The Let's Play Archive

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight

by Ragnar Homsar, Dr. Fetus

Part 142: Landsknecht

Landsknechts were introduced in EO1, and have been in three of the four main EO games (including their complete rework in EO4, and not including the Untold games) since. In EO1, they were the only reliable physical damage class you had unlocked from the start (Ronin were only unlocked after reaching the 3rd Stratum), and were really good at doing that job. Swords gave access to Allslash, the best skill for clearing out random encounters, and axes provided high single-target damage. While Ronin could technically get higher numbers than Landsknechts in EO1, they had to deal with being an unlockable class in a game where fast grinding is simply not possible, meaning that Landsknechts remained the best option for physical damage throughout the entirety of EO1.

Atlus didn't like that, and so they severely nerfed Landsknechts in EO2, to the point of near-uselessness. Not only did their damage numbers get reduced across all of their skills (while Ronin got their numbers increased quite a lot), their TP costs got severely increased, without an increase to their TP pools to compensate. In short, they not only dealt less damage, but couldn't go nearly as long in fights without having to chug several Amritas. After an absence in EO3 due to the entire class roster being redone, Landsknechts showed up again in EO4--albeit completely reworked to be elemental damage dealers that rely on the rest of the party, but that's another story for another LP.

When EOU came around, classic Landsknechts made a return, with some new skills and slightly buffed, but not enough to be relevant. Both the sword and axe skill trees each got new mid-level skills (both of which are of dubious use), and their damage numbers were slightly increased to compensate for the power creep that had occured since EO2. They were a viable choice in Classic parties, but I wouldn't say they were optimal.

And now we come to EO2U, where Landsknechts are useful again. The biggest changes that Landsknechts received are that cafe food now provides methods to either boost or sustain their small TP pools, and their damage numbers (for a few skills) got buffed up again. EO2U Landsknechts also gained new high-level damage skills for both swords and axes: Hurricane and Heavy Smash, respectively. Both of these allow Landsknechts to remain competitive with the other choices for damage dealers in the lategame and postgame, along with general changes to the game which encourage not just classes that output massive damage, but classes that can survive in big fights.


Level 1
HP: 36
TP: 20
STR: 10
TEC: 4
VIT: 9
AGI: 6
LUC: 6

Level 50
HP: 244
TP: 186
STR: 36
TEC: 20
VIT: 33
AGI: 27
LUC: 22

Level 99
HP: 556
TP: 351
STR: 68
TEC: 39
VIT: 63
AGI: 52
LUC: 43

Innate weapon choices: Sword, Axe

Innate armor choices: Heavy armor, Light armor, Shield

Common skills: HP Up, TP Up, Phys ATK Up, Phys DEF Up, Mine

Landsknechts have the second-highest STR of any class at level 99, only 2 points behind Ronin at the same level. Their TEC is pretty bad, but none of their skills use it anyway. Among the classes I'd define as "front row damage dealers" (Landsknechts, Dark Hunters, Ronin, War Magi, Highlanders, and Fafnir), Landsknechts have the best VIT and armor choice (Highlanders can equip shields innately as well, but lack the ability to equip heavy armor), along with HP (beating out Highlanders very slightly at 556 compared to 547 at level 99). Their AGI is decent enough; it's considerably lower than that of Dark Hunters, Ronin, and Highlanders, but is higher than War Magi and Fafnir (not a very high bar, though, given that War Magi have the worst level 99 AGI at 30, and Fafnir only fares slightly better at 38); as a result, Landsknechts don't miss attacks that much, but they do miss more than the others. Landsknechts have trash LUC, though, which isn't great given that several of their skills try to inflict status ailments.

Landsknechts also have TP that, while comparable to most other front liners, is still lower than pretty much all of the other classes. The Max TP Up food and Recover TP Every Turn food help with this, but they may still need an Amrita or three in longer fights.

Sword/Axe Mastery
Requirements: None

Required to learn sword/axe skills. Passively increases damage dealt with swords/axes. Sword Mastery is identical to the Dark Hunter version, and additionally does not stack with Blade Mastery.

