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SnowFire

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  1. I'm gonna say that Trickster is the best of the low investment builds. Yeah, you lose Swordfaire from Assassin 5/7 of the time, as well as terrain-ignoring. However, you keep Stealth (important for fragile Manuela), and you keep Manuela's white magic utility, much of which is still fine on half charges like Silence & Warp as noted. She's still more of a support unit but can chip or finished off the wounded even without Swordfaire. This will also allow you to build into the best high-investment option naturally, Mortal Savant. Trickster's speed growth is great which helps offset the eventual MS penalty. MS is good not so much from gaining Sword/Black Tomefaire (it's nice, but her offense still struggles to one-round), but because getting 2 charges of Bolting, one of the most useful spells in the game, is more important than Trickster's 1. Bolting allows some plays that simply can't be done without it, so while it takes for freaking ever to train up A Reason for her, there is at least a satisfying reward at the end. Bishop is the truly low investment build for when you don't really want to use Manuela and haven't trained her but have decided to deploy her anyway because you want some Warp charges. It's a niche at least. I'm sure Dark Flier is solid, because that class is good and can make even meh mages scary. As noted you only get 1 +Mag Flying Battalion and Manuela probably isn't as good as something like Constance / Annnette / Marianne, but whatever, I'm sure she'd be fine at it. In the realm of "eh, probably not"... Gremory seems worse than doing Mortal Savant if you want to grind up her Reason, but if you want FOUR Boltings, sure. War Cleric, I guess it might work? But I don't see the point of switching from Swords to Fists when Manuela has Hexblade. Brawl Avo+20 maybe? Except that Stealth off Assassin / Trickster is like Avo+100, and Mortal Savant can stay back behind the lines of battle entirely. For Falcon Knight, it's one of the best classes in the game so I'm sure it's probably fine, but there's some real "Ingrid but worse" issues. Ingrid has Frozen Lance to hit low-res enemies hiding in trees with the magic hit formula which works nicely with Lancefaire, Manuela's stuck with unboosted Hexblade. Ingrid has a Strength in Lances and a Lance Relic. AM Ingrid can start training right away, other routes can take advantage of cheaty enemy Peg Knight stat growths. If you really want to take a speedy late-joining character who isn't a Lance specialist and make them a Falcon Knight, pick Catherine instead - she's got a much better Strength score. The point about Crimson Flower's Arrow of Indra access is interesting, but CF is also shorter, which is kinda meh for "train really hard in skills that start at E-rank in C6 or C7 for a cool payoff eventually" builds.
  2. As others have noted, the issue with Hybrid units is that skill slots are incredibly precious in 3H. Setting just one Prowess is ideal, and "true" Hybrid units frequently want to set 2 or even 3 Prowesses. Then you have your Death Blow, Fiendish Blow, St r+2, Mag+2, type slots. And then there's really key utility like Hit +20, Darting Blow, X-Breaker, and so on. It's just hard to find room. Now, luckily, the opportunity cost of throwing a Levin Sword+ / Bolt Axe+ onto a unit is generally quite low, but I'm not sure I'd really hype that as being a "Hybrid" unit. As others have pointed out, this isn't like Fates where lots of characters' magic scores are extremely bad rendering Bolt Naginata's damage meme-y if not used by say Azama or the like. Lots of units can blast Armor Knights / Fortress Knights good with a magic weapon. That's helpful, but enemy armors aren't often the biggest threat on a map, so I'd question some vanilla Edelgard build in Warrior or Wyvern Lord as being a true hybrid unit just because she lugs around a Bolt Axe for armors. (A true Edelgard Hybrid build would be Mortal Savant... and I think most would agree that while funny, it's weaker than just emphasizing physical damage.) On the flip side, for magical units going physical... I think I had Hapi Tempest Lance a high-resistance unit once for giggles, and magical Wyvern Riders like Annette can occasionally go for physical damage against Bishops or the like, but it's not commonly important. Since their skill loadout is probably maximizing Frozen Lance / Lightning Axe / Soulblade / Hexblade / etc., it takes a truly lopsidedly high-resistance character for falling back to physicals to make sense, and the kind of units that have high resistance and terrible defense all have low HP too (Bishops, Warlocks) so you can always fall back to smashing them with a Gambit worst comes to worst. So yeah, you can get a little use from it, but it's not all that important on the mages-using-physical-damage angle. For NG+, I think that already messes with balance because you're firmly in "how badly do you want to break the game" territory, but the main thing I'd note there is that S+ weapon ranks for *Faires help a lot. For example, Manuela sorta wants to be a mixed damage Trickster or Mortal Savant, but has questionable damage. She's one of the units that most values Swordfaire, which is an unconditional +5 to all her damage styles, rather than Fiendish Blow or Mag +2 and so on. And yet her late training start in NG, along with a Reason bane, mean that this totally isn't happening without broken weapon Knowledge Gem aux battle grinding. (To a lesser extent, you can imagine similar issues for Wyvern Lord Annette, Mortal Savant Yuri, etc.) Since hybrid units frequently want to go the route of emphasizing their weapon prowess but having access to Levin Sword / Bolt Axe / Magic Bow / Aura Knuckles, getting a Faire is very, very nice.
