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Hi,

I've read many topics on who's the best between Colm and Joshua, which class is the best between assassin and swordmaster, much bullshit about the classes because of BIAS, and most of it has been written long ago so I didn't want to necropost.

So, let's compare the real thing.

1st: swordmaster class vs assassin class:

- SM, aside from being the first letters for sadomasochist, have taken a major nerf from their previous iterations (+30 crit has become +15 LOL). So the big lead is on the crit department. SM has better stats caps than assassin for sure (+4 str, +2 def and +3 res, it that it?) with -1 skl to compensate (-1 crit because max skl is not a pair number). So if they reach max stats, assassin has -4 str, - 14 crit, +1 skl, -2 def and -3 res. But let's be serious, swordmasters never reach their caps outside from maybe skl and probably spd. Swordmasters also get more promotion bonuses to compensate for later promotion than thief to assassin.

- Assassin has a stylish name, a nice crit animation too (very different from SM's), lower promotion gains, 1 point less in Con, and lower caps. On paper, it seems worse. But they have:1. Silencer, 1/2 crit chance to OS the ennemy, halved against bosses and denied against the final boss. 2. Better exp gain, meaning promotion bonuses get fixed by more level ups, +0 skl and spd make assassin's skl and spd better with equal number of fights (so more hit and crit rate to compensate for not having +15 crit), more potential hp/def/res if it means anything (good if you let him/her face lancers), more LUCK to dodge more and lower ennemy crit chance (for the occasional high crit ennemy like chap 14 and 17 berserkers, and some swordmaster put through the 2nd part of the game after the end of the routes plit, and against a few lethal weapon-wielding ennemies). 3. Thief utility: FoW is annoying, having 2 thieves is nice to avoid fiedling 3+ staff users to have enough torch users and wasting turns on it; lockpick is nice, costs less than keys (and you can have 2 lockpicks by chapter 8, Colm's and this chapter's thief's, plus chapter 16 and 19 thieves' lockpicks so you don't have to buy them ^^).

Now for the characters getting these classes: 1.Colm: low base strength, high growth (40%, 5% more than Joshua, 10% more than Marisa if I remember well), low base skl, high enough growth (45% according to NMM, 40% according to Serenes Forest, so 10-15% less than Joshua, sure it's a lot), good base luck and good growth (45%, 15 more than Joshua LOL with 1 more base luck), very low base def (3) with the same growth rates as Franz, Cormag and a few others of this kind (25%, so 5% more than Joshua with 2 less base def), and ridiculous base res (1) with low growth (20%, 5 less than Joshua with 1 less base). Colm is a thief joining in chapter 3 (so 2 and a half chapters earlier than Joshua), he can steal 4 ennemies in his joining chapter at base, so getting 40% exp isn't hard, and he can reck the hell out of 85% of his joining chapter ennemies while they are displaying low hit rates. He can safely get to level 10-11 by boss abusing in his joining chapter, not optimal for LTC but great for efficiency since he can easily reach the 15-16 spd needed to steal HM chap 8 theif's lockpick after he finishes chapter 3 LOL, also being by far your fastest and best dodgetank unit for a while, and becoming able to take down the nasty halberd wielder in chap 6 without getting hit and without even having to rely on terrain bonuses to do it fingers in the nose. He steals chapter 7 mage str/mag booster, giving him 10 more free exp no one else can get this way (not needing to fight), and finally chap 8 thief's lockpick for 10% more free exp. He has a total of 40% free exp in chap 3, 10% in chap 6 (troubadour's elixir), 10% in chap 7, 10% in chap 8 so 70% free exp, which means he's virtually level 2.70 when you get him (even more since chap 6, 7 and 8 he's higher level to steal so the exp he get from stealing is higher than the exp he gains as a level 2 because of the exp curve).

He has 3 more levels to be blessed/RNG screwed than Joshua, but a blessed Colm may be much better than a blessed Joshua (more luck, strength maybe, def maybe, res also, and less gap in skill). He gains far more exp per fight than Joshua will ever, gaining around 55 exp per kill in his first levels, against 30-ish for Joshua, and fedding him bosskills, if not optimal, are a way to make levelling him a joke (80-ish exp per boss kill until level 15+, maybe even more exp/higher soft cap). Being an assassin from chapter 9 onwards allows him to gain more levels, have more  opportunities to use silencer for OHKOs and more exp, so more level ups...meaning he can reach chests easier, and fight better, and be self-sufficient far earlier than Joshua or slightly faster than Rogue!Colm (only silencer kills apply here). He can easily take on ennemies near the chests by himself, allowing your real fighting units to go straight to the boss or split for routs (also routing or being as close as possibe to rout in kill boss or defend/survive X turns chapters obviously allows your units to get more exp, and having a thief take a few ennemies isn't a bad thing if he can then make use of it to allow faster pace in later chapters, and less splitting in chap 19 is really nice because if Colm can solo the bottom-right side of the map until you end the chapter with all chests open, you get everything in one). With this play style, you can make Colm reach level 8 before Joshua can even promote if you give the 1st hero crest to Gerik, who's much more useful than Joshua in every kind of map design, and also less prone to RNG-screwage than his fellow crest user due to better base stats, and also higher level when recruited so he needs less level ups to promote (can even be instantly promoted if you want). Levelling a thief is never a waste.

