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FE5 PM 0% growths, SSS rank with commentary (complete)

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FE5 is an intimidating and mysterious game to many fans of the series due having no official localization, a limited initial release, and a reputation for being very difficult. My goal is to help demystify this game for fans who have never touched FE5 before.

Basic mechanical differences between FE5 and other games

FE5 was the last game in the series to be directed by Shouzou Kaga, the founder of the Fire Emblem franchise, and as such it is the Kaga-era game that bears the closest resemblance to the later games. However, numerous subtle differences in the core mechanics of FE5 compared to later games contribute to a very different gameplay experience. We won't cover every little quirk or exclusive feature here.

True hit wasn't invented yet

From FE6 onwards, when units enter combat, the game averages 2 RNs and compares that to the displayed hit rate in order to check for a successful hit. Essentially, the game is dishonest about hit rates - hit rates above 50 are skewed towards 100, and hit rates below 50 are skewed towards 0.

In FE5, hit rates are exactly what they appear to be: 90 hit corresponds to a 90% chance to hit. While the merits of each system are debatable, the practical consequence of having the honest hit rate system in FE5 is that because the player often operates in the >50 hit portion of the spectrum, strategies under this system are less reliable than they would be under the true hit rate system in FE6 and on.

Hit ceiling and floor; crit ceiling

Unlike in every other FE game, FE5 caps displayed hit at 99 and floors it at 1. While flooring hit at 1 is arguably a good thing (enemies in this game will refuse to attack a target whom they can't damage), capping hit at 99, in conjunction with the honest hit rate system mentioned above, results in occasional 1% misses that would not have occurred in any other FE game.

Critical rate is also secretly capped at 25 for any unit's initial attack. The game does not display this and actually gives no indication at all for this mechanic. Crit is uncapped for a unit's second attack if the unit satisfies the doubling threshold.

Magic = resistance

Fire Emblem has always had separate stats for magic attack and defense except for in FE5, for some odd reason. In FE5, mag counts for both offense and defense. Consequently, items or staves that would have boosted res in other FE games, such as Pure Water or Barrier (now M Up), boost mag instead.


These are Leif's stats. Note the absence of a res stat.

Staff accuracy

In later FE games, staves that affect allies always hit and staves that affect enemies have their accuracy calculated primarily using the caster's mag and the target's res. This is not the case in FE5. All staves in this game (including healing staves and except for Torch) have a hit rate equal to 60 + 4*skl. Therefore, staves have perfect accuracy if the caster has at least 10 skl.


God dammit, Tina...

A caster using a staff that affects an enemy target (such as a status staff) can select any enemy on the map that has a lower mag stat than the caster.

Critical hit damage

Later FE games multiply displayed damage by 3 in the case of a critical hit. In FE4 and FE5, the game instead multiplies the attacker's atk by 2 prior to subtracting the target's def. The most important consequence of this mechanical difference is that critical hits are quite potent against targets who have high def.


FE5 pioneered the rescue mechanic, and accordingly, it bears a couple of differences from later implementations. While most players would be accustomed to skl and spd penalties being applied to a rescuing unit, FE5 went a step further, penalizing all stats except for luk. Additionally, if the rescued unit has a con stat that’s greater than half of the rescuer’s con stat, then the rescuer’s mov is also halved.


Finn rescuing Leif. The +10 luk is from his equipped weapon.

Mounted units are considered to have 20 con for rescuing purposes. They cannot be rescued when mounted (because 20 is the universal con cap) and suffer a mov penalty when carrying a unit with >10 con.

In all other FE games with the rescue mechanic, a unit is only allowed to use a give or take command once during his turn. In FE5, a unit can shuffle carried units around as many times as he wants. This enables some rescue chains that would otherwise be impossible.


Similar to rescuing, in FE5, units are allowed to trade as many times as they want with adjacent or rescued units. This is presumably to make it easier to take and distribute weapons from captured enemies.


