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SnowFire

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  1. The recent big character ranking threads got me thinking about some possible tweaks to inter-cast balance. What would be some good modifications to make the characters both more balanced, while still being "interesting" ? An easy way to bring balance is to make everyone Felix / Petra clones, but yawn to that. Also, let's try to avoid class balance changes, or fundamental major additions to the game. For example, Catherine and Felix (and Byleth?)'s default swordmaster builds would probably have been improved by some sort of swords & fists War Master variant at the Master Tier (Trueblade? Dread Fighter?), but that's a bit beyond the scope of this topic. We're looking for changes that wouldn't be too crazy or require major reworking of the game system. At the top end the Lords & Byleth could all arguably use a nerf, but clearly they're good intentionally, so they're actually fine. Maybe hand out Flying Weakness a bit more liberally if we were serious about nerfing the top-end - Edelgard in particular (attempt to force her more toward Fortress Knight / Emperor / Warrior, which makes Raging Storm more balanced), but it's not a big deal. For the lower-ranked characters from the topics.. Ignatz: I'm not really sure anything needs to be done for Ignatz. While he was ranked a 4 ultimately, he has his niche and serves it well. Maybe some of his utility Combat Arts could be safely buffed in power since they eventually compete with the mighty Hunter's Volley, but as said above, that'd be beyond the scope here. Flayn: What Flayn really needs is even more Faith spells, but she's already at the 5 spell limit, so swap out Restore for Seraphim perhaps? She can share the monster-hunting niche with Lysithea and have less need to invest in Reason. Lily's Poise is a good passive but since Flayn still has issues, it could probably afford to be buffed even more - make it like Fates and offer +1 damage dealt as well, say. Hanneman: Mostly good for the archetype he's aiming for. Better skill ranks would be nice though: if he joined with C-Authority, that'd be both flavorful and convenient. Same with an even higher Reason / Bow rank. Caspar: Among the Axe/Fist crew, Dedue is the best (Good Str / Def), Raphael is good at Str, Alois has Charm, and Caspar has… Speed, I guess? But his cripplingly bad base Spd means that he isn't really outpacing the class minimums unless you make Assassin Caspar or something, meaning he isn't really much faster than say Raphael until very late, since class mins will catch everyone else up. If he was supposed to be the "fast" War Master, give him substantially better speed growth - 45%->55%, say. He's still flat worse than War Master Felix but at least he has something of a niche. For Ashe, I think the idea was fine, just having good Dex & Luck is even weaker than the devs "thought" (The passive abilities that boost them are +4 compared to other stat's +2, but in reality, you'd need them to be more like Dex +8 or Lck +8 / Chr +8 to compete with Str +2 / Spd +2). I'd say go all in on the meme: give Ashe 75% base Dex & Lck growths, so that he's guaranteed to be zooming over the competition there. (Could also give him Riding Talent.. but then he starts to interfere with Leonie's easiest-to-Bow Knight niche.) Manuela: This idea came up in the thread, but if you don't have a Dancer in your team post-timeskip (maybe you skipped the Ball? Or made Flayn your Dancer on Crimson Flower? Or the Dancer died in Classic mode?), then Manuela auto-qualifies as a Dancer, which would give her Sword Avo +20. Another Faith spell would help to make her "default" Bishop build less of a trap: even just boring ol' Recover would help. Also, have her join with C-Authority. Could maybe make her passive crit avoid ability spread over a wider area as well, so she doesn't have to get quite as close to the fray. Lorenz: Lorenz is the Golden Deer's mixed tank. IntSys clearly wants to be careful with this archetype as, especially on the easier difficulties, they can cheeze the game hard if you just send an invincible-to-everything guy forward. That said, Lorenz may have been TOO weak - I've tried to avoid simple stat tweaks, but both Paladin Lorenz & Mage Lorenz would appreciate a slightly higher Defense / Resistance growth (+5% to each?) that makes Lorenz's survival