Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Year Three in Review

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
Lasswell takes center stage for most of this year's story content in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. Here he stands proudly in front of the year three anniversary backdrop. Screenshot taken in game by Ryan Hawks

It is sometimes hard to believe that Final Fantasy Brave Exvius has been out a full three years. The nature of mobile Gacha games gives them more life than other types of titles, but few have such a huge following years after their initial release. The third year of the game has seen the advent of 7* awakenings, changing the way people pull for their favorite units. Trials have gotten as difficult as ever, and the story is still going strong. Here are some of the character, event, and trial highlights from this past year.

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Turns Three Years Old

Most Hyped Characters

Exvius Original: Hyoh (September 2018)

The legend of Hyoh was built up for months in the game, both as a playable unit and a character in the story. His masked face gave him an enigmatic feel that was confounded by his lightsaber-esque sword. While players stockpiled lapis for a chance to pull the unit, they also put together theories on his true identity. No spoilers here though.

As a unit, Hyoh redefined the meta. As one of the first physical damage dealers released at 7* his kit and base stats were on another level compared to anyone to that point. He dropped back in a time when the Divine Ruination chaining family was still king. However, he gave players options at what element to go with. Flame Blade and Voltage Blade didn’t lock him into a single element like most chainers to that point.

But what really took him over the top was his Servant of the Blade skill, which added a finishing component to his chain. He also has a few skills like Improve Stance and Way of the Void that give him triple casting capabilities, which basically melted any enemy that dared get in his way for a while.

Final Fantasy: Aerith (June 2019)

Last year, Cloud, Final Fantasy VII’s protagonist made the list as the most-hyped Final Fantasy series unit. FFVII keeps their crown of pacing the series with hyped units, with Aerith coming in as the most sought-after FF unit for year three. While Cloud was the first of the Final Fantasy VII units released, he was not even close to being the best. Aerith however, will see plenty of time in player’s parties who pulled her.

Her abilities set the bar for keeping the party alive. Probably her most useful is Lifestream, which Auto-Revives on character, but also puts up a barrier for the party. Another unique skill she has is Prayer of the Cetra, which heals all allies, but then casts another healing spell at the beginning of next turn. This is awesome because it frees up Aerith to focus on things other than healing the next turn.

Her cooldowns are great as well. Miracle of Life can be cast at the start of battle, which gives auto-revive and a 140% ATK/DEF/MAG/SPR buff to the entire party. He Limit Burst, Great Gospel is basically a reset button, curing all status ailments and stat breaks, reviving all allies, and casting reraise on everyone to boot. Aerith will be a mainstay in parties for a long time.

Collaboration: Elly (March 2019)

It seems like Xenogears was hyped for years. Fans of the game who also follow the Japanese version spread the word on how good Elly was. While there is always a six-to-nine-month delay between Japan and Global version’s units, this one felt like it kept getting pushed back. It could be due in part to Global Exclusive events like Lunar New Year, and even the Kingdom Hearts event being released early. Whatever the reason, players were happy to finally get the opportunity to pull her.

Elly’s draw is in her versatility as a magic user. She can use four different elemental abilities, including wind, earth, fire, and water. Her downside is that only her wind move, Anemo Wave has any chaining families. This is further exasperated by the fact that there are no other wind elemental Chaos Wave chainers. However, players who pulled Elly probably used social media to find other people who put her up as a companion unit.

Also, while most characters use cooldown abilities to get triple cast, Elly has it as long as she is equipped with her Trust Master Reward (TMR). But, like others, she gets a boost in the number of abilities she can cast with her cooldown, Paradigm Shift. This lets her use a whopping five abilities in one turn. When two of these girls get together, not many monsters will be left standing for very long.

Surprise Stars

Exvius Original: Esther (April 2019)

There is really no competition here. Esther almost broke the game. After data-miners discovered her stats during the maintenance where she was programmed into the game, people could hardly believe it. She was so powerful that the developers had to make a change last minute to tone her stats down. The craziest part of it is that she is still ridiculously strong.

Esther is a breath of fresh air as a character because of her damage mechanics. Most physical damage dealers want their attack to be as high as possible and rely on their chaining moves to put out big numbers. Esther does things a little differently. She is at her best when players build her up for more Limit burst damage.

