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How Ironman-Friendly Are The GBA Games (Playing Blind)?

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I recently found a way to play the GBA Fire Emblem games, and started Eliwood's mode a short while ago. I'm not a fan of resetting or using save states, but I also don't know how Ironman-friendly these games are for a blind player, hence the question in the title. I'm curious how well the GBA Fire Emblem games handle giving the player enough units so that if one falls, another could fulfill a similar role, if they pace out when you get said units, if there are any nasty surprises in store for someone playing blind, and so on. I have completed Awakening and Shadow Dragon Ironman runs before, so it's not my first rodeo, but I don't know whether ironmanning these games during my first playthrough is a good idea or not.

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Blazing Blade is rather ironman-friendly imo, as is Sacred Stones. Binding Blade, on the other hand? Absolutely not. In fact, it's one of the most ironman-unfriendly games in the series right down there with Radiant Dawn.

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FE7 gives you a lot of excellent pre-promotes you can slot into your team to fill any gaps. They're often better than the majority of low level units in the game you're meant to raise up. Sacred Stones is regarded as a very easy fire emblem game due to being able to grind for exp whenever, but be wary of the fog of war maps and status inflicting staves, as they can lead to some deaths very quickly if you play impatiently. And FE6 is just loaded with beginner's traps so I'd recommend taking it easy with that game.

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Binding Blade: Throws a ton of units at you, though is also easy to get them killed in, and some of those recruits require previous units who might be dead. Not very friendly.

Blazing Blade: Fewer units than Binding, but they all tend to be stronger and the game is safer in general.

Sacred Stones: Similar to Blazing.

13 minutes ago, Shadow Mir said:

Blazing Blade is rather ironman-friendly imo, as is Sacred Stones. Binding Blade, on the other hand? Absolutely not. In fact, it's one of the most ironman-unfriendly games in the series right down there with Radiant Dawn.

The game that throws multiple near-unkillable units at the player is ironman-unfriendly?

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In my first run of blazing blade, which was a non-ironman, no save states run of Eliwood norma, I had no deaths other than on Battle Before dawn, and that was an NPC. Binding I think is also tough due to  ambush spawns. In my blindrun through, Rutger randomly showed up and ORKO'd my third-best unit.

Sacred stones is easy to ironman.

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32 minutes ago, Florete said:

The game that throws multiple near-unkillable units at the player is ironman-unfriendly?

Yes, because outside of the Greil Mercenaries, you have very few, or even no options to replace dead units. What are you gonna do if, say, Aran or Nolan dies? Also, those near-unkillable units are mostly part 4 exclusive.

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2 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

Yes, because outside of the Greil Mercenaries, you have very few, or even no options to replace dead units. What are you gonna do if, say, Aran or Nolan dies? Also, those near-unkillable units are mostly part 4 exclusive.

You'd still have Sothe, Jill and Zihark, Nailah, Muarim. Granted, not the case if you bite it early on but if your run is done that early then you could literally just get back to where you died in no time lol.

Edited by Dr. Tarrasque

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I think I will go with the more controversial opinion here and call FE7 the least Ironman friendly of the three simply due to the additional number of lose states added by the game (having two relatively frail lords compared to 1 frail lord in the other two, and the higher number of defend maps). The Battle Before Dawn is a particularly Large Bugbear for any FE7 Ironman, as its possibly with dumb NPCs (or just particularly unlucky NPCs) for you to be forced into a gameover no matter what actions you take. The fun of Ironmans is being able to continue on despite the losses, but lose states, especially heavily RNG reliant lose states, are counter to what makes a good game to Ironman. FE6 might be hard, but you get saddled with lots of replacements, and those that get Hardmode bonuses can really carry your run on HM, and FE8 is easy enough that the last two Ironman's I have seen of the game modded it to make it harder.

