The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem: Binding Blade

by Melth

Part 14

Playing Through:

The bottom group starts walking. Gonzalez is in range to immediately lure one enemy.

Everyone else moves into position to be carried. Lalum was located in a horrible position given the strategy I wanted to use so there wasn’t much I could do with her. XP was XP so I had Shin wait in place and then she danced for him of course.

Time to move out.

Gale and Miledy pop up to have a largely pointless conversation. It’s a good thing Miledy didn’t overhear any of these soldiers talking about what Oro said. Come to think of it: why did anyone tell Oro that the princess had been captured in the first place? His job is running a mine that isn’t even on the same continent. He doesn’t need to know and telling more people about a secret like that is always dangerous.

In any case, Gale here is totally useless in this investigation.

“As you know, Gale, you’re one of the captains working directly under General Murdock.” This conversation is a really badly disguised and also totally pointless infodump.

And she goes on, narrating his whole life story to him. No wonder he looks so irritated in that picture!

Everything Miledy says in this conversation is largely nonsensical in-character. Out of character they’re just shoddily expositing a bunch of stuff about Gale’s personality and backstory which will NEVER pay off or be relevant to anything at all.

In the middle of the slugfest.

Then they just fly off. It looks even stupider when you realize they can see a slugfest unfolding below them- not to mention probably hear the screams of the dying miners right nearby- but they don’t react to or comment on any of that at all.

Getting back to things which are not totally out of place, Gonzalez owns everything. Here he is, fresh out of the box at level 5, and he can one-round kill fighters who are 12 levels above him! Rutger and Dieck can’t one-round kill these guys! What’s more, it takes three direct hits from a steel axe wielded by a guy 12 levels higher than him before he dies, and he even dodges really well. The man is some kind of idiot savant for killing people.

So I use the handaxe instead. Now there’s a high chance of the fellow surviving.

Then Lilina trades the iron axe back to the top of his list and finishes the hapless axe user herself.

Well that’s fantastic. And highly improbable. This is the worst Mag I’ve ever seen on Lilina. And yet this is the best Lilina I’ve ever seen.

Gonzalez dodged, so Saul is glad Lilina now has some damage to heal.

Stop the presses!

The top group unloads. Ranged people are dumped next to the wall.

Shin does a slightly non-standard drop.

This lets him pack in a bit better.

So I just transported 10 units into attack range of that wall in 2 turns , maintaining several of them in support formations, and leaving only my extremely strong and maximally supported Alan in range of most enemy attackers. This is looking good.

Gonzalez one-rounds a fighter 3x his level.

He gains 60 XP!

Classic Gonzalez!

Everyone else… fares a bit worse. They all missed. Every single one of them missed every attack. And we got hit. Well that’s a serious setback.
Still, the strategy can’t be changed now. I’ll take care of the bottom group while figuring these guys out.

In retrospect I made a sub-optimal decision here. I wanted to slow down and give Lilina some more kills so I had Gonzalez stop short and equip a handaxe.

Gonzalez then proceeded to miss repeatedly so I wound up stuck or slowed in this chokepoint for a LONG time and actually in danger since the enemies had time to build up their local numbers. This move really hurt my progress for the rest of the chapter.

Four people firing on that wall is not enough. But that’s what the dancer is here for.

So now, on turn 3, the wall falls. That is the fastest possible break time. See, the classic “advanced” strategy for this map is to bring out Zealot and Marcus. With 8 move, they can actually both start attacking it on turn 2.

Give Zealot the Devil Axe and Marcus a handaxe and you can inflict 43 damage per turn (or a bit more if they’re leveled). If you had a 3rd person with good movement and a ranged weapon following, this means you can break the wall partway through turn 4. As you can see, that’s not only slower than my strategy but also forces you to bring along totally inferior units when you have a really limited number on this chapter.

