The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword

by Melth

Part 51: Chapter 32 (part 1) and the War Room Part 32 (Map Awareness)

A fittingly awesome and dramatic title for the fiercest, hugest battle of the whole campaign. As is fairly common in FE, the final level is a moderately sized puzzle-y kind of level and the second to last level is where they pull out all the stops and you fight giant hordes of enemies across a huge landscape.

In the scheme of things, it’s actually a pretty easy level. There’s only one staff wielder on the whole enemy force- and he’s just a bishop. And just two long-ranged attackers. Ballistae make a comeback in a big way, but they’re still not that big a threat. The Valkyries return Cog of Destiny style, but you’ve got a bunch more levels now and there are fewer of them and they don’t have staves and most of them have Elfire, which really weakens them badly since that’s -4 speed.

There’s one minor ambush gimmick, but it’s pretty much just not a problem at all. No, this is probably the most straightforward battle since Four-Fanged Offense. Or maybe even further back since that had the whole alternate versions available, one is fog of war, and the other is completely tangled up with stores and lakes and stuff thing going on. I’m going to go with Noble Lady of Caelin actually. This is the most normal and straightforward and ‘typical’ battle since Noble Lady of Caelin. Wow.

That’s ½ of why it’s a really easy battle. The other half is that I’m done with XP grinding. If you’re not done with leveling up your weak characters for your XP ranking then may Thor (or maybe Delphi or Set or Ninis or Fila or God or Mother Earth or Father Sky or Elimine or something?) have mercy on your soul.

Chapter Summary:

As mentioned before, he’s luring us into a trap. The characters comment that they’re surprised to have met no resistance before this chapter. It’s because he concentrated every single one of his morphs around the Dragon’s Gate in one ambush on which he staked pretty much everything. Not a bad strategy, but even though Eliwood and all blunder right into it, they’re just too strong to stop now.

Y’know, it really looks for a while like Fargus might be an endgame ally or something. We see he has stats- like pretty darned good ones- and everything, several characters strike up friendships with him, he offers to help directly several times, etc. But Eliwood turns him down and so we never get him. Maybe it’s so his ship is less likely to be destroyed, stranding us completely if Athos dies. But no such reason is given. And it’s not like Nergal couldn’t beat Fargus if he wanted to.

And Nils is being left with the captain. He’s been insensible with grief ever since Ninian was killed in front of him.

Eliwood hasn’t had a good chance to talk to him, but takes this one since it might be his last.

Seems a little cold for Eliwood. On the other hand, so was not doing as Uhai demanded when he had Lyn hostage. But in both cases we see that he was not asking anything he wouldn’t do himself. He didn’t ask his allies to cooperate with Linus to save his life when Linus was going to kill him and he put aside his mourning to help his friends after the death of both his father and Ninian.

And he softens the initial bluntness considerably.

And points out that Ninian wouldn’t want him to just give up and despair.

Nils doesn’t respond, having not responded to anything anyone said in a while, and the group leaves. Dart stays to have a brief word with his captain.

You’ll notice of course that this is the exact same patch of island that Fargus dropped us off at before. Dart is standing in nearly the same spot on the level that he did on Chapter 19: The Dread Isle even. This of course makes some practical sense; the island is covered by a dense and mist-shrouded forest and they were only able to find the Dragon’s Gate by following the instructions of a traitorous black fang from this spot. If they didn’t return here, they might well wander around lost.

But it makes some symbolic sense too. The group has come back to where the story really began, coming full circle. They were young and foolish then. Uhai was not far off when he described them as “Insects railing against the heavens.” They had absolutely no idea what they were getting into –not only that Nergal could have killed the entire party singlehandedly but also that this was about dragons and soulless artificial humans and ultimate magical power and 500 year old grudges between demigod wizards, not just petty intrigue in a backwater country.

This looked like an ending 18 chapters ago, but the story had scarcely begun. Elbert, Uther, an Ninian were still alive, Leila hadn’t even been found dead, the Black Fang was still whole and strong, Athos and Bramimond’s very continued existence was still unknown, the royal family of Bern was still utterly dysfunctional, the legendary weapons still slept, and the party had never known defeat.

