When Final Fantasy Brave Exvius (FFBE) was released four years ago, there were probably few people who expected it to turn into what it did, and still be a thriving mobile game four years after its release. According to Google play it has over 10 million downloads and thriving communities on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. This year, Gumi and the Global version really started to put its own stamp on the game to set it apart from the Japanese version.
The developers made it a point to show their dedication and appreciation to their fans with exclusive events, and changes to things like the Japanese version’s so-called “Summon Fest.” It looks likely that the game has at least one more year left in it. For now, let’s explore some of the highlights since Final Fantasy Brave Exvius’ third birthday.
Final Fantasy Brave Exvius: Highlights as the Game Turns Four
Fan Favorite: Elena
Esther was a character that took the Global Exclusive (GLEX) characters to the next level with her unique design. Then, Elena took things to the next level. She is the first, and still only GLEX character to get a CG animation Limit Burst. (Though technically she became Global Original since she was released in the Japanese version as well.)
Elena basically has it all. Her sprite is awesome, and she has a cool story to go with her. She is technically a comic book hero, and her event had the look of being straight from the comic pages. Her sword is made of a crystal that only she can use and she has to stop the evil sorceress, Morgana.
But what gave her long-term use after her event was her kit. She is about as versatile as they come. Elena is a hybrid unit, so she can be built for either magic or attack. She has four different chaining families and can imbue herself with four different elements. This makes her a go-to for most battles. Her Super Trust Master Reward (STMR) is also one of the best in the game, as it gives a 60 percent boost to both attack and magic, along with True Doublehand boost to attack and magic.
And despite her being a relatively new unit, she still won the player’s vote to get a rework, even over lovable, but outdated units like Ling.
Exvius Original: War Hero Raegan
The most hyped units are those that global Final Fantasy Brave Exvius players look forward to for months based on their Japanese release. This year, there were plenty of hyped units from the Japanese side, ranging from Sacred Shield Charlotte to Aldore King Rain and White Lily Dark Fina, all the way up to all of the esper units. It was a tough choice, but overall, War Hero Raegan takes the title here.
Raegan has always been a fan favorite as a character in the story. And as an esper, Odin is consistently a top choice in the entire Final Fantasy series. So pairing the two together was a recipe for success. But what really gives him the title here is the fact that WH Raegan is the top damage dealer of all of the esper units.
He is a dual-wielding Absolute Mirror of Equity (AMoE) family chainer who can imbue himself with either fire or ice. But, he also has some non-elemental abilities, so technically a player could throw on an elemental weapon and pair him up with any other AMoE chainer. His Cooldown abilities further imperil ice or fire, and his Complete Awakening boosts his attack by 250 percent along with giving him triple cast for five turns.
Finally, his killers against undead and dragons will make him a must-have against any of those enemy types.
Final Fantasy Series: Paladin Cecil
This year, the two most-hyped Final Fantasy series characters were both tanks. Awakened Warrior of Light as a physical, and Paladin Cecil as a magic tank. Though both were very looked forward to, Cecil edges out the unit with no name.
To call Cecil an absolute unit is an understatement. He can technically do it all. Aside from his magic cover ability, he can restore the party’s HP, revive a party member, give the party elemental resistance, or raise their defense and spirit. And that’s just with his default “Light Mode.” He can go into dark mode, which changes up his abilities, giving him the ability to restore MP, raise attack and magic, and give reraise. Oh yeah, and his double-cast changes to triple cast. Perhaps one of the best parts is that he was one of the first tanks who is able to have his cover ability usable by his double and triple cast.
But wait, there’s more! Paladin Cecil also has a Cooldown that gives magic mitigation, and his Limit Burst gives general mitigation. He even has some Stardust Ray (SR) chaining moves that scale according to his spirit. So he can be a tank, breaker, damage dealer, and healer.
Collaboration: Full Metal Alchemist
The most hyped collaboration is definitely Full Metal Alchemist. It saw the release of Edward and Alphonse Elric, and then a few days later Roy Mustang and King Bradley. It’s tough to choose a favorite here, as all units are great in their own way. Al is a great physical tank, which are still tough to come by. Ed is one of the top SR chainers out there right now, and extremely versatile. Roy is a top magic finisher, which is the rarest of all roles. King Bradley is probably the one “average” unit, but still great.
