Imperials specialize in the ways of the Drive Blade. They can pinpoint, as well as abuse, an enemy's weakness, through either weakening the target or by unleashing a powerful elemental blow that deals intense damage. The class as a whole centers around damage spiking and dealing massive damage in one attack, rather than protracted damage over time, like the Bushi, Landsknecht, and Nightseeker.
The main draw of the Imperials lie in the immense power of their Drive Blade skills, which can do immense amounts of damage, capable of reaching the thousands without needing any buffs. To offset this, the Drive skills come with incredibly long cooldown periods. To make up for this critical shortcoming, the Imperial backs this offense with lighter, faster attacks and abilities intended to cool down their weapon during rounds it's overheated.
Because of their heavy armor, they boast decent defense - third place behind the Fortress and Landsknecht, and they are capable of having higher defense than the latter if they take a subclass that enables shield use. Because Imperials have reduced defense on rounds they're preparing a Drive attack, however, this advantage isn't quite as pronounced as it otherwise could be. Imperials are resoundingly bad at crowd control without either subclassing or investing in Wide Effect, but their tremendous burst damage output makes them prime class selections for beating bosses.
- Strengths: Phenomenal strength of attack skills, capable of reaching thousands of damage without buffs.
- Weaknesses: Terrible Agility growth, long cooldown times between Drive skills, small TP pool.
The following assume that Enlightenment has been attained by the Imperial for a 6-turn cooldown on elemental and Accel Drives.
- Drive → Sharp Edge → Heat Sink: Fastest combo that enables a Drive every 3 turns. High TP consumption - recommended only to quickly attain Ignition.
- Drive → Sharp Edge → Impulse Edge → Cool Edge: Standard cost-efficient combo that enables a Drive every 4 turns.
- Drive → Sharp Edge → Cool Edge → Charge Edge: Turn-efficient combo that enables a Charged Drive every 4 turns. Used if TP conservation is of low priority.
- Drive → Sharp Edge → Impulse Edge → Sharp Edge → Impulse Edge: Slightly longer combo that also allows for rapid TP regeneration.
- Drive → (action) → Sharp Edge → Cool Edge: For Imperials with a buff-related subclass, the free turn allows them to set up or support the party.
Subclasses for ImperialsEdit
Due to how they work and their limited weapon choices, Imperials are difficult to subclass. They benefit heaviest from classes that bolster their already-existing fighting power, and in very different ways. Some subclass examples following this are:
- Landsknecht: Covers one of the Imperial's main flaws by being able to act first even with Drive skills and increase their damage by doing so in the process (mainly thanks to Vanguard and Initiative), it also offers more AoE options with their sword skills during turns when the Drive is cooling down. Access to another Power Boost further raises their offense, and shield use and Iron Wall can further reinforce their defenses.
- Nightseeker: Mainly good thanks Follow Trace, you can obtain ridiculous results in both cooldown management and damage thanks to double skill casts. Barring that, there's no good benefit to taking a Nightseeker subclass.
- Fortress: Offers more defensive passives to help the Imperial survive on the front lines. HP Boost and Iron Wall, when combined with access to shields, offsets the defense penalty of any Drive skill. Knight's Boon helps in recovery from ailments and binds, shortening the time the Imperial is disabled.
- Runemaster: Offers the most direct benefits and enables the most powerful overall elemental damage exploitation thanks to Runic Guidance and Runic Flare, which greatly benefit the elemental drives. Free Energy is always helpful to a class that has to manage its TP cautiously, and TP Boost lets the Imperial fight for longer periods of time before needing to switch to Impulse Edge to regain TP. Even the elemental Runes can create weaknesses to trigger Runic Flare and Absorber to boost the damage through the roof.
- Bushi: Most efficient choice in general for raw damage, Blood Surge and Charge add obvious benefits to any Imperial's offensive arsenal which pay off very well in exchange for intensive TP consumption. Good execution and backup is needed to fully enjoy the benefits.
Imperials as SubclassEdit
Because of how the Drive skills are built to synergize with the Imperial class skills for maximum damage, in addition to the fact that a class cannot dual wield while holding a Drive Blade, Imperials generally are not very good as a subclass. Exceptions do exist, however:
- Sword-based Landsknechts can take up the Drive Blade for massive spikes in elemental damage. They lose on Weapon Parry, but can still support with Power and Mind Break. Spiral Slice and Double Strike are still very good sword skills to use while waiting for the Drive Blade to cool down. Element Boost, a stacking Power Boost, and Absorber are also very useful for Link-based Landsknechts.
