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Golden Deer no recruit. Good or Bad idea ?

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5 hours ago, Myssdii said:

By the timeskip, it's highly probable that units like Ignatz or Claude have higher Authority than Byleth (at least Ignatz since most of his strength comes from his rallies that are unlocked with Authority). The only skill you might miss is Swords, I'd say, but Byleth can easily level it up on his/her own.
You won't have multiple trainings per week for every skill without a lot of additional units, but you should get some at least between Seteth and the students.

Yeah it's certainly possible - in general though I don't expect any unit to get a higher rank during Part 1 and early Part 2 than Byleth in Byleth's personal goals, just because Byleth is doing a lot of heavy lifting particularly in the early game, and their constant forced deployment means they see extra combat (especially in places like Sothis' paralogue). Either way A+ is very achievable without teaching, and Byleth is happy getting most of that WEXP from combat in Part 2 anyway. But if you're attempting for anything higher than A+ for Byleth, even the small boosts teaching gives you become appreciated, and also in quite short supply. 

6 minutes ago, Myssdii said:

I'd say the GD is probably the easiest house for Maddening just because of their natural affinity for bows and riding/flying. They have a lot of map control through early B-rank Warp with Lysithea and Claude's Encloser + unique battalion post-timeskip (as well as having the only class that combines flying + Bowfaire), debuffs on multiple units (Ignatz, Hilda and Leonie) and early Rally Speed (with the right set-up, you can unlock it for chapter 2).

Completely second this sentiment. VW was probably the easiest route overall for me. 

Edited by haarhaarhaar

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54 minutes ago, haarhaarhaar said:

Yeah it's certainly possible - in general though I don't expect any unit to get a higher rank during Part 1 and early Part 2 than Byleth in Byleth's personal goals, just because Byleth is doing a lot of heavy lifting particularly in the early game, and their constant forced deployment means they see extra combat (especially in places like Sothis' paralogue).

My experience is the opposite: without training, Byleth falls behind others going for the same goals, because s/he misses out on weekly instruction and tutoring, which provide a huge amount of skill exp, far more than any difference in combat can possibly make up for.

Basically, they need faculty training to keep up, meaning that other students can tutor him/her until s/he is indeed caught up. You really only need staff members for further tutoring if you're trying to get Byleth ahead on certain skills nobody else is training in (e.g. if you're making Byleth your only sword-user).

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5 hours ago, Myssdii said:

Ignatz is a Maddening beast, many people were ditching him as bad before doing a GD maddening run ^^

This is completely ass-backwards. How in the seven hells do you go from struggling to distinguish yourself on hard to actually being good in Maddening? That just does not compute; logically, if you struggle on hard, a harder difficulty would just make you look even worse. Especially when your few good points are shared with superior characters both in-house and out-of-house (I'd be better served using Annette for rallies since she can actually combine strength and speed [getting the other at S authority doesn't count], and Hilda and Leonie can debuff as well).

5 hours ago, Myssdii said:

His rallies and debuffs become much more stronger in Maddening, while they seem mostly unnecessary in Normal and Hard as most units can double or one shot with ease. The fact that he gets Rally Speed at D rank in a game were all enemies have extremely boosted stats is amazing to avoid getting doubled early on. He's amazing in the beginning of the run and stays relevant because of how strong bows and Snipers are in this game.

See above. Also, pretty much anyone can do Hunter's Volley Sniper, and odds are they'll do it better than Ignatz.

5 hours ago, Myssdii said:

Lorenz is an nice unit, with a pretty unique niche of being a good mixed attacker (capable of dealing magic and physical damage). He's much more complicated to use than most, and is way better as a Paladin than a pure mage so you can benefit from extra movement and canto. There is a topic on Lorenz somewhere where I posted my advice on him, so I won't do it here as it's not the main topic ^^

I don't know about you, but I tend to find mixed attackers unimpressive because odds are they pale in both physical and magic prowess compared to specialists; ergo, I have little reason to send Lorenz at an enemy when odds are very high someone else can do it better than him. About the only exceptions to this (in the entire series, mind you) are.... Robin. And Corrin.

5 hours ago, haarhaarhaar said:

Yeah it's certainly possible - in general though I don't expect any unit to get a higher rank during Part 1 and early Part 2 than Byleth in Byleth's personal goals, just because Byleth is doing a lot of heavy lifting particularly in the early game, and their constant forced deployment means they see extra combat (especially in places like Sothis' paralogue). Either way A+ is very achievable without teaching, and Byleth is happy getting most of that WEXP from combat in Part 2 anyway. But if you're attempting for anything higher than A+ for Byleth, even the small boosts teaching gives you become appreciated, and also in quite short supply. 

