Anyway I found an opening move that, while not completely fool/RNG-proof, helps cover for a large portion of the weakpoints in Interceptor’s strat (namely, if those jerks bring Luna+ on the near Archer, Pavise+ on the Soldier or Aegis+ on the Knight). Because of the way the AI works in determining its target, Fred effectively becomes a ninja.
Basically, if Fred’s Def is high enough, he can run into range of all four enemies and half of them will completely ignore him (and they all would if he wasn’t the only one in range of two of them). Depending on if we want the Knight away from everyone or to be pulled closer so that they can burst him down, Fred either goes above the Knight and hits the Soldiers with the Javelin or 1 tile down and 1 tile right of the Soldier and hits him (don’t want to body block him). This will draw the Knight onto the rear Archer onto him and make them take retaliation damage. Robin is placed along the top wall at the very edge of the Soldier and nearest Archer’s range (can be edged a little closer and still be out of the Knight and rear Archer’s range if something more aggressive is required). So long as Fred is outside the threshold of dying to all four when Luna+ and Counter is mostly not taken into account, the Soldier and near Archer will gun for Robin. The reason I say mostly, is that the Knight will always go first if it can hit someone. So Luna+ and Counter matter here because the AI adjusts according to numbers on the fly. So if fighting the Knight hurts Fred enough, everyone else will suddenly target him. What this means is that there are still problem ability sets that can mess Interceptor’s strat up, then mess up this strat.
Another possible issue is if Robin has some bad stat luck, particularly in Speed (Defense and HP are important, to a lesser extent, too). She wants 15 (which is the low end of expected average for +Spd) so that a Sully C lets her double the Soldier in the typical tanking situation. With 11 expected Mag, she likely won’t kill anyone (except maybe with Sully Iron Lance dual strikes), but can at least significantly weaken the enemies she engages.
Now for the problem guys. The Knight is the biggest issue, as he has a couple combos that make things really bad. Luna+ and Counter together make it so Fred can’t take on the Knight, meaning we lose positioning and some damage output, since Fred needs to go up and out of the Knight’s range (he can attack the near Archer while doing so, although it’s probably not a good idea if the near Archer has Luna+. He can then still injure the rear Archer during EP. Now for the partially problematic scenarios:
Knight with just Luna+
-Fred can no longer get away with 17 Def (base plus Virion C). 19 Def, however, will work, but it requires Fred to nab Kellam.
Knight with just Counter
-Base Fred has 13+3+2+1=19 Attack at base with a Kellam support. Leveling up (likely) has a chance of pushing this up to 20. If right beside the Knight, it won’t move out of the Woods to attack Fred. Against 11+1 Def, Fred will do 7×2 or 8×2, depending. The first scenario will work with 20 Def (65% of getting that +1 on level up), but the second just plain won’t. If the Knight also has Def+2, suddenly that becomes 5×2 or 6×2. At level 2, he can get away with the first with 19 Def (he’s guaranteed at least 1 HP), but the second scenario requires 20 Def. Pavise+ will also make either scenario work with 19 Def.
Knight has Counter and Aegis+
-This is really bad because of the problems mentioned above, compounded with magic going from ganking him to being required to set up Fred finishing him off with the Silver Lance on PP. It’s a major damage commitment. This also stuffs up Interceptor’s strat and makes mine significantly less reliable. If anyone has any ideas of how to deal with this, I’m open to them.
Soldier with Counter
-If the Soldier and the nearest Archer have no Luna+, Fred with Kellam can do the pull Robin normally would if the Soldier didn’t have Counter. With base Str, base Def, A Lances and the Javelin equipped, Fred can survive. He’ll take 3 from the Archer and 4 from the Soldier, then deal 15 to the Soldier. This is 22 out of Fred’s 28 base HP (which will be at least 29, if level 2). If the Soldier has both Counter and Pavise+, then Fred will only take 15 damage. This gives enough leeway that an Archer with Luna+ will only bring the damage up to a non-lethal 24. If the Soldier doesn’t have Pavise+, keep Robin and Chrom beside Fred for Solidarity and support Crit bonuses, as Fred can safely crit and kill it. Otherwise, keep them away, lest he crit-blick himself.
-As a last resort (if Fred will die), Robin can instead tank unequipped, which completely destroys the team’s damage output. If the enemy team has lots of Pavise+ and Aegis+, this may make the scenario unrecoverable.
Both the Soldier and near Archer have Luna+ (bonus points if the Soldier also has Counter, making everything way worse)
-With 10 Def (low expected) and a Sully C pairup (+3), 29 HP (low expected), Robin can easily survive a single Luna+ from the Soldier and a non-Luna+ from the Archer (highest damage output without dual Luna+). Dual Luna+ brings that benchmark up to 15 Def (either low expected with Kellam or high expected +1 with Sully C) and 30 HP (high expected). Obviously, this is a big survival problem if they decide to bring dual Luna+ here and one of Fred’s problem scenarios. Granted, Robin can have Kellam and Fred can go up to avoid the Knight, but team damage drops so much that survival is very iffy (although not as iffy as if the Soldier has Counter).
