Tier Rating
Analysis by lordhelpme
Summer Gaius - Thief Exposed

5

Obtainable as a 5 only
Hero Stats
Max Avg Total Stats at Lvl 40
148
HP 34
ATK 30
SPD 37
DEF 19
RES 28
Stat Variations
Level 1 Stat Variation
5★
HP ATK SPD DEF RES
Low 16 7 8 3 5
Middle 17 8 9 4 6
High 18 9 10 5 7

Level 40 Stat Variations
5★
HP ATK SPD DEF RES
Low 31 26 34 16 24
Middle 34 30 37 19 28
High 37 33 40 22 31
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: Arguably Gaius’ best boon, a Speed boon helps build upon his already fantastic base Speed, offering great versatility for both Player Phase and Enemy Phase builds. 
  • +ATK: An Attack boon can come an extremely long way in helping mediate Gaius’ rather mediocre base Attack stat; a boon in this stat is particularly impactful when used with offensively oriented weapons like Brave Bow. 
  • +RES: One of Gaius’ more unique characteristics in comparison to other archers is his decent Resistance stat which can be capitalized on with a boon. This allows Gaius to specialize as a mage tank and gives him an easier time in using Ploys.

Neutral

  • HP: His HP stat is generally best left at neutral to preserve his magical bulk. However, it does have its merits as a bane when using skills such as Desperation that require Gaius to reach an HP threshold.

Banes

  • -DEF: Gaius inherently has horrible physical bulk (53 at neutral), making his Defense stat his perfect dump stat since it is too low to ever make a difference in his match-ups.
Skill Sets
Embracing the Heat (Firesweep)
Recommended
Firesweep Bow+ A Life and Death 3
Alternate: Fury 3
Reposition B Chill Def 3
Alternate: Chill Spd 3
Luna
Alternate: Moonbow
C Even Spd Wave 3
Alternate: Spd Smoke 3
SP1,995SFlashing Blade 3

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Preferred IV: +SPD / -DEF
  • Weapon: Firesweep Bow+ 
  • Assist: Reposition
  • Special: Moonbow / Luna
  • Passive A: Life and Death / Fury 
  • Passive B: Chill Def / Chill Spd / Flexible
  • Passive C: Even Spd Wave / Spd Smoke / Def Smoke 
  • Sacred Seal: Flashing Blade / Atk Smoke

Gaius also has the option of running a set revolving around the use of the Firesweep Bow, eliminating any worry of him being killed in retaliation due to his pitiful physical bulk. The bow’s effect of canceling out all counter-attacks also allows Gaius to become an effective debuffer should one choose to stack Smoke skills in his C and seal slot. A Speed boon is ideal here to further boost his ability to double and increase his raw damage output considerably. 

For his A slot, Life and Death is his best option, offering Gaius the greatest boost to his offenses. Though this comes at the cost of his defenses, Firesweep’s effect renders this a non-issue as he should not be getting with this build, regardless of his A slot. Life and Death coupled with a Speed boon brings Gaius up to an impressive 45 Speed, and with further buffs, it is unlikely that he does not double. However, should one wish to preserve his magical bulk in the case that he needs to tank a magical hit, Fury makes for a decent alternative. 

Moving on to the choice of Special, Gaius’ stats are too low to use a Special that scales off of them, leaving Moonbow and Luna as his only two viable options. When used in tandem with the Flashing Blade seal, Moonbow will be able to activate in every single engagement, provided that he doubles his opponent and that Flashing Blade activates. However, if using any other seal, then Luna will be the best option as they will both activate in every other encounter if assuming that Gaius doubles in each combat.

Gaius’ B slot is flexible and is open to several options. Chill Def and Chill Spd are especially great choices, as the debuff they provide are unavoidable and improve not only Gaius’ overall performance but his teammates’ as well. On a budget, Cancel Affinity and Wings of Mercy also prove to be effective alternatives. Cancel Affinity lets Gaius deal with the occasional Triangle Adept Raven mage, while Wings of Mercy can help out in a pinch to get an ally out of harm’s way or to finish off a weakened opponent. 