Personally, I'd say I find it just the opposite - because they can't benefit from tutoring, they'll need faculty training to keep up.

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4 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

This is completely ass-backwards. How in the seven hells do you go from struggling to distinguish yourself on hard to actually being good in Maddening? That just does not compute; logically, if you struggle on hard, a harder difficulty would just make you look even worse. Especially when your few good points are shared with superior characters both in-house and out-of-house (I'd be better served using Annette for rallies since she can actually combine strength and speed [getting the other at S authority doesn't count], and Hilda and Leonie can debuff as well).

The first major point is that buffs/debuffs are more important on Maddening, thanks to higher enemy stats. Ignatz is generally considered best at this because a) rally speed at D Authority is really damn good (and while Annette gets it at C+ and has rally strength at base, you have to recruit her to Golden Deer if you want that, which won't help you in the first few chapters when you really need it- or at all in the context of a no-recruit run.) b) Ignatz can combine strength and defence debuffs with Break Shot and his budding talent- Seal speed on Hilda + Shatter Slash is nice too, but the strength debuff from Ignatz is just so helpful. Plus Hilda is probably better suited for taking advantage of Ignatz's debuffs and dealing damage herself, and Leonie only learns Break Shot anyway. And c) his personal skill helps with actually landing those debuffs consistently, which is great on Maddening. 

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2 hours ago, Anathaco said:

The first major point is that buffs/debuffs are more important on Maddening, thanks to higher enemy stats. Ignatz is generally considered best at this because a) rally speed at D Authority is really damn good (and while Annette gets it at C+ and has rally strength at base, you have to recruit her to Golden Deer if you want that, which won't help you in the first few chapters when you really need it- or at all in the context of a no-recruit run.) b) Ignatz can combine strength and defence debuffs with Break Shot and his budding talent- Seal speed on Hilda + Shatter Slash is nice too, but the strength debuff from Ignatz is just so helpful. Plus Hilda is probably better suited for taking advantage of Ignatz's debuffs and dealing damage herself, and Leonie only learns Break Shot anyway. And c) his personal skill helps with actually landing those debuffs consistently, which is great on Maddening. 

Pretty much second to everything that was said: Ignatz gets a lot of useful tools for early game Maddening, which is usually the hardest part because no unit, not even the strongest ones, can deal with enemies' inflated stats in the starting chapters. And scales really well later because of Hunter's Volley easy access, combined with his naturally high crit rate, to deal some pretty good damage.

Other characters with better growths will probably do more damage with HV as Sniper in mid/late game, but they don't bring Ignatz's utility in the early game.

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I'm about to start my first GD run on maddening as well and personally will be sticking with the house units, only actively recruiting paralogue related characters: Ferdinand, and Linhardt. Knights and Church characters are fair game and I'm happy to recruit anyone who wants to join without me putting in significant effort just to take advantage of the items they bring (bullions, seals, etc.) but plan on using all the house units for combat plus 1-3 for a full team. That's just because I enjoy finding whatever thing each character is good at and don't believe in such a thing as 'bad' units, only 'good/decent' and 'better' units. If there is a genuinely bad unit who can't even fill a useful niche then I'd consider that poor game design from the developers but I'll give them benefit of the doubt going in. That's just me though.

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19 hours ago, Owns said:

I enjoy finding whatever thing each character is good at and don't believe in such a thing as 'bad' units, only 'good/decent' and 'better' units.

No offense, but honestly, I think that kind of thinking is naive. There are some units in these games that are just not worth it, is how I see it. For example, Wendy in Binding Blade. Between her class, her joining underleveled, and the fact that the game is unkind to armored knights in general, it's really obvious she was not set up to succeed.

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5 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

No offense, but honestly, I think that kind of thinking is naive. There are some units in these games that are just not worth it, is how I see it. For example, Wendy in Binding Blade. Between her class, her joining underleveled, and the fact that the game is unkind to armored knights in general, it's really obvious she was not set up to succeed.

I think that can be the case in some FE games, but 3H isn't one of them. This is because even mild amounts of favouritism (assuming the unit isn't RNG-screwed also) can make your unit of choice better than other, normally more optimal, units that occupy the same niche. 

In other FE titles, there are more prescriptive rules about recruitment, deployment, training and party role that mean that some characters inevitably get short shrift. But 3H gives you an unprecedented amount of freedom as to what a unit can be built to do, as well as the ability to pull it off, thanks to the relative availability of stat boosters (especially if you have the DLC), the teaching system, and even the advantages of NG+. Provided that you care enough about using a particular unit, everybody is usable or even good. On top of that, you do not need an 'optimal' team in order to complete any run, even on Maddening. It'll be more difficult for sure, but there's no unit whose continued deployment will make maps impossible or unreasonably difficult, like there are in previous titles.

