Fire Emblem 9 Maniac Mode Guide Rev 7 - 2/27/07 Contact - firstname.lastname@example.org (Matthew Emirzian) This Fire Emblem guide is based on the Japanese version of the game, which has the 'Maniac' mode level of difficulty that was removed from the US version. I have included direct comparisons of enemy numbers and levels between the US Difficult and JP Maniac mode for each level, so you can see just how much more difficult it is. If you're looking for help on Maniac mode, or just want general strategies for the game or want to know just how much harder it is than the US version, read on! Table of Contents - 1. Version History 2. General Advice 3. Walkthrough 4. Trial Maps 1. Version History - Rev 1 - First version Rev 2 - Made several small revisions based on FE Sanctuary of Strategy advice (velthomer.net).. changed final battle advice a bit Rev 4 - Revising the walkthrough as I play through the game a second time. Rev 5 - Finished the game a second time and revised accordingly. Rev 6 - Finished the game a third time on fixed growth mode and added advice on it. Rev 7 - Added 3rd playthrough final battle stats/info. Revised general advice. 2. General Advice - Utilizing this advice, you should be able to employ more intelligent and tactical strategies in battle. Since there's no end game scoring system, you can use all available resources to complete the game, including using all your stat boost items, spending money liberally, letting characters die, taking a long time on a chapter, not grabbing treasure, etc. Differences in JP Maniac and US Difficult - JP Maniac mode generally has 1.3x to 1.8x more enemies than US Difficult mode, and those enemies are usually 2-3 levels higher than in US Difficult mode. Also, starting chapter 18, Maniac mode enemies are almost always promoted and of a high level, while a significant amount of US Difficult enemies remain weak and unpromoted until chapter 26. In addition, bonus XP per chapter is cut in half and all XP earned per battle is subtracted by 5. In terms of unit placement and item drops, the two modes are close to identical, except US Difficult mode has had enemies removed and their levels lowered. In all US game modes, Ike starts out with 4 iron swords, while in the JP game modes, Ike only starts out with one. Finally, the US version gives a 10% critical hit bonus to snipers, swordmasters, and berserker classes, while the JP version gives none. There are a few minor item differences - many US Difficult enemies found in treasure rooms carry Chest Keys, while in JP Maniac mode very few enemies do. Finally, JP Maniac stores never sell Physics, while the US version does.. this means you must steal/loot every one. Treasure, time, and XP - In some maps, you're given a choice of going for treasure or saving a village, which sometimes involves using a powerful unit to barge through enemies before a thief or bandit reaches it before you. This cuts into XP that your weaker members could have had, so it's your choice whether to forego the treasure or not. In addition, Bonus XP is reduced the longer you spend on a chapter, so you may wish to forego the XP bonus for taking your time. Some early game treasure is not worth the loss of XP you would incur by using pre-promoted units like Titania to reach it. Pre-promote Meatshields/Weakeners - Use the early-game promoted characters (such as Titania) as either de- equipped meatshields and decoys, or weakeners used to injure an enemy unit low health for your lower level characters to kill for XP. Keep in mind that attacking with your promotes will rob weapon use from your lower level characters, and killing enemies outright with promotes is only useful during defense missions. The enemy AI gives priority to targeting deequipped units, even choosing to attack one that it will do little to no damage to, over one of your non-promotes. Titania will serve this purpose well in the early levels, although you should ditch her as soon as possible as her stats are poor compared to other potential Paladins. Chaos Theory - The first couple of missions in any FE game are extremely important, as they set the tone for further missions and have an amplified effect through the game. If you use Ike exclusively and build his levels up over his allies, you'll end up relying on him more and more, until he's hogging the spotlight. If your early levels give a character poor performance in a stat, you'll change your strategies and levels will alter as a result, leading to differences in future chapters. Later on in the game you're not going to want to restart the chapters over one or two bad growths, whereas early on you can focus on those early few level ups. Therefore, it's best to get good results in the first few early chapters while battles are still simple and quickly/easily repeatable. If you're on fixed growth mode, this doesn't really apply, although long term use of stat gain bands and certain weapon types will noticeably alter your characters final growth. Level Balance - Any time your tactics and unit usage starts to get unbalanced by poor or overbearing stat growth and reliance on a constantly over-growing unit, you'll run into potentially powerful units being starved of XP, or if your luck is bad enough, most of your army will suck due to bad stat growth. For the most part, this is unacceptable in Maniac mode. Do your best to try to keep everyones level at an even pace, not allowing any units to fall behind in growth, and let weaker units catch up by killing weakened enemy units. The first half of the game is largely spent trying to bring up very weak recruits, but it is worth it in the end as they are often far more powerful than pre-premotes. Tactical Strategy - Fire Emblem doesn't normally give bonus damage to an attacker, besides allowing them the first strike. Sometimes it's advantageous to move your character partly or fully into enemy attack range, provided that they can survive the enemy attacks and either kill or weaken them. Sometimes it's advantageous to use a weaker weapon, a vulnerary, or a weaker character while blockading, so that a weak enemy clogs up space instead of allowing more attackers to move in on your possibly near- death character. There are several tactical situations that call for a variety of strategies employed in positioning your units. When considering a tactical situation, move your units out to attack and view the pre-battle window for intel purposes. If that's not possible, use battle formulas for important decisions, or simple common sense. Say 4 mounted knights are approaching your party, and you have nowhere to blockade to protect your weaker units. If you stayed out of enemy attack range, you might not be able to finish the knights off fully, and they'll be able to reach your back lines. A good solution would be to put a stronger unit partially into enemy attack range, so the knights are weakened - you can heal the unit that was attacked, and then counterattack to finish off several knights. Knowing how, when, and where to be attacked by the enemy is key to success in many levels. Range Sages and Bishops - Later in the game you will be facing multiple sages armed with long range magic, and bishops with sleep staves. The