Top 10 Video Game Archers

Hello everyone, it’s ChrisX and I frickin’ apologize for not updating for so goddamn long time. Things… happen. New games, jobs, and stuffs like that. But yeah, I’m… kind of back. I hope.

So that being said, let’s go back to another list including weapons. Let’s see about… ranged weapon. Of course, the first instance of ranged weapon is… stone. Yeah, pick up a stone, then throw it to your enemy. But eventually, it evolved into something more eloquent. For instance, eventually they sharpened the rock, and put it on a stick. And thus… a throwable pointed stick

… Pointed sticks?

… Anyway, as humans evolved more, they started to develop more classy weapons to attack from afar. But pretty much, amongst the older weapons, the most popular one has got to be the bow and arrow, where you launch your arrow using a strung bow. The user of this weapon would later be known as ‘Archer’.

And seeing that video games often take place in fantasy themes where feudal weapons were used, it’s no surprise that there are tons of archers in video game history. And hell, sometimes even in modern times, there are still archers that forego more modern ranged weapons like guns, and instead uses bow and arrow. It’s easier to pull a trigger, but archery is a different beast altogether. Calmness and concentration plays a bigger part in this, so a lot of archers really come with a cool head as they are looking for ways to get into the best position and then give one fatal accurate shot that will still kill their target just as good as a gun does. On a head.

I mean, sure, we do have some super hot blooded archers out there, but I don’t think that would make them quite efficient in a long run. However, that’s that: Cool-headedness definitely will be a bigger part on what makes a great archer in video games. But otherwise, same rules apply. Only one character per series and only from games I played. And another thing… the characters must be MAINLY using bow and arrow for their weapon. If a bow is just a side weapon for them… I’m sorry, but that’s out of question. Also… crossbows? I try not to use them. There seems to be more crossbow users that later would warrant its own list.

That’s enough for introduction. Now deep breath, take aim… and let’s go on with the countdown.

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(Yes, I used ‘Archer’ this time, not ‘Archery Expert’ or ‘Bow Experts’. If it’s simpler that way, so be it)


Number 10

After the release of Overwatch, the interest of Hero Shooter games; that is, a team-based shooter where you focus on capturing objectives rather than killing more enemies; receive a significant raise. While I don’t think any of these games are getting any close to dethrone Overwatch, I think that some games can stand out as one of its bigger rivals.

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For instance Paladins. A Hero Shooter game made by Hi-Rez Studios, the people behind Smite, that… absolutely has no ongoing lore, but contains enough colorful character cast as they fight it out in the realm called Northwind Hold for… whatever reason. Well, like a MOBA, plots isn’t exactly the biggest thing you’re looking for. You’re looking for action. Thankfully, however the setting in Paladins is a mix-match between some technology and fantasy setting, where we get some characters that can fit into this.

One of them being this pretty boy archer called Sha Lin.

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#10. Sha Lin (Paladins)

And like other Paladins characters, he… absolutely has no story whatsoever. I dunno, that’s just how Paladins work. But, hey, at the very least he does have a personality. Not exactly a bombastic one, mind you, but it was calm enough to befit an archer. Sha Lin is known as the Desert Wind, and from the look of his design, he does look like a wandering type. He’s always eager to test his archery skills against others. And when all you have is a bow… well that’s his game. Even when it’s a little subdued, Sha Lin can also be pretty excitable when it comes to the prospect of battle. I mean, what kind of guy would just go raise his fist and leg like saying “Hell yeah!” when riding a horse?

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Saying ‘Hell Yeah’ while pulling the bowstring?

Well, what he lacks in story and very defined personality, at the very least he gives a very good insight of what it means to wield a bow in an FPS game. His arrow travels faster and deals a greater damage the longer it is charged. He can also enhance his arrows so it pushes the enemy back and if they hit the wall, they get stuck on it. In other words, they got stuck into the wall. Once he gets into a good position, he can plant himself in position and starts shooting a barrage of powerful arrows that travel pretty quick and can take out any enemies when concentrated. Most of his other skills support the way he shoots his arrows, and being the Desert Wind, he has the theme of illusion. He can trick enemies into hitting a decoy while he goes invisible, or with his ultimate, he can go invisible and the moment he shoots an arrow while in that state, he instantly produces a decoy. So the enemy may think that Sha Lin is in one place shooting them, but nope, he’s in another. This makes him rather slippery.

