Part 2: Chapter 56 (Part 2)Returning Characters
The Hakurei Shrine Maiden, same as she ever was. In previous games she was the queen of dodging, but these days other characters have started catching up, or even overtaken her. She's settled rather firmly into her role as the “Ryu” of the game – she's solid, she's reliable, and she'll get the job done. Think more SF4 Vanilla Ryu in terms of being actually really fucking good, if a bit boring.
You'll usually see her equipped with her PS Youkai Buster L2, increasing her damage against Youkai (read: most enemies) by 15%, but she'll actually be learning some new PSes for the first time since the start of FMW2, so look forward to that.
The Ken to Reimu's Ryu, Marisa has certainly come a long way from her unwieldy self back in FMW1. Where Reimu has lost her status as “Best at Dodging”, Marisa is still basically the “Best at Hitting”, but other characters, especially the newcomers in Dream, give her a serious run for her money. Just like Reimu, you could probably replace Marisa if you wanted to, but she's such a solid all-around package that you'll never feel like she's letting you down.
I'm pretty fire-and-forget with her PS Speed Star, increasing her movement by 1 and evasion by 15% while unfocused, since it let's Marisa zoom around and be comfortably dodgy without much extra thought. Her Danmaku Power PSes let her trade increasingly greater amounts of MP for more damage, and we're at the point where that's actually a decent trade-off – but truthfully, I've never felt it was necessary. If you like seeing big numbers though, it's a solid option.
Surprisingly not terrible. One of her PSes, Safe Spot, makes her attacks undodgeable if the enemy can't counterattack her. That sounds like it'd be for long-range sniping, but it also works for her assist attack from the backrow. Combined with her access to Accel, and ability to toss Strikes at people via Attune, she makes for an excellent backpack for someone who doesn't need the safety net of a support defender, but could use the extra movement. (Read: She's made to support Yuuka).
If you don't care about the always-hitting thing, you can also equip Devil's Contract to give people Strike and Alert twice per map, for the low cost of 50 MP. As I've mentioned before, MP isn't much of a concern these days, so that's a really great deal. As long as you've got the right expectations, Kurumi is an excellent support unit.
Just like Kurumi, Elly is a Glorified Backpack. Where Kurumi goes more for general support, Elly has one purpose: get to 130 Power, and activate her PS Unbreakable Elly. With her auto-casting Grit, she can basically nullify a hit on her partner for free, once a turn. She also has Accel, in case you want to partner her with Yuuka – although really, she makes a good partner for just about anyone.
Alice is a crit monster. If you stack her for it, she can basically pretend she has Valor on permanently, and that's pretty amazing. Her doll summoning gimmick isn't particularly amazing, although her default Hourai Dolls do have Support Defend, which can be really useful at times. Plus they synergize with Yuyuko, so that's cool.
Most of the time you'll strap her to Marisa's back and be happy with that, but she's pretty useable even as a front-row attacker.
The Biggest Baddest Fairy in Town
The white mage. Specifically, THE White Mage. Healing both is and isn't more important these days. Against bosses, you'll want to just avoid damage entirely (or else you'll likely get pasted in one hit), so there's not much healing to be done. However, random enemies get surprisingly savage, so Dai's healing is still useful. Much more importantly however, Dai gives you access to some very useful support spirits, and for 1.5 Cost, you'll not find much better.
Formerly the preeminent tank, Meiling has found some solid compitition in later-joining Supers. That being said, she's still a very good unit. With her PS Last Stand, she'll just get tankier and tankier the less HP she has, letting her go on even further than her already-solid Armour would suggest. Alternatively her PS Scarlet Devil's Dragon lets her Support Defend on the Player phase, three times a chapter - perfect for giving some extra survivability to the glass cannons who could use it. (Read: Flandre).
