Welcome to our character guide, focusing on Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon characters. We’ll be breaking down each of the characters and their classes, and providing our verdicts on which of them deserve to be in your team!
We’re back again with the latest in our Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon series, this time looking at the Ballisticians! These immobile units are able to attack from a huge range, making them incredibly useful once recruited, often feeling like a ‘siege’ unit helping you from afar. They’re not without their weaknesses however: They cannot attack units too close to them, instead of promoting they level up to 30, and there is a ‘dead zone’ near them where they cannot attack. The chapters in which you recruit them are also particularly difficult on H5 Merciless mode, mainly due to the maps being filled with their enemy counterparts.
On the plus side they have some good weapon choices, enabling them to take down a variety of unit types, particularly if you throw some money into forging them. There are only two of them available to you throughout the game however, and deployment slots are often few in number, so who should you use?
Beck is actually the second Ballistician you can find in Shadow Dragon, joining you in Chapter 13 when Marth visits his village. Akin to the Thief, what you’re essentially getting here is a ‘backup’ Ballistician – he is slightly worse than Jake, reinforcing the thought that you get a ‘worse’ unit for letting people die, though we will admit the gulf in statistics is nowhere near as bad as the aforementioned thieves.
Given the native lack of double attacks, what you’re essentially looking for in a Ballistician is the ability to hit as hard as possible and as accurately as possible. It is here then, that Beck starts to lose out to Jake: He will end up very similar in Strength, but lower in Skill. Unfortunately this means that he’s slightly more likely to miss and thus when we compare the two in a vacuum, he is slightly worse.
He does have a slightly higher defence rating, just in case you inexplicably feel like face tanking with a siege unit, and of course you could forge in some more hit rating to patch up the skill deficit should you wish. To do so however, is to drop precious funds into a unit just to bring him up to another’s standard. Another unit that is already in your team, who may already have a few levels on him and is objectively better at his job.
Why not use both, you say? Well, it’s certainly doable, but not quite as overpowered as you might think. The later chapters in Shadow Dragon really do require a good amount of quick units, especially when ambush spawns start creeping in, and besides, what would be the point in writing an article about picking one then eh?
VERDICT: Usable, but a little worse than the other option.
Jake is the first Ballistician you can recruit, becoming available in Chapter 11, providing you’ve spoken to Anna in one of the houses on the map. Oh, and you’ll also have to get near him with Caeda who, at least in her un-changed and un-promoted form, cannot move into his range without being hit. There are a few ways to counter this; either wear down his weapon uses with a tanky character, warp Caeda next to him or change her class into something with more movement. We tend to opt for the Warp option.
Upon recruitment, you get everything described above only two chapters earlier, to Jake’s immediate advantage. Interestingly enough however, Jake is categorically worse in the base statistic department when compared directly to Beck – as you can see, he skill is actually lower at this point in time, though this gap is likely to be closed if you use him for the 1 & 1/2 chapters between their join times.
The real reason that Jake stands out above Beck comes down to the difficulty curve of Shadow Dragon. When you initially get the two siege units they’re essentially a ‘nice to have’ – they’re a novel and interesting unit, but not exactly a requirement yet. You’ll certainly be thankful for having them around, but you’re unlikely to be failing a map without them.
This all changes towards the very late game, culminating in a final map that almost feels like it’s built for their use, and it’s here that Jake shines. By this time he’s likely to have outgrown Beck in terms of accuracy and critical chance. In Shadow Dragon, especially at higher difficulties, a single miss can ruin an hour of tactical movement. At times like this, we’ll take our statistically higher chances on Jake if it’s all the same to you.
VERDICT: Jake +%’s his way to being the best Ballistician in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon.
Categories: Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon