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Best character for each class - no, not the other way around

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On 10/12/2021 at 3:56 AM, Shadow Mir said:

Well, I'm sorry, but I cannot get excited over Bernie getting access to Physic and Rescue when she'd be poor at using them, especially when it involves being in a lackluster class AND needing to play a very specific way, otherwise she's struggling to be useful.

She is still the best Holy Knight in spite of your level of excitement. She has 7 move, Canto, and Vengeance. She uses Physic just as well as anyone. Rescue situationally very strong. She is incredibly flexable, there is not a "specific way" for her to be useful. 

On 10/12/2021 at 9:52 AM, lenticular said:

I think that the problem with this approach is that it puts her into direct competition with other units who are just generically good. Let's consider a few other options who have a comparably easy time getting into Holy Knight as Bernadetta does.

This is the right way to look at the question, otherwise it becomes too subjective. Generically good units, like Bernie/Sylvain/Leonie, will do better in than other units in bad classes. The only real exception is if the boons/weakness really don't line up.

On 10/12/2021 at 9:52 AM, lenticular said:

Leonie/Sylvain...

Both Leonie and Sylvain will struggle to kill. Even Paladin Sylvain/BK Leonie has difficulty killing many enemies on the last few maps without a bunch of +Str boosters. Taking away Bowfaire/Lancefaire and only having a +1 Str Bonus reduces Swift Strikes/PBV damage by 12 which really hurts their ability to kill. Not to mention there are still lots of bosses throughout the game that HK Bernie's Vengeance kills while even meta class Swift Strikes/PBV will not.

On top of that neither of them have Rescue, so they are providing less utility than Bernie.

Recover is worse than Physic even on low magic units. Healing Staff gives +10 healing already. Even with low magic, it still heals enough to provide utility while not requiring your unit to position poorly.

On 10/12/2021 at 9:52 AM, lenticular said:

Finally, Dimitri. He has the exact same combination of strength in lance, budding talent in riding and neutral in faith that Bernadetta has. He does have his legendary sulk in part 2 that makes him a bit harder to train, but he also has better starting ranks in lances and riding. Magically, he has base magic stat one point lower than Bernadetta's and the same growth rate. He trades out Physic for Recover, which is often a stronger choice for characters with low magic stat, especially when they have high mobility. He also trades out Rescue for Aura which is pretty much an unambiguous downgrade. When it comes to just being generically good, he still has the ability to do all the usual Dimitri things. He still hits like a ton of bricks, Atrocity still obliterates everything, and Battalion Vantage + Battalion Wrath is still a ridiculous broken combo that should never have made it into the game.

The base magic stat of either Dimitri or Bernie is irrelevant. The 15 base magic of Holy Knight is the actual number that matters.

I could see an argument that Dimitri is a better HK than Bernie, but I still disagree. Bat. Wrath + Bat. Vantage is very strong, but Holy Knight's lack of Lancefaire and low Str is going to cost Dimitri a lot of kills compared to Paladin (18 less damage on crit). The missing Lancefaire doesn't hurt Bernie at all because Vengeance is overkill anyway.

Also note that by level 30, Bernie can pretty comfortably run Bat. Wrath + Vantage to do something similar but worse than Dimitri. Overall I just don't think this watered down version of Dimitri can compete with Bernie in the end game.

On 10/12/2021 at 9:52 AM, lenticular said:

Essentially, you're not just claiming that Vengeance and Bernadetta are good; you're claiming that they are better than anyone else. Or at the very least, better than anyone who has a relatively easy time getting into Holy Knight. It's possible to put anyone into Holy Knight and then completely ignore what the class does and treat them as a slightly inferior version of what they would otherwise be doing. If that's the plan, then there isn't a whole lot of difference between "who is the best Holy Knight?" and "who is the best unit in the game?" Or if you prefer, maybe "who is the best unit in the game who doesn't have a weakness in faith or riding?"

Yes, I am claiming that HK Bernedetta is better than HK Dimtiri/Leonie/Edel.

There is a trap where HK has White Tomefaire and people thing "hey this is an offensive white magic class". But even if you put a unit with strong white magic like Lys in HK, she will still be better off mostly ignoring her offensive white magic list. The best thing about Holy Knight is that it is a class with 7 move, Canto, and access to magic. The worst thing about Holy Knight is the lack of offensive bonuses and skill requirements.

Bernie is already one of the best units in the game, and she benefits from all of good things about Holy Knight and can ignore the weaknesses. Sylvain/Leonie are already worse than Bernie and take a bigger hit from the bad offense. Dimitri normally better than Bernie, but he doesn't care about magic access and often is hurt by the lack of offense.

On 10/11/2021 at 6:24 PM, Shadow Mir said:

When it means aggroing an enemy unit without the need to put my unit at risk, that's worth a lot.

Bernie as Holy Knight still has Deadeye and can aggro from 12 tile away compared to the 15 of Bow Knight, although I never find myself using either of these because its a waste of a turn. WL with Curved Shot are plenty good at aggroing if needed, but they retain the ability to actually get kills unlike the majority of the cast when stuck in Bow Knight.

