Part 32: Guardians of the Sorrowful IceUpdate 26: Guardians of the Sorrowful Ice
Hmm... No, not that one... Nope, not this one either.
Ranger... Please, just pick a hat...
Hm? Oh, mornin' Ranger, Realga. You both look pretty dead.
I have been up all night helping Ranger try on new hats... I just want to go to sleep...
Well, g'luck with that. We're goin' through the fifteenth floor today. Probably gonna run into Esbat.
Artelinde's one of the Esbat people, right? The one with a hat like Colette?
Hmm... Okay, Realga. I've made my decision. You can go now.
Oh thank the gods.
15F time. Last floor of the 3rd Stratum.
I am really not gonna miss this freezing weather.
This where we're supposed t' leave that Wind Rock?
No. The messenger said a shrine with stone wings.
Leaving the Wind Rock at the wrong place means we get less rewards from the quest.
Chop point. Gives Glitter Apples for ingredients.
What a hideous shade of blue for a statue.
HP: 522, STR: 31, TEC: 21, VIT: 26, AGI: 18, LUC: 22
- Shock Assault: Uses the arms. Deals 250% ranged TEC-based Volt damage to one target. Has an 80% speed modifier and 120 base accuracy.
- Stone Gaze: Uses the head. Attempts to petrify one party member, with a 30% chance. Has an 80% speed modifier.
- Normal: Sapphire Arm. 55% chance. Sells for 140 en. 1 needed to make Sapphire Claw (+104 ATK). 3 needed to make Gleaming Rod (+75 ATK, +3 TEC, +20 TP). 5 needed to make Chain Mail (+47 DEF). 8 needed to make Volt Talisman (+30% Volt resistance).
"Arm-shaped stone with strange emblems engraved. Can be used for all manner of weapons or armor."
50% 50% BASH 100% 100% 100% 50%
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This statue is covered in spell glyphs. Those who approach should think twice.
Deadly Statues suck. Shock Assault can very easily kill even Zack and Tyler, and being petrified would be a really serious problem with our current party, since we have no way to fix that.
HP: 315, STR: 26, TEC: 22, VIT: 20, AGI: 27, LUC: 21
- White Wings: Uses the arms. Reduces the party's elemental defense by 50% for 4 turns. Has no speed modifier.
- Normal: Swan Feather. 50% chance. Sells for 127 en. 1 needed to make Hunter Bow (+84 ATK). 3 needed to make Swan Coat (+32 DEF). 2 Swan Feathers and 10 Crabshells needed to make Earl Chez (+97 ATK).
"Snowbird wing feathers, pale as snowfall. Popular as material for warm clothing."
- Ingredient: Snow Egg. 1-4 given. 4 needed to make Snow Crab Foo Young (Chinese Food 3; gives party +80% resistance to arm binds). 2 needed to make Snow Egg Oden (Japanese Food 3; imbues attacks with Fire for 1 turn).
"White egg with a thick yolk."
100% 150% 100% 150% 50% 100%
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100% 100% 150%
50% 100% 100%
"Living in colder climes, these birds' white wings hold a mysterious power."
Snowbirds aren't that much of a threat on their own, but White Wings makes any enemy that has elemental attacks serious threats, such as that Deadly Statue we're staring down right now.
Get these feathers off me!
How's that even work on a statue?
Yer guess is as good as mine.
Clipped your wings.
Let's not disturb the...giant...multi-headed dragon...
I'm inclined t' agree for once. I don't think we're gettin' out of a fight with that thing alive.
Wings. Not fangs.
Another false shrine.
Another fight where Snowbirds can turn certain enemies into deadly threats. Ice Fin already hurts, and White Wings would make it instant-kill territory for most of our party.
SYSTEM: You listen carefully... It seems to be calling for help!
Quickly! Someone investigate! That man may be in mortal danger!
SYSTEM: Then again, this is the Labyrinth... what sounds like a human may be deceiving. There's an even chance that it is a monster mimicking distress to lure in explorers. But if it is a human... You weigh the risks of heading toward the voice.
I'm not leaving someone to die!
Same here. I think... It's comin' from there!
SYSTEM: You triangulate the voice's location and hurry towards it through the snow. You eventually come across an iron helm in the snow... It seems to belong to a guard!
Ah! Hurry, dig at once!
