Part 84: Trial Maps - Desperation
Ah, back to bandits again. We're done with fighting to the death for other people's amusement. This map is unlocked by linking a GBA with a copy of either Fire Emblem 7 or 8 inserted (in the Japanese version, it is unlocked using Fire Emblem 6, but that game was never released in the west, so...).
And here's our map. You might remember it as Tor Garen on the Daein-Begnion border, or, that place where we met Shinon again. We're running through it in reverse this time.
Before we get into that, however, I should probably tell you what I've been doing for the last six real-life hours before I recorded this run.
The short version is; I cleared the campaign again. Also, I cheated spectacularly, but that's besides the point.
The point is the reason I cleared the campaign again. And that reason is, I didn't have a savefile handy for the North American version of the game, so I had to start from scratch. (The LP thus far has been done entirely on the PAL version)
The thing about the North American version is, that there are a few more... ah... options available to the discerning cheater.
Remember Sothe, our friendly neighbourhood thief-who-doesn't-charge-you-money-for-lockpicking, whose characteristically batshit stat growths are balanced by his forced adherence to first-tier stat caps?
People always say that Sothe doesn't have a promotion, which is a fair enough way of putting it, but not technically correct. Sothe is a Thief, and Thieves promote into Assassins. It's just that, Sothe has an (invisible) Skill set on him that prevents him from promoting.
So let's just remove that from him and...
No objections, game? Good.
OK, so obviously there are clear signs that, game mechanics aside, Sothe was really not meant to ever actually be promoted. Case in point, this model, which clearly hasn't been "designed" much. If I had to guess, I'd say that we're looking at a generic Assassin model (which is never actually seen in game because there are no enemy Assassins) used in development to, er, model the Assassin animations so that other units with unique models (ie, Volke) can follow them.
Other than that, though Assassin Sothe functions entirely correctly, including these lovely, lovely stat gains.
Now, another 20 levels...
We won't be needing this anymore...
Let's put this on instead.
Right! Now that we've been briefed on why we're suddenly in the NA version, let's meet our new team for this map!
Being as this is a different file to my usual one (or, technically, a different game), we've got a slightly different Ike. He's just failed to cap HP, and he's been completely screwed in resistance, but otherwise this is a pretty standard Ike, really.
Ilyana brings us exactly what the thunder mage archetype suggests she will. She's powerful, she's got the strength to haul those thunder tomes around, and she's a bit slow, but don't let that distract you. Ilyana can kick ass.
Haar is as Haar as ever. He's strong and tough, maybe a bit slow but who the hell cares. It's Haar.
Kieran, on the other hand, has turned out spectacularly. If an axe user could choose any three numbers to be Green And Glowing, these are the best three to pick, hands down.
Mia, why in the fuck have you not capped skill? Maybe all the growths there went into her luck instead, because damn.
Largo sure is Largo. I like that he got some defence in the end.
And, of course, the unit I basically restarted the damn game just to show you all (you're welcome)...
Precious, precious, second tier caps! OK, seriously though, Sothe hit most of these at about level 10, and spent the next ten levels getting HP and luck. It isn't often you see a unit actually break 30 luck, but since Sothe essentially has an 80% luck growth, he's gotten the single highest luck score on our team, which combines with his top-tier speed to produce a truly unholy Avoid rate on par with Double-Earth-Pair-Oscar. And he's got great defences too. The only thing holding him back is, of course, being stuck with knives.
Oh, and introducing Mystery Guest #4:
Say hello to General Bryce, here to congratulate us for totally honestly beating the game 12 times. Now here's a decent unit. Fitting, since he was a sub-boss in the Endgame. He brings us a free Speedwing to forget about, and also a free Wishblade (unlocking Bryce being the only way to ever obtain the Wishblade legitimately).
Alright. Let's get to the fight!
As you can see, there are a lot of snipers scattered about.
These are their stats. Nothing earth-shattering, but they're snipers so they're annoying. In fact, we're back to pretty much every enemy being ranged again.
There are occasional general-walls throughout the map.
Annoyingly tough walls.
Other than that... it's basically just fighters.
Oh, no, wait, silly me, I almost forgot about the eleven Siege Tome Assholes scattered about the map. Holy Fucking Shit, What The Fuck.
As with last time, we can't fly over the walls, so we've got to go through. Remember that we're on a timer, and also remember that we're being ranked for time. This mission isn't quite as much of a total perfect asshole for ranks as the last one was, but it's got its subtleties, don't you worry.
