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  1. Long time lurker here, and I just completed my first NG Maddening run last night, taking the Verdant Wind route; and I wanted to share some of my overall thoughts about the experience, as well as my party build. I found these types of posts really helpful for my planning of the run, so I wanted to give back for those looking for ideas. General Comments on the Run -I used DLC characters, items, and aux battles. I held out on the stat boosters until after Chapter 5, but I did use the Chalice of Beginnings right away -The run took me just under 110 hours. I avoided cheesy grinding strats with rusted weapons/heal tiles. However, I did do aux battles ~1-2 weeks per month pre time skip, and ~1 week per month post time skip -I recruited every character possible on VW, and completed every paralogue. This was more trouble than it was worth, and I wouldn't do it again. I found it really stunted Byleth's growth, and she was often the last unit to promote to a class tier. Next time, I will just focus on recruits/paralogues of units that give me something I need for my endgame build -Holy cow, the difficulty at the beginning is truly maddening. I found the most difficult sections of the game were Chapters 3 & 5 (I averaged 50+ turn counts without grinding), doing DLC aux battles in the very early game, the pre time skip paralogues, and Chapter 13. The lack of stats, movement, and utility tools really punishes the player, especially when so many early enemy units have Pass -I can't stress how important it is to plan your units/builds ahead of time. The units where I planned ahead really came together, while I was kicking myself for not thinking through some unit progression ahead of time (looking at you, Byleth!) -My builds are player phase focused. I had never used some of the enemy phase strats with dodge tanking or Vantage/Wrath, and I shied away from too much experimenting once I experienced that intense difficulty curve early game My Roster (in order of MVPs) Mercedes, Bishop, 35 Battles/13 Victories (37%), 0 MVPs Faith Lv 5, White Magic Range + 1, Reason Lv 5, Magic +2, Fiendish Blow -My main healer. She is a unit of extremes -- depending on the turn, she can heal my entire party to full with the click of a button, or she does nothing. A good candidate for a Stride battalion to fill in some more useful turns -Pros: I was not using Vengeance or Vantage/Wrath strats on my other units, so Fortify was really strong and didn't come with downsides. The auto self-heal personal meant that if she did have to tank a hit, I didn't have to worry about healing her (rare). Her Res was so sky high, she could pull enemy mages worry-free throughout the whole run -Cons: She lacks really any other utility tools (Warp, Rescue, Silence), so there were a lot of turns where she just Waits -This pick was more of a security blanket for me, and if given another chance, I probably would opt for a unit with more offense or utility Marianne, Dancer, 113 Battles/50 Victories (44%), 0 MVPs Sword Lv5, Reason Lv5, Sword Avo +20, Special Dance, Fiendish Blow -I love the Dancer class, it just opens up so many possibilities (double your strongest unit, fix positional problems). I paired her with Fetters of Dromi, so I could just dive bomb a critical enemy with Lysithea and dance out -I trained her swords and gave her a Levin Sword and her relic. She was able to delete some enemy units all the way up until late game. Also, she was super dodgy with Sword Lv5 and Sword Avo+20. Between her Avo and a Guard Adjutant, I could keep her on the frontlines without as much risk -Her having Physic is a huge bonus for Chapters in which you have to split your party or Chapter 13. I didn't find much use for Silence, it was often just better to Dance a unit and eliminate the caster Ignatz, Sniper, 269 Battles/173 Victories (64%), 0 MVPs Bow Lv5, Death Blow, +20 Hit, Bow Crit +10, +4 Dex -Ignaughty was the surprise of the run. I thought he was a pipsqueak and I never used him in any of my Normal/Hard runs. I was so wrong -Because of his personal and his Speed Rally, his early game is strong as a reliable chipper or a speed rally bot to prevent or cause doubles. Thank Sothis I had him for those times you NEED some additional dmg to an enemy on forest or +Avo heal tiles -Around mid game, his crit potential comes online, and he starts to become a monster. Give him a Killer Bow, a Crit Ring, and Hunter's Volley, and he becomes a delete button with 3 range and a high hit rate -He had the highest Victories/Battles ratio on the team (64%), despite spending most of the early game chipping damage. If I could see the stats just post time skip, I bet it is some crazy high % ratio -Avoid the temptation of investing any strength stat boosts early, he'll cover it with crits later on -Overall, a low investment/high return unit with a strong early and late game -- 100% recommend Leonie, Bow Knight, 307 Battles/127 Victories (41%), 1 MVP Bow Lv5, Death Blow, +20 