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Speed Run Walkthrough by tskisoccer

Version: 7.0 | Updated: 09/08/17





NoWorries presents:

the "How to" for speedrunning Shining Force

Game: Shining Force I
System: Sega Genesis
FAQ: Beating Shining Force I in under 7 hours
Written By: NoWorries
Best Time: 4:50
Allowed Website: www.gamefaqs.com
                 www.neoseeker.com
                 www.supercheats.com
*If you have a website you would like to post this at just shoot me an email*
				 
**As always, the most up-to-date guide will always be found at gamefaqs**

Version History: 1.0 Submitted 28 of May of 2014
                 1.3 Submitted 02 of June of 2014
    -Updated with the actual link to the online video
    -Improved a number of descriptions regarding paths
    -Completely rewrote a few sections to now include Guntz as a hero
                 1.7 Submitted 15 of July of 2014
    -Updated a few spots
    -Updated some times
	-Updated the Ideal Time as well added a sum of my best chapter times for
        what could be considered as "segmented". So as it stands, my best
        "single segment time" is 6:26 and "segmented" is 6:10
    -Updated with a new best time and a new video link
                 2.0 Submitted 30 of January of 2015
    -Updated some times
    -Rewrote a few sections to adjust for strategy changes
    -Broke an hour on Chapter 6!
    -Broke 70 minutes for Chapter 8!
    -Set a new personal best: 6 hours 4 minutes
                 3.0 Submitted 22 of July of 2015
    -SMASHED my previous Chapter 1 & 2 time
    -Broken 2 hours for first 3 Chapters
    -Broken 4 hours through 6 Chapters
    -Completely updated the ideal time to more accurately reflect what they
        should be by roughly calculating out of battle time
    -Updated a number of times and spots
    -Added a mini-section concerning a challenge: Minimalist
                 4.0 Submitted 24 of October of 2015
    -Added a new video for my best segmented run. As it stands, my best time
     is 5:54 and segmented is 5:51:25
    -Added and changed a few details for some battles to make them easier to
     understand and replicate
    -Added some new contact. I have started streaming about once a week and
     added a twitter as an easy way to let you know when that happens. Both
     are under tskisoccer, AKA twitter.com/tskisoccer and twitch.com/same
     There's other stuff as well, but that's the premise to find me if you
     want to watch some livestream.
    -Added some major details regarding a number of battles and what heroes
     to use for optimal starting positions
                 5.0 Submitted 12 of April of 2016
    -Whole bunch of random updates and fixes
    -Had to completely rewrite a number of spots to incorporate completely
     new strategies. Not to disregard old ones, I've tried to include "both"
     pieces when necessary. Those should be noted along the way as they emerge
    -Got a new best at 5:41 which is awesome and still tons to improve
    -As my two year anniversary approaches, might as well get a new vastly
     improved guide uploaded!
                 5.5 Submitted 15 of August of 2016
    -Updated strategies once again
        -overall better team member management
        -eliminated the warrior class from the run
        -eliminated Kokichi and Zylo entirely as well
    -Completely rewrote parts of the guide to make things as clear as possible
    -New best time of 5:26
    Here is a link to my best run so far
        https://www.twitch.tv/tskisoccer/v/80338958
                 6.0 Submitted 09 of December of 2016
    -Been putting in a ton of time racing against ty2358 as we race to the
     be the first to sub 5 hours. As a result, many new strategies have
     evolved and the time has improved quite a bit. As a result, I will be
     including NR around certain sections as a NEW RUNNER may want to start
     with safer and simpler strategies. Hopefully this will be clear in the
     text below
    -New best time is 5:03:24, hopefully sub 5 happens soon
	
    Link to my best run now (5:03)
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQmRh3ZPTaw
                 7.0 Submitted 08 of September of 2017
    -The sub 5 update!
    -Was featured at RPGLimitBreak doing a race with Ty2358
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubUQ3F5U3mg (that run)
    -New best time is 4:50
    http://www.speedrun.com/run/9mrg662z (video for best run)
	





------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Table of Contents
        1. Introduction
            Character Overview
        2. The Guidelines
        3. The Walkthrough
            Chapter 1
            Chapter 2
            Chapter 3
            Chapter 4
            Chapter 5
            Chapter 6
            Chapter 7
            Chapter 8
        4. Discussion
            End Remarks
            Abuses and Glitches
            A new Challenger approaches!
        5. Conclusion

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-Who should be reading this FAQ?- #The NoWorries Contract to Greatness

    I put this in every faq I've ever written, and it goes something along the
lines like this. By writing this, I commit to you the reader that I will bring
to you not only my vastness of knowledge but do it with a sense of humour. I
understand it's easy to get bogged down in detail as well as a mush of opinion
but I strive to bring you something more than just a guide to greatness.
    So who should be reading this? This is a guide on how to beat the game,
Shining Force, in under 7 hours. It's a speed run. It's hard, it's tedious,
it may test you at moments, but rest assured it is a good feeling beating the
game with half a team of level 6 promoted heroes. There is a great level of
expert required skill for this run so if you are a newer player I don't want
to discourage you from trying this but it is going to be hard. For the more
veteran players, I wish you the best of luck.
    There will also be an accompanying video available on youtube on my
channel which will be a complete runthrough of the game. That particular run
is 4:50 which is currently my best published run. So on with this!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When it comes to speedrunning, there's always some rules, restrictions, and
guidelines to be set forth. For Shining Force, there's nothing completely
radical or insane to be made aware of. The game itself is extremely simple,
take Max and your team of up to eleven other characters and go forth into the
rather ordinary world of Rune as you battle your way through thirty battles
to vanquish Dark Dragon and accomplish one of the more reasonable RPG's for
speed running. Oddly enough, later Shining Force games are much more difficult
to even consider speed running as the games themselves are much longer as well
as the victory conditions for a number of battles is "kill them all" whereas
in glorious Shining Force I, we will be killing them all only a handful of
times.

Right away you're probably thinking well that's just dumb. The game takes 10
hours at least, your party would be far too weak to actually beat some of the
battles, and just a couple of those first missions: how do you not kill
everything? What about the rng (the randomness)? How does one not lose their
mind dealing with those extremes?

Trust me, this is a question and a topic I've debated a number of times with
my older brother Frolki a number of times. The beauty of the situation is
that because the game operates on rng (but not TRUE randomness) there are
certain patterns and exploits to be worked out. Things like, Domingo's and
Max's tendencies to get focused over their allies is an exploitable factoid;
whereas getting Max to point A in a number of spots, winning the battle
despite there being a batallion of Rune Knights storming down his throat is
a purposeful aspect that they the game programmers put into the game that one
might as well exploit.

So how long does it take? As of right now, the time is highly variable as the
path continues to get improved and continues to change as newer methods are
developed. Dark Kobold would say that it takes just under 2 hours to beat the
game using tas (tool assisted speedrun) and that's using Lua and matlab to
really take advantage of the rng. While we are not remotely on that level
(trying to do just the first battle alone is 1 in several billion, so the odds
are quite stacked against us) we have manage to improve the time quite a bit.
As it stands, I can beat the game in under 5 hours. Realistically, I could
maybe do it in 430 if I had insane luck; but as it stands, I'm simply looking
for a good 445 which means I still need to save about 5 minutes through the
run to achieve that goal though saving 10 minutes still is entirely achievable

Which is something I really want to take time to talk about. "How fast?" is
a question that gets thrown my way an awful lot (as well as Ty2358, the second
fastest runner who has clocked a 501 and 503 time for his best runs) and it is
often difficult to really give a satisfactory answer. Many people with point
to the TAS run by darkkobold and say "well he did it in 1:59:59 so an RTA
runner could probably do it in like 2:30?"

NO.

First, let me explain the difference between his run and ours. His run skips
the initial party. His first battle alone is perfection and is 1 in several
billion (the odds of performing it). Even with beyond perfect luck, our run
will never come close to the TAS due to the route differences. We cannot skip
the intro party because it is definitely faster RTA to have them, specifically
Tao. We cannot skip Anri, because it has been shown RTA to be faster to have
her. Route differences, RTA versus what can be skipped with a TAS, make a 2,
or even 3 hour run impossible to do RTA. Several battles in the TAS are a
toss up between impossible and lulzy to even fathom to do RTA. For example, he
beats Marionette on T2 with a double crit from Mae. Ken can't even reach. The
odds of double critting on a boss are so low, it would take more than the 5
minutes or so to do the battle to reset the game to get that result. Another
such example is Mishaela, where his Max double turns to avoid being blocked by
enemies only to then outturn Mishaela so he can reach her, where he then
double crits to defeat her. Another battle that probably verges on 1 in
several trillion to be able to do since his Max has to be promoted and at the
perfect speed to be able to accomplish this. In other words, the TAS and RTA
runs of this game, will never look similar because we are limited by a number
of factors, most importantly, the routing of the game due to limitations.

Next, allow me to explain the difference between our "Sum of Best" and what
we consider the "Theoretical Best" of this game. Currently, my SoB is sitting
around 4:14 with Ty2358's being basically there as well. However, we consider
the Theoretical Best to be about 4:30, which is 20 minutes faster than the
best run to date. What accounts for 16 minutes there? Things I've already
hinted at somewhat. When our hero crits or doubles to beat a boss in 1 hit
as opposed to several minutes, that becomes a gold split that is more or less
impractical to replicate. When Ty gets 5 crits on Bats in 2-1 and busts our
best gold by over a minute due to a double crit Blaze 2 that wipes out those
bridge enemies, that's a gold split that is impossible to replicate. When Max
hits the proverbial 20 attack at level 4 and we no reset for 23-24 attack with
Power Potions and Tao has 19+ MP so we do a 11 minute split on Alterone, that
is a split that is basically impossible to replicate.

What we have here, is instances of superb randomness that gives us GREAT best
segments, but gives us impractical measures of which we can realistically
assess what is our possible best. Instead, we have to sit down and go through
the chapters and have a realistic goal that we add together to come up with
what we believe is the theoretical best time (as of now). I'm always open to
changes; and I even said once that sub 5 isn't happening without a major
change, and what resulted was the improved Chaos battle which lead to an
improved 8-1 and later an overall tightened Chapter 8 which has not only set
the best run to date a 4:50 run, but then improved the Theory Best to 4:30.

Here's the breakdown

Looking at Chapter 1 (again, already an unrealistic gold split of mine in the
very first battle which inflates that time by quite a bit) we see a goal of
beating Alterone (and Chapter 1) in 36 minutes. To date, nobody has managed a
36 minute chapter 1 (that's 7:30, 7:30, 7:30, and 11:30 with the minute or so
to finish chapter 1). All possible, but super hard to do.

In Chapter 2, it's one that could be summed as 10+9+7+7 or 35 minutes. While
that seems possible, one thing unaccounted for here is healing items and a
broken power ring (as well perfect boosting, ghoul and Marionette hitting).
Instead, a 36-37 minute goal here is more likely. That's 1 hour and 10-12
minutes through two chapters.

Chapter 3 is basically 4 and 5 minutes with 3-2 which is 11 minutes, a 20
minute chapter. We have to account for promoting Tao which goes in there
somewhere, regardless, 20-21 minutes is perfectly reasonable. That's 1 hour
and 30-33 minutes.

Chapter 4 has been improved (somewhat) since my chapter 4 is slower now due
to promotions (that saves time later) but regardless, 17 minutes for Elliot,
and then another 8-9 for both the other battles gives us around 35 minutes
for this one, and 2 hours, 5-8 minutes.