The concept of con originated in FE5 (abbreviated as bld in-game). In addition to determining rescue ability, con offsets AS loss from weapon WT, but in FE5 this applies only for physical weapons - tomes do not have their AS loss offset by the user’s con. Con has its own growth rate in this game, but of course, that has been changed to 0%. Incidentally, mov also has a growth rate in this game, which has also been changed to 0%.

Important FE5-exclusive mechanics

In the interest of brevity, I will discuss only one FE5-exclusive mechanic here in-depth.


The best way to understand capturing is to conceptualize it as rescuing an enemy unit against their will. A unit can attempt to capture an enemy as his action during his turn. The unit attempting the capture must attack at 1-range, and the unit selected for capture must be rescue-able (i.e., have less con than the attacker). Snipers, for example, will never be able to capture anyone, because bows do not attack at 1-range. Mounted units and units with 20 bld, for example, can never be captured, because they can also never be rescued.


Finn attempting to capture an enemy. Note that a capturing unit has his HP bar tinted to a lighter shade during combat.

From here, there are two distinct possibilities:

  1. If the unit being captured is considered armed, then his HP must be reduced to 0. A round of combat occurs in which the capturing unit has all of his non-luk stats halved, as if he were already rescuing someone. A unit is considered armed if he has a weapon in his inventory that has 1- or 2-range; it doesn’t have to be equipped. This is to prevent, for example, bow users from being instantly captured.
  2. If the unit being captured is considered defenseless, then he is captured immediately without need for further combat. A defenseless unit may be unarmed, or he may not be carrying any weapons in his inventory that would allow him to be considered armed. An enemy who has only 3-10 range tomes in his inventory is considered defenseless. An enemy equipped with a 3-10 range tome but also possessing a 1-2 range weapon in his inventory is considered armed.

Once an enemy is captured, then units can perform give/take and trade commands as if that enemy were rescued. Therefore, capturing is one way in which players can obtain new weapons and items. Once the captured enemy has served its purpose, the capturer can use a command to release the enemy, which is similar to the drop command, except that the enemy vanishes from the map after being released.

Enemies circumvent these rules slightly. Whereas player units must manually trade items away from a captured enemy, enemies automatically seize all items upon capturing an allied unit. This seems unfair, but it’s understandable given AI limitations. Some items, such as exclusive weapons and crusader scrolls, are not seized if captured.

Understanding the battle forecast

FE5's battle forecast (the stat display that comes up before a unit enters combat) is archaic by series standards; the concept of a simplified battle forecast did not come about until FE6. Additionally, the battle forecast is entirely in Japanese, which makes it even more difficult to interpret, and I will always be flashing through battle forecasts at lightning speed in this playthrough.


The translation patch also butchers the battle forecast, so that's no help.

FE5 doesn't conveniently subtract def from atk to calculate damage; the player has to do it himself. Additionally, it also doesn't display convenient x2s or x4s if a unit can double or quadruple attack; the player has to determine whether an AS difference is >=4 in order to cross the doubling threshold.

Mechanics removed for this playthrough

In order to demonstrate strategic consistency and to stay true to the spirit of 0% growths, I altered 2 mechanics exclusive to FE5:

Movement stars

On the second page of each character’s stat sheet are 2 lines showing some number of stars corresponding to stats named “leadership” and “movement.” The bottom line represents the movement star mechanic. Units with movement stars have a low chance of gaining a second action after completing their first action on any given turn. The best way to describe this, especially for those familiar with FE13, is that units with movement stars can randomly activate the skill Galeforce. Each star corresponds to a 5% chance of gaining an extra action. All units in this game have between 0 and 5 movement stars, inclusive. When a unit gains an extra action, a whistle chime plays and music note appears above his head.


The 5 stars on this stat page are Tina's movement stars, yielding a 25% activation rate.

Because movement stars seldom activate, they can rarely be relied upon, so I have removed them from all player units. Enemy units with movement stars still retain their stars.

Crusader scrolls

Crusader scrolls are items that, when placed in a unit’s inventory, grant passive boosts and penalties to that unit’s growth rates. The boosts are sizable; each scroll confers a net +30% to a unit’s growth rate total. Obviously, this will not do in a 0% growths playthrough, so all growth alterations have been removed.