Well yeah, Paladins really needs more lore to get to this, but at the very least, playing as Sha Lin actually would make you feel like an archer, and it can go toe to toe with magics and magitek skills that the other contenders have. All in all, it’s a worthy addition that makes Sha Lin one of the best archers in video games.

He’d be better if Hi-Rez hurries up with the lore and background, so come the eff on, Hi-Rez!!


Number 9

For now, we’ll get with something more simple. Archers are very aplenty in strategy games, especially fantasy-themed ones. There’s a lot to choose if we want something simple but still getting the job done. So let’s get back to…

brigandine

Why do I keep coming back to this one game that no one seems to give a damn about…?

Anyway, amongst the weapons available in Brigandine, the bow and arrow are locked on the female-only classes, the Scout, the Archer and the Artemis. There’s quite a lot of archers in the realm of Forsena, and to me, the best shot with the bow and arrow is the Princess of Norgard, Brangien.

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#9. Brangien (Brigandine)

(… Images about non-rulers in Brigandine is hard to find. Just… try to bear with it.)

Maybe she could be a little too haughty and bratty for her own good, though. As the Princess of Norgard, she got skipped from the rights of reigning as its queen, because the nation’s law is a misogynist one and no one even bothered. Brangien is one bitter girl, but she’d rather take on the battlefield than just staying in the castle, even as she spews a lot of bile and venom to the current ruler Vaynard, who you may have seen in my ice list.

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Amongst the archers that has populated Forsena, it’s just personal opinion, but Brangien is in the most perfect position of being the best one right off bat and not the one who will fall down as the game progresses. Okay, sure, most of the time, the best you’ll do is to put her in a good position and then click and she shoots arrows. Sound too simplistic? Here’s the deal: Most knights that start out as a Scout only has 2 range. Brangien starts out as an Archer, therefore, right off bat, she already can shoot at 3 range, in other words, she has the advantage of range. And being at Level 10, she has a lot of room to grow and be the best candidate to promote into the Artemis, where she can shoot at the range of 4, and does it without needing to stop moving.

And if she doesn’t move, like other archers, she can increase her shooting power with the Snipe Shot. So it’s either mobility or concentrated firepower. And she also comes equipped with the Heaven Bow, where she will deal more damage to White-based monsters.

Oh and did I mention that she’s pretty much the only archer in the game who gets to show off her archery skills in cutscenes and a pretty damn good one too? Okay, maybe she does need Vaynard’s help to freeze Cador in place, but when you think of it, Cador’s skull helmet has small holes that takes an expert to shoot at that, yet Brangien fearlessly just made a clean shot right in the eye against somebody that monstrous. It takes a keen precision to make that shot, while not being intimidated with… you know, Cador. A frickin’ Death Knight.

Yeah… maybe next time she attempts to ‘take down’ Vaynard, she should have brought a bow. Not a sword.

Well, it may be a little too simplistic, but it still gets the job done. Princess Brangien, even if she’s forever a Princess, never a Queen, already has proven herself to be one of the greater lady archers in video games, and it’s really advisable to bring her to the place she’s more home to… the battlefield, shooting arrows here and there in a safe distance.


Number 8

Like I said, turn-based strategy is a pretty good place to gather Archers. And since I’m open to archers that is utilized simply, but still gets the job done via great damage per arrow. Brangien was one of them, though her damages are more along the line high to respectable, there’s another archer from my memories whose damage with the bow can be… really absurd.

But first, let’s introduce this often overlooked masterpiece by Yasumi Matsuno, which is often overlooked by his other magnum opus Final Fantasy Tactics.

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Tactics Ogre is one of the installment of Matsuno’s epic saga the Ogre Battle. This one, in particular, revolve around heavy politics although we have mystical creatures and classes thrown in somewhere, but it’s more heavy on human conflict. The game is also pretty engrossing in both gameplay and story, so I really recommend this game for whoever can get this. Since it’s a human conflict, we also get a lot of fantasy classes like knights, berserkers and… archers. And one of the archers here is… a loser.

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… Wait, what? Did I get the name right? Seriously, who named their kid ‘A loser’?

Oh. Right. It’s an off-shoot to a demon’s name from Ars Goetia, but seriously though. Someone whose name is ‘Aloser’ being actually one of the greatest archers there is…?