2. Joshua: on the other hand this guy joins 2.5 chapters later, is an ass to recruit since he makes you slow down to avoid killing him or getting killed by him, has shit supports compared to Colm (his whole swordmaster's +15 crit advantage is getting reckt by A support Colm/Neimi which can be achieved in the same chapter you recruit Joshua in a non LTC run, also screwing Joshua's base damage with +3 damage from support, a +1 or 2 def/res bonus and a dodge bonus to his already better dodge rate than Joshua in the same chapter if Colm is trained, Neimi already makes Colm all that Joshua wants to be before any of them promotes). Joshua has higher  base stats but lower growths in anything but Hp (+5%), skl (+10/15%) and res (+5%), meaning Colm's bonus exp is putting him potentially far ahead Joshua in terms of stats reached in the same chapter (also stealing less exp from your team even with 3 more levels to gain to reach 20). If you want something close to a swordmaster, Eirika in her route is forced so use her and she'll surpass Joshua in mobility, stats, combat utility (free sacred weapon that no one else is fighting for with 21 real damage, 53 on monsters LOL at Joshua's crits when she can OHKO most monsters at base unpromoted), overall utility (since she's forced and has the convoy, and is the only one who can seize in her route, she's better off trained than untrained so she isn't a dead weight), while Joshua also stays swordlocked but steals exp, weapons, a promotion item and a fielding space from more useful units who can 1-2 range with cheap weapons and don't have to be levelled up to do what they are used for, even benchable if they turn bad or get replaced by better units at their role like Garcia replaced with Gerik. So Joshua is more of a bad unit than Colm (or Eirika) to use, sure he has better bases, weapon rank, and level but he costs you to train unlike Eirika and Colm who give back everything you put into them by making the game easier (no game over, easier chest access, early game thief utility without getting killed, better promotion time and/or not fighting for promotion item).

Joshua is going to be promoted later than Colm in most cases, so his only way to catch up is to go assassin for faster exp gain (and less exp stealing from the party) so he can beat Colm as an assassin with better skill. Still he will never reach Colm's free pass as a utility unit from join time, 2 chapters of easy exp with few really good units to compete with for exp (stop talking of Franz please, Seth can make good use of the exp you'd waste in Franz while Kyle or Forde have no other competition for the cavalier role in Ephraim's party in their joining chapter and can be better than Franz, Kyle being Duessel with lower def/res but higher hp/str/skl/spd, Forde being a "jack of all trades but master of none" like someone said in another topic or maybe another forum I can't recall where I found this quote. If Forde is blessed he ends up better than Franz and Kyle together because Kyle still lacks speed and skill and res while Franz has so awful def and res he's like a swordsmaster on a horse, with better weaponry an movement but no crit +15, less skill and lower hp than Kyle and maybe Forde. Franz is a glass cannon with higher terrain penalties than foot glass canons (not able to hide in low mountains for example or to attack an ennemy on a mountain while a foot unit could, and he's no flyer either). Franz should be a pegasus, it's be better for him (also he'd be able to ferry units easier before AND after promo with 7-8 con, namely Duessel, General Gilliam, warrior Garcia, and falcon promotion bonuses would patch his def/res a bit, stille Tana is Franz on wings with more strength and less HP). All this to say that Colm has little competition before chapter 9 on the exp Seth let go to rush the boss or do whatever you want him to do. Most good units come after chapter 9 anyway (Tana during/at the beginning of ch9, Cormag in 10 or 13, Duessel in 10 or 15, Saleh in 11 or 15, Innes who can probablyORKO dragonzombies at base if not OHKO them with killing bow crit, or killing them before they attack with hero bow, at 10 or 15, Gerik in 10 or 13, and that's it). The only real competition Colm has comes from Artur/Lute (Artur for bishop slayer-staffbot, Lute for OHKO potential with fire in mid game). And you only want one on these 2 anyway. Beating chapter 5 with Artur or Lute and Colm on the left and Seth on the right is a walk in the park. Meanwhile Vanessa visits bottom-right, middle-left and top-left houses easily and get you the mage ring and why not the torch (I usually sell it though).

If you want a nice unit that works not far from a swordsmaster but with better weaponry and stat spread, make Amelia a super trainee (I know she lacks Con, but she is fast enough to be relevant). But she's not good for efficient play though since she needs 18 level ups be be ABLE to promote to tier 3 classes. Still +15 crit lance user with actual speed is nice, even if she looses some by equipping javelins. Still more durable than Joshua with better luck/def/res if she reached 10/20 before promotion (and nearly uncrittable without any support needed).

So: Assassin is a little better than swordmaster, because it doesn't steal a deployment slot from better fighting units since it brings utility alongside combat, and has around the same ORKO potential with higher OHKO potential, more post-game viability, can actually kill heroes/warriors in one lucky hit with iron or even slim weapons, while SM need at least steel if not silver to do the same, so costs more gold, and it eases FoW chapters by much. And Colm if played alongside Neimi (who can just get a few lv ups to get an early promotion just not to die from one hit and even bring some bow utility like Innes with little investment and get high crit rate for this same bow utility) can be far better than Joshua, on top of being a more worthy unit for the exp he takes from the other members of the party (even some MEMEbers) just because he brings useful things to the party from his join time to the end of the game (or of the world if you manage to kill your whole trained party including Seth and Duessel so the Demon King wins). Also Colm doesn't risk to be critted to death by a berserker or lethal weapon hero if there is one, (0% hit berserkers and low hit + low crit lethal weapons users) while Joshua's luck is a bit shaky against promoted/lethal weapon ennemies, and so is his dodge because of -10 to -15 luk compared with Colm, depending on the level gap and how blessed each of them has been.