  3. It's fine to like or dislike outfits, but even if we accept it as a given that a player hates F-Byleth's default outfit, that still isn't a reason to avoid F-Byleth. That's a reason to go to the wardrobe option in the monastery and change it to something else. It takes like 10 seconds. I think her default outfit is doofy too, but whatever, that just means I change it to something better like the fancy ball outfit. (M-Byleth too, actually, I rather like his naturalist outdoorsy type outfit.) Anyway, from a Srs Gameplay perspective, I think the differences are largely too minor to care, unless you are planning on making Sylvain a core team member on a non-Lions run and want that early recruit. I might be biased because I think the "lazy" option of just leaving Byleth in Enlightened One forever is fine, including on Maddening, which is entirely identical between genders and frees up a bunch of boring Monastery faculty training. After you clear Reunion at Dawn, some sort of spectator Byleth that just cheerleads nearby archers w/ Sacred Power & heals & tanks occasionally is just *fine* and requires less training. The benefit of early-recruiting Sylvain when not planning on seriously using him is pretty minor since the DLC gave M-Byleth the Ashen Wolves if you really want an early recruit for some missing coverage, and early Lance of Ruin is not really THAT significant - even if that's your only prayer vs. the C6 Death Knight, whatever, just clear the chapter the alternate way then, Dark Mage isn't that good. (It can also mess up your ability to unlock Rhea's paralogue, for all that the reward from that is pretty niche... not an issue on a CF run of course). I'd be more down for the "recruit Ingrid even if not using her" hype since Galatea Pegasus Co. is genuinely one of the best batallions in the game, although non-Lions Byleth skipping Flying (more reasonable for M-Byleth than F-Byleth) can just substitute meals & gifts for doing that, so eh. Darting Blow is genuinely good as others have noted if you want a Combat Flying Byleth, but I wouldn't really call it required. Obviously Falcon Knights / Wyvern Lords are great but you can have other characters handle it on Maddening, it doesn't have to be Byleth necessarily, so you just make sure somebody else can cover that if you're not making Byleth the flyer. I think the benefit of Quick Riposte for M-Byleth is even more abstract - that requires grinding up Byleth's axe rank a bunch, then grinding up QR itself, then having QR in time for it to probably not matter since Byleth is more of an early-game carry than a lategame one. It's obviously good if you're doing some kind of solo / duo challenge or just want Byleth to be your lategame carry anyway, but it's a stretch.
  4. As others have noted, I'm not really sure the game is balanced around Dread Scrolls. They're DLC for-fun nostalgia options, with Dread Fighter a callback for FE2 fans and the Grandmaster's Seal a callback for Awakening fans and so on. So most characters will be good in them. That said, for Mozu's worth specifically... ...for why people hate on Mozu: Because people are wrong? To vastly oversimplify, there's two schools of Fire Emblem player: the "focus on long-term potential above all else" type that used to be predominant ("FE7 Marcus is an XP thief, pre promoted units are bad") and "This game is easy after 8 playthroughs so I rank by LTC stratz" ("Warp/Rescue are the best thing ever, prepromos rule, growth units suck"). Both schools have a point, but very loosely, games which feature tough endgames and few Athos-style crutches reward the "focus on growth" characters, while games that feature tough earlygames and have powerful late-joiners favor the "eh just use bases and good-now" characters. And, well, Conquest is the former: its endgame chapters are absolutely brutal, and you don't have any Caineghis style broken late-joiner to carry you in the last chapters. So Mozu, a character that starts weak and gets very strong, is absolutely in her element. (Camilla & Xander are broken too but that's because they also have great growths to go with their great start, which is why they're just ludicrously good.) The people you read hating on Mozu are all in the LTC camp, and, well, they're right that you can beat Conquest in fewer turns by not bothering with Mozu. The bigger concern is that non-royal Conquest unit balance is still pretty solid... a built Mozu ultimately isn't THAT much better than built competition, at least compared to some of the earlier games in the series where a built FE6 Shanna just trashes FE6 Juno in every stat. So it can be argued that the payoff isn't as high. It still exists, though! Not relevant for your point since you used a DLC promotion item, but I personally don't think investing an early Heart Seal for no- Path Reward/ DLC runs is a big deal though. If you're using Mozu it's obviously worth it to get into a non-Villager class like Archer. But I haven't ever tried the "Heart Seal an early Jakob into a Paladin" that some people hype up, so who knows. EDIT: Per LoneStar below, I guess you didn't say whether this was Conquest or Birthright? Perversely enough, I do think Mozu is weaker on Birthright. Catch-up XP is very strong in Fates so adding grinding doesn't help as much as you might think, and Birthright is easier such that babying a growth unit is just less rewarding - the final chapters aren't punishing enough to really reward Mozu's good final stats, Corrin / Your Favorite Ninja / Ryoma / Your Favorite Staff Unit can still wreck most enemies. Plus you have more archery competition in Birthright - in CQ, it's Niles or Mozu or DLC Anna, or something like Bow Knight Selena I guess, but Mozu's niche is harder to replicate. In BR, Takumi exists, so eh.
