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Manuela is a good unit, change my mind

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I've made this post on a few of the bad units: Lorenz and ashe. It was coming sooner or later, but today, I am here to argue how manuela is completely usable and even as far as being one of your better units on maddening. Note this is assumed to be VW maddening and Manuela was recruited ch8. We are also assuming her final level is 43.

For reference, her growths:

HP:50% Str: 35%  Mag:35%  Dex: 40%  Spe:60%  Lck:35% Def: 30%  Res:25%  Cha:50%

To start with, I have decided on a solid class path with little cost and large reward:

Priest(Starting class)-Mercenary-Pegasus knight- Sword master- Assassin.

Note that she gains no levels in priest and only one in mercenary and Pegasus knight. Depending on what you value more with this build, dex or str, she can stay in assassin or sword master for longer. Her average stats (rounded up) assuming she stays in assassin longer are as follows:

Hp: 53 Str: 26 Mag: 23 Dex: 30 Spe: 44 lck: 22 Def: 19 Res: 15 Cha: 30

This build requires little investment, since she starts with a D in flying, a boon in swords, and only requires a D+ Bow for assassin exam and D+ for Pegasus exam. Her skills in this build are up to you, but I like this set personally:

Sword prowess 5, darting blow, vantage, sword critical, and a skill of your choice (with her flying boon that could be alert stance. You could still pick pretty much anything though)

If you are in need of a support based unit, Manuela can provide decent utility through warp, though she would need to go bishop and sacrifice swordfaire or any major form of attack. You could grind her reason as well, with her getting bolting at A. Of course, this would be very difficult to attain and may need solo training, meaning she might lose out on faith utility and sword prowess for just a few chapters of having the ability to use bolting. Her shaky magic growth would also decrease the usefulness of bolting, though she could still provide linked attacks and gambit boosts.

Overall, manuela can attain a state of major use/utility with little investment, becoming a solid swap in for any conventional assassin, such as petra. However, her shaky str growth may require you to attack on resistance, meaning she may need to use levin swords or blutgang (10 damage penalty) for solid damage on the tough enemies such as war master, great knight, fortress knight.

If a mixed assassin manuela doesn't suite you, she can still fill a role of decent utility through warp. Of course, linhardt and lysithea do use the spell better.

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Funny thing is she actually is an Assassin (with Darting Blow) when fought as an enemy in Azure Moon. So this set up is as close to Manuela's canon end game class, insofar as Three Houses characters have canon classes (also yeah, her and Hanneman are enemies on Azure Moon if you don't recruit them).

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It depends what you mean by a good unit. Is she good compared to other units you have available? Not really. Is she good enough to be usable if you like her? Of course.

I think your build is one of the better ones for her. If you're willing to fight her Reason bane you can go for Mortal Savant and trade a little speed and mobility for power and access to her magical skillset, but that makes the build more expensive, and she's already quite skill-starved. I wouldn't bother with Vantage (she's not going to OHKO much on enemy phase with her low offensive stats), and I don't see why you spend time in Swordmaster instead of going straight to the superior Assassin.

One frustrating thing about her is her late join time. Take the build you proposed; she'd love to add Fiendish Blow, to make those doubled Levin Sword attacks hit harder (12 extra damage). But since her Reason starts at E you have to build that (while you want to be building swords/bows so she qualifies for Advanced, as well as Authority), and it's hard to get both it and Darting Blow without significantly delaying her arrival in Advanced Tier (and she needs Swordfaire quite badly to do real damage). As such, this particular build can be done overall better by Dorothea, Marianne, Lysithea, or even Ingrid, who join earlier and are either neutral or strong in Reason. (Granted, Manuela is faster than all of them except Ingrid.)

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Manuela's not a bad unit, she's just a weird one lol

It almost feels like the game doesn't really know what she should be. She can be a Bishop, but she's not a great one. She can be an Assassin, but she's not a great one. She'd make a pretty good Dancer, but she's not allowed to be one. The dlc gave her Trickster too, but that's kind of a meh class to begin with.

That said, I'd probably try a "magic Falcon Knight" build with her, using a Levin Sword. Her stats are similar enough to Ingrid's that she should be able to pull it off fairly easily. For a class path, taking her through Mage > Pegasus Knight > Trickster > Falcon Knight picks up Fiendish Blow, Darting Blow and Duelist's Blow. Just add Sword Prowess, Alert Stance and an Evasion Ring and go to town. Only hangup is that she's limited in battalion choices this way. Nuvelle Fliers Corps is the only flying magic battalion and you can only get one of it without NG+.

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It is hard to believe anyone who's end class is Assassin or SM could be considered a good unit. 6 move grounded units are just not very strong in this game. Compare her to Petra. Petra has better Str, can go Wyvern Lord very easily, and has Battalion Wrath.

Also what is the point of both Vantage & Darting Blow. Wouldn't it be better to focus on only enemy phase or only player phase? Death Blow should really be included any physical build.

