After the most recent large scale balance pass (the one that changed the Transcendence Perk system), Annette has gone from situational at best for most players to almost a must have on any magical based team composition. This guide will focus on basic use of Annette, in addition to an in-depth look at her skills, perks, suggested gearing options, and tips from myself to get the most out of our spunky mechanical genius.
Annette has always been considered to be the Queen of Utility, and for good reason. She has:
Annette is very unique in that her abilties all have multiple things they do based on whether she is simply gathering Charge or in her active Overcharge state. In this section, I will aim to break down each of her skills one at a time to ensure that you, as a player, has a very clear understanding of all of their different nuances. I have screenshots posted below each ability so you can see what they do with my current gear, what their mana costs are, and what their cool downs are. I will start with the most important part of her entire kit, the one that makes Annette exactly who she is:
And those are her skills. As I'm sure you can see, Charge/Overcharge is a very important part of Annette's overall power, and managing this correctly (i.e, casting as many of her abilities as possible while in the Overcharge Window) is so important.
Annette has a bevy of T-Perks that she can choose from that simply make her better no matter how you wish to build her. Want her to act as a primary healer for your team? There's a build for that. Want her to hit everything with a 100% magical amp? Yup, she can do that too. How about a sub-DPS with almost 100% uptime on Overcharge that can output damage numbers that can sometimes even put dedicated dealers to shame? You guessed it, Annette's got you covered.
While I'm assuming that most of you already understand the basic T1 and T2 perks, on the off chance you don't I'm going to go ahead and list them anyway.
So let's break down exactly what all these options mean. Obviously the biggest use Annette sees is through her amp build. Take Blasting Ray Light, Process of Elimination Dark, and the rest of your choices can come down to purely personal preference. As long as she has those two Perks locked in, she'll be making your primary magical dealer even better.
Some players (myself included) instead enjoy Annette in place of a Priest. While some may argue that Annette should never replace a Priest due to a lack of team shields, her S2 does a pretty good job at halting CC-- which is the primary use of Priest shields in the first place. And her S2 actually provides +100 more Crit Rate than a Priest's T2 Perk does, even if its not always passively there. So basically, you want to take Emergency Treatment Light, and then either Charge Light or Charge Dark based on what your current gear loadout is. If you, like me, have almost perfect gear on her with plenty of ATK Spd substats, Charge Light is going to edge out over Dark because Light will provide more healing upfront. If your Annette is in rather poor gear and doesn't have upwards of 150% ATK Spd, Charge Dark will be better for you to ensure that Annette gets off as many S2s as possible in her Overcharge Window. And of course, her Dark Annette at T5 is generally a must. Its simply a free buff every time she Overcharges herself.
I have even met a few Annette users who play her in more of a damage/support role, which can put out a surprising amount of damage numbers if done right (i.e, manually casting her skills instead of just autoing). In this case, taking any of the Perks that increase Annette's Charge gain will be beneficial (to get as close to 100% uptime on Overcharge as physically possible), in addition to taking T5 Dark and/or Charge Light.
Have I convinced you that Annette is capable of pretty much anything you decide to build her as? Good, because we're not quite done yet.
Addendum: A few have asked me why I don't touch upon Annette's T5 Light, and the simple truth is I completely forgot to discuss this particular perk when doing my editing/drafing pass. For the most part, taking Annette's T5 Light is pretty much a requirement, almost as much as taking her Dark is a requirement. It gives her more durability and more attack speed, which are two of the things Annette actually needs more of. For all three of Annette's builds that I discuss here in this guide, there's only two perks that have to be locked in to cement Annette into the role you're looking for, which I've already talked about above. For a refresher, an amp focused Annette needs:
Healing Annette needs:
Damage Annette needs
This magical golem has a mischevious personality, and its easy to see why Annette calls this little guy Rascal. Rascal is very simplistic in his operation, but even with this simplicity this ultimate weapon is required for Annette no matter the stars:
Now, the mana part of Rascal's effect we really don't care about. That 1% mana is an extremely small drop in the bucket; so small you wont ever actually notice that mana regain. What is extremely important is the extra Charge Rascal offers. I hope by now I've managed to stress how important gaining Charge as quickly as possible on Annette is, and Rascal simply adds to that. At 5* Rascal triggers every .7 seconds. Naturally, having higher stars on Rascal is simply going to make Annette better, possibly far more than other ultimate weapons affect their owners. Below you can find a shot of my own Rascal.
Like with most other dealer and sub-dealer heroes, all Annette really needs is Black Dragon. If you are having difficulties getting her to 100% Crit. (if building her more for damage instead of healing), she can also benefit from a two piece Fire Dragon set. However, in most cases, most of Annette's Crit will come from gear and from her Overcharged S2. This means that once she starts getting optimal (perfect) stats on her gear, Fire Dragon is almost never needed.
In terms of Acessories (one of the four non-weapon gear slots), there are four different types to choose from. We have:
In most cases, you'll want Earrings. However, if you find that your Annette is often the target of damage that ignores your tank/warrior, a Ring could be used instead to give Annette a bit more durability. It is important to note that Rings are also mainly used in Arena alongside Necklaces and Bracelets. For reference, an Earring at 5* will offer 18,926 ATK while a Ring will offer 870,153 HP. It'll be up to you to decide to stick with the Earrings or go for a Ring to help deal with unwanted damage.
