Part 17: Death from Above, Also Below (Battle)Chapter 7: Death from Above, Also Below (Battle)
Were finally taking on the Lefcandith Gauntlet this time, and Id say its easily the hardest chapter so far. Lets get a slow start with some exposition, though.
I dont even want to look at your tactics.
: Let me attack the rebels head-on, and keep my pride as a knight of Macedon.
: Ah, you mean the same pride that cost us all those soldiers back in Aurelis? I think not, Princess. If were to regroup, we need to buy time. My tactics are necessary. The emperor himself has named me commander of this post. Either obey, or accept the consequences.
Oh man, I dont know how were supposed to know if hes a bad guy-
: Your little sister Maria is still under our ward, is she not? What a shame it would be, if we decided we could no longer care for her
Oh, there we go.
: Enough! I will obey. But the Altean knights are smarter than you give them credit for. They will prevail here, and you will regret having acting so rashly, General.
Its one of the few subplots Shadow Dragon doesnt drop like a hot potato.
Just immediately opening up this door with Julian. No sense waiting around...except the potential that both of those archers shoot and kill him! The one on the right has a longbow, remember?
Thankfully Cord can double one down. I thought Id have to heal him up, but he just dodged the shot.
I really wish hed start getting more Magic, but I cant complain about Speed.
Marth, of course, also has to head down that way, so he can reach that village and get whatevers inside.
Everyone else just charges south.
These archers are having an awful day. Maybe they should start using complete arrows.
Oh, uh, also Minervas bearing down on us. All the flying units will charge you off the bat, and without the worry of terrain, they can zip across this map extremely quickly.
False alarm, pull back!
So this looks like a really bad situation. It...isnt. Minerva and her allies will retreat as soon as the enemy phase starts, because:
: Fie, enough! Ive no stomach for these cat-and-mouse tactics. Come, Whitewings, we fly! Hyah!
Uh, that, I guess.
Or you can just kill her. She wont actually die here, nor will her subordinates. Easier said than done, but she is weak to Bows
Wolf and Draug set her up
And Navarre knocks her down. Check out that damage on Minerva, by the way. Hauteclere aint nothin to fuck with. Shell annihilate squishy units, given the chance.
Which Pegasus Knight speaks here depends on which are still on the battlefield. If you take out Palla, Catria gets a line, and if Palla and Catria go down, Est does.
: The commander left? Then Ive no reason to stay.
: Sorry, General. My place is with the commander.
Still not a huge fan of Navarre as a front line unit. Might reclass him to Archer and see how he does.
Although Minerva and the Whitewings are gone, weve still got these three fliers to worry about (the thief is unimportant), and if they collapse on someone, they could kill a squishy unit. The Dracoknights the highest hitter, so well try and focus him down.
Thatll do. Keep in mind that Dracoknights are very dangerous because fliers rule in the DS games, so bow users are a good idea, as being able to one round kill a Dracoknight is a highly valuable ability.
Oh, also the thiefs dead.
Youd have to make an effort to let that guy through all the way to the village.
The Pegasus Knights attacked for negligible damage, leaving them easy pickings for the rest of the team.
Maybe NOW I can get to the village
Once I reach the part of the map that opens up into the southern half, I immediately want to step on those forts!
Caedas great for this one, as its out of the way and surrounded by mountains, which she doesnt care about.
The reason I did that is reinforcements. I couldnt confirm online exactly what triggers these guys, but I think its Turn 4 starting. A Cavalier will pop out from each of the four forts down here at the beginning of Enemy Phase.
This is, in my opinion, the most drastic change between Normal and Hard mode. On Hard, they get to take their turns, basically giving them an ambush on you.
One of them threw a Javelin at Hardin, which dents him pretty bad. I dont want to go all out and push here, though I probably could, but it would be pretty risky for say, Wendell or Lena. So for the next several turns, Im playing defense down here. This is the meat of the map.
Longbow guy has an unfortunate encounter with the unforgettable Barst.
I also swapped Hardin out for Wolf, since he can hold the fort better. Hardin would probably do fine with a vulnerary and perhaps the Physic Stave on Lena, but Id rather not take chances here.
At the start of the next turn, it happens again. This would be four cavaliers, again, if we didnt plug those two forts.
The Cavaliers ignore Wolf, preferring to go for the easier prey. Thats something the enemy AI likes to do in this game, even though Wolf is holding a bow and cant retaliate. They seem to prioritize damage.
I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge that this poor mercenary is terrible compared to his ally. He does less than half the damage to Marth. Its like the little brother you put in your kickball match so he doesnt feel bad. Then he gets hit in the face with the ball.
im not projecting.
Thankfully, we can poke away at the Iron Lance cavaliers pretty safely from back here with ranged units, so Draug is doing work.
Also leveling up, hes doing that too.
Lena and Wendell are gonna get a workout on this map with their Staves. I probably should have given Lena that Heal back. See if you can spot the really dumb inventory mistake in this update where I was praying for a ranged healing stave!
These two spaces where Abel and Ogma are are the only way to pass into the...pass, so beefy units are good to block them. For the Javelin wielders, sticking a ranged unit behind or adjacent to them, like Draug here, can help coax them into hurting themselves.
3 damage. Heres the metaphorical kickball kid again.
