Part 41: Chapter 28 (part 2)Playing Through:
Many- but not all- fighters on this level have swordreavers or swordslayers. This is one of your most important advantages for purposes of training weak characters. Make sure you check who actually has a swordreaver and who just has an iron axe or the like though.
And Lowen gets the kill that Fiora handed him.
Nice! My Lowen is pretty good in Str and Def, though hes not so special anywhere else.
And Canas uses the torch on that spot to scout the whole rest of the top right forces. Notice the exact spot that I used that on, it will turn out to matter later.
Thats what Im up against. Not many real threats there once I kill that hero.
Speaking of which, Ninian buffs Heath for the fight.
If this hero was 1 speed slower I could be one round killing him with a short spear, and if Heath was average in Str I might be able to just kill him with this javelin now. Oh well, it doesnt matter. See the hero goes before the bishop and hell be reduced to a mere 5 HP. Even Lowen with his javelin can actually deal that much damage, so hes going to die.
Or that could happen. Ok, didnt expect that one. Sorry Lowen, no kill for you.
NEVERMIND, LOWEN, IM NOT SORRY!
So theres my exact formation. Because one fighter has a hammer and one has a swordreaver, one of them will likely go for Fiora while the other will target Lowen. The mage has no choice but to attack someone armed with a javelin with the result that all of these enemies will be dead or badly injured for Lowen to finish off next time.
On the left side, Matthew uses his torch since Im going to need vision and hes going to be busy in many future turns.
Sain opens the door.
And Priscilla and Kent can grab and drop Matthew and crowd in behind Sain- after Kent gives Sain that vulnerary.
This is the entirety of the left side enemy forces I have to beat. Not too impressive is it? For some reason, that mage will actually begin heading south, the top fighter will go north, and the bottom one cant make up his mind. Maxime stays put till you enter his range.
So Zephiel wakes up and makes a good strategic decision, claiming a pillar and not rushing out into the enemy horde in hopes of finding a way out.
The swordreaver fighters are the main threat to Jaffar, but even they only do something between 5 and 7 damage to him on average. He kills two of them this turn.
And at the beginning of turn 2, a thief spawns. Thats very fast. Catching up to those guys is one of the main challenges.
As planned, Lowen- assisted by Ninian- kills the mage and the fighter. He now has a sword equipped so that that swordreaver fighter will want to go for him next instead of Hector or the like.
Fiora opens the door and I COULD move her to this space, but thats not necessarily a good idea. If she stays put then Canas can heal her and a few fewer enemies will aggro to her instead of Heath. Oh well, Im going to chance it.
Heath easily kills the bishop. And wait, he can keep moving! Thats not supposed to happen in this game. Heres why it works: that spot hes on is the one I used the torch on. On Eliwoods chapter 28 mounted units can keep moving after a kill if theyre on a lava tile and the same principle applies here. Doesnt matter much but its interesting.
Now I hadnt known that would happen and it actually changes things, so I restarted and did things pretty much the same except I did park Fiora one space further back:
Kent attacks the swordreaver fighter. If this guy had an iron axe and Kent was using an iron sword or something Kent would have like 60% odds of taking 16 or so damage so this wouldnt really be a winnable fight. If my Kent was a bit better, this would go much more easily.
And the others move in as best they can. Id have preferred to just kill that fighter and move Sain full speed ahead, but I can put up with this slight delay in the interest of training. This formation will ensure the fighter keeps hitting Kent while Matthew and Priscilla move up safely.
And on the bottom front, Jaffar is as usual up against no real threat. Even if every single enemy hits him, hell survive.
As planned, the fighter attacks Lowen and Lowen gets a fairly meh level.
Sain charges in, reaching the edge of Maximes aggro range, and equips a killer axe.
Id like to have Kent keep fighting till he gets this kill but he needs to keep moving, so Matthew will just weaken or kill the fighter now.
Darn, he got the kill. Oh well, I can still rescue drop Matthew in. This spot will keep him just out of the range of that fighter (since hes at 5 HP) and then Kent can move further in to aggro the fighter himself.
On the right front, Heath wiped out pretty much every single enemy as planned, so Lowen finishes off this knight.
I could heal Heath here, but instead Im going to physic Nino. Seems wasteful, right? Well its not. See, the enemy goes before Nino and will reduce her to 9 HP. She will drink her elixir if left at 9 HP or less. First of all, this costs 1000 instead of the 250 or so for a physic staff, so this is a good cost savings.