best strategy to take them out is with flying hit and run units like Marcia and Jill, or high movement paladins. Using Rayson to allow your units to get close, then attacking and fleeing back to safety is a prime strategy. Save your valuable ranged spears (the ones more powerful than javelins) for picking off sages in hit and run moves. Blockade Tactics - Blockading is very important in Maniac mode, where you are often overwhelmed by huge masses of enemy units. Find good spots on the map to hold the enemy off with and use your ranged units and hit and run paladins effectively to clear through the mob as fast as possible. A frontline team of Ike, Oscar, Kieran, Soren, and Marcia has great cross supports and dodging abilities. Choosing a Party - Non-promoted units are almost always going to end up better than the pre-premotes, with very few exceptions. Pre-promoted units perform so poorly in Maniac mode that they will usually get themselves killed where your built up characters succeed. It is difficult to raise up the weakling pre-promotes you get through the first half of the game, but the payoff is worth it in the second half. Pre-promotes just can't hack it in Maniac mode.. they will get destroyed if you try to deploy them. Forging - Forging weapons is very important, and quite easy considering the tons of money the game gives you. Early on, forge custom iron or steel weapons with higher might and hit rates for your growing non-promote units to level up more easily with. Later in the game, forge custom silver axes or spears to put a colossal amount of damage on enemy units. A 27 strength paladin with a custom silver axe can two shot just about anything. Growth Bands - While the 5% growth rates may seem small, having them equipped on a character every level will significantly increase their stats by the time they are 20/20. This is another good reason to raise up low lvl units rather than use pre-promotes, as they will have better stats from band usage, especially on fixed growth mode. On fixed growth mode, the bands are +5 to the stat at the time of level up, where the stat grows by 1 every time the stat reaches over 100. A lv 1 unit wearing the same +5% STR +5% DEF band every level will see a +195 stat point increase in both STR and DEF by the time they are 20/20.. or +2 to their STR/DEF. The Knight Ward offers 30% speed growth, so pass it around to your cavaliers/paladins about to level so they can take advantage of it. It's possible to 'pass the Ward' around to each of your paladins as you level them with BEXP for superior speed growth, even on fixed growth mode. Leveling Healers - Staff users like Mist and Rhys are easiest to level with Physic and Recover staves - these give a good amount of XP per use. Once you're past chapter 7 and can buy staves, try to make them heal on every turn even if it's just for 1 HP.. all that XP will add up. You will need to steal physic staves, as the store never sells them. My rating of the classes in this game: Knight/General - I never find Knights or Generals to be exceedingly useful due to their very poor movement and speed penalties, and there are always long range mages about that will easily squash them. Not recommended at all. Cavalier/Paladin - Excellent front line tanks and versatile powerhouses. Give them Sol and they will survive very well as blockaders. Having all 4 non-promote cavaliers on your team will make the game much easier, especially if they can all weild silver axes. Myrmidon/Swordmaster - They are decent early in the game, but later on their lack of strength and low defense really starts to show. They will die in 1-2 hits, don't have reliable enough dodge rates, and can't put out any significant damage with swords. Fighter/Warrior - Although they suffer from low defense, their enormous strength makes up for it, especially if you can keep their speed up to par. Although Boyd is your only warrior, he's a powerhouse worth using the whole game through. Mage/Sage - Sages serve a special purpose with their magic, using wind to execute wyvern lords, thunder to take out dragons, and anything to take out generals. They die extremely easily but it's worth having at least one in your party. Most of them use staves on promotion, which makes them valuable healers. Pegasus/Falcon Knight - You'll definitely want one of these in your party, great for hit and runs and killing long range sages. I highly recommend Marcia for being super speedy and great for sniping. Wyvern Rider/Lord - Great to have around despite their low resistance. Flying units are key in many maps.. you just can't do without them. Jill is great with her high speed. Priest/Bishop - Suffers from terrible speed and defense, but has high magic for healing. However you should probably just bring your sages up with staves instead. Cleric/Valkyrie - Mist, your only cleric, is an important unit to build up for the Black Knight.. despite sucking so hard, she makes a good mobile healer. Soldier/Halberdier - Excellent all around units that make a great frontliner. They are deadly with Luna. Nephenee is your only choice as Devdan has horrid stats. Laguz - Laguz are disappointing because they are essentially 'pre-promoted' units, with little room to grow, and often poor stats even when in animal form. With the exception of Rayson or Ranulf, they really aren't worth using. Nasir is a decent exception, with very high stats, as are the three last chapter reinforcements. In addition if you want to make up for their '40% downtime' with a demi band, their stats will be further reduced. Overall they are just not worth using except as filler. Here's a review of some of the characters that are worth using: Ike - Just dominates everything, like a swordmaster with high strength, defense, dodge, and resistance, plus the ultimate adept+sol+luna skill. Late game almost nothing can stop him. Ike and Oscar with A level support make a great pair next to eachother, being able to dodge nearly everything thrown at them. Give Ike the boots and knight ring to make him even more uber. He can solo entire maps once he gets his uber sword. Use him and love him! Growth Band - use something with +5% LUK/RES Titania - Worth using only for the first 13 or so chapters, dump her as soon as possible. She will suck at 20/20 compared to other Paladins you can train up. Even on fixed growth mode, her stats will never reach your other paladins. Oscar - A great all around Paladin that makes a good front line tank. Give him Sol and he will have great survivability taking on legions of enemies next to Ike. Pair him with A support Ike and he'll be dodging like a madman. Growth Band - use something with +5% SPD Boyd - A great powerhouse unit when you need to smack something hard. Get his bow level up and he'll be even nastier. Can kill just about anything in two swings of a silver axe. Could use a speedwing to nudge his speed into the 'good' range. Growth Band - use something with +5% SKL/SPD Soren - Great mage with awesome stats (besides strength).. go for wind/fire attacks. Very late in the game it will be useful to have a C in thunder to use the long range magic against dragons. If you get him a C in staves he can use Physics, very useful. Although his strength