Arena of Atlantis

Welcome to the Arena of Atlantis Mercenary Strategy Guide
Here we will detail each of the mercenaries available for use in AOA, some of the strategies you can use with and against them, and rate their usefulness on a scale from 1 to 4.


Banning/Picking Strategies
-If you get first Ban choice, that means you get the first 2 mercenary picks, don’t lock something you want to use
-If you go 2nd, ban the mercenaries you wouldn’t want to face
-In general, it’s not a good idea to let your enemy have Riva or Khun Phaen. They are usually a safe ban.
-Be aware there are only 3 Holy Guard mercenaries in AoA (Dharma, Roro Kidul, Himiko) and staff Main. If the enemy uses both of their bans on these mercenaries, you should try to pick the third immediately.
-Always have at least 1 awakener or at least a combo count reducer. Being stunned is a recipe for losses in AoA
-Focus on a particular strategy, while having a backup plan. Usually only 1 or 2 of your picks should be mercenaries to counter the enemy’s (if any), the rest should stick to the methods you’ve found that work to end the game.
-If you are a ranged main, take or ban Guan Yu and sometimes ban Isabel (especially vs cannon mains)
-Pick Cassandra vs. Blademasters (Dual-sword mains), and anyone choosing Anne Bonny/Harlequin
-Pressing the X exit button in the mercenary selection screen will cause you to lose 10 rating points, while the enemy gains none.


Mercenary Ratings
These rating scores (1-4) were made by discussion and consensus among the players, they have no actual effect in-game, they are merely to serve as a general idea of what mercenaries are more and less useful in AOA. The ones we rated highest are not always the best choice, and the ones we rate lower can still be part of unique and powerful teams. Try them all to see what best fits your play style.

Rating [Description]
* 1 – The mercenary is almost never useful
**2 – Effective in only in a few situations and special formations
***3 – mercenary is often useful, usually when paired with others and against specialized formations
****4 – These mercenaries are powerful and effective in nearly all situations and formations and are most often in demand


Mercenaries by Rating

1 – Napoleon, Nightshade, Quilla, White Witch

2- Anck Su Namun, Anne Bonny, Attila, Bai Xian, Beggar Su, Cassandra, Ching Ya, Ching Yue, Chiu Hong, Christine, Chueh Shui, Da Vinci, Goemon, Guangmo, Harlequin, Heisha Modi, Hualin, Isabel, Jessica, Joan of Arc, Kim Choon Sam, Kim Yoo Shin, Lian Hua, Maitreya, Michael, Morgan Le Fay, Naruk, Northern Viking, Odysseus, Pocahontas, Sadko, Shao Xian, Shen Hong, Tianmo, Washington, Zhao Yun, Zhu Rong

3- Chironia, Fangzhang, Frank Reade, Guan Yu, Gyebaek, Jeon Woo Chi, Mo Chien Lang, Morrigan, Mwindo, Okuni, Paganini, Sylvie, Xuanzang

4- Brothers Grimm, Carmilla, Dharma (Monk), Gigas, Himiko, Khun Phaen, Leonidas, Rin, Riva Faust, Roro Kidul

(Currently Unavailable to use in AOA: Whip Main, Bai Yigai, Sorangoon, Gou Chen Nam, Shaolin Dharma, Janissary, Archer, King Arthur, Grim Reaper, Nymph)


Main Character Ratings

1- Celestial Hunter, Gunner

2- Axe, Battlemage, Blademaster, Cannon

3- Bow, Instrument, Power Saw, Spear, Staff

4- Sword

Mercenary Strategy Guide

Find mercenaries skill descriptions and tips to use and fight against all available mercenaries below. (Alphabetically sorted)

Terms and Abbreviations
AoE = Area of effect, spells that hit all enemies
AP = Action Power, the 100 points needed to make an action
Buff = Any effect that makes your allies stronger
DoT = Damage over time, causes damage each turn of its duration
MDef Debuff = Any effect that lowers Magic Defense
Sniping = Focusing fire on a target, usually with bows
Specialized = A mercenary that generally does one type of action
Strong = A mercenary with powerful attacks
Tough = A mercenary with high HP that is hard to kill
Versatile = A mercenary that has multiple functions and varying abilities


Anck Su Namun

Specialized staff mercenary who heals and can make a magic combo with Joan of Arc.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Anck Su Namun can cast a strong healing spell on a horizontal row. Vortex is a small dot that affects two mercenaries in a column, and decreases their vitality as well. It is not worth using unless you plan to use Joan of Arc’s Light Slash on top of it. Seth’s Will is not very useful here, as control of your mercenaries is not worth the trade-off for the offensive buffs.

Ways To Counter: Sniping and/or silencing is the counter to essentially all staff mercenaries. She does not have to be your primary target, but you definitely don’t want her alive too late into a match.

Skills
Healing
A good horizontal row heal.

Vortex
Minor magic damage over time, only useful when cast before Light Slash.

Seth’s Will
Causes 3 characters in a line to go berserk, increasing attack (slightly) and losing control-ability. Not recommended for AOA.


Anne Bonny

Strong dual-sword mercenary which hits up to 4 targets and causes damage and AP drain over time on attack. Buffs other swords and has magic attacks.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Mid or front row if needed. Very good damage dealer, hits cross instead of single target. Buffs other swords which works well with sword main and Morrigan. If up against a team with good snipe, Odysseus is needed. Blood Vengeance can be used to deal massive damage to any enemy, while hurting one of your own at random. A risky but powerful and sometimes crucial move. Crimson blade is a column attack which has mediocre damage but is worth a turn if your attacks are sealed.

Ways to Counter: Try to keep front line Holy Guarded. Pocahontas and Cassandra will greatly diminish her effectiveness. Have a cross awakener like Dharma or Frank Reade or both.

Skills
Crimson Blade
Vertical column magic attack. Extra good when paired with Weapon Rend from Odysseus, and for damaging back and mid rows.

Marauder’s Edge
Increases other sword mercenaries and main attack power and multi hit rate. (Passive)

Toxic Sword
Causes damage over time and AP drain on hit (Passive)

Blood Vengeance
Single target magic attack which also hurts one of your mercenaries randomly.


Attila

Tough Unfreezable Axe mercenary with a defense debuff on hit.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Keep Attila in the front row. She should only do normal attacks, and before your other attackers if possible to take advantage of Cleaving blows debuff. Tarkan’s will is her only active skill, and it is not recommended to be used, as the empowering effect is not very significant.

Ways to Counter: Since all she can do is attack, Attila is easily countered by Valkyrie’s Odin’s Chain, or Maitreya’s Adamantine Chakra. You can also put one of the shadow legion mercenaries (like Beggar King) in the middle of your front row to sometimes cause stun when hit. Attila is immune to freezing, but can be controlled with stuns, Bai Xian, Valkyrie, Inventor, etc. She is also susceptible to magic attacks.

Skills
Cleaving Blows
Sometimes creates a defensive debuff on the row she hits. (Passive)

Tarkan’s Will
Goes into a rage, you lose control and she gains some attack power. Not a very effective move it seems.

Unstoppable
Tarkan is immune to freezing effects (forest prison, freezing axe, etc) and gains some attack power (Passive)


https://i1.wp.com/i.imgur.com/QSQjgqf.jpg?resize=83%2C117

Bai Xian

Strong gunner with self-buffs and stuns on hit.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Bai Xian has no active skills, so attacking is her only option. Attack an un-stunned or guarding mercenary for a good chance of stunning them instantly, which greatly reduces their defense.

Ways to Counter: The stunning effect can be prevented with a holy guard, or Maitreya’s Adamantine Chakra (prevents physical damage). You can also shut down Bai Xian with Valkyrie’s Odin’s Chain (disables normal attack). As with most ranged mercenaries, she can also be sniped with a few good ranged shots.


Beggar Su

Whip mercenary with passive range buff and a column magic attack

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Damaging and stunning the enemy’s back and mid-row support mercenaries (awakeners, holy guarders, and healers) is usually the best use of a whip merc. Try to keep Beggar Su from being stunned, as he won’t survive long when stunned. Use Karmic Cunning with Chueh Shui’s Master’s Discipline magic attack for extra damage on a column.

