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Winter Ephraim

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Tier Rating

Analysis by lordhelpme
Winter Ephraim - Sparkling Gallantly

5

Obtainable as a 5 only

Related Heroes

Hero Stats

Max Avg Total Stats at Lvl 40
174
HP 45
ATK 41
SPD 23
DEF 36
RES 29

Stat Variations

Level 1 Stat Variation
5★
HP ATK SPD DEF RES
Low 20 10 5 9 6
Middle 21 11 6 10 7
High 22 12 7 11 8

Level 40 Stat Variations
5★
HP ATK SPD DEF RES
Low 42 38 20 33 25
Middle 45 41 23 36 29
High 48 45 26 39 32

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 

  • +ATK: Boasting an absolutely amazing base Attack stat of 41, Winter Ephraim benefits immensely from heightening it further with his 4-point Attack superboon, allowing him to deal tremendous amounts of damage when combined with Festive Siegmund and his access to the Fighter skills. Furthermore, this boon also allows Winter Ephraim to reach the 175-179 BST bin and increase his scoring potential in Arena. 
  • +DEF: Should an Attack boon be unavailable, a Defense boon makes for a great alternative to build upon his stellar physical bulk and reduce the damage he takes from opposing physical damage dealing foes.  

Neutral

  • HP: Although raising Winter Ephraim’s HP stat is definitely not a priority, he still prefers to keep it intact to maintain his respectable mixed bulk. However, his susceptibility to being doubled does allow this stat to be a decent bane should no other option be available. 
  • RES: Winter Ephraim’s base Resistance stat of 29 is solid but given how one will usually see far greater returns from investing in his Attack or Defense stats instead, it is best to simply leave this stat neutral. 

Banes

  • -SPD: Although Winter Ephraim’s base Speed stat of 23 is disappointingly low, his access to the Fighter skills renders it to be inconsequential in most scenarios and lets him safely lower it further to preserve all of his other excellent stats.

Skill Sets

Ghost of Arena Present (Mixed Phase)

Recommended
Festive Siegmund A Distant Counter
Alternate: Atk/Def Solo 3
Pivot B Bold Fighter 3
Dragon Fang C Close Guard 3
Alternate: Armor March 3
SP1475SQuick Riposte 3

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Preferred IV: +ATK or +DEF / -SPD
  • Weapon: Festive Siegmund
  • Assist: Pivot / Flexible
  • Special: Dragon Fang / Draconic Aura
  • Passive A: Distant Counter / Fierce Breath / Steady Breath / Atk/Def Solo
  • Passive B: Bold Fighter 
  • Passive C: Close Guard / Armor March / Flexible
  • Sacred Seal: Quick Riposte / Quickened Pulse

Thanks to the power of his unique personal weapon, astounding base Attack stat, excellent damage soak, and access to Bold Fighter, Winter Ephraim has the ability to assert himself as an extremely formidable threat to be dealt with in both the Player Phase and the Enemy Phase. All in all, however, aside from some potential alterations, this set doesn’t really change much from his default kit and truthfully, it can be completed by simply equipping him with an Assist skill of one’s choosing. 

Winter Ephraim’s personal weapon, Festive Siegmund, complements his strong stat base well and serves to significantly strengthen his effectiveness as a mixed phase fighter. It grants him a consistent -1 Special cooldown alongside an especially potent +4 Atk/Spd/Def/Res in-combat buff so long as he has no adjacent allies, functioning in a similar manner to Solo skills. This combination of effects enables the young prince to hit even harder, easily take on most forms of damage, and quickly unleash powerful Special activations upon opposing foes -- and thanks to the devastating power of the Bold Fighter + Quick Riposte combination, Winter Ephraim can consistently make great use of his weapon in either phase. 

For his A slot, Distant Counter is a great candidate of skill that provides Winter Ephraim with a substantial amount of additional utility and allows him to employ his destructive prowess against melee and ranged foes alike. Nonetheless, should one wish to focus more on his match-ups against melee foes, Breath skills can also be considered to provide him with accelerated Special cooldown and further solidify his OHKO capabilities. In particular, Fierce Breath is a fantastic choice that serves to increase the power of Attack-scaling Specials whereas Steady Breath can be taken to impart his physical bulk with a solid boost in the Enemy Phase. On a budget, Winter Ephraim’s native Atk/Def Solo works perfectly fine and lets him potentially gain a staggering +10 Atk/Def in-combat boost when factored in with Festive Siegmund’s effect. 

