Unit review by /u/DreadRabbit05
There’s a reason Leo has his A rank on the tier list, and I’m going to do what I can to possibly hit on what those reasons might be (I have no affiliation with any of the tier lists, but I believe his current A ranking is fair). Any and all corrections are absolutely welcomed!
The key thing to remember is that few units in the game are capable of wiping a map all on their own. Every unit is built with a purpose in mind, and in order to use any unit properly you have to recognize what that purpose is and play to their strengths. Trying to make a unit do something they’re not built to do is going to lead to failure.
So let’s start by analyzing what Leo’s skills are and what they do.
A neutral roll Leo will sport the following:
- HP 39
- ATK 43
- SPD 22
- DEF 25
- RES 30
Brynhildr: Leo’s exclusive weapon has the same effect as the gravity spell: upon initiating attack the target’s mobility will be reduced by 1 for the next turn.
Blazing Light: 5-action cooldown, “Before combat this unit initiates, foes in an area near target take damage equal to 1.5 x (unit’s Atk minus foe’s Def or Res)”. Here’s a pic of the skill’s hit area . Essentially Leo gains a massive AoE attack that takes place before combat. Depending on stats and match up this can lead to three hits total from Leo.
Quick Riposte 3: Unit is guaranteed to make a follow-up attack if attacked with 70% HP or more.
Savage Blow 3: If unit initiates attack, foes within 2 spaces of target take 7 damage after combat.
When it comes to stats there is absolutely no denying that Leo’s crippling point is his speed. 22 speed isn’t going to do jack diddly squat against anyone, and without a skill like Wary Fighter he will be doubled regardless if he initiates or not. This is usually the one thing that immediately makes people dump Leo in the trash bin.
However the speed can work in conjunction with his defenses and Quick Riposte. Neutral Leo is one of the few units of the game to sport 30 or higher resistance naturally, making him a potential tank against mages. And with the rise of the likes of Nino, Julia, and Tharja, this stat and his red typing will matter in the days to come. As we’ve seen with Camilla and other Brave weapon users, those multi attacks don’t mean a thing if each hit is minimal. Pair him with a Res buffer like Jagen, Elliwood, Fae, Linde, or Azura and his Res can easily reach 34+. This puts him right on par with Julia (35 neutral RES), who we all agree most magic aside from red can barely dent her.
His other less talked about stat is his Defense, which at neutral is a solid 25. By itself that may not mean much, but when paired with a defense buff from the likes of Sharena or Fae, Leo can very easily breach 30 defense as a cavalry mage . A cavalry mage with only 3 points less defense than Effie. Think about that.
Even with just a single unit boasting Fortify Defense, that puts him at 29: the same as neutral Male Robin. And we all know how tanky that unit is. Now imagine that same bulk on a horse.
What his RES and DEF potential means is that it is very easy to make it so that enemies doubling him won’t matter. Leo’s job isn’t to be a nuke: he’s a bait mage and a wall breaker.
How his stats and skills work together:
With either a RES or DEF buff applied Leo can waltz into the range of either an enemy mage or archer (yes, even Takumi) and tempt them to attack him.
When this happens Quick Riposte takes effect. Now, here’s the beauty of what his high defenses combined with his little speed can net him with careful planning and team synergy: More than likely a single battle will whittle away 4/5 actions needed for his special to fire, as almost all enemies will double him. Quick Riposte will guarantee Leo will double as well.
This means a single round of combat will be 4 actions. Suddenly his costly 5-action skill will only need one more turn before he can nuke the entire enemy team with careful planning (or guarantee the kill of a troublesome unit). On top of this Leo has more than likely put a serious dent (if not killed) on whoever he baited for that opening move, setting them up for another teammate to get the kill.
Okay, so that’s all well and good. But what about Brynhildr and Savage Blow? Both of those require that Leo initiates the attack. Which completely goes against the argument that his low speed is actually helpful.
And to a degree, you would be right. However this doesn’t hinder Leo: it gives him options . Leo’s Brynhildr and Savage Blow should be used against melee units who can’t touch him (Hector*. Falchions, Effie, etc.), and shouldn’t be attempted against ranged units unless you have a Draw Back/Shove/Smite user (Fae/Roy/Effie) or a dancer (Azura/Olivia) to pull him out of firing range afterwards (unless it’s a green mage. Then he’s fine).
