The original purpose of this site was to write up guides to help people understand mechanics, and also to have fun with some theory-crafting. However, for some reasons (laziness and being busy), I ended up only writing up about the damage calculation formula plus some tidbits about Chevalier Magna Sword and it turned out that Southrop ended up contributing most of the content by translating news and stuff. But this time, I managed to find some motivation to write up something after getting a Grande summon not so long ago.
One of the main reasons I decided to write about this build, and in extenso about Grande builds, is because most of the guides I read about Grande builds are severely outdated; most of them still feature the double Grande setup (main and assist summons), which is not very relevant anymore — at least at higher levels.
So let’s start with the summons setup, which is really very simple. In this configuration, I’m using Athena, Anat, Odin and a Light Carbuncle. But out of these, only the Carbuncle is a core summon (unless you have Hector); I mostly use the rest for their active effects as well as stats. In this regard, besides the Carbuncle/Hector, you’re pretty free to put anything you want, from Kaguya to that bloody White Rabbit.
As for the assist, the best option is not another The Order Grande but Lucifer or a 4☆ Apollo if
your friends suck Lucifer is not available. For those without Grande, you could also do the opposite: put Lucifer as your main summon and have a lot of friends with Grande assist but this is rarer than the former.
Regarding the character lineup, actually only Korwa is a true core character (that could be said for any party in the current meta though).
Since Zoe is kind of limited at this time, you can also consider using Ferry or another good offensive Light character (preferably Balanced if you use a BL Stance Cosmos weapon). But more on Zoe a bit later.
The last spot is pretty much any good buffer/support, in this case I’m using Altair because of his Balanced type to make most of my BL Cosmos weapon but any good buffer that isn’t Light or Wind, like Riruru, qualifies. Again, best use Balanced type if you use a BL Cosmos weapon.
For your main character, I found that Hawkeye was the best option when it comes to damage dealing. The guns and daggers in your grid will all benefit from the weapon proficiency bonus, giving you a lot of extra attack power. But more importantly, Hawkeye has Break Assassin (BA), which is the best self-buff at the moment, because it pushes the damage cap of auto-attacks to 1.16m. The EX ability should be either Dual Impulse III (DI3), for guaranteed triple attack whenever you are using BA, or simply Break Keep, (BK) for HL raids.
- Gunslinger: The double proficiency will make your damage skyrocket very quickly, but as you can already hit the auto-attack damage cap quite quickly, it’s kind of redundant. Not using the GW dagger as your main weapon (not to mention you can’t even use Oliver if you’re that kind of
jewperson) means you’re losing out on a very powerful ougi buff.
- Assassin: If you can afford the consumables, it’s probably the best alternative option but well… Farming for tools materials can be a real pain.
- Anything you want except Superstar due to lower synergy (which should become clear when I explain how the party works later).
The base of any kind of mono-elemental Grande party is to have two very strong attackers dealing over 85% of your party damage, while the other two characters provide support, mainly in the form of offensive buffs like ATK and DA/TA rate UP.
First, let’s layout the Korwa buff. I think most people know how to use Korwa at this point, but just in case, I’ll explain again:
- Get her to 10 Fils. Use her 2nd ability on the same turn then auto-attack (don’t use her ougi).
- Next turn: Use her 1st ability then auto-attack (don’t use her ougi).
- Get her to 10 Fils again, then use her ougi.
- Refresh her buffs by using her ougi whenever she reaches 7+ Fils.
- Start from step 1 once her buffs expire.
It’s important to start her first ougi with 10 Fils to get the strongest buffs: +145% ATK UP, +40% DA, +25% TA. Of course you could kick her buffs up with a lower number of Fils but it’d make for significantly lower multipliers (about 20% ATK drop by number of Fils and potentially drop in DA/TA rates as well).
