Tag: Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

‘The Jonathan Banner’: Shapeshifters and Aching Blood

‘The Jonathan Banner’: Shapeshifters and Aching Blood

Nothing like the smell of a fresh Fire Emblem Heroes banner in the morning.

This Brave Redux banner, essentially a rehash of the Farfetched Units idea from last year, immediately holds a very special place in my heart. Because it is quite literally the definition of a ‘cuck my friend Jonathan’ banner.

For years he has been asking Intelligent Systems to add Kliff into the game. Plus, he and my friend Mitchell always joke about Loki being great for her…

Two large personalities. If you catch my drift.

So between those two being together and Owain, one of the best units from Awakening, joining in… Well let’s just say we had a great time laughing about how many orbs we were going to waste on this one when the trailer dropped.

But of course the trailer is only half the story. Are these three new Brave units worth summoning?


Loki — The Trickster

Skill Set:

  • Thökk (Might = 14, Range = 2)
    • Calculates damage from staff like other weapons. At start of the turn, if foe’s Health ≤ unit’s Health +3 and foe is in cardinal directions and uses a bow, dagger, magic or staff, foe cannot move more than one space through its action.
  • Restore (Range = 1)
    • Restores Health = 50 percent of Attack (minimum 8 Health). Neutralizes ally’s penalties and negative status effects that last through ally’s next action.
  • Earthwater Balm (Cooldown = 1)
    • When healing an ally with a staff, grants Defense and Resistance +6 to all allies for one turn.
  • C Duel Infantry (A Skill)
    • Grants Health +5. If unit is five-star rarity and level 40 and unit’s stats total is less than 170, treats unit’s stats as 170 in modes like Arena (Higher-scoring opponents will appear. Stat total calculation excludes any values added by merges and skills).
  • Odd Attack Wave (C Skill)
    • At start of odd-numbered turns, grants Attack +6 to unit and adjacent allies for one turn (bonus granted to unit even if no allies are adjacent).

Analysis:

While it’s fun seeing Intelligent Systems add another original-to-Heroes character into our summoning pool, I’d be lying if I said Loki was anything but the least valuable unit on this banner for me personally.

Her special weapon and signature ‘Restore’ Movement Assist are great selling points in conjunction with Odd Attack Wave, as they encourage Loki to stay near her allies to cure their status ailments and boost their power.

However, beyond that she also has that A skill I don’t really understand and… Well… The other two units on this banner are special.

So let me jump into them.


Kliff — Curious Spirit

Skill Set:

  • Sagittae (Might = 14, Range = 2)
    • Grants Defense +3. At start of combat, if foe’s Attack ≥ unit’s Attack +5, grants Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance +5 during combat.
  • Growing Light (Cooldown = 4)
    • Before combat this unit initiates, foes in a wide area around target take damage equal to (unit’s Attack minus foe’s Defense or Resistance).
  • Fortress Def/Res (A Skill)
    • Grants Defense and Resistance +6. Inflicts Attack -2.
  • Chill Speed (B Skill)
    • At start of turn, inflicts Speed -7 on foe on the enemy team with the highest Speed through its next action.
  • Fortify Resistance (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, grants Resistance +4 to adjacent allies for one turn.

Analysis:

It’s been 83 years, but we finally have a brand new Fire Emblem Echoes unit in Heroes. Not on its own banner with, say, Silque… But pickers can’t be choosers.

We can finally finish a full collection of the Ram villagers, and that’s worth Kliff being here.

Even if I’m personally uncomfortable not seeing him as an archer when that was his amazing niche in my playthrough of the game.

At least in Heroes Kliff’s unique weapon gives him a different interesting niche to fill. When coming into battle with a lower attack stat, he gets buffed in all of his stats. Throw on a different Special Attack and one of the extra Fortress Sacred Seals and he might honestly be a force to be reckoned with. Plus his design is sweet and that always helps.

But also replace that C skill. As you’ll see with Owain coming up next, only Loki got a good deal in the C department.


Owain — Chosen One

Skill Set:

  • Missiletainn (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Accelerates Special Attack trigger (cooldown -1). Grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per foe’s attack during combat (only highest value applied, does not stack, charge granted even if foe’s attack deals 0 damage).
  • Blue Flame (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts damage by 10. If unit is adjacent to an ally, boosts damage by 25 instead.
  • Attack/Defense Bond (A Skill)
    • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Attack and Defense +5 during combat.
  • Wrath (B Skill)
    • At start of turn, if unit’s Health ≤ 75 percent and unit’s attack triggers Special Attack, grants Special Attack cooldown count -1. Deals +10 damage when Special triggers.
  • Spur Speed/Defense (C Skill)
    • Grants Speed and Defense +3 to adjacent allies during combat.

Analysis:

Even if Kliff is a rare Echoes unit that I’m intrigued in summoning, Owain probably takes the cake as the most interesting build on this banner for me.

Except for the fact that he’s yet another strong sword infantry unit. There are so many of them.

But Owain stands out in that his preferred play style seems to be working alongside other characters. He gains an Attack and Defense boost thanks to that bond, as well as a stronger Special Attack trigger (up to 35 damage thanks to Wrath). I love the idea of playing him closely linked to a supported ally, perhaps with a different C skill. One of the Attack waves perhaps?

Also. Just. He’s Owain.

He’s a goofball and his aching blood shuttering hand over face pose is god damn iconic. He’s pretty much the sole reason I love the very similar Gladeon in Pokémon Sun and Moon.

By all intents and purposes he’s also far better than Odin. So bring me my Owain, Intelligent Systems.


Normally this is the segment where I would post something about my summoning luck.

I would if my luck on this banner thus-far wasn’t nonexistent.

So far I’ve gotten an extra Eirika to merge, then a five-star Gray showed up to ruin a 3.75 percent summoning streak.

I’m a bit peeved at that, almost entirely because Gray is not the Ram villager we’re looking for.

I also wasted a good 60 orbs getting there, so I’m hovering at about 20 or so right now. Probably not going to spend any more for a while, but we’ll see.

Certainly the paralogue story orbs should be encouraging, right?

Perfect segue as always.



Editor’s Note: I’m trying my new smaller photo upload system on this post, so if the images are hard to see just consider this an experiment that I’ll rectify next time Heroes releases a banner.

Like… Next week at this rate.



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Alright I’ll level with you. This is probably the most underwhelming Paralogue we’ve had in a while. Especially considering we just finished doing Halloween business.

It starts with the Order once again remarking that Brave Heroes have arrived.

 

Along with Alfonse, again, making a comment about how strange it is that the people of our world for some reason decided to ask for one of the game’s major villains as a Brave Hero.

Which also is somewhat confusing in that Veronica was a totally novel unit in her Brave banner but Loki isn’t?

Then again the Farfetched Units were not unique either. They were just characters from their games.

So I’m really not sure what the formula is here, Intelligent Systems.

All I know is that Loki’s first arrival is alongside future Grand Hero Battle fodder Aversa from Awakening. And they’re basically the exact same character:

 

Except that Aversa is like Loki blended together with Tharja, and Loki herself has no soul according to Aversa. She says the healer gives off the same aura as Grima which…

Yeah is pretty damning.

Yet, as much as I do like seeing these two play off of each other, they pale in comparison when you throw Owain and Kliff in the same room. I’m just going to show you the main chunk of their exchange, it’s that good.

 

 

Is it weird if I ship these two about an hour after they were introduced into the same universe?

Because I’m definitely up for doing that.

However once the Order of Heroes arrives at the final battle, it’s just kind of standard fair. They all riff on the ideas presented previously, you fight and afterwards they all say they’d be happy to join your team.

Even if apparently they aren’t because all I got was a lousy, stinkin’ Gray.

C’mon Gray, why’d you have to play me like that.


If this post overall sounds a little low-energy, I’d blame the fact that I decided to finish writing it at 2:00 a.m. instead of just waiting for the normal morning hours like I had intended to.

What can I say, the muse came to me.

Speaking of that muse, I know this post goes a good 300 words or so over the self-imposed limit that I mentioned talking to my friend Spencer about… But honestly I feel like these Fire Emblem posts are sort of the exception to that rule.

First, because I’m the only one who reads them.

But also because easily a good 400 or so words are spend just copying the skill descriptions? And those are a necessary evil, less so me giving my thoughts and opinions.

So… Loophole. Yeah.

But anyway, I’m really tired and want to wrap this up. Let me know what you think of the new Brave Heroes in the comments, or somewhere else on the internet!

Personally still hoping that Sacred Stones units are next on the docket… Though less so now that I’ve spent too many orbs just to get Gray.

Screw you, Gray. Never even liked using you in Echoes.

Arrival of the Brave 2: Electric Boogaloo

Arrival of the Brave 2: Electric Boogaloo

When Fire Emblem Heroes first came out, the biggest draw to the game was the fact that characters from every game in the series would be available in one place.

To prove their commitment to that ideal, Intelligent Systems posed a contest. Everyone who enjoyed Fire Emblem could vote on their favorite heroes from any title, and the top four would become special units once the game dropped.

This Choose Your Legends event culminated in the release of Brave Lyn, Ike, Lucina and Roy.

Then after that, popular but not high-tier units from the Choose Your Legends vote came in the form of farfetched heroes some time later.

Eventually, Intelligent System announced around the game’s one-year anniversary that we would be getting a brand new Choose Your Legends vote, with the heroes who won previously being disqualified.

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, Neimi has not been chosen to join the game.

Hopefully one day Intelligent Systems will come to their senses.

In the meantime, the winners of that second Choose Your Legends vote have finally come to the forefront. Veronica, Ephraim, Celica and Hector have joined a higher class of units and are available to summon as of today following their skill announcements during a Feh Channel livestream yesterday.

So, let’s take a look at the heroes we demanded, shall we?


VeronicaBrave Princess

Skill Set:

  • Hliðskjálf (Might = 14 / Range = 2)
    • Foe cannot counterattack. After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance -4 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions, and grants Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance +4 to unit and allies within two spaces for one turn.
  • Recover (Range = 1)
    • Restores Health = 50 percent of Attack +10 (minimum of 15 Health).
  • Windfire Balm (Cooldown = 1)
    • When healing an ally with a staff, grants Attack and Speed +6 to all allies for one turn.
  • Wrathful Staff (B Skill)
    • Calculates damage from staffs like other weapons.
  • Close Guard (C Skill)
    • Allies within two spaces gain: “If foe uses sword, lance, axe or dragonstone, grants Defense and Resistance +4 during combat.”

Analysis:

Good luck pronouncing the name of Veronica’s weapon. God knows I’ll never be able to.

Thanks to the power of the people, we finally have access to the Princess of Emblian Empire as an ally rather than a foe. Even if she stipulates that she’s not the Veronica we personally know.

The fact that she’s a cleric cavalier who dresses like her older brother Bruno is more than indicative of that, and she has a super solid base kit to facilitate her abilities. She not only has the classic dazzling/wrathful staff combination popularized by Genny, she also offers a host of buffs.

Healing your ally? Buff their attacking stats.

Attacking an enemy? Buff all nearby ally stats while nerfing all nearby opponents.

Standing nearby Veronica at all? Buff their close-range defenses during combat.

It’s an interesting little niche to fill, and while I don’t imagine she’ll be as game changing as Brave Lyn, Veronica will undoubtedly be the best staff-weilding cavalier added into the game.


