Part 53: Chapter 32x (part 1) and the War Room Part 33 (Warp and Rescue)
Slightly cheesy title, very interesting chapter. Unless I misremember, the frequently listed requirement for unlocking it (beat Victory or Death in 20 turns or less) is incomplete. You must also have played 19x, 19xx (so it must be HM and you must have killed Kishuna in 19x and trained Nils to 7), and 23x. That makes it the most secret of all secret chapters.
It is the third, and final, Kishuna level (the first 2 having been 19x and 23x) as this time he allows himself to be killed instead of escaping as he had before. Like most of the Kishuna chapters, it really raises at least as many questions as it answers. Solve one mystery and along comes another, as Athos put it.
Other than Kishunas anti-magic field, which is now somewhat old hat but does dominate the map more thoroughly than on some previous chapters, this is a pretty straightforward battle on anything but HHM. Theres a broad array of enemy types, a couple of chests to steal, and a circular walk to get around to the bosss chamber and then kill him.
On HHM its very different and much, much harder- and much more rewarding.
Hector and company somehow either get lost right outside the Dragons Gate or get bored waiting for Athos and wander off and find another ruin. Inside, the morph Kishuna reflects on his wretched life and how his creator, Nergal, threw him away. He decides to let Hector and the others kill him, though his guards mount a desperate defense.
Darn it, Hector! We were at the dragons gate. Now were going somewhere else. Much like Crazed Beast, this chapter happens only in Hectors story because he screws up or gets distracted or something.
So they come across another ruin and decide to go D&D on the place.
Of course, you ARE attacked from the rear on Light no matter what. And this justification could be used for searching the entire island.
Another Kishuna flashback. Flip back to 23x and note its the same portrait. It could almost be the same conversation, except that Nergal has changed completely.
Its unclear how much time has passed between these two scenes but whereas in his early days when Nergal treated Kishuna like a human being and was interested in his opinions, now he just sees his morphs as tools.
We dont know what Kishunas answer was to Nergals question about what Kishuna thought of his creator, but Id imagine he viewed Nergal as either a parent or a god.
And what Nergal says to him is all too similar to Sonias abuse of Nino.
He throws Kishuna out, not even caring enough to kill him (or have one of his morphs kill him) and be done with it. And seemingly forgets about him.
Alone with his memories, Kishuna waits in the abandoned tower.
And then these guys kick in the door and a totally inaccurate view of the enemies present is shown!
Nils senses that something is different about Kishunas anti-magical aura.
No one else pays much attention since they cant seem to feel the distinction.
Hector apparently forgets that were the aggressors here and ignores all talk of the enem being sorrowful and decides to just kill them all. Since Kishuna doesnt flee, that may be what he wants anyway.
Battle Preparations & the Map:
Complete list of all Berserkers fought in every chapter in every mode up to this point:
Georg, Valorous Roland
Complete list of all enemies on this chapter in HHM that are not Berseerkers:
Kishuna, Magic Seal
You could be forgiven for forgetting that the Berserker class even existed up to this point. Chances are youll never find the Ocean Seal to promote Dart without a guide, Georg is a forgettable enemy and youll probably just think of him as a warrior, and Hawkeye is bad. And as far as I can remember theres not even a single Berserker on this whole chapter on any mode but HHM.
But here in the most secret of all chapters you fight about 20-50 of them and nothing else at all mixed in. And theyre terrifying opponents. You will see your tankiest units torn in half in two blows- or one as they crit you over and over. The only safe solution is magic- and that doesnt work.
Here are the stats on an average one (many are as high level as 20:
I have a very good, very high level Hector. He has 24 Def. My insanely defensive Heath and Eliwood have 23 and 20 respectively. That means even my toughest unit will be taking about 13 or so damage per hit, my moderately tanky ones will be taking about 1/3 their health, and anyone without spectacular Def is killed in 1-2 hits
Theyre huge enough that most axes dont slow them down and have enormous speed anyway. Not everyone on my team can double them at all- and most of my best team members cant double them while carrying heavy weapons.
And that respectable speed plus decent defense and very high HP makes them flat-out impossible for many of my units to kill in one round even with silver weapons.
