Part 81: Niles
Outlaw (HS: Dark Mage)
A+ Support Classes: Odin (Dark Mage), Arthur (Fighter), Leo (Dark Mage)
Personal Skill: Kidnap (Allows use of the Capture command to send a defeated generic enemy or boss to your castle's prison)
Growths (With Default Class):
HP: 40% (40)
STR: 35% (45)
MAG: 20% (25)
SKL: 40% (50)
SPD: 50% (70)
LCK: 30% (30)
DEF: 30% (30)
RES: 40% (60)
Niles! Niles is a unit I use pretty much every time I play this game. A big part of his utility comes from his personal skill, but even without that he's a solidly good guy.
First of all, Kidnap. The Capture mechanic is not really something I tend to make much use of, and I'll probably explain it more later, but if you want to make use of it then it can be game changing. Niles is uniquely capable of capturing enemy units and sending them to your castle's prison where they can later be recruited with either bribes of food & minerals or spamming the once-per-chapter (or change in time of day) Persuade command. Captured units don't get to keep their inventories or enemy-only skills, but they do keep everything else, including the boosted stats and skills they get from higher difficulties. Most captured generics are merely okay, but there's a few stand-outs like the infamous Rallyman, a Master of Arms with 4 different rally skills.
Otherwise Niles is just a thief with the valueable niche of being the only person in Conquest's earlygame who can use bows without a class change. Bows aren't always good weapons in Fire Emblem games, but Conquest's big focus on player phase combat and relative lack of useful 1-2 range weapons make archers actually useful. Bows also have an advantage against knives in the weapon triangle, which makes archers your best shot for taking down the always-troublesome ninja enemies, especially since the only other weapon with WTA against them (axes) tend to be somewhat inaccurate. Until Kaze comes along Niles will be your only unit with Locktouch, so you'll be bringing him along for most chapters anyway.
Statwise he's pretty okay. His bases are solid and his high speed will carry him for a while, although his bulk isn't great and his low luck can make him susceptible to crits and the occassional miss. If you're not using Arthur then he is imo your second best candidate for Goddess Icons. His attack is a little low, but his decent magic growth and the existence of the Shining Bow means he can promote into an Adventurer if his strength stat gets screwed (or his magic stat gets blessed), although in most cases I'd prefer to have the mobility and physical stats of a Bow Knight.
Niles is perfectly fine in his base class. He's functional as a Dark Mage but I personally wouldn't make him one unless you really want to. Fighter is a great class in terms of skills so it's worth dipping into briefly just to get HP + 5 and Rally Strength once he's promoted and close to level 5, and even Gamble isn't awful in Niles's hands if you want that. He can also marry Mozu for access to the Archer class, which in addition to fixing his accuracy problems can also give him either a flying mount as a Kinshi or excellent combat stats as a Sniper. Otherwise you can leave him as he his and never reclass him and he'll do just fine.
- Always useful utility as a thief and pair-up partner for extra movement
- Exclusive access to the Capture skill
- Solid bases and decent growths, requires very little investment to be useful throughout the game
- High speed lets him make up for potentially bad strength with Steel weapons
- Bows and access to the Shurrikenbreaker skill through Bow Knight make him excellent at dealing with ninjas
- Low luck gives him slightly shaky accuracy and makes him susceptible to crits
- Locked to 2 range only without either the Mini Bow, the Shining Bow, or promoting into Bow Knight
- Being a marriage option for Male Corrin means he cannot give them access to the Outlaw class through an A support
My Rating: I literally cannot hear one of his combat quotes as anything but "Oh, holy fuck..."