Step zero of team building is box building. A well-built box will go miles further than a badly-built box (and this isn't just a matter of luck or pay-to-win).
The main determining factor between good and bad box building is how you allocate your resources (i.e. feathers and skill inheritances) as these are greatly limited. In other words, choosing the right units to build up will make or break your box.
Alfonse, Sharena and Anna
Up to now, every Arena season has featured either Alfonse, Sharena and Anna alongside newer and random units. This pattern doesn't look like it's going away, meaning it's relatively safe to invest in these three units so you always have a high-quality unit available for Arena without having to perform risky or undesired summons. In the long run, this will save you tons of feathers and orbs.
Alfonse (red sword) is a slow nuke with physical tanking potential.
- His legendary sword gives him Defiant Atk 2, which increses his already high atk even further once below 50% hp.
- You can give him Defiant Def and Brash Assault to turn him into a more min-max'd Brave Sword+ Chrom (Defiant Def will mean most non-blue physical attackers will barely scratch him once triggered).
- Combines well with green nukes and supports, as blue units are his main bane.
Anna (green axe) is a quick, fragile nuke.
- Noatun allows her to warp to other allies once she's below 40% hp (same effect as Wings of Mercy 2). This synergises well with her native Vantage.
- She'll probably want either Fury or Life and Death, depending on how you want to tailor her. Fury has the advantage of making it easier to boot her Vantage and Noatun, as Life and Death will make her fragile enough to be oneshot by most threats.
- Unsurprisingly she combines will with blue tanks capable of checking her red counters and general frailness.
Sharena (blue lance) is well-balanced and has huge support potential as well as decent tanking and nuking performances.
- Fensalir gives her Threaten Atk 2, which eases tanking.
- Unlike Alfonse and Anna, Sharena has a flexible stats spread. How you build her depends largely on team building, but Fury is a frequent pick for her A slot, potentially combined with Threaten Spd to slow her foes down in addtion to lowering their atk. More support-oriented build will want a buff instead in C slot, such as her native Fortify Def.
- Will work in most teams. She's easily the most flexible among these three units.
Generally, you shouldn't invest heavily in units whose potential you're in doubt about. This is where tier lists and unit ratings are relevant - you should identify your box's potentially strongest units, and build these units first. If you're starting out, try building at least one nuke for each color, then add a second nuke for each color so that you have one physical and one magical nuke per color. Here's a list of units summonable at 3star or 4star rarity with good potential (bold for great potential emphasis):
Chrom - One of the highest base atk stats in the game. He's actually slightly more menacing with Brave Sword+ than he is with Falchion.
Olivia - The only budget dancer, and also the only red dancer. Frequently runs Fury to improve bulk and handle Hector and the likes.
Eirika - Unlike Ephraim, Eirika can be summoned at 4star and as such she's the best budget buffer (slightly better than Sharena).
Eliwood - If you're running Frederick in Horse Emblem, Eliwood can serve as a red nuke thanks to Durandal.
Draug - Great at tanking. Unfortunately his low atk limits his offensive potential.
Palla - An excellent red pick for Flier Emblem.
Roy - Mostly good due to his native Triangle Adept 3.
Caeda - With heavy investment she can become a Desperation nuke for Flier Emblem teams a la melee Setsuna.
Donnel - Great BST, and native access to Brave Lance.
Effie - One of the strongest Arena offense units, period. Give her Brave Lance+ and she'll nuke virtually everything.
Abel - An anti-sword unit. Barely improves with inheritance, and the blue slot is usually a mage in Horse Emblem.
Gwendolyn - Excellent tank. Just like Draug her low atk limits her offensive potential, but unlike Draug her color is practical and works well with her spread.
Catria - Great duelist, thanks to Armored Blow and Seal Atk. She can shut foes down so that more offensive allies can take them down with lowered danger.
Cordelia - One of the best flier nukes in the game. Can run Desperation Brave Lance+ with Luna if surrounded with enough Goad/Hone Fliers.
Raven - Good speed and attack.
Cherche - Sky high atk. She'll reach insane power levels with Brave Axe+, and is excellent both on her own and in Flier Emblem.
Camilla - A balanced axe flier. Great at chipping foes down.
Sheena - The green Draug/Gwendolyn. She sports the highest res among the three, and as such is the best tank in terms of stats - unfortunately, sword and red tome users are extremely common and can seriously dent her.
Frederick - An unexpectedly good green tank with an excellent stats spread. Good pick for green slot in Horse Emblem (assuming you aren't running Cecilia).
Red tome users
Tharja - Great ranged nuke assuming she's receiving enough support. She's slower than Linde and Nino, which hurts a little when going for Desperation abuse.
Lilina - A tiny Sanaki. Her huge atk will allow her to destroy many units in a single spell.
Blue tome users
Reinhardt - Best summed up as Chrom on a horse with a blue tome instead of Brave Sword+. Being a cavalier, his BST is lower but otherwise the analogy sums him up pretty well. Excellent at nuking things, especially in Horse Emblem where he's an attractive blue slot pick.
RobinM - RobinM has been hurt hugely by the introduction of inheritance, and is only a shadow of his former self at this point. His stat spread is frankly abysmal - don't build him unless you're doing it for the
Green tome users
Nino - One of the best ranged nukes around. Requires high support to really shine, and needs to stay wary of the Green Tomebreaker wielders brought into the meta by her popularity.
Merric - A def-focused tank mage with anti-flier magic. Better than it sounds.
Cecilia - Popular green slot pick for Horse Emblem. If you run her, you'll need Stahl or Eldigan (5star) for your red slot as Cecilia can't tank much.
Nowi - Mostly a great tank, from an Arena offense perspective. Nowi is definitely worth building, but it's in Arena defense that she really shines.
TikiA - A defensive red dragon. Will burn through Hector and can handle most melee attackers with relative ease, and that's pretty much it.
CorrinF - A tank and debuff specialist. Unexpectedly tough to take down.
Fae - Tank-ish, with good atk potential and native Renewal. Would be great if Falchion users weren't roaming all over the place. Can be great if surrounded with high-level Falchion and Naga checks.
Klein - Comes with native Brave Bow, Death Blow and high atk, which is really all he needs to kill glass canon mages.
Gordin - Gets Brave Bow and high def and atk. Better spread than Klein (unlike him he doesn't waste points in spd), but requires more investment to reach his potential.
Jeorge - A budget Takumi without Close Counter. Mostly used as an anti-mage unit thanks to Parthia.
Setsuna - A fantastic attacker with Brave Bow, Life and Death, Desperation, Luna and appropriate support. Extremely expensive to properly build, but the unit can be summoned from lower rarities nevertheless.
Niles - Best budget mage killer among archers.
Kagero - The game's only dedicated infantry killer (unless you're willing to sacrifice her to transfer her dagger to someone else, such as Jaffar - but it's probably a waste).
Felicia - "Niles, but more." She'll cut through most mages without much difficulty, but unfortunately she can't do much beyond that - she has punishingly low atk and def.
Saizo - A defensive dagger user. Works great as a chipper.
Azama - His native Pain and huge def make it extremely easy to run him as a chipper tank that can also heal allies when needed.
Lissa - High defenses and native Rehabilitate and Renewal. Great at support out-of-the-box.
Wrys - Highest res in the game. That's it, really.
This article is part of the General Team Building Guide, a series of articles written by takaminacchan. A list of the articles in this series can be found at the top of each article.