plan more viable. (The other obvious thing to do would be to make Thrysus locked to Lorenz only, but that goes very much against the general philosophy of the game, where Lysithea having an extra Crest is supposed to be an advantage, and even other random Crest-holders can use relics.) Raphael: Raphael is mostly in an acceptable niche despite being objectively on the weak side, similar to Ignatz. I'd say to replace his lame passive entirely, but Balthus already kinda did that! I guess if we're keeping it, don't make it Lck%, have it trigger no matter what. Makes him even worse for Vantage builds but you should do that on others anyway. Gilbert: He's a Veteran Knight, right? To me, flavorfully, that means maybe his stats are a little bad due to age, but he's incredibly experienced. So yeah, repeat "better skill levels on join". Let him get to Axefaire / Lancefaire if you want! Give him a starting A+ in Axes / Lances / Armor and a B in Authority & Riding. He's still not great, but if you do build him, he can legitimately get to some of the high-end stuff now and isn't tossed into mid-game catchup mode quite as hard. Anna has among the easiest fixes: just give her supports. If voice acting budget is a concern, give her just arbitrary supports strictly as a gameplay conceit that start pre-filled, no conversations or meals shared necessary. She's still not great, but she isn't suffering from -5 to -20 Hit & Avoid that other characters will have by the timeskip, as well as notably worse Gambit accuracy. To really improve her, we need to toss her passive; "+X stat" is not even a passive, that's just… make her starting Luck higher then instead. Interesting other options: "+1 Move" would raise some eyebrows and instantly make her among the best targets for stat-boosters to fix her bad growths but hey, a free Boots is unique and interesting. Another option might be "can use half magic in non-magic using classes, and use normal magic charges in half-magic using classes." This makes her a bit saucier as a Trickster, and lets her Assassin / Sniper build do Trickster things too. She's sufficiently weak that something really spicy like this is "safe" to give her. Of course, none of this will actually happen, but still! Any thoughts?
  2. See, I'm the reverse on this. 3H human bosses just all get wrecked way too easily such that you don't have to care very much about what they can do. VW/SS Edelgard can just get quad'd by War Master fists and die horribly, or at the very least set up the next hit to finish the job. Maddening assumes you've optimized your setups at least somewhat, and vs. that kind of cheese, the bosses really do need hundreds of HP to be relevant. If nothing else, you'd have to remove the shield-break stun mechanic if you wanted hypothetical monster bosses with less HP to ever get a chance to do anything, ever. (Also, people have complained for a long time that FE crits are more style over substance, since OMG overkill damage very rarely matters in older Fire Emblems. Monsters are a way to "reward" some Hunter's Volley Killer Bow for mega damage setups.) -- I will say, backing up to the original question as well as some of the commentary about how FE is ultimately not really about the bosses, I do think some of the older FEs had a better sense of "minibosses" then FE3H. 3H tends to have the level of the regular enemies, +1 to that level for important minibosses, and +2 to that level for this chapter's big boss. Just an extra level or two is very subtle and practically unnoticeable, so it causes the threat level to feel very constant for most human enemies. (Certainly you should be far more scared of an L30 Wyvern Lord than an L31 Warrior in enemy hands.) This wasn't really the case in, say, FE6/FE7, which are happy to say surprise, here's a promoted Paladin in Chapter 6 or whatever in the middle of the map, enjoy dealing with it. The gap between the scary enemies and the waves of chaff was much more noticeable there and made you pay attention a bit more IMO. 3H's human bosses would be improved if they just amped up the level scaling like crazy (and gave them an XP penalty so that they didn't become super-good at farming XP off of). Rather than have Chapter 11 be most enemies being (using Hard levels as an example) L22, Metodey being L23, and Flame Emp being L24, make it more like Metodey is L25 and Flame Emp is L28. Or for Maddening, 29/30/31 -> 29/32/35.