is low, you should give the +2 strength items to other needy characters like Astrid or Nephenee. Growth Band - use something with +5% SPD Rhys - He's useless as an attacking sage due to his poor speed, but his high magic stat makes his healing worth it. Although it's tempting to use him over Mist, you really want Mist for the Black Knight showdown and final chapter.. despite how much she sucks initially. I generally stop using him as soon as I get Mist. Mist - Although she sucks for anything but healing, she is highly useful for the Black Knight and Ashnard. Her ability to heal and run is extremely useful in those two fights and elsewhere. Growth Band - use the +10% magic band Ilyana - Stick her with lightning/wind and give her the Rexbolt. Tends to be a bit slow unfortunately, but is still a great sage. If you get her a C in staves she can use Physics, very useful. If you don't like how slow she ends up, you may consider Tormod or Calill as a second sage. I did not take her on my fixed growth maniac run.. too slow! Growth Band - use something with +5% SPD Marcia - She grows into one of your fastest and most useful characters. She's very important for getting key items and hit and run tactics, so don't pass her up. She is not that difficult to level up, and has great growths. Since she is often flying solo and in dangerous situations, giving her +7 HP and +2 defense will help her survive. Growth Band - use something with +5% STR/DEF Volke - Volke is a must-have for your looting and theft needs.. need to steal those physic staves! He's not a necessary unit for every map.. consider him a super fragile swordmaster. As far as his stats go, his speed should be at least 19 to steal from the Bishops later in the game. Growth Band - use something with +5% SPD Kieran - This paladin has higher strength and slower speed than the non-promote cavaliers. If you can make up for his speed he makes an excellent unit next to Oscar.. definitely worth using and kicking butt with. Tends to suffer from poor res, unfortunately. Give him the Knight Ward to increase his speed growth by 30%. Support with Oscar and Marcia to increase his evasion on the frontlines. Growth Band - use something with +5% SPD Nephenee - Starts out slow but grows well in speed and skill.. needs some help with strength but once she has Luna and a silver spear (or a custom made spear) she will be awesome. She needs a bit of strength so giving her a +2 boost will help, in addition to a +2 defense. Forge her a custom iron spear to help her level. Growth Band - use something with +5% STR/DEF Astrid - A great choice for a ranged archer, although she can't use long range bows. Give her axes to make her a versatile killer. She needs a bit of strength so giving her a +2 boost will help. Growth Band - use something with +5% STR/DEF Makalov - He has great growths, although he's hard to level up. To make leveling him up easier, forge him a custom steel sword with high might and hit rate. Worth training and becoming another great paladin on your roster. If Oscar, Kieran, and Astrid are enough paladins for you, you may consider passing on him. Tends to be gimped in skill so give him a skill band and a book or two. Growth Band - use something with +5% SKI Jill - She's another important character for getting certain key items early-mid game. Suffers from slow speed and medium defense/res, but still worth using. Could definitely use a speedwing to move her speed from 'average' to 'good'. Growth Band - use something with +5% SKL/SPD Reyson - An essential character, especially for taking on legions of enemies and getting key items. He starts at lv 3 but I have him at 15- 16 by the end of the game just from using his chant almost every turn. Tormod - He does grow well if you give him a chance, but is difficult to level that late in the game. His speed is far superior to Ilyana so it may be worth replacing her with him if you want a very strong late game lineup. On the other hand you may just want to focus on other unpromoted units. Growth Band - use something with +5% SPD Calill - The other decent sage worth using, and also a pre-promote. While her 20/20 stats are nothing special, she makes an acceptable Rexbolt/Thoron sage for punching out dragons. More than likely though she'll need a weapon level scroll to get from A to S on thunder. Growth Band - use something with +5% SPD Ranulf - A good 'fill in' unit if you need an extra hand. He has good growths and his stats are acceptable vs enemies his own lvl.. the only problem being the 40% downtime all laguz suffer. Nasir - Although you only have him for two chapters, he has great stats, and can damage Ashnard, making him an essential character. He can also shove mounted units (he's just that huge!). Some of the best uses for the Occult Scroll are on Ike (Aether), Sages (Flare), Halberdiers (Luna) and Paladins (Sol). I'd especially recommend Sol for one or two of your frontline tanking Paladins, making them nearly impossible to kill. The Resolve and Wrath scrolls are best used on high defense units that you know won't die if they take a couple hits below 50% health.. units like Paladins, or Wyvern Lords, or Boyd. Scrolls like Adept are best used on units that have a high Skill level so it activates often. Fixed Growth Mode - This mode makes maniac mode more difficult, as you can't use bonus xp/reset for better/above average growths. You can use the bands and certain weapons to influence growth, but overall your units will be far less powerful for the majority of the game. You will have to play more defensively and hold your ground on a number of chapters where it was previously possible to be highly aggressive. The first half of the game will be tough babysitting so many developing non-promoted units.. Marcia, Jill, Astrid, Makalov, Kieran, Nephenee, Soren, Volke, Mist, etc. Resist the temptation to use pre-promotes or laguz. It's possible to use Stefan but since swordmasters aren't that great in this game, I wouldn't recommend it. Using Mist is a pain but once again better at the Black Knight and final battle than Rhys. Despite lower unit stats, the support combo of Oscar-Ike, Oscar-Kieran, Ike-Soren, and Kieran-Marcia will make your frontline blockaders nearly impossible to hit. One possible liability will be Ilyana, who actually has very slow growths and only gets 20-21 speed by lv 20/20.. you may consider bringing up Tormod who has a speed of 25-26 at 20/20 instead. Calill is also a decent choice, although she starts out slow she has decent growths and will have stats comparable to Tormod, with the disadvantage of not being able to use staves. Supports - Supports are highly useful, and will definitely help you survive in maniac mode. A blockade with Ike, Oscar, and Kieran with Soren and Marcia nearby is highly effective at dodging attacks. Just Ike and Oscar next to eachother are nearly unhittable. Ike - Oscar 3 (Avoid +30%) Ike - Soren 2 (Attack+1, Avoid +15%) Oscar - Kieran 2 (Hit +5%, Avoid +15%) Marcia - Kieran 3 (Attack +1.5, Hit +15%, Avoid +7.5%) Nephenee - Calill 3 (Attack +1.5, Hit +7.5%, Avoid +15%) Astrid - Makalov 3 (Def +1.5, Hit +7.5%, Avoid +15%) Boyd - Mist 3 (Attack +3, Defense +1.5, Hit +7.5%) Jill - Mist 2 (Attack +1.5, Defense +3, Avoid +7.5%) Helpful Data - http://www.eaichu250.superbusnet.com/fe9.php Check this link for helpful FE 9 (and other FE) data, such as support charts, bonus XP lists, weapon/item lists, shop availability lists, stat growths, battle formulas, and other important data. Having the official US strategy guide also helps quite a bit. My Maniac/Fixed Growth Playthrough - Turn Count Starting with Ch1: 10,14,13,10,6,16,14,8,17,19,10,11,10,7,17,15,43,13,6,10,22,13,11,11,11, 12,20,9,16 394 turns total, 13.5 turns per chapter on average Top Kills - Nephenee 115 Oscar 132 Marcia 138 Boyd 152 Ike 230 Stats at Final Battle: Ike 20/20 58 26/10/27/28/23/24/18 Aether, Provoke Marcia 20/20 51 23/08/26/28/18/20/19 Vantage, Wrath Nephenee 20/19 44 25/08/28/26/14/23/12 Luna Jill 20/19 48 27/09/26/27/14/22/11 Boyd 20/19 60 30/02/26/27/16/16/09 Counter, Resolve Kieran 20/20 50 26/06/25/27/15/23/11 Adept Makalov 20/19 51 26/04/26/27/14/24/09 Oscar 20/20 51 26/09/26/27/16/22/12 Sol Astrid 20/20 45 25/11/26/27/19/19/15 Soren 20/14 38 04/27/28/23/14/07/28 Calill 20/15 37 11/27/22/22/18/11/20 Shine Mist 20/20 38 16/26/15/25/28/11/24 Shade Reyson 20/15 Jill, Makalov, Astrid, and Oscar worked up axes from E to A/S.. Calill weilded Rexbolt 3. Walkthrough This walkthrough is based on the Japanese Maniac mode of FE9, Random Growth. The Clear Time and Bonus EXP stats are given for Maniac mode only. Clear Time is simply the time it took me to finish the map, so it should be a reasonable goal for you to follow. XP gained is the amount of XP I gained on that level, as a benchmark. The Enemy Count number (xx/xx) lists the number of enemies in US Difficult mode, and the number of enemies in JP Maniac mode for comparison, so you can see how badly they nerfed the US versions difficulty. The Enemy Level number x-x/x-x lists the general enemy levels in US Difficult mode (taken from the Official US guide) and in JP Maniac mode for comparison. Chapter 1 - Bonus EXP - Clear for 100 Clear Time - 8 Enemy Count - 10/13 Enemy Level - 1-2/3-4 Have Titania give Boyd her weapons then move out to the west house. Make a blockade with your other units in the southeast, using vulneraries as necessary. The bandit that burns down the first house will not attack if there are still houses left to loot, so hold off on visiting the southeast house until you feel like having him attack. This walkthrough involves a bit of luck, but it's fully possible. Since the mission only takes 15-20 mins to complete, I suggest trying it a few times until you get decent level up stats. You shouldn't be using Titania at all for anything except as a weaponless meatshield until chapter 5.. when you need her to cut through the waves of enemies to reach the boss carrying an item. Turn 1: Titania: hand her weapons to Boyd and move northwest towards the house. Boyd: attack the bandit next to the fence with his steel axe. Ike: Attack the closest bandit to the north. Oscar: Move next to the closest bandit to the north, but don't attack. Turn 2: Titania: Visit the house and move south. Boyd: Finish off the bandit next to him. Oscar: Move one north of Boyd. Ike: Move one east of Oscar. Use vulneraries if necessary. Turn 3-onward Continue blockading, taking out the remaining bandits, visiting the southeast house, then proceeding north to take on the last 3 units. I recommend using Boyd to fight the boss, to catch up on XP. I recommend having Ike use the Angelic Robe, as it will help him get 60 HP late game. Chapter 2 - Bonus EXP - Clear for 100 Clear Time - 12 Enemy Count - 13/17 Enemy Level - 2-3/4-5 Rush north to clear out the enemies and use the mountain corner as a blockade against incoming units. Move Rhys north as well and take an attack from a merc - then position your units diagonally to blockade and defeat the remainder. Heal with Rhys while your units blockade and defeat the incoming enemy forces. With Titania, evade the enemy units at the blockade and head north to lure more or less all of the enemies southbound towards the blockade. Note - don't go crazy with the heal staff, you need it to last to the end of Chapter 7! Since this level is both fairly easy and short, I again recommend trying it a few times to get decent or half-decent level ups, most especially for Ike. You may even consider getting him slightly ahead of the others for this purpose.. as it's better to use mainly him in the next few chapters rather than Gatrie or Shinon. Chapter 3 - Bonus EXP - Clear for 100 Clear Time - 11 Enemy Count - 15/19 Enemy Level - 2-4/4-6 Use mostly Ike for this fight, with Gatrie as support, and keep Titania and Shinon away for the most part. You'll need to target the archers with Gatrie and possibly provide backup with Shinon to take out an archer, as Ike needs to use his turns on vulneraries, not chasing after archers. Let Ike handle almost all of the bandits and axe mercs, and he should be up to Lv. 9 by the end of the mission, with Gatrie at Lv.10. Shinon and Titania should not waste Ike and Gatrie's potential XP, aside from taking out an annoying archer or two at the start of the chapter. Depending on how far Ikes stats grew, he may be able to solo the whole map.. however I wouldn't recommend it as Ike doesn't have a lot of swords to use between now and the end of Ch 7. Chapter 4 - Bonus EXP - Clear for 150 Clear Time - 10 Enemy Count - 22/27 Enemy Level - 4-7/6-9 Run into the northeast bushes and blockade with your stronger units. It's a good idea to rescue Rhys with Titania and use her to blockade (still weaponless). Use Shinon to weaken enemies for Soren to kill, while Gatrie and Ike handle themselves. Once the initial rush is taken care of, hide behind the northwest treeline and provoke the next wave of enemies to come to you. Hopefully Soren is lv 3 at the end of the chapter with some decent gains. Chapter 5 - Bonus EXP - none Clear Time - 6 Enemy Count - 26/40 or so Enemy Level - 5-8/8-10 Give Titania axes, as you have plenty of axes and not that many spears and swords until the end of ch 7 when you can access a shop. Send Oscar, Soren, Shinon, and Boyd west to tackle the west gate, and everyone else charging south. Send Titania south to kill a guard then rush out into the open to start tearing enemies apart. Since this is a defense map with virtually unlimited enemies, it doesn't really matter if you use Titania and Shinon liberally. On the last turn, have Gatrie hand any extra weapons/items to someone who will be around on Ch. 6, as he won't be around to trade with. The map won't end if you kill the boss, so keep your formation tight. Don't go too wild with wasting ammo and heals, as you still have to clear Chapter 7 before being able to buy anything. Chapter 6 - Bonus EXP - Clear for 150, +5 for each escaped unit Clear Time - 14 Enemy Count - 24/30 Enemy Level - 7-9/8-11 Inch towards the edge of the woods on turn one, then on turn two leap out and kill as much as possible. Titania will do well attacking the knights with an iron axe to soften them up. Boyd, Oscar, and Soren should do ok catching up in levels, up to about 9-10. Ike should be around lvl 14 with good stats. Chapter 7 - Bonus EXP - Clear for 150 Clear Time - 11 Enemy Count - 34/42 Enemy Level - 7-10/9-12 Head west, taking