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Kebe

FE8 HM 0% Growths LTC (with commentary)

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Chapter 12 is completed in 4 turns

Chapter 12 Notes

Spoiler

New Units:

L'Arachel

5bad21889ab6b_LarachelBases.png.5aae9cb90d6570dc9afc0ecd794b4e62.png 5bad2196e6e2c_LarachelWeaponRanks.png.4edba640b26ca498e720762854fa39b5.png

L'Arachel is by no means the worst unit in the game. She has the best bases among all our staff users, she has a mount, and she's even part of the 15 Aid Club that I harped on about a while ago. However, I think it's very accurate to call her the most disappointing unit in the game, since she could've been so much more useful with a few logical changes. She could've had C Staves, allowing her to have useful utility via Barrier and Restore usage, but for some reason she joins with the same staff rank that Natasha had 7 chapters earlier. She could've been higher level, letting her get a quick promotion, but for some reason she joins at the same level Moulder was at 10 chapters earlier. She could've had 7 movement, which would've been somewhat useful for rescue chains and the sort, but for some reason, Troubadours only have 6 movement in this game (meanwhile, the other GBA games have 7 movement troubadours). Even despite all this, just joining a bit earlier could've been useful, since Chapter 11 is a haven of (weapon) experience by spamming Torch Staves, but she joins in the middle of that chapter, and there's only one more Fog of War chapter remaining, so she really has no opportunities to quickly improve her staff rank or level any time soon. It's simply a big shame that she could've been so useful for this run, but falls short in basically every respect, which means she only gets used for recruitment purposes. 

Dozla

5bad2143611b6_DozlaBases.png.2fde7961bf11a9342af4858170a1c62c.png 5bad21495f487_DozlaWeaponRanks.png.ddb387f97fcf37cd6412189f2a385276.png

On the other hand, she brings along a pal of hers to help out, and he's definitely going to see a good amount of use. Another proficient Axe user (although B is surprisingly low for a prepromote in my eyes), Dozla's combat is pretty solid at this point in the game, able to deal significant damage to (or even OHKO) most enemies. As a Berserker, he also has +15 crit as a property of his class, and so criticals can come in handy to send any enemy to oblivion. He's also pretty good defensively, sporting a ridiculous 43 HP (even more than Duessel) and better defensive stats than most of our units. He's a bit slow at 9 speed, meaning that he doesn't double much (and will be getting doubled by some faster enemies), and his Luck is low enough such that he faces random crit rates more often than is comfortable. He's also the heaviest unit in the game (I think) at 16 Constitution, and is a bit lacking with 6 movement, which means that moving him around quickly is a no-go in essentially every situation. Regardless, we're lacking in good combat units, Dozla is a good combat unit, and so he will see a good amount of use at this point in the game. Waterwalking in particular is essential in a certain chapter. 

Ewan

5bad2e228e716_EwanBases.png.f841b7ea56d20949677ddcde5ffec85d.png 5bad2e2784d55_EwanWeaponRanks.png.d961f6bdca19619d3aaf607aa6ad273e.png

The final trainee in the game, Ewan, like all the other trainees, is a big disappointment, with low bases and low movement and low level, the standard trainee traits. As I've mentioned before, the only reason I'd willingly train up one of these guys in this playthrough is if they promote into some cool exclusive class. Ross does, Amelia doesn't, and although Ewan is one of two potential dark magic users, the better alternative exists, so Ewan won't see any usage. It should be noted that Marisa gets recruited after this map as long as Ewan is recruited and both of them survive (but I'll talk more about her next post).

New Items:

Guiding Ring Guiding Ring

1 use. Promotion item for a magic-using class* at Level 10 or above.

You typically get your first Guiding Ring at the beginning of the game in Chapter 5 by saving all the villages. But I didn't save all the villages in this run, so the one obtained in this chapter is this item's first instance in this run. Promoting magic-using classes have quite a few benefits, since offensive magic users like Mages or Monks can get staff utility or even a mount upon promotion, while defenseless classes such as Priest or Cleric can finally attack once they promote. You would think that I'd power-level Moulder so that he could promote as soon as possible with this Guiding Ring. But Moulder is only Level 7 despite my efforts, and we get a pretty cool magic user who can instantly promote pretty soon. Guiding Rings are cool, and units who can use them benefit quite a bit, aside from the usual stat boosts

*Priests, Clerics, Troubadours, Mages, Monks, Shamans

Swordslayer Swordslayer

C Rank Axe, 11 Mt., 80 hit, 13 weight, 5 crit, 20 uses, 1 WExp. Reverses and doubles Weapon Triangle effects + deals effective damage to Myrmidons, Mercenaries, Swordmasters, and Heroes.

Yep, you read that right. This beast of a weapon not only lets any axe user have the boosted Weapon Triangle advantage over the sword users that typically make them cower, but it even lets those same axe users deal effective damage to the primary sword-using enemies in the game. In a lot of ways, this is a straight upgrade of the Swordreaver, and we don't even have a Swordreaver yet! That effective damage is really essential to quickly killing promoted Heroes and Swordmasters who are otherwise near impossible to ORKO. Its weight is a bit worrisome I suppose, until you remember that our primary Axe users are Duessel and Dozla, big burly men who just lift this thing without speed loss anyways. As if they weren't good enough. 

 

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On 9/28/2018 at 1:06 PM, Kebe said:

 

Swordslayer

Axes are indeed the best weapon type.

I don't actually have any questions about this chapter. Looking forward to the next part.

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43 minutes ago, jeigansucksexp said:

all this discussion about killing the demon king when you can 0.06% CoS double crit speedwing!garm!dozla and be done with it B)

I still have no idea how the heck you managed to get him all that Axe WExp outside of potential Devil Axe shenanigans

Dozla really is the strongest though, only the truth

edit: oof

Edited by Kebe

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53 minutes ago, Kebe said:

I still have no idea how the heck you managed to get him all that Axe WExp outside of potential Devil Axe shenanigans

Dozla really is the strongest though, only the truth

edit: oof

steel axe gives 2 wexp and i had an entire defend map for him to train his axe rank

garm gerik on eph route would be a lot tougher though, 220 wexp just doesn't look feasible even with a bunch of devil axe abuse, theres only so many eggs to smash and snags to break

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17 minutes ago, Kebe said:

haha who needs pictures to load, it's not like this is your most picture intensive post yet haha

also "This comment can no longer be edited. It may have been moved or deleted, or too much time may have passed since it was posted for it to be edited.", so yeah, take that

one can only wonder what went wrong, but I guess I'll try again?