EphraimSacred Twin Lord

Skill Set:

  • Garm (Might = 16 / Range = 1)
    • Grants Attack +3. If a bonus granted by a skill like Rally or Hone and/or extra movement is granted by a skill like Armor March or Armored Boots is active, unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack.
  • Draconic Aura (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts Attack by 30 percent.
  • Close Defense (A Skill)
    • If foe initiates combat and uses sword, lance, axe or dragonstone, grants Defense and Resistance +6 during combat.
  • Special Fighter (B Skill)
    • At start of combat, if unit’s Health ≥ 50 percent, grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 to unit and inflicts Special Attack cooldown charge -1 on foe per attack (only highest value applied, does not stack).
  • Armor March (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, if unit is adjacent to an armored ally, unit and adjacent armored allies can move one extra space (that turn only, does not stack).

Analysis:

It’s my boi. He’s here. Ready to kick ass and chew bubblegum, but he’s all out of gum.

The OG Ephraim was a lance infantry unit, and his Legendary Hero counterpart was a cavalier. Now we have an axe-wielding armored knight — a nice bit of diversity, even if he never actually uses that kind of set-up in Sacred Stones.

Beyond being a cool reference to the sacred weapon of Grado, Ephraims axe gives him an immediate +19 attack and guarantees a follow-up attack if he’s next to an ally with adjacent-benefiting skills. An interesting contrast to his stand-offish Legendary Hero variant.

Ephraim also takes hits well, only to make his own further attack-boosting Special Attack more active and lessen the effectiveness of his opponent’s Special Attacks in the process.

Honestly the only thing he’s missing to be a truly phenomenal unit is Distant Counter. Without it, he doesn’t completely overshadow the likes of Hector — in any of his three axe armor forms.

Even so, he’ll probably replace my Valentines Hector. Because I love Ephraim.

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll even be able to sacrifice a Hector to make him the best he can be.


CelicaWarrior Priestess

Skill Set:

  • Royal Sword (Might = 16 / Range = 2)
    • Grants Speed +3. If unit is within two spaces of an ally, grants unit Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per unit’s attack (only highest value applied, does not stack).
  • Galeforce (Cooldown = 5)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants unit another action after combat (once per turn).
  • Death Blow 4 (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack +8 during combat.
  • Double Lion (B Skill)
    • If unit’s Health = 100 percent at start of combat and unit initiates combat, unit attacks twice, but deals one damage to self after combat (does not stack).
  • Attack Tactic (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, grants Attack +6 to allies within two spaces for one turn. Granted only if number of that ally’s movement type on current team ≤ two.

Analysis:

Celica is the definition of a glass cannon, but she’s somewhat restricted by what clearly seems to be an attempt by Intelligent Systems to not make her too broken to handle.

She essentially follows the design of Elincia, but as an infantry unit. Utilizing the extra special large buff of her power crept Death Blow, she runs into battle and gets to double her attack output with Double Lion — obviously taught to her by Alm back in Valentia. Then she gets to move again using the power of Galeforce, more likely to trigger when an ally is nearby thanks to her blade.

It’s all copacetic when you discount Attack Tactic, which seems to be more of a reference to her leadership role in-game if anything. Likely the only thing players may want to replace.

Unfortunately, the niche she fills is undermined by the fact that Double Lion negates itself by costing one health. We’ve seen the same thing used with characters like Summer Tana, but in this case it’s more severe because she can’t use a skill like Renewal.

So Celica will probably be a phenomenal glass cannon in terms of killing two units right at the beginning of a match. But with longer, multi-stage fights she might fall more behind than her brave allies.

At least it’s super cool that her design is based on the character’s original appearance from FE Gaiden.


HectorBrave Warrior

Skill Set:

  • Maltet (Might = 16 / Range = 1)
    • Accelerates Special Attack trigger (cooldown count -1). If unit’s Health ≥ 50 percent and foe initiates combat, unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack.
  • Ignis (Cooldown = 4)
    • Boosts damage dealt by 80 percent of unit’s Defense.
  • Ostian Counter (A Skill)
    • Unit can counterattack regardless of foe’s range. If foe initiates combat, grants Attack and Defense +4 during combat.
  • Bold Fighter (B Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per unit’s attack, and unit makes guaranteed follow-up attack (does not stack).
  • Even Resistance Wave (C Skill)
    • At start of even-numbered turns, grants Resistance +6 to unit and adjacent allies for one turn (bonus granted to unit even if no allies are adjacent).

Analysis:

Hector Emblem is finally complete.

If you’re interested in using three axe and one lance armor units and risking instant death from my friend Jonathan’s +10 armorslayer Hana.

Much like his last three variants, Brave Hector is clearly meant to top the meta with just ridiculous damage output and skills.

He has a distant counter lance and can use guaranteed follow-up attacks from both his own and his foe’s attacks. From there, he has multiple opportunities to quicken that Special Attack and bust out a brutal 80 percent damage buff.

Again, his C Skill seems somewhat out-of-place unless he’s meant to take down mages as much as physical attackers. But if you want to run him that way, more power to you.

There’s not much else to say about old Hector here. He’s probably going to be obscenely powerful, and easily replace the top-tier lance armor units like Effie. She unfortunately needs to inherit Distant Counter to be a true beast.

Sorry Effie, I love you… But you’ve been outclassed.


Like the Choose Your Legends banner from last year, players once again have the ability to immediately summon one of the four new brave heroes for free.

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In the previous batch, Brave Lyn was almost ubiquitously the best option in the bunch. Everyone wanted a free version of her.

In the new brave banner, at least using my own friend group as a barometer, the decision seems more split.

Personally I decided to use my free summon on Ephraim:

Because I love Sacred Stones. Like a lot.

However, I also see the merits of wanting to summon Veronica or Hector… Celica to a lesser extent.

I already managed to summon Performing Arts Elincia and Micaiah from the most recent special banner, so I’m more than eager to throw a lot more of my orbs at the Brave heroes.

Yet, it appears I may not have to. While I started with 140+ orbs, the game didn’t waste any time by giving me this for my free summon post-guaranteed unit:

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Yeah, who would have thought?

Perhaps if this keeps up I won’t have to spend too many orb on this banner. In fact, for now I think I’ll try to keep my bingeing above 100 like I was on the Performing Arts banner. Just to see if anything else comes out in the near future.

So, I suppose that just leaves some story to talk about. For as little as there is here.


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Our newest paralogue begins with the conceit, once again, that all of the terrible things happening in the main story are totally separate from what’s happening here.

While it has been a long time since Brave Heroes were summoned into the world of Askr, it seems as though the Order of Heroes is better prepared for their arrival.

Alfonse, in this case, becomes the surrogate for Intelligent Systems from what I can tell.

IS: “Wait, are you serious? They voted for the main villain? Well… Guess we might as well make the Order as confused as we are.”

That’s about all the set-up we get for these encounters. In fact, it’s the only set of lines we get from the Order of Heroes. The rest is character-driven by the new Brave Heroes.

I’ll give the developers credit, they’re good at pairing characters together in such a way that the interactions are compelling to see.

For instance, we start with Celica and Veronica:

They bond over their shared loss of significant relations. Celica being separated from Alm and Veronica being separated from her brother, Bruno.

In fact, Veronica gets a super interesting development overall thanks to this paralogue. But I’ll get into that later.

For now, the characters move on uneventfully when you win the first match. So it’s on to Ephraim and Hector.

Because I don’t know Hector very well, I wouldn’t have drawn the connection initially. But both Lords are thrust into power by outside tragedies despite being mostly self-reliant warriors who love to go it alone.

So naturally they decide to train with each other after bonding for all of three seconds.

Except never mind, you show up first and interrupt the sparring match. Only for you to essentially blow them both away, that way they retreat.

Once all the brave heroes regroup, they give you that stock “time to fight” dialog.

Once the fight ends, Veronica sticks back to talk to your group about her strange presence.

Veronica has a few moments throughout the main story where it’s obvious that she’s lonesome and likes summoning heroes to keep her company.

But through the surrogate of alternate dimension Veronica, now we have a much better clue as to the origin of her neuroses.

She feels abandoned by her brother, who left to try to find a cure for the curse of their bloodline.

Having summoned Veronica, I also have a little more insight into her character. One of her voice line mentions having learned how to ride a horse thanks to her brother and Xander, the Nohrian prince who acts as her chief guardian.

Xander is quite literally a stand-in for her brother. Which is something he likely knows, and may be a strong reason why he stays with her despite the contract being broken between them.

That’s pretty powerful, honestly. Makes me like Veronica that much more.

Good on you Intelligent Systems, I appreciate you making me care more.


With that, we come to the end of another Fire Emblem Heroes adventure.

As always Intelligent System makes these posts some of my favorite to craft, because there’s always something new and unexpected that makes me care for the stupid gotcha game style they’re pushing.

That said, I know nobody but me cares about these posts. So if you managed to make it this far, go ahead and say ‘We the Bravely Default’ in the comments. Because even though I’ve never played the game before, it seems like something that would fit. Plus it would let me know that we are, in fact, the Bravely Default.

While you’re down in those comments there, let me know who’s your favorite new Brave Hero! Also, let me know how you feel about the character development we’re watching unfold with Princess Veronica.

Until next time, stay real y’all.

Sketchy Summer, had me a Blast

Sketchy Summer, had me a Blast

Out of all the bizarre banner names we’ve gotten throughout the history of Fire Emblem Heroes, ‘Sketchy Summer’ is probably the funniest to me. Even more than the strange ‘Farfetched Heroes’ banner we got a while back with Lute and Mia.

Mostly because it brings Alyson to mind. Dad and I always like to joke with her that musicians are sketchy individuals whenever she brings us stories from the RUHS band room.

Speaking of, shout out to Intelligent Systems for giving me the opportunity to bring up Aly in a video game-themed post. Because as I’m sure you all know…

She lives it when I do that.

But hey that’s enough personal stuff. We’ve got a brand new set of summer heroes gracing the beaches of… Fire Emblem worlds. All of them? I guess.

Whatever, let’s show them off!


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LindeSummer Rays

Skill Set:

  • Starfish (Might = 12 / Range = 2)
    • If unit’s Health ≤ 75 percent and unit initiates combat, unit can make a follow-up attack before for can counterattack. After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions.
  • Ardent Sacrifice (Range = 1)
    • Restores 10 Health to target ally. Unit loses 10 Health but cannot go below one.
  • Brazen Attack/Resistance (A Skill)
    • At start of combat, if unit’s Health ≤ 80 percent, grants Attack and Resistance +7 during combat.
  • Cancel Affinity (B Skill)
    • Neutralizes weapon-triangle advantage granted by unit’s skills. If unit has weapon-triangle disadvantage, reverses weapon-triangle advantage granted by foe’s skills.

Analysis:

Starting off this new banner is probably the most bizarrely constructed unit here. Linde, the rather well-loved character from the original Fire Emblem who wielded the original Aura magic…

Is now a dagger-holding cavalier.

I’m still having some trouble wrapping my head around the idea that Linde of all characters is our first cavalier dagger user, but I suppose I can’t complain about her necessarily. She’s actually really well constructed for her role based on her inherent skills.

Ardent Sacrifice isn’t necessarily the most useful assist skill, but if she has a lower health stat it will help bring her into a range where she can activate both her weapon’s immediate follow-up skill and the attack boost from her A skill. While Cancel Affinity seems a bit randomly thrown in for a colorless unit, the rest makes for a very solid core.

She’d actually be a very useful summon if she weren’t stuck with a much less adequate unit in the colorless pool on this banner. But we’ll get to that.


TikiBeachside Scion

Skill Set:

  • Summer’s Breath (Might = 16 / Range = 1)
    • Effective against dragon foes. Grants Defense +3. If foe initiates combat, grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per attack during combat (only highest value applied, does not stack). If foe’s Range = two, calculates damage using the lower of foe’s Defense or Resistance.
  • Moonbow (Cooldown = 2)
    • Treats foe’s Defense or Resistance as if reduced by 30 percent during combat.
  • Attack/Defense Bond (A Skill)
    • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Attack and Defense +5 during combat.
  • Hit and Run (B Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, unit moves one space away after combat.
  • Dragon Valor (C Skill)
    • While unit lives, all dragonstone allies on team gain 2x SP (only highest value applied, does not stack).