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#8. Arycelle Dania (Tactics Ogre)

Well at least her name is more applicable in the PSP version, so let’s stick with that. Arycelle Danya is one of the members of the Walister Resistance… and she was extremely pissed off due to misinformation about a certain massacre in the town Balmamusa that costed her the life of her brother. She became deaf to reason and only focused on the one she thought to blame for the incident, our hero Denam. Afterwards things get a little more complicated, but usually it ends like this: Arycelle found out that Denam is innocent or at least just worthy of forgiveness and threw her lot to his cause.

But enough about that, you’re here to hear why she’s one of the best archers out there. Let me just say this, just for this game… archery is broken. Usually, if you attack with a range, you are given a limit of how many range you can cover. This game can have Archers ignore that, but it will have reduced accuracy. But if you somehow managed to get a good position, like, for example, a high ground, then you can rain down arrows of death with ease, sending a great deal of damage from great ranges.

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That old man is so screwed…

And unique characters like Arycelle usually gets buffed stats, so it’s not that often you get to see her just one shot those equipped with robes, not armor, with her bow. And even with armor, she can bring them to low health with ease. Her notoriety with archery even seeps to her biography. Arycelle is not just some random archer, she’s acknowledged as Walister’s best archer, and I guess probably the whole Valeria since there’s no competition, dubbed with the name ‘Thunder Maiden’.

The PSP remake gave her a lot more extra utility tools, but when it comes to how much powerful shots with ranges that go beyond the rules you can make, there is no doubt that Arycelle is one of the best. Get her in a good position, like on a rooftop, watch arrows fly and enemies fall one by one…


Number 7

Fighting games… aren’t usually the place you’d have to bring in archers in. I mean, most of the fighting games are about close range combat, with occasional long range strikes as a tool to zone the enemies, and if there’s an archer, mostly they even had to deal with clobbering the enemies with their bow or kicking. But certain games has something that can make archery work well.

And by that I mean actually shooting your arrows. This kind of style was presented by SNK in the Samurai Shodown games by Mina Majikina.

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#7. Mina Majikina (Samurai Shodown)

Yeah, she only had a brief appearance in the whole series, but she made quite an impression with that, and I don’t mean that clothing style of hers… But more or less about how she’s an unique crack shot with the bow in the middle of men fighting close range with swords and other steel weapons… That and how much her life sucks right at her debut.

Mina was a girl with exceptionally great spiritual power that made her pretty good at exterminating demons… and also made her being regarded like a Goddess among humans and shunned because of those powers, which gave her anxiety, difficulty to express her emotions, feeling like she has no friends… and actually a pretty good reason why she could focus well as an archer. I really empathize with the girl, but what can I say, being alone usually gives better focus. But I digress.

Regardless, one day, after traveling alone, she found her village razed when she sensed a powerful force. In the ruins of her village she met this weird creature that seems adorable and harmless which she named ‘Chample’… also it sounds GODDAMN ANNOYING AS HELL (seriously, its only purpose in-game is to just annoy the hell out of both players that there’s an option to put it to sleep). I’ll just leave this as my response to that creature’s sound before it opens its mouth.

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Anyway, for awhile, Mina became convinced that it’s her duty to avenge her village by killing a lot of demons, though maybe the truth would be too hard even for her…

So, like I said, Mina brings a bow in a mostly sword-based fighting game. And what she did is pretty simple. Just shoot lots and lots of arrows. Considering the game’s nature that’s less about combos but landing timely but powerful hits, it makes Mina already a threat since she can just keep away and keep shooting arrows, sometimes she just needs to imbue her arrow with spiritual powers for an extra punch, and if she ends up getting someone close enough, she can just jump off and shoot you on the way she lands.

Ohb and she also gets one unique way of using her bow, using it as a catapult to launch herself to the sky before stomping the enemy so hard they will drop their weapon. How does that even… ugh, don’t ask how that works. And specially on the Special version of her debut game, she also gains a fatality where she pretty much shoots tons and tons and arrows to the enemy until they… got their upper body blown up to pieces. How does that even work!?

Oh, right. Spiritual magic shenanigans.