Chapter 5 is another short one, coming in ideally 8+7+10 or 25 minutes. This
chapter could be a 22-23 minute chapter but let's cushion ourselves. Our total
is now 2 hours, 30-33 minutes

Chapter 6 has gotten very fast, with the biggest issues being randomness in
the forest and Mishaela battles. Sadly, there's little we can do about those
and those battles together can cost upwards of 6 minutes of timeloss with
little we can do about it. Regardless, an ideal looking run would be 6+9 for
the first 2 and then 17+12 for Mishaela, which gives us 44 minutes or so. Our
total is now 3 hours, 15 minutes

Chapter 7 has another two battles the first one and Chaos, where bad luck can
cost upwards of 8 minutes combines. Ideally, 10+8 for those battles, as well
4 and 5 for the two snipes, giving us 27 minutes for this chapter. However,
as we our best 7 is about 34 minutes, I'm calling 30 minutes ideal until we
can manage that. 3 hours, 45 minutes for our total

Chapter 8 has been improved from "sub 70" to "sub hour" to now "sub 50" and
time may continue to get faster. But as it is, 15 minutes for Dark Sol and
Dark Dragon, 3 minutes for Ramladu, and 15 minutes for Colossus. I've nearly
done 8-1 in under 10 minutes, so for the sake of easiness, call it 10, which
brings this to 43 minutes for Chapter 8, giving us 4 hours, 28 minutes for
the ideal time. There's leeway in there, which inflates it, but there's also
slightly unrealistic times in there, which helps decrease it. Regardless, that
is where our "best time" comes from. Hopefully that helps. Sidenote, I'm gonna
try to keep this updated to reflect any major changes that may come.

As for some of the most "specific" things regarding speed running, the first
and foremost is that this is "rts" or "real time strategy" or "real time
playing" AKA playing on a console and not an emulator. This is done for a
number of reasons and the biggest is the obvious difference between tas
and real time running. This is where the rng would seemingly get in your way
and make a glorious mess of things but that's where knowledge and skill come
into play and give us the advantage over the enemy. Now, that's not to say
that playing on an Emulator is frowned upon (I use one as my Genesis is, well,
let's just say it has seen better days). The difference is playing on an
Emulator and using something called
                                    Save States
If you play on an Emulator (like I do) don't use these things and you'll be
just fine. Most Emulators allow for saving just like a console would. I use
the Fusion and it required a bit of reading and figuring out how to create
the right folder so that it would save, but after that it was easy. The
Emulator saves, resets, and handles just like a console (mine even records).
Just don't be using Save States to redo misses and stuff. That's called

  CHEATINGCHEATINGCHEATINGCHEATINGCHEATINGCHEATINGCHEATINGCHEATINGCHEATING
  
Ahem, anyways

So what do we have going for us? Luckily, there's not a whole lot of variable
concerning the things that matter most. Misses, level ups, enemy movements,
those are all rng and for the most part, we cannot control those. We can
control however things like, starting stats, people in our party, our hero
movements, in battle saving, as well as things like enemy placement and
victory conditions never change so we know exactly what we are up against
every step of the way.

We also have something else handy, and that's magic. How do I explain this...

The first advantage of magic is that it never misses. With SF1 setting the
standard on insane evasion, magic is and will always be an answer for us.

The second advantage of magic is that AoE spells always provide an inflated
value of EXP. In other SF games, if your mage is sufficiently overleveled, she
will gain 1 EXP, maybe up to 5 or so if you hit lots of things that are
"close" to your level. In SF1, your level 9-10 Tao can hit 3-4 enemies that
otherwise give no EXP and still scrap together some. Additionally, an attack
that might otherwise yield 10-15 points could grant 40-48 points because of
a nice AoE splash.

The third advantage (and biggest) is that magic deals proportionally more
damage in SF1 than any other. While the damage stays roughly the same across
all SF games, the enemies in SF1 never gain as much health as the enemies in
the other titles. For instance, the strongest enemies we encounter will have
50+ HP in Chimaera and Dragons, but in SF2, we encounter that much health
pretty much be around post-Creeds. Similarly, enemies already get into 30+
range by the Desert battles whereas in SF1 we don't really see 30 HP enemies
until chapter 7 (no joke). As such, the magic we learn is infinitely more
useful here as 35-45 damage from Blaze 4 kills everything we will ever
encounter basically. Freeze 4 literally does kill everything except for Dragon
enemies thanks to their resistance.

We combine advantage 3 with the enemies clumping together more, and well, you
can see why the run has evolved from "Tao+strong fighters" to "always give
Anri > Tao > Balbaroy experience priority".

    Character Overview
	
This is a very quick "spoiler" style section so that you can have an idea just
what each character will do for this run. As it is a speed run, every action,
every choice, every character; they must be important otherwise we are losing
out on valuable precious seconds. Things like moving right to the shop as
opposed to left to do other stuff first... it all makes a difference and adds
up. I suppose a quick note; I'm not getting all the characters. Some people
have discussed "100%" for this game including all the characters but let's be
realistic. There is nothing in this game that actually counts (or is countable
towards a goal) that could be considered "100%". For example, Donkey Kong 1,
2, and 3 all give the percent completion due to the sidequests in the game.
Banjo Kazooie has a definitive "100%" if you get all the notes, puzzle pieces,
and break all the doors getting all the cool stuff (Cheato maybe not needed).
In Shining Force, there is none of that. What's 100%? Grab all the chests?
Kill all the monsters? Find all the useless items hidden throughout the game?
It makes no sense. Therefore, the game is technically "any percent" as we
don't grab all the characters though frankly, defining "100%" as getting all
the characters is lame in my opinion. Anyways:

If you are familiar with my character guide available on gamefaqs, that will
help you to understand my stance towards certain heroes.

    The "Required Bunch"
        This is everyone you either use, are forced to use, or serve some
        purpose. It is different than the next section which includes some
        required characters, but they are never placed on our team and we
        will never need their services
		
#As of Dec 5, 2016, a new record of was set that changed how we use some of
the characters. As such, this list has been updated to completely reflect
new strategies
		
Max
    Another much needed update to Max's description; what we have found is
    that Max never needs to be promoted. After chapter 5, Max will likely
    never throw another punch so there's no real point to promoting him and
    punishing his stats. Basically, we hope to get him to 20 attack by
    Alterone so that he can be OHKOing the enemies and have him strong
    enough to get attacked, but more details on that below
    In chapter 5, there are two chests available (def pot and bread of life)
    that are entirely skippable. I'd suggest you take them if your Max is
    feeling weak. What exactly is weak? By chapter 7, we're hoping Max has
    around 25 health and 13 defense (19 with White Ring) that makes him strong
    enough to tank a Jet. If your Max is lower on those stats, consider
    grabbing those
Ken
    Ken is not great but as he's required (to get Tao) then we'll use him
    for about half the game. His attack tends to get decent (around 30 with
    Power Spear) so we'll use him through 5-1 and then replace him with
    Jogurt
Mae
    Mae is completely awful with the new changes, it is even better to revive
    Ken if he dies in lieu of using Mae. We need her in our party for
    positioning so dead is a good option
Pelle
    Some new changes have elevated Pelle from strong member to "only knight"
    as we now skip Guntz entirely and just use Pelle who becomes much stronger
    now. The change resulted from having two 3/4 knights but now we have one
    full knight. While the former seems stronger, they die more easily and
    result in lost damage so the latter is better
Vankar
    I'm leaving Vankar in the list just because if Ken dies in 3-2, recruiting
    Vankar is faster than reviving Ken and Vankar is likely going to be better
    than Ken in most cases. In this event, only use Vankar until 5-1
    While reviving Ken might seem faster, if Ken died in 3-2, he's probably
    terrible, which means you're better recruiting Vankar here
Luke
    Luke serves a very important 2 battles. His high base power makes the
    first two battles breezy. However, his damage falls off as does Gort and
    because we are remembering TMM, we elect to let Luke perish and 1-2 and
    not look back. As a minor reference point, he has about a 10% chance to
    start with 10 attack instead of 9 (15 versus 14) and that helps quite a
    bit but is in no way required to have a good run
Tao
    Tao is our fiery queen and super useful for this run. If you can promote
    her by Chapter 3, do so, as having Blaze 3 for Chapter 4 is super helpful.
    Also, lots of Blaze 4 really does help. Her level reqs look something like
    4 by 1-4
    8 by end of 2
    10 by end of 3
    P3 by end of 4-1
    P10 by end of 6
    It's not required to have Blaze 4 by the end of Chp 6, but having it for
    Chaos does really really help as Blaze 3 is beginning to fall off here

    And to clarify her levels, we actually want her to be promoted level 1
    with 60+ experience at the end of Chapter 3. This allows her to be 3 by
    the end of 4-1. For exact reasons, read below
Anri
    The major changes to the route have all revolved around Anri as Freeze 4
    kicks so much ass it's unbelievable. As such, she always has EXP priority
    as we need to ramp her 20 levels in a very short time to get to Freeze 4.
    If she doesn't level twice in the first battle (2-2) it does hurt A LOT
    but you can still get her to Freeze 4 by the end of the game
    5 by 2-2
    8 by 3-2
    10 by 4-1
    P3 by end of 4
    P6 by 6-2 (for Kane) (with at least 30 MP)
    P13 by 8
    Getting her to 5 grants her Freeze for the Circus Tent which is important
    as 8+8 (Freeze+Blaze 2) kills all the dolls. Blaze 1 likely won't cut it
    Getting her to Blaze 2 is essential as it allows her to level like mad
    as well as combo with Tao
    She needs P3 by chapter 5 as Freeze2 + Blaze3 kills most enemies whereas
    Blaze 2 may not cut it
    Having Freeze 3 for Kane not only is a necessary evil for continuing
    damage, it grants her the range to begin exploding in levels. It also
    lets her attack Kane (described below) and allows her to try and have
    Freeze 4 by chapter 8, the sooner the better, but she must have it for
    Dark Sol and Dark Dragon
Domingo
    To think my first run skipped Domingo... the only thing is getting him
    those early levels because it makes such a difference. We need Freeze 3
    at level 13 for Chapter 8 ideally, and level 10 is a good Chapter 7 goal
Lowe
    Lowe is good for soaking up Dark Dwarves in battle 1
Khris
    I love Khris, I really do, but for a speedrun of the Any% variety, there
    is no place for her. Try to get her eliminated before you are forced to
    stand around for a turn or two letting something kill her
Torasu
    Shield is super useful so let's grab Torasu but he's pretty useless other
    than that so leave him out of our party until 8-3
Hans
    Hans, like Lowe, should taste the blunt axe of a Dark Dwarf
Balbaroy
    With the major changes to the run, Balbs is pretty much the clutch hero
    now. He takes over the run, and even solos several strong snipes for us.
    Thanks Balbs!
Amon
    Sadly we won't be using this chick (no pun intended) a whole lot. Balbs
    has better starting stats so let her get axed right away
Musashi "Moose" Powerhouse
    There are few words worthy to describe Musashi. He brings your best non
    legendary sword weapon to the team, he hits hard, he has amazing defense,
    he simply rocks this shit
Jogurt
    WHAAAT you might say! Jogurt is useless, don't get me wrong, but there is
    one important feature that he serves: He's the LAST person on your list.
    What does that mean exactly? It's simple: Jogurt will always go to spot 12
    Let me explain. In Shining Force games, your team is put into spots for
    each battle, basically numbered 1 through 12. In SF2, dead people do not
    occupy spots so you can control where people start and who is in your
    party by using dead people. In SF1, this is not the case, and dead people
    still have a spot reserved for them. As such, spot 12 is usually the worst
    spot (where Musashi, Kokichi, Zylo, and Hanzou) spend much of their time
    being so far in the back of the list. By having Jogurt in the party, he
    can effectively move people around by occupying that spot. The most
    notable spot is the double snipe done in Chapter 4, but there are other
    uses as well. Simply put, I'd go ahead and grab him
	
    The "Not so helpful for the Speed Run"
        This will be divided into "don't use" and "new runner"
		
  Don't use these folks for a Speed Run
  
Arthur
    He's weaker than all knights when he joins and takes too long for stats
Ernst
    He joins weaker than Pelle, Vankar, and likely Ken
Gong
    We don't need healers in this run and Gong takes time to recruit
Diane
    She's not required to grab so go ahead and skip her as archers are slow
    and weak for a speed run
Lyle
    I'm tempted to throw him in the NR section because he helps out quite a
    bit but really just skip him
Bleu
    I can't imagine a time where putting in a weak slow 5 moving flying unit
    would be helpful
Adam
    I can't imagine a time where putting in a weak slow 4 moving land unit
    would even scratch the surface of thought
	