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30 minutes ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

I think I will go with the more controversial opinion here and call FE7 the least Ironman friendly of the three simply due to the additional number of lose states added by the game (having two relatively frail lords compared to 1 frail lord in the other two, and the higher number of defend maps). The Battle Before Dawn is a particularly Large Bugbear for any FE7 Ironman, as its possibly with dumb NPCs (or just particularly unlucky NPCs) for you to be forced into a gameover no matter what actions you take. The fun of Ironmans is being able to continue on despite the losses, but lose states, especially heavily RNG reliant lose states, are counter to what makes a good game to Ironman. FE6 might be hard, but you get saddled with lots of replacements, and those that get Hardmode bonuses can really carry your run on HM, and FE8 is easy enough that the last two Ironman's I have seen of the game modded it to make it harder.

Wait, on a BLIND ironman run? Nuh-uh. Sorry, but I can't agree with this. Mostly because most of the units in Binding Blade aren't exactly great, and because of two words: Ambush spawns.

Edited by Shadow Mir

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Sacred Stones is obviously very iron man friendly, the game is easy and you get an extremely overpowered Paladin who can solo the entire game right from the beginning. Blazing Blade can be annoying sometimes but not that difficult even on HHM.

Like many people already stated, Binding Blade has ambush spawns, that alone is enough to make the game extremely iron man unfriendly, combined with the fact that it is much harder than the other 2, you're stuck with a useless lord for 80% of the game, half of the cast being unusable and the requirements to unlock some Gaiden maps are extremely annoying (Ch.14 and CH.16) and you need all of them to unlock the True Ending.

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Sacred stones is pretty ironman friendly. It gives you less then the other two but your units are a lot better then the enemies, heck, I am a risk-taker, and I did an ironman with +10% enemy growths, and I came out on top. (I only had six surviving units, but that is besides the point).

Binding blade gives you ridiculous amount of units, you could kill off a unit every chapter and still have enough prepromotes to take you through the game. It is harder though, and those ambush spawns can wreck you on a blind run.

Blazing sword has more lords to kill off, and Battle before Dawn can just end if RNG is not your friend (looking at you Mangs).

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3 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

Yes, because outside of the Greil Mercenaries, you have very few, or even no options to replace dead units. What are you gonna do if, say, Aran or Nolan dies? Also, those near-unkillable units are mostly part 4 exclusive.

You're asking someone who doesn't even usually use Aran and Nolan what I'll do without them.

You get Sothe at 1-2, Volug at 1-4, Zihark and Tauroneo at 1-6, Tormod and Muarim at 1-7, Nailah at 1-8, and BK at 1-9. 

To be fair, 3-6 is a pretty big blind ironman trap, but you do get BK a few turns in, so it's a matter of holding out long enough if the player comes in unprepared, then you get Tauroneo for 3-12 and 3-13.

Yes, those near-unkillable units are mostly part 4 exclusive, but that means getting to part 4 means you're practically guaranteed to reach the end of the game.

1 hour ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

I think I will go with the more controversial opinion here and call FE7 the least Ironman friendly of the three simply due to the additional number of lose states added by the game (having two relatively frail lords compared to 1 frail lord in the other two, and the higher number of defend maps). The Battle Before Dawn is a particularly Large Bugbear for any FE7 Ironman, as its possibly with dumb NPCs (or just particularly unlucky NPCs) for you to be forced into a gameover no matter what actions you take. The fun of Ironmans is being able to continue on despite the losses, but lose states, especially heavily RNG reliant lose states, are counter to what makes a good game to Ironman. FE6 might be hard, but you get saddled with lots of replacements, and those that get Hardmode bonuses can really carry your run on HM, and FE8 is easy enough that the last two Ironman's I have seen of the game modded it to make it harder.

The other two lords don't need to be deployed often, and they're not even especially frail if the player has the basics of the weapon triangle down, definitely easier to keep alive than Roy. BBD is unfortunate, but especially unlikely to be failed on ENM (and I'd assume the player knows about it in advance on any other mode).