  5. Wait, so did you beat the chapter or not? If you didn't beat it, then you didn't really lose Claude, you can just restart. If you did beat it, then clearly you were able to handle Yuri. The actual gambit used isn't really that significant. The point I was trying to get across was that you do want the gambit to *hit*, and it's generally easier to gambit generic enemies than Yuri's high Charm, which makes it hard to hit Yuri with gambits unless you set up a lot of linked bonuses (which are weaker in CS than the maingame due to worse supports). You can gambit Yuri directly if you have a really charming unit like Dimitri or Edelgard do it, of course, or if you don't mind potentially "spending" some Divine Pulses to get it to work. You don't even need to kill Yuri with this gambit. The sole goal is that this allows you to delay having to deal with Yuri for a turn - you gambit a unit nearby from a space that also hits Yuri, you inflict the rattled status on Yuri. Yuri can't move and is stuck with a range 1 weapon. You then use that turn to kill as many of the other soldiers as you can and to have frail units be in safety out of enemy threat range when the turn ends (or at least on evasion tiles). Nobody ends their turn next to Yuri, barring a full-health tanky unit maybe. Even if that gambit did literally 0 damage, it would still be doing work. Once Yuri's friends are dead, you can safely set up on him - Curved Shots from 2 range are very likely to hit due to the +30 Hit as mentioned before from Ashe & Claude, and will provide linked attack hit bonuses for melee units that decide to go in after he's softened up. You probably don't even need to spend a gambit on the "second" turn.
  6. That map is tricky, but it's very definitely beatable even on Hard first try. By the time you get to Yuri, you're probably in the room with all the terrain that provides super evade, right? Pay attention to that, it's more common in CS than the maingame and quite significant. Probably the safest way would be to save some gambits for that room, then unleash - you want to roll in (can tiptoe forward onto evasion tiles with tanks too, sure), gambit some units, and ensure that everyone is either dead, rattled, or not that scary by the time you end your phase. Yuri has high Charm but if he's standing nearby another generic unit, you can Gambit that unit and ensure Yuri is caught in the blast radius - he can't evade that and will get Rattled. Then just stand back from where frozen Yuri is stuck and kill his friends. Next turn, you can throw your whole squad at Yuri with lots of range-2 Curved Shots or further Gambits if you want to guarantee they hit.
  7. Ehhh, not really? We know very, very little of society pre-Nemesis's assault on the Red Canyon, but what little we do learn portrays it as idyllic. Sothis is a sympathetic figure and she doesn't say boo about things being bad, she was apparently composing music at the time. More generally, it makes more sense for this to be a narrative of a "fall" not a liberation from Seiros's perspective - we tried living in harmony and in peace, we got murdered for that, no more Miss Nice Seiros, the humans will be kept in check this time. And idk, tyrants who give themselves impressive nicknames and threaten to kill anyone who disagree are pretty common, and can and do generate true love from the "brainwashed" masses. There was mourning in the streets when Stalin died, and it wasn't all performative, a decent amount was sincere. You can argue that Deng Xiopang did something similar with Mao in China in the 1980s - Mao was still regarded as Awesome And Worthy Of All Those Titles, but he miiiight have been mislead by evil advisors sometimes, so we're gonna clean those parts up while still officially revering Mao. Hell, Mao still is regarded as super-awesome today, and yet that isn't merited at all. This is not responsive to the point I was making, but explaining why would require an essay which seems a little over-the-top for 7 words. I'll try and keep it brief. In some works, the implications of powers and abilities in the setting is NOT explored long-term; it's all just today's morality play, or a strictly gameplay ability, etc. You're not supposed to watch an episode of original 1960s Star Trek and say "hey why don't they use that godlike technology they discovered 3 episodes ago to solve this problem." In other works, the author changes one or two things about a setting from real-Earth expectations, and then fully explores what this means - often resulting in aspects of life that are obvious to characters who've lived in the setting their whole lives, but are weird to us. This is usually the harder-side of sci-fi, but occasionally fantasy too (maybe Mistborn as the closest fantasy example?). Most stories are at least somewhat in-between, although they generally lean toward the former. Anyway, my point is that Fire Emblem is not the latter kind of story. It's like complaining that Peter Parker doesn't sell his formula for ultralight yet strong web shooters to become a zillionaire and radically change the Marvel setting, as all sorts of wish list construction projects suddenly become viable and start being built. That's an interesting story to tell, but it isn't this one. However, that does NOT remotely imply that this means the real-world connection is severed. In many, many stories that don't take updating-the-setting too seriously, they can and do use real-world analogues and issues, and this makes them stronger, not weaker. Star Trek or the Twilight Zone in the 50s/60s had plenty of parts that rang true to real life despite the wackiness going on elsewhere. They just weren't telling a story about the implications of technology/power X, they were telling a story about paranoia or racism or diplomacy that happened to use power X to set it up. Fire Emblem already doesn't update its own internal reality based on the technology / abilities we see in it. Despite the fact that the Slitherers "should" be more powerful given the tech they have, they just aren't, just like 10x other aspects of reality that don't 100% follow based on what we see of what's possible. So forget about the shapeshifts & nukes, it's still a valid parallel because the game wants it to be, and so it is.
