A Build is a common fan term in video games, used to describe a particular combination of resources to achieve a specific result or tactic. In the Epic Battle Fantasy series, builds are achieved with equipment that set their user into a specific role, such as attacking, healing, or applying buffs, debuffs, and/or status effects.
While different builds were theoretically possible in Epic Battle Fantasy 1 and 2 thanks to Matt's different swords, the concept truly came into being with the switch to a full RPG format introduced in Epic Battle Fantasy 3. Not only did Matt gain a wider range of swords to choose from and the ability to change his hat and armor, other Playable Characters were introduced with their own equipment options. Epic Battle Fantasy 4 and 5 would further expand build options in their own ways in addition to even more diverse equipment and status effect options; the former introduced Flairs for even more customization, while the latter added a much wider variety of Equipment Effects, particularly ones that boost specific types of support skills.
The effectiveness of any given build is dependent on a variety of factors, such as the user's innate stats, the skills available to them (both naturally and via shared skills), the foes the build will be used against, and even the builds being used by other characters. The examples listed below should only be used as starting points; players should experiment with different options and see what builds work best for them.
A build that focuses on inflicting direct damage on foes. Can be Physical, Magical, or Mixed/Hybrid, depending on whether the build emphasizes physical attacks, magical attacks, or both. In general, it's better to focus on one type of attack, as weapons that focus on one or the other tend to have higher offensive stats than more balanced weapons.
A sub-type of this build is the Glass Cannon (a.k.a. Hyper-Offensive or All-Out Attacker) build, which focuses on maximizing offensive power at the cost of defenses. A further specialization of the Glass Cannon is the Berserker Build, a physical attacker who uses Berserk-granting gear to further amplify their power; this one tends to be inefficient due to the loss of versatility and (in EBF5 especially) the superior damage output that can be attained from proper damage stacking and elemental attacks.
- EX: The Soul Eater has consistently encouraged Matt to adopt a glass cannon build by drastically boosting his Attack while lowering his defenses. Later EBF games allow Matt to emphasize this build with gear that further improves his offensive output (e.g. auto-Brave from the Headband) or gives him means to slightly mitigate his frailty (e.g. Auto-Revive from the EBF4 Angel Pin or the EBF5 Fairy).
- EX2 (EBF3): Despite a general focus on magic attacks in this game, Lance can use a surprisingly powerful Berserker build by combining the Viking Helmet, the Pirate Gear, and the Deep Blue. Due to EBF3's Berserk mechanics, the status affects the Narwhal summoned by the Pirate Gear and the Deep Blue's Flood unleash, allowing Lance to output a surprising amount of physical Water damage even without Temper buffs from Matt.
- EX3 (EBF4): Natalie's premiere glass cannon build uses Hela's Staff. the Dark Gown, the Dark Bauble, the Balance Badge, and the Gold Star to maximize her Magic Attack and empower her Dark skills. The third Flair slot can be filled with the Angel Pin or The Tr*force to give her a bit of a safety net; the latter also makes it easier for her to gain a Magic Attack buff from the Dark Gown when she takes a powerful attack. If the player wants a slightly less frail offensive build, Hela's Staff and the Dark Gown can be replaced by the Shooting Star and the Red Dress, respectively.
A build that focuses on buffing the party, improving their stats and giving them positive status effects; often overlaps with a Healer build, allowing the player to maintain the party's HP. EBF5 made these builds even more viable with the introduction of Equipment Effects that improve buffs, healing skills, and Food.
- EX (EBF3): Natalie's skill set lends herself well to being the party's main healer and magic-focused buffer. While still reliant on Matt to provide Defence and Evade buffs with Protect and Reflex, respectively, she can keep everyone healthy with Healmore and Regen while curing their status ailments with Purify and buffing her or Lance's Magic Attack with Bless. If the opportunity arises, she can even give herself or an ally a safety net with Revive.
- EX2 (EBF5): NoLegs can learn all of the shared buffing skills, which can be enhanced with gear such as the Icecream Sandwich or the Hipster Shirt. The latter also improves the power of healing and buffing items, allowing NoLegs to use buffing Food like Beer or Iron Brew more effectively and compensating for his lack of access to Temper or Star Power in a buff build.