As I mentioned, a good amount of FE6 recruits rely on previous units. Lost Sue? No Shin or Fir. Lost Lilina? No Gonzales or Garret. Lost Lalum/Elphin? No Perceval. Lost Melady? No Zeiss. Klein can be pretty difficult to recruit if your Roy is bad and you lost Clarine, which puts you out of him and Thea. It can also be pretty difficult to recruit and keep alive Zealot, Treck, and Noah.

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48 minutes ago, Florete said:

The other two lords don't need to be deployed often, and they're not even especially frail if the player has the basics of the weapon triangle down, definitely easier to keep alive than Roy. BBD is unfortunate, but especially unlikely to be failed on ENM (and I'd assume the player knows about it in advance on any other mode).

If we assume its an FE7 ENM we should assume the far lower difficulty bar of FE6 NM, as hard mode only unlocks after beating normal mode.

 

20 minutes ago, Florete said:

As I mentioned, a good amount of FE6 recruits rely on previous units. Lost Sue? No Shin or Fir. Lost Lilina? No Gonzales or Garret. Lost Lalum/Elphin? No Perceval. Lost Melady? No Zeiss. Klein can be pretty difficult to recruit if your Roy is bad and you lost Clarine, which puts you out of him and Thea. It can also be pretty difficult to recruit and keep alive Zealot, Treck, and Noah.

Same thing happens in FE7, a dead Priscilla keeps you from Raven and by extension Lucius, and if Serra died as well then Erk is gone, a dead Matthew keeps Guy away, a dead Florina locks you out of the Fiora, Dead Dart means no Geitz, a dead Nino means no Jaffar, and of course a dead Batre means no Karla.

Plus FE7 has a huge problem with promotion items and thieves. In Normal mode there are a total of 3 chest keys in the entire game, so a lucky blind player might have up to three promotion items more, and in one of the chapters its possible in ENM to get one of the guiding rings off a dead theif (although pulling that off blind is not a trivial question, and it is one of the items that might be recovered using a chest key) but without those the number of promotion items is extremely slim. The only Heroes crest you can get from FE7 without a thief is in the sands of chapter 22/23, The only Knight crest in chapter 21/22, the only guiding ring in chapter 17/18, and you lose one of the Earth seals as well. Now Elysian Whips, Fell Contract, Ocean Seal, and Orions Bolts aren't an issue (on normal mode), but those are rarely your in demand promtion items. FE6 avoid this issue with easily buyable chest keys, and the only ones that need a thief to steal are ludicrously late to the point of being laughed at by most players anyway (why even put a heroes crest in Zephiel's inventory anywat). Having Matthew die, and failing to recruit Legault (or having him die) makes promotion a nightmare.

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28 minutes ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

If we assume its an FE7 ENM we should assume the far lower difficulty bar of FE6 NM, as hard mode only unlocks after beating normal mode.

I was assuming FE6 normal. I probably should have made that clear, but I overlooked where you mentioned FE6 HM. I thought it better to judge based on what the OP is playing.

28 minutes ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

Same thing happens in FE7, a dead Priscilla keeps you from Raven and by extension Lucius, and if Serra died as well then Erk is gone, a dead Matthew keeps Guy away, a dead Florina locks you out of the Fiora, Dead Dart means no Geitz, a dead Nino means no Jaffar, and of course a dead Batre means no Karla.

Plus FE7 has a huge problem with promotion items and thieves. In Normal mode there are a total of 3 chest keys in the entire game, so a lucky blind player might have up to three promotion items more, and in one of the chapters its possible in ENM to get one of the guiding rings off a dead theif (although pulling that off blind is not a trivial question, and it is one of the items that might be recovered using a chest key) but without those the number of promotion items is extremely slim. The only Heroes crest you can get from FE7 without a thief is in the sands of chapter 22/23, The only Knight crest in chapter 21/22, the only guiding ring in chapter 17/18, and you lose one of the Earth seals as well. Now Elysian Whips, Fell Contract, Ocean Seal, and Orions Bolts aren't an issue (on normal mode), but those are rarely your in demand promtion items. FE6 avoid this issue with easily buyable chest keys, and the only ones that need a thief to steal are ludicrously late to the point of being laughed at by most players anyway (why even put a heroes crest in Zephiel's inventory anywat). Having Matthew die, and failing to recruit Legault (or having him die) makes promotion a nightmare.

