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So I'm thinking of going and doing a hard mode run of FEA and would like to know if there are some basic tips that should help me get through without anyone dying.

The plan is to try and actually finish the game on hard mode, although I am not too sure where to start.  I would assume that this would be more than a significant challenge for me (I'm not that great at Fire Emblem in general) so practical help would be appreciated greatly.  I would assume that this is the point where it would be pointless to pick up Donnel, even though it is tempting to get Donnel!Kjelle.

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First and foremost, enemy reinfircements will arrive before the enemy phase begins, as opposed to was the case in normal mode.

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Donnel is still workable in Hard mode, but is significantly harder to get going than in Normal, since Hard is not too much harder than Normal (Lunatic and L+ though...).

Anyway, the tips I can give you (that I think you may not have figured out from Normal) are as follows:

  1. Focus on a small group of combat units (up to 12, I'd say, though it can go as low as 1) and try to only give combat EXP to those units. Support units (staffbots, Olivia, Rally users, dedicated lockpickers) can then be put in the remaining deployment slots.
  2. Don't be afraid to go slow if it helps your units survive.
  3. Always make sure your combat units have a Pair Up partner.
  4. Don't be afraid to make some units spend their entire time at the back of a pairup.
  5. Avoid giving EXP to Frederick early, unless you plan to use him in endgame or the chapter is impossible otherwise.
  6. Galeforce (Dark Flier level 15) can be a big help in either going fast or clearing out a spot for support units.
  7. Robin can likely solo any chapter you're having problems with unless he/she is very underlevelled - which is difficult thanks to Veteran.
  8. Always look out for the effective weaponry and low% crits - they can and will screw you over if you're not careful.
  9. In general, try to take as few risks as possible.
Edited by Sodium Hydroxide

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Use everything that's available.  If it's an early chapter, and enemies hit too hard, that's your cue to use Frederick.

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1 hour ago, Sodium Hydroxide said:

Donnel is still workable in Hard mode, but is significantly harder to get going than in Normal, since Hard is not too much harder than Normal (Lunatic and L+ though...).

Anyway, the tips I can give you (that I think you may not have figured out from Normal) are as follows:

  1. Focus on a small group of combat units (up to 12, I'd say, though it can go as low as 1) and try to only give combat EXP to those units. Support units (staffbots, Olivia, Rally users, dedicated lockpickers) can then be put in the remaining deployment slots.
  2. Don't be afraid to go slow if it helps your units survive.
  3. Always make sure your combat units have a Pair Up partner.
  4. Don't be afraid to make some units spend their entire time at the back of a pairup.
  5. Avoid giving EXP to Frederick early, unless you plan to use him in endgame or the chapter is impossible otherwise.
  6. Galeforce (Dark Flier level 15) can be a big help in either going fast or clearing out a spot for support units.
  7. Robin can likely solo any chapter you're having problems with unless he/she is very underlevelled - which is difficult thanks to Veteran.
  8. Always look out for the effective weaponry and low% crits - they can and will screw you over if you're not careful.
  9. In general, try to take as few risks as possible.

I had a feeling that he would be a lot harder to get going in hard mode (thanks to those less than stella stats that he starts with).

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The piece of advice I can give is to not focus on using everyone unless you're grinding. Try to pair up as much as possible. Not only can it remove weak people off the field, but it also gives you more stats to survive against enemies. For Robin, I recommend being more of a mage than a swordsman. Are you male or female Robin? Because this changes a lot. If you're female, pair up Chrom with Robin ASAP. Otherwise, give Chrom Sumia. It's easier that way. It's mutually beneficial for both characters and you get a pretty strong Lucina. 

For male Robin, use whomever you want. I honestly recommend someone that has a child early like Miriel (no, I'm not joking). Doing that can enable you to get a Laurent with Veteran which can be a bit of a godsend early on to have more units with Veteran. When I played I personally went with Anna, so you can pretty much use whomever you want for the whole game and have no problems. 
 

In hard mode, you can avoid Freddy pretty easily, but he's still handy to have around. Libra is the character you really want to get a hold of in hard mode in my eyes. He's really powerful. Staves and axes is a powerful combo for that point in the game. 