out enemies and heading towards the two thieves - kill the second one in the southwest room, then kill the first one after it opens one chest. Note that if you corner a thief it will try to steal from you.. so kill it! It may not be worth going after the thieves at all, the treasure isn't really worth that much. Mia will come to Ike if she dodges enough attacks, just take care of the mobs she brings towards your party. You may need to rescue her with Titania though if she decides to use a vulnerary. Running past the mid-line of the map triggers reinforcements around the south, so be ready for them. Take care of the reinforcements and proceed north to meet up with Shinon and Gatrie, who should be holed up in the northwest treasure room. Make sure you hand off all of Shinons and Gartries stuff before the mission ends. Chapter 8 - Bonus EXP - Keep everyone alive for 25 Clear Time - 8 XP Gained - 900 Enemy Count - 43/56 Enemy Level - 7-9/9-12 Send Ike west, Oscar and Soren east, and Boyd south. You can get a good amount of XP just picking on the mobs and staying close together. Not a very difficult mission at all. Chapter 9 - Bonus EXP - Clear for 150 Clear Time - 15 XP Gained - 1400 Enemy Count - 34/42 Enemy Level - 10-11/11-13 It's worth it to ignore the houses and fight the enemies with your weaker units to level up with.. but if you do want the items this is what to do. Send Titania, Soren, and the two Beorc northwest towards the houses to kill the pirates. Make an order for the Beorc to move directly in front of the southern house. Titania and Soren will need to take out a lot of enemies to keep Lethe from being overwhelmed.. and you will need a good deal of luck to save the first house, although the second isn't as difficult. If you managed to wipe out enough mobs with Titania and Soren, Lethe will beat the pirate to the house and squat in front of it. That treasure really isn't worth the effort, though.. so just let the houses burn and use the mobs for XP instead. As far as mission strategy goes, just move southwest and take out the mobs, allowing your new weaker units to gain XP. Chapter 10 - Bonus EXP - Clear for 150 Clear Time - 22 XP Gained - 1100 Enemy Count - 22/30 Enemy Level - 10-12/12-14 It's not worth it avoiding the porter.. just trigger the ambush and start kicking ass. You should be able to clean out each ambush as it approaches and make fairly quick work of the stage, while helping your lower lvl units get some xp. Chapter 11 - Bonus EXP - Clear for 150, each vigilante member alive +25 Clear Time - 13 XP Gained - 1100 Enemy Count - 28/35 Enemy Level - 10-13/12-15 Send Oscar northwest to the northern house (if you want.. it's just an Elwind) and Titania and Kieran southwest to the southern one, while the rest of the party kills the southeast mob and proceeds north to the NE house. The boss will move and attack anyone in his range which will trigger the Black Knights appearance, so stay back until you're ready. Fight off the enemy forces on the east bridge and don't get in Jills attack range when she appears. Leave the NE house open to lure in the thieves to kill them. Gather around the north bridge then move forward into the bosses attack range, take him out, steal the Physic staff, and get on the boat. This is probably the last level you should be using Titania in, as you get a lot of new recruits that will be better later in the game, like Kieran, Jill, Marcia, Nephenee, etc. Physics are very important in the game, for long range healing and leveling up your stave users. They are never sold in shops in Maniac mode, so you must steal/loot them all. Chapter 12 - Bonus EXP - clear for 100 Clear Time - 9 XP Gained - 1000 Enemy Count - 14/19 Enemy Level - 2-4/4-6 Start out the fight backing away from the stern, letting one of your strongest units counter the enemies coming from the south or avoiding them entirely. Most of your units won't be able to dodge these birds reliably or last more than two hits, so do your best to blockade and protect your weaker units near the back of the boat. Bring wind magic, bows, and your best tanks. This is a great level to get XP for weaker party members. Chapter 13 - Bonus EXP - 25 for no NPC deaths Clear Time - 10 XP Gained - 2000 Enemy Count - 36/49 Enemy Level - 10-13/13-15 Set your team up so you can kill the soldier in front of the middle plank and block it up with a mounted unit. Send Gatrie to block the right plank and stop up the cargo hold with a flying unit. Clear out enough of the leftmost enemies so that the crows jump on board so you can kill them quickly. Stick Oscar or Boyd on the west bridge and try to hack through the halberdiers. If Oscar & Boyd are already promoted it will be a lot easier breaking into the north part of the ship before the crows can grab your loot. Keep your flying units around the west end of the middle boat - once the thieves show up, block their path as they move next to the top boat, which will prevent them from being able to snatch the Scroll. If you've beaten the enemies back far enough, you'll be able to let a crow open the Occult chest and kill it. But if not, you can get the treasure first with a flying unit holding a chest key. Ike should be at the eastmost end working through those enemies to clear a path for your thief to grab the east chest. You should be able to wipe the map by turn 9. Leave one chest unopened and let the laguz fly to it.. slaughter them on the way and get huge XP for your lower lvl units. Chapter 14 - Bonus EXP - clear for 150 Clear Time - 8 XP Gained - 900 Enemy Count - 25/33 Enemy Level - 10-13/14-17 Send a small force with Marcia northwest towards Makalov, while your main force proceeds north towards the boss. Don't get too close to the boss until you're ready to fight. It's a fairly straightforward and easy battle. Another good opportunity to level some of your weaker members, and a short map worth retrying if your gains really sucked. At this point Oscar and Boyd should be promoted and your other units gaining in levels. Chapter 15 - Bonus EXP - clear for 150, bonus +20 for each surviving laguz enemy, +150 bonus for not killing any enemies Clear Time - 17 XP Gained - 1400 Enemy Count - 20/23 Enemy Level - 2-4/4-6 This is a level for your mages, flying units, and Volke. The XP you get for killing the enemy laguz far outweighs the bonus XP per survivor, so just slaughter all you like and gain a couple levels. I highly recommend stealing a few of those laguz gems for Rayson later.. steal them quickly because the enemy laguz will use them. Nabbing 3 of them should be enough. Chapter 16 - Bonus EXP - clear for 200 Clear Time - 15 XP Gained - 2100 Enemy Count - 39/52 Enemy Level - 14-16/16-18 Barge eastward, taking out the mobs and hopefully reaching the middle door before the two thieves do. Kill them to obtain the two items they stole from the northwest treasure room. Don't bother with the east treasure door until things have settled down, as there are more mobs inside. Blockading with Ike/Oscar is probably best here. You need to keep training up your weaker party members so they'll be able to promote by the end of Ch 17. Don't take on too many units to train, though. Chapter 17 - Part 1 Bonus EXP - 350 for