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Shanty Pete's 1st Mate

Battle of the Battalions, Round 18: Greatest of the Golden Deer

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Post-timeskip guild battalions do tend to be at a disadvantage. For starters, you're probably going to have a good selection of juicy paralogue battalions from part 1 all leveled up at this point. But beyond that, they're coming available at one of the easier points in the game. Across all the different runs of the game that I've done, I can't think of a single one where early part 2 has been a problem (once you're past the infamous chapter 13 and up the point where you can grab these battalions, at least). By that point in the game, you've probably got most if not all of your characters' builds either finished or close to finished, and you inherently need to have been strong enough to get through Chapter 13. So, for instance, let's compare the availability of Empire Holy Magic Users with that of Ordelia Sorcery Co. The latter has pretty awful availability, with its paralogue not becoming available until chapter 17. So that's a 3 chapter difference. And in theory, you'd think that being available 3 chapters earlier was a big advantage, except that I don't think it is. Those three extra chapters are almost always easy ones, so being available for them just doesn't count for much. For the likes of chapters 1, 5, 13, and endgame, it's reasonable to try to eke out every little bit of micro-optimisation that you can. For chapters 14-16, not so much.

The sum of all this is that these battalions come up very poorly in terms of availability when compared to Part 1 paralogue battalions, and only have a very slight advantage in availability compared to Part 2 paralogue battalions. This is not a good place for them to be, and typically means that these battalions have to do something special for me to even consider using them.

With all of that said, though, I do think that Crimson Flower is the route where they fair the best. You don't natively get any Part 1 paralogue battalions, you haven't had to get past the gate that is Hunting by Daybreak, and I think that early part 2 is harder in CF than in other routes. So maybe these have a chance.

Empire Heavy Soldiers: 6/10. The best prot on their route, combined with decent attack and hit and a strong gambit. These are pretty good. Probably not worth grabbing and levelling if you have a full collection of battalions you're reasonably happy with (unless you're runnign an armour tank), but if you're doing a low-recruitment run and are somewhat battalion starved, then this is a decent pick.

Empire Holy Magic Users: 4/10. This is all about Blessing. Personally, I don't use Blessing, so I don't use this battalion. But if you want Blessing, then you don't have very many options. So if you do want Blessing and you don't have the Hevring Prayer Troops (either because you didn't grab Leonie or because Legend of the Lake was the map you wanted Blessing for) then there's a place for this. It's a pretty narrow niche, but still a niche.

Empire Raiders: 1/10. Absorption is bad enough that this may as well not have any gambit at all. The stats are not nearly good enough to make up for the unusably bad gambit. I can't imagine ever running this.

Imperial Guard: 3.5/10. The main purpose of this is probably to remind you of other Imperial Guards form history and from fiction that were cooler, stronger, or more interesting. Personally, I suggest Napoleon and Warhammer 40,000. These are not particularly good. However, they do come with a pretty decent attack stat and a moderately OK gambit, so they might be picked up in a low-recruitment run.

Empire Elite Wyvern Co: 6/10. This is probably not your best choice of flying battalion. Cichol Wyverns are better if you have A rank authority. Galatea Pegasus Co. is better if you recruited Ingrid. But maybe you only have B authority and you didn't recruit Ingrid. Or maybe you're running three physical fliers. There are enough use cases for this to deserve a respectable score.

Black Eagle Heavy Axes: 0.5/10. If these were B rank, then I'd be talking about how they were clearly inferior to Empire Heavy Soldiers, but trying to talk myself into giving them a score as high as maybe 3/10 by arguing that maybe there are a few situations where you actually want to have 2 armour tanks at once and would run both battalions side by side. As is, though, these actually want an A rank in authority which manages to completely eliminate any chance that these will actually see use.

Black Eagle Cavalry: 1.5/10. This is better than the Heavy Axes and the Raiders. This is not good enough for me to ever bother using, given it's A authority requirement.

Black Eagle Pegasus Co: 4.5/10. Want to use retribution, but you didn't recruit Hanneman and are playing Crimson Flower? Really need flying Retribution for some reason? Making a dodge tank but didn't recruit Ingrid or Anna? Just running a whole lot of fliers? None of these scenarios are all that likely, but there are enough possibilities where this might be used for me to feel OK giving it a middling sort of score.

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I'll write up my ratings/thoughts when I have a bit more time, but for now: I'm very surprised at the low scores Black Eagle Pegasus is getting: in particular, why is it getting scored notably below Indech Swordfighters? The way I see it, both represent "get your authority to A so you can use Retribution + good stats", but given a choice, wouldn't you rather have that package on a flying battalion instead of a grounded one? Especially in CF where flying mobility is so useful in the later maps. The main point in favour of Indech appears to be that you get it earlier, but when it comes to discussing A rank battalions, I don't personally feel that weighs particularly heavily; you aren't getting many people to A authority before Chapter 13 anyway.

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Indech vs. Black Eagle Pegasus: Indech is +8 dmg, +20 Hit, +10 Crit.  That's a solid offensive spread for any offensive unit like Snipers, Bow Knights, or Paladins that don't care too much about mildly worse defensive stats, with the main problem being the pesky A-Authority requirement.  BE Pegasi isn't *that* much worse at +7 dmg and +10 Crt, but there's also vastly diminishing returns on running 2 Retribution users, so for grounded units that hit A-Authority, BE Pegasi is only really interesting if you didn't do Hanneman's paralogue for whatever reason, since it's nearly strictly dominated by Indech unless you care about the tank stats (maybe for a Grappler?).  Not to mention the earlier join time and the fact that you have to pay for BE Pegasi - not that money is THAT tight in 3H, but the A-rank battalions are a bit pricy.  Now, I do agree that if you're running tons of flyers (which are certainly good in CF, although there's less time to build up A-Authority, too) then that's where BE Pegasi will see maybe some use, but they have to get in line behind Cichol & Empire Elite Wyvern Co., and possibly Galatea / Secret Transport Force.  And deal with the still-relevant Empire Pegasus Co., which might actually still be equivalent if you need Brave Axes to connect and don't trust linked attack support for whatever reason.  And have at least two flyers hit A-Authority.  As lenticular noted, this can happen, and if I priced in running 4+ flyers as a more common scenario than I'd definitely be down for upgrading the score some, but eh.  As I think you've noted before, even if you're running a ton of flyers, they can still be fine using just the boring D-rank battalions, and that will free up skill training for other stuff.  If BE Pegasi does eventually come online to be used, it'll only be in the last few chapters anyway, which also impacts the score negatively - the high-scoring pre-skip battalions got high scores often precisely because they're around for a whole lot of the game.  In fairness, the last maps of CF & SS are pretty relevant, so I get crediting being deployed there highly, but still.  It's not like BE Pegasi is providing some unique effect you can't get anywhere else, like you can argue for Empire Holy Magic Users if you didn't recruit Leonie or want Blessing for Legend of the Lake.

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4 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I'll write up my ratings/thoughts when I have a bit more time, but for now: I'm very surprised at the low scores Black Eagle Pegasus is getting: in particular, why is it getting scored notably below Indech Swordfighters? The way I see it, both represent "get your authority to A so you can use Retribution + good stats", but given a choice, wouldn't you rather have that package on a flying battalion instead of a grounded one? Especially in CF where flying mobility is so useful in the later maps. The main point in favour of Indech appears to be that you get it earlier, but when it comes to discussing A rank battalions, I don't personally feel that weighs particularly heavily; you aren't getting many people to A authority before Chapter 13 anyway.

Here's how the comparison shakes out for me:

Indech is available on all four routes, BE Peg on two.

Indech has (slightly) better Atk , and a solid boost to Hit that BE Peg doesn't. The stat-based advantages that BE Peg provide (Avo, Res, a bit of Prt) aren't relevant enough that I'm fielding it over Indech, and I'm highly unlikely to need two sources of Retribution on a map.