  8. There's a lot of complaints to be had about the Slitherers plot wherein we're supposed to simultaneously accept that they are both A) competent and threatening but B) thwartable by Meddling Kids, but "their appointed tool to destroy the Church does a great job at it but also turns out harder to control than expected" is not really one of them? That, and Cordelia gaining huge influence in the Kingdom, are easily the two most effective things we see Slitherers do in the game, even despite Edelgard's antipathy to them. She certainly messes with the Church on all routes. And they do have a plan to keep her in check, it's the same plan as always of "kill people who get in our way" and that plan isn't even completely horrible. (The Plan not actually working in CF is... well, come on, of course it's not going to work, 3H isn't that kind of story to just roll credits after Arianhod with "and then everyone we were controlling died in a nuke, The End." But that's a factor the Slitherers can't control, and they can still play for some sort of assassin in the shadows plot long-term - Hubert's line about now House Vestra's war begins, which implies that there's shadowy assassins to war against and possibly lose against, meaning CF Edelgard isn't home free yet post-credits.) More generally, to the extent that you want real life analogues to situations even in fantasy, conspiracy plotters who think they're very clever backing somebody and that somebody not actually doing what they expect is EXCEEDINGLY common in real history. (At risk of Godwining myself, there's a certain famous incident in 1933 where crufty old German conservative politicians figured they could give a certain clownish dude who was popular with a different segment of the electorate the Chancellorship, and he'd be easy to manipulate, and worst comes to worst President Hindenburg, a good ol' boy conservative, would keep things in check... and then Hindenburg died... not comparing this to Edelgard in any other way of course, just mean the general idea of whoops-that-didn't-go-as-expected is a very valid point to stick in stories where a group puts a puppet ruler in charge, and the puppet cuts their strings.)
  9. For option B: Well, in the game as is, the Archbishop already really is the priest who represents Sothis here on Earth - see all of Rhea's dramatic denunciations of Western Church members / Edelgard / etc. Just not everybody agrees with this, of course. One of the unanswered questions in the backstory of the game is... what was Seiros doing, exactly, for the ~900 years post Nemesis's defeat but before "Rhea" resurrects a dying Jeralt ~100 years or so ago? Was she "awake" the entire time, but changing names every 100 years or so with a new Archbishop to disguise that the leadership of the Church of Seiros was ageless? Or did she take long naps like Seteth / Flayn did? How many if so? The game makes clear that the Church was happy with and endorsed Loog breaking away from the Empire, hence giving him a fancy title and the honor of being a Holy Kingdom, but was Rhea around to specifically endorse this move? Anyway, I think that would be an important point to iron out in your scenario B - is this Rhea setting herself up to be absolute ruler? Or is this Rhea dubbing the first Adrestian Emperor & his kin absolute rulers, then taking a nice long nap? I will say that, much as everyone agrees that the Slitherers are not great, part of the clear goal with them was that they were international and could be anywhere, trust no one, etc. Making them the intelligence arm of one particular power would have a very different "feel" to it.
  10. Well, your expectation is wrong. It did last. Let me be clear, this isn't theorycrafting, this is based on an actual playthrough. You can do fine with just the amount of charges you get from Nosferatu.
  11. Side rant: The forum's usability can use some work sometime. Accidentally clicking on a username takes you to their profile page even if you had a reply 90% written with no "you are about to lose this" warning. When backing to the page, it shows an ancient saved reply I've cleared several times that was just a quote of a random old post rather than what I'd actually want to save. Sigh, to retype everything but a bit more concisely... Dark Holy Elf: Yes, I've used both those tricks of HP stat boosters & reasonably frequent guard adjutant use on Mercedes, she does make better use of them than most thanks to her passive. It's still middle of the road at best (which makes it better than most healing passives), but don't really agree with your hype of it as notably strong. It's pretty rare that both action economy is so incredibly tight that the "free" heal on Mercedes lines up with a turn where Mercedes is front-lining safely. Live to Serve is handy in C1-C5 though, sure. (I might be mildly bitter at the Reunion at Dawn Grapplers easily quadding her with Tomebreaker if she leaves her starting area.) ThatsEnoughTalkBack: Um wat. Dodgetank builds are great, especially on Maddening which makes concrete tanking harder but doesn't affect dodgetanking very much. Besides, the Dodgetank Byleth file is nearly complete, so... no, it's fine? Shadow Mir: Sure, Magical Byleth is an activity point hog, I'll agree on that as a weakness. That's a different complaint than "you will run out of Nos charges" though. Faith dodgetank Dorothea (which is a real build) or Faith Berserker Linhardt (which is not a real build, but because Lin's Spd / Def are terrible) have weaknesses but running out of Nos charges is not THAT huge of one unless they are literally attempting to solo maps.