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13 hours ago, haarhaarhaar said:

I think that can be the case in some FE games, but 3H isn't one of them. This is because even mild amounts of favouritism (assuming the unit isn't RNG-screwed also) can make your unit of choice better than other, normally more optimal, units that occupy the same niche. 

In other FE titles, there are more prescriptive rules about recruitment, deployment, training and party role that mean that some characters inevitably get short shrift. But 3H gives you an unprecedented amount of freedom as to what a unit can be built to do, as well as the ability to pull it off, thanks to the relative availability of stat boosters (especially if you have the DLC), the teaching system, and even the advantages of NG+. Provided that you care enough about using a particular unit, everybody is usable or even good. On top of that, you do not need an 'optimal' team in order to complete any run, even on Maddening. It'll be more difficult for sure, but there's no unit whose continued deployment will make maps impossible or unreasonably difficult, like there are in previous titles.

Sorry, but I can't buy into that. Even Awakening, for how much people tout it for having a cast where pretty much anyone can be OP, still has a unit that is much more trouble than he's worth. Going back to this game, I find it very very hard to justify using, say, Raphael when he requires far more effort than pretty much anyone else to become decent; it's like trying to raise Larvesta or Deino in Pokemon, except with it coming much earlier.

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16 minutes ago, Shadow Mir said:

Sorry, but I can't buy into that. Even Awakening, for how much people tout it for having a cast where pretty much anyone can be OP, still has a unit that is much more trouble than he's worth. Going back to this game, I find it very very hard to justify using, say, Raphael when he requires far more effort than pretty much anyone else to become decent; it's like trying to raise Larvesta or Deino in Pokemon, except with it coming much earlier.

I mean, Raphael can fairly easily become a good grappler or warmaster if he masters them. Both classes only really require good strength and maybe good bulk in the case of warmaster, which are his strong points anyway.

And getting him there either requires you to actively use him in your party when most of your units aren't amazing yet, and he at least hits harder than most, or have him as an adjutant instead to get him to lvl 20, and go crazy in Grappler afterwards (combining fistfaire with deathblow and a high strength stat is pretty insane).

And otherwise he's the best bet GD has for a good armor knight/Fortress knight as well (they can actually take hits pretty well even in Maddening if you give them a good battelion and shield for it).

Of course, none of these make him an amazing unit, and yes there's other units who can do the things he does better with similar investment. But it's not like using him instead of those other units is going to make the game that much more difficult for you.

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@Shadow Mir Raphael may be one of the weaker units in this game, but he's nowhere near the level of the weakest characters in Binding Blade. Unlike them he does not join extremely underlevelled. As other people posting here have mentioned he does have legitimate advantages (str, def, and HP are all the highest in his own house) and he is at worst quite usable, as evidenced by the fact that over the last few months I feel like you have argued with literally dozens of people who have used him and find him usable. At a certain point you should probably accept that maybe all these people may have a point, and that you aren't just arguing against a large pack of idiots at Serenes Forest. This doesn't mean you have to call Raphael good or that you yourself have to use him, ever, but you should accept that he's not so terrible that you need to caution everyone else from touching him.

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2 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

Sorry, but I can't buy into that. Even Awakening, for how much people tout it for having a cast where pretty much anyone can be OP, still has a unit that is much more trouble than he's worth. Going back to this game, I find it very very hard to justify using, say, Raphael when he requires far more effort than pretty much anyone else to become decent; it's like trying to raise Larvesta or Deino in Pokemon, except with it coming much earlier.

In addition to what others have said, it’s not about how justifiable it is to raise a unit, it’s about how much effort you’re willing to put into a character you like to make them work. Raphael may be inferior to a lot of other characters in the game, or require more effort to be decent, but if you want to use him you can make him good, if not one of the best characters in your army. Favouritism is one hell of a drug, especially in a game as customisable as 3H.

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"Too much effort" is a nonsense criticism in a game where literally everyone takes effort to raise to self sufficiency. Do you think Edel hops on a Wyvern from chapter 1? Training units in this game is a meticulous process no matter who you're talking about except Byleth and maybe early Catherine because lmao bases. Early on it is all about funneling kills into who you're using long term.

Back on topic, you'll be fine. If Mangs can make it through Maddening with Lorenz and Raphael, anyone can. The Deer cover a lot of bases in their core group.