Stats-wise, BE Peg is the 4th best flying battalion on these routes, and I don't normally run enough fliers to justify fielding it. 

Similar to Stride, I'd normally want my flier to enjoy the effect of Retribution, rather than them casting Retribution for others.

The flier's increased versatility of positioning for casting a support gambit, compared to a grounded unit, could possibly come up. But that is surely not a significant benefit, since Retribution lasts five turns rather than just one (you can cast Retribution well before you send off your counterattackers and they get into positioning difficulties).

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7 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I'll write up my ratings/thoughts when I have a bit more time, but for now: I'm very surprised at the low scores Black Eagle Pegasus is getting: in particular, why is it getting scored notably below Indech Swordfighters? The way I see it, both represent "get your authority to A so you can use Retribution + good stats", but given a choice, wouldn't you rather have that package on a flying battalion instead of a grounded one? Especially in CF where flying mobility is so useful in the later maps. The main point in favour of Indech appears to be that you get it earlier, but when it comes to discussing A rank battalions, I don't personally feel that weighs particularly heavily; you aren't getting many people to A authority before Chapter 13 anyway.

My thinking largely echoes that of @haarhaarhaar and @SnowFire, but I do have two additional points to make. One is that I typically use Retribution on my own time. That is, I use it at the start of a battle or I use it during a lull in a battle. I don't use it when things are very hectic. When I'm under a lot of pressure, Retribution is a bit of a dead turn. It isn't killing anything on this player phase, and it's not stopping me from being attacked next enemy phase. Sure, it has a very powerful effect, but it's a delayed effect that doesn't help if I need to alleviate the pressure now. I also typically want to hit as many units as possible when I use Retribution, and when I'm under pressure, I'm typically not able to reposition everyone into a nice 3 by 2 box to take full advantage of it. That's something that I can do when I use it on my own time. And in those circumstances, having flying mobility really doesn't help me out. Because of the way I'm using the gambit, I inherently have the time to get its user into position.

My other point is that getting a flying unit to A rank authority is more costly than getting a grounded unit there. Not for all grounded units, but at least for some. Wyvern Lord wants three weapon ranks raised to C, A, A. Falcon Knight wants C, A, B+. Typically a bit lower than this in practice, given that you can certify at below 100% chance, but how much lower depends on luck, willingness to save-scum, and funds. If you then want to add an A rank in authority, it's starting to become a bit of an ask. Not a huge ask, and certainly doable, but something that involves a little bit of favouritism. I usually push one flier up to A authority to give them Cichol Wyverns, and I feel that is generally worth it. If I wanted to field the Black Eagle Pegasus Co, that would mean either showing that minor favouritism to 2 units, or dropping Cichol Wyverns. On the other hand, the cheapest ground units are far cheaper. If I'm running a Sniper, for instance, all they need is their bow rank. Realistically, they're probably dipping axes as well to get Death Blow, but it's still a far cheaper build than Wyvern Lord. A Sniper can easily reach A rank in authority without any favouritism at all.

So, overall: I don't see much benefit to putting Retribution on a flier, grounded units can get to A authority more easily, and grounded units prefer the stats on Indech Swordfighters. There are still cases where this can be relevant, but I wouldn't expect this to see any play in a typical run.

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Empire Heavy Soldiers: 8 stats, 7 gambit. B rank grounded, C12.

I'll admit, I've never actually used this before, and now that I look at things it kinda surprises me, since it's pretty all-around solid, with a physical tanking niche if that's your thing. It's just in an odd niche where it's pretty lateral to something like Leicester Mercs, and by now all my grounded battalions are trained up and ready to go.

In a vacuum: 7.5. Adjusted: 5/10.

Empire Holy Magic Users: 7 stats, 6 gambit. B rank grounded, C12.

It's your source of Blessing for the route, which is a gambit with a clear niche. Hevring Prayer Troops gets mentioned but that's three chapters later which is kind of a big deal, especially since arguably Indech himself is one of the best moments for Blessing (helps ward off his crit rate). Anyway, Blessing is pretty situational, but at least it gives this battalion a niche, so I respect that.

In a vacuum: 6.5. Adjusted: 6/10.

Empire Raiders: 7 stats, 3 gambit. B rank grounded, C12.

No real reason to use this. If you're forced to for some reason, its stats are fine I suppose.

In a vacuum: 5. Adjusted: 2/10.

Imperial Guard: 7 stats, 6 gambit. B rank grounded, C12.

See the Raiders, but at least it has Blaze. Basically a Holy Knights of Seiros you get one chapter later.

In a vacuum: 6.5. Adjusted: 3.5/10.

Empire Elite Wyvern Co.: 8 stats, 3 gambit. B rank flying, C12.

Good Atk/Prot/Charm, Hit/Res/Avo are disappointing though, as is the gambit. It's basically Galatea with slightly worse stats (res/avo mostly) and you get it much later. That said, another flying battalion is always appreciated. I probably use this less than any other CF flying battalion overall, but it's still appreciated.

In a vacuum: 6. Adjusted: 6/10.

Black Eagle Heavy Axes: 8 stats, 3 gambit. A rank grounded, C12.

Why is this one A rank? Who knows. All I know is I won't be using this one. Stats aren't really any different than the various B rank grounded physical battalions in this crop I already struggle to use. And Onslaught, really?

In a vacuum: 6. Adjusted: 2/10.

Black Eagle Cavalry: 9 stats, 4 gambit. A rank grounded, C12.

So why does the B-rank Empire Heavy Soldiers get the two-use Line of Lances while this is stuck with the one-use Linked Horses? Oh well. The stats are good enough to take notice of, though especially on no-recruit CF this has some of the highest numbers for a physical battalion. So I could see using it. Maybe.

In a vacuum: 7. Adjusted: 3/10.

Black Eagle Pegasus Co.: 9 stats, 8 gambit. A rank flying, C12.

This is obviously my major disagreement here. Black Eagle Pegasus is good and worth getting a second flier to A authority for. On CF, I want to use very few grounded physical characters generally, so Indech Swordfighters faces a lot of competition. Thus this might be my easier source of Retribution. And, conversely, this has at worst the third best stats of any flying battalion (compared to Empire Elite Wyverns, it trades 1 atk and 1 prot for 10 avo / 7 rsl / 3 cha, I'll take that thanks). The more fliers I use, the better this looks. But like... even if this were grounded, it's pretty much Indech trading hit for avo/rsl, and which one is better depends on the unit (generally speaking, archers prefer hit, while brawlers prefer evasion), so scoring it notably below Indech just doesn't make sense to me.

In a vacuum: 8.5. Adjusted: 8/10
 

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Good day, one and all. I hope you are doing well. Today's the day - time to review the scores from our last round!

Spoiler

Empire Heavy Soldiers received 5 scores, averaging out to 5.56

Empire Holy Magic Users received 5 scores, averaging out to 4.52

Empire Raiders received 5 scores, averaging out to 2.24

Imperial Guard received 5 scores, averaging out to 3.2

Empire Elite Wyvern Co. received 5 scores, averaging out to 6.12

Black Eagle Heavy Axes received 5 scores, averaging out to 1.84

Black Eagle Cavalry received 5 scores, averaging out to 2.76

Black Eagle Pegasus Co. received 5 scores, averaging out to 5.36

So, the flying battalions soared decently high, while the Empire Heavy Soldiers pretty well, too. Then again, the Empire Raiders are hardly worth our time, while the Black Eagle Heavy Axes aren't worth the weight.