For Rascal, the standard combination will be two attack/one mana regain rune. Annette (even when she's not specifically built to do so) still casts a lot of abilities throughout a fight thanks to the cooldown reduction on her Overcharge, and in most cases even a full set of Black Dragon gear wont be able to entirely offset her intense mana consumption. For myself personally, well. I use all three attack runes in Rascal's slots. Mainly because I can get away with that. My Annette has perfect substat gear that all gives her ATK Spd bonuses. Meaning her ATK Spd fully buffed is around the 190% mark (ATK Spd soft caps around 170% and hard caps at 250%). So in other words, with full Dragon Gear my Annette simply doesn't have mana problems.
For her gear, the standard rune combos for dealers apply. Her primary gear piece for most players will be the Crit. Damage, since most of you will undoubtedly be using her for damage. I personally use a +20% health rune to add some much needed durability to Annette. For the secondary gear piece, the Crit. rune is usually the option to go for, although I use a mana regain/damage. Keep in mind, the difference between the two runes comes down to how the mana is gained. The mana rune that slots into weapons increases mana gained when a basic attack occurs, while the mana rune that slots into secondary gears gives mana gain whenever damage is taken by the character.
Above is a quick cap of my own Annette so you can get a rough idea of what she looks like with perfect substat gear. And yes, before you lynch me she has T6 gear. Remember that Anniversary event we had? I used the T6 gear tickets from that to create perfect substat gear for Annette. Annette, possibly more than any other hero in the game right now, desperately depends on having optimal substats on her gear. If she doesn't, you will have a hard time with her. That being said, I judged that having T6 gear with substats she needs is far better than T7 gear without the substats she needs. The difference in primary stats between 5* T6 gear and base T7 gear is relatively small, so I wasn't too worried about having slightly lower primary stats. I will eventually upgrade those gears to T7, but the RNG needed to get perfect substats is far worse to deal with than the RNG needed to upgrade from T6 to T7 gear.
Most of the time, naturally, Annette is going to benefit greatly from ATK, ATK. Spd, Crit, and Crit. DMG. Having those four substats on Annette's gear is a serious cause to rejoice. Now, I can almost hear what you're saying now:
"But Aquadris, you don't have Crit. DMG on your gear! You have Lifesteal instead, what gives? Doesn't that make your Annette less optimal?"
Well, the answer to that is, yes and no. Sure, the lack of Crit. DMG does mean that my Annette's damage is going to be a decent chunk lower than anyone who uses her purely for damage or amping. But for me, that's a pretty fair tradeoff. My Annette isn't designed around doing damage, she's designed around supporting and healing my party. To that end I deemed Lifesteal to be more important than more damage on her criticals. Don't forget, Annette is still a Middle Position character. And as such, it is likely that she is constantly going to be taking damage that doesn't hit your warriors or tanks. This is also the reason why I slotted a +20% HP rune into her primary gear as well. These two factors combine help to prevent random damage that ignores the rest of my team and seems to single her out specifically. Either way, your milage may vary and I certainly don't expect my way of doing things to be taken as the Word of Law or something.
Also, her S2 can't Crit. It always heals the same static amount for 10 seconds. That was simply another incentive for me to not worry about Crit. or Crit. DMG.
I have been told that her S2 can, in fact, Crit. I could have sworn I read in a patch note somewhere that her S2 cannot Crit, but it would appear I have been mistaken. Sorry!
Up until this point I've been operating under the knowledge that every one plays the game differently and therefore will have different things they want Annette to do and different things they want to gear her with. Well, that stops here. The one perception I refuse to adjust is that Pocket Watch of Ancient Civilization is the best Artifact in the game for Annette. Period. It is simply too good to pass up on if you can absolutely help it. Even at 0*, it offers an additional 1 second off cool downs every 10 seconds and gives more ATK Spd for 5 seconds. This synergizes so well with Overcharge I almost feel like Watch was designed purely for Annette, despite the fact that other heroes can get some good use out of it too. With 5*, Watch offers 2.5 seconds of CDR. With Overcharge up, that's almost like 3.5 seconds of single instance CDR every 10 seconds. While that might not sound as impressive as certain other heroes completely resetting the cool down of a single ability through said skill's interaction, this applies to all three of Annette's skills and not just one.
If you do not have Watch, Fancy Traditional Pendant can be good to help Annette get closer to the Crit Cap, while Angry Pumpkin head is very good for just general damage increase and damage taken reduction. If you don't have Watch or any of those two event Artifacts, then obviously Trident will more than likely be the best for you, as it is for pretty much anyone in the game who does damage.
Honestly, I don't have a whole lot to mention here. Annette is one of the only magic-focused heroes in the game that can literally make every other magic hero on your team three times better than they were. Whether you're using a high octane Mage like Aisha or Artemia, or a short term burster like Luna or Viska, Annette should definitely have a place on your team if only for her 100% magic amp. There is, however, one notable combo I use myself that works surprisingly well:
And at last, here we are at the end! It is my hope that this general use guide will aid you in some way, whether you're on the fence about even obtaining Annette in the first place or you already have her and have no clue where to go from there. I also hope that this guide managed to show you how versatile Annette is (spoiler alert, she's extremely versatile!); I find that few other heroes can compete to Annette when it comes to overall usefulness. Her T-Perk tree is beautiful because it supports so many different playstlyes. Her skills synergize so well with each other and other magic users in your party. My magical team has changed quite a bit over the months (trading out Jane for Sona, Luna for Mirianne, removing Frey entirely and letting Annette heal, and adding Priscilla) but Annette has always been a cornerstone of my primary team. Before the January 25th patch she was always reliably solid, but after that patch I strongly feel that if you don't have Annette in your magical team you're simply doing it wrong.
Either way, I had a lot of fun writing this guide! Should you have any concerns or questions, feel more than free to leave a message at the bottom of this guide or contact me in-game via the same name: Aquadris.
Until next time!