"Aggressive, terrain-manipulating hybrid beast powered by an experimental plasma."
When I reached Platinum this season, I made a promise to myself about two things I must do when(and if) I reach Diamond. Making a guide was one of them, so here it is. All statements here are based on my personal experience with Phaedra and you might want to adapt them to your playstyle.
Phaedra is a Frontline character, capable of taking a lot of damage while keeping dealing it to the enemy team. Her main feature is the fact all her attacks can somehow hit enemies over walls. She is not much capable of close range combat comparing to other Frontliners, doing ambushes alternated with some bold turns instead.
Abilities & Mods:
Seismic Slam - Blast (Primary ability, 0 colldown): Deal 26 damage to nearby enemies and create a 13 damage shockwave that goes through walls and ignores cover. Gain 6 energy per enemy hit.
This ability is good for both hitting nearby enemies while running after them and attacking far targets going invisible or trying to hide behind walls.
Tremors (1 point) - targets not in line of sight take an additional 5 damage. A perfect eco mode which is even better than some higher cost mods. If you run it and your team has no need for tank at the moment, you can try to hit an enemy over a wall so that you deal some consistent damage but cannot be hit.
Caustic Goo (1 point) - when destroying bugs created by Putrid Spray the target is slowed. A nice mod, especially if you want to add some more crowd control to Phaedra, but usually it cannot compete with Tremors.
Wind up (2 points, default) - increase near damage by 2 and far by 1. The best thing about this mod is having no trigger conditions, meaning it will bring you stable extra damage, not very low and not very high. This is pretty normal for default mods: you use them and get your contribution until you find something fitting for your playstyle and more utilizable.
Predator (2 points) - hitting Camo squares will disable that region. An interesting mod which turns Phaedra into a great pursuer. It, however, doesn't synergize well with Phaedra's main idea, so you probably want another source of vision like Hawk Drone, Probe or invisible PuP/Kaigin. Also don't forget that disabled regions will not hide your allies and be very careful attacking with this mod applied.
Stagger (3 points) - adjacent enemies are weakened next turn. It is one of those narrow use high reward mods. It is worth its points, but you will have enough awesome costly mods to ignore this one.
Putrid Spray - Prep (4 cooldown): spray a swarm of bugs, slowing targets. If you hit any of these targets with abilities in the next 2 turns, the insects burst, dealing an additional 15 damage. Gain 6 energy per enemy hit.
This ability is why all low max health characters should never fight with Phaedra one on one. It happens in Prep Phase so you cannot dodge it, it won't care about your temporal shielding and dashes, it slows you so you are either getting close to Phaedra (and, perhaps, in a bad position) next turn or use your dash without dodging damage. Fun fact: since Phaedra got some reworking at Season 3, this ability has no default mod and default Phaedra builds use only 8 points of 10.
Brood (1 point) - reduce cooldown by 1. A nice mod, but don't expect too much from it. The sector of Putrid Swarm has a much wider angle (almost 180 degrees) than your primary (only 90 degrees), but its radius is not much longer than latter of your close primary attack, while damage is not much higher than latter of your far primary attack and energy gain is the same. If you can hit an enemy with Seismic Slam, don't use Putrid Swarm unless you expect them to dash or the angle is not enough for you.
Lighting Bugs (1 point) - if the bugs aren't triggered, the target is revealed until end of next Desicion Mode. This mod was awesome when bugs lasted one turn, but now it is too unstable. This extra turn is more than enough for your target to escape and turn the reveal into a joke.
Big Bugs (2 points) - increase the damage done by 3. The extra damage is absolutely not worth the cost. Useless mod.
Juicy Morsels (3 points) - gain 5 energy when bugs burst. An energy mod worth 3 points? "Useless", - you might think. Well, an energy mod is an energy mod, don't run it if you are not ready to sacrifice 3 points for it. However, getting 11 energy per fully served enemy sounds really good and is probably a reason to spray bugs frequently. The mod might find some use in energy builds.
Mending Swarm - Prep (Free action, 4 cooldown): 100% of damage taken this turn, up to 80, is recovered over the next 2 turns. Gain 5 energy on use.
A very strong prep which helps you survive enemy focus and ultimates or give one more turn for chasing a low health target. After a S3 rework the ability gained a cap and became a spammable thing instead of being a life saver like in S1-S2.
Re-generate (1 point) - reduce the cooldown by 1 if you aren't hit this turn. A typical consolation mod, run it until your intuition becomes developed enough to tell you when you are going to be hit at least once, it shouldn't take much time.
Taste of Blood (1 point) - recover 80% health the turn after but only gain health that turn. Pretty much useless, the only situation in which the mod can help you is when you are about to die the next turn unless you gain this additional 30% health (limited to 24 after the rework). Still needs testing though, if health recovery is limited to 80 and not 64, I will change my mind.
Chitinous (2 points, default) - gain 10 shields until end of turn. A very useful mod, you can read it as "recover 10 health in almost any situation".
Uncontrollable (2 points) - gain unstoppable until end of turn. A typical unstoppable mod, amazing when enemy team has plenty of crowd control and complete junk if they don't.
Leech (3 points) - each time you are hit this turn gain 4 energy. Just like Juicy Morsels, this mod is a good choice if you are making an energy build. The energy is easier to gain than from Juicy Morsels, but the income is slightly lower.