clearing the whole chapter Clear Time - 12 XP Gained - 5000 Enemy Count - 34 Enemy Level - 14-16/16-18 and 4-6 You will need to have several units promoted by the 4th part of this chapter, or the numerous promoted units will be too fierce to handle. Before you start, make sure your caravan is well stocked with weapons to last all four parts, as you won't be able to shop mid-chapter. Enemies will be coming in from all sides, but it shouldn't be too hard to handle. The four enemies at the north end aggro individually. Stick Oscar in the bushes with an axe and Ike and Kieran standing next to him.. the boss will probably have 0% to hit. Chapter 17 - Part 2 Clear Time - 14 Enemy Count - 24/38 Enemy Level - 14-16/16-18 and 4-6 Things start to heat up here with a small cavalry rush on your forces. Blockade off the larger force with two defensive units while your mounted units perform hit and runs. The enemy rush should not last more than 1-3 turns. Let your other units deal with the smaller force coming from the right. The reinforcements are tiny, so don't even worry about them. A very easy part of the chapter. Chapter 17 - Part 3 Clear Time - 10 Enemy Count - 46/70+ Enemy Level - 16-18/17-19 and 4-6 Barge west and claim the area, then fight eastward. Reinforcements will arrive from the west but they should be easily dispatched. There's a mix of unpromoted and promoted units, and the unpromoted ones should generally be cannon fodder. High resistance/dodge units are best here as the place is swarming with mages and a couple sages. If your units are mostly promoted you should be able to wipe the map fairly easily. Chapter 17 - Part 4 Clear Time - 12 Enemy Count - 38/52 (a lot more promotes) Enemy Level - 13-16 and 3-4/15-19 and 4-6 There are a lot of promoted units on this map so you'll need to have 5- 6 promoted units of your own to handle them. I had Oscar, Boyd, Marcia, Jill, Nephenee, Kieran, and Soren promoted by this point. Rush south to crush the southeast mobs before the west cavalry arrives. They will take a turn riding through the swamp to reach your party. Once you've got your bearings continue west and take on/bloackade the generals and paladins by the tree line. Your allies will show up once you cross the line slightly west of your starting position, so you may need to haul ass to the boss before Tibarn kills him. Don't worry if your bird allies are defeated, you still get them on your team (not that they're worth using besides Tibarn...) Most of your units should be promoted by the end of the chapter. Chapter 18 Bonus EXP - clear for 150 Clear Time - 12 XP Gained - 2150 Enemy Count - 36/57 Enemy Level - 15-19 and 1/3-5 The game gets serious at this point - no more unpromoted enemy units, it's almost all tough chewing promotes now, unlike the US version. If you haven't been managing your party and levels well and don't have a lot of newly promoted units to use, you might be in trouble for the rest of the game. On the other hand, if you're doing relatively well, you'll be tearing through the mobs with little effort. Using an Occult Scroll on Ike would be a good idea. As the opposition becomes more serious, you may consider forging custom weapons with higher might ratings before silver weapons become available. This chapter hits you hard with the concept that you'll be facing tons of long range sages.. there are 6 total and the majority of the level will be spent trying to chase them down before they manage to kill someone. Try to run the sages above the treasure chests out of attacks with your high resistance units standing by the wall. The rest is pretty cut and dry. Bring Holy Water for your lower resistance units to use if they must go into dangerous territory. Chapter 19 Bonus EXP - clear for 150, get Nesala to flee for 150 Clear Time - 9 XP Gained - 950 Enemy Count - 22+10 crows/29+10 crows Enemy Level - 18-20 and 1-2/4-5 To get the Knight Ring you need to make sure not to kill any birds. Bait Naesala over with a flying unit with high resistance, and draw him towards your forces - I used Marcia equipped with a Full Guard. On turn one move her north then have Reyson sing for her, so she can move far enough north to get into Naesalas range - make sure it's his magic range and not melee. He will approach and attack with magic, hopefully not doing too much damage. On turn two move your bait unit south - Naesala should follow further and be very close to your party. On turn three talk to him with one of the hawk bros then allow him to move next to Reyson on turn four. On with the chapter! There's not a lot of space to blockade here so just deal with the enemies and keep weaker units in the back. There are relatively few enemies and it shouldn't be a problem using your Full Guard equipped flier to crush the snipers and advance northward. The boss is a wimp against anyone with high resistance.. unfortunately you can't steal from him since his speed is 20. Chapter 20 Bonus EXP - Clear for 200 Clear Time - 10 XP Gained - 1600 Enemy Count - 47/62 Enemy Level - 18-20 and 1-2/5-6 (a few 17-20 wyverns and 20 knights, but mostly all promoted) Head south into the trees to kill nearby and incoming enemies. Move eastward along the south part of the map, so you can pull the wyverns onto ground instead of allowing them to fly back onto the hills. The mob by the north house will attack on turn 4 (or if you provoke them), so send a force north to deal with them while blockading off the incoming paladins coming from the southeast. Proceed east taking on the generals and knights, staying out of the long range sage distance until the coast is fairly clear and you can hit and run or rush up to them. Barge up the hill with Ike and Oscar and slaughter the sages. Chapter 21 Bonus EXP - Clear for 200 Clear Time - 19 XP Gained - 2300 Enemy Count - 56/63 Enemy Level - 18-20 and 4-6/5-8 A long level full of long distance mages and priests with sleep staves. Keep in mind the sleep staff distance (9 squares for these priests) and stay out of it unless you're not in danger of being killed. Watch out especially for the northwest corner where a priest can sleep your unit while 2-3 mages nuke them at range. You'll want at least one person with a Recover staff to wake up your slackers. Once again make your lower res units use holy water to increase their res if you know they'll be range nuked. I recommend promoting Mist at this time whether or not she's lv 20.. because she really needs to be mounted to be useful from this point onward. To take care of the thief going for the south treasure, either use a mage with a distance weapon, or a flying unit. Be cautious about advancing into sleep staff and long range magic distance. Place a high resistance unit in range of the two range sages near the boss while the rest of your party raids the treasure rooms and fends off warrior reinforcements. Of note is the northeast treasure room - open the door and steal the ranged fire tome from the sage before he can use it. There is a general in the way you'll have to kill though. Once the sages are out of ammo and you've got all the goodies, move in for the kill on the boss. Chapter 22 Bonus EXP - Clear for 150, +10 for each surviving priest Clear Time - 12 XP Gained - 1550 Enemy Count - 58/67 Enemy Level - 19-20 and 1-3/7-9 Almost all of the priests are armed to the teeth, and it's no fun dodging untold numbers of Light attacks (including #!