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Jobby James

Finishing Shadow Dragon with only Marth - SUCCESS

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Back in November of last year, I took it upon myself to see if Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon can be beaten with only Marth attacking and advancing.

After overcoming a few hurdles I have managed to beat the entire game with this restriction on Hard-1. It was challenging but I knew that this would be possible as I felt that the playtesters would have made sure that on lower difficulties that the game won't soft-lock as Marth is the only unit the player has, as they would find that all their other units would die in each chapter (assuming you ignore the replacement units provided).

I will admit that chapters 1, 6, 15 and the Endgame chapter were the hardest and there were times I thought that this was not feasible.

It would be great to hear your thoughts and ideas.¬†ūüôā

Video:

 

 

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Hey, I knew this would come back sooner or later!

I like how you chose not to use the weak falchion against Medeus, as the effective damage would've killed him in one shot when you landed the first crit. Just didn't bother accepting the game's pity falchion. It's probably what Kaga would've wanted. Just kidding. He would've wanted you to be soft-locked and start over again.

The main interesting thing about your run imo was how scarily close Marth's lvl 30 stats were to the average lvl 30 one, rather than having a Marth who got lucky growths and capped every stats that isn't magic or res. A Marth with 25 defense could probably solo even H5 with enough vulneraries, forges, and bolgonone dodges. Considering how easy H5 can be solo'd with Sedgar or Wolf, I like to think the mages in this game were designed around making sure you can't completely mitigate the game with an easy solo, at least on higher difficulties, but as you experienced, even lower difficulties will give you a hard time with mages, as virtually no one has a res growth. But what matters in a solo run isn't how lucky you got. It's how many recruitable enemies you finally have an excuse to murder. Medeus on normal could easily be killed, as he has 21 speed, allowing for Marth to double him. He can't 1RKO with the weak falchion (24x) without a crit, but he'll probably be fine. As for H2 and above, his speed will be 29 or 30, meaning Marth will get doubled and will presumably die unless his HP and defense are basically capped, which would require incredible growths and all the stat boosters in chapter 24, but I don't recall if Marth can even walk through the mountains around it. If he can, you could theoretically kill the boss to end reinforcements, then walk there and back, but dealing with the regular manaketes on higher difficulties would essentially require luck, as they are ludicrously fast and strong, and Marth won't have the falchion to help him, so getting the secret shop would be near impossible. Back on the topic of Medeus, Marth can still OHKO him with a falchion crit (assuming he capped strength and has A rank swords), as his defense never changes across difficulties, so with luck, even H5 Medeus can be solo'd by Marth. However, just reaching him would be near impossible, as the infinite reinforcements around him would keep showing up, and Marth simply won't be able to kill them without more showing up unless he's really lucky with constant criticals and dodges, to the point where it's probably unrealistic. Manaketes, paladins, and generals can be destroyed with highly forged effective weapons if Marth has been using his money throughout the run wisely while holding the starsphere. But heroes will just need to die manually. Generally, I'd say that H2 is probably doable without insane luck, but H3 would begin to push the line, and H4 and H5 would require a crap ton of it. 

I wouldn't be opposed to trying out a Marth solo myself on H1, mainly because it's the only difficulty I've yet to beat. But, I'd like to see how far I can go with forges knowing that everything that isn't a sword is practically worthless. Unfortunately, levin swords are quite weak in SD. I assume it's because in FE1, it deals a fixed 7 damage. In FE11, it has 6 might, but requires C rank swords, which would give you +1 might. Personally, I prefer New Mystery's 10 might levin sword, and shards can increase magic to help deal more effective damage, but this isn't a New Mystery solo. I enjoyed the video quality quite a bit, but I am obligated to mock you for using the PAL version.

Now do it again with Cord.

Just kidding. Thanks for giving Marth the recognition he deserves.

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I appreciate your comment! Your theory of what difficulties are feasible with Only Marth is very interesting. I assumed from the first chapter, that playing any further than Hard-1 could cause a soft lock well into the game. My general rule of thumb with these challenges (even including non Fire Emblem games) is that if the first level cannot be beaten then that means either the challenge is too outlandish or the video is going to start off weakly. I feel that not as many people are going to be interested if I start off by saying "Well, the first level in and I can't do it". I thought that the difficulties harder than Hard-1 at the beginning were too much. I've been thinking about revisiting this just to see if Marth can make it through on Hard-2 (or possibly Hard-3), but not as a full video like this one as I may end up repeating a bunch of information from this video.

Also, I've noticed after making that video, that someone on GameFAQs did do something like this back during the DS's hay day, they said they did it on normal. However, I cannot extrapolate anything other than Marth's final stats. The non-capped stats are higher than what I achieved, which means he got really lucky or, more likely, managed to get the Secret Shop items (which were far out of my grasp and I don't know how easy it was for them to get them - that post is also >10 years old).


I am convinced that after doing this challenge, the value that the RNG table returns is based on how many times a unit has attacked, has been attacked, evades an attack or misses an attack. When I repeated strategies and loaded save states, so long as the units are in the same position as before, there is a very good chance the same outcome will happen - the true randomness comes from how the enemy and player unit(s) moved and are placed. To keep it brief, the RNG is locked way before anyone fights so there is not much point in save stating and repeating the same actions - as the same outcome will happen.

You mentioned New Mystery of the Emblem as well. I researched if anyone has done it with Marth only, but so far it seems to be quiet (possibly because it's exclusive in Japan). I've got my sights set on that at the moment before someone else does it. And that means that I will not be playing the PAL version.

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