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Shanty Pete's 1st Mate

Battle of the Battalions, Round 4: Cadets from the Kingdom

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Over a year ago, a certain pirate had a certain dream:

Quote

So, there's something I've been thinking about doing for a while. Namely, going through all the battalions in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and assigning them a score. Thereby, creating something of a "tier list" among all the battalions available. The purpose of this thread is... not to do that. Rather, it's to take care of a necessary step, in advance of assessing the battalions - namely, assessing the gambits that they bring with them.

Once she had gotten through all the gambits - with a ton of highly-appreciated help from the community - she was insistent that the battalions themselves were right around the corner. But, alas, the seas of life had different intentions for her. Buried under daily monotony and tasks aplenty, it seemed as though these were deep waters she would never tread.

Until today. Shanty Pete's First Mate here, and I'm proud to announce that the Battle of the Battalions has begun! The goal here is a simple one: to comprehensively rate the playable battalions in Three Houses. Per my last check, there were 128 of them, so there's no time like the present to begin! I've broken them up into 21 subgroups of varying sizes (anywhere from 3 to 8), based on similarities in availability and method of acquisition. I'd like to get through two subgroups a week - if we manage this pace, it'll be possible to get through them all by year's end. Worst-case scenario, I'd like the series wrapped up before Engage hits store shelves.

How will the rating be done? Well, it'll be done on a scale of 0 to 10. Give the rating that you feel is most appropriate. I want to give a great deal of latitude to individual community members, in terms of how they weight factors like availability, gambit access, and certain stats. There are, however, a few rules I'd like to impose:

  • Decimals are allowed in grades (i.e. 7.25). If a fraction is provided with an unending decimal representation (i.e. 7 1/3), it will be rounded to the nearest thousandth (i.e. 7.333).
  • A battalion should be graded based on routes in which it appears. The routes considered are "WC (BE) -> CF", "WC (BE) -> SS", "WC (BL) -> AM", and "WC (GD) -> VW". Ergo, "Immortal Corps bad because it isn't available before chapter 13" is a valid critique, whereas "Immortal Corps bad because Dimitri can never use it" is not.
  • Likewise, battalions available on multiple routes should be graded based on whichever route they are best in. The difference is insubstantial for most battalions, but not all (i.e. Opera Co Volunteers getting two more chapters of use on VW/SS than on AM). You are free to give a battalion different ratings by route, but I'll only factor the highest one into group statistics.
  • Battalions with multiple copies available in a single playthrough will be rated only once, based on their first incarnation. When a battalion can be acquired over a range of times (i.e. those available by completing a quest or paralogue), assume that it is acquired within the first chapter that it is made available.
  • Ratings should assume an NG Maddening playthrough. Where it matters, assume that the player has purchased and completed the DLC campaign, and also has access to Nintendo Switch Online services. Players without this particular experience are still totally free to provide grades, however.
  • "Bias points" are allowed, but please, not beyond +/-1 out of 10.
  • You are free to devise a scheme that gives a grade out of something other than 10 (I already have LOL), or that assigns a letter grade. But you must convert it to an "out-of-10" value to get it counted toward group statistics.

For your convenience, I've compiled a list (several, actually) of all the battalions, with their various traits to be considered. I have also saved a copy of them into Google Sheets. Click here to view the spreadsheets, containing Battalion information. Feel free to peruse it, and by all means, let me know if I've made any mistakes - I'm just one overworked pirate!

Oh, and here's where I'll keep a list of all the battalions, and their community ratings thus far (with the number of raters in parentheses):

Spoiler

Jeralt's Mercenaries: 7.114 (7)

Church of Seiros Soldiers: 4.614 (7)

Seiros Mercenaries: 4.857 (7)

Seiros Holy Monks: 8.357 (7)

Seiros Sacred Monks: 3.057 (7)

Seiros Magic Corps: 5.5 (7)

Seiros Pegasus Co.: 6.971 (7)

Knights of Seiros: 6.271 (7)

Empire Infantry: 2.093 (7)

Empire Warriors: 4.043 (7)

Empire Brawlers: 5.086 (7)

Empire Magic Corps: 5.2 (7)

Empire Archers: 7.643 (7)

Empire Knights: 6.214 (7)

Kingdom Infantry: currently grading!

Kingdom Lance Co.: currently grading!

Kingdom Brawlers: currently grading!

Kingdom Magic Corps: currently grading!

Kingdom Knights: currently grading!

Before I sign off - the captain's callin', and I'm sure to get an earful - I'd like to thank all those who participated in the "Let's Grade Some Gambits" thread. Even if I had never gotten this thread off the ground, I still would've been happy with that great accomplishment - one that quite a bit of the community contributed to. In particular, without the relentless participation of @Dark Holy Elf and @lenticular, I might've given up halfway through. So thanks, you two - and everyone else as well! You're all me mateys, true. I hope this series can be just as vibrant, and really allow for some deep 3H nitpicking while it's still (technically) the new kid on the block.

Edited by Shanty Pete's 1st Mate
Updated running list of battalion grades.

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I feel like a lot of this is going be repeating "this battalion is okay / outclassed."

But I guess it'll be interesting to see how much stock people will put into availability and how much a good gambit makes for medicore to bad stats, I suppose.

I gotta ask, though, could we cut off the battalions that  are just completely useless? The youth battalions for example is guaranteed to get a 1/10 rating, and there's not much discuss about it.

Edited by LoneRecon400

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If I can bring myself back to a mindset where I'm allowing myself to use gambits that deal damage, then yeah I'd like to participate in something like this. 

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Welp, guess it's time to try to get back into a Three Houses mindset for this. And also time to see how much my opinions have changed since the gambits thread. I look forward to looking back on that one and seeing how many times I end up saying "What? I gave that gambit that score? What was I thinking?"

Let's start off by considering a few elements that influence how good (or bad) a battalion is:

  • Stats. Obviously. More stats are more better.
  • Gambit. Also very important. A battalion with Stride is much better than one with Recovery Roar.
  • Availability. Earlier is always going to be better, of course, but there are also notable break points for Chapter 5 and Chapter 13. Chapter 5 is the last chapter that I personally consider part of the early game difficulty hump for Maddening, and is also the first monster unit you encounter, so battalions you pick up before here are very useful. And then Chapter 13 is Chapter 13 (except on Crimson Flower).
  • Ease of acquisition. A relatively minor point, but not negligible. All other things being equal, a battalion that requires the completion of a difficult paralogue is less good than one that is given automatically, for instance.
  • Authority rank. Lower is better but this does depend somewhat on when you get it. Having a high rank requirement is a bigger detriment for battalions from White Clouds than ones from close to the end of the game.
  • Endurance. I don't find this tends to be relevant all that often, but it still does come up sometimes. Maybe people who use Battalion Wrath builds more than I do get more value from this?
  • Movement type. Flying battalions are strictly better than non-flying battalions. And given how valuable flying units are, they're often quite a bit better.
  • Synnergy. Do the different stats and abilities that a battalion offers come together to support a specific playstyle or build, and is that build strong?
  • Uniqueness. Does a battalion offer something that few or no other battalions do (eg, Nuvelle Flyers or Opera Co Volunteers)?

Am I forgetting anything?

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

Decimals are allowed in grades (i.e. 7.25). If a fraction is provided with an unending decimal representation (i.e. 7 1/3), it will be rounded to the nearest thousandth (i.e. 7.333).

I will try to resist the temptation to be awkward and give ratings of sevenths or eightyoneths. I can't promise I'll succeed, but I promise to try.