Round 17: Best of the Blue Lions

This week, we'll discuss another batch of battalions that can be hired at the Battalion Guild. This time, they are associated with the Kingdom. As such, they can be acquired only on the Azure Moon route, starting in chapter 14. Again, there are eight of them, so we will be discussing them below:

Kingdom Heavy Soldiers

Spoiler

Accessibility: B-rank Armored

Availability: From chapter 14 (AM only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2000 Gold

Gambit: Group Lance Attack

Endurance: 90

Phys: 0 / +4

Mag: -2

Hit: 0 / +5

Crit: 0 / +5

Avo: -10

Prt: +3 / +7

Rsl: 0

Cha: +7

Kingdom Holy Knights

Spoiler

Accessibility: B-rank Cavalry

Availability: From chapter 14 (AM only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2000 Gold

Gambit: Linked Horses

Endurance: 75

Phys: +3 / +7

Mag: -2

Hit: 0 / +5

Crit: 0

Avo: -10

Prt: +1 / +5

Rsl: +3 / +7

Cha: +7

Kingdom Heavy Knights

Spoiler

Accessibility: B-rank Armored

Availability: From chapter 14 (AM only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2000 Gold

Gambit: Sacred Shield

Endurance: 90

Phys: 0 / +4

Mag: -2

Hit: +5

Crit: 0 / +5

Avo: -15

Prt: +3 / +7

Rsl: 0

Cha: +7

Royal Guard

Spoiler

Accessibility: B-rank Infantry

Availability: From chapter 14 (AM only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2000 Gold

Gambit: Line of Lances

Endurance: 75

Phys: +2 / +6

Mag: 0

Hit: +10 / +20

Crit: +10

Avo: -10

Prt: 0 / +4

Rsl: 0

Cha: +7

Kingdom Priests

Spoiler

Accessibility: B-rank Infantry

Availability: From chapter 14 (AM only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2000 Gold

Gambit: Blessing

Endurance: 60

Phys: 0

Mag: +1 / +5

Hit: 0 / +5

Crit: 0

Avo: -5

Prt: 0

Rsl: +3 / +7

Cha: +7

Blue Lion Knights

Spoiler

Accessibility: A-rank Cavalry

Availability: From chapter 14 (AM only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2500 Gold

Gambit: Linked Horses

Endurance: 105

Phys: +3 / +7

Mag: -2

Hit: 0 / +5

Crit: +10 / +15

Avo: -10

Prt: +1 / +5

Rsl: +0

Cha: +10

Blue Lion Magic Corps

Spoiler

Accessibility: A-rank Infantry

Availability: From chapter 14 (AM only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2500 Gold

Gambit: Resonant Ice

Endurance: 105

Phys: -2

Mag: +3 / +7

Hit: 0 / +5

Crit: 0

Avo: -10

Prt: +1 / +5

Rsl: +3 / +7

Cha: +10

Blue Lion Dancers

Spoiler

Accessibility: A-rank Infantry

Availability: From chapter 14 (AM only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2500 Gold

Gambit: Dance of the Goddess

Endurance: 105

Phys: -5 / -1

Mag: -5 / -1

Hit: 0

Crit: 0

Avo: +15 / +20

Prt: +1 / +3

Rsl: +1 / +3

Cha: +10

Normally, here is where I'd give my own scores to these battalions. That said, I'm running short on time tonight. As such, I plan to post my scores tomorrow evening. I am looking forward to what you all have to say about them, of course!

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Kingdom Heavy Soldiers: 5 stats, 3 gambit. B rank grounded, C14.

After Empire Heavy Soldiers was quietly competent, I was expecting... well, certainly not this. 4 atk and a three-panel gambit? This is awful! And even worse since it's locked to a route which already has some great +prot grounded battalions, which is this battalion's only apparent niche.

In a vacuum: 4.5. Adjusted: 1.5/10.

Kingdom Holy Knights: 7 stats, 4 gambit. B rank grounded, C14.

Kinda like Empire Raiders/Imperial Guard, a filler battalion you're realistically not using. Its stats aren't insultingly bad like the Heavy Soldiers, though; at least it has 7 atk.

In a vacuum: 5.5. Adjusted: 2.5/10

Kingdom Heavy Knights: 6 stats, 4 gambit. B rank grounded, C14.

Another mediocre battalion, but at least it's a unique one. The stats aren't pretty although the hit pushes it above the real dregs. But sometimes, its gambit, Sacred Shield, is actually interesting. Mostly on AM Endgame. I sometimes put this on my 12th unit, which is enough to get it a mid-range score.

In a vacuum: 5.5. Adjusted: 5.5/10.

Royal Guard: 7 stats, 7 gambit. B rank grounded, C14.

Line of Lances is cool. Although Duscur Heavy Soldiers did it better and earlier, but hey. I've never used this, but it seems competent enough.

In a vacuum: 7. Adjusted: 4.5/10.

Kingdom Priests: 5 stats, 6 gambit. B rank grounded, C14.

The Blessing battalion of this route... but its stats are quite a bit worse than its Empire counterpart, so if you do Legend of the Lake (two recruits needed) I would actually say Hevring Prayer is a meaningful upgrade and worth kicking this out for. But, just as I noted last week, Indech himself remains one of the best uses for Blessing, so this has a niche, if a relatively narrow one.

In a vacuum: 6. Adjusted: 5/10.

Blue Lion Knights: 7 stats, 4 gambit. A rank grounded, C14.

Once again, Linked Horses is higher-rank than Line of Lances, why? Its stats don't even stand out. Notably worse than Black Eagle Cavalry, which already struggled to find a use.

In a vacuum: 5.5. Adjusted: 1.5/10.

Blue Lion Magic Corps: 7 stats, 8 gambit. A rank grounded, C14.

Competent on paper, but unfortunately it competes with Macuil Evil Repelling Co for that A authority magic niche, and a variety of B ranks. As such I find myself rarely using this, though I imagine I would if I did an AM all-magic run. It's significantly better than Cethleann Monks, at least.

In a vacuum: 7.5. Adjusted: 4.5/10.

Blue Lion Dancers: 4 stats, 9.5 gambit. A rank grounded, C14.

Dance of the Goddess is cool, even if it tends to be "that cool tool I sit on for a rainy day and never use". The stats and A rank requirement are both pretty brutal, but DotG is worth it. I guess I feel they balanced this battalion pretty well, since I think it's solid but definitely not something I always use.

In a vacuum: 8. Adjusted: 7/10.
 

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Kingdom Heavy Soldiers - 1.5/10

The gambit of a D-rank battalion, the stats of a D-rank battalion, but add +7 Prt and you get a B-rank battalion. That definitely doesn't add up. 

Kingdom Holy Knights - 3/10

Worse Holy Knights of Seiros, that arrives chapters later if you got it from Alois' paralogue. Linked Horses probably does edge Assault Troop, but it's still a no from me.

Kingdom Heavy Knights - 2/10

Worse stats than Kingdom Heavy Soldiers, but a unique gambit... that I don't use. Not that it can't be useful (especially in AM), but which physical unit wants this support gambit more than better stats?

Royal Guard - 5.5/10

It's almost, but not quite, good enough. You should have Duscur Heavy Soldiers, which wins on Atk, Prt, and availability, but this offers solid Hit and some Crit. And Line of Lances is superior to a lot of the non-lord physical gambits out there. Depending on how many grounded physical attackers you run, I could see a place for this, but it's not a must-have.

Kingdom Priests - 1.75/10

See Empire Holy Magic Users, except this has worse stats. 

Blue Lion Knights - 2.25/10

See Black Eagle Cavalry, except this has worse stats. 

Blue Lion Magic Corps - 4.5/10

Worse than Macuil and the top B-rank magic battalions, and if you're getting a second grounded mage to A-Rank Authority, why wouldn't you give them the next battalion instead? It gains a bit of value without DLC/Lysithea though, so an average score feels about right.

Blue Lion Dancers - 7/10

Stats are bad and it requires A rank, but this is surely contesting Stride for the premier support gambit in the game, and it is far more accessible than Opera Co. Volunteers, the other source of this gambit. If I can get my healer to A Authority, they field this. That's a fairly big if, but I'd argue this battalion is worth it. 

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Kingdom Heavy Soldiers: 0/10.  Completely awful.  I am not equipping a +4 Atk battalion post-timeskip if I'm not getting some good utility from it, which you're not here.  Wouldn't want to run this even if I was running 4 Fortress/Great Knights or something.  I don't think I would run this as filler even in a skip-all-paralogues run.

