Part 15: BF12 Brigand Stronghold
After the battle at Verlaine Hills, the Royal Army decided it was time to reclaim the Kingdom's capital, Paltina, via the loosely guarded northern region of the Kingdom: Framm Granary.
To get there, they would have to pass through the steep Lenessey Mountains, as well as the notorious Ortega Brigands' stronghold halfway up the slopes.
As the Royal Army ventured into the mountainous region, the brigand's pack stood squarely in front of them.
It will be a long, hard journey. Please, don't take it lightly.
Once we're through here, Paltina isn't far...
My scouts tell me there's a brigand outpost up ahead.
Is there any way to avoid it?
Nope. The whole idea is to block the path. They look like a crew you don't want to mess with, too...
Ha! I love it when the treasure comes right up to our door!
B-But didn't they just hand us our asses last time? I dunno about this...
You idiots! We can't just let them waltz right through. I'd lose all claim to the name Brigand King!
You're right, Boss!
Get to work! It's time we had our revenge...
Before the battle starts, I'll give Yggdra and Milanor a few Medallions. Two go to Yggdra, going to 2610 morale, and Milanor can deal with just one for 2786. His max morale is much higher, so he gets bigger returns on a single medallion.
During the setup screen you can also take a look at some tactical maps. You can see unit positions and faction, their starting formations, and most helpful the geography map. The Lenessey Mountains are full of wasteland terrain, which will make Milanor very happy.
Those are the same brigands we fought before.
Well, looks like we've gotta pound our way through. Heh heh heh.
The group of bandits to the north count as a separate faction from Ortega and his men. They use the same card, Rockfall, but get their own turns. The Brigands, as we can see, have 1,2,1,3 for stats. That 1 Tec means that Rockfall is useless in their hands. The Fencers are slightly stronger, at 2,2,2,1. They fight better, and their 2 Tec allows Rockfall to slow and damage anyone with 2 or less Gen. This matters for every female in the party since they only have 2 Gen.
Ortega isn't a notable encounter here, either. His 3 Atk at least puts him on par with our members, and his 3 Gen will at least slow down our charges and card skills. His Boss Bandana is sweet, and with his 2 Luk anyone but Durant can loot it.
His Assassins are at 1,2,3,3, and his other goons are the same as faction 2.
Nietzsche was picked to be benched, and she will be. We need to use her in this level to get an item, though. Either way, neither she nor Durant would see much action, so she's not taking Exp from anyone.
Plenty of Axe users here, so it's a good chance for Yggdra to get some experience. Rosary has the advantage against nearly everyone on the field at the moment, so she's also a natural.
Milanor will follow Yggdra, and face the Fencer. In general, the second clash will fill up the enemy Rage bar, and allow them to use their card skill. Milanor is immune to Rockfall, due to his Wasteland , so he's a good tank. His Wasteland also allows him to go toe to toe with Sword users.
Rosary will follow up, and finish off a survivor, if any.
After the attack, we have one movement remaining. I move Milanor to the side a little, to cover the defenses. Yggdra and Rosary will easily cover any attack from the North. Now, if anyone attacks Milanor, Yggdra and Rosary are both in his union.
The attack comes from the North this time, and they are both easily defeated. Since one of these Brigands was the faction leader, his death also makes the remaining Fencer retreat.
With Banish, and its 7 Mov, we charge Yggdra straight into Ortega's forces. Banish has low power, and is unlikely to one-shot any opponent. Regardless, all the forces here have 1 Gen, so banish will do well with its Tec+2 damage.
The first two encounters go extremely well for Yggdra. By going passive for the majority of the Brigand fight, added with a poor charge, the Brigand managed to cast Rockfall. With his one Tec, it did nothing. It's not until the second Assassin when the enemy can cast it again, and it both deals a good amount of damage to Yggdra as well as gives her Slow status. No matter, she wins the fight. All three opponents stick around, though.
The lone Fencer attacks Yggdra this round. This is about the worst thing possible for the AI to do, but whatever. It's good for us we don't face the Assassins. It's a close one, but Yggdra wins this 1-on-1.
Night falls, so with Shield Barrier we move Rosary into this very specific position. It's out of Yggdra's union, but that's ok.
Hmm, not very cute.
And there's Nietzsche's contribution to this battle.
Milanor also moves up a couple spaces another calculated move.
Same formation as last time, but with Shield Barrier, Yggdra won't take any shit from any encounter.
Dun dun dun... Mizer always shows up at the end of turn 6 in this map.
What, again!? That stinkin' bounty hunter... You'd think he was in love with you or something.
Y-You think so!?
Princess... I was kidding. A few bruises, and he'll make tracks like always. Let's go!
Mizer pops out, but it's not his turn yet. The Fencer and the Brigand act almost intelligently, and actually move to make a union.
Ok, cool. Critical hits aren't always death sentences, especially against low Tec units with the weapon disadvantage. We still lose that hefty 40% Bonus for the Head, though.
The Fencer has quite a powerful charge, and we can't quite deal with it even with Shield Barrier.
Even with the loss, Yggdra levels up. No full stats have increases, but Gen only needs one more star. Rosary and Durant are the only ones below 7 now, at 6 and 5 respectively.
Mizer's turn, and he just warps over the crevice next time Milanor. Since we stole every other one of his items, he now carries the Warp Shoes. This grants him the same movement that Necromancers get and allows them to warp between tiles at night.
Because of Rosary and Milanor's exact spacings, Mizer doesn't have much of a choice what to do. Rosary blocks his reappear tile, and stops him from proceeding. The next best move for him is to attack Milanor, but we're prepared.
