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How to prepare for Silver Snow endgame on Maddening?

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So here I am, on my first maddening play through and I just made it through the mess that is chapter 13. The route I am on is Silver Snow, and this map on maddening scares me a lot. So, with the whole of timeskip left to complete, is there anything I could or should be doing to be able to take on this map at the end? Since I made it through 13 I definitely want to be able to complete this run. The units I have access to are Byleth, all the black eagles (other than Edelgard and Hubert, obviously), Flayn, Seteth, Catherine, Shamir and Cyril (yeah, SS Cyril, but I have stat boosters at least), and since that’s a perfect 12 I guess that will be my endgame team.

But the question remains, how can I prepare? Is this chapter easy to soft lock on like chapter 13? I just feel this chapter will be problematic. Thank you.

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What chapter are you currently on? If 14 then you need to make sure you have those that can counter the pegasus knights and falcon knights that will no doubt swarm you. That’s part of what you need to do. Setting off the contraption that will cause a fire will help you out quite a bit. There are a few Fortress Knights, Paladins and Warlocks around as well so take every precaution. The falcon knight reinforcements will keep coming until I want to say you beat the boss in question. That or they only come in waves 3 times. 
 
Also, what’s your current set up? Do you have someone with lancebreaker or axebreaker?

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31 minutes ago, Barren said:

What chapter are you currently on? If 14 then you need to make sure you have those that can counter the pegasus knights and falcon knights that will no doubt swarm you. That’s part of what you need to do. Setting off the contraption that will cause a fire will help you out quite a bit. There are a few Fortress Knights, Paladins and Warlocks around as well so take every precaution. The falcon knight reinforcements will keep coming until I want to say you beat the boss in question. That or they only come in waves 3 times. 
 
Also, what’s your current set up? Do you have someone with lancebreaker or axebreaker?

I’m not asking how to prepare for chapter 14, I’m asking how I can/should prepare for endgame (chapter 21, following a dream) on Silver Snow, since that is the next chapter I am afraid of. The idea of it on maddening is just... yikes, so I want to know if there’s anything in particular that would help, like how I got a lot of fliers for chapter 13.

And I think Petra and Caspar should have lance breaker, Petra might also have easy access to or already have axebreaker.

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Having another Sniper really helps for that map due to all the fliers for that map. Even a Base Sniper Cyril would be enough to one round some fliers with Death Blow and Hunter's Volley.

But what you really got to worry about is the boss. They're a monster that halves all damage on top of being able to spam a 8 range savage blow that deals 49 damage that's not affected by Defense at all, and they get to spam it every turn. 

Best way to counter them is gambits and crits, which seems really counter intuitive intially since they have 50+ Charm and Luck.

Thing about Gambits is that you can get consistent Hit Rates on Gambits without the Charm as they are boosted by Hit Bonuses. So with Hit +20, an Accuracy Ring, A Rank Support Adjutant, and A Rank Meteor Link Attack from Dorothea, you can hit a 100% Hit Rate on any gambit regardless of Charm.

The best way to get through her Luck for consistent Crits is by utilizing Defiant Crit, the Wyvern Lord Class Mastery. It gives +50 Crit for being under 25% HP. Apply the Blessing gambit before they engage the boss and that can really pay off with brave weapons.

Make sure you also stack stats as well. The boss has 34 AS, so it may be intimidating to double with a Brave Axe at first. But add 4 Speed from Special Dance, 4 from cooking Bullheads, 4 from Rallies, and 6 from Darting Blow, 2 from Spd +2, and 2 from the Speed Ring, that's 46 Speed off of Wyvern Lord's Base Speed alone. And you're units are going to have better stats than that.

All in all, the map isn't too bad if you have good units for it. But it can be a nightmare if you're not properly prepared for it.  

Edited by LoneRecon400

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You need to consider the White Beasts. 42 speed, and they deal massive magic damage. This is one of just two maps in the game where the majority of damage dealt from enemies is magical (the other map is Flayn's paralogue). White Beasts have +30 avoid against sword/lance/axes as their barrier skill, and a weakness to bows, so grapplers and snipers are the most consistent source of damage. But they can begin procing Miracle on their last health bar. 41% chance to proc, so always have backup plans to finish them off. They also gain +4 Mag and Def if Rhea enters her second form, which she will do if you halt the white beast reinforcements.

The main element of strategy for this map is whether you want to take the reinforcements out of the equation or not. Doing so aggroes almost every enemy on the map to your position, so you'll be fighting a gauntlet of the most powerful enemies in the game for several turns. This is also pretty much the only map in the game in which you can take advantage of ballistae. I put my war masters on them because they have so much innate crit. The alternative strategy is to move through the map, knocking out enemies while the white beast reinforcements chomp at your heels. You'll need to knock out any of the non-reinforcement white beasts in order to prevent the boss from regening all of her health every turn. 

