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  1. You've already singled out the most important skills IMO (Death Blow, Fiendish Blow, Darting Blow), so that's a great start. Darting Blow is probably the least necessary of the three - I don't bother unless that unit is already going through Pegasus Knight - but absolutely pick up the other two on the other units for sure. I pretty much always have Lv 5 Prowess equipped, but @LoneStar made a great case for Hit +20, especially if the units are using multiple weapons. When I played through Maddening I pretty much just kept each unit to one weapon type and therefore only had one prowess skill (Lysithea had both Lv 5 Faith and Lv 5 Reason but she was the only one and I also didn't find that it came at the cost of any better skills). With the flying characters I usually run roughly the same skill set that I've found extremely successful: Lv5 Prowess, Alert Stance+, Death Blow, Darting Blow, Weaponfaire. Simple strategy: move the unit into enemy range, dodgetank during enemy phase with the combined prowess and alert stance+ evasion bonuses, use the blow skills to kill on the next player phase. Not every character is going to be able to get all of those skills and so there are some other good skills to fill the voids. Getting to S+ for Weaponfaires is pretty difficult with a lot of units, esp. units that also need flying/riding proficiency, so that's usually an open slot. Weapon Crit +10 can be a good option if you can get to S, Hit+20 can be really helpful if a unit has crap accuracy (e.g. Hilda)... Claude is a good example of where I used a similar but slightly altered skill set: Lv. 5 Bow, Alert Stance+, Death Blow, Hit+20, Close Counter. The extra Hit+20 helps for units like Claude and Bow Knights who have extended range but also accuracy penalties. Close Counter is also great for bow users who can take a hit on enemy phase (e.g. Claude, Leonie, Felix etc, not units like Ignatz, Bernie, Ashe, etc.) Byleth definitely should be able to get their weaponfaire (except Crimson Flower). You have so much extra monastery time towards the end of the game that you can pretty easily get to S+ in any weapon you want, so long as you only focus on one weapon type. This is especially true if you save scum for "excellent"s when receiving tutoring from Seteth/Catherine/Shamir, etc. Other than Byleth it's pretty hard to get to S+ with a lot of units. I had a very easy time with Sniper!Ignatz (he got the extra Bowfaire around Ch. 17) and so it's definitely more possible with units that focus solely on one weapon type and aren't mounted, and Ignatz was especially fast because of the authority boon meaning I didn't have to tutor him as much either. Lysithea also has a pretty easy time getting Dark Tomefaire if you start focusing entirely on Reason after getting to Lv. 5 Faith (she has the personal skill that increases weapon exp). I should note this was my experience with them on Golden Deer, so it would be a bit harder if recruited to another house. Some other good skills: -Weapon Crit +10 can be kinda nice. It doesn't always make a huge difference, but there are definitely worse options. For Sniper!Ignatz I ran Lv. 5 Bow Prowess, Death Blow, Bowfaire, Bow Crit +10, Hit+20, and when I used Hunter's Volley I'd regularly see 80% chance of a critical. I was kinda worried about his low str growth but +5 attack from bowfaire, +5 attack from the sniper class's bowfaire, +6 attack from death blow, +1 attack from Hunter's Volley, +3 attack from Raphael's adjutant... all multiplied by 2... that's an extra 40 damage even before the 80% chance of a crit. Snipers are absolutely busted in this game. Weapon Crit +10 is also usually pretty good for anyone with brawling (or anyone primarily using brave weapons, I guess) since there's more chances for it to work in your favor. I liked running it on War Master!Felix since between the extra crit chance and his crest activation, he was almost always doing some form of extra damage. -Hit+20 again is super helpful for a lot of units and is maybe the only skill other than the blow skills that i'd go out of my way for. The extra 20 accuracy also affects your gambit hit rate which helped me a lot in the early game. -Movement +1 is very helpful for anyone on a horse and isn't super difficult to get for anyone who is on a horse most of the game. It's a very nice skill to put on a dancer, but that's also a much harder task. I was able to do it with Marianne since she has a riding boon. -Special Dance is super important for Dancers and stacks with other buffs. Dancers should be able to get the skill pretty naturally -Magic Range +1 is super helpful on maddening since you don't want your mages to take hits. Attacking from out of range is one of the few ways to get reliable chip damage -The Weight Minus skills are okay. I'm not sure it's worth investing all the way for Weight -5, because that's a lot of extra tutoring that can usually go somewhere more useful. I ran Weight -3 on Felix since it wasn't that hard to get and it helped me feel better about the awful +6 weight that comes with his personal shield -Quick Riposte is an amazing skill but has really stiff requirements (mastering War Master) so it's not worth going out of the way for IMO. That being said, some of the slower units (e.g. Raphael, Dedue, maybe even Caspar) seem as if they are specifically built with the intention of eventually using Quick Riposte. One thing I've heard of people doing but haven't tried myself is mastering War Master and then moving back to grappler for Fierce Iron Fist. I kinda like War Master's extra Crit +20, but I suppose the choice depends on the unit (I would keep Felix in War Master but move a slower unit like Raphael back to Grappler). -Aegis is... fine. It's something you can use to fill a skill slot. -+2 Skills e.g. Str +2, Magic +2, etc. can also be used to fill a skill slot. -Rallies - can be super useful but I've never actually gone out of my way to make a rally bot in 3H. Others can probably attest to the benefits more than I can Those are the skills that I ran when I played Golden Deer Maddening. I haven't messed around with stuff like battalion vantage, battalion wrath, etc., and i haven't tried any of the DLC skills (the two blow skills seem decent...). I've found simple skill builds very effective, so I wouldn't stress out too much about trying to make any ultra complex skill builds or anything. A Lv. 5 Prowess skill and Death Blow alone is already a great start. Apart from skills, the real big game changer is your combat arts. The most important are Hunter's Volley, which only Sniper's can use, Swift Strikes, which Ferdinand and Seteth can use (and Sylvain), and kinda sorta the aforementioned Fierce Iron Fist, which grapplers can use. All of these combat arts are a great way to make sure you kill the enemy before they can kill you, and they can also be incredibly effective at taking down the monsters. These combat arts can help some of your slower units keep pace with faster units who may be able to double. Brave weapons are also great at making sure you can get enough damage in before taking a hit in retaliation. I saw that you said you were planning on training Ferdinand to become a Wyvern. He makes a fine Wyvern but I would caution against it slightly, since he really wants to use Swift Strikes (which is a lance combat art) and even if you use lances as a Wyvern, that's losing 10 damage by not having Lancefaire. A lancefaire class like a Paladin is what I typically prefer. This will also help distinguish him from Seteth who will probably end up as another wyvern who uses lances and Swift Strikes. Also I'll just give a quick plug for Falcon Knights. I know you said that you're training some units to be wyverns, but falcon knights are a really great class as well if you're looking for fliers. Falcon Knight!Byleth is the best unit I've used across three runs so far.
