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Any Fun and Underrated Unit Promotions for the FE8 cast?

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On 9/11/2022 at 1:14 PM, Shadow Mir said:

Increased fog vision might have been a good argument for Assassin were it not for the fact that by the time you promote either Joshua or Marisa, there is only one fog map left (there are all of four fog maps in Sacred Stones, but you only play three of them in any given run)... and aside from that, it only really helps in the occasional skirmish. And honestly, I'd consider it dubious to pick a promotion that only helps in one specific chapter and is pretty much a brick otherwise. Also, in my humble opinion, if you're having trouble killing, like Marisa tends to do, I'd consider a boost to crit chance to be more helpful to that end than an unreliable one-shot.

It's possible to early-promote Joshua in time for Chapter 11, but yeah, fair. I feel that fog maps are some of the most dangerous maps in this game because limited information is how you die, and thus value increased fog vision even if it is just one map.

Fair about Marisa having trouble killing even with favouritism (Joshua doesn't as much); tbh I don't really use her much so you could argue me here. But I think you're overestimating how much the crit boost actually improves their killing power; again, it only even affects one combat out of six. How many times are you going to send Marisa against enemies she can't reliably kill post-promotion before the game ends? I feel like if it's in the dozens (where it would have to be to make this crit boost feel relevant), you're either doing some sort of challenge run or playing incredibly sub-optimally.

Let's be clear: if Assassin is a "brick", then Swordmaster is too. They're very similar. Very similar stats, 6 move infantry, sword lock. We're quibbling when discussing their differences.

On 9/15/2022 at 5:54 PM, AnonymousSpeed said:

I'm not sure how reliable 10% of kills is, because you're not going to have 1-2 range either way, but I think the only stat your myrmidons are really going to be hurting for is strength, which Swordmaster helps them get ahead on both from the immediate benefit of the promotion bonus and the additional crit. Would I rely on crit? No, but that's why I wouldn't use a myrmidon in the first place. If you insist on using one, I think the utility benefits are pretty minor unless you've lost both Colm and Rennac while playing an ironman.

I mean it's obviously fair to not using a myrmidon in the first place of course (especially since Eirika, Colm, Gerik, and every cavalier already covers the "sword user" niche, and several of them even cover the speed niche). But I'd argue that if they're NOT getting at least ~10% of kills they really need to be off the team. Like why are you using them long enough to promote them if your plan is just to let them get increasingly underlevelled? In Marisa's case, she won't even get off the ground; Josh you can use as filler until better units come along. I generally think if we actually care about Joshua's and especially Marisa's promotions, we're planning to use them as serious team members who will be invested into, whether or not that's the best idea in a vacuum.

Perhaps the only occasion where we might promote one of these two despite them getting <10% kills is if (a) we do get Joshua some kills in his early maps, enough to reach Level 10, (b) we aren't planning to use m/any other Hero Crest users, and (c) we figure we might as well promote Joshua for an immediate power boost. In that case I'd say fog vision in Chapter 11 starts feeling like a pretty significant consideration, as does chest utility in e.g. Chapter 14 (either route, in both cases!), since by that point it'll probably the only reason Joshua is being deployed at all.

 

On 9/14/2022 at 6:39 PM, AnonymousSpeed said:

Aside. I know we've mentioned Assassin leveling up faster than Swordmaster, but I'm not sure that'd actually make up for the worse promotion gains. Swordmaster gives +1 strength if I recall correctly. Marisa's strength growth is 30 and Joshua's is 35, so they only get a point of strength in three levels on average. This means Assassin needs accelerated XP gain to end up with the same strength Swordmaster would have right away.

That's true. As I said earlier the accelerated exp gain does get them to a level lead of 6+ by the end of the game, so that's 2 points, but it is pretty much trading 1 str now for 1 str later. I'd consider this alone a slight advantage for swordmaster, except that assassin opens up wins in all the other stats (slightly bulkier, more reliable evasion, etc.) and I value fog vision more than a crit boost. Your milage may vary. I don't think the gap should be considered super wide either way.

