Part 57: Prisoner of Magic
Well I hope everyone enjoyed our little intermission. But it's time to get back to business. Two conversations, and the first comes almost immediately at the start of the chapter.
: Walk quietly. Your armor is too noisy.
: Oh! How's this?
: You're still clanking.
: Do you see what I'm wearing? This equipment is not light! How do you propose I walk "quietly" in this!?
: Stop yelling at me! It's because of that clattering armor you're wearing! I'm just saying we have to move cautiously. Nothing more!
: I know! And I'm saying that I'm doing my best!
: Quiet, both of you! Armor or no, if you two keep shouting like that, every enemy from here to Pherae itself will hear us!
: We must proceed with caution. I can't believe Uhai was the only Black Fang in these woods.
Man, I knew we should've specced for Light Armor instead of H- oh, no, wait, we're back to Fire Emblem again, aren't we...
And the second is when the shaman appears before the group.
: Oof! We won't reach the Dragon's Gate if we stay on the defensive. Hit their commander, and attack the ruins!
: Eliwood. Is their commander the one in the ruins?
: I think so. It must be him.
: Looks like he's a pretty solid magic user. Bah, I'm still not confident against mages and their ilk.
: Is that so, Hector? Perhaps you should hold back a little then.
: What nonsense is that? I can't fight from the rear!
: No, I just meant that sometimes it's advantageous to
: Why waste good breath on words when there's fighting to be done! C'mon!
: H-Hey! Hector! Why do I even try?
Oh Hector... Now then, Prisoner of Magic. If you thought it was bullshit before, you ain't seen nothing yet.
First, the customary unit reduction. 12 in HNM, 8 here. Even if you're going to abuse save states (I will, for the record. Fuck doing this legit, that'd take months), you're going to need your best units because you're on a very short timer. There's a lot of mages and knights standing between you and Aion, and Kishuna will only stay until turn 12 unless you kill Aion.
The biggest problem is the knights. Most of them have Javelins, and even with making heavy use of the Heavy Spear and Wolf Beil it'll take a bit to get through. I don't actually end up killing Aion until turn 10 or 11.
Also, UNIT VARIETY, MOTHERFUCKER. DO YOU SPEAK IT?!
And of course, he's got pegs. Funnily enough, they all have Axereavers, so leave Guy or Raven behind and let him go to town on them.
WEAPON VARIETY, MO- yeah, you know.
3 HP, 2 Mag, 1 Skl, 1 Spd, 1 Res. He can actually be a bit of a pain in the ass to hit because of his fairly high speed and decent luck combined with his ruin space. He's also not weighed down by anything once Kishuna shows up, so he gets the full benefit of his stats.
Now, if you're sane, you're probably asking why in god's name anyone would bring Matthew to a stage like this when unit space is at a premium and Matthew is not the guy to turn to when you need to crack some skulls.
This is why. This is the single most precious thing the game will ever hand you. The Silver Card is an item that cuts the cost of anything in a shop by half. Secret shops, armories, vendors, doesn't matter. If the unit has a Silver Card, everything is half price. And in a mode where money is at an absolute premium unless you abuse the shit out of the arena, you do not want to go without the Silver Card.
Even now, months after finishing Radiant Dawn, I still can't help but spend at least a second convinced we were after the Bolting tome. Yes, yes, I know, can't steal weapons, but when you spend ten missions training one character towards being able to steal one item you kinda develop a one track mind about that stuff.
Now then, strategy. There's not really a whole lot to it given our objectives. Guy is going to hang out and kill the pegs before heading west, and Canas is going to hang out and deal with the flood of mage reinforcements. Fiora is going to take care of the ruin to the south, and everyone else is going to scramble for Aion. Once he's dead, Kishuna will stay as long as we'd like to deal with him.
One thing down.
Hector provides this inspiring level up after trading blows with a Swordreaver bandit.
Jesus, Guy. It's beautiful.
Never stopped believing.
Not great, but I'm not going to argue with a peg knight actually getting some strength.
Strength is good, everything else is meh.
And there's the man of the hour.
Remember when this mission was going well? It was very recent, wasn't it?
As Hector himself noted, he does not play very nice with mages. This was a far closer call than I was expecting, thanks to that asshole being the Elfire mage. But he's good as new after Priscilla patches him up.
Kent gets a terrible level, but he doesn't really need it for what he's doing. His Heavy Spear tears through the knights, and the mages are helpless to do anything to him.
He's worked his way up near Aion, and he'll spend a turn or two dealing with the knights as everyone catches up.
Fortunately, he's reasonably sturdy, and he has quite acceptable avoid.