A word on Ignatz:  I have found him to get kills easily simply because there were time he was the most reliable (read:  accurate) person to get a kill in a lot of situations. Having an authority boon means he is likely able to equip stronger battalions earlier than everyone else, which narrows the offensive gap. Master Archer and he becomes without a doubt the most accurate unit in the game, and that's a flat +40 hit to whatever strong gambit he has equipped due to his high authority. He's honestly pretty damn good. Never sleep on a unit with an authority boon, that shit is broken in ways that doesn't show on paper. It is also what holds someone like Hilda back, despite the strengths she has at a glance.

I would recommend early recruit Catherine for C5 Thunderbrand. Ignatz has a sword boon and hit +20 so he would probably be good with it lmao, but in general it is nice to have.

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8 hours ago, Ownagepuffs said:

Training units in this game is a meticulous process no matter who you're talking about except Byleth and maybe early Catherine because lmao bases. Early on it is all about funneling kills into who you're using long term.

While I largely agree with you, this isn't really totally fair. If Byleth's bases are good enough to not need meticulous training, then the same is true of Edelgard, who has essentially identical bases, and Dimitri who is only barely worse, and arguably Claude and Felix. That said, I do agree that everyone in this game needs proper building to remain relevant long-term, even the ones with good starts.

 

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4 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

While I largely agree with you, this isn't really totally fair. If Byleth's bases are good enough to not need meticulous training, then the same is true of Edelgard, who has essentially identical bases, and Dimitri who is only barely worse, and arguably Claude and Felix. That said, I do agree that everyone in this game needs proper building to remain relevant long-term, even the ones with good starts.

 

Yeah, I stepped a line trying to make the comparison. You got me there.

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Anyways, so...

@drattakbowser did you get a good idea of what the answer is to your original question. I think it's totally doable, especially if you're playing on hard/normal mode. If you want build ideas, I'm sure all of us would be happy to contribute to that as well. If you have the DLC classes too, I'm sure there will be more than enough tools in your disposal to make this force unstoppable.

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Yes, I think is a good idea Golden Deer without recruitment. I do it in maddening. My first run of Golden Deer I just recruit Ingrid, Alois, Shamir and Cyril. Have no regrets on Blue Lions students dead and same in Black Eagle. Bernadetta, Ingrid, Mercedes and Dorothea make me scary for death (Japanese voice). Petra death is logical and I dislike her because she is a coward in the Gronder Field and can't let you pass to Edelgard. Ingrid death is super dark for me.

All route :

Characters I love to kill : Edelgard , Hubert , Petra , Dimitri , Claude and Cyril.

Characters I hate to kill : Bernadetta, Dorothea, Ingrid, Mercedes, Ignatz, Lysithea and Hilda.

Edited by drattakbowser

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On 7/20/2020 at 7:42 AM, Bartozio said:

I mean, Raphael can fairly easily become a good grappler or warmaster if he masters them. Both classes only really require good strength and maybe good bulk in the case of warmaster, which are his strong points anyway.

And getting him there either requires you to actively use him in your party when most of your units aren't amazing yet, and he at least hits harder than most, or have him as an adjutant instead to get him to lvl 20, and go crazy in Grappler afterwards (combining fistfaire with deathblow and a high strength stat is pretty insane).

And otherwise he's the best bet GD has for a good armor knight/Fortress knight as well (they can actually take hits pretty well even in Maddening if you give them a good battelion and shield for it).

Of course, none of these make him an amazing unit, and yes there's other units who can do the things he does better with similar investment. But it's not like using him instead of those other units is going to make the game that much more difficult for you.

That goes back into needing more effort than other units - either way, this is gonna take over half the game AT LEAST, while most other units actually start to shine much earlier. I don't know about you, but that's too damn long to be dragging him along. Especially in the case of War Master; as I see it, needing to master a Master tier class should NOT be needed for someone to be useful, EVER.

He does hit hard, at least, but that doesn't mean much when he's unreliable. Besides, by that point, that's something pretty much any other physical unit can do, except with weapons that don't top out at only 4 might.

I always thought that enemies on Maddening eventually get strong enough that even a Fortress Knight would get significantly dented; don't they? It doesn't help that one of the most defensive shields (the Aegis Shield) damages crestless units, which some of the units who could make great use of it are.

Maybe not, but I still find it hard to justify using him when most everyone else requires less effort to become good than he does.

On 7/20/2020 at 8:53 AM, Dark Holy Elf said:

@Shadow Mir Raphael may be one of the weaker units in this game, but he's nowhere near the level of the weakest characters in Binding Blade. Unlike them he does not join extremely underlevelled. As other people posting here have mentioned he does have legitimate advantages (str, def, and HP are all the highest in his own house) and he is at worst quite usable, as evidenced by the fact that over the last few months I feel like you have argued with literally dozens of people who have used him and find him usable. At a certain point you should probably accept that maybe all these people may have a point, and that you aren't just arguing against a large pack of idiots at Serenes Forest. This doesn't mean you have to call Raphael good or that you yourself have to use him, ever, but you should accept that he's not so terrible that you need to caution everyone else from touching him.