It really looked like they’d already been places and knew what they were doing- to them as well as first time players- but they really, really didn’t. And when Elbert died everything changed. The mission had been an abject failure and suddenly the group was dealing with a threat to the entire world which they still didn’t even understand. The former in particular was a rare surprise. Since then it’s been a wild ride and full of more surprises. And now the group returns, but changed. Wiser. Stronger. Strong as the greatest 8 heroes in history, in fact. The player too has likely changed- and developed a much better understanding of just how unconventional this game was in such a formulaic series. But this time it really is, finally, over.

You said it.

Captain Fargus, amateur psychotherapist (or perhaps tactician), decides it’s best for Nils to face reality now and go join the battle. So he comes up with an admittedly rather clever trick, claiming to have forgotten to give the party something important which now they’ll have to go without unless someone goes and brings it to them.

It worked!

He’s glad Nils is back on his feet. This is actually the last we see of Fargus. That’s too bad, I would have liked to see their reunion with him- same as after the first visit to the Dread Isle.

The Dragon’s Gate, looking a bit more fortified. See how those ballistae are of different colors? They’re different types.

The Gate is open, ready for Nergal to call dragons through it as soon as he’s drained the quintessence of Eliwood and the rest. You know, if he’d been just a little bit less tactically prudent and had decided to take a risk and just summon a dragon NOW, he might have actually won.

I’m not 100% sure what Nergal is referring to here. Surely he doesn’t just mean her Fimbulvetyr tome. Everyone has those. It doesn’t sound like he just means her great stats, although that’s possible, because Sonia was just as strong and he hadn’t just given that power to her. One would think Limstella has been just as strong up till now. On the other hand, she DID only attack people who were already half-dead or worse and usually by surprise. Though with the exception of Ursula if you don’t kill Ursula actually. Though Ursula isn’t fighting back since she think she deserves to die for failing a mission. Yeah, who knows?

He really does seem genuinely proud of her, though certainly in more of an artistic than parental sort of way. And he seems to regret, though probably just that he’ll be losing a very useful tool, that this magic he’s given her is too strong and will kill her within the day.

What if it wasn’t? Probably he wouldn’t have changed his plans to keep her alive, but it’s really not quite certain and I think that’s interesting.

Athos is still behind. For a man who doesn’t need to eat or sleep and can teleport and is “aware of most things that happen on the continent” and can watch these people and track their progress he sure is taking his time. I can’t help but suspect that, just like how he didn’t help on Sands of Time or The Berserker (or Battle Preparations) he’s just choosing not to solve our problems for us now. Eliwood and Hector’s confidence seems to have been pretty badly shaken by Eliwood killing Ninian and Nergal laughing in their faces after Athos attacked him. Maybe he wants them to fight this one alone to get their confidence back. But on the other hand, sending them out without him wasn’t his idea. Maybe he’s just slow.

Just like old times! It’s been most of 30 chapters since he and Ninian saved Lyn from her first ballista.

Agh it’s Bolting! And…. Market totally got hit. It’s a good thing she doesn’t have stats or that might have hurt.

Eliwood is really glad to see him back on his feet.

It sounds so much like Matthew after losing Leila.

Hector is… perhaps a little less understanding of Nils’s loss than Eliwood.

Her ambush having been thwarted, Limstella emerges. Eliwood et al. have never seen or even heard of her all this time and Athos seemed unaware of her in particular, just another show of how clever Nergal really has been at keeping his secrets. Nils, however, is very familiar with her and introduces her as the one who’s always at Nergal’s side.

Straight to business!

The absolutely epic Unshakable Faith plays
It’s a shame it isn’t the map theme!

And she reveals her hidden troops all around, apparently surprising people enough that some might have looked like they might retreat.

Sounds kind of dumb to reveal your ambush like that. Limstella is no Sonia. On the other hand, as you’ll see, she does keep some more troops very well hidden. Perhaps the idea was just to make the group think all the troops had showed themselves so they could be lured into the real ambush? But then those better hidden morphs completely blow it by revealing themselves early. Maybe it’s their fault.

Maybe they were counting on fog.

Battle Preparations & the Map:

It’s a big one! I’m pretty sure this is the biggest map in the game in fact. What’s more, it’s VERY mountainous and has quite a lot of forests, rivers, fortresses, and the like as well. That makes it even bigger functionally.