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55 minutes ago, Augestein said:

The piece of advice I can give is to not focus on using everyone unless you're grinding. Try to pair up as much as possible. Not only can it remove weak people off the field, but it also gives you more stats to survive against enemies. For Robin, I recommend being more of a mage than a swordsman. Are you male or female Robin? Because this changes a lot. If you're female, pair up Chrom with Robin ASAP. Otherwise, give Chrom Sumia. It's easier that way. It's mutually beneficial for both characters and you get a pretty strong Lucina. 

For male Robin, use whomever you want. I honestly recommend someone that has a child early like Miriel (no, I'm not joking). Doing that can enable you to get a Laurent with Veteran which can be a bit of a godsend early on to have more units with Veteran. When I played I personally went with Anna, so you can pretty much use whomever you want for the whole game and have no problems. 
 

In hard mode, you can avoid Freddy pretty easily, but he's still handy to have around. Libra is the character you really want to get a hold of in hard mode in my eyes. He's really powerful. Staves and axes is a powerful combo for that point in the game. 

I'm thinking of trying F!Robin first then M!Robin (X Lucina because that is simpler for me and saves me benching anyone) once I get the hang of it.

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8 minutes ago, TheSilentChloey said:

I'm thinking of trying F!Robin first then M!Robin (X Lucina because that is simpler for me and saves me benching anyone) once I get the hang of it.

Trying to bench nobody in Hard (kids included) without grinding isn't very feasible unless you want a big challenge, because the game gives you a glut of early units right before a big power spike when everything promotes. If you want everyone trained up, get the rest later with DLC, or they'll do nothing but give you a hard time.

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General strategy tip: Try to get the most out of enemy phase that you possibly can. If you see a big crowd of brigands with axes, send a strong/tanky/avotank sword guy into their range and he can probably deal with them. When you get to Valm, send in a strong lance user with a Beast Killer and watch them clear out the entire map. 

Don't be afraid to send a strong unit into more experience - you can grind up your weaker people in Awakening, and besides that Awakening can be soloed by Robin anyway. 

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Tactics that work in Lunatic(+) can be overkill in Hard difficulty; Robin can be easily overleveled early in the game if you focus on him/her rather than on Frederick (in Lunatic(+), Robin can reach level 6-7 in just the Prologue alone thanks to the walk-on-water-tiles trick).

Hard difficulty isn't that difficult to the point that it's actually possible to speedrun the entirety of the main story in Classic mode and beat it in less than an hour with F!RobinxChrom pretty much sweeping the lategame maps.

Remember that you can't really rely on Reeking boxes for grinding due to their high buying price; Spotpass bonus teams may be better for grinding if you don't have DLC maps to use.

Edited by Roflolxp54

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12 minutes ago, Roflolxp54 said:

Remember that you can't really rely on Reeking boxes for grinding due to their high buying price; Spotpass bonus teams may be better for grinding if you don't have DLC maps to use.

Yeah, I forgot about this - Reeking Boxes cost 4800 gold in hard mode.

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If you are grinding, then use whoever you want. No shame in leveling up when the game gives you the option to do so. Grindless depends on your definition. Typically it means you won't be doing any Risen hordes, Bonus Box teams nor DLC; Paralogues are usually fine; Renown items is up to you, technically you're not grinding EXP; bonus tiles (sparkling tiles) that give items or EXP is up to you.

Regarding Donnel;

Even in my current no-grind Lunatic run I still picked him up, so he's still doable to pick him up in Hard mode. IMO the easiest way to level up Donnel is to corner the top left archer who starts between a wall and a chest, with only one tile to go out from. You can do this by coming in with a mounted unit (Sully, if you plan on marrying them) then switching to Donnel. If you want the most EXP possible for Donnel, unequip his support. Also, you don't HAVE to do Paralogue 1 right away. Perfectly fine to wait a chapter or two later, at which point you have a team of strong units that are self-reliant and the only one you gotta worry about babying is Lil' piggy Donny.

