3DS EOIV01

Published on September 19th, 2013 | by Christian

2

Etrian Odyssey IV – An Explorer’s Guide

Having recently taken a chunk out of my backlog by finishing Etrian Odyssey IV, I decided that it had dethroned my previous game of the year for 2013 (Fire Emblem: Awakening) to take the top spot. Standing on the mountaintop, shouting its praises, I remember that it is by no stretch of the imagination a user-friendly game. Etrian Odyssey IV is far more challenging than the average JRPG, and the sheer number of options available for building your party and assigning skill points can be overwhelming. During my play, I searched numerous times for advice about how to build specific characters or parties, and never found any detailed explanations for how to build an entire party to be successful in this game. Such as it is, I’m doing it here so that future explorers might benefit from my accumulated wisdom.  Please note that this is not a guide for the BEST most overpowered min-maxed Etrian Odyssey IV team, but rather a guide that explains what  skills and synergies did well for me in the game.

Party Composition

I went for a really basic party loaded with your standard RPG archetypes.

Front Row:

  1. Nightseeker – Useful status ailments and massive damage in the late game, as well as  instant kills for many normal enemies.
  2. Landsknecht – The main damage engine for the party, the Landsknecht also provides some damage mitigation for his line.
  3. Fortress – This guy really shines in the late game. He is there to soak up damage so your attackers can do their job.

Back Row:

  1. Medic – Much needed healing and status ailment removal. The medic and fortress are a late game defensive powerhouse.
  2. Runemaster – Consistently high damage throughout the game. The Runemaster also brings an end to many random encounters by targeting enemies’ elemental weaknesses.

So that’s my party. No unorthodox strategies or composition, just a straight forward team that covers most of the key combat roles.  Let’s look specifically at each member’s individual roles and key skills. Note that  subclasses become available about halfway through the game, and change how some classes play quite a bit.  Some classes also change quite a lot past level 40, so I’ll note the difference between early game key skills and late game key skills where necessary.  I found the skill simulator here to be very useful for planning things out.  These builds are set at level 60, and make it fairly trivial to beat the final boss in the main quest.

Nightseeker/Arcanist Build

Level: 60
Total Points: 67

Main Class: Nightseeker
Proficiency: 1/1
Expertise: 1/1
Enlightenment: 1/1
Ice Knife: 3/10
Biding Slice: 2/10
Sand Throw: 2/6
Nerve Throw: 2/6
Blade Flurry: 3/6
Assassinate: 8/8
Shadow Bite: 5/8
Sleep Throw: 2/6
Curse Throw: 2/6
Swift Edge: 8/8
Venom Throw: 2/6
Foul Mastery: 8/8
Follow Trace: 8/8

Sub Class: Arcanist
Poison Circle: 1/4
Ailment Boost: 5/5
TP Return: 3/3

In the early game the Nightseeker’s key skills are Shadow Cloak, Auto Cloak, Biding Slice, Sand Throw, Nerve Throw, and Blade Flurry.  Biding Slice is a good damage dealing ability until you cant get Shadow Bite.  Shadow Cloak helps mitigate some damage to the front line, and enables Biding Slice, but it’s only really worth it if you can get it to go off for free with auto-cloak.  Sand Throw and Nerve Throw provide good status ailments that affect a lot of FOEs and bosses, allowing the Nightseeker to do extra damage against those targets with their Blade Flurry and Biding Slice attacks, as well as protecting the party from attack.  Focus on getting the throws up to max level during the early game, as succeeding with them will be critical for many encounters.

Late game, once the Master skills and Arcanist subclass are available, Foul Mastery, Ailment Boost, TP Return, Shadow Bite, Follow Trace and Swift Edge should be the main focus for the Nightseeker.  With Ailment Boost, you shouldn’t need to invest more than the minimum requirement in each throw skill, and dropping 1 point in Poison Circle is a good way to get a huge attack power boost from Foul Mastery and also cause incremental damage to large groups of enemies. Focus on weapons that have 3 or 4 forge slots, and fill them with easy to apply status ailments like curse, blind and poison.  Base attack power is far less important for the end game build, so Blade Flurry can be de-prioritized, while Shadow Bite and Swift Edge take the front seat for dealing huge damage.  You should also take points out of Shadow Cloak and Auto Cloak, which become useless in the end game after your high level Fortress is up and running.

