Part 49: Chapter 31 (part 2)Playing Through:
First a few pre-battle scenes play. Denning endlessly repeats his message. Perhaps the other morphs are doing the same.
Lyn, being Lyn, tries to say something to console Eliwood but then just goes with this instead.
Its really a lot like a similar scene in New Resolve.
Nils pops up from those stairs.
And a soldier, thinking hes just a kid rather than the most valuable member of the team, sends him back down into that room there. You know, I suddenly see that this map actually matches up to part of the storming castle ostia map in 6. The top of this map is the bottom of that one. Or close to it anyway. Those two weird staircases in particular.
In ENM Nils is obviously safe down there, but in HHM actually loads of enemies pour out of those stairs where Nils is hiding. Whats up with that?
Well the first move of the game is getting Dart ready.
But I need to see the results of Raven attacking this guy with Luna before I can decide what to do with Canas and therefore how much of a risk Dart can take.
Raven did well, so Dart goes in as planned. Its unclear just how many shamans and archers will attack him since there will be other targets, but he should be able to stand up to them.
And since Raven was fine, Canas can heal Dart.
Guy starts moving in for his 3 enemies with Serra behind.
This group starts really far from most enemies, so theres nothing for Priscilla to do on turn 1 but get these knights out of the way. Plus I might get some use out of dropping them where I need them later. Remember, the enemy turn is before the green unit turn. So any knight I drop stays where they were dropped through the enemy turn at least.
Eliwood and Erk help Nino get to the front faster. Remember what I said about how you should probably be rescue-dropping for maximum mobility on any turn where youre not fighting.
And everyone else pretty much just moves in as far as they can.
A good level off some shamans for Kent. Hes a very good Kent. Still useless, but it makes training him easier.
This, of course, is why I needed at least 2 restorers in the split-off group. Theyre the most vulnerable to statuses at the moment.
Remember when I said the knights had one use? This is it. The enemy loves to status them. And every knight they status is a good unit they dont.
And Raven is berserked. With the sleeping knight blocking easy access to him. Still, nothing I cant fix.
The ostian knights are so cute recklessly charging to their deaths after Hector explicitly ordered everyone to hold their positions and just play defense. Its almost like they think they can fight.
Guy and Serra just keep moving. Its a good thing the enemy goes before the green units so the knight cant get ahead and block me out.
Canas takes out the blocking enemy and Pent restores Raven. Unfortunately that meant Canas couldnt take out one of the longbow snipers Dart lured into perfect position.
Raven is making a very successful comeback tour.
And that druid drops a spare restore. Too late, all the serious staff maps are over.
So at the start of this turn enemy reinforcements begin big time. The top area here is going to be awash in snipers and druids for a long time and I really dont need them flanking me while I try to move south.
My plan is to trap Denning in that narrow hallway with just 2 people (one being Dart). The idea is to get Dart just at the edge of his range, then have Dart retreat with him following while not realizing that a single unit from the top force has looped behind him. Then hes pinned and out of the fight. Reinforcements stop if he dies, so hes not going to be killed till turn 11.
But to do that, I need these knights thinned out, so Dart is going to start working on that.
Sweet, Lyn can kill someone! I have to take XP for her where I can get it.
Kent is easier to train as long as he has HP.
The generals and knights on this level have a very wide array of weapons. Lances and axes both from spears to poison to killer axes to even one with a devil axe. That makes it hard to counter them effectively.
Everyone else pretty much just charges and thats the turn.
Guy takes a big hit since the myrmidon is better than him and has a silver sword, but he gets a good level and while Serra cant keep up with the damage, she can keep up with it long enough to drop the myrmidons. The swordmaster actually doesnt hit as hard.
He takes about 5 damage net per turn while its Myrmidons Guy is fighting.
Well thats a bad level.
WAY too many knights and generals aggroed to Dart, so I have to give up that plan for now and just focus on clearing these enemies first.
Nosferatu enemies are almost as problematic as Luna ones at time. If the druid hits, Raven wont actually kill him and will have 40% odds of being killed himself. But heres the trick: if the druid attacks first and Raven just counterattacks twice on the enemy turn, Nosferatu cant heal him so the druid dies guaranteed In this case, thats not viable since the druid would attack someone like pent or something instead though.
Def is nice on this fragile guy.
Look at my Kent, my Kent is amazing. Theres not much to say about the actual fighting, its just a fairly straightforward brawl as I have my strong units either 1 round kill generals or weaken them just enough for someone weak to get the last blow.
My Lyn is actually quite good too, across the board really. Still useless.