Analysis:

Summer Young Tiki is an absolutely wild unit. Full stop.

I’m not even sure I have to elaborate too much about why, just look at her weapon. It has four different and useful effects all together inherently. Granted the ranged defensive stat shift only works if you replace her A skill with Distant Counter, much like with Myrrh, but it does balance beautifully with her Moonbow Special Attack.

Hit and Run is also great on a flying unit, as I’ve found through my Cordelia, and the Valor skill has vague utility for training. It’s just not something I’m very keen to keep.

I won’t even wait for the end of this unit analysis to say that Tiki is the best unit here and the one I’m super invested in summoning. Regular young Tiki was my first five-star summon ever and I’m very excited to get this one too.

Soon I will be able to combine her with Myrrh and female Grima to create an Earth-blessed flying dragon loli army.

Prepare yourself, Fire Emblem world.


TakumiPrince at Play

Skill Set:

  • Fishie Bow (Might = 12 / Range = 2)
    • Effective against flying foes. If unit’s Health ≤ 75 percent and unit initiates combat, unit can make a follow-up attack before foe can counterattack.
  • Glimmer (Cooldown = 2)
    • Boosts damage dealt by 50 percent.
  • Fury (A Skill)
    • Grants Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance +3. After combat, deals six damage to unit.
  • Odd Resistance Wave (C Skill)
    • At start of odd-numbered turns, grants Resistance +6 to unit and adjacent allies for one turn (bonus granted to unit even if no allies are adjacent).

Analysis:

As I alluded to earlier, Takumi seems like the most underwhelming unit on this new summer banner. It’s not by any fault of its own, he actually has a pretty solid base skill set, it’s just so generically ‘good’ that it doesn’t really stand out like the others.

Basically, he hits hard using his Fury/Glimmer combo, strikes twice when beat up like Linde and boosts his team’s resistance every other turn.

It would probably be better if Takumi had some more interplay between his bow’s skill and the other passive skills he carries, and while that can be rectified via skill inheritance, who knows if it’s worth investing that much into him as of yet.

Oh, and did I mention he’s out third Kinshi Knight unit. Apparently every Hoshidan noble is going to get one at this rate, and it’s sort of lost its luster.

Until we get Kinshi healer Sakura of course. I’ll pay plenty of money to bring her into my army.


CamillaTropical Beauty

Skill Set:

  • Juicy Wave (Might = 12 / Range = 2)
    • If unit’s Health ≤ 75 percent and unit initiates combat, unit can make a follow-up attack before foe can counterattack.
  • Draconic Aura (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts Attack by 30 percent.
  • Death Blow (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack +6  during combat.
  • Flier Formation (B Skill)
    • Unit can move to a space adjacent to a flying ally within two spaces.
  • Hone Fliers (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, grants Attack and Speed +6 to adjacent flying allies for one turn.

Analysis:

Alright folks, joke’s over. We finally did it. We got a summer Camilla. I hope you’re all happy.

All things being equal, Camilla makes for a decent Flier Emblem team member between her Hone Fliers and Flier Formation skills. In fact, she feels very similar to Elincia due to her inherent Death Blow as well.

Unfortunately, her ranged weapon is far less useful than Elincia’s is. It has the same effect as Takumi and Linde’s do, except with no extra bonuses attached. Again it’s decent, just somewhat lackluster without the synergy that Linde ruined everyone else with.

Honestly the best part about summer Camilla is the fact that there are now four Camilla in the game. Now we can have a full team of Camilla, all giving each other flying bonuses and all carrying a range of colorful weapons.

I know my friend Mitchell is up for building that, so I’m looking forward to seeing it.


I already said this during the Tiki section of this little look at our new characters, but she undoubtedly stands out as the unit I want to summon most. Linde is a close second, if for no other reason than the bizarre nature of her existence.

Plus she could help me make a cool secondary Horse Emblem team. But that’s a different story.

Two other subjects regarding this banner as a whole primarily come to mind.

First, I think it’s a little disappointing that a new game was once again stuck sharing the spotlight with a game that has already been featured in the summer banners. Just like Sacred Stones had to share the love with Awakening units, the original Fire Emblem units have to share a space with Fates units here.

I don’t care quite as much about this game as I did with Sacred Stones, so I’m not as angry as before. But still, it’s not a great practice IS.

Let games other than the newest titles have some love once in a while.

The second thing is some sort of red unit fatigue I’m feeling. On the one hand, I’m staring at the large array of red units in my army wondering how I’m supposed to use them all when there are so many good ones. Though on the other hand, I’m now desperate to summon both Tana and Tiki on these summer banners before they pass.

Hopefully I’ll get one of the two of them before everything disappears.

Since the new summer banner just started, however, I’m trying my luck on that today. So how have I done so far?

well… That requires a bit of story time. See I started the night with about 80 orbs. My first summon circle was a full set of five units that got me basically nothing.

However, that session put me over unit storage capacity, so I had to exchange a few units into Hero Feathers. With those feathers, I finally hit the threshold where I could finish this merging project:

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Ain’t she the best?

Now I have two +10 merged units, and I’m well on my way to getting a couple more.

After that first batch I kept trying and managed to pull a five-star unit on a red stone almost right away at 3.25 percent chance!

However. It wasn’t Tiki.

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It was Gray.

Now I’m not necessarily mad about getting him, as he’s one of the few Echoes units I’ve been missing. Though I really wish I could’ve gotten Tiki on that easy 3.25 percent investment.

With Gray resetting me so quick I decided to try to shift my attention toward Tana again. After all she’s gone in two weeks while Tiki is here for a whole month.

Somehow I also managed to get a red five-star unit within my first few summons there that wasn’t Tana.

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It was Celica. Evil Celica at that.

Apparently I’m just an Echoes guy today, ladies and germs.

Somewhat baffled by my ability to pull two five-stars that I didn’t want within about 40-50 orbs, I decided to just cool off from there. I went into doing the story missions so I could stock up on some orbs once again before going back into the fray.

That being said, I guess that means it’s story time. But this time about the actual in-game story and not my personal story about dealings prior to the story.

I’m sure you know what I mean, I’ll quit rambling on.


 

 

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I think it’s worth taking a moment up top here today to acknowledge that the summer-themed maps have always had my favorite aesthetic to them. In my original summer banner posts from last year I remember complimenting small things like how pretty the water is, and that still hasn’t changed.

It’s pretty high praise considering things like the Halloween and Christmas banners have also had fantastic map artwork accompanying them.

Something extra special about the summer maps in this Paralogue specifically is the fact that even the generic enemies get in on the fun. Some of them are wearing accessories and they all use weapons that previous summer units like Adult Tiki wielded.

It’s a super nice touch and I appreciate it.

With that said I’m sure you’re wondering what kind of amazing story accompanies this kind of great artwork.

Well… It’s about on-par with what we’ve gotten the last three times.

Though this one does start with what is arguably the most relatable line I’ve ever read in a video game.

Useless Failure Meme

Me too Anna. Me too.

As it turns out the sound recording of waves crashing at the beach is not selling like the Order expected, so they once again need a brand new way to try to make some money to stay afloat.

 

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I’m getting a very strong ‘famous last words’ vibe from that sentiment.

Ah who am I kidding, all of this is just an excuse to get our heroes in the same room as heroes in swimsuits, right? So let’s see what they’re up to.

Camilla and Linde are hanging out together by the pier, discussing the merits of wearing such skimpy outfits compared to their usual skimpy outfits.

 

They attempt to set Linde up as a character who constantly bemoans her current choice in an outfit, claiming that it’ll hurt her ability to fight more than it’ll help her.

But like… The joke isn’t all that funny. So I won’t stick on it too long.

Instead let’s look at Takumi and Tiki being best friends because it’s literally god damn adorable.

 

Just being all best friends, hanging out at the water together. It’s wholesome and great and I love it.

But what I love best is this.

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Normally I’d be upset that we’re using this naming convention for someone other than Marth… But I can’t be upset. It’s too sweet.

Before my heart just explodes out of my chest, the game thankfully moves us into the final stage. The dialogue build-up is about what you’d expect.

 

 

Except god dammit Tiki and Takumi are still being way too adorable and it just. It hurts okay?

This is the kind of thing that I didn’t know I needed? And now I’ll ever think about is how sweet Takumi is with Tiki because they both deserve nice things and.

I’m going to be a minute here.

Okay here I am, sorry about that.

When you win Linde makes another remark about her dress before moving you back to the Order of Heroes’ base. From there the group begins to compare drawings.

 

 

 

Obviously it doesn’t go very well.

But then Anna apparently reveals that you, the player, were also drawing pictures of the swimsuit heroes.

Though if the FBI happens to be reading this, I swear it’s not true. I was not drawing the little girl that’s a dragon in her bathing suit.

No matter how much these two try to convince you I was with compliments about my abilities.

 

Highly appreciated, but definitely not the time.


Alright well, I suppose that brings an end to my coverage of the Fire Emblem Heroes summer schtick for 2018. Once again it has been a pretty wild ride, and I’m definitely feeling the same sentiment right now as I was a year ago.

Boy it’s late while I’m writing this. Also why don’t I go to the beach more often?

That’s a mystery I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to truly answer.

Now before I go to bed for real this time, I wanted to update you all on one more thing. See, after finishing this post earlier, I’ve decided to rewrite the ending. Because I was laying in bed finishing the Paralogue missions for more orbs and decided to try my hand at the banners once again.

This time I managed to get a real bite.

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Helllooooooo Tiki. Welcome aboard the hype train!

I’m seriously glad I managed to get the unit I really wanted out of this banner so soon. Because of that I can go back to focusing exclusively on getting Tiki for a while before coming back to maybe get Linde later.

With that happy news to leave off on, I suppose it’s only right for me to ask. What do you think of this new banner? How has your summoning luck been lately?

I’m sure not great because apparently I’m a God who steals every bit of luck right now… But I’m sure I’ll get my karmic retribution for that eventually.

The Big Band Banquet, 2018

The Big Band Banquet, 2018

For the second year in a row I have made the pilgrimage out to the Double Tree hotel in Torrance for the end-of-year Redondo Union High School band banquet.

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As Dad aptly put it, the event marks the end of our family’s sixth year of high school. Two for Aly after I finished my four. The whole band portion is obviously newer to me personally, but we’ve spent more than enough time discussing the fact that my sister is a great musician (whose performances you can see in my blog posts here and here).

One thing that stood out about this year compared to last year is the fact that my friend Tiana was not in attendance. Her brother graduated from RUHS last year, so she had no reason to go back.

As silly as it sounds, I actually missed seeing her for what had become a regular game of phone picture tag at most of the high school band events.

But oh well, I suppose that’s life. Just made things a bit more boring than before.

Even if she wasn’t there, however, the room was certainly packed:

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RUHS has a huge band program, but it wasn’t just the band kids and parents, the school’s dance guard was also represented at the event.

Essentially the banquet was a celebration of a year’s worth of hard work. Graduating seniors were given a sendoff, the booster club that fundraises for the program passed the torch off to next year’s leaders and awards were given out.

Unfortunately, the microphone didn’t work. All night. So because I was in the back of the room, I couldn’t hear anything that was happening in any detail.

So instead of doing that, I figure I’ll make this post something a bit different.

I’m going to review the banquet food. Consider it a tribute to the great Anthony Bourdain on the day of his passing.

