Welcome back. Previously, I was going over the basic aspects of VenusBlood Frontier’s gameplay to help you get started with the game. This time, we will look deeper into the game’s mechanics, try to understand and use them in the best way possible and build a party that might even have a chance on the higher difficulty setting.
If you don’t care for that, don’t forget there’s always an Easy difficulty setting and an Instant Win button that lets you enjoy the story without the pesky brain work.
If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to go over the VenusBlood Frontier’s Kickstarter page to support the project. While the initial goal has already been reached (yay!), Ninetail revealed the Stretch Goals last week. We just reached the “The Song of the Battlefield” goal that includes the Re-translation of UI and other parts featured in the trial, but there is more. Please make sure we’ll find the “Treasured Documents of Valhalla”, so my artbook will have 16 pages more.
First things first: always save, every single turn.
It’s probably obvious to most of you but abuse the chance to save whenever you can. There are 100 save slots at your disposal, so don’t overwrite your last save when you hire new recruits or you rearrange your units in a different way because you want to test out a new strategy. In case your new strategy doesn’t turn out to be a winning move or your new troops are not up to your standards, you then can always go back to your previous save to try something else.
There is no shame in this. VenusBlood Frontier is one of these SRPGs where you first need to know what awaits you before you can plan a winning strategy, especially in higher difficulties.
This is also quite obvious but maybe you didn’t read the Tutorial or haven’t noticed the icon in the Recruitment Screen. Try to only recruit units that are compatible with the current moon phase. If there is a smiley face, it’s not only cheaper to hire the unit, it will also have far higher stats than normal.
Do not hire units that have a sad or even painful face. They are not compatible with the current moon and will have terrible stats that make them nearly unusable. Wait for a few turns until the moon reflects the unit’s element again. When you know who to recruit and when you start the game with the moon phase ideally to your recruiting plan.
Like with moon phases, Nocturnal units should be hired at night, while all the other units should be hired during the day.
If you can spare it, add the two additional Medallions during the hiring process so your new unit is as strong as possible.
In the demo, we don’t have to save Medallions for the next chapters, so go all out and test different configurations. (In the full game, you will dismiss and rehire units quite often so you might not want to spend many Medallions on the earlier versions which you will dismiss again in a few turns anyway.)
While Medallions that boost your stats are fine, you might want to use some that will give you passive skills that benefit the class of unit you’re about to hire. For example, if you hire a defensive unit, try to give it the guarding skills it might lack without a Medallion’s title. Or if you hire a unit that is strong against a specific enemy that troubles you, why not stack the damage multiplier with even more Special Attack skills?
In general, the Strength Medallion gives mostly stat increases, while the Spear Medallion has some really strong skills. Keep the names of the Medallions in mind, they actually make sense. For example, the Shield Medallion will give good bonuses for Guardians, and so on.
Do not underestimate the effects nighttime or daytime have on your units.
If your unit is part of the Nocturnal race, it’s a nighttime unit. Everyone who isn’t part of that race is a daytime unit.
Nocturnal units get a +16% stat buff during the night but suffer a -50% defense loss during the day.
All other units do not have any benefits during the day but likewise, suffer a -50% defense loss during the night. However, they’re also unable to target enemies in the rear with their range attacks and suffer triple damage from a critical hit. Not to mention the high chance of an ambush that will shuffle your units’ positions and possibly completely destroy your defensive tactics as a result.
Do not attack Nocturnal units with daytime units during the night! It’s suicide!
There is no reason to form a division with both daytime and nighttime units. It’s better to build divisions composed of only Nocturnal units for night battles. If you want to use a daytime unit in your night squad, it should better come with the skill Night Warfare to cancel out all negative effects during night battles.
Most of the time, you’re probably going to ignore the stat boosts or penalties the different terrains cause to your units. It’s not feasible to build different divisions for every single terrain you fight on.
Sure, if you have a spare unit that is strong on a certain terrain you might want to replace a weak unit with it. But if you already assembled a division where all units synergize well with each other, replacing a unit that is weak on a certain terrain but central to the division’s strategy might not be the best idea.
However, keep in mind that the most difficult battles in a chapter are always at the capital city (since it contributes the most to the National Power). The city Terrain gives a +24 bonus to synthetic units. Use that to your advantage.
The game has six different weapons “classes”.
These are Blademaster, Lancers, Marksmen, Casters, Guardians, Destroyers.
Every class is strong against the class directly “above” it and weak against the class “below” if you look at them in the menu screen. Do not underestimate the Weapon triangle!
For example, a Destroyer among your enemy’s units can totally destroy your division’s perfect defense formation by simply knocking out your Guardians who are weak against Destroyer units.
Sp.Atk or “Special Attack” is … not a special skill or something like that. It means that your unit is strong against certain races.
(When the unit attacks someone of that race, its normal attack will turn into a “Special Attack”.)
Every unit is part of multiple races. A race can be mentioned more than once under the Sp.Atk attribute. When attacking an enemy, for every race under Sp.Atk that matches the enemy’s race you are attacking, you get a +100% bonus to your attack damage.