Hit, Bow Crit +10, Mov +1 -If Ignatz was my pleasant surprise of the run, Leonie was my negative surprise -To her credit, she was one my strongest and most flexible early game units -- useful with a lance or bow, and she can tank a hit -My intention for her was to be using Point-Blank Volley on horseback; but I already had that with Sylvain and Swift Strikes, and he got blessed with more strength and def, AND he has a relic and crest. There are too many maps in the midgame in which horseback gets neutered by terrain/stairs, so Leonie ended up being the odd woman out when I needed to pare my squad down -Luckily, Chapters 19-21 were mostly flat, so she came alive for those and salvaged her investment; but if I could do it all again, I would find a way to get her airborne Claude, Barbarossa, 410 Battles/196 Victories (48%), 2 MVPs Bow Lv5, Death Blow, +20 Hit, Bow Crit +10, Bowfaire -Oh man, I feel like I could talk forever about Claude. After this run, I am still no closer to knowing if he is the best lord or the worst lord -Best lord: Barbarossa is a top tier class, and requires no investment. Encloser means that Claude can always deal with an enemy unit, even if he can't delete it. Ashes and Dust is an S tier battalion. Two fliers to start Chapter 13. He has good supports with other natural fliers. Dreamiest eyes -Worst lord: He is a liability on enemy phase. Lacks the raw damage of a Bey-delgard or a Dimitri. Locked out of Darting Blow (granted, so is Dimitri) -Either way, he was a super solid unit for me. Low investment/high return Seteth, Wyvern Lord, 209 Battles/115 Victories (55%), 2 MVPs Lance Lv5, Death Blow, +20 Hit, Lance Crit +10, Alert Stance+ -Seteth was a strong unit for me. My only complaint is that you get him so late -You really need to take Chapter 12 and the first bit post time skip to invest in him to get him caught up with masteries -- plus you also want to rush to Lances A -Once you do get him online, he is immediate A team material just as you start getting more unit slots available for chapters. Swift Strikes + flying is so strong -I got lucky with Def/Res level ups. Along with his very strong crest, he was one of my few units who could take a punch or two in the late game and still keep trucking along Sylvain, Paladin, 320 Battles/202 Victories (63%), 3 MVPs Lance Lv5, Death Blow, +20 Hit, Lance Crit +10, Strength +2 -My other Swift Striker, I went the Paladin route (as opposed to Wyvern). It is really low investment when you don't have to worry about getting him airborne or trained too high in axes -- that way you can focus on rushing Lances A -Sylvain has a really good set of bases, so the immediate recruit from F Byleth added a strong early game unit for free -I think if the terrain in this game was more forgiving for horse units, Paladin Sylvain would be one of the best unit/class combos in the game -He was my Death Knight killer late game once the Death Knight scaling outpaced Lysithea's damage; Swift Strikes + Lance of Ruin is that strong Balthus, Grappler, 290 Battles/177 Victories (61%), 3 MVPs Fist Lv5, Death Blow, +20 Hit, Fist Crit +10, Fistfaire -While I found his voice acting and barks grating, on the battlefield he is a monster -Another low investment/high return unit, with a fist relic for when you need a little bit of extra oomph -I had originally intended to leave him in War Master, but the terrain ignore and Fierce Iron Fists from Grappler are just too strong that I went back after getting Quick Riposte. After this run, I am not convinced Quick Riposte was worth it, and that maybe the best play is to just stop at Grappler -The biggest flaw, if you can call it that, was that he didn't have Canto (unlike most of my other top units), so he sometimes got left out of position and had to use a turn to catch up Petra, Wyvern Lord, 286 Battles/184 Victories (64%), 4 MVPs Axe Lv5, Death Blow, Darting Blow, +20 Hit, Alert Stance+ -I really don't have much new to add on Petra that others here don't already know. She is one of the strongest units in the game -- great growths, great skill boons, natural fit into Wyvern Lord/Falcon Knight -I rushed B support to get her ASAP, and slotted her in immediately -She's not the perfect unit -- no crest to use a relic safely, she doesn't have a lot of supports out of house, and she gets a little outscaled in the final chapters -If you've been reading closely, you've probably noticed I've often mentioned valuing "low investment" unit/class combos. That is because you have limited investment, and a unit like Petra needs a lot of investment to thrive -- flying, auth, axes, bows, lances to get to my endgame build, not to mention using stat boosters to fix any issues you have with her growths. This is where progression planning really paid off Hilda, Wyvern Lord, 375 Battles/207 Victories (55%), 5 MVPs Axe Lv5, Death Blow, Darting Blow, +20 Hit, Alert Stance+ -What a unit, Hilda rules. By the end of my run, I was chanting Hilda! Hilda! along with her -She was just a better-performing