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57 minutes ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

you're either doing some sort of challenge run or playing incredibly sub-optimally.

To be fair, I’d say if you’re using Marisa at all you’re playing incredibly sub-optimally. Joshua is significantly better though and I’m kind of being swayed by your fog vision argument, specifically for an early promotion, as I too find the fog chapters to be some of the hardest.

Edited by Whisky

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36 minutes ago, Whisky said:

To be fair, I’d say if you’re using Marisa at all you’re playing incredibly sub-optimally.

Hahaha yeah, that's fair.

New proposal: all my arguments regarding Joshua's promotions stand, but for Marisa, I hereby update my promotion recommendation to "whatever makes you, the player, happiest" since we're clearly utterly unconcerned with even mild optimization at this point.

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Marisa is dumb. I'm honestly not sure what they were thinking with her. Every other character in the game, even Amelia, serves some niche. Marisa is worse than Joshua in literally every way and joins later. She has nothing new to contribute. She is a low-tier back-up for a mid-tier unit.

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Her main advantages over Joshua are better luck and an affinity which raises evasion, so she can dodge better than him (and indeed, almost anyone else) in the later stages of the game. That obviously doesn't justify how much weaker she starts, but I can vaguely see what they were going for.

The weak start is stupid as hell. She's hyped up as a feared mercenary (to the point where she has a nickname which some random NPC knows about), she should not be Level 5 when most enemies on that map are far higher.

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1 hour ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

The weak start is stupid as hell. She's hyped up as a feared mercenary (to the point where she has a nickname which some random NPC knows about), she should not be Level 5 when most enemies on that map are far higher.

I agree. I think it’s super disappointing. Fire Emblem games are often good about matching character strengths in lore and gameplay. They don’t always get this right with some characters but Marisa has to be one of the worst examples.

She should start much higher level, maybe as a pre-promote. Or she could join much earlier.

Or as a last resort, just don’t hype up how strong she is. Say that she’s inexperienced but has potential. At least they wouldn’t be lying to us that way. Like even though Nino is a terrible unit, I don’t mind as much because they don’t try to tell us that she’s really strong.

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15 minutes ago, Whisky said:

Or as a last resort, just don’t hype up how strong she is. Say that she’s inexperienced but has potential. At least they wouldn’t be lying to us that way. Like even though Nino is a terrible unit, I don’t mind as much because they don’t try to tell us that she’s really strong.

And for Elimine's sake, don't call her the "Crimson Flash". Nothing about her design is Crimson. Her hair is Magenta. Fuchsia, maybe. Heck, the "Fuchsia Flash" is arguably even a better nickname.

16 hours ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

Marisa is dumb. I'm honestly not sure what they were thinking with her. Every other character in the game, even Amelia, serves some niche. Marisa is worse than Joshua in literally every way and joins later. She has nothing new to contribute. She is a low-tier back-up for a mid-tier unit.

At least Ewan and Amelia can promote into good classes. Summoner Ewan makes Phantoms, most Ewan promotions have Staff support, and Paladin Amelia can Rescue-ferry and throw Javelins. All Marisa gets is sword-locked infantry with no meaningful utility.

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1 hour ago, Whisky said:

I agree. I think it’s super disappointing. Fire Emblem games are often good about matching character strengths in lore and gameplay. They don’t always get this right with some characters but Marisa has to be one of the worst examples.

She should start much higher level, maybe as a pre-promote. Or she could join much earlier.

Or as a last resort, just don’t hype up how strong she is. Say that she’s inexperienced but has potential. At least they wouldn’t be lying to us that way. Like even though Nino is a terrible unit, I don’t mind as much because they don’t try to tell us that she’s really strong.

It's like they constructed a character, then thought "hey, she's a female myrmidon, what do those look like in gameplay again?" and settled on roughly copying Fir's stats onto her, despite how inappropriate they are for her plot. To add injury to insult, Marisa ends up worse than Fir for a whole variety of reasons: swords are relatively worse, dodgetanking is relatively worse, crit builds aren't reliable, game is shorter so high-potential units have less value, no axe city for her to wade through in her early maps, no hard mode bonuses.