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But really, what she’s really known for is how much she brings as an archer in a fighting game. These days, even the most famous archers in fighting games tends to bring in some close range tools, but Mina pretty much sets up what it means to be an archer even in a fighting game: Be a complete zoner with nothing but your bow and arrow. Not exactly the most top tier mindset for fighting games, but it shows how much hardcore you are with archery, and she does have the sufficient focus for that, even if at cost of her social skills that made her suffer. But there’s no denying that to me, Mina has showed herself as one of the finest and remarkable archers in video games.


Number 6

fireemblem

It’s time for yet another series we’ve been visiting around these days. Fire Emblem!

But unfortunately it won’t be Shinon.

Now don’t get me wrong, I DO respect Shinon as a character, he’s an unique take of the archery types, but… I haven’t gotten that far in Radiant Dawn, and while I finished Path of Radiance… he under-performed there. Sorry, Shinon, but I can’t get that mark out. Anyway, maybe Fire Emblem archers are just limited to simple ‘just point the target and shoot’, but trust me, you’ll still find good representatives of archery there.

Amongst Fire Emblem units, you usually get an early archer that are quite accurate and maybe speedy, but perhaps not powerful enough to start racking up kill counts. But what if you get someone who’s powerful on shooting and stays relevant till the end? Well there’s actually a lot of candidates that come to mind, but the one that I think sticks to me the most is actually someone from the more recent games than the classic ones, as much as I want to.

This guy is around in early games and he already comes with a powerful bow to help alleviate the usual archer problems. Ladies and gentlemen… Prince Takumi of Hoshido.

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#6. Takumi (Fire Emblem Fates)

Okay, let’s just say that Fire Emblem Fates has story issues but we’re not here to talk about that. We’re to talk about our archer and… well, while Takumi’s personality might not click with the majority’s tastes, he’s kind of okay once you get to know it better… (if you just give it a chance rather than riding some memes)

Takumi is the youngest of the Hoshidan royal siblings and at first can be rather abrasive and blunt, he made sure that Corrin knew that he’s very distrustful about him/her, as in, coming back too suddenly after ‘hanging out’ with the people at Nohr, which is at war with Hoshido. And then due to a Nohrian plot, the siblings’ mother Queen Mikoto is killed and Corrin had to make his choice to either side with his birth siblings at Hoshido or the siblings he grew up with in Nohr (or side with neither). Whatever Corrin decides will affect Takumi’s personality further, either he manages to tone down his arrogance or makes it worse to fatal effects. But further telling would be spoileriffic, so… play the game.

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But what’s at least constant within Takumi is that he used to be training as a swordsman but felt like he couldn’t surpass his older brother Ryoma, so he switched to something else that he can have his skills recognized for: Bow and Arrow. And he turns out to be a skilled shooter that he eventually inherits the sacred bow Fujin Yumi. And really, as much as an abrasive jerk he could be (which may quite match Shinon’s attitude with Laguz when it comes to Nohr), he does have a lot of soft spots, he treated his retainer very well and can be friendly to children. It’s just that he’s a person with some sort of inferiority complex that he may look a little too confrontative, but he’s actually just kind of competitive, which is shown that he gets stat bonuses when paired with a unit with higher level. It shows that he’s always striving to better himself.

That and he’s just overall socially awkward. And impatient. Not exactly the perfect prince charming, he’s definitely got a lot of flaws. And that’s OK, it makes him human. But I digress.

So as an early game archer (at least just one scenario right after you get your very first in Birthright), Takumi actually comes off as surprisingly strong and still kept going strong even as he goes on. With Fujin Yumi exclusive to him, he gets a really good strength to deal a good damage to even armored units, and even deadlier when he shoots a flying unit. The Fujin Yumi also gives him a good boost on what’s important in an archer: Skill/Hit Boost. So basically, regardless of the enemy’s speed, Takumi will always find his mark and shoot accurately and the power of that bow is nothing to be trifled with.

Also it’s worth noting that Takumi can have a son named Kiragi, who’s also an archer like him. And if supported, he even made it a point that Kiragi may be able to inherit the Fujin Yumi one day, but what’s important is not just bloodline to use the bow, the Fujin Yumi requires one vital thing for archers in great amount: Concentration. The Fujin Yumi is a bow in which the bowstring will not even materialize if one does not concentrate. So Takumi didn’t just get the Fujin Yumi because he’s of Hoshidan royalty, he’s skillful and focused enough as an archer to even bring out its power.