Marisa would be Colm assassin but better (without Colm/Neimi support) but she joins later in the game, also fights for a hero crest and has even less strength than LOL Joshua.

What do you guys think of it? Outside of this being a big wall of text obviously.

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I'd say Swordmaster is just better than Assassin - it's extremely hard to care about Silencer when a critical hit will put most mooks down. As for fog of war, there's only 4 fog of war chapters in the whole game, and at least one of those comes before you could feasibly promote anyone.

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I think that "final" is a bad thing to put in a topic title.

IMO the issue with Joshua is that his support pool is, uh, really bad for an offensive crit-based class.  Five out of seven of them are ice affinity, meaning that he loses out on attack and crit rate.  Marisa has to deal with a slightly lower strength cap, and Ismaire can't support.

Colm has a good offensive affinity, and the pool to do something about it.  Unfortunately, his options are either pure utility or dealing with a class who was over-nerfed.

But this is for super-long term planning.  I think, benchmark-wise, both of them lose out on any sort of efficient playthrough (Colm might be able to do a few things because thief utility).

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Joshua beats Colm when it comes to stats, even though Joshua's STR and SPD growths are lower than Colm's. Joshua as a swordmaster outclass Colm as an assassin because crit>>>>lethality, and Joshua's promotion gives him better gains. If both of them go assassin, then I still think Joshua has the upper hand because of his better bases and SKL growths, but both of them will be bad. If Colm goes Rogue (heheh), you aren't going to put him to fight because of his utility as a lockpick-free thief and ability to steal (which may be better for him than pick since keys can be bought in the map). Also, even though master seals exist, using the ocean seal on Colm takes away Ross' promotion as a pirate for a long time (until Scorched Sand, to be exact).

Also, I don't think Assassin was nerfed in FE8, it was a pretty bad class in FE7 too as you could see when either Matthew or Legault promoted into it. The only thing that really shines for assassins in FE7 is the bad luck stat for the enemies and Jaffar, which is pretty inflated by himself, because he would be good in any class with those stats, and his Killing Edge was the only reason why Jaffar used to crit a lot anyway. 

IMO Joshua is better because bases and swordmaster promotion, Colm is only useful with thief utility, but they are not bad, they are just not very good. Also, lethality is pretty trash and a average Colm has less skill than an average Joshua on assassin. 

Also, why the hell would you promote Joshua later than Colm in any scenario? The first Hero' Proof come as near as the first Ocean Seal and Colm needs a lot of favoritism to reach 10 before Joshua, which has a Killing Edge as his joining weapon and decent STR for other swords, unlike Colm's bad 4 STR and SKL. And even though Colm x Neimi support is good, Neimi takes away a good unit's slot for meaningless 2 range as Sniper or inconsistent 1/2 as Ranger. And you don't need lockpicks because door/chest keys are sold in the map.

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14 hours ago, Soviet Cut said:

Joshua beats Colm when it comes to stats, even though Joshua's STR and SPD growths are lower than Colm's. Joshua as a swordmaster outclass Colm as an assassin because crit>>>>lethality, and Joshua's promotion gives him better gains. If both of them go assassin, then I still think Joshua has the upper hand because of his better bases and SKL growths, but both of them will be bad. If Colm goes Rogue (heheh), you aren't going to put him to fight because of his utility as a lockpick-free thief and ability to steal (which may be better for him than pick since keys can be bought in the map). Also, even though master seals exist, using the ocean seal on Colm takes away Ross' promotion as a pirate for a long time (until Scorched Sand, to be exact).

Joshua wastes a deployment slot, turns because no 1-2 range, has 0 utility until promotion, no crit rate bonus as a myrmidon, normal shitty exp curve, and less def growth than Colm, meaning even with 2 more base def he's more prone to def screwage than Colm who also has more natural dodge because of higher base+growth in luck with 3 more levels to grow it. Colm is useful in 4 chapters before the split and in Ephraim ch9 you simply can't get all the chests without Colm. Is it enough for you to give Colm exp while he's useful instead of feeding the same kills to Joshua who will be underlevelled faster than Colm and has 1 more chapter to wait for promotion if you waste it on him instead of using it on Gerik who can either get D bows for later flyer OHKO or hand axes for overall tank utility? Also I'm running a 0% growths run and Forde at base is more useful with a paladin promotion (even at 26 hp, 9 spd and 10 def) than Joshua can ever expect to be, while Colm got to level 10 in his recruitment chapter so I ddn't have to field him in chapters 4 and 5, allowing me to stomp with Seth in ch5 and level Artur to 8.5 in his recruitment chapter, ending the lv 10.99 after ch5 so he could promote by ch6 with the guiding ring, while Moulder was 7.95 a that time. Joshua didn't help in any way, he just makes the game longer since he draws to him every 2 ranged attacker he can't counterattack so his ennemy phase is just double as workable as an archer's, but his base tanking ability is trash and he will never be able to tank as well as Colm in growth Emblem, or give you Colm's utility in 0% growths. No reason to even use him at all but bias.

Also, I don't think Assassin was nerfed in FE8, it was a pretty bad class in FE7 too as you could see when either Matthew or Legault promoted into it. The only thing that really shines for assassins in FE7 is the bad luck stat for the enemies and Jaffar, which is pretty inflated by himself, because he would be good in any class with those stats, and his Killing Edge was the only reason why Jaffar used to crit a lot anyway. 