I'll getcha this time!
Between Shield Barrier, Mizer's weapon disadvantage, and Milanor's Wasteland advantage, we get through the attack.
Wh-Who are you!?
A den of thieves, huh? I think I'll liberate some of this stuff back.
Hmmm... This shield's not bad.
Same old thing here. Most notable are the Warp Shoes, which we need to get a new card later on, since we don't have Roswell to do it. With Steal, Milanor runs up to the bandit hideout, and runs back down to Mizer.
He can fight a little better, now that it's day.
Not bad. The important thing is we took his shoes.
His Bandit helper just barely survived. I should have used Steal's ability on him, since he always brings a medallion.
I'm not putting my life on the line for this kind of pay!
When you bring Mizer to low enough morale, he'll bolt. I think this works in pretty much every level. This is ok for us, since we don't need him around any more, but you need to watch out for this. It doesn't count as a defeat, so he'll retreat with any item he's carrying.
With the last of Steal's Mov, Rosary moves up to assist Yggdra. Ortega then attacks with this formation.
Thanks to the shittiest counter attack I've seen so far, Yggdra loses badly and drops to 1362 morale. The red tint to Yggdra's unit shows she's Slowed, but that didn't have any combat effect like other statuses can.
Rosary deals with the Bandit no problem, but because he's on a Fort he has some left-over morale.
Nowhere to go, but we need to hammer out these two chumps. Bloody Claw has ample power, and enough movement to arrange ourselves before Ortega. Rosary leads this attack so Yggdra will be free to move afterwards. She's Slow, but only one tile away from Ortega anyways.
Haw! Even bandits gotta eat, Princess!
We used up our attack this round, but it's good to get into position to fight back on Ortega's turn.
You may have noticed that Trebuchet looking thing north east of Ortega earlier, and here it is in Ortega's union.
If you can bring a Catapult like this into your union, it automatically removes one unit at the start of every clash. This is doubly effective against Large units.
It's not much, but this is the edge Ortega needs to beat Yggdra. Really didn't see it happening, with both the Fort and Sword advantages, but there you go. Yggdra is dropped to 985.
Milanor fares better, and sneaks in a small victory dealing a whopping 397 damage... Woo.
Did they steal this, too? Is that all they think about?
This is actually a fairly long level, and your cards don't reset. Most of our power cards have been used up, but this gives me a chance to show off Ace Guard.
The union leader is the only one that can use the skill, and with it's low 4 Mov, nearly everyone can get it off quickly. It doesn't have any effect for this fight.
But for every consecutive fight in this union, we're immune to counterattacks. This can be a huge boon, obviously. It's a weak card Pow wise, but with three victories Ortega is brought just below half morale 2333.
Yggdra fights all around better this time, so she can safely use Ace Guard on the defensive without risking a loss.
Ortega's Catapult still gets through, but his charge does absolutely nothing. Another round of easy wins.
Mind Change. Yggdra will probably end him due to its power alone, but if it doesn't Milanor will be ready to use it.
But Yggdra does it.
Finally, the way is clear!
Let's proceed while we have the chance.
We're pretty high up. We near the top yet?
I believe we are still only halfway to the summit.
What!? That's... That's a lot of climbing!
Keep at it. Once we reach Paltina, the castle is yours.
Hey... That's right! Look out mountain, here I come!
Er, Princess... Did I hear you correctly...?
Hm...? O-Oh, it's nothing.
Luk ends up being Yggdra's only low stat, so this is a welcome bonus. The opportunities for her to win MVP will be slim for a while, but there're a couple battles later that are very easy for her to take the prize.
This is also a good level to power up your Staff user with an MVP, if you plan on using them long-term. They should only have trouble with the 2 Assassins and Mizer, but you have to take it a little more slowly. Since they only start with 2 Atk, the large 2 and 3 vs 1 unions that Yggdra was doing become much closer.
Upola Statue: -2, -2, -2, and Luk Up. If you lose all your morale while this is equipped, you are given 50% morale back, and stay in the battlefield. You still lose the entire level's worth of XP, but then the worse part kicks in. For 3 maps, you're stuck with a Split Upola Statue, which lowers all of your stats.
Bronze Shield: Meh. Too much of a loss in the good stats, if you ask me, and you don't fight against many catapults. Lasts one map.
Warp Shoes: The slight Tec boost is completely irrelevant. We'll be using this item for one specific purpose down the road.
Gold Lump: Can be traded for an item, or can give large morale returns.
Boss Bandana: Minor stats up again, but the big benefit is the Always Ace. With it, any character can Ace any card. Yggdra can lead for Milanor to Steal for example, or the equipped character could use Thunderbolt if you like shitty cards. 2 maps.
Well, that's the last we see of Mizer for a while. And Ortega ever. This level feels unique so far in that there's a decent amount of stuff to do, but you don't ever get to refresh your cards. Most levels I'd use Revolution, Shield Barrier, and Mind Change over and over. This time, you need to spread them out a little, but with a little organization, weak cards can still do a lot of damage.
We also get another taste of the growing trend of giving the boss a ton of morale, and setting him up on a Fort. Mirage could potentially be a very useful boss-killer because of this, but it's a bit restrictive.
Mizer can be tricky, since his Warp Shoes will allow him to get into weird places. If you're not careful, he usually just makes a beeline to Yggdra, or can cause a huge problem for Rosary.
Now that the Upola Statue is out of the way, Nietzsche will be replaced by Durant for a while. I may bring her back near the end of the chapter to deal with one specific menace, but we'll see.