Part 48: Chapter 4, Part 5: Dolk's Fort
The next battle doesn't look like too much of a problem for Celica's army, which has 50% more units and 20% better average stats.
So we've got a few wizards, snipers, and myrmidons, and a summoner-shaman as the boss. And a whole lot of poison swamp between us and them, with not a lot of safe ground along the way.
Music: Final Map
...repel these men as Master Judah ordered! May they fall to the zombie dragons that I, the Great Shaman Dolk, summon from the dark realm!
Great, the shaman summons zombie dragons. I'm not sure why music that's normally reserved for the final chapter plays during this conversation.
The myrmidons and snipers are the same level 1 units we've been fighting all chapter, not much trouble for Celica's group.
Most of the wizards are pure fodder but the one closest to the boss comes with a few more levels and more powerful spells.
Dolk is the boss of this map, and while his stats aren't that impressive his spells are a lot of trouble. Death gives him a 31 Magic Attack, while his version of Messiah summons 1-8 zombie dragons at a cost of just 6 HP. The zombie dragons aren't much threat alone, but in a swarm with high mobility (8 Movement) while our army is stuck moving two tiles at a time in the swamp? Big trouble.
The pegasus knights are key here, as the only units with full movement and immunity to the swamp's poison. Palla and Catria are strong enough to take out the enemy army by themselves, with some remote healing from Jenny.
Several turns in, I think I'm doing pretty well. All of the wizards and snipers are gone, and my best units are starting to enter the fort. The first zombie dragon was summoned, but one isn't a real problem.
Another couple turns, and the enemy summons eight more zombie dragons. I'm spread out all over the place, and can't move fast enough to regroup. Worse, my weaker units are stuck on the middle island with very little protection. If I had a couple more units close enough, or there were an opening around Dolk, I might have been able to take out the shaman and with it all of the summoned zombie dragons.
Instead, I try to form a defensive line. There are way too many weak units in this line, and the zombie dragons can just fly around the edges on the enemy phase anyway.
So Est, Catria, and Jenny all died. Not really any way to recover from that one.
A second attempt with pretty much the same strategy turned out even worse, as Dolk pulled off an 8-summon even earlier in the battle. Really no amount of preparation can make that center island defensible - it's in the center of the map, with no cover, and only four tiles safe from the poison swamp.
Yeah the zombie dragons have already flanked me. Jenny and May are screwed back there. Really I should have just retreated, keeping any kills and XP I'd obtained so far, but just reset again instead.
I'd already passed 100 minutes of recording at this point, and considered just giving up for the day. But I decided to make one final attempt with a very different strategy.
First, Palla steps up to wipe out the wizard out front.
The pegasus knight kill squad advances, but everyone else is staying behind on the north island. Anyone holding a healing item (Holy Sword, Angel Ring, etc.) can wade out into the poison water.
Already Dolk summons two zombie dragons. Better than eight, I guess.
Catria's got the Hand Lance now, and is going to draw out a wizard and sniper, hopefully counter-killing the wizard. They'll still have plenty of time to get away from the zombie dragons.
The sniper takes the bait, but can attack from three tiles away and avoid any retaliation.
The wizard moves in as well, but can't avoid the return critical. Also one more zombie dragon is summoned, while the first two move north.
The new strategy is the coward strategy. The pegasus knights all fly away, letting the zombie dragons approach.
Saber with the Holy Sword could almost solo the map, since the zombie dragons can only manage 2 damage against him. Instead he's got the Angel Ring, since he's sitting at 98 XP.
No new zombie dragons last turn, so it's time to try and clear out the ones here and move forward again. Saber starts off with a couple scratches, still holding the Angel Ring.
The first two runs, he got Power and Defense. I guess Speed is still useful.
Excalibur is supposed to have a 20% crit rate. I didn't get a crit out of it for Sonia until after about 30 attacks. By the time I got one, I was convinced that the Magic Ring she was wearing also set crit rate to zero.
Celica's the star of this battle, as Angel is pretty much always a guaranteed kill against monsters.
I wanted to save the pegasus knights for another charge, but they're just too useful against the zombie dragons as well. I don't really have a lot of units that can do a lot of damage to them.
Most everyone is still hiding on the north island, with one more zombie dragon on the way.