20 or so skill is enormous, and a fair number of them wield weapons with accuracy in the 80 range. That makes 120 hit. My dodgiest fighting unit that isnt a mage is Eliwood at 73 currently. That means he gets hit 50% of the time. Even if they have one of their least accurate weapons (65 or so) thats still 35% or so hit rate on my dodgiest warrior.
Furthermore, they have a dangerously high crit rate of 25% of so before weapon bonuses. Eliwood has enough luck that everyone has 0 against him, but for most people the net rate is about 15%. Thats a 15% chance of instant death on just about every hit.
The crit rate is hard to reduce, but the hit rate you can do something about. There are a couple of pillars on the map granting +20 avoid and +1 def. The trouble is that they arent located near chokepoints so you cant stop the enemy from swarming past you to people not on pillars- unless you go really slowly and have people hang back.
But the weapon triangle, of course! Afterall, berserkers are locked to axes so every single one of them is sword-counterable, right?
Wrong! Tons of the punks- at least a fourth- have swordslayers, which are like swordreavers but with better stats (huge accuracy!) and super-effective damage vs heroes and myrmidons and Lyn and for some reason lower price. That last one is a bit of a mystery.
She weighs 14 unspecified units of weight and hurls 200 gold, custom-tooled axes at 2 rounds per fight. It costs 4800 gold to throw this weapon for 12 fights. Meet the Berserker
Doubly wrong. Fully half of the berserkers are armed with tomahawks, an incredibly powerful upgrade of the already excellent handaxe. Their power is, in fact greater than a steel axe and nearly as good as a silver one with solid accuracy and a devastating 1-2 range. It doesnt matter if using a sword takes 15 off their hit chance, theyll all get endless free attacks against you from range and drop you in 2 hits.
Swords are good against these chumps though. Devil axes are the worst weapon in the whole game. Besides awful accuracy and preposterously high weight, enough to slow even these guys by 5, theres the whole problem where even when you do hit theres a 31% chance of doing the damage to yourself instead. Technically 31- your luck, but enemies in this game have 0 luck.
That maybe a third of the enemy has these things (I know my fractions add to more than 1, many enemies have 2 weapons) makes the lever MUCH easier. Of course, no Def can save you if one does land a hit.
So when facing a crowd of mixed axes and swordslayers, whats the best weapon to respond with? Well if its more than 1/3 swordslayers, lances are a net profit since reaver accuracy effects are doubled. If its less than 1/3 swordslayers, lances are a net loss. Swords are advantageous in the reverse circumstances. Axes are always neutral. Thats a simplification of course, the reality depends on the true hit system and the exact stats of everyone involved. But theres actually a better option: axereavers. An axereaver will get slammed by the swordslayer, but be doubly dodgy against the other axes. Now you see why I bought so many of them. Ive got something like 8 total at this point.
Now there are a few things to know about the AI on this level. First of all, almost all of those berserkers are very aggressive and will begin making for your position immediately. So will those that quickly begin spawning from the various staircases. So you COULD just grab a pillar and wait out the storm for a while in theory, but in practice the reinforcements only get quickly from behind, come from many directions, and will include far too many people using weapons no one person can deal with. Plus that takes too long on a max ranking run.
Second, a few berserkers (the two side by side in the top rightish area with handaxes and the 4 nearish Kishunas door) are not very aggressive and will not move until you enter their range. Meanwhile the 2 berserkers standing in the only 1 space caps in the top and left walls have tomahawks and will not move under any circumstances. Knowing whos going to come at you and when it very important here.
Oh and heres Kishuna himself. Hes leveled up a bit and gotten marginally tougher, but in actuality hes pretty much the same as he was 18 chapters ago (though on a throne now). Over the course of 18 chapters, the party has gotten immensely strong (except for Sain who was the one who killed him then and is at roughly the same power now). No one can double him, but many people can hit him even on his throne now and hell take much more damage. Still, if youre unlucky he can last several turns and you dont want that.