Crusader scrolls have a secondary effect in which they passively protect a unit from critical hits (except for those triggered by the Wrath skill), much like the Iron Rune from FE7 or the Fortune skill from FE10. The crit evade formula is rather stingy in this game, so crusader scrolls remain important for their protective effect.

See http://serenesforest.net/thracia-776/inventory/crusader-scrolls/ for a list of crusader scrolls.

Paragon mode

Before there were formal difficulty modes - hard mode didn’t exist until FE6 - FE5 had a hidden difficulty mode called Paragon mode (or Elite mode). This mode doubles EXP gain for all units as if they had the skill Paragon (or Elite). In order to unlock this mode, the player has to select “new game” and enter the sequence →, ←, →, ←, →, ←, →, →. A chime will play upon successful unlock and the player can return to the main menu to start a file in Paragon mode.


Paragon mode appears as an option below "new game" once it's been unlocked.

Paragon mode is essentially an easy mode for this game, although the increased rate of EXP gain doesn’t lead to higher stats with 0% growths. The purpose of Paragon mode for this playthrough is to get units to L10 faster and more reliably, as several units must be promoted as early as possible in this playthrough.

About this playthrough

This playthrough operates under the following conditions:

  • Player units have 0% growths in all stats.
  • Movement stars on player units have been removed.
  • Growth bonuses from crusader scrolls have been negated.
  • It attempts to achieve a SSS rank (which requires recruiting all characters and finishing with a final turncount <180).
  • It further aims for the lowest possible turncount.

Videos of each chapter will be uploaded, with audio commentary from Mekkah and me. An explanatory write-up will accompany chapters for viewers who are unfamiliar with this game or have trouble with the Japanese.

Chapter list

Chapters 1+2: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086#entry4204874

Chapter 2x: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=2#entry4209737

Chapter 3: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=2#entry4216290

Chapter 4: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=3#entry4220948

Chapter 4x: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=4#entry4241069

Chapter 5: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=5#entry4251052

Chapter 6: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=5#entry4255202

Chapter 7: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=6#entry4270952

Chapter 8: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=7#entry4278998

Chapter 8x: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=8#entry4284304

Chapters 9+10: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=8#entry4289376

Chapter 11: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=9#entry4303453

Chapters 11x+12: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=10#entry4309865

Chapters 12x+13: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=10#entry4320250

Chapter 14: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=12#entry4458834

Chapters 15+16A: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=12#entry4471298

Chapter 17A: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=12#entry4477482

Chapter 18: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=12#entry4498052

Chapter 19: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=13#entry4508082

Chapter 20: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=13#entry4536853

Chapters 21+21x: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=14#entry4574357

Chapters 22+23: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=14#entry4580150

Chapter 24: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=14#entry4610365

Chapter 24x: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=14#entry4614330

Endgame: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=60086&page=15#entry4636386


01   4 turns   05  15 turns   10   3 turns   14  10 turns   20  15 turns   24x  3 turns
02   4 turns   06   7 turns   11   4 turns   15   2 turns   21   1 turn    End  3 turns
02x  8 turns   07   7 turns   11x  2 turns   16A  2 turns   21x  5 turns
03   5 turns   08   4 turns   12   2 turns   17A  2 turns   22   1 turn
04  12 turns   08x  6 turns   12x  6 turns   18   9 turns   23   2 turns
04x  8 turns   09   2 turns   13   3 turns   19   2 turns   24   6 turns

Total turncount: 165

Edited by dondon151

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Looking forward to seeing you do another one of these! Am I correct in assuming you have already completed the playthrough and all that remains is to record the voiceovers (like usual)?

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It's finally here!

So excited for this.

Also how is full recruitment working with Olwen and Eryios?

Edited by Scrub Lord Doof

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Sadly I won't be able to follow this one since I haven't played FE5 yet and I'm insistent on remaining as unspoiled as possible. Good luck and Godspeed!