Chapter 13 is cleared in 4 turns

Chapter 13 Notes

Spoiler

New Units:

Marisa

5bb777c7adf0d_MarisaBases.png.dfaf2fdf70f462278aa4a7601c40a647.png 5bb777d9ca1e6_MarisaWeaponRanks.png.92e6fa22239ae1a5d0c9934bae298829.png

I think that the most fitting unit to compare Marisa to is not her fellow Myrmidon, but Natasha. Both Marisa and Natasha have male counterparts (Joshua and Moulder, respectively) that join earlier, at a higher or equal level, with better bases and better weapon ranks. Natasha still sees use because having multiple staff users is necessary for certain strategies. Sadly for Marisa, there is no similar need for multiple sword-locked infantry units, and so she will see no use.

Gerik

5bb777ec192ad_GerikBases.png.f1120d2090cb16e2ba13d08a932e7a35.png 5bb777f354bc3_GerikWeaponRanks.png.ffe9cab36c658742a624192c504d6e02.png

He's here. He's finally here. The Hero of this playthrough. The man who will save all of Magvel.

Gerik's great. He starts off as an unpromoted Mercenary, and yet he's already tied with promoted Cormag for the 2nd fastest unit in our army, and only slightly weaker than our pre-promoted juggernauts. His defensive bases aren't too shabby either, and C Swords has its benefits. But even considering all of this, he still remains an infantry sword-locked unit, and there's no real need for another one of those: so why am I hyping him up? 

Well, note that Gerik starts off at Level 10, and is nice enough to bring along his own Hero Crest for promotional purposes. No reason not to use it immediately in this playthrough, so let's just do that and...

H1.png.22be5abdde2539ef5c52b0e6010269a6.png H2.png.13bb430510eacb9182fd949a7bbc3a8f.png

Instantaneously, our man just became the fastest unit in the army, and only slightly weaker than main-stays like (Energy Ring) Seth and Duessel. But did you catch another crucial detail from the transition?

He can use axes now.

Having access to axes not only gives him 1-2 range, but also allowing him to use other wonderful weapons such as the Hammer, Swordslayer, or even Garm (!) with some effort. By having the overall best offensive bases in the game (and great overall bulk as well. For example, he has +3 HP and +3 Res over Cormag, while having the same Defense), and being a sought-after Axe user, Gerik is our best option to carry the brunt of our offensive presence for the rest of the game, and is basically our bosskiller of choice from this point onward. With some further statbooster investment, Gerik will become our best combat unit bar none, and he will make the rest of the game much more manageable.

He does have his downsides though. He's not mounted I guess, but that doesn't hamper strategies very much at all, especially since he's the best candidate to get the Boots, fixing this movement issue for lategame maps. D Axes is a bit low as well, especially since we want him to go all the way to S Axes by Chapter 18, but man, when you face as much combat as this guy does in this run, absurd goals like this all of a sudden become that much more realistic. The biggest con that comes with using Gerik is just that: his big con of 15. He is the second member of the 15 Constitution club, alongside Duessel, and that does have its benefits (such as being able to wield Hammers or Steel Axes without speed loss). However, there's still the flipside known as "Not being rescueable by 8 movement units, meaning that only chumps like Kyle, Vanessa, and Tana can transport him around" (read the Chapter 10 notes, under "The Aid Stat, and the 15 Aid benchmark" for more details). He's tough to transport, and that's a problem when you're the #1 Combat Unit in an LTC playthrough. However, our unpromoted goons are still capable of transporting him to where he needs to be, even as lategame approaches, and Warp is thankfully blind to the Constitution stat. 

Gerik's the best.

Tethys

5bb778130fc3e_TethysBases.png.9cea6c3c3963fe183772400590ca2109.png 5bb7781c2fce7_TethysWeaponRanks.png.a1694535c8fcdf415d397d53b58e9d9b.png

This is Tethys, a humble dancer. She cannot fight, but the unit she dances for gets an additional action, which can be useful in multiple ways, whether it's being able to kill an additional enemy, get off an additional staff use, or just progress further into the map. That last application is especially valuable in clearing chapters quickly, as you could probably guess. She really doesn't want to face any combat, and her movement seems pretty lacking, but it's very easy for her to dance someone and get rescue-chained forward by the unit she danced all at once, allowing her to keep up. Keeping her safe is also easy enough. All in all, if you take her with you into battle, you'll be very glad you did, and she will contribute actively for the rest of this playthrough.

Promotional Analysis:

Hero or Ranger?

Upon reaching promotion level, a Mercenary has the choice between promoting to Hero or promoting to Ranger. Then you realize that Gerik is the only Mercenary in the game, and so the decision is pretty centered around his specific aspects and what each promotion contributes. A Hero promotion grants Gerik additional Sword rank, D Axes and better promotional bonuses, while a Ranger promotion grants Gerik D bows and a 7 movement mount. In this run, it's not even a contest. In a general sense, Hero Gerik is a much better combat unit than Ranger Gerik since Axes are a lot better than Bows, and in a run like this where truly notable combat units are few and far between, Hero Gerik's sheer power just can't be passed up.

For a growths playthrough, the choice becomes a bit more involved. Hero Gerik is still the superior combat unit, but 15 Constitution is also a lot more of a nuisance when you can just train other good combat units that are easier to rescue-drop. Meanwhile, Ranger Gerik's extra movement means he himself can both move farther and even contribute to rescue drops, although his long-term combat gets pretty neutered because Bows really are much worse than Axes. If you ask me, Hero just has a lot more applicable benefits, especially since rescue-drop utility tends to be less useful once Warp comes into play (it's not even 8 movement either), while an amazing, no-investment combat unit still finds its use. Ranger is a pretty decent short-term investment though.

New Mechanics/Concepts:

The Strategic Benefits of Breaking Weapons

tbh these write-ups on "the strategic benefits of a random interaction within the game" are kinda wack and really mundane but hey I think they're cool and they at least look kinda cool in practice, who knows this stuff might help someone at some point as well

Enemy Phase. It's pretty important. You can kill a lot of enemies quickly if you prepare your Enemy Phase well. We want to clear maps quickly. Rout maps like this chapter have a lot of enemies. The logical result is that to clear this map quickly (or any map really, but especially rout maps like this), we gotta have good Enemy Phase output. 