- EX3 (EBF5): Between Temper, Protect, Heavenly Shield, and Reflex, Matt is well-suited for a buff build that supports physically offensive allies. With the Devil's Fork and the Hipster Shirt, he gets a double buff boost on top of a Food boost, letting him fling stronger Cloudberries and use other buffing foods in a pinch. The Devil's Fork also allows Matt to freely Dry targets, boosting the likes of Big Bullet as used by Heavy Claw Lance. In the v2 version, this build can be improved by using the more defensively powerful Love Blade, with the Amethyst Earrings maintaining Matt's ability to apply Dry.
A build that focuses on hitting foes with debuffs, making them more vulnerable to damage or reducing their ability to threaten the party. Especially effective in EBF5, following the introduction of Equipment Effects that improve the effectiveness and infliction chance of debuffs.
- EX (EBF5): Lance learns every shared debuff skill except for Screamer and can inflict stat drops with his main elemental skills, making him an effective choice for a debuff build. He can equip the Spine Snapper, the Coat of Teeth, and the Cardboard Box to make his debuffs 30% stronger.
- EX2 (EBF5): Natalie learns almost all of the shared debuff skills (except Bind) and has access to the Kaladanda and the Obsidian Staff. The former turns Rainbow Blast into a damaging, cooldown-free Debilitate, while the latter can apply Dry and Invisible with one Normal Attack. While neither staff boosts debuffs, Natalie can still equip debuff-boosting hats and armor (e.g. the Rubber Duck and the Spider Gown) to make her debuffs 20% more powerful while using her staff's weapon-elemental attacks to cover the other forms of damage stacking.
A build focused on absorbing damage, either with strong defenses and HP or high Evade; builds that also sacrifice offenses in the process are sometimes called Walls. Keep in mind that these are not very effective in earlier games, as the player has no way to force foes to attack a specific target
A sub-type of the defensive build introduced in EBF5 is the Target Tank,which uses the on-Defend effects of the Target Badge or the Agnry Faic Flairs to draw enemy fire to them. This is generally considered to be the most effective form of tank, as it gives the user a means to actually force enemies to aim for them instead of their frailer allies.
- EX (EBF5): Matt can equip the Love Blade, the Space Ace, and the Space Helmet to become an effective Target Tank. He gains a tremendous amount of bulk supplemented by reliable Regen and the ability to slightly debuff enemy Accuracy; his weakened offences don't matter much, as he'll spend most of his time Defending himself to maintain Target status. Equipping Flairs like the Fairy or the Pixel Glasses can further enhance his durability and provide additional safety nets against enemy attacks.
- EX2 (EBF5): NoLegs can become an exemplary Evade-based Target Tank with the Neon Lightbulb, Turtle Gi, the Basket Hat, and the Cat Tail. Despite having poor bulk with this build, his naturally-high Evade will be raised to the point that he is incredibly difficult to hit, allowing him to draw in enemy fire when acting as a Target Tank. Furthermore, effects like Morale will trigger very easily; Flairs like the Fairy, Green Cross or the Pixel Glasses provide additional safety nets against enemy attacks.
A build that combines aspects of two (or rarely more) different builds, enabling the character to perform a wider range of duties; however, this often comes at the cost of being slightly less effective at any one niche than a "pure" build. Also known as Role Compression, since it "compresses" multiple roles in a single character.
- EX (EBF5): Natalie is a good choice for a hybrid buffer/debuffer build. She can learn all shared debuffs besides Bind and a decent selection of buffs to supplement her natural buffing skills (Star Power and especially 7th Heaven); additionally, she can equip the Beholding Eye and the Rubber Duck, both of which enhance buffs and debuffs alike. Depending on the party's needs or the player's preference, Natalie can equip armor that further empower either buffs (the Sami Dress or the Casual Skirt, the latter of which also improves Food items) or debuffs (the Spider Gown or the Cow Costume).
- EX2 (EBF5): Matt can combine his Target Tank build with a physical buffer build due to some overlap in skill effects, his natural bulk, and access to Temper, Protect and Reflex. Combining the Love Blade, the Hipster Shirt, and the Space Helmet gives him two buff boosts and incredible durability; while not as powerful as a pure buff build, this leaves the Cardboard Box open for a different player and still synergizes very well with physically offensive builds. An astute player might notice that this is basically a buff build with Space Helmet and Angry Faic thrown on to let Matt tank with his spare turns instead of just sitting there.