I brought Wendy up more to establish that there is such a thing as a bad unit in this series than anything else. Anyway, imho, high availability doesn't do you much good when you suck or otherwise are actively dragging the team down (Arthur in Fates, Donnel, etc. prove you can join early and still be an absolute stinker). He does have some legitimate advantages, but thanks to crippling overspecialization (ergo, the fact that pretty much everything aside from his strength, defense, and HP is shit), those advantages aren't so helpful for him, now are they? If you're slow to the point of getting doubled by almost everything, which Raphael is, you'd need much more HP and defense than other units who are less defensive but faster to compensate. I don't see Raphael getting there any time soon without going into Fortress Knight, which he admittedly excels in (of course, Fortress Knight isn't exactly a well-liked class among people here on SF, given how frequently I see it bashed). However, in that case he will have trouble reaching the frontlines. So long story short, we have a one-trick Ponyta that not only struggles to do the one thing he's good at, he's outclassed at it anyway (I ain't gonna lie - in my first run I found a freshly recruited Ingrid to be a MASSIVE improvement over Raphael, even in tanking), which I consider very damning.

23 hours ago, Ownagepuffs said:

"Too much effort" is a nonsense criticism in a game where literally everyone takes effort to raise to self sufficiency. Do you think Edel hops on a Wyvern from chapter 1? Training units in this game is a meticulous process no matter who you're talking about except Byleth and maybe early Catherine because lmao bases. Early on it is all about funneling kills into who you're using long term.

It's less "too much effort" and more "too much effort compared to damn near everyone else". I honestly find Raphael to be more like a Larvesta or Deino in terms of Pokemon (or at least, one that you can get early) - all of them take a shitload of effort to become good (admittedly, this might be an exaggerated analogy, but still). That said, while everyone needs effort put into them to be useful, these games tend to punish units that start behind the curve and reward units that start ahead of it. Also, Raphael's growths are such that even with the fact that he, like most characters [Byleth, the students, Flayn and Cyril], is guaranteed at least two stats per level up, he STILL struggles to stay relevant. Such is what happens when you overspecialize. In the end, the question is, why in the seven hells would I bother with Raphael when, say, Felix can do what he can do with less effort???

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10 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

I always thought that enemies on Maddening eventually get strong enough that even a Fortress Knight would get significantly dented; don't they?

It depends on the enemy. It was pretty funny watching brawlers hit Gilbert (as a Great Knight) x4 with multiple crits and 0 damage.

Here's Dedue in the final chapter (I censored the final boss to avoid spoilers) showing everyone that he's actually the real monster of Fodlan, not those creststone-bearing wanna-be's:

1662079886_finalbattlesmall.thumb.jpg.82b5a53841463048187a3efaf6e3668f.jpg

You can see he can comfortably take down mages as well with gauntlets if he can get in range without being hit first (positioning combat arts or Stride help here). I typically avoid mages with any low res characters, but just to show it can be done. And in case you were wondering, he did land his crit against the final boss in that first snapshot (83 hit = 98 true hit and at those crit values he crits practically every time).

Here's a couple more examples from earlier in the game against a random rider and another against Leonie:

2140905541_otherexamples-small.jpg.1d7b2e352a919d6b8b91c4a32c029e8d.jpg

 

So to answer your question of whether they take signifcant damage on maddening: is 0-16 damage significant? Not really when your max hp is 78. And this isn't even an armored class, he's a war master here. Great Knight would be -5 damage per hit, Fort Knight would be -9 from these values.

As for Raphael, he has almost the same stats as Dedue. Raphael has slightly higher HP and slightly lower Def growths. The biggest difference is in their personal abilities, Dedue's wait grants him +4 def which is significant when you get doubled but nothing that would make Raph die in any of these examples where Dedue wouldn't. There's no reason why Raph can't get roughly these same stats as you're seeing here. This is a typical War Master route (up the axe classes), no real heavy investment or favoritism involved. Having started my GD maddening run, Raph is easily one of their strongest units in the early game too.

Edited by Owns
minor formatting

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3 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

That goes back into needing more effort than other units - either way, this is gonna take over half the game AT LEAST, while most other units actually start to shine much earlier. I don't know about you, but that's too damn long to be dragging him along. Especially in the case of War Master; as I see it, needing to master a Master tier class should NOT be needed for someone to be useful, EVER.