I shouldn’t need to do this; this archer shouldn’t even be alive- let alone uninjured. And if Rutger doesn’t get the crit, I’m actually going to have to restart and try something new since I MUST break through now.

It worked. Dieck and Treck run in too, and now the bridgehead is established. That’s the turn.

Treck continues to be pretty good.

Everyone else has a handaxe, so no other enemies are damaged. No natural counter to mass-handaxes even exists in the game, and the best normal response that does exist (mass-handaxes right back at them) isn’t an option at this stage.

Another level that would be great on anyone else goes to waste on Gonzalez. The thing is, he’s going to cap Str and HP no matter what and speed too eventually. I don’t care if he gains no HP and Str for the next 13 levels. What I need is skill and def.

Shin rides through the breach and opens fire.

Dieck opens this path up too.

Rutger is again forced to resort to his killing edge and he gets a fairly mediocre level with it. Oh well, at least he’s getting fast again. Mine has been too slow to double things for waaaay too long.

Treck takes this potshot just to prevent the archers from moving into that alley and blocking me from running through next turn.

Lot opens up the other side.

Finally, some Def on the guy who’s supposed to be a tank.

There’s not actually a whole lot else to do, so Lalum just lets Clarine heal again. That’s the turn.

By this point I’ve realized my mistake on the bottom front and have been trying to correct it to no avail. Finally I have my chance with the first enemy slow enough for Lilina to double.

Gonzalez used an iron axe to finish a second fighter for the accuracy. Saul now trades him back his handaxe and prepares to draw fire himself.

Shin gets a very nice level firing away at the few remaining enemies on the right.

Alan moves away from his supporters so he can leave this target alive for Treck.

Everyone else mostly just swarms in. But I know Klein is coming so Clarine rushes south with some dancing help, then Lance and Roy drop Lalum after her.

Uh oh

Apparently he hasn’t actually noticed the alliance army is here yet. Someone has to inform him of that later. This happens even if you’ve already attacked him. Clearly the writers did NOT plan on people smashing open the wall and getting in here on turn 3.

Why are the random henchman always the voice of reason?

I love it.

Meanwhile, Klein shows up with Tate and the others. He’s noticed us at least.

Here’s Arcard’s unbelievable official story again.

No, that would take like 20 turns. It would be even sillier to expect her to attack from the northwest. Afterall, that’s the complete-opposite side of the map and the side the Lycian army is coming from and thus probably based at.

Somehow she does it anyway. In 2 turns.

What? No you don’t. Thany isn’t even here. Anyway, they talk about Thany for a while. To make sure the player tries to use Thany to recruit Tate. Which does not work. For no reason except to force people who don’t know that to restart once again.

Have I mentioned my tangent recently?

I know they’re trying to tell us that we can use Clarine to recruit him and that’s important to get across, but this conversation is nonsensical in character. They sized up the situation, made their plan, were ready to attack, and then he randomly brought up first her sisters who he has no reason to believe are present and then his own.

I’m not sure how he doesn’t know she’s with the Lycian army by now.

Tate flies off and this random soldier reminds Klein that Arcard- who apparently micromanages his generals in the field- wanted them to let the Ilians do most of the dying.

Klein turns that down.

Obviously not. Someone finally notices that the official story is absurd and contradicts all evidence. You know, come to think of it, unless they planned on killing GENERAL Klein here and now, sending him here was an absolutely horrible idea. He’ll see the awful conditions in the mines and that they’re working with bandits to pillage their own towns and that will be it for them.

Lilina gets a generic Lilina level.

Gonzalez gets a generic Gonzalez level.

And Saul heals Gonzalez up. The bottom front struggle continues.

Meanwhile, there’s not much to do up top so people spread out and grab villages.

The villagers keep complaining about how poor and oppressed they are as every one of them casually hand you items worth 8000 gold. That’s more than the war funds you’ve given by kings in some of these games.

Klein’s forces are coming and because Klein stands back on the first turn, I need to pull at least one archer out of the way with Roy as bait.

