My Listell is still a 4 stars. Well, the HP bonus is nice, but it’s tough to justify the investment when stars are such a game changer for almost anybody else indeed!
I usually ban Landius first on any match, for a couple of reason: he is overpowered if at 6 stars, and he is a faction buffer for a bunch of pain in the butt PVP characters (it depends of course if those characters are part of the player’s selection, or I won’t waste time banning him ;)
I then regret not banning Zerida as she is usually the first one picked by my foe :D
Bozel comes close, usually in the first ban batch: again because he is a faction buffer for a bunch of assassins, and also a very displeasant thing to have hanging around on the field.
If my Listell was banned in the opening (it’s rare but happens), the Dog is sure to go on the first batch if he is around. Conversely, I’ll put Listell out early if I see him in the opposing line-up: having a 6th traitor character on your team is too good a chance to pass!
Other priority targets are Ledin (not a threat per se, but if a character is broken, that is him. No spellcaster left? Can’t win anymore, tough luck!) and Joshua (faction buff, although rarely used as such, and insane damage output compared to his numbers, a bit like an offensive Ledin).
My lineup has one or two healers, one of which is Liana, because everybody looooves to ban Liana first. Let’s disclose it all: I never use her - or any dedicated healer for that matter - but they make good decoys.
I don’t have any theories on the status of the game. I have basically two teams selected, besides Liana, Listell and a couple of the mandatory overpowered dudes offered kindly by the server: a strategist lineup and a Legend of Heroes one. This leaves my opponent guessing as to who to ban, and I usually have enough leeway to get four useful interacting characters plus a random filler (a good last pick almost never happens).
In my experience, not having a tank isn’t much of a liability on those large maps: it only asks you to be more spread out, which isn’t a bad tactics anyway in my opinion.
Now I have a couple of key characters that will really put me in deep troubles if both are banned, but I won’t disclose their name ;D
Edit: My strategy is pretty simple: both of my teams are extremely offense oriented. I don’t care for healing or playing the clock (that dude you fought today, @peacedog ;), I just do all I can to win the initiative when blows get flying. Usually that requires sacrificing a tasty lamb to my opponent. I also like to spread since AOE are all the craze now. That renders your individual characters vulnerable, but very often destroys the routine of your opponent. This is why I also like to have defensive enchants, against the common wisdom and it is probably a mistake overall. But I am having fun!