Once you've killed everything on the map, it's not over, Rhea's pretty ridiculous due to 50% damage reduction on all attacks, even with her barrier down. And her barrier absorbs 70% damage, unlike the 50% typical of other monster types. She also targets the lower of your def or res. Entering her second form is inevitable once you start attacking her, and when that happens, everything that's still alive on the map is coming to you, hence why it's ideal to leave her last. She does her AoE every turn, which means her armor regenerates every turn if you can't manage the full break. She has 50 charm, so a full break is pretty unlikely unless you've saved up the biggest gambits and maybe willing to spend a divine pulse on a miss. She's also walled in in a way that makes surrounding her difficult. Fliers will have no problem, but everybody else will want to disperse and attack from different angles if you plan to go for the full armor break. She gets miracle once her first health bar is down (44% chance), and wrath on her final health bar, so be prepared for a lot of rude surprises.

This is a well designed map with no easy answers. My best advice is don't get complacent by slacking on monastery stuff. And bring a well balanced team in their best classes.

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Other people have covered it well, but I want to really emphasize that having a few good archers (be they snipers, bow knights, or even a flier with a bow) is incredibly helpful. Snipers and Bow Knights can attack white beasts from outside their range and deal bonus damage, often enough to one-shot a white beast's health bar using Hunter's Volley, Point-Blank Volley, or a Brave Bow/Inexhaustible (though as mentioned, be wary of Miracle and have a plan to deal 1 damage if necessary).  With them you'll be able to effortlessly take down the reinforcements which gives you time to thin out the enemies a bit.

I found this map very difficult on my first attempt when I stopped the reinforcements quickly and aggroed every enemy on the map, but much easier when I didn't do that. Your milage may vary.

I do definitely recommend breaking the boss with gambit spam towards the end of the fight. @LoneRecon400 already detailed how you can get accurate gambit attacks despite her high charm (I didn't have Hit+20 on anyone, but it doesn't matter too much because 3 A-rank supports alone gives +60 hit. Always remember your linked attacks!). Having a few fliers is great because they can get in positions your other units won't be able to. And breaking the boss allows you to entirely bypass the Wrath phase which can otherwise be a big pain.

Edited by Dark Holy Elf

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8 hours ago, Sooks said:

I’m not asking how to prepare for chapter 14, I’m asking how I can/should prepare for endgame (chapter 21, following a dream) on Silver Snow, since that is the next chapter I am afraid of. The idea of it on maddening is just... yikes, so I want to know if there’s anything in particular that would help, like how I got a lot of fliers for chapter 13.

And I think Petra and Caspar should have lance breaker, Petra might also have easy access to or already have axebreaker.

Sorry. I misread your question. That’s what I get for skimming through it while I was tired. But yea like everyone else said, consider how to lure in enemies but not too many to the point where it’s overwhelming. Be aware of Miracle possibility activating. Also Rhea has two life bars with Miracle. On her second form, her luck stat is 51

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If you don't recruit anyone in Silver Snow it's been very hard for progress. Your team have :

- No strong heal (Mercedes, Marianne)

- No good Frontliner (Felix, Ingrid, Hilda and Leonie)

- No powerful mage (Lysithea)

- No good tank (Sylvain and Raphael)

 

Only Ferdinand, Bernadetta, Petra, Seteth, Flayn (If you make her Dancer), Catherine and Shamir is well for this Silver Snow.

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5 hours ago, drattakbowser said:

- No strong heal (Mercedes, Marianne)

He has Flayn, and how is she not considered a good healer? Fortify + major Crest that increases healing magic. Not to mention great for dealing with white beasts, with her titanic Res + Excalibur. You could even train her bow skill and load her up with some Magic Bows+ for after using them up. Bishop, Gremory, Dark Flier; these are great classes for Flayn in general, but especially for this map. She is good for way more than just dancing.

Other than that OP I don't have much to add other than what others have said. Just be wary of enemies with battalions because more often than not they WILL go for gambits. The Falcons are especially annoying with this.

Edited by I Love Flayn

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Just now, I Love Flayn said:

He has Flayn, and how is she not considered a good healer? Fortify + major Crest that increases healing magic. Not to mention great for dealing with white beasts, with her titanic Res + Excalibur. You could even train her bow skill and load her up with some Magic Bows+ for after using them up. Bishop, Gremory, Dark Flier; these are great classes for Flayn in general, but especially for this map. She is is good for way more than just dancing.

One word: Physic. That’s what makes or breaks a healer in this game, especially with Bishop’s nerfed move. I mean she’s good at healing when I need it and she’s available, but it’s much better for her to focus on magic damage while having a bit of faith just in case, imo of course.

