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Arctic Kriegsmesser (AK) is the Soul Awaken of Battle Storm (BS). She is a Psychic Ice Elemental Valkyrie. Unfortunately, she did not receive much spotlight during her release alongside Herrscher of the Void (HoV) or ever since. But, the best girl deserves better and that is what this guide will try to accomplish. We will go over her skills and mechanics, as well as possible strategies she can fit into.
+30% Ice damage for team
Limited Damage potential
Farmable frags in Open World
Awaken Valkyrie so more frags needed per rank
Useful as a Blood Dance carrier
Absolutely needs at least Blood Dance to support
Simple and easy playstyle
Being a Himeko means long slow attack patterns
Like other base A-Rank Soul Awaken Valkyries, she will require additional soul fragments to rank up, in comparison to non-soul awaken counterparts. To unlock rank S/SS/SSS, you will need 60/250/600 fragments respectively. Open World Schicksal HQ's adventure tasks will be your primary source for AK fragments. Secondary sources of fragments can also be found in Asterite Shop and Witch's Corridor.
AK's leader skill reduces damage from melee attacks and adds Total damage for Psychic valkyries. Unfortunately, damage reduction is not useful and the Total Damage multiplier is small. However, if better alternatives do not present itself, AK's leader skill is an option.
Right above her HP bar, AK will have a blue gauge, divided into three bars. Each bar represents 200 Threshold, maxed out at 600 Threshold. AK will begin at 200 Threshold once the mission starts. In order to enter Threshold Mode, you need at least 200 Threshold, or one blue bar.
AK's additional passive skills are unlocked at S and SS rank as seen above. Merciless Pursuit is especially impactful, as its effect extends to her whole team. This makes S-rank a desirable goal for certain teams that can take advantage of extra Ice damage. If nothing else, S and SS ranks mark notable increases in damage for AK herself. It is worth noting that AK herself has many innate abilities to inflict freeze or attack speed slow, triggering Merciless Pursuit.
We previously talked of her Threshold gauge bar. Threshold will be utilized in AK's charged attack. If a charge attack is performed with at least 200 Threshold, AK will enter Threshold Mode. Upon entering Threshold Mode, AK will lose 50 Threshold immediately followed by 40 Threshold every second. While in Threshold Mode, AK's 4 sequence basic attack will gain three shockwaves, dealing Ice damage and inflicting Attack Speed Slow.
Threshold is further augmented by additional skills. All of the above, except Icy Frost (S rank) is unlocked immediately at A-rank. Thanks to Cold Edge, AK will be able to ignore any crowd control (CC) effects, enjoy a 40% Total damage reduction and have a six second duration attack speed slow. In addition, skills of Adrenaline and Icy Frost will increase the damage of AK's Ice attacks.
Finally, let's talk about how to gain Threshold and allow Ak to enter Threshold Mode. There are four methods to gaining Threshold.
The QTE will be the most commonly used method. Triggered by ignite, AK's QTE will offer a full bar of 200 Threshold and freeze her enemies for 5 seconds. Warning: You cannot cancel this QTE's animation once its triggered and it has a long animation.
The ultimate will make her perform multi hit spin attack, dealing large Ice and Physical damage, as well as freezing enemies for a base 3 seconds. The last hit also grants 200 Threshold.
At SS rank, the ultimate can be upgraded to give 600 Threshold on its last hit.
At SSS rank, the freeze status is extended to 6 seconds and afterwards, enemies will be inflicted with a 6 second attack speed slow.
I personally find the ultimate's SS and SSS rank skills redundant. You will likely have plenty of Threshold between Ultimate and QTE, making the extra 400 from the skill unnecessary. If you get SS rank, it would be for White Heat passive skill. You will already have attack speed slow from Threshold Mode, making the SSS rank skill a non-factor.
Each sequence of AK's basic attacks will gain 30 Threshold (60 when at S-rank). Like I mentioned previously, you will not be short on Threshold often between her QTE and ultimate. I would not recommend using basic attack to collect Threshold if AK is under S-rank.
AK's ultimate evasion will deal a little Ice damage and grant 50 Threshold. Directly after the ultimate evasion, AK can attack to unleash her ultimate evasion skill, dealing additional damage, freezing enemies for three seconds, and gaining 100 Threshold.
