Part 94: Strategic Notes: The PostgameStrategic Notes: The Postgame
So, you've completed the main game and want more? Well, get ready. Because this is when the game actually gets hard. Everything that came before was just the tutorial. In every EO game (except for EO3) the postgame is the ultimate test for your party. At this point, both the monsters and the Labyrinth itself has it out for you. Thought the main game was lacking in dick moves? Don't worry, they come out in full force here. This is where your party setup actually matters. The classes you use here will either grant you success or failure. The broken become your best bets for survival. The unoptimal becomes the unviable. Any weaknesses in your party will be exploited by the game, so a strong well rounded party is absolutely important to have. While it's not required to make the ABSOLUTE BEST PARTY, a party full of terrible classes is probably going to see the Game Over screen a lot. Let's take a look at the classes and how they fare in the postgame. The real Etrian Odyssey starts here!
: Hexers are the best class in the game, and so they are the best class to bring with you into the postgame. Revenge dishes out a ton of damage and Dampen is the best debuff in the game since you can completely ignore enemy resistances with that. Torpor is fantastic at disabling random encounters and buying the rest of your party more time. Poison and Corrupt aren't as useful as they were in the main game. Caprice isn't really that useful, but the rest of their toolkit more than makes up for that.
: Dark Hunters dish out a ton of damage with their Bait skills, and Ecstasy. They're also one of the best FOE killers thanks to Climax. They're also very fast, which is the cherry on top. Of course the main reason they're one of the best classes to bring along is their Force Skill, Dominate. Being able to bind every body part of any enemy in the game for at least 2 turns makes this one of the best lock down skills in the game. Unfortunately, Dominate has a low speed modifier, so you'll have to accommodate for that.
: Now Ronin are one of the best physical damage dealers in the game. Midareba deals out a ton of single target damage, and both Orochi and Kienzan are good for elemental damage. Kienzan, or any of their other elemental skills, is great for clearing out mobs. Which is actually very important because the random encounters in this part of the game WILL kill your party if you give them the chance. Issen lacks utility, but it does bring some nice damage.
: Gunners are great all rounders, and Ricochet deals out a very nice amount of damage at this stage in the game. They do have elemental shots to fall back on in case you run into resistances and conditional drops. Medishot is a fantastic support skill since status effects can completely screw over your party at this point. Of course the real reason they're a good class to bring along is Riot Gun. This skill is essential to survival since there's a lot you can do with a guaranteed stun.
: War Magi are great supports to bring along. They have weaker healing than Medics, but Medics are slowpokes while these guys are guaranteed to heal your party quickly. When choosing between a Medic and a War Magus, ask yourself this. Would you rather have weak but guaranteed healing, or strong healing that might not heal your party in time? War Magi can't dispel binds or status effects, but the latter can be covered by a Gunner. Warmight is a fantastic buff for your damage dealers, and Erase is really helpful to have since you don't want your enemies having buffs at this point. Invoke isn't a great Force Skill, but it does provide more healing than Salve 2.
: Protectors are a very good defensive support, although not as good as they were in the first game. If you haven't maxed out all their Anti-elemental skills at this point, do so now. Those aren't exactly required like in the first game, but they're very helpful to have against certain postgame bosses. Provoke is pretty much useless now, although there's one situation it shines in, so keep that skill around even if there's only one point in it. Front Guard is great for mitigating physical damage. Despite their middling skillset, their Force Skill, Painless, makes them absolutely worth having around. Getting a free turn for your team is definitely worth using up a party slot for. The thing to keep in mind is that Riot Gun only works on a single target, while Painless will protect your entire team. There's also one situation where Painless is better than Riot Gun, but I'll talk about that when we get there.
: Alchemists aren't exactly terrible at dealing damage. Megido and their tier 2 spells can deal around the same amount of damage as a Ronin's Midareba and a Gunner's Ricochet. But the real problem with them is the maintenance cost. Megido costs 56 TP while Midareba and Ricochet both cost 21 TP. An Alchemist can cast Megido twice before chugging down an Amrita II (Which recovers 100 TP) while Ronin and Gunners can cast their best damage skills 5 times before needing to use up an Amrita II. It also doesn't help that their AOEs cost a TON while dishing out absolutely pathetic damage, so they're bad for mob clearing. Ask yourself this before bringing an Alchemist with you into the postgame, is maintaining their TP pool constantly worth what they bring to the table? If your answer is yes, then go ahead and bring one along. Eschaton lacks utility, but it lets the Alchemist save a lot of TP.