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6 hours ago, lenticular said:

Let's start off by considering a few elements that influence how good (or bad) a battalion is:

I like the rundown! I'm gonna try incorporating most of these into my ratings, in one sense or another.

6 hours ago, lenticular said:

Movement type. Flying battalions are strictly better than non-flying battalions. And given how valuable flying units are, they're often quite a bit better.

I plan to include this alongside Authority, in a single "Accessibility" rating. In that sense, a C-rank Flying battalion would be just as "accessible" as a grounded D-rank battalion. Is that a fair weighting? Who knows! I expect opinions to differ.

7 hours ago, lenticular said:

Endurance. I don't find this tends to be relevant all that often, but it still does come up sometimes. Maybe people who use Battalion Wrath builds more than I do get more value from this?

I'm still not sure whether higher Endurance is strictly a benefit. High-endurance battalions can spend longer in "Battalion skill" territory... but they also take more effort to get there from full. They last longer... but they cost more to replenish. Beyond that, I've found it rare for any battalions above 30 endurance to flee before the battle's over (assuming you replenished them beforehand).

13 hours ago, LoneRecon400 said:

I gotta ask, though, could we cut off the battalions that  are just completely useless? The youth battalions for example is guaranteed to get a 1/10 rating, and there's not much discuss about it.

I'm genuinely gonna be curious as to whether Thieves, Rogues, Bandits, and Pirates - four battalions with identical gambits, stat boosts, endurance, etc. - manage to get different scores by merit of availability or personal preference.

If there's any lesson I expect to take from this undertaking, it's that there are too many battalions.

11 hours ago, Zapp Branniglenn said:

If I can bring myself back to a mindset where I'm allowing myself to use gambits that deal damage, then yeah I'd like to participate in something like this. 

Of course, we will be considering those with support gambits as well. The Monks of Saint Stride should be as soon as next week, for instance.

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Higher endurance stats mostly only come into play for characters that tend to take quite a large amount of damage over the course of a battle, for example I find that attempts to use Nosferatu to tank run into problems with battalions which only have 30 endurance, due to the large amount of damage taken to the battalion when using that kind of strategy. 

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Glad to see this! Also, that's a great spreadsheet.

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

I'm still not sure whether higher Endurance is strictly a benefit. High-endurance battalions can spend longer in "Battalion skill" territory... but they also take more effort to get there from full. They last longer... but they cost more to replenish. Beyond that, I've found it rare for any battalions above 30 endurance to flee before the battle's over (assuming you replenished them beforehand).

 

The main place very high endurance is useful is with a specific build which takes lots of damage... particularly someone like Dedue/Raphael built as a tank. If they have to take repeated barrages from magic in particular, they can easily lose 20+ durability per turn, and suddenly 45-75 endurance is not enough for a longer battle. I've actually seen Defensive Tactics get run unironically in this situation. But... outside that specific build, I largely agree with you. I don't think endurance will factor into my scores significantly.

23 hours ago, LoneRecon400 said:

I gotta ask, though, could we cut off the battalions that  are just completely useless? The youth battalions for example is guaranteed to get a 1/10 rating, and there's not much discuss about it.

On the flipside, it takes very little time to just give them a 1 and move on. Since we're gonna be rating ~6 at a time, they shouldn't slow things down that much. And personally, I'm looking forward to learning which battalions are kinda bad and which are real bad. And of course, which ones might actually be better than I've ever realized. I don't think you can do this unless we actually take a fair look at all (or at least almost all) the battalions.

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Cool stuff!

On 9/19/2022 at 10:50 PM, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:
  • Decimals are allowed in grades (i.e. 7.25). If a fraction is provided with an unending decimal representation (i.e. 7 1/3), it will be rounded to the nearest thousandth (i.e. 7.333).

First off, usual "any person running an event has deference to do things however they like" disclaimer.  You do you!

THAT SAID, the Eastern branch of the Church of Significant Digits in Statistics (Church of SigDis) would like to register their opposition to this.  Any player who can articulate the difference between a score of 7.333 and 7.334 is insane.  What would that be, every 100 playthroughs using Battalion A takes a turn slower to complete than 100 playthroughs using Battalion B?  Really, even distinguishing between a 7.3 and a 7.4 seems unlikely, but is at least more reasonable (especially toward the very bottom and very top of the scale, I can see a valid difference between a 0.1 and a 0.3 or the like to express just how niche a battalion might be, say).  I'd humbly recommend rounding to the nearest tenth place instead.  (Besides, unless hundreds of rankers show up, the averages are unlikely to be accurate to the hundredth place or beyond anyway, let alone the thousandth place.)

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47 minutes ago, SnowFire said:

Cool stuff!

First off, usual "any person running an event has deference to do things however they like" disclaimer.  You do you!

THAT SAID, the Eastern branch of the Church of Significant Digits in Statistics (Church of SigDis) would like to register their opposition to this.  Any player who can articulate the difference between a score of 7.333 and 7.334 is insane.  What would that be, every 100 playthroughs using Battalion A takes a turn slower to complete than 100 playthroughs using Battalion B?  Really, even distinguishing between a 7.3 and a 7.4 seems unlikely, but is at least more reasonable (especially toward the very bottom and very top of the scale, I can see a valid difference between a 0.1 and a 0.3 or the like to express just how niche a battalion might be, say).  I'd humbly recommend rounding to the nearest tenth place instead.  (Besides, unless hundreds of rankers show up, the averages are unlikely to be accurate to the hundredth place or beyond anyway, let alone the thousandth place.)

Thanks for the feedback!

So, I broadly agree that distinctions to the thousandths place, and even the hundredths place, will be largely insubstantial. No, I can't tell you the difference between a "7.368" battalion, and a "7.372" battalion.

That said, I am worried about rounding fractional representations. There's an argument that "7.125" is actually a coarser grade than "7.1" since, despite demanding more places in decimal representation, it's rounded to the nearest eighth (rather than the nearest tenth). Likewise, if someone gives a grade of "6.25", I don't feel comfortable rounding that to "6.3". "A quarter" is more intuitive to most readers than "three-tenths", and doing this as a matter of course could wind up inflating grades (if only slightly).

As such, I feel like "thousandths" is a good enough stopping point. Everyone understands milliseconds, for instance. It'll leave those unlikely individuals who want things rounded to the nearest eighth perfectly precise. And it'll only force me to apologize in advance to anyone using sixteenths of a point or smaller. I don't expect to see many of those.

For my part, while I was initially planning on rounding each score to the nearest whole number (as I did with gambits), I now plan to allow myself a single decimal place, and round to the nearest fifth (that is, 0.2). You and all others from the Church of SigDis are free to give scores however you choose - I'll just cut them off after the thousandths place when calculating averages.

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Round 1: Baby's First Battalions

Welcome, one and all, to round 1 of the "Battle of the Battalions"! This will be the first formal entry into what I hope to be a thriving and comprehensive review series.

