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What is some good tips for playing FE1?

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I bought FE1 for switch like, a year ago and haven't touched it for a long time. I'm thinking about changing that however I'm bad at most Fire Emblems aside from the ones known for being easy. I always get to a point where I make bad long term decisions that make the game unwinnable.

What is some good advice for finishing this game? I would preferably like to beat the game with no deaths.

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Well, my first piece of advice is to throw away the idea that you will beat the game first try with no deaths. The game is designed around the idea that you will lose units permanently, and offers a fair stream of new units to replace old ones. Permadeath was one of the selling points of Fire Emblem at its launch, whereas it's something that newer games try to dance around and avoid, so it's fair that you're not used to it but you should change your mindset to interact with these older games.

FE1 offers a very neat method of keeping units alive in that enemies will always rush to kill Marth. He's a wonderful trump card that you can use to ward away attacks from enemies, provided you give him levels and keep him healthy. Best mage about to get swarmed by 2 swordsmen and killed? Throw Marth in a forest and they'll attack him instead. There might be some exceptions to this but I can't remember them, it's a pretty safe strategy overall.

For battles themselves, you don't get any battle forecast, so speed and doubles are the only thing you can really reasonably predict. Of course, you could use the damage formula to calculate damage pre-battle, but overall you're supposed to be able to play by simply inferring an enemy's strength based on their grade of weapon and stats. The game even obfuscates numeric data on the battle screen to keep with this goal of accessibility; you could probably play the whole game and win without considering hard numbers even once. Yes, not doing calculations might lead to some unit deaths, but as I said earlier this shouldn't scare you off from playing the game (though you should obviously still try to keep your units alive).

Careful of having units with powerful weapons face off against large enemy hordes. I've lost a Jagen and a Hardin like that, handing them their strongest weapons to mow through multiple enemies on enemy phase. While they can of course kill the enemy, this just left them open to the next enemy attack, whittling down their HP until they were dead.

Check enemy ranges. They sometimes can travel a whole lot farther than you might assume. There's no danger zone, so it's on you to count out the tiles they can cross.

Note that enemies might avoid attacking a high-defense unit at all, even if that unit is the only one in the enemies' range. As for resistance, well, there is none - most units will have no res for the whole game. Be careful of mages and use your own carefully to wipe out armour knights, which are quite threatening in this game from my memory.

I would personally advise against the arena as battles can get volatile in there, and if you lose your unit will die. Have lost some very strong Kains and Abels like that. However others who understand the arena better might advise otherwise.

Only use wikis/strategy guides for stuff like item info. I haven't read through the Japanese manual for the game, but it's pretty extensive and holds a lot of information on stuff like weapon levels, which aren't stated in-game.

To repeat my first point, I'd really encourage you to play the game while allowing units to die. If you want 1 or 2 units like Shiida or Julian to stick around, a reset or two won't hurt, but overall it's important to get yourself in the mindset of playing this game as it was released - that is, embracing permadeath as a mechanic, avoiding it within the ruleset of the game and not using save states or resets to defeat it. Characters in FE1 tend to have little dialogue, or none at all, meaning you aren't missing much even if they die, unless you're assigning your own traits and value to your units. Which, speaking of, is something you should absolutely do. I think the structure of FE1 really invites the player to imagine the details of events from the bird's-eye view the game gives you, meaning you should feel free to let your creative energy flow and come up with stories, interactions, etc. for units to flesh out the simple blueprint the game gives you. With the volatility of the permadeath system, this can create a really exciting atmosphere, where your favourite unit that you've imagined an epic underdog story can suddenly be snatched away from you by a crit, or a fodder unit you never thought anything of can suddenly become a legend due to some lucky level ups or dodges. I would strongly argue this FE1 is intentionally making use of its limitations to create this atmosphere, and so it can be very fun to follow suit and let your imagination run wild.

Hope this is helpful, have fun with this classic!

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If you’re playing on Switch the game lets you make and reload saves whenever. I used that feature quite a bit when playing the game myself.

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Abuse Warp. If there's a map that looks difficult, warp lets you take care of it easily.

Don't worry to much about promotions, it's not that important in this game

Marth is on steroids in this game. Train him, and use him as your bosskiller to save warp uses.

Don't be stingy with your gold. This game gives you far, far, FAR more then you will ever use.

Statboosters are also on steroids in this game, and there are secret shops here that sell them. Check a guide if you want to know, and also know how to obtain the member card, cause it's pretty hard in this game.

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-Marth is great, and rapiers are buyable

-Promotion isn't a big deal in this game; it only bumps your stats up to the new class's base stats if they were lower, so the fact that some classes cannot promote shouldn't be held against them because...

-Stats only cap at 20 (with the exception of resistance)

-Speaking of, only one unit in the game has any resistance, so beware of enemy mages. Also, iirc, magic does fixed damage.

-As stated earlier, there's no danger zone, so you'll have to count tiles to calculate enemy range

-Stat boosters are crazy good

-There is no crit evade in this game, so you might lose units to critical hits every now and then

-Healers cannot level up by healing; instead you must let them get attacked by enemies. Yeah, it's as stupid as it sounds.

