Table of Contents

Tier Rating

Analysis by milkyytoast
Niles - Cruel to be Kind

3-4

Obtainable as a 3 - 4 only

Related Heroes

Hero Stats

Max Avg Total Stats at Lvl 40
147
HP 37
ATK 25
SPD 34
DEF 17
RES 34

Stat Variations

Level 1 Stat Variation
5★
4★
3★
HP ATK SPD DEF RES
Low 17 5 7 3 7
Middle 18 6 8 4 8
High 19 7 9 5 9

Level 40 Stat Variations
5★
4★
3★
HP ATK SPD DEF RES
Low 34 22 31 13 31
Middle 37 25 34 17 34
High 41 29 37 20 37

IV Sets

Key stats worth increasing through nature if possible.
Complementary stats that matter, but not to the point of picking them over key stats for nature increase.
Relatively worthless stat that can safely be decreased through nature.
HPATKSPDDEFRES

Boons

  • +SPD: Allows Niles to perform and deny follow-ups.
  • +RES: Enables Niles to soak up even more magical damage.

Neutral

  • HP / ATK: Having these stats as banes hurts Niles’ ability to tank and his already low firepower.

Banes

  • -DEF: The best choice for a bane because it does not compromise Niles’ magical bulk or offensive capabilities.

Skill Sets

Best Served Cold (Anti-Mage Build)

Recommended
Slaying Bow+ (+Spd) A Fury 3
Reposition
Alternate: Swap
B Quick Riposte 3
Alternate: Quick Riposte 2
Iceberg C Def Ploy 3
Alternate: Threaten Def 3
SP1,545SDistant Def 3

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Preferred IV's: +SPD / -DEF
  • Weapon: Slaying Bow+ (+Spd)
  • Assist: Reposition / Swap / Reciprocal Aid
  • Special: Iceberg
  • Passive A: Fury
  • Passive B: Quick Riposte
  • Passive C: Def Ploy / Threaten Def
  • Sacred Seal: Distant Def / Atk Ploy

This relatively low-cost build capitalizes on Niles’ innate ability to check many common magical threats, including partially buffed blade mages. The key to this is his Speed – since it can reach 42 with a boon, Fury, and a refined bow, even +Spd mages struggle to perform follow-up attacks and are destroyed by Iceberg when they initiate on him due to Quick Riposte. Notably, Niles also survives combat initiations from fully buffed Reinhardt, Olwen, and Cecilia. Being an archer, the effective damage he is granted against flying units also is also worthwhile despite his relatively low attack.

Def Ploy was chosen because it helps Niles net a few crucial KOs while active, and almost seems as if it was made for him. With Fury Niles reaches 37 Resistance, even when he possesses a neutral IV. Barring some high Resistance mages like Deirdre when she has a Resistance boon, this threshold is enough to activate Def Ploy against most units. This effectively brings Niles’ base Attack up to 30 – 45 with his Slaying Bow and Fury – and also provides support to melee allies who possess a -Attack bane and/or struggle to ORKO without help. Threaten Def is a passable budget option with a smaller range but similar effect.

Iceberg greatly boosts Niles’ damage output due to his high Resistance. Combined with Slaying Bow’s -1 Cooldown effect and Quick Riposte, Niles is able to proc an Iceberg against even the speediest mages that initiate against him, obliterating them on his follow-up attack. In a pinch, he is also able to initiate against an enemy with less than 37 Speed that can counterattack and hit them hard with his special, allowing him to even threaten certain Distant Counter units like Ike and neutral Speed Ryoma.

Swap or Reposition allow Niles to move an ally out of the way and tank a magical hit for them, while Reciprocal Aid gives him the ability to either provide an ally with an HP transfusion or heal himself up if he’s fallen below Quick Riposte’s HP requirement. Distant Def boosts his Resistance to 40 on Enemy Phase, synergizing with Quick Riposte and adding to his magical bulk. This seal strengthens his ability to bait mages tremendously and only serves to contribute to his excellent magical bulk, though if the ability to apply multiple long-range debuffs is more appealing, Atk Ploy can be used instead.

