Part 4: Ep 4: Rock Climbing in AgustriaChapter 2: Disturbance in Agustria Part 1
This time, we're going to one of my least favorite maps in FE4. There's a lot of backtracking and arbitrary side-objectives involved, some of them relying on luck, others causing you to just waste your time. It's a shame, because this is where we get some of the most interesting characters in Gen 1. I guess the Binary developer must have shared my feelings about this map, because there are a lot of small novelties introduced here that make this chapter far more bearable.
The intro plays the same as usual, with a discussion which, no doubt, sparked dozens of fanfics about half-sibling incest.
You! I despise you and your 2 clones. You made me lose 2 hours of recording, and plenty of juicy experience for Raquesis.
Before going for some Arena grinding, let's start by recruiting Holyn. With Alec, since he's probably the one guy in our army with the least chances against Keimos, Holyn's replacement.
Holyn starts 2 levels lower than expected, with -2 Skl and -1 Spd to reflect that. His class was changed from Swordfighter (Myrmidon in the English patch) to "Free Fighter", a new class a bit more bulky and potent that Myrmidons. So basically, he's like the modern Mercenary class. Even though Holyn is primarily a sword user thanks to his Odo blood, Free Fighters have equal access to B swords and axes, which is very nifty.
The item selection has been slightly changed from vanilla FE4. We still have the Steel Blade, Thunder and Steel Bow, but the Steel Lance was changed into a Lightning tome. I guess it didn't take that long to find one.
So now Adean can fight! She actually does really well, and clears the arena mostly effortlessly. Lightning really is a nice tome.
As for the other items, Jamke buys the Steel Bow and gives his Killer Bow to Midayle, Azel buys the Thunder, Ayra buys the Steel Blade and Ethlyn gives the Hand Axe to Holyn. Lex doesn't really need the extra range, and we're a bit short on swords for Holyn himself.
: Arena Completed, Gained 2 levels, +2 HP, +1 Skl, +1 Spd, +1 Lck, +1 Def
: Arena Completed, Gained 2 levels, +2 HP, +1 Str, +2 Spd, +1 Lck
: Arena Completed, Gained 3 levels, +3 HP, +2 Str, +1 Skl, +1 Spd, +1 Lck, +1 Def
These two seem to be getting most gains in stats opposite to their growths. I have to say, they're both turning out really nicely. With a bit of luck, I might have them ready for promotion sometime during Chapter 3.
: Arena Completed, Gained 2 levels, +2 HP, +1 Str, +1 Spd, +2 Def
: Arena Completed, Gained 3 levels, +3 HP, +1 Skl, +2 Spd, Lck, Res, +2 Spd, +3 Mgc
: Arena Completed, Gained 4 levels, +3 HP, +1 Str, +3 Skl, +1 Spd, +3 Def, +1 Res
I haven't said much about Lex, but he's really turning into a major powerhouse. He always gets his staple HP, Str, Def stats, but also doesn't seem to be all that weak in Skl and Spd either.
: Arena Completed, Gained 2 levels, +2 HP, +2 Str, +1 Spd, +2 Def
: Arena Completed, Gained 3 levels, +2 HP, +1 Str, +2 Skl, +2 Spd, +2 Lck, +2 Def
: Arena Completed, Gained 2 levels, +2 HP, +1 Str, +1 Mgc, +1 Lck, +1 Def
Another point in Magic? Geez.
: Arena Completed, Gained 3 levels, +1 HP, +1 Str, +2 Mgc, +2 Skl, +2 Spd, +2 Def, +1 Res
Midayle, I didn't mean that I wanted Magic on ALL my characters.
: Arena Completed, Gained 3 levels, +2 HP, +2 Str, +1 Mgc, +2 Spd, +3 Lck, +1 Def
What was her Strength growth again? 20%? Looks more like a 50% right now.
: Arena Completed, Gained 2 levels, +2 HP, +2 Str, +2 Spd, +1 Lck, +1 Def
: Arena up to rank 3, Gained 1 level, +1 Str, +1 Lck, +1 Def
He's still terrible, but at least he's slowly progressing in his weaker stats.