Note that for every mastery skill in the game, when you unlock a skill by investing in the mastery, whatever skill you unlock is automatically given one level upon unlock.

Raging Edge
Requirements: Sword Mastery level 1
Required equipment: Sword
Body parts used: Arms

Deals melee STR-based Cut damage to one target. Has no speed modifier.

I would not advise investing any skill points in Raging Edge. I've seen a select few people say that Raging Edge is worthwhile due to its damage-to-TP ratio, but the damage is still mediocre, and you get less burst damage potential out of your Landsknecht.

Requirements: Sword Mastery level 3
Required equipment: Sword
Body parts used: Arms

Deals melee STR-based Cut damage to one enemy. Deals splash damage to adjacent enemies. Has an 80% speed modifier at all levels.

Tornado is very useful in the early game. Levels 1 to 4 give pretty nice main target damage for 7 TP, and the splash damage obviously helps with multiiple-enemy encounters. You're going to eventually need level 5 for the Sword Mastery tree's ultimate skill, but I'd advise putting that off as long as possible, because 12 TP will cut into a Landsknecht's TP pool quite badly for the first Stratum.

Blinding Slash
Requirements: Sword Mastery level 5
Required equipment: Sword
Body parts used: Arms

Deals melee STR-based Cut damage to one enemy. If Blinding Slash misses, it attempts to inflict blind on every enemy in the battle. Has a 50% speed modifier at all levels.

What Blinding Slash has going for it is that it deals quite significant damage relative to how many skill points you need to invest to unlock it. What it has going against it is that the base accuracy penalty is really significant. In my experience, at level 15-20, Blinding Slash tends to miss more than it hits. The blind effect isn't that great, either; the base infliction chance is meh, and the Landsknecht's sub-par LUC doesn't help.

Now, if you pair up Blinding Slash with Triple Charge, you can offset the accuracy penalty, and makes the blind chance slightly less awful if you miss. The downside with doing this is that Triple Charge introduces a considerable skill point investment on top of what you need for Blinding Slash; 5 points in TP Up, and then 10 into Triple Charge.

I overall wouldn't recommend Blinding Slash. It's supposed to be a damage option that doesn't require as much skill point investment as other skills, but even when you have a maxed Blinding Slash and Triple Charge, you still risk having your Landsknecht miss. I actually tried the Blinding Slash build in another EO2U Classic run, and was pretty thoroughly underwhelmed.

Falcon Slash
Requirements: Sword Mastery level 10
Required equipment: Sword
Body parts used: Legs

Deals melee STR-based Cut damage to random enemies. Can hit a given enemy only once. Has a 150% speed modifier at all levels.

Falcon Slash is, in a vacuum, one of the better random encounter-clearing skills in the game. It deals decently high damage as far as multi-target skills go, and tends to go before most enemies do.

Unfortunately, skills exist outside of a vacuum, and Falcon Slash's main downside is its TP cost. 16 from levels 1-4 is already a very deep cut into the Landsknecht's TP pool, and it only gets worse from there. Thankfully, EO2U offers a number of ways (mostly through cafe food) to increase the Landsknecht's TP pool a good amount, which helps Falcon Slash considerably. In addition, Falcon Slash is a prerequisite to the Sword Mastery tree's ultimate skill, so you're probably going to be leveling it up to at least 5 anyway.

Finally, note that Falcon Slash uses the Landsknecht's legs, not their arms. This is a very niche use of the skill, but if your Landsknecht gets their arms bound, they can still contribute some level of damage outside of just using basic attacks. Of course, you'll have to deal with the fact that arm binds reduce STR, but hey.

Requirements: Tornado level 5, Falcon Slash level 5
Required equipment: Sword
Body parts used: Arms

Deals six instances of melee STR-based Cut damage to random targets. Can hit the same target multiple times Has a 150% speed modifier and no accuracy modifier at all levels. Disables all of the Landsknecht's skills for one turn after use.

The Sword Mastery tree's ultimate skill, and its hardest-hitting one. As you can see on the table, it deals 540% damage at level 10, and 690% damage at level 20 (remember that Blinding Slash dealt 500% at level 20).