Objective: Kill Kishuna
Secondary Objective: Get the Fortify from the top right chest
Secondary Objective: Get the Runesword from the top left chest
Reinforcements: All berserkers with mixed swordslayers, tomahawks, and devil axes. They come from the staircases in a counterclockwise sequence as marked. Additionally, starting on turn 12 every staircase will begin spawning them. And if you try to be a smarty and Warp directly into Kishunas room, the door opens to let the 4 charge in, 4 more appear from thin air with swordslayers AND tomahawks, and 2 more spawn from the stairs and 2 continue to spawn from those stairs
Turn Limit: 0. Its the last 0 chapter.
Units Allowed: 4 + Hector. And THERE it is, the reason this chapter is so hard. Just a few berserkers would be nothing if you could bring a healer or two with physic or Ninian or Nils to help out and enough people to deal with attacks from all sides. But youre going to have to make everyone count.
1) Hector. Required and AMAZING. If it werent for his bad speed Id say he was pretty unambiguously the best for this level. He can use swords, which are good against most berserkers, and handaxes for the rest. And he has the Def to actually take hits from them and the Con to wield huge weapons and Str to 2-hit kill with them. And mine is only slightly above average in speed and fast enough to double them.
2) Eliwood. One of my best units, though he doesnt have the raw damage needed to down these guys quickly. 7 move is very nice and he takes (and dodges) hits very well and supports hector and can wield such handy weapons as axereavers, so hes pretty darned good.
3) Sain. Really, REALLY cannot take a hit, but hes highly mobile and does more damage than anyone but Hector and can use all weapon types (though hes slowed by heavier axes). One of my best on offense, but Ive got to make sure I keep a weapon triangle edge at all times or hes dead.
4) Heath. Like Sain but better (Theres a scary phrase) but painfully without axes. Hes actually almost like Hector on Sains horse and will be getting some dangerous missions on his own as a result since almost no one can survive like he can.
5) Raven. Hits like Sain and tanks better but hes fairly slow. Critically, hes fast enough to still double with Blade weapons, and the silver Blade pushes him up into easy 2-hit kill territory. Lack of axereavers is painful, but being able to use axes himself helps make up for it.
Notable Units Rejected:
1) Canas. Canas is actually awesome enough that hes surprisingly effective in this anti-magic field just running around the edges. He 2-hit kills any berserker and dodges or tanks and heals easily with physic. He did decently well in my experimental first try of this chapter and the reason Im leaving him behind is mostly a need for more mobility on the team. If I were attempting a Warp staff approach to this chapter I would of course make him the centerpiece.
2) Nils. So close to making the cutoff. Hed probably actually beat out Canas for team member number 6 on a non-warp staff approach. Likely replacing Sain actually since Ravens slowness would cease to be a problem.
3) Erk. Hits harder than Canas and tanks nearly as well with his superior speed (and my Canass awful luck). But unlike Canas he cant use Physic or Warp, so he has none of that kind of utility. So hed end up being deadweight way too often.
4) Any other mage. Anti-magic field and Canas is better at everything.
5) Bartre. Sucks. Would be doubled and has no weapon versatility. Hed go down in one round.
6) Fiora. With an axereaver her survivability would be good, but she cant deal enough damage and shes too slow. Way too slow.
7) Florina. Dead in one round, doubled, not enough damage.
8) Jaffar. Hed be coming if I didnt have chest keys, but I have all the chest keys I can ever use and then some. His damage isnt terrible, but its not enough for the speed I need and silencer is undependable (and if I wanted damage I couldnt count on, Id have a swordmaster on the team). And being sword-locked is terrible here with all the swordslayers.
The War Room, Part 33
The team would look VERY different on a Warp rush, but Im not doing that because 1) I dont need to save the turns 2) I cant actually survive turn 2 with any unit with decent probability 3) it makes it hard to get the treasure. A lot of people do warp rushes here and probably expect one, but Ill explain the general idea for those not in the know:
On Cog of Destiny I acquired a unique A-rank staff called Warp. It has 5 uses and costs 1500 per use, a huge amount but possibly worth it for its really remarkable effect. Warp targets an ally in an adjacent square and then lets you teleport that ally to ANY square on the map the unit can traverse thats within the Casters Mag/2 spaces. So for my best user (Canas) thats an amazing 12 squares. Adding nifty to awesome, the teleported unit can still take its own turn. There are as many applications as you have the imagination for. Here are a few to illustrate:
1) The most obvious is giving a unit like Heath an effective attack range of 22 for 1 turn, allowing you to strike down just about anyone anywhere on a map. Take out a berserk or bolting user or the like.