: Arena Completed, Gained 2 levels, +2 HP, +2 Mgc, +2 Skl, +2 Res
: Arena Completed, Gained 2 levels, +1 HP, +2 Str, +2 Skl, +2 Spd, +1 Lck, +1 Res
Way to make up for your previous errings, girl.
: Arena Completed, Gained 2 levels, +2 Str, +2 Skl, +1 Spd, +1 Def
And with the Arena, Holyn is back to his regular level and regained his missing Skl and Spd, with some additional Str and Def as a bonus.
As for Arena enemy changes, Mahatma the Fire Mage became a regular Mage and traded his Elfire for a Fire & Skill Ring.
Chacov the Thunder Mage is labeled as a Mage too and lost his Shield Ring. He uses the battle sprite for dismounted Mage Knights for some reason.
Finally, Marilyn the Sniper turned into a "Knight", which is the generic class name for dismounted cavaliers.
Something else I noticed is that the level curb of the Arena has been reduced quite a bit, with the later enemies ending up with 4 less levels. However, I can't check their new stats to see if it's actual mercy from the game, or simply a trick to reduce the experience our characters get.
But enough about the arena. The map of Chapter 2 is a ridiculously large one, with endless roads and a lot of empty space. Like vanilla FE4, our immediate goal is to rush to Nodion, save Raquesis, then to Heirhein so we can save the Bargain Ring village in time. Then it's up to Anphony, then backtracking all the way back around to Agusty.
A fun thing to note about these deep forests north-west of Evans is that you can now cross them to reach the capital right off the bat. However, the area directly around it has invisible walls until you capture Anphony, so you can't really skip anything with that.
Quan and Sigurd will be spearheading the offensive. Eliott's troops are on the move, and I want to make sure I don't leave him the time to strike at the Nodion Paladins two turns in a row, as he's got Killer weapons.
The first thing we want to get is the Light Sword for Ethlyn. It's less powerful than the vanilla one, and the Lightning spell is a bit less powerful, but it's still going to make her quite threatening by allowing her to be a sort of mounted mage with Critical. The sword also has the very nifty hidden Life Skill, a nod to its FE5 ability to be used as a vulnerary.
This is the point in the game where pretty much every platoon of enemies will have different weapons, as well as several changed classes. In this case, Eliott replaced two of his Lance Knights with Troubadours for healing duty, and Philip changed two of his Armors into Mages, that way you can't just throw Sigurd/Quan/Lex and expect to come out unharmed.
Other good examples of this are the pillagers who were sent after the villages. Two of them aren't brigands, but Myrmidons/Swordfighters. And yes, they can burn these villages as well as any brigand.
The three Nodion Paladins received one or two of every stat, despite being 2 levels lower. They also have Pursuit, which considerably increases their offensive ability (but not their survival rate), and Elite, just to rub it in that they are stealing my precious experience.
There's nothing much else to say about them, really. They're only a major bother in my path to get the Knight Ring for Sylvia.
No matter what you do, the boss will always get an attack on one of them, and might activate a critical because of his weapons. Granted, that's not enough to kill any of them, but it's still pretty bothersome.
Especially since he can also activate Charge, although in this case, it turned out quite unfavorably for him.
Eliott gained one level, lost 2 HP and Mgc, but gained 2 in most other stats. He traded his droppable Silver Lance and Javelin for a droppable Killer Lance and Killing Edge. He would be threatening on his own, but the Nodion Paladins will generally weaken him enough so that even with Charge he's no big deal.
Really, you can send anybody who could use a Killer Lance at him, and he'll easily go down.
So Finn starts to fill up on his two weaker stats with HP and Def
And Noish goes one step beyond with HP, Str and Def
On the promise of saving her dear brother, we get Raquesis to join our party. Let's see what she's got.
Compared to her vanilla version, she's got one more Str and Skl, but is still grossly underleveled. She still has her outstanding promotion and Hezul blood, so she's definitely worth training. She also comes with a pretty nifty Rapier instead of a Prayer Sword.