Remember how on Cog of Destiny I realized Eliwood was one of my best guys for Res? He still is. Ive realized that since he can one round kill any druid and 1-2 round kill any sniper and has good odds to dodge and good defenses, he can probably actually handle this front on his own. Maybe with a Physic. I can see Im about to run into serious trouble with some generals, so Id better go for this with him.
Erk and Nino are highly effective vs the knights and generals. Nino much less so though. Her Mag is mediocre and unlike the knights, the generals have great Res.
8-9 damage per hit to a 45 HP unit is just not acceptable usually.
Theres some Mag!
So this is actually a difficult situation and I had to spend a while coming up with a plan. That sniper has a longbow, so hes hard to block out. Both generals are WAY too tough to kill. Nino could take 1 hit but not 2. Same for Lyn and Matthew. Priscilla cant even take one.
Priscilla carried that knight for a reason though. She drops him to block the sniper and then Florina blocks the bottom general. Now only one person can attack anyone in that line who isnt Kent, and Kent can dodge the attacks since the general has an axe and the knight an axereaver and Kent has a sword out.
And Hector manages to finish the top general for a nice level.
So this is the formation I went with. Should work. Setting this kind of thing up is actually the main challenge and fun part of this levels main battle. Theres no good chokepoints and your units cant stand up to multiple generals with killer axes, so you end up with a fight thats kind of reminiscent of False Friends or Pirate Ship where youre desperately putting up crazy formations that block just enough every turn.
The newly dropped Knight is immediately helpful. This turn the enemy runs out of staves.
Next turn, Guy gets his first kill.
On the other side, Raven is able to weaken one of the longbow snipers for Dart to finish.
Dart continues to amaze. This is a roughly average dart. Slightly above. Use Dart on non-ranking runs. Hes like Gonzalez but with a backstory.
And with 2 healers, this group stays ready to fight. Look how many generals there are though! There were tons to start and more are spawning. And in the corner of the screen, you can see the thieves just opened the door south.
Last turns formation woes were just a warmup. What the heck do I do now? Ideally I could get to that diagonal from the corner in the bottom middle over to the wall of the small groups starting area. Depending on exact formation, 3-4 people could hold it with no one attackable by more than 1 (or 2) foes.
But theres too many generals and theyre too tough and worse yet, some have spears and theres a sniper. That means no formation is really safe. Ive got to do what I can to block the enemy, but I have to set up across a wider space and focus first and foremost on weakening enemy firepower.
Hector downs one general for a nice level.
Nino moves to form part of my makeshift wall and promotes.
Meh, itll do! And shes all ready to go with a heal staff, though for the short term future Im more at risk of people being 1-2 hit killed than gradually worn down and I need lots of firepower, so healing isnt that useful.
Erk downs a general and continues to amaze. Afas drops! Cap everything, Erk! Well show them! Well show them all!
I work with what Ive got, and sometimes that means Merlinus. This wall is not a good one- most people can be attacked at 1 range by at least 2 people and there are ranged enemies too, but its the best I can manage. And given the enemys love of targeting the dodge-y Merlinus first, it SHOULD be enough.
Kent is actually the weak link here, but he should live.
Sweet. Of course, shes still only gained 1 point of Def in 23 levels. If she continues not gaining it, she might eventually come out looking worse than Artixs Lyn.
A bad level for Eliwood as he continues his lonely but epic battle.
Alright, I survived, new turn! This is turn 5, so the map is still heating up with at least 9 enemies per turn spawning, but Im in a better position now and have eliminated most of the promoted starting enemies. The last thief spawned this turn and the right door was unlocked. Now every single one of them will make for the Body Ring chest. I need to get over there pretty quickly. I have about 2 turns to cripple the enemy force enough that I can make a real charge and still get there in time.
Easier said than done! Just look at the enemies packed in over there. On this turn I realized that my biggest mistake had been trying to lure Denning up with Dart and whatnot. I should have never tried that, it was never going to work with so many knights. My problem at the moment is 3.5 of my best units on the whole map are now far from the main battle fighting nearly nothing except some generals who just started spawning there. Ive got to get Canas, Pent, and Raven in particular back to work NOW. They need to start fighting the waves of bottom reinforcements and get Denning pulled out of the way so I can just rush the main group in at full speed once the enemy lines break.
It really is just like some of those early chapters. This is what youve got, this is what youre up against; how can you do the most damage and maintain a good enough formation that you can survive another turn.
This is fun. Challenging, but fun. The biggest problem really are the sniper and druid actually. If those are done, the generals are a MUCH more controllable threat. I can just wall those and then slaughter them all next turn.
