The Let's Play Archive

Etrian Odyssey

by Crosspeice

Part 50: Protector Overview


Can equip: Swords, Heavy Armour, Light Armour, Shields

The big beefy walls are definitely one of the best classes in the game. Able to reduce party damage and make the party immune to elemental attacks, as well as dealing some surprising lategame damage. Protectors are very good during the main game and are basically required for a number of postgame bosses, it's argued that it's a very silly idea to even leave the Protector behind, since they're just so useful.

As far as overall stats, Protectors have the best bases in the game, with excellent HP, VIT and are tied for the highest STR in the game, meaning when they're not letting your party survive the strongest attacks, they can hit back really hard. Their attacks usually have good speed modifiers too, so their low AGI isn't usually a problem, though their mediocre TP means they have a limit to the skills they'll be spamming pretty often. So far it's all pretty amazing.

Unlocks: Cure (LV3), Cure II (LV5)

Hmm, yep, it's still good. They've got a lot of HP and getting a 30% boost to it is very nice. Buuuuuuuuut this class needs a lot of important skills and going for the healing skills is not one of them, since the Medic does that job a lot better and your Protector has better things to do. So this is something you'll only invest in postgame if you have nothing else.

It's a nice boost to the Protector's defenses, though not really a priority. But making a beefy class even beefier is certainly a nice perk to give to them.

Unlocks: Antifire (LV3), Anticold (LV3), Antivolt (LV3)

TP Up is better, since the Protector struggles a little to spam their skills constantly. And they'll want to, cause they've got some great ones and getting to level 3 unlocks the Anti element skills, which are basically necessary. So get that far and do the rest of this skill later.

A good stat passive for the Protector, but not one that's really vital. Protectors don't really get spammy with their skills until much later in the game. You'll at least want to get this up to 3 to unlock the Anti-elemental skills by the time you reach Stratum 3 at least.

Unlocks: Provoke (LV1), Flee (LV3), Parry (LV3), Fortify (LV3), Aegis (LV5), Stalker (LV5) En Garde (LV7)

Well that's a lot of skills. DEF Up is pretty important for the Protector to begin with, since it lets them do a whole lot of neat stuff, though a lot of the skills are just pretty neat, instead of absolute must haves you need to go towards immediately, so it's not a big deal after you've reached Fortify.

A decent stat boosting passive. Protectors wouldn't want to say no to more bulk, but this isn't really a priority for them.

Unlocks: F. Guard (LV1), B.Guard (LV1), Fortify (LV3), Antifire (LV5), Anticold (LV5), Antivolt (LV5), En Garde (LV7), Smite (LV10)

Now for the "mastery" skill. It's not an attacking one (until muuuuuuuuuch later), but allows you to equip a shield and reduces elemental damage! ...when you'll be taking this early game to get to Defender when no enemies use elemental attacks and will barely matter since single target elemental attacks are super rare. Cool. You'll want to max this eventually, even though it has the same rubbish numbers as DEF Up, since it has much better skills attached to it, unlike DEF Up. Not something you need to think about until later though, just get enough for Fortify and the Anti skills to begin with.

This doesn't boost Smite's damage, so just be aware of that. Not that you have a choice since you have to max out this skill to get Smite.

The elemental equivalent to DEF Up. And no other class has access to a passive elemental damage reduction skill, so that's a point in the Protector's favor. ...Or it would be if elemental damage from enemies in this game was more common, and not mostly exclusive to certain FOEs and bosses. As such, it's basically just an SP sink for the skills you actually want. Though if you want Smite, you'll have to max it out anyway, and so this will probably be one of the stat boosting skills you invest in sooner rather than later.

Prerequisites: DEF Up LV5
Gives the user a chance to survive a lethal attack with 1HP. Passive.

Already we're off with a tricky skill. Aegis can be absolutely amazing if it works, and works consistently, but if it doesn't work (and more than half of the time it won't), then you've just got a dead Protector. If your Protector is dying, then you probably have the problem in that everyone else is dead too and having a lone Protector at 1HP is not really going to make everything better, it just delays your demise by a turn. It's also a bit high into the DEF Up list compared to other skills you'll want, so if you're a lucky bugger this might work out for you, but it requires a bit of investment to actually make use of and it's still a crapshoot.

Crosspeice outlined most of the problems with it. Like the activation rates aren't super great, and there's a pretty hefty prerequisite on a class that's decently SP hungry. Considering the rest of the Protector's skillset, it's just better to prevent situations where you would even want this skill in the first place. When taking a skill, it's best to evaluate if that skill is really going to be useful. One way to do this is to think about what situations it could possibly activate in, and if those situations are ideal or unideal for your party to be getting into.

