Some of you might've heard about the new change to Skill Nullers (called Shielders in my AW/FAW guide), and you might've reacted like this:
To be honest, I reacted the same way at first too, until I read about it a little and played around with it myself. After some dead FAWs (and no drops later), I think I started to have a grasp of things. So Neppy here decided to sacrifice some BP and run some tests against AWs and FAWs.
I used two teams:
- One which consisted of 2 Hyper Alchemists and 3 Nullers. I sent this team against AWs.
- My Primary FAW killng team: 2 Hyper Alchs, 1 Speedster, 1 EQueen, 1 Summer Oracle. All are GUR except one Alchemist.
I fought against the AWs as long as I can and I used to FAW as a practical field test. The results that I got were:
- Nullers now "proc" their skill on standy, instead of the instant RNG whenever an enemy skill is used
- Unleashers can target nullers but ONLY IF they are not on standby
- Unleashers can cause nullers to proc more than their alloted proc limit
I have not been able to reproduce any instances that go against these results.
The Explanation and Verdict:
So what does this mean? For one, it means that Nullers no longer work on an instant RNG basis whenever an enemy skill procs. Instead they "proc" and from that point on are capable of blocking one skill with 100% chance. However if the nuller does not have a proc, it will never block a skill. If that confuses you, think of it as a charge system: If a Nuller procs, that card now holds one charge. Once an enemy skill is activated, that charge is expended and is blocked, 0 rng. Until the nuller procs again, it will not block another skill.
If a Nuller is not in standby/has not proced a charge yet, an Unleasher is capable of unleashing a proc. However, if a nuller is in standby state (already proced) an unleasher cannot target a nuller for unleash until that charge/proc has been expended. This is important because it means things won't be nearly as bad as we all had probably feared; that our Unleashers would miss our Buffers a lot and all we would get is shield procs.
Ultimately: This is a power shift in how Nullers work, and is, in my honest opinion, a pretty big buff for both Nullers and Unleashers now. There is less RNG involved nullers; you will know exactly when you will block a skill or not. I can see the argument that nullers being weaker right after they've blocked a skill; since if they don't proc again right after you're vulnerable to skills until it procs again. However, the % proc rate for nullers has not changed, and I've had a good number of instances where the nuller immedately proced again after a skill was blocked.
What about unleashers though? I think that the 2 Unleasher/ 2 Nuller/ 1 Buffer team took a nerf. They got nerfed in two manners, 1: Unleashers now have 3 possible cards to target instead of the 1 desired buffer. Two, they go "overkill" on the amount of shields: For most fights 4 shield procs is enough to keep you safe, any more is probably a waste.
However, I believe that teams that only use one Nuller, (3 Unleashers / 1 Nuller/ 1 Buffer, or, my personal Favorite team, 2 Uneashers/ 1 Speedster/ 1 Nuller/ 1 Buffer), got a decent overall buff from this update. Because Nullers have a much higher proc%, they usually proc on the first turn in a battle or a few right after. This means your unleashers will still only target your buffer, and once your nuller has expended her procs unleashers can then target her to give you even more shields. Again: if a nuller has a proc and is on standby, she will 100% block the next incoming skill.
The instances where I can see setups being weaker than how they already were is if you haven't finished buffing yet and your Nuller hasn't proced/ already blocked a skill. There's now a chance an unleasher will target your nuller. However, that will only be 1 unleasher proc "wasted." Once the nuller goes back on standby, all unleasher procs should go to your buffer now. Another instance where things are "weaker" is that Unleashers might target your buffer too much; if you have sufficient buffs and want more nuller procs, sometimes the unleashers will keep targeting your buffer instead, wasting procs. As such, it can be argued that there is now a new element of RNG in the game, but I feel like it's doesn't affect teams with good setups in the long run at all.
As for teams that are not perfect or teams that run full team unleashers, the former doesn't really see much of a change, the latter gets a nice, if small, buff. Jury rigged teams which consist of multiple cards that can recieve skill unleashers (Crits, AoE,s, Buffs, Utility) + a nuller and use one or two single unleashers won't really be changed by this since they were already RNG scattered. I guess it could be a nerf, since now those team users have to worry about unleashers targeting the nuller in addition to what they were already facing. However again, due to the nature of how nullers and procs work now, they really won't be the target of Unleashers that much. Teams that use full team unleashers will just straight up get a buff; now their unleasher has the potential to give them an extra proc of shield as well.
tl;dr : Because of the charge/standby system, Nullers still won't be targeted that much by unleashers. You trade some extra RNG for the ability to have more shield procs. The RNG behind nuller blocking was heavily reduced. The change was an overall buff.