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All those and he’s available right at the beginning and will continue to serve as a powerful hitter in your army, while most early archers only had skill and speed in the beginning, Takumi already had skill, speed AND power to let out powerful shoots. Not to mention that the Fujin Yumi allows him to traverse through bad terrains like nothing happened, allowing him to get good positions to shoot enemies from. So in other words, regardless of what the course of fate decides, there is no doubt that Takumi really shines as one of the finest archers in video games.


Number 5

So… remember last time in my Spear Countdown that I described one of the better spearmen out there being the mighty Honda Tadakatsu? Well it just also happens that he’s also a family man. And in the same game of his playable debut in Samurai Warriors, he also brought in his daughter who’s historically… almost as scary as he was: a formidable Onna-bugeisha, female warriors that defend their home territories, skilled with spear and archery. Historically her name is Komatsu… but in the context of this game, we know her better as Ina.

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#5. Ina (Samurai Warriors)

Being the daughter of Honda Tadakatsu, Ina has a LOT of pressure to live up to, but mostly because her father is the mightiest warrior in the era so she has to be showing strength in both physical prowess and mental fortitude. She’s still a growing lady warrior that shows impulsiveness but over the course of the war, she learns lessons to improve her calmness. Also possessing strong morals, she’s the type of girl that can’t stand injustice and goes out of her way to stamp them out.

As the history decreed, she married Sanada Nobuyuki in an arranged marriage, and what do you know, it worked out really well, the two compliment each other in battlefield. But the best thing about it is that those are all what she’s like in about battle stuffs. Outside battle, she’s pretty much a sweetheart and nurturing, friendly girl. There’s a reason why she’s one of my top characters in Samurai Warriors, and it sure isn’t because she’s under my favorite clan, the Tokugawa.

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And that’s just her characteristics, but how does she handle herself with the bow? Well I did mention that a hardcore archer like Mina above has minimum close range options and mostly had to deal with long range. Ina? Well, with her bow being padded with blades, she has the privilege to clobber AND slash enemies up close with her bow, and when she pulls some arrow, she shot very powerfully that usually enemies got knocked away with several arrows around. She can shoot multiple arrows in one go to… ahem, make it raining arrows and then for her Musou attack? Well, it’s a barrage of tons of arrows that makes enemies fall to their knees. In rapid speed.  That is some crazy hand power.

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But hey, when you’re the daughter of the mightiest warrior in the land, that should be possible. Oh and with training too, can’t forget the training. But overall, while she can at times get a little too impulsive, Ina usually keeps her calm and battle lust in check and this in turn makes her a very proficient archer where a single arrow, empowered with a force of might, can knock down multiple enemies in one shot and if the enemy gets an idea to approach her up close, well it’s the blades on her bow that will strike. She’s a mighty yet graceful archer, and as far as her portrayal in Samurai Warriors go, it’s one of the best in video games.


Number 4

There is no way that bow and arrow will not be present in a medieval setting where League of Legends took place, the realm known as Runeterra. There are TONS of archers that can be picked up, but I suppose that if I have to pick someone, the title of best archer would go to the Frost Archer of Freljord, Ashe.

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#4. Ashe (League of Legends)

Freljord probably isn’t the first thing that comes to your mind when it comes to archery, it’s actually a cold, mountainous area. Ashe, on the other hand, still manages to make it work. Her lore has actually given reworks here and there and probably she’ll get a new one later, so let’s just start from the current one.

So beforehand, Ashe was actually NOT that white-haired. At first she was just the daughter of a tribe leader in Freljord, a bit of a dreamer with big dreams of uniting the tribes at Freljord. She already showed her commitment to peace when she refused to avenge her mother from her killers when she succeeded her tribe, which didn’t win her any favors against her more warmongering tribesmen so they plotted to kill her…

In which during her escape, Ashe found a bow made of ice, which was actually made by the legendary Avarosa herself. With that bow and the enchanted ice arrows from there, Ashe put down the rebellion and made her people realize the potential of her peaceful unification ways, supporting her and made her tribe, now named ‘Avarosan’, become the biggest in Freljord with her as its Queen.

Oh and back in the old lore days, she was married with the Barbarian King Tryndamere for political reasons. It’s not mentioned in the current lore, but I think it’s one of those things that will be back.