version of my Petra above, because she had higher Str and Freikugel to help keep up with late game damage -Hilda required the most investment by a wide margin -- neutral in bows/flying, and a bane in auth. She was instructed every week, and part of all of my Group Tasks. I also gave her Dex stat boosters to help fix her hit rate issues -I also did a little training in Heavy Armor early to get her a cert in Armored Knight to raise her Def a bit. She was able to tank a hit to soften Nemesis at the end, which is more than I can say for most of my units -High investment, very high return -- struggled with hit rate in the early game, but even so, she was one of my strongest units throughout the whole run Byleth (F), Falcon Knight, 443 Battles/247 Victories (56%), 9 MVPs Lance Lv5, Death Blow, Darting Blow, +20 Hit, Alert Stance+ -I went female for the access to Darting Blow and the free Sylvain -This is my first Byleth that I didn't keep in Enlightened One with a sword, and I vastly underestimated the amount of monastery training I needed for her to keep up her progression with her students -Luckily, post time skip you are swimming in activity points, so I eventually got her there; but she was my last unit to certify into her final class. I only went Falcon Knight because I was so behind on axes compared to lances/swords -My strongest unit early game, really carried the first few chapters. Also my only unit who could keep up with endgame stat scaling and who could still reliably double all the way through Nemesis -Because it is so easy to keep her Charm sky high, she was my Ashes and Dust gambit user, and it really carries some sticky situations late game -She was also the closest thing I had to an enemy phase dodge tank, and I would use her when I needed to pull late game enemy units Lysithea, Gremory, 381 Battles/226 Victories (59%), 15 MVPs Reason Lv5, Fiendish Blow, Uncanny Blow, Dark Magic Range +1, Dark Tomefaire -What a monster of a unit. I gave her my +2 move shoes and Thyrsus -- so she had a ton of battlefield control -She was my only Warper, so I sometimes had to forego the damage to get some critical utility -I often paired her with Marianne's Dance, so she could delete just about any two units per turn from 5 tiles away. I mentioned this before, but it was so effective to dive bomb her deep to delete a priority unit, then use Marianne to Dance + Fetters her out of harm's way -I considered her an S+ tier unit coming into this run, but I am backing off of that a little. Her early game is slow before she gets going, and really late game she struggles to OHKO enemy units, even if you feed her Magic stat boosters -However, once she got Thyrsus and some class masteries, all the way up until the very late game, Lysithea was the undisputed champion of my run Honorable Mentions Lorenz, Mage -I kept up with his training and used him as an adjutant through Part 1 for one purpose: to help Ignatz stay alive in Chapter 13. When it was time to shine, there were two turns when I needed his damage to keep it all together, and he delivered -So much experience investment for 2 turns, but worth it Caspar, Warrior -1 Battle, 1 Victory: the Death Knight. What a boss Conclusion A big shout out to the people who contribute to this forum -- you really helped me put together a plan and see it through -- it was such a rewarding gaming experience. I hope this post can help others like me who were on the fence and looking for some ideas. I invite your feedback or any recommendations to improve on these ideas for others.
  2. The man. The myth. The legend. The man who has turned partying into a motivational topic and a musical philosophy, and the man who decided to go to the Gathering of Juggalos purely to fuck with Juggalos. Andrew WK has a new full album out. His first one in technically 8 years, but really his first big, focused "Andrew WK" project in about 15 years. Close Calls is a weird project with a few smatterings of Andrew here and there, 55 Cadillac was an instrumental, jazzy piano album, and his Japanese offerings are just a bit... bizarre, to say the least. I'd consider The Wolf to be the last time Andrew WK was noticeably Andrew WK for a whole album. Anyway. You're Not Alone. As you can probably guess from my title and the fact that I acknowledge that he's done something other than I Get Wet(And specifically Party Hard), I'm a pretty big Andrew WK fan. I Get Wet is one of my favorite albums and one of my favorite songs. So I've been looking forward to this for quite some time. And what better way to share my love and feelings than with a review! I figure I'll break this down song-by-song, and give a review of the album as a whole. I'm going to try to keep it simple. As much as I'd like to break it down on a technical level, I'm sure I'd just make an ass of myself and alienate that small handful of people who might actually care. Let's begin! ---------------------------------------- Track #1: The Power of Partying - Borderline just an instrumental piece. I don't even know if you can classify the automated voice repeating "Party party party. Party party party." over and over again vocals. Not the best song, but it gets bumped up as a hype piece for the rest of the album, as it's a song that slowly builds. It gets you ready for what's to come, and the actual composition is quite nice, but it's not much more than a hype track. 