  Possible options for a New Runner
  
Guntz
    Guntz is a 4 moving unit but he is not deterred by terrain which makes
    both 6-3 and 7-1 much easier than using Pelle. However, Guntz tends to be
    a tad weak and steals experience from Pelle (see above description) so the
    best strategy is to skip Guntz, but he does help newer runners for sure
Gort
    The warrior class has been eliminated from the run entirely but for new
    runners, having the Atlas and a Gladiator can be extremely useful;
    especially in the chapters that are most difficult to get through, 1, 2,
    3, and 4 and having a warrior can really help here. As such, I suggest
    Gort (always have) because he tends to get tankier and Luke dies in 1-2
    for strategy
Alef
    The best strategy is to skip Alef entirely. This results from her losing
    experience from the changes to Chaos. However, this is a tougher strategy
    and Alef uses magic so for a new runner I suggest you still grab her and
    promote right away to gain access to Bolt 2 in just one level. She does a
    lot of helpful things through chapter 8, but is not required at all
Kokichi
    This new section now gives Kokichi a brief shot as he is certainly an
    option to new runners. I've debated scrapping him entirely due to his long
    recruitment and general lack of stats, but for a new runner, Kokichi is
    a powerful addition since he gets knight weapons and those are best
Zylo
    The wolf basically makes the NR category and is largely why I'm doing this
    now as opposed to earlier. Zylo is extremely powerful when he joins. The
    battles he joins for are some of the tougher battles in the game and Zylo
    requires little thought to just run around and kill things. He's a very
    safe option for new runners to include. We skip him at the top tier due
    to his long recruitment and the fact we can do those battles without him
Hanzou
    A surprising addition I'm sure, this came about when I realized that he
    really only contributes in Dark Dragon and somewhat in Dark Sol. In 8-1,
    he just stands around due to magic reigning supreme. Both 8-2 and 8-3 he
    does nothing, and well there you go. By skipping the ninja, we save time
    on him not taking his turn. For the last two fights, he does help though
    for new runners






------------------------------------------------------------------------------


2. The Guidelines

As with any good challenge, we have to have order and guidelines to measure
fairness and have accuracy for what we are accomplishing. So here's the list:

1. Time starts after naming Max. Not in that screen, but when you actually
   accept the name for him and the game begins. This is done mostly to reduce
   the frustration of speeding through naming, not to mention gives you a
   chance to be creative with the name and not worry about it adding time.

   Time ends with the lethal damage being dealt to Dark Dragon. Not at the
   beginning of your attack, but once the damage is dealt and he has faded
   from sight. This is important to note, as your character might level from
   killing Dark Dragon. The last input needed is to exit that screen and that
   is when time ends as you've lost control of your character.
   
   Some have asked about letting the timer run to some artificial spot as you
   can scroll the text faster still. The problem there is that you can scroll
   the text faster ALL THE WAY THROUGH the end cutscene (until you get the
   show at the end) which seems silly. As the LAST MEANINGFUL INPUT is to exit
   out of the screen with the fatal blow to Dark Dragon, stop the timer there.
   Otherwise, you might as well do "J style timing" where you time from power
   on until you see "The End" on the screen. The timing I use is more "West
   style" or "TAS style" which goes from gaining control to last meaningful
   input.
   
2. Just to reiterate, this should be done on console and not emulator. I
   understand many people don't have consoles or would prefer to play on an
   emulator. That's fine, just be prepared to receive grief as it's not what
   is "standard" by the guidelines set forth. Assuming you don't use any save
   states to "abuse" the rng, it could be questionably OK though a number of
   spots use in battle saves (IBS) which for an emulator takes less than a
   second to both use and to save whereas the console can take 5 seconds each
   time rather easily.
   
Other than that, I don't think there's a whole lot else. There's no known
obvious glitches to abuse, there's no super skipping ahead or anything like
that. Just our wits versus the game! Let's do this!


------------------------------------------------------------------------------


3. The Walkthrough

    Chapter 1
	
It makes hardly any difference, but naming Max a single letter (Z) instead of
Max (or any other name) saves 1 frame each time his name is displayed. A frame
is the shortest instance in gameplay (think FPS) and NTSC (American Gens) runs
at 30 fps so 1 frame is 1/30 of a second (you can go from there) basically,
it's a minimal amount of time but it can add up.
	
Anyways... the game starts up, you talk to Lowe and we're ready to go. Now, I
imagine we can't skip getting the basic core heroes without tasing so go right
to the King (the lady in the central walkway can block you so be careful). For
text, always holding up or down makes it scroll faster and I found holding B
instead of A or C is safer as you can't try then talking to someone after it
ends. Just be mindful of spots where you need to say yes so you don't cancel
out right away! Now head south, get your team to join, return to the king
(not return of the king) and get your 100 gold from the king. From here on,
you can buy items (for marathons, buy healing) but otherwise, we've been
skipping buying healing as we've really not needed to, it saves almost an
entire minute.

Once inside the battle, I turn off battle messages and turn up the message
speed to 4. It just smooths out the gameplay.

  Battle 1
    Ideal   6:31.95
    My Best 7:58
*Ideal is best split, My Best is the split for my PB run

The ideal split is available on youtube
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxjw_S_KLpTZm9zXd8DSrh_IVNecF2qIl
We've been collecting our gold splits. Not all are mine and not all are
there (we have 30 videos, but not all are gold splits as some golds were
achieved before we started collecting them. Because of that, we have some
"good" battles highlighted to showcase what should be done instead)

Here's what has to happen

    -Max must level
    -Tao must level (+3 magic points is a minimum)
    -Lowe must die
    -Hans must die
    -Ken must die
	
Possible reset considertaions: Luke only having 17 attack with the Middle
Sword, Tao gaining +2 MP, certain people not dying, the battle going over 9
minutes long

Lowe and Hans dying seems simple, so Ken? Well, killing Ken allows for some
time saves through 1-2 and 1-3 and we can revive him and allow him to level
in the Alterone fight.

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Keep Ken alive as he can be a solid rock to smooth out the battles for you
NR                                                                          NR

  Turn 1
Ideally two goblins move down so that Max and Ken can hit them. This is kinda
important. Everyone else just moves up. I would try to have Tao get kills on
her first two blazes which simplifies her not having to kill to level. This is
important to note, that if Max goes then Ken, don't have Ken kill a Goblin. To
do this battle quickly and effectively, it is very important that Tao's first
two turns involve kills so that her third one doesn't have to be a kill. It
also opens a small possibility to level off her third blaze and then whack for
another kill and more EXP
  Turn 2
Hopefully there's a dead goblin on the left; this allows Hans to move up and
to allow Lowe to move up to trigger the upper enemies. This hopefully results
him in dying to Dark Dwarves. Clear out the other two goblins giving EXP to
Max and Tao
  Turn 3, 4, and 5 (to the end of the battle)
It's important to focus on giving Max and Tao experience. Get your fodder
eliminated; the Rune Knight does a ton so you can feed them up there if you
need to. Max doesn't have to be 3, but closer makes it easier. Tao doesn't
need any extra EXP, but getting her closer to 3 means she gets to 4 easier
which simplifies 1-3 for you and possible gets her to 5 and more MP

Once the battle is over, swap Max's and Luke's weapons as we want Luke to deal
8 damage to goblins and Max deals 4. Often, Luke only has 17 attack but there
is still a chance to deal 8 which is why this is important. Otherwise, your
guys probably deal 5 and 6 which is not enough obviously. As for updated
strategy here, in terms of Max's experience, I approach this depending if Luke
has the extra attack. If he doesn't, then try to get Max closer to 3 IE Max
should kill at least 2 enemies post level 2 to get him closer to it. If Luke
does have the extra attack, then Max doesn't need much extra post level 2
since getting Max to 3 is much easier here.


  Battle 2
    Ideal   13:40
    My Best 16:59
	
Basically keep moving forward and attacking. There's not much strategy so here
instead are some tips.

-The Goblins don't formation until you are at melee range with the initial 3
 on the right side. If Max goes first and none of those have moved, you could
 just move him 2 spaces to guarantee Luke hits
-This is important as our goal in levels here is Max at 3 with 85+ experience
 and Tao at 3 or even 4 (can happen if she gets some club kills)
-The Goblins 6 man formation is just interesting. The back ones are trying to
 go forward and the front ones are trying to go back. This results in clumps
 and how you kill a Goblin only to have its spot filled. Pay close attention
 and it is possible to abuse this by minimizing attacks made by the enemy
-Each attack (credit to Dark Kobold) is at least 7 seconds. If you can
 minimize those attacks, it is easy to save a ton of time
-The next trigger point is in the middle of where the 6 man formation starts.
 Number 1 2 3 for the top row and 4 5 6 for the bottom row, spot number 5 does
 not trigger the enemies to move; spot 2 does as well as any spot higher or to
 the left of those spots. Be aware of this as you don't want to trigger the
 extra goblins to move too quickly less you get attacked a lot
-Similarly, pay attention to the Dark Dwarves as there's no point to give them
 a free attack on us. They'll move if they get within 1 spot so be aware
-To win, attack down there with Luke and kill it with Tao. If she has 4 blazes
 then she can only attack 1 Goblin most likely, 5 blazes gives more
 flexibility.

Once that is over, go get Mae and then go to the treasure room, grab all of
the chests except the middle left one (it's empty). Use the Defense Pot on Max
now and swap the Middle Sword back for the Power Pot. Both the Antidote and
the Angel Wing are going to Tao but you can wait on moving them for now.

NR                                                                          NR
Go ahead and recruit Gort as he helps a lot. Maybe consider buying some herbs
NR                                                                          NR


  Battle 3
    Ideal   20:43
    My Best 25:05
	
There's 2 ways to approach this battle and it is mostly dependent on Max exp

  Max has 60+ experience
  
If Max has 85+, he needs to simply move to the Rune Knights and proceed to
sneak in (described below). If Max has 60 to 84 experience, he needs just an
attack on a Dark Dwarf. For movement, move Max to the left of the bridge T1,
T2 move up and around the Dwarf (if it didn't move because it went before Max
on the previous turn, just move up and around the river bend (2 spaces) as to
avoid drawing the bats. We want to minimize the other dwarf movement as well
T3 and T4 are moving Max further up there for the sneak (described below). Mae
and Tao focus on killing the bats and getting Tao to Blaze 2.

  Max has 0 to 50 experience
  
He needs to have 85+ to level off the Rune Knight so pending his EXP, get him
some before moving up. Bats give full EXP here (45-48) and Dwarves give around
36 points. Attacking a Dwarf is about 10 depending on Max's attack. Adjust,
then send Max up there. If Max has 0 exp, 2 dwarf kills is about 70 experience
so technically you could do the above description but pause at the edge to
finish the dwarves. This however is slow, and again why we focus in 1-2 so
much on Max getting him to that EXP value we're looking for.

  The Max Sneak
  
At level 4, Max tends to gain speed, 1, 2, or 3. The plan then is to get Max
right to the edge of the trigger zone, it's the tree line right above the
water, about 7 spaces from Alterone. We need most of the Knights to move, then
Max can move forward hit the Knight, ideally level and get 2 or 3 speed, then
he turn orders sooner and sneaks in. Saving before the level is optional as
a +1 or sometimes a +2 speed results in Max still seeding poorly and getting
surrounded. This is also important for his attack, as we really want 20 attack
here, since that guarantees 22 attack and basically guarantees 23 attack which
lets Max OHKO enemies in Alterone. To get 20 attack is quite rare (you
basically need to gain +1 at 3 and then get a lucky +4 at 4). If you got +3 at
level 3, you are going to be pressed just to get to 19 attack due to slingshot
leveling, and if you get +2 at level 3 (the most common) you'll likely get to
19 whichout trouble, just know that 18 attack is basically the death of the
run since 22 attack can OHKO but it likely won't

The Speed Ring glitch is described below, but the premise is this:
  Turn order is calculated at the very end of the previous turn. Faster people
tend to go sooner, but for calculating turn order, your "seed" is modified
by a variable, call it X (speed + or - X = turn order seed). By gaining speed
on your turn, you are now Speed + gain which helps to place you higher in the
seed and boom double turn.

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With Gort (and Ken), you can take a safer and slower route which kills more of
the enemies and allows for assistance up there with Max. By placing a hero to
his right, the Rune Knights cannot block him (Ken or Mae can reach there) as
well placing someone in front of the left Knights prevents them from going to
Max. Tao can also draw aggro is you must
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After the battle, go grab the healing seed in the lower right building where
you talk to the dude to gain access to the castle. You probably had to heal
Max, NBD. Grab the Power Potion as well. If Max has 20 attack (he gained at
least 6 attack from levels 2, 3, and 4) then you can power potion Max twice.
At 22 attack, he OHKOs most enemies in this battle, at 23, he OHKOs everything
But if Max has 18 or 19 attack, then I wouldn't bother. Instead, you can try
to get him to level 6 where hopefully he gains the missing attack, then you
should potion him! Maybe, we'll talk about it. Anyway, inside the castle,
grab the Def Potion (use it on Max) and then save the Bread of Life for Anri.
Those are the top and bottom chests on the left in the treasury. Revive Ken
and do the rest of the story stuff

  Battle 4
    Ideal   32:50
    My Best 37:17
	
The hardest part of this battle is turn 3 if someone goes before the bats so
we don't have this awkward turn where nobody comes to us. Basically, go up
instead of right. We only have to "fight" two Rune Knights and all the bats
as everything else is stationary. As such, clumping enemies for Blaze 2 and
focusing down the bats is important. Have Khris perish, try to get Max and Tao
up to level 5, and hurry through it. Likely, Tao will have 17 MP but here are
some suggestions as to what to do if her MP is a certain amount (we always
want to Blaze 2 the Archer/Mage group in some manner of speaking).

(worst) 14 or less MP
    2 Blaze 1's and 1 Blaze 2 (cause one for group)
(bad) 15-16
    3 Blaze 1's and 1 Blaze 2 (maybe just all Blaze 2 if you can group)
(common) 17
    1 Blaze 1 and the rest Blaze 2
    Another option is to Blaze 2 the group, and then Blaze 1 a few times,
    maybe even having Ken help out with kills
(good) 18-19
    1-2 Blaze 1 and the rest Blaze 2
(best) 20+
    Blaze 2 for days, maybe just 1 Blaze 1
	
    My best is 22 MP on Tao, that was awesome, but that rarely happens, so
understanding different ratios by mod 5 arithmatic (basically, what do you
have left after using Blaze 2) allows for maximum damage and EXP out of Tao.
Also, she can whack archers and mages with her staff for a few points of
damage IF she is lacking on MP (less than 17). Generally speaking, you want
to blase the archer/mage combo from across the river, but if she has little
magic (less than 17), you can instead blaze the 3 dwarves and the archer once
they regroup as she'll be near to club them. Mix it up

Once you end the battle (first kill them all we've had darn it!) sprint to the
king then use the dragon head (grab that seed) and bail out on this chapter!



------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Chapter 2
	
In Rindo, all you've got to do is grab the Speed Ring (second row, third
house), talk to the Mayor and move out (leave the Speed Ring on Max)

NR                                                                          NR
Buying a Power Staff on Tao if she has 17 or less MP can be helpful as those
attacks are more than Blaze 1 meaning you can save magic for hard to hit
enemies (or Blaze 2)
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  Battle 5
    Ideal   42:49
    My Best 49:51
	
This is one of my most exciting improvements. First things first, if you still
haven't gotten rid of Lowe, Hans, or Mae now is the time. The next thing is
make sure Max has the Speed Ring not equipped. Take out the dwarves and bats
(if you move to max movement each time, Ken or Max should be able to kill one
of the dwarves that Tao blazes) allowing you to put people through to avoid
getting choked. Try to get off as many blaze 2's here to clear things out, and
with any luck by about 6-7 minutes you're heading towards Manarina. Send
everyone left and careful to not block Max or Tao. By all going left, the
troops never organize leaving themselves spread out which is quite nice as Max
is less likely to die though you have to be careful as they tend to not aggro
unless they can move within range and attack.

The movement here is tricky, but I've largely figured out how to do it the
right way each time, so here's how it works. Note, Max needs to OHKO the Dark
Mage so that's really helpful, otherwise Ken or Tao need to be in position.
Our goal here is to avoid healing so that we still have 2 seeds.

-The lower left Zombie is our marker, when Max is 3 spaces from him (he can
be either 3 down or 2 down) the Zombie won't move. If you are 1 down and 2
to the left, the Zombie will move.
-We want to have it move (Max needs the Speed Ring through all this) so
position accordingly. That way, Max can move and hit and Tao can blaze and
kills the Zombie
-At this position, this draws down the Dark Mage, this is why Max needs to
OHKO it. Unequip the Speed Ring here as we are hoping the other Dark Mage then
out turns Max the previous one
-Move and equip the ring; if Max has 9 or less life, heal him if he outturned
the Mage, otherwise you're fine

Inside Manarina, we have only 2 things to do so talk to Anri, then follow her
but grab the Domingo Egg first, and then talk to her recruiting her. Give her
the Speed Ring but don't equip that on her yet. Go ahead and dive into the
earth (using that Bread of Life if you saved it)...

  Battle 6
    Ideal   52:10
    My Best 1:01:05
	
This is a very turn-specific battle (my split is named "Bad Turn RNG") so here
goes my best way to explain it (the biggest thing here is having Anri level
twice as it really really helps)

TURN 1
Tao zaps the right Zombie, Anri EQUIPS the Speed Ring and kills it. Everyone
else surrounds and kills the other Zombie. Note! If your team cannot kill it,
then leave an open space and it will retreat backwards, mildly changing turn 2

TURN 2
Anri outturns Tao and moves over to zap the Zombie by the bridge. Tao now can
Blaze 2 the Zombie-Mage-Archer (if the Zombie moved over, zap the pair and the
Mage instead). Hopefully you can kill the Mage before it goes (hence the Bread
of Life shoving Anri out of 8|9 health range). Get Max|Mae over there, Ken
can attack with the Spear depending on the situation

TURN 3
UNEQUIP the Ring from Anri as she roasts the weakened Archer and levels. Tao
and Ken can take out the other one safely (Ken could attack it honestly on
Turn 2 depending on turns). Get Max near the bridge and time crossing the
bridge with most of the bats moving.

TURN 4
Get across the bridge. Max can buffer the bats to group up for Blaze 2 and
whatnot. Re-EQUIP the Speed Ring here

TURNS 5-7
Kill Bats. Get Ken closer to Power Ring. Try to save some magic, ideally, 7
on Tao and 2 on Anri. Unequip the Speed Ring as you move into position

TURN Engaging the Dark Mages
Depending on how well you've done (and your peeps have leveled) we may have
magic still. If we have enough to Blaze the Skeleton twice, then don't Boost
as it could crack. Otherwise, we need to clear a path/take out the Mages.
Unequipping the Speed Ring can let Anri double turn a Mage, whacking it with
the Power Staff. Everyone else just does good damage.

It's important to note that for Anri to 3-->4 she needs two kills and one
extra hit. But to go from 4-->5 she needs 4-5 kills so be weary. As stated,
having Freeze for the Circus is huuuuuge. Consider boosting Anri to kill the
Skeleton for 48 experience; she will deal 14 so it needs some damage. If you
have magic remaining, 2 blaze 1 can do it as well.

Time to go advance some story and head back to Rindo. If the Power Ring
cracked, repair it and buy some healing seeds (some on each hero).

  Battle 7
    Ideal   58:35
    My Best 1:09:44
	
This is a rather straight forward battle in all reality. Before that battle
starts, this is important:

    Ken have the Power Ring
    Anri have the Speed Ring EQUIPPED (not worried about glitching here)
	
Basically, Tao should Blaze 2 the dolls and everyone else tries to clear them
out before they move (hence why Freeze is so important). The purple ones tend
to be faster than the Evil Doll so keep that in mind.

Turn 2 just move left outside the tent. If the Evil Puppet outturns Ken, then
allow Anri to kill it. She could kill it regardless, but if Ken goes before it
then it is faster. Ideally, Ken can reach the top of the floor on the left
side here though there is nothing wrong with waiting a turn

Turn 3 move on up to the tent: if Ken made it up, then Max+Tao can kill the
Evil Puppet. Ken should IBS and boost himself

Turn 4, kill the other dolls (stay to the left to avoid the bats) and boost
Max with Ken

Turn 5, save before your attacks and clear Marionette. Try to keep getting
EXP onto your Mages

Interesting sidenote, this is one battle that I cannot really replicate in
terms of golds since without Gort, it takes me 1 turn longer to finish this
battle since I get onto the tent 1 turn later than before. It's fair though,
since Gort costs more time than that in other areas

After that, just grab the most top right chest for the defense pot then head
out. Chat to the mayor do the whole burning thing and head out. Before
starting Shade Abbey, make sure the Ring isn't broke, use the defense pot on
Max, and give Max 1 herb and 2 seeds (buy some if you need to).


  Battle 8
    Ideal   1:05:32
    My Best 1:17:55
	
NR                                                                          NR
If you have anyone else besides Ken, Anri, Tao, and Max, just adjust the
strategy accordingly IE Gort can tank some and whatnot
NR                                                                          NR

Max stays put and attacks or heals depending on his need.

Anri moves left and blazes the Zombie, Tao moves and kills it. Ken blocks for
Tao and can boost himself. Ideally the Zombie moves first, but whichever,
you'll have 2 to 3 enemies clump. Kill them. Now Ken needs to hit the Ghoul
with the Spear while Tao and Anri clear out the enemies. Try to get Tao to
level 10 and Anri to 8. When the enemies are lined up, be mindful of their
non-movement, since the farther Zombies can sometimes move around and can hit
your squishy Mages if they aren't positioned correctly. I can't really
describe it; you kinda just have to play around with it to see what I mean.

After Balbaroy joins, give him the Power Ring and then go talk to Amon. The
reasoning here is simple: in a new chapter, your menu is defaulted to Max, so
we want that Speed Ring on Balbs but that would require more tedious movement.
It only saves a few seconds but it's a good habit to get into



------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Chapter 3
	
  Say hello to our best hero! Balbs is essential to this run and yeah, not
much else to be said. Repair the Power Ring if you need to and talk to the
"Queen" and head into battle.

  Battle 9
    Ideal   1:09:08
    My Best 1:22:08
	
We're going to drop the Master Mage so here's the best plan adjusted. Balbs
moves down normally, but at the spot just to the right of the stairs, don't
put him there, instead put him up and right one (it's 7 spaces from the Mage).

Tao and Anri can move down, use Amon and Ken to form a wall. Only kill the
Skeletons with Tao/Anri, trying to get them to level (if Tao can get to 10,
great). Don't move Max at all. Balbs can OHKO the mage with a crit or double,
but likely it'll be 2-3 hits over a few turns depending if the priest heals
or not. Yeah it's random and stinks but oh well.

So we're grabbing Zylo? No, just leave immediately. Repair the ring if needed
and buy 2 power spears. Promote Tao. If she isn't 10, it's not impossible, but
4-1 will be harder without the super level trick. In that case, try to get her
to 11 at the very least. To 12 IS possible but probably requires more time
than it's worth (since you'd need her to kill more P Knights than you really
want to leave for her).

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This is where you recruit Zylo and watch the Kokichi cutscene if you want
NR                                                                          NR

  Battle 10
    Ideal   1:20:21
    My Best 1:34:12
	
BATTLE SET UP
Balbs should have the Speed Ring EQUIPPED as well as have the power ring.

NR                                                                          NR
If Zylo is in your party, you'll boost him instead of Max
NR                                                                          NR

Turn 1 is all about setting up for turn 2. The nearby archer marks the spot to
which you must move past in order to aggro the enemies and prevent the lower
P Knights from moving across the map, hence the Speed Ring on Balbs. You'll
want to IBS and boost Max with Balbs. Max will kill the nearby Skeleton, move
your mages over to the left and send Ken all the way up left to hit the left
Skeleton from below. This is all prepping for Archer movement. If Amon is
still alive, send her up and left as well. The Archers have weird movements,
so protecting the mages is the number one priority as the die in one shot. Max
is tougher and boosted can eliminate enemies quickly especially if we get
lucky with the boost glitch, see below for more details.

