Part 69: Battle Before Dawn
We've seen the the bullshit end of the spectrum. Now it's time for the opposite end. The "Artix hands this mission its ass on a silver platter" end.
Since this is the first of Artixs updates that will be co-co-commentated on, Ill reintroduce myself. Im Alkyderp, best known for trudging through most of FFTA2, and for currently doing an Advance Wars: Dual Strike LP that Artix is commenting on.
Christ, IntSys co-commentary webs are tangled. It makes me sad that I never considered having co-commentators, because then I could make it even more silly.
Right, so we basically get stuck with a skeleton force to cover three or four different objectives simultaneously. Jaffar and Nino are going to be a pain, but the real issue is Zephiel and his complete lack of survivability. Guy, Priscilla, Raven, and Bartre are going west, to deal with Maxime, thieves, and bail out Jaffar. Hector, Lyn, and Legault are going to slowly make their way south from the east side to pick up the Rescue staff and Delphi shield and to recruit Nino. Canas is heading straight for Ursula in the southeast corner, and Kent and Fiora are hauling ass straight to Zephiel.
Its a good thing that weve already had an update showcasing the intricate layers of bullshit around this mission, because otherwise wed have more screen real-estate devoted to text than screenshots...
This hero is an immediate annoyance, because he has a Silver Sword that hurts like hell, and he's fast enough that no one in that group can double him. He can actually double Fiora if she had her Steel Lance equipped. He falls to Luna, just like any other enemy.
When all else fails, use the nuclear option. Good thing Canas got some good levels this time.
Fiora pops the door open on turn 2, but she hangs out for this turn since she's at half health. Not getting this door open this turn actually screwed me on my second run, since I couldn't get to Zephiel in time. I had 3 resets from Zephiel dying before I just scrapped the save state and started over.
I wonder if HHM is supposed to be balanced in a way youre supposed to sacrifice a unit now and then. Having to sacrifice a unit like a Peg Knight sounds like an interesting idea, but Im sure IntSys didnt think that far ahead.
Canas with the first level of the map for healing Fiora.
Merlinus makes the best bait. A shame the fucker has literally gotten like 2 defense over the course of the game so far.
Who needs defense when you can evade-tank? Also, playing a strategy game where units can not only dodge, but have stats that control evasion increase by levelling is foreign enough to me I would have never considered this strategy. Im used to FFTA2s class-based avoid and Advance Wars units always hitting.
Closest AW analogy: Distracting the AI with loaded APCs. Although I think they fixed that, possibly in AWDS, but definitely by Days of Ruin. Still, memories
Turn 4, and our first objective is taken care of. Actually recruiting Nino is just a formality, the issue is keeping her alive long enough to do it.
On the west side, we're set up to bait Maxime. Guy is an awfully tempting target with that Silver Lance, and we've got our Wo Dao ready.
Not as tempting as Priscilla was my first time, though.
I take that this picture is from a previous run where Priscilla didnt make it?
Oh, you motherfucker. You're going to make me waste another use of the Wo Dao. Needless to say, the second hit crits as well, and Maxime is out of our hair.
Id be more annoyed at having to expend an extra turn at this point. From what Ive seen weapons are expendable, turns are less so on this mission.
It really all depends on the myriad and subtle ways in which all the paths to all the shit you have to accomplish intersect.
Jaffar's first elixir. We're still in good shape.
This is going to be Raven and Bartre's stop. They'll focus on picking off the thieves as they steal the treasure for us and any reinforcements that come from the stairs.
Fun with Bolting! She goes after Canas and misses.
And even Zephiel dodges like a boss. Things are looking up.
Its funny because youre talking like this is a bonus good-thing on top of everything else, like everything wouldnt go to shit if he didnt dodge...
But...it is a bonus good-thing on top of everything else. Zephiel not being able to potentially die before I can even get to him is very much a good sign, regardless of all the other crazy shit that needs to get done.
Oh no, he just so happens to be standing on a space directly in range of Bartre's bow, whatever will we do?
I will never understand how one can shoot an arrow through a wall. I can see it on outdoor maps, but were supposed to be indoors in a palace. Im not going to complain though, especially in situations like this. After all, I accept aircraft that cant fly over enemy infantry or pipelines.
This was actually (finally!) tackled in FE10; you couldnt shoot through walls, unless they were special walls (like rows of pillars and such), in which case the wall would even appear in the battle screen!
I forgot to have Canas re-equip Flux before going south here, so he still has Luna. It's not a huge speed penalty, but there are 4 mercs by Ursula, and the penalty means he can't double them.
Success! We made it to Zephiel in time and Fiora will attract most of the local idiots to her lance.
And all the difficulty has just left this map. Its now down to stats and smart playing. Honestly, just beating the level looked hard enough, but if youre the type to attempt HHM youre probably not the type to accept anything less than a 100% perfect victory where no one goes un-recruited and no gear is left unclaimed.
Treasure one acquired.
Zephiel dodges a second time, much to my delight. We should be in the clear on this front now.
Chucking spears at idiots pays off handsomely for Fiora.
Jaffar's second elixir. Fortunately, he decided to back off, so Guy and Priscilla will take center stage in cleaning out the southwest corner.
On turn 7, Hector recruits Nino.
: The prince is in his room! Save him! I'll take care of anything that happens out here!
: Wait, hold on! You're Nino, right?
: What!? How-
: I heard something... *fade to black*
: ...What? But... you must be lying...