6/10 Track #2: Music is Worth Living For - The first single off of the album that got released months ago. As I've had time to listen to this one, I didn't have to do much to formulate my feelings. Between I Get Wet and The Wolf as the sort of "Andrew WK dichotomy"(I Get Wet being basically the fast hard rock/borderline metal sound that made him famous, and The Wolf being the more anthemic, motivational sound he's been playing with ever since that album), this falls more along the lines of The Wolf. Andrew's known for his gruff baritone voice, but he hits some really high notes on this song, which is more or less just a love letter to music, which is nice that he has these feelings after so many legal issues that kept him from really making music he wanted to. It's the proper start to the album, and it feels damn good to belt out to. One of those songs that you really want to sing in the shower and makes you want to listen to the album all over again. 9/10 Track #3: Ever Again - The second single off of the album that got released last month. This song is squarely in between the I Get Wet and The Wolf sounds. It borrows the main hook from one of his Japanese tracks(And really one of the only Japanese tracks really worth listening to), Everybody's Raging. The first time I heard this track, I thought "Hey, that's kinda lazy", but then I remembered that a very, very small portion of people knew about his Japanese works, and he builds a completely different song around the same backbone. It makes a curious contrast with Everybody's Raging, which is just a song about getting absolutely wasted and looking for burgers. Andrew instead takes Ever Again, and changes the message to "Everybody can change, no matter how shitty things get, they can get better", and seems to use a lot of his personal experiences to sell it. Very fun song, and continues to amp things up. 8.5/10 Track #4: I Don't Know Anything - And following this pattern, here we get the first, proper I Get Wet-style song from this album. It's akin to It's Time To Party. Full-bore insanity and absolute energy. And just like quite a few songs from I Get Wet, it follows the message of not really knowing much. But here, nearly 20 years later, Andrew adds on something that was sorely missing from that message that carried on through quite a few of the songs off that album. Rather than just being a declaration that he doesn't know anything or that he's stupid, he adds on the sentiment that "It's okay". It's okay to not know the answers. Though he does add on the typical Andrew WK comedic hyperbole when listing things off("I don't know the law/Or how to disobey/Or how to keep it cool/Or how to hit the hay"), it does feel like he's matured and has turned this into something a bit more positive. "I don't know the Christ/Or how to pray/How to face the world/Can't even face the day/That's alright/That's okay" is a noticeably more positive/ponderous spin on things. 8/10 Track #5: The Feeling of Being Alive - The first "Interlude" of the album. Throughout the album, Andrew takes some time to channel his experience as a motivational speaker. This one seems to directly address and explain the message of the last song, but in a more down to earth, personal way. Free of the bombast, Andrew just takes a minute to explain that feeling like something's wrong, or that you're cornered and don't know what to do, is just something humans go through. Something that he goes through, and that it's just a part of existing, and a challenge that has to be overcome. I'm probably gonna refrain from giving these interludes a rating, simply because it seems off to rate them. Track #6: Party Mindset - And following his first motivational interlude is a song about the subject that he's probably spoken the most of in his speeches. He's just explaining what his party philosophy is. It's just going over that you don't need to be somewhere fun, or with a bunch of fun people, to just escape with yourself and have some fun on your own. And if you stick with it, you can just be party all the time. Party zen, in a sense. Oddly enough, as you might not expect, this is a very subdued, chill song in tone. He's had this kind of song ever since I Get Wet, where he uses a slower song to convey the same messages of his over the top, hard hitting songs. But here, it feels probably the most fleshed out. It always felt like his other "slower" songs were missing something. Not the speed. It always kind of felt like they were a bit less rounded, and not quite as full. This feels like a proper Andrew WK song, just slower. 