On turn 2, Balbs should move up past the mountains and again, IBS and boost.
Use your mages to eliminate the skeleton although you may need to stagger
depending on the Archer/Amon taking their turn.

From here, Balbs should take out the 2 P Knights on the right, I'd IBS for
his attacks because missing. Depending on how much EXP he got from the Mage
(was it 1, 2, or 3 hits) you can squeeze in an extra skeleton kill as well
before Balbs loses his Boost. At this point, you should be able to position
for AOE on the Priest and Lizardman, and position for the next P Knights to
move.

Their trigger is kinda hard to explain, but from where the Priest is: it's
about 3 spaces up from there. The actual marker is defined from the right P
Knights (the higher one draws the line across that you must break). Position
someone to prevent the Knights from extending their movement too far (to force
an AOE) and then eliminate them. Balbs will need to IBS and boost and then
take out the upper enemies.

From here, all you need to know is that P Knights are the only real EXP for
Tao if she's promoted, hopefully she is. Our goal is to get Tao to 60+ EXP
but not actually leveling and to get Anri to 10.

  Battle 11
    Ideal   1:24:28
    My Best 1:39:15

Not much to say, fly Balbaroy over and kill the Silver Knight before the
Laser Eye attacks. Boost him about a turn before getting there and I'd suggest
Speed Ring glitching on his second turn (equipping it at the end of his second
turn) as this bypasses the Pegasus Knight movement and keeps his speed higher
for the battle.

For inventory management, you can drop Max's sword and make sure he has a
rather empty inventory heading into chapter 4. If you don't have 10 on Tao
or 8 on Anri, you can lure the nearby Lizardman down for some extra EXP.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Chapter 4
	
There's quite a bit to do here as the Chapter opens up so let's optimize.
First, head up and recruit Jogurt and promote if needed. From there, go see
Elliot to knock that out. Now go to the leftmost wagon and grab the Chest
and buy 2 Longswords. Balbs and Max want one, and the Bread of Life can
wait for later. Head to the front wagon now, grab the Quick Chicken and
tell them they can leave. Hopefully you can promote Anri here; which, it is
better to promote her at 10 here rather than delay to promote at 11. If she
isn't 10 yet, then you must get her to 11, but regardless, that's the goal

NR                                                                          NR
Kokichi will join here if you looked for him in chapter 3; make sure you have
enough Power Spears if you plan on him. If Ken died and/or is weak, Vankar is
a quick recruit and can be a nice option as well (he joins with 28ish HP and
about 28ish damage with the Power Spear). You only need 2 knights for Elliot
but if you are newer, having additional members can certainly help
NR                                                                          NR


  Battle 12
    Ideal   1:41:07
    My Best 1:56:12
	
This battle is done in 3 stages, so we'll break it down like that. Remember
that if you have additional heroes, filter them in as needed.

Stage 1, the clash

It takes 3 turns to move across the battlefield and trigger the nearby group
of enemies. Ideally Pelle does this before any enemies take their turns. The
Lizards hurt, especially the Heat Axe; the Knights give better EXP but are
harder to hit. But if Pelle moves 7 and then 7 and then 3 spaces (all to the
right) he triggers the enemeies and stays mostly out of harm. You end up with
a conga line of enemies lining up for Max. This is essential as Tao+Anri can
do great damage with Tao leveling into a Blaze 3 (that's a full clear) and
Anri can move and equip the Speed Ring to attempt to double turn for near
clears on P Knights. Ken should position to block below the line and Balbs
should IBS and boost Pelle as we want Pelle to get good exp. Max should mostly
stay put to keep enemies clumped. It should take about 2 turns to clear the
enemies, mostly on turn orders and ability to hit flyers. And to reiterate,
your Wizards should try to kill P Knights if possible since Lizardmen and
Silver Knights do not give good EXP to promoted characters.

Stage 2, the knights

The Dark Priests in the middle mark the line to cross for the Silver Knights.
These are great for pushing Anri up levels (to 11 if she wasn't promoted, or
to 2 if she was and hasn't) and giving more EXP to Pelle and Balbs. Max is
very low priority and Ken has no priority here. Priests give such low EXP but
can give EXP to Max or Ken, Pelle or Balbs if 8.

Stage 3, Elliot

We want Pelle to hit 10 here so you might have to adjust pending how the
previous stages went, but regardless, if you boost Pelle and save for his hits
he can eliminate Elliot in 2 to 3 rounds. You can also save for boost but
it just depends really, I've done both with just Pelle or Pelle and Ken; it
depends on Pelle's EXP. Regardless, Pelle should be 10, Tao and Anri should
both be 2, Tao could hit 3 but it's unlikely without very good EXP management,
but I will say again, getting her to 3 here is quite helpful since we REALLY
want her to go first in the next battle and at level 2 (especially with a bad
level up) she might get blown passed by Domingo. Balbs hopefully is 10 but
it's more likely he's very close to 9 or is 9.

Afterwards, go ahead and recruit Domingo. There's a Steel Sword available in
the wagon as well. Promote your people, give Pelle both the Speed and Power
Ring. Exit the town to the right and then reset to get to HQ more quickly to
then swap Domingo in for Lowe.

NR                                                                          NR
Grab Guntz. You'll want to delay promoting Pelle. Swap out Mae and Lowe for
Guntz and Domingo. If you have Kokichi and or Zylo, swap out people like
Luke and at this point, Ken. Put the rings on Balbs
NR                                                                          NR


  Battle 13
    Ideal   1:50:56
    My Best 2:06:01
	
The new strategy for this fight is quite cool to be honest. By dumping Lowe
instead of Mae, our turn 1 is now moving Tao up (Blaze 2) on the upper Knight
and then killing it with Domingo. Anri and Ken can kill the left Knight, and
Pelle who's slow now can move up above Tao. Don't equip the Speed Ring yet.
I say don't equip the Ring, since ideally Pelle goes before the Silver Knight
on T2 but goes AFTER either the P Knight or Hellhound (for obvious EXP
reasons). However, due to a number of runs getting punished by this not
happening, I have just been equipping the Speed Ring on Pelle and foregoing
that opportunity. He can still level to 2 though by boosting on his next turn
and killing the two Silver Knights in his path north and the Hellhound boss.

The next turn is going to be moving into position; Domingo will move up and
break the trigger for the enemeies. If we get unlucky here, Domingo dies, but
that is a critical or double attack from the fire breath so hopefully that
doesn't happen. Pelle moves and can hit the Hellhound. Move everyone else up

Use your mages to clear the nearby enemies, more P Knights are on their way so
get ready for that as well. Pelle is continuing to move up except here he can
equip the speed ring and boost himself. Balbs is also continuing to move. See
Pelle is going to kill the Silver Knight on the wall and then the Hellhound;
Balbs is going to hit the Artillery twice to defeat it. Continue giving EXP
to Mages.

Afterwards, recruit Ernst, promote if Balbs is 10, otherwise head along

  Battle 14
    Ideal   1:59:23
    My Best 2:16:13
	
There's not much to this battle either, just blast blast blast things away.
Your first turn should frankly be setting up your team to protect your squishy
heroes and whatnot. Blaze 3 + Blaze 2 makes short work of EVERYTHING here so
do that and proceed forward. Getting more levels on your casters is crucial
and yeah. Surround and stab Balbazak when ready.

Your levels at this point should be your Mages 3-4 and Pelle 3 as well. Any
higher is fine as well. Also, make sure Pelle doesn't have the Speed Ring
equipped during the end of the battle and IBS for boosting because we need the
ring in the next battle.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------


	
    Chapter 5
	
  Battle 15
    Ideal   2:06:34
    My Best 2:24:34

Alright, if Balbs hit 10 during Balbazak, Egress (either that Angel Wing or
Speed Ring) and promote Balbs.

The set up and execution of this battle is precise and changes heavily if you
have additional members, though, it still plays out largely the same.

Turn 1
Move Tao to the right 2 spaces. Move Anri to the left, placing her 2 spaces
below the barrel. Move Domingo down 2 and right 3. Balbs should be promoted
and should go after the Conch has moved into his range, move over and attack
it from above. Max is going to stand on the stairs, Pelle can move 1 space
and equip the Speed Ring and boost himself. Move Ken down 7 towards the P
Knights

Turn 2
Move Tao above Max, position Anri up one and left one from Tao. Move Domingo
over and onto the ship near Balbs. Pelle should kill the nearby Conch. Move
Ken 7 spaces down again. Balbs can attack the Conch again. Max stay put.

Turn 3
Blaze 3 and Freeze 2 kills Sea Bats, do that. Position Domingo to the right of
the stairs to form a nice set up once those P Knights move up. Pelle keeps
killing enemies. Balbs collects more experience. If Ken did poorly last turn,
he has to stay near to keep those Knights moving up, otherwise he can move up
and start fighting, try to form a blockade for AOE. Max is useless.

Finishing the battle
AOE is your friend, so keep clumping the enemies. Pelle hits hard now, switch
over to the Power Ring unless boost hasn't ended. Your levels on mages should
be looking spot on, 5-6 and hopefully Domingo is 4+

Afterwards, swap Jogurt in for Ken and give all 3 rings over to Balbs. Grab
the two right chests as well and use those on Max.

  Battle 16
    Ideal   2:13:07
    My Best 2:31:09

This battle is improved upon even more than before. I'm currently 10/10 on
the 3 turn snipe and I think it will stay that way. So here's how it works.

Turn 1
Move everyone straight up; Pelle gets free EXP from the Skeleton. Make sure
Balbs is moving 9 spaces.

Turn 2
Tao moves in front of the Worm, uses Blaze 3. Anri moves to the right and
uses Freeze 2. Domingo just moves up 5. Depending on turns, Pelle might get
another hit but otherwise just move him down towards Max. Put Max up a bit.
Put Jogurt over on the right. Balbs moves up 8 and over 1, equips the Speed
Ring and boosts himself.

Turn 3
Collect EXP if you can, but Balbs kills the Mage. The reason this works better
is by breaking the trigger on turn 2 sooner, the Worms harmlessly move up 2
spaces which frees up the whole process for Balbs. Very exciting.

Afterwards, give the Mobility to Domingo and Speed to Pelle. You could buy a
Steel Lance for Pelle if he's gained about 6 attack since he can OHKO now, but
it's your call.

  Battle 17
    Ideal   2:22:10
    My Best 2:41:06
	
The second ship battle, AKA battle 17 AKA 5-3 is the single easiest battle to
lost an inordinate amount of time on and it all comes down to execution. The
battle can easily be accomplished in less than 10 minutes, but a single
mistake can put you into the 13 or 14 minute time frame. So let's begin.

The first move needs to be getting your people down. Domingo is essential for
his placement as 3 seabats move up towards your group and Domingo needs to get
the bats to group up (less they come up spread out). Using the two pieces of
the ship below us as our guide:

POT  | PILR | CRAT | OPEN | STAIRS
OPEN | OPEN | OPEN | OPEN
OPEN | OPEN | OPEN | OPEN
XXXX | OPEN | OPEN | XXXX

The two outer seabats can each move to POT and CRATE, the other can move below
PILLAR. By putting Domingo in either spot in front of POT or CRATE, you'll
achieve a nice grouping. This lets them get roasted on our next turn by Blaze
3 and hopefully Freeze 2 from Anri. The shells are going to move up, Pelle can
equip the Speed Ring and go after the one on the left, move Max. If Jogurt is
alive, he can tank a hit. Balbs can boost himself to OHKO enemies which helps.
It is rather important that Jogurt does perish here because we need him in our
party but the next opportunity for him to die is a long ways off so it is
entirely possible we have to wait around to guarantee Jogurt dies. Ideally the
Conch runs up and just smokes him in the face

On Domingos next turn, he needs to get down to the left of the center pillar
where he alongside Pelle will aggro all the enemies into a huge clump. Now we
rinse/repeat magic damage and obliterate everything. Simple right?



------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Chapter 6
	
Before we can head out we have a few things to do. Krin and Karin are sisters
whom need to be talked to before battle 18 and before battle 20. Other than
that, repair if needed and head out.

