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Strider-only run

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Chocobo_Fan:
I've been thinking of trying a minimalist run where I kill off all non-essential party members and try to make it through the game with just the Strider sisters. Given the permadeath mechanic, it's something that could theoretically happen to a very incautious player, so I'd like to see just how viable it is. It'd also be interesting to see how the story is affected (though I imagine it would just make things a lot more boring :p).

I just did a test run myself, but I forgot that the town defense battle ended after a few rounds, so I was left with severely underleveled Striders for the caravan battle, and couldn't win. The only plan I can think of is to abuse the crap out of Pull and grind until my eyes fall out in the first battle against the two bandits. Has anyone tried this before? Any tips?

Thaecrasis:
Well, personally I don't think this plan will work, even if you over level both of them to the maximum potential every mission. The reason being is that each mission after the first couple was designed for strategy using an entire party to be able to take out.

However, not assuming it is impossible, the only way this could potentially work, would be first leveling them as much as possible, not just for the extra health/resistance/damage, but mainly for the extra skills gained in early-game. Getting the 'Motivate' and 'Place Iron Jaw Trap' skills as soon as possible would be a must for this to work.

-Against hoards of enemies, the strategy would have to be very item-heavy, using a lot of focus pills for energy, since you won't have the time and units to gather enough energy to prepare properly; you'd have to set up a snare and iron jaw trap each turn (both traps can be set in one turn without motivate, making choke points a feasible strategy with Sabrina.

-With essential upkeep for only two units, you'll have a lot more money to spend on tons of bandages and focus pills (you'll need every last one of them) and the best armour and weapons.

-Ranged and Psy units will be the bane of the Strider sisters, since they don't have any ranged attacks. The only way to deal with them effectively would be to set up a trapped choke-point, and move out of line of sight, or to another choke-point (and then use Emma's Motivate to set another 2 traps), and when the ranged units come around the corner to target you, they'll be stunned. [Keep in mind, ranged units will only move through your traps if they have the possibility of moving within attacking distance that turn]. In maps without many line-of-sight blocks though, will be a real challenge. I highly recommend saving 100 gold for the Psi guardian mission where they ask you for 100 gold to pass through, so you don't have to fight them. With just Emma and Sabrina against 5 extremely powerful psy users and a golem; you will die.

In regular missions where there is not many line-of-sight blocks, there could potentially be no real way to win: you'd either have to use all the cover as best you can, or sprint and use Wine (for 20% damage reduction, but also an accuracy penalty), and deal with the ranged units in potentially one turn with Double Strike if you manage to have it by that particular mission. Surviving the next turn will be hit-or-miss though, since even with very high health and damage reduction, likely both Emma and Sabrina will be surrounded by 4 melee units each and get backstabbed 2-3 times each as they counter-attack and change their rotation each time. If they both manage to survive those kinds of onslaughts, then you can use your abundance of bandages to heal up and set choke-points for melee reinforcements (turning your back against a trap almost guarantees any melee unit will choose to head for that trap to backstab them, which is quite handy).

-On the plus side, without worrying about other characters, you won't have to go on the horrifying Rescue Meridian mission which is insanely difficult even with a full party, and also the mission for Phoeboe later on for golem parts (but you also won't get any extra loot/exp from them either)

-Trying to actually complete the campaign with just the two of them will probably involve dozens, if not hundreds, of mission restarts; there's just too many variables and overwhelming amounts of enemies to figure out the perfect strategy (if there even is one) for each mission, so if you do intend to try this, I wish you the best of luck xD

If you do try it though, let us know how it goes :P

Edit: Actually, apparently the sisters can use bows as well, so that changes things quite a bit

And I tried this strategy and managed to beat the caravan mission. I only used one ranged attack; the way I dealt with Siras Harrowbeak (or whatever his name was) was keeping him immobilized with either having his own troops in his way or keeping him stunned. With the last snare (once out of energy) I finally attacked him (without his counter attacks), and with my own counter attack and following attack, finished him off easily. For the first few turns, I simply rested to gain as much energy for Sabrina as possible. At the end of the fight, Emma was level 5, and Sabrina was lv 7.

Edit 2: Managed to beat the Gunther mission as well
Edit 3: Doesn't seem like it's possible to beat the first 'Defend the Tent' mission though. There's too many enemies from all sides; while it's possible to kill quite a few enemies first, there's almost no way to prevent the tent from being destroyed it seems though.

Chocobo_Fan:

--- Quote ---Actually, apparently the sisters can use bows as well, so that changes things quite a bit
--- End quote ---

!!! They can? That does indeed change things! And Gavrielle conveniently gives you a freebie, too!

I started again and got the sisters up to level 14 in the first battle, and experienced the same results as you: Gunther was manageable, but the next fight is a brick wall even with champions. I think the main issue is the lack of ranged attacks, which allows the bowmen to attack the tent with impunity. (The healer is also hard to kill, and they effectively negate every attack you make while they're alive.) The only strategy I can think of is to keep the sisters adjacent to the tent, but they can only block two spaces, and that won't do anything to stop the bowmen and the pyro. If that doesn't work I'll grind them up to some ungodly level in the Gunther battle, hopefully allowing them to oneshot everyone. If that doesn't work, it's time to break out the bows.

bugfartboy:

--- Quote ---Actually, apparently the sisters can use bows as well, so that changes things quite a bit
--- End quote ---
I just looked this up in ItemClasses.xml.  If this is indeed possible, I wouldn't rely on it too much.  If possible, it appears to be a bug.

Thaecrasis:
It's not a bug; I just never noticed it before, but if you right click the Iron Bow for 'Requirements' it says 'Any Class'
Unless it is a bug, and it isn't suppose to be for any class.

Also, how do you overlevel Emma in the first mission, since she doesn't start with any non-damage way of getting exp?

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