I didn't get past the chapter where I recruit Hector in 7, so I can't tell how the class works. The game is just too painful without a country map to do shopping (not even talking of farming, just shops are annoying as hell when you have to do everything within the chapters, no challenge outside of the main quest, no bonus exp to use Ests, walking convoy that isn't attached to your lord, without any combat,meaning you have to protect your squishies + Merlinus, correct me if I'm wrong and Merlinus is only in 6);

IMO Joshua is better because bases and swordmaster promotion, Colm is only useful with thief utility, but they are not bad, they are just not very good. Also, lethality is pretty trash and a average Colm has less skill than an average Joshua on assassin. 

While both of them have swordlock issues, Colm brings more than average combat from his recruitment. So Colm is best used and trained while Joshua has no reason to be fielded outside bias.

Also, why the hell would you promote Joshua later than Colm in any scenario? The first Hero' Proof come as near as the first Ocean Seal and Colm needs a lot of favoritism to reach 10 before Joshua, which has a Killing Edge as his joining weapon and decent STR for other swords, unlike Colm's bad 4 STR and SKL. And even though Colm x Neimi support is good, Neimi takes away a good unit's slot for meaningless 2 range as Sniper or inconsistent 1/2 as Ranger. And you don't need lockpicks because door/chest keys are sold in the map.

Hero Crest appears on Gerik in chapter 10 Eirika's route or free on Ephraim's route. I forgot that there was an earlier hero crest on Eph, still even Garcia has more reasons to get it just because, well, he can take a hit from axes AND lances, doesn't have to rely on terrain all the time to boost his not so phenomenal dodge and can counterattack at 1-2 range so he has a full ennemy phase. If you can put him on a castle, you just have a massive hp wall softening ennemies and healing massive amounts of hp each turn with terrain, while warrior Garcia can OS most flyer until late-midgame at base with iron bow, then go for steel to be sure to OS with 27 weapon damage + strength VS poor ennemy def. Then when he's outclassed just bench him, but he's done what he had to do for your army without having to proc anything but HP and one point of spd or def here and there, even with 7 def he does well with his 40-ish HP at 20/0. He's Dozla before Dozla without crit rate bonus (and we all know Dozla can solo the end game bosses with a seraph robe and a few stat boosters where it's lacking just to survive, then a crit OHKO any boss, this without needing a single level up and he has access to hand axes even if he has poor accuracy).

So, why would you even waste a hero crest on Joshua? for him to use magic swords, the ones that you get a single one of each in the whole game and none before ch16, with str/2 + low base damage? with the same if not less accuracy than hand axes and less uses? Can you even crit with magic swords? I guess yes since Carlyle displays crit rate with wind blade.

One more point I have to write, from my personnal experience, a 20+ crit rate Colm crits far more often than a 50+ crit rate Joshua, seems like there's a hidden rule that Joshua crits less the more crit rate he has as a swordmaster...truly, my Joshua crits like 25% of hits with 50+ crit rate while Colm crits nearly 50% of the time with 23+ crit. I know personnal experienced is not taken into count, but this was a point I had to bring up because it makes me wonder if swordmaster Joshua isn't just getting trolled. Why would I deploy a crit unit if it doesn't even crit reliably, while a utility unit with less crit rate does better in this field?

 

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18 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

I'd say Swordmaster is just better than Assassin - it's extremely hard to care about Silencer when a critical hit will put most mooks down. As for fog of war, there's only 4 fog of war chapters in the whole game, and at least one of those comes before you could feasibly promote anyone.

3 FoW chapters utility are better than 0 utility and not spectacular combat performance before promotion + swordlock forever. And guess what? Colm is available for all the FoW chapters, promoted or not. + Chapter 18 lava tiles disarm. Better than nothing.

Whatever swordmaster Joshua can OHKO with a crit, Colm can ORKO it without caring of what promotion he got. Because there's no big difference in Colm's stats wether he's an assassin or rogue. But as an assassin, each time he procs silencer he get a huge bonus exp. He already has bonus exp in all of his classes from tier 1, so it makes him even better at gaining levels in the few fights he will see. Whereas swordmaster has to fight for exp with better combat units who have more mobility and/or 1/2 range.

Even Neimi is better as a ranger, and I'd go as far as telling you than an archer is more useful as any swordmaster in Eirika's route ch13, because he/she can ballista kill both wyverns around Cormag and let you recruit the best flyer with base Eirika without any risk. And archers OS flyers most of the time at base with a steel bow, and bow users can OHKO or ORKO dragonzombies with lethal/silver/hero bow, for what it's worth. Sure there are 3 of them, but these are annoying, especially if you're not warpskipping chapter 21-1. Literally 2 attacks from one dragonzombie kills anyone who doesn't dodge it, and it has 100% base accuracy without any skill needed.