SYSTEM: You hurry and dig through the snow to rescue the guard. The guard has been here for a long time, and is very weak.
I nearly died...down there... But you heard me... Thank you for coming...! You saved my life... This... is all I have... but please... take it...
SYSTEM: The soldier removes money from under his helm and holds it out shakily to you. Could these be his secret savings...? You accept the guard's offer and return to your journey.
It pays t' be a hero sometimes.
A Hell Dragon...
And Ambush Wolves. Hm...
Thinkin' about how we can get here without gettin' our insides ripped out?
Shouldn't we just run from here? I think we can outrun these wolves, and that dragon thing's sleeping.
Well, if we just wait for the wolves to look away, we should be fine.
Now's as good a time as any! CHARGE!
Wait, the wolf's going to catch us--
...once we run in front of it.
Okay, scrap charge. RUN!
OPEN THE DOOR HURRY HURRY HURRY!
Everythin' in due time.
I can see why...Jackie was complaining about the wolves...
Can we go back and prepare first? Maybe sleep on it? Running from the wolves took a lot outta me.
I'd like to swap our Grimoires around, as well.
Going in right now with everyone at not-100% HP and TP lies somewhere between "inadvisable" and "completely idiotic."
Sold off some junk.
Shell Claw (+93 ATK) is made from 5 Adularias and 5 Crabshells. Not even the best claw from the 3rd Stratum.
Swan Coat (+32 DEF) is made from 3 Swan Feathers. Imagine a sequence of yawns--let's say about 20. That would be my thoughts on the Swan Coat.
I buy two Fire Jars in case I need Spear Assist + Link Order in a pinch.
I also shuffled around everyone's Grimoires...while not recording. Sigh. The major changes are that Rheine now has lv15 Attack Order, and Spear Assist is lv15 again.
As ready as I'll ever be.
I've been waitin' for this for a while.
Shield's buffed and ready to go.
I look forward to a showdown with a fellow War Magus.
Let us proceed, then...
For those of you keeping up with the music, the music stops at this point.
SYSTEM: Just as you reach for the door, you freeze, sensing a dreadful presence...
This is the only time this track plays in the entire game, so enjoy it while you can.
SYSTEM: You recognize the sorrowful voice as the marksman known as Der Freischutz. He stands between you and the door, directing a piercing glare at you.
I told you and I told you! Don't you value your life in the slightest? But you didn't listen, and now there will be consequences!
Aw, come on, isn't there some way we can just--
SYSTEM: The old marksman takes aim with his guns, proving that this is no idle threat...
You really want to kill us, huh?
Many years ago...a peerless war magus challenged this forest.
SYSTEM: Another voice echoes through the area, breaking the tension between you and the gunner.
They passed the first Stratum, then the second... finally reaching these Frozen Grounds.
SYSTEM: Artelinde's voice is serene, as if reciting from memory.
Here...she lost her life in this forest of snow, protecting her comrades. Only her...
SYSTEM: Her smooth facade begins to tremble, and she stops, trying to contain her sorrow.
Sad as that may be, that doesn't explain why the old man's been tryin' to kill us.
SYSTEM: The marksman takes up the story's thread.
Have you heard the legend that this Labyrinth is governed by the Ruler of Heaven?
It's near-impossible to live here and not know that myth.
He became fascinated with her soul after she died, giving her eternal life...after a fashion. But what this overlord calls eternal life is to give up your hold on humanity. The overlord's "gift" turned her into an inhuman fiend!
Hang on. You don't mean--
SYSTEM: With measured steps, Artelinde walks closer to you.
If you go on ahead, you won't have a choice. You'll have to fight our transformed friend.
What happened to your guildmate is tragic, but please--
But no matter what she looks like now...no matter what she is...she's one of us.
SYSTEM: The black-haired witch's face hardens into a fiery glare as she brandishes her staff.
Don't think there's anythin' left for us to say.
I'm afraid your little journey is ending here and now!
VIDEO: Boss Fight: Guild Esbat
The music keeps playing through the transition and into the battle.
AaaaaaaaAAAGHHH! Fine! You want a fight?!
WE'LL GIVE YOU A FIGHT!
I've been waitin' for this!
