When I went to look up how an earlier map worked after finishing it out of curiosity, I read somewhere that Edelgard’s route is shorter than the other three. That definitely seems to be the case: we won our first Battle against Claude’s Leicester Alliance in the last chapter, and the entire Alliance is conquered by the end of this one. In the five years since we last saw him, Claude has apparently become known as a master tactician (despite never once besting us), and all of the people fawning over his supposed brilliance only seal his fate. He’s not scheming out of this one.
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Chapter 14 begins with another explanation of Claude’s maneuvering. Basically, he’s played pro-Empire families in the Alliance against anti-Empire families to ensure that any armed conflict would result in a major loss of life, then convinced both sides to avoid fighting for that reason. Fire Emblem: Three Houses appears convinced that this is a brilliant strategy despite serving as little more than a stalling tactic. It doesn’t even make sense since we have to roll through the Alliance before turning our sights on Faerghus and the church, so he’s accomplishing nothing at all.
We started the last chapter at the end of the month thanks to Byleth’s mouth beam coma, so there was little time to indulge in side activities despite having successfully taken Garreg Mach for the Empire. We begin chapter 14 from the beginning of the month, though, and while I usually start off with exploration, the only interesting map event is something that aids in plant-growing in the third week. Everyone starts off with a seminar because of that, with the second week being devoted to finishing off a combat sidequest and rare monster battle. One of the things that happens this week is that Dorothea unlocks long-range Meteor magic, which will definitely come in handy. It only has one use, but magic is replenished each map and Meteor does area-of-effect damage, making it a perfect emergency option for softening or finishing off enemies.
I also have Ingrid take a class change exam to become a master-tier Falcon Knight, but she fails the exam. This will be a recurring occurrence; she’ll fail this test on multiple occasions throughout the chapter, and Leonie will similarly fail to become a Paladin. Part of the issue is that these advanced-tier and master-tier classes have strict requirements that don’t always align with how you actually use units. Fire Emblem: Three Houses dropped the weapon triangle, so there’s no reason to give a character axes and teach them to use attack magic when they can instead bring a bunch of specialized lances into the fight. And as far as I can tell, you can only check class requirements in the exam screen that only appears on your days off, so it’s easy to forget what each character needs for their next class by the time you’re in a position to teach them something new.
This system is a mess. If it was a little more intuitive, it could allow for some interesting class-changing possibilities based on long-term planning, but if you don’t know to check the endgame class requirements at the very start and build around those (or worse, take so long to recruit someone that you miss out on building them a certain way), you’re basically stuck trying to get lucky and class change with a 40-70% chance of success. The church isn’t bankrolling us anymore, so spending money on the seals required to take these exams is an increasing problem.
At 20:51 in the last embedded video, my finger brushed up against a controller button (ZL, as memory serves) and the entire world exploded into purpleness. I never did make figuring out the Divine Pulse feature a priority, so I guess I’ve just avoided pressing that one button during battles for 40+ hours. It looks like an “undo” feature, though I didn’t experiment with it enough to know whether each charge can undo multiple character moves or if each decision you roll back consumes one charge. The Divine Pulse feature appears to take many of its cues from Mila’s Turnwheel in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, but I only used it once in that game after getting screwed over in the final battle and don’t remember exactly how it functioned. It’s my intention to avoid using the Divine Pulse during this playthrough because I’m a Fire Emblem tryhard.
Okay, so I’m 100% going to S-rank Leonie, but I’m still technically a game reviewer, hence keeping a save from before the path branch so that I can try out both without having to replay the entire game. That same instinct also compels me to reach an A-rank with as many characters as possible so that I can check out various S-rank dialogues and get a feel for how the various romances are handled. Since building up support relationships was my preferred method of recruitment, this isn’t too difficult a task, but I’m still stuck on a B-rank or worse with several characters. I managed to reach an A-rank support with Annette and Manuela by bombarding them with gifts and tea (side note: I have no idea how the final conversation option works in teatime, with your response to their dialogue appearing to be completely disconnected from anything resembling normal human interaction), but Edelgard, Petra, and Shamir are currently lagging behind, while I’ve barely even begun with Linhardt and Jeritza.