  Battle 18
    Ideal   2:26:57
    My Best 2:46:11
	
By sticking close to the mountains you don't spawn anything and Domingo/Balbs
make short work of the boss, the Dullahan. Have Balbs boost himself the turn
before and you're ready to roll. The 3 Artillery need to be killed and frankly
I'd give them to whomever is close to a key spell. Tao always is a good choice
as Blaze 4 is essential, but Anri is the preferred option since Freeze 3 and
Freeze 4 exist. Pelle can give the Speed Ring to Balbs on turn 2 here.

Once that's done, repair the Ring if needed and then collect the Broadsword
from the north-eastern house (if Boken is standing like in your path, ignore
it for now), as well the Halberd and Shower of Cure from the house where Bleu
is. We won't be using Bleu much, but before fighting Kane let's move that
Halberd to Pelle. I also find giving all my Shower of Cure to Ernst to be
nice housekeeping.

#Team Update#

Max (Long Sword, 3x Healing Seed) 12-14
Mae {dead}
Pelle (Halberd) 4-6
Luke {dead}
Anri (Mobility Ring) 6+
Tao 7+
Domingo (3x Healing Seed, Speed Ring) 5+
Khris {dead}
Hans {dead}
Balbaroy (Broadsword, Power Ring) 2+
Amon {dead}
Jogurt {dead}

  Battle 19
    Ideal   2:36:10
    My Best 2:55:24

This battle has changed slightly and if you have more members, you can adjust
basically on Gargoyles but largely the plan is the same. On the first turn,
move Max up into the HQ area and put him on the stairs. By doing so, as long
as you time breaking the trigger line across the map, the Gargoyles never move
which saves quite a bit of time. Move everyone else to the right.

If the Master Mage out turns Anri, she can move over and use Freeze 3;
otherwise I'd just use Blaze 2. Also, try to keep 20 MP on Anri for Kane, so
do some maths to plan accordingly.

On your next turn, don't move past the Golems until all Gargoyle have moved:
this is because triggers. Otherwise, continue to kill everything with magic.
This is important to track. Domingo, Tao, and Anri are all likely faster than
Gargoyles, so they won't be passed the line yet; which means moving Pelle and
Balbs across the Golem line cannot be done until all the Gargoyles have taken
their turn. If one of those dudes does move before the Gargoyle, move them
over and down, but not past the Golem line. This way they can still make it to
Kane in time but won't attract the Gargoyles on the next turn.

Turns 3-4, move people over to the right. Position Domingo up so that's 5
spaces from the upper Dullahan, unequip the speed ring on him the turn before
you are planning on moving in. Boost Pelle as well. You don't have to IBS for
the boost, since Balbs boosted does minimal damage. If the ring doesn't crack
then sure go ahead and boost.

If everything is timed right, Domingo will be in position, and your folks will
be over and ready. Tao will stand under the Durahan and Blaze 3 it and the
Master Mage. Anri can Freeze 3 on Kane, killing the Master Mage. Ideally Kane
goes before Domingo (hence the unequipping Speed Ring) so that Domingo can
move to the Durahan and Freeze 2, killing the High Priest. If you still have
enough MP for Blaze 3 and Freeze 3, then you could consider equipping the
Speed Ring here, but it's not important, yet. Pelle is gonna smack Kane, and
Balbs should move past Kane like 1 space. This triggers a weird glitch called
"run away Kane" where Kane will go up 1 space to where the High Priest was and
do nothing. Pelle will get attacked by the Durahan but it's fine. If you were
able to boost Balbs as well, Balbs can kill the Durahan instead. Proceed to
blast Kane down; if you can give Tao the kill it's really helpful to getting
her to 10; if we can get to 10 during Mishaela, it saves quite a bit of time
as we can ignore the Durahans and just blast Mishaela down in one round.

From here you gotta head back to Rudo after doing the Kane thing; talk to both
sisters and then head out (making sure everything is repaired again). Head out
but make sure to give Balbs the Mobility Ring.

  Battle 20
    Ideal   2:53:14
    My Best 3:15:00
	
This battle keeps getting changed but hey, I'm trying to make it faster so
let's just keep changing it. Domingo with the Speed Ring here is essential to
prevent him from getting double turned; later you can give it to Pelle before
Mishaela. Just move everyone to the right, including Balbs who should move 9

On turn 2, depending on Gargoyle RNG, you may have to kill it with your Mages.
Regardless, make sure Domingo can move 5 and stay on the mountains. Pelle
should focus on continuing to move far. Move Balbs way over to the right, but
keep him on the mountains, 4 spaces from the Bowrider to avoid being attacked.
This is to draw up all the Belial so that we can kill em with magic.

Tao and Anri will need to position for the Belials in the middle coming;
Domingo should be able to reach and cast Freeze 2 on the Gargoyle and Bowrider
and equip the Speed Ring. Pelle hopefully goes (save for Halberd use) but if
he cannot, just move him over. Move Balbs down 9 more spaces. If Balbs managed
to go before a Belial, which sucks, just move Balbs over to the right 9 spaces
again. Technically, you could have IBS and boosted Balbs on the previous turn
so that you could IBS and try to get Balbs to kill the High Priest. It's not a
bad strategy (he can kill it from the mountain) but the downside is the
increased saving. This newer strategy cuts nearly all the saves from the
battle except for item usage by letting magic kill Belial and only needing
Balbs to hit the bottom High Priest. Besides the added saves, once the Boost
clear message has appeared, you cannot requip Balbs less he loses Boost and
you reboost; which can further add saving. Ultimately, it's up to you as to
what you think is best. Moving Balbs straight down is best, but if he goes
before the Belial, then you have to adjust.

Ensure Domingo doesn't die, (heal if he's below 20) but keep clearing up top.
Balbaroy can IBS and boost, move him just below the mountain range to draw up
the Golem. If he's a lower level, you may want to do this later and clear the
lower mages and Golem first to avoid tricky turn orders with the Golem.

Keep clearing up top, you can move down once you are ready to clear out the
mountain enemies. Moving 5 spaces from a mage aggros it. Balbs needs about 7
turns to clear out the bottom 6 enemies, save for boost and save for the
Priest kill. Adjust as needed.


TLDR | Summary Plz: Balbs is killing the lower 6 enemies and the rest of your
team is killing everything else. Use magic on Belial and don't crack any items
yet.

Give the Mobility Ring to Tao and Speed Ring to Pelle for Mishaela

  Battle 21
    Ideal   3:05:10
    My Best 3:30:01
	
Best way to break this down is turns.

TURN 1

Move everyone up and towards the right side of the staircase. Equip the
Speed Ring on Pelle. Hopefully the Gargoyles all outturned Pelle, in which
case you can simply bolt them. If Pelle goes in between Gargoyle turns, you
can get "bad gargoyles" which is an inability to wipe them in 2 casts, Bolt
and Blaze 2

TURN 2

Anri is going to Freeze 3 the Bowriders (two of them) and Domingo can Freeze 2
the center; this allows Balbs to attack the furthest one, eliminating them all
because they're dangerous. Hopefully we got a good formation so that Tao and
Pelle can kill the Gargoyles (hence the Speed Ring). Don't bother saving for
Halberd here. Keep moving Max to the left as his goal is to grab the Evil and
Black Ring.

Turns 3 to Master Mages

Move over to the Mages. When you are positioned, blast away on the 4 (leaving
the further Mage to be attacked). Pay attention to your levels/magic, as AOE
is fine, but if we can, leave enemies to be attack as Dullahans and Belial
are more important magical targets.

Turns Master Mages to Mishaela's platform

I'd move Balbs to go grab the White Ring/Shower of Cure, he doesn't really
help out here and grabbing those saves like 40 seconds of Max walking later.
The Belial will start to move down, deal with them as you see fit but like I
said, having magic for the Dullahans can really help. Mishaela takes virtually
no damage from magic so don't worry so much about her. Before moving onto
the platform, have the Belial taken care of and everyone else grouped up
(Balbs not so important)

Getting on the platform

Pending your magic, you may have to adjust, but basically Dullahans are tough
at 22 HP to kill as Blaze 3 + Freeze 2 kills them. Otherwise, they'll go for
Domingo, so use that as well. IBS for boosts, send a Mage to grab the Light
Sword, use Domingo on the left to aggro Mishaela, kill Mishaela with Pelle
and Balbs. Not much to be said.

If you already have Blaze 4, then you can simply time your Mishaela approach
to ignore the Dullahan by hitting Mishaela with Blaze 4 and both boosted
heroes; obviously Anri can cast Freeze 3



------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Chapter 7
	
We're nearly done but now things are getting REALLY tough. It is evident that
our team cannot keep up with these enemies, hence why Musashi "Moose" Master
has joined our team and hopefully we are sporting some very strong magic in
combo with our newly acquired Evil Ring/Bolt 3. Let's briefly run through who
we still have.

Max | He'll have the White Ring and Black Ring for this next battle, give him
a Healing Seed and Shower of Cure for Chaos, after that he'll just have the
White Ring and 3 Showers.

Pelle | Give him the Halberd, Mobility, and Evil Ring for the next battle,
Evil Lance and Mobility for Chaos

Anri | Freeze 4 at P13, that is the goal

Tao | Blaze 4 at P10, get there

Domingo | Give him the Speed Ring and triple Healing Seed for now, hopefully
he doesn't die in 7-1

Balbaroy | Should be getting up there in level, 6-7+ ideally. He'll continue
with the Power Ring for now

MOOSE! | Musashi is incredible but we'll pick him up after Chaos and add him
to our party in chapter 8

Others...

Alef | we'll be neglecting her entirely

Torasu | Leave him out of our party until after Ramladu

NR                                                                          NR
The plan here has changed dramatically, and largely doesn't reflect any new
runner strategies. If you are using other people like Guntz, Kokichi, or even
Zylo, adjust accordingly. Guntz will likely be your #1 instead of Pelle, and
Kokichi could honestly be your Evil Ringer. Zylo should be dropped here
NR                                                                          NR



  Battle 22
    Ideal   3:15:13
    My Best 3:43:08
	
An extremely tricky battle here but hopefully with some luck we can get out of
here without too much trouble. Turn 1, move everyone over to the right.
Domingo should move 4 right and up 1, Balbs should IBS and boost himself. Make
sure to move Balbs above the mountain range.

Turn 2, Pelle should be able to IBS and bolt 3 a group of 4 (Belial, Jet, and
2 Dullahan). Domingo can move over into position as well, Balbs can hit the
Jet ideally, but maybe the Dullahan if Domingo can get into position. That
closer one drops the Doom Blade, an essential drop. Tao and Anri can kill the
closer of the Belial.

Turn 3, move Domingo down as far possible, we want to start moving the enemies
over so that our Bolt 3 can be really strong. Equip the Speed Ring on him here
but you may have to wait, it depends how many enemies have moved so pay
attention. Pelle will likely just attack a Dullahan, but again he could IBS
and bolt 3.

Rinse repeat to clear out the battle, try hard to avoid anyone dying; Domingo
with the Speed Ring should avoid being outturned. You don't have to IBS for
Bolt 3 on your last use.

Afterwards, grab the Devil Lance and Turbo Pepper (Lance is going to Pelle)
give all the rings to Balbs

  Battle 23
    Ideal   3:18:18
    My Best 3:47:37

Move Balbs up above Max and keep him on the wall. Turn 2, move him 8 spaces,
equip the Speed Ring and boost himself. Turn 3, move 9 and kill the Demon
Master. Your only source of concern here is if Balbs is very fast and goes
before the Jets on turn 2, in which case you might have to save with Max
to get a turn order that keeps Balbs from getting blocked, but that doesn't
really happen often.