You need very high dodge to display less than 30% hit rate from them. And Colm still has the edge over Joshua, with more luck to boost his dodge, an insane support with Neimi that works for her as well (3 attack, 15 crit, 15 acc to patch his skill and 7 dodge for more insanity). 20/20 Colm (which he can achieve without much favoritism in a non LTC run, just from killing some ennemies blocking the way to the doors, chests, and stealable items after promotion) can reach  80 dodge rate by himself without getting blessed (actually getting less luck than he should on average), then he gains his Neimi support, who should be level 5-10 promoted with or without early promotion and grinding. Just from their support, Neimi can help you clear many flyers and endgame dragons without requiring to reach S in bows unlike many units who wish to kill late game monsters, namely dragonzombies and a few tanky ennemies. Hell, Colm even has crit/4 chance to OHKO Lyon, and as I wrote in my previous message, Colm tends to crit more than Joshua with half his crit rate (at least for me). Lyon won't OS him if Colm has a pure water, his support and maybe a few points more in res and HP than he should, and he still has one of the best dodge rate of the full cast to try and dodge Naglfar. Sure silencer has very low proc rate on Lyon, but very low chance to OHKO the semi-final boss is better than 0% chance to ORKO him, whoch is what SM Joshua has, alongside lower dodge and crit avoid, and less levels for him to reach better stats than Colm's probably capped strength, decent def, hp, high luck and manageable res and skl (pure water +7 and support increasing crit, accuracy and dodge).

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Merlinus is playable in FE7 but he's stationary. You need to field him 19 chapters without letting him die for promoting him to a horse mounted transporter, which is pretty much useless to be honest, but he's a free unit so there is no point in not using him.

Even though Joshua has no 1-2 range, neither does Colm. Myrmidom is a enemy phase liability class, so there is little use in comparing him to any 1-2 range class. Colm has utility, but this doesn't make him better at combat than Joshua.

Colm's combat is worse than Joshua in his recruitment chapter overall. With 9 ATK and 10 AS he can't ORKO brigands, while Joshua joins with a Killing Edge, giving him 17 ATK and 14 AS at base, and even though Colm has a better growth in defense, Joshua has the upper hand on defense, or they wil have very close defense. Joshua's HP at base is also higher than Colm's even though their growths are similar. Joshua's con is better than Colm's too. About fog of war utility, torches exist.

Yes, Garcia is better with the first Hero's Crest, but so does Ross with the only Ocean Seal.

Finally, Colm has better luck, but Joshua leads on everything else. SW Joshua has better crit while Assassin Colm relies on half of his not boosted crit chance for eventually killing one enemy. If both of them go assassin, then Colm's luck will be better, but that's it. 

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17 minutes ago, Soviet Cut said:

Merlinus is playable in FE7 but he's stationary. You need to field him 19 chapters without letting him die for promoting him to a horse mounted transporter, which is pretty much useless to be honest, but he's a free unit so there is no point in not using him.

Even though Joshua has no 1-2 range, neither does Colm. Myrmidom is a enemy phase liability class, so there is little use in comparing him to any 1-2 range class. Colm has utility, but this doesn't make him better at combat than Joshua.

Colm's combat is worse than Joshua in his recruitment chapter overall. With 9 ATK and 10 AS he can't ORKO brigands, while Joshua joins with a Killing Edge, giving him 17 ATK and 14 AS at base, and even though Colm has a better growth in defense, Joshua has the upper hand on defense, or they wil have very close defense. Joshua's HP at base is also higher than Colm's even though their growths are similar. Joshua's con is better than Colm's too. About fog of war utility, torches exist.

Yes, Garcia is better with the first Hero's Crest, but so does Ross with the only Ocean Seal.

Finally, Colm has better luck, but Joshua leads on everything else. SW Joshua has better crit while Assassin Colm relies on half of his not boosted crit chance for eventually killing one enemy. If both of them go assassin, then Colm's luck will be better, but that's it. 

OK I didn't know for Merlinus.

Colm as a tier 2 wins over Joshua in the strength department. Colm has more reasons to be trained than Joshua, so might as well make him decent at combat.

Colm joins in a chapter with 7 axe users, 1 archer, 1 thief and 1 mercenary. Not bein able to ORKO them at base is beneficial for your team, since it allows him to gain more exp while killing these assholes and feed some exp and wexp to Moulder, who he can support BTW. Colm also has a free instant C support with Neimi for an offensive boost. He can steal up to 4 items while fighting the ennemies holding them: +40% exp. WTA on 76 or so % of his joining chapter ennemies isn't something to laugh at. He gains 16 or so exp per fight vs Bazba and takes a while to kill him, Bazba heals each turn, in 0% growths my Colm reached level 10 and C and a half sword rank by the end of the chapter, and I gave the boss kill to Seth, who had reached or was close to reach S lances at that moment. Colm is definitely easy to level up. At base he has 28 dodge, 48 on a forest tile in chapter 4 so even revenants don't have much more than 40% chance of hitting him without any level up, meanwhile he takes them in 2 rounds with iron. All this without Neimi's C support gift.

Joshua's supports are longer to reach, he could want Natasha who is just worse than both anything!Moulder and Bishop!Artur (can barely take a hit, very low hp growth with very low base, 2 base magic, 4 to 5 or 7 maybe 8 con, so she will never use high level tomes unlike Moulder who hass a free pass for high weaponry and has hp and def to back it up, while Artur has better magic to start with and still more or almost equal con as Natasha valkyrie who doesn't have slayer to deal effective damage) and starts one level lower than Artur one full chapter later and 2 levels lower than Moulder 3 chapters later with worse staff level (can't instantly use torch). Joshua has little to no offensive bonus from supports while Colm has mostly offensive bonuses from his supports, helping wih his skill and low base strength.

