Part 5: Hoshido
Hoshido! That's not Nohr. I thought I had to purchase that country seperately.
Skipped a cutscene and I woke up in a room with a cool muscular girl who's cooked a delicious meal... Maybe I should skip cutscenes more often, this is a definite improvement on before.
I'm actually surprised that she called this place a Flame Tribe village. Fates is somewhat infamous for its lack of worldbuilding, and the Flame Tribe gets the worst of it. So much so that there's a joke among the fandom that said tribe does not actually exist and Rinkah is just lying or is possibly delusional. But I guess you do visit it at least once, even if you don't see anybody else...
Here is this chapter's map, as well as the basic premise: save a little girl. Somehow the enlarged screenshot combined with Sakura's squint makes her look like an old lady. She's supposed to be like 14 years old, although the localisation aged her up to make it a little less creepy that you can marry her.
If you look on the bottom screen you'll see a lot of terrain and enemies standing on mountains. Those aren't bandits...
They're Faceless. They're big, dumb sacks of meat that have no purpose besides causing carnage and hitting you as hard as possible with physical attacks... okay maybe they are bandits. This jerk comes equipped with two Seal skills, which will each lower a specific stat by 6 points so long as the user survives a round of combat with them. Thankfully it won't move until we approach it.
The only clear condition this map has is to defeat all the enemies, but keeping these two alive long enough to talk to one of them will net us a concoction, an item that is very nice now that Jakob has bailed on us.
Jakob may be gone, but we have two new units to play with! Rinkah won't join us for long in Conquest, and while Kaze will join us eventually, he'll leave for a few chapters when we decide not to side with Hoshido.
Despite her visible muscle definition, Rinkah's usefulness here will mostly be as a pairup partner. Anybody she's paired up with will have a whopping +4 str and +2 def, and her surprisngly mediocre strength and defense values means whoever she supports will be a better tank than she can be herself. Her Fiery Blood personal gives her an extra 4 damage when she's on low HP however, which does help a bit. She also comes with Seal Resistance, a seal skill that provides absolutely no help at all to our party of physical attackers.
Allegedly she was planned to join in Conquest too, possibly at the same time Kaze rejoins. She's a mediocre unit in Birthright and I think she'd be even worse in CQ where her niche of being an axe user and having acceptable bulk means basically nothing, but it would give your units access to the Oni class. Allowing Charlotte to gain access to Death Blow in CQ without having to marry a specific Corrin would have been really, really fun, but it was not meant to be.
Kaze... won't get an analysis just yet since he'll be joining for real later on in the story, with improved base stats to boot. But for now he's a solid unit who can attack from a distance and debuff our enemies. He'll be even more useful in the next chapter if we can get him a good level or two, and the experience points he earns here will carry over to his eventual re-recruitment in CQ proper. So he's useful and deserving of your EXP.
Corrin is the best candidate to visit the village on turn 1 since she cannot access the dragon vein from her starting position, something she wants to do on turn 2. The nice villager gives us a Goddess Icon, which boosts luck by 4. These types of items can boost a unit's stats or be sold for a tidy profit, but their real use is to sit in your convoy forever, gathering dust as you agonise over the oppurtunity cost you'll suffer for making the wrong decision by using or selling them. It is unclear why Intelligent Systems decided to inflict this particular psychological torture upon their fans.
Pairing up two units and seperating them at their destination allows you to cover slightly more ground than they each could on their own. Placing your pair-up partner onto rough terrain and then joining up with them next turn allows you to cross it without dealing with its movement penalty, which is another neat trick.
Activating the dragon veins melts these snow piles... which I'm pretty sure are not just snow, there's definitely some rock in there too. Already the assault on Hoshido has begun, in the form of sabotaging their geography.
This is a rather foreboding little line I must have glossed over before. Maybe it's a hint that it's not always a good idea to activate every dragon vein you see, but I don't think there's ever any case of a royal losing control of the power of dragon veins or suffering dire consequences from activating one.