So with this in mind, let's start strategizing!

Fun Good Strategy Times with an unassuming strategist 

Spoiler

5bb778400f620_BW1.png.9a7fc82c3d70d815049282bff3b2cef5.png

"Hmm... this Archer can deal critical damage to Cormag no matter which way I slice it. Cormag already killed one threatening Archer, perhaps there's another unit who could kill this one? Why, Dozla, of course! He can cross rivers, so he can just walk his way over and kill this Archer! Thanks to his premium bulk, he wouldn't really be threatened during Enemy Phase either." 

5bb77850974b7_BW1point5.png.485837b15cd5153de2bb4885fb664171.png

"It does seem that I have to kill the Archer from 2 range, since the Cavalier is blocking the 1 range spot, but that's no problem, a Hand Axe will get the job done."

5bb77854946c2_BW2.png.d237a05189b741ebb702a69b2b05fc04.png

"Alright, the next thing I want to do is devise a way to kill all these enemies to the right, so that my units can get closer to that village (among other things). But the Cavaliers are quite bulky indeed..."

5bb77859ec470_BW3.png.366cdcacca4dd1ca2d29af3914bc41a7.png

"Well, Gerik should do, I believe. He is an amazing combat unit after all. Just in case, I'll make sure to equip his powerful Steel Blade, so that he's sure to kill those Cavaliers on Enemy Phase. Let's see how this goes."

one Enemy Phase later

"Alright, let's see how things are goin-"

5bb7785cd03a7_BW4.png.744f2f632b32815396e579a58c89b742.png

"Well, this is no good at all. Not only is Cormag asleep, but Dozla got surrounded! My strategy was to have Dozla drop Duessel further into the map, since Cormag needs a bit of help. But I can't drop him anywhere if these Cavaliers are just gonna surround me. Dozla can't kill them reliably on Enemy Phase since he doesn't double. Why did they attack him over Cormag anyways?"

5bb7785f0c0ab_BW5.png.f3c34146f0eb3c9bdda7cc675c5ad4ff.png

"Well, that explains it. They have a good chance at hitting him, and they deal more damage to him than they do to Cormag. Perhaps there's a way to convince them to go for Cormag instead...

Ah! I have a Reaver weapon! Albeit, it's the Swordslayer, and it's a little weird using it against Cavaliers, but they would have a really bad hit chance against Dozla, and they wouldn't deal any real damage to him anyways, so they should go for Cormag, which is good."

"Let me just load my savestate, equip the Swordslayer, and-"

5bb778616c96a_BW6.png.c34418ba173aafc66fd67e795a14ca96.png

"Oh. That's a problem."

"I need to kill that Archer so that Cormag has a reasonable chance of survival, but if I want to kill that Archer, I need to equip a Hand Axe to attack him, which means that I can't equip a Swordslayer for Enemy Phase, since I have no one available to trade the weapons around. Considering that I have no way of attacking the Archer from 1 range... what the heck am I suppose to do? Rig Cormag to dodge the Archer? Rig Dozla to crit kill Sword Cavaliers with a Hand Axe? I don't want to do that nasty stuff, no one wants to see that, but if it comes down to it, I guess I can try..."

"Whatever, I'll think about it more later, let's see how the rest of the map wen-"

5bb77863c46fc_BW7.png.634bf0ec1a8021e2bd9c78395f1ec904.png

"Ugh, these Fighters had Hand Axes? I can't afford to have them alive, they're blocking my way, which would probably prevent me from reaching my objectives in time. Well, I guess I'll just go back and equip a Hand Axe myself, no real problem there."

An Enemy Phase later

"Man, these Enemy Phases are so long, but at least they're good bathroom breaks. But now that I'm back, let's see how Gerik is."

5bb778660ef4a_BW8.png.c634fa89eb261212d6c3226db01c03f9.png

"OH COME ON"

5bb778685c6d2_BW9.png.ef3e2d789612894deab0003e23b82745.png

"Not only is his hitrate really garbage versus these Sword Cavaliers, but he doesn't even one round them?! Come on Gerik, I just hyped you up man, how could you let me down like this >:[

So if I try to use a stronger weapon like a Steel Blade, I can't retaliate against the Hand Axe Fighters, and if I try to equip a Hand Axe to retaliate, I can't even ORKO the Cavaliers. Either way, my path is blocked, and it really feels unnecessary to invest an entire 2 turns to clearing the path (this probably costs at least a turn as a result too)." 

"This looks so feasible, I'm so close, but how the heck am I suppose to do any of this? Imagine trying to rig Gerik's hits and Dozla's crits and Cormag's survival all at once as well, that would be horrible, not only for the viewer to witness, but for me to rig. No fun for anyone, but there's no way to accomplish what I'm trying to do otherwise, is there?"

Indeed, the plight of our amateur tactician is quite a problematic one. In the case of Dozla, he wants to use the Hand Axe on Player Phase, and the Swordslayer on Enemy Phase, but no units are available to trade around weapons. If you recall the Chapter 9 notes, we actually do know a method of changing the weapons around even if no Player units are available, but convoy-swapping requires the enemy to have a droppable item, so it can't be used in this scenario. The situation with Gerik is even worse: our budding tactician somehow needs to have Gerik equip a strong weapon while fighting the Cavaliers, but then change to a Hand Axe to kill the Fighters. Gerik has to change weapons mid-Enemy Phase. Is there even a way to do such a thing?

Well, I wouldn't have written all of that if there wasn't. This, my friends, is where breaking weapons has its best applications. 

Most Fire Emblem games have durability on their weapons, which means that you can only use a certain weapon a few times. Usually more basic weapons, such as Iron weapons, have higher durability than the more advanced weaponry, such as Silver, Killer, or Legendary weapons. And unless you're from Jugdral, when your weapon breaks, it ceases to exist, gets removed from your inventory, and the next weapon in your inventory gets equipped.