2) Far more useful for a ranking run, you could use it to save many turns on your tactics score by getting a unit somewhere hard to reach way ahead of schedule. For example, one could get Hector to fight Kaim in The Berserker way ahead of schedule, circumventing both enemies and terrain. Or I could have teleported a powerful unit onto the top left area of Victory or Death I had trouble storming to take control of it more quickly.
3) Really expensive trade chaining I guess?
4) Theres a similar (But basically reversed) staff called Rescue that teleports an ally from ½ Mag range to the user. Warp someone who has that and they can pull other people to them for faster transport or the like?
5) Theres this one secret shop on Sands of Time in an area you can only get to with Warp. It sells nothing good.
The trouble is most of these things are 1) prohibitively expensive 2) Not worth one of your precious 5 charges 3) A bad idea anyway. For example, skipping most of the enemies directly (or indirectly by ending the chapter before reinforcements show up) costs you XP and possibly treasure. The games ranking requirements are balanced around not using the Warp Staff basically and tactics is not the most difficult category to max anyway. Also youre likely to end up feeding a ton of kills to the warped unit, overleveling them. 4) Better done in some other way (Use Silence or the like to take down enemy staff users or just use restore or whatever, use Nininian and clever rescue-chaining to move people impossibly far anyway, etc.) Oh and 4) You get Warp WAAAAAY too late in the game
Rescue is similar but less useful and with even fewer uses.
There are a few tricks for getting more utility out of them. For example, you can Warp a person who has rescued someone else, essentially getting 2 warps for the price of one (minus the ability to immediately attack a problem target). Or you could, say, Warp a person who Ninian just buffed with Niniss Grace or the like, allowing them to survive in an otherwise untenable position. Ultimately, these kinds of things only mitigate, rather than solve, any of the mentioned problems.
Really both are very fun and cool staves and I wish they were more available in this and other FEs in one form or another, but their usefulness is hampered by poor availability and high price and a lack of real need for them.
That said, people do use them a lot here on 32x and with good reason: it can potentially save you many turns. Teleport a unit directly to Kishuna (Remember, you can cast staves from outside the anti-magic zone IN just fine) and have that person kill him immediately or finish him next turn. The problem is the game is wise to that so theres a hidden trap that activates. 4 super berserkers poof out of thin air in Kishunas room, another 2 appear on the stairs and reinforcements from there start immediately, and the door opens to let more in. No one survives 10 Berserker attacks. So youd better hope whoever you send kills Kishuna immediately. Also, this means you dont get the valuable treasure or XP. Of course, there are several ways to improve on this little stratagem:
1) teleport someone who rescued someone else and drop them by the door. Now each only has to fight a few berserkers. The trouble is theyre still in danger and this means you dont save many turns afterall since you have to fight through a horde of berserkers with more on the way to win. Additionally, the rescuer cannot be warped on turn 1 or their turn is already over. (Half speed is certain death in that room even if you have 60 HP, 30 Def, and 30 base speed). So you lose a turn waiting or waste Nilss turn dancing.
2) Use Niniss Grace or the like on the person you teleported. That lets them survive 1 round. Then they die the next.
3) Teleport to one of the staircases. This stops some reinforcements and means you dont have to fight as many foes at once. But they just piled up at the chokepoint and now itll take forever to get to Kishuna.
4) Screw Kishunas room. Teleport to just outside it and door key in. No BS 4 guys from thin air. That makes the fight much, much easier but again costs you much of the turn advantage thats the whole point. This is probably the wisest overall warp option. You dont even need to go for Kishuna right away, just open up a second front to start the killing faster. The trouble is that its not like you have too many guys and not enough targets in your starting area.
Anyway, I checked pretty thoroughly and not one of my characters could last longer than 1 round with any weapon in that room. 2 if they started with Niniss grace. That meant something like 25% odds of killing Kishuna at a cost of about 2000 XP and 12,000 gold for 8 turns saved (terrible deal) compared to the best feasible time for just fighting through, but I should have enough turns anyway.