Ed deals insane damage, but that’s not necessarily his strength. He can imbue himself, imperil, and even buff the party’s resistance for fire, water, wind, and earth damage. This puts him as a staple in Dark Vision content. His brother Al comes in as an impenetrable fortress against physical attacks. His physical covers boast 75 percent mitigation, and his 50 percent innate draw attacks give him an easy path to 100 percent provoke with just a Moogle Charm accessory. His limit burst gives the party 50 percent general mitigation and a 200 percent boost to spirit and defense.
Roy Mustang really only does one thing well – burn them. He boasts a penta-cast ability that lets him basically boost his attack and modifiers, imperil, and apply killers before unleashing his “Combustion” ability to incinerate whatever stands before him. While the modifiers on their own are enough, he is extra good against beasts, humans, or demons. King Bradley is a bit overshadowed by Edward but has some things that stand out. He has 25% innate magic evasion, human and machine killers. He also has 50 percent innate evasion with his TMR equipped, meaning he can be a rare damage-dealing provoke tank.
Exvius Original: Mastermind Xon
Perhaps one of the most surprising events in the history of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius was the Black Friday event. Players have become accustomed to holiday events like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Halloween, but an event celebrating the glory of capitalism was not something on many player’s wish lists. Still, the units that came with it turned out to well-designed, and fully functional. Agent Olive and Operative Zyrus were damage-dealing powerhouses, and Doctor Aiden remains a top healer to this day. However, Mastermind Xon was the most versatile unit for a number of reasons.
Right off the bat, he can deal great damage. He has permanent triple cast and just about every chaining family in the book. He doesn’t imperil or imbue, so he needs a partner that does, but he is an excellent complement to basically any team composition as a second chainer. But that is just the surface of his value.
Similar to original Xon’s 4* base’s ability “Twist of Fate” he can steal all of the status effects and put them on the party, MM Xon has “Black Mirror” that does basically the same. Unfortunately, it is his Magnus Ability, which he can only use once per battle, so it’s not usable on demand. Luckily, the fun doesn’t end there. Xon has a few other “Mirror” moves that he can double cast. Players quickly learned that they can use “Elemental Mirror” to copy the imbued element from an ally to Xon, and then use his Cooldown “Projected Mirror” to put that imbue on the rest of the party. This makes him the MVP for Dark Visions combat. And don’t forget his STMR is a knife that gives a whopping 30 percent physical evasion.
Final Fantasy Series: Advent Children Tifa
Cloud will always be something like a secret weapon Final Fantasy Brave Exvius deploys to empty any Lapis reserves players have and cause whales to open their pocketbooks. The Advent Children version of Cloud marks the third 5* base version of him. But Tifa has been getting some love recently as well. Her original version got some nice enhancements that made her usable again, but then her Advent Children version got a huge buff.
In fact, she does more damage than AC Cloud as a pure chainer. At the time of her release, she was only below Edward and Gilgamesh (WOTV) in terms of damage dealers. Her SR chaining family makes her a good team for most of the top damage dealers. She can imbue herself with either lightning or water, and her Cooldown gives her triple cast.
Her Limit Burst is also pretty interesting. It gives her access to a few abilities for two turns that can be double-cast. Using these moves then gives her modifier boosts to her chaining abilities. The one complaint about AC Tifa is that her elements don’t match up with her fellow banner-mate Cloud. Still, for the players who ended up pulling her, she is likely to see plenty of time on the battlefield.
Collaboration: Rico Rodriguez
There was a good part of the fanbase continuously sharpening their infinite number of free Gungnirs they’d acquired over years of raids, item worlds, and duplicate Kains over Rico Rodriguez never getting his promised 7* base. Well, weeks before the fourth anniversary of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, they finally got their wish. After looking like they had a “Just Cause” to take up arms and rebel, the patience was finally rewarded.
And Rico turned out to be pretty good. After being left for dead with one of the more Obscure chaining families (Octoslash) with his 6*, he got the GLEX favorite Bolting Strike (BS) at 7*. And, his Limit Burst or Cooldown activate additional abilities with Avalanche Kick as a chaining family, making him a nice pair with this past year’s Lunar New Year Units Xuan Wu & Qing Long, and Emperor Foo.
