Part 11: Chapter 10 and The War Room Part 9 (Evaluating Lyn's Mode Preparations)
Here we go, the final battle of Lyns story! Spears shall be shaken; shields shall be splintered!
Lundgrens forces are depleted, his allies have deserted him, and Lyns warrior band is stronger than ever with the addition of Wallace. Lundgren himself is formidable, but the real enemy now is time. Will Marquess Caelin still be alive when Lyn finds him or has her whole journey been for naught?
I find it interesting to note that even now when she knows about all his crimes against his brother and his people, Lyn is still not waging this battle to stop Lundgren. All that matters to her is that she be reunited with the only family she has left. Thats what this whole journey has been about since Bulgar.
Battle Preparations & the Map:
Theres not much to say or do here. Theres no limit to the number of characters you can bring to this chapter and there are no enemies in the wrong place who could attack someone with an expensive weapon, so theres no reason not to just bring everyone.
I did, however thoroughly check the numbers on my total assets to make sure I have as much as I need. Hearkening back to The War Room, Part 1, you may recall me explaining why I was choosing to focus so heavily on Sain and on saving money. My goal is to functionally save 10,000 in Hectors story by promoting Sain now, to make Florina much more viable by giving her several levels and the angelic robe, and to still boost my Hectors story funds by a further 20,000 by ending Lyns story with 32,000 or more in assets so that she rejoins with a White Gem.
In order for this to work, the magic number of assets I need to have before using the Knight Crest (worth 10,000) and the Angelic Robe (worth 8,000) is 50,000. If I have < 50,000 then Ill need to either not promote Sain or not give Florina +7 HP or to say the hell with it and give Florina the Energy Ring too and give up on the White Gem entirely.
51,739! Victory! As long as I spend less than 1739 gold on weapons and vulneraries and whatnot used up this level, Ive accomplished all my goals!
Here it is, the biggest map of Lyns story. Although its large and full of rough terrain there are really no surprises here except the weather. Every couple of turns it will start to rain, which roughly halves everyones movement speed. Then 2 turns later it will switch back to sun again.
Oh and some decently strong cavaliers spawn from that fortress in the bottom left one at a time.
If I was trying to beat this chapter fast or very inexpensively (For example, if I had 50,300 or something funds), I would have positioned everyone completely differently and used Florina and Nils to dump Sain southwest of the top left fortress on turn 1 with a lance equipped. Hed immediately kill the knight and could then attack Lundgren on turn 2, kill him by 4 or 5, and then stand on the cavalier spawn point (the cavaliers spawn even if Lundgren dies). Then Florina can run back and grab Lyn while Nils blocks the bridge. Florina can ninja into the village from the south for the energy ring after eating the angelic robe on the way and Sain can use the Knight Crest just before Lyn beats the level. That is the best cost-saving way to approach it if youre really short on funds. If even that isnt going to be enough, Promote Sain early and give him an iron axe on turn 1 and then rescue drop him and have him fight with that. Hell win in fewer hits with a cheaper weapon.
My first try of this strategy some months ago came down to +8 gold, so you can see Ive gotten better at saving funds on my second run through.
But Ive got plenty of funds, so Im going to take it slow and just feed every enemy to Sain as I slowly walk down.
A minor character indeed, I dont even remember him making an appearance next time you have some adventures in Caelin. He also happens to look the same as a man of similar status in Santuruz next year.
He was one of those faithful retainers who Lundgren had imprisoned, but now that Lundgren is gone hes been freed and he immediately starts helping Lyn.
The royal house of Caelin has no need of a Sacaean mongrel! Lungren, Chapter 10
Here he is at last, the architect of all Lyns troubles and the second biggest twerp in the game after Marquess Araphen.
Lundgren is one of my favorite characters in the whole series. Hes a credible, interesting, cool, but despicable villain. You can understand his motives and his schemes and you can see where they went wrong for him. And he looks awesome. His battle sprite has my favorite color scheme of any knight or general I can think of, as youll see later.