The ideal absolute max speed team for a warp rush that assumes average stats is probably Nils, Canas, and Guy or something. Give Guy a killing edge, have Nils use Filas Might on him, and have Canas warp him in. Assuming level 20 Guy with HHM bonuses you should have the speed to double Kishuna even with the 1 weight penalty. Accuracy 73 means true hit of 86 or so. Crit chance of 14 (Skill) +5 (S rank) +30 (killing edge) +15 (Class) is 64, dealing about 25 damage (with Filas Might) on a regular hit with HHM bonuses. Itll be close, but that means that if either is a crit, Kishuna dies. Thats about 80% chance of a kill. Possibly it would be better to do something like dance for the warp user and warp a second person (Rebecca, Lyn, etc.) with a ranged weapon. Unfortunately, you cant do anything like trade chain the warp staff and use it twice with 2 different characters because of the precise formation and the fact that you must bring Hector and hes in a location such that he cant be warped and still take his turn.
But yeah, Im not doing that.
Back to Battle Preparations & the Map:
Exact gear really matters and its absolutely essential to cut no corners and not try to be thrifty. Everyone should be armed to the teeth with the absolute best available weaponry.
Everyone has a vulnerary since I cant heal otherwise. Hector does enough damage with the Silver Blade to 2-hit kill nearly anything so he doesnt need the Silver Blade, but another character does. He has a Killer Axe not a silver one because the reason for him not to kill things in one round is lack of speed, not power (for the same reason, the brave axe would actually be counterproductive in that it would slow him by 1 and hes juuuuuuust fast enough to double a majority of them currently).
The handaxe is for when I dont need a guy dead right away and the much higher priced tomahawk will allow Hector to fell the toughest opponents at range.
Unlike Hector, Eliwood uses a killer lance rather than a silver one because is failure to kill swordslayer enemies will come from not doing enough damage even with a silver lance. A crit will take care of it though.
The Silver Sword of course is the most powerful sword and will be his weapon of choice, strong enough to 2-hit kill many berserkers. He needs no axereaver because he can wield swords well instead and has spectacular dodge and doesnt have the Con for the axereavers weight and needs the Silver swords power.
Sain desperately needs the Axereaver to survive; it will be his weapon of choice. He has enough power to 2-hit kill most axe-using berserkers with it and it will let him dodge their attacks with ease. Theres only one tomahawk and Hector will be able to kill more people with it, so Sain only gets a handaxe for ranged combat. He gets a killing edge not a silver sword because he cant actually use a silver sword (no A rank there). The silver lance will kill any berserker he catches with a swordslayer.
Again, theres only one tomahawk and Hector is the one who attacks the very toughest targets. The Silver Blade is the biggest, baddest sword there is and with it Raven can 2-hit kill absolutely any berserker not wielding a swordslayer on the whole map. And he can still double them, where he couldnt with the steel blade. The seemingly weird Lancereaver is Ravens only possible way to get weapon triangle advantage against someone with a swordslayer. I dont expect to use it, but want the option. And for enemies who have a swordslayer while there are too many people with axes around for a lancereaver Ive got a killer axe.
Because Heath is one of my best, he gets the worst gear. This be-mulleted prince of the skies is as tough as Hector and as fast as Raven and as strong and mobile as Sain. Cavalry type movement makes him exceptional for keeping up while looting chests and being good enough to actually survive on his own means he gets the job instead of Sain. Again, the axereaver is his bread and butter weapon, with it he can 2-hit kill most Berserkers and is nearly invincible. He cant use a silver sword or anything like that instead. And hes stuck with a javelin which he will probably not want to use, but its important to have the option. The silver lance will take care of any swordslayers.
This is the dream team. These are the 5 most badass warriors in Elibe with the best available gear for them personally for this job. They dont need a healer or the iron rune; theyre untouchable. And they certainly dont need some sissy warp staff to let them skip all the fighting. Bring your army of 30-40 level 14-20 berserkers with top tier weaponry on, Kishuna! This team will farm those chumps for XP!