Landsknecht/RuneMaster Build

Level: 60
Total Points: 67

Main Class: Landsknecht
Proficiency: 1/1
Expertise: 1/1
Enlightenment: 1/1
Sonic Raid: 3/10
Electric Link: 10/10
Power Boost: 8/8
Vanguard: 6/6
Swordbreaker: 5/6
Improved Link: 8/8
Initiative: 8/8
Weapon Parry: 2/6
Link Mastery: 6/6

Sub Class: RuneMaster
Free Energy: 3/3
Runic Flare: 5/5

The Landsknecht starts as a decent damage dealer in the early game with link attacks, Vanguard, and Improved Link providing a big damage boost to your team, and the late game doesn’t actually change much for him.  The only skills that become less useful over time are Power Break and Mind Break, which have good utility before Improved Link is available, but become less useful as your Fortress comes into his own as your team’s defender.  Electric Link, Vanguard, and Improved Link are the most important skills, with Vanguard allowing the Landsknecht to act before the Nightseeker, you can hit with an improved link attack and then trigger multiple follow up attacks from Swift Edge. This combo will take down most bosses and FOEs in 2 or 3 rounds.  In order to make sure your link does as much damage as possible, try and max out Power Boost, Initiative, Link Mastery and Runic Flare.  Finally, dump a few points into Free Energy and Sword Breaker so you can stay in the fight longer and help mitigate damage against the front line.  Focus on high attack power weapons for your Landsknecht, and forge +ATK as it increases the amount of damage your initial link attack, and therefore all the subsequent chase attacks.  You’ll also want to make sure you use any physical burst skills with your Landsknecht, as the damage will benefit from their high attack stat.

Fortress/Dancer Build

Level: 60
Total Points: 67

Main Class: Fortress
Proficiency: 1/1
Expertise: 1/1
Enlightenment: 1/1
Iron Wall: 10/10
Taunt: 4/4
Ally Shield: 3/6
Auto-Taunt: 4/4
Rampart: 6/6
Line Shield: 3/6
Party Shield: 6/6
HP Boost: 3/10
Weak Shield: 2/6
Guard Mastery: 8/8

Sub Class: Dancer
Fan Dance: 4/5
Sword Dance: 4/5
Mist Dance: 3/4
Speed Boost: 4/4

This guy’s role stays the same throughout the game, preventing damage to your team’s squishier members, but how he does it changes a lot between early and late game.  Taunt, Auto Taunt, Ally Shield, Line Shield, Strike Guard, and Iron Wall should be the main focus for the Fortress in the early game.  Element Guard might be useful against some bosses, but for the most part you can get away with just Strike Guard.  In the early game, it might also be worthwhile to invest a few points in Holy Smite so that you can recover HP and do some damage after setting up your taunt and strike guard.

In the late game, you’ll want to focus on Taunt, Auto Taunt, Iron Wall, Rampart, Party Shield, Guard Mastery, HP Boost, Fan Dance and Speed Boost.  Sword Dance and Mist Dance give the Fortress something useful to do in regular enemy encounters, but for the most part you’ll want to just use Taunt, Rampart, and Party Shield during encounters with FOEs and bosses.   Focus on high defense and HP boosting equipment, and you should have no problem protecting the entire party from damage each turn.  Having a Landsknecht with Sword Breaker in the same line is helpful too, but the Fortress’s real survivability comes from a high level Guard Mastery and a huge pool of HP.

Medic/Sniper Build

Level: 60
Total Points: 67

Main Class: Medic
Proficiency: 1/1
Expertise: 1/1
Enlightenment: 1/1
Toxin Study: 1/1
Patch Up: 4/8
Refresh: 3/6
Healing: 5/10
Line Heal: 5/10
Full Heal: 2/4
Revive: 4/8
Party Heal: 5/10
TP Boost: 6/6
Auto-Revive: 4/8
Auto-Heal: 3/8
Heal Mastery: 8/8

Sub Class: Sniper
Leg Snipe: 4/4
Arm Snipe: 4/4
Head Snipe: 4/4
Eagle Eye: 2/2

The Medic’s main job will always be to keep the party alive through heals and revive, though the distribution of points will change throughout the course of the game.  In the early game, Heal, Line Heal, Patch Up, Refresh and Revive should be the main focus for the Medic.  You’ll also want to pick up Toxin Study so you can cook all food types.  Once Heal Mastery becomes available, you’ll want to max that out as quickly as possible, relying on that to boost your healing rather than investing tons of points into each individual skill.  Auto Revive and Auto Heal are also good late game skills to dump points into, but the bonuses are very incremental so don’t worry about leveling them up too much right away.