Winter Ephraim’s choice of Special will ultimately depend on one’s choice of A slot skill. If making use of Distant Counter or his native Atk/Def Solo, Dragon Fang is an incredibly strong option that scales well with his immense Attack stat, adding 30 points of damage each time upon activation (32 if he has a +ATK IV) -- it does, however, necessitate the use of the Quick Riposte seal to activate in the Enemy Phase. In contrast, Draconic Aura is a much better choice if making use of a Breath skill or the Quickened Pulse seal for an instant Special activation on his counterattack. 

Bold Fighter sits as the centerpiece of this build, enabling Winter Ephraim to have a truly terrifying offensive presence through guaranteed follow-up attacks in the Player Phase as well as a +1 Special charge for each of his attacks. When utilized in tandem with Festive Siegmund and Quick Riposte, there will be very few units capable of surviving his onslaught or attacking into him without suffering lethal damage. As for his C slot skill, his native Close Guard is a solid choice to strengthen his allies’ resilience against melee opponents, though skills such as Armor March remain good options as well when using Winter Ephraim alongside other armored units. 

Everlasting Snow (Defensive Tank)

Festive Siegmund A Distant Counter
Alternate: Atk/Def Solo 3
Pivot B Special Fighter 3
Aether
Alternate: Draconic Aura
C Atk Smoke 3
Alternate: Close Guard 3
SP1920SQuick Riposte 3

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Preferred IV: +ATK or +DEF or +RES / -SPD
  • Weapon: Festive Siegmund
  • Assist: Pivot / Flexible
  • Special: Aether / Draconic Aura / Dragon Fang
  • Passive A: Distant Counter / Atk/Def Solo 
  • Passive B: Special Fighter 
  • Passive C: Atk Smoke / Def Smoke / Close Guard / Flexible
  • Sacred Seal: Quick Riposte / Quickened Pulse

Winter Ephraim’s respectable amount of bulk and access to Special Fighter, in addition to the fantastic overall stat boost that Festive Siegmund provides, also allows him to perform as an exceedingly proficient defensive tank. In addition to the typical Attack and Defense boons, one can also consider potentially taking a +RES IV to strengthen his viability as a mixed tank; this is especially effective when utilizing Distant Counter as his chosen A slot skill. 

Thanks to Special Fighter’s effect of accelerated Special cooldown, Winter Ephraim can make excellent use of Aether, pairing especially well with this build’s defensive playstyle by granting him sustain -- this sustain can be extremely valuable as it enables him to heal off any damage he might have suffered in combat and helps keep him above Special Fighter’s 50% HP threshold. However, should one be already be providing him with healing support or if wanting to deal more damage, then Draconic Aura will be Winter Ephraim’s best choice for a Special and has the potential to activate twice in a single round of combat. For greater burst damage, one can also utilize Dragon Fang and the Quickened Pulse seal to have him instantly fire off a huge nuke, but do keep in mind that this will only work on his first counterattack. 

Distant Counter is his ideal choice for his A slot skill simply for the sheer amount of coverage it provides him, letting him be an effective wall against a much wider breadth of foes. Furthermore, when combined with Special Fighter, Winter Ephraim will be able to effectively mimic users of the greatly coveted Distant Counter + Steady Breath combination, though he’ll also have the added benefit of being able to rapidly activate his Special in either phase as opposed to only the Enemy Phase. His native Atk/Def Solo is a great alternative should one wish to focus strictly on his match-ups against melee opponents, or if Distant Counter is simply unavailable. 

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, Special Fighter also supplies Winter Ephraim with an effect similar to that of Guard and prevents his opponent’s Special activation, improving his defensive capabilities drastically. However, unlike Bold or Vengeful Fighter, Special Fighter does nothing to ensure Winter Ephraim’s follow-up attack, thus making it absolutely necessary for him to utilize Quick Riposte as his chosen seal to score guaranteed follow-ups in the Enemy Phase. For his C slot, Smoke skills pair extremely well with defensively oriented builds such as this one and allow the young prince to be relatively self-sufficient, with Atk Smoke and Def Smoke being solid options to enhance his durability and damage output respectively. Otherwise, feel free to use any skill that best compliments his allies, such as his native Close Guard. 

Once Bitten and Twice Shy (Galeforce)

Festive Siegmund A Death Blow 4
Alternate: Atk/Def Solo 3
Pivot B Bold Fighter 3
Galeforce C Odd Atk Wave 3
Alternate: Armor March 3
SP2025SArmored Boots

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Preferred IV: +ATK / -SPD
  • Weapon: Festive Siegmund
  • Assist: Pivot / Flexible
  • Special: Galeforce
  • Passive A: Death Blow / Atk/Def Solo
  • Passive B: Bold Fighter
  • Passive C: Odd Atk Wave / Armor March / Flexible
  • Sacred Seal: Armored Boots / Attack +3

Although somewhat unorthodox given armored units’ typically low mobility, Winter Ephraim can still perform admirably when equipped a Galeforce build to swiftly decimate multiple foes in one turn. He will, however, need to either be equipped with the Armored Boots seal or be given Armor March support to function properly, greatly appreciating the drastic boost to his mobility. Moreover, as he will be foregoing the use of an offensive Special in favor of Galeforce with this build, an Attack boon is ideal as to maximize his offensive potential and make up for the loss in raw damage output somewhat. 