On 10/11/2021 at 6:24 PM, Shadow Mir said:

I say again, Holy Knight is a serious contender for worst Master class in the game, largely because it does nothing that the other magic classes don't do better. Canto doesn't do enough to make up for this, especially in a game that's not that friendly to cavalry units, which this one is. Also, Dark Knight is also a 7 move class with magic access - and given my opinion of it is far from stellar, there's no chance I'd have even a modicum of respect for Holy Knight.

Personally I would put Great Knight or Mortal Savant as the worst master class, but Holy Knight is definitely bottom 3. Most maps are fairly friendly to cavalry. CF endgame and ch22 VW are really the only two maps that really punish cavalry. But a dismounted Holy Knight still has 6 move, which is tied with MS and +2 compared to GK.

Dark Knight is in most cases a strictly better Holy Knight. But it is worse on Bernie/Marianne/Byleth because of the high reason requirement.

On 10/11/2021 at 6:24 PM, Shadow Mir said:

If I wanted to use Vengeance, she could do it better as a Paladin or a Falcon Knight. Saying Bernie is good as a Holy Knight because of Vengeance alone is the epitome of crazy talk, far as I'm concerned.

I agree with you that Paladin and Falcon Knight are better for pure Vengeance than Holy Knight. You left out Bow Knight, which is also better for Vengeance because of the +1 move.

There are two statements I am making which you seem to keep misunderstanding. 

  1. Bernie is a very strong unit. Vengeance alone is incredibly strong, but Bernie has so many other things going for her. Her personal is incredibly strong through out the game. Pass works really well with Vengeance. Her boons and starting ranks in Lances/Bows/Riding are great. She learns Battalion Wrath. Encloser, Rescue, and Physic all provide good utility if they area available. The reality is even if you put Bernie into a normally bad class like Assassin or Holy Knight, she is still going to be strong because of all the other things she has going for her.
  2. Bernie is the best Holy Knight. This is pretty clearly true. It is easy to get her into Holy Knight. As Holy Knight she has 7 move, Canto, and Faith access. All of which synergize with the strong things she has going for her. Vengeance/Pass work well with 7 move and Canto. Vengeance's high damage means that the lack fo Lancefaire doesn't matter at all. The risky nature of Vengeance along with Bernies stellar Faith list work well with the long range utility of Rescue and Physic. Rescue works well on units with high move and Canto. Bernie is a unit that is already strong, and Holy Knight as a class actively helps her.

You haven't really provided any real arguments as to why either of these statements is false. Holy Knight usually being a bad class doesn't make Bernie any worse of a Holy Knight compared to any other unit. Holy Knight's skill requirements barely affects Bernie, because with a Lance/Riding boon, she has a pretty chill time reclassing into Holy Knight. Bernie being strong as Paladin/Falcon Knight/Bow Knight doesn't make Bernie any worse Holy Knight. 

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2 hours ago, Objeckts said:

This is the right way to look at the question, otherwise it becomes too subjective. Generically good units, like Bernie/Sylvain/Leonie, will do better in than other units in bad classes. The only real exception is if the boons/weakness really don't line up.

It's an inherently subjective question no matter how you approach it. There are always going to be trade-offs, no matter what. There is no such thing as the objectively best character. For instance:

2 hours ago, Objeckts said:

Recover is worse than Physic even on low magic units. Healing Staff gives +10 healing already. Even with low magic, it still heals enough to provide utility while not requiring your unit to position poorly.

I don't agree with this. I would personally rather have Recover than Physic on a unit with low magic and high mobility. I can certainly imagine specific circumstances where Physic would be clearly preferable, just as I can imagine circumstances where Recover would be clearly preferable. Is either one objectively and unambiguously better than the other? No. It depends on playstyle and it depends on who else you have on your team.

Likewise, which is best out of Rescue, Restore and Seraphim? Well, Rescue is clearly the best if you have an other unit that you need to move around, Restore is clearly best if you need to cure a few units of being rattled, and Seraphim is clearly the best if you need to take down a monster's armour. Trying to directly compare them is difficult because they do completely different things. It's meaningful to say "I find myself using this one the most" or "for my playstyle, I value that one the most"; it's much less meaningful to say "this one is objectively the best".

3 hours ago, Objeckts said:

Both Leonie and Sylvain will struggle to kill. Even Paladin Sylvain/BK Leonie has difficulty killing many enemies on the last few maps without a bunch of +Str boosters. Taking away Bowfaire/Lancefaire and only having a +1 Str Bonus reduces Swift Strikes/PBV damage by 12 which really hurts their ability to kill. Not to mention there are still lots of bosses throughout the game that HK Bernie's Vengeance kills while even meta class Swift Strikes/PBV will not.