Some Lesser Demon That Hangs Out in Patchouli's Library
The MP Restoring Devil; she was an extremely valuable member of the team back in FMW2, and that remains the case as well. I find myself not wanting to Resupply people much because -10 Power hurts, but she has the Devote spirit, and will eventually have Refill, so she can do her job even from a distance. Even if I have to eat the Power loss, she does have Rouse, so she can offset her own drawbacks. It's nice. Often times I slap movement items on her to help her cart around Patchouli's lethargic ass, but it's not strictly necessary.
In previous games, you used her PS Koa Booster, which lets her Resupply units even after she moves, almost without question. I find my need for Resupplying people less pressing in FMW4, so I can use her other PSes sometimes. Devil's Contract (yes, same name as Kurumi) lets her, for a one-time cost of 10 of their Power, give someone 10% MP Regen for the rest of the chapter - and she gets two uses of that per chapter. If you have one-or-two characters who you know will be going through MP way faster than everyone else, it's a pretty efficient trade-off.
I also feel the need to link this remixed version of her FMW theme, because it's really good.
The sniper. She does have a barrier, and it does sometimes negate damage, but it's not reliable against bosses. Instead, you'll probably want to hang back and blast them from as far away as you can - as I mentioned, she can get up to 12 range if you bring Koakuma along for Silent Selene, and for as much as bosses cheat with their weapon ranges, they don't cheat that hard. Also, it's a minor thing, but her Strike only costs 15 SP, compared to 20 like most units'. So that's cool.
A big addition to FMW4 is that you can buy Hit & Away for everyone, so Patchouli's PS Tax has been lifted. Most of her options are decent, but I usually stick with Unmoving Library, as I feel it plays into her strengths the best: Weapon range +1, weapon MP cost -20%, and Magic Barrier's strength +300 if she did not move on the previous turn.
Boy I wish Sakuya was better than she is. Don't get me wrong, she's super reliable - if you stack her for it, she can hit a 65% auto-dodge from Private Square, plus she can Parry, plus she's decently evasive, plus she's Size L so a lot of enemies will do reduced damage to her if they somehow hit her. Unfortunately she has a lot of trouble actually killing shit. Later on she'll be getting a slight bump to her finishers (I believe Soul Sculpture and Sakuya's World both gain 200 power), which helps, but she's still kinda weak. At least she can use the Devote spirit to give 50 MP to units. It's nice when combat units have some extra ways to pitch in like that.
Most the time, you'll just keep Luna Dial on her for the extra Private Square chance. Time Paradox is cool, because it lets her Support Attack for herself if she has over 30 Skill more than the enemy she's attacking. It would actually help with her damage problems! Unfortunately, it never fucking works. Bosses have too much skill for it to ever activate, and any extra Skill you buy for her with PP doesn't count, so it's almost worthless. I don't hate Sakuya as a unit, you just have to temper your expectations.
Like servant like master, I suppose. Remilia is, uh, not great. She's not bad per se, but you'd expect a whole lot more from her considering her 3.5 Cost. During Day stages you have to use her one-and-only item slot on a Parasol, or else she loses two ranks in all terrain, which is pretty horrible. During Night stages, she's pretty good, but that's kind of it - in her best element, she's good, not amazing. She's almost like a jack-of-all-trades - she can dodge and can tank and can attack from long-range and can do solid damge, but there are so many other characters that can do those things better than her, and for less Cost. It's worth noting that you can pair her with Rumia, who has a PS that makes it Night terrain around her (including from the backrow) but again, you're having to go out of your way to make her useable, when you could be getting more for less.
All of her PSes are pretty decent, depending on what you want from her. Scarlet Charisma gives all other SDM members +20 Power from the start of a chapter, Devil Wing boosts her Movement from 7 to 9, Devil Guard reduces all damage she takes by 1000 at the cost of 10 MP per hit, and Queen of the Night boosts her regen to 20% (if she's in Night terrain).
At level 65 she learns a pretty amazing PS, which can potentially make her really powerful, but in proper Remilia form it has a shitload of opportunity cost. Just something to keep in mind, if she gets there.
Frandle wants to hit things very hard, and not much else. As long as you've got some way to deal with her fragility (Meiling's a good choice) she can shit out a lot of damage, which is not unique to her, but never goes out of style. Another common use is to load her up with Support Attacks and let her contribute that way. Much like her sister, she has to pay the Parasol Tax, which sucks, but oh well.