Let’s do my man proud.

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Course One — Salad

First impressions are important. Often one can judge how a meal is going to be based on the salad course.

At least, that’s what my brain is making up as something that sounds intelligent.

This salad course was decent, I’d say. It was mostly just leafy greens with shredded carrots, a single cherry tomato and a single slice of cucumber. While I ate the whole meal happily, some of the greens left a rather bitter aftertaste that made everything feel a little less great than it began.

The rolls that were also laid out alongside the salad tasted quite good. They were perhaps a little dry and grainy, but with just a bit of butter it made up for that small flaw.

Really the worst aspect of this part of the meal, I’d say, was the lemonade. Maybe I’m too accustomed to a sweet, sugary lemonade, but this one tasted somewhat blandly sour. I quickly replaced it with water as soon as I could finish the glass.

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Course Two — Chicken

For a fancy dinner banquet that fed probably close to 500+ people, the dinner course was better than I might have expected. For the most part.

The chicken was good, though it did have dry patches and a few bones that messed with the experience. What helped it shine was the sauce, which tasted something like teriyaki to me.

That was not only delicious with the chicken, but mixed in with the vegetables and mashed potatoes too.

On those two subjects, the vegetables were hit-or-miss. Broccoli, cauliflower and carrots were all tasty. All the squash wasn’t my cup of tea, but I’m not a huge fan of squash in the first place so perhaps that bias colored my opinion coming in.

The mashed potatoes, however, were easily the star of the entire meal. They were fluffy and honestly delicious, especially when run through the sauce like I mentioned. I could’ve eaten a few plates of the stuff by itself, and my Dad readily agreed on the ride home.

Double Tree, your mashed potatoes won my heart. 10/10.

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Course Three — Ice Cream

It’s hard to go wrong with dessert. Especially when that dessert is vanilla bean ice cream with a little whipped cream, some chocolate sauce and a vanilla wafer cookie.

It was about as good as it sounds really, I don’t have a hell of a lot to say about it.

Perhaps my only complaint with this latter portion of the meal was the fact that the ice cream tasted a little grainy at times, perhaps too heavily stuffed with the ground vanilla bean.

To be completely honest, the ice cream almost took a back seat to the secondary dessert that was laid out at each table — not as a part of the hotel’s meal plan:

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Some genius in the band program decided to put out chocolate and taffy at each table.

While most of my personal consumption came after the official dessert course, I happily gnawed on chocolate coins, Hershey’s Kisses and licorice-flavored sea salt taffy throughout the night.

Thank you whoever made that decision.

With that food review out-of-the-way, I’ll be sure to make this post a part of my resume whenever I wind up at some Lifestyle magazine somewhere.

Because I couldn’t really hear much of what happened, like I said, I suppose that’s also all I have to say about the banquet. The night ended on a high note, with the speaker for the music that was going to play not working.

Up until it did work and blasted music from right above our table specifically out of nowhere, scaring everyone. That was about the point where Dad and I decided to skip out early, as Aly stuck back to dance with her friends.

In the end I suppose that’s what it’s all about. Aly got to have a great time with her friends. She is pretty much the social one, after all.

I do appreciate that she wanted me to come along though, if I can be real for a second. It may not have been the most fun event in the world for me, but I was still glad to come along and support her.


P.S. — I also wanted to say that I remembered the fact that last year at this time exactly I was still playing Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. Even more specifically, I remember playing the mission where Alm’s army was approaching Nuibaba’s Mansion under the table at Aly’s freshman banquet.

I say that, again, because I know Aly hates it when I bring up video game stuff in the middle of posts about her music stuff.

You’re welcome, gurl.

Fire Emblem Heroes Version 2.5.0: The Aesthetic Update

Fire Emblem Heroes Version 2.5.0: The Aesthetic Update

I’ve been a bit busy throughout this last week finishing the Spring 2018 semester, so I wanted to make sure I spent the weekend talking about recent updates to Fire Emblem Heroes.

Because really what else do I do with my free time?

There was a large-scale update and a brand new summoning banner put out over the last couple days, so in today’s post I’m going to focus on the 2.5.0 Update and tomorrow I’ll focus on the latest Genealogy characters.

With that said, there’s a lot to cover, so let’s get into it.



The 2.5.0 Update is here, and it brings along a number of changes to existing game modes and aesthetics throughout the game.

There is not exactly a lot that’s “substantive” to this new version of the game, unlike previous versions that did things like add entirely new ways to play. As a result this update update (totally not clunky at all) will probably be on the shorter side as I just go through my thoughts on what is new.


Arena Updates

 

Easily the largest changes of the bunch came to the OG Arena.

BECAUSE NOW IT’S IN A DIFFERENT COLOR!

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That sweet, sweet dark tone really makes a true mirror to reflect the darkness in my soul as my units smite all others in their path.

Okay fine, that’s not actually the blunt of the update to the game’s Arena mode, but I did want to point out the fact that the assets were altered because… I’m really not sure why they were altered.

Were the original colors not visually pleasing enough?

Is this darkness what the developers wanted to reflect with their competitive mode all along?

The world may never know.

The actual major update to this mode is the shift from seven battle chains to five, and the subsequent item system that accompanied it:

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I do like the idea of making overall season chain necessities shorter, as well as adding an item for each battle in the chain to entice people to get a ranking at least once.

However, it does bug me that they decided to go from seven battles to five.

Seriously whose bright idea was it to take a game mode where the swords used to take part come in intervals of three and not make the overall requirements come out to some interval of three? It’s honestly kind of asinine and bugs me from a part of myself that I can’t readily explain in such a short timeframe.

Luckily they decided not to make me chuck my phone at a wall by also implementing Bonus Ally benefits for a season’s token heroes.

The Bonus Ally system, in which the characters specifically named get additional stat buffs if you use them, has always made Tempest Trials a great deal more fun. I still can’t get over the time when Christmas Lissa tanked everything during her Tempest Trial, or when Reinhardt did just a few weeks ago when his retrain came out.

Now that Arena characters get this same kind of boost, it makes everything feel so much more copacetic when it comes to summoning new banner heroes.

Now, not only do we get new characters for the catalog, but those characters are more likely to help us get better benefits in the Arena seasons. All things considered it’s a genius addition, and just about makes up for the whole lack of even numbering.


New Weapons

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A couple of beloved characters are finally getting the special weapon treatment they deserve.

It’s one of the things I really appreciate about how Intelligent Systems has handled updating their game over time, actually. While most units inevitably get power crept, more stuff is added to benefit the older heroes to ensure they still maintain relevance — either in battle or through skill inheritance.

The latest update brought three heroes back into the limelight. Two by granting brand new weapons and one by adding a special upgrade.

  • Camilla — Bewitching Beauty
    • Everyone’s favorite over-sexualized older sister (something the universe will have to remind me never to write out again) has a brand new weapon, giving her further utility than she was able to achieve with a Brave Axe. Camilla’s Axe has twice the might as a Brave Axe+ and grants her +4 Attack and Speed if there is a cavalry or flying unit nearby. While this does make her a more effective member of a flier emblem team, it might arguably be worse than a Brave Axe depending on who you ask. It is a cute reference to the fact that all of her siblings are on horseback, though.
  • Corrin (male) — Fateful Prince
    • Corrin is a unit that literally everybody has wanted to see get a cool upgrade in the Weapon Refinery. Yato was such a neat weapon in Fates that it’s not hard to imagine why. Though I personally think it’s a missed opportunity not to offer him three upgrade paths for the Yato based on the three paths it can take in Fates, the upgrade we got is a neat reference too. With the upgraded Yato, allies who have a support with Corrin gain +4 to all stats when within two spaces of him. Somewhat situational, but like I said a cool little reference. The scary part of this comes when, as my friend told me, you can have three upgraded Corrins provide +4 to every stat of an ally three times over… THAT is dangerous.
  • Clair — Highborn Flier
    • Like Camilla, Clair’s Silver Lance can now be upgraded into the Rhomphaia. Coming from Shadows of Valentia, the weapon adds one more might point and grants her super effective damage against armored and cavalry opponents. It’s simple. It’s effective. It’s just a great upgrade that makes Clair that much more viable. Unfortunately, it cannot be passed onto another unit. That’s really the only downside as far as I can tell.

While all three of these characters have been improved by their upgrades (except debatably Camilla), I’m not sure I’m more enticed to use any of them.

Perhaps if we get Scarlet to appear one day I’ll make her a perfect husband Corrin to turn her into the relentless beast she always deserved to be. But that’s a long shot at this point, so I’ll continue to dream…


Tap Battle and Rival Domains

The two images above essentially sum up everything that has been changes with these game modes. So I won’t break down the information, but I will briefly react to it all.

Tap battles have never been a game mode that I enjoy. For the most part I don’t like them because they’re seriously underutilized. Seriously Intelligent Systems, awards only once per level when there are four different ways you can play that level? With no benefits for completing all four varieties?

Plus, don’t even get me started on the fact that music repeats between versions of the game mode despite putting gaps between them.

In a way, the addition of hero merit boosting for heroes who participate does help. It encourages playing through those four different varieties of the levels at least.

But my issues, for the most part, do still stand.

Rival Domains, however, have had an improvement that I can get behind more readily. Not only have the selection of characters been pre-determined rather than randomized, which makes it easier to go through and learn how to properly be a stage, but they also made it easier to beat by restricting the ability of enemies to attack after warping.

Simple changes, but effective in terms of making things more straight forward and easy to defeat. Unlike with the tap battles, this actually makes it way more enticing for me to play the game mode.

Thus, I deem this section a success and a failure. Hopefully tap battles will eventually get better enough that I feel they’re worth bothering with more often.


Tutorial Adjustments

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So this is another category where there was a significant change that I frankly don’t have too much to say about.

Essentially, there have been adjustments to the game’s tutorial mode to bring it more up-to-snuff with how much the game has developed in the time since it came out. For veteran players like me, that means next to nothing. I did the tutorial a long, long time ago.

The developers knew this was the case for many of their players and offered up some extra awards.

As the picture above shows, most of the rewards were feathers and badges. A good amount of them too. But what really stood out was the character:

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When we played through the tutorial originally, the first hero everyone received after the original three members of the Order of Heroes was Virion from Fire Emblem Awakening.

Now players receive Takumi from Fates, who is not only a better character but a generally more relevant one. So veteran players got an extra Takumi too.

I appreciate the gesture, as well as the opportunity to give another unit close counter.


Additional Changes

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Alright, while this picture here sums up everything else that’s changed pretty succinctly, there were a few other things I noted that I wanted to point out.

First off, look back at the second bullet up on the list there. Apparently some options are available in the Sacred Seal Force that are new, but I have not been able to figure out what they are.

I sort of imagined that meant there were going to be new seals to forge but…

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Nope.

Oh well. Some should come eventually, right?

… Right?

Well, I digress for now. That’s a story for another day probably.

As I’ve mentioned here or there throughout this post, there are also a lot of aesthetic changes that came from this update.

For example, the main maps screen has a similar visual change to the arena screen.

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Then there are smaller visual tweaks, like the inclusion of an indication as to which units get bonus points in rival domains.

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But hey, none of these are as important as a single change that’s hidden away on the menu screen.

See this option?

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Well… Now we can do this.

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Isn’t it just beautiful?

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I could stare at it all day. *Insert crying tear here*


And that, ladies and mentlegen, is a not-so-short summary of everything new in Fire Emblem Heroes this week.

Er… MOSTLY everything.

As I mentioned at the beginning, there was also a new summoning banner dropped the other day. But this post is already getting a bit long in the tooth, so stay tuned for part 2 coming out tomorrow.

Or, if you’re reading this way in the future, just check it out through this link here.

