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Barren

How would you change Swordmaster in Three Houses?

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It saddens me at times to say that Swordmaster is an underwhelming class to pick as a end game class but as it stands right now it is. I really like them too because they look pretty cool and they were at least in some games a crit stacking machine with good power too. The notable stat modifiers of Str +2, Dex +1 and Spd +4 are not bad. 25% HP growth, 10% Strength growth and 20% speed growth are also okay. But having 5 move when most other physical units have 6 - 8 move, some of which have canto and/or flight makes the swordmaster look like a beginner class. Not to mention that mastering the class just doesn't seem worth it either.

Astra is horribly butchered here since it's a CA that costs 9 points of weapon durability, has a -10 hit, strikes 5 times with each hit being 30% of your normal attack. Yes the only instance I can see is using a forged Wo Dao with it's absurd high crit chance and repairing it Black Sand Steel isn't really that bad so it is easy to do. But that's still expensive in the grand scheme of things.

 

So my question to everyone out there is what would you do to change the swordmaster class? How would you rebalance it or buff it?

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I’d definitely buff Astra a ton, so there’s a reason to actually stay in the class. 
 

Get rid of that -10 hit and raise the damage modifier to 60% instead of 30%. That way you do 300% of a normal attack with the full art, the same as fierce iron fist. At the very least this puts it on par with grappler as a class to end in.

Other than Astra sucking there’s not too much holding Swordmaster back I feel. There’s a lot more that can be done to make it better, but fixing Astra is the obvious first step.

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Most have touched on the Astra buffs, I'd also reduce the cost, 9 is still absurd comparing it to Hunter's Volley, on a class with the same move and better range.

As for move, most of the physical advanced classes have 5 move (only Assassin and Grappler have 6), so that doesn't annoy me so much comparing the 3H classes, but I feel that move is pretty wonky on some of these classes anyway. This might need general discussion, but that's just beyond fixing swordmaster.

A suggestion for their class abilities: give them sword avoid as an innate.

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I wouldn't change it, but instead have a better master class with sword proficiency. Something like an equivalent of a Trueblade from Tellius? They can get back the sword crit bonuses, and maybe a buffed version of 3H's astra. 
Or maybe for Bow Knight to require swords, and also give Swordfaire, so for the class to be more of a Nomadic Trooper equivalent?

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As others have said, buffing Astra is the most important thing they could do.

Personally, I feel Astra should account for the attacker's doubling ability. I know most combat arts don't, but this is Swordmaster, a speed focused class. I was thinking something like "3 hits of 50% damage. If the attacker's AS >= the target's AS+4, does 5 hits of 50% damage instead." This means the class is still better against things it can double, and the power of this CA is in the same general area of Hunter's Volley (weaker if it can't double, stronger if it can).

It's still an underwhelming class to be in compared to Assassin, so I think it could use something else too. I'm okay with it having 5 move (same as Warrior and Sniper) to emphasize that Assassin and Grappler are mobile. Perhaps an innate Avoid+10 would help.

 

Hero also badly needs to be fixed, but I'm less sure exactly what I'd do there. Improve its core stats and give it Axefaire, perhaps (and obviously remove the gender-lock).

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4 minutes ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

As others have said, buffing Astra is the most important thing they could do.

Personally, I feel Astra should account for the attacker's doubling ability. I know most combat arts don't, but this is Swordmaster, a speed focused class. I was thinking something like "3 hits of 50% damage. If the attacker's AS >= the target's AS+4, does 5 hits of 50% damage instead." This means the class is still better against things it can double, and the power of this CA is in the same general area of Hunter's Volley (weaker if it can't double, stronger if it can).

It's still an underwhelming class to be in compared to Assassin, so I think it could use something else too. I'm okay with it having 5 move (same as Warrior and Sniper) to emphasize that Assassin and Grappler are mobile. Perhaps an innate Avoid+10 would help.

 

Hero also badly needs to be fixed, but I'm less sure exactly what I'd do there. Improve its core stats and give it Axefaire, perhaps (and obviously remove the gender-lock).

Yea Astra seems to be the crux of the problem here. And you do have a point about Assassin and Grappler being unique with 6 move and avoiding terrain penalty. Though mastering Assassin (unless you're lucky with Lethality) isn't as rewarding as mastering Grappler for obvious reasons. Though I would still pick Assassin over Swordmaster because at least having a higher speed modifier keeps it from being doubled other than enemy Swordmasters and Falcon Knights. 

The Hero class definitely should not have been gender locked. That I would agree too. Having both Swordfaire and Axefaire could be interesting as well. Range options with Hand Axe, Short Axe, Tomahawk and Bolt Axe (albeit it is an unorthodox one) would give Hero some respite. Innate Vantage is fine since you could combine it with Battalion Wrath. Defiant Strength makes it feel a bit more complete despite not generally being favored due to the extreme requirement of being at 25% HP or less. But guard adjutants do exist so there is that.