  2. I finished my Golden Deer Maddening run this past weekend! Thank you all so much for the advice and support you gave me - really helped out a lot. I'll give some rapid fire thoughts about Maddening Mode and the Golden Deer route and I'll show off my units and discuss each of them a little bit Maddening Mode + Golden Deer: -Super fun overall! Some of the most fun I've had playing Fire Emblem in a very long time - that being said I'm very relieved to be done and I'm feeling a bit burnt out as well -For many many reasons, the pre-timeskip phase is a much more exciting and interesting part of the game (can't decide if this is a Maddening issue or GD issue) -Hate ambush spawns always. I'll never find them to be a good mechanic. They completely ruin chapter 19 in my opinion because you are forced to send your units around a much much longer path and that map ended up taking nearly two hours -Difficulty takes a sharp nosedive after Ch. 5, with the most difficult parts after that being the pre-timeskip paralogues (though these kinda depend when you choose to do them). Post-Timeskip was comparatively lax. The only chapter I found difficult post timeskip was the Mercedes/Caspar paralogue and that's because I specifically was trying to get an untrained Caspar to kill the Death Knight -If I do Maddening SS the two areas that I'll want to pay more attention to will be ore and when it's available, and tournaments and which weapons have their tournaments when -The hardest enemy to face in the entire run was not Edelgard, Dimitri, Thales, The Death Knight, The Wind Caller, the Turtle, or Nemesis, but was actually Petra in chapter 7 lmao -Favorite Chapters: Pre-timeskip i've always really liked Ch. 6, Ch. 8, Sothis Paralogue, and Ch. 11. Not sure if those are popular at all. Post Timeskip I loved Ch. 14 and thought it was ingenious and different and brilliant. I also really liked Shambala, dubstep and all -Least Favorite Chapters: Pre-Timeskip: Ch. 3, Ch. 5, Ashe+Catherine Paralogue, Post-Timeskip: Ch. 18 (Death Knight runs away so early that I didn't really even get to engage with half of the map), Ch. 19 (god awful) -I married Felix 🙂 My Units: I took these screenshots just before the final chapter - I have a save there so if anyone has any specific questions about their weapon levels or such I could answer those too. I think I'm going to attempt to rank the units while I still have them fresh in my mind, though I'm probably going to exclude Marianne, my dancer, and Mercedes, my healer, since they aren't really in competition with the combat units. I also have the data from the end of the game (Battles, Victories, MVPs). Also I should mention that the cooking buffs for this month were +1 HP, +1 Str, +1 Def, +1 Dex, +1 Spd, and +2 Cha. Here is my team! (Dancer). Marianne https://imgur.com/j4n66Dy 40 Battles, 18 Victories, MVP zero times Marianne was a very solid unit throughout the early game - absolutely no complaints. She's been the best dancer I've had so far, but I think that's mostly just because I put in the effort to train her sword rank. She danced nearly every turn, so she never used swords, but the extra dodginess from an A+ sword rank and Sword Avo +20 helped... for only like two turns in the entire playthrough, but hey that's something! I also went through the annoying task of dragging Dorothea with me through Ch. 19 in order to get the four person dance gambit. I used the gambit maybe three times, but that's only because you get the gambit so incredibly late into the run, and even once I got it I had a tendency to forget about it. Riding proficiency was nice for Mov+1 (Healer). Mercedes https://imgur.com/wSr3OII 53 battles, 39 Victories (including Nemesis!), MVP zero times I probably don't have to say much about Mercedes. She's an excellent healer and an excellent unit overall. I was a bit annoyed throughout most of the game that I didn't have a good "build" for her. All of my other units had meticulously chosen skill sets and Mercedes couldn't even round out her list of 5 skills with anything decent so she had garbage like renewal and defensive tactics, which are two skills that make zero sense on Mercedes. At the very very end of the game I decided to force her through the monk class, and I guess it was worth it? Mag+2 was nice and I used draw back a few times. I just wish I had mastered the class way earlier. Black Magic Range+1 came in clutch though, when Nemesis was down to just 3 HP, all of my units had moved that turn except for Mercedes, and from 3 spaces away she fires off a buzzer-beater Ragnarok to win the game. GOAT. 10. Lorenz https://imgur.com/PHCxwSH 285 battles, 169 victories, MVP two times I want to make clear that just because I've ranked Lorenz last of my combat units does not mean I think he's a bad unit. I think he's fantastic, in all honesty. He had a decent time as a mage, was absolutely amazing as a Paladin, and struggled as a Dark Knight, though he certainly had his uses. The main issue with Lorenz on this team by the endgame was that every other character either (a) had a brave combat art, (b) was fast enough to double, (c) was Lysithea. He simply couldn't one round anything in the end and everyone else could. He did have a lot of nice niche uses though, and definitely contributed a lot to the team, right up until the very end (he was particularly good on the final chapter). Between Black Magic Range+1 and the Caduceus Staff he was able to chip at a lot of enemies from a safe distance. This was especially useful with the Quick Riposte Swordmasters, since I didn't want to approach them with many other units unless they were under half HP. Recover is a great spell, and Ward was useful for Shambala, so he could also help out there. Additionally, he also has some very nice and balanced defenses, so giving him the Gloucester Knights for +6 Def and +6 Res created an absolute tank. I gave him Ferdinand for a Guard Adjutant but he almost never needed Ferdinand to save him. He most just tanked hits. 9. Hilda https://imgur.com/FwG3BA1 416 battles, 180 victories, MVP three times A LOT of people who have played GD are going to be shocked to see Hilda so low, but this was an incredibly competitive set of units and Hilda was pretty disappointing by the end. It's a bit of a bummer since I really put a lot of effort into Hilda. Getting her Death Blow, Darting Blow, Hit+20, and Reposition took a ton of investment and I'm not sure I really saw that much benefit. Hit+20 was an absolute necessity and i want to thank whoever suggested it 1000x over because even with Hit+20 her hit rate was shaky. As I mentioned with Lorenz, most of the units ether had a brave combat art, could naturally double, or were Lysithea. Hilda falls into the "can double" camp, but that's very shaky... With only 31 speed, even with darting blow she's still going to be slower than Felix, Claude, and Leonie, none of whom have darting blow. Hilda unfortunately also had to be on the same team as Petra, who really just did the same job but better most of the time. Hilda's one big niche was having a high charm stat. This is boosted due to the fact that you have literally ~nothing~ to do with your explore points in the last few chapters of the game and so you can drink tea with anyone who has even a salvageable charm stat (Claude, Leonie, Hilda, Sylvain). I guess the other thing she had going for her was that since I raised her bow ranks to give her Hit+20, I was able to have another unit who could fly and use bows. She still couldn't kill Pegasus/Falcon knights, but it was something. It's a bit strange. When I used Hilda on BL Hard, I also had her fall off towards the end. I thought I had done enough to correct for my mistakes of the last run, but I still ran into major issues with her. 8. Sylvain https://imgur.com/3j3F5TC 261 Battles, 136 Victories, MVP four times Sylvain was insanely good by the end of the run, so he only ranks so low because getting him there was a bit of a chore. I was worried about his hit rate based on experience in a past run, so I got him Hit+20 which was pretty annoying to do in all honesty. He's also very slow, so using him in the early game was difficult and he was more of a liability than anything. But then Sothis herself came down from heaven and blessed Sylvain with an ability called Swift Strikes and he became the greatest unit in Fire Emblem history. It's actually pretty comical if you look at the list of MVPs over the course of the game - you can pinpoint the exact moment that Sylvain got Swift Strikes because he gets MVP for the next three chapters in a row. Sylvain also has good charm and so after feeding him all of the tea in Fodlan he was able to do some real damage with gambits. 