As you may expect, I make Tressa my Runelord, with my first order of business being to buy Transfer Rune.

This will make the next fight pretty damn easy.

The only other change is Alfyn becomes a Merchant, for Hired Help and Donate BP.

The next shrine we'll be visiting is in the Riverlands, but to reach that Chapter 3 area, we need to detour through the Cliftlands.

I posted this encounter because I like the ability name.

The Orewell region of the Cliftlands is...pretty much like the rest of the Cliftlands. These separate areas aren't really as distinct color-wise, though navigating the different terrains is fun, at least until you get lost.

Music: Battle III

The Cliff Birdkings are decked out and have the firepower to back their flash.

I had to run with my tail between my legs.

The Riverford area of the Riverlands has a late-afternoon/early-evening lighting to it, much like some of the other Chapter 4 areas. Suiting since we're roughly in the end-game now.

Some delightfully disgusting foes.

Hey, let's show off how runes work!

Your regular attack will still do its normal damage, but the rune attack triggers afterward and deals its own damage.

After yet another few minutes bumbling around trying to find the entrance, I eventually reach the Shrine of the Warbringer.

Music: The Trees Have Eyes

It's a cave that a river runs through.

If nothing else, they really went all-out with the visual design for these shrine dungeons.

You know how this is gonna go, so let's get started.

Video: Boss - Winnehild, Warbringer

Music: They Who Govern Reason

Today's fight is againt Winnehild, the Warbringer.

As you may expect, she's a physical-oriented boss, and her strength is what you'd expect from someone who calls herself "Warbringer".

Of course, you know what my plan is. Transfer Rune + Sidest--

...Not gonna make it easy for me, are you?

Winnehild isn't going to simply throw attacks. She has a large variety of weapon attacks to bring the hurt on you. This is one of her weaker attacks. And you can't really tell, but this inflicts poison on Tressa for the brief moment between her being stabbed and her hitting the floor.

Simple PhysDef buffs aren't going to do the trick as well as they did in past fights.

I'm going to need a breather to make this work. Not the best idea to break her before you're prepared, but I don't have much a choice here!

Turn order doesn't work out in my favor, so I break out a valuable Large Pomegranate for this one. I need to get this strat up ASAP.

Of course, Winnehild is going to get two turns to start things off next round.

But hopefully a party-wide PhysDef buff will keep me alive long enough to start throwing Sidestep with reckless abandon.

Her first turn is to boost her shields up to a hefty eight.

Her second attack is Phoenix Storm, a really nasty move that deals a large number of hits on random targets.

Fortunately, my party survives, and at this point we've almost got the fight won before it really starts.

Winnehild can go into a counter stance, where she'll counter all physical attacks. Fortunately, my main offense is magic.

I'm not just using Transfer Rune for Sidestep spam! The runes are actually really nice offensive boosts for Ophilia and Tressa (and would be for Cyrus if he didn't have Sorcerer skills to annihilate his foes).

And now I can really make Cyrus into a magical powerhouse.

So many of these would be brutal without Sidestep.

The best part about runes is that boosting has absolutely no impact on their damage. Of course, that's also a bit of a negative. Even if you do four regular attacks, you still only do one follow-up rune attack. Same deal with weapon skills, boosting a skill won't affect the rune damage.

But it does mean you have a solid offensive option that doesn't rely on BP to shine.

Though don't get me wrong, having BP-expensive buffs to fuel your BP-expensive spells to do ~42k damage in one turn is still a damn wonderful sight to see.

After that break, Winnehild goes up to a whopping twelve shields.

I did uncover an ice weakness for her, so Ice Rune makes more sense for this fight.

Even against unbroken foes, runes can do some impressive damage. underwhelming compared to what I'm used to from Concoct. These fights are SP-expensive, especially for Cyrus. 50SP is a drop in the bucket for his exSPenses!

Once you whittle her health down enough, she gets three turns a round.

Without Sidestep, Winnehild would be a nightmare to fight. I doubt Shackle Foe and Hired Help would be enough to curb her extensive offensive weaponry.

Of course, she also has a party-wide attack.

She's gearing up for her ultimate attack at this point. Even with all these Sidesteps, I'm scared to death of it.

But of course, she never gets the chance to use it.

Music: The Trees Have Eyes

And with that, we have our penultimate job, Warmaster.

