Sniper Overview

I like Sniper. I like the fact that its Snipes are guaranteed to hit. I like getting crits. I like crits. I like physicals from the back row. I like damage. I like classes that are immediately good from the start of the game, which some other classes can't quite boast. Yes? Oui. Simple.

Snipers have good STR, AGI, and pretty reasonable LUC, counterbalanced by having somewhat low TP, and very low HP, TEC, and VIT. The HP and VIT are to be expected, since snipers are meant to be a back-row class, but the low TEC puts a damper on their DS (which is still okay for a class with a heavy focus on disable infliction, mind you). Their high AGI is important, as it lets them outspeed a good amount of enemies, potentially locking out dangerous skills with snipe skills before the enemy can actually use them.
Equippable Weapons:
Equippable Armor:
Common Passives
Class Skill

Allows bow skills to deal critical hits. Increases the damage the user deals with critical hits.
A rare class skill that doesn't have an immediately clear synergy with a class's core identity. The sniper class skill is purely a damage increase, with critical hits as the method of delivery. While obviously not as consistent as a flat damage increase, crits can still provide sudden significant burst damage, and also aren't subject to diminishing returns with other attack increases. Fun stuff.

In practice, sniper skills have somewhat low base damage, which means that in order to deal significant damage, they rely on their class skill to deal high, random burst damage, resulting in the class having a kind of wonky and wide range of possible damage. That's a fair trade-off for the binding utility and high speed the class offers, though.
Novice Skills

Leg Snipe

Deals ranged STR-based stab damage to one enemy. Attempts to bind the target's legs. Cannot miss.
All three of the snipes, in my opinion, are definitely worth grabbing, though less so for their offensive capabilities, and more for the utility of each type of bind. As such, my opinions on them will mostly boil down to "how useful is this bind?"

Enemy skills that use the legs are pretty few and far between, with the vast majority of them being standard physical attacks on enemies that, design-wise, attack with either their legs, or their bodies. Bosses very seldom make use of the legs for actual attacks, with the primary point of binding a boss's legs being that leg binds heavily reduce an afflicted target's speed, and disable their evasion.

For snipers specifically, disabling evasion is incredibly important for Squall Volley, a sniper's best source of damage. If you're running a sniper as your sole disabler, then Leg Snipe will be a very important skill for you.

Oh, also, this applies to the snipes in general, I'm just putting it here since this is the first snipe skill: there's actually several instances where the "cannot miss" part of the skills comes in very handy. Ruining chameleons' days, being able to land shots even when blinded or head bound, or when an enemy has high AGI and LUC... Okay, "several" is maybe a bit much, but trust me when I say that those situations are more common than you'd think, and having a guaranteed-to-hit attack is precious for them.
Arm Snipe

Deals ranged STR-based stab damage to one enemy. Attempts to bind the target's arms. Cannot miss.
Arm binds largely serve to completely shut down most physical attack skills, as well as halve the damage of any physical attack skills that don't use the arms. In short, while they don't have much offensive utility, they have an immense amount of defensive utility, and, well, the best offense is a good defense and all that.
Long Shot

Deals ranged STR-based stab damage to one enemy.
A shockingly basic skill with little utility compared to just performing a normal attack. Long Shot is as fast as a normal attack, it's as accurate as one—in essence, what you're doing with Long Shot, compared to a normal attack, is spending TP to add between 40% and 90% damage. You only need three ranks of it to get further bow attack skills, and nothing else.
Steel Arrow

Deals ranged STR-based stab damage that pierces enemy rows.
Having a row-piercing attack is always useful, although Steel Arrow's damage is somewhat low without crits, and the skill also scales extraordinarily terribly, gaining only an extra 50% damage at max rank, with the TP cost nearly doubling and requiring nine skill points. You only need two ranks of it in order to get skills further down the tree, so...
Flank Shot

Deals ranged STR-based stab damage to one row of enemies.
Flank Shot is more broadly useful than Steel Arrow, due to being able to hit more targets if there are more enemies in the front row. It scales as poorly as Steel Arrow does, though, so I'd recommend only grabbing rank 2, in order to grab future, better skills.
Lock On

Increases the user's chance of dealing critical hits for a set amount of turns.
An okay option for increasing an earlygame sniper's damage, but it falls off quite fast, due to the maintenance cost, as well as wasting a turn you could instead use on attempting to land an early bind. In the lategame, it's also way overkill, as Snipe Mastery combined with Bullseye will generally put you at high crit rates, leaving a lot of Lock On's benefit useless.