Even Spd Wave is a fantastic skill to utilize in his C slot to enhance his ability to perform follow-up attacks tremendously on even numbered turns. However, it is not a necessarily required for Gaius to function and can be replicated by providing him Speed buffs. One can also choose to run a Smoke skill in both his C slot and seal slot gives him the ability to cripple entire teams with a single strike. Though a duo of Atk and Spd Smoke generally provides the most debilitating debuff to his opponents, one may also opt to run Def Smoke in his C slot depending on his team composition; it is most effective when used in tandem with melee sweepers. 

Tropical Shield (Anti-Mage)
Recommended
Slaying Bow+ (+Spd) A Atk/Res Solo 3
Alternate: Fury 3
Reposition B Chill Spd 3
Alternate: Cancel Affinity 3
Iceberg C Atk Smoke 3
SP1,605SDistant Def 3

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Preferred IV: +SPD or +RES / -DEF
  • Weapon: Slaying Bow+ (+Spd) 
  • Assist: Reposition / Flexible
  • Special: Iceberg 
  • Passive A: Atk/Res Solo / Distant Def / Atk/Res Bond / Fury 
  • Passive B: Chill Spd / Cancel Affinity / Guard 
  • Passive C: Atk Smoke / Def Smoke / Flexible
  • Sacred Seal: Distant Def

This build capitalizes on Gaius’ high Speed and decent Resistance, making him a capable and formidable mage counter; a boon to either of these stats is highly recommended. A Speed boon is the preferred option and naturally lets him avoid doubles from speedy mages, while a Resistance boon can be used to improve his magical bulk and strengthen his Iceberg.

This build derives its power from the powerful mix of a Speed-forged Slaying Bow, Iceberg, and Chill Spd. A Speed refine is taken here to increase Gaius’ chance of avoiding doubles and thus increase his survivability. Slaying Bow causes Iceberg to have a two-turn cooldown, meaning that in each combat where Gaius can retaliate twice, Iceberg will activate. 

As he is not entirely reliant on Quick Riposte to perform follow-up attacks, Gaius' B slot is open to various options, most notable of which being Chill Spd. This skill allows him to perform follow-up attacks on speedy foes whom he would otherwise have difficulty doubling without Quick Riposte as well as provide team support. Other notable options include Cancel Affinity and Guard. Cancel Affinity eliminates the threat of TA Raven mages, while Guard helps against mages who use low cooldown Specials to do large amounts of damage, like Quickened Pulse Moonbow Reinhardt. 

Atk/Res Solo is another effective component of this build, and by pairing it with Distant Def in his seal slot, he gains a substantial boost to both his damage output as well as his magical resilience. However, as Atk/Res Solo disallows the use of Spurs, depending on one's playstyle, Distant Def or Atk/Res Bond may be preferred. Since all of these aforementioned A slots are rather elusive skills, a cheaper alternative is Fury. Keep in mind that its chip damage will cause Gaius to be more picky with his matchups, especially when using Guard due to its HP threshold. 

For his C slot, Atk or Def Smoke are both fantastic options. Both give Gaius a great Enemy Phase when tanking more than one mage, although the way they do so varies greatly. Atk Smoke grants him greater survivability while Def Smoke gives him a greater chance at winning any engagements after the first. 

Refreshing Barrage (Brave Bow)
Brave Bow+ A Swift Sparrow 2
Alternate: Life and Death 3
Ardent Sacrifice
Alternate: Reposition
B Desperation 3
Luna
Alternate: Iceberg
C Even Spd Wave 3
Alternate: Odd Atk Wave 3
SP1,995SSpeed +3

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Preferred IV: +SPD or +ATK / -HP or -DEF
  • Weapon: Brave Bow+ 
  • Assist: Ardent Sacrifice / Reposition
  • Special: Luna / Iceberg
  • Passive A: Swift Sparrow / Life and Death 
  • Passive B: Desperation 
  • Passive C: Even Spd Wave / Odd Atk Wave / Threaten Def / Flexible
  • Sacred Seal: Speed +3 

Though Gaius’ Attack stat is rather lacking in comparison to other popular archers, he can still run a Brave Bow set to great effect by focusing on his high Speed stat and ability to quad. As such, a Speed boon is the preferred option for this set; this boon combined with the Speed+3 seal brings him up to 38 Speed when applying Brave Bow’s Speed reduction. His middling Attack stat can then be mediated through the use of buffs. 

