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    Radiant Dawn

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  1. Lucky Seven is a really hard skill to plan things around. Not impossible, but it involves the kind of pre-planning for a level that only tough challenge runs or (maybe) LTC clears would demand. So unless you're being really meticulous about the prep work, it won't affect your strategy, so it can't be a reason justifying equipping Duelist's Blow. The Duelist's Blow + avoid-boosting CA synergy is only worthwhile on a unit built for doing Player Phase melee chip, that you also don't want to suffer counters. But you very rarely need to build a unit specifically for this, because just about everyone can do it, and many normal strategies, like attacking bow users from one space and physical fighters from two or more, achieve the same effect on Player Phase. You also normally have options to mitigate counters received on Player Phase after the fact (like healing/good positioning), so avoiding counters on Player Phase is only occasionally a priority. Given that so many standard tools can make up for not having Avo on Player Phase, going through Trickster to get it, with all its other disadvantages, isn't worth the time. I only equip it if a skill slot would be empty otherwise. Dedue and Alois are the only ones to get One-Two Punch, and Trickster is a pain for both of them. Not to mention Avo +20 still probably wouldn't make enough of a difference to them on Maddening, and neither of them are desperate to avoid counters on Player Phase. The reason I think Duelist's Blow exists is, again, for magic CA users, to fix their survivability on the frontlines, thus making them more viable attackers when standard physical attacks don't work. Because the attack benefits of Trickster (or indeed, most hybrids) aren't strong enough to allow most characters to get OHKOs, these units are inevitably consigned to chip damage (and they rarely have the health to survive a Player Phase and Enemy Phase). But at that point, we zoom out and look at all the other things those people could be doing instead of being a Trickster, and decide it isn't worth our while. But then, there's Anna. Whose growths and proficiencies are built for Trickster, gets Pass, and a free Thief certification if you wait long enough to recruit her. She doesn't have supports, so will never be a top-tier unit, and doesn't have good enough Mag to one-shot things. It's a toss-up with everything mounted, but you could very well argue for Trickster Anna being one of her better classes, since she also can't do anything particularly well. Even still, Duelist's Blow is a hard one to justify her equipping because she has good access to Sword Prowess/Axebreaker/Bow Prowess/Darting Blow/Fiendish Blow/Pass/Mv +1/Mag +2/Res +2, which in my head all take priority over Duelist's Blow (Res +2 for Soulblade/mage-tanking, Mag +2 for Hexblade/boosting Rescue, and for me a small boost to damage > a big boost to Player Phase avoid). Maybe if a map has only a few axe users, it would replace Axebreaker - but that's still the only scenario I could imagine equipping it.
  2. Fair point, but since Jeritza doubles a lot of people on this map, and many of them are low-hit axe users, I think the Player Phase crit build is more than serviceable without Battalion Wrath. Wrath isn't even viable for Jeritza at this point (reaching B Axes and Warrior mastery in 4-5 weeks is ridiculous, unless you're grinding). I suppose you can guarantee doubling too with Killer Knuckles, although I wasn't thinking about that when I commented before, and it clashes with the benefit of being mounted.
  3. What I meant before was that you can still run swords on Death Knight, it's just that because Hero has Swordfaire, it's a better fit for swords than Death Knight. I agree with having Jeritza run swords on this map (unless you have him primarily use gauntlets, which is viable too), and Death Knight can still run all the other skills apart from Vantage, so you still have available a sword crit build that will be good enough to kill wyverns on Player Phase at least. Building Jeritza for Enemy Phase is fine, but it will take a while for him to get to a position where he can bait Nader, and I've never been that worried about baiting the other Wyverns - at least, there are plenty more tools for that. Yeah, so with the above I was trying to say that I don't bother clearing out many of the dragons around Nader (they're limitless, and like you say, they're tough enough to be able to cause issues). Most efficient is to Stride one or two fliers (ideally carrying bows, or maybe a Dark Flier if you have DLC) and have them beat Nader when it's convenient. When I get my positioning right, I beat Claude and Nader (and finish the map) on the same turn. You can clear them out if you want - I did the first time I played this map - but this method is just as powerful, while getting a lower turn count. When I play this level, I otherwise do very similar things to you, but the extra movement/Canto still matters (in your case, with that positioning in Turn 2, or for making sure you can position units to beat Hilda safely). It's entirely reasonable to leave Jeritza behind in the city if you want to, but after you deal with the first couple waves of reinforcements you don't have to - you can be in position to beat the map at that point, so enemy baiting isn't particularly important. Higher-Mv Jeritza allows for more flexibility in what he deals with (he can run down the Bow Knights once they get to the city, deal with the Warriors at the other city entrance alongside your main group, and/or kill the final city guard). To me, that flexibility is more valuable than the benefit Vantage gives to Jeritza's EP, as I'm not expecting anyone to have a significant EP on this map. Which, I guess, boils down in part to a play style preference - but I do still think Death Knight has the edge.