-A very tentative solution involves positioning Robin one tile to the left of where she would normally pull from and then placing Vaike with a Sumia or Chrom pair to the right of Robin. If Robin can kill the Soldier in retaliation (generally an iffy amount of scenarios, since Fred needs to weaken him for average Mag Robin to have a chance and Pavise+ or Aegis+ mess that up, barring two Sully Iron Lance dual strikes) and the Archer’s non-Luna+ hit can’t kill her (almost a given), it should run up in her face and shoot Vaike, instead. This means losing some damage output, but it’s better than hoping Sully dual guards Robin or messing up Fred’s first PP damage output.
Anyway, the bottom line is that even with the two strats in play together, the game can still randomize bad skill sets that have overlap against each. My strat can still make an earnest attempt, but it goes from being fairly reliable to a crapshoot. The scenarios are:
-Knight with Aegis+ (Int) and Counter (mine)
-Soldier with Pavise+ (Int) and Counter (mine)
-Soldier with Luna+ and Archer with Luna+ (Int) (both required against mine)
If any of these scenarios happen, my strat can still be run, compensating for each of the problem enemies. However, if enough Pavise+/Aegis+ are present, even the whole team ganging up on the remaining enemies may not be enough (the Soldier having Counter makes this especially likely).
Pre-reqs: Robin/Sully C, 15 Spd on Robin (low end of average)
-The Soldiers has 33 HP, 5+1 Def and 2+1 Res. Base Fred with Kellam support and Lances A has 31 Attack with the Silver Lance and 23 Attack with the Iron Axe. If he has no Pavise+ or Aegis+, there are very good odds of killing him. In this case, consider using the Iron Axe for Hit rate safety (provided Robin has 11 Attack with Fire). If the enemy has Aegis+, then Robin will need to land both hits (Attack doesn’t really matter here, unless Robin has 16+, which will make the kill only take one hit), or land a hit and get a Dual Strike from Sully. Pavise+ will require Robin to be able to do 21 damage, which means having at least 14 Attack (average Mag of 11 with Tomes C and Fire). Sully can help, but it’s generally not worth trying to count on a Dual Strike from her.
-Anyway, Robin/Sully starts just out of range along the fort wall. Sully should be leading. Fred/Kellam should also start 1 tile down and 1 tile left of Sully. Standard turn order is to have Sully move 1 tile up, 1 right from the Soldier, swap to Robin and attack the Soldier. Fred then moves to the right of the Soldier and finishes him off. On EP, the Archers will fight Robin and, since the Knight is body blocked from her by Fred, will fight Fred (it should die if he has the Silver Lance out). Note that this kill is impossible without two lucky Dual Strikes (out of a pool of a possible two from Sully and one from Kellam) or one Dual Strike and Robin having abnormally high Mag. It’s just not worth the risk. This also won’t work if the Soldier has Vantage+/Luna+ and the Knight has Luna+ (Fred will die from focus fire). Another scenario where this won’t work is if both Archers have Luna+ (unless Robin has absurd enough durability to tank two 22 Attack Luna+ hits, which would require 33HP/10Def or 31HP/11Def, both combinations that are a bit above average).
-If the Knight has Counter, then the order has to change to Fred attacking the Soldier first, then Robin trading away his weapon so he’s unarmed, then killing off the Soldier. This variation cannot work if the Soldier also has Counter, or both he and the Knight have Luna+ (Fred will die from either cutting himself or focus fire).
-If the nearest Archer doesn’t have Pass, but the Knight has Counter, the aggressive strat can be adjusted a bit to still work. Robin would then go first against the Soldier, with Fred finishing (incidentally, this allows the strat to also get around the Soldier having Counter). This makes it so that there’s exactly one tile that only the Knight can attack. Place an unequipped Vaike there to pull the attack off of Fred.
-An alternative, if the Soldier has Pavise+/Aegis+, is to go for the Archer right above the Soldier instead. Since the Soldier will be stuck with only defensive skills, it’s possible for this variation to work against dual Luna+ Archers. However, the Archer right above the Soldier can’t have Counter (Robin will die during EP). The Archer also can’t have Vantage+ if the Knight has Luna+ (otherwise, Fred will die from focus fire).
-The Archer has 31 HP, 4 Def and 2 Res. Base Fred with Kellam support and Lances A has 20 Attack with the Javelin. This will let Fred do 16 HP if the Archer has Pavise+, 8 if he does. A 14 Attack Robin can soften him up so that Fred can land the kill. If the Knight has Counter, then the attack order will have to be reversed again, with Fred Javelinning first, then Robin finishing. Only one of the Archer or Knight can have Luna+, otherwise Fred will die from focus fire.
-One other variation that can help keep Robin from dying to dual Luna+ Archers is that if starting with the Soldier kill, this provides a place on the right (where Robin would normally pull both the Soldier and Archer in some of the other back-up strats) where only the Archer can damage something. Vaike/Sumia or Vaike/Chrom can be placed at the edge of that range to lure the Archer away. Since it doesn’t have Luna+, unless the non-Luna+ damage looks like it will collectively kill Robin, he’ll decide he wants to get Vaike more. The downside to this is that it prevents Robin from being able to counter this Archer on EP, losing a lot of damage output. The scrubs can probably gang up on him and take him down, but doing this requires staying in the middle for another turn, which allows the right side to get uncomfortably close. Keep this in mind when planning (especially if the Knight has PavGis+ and/or Counter).