Guard-ian Angel (Max Resistance Build)

Guard Bow+ (+Res)
Alternate: Clarisse’s Bow+ (+Res)
A Distant Def 3
Alternate: Atk/Res Bond 3
Reposition
Alternate: Swap
B Quick Riposte 3
Alternate: Quick Riposte 2
Iceberg C Def Ploy 3
SP1,505SDistant Def 3

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Preferred IV's: +RES / -DEF
  • Weapon: Guard Bow+ (+Res) / Clarrise’s Bow+ (+Res)
  • Assist: Reposition / Swap
  • Special: Iceberg
  • Passive A: Distant Def / Atk/Res Bond
  • Passive B: Quick Riposte
  • Passive C: Def Ploy / Spd Ploy / Atk Ploy / Res Ploy
  • Sacred Seal: Distant Def

This build has the distinction of taking only 15 damage from a +Atk fully buffed Death Blow Quickened Pulse Moonbow Reinhardt and surviving +Atk fully buffed Life and Death Nino, KOing Nino in return.

With a refined bow and +RES IV, Niles reaches 40 Resistance. Combined with Guard Bow’s effect and the Distant Def skill and seal, he has 58 Resistance upon enemy initiation. Unless he is baiting a fully buffed Blade mage or a mage who has access to +6 buffs, most magic users will be unable to even deal chip damage to Niles unless their special is charged. Even then, because of Iceberg’s relatively low cooldown, they will struggle to power through his sky-high Resistance before they are hit hard and KO’d.

An alternative option for Niles’ A skill is Atk / Res Bond. In return for sacrificing one point of Resistance when a ranged foe initiates, Niles is granted +5 Attack when he is adjacent to an ally during combat. When combined with Spur Res, Atk, or Spd, this grants Niles even more magical bulk or higher damage output.

Quick Riposte ensures Niles is able to perform a follow-up attack on enemy phase despite his middling Speed. As for C skills, very few units in the game will be able to avoid a proc of Def, Spd, Atk, or Res Ploy when Niles is running this set, and those who will (like +Res Fury or Fortress Res Deirdre) have a lower-than-average Defense stat that makes them easy targets for Niles to KO upon baiting. As for which one to choose, Def Ploy is generally preferable because it allows Niles to net more KOs after one round of combat if it activates, but Spd, Atk, or Res Ploy could also prove to be useful based on a team's composition.

A potential alternative to this set is to run Clarisse’s bow, which allows Niles to tank a magical hit on enemy phase and then debuff any of the opposing team that is nearby. If this debuff set is run instead, then Def / Res Ploy should be used. This is because Clarrise’s Bow has a built-in Atk / Spd Smoke 2 effect (which inflicts -5 Attack and Speed on foes within two spaces of the unit that attacked), so Atk / Spd Ploy would be redundant.

Introduction

Widely seen as one of the worst available archer units, Niles has struggled to carve himself a place in a vast majority of players’ teams and in the metagame in general. Despite his 3 -- 4 star availability and the ease of merging him, Niles’ low Attack and lack of native accessibility to the Slaying Bow limited his appeal, as he would require significant investment to fill what seemed to be his intended mage-killer niche.

The introduction of the Weapon Refinery and Distant Def seal, however, have given Niles new low-cost tools that significantly boost his utility. A few extra points in Speed and Resistance further add to Niles’ ability to specialize, and with the current popularity of high-firepower mages in both single player modes and the Arena, the fact that he can reliably check many popular magic users further adds to his usefulness. Although he may not be able to run a Brave Bow build to great effect like top-tier archers can, Niles’ own unique strengths make him an interesting choice to add to a team.

Strengths

Unique Stat Spread

Niles’ Speed and Resistance both reach 37 with a boon, allowing him to battle with fully buffed blade mages that would vaporize other archers.

Even though his Attack is low, he is able to target mage’s generally lower Defense, checking them for relatively low investment.

Greatly Improves with SI Investment and Seals

Niles is an ideal user of Ploy skills (aside from Panic Ploy), which can allow him to further support his team in a variety of ways.

The Distant Def seal grants Niles access to a skill that would require much more commitment normally.

Weaknesses

Limited Utility

Niles is not an effective check to dragons. As of the 2.0 update, refined Lightning Breath is able to target Niles’ low Defense stat.

His low base HP affects Niles’ ability to soak up magic damage.

High Competition

Niles competes with other magic tank units like Deirdre, Julia, Arvis, and Saias, as well as other mages who run Triangle Adept / Ploy Skills who are also able to check additional units.

Niles struggles against Triangle Adept Raven mages, which compromises his overall performance even in the area he’s supposed to specialize in.

Team Options

Since Niles absolutely does not want to battle with any other archers and dagger users, it’s necessary include a colourless check in a team composition that includes him. Niles also wants to avoid melee attacks, so any unit fills the role of a physical wall can serve as his bodyguard. Dragons also would be a good choice in a team that includes Niles due to their ability to check a variety of threats.

  • Triangle Adept Raven Mages: Inigo, Shigure, Cecilia, Robin (M), and Robin (F) easily duel with bow or dagger who don’t run Cancel Affinity.
  • Tanky Physical Walls: Hector, Lukas, and Brave Ike are strong units who generally want to avoid magic users, but have no fear when Niles is present.
  • Dragons: Nowi, Adult Tiki, Fae, and Myrrh possess mid-to-high Defense and ability to deal magic damage to provide a wide variety of coverage.

Counters

Coincidentally, Niles wants to avoid the very units that he would do well paired up with like Triangle Adept Raven Mages. If Niles’ Speed is neutral and not boosted by skills like Fury or a seal, he’s threatened by high-Speed melee units who can double him. Niles also struggles with Armor units in general.

  • Speedy Swords: Ayra, Fury +Spd Ryoma, and Mia - all double Niles and hit him in his weak Def.
  • Distant Counter Armors: If Niles initiates on Hector, Valentine Hector, Black Knight, and Zelgius, he will only deal chip damage and then will be KO’d in return.
  • Bulky Armors: Winter Chrom, Winter Lissa, Effie, Halloween Jakob, Winter Robin, and Valentine Eliwood easily soak up Niles’ low damage output, especially when armor buffs are active, and KO him upon retaliation.

Weapon Skills

Weapons SP Rng. Mt.
Iron BowEffective against flying units.
Only Inheritable by Bow users.
50 2 4
Steel BowEffective against flying units.
Learns by default at 3 ★
Only Inheritable by Bow users.
100 2 6
Killer BowEffective against flying units. Accelerates Special trigger (cooldown count-1).
Learns by default at 4 ★
Unlocks at 3 ★
Only Inheritable by Bow users.
200 2 5
Killer Bow+Effective against flying units. Accelerates Special trigger (cooldown count-1).
Unlocks at 5 ★
Only Inheritable by Bow users.
300 2 9
Weapon Evolution
Weapon Upgrades
Weapon Upgrades

Special Skills

Special Skills SP Turns
Chilling WindBoosts damage dealt by 50% of unit's Res.
Learns by default at 4 ★
Unlocks at 3 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
100 4
IcebergBoosts damage dealt by 50% of unit's Res.
Unlocks at 4 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
200 3

Passive Skills

Passive Skills SP Slot
Warding Blow 1Grants Res+2 during combat if unit initiates the attack.
Unlocks at 3 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
50
A
Warding Blow 2Grants Res+4 during combat if unit initiates the attack.
Unlocks at 3 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
100
A
Warding Blow 3Grants Res+6 during combat if unit initiates the attack.
Unlocks at 4 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
200
A
Spur Res 1Grants adjacent allies Res+2 during combat
Unlocks at 3 ★
Inheritable by all units.
50
C
Spur Res 2Grants adjacent allies Res+3 during combat
Unlocks at 4 ★
Inheritable by all units.
100
C
Spur Res 3Grants adjacent allies Res+4 during combat
Unlocks at 5 ★
Inheritable by all units.
200
C

Other Info

Origin
Fire Emblem Fates

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