Ideally, you’d also have your MC use their ougi on the same turn as Korwa to benefit from the DA/TA buff from the GW Dagger. This is a whopping +30% to DA and TA rates (or 35% if you upgraded it to the last stage), and having both combined would give you +70% DA and +55% TA. This gives you a very high multi-attack rate, as most characters, except Healer and Defender types, have at least a 5~10% DA and 3% TA rate. Finally, add the BL Stance from the Cosmos weapon, which gives your Balanced characters get another +20% DA rate, and you have a near 100% DA rate, allowing you to guarantee bursts of damage with your auto-attacks and quickly build ougi to refresh Korwa’s buffs.
Also, don’t forget that Hawkeye has the Deadly Aim self-buff which gives another flat +30% TA rate, which helps ensure a triple attack whenever you use BA, potentially dealing about 3.5m damage with your MC alone. As previously mentioned, you can bring DI3 as your EX ability to guarantee TA, but sometimes you may be requested to bring another ability.
A word about Zoe
Zoe’s Balanced type and ??? race means that not only does she benefit from the BL stance, but you can also mix in any Bahamut weapon you want, since both your damage dealers benefit from all types. In the case of Light build, you could put a Bahamut Gun Futurus to get extra stats from the Cosmos Gun and Hawkeye’s weapon proficiency.
Zoe’s attack stats may appear on the lower side, but those don’t account for her support ability, which gives her +15% ATK, +7.5% DEF, +10% DA, and +3% TA for every element in your active party. That means in this setup (with 3 different elements), she gets +45% ATK, +22.5% DEF, +30% DA, and +9% TA. Add that on top of the previously listed buffs, and you have damage dealing monster.
The reason why Zoe is in the middle party slot is because of her 1st ability. The ability deals a lot of damage (x5 multiplier, caps around 630k) and has a low 3-turn cooldown, but consumes 20% ougi on use. As this setup builds ougi quickly, you usually won’t be short on ougi to use it, but she works best in the 2nd or 3rd spot so you can still maintain an ougi chain after using the ability. It’s also worth mentioning that on top of all that, this ability also deals 10% stun “damage” (target gets paralysed for 30 seconds at 100%) and gives Aggro UP, which (sadly) resets every time she uses her ougi.
Also worth mentioning is her 4th ability, which is a field effect. This means it grants the whole raid, including enemies, +20% DA and +10% TA (exact numbers vary over time). It can definitely help your party reach even more insane DA/TA rates, but can also get you, or weaker raid members, killed if you’re not careful. As this build already has a very high DA/TA rate, I find it more useful to use it once at the start to help set things up and for in case your Korwa buffs expire, instead of keeping it up all the time. And a quick reminder that there can only be one field effect active at a time.
Now let’s have fun with some maths and explain the weapon setup.
As already kind of explained, you want a BL Cosmos weapon for the boost to DA rate. The DEF buff helps improve your party’s staying power, but I found out that using The Order Grande’s active with your potions is usually enough. Some people like to use PC to improve your debuff accuracy but Korwa’s 1st ability actually also increases that. You could argue for debuff resistance but for this kind of setup, I find it more efficient to focus on the damage, especially since you should always have someone with Clear All in a HL raid.
For your main weapon, as explained above, the GW dagger has the best synergy. However, any good gun (yes, you can use Oliver if you want) would make a viable alternative; you just have less DA/TA or have to rely on Zoe’s field more.
Guns or Swords?
Some people might whether Chevalier Magna Guns or Swords are the best, and some might think that the swords are automatically better. But in this context, the guns are way better. Since numbers are better than words, let’s compare the damage output of the two builds using my favourite simulator: http://gbf.xzz.jp/ (Note: You have to do some manual tweaks with some weapons skills like the Chevalier Magna or the Bahamut Futurus weapons in order for them to be calculated properly).
The lower left panel gives you a breakdown of the multipliers but the two important numbers are your attack power against Dark: 1,386,751 and against other enemies: 1,129,945.
In comparison, let’s see how those numbers turn out with a build with Chevalier Magna Swords.