HP: 4900, STR: 34, TEC: 36, VIT: 34, AGI: 20, LUC: 34
- Corpse Ash: Cannot be disabled. Attempts to inflict Fear, Curse, Sleep, Panic, Paralysis, Poison, and Blind on the entire party, with a 10% chance per ailment. The Poison component has a base damage of 60 (around 86, adjusted for Artelinde's level). Has an 80% speed modifier
- Blind Laughter: Cannot be disabled. Only used on party members with status ailments. Deals 100% melee STR-based Cut damage to one target. Reduces the target's physical/elemental attack and defense by 30% for 4 turns. Has an 80% speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
- Loose Thread: Cannot be disabled. Only used on party members with status ailments. Deals 100% melee STR-based Cut damage to one target. Attempts to completely bind the target, with a 40% chance per bind. Has an 80% speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
- Pandemonium: Cannot be disabled. Raises either Artelinde or Wilhelm's physical/elemental attack/defense by 40% for 4 turns. The attack and defense increases are separate buffs. Has a 150% speed modifier.
- Blossom Sketch: Cannot be disabled. Heals Artelinde and Wilhelm for 250% healing power (around 265), and removes status ailments, binds, and debuffs. Blossom Sketch activates at the start of the turn, and then again at the end of the turn.
- Normal: Cursed Scrap. 100% chance. Sells for 2000 en. 1 needed to make Pointy Hat (+22 DEF, +1 TEC, +2 LUC).
"Cloth stained crimson with a maiden's blood. Necessary for a War Magus since it has mystical powers."
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- 100% HP to 75% HP:
- Uses Corpse Ash on first turn. Uses it every 5 turns after.
- Uses Blossom Sketch every 8th turn.
- Uses either Blind Laughter or Loose Thread on party members with ailments.
- Uses normal attacks if none of the above conditions apply.
- Uses Corpse Ash on first turn. Uses it every 5 turns after.
- 75% HP to 30% HP:
- Starts using Pandemonium on either herself or Wilhelm.
- 30% HP to death:
A War Magus of Guild Esbat, renowned for her combat prowess all across High Lagaard.
HP: 4700, STR: 36, TEC: 33, VIT: 26, AGI: 38, LUC: 26
- Fire/Ice/Volt Rounds: Uses the arms. Deals 120% ranged TEC-based Fire/Ice/Volt damage to one party member. Has an 80% speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
- Rapid Fire: Uses the arms. Deals 90% ranged STR-based Stab damage to the entire party. Has a 150% speed modifier and 90 base accuracy.
- Normal: Magic Casing. 100% chance. Sells for 2100 en. 1 needed to make Zamiel Gun (+92 ATK, +20 TP).
"Bullets that never err, as if demon-guided. Power yet remains in them to be shaped anew."
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- 100% HP to 75% HP:
- Performs a random action on turn 1.
- After that, cycles attacks in this pattern:
- Fire Rounds
- Ice Rounds
- Volt Rounds
- Performs a random action on turn 1.
- 75% HP to 30% HP:
- Starts using Rapid Fire instead of normal attacks.
- 30% HP to death:
A gun-toting member of Guild Esbat, known as Der Freischutz, and guardian to Artelinde.
(Note: since I have the ability to render EO2U's models now, I'll be using them for (non-DLC) FOEs and bosses when they don't have major errors.)
Oh man, Artelinde and Wilhelm. In EO2, these two were absolute jokes if you had an even slightly-sensible party. They were incredibly vulnerable to being bound and inflicted with status ailments, and their damage just wasn't that threatening to begin with (unless you ended up like a certain doctor I know who had a party with 1 damage dealer, 2 supports, and 2 meatshields).
Now? Good god, these two are massive pains in the ass, even with a good party. No, I did not mistype Artelinde's disable resistances--she really does nullify every ailment (besides Poison and Stun), as well as all three types of binds. This is already a big problem, but then you have to deal with her skillset.
Corpse Ash (which, as the more observant of you may have noticed, is a version of Random Disease) is pretty much guaranteed to tag everyone in your party with something, and (with my luck, anyway) the odds are good it's going to be something debilitating like Fear or Paralysis. Rheine's a godsend here, since Prevent Order turns Corpse Ash into a non-issue as long as I keep the buff up.
Blind Laughter and Loose Thread are Artelinde's versions of Strength/Guard Slash and the Bindcuts. She won't use them unless someone has an ailment, so they're irrelevant if you keep on top of making sure you don't get tagged with those. Otherwise? Good luck recovering from the debuffs and binds.
