The pool of water characters has generally relied on one of the strongest dragons and buffers in the game to push mediocre DPS into excellent DPS. With the introduction of [dl adv="g_elisanne"] Gala Elisanne, this sentiment is only further reinforced.
First impression posts are meant to be exactly that—just first impressions. While the purpose of this post is to introduce some ideas on how a character could be used in current and future content, those ideas could be disproved in practice.
S1: Holy Accord [4377 SP]
Increases the strength of water-attuned adventurers in the team by 30% for 15 seconds.
This is a straight upgrade over the original Elisanne's S1 in terms of the buff amount; however, SP gain among weapon types are not made equally. A C5 x2 lance combo can be achieved in 6.0 seconds, but a C5 x2 axe combo takes 8.3 seconds. In a sandbag simulation, that 2.3 second difference may not make much of a difference, but if a quest requires constant movement, that 2.3 second difference will only get bigger. In addition, lances have the advantage of having a long attack range.
In the case of HBH of every level, you are forced to dodge behind the volcanoes every 5 to 8 seconds during Hellfires to avoid taking damage. A lance would be able to achieve a full C5 x2 in this time while staying behind the comfort of the volcanoes, while an axe may struggle to finish even its first C5 as they try to dodge HBH's attacks that occur in between each Hellfire with volcanoes dropping everywhere.
Of course, it's not the end of the world if you can't get your C5 attack combos. Axe's SP distribution is fairly even compared to other weapon types; however, the more hits you need to do to get that S1 up, the less 60% STR overlap you can get.
With an SP cost of 4377 SP, it takes a C5-C5-C4 attack combo to achieve one S1, which takes 11.4 seconds to do. Using Halloween Maritimus and Beach Battle (a total of 42% skill haste), it drops the attack combo down to C5-C5, which takes 8.3 seconds. Whether that drop in offense is worth the faster S1 is debatable and is something that should be tested.
So while the math says 30% is greater than 20%, that difference may be smaller than that in practice due to weapon types. To add on, the original Elisanne has a 25% Buff Time passive whereas Gala Elisanne does not.
S2: Celestial Ascent [38400 SP, recharges in 25 seconds]
Deals water damage to enemies directly ahead, increases the user's energy level by three stages, increases the entire team's flame resistance by 25% for 30 seconds, and grants all teammates a one-use shield that nullifies damage less than 20% of the user's maximum HP. Neither this shield nor the increase in flame resistance stacks.
Let's look at each effect individually.
Deals water damage to enemies directly ahead (1089% damage modifier).
Straightforward, but in relation to the amount of time it requires to recharge this skill, the actual DPS will be quite low.
Increases the user's energy level by three stages.
In my opinion, outside of the instant energizes from dragons like Freyja and Shinobi which can be controlled to be used on break, energize as a mechanic hasn't worked too well and I have doubts that it'll noticeably improve Gala Elisanne's personal DPS.
Gala Elisanne gets 3 stages of energy per S2, meaning she needs to use two S2s to get energized. This would take about 1 minute just to get an energize. On the other hand, if you mix her up with Dragonyule Cleo, it would be possible to get energized every S2. Even if she were energized every 30 seconds, I highly doubt an extra +50% skill damage on a skill every 30 seconds to a minute would vastly improve her personal DPS.
Note that if you use your energized buff on your 3rd S2, you don't gain that 3rd S2's energy levels, so it would take you 3 S2s to start over.
As a counterpoint, while energize may not significantly increase Gala Elisanne's personal DPS, if you can lineup Leviathan's skill with energize, you can do huge amounts of damage on break.
Increases the entire team's flame resistance by 25% for 30 seconds.
This is where her S2 starts to get interesting. Assuming you wear The Chocolatiers on her, it is possible to bring in any melee DPS using double DPS wyrmprints (and some HP augments) with Gala Elisanne alone. It is also possible to bring in any ranged DPS characters using double DPS wyrmprints with the help of Thaniel's defense up. This opens a wide variety of possibilities such as a non-Chocolatiers Thaniel, dropping Thaniel entirely, or wonky compositions such as double Lily's.