In the meantime, let me know what you think about this update in the comments down below! What aspect of it do you think is the best? What part do you think is the most disappointing? I’d love to hear all about it.

Darkness is on the rise in Fire Emblem Heroes

Darkness is on the rise in Fire Emblem Heroes

Never before has my disinterest in a previous summoning banner turned out to be such a prescient blessing.

Today we have been given a brand new set of focus heroes in Fire Emblem Heroes and a new chapter in Book II’s story to go along with them. However, rather than showcasing some characters from one game, we’ve gotten a very special grouping.


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That’s right, this special summoning focus is based on heroes who have dark, demented forms for one reason or another. It’s a brilliant idea for a collection to put forward… Though I do sort of wish they were saved for some kind of special holiday or event in which it would make a little more sense for them to appear.

But I can’t exactly call that a serious complaint by any means. After all I really DO love who we got here.

  • RobinFell Incarnate
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    • Just to kick things off I have a question. Why didn’t they just call this character Grima? I get that he’s supposed to be a corrupted Robin basically, but it would’ve made so much more sense to just change his nametag to ‘Grima.’ But I digress, as that petty consideration shines a light nowhere near as intense as the character himself. He has interesting skills and is our first armored dragon unit — with a broken ass weapon at that. Seriously it’s mad powerful and looks insane too. On top of being a good looking unit that’ll fit on my dragon team, I just generally love the twist in Awakening. Robin here will be my main hunt as a result!
  • CelicaImprisoned Soul
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    • Despite a few logical flaws, Celica is a great character in Fire Emblem Echoes. She’s so great in fact that the community voted for her in its second ‘Choose Your Legends’ event. That means a third Celica will be coming in the near future, which in hind sight is not a great thing. After all, Beloved Zofia went to this version, so what is the new Celica going to use? Seraphim magic perhaps? Not completely sure. Though what I am completely sure about is that I will be going after Celica too. Not only is she great-looking skill wise, but she’s just an overall amazing character like I said. Who wouldn’t love her, even with her soul stolen so she becomes a witch?
  • HardinDark Emperor
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    • I’ll be honest, I have the least amount of connections to Hardin given that I didn’t even know who he was before this, so if there’s anyone on this list I’m not going to try summoning… It’s him. Robin and Celica are way more important, plus I already have a powerful Effie as my blue lance armored unit. Though I will say, I like how he fits into this theme as an ally of Marth who lets absolute power corrupt absolutely once he becomes Emperor of Archanea. That’s the kind of example of character information I’m glad I learned more about so I can feel better when I do encounter the guy.

I just… I’m not sure what else I have to say on this matter.

Seriously, I love these heroes. Besides perhaps Hardin’s picks, I have a strong desire to summon all of them.

Plus, Intelligent Systems surprised me by actually reading my mind. When I first saw the trailer show up for this banner online, I was very concerned seeing that Takumi corrupted at the end of Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest version did not show up. He’s basically a meme in his own right, and I figured it was a missed opportunity.

Then I found out Takumi corrupted is specifically going to show up later in a Grand Hero Battle. Like… That’s amazing! I suppose it was just an obvious choice, but knowing my thought process was validated is an incredibly satisfying feeling.

He’s not going to show up until later though. So for now, let’s look back at the heroes we have.

I’ll level with you, audience — when I started on this banner tonight, I had a mountain of orbs. 200.

Yeah, 200. You read that right.

That’s the blessing of my general disinterest in the Valentine’s Day banner that I mentioned before. Between all of the special anniversary events and the current Tempest Trial run I’ve been able to really bolster my reserves for an event just like this where I really, REALLY want the heroes.

Luckily I didn’t have to make too huge of a dent to get there:

It’s my boi Grima, yo! So excited to see him!

He’s going to make an amazing addition to the manakete team I’ve been building up since summoning Myrhh in the latest Sacred Stones banner.

It helps that he has a deep, kinda sexy voice too. You go evil Robin.

I spent about 35 orbs to get to him, and even though I’m showing some restraint for now I’ll definitely still go after Celica soon enough.

Also, it’s worth noting that somehow I got another five-star on the way to Grima:

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Yeah… Not totally sure where Lucina came from, but I suppose I can’t complain. I’ve never gotten her before, so I finally have a new cinematic summoning animation to enjoy.

Even if Masked Lucina is still the better bae. Just saying.


Now earlier I mentioned that I wished these heroes got a bit more of a situational treatment elevating them specifically. That was referring primarily to the new story missions we got alongside our three new evil children.

See, as much as I appreciate the fact that we’re moving the game’s main plot along, the fact that we’re doing so leaves the new heroes as more of a footnote.

It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, honestly.

But… I do really like the development in this chapter, so I’ll let it slide. For now.

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The new chapter picks up where the last one left off (obviously enough). The Order of Heroes have moved into Fjorm’s home nation having protected the village just outside the boundary, and now have to make their way to Gunnthrá who is hiding away.

However, their progress is quickly impeded by the arrival of Surtr’s army.

After defeating Laevatein, she retreats and the Order starts to make their way through the snow once more.

However, they’re troubled by the thought that thick tracks left in the heavy snow is going to lead the fiery army toward them wherever they go.

So Anna comes up with the brilliant idea of leaving one pathway in the snow as a diversion while masking their actual direction.

It seems to be working well enough with Laevatein… But not for our newly introduced villain: Her older sister.

I suppose this is as good a place as any to address my thoughts on Laegjarn…

I love her.

Seriously, she very quickly jumped up to being my favorite member of the opposing army. Not only is she intelligent, she’s cool and collected in a way that makes her seem like a methodical and more dastardly villain with undertones. Plus she totally sits around and gets out of jams with her little sister and it’s dope!

At one point, Fjorm even says she’s an amicable woman that’s willing to use diplomacy and build happiness among the oppressed.

My only real point of contention with her right now, as I think about it in my witching hour daze, is her overall relationship with her younger sister.

That relationship has me awfully conflicted. On the one hand, it’s freaking adorable. Laevatein clearly loves and adores her older sister, wanting to be just like her. Laegjarn appreciates the love and wants her younger sister to be happy.

It’s great because it reminds me of my relationship with my own younger sister in a way! That makes them awfully endearing characters to think that they care for each other in place of their awful father.

However… Even if I love the relationship, something about the way Laevatein has been portrayed now that her sister is around bugs me.

On the one hand it’s sweet seeing her have an endearing bond with her older sister. But on the other hand, as soon as the sister showed up Laevatein’s dialogue suddenly began to sound… Infantilized.

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I get wanting to be respectful of your older sibling, but it seems like the girl has been neutered or something, and that seems like a shame considering she was previously my favorite.

Though maybe I’m over thinking it. If anything that same concern might just be a sign of her complex double facing nature. Who knows, only time will tell.

Anyway though I got WAY off track. But to be fair, once you beat the first mission not a lot happens until you arrive at the last mission when you’re backed into a wall.

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After your group beats them, Laegjarn realizes they might be outclassed in terms of skill and orders a retreat.

While the Order goes off and does… Whatever they do… The focus stays on our fiery sisters.

As Laegjarn reflects on the fact that they’ll need new strategies if they want to win, Laevatein suggests a plan that receives quite a bit of flak.

I don’t know what this special skill is, but it sounds dope and I want to see it.

Unless it kills her. In which case, don’t put it in the game Intelligent Systems. I’d rather not have to deal with any painful self-sacrifices.

Luckily, in place of the hellfire skill a different idea is suggested:

Then things cut off. That’s all you get. Thanks for the money folks, come back another day.

A bit of an abrupt stop this time around, but I suppose I can’t complain. You’ve now seen how much of an emotional journey I felt watching these new characters interact, after all.

Though once again I really would have liked to see what a story focused around Grima and zombie Celica would look like. Talk about a missed opportunity.


That’s about that for my Fire Emblem Heroes blog post for the day. Obviously, I liked these new updates to the roster!

The new heroes are cool, the new villain is cool… I just really appreciate everything this time around. Plus I’ve been able to keep a lot of my orbs in storage, so I feel great about that going forward.

I could end this by asking about everything I talked about, but let’s keep things more simple this time around.

How do you feel about the relationship between Laevatein and Laegjarn? Am I overreacting to Laevatein’s silent obedience around her sister?

Let me know in the comments below!

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

A merry Christmas to all of you out there that are taking a break from your families on this most Yule of evenings and have decided, for one reason or another, to spend some time reading this silly, clichéd offering of mine.

That’s right, as the title above suggests, I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring with a top 10 list of my favorite games that I played this year. It’s been done to death by anyone with an interest in anything… But what can I say. I’ve always enjoyed the idea and wanted to try it myself.

As I don’t celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah ended a couple days ago, I’m just going to be hanging around all day today more or less. I figured doing a list like this could also double as my ‘here are some good gifts for the holiday season’ suggestions. A little late? Perhaps. But I like to think it’s just well-timed enough.

As a couple of forewarnings before we get into things. Just remember that this is my own personal list of favorites. In other words, it’s an opinionated list, so if you don’t agree with me… Well, that’s your opinion. I respect that you have your opinions so long as you respect that I have mine.

On top of that, while it has been an objectively great year for games in general, it has unfortunately not been a wonderful year of gaming for me. Because of the work constraints I’ve had as a college newspaper editor, a full-time student and an intern, there hasn’t been nearly as much time to play games as I would have liked.

So, if anything, these 10 games I’m listing off are arguably the only 10 games I’ve spent any considerable time actually playing this year.

If you don’t see a game you really liked this year, that’s probably why. As a matter of fact, unless you’re a Nintendo junkie like me, you probably won’t see a lot of games you’re familiar with on this list. A Switch and 3DS are my main gaming systems right now, so there aren’t a lot (if any) PS4 or Xbox games in my playing field.

With all that out of the way, let’s jump into the reason we’re all really here than, shall we? After all, what would a games list be without the games?



Editor’s Note: For anyone reading this on my blog proper, I’m going to stick the content under a read more tag. I pretty much let it all out with this one, so it’s long and I don’t want to completely bog everything else down.

Even so, I hope everyone enjoys the show! #UnintendedRhyme



Continue reading “My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List”

The Fire Emblem Heroes mid-April trilogy: Starter Support, Version 1.6 and the upcoming Tempest Trials (take three)

The Fire Emblem Heroes mid-April trilogy: Starter Support, Version 1.6 and the upcoming Tempest Trials (take three)

As promised, here we go again with the Fire Emblems. Because of all the work I’ve got slated this week between DT orientation and my Gladeo internship, I decided to make this a larger overarching post regarding lots of stuff that’s going on in the game right now. It’ll be easier for me that way, rather than splitting things up into three smaller posts, and I’m sure it’ll probably be easier for anyone who actually pays attention to these notifications on social media.

Speaking of, shoutouts to Kaleb for reminding me to treat my Fire Emblems to a nice dinner, and to Gerry who’s probably going to try summoning as soon as he sees this.

Now without further adieu, let’s get going shall we?



The Starter Support event

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The Starter Support event isn’t a new happenstance in the world of Fire Emblem Heroes. What it entails boils down to a new summoning banner called the Hero Fest, which has an increased chance to summon strong and highly desired heroes, as well as an influx of extra orbs to help summon said powerful heroes.

Though I didn’t pay it much mind before, this time around I have tried my hand at the Hero Fest.

We’re only a few hours in and the banner has already hurt me.