Galeforce is the star of this build, essentially functioning as a self-refreshing Special, and enables Winter Ephraim to take another turn after combat upon activation. Furthermore, thanks to the combination of Festive Siegmund and Bold Fighter, he can activate Galeforce against any opponent at the start of each turn, regardless of whether or not they can counterattack. Festive Siegmund’s +4 Atk/Spd/Def/Res in-combat buff also comes in handy by further increasing his damage output as well as making initiating against opposing foes much safer altogether. Since this build’s playstyle actively encourages Winter Ephraim to be away from his allies regardless, he will be virtually guaranteed to receive Festive Siegmund’s in-combat buff in each round of combat, heightening this build’s potency (and by extension, its viability) significantly. 

The rest of this build focuses mainly on beefing up Winter Ephraim’s Attack stat as much as possible. For this reason, Death Blow is his ideal choice for his A slot skill, granting him an additional +8 damage upon initiation. Should it be unavailable, his native Atk/Def Solo also complements this build’s playstyle and offers him a slightly weaker boost to his raw damage output alongside a dramatic increase to his physical bulk. If using the Armored Boots seal to enhance his mobility, Odd Atk Wave can be taken as his chosen C slot skill to let him be even more self-sufficient and receive a tremendous +6 Attack buff on odd-numbered turns. However, should one already be providing him with Armor March support (either by running it on him or an ally), the Attack +3 seal can be taken instead. 

Introduction

Joining us alongside his sister in an effort to partake in the holiday festivities is none other than Ephraim, the dashing crown prince of Renais. Once again picking up the lance as his weapon of choice, Winter Ephraim wields a new iteration of his legendary weapon, Festive Siegmund, alongside a powerful set of assets that undoubtedly allows him to function as one of the strongest blue units released to date. 

To start off, he sports an exceptional statline that covers most of his bases with its most notable feature being his incredible base Attack stat of 41 -- this can be heightened even further with his 4-point superboon to allow him the honor of being the unit with the highest base Attack stat in the whole game at an unparalleled value of 45. His unique personal weapon, Festive Siegmund, is equally as potent and grants him a significant +4 in-combat boost to all his stats when he has no adjacent allies alongside a consistent -1 Special cooldown, providing him with a solid foundation for his damags output. Moreover, as an armored unit, he has access to the omnipotent Fighter skills that let him fully make use of his superb statline and personal weapon, capacitating Winter Ephraim to perform as a formidable offensive unit through the power of guaranteed follow-up attacks and quick, but devastating, Special activations.

Even his weaknesses, while definitely there, are simply too few in number and significance to truly detract from his overall usefulness, ultimately being outweighed by the plethora of strengths at his disposal. Overall, Winter Ephraim is a top-tier lance user with many clearly defined advantages that place him as one of the best units that the blue pool has to offer and should rarely, if ever, be underestimated -- after all, he doesn’t pick fights he can’t win. 

Strengths

Festive Siegmund

Winter Ephraim’s unique personal weapon, Festive Siegmund, complements his already fantastic stat base through its conditional +4 Atk/Spd/Def/Res in-combat buff and grants him -1 Special cooldown. When combined with his access to the Fighter skills, this weapon allows Winter Ephraim to have serious destructive potential and contributes to his excellent versatility. 

Sky-High Attack

Winter Ephraim’s base Attack stat of 41 is nothing short of outstanding and enables him to consistently deal tremendous amounts on either phase. 

Solid Mixed Bulk

With 45 HP, 36 Defense, and 29 Resistance, Winter Ephraim can easily take on most forms of sustained offensive pressure while remaining relatively healthy. 

Armored Unit

His status as an armored unit provides him with an overwhelming number of advantages over most of his direct competition, most notable of which is his access to the Fighter skills which he can use to elevate his offensive potential to nearly unparalleled heights. Additionally, this also lets him benefit from class-exclusive buffs as well as a sizeable boost to his BST for scoring purposes. 

Versatile

As the culmination of all of his aforementioned strengths, Winter Ephraim can run an assortment of different builds to great effect without sacrificing an ounce of viability, allowing his role in any given team to be flexible depending on what is needed of him. 

Excellent Base Kit

Having Bold Fighter in his base kit is a rather significant boon in Winter Ephraim’s favor as it makes building him extremely cheap should one wish to preserve their resources -- in reality, simply equipping him with an Assist skill and a seal allows him to have a complete (and fully functional) build. 