So (say it with me) it’s an air map! Paladins and whatnot are nice, but you really need to be a flyer to get around. You should bring all 4-5 promoted flyers and plan on doing a lot of random rescue-dropping around on this chapter.

The enemy actually doesn’t really have the kind of overwhelming air superiority they usually have on air maps. Those wyverns are the only flyers for like 9 turns and even when some start spawning, it’s still not THAT many.

They also don’t have the kind of mass-staff domination they’ve been relying on heavily since Night of Farewells. There’s just the one guy with a Berserk and he’s a bishop and he’s constrained by a river, so his effective range is absolutely tiny compared to the 20 that the druids had on Cog of Destiny. It’s about 10 from most directions, and from some it’s as low as 7 actually. Easily enough that you could actually fly up from outside his range and assassinate him without him ever getting a shot at you.

There’s also very few long-ranged attackers. Just one sage, one bishop, and Limstella herself. The snipers with the ballistae are non-trivial, but even they’re just in one area. Oh and there is one fairly nasty surprise: the bottom right ambush reinforcements (more on them in a bit) include another sage with bolting.

What I’m getting at is the enemy is really, really spread thin. And they can’t really reinforce themselves well. The upshot is that you fight three pretty distinct battles here. One group goes through the winding pass to the right and then up, one group goes diagonally through the middle, and one goes on a fairly straight route up then right. These troops will often be too far apart to help each other, so each group must be self-sufficient with healing and the ability to deal with both magic and physical attackers.

The main challenge will just come from some of the individual enemies being very strong and the enemy being of many, many different types such that they have no obvious weaknesses. Further, they pack a wide variety of very strong weapons: silver weapons, killer weapons, reavers, super-effective weapons, light brands, and high-end versatile weapons like tomahawks. Their level isn’t a giant step up from previous chapters, but their gear is finally serious.

Let me just say as an aside that I like the fact that even on the second-final chapter not every single enemy is promoted and armed with the best possible weapon. I hated how in Awakening on the harder difficulties every single person in the enemy army was promoted and carrying 1,000,000 gold in custom-forged silver weapons starting on like chapter 10.

Anyway, two last notes are in order:

1) This is where ballistae get serious. Those aren’t your run of the mill siege weapons that were already non-threatening on chapter 8. I realized the ballistae were stronger going in, but not how much so. See those yellow ones nearish the top right? Those are killer ballistae, I knew that. See the greyish ones? I thought those were normal ballistae. They’re not. Those are IRON ballistae. They’re even stronger than killer ones and they have 15(!) range instead of the killer 8 or normal 10. That’s a HUGE difference. And these snipers are strong enough that you can’t just assassinate them. Plus they’re positioned really well. But they’re still just ballistae. Even now, at their very strongest, and on a level where there are almost no long-ranged magicians, the one nearby sage with bolting we do have is more of a threat than all of them combined.
2) This chapter has one trick to it: some unusually spawned reinforcements. If you enter one of those colored boxes, reinforcements of the type indicated will IMMEDIATELY spring up from the area in the circle of the matching color and be ready to attack you on that turn. The 5 nomadic troopers on the top left are by far the biggest threat. I mean, they roughly double the number of units to fight on their front and are stronger than all but the heroes. Still, these ambush reinforcements aren’t much of a problem: largely because they’re not much of an ambush. The trigger zones are huge and so you’ll almost certainly have at least one whole turn to react.

Karla has exactly one use: freeing up more Merlinus space. Currently he has 100 items, which is a problem. Every single one of my characters is already carrying 5 things too. I have a lot of stuff. Merlinus must never be allowed to have 100 items mid-battle, because you’ll almost surely need to drop something before the end.

I crunched out all the numbers of XP again because this is really important. Again, XP gained in Lyn’s story doesn’t count.

As I thought, I am now 2000 XP ahead. Not ahead of where I need to be now but of where I need to be at the very end of the game, even including this chapter’s insanely high XP requirements. I could do nothing but use level 20 people now and still get max XP ranking.