AK's most competitive role is as a support. However, as we saw in her skills and gameplay mechanics, her support capabilities is lacking. AK mostly fills into the support role due to her Psychic typing (filling 3 psychic teams) and her ability to carry Blood Dance. Everything else about her screams damage dealer, albeit an unimpressive damage dealer. For this reason, we will explore both support and damage options for her equipment.
Blood Dance -- 289 ATK / 17 CRT
Blood Drake (SP: 20s CD: 15s): Creates a tornado and deals 315% physical damage to anyone hit. Those hit will gain Blood Rage debuff, granting 100% attack speed but also take 60% more Elemental damage. Lasts 9 seconds.
Blood Revival: When Hit Counter is over 15, gains 15% Physical damage. When not on field, heal 60 HP per second if under 50% HP.
This weapon is the ONLY reason AK can support. The massive 60% Elemental damage debuff enables many elemental teams to burst down bosses they otherwise cannot. If you do not have this weapon, AK will not be able to fill the support role.
Godslayer: Surtr -- 275 ATK / 27 CRT
Aesirs' Bane: When Burst attacks hit the enemy, gain 5% Total damage multiplier for 10 seconds. Triggers once per second. Stacks up to 4 times. Triggering again resets the duration.
The Burnt One: Character gains 15% SP recovery, 15% attack speed, and 25% Total damage.
Surtr is simply the best damage weapon in the greatsword class. AK has a very slow multi-hit ultimate, allowing AK to trigger Aesirs' Bane multiple times. Surtr will be able to deal out damage that is similar to AK's signature weapon, with the added bonus of being viable for various other greatsword wielders.
Cleaver of Shamash and Hrungnir are great alternatives to Surtr aforementioned. Hrungnir has comparable damage output to Surtr and a much more synergistic active and passive. However, compared to Surtr, Hrungnir is just not as good as an investment. It's potential is only exploited by AK and she is not a top tier valkyrie that warrants such investment.
Cleaver of Shamash is a F2P option, available through Co-op Raids. This greatsword can be leveled to 50 without investing any Honkai Cores and provide Total damage multipliers for AK to use.
There are no alternative options for support AK, without Blood Dance, support AK is not viable.
Jin Shengtan T -- Gain 40% Defense when deployed. Allies gain 15% Elemental damage multiplier in Blue Phoenix Field.
Jin Shengtan M -- Gain 35% Ice damage multiplier when deployed. Team gains 15% Ice resistance and 15% Ice damage multiplier when undeployed.
Newton B -- When attacking an enemy, enemy gains 41% Attack damage but also takes an additional 31% damage. Duration of 5 seconds and has a cooldown of 10 seconds.
Jin Shengtan 2 set bonus -- Upon attacking, create a Blue Phoenix Field with a duration of 6 seconds and a cooldown of 9 seconds. Allies inside field gains 30% elemental damage. Enemies in the field takes 10% more elemental damage.
The strongest elemental support stigmatas in the game, they will provide the team with a 45% Elemental damage multiplier or 60% for Ice elemental damage, 10% elemental damage taken debuff, and 31% total damage taken debuff. When using these stigs, it is important not to trigger AK's QTE upon switch in. AK's QTE animation cannot be cancelled and will take valuable seconds away from your damage dealer.
Nohime T -- Basic attacks gain 40% Total damage multiplier against Frozen targets. Basic attacks have a 15% chance of freezing enemies for 4 seconds. Cooldown 8 seconds.
Nohime M -- Hits deal 80% Ice damage, with a 1 seconds CD.
Nohime B -- Gain 10% movement speed and 25% Ice damage multiplier for every movement slowed or frozen enemy.
Nohime 2 set bonus -- Nearby enemies are dealt 60% Ice damage per second. This has a 30% chance to Move Slow enemies for 4 seconds.
Nohime 3 set bonus -- Gain 20% Max HP and 80% Ice damage multiplier.
The strongest damage stigmata set for AK, she has many ways to inflict Freeze which allows AK to naturally exploit Nohime T and Nohime B bonuses. Nohime 2 set bonus not only sets up Nohime B, but also AK's passive Merciless Pursuit. Nohime has the potential of giving 40% Total damage multiplier and 155% Ice damage multiplier, on top of AoE Ice damage every second.