Calamity's Staff gives her +30% damage at 170 Power, and it's probably her best PS. Magical Girl L2 gives her the equivalent of the Magician skill that Marisa/Alice/Patchy have at Level 4. It boosts her weapon power by 150, so it's better for short chapters where you won't hit 170 Power. (It goes up to L3 later, giving her another 2 effective levels of Magician
A solid 2.0 unit. She got a new finisher in Lingering Cold, if you didn't see it in the compilation video, and it helps her as a combat unit a lot: 3500 attack, post-move, and 1-4 Range (so it can be boosted by Shotgunning). Her Dance of Snow PS also got buffed - it used to lower her Armour and HP, but now it just boosts her Mobility and Movement with no drawback. She's still got a below-average Evade stat, but if decide to use her as a combat unit, she's surprisingly good.
You can also just equip her with Cold Wave -10% evasion rates to enemies within a 6-square radius or Cold Snap -20% evasion rates to all enemies for one turn, one use per chapter if you just want to use her as a backpack. There's better choices for that IMO, but it's there.
She's a 2.0 Daiyousei. Yep. She has a MAP, but MAPs suck in FMW, so meh. "Worse Daiyousei" is still good though, and I bring both of them often enough.
Youmu is like Sakuya except not bad. She used to have to equip her PS Ghostly Wheel of Pain to get a 25% Bunshin. However, a patch gave her that ability by default, and the PS now boosts it to a 45% to auto-dodge. She's kind of a hybrid character like Remilia - she focuses more on dodging, but her Armour is good enough to take a couple hits. Plus she comes with Instinct L6 Increases Accuracy and Evasion rates as HP decreases and Prevail L5 Increases Defense and Critical rates as HP decreases, so taking a hit isn't the worst thing for her. Most importantly, she can actually, like, do respectable damage. Her two strongest attacks are both 1 range though, so make sure to give her some movement items.
Lotus Stance Cut gives her +10% damage in return for -1 Focused Movement, and is my usual PS for her. A patch actually increased her Focused Move from 2 to 4, so that PS went from "really damn good" to "why would you not?"
Yuyuko is what I think of when I think "Great 3.5 Cost Unit". Rouse is an awesome spirit for getting your entire team up to fighting form fast, and she's perfectly useable as a combat unit after that. Her unique Ghostly Butterfly Dance ability increases her final evasion % by the difference between her and her opponent's Evade stats (so if her Evade is 155, and her opponent's is 140, they'll be 15% less likely to hit her) so she's far more evasive than the meager Mobility stat would imply. She can Shield Block to reduce the damage she takes, and she can blast fools from a distance for good damage. She's never not useful, basically.
Also her PSes fucking rule. I prefer using Return to Yomi for the extra SP, but if you can't (or are unwilling to) throw precious lives into the trash, Ghostly Butterfly Dance+ pumps her effective dodge rates even more, by making her auto-dodge whenever her Shield Block would activate. It can even activate when she Support Defends someone, which makes no sense (wouldn't the attack just hit the person she was trying to guard?) but is cool. Yuyuko is real good.
Let me start by saying that Suika was never as bad as some people made her out to be. You had to pay an item tax to fix her B in the air, but after that she was a totally reasonable unit - very tanky, good damage, good range, and very efficient thanks to her unique Ibuki Gourd command basically doubling her MP. Nowadays she has an A in the air and an S on the ground, and freeing up that item slot helps her even more. Her new finisher gives her even better damage potential, and it's got decent range to make it up for it not being post-move (which doesn't matter if you have time to set up on a boss anyway).
I usually slap on her PS Power to Disperse for that +50 weapon power and +1 range. The damage is always good, and the range lends to Suika's versatility - I don't mind bringing 3.5s as "backrow" units for characters like Reimu, as long as I can switch them to the front when I need it, and Suika is fantastic for that.