Kingdom Holy Knights: 2/10.  I stood up for Holy Knights of Seiros and think it can be legit to use, but a slightly-worse HKoS with a worse Gambit and no Hit bonus that joins later and not for free really kills even my enthusiasm.

Kingdom Heavy Knights: 6/10.  This is all about Sacred Shield (usual reminder that the description is misleading, it stops *all* ranged damage), which is actually reasonably relevant on Azure Moon to stop Siege Tomes and Hegemon.  It's certainly a valid way for certain teams to safely advance that haven't used dodgetanks to drain all the long-range tome shots or that have limited mobility, and you can't exactly Stride up to Hegemon easily.  Stats aren't that special, but it's a very unique effect, and at least worth considering.

Royal Guard: 5/10.  The "Empire Heavy Soldiers" slot of probably not used that often if you did enough recruiting to get powerful Paralogue battalions, but is actually competent enough if you do use it.  It arrives a tad late and packs an Avoid penalty, but everything else is competent enough, so it's respectable filler if you need it.

Kingdom Priests: 5/10.  Notably worse stats than Empire Holy Magic, but since you're running this more for Blessing utility, that isn't as destructive to its potential as it might be normally, just a point off.

Blue Lion Knights: 1/10.  Horrible.  Tempted to 0/10 it for the BE Heavy Axes equivalent, but I guess those raw stats are okay if you built a glut of A-Authority units.  You probably still shouldn't use this even on a no-Paralogues run because of the bad gambit, but maybe, who knows.

Blue Lion Magic Corps: 1/10.  Let's examine the competition.  Your mages might be running any of Kingdom Priests, Nuvelle Attendants, School of Sorcery Soldiers, or Macuil Evil.  And you can even have two copies of Macuil, right?  And then there's more pure-utility options like the Blue Lion Dancers below.  And there's also any recruits, including the basically free Hapi/Constance battalions, or other competent magic-focused paralogue battalions like Gloucester Knights.  And this battalion packs a random Avoid penalty just to add insult to injury.  This just doesn't seem likely to ever make the grade, especially since Authority training on mages is potentially questionable since hitting S-rank Reason for Black/Dark Magic Range+ is both doable but requires not straying around TOO much if you want to do it promptly.  Annette has an Authority asset, sure, but that means she can take Blue Lion Dancers as a support or a copy of Macuil if she wants to kill stuff.  Are we building  two other mages to A-Authority (one for Macuil 2, one for this?)?  And have yet other mages already taking Timotheos / Nuvelle Attendants / SoSS?  And aren't interested in Blessing?  This is rapidly moving in the direction of "only run if you're doing a whoops-all-mages challenge" which is way too niche for hype.

Blue Lion Dancers: 8/10.  Totally not my style, but the Dancers get a grudging 8/10.  There's various assumptions you can make like speedruns or LTCs that instantly vault Dancers into 10/10, game-changing tier.  Even ignoring those, the particular style I'll note is simply not building a "full" team.  If you are only focusing on making ~10-11 characters combat viable, then BLD means that you can have some side character solely build Authority and their only task is to run around and use a key Dance of the Goddess every battle.  As long as they're tanky enough to not get one-shot by Hegemon, they'll be fine - something like a Paladin Seteth, say.  Now, this isn't my style because I like to build a full 12 units and that means I'm essentially going back to 11.5 units by sacrificing so much of one of my character's combat potential, but I have to admit that going from 10 units to 10 units + a free group Dance is amazing, and has team-building implications.  The mere existence of BLD makes such a "build one fewer character than normal" focusing notably more powerful on AM than other routes.  Anyway, I agree with Elf that this battalion feels "balanced" because the devs were smart enough to stick such awful stat penalties as the price for one of the three best gambits in the game.

Edited by SnowFire

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Kingdom Heavy Soldiers: 1/10. These are pretty terrible at almost everything, with their one saving grace being their good prot stat. And the good news for them is that there are some builds that really only care about stacking prot as high as it can go and don't care about having good attack or a good gambit. However, this is the Blue Lions that we're talking about, and they already got the Duscur Heavy Soldiers 8 chapters earlier, which not only offer more prot, but also have an actually good attack boost and an actually good gambit. I suppose it's just about possible that you want the Duscur Heavy Soldiers for a more offensively oriented unit, in which case your def tank might end up wanting this... except that even that isn't a sure thing. The Kingdom Heavy Knights that come available at the same time have very similar stats, but a more interesting gambit. But let's say that you're using a def tank and you don't care too much about how much damage it's dealing in return, and some other unit is using the Duscur Heavy Soldiers and you really want to be able to use Sacred Shield on your def tank? Then you might consider this. Maybe. Yeah no, this isn't happening.

Kingdom Holy Knights: 2/10. I gave the Holy Knights of Seiros 3/10. These are similar, but with a worse gambit and no option to pick them up in Chapter 11. Pass.

Kingdom Heavy Knights: 5/10. This one lands firmly in "I don't use it, but I can understand why other people might" territory. Sacred Shield isn't my style, but it is undeniably a powerful and useful effect. My main gripe is that it feels to me as if everything that you can do with this can also be accomplished by other tools, and those other tools either have broader applicability or a lower opportunity cost. Still, I can easily accept that anyone who equips this will probably manage to find some decent use from it.

Royal Guard: 4.5/10. Seems perfectly servicable, but Azure Moon is not the route where you're resorting to perfectly servicable battalions in Part 2. Maybe worth deploying for the gambit on a very monster heavy map (Marianne's paralogue, maybe?), but otherwise probably not.

Kingdom Priests: 3.5/10. Worse stats than the Empire equivalent, and on a route with much stronger competition for support gambits.

Blue Lion Knights: 0.5/10. I just looked this up, and apparently you get a second copy of it as the "reward" for Dimitri's paralogue? I've obviously never paid too much attention at that point, because that's insulting enough to leave me pining for the halcyon days of Part 1 and getting Gaspard Knights from Ashe's paralogue. The stats are servicable, but not nearly enough to make up for the A-rank requirement, horrible gambit, and Part 2 availability. The only standout here is the +15 crit, but if you're in Part 2 Azure Moon and have an A rank in Authority, then you have access to Fraldarius Soldiers, King of Lions Corps, and Cichol Wyverns, all of which are far better.

Blue Lion Magic Corps: 2.5/10. On the positive side, I consider this to be something of a sidegrade from Macuil Evil Repelling Co, or a slight downgrade at worst. On the negative side, I didn't like that battalion very much either. The A-rank Authoirty requirement is asking a lot, and neither of them do enough to really warrant it. Compared to the Evil Repellers, this loses 25 Hit (ouch) and 10 Avoid (whatever), but gains 4 prot and 1 res, and swaps out Resonant Lightning for the more accurate Resonant Ice. This is probably a losing trade overall, but I can imagine situations where I'd prefer this. A unit with solid hit but low charm (magic Ignatz, perhaps?) might prefer the more accurate gambit to having more hit; a bulkier magic attacker (Frozen Lance paladin Lorenz, maybe?) might really value those 4 points of prot. But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter too much which of the two I'm prefering, because I'm probably not bothering to push anyone up to A Authority for either of them.

Blue Lion Dancers: 7.5/10. I don't really have anything to say about these that hasn't already been said.

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I promise I haven't forgotten! Time to write out my own scores, per the following categories:

Availability:

These battalions all first become available in chapter 14 of Azure Moon, with the game more than half-over. As such, they all receive a 2 out of 5.

Accessibility:

The "Blue Lion" battalions all require A-rank authority, so they each get a 1 out of 5. The others are more forgiving, only demanding B-rank, so they each get a 2. This time around, there are no flying battalions, so none of them get a point for that.

Gambit:

Kingdom Holy Knights and Blue Lion Knights both offer Linked Horses, while Kingdom Heavy Soldiers offer Group Lance Attack. I consider both of these on the lower-end of physical offensive gambits, so this bunch gets 3 out of 10.