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Now if I have to say… Ashe… is awesome. It takes a great heart to forego the lust for vengeance and her virtuous heart yearning for peace paved way for turning her tribe into the greatest one in Freljord. All these while possessing the kindness necessary to bring peace, and the serenity and concentration required to be a great archer. That’s because she’s one of the main ADC of the game, she starts out weak, but when fed, she can rain down destruction with precise shots of her bows.

With her passive Frost Shot, every shots of her arrows will slow down the enemy and let further shots damage them further, every shots exposing further weak points. Ashe’s archery is also exemplified with Ranger’s Focus, where she’s able to shoot a lot of arrows in a quick speed to one target, she’s only able to do so once she gathered enough focus by attacking several times, which will drain if she ever stops attacking for a few times. So this shows that to be a good archer, you need to keep up your focus AND momentum, things that Ashe learned well.

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And aside of that, Ashe can peel with multiple spread arrows with Volley, all of them applying Frost Shot. Being an archer, she usually stands in the backline, but what if someone plans something sneaky? Well, in that case, she could send out her Hawk Shot, which reveals an area in a line. Or she could just use that to know where the enemy is hiding, so she can line up her Ultimate, the Enchanted Crystal Arrow, where she fires a HUGE ice arrow that travels indefinitely until it hits another champion, stunning an area where they made contact, and it’s more damaging if it has traveled farther. So if you can get a good sight, you can make a daring shot in a more improbable angle to catch the enemy by surprise. They may think that it’s safe to recall with low HP… until there’s one giant arrow coming right in their face. And you can’t say that an area stun is not that valuable in a tense team fight, portrayed with a giant arrow that explodes and stuns everyone nearby in place.

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Ashe may be designated as the beginner ADC, but beginner doesn’t equate weakness. Played well, Ashe is a deadly markswoman that knows her surrounding to set up a good position where she can pelt down the enemy with her frozen arrows with precision and focus.  On top of that, I think for someone who likes good things, Ashe can be a candidate of a ‘hero’ or sorts in the game, I mean, she’s really unambiguously heroic and someone people can look up to. Maybe she wouldn’t be winning the best ice experts any time (she’s not in my lists), but as far as archery goes, Ashe had it high, definitely one of the finest in video games.


Number 3

Since we talked about Ashe, let’s talk about someone who inspired her — *RRRNNGG* OK, hold on a minute…

Wait, I didn’t mean to copy Green Scorpion just because Ashe is at #4 and the #3 is from Dota! Actually, I’m more talking about Dota 2, but… well, uh… Yeah… I mean… it’s just coincidence and difference in how we think, because to me, the character that inspired Ashe? It’s actually Traxex, the Drow Ranger.

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#3. Drow Ranger (Dota 2)

I mean, really, even in the attire alone, you may say she could be Ashe’s long lost sister. Okay, back then Traxex used the Dark Ranger model, and Ashe certainly isn’t an undead, but they do come with the ice arrow motif. Drow Ranger is one of the harder carries in Dota 2, while she might not be shooting a lot, she makes it up with just how deadly every of her shots can be when fed. For her, it isn’t a matter of how many arrows she can shoot, but how few the shots she required to kill off her targets.

Since Dota 2 has a more detailed lore, I’d say we’d use that. Traxex was a girl from an unknown humanoid race when her parents were killed by bandits. She survived and was found and adopted by the Drow race, here not a dark elf, but a short gnomish race. These people were adept in the arts of subtlety and stealth and Traxex learned a lot from them, becoming one of the best in those terms and the arts of archery. But since she was of a different race, Traxex eventually grew taller than her kin and started to think she was pretty unwelcome amongst the Drows. She then ended up abandoning her race and chose to live alone, protecting the forest as its ranger and still somehow maintaining the acts of a Drow, helping strangers in need.

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Like I mentioned before, Drow Ranger is a deadly archer. Every of her shots can be rather deadly, first she can enchant her arrow with the Frost Arrows like Ashe and slow down them target as much as she needed, since it’s not a Passive and costs mana. And if the enemy gets too close, she can blow a Gust of wind that blows away enemies and also silencing them so they can’t use their abilities and she shoots them down.

