So I’ve been seeing some people either missing some details or completely ignoring what Argus has said on his guide (Former I can understand as it is 150+ pages of information), and so I might as well do this while I’m here. If you haven’t already, check out Argus’ guide for Bow Braver with some Hybrid Braver knowledge. His guide goes more in-depth about everything, and his guide is the reason how I managed to even stick with Bow Braver. All credit for weapons, units, and other minor details go to Argus. I do put my own information into this “brief” guide, but it’s melded so much with Argus’ information that I don’t know what to explicitly credit. Remember, this is a guide and not religious text. Information is given for you to understand and used to modify your gameplay, not swear blindly onto without knowing why you re swearing to it.
Bow uses a mechanic where you charge your attacks. This is best indicated by the blue flare at your arrow tip (Use a good weapon camo for this. Highly recommend Bio/Living Cellular from Photon Boosters) and the charge sound hitting its peak like Eldritch PSSSHHH. Try and get the timing down by muscle memory for your charged normal attack and PAs, as sometimes the environment gets hectic and you can’t reliably hear or see the indicator. Also, PAs have different charge times. Remember to Just Attack (Perfect Attack) everything you can for maximum damage output.
As for camera modes, OTS (Over The Shoulder) and Lock-On have their uses. As a general rule of thumb, OTS for precise, Lock-On for tracking. You can play entirely with just one camera mode, but switching comes in handy in different situations. Bow Braver is highly recommended on keyboard and mouse, as controller will make playing this class uncomfortable to work with. It’s possible to do it on controller, but please save yourself the pain if you do have a keyboard and mouse. If you can only use controller, then I would suggest you turn to Gunner, Ranger, or Phantom if you want to play a ranged class.
Notable Photon Arts
Penetrate Arrow (Piercing Arrow): Your main damage tool. It has an effective range that varies depending on the enemy size, which allows it to hit twice on the same part. Charging it also makes the arrow bigger and deal more damage. This makes it exceptional for both bossing and mobbing. This is also one of your longest range attacks, and it doesn’t lose damage
Master Shot: Also your main damage tool. If you can’t get the effective range from Penetrate Arrow, you can use Master Shot instead to shotgun as it does more damage than a single tick of the previous PA. Because it’s homing, you can also give a massive middle finger to something like Red/Black Dragon. You do not need to charge this for bossing. The charging takes so long that you could’ve shot two uncharged Master Shots in the time it took you to fire a charged Master Shot.
Banish Arrow: You know how Partisan has Volg Raptor? This is our version of it. Detonates within three seconds after you hit it, and your mag can set off the timer so be careful. It’s used in a situation called Banish Combo, which essentially allows you to “optimally” deal a fraction of your damage dealt to the part. Just Attack this PA as it increases the damage it deals upon detonation. Do not try and force Banish Combos, as it takes at least five seconds to complete due to setup. Here is a chart by Argus showing Banish Combo variations with 60 FPS framedata, damage, and PP usage.
Strike Bomber Type-Zero: Good damage tool, great dodge tool, only useful as an upgrade. While you’re hanging in the air, which is your character slowing down in the flip, you have i-frames while the rest is all Super Armour. You can also charge the PA to deal damage, making it great for clearing an area of enemies or to quickly get a potshot at a boss. It also allows you to flip forwards as well, so the normal version can go suck it.
Torrential Arrow: Classic “Arrow Rain” skill from MMORPGs. This can take between 1s or 2.2s to land once you’ve fired depending on your distance from the landing point. If you’re using it for damage, use multiple uncharged with Just Attack bonus. It does more than if you charge, but don’t worry; charge it if you decide to combo it with something like the next PA.
Gravity Point: Classic “Black Hole Effect” skill from MMORPGs. This is great as it can completely lock lesser enemies into an area when you spam the charged version, which makes it activate faster and last longer. Works well in conjunction with Torrential Arrow and Penetrate Arrow.
Final Nemesis: Overrated, but still good. This has less range than Master Shot, but deals a lot of damage. Best used in Banish Combo, but for the love of god do not use this when you pull aggro. If you use Ranger sub, you can get Standing Snipe bonus by doing a tiny hop before you activate the PA.