@*$ Nosferatu) to get a staff. So kill the bastards! One strategy to get the staff is to run up and range nuke the boss in 1-2 turns.. however you'll miss out on some great treasure and XP. Focus on taking the right group out, but make sure to snipe the thief in the right room as well. Once both thieves are killed concentrate on beating back the enemies pouring out. The walled off priests have sleep and ranged attacks so don't try to wander into their range yet. Once the right side is under control, move west and take the left side, and start pushing north. You'll have to keep running some units back to help with ambushes, but it's manageable. Once things have settled down, position high resistance units and Recover staff users near the walled off priest attack range. You don't need to drain them all, but at least let the enemy sleep staff run out. Once the staff is gone, group up outside of enemy attack range then move in for the kill on the boss. Chapter 23 Bonus EXP - Clear for 200 Clear Time - 10 XP Gained - 1500 Enemy Count - 50/65 Enemy Level - 18-20 and 4-5/7-9 Stock up on silver weapons from the shop before going ahead with this chapter. Use a Full Guard equipped flying unit to push ahead and punch through the snipers. Proceed cautiously and try to blockade around the walls. About mid way after taking out the second sniper, you should stay put and take on the reinforcements coming from the east and west, blockading around the sandbags. The westmost enemies won't attack until provoked.. I suggest waiting for the smoke to clear for each battle so you can steal the 3 valuable physic staves one at a time. Chapter 24 Bonus EXP - Clear for 200 Clear Time - 10 XP Gained - 1700 Enemy Count - 61/82 Enemy Level - 18-20 and 5-7/7-10 I have a video playthrough of this chapter on Google Video: http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-3260813494232413689 The units in this vid have some uber stats due to RNG-resets, but the same strategy is possible using fixed growth mode as well. This level is a rough ride with tons of units pouring in on your troops. Technically you just need to escape Ike to the castle within 15 turns, but killing everything (besides the Black Knight) is possible as well. I recommend having Rayson use a Laguz gem to immediately change to heron form. You should use silver weapons for this level to kill faster and handle the swarms of mobs. Forging a custom silver axe will greatly help, as well. Take out the paladins and wyvern lords coming from the north with your main force. Have a strong unit positioned west to counter the wyvern lords coming from that direction. Blockade the west bridge with one or two units while taking out paladins, barbarians, and wyvern lords coming from the north and the 4 wyvern lords coming from the south. Push through the bridge and continue west to take on the boss in the southwest forest/mountain area, then north to the castle. Watch out for the Black Knight! Chapter 25 Bonus EXP - Clear for 150 Clear Time - 10 XP Gained - 1400 Enemy Count - 35/57 Enemy Level - 19-20 and 6-9/10-12 Move your forces to meet enemies coming down both sides of the mountain, but don't go too far up. Allow the wyverns to move fully before attacking so they don't fall back. Use a flier to snipe the sages around the mountain. After taking the wyvern lords out, move your main force up the mountains left side, ignoring the right. Sage killing strategy with Marcia using a Spear: Use Rayson to allow Marcia to reach the first range sage on the left, and after-move her east towards the right sage. Use a decoy unit with lower res than Marcia at the edge of the right sages attack range, so Marcia can reach him. The boss will attack Marcia - use one of your sages range attacks to finish him off. Proceed north, weathering the two top sages and sniper - take them all out. Chapter 26 Bonus EXP - Clear for 200 Clear Time - 21 XP Gained - 2400 Enemy Count - 72/106 Enemy Level - 7-9/11-13 This is the level where US Difficult mode finally starts throwing all promoted units at you, however they are still 2-3 levels less than the promoted units in JP Maniac mode. The enemy count here is the highest of any level in the game. You don't get much cover in this stage and it's swarming with enemies. More than half the map immediately rushes you, and there are 5 long range sages already deployed. Reinforcements continually pour in and you'll need your best units with plenty of strong weapons to handle them all. On turn one, form a defensive line between the trees and let the enemy approach you. Immediately move one unit out and kill the sage nearby in the corner. Have Rayson use a Laguz gem to change forms right away. You should focus on taking out successive waves of enemies as them come in. The northmost range mage won't attack if you're out of his range, so stay out for now. Focus on killing the bow using or ranged attack enemies first. Next, take out the resistance in front of you and form small blockades against the incoming paladins and swordmasters. Take them out and focus your main force westward against the incoming generals, etc. On turn 4 10 wyvern lords show up in the northeast corner - throw a powerful unit at them to soften them up while you take out the generals. Turns 7-13 you'll be up against several waves of Paladins - the north patch of bushes is a good spot to blockade and take them out as they approach. Try to use a flying unit to hit and run the ranged mage and bishop on the hill in the meantime, and don't provoke any further enemy attacks. Finally on turn 16 8 more wyvern lords show up. Deal with them then work towards the castle - enemies will not attack unless provoked. Alternate Strategy: This is the more aggressive strategy I used on my second playthrough, which requires units with some pretty uber stats.. it is possible with fixed growth mode if you have a great team built up. Use Oscar and Ike to barge westward and kill the west sage while taking on the entire western force. Send Marcia north to take out the north sage, Kieran northwest to take out the middle sage, and Jill northeast to take the sage out in the corner. Marcia will have to dodge about 8 ranged attacks, and Oscar/Ike will be taking on a legion. After the sages are killed, back off to bring the enemies closer to the rest of your troops for killing. As you finish off both west and north forces, the turn 4 wyvern lords will be approaching - send in your forces to take them on preemptively, then position to take on the incoming 6 paladins. On turn 7 move in Jill and Marcia to execute the sage and bishop on the hill. After the first wave of paladins are wiped out, move in aggressively and take out the nearby generals, paladin reinforcements and other forces. This strategy takes 12 turns instead of ~20. Chapter 27 Bonus EXP - Clear for 200 Clear Time - 15 XP Gained - 1700 Enemy Count - 50/72 Enemy Level - 3-9/12-14 Use your long range attacks to nuke the west thief, and proceed with your party to the east. Kill the thieves and swordmasters, move north and