Notice those cave things on the right. At first I assumed they were the mines, but apparently they’re just bandit caves. So where ARE the mines?

No, seriously. What even happened to the mines? The whole reason for coming here is that this is the center of the biggest mining operation in the isles and that the miners are dying in droves as slaves in horrible conditions in the giant mines and Echidna is here to save them. And then… not only no mines but no miners! No one even acknowledges their existence! The villagers are definitely just random villagers who think their taxes are too high, not a one even MENTIONS mining. Nor does Oro, the one who runs the mines, in any of his minion conversations.

And no one talks about liberating the miners like we came here to do. Nor do any of the visitors like Miledy or Gale seem to be at all aware that there’s a giant and horrible mining operation going on here.

It’s really weird. I don’t even know whether to call it a plot hole or an oversight or what. Some kind of epic fail by the writers though.

Well the bandits appear, making sure that this isn’t any kind of trick or anything.

Truer words have never been spoken.

This message is way too late to matter. See, you get this at the beginning of your turn, which is after the bandits’ first turn. That means you have 1 turn between this message and the bandits destroying the villages. You are either in position already or you are not.

Roy’s baiting the archer worked perfectly. Now because of that and because I used rescue-dropping to get both Lalum and Clarine south, I can reach Klein without killing any archers. That’s sillily complicated. But more importantly, there’s no way to do it without already knowing in advance just when and where he spawns and who can recruit him as well as EXACTLY how he and his archers move and that you need to keep them alive.

Wait, what?

Klein, remember, is already suspicious that what Arcard told him is a lie.

Clarine is still a shallow idiot. His hair IS kind of messy though.

Best response since Rutger just walking away.

So they hash out the truth with some more questions and he joins up.

The archers turn green at last.

Klein runs north fast. He needs to move a long way to talk to Tate. Meanwhile, Roy moves into range to get the bandit to attack him.

More villages.

The last enemy in the area is finally killed. That took too long due to the alleyway wait; my plan to have this group smash through the wall and visit the bottommost villages is in trouble. And now Tate pops up.

That’s not southward.

Another village.

How would you like ALL THE MONEY?

Klein winds up with a real bow. Lot has aggroed this one shaman near Oro who for some reason doesn’t move when the left one does. The shaman dodged 6 attacks, so now he’s fleeing.

Shin gets a lousy level finishing the top bandit.

Dieck does much better with the shaman.

And support.

This wonky formation including nearly 100% of my force is all to trap and restrain the 3 fighters who are about to appear. If you do not either commit your whole army to this or carry those green idiots, they WILL die.

Uh. We’ve got YOU surrounded. The entire garrison is dead to the last man already!

Preeeeetty sure they’ve been freed by now.

Anyway, they have no good targets to attack and Roy gets a nice level off the remaining south bandit.

Far too late, Gonzalez starts working on that giant wall.

As does Lilina of course.

So I’ve set up this whole bait thing with Clarine (at this point I didn’t know the enemy would ignore her to attack people who could kill them instead).

Lalum recruits Echidna before she can do something like kill one of the pegasus knights.

I see trouble coming, so I’ve decided to start picking these idiots up.

I also don’t want any axe users swinging at Clarine, so Lance opens a spot for Treck to block for her.

Pretty good. My Lance is doing roughly average or slightly above.

Dude, ALL your men are dead. Every single one of them. We killed one guy right in front of you. We could have killed you by now if we weren’t busy looting your town. All you have left are reinforcements from elsewhere.

We’ve been parading through your streets. Why has no one noticed till now?

A message has also arrived from Arcard or Roartz or someone. Marquess is perhaps not the ideal translation of Nord’s title.

The letter goes on to trot this line out again.