Chaser Arrow: Basic setup for Banish Combo, but also nice in other situations. Set up a maximum of three arrows to essentially smite the next thing you hit with a PA. Putting it on a subpalette means you can see how many are currently in reserve. If you’re not using Banish Combo, you can set these up in a situation where you can’t deal damage (I.E. PD preparing for a flyby).
Rapid Shoot: Not a PA, but deserves its spot for a good reason. When you completely max this out, which you should as Bow Braver, you can essentially get base 75 PP back per full charged normal and deal bonus damage with the bow whenever it’s active. It’s your best friend, so be sure to take care of it.
Million Storm: Overrated, but actually bad in most situations. Bow Braver gets to take advantage of positioning, dodging with PA sidesteps, and massive amounts of burst damage. This does the exact opposite of all those things. You are forced to stand still to have a cylindrical hurtbox wherever you aim, use up your PP bar as you hold it, and have no Super Armour or i-frames while you fire it. There’s the argument of “Okay, but mobbing”, but you could do the same work with Gravity Point, Penetrate Arrow, or even your normal attack. Please don’t use this against enemies with high damage and/or health, because it’s high risk with little reward.
Kickshot Combo Type-Zero: Cheap Banish Combo, I guess. I’ve tried to find a use for it, but I can’t. You could stall in the air, but Kamikaze Arrow and chaining multiple other PAs does the job better. It only does enough damage to be used as itself in a single Banish Combo, and even then it’s not that great for damage.
Cerulean Ballista: Complex Photon Art that takes the stage. You get to have charges on it that slowly replenish while you deal damage, and using it will take one from your charges. Use the CPA w/o pressing movement keys to launch an Orbital Strike of Fuck, and CPA w/ movement keys to create a Sweep of Delete. It doesn’t replace your main kit, rather it’s just something you’d like to add to further enhance your gameplay and damage.
BrHu (Hunter Sub): Friendly for Hybrid, and best for sustainability. Fury Stance allows you do get unconditional damage bonuses for doing what you already do as Bow Braver, and you get to use Massive Hunter as a middle finger to all incoming damage. You can go with either Automate or Iron Will, but I personally go Iron Will. I use Mate Maniac ring effect on one of my units, and that combined with Quick Mate makes a Trimate heal for full. My mag can recover my health when I’m low with its actions, and I’m that guy who heals 20% off of Perfect Recoveries. Either way, you get to die a lot less.
BrFi (Fighter Sub): High risk, no reward. Do not use this, because you will constantly be at death’s door while having no PP reserves and get very little bonuses in return. You could take this for Katana Braver, but I’ll let the actual Katana Bravers explain that one.
BrGu (Gunner Sub): Anyone who suggests this is outdated. Chain Trigger used to combo well with Banish Combo for a whopping 5x damage, but it got nerfed in the early days of JP.
BrRa (Ranger Sub): Best in theory for Bow Braver, but situational due to skills. Weak Hit Advance and Standing Snipe allow you to deal ludicrous amounts of damage, but you have to be standing still and hitting the weak point. This is very good if you can keep aggro off of you, which is easily done with Stealth Strike ring effect on your unit. This is also very good in certain fights that allow the playstyle this class forces, such as Magatsu.
BrSu (Summoner Sub): The annoying lovechild between BrHu and BrRa who has the right to brag. Not only do you get some bonus stats, but you also get access to Point Assist to boost your damage. This is amazing if you can pull off Point Assist, but constantly refreshing it can be a massive pain in the backside for people. This is the best way to bridge the gap between damage and sustainability, but don’t feel forced to use it.
BrPh (Phantom Sub): Suppressive fire over oppressive fire, yet it’s still oppressive while being Hybrid-friendly. Throw away your -mates in exchange for Resta, because that can charge 50% faster. PP is no longer an issue if you can keep dishing out damage, but you need 200+ PP in order to get benefits. It has the lowest damage multipliers, but it’s still good because you get to do quantity over quality.
