So I've been a long time lurker on this forum since Fates first came out. I played the hell out of Awakening and Fates during my first couple years of college but I was either playing on casual or resetting on unit deaths. I always considered ironmaning a game but never really had the drive to, but with a couple FE youtubers lately have been streaming iron man runs and I figured I might as well give it a shot. I decided on running Fire Emblem Fates Birthright on Lunatic mode since it was the game I had the most experience with, it's a little easier, and I plan on running Conquest on Lunatic soonish and I figure it will get me familiar with the systems in general.
After a couple failed runs due to my negligence with my Corrin, tonight i was able to knock out the last couple chapters and have my first Iron man under my belt.
This has been one of the top gaming experiences i have ever had. While ironmaning Birthright might not seem like much to some people on account of the game's general lack of difficulty, it really pushed me to my limits. as a more casual Fe player it was really rewarding unlearning a lot of the more lazy ( I hope that's not too harsh a word) habits I usually employ when playing. there was this back in forth with most chapters where I either needed to be really aggressive, defensive or mostly some sweet mix of the two. I ended up losing about 9 or so units through out the course of this run and I got to say, there's this weird sensation I got with every death; like the guilt and frustration was there, but there was this feeling of excitement as I got to play around with the units I had to fill the hole. I definitely got a new appreciation for a lot of Fates' systems.
A few thoughts/highlight's in no particular order:
Ryoma is a monster of a man and probably saved this run. It's been said a hundred times, but Ryoma is such an amazing unit and there is weird comfort in knowing that if Ryoma goes into a hallway filled with enemies, he's gonna hold the line no problem. It's great to have a dodge tank that actually dodges.
Alongside Ryoma, I got to give props to Saizo, his right hand man. I lost Kaze very early and later Kagero in the mid game and this dude pulled his weight and then some. Ninja's are a weird thing in fates since they suck when your fighting them, but they are so powerful in your hands and they can really turn the tide. Saizo had insane level ups and between him and his son (with hinoka as his the little guy was hitting like a train) it definitely solidified the importance of ninja's in my mind.
another class that has moved up a lot in my book is the spear fighters. I mean they were always useful in the lower difficulties but swap utility is something else on lunatic. There were a lot of times that I was able to get a necessary kill or heal in because I got a swap conga line going. I ended up having three with me through most of the end game and I was glad I did. I really hope that they continue to implement movement abilities in future games, they add a much needed and honestly fun layer to the typical player phase ballroom blitz.
I ended up losing Azura rather early in the game and dude did that make things more interesting. Losing a dancer is always a blow but fates is basically built around Azura being there. Despite all the difficulty of not allowing Ryoma or Corrin to attack twice in one round, losing her made me appreciate my other units a lot more. not being able to rely on having one of my powerhouses to get a second turn was a huge wake up call and really allowed a lot of otherwise meager units to really shine and contribute. I definitely plan on keeping her alive through through Lunatic, but it was a unique moment that reverberated through out the late game.
Staff utility made so much of a difference. On Lunatic the enemies have such a massive amount of stats that I found myself really relying on those late game staves. Hexing, Silence, and Rescue staffs honestly won me this run on multiple occasions. The only reason I was able to one round dragon Garon and not lose half my units was because I hexing rodded (Is that even a verb?) him Much like movement abilities, I didn't see there utility until Lunatic but now I can't imagine playing with out them.
Last but not least is the most surprising and odd takeaway from this run, on of my new favorite units: Reina. She wasn't the most powerful or useful unit on me team. Honestly I ended up benching her quite often. But throughout this run I ended up losing a lot of my go to units (Kaze, Rinkah, Kagero, Silas) and Reina just fit in in a lot of weird ways. She wasn't a power house by any means, but she came in clutch in a lot chapters. Not in a crucial way like save Corrin or preventing a game over scenario, but defintley made things easier. Be it allowing one of my other units to reach across the map to cinch a kill, dodging every single enemy archer that took aim at her, or getting the most unexpected but beneficial crits on this run. she didn't do everything, she doesn't have as much fire power as other heavy hitters and there were more than a few chapters when she was just sitting around, but she has come out of this run alive and one of my new favorite units. If you ever have an empty slot in one of your runs defintley consider using her, she'll surprise you.
So yeah, those are my thoughts on my first Iron man. A little long and self indulgent, but hey what's the internet for if we can't gush about the nerdy shit we enjoy? big thanks to the community for bringing this fun way to play to my attention, Looking forward to Lunatic Conquest run in a couple weeks after I take a much needed break from Fates.
Take care all and stay safe out there!