed.
Tsovinar – great damage buffer and nuker
Ignoring her potential for increasing damage of other units, let’s first look at her potential solely as a nuker.
First of all, she has a 170% spark passive on SP as well as the ability to break the ATK cap up to 180,000. 170% spark passive is quite good, but not massive but she has no other passives. The fact that it is present, however, should lend itself to good damage when combined with her three combos on SBB (aoe aoe st, which is good for FH), one of which is HP scaling, and the other two having high modifiers. 180,000 is quite high for ATK cap LB, however it would be overwritten when using something like Victory Chant, which has an ATK cap LB of 190k (although in content where sphere lock is prevalent her SP becomes incredibly useful). Her BB has a self-HP conversion which should help her to cap ATK more easily. Her movement type is teleporter, which is alright, although stationary would be preferred. Her animation isn’t great for sparking but you can still perfect spark her with dupes. Overall her damage should end up being quite high (especially within the water element, wherein she is one of but not the best nukers in the game) but presumably not as high as the best nuker in the game (irrespective of Deku strats).
Of course, there is more to Tsovinar’s helpfulness than that. Her leader skill sports an impressive 160% spark and 225% EWD, which makes it a fantastic LS for increasing damage. On ES she has 150k ATK LB for all allies which might help to improve damage of your non-nukers but is unlikely to be relevant to your other nukers, who will have higher ATK LBs naturally. On her SBB she grants 200% spark, 125% crit and 600% BB mod – which are all good values and will help to increase damage if you don’t have them in your squad. BB mod is somewhat negligible since you will ideally be capping ATK anyway, but is still nice to have. Her UBB is fantastic for damage sporting 400% spark and crit (no EWD sadly) along with recast. Finally she has a max HP boost which can help with HP scaling but is not particularly worthy of note.
I’m not going to assign an arbitrary /10 rating for Tsovinar’s damage, but suffice it to say that her passives make her an excellent standalone damage dealer and with just her we already have spark and crit rate/damage covered, along with a damaging UBB if we need it, and a damage-based leader skill. Not only that but she is also an effective damage dealer on her own in a vacuum, making her increasingly slot-efficient. Multiples of her can be included to ameliorate any sparking issues and to little expense because the buffs she supplies to the team are of great value. If we want to use her, we will want to consider bringing units that grant EWD and possibly extra-action.
Whereas we looked at Tsovinar’s solo damage first and her damage-boosting capabilities afterwards, we’re going to do the opposite with Arumat.
First of all, his LS is (if I am not mistaken) the highest damage-boosting LS in the game. 200% spark, EWD, and crit are technically not the highest LS values in the game but having them all on one leaderskill is incredibly powerful. One could argue that if you are using a UBB with crit and have crit damage on SBB as well you will cap anyways, making that 200% crit redundant and necessitating another LS for optimum damage but I digress. He also gives 150k ATK LB to all units, which is helpful but will likely be overwritten where it is relevant. But suffice to say his LS is powerful.
In his BB he has the “holy quartet” (if you want to count ATK) of damage buffs, granting 150% crit, 200% Spark and EWD, 60% crit rate and 300% ATK. The ATK is helpful if you’re struggling to cap your non-HP scaling attacks, and 200% EWD/Spark is quite high. Most importantly, Arumat has all four of these buffs in one skill, on one unit – meaning other slots can be dedicated to other buffs or just dedicated nukers. He also passively increases the spark, ewd and crit damage of all allies by 30% on his ES, which is a nice stackable boon.
In terms of nuking, his SBB has three combos (aoe aoe st), one of which is HP scaling. However note that they are all innate so he will be outdamaged by units like Bayley and the more recent Ulagan. He also has 100% spark, crit and EWD passives on his SP. If you choose to, you can have his SBB recast at an 100% rate as well. Even if you choose to assume that you are going to cap crit and that therefore his crit passive is redundant, 100% spark and EWD is still impressive. Coupled with his three combos and passive 200k ATK LB (ES), Arumat is a force to be reckoned with.