A side-by-side demonstration of the power girls with abs can fill you with. Rinkah's support turns a rather measly hit into a clean 2HKO.
Or so it would have, were a 90% chance to hit not indeed a 90% chance to hit. Sometimes you forget that big number does not mean success in all cases.
If you're familiar with any fire emblem game from 6 and beyond you'll know that hit rates aren't quite what the game says they are - normally hit rates below 50% are less accurate than they seem, and ones above 50% are more. This isn't quite true in Conquest, where 50% and below hitrates are indeed as displayed. Ones over 50% are more likely to hit, but not as likely as they were in past games. It's all something to do with using two random numbers instead of one. It is Maths.
Meanwhile Hinoka is in no trouble at all. She'll easily demolish any faceless that attacks her, which works fine to keep Sakura safe until they'll start approaching her from a different direction in a few turns.
Kaze dodged both 71% hits aimed against him (most likely closer to 80% actual hit), making up for his earlier failure a little. I guess nobody's hitting today.
Ryoma fears no faceless, and will obliterate any and all units between him and his two sisters. He's either a great help or an EXP thief depending on how you view things.
Kaze's failure to kill this dude prevents Corrin from moving to the fullest extent, leaving her one tile short of the dragon vein on her next turn. Boo!
Incidentally, here's a big gripe I have about the 3DS games: one of these tiles is a Woods tile, the other is not. Without looking at the top left display, could you guess which one is which? Things like this make it much harder to judge the map's terrain at a glance.
Thinking about how you end your turn can help a lot - ending with Rinkah as the lead unit will mean she gets attacked by this Seal Def Faceless instead of Kaze, causing her to lose stats instead of him. Seeing as I'm not using her for combat there's no consequence to her taking a little damage here. It also means that she can take advantage of the +1 movement Kaze gives her at the start of next turn, something he doesn't get as the lead unit himself.
Unfortunately he's still smarting from the Seal Strength jerk from a few turns ago. It takes six turns out waiting before the effects of a seal skill wear off. It sucks!
Kaze's fast attack speed and ability to hit without being counterattacked also let him rack up Dual Guard gauge without fear of reprisal, greatly increasing his survivability. Consistent 1-2 range and high speed can make paired-up units much more defensive than others even if their actual defense stats suck.
The next chapter will require Kaze to tank a lot of mages, so HP and resistance would have been much appreciated... But strength is still perfectly fine.
This guy stepped slightly out of position to assist another Faceless in a dual attack against Ryoma. I've never seen that happen before! Normally they don't move unless you enter their range.
It's fine, Sakura can take one fist to the face. Even if it's a fist the size of her head.
Ryoma dispatches the last of the faceless menacing the sisters for us, but that's irrelevant anyway because now I've got the reward for keeping them alive. With horror Hinoka realises Corrin's true name, which is the name of the game in which her country gets invaded and her family torn apart.
Speaking of, this is the first time she's seen combat all chapter. She only got 22 EXP, lame!
You can melt this mountain but this formation is much safer, it lets you bait them out one-by-one and lets Kaze chip foes for you while Rinkah supports your Corrin. The one downside is the abysmal hitrates you'll face by leaving the mountain intact.
No luck? No res? They'd throw you out of Troubadour school for that.
Hmm! I may have goofed by moving Kaze to chip the boss before checking how far Corrin could move. She's unable to put herself between the boss and Kaze...
Just kidding I am a master tactician.
If you're never punished it's not a misplay!!!
Disregarding that little mishap, I managed to beat the chapter with only a single vulnerary use expended. That's pretty good, and gives me a little more leeway for the next chapter I think.
That's right! Imagine if those miscreants had, I dunno, levelled multiple mountains to the ground using some kind of godly magical power. That really would have been bad for everyone.
Next Time: Purple becomes a colour