The Let's Play Archive

Etrian Odyssey

by Crosspeice

Part 49: Survivalist Overview


Can equip: Bows, Light Armour, Clothing

Survivalists are pretty great all around, being hefty damage dealers, back row supporters, or general labyrinth explorers. They work well on either the front row, back row, or out on the field collecting shit. They're too useful to leave at home and are pretty damn important against certain enemies, especially with their priority moves and debuffs.

While their stats aren't as impressive as the Protectors, it's still very good, with stats spread across the board between excellent to mediocre to terrible. They have the highest AGI and LUC out of all the classes (not that really means anything as we'll see later) and can hit pretty hard as well as take hits with their good STR and VIT. TP is where they falter slightly, since they have a lot of useful skills they like to spam, but it's still leagues better than the next worst TP class, the Landy. They have just what they need to be effective, so they can sit at the front quite happily and take hits.


It's HP Up alright. Although this one maxes out at 150% instead of 130%. Not that it really matters since it doesn't lead to anything and there are other places to put your skills points. It'll make your Survivalist more tanky, no doubt about that, but it won't be necessary until later.

Survivalists are decently durable in this game. And this skill only makes them even more so. They already have the same amount of VIT as a Dark Hunter and can wear the same armor types as them, and their base HP pool is only slightly less than the Dark Hunter's. The Dark Hunter's version of HP Up only goes up to a 30% boost, so Survivalists can actually become even more durable than them. So they can work as front liners if you need 3 people in the front row. (Warning: Do not try this in later games! Their defenses got massively nerfed after this game.) Take this skill if you want after getting all of their important skills first.


Survivalists also get 150% TP, which is pretty great on a class that needs it. But again, it doesn't lead to anything, so it's just a nice bonus at the end of the game if you can spare the points. It's definitely more tempting than HP Up, for sure.

Survivalists are somewhat TP hungry, so I would say that this skill is a bit more of a priority than HP Up (Especially if you're making use of the Medic's Immunize skill to cover your defenses). Their base TP pool is okay for what it is, so you won't need this skill right away, but it can be very nice to have later.

Unlocks: Trickery (LV1), Quicken (LV1), Ambush (LV3), 1st Hit (LV5)

AGI Up isn't useful for any damage dealing skills, but it does eventually lead to 1st Turn through Trickery and Quicken, so it's at least useful for that. Everything else it leads up to isn't really all that and maxing out AGI will make you pretty damn fast compared to your team... but you'll still get outpaced by quick enemies, or slow enemies with good speed modifiers, so it's not something to hugely focus on. One point should be good. Besides if you get to the level cap, being level 3 will let you outspeed basically everything, so there's no point going higher, technically. The main problem with boosting AGI is how it's calculated, Turn Speed = [AGI � 5] � Speed Modifier, which means any kind of AGI boost is really hard to notice and means there are some enemies you won't ever outspeed in your current state no matter how many buffs you have.

AGI Up is absolutely terrible because the AGI stat really doesn't have that much of an impact on things. The Survivalist's AGI is already high anyway, so this skill is fairly redundant. Unlock the skills you need to with this, but don't put anymore SP into it.

Unlocks: Trueshot (LV1), Disable (LV3), Multihit (LV5), Apollon (LV10)

You'll definitely want this skill maxed out for two reasons. It has the highest boost out of all the weapon skills, so it's great to give your weapons that additional kick, and it's definitely worth it even if you're not going for Apollon... but you should go for Apollon, cause Apollon is great and you should get it. Multihit is also very good so you can leave this at level 5 while you boost that skill up, then come back to this for Apollon.

Definitely one of the skills you should be investing in right away, since it's a free damage boost and it scales super well as the game goes on. This is one of the skills that makes Survivalists a great damage dealer. My advice to you is to just dump all of your starting SP into this skill, so you can unlock Multihit as soon as possible. (Granted it does nothing to the starting bow at level 3, because it only has 7 ATK, and the game aggressively rounds down in all of its calculations, but level 4 will give it a damage boost.) Then come back to it for Apollon later. This is also the only weapon mastery skill that gives a 50% boost to the weapon's ATK instead of a 30% boost, which is really good because Survivalists do not have access to ATK Up! But the fact that this skill is a 50% boost more than makes up for the lack of ATK Up. The reason for that being is that if the Survivalist had the standard 30% boost for both STR and weapon ATK, it comes out to a smaller ATK boost than a 50% boost to the weapon's ATK due to how weapons give you more of an ATK boost than STR does.