- EX3 (EBF5): NoLegs can change his Evade Tank build into a hybrid tank/status build by replacing the Basket Hat with the Captain's Hat. In exchange for a bit of Evade, he gains a status boost that improves the Neon Lightbulb's ability to Stun with its weapon-elemental attacks, allowing NoLegs to immobilize foes in between drawing their fire with Target. Equipping the Meow Meow Badge increases the Neon Lightbulb's chance of unleashing Plasma Cage with its single-target weapon-elemental skills, although this compromises NoLegs's tanking ability.
- EX4 (EBF5): The Coat of Teeth and the Cardboard Box both offer high Magic Attack and a debuff boost that benefits Lance's main offensive skills; by replacing the Spine Snapper with a more magically powerful gun like the Flame Titan, he can develop a capable hybrid build that pumps out great damage while applying mild defensive debuffs for Curse and Tired to amplify. He can learn shared debuffing skills to cripple other enemy stats as well; Purging Flame and Flare are especially useful for hitting stats that his natural skills can't.
A build focused specifically on applying dangerous status effects to foes, such as Weaken, Stun, Doom, or Instant Death. Became especially viable in EBF5 following the introduction of equipment that increases the chances of status infliction, along with means of applying Good Luck and Bad Luck to further improve status chance.
- EX: Anna has several skills with a good chance of inflicting status effects, such as Spark Arrow or Gaia Bloom. In EBF5, she can equip the Red Dress, the Blue Elephant, and the Alchemist's Bow to drastically increase her status infliction chance, allowing her to apply ailments very effectively. Equipping a Flair that changes her on-hit status effect can further enhance her infliction capabilities by letting her weapon-elemental skills inflict yet another ailment.
- EX2 (EBF5): By equipping the Flame Suit, the Captain's Hat, and the Spine Snapper, Lance gains a triple status boost and the ability to inflict Instant Death with his weapon-elemental skills. He also has access to Shredder, Bubble Ring, and Electron Gun, giving him additional options to apply Death, Syphon, and Stun; the Ion Cannon Limit Break has a good Stun chance while giving Lance a free Charge, allowing him to immediately exploit the boosted status chance of Hyper Beam for even higher Death chance. The status build also lets Lance set up damage combos for his allies by using skills like Sand Dune (Dry), Bubble Blast (Wet), or Tempest (Light).
An offensive build that relies on items to deal damage. While theoretically possible in all of the main games, it became more viable from Epic Battle Fantasy 3 onward, with the introduction of Equipment Effects that empower certain attack items.
- EX (EBF3): Certain pieces of equipment empower specific attack items, giving their user options that they might not have otherwise. For instance, Natalie can use the Nimbus, the Drill Bits, and the Ninja Skirt to give herself decent sources of Water (via Bubble Stone), Earth (via Earthball), and Wind damage (via Shuriken).
- EX2 (EBF4): The Ninja Skirt and Ninja Gear both triple the power of the Shuriken, which also benefits from Wind-boosting gear and the user's Attack. As a result, Anna or Matt can use their respective Ninja armor and a weapon that boosts Wind damage or has very high Attack to deal significant damage against Wind-weak foes.
- EX3 (EBF5): Lance can use an effective Hand Bomb throwing build by equipping the Basket Hat, the Ninja Gear, and the Nitro Bomber XL. This combination effectively gives Hand Bombs 351 Base Power and 300% Stagger chance, enabling Lance to severely damage Bomb-weak foes and/or set up Stagger for a follow-up attack. The Basket Hat and Ninja Gear combination also triples the power and effectiveness of the Shuriken, Snowball, and Brick attack items.
A build designed to inflict and exploit the Virus status effect introduced in Epic Battle Fantasy 5. It generally consists of a means to inflict Virus (usually via Weapon-elemental skills, although Virus-inflicting summons are an alternative) and a way to stop it from negatively impacting the user (either Virus immunity or strong Bio resistance. Usually involves an entire "Virus Party" setup, since the status can easily spread to all active players.
- EX: A classic "Virus Party" has Lance using the Biohazard Blaster to both inflict Virus and absorb Bio damage, allowing him to serve as the main source of the status. Natalie assists with the Beholding Eye, which also inflicts Virus (albeit slightly less effectively) and provides effective buff and debuff support; she should don other Bio-resistant gear to give herself immunity or absorption if Virus spreads back to her. The third party member can use the Tentacle to let their weapon-elemental skills inflict Virus, with the Surgical Mask being an option to protect themselves from the status.