EX-Keine got buffed in a recent patch to not be a disgusting MP hog anymore. So how is she? Well, it's probably easiest to compare her to Meiling. In her Hakutaku Mode she has the same base Armour as Meiling and only 1 point less Defense (so basically the same). Her Melee stat is much worse, but her weapon power is a bit better, and her ranges are more versatile. The real kicker is that Meiling's PS list is mostly better than Keine's. It's a bit sad that Keine's big third-game-upgrade is "a slightly worse Meiling" even after being buffed, but there you go.
Her main gimmick IMO is being Mokou's backpack, which she is very good at thanks to her Meddler PS improving Mokou's friendship from her. It's specifically Mokou that gets the benefits and not Keine, which benefits Mokou being the front runner. At level 5 friendship Mokou is looking at +21% Hit/Evade, a 6% bonus to damage dealt/damage taken/critical hit rate - not bad at all. It sorta wastes her offensive potential, but she can still Trust people, and I do like having extra support options like that.
Is Komachi the worst unit in the game? Probably! Her one gimmick is her infinite range PS, Way of Avici, but she only gets two uses per map (so it's basically for bosses only), and outside of that she's just... bad. It's a good thing she can attack bosses without being countered, because her Armour is mediocre and her Defense is even worse. She's not going to be dodging, and her HP isn't nearly high enough to make up for it. And even when you do use her gimmick, it's not like she hits particularly hard - her weapon power is low, and her only damage-boosting spirit is Triumph for a guarenteed critical.
And her song is only decent. I don't care what Blitz says, this is my LP now fuckers.
Three Fairies of Sunlight
I'm judging all three at once. They're, uh, ok I guess. They're basically the second-most expensive unit in the game at 4.5 cost, and they can't interact with the Partner mechanics at all, which drastically reduces their potential damage. You can make up for it with decombine/recombine gimmicks, but it's not a perfect solution. They also only have one post-move attack, which is awkward (...for now). They're mainly propped up by having a godlike set of spirits between the three of them, and since Luna/Star have no bearing on the combined unit's stats, they can just load up on Extend/SP Ups.
On a similar note, Sunny's PSes are the only ones that really matter, and she does have some good ones. Mainly Sun Fairy, which boosts her HP Regen from 10% to 25% during Daytime stage. If nothing else the 3 Fairies have good HP, so it works well.
How useful Sanae is depends on how hard you lean into the Faith system. If you game it as hard as you can and get her into high Faith percentages, she's genuinely super fucking strong, but without it she's merely Pretty Good. The main things to know are that she gets Faith for Support Attacking, she gets Faith for having spirits cast on her, and she gets more Faith for grazing than for dodging. Generally I treat her combo with Reimu as her real finisher, since Takeminakata decreases her Faith too much. If you can put up with the micro, she's worth it.
Which PS I use on her depends. If it's a short chapter, Living God L3 boosts all her Faith gauge increases by 2, so she gets up to speed fast. If it's a longer chapter, Max God gives her extra bonuses for hitting 100%, and also locks it there so she can spam her finishers without weakening herself. If I'm bringing Kanako and Suwako then Land, Sky, Human both increases her friendships with them by 3 (which rules) and makes their actions increase her Faith as well (which is basically better than Living God).
Probably the worst unit from SA. Note that this makes her merely "Good".
I don't have any real complaints about Yamame. She's not the tankiest unit ever, but she can withstand some punishment, and she has Vigor to heal herself, so she's self-reliant. If you need her for damage, she hits reasonably hard, and can Valor for a bit extra. She has a unique Spider Thread command, pulling someone from 5 tiles away right next to her. Importantly, she can do this after moving, letting her effectively "slingshot" a unit way farther than theycan normally move. Plus she can use the Faith spirit to fully heal a unit. yes I know that's confusing with Sanae's Faith guage
I mostly just use her PS Hell String to improve Spider Thread's range by 3. You could use Spider Net to lock down a boss that likes to move, but I usually surround bosses with my range 1 attackers, so I rarely need it. For only 2.0 cost, Yamame is an all-around solid unit.