I crunched some of the numbers to compare Bernadetta and Sylvain, and my conclusion was basically "it depends". For a basic build with no favouritism, Bernadetta does kill more stuff than Sylvain, but she isn't just a guaranteed kill on everything. She'll have problems with the bulkiest units in the very late game. I consdered a level 40 Bernadetta who had gone through Noble -> Fighter -> Brigand -> Paladin -> Holy Knight, and had average level-up RNG leading to a strength of 26 and HP of 48 (both inclusive of class bonuses). That would give her a might of 26 (base strength) + 2 (Str +2 skill) + 6 (Death Blow) + 14 (Silver Lance+) + 7 (battalion) + 2 (Vengeance base might) + 47 (Vengeance missing HP) + 5 (Persecution Complex) = 109. This is less than the bulk of endgame Fortress Knights, Warriors, Heroes, War Masters, Wyvern Lords, and Paladins.

Now, of course, it isn't difficult to increase those numbers by giving her a stronger weapon or strength boosters or HP boosters or whatever else. If you want to build Holy Knight Bernadetta to be able to kill damn near everything, then you certainly can do that. But equally, it's possible to build Holy Knight Sylvain to be able to do the same, and not even all that hard. He starts behind Bernadetta, but every single point of favouritism that you give him counts for double because he's hitting twice with Swift Strikes. As an example, level 40 Sylvain with the same class progression could have a might of 30 (base strength) + 2 (Str +2) + 6 Death Blow + 22 (Lance of Ruin) + 8 (premium battalion) +2 (Swift Strikes) + 3 (Ingrid as adjutant) + 2 (Philanderer) + 1 (one Rocky Burdock) = 76 (twice). That's enough to kill everything in endgame Maddening except for Fortress Knights, monsters, and bosses.

Now, is it favouritism to give these things to Sylvain? Sure, maybe a little bit. Definitely a little bit more than what you need to get Bernadetta to the same level. But it's hardly ridiculous. So we have another trade-off. Which do you prefer, the Sylvain build that needs a few extra resources to kill everything, or the Bernadetta build that requires fewer resources but that requires set-up during each map and is always only one hit away from death? Personally, I'd prefer Sylvain. I'm pretty sure you'd prefer Bernadetta. And neither one of us would be wrong because both have advantages and disadvantages. I find that when I play, I have more resources than I really know what to do with, so I don't mind throwing a few extra at any given unit. On the other hand, I also know full well that I make mistakes from time to time, so I like to avoid builds where mistakes are deadly (and yes, I know that Divine Pulse is a thing, but I tend to avoid using it as much as I can). Again, it's all very subjective.

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I would personally consider Physic superior to Recover in any build, because it's so flexible, and because the Healing Staff lets it heal "enough" (e.g. high 20's). A unit with Physic is simply more likely to be able to contribute on a turn where healing is required; if someone needs lots of healing and Physic isn't "enough" for your purposes, then they can still do one of two actions to heal the unit twice (which heals more than one Recover), while a unit without Recover who is out of reach has no way to contribute at all. However, I do think the gap is smallest when the healer in question is both (a) unusually durable, and (b) unusually mobile by mage standards, since this combination gives them more positioning flexibility to use Recover. So I can see the case for someone like Holy Knight Leonie. Although I will note that Bernadetta unquestionably prefers having Physic, because if she's using Vengeance, she isn't durable.

On the other hand I completely second everything @lenticular said in the Bernadetta vs. Sylvain debate with regard to their offence. I haven't used Holy Knight Sylvain but I have used Dark Knight and my experience is that his killing power is still excellent, and lenticular's numbers illustrate why. Bernadetta's killing power is probably better, but I personally don't consider it enough better to offset the extra hoop of dropping her to low HP and then the fact that you keep her from being attacked thereafter, while Sylvain can flexibly take hits as necessary with his solid bulk and is ready to go on player phase 1 without extra worries. They're different and it's obviously a matter of personal preference.

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1 hour ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I would personally consider Physic superior to Recover in any build, because it's so flexible, and because the Healing Staff lets it heal "enough" (e.g. high 20's). A unit with Physic is simply more likely to be able to contribute on a turn where healing is required; if someone needs lots of healing and Physic isn't "enough" for your purposes, then they can still do one of two actions to heal the unit twice (which heals more than one Recover), while a unit without Recover who is out of reach has no way to contribute at all. However, I do think the gap is smallest when the healer in question is both (a) unusually durable, and (b) unusually mobile by mage standards, since this combination gives them more positioning flexibility to use Recover. So I can see the case for someone like Holy Knight Leonie. Although I will note that Bernadetta unquestionably prefers having Physic, because if she's using Vengeance, she isn't durable.

I think that, for me at least, it depends on what role the unit is meant to fulfil and how often I'm going to want them to be healing. For primary and secondary healers, definitely I'm going to prefer Physic. But for characters who are only going to be called on to heal occasionally, I think there's a strong argument for Recover. Typically, if I'm healing with someone like Bernadetta or Dimitri then that's usually because I have multiple different units who need healing and my other, better healers can only handle one each (outside of dancing or Fortify, of course). If I have three units that need healing then in the vast majority of cases, at least one of them will be in range of my Recover unit, and then my two good healers who each have Physic can deal with the other two wounded units, regardless of where they are. There definitely is a loss in flexibility, but I don't think it's particularly high when considered in the context of full-party flexibility rather than individual-unit flexibility.

