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Who are the biggest winners and the biggest losers in Granblue Fantasy Versus 2.01 patch? Let's take a look at what the changes mean for the meta

It's hard to judge how all the changes intermingle before we've tried it ourselves, but there's some stuff we can figure out on paper

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • September 23, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. PDT • Comments: 7

Tomorrow will finally see the release of the long-awaited new character Belial (who we've known about since before the core game even came out) as well as the implementation of a ranked mode reset and a massive balance patch for Granblue Fantasy Versus as it enters its second season of content.

The full patch notes were released today (and fully translated by yours truly) to give us a glimpse at what's waiting for us in this upcoming new era of Granblue Fantasy Versus. While it's impossible to tell just how big any given change will be until you actually try it out in the game (even moreso when many notes simply state a move became slower or faster without mentioning specific frame values) and especially when you need to juxtapose them against all the other characters' changes, but with what we've got on paper we can get a decent look at some likely scenarios for the game's future. Here are some takeaways I had after looking over the patch notes in their entirety, as well as the general discussion surrounding them.

Former top tiers who got hit hard

The first subject to look at is of course the one everyone rushed to check when the patch notes hit — what happened to the top tiers?

Obviously, tiers are a subjective matter and you'll find all kinds of differing opinions across the world wide web, but four characters who were nigh-universally agreed upon to be at the top of tier lists were Percival, Ferry, Gran and Djeeta, and all four of these characters got some serious attention paid to them by Arc System Works and Cygames in this new patch.

One almost universal change which affected several of these characters was to EX projectile moves which will in most cases no longer make the opponent airborne when hit, which makes a massive difference to how they function since they won't be knocking you down anymore. This means that there's now much less risk involved to get in a fireball war against other characters or to be wary of their EX Fireball. It'll still be threatening, but not the same gamechanger it could previously be.

Another big change which affects Gran and Djeeta heavily as well as Percival to a seemingly lesser extent is changes to invincible reversals. They've been slowed down almost entirely across the board, though we don't know exactly by how much, and have had more recovery added to them.

As for character specific changes, several of the moves people complained about for Gran and Djeeta were adressed, and you will no longer feel as threatened by the Vorpal Blade from either character. At first glance, I feel like Djeeta probably got hit a bit harder than Gran, though they've both gotten a pretty big hit of the nerf stick.

Percival got even more changes to his name, with many of them focusing on increasing recovery on many of his different options. While Percival still has a very large amount of different tools, he's been a bit hamstrung in just how effective they'll be and more importantly how little risk there is attached to them. Percival should still be able to do largely the same things he's already been doing, but players will need to be much more cautious in their decisionmaking when doing them.

Ferry doesn't really fit the mold of her compatriots in this category since she's an entirely different type of character, but she got a heavy dose of the nerf serum as well, with much attention paid to making the recovery and active frames on several of her moves worse. Changes have also been made to make her ghost buddy Geegee a bit less threatening, though she should still have access to most of the same setups leading to big rewards even after the patch.

It should be noted that all of these characters have received buffs in some shapes as well — I don't think any character in the game got only nerfs — so there'll be new options to explore with these characters as well. But if you main any of these, you'll undoubtedly be feeling the hit once you start your game up from tomorrow and forwards.

It's not to say that any of these characters have become bad, but they have gotten weaker than they were. And that opens the door for a few other characters to start shining...

Former high tiers who will likely rise

Two characters who were widely considered to be in a good place before the patch ended up getting a good deal of buffs which, coupled with the above characters getting brought down a peg or two, really opens the playing field for them rise even higher.

It should be noted that these characters received a healthy mix of both nerfs and buffs — they've both taken hits on some of their moves and properties — but it feels like the positives outweigh the negatives in their case, and that fact in symbiosis with the characters above them being pulled down likely spells great fortune for them in the coming version.

The characters finding themselves in this position, in my opinion, are Lancelot and Charlotta. Lancelot in particular looks to be in a very good place since he's getting dealt a heavy hand of buffs this time around after getting a fierce nerf bat last time.

He's gotten an even faster crouching medium (it was previously 7 frames startup, so at absolute worst it'll be 6 frames startup now), reduced recovery on several of his tricky movement options and some damage buffs on his Skybound Art and Super Skybound Art. He did get some nerfs as well of course, but he was already quite strong in the previous patch and he's gotten better, which means his stock given the circumstances has gone way up.

Charlotta on the other hand has gotten some changes here and there but remains largely the same. Given that this was about the same that happened to her last time, this is a great boon for her since she remains at a level where she could fight the characters at their previous power levels while they've been brought down from their peak.

These two seem like prime candidates since they were lurking just outside of the top tier range before and now have a perfect opportunity to claim those thrones for themselves.

Former mid tiers to watch out for

Of course, there are other characters slightly lower down on the general opinion chart who have gotten substantial buffs to their names as well.