That is HUGELY helpful to know. Because now I can finally start playing seriously and just do whatever I have to to crush the enemy utterly with no risk instead of bringing along a bunch of guys who can be 2-hit killed and barely scratch the enemy and basing my whole strategy around finding good ways to feed them kills.

And I can concentrate on shoring up my tactics rating, which is going to take a hit next chapter, to make sure I’m ready for any unexpected difficulty on the final level.

So yeah, this is really nice, but think about it for a moment. I did every single 0 chapter (except the next one) and I brought even the most worthless units that aren’t Rebecca and Wil to at least level 16 unpromoted, and most to 20. I got maximum heal XP whenever possible, did not train Nils past level 7 with 0 XP in Lyn’s story, made sure to stick around on maps until the last big wave of reinforcements that wasn’t past the turn limit, and generally did everything possible to max out my XP gain except use arenas. And only after Sands of Time, where I ground up about 4 lowish level people for a total of about 20 levels, did I end up 20 levels ahead of where I needed to be at the end of the game. If I hadn’t gone all out the whole time up till now, I would now be in serious trouble. It’s really hard to train weak people on this level and it’s pretty much impossible on The Value of Life or Light. So yeah, don’t get complacent. The XP ranking is serious business. If you get here and you don’t have about 38,000 XP already (well over the 31,000 or so needed to have 5 stars up till now) then you quite possibly lose.

That happened to me on my first HHM max ranking run two years back or so. Got all the way here with 5 stars everywhere, beat Light, and found I was suddenly at 3 for XP even though I’d still been training unleveled people on this chapter and there was nothing I could do about it. Don’t let it happen to you.

This guy is not your friend! He won’t tell you you’re just 50 XP above the minimum needed to keep 5 stars and that it’s impossible to get to Victory or Death’s 6000 requirement. He didn’t tell Uther either and now Uther is dead. Don’t let it happen to you!

Oh, that 5 star funds ranking was after eating 8 stat boosters to test by the way. So I have at least +64,000 and still climbing. So waaaaay more than enough to sell 40,000 and get Farina.

I needed to free up some more Merlinus space. And I also needed to get to juuuuust this level of funds. See there’s one last secret shop on this map and with my silver card I’m going to buy 2 earth seals as the most space-efficient store of wealth and a Barrier staff since that will use up my spare change and be handy on the last level. You want 2 of those if you can get them.