I also don't assume that all my healing units will always have access to a Healing Staff. First of all, they're a limited resource. I believe that the absolute most you can have in a run is three of them, that two is more usual, and that only one isn't unreasonable. If one unit has a Healing Staff, then that means that some other unit doesn't have it. I would typically prefer to have it on a more magically inclined unit who is not a Bishop (eg, Dark Knight Hapi, Warlock Dorothea, Mortal Savant Marianne) and push their healing with Physic from good to great than have it on a unit with poor magic (eg Bernadetta, Leonie) and push their healing from poor to good. Of course, you might have enough Healing Staves that everyone who wants one can get one but you also might not, and I don't think it should be assumed. (And yes, it is possible to trade them around, but if you're relying on that, then you lose out on a lot of the flexibility of positioning that makes Physic attractive in the first place.)

The other issue with relying on a Healing Staff is that it takes up an inventory slot that you then aren't using for something else. I usually find that inventory space is at something of a premium and I can rarely carry all the items that I'd like to carry. Most extra items aren't truly necessary, of course, but they all add flexibility. If you're dropping some other item to make space for a Healing Staff, then you're losing some of the flexibility that you gain from having Physic rather than Recover.

I certainly don't think it's wrong to prefer Physic in these cases. It's a great spell. But I do think that it's pretty close between the two spells in these specific circumstances.

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20 hours ago, Objeckts said:

There are two statements I am making which you seem to keep misunderstanding. 

  1. Bernie is a very strong unit. Vengeance alone is incredibly strong, but Bernie has so many other things going for her. Her personal is incredibly strong through out the game. Pass works really well with Vengeance. Her boons and starting ranks in Lances/Bows/Riding are great. She learns Battalion Wrath. Encloser, Rescue, and Physic all provide good utility if they area available. The reality is even if you put Bernie into a normally bad class like Assassin or Holy Knight, she is still going to be strong because of all the other things she has going for her.
  2. Bernie is the best Holy Knight. This is pretty clearly true. It is easy to get her into Holy Knight. As Holy Knight she has 7 move, Canto, and Faith access. All of which synergize with the strong things she has going for her. Vengeance/Pass work well with 7 move and Canto. Vengeance's high damage means that the lack fo Lancefaire doesn't matter at all. The risky nature of Vengeance along with Bernies stellar Faith list work well with the long range utility of Rescue and Physic. Rescue works well on units with high move and Canto. Bernie is a unit that is already strong, and Holy Knight as a class actively helps her.

You haven't really provided any real arguments as to why either of these statements is false. Holy Knight usually being a bad class doesn't make Bernie any worse of a Holy Knight compared to any other unit. Holy Knight's skill requirements barely affects Bernie, because with a Lance/Riding boon, she has a pretty chill time reclassing into Holy Knight. Bernie being strong as Paladin/Falcon Knight/Bow Knight doesn't make Bernie any worse Holy Knight. 

But from which perspective are you making the latter point? Because there are two perspectives I could be thinking from, at least. Would you consider the "best" one who takes the least effort to be viable, or one who has the best performance once their full build is in place? Where exactly do you stand on this? Because if I was thinking from the former perspective, then I could see some others who would be better, largely because they're not dependent on being one hit away from dying to be at their best (I consider this important, as much like @lenticular I'm generally not a fan of builds that require being at low health to be effective). Having long-range support only helps so much when you don't have the magic to make good use of it; like stated earlier, I'm not going to "ooh" or "aah" over Bernie getting Physic when her healing with it is poor without a Healing Staff, which would be better used by someone who is actually magically inclined to make their Physic healing go from "good" to "great". Rescue? I'd rather have Dark Flier Flayn or Coco for that, as they have both mobility and the magic to have good range with it, whereas Bernie just has mobility. Ergo, she just winds up being a Master of None, unable to do support well, and is completely dependent on Vengeance to be useful; I consider that a shitty position to be in (I don't care how effective it is, needing to be nearly dead for it to be at its best is a negative, no matter which way you slice it). Therefore, I'd be more than happy to consider someone like Leonie or Sylvain better for the role due to being ready to go from turn 1 without needing to get them to near death for their offense to be great.

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6 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I would personally consider Physic superior to Recover in any build, because it's so flexible, and because the Healing Staff lets it heal "enough" (e.g. high 20's). A unit with Physic is simply more likely to be able to contribute on a turn where healing is required; if someone needs lots of healing and Physic isn't "enough" for your purposes, then they can still do one of two actions to heal the unit twice (which heals more than one Recover), while a unit without Recover who is out of reach has no way to contribute at all. However, I do think the gap is smallest when the healer in question is both (a) unusually durable, and (b) unusually mobile by mage standards, since this combination gives them more positioning flexibility to use Recover. So I can see the case for someone like Holy Knight Leonie. Although I will note that Bernadetta unquestionably prefers having Physic, because if she's using Vengeance, she isn't durable.