Honestly the best thing about Manuela is that she is a free recruit with easy access to Warp. It takes a couple chapters to get Warp, then you can just sub her in when you want an extra Warp unit.

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36 minutes ago, Objeckts said:

It is hard to believe anyone who's end class is Assassin or SM could be considered a good unit. 6 move grounded units are just not very strong in this game. Compare her to Petra. Petra has better Str, can go Wyvern Lord very easily, and has Battalion Wrath.

Also what is the point of both Vantage & Darting Blow. Wouldn't it be better to focus on only enemy phase or only player phase? Death Blow should really be included any physical build.

Honestly the best thing about Manuela is that she is a free recruit with easy access to Warp. It takes a couple chapters to get Warp, then you can just sub her in when you want an extra Warp unit.

Considering this to be minimum investment for making her perfectly viable, Death blow is mostly out of the question in NG due to requiring D+ in a neutral skill starting at E whilst also joing late. I tried to focus more on enemy phase and a crit build, but since this is maddening, I thought that darting blow would help out player phase due to doubling being very hard or impossible in maddening. Also, Manuela has the quirk of an equal attack and magic stat, despite it being average at best. Levin swords can help her deal with the problem of bulkier units, or just in general.

You said: "It is hard to believe anyone who's end class is Assassin or SM could be considered a good unit. 6 move grounded units are just not very strong in this game."

I consider this statement to be right and wrong. I sincerely hope that no one makes the mistake of picking swordsmaster as their final class (5 movement, swords, worst advanced class mastery, all leading to a meh offfence). But assassin, however, can be considered viable enough despite our lord Rengor's Judgement of it:

While you do have 6 movement and unrestricted forest movement, you’re still sacrificing a lot of killing power. The sad truth is that swords just don’t have many tools available to kill enemies efficiently besides relying on crits, and as such Assassin just isn’t recommended. Its mastery abilities are extremely unreliable so the only other gimmick of the class is Stealth, which while it could be used for interesting strategies where a unit gets ignored, ends up falling short by the lack of killing power.

(from https://fe3h.com/meta/2020/07/18/class_analysis_(late_game)

Despite the unreliable killing power, swordlocked and being grounded, Assassins do have a roughly average mov of 6 and also get unrestricted forest movement, which is quite useful. Swordfaire also effects magic swords, helping to rectify the low physical damage that swords output. Stealth is also noteworthy but unreliable. It should also go without saying that manuela gets and 80% speed growth in the class and helps in dodge-tanking by a large amount. I would overall say that keeping a unit in assassin doesn't make them "not good", as you claim, since it has notable benefits, but it does, of course, mean that units like petra or ingrid who can fly with small investment are better. This also why yuri is considered worse than petra, despiting them being virtually toe to toe growth wise.

 

 

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Manuela has never been truly bad for me, but more so middling before the dlc. Before then she was completely fine. But nothing really special. I did enjoy a run where I made her a holy knight with a levin sword.

But now she has access to the trickster class which is absolutely perfect for her in every way.

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I don't see what this build is supposed to excel at. Units being able to double enemies isn't very noteworthy if they aren't capable of one rounding. Like just look at how an average Manuela preforms against the regular enemies in Endgame like in your example . She doesn't even one round the Fortress Knights with the Levin Sword, let alone any of the other enemies or the elites. She also lacks the Crit Rate or Avoid to make up for her lack of offensive prowess and can't do anything with Vantage consistently. Alertstance wouldn't even really do anything for her since enemies would opt to just ignore her due to Stealth.

And I would claim that this isn't a low investment build. Mastering two Intermediary classes is already quite the good amount of investment, but doing so when she only has 5 levels left until she hits level 20? That's going to require either grinding or for her to miss out on swordfaire for quite a while.  A good example of a low investment unit would be something like this instead. They were severely under leveled, yet only needed 1 Intermediary Class Mastery to be capable of clearing out an entire section of a map by themselves.

Manuela is just a unit who suffers from low bases without any easy recourse for fixing her stats and has no offensive niche even after investing in her. Getting her to double enemies won't change that.

Edited by LoneRecon400

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Every unit in this game, assuming RNG friendliness, is usable. Even Anna can be used effectively.

I do think Manuela has some usable niches - she's an outstanding trickster - but would she be as good with as much training as any other Assassin-trained character? I.E.: in any way, shape or form, is she as good in that role as Petra, Ignatz, or especially Felix? And even as a Trickster, is she better than Marianne?

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5 hours ago, ThatsEnoughBackTalk said:

Considering this to be minimum investment for making her perfectly viable, Death blow is mostly out of the question in NG due to requiring D+ in a neutral skill starting at E whilst also joing late. I tried to focus more on enemy phase and a crit build, but since this is maddening, I thought that darting blow would help out player phase due to doubling being very hard or impossible in maddening. Also, Manuela has the quirk of an equal attack and magic stat, despite it being average at best. Levin swords can help her deal with the problem of bulkier units, or just in general.

You said: "It is hard to believe anyone who's end class is Assassin or SM could be considered a good unit. 6 move grounded units are just not very strong in this game."

I consider this statement to be right and wrong. I sincerely hope that no one makes the mistake of picking swordsmaster as their final class (5 movement, swords, worst advanced class mastery, all leading to a meh offfence). But assassin, however, can be considered viable enough despite our lord Rengor's Judgement of it:

While you do have 6 movement and unrestricted forest movement, you’re still sacrificing a lot of killing power. The sad truth is that swords just don’t have many tools available to kill enemies efficiently besides relying on crits, and as such Assassin just isn’t recommended. Its mastery abilities are extremely unreliable so the only other gimmick of the class is Stealth, which while it could be used for interesting strategies where a unit gets ignored, ends up falling short by the lack of killing power.

(from https://fe3h.com/meta/2020/07/18/class_analysis_(late_game)

Despite the unreliable killing power, swordlocked and being grounded, Assassins do have a roughly average mov of 6 and also get unrestricted forest movement, which is quite useful. Swordfaire also effects magic swords, helping to rectify the low physical damage that swords output. Stealth is also noteworthy but unreliable. It should also go without saying that manuela gets and 80% speed growth in the class and helps in dodge-tanking by a large amount. I would overall say that keeping a unit in assassin doesn't make them "not good", as you claim, since it has notable benefits, but it does, of course, mean that units like petra or ingrid who can fly with small investment are better. This also why yuri is considered worse than petra, despiting them being virtually toe to toe growth wise.

 

 

Just doing the math against the Fortress Knights in VW ch22, she is not killing them even with Levin Sword. They have 81 HP and 13 Rsl. For damage, Manuela has 23 Mag, +8 from battalion, +9 from Levin Sword, and +5 from Swordfaire. With doubling she will only do 64 damage leaving the Fortress Knight at 17 HP. 

With physical weapons she is always going to be relying on crits to kill, which is unfortunate in a Vantage build without Wrath or Battalion Wrath. With Wo Dao+, +10 Sword Crit, a Crit ring, and ~26 crit from Dex & Luck, she has ~81% crit. Enemies have ~20 Luck, so she only has a 61% chance to crit. Relying on a single vantage attack with a 61% success rate is just not very strong. You could run a +crit battalion, but none of those have both +Mag & +Phys damage.

A lot of enemies will not even die to a single crit. The enemy Wyvern Lord's in VW ch22 have 73 HP and 38 Prt. A single crit from a Wo Dao+ will only do 30 damage. So even with a vantage crit, she is still going to get hit and die on the counter attack.

In addition to the notable damage issues, Assassin is still just not a good class to end in either. Average move is not great when almost any unit can pick classes with above average move. Infantry move grounded classes really need something like magic or Hunters Volley to make the strong. If I wanted a sword based Manuela build, Wyvern Lord would be the choice. It's easy to master both Brig and Pegasus Knight on the way. It only has -1 damage with swords compared to Assassin, but has Canto, Flying, and +2 move.

 

 

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I would have gone with Trickster Manuela if the spell uses for the class weren’t cut in half similar to the noble/commoner class.

Sure Trickster has similar perks to Assassin like Stealth and Lock touch. But Assassin still beats Trickster thanks to Swordfaire and 6 move. Trickster has Lucky 7 but the stat buffs may not always show up when you want it to.

Manuela has more going against her than for her. Yes having Silence and Warp gives her a niche as a Bishop but without Physic it’s hard for her to compete against Linhardt, Mercedes, or Hapi as Bishop candidates. Even Ingrid who has similar growths has access to Physic and Seraphim, and making her a Bishop or Gremory is an unconventional pick for her.

Assassin is just fine for her and while Darting Blow and Duelist Blow are nice tools for her but it’s not going to compensate for her shaky growths. Battalions and RNG do help however.

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On 12/23/2020 at 4:11 AM, ThatsEnoughBackTalk said:

Hp: 53 Str: 26 Mag: 23 Dex: 30 Spe: 44 lck: 22 Def: 19 Res: 15 Cha: 30

The trouble is, these offensive stats... just aren't good. With her late join time, she doesn't have a real chance to get Str/Mag+2 from Fighter or Monk. And her base ranks and proficiencies lend against Death or Fiendish Blow. Whereas, if you're using Petra, or a weird Marianne build, she has the chance to gain the relevant skills, while also being stronger in their particular offensive stat. You can bolster Manuela's offense with the proper batallion, but joining at E Authority in chapter 8... well, she has very few options at the start, and takes a while to get into some of the better ones.

Manuela can be okay, but that's about it. She can be what you're missing, whether that's a Warp Bishop, or a mixed-offense Flier or Assassin. But she can't do those tasks particularly well, especially relative to students you've been building up from day one.

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