For starters, I'll provide a refresher of the grading rules:

On 9/19/2022 at 10:50 PM, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:
  • Decimals are allowed in grades (i.e. 7.25). If a fraction is provided with an unending decimal representation (i.e. 7 1/3), it will be rounded to the nearest thousandth (i.e. 7.333).
  • A battalion should be graded based on routes in which it appears. The routes considered are "WC (BE) -> CF", "WC (BE) -> SS", "WC (BL) -> AM", and "WC (GD) -> VW". Ergo, "Immortal Corps bad because it isn't available before chapter 13" is a valid critique, whereas "Immortal Corps bad because Dimitri can never use it" is not.
  • Likewise, battalions available on multiple routes should be graded based on whichever route they are best in. The difference is insubstantial for most battalions, but not all (i.e. Opera Co Volunteers getting two more chapters of use on VW/SS than on AM). You are free to give a battalion different ratings by route, but I'll only factor the highest one into group statistics.
  • Battalions with multiple copies available in a single playthrough will be rated only once, based on their first incarnation. When a battalion can be acquired over a range of times (i.e. those available by completing a quest or paralogue), assume that it is acquired within the first chapter that it is made available.
  • Ratings should assume an NG Maddening playthrough. Where it matters, assume that the player has purchased and completed the DLC campaign, and also has access to Nintendo Switch Online services. Players without this particular experience are still totally free to provide grades, however.
  • "Bias points" are allowed, but please, not beyond +/-1 out of 10.
  • You are free to devise a scheme that gives a grade out of something other than 10 (I already have LOL), or that assigns a letter grade. But you must convert it to an "out-of-10" value to get it counted toward group statistics.

That last one brings me into the next point: that of my own grading scheme! You are welcome to use a similar scheme, or just go with whatever floats your boat. It's spoiler-tagged, so feel free to skip it, but I want to be transparent about it:

Spoiler

Accessibility: 1-5. This rates how many units can use a given battalion. A Battalion that demands A-rank Authority will get 1 point, while a Battalion that only needs E-rank Authority gets a full 5 points. If the Battalion is flying it gets an extra point.


Availability: 1-5. The earlier you get the battalion, the higher a score it gets. 5 points for those obtainable before chapter 4; 4 points before chapter 8; 3 points before chapter 12; 2 points before chapter 15; and 1 point for all after.


Gambit: 1-10. This is the grade assigned to the gambit that this battalion brings. This is based, in part, on the “Let’s Grade some Gambits” series. Since I gave Assault Troop a grade of 5, any battalion that offers the Assault Troop gambit will score 5 points in this category.


Stats: 1-10. This is a measure of how valuable are the stat boosts that this battalion offers. The higher the boosts, the larger the score. This isn’t necessarily one-to-one: 5 points in Physical Attack are far better than 5 points in Crit, for instance, while big Charm boosts matter more to battalions with offensive gambits. Some stat boosts increase as a battalion levels up – while my judgement will mostly concern the Level 5 stats, there may be cases where the lower-level stats are relevant.


Weight: *2. Sometimes, you field a battalion just for the gambit, and the stat boosts don’t really matter. Other times, the boosts are what’s important, and the gambit is an afterthought. That’s what the weighting factor is here for: whichever grade (Gambit or Stats) is higher will be multiplied by 2 when calculating the total score. If they are equal, then Gambit will be doubled (although it’s irrelevant).


Uniqueness: 0-3. How unique are the traits that this battalion is bringing to your party? 3 points for battalions which offer a unique trait throughout a campaign; 2 points for those that offer a unique trait when first acquired; 1 point for those with a useful and rare trait; 0 points otherwise.


Convenience: 0-3. How easy is it to actually get this battalion? 3 points for a battalion that the game just hands to you; 2 points for a battalion that can be bought from the guild, or else acquired via a simple quest; 1 point for battalions from easy paralogues and quest battles; 0 points for battalions from higher-effort paralogues, or with obscure recruitment conditions.


Endurance: 0-2. A simplified measure of a battalion’s durability, since higher durability is (often, not always) a good thing. 2 points for those with 75 or more endurance; 1 point for those with 60 or 45 endurance; 0 points for those with 30 endurance.


Experience: 0-2. A measure of my own personal experience with a battalion. 2 points for those that I use frequently, even into the lategame; 1 point for those I use some of the time; 0 points for those that I use rarely to never.


Total: 50. A simple sum of the above grades, with the weight factor applied. This score is then divided by 5, to provide an out-of-10 rating.
 

Scared you off yet? No? Good! In that case, let's get to it. This round will feature a smaller-than-usual crowd, of only three battalions. All three can be acquired as soon as Chapter 2, by completing the "Leading the Charge" quest in the Monastery. Beyond each name, I've listed all the relevant traits of each one (level 5 stats are in parentheses). And, here they are:

Jeralt's Mercenaries

Spoiler

Accessibility: E-rank Infantry

Availability: From chapter 2 (ALL), via “Leading the Charge” Quest

Gambit: Assault Troop

Endurance: 75

Phys: +1 (+3)

Mag: 0

Hit: 0

Crit: +5 (+10)

Avo: +5 (+15)

Prt: 0

Rsl: 0

Cha: +1

Church of Seiros Soldiers

Spoiler

Accessibility: E-rank Infantry

Availability: From chapter 2 (ALL), via “Leading the Charge” Quest

Gambit: Disturbance

Endurance: 30

Phys: 0

Mag: 0

Hit: 0 (+5)

Crit: 0

Avo: 0

Prt: +1 (+3)

Rsl: +1 (+3)

Cha: +1

Seiros Mercenaries

Spoiler

Accessibility: E-rank Infantry

Availability: From chapter 2 (ALL), via “Leading the Charge” Quest

Gambit: Onslaught

Endurance: 30

Phys: +1 (+3)

Mag: -2

Hit: 5 (10)

Crit: 0

Avo: 0

Prt: 0 (2)

Rsl: 0

Cha: 1

I'll be providing my own grades for these battalions below. They are spoiler-tagged, just to ensure they don't influence your own ratings:

Spoiler

Accessibility: This one's easy. They're all E-rank Infantry, so they all get a 5.

Availability: Another easy one - they're literally the most-readily available battalions in the game. Anything less than 5 would be a crime.

Gambit: Per my old rankings: Assault Troop gives Jeralt's Mercenaries a 5; Disturbance gives Church of Seiros Soldiers a 3; and, Onslaught gives Seiros Mercenaries a 3. Assault Troop is really nice to have this early on, but the other two are very basic.

Stats: Another area where these three differ. From Jeralt's Mercenaries, 3 Attack and 10 Crit are pretty nice, while 15 Avoid honestly stands up to some of the better "dodgetank" battalions. Church of Seiros Soldiers are clearly more defensive, at 3 points along each side, with only 5 Hit. And Seiros Mercenaries combine 3 Attack with a solid 10 Hit and 2 Prt, admittedly at a malus to Magic. Oh, and they all give a single point of Charm. Again, JM is the most impressive of the three, so they get a 5. Church of Seiros Soldiers walk away with a 2, and Seiros Mercenaries get a 3.

Uniqueness: As the first three battalions, they each offer something unique early on. They're literally the only way to use Assault Troop, Disturbance, and Onslaught, respectively, in chapter 2. It's basically a choice between taking them on, or going without a battalion - a choice that will disappear rather quickly. They don't offer anything unique in the long-term, but they do at first arrival. 2 for each of them.

Convenience: You basically have to complete "Leading the Charge", and get these battalions, in order to use battalions in all. I'd call that essentially equivalent to being handed to the player. A full 3 points for each of them.

Endurance: With 75 endurance, Jeralt's Mercenaries are actually quite solid. They'll last through the chapter 2 Aux battle and story battle... and then some! That said, the other 2 are practically made of wet tissue paper, at 30 each. 2 points for JM, 0 for the others.

Experience: I've gotten a ton of use out of Jeralt's Mercenaries, as they manage to be one of the strongest earlygame battalions. Even into the middle- and late-game, they're often an ideal choice for units who haven't raised up their Authority just yet. I'm giving them a full 2 points here. As for the Church of Seiros Soldiers and Seiros Mercenaries, I will give them credit for their utility in the first couple chapters they are around. They come in very handy in the earlygame, but I tend to drop 'em later on. 1 point for each.