In most situations, breaking a weapon isn't necessarily a good thing, and in some cases, it can leave your unit wielding a sub-par weapon or even be defenseless, which is no good. But let me tell you: when breaking your weapon comes in useful, it comes in useful. It's very hard to identify scenarios where breaking a weapon can come in handy, and it's even harder to properly prepare your weapon uses beforehand, which is why it kinda flies over most people's heads as an option. But being able to use a near-broken weapon for a purpose, then breaking the weapon to equip a more useful one for (a part of) Enemy Phase has its uses, as the situations with Dozla and Gerik highlighted. This chapter had a lot of instances where breaking a weapon came in very useful, and it doesn't stop there, other chapters in the future need near-broken weapons too, and you already know I'm prepping those weapon uses as well as I can beforehand. I would say that breaking weapons is one of the most underrated strategic aspects in Fire Emblem, and is generally something not too explored outside of these hyper-optimized playthroughs (since, again, it's hard to intentionally set up), but man is it useful. 

Heck, in GBA FE specifically, you can even manipulate AI to attack a unit with a near-broken weapon, since the AI will think the unit doesn't have a weapon equipped, and that can also be useful, but I only use that once in this playthrough I think. dondon used it a good amount in his FE6 playthrough though, so shoutouts to him. 

New Items:

Barrier Barrier Staff

C Rank Staff. 15 uses, 17 Exp, 4 WExp, Increases an ally's resistance by 7, effect decreases by 1 every turn.

The Barrier Staff is a nice little staff that lets any staff user apply a Resistance boost to any other unit. That's a useful effect, since it means we grant that boost without the actual unit needing to use a Pure Water, which is the alternative option. Although the effect is useful, the real aspects that make the Barrier Staff shine are its spammability and high WExp value. Barrier gives an entire 4 Staff experience, as opposed to Mend's 3 and Heal's 2 (though still less than Torch's 5), so that's good. However, unlike all three of those staves I mentioned, Barrier requires no conditions for usage (other than having a unit available to Barrier). We need to have people get damaged to use a healing staff, and we need to be in a Fog of War map to use Torch, but just have a pal to Barrier up, and you can spam that staff every single turn, no worries. It's our default staff to use for grinding purposes in most maps, and we get to buy some more upon beating Chapter 15. We have a lot of staff users that need Barrier's WExp (or in Moulder's case, the regular experience is good stuff as well) to reach their benchmarks, so it's very fortunate that we're able to use it now. 

 

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Fantastic intro. You seemed really enthusiastic this part- I never knew breaking weapons could be so exciting.

12 hours ago, Kebe said:

 

This is Tethys, a humble dancer. She cannot fight, but ...if you take her with you into battle, you'll be very glad you did, and she will contribute actively for the rest of this playthrough.

Image result for wrys shadow dragon

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i forget how op steel axe wexp is lol

assuming he doubles and kills every enemy with steel axe he'd need 37 kills to reach S rank which is a lot but not unreasonable

garm by egg map though think thonk wouldnt audhulma seth do the job

 

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1 hour ago, jeigansucksexp said:

i forget how op steel axe wexp is lol

assuming he doubles and kills every enemy with steel axe he'd need 37 kills to reach S rank which is a lot but not unreasonable

garm by egg map though think thonk wouldnt audhulma seth do the job

 

lolSeth.png.696350eb5ce9e57d76fa6bde10f487b1.png

oof

x2 effectiveness is pretty depressing

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Chapter 14 is completed in 5 turns.

Chapter 14 Notes

Spoiler

New Units: 

Rennac

5bb93a061ce5b_RennacBases.png.b76e44fa9ba1ed576fb70fafbbec8d70.png 5bb93a0aa4f2e_RennacWeaponRanks.png.b53f97c2b03bd061bb8f442c0cb66d68.png

Rennac's joining situation is what kills his usefulness. He joins with pretty good bases that are competitive with our other promoted sword-locked infantry fellow (Joshua), but has additional benefits like a ridiculous Resistance stat and thief utility. In a vacuum, he's honestly not that bad, and would have contributed to this run if he joined at literally any point prior to when he did (even joining mid-Chapter 14 rather than at the end would've let him serve as fantastic status-staff bait). Instead, he joins at the point in the game where a promoted sword-locked infantry unit in general is only useful for about 1 more chapter (Chapter 15), and then Warp Fun Times begin and even Joshua is hitting the bench. I have entertained the idea of deploying Rennac over Joshua in Chapter 15, but it turns out Joshua's gotta crit something that Rennac's incapable of critting, and so Rennac fades into irrelevancy as usual. 

5bb93a061ce5b_RennacBases.png.b76e44fa9ba1ed576fb70fafbbec8d70.png 5bb94077a9ae8_PromotedJoshua.png.840faf91392a7b7b6363d015889d16e8.png

(for comparison purposes. Additional details: Rennac has B Swords, Joshua has A Swords)

New Mechanics/Concepts:

Supports

At its core, the support mechanic allows the bond between two characters to manifest gameplay-wise by granting (usually) both characters combat bonuses, like additional attack, hit, or avoid. Supports vary wildly depending on the specific game, ranging from a flexible and essential mechanic which is also needed to access children units (Awakening + Fates), to a preset list that doesn't involve conversations at all (Thracia 776). In the case of the GBA games, supports are almost certainly at their worst gameplay-wise, and it's not hard to see why. 

GBA supports require the player to have the two supporting units together to build the support (either adjacent to one another or one carrying the other), which doesn't seem too bad, you can make it happen if you plan well enough. However, what makes supports impractical, especially for LTC play, is the sheer amount of time (turns) it takes for these supports to come to fruition. Supports have three levels: C, B, and A, with C being the first level, and every subsequent level taking additional time to activate afterwards. Even getting to C support can take some effort (17 turns for Ephraim + Duessel C? That's like, 2 entire Chapter 9's, the longest chapter in the game!), but even the fastest-growing supports in the game would have to take an addition 20 turns to get to B, and 20 more to get to A (even more turns for slower supports). This effort is often not worth the paltry combat bonuses. Even a regular playthrough has to consciously put in a good amount of effort to get these supports at a reasonable time, but an LTC like this really should have nothing to do with these supports that take so long to activate. However, there is reasoning behind getting this Ephraim + Duessel support, and we can get it in time, since we only need the C level support.

5bcc835c84ecf_DuesselSupport1.png.2626a2ec9887232f526a28f41577da7c.png 5bcc83672e692_DuesselSupport2.png.24739b315811e4407edd133e83f2ec53.png

Leaked image of later in the playthrough when Duessel + Ephraim activate the support. They receive combat bonuses as long as the other support member is at most 3 tiles away from them. The actual combat bonuses depend on the two unit's elemental affinities, and the level of support. Considering that this is a C level support, and Duessel has Anima affinity while Ephraim has Fire affinity, they grant one another +1 Attack, +2 Hit, +5 Avoid, and +2 Crit Avoid. Again, pretty pathetic bonuses compared to the other installments. But hey, it's necessary.