Increases all party members' accuracy for a set amount of turns.
Spotter provides a ridiculous amount of extra accuracy for how little SP you need to max it out, it's fast, and it even comes with a 6-turn base duration. Unfortunately, due to most of the EO4's significant attack skills lacking significant accuracy penalties, its usefulness is also somewhat limited. A rank 1 Spotter is enough to basically eliminate accuracy penalties for most of the skills with noticeably lower-than-average accuracy; namely, Swift Edge, Galvanic Rune, and a handful of bushi skills. The higher ranks pretty much only help Squall Volley, and while rank 4 does put Squall Volley at 78% base accuracy, a value at which you can expect most of that skill's shots to land, you're still going to miss just shy of one out of four hits, and that's with having to maintain the buff every 6 turns.

Also, in general, just binding an enemy's legs provides a better version of Spotter, since why bother with accuracy increases when you can make accuracy not a factor at all? This goes doubly for Squall Volley.
Sniper is like, the definition of a value point class. It has an oddly high amount of them.

Increases monster drop chances.

If you've somehow completely run out of things to invest skill points in, then I guess putting points in Scavenger is better than just letting your skill points be unspent. The benefit is so miniscule, though, and won't even help much with some of the really awful lategame and postgame rare drops.
Veteran Skills

Head Snipe

Deals ranged STR-based stab damage to one enemy. Attempts to bind the target's head. Cannot miss.
Binding an enemy's head usually means you put a stop to nasty buffs, and nasty elemental attacks, along with the odd physical attack that uses the head. Much like the other binds, though, binding an enemy's head also has other passive effects—namely, it halves an afflicted entity's TEC, which has several effects, due to that stat being used in multiple different formulas. Most importantly, though, since TEC is the primary influence in defense against TEC-based attacks, binding an enemy's head will cause them to take significantly more damage from TEC-based attacks.

If you're running a runemaster alongside your sniper, then it can be worth it to spend the time attempting to inflict a head bind before you switch your attention to your sniper's personal damage, as binding an enemy's head, combined with an elemental Rune, will provide a huge multiplicative increase to your runemaster's damage, which is completely unaffected by diminishing returns.
Chase Bind

When a bind is inflicted on an enemy, the user will attack that enemy. Higher ranks allow the user to activate Chase Bind multiple times per turn.

Chase Bind has the distinction of having, arguably, the worst scaling of any skill in EO4. One point of it is absolutely fine, with it acting as a small damage increase for the snipe skills. Any further points are a huge waste, since Chase Bind activating multiple times in one turn is fairly rare, and gaining 1% base accuracy per rank is awful. Unfortunately, you need to waste an additional two skill points on Chase Bind to get it to rank 3, in order to get Snipe Mastery. Ugh.
Silver Arrow

Deals ranged STR-based stab damage to one enemy. Ignores the target's vulnerability to stab damage.
Essentially, this is a version of Long Shot that costs more TP, deals more damage, and comes with the curious property of ignoring an enemy's stab vulnerability. While this does offer snipers a way to deal appreciable damage to physically-resistant enemies, it also comes with the side-effect of negating damage bonuses against the odd enemy that is very vulnerable to stab damage. Not a skill to rush to max out, but it's not bad to have around, either.
Squall Volley

Deals multiple instances of ranged STR-based stab damage to random enemies.

Well, here we are: the big sniper damage skill. It requires setup—some pretty significant setup, even—but once you've made sure that it can actually hit things, Squall Volley will utterly mess up whatever you point it at. The skill's average and max damage is already quite high, especially for a Veteran skill, but then you have to factor in crits. That note on the skill is extremely important—successfully rolling for a crit early on when using Squall Volley will massively ramp up the skill's already respectable damage. With the class skill maxed out, rolling for a crit on the first hit of a 16-hit Squall Volley will deal 1600% damage. That's the kind of damage that would otherwise require the nightseeker class skill to hit.

Now, obviously, this kind of power comes with a lot of caveats and downsides. You absolutely do need some form of accuracy-increasing setup to use the skill, be it Spotter or, significantly more preferably, an evasion-cancelling disable, such as leg binds, panic, etc. Even with that setup, though, Squall Volley's TP cost is extremely high, and its damage can swing wildly, with rank 8 being capable of dealing anywhere from 300% to 800% damage. Beyond the numbers, Squall Volley is a random-target skill, so its potential damage and required set up get completely screwed if you're dealing with multiple targets. Most unfortunately, EO4's final boss and superboss are both multi-target affairs, which significantly hampers a sniper's effectiveness against those very important fights. Ostensibly, Squall Volley isn't meant to be a sniper's main source of damage, but, well... You'll see.
Here's a Kinu Note for what Kinu is obsessed with: Squall Volley is the best Link-helper skill in the game. It's cranked. The amount of link follow-up you can do with Squall Volley is unmatched. For this reason, Fuk Yea

Increases the user's chance of dealing critical hits.
Crits are the main way that snipers deal appreciable damage, so grabbing a passive increase to their crit rate is a pretty good idea, though the scaling leaves something to be desired.