Second, theres a very slight (like 1% maybe depending on the monks exact skill level) chance of him critting and instant killing her if I dont heal her.
And third, she sometimes moves the wrong direction to drink her elixir and ends up in Bolting Range. So yeah, physic her.
Now look at this picture again and you can see that Ninian was left way too far behind. If she moves into Canass space (after dancing for a nearby Hector maybe), then Fiora can grab her and move with her and then Heath can drop her much closer to the front. Thats absolutely critical. You MUST rescue drop her along at least once.
So yeah, I moved Ninian 16 squares that turn and Heath can keep right on going.
So this is my turn 3 formation and its the perfect one to have. Fiora can just kill the monk near Nino and then Ninian can barely dance for her, allowing her to get close enough to Zephiel to intercept all the enemies going for him with Heath not far behind.
Maxime didnt know what hit him. There were about 50% even odds of this just killing Maxime in one round. If I didnt kill him, I wouldnt be able to get one of the lockpicks, so I would have restarted and brought someone good instead of Kent. That would completely solve the problem and make the left front trivial.
Priscilla heals Matthew so he can fight again and gets a pretty bad level.
Matthew is then used to attack the fighter and net a decent level as he weakens it for Kent.
Kent finishes it and gets his first non-terrible level of the game.
And then Sain carries Matthew out so he can drop him near the treasure room next turn.
Now because Kent has a javelin, the enemy mage will actually go for Priscilla, but thats still the desirable outcome in this case since I need the two of them not to take much damage for a little while here.
So Fiora kills the monk and Ninian dances for her, also aggroing the first of Ursulas boltings.
See that fog square where the cursor is? Theres a fighter there (though he heads left for Jaffar with his swordreaver. Two squares right of him is the one with the iron axe who goes for Zephiel. As you can see, Fiora is now perfectly positioned on turn 4 to aggro them all. Bam, Zephiel is completely safe for the rest of the mission.
Lowen carries Hector so I can talk to Nino sooner and Canas heals Heath up.
So heres my turn 4 right formation. Nino is safe, Zephiel is now safe, Fiora and Heath are in position to join the left side, Canas can head south, and Lowen and Ninian and Hector will be recruiting Nino next turn.
And on turn 4 Jaffar is, as usual, not threatened at all. Every enemy hitting him would still not kill him. And their hit odds are terrible.
Ursula fires away.
Ninian isnt afraid.
The fighters suicide to Fiora and she gets a sweet level. My Fiora has been way behind on speed for most of the game, so I really wanted to gain more speed. And Def is great.
So turn 5 left front. The lead thief is going to steal the right chest with its brave lance. Under no circumstances can he be allowed to then steal the boots next turn. The square the cursor is on is the one Matthew needs to be able to reach to steal his lockpick and thereby stop him.
So Sain drops Matthew off just where he needs to go and then moves in to aggro as many of Jaffars enemies as possible. Thats pretty much 0 given Jaffars position, but I can rescue him next turn at least.
On the right side, Hector is dropped off here- as far forward as possible- so that Ninian can move as far forward while dancing for him.
This huge amount of damage? Canas can heal that in one shot. Such a good healer.
And Hector begins talking to Nino to recruit her.
And Hector tells her everything.
This is the first shes heard of this of course since she was raised to think the Black Fang was totally just. Come to think of it, what was her life like before she joined the Fang a year ago? They often talk like she was there her whole life.
Nino is smart enough to realize that his story does fit together- especially after finding out Jaffar and Ursula had been ordered to kill her by Sonia.
So she moves forward to this exact square- any further and shed aggro a mercenary who I want to go for Ninian instead- and equips himself.
Leaving this as my turn 5 right formation. Fiora and Heath can reach the left group next turn, Canas is done healing so he can go for Ursula, and Hector and Lowen and Ninian can work on helping Nino get some XP.
And on the left Kent and Priscilla ignore the mage and keep moving in while Matthew gets ready to start screwing with the enemy thieves and Sain prepares to save Jaffar.
Jaffar is still not threatened. Again, everyone hitting him will leave him alive and theres like a 1% chance of that. The only danger to him ever is if one wave does about 14 damage to him but no more (if it was more, he heals himself) and then the next wave pretty much all hit. The probability is tiny.
Hector misses so Lowen injures this mercenary and then Nino opens fire. This positon is important so that Ninian can move forward and dance for her and then Nino can move backward to attack him from out of the range of the other mercenaries out there.
Merlinus can easily sponge one shot from Bolting even if he doesnt dodge it, so he moves in with Canas and Canas re-equips.