And on the other side of the map, Canas is now in position. He's holing up in a forest, but it really doesn't matter. The mages that come in either can't hurt him, or do less than 4 damage a shot on the off chance they even land. Really, he's just there to take up a spot near Merlinus, but they're going to swarm him so quickly it doesn't matter. If you want Merlinus to survive, you more or less have to camp the fortresses so they can't even spawn, but that's a complete waste of a lot of experience that Canas would love, so Merlinus is going to have to take one for the team on this map.
And now we're free to focus on Aion.
But first, a Canas level.
The Mag/Res combo is, if sparse, still pretty handy, especially for a shaman being sent against mages. Lack of avoid means nothing if the hit does no damage! That said, though, there's no way around the fact that speed is and always will be the worst stat to not have, for any character, ever.
Aion is actually a lot easier to deal with if you kill Kishuna first, because he'll whip out his Bolting tome and send his AS/Avoid right into the shitter and pretty much anyone can slaughter him on their own. But Raven's got this under control.
Meanwhile, Hector and Kent get to work on the morphs Kishuna brought with him.
Kishuna himself is really about as bad as he can possibly get. He already has maxed speed, so the only thing he can get in the later chapters is higher HP and defense. 2 HP, 2 Str, 1 Skl, 1 Spd, 1 Def, 2 Res if you were curious.
Sometimes I wonder if the whole "Morphs get zero luck" thing wasn't introduced solely to nerf Kishuna... slightly. Christ, can you imagine Kishuna with luck?
Let's not. God knows they'd give him max luck for the final fight with him, and even swordmasters would weep.
The knight morphs are about the same as usual, but his Sniper morphs have seen a considerable upgrade. If you'll remember, they had about 34 HP and 14 Str/Skl and less than 10 Spd way back in Eliwood's story.
Raven whiffs on the killing blow, but gets a fantastic level in the meantime.
What doesn't kill you only makes me more able to kill you in the future!
As does Guy after critting on a sniper. Why don't we have two Hero Crests yet?
Can I do the numbers on Guy again?! Huh?! Can I?! Oh, sod permission, I can't hold this back any longer...
WRT averages (then accounting for HHM bonus), Guy is: HP +5 (+1), Str +5 (+3), Skl +1 (-1, but who cares), Spd capped (so N/A), Lck +3 (+3), Def +3 (+2) and Res +1 (0). That's pretty great.
Despite Canas's best efforts, things have gotten a bit ridiculous over by Merlinus. All six of them missed him last turn, but he's only got one hit left in him.
Fiora demonstrates her inability to hit anything with a Javelin and gets more skill.
Oh my god, Raven.
Raven's not doing so bad numberwise either, of course. Again, even adjusted for HHM bonuses, he's ahead in everything except HP.
It's just so hard to be excited for these kinds of levels after seeing Raven and Guy kick ass.
Well, there went Merlinus. Canas is about to rake in some sweet, sweet experience.
In case anyone forgot: Merlinus can't die. In fact, not only can he not die, he doesn't even sit the rest of the game out if he "retreats". So the only penalty for losing him is delaying his promotion. Maybe these are Acceptable Losses for you, maybe they aren't. But it's a thought. And by god, is he about to be avenged.
Considering that we'll have gone through at least 2 extra chapters before he promotes, he'll actually promote sooner than he would have in Eliwood's story anyway.
Hector gets a nice level, but he's starting to fall behind in some very important areas. He's a little ahead in HP and Skl, but he's 3 points behind in Str, Def, and Luck, and dead on in speed. And as we've seen, average or below average doesn't always cut in HHM.
Canas, in the act of dealing with all the mages, gets an excellent level, Dark-A, and breaks his first Flux tome. He's definitely turning out a lot better than last time.
Guess who's so vindicated! Did you guess Fedule?! Huh?! Did you?! Ahem. Canas is ahead in everything except luck and defense now.
And one more for Fiora as she takes out the sniper. Now we can deal with Kishuna.
So here's the basic idea. Hector starts us off, and then we go around the circle, passing around Guy's Killing Edge as necessary. Also, this should give you an idea of the odds we have to deal with.
One load-state later, Hector has done his part.
Guy's up next.
One miss and a load later, we get this. I actually would have been fine, and should have just passed the Killing Edge to Raven, but I'm stubborn and wanted to do this my way, so another load state.
There we go. Now we don't even need to pass the Killing Edge around.
No point in wasting more precious Killing Edge uses, so Raven just uses his Steel Sword. He lands on the first try.
The Fiora comedy option. She misses.
And Kent can deliver the final blow.
A quick healing level for Priscilla, and we're done here.
A sidequest...inside a sidequest?
[obligatory "we have to go deeper!"]
An Inception joke? Come on man, you have to at least try. Dammit, I was going to do that.
Resets this chapter: 3 ...Okay fine, the first recording had 7 and since this was a redo of the chapter, we'll stick with the higher number.
Total Resets: 17