Blossom Sketch's heal is annoying, but the real "fuck you" lies in its dispels, since if you're trying to disable Wilhelm, that'll completely ruin that strategy.
As for Wilhelm, he's fast as fuck. You might be thinking Gunners are slow, based on Jackie, but the fact that Wilhelm doesn't have to put up with the speed penalties guns innately impose and the speed and accuracy penalties on gun skills means he's far faster and far more accurate than player Gunners.
Mercifully, since Wilhelm is completely predictable after his first action, Phoebe renders him a complete non-issue.
With that in mind, here's my strategy: burst down Artelinde as quickly as possible. Wilhelm is no threat at all with Phoebe, while Artelinde is very much a serious threat. Zack and Colette are thankfully decent at dealing damage, but I'm still kind of worried that she might not die before she starts to become a really big problem.
Gonna hold off on Zack and Phoebe's Force Boosts until Attack Order is in effect.
Setting up Delayed Charge on Artelinde.
Kinda just randomly guessing that Wilhelm will do a normal attack.
I NEED Prevent Order on everyone, or else the fight might just be unwinnable from the start.
Was kinda hopin' it wouldn't come to this. Oh well.
I barely felt that! What kinda wimpy bullets are you using?!
Strengthen your resolve!
I never liked yeh two t' begin with.
We TRIED being nice, we TRIED being diplomatic! And here you are, still trying to kill us!
You need more practice, Artelinde.
Oh man we're dealing really terrible damage without our Force Boosts.
We need to fix that!
Long Thrust's damage is really shitty, but without a consistent source of elemental damage, Tyler's kind of stuck with it.
Phoebe'll be rotating through the elemental walls and Front Guard for the rest of the fight.
About a 50-50 split between Artelinde and Wilhelm.
'S that all?
Re-applying Prevent Order so that I'll be covered for the next cast of Corpse Ash.
Hm. You actually make use of Warmight and Rockskin... Interesting.
Okay that's gonna need to be dispelled ASAP.
The battle just isn't going to go on long enough for Zack to get Full Charge again.
I haven't had a chance to show off Ad Nihilo yet, so let's put it to work.
I deny you!
Ad Nihilo deals very light Almighty TEC damage and dispels all of the target's buffs and debuffs. The debuff dispel kinda sucks, but then again it's probably really unlikely you have an enemy with boths and debuffs at the same time. In any case, it dispels all of them at once, which is very useful for stuff like Pandemonium.
Oof. So that sword...ain't just for show.
Close call, there. Tyler would've died if I didn't dispel Pandemonium.
Well, we've lopped off a lot of Artelinde's HP by now.
Delayed Charge is ready, so I have Tyler turn on Hero Battle.
Good, good. Artelinde's almost dead now.
That's good, too. Wilhelm only ate 1 of the 6 hits.
I don't know why you thought that'd work a second time.
What?! ...Oh. Right. They're explorers like us. I...somehow didn't think about that.
She's almost down, it doesn't matter!
Yeah. Thought we were the only ones with access to Force? Think again!
Both Artelinde and Wilhelm will enter their Force Boosts when one of two things happens: when they're dropped below 30% HP, or when the other one of them is killed, whichever comes first.
So what exactly does Spellsword do for Artelinde, aside from giving her a kinda cool color scheme that I can't replicate with my render? Well, the big thing is that she'll use Blind Laughter and Loose Thread even if no-one has an ailment and, somewhat more importantly, they will hit the entire party instead of just one target! If you think this sounds like a really major issue, then you're 100% right! Artelinde's thankfully really close to dying here, so I don't have to actually deal with the Spellsword effects, but Spellsword is the main reason I chose to burst her down immediately while ignoring Wilhelm--his Force Boost is far, far easier to deal with.
A Fire Jar + Link Order to Wilhelm'll deal more damage than a no-ailment Ailing Slash, although you'll see that this was basically pointless shortly.
Cross Charge's 200% speed modifier means Tyler can snipe Artelinde before she can do anything with Spellsword.
That'll teach yeh! Alright, just Wilhelm left!
Decent-ish damage. However, it's irrelevant, because...
That's not gonna be enough, old man!
Like I said, Artelinde and Wilhelm will activate their Force Boosts once the other one of them is killed, regardless of their HP level.