It might look like wood, but trust me - that bucket is made out of fucking titanium.
Kisume has 150 higher base Armour than Meiling my usual benchmark which is already riculous for a 2.0. She also has Shield Block, so she can reduce damage even further than most. For reference, Kisume, Yuyuko, Yuuka, and Momiji is the entire list of people who can Shield Block, plus Meiling with a PS. But then you add in her PS Enhanced Bucket L2, which boosts her weapons by 100 and her Armour by 300(!!), and things gets silly. Plus she has Attune, so it's not like she's only there to tank.
I don't have much reason to take Enhanced Bucket off, but her PS Full Metal Bucket, in addition to have a 10/10 name, makes her Guard spirit apply to both units in a pair. If a pure Real is using her as a backpack it's not great, but it's useful for hybrid units or somewhat-but-not-incredibly tanky units (Read: Yamame). I honestly feel like that's kind of a waste of Kisume, but if you want easy access to their combo attack, it's a nice option.
If Kisume is "why are you so fucking tanky?" then Parsee is "why do you hit so fucking hard?"
Parsee has other PSes, but only one worth talking about: Jealousy of the Kind, which increases her damage based on the number of skills her enemy has. I'm not sure how the formula works, but it must be pretty favourable, because holy shit Parsee does a lot of damage. She's kind of a "boss killer", since she inherently gets less value against mooks with fewer skills, but even then she's far from weak. Her new finisher benefits from Shotgunning if you go for that (and if you're using her full time, you should). About the only thing holding her back is her lack of Valor/Soul, but there are ways around that.
Seriously, Parsee punches way above her weight class. Most 3.5s wish they hit as hard as her, and she only costs 2.0! It's ridiculous, man.
The worst thing I can say about Yuugi is that she's boring. She's Suika without the versatility. No special tricks, no real gimmicks - but if you want to throw Lots Of Stats at a problem, you can't do much better than Yuugi.
Her PSes fit her simple-but-effective theme too, all being variations on "hit harder and take hits better". Her most "unique" PS, and the one you used to keep equipped on her 24/7, was First Class Brawler, which auto-casted Fury while above 130 Power. There were a lot of bosses that used to be "bring Fury or don't even fucking show up", but Fury got nerfed (and some bosses got adjusted) so it's not quite as necessary.
Nazrin's alright. She's the lowest-level Buddhist at only L2, but that's still a boost to her damage and accuracy that most units don't get. She's evasive enough to get by, and her PS Clever Commander makes her Focus cost 10 SP, making it hella spammable if you want to go that route. More often I have her equipped with Rat Bite to make her Nazrin Pendulum attack give a -10% Armour debuff. Worst case she has Trust, so she can heal people on the side.
My feelings on Shou are "She's good, I guess ".
I dunno what else to say about Shou tbh. As 2.0s go, she's just kind of a solid all-rounder. She leans less on dodging, but she can, as her Mobility's decent. Her damage is honestly not bad at all between Buddhist L4, and her PS Bishamonten's Blessing giving her +10% damage above 120 Power (which is the most PS ever btw). The worst thing I can say about her is she has a serious lack of range.
The Palanquin Ship
-Careful Steering: +20% Accuracy, -10% Damage Taken
-Acting Captain: Docked units' HP and MP are restored at double the rate
-Booming Business: Can use an equipped consumable on an ally within 3 spaces
-Inventory Usage: Can use consumables not equipped on any unit, twice per chapter (but only once per type)
Spirit List (Rinnosuke): Strike, Accel, Guard, Mercy, Snipe, Valor
Spirit List (Akyuu): Alert, Scan, Focus, Luck, ---, ---
The Palanquin Ship isn't really a "new" unit per se, but whatever. Rinnosuke is a way better captain than Murasa was. His Shooting stat is actually good, for one thing, unlike Murasa who was always secretly a Melee unit. He's got the most stereotypical "ship captain" spirit list imaginable, but I'm not complaining. The only downside is that it's harder to use the boat's finisher, since you have to be adjacent to Murasa - but you get benefits for keeping them close anyway, so it's fine.