-So this works for a fairly wide variety of cases, even if it gets tripped up by a lot of niche skill combinations. Because there are some risks with the Soldier kill (about on par with Interceptor’s strat, since there are high, but non-100% Hit rates), the above strat that lures the enemy out is usually safer and preferred (killing the Archer is relatively safe, but places the rest of Robin’s team farther away, making it tougher for them to help). However, this strat is particularly good at removing that annoying Counter(/Pavise+) Soldier, who tends to get in the way of the other strats.
With my two strats having evolved enough, I find that they make the entirety of my strategies at this point. However, I’ve decided to leave Interceptor’s strat in because his benchmarks a bit laxer, allowing someone who is just trying to complete Lunatic+ or who gets extremely stat screwed to get a reliable start. One thing to note about his strat is that for Fred to be able to get a clean finish on the Soldier, he either needs to have gained a level with +1 Str or Robin needs to be at 10 Str (this is below the average for most builds, so it should happen) to gives Kellam an extra Str on pair.
-Getting into the chokepoint can be a little tricky, since Robin and Fred may not be enough to finish off the enemies, so the scrubs may have to dog-pile, putting them out of position. However, there is one thing Fred can do to buy an extra turn and possibly save on tomes/Vulneraries, depending on skill distribution. If he goes to 2 tiles to the right of where the Soldier spawned, he can make the enemies attack from farther back and clump up. Enemies move a bit randomly, so the melee enemy out front will vary, but if it doesn’t have Counter, Fred can safely use the Javelin to fight both the melee and the Archer. During this time, it will be a priority to get Robin within 5 tiles of standing on the door tile, heal her up and get someone within range of the door to have the Door Key (Sumia, or possibly Sully, tend to be the natural candidates).
-On the turn following, Sumia or Sully need to open the door, then Robin/Chrom can rush in to injure or kill the Knight at range. If the Knight doesn’t die and has Pass, make sure to block up the rest of the passage. If Fred was able to fight with the Javelin, he has the choice to move 5 tiles away, stopping at the mouth of the corridor so that he can get another round of combat in. If he doesn’t want to fight, he can move 1 tile up from there, which makes him safe from enemy attack. Either way, the enemies will be too far away to attack over his shoulder, so Lissa can get a heal in if she has any charges left. If the Knight didn’t die and space is short, the tile to the left of the corridor should be safe. If you utilize it, I recommend whoever of Sumia or Sully didn’t open the door be the one to stand there, as it makes rearranging the formation easier.
-At this point, it’s a matter of rearranging the formation so that Fred is unequipped at the front, body blocking and healing as necessary (Elixirs may be necessary if the Knight and/or Archer have Luna+; killing a Luna+ Archer during the kiting phase can pay dividends here). Robin should be behind him (make sure she’s healed, as the Archer will target her if he can kill her), with Lissa behind her. The others can fill up the last two tiles however they like, just so long as it stops the enemy from Passing in.
Round and Round We Go – Wave 2
-The second wave is generally best pulled by attacking the Merc on the far left from 2 tiles to his left (not 1 down, 1 left, as that’ll draw the Fighter too). This allows Robin to hopefully (if Chrom’s not feeling lazy) take down both the Merc and the Archer. There is risk of the Merc not dying, unless Robin has exceptionally high Mag, so assume this is going to happen. If both enemies have Luna+, Robin may need a Sully or Fred support instead of Chrom to survive. If Robin’s survival stats are really dismal, Fred may have to do the pull with a Javelin instead (Robin with a Sully C and Sully will need 34HP/10Def or 32HP/11Def; Fred gives 1 more HP or Def of leeway). Anyway, in anticipation of problems, make sure to position two 7-Move units near the mouth of the door corridor, such that the pulling unit can hop over, Transfer, then pair to escape.
-Once the pull is done, kill the rest of the enemies may be a simple matter of kiting 1-2 enemies from the edge of their range to death at a time. Counter on the melee complicates this. One thing for sure, though, is that the situation is actually really safe, but the more Counter melee there is, the longer and more tedious this gets.
-Note that this requires opening the second door once the enemy has been more or less pulled through the left side’s corridor. Thanks to the separate->re-pair tactic to gain an additional movement, plus the fact that all the units can use this, then boost even farther by pairing to Sully and Sumia, it’s possible to outrun the enemies. Getting close enough to the rear of trail of enemies will cause the rearmost to break off and head the other direction (be careful not to get too aggressive, though, as sometimes this can pull an Archer with a melee). This allows that single enemy to then be jumped by the entire team and massacred accordingly. Run circles enough times, picking the rest off one at a time and the enemy will eventually lose.
-Try to conserve at least 4 tome uses for Raimi (more if she has Aegis+). If nervous about Chrom being able to contribute (at all or enough) with the Rapier, an alternative is to have Hammer-wielding Fred as Robin’s support.