And so we charge. We're going to give the enemy lots of chances to attack Largo in the early part of the mission because there's no way I'm sending him anywhere where he's in range of more than two Siege Tome Assholes.
A theme you'll detect during this mission is the enemy's continuing failure to do damage to Sothe.
Bryce is less dodgy, but still tanks hits nicely.
In a demonstration of his commitment to the Player Army's Cause, Bryce immediately procs a redundant Guard. More importantly, he also demonstrates his shortcoming; his low speed, which makes him unlikely to double, and thus unlikely to one-round-counterkill many enemies here.
Blah blah shuffling around blah.
For all the fanfare, the one thing that Assassin Sothe isn't that much better at than Thief Sothe is straight up dealing damage. He's got fully three more points of strength to play with, sure, but since Assassins don't get an innate crit boost, the only combat benefit Sothe gets is if he manages to get a Lethality off. That said, though, his small heap of extra speed means he can double everyone ever, and combines with his mountain of extra luck to make charging headlong into enemies a much less riskier prospect than otherwise.
You may recall Rexbolt from its brief appearance in Derpes' Maniac run. If you don't...
Consider yourself reminded.
While Ike cleans up after Bryce, Mia swings the Vague Katti around.
She misses two 55% crit chances.
Haar picks up the kill instead.
He then cleverly positions himself such that the pinned-in warrior cannot target him with his bow.
And that's another turn.
Warrior elects to swing at Bryce instead of Haar. Fine by me.
Then a different one comes and takes a shot at Haar anyway.
Oh, joy. We're already in range.
Haar proceeds to completely embarrass himself by missing this guy twice.
More movement and...
Reinforcements. This mission throws three paladins at you every three turns. That's... not really that assholish, but just keep this fact in mind for later.
Sothe properly gets going now.
We only get so many uses on this here Bolting Tome, so we want to use them wisely - and turning it against this map's Siege Assholes seems as decent a plan as any. Ilyana gets a fortunate crit here.
Mia helps us clean up (still doesn't crit). Meanwhile, Largo introduces us to another long lost friend;
The Devil Axe! It lives! This infamous weapon has been in pretty much every Fire Emblem game; its thing is that it's a monstrously powerful E-Rank axe balanced by the fact that it has a [30 - user's luck]% chance of damaging its user for as much damage as would've been done to the enemy.
All this is well and good, except...
The Devil Axe has no model and no animation, we roll our Numbers, we enter combat, and...
The enemy just immediately keels over. He doesn't even appear to take damage.
This is a shame, because judging by its icon, the Devil Axe would've looked kickass.
Bryce entertains a sniper while Ike gets to work on the first wall.
Aaand job done.
And here's Kieran getting to throw down at last.
Right. We've punched a hole, next turn we charge. Time's ticking!
Sothe still hasn't been hit yet.
Several enemies help out by suiciding on Ike.
And Largo's getting hurt already. He's got the Vantage/Wrath combo set up but I fear he won't be able to actually employ it here.
Four deaths-by-Ike later, the enemy moves up and we prepare to move on.
You; get fucked.
The team cleans up and moves forward, while Ilyana neutralizes the next Siege Asshole by putting him to Sleep.
All the enemies who were in range of us last turn are dead, so there's no combat in this enemy phase, just charging.
Sothe scores his first real assassination.
Mia finally gets a crit.
Kieran charges ahead, that he might maybe bear the brunt of an assault.
Ike joins him (while Haar cleans up the last guy behind them).
End of turn 5. This is all good, but we should probably get a move on next turn...
The war on Kieran begins.
It doesn't do very well.
In fact, most of its participants are left almost dead.
There's movement, and...
Another three paladins enter.
Right. New turn, new round of mopping up survivors.
Sothe leaves a guy on 1HP.
Ike, Kieran and Bryce all move up. There are a few stragglers behind our lines, but I have complete faith in their ability to get themselves killed on their own time.
Oh? Not done yet, I see.
Fine by me. Sothe is still totally unscathed.
These wimps up here all run away to pass a Vulnerary around.
Nothing can hit Sothe!
Oh, hey, this one's on 1HP too. Hey, I just had a great idea for a new class skill...
Kieran's getting some mileage out of that Short Axe.