Right. Apparently, Jeritza wants nothing more than to murder Byleth and is only holding back because Edelgard insists, but he can fall madly in love with him regardless. I kind of want to see if all of the animosity he harbors revolves around a gay crush he can’t cope with, but I’m not sure that there’s enough time to build up that support. Especially since Edelgard can likely only be S-ranked on this route, making that a priority.
Between all of the tea and gift-giving, I obtained another sidequest that can only be completed through combat. I’d have avoided the rare monster battles entirely and consolidated the two combat sidequests into one day off if I knew that it’d work out that way. Still, I’m choosing to think of it as making up for the experience that was lost when the cheap reinforcement placement in the last chapter’s map forced me to rush things.
I was racking my brain trying to figure out why this map looked familiar to me. Turns out that an earlier paralogue with Shamir and Alois (Sword and Shield of Seiros) took place in the same area. Back then, bandits were pretending to be Almyran forces to extort the villagers. This time around, Claude has actually enlisted the Almyrans to help defend the Alliance. It’s the same general battle, but enemies hit a little harder and you’re not limited by that paralogue’s requirement of keeping them out of the city. Instead, there are three gates that spawn enemies until you’ve defeated the unit guarding them, and the city is guarded by former (unrecruitable) student Hilda, who’s a powerful ax-user like Edelgard.
The strategy, then, is to rush into the city, create a safe buffer space by quickly clearing out a bunch of enemies but not entering Hilda’s range, and then get ranged units to the point where they can pick off the flying Almyran reinforcements that continually fly into the city from the right of the map. Bow-wielding mounted units ambush the party from the south, and Shamir was lucky to survive after being ganged up on, but Jeritza is powerful enough to clean up the north with some magic-users while Byleth, Leonie, and Petra loop around the south. The only real complication is the Almyran general, who hits like a truck and is unexpectedly fast. He also has a Gambit that wipes out more than half of Petra’s HP while sticking both her and Byleth in place. Fortunately, Leonie’s Gambit reduces his hit chance and speed, allowing Petra to finish him off easily.
Claude, meanwhile, remains in place to the point of being a nonissue. His weapon, the Failnaught (side note: “fail not” is a stupid name for a weapon), does a ridiculous amount of damage to anyone he can hit, but a combination of Combat Arts, long-range magical attacks, and Gambits is more than enough to take him out. Once defeated, the option appears—though possibly only if you’ve defeated everyone else first as I did—to spare his life or kill him. I thought about it for a second and realized that sparing him would be considered one of the tactics everyone would bend over backward to congratulate him on. Also, I hate Claude, and begging to be spared after getting Hilda and a bunch of faceless soldiers killed is just slimy. At least have the pride to go down with the ship. Therefore, he dies and gives a sappy final quote about how much he sucks (57:42).
We’ve brought an entire country in line over the course of two battles. Dimitri and Rhea don’t stand a chance. Caspar’s father is chosen to handle Alliance affairs, and their military assets are now ours. It’s possible that the Almyran guy will hold killing Claude against us since he retreated after being beaten, but you know what? Screw that guy. I hope he comes for revenge so that Petra can kill him properly this time. Most importantly, wiping out everyone on the map earned our units enough experience for multiple characters to hit the magical level 30 mark that opens up the possibility of master-tier class changes, and they also dropped a couple of interesting shields that should protect certain unit types from weapons that do extra damage to them. The most interesting one should protect Ingrid from archers who would normally do tons of damage against her.
Oh, and I didn’t really find the time to mention it earlier, but I class-changed Dorothea from a Dancer to a master-tier Gremory. She can’t give units extra turns anymore, but all of her magic now has double the number of uses it used to, meaning we can now use Meteor twice per map.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses Let’s Play – Chapter 14: The Master Tactician first appeared on Killa Penguin