  3. Cool stuff. I will say as a nitpick... the Dorothea's 6.37 score is a bit wacky. It's known that mine & Dayni's evaluations probably weren't counted because the Petra thread went up super-early for whatever reason and the score wasn't updated afterward, but I can't get the average to come out to the alleged result even given that. Not sure if votes were quietly tossed due to not qualifying as enough explanation, or there were late edits, or what, but I come up with 6.67 as the average for Dorothea, or ~6.5 if various "late" (but not actually late) votes are tossed or some shorter votes are tossed. The shorter votes tend to be 7/10s so wouldn't have a huge effect regardless. Of course, basically everything in decimals is a rounding error - I think I agree with the tiermaker chart posted yesterday that unless you have a huge number of raters, the closest you're going to get is to any accuracy is within a point for a fan consensus. So maybe not a concern after all!
  4. Don't feel "bad" about using EO, especially through the midgame. It has the merit of requiring the least amount of faculty training, and even if you decide not to use it long-term, it's still worth getting Sacred Power to buff allies. The utility from a few extra spells and healing, along with mildly better Str & Mag growth than Assassin, definitely give it some reason to exist compared to Assassin or the like. (Flyers like Falcon Knight / Wyvern Lord are still busted, of course, but that's more them being awesome than EO being bad.)
  5. I haven't used Yuri in a normal campaign yet so no rank, he's not as easy as Anna to theorycraft on and Cindered Shadows is a little different (although he's quite useful there). That said... he's basically Petra, trading HP for Charm and a Crest, but with a talent list that REALLY encourages an infantry sword class and discourages Yet Another Wyvern Rider. And Assassin Petra is still fine! Yuri's Mag stat is better than Petra but still not going to fool any real mage (see: Manuela & Anna), so I think Mortal Savant is a bit questionable here, but I suppose he can use a Levin Sword+ better while staying Assassin. As others have already noted, Windsweep is basically the "good" sword art in a pile of meh. While all units like good strength & speed, it's unusually important for Assassins, which have to deal with Swords' weaker raw weapon power and having to earn double attacks the hard way when not using Windsweep. Like all Bow Talent people, Yuri can just Sniper it up like everyone else and Hunter's Volley stuff to death. The Crest does make him good at using Fetters of Dromi (Unlike Ignatz / Ashe). It's an investment but if you use Boots on him from Ashe/Catherine's Paralogue (or, if including DLC bonuses, Sacred Galewind Shoes), a move-boosted Fetters of Dromi Sniper is pretty terrifying, like an Infantry Bow Knight. I'm doing a build like this on Felix, and while Yuri's strength is worse than Felix, Yuri could presumably pull it off as well. Probably somewhere in the 7/10 range to guess, but not a "real" vote as noted.