  12. lenticular: That FK Lin build sounds hilarious. Mir: Well you don't do the Faith dodgetank plan unless you're in Bishop or Gremory, of course - you use the skill slot on White Mag Avo +20 for something else. That doesn't mean it's not viable. I never ran out of Nos charges even in 10-22 while in Mage either, for reference, although non-Reunion at Dawn maps tended to allow a more balanced spell usage of course, i.e. using stuff like Fire to attack and only equipping Nos when baiting. You don't have to have Nos equipped permanently or anything, and by the time you do consider equipping it near-permanently you're in Bishop/Gremory.
  13. Yeah, I know it's nerfed (although it is more reliable on its hit rate at least!), but it's still something you could do (although Lin is not a great candidate). And full disclaimer, I've never played Normal, although I've seen the boss stats. It's a pretty silly strategy, and moreover it's extra-silly since if you really were hardcore set on frontline Linhardt, you'd just move him back next to Byleth occasionally to fill up on more Concoctions, which will still be better than Catnap. I still think it's about as close as you'll get to relevance. More generally, all the healing related passives (this includes skills like Bishop's Renewal too) are generally pretty awful on Hard/Maddening, which are so one-round centric. They're the kind of thing that miiiight be helpful in the very early stages of games like Shadow Dragon / FE1 where healing staves / items are hugely limited, and rotating units into fortresses for extra health regen is a legit strategy. (Maybe earlygame FE6 too if Elen bites it?) But they just aren't that important otherwise, unless you're handicapping yourself by refusing to run healers. Even the best passive of this sort, Mercedes's Live to Serve, is still a touch overrated - there's still tons of enemies that will one-round full health Mercedes which renders healing pointless unless you're feeding her some stat boosters. This isn't wholly related to the ridiculous Linhardt idea, but you raised this "you will run out of Nos charges" over in another Maddening planning thread too on Faith dodgetank Byleth / Dorothea, and it's not really true, at least post-20. My current run is a Golden Deer Maddening run and for Reunion at Dawn, I only had Claude / Bishop Byleth / Ignatz / Dancer Hilda leveled, with everyone else deadweight. And Claude & Ignatz had to play very carefully on the first few turns due to the bandit Snipers, meaning Byleth had to face off the full fury of all the charging bandits. If there's any map where running out of spell charges would be a concern, it'd be this one, since Byleth had to take a huge amount of the kills as well as have Nos equipped for the dodge- / drain- tanking to function, and all the usual backup to share the burden weren't deployed. Now, Byleth did get down to single-digit Nos charges remaining by the end (~7 or so?), but... it was fine, she didn't actually run out. And I didn't even use any Aura charges (which would have been a backup for just dodginess but no draining). If there's enough Nos charges for a map done with essentially 2.5 offensive units (sorry Ignatz you only count for half), there's enough for maps where you get real deployment counts and have 8-10 offensive units.
  14. Two thoughts: Linhardt's personal I think is a bit less worthless on Normal mode. In Echoes Normal, a Cleric Faye can cheeze a lot of the game via the "move forward into enemy ranks while equipped with Nosferatu" strategy. (The devs clearly knew this was a bit problematic, because all the native Clerics/Saints like Silque / Tatiana / Genny have durability of wet cardboard). Presumably the same would be true for tankier females given a Villager's Fork as well. This falls apart a bit on Hard, but still. Anyway, I could see some sort of drain-tank Bishop Linhardt build working on Normal where he just grabs his 24 charges of Nosferatu, maybe a few stat boosters, and wades into the thick of things. This is about the one time where frequent, costless 10% healing would help in addition to Bishop's Renewal, although you'd still want Concoctions in case of emergency, and Lin would have to spend his turn engaging on range 3+ units like archers unless given Caduceus or the like. Anyway. Definitely a Normal-mode only strat, Lin will just die if you try this on Hard or Maddening. Petra's personal isn't THAT bad? It is very niche, but the times it comes up are significant. For boss monsters with immense health bars, having an 80% crit chance on both sides of a Killing Edge double is very good for taking "half health" down to "next phase" and that might not be doable without crits. Can matter for Leonie / Linhardt's paralogue (Lord of the Lake) and the various bosses + monster filler on the CF / SS endgame.