7. Lysithea https://imgur.com/bwKnQwJ 284 Battles, 221 Victories, MVP four times If ranking Hilda that low didn't cause your head to spin, then this should do it! I think this playthrough has thoroughly convinced me that Lysithea stans either don't play Maddening or are charmed enough by her character to ignore her shortcomings by the time that they get around to playing Maddening. Her start is pretty meh - she can't one shot anything, she's slow, and she has absolutely no enemy phase. Then something happens from roughly chapter 8-19, where her magic has started to outpace enemy resistance, and she's able to one shot every enemies and she finally lives up to all of her hype. But then that came crashing down in the final few chapters when she's not able to one shot anymore and she's so slow that doubling even Fortress Knights can be questionable. I also found it really difficult for her to keep up with such a mobile team, so for the final chapters in the game she'd get usage in the first three turns or so and then be so far behind everyone else that she wouldn't be able to contribute much. I think there's Lysithea the meme, who one shots the Death Knight and is a "tactical nuke" and then I think there's Lyisthea the unit. Those things are not the same. 6. Ignatz https://imgur.com/YA03NPV 420 Battles, 221 Victories, MVP Eight(!!!!!!!!) Times The award for the biggest surprise of the run has to go to Ignatz. So many people have said that he's mediocre or on the weaker side of the GD and I just can't agree with that at all. I mean, ranking Ignatz above Hilda and Lysithea? That's sacrilege! But if I were to rank him any lower, that just wouldn't be honest and it wouldn't reflect my experience with Ignatz this run. I think he's held back from the upper echelons because he lacks enemy phase, but of the real ORKO nuke units (Sylvain, Lysithea) he was certainly the best. I could gush about his early game and how much Hit+20 contributed to his usability and how he was so great for chipping down enemies, or I could gush about his midgame where he was able to use strong gambits consistently and use rally speed to help my units out in some difficult chapters, or I could talk about his endgame where Hunter's Volley allowed him some absolutely insane damage output, coupled with a crit rate that more often than not hovered above 80%. He was simply a fantastic unit, beginning, middle, and end. 5. Petra https://imgur.com/TnAcqam 259 Battles, 132 Victories, MVP two times Of course Petra was an incredible unit. I'd actually say that Petra, Leonie, and Felix are all pretty interchangeable in terms of how great they were. I'm ranking Petra the lowest of the three because I'd say she probably had the most speed bumps along the way, even if some of those were my doing. Petra of course was my fastest unit, and was an invaluable dodge tank. Plus, her speed meant she doubled nearly everything except for Assassins and Swordmasters, which she wouldn't attack anyways because of axebreaker. Her strength was also quite good this run. For a unit with only 40% strength growth, I really didn't struggle with her at all. I think I may have only given her one Rocky Burdock, but since I planted purple flowers nearly every week that's hardly an investment. I think the main thing holding Petra back on this run was mistakes that I personally made. I didn't give her the Brave Axe until the final chapter, and seeing the absolute havoc that she was able to wreak with that thing, I feel a weird sense of regret as if I should go back and play the last 10 chapters with Petra wielding the Brave Axe just so I can feel like I've really used her to her full potential. On top of that I can't help but feel as if I messed up her build. I gave her the standard skills I'd give most of my units: Axe Prowess, Death Blow, Darting Blow, and Alert Stance+. Her fifth skill was Axe Crit+10, which isn't a terrible skill or anything, but I'm not sure her build worked as intended. Petra has some very slight hit rate issues, and so I elected to give her the accuracy ring. I'm very glad I did - going from 78% hit to 88% hit is a very big deal, especially with double roll RNG. But this meant not giving her the critical ring. Plus, since so many of my units are focused on trying to ORKO enemies, I hardly ever made use of her personal skill, so it's not as if Petra had the high Crit build I intended for her. I think maybe a different skill in the fifth slot could have done more for her. Even without any training past S rank, she ended up ~200 WEXP away from S+. So maybe on Silver Snow Axefaire is more viable. 4. Leonie https://imgur.com/x2kLRAM 427 Battles, 210 Victories, MVP six times I ranked Leonie here because I think I have a tendency to forget about Leonie or to underrate her. I want to emphasize her consistency throughout the entire run. Just very solid throughout the whole run, and definitely at her most valuable before I had Felix and Petra around. I do admit I had a bit of a tendency to forget how good she was though. She might have shined a bit more had I given her the Blessed Bow instead of Ignatz, but it made more sense to me to keep it on the high crit unit. I have surprisingly little to say about Leonie, considering how good she was. I consistently felt like there was something holding both her and Claude back, and I spent a lot of the endgame trying to figure out if I was misusing them somehow. I'd really like to try her out as a Falcon Knight if I do Silver Snow. 3. Felix https://imgur.com/ITjv864 230 Battles, 148 Victories, MVP one time Now THIS is an incredible FE unit. I recruited him in Ch. 10 and I was a bit worried about his weapon ranks for a while, and I admittedly did have to give him some special attention during tutoring sessions for a couple of chapters to get him caught up, but every ounce of investment I gave him paid off tenfold. By the final chapter attacking with Felix would give some absolutely insane numbers like Dmg: 34 x 4, Hit: 85, Crit: 54. He just murdered everything... And on the off chance that he wasn't projected to do enough damage to fully one round an enemy, they'd usually just be one Crest of Fraldarius proc away from death. And that's not even mentioning the insane crit rate either. And if that's not good enough, Felix is also pretty great on enemy phase as well. He's super fast so he's not really in danger of much doubling him, and the extra def and res from the Aegis shield helps out too, as well as the proc. I wasn't always putting him on the front lines or anything - his charm is low so I had to be careful of that, plus it's just easier to dodge tank with Petra/Byleth/Claude - but having another unit around that you don't have to worry about is really great. I should also give full disclosure - I gave Felix the Shoes of the Wind. I was initially going to give them to Leonie since someone said that'd help her with Point Blank Volley, and I like that suggestion, but when I look at my team, every unit except Felix either had 3+ attack range, could fly, or had Mov+1 already. With 6 movement and only 1 attack range, I think Felix desperately needed the little bit extra to keep up. I do have to admit that with both Petra and Felix I have a weird sort of guilt that I maybe didn't use them to their fullest potential. I recruited Petra in Ch. 8 and Felix in Ch. 10, and so I spent a large portion of the game without them on my team. I was a lot more limited with what I could do with their weapon ranks and such, and so I question if maybe I should have recruited them earlier. At the same time though, their base stats were absolutely insane and we're still talking about two of the best five units in my army, so maybe I shouldn't have regrets. Additionally, the one upside of recruiting Felix so late was that he comes with Sword Prowess 3, which allowed him to be my one student capable of doing the Ultimate Sword Tournaments during the last three explore months. That really helped out a ton with having cash on hand for the final few chapters. 2. Claude https://imgur.com/TETWfQn 593 Battles, 214 Victories, MVP four times Even at the end of the route, I still don't totally know what to think of Claude. Is he the worst lord of the three? No wait, is he the best lord of the three? Ashes and Dust is incredible and having a lord that flies is really nice, but he doesn't quite have the raw strength the other lords have. But he's super fast! He's a dodge tank! Encloser is so great for bullying units like swordmasters! I really struggle to come up with a conclusion about Claude or write anything pithy about what he is like as a unit. Like Leonie I always had a hard time deciding how he ranks amongst my units. I always got the sense there was something holding both units back, though if I look at their stats, they are fantastic and I'm not able to pinpoint what that is. Both were incredibly consistent, and that's why I've valued each of them so highly here. Maybe in my mind I've overvalued the ability to do things like ORKO the falcon knights or the paladins the way that Sylvain and Ignatz are able to with their brave combat arts, and that units like Claude and Leonie that are just very consistent across the board feel underwhelming by comparison. I don't totally know 1. Byleth https://imgur.com/MKqDxdE 641 Battles, 278 Victories, MVP seven times And finally we get to Byleth herself, the absolute greatest unit I've used in Three Houses so far. Byleth's stats are just set up so well to go Falcon Knight. It's hard to even begin to describe what Byleth was capable of because the short answer and most appropriate answer is simply: everything. She dodged everything! With Wo Dao+ she'd have 60+ crit! She was super strong! She was super fast! With a brave sword she'd ORKO even the bulkiest enemies in the game! With Windsweep she wouldn't need to! She was simply an incredibly unit. Haar/10. Also she drank enough tea to qualify for whatever the Tea equivalent of a sommelier is. She's the g*ddamn queen of Fodlan and she absolutely deserves to be. Alright that's it for this run and these units! I really loved this run a lot and I'm a bit sad to be done with it. Please comment if you have any suggestions for stuff I could have done differently or if you have better builds to suggest, etc. I learned a ton about this game from this most recent run. I think it's going to be hard to move on from this run and these units and to do SS. That being said - I'm feeling really burnt out on FE and Three Houses, so I think I'm going to take a break. More accurately, I think I'm burned out on these 100+ hour RPGs. I absolutely adore games like this and Persona 5 and such, but I just really can't tackle another one of these for a little while, especially since this year's going to have a bunch of these massive RPGs between P5R, FFVII, Cyberpunk, and Xenoblade. I need like a "palette cleanser" game - something fun and laidback but still with a bit of a structure to it - I keep replaying Katamari Damacy, but I feel like I need something a bit longer - maybe I'll finally get around to playing Super Mario Galaxy 2. Something of that ilk at least. Please feel free to rec me something if you have something that comes to mind.