ObjectIve: Seize Gate
Secondary ObjectIve: Recruit Renault from the top left village
Secondary ObjectIve: Get the Set’s Litany from the middle village
Secondary ObjectIve: Get the Talisman from the bottom right village.
Secondary ObjectIve: Get Fenrir instead of Nosferatu from the middle rightish druid
Secondary ObjectIve: Get Fimbulvetyr instead of Bolting from Limstella
Reinforcements: Yes. Like a hundred if you wait long enough. Besides the ambushes mentioned, there’s almost nothing till turn 7 and then about 20-30 per turn of various types until turn 13 at which point it slows. After 15 there’s just about nothing until you get 6 promoted per turn from 20 to 35. They’re of many types, but some notable groups include about 4 turns of 4 valkyries and 2 falcoknights in the top leftish area starting on turn 9, 4 wyvern riders and a lord in the right middle also for 4 turns starting on 9, 2 valkyries for 4 turns starting on 7 in the bottom right, and about 8 per turn of various types near Limstella from 7 to 16.
Turn Limit: 15. Not luxurious, but easily workable. It’s not hard to be winning by turn 10, but it’s better to sit around and harvest some reinforcements till about 13 when they slow dramatically.
Units Allowed: 13 + Hector + Nils + Renault (recruitable). Tons. Easily enough for all 3 fronts if they’re distributed well. That’s the key.
Units Brought:
1) Hector. Required and great, but slow. Be prepared to rescue-drop and dance a lot to let him keep up with the group. You need him to get to that gate much faster than his 5 movement can carry him.
2) Nils. Back on the team! Even with the boots he’s slow on this map. Too many paladins, too many flyers. Rescue-drop him around too. He’s very handy, though MUCH less so here than he is on chapters where the party is all in one group so he can dance for absolutely whoever needs him.
3) Florina. It’s an air map and I’m in a hurry, every air unit is coming.
4) Fiora. It’s an air map and I’m in a hurry, every air unit is coming. And she’s a great unit.
5) Heath. It’s an air map and I’m in a hurry, every air unit is coming. And he’s a fantastic unit.
6) Vaida. It’s an air map and I’m in a hurry, every air unit is coming. And she’s a great unit.
7) Sain. Back by popular demand for the first time since Battle Before Dawn and before that since Four Fanged Offense. He’s one of my very best and actually still the very fastest on the whole team (though that finally changes this level). And still actually the strongest (though that too changes this level). His great movement and weapon versatility and matchless offense will be very helpful.
8) Canas. Heal, Restore, Physic, Luna. He’s still the best team member in a real fight as well as for overall support, and he’s still overleveled after Cog of Destiny so I’m still not going to use him much.
9) Erk. Now rivalling both Canas and Sain (and Raven) for best offense on the team, Erk is great. His limited movement and poor staff access still hurt him, but he’ll be seeing heavy use. No one else- NO ONE- has the exact stat set I need to smash Valkyries in large numbers.
10) Pent. There’s room on the team and I’m not training anyone. He has great staff access and is a very good all around unit, though certainly not as good as the other casters on the team.
11) Nino. Going to see heavy use for the first time since Night of Farewells, she’s now come into her own as a powerful magic user and is dependable- if not really spectacular- on both offense and defense. Critically, she still has more room to grow than people like Pent and Erk and Canas who are currently better than or as good as her.
12) Raven. The world’s best infantryman, Raven is nearly as good as Erk at dispatching Valkyries and other household pests. He’s about to cap his everything. Of course he is.
13) Eliwood. Suddenly taking a sizable hit in power as the enemies get fast enough that he can’t double everything, he’s still an amazingly valuable unit. Quite possibly the best overall tank on the whole team and mobile too. I don’t want to overlevel him right now though.
14) Bartre. The following is a list of the times Bartre one round killed an enemy on this level: . Not even the unpromoted ones. He contributes nothing of value and the playthrough would not look different if I left his slot blank. Probably should have brought Harken or another pre-promote in retrospect. Marcus or Isadora might have been handy for added rescuing power. And easier to carry around themselves. But there’s just tons of space and it’s an easy level so there seemed no harm in bringing him.
15) Priscilla. I need more healing and I need more rescuing and I need mobility. She’s almost at level 20 now and I expected she would hit it by the end.
Notable Units Rejected:
1) Uh…
2) L- no wait, that guy’s level 20. Or close to it.
3) Yeah, no, I think this is pretty much everyone.

No one is actually carrying heavy weapons- except an Elfire each for Erk and Nino so they can kill high res stuff, but everyone has plenty of light ones and everyone has a full vulnerary once again. I’m saving the big guns for the next fights since they’re not needed here. I meant to give someone a lightning and a heal to give to Renault, but forgot the lightning

Florina has the Delphi shield because every other air unit has Def.

So the main question here is who goes to what front. Don’t bring enough to one and you’ll end up in serious trouble or have reinforcements piling up that you can’t kill in time since the map is ending soon. Bring too many or people who are too strong to one and you probably didn’t bring enough somewhere else.

The top area has very few enemies at all ever, but they’re almost all promoted and there are really powerful Valkyrie reinforcements there. Erk can easily solo all those Valkyries and no one else can, so he belongs there. He can also cover all the healing needs of a small group.

I needed to put a flyer (Fiora so she can take a hit) in that top left spot. That’s the only way to spawn the nomads on turn 1 and have them immediately attack someone without wasting Nils on the job. Sain can rescue Erk and carry him then Fiora can fly onto the forest and drop Erk north onto the other forest. That allows 3 of the fire to immediately suicide to Erk, making my trip much smoother. Of course, any other 8 move person could do Sain’s job there but you’ll note I have no others who aren’t flyers- and the rest of those are needed elsewhere. Plus he’s quite effective against generals and nomads and everything else himself.

Those 3 + Renault should be able to sweep the entire top front in just a few turns and then make for Limstella. With their high speed and few obstacles, they should reach her the same time the main group does. Erk will stay behind on the forest to fight the valkyries. Possibly Sain will stay to fight the falcoknights.