It is worth considering that the math on how much of an effective damage boost Bullseye provides gets warped significantly by the whole issue with crits and multi-hit skills. Put simply, Bullseye can cause Squall Volley to start dealing critical hits earlier, and the earlier Squall Volley starts dealing crits, the more Bullseye's value goes up.
Eagle Eye

Reduces one enemy's physical defense for a set amount of turns.
A low-investment debuff that provides a quite significant benefit for physical-heavy parties, most parties in EO4. The downside to Eagle Eye is that its duration is short, and means you have to use your sniper for something besides inflicting binds or firing off Squall Volley. If you've got another party member that can land evasion-cancelling disables, though, Eagle Eye becomes a much more attractive proposition.

Only usable in the labyrinth. Reduces the encounter rate for a set amount of steps.
Useful for when you want to quickly take care of a quest that requires stumbling through the labyrinth looking for something that doesn't involve combat, though whether or not that's worth skill points is up to you. For me, nah.
High Caution

Gives the user a chance to nullify blindsides.
Now this is a high-value passive. Blindsides in EO4 are nowhere near as nasty as in future games (especially EOU), but they can still ruin your day if the wrong encounter formation blindsides you. High Caution isn't guaranteed to cancel them out, but it's more than likely to, at max rank.
Discerning Eye

When gathering food on the overworld, the user has a chance to bypass the standard food gathering functions, and immediately find rare food.
My advice with any of these one-point gathering or food-related passives is always "take them," not much else to say. This is only here because Discerning Eye is a passive specific to snipers.
Master Skills

Snipe Mastery

Increases the user's chance of dealing critical hits against enemies that are afflicted with binds.
The most underwhelming mastery skill in EO4, tied with Surge Mastery, in my opinion. Even so, at max rank, Snipe Mastery provides a high boost to a sniper's critical hit chance with just one bind, to say nothing of two or three. Two binds plus a maxed out Bullseye is enough to (except for very edge cases) guarantee critical hits on a target.
Impact Arrow

Deals ranged STR-based stab damage that pierces enemy rows. Has a cooldown.

Straight up, I have no idea why this is a Master skill, why its TP cost is so high, why it has a speed penalty, why it has a cooldown...

Seriously why the hell is it a Master skill, this makes no sense. It'd be fine as a Veteran skill, an upgrade to Steel Arrow, but instead it wastes a Master skill slot.
Divine Shot

Deals ranged STR-based stab damage to one enemy. The damage increases based on how many binds the target is afflicted with. If the target is afflicted with binds, they will be forcibly removed after the target takes damage.
And the award for "most disappointing Master skill" goes to... Well, it goes to Impact Arrow, but if you don't count that one, then it goes to Divine Shot. Here lies Atlus's attempt to balance Ecstasy-like skills—skills that scale their damage based on how many binds an enemy has.

To be fair to Divine Shot, it has the one of the highest potential damage modifiers of any skill in EO4. With a maxed out sniper class skill, and with a bushi subclass providing a half-max Charge, Divine Shot can deal 3040% damage, with Charge in effect and if it deals a crit. The only things in the game that can beat it include a nightseeker mainclass with Fortress as a subclass using a fully-powered Vengeance Bash against a target with an ailment, which would hit 3500% damage. A nightseeker mainclass with Bushi as a subclass could also use Charge on Multi Slash while at really low HP to get close to 3500% damage. (Noticing a pattern with hitting the highest potential damage in this game?) Suffice to say, though, even if hitting Divine Shot's max potential is a bit impractical, it is still more practical than the other two nightmares I just typed out.

Potential does not equal practicality or usefulness, however. Re-read the description—Divine Shot removes any binds from whatever target it hits, meaning you basically have to trade all the utility of whatever binds you inflicted for...damage. This is also the worst possible game to do that in, due to accumulative resistance not naturally falling off in EO4. Additionally, good luck managing to get three binds to stick on an enemy at the same time long enough to do whatever setup you need to maximize the skill's damage. The more likely scenario is landing Divine Shot on an enemy that has two binds applied to it, which...barely deals more damage than Squall Volley's average. Bah.

There is one boss, all the way out in the postgame, where a lot of Divine Shot's downsides and questions of practicality go away, but we'll get there when we get there.
I think that the fact that I like Sniper so much is proof that I have an addiction to micro-gambling in games. I feel happiness every time I get a crit. +1s in Fire Emblem? Ambrosia. I wanna play Path of Radiance again. I have a Wii now! Why don't I do that? +1s! I could hang out with Ike and see him continue to fail to gain Strength! Please be good, Ike.

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