Understanding and Implementing Alm's Windsweep in Fire Emblem Heroes
A recent update to Fire Emblem Heroes added in Alm. Alm was originally the main protagonist in Fire Emblem Gaiden, the second game in the series. However, he will soon be taking center stage again in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valencia, a remake of Gaiden.
Along with Alm came a very interesting ability -- Windsweep. Since it is one of the more complex skills in Fire Emblem Heroes let’s go over what exactly it does first.
How Windsweep Works
First and foremost, it is a little verbose. The first part says that you can not make follow up attacks, aka attack twice if you initiate combat.
The second part says that if you are 1 Speed Point faster than your foe -- so long as they are not a magic user (tomes, staves, dragons) -- then they can not attack back.
TL;DR: On offense, you can not attack twice. If you are 1 Speed point faster, you attack once, they can not attack. On defense, everything works like normal.
To best utilize Windsweep you have to concentrate on giving Alm the speed advantage unless you know he can pick up the kill without utilizing it. This can be challenging knowing that he has mediocre speed.
While Windsweep does leave Alm vulnerable to magic damage, tome users, staff users, and dragons are not a real threat when Alm is on offense. He can only attack at a range of one, so it would be very rare that a mage would counter him (unless they’d inherited Takumi’s Close Counter skill). Staff users deal half damage, so they are a joke. And his Falchion is super effective against dragons.
That being said, he is weak against tome users in general since he has low resistance, mediocre speed, and is a melee unit.
Inheriting for Alm
Slot A Passive Skill
Alm needs speed to best take advantage of his skill. There are several skills you could use for the A slot passive skill:
- Basic +3 speed. This is pretty self-explanatory.
- Defiant speed 3, which gives you +7 speed at the start of each turn when you are at or below 50% HP.
- Fury 3 grants +3 to all stats while decreasing your health by 6 HP after every battle.
- Darting Blow 3, which grants +7 speed when you initiate an attack.
- Life and Death 3, which increases Attack & Speed by 5 while decreasing defense and resistance by 5. This helps mold him into more of a cannon, which helps specialize him.
- In short, there are a lot of A Slot options.
Windsweep would be your B Slot passive skill.
C Slot Passive Skill
And on the C slot giving him Threaten Speed should be a nice addition. This helps slow down foes that are near you at the start of the turn, especially any ranged units that might have attacked you, but not finished you off. Other than that almost any other C Skill could work well for him depending upon your team composition.
Alm fits into odd roles on a team. He doesn’t have the same bulk you might expect from a tank, but he doesn’t have the strength you’d expect from a glass cannon. The best strategy for a team based around Alm and his Windsweep would be one based on a poking/turtle strategy. Taking advantage of holes in your opponent’s defense is essential.
The problem with Windsweep is that you will rarely be able to actually OHKO (One Hit KO) enemies. This, in turn, leaves you vulnerable on defense. This means a lot of your team composition is building around Windsweep’s weakness.
Slot 2: Dancer
First and foremost, using a dancer with Alm is almost required. Any of the three dancers -- Olivia, Ninian, or Azura -- will do. In this case, it would allow Alm to get off 2 attacks onto a vulnerable enemy instead of just one.
Slot 3: Ranged Support
Azama: Healer/Tank/Chip Damage
Having someone that can assist with poking enemies also work well. Azama is a tanky healer that can potentially take some blows for Alm, while also healing him. On top of that, his Pain spell deals 10 damage to the targeted foe post-combat.
A more offensive minded option would be a good dagger user. Giving any of these units the passive skill "Seal Speed", would help Alm immensely.
Felicia - Mage Killer/Debuff/Small Healing
Felicia can provide solid debuffs via her dagger and minor healing via Breath of Life. She also has high speed and resistance, allowing her to counter the mages that are effective against Alm.
Kagero - Everything Killer
Kagero’s Poison Dagger, which is super effective against infantry, is always a solid option, especially in arena mode where teams heavily favor infantry.
Jaffar- Debuff/Massive Chip Damage
And Jaffar’s Deathly Dagger allows him to deal 7 damage post-combat. Giving Jaffar Poison Strike 3 would add an extra 10 damage, meaning anyone that he attacked would take a whopping 17 damage post-combat. Dancing for him would mean he could easily do 34 chip damage in a single turn. That’s not even accounting for what he can actually do in combat.
Slot 4: Rounding Out The Team
Depending on how you fill the 3rd slot you could go with one of many units in this 4th slot. Preferably a blue or green unit that can hit relatively hard.
Cannon Alm/Deadly Support
For instance, if you gave Alm Life or Death 3, thus making him more of a cannon, and then decided to run a particularly offensive 3rd slot unit, like Kagero, then using someone like Effie, who can tank effectively, would be a good idea.
Tanky Alm/Healing Support
If you made Alm more defensive and decided to use Azama, then you’d need someone that could come in and help wipe out enemies, like Linde or Nino.
Say you like Windsweep, but you just aren’t digging Alm all that much. Well, who are you going to give Windsweep to? Well, that’s tricky.
To use it you need a fast unit to have it, unlike Alm who is middle of the pack. However, the fastest units are generally so great precisely because they are fast, thus meaning that they will be in a better position to land double attacks. This puts you in a predicament.
Hana is a pretty good option for this. She is already an F2P unit that can be attained via the daily quests. She has some of the best Attack and Speed stats in the game combined with her Life or Death skill which gives +5 to Attack and Speed and -5 to Defense and Resistance. In short, she is the epitome of a glass cannon.
Windsweep allows her to fully put her herculean speed to use while keeping her safe from counterattacks.
Ryoma would also be a good fit to inherit Windsweep. He has very similar stats to Hana and thus a lot of the same reasoning follows. The big advantage concerning giving Ryoma this skill versus Hana is that he can counterattack from range, which gives him more versatility when facing ranged foes.
Brave-Weapon Wielding Units?
Currently, I have not been able to find out whether or not Brave Weapons would allow you to double attack while also using Windsweep. If so, then Windsweep + a Brave weapon wielder, like Cordelia who has solid speed, attack, and Galeforce, which allows her to take 2 actions per turn when activated, would be extremely powerful.
Alm isn’t exactly a great unit. He has mediocre stats in most categories. Overall his stats are not particularly conducive to helping utilize Windsweep.
Windsweep itself seems almost too balanced. It doesn’t really feel underpowered, but nor does it feel particularly powerful. It is such a niche ability that it can be really hard to use at times. It requires you to play so differently than you normally would that you almost need to rethink a whole team around it. This means that even if it is powerful, it's just a huge pain in the ass to use to its fullest effect. There’s very little plug and play going on here.
That being said, it is a really cool, unique ability, not just within Heroes, but also within the franchise as a whole. In my eyes, that is really awesome.
Editor's Note: Originally it was stated that Hana could inherit the Falchion, but the Falchion -- and other character specific weapons -- can not be inherited. The guide has been updated to reflect this.