Last time, I went over some initial tips for people who might be starting their Fire Emblem Fates journey on the side of Nohr, attempting to go for a total conquest. That route is the more demanding and traditional of the three stories someone will see in this latest entry in the series. It’s all about patience and practicality. When it comes to Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, in which someone is siding with Corrin’s birth siblings, people can do absolutely anything they want.
Time isn’t an issue. You can take on Challenges at any time, paying a small fee to make additional soldiers show up on the map for a brief match. Cost isn’t an object, since it’s incredibly easy to earn money both in the campaign maps and these side matches. Unlike Nohr, where characters with Locktouch, the ability that unlocks doors and chests, are scarce, Hoshido is full of ninjas. There may be glittering spaces where, if a unit pauses, an item could be found. Maps don’t have turn limitations, so it’s easy to get everything on a map.
This means that there’s ample time to experiment with your army. In the Conquest route, you have to identify people who are and aren’t going to work for you right away. With Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, you can put each person through his or her paces. I actually recommend getting everyone up to level 10 at the very least, maybe even 15. See what their rating looks like at that point, as well as how they’ve worked with other characters you enjoy. You have the time to see their growth patterns. Even someone who may not have as much potential in terms of growth rate, like Rinkah or Gunter, could surprise you.
It also means I recommend going all-in with a Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright game. Go ahead and choose the Hard or Lunatic difficulty level for your initial run. Go with Classic gameplay, which will result in a unit’s permanent death if they fall in battle. People who are beginners could go ahead and choose the Normal difficulty and the easiest option, Phoenix, which resurrects fallen units on the next turn. You have total freedom to handle any situation whatever way you’d like. Any crew could potentially work, with enough effort put into raising them.
As for unit recommendations based on my own experiences, I found I preferred the retainers and ordinary party members to the Hoshido royal family. The royals have the best stats and growth rates, but they didn’t appeal to me as much, personality-wise. I personally found the Conquest characters to be more interesting. Hinoka far outpaced Subaki, but I liked having the latter around more. Takumi had better skills and stats, but Setsuna’s interactions with other members of the army had more character. Azama’s Divine Retribution personal skill made him more valuable to me than Sakura, who seemed a constant target. Even if Azama and Sakura were next to each other, enemies would go after Sakura. It also meant getting to see references to characters’ shared pasts. (Pair up Saizo and Kagero. It starts out a little dry, but gets interesting at the end of the B level Support conversation.)
I’m a big fan of Caeldori, though I wish Nintendo had kept the name Matoi for her. She’s Subaki’s daughter, and I paired him up with Hinoka. It didn’t result in her inheriting any extra or special skills, but I felt like it worked with Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright due to the support conversations. She’s been a great asset to the army, and I especially like sending her out with Shigure, Azura’s son.
Orochi is another favorite for me. She’s a fantastic mage. I ended up sending her down the Basara path, even though her strength stat didn’t initially support it, because it led to such a Rating increase and meant she’d eventually learn Rend Heaven, which deals half of an enemy’s strength or magic stat as bonus stat, depending on what weapon she’s using and her skill stat. She’ll also eventually learn a stat that was known in Fire Emblem if as Flamboyant, which increases skill and activation rate. I can’t wait for that. Combine all that with her Capture ability, and she remains an essential party member.
Also, Hana is wonderful. I sent the Samurai down the route to a Swordmaster, because you have to have a trustworthy unit with Astra, the Fire Emblem staple that gives people a chance of triggering five hits in a row, each one dealing half the damage one normally would. This means she knocks out opponents often, which triggers her Fearsome Blow skill that takes 20% of the HP of adjacent foes when she takes an enemy out. After some initial debate about who to pair her with, she’s going off into the sunset with Silas, in the hopes of making a Sophie I’ll use more than the one that resulted from the Silas and Effie union in Conquest.
I did learn of some My Castle confusion that seems to stem from multiple save files. I love the team I put together for Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest. I had hoped my separate Birthright save file would allow for a second castle with a different address. However, my Hoshido castle shares the same address: 01720-47948-56162-86246. It’s impossible for me to see my own results in the lists online, so I can’t tell if there are two castles out there with my information. I actually hope this isn’t the case, as I love my Nohr team, actually prefer that storyline and family, and would like that to represent me until my completed Revelations run.
Fire Emblem Fates will be available on the Nintendo 3DS in North America on February 19, 2016.