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Also how is full recruitment working with Olwen and Eryios?

the game only counts the number of units in your army at game's end, so olwen gets ditched.

EDIT: also yes @ ruadath's question

Edited by dondon151

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the game only counts the number of units in your army at game's end, so olwen gets ditched.

EDIT: also yes @ ruadath's question

I guess that answers the "which route are you taking?" question.

I'm really looking forward to this ever since you announced that it would be coming.

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FE3 also allowed you to trade as many times as you wanted, as long as you remained on the same tile the whole time. I suppose it's more a remainder from there since it's the same engine, rather than something implemented for FE5 specifically.

Looking forward to it, as always!

Edited by Topazd

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Was that ever actually in question though?

It might be obvious to people who know a lot about routing this game, but i don't. (and a reroute is always possible. I can think of a ton of games that had reroutes a lot larger than changing routes would be.)

Edited by sirmola

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Chapters 1 and 2 are both completed in 4 turns.

Chapter 1 information

New characters


Leif (リーフ) - Lord L1
6 mov | pursuit critical coefficient = 2 | 0-2 leadership stars
Skills: Adept

Leif is the main character. His base stats appear to be rather bad, but that’s okay - FE5 enemies are usually rather bad as well. Much of Leif’s utility in a 0% growths playthrough comes from supporting roles, either passively through support bonuses or actively through chip damage using his personal weapon, the Light Sword.

With growths, Leif is among the best units in the game with smart and proper investment. Without growths, that investment is pretty pointless, so he’ll be kind of bad forever.


Finn (フィン) - Lance knight L7
5 > 8 mov | pursuit critical coefficient = 1 | 1 leadership star
Skills: Miracle

This iteration of Finn is somewhere between the young rookie in FE4’s first generation and stalwart veteran in FE4’s second generation, and it’s represented in his base level and stats. Finn is an excellent unit as long as he stays on his horse, mostly because he has an excellent personal weapon, the Brave Lance. As a mounted brave weapon user, Finn is one of the best captors in the game.


Eyvel (エーヴェル) - Swordmaster L12
8 mov | pursuit critical coefficient = 1 | 1 leadership star
Skills: Adept

Eyvel is one half of the role of the Jagen archetype unit - a chapter 1 prepromoted unit with great base stats and poor growth rates. Eyvel is a plot-important character and as such has literal plot armor for the first 5 chapters of the game: fatal blows aimed at Eyvel will miss no matter what (although she can still get captured). Her excellent mobility and sole early access to the Fire Sword establish her as the best earlygame boss killer, but for plot-related reasons, she won’t be around for long.


Halvan (ハルヴァン) - Axe fighter L2
6 mov | pursuit critical coefficient = 4 | 0 leadership stars
Skills: Vantage

Axe fighters are notorious for being bad in most FE games, but Halvan looks to be fairly solid. That’s really about all he is, though, because he doesn’t get any cool exclusive weapons, nor does he get any amazing skills, and axes aren’t a great overall weapon type in FE5.


Orsin (オーシン) - Axe fighter L1
6 mov | pursuit critical coefficient = 3 | 0 leadership stars
Skills: Wrath

In contrast to his buddy Halvan, Orsin is an extraordinary combat unit, and there are 3 reasons why this is so, as I explained in the chapter 2 video: 1) Wrath guarantees a critical hit on an enemy phase counterattack, 2) Orsin’s personal weapon, the Pugi, is ridiculous, and 3) Orsin’s 3 PCC all but guarantees a critical on a double attack as long as he uses a weapon with 30+ crit (read: the Pugi). Basically, Orsin is guaranteed a hit + crit on player phase and a double crit on enemy phase (given that he’s fast enough to double the enemy).


Dagdar (ダグダ) - Warrior L6
7 mov | pursuit critical coefficient = 1 | 0 leadership stars
Skills: Charge

Dagdar is the other half of the role of the Jagen archetype unit in FE5; he also has fantastic base stats and poor growth rates. There was once a time where Dagdar (and Eyvel) were eschewed for their poor growth rates, but experienced players now ridicule that opinion. Consider how absurd Dagdar’s base stats are: he has the second highest HP and str bases in the game, beaten only by a unit who joins 30 chapters later. His other stats, save for mag and luk, are quite good as well.