No one else can do this except Erk, who was needed for other things. Only Hector has the right balance of speed and power for the sniper, so hes got to do it.
Florina was not lucky with the druid, but I had a backup plan and it begins with K and ends with ent with a javelin.
The important thing is the druid is dead. But that was a nice level anyway.
Just one guy cant block the enemy formations very well, so Im having trouble having Eliwood keep the enemies from pushing past him and shooting my main group in the back. In this case Priscilla had to stand there to heal, but now Lyn and Matthew need to pull her out.
You can see the enemy formation looks superficially unharmed- most of the generals are still intact walling me and there are still knights coming, but those are just knights and many of these generals are injured. And most importantly they have no ranged support, so Im going to live this turn at least.
Next turn, Guys long grind has continued. You can see hes almost dead now, but is bringing down the second Myrmidon. And since the swordmaster has a mere killing edge and Guy has an iron rune, from now on hell be taking much less damage.
This swordmaster has actually been a bit of an issue for the main group. Since on some occasions I wanted to walk Matthew into that range and almost forgot about it.
Alright, now some druids spawn up there with Luna and Eclipse! And more generals down here too. And enemies continue trying to pile into the main battle area to reinforce their lines.
Looks every bit as bad. But its not. For one thing, Ive been advancing slightly and my formation got better, so I was taking less damage. For another, they still dont have nearly as much ranged support as they once did.
That said, I dont have much more time to kill, so I really need to make most of these guys dead right now.
First the easy moves. Dart kills one of the mid right generals and gets his last level.
Pent also downs one for a much better level. Get on Erks level!
And NOW I finally lure Denning.
Easy moves done, its time for the main group. Its pretty much full offense time, so Hector breaks formation and kills the sniper. No ranged support for you.
My other damage monster kills one of the tougher remaining generals.
Priscilla gets Florina ready to go.
And a risky move here. I hadnt planned on Eliwood doing so much work originally so hes not equipped for it. He needs more javelins and maybe a stronger sword. Plus I could use more firepower on this front right now at the cost of having to deal with those snipers next turn. So I moved Merlinus here so Eliwood could run up, use him, and then attack with his new stuff.
Merlinus is really a VERY handy unit Im finding. I talked about some clever ways to use Merch on the battlefield before, but I never realized just how often those situations come up.
Eliwoods new stuff includes a shiny new armorslayer!
It was that surprise intervention by Eliwood that makes this turns breakthrough possible.
Florina remains unimpressive, but the enemy lines have been smashed irreparably and I now control the breach. Critically, I deliberately leave a path through my formation- however roundabout- that the enemy thieves think they can get through to get to the treasure. If they think the route is blocked entirely they may just flee the level prematurely. It depends chapter by chapter.
Denning takes the bait and delivers a pointy message from Lord Nergal.
The swordmaster is keeping Guy almost dead, undoing Serras healing +1 every turn. But that still gives Guy time to kill him provided the swordmaster misses just one attack- or I physic Guy at some point or the like.
The enemy gets the body ring, as expected. Now as long as a path to the treasure remains, the other thieves at least will take it. Which means theyre running right at all my soldiers + Matthew. The best way to chase down thieves is to make them come to you.
Time to pay the piper. Eliwood led these guys here last turn to take out the general, now I need to undo that damage and keep making progress.
Eliwood kills the other one. Another weird level for my great Eliwood. Unfortunately, it no longer looks like hell cap his luck. Oh well. That Def is fantastic.
So a minor puzzle on this side. I need to 1) kill that other sniper 2) surround Denning on all sides 3) make sure the people on his left and bottom are tough enough to stand up the reinforcements just off the bottom edge of the picture.
I had to kill the sniper with Dart, unfortunately, a waste of XP, and use physic on pent when hes like 2 squares away which feels like a waste of money, but I got a not bad level up and surrounded him.
Denning is out and those newly spawned wyvern riders will attack people who I want to get XP.
Complete rout time, Kent and the other weak people hack down the remaining knights.
Erk gets even faster and tougher killing one of the remaining generals.
Lockpick number 1 is stolen.
And at the end of turn 7, Ive won the map. Phew. It was tough getting there. Now I just need to make sure I can kill every last right side enemy.
Kent hits level 18. Yknow whats crazy? Sain hit that exact same level in his absolutely amazing phase as he was killing Lundgren. And his stats then were almost just like Kents now. Ok, better by 1-2 points in the important things, but still really close. This is a darned good Kent, but its too late to matter.
Raven get a bad level from the attacking wyvern lord.
