Etrian Odyssey 5: Ultimate Guide to Building Parties and Classes
If you hope to survive the Labyrinth of Yggdrasil in Etrian Odyssey 5: Beyond the Myth, you must have a party that consists of classes that compliment each other. Each character's strengths must be able to cover the others' weaknesses or you'll struggle a lot in battle.
There are actually tons of ways to go about this if you're clever about how you build your characters in Etrian Odyssey. Why? Because the different classes are not as cut and dry as they may first appear.
How to Build Classes in Etrian Odyssey 5
There are 10 classes in this installment of the Etrian franchise, but don't think that leaves you with only 10 options. Each class is capable of branching into one of two unique specializations, leaving you to pick from a total of 20 possible classes to fill your party.
As if that weren't enough, you gain the ability to swap classes on your characters partway through the first Stratum, which grants all four races the ability to become any of the 20 classes. That makes for an insane grand total of 80 race and class combinations.
Although, realistically, there are only two reasons you'd want to use one of the non-default races for a certain class. If you want to set up your party with classes that wouldn't net you every race by default, you'll want to make it with re-classed characters to fill in those gaps.
On the other hand, you may just want to optimize your party by playing to each race's strengths and pairing them with classes that synergize well with those race's base stats. After all, the extra edge racial stats give you might just be the edge you need to get through tough battles in Etrian 5.
With so many options to choose from, where can you possibly start? Well, to begin with, it helps to understand what each class and specialization can do for your party.
Class Descriptions and Strengths in Etrian 5
- Fencer -- This class is a nimble Earthlian class that wields a rapier and shield and dances around enemies using a high dodge rate and quick, consecutive attacks.
- Phantom Duelist -- This is an evade tank that focuses on drawing enemy agro and dodging attacks while dishing out a few of their own. Use a Therian for this to see insane dodge rates. Earthlians are also a good choice, however, if you don't want to sacrifice HP and Vit.
- Chain Duelist -- This is a multi-hit attacker that focuses on dishing out raw consecutive damage during a single turn. The Therian is a perfect choice for maximizing the damage output of this class.
- Dragoon -- This is a bulky Earthlian class that wields a shield and artillery cannon that can defend allies and gun down enemies.
- Shield Bearer -- This tank class focuses on drawing damage away from the party with decoy bunkers and superior defense. Earthlians are a perfect fit for this class because of their insane health and vitality. However, you could go with a Brouni instead if you need a filler or are looking for more Magic Defense.
- Cannon Bearer -- This is an offensive-oriented class that utilizes cannon fire to strategically blast enemies or inflict status debuffs. Therians are a race to pair with this specialization if you're looking for more damage.
- Pugilist -- This is a vicious Earthlian class that uses the sheer power of melee to disable foes or deliver devastating attacks at the cost of HP.
- Barrage Brawler -- This is a disabler that learns to hit enemy weak points to bind them. It also hits multiple times per round. Fittingly, Earthlians are a good choice for this class thanks to a superior Luck stat that helps you succeed at binding the enemy.
- Impact Brawler -- This is a brawler that focuses all of their energy into one massive punch at the cost of HP. Therians are great for maximizing the damage potential of this class' devastating punches, though they don't have as much HP to work with.
- Harbinger -- This is a sinister Earthlian class that wields a scythe and utilizes a miasma shield to debuff enemies and aid allies.
- Deathbringer -- This is a debuffer and damage dealer that uses their miasma shield to control the tide of battle. Earthlians are good choices for this class thanks to their high Luck stat.
- Deathguard -- This is a support specialization that utilizes the miasma to heal and shield allies while weakening their foes. Again, Earthlians are a good race for this class because of their superior ailment success rate.
- Warlock -- This is an arcane Celestrian class that excels at bombarding enemies with a colorful array of spells.
- Omnimancer -- This is a caster that works with spells that deal physical damage. A Celestrian is a great pick to maximize this class' TP and damage output.
- Elemancer -- This is a caster that blasts enemies with powerful Fire, Ice, and Lightning spells. This class works really with as the Celestrian race, much like all damage-dealing casters.