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18 hours ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

Marisa is dumb. I'm honestly not sure what they were thinking with her. Every other character in the game, even Amelia, serves some niche. Marisa is worse than Joshua in literally every way and joins later. She has nothing new to contribute. She is a low-tier back-up for a mid-tier unit.

Agreed. It's like, Neimi sucks because archer, but at least she can do chip damage early on and has a quick Colm support, if you're into that. The way the devs treated Marisa makes my head spin as to why they thought this was okay (joins 5 chapters later than Joshua on her better route... with the same base level and worse bases overall). As if this wasn't bad enough, she joins in the same chapter as her boss on said route (Ephraim's route has her join in the chapter right before said boss... but late enough she probably won't get to do much of anything if you opt to recruit her in the chapter itself, as she can also be recruited just by finishing the chapter with both her and Ewan alive).

19 hours ago, Whisky said:

I too find the fog chapters to be some of the hardest.

Even Creeping Darkness (iirc, that's the Eirika route fog chapter)?

20 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

It's possible to early-promote Joshua in time for Chapter 11, but yeah, fair. I feel that fog maps are some of the most dangerous maps in this game because limited information is how you die, and thus value increased fog vision even if it is just one map.

Fair about Marisa having trouble killing even with favouritism (Joshua doesn't as much); tbh I don't really use her much so you could argue me here. But I think you're overestimating how much the crit boost actually improves their killing power; again, it only even affects one combat out of six. How many times are you going to send Marisa against enemies she can't reliably kill post-promotion before the game ends? I feel like if it's in the dozens (where it would have to be to make this crit boost feel relevant), you're either doing some sort of challenge run or playing incredibly sub-optimally.

Let's be clear: if Assassin is a "brick", then Swordmaster is too. They're very similar. Very similar stats, 6 move infantry, sword lock. We're quibbling when discussing their differences.

At the same time, I think you're giving whatever utility Assassin gets more credit than it deserves. As is, I'd only give Assassin the time of day if I was doing an ironman and lost Colm and/or Rennac (or was unable to recruit the latter). Anyways, when exactly would you promote Joshua?

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

And for Elimine's sake, don't call her the "Crimson Flash". Nothing about her design is Crimson. Her hair is Magenta. Fuchsia, maybe. Heck, the "Fuchsia Flash" is arguably even a better nickname.

"Fuchsia Flash"? Might as well call her "Fred Fuchs".

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

At least Ewan and Amelia can promote into good classes. Summoner Ewan makes Phantoms, most Ewan promotions have Staff support, and Paladin Amelia can Rescue-ferry and throw Javelins. All Marisa gets is sword-locked infantry with no meaningful utility.

Even General Amelia has the "speedy armor" niche. It might not be a good niche, yet alone her best option, but it's at least something distinct.

3 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Her main advantages over Joshua are better luck and an affinity which raises evasion, so she can dodge better than him (and indeed, almost anyone else) in the later stages of the game. That obviously doesn't justify how much weaker she starts, but I can vaguely see what they were going for.

It's a very "20/20 stats" mindset for an advantage though. "Speedy myrmidon" is just "overspecialized" myrmidon in practice, since they're all more than fast enough.

Fir might've been diet Rutger, but Rutger is actually really good, so it's not that much of an insult.

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1 hour ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

It's a very "20/20 stats" mindset for an advantage though. "Speedy myrmidon" is just "overspecialized" myrmidon in practice, since they're all more than fast enough.

 

I'd probably describe it as "endgame stats" rather than "20/20 stats" since the advantage is pretty visible even at 20/10 or so, but... obviously not disagreeing with you. It's the same energy, and not the metric by which either you or I rank units.