En Garde
Prerequisites: DEF Up LV7, Shields LV7
Gives the user a chance to reduce an enemy's attack by 50%. Passive.

Another tricky skill, but it's a bit of a harder sell. It's requires a lot more investment (into skills you will be going for, granted), but probably not until the late game. Being able to reduce a pretty nasty attack is nice... but since it's something you can't really control, it'll most likely activate for a weak attack and do nothing for the massive attack afterwards. Defender and the anti skills are much better, much more consistent damage reducers, so this really isn't worth it aside from those "oh, neat" moments when it does go off.

Effectively, this increases your Protector's HP pool by about 15%. Not only does it have a huge SP tax just to max out, you can get an even bigger direct effect by just taking HP Up instead.

Prerequisites: DEF Up LV1
Increases the chance of being targeted by the enemy and reduces damage taken past level 5. Buff skill, uses the Head.
Bug: Instead of being a 100% target chance past level 4, it is instead a 2x target chance.

Now this seems like a good skill... riiiiiight? Well you might think as much in order to protect your squishier party members, but since it's an inverse Cloak, you start thinking of the numbers involved, especially with that bug. Due to the AI targetting... your Protector is getting attacked most of the time anyway, so why do you need this skill? At level 5 onwards it makes your Protector twice as likely to be targeted compared to normal... which isn't a lot in the grand scheme of things as it doesn't redirect attacks from other members, it just makes you a slightly bigger target, while leaving everyone else as the same sized target. Also it's useless for party wide attacks and those get very common and very dangerous later on. This skill just isn't worth it.

This would be an amazing earlygame skill if it actually worked properly. It doesn't, so it's pretty bad. As such, the "tank" class is pretty bad at actually tanking since this is their only tanking skill.

Prerequisites: DEF Up LV3
Allows the user to block one physical attack and has a chance to block multiple physical attacks past level 6. Buff skill, uses the Arms.

If you know your enemy then Parry can be pretty damn amazing. Since you'll be targeted pretty often, it's a safe bet against an enemy that you know will attack with a physical attack. However, if you get it wrong, you could've been reducing the damage on the party member that just got hit, so a bit of luck is involved. You need to get it to level 5 so it actually works every time, but the subsequent parries aren't really necessary, since multiple attacks on one party member are pretty damn rare and the chance is too low, so you'll parry the first hit and then probably take the rest of the attacks like a dumbass. But when it blocks the enemy's only attack leaving your party to do other things then it's absolutely amazing.

This is meant to be comboed with Provoke for maximum tankiness. But as you can see, Provoke doesn't even work right so this skill is a pretty questionable investment as a result. Besides, this skill only affects the Protector, and later on, you want your Protector shielding your entire team, not just themselves.

Prerequisites: DEF Up LV3, Shields LV3
Unlocks: Smite (LV5)
Reduces physical damage on self for 5 turns. Buff skill, uses the Arms.

Eeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhh it's not that great. If you wanna Smite stuff, then you'll need it, but it's better to defend yourself and others instead of just yourself. Also Parry is just better under the right circumstances, though if you've got a solo Protector for whatever reason, then this skill will make you practically invincible. The numbers are good, but it's at the expense of the rest of your party. Still, against certain enemies, it's good to just lay this down and have fun taking NO DAMAGE.

This is literally a worse version of a very good skill you can get later. Aside from the TP cost anyway. You remember my statement about Protectors wanting to help their team instead of just themselves, right? Yeah, this applies here too. Ignore this skill.

Prerequisites: DEF Up LV3
A chance to sacrifice the party's HP to flee from battle to the previous floor. Flight skill, uses the Legs.

Just cause it requires two less levels into DEF Up compared to the Landy doesn't make this skill any better. Next!

Prerequisites: Shields LV1
Unlocks: Defender (LV3)
Reduces physical damage on the front row for 1 turn. Only reduces an attack's damage once on each party member. Buff skill, uses the Arms.

Now we're getting to the good stuff. F.Guard is so easy to spam due to being so cheap and reducing damage taken on the front row (the row that's targeted most of the time). Having 3 on the front row to mitigate damage even more means the highest VIT characters won't be dying anytime soon, as well as giving better survivability to more squishier front row classes. For multiple hit attacks it's pretty amazing as it'll activate for each member, though only reduce damge for that row and just the once, but those aren't too too common. Overall an excellent skill, but it drops off super hard past level 5, so don't bother. Also note that it's a Buff skill. For whatever reason, it doesn't require a shield equipped (though you should have one regardless) and it even reduces elemental damage! A weird skill, but definitely a good one.