As I mentioned in my previous Fire Emblem Heroes post, I did not partake in the previous Hero Fest. However, the content of this banner was extremely enticing from the moment I opened up the game:

  • IkeYoung Mercenary
    • Hails from the Radiant series, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
    • A powerful sword-weilding red unit that holds the sword Ragnell, giving him a built in long-distance counter, and abilities to make use of his high attack stat as a means of buffing his power further.
  • JuliaNaga’s Blood
    • Hails from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War
    • A green tome unit who wields the Book of Naga, helping her serve as an effective dragon killer alongside the powerful special attack Dragon Fang.
  • NinianOracle of Destiny
    • Hails from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade
    • A blue dragon unit who also has the ability to dance for allies, giving them a second movement or attack option during one turn. Also comes packed with Fortify Dragons, allowing her to increase the stats of adjacent dragon characters.
  • GennyEndearing Ally
    • Hails from Fire Emblem: Gaiden and it’s remake Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
    • A colorless cleric unit who can use the Gravity attack to slow other units to one movement space per turn and who comes with the rare Wrathful Staff, giving her staff attack similar damage calculations to regular weapons.

Seriously, all of these heroes are great! Even if Genny is more of an intrinsic fan-favorite level of great as far as the unofficial hero ranking lists are concerned.

It’s hard to pass up Ike, an intense and widely popular swordsman; Ninian, a blue dragon that has an ever-coveted singing ability; and Genny, hands down my favorite character from Echoes. I can pass on Julia, however. Nino and Summer Elise already fill the niche she would try to take up more than well enough.

The Hero Fest banner increases prospects of summoners pulling these focus heroes by increasing the initial summon rate from 3% to 5%. That may not seem like a lot, but in a game where summons are totally based on the random number generator, that 2% makes a pretty big difference in the end.

In fact, those three desirable heroes with a boosted drop rate is such a great deal that I decided to start blowing my orb surplus already. I know I keep bringing up my surplus like it’s a child I’m frivolously wasting away or something, but as I’ve said before it really is more of an issue to me mentally. The safety associated with having lots of orbs is one of my personal idiosyncrasies when it comes to FE:H.

Unfortunately the used fruits of my labor have not blossomed into any flowers of brilliance based on the first big binge I undertook.

For context, I did my first two summons with all five orbs just to boost the rates of getting the focus Heroes overall, then stopped summoning green heroes as, like I said, Julia is not in my sights this time around.

While having a second Eirika is cool, as is getting my hands on new characters with Mae and Athena… Overall most of what I got was either garbage or skill inheritance fodder.

Feels bad, man.

On the bright side, the other part of the Starter Support event is a log-in bonus of two orbs a day for ten days. Not necessarily consecutive days I might add, but it’s going to be consecutive for me. Add those free orbs to the six-month anniversary free orbs AND the orbs that we’re going to be getting from the next Tempest Trials (to be discussed later), and thinking it over does admittedly make me feel less bad about the desire to funnel orbs into the Hero Fest banner.

Whether you take the positive or the negative approach to looking at summoning, here’s hoping things wind up going well down the line. For me and for everybody else putting their money on the line for the next week!



The Version 1.6 Update

Editor’s Note: A couple of the things technically associated with this update were items that I discussed in my last post about the six-month anniversary of the game – namely the changes to the summoning system. A lot of the reasons for updating the game tied back to the fact that it hit that milestone, after all.

Thus, I’d recommend going back and taking a look at that post for some of the summaries of things that have changed. I’m going to be talking about some new ones of course, but that’s a good place to start.img_5861

In regards to what has been changed in Version 1.6, the biggest thing first and foremost, besides the summoning alterations, is probably the addition of the Arena Assault game mode.

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Arena Assault sits alongside Squad Assault as a challenge requiring players to have plenty of powerful units to show their worth. Although Squad Assault focuses on playing through a series of story mode maps and Arena Assault focuses on playing against teams put together by other players, both follow similar ground rules.

In the Assault games, the aim is to beat a number of challenging fights in a row. For the two Squad Assault maps (as a second was added with the 1.6 update), this entails five story missions. For the Arena Assault game, this entails seven battles against player-built teams.

The catch is that once you beat a round with your team, the units on that team are unusable for the rest of the challenge. Thus players need a large collection of powerful units to truly succeed, as just having one ultra powerful group of units won’t help when they get cycled out of usability.

Beyond featuring different battles, Arena Assault offers quite a few other differences compared to its predecessor. Namely: Special items.

These items are awarded to you for completing runs of the Arena Assault and have a variety of cool effects. One restores all of your unit’s health whenever you need it. One gives each of your units an extra space to move. One allows them to take a second turn in a round. One buffs all of their offensive and defensive stats for a battle. So on and so forth.

According to the chart we were given, when you win three matches against teams with lv. 35+ opponents, you earn one item. Five matches earns you two items. Seven matches earns you three items. Simple as that.

You can only take three of these items with you per-run of the Arena Assault, so collecting and using them sparingly is going to be the name of the game. However, I can see them being very useful in the right circumstances, especially since you get more rewards the further into the challenge you manage to get.

Just like in the regular Arena, the higher your winning streak is, the higher your overall rank will be. Both will allow you to receive goods at the end of a season, each of which which lasts a week at a time.

Your rank at the end of each season earns you both Hero Feathers and a new item called Sacred Coins. While the use of these Sacred Coins has yet to be unveiled, I’m willing to bet there’s going to be a store that will open after the first season ends that will allow players to buy special items for future runs.

On top of that, there are going to be daily missions available for participating in Arena Assault runs:

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Requiring players to get through a certain amount of battles consecutively may seem unfair to some extent… But considering the Arena Assault games cost literally nothing to participate in (unless you decide to use your special items), it’s definitely a nice way to provide some extra goods over a long period of time.


That just about sums up everything in regards to Arena Assault, so let’s move into the second big addition of the Version 1.6 update: The Catalog of Heroes.
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Here’s an addition to the game meant to scratch that “Completionist” itch hiding out in probably just about every gamer out there.

The Catalog of Heroes serves as a database housing the information of every hero in the game based on the amount of heroes you personally have seen or summoned.

Heroes you haven’t had any interaction with whatsoever (not including battling them) are completely unavailable for you to look at. Heroes who you’ve seen through means like story cutscenes are available as silhouettes with names, but not much else.

For heroes you have personally summoned, however, you get a bit more.

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The screen you can access with heroes you’ve summoned give you a couple of things to do. Not only do you get the names and miniature biographies of the character in question, you also get to see their portraits and battle sprites at all times, plus you can hear whatever noises and soundbites those include. The new and cool feature of the Catalog is that it allows you to reread the character’s summoning text and the text you unlock when you bring your five star unit up to lv. 40.

The Catalog of Heroes boils down to being a slightly interactive checklist, letting you keep track of which heroes you have and have not gotten access to during your time playing the game.

On the one hand it’s an arguably negligible addition if you don’t care much about collecting. Rereading the text from one-time only events is cool, but otherwise most of the other things the feature offers were already available if you still have copies of units in your barracks.

On the other hand, if you are a collector, having a comprehensive list of characters in one place is actually super dope. There are little visuals cues included that fans of the Fire Emblem series will appreciate, namely the fact that characters are displayed in order of appearance. Both for games and for characters specifically.

For example, Marth and his merry band in the original game appear before Alm and Celica’s armies in the second Fire Emblem game. Yet there’s also organization within the games, as you can see with Fire Emblem Awakening, in which the order goes from Chrom to Robin to Lissa to Frederick to Sully… So on and so forth.

While I’d say the feature is neat and visually appealing, I’m personally not super concerned with collecting EVERY single character considering the sheer amount of characters and the degree of randomness required to summon them. I appreciate the addition and I’ll probably use it frequently enough, but I wouldn’t call it a game changing addition.

For me personally, at least.


Finally, just like last time a major update rolled around, I’ll handle the smaller-scale updates in more of a lightning round format.img_5862

  • The boosted hero merit cap is pretty dope, since it means each hero has the potential to provide an extra 1,000 hero feathers. Never a bad resource.
  • Having a card to represent the Log-In Bonuses are cool and all, but it’s purely aesthetic. Nothing too weighty here.
  • Toggling units in the Training Tower is something I took note of early and took advantage of very quickly. Seriously, especially when you’re doing things like the monthly ‘Beat level 10 with only x kinds of units’ missions, this is an immensely helpful way to get the best bang for your buck while training.
    • I also figured I would add that there’s a new way to look at your list of teams while building them on the Allies screen, but since I didn’t see it anywhere on the update logs I felt like it seemed to fit alongside this change.
  • I haven’t noticed a strength adjustment in the Training Tower as of yet, but I guess that’s probably useful.
  • Again, a change in experience and skill points in either the Arena, the Training Tower or both isn’t something I’ve noticed, but I’m sure it’s helpful.
  • More aesthetics, this time on the settings screen. Ohh. Ahh.
  • The idea of skipping teams with no members when selecting what team you want to go to battle with is a relatively small change, but it’s a nice quality of life improvement all things considered.
  • I don’t have the Summer Gaius, but I guess maybe he was just too sexy for the game’s good. Who knows.

Now, even with all of that out of the way, I technically haven’t actually hit every single update as of yet. But that’s only because the final piece of this puzzle takes the form of my next overarching topic of conversation:



The Tempest Trials: Reunited at Last

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So obviously this event isn’t active as of the time that I’m writing this. It starts tomorrow, but I’m going to be off working most of the afternoon so I probably won’t have a lot of time to write about it then.

I could stay up really early into the morning to talk about it, of course… But considering that’s what I’m doing right now, I don’t feel like it’ll be the best plan of action for me to do two nights in a row.

Luckily, we preemptively know just about everything that’s going to be different about this cycle of the Trials, so I’ll be able to discuss my thoughts without having to experience it. I’ve already slogged through two previous entries in the series for some background, after all.

In case you want to catch up on my adventures through the trials, you can here for the first and here for the second.

The second version of the Trials made the overall experience much easier by fixing things so that enemy teams would be easier to take down over time, even after your teams start to get worn down.

This version promises to add more value to the Bonus allies while still making it simpler to hit higher goal markers, something I know I’ll be shooting for.

Bonus allies have been a staple of the Trials since the very first event. Essentially, eight units provide an extra score multiplier to your overall run when used on at least one of your teams. Four of those units are considered more valuable and give bigger bonuses than the other four, and those heroes are the focus of a summoning banner that runs throughout the duration of the Trials.

This time around, my diligence during the last Echoes summoning banners has served me well.

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Because I already own a Delthea and a Sonya, I’ll be able to make use of the bonuses they provide without having to blow any orbs on this banner. Considering the Hero Fest is more of an area of interest for me right now, that’s certainly nothing to complain about.

Starting with the Reunited at Last event, Bonus allies are now being given more value. When you use them on a team, not only do they get double experience and skill points, they are also going to get extra stat buffs. +4 to attack, defense, resistance and speed as well as a whopping +10 to health.

Not gunna lie, that’s crazy. 10 extra health alone is nothing to sneeze at, and when you add on the rest of the stat buffs there is plenty of incentive for me to use both Delthea and Sonya to breeze through everyone and everything.

Adding that incentive to using the Bonus heroes is great, especially since the extra score multiplier will make it that much easier to score all the prizes. We already know that Clive, who appeared in the most recent Echoes-themed level set, is going to be the unit prize.

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I’m afraid I won’t be able to predict what the Sacred Seal rewards are going to be, however… That’s one of the unfortunate detriments to doing this preemptively.

Using the Bonus heroes more won’t be the only way Intelligent Systems has increased the chances of getting the rewards this time around. One of the other changes implemented will make the first two attempts at the Trials each day worth triple their overall score. On top of that, they’re adding lower level units to the normal difficulty runs, and although that doesn’t apply to me I do appreciate the attempt to make completing runs easier for new players.

Ties in well with the Starter Support event, after all.