There’s definitely an element of play style involved as well. For my part, and this might be something of a hot take, but I actually don’t value Physic that much in my runs. This is usually due to the fact that on most maps, my units are grouped together and attack as a faceless mass to overwhelm whatever enemy comes my way (so basically the typical bait and switch with very little variety to go on the offense). In this kind of play style there’s little space between your units so physic’s biggest use is being able to heal when there’s no adjacent space to the unit who needs it. But even then it’s something I can usually work around, and in the cases where I can I prefer Recover because of the better healing.

Again, I’ll note that this is purely a personal thing, but I’m assuming there are at least some people who play similarly to me, so might also get better use out of recover than physic.

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3 hours ago, Anathaco said:

There’s definitely an element of play style involved as well. For my part, and this might be something of a hot take, but I actually don’t value Physic that much in my runs. This is usually due to the fact that on most maps, my units are grouped together and attack as a faceless mass to overwhelm whatever enemy comes my way (so basically the typical bait and switch with very little variety to go on the offense). In this kind of play style there’s little space between your units so physic’s biggest use is being able to heal when there’s no adjacent space to the unit who needs it. But even then it’s something I can usually work around, and in the cases where I can I prefer Recover because of the better healing.

Again, I’ll note that this is purely a personal thing, but I’m assuming there are at least some people who play similarly to me, so might also get better use out of recover than physic.

I think I can agree with the fact that Recover can be slept on. For example in my Blue Lions run, I was doing Dedue’s paralogue and Annette had Recover. Since Dedue takes a lot of damage from a group of enemies, it was important for me to have her act as a full heal for him while Mercedes can use Physic on Ingrid who was my Pegasus Knight for the paralogue so the enemies can focus on her.
 

Meanwhile, Byleth and Felix soften up enemies with their bows while Dimitri and Sylvain picks up the scraps with Tempest Lance. But it’s Dedue that is the center of attention while Annette either helps with chip or full heals him. Even with 5 uses that is quite helpful.

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On 10/16/2021 at 11:35 PM, lenticular said:

It's an inherently subjective question no matter how you approach it. There are always going to be trade-offs, no matter what. There is no such thing as the objectively best character. For instance:

It is still the best way to evaluate. Adding arbitrary restrictions because Holy Knight's shouldn't be using PBV, SS, or Vengeance has no bearing on the actual game.

Some characters are more useful in more situations. How would that not be objectively better?

On 10/16/2021 at 11:35 PM, lenticular said:

I don't agree with this. I would personally rather have Recover than Physic on a unit with low magic and high mobility. I can certainly imagine specific circumstances where Physic would be clearly preferable, just as I can imagine circumstances where Recover would be clearly preferable. Is either one objectively and unambiguously better than the other? No. It depends on playstyle and it depends on who else you have on your team.

Bernie's Physic is only going to be healing around 5-6 points less than Mercedes. The low magic really doesn't matter for Physic when it still an 8 range heal.

If we are playing the same game than I am sure you would find that 90% of the time, Physic is what you want to use. It's not strictly better, because there are situations where Recover is stronger, but the vast majority of the time you want your mages to have Physic and not Restore.

On 10/16/2021 at 11:35 PM, lenticular said:

Likewise, which is best out of Rescue, Restore and Seraphim? Well, Rescue is clearly the best if you have an other unit that you need to move around, Restore is clearly best if you need to cure a few units of being rattled, and Seraphim is clearly the best if you need to take down a monster's armour. Trying to directly compare them is difficult because they do completely different things. It's meaningful to say "I find myself using this one the most" or "for my playstyle, I value that one the most"; it's much less meaningful to say "this one is objectively the best".

For any efficient playstyle Rescue, even at 4 range, will provide way more utility than Restore or Seraphim. Restore very rarely useful. Seraphim is fine on some units, but Sylvain already has Monster Piercer, which does more damage.

On 10/16/2021 at 11:35 PM, lenticular said:

I crunched some of the numbers to compare Bernadetta and Sylvain, and my conclusion was basically "it depends". For a basic build with no favouritism, Bernadetta does kill more stuff than Sylvain, but she isn't just a guaranteed kill on everything. She'll have problems with the bulkiest units in the very late game. I consdered a level 40 Bernadetta who had gone through Noble -> Fighter -> Brigand -> Paladin -> Holy Knight, and had average level-up RNG leading to a strength of 26 and HP of 48 (both inclusive of class bonuses). That would give her a might of 26 (base strength) + 2 (Str +2 skill) + 6 (Death Blow) + 14 (Silver Lance+) + 7 (battalion) + 2 (Vengeance base might) + 47 (Vengeance missing HP) + 5 (Persecution Complex) = 109. This is less than the bulk of endgame Fortress Knights, Warriors, Heroes, War Masters, Wyvern Lords, and Paladins.

This math is disingenuous. The Bernie that is listed here is 1-3 points off kill all of those enemies except the FK (-17), Hero (-6) and Warrior (-6). Simply swapping +2 Str for +5 HP is enough. Adding in Luin, which most units don't even want to use, is enough to kill everything but the FK with no investment. 

Bernie also has zero competition for +HP boosters unless you are running Cyril/Dedue.

With just base stats and 0 HP/Str level ups, Bernie is able to one shot every boss on CF except the final one. Even as Holy Knight.