  15. We already have something like that in the sauna minigame. I definitely got sick of it after the first 20 times or so. That's one where if you're being "efficient" you will save-scum failures, too (if you're really psychotic, you'll also fish for "Very Refreshed" rather than "Refreshed" but I'm not hardcore enough to do that). If the sauna just said "whatever here's a scene of the characters at the sauna" and had a skip animation button, that'd have been better, IMO. The interactivity is really not worth that much. If there was a gardening minigame and a choir minigame etc. etc. that'd make the monastery drag even more. (Alternative: you have to do the minigame the first 5 times each playthrough, and it just happens instantly every time after that?)
  16. This seems to have gotten a bit off-track, but I'll just say that Impregnable Wall is one of the absolute most game-breaking skills in 3H. So even if we accept that a flying dodgetank is "worse" than Wall for a moment, that is a very weak criticism indeed - it only mostly breaks the game rather than entirely breaks the game, oh no. Besides, there's no usage limit on flying dodgetanks, so they can dodgetank for many more than just 5 turns, which does matter on long slugfest maps like Oath of the Dagger. I wouldn't consider Quick Riposte to really be in the discussion too much. It's an extremely good ability but it's also crazy late, even if you grind it up immediately after hitting level 30. Matters more as a plan for dealing with Nemesis on VW or the like. Weight -3 is not entirely a meme for Ingrid. The +3 Avoid is quite minor but more speed is always nice, and Ingrid's Str issues mean she has trouble hefting Silver Lances / Luin for most of the game (barring major stat booster investment... which okay, feeding Ingrid your Str boosters is actually a very good idea). Sometimes that extra speed matters for doubling so you might grab it for that reason - it's not like Ingrid needs to invest in a ton of skills, really just Lance / Flying / dash of Swords & Authority, so a quick dip into Armor isn't THAT bad. Finally, I think people before were mentioning Ashe is stuck in Sniper or Dancer - I'll just add that he does make a good Wyvern Lord too. Yes, everyone makes a good WL, but Ashe does have Axe proficiency, and he makes an okay discount Claude flying bow skirmisher a la Cyril - he can grab Seal Defense from mastering Wyvern Rider then drop Waning Shots from 3 range to debuff tanky monsters by Str-5 / Def-5 then Canto fly away, or even use Deadeye if the extra range is really necessary. Ashe's highly questionable defense makes the flying canto to end turns safely away from enemies pretty important, as well.
  17. To the extent that you want to win Reunion at Dawn, there isn't a lot of difference between Ingrid and a non-Lions Dancer. That map is hard because of the first five or six turns; if you can stabilize there, the rest of the map (by the time Ingrid/Sylvain/Felix arrive) should be doable without even any Divine Pulse use. That said, unless you make one of Byleth or Dimitri a Flyer then send them north, it can be difficult for Dancer Ashe to get into a useful position to start dancing in time without getting blown up. I wouldn't say there's a lot of difference here. If you truly want to pick Dancer just to destroy that one map, then Dancer Dimitri is arguably the best - you give up Swordbreaker from using Swords over Lances, but Sword Avo +20 + Dimitri's passive evade boost at high health + sitting on a forest tile should make it very difficult for anything to hit him. That said, you don't strictly need your Dancer to be on that map, it's just a nice-to-have. As far as the rest of the game, Ingrid has a bit of a similar issue to Dimitri in that yes, they both make good Dancers, but you give up their normal strengths / role to go Dancer with them. Variety is the spice of life so if you want to do something different with Ingrid than the "vanilla" Falcon Knight build, go for it, but I will say that Ingrid's FK build is quite helpful in the siege-tome heavy later maps of Azure Moon. Breakneck speed, Alert Stance+, and good Resistance growth from FK means she can safely bait out siege tome charges and survive a blast if she get hit anyway, and can soar in and snipe mages in close combat then retreat. If you want to skip out on that, I'd try to ensure you have a plan in advance for other ways to handle them, which do exist - Retribution / Blessing / Vantage, Impregnable Wall, the aforementioned dodgetank Dancer Dimitri, or just another really dodgy flyer like Petra or a flying build of Catherine/Manuela or the like.