  6. As a nitpick, think you're gonna have to remove this line for Anna & the Ashen Wolves! Strictly speaking, no-DLC Anna is unrankable since she doesn't exist, after all. If you have Anna, you also have Trickster/etc. access. To wax philosophical a bit, IntSys lovingly added specific voice acted lines for all the Abyss residents to speak during the various "normal" campaigns, which surprises me a bit rather than just having them be like "yo I have no idea what's going on up there, hello." Fair enough, since clearly the Abyss randos & Ashen Wolves voice actors were already there, so might as well record normal campaign lines in addition to Cindered Shadows lines. And I get that bringing back existing Voice Actors is probably expensive or tricky. But still, IntSys couldn't find anybody to come back for cheap? Even VAs who clearly were already back to record CS lines, like Lords / Lin / Ashe / Hilda? Or hell, do text-only supports if you have to. I respect not making Anna an OP pay2win character stat-wise, but support conversations are secretly what we're paying for if we use this character; filling out that conversation list and hearing cool lore can make even weak characters worthwhile. You're only using Anna for sheer gameplay, and there's not much here. Anyway, I haven't used Anna yet, but yikes. She's Manuela, who can potentially get a much earlier start at training if you want (C2!), but even less inspiring stats. And NO SUPPORTS. An out-of-class random recruit already has some issues with merely fewer supports, but NO supports? As Dark Holy Elf noted, this makes Anna effectively the least accurate character in the game, and the least useful for pumping other character's accuracy, so she actually manages to make her team a bit worse. Gilbert isn't great, but even he can manage this basic task. Her personal is quite uninspiring as well (maybe +10 Lck would be enough to notice?). Like Manuela, I guess the "optimal" build for her is slogging through that Reason bane for Mortal Savant, or maybe being some mixed-damage Sniper or Assassin with a Magic Bow / Levin Sword, but meh. (And one of the nice things about your Snipers / Bow Knights is that their high range sets up more supports, for the likes of Bernie / Ashe / Ignatz. Which Anna is inherently less useful for. Welp.) Anna has exactly one aspect unique to her that is genuinely to her benefit: She is the only character in the game (with one insane exception*) who can join at any time post-timeskip, appropriately leveled to the chapter (albeit as a Thief the whole way). And I'll certainly grant that even an inefficiently trained Anna is way better than an empty slot or a hugely underlevel character. So, if you have empty deployment slots for a lategame mission, you can recruit Anna, flash-certify her as an Assassin, and toss her into the fray. On Maddening, the "expected" level is probably a bit higher than your actual level, too, at least for non-healers. I can think of 3 circumstances this might be relevant: Linhardt & Leonie's paralogue on Crimson Flower where Edelgard & Hubert are missing and you have 11 deployment slots (so if you were leveling 12 characters, you have 1 missing), a "death march" Classic run that has eaten late casualties, and some sort of speedrun situation where you only leveled 2 characters but want 3 for the final map or the like. This is not much, but I legit used Anna in that first scenario in my Crimson Flower run, and I suppose I'll grant the other scenarios aren't totally crazy either. Anna gets a 1.5, same score as Gilbert for me. She'd be a 1.0 (Manuela trading training time for NO SUPPORTS) but +0.5 for the final quirk of hers, of being an emergency warm body. * The insane exception: The other way to have a character join in any chapter post-timeskip is if you happen to have a save file of Crimson Flower pre-Jeritza DLC. He'll join immediately the next Monastery phase appropriately leveled, but, uh, requiring old save files is pretty nuts.
  7. Well, you apparently rated Bantu a 0/10 in 2012, so you tell me? More seriously, Bantu is doubled and one-rounded by everything on his join map on the harder difficulties, and even if he somehow is fed kills, he has harsh stat caps meaning that even if force-fed stat-boosters to overcome bad stat growths, he's still horrible. Finally, his weapon is very limited. Not even close to the same tier as Gilbert. L3xandr3: As a tiny nitpick, Dedue is gone 3 maps (Reunion, Garreg Mach defense, Ailell) not 2, and arrives without a battalion on the 4th map (Bridge) so won't really be at full strength there.
  8. Also, witness the might of tank-Gilbert combat preview in Weathervanes of Fodlan. (Okay, in reality he'd be using Helm Splitter here if he really did decide to unwisely aggro the "guards" for a lot more damage, but STILL.)