Scores:

Jeralt's Mercenaries get 5 + 5 + (5 * 2) + 5 + 2 + 3 + 2 + 2 = 34/50. This converts to a score of 6.8 out of 10.

Church of Seiros Soldiers get 5 + 5 + (3 * 2) + 2 + 2 + 3 + 0 + 1 = 24/50. This converts to a score of 4.8 out of 10.

Seiros Mercenaries get 5 + 5 + (3 * 2) + 3 + 2 + 3 + 0 + 1 = 25/50. This converts to a score of 5.0 out of 10.

Anyway, I can't wait to hear what you think of these battalions! Leave your own ratings, with reasons why, in the comments below!

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Jeralt mercs- 5/10.

Avoid and Crit aren't something you want in the earlygame, and by the time stacking avoid becomes a viable option, there are better options available. It only giving 1 charm also leaves units pretty vulnerable to enemy gambits even if you do decide to use it for that. It also makes using Assualt Troop pretty unreliable earlygame without Rally Charm.

Church of Seiros Soldiers- 3/10.

A purely defensive battalion is extremely bleh. You put it on a unit for 1 or 2 chapters and then forget it immediately afterwards. About the only thing it's useful for is preventing mages from being one rounded by a surpise archer in Chapter 3 if you haven't memorized where they are. 

Seiros Mercs- 7/10.

A pretty solid battalion relative to when you get it. +10 Hit is very appreciated in the early game with how inaccurate units are at the beginning. Bumping hit rates from 80 to 90 makes them much accurate considering true hit. +3 Atk and +2 Prt  are also not bade for E Rank. 

Edited by LoneRecon400

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On 9/20/2022 at 3:11 AM, lenticular said:
  • Stats. Obviously. More stats are more better.
  • Gambit. Also very important. A battalion with Stride is much better than one with Recovery Roar.
  • Availability. Earlier is always going to be better, of course, but there are also notable break points for Chapter 5 and Chapter 13. Chapter 5 is the last chapter that I personally consider part of the early game difficulty hump for Maddening, and is also the first monster unit you encounter, so battalions you pick up before here are very useful. And then Chapter 13 is Chapter 13 (except on Crimson Flower).
  • Ease of acquisition. A relatively minor point, but not negligible. All other things being equal, a battalion that requires the completion of a difficult paralogue is less good than one that is given automatically, for instance.
  • Authority rank. Lower is better but this does depend somewhat on when you get it. Having a high rank requirement is a bigger detriment for battalions from White Clouds than ones from close to the end of the game.
  • Endurance. I don't find this tends to be relevant all that often, but it still does come up sometimes. Maybe people who use Battalion Wrath builds more than I do get more value from this?
  • Movement type. Flying battalions are strictly better than non-flying battalions. And given how valuable flying units are, they're often quite a bit better.
  • Synnergy. Do the different stats and abilities that a battalion offers come together to support a specific playstyle or build, and is that build strong?
  • Uniqueness. Does a battalion offer something that few or no other battalions do (eg, Nuvelle Flyers or Opera Co Volunteers)?

 

I'm gonna start by piggybacking off this. It's a great list, but I'm gonna divide it into two broad categories.

The bold features of a battalion are its innate value. Basically, if you have a character who can equip any battalion they want, which battalions are the best? I find this worth rating separately because, well, this is a question that actually comes up? Stats and gambit are the big two here.

The italics features are, broadly, how easy it is to equip. Earlier battalions, ones with lower rank, ones that are flier-compatible, etc.

So I'm gonna have two ratings; a "in a vacuum" one and an "adjusted" score which includes the italic facotrs. For @Shanty Pete's 1st Mate, I will underline the adjusted score, to make it easier for them to count.

Jeralt's Mercenaries: 4 stats, 6 gambit. E rank grounded, Chapter 2.

Assault Troop is just much better than most other earlygame gambits, typically rattling an extra target (with two being possible on occasion). In fact, outside of the Eagles, you can argue it's the best offensive gambit prior to Shamir joining and/or Chapter 8. The big endurance by E-rank standards can actually matter (particularly in Chapter 5), and the evade boost is nice even early, particularly on maps with +avoid panels (forests in 3, avoid tiles in 6), and/or on Ferdinand.

In a vacuum: 5.5. Adjusted: 7/10

Church of Seiros Soldiers: 2 stats, 4 gambit. E rank grounded, Chapter 2.

Obviously the weak link of the Chapter 2 battalions. It can up durability a bit, but at Level 1 it only barely does that. Later on it's... nice but who wants to do such low damage? A filler battalion if you're running 4 mages or... I dunno, some very high number of fighters. You can buy a second, I rarely do. I'd give it a terrible score but y'know it's a lot better than nothing in Chapter 2, and free in Chapter 3.

EDIT: somehow forgot this battalion has disturbance instead of onslaught/assembly. That's worth a half-point push. The fact that I forgot isn't a great sign, though.

In a vacuum: 3.5. Adjusted: 4.5/10.

Seiros Mercenaries: 4 stats, 3 gambit. E rank grouned, Chapter 2.

There's an interesting case for it having better stats than Jeralt (Lone Recon made it already, I see), but I'm not sure I agree. Certainly, the gap is small; 2 prot and 10 hit is pretty lateral to 10 crit and 15 avo in my books. So Jeralt wins due to Assault Troop, which is a very substantial advantage in my eyes.

In a vacuum: 4. Adjusted: 5.5/10.
 

Edited by Dark Holy Elf

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Thinking about how I want to grade overall, I think that my basic rule of thumb is that if I'm actually going to use a battalion in a decent number of runs, then I'm going to be ranking it somewhere from 5-10, whereas if I'm realistically never or very rarely going to be using it, then it's a 0-5. With 5 being the crossover point, for battalions that might see rare play, that I won't ever use but are still OK, or that I will use but wouldn't miss all that much if they were gone.

So, with that in mind, all of these have to be at least a 5, because I'm definitely going to be getting some use out of them. If memory serves, it's literally impossible not to get them, since I think that that quest is forced. And then they're the only battalions available for a chapter. And while more do become available pretty quickly, we're talking the early game, when money is actually a somewhat relevant concern. So even the worst of these do last for at least a few chapters. Even if they aren't that impressive, a few extra stat points is never bad (unless you're putting a negative to magic attack on a mage, but I'm going to assume that nobody is doing that). An extra gambit to throw at the Black Beast in chapter 5 (or anything else that needs it) is never bad. Being able to start battle training authority earlier is never bad.

Jeralt's Mercenaries are certainly the one that stands out to me the most, since they remain the only source of the Assault Troops gambit until the middle game. Being able to get that slightly bigger area of effect is nice when everything else you have is stuck at only two squares, and if you give it to a unit with high charm and hit, you don't feel the lower accuracy of Assault Troops very much. I am sometimes tempted to keep this battalion into the middle game for units that are lagging on Authority, but often regret it. Units that are lagging on Authority are generally the ones with a bane, and these units mostly have terrible charm. The one exception is Hilda, who has great Charm but terrible Dex. In any case, they aren't going to want a battalion with +1 Charm, no Hit bonus, and only 50% accuracy on its gambit.

For the other two, I rank the slightly higher Hit bonus on the Seiros Mercenaries more than I rate the better Gambit on the Church of Seiros Soldiers.