Celica's always a prime target for the enemy, but she bites back with the Holy Sword.
No new zombie dragons, so Celica takes the Angel Ring from Palla and wipes out the last one.
More Defense is pretty timely here, with how many hits Celica is going to be taking the rest of the battle.
The pegasus knights can advance some more, drawing the sniper out.
Catria takes another hit, but nothing to worry about.
Palla and Est take out the sniper. Three enemies down, seven to go.
Saber's hanging out on the center island as a low-risk delay tactic. The pegasus knights aren't close enough to draw out anyone else this turn, but Dolk remains quiet in his fort.
The pegasus knight strike force works to draw out more enemies.
Only two zombie dragons, still going well so far.
Catria takes five damage from the sniper, then dodges and counter-kills the wizard.
I should've been more aggressive here, trying to take out the sniper and draw out the last wizard, but this map has me gun-shy now.
Palla draws in one of the zombie dragons, but she's got the Angel Ring instead of a weapon so doesn't do much damage.
Back into a defensive formation.
Dolk pulls out another 8-summon. I really should've taken out the sniper and the last wizard when I had the chance.
Sonia and Palla are targeted by the two zombie dragons.
Great level for Palla.
Even better, since she's reached level 12, she can now promote. In the first Fire Emblem, pegasus knights promoted into dragon knights, changing out their pegasi for wyverns/dragons. In Gaiden, the Falcon Knight class is introduced instead - pegasus knights keep their pegasi, simply growing more powerful as other classes do. Unfortunately that means there's no player-controlled units that fly around on mini-dragons in this game.
Similar to mages, pegasus knights have only a single promotion - thus why they have to wait until level 12 when most classes can promote at level 7.
Saber grabs the Holy Sword and pulls out a critical to finish off one zombie dragon.
Est is handed the Angel Ring, scratching up the other zombie dragon for another great level. She's not at the level of her sisters yet, but she's getting there.
Celica calmly blows away the zombie dragon, and the army regroups for the oncoming wave of eight zombie dragons.
Nothing to do but wait for the rush, here.
Everyone that was hit can take several attacks, so this setup isn't as bad as it looks right now.
Kamui starts off seeking another Angel Ring-fueled level.
Not so lucky this time.
Celica follows up with another critical shot of Angel.
May and Palla finish off another zombie dragon.
Saber gets in a shot on another one, but it's not enough for a kill.
Catria and Leo team up for a kill.
I don't show a lot of healing, but Jenny and Noma are running around every single turn trying to keep everyone alive. With up to eight units getting attacked, and only two healers (three if Celica joins in, at the cost of using Angel instead), it's a constant challenge all battle long to keep everyone healthy here.
We could probably handle four or even five zombie dragons at once without any trouble. As you can see here, however, eight zombie dragons attacked and five are still alive for another round.
Two of the weakened zombie dragons kill themselves on Jesse and Sonia on the enemy phase.
The next two go for Kamui, and then Jesse again. I have to keep a close eye on Jesse in this battle - he takes 10 damage per attack, and since he has the Hero Sword he's prone to chains of counterattack-crit-kills that let in more zombie dragons for further attacks.
This time, he gets another kill but he dodged the attack so he's still in decent shape.
The last zombie dragon runs into favorite target Celica.
Boey and May are able to soften up this zombie dragon enough for Leo to grab a kill while holding the Angel Ring.
I guess more accuracy is nice for him.
Celica's doing this every turn I can manage it.
Trying to get the pegasus knights ready for another attack run.
So of course Dolk pops out another eight zombie dragons.
I told you, every turn. Another crit for 81 damage, too.
I had some kind of half-assed idea that I could draw out the sniper into the swamp and slowly kill it off that way. The last wizard has a Fortify spell that heals every unit in the enemy army, though, so the plan never really works.
Dolk summons another six zombie dragons, bring the total down there to 14. The enemy has actually hit the unit cap of 20 overall.
The sniper came out but the next flight of zombie dragons is on the way, too.
Rather than show all six attacks, here's where the eight zombie dragons ended up when they were done. Nothing immediately threatening, but six more will arrive next turn. Dolk also tried to summon more, but he's already at the unit cap so nothing showed up.
There are 14 zombie dragons in this image. Let's try to work that number down.