To put the nail in the coffin even harder, if you want to deploy the boat with Murasa in it, you actually increase its Cost by 1.0. I'm not a fan of "making a unit more expensive and worse" so I can't imagine ever doing it. You can have Murasa deploy normally and just hop on the boat manually, but... again, like, why would you bother?
PS-wise I mostly stick to Careful Steering. I don't often bother docking people, Booming Business is of limited use considering the boat has 1 item slot, and Inventory Usage is cool, but not terribly important.
-Venus on Deck: Docked units's HP and MP are restored at double the rate (if she's the captain)
-Full Speed Ahead: Increases both movement and focused movement by 1
-Prepared for Ship Combat: Shooting stat +20
-Spare Anchor: "Sinking Anchor" gains 150 weapon power, 1 range, and 3 ammo
-Autopilot: Allows the Palanquin Ship to Support Attack/Defend for her within 4 spaces
-Seafloor Venus: +30% damage on underwater enemies, +30% evasion while underwater
Spirit List: Fury, Strike, Yell, Grit, Valor, ???
I feel like there's some real favoritism towards SA and UFO here. Murasa is super fucking good. She's evasive, she can take a couple knocks on the chin from mooks and just come out stronger from Prevail L6/Instinct L6, and she hits like a truck. She has an all-star spirit list too. If this were an earlier game the lack of Focus might suck, but there are plenty of ways to mitigate damage by now, including her own Grit (which owns on Reals) and Buddhist passively boosts her accuracy anyway. It's not like there's any one thing that makes her OP, she's just very High-Spec in most regards.
Assuming you ignore her captain-based PSes (you should), her choices are pretty decent. If I'm feeling lazy, Sinking Anchor is already a strong attack, so boosting it further is cool (for reference, it's only her third strongest attack and it's almost as strong as some units' finishers without the PS). As an aside, both that and her finisher have pretty limited ammo, so it's almost worth buying B-Save multiplies ammo by 1.5 or putting a Cartridge on her. Autopilot is cool, though I find the ship running out of MP super fast if I use it for attacking. Seafloor Venus makes Nitori (who we'll talk about next chapter) look like even more of a chump.
-Nyuudou Block: Decreases all damage by 700 for 10 MP
-Nyuudou Rush: "Consecutive Hooks Throughout Heaven and Earth" gains 200 weapon power and 1 range
-Old Man Hustle: Unzan gains 50 SP
-Girl Hustle: Focus is replaced with Yell+
Spirit List (The Hitbox): Trust, Focus, Strike, Gain, Valor, ???
Spirit List (Unzan): Guard, Grit, Yell, Valor
My biggest complaint about Ichirin is that she's not Murasa. Aside from that, she's real damn good. At a baseline, she's not quite as tanky as Meiling, but she has Buddhist to close the gap, and her Nyuudou Block PS makes her super tanky if you want. Having an extra spirit pool, even a kinda stunted one like Unzan's, is always amazing when you can get it. She's not as hard hitting as Murasa, but she's still pretty strong.
I feel like she's built to be more of a backrow unit, which is probably why she has Trust and can get Yell+. She has a PS for basically any situation, so you can use her however you please.
Hey, it's that time where you make me use your favorite 2hus or whatever. Simple rules here: pick one (1) character, keeping a running tally of the cost as you go. At the end, I'll decide teams and buy upgrades and etc. based on who got in.
As an aside, every character (aside from Yuuka, Mima, Orin, and Nue) we had from previous games just rejoined us. I'll talk about them next update, because this has already taken me way too long.
As with previous LPs, I'm forcing Marisa because she's our protagonist, and we've also got Iku who I want to show off, so she's coming too.
(If you want my ~recommendations~, then I'd think about tossing in Aya, Hatate, Momiji, Rumia and/or the rest of Team 9. But of course, vote for whoever you want).
Nitori (note: you can vote for Nitori or FA Nitori at your discretion)
Factoring in my force deploys, you've got 44.5 to work with.