Ways to Counter: Since Beggar Su can kill back/mid row support mercenaries, it can be helpful to have a horizontal row healer (Anck Su Namun, Brothers Grimm, Ching Ya, Jessica) to counteract his damage. Beggar Su can be sniped but beware of his stun on attacked passive. Try to stun him before sniping him.

Skills

Drunkard’s Iron Strike
Has a chance to stun attacker when hit. (Passive)

Karmic Cunning
Magic damage over time on a column

Multitude of Blessing
Increases attack power of all allied ranged allies in formation (Passive)


Brothers Grimm

Versatile Cannon Mercenary which has a heal, column freeze, and a dot which increases in power with subsequent hits

Rating: 4/4

Suggest Use: As with all cannon mercenaries, use to keep stun pressure up especially on awakeners and other support mercenaries. Mother Hulda is a row heal when used on your team, or a front line HG-remover if used on enemy. Musicians of Bremen places a dot which increases damage as the target is hit with physical hits. Red Riding is a very useful column freeze, disable 3 targets in a vertical line, but it will cancel if you physically hit that target again, so use it at the end of a turn or before magic attacks since it debuffs magic defense.

Ways to Counter:

Skills
Red Riding Hood
Column freeze and debuff that cancels if hit by physical attacks

Mother Hulda
Row heal or front line dispel

Musicians of Bremen
Single target dot which increases in power with successive physical hits


Carmilla

Tough and Versatile Instrument user that can debuff, revive herself and heal others.

Rating: 4/4

Suggested Use: Usually mid or back row but can front-line in some situations if needed. Use Dusk Elegy often to [magic defense] debuff a column and greatly heal Carmilla. If she dies while it is active she will revive next turn. This can also be used with Rin’s Bloody Strings to sacrifice Carmilla for a turn, then dusk will revive her and bloody strings will give them both a powerful buff, protecting them from magic and healing/awakening over time. Carmilla can also be a powerful attacker/sniper. Use Dawn Harmony to save a mercenary or main only if needed.

Ways to Counter: Carmilla needs to be stunned or silenced/frozen or she will be very hard to kill, thus making everyone else hard to kill. Sniping can work once she’s disabled. Paganini can remove her debuff, stopping her from reviving. Kim Yoo Shin can seal her magic for a turn and snipe her.

Skills
Dawn Harmony
Heal over time in a column

Dusk Elegy
A column dot and [magic defense] debuff which heals Carmilla and can revive her if she dies while active

Vampiric Thirst
Adds damage and heals Carmilla sometimes when she attacks (Passive)


Cassandra

Bow Mercenary that buffs melee units and can weaken the attacks of all of a single type of melee unit.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Mid row. Cassandra is best picked against melee heavy teams that are likely to do physical attacks: mainly dualsword mercenaries/mains. Her seal spells last several turns, you can almost keep them on permanently, but they DO NOT prevent magic from being used. Use before magic attacks as they are also a [magic defense] debuff. Use her to snipe enemy support mercenaries as well.

Ways to Counter: As with all rangers, Cassandra is fairly easy to snipe, though unless you are using dual-swords she is not a main target. Paganini, Himiko, Kim Choon Sam, Roro and Dharma can remove her debuffs.

Skills
Concentrate
Heals and Increases allied melee mercenaries attack power (passive)

Shattered Sword
Reduces sword mercenaries attack power, adds dot and debuff

Broken Spear
Reduces spear mercenaries attack power, adds dot and debuff

Rusty Axe
Reduces axe mercenaries attack power, adds dot and debuff

Sundered Powersaw
Reduces saw mercenaries attack power, adds dot and debuff


Ching Ya

Versatile Staff user who can heal in a cross pattern, buff an ally, and create an impenetrable shield

Rating: 2/4

Usage: Ching Ya is a great healer. River of Stars will heal up to 5 mercenaries in a cross pattern, and for 2 turns. Drunken Fist is a buff that increases AP gain, attack and multi hit rate at the cost of some defense and a small dot. Unlike the similar skills like Seth’s Will, it only affects one target and you can control the mercenary you buff, making it something to consider in battle. Sacred shield is a single target buff that heals the target and makes them completely immune to physical damage and most magic skills. Finally, as a member of the Shadow corps, she has the skill that gives a chance to stun an attacker when she is directly attacked, which discourages sniping.

To counter: Silence is the best counter for Ching Ya. Not only does this disable her heals, it also disables Drunkard’s Iron Strike, which makes her prone to sniping. Himiko, Jeon Woo Chi, Michael, and Maitreya are good choices to thwart Ching Ya.

Skills
River of Stars
Heals in a cross pattern over 2 turns. The best heal in AOA

Drunken Fist
Single Ally attack and multi hit rate buff

Sacred Shield
Single Ally protection from magic and physical damage

Drunkard’s Iron Strike
Chance to stun attacker when hit (Passive)


https://i1.wp.com/i.imgur.com/9YoGmUf.jpg?resize=106%2C150

Ching Yue

Tough Sword & Shield fighter with a protective stun reduction skill.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Ching Yue’s Peace of Mind skill can be used to help prevent stun by reducing combo count over time on a vertical column, and it greatly lowers the physical damage taken by those mercenaries. She is a very sturdy front row mercenary, and should use her protective skill as often as possible. Her passive main character protection skill may also allow your main to stand in the front with reduced danger.

Ways to Counter: Ching Yue can be kept silenced or frozen using various mercenaries like Naruk, Jeon Woo Chi, Mwindo, Himiko, etc. Tianmo’s Diabolical Prison can be used to Holy Guard the enemy column, preventing any magic like Peace of Mind, heals or awakens from being cast on them. Then you can snipe and stun that column at will with no support possible. Mana drains from Witch and Exorcist can also deplete Ching Yue’s MP, rendering her mostly useless.

Skills
Dharma Mantra
Self Defense and Healing buff (Passive)

Peace of Mind
Lowers physical damage taken and reduces combo count in a vertical column

Buddha’s Grace
Heals and awakens the main character when Ching Yue is hit (Passive)


Chironia

Strong Bow user who can do a full formation DoT and is the best sniper.

Rating: 3/4

Suggest Use: Chironia is the best sniper because of her high damage and magic damage on hit. Target the enemy’s support mercenaries first (or main if they have none). Use her DoT when the target is guarding or there aren’t other good snipe targets.

Ways to Counter: Snipers can be countered with mercenaries like Rin, Washington, Ching Ya on the defensive side. Alternatively you can used ranged attacks to eliminate the Chironia without much effort.

Skills
Chione’s Fury
Enemy formation takes ice damage over time with a small debuff

Gift of Prometheus
Chance to add fire damage to arrow attacks (passive)

Tempest Spirit
Chance to increase stats and reduce damage when hit (passive)


Chiu Hong

Instrument user who weakens all enemy melee mercenaries and has a powerful full formation heal when she is low on life

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Mid or back row. Chiu Hong can be used to damage and stun the mid and back row with her instrument attack until she is low on life, where she really shines. Change of seasons is a powerful Heal-over-time spell on all your mercenaries and can quickly turn the tide of a battle.

Ways to Counter: Silence or stun her then snipe her out, or just leave her undamaged while you kill the enemy’s other mercenaries or main. Take all necessary steps to prevent Chiu Hong from being low on life and able to use magic.

Skills
Drunkard’s Iron Strike
Chance to stun attacker when hit (Passive)

Fury of Eight Immortals
Reduces attack power of all enemy melee mercenaries (Passive)

Change of Seasons
Usable when Chiu Hong is low on life, heals over time and increases critical hit rate for all allied mercenaries (similar to noble sacrifice, but does NOT kill Chiu Hong)


Christine

Strong gunner with a powerful magic attack and a single target freeze.

Rating 2/4

Suggest Use: Effective for stun pressure and with good damage Try to keep her healed and holy guarded to stay alive. Arrest can be useful for freezing a main or mercenary late in the game. Revolver Rush damage has been reduced significantly, but can still be useful in some situations.