And although it is not a very powerful weapon, it will tear to shreds anything mounted or armored, so basically most units in this game. The critical boost also really helps in the Arena's long duels. It is locked to specific classes, but there's a lot of them: Social Knights, Troubadours, Lord Knights, Paladins, Master Knights, Mage Knights, and all their unmounted versions can equip it. Funnily enough, the Readme file about weapons doesn't mention that Princesses can equip it too.
On the next turn, I start making her go through the arena, where she triumphs with much panache.
Her weapon does cost quite a lot to repair though, but who wouldn't have guessed?
And her first level is a great one, with Str, Lck, Def, Res.
Goodness, she's just plowing through these guys. Not for too long though, as the next Armor in the arena gets a few lucky shots. Better luck next turn!
Midayle grabs some HP, Lck, Def while we finish cleaning up.
And now, it's time to send the cavalry up there as fast as possible, while the foot units will be going towards the northern cliffs.
Raquesis is just going to stay around Nodion for the rest of the map and get more of these fantastic levels (Str, Lck, Def, Res). There's no way I'm letting these Paladins anywhere close to an enemy, now.
Dew has a little talk with Raquesis and gives her the Thief Sword, which is rather crucial for some of my money and EXP schemes.
The physical guys are stationed in range of the Armors while Ethlyn, Quan and Sigurd will welcome the mages. Things should go pretty well.
Lex gets his typical HP, Str, Def from an unsuspecting Armor...
And Ethlyn disappoints me a little with only Def. She's still got a lot of margin, though.
Note that the Priest in the middle has a Lightning tome, as well as a wonderfully purple palette.
Back in Nodion, Raquesis scrounges up a few more EXP points and gets HP, Str, Lck, Def. Is it just me, or that's way too many stat-ups for Gen 1?
Strategic positioning. Not only do I really want these ballistae out of the way, I can also hope to trigger...
... Yes! A Magic critical on that General will really help.
I mean, despite his lack of ranged options, Philip is really tough. He's 3 less HP than before, but has 4 more Strength, Defense and Luck, as well as 2 more Skill and Resistance. Oh and there's Continue as well.
Oh, so he soaked the critical hit with Great Shield. Very clever.
A shame that I still have the Siblings trick.
And with that, Sigurd gets a Return Ring, as well as a sad HP, Skl level.
We finish up the ballistae and continue to Heirhein. The Armors will just throw themselves against our characters, and die on the next player phase.
Like so. A sweet HP, Spd, Def for Quan, a meager HP, Skl for Alec and an offense-oriented Str, Skl, Spd for Noish. Great.
Did I mention how amazingly awesome it is that Lex can double with a Steel Axe? Granted, Armors aren't the speediest units around, but they're probably the only ones able to survive two blows from his Iron Axe.
Anyways, we have a slight problem with these villages, as even in the vanilla game, Lewyn will need to get a few lucky crits/Continues to properly rescue the northwestern one. This is even more difficult in Binary where the Continue formula doesn't favor Lewyn as much, and enemies are quite sturdier in general. Generally, he won't make it in time.
But for every problem that Binary created, it also introduced a solution. Your characters can scale cliffs, now!
It does take a huge movement cost, and is reserved to non-magic, non-armored, on-foot units, but it's completely worth it, especially on this map where they all get left behind.
So yeah, now we can go ahead and start getting close to those pillagers, and take them down as soon as Heirhein is conquered. No need to wait for Lewyn.
Speaking of Heirhein, here's Boldor, its lord. You are probably wondering where his class is from, and you'd be right to be confused: the Iron Knight promoted class is a Binary novelty. To put it simply, they're the Great Knights from FE8, sporting all close-range weapons, with great defenses and innate Great Shield, but less mobility than other mounted classes.
As for Boldor himself, he's 2 levels higher than before, with +3~4 on all of his stats, and Charge. He also traded his Steel Bow for a more annoying Javelin. So with all that, if you didn't send your fighters up the cliffs, Boldor would be the point where you'd typically lose your last chance to save the final village.
