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there's just enough enemy types mixed in to occasionally bait you into screwing it up.Ah, I remember getting screwed before I noticed what's up with them. Fun times.
Into the woods, but mind the past...
Into the woods, but mind the future!
this could be a lot of maps given warp shenanigans
Thracia's difficulty is really overrated in my mind. It can be super stupid for blind players, but once you know the things the entire challenge is balanced around you knowing, it's only got a few tough spots. Most of the maps you want to warp skip in it are more tedious than hard (the exception being chapter 22 which is just an RNG fest due to enemies having +30 hit/avoid unless you do some shenanigans, and if you're doing warp shenanigans you might as well just one turn the whole thing. Why did I not put that map in my bottom ten again...)
Good to know I can avoid having my list predicted so long as I give clues so uselessly vague that they can be applied to more maps than I'm going to talk about in this topic. Might need to calibrate my hint giving a little...
17. Shadow Dragon Final - Chosen By Fate
First off let me just say that I really love that this game takes the time to point out in the narration that Marth's army split its forces up to storm the castle but Medeus was expecting this, thus explaining why your team starts spread out in an awkward way. A certain game that doesn't bother to let you adjust your deployment order without looking up a guide on how to do it could have benefited from thinking about these things...
Anyway. I know Shadow Dragon is a contentious entry in the series for a variety of reasons that don't need to be rehashed here, but for me, it's a game I'll always have time for. It was the first Fire Emblem game I ever played, and I liked it enough to get hooked on the series. It may be pretty basic in a lot of ways and shows the age of the original at times (notably with how it replicates the enemy composition of the original even though weapon triangle being a thing now makes that a huge balance issue, AKA it makes swords kind of s***) but its maps are mostly pretty fun and I love the forging mechanic it has, even if it is a huge game breaker. And its H5 difficulty is one of the best challenges the series has to offer, and it's this difficulty I'll mainly be thinking of during this write up.
This brings us to the final chapter. You can, of course, warp skip it, although it's not trivial to do without sacrifices unless you reset until you get a crit because Medeus tends to kill anything that he attacks. You can also do some hilarious crit strats with ballisticians to get the boss kill fairly early, though this requires a very expensive forge. If you don't want to do either of these things...oh dear. This map is full of some of the nastiest enemies the series has to offer. In terms of raw stats they may not stand out compared to the high stat games like Awakening or Three Houses, but Shadow Dragon has pretty low growth rates and no late game units with dominant bases (think Laguz royals in Radiant Dawn) to carry you, so you're up against enemies who approach their caps in some stats wielding nasty s*** like forged brave weapons with few units that can survive exposure to more than one enemy at a time. Then there's the Swarm Bishops covering large chunks of the map, and perhaps worst of all, the forged Pachyderm Ballisticians. Who even show up as reinforcement! 3-10 range with 40 attack is utterly terrifying relative to your units, and is something you pretty much need to deal with immediately.
Did I mention there's a lot of reinforcements over the course of the map? Because there are. Have fun!
If you choose to play Chosen By Fate the "conventional" way it's utterly insane. You have essentially no leeway on anything and have to make every single move you make as calculated as possible or you'll get someone killed. This might just be the hardest map in all of Fire Emblem if played without some sort of early boss kill strategy. I have to appreciate it for that, especially since Shadow Dragons mechanics lend itself to fun challenges - hit rates are high for both you and the enemy, making it easy to predict the outcome of every round of combat, and there's very little in the way of the kind of trickery or gimmicks that the games with skills can offer. It's just a straight forward Fire Emblem map with brutal enemies you have to deal with. Well, I say "have to" but as noted multiple times, you *can* always cheese it, which I actually don't mind! This map not being cheeseable would honestly be a bad thing, it's such a difficulty spike that it might be unreasonable to expect someone to have to deal with it if they didn't want to.
And on a more general note, I really enjoy the atmosphere of this map. The much darker colour scheme than any of the other indoor maps and slow, sinister music really make it feel like a dramatic final battle, and a fitting end to a game I always enjoy playing.
Up next: A map that can throw some nasty s*** at you or be beaten on turn 1...though the process to do so is far from simple!
I love Shadow Dragon.
very underrated game.
all the rest weren't so unfortunate
16. Awakening Chapter 21 - Five Gemstones
Sadly I can't find a good picture for this one, so I'll instead link to a Spanish guide that contains one (this sounds like the set up for a meme or something but this is legit a great site for information on specific chapters even if you can't read the language, and it does have English translations for many of the earlier games)
So Five Gemstones is a map that I feel like I've seen a lot of people dislike. The enemies are actually pretty competent (this is where I feel Robin stops feeling totally invincible on Lunatic, though s/he's still obviously great), consisting of a lot of assassins and swordmasters, two of the hardest enemy types to both kill (due to their high speed making doubling out of reach for many units) and survive against (due to their high accuracy resulting in you getting hit a lot), berserkers who are easier to kill and less accurate but hit super hard, and of course, Sorcerors, including the always fun guys with Mire, Awakening's resident siege tome. Speaking of, Mire Sorcerors show up as reinforcements on the staircases outside the building where you can't hit them. Just to, you know, encourage you to hurry it up. In all honesty the Mire guys aren't that threatening because Mire can't be forged and late game enemies rely on forged weapons for power and accuracy, so they can't hurt your good units much, but they are dangerous to your weaker and/or support units.
If you play it straight forward, you have to advance through tough enemies and Mire while running from reinforcements and more Mire until you can make it down to kill the boss. But it seems like there's another way, doesn't it? Of course there is. With judicious use of the Rescue staff (making these infinitely buyable on the world map for cheap was an "interesting" decision), dancing and the almighty Galeforce, you can teleport a pair of 8 move Galeforce units through the wall south of the starting point and have them Galeforce boost their way right up to the boss, killing him on turn 1 (or 2 or 3 if you don't want to/can't quite pull off the super fast method). Honestly this is probably the most fun cheesy quick strategy in all of Fire Emblem. You have to be pretty careful about planning out exactly which units are going to move where to set it up, and there's just something so amusing about ignoring this entire big fancy ambush the enemy planned out by just crossing the entire length of the map instantly and winning before they can even do anything.
It's not a factor in my ranking of the map but I feel like pointing out anyway that I really like the scene that follows this chapter. I'm not too fond of Awakening's story in general, but this particular moment really works for me.
Up next: Positivity falls to the wayside as we visit a well regarded game in the series to find a map that loves to have things go wrong before you can even try to influence them
Up next: Positivity falls to the wayside as we visit a well regarded game in the series to find a map that loves to have things go wrong before you can even try to influence themThis seems like it's describing Battle Before Dawn but I dunno if that makes a bottom 10, so I'll say... uh... Raise the Standard from FE10 maybe.
Congrats to BKSheikah, who knows more about years than anyone else.
I didn't know which chapter Raise the Standard was until I looked it up (I swear, Genealogy and Blazing Sword are the only games I actually know more than one or two chapters from) just now <_<
I only remember it because it's Fiona's introduction and she definitely does not meet, much less raise, any standards.
Congrats to BKSheikah, who knows more about years than anyone else.
She raises the standard in the "worst cavalier" competition! Matthis, Vyland, those guys in Thracia that don't even have dialogue...all stand in awe of her achievements