Kingdom Priests have the Blessing gambit, and while I'm a fan of the effect, it's held back by a microscopic area-of-effect and no second use. Therefore, they get a 4.

Royal Guard provide Line of Lances, a pretty solid anti-Cavalry gambit with a second use. That's worth a 6 for them.

Kingdom Heavy Knights grant the exclusive Sacred Shield gambit, letting targeted allies shrug off ranged attacks. Meanwhile, Blue Lion Magic Corps have Resonant Ice, a high-damage magical gambit with a wide area-of-effect. They're both great gambits, albeit in different regards, and each nets a 7.

The cream of the crop, though, must be Blue Lion Dancers. They grant the exceptionally rare Dance of the Goddess, letting all targeted allies move a second time in the same turn. It's a tremendous effect, enabling one-turn clears that would otherwise take two. But I would be remiss not to mention that, like Blessing, it can only be used once, and only targeting up to four allies. With that in mind, I think it's a premier support gambit, deserving an 8.

Stats:

Kingdom Heavy Soldiers provide a great Protection boost, but the physical attack boost is lackluster. The Hit and Crit boosts are nice, but marginal, and offset by a loss of 10 Avoid. A decent choice, perhaps, for a defensive tank, but all others will scoff at this option. They get a 5 out of 10.

Kingdom Holy Knights provide near-identical boosts to the Holy Knights of Seiros. Well, they lose 10 Avoid, but gain 5 Hit over them. Seems situational which one you might prefer, so they get the same score - a 6 out of 10.

Kingdom Heavy Knights are literally the same as the Kingdom Heavy Soldiers. The only difference? This bunch has +5 Hit from the get-go, but also suffers -15 (rather than -10) Avoid. I have no idea why both of these battalions exist. They could've easily consolidated them into one, with the Heavy Soldiers' stats but Sacred Shield from the Knights. Anyway they get a 5.

Royal Guard grant a pretty strong statline on the offensive side, with +6 Attack, +20 Hit, and +10 Crit. Plus an Avoid malus, which is par for the course for Kingdom battalions. I'd count them a couple steps (1 less Attack, 5 less Crit, 10 less Avoid) behind Leicester Mercenaries, so let's give 'em a 7.

Kingdom Priests are granting, essentially, the same stats as Kingdom Magic Users. You remember - the C-rank battalion from six chapters ago? Same Magic boost, but no physical debuff this time, with more Rsl, Hit, and Charm - but less Avoid and Prt. I guess I can put them a tad higher, but no more than 5.

Blue Lion Knights grant rather strong boosts to Attack and Crit, with more reserved buffs to Hit and Prt. There's yet another loss of 10 Avoid here, too. It's kind of like Fraldarius Soldiers with a few numbers moved around, so let's give them their own 8.

Blue Lion Magic Corps are formidable in the Magic and Rsl departments, with a considerable Prt boost too, albeit with little Hit and the Avoid loss. Compared to the Macuil battalion, they're 25 Hit and 10 Avoid behind, while only having 2 Prt and 1 Rsl up on them. That's a big enough margin that I'm putting them down at 7.

Blue Lion Dancers, the only battalion to inflict losses to both offensive stats, sit in a league of their own. -5 to each Attacking stat is absolutely miserable, and even at max level, it's still -1. Then again, +20 Avoid is great (especially for a Kingdom battalion), while the Charm boost and modest defenses are not to be ignored. However, there are other battalions offering similar Avoid without kneecapping both offenses. If you're using this battalion, it's not for the stats. 3 out of 10.

Uniqueness:

Kingdom Heavy Knights are the only source of Sacred Shield - not only on this route, but on any route. If you want to use that gambit, you're running this battalion. They get a 3 out of 3 for uniqueness.

Blue Lion Dancers, likewise, are your only source of Dance of the Goddess... or are they? You can technically get Opera Co. Volunteers in chapter 21, and bring them to Endgame. Were I acting hyper-legalistically, this would drop their score. But the game is basically over at that point (and there may be an argument for running double Dance-of-the-Goddess), so screw it, they can have their 3.

Kingdom Priests aren't the only source of Blessing in the game, and they're not even the first one. But everyone seems to forget about Essar Research Group. There's a good chance the player is in that crowd, so I guess I can throw them a 1.

None of the others have, to my knowledge, anything unique to their names. They all get a 0 out of 3.

Convenience:

Just go to the Battalion Guild and hire them. Money should be no object at this point. They all get 2 out of 3.

Endurance:

Again, the Priests can't take a punch, with only 60 durability. This gets them 1 out of 2.

All other battalions here have at least 75 durability, earning them 2 points.

Experience:

Among these battalions, the only one I honestly remember using is Kingdom Heavy Knights. Sacred Shield was a nice tool, especially in conjunction with Retribution against Bow and Siege tome enemies. They're not something I'd bring every chapter, though, so how about 1 point?

As for Blue Lion Dancers, I don't believe I've actually used them before. However, I recognize their theoretical power and potential, and am almost sure to use them next time. I think they deserve a 1, too.

The others... I haven't used, and there's not much drawing me to them, either. They all walk away with a 0.

Final Scores:

Kingdom Heavy Soldiers: 2 + 2 + 3 + 5 (*2) + 0 + 2 + 2 + 0 = 21 -> 4.2

Kingdom Holy Knights: 2 + 2 + 3 + 6 (*2) + 0 + 2 + 2 + 0 = 23 -> 4.6

Kingdom Heavy Knights: 2 + 2 + 7 (*2) + 5 + 3 + 2 + 2 + 1 = 31 -> 6.2

Royal Guard: 2 + 2 + 6 + 7 (*2) + 0 + 2 + 2 + 0 = 28 -> 5.6

Kingdom Priests: 2 + 2 + 4 + 5 (*2) + 1 + 2 + 1 + 0 = 22 -> 4.4

Blue Lion Knights: 2 + 1 + 3 + 8 (*2) + 0 + 2 + 2 + 0 = 26 -> 5.2

Blue Lion Magic Corps: 2 + 1 + 7 (*2) + 7 + 0 + 2 + 2 + 0 = 28 -> 5.6

Blue Lion Dancers: 2 + 1 + 8 (*2) + 3 + 3 + 2 + 2 + 1 = 30 -> 6.0

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Good evening, one and all! There's no need for beating around the bush - let's get into the scores for last round's battalions.

Spoiler

Kingdom Heavy Soldiers received 5 scores, averaging out to 1.64

Kingdom Holy Knights received 5 scores, averaging out to 2.82

Kingdom Heavy Knights received 5 scores, averaging out to 4.94

Royal Guard received 5 scores, averaging out to 5.02

Kingdom Priests received 5 scores, averaging out to 3.93

Blue Lion Knights received 5 scores, averaging out to 2.09

Blue Lion Magic Corps received 5 scores, averaging out to 3.62

Blue Lion Dancers received 5 scores, averaging out to 7.1

It seems players were in a funky mood, because they're ready to dance the night away with the Blue Lion Dancers. Or, were they ready to dance the knights away? The Holy Knights and Blue Lion Knights weren't nearly as beloved, while the Heavy Soldiers got the worst of it.

Round 18: Greatest of the Golden Deer

We've been looking at buyable battalions on a house-by-house basis, so where we've landed should come as no suprise. That's right - today's battalions are all associated with the Alliance. They can be hired from the Battalion Guild, starting in chapter 14, only on the Verdant Wind route. What do they look like? Well...

Alliance Pavise Co.