Overall, these all fit around the range of "I'm using them, but I wouldn't notice too much if they weren't there". My final scores are:

Jeralt's Mercenaries: 6/10

Seiros Mercenaries: 5.5/10

Church of Seiros Soldiers: 5/10

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The first three battalions have two unique advantages. They're free, and 99.9% of players have used them in every playthrough (the only ones who don't are doing a challenge run that specifically bans battalions, and certainly doesn't warrant mention in this thread, since EVERY battalion would be a 0 out of 10 from that perspective). You can't even sell them until chapter 3, and they're auto-equipped to three units in your army, so you'd have to actively un-equip them to not benefit from them. So in that regard, I think they all deserve some brownie points. Chapter 2's mission is really damned difficult, so I like to draw out the fighting in the forced auxiliary battle in order to level them up a bit more. Just move your units into the woods and end your turn without attacking to get in more rounds of combat. 

Jeralt's Mercenaries is a solid 10 out of 10. All its stats and its gambit are competitive with buyable C rank battalions. The 15 avoid in particular is the best you can get until the B rank Gautier Knights, giving you a realistic 50/50 shot of avoiding stuff when baiting from a forest. While the 10 Crit is similarly unmatched until the mid game, pulling you above the enemies' high crit avoid threshold into single digit crit chance. Add the Smash combat art and you can start deliberately going for crit kills. But even once you're collecting paralogue battalions and have more than two units that can equip them, Jeralt's Mercenaries is still valuable for recruited members of your roster. Recruitable units typically join you at E authority, and some have authority banes keeping them in the E-D range much longer, so this battalion is the best they can get for combat. And I would definitely cite its 75 Endurance as another plus. By the end of chapter 2, the other two battalions may run out, but this one won't. And if you're slapping it on mid-game recruitable units, enemies are doing more damage than they were back in chapter 2, and a 30 endurance battalion isn't sufficient for your frontliners. Your first Battalion Wrath users like Raphael and Dedue can sustain 50 HP worth of damage, which is better than the purchased Knights of Seiros or Wyvern Co C rank options. Jeralt's Mercenaries should be a valid choice for at least one of your units until you're past the time skip but by then you're past the hardest content of the game. This was an awesome gift, Dad.

But why the perfect score? Since there is NO single battalion that is great for 100% of your playthrough, it calls into question what the 10/10 battalions of Three Houses theoretically are. And any way I look at it, Jeralt's Mercenaries is the single most valuable one of any playthrough. It is the FE7 Marcus of battalions. He won't be your best unit by the end of the game, but he was your best unit for much of the game, and he can still pull his weight on the final map if you have nothing better raised up for that final slot. 

Church of Seiros Soldiers is a 3.5 out of 10. It may not aid your offense, but the protection it provides is nothing to scoff at for Chapter 2, where enemies come at you in waves and don't wait for you to bait them. Get this thing leveled up to 3 in time for the main mission, and Level 1 Dedue with an iron shield and his passive allows him to take 0x2 damage from the thieves. Level 1 Leonie with her passive and Rally Strength/Speed gets their damage down to just 4 - or 2x2 if she has an iron shield. The fully leveled up version nets you another point of defense, but by then it's running low on endurance. Dedue's ran out by the time I reached Kostas, and he's the tankiest of tanks. Past chapter 2? It's not the best choice of battalion, but remember it was free, and our budgets are tight in the early game. Defense is a hot commodity before level 10 when you're nabbing free points off the armor knight certification. I would carefully consider who uses it again for chapter 4. The mage enemies are by far the most threatening, save for the Death Knight, so the 3 Res is a frugal alternative to dropping 600G on a Pure water so early in the game. The Resonant White Magic and Stride battalions are similarly helpful for baiting those enemies, but they penalize your physical attacks.

Seiros Mercenaries is a 2.5 and it's mostly coasting on the same advantages it shares with the other two. At max level it gives you a bit of everything, making it a good filler choice for chapter 3 and beyond. But it's got no unique claim to fame before or after max level. +10 hit might sound great for your mages and their sketchy 70-80 hit rates, until you notice the -2 mag attack penalty. That's annoying, and the Stride/Resonant White Magic battalions grant the same hit rate at no magic penalty.

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A lot of Fire Emblem rating Internet threads often have a bit of a philosophical split on availability, particularly character ratings.  In general, I'm not super keen on highly super-ranking availability.  There's nothing weird about saying that Caineghis or Athos or the like are really bustedly good units, or that early-game roster fillers who don't age well deserve much credit for merely existing as deploys that don't compete with a slot.  So, that said, I have to go pretty much the reverse angle in 3H Battalions.  Availability is pretty much the key, most important stat for battalions.  Random E-Rank battalions you have early are great.  Random E-Rank battalions that the game gives you in Chapter 7 and beyond are flat worthless, basically there for people who just want to watch Bandits or Militia or Merchants cheering on an attack or the like for flavor reasons.  And fancy B-rank battalions you get in Chapter 7 are fantastic, while similarly powered ones that are in tough post-skip paralogues likely to be done in C15-17 are often just not worth the effort of training up (your Holst's Chosen, Sauin Militia, etc.).  Basically, this makes these three battalions very good, because they're competing against nothing and even once the battalion store opens, you may not have the money to buy out all the battalions you want anyway.

  • Jeralt's Mercenaries: 8/10. 

Jeralt's is very legit, the best E-rank battalion on raw stats, one of the best gambits (sure, there are E-Rankers with Stride too), and randomly great durability.  Aside from being strong when there's little competition and thus being a fairly substantial power boost, Jeralt's is often still useful after your core cast has trained their Authority some.  Its stats are often competitive with D-rank battalions.  It's solid for building evasion early.  And more generally, it's not an uncommon case for later recruits - if you're using any - to come with trashy Authority ranks.  Jeralt's gives them a relevant Battalion to equip, even if you're solely doing that recruit's paralogue and benching them forever afterward.  It's just about the perfect E-rank battalion, everything you'd want in one, and the only reason it isn't even higher is just because the niche of E-rank battalion does die out.  But being useful for 40-50% of the game is still great!

  • Seiros Mercenaries: 6/10.

It's a boring battalion largely getting a good score due to the great availability.  Unlike Jeralt's you don't want to continue using this forever, but it's fine. 

  • Church of Seiros Soldiers: 5/10.

Yeah, the scrubby one.  Still an okay score because the competition is shaky, but you'll move beyond this one eventually.  I guess helpful if you're trying to build concrete tanks, which can still sorta happen in the early chapters with your Dedues and the like, but even then Seiros Mercs is probably still better.

Edited by SnowFire

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I'm going to throw into questions how useful Jeralt Mercs is past the earlygame. My reasoning is as follows: 

1. Recruited units would really prefer Hit rather than Crit and Avoid. Recruited units often lack Hit due lacking supports for Link Attacks, not being able to obtain to obtain Hit +20 in a timely manner, and only providing 1 charm for Assault Troop. To give an example of that charm difference is,  Hilda when recruited in Chapter 6 only has 14 Charm while enemies without battalions average around 15. And she has some of the highest base and growth rate in Charm among all the units.

2. The Statboosts it provides are not substantial. Avoid only matters on dodge tanks as anything greater than 30 enemy Hit is just too inconsistent. Alert Stance users can't use it since it's not a flying battalion while brawl avoid users really need a +7 Atk battalion to offset low gauntlet might. That really just leaves Dancers, who never really see combat anyways.  

The Crit is likewise absolutely worthless without anything to boost it significantly. Going from 55 -> 65 crit with a Killer Axe+ Smash isn't consistent enough, while using Wrath is a bad idea since battalion hit is one the most important aspects of that setup with Vantage. 

3. It takes only 2-3 weeks to reach D Authority for even a unit with a bane. With only 1-2 weeks of instruction and weekly training, a unit with a bane can reach D for much useful battalions, such as Seiros Archers which gives +15 hit, +10  and provides Fusillade, or be able use to use utility battalions such as Kingdom Archers for Retribution or any of the Impregnable Wall Battalions. 