Evade's really important; it was one of the simplest ways to break Binding Blade in particular. I also find high evasion the easiest way to do a full clear of Last Hope, which is probably the only thing in lategame FE8 I consider particularly challenging (albeit optional; you can just rush down Riev). So Marisa having a lot of that isn't overspecialized in my view. If she joined at Level 1 promoted with the exact stats we'd expect 20/1 Marisa to have, I think she'd be useful. But right now getting use out of her involves feeding a ton of exp to her while she's a bad unit, all for her to fill a niche which she only fills marginally better than other high-evasion characters at best (and notably, both lords, one of whom is forced, already have very high evade).

1 hour ago, Shadow Mir said:

At the same time, I think you're giving whatever utility Assassin gets more credit than it deserves. As is, I'd only give Assassin the time of day if I was doing an ironman and lost Colm and/or Rennac (or was unable to recruit the latter). Anyways, when exactly would you promote Joshua?

And I think you're giving +15 crit way more credit than it deserves. We can go in circles on this, probably best to just agree to disagree.

Me personally? I tend to promote people at 20 in this game, outside staff users. That's a personal hangup, though, and I don't think it's the best way to play. For what it's worth, I would assume the "best" play of Joshua is to promote him before whatever midgame map you're most worried about and then bench him later on (aside from high-deployment maps like 19), because to be frank he's not really a great endgame unit even if promoted at Level 20 (sword lock, infantry, evasion hamstrung a bit by low luck).

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16 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

Even Creeping Darkness (iirc, that's the Eirika route fog chapter)?

The one where you recruit Dozla and L’Arachel? That’s not a hard chapter, but most non-fog chapters aren’t hard in this game either. Being forced to act on limited information is always scarier though and if Assassin’s increased vision can help to mitigate that, even if only slightly, then that’s nice. It’s not like Swordmaster’s +15% Crit makes much of a difference in the non-fog chapters.

Like Dark Holy Elf said, a 15% difference means that most of the times a Swordmaster gets a Crit, the Assassin would also get a Crit, and most of the time an Assassin wouldn’t get a Crit, neither would the Swordmaster. And even if the Swordmaster would roll just good enough to make the difference, there’s no way to know that and plan for that ahead of time so ultimately you can’t rely on it and have to use them both the same anyway.

Vigarde’s map on Ephraim’s route can be challenging, mainly due to the Druids with Berserk. Swordmaster doesn’t help there. Assassin might actually be more helpful there too by being able to open the chests and doors.

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I want to add a dumb yet fun army idea for unit promotions I had while I read all the replies:
Promoting units to as many of one class as I possibly can. For example, I make Amelia, Gilliam, Frank, Forde, Kyle into 5 Great Knights. The addition of Duessel will make 6.

And then I make Lute, Artur, Moulder, Ewan into Sages. Saleh joining in would make 5 sages. Etc etc.
Sure it'd lack unit diversity, but a raging stampede of 6 Great Knights sounds awesome and hilarious.

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I suppose Summoner Ewan would be interesting. I love summoners, but I'm not sure how they're rated within the fandom.

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22 hours ago, Baudshaw said:

I suppose Summoner Ewan would be interesting. I love summoners, but I'm not sure how they're rated within the fandom.

Not sure either, but I guess Druids are preferred for the access to anima magic and a more favorable stat spread. I think I used summoner Knoll in all my runs. Ewan as summoner might do better than Knoll given Ewan's stats.

And if I remember correctly, summoners can level 10exp per turn by summoning phantoms, so if your Ewan ends up super fragile, and you don't want to risk it, summon away.

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23 hours ago, Baudshaw said:

I suppose Summoner Ewan would be interesting. I love summoners, but I'm not sure how they're rated within the fandom.

I think Summoner is generally considered better than Druid. The utility of summoning Phantoms trumps a small advantage in combat, especially for two units that aren’t very good in combat anyway. Phantoms can be very useful for baiting enemies. Because they are so weak, enemies tend to target them over other units. I think putting a Phantom in range of Bolting pretty much guarantees that that Phantom will be targeted over your other units, because even if they’re pretty fragile, Phantoms are always more fragile with only 1 HP. So they’re great for baiting enemies and pulling aggro off of your other Allies.

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