Always the best place to start.
Speed is good.
Palla and Catria always have good counterattacks, so their attackers are easier to finish off the following turn. Like so.
Sonia and Leo take out the other one.
And Palla picks up another kill after Boey and May got in some opening shots.
That was actually a pretty good turn, and still four of the original eight survived. And five more are coming in....
Catria and Jesse each had to fight off two attacks, but Jesse at least got a kill out of it.
Catria starts off with the first kill of the turn.
Leo picks up an easy kill after Jesse picked up a crit on the enemy phase.
Guess what Celica does?
Still looking for that first crit from Sonia's Excalibur. Palla finishes off the target.
Catria's running a bit low here, and picks up 12 HP from Noma.
Boey and May take shots at a nearby zombie dragon but it's not enough for another kill. Will have to settle for only four kills this turn, barring more counterattacks.
Kamui and Est fight off attacks, but can't do much damage in return.
The AI knows that Jesse is the soft spot in the line, and he responds with another counter-crit-kill combo.
Another zombie dragon uses the opening in front of Jesse, with similar results. Good thing there aren't any other enemies in range this turn.
Sonia gets the last attack, but misses a counterattack. She's now in critical condition, too.
Three zombie dragons remain from the massive wave, with two more incoming.
May starts off with some Aura action.
The usual from Celica.
Leo and Catria take out the last enemy in the area.
Est and Celica are attacked on the enemy phase, with Est now falling into critical condition. She's been holding onto the Steel Shield for awhile now, since she won't stand on the front line without it.
Celica actually outright counter-killed her attacker. That Holy Sword packs a punch against monsters.
May's at 99 XP so I give her the first shot at the last zombie dragon.
She doesn't disappoint.
Leo gets some more action, and then Sonia finally gets a crit when it doesn't matter at all.
No zombie dragons in sight right now, but my army's in pretty bad shape HP-wise so I'm mostly just healing up here.
Two more are summoned, no big deal here.
Some more healing, with the pegasus knights performing another to-be-wasted baiting action on the sniper.
I could totally take out the sniper here and easily fight off two dragon knights the following turn before reincorcements could arrive. But I'm still in play-it-safe mode so the pegasi run away instead.
And of course eight more zombie dragons are summoned to punish me.
At this point, I finally realize that chipping away at the sniper and hoping the shaman runs out of HP to fuel his summons is complete fantasy, because the wizard is healing everyone up just fine. The wizard also moved down to a healing tile, so he won't be running out of HP for casting this spell anytime soon, either.
Leo and Celica take out a zombie dragon.
And another level for Celica, not a very good one this time though.
Kamui has the Holy Sword now, and together with Palla takes out the other zombie dragon.
Another six zombie dragons. About now, I'm 3.5 hours into the recording and I'm starting to wonder if I'm ever going to get enough of a breather to really have the pegasus knights rush the fort. All these zombie dragons are great sources of XP for everyone, but I'm not really making any progress in the battle.
A nice tight box awaiting the latest wave. At least everyone's at pretty much full health now.
Six more attacks, but nothing too threatening. That's Est, Catria, Kamui, Saber, and Celica taking the hits.
Palla weakens one enemy, and Catria outright kills another.
Not bad for a one-stat level. She'll hold up better against the zombie dragons now, at least.
Celica does her thing.
Leo gets in 20 damage on one enemy, while Noma takes a rare break from healing to shower another enemy with his own type of arrows for 16 damage.
Kamui finishes off Noma's target.
May renders Leo's and Boey's weakening attacks pointless with an Aura-crit.
Sonia uses the Magic Ring to launch an attack from the back row, finishing off another zombie dragon after Saber had weakened it. That's actually five direct kills this turn, and we've maintained the tight defensive formation for the enemy phase.
The enemy phase has eight more zombie dragon attacks, with Kamui and Sonia each getting counter-kills. Total of seven zombie dragons dead this turn, a new record.
Kamui and Sonia start out another turn with two more kills.
Defense was about her only weakness, so I'm okay with this level.
Noma gets in a timely double-heal for Kamui, giving back 24 HP.
Celica clears out the right side.
A bunch of other attacks from the rest of the army, but no further kills.
And there's another six zombie dragons on the way.