Accelerate gives Wilhelm a massive action speed boost, and changes Fire/Ice/Volt Rounds into random-target attacks that hit 3-4 times. This is far less dangerous than Spellsword, especially because...
...Everyone just hold for a bit. Trust me on this.
I'm having everyone Defend. This might make you think my brain suddenly shut off while I was recording the fight, but trust me, there's a method to my madness.
Phoebe's the only one not defending, and I...actually lost track of Wilhelm's pattern here.
Leading to using Fire Wall when Wilhelm used Ice Rounds. OOPS.
Thankfully, the damage is pitiful thanks to Defend.
One more round of that stupidity later, and...
You're about to see why I just held for two turns.
I know what you're up to, Marksman, and I'm ready for it.
Phoebe? What're you doing?
Not even a scratch.
I don't entirely get how yeh guarded all of us from that, but damn fine job there, Phoebe.
That was an extreme form of a Force Break... It seems like it's drained all of Wilhelm's energy.
One final thing I was keeping secret: Artelinde and Wilhelm both have Force Breaks, which they use on the third turn of Spellsword/Accelerate: Nature's Will for Artelinde, and Mystic Shot for Wilhelm. Both of these don't use any body parts (only relevant for Wilhelm), and deal 16 instances of 250% damage (Almighty for Nature's Will, Stab for Mystic Shot) to the entire party. Both of them also do not check for accuracy, so evasion buffs/accuracy debuffs won't help you here. There is straight-up no way to survive either of them without Perfect Defense or True Endurance.
The only saving grace for both of them is that they kill Artelinde or Wilhelm after use. That was my entire strategy--kill Artelinde as quickly as possible because she's a far bigger threat than Wilhelm, and then just tank Accelerate and Mystic Shot, letting Wilhelm kill himself. This party simply did not have the AOE needed to kill both Artelinde and Wilhelm in time before they both became major threats.
Oh well, it's over now. I was dreading that fight going into it, since it's given me massive trouble in past playthroughs, and I was really concerned about whether or not this party would be able to actually win. Phoebe is the no-contest MVP here--any other party member wouldn't have been nearly as effective as her.
SYSTEM: They gaze at you with stunned countenances, unable to believe what has happened.
SYSTEM: Artelinde lifts her gaze to the sky as she mutters these words.
Didn't think we'd just lie down and die like the others, h--
Tyler. Enough. We've won.
SYSTEM: The old marksman behind her breaks his silence to address your party.
However...I have one favor to ask.
...What is it?
If you move onward, you will inevitably encounter the Ice Princess. You'll have to fight her. But...it was the ruler of the skies who put her in that state. For her sake... I want you to find the floating castle that even we couldn't reach. When you meet that overlord, kill him. In memory of all of his explorer victims...
SYSTEM: The old marksman trails off, hanging his head.
'S long as you two stop killing other explorers? Deal.
SYSTEM: He places a hand on the still-silent Artelinde's shoulder, leading her away into the snow.
SYSTEM: You may continue from here, or return to town to make preparations.
Alright, good. Managed to get her hat.
...Ranger? Were you watching us that entire time?
Yep. I've been thinking about getting a new hat recently, and I always wanted Artelinde's.
I could've just given you one of my spares, if you wanted a War Magus hat.
Your hats don't have this cool thing on them, though.
Did you seriously swipe that thing as those two were both sulking out of here? How'd she not notice you?
I'unno, they just didn't seem to notice me. Did you guys have a really big argument or something?
Before I head back, there's a secret area over here.
With a Limit Break Grimoire. Limit Break is a Fafnir passive that lets a character's Force gauge go beyond 100 in battle. The Force gauge is reset to 100 after battle, however, and is still broken by Force Breaks.
I've always wondered why Abigail never seems to question why your party sells her cloth that's explicitly described as "stained...with a maiden's blood."
Zamiel Gun (+92 ATK, +20 TP) is unlocked by selling 1 Magic Casing. It's by far the best gun from the 3rd Stratum, with a really nice TP bonus attached.
Pointy Hat (+22 DEF, +1 TEC, +2 LUC) is unlocked by selling 1 Cursed Scrap. It's a very, very nice defensive upgrade, and the bonus stats are really nice. I'll buy one for everyone in the guild when I have the money to do so.
And so, one of the fights I was dreading the most is finished. Next time: the last part of 15F, and our first meeting with the Ice Princess.