What really makes him is his Magnus Ability. And it almost broke him at the same time. Upon release, it technically chained BS frames, but it didn’t really. Luckily, the developers realized their mistake, and fixed it a week later. It now only fires off once no matter if a player is dual-wielding or not, but has an insane 80x modifier, and hits three times. It has a one-turn Cooldown, so it can’t be cast multiple times a turn, but once is more than enough.
Best Vortex Story Event: Afterglow
Some would argue that the vortex story events have gone downhill recently. For most, no event has topped the year one vortex event of Ruggles and his two elf friends from “A Promise Without Time.” Last year the fans chose “Sieghard the Magnificent” for its lightheartedness. This year “Afterglow” brings up some feels again.
In it, we get the origin story of Sol, the main villain of season one who gets somewhat of a redemption in season two. We find out that he was indeed once a human named Heliarc, and a genuinely good dude. He is researching a magical heart powered by crystals. But a series of events has him implanted with the heart, which gives him great strength but slowly drains his humanity, giving him his ghostlike appearance.
Best King Mog: Steyliff Grove (Final Fantasy XV)
Final Fantasy XV’s Steyliff Grove takes this title mostly because it saw a major change to the King Mog event system. Instead of the Legend difficulty having five default waves with extras for bonus monsters, it was reduced to just three waves. The first two could be replaced with bonus currency monsters. This cuts down on a lot of time just hitting the “repeat” button.
Another notable addition that was added is a free 5* base unit that players could get by running the event. This one gave players Gentiana, the somewhat haunting guide for Noctis and his crew through FFXV. While neither she nor any of the other free units are top-tier, they are serviceable.
And it was a nice way to introduce Blue Mages to the game, as all of them to this point have been free – Quina, Kimahri, and Quistis. (Blue Mage Fina is also free as a story character). Players are also able to farm currency to buy moogles both for his regular Trust Master Reward (TMR) and STMR.
Toughest: Demon Wall
It must be tough for the developers to continuously create trials that are challenging enough for the player base, but still doable. The game often goes through periods of trials not keeping up with power creep and having them be too easy. Scorn of the Demon Wall was one of those trials that caught up to the meta. It was released back in February but it still gives many players fits.
He hits hard with both physical and magic damage that basically requires mitigation. The problem is that he can also dispel the entire party, eliminating the buffs, covers, and even reraise. To complicate things, he also moves forward towards the party every so often, giving a time limit on the battle. Luckily players can slow him down by casting gravity on him. Finally, don’t forget to bust out the Genji Shield and Safety Bit for his instant death!
Toughest Limited: Defiance of Fate: The Lightning Tyrant – Tyrant Unleashed
The Defiance of Fate trials was welcome GLEX content for players. There were various versions rolled out including some that were fixed trials. Everything culminated in the final battle that put even the whales of the game to the test.
Tyrant Unleashed had three waves where players take out Essence of Despair and then Maw of Malice before moving on to Tel-Fulsanis. Getting to him the final battle tough though, as there are unique mechanics necessary, especially on battle two. Players have to use limit bursts on consecutive turns and utilize the reflect spell. Additionally, hybrid is the preferred method, since Essence of Despair has high defense, but low spirit, and Maw of Malice is opposite.
Once in the final battle, damaging the boss is another issue, as it has 100 percent resistance to every single element, and 80 percent non-elemental resistance. From there, players have to seal certain elements to prevent retaliation and deal with imbues at the same time. Many players were not able to complete this trial before the deadline.
Cheesiest: Explosion of Needles
Explosion of Needles was a trial that was the opposite of the above two trials. Many players cleared it within hours of it coming out, with little to no research on the mechanics of the fight. For one, Cactuars are usually rather predictable enemies in the series. They use either 1,000, 10,000, or 100,000 needles. In this case, the boss goes one step further – with the ability to use 1,000,000 needles. Sounds bad? Well, it isn’t.
The main enemy is the Gargantuan Gigantuar in this battle. It uses a single-target 1,000,000 needles. He also has a few hornet friends that players will need to kill before the big boy, or they will start rampaging. The problem is that they respawn after a few turns. Still, they are easily taken out with AoE damage before moving on to the Gigantuar. Back to the 1,000,000 needles. There are some thresholds where he uses a single-target version. But, when the party takes him out, he uses an AoE version. Make sure to have reraise on everyone and it isn’t too bad.
*Kudos to Reddit for giving some feedback on updates needed to King Bradley and Rico Rodriquez info.