The swordmaster has missed so Guy is now in no danger whatsoever and just keeps chipping away. Meanwhile those 2 knights have been standing there watching like idiots for 5 turns , not trying to help out anywhere else because they apparently think they can do something here.
Eliwood charges back in and vulneraries up to make absolutely sure he can take a hit from all of those enemies at once if he needs to.
Hm. So I need to keep Denning walled, but I want to get Raven and Pent fighting properly. I basically need Dart and Canas to take their places and to make sure Denning cant kill Dart or something.
Or shoot over them to finish off Pent if he gets hit by a knight or something.
This is the best I could do. Not ideal at all, but it should work since Canas healed Pent up and Dart has his iron axe equipped. With his handaxe Denning could double him.
Florina is garbage vs knights and generals, so she just helps Eliwood a bit.
Second lockpick stolen. The guy behind this one has the body ring I believe.
So hector smacks this one down. Ive been trying to get kills with his iron blade to pump his sword rank up before The Value of Life.
Pretty darned good, Hector. Pretty darned good.
Pretty darned bad, Florina. Pretty darned bad.
But shes finally almost caught up on speed at least.
XP is XP, so I dont care if Guy gets nothing at all when he levels. But Florina I have to actually use in real fights.
Turn 9, Eliwood has basically cleared the top. This is the first turn on which spawns are done. All he has to do is deal with the 2 Eclipse and Luna druids.
Third lockpick is mine!
Oh, Lyn crits the guy immediately thereafter.
XP is XP.
Got the body ring.
I realized that with all the stealing he has to do, Matthew doesnt have time to actually get the chests in that room. So I had Merlinus position himself so Priscilla could open this door and then use his chest keys.
Everyone else keeps moving in.
This would be awful if Def wasnt the most important stat for him at the moment.
All the unimportant stats. Oh well.
At last Guy has won! I dont know where those 2 knights think theyre going now, but the battle is going to be over before they get there.
And Priscilla gets the shield.
Denning has made a critical blunder trying to shoot Dart and moved into this corner. Now hes properly trapped, Dart can just pin him.
Eliwood takes out one of the druids for a solid level.
So things are totally under control now on turn 10. All chests are in hand, all lockpicks stolen, Eliwood has only a single druid level to kill, and I have 6 powerful units staring down just 4 enemies and then 3 more next turn. And Denning cant even attack anymore.
Another iron blade kill. Hes now got a C rank. If I can get to A I will, but its unlikely.
Eliwood kills the last druid while he still has Eclipse equipped. Thats one of the advantages of 7 move: it means he can lurk just outside this guys attack range so the druid doesnt try to Luna him instead and then strike while he has Eclipse out to hit someone else.
Priscilla gets the white gem.
And everything else is almost dead.
Kent gets another kill.
Matthew and Lyn bring down the last thief. Im surprised this guy isnt level 20 already. Im also really miffed that there are now solid odds hell NEVER cap speed. Since so many enemy thieves have 20 speed starting by chapter 19xx, thats really just not acceptable.
And theres general heal spam to max out my XP on the last turn.
Denning tries to repeat the same message with his last breath. Dibs on his awesome purple bow. No wait, Ill take the boots instead, someone else can have the bow.
Not bad. Hes going to cap the whole left side, as he usually does.
But, unlike most other survival chapters, this time theres no different ending congratulating you for completely smashing the enemy. Amusingly the green unit formations are disrupted by where your units are standing. Theyre all supposed to be in 2 lines.
Remember, the group never actually fought morphs in numbers up till now- except for Kishunas forces which they had no idea what to make of. And Athos only just explained the concept, so theyre creeped out to realize that every one of these guys really did look just like Sonia and Ephidel.
The writers did a good job of keeping track of in vs out of character knowledge in this game. But when there are so many cutscenes revealing all sorts of secrets to the player, sometimes doesnt work so great. All these shocking revelations to the characters about the morphs are like 15 chapters old for the player. Its another of the many downsides of showing us so many cutscenes of the enemys secret plans and the like.
So Athos says. But some supports and the Kishuna levels which Athos NEVER sees or learns about- suggest that morphs are not just the soulless fiends Athos believes. Whats really interesting to me about Athos is that he knows so much and really does usually come off as wise- but he also really knows very little about some important things. And despite his wisdom and acknowledgement that the world is full of mysteries, he still doesnt know what he doesnt know and that makes him dreadfully wrong about several things, but everyone in game just assumes he knows what hes talking about.
Athos continues the interrupted story. Nergal had escaped and secretly built up his power and was now ready to resume his original plan of stealing quintessence from dragons. If he did that, hed be unstoppable.