The only other big change to the Trials will be the addition of a continuous auto battle function. Due to the tedious nature of slogging through tons of runs at the event in the past, this change is really valuable to make a casual experience out of grinding. That casual approach might not be the best considering you could lose more easily, but still. I can certainly see myself using it just to rack up points without needing to be too attentive.

That’s about all I’m about to talk about regarding the next Tempest Trials. Like I said before, I won’t be able to predict the Sacred Seals, the special final battle map or how everything is going to tie into the overarching storyline of the Tempest (other than the fact that Alm and Celica will be reunited, obviously) due to the fact that I’m writing this before the event takes place.

If there winds up being something significant I see that I desperately want to mention, maybe I’ll put something out here for it. Otherwise, those details might just become a small mention in a later post.



Alright so let me be honest, I’m a little burnt out right now. I’ve had a couple long days in a row on account of Daily Titan orientation and I probably stayed up a little too late writing this, so I’m going to make my conclusion here nice and simple.

You’ve already read like 3,100 words, so you deserve to be spared of my tyranny.

Out of the three facets I discussed in this post – the Starter Support event, the 1.6 update and the Tempest Trials – which do you think provides the coolest things to the game? Obviously one option technically adds more than the rest, but each do have their own individual focuses and merits as far as helping players and fans, improving the inner and outer workings of the game as a whole and providing more fun challenges in the game.

Let me know in the comments down below, and I’ll see you again probably in the next couple days as I talk a bit less about video games and a bit more about my life outside the digital domain.

My craziest Fire Emblem Heroes orb binge yet

My craziest Fire Emblem Heroes orb binge yet

A bit of a clickbait-y title this time around, but I would argue there’s no way to get around that in this case. This particular go around is rather crazy, if you ask me.

Though unfortunately my value for consistency in presentation is probably only going to add to the apparent hypocrisy of making this like dreaded clickbait, since I’ll be burying the lede at least a little bit under my usual character and story discussion/ramblings.

So for those of you who only see this cut-down synopsis on my branch-off to Facebook, I apologize ahead of time.

However… With that said, it’s time to get on with the show.


Today the developers at Intelligent Systems have blessed us with not just one, but TWO new summoning focuses themed after Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. Each feature heroes from the separate armies of the game’s dual protagonists Alm and Celica.

And boy did they pick some great heroes to showcase with these focuses.

Seriously I’ve been excited all day knowing these heroes were coming soon, even though the first hint of them being in the game came from two videos that just showed up to give us about one day’s notice. Yet, that one day’s worth of hype has made me more amped to play Heroes than I’ve felt in months.



Editor’s Note: Yes, I do understand that my temporal perceptions probably sound confusing. In some cases I’m referring to ‘today’ as Thursday, July 13, when the focuses technically dropped. However, at the same time I’m referring to ‘today’ as Wednesday, July 12, since I’m having another case of ‘too excited about writing to sleep,’ which my brain is taking as a continuation of Wednesday even though it’s actually 1:30 a.m. or so on Thursday.

Just bear with me, I’ll try to make as much sense as possible given the aforementioned ‘writing at 1:30 a.m.’ barrier to cognizance.



Just which heroes have made me so giddy, you may ask?

Well I’ll tell you all about them my dear reader, using only the kind of over-excessive and flowery language that can come from someone who just recently played through the game featuring said characters, falling in love with them along the journey.

Alm’s Army

  • MathildaLegendary Knight
    • One of the founding knights of the Deliverance, a force fighting to preserve the land of Zofia in Fire Emblem Gaiden/Echoes. Mathilda is known for both her great combat proficiency and her adoration for the Deliverance’s first leader Clive, who she later marries in the game’s canon. To be honest, I found it a little strange to see that Mathilda was joining the fray rather than Clive, who is arguably a more important character to the story in Echoes… But that’s something I’m going to get into later.
    • Notable Skills: Mathilda comes with an anti-cavalry weapon, the Ridersbane, and a new skill called “Cancel Affinity” which not only negates abilities that increase an opponent’s strength in Fire Emblem’s token weapon triangle, but also reverses the effect of said granted strength. A pretty interesting idea.
  • GrayWry Comrade
    • One of the Ram Village villagers that starts the journey Alm embarks upon alongside Tobin, Faye and Kliff (who is so far the only one that hasn’t made an appearance, interestingly enough). Gray tends to come off as a bit of a womanizer, but he’s a stalwart ally for Alm who (in my time with the game) rode as a cavalier for the Deliverance that eventually comes to marry Clive’s sister Clair. To be honest, he’s my least favorite of Alm’s childhood friends… And my ambivalence kind of extends to this mobile title as well.
    • Notable Skills: Zanbato is a new weapon that only Gray has thus far in Heroes (as far as I can recall) which gives him anti-cavalry capabilities like Mathilda. His passive skills also grant him +6 speed when he has at least 3 more health than his opponent in combat and grant all other sword users twice their special points at the end of a battle.
  • DeltheaFree Spirit
    • Arguably a god amongst men, Delthea is a young girl from a forest village in Zofia who joined Alm’s quest after he (alongside her brother Luthier) saved her from working under the control of a servant of the Duma Faithful. She and her brother are the only two in their village graced with magical capabilities, and though Delthea’s power is the most potent, she tends to struggle internally with the idea of being seated with such a special status. Among Echoes players, it seems to be generally the consensus that Delthea is one of the most powerful units in the game. She seriously wrecks house, and that fact combined with the adorable depiction of her with a single sharp tooth showing and some reminders of my own relationship with my sister makes her one of my absolute favorite units.
    • Notable Skills: Where to start with Delthea… Not only does she herself come equipped with the skill “Death Blow,” instantly giving her +6 attack when she initiates combat, but her new weapon “Dark Aura” grants certain of adjacent allies +6 attack at the beginning of a turn AND her new skill “Drive Attack” grants allies within two spaces +3 attack when fighting. Delthea is kind of wild, and as I’m sure you can imagine will become relevant later in this post.

Celica’s Army

  • SaberDriven Mercenary
    • The first to join Celica’s quest to find the Mother Mila after she sets out from the Novis Island Priory, Saber is a mercenary who pledges to come along to help stave off pirates, but winds up sticking around for far longer than he bargains for. In fact, he winds up becoming one of Celica’s greatest advisors throughout the plot of the game, especially as choices become more difficult when they broach into his original home territory of Rigel. I like the guy, but not significantly so I’m afraid.
    • Notable Skills: Saber’s “Slaying Edge” grants him an ever coveted accelerated special attack cooldown on top of skills which grant him +4 HP, +2 speed and an even faster special cooldown for defensive special attacks, ones that trigger to do things like lower damage dealt by an opponent.
  • LeonTrue of Heart
    • Now here’s a man I can get behind. Leon is an archer who accompanies the knight Valbar when he goes to get revenge by killing the pirate king Barst. Clearly in love with the man, Leon continues to follow Valbar when he joins Celica in thanks for her helping to get revenge for his deceased family. Most of his character revolves solely around the idea of his unrequited love for the man whose tragic history left him separated from his first family, and it’s the kind of love that really melts my heart. So add on to that the fact that he can become a bow knight, probably my favorite Fire Emblem unit, and Leon skyrocketed to the top of my interests as a rather perfect storm of things I enjoy.
    • Notable Skills: Like Saber, Leon’s bow also accelerates special attack cooldowns and he gains +3 speed through a passive skill. He also has a new skill called “Guard” which lowers the special attack cooldown of enemy attacks provided he has over 80 percent health at the start of a battle, though this seems like a strange skill to give to archers, a typically non-defensive unit.
  • SonyaVengeful Mage
    • A powerful mage who joins Celica after she defeats the pirate leader Grieth in the deserts of Zofia… If you choose to let her live during a semi-critical junction in the game. Despite the fact that she is technically skippable, it’s implied that Sonya is the true ally meant to join Celica’s team due to her connections with the leader of the Duma Faithful and her strong mother-figure support with fellow Priory abandonee Genny. Just their connection to each other along gained Sonya some extra points in my book, as Genny was arguably my favorite unit in the game as a whole.
    • Notable Skills: Sonya has a pretty busted initial skill set as well between a weapon that adds damage to her special attacks, one of the most powerful and overused special skills in “Moonbow” and two passive skills that raise her attack and lower opponent’s magical resistances in cardinal directions at the start of each turn. Though I stand by Delthea having the craziest skill set, Sonya makes for a close second.

Whoo boy, hopefully that didn’t tire you all out, as there’s a lot more to go through from here. Hell, I haven’t even broached into the story behind how all these characters appear in the continuing Heroes plot line.

I’ll try to keep things brief and more picture-heavy, since I’m sure this much text is already burning everyone out as is.


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This new story chapter, Bitter Enemies, begins as something of a direct continuation of the previous chapter. The Emblian prince Bruno made an appearance during the big battle with Celica’s forces in the “Rite of Shadows” chapter due to having some connection with Prince Alfonse and Princess Sharena’s missing friend.

Thus, since it was the last place he was seen, the Order of Heroes goes back to Valentia hoping to find him once again.

Once they arrive, the typical gambit of fighting through different battles with contracted heroes do occur…

However, the story around them has much less of a focus on the Valentian heroes than on Bruno, his increasingly mad and violent attitude and his overall connections with Zacharias.

The battles continue across Valentia until eventually the Order of Heroes encounters Bruno and his troops for one more big bout:

Once the fight ends, Alfonse has Bruno cornered and seems ready to end his life.

However… He stops when coming to a different conclusion:

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And that’s it. The chapter ends on this exact image. Cliffhanger city.

While this chapter as a whole does add some nice drama to the overall experience, it admittedly leads to a conclusion that isn’t so surprising. My friends and I came to the conclusion that Bruno was probably going to be Zacharias since the game first came out and reached its release content ‘climax’ at Chapter 9.

One thing it does add that I personally love is a bunch of new Echoes maps, as the miniature recreations of original game locations continues to be one of my favorite things Fire Emblem Heroes nails every time.

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The first four parts of this chapter are wonderful mimics of the Sluice Gate map where Alm frees Delthea, the Zofian coast map where Celica meets the Whitewing sisters, the map where Celica marches on Grieth’s Stronghold and the outside of the Temple of Mila.

I admittedly wasn’t able to immediately identify the fifth map as a recreation of anything specific, so it may just be a map created for Bruno’s big battle. Though if I’m wrong on that and you know what it’s meant to mimic, feel free to correct me.

Also interesting to note: I mentioned earlier that I was surprised to see Clive was not a hero we were able to summon, as instead we were given his love Mathilda. However, in the Grieth Stronghold siege map and in the final battle Clive does, in fact, appear.

If the two Mystery of the Emblem villains were any indication, Clive should likely appear as a Grand Hero Battle sometime soon. I’ve also heard talks that Berkut, one of the game’s antagonists (and one of my absolute favorite tragic characters) should also be making an appearance soon, so there’s always more to be excited about.

Even if I could argue that I enjoy seeing the new map layouts and new characters more than I enjoy getting story continuations in Heroes, at the very least I’ll definitely be interested to see where things go from here.


Summoning focus details? Check.

Added story and drama? Check.

Extra bonus content?

In this case five new orb-providing missions and a new chain challenge map set… Check.

Well then, I think that about gets the nitty gritty update information out of the way. Onto my personal experiences with this update.

I spent just about all day Wednesday hanging out with some of my close middle/high school friends, as we tend to do often given that we were so tightly knit and keep in contact to this day. It was a usual kind of hangout for us, plenty of video games and pizza to go around.

… Though this time we did play a round of Monopoly, where Juan (or cyv001 as you might remember from some of my earlier Sun and Moon build-up days, and whose blog I would still recommend seeing here) beat the absolute hell out of my friend Tiana and I. The angry words that were exchanged as he bankrupted us all more or less reaffirmed why we don’t play games like monopoly too often.