Overall, I fail to see why this battalion should be used over the alternatives once they become available. The most use you can get out of Jeralt mercs past the earlygame is throwing it on a dancer. I'd rather use Seiros Mercs over it.

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Jeralt's Mercenaries - 7/10

Seiros Mercenaries - 5/10

Church of Seiros - 4/10

I don't have too much to add on analysis beyond what has already been said here. Jeralt's Mercs have the highest survivability, so they get a higher score for their performance in the early chapters. Church of Seiros would be lower based on the fact that it can't boost physical or magical attack, but the small edge Disturbance provides in terms of gambit hit rates is enough to keep it at 4/10. 

19 hours ago, Zapp Branniglenn said:

But why the perfect score? Since there is NO single battalion that is great for 100% of your playthrough, it calls into question what the 10/10 battalions of Three Houses theoretically are.

Really good point. In my case, 10/10 is basically theoretical, representing a battalion that performs extremely well on most/all factors I care about. Bearing that in mind, I'm not expecting to rate above 8.5 or so for any battalion. So for me, Jeralt's Mercs is quite a good battalion, and Church of Seiros is a little below average. 

7 hours ago, LoneRecon400 said:

3. It takes only 2-3 weeks to reach D Authority for even a unit with a bane. With only 1-2 weeks of instruction and weekly training, a unit with a bane can reach D for much useful battalions, such as Seiros Archers which gives +15 hit, +10  and provides Fusillade, or be able use to use utility battalions such as Kingdom Archers for Retribution or any of the Impregnable Wall Battalions. 

Overall, I fail to see why this battalion should be used over the alternatives once they become available. The most use you can get out of Jeralt mercs past the earlygame is throwing it on a dancer. I'd rather use Seiros Mercs over it.

I remember from another thread that you don't use too many units, and I think that affects this point a lot. For example, by Ch 2 on a NG Maddening run I'm taking seriously, I'm recruiting Sylvain, with all the Ashen Wolves coming up the next month, potentially Lysithea too if I'm desperate to kill the Death Knight, I'm using everyone in house, and sharing training across all of them. That already takes me over ten units, so superior E-rank battalions do matter to me, even if focused training on characters can get you to D-rank Authority quickly.

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32 minutes ago, haarhaarhaar said:

I remember from another thread that you don't use too many units, and I think that affects this point a lot. For example, by Ch 2 on a NG Maddening run I'm taking seriously, I'm recruiting Sylvain, with all the Ashen Wolves coming up the next month, potentially Lysithea too if I'm desperate to kill the Death Knight, I'm using everyone in house, and sharing training across all of them. That already takes me over ten units, so superior E-rank battalions do matter to me, even if focused training on characters can get you to D-rank Authority quickly.

Even if you are recuriting 6 different units, 5 those are neutral in Authority, meaning it would only take 1 peiord of instruction plus 3 weeks of weekly training to get D Authority. At that low skill level, its irrelevant at how many units you're using, 100 Authority exp an easy benchmark to reach with a lot of gain.

Even if that wasn't case, the other E Rank Battalions just have a competitive edge over Jeralt Mercs. Seiros Mercs grants hit, Brawler Battalions give +4 Atk, and Holy Monks enable Stride. That's already 5 battalions over Jeralt at E Rank, nevermind at higher ranks.

Overall Jeralt Mercs should not getting high scores it is getting when it's not even the best battalion you have at the start, let alone later on in the game.

Edited by LoneRecon400

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1 hour ago, LoneRecon400 said:

Even if that wasn't case, the other E Rank Battalions just have a competitive edge over Jeralt Mercs. Seiros Mercs grants hit, Brawler Battalions give +4 Atk, and Holy Monks enable Stride. That's already 5 battalions over Jeralt at E Rank, nevermind at higher ranks.

Overall Jeralt Mercs should not getting high scores it is getting when it's not even the best battalion you have at the start, let alone later on in the game.

Jeralt has Assault Troop, while Serios Mercs and various Brawlers have comparable overall stats and far worse gambits (and also low endurance, which matters for some maps / characters). There's a reason most people are rating Jeralt above Seiros Mercs and you can expect Brawlers to also get rated below it. I agree with you about the Holy Monks, mind... that battalion alone should end any consideration that Jeralt deserves a 10 in my humble opinion. And I also agree with you about D rank being easy to reach and there are definitely some superior D rank battalions (Empire Archers and Seiros Pegasus, for two).

It's a fair point that the low charm can make said Assault Troop a bit harder to land, but (a) sometimes a coinflip Assault Troop is in fact one of the best actions the unit can take, especially if you're willing to pulse away a miss, and (b) there are several ways to up gambit accuracy, such as the +2 charm pendant, Rally Charm (which you mentioned), links (anyone recruited is likely to have a B with Byleth, that's +15 right there), and in a few cases, personals which help (Ferdinand, Ingrid, Ignatz).

On reflection I think Jeralt is a bit better on BE than the other routes, due to (a) Ferdinand, whose personal synergizes with the battalion extremely well - he can stack avoid quickly AND offers +15 hit on the gambit, and (b) Dorothea, who has Rally Charm to make Assault Troop highly reliable. I play BE a bit over half the time so that may colour my kneejerks. Though, we are supposed to rate gambits on their best route.

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10 hours ago, LoneRecon400 said:

1. Recruited units would really prefer Hit rather than Crit and Avoid. Recruited units often lack Hit due lacking supports for Link Attacks, not being able to obtain to obtain Hit +20 in a timely manner, and only providing 1 charm for Assault Troop. To give an example of that charm difference is,  Hilda when recruited in Chapter 6 only has 14 Charm while enemies without battalions average around 15. And she has some of the highest base and growth rate in Charm among all the units.

The difference between no support and the maximum amount of support before time skip is just 7 hit. Round that up to 10 hit due to 2RN, but it's not game changing. If your accuracy is dipping around chapter 9, it's probably because your units are no longer exclusively throwing around D rank combat arts and have graduated to less accurate killer weapons. But by chapter 9, if you're gorging yourself on those delicious paralogues, you're soon to be a near match for the enemies of maddening. Coming within a few points of their levels and stats. You've also got forged training weapons for any turn where you MUST land a hit. Even without Hit +20 or linked attacks, your accuracy is in a better state than it was in chapter 2. Your level 15 archer's probably still curve shotting, your brigand's probably still smashing or using 105 base hit training gauntlets+, magic combat arts may already have come online. Linked attacks at this stage of the game is really just setting up for gambit boosts, which is all I have to say about the charm criticism.

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2. The Statboosts it provides are not substantial. Avoid only matters on dodge tanks as anything greater than 30 enemy Hit is just too inconsistent. Alert Stance users can't use it since it's not a flying battalion while brawl avoid users really need a +7 Atk battalion to offset low gauntlet might. That really just leaves Dancers, who never really see combat anyways.  

Wow. Controversial take on dodge tanks huh? I've been there. Avoid does not matter "only on dodge tanks", since everybody can step into a forest, even dismounted fliers. You certainly couldn't say it matters less than hit, crit, and attack power, since there are just as many turns where more points in those didn't make a difference for that unit's combat. And even without terrain, Dodging enemy 60-80s IS game changing on Maddening. Suddenly your frontliner doesn't need a physic or reposition after killing or chip damaging a dude on player phase. I've had several bad enemy phases that I just let play out, but I got that unlikely dodge and it saved me a pulse, probably several pulses. 