around west to clear out the rest of the mobs. Once you're ready open the far left door and barge in to kill the bishops/sages, using all available units and a transformed Rayson. There are two sages and two bishops that must be killed if you don't want an unlucky unit to be slept and nuke killed. After that the only bishop with a sleep staff will be on the very far right. Blockade on the staircase and tear through the enemy mobs. There's a lot of great treasure to be had, all the bishops have physics to steal, and the boss has a nice Spear, good for hit and run with Marcia or Jill. If you want to kill the Black Knight, Ike will need to have most of his stats maxed, near 60 HP, with the Aether skill. Mist will need to be promoted and have a decent magic stat and staff level C for using Physics. Give her the Shade skill, a silence staff, physic, and full HP recover staff. It's mostly a matter of luck and skill activation whether or not you win. You'll need Aether to activate at least once if you want to beat him before enemy reinforcements can take their turn. Try to silence the bishop if they do show up, or just keep Ike healed and hope for the best. If you decided not to level up Mist, Ike will need to use elixirs and you have a much higher chance of losing. I have not lost the fight once having leveled Mist up. Chapter 28 Bonus EXP - Clear for 200 Clear Time - 16 XP Gained - 1600 Enemy Count - 55/85 Enemy Level - 9-11/13-15 and some 20s There are 7 long range sages packed in this level, and two bishops with sleep staves. Try to kill the bishops asap, using your mages range weapons, attacking with fliers, or just rushing out and trashing them with Ike. Have Rayson use a laguz gem and chant to quickly dispose of all nearby enemies and the three nearby range sages by turn 2. Keep pushing hard towards the forest clearing so you can kill the bishops, but try not to provoke the three sages on the west end of the map. If any of your units are slept, use a recover or rescue staff asap. Try to stay out of the attack range of the three range sages on the west end of the map.. once you're ready to take them on, provoke them with high resistance units into your attack range, or units that can take/dodge a hit or two of extremely strong ranged magic. Or you could rush in a superpowered unit like Ike and let him slaughter everything, depending on whether you want the XP at this point. Keep any vulnerable units from being double or triple teamed by sages. Once the waves of reinforcements are finished, carefully bait the ranged sages with high resistance units and take them out. Chapter 29 Clear Time - 23 Enemy Count - 45/70 Enemy Level - 13-16/16-19 Give Ike the Knight Ring, bring any healers that can use Physics, give your dragon laguz stones (and Reyson if you can spare), and pass elixirs and whatever other ultimate items you have around. The base item store does not sell Physics unlike the US version, so hope you have plenty left for the boss. I also recommend getting Nasir to lv 20, by bonus XP or fighting. Crafting another high power silver axe would really help as well. Giving Ike the Provoke skill will help keep Ashnard and other enemies focused on him instead of your allies. My preferred final battle team is: Ike, Oscar, Boyd, Soren, Marcia, Mist, Kieran, Nephenee, Jill, Astrid, Makalov, Reyson, Calill, and Nasir. They should all be around 20/18-20. The first objective is to kill as much as possible before Ashnard starts moving on turn 9. Send Ike and Oscar east against the generals and the rest of your party west. They will all be rushing towards you anyway, so you'll have plenty to handle. Ike should have no problem wasting the east side of the map, while the rest of your team takes care of the west. Proceed to the middle of the courtyard and draw out the knights and dragons for slaughter. Using ranged thunder magic will quickly put a dent in the dragons to the north. You'll want to kill as fast as possible so there is very little left by the time Ashnard and his 6 wyvern lords+bishop show up. Once Ashnard starts moving, draw him back to the courtyard so his bishop can't reach him. Once Ashnard starts moving and his 6 wyvern lord reinforcements show up, send Ike up to solo the wyverns while fending off Ashnard. Heal Ike from afar until the wyverns are dead, then lure Ashnard down near a flowerbed to fight him in the bushes. Eventually Ike will pull off an Aether and knock most of Ashnards HP out. Ashnard can two-shot any of your three units, so make sure to keep your healing up and don't get into any risky situations. It's possible to trap Ashnard between your three units next to a flowerbed, which helps stop him from flying around like crazy. That way you can also have your healers move up and use the Fortify staff to heal everyone at once. 4. Trial Maps Map 1 - Hillside Battle Not too much to say about this map.. all enemies are lv 13 which makes them easy pickings for your lv 20 powerhouses. Pick your best 8 units and go at it. The narrow corridors makes for easy blockading and the small map size means it's easy to hit and run with fliers. Map 2 - Lonely Isle A fairly easy map where you need your best anti-air units to punch out the incoming fliers. Bows, wind magic, and anti-laguz weapons should be used. Position your healer on the centre square and stick your units by the storehouse, or let powerhouses like Ike stand by the edge and rip apart anything that comes near. Map 3 - Strange Turn I recommend taking Ike, Oscar, Kieran, Marcia, Nephenee (or someone else like Nasir), and Mist (or whoever your main healer is). Mist needs all the healing gear she can get including Fortify, and possibly the Hammerne to repair it when it runs low. Everyone should have powerful weapons and elixirs. Position your units in one of the corners of the map as shown in this diagram. If you want your units to have more spaces for enemies to attack each turn, you can position a few of your units 1 space further. Allow the enemies to approach you - if your units need healing, focus on that instead of trying to push out more attacks. X = wall/candlebra I = Ike, O = Oscar, K = Kieran, M = Marcia, N = Nephenee/Other H = healer IKMx O x N Hxx Xxxxx Map 4 - Desperation Aside from having less units, this map plays almost exactly like the original chapter 18. Bring high dodge/resistance units and blockade/plow through the snowy area once again. Map 5 - Escape It's best to put units with supports in the same cells. Use long range magic to nail the bishop. Break open the south and west prison doors and gather in the passage by the cell near the exit. This is a good spot to blockade and take on foes coming from 3 sides. Map 6 - Trapped Put fliers in the southwest position to meet with Ike, powerful units that can push through the generals on the north boat, and other units on the middle boat. All 3 bishops and most of the sages on the map can be killed on turn one, so don't waste time doing so. Gather around Ike, blockade the north boat, and take on enemies approaching from the west. Allow them to fly onto the ship for easier killing. Keep a good force of units near the northeast corner ready to kill the 6 sage reinforcements before they can cause trouble.