My own main, Metera, got an interesting mix of buffs and nerfs. Her damage was toned down on several moves and she got some adjustments to how her Zephyr can be used, but she also got new Aetherial Seal opportunities without using the EX Version, a new input for airborne arrows (which may well have different trajectories or properties) by using her quarter-circle-back arrow in the air, more consistency on her The Great Fall move and a faster Rapid Pulverize (her Super Skybound Art).

Overall, the nerfs to Metera seem painful at first glance, but when balanced against her buffs and more importantly the status of many of her poor matchups such as Ferry and Gran, things may well be looking up for this flighty skyfarer.

Zeta is another character who has been viewed as a low-key threat before this patch and with her not getting hit too hard on most of her tools (the only one which may be a problem is the change to her Jumping Unique now being blockable while crouching, though it remains to be seen how much of the move this applies to since it says that it'll apply to the "initial part" of the move) and got some quality of life buffs on recovery and hitboxes.

The biggest factor for Zeta, though, is that the near-universal change on fireballs where EX will no longer knock down helps her greatly due to the fact that she no longer needs to be nearly as worried to wield her Infinite Wonders, a slower but instantly fullscreen projectile which is very good at shutting down opponents' fireball games.

Before the patch, it was always a risk for Zeta to shoot this because it's slower than most projectiles in startup, meaning that they could react to it with their own EX projectile and get a favorable trade due to Zeta getting knocked down, but with these new changes Zeta will now be much more dominant in the mid and full screen games.

Finally, Zooey finds herself in a position where she's been fairly under the radar until now, but now got some substantial buffs to her Wyvern Gauge management meaning she will now have many more opportunities to start her nasty mixup offense even after being forced into a defensive position by her enemies.

All these three characters were perfectly viable characters who had some flaws which have been somewhat addressed coupled with many of their problem matchups getting weaker overall. This means they've got a very good chance of rising up the ranks for this new season.

Former low tiers with substantial buffs

These characters have remained largely unexplored in many ways due to them simply not being able to cut it against some of the best characters. Sure, there have been players using them now and again, but they've definitely not seen the playtime or dedication many of their compatriots have.

Now, we've seen some pretty meaningful buffs come to each of these three, probably most notably to Soriz as far as I can tell. I've dabbled in Soriz quite a bit myself (and actually in both Lowain and Beelzebub as well for that matter) and he's an interesting character, although very difficult to play effectively. Many of his tools have now become stronger, with a reliable knockdown from certain versions of Impact Knuckles and a massive sweep of reduced recovery on tons of his moves.

Couple this with several changes to try and make his Fundoshi install more potent and you might now have yourself a character who can truly shine in the hands of someone motivated enough to put the time in with him. He already had a lot of effective things that just took much more work than it was worth, but now that juice just may be worth the squeeze.

As for Lowain, he's seen some buffs people probably weren't expecting that mainly focus around shortening the cooldown on hisd Sammy & Tommy assist call move, where they'll now disappear earlier from not just the special move but also his throw and Skybound Art to make it so that they can be summoned again quicker.

This plays into Lowain's core gameplan which is to mix you up with the help of his bros. Together with some buffs to normals and some much-needed fine-tuning on his Come At Me, Bro and he may just be a character who can actually fight now.

As for Beelzebub, I don't think he was in as much trouble as the other two (especially not in the online landscape we've found ourselves stuck in this year) but he's been a character who just feels somewhat lacking overall.

With some normalizing of his fireball game, more consistency for his normals and corner conversions and even reduced recovery on his Shadowstep, it does feel like his sneaky offense will be much more potent after the patch.

All of these three characters got some serious quality of life buffs and are undoubtedly in a better place as characters after the new patch. But the question is just how their positive changes will gel with the negative changes better characters received.

We could see a massive upswing in playtime and success rate for all three, but it's also entirely possible they'll all fizzle out and stay at the bottom end of the spectrum as they have until now.

The arrival of Belial

The biggest variable of all remains — Belial.

This brand new character will be releasing alongside the patch, and while we have gotten a full detailed look at his moveset last week (which I pretty much called entirely back in August by the way) it's nothing more than a taste of what he'll be bringing to the game.

There's no telling how Belial will fit in the game's new meta or how strong he will be, but if he ends up being favored in the tiers then the matchup against him will likely become a highly deciding factor in their future until the next patch comes along.

There's not much to speculate on regarding Belial just yet, but the next few weeks should be very telling as to his role in shaping the competitive scene of Granblue Fantasy Versus Season 2.

We have very exciting times ahead of us for Granblue Fantasy Versus and I can't wait to see what players figure out and which characters they decide to try and prove themselves with in this new landscape.

Personally, I'm sticking with Metera through thick and thin, though I am considering putting some playtime back in one of my old subs, most likely Soriz. How do you feel about the new changes on paper? Let us know in the comments.

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