  18. Yeah, the non-scrubbing is that line Edelgard has if units have died in Classic mode that some Eagles have joined her. That said, (conjecture warning) I don't think that was meant to be about units that fell, exactly. I think it's more likely that either your whole house didn't join in some early versions of 3H, or else there were more Mass Effect 2 style "loyalty missions" like Dedue has in Lions White Clouds where failing to do XYZ would result in a character not rejoining post-timeskip. The code is simply checking "is Bernadetta / Caspar / etc. part of your team" and, in the version of 3H that actually shipped, the only way for them not to be part of your team is to be defeated in Classic mode. If there'd been a lot more Dedue-esque scenarios, then there would be other valid ways to not have characters in your party, and Edelgard's warning would make sense as a "hey you didn't make nice-nice with some characters so they're on my side." Same for some sort of scenario where you could either never recruit Felix / Annette as Blue Lions, or else fail to do loyalty quests for them - that's why they're not on your side in the Fhirdiad mission, not that they were defeated in White Clouds. My suspicion is that in early playtesting, they found players angry if characters they put a lot of work into disappeared if it was loyalty missions, or people complained that C2 was impossible if the default recruits were smaller than the entire house, so it ended up not implemented except for Dedue. (And heck, that was still arguably a bad call, as it makes Dimitri's post-timeskip dialogue a bit weirder since the game doesn't know if he's reunited with Dedue or not, although it does make keeping Dedue more rewarding I suppose.) EDIT: For what it's worth, previous Fire Emblems have been very misty about the difference between death and non-recruitment as well. Saving but then not recruiting Matilda in Echoes gives Clive an ending that acts like she died, for example. If you let one of Pent or Louise die, I believe the rankings charges you for two deaths not one, since the other will leave the party. And so on.
  19. My very minor change - throw away Byleth & Gilbert's existing A support, and write a completely new A support that is locked behind finishing Gilbert / Annette A+. Byleth is supposed to be some inspirational figure that brings out the best in people, right? Go have some happy reunited family support of Gilbert returning home or the like. Give his wife / Annette's mom a few lines too, ideally. Reasoning: In general, I have a lot of tolerance for support conversations occasionally being a bit weird on timing, since the game doesn't have any idea when you'll do them or in what order. Or even what starting house / route you're on (barring those for route-locked characters like Gilbert, of course). Most of the locked supports that frustrate people are ones where failing to do them permanently stops the support line (e.g. the various supports that need to be done pre-timeskip). If a lock is always eventually available, and the constraint is merely making you do something else first, that is not so bad and isn't frustrating. Anyway, Byleth-Gilbert has the problem that Gilbert's main issue - his abandonment of his family - the game can't know if that's being resolved or not in Gilbert-Annette, or hell, if Annette is even alive. (Yeah, go ahead and immediately kill the Byleth/Gilbert support line if Annette dies in Classic mode IMO.) For most characters, having some quirky flaw at rank C that is then either accepted or resolved by A is fine, but Gilbert never really gets to that accepted or resolved part, which is part of why it's hard to like him. (Maybe he does if you S-Support him? Beats me.) His A support with Byleth is particularly aggravating if you did get to Annette / Gilbert A+, because it almost sounds like he's backsliding then - he's still talking about how an old warhorse like him would be more trouble than it's worth to return home, Byleth is still chiding him on this, and his positive effect in teaching the local kids how to fish makes it sound more like he's decided to become a freelance fishing instructor at the Monastery rather than ever, y'know, return home to his wife and family. I'm not demanding that every character be "fixed" to be morally perfect or anything, but I don't get the impression that the game intended to be so harsh on Gilbert as to make it seem like he was just completely hopeless. Locking Byleth/Gilbert A behind Gilbert/Annette A+ allows the game to know that yes, the coast is clear, you can give that family a somewhat happier ending. (Slightly off-topic, but I was reminded of this because Ys IX also has a deadbeat dad character, but one that the writing is substantially worse at pulling off than Gilbert. Ys IX spoilers: Thankfully 3H recognizes that Gilbert has made poor life decisions, so it's good, but it could be better.)
  20. Well, if you're already on the final mission, it's a bit late for suggestions! Whatever you have has clearly worked well enough up 'till now... ..I will say that though it's a flavorful choice for Bern, I can't say that I'm a fan of Varley Archers. That battalion lacks a Phys Atk boost which just instantly renders it irrelevant IMO, especially for an archer - Bern's 25 Str just isn't scaring much. I guess if your sole goal with Bern is to have her spam Encloser from high range at maximum accuracy, it's fine, but having at least some sort of threat is nice too. If you can scrounge up a Brave Bow, then the Battalion damage boost is twice as good, too. I guess the Gambit on Varley Archers is handy, but Bern's charm is only so-so.
  21. A) Did you have an empty inventory slot? B) Was your thief faster than Edelgard? (Since you were able to steal from Dimitri, probably... but maybe you used Hilda's Seal Speed or Ignatz's Rally Speed to set up the steal on Dimitri.)