I think the last few things I'll note is that units can have more than 1 support partner, although you can only trigger 5 levels of support per character. Also, since the game only grants support points the Player Phase after the two units spent a turn together, support points are never increased on the final turn of a chapter (even if the chapter ends on Enemy Phase).

New Items:

SilenceSleepBerserk Status Staves

There are 5 types of status in this game, and 3 of them (Silence, Sleep, and Berserk) have B Rank Staves that are capable to disposing that status from range. We've seen status staves before, but this chapter is where they are most relevant, having 4 promoted enemies utilizing the staves on us. For the most part, all of these staves are debilitating if they land, since the affected unit is under the influence of that status for an entire 5 turns. There are two primary methods of dealing with these staves. One is the Restore Staff, which any C Rank Staff user can use to get rid of the status. However, it can be a bit hard to get a staff user over to the affected unit, or in some cases, the available staff user can't use Restore (see: L'arachel). And so, if Restore is not available, we must dodge the status altogether in order to proceed normally. The accuracy of a status staff is primarily dependent on the user's Magic, while the target's avoidance is primarily dependent on the target's Resistance. That is why Seth and Gerik must boost their Resistance to have a reasonable chance of dodging the status staves in this map. Note that the only reasonably obtainable status staff the player can get is the Silence Staff. 

Hammerne Hammerne Staff 

C Rank Staff. 3 uses, 40 Exp, 8 (!) WExp, Restores the number of uses of a selected weapon or staff to full.

The Hammerne Staff is a pretty essential staff that allows us to use other weapons or staves more often than what would otherwise be possible. We can basically use any weapon or staff almost to the point of breaking, and then just make it good as new so we can use it even more (can't Hammerne broken stuff though, this ain't FE5). Those more familiar with runs of this nature can probably guess what exactly will be Hammerne'd. The last notable thing about Hammerne is how it has the highest Staff Exp value in the game, at an entire 8 (3 more than Torch, 4 more than Barrier, 6 more than Heal). That is pretty cool, but Hammerne is not a spammable Staff whatsoever, having only 3 (very valuable) uses, so that aspect of Hammerne isn't as useful in practice than one would think.

Garm Garm

S Rank Axe, 20 Mt., 75 hit, 13 weight, 0 crit, 30 uses, 1 WExp. Grants Speed +5, and double might versus Monsters. 

Oh baby.

Garm is one of the two first legendary weapons Ephraim and his friends have access to, and, statistically speaking, it's the best legendary weapon in the game. All of FE8's legendary weapons (other than Gleipnir) deal "effective" damage to monsters, although it's only doubled might rather than the tripled might all other weapons have. This means that Garm has an effective 40 might versus all monster enemies. Compound this with the fact that the end of the game becomes increasingly monster-saturated, and multiple defensively-tough monster bosses are soon to come, and Garm shows its usefulness just in that regard. However, that's not all: I know you see that Speed bonus. That Speed bonus is absolutely fantastic. +5 Speed is honestly a ridiculous boost, and allows units like Duessel to double enemies that he otherwise couldn't. This means that Garm is a great weapon even outside of monster combat. The dream is that Gerik will one day wield this majestic weapon. Until then, Duessel will be more than happy to use it. No other legendary weapon sees nearly as much use as Garm does in this run, and it makes multiple, otherwise impossible aspects of this run possible.

Gleipnir Gleipnir

S Rank Dark tome, 23 Mt., 80 hit, 20 weight, 0 crit, 30 uses, 3 WExp. Grants Skill +5.

I'll give every legendary weapon its honorable mention, even if it sees no use. Gleipnir is probably the worst legendary weapon in the game, since it not only weighs as much as two Kyles, but it's also the only legendary weapon not effective against monsters. Who knows what they were thinking with this one. Even if it was a good weapon, the one viable Dark Magic user joins too late and at too low a Dark Magic rank to use it any time soon. But hey, 3 WExp lets you grind up that Dark Magic rank even faster, right?

 

 

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Chapter 15 is completed in 4 turns

Chapter 15 Notes

Spoiler

New Units:

Knoll

5bcde3f60e283_KnollBases.png.6f4b07902cfd63f9193a170cb1bcbc11.png 5bcde3fa759ff_KnollWeaponRanks.png.a4e912480d8551cb401289ee04f0bd91.png

Knoll is first encountered in a cutscene after beating Chapter 14, and joins the party for the Chapter 15 Battle Preps. He’s pretty notable for being the only native Dark Magic user in the game, although Dark Magic itself isn’t too notable. Knoll initially doesn’t look too great, sporting some pretty pathetic bases (especially that glaring 0 Luck), but don’t get it twisted, Knoll is quite useful for a few reasons. Firstly, he starts at Level 10, which allows us to instantly promote him, giving him some pretty above-average promotion bonuses regardless of the path he chooses. Speaking of specific promotional paths, one of them, Summoner, has a certain property that make Knoll worth using even if his combat is lackluster (I will go over this property under the Promotional Analysis). Summoner Knoll has a distinct niche that leads to him seeing a decent amount of use throughout this run, and he would’ve been our best combat mage if a certain Sage didn’t also premiere in this map. Even then, once promoted, he can double some unpromoted enemies, and he can typically take a physical hit as well, so his combat is functional.

Innes

5bcde4ca366ed_InnesBases.png.74973f7d9237378f16f812201021a68c.png 5bcde4ce18e55_InnesWeaponRanks.png.8e0270b28f0e12be6d73ee119af4eb2c.png

Innes is our first viable bow user, and in a vacuum, he’s honestly pretty good. His bases are great and he has A Bows, which is about as good as it gets for a Sniper. He is one of two units, alongside Saleh, who joins earlier in the game if you go through Eirika’s Route, and he’s pretty useful in an Eirika Route run. However, this is not an Eirika Route run: this is an Ephraim Route run, and Innes joins at this point in the game where staves, flying utility, and Gerik will reign supreme, and generally good combat units are not very useful. Innes sees some use in this map due to his free deployment, but he sees no use afterwards.