You could really tell a lot of good, 10 chapter Fire Emblem stories about characters going up against petty, locally powerful villains like Lundgren who dont have world-destroying schemes or power. And they would probably be more interesting and engaging than a lot of the bloated, globe-trotting tales of a bland hero liberating every country in the world from the invincible army of an evil king and then fighting a dragon which this series is littered with.
Now how is my favorite villain in battle?
His weapons are seriously good and his stats are high enough that only a few characters have a chance against him. Generally they are Wallace, Sain, Kent, and Dorcas. And the latter 3 only if theyre very well leveled or wielding anti-knight weapons. The Hammer from 7x in particular will reduce Lundgren to pulp in seconds. Even an un-leveled Dorcas could beat Lundgren with that monstrosity if he had the weapon ranking to wield it.
All in all, I think hes an appropriately strong final boss for a tutorial. Hell wreck you if you dont know what youre doing, but hell crumple like aluminum foil if you hit him with any kind of solid tactics.
But itll be many turns till I reach him, and Sain has a bunch of people to eat on the way.
Sain runs over the nearby enemies and gains another fantastic level. Classic my Sain.
Its mostly Nils and Sain handling everything with a few others just walking along behind, so Nils gets his 7th and final level-up. 19xx here I come!
Halfway through the chapter, the second rainstorm begins. You can see it divides Sains functional movement by about 3. Moving over houses, armories, bridges, etc. is full speed through. Infantry movement is just halved or so instead. Same for nomads I think, but I didnt bother checking. Rain and snow are nuisances, but theyre really rare.
Florina checks out the vendor. This is the only time in the story you can buy or acquire a second Lightning tome for Lucius, which makes him rather hard to train beyond the first few levels.
And heres the armory, specializing in anti-knight weapons. Of the three, the Hammer is pretty unambiguously the best. For one thing, the way super-effective weapons work means that high Might is what you really want on them. For another, knights and generals really struggle against axes but have countermeasures for swords and lances. Sain doesnt need any of this of course.
And a few easy kills later, Im fighting Lundgren. Remember how he had both a silver lance and a javelin? Well even in the hands of a fairy weak enemy like Lundgren, Silver Lances dish out ferocious damage, so you want to keep Lundgren using his Javelin whenever possible. Also look at his awesome violet and gold armor.
Sain rejects Lundgrens admittedly pretty generous offer. He could almost certainly have become a general and Lundgrens second in command, but he values his friendship with Kent and Lyn more.
The stubborn fool doesnt even hear Lundgren out.
Lyn puts on her rarely seen angry face. Other than that, this is pretty much her standard attitude toward people in her way. Youll notice shes unarmed. This is partly so that Lundgren will definitely attack her rather than Sain and therefore keep his useless javelin equipped and partly so that he wont enjoy a weapon triangle advantage.
I pledged to do no gate grinding, so I attacked Lundgren full tilt with Sain until his iron lance broke. Lundgren got fairly lucky and dodged quite a few attacks, so the fight went on longer than it should have.
Oh and a pretty sweet level, though nothing unusual.
Thats a wrap for Lundgren.
Holy cow. Best. Sain. Ever. He really rewarded the trust I put in him by focusing so heavily on him. Take it from me though, even an average Sain is pretty great and worth a serious investment.
Florina eats the angelic robe.
And Sain promotes! Hes about 5 seconds from slamming into his caps for Strength and Speed.
The level is over once Lyn steps onto the gate, now the storys ending begins.
The sprites and portraits in this game really have a lot of personality. And this scene gets me every time. Partly its the unique little tune that plays here and only here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJf0JiRWAY0
Undoubtably my favorite painting in the game, I think it really captures how emotional their meeting is perfectly.
And then this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXNPp0SylJY
You cant really appreciate this game just reading the script somewhere or looking at a few screenshots, the ensemble of the art and the music and the dialogue and the experience of having shared some of the difficulty of the protagonists journey is what really gives it its power. If you havent played this game, do yourself a favor and do so sometime. Its not perfect, but its definitely a worthwhile experience.
Leaving her grandfather to his physician, Lyn returns to her waiting troops.
Some will stay and some will go. Some might never be seen again. Wallace for one.
But not Market.
As if the main theme wasnt great enough, we get this arrangement throughout the epilogue- same as well hear weeks from now when Hectors story is finished as well.