With effective use of Brynhildr you gain control over how the enemy moves on the map and can set up moves for the rest of your team. Need to protect Camilla? DEF buffed Leo can limit Takumi’s movement to 1 and set Camilla up to swoop in on the following turn. DEF boost Leo can also break the wall that is Hector without having to fear his ranged counter strike. Facing an enemy mage? Give him a Res boost and do the same thing.
Savage Blow serves a similar purpose: you know the AI is going to do its darnedest to keep ranged units paired with melee. Well guess what? Leo dinking a melee can cost one pesky ranged unit (or the entire team depending on spacing) 7 free damage, which is more than enough to put several units into a lethal range for the rest of your team to clean up.
In short Leo is a surprisingly tanky utility mage when paired with the right teammates. He also has the potential to be downright devastating with other teammates.
Good Teammates for Leo:
There are two ways currently in the game to get the best use out of Leo: you can either work to make his speed stat passable (I would only advise this if you rolled a +speed Leo), or pair him with DEF and RES boosters to make full use of his Quick Riposte strategy.
Please keep in mind that the following suggestions are not the only units that could be paired with Leo. These are simply some very good options that help him do his job better (and who he in turn helps secure kills).
Gunter is the most straightforward partner for Leo. As a 4-star he gains access to Hone Cavalry, which grants +6 Attack AND +6 Speed to adjacent cavalry units. For a neutral Leo this puts him at 28 speed. For a +speed Leo this one unit alone sends him to 30 speed, which is a much more flexible number to work with depending on the rest of the team. That +6 attack is nothing to sneeze at either: neutral Leo will sit at 49 attack, while a +ATK Leo will break into 52.
Gunter in turn has very high attack and defense potential: Neutral Gunter sports the same defense as neutral Effie (33), plus has armored blow on top of that. Gunter’s mobility as a cavalry means he can swoop in on blues that threaten Leo, while Leo’s high RES can tank magic hits for Gunter (who has crap RES). Overall their synergy is stellar. The best news is that Gunter is free: you can get him from his special quest.
Fae I would argue is one of Leo’s best partners if you don’t plan to go down the cavalry route. Fae’s threaten attack makes it so that enemies within 2 spaces of her lose 5 attack through their next actions, and if she herself attacks she grants Leo +4 to both DEF and RES, making neutral values 29 and 34 respectively. Furthermore she sports Draw Back. This means you have flexibility with this pair: Fae can either attack and set Leo up for his Quick Riposte strategy, or can grab his horse by the tail and pull him out of danger from a ranged target he just inflicted gravity on via Brynhildr. Leo can also help break down the Falchions that get in Fae’s way.
Camilla has surprising synergy with Leo. However it’s more that Leo supports her rather than the other way around. While the idea is very reliant on the rest of your team, Leo can reduce the mobility of units that would otherwise threaten Camilla, setting her up for success. With them both being Savage Blow users, it is very easy to deal 14 free damage to the enemy team with right the right positioning.
Julia might seem to be an odd recommendation at first, but she holds a lot of benefits when paired with Leo. Chances are if you’re using Leo then you risk being red-heavy. Having Julia on hand allows her to serve as your pseudo Falchion and free up the remaining two spots on your team for units that provide the buffs both her and Leo need. Julia also checks many of Leo’s counters. The most low-key benefit though is her Breath of Life passive. Since Leo’s Quick Riposte requires him take damage, yet remain at 70%+ health, Julia’s ability to heal on attack can be the difference between Leo only getting to bait once during a match, or multiple times.
Azura is absolutely one of Leo’s best partners. Her RES buff puts neutral Leo at a solid 34 RES and turns him into a great magic tank. Her being a dancer can either benefit Leo’s hit-and-run gameplay or help him secure a kill. Overall good unit to have.
Sharena has similar use to Fae: she grants Leo enough defense to put him at a respectable 29 defense while also mitigating the enemy team’s attack by 4. This feeds into Leo’s Quick Riposte strategy against archers and thieves. As a bonus her Rally Attack will grant him +4 on top of his already respectable attack stat. A neutral attack Leo will sport 47 attack because of it. +ATK Leo will hit 50.