Jesse's still a popular target, but this time he both dodges and manages to *not* kill his attacker.
Kamui and Noma fight off the rest of the zombie dragons.
Palla and Leo pick up easy kills on weakened targets.
What is with all these Defense-only levels? Not that I'm really complaining.
Atlas gets in his first and only attack of the battle, killing off a zombie dragon that was at 4 HP.
Guess what? Seven more zombie dragons!
There is actually a time limit, but I won't need more than a few turns to strike, if Dolk would ever stop summoning a half-dozen new enemies every other turn.
The enemy phase is mainly another wave of zombie dragons crashing against our rather sturdy front line, but Kamui spices things up with a counter-crit-kill combo of his own.
Saber hasn't seen much action lately, as he's been slowly building up XP while holding the Angel Ring. This turn, it finally pays off.
Worst payoff ever.
A lucky crit for Leo clears out the right side.
More angels summoned for Celica.
Palla and Sonia target another zombie dragon, but can't finish it off. I decide to maintain the square formation for the enemy phase rather than try to get in more attacks.
Ten attacks, with no deaths. May's down in critical condition but otherwise we're still in pretty good shape.
One new zombie dragon summoned this turn, with another from the previous turn on the way up north.
The turn begins with quick kills from Kamui and Jesse, after Boey and Sonia soften up Jesse's target a bit first.
Jesse has a weirdly high Skill but really needs some more Defense to compete with the rest of Celica's army.
Two more kills from Leo and Catria here.
Saber racks up another kill, after May did most of the work with another Aura-shot. She's down to 1 HP now, but safely tucked away in the center of the square.
Celica takes out the enemy she can reach without breaking formation.
Palla attacks her nearby target as well, but can't finish it off. The square still holds, but there are five attacks to come.
Simple defense, with no new zombie dragons summoned. Maybe there will be an opening soon?
Celica gets in another kill, while May/Sonia/Leo mess around on the right side without actually getting anywhere.
Saber breaks formation to grab one kill, while Palla uses the Hand Lance to get another.
Boey gets in on the killing action, and actually pulls out a great level. I think the only ones without kills now are Valbo and the healers.
Catria wastes the last zombie dragon in the area.
No new summons; the new last zombie dragon moves in to attack Celica.
Several people take shots but Palla is the one to get the kill.
She joins Catria in the 20-Power club.
There's a 40-turn limit, and I'm rapidly approaching it. It's finally time to make a move. Fortunately Dolk refrains from summoning any more zombie dragons this turn.
Catria finally takes care of that sniper that I've been trying to pick off for the last 20 turns.
Pegasus strike force, go!
Only one? I think I can manage to not run away like a little girl this time.
The last sniper decides to come out after Catria.
Palla and Est team up on the sniper, but Palla is too slow for two attacks and Est is too weak to do much damage. Catria ignores them all and goes after the last wizard instead.
No new summons; a myrmidon joins in the fun but misses Palla, and the zombie dragon likewise misses Est. The sniper runs away.
Catria successfully baits the wizard off of the healing tile, dodging the Slime spell as a bonus.
Est finishes off the fleeing sniper.
Catria wipes out the last wizard while Palla finishes off the myrmidon. No more mass-healing for the enemy!
I was sending the rest of the army across the swamp for no real reason, and the zombie dragon flies up there to play with Kamui.
Catria finally brings the fight straight to Dolk, dodging the flying fiery laser death skull while dealing 28 damage.
I almost forgot about the zombie dragon, but there's a dozen units up there to gang up on it. Sonia takes the kill.
Palla gets the kill on Dolk, and this nightmare is finally almost over.
Est starts in on the last enemy for 8 damage. She somehow missed both attacks on the enemy phase, though.
Palla missed, Catria couldn't quite reach, and Est missed one attack (four straight misses) before finally hitting the myrmidon. For all of 4 damage.
Est did land both counterattacks this time, though. The myrmidon is down to just 10 HP.
Catria mercifully ends the battle.
Some witches pop up in Alm's area, but that's a problem for another day.
Let's see what's inside this fort, shall we?
Hmm, doesn't look suspicious at all.
What's on this curiously-colored tile?
Suddenly, Celica finds herself transported to the forest!
Welcome to the Lost Woods.
Alm journeys to Fear Mountain.