Of course, there are reasons why he might not be used in some earth content, likely pertaining to his 20% increase to damage received for all allies, and the 30% increase in damage received prerequisite for some of his SPs. Nevertheless, Arumat is truly the definition of a damage unit. His LS, ES, and BB/SBB kit are all geared towards carnage. Unfortunately his UBB buffs are all selfish (along with no EA or recast), so it isn’t the best choice in earth for damage dealing.
Shu is a relatively powerful unit, however in terms of collab units and general recent releases he is a little bit.. Disappointing. His LS (in terms of damage) grants just a 300% spark buff, which, while very high, is low when compared to his collab buddy Kaneki, who grants 300% EWD and 200% spark (on SP).
Shu is a mitigator, so it is perhaps a little bit unfair to expect him to grant tons of damage. However, in his BB/SBB he can grant 200% crit, and if you pay 25 SP, 200% EWD is well, which isn’t bad, especially for a mitigator.
In terms of raw damage, Shu sports a crazy 400% spark passive (SBB + ES + SP), which, if he had a third combo, could very easily put him up as one of the most damaging nukers in the game, pushing him past Bayley, whose sole passive is a 170% spark passive. Not only that, but both of his combos (aoe st) are HP-scaling! Sadly, he doesn’t have that third combo. And not having that third combo seriously neuters his damage.
Still, though, although you probably won’t be using his LS, you can expect an increase in damage if you choose to add Shu in as your mitigator. The trouble is where he fits in as a mitigator, when earth is already happy with the likes of LS-all star Senbonzakura Miku and Gajeel.
Deku (Izuku Midoriya – Deku is his nickname in the anime he’s from)
Deku’s LS is quite good for damage if you take his SP that adds (225%) thunder EWD. This gives him 180% spark and 225% ewd, which makes for a solid thunder LS; he also has BBatk on his LS, however that isn't as useful a buff as the aforementioned two since it only serves to help cap atk, which will often happen regardless (even if it doesn't on your non-hp scaling combos, it is still less valuable than spark and ewd)
He is able to grant 160% spark on BB/SBB, which is ok but not amazing. If you have no other spark buffers, it’s nice, but it certainly isn’t what deku is known for.
He has 3 combos when fighting thunder or water types (aoe type-specific st), one of which is hp-scaling – which lends itself to high damage when coupled with his total 200% crit passive, 100% spark and 100% EWD passive. Already he is one of the most damaging thunder nukers in the game.
However, on his SBB you’ll see this:
inflicts 25% max HP damage to self
Deku is the only unit in the game with this effect and it is what makes him the most damaging nuker in the game by quite a considerable amount.
You see, the damage that Deku inflicts to himself is quite literally self-inflicted damage, to the point wherein the game takes into account things such as whether or not Deku has ailments added to attack. What this means is that if Deku rolls paralysis (which he will you have 100% all ailments, a la Mordred UBB or 72 Forms) he will paralyse himself upon using his SBB. When a unit’s paralysis is purged, it’s treated as though they haven’t made an action that turn. This means that Deku can then have his paralysis purged in the same turn, and then SBB again to reapply it, and then have it purged again, and repeat this again, and again, and again… allowing him to SBB more times in one turn than EA could ever allow (even more if you do have EA applied).
This is more of an interesting tidbit that I wanted to add, although regardless Deku would still probably be (one of) the best thunder nuker(s) in the game without access to this “glitch”. However, it does have interesting implications on the optimum mono thunder squad. Any unit that negates status ailments for all allies on ES (Touka, Fennia) cannot be used in the “meta” mono thunder (don’t be mistaken, they are still great units) simply because their ES would disable this strat, named Dekucide. Units that work well with Deku, such as the aforementioned Mordred also receive a boon in their evaluations. In any case, you know what to do if we ever see another nuker with self-inflicted damage.
