Part 2: Building a TA Core

Part 2: Building a TA Core
Guidelines
Guidelines

The TA core has 3 members, one for each color. Between these three members, all the following unit types must be countered:

  • Red Melee
  • Red Tome
  • Blue Melee
  • Blue Tome
  • Green Melee
  • Green Tome
  • Bow
  • Dagger (specifically Poison Dagger)
  • Staff


First, your team must be able to deal with every category marked above. Although a classic Red-Blue-Green melee team can deal with most enemy teams well enough, they will carry a weakness to not only Colorless units, which ignore TA, but also mages. If a Raventome is not used, it is highly recommended to use a very high Def non-Infantry unit like Xander or Sheena, who can usually tank these attacks and retaliate with Distant Counter.

Second, each unit on your team must counter more than their respective color - they must also check one unit type of their own color. This is for redundancy; it is good practice to have more than one answer to any particular unit.

The easiest way to go about this is to choose an initial unit, and then build the team around them by having the other members fill in the holes. An example will be shown below, along with explanations, but the amount of units that TA cores can include are incredibly diverse - take a look at your own roster, and see what you come up with!
 

Steps

Steps:

1. Start with a unit that fulfills two traits of an "ideal TA unit". Give them TA/Gem Weapon/Raventome, and choose the appropriate A skill.

2. Choose a second unit that covers your first unit's weaknesses. Repeat the second part of Step 1 for this unit.

3. Choose a third unit that covers your second unit's weaknesses. Repeat the second part of Step 1 for this unit.

4. Choose B Skills for your first unit that provide a second layer of protection against their own type, or secures their role as a hard counter to a particular counter.

5. Repeat Step 4 for your second unit.

6. Repeat Step 5 for your third unit.

7. Choose assist skills, and at least one Reposition.

8. Fill out your units with appropriate specials.

9. Round them out with C Passives and Seals as desired.

How to Use a TA Core
How to Use a TA Core

1. Manipulate the AI and control their movements. The AI moves predictably nearly all the time, and you can use this to your advantage to "split" the enemy team in two. Their red will go for your delicious TA Green; use this to your advantage and move your TA Blue with your TA Green to one side and play around terrain to isolate and kill that Red while the rest of your team stalls.

2. Use Move Assists to bait, isolate and kill. Skills such as Reposition and Pivot can quickly launch one of your own mages into range of the enemy's. The AI will always attempt to attack that target immediately, even with TA Disadvantage, and can net you kills on the first enemy phase with no drawbacks. This is particularly easy by throwing a mage into range of enemy mounted mages. As of May 2017, many of the promiment magical threats in the game are Blue and Green; thus, it is recommended to put Reposition on your Red and Blue units, or Pivot on your Green and Red units. Reposition is more desirable because the unit you reposition can take their turn after being Assisted.

3. Stack your buffs. Buff stacking is VERY powerful on TA cores, straight up halving damage while increasing your own. C Slots should almost always be Hone/Fortify skills; skills such as Savage Blow should be reserved for niche units like debuffers (who tend to be out of place on TA cores).

4. Be careful of Specials.The biggest threats to a TA user, aside from the color that counters them, are Specials. Many specials such as Bonfire/Iceberg ignore the Weapon Triangle and will hit for full damage. Although these being activated against you should be rare due to the TA core's tendency to finish battles quickly, threats such as Bonfire/Ignis from Hector/Eldigan and Glacies from Felicia should be very carefully worked around.

5. Use Gem Weapons when you can. An A Skill is almost always more useful than the 3 Mt loss from a Silver Weapon or the -1 CD from a Killer weapon. This is because a TA team strives to be resilient and consistent; a Brave Weapon gives unnecessary killing power while damage comes more from TA than your Specials. With that said, Legendary Weapons are usually superior to TA due to their very high Mt and often useful effects. Lastly, if Armor units are chosen to use Gem Weapons, strive to give them Distant Counter despite the immense cost, because they need it to consistently fight back against enemy tomes.

6. Your Specials are your Trump Cards. Time them well. They are as deadly to the enemy as they are to your own team. Many are attacks that will ignore the Weapon Triangle, and so you can use them to give even your deadliest threats a huge chunk of damage. For example, if your Red is busy and although Camus struggles against enemy Greens, an Ignis from him will tear a huge amount of HP on an enemy Julia. This may give you the edge needed for your own Green to wipe out Julia. Specials typically are not needed for the advantageous match ups, so save them if you can to turn the tide of a close fight.

Aside from that, using a TA Team is no different than using a normal team. Play to your team's advantages and dictate the flow of battle!

Arena Threats Checklist
Archers
Takumi, Jeorge, Klein

Including but not limited to Takumi, Jeorge, Klein, and Cordelia Bride, these Archers frequently run Death Blow + Brave Bow to do tremendous damage on initiation. They are extraordinarily dangerous if a Raventome user is not run, as they normally lie outside the Weapon Triangle. However, if a bulky Raventome user such as Sophia is run, they will hit for very little damage and are easily OHKO'd in return.