What makes her deadly in archery is that she is surrounded with the Precision Aura, which not only increases her ranged attack power, but also all of her allies’, even including creeps. So basically, add in a Drow Ranger, and everyone end up being a better shot, and heroes with ranged attack gets a huge boon. Oh you may be wondering where is it that she gets such a ‘deadly’ praise that she kills a lot in a few shots? Well, that’s where her Ultimate comes in, the Marksmanship. It’s just a passive skill that tremendously increases Drow Ranger’s Agility as long as there’s no enemy hero close enough on her. Well, this means that as long as no one is around, every shots of Drow Ranger becomes very deadly since she shoots faster and stronger and at the very least, her aforementioned Gust will keep some enemies away from her. And considering the absurd levels of damage that Dota 2 carries can inflict with their items, this makes Drow Ranger able to kill people with just a few shots.

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When it comes to archery, Drow Ranger has one of the deadliest results for it, as long as she gets into a good position, she can pick off her enemies in a few accurate shots. Of course, this being Dota 2, a smart player will find a way to disable her advantages, turning it into a battle of wits of which one can catch the other at their vulnerable state. But in terms of pure archery, Drow Ranger stands as one of the finest in video games since she can shoot as fast as she’s deadly accurate and powerful.


Number 2

Since the age of mythology (not just the game), bow and arrow has been a staple weaponry for mankind. So it comes pretty naturally in a game where Gods from various civilizations duke it out in a battle arena like Smite, they wouldn’t bring out something like a bow.

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The archers in Smite is classified as Hunter. Actually, just a fancy way to say ‘ADC’. There’s a LOT of Gods based on archery. The Greek pantheon has Artemis, if you remember my old list, she’s one of my favorite Hunters, and they also gave Medusa a bow. Norse has the glorious Ullr, Chinese has Hou Yi that can shoot and drop NINE suns at you. That’s one mean feat and it gave me headache to decide which God with a bow that gets into the list.

But eventually I made my choice and to me, it was only fitting that I gave it to the one God whose kits are about how you shoot your arrows… the Seventh Avatar of Vishnu, Rama.

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#2. Rama (Smite)

He’s the hero of one of India’s greatest epics, Ramayana. Now I haven’t read it fully, but it’s a great epic for a reason, yet it isn’t my place to talk about it. Like his title infers, Rama is an incarnation of the Creation God Vishnu as a response for the Demon King Ravana getting an anti-God boon from Shiva, so Vishnu incarnated as a mortal Prince of Ayodhya. Being a God in human form, even at the age of 16, Rama already shows ace qualities of mankind, he’s strong, kind, humble, handsome, patient. (In other words, he’s a Marty Stu). And as early in that age as well, he already participated in campaigns to quell Ravana’s rampage, killing demons here and there with his brother Laksharma. Then he’s invited to pull what would be his signature weapon, Shiva’s Bow. A bow so powerful that no mortal men could ever lift. Rama didn’t just lift that… He broke that in two, and still made it his weapon. For that, he got a marriage with the beautiful Sita, but then the plotting of a jealous queen forced him into exile…

Whereas his wife got kidnapped by Ravana, and Rama’s not that pleased. So he got out of the exile and want to settle the score and still guide mankind to peace.

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Because it’s Smite, playing as a Hunter/ADC is a challenge on its own because even your normal attacks are skill shots that can miss, so for Rama being a rather normal attack dependent archer, this makes aiming very vital to him. Most of his skills are buffs that enhance how he shoots his arrows. The Astral Arrow is a special arrow stored in his Astral Quiver, Rama can only hold at most 5, but each time this is shot, it pierces through any enemies standing in his way and also slowing them. Also there’s a chance that if he shot an Astral Arrow, it doesn’t vanish, but more or less gets dropped to the ground so Rama can pick it up, instantly reloading his Astral Arrows, while he can also increase his shooting speed at will. So it’s either arrows to slow down and pierce, or shooting rapidly.

And if the enemy gets too close, Rama can just roll in any way to dodge, which also enhances the next shot with astral powers. By this, he can also get into a better position to shoot, or advance. But, the main reason why I would say he’s one of the better archers is his frickin’ Ultimate, the Astral Barrage. He just leaps to the sky, and can shoot three exploding arrows that shrunk in size after each shot, but each getting more powerful. This pretty much sets you up in a fricking sniper mode from the sky. Pick a spot, shoot the ground causing an explosion, it gets harder to aim later, but the damage will be greater, it’s also pretty good to kill off enemies that think they have escaped from battle. This is the ultimate test of your archery aiming, if you perform very well, you’ll have enemies dropping dead like flies.