Colm has a higher level than Joshua with equal number of ennemies taken charge of by both of them (because BEXP from thief + more rounds per ennemy early on), adding 2.5 chapters of availability and a 100% exp boss if you want to give it to him for whatever reason. More levels mean more stats, even if a little less strength can be expected and about even hp/def/res (Joshua has what, 3-4 more HP at level 20 than Colm? And has to wait longer for promotion, especially on Eirika's route where he has to wait to chapter 13 or 14 to get it if you want to promote Gerik 1st, which is best anyway since he has about the same offensive stats as Seth, but with better HP/str/skl/spd/def and less luck, being the closest to Duessel in stats when instantly promoted). So Joshua loses against Colm in availability, utility, dodgetanking, supports, promotion time, worthy promotion.

BTW, stop telling me Colm has to fight with berserker Ross, Garcia is better for LTC as well as efficient play than Ross can ever expect to be, and Ross is 30th in the growth rates department in FE8 so why even bother leveling him? His speed will suck forever anyway, there's no reason to ever use him since Dozla does what Ross does with almost 0 investment outside of 1 or 2 stat boosters anyway, and you can farm stat boosters earlier than promotion items if it's your thing (also coming with B axes instead of E is very nice, he can just spam devil axe or hero axe from the get go and take 1, 2 or even 3 hits from monsters without dying so his speed doesn't even matter).

As I already explained it, Colm gains levels faster and before Joshua even exists, so your argument that he has lower stats is false. When Joshua joins, Colm can have 8 to 10 more levels than him without hurting your party since most of his exp comes from ch3 where he doesn't compete with many for exp. Yes Franz exists, but Franz has ch1&2 to get fed kills so he should already gain little exp per kill, rendering him non optimal to seriously train in this chapter. Hell, Colm even beats Franz in everything but HP, str, def and res, which aren't his most important stats unlike Franz, who is barely better than Forde (faster but less skilled and squishier), and Kyle beats both of them by being Garcia with more acc, move and def (or unpromoted version of Duessel). Since Colm is worth training and Joshua isn't, why even bother with him? He will never give back all the exp and stat boosters you could give him. His only use is to arena abuse in ch5 since he's one of the best candidates to earn gold in there instead of losing gold (Vanessa has made me lose quite some gold in nearly every playthrough on normal mode arena which has more low level ennemies than hard and requires less go backs to find a bet between 500 and 750, which are the best since enneies mostly use E weapons that deal less damage when they hit). That's it. Even a lv 20 Joshua does barely anything useful in ch6, just distracting ennemies. Might as well give the dracoshield to Seth and hope he doesn't get critted by a swordmaster/berserker during the 1st turn of battle until he reaches 20 and can solo the game with the lord under his belt without taking any damage for the 15 first chapters, while reaching 50k gold or so. At least Seth is useful without having to have a utility class (outside of rescue/drop).

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3 hours ago, mangasdeouf said:

3 FoW chapters utility are better than 0 utility and not spectacular combat performance before promotion + swordlock forever. And guess what? Colm is available for all the FoW chapters, promoted or not. + Chapter 18 lava tiles disarm. Better than nothing.

Whatever swordmaster Joshua can OHKO with a crit, Colm can ORKO it without caring of what promotion he got. Because there's no big difference in Colm's stats wether he's an assassin or rogue. But as an assassin, each time he procs silencer he get a huge bonus exp. He already has bonus exp in all of his classes from tier 1, so it makes him even better at gaining levels in the few fights he will see. Whereas swordmaster has to fight for exp with better combat units who have more mobility and/or 1/2 range.

Even Neimi is better as a ranger, and I'd go as far as telling you than an archer is more useful as any swordmaster in Eirika's route ch13, because he/she can ballista kill both wyverns around Cormag and let you recruit the best flyer with base Eirika without any risk. And archers OS flyers most of the time at base with a steel bow, and bow users can OHKO or ORKO dragonzombies with lethal/silver/hero bow, for what it's worth. Sure there are 3 of them, but these are annoying, especially if you're not warpskipping chapter 21-1. Literally 2 attacks from one dragonzombie kills anyone who doesn't dodge it, and it has 100% base accuracy without any skill needed.

You need very high dodge to display less than 30% hit rate from them. And Colm still has the edge over Joshua, with more luck to boost his dodge, an insane support with Neimi that works for her as well (3 attack, 15 crit, 15 acc to patch his skill and 7 dodge for more insanity). 20/20 Colm (which he can achieve without much favoritism in a non LTC run, just from killing some ennemies blocking the way to the doors, chests, and stealable items after promotion) can reach  80 dodge rate by himself without getting blessed (actually getting less luck than he should on average), then he gains his Neimi support, who should be level 5-10 promoted with or without early promotion and grinding. Just from their support, Neimi can help you clear many flyers and endgame dragons without requiring to reach S in bows unlike many units who wish to kill late game monsters, namely dragonzombies and a few tanky ennemies. Hell, Colm even has crit/4 chance to OHKO Lyon, and as I wrote in my previous message, Colm tends to crit more than Joshua with half his crit rate (at least for me). Lyon won't OS him if Colm has a pure water, his support and maybe a few points more in res and HP than he should, and he still has one of the best dodge rate of the full cast to try and dodge Naglfar. Sure silencer has very low proc rate on Lyon, but very low chance to OHKO the semi-final boss is better than 0% chance to ORKO him, whoch is what SM Joshua has, alongside lower dodge and crit avoid, and less levels for him to reach better stats than Colm's probably capped strength, decent def, hp, high luck and manageable res and skl (pure water +7 and support increasing crit, accuracy and dodge).