On 10/16/2021 at 11:35 PM, lenticular said:

Now, of course, it isn't difficult to increase those numbers by giving her a stronger weapon or strength boosters or HP boosters or whatever else. If you want to build Holy Knight Bernadetta to be able to kill damn near everything, then you certainly can do that. But equally, it's possible to build Holy Knight Sylvain to be able to do the same, and not even all that hard. He starts behind Bernadetta, but every single point of favouritism that you give him counts for double because he's hitting twice with Swift Strikes. As an example, level 40 Sylvain with the same class progression could have a might of 30 (base strength) + 2 (Str +2) + 6 Death Blow + 22 (Lance of Ruin) + 8 (premium battalion) +2 (Swift Strikes) + 3 (Ingrid as adjutant) + 2 (Philanderer) + 1 (one Rocky Burdock) = 76 (twice). That's enough to kill everything in endgame Maddening except for Fortress Knights, monsters, and bosses.

This all comes at the opportunity cost of:

  • one less adjunct for your other units
  • limited battalion selection
  • needing a female unit to be adjacent
  • less Str boosters for your other units
  • no LoR for other units

At the end of all of that Sylvain still can't kill bosses as well as Bernie. Not to mention he requires both hits to connect (which is actually pretty risky vs Warriors/Wyvern Lords)

On 10/16/2021 at 11:35 PM, lenticular said:

Now, is it favouritism to give these things to Sylvain? Sure, maybe a little bit. Definitely a little bit more than what you need to get Bernadetta to the same level. But it's hardly ridiculous. So we have another trade-off. Which do you prefer, the Sylvain build that needs a few extra resources to kill everything, or the Bernadetta build that requires fewer resources but that requires set-up during each map and is always only one hit away from death? Personally, I'd prefer Sylvain. I'm pretty sure you'd prefer Bernadetta. And neither one of us would be wrong because both have advantages and disadvantages. I find that when I play, I have more resources than I really know what to do with, so I don't mind throwing a few extra at any given unit. On the other hand, I also know full well that I make mistakes from time to time, so I like to avoid builds where mistakes are deadly (and yes, I know that Divine Pulse is a thing, but I tend to avoid using it as much as I can). Again, it's all very subjective.

The Paladin Sylvain already needs favoritism for him to kill late game. Holy Knight Sylvain is like that, but requires 7 more Str just to reach the baseline. Bernie is already overkilling as Paladin, so the loss of 7 Str doesn't negatively impact her as much.

Bernie in general is a tier above Sylvain. The good things about Holy Knight work better for Bernie. The bad things about Holy Knight are worse for Sylvain. 

On 10/17/2021 at 3:27 PM, Shadow Mir said:

But from which perspective are you making the latter point? Because there are two perspectives I could be thinking from, at least. Would you consider the "best" one who takes the least effort to be viable, or one who has the best performance once their full build is in place? Where exactly do you stand on this? Because if I was thinking from the former perspective, then I could see some others who would be better, largely because they're not dependent on being one hit away from dying to be at their best (I consider this important, as much like @lenticular I'm generally not a fan of builds that require being at low health to be effective).

It's not a binary question. Multiple units can be viable at something, but one can be better than the other. Both Manuela and Linhart are "viable" Warp units. Once Lin gets Warp, he is better at it than Manuela. But Manuela can get Warp with less effort than Lin. Most would agree that Lin is a much better unit than Manuela though, even though he takes more effort to be "viable". Another example would be Hapi vs Lin. Hapi has more utility as a Physic/Warp bot once she gets the Faith ranks. But Lin starts working with way less investment. In this case I would say Lin/Hapi are pretty close.

The point is that there is more nuance to "Who is the best Holy Knight?" than just which unit takes the least investment to get there. Marianne clearly has the easiest time going Holy Knight, but as Holy Knight she lacks almost any kill power. HK Bernie takes a bit more investment, but nothing crazy for a level 30 unit, and just does much more damage and has comparable utility.

On 10/17/2021 at 3:27 PM, Shadow Mir said:

Having long-range support only helps so much when you don't have the magic to make good use of it; like stated earlier, I'm not going to "ooh" or "aah" over Bernie getting Physic when her healing with it is poor without a Healing Staff, which would be better used by someone who is actually magically inclined to make their Physic healing go from "good" to "great".

At level 30 Mercedes is only healing 3-4 points more than Bernie. Bernie has 8 range on Physic which is plenty for a unit with 7 move and Canto. Having high magic really doesn't make much difference to Physic. The most important thing to make Physic work is having an inventory slot to equip a healing staff.

On 10/17/2021 at 3:27 PM, Shadow Mir said:

Rescue? I'd rather have Dark Flier Flayn or Coco for that, as they have both mobility and the magic to have good range with it, whereas Bernie just has mobility. Ergo, she just winds up being a Master of None, unable to do support well, and is completely dependent on Vengeance to be useful;

Neither Flayn or Constance has anywhere near the killing power of Bernie. Like just to be perfectly clear here, HK Bernie is going to do more damage than a Paladin Sylvain or a Bow Knight Leonie. If HK Bernie is a "Master of None", then what would you consider Paladin Sylvain or BK Leonie? Because both of them do less damage and provide less utility than HK Bernie.