I should have done this before, but putting this in spoiler since OP is playing blind:

Spoiler

These are all good points, but these issues are less likely to occur due to the lack of ambush spawns. Promoting also isn't quite as important since prepromotes in FE7 are of a higher average quality than those in FE6, with the best ones joining automatically (Marcus, Pent, Hawkeye, Athos, arguably Isadora) or being recruited by a lord (Harken, Vaida). The better prepromotes in FE6 tend to be more difficult to recruit (Perceval, Douglas, Echidna, Klein), if a blind player even knows they can be recruited.

Also, I want to go back to BBD: this one is actually not so bad for an ironman because the fail conditions are the lords or Zephiel dying, not Nino or Jaffar, which makes things a lot more doable.

While I tend to find Hector overrated, he's very helpful for blind ironman runs since he's tanky, hits hard, and his death forces a reset, so the player is never without him. I don't think I need to explain how he's superior to Roy in that regard.

 

Edited by Florete

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On 3/9/2020 at 9:29 PM, Hello72207 said:

Binding blade gives you ridiculous amount of units, you could kill off a unit every chapter and still have enough prepromotes to take you through the game. It is harder though, and those ambush spawns can wreck you on a blind run.

Blazing sword has more lords to kill off, and Battle before Dawn can just end if RNG is not your friend (looking at you Mangs).

I would only consider Battle Before Dawn a legitimate worry on HHM. Otherwise, it's not so bad. On the other hand, the lower quality of Binding Blade's units is always a concern; just how many of the pre-promoted units in BB are long-term material? All I can think of is Perceval.

On 3/9/2020 at 8:11 PM, Dr. Tarrasque said:

You'd still have Sothe, Jill and Zihark, Nailah, Muarim. Granted, not the case if you bite it early on but if your run is done that early then you could literally just get back to where you died in no time lol.

One of those falls off later, and the latter two are units I'd be rather hesitant to see much use.

On 3/9/2020 at 9:48 PM, Florete said:

You're asking someone who doesn't even usually use Aran and Nolan what I'll do without them.

You get Sothe at 1-2, Volug at 1-4, Zihark and Tauroneo at 1-6, Tormod and Muarim at 1-7, Nailah at 1-8, and BK at 1-9. 

To be fair, 3-6 is a pretty big blind ironman trap, but you do get BK a few turns in, so it's a matter of holding out long enough if the player comes in unprepared, then you get Tauroneo for 3-12 and 3-13.

Yes, those near-unkillable units are mostly part 4 exclusive, but that means getting to part 4 means you're practically guaranteed to reach the end of the game.

Sothe falls off later (and him dying ends the game too), Volug starts struggling by late part 1 (and is overrated anyhow imho), and the majority of the other units you listed are units I'd hesitate to use much.

To be frank, if the player neglected the Daein units to the point their only hope in 3-6 is holding out until Black Knight arrives, they're already up a creek without a paddle.

And getting there is the problem when Radiant Dawn puts the "Hell" in Early Game Hell; you have literally zero room for error in the early chapters, because you cannot allow ANYONE to die. Also, there's 1-9, where you have to keep Micaiah alive in a fog of war map. Where you get only one other unit. Yeah...

Edited by Shadow Mir

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I love Binding Blade and find it very under rated. That being said, it is very unfriendly to a Blind Ironman, for the reasons people have already said. Mostly ambush spawns. You get a lot of ‘replacement units’ but most of them aren’t very good.

Blazing Sword and Sacred Stones both seem pretty friendly for it to me. They are both easier (Eliwood Normal Mode (ENM) is very easy). They do not have ambush spawns. And they both give you powerful pre-promotes for free.