Sure she has access to some great chaining families, like Absolute Mirror of Equity. She even created her own new chaining family. But, her limit burst is where it is at with damage, meaning her raw attack numbers can be deceiving. Oh yeah, and her limit burst also chains with the Aureole Ray family.

Akstar was the character most players were saving their resources for. But when Esther was unveiled, many decided to change course and try for the electric bunny. She basically stole Akstar’s thunder, as he probably would have taken the most hyped FFBE original spot if not for her.

Final Fantasy: Cloud (Kingdom Hearts) (January 2019)

This one is borderline cheating, but who is keeping track anyway? Besides that, unlike last year, where Global got the Four Archfiends of Final Fantasy IV as an exclusive banner, there were no real surprises from the main series. Cloud Strife is originally from Final Fantasy VII but appears in Kingdom Hearts as well. This is the version that was surprisingly released alongside Sora when the Kingdom Hearts collaboration hit.

Though this version of Cloud was only available for a limited time, he actually packed a good punch, unlike his original counterpart. He is also easier to put on teams since he is a chainer more than a finisher. His Sonic Blade is a basic Divine Ruination chainers. Continuum Cut is as well but it gets a nice finishing aspect like Hyoh, Servant of the Blade.

This iteration of Cloud boasts some huge stats as well. A few dedicated players were able to push him to 3,000 attack upon his release. Though he has started to fall out of favor to more updated chaining families, he might get a short return to teams when he gets his stats readjusted. Since he was released almost simultaneously with the Japanese version, he had to have his stats adjusted. Stay tuned for his return!

Collaboration: Viktor Marchenko (August 2018)

This year marked some interesting choices for collaborations. Many players lament the Just Cause collaboration featuring Rico Rodriguez and company. Another odd one that came afterward was Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Although the collab was weird, the units came were surprisingly good. Adam Jenson’s value came in his TMR, TF29 Agent, which was the True Dual Wield piece of equipment. However, in terms of usefulness of a unit, Viktor Marchenko was the prize of this banner.

On the surface, Marchenko is a draw attacks tank with his huge defensive stats. However, players quickly learn that he isn’t a one-trick pony. His ability Showdown increases his chance of being targeted but also gives him a 100% boost to his defense and attack.

Where he really stands out are his attack moves that deal defensive scaling damage. Security System is his crown jewel move, which scales to defense and is part of the Aureole Ray chain family. A tank that can chain? Yup, that’s Viktor Marchenko.

His Pro-Human and Pro-Augmentation are also defensive scaling but increase his damage dealt to either machine or human type monsters. Finally, his cooldowns are powerful damage dealing abilities that decrease fire or lightning resistance to enemies. The only thing Marchenko is missing is a physical cover move. But that would probably overkill

Events

Best King Mog: SeeD Field Exam (August 2018)

This event is memorable for a few reasons. For one, it finally saw the release of some Final Fantasy VIII units, Squall, and Rinoa. The other reason though, is that it coincided with 7* awakenings. The two were the first units to release with this capability, giving a new mechanic to the game, and allowing for new levels of power. Though both were quickly outclassed, they hold a special place in people’s heart, especially FFVIII lovers.

People have mixed reviews on the FFVIII compared to other titles, but there is little debate on the quality of its soundtrack, especially the battle theme. Players reveled in the opportunity to relive the SeeD exam from early in the game while listening to the epic “Don’t Be Afraid” battle track from the game. The exploration from week two was also great. Just like the original, players were forced to repeatedly battle X-ATM092, a giant mechanical spider. It was one of the more unique week-two trials, to say the least.

Best Vortex Story Event: Sieghard, The Magnificent (December 2018)

This was one of the choices that were voted on by the player base across social media and was a surprising choice to win the vote. Last year’s number one choice was almost unanimously the “A Promise Beyond Time” event. It told a heartbreaking story of a friendship between elves and a dwarf. Some voted in the same vein, thinking that Citra or even Regina’s story was the best this year due to similar themes of companionship and loss. Instead, the fanbase went an entirely different route, voting for Sieghard’s story event.