Do note that this and B.Guard reduces the final damage taken, and doesn't just reduce the enemy's attack. Which is better than just increasing your party's defenses, but doesn't let your armor have as much of an effect compared to being a straight up attack reduction.

Anyways, F.Guard is alright. It's not really one of the Protector's bread and butter skills (even though it is in the later games), namely because of a few reasons. One, the fact that it only activates once per character per turn (though an attack that hits the same character multiple times will still only count as one attack for this purpose) kind of limits its usefulness. It's not too big of a deal early, but it causes it to fall off later in the game when multi-target attacks are more abundant. Two, there's another skill that the Protector really should be making use of instead.

Prerequisites: Shields LV1
Unlocks: Defender (LV3)
Reduces physical damage on the back row for 1 turn. Only reduces an attack's damage once on each party member. Buff skill, uses the Arms.

What a difference a row change makes, huh? B.Guard is nowhere near as good as F.Guard, since the back row is hardly ever targeted and the Protector should always be on the front row anyway, so they won't be able to make use of their own skill. Sure, if you know an attack is heading for the back row, then I guess it makes everyone there less squishy, but it's not really worth the hassle.

Well uhhh, it soooorta has a use in this game? Like the back row doesn't provide a 50% damage reduction like in later games (and B. Guard's equivalents there became redundant as a result), only doubling your defense stat which isn't... great. So the damage reduction does mean something here. But the back row rarely gets targeted in the first place, so yeah. It also has the same problem as F. Guard, a skill that's just made redundant by...

Prerequisites: F.Guard LV3, B.Guard LV3
Reduces enemy physical damage on the entire party for 5 turns. Buff skill, uses the Head.

The big reason why Protectors are so great is being able to reduce physical damage on the entire party by so much. A first turn Defender will make you set for the early fight and give your party a much easier time setting up. Sure, it doesn't have any effect on elemental damage, but this is what your Protector will be using at the start of EVERY battle. It's just too good a damage reduction to pass up and it's what you're gonna beeline for immediately. It is a bit TP intensive, but it's absolutely worth it. In combination with another skill it makes your party nigh invincible and it's amazing. Though of course with the wonky scaling its best to leave this at level 5. I won't mention this for every skill that you should do this for, you can peep the numbers after all.

Go ahead and take a look at Fortify's skill data, and then come back here. Yeeeep, both Defender and Fortify have the exact same values, only Fortify costs half as much TP, and only affects the Protector, while Defender affects the entire party.

As for Defender itself, it's a fantastic skill. You're not really going to be seeing elemental attacks too much, since most of the time, enemies deal physical damage instead of elemental. (Doesn't really apply to later bosses, but if you have a Medic in the party, hopefully you'll have Immunize ready to go by those points.) This is pretty much one of the more notorious skills in the game, due to how much easier it makes things. It also stacks fully with Immunize for even more damage reduction as well! Though because this is pretty much the Protector's main skill, they have a lot of downtime as a result. I suppose they could use F.Guard in conjunction with this, but that tends to be overkill. With that said, it does kind of fall off later. Bosses later on will start having access to elemental attacks, and the incoming damage starts being greater. Typically Defender gets phased out for Immunize entirely for players that use a Medic, as Immunize gets strong enough to reduce damage considerably on its own, and Defender gets replaced with more worthwhile buffs. Meaning that the Protector is just kind of... there, in the more common party compositions as a result. With that said, the reason people still use a Protector in their party, despite the Medic essentially taking their job later on is because of...

Prerequisites: Shields LV5, TP Up LV3
Reduces or nullifies an enemy's elemental attack for 1 turn. Absorbs some of the damage to heal HP past level 5. Shield skill, uses the Arms.
BUG: Level 5 not only nullifies damage, but also extra attack effects, while level 6-15 work as intended and have attack effects occur regardless of nullification.

If you want to actually get through this game without much of a headache, then these are skills you must have. Being able to nullify the numerous party wide elemental attacks is just mandatory for some bosses and FOEs. Due to the rather nice bug you shouldn't level these skills up past 5 to make use of the HP absorption, which is a bit of a shame, but the bug is super useful and makes me wonder just how certain fights were supposed to go if level 5 had its intended effect. For Antifire and Antivolt you might be alright putting some more points into them, but you absolutely shouldn't for Anticold, as it makes one late game fight much much harder. And really, is a bit of healing worth losing complete nuffification of every elemental attack? No, don't bother, you'll just make it harder on yourself. You don't have to go for these skills immediately since they're overkill for the rare elemental attack from regular enemies, their main use is party wide attacks from FOEs and Bosses. As a must, you need Anticold before stratum 4, Antivolt before stratum 5 and Antifire before stratum 6. They require a bit of investment, but they're mandatory, so get learning!