 

On 3/9/2020 at 10:53 PM, Florete said:

The better prepromotes in FE6 tend to be more difficult to recruit (Perceval, Douglas, Echidna, Klein), if a blind player even knows they can be recruited.

Why is Douglas being included as a “better prepromote”?

 

On 3/10/2020 at 6:57 AM, Shadow Mir said:

On the other hand, the lower quality of Binding Blade's units is always a concern; just how many of the pre-promoted units in BB are long-term material? All I can think of is Perceval.

Niime is very good. Yodel is good. Dayan isn’t bad. Klein isn’t bad. Cecilia is a good support unit. Echidna is okay. She’s great for the mid game but does fall off by the late game so she might not be “long-term material”. Same goes for Zealot actually. Miledy isn’t a pre-promote but she is a unit that joins automatically and has amazing base stats. You could promote her immediately and she would basically be a pre-promote.

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22 minutes ago, Whisky said:

Why is Douglas being included as a “better prepromote”?

Because the context was a normal mode blind ironman.

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41 minutes ago, Florete said:

Because the context was a normal mode blind ironman.

Does that context make him good? The first time I used him was on Normal Mode and I was entirely unimpressed. I like the purple armour though.

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8 minutes ago, Whisky said:

Does that context make him good? The first time I used him was on Normal Mode and I was entirely unimpressed. I like the purple armour though.

Honestly, I've never used him, I just figured his bulk could be helpful so I threw him in there.

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38 minutes ago, Florete said:

Honestly, I've never used him, I just figured his bulk could be helpful so I threw him in there.

I haven’t tried it, but he might be good against the hordes of Nomads in the Sacae route. He would probably have a hard time hitting them though.

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1 hour ago, Whisky said:

Does that context make him good? The first time I used him was on Normal Mode and I was entirely unimpressed. I like the purple armour though.

Yeah.  He's able to absorb a good amount of physical attacks, and can use silver weapons at base.  As long as you don't throw him at a bunch of mages, he'll be fine.  Sacae might be an issue since he's also slow.

---

For the question itself, Binding Blade isn't as friendly, because there's a lot of early hit rates that are unreliable.  It somewhat fixes itself later, though.

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7 minutes ago, eclipse said:

Sacae might be an issue since he's also slow.

Well Def is what he specializes in so shouldn’t he take very little to no damage from the Nomads? Nomads don’t have very high Atk. Getting doubled shouldn’t matter much. His offense might not be good though.

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1 minute ago, Whisky said:

Well Def is what he specializes in so shouldn’t he take very little to no damage from the Nomads? Nomads don’t have very high Atk. Getting doubled shouldn’t matter much. His offense might not be good though.

Getting doubled is technically double the damage.  IIRC not all of them hit like wet noodles.

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23 minutes ago, eclipse said:

Getting doubled is technically double the damage.  IIRC not all of them hit like wet noodles.

According to the HM Enemy Stats thread, Nomads usually have 17-20 Atk, with a few of them having 21 Atk. Douglas has a base Def of 20 so he will take no damage from most Nomads and 2 damage from a few of them with doubling. Nomadic Troopers have between 23-25 Atk with a Steel Sword, so with weapon triangle, the most damage they can do is 8, with most doing less.

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5 minutes ago, Whisky said:

According to the HM Enemy Stats thread, Nomads usually have 17-20 Atk, with a few of them having 21 Atk. Douglas has a base Def of 20 so he will take no damage from most Nomads and 2 damage from a few of them with doubling. Nomadic Troopers have between 23-25 Atk with a Steel Sword, so with weapon triangle, the most damage they can do is 8, with most doing less.

Sacae's problems are actually threefold.  The first is that Nomads and their ilk speedy and mobile, so landing hits on them is a pain in the neck, and you're probably not going to ORKO even if Douglas is there to absorb them.  The second is that Horseslayers won't stop them.  The third is that nomads aren't the only thing you'll face in Sacae - while the nomads will try to kill you with paper cuts, they'll be accompanied by things that hurt.

At least Ilia's nice enough to spawn enemies that take critical damage from a weapon type!

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