Now, whether you are going to use Donnel after recruiting him is honestly your choice. If you do, save a second seal for him and use it as soon as he's lvl 10 (Underdog isn't worth waiting 5 more levels of shit). If you use renown, you will get one, then the next one comes at Ch8 from one of the villages. IMO Mercenary is the better class, but Fighter is there if you need an axe user instead.

Other than that, you can pretty much pick any unit in this game and not be screwed. If you plan to use this team to clear post-game maps (Bonus Box, Apo), then you'll want to think about your pair ups and the skills you're passing as well. Some players like having a party full of S-rank children + Robin, but it's fine if you marry Robin to a 1st gen unit as well because the difference will be very minor. If you are going grindless, then I'd say stick to 14 units max, 6~8 which will earn most of the EXP with the rest of the slots used for staves and rallies.

Edited by DaveCozy

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Most of the time I use Edward's spotpass team and get some of the weaker units up to where the others are.  The reason why I use that team is because there is like 4 or 5 thieves in that team.

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On 1/30/2017 at 5:35 PM, Czar_Yoshi said:

Trying to bench nobody in Hard (kids included) without grinding isn't very feasible unless you want a big challenge, because the game gives you a glut of early units right before a big power spike when everything promotes. If you want everyone trained up, get the rest later with DLC, or they'll do nothing but give you a hard time.

I was thinking of doing that once I got the hang of hard mode...if I ever do actually manage to get it done.

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24 minutes ago, TheSilentChloey said:

I was thinking of doing that once I got the hang of hard mode...if I ever do actually manage to get it done.

Suit yourself. But in a nogrind context... as someone who uses everyone on Revelation and breaks the deployment cap in Lunatic+, you're going to have a bad time.

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15 minutes ago, Czar_Yoshi said:

Suit yourself. But in a nogrind context... as someone who uses everyone on Revelation and breaks the deployment cap in Lunatic+, you're going to have a bad time.

Which is why I'm saving it for when hard mode is a little easier to manage :D:

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It depends: if you want to grind by excess you can, and everything will be crazy simple. I played it Hard with no Grinding, and in post game i spent time grinding as hell, resulting in a 300+ Nah and Tiki that DESTROYED DLC Armies by themselves. But for the Game, it was fun to swear against the game, to UNDERSTAND the dynamics and to complete with no add-ons. From my POV, there's no best bet since it's a TJRPG and each of us play it in a certain way:

From my mistakes, here is what i've learned from this game

- Avoid the prepromoted unit of any FE. It will ease your life for the first 20 battles, after that, Frederick falls (even though i love him as a chara)

- Avoid the use of Supreme Seals and Second Seals until you have a good army and most importantly you reach level 20.

- The best part of the game is in the pairing system. Pick up pairings you like but i'd suggest to pay attention to the support units you take with you: of course supports will make your primaries stronger, but again, if you don't properly manage level ups for them they will become useless in a no-time

- Respect Olivia, Nowi and all the special classes in general. Hard to grind for a lot of reasons, but highly efficient in most battles.

- Second Generation: wait until you exactly know what will you do with this or that character. I had Chrom x Lucina which is fine to me, but i married Robin with Tharja just for reading the support conversation. I never used Morgan (i know, i know) and Noire because i had a LOT of character better than them. 

- I don't like archers in this game.

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I would have thought that archers would be somewhat useful in hard mode?  I mean Virion and Noire had their places sure (and Chrom for Longbow shenanigans).

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Archers do have their uses in this game, but if you're looking for 2-range capabilities in Hard literally any tome-wielder will often be better than a bow-wielder. However, if you ever unlock and play Lunatic+ (by clearing regular Lunatic), that is where Archers are at their best. This is because one of the possible Lunatic+ skills (from Ch3 onwards) is Counter, which can lead to things with no 2-range running up to and Counter-bombing your best unit and causing an effective or actual Game Over - except that because Bows cannot counterattack at melee range, they cannot be Counter-bombed. There is another counter to Lunatic+, being simply oneshotting everything on the map, but that requires either focusing all your combat EXP on F!Robin/her and Chrom's kids (which is likely unappealing to you because you seem to like using everyone) or grinding (which means DLC on that difficulty, and might still be unappealing either way); so Bows will likely be your best option there.