Anyway, one of the big highlights of the night came at midnight, when the new summoning focus banners rolled around. All of us but Juan in this group of friends play Heroes, so we were all pretty excited for the cool new heroes. Even if Jonathan, the one guy who plays mainstream Fire Emblem titles with me, did bring up a gripe that they’re dropping these heroes while still running the Summer hero banner. Having two completely new focuses kind of screwed him over due to the investment he’s made in trying to summon a Summer Robin, which is an issue I completely sympathize with from my own troubles with summoning orbs in the past.

This time around I had a huge surplus however, given that I’ve been saving them up for a rainy day. As I’m sure you all picked up from the amount of praise I heaped on Delthea earlier, she turned out to be my rainy day.

I felt about as excited seeing her appear as an obtainable unit as I believe I’ll feel whenever Neimi inevitably (crosses fingers) shows up, so I figured now would be as good a time as any to start blowing my riches from the past few months of storing like a squirrel for the winter.

Now for context, even after my last big orb binge to obtain Eldigan (which I mentioned briefly in this post), I was rather quickly able to grow my hoard back up to 200 orbs as you can see in this picture I took when I first got the update:

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By the end of my time summoning on this one banner alone, here’s how many orbs I had left:

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That’s right, I spent 140 orbs tonight. Granted, I didn’t have to spend any real money since I’ve just been saving for the last few months, but something about seeing all that hard work evaporate so quickly in one night felt… Dirty. For lack of a better term.

I’m strange like that when it comes to these games. Despite the fact that my friends were baffled at my ability to have so many orbs at once and the fact that I still have far more than them, internally I still feel like I’ve brought myself into the negative by getting rid of so much.

Still, that begs the question – Was the orb binge worth it even with the ‘dirty’ feelings I associate it with?

Well… Yes.

Yes it was.

Not only did I manage to summon Delthea, my major goal across both of the new banners, but along the way I was also able to summon a five star Catria, my personal favorite of the three Whitewings.

In a way that’s almost more crazy and ironic considering Catria and her sisters appear as characters in Fire Emblem Echoes as visitors from Archanea. Thus, even though she wasn’t a banner focus like Delthea, I was able to get two different five star blue units from Echoes.

On top of that I also managed to build up a hell of a backlog of other new blue units by only activating blue summoning orbs when I saw them:

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I wound up summoning so many blue units that I actually had to trade away a bunch of my units for the first time to make room for more.

While most of what I got is some basic tribute fodder, some stand-out units I received included female Corrin, Lukas, male Robin and Roderick. All of them were brand new to me and help to fill the complete log of units I’ve received, even if Delthea and Catria are going to be the main two I use for bolstering my usable blue unit category.

Now my sights are set for Leon and Sonya in Celica’s Army, as Leon is one of my favorite units and Sonya seems like she has quite a bit of power behind her. Though I’ll probably be more sparing about how I administer my orbs going forward for a little while, so who knows how that will go.

You’d think that would be all I would have to say on the matter, but if that’s the case,you clearly haven’t spent enough time watching me ramble on about video games before. Because there’s definitely more.

After all, I wasn’t the only one summoning heroes tonight.

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That’s right, not only did I receive a Delthea, but so did my friend Tiana (in the middle) and my other friend who asked not to be named around these parts (on the left). They got theirs with far less effort than I did, and in fact my unnamed friend also got a Mathilda in the same summoning batch, but either way we all bonded as Delthea owners the first night she became available.

So far the only one who hasn’t gotten a Delthea is my friend Jonathan, though with two weeks left we’re all rooting for him and his summoning success. After all, he’s destined to join the Delthea squad with the rest of us.

Until he does, however… This night will go down in infamy as the spawn of a brand new group-wide meme.

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Very simply yet elegantly put together by cyv001


NOW that should be everything I have to blather on about for Fire Emblem Heroes tonight.

I won’t bother boring you all with further details on the new card pack that came out in Duel Links or with any extensive updates on my sunburn (which is starting to peel) or even my recent work experiences (such as driving out to Fullerton to cover a CSUF GOP meeting with my friend and now Editor in Chief Zack), as I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing me write tonight.

Also because it’s significantly later now than I indicated it was at the top of this post and I’ve legitimately become exhausted. Guess the only things I’m expecting to see on my calendar tomorrow are sleeping late and cleaning the downstairs bathroom.

… Today? Definitely today at this point, even if it feels like it should be tomorrow since I have’t slept yet. Perceptions of time and relativity really are a confusing subject matter on little-to-no-rest after a day partying with friends.

So, to save myself from endlessly rambling any more tonight in place of getting the sleep I need, I’ll leave off with this.

How do you feel about the new Fire Emblem Heroes characters? Am I insane or justified for saving my orbs for so long just to binge-use them all in one sitting like I did? Will my friend Jonathan summon his own Delthea and join the Delthea squad?

Find out the answers to this and more on the next episode of Dragonball Z!

… Maybe.

Tempest Trials, take two

Tempest Trials, take two

I warned you all that this would be coming today.

The Tempest Trials have returned in Fire Emblem Heroes, and this time they’re based in the land of Valentia, home of Fire Emblem Gaiden and its remake Fire Emblem Echoes.

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Unlike the last Tempest Trials, this one comes with a little less pomp and circumstance. While the Ylisse-themed trials had an extra paralogue series aimed at explaining how the entire calamitous event began, this one simply comes with a small conversation introducing it to a new world:

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It wasn’t much, but I did find it interesting to note that Masked Lucina continues to be the bridge for Tempest Trials appearances. Given her initial appearances and overall role in Awakening, when she served as a warning for the coming apocalypse by the Fell Dragon Grima and aimed to stop its rise, it makes a lot of sense.

It’s also pretty cool from a lore perspective, I would say. Gives the chance for these events to tie together and be more engaging as they go along and hit more worlds.

Beyond this lessened storyline impact, much of the inner workings of this event are the same as the last one. As a result, I’d recommend going back to look through my post on the first Tempest Trials for the major overarching details. The rest of this post is going to focus mostly on what has been added or changed this time around.


First and foremost, the major difference between this version of the Tempest Trials and the last version is the locale. Instead of the battles taking place on maps from Fire Emblem Awakening, they take place on the maps from Fire Emblem Echoes.

In the most difficult Lunatic-level run, the first three battles take place on maps from Alm’s in-game route (featured in the “World of Shadows” Paralogue) and the second three battles take place on maps from Celica’s in-game route (featured in the “Rite of Shadows” main story chapter).

The final battle takes place in the ritual sacrifice room underneath Duma Tower where you have your final bout with Berkut in Echoes. I won’t spoil anything here, but the fight has some emotional repercussions in the games story, so having that map as a background is pretty awesome.

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This game never ceases to amaze me with how it can recreate maps in such a small format with pretty impressive accuracy.

One of the coolest things about this map is that it continues the tradition in Fire Emblem Heroes of using the origin map’s music to accompany the fight. While Alm’s maps use the battle music from Chapters 1 and 3 from Echoes and Celica’s maps use the battle music from Chapters 2 and 3 from Echoes, the final fight in the ritual sacrifice room uses the music from Chapter 5 where the in-game battle takes place.

It’s both fitting and brings up good memories from that part of the game. All and all a nice touch.

Plus, Celica is the big contender to deal with rather than Veronica, which is phenomenal considering how hard it was to get past her.


The next change regards differences in the missions that have been added to correspond with the event:

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Now, instead of there being a larger reward for completing runs in the trials over the course of the two weeks, the reward missions for completing runs are going to recycle every day and come with smaller prerequisites. Completing the run once, twice or three times rather than 15 times in a more long-term format.

The rewards for these daily missions will also be doubled once the event is halfway done, starting on July 14th.  At the very least, this makes aiming for the stamina bottle way more worthwhile, as each of them provides enough energy to accommodate about 5 runs at the Trials on their own.


To accompany this new mission system also comes changes to the format of battles and the multi-team selection mechanic as you progress through battles.

The update log specifies two proprietary changes in this field:

First, the scores you can receive in normal and hard difficulty runs have been increased. This is good for people who are new to the game at least, as it makes it easier to rack up points when you don’t have that many good units to cycle through. However, I only attempt the hardest difficulty so I can earn as many points as possible even with losses, so it doesn’t affect me that much.

Second, the more significant and honestly much needed change, comes into play as battles progress.

Inevitably, your units will begin to burn out the further into the challenge you get. Health and death are not restored when you move from one battle to the next, so even the strongest of teams can get worn down. This fact hasn’t changed, but what happens when you move from one team to the next has.

During the last Tempest Trials, when you began with a second team, the opponents on whatever battle you’re fighting were restored to full capacity with just a small health deficit.

Now the opponent’s team receives the same treatment yours does. Whoever you kill before your team loses stays dead and all the damage you cause carries on.

Finishing the final battle against Veronica in the last Trials was frankly a nightmare. Even if you got close to winning and lost, all of your work would be undone when you started with the next team. It meant you had to be nearly perfect to make it to the end and follow-through for a victory.

My teams were less than perfect, so I had to work up to the higher-tiered rewards by racking up as many points from loses as I could.

The fact that you can wear down your opponent’s team is frankly a godsend. I’ve already won more times in one day than I did in the entirety of the other event’s two week runtime.

It makes everything feel faster and more engaging to play, which fixes my major complaint of getting burned out on Tempest Trials runs far too quickly the last time it came around.


The last major change to discuss are the rewards to shoot for.

In Fire Emblem Heroes, sacred seals allow heroes to have an extra skill to utilize for building battle strategies. However, you can’t have more than one of each kind of seal, so it would be useless to provide the same rewards a second time around.

Thus, there are two new sacred seals and a brand new hero to aim for:

The lower-level seal at 20,000 points is a +1 Resistance buff. The higher-level seal, pictured above at 40,000 points, is Phantom Speed 1. This seal automatically adds 5 points to your unit’s speed stat whenever a skill activates that compares your unit’s speed to another unit’s speed.

The character reward this time around is Tobin, one of Ram Village’s children and childhood friend of Alm. Arguably one of my favorite villagers too… Though I’m not sure I fully understand his designation as “The Clueless One.” If anything, I remember him being more of a confidant and advisor to Alm.

That’s beside the point, however.

Compared to the last character reward, Masked Lucina, Tobin looks to be a little underwhelming. Lucina was a completely blank slate that allowed for complete customization of skills through inheritance, which was an interesting prospect. Tobin, however, comes prepackaged with an Armorslayer+ and the skills Pivot, Attack +3 and Seal Speed 3.

While I give the game some points considering I made my Tobin a mercenary during my playthrough of Echoes, meaning I appreciate the idea of him holding a sword (even if it isn’t my personal token Levin Sword that slaughtered fools), these skills don’t seem fantastic or make him standout particularly well.

Hopefully I’m proven wrong by a good stat distribution, but I suppose I’ll find that out once I unlock him. He has attachment value at least, so I’ll be happy to get him for that if nothing else.


Besides the two additional summoning focuses corresponding with the Tempest Trials and with the Alm & Celica special battle, that just about sums everything up in regards to the new event.

I’m building up my orb surplus after splurging to get Eldigan after all, so I probably won’t be spending any on those. Even if the second chance at getting Genny, my favorite Echoes unit, is appealing.

How do you feel about this second Tempest Trials? Do you appreciate the changes to the format as much as I do? Or would you have liked to see more done?

Personally, I’m pretty happy with the changes. Between getting through a number of updates in Duel Links coming down the pipeline, I’ll gladly be working my way up to that 5 star Tobin.