No more need for a torch staff, but I might need a vulnerary if Canas is really unlucky and doesnt dodge any boltings.
Matthew steals the first lockpick as the first shamans join the fray. Theyre going to be a big problem actually.
Kent does manage to finally finish that mage for another good level, then Priscilla heals him again.
So heres my tool kit for rescuing Jaffar. If my Heaths strength was average for hard mode, hed easily be able to kill that Sniper, but hes weak and will leave it at 4 HP. Oh well.
Awesome, this is one of the best Heaths I ever saw.
That shaman is a problem, but not a huge one, so Fiora leaves it alive to kill the mage in the way so Sain can grab Jaffar. Now hes safe and I can end my turn. If I werent trying to train some weak characters, the mission would pretty much be over at this point.
Next turn, Matthew takes another lockpick. Its imperative that he stand here where the shamans can hit him rather than steal from the right because in this position he can block the treasure chest. This will make all the thieves that DO have lockpicks run elsewhere, but then theyll return when he moves off the chest. Thus its crowd control.
Canas moves to engage Ursula while Merlinus lures off a mercenary to feed to Nino later.
In this position her remaining mercenaries will suicide to him and shell keep wasting her boltings rather than switch to Elfire.
Nino had to break out Elfire to get this kill without Ninians help, which was worth it. Pretty good level up.
Instead, Ninian can dance for Lowen, which will let me get some much needed extra firepower on the left.
Priscilla keeps Kent in fighting shape, though she herself is getting fairly injured. This pillar should keep her pretty safe.
Lowen kills a weak enemy and then the badly injured Fiora begins a fighting retreat by killing this dangerous hero. Since shes Fiora, no number of mages is a threat to her, but Ill need to have Heath block for her.
Sain can kill the lockpickless thief to reclaim the brave lance and also aggro some enemies possibly.
So Heath moves to block all the dangerous enemies from getting to her and kills a shaman while hes at it. Problematically, Im nearly down one javelin at this point since Heath had to use most of his on that big group of top right soldiers.
Next turn, Canas and Ursula are alone. As you can see, shes immune to magic. Even the extremely strong Canas wielding dark magic can barely scratch her due to weapon triangle advantage.
But Luna will completely own her. I wont be doing this now of course because if she dies, I get no more reinforcements.
Hector opens the door to begin looting the treasure. Merlinus continues to lure a mercenary, but Nino still has no time for it.
So things are a bit tense in the top left. The trouble is that my Matthew has no Res and neither does Kent so these shamans can 2 hit kill Kent or 3 hit kill Matthew and Kent can only 2 hit kill them and Matthew will take 3, meanwhile Matthew is really busy.
Hm, pretty good def bless Lowen is getting. Hes slowly fighting his way further left to help Kent in the future.
Meanwhile Matthew and Kent take down the lockpickless thief.
Well thats pretty bad.
And Priscila keeps Matthew on his feet. Critically, theres only 1 shaman in range of them now. That happened because of Matthew being in their range last turn. All part of the plan.
Sain, Heath, and Lowen form ranks to block in the bottom forces, then Fiora gives Heath her better javelin before taking Jaffar and pulling him out of there.
So this is a pretty good situation. Zephiel is 100% safe, so is Jaffar, Nino is recruited, almost all my forces are where they need to be, two lockpicks are already mine, and the top left front will soon be under control.
Next turn, Matthew takes another lockpick after trading with Kent to free up some inventory space
Canas has not dodged a single bolting so far, so he needs some healing. He also begins backing off so that I can delay Ursula moving up and suiciding to him for another turn.
Meanwhile Hector gets the Rescue staff. Its like the game is taunting you with a staff you would love to have on this level.
Fiora drops Jaffar precisely here so that Nino can talk to him and then be at maximum Ninian range.
And this picture is actually from my first run when the formations were different, but the conversation is the same.
He tries to persuade her that hes not worth saving and she should just flee while she can.
She wont change her mind.
Alright, so back to this playthrough, shes talked to him and now Ninian gets her into the action.
Pest control, I desperately need a shaman or two dead right now, XP be damned. Theres just way too many of them for Matthew and Kent.
Remember that heavy spear? Yeah, this is part of what you want it for.
Not bad, I think hes about average on hard mode Str now.
And Lowen javelins down the injured sniper. This formation is pretty sparse and kind of weird, but its good enough to keep the enemy off Nino.
And Priscilla too as she heals Nino.
Boots stolen, just as planned.