  3. I'd also rank Ignatz around the middle of my units. Definitely agree with everything you said here. I think I objected to calling him "decentish" because all of the units this run have been really impressive so far - I've definitely enjoyed using them more than the BE or BL. LMAO. Honestly reading anything written by @Shadow Mir has been truly exhausting. Seriously, I truly wonder if there's even another person on the other side of that account. The posts read like someone got a bot to read 10000+ pages of arguments on Serenes about unit viability and the bot is now trying to regurgitate the most basic lines over and over again. "Investment is bad!" "Not feasible!" "You have to invest too much in that unit so they aren't good!" Brain worms. Thank you. There's a very massive difference between watching someone play and making a decision like "S+ ranks aren't feasible" or "Lorenz isn't feasible" versus actually playing and arriving at that conclusion. If you actually play the mode and go through the experience of managing units' weapon levels you'll put a LOT more thought into it rather than watching some videos on YT of people who might not attempt to go for S+ or might not even plan out their weapon levels or classes very well at all. Hands on experience is definitely preferable here because it requires so much more active thought on your part. I s2g if one more person brings up participating in battles once a month as a negative... Yes I admitted to doing paralogues. You caught me. I am guilty. I am so ashamed that you've found out that I have done the paralogues when I've said a number of times that I plan to do all of the paralogues. How will I ever recover from my shame and humilitation? Let me spell this out VERY clearly so that hopefully we don't need to keep having the same conversation here. I am playing on Maddening Mode which is a difficulty that you are unable to beat. You are implying that I have tainted this run and turned it into EZ baby mode because I've done the number of battles that the game heavily implies you should be doing and the online stats suggest that the vast majority of people playing the game are also doing. I seriously think I might have a migraine. And as for recruiting everyone being impractical... yea... it's called a challenge run. No NG+ is a challenge run. No Online is a challenge run. No DLC is a challenge run. I've been very clear about these being restrictions, and I've talked at length about how it's made the run a lot more exciting because I'm constantly so low on cash due to having to buy items from the shop to build support with people. I don't know what you're trying to prove here. That I'm an impractical player or something? Or that I have bad Fire Emblem instincts? None of those restrictions are remotely the same thing as thinking that an S+ weapon rank is viable. Also you just straight up don't understand the resources that are available to you or the decisions you'd actually have to make if you played the game. You say that going from A+ to S+ in a weapon rank is three time the effort of raising an authority rank from E to B, but that's not a decision you're ever going to actually have to make in the game. It's just an argument that's completely irrelevant. Ignatz hit A in authority 3 chapters ago. He's done. There's nothing left to do with him but raise his bow rank now. I just cannot for the life of me understand how you play. Do you just skip every single week and never instruct your students? Have you never done a single paralogue? I truly don't understand. You say that S+ takes too much effort, and that mastering War Master for Quick Riposte (arguably the best ability in the game...) is too much effort, using Raphael at all is too much effort, getting faculty training is too much effort, using the 4 activity points it takes to recruit Caspar is too much effort, spending a single week of gardening to farm a single charm stat booster is too much effort, but also having a single tea party with Lorenz on the odd chance he gets charm screwed is all too much effort... This is just comical. Like what do you do with your activity points? You must have a lot of activity points since you said you want to plant Nordsalat seeds. Is dining with students to get their motivation back too much effort? Is fishing too much effort? I don't understand where the limits are with this nonsense. This is such a great way to phrase a lot of what I've tried to say in so many conversations about FE. I think people really like to lean on the argument that anything you have to invest in is automatically evil and unviable, but so many times it really just comes down to using the resources you already have. Like I don't understand what the criteria is for some people to consider a unit good - they'll criticize every unit who can't one round the final boss at base and also happens to have great availability. There's maybe 5 of those units in the whole series. It's truly baffling. Also I did the math on Lorenz's "low charm stat." The odds that Lorenz doesn't reach 13 charm and needs a Tea Party or a Golden Apple... 11.83%. It actually should be slightly lower than that if we factor in the fact that every student in three houses comes with a built in Blossom skill, but that's not going to have a major effect or anything like that. I like Caspar too. He's a good boy. Lol. Good luck finding them. You can't buy them and so you'll have to farm them by planting other seeds first and then hoping you collect enough. They give a lot in professor experience, but by the time you've planted all the other seeds to farm them you'll probably be behind where you could have been if you just planted flowers. Agree for the most part - Yellow is also good for Mag esp on GD where Lysithea spends a lot of the early game ~2-3 damage away from one shotting most things. Pale Blue is less valuable on Maddening (though still great) since most units seem to fall into two categories: doubles everything, gets doubled by everything. Fast units like Felix and Petra probably don't need the Pale Blue seeds. Units like Lorenz are too slow to salvage. There's not that many units right in the middle that can really make best use of Pale Blue. White for Charm isn't terrible if you have a front line unit that you're worried about getting gambited. Though there's always tea parties. Definitely curious as well. But I'm also curious to hear if there's any sort of general consensus regarding Mangs and Chaz or even just that let's play in general. I've watched most of it and it's kind of a beautiful disaster. There are so many places where they zigged where I would have 100% zagged and so it can often be a frustrating experience to watch them. The episode where they are unable to kill the Death Knight in Ch. 6 and waste like 4 Divine Pulses trying... I felt so much anxiety. But I guess that's kind of every Mangs let's play. The Radiant Dawn one he did around this time last year was also really difficult for me to get through (though very entertaining). That's my favorite FE game and I know it inside and out and front and back and there was just SO MUCH that he and Mekkah got wrong about how various mechanics worked and how different units performed and such. If you're looking for a good Maddening playthrough I'll shoutout this guy: I haven't watched much of the early game - I mostly have seen timeskip onwards - but he's a good player and doesn't get enough views. He was also super friendly on twitter when I asked him a question about Maddening Mode. Other than him I've struggled to find good Maddening LPs.
  4. Dude what the hell are you even talking about? The discussion was about if hitting S+ was viable, not Ignatz’s viability as a unit. He’s being used as an example because he’s my unit closest to hitting S+ but I could use Lysithea who is also close and the conversation is the same. The only mention about S+ with regards to viability is that I said it’s easier to get with Ignatz because I made him a Sniper and so I only need to focus on his bow rank. I said double Bowfaire would be nice because of Hunter’s Volley and I stand by that. That’s not me arguing for Ignatz in particular - it’s saying that low strength units can still excel as Snipers. The same holds for any other unit you want to make a Sniper/single weapon class: it’s easier to get to S+ with them. Swordmasters, Warriors, Grapplers, whatever... I wouldn’t refer to battling once a month as “grinding” when the vast majority of players do that and then some. If you want to have a serious discussion about how viable it is to hit S+ ranks then maybe you should put it in the context of how people actually play the game and not some arbitrarily sterile no aux battle restriction. The game gives you one free day every month without a tutoring session after it... it’s very much encouraging you to use that week to battle. The vast majority of players take that opportunity. You even claimed to do all the paralogues so YOU took that opportunity to battle too. Now if your saying that it’s “super EZ” to get units to hit their benchmarks when you actually battle with them and I told you I did every paralogue and it’s been easy to hit benchmarks then what the hell are you even trying to argue about? And cut the pedantic “you’re welcome to play how you think is fun but...” garbage. Your argument needs to make sense before you can say things like that.