Sure, but he can just get the through armor knight and Fortress knight/Grappler. My main point is that he doesn't need more investment to be a good war master than anyone else.

3 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

He does hit hard, at least, but that doesn't mean much when he's unreliable. Besides, by that point, that's something pretty much any other physical unit can do, except with weapons that don't top out at only 4 might.

Hitting twice when you have high strength, death blow and a faire skill does more damage than hitting once. A forged silver lance has 14 mt, which is only a difference of 10 mt. Just getting to apply Death Blow and Fist Faire twice compensates for that difference. So unless other units are doubling, they're doing less damage than Raphael.

I will grant you that most units can be build to one round most enemies. My main point though, is that Raphael isn't worse at doing it.

3 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

I always thought that enemies on Maddening eventually get strong enough that even a Fortress Knight would get significantly dented; don't they? It doesn't help that one of the most defensive shields (the Aegis Shield) damages crestless units, which some of the units who could make great use of it are.

Maybe not, but I still find it hard to justify using him when most everyone else requires less effort to become good than he does.

I brought Wendy up more to establish that there is such a thing as a bad unit in this series than anything else. Anyway, imho, high availability doesn't do you much good when you suck or otherwise are actively dragging the team down (Arthur in Fates, Donnel, etc. prove you can join early and still be an absolute stinker). He does have some legitimate advantages, but thanks to crippling overspecialization (ergo, the fact that pretty much everything aside from his strength, defense, and HP is shit), those advantages aren't so helpful for him, now are they? If you're slow to the point of getting doubled by almost everything, which Raphael is, you'd need much more HP and defense than other units who are less defensive but faster to compensate. I don't see Raphael getting there any time soon without going into Fortress Knight, which he admittedly excels in (of course, Fortress Knight isn't exactly a well-liked class among people here on SF, given how frequently I see it bashed). However, in that case he will have trouble reaching the frontlines. So long story short, we have a one-trick Ponyta that not only struggles to do the one thing he's good at, he's outclassed at it anyway (I ain't gonna lie - in my first run I found a freshly recruited Ingrid to be a MASSIVE improvement over Raphael, even in tanking), which I consider very damning.

It's less "too much effort" and more "too much effort compared to damn near everyone else". I honestly find Raphael to be more like a Larvesta or Deino in terms of Pokemon (or at least, one that you can get early) - all of them take a shitload of effort to become good (admittedly, this might be an exaggerated analogy, but still). That said, while everyone needs effort put into them to be useful, these games tend to punish units that start behind the curve and reward units that start ahead of it. Also, Raphael's growths are such that even with the fact that he, like most characters [Byleth, the students, Flayn and Cyril], is guaranteed at least two stats per level up, he STILL struggles to stay relevant. Such is what happens when you overspecialize. In the end, the question is, why in the seven hells would I bother with Raphael when, say, Felix can do what he can do with less effort???

I'm honestly not sure if we're arguing about the same thing at this point. Yeah, in terms of investment needed vs what you get in return, Raphael comes out as one of the worst units in this game. But if that alone is an argument for not using him, does that mean you basically use the same students for every run?

Raphael isn't going to be part of any optimal run in any route imo (at best you use him when you don't have alternatives to deploy and make him somewhat usuable in GD for chapter 13, then bench him afterwards). But using him isn't a huge deteriment to your team. It's less like using Wendy and more like using Noah over Alan or Lance. It's not optimal, but it's not going to make the game a huge pain to clear either.

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2 hours ago, Bartozio said:

I'm honestly not sure if we're arguing about the same thing at this point.

This Raph tangent doesn't actually show or prove that "some units aren't worth it", which was @Shadow Mir's original point (and why you might be getting tonal whiplash from this argument). I spend an age below basically just saying that the form of Shadow Mir's argument doesn't fit its conclusion and that every unit in 3H is worth using. 

Spoiler

Shadow Mir's arguments have so far only attempted to show that Raphael is worse in battle than others in the game. In fairness to them, the point that started the Raph debate was "I find it very hard to justify using Raphael". Presumably they understand that some players, like Raphael lovers, can very easily find justification for using Raphael. Nonetheless they are attempting to argue that Raphael is bad, and that all natural replacements to him are preferred. Which I suppose is an argument that can be had (although it's been had before on this forum), and isn't totally indefensible, but it's a bit different from their original argument. 