Juggernaut - Dash (4 cooldown): charge forward! When you hit an enemy or travel your maximum range,create a tremor that causes 22 direct damage and slows all enemies hit. Can dash through walls. Gain 8 energy per enemy hit.
Phaedra's dash is one of an agressive type, don't be afraid to run into the fray with it, you have Mending Swarm if something goes wrong. Another use for it is to run through the wall to deal damage to an enemy hiding behind and not let them run away. Especially useful if combined with Putrid Spray.
Relentless (1 point) - if no enemies are hit, reduce the cooldown of Juggernaut by 1. Personally I see no need to use this mod. Dashing without any damage can happen in three occasions: an enemy you was going to hit dashed away, you did a blind dash and your guess was wrong, or you decided to escape. The first occasion is not frequent enough to pick the mod, the second one should be avoided because the range of dash usually allows you deal damage without going blind, in the third occasion you probably ruined your position which is almost always worse than death, because you are still almost dead, but the amount of turns during which you did no contribution significantly increased.
Paralyzing Parasites (1 point) - when destroying bugs created by Putrid Spray the target is rooted. The rooting is always worth it, especially for just one point, but you need a good teamwork to utilise it properly.
Ravage (2 points, default) - when directly hitting a target, deal 6 additional damage to them. Directly hitting a target means you are playing aggressive, but you cannot allow to do it often. Also this mod is not as good as other ones for this ability.
Battering Ram (3 points) - bursting through walls deals an additional 8 damage to all targets. This mod is bugged (no pun intended) for several months and triggers if your targeter intersects with a wall, not only if you run through it. This is strange, because numbers displayed in Desicion Mode are correct. The mod is very good, but the bug makes it totally awesome and almost a must-pick.
Lair - Blast (Ultimate ability, 0 cooldown): create a large earthquake around you dealing 30 direct damage.The edges of the lair prevent enemies from moving out of it until the end of next turn.
An easy to use ultimate, you will usually hit more than one enemy with it or strongly restrict single enemy's movement. The size of lair (5x5 cells) is such that you can hit all cells with a single Seicmic Slam if you stand in a corner.
Hide and Seek (1 point) - gain vision of the area inside the lair. Needs testing, might be worth it if you can see through camo tiles, pretty much useless instead since you don't need vision to strike enemies.
Ensnare (1 point) - increase the targeting range by 1. This means you are not obliged to be inside the lair, doubling a number of options (49 instead of 25). A decent eco mod, feel free to take it if you are short of points.
Aftershock (2 points, default) - gain might until the end of next turn. Not worth it. Not only it has competition with Earthen Barrier (see below), but you even cannot use this might to soak extra damage from bursting bugs.
Earthen Barrier (2 points) - allies in the lair gain 10 health. A good mod which brings more contribution than Aftershock and saves your teammates from death.
Broodmother (3 points) - reduce the cooldown on Mending Swarm by 2. A good mod which make spammable heal even more spammable, but if you are new to Phaedra, you may find it hard to play around it.
Synergies and counters:
Characters having positive synergy with Phaedra:
1. Shield-based Supports like Helio and Dr.Finn. Combine their shielding with Mending Swarm do heavily boost your HP.
2. Stealth melee Firepowers like PuP and Kaigin. You provide them with extra vision they really need. Try equipping Predator mod to break camo and give your Firepowers direct vision needed for their jumps.
3. Su-Ren, not only because you are melee, but also because of your attacks with large area of effect which can utilize Spirit Bend well.
Characters having negative synergy with Phaedra:
1. All other Frontliners. Of course you knew it, but the list wouldn't be full without them!
2. Orion. You will often run away of his line of sight, you cannot protect him well and Mending Swarm + Fate Transfer is the most useless combo in Atlas.
3. Damage spreading Firepowers who do not gain much benefit from extra vision, like Oz and Celeste.
Characters countering Phaedra:
1. Khita. This archer has Resonance Burst to counter your Putrid Spray, she can mark you when you are about to use Mending Swarm and she has a slowing escape in case you get too close.
2. Agile Firepowers like Elle and Blackburn who don't mind wasting a turn and fighting over walls.
3. Not much tanky Frontliners like Asana and Garrison who provide a decent amount of support to teammates and kill you slowly.
4. Quark. It is hard to shake off, but you cannot do anything with its constant damage from the bond.
Characters countered by Phaedra:
1. Flimsy Firepowers like Grey and Nix. They usually stand no chance against you in 1v1 fights and you have instruments to counter their stealth.
2. Shield-based Supports. Wise use of Putrid Spray will make them waste their shields.
3. Frontliners like Rampart and Brynn, who try to hide behind artificial walls which you almost completely ignore.
Default build: Wind Up / None / Chitinous / Ravage / Aftershock. Recommended catalysts: none.
Best of Phaedra's A (more consistent): Tremors / Brood / Chitinous / Battering Ram / Broodmother. Recommended catalysts: Second Wind / Fetter / Chronosurge.
Best of Phaedra's B (more vision): Predator / Lighting bugs / Chitinous / Battering Ram / Earthen Barrier. Recommended catalysts: Second Wind / Fetter / Probe.
Energy build: TBA
Crowd control "bug abuse" build: TBA
This guide is not finished. Feel free to share your ideas on what could be added here.