: I'm not. It's all true. The Black Fang's responsible for the death of countless innocents. They're dancing on strings for Nergal, while he laughs in shadows.
: ...It can't be...
: I know you don't want to believe all this, but it's true. Don't hide yourself from reality. You should come with us. You saved the prince. I think you'll see what's right.
From here, Hector, Lyn, and Nino roll west to head for Zephiel's room and wait for Jaffar.
At any rate, the chapter itself is won now. All we have to do is not fuck up and let someone die.
If this wasnt already all done and screenshotted and written up, Id say you were tempting fate here.
A lowly monk finally runs out Guy's Light Brand, but not before giving him an excellent level. His skill seems low, but it's actually about on his average, and his strength continues to be far above what it should be. 20/20 Guy, on average, only has 18 strength.
Seventy-three base avoid...
Admittedly, he is still a little squishy, but can we call him the God-unit of this LP yet? Or he still in contention with Raven for the title?
You'd think they would have learned from the first one, but no, they line right up to hand us their treasure.
Ursula, there you are.
2 HP, 2 Mag, 1 Skl, 3 Spd. The big thing here is her speed; when she switches over to her Elfire tome, she has a very respectable 20 AS, which means she can double Canas when he's using Luna. He's not in danger of being one-rounded or anything, but considering he's only at about half health from Bolting and the mercs, it does put him in an uncomfortable situation.
Second treasure recovered.
Hooray! Now your soldiers can stop running around with bare feet! Well, one of them at least.
Thats quite an article fail there. It fails on two levels! Future FE games (at least, starting at PoR) at least manage to reclassify them as the Boots. Since theres only one pair.
I suppose she has to try and keep pace with Guy somehow. I really would like to see her pick up a little defense, though.
Honestly, the Guy/Priscilla support is practically a gamebreaker in itself.
Fiora and Kent soften up this hero, but can't kill him. We're slowly closing up the net and getting the last of the enemies in the corner.
This is the only real scare of the chapter. A hero knocked Prissy down to 7 HP earlier in the turn and 5-10 guys immediately suicide into her because she's so low in HP, which would work a lot better for them if they weren't mostly mages and monks. This particular guy was a sniper, and probably the only one of the enemies that could have actually hurt her in the first place.
Anyway, with Priscilla that injured and Guy at about half-health himself, Prissy grabs Jaffar and starts heading for Zephiel's room where he'll meet Nino. Kent and Fiora take over their positions, and Raven and Bartre start heading south to rejoin them.
Hey, something had to go wrong at some point. Or at least close to it. Considering how much bullshit youve shown the thread in your half-update Id say this is going pretty well.
Its easy to forget these things in the heat of the moment, but it bears repeating: Fire Emblem AI goes for potential ORKOs on the basis of potential damage dealt with absolutely no consideration of actual odds of success. I now also believe that the AI will gladly send hordes of units after a single low-HP unit in the hopes of cumulatively killing them. Also with no consideration of hit odds.
See the thing is I seriously doubt any of those mages could actually hurt Priscilla. So in addition to the whole ignoring accuracy thing, the AI also must disregard whether or not they can even hurt the unit. It just sees "Unit X - HP Critical" and zerg rushes them.
East side treasure time.
She said to tell me. She was told. Dont know what shes so shocked about.
Eh...not terrible, I guess. With Ursula dead on turn 9, it saves us a lot of trouble with reinforcements. Whatever enemies are left on the map is it, and they're currently consolidated into the southwest corner. And most of them are going to end up suiciding into Kent or Fiora.
Nino has her chat with Jaffar to unlock Night of Farewells on turn 11.
That druid is the last enemy on the map. He has an Earth Seal to steal if you feel like it, and he's packing a Luna tome. Fiora just runs up and guts him with a Javelin, so we have a whole 4 turns to just hang out, heal up, and wait with no enemies to bother us.
The batshit pace you have to maintain just to accomplish all the objectives in this mission means youre pretty much guaranteed to finish early.
Priscilla gets a relatively underwhelming idea in the meantime.
With the chapter proper done, let's jump to the reunion party afterwards, where Jaffar and Nino join up.
: Me, I'd like to rip you limb from limb right now, but this kid Nino is here and all...
: You didn't take the prince's life. So we won't take yours. It's that simple.
: So naive. Do you know how many of your friends I've killed?
: You monster! I'll--
: Hector! Calm yourself!
: Get out of my way, Eliwood! I'm going to kill him!
: Stop it!
: Hey! Why don't you draw your sword?
: I've not been ordered to.
: Ordered to?
: Please... Forgive Jaffar. I beg you...
: Bah... You live...for now. You're nothing more than a tool. It serves no one to break tools. It's more important that we stop Nergal. But don't forget, I don't forgive you anything.
: Go back to the Black Fang, or stay with the girl. Do as you will. I care not.
Something tells me this isn't a lifelong friendship in the works. We get the Heaven Seal and it's onward to new and exciting bullshit.
Im more impressed that Hectors showing his aristocratic side for once. Normally hes a good-hearted brawler, but the whole Youre just a tool, and now youre my tool. thing is downright Machiavellian from him.
As if ANYONE would say no. The only excuse I can think of not to do side missions in a game like this is for speed running. Theres always good stuff in side missions and I really doubt theres speed runs of Fire Emblem games.
Someones going to link a FE speed run now that I mentioned the subject, arent they?
Paging Toothache, paging Toothache...
Also, [obligatory hate yourself more callback]
It's in the OP, and has been there for a very long time.
Resets this chapter: 5
Total resets: 37