As for what Iron Knights look like, they're pretty simple promoted cavaliers, but with a freaking big shield. Mounted classes aren't that graphically diverse in the Jugdral games, really.
But with Fin's valiant efforts and steady critical rate, the beast's vast pool of HP is nearly depleted.
Now, we just have to clean up the armors around the boss for some sweet experience. Finn and Midayle's synchronized effort gives them a Lck, Def each.
And Sigurd finishes the guy off for his Barrier Ring, because I like having my main character with a least some Resistance. He gets a great HP, Skl, Str, Def for his trouble, and conquers Heirhein.
Immediately after, and before Anphony turns red, Finn gets his mighty Brave Lance. It's a bit less powerful and heavier than usual, but should still service him well enough.
Also, remember than you cannot attack the Anphony pillagers until they have turned red, so even with the cliff trick, you still need to hurry and conquer Heirhein for Anphony to turn red and vulnerable.
Which is what happens right now.
A little bit of a difference in the enemy formation there. There used to be some Armors with bows, but they were replaced by Free Fighters with Steel Blades and Hand Axes.
The Duke Knight and 2 Lance Knights guarding Anphony were replaced by a Great Knight and 2 Axe Knights. They still run away on their first turn before charging back in.
Oh hey, someone absolutely awesome.
And someone... less awesome.
The first two members of the green hair squad join us! Lewyn is... totally unchanged, actually. You would think that he would have been nerfed just like Ayra but the mechanics changes are what's nerfing him. Wind magic has been balanced so it doesn't only weight 2 for all its tomes, and Lewyn does rely a lot on his AS to activate Continue, at first. Although, once he gets going and has enough Speed to double naturally, he's still pretty amazing.
Sylvia is a little bit more usable with +1 Str, +2 Skl and +3 Spd. Unfortunately, she doesn't even come with any weapons, so we'll need to get her one if we want her to do something in the arena and gain a little bit of money. Other than that, she's really just there to have kids, and refresh units.
See what I meant about Lewyn having a hard time with the brigands? In vanilla FE4, he could kill them in two hits with 100% accuracy. Now he needs three hits, and barely reaches 80%.
That's why we sent Ayra and friends to help. Speaking of Ayra, I just noticed that her palette is slightly different in Binary, with a more blueish tint as opposed to her light purple from before.
There are a few other characters with different palettes, so I'll make sure to point those out when they come up.
HP, Skl, Spd, Def. She's already got a lot of Str, so really, Defense is exactly what she needs right now.
Back on the Anphony front, Lex is going to take point so he can grab the few remaining points of experience he needs to reach lv20.
HP, Lck, Def. Tankier is always better. Only one level to go. This Great Knight has a Killer Axe by the way, so make sure to keep Finn away from him.
And then a bunch of story events happen. The mercenary guys with Beowolf start very far away, so I guess we'll just have to wait for them in chokepoint valley, hoping they don't suddenly decide to go after Lewyn and friends.
Crud. I guess Lex will have to wait for them in order to promote.
Holyn finally reaches the Bargain Ring village and starts his first fight on the map with a brilliant Luna axe throw. Since he is no longer a Myrmidon, his battle sprite was changed to that of the FE5 axe fighters, only with a sword instead of an axe, when he's using one.
He's also got a matching blue palette instead of the weird black he had in the original game.
All villages have been saved!
Now to just wait for these guys to reach us...
HP, Str, Lck. And a bit more Strength for our fantastic Ethlyn.
Down there, Arden finally reaches his only objective in this update, the Pursuit Ring. I guess he can probably keep it for this chapter, he's gotten a lot of Speed to make use of it, lately.
The Free Knights finally reach us, and we take a good looks at Voltz, who is mighty threatening now. He's got 2 less HP, but +3 Str, +1 Skl, +2 Spd, +7 Lck, +2 Def and +2 Res, as well as 1 more Leadership star. He also traded his Steel Blade for a Silver one, and added a Steel Axe to the mix. He also gained Critical which ups his rate to a dangerous 22%.
Just like all other mounted units, Free Knights and Forrest Knights get access to a secondary weapon rank. In this case, they get access to B axes.