Spoiler

Accessibility: B-rank Armored

Availability: From chapter 14 (VW only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2000 Gold

Gambit: Group Lance Attack

Endurance: 90

Phys: +2 / +4

Mag: -2

Hit: 0 / +5

Crit: 0

Avo: -5

Prt: +4 / +8

Rsl: +1

Cha: +7

Alliance Physicians

Spoiler

Accessibility: B-rank Infantry

Availability: From chapter 14 (VW only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2000 Gold

Gambit: Resonant White Magic

Endurance: 60

Phys: 0

Mag: +1 / +3

Hit: 0

Crit: 0

Avo: +5 / +10

Prt: 0

Rsl: +2 / +4

Cha: +7

Alliance Sages

Spoiler

Accessibility: B-rank Infantry

Availability: From chapter 14 (VW only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2000 Gold

Gambit: Blessing

Endurance: 60

Phys: 0

Mag: +4 / +8

Hit: 0 / +5

Crit: 0 / +5

Avo: -10

Prt: 0

Rsl: +2 / +6

Cha: +7

Alliance Master Archers

Spoiler

Accessibility: B-rank Infantry

Availability: From chapter 14 (VW only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2000 Gold

Gambit: Flash-Fire Arrows

Endurance: 60

Phys: +2 / +4

Mag: -1

Hit: 0

Crit: +10 / +15

Avo: +5 / +10

Prt: 0 / +4

Rsl: 0

Cha: +7

Alliance Guard

Spoiler

Accessibility: B-rank Infantry

Availability: From chapter 14 (VW only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2000 Gold

Gambit: Poison Tactic

Endurance: 75

Phys: +3 / +5

Mag: 0

Hit: 0

Crit: +5 / +10

Avo: +1 / +5

Prt: 0 / +4

Rsl: 0

Cha: +7

Golden Deer Wyvern Co.

Spoiler

Accessibility: A-rank Flying

Availability: From chapter 14 (VW only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2500 Gold

Gambit: Assault Troop

Endurance: 105

Phys: +2 / +6

Mag: -2

Hit: 0 / +5

Crit: 0

Avo: +5 / +10

Prt: +1 / +3

Rsl: 0

Cha: +10

Golden Deer Archers

Spoiler

Accessibility: A-rank Infantry

Availability: From chapter 14 (VW only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2500 Gold

Gambit: Poison Tactic

Endurance: 105

Phys: +2

Mag: -2

Hit: +15 / +25

Crit: 0

Avo: +10 / +15

Prt: 0 / +2

Rsl: +1 / +3

Cha: +10

Golden Deer Cavalry

Spoiler

Accessibility: A-rank Cavalry

Availability: From chapter 14 (VW only), hire at the Battalion Guild for 2500 Gold

Gambit: Linked Horses

Endurance: 105

Phys: +4 / +8

Mag: -2

Hit: 0 / +5

Crit: 0

Avo: -5

Prt: +3 / +7

Rsl: +2

Cha: +10

So, what do you think of this batch of battalions? Are there any standouts, as there were for the Eagles and Lions? Or do these all pale in comparison to the paralogue battalions? I will be sharing my own thoughts... sometime soon. In any case, looking forward to your comments!

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Alliance Pavise Co.: 1/10.  Ever so slightly better than Kingdom Heavy Soldiers (less of an avoid penalty, more protection, no competition from Duscur Heavy Soldiers, etc.), but still seriously awful.  Group Lance attack is not a good gambit, +4 PAttack is bad, and Goneril Valkyries has +6 Prot and actually good offensive stats as well and was available for Reunion at Dawn, unlike the Pavise Co.  It's an option for some silly Fortress Knight Raphael build I guess that desperately wants every point of Prot it can get, but not a great one - I'd say that even if Goneril Valks is taken, stick with Holy Knights of Seiros for a tank which you could have recruited earlier, has more Attack, a better Gambit, and much better Resistance.  And most people didn't even think HKoS was that great!

Alliance Physicians: 0/10.  Hell no.  +3 Magic on a post-timeskip battalion?!

Alliance Sages: 8/10.  Maybe the best Blessing user?  Their stats are respectable as-is with +8 Mag and a minor Hit bonus.  Avoid penalty isn't great but this is best on a backline supporty unit anyway.  Has the sneaky benefit that Blessing can be pretty handy vs. Nemesis as well, the most offense-oriented final boss...  not that he's that super hard, but it's a way to let units that would get doubled by Nemesis safely initiate on him, or units that would get one-shot AND doubled by him to initiate with the help of a Guard Adjutant.  

Alliance Master Archers: 2/10.  I haven't used Flash-Fire Arrows, but I believe it ranked reasonably highly in the gambits list.  You had better like it a lot to equip this battalion because +4 Attack post-timeskip is not acceptable.  At least the Crit and Avo are okay, maybe a weird option for a Sword Avo+20 dancer or something that just wants to dodge and throw out an occasional gambit vs. monsters.

Alliance Guard: 2/10.  Very similar to the Master Archers.  Mildly more attack, mildly worse Gambit.  Still probably worse than most Paralogue battalions and mostly seeing use if you're missing them for some reason.

Golden Deer Wyvern Co.: 5/10.  An acceptable battalion with the main problem being the excellent flying battalion competition in a Deer runthrough: Immortal Corps, Alliance Wyvern Co. (for Impregnable Wall and a much easier Authority threshold), and the old standbys Cichol Wyvern Co. and maybe a recruited Galatea.  I think the GDWC is mildly worse than Cichol / Galatea, and certainly joins later than them, but that's certainly still usable.  Having more flying options is always nice, and you can argue that all the solid flying options for the Deer encourages the Deer to deploy more flyers than usual.  (That said, still just +3 Prot, same as Alliance Wyvern Co. which was earned ages ago?  A little disappointing on that count for Wyverns, who you'd think would have better defense...)

Golden Deer Archers: 0.5/10.  DID YOU STICK +2 ATTACK ON A POST-TIMESKIP BATTALION?!  Accepting such big attack penalties is even worse in "efficient" play since post-timeskip has so many ways to get Brave effects for physical characters: gauntlets, Brave weapons, Hunter's / Point-Blank Volley, Swift Strikes, etc.  While maybe a mage can still get kills with Blue Lion Dancers equipped, that's not going to be true very often for physical characters.  The sole point in this battalion's favor is the +25 Hit, so in the following contrived situation they might see use: you're using a recruited Bow Knight Bernadetta solely to spam long-range Enclosers, you don't care about her ever getting kills and solely want to optimize Hit, you didn't bother with Essar Research Group, (edit) you didn't do Marianne's paralogue yet or Edmund Troops is needed elsewhere, and you didn't recruit Petra so you can't get Varley Archers.  I don't buy it for a second, but I guess that and an acceptable Gambit will save it from 0-dom.

Golden Deer Cavalry: 2/10.  Linked Horses is still bad, requiring A-Authority is bad, an Avoid penalty is bad.  But I guess that this is an option if you're legitimately trying to run a Fortress Knight Raphael / Alois / Balthus for the big Prot boost and actually having a decent Attack score, unlike Alliance Pavise Co. (+8 vs. +4).  Prot-stacking is not a great strat in-game, but this does support it if you do it anyway.

Edited by SnowFire

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Alliance Pavise Co: 3/10. These are very similar to the awful Kingdom Heavy Soldiers. Same horrible gambit, very similar horrible stats, same single redeeming feature in having high prot. Where these do have an advantage over their Kingdom counterparts, though, is that they actually offer the highest prot of any battalion that the Deer have access to, which means that they do actually have a niche, albeit a narrow one. If you are playing as the Golden Deer and you are using a Fortress Knight and trying to stack your prot as high as possible, you should use these. But let's be honest, that condition isn't going to come up all that often. Armour tanks just aren't that strong to begin with, and even if you are building one, there are plenty of other approaches than just stacking prot above all, and pretty much any other approach is going to be willing to sacrifice a point or two of prot if it gives them more attack and hit and a better gambit.