The bottom front is a little trickier to gauge. It has more starting forces and more quick reinforcements. However, I estimate that 2 strong units should be able to cover it without problem.
That’s good, because I’ll need 2 units to soak up the big reinforcements: someone on a southern forest for the valkyires and someone on the mid right mountain for the wyverns. Those people will also need air transport though since they have more mountains in their way than just about anyone else.

So Heath will immediately fly Nino onto the mountains, then drop her onto the forest to solo most of the enemies and retreat to pick up Raven. Those 2 are very good but not very mobile and not needed elsewhere, so they’re perfect for a job that mostly involves standing still and hitting really hard. Raven should be able to double and 2-hit kill the Valkyries with a handaxe. He can’t take hits from them, but he can dodge. Nino with a mountain or forest can dodge wyverns easily and can 2-3 hit kill them depending on her tome and magic growth. Heath will probably head up to rejoin the main group quickl.y

That leaves everyone else to take the middle. My units are positioned for maximum rescue-drop first turn mobility to get the strong guys into position. Rather than get my formation clogged up at the fortress choke point, I plan to use Florina and Vaida to rescue-drop 2 people directly into the back of the round valley, then rescue drop people over the next mountains and so on. Hopefully at least Heath will be able to rejoin that air group in short order.

Canas and Priscilla and Pent are all armed with restore staves to deal with that Berserk bishop.

Vaida, being an air unit but relatively unimportant and one who doesn’t need to carry an iron sword and Delphi shield like Florina does, has the silver card and member card.

The Characters:

“It is for this moment that I have lived...” –Renault, Final Chapter

Yup, still getting more allies this late in the game. Renault is a very enigmatic figure. He’s actually first seen lurking around on Chapter 19x where he reveals himself to be a hermit and a bishop of the Elimine church, seemingly unaware of who the Black Fang are or what's going on. Now he joins you in hopes that helping one side win will finally let him get some peace and quiet- or so he says.

And that COULD be all you learn about him. But if you use him in the final chapter and get him supports, he actually turns out to be rather plot important and definitely a very interesting figure. He features prominently in the lives of such diverse characters as Lucius and Wallace, having been many things in his long life. And it turns out that he knows Nergal and was once Nergal’s ally, having been the one who helped Nergal create his first morphs. He did so, in fact, thinking that Nergal could resurrect Renault’s dead friend as a morph. Upon realizing that all Nergal could create were soulless abominations and that he had done terrible crimes helping a madman gain nearly unlimited power, he retreated to Valor to brood on his crimes and await a change to wreak his vengeance on Nergal.

And there’s lots more to find out too. Very cool. It’s too bad the system for gaining supports in this game is so silly.

Renault gets a lot of hate as a unit, but he’s really not bad at all for his job. His job is to be a front line healer on Light. And he can do that! He’s got great speed and solid defenses, enough to take a hit or maybe even two- in the VERY rare cases he gets doubled- from most enemies on Light. Serra and Priscilla can’t do that on this kind of run and people like Canas have stuff to do. Plus he comes with a handy A in staves, Pent, really is his main rival. And Pent is better, but you can use both.

His main weakness is his absolutely horrible Mag. That’s why people like Pent- or Canas or Athos when they have spare time- are better for his role. They heal more and then can use Physic and such to heal at much greater range. It’s also true that he’s not really very good for his level, but that doesn’t matter much at this point in the game. He’s good enough in absolute terms to stand up to the threats on the final level and heal if your better healers are busy or dead. What more do you want?

Oh and he’s got some VERY valuable starting gear there. That’s the game’s only Fortify unless you do the next chapter and Fortify is an absolutely amazing staff. Not that he’s good with Fortify or that you should use it- it costs 1000 a shot. But still, notice that he has it and do consider giving that Fortify to Pent or Canas or Athos in case you desperately need mass healing on Light.