Ways to Counter: Christine is relatively easy to dispatch with a few ranged shots or magic attacks. Chironia, Mo Chien Lang, Guan Yu, Carmilla, Sadko, Gigas are capable of taking her out fast.

Skills
Arrest
Single target freeze which can hit mid or front row

Revolver Rush
Full formation magic attack

Steady Stance
Increases attack power and multi hit rate of Christine (Passive)


Chueh Shui

Tough Spear wielder with resistance to ranged attacks and a column magic attack

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Chueh Shui can be in front or middle row, as she tends to be sturdier than most spears, resistant to ranged attacks and has a chance to stun when hit. Her magic attack Master’s Discipline does a respectable amount of piercing damage, which can be effective on a debuffed column (especially with Karmic Cunning from Beggar Su), but does not increase combo count.

Ways to Counter: Stun or silence her before attacking to avoid the passive counter-stun. Holy guard will prevent the magic attack. In most cases the enemy will have more dangerous mercenaries you should focus damage on first.

Skills

Drunkard’s Iron Strike
Chance to stun attacker when hit (Passive)

Strong Heart
Grants resistance to ranged attacks (Passive)

Master’s Discipline
Vertical Column magic attack


Da Vinci

Gun mercenary which can summon a machine to attack a column every turn.

Rating: 2/4

Suggest Use: Mid or Back row. Pick Da Vinci especially when the enemy has little or no awakeners. Summon his machine as early as possible, turn 2 if you can. He will be a prime snipe target so it may be a good idea to keep him guarded and/or healed.

Ways to Counter: Da Vinci can be sniped, though you will probably still want something to awaken. Frank Reade, Washington, Ching Yue, Dharma, Rin, Roro would be good choices to counter. Additionally, Maitreya’s Adamanantine Chakra skill used on front row will prevent the machine from firing, and all gunners from attacking.

Skills
Machine summon
Summons a machine which attacks every round as long as Da Vinci is alive


Dharma

Versatile Support Staff user who can Holy Guard, awaken, and decrease damage taken by main.

Rating: 4/4

Suggest Use: Back Row. Due to the lack of awakening and holy guard support mercenaries, the one that does both (Dharma) can be very useful. Against AoE teams, Holy guard your mid or back row, or both if possible. Rin is a good choice to give Dharma more turns and keep him alive at least long enough to do a Holy Guard. Gigas and/or Kim Choon Sam also work well to keep him alive and un-sealed.

Ways to Counter: Dharma has the lowest HP of any mercenary. He can be sniped in a single activation with a lucky triple hit, Chironia is especially good at taking him out quickly. He will also die to a few magic attacks. Jeon Woo Chi, Michael and Brothers Grimm can prevent him from acting.

Skills
Shield of Protection
Heals the main character each time they are hit (Passive)

Awakening
Cross shaped awakening removes stun

Holy Guard
Prevents magic damage on a row for 2 turns


Fangzhang

Fist mercenary with self buffs and a single target magic attack.

Rating: 3/4

Suggested Use: Fangzhang’s most powerful move is Holy Arhat fist, dealing 7946 damage to a single target and dispelling any magic effects, including Holy Guard and bloody strings. It can also be used on the 2nd row. He can be front row or middle.

Ways to Counter: Stun, freeze and silence Fangzhang when possible. Move an injured mid row mercenary to the back to avoid his magic.

Skills
Dharma Mantra
Heals and increases defense (Passive)

108 Afflictions
Health and defense decreased while attack power and multi hit rate increased

Holy Arhat Fist
Single Target high magic damage and removes magic effects


Gigas

Tough and Versatile Cannon mercenary who can do a full formation heal or magic attack

Rating: 4/4

Suggested Use: Mid row. Adds stun pressure and is tough to kill. Healing Pulse heals the whole formation over 2 turns, and is the strongest heal in AOA now. Use it often. Arms of Atlantis should be used on top of a mdef debuff only when you don’t need healing.

Ways to Counter: To stop a cannon mercenary from hitting 5 of your allies at once, put a flying mercenary in the middle of your formation. Sylvie is a good choice, or Morgan Le Fay if you need more AoE. Chironia can usually snipe out a mercenary before Gigas can heal it.

Skills
Oriharukon Core
Increases Gigas’ attack and multi hit rate (Passive)

Healing Pulse
A strong full formation heal that heals for 2 turns

Arms of Atlantis
A full formation AoE magic attack


Goemon

Cannon mercenary with an accuracy-reducing magic and a powerful combo with Isabel against rangers.

Rating: 2/4

Suggest Use: Mid row or back row if used with Isabel. As a cannon mercenary he will do well adding stun pressure, and Goemon’s Smoke bomb can be effective at causing misses. Cast one of Isabel’s magic signets on top of smoke bomb to make the Bomb Attack combo. This will cause huge damage to the type of ranger you target, especially when under a [magic defense] debuff.

Ways to Counter: Putting a flying mercenary at the middle of your formation can reduce cannon’s effectiveness, but you will probably need an early Holy Guard to save your rangers if they are using Bomb Attack. Try to make a hole in the middle row and silence Goemon and Isabel or freeze/disable/stun them especially if you use a ranged main.

Skills
Smoke Bomb
Full formation accuracy debuff and dot


Guangmo

Fist fighter who can debuff the enemy team

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Usually mid-row but can be in front row if necessary. Guangmo is best used in magic attack teams. His Blood of Asura skill should be used as often as possible.

Ways to Counter: If Guangmo is in the enemy’s front line, focusing attacks on him can eliminate him fairly easily compared to other melee mercenaries. Freezing, silencing and stunning mercenaries can render him mostly useless. Pocahontas, Naruk, Himiko, Maitreya, Jeon Woo Chi, and Odysseus are good choices to counter him.

Skills
Seal of Evil
Causes damage over time and reduced attack power sometimes on hit (Passive)

Blood of Asura
Causes magic damage over time and reduces defense and magic defense


Gyebaek

Tough Sword mercenary who has a single target magic attack and can do a strong magic combo with Okuni

Rating: 3/4

Suggested Use: Front row. Best used with Okuni for Hell flame (Dark seed+Hex of darkness). Odysseus is a good choice with him too, his weapon rend will empower the Hell flame combo. This will cause massive damage over time to the main target and about half as much to the one behind it. If you can also debuff with Sadko and/or Carmilla, a match can end very quickly. Deadly strike is very strong if you can get a chance to use it when Gyebaek is low on life. Flame sword is also very strong, especially when used on top of debuffs like weapon rend, dusk elegy, etc.

Ways to Counter: Holy Guard on the mid row makes a hell flame pretty ineffective. Do it before turn 3 if enemy have Gyebaek+Okuni. Or if Holy Guard isn’t available, Paganini’s Salvation skill can dispel the effects and heal some of the damage, but it will still hurt. Try to take out the Okuni without letting it act on low life.

Skills
Flame Sword
Single target magic attack

Dark Seed
Does Damage Over Time. Use Hex of Darkness from Okuni next to trigger Hell Flame magic combo

Deadly Strike
Single target high damage attack when at low HP


Harlequin

Strong Dual-Sword mercenary which hits up to 4 targets, self buffs and a single-target magic attack.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Back or mid row, front if needed. She hits hard and her attack pattern is in the shape of a cross. Fatal flourish can be used once to deal great damage to a single target. Masquerade is a powerful damage buff, but lowers her defense which makes her even more prone to sniping. Feel free to use if your enemy can’t hit her directly, since it has a long duration and no AP cost. Try pairing her with Anne Bonnie and Morrigan to stun the front row then cut them down.

Ways to Counter: Cassandra makes her attacks very weak. Pocahontas can cause a lot of damage on Harlequin and make her miss. Keep your front row awakened and try to stun Harlequin if possible.

Skills
Dell’Arte
Increases Attack power and Evasion (Passive)

Fatal Flourish
Consumes all of Harlequin’s MP to inflict a magic attack on a single target.

Masquerade
Increases Harlequin’s attack power and lowers defense


Heisha Modi

Powersaw user who can increase the effectiveness of melee attacks.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Front or Mid-row. Best used with a heavy melee team, as he can increase the damage they do with their attacks. Stack as many defense debuffs as you can along with Bad Blood then attack with your melee mercenaries.