It's actually okay to get Antifire and Antivolt to 10, but Anticold should never be leveled up beyond 5.

These skills are very poorly designed. Having the ability to nullify an attack may sound useful, but in this game (and in EO2), these don't really see that much use outside of some specific boss fights. Meaning that these skills don't see much use outside of those situations. But if you're wondering what happens when there are a lot more elemental attacks to defend against... Well, EO3 tried answering that question, and it turned out that the results were that they could generate so many free turns if you knew what you were doing. Which caused these skills to get briefly kicked out for an entire game, and when they came back in the series, they had a run-in with the nerf bat. Anyways, these skills are pretty much the main reason people use a Protector instead of ditching them. A few boss fights in the post-game are pretty much nearly impossible to defeat without the use of these skills, since they have access to extremely strong elemental attacks. But outside of those situtations, they won't see much use. So level them up at your leisure. As long as you make sure to get them up to level 5 by the deadlines Crosspeice stated.

Prerequisites: Shields LV10, Fortify LV5
A single target Shield strike with a chance to inflict Arm Bind past level 4. Shield skill with Bash damage, uses the Arms.

Oh baby, when it's late into the game and your Protector is all done making sure everyone is not dead, then smacking them with a shield is a great use of your turn. With your Protector's high STR, the defense of the shield being added to the offensive power, and it just being a hard hitting skill in general means you can start outdamaging the Landy's Crush, which is INSANE. Also the Arm Bind is a nice bonus, but not a huge deal. It's gonna take a while to get to it, but it is oh so worth it.

In other games, investing in such a skill like this would be madness because the class' attacking stat isn't that great or the damage on a skill like this would be low. Or that they don't have time to use a skill like this period, since they're too busy with more important things. But as I've said before, the Protector has quite a bit of downtime in this game, especially if you're using an Immunize Medic. Not only that, but the Protector actually has the highest STR stat out of all the classes, tying with the Ronin in that regard. (And then classes like the Protector would come down with a bad case of the noodle arms in future installments.) As a result, they can make themselves useful by contributiing some damage. Not only that, the Arm bind chance may be low, but it's a helpful effect if it does happen to proc. Do keep in mind that a Protector isn't better than an actual dedicated damage dealer, due to their lack of access to ATK Up and a weapon mastery skill. But their naturally high STR stat, along with a shield's DEF stat being added onto their ATK stat, along with the high damage multiplier of Smite goes quite a way to mitigating that problem, and makes this skill a very worthwhile investment.

Prerequisites: HP Up LV3
A single target heal that recovers a set amount of health due to lack of the Healer skill. Healing skill, uses the Head.

Uh, hmm, if you don't have a Medic for whatever reason then I guess this could be alright...? Really, your Protector has other things to do, so this is only useful in the early game when you want to share healing duties, or out of battle where your Protector isn't pressured to do everything at once. But Protector's have a lot of skills they want sooner rather than later, so putting them off to be a discount Medic is not worth it.

Okay I know this version of the Protector can have quite a bit of downtime in this game, but there are better skills for them to be casting. This skill is only really justifiable if you don't have a Medic in the party for some reason, and even then, items would be a better investment since anyone can use them. Protectors don't have anything to boost their healing capabilities, and Medicas don't come with a speed penalty or costs any TP! SP is a very precious resource that you shouldn't just spend willy nilly. If you can get the job done with another skill or even an item, do so and save that SP for something more valuable.

Cure II
Prerequisites: HP Up LV5
A single target heal that recovers a set amount of health due to lack of the Healer skill. Healing skill, uses the Head.

This is definitely a skill you shouldn't use in battles, since you'll just be so slow using it. It can be more efficient outside of battle compared to Cure, but again, only really useful if you don't have a Medic for whatever reason. Seriously, use a Medic.

See everything that was said about Cure. The heal being slightly stronger doesn't justify getting this, and the lower speed modifier on top of the Protector not even having access to Healer basically destroys any reason to learn this.

Prerequisites: DEF Up LV5
Reduces the encounter rate for a set amount of steps. Field skill.

No no no, don't use this. You want to be getting into battles and getting experience and getting stronger. Sure, in a game as annoying as EO1 you'll be sick of encountering 35 enemies on the way to the boss every time you die to it, but it's just not worth the skill points. Also it only reduces it, so you'll still be running into things, cause there's no way you'll be putting 10 skill points into this, RIGHT? Just keep battling, no matter how annoying, and you'll have a much easier time overall.

Protectors can also Mine, but you should only touch those skills on a dedicated gathering party.