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59 minutes ago, doodoogrowths said:

BTW, what units are worth using in this game?

Here's the first ones that come to the top of my head. 

Marth: As everyone else said, Marth is pretty good. Not only does Marth have some of the highest growths in this game, but the rapier weapon is pretty handy, as a large amount of enemies in this game are either cavalry or armor knights. Also, the enemies will always target Marth. They will literally prioritize Marth over a healer, making Marth your best candidate for stat boosters.

Abel and Cain: They're the classic horse duo, and are thus pretty solid units. They have really high movement, and their maximum availability gives them plenty of time to gain a lot of xp. 

Jagen: Since the enemies in the NES are relatively weak for quite a while, it will take a while for Jagen to start falling off. His high weapon level is very helpful in the early game, and he's the perfect set up unit for kills, as he tends to leave early game enemies at 2 HP after battle. If you get a lucky Jagen strength up like I did, he can slay through enemies for a long time. His decent defense also helps quite a lot. Even with pure blank levels, his bases will carry him far. I think I used Jagen until chapter 16. That's when he stopped feeling like a powerhouse to me, which is definitely pretty far, and I still wouldn't say he became bad. Just not great.

Bantu: This is not a unit worth investing in. But I did want to mention that he actually has his uses in this game. The firestone he has lasts forever in FE1, meaning that you'll never have to worry about losing the thing after many battles. The firestone gives him +12 defense, making him take 0 damage from most enemies for about the first 12 chapters or so. When he does take damage, it's pretty minimal. He won't have much speed, so he mainly serves as a knight-like unit, dishing out heavy chip damage to enemies, while your main army finsihes them off on player phase and get the real xp. 

Wendall and/or Boah: Healers do not gain xp from using staves. Because of this, it's extremely unlikely that you will get a healer to promote. As such, Wendall and Boah can be pretty good units to use, as they are pre-promoted healers. Their weapon level and speed are great, making them solid fighters when needed to attack. Magic is not a stat in this game. Their damage input is based purely off of the weapon's might. 

Hardin: Not much to add. Great stats, cavalry, and he has a weapon level high enough to use a silver sword at base, which you get pretty early on.

Minerva: A flier with great defense. Her speed is a bit lacking, so I'd recommend tossing a speedwing to her. I used her until endgame like that. She's particularly handy with a levin sword, as it's a sword with 2 range and deals a fixed damage of 7. This is mainly helpful against knights, wyverns, or most late game enemies. Swords in this game are very light, making doubling very easy to accomplish if the enemy is using a different weapon.

Samson: He's one of 2 units you can get in chapter 16, by visiting the right village (you can't get both villages). His base stats, while not spectacular, are pretty decent for his join time. He has 15 speed, and comes with a silver sword, letting him deal very heavy damage to many enemies. Considering that 20 is the cap stat, and is often not a cap reached for many units, 15 speed is really high. I used a fully trained Navarre, and his stats were on par with Samson by that chapter, and Navarre was not stat screwed by any means. Samson probably won't carry you in the last few chapters, especially with his poor HP, but is pretty good for his join time, and mostly serviceable even in the lategame if given a levin sword for safe ranged attacks. 

Any Flier: Fliers are generally helpful for being able to fly past most terrains with good movement and speed, but their ability to promote to a wyvern is busted, as wyvern base promo stats are really good for FE1 standards. Caeda has the most availability for training, but you won't get any promotion items for fliers for a long time. I think you get one at chapter 19. I'd personally suggest Palla and Catria. If you use Est as well, you can perform triangle attacks, but setting that up can feel very situational, so I wouldn't worry about striving for that if you don't want to train all 3.

Generally, I'd recommend to not worry much about growth rates, units who can or can't promote, and don't push away pre-promotes. They are very helpful in this game. By the time they run out of use, you've either done a large portion of the game, or they got killed by a random crit naturally, so you don't have to worry about them falling off. If the lategame has really rough moments, you always have the warp staff. Honestly, just don't worry in general. FE1 is made to be pretty forgiving. Well, except for the fact that thieves destroy chests in FE1, not letting you take the loot back from them afterwards. If they touch the chest, you lose the item. Use the warp staff on chapter 6 to stop the first theif on the far left. That holds a seraph robe. It's very useful. There's no weapon triangle in FE1, so you don't need to factor that into battles. This is a good thing, since most enemies use lances, and swords are very helpful in this game with their low weight. Levin swords give sword units the ability to attack from range. If you can get past how slow and somewhat archaic FE1 is, you can get some good fun out of it.  Because of the low emphasis on growths and the generally low difficulty of the game, you can get away with doing a lot in the game, so don't feel to afraid of using a unit that isn't top tier. You'll be fine. Unless it's Darros or Bord. They have a 10% speed growth and axes weigh them down heavily. That's kind of funny.

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Some of your units will die on your first playthrough and that's fine, I lost 5 or 6 people and I still managed to beat the game without much trouble

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