This may also allow more mistakes in runs. For instance, mHBH meteors during X-Muspelheim may no longer be a OHKO move (although your Thaniel may need a 4.3.4 staff to save you).
Grants all teammates a one-use shield that nullifies damage less than 20% of the user's maximum HP.
In the old standard HBH speedrun days, it was common to bring Pietro for his shielding ability to block burn affliction and the volcano damage. These days, HBH burn healing is quite figured out and the shield is no longer needed.
However, if you were to not use Thaniel as a result of being able to bring any melee DPS in with just the +25% flame resistance, then the shield could be a decent substitute (hint: 4 DPS runs).
A1: Divine Oath
Elisanne will gain the "Divine Revelation" effect for 13 seconds if any of the following occur: her force strike connects, she uses a skill, or she executes a 10-hit combo. This effect cannot stack, and when it is active, Elisanne will be immune to knockback.
This first ability ties in with her S2, and the way it works is that every time Divine Oath is on, it automatically recharges her S2; however, if the buff isn't on, then your S2 actually starts to lose SP. With that said, it's not very difficult to have a high uptime on this buff since you just need to Force Strike if you can't use a skill or get a 10-hit combo.
The very fun part about this ability is the knockback immunity. Earlier when I was talking about her S1, I wrote that attaining C5 may be difficult on an axe. Having knockback immunity helps with attaining C5s especially in HBH where a volcano would break your combo. You still have to dodge one-shot abilities, of course, but maintaining C5s isn't as much of a nightmare anymore.
A3: Primed Strength +10%
Increases the strength of the adventurer you are currently controlling by 10% for 10 seconds every time their initial skill, displayed at the top of their skill list, becomes available for use. After activating, this ability will not activate again for 15 seconds.
For co-op, this is just a +10% STR buff whenever your S1 is up. It's nice, but nothing game-changing.
For solo, this is a great ability for Mercurial Gauntlet or any other solo content. Gala Elisanne's knockback immunity and axe AI makes her one of the best AI units in the game, with the sweet bonus of giving a free +10% STR to your lead character.
Besides that, there isn't much to say about this skill.
Gala Elisanne comes with a bunch of new fun stuff, but it is debatable if she far outclasses her only competition which is herself, the original lance Elisanne.
In my opinion, Gala Elisanne is a straight upgrade over lance Elisanne, but the amount of upgrade may not warrant feeling sad or salty over not getting her. As opposed to some of the other Gala units like Gala Prince, Gala Elisanne doesn't create a new niche. This means that if you failed to get her, you can use lance Elisanne to almost the same effect.
You may fall short in reaching Top 25 TA without her, but you definitely won't get gated out of public rooms for not having her.
If you do have her, enjoy! She's really fun to play with and you can ungabunga to your heart's content.
Dragon: [dl d="leviathan"] Leviathan / [dl d="dj"] Dragonyule Jeanne d'Arc
Wyrmprint 1: [dl wp="kung_fu_masters"] Kung Fu Masters
Wyrmprint 2: [dl wp="beach_battle"] Beach Battle / [dl wp="the_chocolatiers"] The Chocolatiers
With a damage S2, damage S3, and Leviathan's skill, I believe having some form of skill damage is still important. The 2nd wyrmprint can be almost anything that you want.
Dragon: [dl d="h_maritimus"] Halloween Maritimus
Wyrmprint 1: [dl wp="the_chocolatiers"] The Chocolatiers
Wyrmprint 2: [dl wp="beach_battle"] Beach Battle
I talked about this build earlier in the post, but it basically drops the number of attacks needed to charge S1 from C5-C5-C4 to C5-C5 which is significantly faster. The Chocolatiers is there to give everyone STR buffs and +25% flame resistance before the initial blast.