Edited by Sodium Hydroxide

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26 minutes ago, Sodium Hydroxide said:

Archers do have their uses in this game, but if you're looking for 2-range capabilities in Hard literally any tome-wielder will often be better than a bow-wielder. However, if you ever unlock and play Lunatic+ (by clearing regular Lunatic), that is where Archers are at their best. This is because one of the possible Lunatic+ skills (from Ch3 onwards) is Counter, which can lead to things with no 2-range running up to and Counter-bombing your best unit and causing an effective or actual Game Over - except that because Bows cannot counterattack at melee range, they cannot be Counter-bombed. There is another counter to Lunatic+, being simply oneshotting everything on the map, but that requires either focusing all your combat EXP on F!Robin/her and Chrom's kids (which is likely unappealing to you because you seem to like using everyone) or grinding (which means DLC on that difficulty, and might still be unappealing either way); so Bows will likely be your best option there.

Actually I was hoping to avoid using Fred if that is at all possible, not so much other units.  I was of the mind set that Noire (and perhaps Virion) by extension would be the better left to late game shenanigans.  Or Chrom but I like Great Lord too much when it is him :D:

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7 hours ago, TheSilentChloey said:

Actually I was hoping to avoid using Fred if that is at all possible, not so much other units.  I was of the mind set that Noire (and perhaps Virion) by extension would be the better left to late game shenanigans.  Or Chrom but I like Great Lord too much when it is him :D:

Frederick is very easy to avoid using. Unlike on Lunatic, you don't need to rely on him for a good few chapters at the beginning and instead can start using Chrom and other base class units from the get go.

Regarding Donnel, if you want a very easy time recruiting him, get the Arms Scroll from the Bonus Box and give him both the Scroll and a forged Iron Lance. It works wonders for covering for his low stats until he improves. Though using the archer trap method, it's still pretty simple just with his starting Bronze Lance if you'd rather save the Arms Scroll.

I personally didn't find much difference jumping from Normal to Hard so it should be easy enough to grasp if you lay out the overall enemy attack range and then highlight the enemies that might equally pose a threat. It helps to distinguish them and allows for better planning.

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Play Frederick Emblem until the Avatar gets rolling then solo the game with the Avatar.  That's pretty much what I did for my Lunatic run, and Hard is fairly easy.

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5 hours ago, Eselred said:

Play Frederick Emblem until the Avatar gets rolling then solo the game with the Avatar.  That's pretty much what I did for my Lunatic run, and Hard is fairly easy.

I just said that I don't want to use Fred...

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Depends on if you grind or not, otherwise what the others said is right. A few things though. I'd be careful of forts and stairs cause that's where the reinforcement usually spawns and if one of your character is dying, it'll be bad. If you're still in the early chapter and want to avoid using Fred, you can just make him pair up with someone and unequip his silver lance and he'll be there giving you stats and dual guard as long as you turn off tutorial mode I believe.

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If you want to break the game

Spoiler

Use Nosferatu it is completely broken, just pair any Dark Mage/Sorcerer with any fast unit with a good support rank and watch the game beat itself. The vengeance combo basically makes them invincible. If you ever get stuck on a map this can solve that problem for you.

Use secret shops, bonuses and spot pass  characters and this game will bend over backwards for you.

Second Seals my goodness the crap you can do with these people like Anna and Lissa benefit heavily from these in that they can just gain extra levels and be way better they have any right to be. Just save up the ones you can get and use it for pretty much every levelups. Also if you plan to use you abuse second seals there's really no reason to promote it 20  promote it 15 at the latest.

Also Galeforce, Galeforce is broken, once you learn how to abuse it you'll be flying from though map like nobody's business. 

If you don't want to break the game

Don't over-rely on pre-promotes but do use them they're very useful in every FE game, it is a common fallacy they you should never use them don't fall into this trap. In awakening especially if you're using second seals there's absolutely no reason not to use them as they allow for infinite level ups. 

The rest of my opinion is best learned by experience mostly just positioning and so forth.   Since you seem to be doing grinding I don't need to give you a unit advice you can use whoever the heck you want,  just make sure you concentrate on a single team of people do not level up everyone.  

 

 

 

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