  9. Gilbert is bad. Just how bad mostly is going to turn on philosophical ideas about rankings more so than Gustave himself. In general, these ranking threads have presumed a somewhat optimized, serious playthrough. Let's set that aside for a moment and suppose we're playing through super-casually, like a first-timer who hasn't read the guide. You're not optimizing your Prof XP intake early. You're not using meals or gifts to keep motivation high. You don't recognize that the boring beginner and intermediate class skills are actually the useful ones, instead happily taking shiny but mostly niche skills. You change skill training belatedly for a few characters after changing your mind or remembering you need a skill a little late. You rescue Flayn ASAP rather than let her rot underground for a month while Manuela slowly bleeds out. This is the set of assumptions that is going to tend to make a pre-leveled character stronger, right? And yet, Gilbert is still bad under such assumptions. You can't possibly still have D+ Authority on any unit you've been using at all this late. Fortress Knight is not a great class, but if you wanted one, Dedue is right there, or maybe even some off-build of Alois. We're mostly scoring on sheer stats if we assume poor skill training, but Gilbert's stats are also uninspiring, featuring truly wretched speed, luck, and resistance, yet still not being as good a pure HP/Str/Def front-liner as Raphael. So he's a character who starts out "bad", and then baking in the most basic of optimization starts making him look "terrible" instead once you bake in the pile of useful skills other characters learned already. As a side comment, the DLC has arguably made Gilbert worse - in an "optimal" playthrough, Annette's best class is flat-out Dark Flier post-DLC, in my opinion. Something that Gilbert actually is useful for is enforced quality time with his daughter, making up for lost years with a damage boost, but if she's a DF or WR/WL, he can't actually adjutant her without qualifying as a Wyvern first himself. Whoops. (Granted, maybe WR/WL was where you went with Annette pre-DLC, but Warlock was the more vanilla choice.) As far as score... well, Gilbert is very clearly not the absolute worst if doing an overall Fire Emblem series ranking, simply because you can "fix" him and eventually make him useful as described above (double Wrath nonsense etc.), and the FE series has some true stinkers that are just bad at everything, strictly worse than other characters, and don't eventually do something cool if you do level them. (Insert FE12 Bantu memes here.) But he's close to as bad as it gets in 3H itself, with the only other arguable competition being *nn*. The other philosophical question that can help Gilbert is - how much of a ranking is in "choice of characters to use when given an option" and how much is "actually useful in game"? FE Radiant Dawn Edward is, IMO, not very good, but I will grant he's useful on the very first map where he's a required deploy in a tiny force. Personally, I would give him exceptionally little credit for this (if he didn't exist, they'd just have rebalanced the map, nothing of value would be lost), but others disagree. And, if there's ever a map where "some random Fortress Knight" would be useful, Gilbert sure picked the right map to be required for in AM Reunion at Dawn. Very choke-pointy, all physical units, few other units to help pick up the slack, although he does need to grab a Lance somehow and the existence of #$%^&* Pass on Maddening Thieves messes up his chokepoint-holding abilities sometimes. Should Gilbert be rewarded for this? A very little, but not much, IMO. Note that Ashe got among the worst scores, despite the fact that "optimal" Maddening should probably build Ashe during White Clouds anyway just for Reunion at Dawn, since it's one of the toughest maps in the game and he's required there. Required is not the same as good. Non-Adjutant Gilbert collects a 1.5 from me. Baseline of 1, +0.25 for being useful meatshield on Reunion at Dawn, +0.25 for uh building into an okay Great Knight with a lot of catch-up by the very endgame before he gets fried by siege tomes if you insist on building him.
  10. Well, Manuela's good on the Sword Avo +20 plan at least, which is passive and useful even if she dances every turn. Grab a Training Sword for pure dodgetanking or a Levin Sword to actually kill people. I agree that TOO much utility is problematic due to the contention issue, but I think that Utility that is very situational is still good on a Dancer - Silence the best example from Manuela's kit, you almost never use it but it's very good sometimes and worth skipping a turn dancing. Warp can be a little weird with Dance as an option (only useful if you're jumping a ledge or want to keep your Warp-Dancer really far back - talk about considerations that almost never come up, considering Linhardt's game-worst Charm, and Dancer Lysithea being a horrible waste!), but Manuela "loses less". The other example of something like this is Dancer Flayn's Fortify - Flayn is mostly straight-up Dancing but can also take a turn off for a mass team heal, which is handy.