Saleh

5bcde4da999a9_SalehBases.png.5940a693c7aae68020638a23caf92a92.png 5bcde4de6ceab_SalehWeaponRanks.png.2e95596a7e1258d959c468b4edb51112.png

Saleh is the only prepromoted Magic user in the game, and immediately he jumps out for a few reasons. His stats alone are pretty good, especially that 16 Magic of his which would grant him an actual staff range. His weapon ranks are pretty cool too, sporting A Anima which is only a bit away from Excalibur usage, and C Staves which allows Barrier and Hammerne usage. Like Innes, Saleh joins earlier in Eirika Route, and is able to grind his staff rank and use Warp for lategame, which is pretty disgusting. His late join time in this run prevents him from reaching A Staves for Warp, which isn’t too big of a loss honestly. On the other hand, there is a certain B rank Staff that we absolutely need Saleh to wield near the end of the game. As with most of our Weapon Rank projects, it's a pretty close squeeze to get him to B Staves in time, but it's just about possible with enough effort. In general, Saleh is a much-needed third Staff user, and unlike Moulder and Natasha, he actually has a Staff range above the minimum of 5, and he can also function during Enemy Phase. I also put in some effort into his Anima rank for Excalibur, but he got S Anima too late for Excalibur to be worth anything. Kinda funny how that works.

Promotional Analysis:

Druid or Summoner?

Shamans have these two options to promote into. Both promotions share a few aspects: they both grant a pretty great Speed bonus, they both give more Dark Magic rank, and they both grant E Staves for basic healing purposes. The advantage that Druid has is a new D Anima rank, which allows a Druid to use Thunder straight out of the gate. That's pretty cool honestly. However, the advantage that Summoner has is a useful utility skill called Summon. Summon is a command skill which spawns a 1 HP Phantom onto the map. Phantoms can do a few things, such as attack with Axes, have 5 flying movement, and even level whenever the Summoner levels (which means I gotta set their growths to 0% as well). However, as their 1 HP and non-existent defensive stats indicate, their primary purpose is to serve as death fodder. The enemies are drawn to attacking phantoms, and that is useful for protecting frailer units like Tethys or our healers, or just manipulating the enemies to move a certain way. Phantoms do have their uses at this point in the game, and give a mediocre combat unit like Knoll some good utility, and so it's the preferred promotion of the two. Much of this logic also applies to growth playthroughs. 

New Mechanics/Concepts:

Desert Items

Desert maps are primarily defined by their desert terrain, but a lot of desert maps in the series also have hidden items within the desert for the player to find. These items are only obtainable if you enter certain sections of the desert with one of your units. If said unit is a (promoted) Thief, they'll have a guaranteed chance of obtaining the item whenever they enter the item's zone. All other units only have a chance to get the item upon entering an item's zone, with that chance being (unit's Luck + 1)%. 

cap15ep.png.8f8e85a610e72339fdacc6c8b6baa08f.png  

Map courtesy of FEWoD. Units must enter the numbered zones to potentially obtain the item assigned to that zone. In particular, the Warp Staff (in zone #1) and Swiftsoles (in zone #7) are pretty important items only obtainable in this map.

Some of these hidden items are more important to get than others. In this game, the chance of getting an item relies upon the primary RNG, and so we can rig units to get items just like how we rig units to do other things. This is different from the other GBA games, which rely upon a secondary RNG which can't be manipulated in the same way.

New Items:

Master Seal Master Seal

Item. 1 use. Promotion item for any non-Lord class at Level 10 or above.

The Master Seal is essentially the catch-all promotion item, capable of promoting any unpromoted unit not named Eirika or Ephraim. It's just useful if you have any remaining units you've been training, and need to promote for the rest of the game. For this playthrough, that unit is Moulder, and coupled with the lack of Guiding Rings available from now on, that's who'll get the Master Seal in this run.

Warp Warp Staff

A Rank Staff. 5 uses, 85 Exp, 7 WExp, teleport an adjacent unit to any traversable space within (Mag / 2, minimum 5) spaces of that unit.

The Warp Staff is a pretty incredible tool in the games where it exists, and is an essential crux on which many efficient playthroughs rely upon. This is because it's a staff which transports our units forward. That in and of itself is pretty useful, since it advances our units farther, and that allows us to reach our objectives quicker. But that's not all. Warp has the additional benefit of completely ignoring terrain such as walls, rivers, mountains, you name it. Standard movement cannot deal with all of that obstructive terrain, but Warp doesn't care, for as long as the space the unit gets warped to is traversable and within range, Warp can teleport units through all of the otherwise problematic terrain and land the unit on the space. 5 uses is also a good amount, and when Hammerne gets added to the equation, it's just absurdly spammable. Suffice to say, Warp is a fantastic staff, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows. It's an A Rank staff, which means only Moulder can use it. Moulder is kind of a chump, only having the minimum 5 range with Warp, and that's just sad. Having only one (honestly bad) user of Warp kinda makes it less impactful in this playthrough than most people would expect, but do not get it twisted, Warp is still very important, Moulder is very important due to his ability to use Warp, and Warp will be absolutely essentially for clearing almost all of the remaining chapters in a quick fashion.  

Swiftsole Swiftsole

Item. 1 use, grants +2 movement to user. 

The Swiftsole is just another statbooster at its core, but it deserves a shoutout due to how important movement is. The standard thing to do with these movement-boosting items is to give them to a proficient mount, but in this playthrough, it's better used on Gerik, since the Swiftsole allows Gerik to reach his objectives quicker, and the speed of all our remaining strategies are dependent on Gerik's pace. 

Hoplon Guard Hoplon Guard

Item. When in unit's inventory, negates crit chances the unit faces.

Getting crit is lame. No one likes getting crit. I don't like getting crit, you don't like getting crit. This handy item lets the user who has it not get crit. Only one unit can have the one obtainable Hoplon Guard at a time, but the extra boost in reliability is appreciated. I used to be pretty garbage at using this optimally, and just left it in the convoy to rot, but I think I managed it well enough in this run.

Fili Shield Fili Shield

Item. When in flying unit's inventory, negates bow and wind magic effective damage.

This item only exists to make Valter even more of a nuisance. Seriously, tell me why the next chapter to feature any bow users at the start is Chapter 19. It really just forces one to wonder. It does see some usage in Chapter 20 I guess, so that's cool. 

fe8audhulma.gif Audhulma

S Rank Sword, 18 Mt., 85 hit, 9 weight, 0 crit, 30 uses, 1 WExp. Grants Resistance +5, and double might versus Monsters. 