Jagen when combined with Gunter turns Leo into a downright deadly force. And if you’re not opposed to building a cavalry team, this is by far the build that gives the most bang for your buck. Jagen grants both DEF/RES +6 to adjacent cavalry units, immediately shooting even a neutral Leo to 31 DEF and 36 RES. Jagen alone ensures Leo can perform his bait duties without fail, and also provides Gunter the RES he needs to not be completely blown away by mages (still keep him from mages, please). Jagen also comes with the Fury skill, meaning he gets his own buffs at the cost of his health after combat. You’re going to have to be careful using him.
Even if you rolled a neutral Leo, pair him with Gunter and Jagen and Leo’s stats become: 39/49/28/31/36 . With horse mobility.
Male Robin is a surprisingly good partner for Leo as well. Leo will dink away health from enemies that Robin usually has a difficult time killing in one turn, and Robin’s fortify defense helps Leo tank the things he needs to tank for his Quick Riposte strategy. On top of this you have his advantage against colorless foes, meaning that Robin can concentrate on Takumi while Leo sets up kills for everyone else.
Female Corrin works fantastically with Leo, especially if you decide to pair Leo with Gunter. A +Speed Leo with Gunter’s buff will hit 30 speed. Combine this with Corrin’s -5 speed debuff on her attack, and suddenly Leo will no longer be doubled by most units in the game. She also comes with a -7 RES debuff. So if Corrin doesn’t kill a target, you can be damn sure Leo will after her, and also reap the benefits of Savage Blow to other nearby enemies.
Linde . Hilariously enough one of Leo’s most threatening counters is one of his greatest partners. Like Azura, Linde will provide a +4 RES boost to Leo. On top of this she can heal him through Ardent Sacrifice if needed alongside her weapon’s healing aura. Both Leo and Linde can take down opposing checks that threaten the other. In fact with Leo’s Savage Blow he can help secure more safe kills for Linde while also stopping melee units from reaching her.
Effie has been talked about as a Leo partner before, and for good reason. Smite. Effie is capable of shoving Leo out of danger or positioning him to where he needs to be. Combine this with a dancer or a Draw Back user and Leo’s mobility and range becomes insane. If Smite can shove cavalry through trees (has this been confirmed?) then she also takes away the one map weakness Leo has. That said, if you go Effie a dancer or drawback user is required to help her and Leo keep pace with each other given their stark differences in mobility.
Erika and Leo have the potential to be a lot of fun on a team together. Erika provides a much needed +4 speed buff should you decide to build up Leo’s speed while also granting +3 attack. More important though is her Drag Back skill. Combine this with a Draw Back ally or a dancer and Erika and Leo can completely control who moves where on the enemy side while also setting each other up for kills.
Eliwood is a great option to consider if you don’t have/don’t like Jagen. He grants cavalry allies within 2 spaces of himself +4 DEF and RES, which will allow Leo to get the buffs he needs without the strict formation keeping the Jagen+Gunter method requires.
Marth is an interesting option. For one he’s a Falchion user and can help against both Tiki’s, which Leo will struggle with. He also sports Spur Speed, which if you intend to go the speed route with Leo is absolutely essential. More importantly though is his escape route skill. While it’s risky, Marth can use this to warp to Leo’s (or any team member’s side) to help finish off an enemy Leo couldn’t kill but needs to. This is particularly useful on maps where the team is split up.
Olivia being a dancer automatically makes her a good partner for Leo as she helps him with his hit and run strategy. However if you plan to go Leo/Dancer then you really should consider Azura instead (unless you don’t have her). That said her +4 attack buff works well with him. Just know if you go Olivia, you really need your remaining two units to provide the buffs he needs.
And that’s it really! Yes it was a long post, but I think I’ve hit all the points I wanted to make. Of course you’re still welcome to disagree: if you don’t like Leo, you don’t like Leo.
However he is not a terrible unit: Leo is one of the most flexible mages in the game. You can built a team to either patch his speed to make him a more typical powerhouse, or you can build around his defenses to really play up Quick Riposte. Or you can go Full Cavalry or 3/4 Cavalry and turn Leo into an utter monster.
Like many other units, he just needs the right team to shine.
If you have other partners you think will work well with Leo, please do share!