Also another advantage about the ATK boost being concentrated into one skill? It means that Survivalists only have to spend 10 SP boosting their attack power instead of 20 like most other damage dealing classes. Which also means that they're not really SP starved, and just helps in making them a great class at all points in the game, where other classes can have a very rough early or mid-game due to having to make tough decisions for allocating SP. Overall, the Survivalist is the 3rd best damage dealer in the game, only losing out to Axeskhnecht (Who is very limited in what they can do) and the Ronin, who's the best damage dealer period. (But has a slew of issues that makes them a less than desirable class to have.) If Survivalists are sounding like a good class already, they are. And it's only about to get even better for them.

Prerequisites: AGI Up LV3
Unlocks: Aware (LV2), Owl-Eye (LV3), Stalker (LV3)
Increases the chance of getting a preemptive attack. Passive.

Hmm, preemptive attacks are very nice, but going all in on this skill just for a relatively low chance of getting an extra turn to attack is not. In encounters with a lot of turns, the bonus attack is nice, but not particularly crucial and fights that don't last long probably didn't need Ambush to begin with. So I'd say pass, though this skill stacks with itself, meaning a full party with level 10 Ambush will always get a preemptive attack. This is better than you'd think, since the game only checks for blindsides if a preemptive doesn't trigger, meaning this skill pulls double duty. So that's something for your gathering party, at least.

This isn't really a must-have skill, but it's a very nice pickup for later after you're done getting your vital skills. A 30% chance at a free turn in random encounters is very nice. Oh, but not only that, it also works on all sorts of things. Fights that get triggered from events, FOEs, and boss fights. And yes, it works on every single boss fight. Every one. (Not the case in EO2 onwards.) Even if you walk into them from the front (But not if they walk into your back.) So a 30% chance to get the jump on them, even when it's normally not possible, is pretty big. And like Crosspeice mentioned, this skill essentially lowers the chances of you getting blindsided, so it's a great pickup for that reason as well. But again, a 30% chance to get a free 1st turn is really not the most important thing you should be picking up.

Prerequisites: Ambush LV2
Decreases the chance of being blindsided by enemies. Passive.

If the previous skill was a hard sell then this one is even more so. Blindsides aren't hugely common and while they can be pretty detrimental depending on the circumstances, it's something you'll notice isn't working compared to when it does. Again, putting a load of points into this skill as well as Ambush for the prerequisite isn't really worth it, so if you do get caught by a nasty blindside, it's better to just hope to escape, then getting this skill and then get annoyed when it doesn't work, so you have to hope to escape. And since Ambush can always get a preemptive and avoid all blindsides under the right conditions, it makes this skill even less appealing, so it's definitely one to ignore.

This skill tends to be overlooked in Survivalist builds because Ambush makes it pretty much redundant. When you get into an encounter, the game checks for preemptives first, and if that check fails, then it checks for the blindside chance. (And if that check fails, the battle starts on even footing.) So Ambush already reduces the chances of blindsides happening. Not only that, there's just no room to invest SP into this since there are a lot more skills that are just more important to take.

Prerequisites: AGI Up LV1
Unlocks: 1st Turn (LV3)
Lowers the enemy's accuracy for 5 turns. Debuff skill, uses the Legs.

Debuff skills are pretty great, since if you can stack them with party buffs, they become doubly effective. While accuracy isn't something you touch very much, it can be very nice to dodge potentially fatal attacks. You'll need to put points into this anyway to reach 1st Turn, so if you feel like using it in battle, it's definitely won't hurt. Opposing accuracy modifiers might not make it very effective unless you invest in this skill heavily, but it's definitely a nice debuff to use if you can get lucky.

Lowering an enemy's accuracy directly has far more of an effect than lowering their AGI stat, in the hit rate formula, so it does have a noticeable effect at the very least. Not a skill I would really prioritize, but it's not terrible at the very least.

Prerequisites: AGI Up LV1
Unlocks: 1st Turn (LV3)
Increases the party's AGI for 5 turns. Buff skill, uses the Legs.

Because of how AGI requires big boosts to really matter, this isn't a skill that you'll notice working unless you Boost it, basically, since an AGI boost won't matter for your slow members, like the Protector, or Medic. Since you'll need this skill for 1st Turn anyway, you have to get it, but say you have 30 AGI and use this skill, now you're at 45 AGI. This means you're at 9 speed compared to the 7 you were before, before speed modifiers are applied. That's pretty awful, especially since buff slots are at such a premium. This is a skill that could've worked out, but because of the numbers, it just isn't worth it.