Gacha Exclusive --
For additional options for support stigmatas, we can look to those listed above. Which stigmata to choose will depend on the elemental type of the damage dealer. For instance, the Chinese New Year set would only be viable when supporting a Fire damage dealer like Blood Rose (BR). It is good news that almost all the alternative support stigmatas are F2P friendly.
Gacha Exclusive --
F2P Accessible --
In the damage department, there are solid choices as well. You may make use of Robert Peary set or Welt set if you happen to have them for Argent Knight: Artemis (AKA) or Herrscher of Reason (HoR) respectively. Alternatively, Thale T and M are other popular stigmatas, mainly used on Vermillion Knight (VK) or BR but can be applied to AK as well due to Total damage multipliers and a beneficial 2-set bonus. Otherwise, single piece stigmata like Shakespeare B is a great option for AK.
Listed above also included F2P options, however, Ice elemental damage do not have too many options. This will greatly change in patch 3.4 with the introduction of Scott and Rasputin in the Foundry, both will give a great boon to ice elemental damage.
Great Drinking Buddies
Not a surprise to many, Phoenix (Phx) and Wolf's Dawn (WD) are a staple in any elemental damage team and it is no different here. Phx is a big reason why AK is often picked up as the Blood Dance carrier. Phoenix's team leader skill increases her team's combo, charged, and burst attacks a huge 32% Total damage multiplier at SS rank, with the requirement of having 3 Psychic typing valkyries. This makes a huge difference in BR teams.
Otherwise, WD is a free 30% elemental buff that is always a welcome addition to elemental teams. Furthermore, if you equip a Markov Type A cannon, WD has the potential to ignite targets and trigger AK's QTE.
We also mentioned how AK has a niche support advantage for other Ice damage dealers. The current top tier Ice damage valkyrie is HoR and AK can easily find a spot on HoR teams as a result.
AK: Godslayer: Surtr, Nohime T/M/B
Phx: 11th Sacred Relic, Thale T/M, Fu Hua Musician B
VC: Key of Reason (anything is fine), Jin Shengtan T/M, Newton B
This is the go-to team to mess around with AK being the damage dealer. The team leader choice can be either AK or Phx. Phx leader skill's damage bonus will not work on AK's Threshold Mode! However, there is still major synergy between the three valkyries. Phx is a staple in almost every elemental team. Phx's ultimate can also ignite enemies for AK's QTE. VC can also ignite with her non-charged attacks, triggering AK's QTE. More importantly, VC provides a low cost ultimate that gathers enemies for 10 seconds. AK's attack pattern is slow and the long duration gather is extremely beneficial. Another added benefit of the 10 second duration, it is long enough to have VC trigger her support stigmatas like Water Balloons, Jin Shengtan, and Newton B twice over.
A sample rotation would be setting up firebrand and prajna bar on Phx. Switch to VC to ignite and gather enemies. QTE into AK and enter threshold mode to kill everything.
Phx: Cinder Hawk, Higokumaru T, Fu Hua Musician M/B
AK: Blood Dance, Jin Shengtan T/M, Newton B
BR: Godslayer: Surtr, Thale T/M, Fuxi B
AK in this team is the blood dance slave and she is specifically used to fill the 3rd Psychic typing for Phx's team skill. You will want to start off with Phx. Build her prajna bar and then switch off to AK. Apply Blood dance and quickly switch out to BR. If BR is not SS rank, make sure you ignite your enemies with her ultimate activation for extra damage. Switch out back to Phx once blood dance debuff wears off. Rinse and repeat until all your enemies lie dead.
Arctic Kriegsmesser is an often forgotten valkyrie and it is not entirely unjustified. However, she is still very fun for those who enjoy the traditional himeko playstyle. She is somewhat viable while the temperature is still low in Quantum Singularity (QS) and the current elemental damage focused meta can enable her through most of the games content. I would not encourage people to outright prioritize her SS rank over more competitive valkyries, but she is not as bad as most might suggest. If nothing else, she holds niche value with Blood Dance.