Certainly not me, little though I used him.
Ninety-six kills. I hope he at least washed off the gore before going back to flirt with the local ladies.
My Sain vs Average: -.4 HP, +.2 Str, +1.7 Skil, +4.8 Spd, -2.3 Luck, +1.4 Def, +.4 Res. Net +5.8 compared to average and extremely well-distributed. One can only dream of Sains like this normally.
Ugh. Its like her only personality traits are codependence and misandry
But she turned out well:
My Florina vs Average: -.6 HP, +.6 Str, +1 Skill, +1.7 Speed, -1 Luck, -.9 Def, +.9 Res. Net +1.7 over averages, not huge but its well distributed for her benefit.
Throughout the epilogue, all the great paintings from the story are shown along with a few new ones.
For example, heres Lyn about to wreck Lundgren with a little help from Lucius, Matthew, and Wallace. Of the 4 of them, only Wallace belongs anywhere near that silver lance.
I keep telling you, man, that Raven is no good for you!
My Lyn vs Average: +.8 HP, +.6 Str, -.6 Skill, -.6 Spd, +1.7 Lck, +1.8 Def, +2.2 Res. Net +5.9 over averages. If Sain wasnt even crazier, wed have been raving about this Lyn non-stop. She actually was luckier than him overall, it just doesnt matter because she sucks regardless and the luck wasnt in the best possible areas like his was. All in all though, these guys all shaped up great.
Well thats that for Lyns story. Its really, really easy and that can make the actual levels boring as people have pointed out, but I, for one, have never stopped enjoying it overall. I have pointed out numerous flaws and questionable design choices along the way, but I think Ive also made a good case that this is still one of the better done parts of any FE game. The dialogue is generally top-notch, the art has a level of character and attention to detail that one rarely sees even in modern games with far better graphics, the music is beautiful, and the story told is interesting, well-written, and self-contained while still tying in to the rest of the game. And the ending is very satisfying
The War Room, Part 9:
Surprise! Were not done here just yet.
A great run of HHM starts with a well-thought out run of Lyns hard mode, so I'm going to talk about how to evaluate your Lyn's mode playthrough in preparation for HHM.
Let me lay out for you the goals I had in mind in Lyns story and how I accomplished them. As you prepare for your own runs, figure out what your own goals are and only use my strategies exactly if our goals are exactly the same:
1) Play ALL of Hectors Hard Mode. If you wish to do every single level of HHM, then you MUST get Nils to level 7 in Lyns story. This means you must spend at least 60 turns grinding him up. As I outlined in The War Room Part 7, this basically means you cannot max rank Lyn's story.
2) Play fairly. This means no gate-grinding to get infinite XP from Lundgren or Eagler, no using the mine glitch (its possible without mines), and no abusing the RNG to get perfect level-ups.
3) Play Linuss version of Four-Fanged Offense. I strongly prefer that version myself, but if you like Lloyds then be my guest and prep for that one instead. In that case you may wish to consider keeping Lyn level 2 and giving someone else you like her XP instead.
4) Make max ranking Tactics easier in HHM by powering up characters who make winning levels fast easy. That mostly means at least one of the cavaliers and definitely Florina.
5) Make max ranking Funds easier in HHM by promoting someone good in Lyns story so that they dont need to be promoted in Hectors story. This could be Kent or- if for some reason you actually like Wallace- Wallace, but Sain is better for my playstyle and probably for yours as well.
6) Make max ranking Funds easier in HHM by ensuring Lyn starts with a White Gem, the most valuable possible item.
I put it to you that if you have those goals, the approach I took here is the best strategy conceivable for Lyns story.
I managed to get Sain to a tremendously high level 19 before promoting him while still giving Florina and Lyn a respectable head start of 6 levels gained each. By the level he got to, Sain was gaining something like 4 XP per kill from enemies and most of his later levels came from feeding him every single boss except Batta and Carjiga (it IS feasible to give him Carjiga if you want I suppose). This means that getting him to level 20 while not gate grinding would require taking about 25 more kills, which would leave Lyn and Florina at level 4 or something. Probably not worth it.
