Part 26: BF21 Amatorium Square
Yggdra was nowhere to be found in the prison tower, and the infiltration seemed to have been a waste of time.
With no success in the prison tower, the Royal Army decided to concentrate on Castle Karona, where Emperor Gulcasa had sequestered himself.
To reach the castle, they had to pass through Amatorium Square, which was being protected by the Astral Fencer Russell and Inzaghi's mercenary crew.
Tch! Just as I thought!
It's that loser mercenary and...
The Astral Fencer Russell is here with him!
We'll have to take them out!
This level is pretty quick, just like the intro. Inzaghi still doesn't have much going for him, even with Russell at his side.
At this point of the game, the Dragon Generals are pretty much indistinguishable from regular named chumps. Baldus is the only one with the muscle to put up a fight, and Nessiah killed himself. Russel and Leon are pretty boring, and all Emelia can do is Gravity Chaos.
Pre-battle setup... This is the uberfood we found a while back, and it will throw Mistel from a good character, to the strongest.
Milanor takes a couple medallions, and comes out around 3000 morale.
Mistel, on the other hand, has this otherwise useless item available for her.
And Rosary can take this, and do whatever she has planned with it.
It's pretty impressive, huh, Russell?
Well, we've got a job to do... So let's get to it!
Besides the two main Fencers, we're up against some 1,2,3,3 Assassins, 2,2,3,3 Necromancers, 2,2,2,1 Fencers, 2,2,2,1 Knights, and 2,2,1,3 Bandits.
The two forces are split down the middle, with Inzaghi's on the right, and Russell's generally stronger forces on the left.
Russell has pretty decent stats this round, and his weapon can be a bit of a trick shot. Hvy Counter %UP gives you a small chance on wiping out every unit but the head on a counter attack. I'd be surprised if it was even 10%, so it's not a worrying as it sounds.
Inzaghi still sets the bar pretty low. He does have a pretty nice item though, which we'll need to deal with. We could have given a female unit the Iron Choker, which blocks Criticals, but I don't want to shoehorn any specific unit to deal with his attacks. It's a tight level, and union formations can shift quickly.
We'll deal with Inzaghi a better way.
Milanor and Mistel charge forward with Doll Craft's 11 movement. We'll waste a turn not fighting, but things will work out. We could've given someone a No Battle Penalty item, and let them clean house, but I want to spread the Exp around.
And look at those stats. Beautiful.
Russell, as usual, brings Item Break. This poses absolutely no threat to us now.
Inzaghi has his normal card as well, Banshee's Cry. With our characters hitting the 4 star and up Atk, Banshee's Cry takes us down a huge notch. We can deal with this, though.
Neither card is threatening, especially with all the Fort tiles that cover the map.
Gravity Chaos will bring everyone into position. We'll try to curse every unit possible, to deal with any of their attack Unions. We'll also curse Inzaghi, in round 3. Even with his crit change, being cursed will make him an easy fight.
Well, Knight #1 isn't being cursed. He survives with a few hundred morale.
Neither is Bandit #1. He's dropped to 0 morale.
Inzaghi takes it, though, and comes out with 3431 morale.
Whenever the enemy tries to use Banshee's Cry, we'll immediately use Gravity Chaos. This will interrupt their card skill, drop their rage to 0, and Gravity Chaos will work as normal. This Knight also survives with a few hundred.
Bandit 2 also gets flattened.
Inzaghi comes with a quick counter attack. We're looking great down the board, except for maybe Mistel's final Assassin fight.
Inzaghi, you putz.
Mistel takes one loss, but brings Inzaghi down to 6, as he casts Banshee's Cry.
Even with that Atk penalty, Mistel's Scythe mows through Inzaghi, killing him faster than she takes losses.
Gravity Chaos. It's awesome.
Everything goes pretty smoothly until the Assassin attacks Mistel.
We quickly fall behind in numbers, and Scythe isn't good against Bows... Banshee's Cry is used right away, as well, making our Atk advantage Null.
We break Banshee's Cry right away, though. Gravity Chaos doesn't deal damage to the Assassins, but they still take the curse. Still... We're down a large margin. Even cursed, we lose 1 unit for every 2.5 we kill. It's roughly 4 vs 8; the Assassins will stay slightly ahead of us.
I'll throw Mistel into Passive, until about 70%.
And from their, full Aggressive. We quickly even the numbers, and then take out the head.
So why did I do that?
Going Passive fills your bar faster than Aggressive drains it. In a long fight like this, where nothing else is going on, you'll come out slightly ahead if you go Passive for a while - roughly the time it takes to kill 2/5 of the enemy strength and then dump it all into Aggressive. You'll be fighting 4 combat levels higher than you were, and it will last longer than it took to build up the skill.
While viewing the recording, I counted frames per % gained, and per % lost. Going passive restores odd numbered % every 2 frames, and even % every 3 2.5 average.
While aggressive, every 5th % took 3 frames. All others take 4 3.8 average.
This effect is also extremely one-sided if you have an Aggressive element that the enemy is weak against.
We need to clear out this chump, who's blocking Inzaghi. He's otherwise unreachable at all, since no one will bring him into a union. We also want to start clearing out Russell's forces, but there's one problem. We really don't want to kill Russell.