For example, a Succubus has the “Sp.Atk” of “HumManMan”. That means double damage to humans and even triple damage to male units. If a Succubus attacks a male human, she will get a bonus to her dealt damage of +300%, +100% for Human and +200% for Man. That means her attack power will be 400% (100%+300%), four times as strong.
As you can see, do not underestimate the +100% bonus you get for every Special Attack.
There are two types of skills. Normal skills all your units have and Tactical Skills.
Normal skills are passive skills and are used automatically (as long as the condition to trigger is met). Units can have up to six inherent skills. Every Medallion can add another skill (maximum of two) and every item can add up to two skills (two items can be equipped for a maximum of four skills added by items). That means the maximum amount of skills a unit can have is 12 (6 inherent + 6 added by Medallions and items).
The game’s User Interface doesn’t tell you what a skill does. You can look at the skill description in the Tutorial accessible from the main menu, but that doesn’t help you if you’re already in the game playing. Moreover, the descriptions aren’t too good, mostly due to lack of space. For that reason, the trial comes with a skill data manual containing descriptions for all passive skills. Have this file open while you’re playing to always look up skills when you’re unsure what they do.
Which skills should you focus on? Like I said in the hiring section, use skills that enhance the unit’s capabilities and synergize well with the rest of your division.
Race buffs (Adv. [race]) are a good way to easily multiply the power output of your division if it consists mainly of units of the same race. If you’re fighting against specific units that are extremely powerful, have some skills that can weaken their attacks. (More on that in the next section!)
Your Guardian should have the Defense Formation skill and be put in the #1 slot of your division, so he will not only guard the people in the rear (slot #4-#6) but also his comrades in #2 and #3. If you also put Protect on him, he will protect the unit in #6 from ranged attacks and flanking.
(Explanation: Units in #4-#6 will always be guarded against melee attacks as long as a unit in the front row is alive. Defense Formation will boost the Defense stat of all units (just as Attack and Speed Formation are doing for their respective attribute), but also guard every unit in a slot number higher than the unit’s slot number who has the Defense Formation skill. That means, if you put him on #1, he will guard everyone else. Protect will protect the unit with the next lower slot number. Putting the unit with Protect in slot #1 will loop the protected slot back to #6.)
Have someone in your division who can Negate Pierce and someone who can Negate Wide Atk since you will encounter strong enemies who have Pierce and Wide Atk skills.
It’s enough if at least one member of your division has the Negate skill. It doesn’t need to be the one that is attacked or would be affected by the attack. Of course, the unit must be alive or else it can’t trigger its skills.
In general, you want to focus on skills that make your whole division stronger (like Atk/Def/Spd Formation) instead of just the unit itself. Of course, if you have a unit that is your trump card against certain enemies, it’s a good idea to build upon that, too.
Tactical Skills are skills only your Commander units have and which you can manually activate during a main battle. They consume force which you accumulate by fighting or is generated by certain buildings.
During skirmishes, Commanders can’t use tactical skills. So it might be a good idea to fight skirmishes with enemy Commanders instead of normal battles, so they can’t use their Tactical skills.
In the demo, you have three Commander units: Loki, Fena and Garm.
Especially their third Tactical skill which you unlock after a few battles is very strong.
Loki: Andvara will not only damage the front line but also reduce the enemy’s force. This is essential for fighting against Tilca.
Fena: Tactical Healing skill Medicus will not only heal your division but also revive dead units.
Garm: Warning Shot is no mere warning shot but pretty much a one-hit kill against flying units. He also has the very good skill Venom Bolt which will be the hard-hitting attack skill of your choice in the beginning of the game.
By now, you should have all the necessary knowledge to assemble divisions that can slaughter everything in Normal mode and are pretty reliable in Hard mode.
However, after you beat the first few very easy enemy divisions, you will quickly notice that Tilca has certain units that are far better than the small fry you fought before. Essentially, a good division in Chapter 1 is one that is strong against these really powerful enemies.
Let’s look at them more closely:
Strong enemy units in Chapter 1
Tilca is the strongest enemy unit in the game, and you have to fight her multiple times. She’s very fast and will spam her Tactical Skill over and over again. Use Loki’s Level 4 Tactical Skill Andvara to deplete her force, so she can’t use her strongest Tactical Skill anymore.
She is a Bladeswoman, strong against Destroyer but weak against Lancer, so bring one with you.
Tilca’s army of heroic spirits will attack your whole front row thanks to their Wide Atk Skill, so have someone with Negate Wide Atk in your party. Einherjars are Destroyers which are strong against Guardians. So instead of using a Guardian as your first line of defense, put a Bladesman with high Evade or Parry in slot number #1 to bait his attacks.
Avoid bringing Flying units to a fight with the Gale Ritters but have someone with Negate Pierce or else they will really hit hard on your rear row.
They are Flying units themselves and also Lancers which means they are weak against Marksmen. I wish we had a Marksman in our party with a really strong Tactical skill against Flying enemies… oh, wait.