Also, your brawlers don't ALL need +7 attack batallions if they're so far in the game they've nabbed Brawl avoid +20. Because if they're equipped with that, they must be one of three classes: Grappler, War Master, War Cleric. All of them have fistfaire which is doing more to keep them above the threshold for ORKOing than the difference between Jeralts and +7 attack batallion. We're talking far enough in the game you could forgive Jeralt's Mercs for not measuring up to the B rank options, and you began this post under the pretense that you'd talk about "past the early game" not "past the time skip". I'm at chapter 14's main mission right now with only three units that hit B authority. And if you're still on that "I only use five units when I play" strategy, then that means your units are so much stronger and well-rounded than mine on average that your war cleric doesn't need to worry about falling off on damage. He can get by on Jeralts just fine.

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a unit with a bane can reach D for much useful battalions, such as Seiros Archers which gives +15 hit, +10  and provides Fusillade, or be able use to use utility battalions such as Kingdom Archers for Retribution or any of the Impregnable Wall Battalions. 

These are all neat, but they are all available in chapter 8, not 2 or 3. Before then your D rank batallion options are remarkably meh on all routes. Highlights include...Seiros Pegasus of course. I think Black Eagles uniquely get a Fusilade that early. Nothing that's definitively contributing more than Stride or Assault Troop at E. The BIGGEST benefit to achieving D rank authority in chapters 2-7 is "alright, I have a wider selection of filler choices than Seiros Mercenaries"

Edited by Zapp Branniglenn

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53 minutes ago, Zapp Branniglenn said:

Even without Hit +20 or linked attacks, your accuracy is in a better state than it was in chapter 2. Your level 15 archer's probably still curve shotting, your brigand's probably still smashing or using 105 base hit training gauntlets+.

Even without terrain, Dodging enemy 60-80s IS game changing on Maddening. Suddenly your frontliner doesn't need a physic or reposition after killing or chip damaging a dude on player phase. I've had several bad enemy phases that I just let play out, but I got that unlikely dodge and it saved me a pulse, probably several pulses. 

Fistfaire is doing more to keep them above the threshold for ORKOing than the difference between Jeralts and +7 attack batallion. You also began this post under the pretense that you'd talk about "past the early game" not "past the time skip". 

Before Chapter 8 your D rank batallion options are remarkably meh on all routes. The biggest benefit to achieving D rank authority in chapters 2-7 is "alright, I have a wider selection of filler choices than Seiros Mercenaries"

The difference between the early to mid White Clouds is that some units are aren't going to be using +Hit Combat Arts with Training Weapons as much and need +Hit Battalions to make up for the difference. A recruit like petra is going to prefer doubling to one round rather than using a Combat Art to chip, while other units like Sylvain benefit since Swift Strikes doesn't give Hit like Tempest Lance. 

It's not a good strategy to bank on getting lucky dodges, even if you aren't planning on it. It should be assumed that every enemy hit is going to land so you can always prepare for the worst case scenario and avoid deaths.  Even if you thought 70-80 hit rates was still worth banking some dodges on, there a multitude of battalions that provide only -5 avoid less for better benefits like the brawler battalions and Seiros Archers.

 +4 damage will make a pretty big difference in the amount of enemies a unit can one round, especially with guantlets. One rounding benchmarks on Maddening are difficult to reach especially when enemies start to promote. I also think most people here would agree that the majority of unit get B Authority before the timeskip, even if you do use a multitude of units.

I mean, there's not even buyable E Rank battalions that gives +Magic Attack. Even if you were limiting physical battalions, Seiros Peg Knights and Empire Archers are still good reason to raise to authority. Even if those were unable, it'd still be a good idea to raise authority as getting B authority in a timely manner requires you to pretty much have it as weekly goal until you obtain it.

Edited by LoneRecon400

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I think that, of the three initial battalions, Jeralt's Mercenaries have the highest upside but the least reliability. Or to put it another way, they have the highest mean but also the highest variance. Crit and Avoid -- at least in the early game before they can be stacked -- both add to randomness and uncertainty. Maybe you'll get the lucky crit or the lucky dodge, but then again, maybe you won't. Almost certainly you'll get at least a few if you keep this battalion equipped for long enough, but you won't know when. Adding hit, on the other hand, reduces uncertainty. An extra 10 points of hit can help make sure you land your hits, and allows you to plan through with certainty.

The different gambits are similar. Compare Assault Troops and Disturbance, and Assault Troops clearly have the higher potential. When it hits, it does more damage and can hit more enemies. That's great. But it also doesn't hit as often, and sometimes, the extra reliability is more important than the extra damage. I recallthat back when we did the gambits thread, I generally rated accuracy higher than most people, because that fits the way I tend to use gambits.

So, which is better overall, high upside or high reliability? Well, that depends. Partly it depends on the situation, but to a large extent it also depends on playstyle and personal preference. So I don't think that it's a surprise that we're seeing a wide range of scores here.

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I really appreciate the discussion we're having over these! That's the point of this thread, after all.

10 hours ago, LoneRecon400 said:

2. The Statboosts it provides are not substantial. Avoid only matters on dodge tanks as anything greater than 30 enemy Hit is just too inconsistent. Alert Stance users can't use it since it's not a flying battalion while brawl avoid users really need a +7 Atk battalion to offset low gauntlet might. That really just leaves Dancers, who never really see combat anyways.  

I have to disagree. Going from, say, an enemy Archer having 40 Hit on your unit, down to 25 Hit, is a really welcome change. Especially when dodging the hit also means dodging bonus damage from Poison Strike. Moreover, Alert Stance users can technically switch over to a grounded class, letting them use grounded battalions (although, I imagine they'd prefer remaining in the flying classes that have an innate Avoid boost...). So, Jeralt's Mercenaries aren't the best battalion for dodgetanking, but 15 points of Avoid is hardly insubstantial (I mean, it's equivalent to B-rank Alert Stance).

10 hours ago, LoneRecon400 said:

The Crit is likewise absolutely worthless without anything to boost it significantly. Going from 55 -> 65 crit with a Killer Axe+ Smash isn't consistent enough, while using Wrath is a bad idea since battalion hit is one the most important aspects of that setup with Vantage. 

10 Crit doesn't sound all that impressive, true. But on a Brawling unit, it's effectively an extra 19% chance that at least one of their punches will be a crit. Not something to rely on, sure, but a lucky crit can free up some of your other units for other tasks at hand.

10 hours ago, LoneRecon400 said:

3. It takes only 2-3 weeks to reach D Authority for even a unit with a bane. With only 1-2 weeks of instruction and weekly training, a unit with a bane can reach D for much useful battalions, such as Seiros Archers which gives +15 hit, +10  and provides Fusillade, or be able use to use utility battalions such as Kingdom Archers for Retribution or any of the Impregnable Wall Battalions. 

These are rather strange points of comparison. Seiros Archers first become available by recruiting Shamir, as early as chapter 6. Some sources say they can be bought in chapter 3, but I literally just started a new game to test it, and that's false. Kingdom Archers, and the Impregnable Wall battalions, can't be hired until chapter 8 (at which time, you can also buy more Seiros Archers). So for the mid-pre-skip chapters, Jeralt's Mercenaries aren't competing with them.

Curiously, the fact that it takes a few chapters to get another battalion offering at least +3 physical Attack, and +10 Hit, could actually be considered a decent argument on behalf of Seiros Mercenaries. On Black Eagles routes, Empire Archers exist from chapter 3 onward, but on other routes, you won't be getting a comparable stat boost until Essar Research Group (chapter 5) or Seiros Archers (chapter 6). In that light, Seiros Mercenaries' modest-looking boosts may deserve more credit.

