Fire Emblem Engage: 6 Tips For Beating The Game On Maddening
- Weapons Triangle Will Make Or Break You
- Prepare For Chapter 10
- Archers Are Your Friends
- Mix-And-Match Inherited Skills
- More Flexible Units Means Less Dead Units
- Engage "Gas Stations"
If you thought Fire Emblem: Engage was too easy, congratulations. There's an entire mode for those who enjoy their Fire Emblem experience served with a side of fresh tears. From lowered experience gain to maps with enemies that both outnumber and outmatch you, Engage's hardest mode lives up to its name.
However, Maddening isn't impossible, and for the experienced player wishing to use the tactical side of their brain, it's a rewarding challenge. Of course, everyone's Maddening run will be different, and everyone has their own style, but there are certainly a few tricks that you can apply to every playthrough to help you out.
Weapons Triangle Will Make Or Break You
The first priority in any Fire Emblem game is to understand the weapons triangle. Although it does have similarities to previous generations, Engage takes the system to a whole new level by introducing the "Break" feature.
Not only do the disadvantaged suffer from lowered accuracy and outgoing damage, but they could also end up losing the opportunity to unleash a follow-up attack for an entire round. Being highly aware of this feature at all times is a must for Maddening. You can't ignore it, not even for a second.
It's also worth noting that bosses cannot have their stances broken but can break yours. This means that you'll need to be aware of who is being put in the line of fire when entering a boss's space as you may find your unit incapable of defending themselves and lose them to a tragic and easily preventable death.
Prepare For Chapter 10
Unfortunately for the Maddening player, Engage has an awkward stage in the levels between the end of Chapter 10 and around Chapters 13-14 that can spot the slightest weakness in your team and tear it apart like overcooked chicken.
Building a team that can survive Chapter 10 and the next few chapters is the highest priority for those wanting a deathless Maddening run. Not only must you build a strong team, but you'll need to ensure that you have a team that can stand on its own without having a reliance on Emblems.
If you have the Expansion Pass, you'll be able to get Tiki and the Emblem Bracelet (Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude).
Finishing her Paralogue before attempting Chapter 10 is recommended as this allows you to have two Emblems instead of zero at the end of Chapter 10, and four until you manage to recruit Ike in Chapter 13.
This means you'll need to decide very early on the units you'd like to put your efforts into cultivating. Generally, you'll want to select ten units (with one or two in reserve) and stick with them for as long as you are able, switching out units that might perform better only rarely. A good rule of thumb to go by is:
- Two Mages
- One healer and one psuedo mixed-healer*
- One sword-user
- One lance-user
- One axe-user
- One dagger-user
- Two bow units
*Given Maddening's brutality, having two healers on the field is a must, but you also can't sacrifice having a unit capable of taking enemies off the field. For that reason, having a mixed healer like Ivy or Yunaka (only after retaking Micaiah's ring) is highly recommended.
Additionally, out of all of these units, take care to always have one of them be a flying unit. This is because some maps have areas only accessible by flying units, and using the Fly-Warp method (where you send in a flying unit to deal with a single unit and then cast Rescue to bring them out of harm's way) can be a deadly and useful strategy in the mid-to-late game.
Archers Are Your Friends
Maddening is full of a frightening amount of flying units at every turn, and a good percentage of bosses are either a flying unit themselves or incredibly weak to long-distance physical attacks. Although the trade-off is needing to be extra vigilant about guarding your archers, they make dealing with the swift and deadly enemies swooping in at you from every angle and bosses with multiple bars of health far easier.
Alcryst (+Lyn) and Etie (+Edelgard) is a standard recommended duo that tends to work well. Alcryst and Lyn are a Speed-based team that can use Astra to either delete distant flying units before they become a problem or bait enemies out of rooms you don't want to walk into – such as Chapter 14's final room that you may entirely cheese by spamming Astra.
Having Speedtaker as an ability also ensures you will never be outsped and always enjoy double hits. Conversely, Etie and Edelgard is a Strength and Dex-based build that can deal huge amounts of damage (over 200 by Chapter 10 with the right setup) with a range of three when Engaged, allowing you to cut an entire bar of a boss's health without ever being close enough for a counterattack. Give Alcryst, at the very least, a longbow to also give him the ability to shoot the same distance as Etie, and you have a walking nuclear package.
Mix-And-Match Inherited Skills
You don't need to inherit only the skills of the Emblems units are paired with. It is entirely possible – and recommended – to inherit the skills of multiple Emblems. For instance, Geosphere from Tiki, Byleth's "Instruct" ability, and Alear's personal ability, "Divinely Inspiring" can all stack, meaning that adjacent units can have:
- +3 Outgoing Damage
- -1 Incoming Damage
- +6 Resistance and Defense
- +3 to Strength/Magic/Dexterity/Speed/Luck
Adding Lyn's Alacricity skill and Celica's Tome Precision on Clanne can, in certain instances, deal two powerful magic attacks against an enemy without needing to worry about a follow-up attack. Finding synergy between these skills will be a deciding factor in how well your team functions together, so choose wisely.
More Flexible Units Means Less Dead Units
As a general rule of thumb in any Fire Emblem game, you'll want to also mix-and-match weapons to units. For example, keeping a Javelin on all of your lance units is highly recommended, as it means having the ability to either do tick damage against an opponent or breaking an enemy's stance from a distance to let a melee unit sweep in for the kill. In general, you'll want to keep in mind that:
- Sword units should have their choice of Armorslayers, Rapiers, or Levin Swords
- Lance units should have Javelins and/or Ridersbanes
- Axe units should have a Hand Axe/Tomahawk and, possibly, a Hammer
- Mage units should have Wind and Thunder
- Cleric units should have a mix of healing (Hend, Mend, etc) and movement staves (Rescue, Warp, etc)
By having this flexibility, you'll be able to assign multiple jobs to a unit without needing to switch them as often. This, in turn, prevents you from losing out on Maddening's rare and extremely valuable experience and SP gain.
Engage "Gas Stations"
Many of the maps in Engage are very large, and making sure to pace your units in terms of staves, health, and Engage meters is essential to survival. A good way to pace yourself is by looking at the map and locating the spots where you can refill your Engage meter. From a game design standpoint, these are typically placed in locations where the intention is for you to take a short rest before continuing on.
Although Maddening makes these rests extraordinarily short, you can use these points to cut up a large map into chunks, focusing on one goal at a time. In essence, you should use these as gas stations along your way to your larger goal.
This method also allows you to conceptualize the maps into "phases." By doing so, you can anticipate a map's overall direction and flow even in maps where there are masses of darkness. You can always assume two things about places where there are Engage meter-"wells":
- They will always be guarded by no less than two units and usually more
- Reinforcements will never spawn next to them, but they may spawn elsewhere after you use/leave them
Use these assumptions when planning your approach toward those springs, and make a mental note to make them your checkpoint for healing and re-ordering your assault lineup on all maps except those that feature cycling timed reinforcements – for those, you'll need to be a little more flexible. All of this is to say that Maddening may be difficult, but it is not unfair.
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