Because it's not like Torches exist, right? Oh wait, they do. Easily replicatable utility isn't a good argument for Assassin. At all. And while I said there were four FoW chapters, you only play three as two of them are on opposite routes. Not to mention that Colm also has to deal with swordlock.

Let's go and ignore how Colm is worse off offensively unless you field Neimi and keep her in range constantly... Or how if you plan to use Ross as a Berserker, Colm has to compete with him for the one Ocean Seal, and whoever doesn't get it has to wait until chapter 14 to promote. Or that having Colm go Assassin (which has "ass" in its name for a reason, that being that it sucks) means losing the ability to steal, which is a losing trade when some stat boosters can only be gotten by stealing.

Because it's not like I could go and have Eirika accompanied by someone else to eliminate those wyverns, is it? Ballistae are crap in SS - 60 base hit isn't great, and even ignoring the off chance they miss, they probably won't even KO. Dracozombies, while they are threatening, are rare and slow, and if you're getting a unit attacked by two, you're doing it wrong.

Joshua is better pretty much everywhere else. Also, 20/20 ain't happening without grinding. As for Lyon, he's only one enemy, and second, Silencer is extremely unreliable (and useless, to boot, because there's a 100% chance that anything worth using it on has better ways to kill) - and if your gamble doesn't pay off you can expect a nice, shiny "NO DAMAGE!" or so little damage it might as well be such.

Edited by Shadow Mir

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As much as I truly adore Sacred Stones, this kind of efficiency/comparison thread is useless, purely because Sacred Stones is so, fucking, easy. If you play on Hard, and never do any grinding or boss abuse, then the game is average in difficulty on Ephraim's route. I like Joshua's character more, and I think Colm is a better unit both statwise and utilitywise (he can do just fine in combat as a Rogue, ffs). Assassin as a class is only really good for Marisa because she has strength issues. Joshua relies on crit for almost all of the lategame, as most monsters are either sword/lance skeletons, 80 HP cyclops, or gargoyles/deathgoyles -- with lances. He has frailty issues as well. Swordmaster doubles down on his strengths a lot better than assassin does -- silencer is even less reliable than regular 3x damage crits. 

Swordlock in almost any FE game is bad (potential exception being Radiant Dawn because of the many, many wind/storm swords in the game, but WTA/WTD still causes problems), so from a pure efficiency standpoint, if you have to choose one of the two, Rouge!Colm is the best option. If you're like me, and like Joshua's character (and don't really ever use GBA supports, sue me), then he's just better as a Swordmaster. He also looks fucking dope. 

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1 hour ago, Mandokarla said:

As much as I truly adore Sacred Stones, this kind of efficiency/comparison thread is useless, purely because Sacred Stones is so, fucking, easy. If you play on Hard, and never do any grinding or boss abuse, then the game is average in difficulty on Ephraim's route. I like Joshua's character more, and I think Colm is a better unit both statwise and utilitywise (he can do just fine in combat as a Rogue, ffs). Assassin as a class is only really good for Marisa because she has strength issues. Joshua relies on crit for almost all of the lategame, as most monsters are either sword/lance skeletons, 80 HP cyclops, or gargoyles/deathgoyles -- with lances. He has frailty issues as well. Swordmaster doubles down on his strengths a lot better than assassin does -- silencer is even less reliable than regular 3x damage crits. 

Swordlock in almost any FE game is bad (potential exception being Radiant Dawn because of the many, many wind/storm swords in the game, but WTA/WTD still causes problems), so from a pure efficiency standpoint, if you have to choose one of the two, Rouge!Colm is the best option. If you're like me, and like Joshua's character (and don't really ever use GBA supports, sue me), then he's just better as a Swordmaster. He also looks fucking dope. 

Bold: Not even - I would still say Assassin loses out there for reasons already mentioned.

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2 hours ago, Mandokarla said:

As much as I truly adore Sacred Stones, this kind of efficiency/comparison thread is useless, purely because Sacred Stones is so, fucking, easy. If you play on Hard, and never do any grinding or boss abuse, then the game is average in difficulty on Ephraim's route. I like Joshua's character more, and I think Colm is a better unit both statwise and utilitywise (he can do just fine in combat as a Rogue, ffs). Assassin as a class is only really good for Marisa because she has strength issues. Joshua relies on crit for almost all of the lategame, as most monsters are either sword/lance skeletons, 80 HP cyclops, or gargoyles/deathgoyles -- with lances. He has frailty issues as well. Swordmaster doubles down on his strengths a lot better than assassin does -- silencer is even less reliable than regular 3x damage crits. 

Swordlock in almost any FE game is bad (potential exception being Radiant Dawn because of the many, many wind/storm swords in the game, but WTA/WTD still causes problems), so from a pure efficiency standpoint, if you have to choose one of the two, Rouge!Colm is the best option. If you're like me, and like Joshua's character (and don't really ever use GBA supports, sue me), then he's just better as a Swordmaster. He also looks fucking dope. 

I like most of your points. Even those not going in my favor. I also am not a big fan of supports outside of the fastest ones who give good bonuses, like Eirika and Seth, Neimi and Colm, Colm and Moulder, and the marrying supports, because well, it's a war, people don't expect to live long, so they get close faster and finally the release of the pressure after the war helps the survivors to concretize their relationship. It also fits well with medieval society. But Rennac-L'arachel's 70ish turns per support level was unbearable even on speed x4 and more. When I saw how Moulder could be equal or near equal with Natasha in dodge just by supports, I was like "For real?!"