Alliance Physicians: 0/10. An unmitigated disaster. It feels like the stats here were balanced on the assumption that they would have a really strong gambit, but what they actually get is the worthless Resonant White Magic. Any potential use for this gambit dried up about 10-12 chapters ago, and I wasn't impressed with it even back then. So this leaves us with a battalion that has very similar stats to the Alliance Magic Corps, but a worse gambit. The Alliance Magic Corps was available 11 chapters earlier and requires only a D rank in authority as opposed to the B rank that the Alliance Physicians take. And the Alliance Magic Corps isn't even good (I gave it a 4.5/10). It's hard to imagine any circumstance other than extremely specific challenge runs where i'd want to use these.

Alliance Sages: 7/10. A very pleasant surprise for me. I didn't realise that these had such a high magic stat. All the same comments about the Blessing gambit apply here as did for the Empire and Kingdom equivalents, but now you can have it without compromising your combat performance. In fact, the magic attack is high enough that you'd consider running this just for the stats alone even if you didn't care about Blessing.

Alliance Master Archers: 1/10. 4 attack, 4 prot, no hit, and a gambit that is OK but not great. That's just not good. Clearly worse than both the Holy Knights of Seiros and the Alliance Pavisse Co. which both are available at the same time and are both bad. The only thing saving this from a lower score is that I just graded the Alliance Physicians, which is even worse.

Alliance Guard: 1/10. For a moment, I thought I should discuss the relative pros and cons of this compared to the Master Archers. Then I realise that neither one of them is worth that level of effort. Terrible.

Golden Deer Wyvern Co: 4/10. Doesn't really offer enough for me to want to train a flier up to A rank authority, especially in a route that has access to the Immortal Corps to alleviate some of the flying battalion pressure. Clearly worse than both the Immortal Corps and the Cichol Wyvern Co. so this will be your third choice flying battalion at best. And if you recruited Ingrid or like Impregnable Wall, then that's down to fourth or fifth choice. I'm typically not running that many fliers, and if I do, then I'm typically not wanting to push more than one of them up to A authority. That said, if you are in that situation and you do end up running this, it will do the job perfectly competently.

Golden Deer Archers: 0/10. 2 attack? On an A rank battalion? What were they even thinking? A rank battalions need to offer something exceptional for me to even consider them, and the only things here are exceptionally bad. This is worse than the 1/10 Alliance Guard, but it requires A rank authority. The only thing that might conceivably make anyone consider this is the high hit bonus. But stacking hit to that extent is rarely relevant, and even when it is, there are better choices. As the Golden Deer, you inherently have Marianne which means you have access to the Edmund Troops, which have even higher hit, an actually relevant amount of damage, and a lower authority requirement.

Golden Deer Cavalry: 3/10. Comparable to the Alliance Pavisse Co, sacrificing a bit of prot for some extra attack, but at the cost of requiring an A rank in authority. Normally I'd be more down on the A rank authority, but Fortress Knight is such a cheap and easy build that training authority isn't really much of a burden. Still not very good.

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Alliance Pavise Co. - 1.6/10

CF is the worse route for face-tanking, mainly because of how truncated it is, meaning less build time before the endgame stat spike. VW is the next worst, for the opposite reasons - you have the most time/freedom to build your army, with the best house overall as your base, and a Part 2 that especially favours strategies reliant on high Mv and range. What I'm getting at is, I don't want a def-tank in VW Part 2, and no other unit wants this. Better stats than the Kingdom equivalent mean a minor score bump.

Alliance Physicians - 1/10

I didn't think a post-skip battalion would bring my scoring this low.

Alliance Sages - 7.75/10

Compared to Timotheos Magi Corps, a slight downgrade on stats and a worse gambit. But +8 Mag atk means I tend to run this from join to end, especially since magic attackers are so good (and plentiful) on this route. 

Alliance Master Archers - 3/10

I kinda see what they're going for here - it's a bit of a remix of Jeralt's Mercenaries, but with the lean on Crit instead of Avo. There actually aren't many battalions that boost both by +10 or more. However, the niche (crit dodgetank) is very small, especially since the premier one on this route is Claude, who should be flying. Those kinds of units would also prefer the higher boost to Avo than to Crit - so if you're at B-rank, this is outdone by Brigid Hunters. 

Alliance Guard - 2.25/10

A C-rank battalion masquerading as a B-rank one. Which is at least less irritating than Kingdom Heavy Soldiers.

Golden Deer Wyvern Co. - 2.75/10

Like I said before, I've never run or felt the need to run four physical fliers (this battalion ranks 4th or 5th for fliers on this route), and unlike BE Pegasi there's no further niche to this. I'm not getting another flier to A-rank for it. 

Golden Deer Archers - 1.5/10 

Again, I kinda see where they're going with this thematically, as a battalion providing high Hit for physical and gambit attacks. But Edmund Troops is free on this route, and nobody is getting to A rank for +2 Atk and Poison Tactic. 

Golden Deer Cavalry - 4.25/10

This is at least acceptable (especially given this collection of dross above it), and there's a chance you're running a lot of grounded physical attackers, and one has room for A Authority. The +8 Atk and Linked Horses legitimises it, and +7 Prt is nice even if I'm not building around it. Outside bet for endgame.

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Alright, time for my own scores... in the usual eight areas.

Availability:

They all join in chapter 14, with less than half the game ahead of them. It should be no surprise that I'm giving them 2 across the board.

Accessibility:

Golden Deer Archers and Cavalry are both A-rank Grounded battalions, leaving them with 1 point out of 5.

The Golden Deer Wyvern Co. are also A-rank, but they fly, so they fare a bit better. Along with all the remaining battalions (B-rank Grounded), they get 2 points.

Gambit:

Alliance Pavise Co. offer Group Lance Attack, a gambit with very limited area-of-effect. It earns them a mere 3 out of 10.

The picture isn't much better for Alliance Physicians, who provide Resonant White Magic. It's rarely useful, especially this late in the game, so they get 3 as well.

The Alliance Sages provide a slightly more useful (albeit still limited) support gambit in Blessing, so they get 4 points.

Alliance Master Archers use Flash-Fire Arrows, essentially a rare variant of Assault Troop. It has anti-flier effectiveness and can inflict fiery terrain, so I grant this one a 6.

The Alliance Guard and Golden Deer Archers both use Poison Tactic - think Blaze, but trading some power for accuracy, and fire for poison. I tend to regard them as equivalent, so these each get a 5 here.

Stop me if you've heard this one before - an A-rank flying battalion with Assault Troop. Alas, that's what the Golden Deer Wyvern Co. offer. As ho-hum as the gambit is, it's decent enough to garner them a 5 here.

Stats:

Alliance Pavise Co. provide the single-best boost to Protection in Verdant Wind, making them a premier choice for a defensive tank. For anyone else, though, there's not much draw. The Attack and Hit boosts are rather middling, and there's an Avoid loss to contend with. Still, I think it works its way up to a 6.

10 Avoid? 4 Resilience? 3 Magic? Alliance Physicians, heal thyselves! Their stats are essentially equivalent to Alliance Magic Corps from chapter 3, albeit with more Charm and no physical Attack loss. I'll give them a begrudging 4.

Alliance Sages are a sleeper hit, with a stellar +8 to Magical attack. Not to mention, more Resilience than the Physicians, plus small Hit and Crit boosts. The Avoid loss is mildly concerning, but I still think this bunch deserves an 8.

Alliance Master Archers provide rather modest boosts to Attack and Protection, with more considerable buffs to Avoid and Crit. It may be warranted on a grounded Dodge/Crit build, but the boosts aren't exactly standout. They're better than Jeralt's Mercenaries (who I gave a 5), so let's give them a 6.

Alliance Guard lose a bit of Crit and Avoid, relative to the Master Archers, for a point of Attack. Close enough to lateral to me. These get a 6 as well.

Golden Deer Wyvern Co. have a bit more Avoid than Cichol Wyvern Co., and tie them in Charm. But in all other regards, they sit behind - less Bulk, no Crit, less Hit boost, and less Attack. Of course, "worse than the flying battalion with the best boosts in the game" is no huge criticism, so they still slip in with 7.