Because of Brave Bow’s low Might, Luna’s Defense reduction is extremely helpful in mitigating his otherwise low damage output. However, for more consistent damage increase, Iceberg should be considered, adding 14 points of damage each time it activates if assuming neutral Resistance. 

Swift Sparrow is his A slot of choice, giving him both higher damage output and a better chance of being able to quad. Life and Death can also be a decent alternative and does offer a marginally higher stat increase than Swift Sparrow. However, it does drop his overall bulk considerably, leaving him liable to be killed by DC users should he not ORKO his opponent.

With Desperation, Gaius has the ability to unleash four attacks at once before letting the enemy have the opportunity to counter, making initiating against enemies much less of a risk. By coupling this with a single use of Ardent Sacrifice, Gaius will be able to safely reach Desperation’s HP threshold without having to rely on him to tank a hit; however, varying on his opponents, it may be possible to allow him to tank a hit from a mage, thus removing the need for Ardent Sacrifice and lets him run a movement assist like Reposition. 

For his C slot, Even Spd Wave and Odd Atk Wave are both great choices to boost his offensive potential considerably on even and odd numbered turns respectively. Threaten Def is a cheaper and more readily available skill choice that allows him to debuff to his opponent’s Defense and boost his damage output. However, it should be used with caution if Gaius is running Luna since the debuff does lower Luna’s effectiveness. Gaius’s C slot can also be open to anything to support his team.

Introduction

Summer Gaius, Thief Exposed, joins the game as a seasonal archer, sporting a mediocre base Attack, a relatively high Speed stat, and a lopsided defensive spread emphasizing on his Resistance. These characteristics grant him the flexibility of being able to alternate between specializing as a mage tank or going for the offensive and utilizing common yet powerful builds like Brave Bow. 

However, his low physical bulk of 53, if assuming neutral HP and Defense, limits the range of opponents he can initiate against. Distant Counter users who he cannot defeat with his first two strikes (or four if he can land the quad) are very likely to kill the shirtless archer in retaliation. Dragons have an extremely easy time disposing of Summer Gaius as well due to their ability to target his low Defense. In addition, Summer Gaius requires some team support to bolster his Attack stat in order to inflict considerable damage outside of Special activations.

On both fronts, Summer Gaius faces intense competition, as several other archers like Innes and Brave Lyn can outperform him in either of his niches. However, as is the case with many units in the game, this sweet-toothed archer can definitely pull his own weight on any team with proper investment and provides a flexibility that is incredibly hard to replicate in regular units.

Strengths

High Base Speed 

As an archer, Gaius deals only neutral damage to opponents, meaning that the majority of his power comes from his ability to double. With a base Speed stat of 37, this will come very easily to him, making his Speed his greatest asset regardless of the build he is running. 

Versatile

His stats allow him to specialize in either the Player Phase or the Enemy Phase, and depending on what is needed of him, his role in a team composition is fairly interchangeable. This is only further accentuated by the variety of different bows he can wield efficiently.

Weaknesses

Low Physical Bulk

At a measly physical bulk of 53 at neutral, it is extremely risky for Gaius to initiate against Distant Counter users or dragons should he not be in Desperation range. 

Limited-Time Unit

As a seasonal unit, Summer Gaius is not available in the regular pool. This means that gaining merges will be an impossible feat until he comes back on focus and trying to find the right IV set can prove to be even more frustrating than awaiting his return. 

Team Options

Buffers are a great choice as allies as he appreciates boosts in all stats bar Defense. Refreshers are also another option and work particularly well with Gaius when using a Player Phase oriented build. Gaius himself can be a helpful partner in battle as support to those who are weak to mages; these types of units are typically high Defense tanks with low Resistance. Falchion-users can also help with his inability to consistently deal with dragons.