If AGI wasn't such a screwed over stat, this could have been a decent buff since speeding up your party could be a nice benefit and make a difference in some fights. But as it stands, it's just unlock fodder for a much better skill.

1st Turn
Prerequisites: Trickery LV3, Quicken LV3
Unlocks: 1st Hit (LV3)
Allows the target to use their move first in the turn, regardless of other factors. Buff skill, uses the Legs.
Bug: Chance of succeeding is 100% regardless of level.

You can probably assume that this skill is amazing. It is. 1st Turn lets you pick whoever you want to move first, ahead of anything else and it can be a real game changer. Need an emergency heal? Need to nuke something RIGHT NOW? Need to use a shield skill on an enemy that has ridiculous speed modifiers? It is so so sooooooo useful and the utility is unmatched by any other skill in the game. Get some bow skills, then get this immediately, you'll need it. You can just put one point into it due to the very helpful bug and just make your life so much easier. This skill is fantastic.

The best support skill in the Survivalist's moveset, and what lets them be a great support unit as well as being a great damage dealer. Considering how speed is handled terribly in this game, and that turn orders can be very inconsistent due to the speed formula, outright giving someone else a chance guarantee to go first can be huge. Need your Medic to heal someone right away? Buffs got dispelled and you really need them back up pronto? 1st Turn is here to solve that problem.

Oh and a little fun fact for you. For whatever reason, turn manipulation skills wouldn't stop being bugged until EO4.

1st Hit
Prerequisites: AGI Up LV5, 1st Turn LV3
Gives the user a chance to act first in battle, regardless of other factors. Passive.

9 times out of 10 your Survivalist is going first out of your party and probably the enemy as well, so what's the point of this? 1st Turn has so much more utility so just stick with that, instead of the small chance your Survivalist will just do what it was going to do anyway and go first. Whether you or another speedy member of the party goes first won't be a deal-breaker and the Survivalist isn't so necessary that going first before an enemy will have a huge effect, it's better to just 1st Turn something that will.

This is a trap skill by virtue of being completely and utterly redundant with the Survivalist's abilities. They're already naturally fast, so they're likely going to move first anyway. Apollon's actual attack has priority, so it's not even needed for their best skill. And the only other skill that's really going to be cast frequently in battle outside of attacks is 1st turn. Which already has priority built in. Consider this an example of another type of trap skill to be on the lookout for when playing games in this series. A skill that doesn't provide anything new, or an entirely redundant effect for the class in question.

Prerequisites: Trickery LV3
Decreases the chance of being targeted by the enemy. Buff skill, uses the Legs.
BUG: Has a very small chance, perhaps 0%, of working.

I never knew this skill was bugged, since I never bothered to ever use it. So this skill SHOULD make your Survivalist less likely to be targeted, but then you start looking at how the AI targets your party and you realise it's not that good. Quite a few commands the AI uses are Front Row Preference, Target Physical Class (LSPDR) and, uncommonly, Target Highest HP, so your Survivalist has a chance of being targetted, but a fair few times it won't end up mattering since they weren't in the line of fire anyway. Regardless, the skill more often than not does sweet fuck all. Well, it still costs TP to use and it might have a very small chance of working as intended, but it might as well never work at all. Man, what a great game.

Again, while it's a bit of a loss since the provoke chance would be decreased a lot, the skill might not be bugged and the numbers are low to begin with. What's 15% of 4, if targetting works that way, so this skill might make your Survivalist a slightly smaller target than it already was. Even if it did work, Survivalists are still a physical class so a lot of attacks target them. And if your Protector gets beat up a bit, then your Survivalist might be next to target with their pretty good HP. It might've been amazing if it worked properly, but your Survivalist has much better things to be doing, they can take the hit, just deal damage!

Absolutely terrible for several reasons. It eats up a buff slot, which you can use for far better buffs. Such as the Medic's Immunize skill, where you really wouldn't need this. And aggro skills are horribly bugged in this game, and not in the player's favor, so there's another reason to avoid. Not only that, it's just flat out unnecessary. Survivalists are not fragile at all in EO1. They can take the hits, so their defenses really aren't something you should be worrying too much about.

Prerequisites: Quicken LV3
Increases the party's escape rate for 5 turns and increases DEF past level 4. Buff skill, uses the Legs.