Unlike most of the legendary weapons, we actually do have a potential wielder of Audhulma, since Seth got S Swords instead of the usual S Lances. Albeit, the way things turn out, Seth never actually uses Audhulma for combat purposes, but hey, that +5 Resistance boost may just come in handy at some point or another.

Excalibur Excalibur

S Rank Anima tome, 18 Mt., 90 hit, 13 weight, 10 crit, 30 uses, 1 WExp. Grants Speed +5, and double might versus Monsters. 

Initially, Excalibur looks like an absolutely bonkers tome, and a legendary weapon competitive with Garm. I mean, it has a powerful 18 might, 1-2 range like most tomes, and of course that juicy +5 Speed I praised the Garm for. It even has a random crit chance that could potentially be useful. However, Excalibur's downfall is its sheer weight. Garm is actually just as heavy, but Axes users tend to have Constitution. Mages, on the other hand, have pretty mediocre to low Constitution, and more often than not, the speed lost from the weight cancels out (or even downright overshadows) the Speed boost from Excalibur, which is quite unfortunate. This is why Mages tend to be pretty good candidates for a Body Ring or two, for what it's worth. As for potential users, Saleh is the obvious one, but as I've noted before, Saleh doesn't actually end up using Excalibur in this run, even though he does eventually reach S Anima. It's still a pretty alright tome, and an above-average legendary weapon. 

 

 

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Chapter 16 is completed in 4 turns

Chapter 16 Notes

Spoiler

New Units:

Myrrh

5bdfe5bdc537e_MyrrhBases.png.18cdc3077708233183fa99937c01100f.png 5bdfe5c3af854_MyrrhWeaponRanks.png.500c65659edfb09b43bcbfef62e4a02d.png

Myrrh has been with Ephraim for quite a while now plot-wise, but only in this chapter's battle preps does she first become available. Myrrh is this game's playable Manakete. As you can see, Manaketes can't wield standard physical weapons. Rather, they can use their Dragonstone to transform into a Dragon, which grants Myrrh those absurd bonuses you see on the stat screen. Those bonuses are good enough such that she's functional at base. Couple this with her fantastic growths and low level, and Myrrh's stats can skyrocket pretty quickly. Of course, she doesn't have those growths in this playthrough, so her bulk, particularly on the physical side, is not too great, especially considering that she'll get doubled by just about anything. Two other notable traits are that she has 6 flying movement, and her Dragonstone does effective damage against Monsters. That latter point is very useful, since not only are monsters gonna appear more often from this point onwards, but Myrrh's Dragonstone has the x3 effective might versus them, which is much better than the Legendary weapons that only muster x2 effective might. This allows Myrrh to do some obscene things like dealing more damage to monsters than Garm Gerik, or obliterating endgame bosses with a crit (and a decent crit chance to boot). Myrrh is a pretty interesting unit in many ways, but in terms of being useful in this playthrough, she just doesn't size up. Her combat versus regular enemies isn't useful,  and many other units can ORKO regular monsters as well. She can cheese certain monster bosses with a crit, but why do that when Garm Gerik can kill them more reliably? Thus, despite all that I've said about her, Myrrh flies straight into the bench, and will see no usage in this run. 

Promotional Analysis:

Bishop or Sage?

The final promotion in this playthrough has Moulder choose between Bishop and Sage. As I emphasized in the video, this is the one promotion in this run which just doesn't matter. Both promotions give Moulder +1 movement, which is needed, but beyond that, it doesn't matter what tomes he's able to use, what skills he has, or what staff rank he gets upon promoting. His combat isn't important enough that Slayer is needed, and regardless of the promotion, Moulder will reach S Staves when needed. I personally go Sage since Sage Moulder is a rarity in LTC play, and also actually getting to S Staves in time is more interesting as a Sage.

In growths play, there's really no reason not to go Bishop. Bishop has a lot of benefits, such as the Slayer skill that would give Moulder decent combat versus the lategame monsters. Bishop also grants a boost to staff rank that Sage doesn't give. The +1 Magic that a Bishop promotion has over Sage promotion bonuses is also worth something, since it can help Moulder get some extra staff range. Meanwhile, Sage only gives a minuscule durability boost and C Anima, which although cool, isn't as useful as Slayer. A last thing I'll mention is that Artur also has to choose between Bishop and Sage when (and if) he promotes. Although the contest is a bit more competitive in Artur's case, Bishop is probably superior for him as well, since immediate C Staves is really good. 

New Items:

Siegmund Siegmund 

Ephraim only, 17 Mt., 80 hit, 11 weight, 0 crit, 30 uses, 1 WExp. Grants Strength +5, and double might versus Monsters. 

Sieglinde Sieglinde

Eirika only, 16 Mt., 90 hit, 9 weight, 0 crit, 30 uses, 1 WExp. Grants Strength +5, and double might versus Monsters. 

The best stat that a legendary weapon can boost is probably speed, as we've seen with Garm, but another stat that would come at a close second would be strength/magic. Those familiar with FE6 are probably also familiar with how strong Durandal and Apocalypse are, and a FE8 equivalent would be a great boon. These two weapons are that equivalent, since they're the only legendary weapons that boost strength. They're great weapons in a vacuum, and stuff like Sieglinde Seth or Siegmund Cormag would be quite useful to have. Sadly, it is Fire Emblem tradition that the lord(s) of the game has a personal legendary weapon to use near the end of the game, and these two weapons are just that, with Siegmund being Ephraim's and Sieglinde being Eirika's. This reduces the usefulness of these two weapons by quite a bit, since Ephraim and Eirika are not prime combat units at this point. However, for what it's worth, they're both seeing lategame usage anyways, since Ephraim is the main lord and Eirika needs to support him, and so these weapons make allow them to have pretty good combat versus monsters, all things considered.

 

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Chapter 17 is completed in 2 turns

Chapter 17 Notes

Spoiler

Our Final New Unit:

Syrene

5bea596c8b411_SyreneBases.png.b5fc9c58f478318e0046878b8cfc4ef8.png 5bea5970410d5_SyreneWeaponRanks.png.f13ed25dd8a0d928ce004d277be69b45.png

Syrene is the final recruitable character in FE8's main campaign. In most Fire Emblem games, this esteemed position grants the unit who bears it amazing combat bases and abilities which allow them to be proficient during the endgame. Such a unit would be very useful for going toe-to-toe with some of the strongest enemies in the game. However, Syrene is definitely no such unit. She sports stats that are arguably inferior to Cormag's, and adds insult to injury by joining at this point in the game where most chapters are going to be cleared very quickly with the use of transport staves. One would think that this would doom Syrene to irrelevancy. However, she does still have that flying, 8 movement utility going for her, and she's still one of two fliers with existent combat. This gives her some roles to play in this run, especially in Chapter 18, where going the distance with flying movement is more useful than one would think. She also has a good amount of Resistance over Cormag, which is actually worth something during FE8's lategame because Gorgons are scary. 