Ways to Counter: Stunning and freezing mercenaries should reduce his effectiveness, and he is vulnerable to magic attacks. But Heisha Modi is not very dangerous on his own, so you can probably focus on killing other mercenaries first.

Skills
Seal of Evil
Causes damage over time and reduced attack power sometimes on hit (Passive)

Dark Soul Rising
Heals and Increases attack power to self when Heisha Modi’s HP gets low (Passive)

Bad Blood
Targets in a cross pattern take damage over time and extra damage from melee attacks


Himiko

Versatile and Strong Bow mercenary who can silence and holy guard

Rating: 4/4

Suggested Use: Mid or Back Row. Can be used to snipe out a Dharma or Roro, Holy Guard your mid/back rows, and silence the enemy’s front or mid row. Usually used in that order, snipe at the start, Holy Guard at mid-game, then silence at endgame. Himiko is one of the most useful mercenaries, take her if you go first, ban her if you don’t.

Ways to Counter: Himiko can be sniped with some focused fire, Guan Yu can help to lower her HP. Stun her if possible. Isabel+Goemon may be able to kill her with Bomb Attack. Mwindo can dispel her Holy Guard if it’s on front or mid row, or dispel the silence on yours.

Skills
Empress’ Blessing
Holy Guards a row for 2 turns, healing and preventing magic damage

Empress’ Curse
Silences a row for 2 turns


Hualin

Staff user who buffs other staff users.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Back or Mid row, front if needed. Hualin restores HP passively to all staff users, thus making Dharma/Roro more survivable. It is a subtle effect but it can make a big difference. Her Wasting Evil spell is a fairly strong dot on a row which increases if cast on magical fire from Tianmo or Mo Chien Lang. She can be used in the front line if the enemy is not too melee heavy and u have other support such as Rin and Roro.

Ways to Counter: Exorcist is an effective counter for her and the enemy team using her, as they will likely have several staffs. Try to keep her silenced if possible. If you are mana-draining, drain her first if possible. Stunning her will make her easy to kill.

Skills
Seal of Evil
Sometimes causes damage over time when attacking (Passive)

Hallowed Heavens
Heals and restores MP to all allied staff users (Passive)

Wasting Evil
Causes damage over time to a row and increases effectiveness of normal staff attacks, increases damage of magical fire


Isabel

Specialized staff mercenary who buffs rangers and can debuff each type of ranger and has a powerful magic combo with Goemon.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Back row. Isabel’s only active skills are her signet spells, which debuff the attacks of the chosen type of ranged weapon. They will do significantly less damage for several turns. Adding Goemon is recommended to do smoke bomb first, then a signet spell (usually on bows) to trigger Bomb Attack, a very powerful magic combo. Do a [magic defense] debuff first like Dusk Elegy or Abyssal Refrain to maximize Bomb Attack damage.

Ways to Counter: Isabel can be sealed with Michael and Jeon Woo Chi. Her debuffs can be removed with Mwindo, Roro, Dharma, Paganini, Kim Choon Sam. Attempt to stun or silence if possible.

Skills
Princess’ Order
Heals and increases accuracy of all allied rangers (Passive)

Family Signet
Reduces effectiveness of enemy’s Bows

Royal Signet
Reduces effectiveness of enemy’s Guns

Imperial Signet
Reduces effectiveness of enemy’s Cannons

Tribal Signet
Reduces effectiveness of enemy’s Instruments


Jeon Woo Chi

Strong spear user who buffs all spears and can disable any enemy row

Rating: 3/4

Suggested Use: Front row or mid row. Jeon’s main skill is Vital seal, which seals magic and attack of any row, even the back. This is very useful for stopping the enemy’s support mercenaries like Roro and Dharma from acting to protect. Used along with a front line freeze, this can shut down many useful actions for that turn. Just be sure to have something to follow up with, like stuns, snipes or aoe’s or a heavy melee assault. Also remember that vital seal increases mdef by about 30% so use your magic attacks first then seal.

Ways to Counter: Put a backup support mercenary in your mid row. Purifying mercenaries like Paganini, Kim Choon Sam, and Mwindo can remove the vital seal from your main support mercenaries in the back row (Dharma, Roro, Rin, Himiko). Viking or Naruk and/or Pocahontas can also keep him sealed, though purifying is usually more effective.

Skills
Empowered Aura
Heals and Increases the attack power of all allied spear mercenaries (Passive)

Vital Seal
Prevents enemy row from taking action for 1 turn, but [magic defense] buffs it for 2 turns

Spirit Echo
Adds damage and reduces AP when attacking (Passive)

Burning Essense
Cross Shaped buff, Increases AP and accuracy with a slight heal at the end. Not recommended for use in AoA


Jessica

Versatile Power-saw mercenary who cannot be frozen, has a heal and a column magic attack

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Front Line. Her carnage spell does good damage and cools down quickly, but the best part is the combo count. Carnage cannot hit Holy guard, but can give stun pressure to back row. Her Morale boost heal can be used in a pinch to restore HP and MP but it has a long cool-down. Jessica can be a good pick against Maitreya whose magic she can pierce to add combo count, and freezer mercenaries like viking and Naruk.

Ways to Counter: Holy Guarding the front line will disable her strongest move, Carnage. Carmilla can help heal the effects of her column attack. If paired with more melee than just the front line, Pocahontas can be a good choice to counter Jessica. She may not be strong enough to pick particular mercenaries to counter her directly, but that in itself can be an asset if her opponent does not respect the Carnage.

Skills
Carnage
Column piercing damage magic attack that increases combo count and Ignores defense.

Blood Vendetta
Increases Jessica’s attack power, accuracy, critical (Passive)

Morale Boost
Heals and Restores MP on a row


Joan of Arc

Tough sword & shield mercenary with a 2-target piercing magic attack.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Front row. A sturdy sword mercenary with only one skill that hits two targets in a column and does random damage(but can do very high damage). Works well with Oracle’s Vortex to deal even more damage.

Ways to Counter: Holy Guard on front line works well to counter light slash. Try to silence her or the oracle if enemy is using one, as their combination, Divine Slash, can be devastating.

Skills
Light Slash
2-target magic attack. Hits the main target + the mercenary behind it, adds a combo counter. Combines with Vortex from Oracle to make Divine Slash, a strong magic attack.


Kim Choon Sam

Tough sword & shield user who has an AOE magic attack, sometimes stuns his attacker, and can heal and purify.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Front Row. Very effective tank due to his passive, which has a chance of stunning the attacker when he is attacked directly. Dispersing Shadow is an average AoE, but his other strength comes mainly from Beggar’s Wit. A good single target heal, mana regeneration and purification, he can remove disables on a key mercenary.

Ways to Counter: It’s difficult to approach him directly since there’s a chance you can get stunned when you attack him. However, this won’t happen if your attacking mercenary is under holy guard or Kim is silenced or stunned (physical stun). If you disable other mercenaries of your opponent, make sure you have some control on Kim, or else he’s able to remove the disables. Pocahontas, Morrigan, Bai Xian, Naruk, Jeon Woo Chi, Himiko and other stunners and silencers can help against Kim Choon Sam.

Skills
Beggar’s Wit
Heals, restores MP and purifies magic effects on a single target.

Dispersing Shadow
A magic attack which hits the entire enemy team.

Drunkard’s Iron Strike
Chance to stun when Kim Choon Sam is attacked (Passive)


Kim Yoo Shin

Strong Bow user who buffs all rangers and can seal instrument magic

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Mid Row. A powerful sniper, Kim Yoo Shin is good for eliminating support mercenaries like healers and holy guarders. After this you can go for the main stun and snipe. His Seal Instrument skill is a strong debuff and silences all instruments. Used with a mostly ranged team Kim Yoo Shin’s Hwarang’s Aura will make them hit harder. (The Bow Main has this aura too and they don’t stack)

Ways to Counter: As with most rangers, Kim Yoo Shin is relatively easy to drop with a few ranged or magic attacks, although you may have more important targets. Guan yu is a great choice as the enemy will likely use many rangers. If the enemy appears to be stacking up bows and/or whips against you, Kim is usually the calling card for the full main snipe build. Washington’s Camaraderie can save you from that, or Ching Ya’s Sacred Shield+heals.