This is kind of an interesting skill only because of the DEF buff and even then DEF buffs are fine, just not as good as damage reduction, so oh well. Sure, it can be an alright buff, but buff slots are at a premium and if you're going to try and run away anyway, then you don't really need a skill to do that, just run away. Sure, the DEF boost might keep you alive while you're trying to run, but it's not that hard to do so in this game. And if you're up against something you need to run away against, maybe you should come back later and get stronger first, instead of relying on this skill to save your bacon. You'll thank me later.

The DEF buff is meh, and there are far better defensive buffs to make use of. Also, the escape rates in this game are actually decent, so this skill is just very much redundant.

Prerequisites: Bows LV1
A single target Bow strike. Bow skill with Stab damage, uses the Arms.

A pretty basic bow skill that hits hard and true. There's, uh, nothing else to say about it. Though while it hits hard, it's outclassed damage wise by Multihit and a one hit attack isn't really that impressive. Sure, it's strong right out of the gate, but it'll get surpassed pretty quickly when you invest in better skills. So it's a pass for me.

This gets outclassed very quickly if you just beeline for Multihit, which you can grab at level 4. And your Survialist only has enough TP to cast this twice at the start of the game. 4 TP out of 10 for around 3 extra points of damage. Yeah, what a deal. (Okay, they'll have enough TP to cast it 3 times instead at level 2, but really now.)

Prerequisites: Bows LV3
A single target Bow strike that attempts to bind the target's legs. Bow skill with Stab damage, uses the Arms.

As far as binds go, Leg binds are usually the least effective in blocking enemy attacks and the stat they reduce (AGI) is, again, not a good stat, especially compared to accuracy and STR. Due to the pretty rubbish scaling on this skill, you'll just be relying on the bind proc, which is something other classes can do much better, so don't bother investing in this skill at all. The one you should invest in is right around the corner.

No no, this isn't Multihit. Keep saving your SP. The leg bind component really isn't enough to justify the tiny amount of damage this skill deals. If you want your Survivalist to be doing support things, have them cast 1st Turn instead.

Prerequisites: Bows LV5
A random target Bow strike that hits 2 times, or 3 times at level 10. Bow skill with Stab damage, uses the Arms.

This is an excellent skill that easily outdamages all but the best bow skill... in single target circumstances. Against FOEs and Bosses, this skill is pretty damn amazing and deals a lot of damage, but in random encounters it's still very good, if unreliable. Two hits aren't particularly amazing, but getting three hits really makes this skill dish out the damage. You'll be wanting this skill for your Survivalist as soon as possible, it's where a lot of their consistent damage will come from.

Something very important to know about random target skills in this game, is that when it's the user's turn, the number of hits directed at what targets is decided at that moment, but won't change no matter what. To give an example of what this means, let's say there are 2 enemies, enemy A and B. If 3 hits are going towards enemy A, but the first hit killed it, the remaining 2 hits will not go towards enemy B. (EO3 would change that, but you'll have to deal with that in EO1 and 2.) So these kinds of skills can be semi-unreliable in that regard.

As for the skill itself, it's one of the Survivalist's must-have skills, since it's their 2nd best offensive skill in their skillset. Why not settle for the best skill? It has a cooldown period and can't be spammed. Level 1 already gives you a great value point, letting the Survivalist dish out 2 attacks at once. Dealing what is around 200% damage right out of the gate against a single enemy, and can target up to 2 enemies in a random encounter. And level 10 is such a huge damage boost from 9 that this is one of the skills that you really should be maxing out right away. Another being Apollon. Which one you max out first is up to you, but I would say Multi-hit is better to max out first for more consistent damage.

Another little fun fact. This skill was known as Double Shot in Japan. Despite dealing 3 hits at level 10. The fact that it does that is something of an injoke among the community and developers, apparently.

Prerequisites: Bows LV10
A single target Bow strike that takes 3 turns to land. Lands at the start of the turn and attempts to inflict Stun. Bow skill with Stab damage, uses the Arms.

The ultimate bow skill is a pretty good one, if a little tricky to work around. You fire it into the air on one turn, wait one turn, then it comes down at the start of the third turn to deal damage to the enemy. However, buffs and debuffs on the Survivalist only apply on the turn you fire it, not on the turn it lands, while buffs and debuffs on the enemy only apply on the turn it lands. If the target is killed, or removed from battle in any way, then Apollon fizzles out and doesn't do anything, so try to avoid that. Overall, it's a pretty amazing skill that you should fire whenever you have the chance to, as it deals a lot of damage and the Stun chance is nice, if not consistent, especially against FOEs and Bosses. It does a lot of damage anyway, so it has that going for it regardless.