BrEt/BrSu? (Etoile/Superstar? Sub): It’s like BrHu, but stronger. Even though you’re much tankier, you do not want to get hit as you’ll lose bonuses. You get to use less PP for spamming the same PA, but you also get more damage for using different PAs. However, be sure you Just Attack as you lose a lot of damage without doing so. Also, thanks EN servers for calling it Superstar and proceeding to confuse the everliving crap out of the EN players (Playing BrSu when BrSu comes out instead of going BrSu. Don’t worry, I’m confused too).
Skill Tree and Gear
Max out both of the bow skills on the right side, max out Average and Weak Stance, max Attack Advance (Enhanced Attack), max High Level Bonus Br, and take Braver Combination for the free 50% crit. Congrats, you now have the most bare-bones Bow Braver tree with 80% crit. In conjunction with Critical Strike ring, you can hit 100% crit with 3% bonus damage as well.
Rest of your points could go into Quick Mate, Katana Gear (if you’re actually gonna go for Gear Release), J Reversal Cover (Perfect Recovery something, which heals you when you pull off a Perfect Recovery), or three/four into Step Advance to double your step i-frames. You can also get Shooting Up 1 (Ranged Damage Up or something) for the extra RNG power. Even though Katana Combat can grant you 20s i-frames, do not go towards Katana Combat as pure Bow Braver. It is a waste of SP for a gimmick you can avoid with your mobility.
For L Rings, Lv 20 Bow Homing (Braver Power if you’re going Hybrid) is a must-have. You can also slot the following onto units: Atomiser Lovers (Fast use speed and more heals), Stealth Strike (33% pulled aggro), Mate Maniac (Faster use speed and more heals, and compatible with Quick Mate), Mag Excite (Mag uses actions more, which could mean more heals if you got those actions), Party of Toughness (Less damage taken, but a bit redundant if you have BrHu or BrEt).
For R Rings, you only have three real choices. Critical Strike is good for the reason I explained earlier, and Perfectionist is good if you aren’t getting hit. Effort Symbol is just a downgrade for a lot of effort, but you get to have a cool glowing sigil on your draw arm.
For weapons, Dalz Varley is a solid entry bow, along with Nemesis Feather. Atlas is a good starting point. It does slightly more damage than Lumiere, but use the latter if you’re prone to kissing the floor. Radius Arca and Guren-no-Senka are powerful if you have them lying around. Atlas EX is going to be your primary afterwards, but Austere works if you can get your hands on it while also being a nice back-up to recharge PP. Mirage is one I don’t think is on EN yet, but it’s one of the best charging bows to get PP back. Lighstream is solid, and Liberate is solid. Lightweaver is BiS in JP, so you already know that’s something you want to get.
For units, entry would be Kaiser back and arms. Once you hit Lv 75, use the free Stella Wall units as they’re meant to be catchup. Cleasis upgraded from Buster Medal Evelda is a good choice after, and be sure to pick up Allure Aid from XH Enchanted Forest to replace your legs. Schvelle is a nice upgrade, but Lightstream 13* or Liberate after upgrading Novel from Badges should be sufficient for the next units. Atlas from UH Omega EQs is one of your last sets, and Cras for your final. If you want more damage and PP, Cras back and legs with Atlas arms.
For augments, just refer to Argus’ guide. That doesn’t need a TL;DR, but uhh.. take anything that boosts RNG and PP, I guess.
Mag: Honestly, RNG mag. If you ever decide to switch, using a DEX mag is just a pain to deal with. Only use DEX if you’re either devoted to Braver and/or Bouncer.
Drinks and Food: Always stock up on Jerky and Stirfry, and Fish Ration if you end up getting those from the NPCs. Photon Drink w/ PA Damage Up is the strongest for Bow Braver in terms of bonuses, but use whichever you fancy.
If you got to here, congratulations. You now understand the very basics of Bow Braver within a single Reddit post. I know this is hilariously redundant if you’ve read Argus’ guide, but it is a lot to take in with his guide. I do highly suggest looking at his guide as he goes more in-depth on everything. I made this specifically for the people who want to grasp the basic idea before going down the rabbit hole.
Sorry if everything seems too confusing and muddled. I tried to simplify a lot of mechanics as much as I could, and this format works much better with the Elsword guides I’ve made. I didn’t make this just to take the piss out of people who can’t read; I made this so people who have trouble understanding less concise guides could easily get something out of it, hence why I bolded all the important details.