Skills
Seal Instrument
Lowers attack power and action power and prevents instruments from using magic

Hwarang’s Aura
Increased [allied rangers in formation] attack power and multi hit rate (Passive)

Hwarang’s Fury
When low on life, sacrifices himself to buff your team for several rounds


Khun Phaen

Versatile Sword & Orb user who can do a magic attack on a row, silence and debuff main characters, and buff your own main.

Rating: 4/4

Suggested Use: Front or mid row. He gives your main a strong buff and is a good pick with a damage dealing main. Thunderbolt slash has become the strong magic attack in AoA, added on top of Odysseus’s weapon rend it is devastating, and Demoralize can be used for a very timely disable on the opponent’s main.

Ways to Counter: If your enemy is giving you trouble with their main’s physical damage, he is a high priority kill. Holy guard is a good solution, except you should holy guard your mid, as the mid is usually the target of a weapon rend + thunderbolt slash combo.

Skills
Thunderbolt Slash
Magic damage in a horizontal row. More effective with Weapon Rend from Odysseus.

Demoralize
Debuffs and silences the enemy main.

Rally
Buffs and heals your main. (Passive)


Lian Hua

Tough spear mercenary who can disperse damage among your whole team

Rating: 2/4

Suggest Use: Front Row. Lian Hua’s Thousand Palms of Rulai skill should be used often (along with silence to prevent magic attacks) to prevent the death of mercenaries with low HP, or any of your allies on whom attacks are being focused. Damage taken by that mercenary will be distributed among your entire formation, preventing key mercenaries from being sniped (for 1 turn) and giving you a chance to heal them.

Ways to Counter: Freezing, stunning and silencing will deplete most of her effectiveness, though she is still tough to kill. If you are trying to snipe some enemy mercenaries, be sure to keep Lian Hua silenced, stunned or frozen.

Skills
Dharma Mantra
Increases defense and heals self (Passive)

Thousand Buddha’s Strike
Has a chance to reduce multi hit rate and accuracy on attack (Passive)

Death Proof
Part of received damage is absorbed by MP

Thousand Palms of Rulai
Increases defense on your entire formation and distributes damage among all mercenaries.


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Maitreya

Versatile Instrument with Silence and Physical Hit immunity on a row.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Mid or back row. Maitreya’s Adamantine Chakra can be used to prevent all physical attacks on a horizontal row, best used when stun count is at combo 2, preventing stun, or on the front row to prevent gun hits entirely, or on a mercenary with low HP that the enemy is trying to snipe. She can also be used to silence a mid row, potentially disabling a vital support mercenary.

Ways to Counter: While Maitreya is an effective counter to gunners, Cannon or Instrument mercenaries can keep your stun pressure going behind Maitreya’s protect spell. Sorceress’s Purifying Path or Grimm’s Mother Hulda can remove the protective magic effect. Magic attacks will still damage those under the Chakra, and Jessica can still add combo count to them with Carnage. Maitreya is also vulnerable to being sniped.

Skills
Dharma Mantra
Self Defense and Healing buff (Passive)

Adamantine Chakra
Prevents physical hits on a horizontal row for 1 turn

Namo Amitabha
Silences magic for 2 turns


Michael

Specialized Sword user who seals staff magic, and buffs your own staff users.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Front if needed, or else mid or back. Buffs and heals your staffs and seals enemy staffs. Mana burn drains mana in a cross pattern and can be somewhat effective on top of weapon rend. You can then choose between Mana Seal and Seal staff, which disables magic on staff mercenaries and decreases the attack power of staff mercenaries respectively.

Ways to Counter: Silence. His physical damage is very low and while silenced he doesn’t offer much to the enemy team. You can also holy guard off or purify the staff seals.

Skills
Speed Cast
Heals and increases Action power of all staff mercenaries (Passive)

Mana Burn
Damages MP and Life in a cross pattern

Mana Seal
Silences all staff users in enemy formation

Seal Staff
Weakens the attacks of all enemy staff mercenaries


Mo Chien Lang

Sword mercenary with self buff and a row magic attack.

Rating: 3/4

Suggested Use: Front row. Mo Chien Lang’s main skill is Dark Spirit Daggers. It is best used on the mid row after debuffs, then the back row after a mercenary in the middle dies. Casting these debuffs before using Daggers will make it even stronger: Sadko’s Abyssal Refrain, Carmilla’s Dusk Elegy, Tianmo’s Divine Demon, Guangmo’s Blood of Asura. Bringing Mwindow can dispel a mid-row holy guard with Purifying Path.

Ways To Counter: Keep your mid row under holy guard and force the enemy to use Daggers on your front row which should be harder to kill. If Holy guards have been blocked, you can stock your mid row with more hard to kill melees and/or try to keep him stunned or silenced with Pocahontas, Viking, Jeon, etc.

Skills
Dark Spirit Daggers
Row magic attack with damage over time.

Darkness Within
Increases Mo Chien Lang’s Attack power and accuracy.

Seal of Evil
Sometimes debuffs enemy on hit (Passive)


Morgan Le Fay

Specialized staff user who has a strong full party magic attack and can drain and restore MP

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Mid row center space. As a flying mercenary, Morgan Le Fay is a counter to cannons especially if you place her in the center spot in your formation. Everyone who sees a witch knows what’s coming in turn 4, the Meteor Strike. It is strong in AoA although its cooldown time is 4 turns which means her damage output over time will not be as high as someone with a faster AoE like Christine. Pick Morgan as a counter to cannons or if you need more AoE and there are no stronger ones left.

Ways to Counter: Holy guard on mid or back row or both will stop the meteor. Or a silence from Bow Main, Maitreya, Himiko, Michael. Beyond that first meteor, witch becomes harmless again for many turns, by which time the fight should be mostly decided. She is immune to melee but can still be killed with rangers, staffs and magic attacks just as easily as most staffs and rangers, though she’s easy enough to disable that there are probably more dangerous targets.

Skills
Meteor Strike
A strong but slow to recharge full team magic attack

Mana Trap
A minor dot which hurts enemies if they use will spells on it. Not Recommended for AoA

Mana Recharge
Restores some MP to a row

Mana Drain
Drains MP from a row


Morrigan

Tough and versatile Sword & Shield user who can (often) stun on hit, quicken her allies, and disable enemy attacks in a column.

Rating: 3/4

Suggested Use: Front or mid. Use Morrigan’s normal attack often to stun the front row target, drastically dropping its defense and preventing reactive skills. Focusing fire on a stunned mercenary is a good way to get rid of them fast. Quickening doesn’t have a long duration in AoA and should only be used to get that last remaining AP for getting someone in your form enough AP to move. Odin’s Chain is a powerful column disable that does decent damage and disables physical attacks for one turn.

Ways To Counter: When against a Valkyrie, you need to set up your formation in a way where getting one column hit with Odin’s Chain doesn’t cripple you completely. Silencing her prevents her two main strengths from happening – Odin and Valhalla. Elementalist’s freezing atmosphere is an option. You can also protect your front row from Valkyrie stuns using Maitreya’s Adamantine Chakra, or a holy guard mercenary (Himiko, Roro, Dharma).

Skills
Valhalla’s Sword
Chance to stun target when attacking (Passive)

Odin’s Chain
Disables normal attacks and inflicts magic damage on a column

Quickening
Increases Action Power for up to 5 allies in a cross pattern.


Mwindo

Versatile staff that can debuff, purify a row, disable enemy magic when attacking and has a full team magic attack

Rating: 3/4

Suggested Use: Back or Mid Row. Use purifying path to remove the enemy’s holy guard, then stack your debuffs and aoes or control spells. If they don’t holy guard, cast retribution, it is a nice dot which weakens enemy defense and attack. Try attacking a front liner with Mwindo when retribution is on, it will often disable the target’s magic and attacks. If retribution is still on a few turns later, cast Primal Monsoon and it will turn into “Storm” combo magic, which does lots of dot. Dispel undesirable magic effects on your own team with Purifying path.