Now this is a big deal. Of course, just knowing reinforcements are coming doesn’t help. Their direction and troop composition and how long till they arrive is totally unknown and no one could possibly have predicted how hugely powerful they would be. I mean, the second wave has one guy in it who’s stronger than the boss with another 7 uber guys for backup. And it’s not even from the same direction as the first one.

Not bad, Def is nice.

The pegasus knights have scattered, some already ignoring Clarine, though most had no other targets in range. I’ve got to haul those archers out of the way before Tate there kills one.

It’s become clear that the AI is not behaving normally, though the details aren’t obvious yet. I decided to back up and put up a screen around the vulnerable Lalum while keeping Clarine exposed. All but one person can easily hit her. And the bottom one should go for Roy, who’s half dead and can’t harm them back.

And only one turn after the letter, 8 cavaliers arrive from the direction of our base somehow.

And they split up. Uh oh.

Klein recruits Tate. Now you can see in this picture that only one pegasus (the one who couldn’t go for anyone else) went for Clarine. One went for Echidna. Who is wielding an axe, at full health, and would have definitely killed it if her speed wasn’t penalized by the steel axe.

On the bottom, one went for Treck- who could almost certainly kill it, and would take barely any damage at all- instead of Roy who was half dead and could definitely not kill it. And it used its javelin at 1 range to ensure it was hit. I was only spared from having to restart by Treck missing once.

This is where I began to grasp the full scope of the malfeasance of the designers of this level. So at this point I save stated, rewound a few turns, and experimented with different formations. Sure enough, Tate’s group tries to get killed instead of trying to kill your units as far as I can tell. They definitely don’t have the usual priorities of focusing down people they can do high damage to or kill and they actively work to get themselves counterattacked.

Saul visits the last village in the area Gonzalez and Lilina are in.

This of course is a reference to a very similar village girl giving out free samples of elixirs on chapter 7.

Very handy.

These two get their support.


And he’s never been thanked for anything. That’s almost as sad as being driven out of villages with rocks.

Expression? Gratitude? The guy has trouble speaking at all. Lilina may not have figured that out yet.

Actually a good level for Clarine as she does some heal grinding.

The danger averted, everyone runs up and dumps the archers. I misremembered their exit point so I put them here instead of in the alley, but it doesn’t really matter anyway.

Gonzalez and Lilina scramble to get ready for the next wave.

The pegasi decided to fly north, into danger, rather than rightish into safety. Now I need to defend them.

Look at this guy. Level 19? I don’t even have people above 15 other than Lance and Alan, who I try not to even use anymore. And he’s got a ton of HM bonuses on top of that and a killer lance.

Only Alan and Lance can stand firm against these guys. They rush to block the group coming along the top before they reach the pegasi, and Alan gets another excellent level.

Shin finishes the next one. This is actually a pretty standard HM shin. Slight luck boost.

More heals!

More supports! The bulk of the army is moving south as far as they can to try to intercept Robart. I originally planned to have Lot start off on the forest with the halberd to mow down all the little guys in one turn, but that plan fell apart when he sextuple-missed the shaman.

I’m also getting in position to deal with the bandits.

Wow, that’s a ludicrously bad level for this guy.

A bunch of cavaliers actually changed direction, which is really bad for me because now Lance and Alan are pinned down when I REALLY want to be rushing them south instead of having them hang out here. But I know that pegasus is going to choose to fly straight north into their range.

All for want of a horseshoe nail with me not being aggressive enough with Gonzalez on that one turn, my whole meticulous plan for the bottom front is now a shambles and I’m just running around fighting fires and trying to get everything done quickly.

Gonzalez and Lilina were supposed to have broken through the southern wall several turns before they did, but instead got pinned in an alley. Which means that the bottom villages are un-visited. And can’t be visited until these cavaliers are dealt with and then only with several turns of walking. So I need to get Tate down there fast to do the visits. But first, having taken the white gem and also some stat-boosters previously, she runs over to do some shopping.