  5. Ignatz is about to get it and Felix hasn’t even promoted to War Master yet... if you consider Quick Riposte a feasible goal you should (at least in certain cases) consider S+ a feasible goal
  6. RIP to your S+ ranks but I’m different Seriously I don’t know how so many of y’all get such a thrill from coming online and trying to pick holes in the way another person plays the game. Let me make this VERY clear: I use aux battles once per month. Looking at the calendar, I elected to battle twice during months 6 and 1. I did not do any battles at all during month 10. If you did all paralogues like you claim you did, you’d need to battle twice a month in at least one of the months too. Post timeskip I battle once per month except the most recent month. My units are still under the suggested level, so it’s not as if I’ve received some massive boost from extra battles. If you want to look at online stats, I battle less often than other players. Sorry if my completely average number of battles has tainted my run for you. Should I forgo aux battles the rest of my playthrough? Should I start over and do a blindfolded, upside-down, behind my back run? Seriously if you pay attention to a unit’s ranks it’s not super hard to get to S+, especially if it’s a single weapon unit like a Sniper. The game gives you two knowledge gems... use them. In the context of the original argument, I don’t know what y’all’s fascination with the amount of battles I’m doing is supposed to prove. I said that Ignatz was about to hit S+ in bows and the unfounded accusation was that I MUST be battling too much or doing something wrong, but if I were to battle twice in a month that would mean that I’d be unable to fill up Ignatz’s motivation one of those weeks and wouldn’t be able to tutor him in back to back weeks. The amount of wexp gained from a week of battling would essentially be negated by the inability to tutor him. Even then, I’m not tutoring Ignatz every week. I’ve been pretty good about cycling through all of my units. Here’s what happened: the other dude on the forum made a terrible back of the envelope calculation on how much wexp gets accumulated per week, and so the expectations for where Ignatz’s bow rank “should be” are wildly off base. That’s it. When I played CF and AM I had a hard time hitting any S+ ranks so I made major adjustments this time around to how I was tutoring and what I was doing with units’ goals and I’ve seen better results. Last play through I made some naive mistakes like trying to get my Wyverns to S+ in both axes and flying and stuff like that... That’s not feasible. This time I’m not tutoring any unit in any rank they don’t need. I haven’t needed to tutor Claude in the past three chapters at all because he had already hit A+ bows and was at A flying and so I just let his flying level up naturally. I’ve forgone Master classes on a lot of units (Ignatz, Sylvain, Marianne, Mercedes), I’ve been better about using things like choir practice and group tasks, and I’ve been a lot more aggressive with switching a unit’s goals to single focus. This play through has been an incredibly well oiled machine. What I’m doing isn’t witchcraft or breaking the game...
  7. Yea I definitely see what you're saying. I guess I don't particularly factor in that as "investment" in my mind because it's become so second nature for me - if a unit is a physical unit I'm making them a Brigand for Death Blow no matter what, if they are a magical unit, they have to be a mage to get Fiendish Blow. Even Marianne, my dancer this run has Fiendish Blow and she'll use it approximately twice in the entire run. Hell, I sent Hilda through Brigand and Archer and Pegasus Knight because I really think she'd fall off without Death Blow and Darting Blow and Hit+20. Also I'm definitely the type of person to pick which unit is going to be the dancer before I start the run, and I know that's not the way everyone plays - a lot of people like to assess who's performing the worst and make that unit their dancer, and in that case I'd see why what I've said isn't relevant to how you play I do slightly contest classifying Ignatz as "decentish" for all of the reasons I brought up in the last post though. He's great - maybe not my best unit on my team, but certainly above a bunch of those losers I used on my BE and BL runs. But people either seem to think he's great or be married to the idea that he's mediocre. I'm not sure I'm going to change anyone's mind about him
  8. Whoa whoa whoa dude.... if you're going to quote me you better QUOTE me - don't change what I said. I said that participated in 2 aux battles per month in the earliest chapters (through ~chapter 6). Don't know where you're pulling 25 Aux battles from. Seems arbitrary. It's been ~2 aux battles total per month up until timeskip. (I'd battle twice a month when the professor level was low and I couldn't tutor as many folks per week, and then when my professor level went up, I stopped doing twice a month, but then the game allows you to battle twice on the battle days). I spent most of the battling time in the middle of the game doing paralogues, and those are a lot longer turn count wise, and would allow my units to get a lot more WEXP. Now, post timeskip, I'm able to battle 3 times on the battle days, and I still only elect to battle once per month, but this month I did twice because I'm trying to train Caspar (and honestly Explore days post timeskip are super boring) and a lot of my units have already hit all of the weapon levels they need to hit for this run. I did an exceptional amount of pre-planning before starting this run and so it has been incredibly efficient and I've been hitting a lot of ranks way earlier than I've been able to in earlier runs. This time I made a massive google doc with all of the units' birthdays and I've been keeping track of support points and such so i'll be able to take advantage of the free boost to motivation from support convos. I've been a lot more aggressive about switching a unit's goals when I think they'll level up some of their ranks naturally. The way you phrased it makes it seem as though I've done an additional 25 battles on top of whatever is "normal" for a run and that's why Ignatz's bow Rank is way higher than your calculations. That's just blatantly false. As far as target levels and such go, my units are still below the "Suggested Level" on main missions. I'm not exceptionally overlevelled or anything... Perhaps the source I had was wrong, but I did read online that having a boon in a skill makes it more likely to get greats and perfects and having a bane in a skill makes it more likely to get bads. It seems to be pretty in line with what I've seen so far. From my experience it is exceptionally rare to go a week without a single great or perfect, especially if you are tutoring a boon, so I'd still say that 42 WEXP per week is a conservative estimate since it so rarely will ever be less than that. Plus, you only added 24 to that to get 66 total WEXP per week, and I switched his goals to Bows only a while ago - it's been at least a few months of 36 per week from Bows. I've also only tutored Ignatz ~once every other week, so it's not as if I'm super favoring him - Claude's Hit A+ Bows, A+ Flying, A Authority and that's all I need from him, Lysithea is at S Reason, A Faith, A+ Authority, Leonie's at A+ Bows, B+ Authority, A Riding... I'm just a few ranks off of where I want to be with everyone for the most part.
  9. Aux Battles mostly once a month (twice in the early game when you can only tutor ~half your units). I'm doing a No NG+, No Online, No DLC, all recruits, all Paralogues run, so no I'm not using the Sauna. And I haven't done any broken weapon grinding this run either. I told a bit of a white lie - Ignatz is <100 wexp from hitting S+, and I'm pretty sure he's going to hit it during Ch 16. He's definitely NOT 242 away from S rank, he hit S rank a while ago. I switched his goals over to Bows only a while ago since he hit A rank authority very quickly, and besides the D+ in axes to get Death Blow, I haven't needed to train anything else with him. This month I did do two weeks of battling since I didn't need to tutor that many units super aggressively this month, and this gives me the opportunity to get Caspar some adjutant levels/increase his Lance rank so that he can get Knightkneeler and kill the Death Knight in the upcoming Paralogue. I gave Ignatz the Knowledge gem for some of these Aux battles since he's so close to leveling up his Bow rank, though these aux battles have gone so quickly that's only ~3-4 rounds of combat each. 42 Wexp per week seems like a pretty conservative estimate - with just the Bow+1 statue (I think it's an early statue get from Indech), that would equate to four Good tutoring sessions and one Perfect one. Ignatz has a boon in Bows, and the boon means that he gets Greats and Perfects all the time Also since I did 10 paralogues before timeskip and Hilda and Cyril's paralogue since, that could be a factor. Paralogues are so much longer than aux battles so that's a lot of extra rounds of combat
  10. Might be luck or build or just different expectations but Ignatz has worked out really well for me so far. Early game he had an easy time getting levels because I was using him so often to chip with Curved Shot. Then he got Break Shot which helped him contribute even more. Also his hit+20 meant he was getting a decent amount of kills since if there was an enemy I wanted to make sure would absolutely 100% die, Ignatz’s high hit rate would be the solution. His strength base isn’t terrible, but the 35% growth is pretty icky. I think he has a few more work arounds than other low strength units like Ingrid, who you just have to watch be mediocre for pretty large portions of the game. First obvious fix was getting Death Blow, and sending him into fighter—>brigand would also give ~1 extra strength Due to growths (doesn’t seem like a lot but w Ignatz it’s really a game of inches). Second was that because his hit rate was higher and because he wasn’t as fast as Claude or Leonie who might have to front line often (and use training weapons), I could give him a lot of heavier weapons like the Steel Bow(+). Next, because he has a boon in authority that meant he could use better gambits than the rest of the units and get a few extra points of strength there. Then, I also gave him Raphael as a guard adjutant. Not everyone is going to do this because a lot of people want to use Raphael as an actual unit, but Raphael as an adjutant boosted his strength by 2 pre timeskip and raised his hit rate, allowing him to use even heavier and less accurate bows. Finally, once he gets to Sniper the main goal should be rushing Ignatz towards Hunter’s Volley which will dramatically help his damage output. Plus now he has his faire which will help him as well. In the late game he’s been absolutely insane as a unit. With Hunter’s Volley + Death Blow + Bowfaire x 2 + Raphael that’s an extra 38 damage. Even with a lower strength stat, if you give him a Silver Bow and let him go for it then you’ll have him doing 50+ dmg x 2. It’s insanely good
  11. Did you not pay attention?? Ignatz and Lorenz would both end up with 15 charm through level ups at the time of the dance competition. They don’t NEED the tea parties at all. The tea parties are just a failsafe (as they are with EVERY unit that you want to make a dancer). Plus even if they get charm screwed AND you can’t spare one measly activity point, you can also plant white flowers, which I know you’ll say is “using up a week of gardening” or whatever but you need the flowers anyways and white is good on GD because they give Anemones which Hilda likes. But the point stands: you have a LOT of options for IF Lorenz or Ignatz gets charm screwed which is already unlikely in the first place! It honestly just seems like you’re very unfamiliar with the game and the resources that are available. Earlier you were saying that it’s impossible to reach S+ weapon ranks with units and I’m about to take on Ch. 16 and Ignatz is already there with very little investment. Lysithea is almost there as well
  12. Oh my god I’m so sick of everyone saying “x unit needs resources” or “x unit needs to be fed kills” therefore they are bad. Reality check: every unit needs resources! Every unit needs kills! Some need a lot more than others, but the argument should be whether or not it’s worth it to invest in that unit not whether or not that unit needs resources at all. Lysithea needs investment, Hilda needs investment, Leonie needs investment, etc. They are all fantastic units still. You invest in the units you want to use and you give kills to the units that you want to make stronger. That’s what Fire Emblem is and always has been. Pretending like every single kill you give a unit or giving them a single tea party is going way out of your way to baby them is absolutely asinine. With 3 base and a 35% growth, factoring in that your unit should be ~level 20 by the time of the dance competition, Lorenz would have 15 Charm. Plus you have the option to have a tea party if things get wonky and his charm doesn’t work out. That’s hardly some major investment you make it out to be. It actually seems like a pretty surefire win. With 5 base and 25% growth Ignatz would also have 15 Charm at the point of the dance competition (this counts the 5 charm from dance practice).