“I am not human. This mind and body are constructs. Yes, as is this sorrow.” –Limstella, death quote

Last of Nergal’s “main” morphs after Ephidel and Sonia, Limstella is in his eyes his greatest creation. His masterpiece as he put it, combining perfect strength and perfect beauty. He seems to have more or less discarded Sonia for her as a better model of the same kind long ago- in a way he did not discard Ephidel. As far back as when Ninian and Nils were called through the gate it was Limstella who was always at Nergal’s side, though we know that in the past it was Sonia Nergal usually worked directly with. This may, perhaps, be the reason for Sonia’s hatred of morphs – Limstella the morph replaced her at her beloved master’s side. Or maybe Sonia’s just crazy. Probably that.

But actually, Nergal really sells Sonia short. Sonia seems to be the smartest of his morphs and was able to accomplish all sorts of things Limstella probably couldn’t- like convincing Brendan Reed she loved him. Limstella’s greatest strength is that she’s rational and not bloodthirsty and murderous like Sonia. She doesn’t kill people she doesn’t need to and she doesn’t gloat.

LImstella is kind of a melancholy character. We see several times that she’s not truly emotionless as she likes to pretend, but the real her is kept pretty carefully hidden. Does even Nergal know her? In a way, she’s as silent as Kishuna.

Much like Sonia, she for someone reason went from largish adult woman size to small child Con in HHM and many of her stats were lowered. It’s pretty hard to kill her with her great defenses and throne, but she’s still just not much of a threat. She was more dangerous on normal.

That bolting does hit hard, but unlike Sonia she doesn’t really control a critical area with it and she doesn’t have as much ranged support also firing on that area. And Fimbulvetyr continues to suck. She has pretty much 0 speed with either of these weapons.

Playing Through:

Nils delivers the important thing Fargus gave him, an Earth Seal. Even on my first ever play of this game where I actually used Earth Seals I’d still long since promoted everyone I wanted to use. Still, 20,000 gold is a lot of money.

That nomad just poofed out of nowhere because I ran Sain (carrying Erk) into the spawn trigger zone.

One frame later, there are the other 4.

Fiora flies up, takes Erk, and drops him in the woods ready to fight. We’ll going to kill half the top front enemies on turn 1.

You may have wondered why Heath wasn’t in Raven’s spot. It’s because he doesn’t need to be. This spot here is the best one to move to because if he went any further he would get swarmed by silver axe wielding warriors while at half speed. And this spot gives good access to that forest Nino will go to.

A sage with bolting appears! Yeah it’s a nasty surprise, but it’s not that bad and it’s the only one really. And in a position where it can’t really team up to 2-hit kill people on its surprise attack very well. Quite unlike the surprise sage behind door #1 in Pale Flower of Darkness.

Raven moves to be picked up next.

Priscilla and Nils team up to transport the slow Hector to the front line.

I drop Hector, preparing to surround her on the other side.

The bishop spawns… and nothing else does. Oh. That bishop was enemy #50, the max. Ok, can’t have that. I just went back and did the same thing up until that Priscilla drop.

And Eliwood and Pent move in while Florina and Vaida flank, carrying Canas and Bartre for dropping. That’s the turn.

The wyverns fly in an unexpected direction. Well it would be if I hadn’t played before.

Heath is hit by Bolting.

Erk is unexpectedly hit by a nomad but completely wastes the three of them.

Next turn, I drop Nino off to fight with Elfire equipped so she can 2-hit kill more things at a cost of dodginess.

Sain gallops up to take out another Nomad. Nomadic troopers are among the toughest enemies in the game, perhaps more so than wyvern lords even. Wyvern lords are weak to magic, whereas nomads are tough all around, and nomads are extremely fast- fast enough to actually dodge attacks. Plus they can’t be weapon triangle countered while using bows.

This is not to say that they’re some huge threat, just that they’re not as easy to kill as one would expect. The only time they were any kind of threat was Pale Flower of Darkness.

Sain gets the kill and a level that looks bad until you remember he’s capped Str and Speed already.

In the middle, this hero is a tough nut to crack. Almost no one can double him, he’s tough as nails, and he hits really hard. And he has a silver axe and a lightbrand, a combination with very few real weaknesses.

I just needed to check him out before seeing if I could take Priscilla left to heal Erk and I can without worrying, so Erk kills the general to block for her and is back at full health. And Fiora flies up to agro the north heroes.

Another great level!

Hector attacks the hero and it’s still standing. And you can see that this time all 4 monks spawned with the bishop because I killed more enemies before moving into the zone.