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I think the biggest problem regarding Hero/Swordmaster/Assassin is that they are all so interchangeable, and having all in the advanced tier of classes makes that obvious.  So my big suggestion would be to make Swordmaster a Master tier class, along with some commensurate buffs.  This would provide the dual purposes of delineating the three endagme sword classes and solving the problem of a lack of Master tier sword classes.

Swordmaster (modified)

Requirements: S Sword

Abilities: Swordfaire, Swordfaire, Sword Crit+20

Movement: 6

Mastery Ability: Astra (Proc at Skill/2)

Mastery Art: Astra

Otherwise, you can keep all of the stat boosts and growth rates the same.  Heck, you even take off the strength stat bonus if you want to.  But nothing here is anything that isn't in the game already.  War Master already gets a general Crit+20, and Swordmaster is similar focused on crits; there's no reason it can't also get a crit+20.  The astra equipped ability would function akin to Lethality.  I could imagine it would be very enticing in combination with other abilities for more fun-oriented builds about high crit rates.  The extra point of movement would help them keep up with all the other mounted units, but it wouldn't get the terrain movement ability (as Swordmasters want to fight in the open instead of from the shadows).  And since the Combat Art Astra is so bad, I see no reason to take it away.  It doesn't really affect anything, so why get rid of it.

The only slightly weird thing might be seeing two copies of swordfaire as inherent class abilities (potentially allowing for 3 swordfaires with the equippable ability), but I think it tracks with a class that by archetype is all about dedication to swords and swordcraft, moreso than any other class in the game.  It's also why I'd be OK punting on any strength bonus for the class: You get +10 attack to sword attacks, but no bonus anywhere else.

Edited by SumG

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7 hours ago, Barren said:

The Hero class definitely should not have been gender locked. That I would agree too. Having both Swordfaire and Axefaire could be interesting as well. Range options with Hand Axe, Short Axe, Tomahawk and Bolt Axe (albeit it is an unorthodox one) would give Hero some respite. Innate Vantage is fine since you could combine it with Battalion Wrath. Defiant Strength makes it feel a bit more complete despite not generally being favored due to the extreme requirement of being at 25% HP or less. But guard adjutants do exist so there is that.

I agree that Hero should not have been gender locked, but I don't think Axefaire would make hand axes and such worth using over an Iron Bow+.

Edited by Shadow Mir

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A Hand Axe+ has 3 more might (with Axefaire) than an Iron Bow+, and if you're already using axes for their melee damage, then you probably already have Axe Prowess equipped, while Bow Prowess eats an extra skill slot. Unless you're going to set Curved Shot (or another bow combat art), I don't see much purpose for bows on a class with Axefaire, personally. Especially because you had to train axes just to unlock this class in the first place, while you may not have trained bows at all (quite a few of the characters with an axe boon have a bow bane).

10 hours ago, Barren said:

Innate Vantage is fine since you could combine it with Battalion Wrath.

I've never been impressed by Hero's innate Vantage. To really shine you want Wrath (Battalion Wrath can work, but I find maintaining two separate thresholds is finnicky; that may be just me), and anyway, it's possible to get Vantage as a skill in other ways. Hero saves you a skill slot if you were planning to use Vantage anyway, but that just means other classes pay a skill slot to have 1-3 extra move and better stats. Obviously a better Hero would make this slightly more tempting, but it's still a fairly niche advantage in my opinion.

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10 minutes ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

A Hand Axe+ has 3 more might (with Axefaire) than an Iron Bow+, and if you're already using axes for their melee damage, then you probably already have Axe Prowess equipped, while Bow Prowess eats an extra skill slot. Unless you're going to set Curved Shot (or another bow combat art), I don't see much purpose for bows on a class with Axefaire, personally. Especially because you had to train axes just to unlock this class in the first place, while you may not have trained bows at all (quite a few of the characters with an axe boon have a bow bane).

I've never been impressed by Hero's innate Vantage. To really shine you want Wrath (Battalion Wrath can work, but I find maintaining two separate thresholds is finnicky; that may be just me), and anyway, it's possible to get Vantage as a skill in other ways. Hero saves you a skill slot if you were planning to use Vantage anyway, but that just means other classes pay a skill slot to have 1-3 extra move and better stats. Obviously a better Hero would make this slightly more tempting, but it's still a fairly niche advantage in my opinion.

That is a good point. You would have to bring abilities from other classes to make it viable. And going to Hero where one could have chosen War Master or Wyvern Lord instead feels like a step backwards

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1. Swordmaster now has 6 move, with the usual Forest penalties. I'd do the same for Warrior, Hero, and (maybe) Sniper.