8/10 Track #7: The Party Never Dies - Unfortunately, here comes the first slump of the album. Again, despite I Get Wet being one of my albums, and also really liking The Wolf, Andrew always has these songs on his albums. They're just kind of dull, and really hard to grasp. On both a musical and a lyrical level. I've tried to break down and explain every song up to this point, but this is the one where I think I'm lost. I think he's basically personifying partying? It's tough to really get a grasp on, and the instrumentals are a bit repetitive. It interrupts the flow of the album, and I'll probably exclude it from the following listens to this album. 5/10 Track #8: Give Up On You - FORTUNATELY, it picks right back up with one of the highlights of the album. If you're the type of person who only listened to I Get Wet and only wants that, I don't think you'll get much here. This is another slow, anthemic piece. I'd go one step further and call it straight up "victorious". It's got a very classic, arena-rock-y vibe with the instrumentals, but Andrew's vocals just carry this to another level. There this great... organ? I think it's an organ. There's this great organ melody that carries the chorus, and Andrew's vocals compliment it so well. It's just a victorious(There's that word again) song about not giving up on somebody, and loving them completely, being their friend who's there for them... Now that I think about it, the song and lyrics are EERILY similar to a famous Rick Astley song that won't be named by name. The song title is about 2 words off from being that song, and now that I think about this song, I think it might be an ingenious spin on Rick Rolling. I'M NOT GOING TO LET THIS RUIN THIS WONDERFUL, GLORIOUS SONG. 9/10 Track #9: Keep On Going - Of all the songs on this album, I think this might be the one that I know how to feel about the least. It's basically the inverse message of Give Up On You. Rather than being a friend to somebody, it's about going off on your own, leaving everyone who has been hurting you behind, and becoming a star. This song has some very nice moments, but it shifts gears all over the place, and just about when you're comfortably in 3rd gear, it shifts and suddenly you're adjusting again abruptly. I don't know if any of the pieces are bad, I think most are quite good, actually. I just don't know if they completely gel together. 6.5/10, I think. Track #10: In Your Darkest Moments - As much as I would like to hear an Andrew WK song with this title, it's another motivational interlude. Andrew continues the message that's been progressing through the album. Instead of not knowing what to do, now it's about not letting yourself defeat yourself again, and using the hardships you've overcome to motivate yourself to continue overcoming hardships, and how rewarding it is. The good and the bad in life are why we live. Track #11: The Devil's On Your Side - Oh. Well I guess I didn't have to wait long for an Andrew WK song with a title like this. This is a fun one in concept. The preceding motivational interlude was about how the bad is ultimately "Good" because we can't feel good without overcoming something bad. So he takes the concept and makes a song about it. Basically about how accepting your demons will make your life more fun. You're constantly thinking about them, so why let them have power over you? Might as well accept them with the angels. Another soaring anthem, though this one's not quite as fun or exciting as Give Up On You or Party Mindset. Still solid, but not the strongest the album has to offer. 7/10 Track #12: Break the Curse - Definitely the most "out there" track on the album. It starts out with a classic synth vibe to it, and from there, it ping-pongs between this dark, downtrodden synth/rock tone, proclaiming pretty negative(For this album) things like "Look who put a curse on you/Look who played a trick on you", and is then immediately followed by Andrew's soaring vocals and the arena-y rock instrumentals with "A curse so bad it cursed me, too/A trick so good it tricked me, too". It's very rhythmic and kind of hypnotic. It's a fun one, and I like the idea behind it, but it's 6 minutes too long, and it only goes so far before it gets a bit repetitive. Though the back portion of the song has some sweet guitar riffs and keyboard flourishes, though that segment also goes on a bit too long. 7.5/10 Track #13: Total Freedom - And here we go. Probably my favorite track off of this album. Much like Give Up on You, it's hard to describe this as anything but "Victorious". I could say "Epic", but that word still has too much stink on it. It'll need to be another two or three decades before I feel comfortable using that to describe anything. This song has a much more contemplative feeling to it. There's no absolute message or some uplifting message much like most of the album. The lyrics are all in past-tense. "We had total freedom/We didn't care at all/About time going fast/Or if we could get ahead/Or if we would miss the past". There are many songs