Shadow Mir's original claim was "some units are just not worth it" and that this claim applied to 3H. If they genuinely meant that, then they should have advocated that you'd be better off benching the units who "aren't worth it" for the entirety of the run, even if you don't have a replacement (because why deploy them at all if they aren't worth it?). Assuming it doesn't matter if they die, and that if you really want their paralogue you can protect them for its duration, then the playthrough will still be clearable and actually you'll have more resources to dedicate to everyone else. Thing is, you can treat any unit like that. In fact, you probably don't need more than Byleth + 4 units to clear a Maddening playthrough with relative ease, and you'll only need the other guys to help with clearing complex objectives (like multi-area defense), barrier breaking, and linked attacks. There genuinely is a kinda nihilist case for the claim "some units just aren't worth it" because low-manning as a tactic is so game-breaking - some units might be better suited to it than others, but it doesn't really matter because if you pump enough resources into anyone they'll be good enough to pull it off, and you'll quickly end up cheesing maps even on Maddening.

But Shadow Mir didn't make that argument, and it wouldn't have been enough anyway. If all this stuff about Raphael being worse in battle than other characters or having a higher build cost was supposed to show that he is a unit that isn't 'worth it', then that's an insufficient argument for its purposes. Because Shadow Mir actually needs to show that your army is always better off having an empty deployment slot than having Raphael (or any 'not-worth-it' unit) fill it. Unless an empty deployment slot is worth as much or more than the unit in all cases, then the argument that a unit isn't worth using fails. And this is an argument uniquely difficult to make for 3H, because of the freedom you have in building your army, and because recruitment in this game works so differently to previous titles.

In previous FE titles, a combination of factors, including late recruitment and limited deployment, mean that certain units are extremely difficult to use well, and might even impact your experience of the run quite negatively. However, 3H mitigates most, if not all, of these factors thanks to early recruitment for nearly everyone (excluding certain characters on SS, Alois, Seteth, Gilbert and Jeritza), allowing characters to use most available classes and weapons, very few limitations on deployment, and the plentiful availability of stat boosters that allow you to fix/enhance any unit you choose. Speaking of deployment, no 3H playthrough forces you to recruit more units than can be deployed at the end - I'm not sure if that's a first in FE, or just the way I play these games, but normally in FE titles you end up with more units than it's reasonable to deploy. This can happen in 3H too, but it's entirely the choice of the player. This means that competition for deployment slots is not a given. And that drastically changes what it means for a unit to be worthless in 3H - unlike other games which give you more characters in an attempt to take into account the likelihood of unit death, 3H gambles on the fact that players will invest in a core set of units who they will take through the whole game.

Let's consider an example of how this works in practice.

This thread's OP's proposed run has 11 total characters, one of whom joins in Ch.7, the other in Ch.12. That means that Raphael (and everyone except Seteth/Flayn) is guaranteed an available deployment slot in the vast majority of available battles from the Red Canyon up till Ch. 13. In the early game, you are intensely lacking in firepower, and have a decent chance of being overwhelmed (where a single or multiple pods of enemies survive Player Phase despite your army engaging them). An empty deployment slot will always deal 0 damage. Raphael (or anyone) is likely, over the course of Part 1, to deal more than 0 damage.

The final two battles of the game in VW and the other church routes (just the endgame for CF) increase your deployment slots to 12. Unlike the early game, it isn't obviously imperative that you fill these because your army as a whole will be a lot stronger. However, I only need to show that the 11th unit benefits your army's performance in some way, shape, or form in these last two chapters, moreso than an empty deployment slot, to make a sufficient argument for their inclusion. And in this scenario, your 11th unit can be used as a spare for support gambits like Stride, or for rallies. If you bother to build them during Part 2 (even as a permanent adjutant with a Knowledge Gem) they might even deal damage that an empty deployment slot would not. Or, unless there is some personal rule that forces you to keep recruited units alive, you can just use them as disposable bait. All things an empty deployment slot can't do, which all show that these units are worth using.  

This example, and its conclusions, can be adapted for similar no-optional-recruit runs on AM/CF/SS, meaning it applies straightforwardly to 32/40 playable units. 

Of the 8 units that are optional on all routes, there is no 'need' to use them, but if you do use them it will only be because you think they are more worthwhile than the 11/12 naturally available on your route of choice. But their relative utility still does not diminish the absolute worth of in-house units - just because Balthus is better than Raph, does not mean Raph is worse than no-one being deployed. And this latter is always the relevant comparison for worth vs. worthlessness.

Of course, instead of the above example, I could choose any number of unique examples with arbitrary self-imposed rules about who to deploy, with the result that only a maximum of 12 units are allowed anyway (for example, only lord + units with Faith proficiency). The point remains the same - every unit becomes worth using the moment the player decides they are. Concerns about best output are of course interesting, but not the sole deciding factor in every run. 