Hector loots the Delphi shield. Now this is an awesome item. It makes bows not super effective against air units, perfect for Florina or Fiora. Of course, it does take up a valuable inventory space but its still excellent. I wish the game had more items like this.
More pest control, Sain takes down another shaman and prepares to aggro the next one.
I need all the healing I can get, so Ninian is usually dancing for Priscilla now.
I need Lowen to get the heavy spear to finish the general, but cant just trade it in their current positions, so I set up a trade chain while Fiora gets back into the fray.
Another disappointing level for Fiora. She only got the one good one since getting promoted.
As you can see, now Lowen takes the heavy spear to finish the general.
Nice, hes average in speed again and still good in Str and Def.
And Nino does a standard weapon switch trade from safety to give him back his javelin.
That frees up Heath because I think I might need to rescue chain Matthew back later. Further, in this spot Kent can take Heaths vulnerary which he needs.
Kent has to drink a vulnerary to stay in the fight since those shamans hit so hard.
After drinking it he moves back onto her defensive position to prevent the shaman from going for Heath.
Next turn, Heath takes some of Matthews lockpicks so he can keep stealing.
He stole the final lockpick.
Ooh, thats a pretty sweet level from that theft.
And Ninian dances for him so he gets the boots this turn too. Thats all the lockpicks and treasure. The boots are a really remarkable item as Ill discuss later. And again, theyre the kind of thing you really wish you had on this chapter.
Nino finally has time to deal with that mercenary Merlnus has been pulling all this time.
Kent gets another surprisingly good level as he kills the thief. Hes still too slow to double anything.
Another trade chain (Plus healing).
That allows me to get the heavy spear to Fiora so that she can be slowed enough to not double this mage. Ive said before that heavy weapons are great for this purpose.
And another kill for Lowen.
Same thing next turn allows Nino to get this kill.
So all the newbs have been used this turn, now its time to decide what to do with the good characters.
Its turn 12 and I keep moving Canas back so hes in the spot I want when Ursula begins attacking.
Lowen moves to help Kent. Theres not going to be much more XP in the bottom left but theres still some shamans for the two to share.
Priscilla keeps healing everything she can and gets a decent level this time.
Turn 13, the map is nearly over. Not much to do but just have Kent and Sain and Lowen hurry upwards to mop up the shamans while Matthew is taken to go for the earth seal and everyone else moves in to crowd control the spawning mages.
Ooh, thats lucky. My Kent has gone from terrible to pretty average and even a point ahead in speed.
And the rest are moving in.
This druid has a stealable Earth Seal but he also has a Luna so hes not easy to beat safely. Fortunately he doesnt move.
Turn 13, Ursula charges.
Canas completely outclasses her with Luna even though she doubles him. Now I can kill her next turn. And critically there are never any reinforcements on turn 15, so killing her next turn doesnt cost me anything.
Excellent! Ninian hits level 20 unfortunately, but at least she got a good level. This is a very good Ninian not that that matters much.
Turn 14, there are very few enemies left.
Kent takes out another shaman and Sain moves up to scout for Lowen.
And Lowen kills the one Sain revealed. Theres one last shaman in the dark so I can get another kill for Kent or Lowen next turn.
And Im in position to kill the last mage and steal the earth seal on the final turn.
Canas kills Ursula for an excellent level. This is an uber Canas, easily the best Ive seen. Its too bad I can barely use him.
And Kent gets a decent level from the final shaman. Hes doing pretty well in Str.
No more shamans.
The earth seal is mine!
Heath can easily beat the druid, so every single enemy is dead. Priscilla keeps healing for maximum XP.
Nothing left anywhere! Bam!
Im not sure who turned the lights back on actually, or how Maxime snuffed them to begin with.
At the exit, weve retrieved Jaffar and Nino and Jaffar begins trying to goad Hector into killing him.
You may recall Hector really hates Jaffar because he found out he was the one who killed Leila.
But Jaffar doesnt defend himself.
Of course, hes defended himself when not ordered to before, so it seems pretty clear he just kind of wants to die at this point since he has no idea what to do with his post-Nergal life.
Nino convinces Hector to not kill him.
He reluctantly agrees for now.
And Limstella harvests Ursulas quintessence. Everyone weve been killing has only been feeding Nergals power and building up his army of morphs.
The next morning, Murdock finally returns from the kings trumped up errand for him and realizes someone broke into the manse while he was gone, immediately putting two and two together.
While he talks to his men, we finally get our chance to talk to the queen.