Also, it's at least worth being mindful that training an out-of-house recruit in Authority from the get-go means you aren't training them in weapons, magic, or movement rank. So if you're trying to rush them to a particular spell, combat art, or class certification, it might be rather inconvenient to be training Authority from day 1.

59 minutes ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

On reflection I think Jeralt is a bit better on BE than the other routes, due to (a) Ferdinand, whose personal synergizes with the battalion extremely well - he can stack avoid quickly AND offers +15 hit on the gambit, and (b) Dorothea, who has Rally Charm to make Assault Troop highly reliable. I play BE a bit over half the time so that may colour my kneejerks. Though, we are supposed to rate gambits on their best route.

Interesting... I never actually thought to rank the battalions on synergy with in-house units! I like this approach. Although, if I tried to factor it in, I'd probably overthink my way out of ever posting again.

22 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

So I'm gonna have two ratings; a "in a vacuum" one and an "adjusted" score which includes the italic facotrs. For @Shanty Pete's 1st Mate, I will underline the adjusted score, to make it easier for them to count.

Thank you for that! Unless I hear otherwise, I will assume that you want the adjusted score to be the one factored into the group averages.

2 minutes ago, lenticular said:

The different gambits are similar. Compare Assault Troops and Disturbance, and Assault Troops clearly have the higher potential. When it hits, it does more damage and can hit more enemies. That's great. But it also doesn't hit as often, and sometimes, the extra reliability is more important than the extra damage. I recallthat back when we did the gambits thread, I generally rated accuracy higher than most people, because that fits the way I tend to use gambits.

A good point! In a case where I only need to lock 1 enemy down (or two who are adjacent), I'd probably prefer the extra Hit on Disturbance. On the flip side, I've seen enough cases where the two extra tiles from Assault Troop (and, to a lesser extent, the damage) make some substantial difference. So while I still broadly prefer Assault Troop, I can admit some fault in previously treating it as "what if Disturbance, but better?".

6 minutes ago, LoneRecon400 said:

 +4 damage can make a pretty big difference in the amount of enemies a unit can one round. One rounding benchmarks on Maddening are difficult to reach especially as enemies start to promote. I also think most people here would agree that the majority of unit get B Authority before the timeskip, even if you do use a multitude of units.

For me, it depends on the unit. Teach and the main Lord are pretty much a given, as are other in-house units with an Authority boon that I've been training (i.e. Hubert/Annette/Ignatz). In-house units without a boon, or out-of-house units who don't auto-level Authority? In those cases, it's a lot shakier. Obviously, someone like Manuela, out-of-house Hilda, or SS-Manuela isn't making it.

For whatever it's worth, the devs seem to think that auto-leveling your Lords to C-Authority at the timeskip will actually mean something, and that giving you Gilbert with (I kid you not) D+ Authority is somehow appropriate for chapter 13. Make of that whatever you will.

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

These are rather strange points of comparison. Seiros Archers become availableas early as chapter 6, while Kingdom Archers and the Impregnable Wall battalions can't be hired until chapter 8.

Having an enemy Archer having 40 Hit on your unit, down to 25 Hit, is a really welcome change. Especially when dodging the hit also means dodging bonus damage from Poison Strike. 

On a Brawling unit, it's effectively an extra 19% chance that at least one of their punches will be a crit. Not something to rely on, sure, but a lucky crit can free up some of your other units for other tasks at hand.

I was measuring Jeralt's performance outside of the earlygame, particularly how it stacks against other battalions for Ch 6 recruits and beyond.

Additional Avoid against enemy Archers would be useful if it wasn't for the fact that the majority of maps don't have terrain that can conveniently be used against Archers, so it's more 50- 60 hit rates, which is out of my risk tolerance level. It's only really Chapter 3 and 6 where that can be a viable strategy, and even then it only works if archers fire at 3 range.

That crit increase assumes you have a 100 hit on the target, which is far from guaranteed in the earlygame, That especially goes with how early units really want to use inaccurate Steel Gauntlets for the extra might.  

Edited by LoneRecon400

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2 hours ago, LoneRecon400 said:

The difference between the early to mid White Clouds is that some units are aren't going to be using +Hit Combat Arts with Training Weapons as much and need +Hit Battalions to make up for the difference. A recruit like petra is going to prefer doubling to one round rather than using a Combat Art to chip, while other units like Sylvain benefit since Swift Strikes doesn't give Hit like Tempest Lance. 

Well it's a unit as fast as Recruited Petra, and that's more of an indictment of how terrible her combat art loadout typically is. My recruited Petra on Maddening pretty much never got the ORKO on her doubles (flat out couldn't double many enemies of the late game). It was generally ideal to roll the dice on Smash's added hit and crit. Also Swift Strikes, where'd you get that? I'm gonna need your definition of "Past the early game". Because if our units have B and A ranks across the board, then it seems way unfair to bring any of this stuff up for the first three batallions in the game, rather than the batallions you're likely to be using past the time skip.

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It's not a good strategy to bank on getting lucky dodges, even if you aren't planning on it. It should be assumed that every enemy hit is going to land so you can always prepare for the worst case scenario and avoid deaths. Even if you thought 70-80 hit rates was still worth banking some dodges on, there a multitude of battalions that provide only -5 avoid less for better benefits like the brawler battalions and Seiros Archers.

If you looked at the precise examples I gave, they costed me nothing. I was not choosing to dodge tank. To repeat: 1) a unit dodging a retaliation on player phase, and 2) An almost certain death on enemy phase where I chose to let it play out and see if I got the lucky dodge. Please don't assume you need to teach me how to play Fire Emblem just because our opinions don't line up on the super specific topic of Jeralts Mercenaries. I gave it a perfect score because I can think only one other batallion that might compete for the honor of "best, most valuable batallion of the average playthrough of Maddening". 

And the Brawlers? Believe me I know my way around those from my current run, I'd rather have Jeralts Mercs, even though the Brawlers have the only damaging gambit I'm allowing myself to use. The Gambit is two spaces with no added affect, and at 4MT, it is almost the absolute weakest gambit in the game for damage with only +10 hit to make up for it compared to other damaging gambits in the early game. I really don't think it compares well at all to the assault troop. The Brawlers give you one damage over Jeralts, true, but is that a fair trade for giving that unit single digit crit chance minimum on all their attacks? Especially if the unit in question IS a brawler, benefiting from the +5 crit of all gauntlet weapons, and two chances to score that crit. Statistically, the occasional crit should match or surpass the likelihood of a scenario where the brawlers gave you that last point of damage to make a specific kill possible. And certainly we can agree that 15 avoid is better than 10 avoid, and 75 endurance is better than 30? And don't forget the dozen+ rounds of combat you need for the brawlers to get these stats in the first place. Jeralts should be maxed out by chapter 3.

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I mean, there's not even buyable E Rank battalions that gives +Magic Attack.

A fair point. Hooray for the mages, who are not the best candidates for Jeralts mercs.

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Even if those were unable, it'd still be a good idea to raise authority as getting B authority in a timely manner requires you to pretty much have it as weekly goal until you obtain it.

Yuck. It takes so much investment already to hit the skill ranks necessary for level 10 and level 20 classes before your units reach those levels. Those level 10 class masteries are SO much more high priority to work on than having one or two more units able to equip your one copy of the Knights of Seiros because they reached C early. And since your units naturally get some authority on each round of combat, it feels like a waste to set that as a study goal over something harder to raise, like an important weapon rank that they have a bane in, or a movement based skill. Heck, you low man on principle. So you know all about the authority you're collecting from each battle. Authority should only be a study goal so early on for rally bots. 

Edited by Zapp Branniglenn

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