Now, if Shadow Mir wanted to make the more moderate claim that Raph is crap, or just less-than-optimal, then they should move it to a new thread. But if they genuinely wanted to defend the idea that some units in 3H aren't worth it, then they need to try a lot harder.

 

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On 7/21/2020 at 1:25 PM, Owns said:

It depends on the enemy. It was pretty funny watching brawlers hit Gilbert (as a Great Knight) x4 with multiple crits and 0 damage.

Here's Dedue in the final chapter (I censored the final boss to avoid spoilers) showing everyone that he's actually the real monster of Fodlan, not those creststone-bearing wanna-be's:

1662079886_finalbattlesmall.thumb.jpg.82b5a53841463048187a3efaf6e3668f.jpg

You can see he can comfortably take down mages as well with gauntlets if he can get in range without being hit first (positioning combat arts or Stride help here). I typically avoid mages with any low res characters, but just to show it can be done. And in case you were wondering, he did land his crit against the final boss in that first snapshot (83 hit = 98 true hit and at those crit values he crits practically every time).

Here's a couple more examples from earlier in the game against a random rider and another against Leonie:

2140905541_otherexamples-small.jpg.1d7b2e352a919d6b8b91c4a32c029e8d.jpg

 

So to answer your question of whether they take signifcant damage on maddening: is 0-16 damage significant? Not really when your max hp is 78. And this isn't even an armored class, he's a war master here. Great Knight would be -5 damage per hit, Fort Knight would be -9 from these values.

As for Raphael, he has almost the same stats as Dedue. Raphael has slightly higher HP and slightly lower Def growths. The biggest difference is in their personal abilities, Dedue's wait grants him +4 def which is significant when you get doubled but nothing that would make Raph die in any of these examples where Dedue wouldn't. There's no reason why Raph can't get roughly these same stats as you're seeing here. This is a typical War Master route (up the axe classes), no real heavy investment or favoritism involved. Having started my GD maddening run, Raph is easily one of their strongest units in the early game too.

Was this with stat boosters? Anyway, I'd agree that brawlers and grapplers would be easy to reduce to nothing or almost nothing (of course, when you use weapons that only have 4 might at most...)

If that 16 is in one hit, I might consider that cause for concern.

On the other hand, Raph has worse everything than Dedue; his personal is pretty much useless, his base stats are worse across the board except for one point of luck, and his exclusive combat arts are nothing to write home about either (Wild Abandon, Monster Crusher, and Draining Blow are iffy at best to worthless at worst). The fact that he's taking 5 more points of damage per hit compared to Dedue is also very concerning, considering he'll probably never get out of always being doubled. At a glance, it just feels like Raph is Dedue without the stuff that makes Dedue good, and with bupkis to compensate. Which makes me rather doubtful of your last statement. . . especially since about all the good I see brought up about Raphael is summed up in two words: Rally Strength.

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2 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

Was this with stat boosters?

Being my designated tank for that run, I gave Dedue most (but not all) of the Def stat boosters I got. HP boosters got spread around a bit, but he got a few too. Don't think I gave him any str boosters but possibly. No dlc-boosters though if that's what you mean.

I try to designate specific characters who will excel in a particular department and give them most of the stat boosters relating to that. But it isn't a hard rule I always follow. For example, if an str boost on a character will push them past the threshold to such that they won't lose another point of speed due to weight, then I give it to them for that. Similarly with Def, if I find an extra point or 2 of def is all a character needs to avoid dying from some enemies, then I might give them a couple, etc., etc. Towards the end though, I decided that Dedue's def was sufficient and started giving them to Felix and Sylvain instead to help them take hits more safely as well.

2 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

The fact that he's taking 5 more points of damage per hit compared to Dedue is also very concerning, considering he'll probably never get out of always being doubled. At a glance, it just feels like Raph is Dedue without the stuff that makes Dedue good, and with bupkis to compensate.

4 points, not 5 and that's only if Dedue waits, which I agree is important when it counts. If you want to really compare though, there is one big difference in Raph's favor which is that he doesn't have a weakness in Flying making Wyvern Lord attainable with a normal amount of investment. Edit: Not to say that Wyvern Lord is the best option for him, but it is an option.

2 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

Which makes me rather doubtful of your last statement. . . especially since about all the good I see brought up about Raphael is summed up in two words: Rally Strength.

In the end, I think different people have different approaches to the game and different opinions on what makes a character good/strong or not, etc. If you don't think Raphael is good I won't try to convince you otherwise. If however, you are interested in seeing how people made good use of him you need but ask. Not me though, this is my first GD run, I'm a newbie. At least not until I've done the whole route so I can have a better informed opinion. (But at least I've beaten NG Maddening before...)

Edited by Owns

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