  22. You definitely don't need to bother with auxiliary battle grinding, which gets you very little aside from class and skill levels, neither of which are that important after you get the key basic skills from the Intermediate tiers. Also, this is inherently a personal opinion, but doing broken weapon grinding just isn't very fun. If you really do want to do some light auxiliary battle grinding, then I would at least recommend waiting a bit until you hit Prof Rank C+ to start hitting the Aux battles, as you'll at least have two battles a weekend to spend then; Aux battles are very "expensive" before that. You'll also probably have unlocked the Saint Statues; invest in Class Rank +1 ASAP, and that should help deal with class rank issues. (No shame in hanging around in Monk / Soldier / etc. a little extra-long to finish off the class mastery, too.) While on the Professor XP note, the more early Professor XP you get, the more actions you have, which makes each subsequent Explore better. This is why people recommend spamming Explore, at least early (C2-6 or so). If you want to optimize / FAQ something that's easy and quick, I'd recommend FAQing the lecture questions. The "best" response offers a rather huge Professor XP bonus. As noted above, optimizing Prof XP gain is pretty powerful, essentially making every action more efficient. On that note, it's very highly against flavor, but if you intentionally let Flayn stay captured underground and just spam Explore a lot during the week of C6, that also helps launch your Prof XP growth faster. You will want to build 12 units, so more than just 9 + a dancer, really. (Unless you weren't counting healers, in which case sure, 9 fighters + dancer + 2 healers). You can get by with fewer but the "default" way to play Maddening is very player phase oriented, so the more units the better. Low-manning strats tend to involve riskier enemy-phase strats that only come online later in the game anyway - stuff like Vantage / Wrath. Rally skills aren't that important unless you're doing stuff like Vantage / Wrath above, IMO (wherein you want Rally Str or the like to ensure KOs). Skill slots are precious, they eat a skill slot, a Rally is usually better replaced by just Curved Shot chipping vs. the vast majority of enemies that don't pack the Counterattack skill. That said. Ignatz gets Rally Speed very early, and that is genuinely handy against no-cheating real badasses - yeah, I'm basically talking about the Death Knight here. So using Ignatz's rally early is fine, although he'll eventually find better things to spend that skill slot on. The Sauna is most useful if you're either catching up a late-joiner, or if you're going against the grain and trying to build up a unit's weaknesses. The Sauna boost is flat, works the same for a Strength or Weakness skill, so it's more useful if you're using it to, say, teach Hilda Authority or Raphael Bows or whatever it is you're gunning for. I'd keep that in mind when choosing which unit to Sauna up.
  23. Ditching Terrain Resistance for something, anything for Holy Knight would definitely help. Even Lancefaire for some sort of off-build for cavaliers that want to also heal on off-turns (some weird Flayn build perhaps?!). I will say that variety is the spice of life, so having a class that at least attempted to make offensive white magic interesting was reasonable. Just needed "more" - whether system changes buffing offensive Faith magic in general, or a really broken mastery skill, or getting some cheaty skill that was really 2 or 3 skills at once (e.g. Ultimate White Magic, +10 healing / +5 damage on White Magic / +1 spell charge for all spells). Also, this is true of Reason lists too, but IntSys was a little too dedicated to making "balanced" spells rather than a linear progression of just better spells to reward skill-building, and it shows most harshly in Faith. Of all the spells in need of buffs, Aura and Abraxas need them the most - more uses, more accuracy, less weight, anything. In the realm where those two (or some custom Byleth only Faith spell, say) are better, than maybe talk to me about Holy Knight. Also, to be sure, Holy Knight still isn't BAD; just worse than Dark Knight.
  24. Just gonna repeat myself here - for a good "Maddening lite" experience, do an NG+ but don't actually use any NG+ features other than importing statue level and a bunch of good battalions. Also, now that the DLC landed, there's something similar as far as just grabbing the Chalice of Beginnings and a ton of Renown off the Cindered Shadows completion reward, which helps out the very unforgiving early game a good bit. There definitely are ways to get a somewhere-south-of-Maddening, north of Hard experience.
  25. Re initial comment: Well, that's why there's multiple difficulty modes. The issue isn't chapter battles vs. paralogue battles; it's that Normal Mode is essentially easy mode / plot mode. Some people want that experience. If you wanted more tactics & strategy, I'd recommend restarting on Hard mode; Normal is not going to give that to you. Also, TVTropes is a wiki. I really, really wouldn't give them much credit for any balance comments, as the collective will tell you every unit is simultaneously overpowered and underpowered. (I'm not even kidding about that, you can see the same characters on their overpowered lists and their underpowered lists.) Re other comments, I agree that a difficulty mode in-between Hard & Maddening would have been nice, as would toggle-able difficulty that lets you go back up as well as down. That said, there's a large difference in how you approach Maddening that does let you customize the experience - Maddening NG Classic, Maddening NG Casual but trying to only abuse deaths occasionally, Maddening NG Casual letting units "die" left and right, Maddening NG+ that doesn't go crazy on the imports and keeps just statue level & batallions, Maddening NG+ where you unload a bunch of busted lategame skills early... you have options. Re Samz707: "I simply don't want to deal with any ambush spawns because having to memorize enemy spawns isn't fun gameplay." But - you don't have to. It's fine to dislike the Divine Pulse mechanic, but that doesn't mean you're not allowed to use it, especially on a first run of the game. Just back up a turn. If you only ever use DP for ambush spawns or misclicks, it'll be just as gripping as you like and you don't have to memorize ambush spawns anymore, problem solved.
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