2. Astra now inflicts -5 physical attack, but otherwise each hit does full damage. If I'm spending 9 durability, this should be a player-phase delete button.

3. Swordmasters are supposed to be evasive, right? Give the class Avoid+10. I'd also axe Avoid+10 from the fliers, but that's its own discussion. 

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6 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

1. Swordmaster now has 6 move, with the usual Forest penalties. I'd do the same for Warrior, Hero, and (maybe) Sniper.

2. Astra now inflicts -5 physical attack, but otherwise each hit does full damage. If I'm spending 9 durability, this should be a player-phase delete button.

3. Swordmasters are supposed to be evasive, right? Give the class Avoid+10. I'd also axe Avoid+10 from the fliers, but that's its own discussion. 

These do sound interesting. Would they keep sword crit +10 or would the avoid +10 be the trade off?

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5 hours ago, Barren said:

These do sound interesting. Would they keep sword crit +10 or would the avoid +10 be the trade off?

In my vision, it would be in addition to Sword Crit +10. But, maybe a third skill would be overkill? Not sure.

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6 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

In my vision, it would be in addition to Sword Crit +10. But, maybe a third skill would be overkill? Not sure.

Hmm, if someone were to ever mod 3 Houses I would be most interested in what can be done. Or if god forbid Intelligent Systems change some of the classes for the sake of balancing

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On 10/24/2020 at 11:53 AM, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

1. Swordmaster now has 6 move, with the usual Forest penalties. I'd do the same for Warrior, Hero, and (maybe) Sniper.

2. Astra now inflicts -5 physical attack, but otherwise each hit does full damage. If I'm spending 9 durability, this should be a player-phase delete button.

3. Swordmasters are supposed to be evasive, right? Give the class Avoid+10. I'd also axe Avoid+10 from the fliers, but that's its own discussion. 

Pretty much this, honestly. For 9 durability, Astra shouldn't have been so lackluster.

Also if we're talking aesthetic changes, I'd say it needs a better set of animations and a new class outfit. Maybe it could reuse Byleth's Enlightened One animations? Her attacks and poses always look so much cooler in EO than in Swordmaster, but I usually end up sticking with Swordmaster since it's the better class.

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As has been mentioned already, I'd upgrade swordmaster to, well, a master class. If you're investing in swords past the benchmark for assassin, give a true endgame class for purely physical sword fighters with competitive Mov and other class mods. Maybe give them proficiency in gauntlets and fistfaire if only to give female units access to a non-dlc gauntlet class and to match the aesthetics of the class with martial arts, but this is more a neat feature than anything else. 

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On 10/5/2020 at 8:14 PM, Dark Holy Elf said:

A Hand Axe+ has 3 more might (with Axefaire) than an Iron Bow+, and if you're already using axes for their melee damage, then you probably already have Axe Prowess equipped, while Bow Prowess eats an extra skill slot. Unless you're going to set Curved Shot (or another bow combat art), I don't see much purpose for bows on a class with Axefaire, personally. Especially because you had to train axes just to unlock this class in the first place, while you may not have trained bows at all (quite a few of the characters with an axe boon have a bow bane).

Even with Axe Prowess 5, you're still less accurate with a hand axe than with an iron bow+, and the stronger throwing axes are even worse accuracy wise.

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2 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

Even with Axe Prowess 5, you're still less accurate with a hand axe than with an iron bow+, and the stronger throwing axes are even worse accuracy wise.

Without Bow Prowess and with Axefaire, Hand Axe+ only trails hit by 5, in exchange for +3 might, +10 avoid, and +10 critical avoid. That's easily better in the vast majority of circumstances.

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15 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Also if we're talking aesthetic changes, I'd say it needs a better set of animations and a new class outfit. Maybe it could reuse Byleth's Enlightened One animations? Her attacks and poses always look so much cooler in EO than in Swordmaster, but I usually end up sticking with Swordmaster since it's the better class.

Wait, Swordmaster as better than Enlighted One? But E1 has more movement, spell utility, and a good mastery skill in Sacred Power. Not to mention, faster Authority growth. Both classes have Swordfaire. The only advantage I see in SM is Sword Crit +10 (and... slightly better speed and dex, I think?).

Even if you don't care for the spells and Sacred Power, it seems like Assassin would be better on the Professor than Swordmaster (maximum infantry mobility, utility skills). I'm curious what advantage you see in Swordmaster, as it stands.

Regardless, thanks for seconding my proposals!

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6 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Without Bow Prowess and with Axefaire, Hand Axe+ only trails hit by 5, in exchange for +3 might, +10 avoid, and +10 critical avoid. That's easily better in the vast majority of circumstances.

Fair enough.

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