I got Nils to level 7 but did not over-level him. This means that he has lots of room to grow (and pump my XP score) in HHM.
Having reached level 7, Lyn is a good deal closer to the level she has to get to to unlock Linuss Four-Fanged Offense.
Some more levels on Florina would have been nice, but probably not worth the permanent cost to Sain. She too was gaining very little XP per kill at this point so raising her higher would have been hard. 6-9 is a good level range for her since it makes her strong enough to be immediately useful (especially with the angelic robe) while still leaving her lots of room to grow and boost your XP score.
Giving Florina the Angelic Robe and Sain the Knight Crest and not using the Energy Ring is probably the best possible item distribution for max ranking HHM. Lyn or Lucius or even Sain can also put the +7 HP from the angelic robe to good use, but of the 4 of them Sain and Florina are the ones who need to be charging at huge speed ahead of your allies to let you get max ranking. And unlike Florina, Sain has decent defenses and hitpoints to begin with. Meanwhile the +2 Str for Lyn or Florina is very nice, but using it in addition to the Knight Crest and Angelic Robe will drop your funds to 33,000 or so down to 25,000 or so which means Lyn will join with a Red Gem instead of a White Gem. This costs you 15,000 gold. +2 Str isnt worth 15,000 gold on anyone. It also isnt worth 10,000 gold + waiting an extra 2 levels to promote Sain, the cost of not using the Knight Crest in Lyns story. And few people would argue that +2 Str is > +7 HP on Florina. Particularly considering Florina will nearly hit her Str cap anyway. Meanwhile, Lyn cannot be promoted in a max ranking run because she costs double. Lyn is nice, but shes not twice as good as the other good units. This means investing heavily in her with angelic robes or energy rings is a poor choice to begin with.
You might consider also giving a few levels to someone else (at a cost of Sain probably finishing at level 18). This could be worth it depending on who you go with. Lucius and Erk are both very nice characters, but theyre also both perfectly viable to start training in HHM at level 1. Kent is decent, but probably not as useful as Sain or Lowen so probably not worth an investment. Wil is atrocious. Dorcas grows very, very badly but starts off pretty solid. This means investing more XP in him is a pretty poor idea most of the time. Serra is a necessary evil and will never be a good combat unit in a max ranking run no matter what you do with her. Leveling Matthew a few times does admittedly make some of the early chapters of HHM considerably easier so its not a bad idea. Generally speaking though, I find hes juuuuuust good enough as it is. Rath is a great unit if you can promote him, but terrible up until then because hes bow-locked. And he starts so high level that you cant improve him much regardless. Other than that, theres just Wallace. Would ANYONE argue that trying to level up Wallace more is a good idea?
So in conclusion I believe that the item and XP distribution shown here is just about the best one for max ranking HHM while doing every single chapter.
But so that you can make your own modifications while still getting the White Gem, let me post my final assets. The chart uploaded before was the total value of all my stuff before I began Chapter 10 but with the Energy Ring (the only loot on Chapter 10 added in). My assets were decreased from there by needing to use iron lances to kill enemies.
So I finished with a total of 33,497. This is a margin of error of approximately 1500. Thats plenty of breathing room to have Sain use iron swords instead of lances, to let Florina fight things she can only kill in 3 hits with her iron lance, etc. But remember, that 1500 surplus after using the Angelic Robe and Knight Crest is the maximum possible really. I NEVER used a vulnerary or a heal or a torch or a single charge of magic and I had Sain stupidly fight with iron lances against brigands almost all the time. And I used Door Keys instead of lockpicks whenever possible and stole everything. If you do not steal anything on 7x, you WILL fail to get the white gem because youll be at -500 from your goal. Even if, for example, you used Dorcas instead of Sain at all times to take advantage of that tiny savings, you would still fail. So steal on 7x. Steal everything.
That 1500 margin of error also means you could actually use up a whole heal staff easily or chug a vulnerary or two. But still, dont go overboard. It doesnt take many little expenses here and there to add up to 1500 and then all your work was for nothing.
Alright, I think thats all you need to know to get the most out of your Lyns mode preparation. Crit a brigand for me!