Afterwards, and one of the biggest changes here, just head back to the King.
If your Power Ring cracked, go ahead and repair it first (recruit Musashi
as well) but you don't have to party him. Give Tao the Turbo Pepper in her
inventory, and give Anri the Speed Ring. If Balbs has less than 27 speed,
leave it unequipped. If Balbs has over 28 speed, have her equip it. Give Balbs
the Dark Sword and Power Ring, Pelle the Mobility Ring and Evil Lance. You may
want to Quick Chicken Anri as well if Balbs is fast to help get her well over
33 speed

  Battle 24
    Ideal   3:26:51
    My Best 3:58:40
	
Here's the deal, this battle works but is totally insane. I strongly suggest
watching Ty2358 doing it during his best run which is about 90 seconds slower
than mine but his went flawlessly, my first recorded attempt did not.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9ydlcF2cbU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3S-G9J_aGI&t=1s

Above is our best battle. Admittedly is has a nice critical in it but now you
have two different approaches to beating this battle

Regardless, here's the general plan. If Balbs is slower, IE less than 27, it
will be a turn 2 kill but much simpler. Otherwise, it will be a turn 2 kill
but more complicated. Chaos has 32 speed which is where those numbers are
derived from. Pelle with Evil Lance and Balbs boosted with Dark Sword is more
than enough damage to kill Chaos, so that's the plan; we need to bring him
down towards us.

If the Demon Master outturns Tao, move her over and Blaze 4 (I really hope
you have it now) otherwise Blaze 3 and Pelle can use Bolt 3. If she goes
first, IBS and use the Turbo Pepper (turn on Battle messages and reset if you
don't get +2). Where that Demon Master moves is very important, as the space
next to it marks a dangerous spot to stand, so don't put anybody else there
until after the worms and Torch Eye have moved. Keep that in mind, as Anri
can move near there if Balbs is slower than Chaos. Otherwise, Anri will need
to move up to the nook in the corner, that aggros Chaos.

Balbs and Max will likely get attacked, they should both be OK here. That's
where the Shower is for, you may have to use it on Max's turn depending on
the damage that went down on that first turn. Move Pelle up and over near Max;
his exact position changes depending on Balbs; because HE aggros Chaos unless
you need to bring Chaos down sooner because Balbs may be too fast.

Balbs can move up and over, IBS and boost himself, EQUIP the Dark Sword.

If Domingo is alive, he should move to that space 2 away from the Demon Master
as that properly draws down the enemies.

I realize this is tricky, but the video is a great tutorial so use that as
well.

Your turn 2 involves killing Chaos; Max moves over and gets shielded between
Domingo and Tao (or Tao will shield him on her turn. Blaze 4 the Demon Master
or Blaze 3 if you don't have it. Anri and Domingo are great blockers for Max.
Save for Balbs and Pelle and defeat Chaos after he moves. Ideally, Chaos goes
and then Balbs and Pelle can harmlessly attack him, that's why Balbs being
faster here can complicate things.

Go ahead and give Balbs the Chaos Breaker and all the rings. If you didn't
Turbo Pepper Tao here, do it in the next battle.

  Battle 25
    Ideal   3:31:58
    My Best 4:04:16
	
It takes Balbs 5 turns to reach and kill the Armed Skeleton at the bottom
who is the boss. The turn before, equip the Speed Ring and boost himself. You
can move Max twice to be a little closer, but don't keep moving otherwise
enemies will aggro. If Balbs has 75 or less attack, go ahead and IBS before
the attack as I've had very rarely him not do enough damage. He DOES do enough
but sometimes the game is weird. Now let's roll out.
	


------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Chapter 8
	

Aahhhh Runefause, the glorious end is upon us! This is the hardest and most
twisted chapter yet, not to mention we are tired from playing for 5 hours
but press on! The battle is nearly over. Let's quickly review our team and
what they'll all have.

Max | White Ring, Black Ring, Shower
Pelle | Evil Lance, Evil Ring, Halberd
Luke (dead)
Anri | Speed Ring (unequipped for now)
Tao
Domingo
Khris (dead)
Hans (dead)
Amon (dead)
Balbs | Chaos Breaker
Moose | Katana, Power Ring, Mobility Ring
Jogurt (dead)

So swap Musashi in for Mae. After Ramladu, put Torasu in for Khris. That's it.
It looks insane, but we save a ton of time by minimizing turns and this works.

Let's continue


  Battle 26
    Ideal   3:42:12
    My Best 4:15:05
	
With the above set up, it works. Tao can move out and Blaze 4 the Chimaera and
avoid getting attacked. Everybody else sets up on the right. On turn 2, Tao
is triggering the Chimaera to move so with ASCII art

        C
C C X C C Wall
        Moose
	  
That's the general set up. The left most Chimaera hopefully dies. With Max on
the right, our general set up will keep Moose there and the two Chimaera will
move down into that position, the other moving over keeping a space. That's
a good Bolt 3 on turn 2. To do that, move Tao up far enough so that she
doesn't get attacked by the moving Chimaera. Pelle can block the left Chimaera

From there, you can clear them out and then the battle is basically over.
Domingo and Balbs can kill the left group with Freeze 3 and 2; IBS for
Pelle to bolt 3, once on the Dragons and once on the skeletons but after
Anri has used Freeze 3. Tao can then clear the Dragons with Blaze 4, Moose
can take out the Bowriders.

It's a tricky set up, but it works and is generally faster than what you can
hope for otherwise.
	
  Battle 27
    Ideal   3:44:47
    My Best 4:18:39
	
So Blaze 4, Freeze 4, Freeze 3, and Moose kill Ramladu. Obviously move up.
Domingo will need to shield Max unless the nearby Steel Claw goes before
Musashi. Putting Tao to the right of Ramladu prevents his heal. Tao on the
stairs won't die, but Ramladu may heal himself, so consider that when moving.
Basically, if nobody is gonna die to Robots, then leave her on the stairs to
avoid reviving later

Once Ramladu falls, go back and revive our party and make sure everything is
repaired. Add Torasu to our party, give our rings to Balbs, and head out.
	
  Battle 28
    Ideal   4:00:05
    My Best 4:35:15
	
This battle really has come so far and is much easier to pull off now thanks
to a better understanding of the movement. Balbs is going to keep moving while
everyone else kills things; let's elaborate.

The nearby Chimaera are coming down, hopefully Anri waits to allow one to move
over so she can Freeze 4. Moose is going to position over on the left to block
for Max. Everyone else position nearby, keep Max in his spot. Balbs needs to
move up and over, keep him away from Chimaera, but move 9 spaces. Domingo
similarly needs to move up and over.

The Dragon cannot reach Max from where it moved, use someone to block, maybe
Moose, and Tao can kill it next turn with Blaze 4. Anri and Pelle should be
able to eliminate the Chimaera that position up around Moose. IBS for the
Evil Ring, last time we'll have to. Move Balbs and Domingo more. Don't move
Balbs up too high yet, focus more left.

Someone needs to move between the columns at the start, as this aggros the
enemies once Balbs now breaks that trigger. Use Moose. Move Balbs so that he
moves 8 spaces from the left Colossus head which draws it over safely. Keep
moving Domingo because he'll draw that head down towards him. Once the Jets
and Skellies are moving down towards Moose, you can pull him back, basically
set up a fort to get some good clumping to eliminate them quickly.

Balbs is now moving onto the nearby wall; it prevents the skeleton from
attacking him and gets him into position for the next turn. Move Domingo as
to not be attacked by the skeleton but so that the Colossus head moves
after him. If Balbs gets attacked, oh well, but the goal is to avoid having to
use a Shower here.

IBS and boost Balbs. Move him onto the cliff, keep him about 9 spaces from the
center head. If Balbs has 79 or more attack with the Power Ring, he can equip
the Speed Ring for a double turn attempt on the center head (if he took
damage) otherwise just double power ring attack. Save for those hits.

Afterwards give the Power Ring to Max, Mobility to Moose, and Speed to Anri.
Use that Chicken on her now as well if you haven't yet. Max should have the
White and Power Ring and 2 Showers. If you have a third Shower still, give it
to Torasu

	
  Battle 29
    Ideal   4:06:58
    My Best 4:42:09
	
The battle here is planned to take 4 turns, Dark Sol dying on turn 4.

Turn 1
Move Tao up to the middle of the path, position everyone else near but avoid
the Torch Eyes. Keep a space open for Anri to move 5 (hopefully Pelle goes
after them and can bolt 3 the left side)

Turn 2
Move Tao up and Blaze 4 the right Torch Eye. Anri Freeze 3 the robot group on
the stairs. Move everyone else up. Domingo should be on the right side, Max
IBS and on the left, boosting Musashi. The dragons can move to the lower
platform, so keep a space for them to move there as they're coming now but
we want to avoid attacks.

Turn 3
Move Tao to the middle and Blaze 3 the group, as long as you didn't get lowest
damage rolls on both spells, all the robots will die (12 and 14 are your worst
rolls FYI) but since we have a save from Max boosting Musashi, we'll be fine.
With that, if you moved correctly the Dragons will move straight down but
not reach anyone. Moose can move and hit Dark Sol (consider saving) as well as
Pelle. Anri use Freeze 4. It makes a lot more sense when you just do it in
battle. Hopefully Anri doesn't go before the Dragons, the left one is just
moving after Max so no concern there, it's the right one that's scary but
Anri is tough
	
  Battle 30
    Ideal   4:14:05
    My Best 4:50:00.36
	
This is it. Our whole run has been building to this one fight and now
everything is on the table. If something needs to shatter, let it. If you
have to use a Shower of Cure, do it. We must win.

Our party is super small but luckily if you've followed my advice, this
should take around 8 minutes and wham bam pizza man. The first turn is all
about setting up; we want to avoid anyone getting attacked by the Skeletons.
Torasu is going to move up so that he can Shield himself on the spawner, Max
is going to go to the left and sit on that spawner soon as well. Because of
this, we're focusing the left head first but stay with me. It's entirely
likely that Balbs sits on the left spawner initially and uses the Chaos
Breaker while we kill the middle head. The main reason for this possible
switch is due to the Power Ring breaking, and Pelle and Musashi don't die to
Dark Dragon as fast as Balbs does.

Musashi is going to get attacked by Dark Dragon, so he can move up and hit
but keep everyone else spread out. Max can boost Pelle or Balbs, just don't
boost Musashi yet since he's gonna get blasted.

Your next turn, put Domingo near the center head to draw focus, hit it with
everything you got; well, Tao can Blaze 4 one skeleton and Balbs will kill
the other. Save before Max moves onto the square.

The dragon should go down quickly here, Domingo will tank that first hit.
Move over to the left head thereafter and hit it. Any time Max is exposed,
save before you take his turn to avoid Bolt 4. The left head goes down very
quickly though; Shower if everyone is low. Rinse repeat then for the right
side, stop that timer once the last head is defeated!


There. We've done it!


------------------------------------------------------------------------------


4. Discussion


    End Remarks
	
This run has come a long way and what's fascinating is my trend has largely
remained the same: terrible beginning, godlike ending, make new pb/wr. It
never fails, and the day that I can manage to have a mediocre to maybe even
good early game, then perhaps the 4:30 could actually happen. Regardless, the
fact I managed a 4:50 exactly is both hilarious and saddening, but in either
case, there's still plenty of room for improvement (at least 20 minutes worth)
and it's a second sub 5 run which is very exciting.

Anywho, in Chapter 1, we have with this most recent run a largely crappy
chapter. The only reason the run continued was because Alterone went very well
nearly becoming the new best. Sub 8 after 1-1 is fair, but sub 17 after 1-2 is
pretty unacceptable. We can easily do sub 15 there so to get 16:59 after 1-2
is just "silly" in the amounts of time loss. Similarly, 25+ after 1-3 ain't
great but that battle did at least go well. We finished chapter 1 with a ~38
minute which like I said was saved by Alterone. Anything over 40 minutes I
personally reset.

Chapter 2 was a complete fiasco. I had about a minute to save in each battle
and instead lost about a minute in each battle. Suffice to say, the chapter
can reasonably be done in 35-37 minutes and this run took about 40 minutes so
in conclusion, it was bad.

So bad in fact, that I was about ready to wrap it up in Chapter 3 but somehow
things continued. The Balbs snipe was fair (not much to lose time on anyway)
and 3-2 went well. By in large, Chapter 3 is a quick and easy chapter with
only 3-2 being the troublesome fight potentially.

Chapter 4 was fine. If I was completely honest with myself, I might admit that
it actually went better than average clocking in right around 36ish minutes.
Not much else comes to mind.