Ways to Counter:

Skills
Beating Sun
Sometimes disables enemy magic for 1 turn on attacks (Passive)

Primal Monsoon
Full party magic attack that has low damage except when used on Retribution

Retribution
Full party defense and attack debuff and dot which creates combos with all of Mwindo’s other spells

Purifying Path
Dispels magic effects on a row of allies or enemies (front or mid row)


Napoleon

Cannon User with a defense debuff

Rating: 1/4

Suggested Use: Napoleon’s Deep Insight his is main skill, which lowers all enemy’s defense and causes a small DoT. This could be effective if you do lots of physical attacks, he can always be used for stunning, also. Use deadly shot when he is low on life. Not a completely useless mercenary, but other ones are usually a better choice.

Ways to Counter: Awaken and snipe/aoe him. Flyer mercenaries Sylvie or Morgan Le Fay, in the center of your formation will only let cannons hit 3 targets instead of 5. Don’t let him act while low on HP.

Skills
Deep Insight
Damage over Time and Defense Debuff to entire formation

Deadly shot
Single Target any row high magic damage when low on HP.


Naruk

Tough Axe mercenary with a front row freeze skill and a cross shaped buff.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Naruk the druid can survive in the front row, although he is far more effective near the end of a match so he should be kept alive. Forest prison often, especially when you have the enemy’s support mercenaries sealed and/or have stun pressure going. Beast Soul may be effective with snipe teams and when the enemy has unfreezable mercs or roro.

Ways to Counter: Have a holy guard mercenary (Monk, Roro, Himiko), and keep your mercenaries awakened. Silence and seal mercenaries will disable Naruk (Pocahontas, Himiko, Maitreya, Mwindo, Jeon Woo Chi) and he is somewhat vulnerable to magic attacks.

Skills
Forest Prison
Freezes the front row, draining a small amount of AP.

Beast Soul
Cross-Shaped buff to attack power and multi hit rate.


Nightshade

Sword user who can do a column magic attack.

Rating: 1/4

Suggested Use: Front or mid row. Can be used to stack column magic effects, or single target magic damage.

Ways to Counter: Holy Guard mercenaries can protect from his magic attacks. Freezing, silencing and stunning will effectively disable Nightshade. Not a very dangerous mercenary, can be mostly ignored in favor of attacking more important targets.

Skills
Insidious Poison
Single target damage over time

Infernal Blood
Column magic attack

Seal of Evil
Sometimes causes damage over time on attacks (Passive)


Northern Viking

An Axe user with a row freezing skill and a single target magic attack when low on health.

2/4

Suggested Use: When Naruk is taken or already banned and you simply must have a freezer, Northern Viking can suffice. Try to keep him alive and safe from magic, using his freeze skill as often as possible, which will be more useful later in the match when you can freeze the middle or back row.

Ways to Counter: Northern Viking is vulnerable to magic attacks. Have a holy Guard to unfreeze your mercenaries.

Skills

Ice Ridge Axe
Freezes and enemy row

Deadly Strike
Single target heavy magic damage when Northern Viking is low on HP.


Odysseus

Tough sword & shield user who buffs other sword mercenaries and can do a single target freeze/debuff

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Always in front, Odysseus is very difficult to kill. His Athena’s Blessing passive heals and gives a defense buff to all sword mercenaries in the formation. He works very well with Sword mains as a result. His Weapon Rend is a good cross pattern debuff which makes all affected mercenaries less consistent with damage dealing and empowers other sword magic. Use weapon rend, then any offensive sword magic for greater effects. Shield Bash is a single target freeze and defense debuff which can be very useful at certain times.

Ways To Counter: Odysseus is far less durable when he’s physically stunned. Use magic attacks and stun before focusing on him with normal attacks. Silence and freeze mercenaries are effective control, as well as Pocahontas.

Skills
Athena’s Protection
Heals and increases defense of all allied sword mercenaries each turn (Passive)

Weapon Rend
Lowers accuracy and multi hit rate of enemies in a cross, and increases offensive sword magic effectiveness on those targets.

Shield Bash
Single target freeze and defense debuff


Okuni

Versatile staff that can heal a row, sacrifice herself at low HP to do a massive party heal, and makes a strong magic combo with Gyebaek

Rating: 3/4

Suggested Use:

Ways to Counter:

Skills
Blessing of Life
A strong row heal

Hex of Darkness
Reduces vitality and does a small DoT on 2 targets, use after Gyebaek’s Dark Seed to make Hell Flame magic combo.

Brutal Will
Makes a row of your mercenaries go into an uncontrollable frenzy. Not recommended for AoA. (This is her default right click move, be careful not to press it.)

Noble Sacrifice
Kill Okuni when she is low on life and heals the rest of the party a large amount over 4 turns


Paganini

Versatile Instrument mercenary that can remove magic and heal in a column, silence powersaws, and has a single target freeze

Rating: 3/4

Suggested Use: Paganini is most useful for her salvation skill which removes all magic effects from a column along with a heal. She makes a good counter to Hell Flame, Carmilla, Tianmo, Jeon, Sadko, Brother’s grimm, Morrigan and other debuffers, and powersaw mercenaries. Hallucination can freeze a single mercenary in the front or mid row, but not a main character. She can also provide backup sniping or stun pressure.

Ways to Counter: Paganini is susceptible to snipe and aoe attacks, and easy to kill if stunned. Guan Yu’s green dragon rage will lower her HP considerably. Kim Yoo Shin can seal her magic. Silence, seal or stun when possible.

Skills
Salvation
Column purify and heal

Hallucination
Single target freeze on mid or front row, does not work on mains.

Seal Powersaw
Silences and weakens powersaw mercenaries


Pocahontas

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Pocahontas is the best melee counter. Her skills target all melee mercenaries in the enemy formation, giving her very wide coverage. Blazing Earth is a strong damage over time magic that also reduces vitality, so it does significant damage when used early in a match. It also reduces attack, which helps keep your front line up. Freezing Atmosphere also has a decent DoT, which silences all melee mercenaries’ magic for one turn. On top of this, it also decreases their accuracy and defense.

Ways To Counter: She is somewhat vulnerable to snipes and silence, but she will give all of your melee mercenaries a lot of trouble. Due to her wide coverage and effectiveness, it’s better to just ban her if you plan to use a melee heavy formation.

Skills
Blazing Earth
A fast-recharging damage over time skill that targets all enemy melee mercenaries

Freezing Atmosphere
A silencing magic that targets all enemy melee mercenaries and reduces their accuracy and defense.


Quilla

Staff mercenary that has a magic counterattack when hit and can cause a cross-shaped Damage over time debuff that drains AP Holy guard is cast on it

Rating: 1/4

Suggested Use: Though there are usually always better choices, if using Quilla you can cast a cross shaped dot on front or mid row, Celestial Venom, which triggers a damaging, AP-draining effect if it is dispelled with holy guard. She can also do a column magic attack.

Ways to Counter: Michael and Himiko and silence her, rendering her useless, but there are probably more important targets. Don’t bother trying to snipe her it will hurt your rangers, but she can still be hit indirectly.

Skills
Celestial Venom
Cross DoT which triggers a damaging effect when holy guarded.

Stellar Hunt
Column magic attack with mediocre damage

Star Spite
When hit, causes magic damage to Quilla’s attacker (Passive)


Rin

Useful powersaw mercenary that can transfer a turn, heal and awaken in one skill, curse enemies preventing them from using supportive magic on a target, and sacrifice a mercenary for a powerful buff.

Rating: 4/4

Suggested Use: Back or middle row. Use Empowering Control often to heal a single mercenary while transferring a turn to them, awakening and adding action power. This is especially useful on 2nd or 3rd turn when the enemy is trying to snipe your Dharma or Roro, use empowering control on them for the heal and guard and/or Holy Guard. When Rin is your only awakener left, she can use bloody strings to kill a mercenary and activate a powerful buff on herself which protects her from magic, awakens over time and heals over time. Best used on Carmilla after she uses Dusk Elegy (they both get the buff), or in tandem with Riva Faust’s Resurrection. Curse of strings is best used on a main character who has been stunned, disallowing any heals or awakens on it, and opening it up to an easy snipe.

