This chapter gives us control of Ike’s group, and while it’s significantly stronger than the other two groups thanks to the added strength of a leveled-up Soren and Titania, this group will nevertheless be involved in the most chaotic, difficult chapters. This chapter’s stage has a fog of war effect and numerous potential points of entry for enemy NPCs early on. Oh, and flying units who can totally catch you off-guard. And reinforcements that teleport in like the last chapter, which is the new normal.
Ike’s group seems to be heading into Begnion by following the footsteps the Laguz Alliance did, so they head into Seliora. Apart from the obvious characters in his group, there are also Nailah and Rafiel, and both Kurthnaga and Ena (though the dragons are NPCs and don’t really factor into combat here).
Before the teams split up, Ena passed out sending stones to each heron. Since the three of them were split up among the teams, they can communicate with each other (remember, herons share the dragons’ ability to sense each other that the sending stones amplify). Using the sending stones, Leanne sends a warning to the others about the Disciples of Order, so Ike and Soren know that they need to be prepared.
The first base conversation is between Ike and Rafiel, where Ike tells him that he’s unlike the other herons he’s met (because Rafiel and to a lesser degree Leanne have been affected by their time with the other laguz). Nailah shows up to explain that Rafiel exemplifies what a heron traditionally is, however, and she isn’t happy with Ike’s suggestion that he toughens up a bit like Reyson.
Mist has a vision of things shining in the ground like the one Micaiah had in the last chapter, and she wanders off to search one of the spots that was nearby. Inside, she finds a Holy Crown item, which is basically a Master Crown that only works on her. I don’t know if she can’t class change with a normal Master Crown or what (I don’t really use her all that much), but it’d make sense if that were the case. By the time we reach the Act 4’s endgame, Soren and Micaiah will be our healers and a bunch of units will naturally regenerate health, though, so she’ll be abandoned soon.
Aimee gives Ike a Rexcalibur tome for Soren (because giving it to Ike instead of Soren allows her to flirt with him more), and she obsesses over him a bit. At the end of the conversation, Ike says “that woman has issues with reality” while smiling.
Okay, honesty time: there’s a character who can be recruited in this game who I had no idea could be recruited. Doing so requires moving Rafiel to him during one of the trickier, more dangerous chapters, but I’m determined to make this work because I’ve apparently missed out on recruiting him during every previous playthrough. I started a support between him and Nailah to give them a slight support bonus in the hopes that it helps make this easier to accomplish, though the bonuses aren’t great.
Mia still has a Wyrmslayer sword from earlier, but I bought this new one just in case. I’m thinking that it might be a good idea to have it be the sword that Yune blesses later on, because we’re going to have a whole bunch of Wyrms in need of slaying.
I also made sure to buy Titania a Hand Axe because she’s going to have to deal with a bunch of indirect attackers on the side she’ll be protecting. She also has a Tomahawk that I gave her earlier, which is basically a stronger Hand Axe.
You know, I didn’t think to check during the last chapter, but I just realized that you can’t forge anything during this chapter. The forging guy didn’t get turned to stone, though; I just checked and him and his brother are with Elincia’s group, and her group has access to the forge. I guess only her army can forge things, then? It doesn’t really matter either way, because all of our go-to units have become powerful enough to handle enemies while using any normal weapon.
Leanne warned Ike’s group about the Disciples of Order, but apparently forgot to mention the whole “teleporting in out of nowhere” thing for some reason.
The trick to this stage is to make sure that enemies have only one powerful character in range to attack. They’ll always prioritize the person in range over the weak person who takes multiple turns to reach, so clearing out the early enemies and then pushing deeper in makes things much easier. Ike and Mia go down, Nailah and Soren go right (with the weak units since most will come from the bottom and left, and they’ll be safer bunched up on the right), and Titania locks down the left side. Ena is an NPC for this chapter, but she won’t transform into her dragon form, which means it’s probably best to distract enemies away from her.
Eventually Nailah goes down to engage some enemies at the bottom-right (which is where the boss is, but it’s best not to have her steal that bit of experience). There are some fire mages down there, which might seem counter-intuitive, but she can more than handle herself. Around the same time, Titania begins to move down. There are some annoying sword-users who engage her, but she restores so much health every turn that it’s merely a nuisance. The big problem with this chapter is that there are a bunch of enemies with Physic staves who will constantly heal enemies. It’s not a problem, but it’s still annoying to do damage and then suddenly have it undone.
Finally, I don’t think I’ve ever addressed how far two units have to be from one another to still get their support bonuses. Act 4 is easier if you rubber-band back and forth to cover ground and engage enemies without straying so far that those bonuses are lost, and the easiest way of remembering the maximum support distance is by thinking of it as a 3×2 box or 4×1 box. So long as two characters who share a support fit into one of those boxes, they’ll receive the support bonuses.
Apparently Kurthnaga has been feeling a little under the weather or something (it comes out of nowhere), so Ike goes to talk to him after the battle. Kurthnaga remembers him from Path of Radiance, and they get to talking a bit. Ike asks why he joined Micaiah, and he says that he disobeyed his father’s laws to join the fight because he wanted to help his sister. We’ve already figured out a lot of this stuff, but it’s spelled out that Almedha was Ashnard’s wife and also Kurth’s sister, which makes Rajaion his brother. Apparently Ashnard held his baby with Almedha hostage and then twisted Rajaion to be his mount. These events seem like they’re connected, so it’s more or less implied that Rajaion went to Daein’s capital because Almedha’s child was in danger, or something along those lines.
Kurthnaga pities his sister because of how many tragic things have happened around or because of her, and that’s why he was moved to act contrary to his entire dragon laguz upbringing and join the battle on her side. Ike thanks him for telling him, and swears on his father’s grave not to tell anyone else.