Remember, the whole reason we needed the Fire Emblem was to give it to her so Zephiel could have his coronation ceremony as the heir to the throne as planned.
Eliwood is surprised that she seems not to be talking about the break in of a whole army of assassins into her house last night.
Assassins are trifles to her- she apparently has once again completely underestimated the king and did not realize that the Fire Emblem theft might not have been his only scheme against Zephiel.
Upon receiving the gem, she laughs maniacally and throws in an insult or two against Guinevere.
Eliwood has had enough of her self-centered scheming.
And her talking about Zephiel as just a pawn for spiting his father.
She of course is furious at her wrongdoing being pointed out.
Eliwood is not going to let the matter drop though.
She really, really just did not grasp that the target of those assassins was Zephiel.
Eliwood and the others leave without having received their reward since shes so angry, so the whole Fire Emblem plotline looks like it was for nothing.
Then Murdock arrives, having had time to investigate, and explains the whole truth to her: including just who it was who saved her son.
Eliwood apologizes for having spoiled their plans.
And Louise reflects on how Hellene was much less bitter once.
And then the queen arrives, wearing a rather different expression. And she knows everyones names. They never told her. They were trying to travel in secret. Murdock must have been on to them- as one would expect considering how terribly they were going about being stealthy. So now the queen and Murdock both know that it was Eliwod of Pherae and his companions who saved Zephiels life. Notably, almost every lord can actually have some pretty good conversations with Zephiel on the previous level to tell him that theyve come to protect him but cant reveal their identities. One would think hed have found out by the time FE6 rolls around since Queen Hellene and Murdock definitely know.
So she gives us our promised reward afterall.
And a heaven seal. This was the item that Pent had been searching for in Nabata, the whole reason for him having been there at the time we ran into him.
AND she gets Berns troops out of our way.
That was unexpectedly kind of her and Eliwood and company dont know why she had that sudden change of heart.
Ah, she knows we saved Zephiel now.
This whole post- Battle Before Dawn section is one of my favorite parts of the game.
One of my favorite scenes. As usual, the music is perfect.
Shes realized that shes had a major role in the bitter divide in their family with her constantly antagonizing the king.
And shell finally stop treating Guinivere like dirt.
And things end on a very hopeful note.
Indeed, the importance of family is a major theme in this game- its the driving force for both Lyn and Eliwoods stories and at the heart of most of their character development, as well as being at the center of this Bern arc.
Outside, everyone is finally ready to get to the Shrine as Athos told us to.
Side quest accepted.
Well thats basically the end of the Bern arc. Now there are some liminal chapters resolving the story of the Black Fang before the final stretch of the game begins. Its really a great set of chapters in my opinion and has a nice self-contained story to it. It was also refreshing to see the heroes working on a smaller scale than usual, just trying to help one family with its troubles and deal with some local political intrigue instead of running around dealing with dragons and dark wizards and 1000 year old legendary heroes.
So lets review the outcome of that chapter. I won and unlocked the side quest, prevented Zephiel from ever being attacked, let alone injured, prevented Nino from using even a single one of her elixirs (and prevented Jaffar from overusing his), got all the treasure, killed every single possible enemy, stole all 4 lockpicks, and stole the earth seal. And I trained two weak units while doing it, netting a total of 24 levels (waaaaay over the 12.6 or so per chapter I need).
Thats pretty much the best possible outcome on Battle Before Dawn and this is pretty much the best possible approach for max ranking it.
Total Restarts: 21 (I played through several complete times I refine things and also restarted once when I realized the Torch spot- continue moving phenomenon would change things).
Turn Surplus: 18 (Yeah, theres no way to not lose a turn here, oh well)
Things I Regret Missing: The lockpick on chapter 11, that darned archer on chapter 11, this one brigand who attacked Marcus on chapter 12, 2 more brigands who ignored everyone else to attack Marcus on chapter 13x, and 2 archers who ignored Hector and Dorcas (DORCAS!) to attack Marcus on chapter 14, like 10 more enemies I could have killed if Hector could have survived one more turn on chapter18, and Uhai who decided to take a 100% chance of death to Sain over a free hit on Hector, the chance to finish shopping properly with my silver card on chapter 21, the armorslayer that I have acquired if not for a stupid minor mistake on chapter 22, and these 3 wyvern riders who decided they preferred a 0% chance to hit Isadaora and then 100% chance of death against her to fighting a low level Heath, those 2 pegasus knights at the end of Crazed Beast that I just didnt have enough time to feed to Bartre.