Kranus’ LS is ok in terms of damage. 200% spark is good, but he offers no other pertinent damage buffs. It would be best to use another LS if you are going for damage, like that of Keres or Katerin (if you can apply ailments to the enemy).
His kit offers 200% spark to all allies, which is also quite nice; especially in dark which doesn’t have too many spark buffers. But, again, it isn’t anything particularly worthy of note.
His damage overall is a different story. Assuming you take his damage path, he has three combos, (aoe aoe aoe; an otherwise unprecedented combination), two of which are HP-scaling, along with a 300% spark passive (from SBB) – this is far beyond what most nukers offer, and would easily make him one of the strongest nukers in the game..
Unfortunately, his animation sucks. It’s really bad. It’s so hard to spark, in fact, that just the fact that it is so bad drops him from being easily one of the best nukers in the game to being just a 'good' damage dealer. This makes Kranus a prime example of why testing damage as well as comparing them in theory is so important. On paper, he is a fantastic nuker. In reality, he.. Isn’t quite there (unless you have a spark blanket such as Acnologia, who has a large spread of hits that is easy to spark with; ameliorating Kranus’ animation issue).
Over to you
So, that’s it! I thank you for reading my guide and congratulate you on getting through all of it (or some of it if you didn’t read it all). I would encourage you to read up on some units that interest you, come up with your own opinions and perhaps discuss with other players on the Brave Network Discord or the like regarding your conclusions. I would also encourage you to do the same with new units that come out. Hopefully this guide has equipped you more to keep up with the meta with your own knowledge and skill, and has you well on the way towards becoming a Brave Frontier pro!
Appendix A: Stacking
It’s important to understand how buffs stack and overwrite in Brave Frontier in order to make the most of your units and their kits. Essentially, each “type” of buff has something called a ‘buff ID’. When a unit receives a buff with the same ID as a buff they already have applied, the already-applied buff is overwritten.
But it isn’t quite as simple as all tristat (an aggregate term referring to ATK, DEF and REC buffs) buffs having the same ID. It often depends on who is receiving the buff. For example, party tristat, element-specific tristat and self-specific tristat all stack with one another, and these all also stack with UBB tristat (additively as is noted in ‘Damage Calculation Formula – Part I’). Generally speaking, buffs of the following variety will stack (additively, remember – pretty much everything stacks additively in BF, although there are a few exceptions which I will note later) with one another:
Partywide (‘..of all allies’)
Self (‘…boosts own..’)
Element (‘…of Fire/Water/Earth/Thunder/Light/Dark types..’)
UBB/DBB variants of all of the above (apparently, they don’t stack with eachother)
So stacking, for example, party spark, element-specific spark, and UBB/DBB spark is a surefire way to increase damage.
I omitted self-spark in that example because people generally just add that onto the “passives” of a unit. Shu for example has 100% passive spark on ES, 150% self-spark on SBB and 150% self-spark on SP. Most people would just add these all together and say that Shu has a (pretty massive) 400% spark passive.
– Shu’s ES, SBB and SP spark ‘passives’ (respectively)
Extra action is a buff that stacks a little weirdly (or maybe this just confuses me). Self and party extra action do not stack, however there is a buff separate from the regular “X% chance to perform extra action” that does stack with the aforementioned buff, which is “X% chance to perform 2 extra actions”. Do note that this is a X% chance to perform one extra action, following by a X% chance to perform another action, so the action chance of performing both EAs offered by this buff is X^2%. So assuming you have 100% UBB EA, and (hypothetically, this buff doesn’t exist) 50% chance to perform 2 extra actions, your ‘EA chain’ looks like this:
Normal action for turn -> 100% UBB Extra action -> 50% Extra action (1) -> 50% Extra action (2)
Anyways, since these two stack, you can in theory perform 3 extra actions in one turn, which leads to moments like this (watch from 2:12).