Athos assumes Nergal will attack Arcadia, so he sets an ambush there.
Eliwood really shows on many occasions that hes a clever guy. One step ahead of even Athos here actually, hes put the pieces together already.
Athos confirms Eliwoods guess; Nergal predicted Athoss move and sidestepped him by targeting dragons through the Dragons Gate instead of Arcadia.
And even now Athos doesnt know how he did it! As I said before, thats really the thing that makes Nergals better past so poignant. Absolutely no one in the world including his friends, his family, or even himself knows about or will ever know about the man he used to be or how critically that affected the plot.
That kind of dramatic irony where the audience knows things the characters dont know is the great strength of the FE style of story telling with cutscenes of the enemy and such that I was just talking about.
So they make their plans. And Athos decides to actually bring Bramimond up to speed. One gets the impression that the two of them were not at all close among the 8 legends really and have had pretty much no contact for 1000 years. And of course not. Bramimond is soulless and inhuman and probably creeped everyone out during the Scouring.
A very interesting line for reasons Ill bring up when the time comes. Oh and people often ask whether Bramimond was a man or a woman originally. Im pretty sure Athos settled that question here. He did call Bramimond post-darkness an it, but he evidently refers to Bramimond reflexively as a male and if anyone would know Bramimonds origins it would be this guy. Teodor too actually, and Teodor always calls Bramimond male.
And neither Nergal nor Athos saw this coming.
Athos is amazed by their bravery. I really like the way Athos wistfully mentions Roland and the others now and then. Despite everyone talking about him now being superhuman, his friendship with the other legends- and the new ones he forms now- show that hes really not fundamentally different from ordinary people. Bramimond and Nergal are, but not Athos.
Good question. Almost as good as where was Athos during the last 2 battles. Hes been right there just not helping.
It did murder the love of his life and use him as a weapon for that purpose, I can kind of see where hes coming from.
And Hector is scared to use Armads for the same reason. Plus, remember, he saw Durban and how Durban seemed to have either confused himself with his axe or just been subsumed by the axes personality. He may have been champing at the bit to get his hands on it at first, but hes not too stupid to realize it could have serious consequences. And remember, he kept stressing that he wanted it- and would bear any risk- to help Eliwood. But Durandal sure didnt help Eliwood.
Im not sure how this helps, unless perhaps Athos (maybe with Bramimond) does something to change the weapons so they arent as dangerous to their wielders.
Scene break, the battle is over and Hector finally has a final and awesome confrontation with Oswin.
The Grieving Heart plays again and is once again perfect. Ive said before that one of the biggest themes of this game is that everyone deals with loss and grief in their own way. Hectors way is to get angry and determined on the outside and not let anyone know hes sad underneath. Each of the main characters really has their own musical theme that fits just them when theyve lost someone.
He even threatens to kill Oswin, but Oswin still refuses to speak.
And Hector realizes that this means his brother really is dead, not just sick and off trying to recover somewhere. An all new Hector portrait, which again really captures the stoic front he tries to put on.
And then he flees so Oswin wont see him cry- or worse yet, not cry because hes said he just cant seem to even when he really wants to.
And thats the end of another great chapter. The next one will be a real challenge though!
I got every treasure, stole every lockpick, and killed every single enemy. And I did it while training some lowish level units too, though no one really terrible. In the end I believe I got a total of 33 levels. The chapter only requires 20. I havent crunched the numbers since just before Battle Before Dawn but I believe Im actually done at this point. I think I have enough XP gained that even if I gained 0 from now on I might be able to get 5 stars. I have 7500 or so surplus at that point and have overperformed by hundreds or thousands on every chapter since then, and the total requirements of the remaining chapters are about 9000 even. So yeah, I think Im good.
But this lets play is not about the bare minimum. Its not about the absolute best I could do either, but I aim to do significantly better than the minimum in every category if I can. Enough better that despite never planning on recruiting Farina- and not even reaping the benefits of getting her- I can prove that I could have spent 40k on her, for example. I hope to finish with thousands and thousands of XP more than I needed, a significant store of funds even after promoting Farina, and several spare turns too.
Total Restarts: 35 (One time I accidentally did put Matthew into that swordmasters range while the latter was of screen, and there was also that first attempt where I was trying to see if Dorcas was usable).
Turn Surplus: 15 (Cant not lose one here)
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, 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 would have acquired if not for a stupid minor mistake on chapter 22, 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, the confused pirate and final archer on Night of Farewells, and the Pure Water on The Berserker.