Earth is an element that has become unpopular lately, as other elements output much more damage with less effort required. Yet, there are some who still stick to Earth for reasons such as:
- Cute summons (Yggdrasil/Medusa)
- Tiamat wouldn’t drop any guns
which are perfectly valid reasons, even if you do less damage! But now that you’ve committed to Earth, how do you become as competitive with the other elements as possible? What strengths does Earth have compared to other elements?
This article will examine Earth’s weapon setups and characters to answer these questions. The assumption here is that you already have a basic understanding of how the game’s damage system works (if you don’t, refer to other guides such as Understanding Damage Mechanics) and are looking to optimise your team.
As with all weapon loadouts in Granblue, there’s 2 categories that are used for Earth’s endgame loadouts: the Magna setup, using Yggdrasil Magna and Swords, and the Zeus-type summon setup, using Titan and 4* gacha weapons. The Titan setup is rarely seen for the following reasons:
- You need 4-5 4* gacha weapons for this loadout to be good, which won’t come without insane luck or money (or both)
- The Titan summon needs to be 3*, which requires SSR Summon limit break stones from Guild Wars
- Such loadouts in general suffer from almost all buffs in the game being in the Normal category, as well as there being no Magna equivalent of Bahamut weapons to balance the multipliers. A Magna setup will benefit much more from raid buffs and even have better damage output despite having a smaller multiplier on the weapons (100% from Yggdrasil Magna 3* vs 120% from Titan 3*)
This basically means that the Titan build is for advanced players only, and so won’t be discussed in this guide. So, how do we build a loadout for Earth with Magna-type weapons? The standard setup is 6 Yggdrasil Swords, a Bahamut weapon, a main weapon (normal category), and 2 EX (collab/unknown weapons). In other words, the ratio of Magna/Normal/EX is 6/2/2. This is the usual setup for a basic pool without a Cosmos weapon. I’ll discuss some variations of this because the good (or bad) part is Earth’s flexibility in picking the right weapon for the right situation.
However, it’s worth noting that there is no one “best” build. Factors that influence which build you go include:
- Cosmos weapon
- The level of your weapons (3*, not limit broken, 4*, etc)
- Your own farming ability/elixirs
- Playstyle preference: glass cannon, trading a bit of damage for HP, etc
- Your class and main weapon
This means that in a real raid situation, you might be forced to sacrifice some damage due to these limitations or sub-optimal conditions in the raid making it difficult for the build to work (e.g. using Enmity but not getting hit). The weapon calculator is a good baseline to use, but in the end, it comes down to personal judgement and what you have available. Don’t be afraid to trade say 1% damage for 5-10% HP if you think it helps you survive better and deal more damage from staying alive longer.
Variation 1: Yggdrasil Bow
Ygg bow used to be imbalanced, but got heavily nerfed and sees little usage nowadays. As it uses the Magna Enmity (背水) modifier, it has a lot of potential for damage since it is multiplicative with the Magna Attack from Ygg swords. However, the nerf put the HP break point for a Ygg bow to out-damage a Ygg sword at around 60-65% HP, which makes it less useful in practice. However, if you just can’t get that last sword to drop, it’s a viable filler.
Variation 2: Yggdrasil Staff
The Ygg staff loses out to the sword in almost all aspects; it has lower attack and Magna Attack M instead of L. However, it does have Magna HP S, which gives 10% HP (or 20% with 3* Ygg Magna summon). HP is usually covered by your other weapons, but if you are lacking in HP for some reason, it’s also an acceptable filler.
Variation 3: 7 Yggdrasil Swords with Cosmos Weapon
The theoretical maximum damage build with a Cosmos Sword (assuming 4* swords; this build is not for 3*) is 7 Ygg Swords, Cosmos Sword, Baha Sword, and 1 EX weapon. The problem here is that the amount of damage increase you get is marginal compared to the amount of farming you have to do for the 7th sword. Also, it’s really only a good choice for Berserker due to main weapon issues. 6 Ygg Swords, Cosmos Sword, Bahamut weapon, and either 1 EX and 1 main weapon or 2 EX is a standard Cosmos build as well.
The usual guidelines for main weapon don’t change with earth: use what’s required for your main. Guild War dagger is always good if you play a dagger class, for example. However, do note that Yggdrasil weapons have their ougi modifiers balanced to the same as the other elements at 4*, and have an additional fire damage bonus that isn’t counted in the ougi damage cap. If you’re capping your ougi damage regardless, it’s not a bad idea to use a Yggdrasil Sword main weapon to get an additional ~10% on ougi. This also helps to avoid the problem where including a normal-type main weapon tends to be sub-par.
This decision is more an issue before you get access to the HL weapons. Sword is less useful early on because it provides only 15% ATK compared to Dagger’s 30%. However, it becomes equal to Dagger at HL and both of Earth’s Guild War characters are Draph, making Sword a better choice if you want to use them. The sword also benefits from Cosmos Sword if you choose to get it. Choosing which to upgrade first depends more on your own resources and progression speed, whether you want to look at the long-term upgrade or get more boost in the short-term. Earth also has 1 Harvin (Arurumeiya), but as she is support character, it’s not worth making a Gun to increase her attack.