The tables are turned, however, if they run Cancel Affinity. This completely shuts down TA3 and will most likely result in them ORKO'ing the Raventome user. As such, the safest way to deal with Archers is to rush them down. By running Cancel Affinity, they give up the ability to run other skills such as Desperation, Vantage, or Breakers. Units with high defense and Distant Counter, such as Xander and Camus, can also deal with these units while sustaining damage.

Difficulty Rating: 5/5 without Raventome/if they run Cancel Affinity, 1/5 with Raventome and they lack Cancel Affinity

Poison Dagger
Kagero/Poison dagger

Mainly seen on Kagero, the Poison Dagger is a unique weapon that confers an Anti-Infantry bonus. It will very easily OHKO fragile melee units, and still leaves minor damage on some Raventome users. However, users of this weapon who have significant attack are noticeably frail and are easily OHKO'd by a TA Raventome user. It can also be countered by running non-Infantry tomes such as Spring Camilla who take very little damage from this weapon. Do note that if an Infantry TA Raventome is used to counter it, the Poison Dagger still has a damage multiplier of x.9 due to its effectiveness. The safest counter is to use a non-infantry raventome, but an ordinary Raventome user should be able to take a hit and have enough HP to continue doing their role.

However, if Kagero opts to run Cancel Affinity, she will easily shred through infantry Raventome users, and is best handled by fighting her in melee or using non-infantry characters to take her down.

Difficulty Rating: 2/5 without Cancel Affinity, 5/5 with Cancel Affinity

Armor Emblem
Hector, Zephiel, Effie, Draug, Sheena, Gwendolyn

A joke of a matchup. Armored Units do pathetically low damage against a properly arranged TA Core, and can even be chipped to death by ranged units through specials. Their low mobility is their Achilles Heel; abuse it for an easy win. Just be careful of Wings of Mercy.

Difficulty Rating: 1/5

Flier Emblem
Flier Party

Although Fliers have extraordinary mobility, they have the same movement range as infantry units. This can be easily exploited (sometimes to your advantage!) by arranging your team so that Flier Emblem crashes against the appropriate counters like birds on windowpanes. In addition, their only ranged unit is S!Camilla who is very susceptible to being OHKO'd by Red Tomes. However, do be careful of their boosted stats and Reposition shenanigans; dragging out the fight may expose your characters to unfavorable match-ups.

Difficulty Rating: 2/5

Horse Emblem
Cavalry Party

The TA Core is dependent on positioning. An all cavalry team, with its awesome mobility, can run circles around a TA Core and strike at exposed units without remorse. The movement range cavalry units possess, paired with their incredible buffs, makes cavalry units a nightmare to deal with without losses. If against a Cavalry team, make it a priority to immediately remove ranged threats such as Reinhardt as soon as possible and abuse movement assists to get your counter into position ASAP. The opening two rounds of the match will most likely decide the final outcome; use movement assists to their greatest effect to squeeze out any advantage possible. Remember that terrain is your ally against Cavalry units, and trees can be used to block them off from reaching weakened allies.

Difficulty: 4/5

Bladetome Mages
Magical Nukes

A bit of a mixed bag. They are typically not too dangerous; a Bladetome at 60 Attack, for instance, only has effectively 36 Attack against their appropriate counter. However, their raw damage greatly limits any unit’s ability to fight them unless they truly counter them. This means that you can usually only counter a Gronnblade user with a TA Red, since your TA Green will take heavy damage from a single attack. Fortunately, most users of this tome are very frail and will fall to a single good TA attack.

Difficulty Rating: 2/5

Dancers/Singers
Source of many restarted Arena runs

Although threatening to any team, the mobility afforded by Dancers/Singers can be very dangerous, especially if they carry Wings of Mercy. This is because if your TA unit cannot finish off an enemy in a single round, the Dancer/Singer may jump to them, give them another turn, and then that unit may attack one of your own units that are exposed. This is especially hazardous if they are paired with Cavalry units. Play very carefully against them, and split them up to limit their unpredictability. On a positive note, the two most popular dancers are very frail and none of the Dancers are particularly dangerous in 1v1's.

Difficulty Rating: 4/5

Felicia/Niles
Unused but headache-inducing

The clumsy maid and silver-tongued outlaw get a special mention here because of their unique stat layout for a colorless unit. Although they will hit for pittance against even non-Raventome users, their spectacular Resistance and Speed makes them notoriously difficult to ORKO. This can result in them unleashing Glacies on your Raventome user and dealing tremendous damage, crippling that mage for the majority of the game or even killing the frailer Raventome users outright. It is recommended to kill these two with melee units to prevent this from happening; although they are rare, it may be prudent to make sure you have an answer to them, such as Quick Riposte Sophia or a hard hitting Physical Attacker like Ephraim.

They are two colorless units who Raventome users should not initiate against carelessly. Allowing them to initiate onto your Raventome user will prevent them from activating Glacies in one round of combat. They can then be safely eliminated the following Player Phase.

Difficulty Rating: 3/5