On 10/17/2021 at 3:27 PM, Shadow Mir said:

I consider that a shitty position to be in (I don't care how effective it is, needing to be nearly dead for it to be at its best is a negative, no matter which way you slice it). Therefore, I'd be more than happy to consider someone like Leonie or Sylvain better for the role due to being ready to go from turn 1 without needing to get them to near death for their offense to be great.

Leonie and Sylvain's offense isn't as strong as Bernie's. They can skip the setup turn, but the amount of enemies/bosses/monsters they can kill is much less than Bernie. 

The low HP thing is fairly minor if you are playing the game well. Lots of maddening enemies are going to be one shotting your units anyway, the difference between 50 HP and 1 HP is nothing when Sylvain is about to take 4 hits from a Grappler. Only 1 or 2 dedicated enemy phase units should be taking any hits. Every time another unit is being attacked is one more enemy to deal with on player phase.

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1 hour ago, Objeckts said:

This math is disingenuous.

No it isn't. It was certainly flawed but that's not the same thing. I absolutely should have included HP+5 but didn't think to. I don't see why it's difficult to believe that I could just make a mistake in my numbers, especially since I don't run Vengeance builds myself so am not used to optimising them.

Anyway, if you think that I'm arguing in bad faith then there really isn't a whole lot of point in me continuing, since nothing I could say would change your mind.

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Yeah, I definitely don't think that was a disingenuous comment and I don't know why it was accused as being such. To be honest I thought the most disingenous comment was this one:

23 hours ago, Objeckts said:

The low HP thing is fairly minor if you are playing the game well. Lots of maddening enemies are going to be one shotting your units anyway, the difference between 50 HP and 1 HP is nothing when Sylvain is about to take 4 hits from a Grappler.

It is ridiculous to imply that most enemies are one-shotting Sylvain. He has enough speed not to be doubled by midspeed enemies, and enough bulk to survive many doubles. More to the point, the attacks we are most concerned with taking incidentally (that is, by someone not "intended" to draw fire) are long range ones - siege weapons, magic, and bows - which are particularly unlikely to one-shot (outside of rare exceptions with significant crit rates). Not being at 1 HP allows a unit to be safely deployed in dramatically more situations. It's useful for the same precise reason that Physic is (IMO) more useful than Recover.

Bringing up Grapplers is at best a misleading point because they've got some of the highest killing power of any enemy type AND are extremely rare. You brought up CF specifically for Bernie's killing power... well, the last Grapplers encountered on CF are fought in Chapter 13 and have 37 atk, so Sylvain can reasonably scrounge enough def to not be one-rounded by them anyway. They're less rare in other routes, but never common, and always easy to avoid because of infantry move + 1 range, particularly when we're discussing units with Canto.

Impregnable Wall also provides a method for any unit to take hits in a pinch... any unit except one already at 1 HP, at least. If we need Bernie to take hits the only solution is to heal her, which will necessitate finding a way to get her down to low HP again in the future (particularly annoying if the strategy to get her there the first time was Blessing, which can only be used once).


More generally... Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a one-player game. What is and is not effective is inherently subjective. As lenticular already eloquently put, which is most desirable out of Bernie's higher (or less resource-intensive) offensive potential vs. Sylvain not needing a setup turn and ability to take incidental hits is a subjective thing; both can be used to win maps, and it's up to each player which one is more effective for them, and which disadvantages they find more meaningful. Objeckts clearly has one opinion; lenticular and I have another. That's fine.

I do find it unproductive when people assume in these conversations that everyone else aleady agrees with their assessment of units (or other tools). To some extent this will be unavoidable, and in many cases is unlikely to cause disagreement (e.g. Edelgard > Caspar is not a hot take). But it can obstruct Objeckts has done this before, and both times it was about boldly-stated opinions which actually contradict the results of Serenes' own unit ratings (in this case, the ratings have Sylvain > Bernie). Obviously I fully respect Objeckts's right to disagree with the majority view; I do myself in a few places (e.g. I think Dorothea is dramatically better than Linhardt). But an argument that rests on one's own personal ideas of what the tier list should look like are not very convincing to people who don't already agree with the person making the argument.


To weigh in one one last point which was brought up: I already came down on the side of Physic > Recover, and I'll come down on the side of Rescue > Seraphim as well... although it does vary by map/situation and Seraphim is pretty cool as well (certainly better than Monster Piercer). Seraphim's big advantage is that it can attack at greater range than other monster-slaying weapons, and in particular with any sort of range-booster it can attack most monsters from outside their threat range, allowing you to begin a barrier-breaking chain safely (particularly nice against titanus, whom you don't want to see attacks from ever). This advantage is otherwise matched only by certain long-range gambits (which are limited in use) and the Blessed Bow (of which there is only one, and if you use combat arts with it you chew through it quickly), so units with Seraphim give you a more versatile set of monster-hunting tools. It's a neat spell.

