With 142 initiated PVP battles under my belt this season, here are a few things I've found.
- AI can use certain heroes better than others, so your AFK team should take this into consideration. While I find the AI to be generally terrible at using Emma, I tend to include her regardless since her Cosmic Power is so useful against players who rely on debuffs (Mockingbird) and her Diamond Body is useful regardless. But the AI is generally very predictable when using Colossus and Captain America, such that if you have their counter-class ready, you can use it to your advantage.
- AI has serious trouble using quick-action equipment that increases your attack. If you have any such equipment, it's best to remove any defensive-oriented equipment. It is not rare to find the AI use the Arc Reactor Charge and then use Magnetic Field Generator on the same turn.
- AI is however pretty good at getting random effects, so here is where Emma sort of balances out. The other P5s could be quite useful here as well, such as Colossus, but I find Colossus to be more or less a free ride since the AI never uses the Decimate after Steel Fists quite correctly so I don't think he's quite worth it.
- The simpler your setup, the better the AI will use it. If you rely on mindlinking a phased Kitty, chances are that the AI will probably not pick it up. Same with one-shotting your enemy with charge up equipment. It is best to use equipment and heroes that have very independently effective yet easily combined skills.
- Infiltrators are very high risk for AFK setups due to the increasing number of scrappers and Mockingbird. Mockingbird will eat your infiltrator up alive with the scrapper bonus + tactical insight. If the opposing hero has a quantum jumper or Coulson's Revenge... oh boy.
- Planning against Emma, Mockingbird and Strange seems to be a must these days. Emma, at the very least, needs to be prepared for.
- Emma can easily be countered if your heroes have one non-combat skill that eats up a turn. Shields, protective effects, and other buffs work here. Else you're going to be faced with a recharge or damage/Mental Anguish situation.
- Mockingbird requires a tank or shields/decoys, and it helps if you have a generalist. But if the tank is a bruiser, well, good luck. MFG, DD, IW's shield and such work wonders against her. Also, infiltrators are high risk against her, so employ at your own risk.
- Strange is tough because high Attack makes his Seraphim shield pretty tough to crack, and his random shields (seem to go off only once per combat per hero/agent, but I haven't fought too long against him) are fairly annoying as well. While Blaster Strange is indeed easier to deal with if you have a tactician, it is only marginally so thanks to his shields. Shields aren't as useful against him because of his high damage, so the digital decoy works better. Emma is actually quite decent against him thanks to stuns, mental anguish and the trauma going through his shields (and adding migraine).
- Captain America is still quite easily found, and he's best dealt with Invisible Woman. If you don't use IW, then make sure that your heroes and agents have attacks that go around his protection.
- All in all, I find P5 Tactician Emma to be the Queen of PVP since she has all the tools to deal with a lot of different setups. Her Tap is not too powerful, but it discourages offensive action and can not be shielded nor protected against other than Colossus/Experiment. Her War Diamond can be protected-countered but it has a chance of applying stun, and will work against psychic-immune targets. Its cooldown can be staggered with Unlock Potential in case that's the only way of dealing with attacks; and UP is not only a buff but a debuff that removes everything except Bane/Doombringer. Also, she can not only use UP on herself to remove debuffs, but using it on others automatically removes MAnguish/Migraine on her as well. Mental Trauma is not only an area attack that gets through many single-attack counters/decoys, it goes through shields AND it applies a debuff that greatly reduces damage. Oh yeah, and it's quite powerful on its own right as well.
- Magnetic Field Generator: 1 turn that could possibly translate to three turns. However, utterly ineffective against psychic and other shield-ignoring attacks. Other than Emma, however, fairly effective against opposing heroes. I would use it in AFK for sure.
- Faulteater: not so effective against GR, Colossus, and others who are immune to one or both of its effects. Also not so effective against teams featuring Emma since her Cosmic Potential gets rid of it unless you apply it before the opposing team gets a turn. For some reason, if you manage to get it off before the opposing team gets a turn, Cosmic Power takes place AFTER burning/biofeedback is applied. The true bonus is that it ignores shields, protection, and can't be countered against. A nice setup for Pinion.
- Dark Sigil: awfully powerful, especially as a setup for various other heroes that can make the most out of it, like Mockingbird, Human Torch, and others. But if it doesn't serve as a setup, I'll probably not use it.
- Signpost: quick action every turn that deals nearly 1k per and heals for 1.8k. I'd place it on any AFK setup unless you have something better.
- Coulson's Revenge: Overpowered. If you have it, you use it, simple as that. They should get rid of the ignore shield part to balance it out. Currently it's almost stupid not to use it if you have it.
- Arc Reactor Charge: Honestly, I would only use it if you have Phoenix Flame(stealthy) AND another equipment that boosts attack, such as Chrono Overdrive or Sudden Support. That's 3 pieces for one attack every other turn, so you decide if it's worth it. For me, it is on offense, but not in AFK.
- Fistborne Defribillator(?): Counter attack is nice, and so is the stun. Damage isn't that great, but it's interesting. I'm trying it on my AFK.
- Combat Acceleration Program: 1 turn for 3 attacks. Does NOT stack with scrapper bonus. Mixed feelings on this, but if you have two really hard hitting heroes, it's well worth it. Best if your hero has a hard hitter himself.
- The Experiment: Mixed feelings. Emma is everywhere, so it's nice to have, but Emma also counters its other use, which is sapping stamina. At least it's a quick action, but is it worth an equipment slot?