New Items:

Nidhogg Nidhogg

S Rank Bow, 18 Mt., 80 hit, 7 weight, 0 crit, 30 uses, 1 WExp. Grants Luck +5, and double might versus Monsters. 

I mean, it's alright I guess. Nidhogg Innes would be fun to play around with. Luck +5 is also pretty funny. But we've got no users, so it's worthless. 

Vidofnir Vidofnir

S Rank Lance, 15 Mt., 85 hit, 11 weight, 0 crit, 30 uses, 1 WExp. Grants Defense +5, and double might versus Monsters. 

Can I be honest for a second? I hate Vidofnir. I really hate Vidofnir. We'll have to wait until the end of the playthrough for me to truly express why Vidofnir is the worst thing ever, but for now, I can just talk about how bad it is in general. It's a horrible weapon for one big reason: it's so pathetically weak. Seriously, consider the following:

Audhulma: 18 Might (Sieglinde: 16 Might + 5 Strength)

Garm: 20 Might

Nidhogg: 18 Might

Excalibur: 18 Might

Gleipnir: 23 Might

Ivaldi: 17 Might

Siegmund: 17 Might + 5 Strength

These are some pretty solid figures. This is the standard. You've got some on the higher end of the spectrum, but generally, 18 or 17 is the average. So why is Vidofnir so much weaker? Why is 15 Strength Cormag incapable of OHKOing generic promoted Skeletons with it? Why does it boost a lame stat? It's just sad times all around :^[

However, I can't make fun of it too much. It is a disgrace of a legendary weapon, but it's still better than Gleipnir I guess. I also have a potential wielder of it in Cormag, and kinda like with Audhulma, Vidofnir's defensive boost does get used once in this run. 

Still a horrible weapon that only sees the usage it does because mounts tend to be proficient in lances, and mounts are good.

5beb64ed2f8e4_brovidofnirlmao.png.278febc8b31740be632be7ecd29ada0c.png

That's with Weapon Triangle Advantage too aaaaaaaagh

Rescue Rescue Staff

B Rank Staff. 3 uses, 40 Exp, 7 WExp, teleport a unit within (Mag / 2, minimum 5) spaces of the staff user to a traversable space adjacent to the staff user.

The Rescue Staff is another staff that's similar to the Warp Staff, in that it can transport another unit through any obstacle. In the case of Rescue, the unit must be within the Rescuer's staff range, and then the Rescue Staff brings the unit to a space adjacent to the staffer.  This often makes Rescue overshadowed by Warp, however, because the implication with Rescue is that the staff user needs to progress a good amount into the map, then Rescue another unit forward. This is often harder to do than just Warping a unit forward, which doesn't need the staff user to be ahead in the map. Combine this with the fact that Rescue usually appears later than Warp in FE games, and that Rescue has only 3 uses to Warp's 5, and it makes sense that Warp is typically the preferred transport staff of the two. However, there's one key feature which makes Rescue more relevant than it otherwise would be in this run: it's a B Rank Staff. That means that we have 3 potential users of Rescue (Natasha, Saleh, and Moulder), as opposed to Moulder who is our only Warp user. Saleh in particular is a big champion of the Rescue Staff, since he can endure Enemy Phases on the frontlines much better than the other two, and he also has a staff range of 8, which is needed as well. Natasha also puts it to good use. In fact, this staff is the sole reason that we're training those two to B Staves in general, since we need more people available to transport our units around. We just don't have the time to get anyone other than Moulder to A Staves for Warp, but thankfully Rescue is there to help us out, and it will put in comparable amounts of work. 

 

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Chapter 18 is completed in 5 turns

Chapter 18 Notes

Spoiler

New Mechanics/Concepts:

Eggs 

Normally I wouldn't go over new enemies, since not many of them are notable, but the Gorgon eggs encountered in this chapter are an eggseption. Gorgon eggs have a few qualities that make them pretty unique. Perhaps the most notable of these is that they can't attack. This means that any unit can fight them with impunity, and that they don't do anything during Enemy Phase. Another aspect of eggs is their pathetic stats. They start off with very low HP, and they have 0 speed, so killing them is usually trivial, although they do have 10 defense and resistance, so they have something resembling defensive presence. Eggs also give a flat 50 experience when killed, which can be helpful for levelling up even very high-leveled unit, but obviously this is of no relevance to a 0% Growths run. The last notable thing about eggs is that, if given enough turns, they will hatch and become Gorgons. Essentially, on certain turns, certain eggs start to recover 5 HP at the start of every Enemy Phase. If given the chance to recover to their full HP, the eggs will turn into Gorgons, and are now capable of fighting. This mechanic presumably functions as an incentive to go quickly, but even going at a moderate pace is enough to kill most eggs before they're able to hatch.

Eggs are only nuisances in LTC runs that go extremely quickly. This is because most Rout maps are handled through productive Enemy Phases. However, eggs can't attack, and so they can't attack the player units during Enemy Phase. And so, Player Phases have to be planned out pretty arduously to kill Eggs efficiently. Combined with the sheer amount of eggs, this chapter is somewhat difficult to LTC.

cap18.png.f46a004efefbd1c195b2f9ef25be7bf8.png

Look at all of those eggs

I Just Wanted An Excuse to Show How Great Vidofnir Is

5c0c2a5fcc30c_Screenshotfrom2018-12-0814-31-36.png.2b317b31d25d2b15883f46ce26bc3fbf.png vs 5c0c2b96234bd_GarmGerik.png.dbf68e5b47dbf3cedd2641a5c4a19899.png

Pictured to the left is a screenshot from Mekkah's 100% Growths playthrough. Level 10 Seth, with his capped 25 Strength, attempts to OHKO the Gorgon boss with Vidofnir, but fails. Pictured to the right is 0% Growths Gerik OHKOing that same Gorgon boss with Garm.

 

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