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More than any Hunters or ADC’s, focus is incredibly important for Rama to succeed, and yeah, great focus is what makes a great archer. Rama’s arrows and archery are deadly and precise, and using him gives the player a chance to experience being an archer who shoots down moving objects, being Gods, while minding the resources and focusing on the enemy ahead. With traits like these, it’s no doubt that Rama, at least in this incarnation, becomes my choice of one of the best archers in video games.


Number 1

Well the stake is already pretty high, being a God in the 2nd place. But to me, it’s all about the experience, not just the sheer power (though it helps). So, which character would be the best archer in video games?

Yes, I’ve spoken about this guy before, but I can’t help it. Amongst archers in video games, this guy gave me the best experience and makes me feel the power of arrows that I shot, and it also helps that he’s quite the complicated character.

For archery, I pick no one else but Overwatch’s Hanzo Shimada.

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#1. Hanzo Shimada (Overwatch)

Yeah, you’ve seen him while I was listing off Overwatch characters, and as an Overwatch character, he ranks pretty high, but not the top. But as an archer… yeah, he pretty much tops it. It’s not about how he ranks in tiers of Overwatch, but it’s about how he gives the experience of an archer. But before that, let’s review his story and character first, in case you don’t want to look at my other post.

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So yeah, Hanzo was the inheritor of the Shimada clan’s family business of criminal empire and yakuza. He’s dutiful with a sense of honor, but after an incident where he ended up putting his brother Genji to near death on the clan’s orders, he was struck with shame and fled the clan. From there, he became a wandering mercenary or hired killer, still perfecting his arts in archery (after he swore off using a sword since that incident), aiming to restore his honor as a warrior while still paying respects to Genji… until he revealed himself to be alive and turned into cyber-ninja. At this point, Hanzo was pretty conflicted in what course of action he should take and… we’ll leave it at that. The Overwatch lore community can get… a bit frisky about morality.

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But conflict or not, he still stays very focused when it comes to battle. Just imagine something like Sha Lin but with actually defined personality. Hanzo can charge up his shot to shoot in a longer reach, and his arrows deal a VERY hefty damage and can even headshot to instantly kill an enemy if their head got into the wrong place at the wrong time. He also has several arrow types to help him either deal more damage or provide utility. Scatter Arrow is an arrow that splits in many other arrows once it hits an object so he can just aim at the ground and the enemy will be struck with a barrage of arrows. If you can mind your angle on where you shoot, it can be devastating. Sonic Arrow lets out sonic waves when it has struck something, which lets you know what enemies are walking near that place, allowing him to line up good shots.

While he’s probably not the most mobile character ever, he can still traverse around the surrounding better by wall-climbing and getting into good archery positions. And there’s eventually his ultimate, the Dragonstrike, where he shoots one arrow that transforms into two wave dragons that consumes everything in its path. It also goes through solid matters like walls, so it can surprise your enemy. It’s easy to dodge and best used in conjunction with other disables, or just used to scare enemies from an area.

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And of course, you can’t go wrong with an arrow that turn into spirit dragons when it comes to cool factor.

So Hanzo… gives you a flexible archer with good utilities where you actually experience what it means to be an archer, and those arrows are either flexible or hurt very much that one shot may be enough to kill. And it’s Overwatch, a more futuristic setting where the norms are mostly guns or high-tech weapons. Well, Hanzo’s bow is pretty high-tech, but he’s using it like an old-fashioned archer, and he’s still deadly at it! Someone brought an arrow to a gunfight, and still comes off as a threat. And combined with great focus and rather complex story, it’s to no surprise to me that Hanzo claims the position of the #1 Video Game Archers.

I am ChrisX and… I get your point that we’ll be seeing again next time.


Honorable Mentions

The Windrunner Sisters Alleria, Sylvanas and Vereesa (Warcraft)

Huang Zhong (Dynasty Warriors)

Nanaly Fletcher (Tales of Destiny 2)

Angelg (Super Robot Wars Advance)

Yukari Takeba (Persona 3)

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