Golden Deer Archers are something of an evolution of Alliance Snipers, taking their Hit and Crit boosts to the next level, while also offering bulk and higher Charm. At the same time, they actually lose a point of Attack. And a mere 2 points of Attack from an A-rank battalion is too insulting to grant them anything more than 5.

A formidable Attack boost, a good amount of bulk on the same side too, and a modest Hit boost offset by a loss to Avoid - where have we heard this before? Strangely enough, Golden Deer Cavalry feel very much like a physical counterpart to Alliance Sages, at least in the stat department. For that reason, I'm giving them an 8 as well.

Uniqueness:

Alliance Pavise Co. are unique in two regards. They have the aforementioned highest-Protection-boost in their route, and they have exclusive access to Group Lance Attack in VW. They get 3 out of 3 for uniqueness.

Alliance Physicians are technically better than the Seiros Sacred Monks, but do you really care about Resonant White Magic? Or should I give them points for being uniquely pathetic? No, they get 0 here.

Alliance Sages aren't your first source of Blessing (justice for Essar Research Group), but they do offer superior Magical attack, Resilience, and Charm for those who care. They get a 1.

Alliance Master Archers are your first source of Flash-Fire Arrows on VW, but not your only, since Edmund Troops can be recruited later on. Still, it's enough to award them 2 points.

Alliance Guard have nothing unique to say about them. 0.

Nor do Golden Deer Wyvern Co. Weird thing to say about a flying battalion, but they're essentially "what if Cichol Wyvern Co, but worse?". 0 points.

Golden Deer Archers may have a pathetic Attack boost, but I have to begrudgingly acknowledge their massive Hit and Avoid boosts, to units who care about that. So they can have a 1, as a treat.

Finally, Golden Deer Cavalry are the only source of Linked Horses on their route. I don't care much for this gambit, but if you do, then this is your only choice. They get 3 points.

Convenience:

Pay the man. 2 across the board.

Endurance:

The Physicians and Sages only have 60 durability, as do the Master Archers. So these groups all get 1 point.

The other battalions all have at least 75 durability, so they all get a full 2 points.

Experience:

You may know by now that I'm a fan of defensive tanks, so I've definitely made good use of Alliance Pavise Co.. They get a clear 2 points.

The Alliance Sages are also one that I'm a fan of, giving one of the biggest boosts to magical attack in the game. And Blessing can be nice, so let's say 2 as well.

Alliance Master Archers are the kind I'll sometimes use if I'm interested in Flash-Fire Arrows. It's a good gambit, but not necessarily a "must-have" by the time they join. So they get a 1 from me.

The others... I can't say I have any experience using any of them. Some of them may be "worth it", situationally, but they've never spoken to me. They all get a 0, unfortunately.

Final Scores:

Alliance Pavise Co.: 2 + 2 + 3 + 6 (*2) + 3 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 28 -> 5.6

Alliance Physicians: 2 + 2 + 3 + 4 (*2) + 0 + 2 + 1 + 0 = 18 -> 3.6

Alliance Sages: 2 + 2 + 4 + 8 (*2) + 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 30 -> 6.0

Alliance Master Archers: 2 + 2 + 6 (*2) + 6 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 28 -> 5.6

Alliance Guard: 2 + 2 + 5 + 6 (*2) + 0 + 2 + 2 + 0 = 25 -> 5.0

Golden Deer Wyvern Co.: 2 + 2 + 5 + 7 (*2) + 0 + 2 + 2 + 0 = 27 -> 5.4

Golden Deer Archers: 2 + 1 + 5 (*2) + 5 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 0 = 23 -> 4.6

Golden Deer Cavalry: 2 + 1 + 3 + 8 (*2) + 3 + 2 + 2 + 0 = 29 -> 5.8

Edited by Shanty Pete's 1st Mate
Typo.

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

Alliance Sages: 2 + 2 + 4 + 8 (*2) + 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 30 -> 3.0

Nitpick: Since you seem to be multiplying your final result by 2 then dividing by 10, shouldn't this be a score of 6.0?

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9 hours ago, SnowFire said:

Nitpick: Since you seem to be multiplying your final result by 2 then dividing by 10, shouldn't this be a score of 6.0?

That is absolutely a typo, good catch! It wouldn't have come through on the final scores (my spreadsheet calcs it automatically, so 6.0), but I still don't want to leave the impression that I somehow think Alliance Sages are worse than Alliance Physicians.

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Alliance Pavise Co: 6 stats, 3 gambit. B rank grounded, C14.

It's Kingdom Heavy Soldiers with slightly better stats, and not competing with Duscur Heavy. So if you desperately want as much prot as possible, maybe? Yeah probably not. Plenty of good competition that crushes this aside from having 1-2 less defence.

In a vacuum: 5. Adjusted: 2/10.

Alliance Physicians: 4 stats, 2 gambit. B rank grounded, C14.

Wow, this is seriously terrible. 3 magic and Resonant White Magic on a post-timeskip battalion, are you kidding? Arguably the worst battalion yet. I don't know whether I think this or Empire Youths is worse. Do note that I'm not using scores below 1.

In a vacuum: 3. Adjusted: 1/10.

Alliance Sages: 7 stats, 6 gambit. B rank grounded, C14.

It has +2 magic on its empire equivalent, but -4 prot... probably a win but not enough for a score change from me. So transplant everything I said there here.

In a vacuum: 6.5. Adjusted: 6/10.

Alliance Master Archers: 6 stats, 6 gambit. B rank grounded, C14.

It has something of a crit focus which is interesting enough, and its gambit is solid. But Chapter 14, B rank? We can do better. Reminds me of Gaspard Knights with a slightly different stat focus, and that's not a compliment. I could maybe see using this for a crit-focused Ignatz build in a no-paralogue run, I suppose.

In a vacuum: 6.5/10. Adjusted: 3.5/10.

Alliance Guard: 6 stats, 6 gambit. B rank grounded, C14.

Shockingly similar to the above, +1 atk but -5 crit. Which one is better depends on taste for the different gambits, mostly.

In a vacuum: 6.5/10. Adjusted: 3.5/10.

Golden Deer Wyvern Co: 7 stats, 6 gambit. A rank flying, C14.

Stats are a bit underwhelming for A rank, but it does have Assault Troop, so it's not inconceivable you could take it over Galatea just for that. But... yeah, this has a lot of competition. I feel similarly to this as I do Empire Elite Wyverns; this has the disadvantage of requiring an A rank, but it does have Assault Troop at least. Probably balances.

In a vacuum: 6.5. Adjusted: 6/10.

Golden Deer Archers: 6 stats, 6 gambit. A rank grounded, C14.

Uhhh... if you really want both hit and evade (but don't care about offence), it's hard to beat this. I'm just not sure who does. Maybe for a grounded dodgetank and you didn't recruit Sylvain and/or run his paralogue? Yeah, this is bad. Not sure what it says that this clearly not the worst battalion in this group.

In a vacuum: 6. Adjusted: 2/10.

Golden Deer Cavalry: 8 stats, 4 gambit. A rank grounded, C14.

Surely at some point in development, Linked Horses was going to be better. Maybe 2 uses? Something besides "smaller Blaze", anyway. It's exclusively on lategame, hard-to-access, mediocre battalions like this one. A lot like its Empire equivalent, but with -15 hit (admittedly, +1 atk and +2 prot... but also -10 avo), its stats are even worse if anything.

In a vacuum: 6. Adjusted: 2/10.
 

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2 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Surely at some point in development, Linked Horses was going to be better. Maybe 2 uses? Something besides "smaller Blaze", anyway. It's exclusively on lategame, hard-to-access, mediocre battalions like this one.

My guess would be that cavalry units were, at some point in development, restricted to only having cavalry battalions and that they were deliberately set at a lower power level than infantry battalions (but a higher power level than flying battalions) as a way of balancing the unit types. Obviously, a lot of cavalry battalions ended up being pretty great, but I wouldn't be surprised if something like this poor gambit got left behind as a vestigial remnant.

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