As expected, the figures end up quite a bit lower with a 1,297,027 against Dark and 1,056,837 on elementally neutral enemies, i.e.: a drop of 6.47% in damage potential.
Some interesting things to note though: If you replace the GW dagger with a Chevalier Magna Sword, it overtakes the Gun setup and goes up to 1,405,192 / 1,144,971 (+1.33%) — before taking into account weapon proficiencies though.
It’s worth noting that many buffs like Rage that give Normal Chara ATK UP will be slightly less potent with the swords setup. For example, in the case of a Rage III buff, the neutral damage with swords build would become 1,227,543 vs 1,227,634 for the guns build, but this is actually actually less than 0.01% difference.
In any case, the reason we still consider the guns build better is mainly because the increase in attack does not make up for the loss of damage from fewer multiple attacks over time.
Let’s also throw in two other popular magna light setups for more data to compare:
I purposely didn’t set any proficiency bonuses because they would exacerbate the gap in numbers, and not everyone invests their Zenith points the same way or plays the same jobs. As such, the results are a bit biased but they should be correct enough for our purposes.
I won’t cover the regular light setups to explain how Chevalier Magna Swords work (because I already did), but I’d like to point out that since the 2nd Anniversary update in March, we saw the addition of the Cosmos weapons as well as the Bahamut Futurus upgrades which, if anything, closed the gap between
bourgeois full swords users and players with regular weapons setups because of the difference in raw stats between swords and guns.
Swords and Grande
Now let’s understand why the Chevalier Magna Swords don’t work well with the Grande build.
First, it is important to remember that The Order Grande passive bonus is applied as a normal multiplier. While the bonus is very high (+200%, i.e. x3!), it causes the multipliers to become unbalanced. We already know that the more even the different multipliers are, the higher the final result should be. That is also why a double Grande setup doesn’t work that well. You would have a 400% bonus (1 + 400% = x5) vs a 560% bonus (1 + 200% + 120% = 1 x 3 x 2.2 = x6.6 hence 560% bonus) with a Grande x Lucifer setup from summons alone, which put into proper context, would only make the gap even bigger.
Secondly, the Sakura Taisen event gave us Raphael (the Light gun), which helps make the guns setup even more potent. As we no longer use Chevalier Magna as an assist, we don’t get the doubled Mag bonus from Chevalier weapons and have a lwoer Mag multiplier. It might be reasonable to believe adding a 3rd or 4th Raphael would help us achieve higher damage, you should remember that raw stats should not be completely disregarded. A fully upgraded Chevalier Magna gun raw ATK goes up to 2,850 while Raphael maxes at 2,170 (-23.86%).
The proper way to use Grande as your main summon is not to couple her with another Grande, but to focus on a single element. You can actually use the same template for any other element. If I find the motivation/time, I will write something about other potential Grande builds (e.g. Light Gae Bolg Sage, Narumea, Dark Jeanne, Korwa).
Another one of the main points of this post was to draw a comparison between the Chevalier Magna Swords and Guns in the current meta.
Given the availability of the swords compared to the guns, you can argue that having a The Order Grande summon provides a nice alternative to farming all those swords (or spend moons on Damascus bars).
All in all, having a full swords setup with 4 light characters (or 3 with Korwa) will still give you a higher damage output overall. However, since you’re more likely to have enough guns before getting enough swords, it is worth exploring the various builds that will allow you to fully exploit them.
As a tl;dr, this post might have been as well titled “How many guns should I have farmed from the Sakura Taisen event?” (spoiler: enough to make 2 3☆ Raphael).
While numbers and words are nice and all, it’s better to demonstrate how the build works in an actual battle. I recorded my first time using this setup (with Riruru instead of Altair) as a proof of concept for this build against Olivia HL. I only had 3☆ Chevalier Guns at that time, but it turned out its performance was satisfactory enough to make me keep on testing around this build.
Here you go, enjoy folks.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated for various grammatical and readability purposes. No major changes have been made to the content.