- Nightseekers lose out on dual-wielding, but their higher Follow Trace activation rate can either sharply increase the damage from the Drive skills, or double the effects of skills like Sharp Edge or Cool Edge to dramatically decrease the cooldown. When combined with their ailments and Foul Mastery, their burst damage can turn into a sight to behold.
- Runemasters offer the best synergy with Imperials, but not through use of the Drive Blade. Instead, the stacking Element Boost will further amplify their elemental damage, and Absorber increases their TP sustainability, even when hitting a weakness created by their runes. Finisher can also provide extra TP to keep them fighting longer. Wide Effect can also cause their more powerful single-target Runes to splash to enemies.
|Proficiency||Decreases the drive blade's cooldown time by 1 turn.||Class||None|
|Sharp Edge||Melee cut attack to 1 enemy. Reduces cooldown time by 1 turn.||Drive Blade||None|
|Impulse Edge||Melee cut attack to 1 enemy. Recovers your TP. Can only be used after Sharp Edge.||Drive Blade||Sharp Edge Lv2|
|Assault Drive||Slow but powerful melee cut attack to 1 enemy. Lowers DEF until use. 8-turn cooldown.||Drive Blade||None|
|Heat Sink||Reduces cooldown time by 3 turns.||Drive Blade||Assault Drive Lv2||Leveling reduces cost.|
|Rear Guard||Has 1 ally act last for 5 turns and increases their defenses.||Support||None|
|Power Boost||Increases your physical attack power.||Support||None|
|Mineralogy||Greater chance of finding extra ore when mining.||Passive||None|
|Expertise||Decreases the drive blade's cooldown time by an additional turn.||Class||Proficiency|
|Cool Edge||Melee cut attack to 1 enemy. Reduces cooldown by 2 turns. Can be used after Sharp Edge or Impulse Edge.||Drive Blade||Impulse Edge Lv2|
|Charge Edge||Melee cut attack to 1 enemy. Increases attack power next turn. Can be used after Sharp, Cool, or Impulse Edge.||Drive Blade||Cool Edge Lv2|
|Flame Drive||Slow but powerful melee fire cut attack to 1 enemy. Lowers DEF until use. 9-turn Cooldown.||Drive Blade||Heat Sink Lv2|
|Freeze Drive||Slow but powerful melee ice cut attack to 1 enemy. Lowers DEF until use. 9-turn Cooldown.||Drive Blade||Heat Sink Lv2|
|Shock Drive||Slow but powerful melee volt cut attack to 1 enemy. Lowers DEF until use. 9-turn Cooldown.||Drive Blade||Heat Sink Lv2|
|Hawkeye||Decreases 1 enemy's elemental defense for 3 turns.||Support||None||Does not increase damage done by untyped attacks.|
|Absorber||Recover some TP after striking an enemy's weakness.||Passive||Hawkeye Lv2||Can be triggered by Burst skills, works on physical weaknesses, and stacks if a multi-hitting skill hits weaknesses.|
|Hunter Sense||Chance of gathering food without depleting the resource point.||Sky||None|
|Enlightenment||Decreases the drive blade's cooldown time by an additional turn.||Class||Expertise|
|Ignition||Cools your drive blade and prevents it from overheating for 3 turns. Can only be used after overheating 4 times.||Drive Blade||None||Leveling reduces cost and number of overheats needed.|
|Overdrive||Null Ignition for ranged untyped attack to all enemies. Lowers DEF until use.||Drive Blade||Ignition Lv4||Not affected by Power Boost.|
|Finisher||Recover some TP when you defeat an enemy.||Passive||None||TP regain increases if multiple enemies are defeated at once.|
|Wide Effect||Skills that target 1 enemy may gain a splash effect.||Passive||Finisher Lv3|
|Accel Drive||Slow but powerful melee untyped cut attack to 1 enemy. Lowers DEF until use. 9-turn cooldown.||Drive Blade||None|
|Drive Mastery||The more your drive blade overheats in battle, the more damage you do.||Passive||Accel Drive Lv3||Damage boost stacks and caps at +100% damage.|
|Element Boost||Increases elemental and untyped attack power.||Passive||None|
Defeat Cradle Guardian and Guardian Head in B3F of the Echoing Library. After reporting to the Outland Count, Logre will give you "Drive Blade Key" which unlocks the Imperial Class. Logre also offers himself as a permanent party member as a Lv. 47 Imperial/Landsknecht.
- The female Imperial designs bear resemblance to that of the female Protectors while the male Imperials resemble the War Magus and the Medic from EO and EOII.
- Princess Gradriel from Etrian Odyssey II is chronologically the first Imperial encountered in the series. In the Etrian Untold II artbook, it's explained that a quest wherein she joined the party as a guest was planned, but later scrapped; the document explaining that she was intended to be an Imperial.
|v · t · eEtrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan|