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About Balcerzak

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  • Birthday 04/23/1983

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    Eden Prairie

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    Blazing Sword

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  1. General thoughts: If I had fully understood the power of Swap, I think I would have invested in it far sooner. However, it's hard to say how much I would have gained, because earlier on, losing a unit fielded can hurt considerably more. I probably only started leaning on it at the point where it could really be effectively abused. But maybe I didn't? Maybe there is still room for strategy improvement. I feel like I had more I was going to talk about here, but I've forgotten it, so we can just move on to the unit analysis below. Free Units: Calvina, sub Melua: 379 kills MC gets unbelievably more traction with the Real Robot spirit list, as Zeal far outweighs anything. This is true both for Touya, and for Calvina, though in Calvina's case she doesn't even get early Accel to possibly try to make up for it. I went with the B over C, because I felt the extra movement was worth it, and I think this is born out in practice as well. That said, I don't know what the other unit's MAP attack might look like, but I can't imagine it being enough of an edge to outweigh one point of movement. As far as male vs female, I think Touya maps are guaranteed to lose turns early, and I don't see anything he can do to make up for them. Maybe I overlooked something, and maybe a Touya-centric draft could stay even at the beginning. I really can't say. Melua is the clear sub-pilot of choice, for late-game Enable. There's just no other option. Katia's early Bless was nice, but make sure to budget your sorties so you are prepared with Melua when the upgrade happens. Murrue: 171 kills A powerhouse early. When it starts hemorrhaging sub-pilots, it loses handily to its competition, amplified even further by lack of Zeal or Devote, but the Archangel can still be a beast of a unit. If you have SEED splits in your future, don't neglect it completely. PSA: Don't be trapped into picking Natarle. Ruri: 296 kills The Nadesico is broken beyond belief, and the developers even give you a taste of it in puzzle robo. Main pilot/sub-pilot choice is probably a coin flip. Arguements can be made both ways, both when considering combat stats (will personalities vs IFS), or when considering module equips (who gets SP gear, who gets H&A etc.). I chose Ruri. That's just me personally. Either choice you get an absolute monster. Drafted units (in order of draft) Kaiser, Kouji: 176 kills The Mazinkaiser brings unparalleled firepower, but believe it or not, it rarely felt like its existence was the lynchpin of a successful strategy, with a few exceptions for certain forced stages, such as the showdown with Dr. Hell. That said, its status as an early joiner to the team is also worth significant consideration. Even with that, though, I feel like perhaps I overvalued it, and maybe its muscle could have been replaced with another hard hitter? Then again, Mazinpower as a baked in multiplier does go a long way. All in all, I'm somewhat on the fence about its status as first pick. Definitely in the first two rounds, and maybe first was better for deterrence, and also for securing the series bonus, which is a surprisingly generous 1.35 considering the large number of robots covered by it. Unlocking 15 bars on your power players is great, and the more of them you can squeeze into a family, the better. Layzner, Eiji: 376 kills On the other hand, the Blue Comet really felt like the MVP of the run, and you can see it in his kill count. Possessing unparalleled movement, a relatively early Zeal, and a surprisingly versatile MAP attack, the Layzner felt like a keystone part of nearly every strategy. With the size of J's maps, being able to quickly transverse them and either mop up far away squadrens all by himself, or to have softened them up for when the main force catches up in a following turn, well that brings a utility to the team that can't be replaced. His status as a main character often gave him advanced spaces in forced deploys as well, another couple of extra tiles here and there, which really added up over the course of the play. His series bonus was an impressive 1.45 as well, and much appreciated. In my eyes he's absolutely worthy of a first pick, no questions asked. Hikaru: 71 kills While I picked up Hikaru for early Luck, early join, and deterrence effect on others for drafting her combination partners, I feel like I probably overvalued the Aestivalis a little too much. While they absolutely carried the day on the route split map when I lost all my mazinger units, often it was just impossible to utilize them in effective ways. Having a soft tether to the Nadesico means it's very awkward for them to be effective Enemy Phase engines, and I just ran out of available favorite series bonuses to afford to give them one. All in all, I think I picked her too early, and should have focused on securing the Layzner formation bonus instead of this one. Baybull: Simone: 10 kills David: 14 kills Not going to lie, I grabbed Baybull solely for a robot to stuff Simone into, to make use of a good early-mid Bless caster in a series I was already going to invest in. I valued the resupply bot a little more than the repair bot (a little easier to grind support unit xp with resupplies, in my experience), but I got sniped on Buldy anyway, so it didn't end up mattering. Simone's list also included Enable as a late-game special, so even after Bless ran out of usefulness it was guaranteed to still pay dividends in the endgame. That said, Bless had very long legs in this game, as I only really ended up maxing out all my weapons in the very final chapters. Given how broken Enable can be, I feel trying to secure at least one relatively soon after establishing a power core isn't a bad idea. Then again, I really should have prioritized Great a little more at this stage, I think. I honestly have no idea how it lasted as long as it did for me to pick it back up. Voltz, Kenichi: 79 kills Voltz was picked almost entirely on the strength of the map it and Combattler have to take on by themselves at the start, and having him definitely saved some turns there. I think I remember feeling that his sub-pilot spirit list was better than Combattler's as well, but the trade-off was not as early a join time. Lacking 15 bars really hurts late, and being a lone super series only magnifies the problem. Still, having Luck meant getting consistent kills, and he didn't end up as swap bait, so he must've been doing something right. If the previous slot went to Great, then Baybull should have been this one. If I kept Baybull as previous slot, this slot should have gone to Great. Great: Tetsuya: 69 kills Jun: 71 kills I will admit to not having a firm plan on the final pilot for Great. I knew Tetsuya was getting benched because he lacked good utility spirits, but I kept waffling between Jun and Boss. I should have just used Boss all the way, as that only loses access to Home Run Bat, and maybe if I'd properly stacked kills for acing better I could have saved a cast of Spirit or something? In the end, I'm not sure it mattered all that much. While I had to use him, Tetsuya's Accel was a big leg up over Kouji for him, but Boss's subs could replicate it when I needed it later. That said, having a robot to stick Jun into was part of the end goal. With her giant SP pool and Devote to keep up my Zeal/Enable batteries, I knew I needed to field her late, so starting her training right away was important. Venus, Sayaka: 16 kills Even if I didn't end up needing Sayaka's late game option in Renew, she was a good source of mid-game Bless, and if I missed out on drafting Million, I could have put those pilots in Venus, so its early join gives it the edge. If there's one thing I can say for Mazinger series, its support pilots are all pretty top notch. SEED on the other hand, looks like a lot more suffering, for a lot less payoff. Ryoko: 75 kills Izumi: 57 kills I drafted these two to round out the combination attack, and honestly, this was probably a miss. Izumi's Daunt was nice, but I could have also gotten that from Boss, which I still hadn't picked by this point, and who definitely ended up having longer legs. That said, these two did give me a strong base to fall on for Nadesico route splits, so it could have been far worse for me. They were early joins too, and I guess my mind is too occupied with late-game, almost certainly because it's freshest in my mind. Again, if they had an extra five bars, maybe I could have made more use of them. Hard to really say. Boss: 49 kills Lori: 4 kills Ignoring for now the qualities of the pilots (which as already discussed is exceptional for these two), their bots are ridiculously cheap to upgrade. A good pick for anyone with an already completed core. Allenby: 7 kills Honestly, she probably could have been picked one, maybe two rounds earlier than this. She's practically got Enable from the word go, and if you slap an SP mod on her, or give her Rations, that's 2 more moves for your best unit every map for forever. Draft Allenby. Just do it. Keeping Rain out of the way after recruitment isn't too great a problem. The map is so complicated that needing to wait to ferry her there isn't a problem either. Do you like free shit? Draft Allenby. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk. Buster: Dearka: 3 kills Kira: 13 kills Well... It has a couple of good MAP attacks, and for a few chapters I could stuff it with a Zeal caster. That's way more value out of something than you should be expecting at this stage in the draft, let's be honest. Julia: 43 kills Julia blows her competition, Gale, out of the water with her spirit access. Abundant Zeal lets her deliver heavy hitter support attacks, so even if her own damage suffers, your team will thank you for it. Unlike Gale, who requires Eiji to fight a combat round, you should be able to recruit Julia without him, though I can imagine it would definitely be a headache. It's hard to say if it would cost turns or not. The only reason she would be a last pick draft is because of the difficulties in a non-Layzner team to get Eiji to her. Her performance value is easily several picks higher.
  2. Chapter 49, 1 turn Chapter 50, 1 turn Chapter 51, 1 turn Chapter 52, 1 turn I accidentally got 1 turn clears of these guys while collecting map data on practice runs so I just kept going and ended the game without taking any detailed notes or strategies. Postmortem thoughts and review in the next post.
  3. Jade had been expecting perhaps another surprise or two, but from the forgemaster, not from Gabriela. When the siren offered her time and even financial assistance, it took all her merchant training to hold herself in check, merely giving a neutral nod and a "Thanks for your assistance on this." She'd have to table any other discussion for later. Arguing with a third party over specifics, especially in front of the person who would actually be providing the services, would have been such a rookie mistake. Not that the zombie didn't appreciate the feeling of wanting to chip in and help a friend out, and not that Gabriela's magical know-how might actually be relevant and prove extremely useful. But something sat wrong with her about taking her feathered friend's coin. Later, they'd discuss those details later. When Vanessa finished weighing Jade's counteroffer, and all the connected developments, her decision was favorable, and the more concrete timeline and other specifics bore no objections from the merchant. Sooner was better, and short of pushing to start tonight--which was ruled out on other grounds, at least on their side, let alone on Vanessa's--this was sounding to be the best possible setup. Locking the weapon to a single choice might have seemed limiting, but when considering she had exactly zero magical bullets now, even a choice of one was a far step forward than what she was working with now. "I understand and accept these limitations. Let's go with ice then, I feel that would suit me best. They both have their applications to be sure, but I think ice will give me some flexibility I can't cover otherwise. I'll leave the parts here with you for now, and return with the money early tomorrow morning, when we plan to get started, if that's acceptable for you?"
  4. Some people might have gotten defensive at a shopkeeper grabbing their item, giving it a thorough examination. But those people would be fools. This was exactly why Jade had come to a professional in the first place. She was certainly glad to have given it the cleaning it needed, after prying it free from the ground where she'd found it, and hopefully it was enough to let the forgemaster see what was needed, and properly evaluate the piece. The zombie raised her eyes a bit when the pronouncement that it was a magic item came down. She'd never much been attuned to magic, so that would easily have slipped past her radar. And given that an ordinary "gears and grease" gun would be hard enough to assemble from nearly scratch... well this just certainly added to the challenge. ...Or did it? Vanessa, having finished her examination, quoted a figure, suggesting this could all be finished as a one-stop shop. Jade pursed her lips in thought, brushing back a stray lock of hair that had during the course of the outing slipped free from her hair-tie. The forgemaster wasn't lying, the price she was commanding was expensive. And a goodly part of the fun the merchant had been expecting from the project would disappear if somebody else just completed the whole thing, rather than her being able piece it together with help, step by step. Though perhaps that wasn't entirely out of the question after all? Surely she could ask to be present and assist with the construction here, yes? And maybe that would even help to knock a bit of the sum off the price? "What timeframe would we be talking for this project," she began by asking. That too was always an important consideration. There was no telling how long they'd be in Tepel, or if they'd leave as soon as this insurgency was quashed. Sure, Jade could always circle back in the future, but it would be best to know that upfront. "Also, if we come to an agreement, would I be able to watch you work, or perhaps assist? I am something of a dabbler with firearms, and well, you know..." Surely one who worked a forge could understand that appeal, no? "If I see what kind of parts you're using, I could also procure some, sell them back to you in the future so you could replenish your stock?" Yet another possible reason for her to get a foot in the door. "Of course, I don't have that sort of sum on me as we speak, and I do think you may have high-balled it a little--but again, something that doesn't need to be hammered out immediately but..." It was at that point Jade remembered. It certainly wouldn't be possible for her to get both the Ring of Favor, and embark on this little endeavor. She would have to make a choice, and it would have to happen soon. She was skilled enough to keep the inward grimace she felt from showing on her face though. "I will say, you certainly have me intrigued so far."
  5. A small nod and a grunt from the zombie was returned to the smith's curt greeting. "I recently stumbled upon a bit of a curiosity. I was hoping to reconstruct it, as something of a personal project, but I certainly need a little advice." Leaving out mention of the fortune teller, as it wouldn't be relevant to the master of the forge, Jade fished out the broken pistol and laid it on the counter. "I do have a general idea of gun construction and maintenance, but at the moment its current state is a bit beyond my capabilities."
  6. The general collected herself quickly, and succinctly explained the situation. Coteon was becoming a third party to the rebellion quashing that has been the group's original mission. That was the sort of risk that would raise the hackles of any merchant considering an investment. But for Jade... Suppose a worst case scenario... well, no, worst case is losing to Ithraxl without any outside interference, but I've already considered that not a likely enough occurrence to deter me from my course of action. There's the possibility now though that either we succeed, and then the humans come in and finish us off while we're in a weakened state, or that this force intervenes from the start, and prevents a victory in the first place. Though... from the sounds of things, the focus was entirely on Marina? Could we still complete the mission without her? The zombie ground her teeth and clenched her hands into fists. She was upset with her mind for even wandering that direction. Traveling with, working with your clients really was dangerous. You get to know them, and then, whoosh, there goes any hope of remaining detached and rational. But that was for the best, no? She may be a monster, but she wasn't a monster. The beastwoman from earlier, who'd met though outside of town, returned around the time Jade was internally chastising herself, and took charge of the situation. A part of the fort, doing proper chain of command, and issuing orders. A comforting sense of order and regularity after an outburst of chaos. There was no need to get upset about not being remembered either. Who expects anyone to pay attention to who's driving the coach, especially when a favorite general have come to call? Not this zombie. "Carry on with business, understood." A bit of a huff of a laugh, but the cat was already on the move, unlikely to hear. Gabriela appeared to be of like mind on this, to just go with the flow, rather than to break into a panic. A nod of agreement, and the two of them followed after, presumably, Veronica, stepping inside the forge for a look about, and ultimately, a consultation.
  7. Chapter 46, 1 turn I ended up going space route for two main reasons. First, Eiji and Julia both have Zeal, both have 15 weapons bars, and are an integral part of my ability to get things done. The Nadesico is a fantastic shuttle for getting placing and destroying things on its own, but I worry about my very underlevelled at this point Aesties, and just how much work Calvina can lift on her own. This way, a lot of units will get autolevelled too, so I figured I'd give it a try, and if I couldn't make good times, I'd go back to the other route. But. I made good times. While it's technically possible I could have beat my chapter 48A clear on 48N, without high powered resources, I'm not seeing it as likely. The Space clears are really good clears too, so I'd feel bad not showing them off if I retconned history. Chapter 47A, 1 turn Chapter 48A, 2 turns Total Turns: 181
  8. Mmm, good, the siren was in agreement. It would be an evening to look forward to. But currently... Gabriela was absolutely correct, there was quite a racket. A loud crash and sizzle from one side--ahead and to the left, coming almost exactly from their destination--with the accompanying smell of smoking flesh and ionized electricity. Then there was also a sound of steel on steel, and crashing bodies from vaguely behind them, as well as a fierce clamor and shouting from off on their right, in the direction of the main gates. Jade wasn't prepared for fighting, not in her ideal condition anyway. Her nightmares were stabled, and her guns were in the wagon. Sure, if she let herself go, her entire body could be considered a weapon, but losing control to that extent, or to actively try to channel the full strength she was constantly keeping held back... not unless it was life and death. If there was an invasion at the gates, or someone trying to mount the walls, better to fall back and rearm than to rush there as is. But... was that? "I think that's the General ahead there, near the entrance to the forge," the merchant frowned as she focused forward. "Better to ask her if she knows what's going on than get caught up in something we're not prepared for." The zombie increased the speed of her shambling toward their destination, now with added questions on the agenda, rather than just the one's she'd been planning to ask about the ruined gun. When the pair arrived, Ayane had just finished applying some healing salve to the succubus's wounds. Something had very clearly gone down, and in a big way. "Excuse the asking, General Nessraya, but what exactly just happened? We were on our way over from the fortune-teller's but it seems as if all hell has broken loose? Is the fort under attack?"
  9. It really is amazing how far those spirits can extend a plan, taking it to even higher levels in the attempt to go ever faster. And things are only going to get more nuts from here on out. Juggling the Devotes can get a bit tricky at times, and proper casting order can be very important. I actually have a spreadsheet where I track expected SP expenditure for the chapter. It looks something like follows: I guess that's a minor sneak peek for content further ahead than I'll be covering in this post, but I'm heavily conflicted on which split to take, so I'm going to probably have to clamp down a pause and research the maps, or just make two branches and test each. As for the levels, IIRC the game scales them to the average of your fielded team. It's why my fight against Fu-Lu in ch37 was so lopsided and worthless, because weighing me down were the FMP units, Akito, I think the G Gundam boys might have also counted, while I only had a fraction of my main team. I'm not sure if your bench also counts or not, so how much worth there is to managing autolevels from route-splits is certainly questionable, but it's definitely worth trying to feed a few relatively valueless kills to your lagging support units to keep up the average, and proper handling of repair/resupply units getting their XP from a different pool also can help squeeze out a little extra. Chapter 44N, 2 turns Chapter 45N, 2 turns Total Turns: 177
  10. Chapter 42, 2 turns Chapter 43, 1 turn Total Turns: 173 I forgot to take a screenshot of me making the route selection, but it's hardly a surprise I'm going with the Nadesico to the peace talks instead of with the Archangel to fight the Radam. I've poked at one of the maps so far, gonna work on the next one, and hope forgetting to gear up the Archangel won't bite me in the ass when we reconvene.
  11. Jade nodded, a small shy smile stretching across her face. "Nmmmh." Gabriela was right, and the zombie did have the money. Maybe she should think about it as an investment. Just, with much higher stakes than usual. And a much higher possible return. It was decided then, and it sounded like the siren was interested in joining her visit to the pub as well. In that case, Jade had an idea. "Tell you what? Bring Ren along, and I'll make sure Lavinia comes too." All the sooner to give her the gift. "We'll make it a double date. That sounds fun, doesn't it?"
  12. Jade nodded and replied, "If I don't make it in time, at Brasken's then." Then she stepped out of the stall and, after a couple handful of strides, turned to Gabriela to ask her opinion. She'd been listening to the love fortune as well, so it's not like she wouldn't have a decent enough grasp of the relevant situation. Maybe the siren would have some insights? Slowing their pace to a crawl, headed absently toward the forge, the zombie stared at the ground between the two of them, just past their feet, as she asked, "What do you think, Gabriela? It is a powerful ring, and rather pretty, but... Do you think she would like it? Is it too much, too soon? Or maybe she has magic on her other gear and it wouldn't even get worn, hmmm..."
  13. Oh. Serious time. The difference in the body language of the lamia was obvious, and its effect on Jade's mood was immediate. Unlike the shield, the ring was clearly not a joke, nor something to play around with. The story that accompanied the explanation was also somehow bittersweet. A gift the fortune-teller still cherished the memories of, still admired its giver... and yet she'd never worn it. It was somehow... sad. Gabriela had returned to good humor, at least, and asked her if she wanted it. The zombie had to admit that part of her did. It was probably obvious just looking at her. There was something exciting about collecting curios, after all. But this one was slightly different than most. Unlike trying it out for a bit, then flipping it to another buyer, this one was for keeps. A commitment. Would she use it if she bought it? Or would it just sit in a box, collecting dust and memories like it had for the lamia? What was her plan? Jade's lips were pressed in a tight line, deep in thought. "I didn't bring that kind of money with me for this little jaunt around the town... And no, I'm not trying to haggle here, I will respect you on that," the merchant managed after a few more moment's contemplation. It was all true of course, anything more than light spending money she kept in a lockbock that was either under her seat on the wagon when on the road, or brought into the room with her when they were at an inn. But also important was that this was no decision to be made on impulse, and that was clearly understood. "We'll settle up now over the fortunes, and whether I decide one way or the other on the ring, I'll drop by again later and let you know. What time do you close up for the night?"
  14. Terry moves to 14,26 repairs Abigail. Abigail casts Alert, moves to 13,31. Thorvald moves to 15,30.
  15. Chapter 41, 3 turns Total Turns: 170 Amusingly, I'd been working on this since before eclipse started posting again, since I'd been watching G Gundam and was like. "Oh... ohhhh." I have another couple maps I need to take screens from my captures and write up, but I'm making progress again. Hope to finish before year end. Hope to.
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