Meta Report: November 19, 2023

The November 2023 Snowbreak meta update, covering the latest Snowbreak gameplay news.

It’s been some time since the new update was released, and also long enough to gain insight out of observations from the first ever week of ranked Neural Sim. There have been multiple takeaways from these recent events, with the new operative Mauxir - Shadow Ka making a big splash along with the other new pieces of equipment that came with her.

Cat Fact Chat

As said before, Shadow Ka has instantly made an impact as a top support choice. While her performance as an active operative is pretty mediocre at best, nobody really cares because when you use her as a support, she’s really good at making number go up. She consequently kicks the rest of the support roster down a metaphorical peg (barring Kaguya, who’s still as good as ever, and actually even better - more on this later). Especially hurt by this is Enya, who… kinda just doesn’t have a reason to be used anymore. She was only ever good as a support for Winter Solstice in the first place, and Mauxir really just does the same thing but better. The extra support option also makes Enya’s presence less important, as expanding the support pool available to players makes it so that situations where you end up using Enya out of a lack of other available options only become more and more rare.

Amarna Squad

After two events with very niche logistics sets, we finally get one that's more generic, and boy is it good. It’s usable on basically every support in the game, and finally gives Kaguya a good support logistic to use. It is absolutely worth buying at least two sets from the event shop, and probably even more to get favourable stat rolls on them. Being a logistics set that buffs gun damage, operatives that like to shoot a lot obviously gain a lot from this. Combined with Shadow Ka also leaning more towards supporting gun DPS operatives, this results in a meta shift further towards gun damage. However, it’s one that’s more stirred, not shaken, as the resulting list of winners has all the expected suspects.

Neural Simulation, Meta Stimulation

Ranked Neural Simulation has finally given people a good reason to be tryhards, as there’s marginally more rewards than just bragging rights now. Winter Solstice and Ethereal Cloud continue to be top tier choices for damage, surprising absolutely nobody. Swift does make a resurgence in usage however, which isn’t super surprising given the high mobility of Katya, one of last week’s Neural Sim bosses, and the boost to gun damage operatives that recent content releases have added. Unfortunately, Swift is now bugged against the Ni-Mech, as her DEF-ignoring passive doesn’t work on it anymore for whatever reason. It’ll probably get fixed soon, but it’s worth keeping in mind in the meantime. Wild Hunt has also seen a spike in usage… as a support. Because her support skill applies a DoT, she’s able to effectively apply both buffs from the Amarna logistics set. Being an SMG user, she can also use Alloy Truth, which might be the best support weapon in the game in its own right.

Buffs to Kaguya and Pine Aurora

Seasun recently decided that Kaguya’s Deiwos passive (extra damage to units with movement speed reductions) is too hard to get good uptime on. In their infinite wisdom, they decided to fix this problem by allowing Kaguya's standard skill projectiles to stick around even after changing operatives. It’s certainly a buff of all time. All neural sim bosses so far have been tested to now be vulnerable to movement speed reductions, but your mileage may vary.

A more substantial buff is to her signature weapon, Pine Aurora. It gets increased numbers on its weapon skill that buffs the active unit when the equipped operative’s support skill does damage. It also gets a new weapon skill that boosts the active operative’s Frost damage while the equipped operative is not on the field. It’s great news for Wild Hunt fans, except she seems to be a little busy on support duty these days. Jokes aside, this makes Pine Aurora a much more compelling pickup as its rerun banner comes up in the near future. Kaguya is still a very strong support, and players who didn’t get her on her original banner would greatly benefit from not missing their chance this time around.

Tier List Updates

As the latest content update has provided us with quite a lot of new toys to play with, it’s unsurprising that there is a corresponding change to certain operatives’ positions within the tier list. You can find the full tier list here.

Fenny - Coronet raised from T0.5 to T0

I know I moved her down a tier the last time I updated the tier list, but to say the situation has changed would be an understatement. Coronet finds herself immediately bumped back up to T0 thanks to the new support for gun damage operatives. Amarna is great for her damage, and Shadow Ka reduces or completely negates her former weaknesses. Being a shotgun operative, Kebechet provides a stationary target with potentially guaranteed crits for Coronet to dump lead into, and its ability to bypass damage reductions reduces the need to parts break against certain bosses (looking at you, Ni-Mech). Hopefully her stay in T0 is longer than her time in T0.5.

Marian - Swift raised from T1 to T0.5

Perhaps I was a little harsh on Swift's evaluation in the past, but she’s also benefited enough from Amarna that I can just say that her power level has gone up instead. Amarna’s effects apply not just to her gun damage, but to her standard skill as well, which means that her damage output overall increases quite a decent amount. The existence of slippery bosses like Katya (and Esther, to a lesser extent) also means that Swift now has a meaningful niche to compete in. While I'm not comfortable raising her all the way to T0 yet as I still have some concerns about her general usability, Swift definitely earns a rise in rating to separate her from the crowd.

Mauxir - Shadow Ka rated at T0

I have a general rule where operatives aren't allowed to immediately be rated in Tier 0 to avoid knee-jerk overreactions, but Mauxir certainly seems strong enough to be worth making an exception.

...It’s not like every other limited SSR I’ve provisionally put at T0.5 hasn’t ended up in T0 anyways. I'm not a shill, I promise. But as it turns out, being really good at roiding up the damage output of almost every top tier gun damage operative tends to make you a pretty good support. While not as versatile as Kaguya, her choice to specialize instead brings a stronger payoff in the current meta. Perhaps future meta shifts will reduce her value, but that day is most likely a long ways off, allowing for a secure spot at the top for now.

Updates to Lyfe - Wild Hunt

Wild Hunt has become a strong support thanks to her support skill’s synergy with Amarna. This pushes her ever closer to T0 status, but still not quite. She gets an extra bit of text in her review noting this.

Minor updates to Acacia - Kaguya. Her weapon's pretty good, you should pull it if you can afford to.