We'll try to do it in one shot, and get Durant some action at the same time. He'll rush in with Shield Barrier, and start clearing it out. By targeting the Necromancer, and not the Fencer, we'll be up against Russell with a battle penalty. This is good. We should be able to defeat him regardless, but we'll deal less damage this way.
Oops. Maybe not.
The other Fencer is gone, though, and the Necromancers are on the verge of defeat.
And they attack us like so. Between Durant's stats, and Shield Barrier, we should be good.
What the fuck...
What the doublefuck...
Well that went poorly. We don't want to kill Russell, but we can knock him around a little bit...
We should be able to take a big chunk out of Inzaghi now, and clear the rest of the rabble. He'll bring both Assassins in, and they in turn bring Russell and the Necromancer in.
There's only one real consideration right now. Whoever kills Inzaghi has to have 3 Luk. That leaves Durant out, right now, so he can't lead this charge. This attack most likely won't end Inzaghi, but he'll attack back on his turn and likely bite it.
We also don't want Milanor to fight either Fencer...
That will leave Mistel first, to fight, and re-fight Inzaghi. Milanor and Durant can take either Assassin, which will bring Mistel against Russell.
The next consideration is about Inzaghi's stupid Critical hit rate. Mistel may easily lose Inazghi's charge, so it would be nice to have back-up. Durant is out, based on Luk, but Milanor has the weapon disadvantage. Mind Change will even the odds, even without Inzaghi's curse.
Are you prepared?
I'll keep coming until the pay dries up! You're going down!
So here's what we wanted. Mistel leads the charge, and takes both Sword users. Milanor comes in second, against the Assassin and Necromancer. Durant finishes the last Assassin off.
Mistel takes it to Inzaghi. Milanor and Durant take out both Assassins.
Gah. I said no killing Russell!
Eh, not too bad, all things considered. Milanor takes out the Necromancer, as well. We have one remaining movement, so we pull Durant out of the union entirely. We don't want to do deliver the killing blow to Inzaghi, and Inzaghi might actually defeat Mistel and Milanor with 2 Crits.
Ok, Milanor's up.
Milanor gets the last laugh, as usual.
Oh. Damn. I'm always fond of the slacker, comedic relief type... so this kinda sucks. Farewell you glorious loser. May you find glory in Valhalla's special olympics.
But hey, a door's open.
Looks like a key to something.
So I see...! I have nothing more to fear from the Empire!
If any troops were alive right now, including Inzaghi, Russell single-handidly kills them all.
Welcome back, Russell!
And he opens the final door for us.
We've finished them off!
Our next destination is Castle Karona!
Russell! Oh, I'm so glad you're safe...
Flone, I'm sorry... You must have been so worried.
These people saved me.
I owe you for saving my fiancee. I won't ask you to forgive me... What's done is done. But if you can trust me, I'd like to fight beside you.
The lady Flone has told us everything, Esq. Russell. Your help would be invaluable. We gladly accept.
Welcome to the Liberation Army, Mr. Astral Fencer.
It's an honor to serve with you all
I wasn't trying to have Mistel get this, and figured Durant would've been a contender with his solo-round, with Shield Barrier. I guess those couple losses he took knocked him down.
As bad as it was with Milanor, Mistel's well on her way to hogging MVPs. She's the proverbial level 40 Charizard right now, and will take some attention so as to not end up the level 60 variety, far surpassing everyone else.
Armory Key: Allows us to get some items, next battle.
Criticalizer: Only brings Tec up, but you equip something like this for the 50% crit. Lasts one map.
Russell We have a sword user again, and while he's good, at best he's pretty redundant soon. His Atk and Tec are good, hitting 6 and 5, and his Luk will be a decent 4. His Gen is his weak point, at 3, but there really aren't so many low Gen people to use that you can't spread some food around. His Lighting attack affinity is literally no use for us, and his Void Lightning very rarely has a use.
That being said, if you really like Sword Ace cards, like Banshee's Cry and Banish, you can quite easily field two sword users. Item break also can be justified at times, and you need Russell to perform that. Bonus points for the metal theme song.
His Yashamaru brings up Gen, Atk, and Tec while dropping Luk. He gets some pretty awesome unique equipment, and has access to a few good Male-only equipment and Swords as well.
I did miss one item in this level, the Misanga of Life. It's Tec +4, Luk +4, with the effect of 1-time revival. Russell is the only one who can equip this. To get it, you need to recruit Russell with less than 8 Rep. Since I didn't feel like having Milanor and Mistel lose a bunch of fights (I don't know if Mistel would if I tried for it) I passed on it.
This level's pretty quick, with lots of combat. It's still kinda refreshing after Paltina, and Eudy's cannons. There are various approaches you can take, depending on your goals.
Russell only joins you if you rescue Flone in the previous map, and if you talk to him. If he gets stuck in the unions, or you didn't rescue his fiancee, he'll fight to the death. Bummer. And he joins at the same morale you left him at.
Both of the boss items are steal-able, if you want to put Milanor up against them.
You can make a beeline for Russell, and have him clear the map for you.
It's also the worst map in the game since you have to kill the best character. If they ever make an Inzaghi/Mizer spin-off, I'm totally all over that.
Inzaghi Union. I can dig it.