  13. I mad Marianne my Dancer and she's been by far and away the best dancer I've had so far (I've used Dorothea and Annette in the other houses). I would highly recommend against making Lorenz or Ignatz your dancer because I think it's a waste of their abilities. At that point in the game they'll both be able to one shot most enemies (Lorenz with Frozen Lance, Ignatz with Hunter's Volley). They're incredibly valuable. If you haven't used them on Maddening I think they will really surprise you. I've used Marianne as a Bishop and a Dark Knight before and I don't feel like I'm wasting her talents by making her a dancer. Losing Ignatz or Lorenz as a combat unit would be much worse than losing Marianne as a combat unit. I really didn't find Ch. 13 to be that difficult nor the Dancer all that necessary. Ashes and Dust is so powerful that it will make the first few rounds of combat pretty safe. Also make sure Claude has Encloser by that point. For Ignatz and Lorenz, I gave Ignatz the impregnable wall gambit for that map (thankfully his authority boon means he shouldn't have a hard time reaching high authority ranks and can pretty much use whatever gambit you want with him). Use the gambit on Lorenz, put Lorenz in the way of a few enemies, and then Ignatz and Lorenz can clean them up the next turn. It's hard to get Ignatz and Lorenz over to where the others are safely, and so I don't think making either of them your dancer will really give you the utility you're looking for. The only upside I can think of to making Ignatz your dancer is that he gets Physic, though from my experience that's not necessary. Having more firepower on the left side of Ch. 13 is very welcome There's a guy on this thread who was advocating for making Lorenz a dancer earlier though, so I'd seek out his post if you want a dissenting opinion
  14. Sylvain just got Swift Strikes and he went from pretty awful to the best unit in Fire Emblem in the history of Fire Emblem ever in all of Fire Emblem. 80+ damage with the horseslayer/blessed lance is incredible. An absolute delete button of a unit. Also he just got a bunch of lucky level ups in a row and went from 22 strength to 27 over the course of three maps. Only Felix has higher strength now. Seth wants what Sylvain has
  15. Wow this thread turned to absolute sh*te while I was away. Super entertaining read to come back to though! Let me see if I can focus the thread a bit: A lot of your suggestions have really worked out really well for me so I want to thank everyone who has contributed again! I'm currently up to chapter 10 and have been really cruising along. The main story difficulty really dropped a ton after Miklan, though some of the paralogues have kept the challenge up. So far I've done Sylvain's, Lorenz's, Sothis's, Ingrid/Dorothea's, Seteth/Flayn's, Raphael/Ignatz's, and Felix's. A lot of them are really tough if you try to do them right away, but waiting even one/two weeks can really make things a lot easier. I tried doing Lorenz's right when it became available and I just didn't have enough firepower on my team to really deal with the enemies. I could have warped Sylvain to the boss and killed with Lance of Ruin but who doesn't want that sweet exp? Kill. Every. Last. One. of. Them. Seteth and Flayn's was probably the easiest though. Nothing really tricky about that map like the ambush spawns at the end of Ingrid's or the pseudo time limit on Sylvain's or dealing with the idiotic NPCs on Raphael/Ignatz's. Next month I'll knock out Shamir/Alois's and Ashe/Catherine's. I skipped the Anna paralogue, so this is a clean no dlc/no online/no amiibo run. That doesn't mean much though - I feel like that would be a much bigger accomplishment if this were conquest or something Here are my thoughts on the units so far: F!Byleth - Pegasus Knight Byleth has been incredible as always. Her stats really are tailored to going Falcon Knight. She's ridiculously fast and still hits pretty hard. I've been using swords with her as opposed to lances, so she might drop of slightly as everyone else picks up their -faire skills in their advanced classes. Still, she has so much going for her I don't see her really suffering all that much. Additionally, she's sipped all the tea in China and her Charm stat is a bonkers 35 or something right now. Only issue is her weapon ranks. It's a bit of an odd concern since she has higher flying and authority than anyone else on the team and her swords are almost at A as well, but getting her lance rank up to B+ (it's currently ~halfway through C+) is going to be a massive pain. Especially since she'd ideally like to get her authority up ASAP to start using the Cichol Wyverns instead of the Galatea Knights which Claude or Hilda need. Plus she doesn't have time to raise axe ranks so she's been stuck in Pegasus Knight purgatory for 7 more levels. I usually don't care to make my Falcon Knights go Wyvern Rider in the interim, but Byleth mastered her classes and got death blow and darting blow so quickly that it feels like a bit of a waste to keep her in a class with worse growths for 10+ levels (aka long enough for the growths to start mattering). Overall she's an incredible unit for sure and it's been fun to switch things up and try F!Byleth instead of M!Byleth this run Claude - Wyvern Rider Claude's good. He's a lot faster than I was expecting him to be and that weirdly makes him a lot "bulkier" than a bunch of my other units since not getting doubled goes a long way. I got him Death Blow and Hit+20, and then came time to move him to an advanced class. I was really torn between Sniper and Wyvern Rider for him, but ended up choosing Wyvern Rider just to have more fliers. I'm not sure it was the right choice. Flying Encloser is incredible and made the Hanneman/Manuela paralogue much easier, and this gives me a taste of what Claude will be like as a unit for the rest of the game. But at the same time losing the extra bowrange is not great, and I find situations where I'd prefer the extra range, especially since Claude isn't getting doubled by enemy archers, I'm losing someone who can take them on enemy phase. I can't quite make up my mind on Claude. Sometimes he's my best unit, other times he's kinda mediocre. I'm sure all of that goes away once he gets into his personal class though Hilda - Wyvern Rider God Hilda has been through the most arduous class path, as I forced her to master Soldier, Brigand, Archer, and Pegasus Knight so I could have Reposition, Death Blow, Darting Blow, and Hit+20. She's only been a wyvern for a few maps but I think it's all starting to pay off. She absolutely needed the Hit+20 because even with it she still sometimes struggles with hit rates. But finally I've got her on a wyvern and she's tearing it up again. Now to get her authority up so she can use Galatea Knights... Marianne - Dancer This probably doesn't seem like much of a compliment but she's definitely the best dancer I've used. Solid unit and the sword avoid is nice on a unit that can actually train swords easily. Might get her the Swordmaster certification for some crazy boost like 11 strength and 7 defense, but she's never going to see combat so probably not necessary. The few times she isn't dancing she can still Physic and Silence so she's always providing some utility. I'd like to get her the 4 person dance gambit but I believe that isn't until like chapter 18 or so on this route... And that still requires bringing Dorothea/Manuela to a near endgame map when I'm not using either. Also it really bugs me the way the gambit works and it really should be like he four person galdr in Tellius. But I digress... Leonie - Sniper Well she failed her 67% Sniper exam four weeks in a row, so she's been stuck in intermediate classes for way too long. She was incredibly useful in the early game and she's somewhat fallen off a bit, but I'm hoping that now she's in an advanced class she'll be back up to speed. I'll say she's a lot tankier than people give her credit for. She's really fast so she isn't doubled too often, and she can actually take a few hits. I think she's just on the cusp of greatness. I just gave her a better battalion and she just got her -faire and she's about to get Point Blank Volley, so her damage output is about to skyrocket. Lysithea - Bishop So earlier I ranted about how Lysithea is much worse on Maddening. I do stand by that statement. I think she really struggles in the early game on this mode and I think she's going to continue to have a few issues until roughly around time skip. She's gotten a lot lot better since I last posted though. She can actually one shot a decent number of enemies now, which means that she's not a liability I have to play around anymore. She's gotten Warp since last time which I still think is incredibly situational on maddening, but can help