like this, but none of them feel as open to interpretation as this one. I could probably go through one of my Spotify playlists and find a dozen songs about people talking about how good times used to be, or how many mistakes they made in the past, but none that just leave the statements open. Andrew never says anything about the past. He just says all the things he had, and doesn't say if he misses them, if he wants to relive them, or anything. Which is really interesting to me. This song is conceptually similar to Break the Curse, in that it shifts tones between somber and reflective and a victorious chorus, but this one transitions between the tones MUCH more confidently and smoothly. It makes for a really, really engaging listen. And as my favorite song off the album, I'll drop a link. I still don't know how this would stack up to my absolute favorite Andrew WK songs, but I certainly feel that it'd be up there with something like The End of Our Lives, which is JUST below We Want Fun, She Is Beautiful and I Get Wet. So I guess it'd be like a top 5 AWK song. 9.5/10 Track #14: Beyond Oblivion - I actually really like when AWK puts his piano playing front and center as part of an instrumental piece. As much as I wasn't big on 55 Cadillac, this hits a sweet spot for me. Especially in the context of the album. There are only two tracks left, with one of them being another motivational interlude. This makes Beyond Oblivion the penultimate song of the album, and it runs the gamut of tones heard throughout it. It's a really, really good wind-down song. It's difficult to say if I'd prefer it on its own compared to its placement on the album, but I do really like the composition. 8/10 Track #15: Confusion and Clarity - The final motivational interlude. This one closes out the album with the message that the first proper track of the album, Music Is Worth Living For, opens up with. While Music Is Worth Living For conveys its message in the title, this interlude encourages you to find anything that you find that makes your life worth living. Track #16: You're Not Alone - The title track. It's weird. This definitely has a triumphant, victorious message. It basically says that even though this album is over, that the positive messages aren't over, and that you can take everything in the album with you towards whatever comes next for you. It absolutely conveys, lyrically, EVERYTHING that this album was trying to accomplish. But it lacks the tone of Give Up On You and Total Freedom. Not saying this song isn't over the top in the ways that AWK is known for. But those songs are like 12/10 on intensity, whereas this is about a 10. It's still far and above what most artists could even hope to reach, but it's not the height of AWK's sound in his entire discography, or even this album. It also kind of peters out near the end. But this is still a solid track, and it's a fantastic cap on the album. It just feels a little limp compared to what came before. 7.5/10 ---------------------------------------- There's my song-by-song breakdown. One thing I probably mentioned in a few of those song reviews is how the placements of the songs feel in relationship to the album. I'm still struggling to decide how I'll rate the album as a whole. You can't just add up all the song scores and then divide it by the number of tracks in the album. An album can absolutely be more than the sum of its parts. But as it stands right now and how I feel, this song absolutely has a good chunk of great, fun songs on it. I hope Andrew's next album has a bit more edge and his vocals are a bit more growly than they are here. This one captures more of The Wolf than I Get Wet, and as much as I like this album... I am much more a fan of I Get Wet. The fun, mindless party music is just more of what I want out of music. As great as the songs are, the constant soaring, triumphant anthems are a bit more tiring by nature. I'm not a huge fan of 80s arena rock for this reason, even though I think Andrew does it better and in a less cornball-y way. He's a lot more self-aware than a lot of the classics, and that always got in the way of my enjoyment of that kind of music. ANYWHO, tl:dr, the album's pretty good, go listen.
  3. Wow it has been awhile since I started a topic so umm yeah title says all what are your favorite chrono Trigger setups? what parties work best for your personal tastes? Mine are. 1.Chrono, Ayla, Marle: Perfect team for me Chrono and especially Ayla for the heavy attacks and Marle for additional damage with Ice 2 and powerful dual techs with Chrono And eespecially Ayla seriously those Ice dual techs with Ayla are devastating I use this steam up till Chrono dies. 2.Ayla, Magus, Marle: Ayla for her very powerful physical attacks, Magus for his magic and later the powerful Dark Matter and Marle for healing+powerful dual techs with Ayla. I use this team as my end game team and usually fight Lavos with this set up works out perfectly.
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