This will probably be Largo's last big chance for fun this map, so he overkills the shit out of the sleeping Siege Tome Asshole using his favourite axe.
A Runesword crit for Mia.
You three are annoying me.
End of turn 7, and we're making something resembling good time here.
Gah. They've got another Vulnerary, I see.
I think that Short Axe is about to break.
I mean, seriously now...
Siege Assholes everywhere. Note how we just almost lost Kieran.
The tiger doesn't help.
Anyway. Here's the positions. Time to break through.
Gotta love that Stiletto bonus vs armour.
Another Asshole goes out of commission.
From this spot, Ike will be set up for some serious counterkilling.
Kieran runs away to heal. He's going to be a bit warier of Siege Assholes from now on.
Sothe continues dodging everything.
Oh boy. Here goes another round.
As promised, Ike gets to go on a counteroffensive.
And look, more reinforcements.
Right. One less Asshole to worry about.
We want this guy out of the way ASAP.
Ike with a very timely Aether.
And there goes another Asshole. Lovely.
Here's the end of turn 9.
Now that the end is in sight, this is probably a good time to talk about how IntSys is being a tremendous asshole with the rankings again.
Here are the numbers; 11 turns for A-Rank tactician, 53 kills for A-Rank battle.
There are 47 enemies initially, plus up to 9 reinforcements over 11 turns for a total of 56 enemies.
Note the three Siege Assholes to the bottom left of the above screenshot (the third one is slightly out, but that's a Siege Asshole). They're pretty hard to kill. Not impossible, just hard. I won't be able to do it on this run, in any case. The point is, we can't just rush through. We have to rush through and kill Every. Single. Enemy. Except those three. It's annoying, yes.
In fact, we're getting to the point where I'd rather enemies not get distracted by Sothe, so we can kill them faster.
The traditional round of Assholery.
The latest round of reinforcements are kind enough to directly charge Ike and die.
At least Sothe can counter this one.
Right. Two turns to kill all of these assholes (except those three). Looks doable.
Ilyana gets us started.
We're going to need at least one person ready to charge down the stairs besides Ike, if only because there's a guy to kill down there and Ike can't do it on the same turn as Arriving.
Ike deals with one of the paladins. The other one doesn't have a ranged weapon, so even if he ignores Ike he'll still get countered.
Another Asshole down.
Bryce softens this guy up a bit.
And Sothe takes this guy out (still doesn't get hit).
Lovely. He dies.
The archers suddenly all go after Haar, and I suddenly remember I forgot to put the Full Guard on him. Derp.
Seriously though that's annoying.
Seriously. Those eyes.
Thank you, Sothe.
Right. Final turn. Kieran obliterates the "last" enemy.
Mia and Sothe take out the two archers who went after Haar.
Rank A B C D Criteria Tactician 11 12 13 14 ...or less Turns taken Survival 0 1 2 3 ...or less player-controlled characters died Battle 53 43 33 23 ...or more enemies KO'd
Before we go, here's an alternate strategy made possible by hax.
Here is our army for this mission.
Among the many weapons included in the game's code but unused in the actual campaign is a certain dear old friend of many a Fire Emblem player.
It's name is IID_WARP.
Warp isn't quite as... subversive... in Path of Radiance as it is in other titles, and rather than letting you warp someone anywhere on the map, it restricts you to [magic stat / 2] squares from the caster. Still, that's quite a jump given that it doesn't even cost the warpee their turn.
So Ike just parks himself in here.
End of turn 1.
End of turn 2.
Hey. Hey. Stop that.
I said stop that.
Is that. Battle rank's in the shitter, but come on. We skipped like two thirds of the map.
Here's Trial Map #5, Escape. The objective is to... well, escape. Ike is going to be aided in this endeavour by eight friends as well as Super Special Mystery Guest #2.
Units still available: Soren, Mist, Lethe, Volke, Nephenee, Astrid, Makalov, Stefan, Muarim, Reyson, Ulki, Calill, Tauroneo, Ranulf, Bastian, Geoffrey, Elincia, Nasir, Giffca, Tibarn.
Reminder of the rules:
- Once a unit is voted in on one map, they may not be used again
- Only one unit of any given class per map
- At most two laguz per map
- Only one staff user per map (Soren, Mist, Elincia)
- You don't strictly speaking have to apply these rules to your votes (ie, you may vote for two units of one class if you want), but they will be enforced after counting.
You've got X days, where X is a number. Begin!