  11. Just replying to +1 this idea. Things you want your dancer to have ideally: sword proficiency if building a dodgetank / bait unit, powerful but limited utility (e.g. Warp, Fortify), and sure some attack magic. Manuela is certainly well-built for doing this, but it turns out it's against the rules for the judges to declare themselves the winner. (Alas for Dancer Alois or Shamir as well.) Too bad that IntSys is never gonna release hypothetical no-monastery, no restrictions mode to allow shenanigans like this. Manuela: Uh, she's usable enough because a free healing Adjutant is still handy, and if you're short deployment slots for some reason an underlevel backline healer is useful in a way that an underlevel fighter isn't. But if we're talking about ACTUALLY using her long-term as a non-filler, non-Adjutant? Yeah, 2/10 sounds right. Warp is cool, but you don't really need redundant Warps unless you're doing an LTC playthrough or the like, and BE & GD already have a significantly better Warper, and Manuela doesn't really support with many Blue Lions (Sylvain & Gilbert). If you want the more useful Manuela builds than "bad Bishop worse than Flayn / Linhardt / Marianne / Mercie", then she has to climb one of the toughest skill training gaps in the game, unless you just sit her in Assassin forever maybe and eschew Mortal Savant / Pegasus Knight / etc. DLC does help because Trickster is another legit, low-investment option for her, but she's still probably worse than many other options like Marianne or Yuri at Trickster'ing, and those aren't even necessarily the best builds for those characters. Clearly better than a 1/10 useless, but all of that extra investment and Sauna trips that isn't really required for other characters means she's pretty bottom of the barrel objectively.
  12. Agro: What I mean is "sold in limitless supply". You can scrape & scrounge for Arcane Crystals beforehand, sure. You really don't want to go into Sniper without at least one Magic Bow though considering Hanneman's questionable Str, and Hunter's Volley costs 5 endurance, so you will be doing a substantial amount of repairing. (I guess I also undersold what the DLC offers Hanneman - I forget when Magic Bow unlocks, but I suppose you can get more Magic Bows from the Pagan Altar as well. Hopefully not too late, since you'd want Hanneman to hit Level 20 around C9-C11 to get into Sniper on time.)
  13. Disclaimer that I haven't used Hanneman seriously much - definitely on the list for my next playthrough. Hanneman is bad. He's basically "what if Dorothea, but without Physic or speed and getting Meteor later and unable to go Gremory for +1 Move, but hey a little more raw Magic stat". It's also worth pointing out that while Dorothea is also frail, she can credibly qualify for Mortal Savant and get its stat bases to fix her Defense even if she's uninterested in using the class, while doing the same for Bow Knight for Hanneman is a lot more work for less reward. Basically, Doro can eat the occasional monster counterattack or Savage Blow area-of-effect, and Hanneman is seriously worried about surviving things like that. He truly wants to be at a safe distance from enemies at all times. Which makes the lack of Physic all the worse. (Good design choice, though, honestly 3H should have embraced this more and had more units that were all-in on either Reason or Faith.) That said, even Dorothea minus minus is arguably still better than lategame no-DLC mage Annette or the like. Pretty sure my Doro score wasn't counted despite coming in in time, but I do think Dorothea was underranked a bit, so even an inferior Dorothea is okay since Meteor is so amazing. And he's of course an acceptable enough filler unit in the middle of White Clouds if you're waiting on other recruits (e.g. planning on doing a last-second recruit of Leonie or Ingrid for their great growths). This is mostly theorycraft since I've only read about the wonders of Sniper Hanneman, but I'll grant that Hunter's Volleying people very dead with a Shining Bow (EDIT: Wait, it was called Magic Bow, right? Despite the less cool name?) sounds pretty darn funny. Lots of low-resistance enemies out there, and HV doesn't care about Hanneman's bad speed. That said. Arcane Crystals are only sold by the Dark Merchant, which is what, Chapter 16 or so? And was even later in my first playthrough where it wasn't clear that this random quest had such good rewards, and it's possible you don't revisit the Monastery after completing it. So... Arcane Crystals are quite late. Compare this to the Swift Strikes or normal-bow Hunter's Volley crew, which can cheerfully wreck with Iron/Steel/Silver and normal Smithing Stones. Sounds like an amusing build, but that late in the game, there's a lot of dirty tricks you can play, so competition is high. Also worth pointing out that Hanneman gets absolutely nothing from the DLC, aside from competition with Hapi's 4 range Valkyrie spells or the like. I guess you could give Sniper Hanneman the Fetters of Dromi, since he has a crest? That's about it. (And, it's not DLC, but if we're including "online connectivity" as a similar legal grey area, then I guess Sniper Hanneman likes all the easy money you get from online item sales to fuel breaking a pile of Shining Bows.) I'd call Hanneman a 3/10. Would be 2/10 but Meteor & Magic Bow wackiness are respectable enough for +1 point, sure.