in some of the paralogues. Getting her to an advanced class shot her strength and res bases up a ton so now she can at least handle enemy mages. She's starting to be as good as she was on hard mode. I really do think that anyone who refers to her as the best unit in the game is way overhyping her though. She's a bit weird to describe. I wouldn't call here a high investment unit, because that would imply you actually have resources to invest and make her better. There's not that many stat boosters early game, and even if you got one from gardening every week and fed it to her I'm not sure it'd really make that much of a difference in patching up her weak early game. Even once you get her magic up to one shot range she still struggles with hit rate and that's not getting fixed until you get her a good battalion... which isn't available until later in the game. You could feed her a bunch of dex boosters but then she's not one shotting anything. Thyrsus is also like this - once she gets it she'll be much better, but it's weird to call that "investment" when it greatly improves her viability in an instant. It's strange - if you want to use her you kinda just have to accept that there's going to be a long period where she's just okay. I'm glad she's starting to pick up now. Ignatz - Sniper Anyone who doubts Ignatz's abilities need to gtfo immediately. This dude is the hidden gem of three houses for sure. That extra hit rate goes such a long way in the early game. It's such a huge relief to have a unit on the team that I know will actually hit things when I have Hilda, Lysithea, and Sylvain whiffing everything. As I've said before, having that extra hit rate on gambits is so incredibly useful in the early game when you need to immobilize large groups of enemies, and it allows him to continue using offensive gambit way deeper into the game than nearly all of my other units. It's not a full substitute for charm - Claude, Hilda, and Byleth are going to be better with gambits in the long run - but I'm currently in a spot in the game where the amount of damage a gambit does really does not matter in the slightest and you're only using them to immobilize groups, so he's still very viable. I forget which one but he also has a gambit that gives +7 charm so that's nice as well. As a sniper his damage output is very nice, and he's able to double a lot of enemies. Soon he'll get Hunter's Volley and will be even greater. Because he only needs Bows and Authority his weapon ranks are also way higher than the rest of the team and eventually he'll be able to get the extra bow crit and bowfaire. Even without the second bowfaire, Hunter's Volley will do a lot to keep him at the top of the pack despite a 35% strength growth: Bowfaire+Death Blow+Raphael Adjutant is going to give him 28 extra damage with Hunter's Volley, which is insane. Even then, his strength is only a few points lower than even the strongest units on the team (20 Str vs Felix's 24) Lorenz - Paladin I want to give a huge thank you to whoever told me to make Lorenz into a Paladin in between Mage and Dark Knight. Frozen Lance just murks everything in one shot. It's especially nice for handling those grapplers with tomebreaker. Lorenz has really surprised me a lot this run. He's never been a top tier unit on this team, but he's really pulled his weight a lot and he's solidly above the weaker links on the team. He's also much much tankier than I anticipated him being, especially when on the res side. I have the heavy armor ranks to recruit Ferdinand, so I might train Ferdie up to be Lorenz's guard adjutant. I don't know how often I'll get to use the adjutant since it seems like Lorenz will be fighting with Ignatz and Sylvain for adjutant slots - Ignatz wants Raphael for a strength boost, and Sylvain wants Ingrid to help his hit rate/guard him because despite his defense growth he's disappointingly frail. Mercedes - Bishop She's great, as always. Incredible healer. Maybe a bit underrated in her damage dealing capabilities. I really don't have anything as far as a "build" goes for her. She has fiendish blow and Reason Prowess and a bunch of extra garbage. I suppose her build really doesn't matter for the most part though. Magic Range+1 would be nice though Sylvain - Paladin Oh boy... He's kind of a disaster to be honest. I just reclassed him into Paladin so maybe he'll be better with a -faire. He's also not too far away from getting swift strikes, so I guess it won't matter that his strength and speed are both garbage. I got Hit+20 for him too so that should help... But overall he's super underwhelming so far. He fell off a bit towards the end when I used him on hard mode, but this is way earlier than I was having issues with him last time. As for the Ferdinand vs. Sylvain debate people were having here earlier: Ferdinand. 100%. His personal skill is so much better and you can use a goddess ring/spear of assal to make sure he's always topped off on HP. Petra - Pegasus Knight She's incredible. I recruited her in Ch. 8 which gave her a decent amount of time to autolevel, but enough time for her to grab Death Blow and Darting Blow before time skip. She hits super hard and she has 30 spd right now which is absolutely bonkers when my next fastest unit has maybe 25. Overall she's fantastic and I'm super happy with how she's turning out Felix - Brigand I recruited him earlier this month and I have to say that getting him up to D+ axes for brigand was a lot more effort than I thought it'd be. His recruited stats are really great, but I'm a bit worried about his weapon levels - everyone else has B+s and As in their weapon types and he currently has C+ Brawling D+ Axes, so it's going to be a huge push to get him into War Master. Sadly I don't know how feasible it is to get him Fist Crit +10 or a second fistfaire, both of which he would have liked immensely. We'll see. I haven't used him too much yet ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Okay now onto address some of the posts on the thread You were right! To quote a very wise NPC: "Is it the Dawn Brigade?" But in all seriousness the Dawn Brigade is unfairly scrutinized and they don't take nearly as much effort to use as people often say. Serenes Forest really fucked them over because the "average stats" pages for Radiant Dawn are calculated wrong and drastically underestimate unit average stats. Dawn Brigade gets it the worst because they have so many levels to grow. I had very little issue using Edward on Maniac Mode and having taken him to endgame on six separate occasions I'll say that he consistently ends up better than Mia, Soren, Nephenee, Shinon, Titania. He might honestly be the fourth best Beorc after Haer, Ike, Jill. Maybe Sothe if you really value units who can help for 10 chapters and then can't even get deployed in the final map because they get one shot. Edward's early game isn't even bad. He's the only unit that doubles so he has he highest DPS on the Dawn Brigade outside of Sothe. His light affinity is also sorely needed on Maniac Mode where Nolan desperately needs the extra defense and hit to do well. If you say that you prefer Zihark because he's "less investment" then you're really only making the game harder for yourself. Zihark really can't gain exp during part 1, and by the time he's back for part 3 he's really not all that useful anymore. Eddy's going to outclass Zihark by 1-endgame, which is really only three chapters since they can't be fielded during 1-9. Even in the interim 1-6, 1-7, 1-8, Eddy has the benefit of an easy B support with Nolan while Zihark won't have enough support points for supports yet. It's also bonkers to me that people often say that the Dawn Brigade in general takes so much investment and then in the same breath tell me to give my Seraph Robe and Dracoshield and Energy Drop and Paragon to Jill. Lmao 😉 It was helpful when using curved shot where I wasn't really trying to kill, but I would agree that these "extra damage on a combat art" and "no retaliation on a combat art" skills are bad bc you really want your combat arts to be killing most of the time. I see that you seem to be unfamiliar with the actual toughest spirit battle: Very very very fitting that the toughest challenge in the game would be F-Zero related. Need a new F-Zero game injected into my bloodstream ASAP Exactly! Both are really excellent and Maddening has really opened my eyes to how even just the tiniest niches that they have can take them a long way. I also think that Maddening definitely forces you to work around a lot of issues that your units have, and when you understand how to patch up their weaknesses the game can really reward you. Ignatz has low strength? Give him a Raphael Adjutant and use Hunter's Volley. Stuff like that isn't viable on hard because all of your units are fast enough to