Ways to Counter: Paganini and Pocahontas can seal her magic. If the enemy is not using any more awakeners, Rin is vulnerable to stun, as she cannot awaken herself without bloody strings, a costly move. Take out the squishy support mercenaries then stun Rin.

Skills
Empowering Control
Transfers a turn, awakens, heals and adds AP to a single mercenary

Curse of Strings
Single target holy guard on enemy in front or mid row

Bloody strings
Kills another mercenary to add buff to Rin which awakens, heals and makes her invulnerable to magic for a few turns


Riva Faust

Specialized Instrument mercenary who can revive dead teammates, and debuff enemy accuracy, and do a double combo magic attack

Rating: 4/4

Suggested Use: Riva goes well with other mercenaries that deal in life and death like Rin, Okuni, and Carmilla. If you can manage to keep her alive she can bring other mercenaries back from death with a good amount of HP, but the debuff they have makes them very vulnerable, so it’s best to Holy Guard that effect off after they revive. Her blood curse is now extremely powerful, the only mercenary that can cause 2 combo counters in a single turn, making for quick stuns. Mercs like Washington, Ching Ya, Okuni, Carmilla and Paganini can help keep her alive.

Ways to Counter: Riva should always be the first snipe or stun target. Focus fire on her. Silence, seal or stun the healers and other support. If she manages to bring back a zombie, use some aoe to burn them back to the ground. Keep your important mercenaries at combo 0 so as not to get stunned.

Skills
Resurrection
Returns a mercenary to life with a heavy debuff

Watchful Soul
Increases Riva’s evasion (Passive)

Dark Mists
Reduces accuracy in a row when cast on enemies or raises evasion when cast on allies

Blood Curse
2-target dot with AP reduction and double stun counter effect


Roro Kidul

Always Useful staff mercenary that can awaken, holy guard and heal in one spell.

Rating: 4/4

Suggested Use: Back row, unless you also have Dharma, then mid row. Use her Ocean’s Blessing as often as possible to awaken and holy guard your rows. Especially effective to defend against Morrigan and Bai Xian by blessing the front row. Pairing Roro with Rin/Gigas/Kim Choon Sam is a good idea to keep her alive and blessing. Do not use Divine will.

Ways to Counter: Roro can be sniped with 2-4 ranged shots, which is a good idea to do early, she should be a high priority target, Chironia is a good choice to snipe her. Alternatively you can try to seal her with Jeon Woo Chi, Brothers Grimm or Michael.

Skills
Ocean’s Blessing
Awakens, heals and places a single turn holy guard on a row

Aquatic Barrier
Reduces magic damage taken (Passive)

Divine will
Causes a row of allies to go into a frenzy. Not recommended for AoA


Sadko

Versatile Instrument mercenary that can do a strong cross shaped debuff, a full party aoe, and sometimes disables a mercenary when attacking

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Sadko has the most effective mdef debuff, Abyssal Refrain. It can be used on turn 2, however it is often better to cast it on turn 3 along with your magic attacks, since the enemy can just Holy Guard it before you can make use of the debuff. Magic attacks from Christine, Mo Chien Lang, Gigas, etc go well with Sadko. He is also a powerful attacker who can cause extra damage and a freezing effect on hit. Volkhova’s Elation is his party AoE attack, it is not very strong, but is a viable option if you already have abyssal refrain active on enemies.

Ways to Counter: Sadko has low HP. He is easily killed with a bit of damage. Paganini, Roro, Himiko and Dharma can counter his debuff effectively.

Skills
Abyssal Refrain
Powerful Cross-shaped mdef and def debuff that causes damage over time.

Dischord
Gives a chance to disable attacks and magic when attacking (Passive)

Volkhova’s Elation
Full team magic attack with medium damage


Shao Xian

Strong Gunner who buffs and heals all gun mercenaries and causes AP drain on hit

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Back or mid row. Shao Xian has no active skills, she can only attack. Her Action Power drain on hit activates almost every attack, and reduces AP of a column by about 50 on each mercenary. Combined with other AP-Draining skills (Lightning Spear, Flame Spear, Bloody Grasp, etc), it can effectively prevent enemy mercenaries from taking action.

Ways to Counter: Holy Guard mercenaries will prevent the AP-drain effect of Shao Xian’s hits. Using Maitreya’s Adamantine Chakra on your front row will prevent Shao Xian from harming you at all. Silence will also prevent her AP drain and gun buff. She can be sniped, but beware of her stun when hit passive, try to stun her before sniping her.

Skills
Drunkard’s Iron Strike
Chance to stun when attacked (Passive)

Lotus Mantra
Heals and increases multi hit rate of all gun allies in formation (Passive)

Legendary Dragon Strike
Often causes Action power drain on a column with normal attacks (Passive)


Shen Hong

Strong Whip user who can cast a full-team magic attack, can increase damage from ranged attacks, and causes damage over time sometimes on hit.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Mid or Back row. Shen Hong is usually most effective at damaging and stunning the enemy’s back and mid row, and she can hit the flying mercenaries with her normal attack. She can also weaken a column with Soul Wound, making them more susceptible to sniping. Bloody Grasp can be used with other AP-draining skills to control the enemy’s action power, but it is not enough AP drain to be effective by itself.

Ways to Counter: Since Shen Hong can kill back/mid row support mercenaries in a row, a healer with a horizontal row heal (Anck Su Namun, Ching Ya, Brothers Grimm, Jessica) can counteract her damage. Shen Hong is also vulnerable to sniping.

Skills
Seal of Evil
Causes damage over time and reduced attack power sometimes on hit (Passive)

Bloody Grasp
Magic attack which targets all enemies and reduces action power

Soul Wound
Causes damage over time and increased damage from ranged attacks on a column


Sylvie

Cannon User that is flies, adds accuracy and evasion to your entire formation and can cast a debuff on rangers and a single target AP drain

Rating: 3/4

Suggested Use: Sylvie is a good counter to other cannons, like Gigas and Brothers Grimm, since she cannot be hit by cannons or melee attacks. She is fast and hard to kill, adding good stun pressure. If the enemy is using many rangers, pre-emptive strike can be used to debuff them. Flashbang can be used to finish off a main. But often her best move is just to keep attacking, preferably hitting the awakeners.

Ways to Counter: Sylvie can be tough to kill even with arrows. It is often best to kill the other mercenaries around her while countering her stun. Frank Reade is a durable awakener that can keep your mercenaries unstunned and is a good counter to Sylvie. Roro, Dharma, Rin and Washington can be useful to prevent stuns too

Skills
Demeian Tactics
Adds accuracy and Evasion to your formation (Passive)

Preemptive Strike
Enemy rangers suffer decreased action power, multi hit rate and accuracy

Flashbang
Single target dot and AP drain


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Tianmo

Tough sword & shield fighter with a damage over time magic attack to entire formation and holy guard on enemy column.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Tough front line mercenary with a passive that decreases all incoming melee damage. Use Divine Demon to lower the enemy formation’s life. Use Diabolic Prison when you have enemies nearly stunned or at low life to prevent awakening and healing.

Ways to Counter: Her passive blocks some melee damage but not ranged or magic. Forcing the opponent to use holy guard on her also disables the passive. Her AoE isn’t much of a threat, but you need to be careful of key moments where a column holy guard on your team can prevent you from awakening or healing. Pocahontas, Naruk, Jeon Woo Chi and other freezing mercenaries can keep Tianmo sealed. Paganini can remove Tianmo’s Diabolical Prison.

Skills

Seal of Evil
Sometimes lowers enemy attack power and causes damage over time when using normal attacks (Passive)

Demon Skin
Reduces physical damage to Tianmo and heals each turn(Passive)

Divine Demon
Hits the entire enemy formation with magic fire which causes damage over time.