Unfortunately, this store has no swords. I’ve been using more of those than I expected since Oujay and Fir turned out so well. Oh well, I picked up some other handy things including a slim lance for Thany, whose only one broke a while back. Those things are hard to come by.

Lilina and Gonzalez eventually finish these cavaliers.


Lalum gets a bad level as she does more XP-grinding.

But from a totally different direction! And led by a guy even stronger than you! No mention of that is made of course. Just knowing reinforcements are coming is not much help, though it’s better than nothing. You can’t just run everyone away from every map edge. And even that wouldn’t always help since in this game enemies more than once just poof out of thin air in the middle of a map.

More bandits are now pouring out. This is unwarned and there’s no reason to expect it after 6 turns of nothing. It’s a great trap since it’s likely that one will be casually walking healers around and having weak people grind support in what looks like safety here in town.

Treck is owning the south ones actually, but the top ones are trouble because my whole force is either hurrying down to deal with Robart or still dealing with the pesky top cavaliers who dodged everything for too long.

More heals.

More Treck fighting.

Nice. This Treck is seriously strong and decent or slightly good all around. I really had no idea what to expect, having never used him before.

Shin and Echidna take time from running south to thin the herd of north bandits before they become a real problem.

Now there’s a good Shin level.

Lance and Alan finally finish the top cavaliers. They’re going to be waaaay too late to deal with Robart now, so they may as well just go for Oro.

So next turn they get started on that.

Klein goes shopping instead. Got to buy more heal staves and maybe some more fire tomes.

Robart’s men have appeared and then split up. Which once again causes trouble for the bottom flank, but would have been no problem if not for that whole alley thing long ago. Now I can’t get to those villages for several MORE turns. Tate moves to lure this fighter who doesn’t otherwise move out of range.

And Gonzalez and Lillina are forced to scramble back further away from the goal, barely screening Saul.

Alright, time for the show. Echidna runs up and takes Lot’s handaxe and weakens this guy with it.

Shin finishes him.

I can’t deal with that last bandit now, so Lalum just flees and dances for the slow cavaliers instead.

This line is the best defense I can put together, but it’s just not good enough. Ultimately there is no option when dealing with Robart and this many javelineers but to pray for at least one miss or AI blunder. The chances are GOOD, but they’re not perfect, and I don’t like to be peddling strategies that don’t work 100% of the time.

Tate gets the Orion’s Bolt.

Treck kills the last south brigand.


Robarts is completely OP, wrecking his highly leveled and stat-blessed natural counter despite maximum possible weapon disadvantage.

Rutger can’t double him.

But he CAN scrape together enough damage with the killing edge to finish him off. That’s pretty much the ideal level up on any unit right there.

Lance kills the second-last north bandit, Lalum dances for him, then he picks her up.

And drop. That’s always a clever-feeling kind of operation.

Not bad odds, I’ll let him attack me though.

Oro continues to be great.

Next turn. The very last brigand is mopped up.

Well that sucks.

Best death quote from the best boss.

Anyway, I could have Tate visit the last village and then win right now. On turn 17 I believe it is. That’s nearly ideal since the last bandit spawned on enemy 15 and was thus killable on player turn 16. However, there are still 3 guys alive due to the annoying enemy tactics in the bottom area and I want to do some heal grinding too.

Best Alan ever.

Lalum is dropped along so she can let Clarine heal 2x per round.

This situation really is a problem. Tate can’t fight anything. Saul is injured. The enemy is spread out. And that darned halberd fighting doesn’t move unless I’m in range, so I have to do all the work of walking to him.

Lilina is doing fantastic this chapter!

Well skill and luck. Those are important for this guy!

So I THINK I can finish every enemy next turn, barring a ton of misses or more of the enemy being weird.

When I win the level I’m going to get a Hero Crest and I happen to know Merlinus is full from shopping, so I need Roy to have an empty inventory space.

Clarine sucks. This is not news.

I’ve really been massing heals, usually 2 per turn. Her staff is nearly broken. It started this chapter full.