Weaknesses

Low Speed 

Although Winter Ephraim’s good defensive stats usually prevent him from taking too much damage, his low Speed stat renders him extremely susceptible to being doubled and can create complications, potentially causing him to take significant amounts of damage from incoming foes. 

Poor Mobility

Winter Ephraim suffers from limited movement and is naturally only able to move one space at a time. This detracts from his ease of use rather heavily and while it can be effectively circumvented through team support, this may, in turn, hurt his team’s flexibility. 

Effective Damage 

As an armored unit, Winter Ephraim has an inherent weakness to armor-effective weaponry and will struggle immensely against foes wielding them. 

Team Options

  • Armors: Winter Ephraim appreciates having other armored units as allies due to their ability to provide him with Armor March support as well as with class-exclusive buffs such as Ward Armor. Some notable examples include Halloween Myrrh, Fallen Robin (M), and Winter Cecilia. 
  • Buffers: Buffers who can support Winter Ephraim from two spaces away (as to not interfere with his ability to activate Festive Siegmund) like Robin (M), Marth, and Sanaki also make for excellent team options. 
  • Debuffers: Similarly, debuffers such as Katarina, Saias, and Arvis who can debilitate opposing foes from a distance and subsequently make them much easier to defeat should also be considered. 
  • Refreshers: Refreshers like Ninian, Performing Olivia, and Azura can be extremely useful when paired up with Winter Ephraim, regardless of his chosen build, allowing him to bypass his low mobility by granting him another turn. 
  • Strong Reds: Zelgius, Legendary Eirika, and Owain are just some examples amongst the many strong reds who can alleviate Winter Ephraim of his weakness to strong greens. 

Counters

  • Strong Offensive Mages: Although Winter Ephraim’s magical bulk is nowhere near bad, strong offensive mages such as Lewyn, Nino (SF), and Ophelia who can exploit his low Speed and punch through his magical bulk, making for rather strong counters. 
  • Strong Greens: Strong greens like Hector (LA), Surtr, and Myrrh can quite easily mop the floor with the young prince thanks to their inherent Weapon Triangle advantage against blues. 
  • Effective Damage: Units who wield armor-effective weaponry like Micaiah, Est, and Frederick can also serve as formidable counters and will generally be able to kill Winter Ephraim with ease. 

Weapon Skills

Weapons SP Rng. Mt.
Steel Lance
Lance Users Only
100 1 8
Silver Lance
Lance Users Only
200 1 11
Festive SiegmundAccelerates Special trigger (cooldown count-1). If unit is not adjacent to an ally, grants Atk/Spd/Def/Res+4 during combat.
Learns by default at 5 ★
Non-Inheritable skill.
400 1 16
Weapon Evolution
Weapon Upgrades
Weapon Upgrades

Special Skills

Special Skills SP Turns
Dragon GazeBoosts Atk by 30%.
Learns by default at 5 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
100 4
Dragon FangBoosts Atk by 50%.
Unlocks at 5 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
200 4

Passive Skills

Passive Skills SP Slot
Atk/Def Solo 1If unit is not adjacent to an ally, grants Atk/Def+2 during combat.
Inheritable by all units.
60
A
Atk/Def Solo 2If unit is not adjacent to an ally, grants Atk/Def+4 during combat.
Inheritable by all units.
120
A
Atk/Def Solo 3If unit is not adjacent to an ally, grants Atk/Def+6 during combat.
Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 5 ★
240
A
Bold Fighter 1If unit's HP = 100% and unit initiates combat, unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack. Grants Special cooldown charge +1 per attack. (Does not stack.)
Only inheritable by armor units.
60
B
Bold Fighter 2If unit's HP ≥ 50% and unit initiates combat, unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack. Grants Special cooldown charge +1 per attack. (Does not stack.)
Only inheritable by armor units.
120
B
Bold Fighter 3If unit initiates combat, unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack. Grants Special cooldown charge +1 per attack. (Does not stack.)
Only inheritable by armor units.
Unlocks at 5 ★
240
B
Close Guard 1Allies within 2 spaces gain: "If foe uses sword, lance, axe, or dragonstone, grants Def/Res+2 during combat."
Inheritable by all units.
60
C
Close Guard 2Allies within 2 spaces gain: "If foe uses sword, lance, axe, or dragonstone, grants Def/Res+3 during combat."
Inheritable by all units.
120
C
Close Guard 3Allies within 2 spaces gain: "If foe uses sword, lance, axe, or dragonstone, grants Def/Res+4 during combat."
Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 5 ★
240
C

Other Info

Origin
Fire Emblem Heroes

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