I found that Sniper actually made a good subclass for my Medic, allowing me to add binds to my strategy, as well as Eagle Eye for increased damage for the whole party.  Subclassing as a Sniper also gives the medic more utility in random encounters by granting access to some decent weapons.  Runemaster is also a viable option for giving your Medic the useful Free Energy ability and access to some offensive spells, though the damage output will be low compared to a dedicated Runemaster.  Focusing on gear with +TP will help your medic stay in the game longer and let your party explore the labyrinth for longer stretches at a time.

RuneMaster/Medic Build

Level: 60
Total Points: 67

Main Class: RuneMaster
Proficiency: 1/1
Expertise: 1/1
Enlightenment: 1/1
Fire Rune: 1/6
Ice Rune: 1/6
Volt Rune: 6/6
Fireball Rune: 4/10
Ice Lance Rune: 6/10
Lightning Rune: 2/10
Runic Gleam: 2/6
Flame Rune: 4/8
Storm Rune: 8/8
Runic Shield: 3/4
Runic Guidance: 4/6
Free Energy: 4/6
Runic Flare: 7/10
Rune Mastery: 6/8
Origin Rune: 1/8

Sub Class: Medic
Revive: 4/4
Auto-Revive: 1/4

The Runemaster is going to be your all around damage dealer for the majority of the game.  While they don’t deal as much damage as the Landsknecht/Nightseeker Electric Link/Swift Edge combo, you’ll use Runemaster abilities to take out most enemies in random encounters and deal decent damage to bosses.  The runemaster also is a good choice for using elemental damage burst skills, as their stats and abilities appear to effect the damage those deal.

Key skills for the Runemaster are Runic Shield, Runic Flare, Free Energy, and Rune Mastery. As for which rune spells to invest in, that’s going to depend on personal preference because of the ways that they target enemies, but I found Ice Lance Rune, Fireball Rune, and Storm Rune to be the most useful, with Storm Rune being my go-to spell for direct damage to most bosses and single targets.  I also got a lot of use out of Flame Rune and Lightning Rune, so dumping a few points into those couldn’t hurt either.  For the Subclass, it’s worth it to get Auto Revive and Refresh, just to play it safe. I only one point each into Fire and Ice Rune, but it is worthwhile to max out one  of the Rune Skills to synergize damage with your Landsknecht’s Link attacks.  I chose electric damage as the main elemental damage type for my team, so with that in mind I decided to max out Volt Rune.

RuneMaster/Medic Build
Level: 60
Total Points: 67

Main Class: RuneMaster
Proficiency: 1/1
Expertise: 1/1
Enlightenment: 1/1
Fire Rune: 1/6
Ice Rune: 1/6
Volt Rune: 6/6
Fireball Rune: 4/10
Ice Lance Rune: 6/10
Lightning Rune: 2/10
Runic Gleam: 2/6
Flame Rune: 4/8
Storm Rune: 8/8
Runic Shield: 3/4
Runic Guidance: 4/6
Free Energy: 4/6
Runic Flare: 7/10
Rune Mastery: 6/8
Origin Rune: 1/8

Sub Class: Medic
Revive: 4/4
Auto-Revive: 1/4

And that’s my team.  I really enjoyed this game, and am also very much enjoying the Etrian Odyssey Untold demo on the 3DS eShop right now.  Stay tuned for my impressions of that game, and some comparisons to EO4. It’s definitely a different beast, and while I miss some of the systems in EO4, it’s a refreshing change of pace after nearly 60 hours in that game.

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About the Author

Christian



2 Responses to Etrian Odyssey IV – An Explorer’s Guide

  1. Acuros says:

    There is a problem with your Fortress/Dancer build: Speed Boost is buggy (officially confirmed, as far as I know), it sets the evasion rate bonus to 0%. Even worse, both Speed Boost skills (Dancer, Nightseeker) overwrite the evasion bonus of Fan Dance. Thus: 9 skill points for 0 evasion bonus. Recommendation: Skip speed boost, use the sp elsewhere 😉

    • Christian Christian says:

      Ah thank you for the correction. I’m not sure that I’ll get the chance anytime soon to redo the build, but that’s good to know. In any case, even with 0% evasion this Fortress was still pretty effective.

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