Ugh, actually the bottom group is STILL fighting.

But they’re finally done and I’m ready to get the last village.

And Treck arrives to do some support grinding while I do the last few heals.

There. Could have done that ages ago, but I wanted Tate baiting or fighting.

Another turn later, Clarine gives the final heal.

Turn 22 win.

Nice to meet you. Now open your eyes; it’s weird that you go around with them shut all the time. Apparently he was temporarily blinded in the past, but he’s definitely not blind most of the time now. And there are several FE characters who are definitely not blind who go around with their eyes shut all the time, which is just silly.

Elphin asks Roy why he helped the villagers, defying his orders. Roy explains his position.

And Cecilia already knows. Plus loads of other people potentially. Letting him freely send letters to the mainland was a terrible idea.

I would hope so. It was really, really obviously weird and not the best way to solve their bandit problem. At all.

Yeah, it’s really obviously some kind of trap for Roy + chance to leave Lycia exposed. Leaving Lycia unguarded was an unbelievably terrible idea for Roy with Bern right there and ready to attack.

Roy is as dumb as a bag of dumb though. Thankfully, his enemies are almost all stupider yet.

This… should not be a surprise to anyone. We knew they were traitors. We knew this was all their plot. Cecilia told us this was their doing on turn 9. We’ve known this was a trap for us and they’ve been spreading lies about us forever now. And Bern is the only place that benefits from Lycia being unable to defend themselves. But no, somehow Roy has never thought of this and is shocked at it. So is Merlinus.

… … … Yes it would. You’re a smart cookie, Roy.

Now Elphin tries to goad us into leaving.

Roy says he won’t leave because then the people of the western isles would have no one to help them. Nevermind that he’s in charge of the whole army of his homeland and is sworn to defend them and already did a ton to help the resistance here. And nevermind that if Bern takes Lycia, they’ll surely beat Etruria eventually- particularly if Etruria is being run by traitors already. No, Roy’s going to shirk his duty and his good sense to stay here where he can be easy trapped deep in enemy territory.

That’s the opposite of what you’ve seen. Roy has been mind-bendingly dumb through this whole conversation.

Yeah, Elphin is kind of a jerk.

He’s not. He says he’ll join us, but he pretty much just hangs around in the break room all day with his eyes shut.

Time to finally make a plan.

And the plan is to just rush at the capital and kill the Etrurian forces there. Just crazy enough to work.

I’m pretty sure I plundered it really.

Sweet, more loot. And apparently the wall is back. They repaired that fast.

Why don’t they give him back his arrow if one of them dies? Nevermind that actually, why did he have them keep it to begin with? It’s worth a zillion gold.

Mostly useless of course. I already have one and most archers/nomads are awful.

Now we’re talking.

This one will come in handy.

And that’s the chapter. I killed every single enemy, visited every single village, recruited everyone, saved every single green unit, found time to shop, ground some support, and still could have won 8 turns under time. Instead I spent 5 more turns doing some healing and more supporting. So I achieved every single possible objective and still came in 3 turns under time. Without using a single promoted unit. Also I got 30 levels when I only need using low level people.

So yeah, that’s a resounding victory on all fronts. I could have done better probably, but I absolutely hate this chapter and I never, ever intend to play it again.

It’s really remarkable how bad they managed to make it. It’s not even like 8 where they clearly just had no idea what they were doing or how slow-paced and boring things would be. No, they put in a ton of effort to engineer this chapter to be as wretched and frustrating and guess-and-checky as possible. Someone should be flogged for this.

Total Restarts: 3 (I never lost! Though only because Treck missed that pegasus knight who stupidly attacked him)
Turn Surplus: -4 (Making progress even on an awful chapter. I could have actually gone to positives here).
Things I Regret Missing: A couple of uses of Marcus’s silver lance on Rude, a Chapter 5 nomad Marcus had to kill