Watch out for the Javelin damage, though, these guys dont pull punches.
Case in point, even Ogmas getting beaten down pretty bad. Wolf continues to be totally ignored.
However, the reinforcements seem to have stopped for now, so I can get a little more offensive.
AHA! Cant trick me (a second time)!
Always keep in mind that just because reinforcements pause doesnt mean theyve stopped coming. To be honest, I looked around online a lot to try and find out exactly what the conditions are for these waves spawning, but I got a ton of different, conflicting answers. I think they start on Turn 4, regardless, and then more start coming when you pass the invisible line between Hardin and Ogma in this shot.
Lenas lack of Magic is also a little worrying. Im only going to get so many stat boosters, you guys.
Finally, at least, Marth has reached his destination.
: She must be found, boy! Tiki is the last of the Naga, the divine-dragon clan. Without her powers, we cannot challenge the Manaketes who serve Medeus Me? I havent the power. I am a fire dragon, yes But in the name alone, in name alone. I lost my firestone in Pyrathi. Without it, I cannot do battle. You will be traveling much, yes? I wish to go with you. Perhaps together we can find Tiki.
Bantu has joined our team now. And yes, hes a dragon. Kinda. Manaketes, theyll get explained soon. I know he looks awful now, but as he hinted, he needs his Dragonstone to show off his true potential, which...I think I left in someone elses inventory
But rest assured, once he gets it...hes still extremely terrible. I love him, though, hes a friendly grandpa who turns into a kickass dragon.
However, weve still got this to worry about.
At least Abel gets a pretty great level from taking so much abuse here.
Also, yeah, Marth now has to walk all the way back. This will be a long map if you want to get Bantu. And you do, for something later.
Theres also the whole matter of these guys not letting up. Im basically just rotating people back and forth between Lena/Wendell and the front lines at this point.
This was Abel. Dudes doing great this map.
Also, Barst is back. :get in:
...He can do better.
No, dont start following his example! In this very particular case, I mean.
Oh, also the Mend broke. And I pulled Wolf back because at this point I was making lunch. This chapter isnt exactly engrossing.
That means a bonus Cav, hooray!
However, that means an open fort, and Caeda has been waiting.
Never make Caeda wait.
Cains not quite the constant prescence Abel is here, but hes still doing well. I might reclass one of them so we dont have three separate Cavaliers. Not that theres anything wrong with that, but more variety should make this more...watchable.
Take this crit as my apology that you had to read this chapter.
And that is, actually, the end of the Reinforcements. Turn 14 was their last spawn. I dont know if thats constant for everyone, just...lets get this map done with.
Pictured: Terror that someone else shows up as soon as I hit that End Turn button.
Now pictured: Relief, and an urge to filet these guys because Im far too tense now.
And so, its down to us, Harmein, and...Harmeins friend the Curate. Ill take care of that offscreen.
Its down to us and Harmein.
Oh, also, fuck this Fort. This fort sits at the top of the map and makes you nervous the whole damn time, because every other one in the chapter vomits Cavaliers. This does NOTHING and Im convinced its just to freak you out.
Really not much to do now but let Cord do his thing.
If you didnt defeat Minerva, and she left on her own instead...his dialogue actually changes.
: Curse Minerva and her pride! Grr, no matter. If I am to die here, then I wont be dying alone!
Theres little touches of effort like this in Shadow Dragon that I really do like.
Oh, heres a Wendell level. I love how speedy this old man is.
But hey, Marth should get the final hit in on this boss. For Style Points.
Oh no. He whiffed.
As usual, Caeda saves the day.
: This is pretty much how their marriage works nowadays.
: Im standing right outside.
Bless you, Caeda, for being a shitwrecker.
Oh, yeah, Malledus exists.
: Manaketes? You mean the dragonkin?
: Yes, sire. I was not sure how much knowledge you had of the Manaketes. The Manaketes inhabited our continent long before the dawn of humanity. However, ordinarily their draconic disposition stayed suppressed; their power sealed within special stones. Thus rather than terrorizing humankind, they chose to live simple, peaceful lives in the quieter reaches of the world.
Hes an Earth Dragon!
: and created what would be a great empire there. His forces invaded the human realm, and in the blink of an eye, he had subjected all of the land.
: In his hand was a shining blade of light- Falchion- which he plunged into Medeus- and the tyrant was no more. Anri went on to found Altea- and the rest, I believe, you know.
So, Medeus is back now, somehow, (I dont remember if they explain why, but I assume it has something to do with another villain well meet later), and he pretty much just did the exact same thing, what with the invasions and the conquerings.
: Yes, Malledus Is that what this was about? I do know my own kingdoms history. And I know what I must do, now that Medeus has revived and restored Dolhr to its former might.
: You are Anris last male descendant, the only one who can wield Falchion. You must find the blade that was taken, and put an end to Dolhr and its misguided Manakete rulers.
Also Falchion runs a check on your bloodline and your gender to see if you can use it. Rude ass legendary sword.
: I will finish what my father started. I will avenge him, and bring light back into our world.
Next time we might go to Port Warren.
The Watcher of the Dragon Princess, Bantu
This is about the coolest depiction Bantu will ever get, though I must admit Id prefer his old man form.