Still there aren't many things important to steal between ch9 and ch14, so you might as well skip them or wait for Colm to grab the most useful ones before promoting, but well, if you missed one stat booster, you can wait chapter 20 and try to get a replacement in the north eastern map where the northeastern elder bael always holds something droppable or stealable, from elixirs to master seals, including stat boosters and maybe white gems (or blue ones I don't remember). You can also do tower of Valni to the last stage to get a random good item, but it takes crazy time. You can also go through the Lagdou ruins and hope for good random drops in several stages (spears, hero weapons, lethal weapons, silver weapons maybe, and some random drops like elixirs, stat boosters or promotion items on a few ennemies) while reaching the top floor gives you a nice but not worthy gold reward with the black gem.

LV 20/6 SM Joshua has averages of 45 HP (good), 17 strength (shit), 22.75 skill and speed (seriously? it's not really good for a very skilled swordsman), 13 luck (yay a random crit killed Joshua after he took another hit from anyone!), 11 def (correct, but not insanely good, and that 20% def growth might troll you hard like it happened to me before), 7 res (good enough). He has correct stats, but 57 dodge isn't enough for a dodgetank that doesn't have 1-2 range weapon. 26% crit rate with iron and no supports isn't what I call "Oh my gawd so many crits!!" especially with Joshua whose crit rate always seemed inefficient, because well, he crits when he wants, not close to his crit rate, and mostly on the second hit, meaning he already had to dodge/tank.

LV 20/10 Colm has averages of 41.25 HP, 15.8 strength (close enough and better growth means more prone to RNG blessing and less prone to RNG screwage), 14.8 skill (only 4 less points to his crit rate, hit is irrelevant), 25.85 spd, 20.15 luck, 11.75 def (more than SM Joshua), 8.4 res (also more than SM Joshua). So at the end Colm has better ennemy phase than Joshua, he gained more exp and will still gain more because of WTF level bonus exp (the difference in exp gain when they kill a boss or a high exp ennemy is that huge, Colm gaining 100% on the lv 1 entombed in Valni 1 until level 9-11 while Joshua gains 98% at level 4 or 5 and about 80% at level 10 if not less). This is with average stats. Colm has 70 dodge (13 more than Joshua, LMAO dodgetank Joshua). Also if Colm gets promoted instantly and fed a few kills left during the same chapter (easy on Eirika's route because he promotes at turn 2), he can already reach level 2 or 3 before the end of the chapter without silencer procs, which would only make it more insane.

Like I said, If you compare it with SM Joshua because Serenes likes SMs so much despite their swordlock, When Joshua reaches lv6 SM, you could already be lv 12 or more with Colm, either promotion but even more so as an assassin if he procs a few silencers, which he will do here and there. So the difference in defence will be higher and in offence he could equal Joshua's strength despite the SM's better promotion bonuses (don't forget 40% vs 35% str growth, it's high actually if you compare your Vanessa in 10 runs with your Eirika in 10 runs you'll see the difference), and with one or two support partners which have uses and don't cost you much if anything to raise when Neimi can just weaken a few ennemies, take a few low level ennemies which your main force doesn't get more than 6% exp on anyway, and use the promotion to keep up the pace with the party, ferry Colm if 1 more move is needed, and OHKO those annoying pegasi, baiting them by switching between sword and bow to beat the on both phases (because each pegasus wave has a javelin user, you can put Neimi at it's max range so she kills the javelin on EP and a 1 range on PP), not wasting your main fighters to keep these flying assholes from reaching your rearguard (2 iron/steel lance hits can kill unpromoted lv 20 Natasha, I'm not joking, maybe even promoted Natasha, at least steel lances can). So Colm and Neimi have something to do to help even when there aren't any chests.

+ If you use support in Joshua's case, I'd tell you that Joshua has Gerik, who won't wait for his unlevelledness to catch up to his stomping EP pace, Innes who is just like Neimi for Colm, except he gives only def to Joshua, Artur, same problem, Marisa, not gonna see light, L'Arachel and Natasha, not willing to stay too close from the fights unless power levelled so not often giving him the support bonus (close to never in annoying terrain chapters like Ephraim 13, 17 and 20 where flyers can surround your units faster than they can flee if no one is strong enough to take them down in 17 or if no one can block their path in 13 and 20). So Colm has the edge by far in the support department.

Edited by mangasdeouf

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Sacred Stones is also the game with stat boosters for sale, so unless it's some sort of artificially limited run, I'm going to assume that everyone's at max stats.

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On 6/10/2018 at 8:17 PM, mangasdeouf said:

What do you guys think of it? Outside of this being a big wall of text obviously.

from personal experience, swordmasters are always good to have in the team since they're helpful against a good amount of enemies.

assassins, on the other hand, are more suited for killing normal enemies, since their potential usually gets reduced against bosses.

 

if you really like assassins thou, you should just stick with them. it's always better to play with what you prefer the most, and enjoy the game for what it is.

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On 10/9/2018 at 9:35 AM, Fenreir said:

assassins, on the other hand, are more suited for killing normal enemies, since their potential usually gets reduced against bosses.

The problem is that in general, a normal critical hit is enough to kill all but the most durable enemies, meaning that assassins are just outclassed.

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It's hard to compare utility to being slightly better in combat, but i would say swordmaster simply because you already have rennac by the time you're expected to promote

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