double everything so you don't end up exploring all that much that the game has to offer. I can't really speak to Raphael since I benched him, but that wasn't a decision I made because I found him to be super bad or anything. Raphael is definitely usable and he contributed when he was around. I just really wanted to use War Master Felix because I love war masters and I love Felix. Interesting to hear this - I obviously can't give my opinion since I haven't played the timeskip for GD yet or BL maddening at all, but I thought it was near unanimous that BL was the easiest route. You definitely make some great points as to why that's maybe not the case. Hmmm... Maddening has been a ton of fun and has definitely calmed down difficulty wise since Ch. 5, but I'd hesitate to ever tell someone it's easy. I actually saw some dude on twitter who called it "goo goo ga ga baby mode" and that honestly kinda pissed me off. Well it mostly pissed me off because he said that and nearly all of his units had died so I don't know how well that's going to go for him in the long run. But I mean there's definitely a reason you're proud to say that you beat it no grind no dlc no ng+ no online etc. because there's at least some semblance of a challenge and an accomplishment and maybe a sense that you did what the average person could not. I've been super proud of my no online no dlc no ng+ all students recruited all paralogues 100% run so far because it's taken a lot of planning to actually pull off some of those things. Like I said, having to detour to get heavy armor and brawling for Ferdinand and Caspar was tricky to pull off while also keeping Byleth on pace to hit her class goals and do enough activities to keep my professor level up. To recruit everyone in time I had to dump a ton of extra gold into buying gifts for the students and that kept me pretty low on cash for a very long stretch of the game. I think it was the designer of the game Civilization that said that fun = # important decisions/time, and I think Maddening has given an extra weight to a lot of the decisions I'm making in this game. I've seen a lot of conflicting info on if this is Dex% or tied to your crest and I'd love to know the answer! I'd like to address this - Maddening's experience cuts really aren't super noticeable if we're being honest. Sure "half exp" sounds intimidating but nearly every jrpg hard mode does experience cuts and it never ends up being half exp = you're half the level you'd be on the other modes. Because your units are slightly lower level they are taking on comparatively stronger enemies and earning more exp even if it's halved. Additionally for some reason the exp from healing and dancing didn't seem to get the same level of cut, and so your healers and dancers might actually end up kinda overleveled. I know I benched Raph this run, but I've benched one unit each run so far and this run isn't super different exp wise than the others. As far as the pokemon analogy goes, I see where you're coming from but I really think you're off base here. Raph is a unit that's serviceable for most of the game and has his build essentially built around getting Quick Riposte, which is an mid/endgame skill. If you want to really unpack the pokemon analogy, then we should establish that in Black and White people are going to challenge the Elite Four ~level 50. With Larvesta evolving into Volcarona at 59 and Deino into Hydreigon at 64, that's not just too much investment, that's just completely unviable. But those pokemon are unviable because they get the evolution they need to get after the Elite Four. Raphael doesn't get Quick Riposte multiple chapters into some hypothetical postgame, he gets it with probably 3 or 4 maps left. And in the meantime it's not as if he's completely useless or anything. If you really want a pokemon analogy for him it's probably more in line with something like Flygon in Ruby and Sapphire - the trapinch/vibrava levels can be rough, but there's still a bit of time before the endgame when each of them hit their full potential, and the payoff is pretty decent, though not gamebreaking. It's not a perfect analogy, but nothing ever will be. lol. I think you touch on something that I really enjoy about Fire Emblem - I really enjoy when I'm presented with a mode or a game that bucks the "conventional wisdom" that can apply to the rest of the series. I think that's a major reason why I'm so attached to Radiant Dawn - there are so many quirks in that game just below the surface that completely change how I approach that game vs other FE titles. A lot of things that are considered "pitfalls" for other FE games are completely valid for RD, especially since that game has such a crazy revolving door cast that you're always expected to switch things up and play with the pieces you have at any given time. Definitely agree with all of the points here - thanks for laying out that Ferdinand leveling HP thing - that was my first thought as well, that leveling HP and following that up with another round of combat is going to happen maybe once in the entire game if that. If you want to make an argument against Ferdie's personal skill the only thing I can think of would be that it has horrible synergy with Bernadetta's personal skill - i.e. if you fortify then you screw over Bernadetta to help Ferdie out. But that's also a pretty weak argument - there's a ton of ways to keep Ferdie's HP up. Plus that seems like more of a Bernadetta issue than a Ferdinand issue. Agree with the no need for low manning. I'm still kinda miffed by that dude who said Maddening was baby mode and basically just had a super beefy Byleth killing everything on enemy phase. It'll probably get harder for him post timeskip... I hope. I saw omegaevolution did a legit Byleth solo on Maddening and he's actually really good at the game and even his streams weren't without their pain points. Okay questions as I begin to enter the second half of the game: a) What are some of the better utility gambits? On hard mode I never really had to make use of anything outside of offensive gambits, stride, and the 4 person dance gambit? Most of my units are probably going to fall off soon when it comes to Charm, so it might be good to start transitioning some of them over to utility gambits. I know Blessing and Impreganable Wall have their uses... any specific battalions to target? Byleth, Claude, and Hilda are 100% keeping their offensive gambits... Marianne has high charm but she's also my dancer. Leonie and Petra both have pretty good charm, but I'm trying to judge whether I should try to keep them up to pace with some tea parties and stat boosters or if they aren't worth saving. Ignatz doesn't have great charm but the dude still has Hit+40 and A rank authority so he's really not struggling to use offensive gambits in the slightest. Everyone else is trash. I was maybe thinking about trying to put something like Impregnable Wall on Lorenz for Ch.13 just to give Lorenz and Ignatz a bit of extra survivability in their little corner. I'm going to try to get Reposition on Claude who would be able to yeet them over the wall and into the center, but I also predict that Claude's probably going to be very busy that chapter and might not have the turn to spare to do that b) Who should get the boots (or whatever they are called)? Any other FE game and I feel like the answer is super obvious - give them to the Dancer. But Marianne already has the march ring and will get Mov+1 soon, so i'm not sure I really need a 9 movement Dancer when all my other units have 8 movement max (Leonie, Sylvain and Lorenz might eventually hit 9). I'm thinking maybe Felix? Getting him from 6 mov to 7 mov seems like it would have a much bigger impact than taking an 8 mov unit to 9 mov c) What's up with gardening? I had very little issue getting stat boosters on my past two runs, and this time I'll plant nothing but purple flowers and never get the stat boosters. I've tried resetting like 5-10 times and it changes up which flowers I get but it never gives me a stat booster d) How exactly do the experience+ statue bonuses work? If I have the 4 exp+5% statues is everyone getting 1.2x the experience or (1.05)^4? I would think the latter e) Felix's Shield. I don't know what to do with it. I've never gotten it before. Does he even want it as a war master? The 6 weight seems pretty trash for a unit that is able to double a decent amount of enemies. e) Do Claude's supports just completely suck? I've been pretty disappointed tbh. Idk why he can be so flirty with... everyone... but so boring in his supports with Byleth. And I checked out his S support and goddamn that might be the worst S support in an FE game? I think I'm going to abandon him for my favorite boy, Felix, instead
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