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On 10/19/2021 at 12:14 AM, Objeckts said:

The point is that there is more nuance to "Who is the best Holy Knight?" than just which unit takes the least investment to get there. Marianne clearly has the easiest time going Holy Knight, but as Holy Knight she lacks almost any kill power. HK Bernie takes a bit more investment, but nothing crazy for a level 30 unit, and just does much more damage and has comparable utility.

I can agree that Marianne dies less damage than Vengeance!Bernadetta, but how much is she capable of? By level 31, she averages 11 + 0.50 * 30 = 26 Magic, and 6 + 0.40 * 30 = 18 Dexterity. This is before accounting for class growths. Holy Knight also adds 1 Mag and 2 Dex, while Marianne will likely have Mag +2 and Dex +4 by this point. Thus, the stats become 29 Magic and 24 Dexterity, respectively.

So, how powerful is Frozen Lance? Let's assume she has Fiendish Blow (+6) and Alliance Sages (B-rank, +8). Frozen Lance adds an inherent 3 damage, plus 30% of the Dex stat (0.30 * 24 = 7.2 ~ 7). So it adds 10 damage. 29 + 6 + 8 + 10 = 53, before even considering the weapon's Might. The Silver Lance+ will give her 14 Might, for a total power of 67. Alternatively, if facing a cavalry unit, the Horseslayer will have 8 * 3 = 24 Might, for 77 power total. Reviewing Maddening VW endgame, these aren't enough to one-shot most foes, but they'll still do well over half (i.e. 47/73 against enemy Paladins, 45/59 against enemy Assassins), making for a great finishing option after getting chipped. There are more powerful options, like Luin or the Spear of Assasl, but they're in relatively short supply.

Also, Marianne learns Soulblade with C+ Swords. This can be a good answer against Armored enemies, thanks to the Rapier or Armorslayer. I won't go into damage details, because this is somewhat out of the way relative to Frozen Lance, but it is still an option.

TL;DR - Frozen Lance Marianne is doing less damage than either Swift Strikes Sylvain or Vengeance Bernadetta. But she requires less tutoring than the former, and less in-battle setup than the latter. Not to mention, she can bypass terrain boosts to Avoid. She won't secure many one-shots, but she can comfortably deliver the kill after some solid chip.

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

I can agree that Marianne dies less damage than Vengeance!Bernadetta, but how much is she capable of? By level 31, she averages 11 + 0.50 * 30 = 26 Magic, and 6 + 0.40 * 30 = 18 Dexterity. This is before accounting for class growths. Holy Knight also adds 1 Mag and 2 Dex, while Marianne will likely have Mag +2 and Dex +4 by this point. Thus, the stats become 29 Magic and 24 Dexterity, respectively.

So, how powerful is Frozen Lance? Let's assume she has Fiendish Blow (+6) and Alliance Sages (B-rank, +8). Frozen Lance adds an inherent 3 damage, plus 30% of the Dex stat (0.30 * 24 = 7.2 ~ 7). So it adds 10 damage. 29 + 6 + 8 + 10 = 53, before even considering the weapon's Might. The Silver Lance+ will give her 14 Might, for a total power of 67. Alternatively, if facing a cavalry unit, the Horseslayer will have 8 * 3 = 24 Might, for 77 power total. Reviewing Maddening VW endgame, these aren't enough to one-shot most foes, but they'll still do well over half (i.e. 47/73 against enemy Paladins, 45/59 against enemy Assassins), making for a great finishing option after getting chipped. There are more powerful options, like Luin or the Spear of Assasl, but they're in relatively short supply.

She actually does a little more damage than this. If you are planning on using Frozen Lance, then LoR is really the only way to be competitive late game. She learns Physic and Silence, so ~lv40 (~36 Magic and ~28 Dex) seems much more realistic for endgame VW. She can also equip a Magic Staff. All together that is an extra 8 + 7 + 1 + 3 = 19 Mt which should put her at 86 Mt overall. That is enough to kill Assassins, but she will still need boosters to one shot any other enemy.

Edited by Objeckts

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15 minutes ago, Objeckts said:

She actually does a little more damage than this. If you are planning on using Frozen Lance, then LoR is really the only way to be competitive late game. She learns Physic and Silence, so ~lv40 (~36 Magic and ~28 Dex) seems much more realistic for endgame VW. She can also equip a Magic Staff. All together that is an extra 8 + 7 + 1 + 3 = 19 Mt which should put her at 86 Mt overall. That is enough to kill Assassins, but she will still need boosters to one shot any other enemy.

I believe she'll also be one-shotting enemy Paladins and Great Knights at that point. The Spear of Assal has 14 Might, which becomes 42 against mounted foes. Ergo, 18 points of damage above the Horseslayer. Add in a Magic staff, 5 extra Magic, and 1 more damage from the Dex boost, and we're at +27. 77 + 27 = 104 attack power, which is just enough to kill enemy Paladins (73 HP plus 30 Res).

That said, my initial calculations were admittedly conservative ones. I didn't consider the Relic or Sacred weapons, because they're not as spammable as ones that take Smithing Stones. Also didn't consider the Magic Staff, even though I know it applies (rather bizarrely) to magical combat arts.

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