  4. Interesting! Thanks for doing the numbers as well. The level of set-up you've described here isn't anywhere near ridiculous - in fact, I'd say its relative ease here is a selling point (maybe some people don't recruit Felix on a BE run, but I normally do so that isn't an issue for me, and everything else there, including D+ Axes, because Jeritza still wants Death Blow IMO, is very achievable). Nader is also a fairly serious threat, where there aren't that many ways to deal with him - bow flier(s) +Stride, or baiting with a dodge-tank/Petra/someone with Impregnable Wall up are the two methods I use, because I never attempt to pass through the ships. I quite like this as a build, and I probably undervalued the possibility of this because I don't play Enemy Phase tactics in general. I'm still not totally convinced that I'd choose it over Death Knight here, though. Hero has Swordfaire (although would it get kills that a critical build DK won't on this map?) and of course Vantage gives him a life on Enemy Phase that he wouldn't otherwise have. However, the extra range of DK makes capturing Derdriu before reinforcements arrive that much easier, netting you the stat boosters, and puts you that much closer to A+ Riding (if you don't grind, you don't actually have much time to get it, even with Mastermind). There's not much in it though, and the Hero build is definitely worth thinking about!
  5. Arguably, Jeritza never wants to go Hero, because the early Part 2 maps (bridge of Myrddin, Derdriu) reward high-movement. I could maybe see it for Ch. 15 (Garreg Mach defense), but that map is a great place to get kills, so having a tank (and Jeritza, of all people!) absorb all that juicy EXP feels like a massive missed opportunity. Unless, of course, you were already planning on a Jeritza-juggernaut run, in which case you definitely don't want him to spend time in Hero. This is interesting - I've found the opposite, that mastering an Advanced Class, especially for only temporary benefits/as not part of my final build-plan, is a significantly greater effort than doing the same for an Intermediate class. Even taking into account the drop to stats. Then again, I don't use Defiant Strength, so what do I know.
  6. The gambit/spell charge/weapon use/battalion hp restoring normally pairs with level exp (IIRC you can get weapon exp, but not much or often). But yeah, definitely can come in handy for a run like this.
  7. Forgot about her banes, which would make Fortress Knight a pain even for her. Oh well, to the meme bin it goes. It's a shame, because before I bought the game I was really hopeful about the possibility of fielding armoured mages, which Edelgard and Lorenz particularly seemed to fit the bill for. Thyrsus would have fit right in with that fantasy version of Lorenz.
  8. I like giving it to tanks, who see so much combat that it inevitably triggers a lot. I also rate the Pavise/Aegis effects from relics (and Pavise in general), but chance-based activation means that it's always an uphill battle justifying the use of a skill slot for it. This could matter if you're running Lysithea as a mixed attacker. Soulblade can get off about as much damage as her top spells, except in dealing effective damage/Luna vs mages, and with a greater number of uses than those spells. Extra Pavise could mitigate the subsequent risk of leaving her in range of enemies. It probably isn't reliable enough to ensure she survives more than an enemy or two per phase, and Lysithea probably has a lot of competition for skills depending on how much she's mastered. But yeah I could see you using it for her in that case.
  9. Both of them are equally useless in my head, but Meg is completely free to recruit and has a bit more opportunity for deployment. Fiona is also free, but her AI in the map you recruit her on has been irritating for me (poor positioning relative to her pursuers), and there's less room to use her at all, let alone well. So Fiona gets my vote - which is a shame, because I actually like her design.
  10. I don't think most people would consider Mercedes/Constance for this anyway, unless they were doing meme/challenge runs with them. I would say that Fortress Knight is harder to get in reach of without a decently significant focus on Axes (B-rank at Lvl 20-ish when Axes aren't your main weapon isn't easy I think), and people who'd benefit from it the most would probably suffer relatively large opportunity costs.
  11. Thanks! And yeah, I'm learning all kinds of things about the game with this run. Write-up of Chapter 2 below! What Lies Beneath
  12. I feel like I remember someone doing this when I was last active on these forums (so a couple of years ago) although I can't remember who, which isn't very helpful. But you wouldn't need to do that much differently to normal runs. Movement is the big issue, followed by healing availability in middle-to-late Part 1, and the shitshow levels become that much more of a pain (i.e. Chapter 5, Chapter 13 non-CF). The A+ skills from movement (and the Dimitri build) can really help - but it's not as if you're locked out of the game without them. I can definitely see stat screwage making a difference, but probably won't destroy the run altogether unless it's on your lord/Byleth. Looking for a silver lining, students don't need class certs or seals so you save a little money and some teaching time? It isn't much, but it's something.