And honestly, it is a great choice. The story was downright ridiculous, and borderline bonkers at times. The highlight was no doubt Sieghard choosing his “weapon,” a shield. And it wasn’t just any shield, it has a mirror inside of it so that he can look at his beautiful face the entire time he battles. It proceeds to show Sieghard and his family of nobles try to win over the commoners around them. It was honestly a breath of fresh air, and developers need things like this to show that they don’t take themselves too seriously.

Best Raid: Darkness Awakens (September 2018)

This one is kind of a tough choice. Most raids are collaboration events with limited characters. The raid itself is rather monotonous, forcing players into some kind of infinite loop of killing the same boss over and over again for weeks. However, this one was cool because the boss, and units were fan created.

Hasiko was the monster players fought, and this particular banner saw Malphasie and Circe released. Malphasie is a hybrid unit who wants to fly like the crows she is surrounded by. Circe is a magical prophet whose attacks draw power from the visions she sees in the future.

Hasiko would become famous for showing up in a few more raids, and some were tired of her by the end of it all. But for the most part, players welcomed these raids, since they saw more units released by valued members of their community.

Trial Bosses

Limited Boss: Hasiko’s Revenge (September 2018)

Speaking of Hasiko, this year’s toughest limited time boss goes to Hasiko’s Revenge. In a time when players were just stacking up damage to quickly take out bosses, Hasiko made things a bit tougher. She came in with a pre-emptive MP drain that forced players to start the battle with no way to cast their abilities.

This put the pace of battle to a halt. MP hogs like Trance Terra, who also was the queen of one-shotting things at the time, was forced to sit on the sidelines. Players had to get healers and support who had enough MP to withstand Hasiko’s drain but could also restore enough mana to the party to do some damage to Hasiko. It was a frustrating battle, but probably not as bad as the NIGHTMARE Skeleton King battle.

Speaking of which, players were able to take their revenge on him this past Halloween with the 7* meta hitting.

Toughest Trial Boss: Scorn of Gilgamesh (March 2019)

Gilgamesh has a habit of taking things up a notch in the Final Fantasy series. Back in the early times of the game, he was the first trial that really had the community banding together to put together strategies and share units to take him out. He made things difficult by forcing players to use a plethora of different elements to “seal” him from using his own elemental attacks.

Well, this year he came back and as frustrating as ever. Players had even more elements to deal with, more status ailments to account for, and this time even had to worry about him debuffing player’s elements and putting up damage mitigation on himself. Oh yeah, and his instant death moves that players could originally bypass with equipment like Genji Shield? He has moves to bypass that.

Basically, he was the first boss that almost requires a full 7* team, and even then the trial gives players fits because there are just so many bases to cover with a limited amount of units able to be brought to battle. However, players who come out successful are rewarded with Murasama, an STMR level katana.

Cheesiest Trial Boss: The Torturous Trio (July 2018)

The final entry for the FFBE year two recap is the cheesiest of bosses. This one is only borderline cheesy, but still cheesy nonetheless: The Torturous Trio. Now, it’s not that this trial was bad. It is a rare Global exclusive trial, so fans are grateful. It also gives the Impervious Shield, which is still one of the better shields in the game today. However, it didn’t really pose a challenge for most people.

The trial combined three Chamber of the Fallen bosses into one battle. Elafikeras first, Echidna second, and Bloody Moon third. The only one that poses a real challenge is Bloody Moon, and even that one was outdated by the time the trial dropped. The majority of players could take out Elafikeras in a few turns, Echidna is pretty easy to one-shot. Players just needed to make sure that they took a magic tank and some magic dealers for the final fight.

Here’s to Another Year of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius!

As Final Fantasy Brave Exvius hits its third year, it is a wonderful time to reminisce about the great time players have had in the game. The community is going strong across all kinds of social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, GameFAQs, Reddit, and Discord. Sure there have been times of controversy. But there have also been awesome reveals, events, and characters. There was even a huge Fan Festa event that showcased the passion and dedication of the community. While all great things must come to an end, everyone close to this game hopes we see at least another year of great content.

Special thanks to the FFBE communities and players across Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, GameFAQs, and Discord for participating in polls and discussions to help make this article possible. Kudos to this awesome community.

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