Chapter 5 was fine. Nothing outstanding nor terrible. Really there isn't much
else to say.

Chapter 6 was good. Finally got a good Kane battle as well got a great 6-3.
Mishaela was completely horrible, as I recall, I got bad gargoyles. In the end
though, I was at 3:30 which is a good time.

Chapter 7 was largely fine. With 2 snipes, again, there isn't much that can go
wrong, but 7-1 and 7-3 can be trolly and and with 6 minutes of future time
save on those battles, I actually was in the red around here which is rather
discouraging.

Chapter 8 was godlike and there isn't much to be said. I have to admit, I
haven't updated this guide with the most recent PB (so I'm comparing the new
4:50 splits against the previous 4:55 splits you never saw, not the 5:04).
Anyway, gold splits on Dark Sol and 8-1, near gold on Dark Dragon, good
Ramladu, and solid 8-3 clocked this run in at 4:50:00:(36) which is not bad.

In the end, I basically need to have a run where my early game goes well. With
my current splits, I can be minus 7 or 8 minutes by the end of chapter 2 which
is hilarious to even imagine.




----------------------------------

  Collecting the Sidenotes
  
----------------------------------
  
  Side Note: Stat Items and Rings

Defense Potions:    Max
  These things are rather useless for the most part. However, they are quite
  essential early for Max not dying as there are a number of spots (like Shade
  Abbey) where he must get attacked. Later, you can use these on Domingo if
  you so desire as Max shouldn't ever get attacked post Chapter 2 for the
  most part. The extra one in Waral can be skipped unless Max is very weak
  feeling
Power Potions:     Balbaroy
  Save these for Balbaroy and use them before Colossus unless his attack with
  the Chaos Breaker equipped is less than 55 before the Armed Skeleton
  
  As explained earlier, if Max has 20 attack after 1-3, you can power potion
  him for the OHKO, a strategy that speeds things up quite a bit and is better
  But Max won't always get there so just keep in mind
Bread of Life:     See Below
  These aren't so good but I tend to use some on Max if he's struggling but I
  try to save them for Below. The first one on Anri can be huge if you can
  save it
Legs of Haste:     Anri
  I've been using it on Anri right before Chaos and then equipping the Speed
  Ring on her to guarantee her outturn on Chaos. This is because Balbaroy
  tends to be too fast meaning I have to play around Balbs possibly going
  before Chaos on turn 2
Turbo Pepper:      Tao
  Use it on her. Make sure she gets +2 movement
Power Ring:        Whomever
  This goes on whomever we need it to. Refer to the walkthrough
Speed Ring:        As needed, then Anri
  This thing gets tossed around a lot, refer to the guide
Mobility Ring:     As needed
  This thing gets thrown around like a frat mattress. It's always for who we
  need to have it
Evil Ring:         Pelle
  Once we get this ring, Pelle becomes our 4th caster unless he's fighting
  a boss or a relatively weak enemy
Black Ring:        Max
  This ring is entirely skippable but giving Max the ability to Blaze 2 later
  on when he's completely pointless helps. Since my Max gets filled up with
  items for 8-4 and 8-5, the ring could go to Musashi at that point
White Ring:        Max
  Yup
  
----------------

  Side Note: Bread of Life
  
I've mentioned a couple of times HP thresholds, so let's talk about it. There
are a total of (3) three of these things. The first one is for Anri, as it can
push her well out of Blaze 2 range. The latter two aren't so important, and
can even be skipped, but they can prove useful.

The first is available in Chapter 4. If my Max doesn't have 22+ HP by 4-3,
then this is a good time to use one. The reason is that Max will tend to take
7 points of damage from Sea Bats. Giving him 22+ HP obviously gives you an
extra turn to live. The last is available in Waral alongside that Defense pot
which like I said, can be skipped. It just depends on how you're feeling

Other than that, let's look at exact HP amounts that are important.

18+ will push you out of Freeze 3 range. Demon Masters use Freeze 3 and it
is the strongest not-bolt 4 spell to be faced by Dark Dragon. 

22+ will push you out of Torch Eyes laser attack. It can do 18-22 on a normal
hit so pushing someone to 23+ can guarantee their survival. Most people hit
this naturally, but Tao really struggles on her HP so she's a decent candidate
here as she won't really get above 22 until level 12 or 13 promoted.

27+ will push out of the fire breath from Chimaera. Most heroes prefer this as
the regular claw attack annihilates all but Guntz, Hanzou, and Moose.

30+ will push out of the frost attack from Dragons. Their attack is stronger,
but having more than 30 health should keep you alive

35+ will keep you alive against Demon Breath hopefully. It doesn't seem to do
more than that and well, if it double hits then GG you're dead

So you can see where the breakdown occurs. Anri will usually get to Demon
Breath range, Tao hovers usually around 20 HP or so, and Hanzou can have more
than 40 health but giving him 45 is basically insurance to survive 3 lasers.
This is why I say the Breads aren't super helpful but you can see how pushing
Anri or Domingo into that extra HP range can speed things up as you can play
more fast and loose.

----------------

    Side Note: End Team

This is basically how our end team will look:
Max - White Ring, 2x Shower of Cure, Power Ring
Pelle - Halberd, Devil Lance, Evil Ring
Tao, Anri, Domingo
Torasu
Musashi - Mobility Ring + Katana + Black Ring
Balbaroy - Chaos Breaker

----------------

  Discussing the Glitches/Abuses

    The Speed Ring
	
Not so useful later on, but early that +4 agility can make someone get their
turn much faster. It can be used on someone to get 2 attacks in a row, or
more importantly to allow Max to move twice in a row. Later on, the Speed Ring
should be on someone slower who needs more turns, usually Pelle or Anri

    Max/Domingo
	
The game programmers decided these two almost always have priority. In fact,
it goes something like

Max > Domingo > Healers/Mages > Archers/Flying Units > Everything else

To the point to where enemies will move past viable targets to stand in line
and not attack just because they're closer to someone. As a result, this is a
very helpful abuse especially once Domingo can take a hit or two. For Max
sadly this run you won't be using this so much later on however early you can
still get some nice use out of it. In Domingo's case, I believe he has such a
high priority as he is both a "flyer" and a "caster" which puts him above
everyone besides "hero"

    The Boost Glitch
	
This is definitely a glitch as the game will even say "boost has ended" but it
actually hasn't. Boost is supposed to go away after 1-3 turns, but in fact
stays until you've taken damage, or gone up a level. Curse damage does not
count as damage; you have to be attacked. This is the most helpful and abusive
of all the glitches as you can boost someone for 8 or 9 minutes so long as
your careful. It reduces the need to BS as much as well as allows you to take
out many more enemies being able to take advantage of knowing not to level or
who recently leveled and whatnot. Many thanks to Darkkobold for this one

    Turn Order Manipulation
	
Something I talk about often but not in great detail so here goes. The Turn
Order, or Battle Order, whatever you want to call it, is calculated at the
very end of each turn (by the person who moves last). This is very easy to
notice as you can save with the last person to move and restart to see how
the turns change each time. Early on, this has practically no use as the
speeds are too close to each other and too hard to manipulate but later on
once people are faster then it is more controllable. Basically, each person's
speed stat can "change" by about 12% for turn order calculation. To explain,
in Dark Kobold's TAS of this game, he explains that Max needs 22 speed for the
Mishaela battle, as that speed allows Max to get outturned by the Bowriders
(to avoid being blocked) but then when he equips the Speed Ring he then can
outturn Mishaela and OHKO with double crits. It's fascinating, and we use it
in a couple of spots, most notably 8-3 and 7-2 to make sure bad things don't
happen to Balbs.

    Cliff Aggro Manipulation
	
Weird, but grounded enemies will not attack flyers on a cliff/wall unless
their end of turn positions puts them in that spot. This is most obvious in
Colossus as Balbs sits very near an Armed Skeleton but the walls keep him
safe. This does not work against enemy flyers though

----------------

    A new challenger approaches!
	
So basically, I had this idea of trying some new way of beating the game. As
hard as it may seem, replaying this game ten or eleven times can become a bit
boring and stale, so I wanted to try a new challenge, deemed, "Minimalist".

The premise is simple: We collect that only which we need to defeat the game.
This means that our party will be just 12 members. Max, Mae, Khris, Balbs,
Amon, Pelle, Ernst, Bleu, Alef, Torasu, and Adam are all required and Gong
will tag along because Max needs some help early in that first battle.

How do we skip the others like Tao, Luke, Gort, Ken, and Hans? There is a
video, but basically there's a blonde hair'd guy walking around we need to
"push" lower and let him block the guards. That lets us leave town and shazam
we can skip the other characters. Strangely enough, this is the starting mark
for this time as well, as timing the process of doing that is tedious and
stressful as getting it perfect is just a waste of time.

Anywho, I'm also uploading a video of this to my same account, titled
"SF Speed Run Minimalist" for your pleasure. The strategy largely stays the
same (hence no new guide) and I'll probably not go nuts trying to improve it
but we'll see. The major difference is using Khris (Quick) to do some cool
things and Balbs gets the Turbo Pepper for imba 9 movement which helps. Not
collecting Musashi, Kokichi, or any casters early makes this fairly tough
early, but later on, Max and Pelle become absolute beasts. It's a fun
challenge to say the least, and I've gone and done a speed run of it! My
current time is 6:47 which is still better than my first "any" percent run
done a long time ago, but it's nearly an hour slower than my current best.

Good luck and have fun!


------------------------------------------------------------------------------


5. Conclusion

    Copyright

This is copyright me, Todd Lesinski AKA NoWorries. As such, you cannot use
copy any part of this guide and claim it as your own. I'm not a stickler so
long you make a reference somewhere saying that this guide was so helpful for
whatever purpose you are using this for that would be great. If you are a
cheat bastard then may a ball-eating plague be struck upon you and all
consequent men in your family until you right this wrong.

    Contact Info

If you feel the need to contact me about ANYTHING pertaining to THIS guide;
you may contact me at         (AT)   [.]
                     tskisoccer@yahoo.com
Please specify "SHINING FORCE I SPEED RUN" to differentiate from my other
Shining Force guides/works out on the webs. I do appreciate your time. If you
don't do this, I probably won't respond. I may also not respond because I'm
very busy but I will do the best I can.

You can also follow me on twitter NoWorries tskisoccer @tskisoccer
You can also follow me on twitch to know when I'm streaming
                     https://www.twitch.tv/tskisoccer

    Acknowledgements
	
Gamefaqs - For getting me into guide writing
Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) - For getting me into Speed Running. It is
    technically run through the Speed Game Demos
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCId5mQSBVAOrOdLdfY1J4VQ
    Which is their channel. AGDQ is their charity event that raises money for
    Cancer and it's fascinating even if you are not big into video games. But
    big thanks and shout out to them for getting me serious into actually
    doing this and maybe you'll see me at AGDQ 2016 running this game if I
    can consistently get it down to six, six and a half hours.
DarkKobold - The brave soul who TASed this game in under two hours. Your
    video was both awesome to watch and extremely helpful for giving me ideas
    how to run this faster. Naturally I'm not tassing so I can't get the
    double crits like you do with Lua but I think I worked it out pretty well
    for myself =)
    But the Boost Glitch was invaluable, thank you
    His webpage: http://tasvideos.org/DarkKobold.html
Twitch - For adding a fun and new interesting dynamic into speedrunning. Huge
    shoutouts to everyone who routinely comes and watches me play!
Ty2358 - My strongest competition, I enjoy racing and suffering the bad RNG
    with you my friend
BowieTheHero - My British lad from overseas, he and I are running Shining
    Force 2 at RPGLimitBreak 2016 and he and I talk way too much Shining
    Force in general as he complains that I get lucky and I try to remind him
    of my bad RNG which does happen
Myself - For enjoying this game far too much. It's unhealthy
You the reader - Well, without you folks, this isn't nearly as fun. Also, I
    hope you enjoy the video. Just don't be too harsh as it's far from
    perfect; I just wanted you to have something to have in tangent with
    this guide as words aren't perfect sometimes
Camelot Software Planning and Sega - obviously, for making the game



Length - 110511






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