Much like Finn, Dagdar is among the best captors in the game, having the second highest con base in the game along with access to a brave weapon starting in chapter 1. His Charge skill is also situationally useful in a wide variety of situations throughout the playthrough.


Tanya (タニア) - Bow fighter L1
6 mov | pursuit critical coefficient = 2 | 0 leadership stars

Tanya is unfortunately nothing like her father. Bow-locked units are rather bad in FE5 because combat is focused on enemy phase and they cannot capture anyone. Tanya’s base str and bow rank also leave much to be desired. Her saving grace is that she provides support bonuses to Orsin and Dagdar, a pair of the best units in the game.


Marty (マーティ) - Brigand L1

6 mov | pursuit critical coefficient = 1 | 0 leadership stars

The 0s in Marty’s base skl and spd coupled with his dopey demeanor have made him into a minor meme among FE5 players. What’s the point in using him when 3 superior axe users joined in the same chapter? As a force deployed unit, Marty sees some use in the earlygame, but his combat is so unreliable that it’s better to not count on him at all to attack enemies.

Important weapons and items

015.gif Light Sword (ひかりの剣)
Prf rank sword | 1-2 rng | 10 WT | 12 MT | 80 hit | 0 crit | luk +10, doubles as a Vulnerary

Leif’s special sword, a relic of his deceased mother, is one of several swords in FE5 that deals physical damage from 1 range and magical damage from 2 range. The Light Sword’s 10 WT complements Leif poorly, as he has 0 AS with it equipped at base. However, it’s a highly useful weapon because of the chip damage and the Vulnerary effect.

031.png Brave Lance (ゆうしゃのやり)
Prf rank lance | 1 rng | 9 WT | 13 MT | 70 hit | 10 crit | luk +10, attacks twice

Classically, brave weapons are withheld from the player until the latter half of the game. Why does FE5 give the player a ridiculously strong weapon in chapter 1 and lock it to Finn? Who knows. The Brave Lance’s +10 luk essentially confers an extra 10 hit, which is useful when capturing, and it also combos with Finn’s Miracle skill should he find himself in a dire situation.

020.gif Fire Sword (ほのおの剣)

B rank sword | 1-2 rng | 9 WT | 9 MT | 70 hit | 0 crit | mag +5

Fire, thunder, and wind all have their versions of magic swords, and they function like the Light Sword. Of the elemental magic swords, the Fire Sword is clearly the best, as the +5 mag bonus essentially confers an extra 5 atk when the sword is used at range. Anyone can use this sword, but only Eyvel has the requisite rank to do so at this point in the game.

39.png Pugi (プージ)
Prf rank axe | 1-2 rng | 9 WT | 10 MT | 80 hit | 30 crit

Orsin and his Pugi are inextricably tied in their identities. This axe complements Orsin perfectly and is what makes him into the elite combat unit that he is. An accurate 1-2 range axe is a blessing in a game where Hand Axes have 45 hit, and 30 crit is just right for a unit with 3 PCC.

3A.png Brave Axe (ゆうしゃのおの)
D rank axe | 1 rng | 12 WT | 14 MT | 70 hit | 0 crit | attacks twice

Why does FE5 give the player not one, but two brave weapons in chapter 1? Moreover, why is the Brave Axe a D rank axe? I can’t answer those questions, but I’m glad that the Brave Axe exists. Halvan is sad that this weapon isn’t locked to him, but Dagdar relishes having a strong weapon that complements his monstrous base str.

Chapter 2 information

New characters


Ronan (ロナン) - Bow fighter L1
7 mov | pursuit critical coefficient = 1 | 0 leadership stars
Skills: Adept

Kaga felt sorry for giving the player such a horrid bow user in chapter 1 and decided to make up for that by giving the player an equally horrid bow user in chapter 2. Ronan’s combat stats are hardly an improvement over Tanya’s, and he’s become a minor meme among FE5 players due to possessing a low str growth but a high mag growth (not that we care). For some reason, male bow fighter has an extra point of mov, which actually gives Ronan a small niche later in the game.