  13. Taking on board the ideas people gave me from a previous thread, I've decided to try a Cindered Shadows challenge run as a way of getting back into the game. I'm going to write up a log of every chapter on here - if people have suggestions/tips for how to handle what's to come, or just comments on the challenge run itself, then by all means get involved. Rules: True Novice If a character's proficiency is higher than E rank, they cannot use anything associated with that weapon/movement type. If an ability or class available required them to achieve a weapon rank of higher than E, then they cannot use that ability/class. (When I was thinking of challenge rules, I was trying to figure out what challenges I could do that CS in particular could be good for, then I remembered that skill ranks can't be raised in CS. I'd imagine it's quite tough to use these rules in the main game, just because your main units would get past E rank in everything pretty easily.) Difficulty: Normal/Classic (I originally tried Hard/Classic, but Balthus' personal combined with his pod of enemies wiped me out a lot so I gave up) Here's my write up of Chapter 1 - hopefully more to come! The Fourth House
  14. I guess this is the heart of the debate here. By the sole metric of victories/encounters, or enemies killed per turn, this sword flier build is surely up there. But while the OP has provided a perfectly acceptable way of approaching the game (invest well in a dodge tank in Part 1 then let them deal with the major difficulties in Part 2), the majority of commenters (myself included) don't seem to share all their priorities. This means that "optimising" takes on a different flavour for us. Few of the comments consider dodge tanks in a vacuum when they think about efficient or enjoyable play. In my case, I want all my deployment slots to contribute to my victory, so Player Phase matters a lot to me, and this influences my choices in unit development. From that, a valuable critique of the sword flier build (which is what the thread seems to be about) is that it does not align with the priorities and play styles of at least some players, as people have already said (and the OP acknowledges). This is probably a different kind of critique to what may have been expected (i.e. mechanical/practical problems with creating such a unit), and perhaps why the OP tried to head it off at the pass with their Q&A section. In attempting to meet the spirit of that and abstract from these individual differences in play, we get to considering a dodge tank's merits as 'objectively' as possible, i.e. their performance on Enemy Phase. Which is why the discussion here is going to be Enemy Phase centric, even though people may not actually play that way. Losing the anchor of how people actually play makes the discussion less practically relevant, but more in line with the intent of the author, who has been explicit about the thread being "academic". Long story short, the discussion here is about as Enemy Phase centric as you'd expect, given the thread.
  15. I don't think you "need" to one-round enemies on Enemy Phase on Maddening, let alone Hard. By this I just mean that, by the time that dodge tanks become viable, Player Phase-centred tactics are good enough to deal with everything to come in a timely way. Bait-type dodge tanks are very likely to do non-zero damage to most of the people that come its way, so the relative efficiency to soloing only depends on how much you advance. For example, if your dodge tank is designed to solo maps as much as possible, and where the win conditions are rout or kill the (human) boss at the end of the map, the speed of victory is reliant on the speed at which your solo dodge tank can move. However, this means the Player Phase outside of your solo dodge tank is fairly useless (mainly healing/siege tome/killing reinforcements normally unconnected to victory conditions). Let's compare with a bait-type dodge tank, which is less likely to kill everything that attacks it. This time, the rest of your army are engaged killing/gambiting whatever has been left behind. Provided that your Player Phase can deal with the leftovers*, the battle is still moving at the speed of your dodge tank. Even assuming a solo-type can one-round a boss and the bait-type can't, all the bait-type player needs is one more Player Phase to mop up the last round of enemies. That player has taken more real-world time to complete the map, but difference in turn count between the two styles is minimal. Other ways of using your dodge tank, such as engaging one particular front where multiple fronts are active, do not in principle rely on quick kills to achieve the dodge tank's objective, so sufficiently high avoid (which both builds can achieve) is good enough for these purposes. Other objectives (defend, monster bosses, save the NPCs) will require multiple units with strengths on Player and Enemy Phases to be cleared quickly and efficiently, so I haven't discussed those here. *If your Player Phase, even with its killing power/gambits, can't handle every enemy left behind a bait-type dodge tank, then it is likely you have advanced it too far, or have otherwise failed to get good positioning for your army. Handling this kind of situation would presumably be a merit of the solo-type dodge tank, in that it allows for less care about other units' strength and placement. The cost is overall responsiveness to the demands of a level (which can be mitigated by meta-knowledge, so isn't a huge cost after your first run/if you're prepared).
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