Earth currently has 2 EX weapons: The Pinyaa Axe from Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls event and the Poison Fist from Street Fighter. The situation here is somewhat similar to the Ygg Sword vs Ygg Staff debate: the Axe has Attack M + HP S, while the Fist has Attack L. However, the Axe has much higher attack (2141) compared to the Fist (1860). This makes the Fist a smaller upgrade over the Axe than Ygg Sword over Ygg Staff.
While double Fist will give the most damage, Axe + Fist will be decently close and give a nice HP boost. Double Axe isn’t used as in that case using another normal will be better usually. My personal choice is Axe + Fist because I want the Axe HP to offset the HP loss from using Cosmos AT Sword, but this is up to individual preference and whether you use AT sword even.
Many players tend to ask questions like “What’s the best team for [element]?” For Earth especially, there is a lot of flexibility because Earth has both offensive and defensive characters. You should always pick a team that suits the fight you are about to do. However, there are some combinations that are more common/interesting which I’ll cover.
Sara and Cagliostro are extremely good defensively and allow undergeared players to solo harder enemies than they normally would be able to. Sara has very high tanking power with taunt and damage cut, which gets combined with Cagliostro’s healing armour break. The last member depends on the situation: Arurumeiya is nice for veil and attack down, but another great choice is SR Kanako (from Idolm@ster CG event) in any HL. She has a cure and can make potions, so you can get ~10 or more green potions in HL fights that tend to last about 100 turns, which is very handy.
Earth has no shortage of offensive characters despite being labeled as defensive by the devs. Eustace, Nemone, Catherine, Aletheia (usually known as Gandalf due to appearance), Limited Eugene, Okto, Thalatha — all of these can be mixed around due to their high offensive capability. The Erune are a little gimmicky but have big payoffs. Eustace can ougi for 3.5 million (!) fully charged, and Nemone offers a similar type of charge gimmick. But whether you want to include both of them is really dependent on play style, ougi generation from other sources, etc.
Limited Eugene, Okto, Gandalf is a fun team to play due to the insane ougi generation, especially with Berserker MC. This team works nice for short fights since you can hit 2-3 ougis right off the start.
Thalatha used to be more popular early on but suffers in the current meta due to damage cap (~820k for Ground Zero, 999,999 for Sword Form ougi). However, she’s still useful in having a big source of non-elemental damage that cuts through any sort of defence. Lunarl (R) can also copy Ground Zero for a nice cheese combo.
Earth has the Samurai Guild War character, Okto, as well as SR Jin (from the summer event), who are both able to get 200% max ougi gauge like Samurai MC. This is a fun gimmick to try because of the potential burst from a 7-chain ougi, especially with a good weapon pool. Possible inclusions for the last slot are Thalatha (for another bonus 1 million hit) or Summer Vira (additional damage ougi). If you want to SAMURIDE, Earth has the best options for playing this fun but seldom-used class. If you have Okto, making the katana Earth also helps to keep up the SAMURIDE.
When you have reached the endgame, Korwa is a solid choice for Earth due to the lack of buffers. Earth has Cagliostro, but her buff isn’t spammable due to low uptime/reservation for use as cure. Although she won’t do much damage on her own being wind, letting your other characters hit for more than double the damage means that makes up for sacrificing the last slot. Korwa also works nicely with Earth Berserker and characters such as Gandalf or Okto due to their ougi fills allowing her to build ougi faster and keep her buff up, or to ougi out of sync without much penalty.
Is 5* Siegfried good?
Not really unless you are playing against water, sadly.
How about the limited characters?
They’re good for certain types of parties, but not amazing/as useful generally. Chainsaw girl is kind of like a weaker Six. Ayer can be nice with a couple Ygg Bows and Guild War Fist but is not really suited to a long fight.
SR Soriz has really high attack for a SR and has 5*. He can rival even most SSR in terms of damage once he gets a stack or two of his buff up.
SR Fastiva can do a lot of damage if you are using a male party. Also has 3 charms to debuff with.
SR Juri (event) has cover and defence up, kind of a ghetto Sara.
SR Lamretta (drunk Nun) has veil if you don’t have Aruru and need it.
SR Gayne is decent with 5*. She has a party wide multi-attack rate up with low downtime.
SR Airi (Idolm@ster CG) has sword proficiency and can do a lot of damage if you stack her buff up.
SR Yaia — cooks fried rice for you. Isn’t she the cutest?
In a way, Earth is kind of the jack-of-all-trades element since you can build both full defensive and full offensive, although its offensive power is probably 4th or 5th among the six elements in an ideal situation. Whether or not this will change in the future is still uncertain — another buffer-type character for Earth is sorely needed. However, it’s still in a decent spot for now.