Oh, there are also 3 Killing Edge guys hiding in his troops, and Beowolf is there too, so beware.
Lex barely survives two rounds against Voltz, but finally reaches his level goal. It's just HP and Lck, but it will have to do.
Return Cannon, FIRE!
Speaking of cannons... Deirdre reduces the mighty warrior to just 1 HP.
Azel is a tad behind on everyone else, so I have him grab the Elite Ring for now. It's definitely not going to stay on a single unit, though...
Some HP and Atk for our red knight...
I tried not to kill too many of the cavaliers, so that when Beowolf moves last, there wouldn't be any spots for him to attack us. It worked wonderfully.
Now, before we proceed to trample them all, let's check out on Lex, who can finally promote.
I've mentioned before that there are branched promotions in this game. The way it works is: when Oifey asks you for confirmation right before promotion, you can press the X, Y or R button to change your choice.
It will send you back to the previous "Good job, you're ready to be promoted to this class." screen, where the class might or might not have changed. The katakanas in the red square is the class the unit is going to be promoted into if you confirm.
Basically, to get the default promotion choice, either don't press anything or press Y. If the unit has a second promotion choice, you will get it by pressing X. And for the very few characters who have a third choice, that choice will be on R.
Lex's default option is to go for Great Knight. He gains offense-oriented, spread-out bonuses with +5 Str, +1 Skl, +1 Spd, +4 Def, +3 Res, +1 Mov, an A rank in Axes and a B rank in Swords.
His second choice is the newly-discovered Iron Knight class. The gains there are almost purely defensive with +4 Str, +7 Def, +5 Res, Great Shield, an A rank in Swords and Lances, and a B rank in Axes which is boosted to A by his minor Neir blood.
The caps and skills for Iron Knight are generally better for Lex. However, the only other candidate for the Great Knight promotion is Johan, while there are several other potential Iron Knights in both gens, so I'll stick to Lex's default choice for this playthrough, for the sake of variety.
That, and I hate having two units with the same map sprite in this game.
Anyways, back in the east, time to start blasting these guys with light magic.
HP, Str, Spd. What is wrong all this Strength?!
Skl, Str, Spd, Mgc. And now suddenly Azel is gaining good levels? What is going oooonnnn?
A few more casualties later, Quan goes and hires Beowolf with his wedding money.
Beowolf was changed to be a bit more swordy-like, trading one less Str for +1 in Skl and Spd, as well as +1 Res for the road. Just like his deceased Free Knight buddies, he's got an equal access to swords and axes. He also comes with his own sword.
You might remember the Beo Sword from FE5, an endgame weapon with high Mgt and Crit, and giving the deadly Ambush-Wrath combo. This weapon is less powerful, but still gives those skills. Just like in FE5, only Beowolf and his kids are able to use it, making it absolutely imperative to pair him with someone before gen 2.
All that's left to do before reaching Anphony is to get rid of these guards, and we should be gold.
Our foot units start relentlessly critting the armors that came at us, gaining minimal levels for it, with HP, Mag for Azel and HP, Skl for Holyn.
Then it's time for the mounted units to shine. Quan keeps impressing with great levels (HP, Skl, Str, Def) while Finn is keeping it simple (HP, Str, Lck).
A little bit of love, just to break up these leveling screens.
Ethlyn obtains a great HP, Skl, Str, Spd for her trouble. Alec tried to mimic her in style by critting too, but falls flat on the rest, with a bland HP, Skl level.
Meanwhile, Beowolf also decides to show off his shiny new sword with a critical. Looks like he also changed his shield, which was recolored from blue to green, for some reason.
One more level for Azel. HP, Spd, Lck? Glad to see you've returned to your usual levels, my dear mage friend.
And all that's left of the Anphony army is our tragic hero Macbeth, standing alone on his throne.
Now is actually a pretty good time to do some love grinding, as well as take care of a few other menial tasks, like collecting tax money from the villages, healing around, and trading items, so I'll be taking care of that between updates and show the results in Part 2.
See you then.