50 minutes ago, drattakbowser said:

If you don't recruit anyone in Silver Snow it's been very hard for progress. Your team have :

- No strong heal (Mercedes, Marianne)

I have Linhardt, who has heal and physic, which are also the only healing spells Marianne gets. On top of that he gets warp, which is better than anything else Marianne has imo (faith wise anyway). Linhardt’s base magic growth is only 5% less than Marianne’s and Mercedes’ so he’s still great.

50 minutes ago, drattakbowser said:

- No good Frontliner (Felix, Ingrid, Hilda and Leonie)

Petra.

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7 minutes ago, Sooks said:

One word: Physic. That’s what makes or breaks a healer in this game, especially with Bishop’s nerfed move. I mean she’s good at healing when I need it and she’s available, but it’s much better for her to focus on magic damage while having a bit of faith just in case, imo of course.

8 minutes ago, Sooks said:

I have Linhardt, who has heal and physic, which are also the only healing spells Marianne gets. On top of that he gets warp, which is better than anything else Marianne has imo (faith wise anyway). Linhardt’s base magic growth is only 5% less than Marianne’s and Mercedes’ so he’s still great.

In that case, full offensive would be the way to go with Flayn. Consider making her a Dark Flier and using my Magic Bow suggestion, making her a magic flier-killer who can deftly dispatch enemy Falcons and white beasts, while also being able to Rescue in a pinch. Equip her with an Aurora Shield to remove the threat posed by what few snipers are on this map, but I would go with Caduceus Staff as it improves both her offense and longevity.

(Side note: I feel like people generally think Caduceus Staff is outclassed by Thyrsus, but that is largely untrue in my opinion, especially with Flayn. It is very situational where you will ever need to attack an enemy 5 spaces away as Bow Knights are exceptionally rare, and even if you did want to, equipping B/W Magic Range +1 fills that need anyway) .

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I think it’s because Thyrsus as a relic is a great tool for mages with crests while the Caduceus is a nice option for those without one. Plus the pasive recovery is always nice.

I especially put Thyrsus on Lysithea because her dark magic is very strong whether she is a gremory, dark knight or valkyrie. Caduceus I tend to slap it on basically anyone that has spells but Linhardt and Flayn both have the same crest so they benefit from a stronger HP recovery every turn. They both have the same reason spell list but I will agree that Flayn has better use for it because she can access Dark Flier or Gremory like you said whereas Linhardt should probably just remain a Bishop. His faith spell list is more valuable than his black magic. Flayn’s faith spell list you can take it or leave it because she at least has rescue and fortify but no physic or warp like Linhardt has.

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3 hours ago, I Love Flayn said:

(Side note: I feel like people generally think Caduceus Staff is outclassed by Thyrsus, but that is largely untrue in my opinion, especially with Flayn. It is very situational where you will ever need to attack an enemy 5 spaces away as Bow Knights are exceptionally rare, and even if you did want to, equipping B/W Magic Range +1 fills that need anyway) .

An extra range of offense is always good, though. Caduceus gets you up to 3-range with most spells, versus 4 from Thyrsus. So, my 4-move Mage will have an attack range of 7 (Caduceus) or 8 (Thyrsus) - any enemy 8 spaces away is one Thyrsus can get, but Caduceus misses. Magic Range +1 is a great skill, of course - but it comes at a high skill rank, or is otherwise exclusive to Valkyrie. And it's not an argument for Caduceus, really, since 5 range (with Thyrsus) is better than 4 (with Caduceus).

EDIT: Regarding the original prompt, I'm thinking Cyril with Point-Blank Volley, Bernadetta with Blessed Lance Vengeance, and Ferdinand/Seteth with Blessed Lance Swift Strikes, can all be good to deal with the White Beasts. The Seiros Shield is notable, too, for halving damage from the Monsters (including Rhea). Definitely worth saving some offensive gambits, on high-Charm units, to take down Rhea's shields. Dorothea's Rally Charm might help in this aspect, too.

Edited by Shanty Pete's 1st Mate
Added advice.

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51 minutes ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

The Seiros Shield is notable, too, for halving damage from the Monsters (including Rhea).

Does it also cut damage from her staggering blow?

4 hours ago, I Love Flayn said:

He has Flayn, and how is she not considered a good healer? Fortify + major Crest that increases healing magic. Not to mention great for dealing with white beasts, with her titanic Res + Excalibur. You could even train her bow skill and load her up with some Magic Bows+ for after using them up. Bishop, Gremory, Dark Flier; these are great classes for Flayn in general, but especially for this map. She is is good for way more than just dancing.

The lack of Physic hurts. Her faith spell list is comparable to Mercedes otherwise, but the fact that she exchanges Physic for Rescue is a losing trade, because Rescue got eviscerated in this game.

Edited by Shadow Mir

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24 minutes ago, Shadow Mir said:

Does it also cut damage from her staggering blow?