By far the best skill in the Survivalist's skillset. Deals a massive amount of damage on top of having a respectable Stun chance at level 10 (and it gets ridiculous when boosted up to 15.) Stun isn't a great ailment by itself, but when it's attached to one of the strongest skills in the game that you're naturally going to be using a lot, it's such a huge boost to the skill's effectiveness. The actual attack has priority, so the Stun has a chance to go off before the enemy has a chance to act. And if it goes off in a boss fight, that's just insult to injury on top of the massive damage you've dealt to them. Getting a free turn in a boss fight just makes this skill even better than it already is. Definitely max this out after you finish maxing out Multihit.

Prerequisites: Ambush LV3
Reveals FOEs within a certain distance for a number of steps. Field skill.

Like most field skills, it's pretty garbage. It reveals FOE locations, sure, but only for a limited time and with proper mapping you won't need to use this skill anyway. If you're really desperate to know where FOEs are, you have the radar and you also have online maps. Don't gimp your Survivalist's skill set just because you don't want to be spoiled on the floor's layout, it's not worth it.

A lot of field skills in the series are typically considered to be a waste of skill points because they don't usually help you out in combat, and combat is a huge part of the game. Also because in the earlier titles, field skills really didn't do much to justify the SP costs, and having a slightly easier time navigating the labyrinth wasn't really considered a justifiable perk compared to actually being able to survive battles.

With that said, this one actually has some uses in this game because there are a few sections where it's really difficult to get past an FOE without knowing exactly where they are, even if you do look up a map. Or if it's important to actually know where the FOEs are right now for a navigation puzzle or something. Though the Alchemist's Sight skill works a lot better for that since it's global at level 1.

Prerequisites: Ambush LV3
Reduces the encounter rate for a set amount of steps. Field skill.

Useful for your dedicated gathering party, but otherwise pretty trash. Fight your enemies and get stronger, don't shirk work!

Encounter rate manipulation skills really don't tend to be worth it in the series outside of a select few situations. The main reason being, that the encounter rates in the series are actually fairly balanced. As long as you don't run away from the majority of the battles you get into, you'll generally end up where you need to be when it's time for the big fights. But lowering the encounter rates means that while you'll fight less monsters, you'll also be getting less exp, and that's just going to hurt your party in the long run. Skills that increase the encounter rate just makes things more annoying since you'll be getting into battles more frequently. And if you really need to grind, there are far better methods to do so than grinding on a bunch of trash mobs. Like say, killing FOEs and bosses instead.

Also if you're spending SP in this skill, that means that you're spending SP to avoid combat instead of getting better at dealing with it. Which won't work out too well if you're actually forced to fight. Which you will have to for bosses. Good for gathering parties, but not great outside of that.

Allows the user to use Gather points at level 1 and increases item drop chances at later levels. Field skill.

Since the Survivalist has all 3 of these skills, let's talk about them now. Getting items from gather points is super useful throughout the game, but not for your main party. Sure, you can maybe put a point in one so you can pick up some cool stuff while you're exploring, but it's best to just ignore them and come back later with a proper gathering party of 5 Survivalists. You can invest in these skills immediately with your 3 initial skills points and then gather 5 items a day using shortcuts to get to the different points. This will let you get some cool new unlocks and let you rake in the cash if you grind enough, so it's definitely worth it. But again, not on the main party. Maxing out these skills doesn't effect how many gathers you can do, it's simply 2 * Level, whereas these skills increase the rate of drops, so you might as well put as many points in as you fancy.

Gathering is a very important part of the series since it's another form of revenue for your party. And it's really a lot more profitable than just selling monster drops you get occasionally. (EO1 drop rates, ugh...) Not only that, gathering can help unlock more items in the shop to help you get a leg up in the labyrinth without having to fight monsters if you're having trouble with the enemies. Also higher gathering levels means that it's more likely to actually find an item at a gathering point, so you also lower your chances of finding nothing with these skills.

With that said, these skills tend to be overlooked. One reason being that they have the same issues that all field skills have. The other reason being that some people prefer making a team of Survivalists and investing in gathering skills only on them, essentially making what's known as a dedicated gathering team, and have them fetch the items for you without you having to spend SP on these skills in your main party. Oh and for the record, this idea came from the developers, who told players that they could do this, even starting from the very first game. So it's not really an exploit. Though if you're the kind of player that doesn't like to make dedicated gathering parties, you could spend a few SP on these in your main party if you wish. They'll have some SP to spare for that.