  • Buffers: Regardless of the build he is using, increases to his Attack and Speed will always be appreciated, and in Enemy Phase builds, so will buffs to his Resistance. Units who can act as efficient buffers, such as Marth, Sanaki, and Ephraim, boost Gaius’s performance considerably.
  • Refreshers: Refreshers like Ninian, Olivia, and Bridal Ninian are an interesting option and complement a hit-and-run playstyle well; Gaius can strike for the kill and then be safely removed out of harm’s way. 
  • High Defense Tanks: Using this type of unit proves to be mutually beneficial to both Gaius and the ally: he gains someone to cover his weakness to Distant Counter units while the ally gains someone to cover their weakness of mages. Many units fall under this category, with some notable examples being Zelgius, Hector, and Effie.
  • Falchions: With dragons’ ability to deal adaptive damage to ranged, their general tankiness and Gaius’ lopsided defenses, Gaius will have a difficult time initiating against them. Falchion users like Lucina, Alm, and Chrom can all help relieve him from the danger of having to deal with such foes.
     
Counters

Triangle Adept/Raven users and strong and fast physical hitters have the best chance at killing Gaius should they initiate against him. Dragons can abuse his stat spread and target his weak Defense stat, making them excellent counters. Lastly, Gaius struggles against armored units due to their high defensive stats; this is especially the case when they are abusing armor buffs like Ward Armor. 

  • Raven Tomes: These types of units have a natural disposition to being able to deal with colorless units, and Gaius is no exception to this. Users of such builds like Lyon, Robin (M), and Sophia are good examples but should be wary of Gaiuses running Cancel Affinity.
  • Strong Physical Hitters: Strong speedsters like Ayra and Soleil and notable Brave users like Bridal Cordelia and Cherche tear through Gaius’s low base Defense and kill him without much complication.
  • Dragons: Because of his stat allocation, dragons will always target his Defense stat and should have no problem dealing large amounts of damage. Those who can specialize in the Enemy Phase like Tiki (Adult), Tiki (Young), and Nowi are especially effective in countering him.
  • Armors: Armored units generally boast great defensive capabilities, and when used in tandem with armor buffs, such units can make it so that Gaius can barely even dent them. Those with high Defense stats like Fallen Robin, Sheena, and Hector (LA) will have the easiest time in doing so and can use his attacks to speed up their Special activation. 
Weapon Skills
Weapons SP Rng. Mt.
Iron BowEffective against flying units.
Only Inheritable by Bow users.
50 2 4
Steel BowEffective against flying units.
Only Inheritable by Bow users.
100 2 6
Refreshing BoltIf unit has 100% HP at start of combat, unit gets Atk/Spd/Def/Res+2. If attacking, unit will take 2 damage after combat. Effective against fliers.
Only Inheritable by Bow users.
200 2 8
Refreshing Bolt+If unit has 100% HP at start of combat, unit gets Atk/Spd/Def/Res+2. If attacking, unit will take 2 damage after combat. Effective against fliers.
Learns by default at 5 ★
Only Inheritable by Bow users.
300 2 12
Weapon Evolution
Weapon Upgrades
Weapon Upgrades
Special Skills
Special Skills SP Turns
Night SkyBoosts damage dealt by 50%.
Learns by default at 5 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
100 3
AstraBoosts damage dealt by 150%.
Unlocks at 5 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
200 4
Passive Skills
Passive Skills SP Slot
Vantage 1Unit counterattacks first when attacked at HP ≤ 25%
Inheritable by all units.
50
B
Vantage 2Unit counterattacks first when attacked at HP ≤ 50%
Inheritable by all units.
100
B
Vantage 3Unit counterattacks first when attacked at HP ≤ 75%
Unlocks at 5 ★
Inheritable by all units.
200
B
Def Ploy 1At start of turn, all foes in cardinal directions with Res 1 or more lower than unit suffer Def-3 until the end of foe's next action.
Inheritable by all units.
60
C
Def Ploy 2At start of turn, all foes in cardinal directions with Res 1 or more lower than unit suffer Def-4 until the end of foe's next action.
Inheritable by all units.
120
C
Def Ploy 3At start of turn, all foes in cardinal directions with Res 1 or more lower than unit suffer Def-5 until the end of foe's next action.
Unlocks at 5 ★
Inheritable by all units.
240
C
Other Info
Origin
Fire Emblem Heroes

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