Important weapons and items

8D.png Vulnerary (きずぐすり)
A Vulnerary restores all HP to the unit using it.

In most FE games, Vulneraries restore 10 HP while Elixirs restore all HP. In FE5, Vulneraries are Elixirs.

Mechanics notes

Pursuit critical coefficient (PCC)

We’ve mentioned PCC in the introduction video and have been listing it for every unit recruited thus far without explaining what it is. PCC is a multiplier applied to a unit’s displayed crit rate on his second attack if that unit doubles an enemy (Pursuit is the name of the skill required in FE4 for units to double at all, hence PCC).

Example: Orsin has 36 crit against an enemy pirate. He has 9 AS to the pirate’s 0 AS, so he doubles. His PCC = 3. Orsin’s first attack has 25 crit (remember that crit is capped at 25 on the first attack). Orsin’s second attack has 3*36 = 108 crit, so he is guaranteed to crit.


In the case of weapons with a brave effect, PCC applies to the third and fourth hits. This is easy to understand if you conceptualize brave weapons as granting an extra hit for every attack.

PCC are invisible values innate to each unit and contribute greatly to a unit’s viability in this game. PCC values can range from 0 to 5, inclusive. Keep an eye out for PCC setups in this playthrough that guarantee critical hits on double attacks.

Wrath.gif Wrath

Wrath is among the skills with the longest history in the Fire Emblem franchise, and FE5 makes a firm argument for the best iteration of Wrath in the series. Unlike its tepid FE13 version, FE5 Wrath guarantees a critical hit on a unit’s first attack if an opponent gets the first strike in battle. Basically, Wrath works only on enemy phase (with one edge case).

There are some nuances to how the skill works that are worth mentioning. Wrath can only take effect on the first attack, i.e., attacks that would have their critical rate capped at 25. Wrath criticals cannot be blocked by crusader scrolls. A unit with the Vantage skill would negate his own Wrath skill, since Vantage prevents the unit from fulfilling the requisite conditions for Wrath activation.

Edited by dondon151

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I always thought it was funny that Thracia didn't go with the usual ch 1 convention, then did it anyways in chapter 2, although still different from the norm.

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Awesome, the FE5 map themes are probably my favorite of the series (especially the remastered versions you can find online). That being said, I haven't played Awakening/Fates so I can't compare.

More on point, though, good work so far. Looking forward to see how you handle things once the game starts to ramp up in difficulty. I'm sorry to say I won't be following the whole run because (like Irysa) I haven't finished the entire game myself ;(

P.S. I just noticed this now, but does anyone else think Dagdar looks kind of like Coryool from LP? I wonder if they stole his portrait...

EDIT: Sure looks like it to me...


Lol this is amazing, I have no idea why I didn't notice it before.

Edited by ruadath

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I'm surprised you didn't mention anything about Thracia gates and how bullshit they are. Looking forward to chapter 3.

we definitely mentioned it during one of our takes, but there's so much going on early on that it's impossible to cover everything. we sort of talk about it in chapter 2x though.

Edited by dondon151

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and axes arent a great overall weapon type in FE5.

Uh, really? I've always thought the countrary.

Edited by ENS

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Master axes are terrible, they have 55 hit and are only accessible lategame where enemy leadership stars are very real. Master weapons in general are pretty bad.

Killers are good but very rare. Steel axes have similar hit problems to Master axes.

Edited by General Horace

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they're all pretty bleh aside from killer axe, but killer axes are really rare. steel axe has 55 hit, for example. obviously master axe is cool just because it's a master weapon, but it's a case where there aren't any better alternatives.

compare this to swords, where the variety of tools is enormous. they have 3 different brave weapons, 3 magic swords, armor effectiveness, and status inducing weapons. there are more times and places for swords than there are for master axes, so to speak.

Edited by dondon151

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