However, you might have noticed the bold note I put in the basic description; yes, Hurricane completely disables all of the Landsknecht's non-Force skills for one turn after using it. Quite a lot of EO2U skills actually have a "cooldown" component to them, but Hurricane takes it a step further by completely locking you out of any skills, instead of just itself.

Even with the skill-disabling part in mind, Hurricane is still by far the best damage option for sword Landsknechts if you're not using the Chasers. It deals less damage over the course of 1-4 turns than most other skills, but for turn 5 and beyond it tends to deal more damage (or, in the case of Heavy Smash, slightly less damage for a lot less TP), especially if you use Triple Charge in combination with it. Charge skills in EO2U generally decrease a character's overall DPS if you spam them, but will increase your DPS with skills that have cooldowns. (For those of you too lazy to open calc.exe, a level 20 Triple Charge will boost a level 20 Hurricane's damage to 1242%--and that's before any buffs or Full Charge are taken into account).

Boomerang Axe
Requirements: Axe Mastery level 1
Required equipment: Axe
Body parts used: Arms

Deals ranged STR-based Bash damage to one enemy.

I don't know why you would ever want to use a back row Landsknecht, frankly. It doesn't help that Boomerang Axe's damage is abject garbage. Don't put any points into it.

Head Bash
Requirements: Axe Mastery level 3
Required equipment: Axe
Body parts used: Arms

Deals melee STR-based Bash damage to one enemy. Attempts to bind the target's head. Has an 80% speed modifier at all levels.

See my comments about Blinding Slash for how viable the Landsknecht is at inflicting status ailments. On top of that, Head Bash has damage comparable to Boomerang Axe. A completely trash skill. Unfortunately, it's a requirement for Heavy Smash.

Stunning Smash
Requirements: Axe Mastery level 5
Required equipment: Axe
Body parts used: Arms

Deals melee STR-based Bash damage to one enemy. Attempts to stun the target. Has no accuracy modifier at all levels.

See my comments on Head Bash. Stunning Smash is worse than that, actually, because stuns don't carry over to the next turn if they are inflicted after an enemy has acted. It has a speed modifier, yes, but it's still garbage. It's not even a prerequisite to a better skill.

Charge Smash
Requirements: Axe Mastery level 10
Required equipment: Axe
Body parts used: Arms

Deals melee STR-based Bash damage to one enemy. Has a 25% speed modifier and no accuracy modifier at all levels.

Well, Charge Smash option for damage until you get Heavy Smash. The speed modifier's pretty bad. It's a prerequisite to Heavy Smash.

There really isn't a lot to say about Charge Smash. It doesn't even have the (formerly dubious) honor of being the Landsknecht's best damage skill like in EO2 and EOU.

Heavy Smash
Requirements: Head Bash level 5, Charge Smash level 5
Required equipment: Axe
Body parts used: Arms

Deals melee STR-based Bash damage to one enemy. Increases the TP cost and damage after every cast; each cast increases the damage and TP cost by 25% of the base of each, capping out at 200% damage and TP cost. If the Landsknecht dies, the damage and TP cost are reset to 100%. Has an 80% speed modifier and no accuracy modifier at all levels.

The best damage skill for axe Landsknechts. Even given that, I'd say it's still really inferior to Hurricane; the damage takes 5 turns to actually get to good levels, and when it gets going, it costs a lot more TP than Hurricane does for slightly better damage on average; for contrast (assuming all of the following skills are level 20), Triple Charge -> Hurricane -> Attack (assuming no crits and no Double Attack procs) deals 1342% damage for 42 TP, while Charge Smash x3 (assuming it's at max power) deals 1680% damage for 120 TP. And getting to the third max-power Charge Smash would take 7 turns!

War Cry
Requirements: HP Up level 5
Body parts used: Head

Places a buff on the Landsknecht and anyone else in their row that increases their damage; however, it also increases the damage each character takes. Has an 80% speed modifier at all levels.

A fairly decent attack buff. The defense debuff sucks, though, and with more fragile characters like Ronin and Dark Hunters, it can very easily lead to otherwise-avoidable deaths, especially when you reach the lategame and postgame. Take it if you want, if your front line is fairly durable, and if you don't already have a Troubador or Sovereign, but I'd say skip it in all other cases.