: Troubadours don't really do much at this point in the game. Bravery is a nice buff, but a War Magus has a much stronger version of it. Troubadours do have Stamina, which is great for a Hexer since it boosts the damage of Revenge by a ton. They can also erase buffs, which is an important thing to do at this point. Health is also great at preventing status effects from hitting your party. But despite all that, their skillset isn't really that great. Now you think Crusade would redeem them, right? It's a fantastic super buff skill that raises your stats, after all. Actually no, Crusade at this point will either be useless or a death sentence for your party. At this point, a lot of postgame bosses go completely apeshit if you have too many buffs on your party. They'll either react to your 15 buffs by erasing them all, rendering Crusade useless, or just bust out a super move that will kill your party. Still, they're not really terrible to bring along, Troubadours just don't offer much.
: Medics are very slow to do anything. In fact, the only way they can really do anything is to be proactive with their healing, which can waste a ton of TP if they end up say, using Salve 3 but their party didn't get attacked that turn. They do have the ability to naturally revive the dead and dispel status effects and binds, but that falls under the same problem as their heals. Usually you want that healed right away, but Medics just can't do that. A Survivalist's 1st turn can solve those problems, but you're using up 2 party slots for that role, while a War Magus can react to different situations immediately. On the plus side, Healing Touch can revive your party members in an emergency, though it can't do anything about binds. Save this for emergencies, since Salve 3 actually acts as a full heal, while H. Touch has a base heal of 500 HP.
: Survivalists are not a real class at this point. They dish out absolutely pathetic amounts of damage. Oh, so you broke the main game with a Survivalist with the postgame bow you got from Chimaera? Guess what, this is the postgame now. Your Survivalist is no longer ahead of the curve and will have very little to offer a party. The only thing they have going for them is 1st Turn. It's useful for slow classes like Medics, or slow skills like Dominate. But ask yourself this: is that really worth losing a party slot for? If the answer is yes, than go ahead and use them. Their Force Skill Airwalk isn't that great either, so there's very little redeeming about them. Unfortunately, despite the fact that they don't contribute much to a team, they are required for the postgame. And no, you can't just create a Survivalist and stick them in your party. You need them to be at a high level. So yeah, get to grinding one up. You have been warned.
: Landsknechts are also not a real class at this point, though thankfully you aren't required to use one. They have no damage since Tornado and Brawn do not compare to skills like Midareba and Ricochet. They do have their chasers, but you have to build a team around them to get the most out of them. And considering that a Hexer can dish out 2544 damage without too much setup, why would you want to use Landsknechts? Elemental attacks aren't that good in this game since Dampen lets you ignore elemental resistances altogether. All-Out just does more damage, and has no utility aside from that. So they aren't even worth bringing along for their Force Skill.
: Beasts are terrible. Period. Now depending on how you've built your Beast, they're either a tank with some offensive capabilities, or the biggest glass cannon in existence. Either role will not cut it for the postgame. The Rampage build does dish out tons of damage, but since your Beast will have Loyalty maxed out, they'll die a lot in the postgame because they'll try to protect party members that don't need protection at all. The tank build on the other hand will have your Beast dishing out little damage, and providing very little defensive support. Protectors do a far better job at being tanks and protecting the party. Beasts don't have access to the Anti-elemental skills, but Protectors do, which is pretty much the final nail in the coffin for them. Salivall is a decent Force Skill since it heals a lot and revives dead people, but if you have a Rampage Beast, chances are that they'll die before they get a chance to use it. It's a fairly decent Force Skill on tank builds, but Medics and War Magi do a far better job of healing since they can do it as often as they want.
Votes will not be happening after this point. I will be sticking with the cookie-cutter party of RDW/GH for the rest of the LP, changing the party on my own as needed.
So instead, I'll ask you this. What do you think the 6th Stratum looks like?