Diabolical Prison
Holy Guards a vertical column (can miss), preventing all magic effects on those mercenaries


Washington

Tough Gun user that buffs your whole formation (slightly) and has a damage-sharing skill which also reduces combo count over time

Rating: 2/4

Suggest Use: Washington is best used against bow/whip teams that are focused on sniping, or stunning. His Camaraderie spell is good for anti-snipe and anti-stun, as it shares damage among your teammates and lowers combo count over time.

Ways to Counter: As with all rangers, washington is fairly easy to snipe. However if he does Camaraderie, you should give up trying to snipe or stun. Instead, pour on the aoe magic attacks or cannons to hit as many of the targets under Camaraderie to reduce all their life.

Skills
Battlefield Courage
A minor attack buff and slight healing to your formation (Passive)

Patriotic Resolve
Transforms Patriot to a stronger version when he is low on life (Passive)

Camaraderie
Cross-shaped long-lasting buff, reduced combo counter over time and shares damage


White Witch

Staff user who can drain health and has a chance to silence the caster when hit by magic

Rating: 1/4

Suggested Use: Back row. Use her Sanguine touch to deal magic damage and heal her when she is low on HP.

Ways to Counter: Silence, stun or Mana Seal with Michael. She will be very difficult to kill without disabling her magic. But unless you’re using a lot of magic and don’t want to be silenced, there is no need to focus on her. Eliminate more dangerous mercenaries first.

Skills
Accursed Shroud
When White Witch is hit by magic, has a chance to silence the caster (Passive)

Sanguine Touch
Drains Life from the entire enemy formation, healing White Witch

Seal of Evil
Sometimes causes damage over time when attacking (Passive)


Xuanzang

Specialized staff mercenary with a damage over time spell to all enemies and self protection buffs.

Rating: 3/4

Suggested Use: Front line. Xuanzang really only has one move, his intense enlightenment skill, which does magic damage over time to all enemies. Best used on turn 2, ASAP. The damage is not very high but it is easy to keep it active and can work well with magic defense debuffs and other magic attacks. It also decreases vitality which reduces enemy max HP. It does not miss and is always useful. He has very high HP, and his passive skills make him tougher to hurt than the average staff mercenary, so he can stand on the front line as well as a melee mercenary.

Ways to Counter: Holy Guard and purifying mercenaries (Himiko, Roro, Dharma, Paganini, Kim Choon Sam, Mwindo) will eliminate some of the magic damage he causes. Silencers (Himiko, Maitreya, Jeon Woo Chi, Bow Main) can also render him useless. Control or holy guard against him or just ignore him while you take out other more dangerous and vulnerable mercenaries.

Skills
Dharma Mantra
Heals and increases defense (Passive)

Intense Enlightenment
Causes damage over time to all enemies

Chakra Absorption
Chance to heal and recover MP when attacked (Passive)


Zhao Yun

Strong spear mercenary with a column magic attack that drains AP and a near-death blow.

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Front or mid row. Best used with spear mains and other AP-draining mercenaries like Shao Xian and Jeon Woo Chi. If you continually drain the AP of the enemy’s support mercenaries with Lightning spear and other skills, they will have a difficult time casting any defensive spells. Use deadly strike when low on life.

Ways to Counter: Holy guarding the front line will stop Zhao Yun’s Lightning spear and deadly strike. Stun and kill the other AP drainers when possible.

Skills
Lightning Spear
Column magic attack that drains Action Power

Deadly strike
A strong single target magic attack usable at low HP


Zhou Rong

Tough axe mercenary with a full party magic attack

Rating: 2/4

Suggested Use: Front line. Zhou Rong is a sturdy front line axe with a good attack and decent aoe magic. Use debuffs like Sadko’s Abyssal Refrain, or Carmilla’s Dusk Elegy first to amplify the Beast Summon’s power.

Ways to Counter: Holy Guarding rows with weaker mercenaries is always a good idea when enemy has AoE mercenaries. Pocahontas can seal her magic for a turn if you time it right, Naruk or Northern Viking can keep her frozen. Prevent her damage while picking off her backup.

Skills
Beast Summon
Full party magic attack

One thought

  1. Hey man pretty good guide, spot on for the most part. Currently I’m 2129 rating on Argos server and hover between 2000 and 2200, I would like to give my opinion on several of the mercenaries ranked. Starting off, I think there should be a separate 5/5 tier for certain mercenaries. These mercenaries are from my personal experience of the highest rating play, banned or picked every game within the first 9 pick/bans. For the 5/5 Tier I would put in Khun Phaen (probably tier 6 if possible, since no main or form can counter Khun Phaen without completely gimping their form unlike Riva vs Saw/Bow via Awaken/Snipe), Riva, Leonidas, Carmilla, Guan Yu, Gigas, Himiko, and Rin. Next, I disagree with Napoleon being ranked at 1/4, as Bow mains tend to dominate at the 2000+ rating bracket and Napoleon allows Cannon/Ranged based formations to snipe virtually all awakeners minus Ching Yue and Saw main on turn 3/4. He’s almost always picked by Bow mains and is a staple for the stun/snipe formation that is so prevalent in high rating play.

    Now for individual classes, I believe that most ratings are spot on, however I believe that a 5/5 rating class should be made for the Bow main. Bow main dominates high rating play and its kit is incredibly strong as they can crit for over 5000 on non-princess buffed ranged mercs (which allows them to snipe awakeners in 2 turns, possibly 1 turn with a multi hit and Napoleon’s deep insight, including Frank reader). Bow main can then quickly add combo counts with savage arrow or even silence a row, effectively neutering an entire row. Other mains I would move include Saw and Staff mains in tier 4, as both mains bring far more utility than the Sword (which can be neutered with an Okuni ban, and imo should be a 3). Saw mains are able to withstand banning Riva without gimping their form by picking 2 awakeners, while Staff mains can achieve an unexpected stun lock formation with Quantum leap and a freezer + Jeon/Himiko.

    For mercs I’ll being with Morrigan as she should probably be in tier 2. Valhalla’s blade is vastly overrated as front lines are usually tanks with high cool downs and is neutered by a high AP awakener like Saw/Frank reade and Odin’s chain doesn’t do much against even a formation with as a little as one cannon, considering all the high priority saw and cannon mercenaries which can be staggered to counter the ability. Next, I disagree with Napoleon being ranked at 1/5, as Bow mains tend to dominate at the 2000+ rating bracket and Napoleon allows Cannon/Ranged based formations to snipe virtually all awakeners minus Ching Yue and Saw main on turn 3/5. He’s almost always picked by Bow mains and is a staple for the stun/snipe formation that is so prevalent in high rating play. Napoleon should be at least a 3/5 if not 4/5 in my opinion. The following 3 mercs I found in the 2/4 category, Isabel, Jessica, Ching yue, and Kim yoo shin, should all be in the 3/5 category from my experience, as Isabel is able to act as front line tank and can effectively neuter the popular cannons and bows that are in the metagame, and the defense debuff allows other ranged mercs to act as front line tanks as well as help prevent sniping of ranged mercs. Ching yue is a staple awakener as the popularity of napoleon based awakener sniping formations require an awakener that cannot be killed with a few basic attacks. Washington is not an effective substitute for Ching yue because of the shared damage mechanic which will reduce your formation to rubbles with a few cannon attacks and various popular AOES, like Guan yu and Leonidas. Kim Yoo shin grants increased sniping power and situational sealing of popular instruments like Carmilla, Faust, Pagnini, and his aura increases popular cannon healing spells by a vast margin, such as Grimm’s Mother Hulda and Gigas’ Healing Pulse. Finally, Jessica provides a small heal and is immune to freezing magic, a small counter to the popular bow comps that run a freezer + jeon to seal 2 rows. Jessica’s best spell comes in the form of carnage, which can be used on turn 2 with another magic spell without breaking tempo. What I mean by tempo is, it will still a combo counter, and anyone who has watched titan knows how important it is to continue to add stun pressure. Carnage will do more than most physical attacks and will allow you to use an utility spell on yourself such as awaken or holy guard on that same turn, or even add in a magic defense debuff like sadko or carmilla which will amplify the damage to 5000 on first unit and 3500 on subsequent units.

    Aside from these small changes I think you have a very good and indepth guide.

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