This is part of the "Synergistic Build Guide" series, where we discuss synergistic builds that are applicable to many different characters.
The main advantage of archers is that they deal physical damage while being mostly out of the Weapon Triangle (except for Raven tomes which is a story for another day). Thus, it can be said that archers have one of the most consistent damage outputs in the game. In this article, we are going to discuss one of the most offense-oriented build for archers, namely the build consisting of Brave Bow and Luna.
The reason Luna works so well with the Brave Bow+ is mainly due to the stats of other beefy characters such as Hector. There are many units that have a high DEF stat and a low SPD stat. By using an appropriate A-slot to mitigate the SPD penalty of Brave Bow+, it is very possible for the archer to attack 4 times on those targets, activating Luna's armor piercing properties on the same engagement. All of this, coupled with the fact that the Brave Bow+ is powerful enough to kill many characters with poor defensive bulk, it is apparent why this combination is extremely lethal.
The main idea is to kill squishy targets with the first 2 hits and kill slow and beefy targets using the guaranteed Luna activation from a quadruple hit.
Passive Skill A
Life and Death is the more common skill of the 2 and has a higher offensive total than Swift Sparrow. However, this reduces the archer's physical and magical bulk. Due to the speed penalty, archers with Brave Bow+ will get doubled by speedier targets even after the boost from the skill, which could spell death for a lot of the archers.
Swift Sparrow is the more conservative skill, as you do not sacrifice bulk unlike Life and Death. The only problem is its relative rarity as a skill as it is only available from the limited 5-star character Spring Lucina.
Regardless, both are great options for the build. Swift Sparrow is a safer passive that allows the archer to take a hit under some circumstances, while Life and Death has a much stronger player phase.
Passive Skill B
The Sword category houses many attackers with high SPD stats, and some of the characters are also bulky enough to survive 2 hits from your Brave Bow. It is quite frequent for your archers to get doubled by these same sword units as well. As such, it makes a lot of sense to run this skill to specifically counter the sword-wielders. Coupled with the fact that they are the most common unit type in the game, SwordBreaker will always be a good option for this build.
Desperation is part of the classic quad-strike build. In this case, it increases the consistency of your archers as your bow-wielder will not need to fear Distant Counter units. This means that your archers will have a much easier time countering Distant Counter Armored units such as Hector.
Long story short, Desperation is better at killing armored units and is better if you already have a sword counter in your team. SwordBreaker is better if you do not have a good blue unit to check the red ones.
Honorable mentions also goes to Cancel Affinity to deal with Raven tomes. However it is actually more recommended to just use another character to dispatch those tome users, as the B slot is rather valuable for Brave Bow users.
There are very little restrictions for support skills as this build needs to be attacking. If you'd like to combo with Desperation, assists Reciprocal Aid and Ardent Sacrifice will create more opportunities for Desperation to activate. Otherwise, Draw Back works very well since you'd prefer for your archer to stay away from harm.
Passive Skill C
This build is a very selfish set that is meant to kill things without support. Thus, skills that can enhance the archer's killing capabilities are the best option. This leaves us with (again) two options: Threaten DEF and Threaten SPD.
Threaten DEF is to further emphasize your strength as a squishy Armor-killer as it adds 10 damage on physically weak targets and about 18 damage on beefy targets (minus 2 due to the deduction from Luna). Most units that fall into this category can not survive the punishment with threaten DEF activated. If your archer did not use Life and Death, Def Ploy works similar albeit with the RES requirements.
Threaten SPD is more to make up for the build's shortcomings. You ensure that you can hit twice on certain targets that are not possible before and you buy yourself an insurance considering it is much tougher for units to follow-up on your archer. Essentially, you cast your net wider to cater for more targets.
Hence, Threaten DEF is there to emphasize the archer's strengths while Threaten SPD is to cover their weaknesses.
ATK +1 and SPD+1 are the obvious choices to enable more possible deaths caused by arrows. HP+3 is not a bad option to increase their chances of survival (sometimes).
Most archers with a high ATK and decent SPD can run this build relatively well. This includes pretty much every archer except Niles, Gordin and Faye. However, the following are the ones to look out for with this build as they have excellent performance. The most ideal boost in their stats' nature would be ATK, followed by SPD.
Bridal Cordelia has one of the most obscene stat distribution for this build, with the highest ATK for an archer and very high SPD. Coupled with Life and Death or Swift Sparrow, Bridal Cordelia could pretty much hit almost everyone 4 times without the drawback of low ATK like Setsuna. This puts her on the pedestal as the strongest archer with this build equipped.
Unfortunately, she is still a limited event character, which makes her almost impossible to get after the Bridal Blessings banner. So if you do not have her, do consider the options below.
These three archers have relatively strong offensive spread for this build. All three have great ATK and good enough SPD to follow-up on many slower targets. Takumi has the most optimal stat spread out of the trio, and Klein has the easiest time recreating the optimal build due to his native skills.
Virion is a bit less optimal than the above archers in terms of stat distribution. However, he is definitely serviceable with the build. As he is also more common, it is easier to hunt for a version with the optimal stat spread. He also utilizes Life and Death better than the other archers due to his extremely respectable physical bulk (46 HP, 26 DEF).
Setsuna is, in short, a tickling machine in terms of stat distribution. This means that she is better at killing squishy targets and will unfortunately struggle against armored units. Considering she performs a quad-strike, every single point of ATK is quadrupled and her low ATK becomes very noticeable. She does, however, show her prowess in killing speedier targets such as Ryoma and Lucina.