The Let's Play Archive

Rondo of Swords

by Einander

Part 19: Tutorials 9 and 10

I thought I posted this earlier. Like, I explicitly remember doing all of the final editing touches and pressing "reply." My text editor file also has some of the updates I remember doing after that. Yeah, I don't know either. I assume wizardry was involved.

Next update Wednesday. I've been doing a lot of daily updates lately and I need to catch up on my backlog.

Tutorial Nine: Putting it all together

Welcome to the first of two "difficult" tutorials.

Heeeere we go...!

Serdic has Will of War, exact skill level unclear, and Igraine has Seven Menace 1. Seven Menace is the (player-available) Dark elemental ultimate spell, essentially a dark-elemental Meteor Gate, trading a little power and MP efficiency for a range advantage (2 to start, 1 at max level). Personally, I'd say that's usually a winning trade, especially since Dark has more useful spells than Fire, making Abyss Shard a better investment than Fire Shard.

(If you're paying attention to the screenshots, you'll notice a strange omission in my description of this map.)

There's just one enemy this time. He's nothing special.

Remember, magic goes through walls and obstacles. Serdic waits in place.

For some reason, staying still first turn and then moving here second turn makes the enemy attack Serdic next turn instead of Igraine. This allows you to cast Seven Menace twice and attack with Serdic for the kill.

Sometimes I just don't understand Rondo of Swords AI. I discovered this by complete accident -- I wanted to see if Seven Menace + two Serdic attacks would kill. Probably not, but moving here consistently makes the AI dumb, so hey. Whatever works.

Seven Menace's animation.

Only at this point, while looking at the top screen, do I realize that Margus and Kay are on the map. This is the second time I've cleared it, too. Um, oops?


Okay, on to the last one!

Not quite yet. First, the message you get if you fail:

Huh? Not feeling well? Maybe you should review all of Raine's lessons from the very beginning...

Next, let's do this properly.

Margus and Kay.

Kay moves up.

Serdic's inventory contains a Dark Fruit, Margus has Knight Codex, an anti-cavalry activated ability, and a +MC activated ability.

We use the relevant MC-manipulating abilities, and...

(spoken, on ability usage)
Well, here I go.



Just kidding! We have ZOC.

(If this doesn't lure him away, I'm really not sure what the Dark Fruit and Knight Codex are for. Weird.)

He bounces off of Margus and then everyone hits him once and he dies.

Kind of underwhelming, really.

Tutorial Ten: Fight for your life!

If you don't use all the techniques you have, it'll be pretty tough! Good luck!

They aren't kidding. I did a test run through the tutorials about a week before writing this post, and I spent about ten resets trying to find more than one way to do this map. I never succeeded. You have a very limited toolset, and that makes this map more a puzzle than a matter of tactics.

Serdic is fairly standard. The lack of amulets or defensive skills means he's fairly fragile, at least by his usual standard. To compensate, he has a very high-level Revitalize, an activation skill which restores HP when used. His role is to serve as a distraction.

Igraine, meanwhile, is your big gun. Yumil Ymir Magna is the ultimate Ice-elemental spell. It's essentially a suped-up version of Ice Spear, killing the hell out of anything in a straight line. It does have friendly fire, so watch out for that. At max level, it's tied with Meteor Gate for second-strongest spell in the game, behind only the near-useless Megido Nova. Seven Menace is the same as it was before -- a good mix of damage and range. She has level 2 in both spells, making YM 7 range linear and Seven Menace 5 range. She also has Will of War 5 and Torus Spell 5, healing Serdic by 25% when he passes her and restoring 20% of Igraine's MP every turn.

The left Armor has Magic Guard, the right Armor has ZOC. The War Mage has Ymir Magna, skill level unknown, while the Trooper and Aimsman have no skills. (I called the Aimsman a Sniper before. They're Aimsmen now, at least for this map -- that class name is too dumb to ignore.)

I'd like to take this moment to mention that there haven't been any enemy archer-types in the tutorial, and your Archers work totally differently from enemy ones. A very large portion of this map's difficulty comes from that one Aimsman too, so that's a particularly assholish bit of hidden information!

So let's consider strategy. If you send Serdic down there, he'll be swarmed and die. You can't retreat very far, either -- the Wasteland on this map is special, costing 3 Movement to cross each tile. Your only option is to go left into the Wasteland, relying on the poor terrain to bog down pursuit long enough for Ymir Magna to finish the job.

Rondo of Swords typically allows several different strategies, even if one is optimal. This is not the case here. You do exactly what I do here or you die.

The failure message for this map:

You can't just rush right in. Sometimes it's better to wait. In love and in battle, you need a strategy! Do your best!

The first and second turns. Serdic's position here is very important -- moving in just one more tile places him within the Aimsman's range.

If the Aimsman is shooting Serdic, he's not moving into position to kill Igraine.

Serdic needs to be out of the way of Ymir Magna, and moving behind Igraine will get her killed next turn. Will of War helps.

(Also, Igraine's face here cracks me up. She looks like she's mocking him.)

Note that, for linear spells, you can't actually change the camera. The only way to check in-game how long Ymir Magna goes is to stand at the edge of the map first. This isn't a problem for Ice Spear/Thunder/Taion Raioh, since those never reach more than five tiles away, but it renders Ymir Magna and one other spell nigh-unusable unless you have outside information. Not knowing your own range is kind of a problem!

Ymir Magna.

One neat effect of Igraine's Seven Menace is that it keeps the enemy War Mage from moving into line with Serdic -- the enemy sees its spell range and is afraid.

The Armors aren't able to reach her before she casts again, and the Trooper stops just behind them. Igraine kills the armors the next turn and then the Trooper the turn after that. Serdic repeatedly heals with Revitalize.

Once that's done, the map's basically over -- just have Serdic run after the Aimsman and kill him while Igraine stays out of his range, then use Serdic and Igraine to trap and kill the last Mage. So long as you stay out his (literal) line of fire, you'll be fine.

Now you can step proudly onto any battlefield! Come back and play sometime!

And that's that! I think that, generally speaking, Rondo of Swords has a decent tutorial -- it points out just about all of the information available to you in-game, at least in battles, and the later ones are good at making you think. Of course, this does little to solve the problem of insufficient information, but, well, that's Rondo of Swords for you.

Next time: Voice of Darkness