- Necromancer -- This is an occult Celestrian class that summons wraiths to do their bidding.
- Spirit Evoker -- This is a summoner that calls as many wraiths as they can in order to make their skills more powerful. A Celestrian is a good fit thanks to their bountiful pools of TP.
- Spirit Broker -- This is a summoner that sacrifices wraiths to empower their own abilities. A Celstrian is perfect here for their high TP and Intelligence.
- Rover -- This is a feral Therian class that wields a bow and calls wild animals to their aid.
- Flying Falcon -- This is an archer that specializes in calling a Hawk to aid them in executing devastatingly powerful attacks. The Therian race is the best fit for maximizing damage potential.
- Hunting Hound -- This is an archer that calls a Hound that heals and defends allies while it inflicts ailments on enemies. A Therian is a decent choice, here, for the Agility boost to commanding your Hound.
- Masurao -- This is a ferocious Therian class that effectively wields katanas to decimate their opponents, though their defense is deplorable.
- Blade Dancer -- This is a dancer that wields four blades to slice through their foes. They're immensely powerful, but extremely fragile since they can't wear armor with all those katanas. A Therian is a perfect choice for maximizing your damage output.
- Blade Master -- This is a master of the blade that uses one sword to attack multiple enemies and inflict ailments. Therians are still great, here, but consider using an Earthlian if you want to use Haze Slash a lot and induce sleep.
- Shaman -- This is a mystical Brouni class that supports the party with heals and buffs.
- Divine Punisher -- This is a support class that dispells buffs and debuffs on allies in order to execute devastatingly powerful attacks. Celestrians are a good choice for this specialization thanks to their superior TP and Intelligence.
- Divine Herald -- This is a support class that uses buffs to heal their party. The Brouni race is a great pair for this class thanks to their excellent healing abilities.
- Botanist -- This is a brainy Brouni class that wields herbs to heal the party and poison the enemy.
- Merciful Healer -- This is a healer that uses potent healing spells and revival abilities to keep the party standing. A Brouni's superior Wisdom is the perfect fit for this class.
- Graced Poisoner -- This is a debuffer that utilizes poisonous herbs to inflict various ailments on enemies. The Earthian race is the best choice if you want good chances at actually inflicting ailments, though you could consider a Celestrian for their large pool of TP.
Note that if you ever wind up spending skill points on something that doesn't suit your class build, you can Rest at the Explorers Guild and roll that character back two levels in order to reallocate everything.
Now that you know what the classes are, how would you go about setting up a party that will succeed in the Labyrinth?
Tips and Tricks for Building a Party in Etrian Odyssey 5
A party needs two main things to be viable in Etrian Odyssey 5's Labyrinth: a way to control the damage you're taking and a way to heal it. Now, healing the damage you take is the easy part. You just need a class that can heal -- such as the Botanist, Shaman, Rover, Necromancer, or Harbinger -- and you need to keep them alive, which means placing them far away from whoever's most likely to take the most damage.
Controlling the damage you take, on the other hand, is a lot more complicated. As such, there are more creative ways to go about accomplishing this. You could opt to go the classic route and use a tank in the form of either a Dragoon or a Fencer. Using these classes' defensive abilities encourages enemies to attack them, allowing the rest of the team enough reprieve to go all out on their attack.
Alternatively, you could do your best to mitigate damage by offering up a summonable distraction with the Dragoon's Bunkers or the Necromancer's Wraiths. If you want to get even more creative, you could use Pugilists and other disablers to bind the opponent and leave them unable to attack at all.
Anything else that you decide to plop in your party should be dealing damage, and preferably a lot of it. You could also opt to use support classes to make dealing damage easier. How you ultimately build your party based off of these guidelines is entirely up to you.
Note, however, don't pair classes together that clash with each other. For example, a Necromancer's not going to synergize well with a Rover or a Bunker-summoning Dragoon since they all compete for the same three summon slots. Just be mindful of what you want to accomplish with your party and you'll do great.
With a proper party in tow, you have the chance to outplay your opponent no matter what situation you find yourself in. For more tips on climbing the Labyrinth, check out our other Etrian Odyssey 5 guides.