How to fight them
So, what have all these units in common? They are all Flying units and Cavalry. Two of them are Female. Use units who can exploit that.
Two of the three are strong against other Flying units and the Death Race. Avoid these two races in Chapter 1.
… I know. You just want me to finally tell you which units you should use. Well, there is no perfect setup.
The difficulty you are on makes a big difference. When you begin Normal mode, you will start with six extra units which you don’t have on Hard. Two of them are extremely overpowered and will make your conquest much easier. In theory, Hard mode gives you better rewards so with time you should be able to recruit these strong units by yourself. Problem is, it’s pretty much impossible in Chapter 1 or at least not very feasible because they are too expensive.
Speaking of time and difficulty, I better mention the arbitrary 30 turns limit the English VenusBlood Frontier trial has. It’s something the full game doesn’t have and it’s not even addressed in the game. The game just gives you a Game Over screen after 30 turns. It’s fine in the lower difficulties, but it’s a really harsh time limit on Hard. I have no idea why Ninetail did that, but I doubt the decision was made by someone who actually played the game in the highest difficulty. Well, it’s not impossible, but you have to hurry.
Speaking of impossible, the optional Tilca fight for choosing Chaos in your first decision is pretty much impossible on Hard, so don’t bother. It’s doable on Normal though, but still extremely tough.
Good units to use:
The six additional units you start with on Normal are Lancer, Phantom, Sister, Worm Queen, Dullahan, Garode, and Carpenter.
Worm Queen and Phantom are very good but the best of all is Dullahan. Sadly, she can’t be recruited on Hard, since you need a tier 4 Medallion which you simply can’t buy in Chapter 1.
Look at her overpowered stats. Not only does she have Negate Pierce, perfect against the Gale Ritter, she will also revive herself with 25% HP once in a fight.
Bouncer is one of the strongest units in Chapter 1 because his Special Attack goes against Flying units and Knights which is exactly what we want when fighting against Tilca, Einherjar, and Gale Ritter. He also has Night Warfare, which means you can use him in your Night battles. He is also a normal Human who just wants something to eat for risking his life on the battlefield which is very nice of him because we won’t be short on Food. (Most other strong units want to be paid with Magic.)
I recommend to hire him with a Medallion to give him extra damage against Knights for a total of +300% damage.
To recruit him, purchase a Scout Medallion. Keep in mind that purchasing Medallions (or finding them on the battlefield) is the only way to unlock units. You will have to unlock the other units I’ll mention by purchasing/finding Medallions first, too.
Baron is a Nocturnal unit with a Negate Wide Atk skill. Perfect against the Einherjar. However, since he is of Demon race and a Flying unit, he doesn’t work as a Guardian against the strong enemy units. It’s your choice whether you want to put him in the back row for the Negate Wide Atk skill or use that slot for an actual damage dealer.
Unlock him with a Magic Medallion.
General also has Negate Wide. Thanks to her Protect and Defense Formation skills, she is a very good Guardian for your division.
Use a Divine Medallion to unlock her.
Hannya is a Synthetic unit, perfect for your attack on the capital city or the other cities on Edda. She also has Flank and is strong against Flying units.
Lamia is a good choice in the beginning when you fight on quite a few Aqua fields. Her Charm skill is amazing when fighting against males and Pierce is always nice to have. Not only is she strong against male enemies, she also makes your own men stronger. I wonder how she does it?
Warrior is strong against Knights and Males.
A Yamato Medallion unlocks her.
Sentinel has the essential Negate Pierce skill you must have when fighting Gale Ritters.
You need both a Knight and a Divine Medallion to unlock her.
Fairy has a nice set of skills that work well together. She is buffing the speed of your party while slowing down the enemy. Evade and Parry help her to stay alive while also attacking the enemy.
It’s a Tentacle. It likes women. Nuff said.
In the end, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. The full version of VenusBlood Frontier features 210 units that you can customize to your will in many different ways: adapting to the current situation or betting on a long-term strategy, creating powerful individual units or focusing on a division’s strengths as a team. Adding on to the complex choice system, the many options in the gameplay allow you to craft your own story, to conform to your own playstyle, and above all, to be the Loki you want to be.
I hope I could convince you today that VenusBlood Frontier is not only a good waifu game (there is no better waifu than Tilca, after all) but also highly complex, engaging and satisfying strategy RPG. Even if you don’t care for the waifus or Loki’s story of revenge, you can still spend hundreds of hours customizing your units, managing your realm and corrupting goddesses (or not) which will also largely affect your strategy. I didn’t talk about constructing buildings to get a variety of bonuses or training your goddesses in this article because it’s not relevant in the demo, but there are much more game mechanics in VenusBlood Frontier to explore than I talked about here.
If you haven’t yet, please support the VenusBlood Frontier Kickstarter. The Kickstarter will end on October 20, 2018, 00:25 UTC +00:00. Less than two days left and so many Stretch Goals to reach.
And don’t forget to vote for Tilca in the Character Popularity Poll after your pledge!