The lack of Physic hurts. Her faith spell list is comparable to Mercedes otherwise, but the fact that she exchanges Physic for Rescue is a losing trade, because Rescue got eviscerated in this game.

fwiw black eagles already have 2 physic users in lin and dorothea, that team doesn't necessarily need a dedicated healer

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1 hour ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

An extra range of offense is always good, though. Caduceus gets you up to 3-range with most spells, versus 4 from Thyrsus. So, my 4-move Mage will have an attack range of 7 (Caduceus) or 8 (Thyrsus) - any enemy 8 spaces away is one Thyrsus can get, but Caduceus misses. Magic Range +1 is a great skill, of course - but it comes at a high skill rank, or is otherwise exclusive to Valkyrie. And it's not an argument for Caduceus, really, since 5 range (with Thyrsus) is better than 4 (with Caduceus).

I suppose, but by endgame it's not very likely you're going to be in a magic class with 4 move except Bishop, which doesn't benefit that heavily from increased range. Also, it's not only the range but the passive healing effect, either allowing you to stack with abilities like Renewal or Lifetaker for constant steady restoration or forgo healing abilities entirely to free up more offensive slots. The fact you can use it without a Crest is also a bonus, but it's best kept on Flayn anyway (and I guess Linhardt sometimes).

30 minutes ago, Shadow Mir said:

The lack of Physic hurts. Her faith spell list is comparable to Mercedes otherwise, but the fact that she exchanges Physic for Rescue is a losing trade, because Rescue got eviscerated in this game.

How is it different? Didn't its range always draw from the user's magic?

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8 minutes ago, I Love Flayn said:

How is it different? Didn't its range always draw from the user's magic?

Its range is magic/4 in this game. In Fates, it had a fixed range of 10.

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9 minutes ago, I Love Flayn said:

How is it different? Didn't its range always draw from the user's magic?

It's Magic/4, usually it's /2. Flayn to her credit has pretty good magic growths though.

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6 hours ago, drattakbowser said:

Only Ferdinand, Bernadetta, Petra, Seteth, Flayn (If you make her Dancer), Catherine and Shamir is well for this Silver Snow.

As well as Linhardt (Physic + Warp) and Dorothea (Physic + Thoron + Meteor) which incidentally completely contradict your point about the route not having a good healer. In fact, SS might well be the best route for healers in the game: three forced magic-oriented units with long-range healing spells (every other route has two).

Don't get me wrong, SS still has the weakest default roster overall because no lord hurts that much, but it's not nearly as bad as you're making it out.

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1 hour ago, Shadow Mir said:

Does it also cut damage from her staggering blow?

I'm... pretty sure? I don't remember definitively, but I think it halves all damage from monsters, including Rhea.

41 minutes ago, I Love Flayn said:

I suppose, but by endgame it's not very likely you're going to be in a magic class with 4 move except Bishop, which doesn't benefit that heavily from increased range. Also, it's not only the range but the passive healing effect, either allowing you to stack with abilities like Renewal or Lifetaker for constant steady restoration or forgo healing abilities entirely to free up more offensive slots. The fact you can use it without a Crest is also a bonus, but it's best kept on Flayn anyway (and I guess Linhardt sometimes).

The thing is, any class appreciates the extra attack range. Let's consider a Dark Knight, for instance, trying to attack an enemy 9 tiles away. Assume a 1~2 range spell, and no Magic Range +1 just yet. With no range-boosting staff, they can only attack after taking full movement. With Caduceus, they can move 6, attack, then canto back 1 (for a net displacement of 5 tiles). With Thyrsus, they can move 5, attack, then canto back 2 (for a net displacement of 3 tiles). This can help the unit stay out of range of other offensive threats, by giving the more flexibility in where they move.

I do think that Caduceus' healing effect is a valuable boost. But it varies from unit-to-unit. Most of my magical units, I try to keep out of range of enemies (especially physical ones). Sometimes I use my high-Res mages (say Mercedes, or Flayn) to lure magic foes - or high-avoid mages with Bowbreaker to lure bow units. So the healing effect can be nice, but oftentimes, it's not really necessary. And basically all of your magical units should be able to provide Heal support, as well.

41 minutes ago, Shadow Mir said:

Its range is magic/4 in this game. In Fates, it had a fixed range of 10.

I don't know how useful comparing between Fates and Three Houses is, in this case, with how differently they handle support magic. Rescue and Warp are better compared against other tools to get your units around, like Repositionals or Stride, and in consideration of certain objectives. Like, Rescue may help you reach a Chest, or bring a boss-kill map to an early end, especially in conjunction with some of the aforementioned tools.

59 minutes ago, Marienburg said:

fwiw black eagles already have 2 physic users in lin and dorothea, that team doesn't necessarily need a dedicated healer

And even then, Mercedes is a great pickup for SS, since she gives you access to her paralogue with Caspar.

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