Pent attacks the hero too, bringing him to about half health, and gets a respectable level for a mage.

Eliwood helps and Nils dances for Hector while I check the range on Berserk. Perfect. I can put Vaida on the edge of that, cure her next turn, then have her fly up and kill him.

The air drop walls the swordmaster away from my more vulnerable units and gets 4 tough guys deep into the middle valley. Much faster than if I’d just tried to walk everyone through the forts.

Hector finishes the hero for a sweet level.

The swordmaster is under control. Time to end the turn.


Yeah, he just instant killed Florina from full. I admit, I didn’t even consider the possibility of one of my promoted units being killed from full HP by someone with weapon triangle disadvantage. A foolish oversight on my part. Have I mentioned, recently, that my Florina has sucky defense?

You should be.

Restart, new formation. Florina takes the bottom area where she’ll be worthless in a fight but can’t be attacked by anyone but the Bolting sage. Heath goes north instead of Fiora because Fiora wasn’t doing great against the generals and nomads. Fiora and Vaida, tough enough to stand up to a swordmaster crit, take the middle.

Same procedure but with Heath.

There’s a change here though. I realized last time that it was going to take a while- and most fighting would be over- before Raven could be dropped in. Counting a squares, he can actually get into range just as fast walking while making Florina less vulnerable and uselessl.

Another change, I realized I could get Nils much closer to the front lines in future turns with a bit of rescue dropping here.

Bartre is no longer being air-dropped in. Florina could carry him because she’s tiny but Vaida is massive and Fiora is just 1 Con too big to carry him, so he has to walk and they’ll drop the mages instead.

I’ve also positioned Hector with a handaxe and Eliwood with a javelin so that I can definitely get another hit on the hero early, making it easier to bring him down without Pent ready to help.

Well… that’s better than expected.

Florina still gets hit by the Bolting.

But this time Erk isn’t hit.

Turn 2, drop in Nino.

And run back even though she’s not dropping Raven. Raven, meanwhile, gets in warrior range.

This time Sain gets a considerably lamer level as he kills the nomad. At least he still hit both times, though that actually doesn’t matter since I could just have Heath finish the person in question.

Look at my Erk, my Erk is amazing! That Def is even better than the speed he got before.

So the left flank is doing just fabulous.

The War Room, part 33

But they weren’t on the second try- this is the 3rd. On the second try I put Heath on the forest, same as Fiora. Result? He was juuuuuust in Berserk range. And there’s no Restore on that side because why would there be?

This was a real blunder and a kind I’ve made before because noticing this is not one of my strengths as a tactician. So this war room is dedicated to a discussion of “flanks”.

You’ve probably heard me talk about, say, a “left flank” or “top flank” or the like as a synonym for side or the group of allied or enemy units on that side. Some maps, like this one, or some approaches to some maps- like the early In Search of Truth where one sends one group over the broken snag bridge, one group south, and (in my case) Hector immediately over the river can be divided into front, flanks, sides, squads, or whatever other terminology you want to use. This is a handy and useful mental concept for planning your attacks, making sure everyone has the resources they need to do their job, and so on. I’ve relied on that kind of thinking to get this far and it’s implicit in many of my strategies and much of my advice about how to form your own.

On a map like Victory or Death you definitely should consider there to be 3 flanks during battle preparations and planning. You need to make sure the top, bottom, and middle groups all have healing, anti-magic and anti-physical capabilities, etc. And you can’t plan on those groups being able to help each other.

But remember that flanks are not real, they’re just a mental category and one the computer doesn’t use. Don’t even think of one enemy as only one flank’s problem. And don’t even think of a staff user or long-ranged magic user as dead until you’re watching your XP bar fill up. Keep track of them. Don’t restart 12 turns into Night of Farewells like I do because I think of that druid as “on the bottom” and don’t look down there off screen to check whether he can actually hit the top.

And don’t forget to consider ways troops on one front could help another. Physic in particular can reach a long way. So can Rescue or Warp, which are hugely expensive but truly unique in utility. So could your own long-ranged magic or staves. And so can a flyer boosted by Nils. When you can conceptualize and consider all of those possibilities while playing, you’ll be much better at this game than I am.