  14. Seteth I think was considered one of the strongest units in the game upon release, when Hard was the only difficulty mode available and builds were a bit less optimized. He's still a great pub-stomper character in that Wyvern Rider is a bustedly good line, so simply doing what the game tells you to do will result in a pretty solid flyer on Hard if your other characters are not closely optimized. As people have learned how to optimize character builds for the power skills & classes more and Maddening came out, Seteth has definitely suffered a bit... the flavor clearly thinks that Wyvern Lords can use lances and Heroes axes and Holy Knights Lances and the like, but the game system just doesn't agree. -Faires are too good to go without, meaning that an optimized, Maddening Seteth needs to go Paladin to optimize his Swift Strikes or else give up on SS / Spear of Assal to focus entirely on axes. Death Blow is also just too good for a Swift Strikes user, so Seteth requires an annoying double-back into Brigand as well. As a result, Seteth is one of the units for whom this criterion comes into play a good amount: "-The ranking assumes no grinding of any form, no DLC and minor, (one or two stat boosters per month) use of the Greenhouse." If this means "do no Aux battles whatsoever", then Seteth is hurting, because he's either deploying as an Adjutant only for awhile to catch up on those old skills, or he's deploying in weird classes like Brigand or Cavalier (for the riding skill rank). I suspect that the occasional Aux battle when there's extra battling time post-Paralogue isn't unreasonable myself, and a Knowledge Gem on a late-joiner to master Brigand fast isn't too bad then. Seteth's late start and dependence on grinding means he can be anywhere from 4-7, depending on how harsh you are on catching him up. Call him a 5 overall - solid stats, right skill proficiency, & Spear of Assal, but the late start is annoying.
  15. No vote, and this rule set is no-DLC anyway, but I will say that Raphael is 100% the most obsoleted character in the game with the addition of DLC, as Balthus is basically Raphael-but-better (Raphael bad because not Balthus?). Balthus has a flying bane (but eh, you have plenty of Wyvern options anyway in Hilda / Cyril) and slightly worse HP growth, but is equal-or-better everything else, including a Crest, a better Passive, a Relic Weapon, a War Monk magic build for utility and Brawl Avo +20 and chipping high-Def / low-Res enemies, and much better Resistance himself. Balthus even supports 3 of the Deer, too, so the usual saving grace for a weak-stat but in-house unit isn't there as strongly in the Power of Friendship. Kind of unusual, for the most part there aren't very many strictly-betters in character comparison, but Balthus vs. Raph is a rare case that's pretty darn close. Other than that, what everyone else said - makes a good Grappler because it turns out that HP, Str, and a trip through Brigand are the only things you need for that, go punch the lights out of some jerks with Fierce Iron Fist. The Fortress Knight build is there too; it's slightly more serviceable on Hard but falls apart on Maddening even more for Raph than it would for Dedue vs. the kind of impressive enemy offense that you'll see, but whatever, that's a bit of a trap anyway.
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