Triple Charge
Requirements: TP Up level 5
Body parts used: Head

Raises the Landsknecht's damage, ailment infliction rate, and hit rate on the next turn. Has no speed modifier at all levels.

Those of you used to EO3 might be looking at the numbers on Triple Charge and wondering why the fuck they're below 200%. The answer is that EO4 nerfed its Charge skill when not on the class that has it innately a decent amount, and Untold then further nerfed Charge skills really badly, which carried over to EO2U. Almost every single Charge skill in EO2U decreases your overall damage output if you just spam them EO3-style. The upside is they usually have riders that, like in Triple Charge's case, boost other stuff besides damage.

Charge skills were pretty much completely useless in EOU, but the addition of cooldown skills in EO2U gives them a certain use. With that in mind, there's two primary skills that Triple Charge combos well with in the Landsknecht's toolkit: Blinding Slash, and Hurricane. Hurricane will make you skip out on a turn of using skills anyway, so using Triple Charge is still getting more damage than you would've otherwise over the course of 5 turns or so. Blinding Slash will miss considerably less often with Triple Charge, and if it does miss, the affliction chance goes up.

If you're not using Hurricane or Blinding Slash, Triple Charge is bad.

Fire/Ice/Volt Chaser
Requirements: War Cry level 3, Triple Charge level 3
Required equipment: Sword or Axe
Body parts used: Legs

At the start of the turn, the Landsknecht will prepare the Chaser. After that, they will follow up on any attacks corresponding to the element of the Chaser they used, dealing melee STR-based (Element of weapon)+Element damage. Every time the Landsknecht chases, the chance to Chase the next elemental attack goes down. There is also a maximum number of times a Landsknecht can Chase in a turn.

The Chasers are the single best skills in the Landsknecht toolkit. Unlike previous games, where you'd need an entire party built around the Chasers, in EO2U, there are a lot of options for getting multiple procs from less characters--Action Boost, Double Action, Additional Palm, Accelerate, the list goes on. 775% damage (level 20, all 5 chases) is some serious hurt and, unlike Hurricane, it won't disable your skills!

Requirements: Phys ATK Up level 5

Increases the Landsknecht's chance of dealing critical hits with normal attacks, and increases the damage critical hits deal.

I'd call Fencer a waste of skill points in any other EO game, but it's actually something you really want to invest in after you have all the actual attack skills you want. The reason for this? Fencer's increase to critical hit damage applies to Full Charge as well. At level 20, Fencer turns Full Charge into a 70% damage increase, one of the highest effective damage increases among all of the classes. And it stacks fully with buffs!

Also worth considering: if you're using Hurricane, and you have a level 20 Fencer, it's very much worth it to Attack during the turn where your skills are disabled, especially in combination with the next passive.

Double Attack
Requirements: Fencer level 5

Gives the Landsknecht a chance to attack twice when using the Attack command.

Double Attack's best application is in combination with a level 20 Fencer. With both of them at level 20, which is something you really should not be getting until the postgame, a Landsknecht's normal attacks basically deal 340% damage.

Like I said for Fencer, this combos really well with Hurricane's skills-disabled turn, as well.

Requirements: Phys DEF Up level 5
Required equipment: Sword or Axe
Body parts used: Arms

Deals melee STR-based Cut or Bash damage to one enemy. Lower's the target's physical damage for one turn. Has no speed modifier at all levels.

Swordbreaker's not entirely a garbage skill, but the problem is it means you have to dedicate one of your damage dealers to performing support duties. The prerequisite buildup is you say, not ideal.

Full Charge
Force Boost

For 3 turns, all normal attacks, sword skills, and axe skills will become critical hits. Critial hits deal 150% damage without any levels in Fencer.

Kind of unique, as far as Force Boosts go, on the surface, but in the end just a way to increase damage for a few turns.

Full Gain
Force Break
Body parts used: Arms

Deals melee STR-based Cut damage to one enemy. Damage scales linearly from 800% to 2700% based on user level. Has a 70% speed modifier.

It's a big nuke. Wow!