Weapons: Swords, Polearms, Daggers, Axes, Bows, Staves
Stats: +12% PhysAtk/PhysDef ; +6% Acc/Speed ; +4% Evasion

Warmaster is all about physical attacks. They can use all six weapon types, and they have a different skill for each weapon that is surprisingly distinct from the weapon abilities of other jobs. This means they're surprisingly versatile while still hitting like a truck, though their skills aren't too exciting. Naturally, this job is great for your physical attackers, namely Olberic and H'aanit, though Alfyn, Therion, and Tressa can get good mileage from this job as well.

Job Skills

Guardian Liondog (35SP) [Sword] - Unleash five to ten sword attacks against random foes.
Formula: (PA - (1.25*TPD)) * 0.8 * (1 + 0.4*BP) ; Hits multiple times.

Uses its own accuracy formula. Targets are completely random between all present enemies, with a guaranteed minimum of three hits. It's the sword version of Thousand Spears / Rain of Arrows, though slightly stronger. Like those attacks, it's mainly useful for ripping through sword weaknesses without spending BP, and not really useful outside that.

Tiger Rage (35SP) [Axe] - Unleash an axe attack on all foes.
Formula: (PA - (0.67*TPD) * 1.65 * (1 + 0.9*BP)

It's a stronger version of Last Stand, albeit without the "lower HP = more damage" gimmick. It's also significantly more expensive, but that's the price for versatility. It's alright, I guess.

Qilin's Horn (35SP) [Polearm] - Unleash a polearm attack on a single foe.
Formula: (PA - (0.6*TPD)) * 2.25 * (1 + BP)

Ends up more powerful than Cross Strike/Amputation, and on a weapon type that's otherwise lacking in useful skills. Definitely one of the Warmaster's better skills.

Yatagarasu (35SP) [Dagger] - Unleash a dagger attack on all foes.
Formula: (PA - (0.67*TPD)) * 1.65 * (1 + 0.9*BP)

The only other target-all dagger attack is the Thief's Divine, which is more powerful but also more of a pain to acquire and set up. Pretty decent for hitting groups with dagger weaknesses of course, but also a fine target-all skill on its own.

Fox Spirit (35SP) [Staff] - Unleash a staff attack on all foes.
Formula: (PA - (0.67*TPD)) * 1.65 * (1 + 0.9*BP)

Staves only have two skills total, so of course this is going to stand out as the only one to deal staff damage to all foes. Of course, due to the generally low PhysAtk of staves, this is usually going to be more useful for breaking weaknesses than doing damage. That is, unless you add a rune...

Phoenix Storm (35SP) [Bow] - Unleash a bow attack on a single foe.
Formula: (PA - (0.6*TPD)) * 2.25 * (1 + BP)

More powerful than True Strike, but without the guaranteed crit (though this still can crit). It all comes down to whether you have a better bow or polearm, really. Good skill otherwise.

Nightmare Chimera (35SP) [Choice] - Unleash an attack on a single foe using a weapon of your choice. The weapon will be destroyed.
Formula: (PA - (0.67*TPD) * ????? * (1 + 0.2*BP) ; Varies based on weapon's PhysAtk and other unknown factors.

This is a weird one, and honestly I have no idea how useful this is due to the whole "destroys the weapon" aspect. You're generally going to want to use your strongest weapons, and many of them either can't be replaced or are a chore to replace. [s]And of course, you can't re-equip weapons during battle.[/s] Apparently you choose from all the weapons you don't have equipped. Go figure!

Even though I've never played with this, I feel safe calling this skill useless.

Winnehild's Battle Cry (50SP) [Various] - [Divine Skill] Wield six weapons to unleash six attacks on all foes.
Formula: ((PA + WPA/2) - (0.8*TPD)) * 2.7 ; Hits once for each weapon.

This is the weapon version of the Runelord's Divine, except it trades power in favor of hitting all foes. But like the Runelord's Divine, this is a fantastic attack and a great way to rip through groups or even single-targets. While the rest of the Warmaster's skills are functional-yet-dull, this more than makes up for that.

Support Skills

Extra Experience - Gain additional experience from battles. (Equipping this skill with multiple characters will have no added effect.)

It's an extra 50% EXP to the entire party. Mostly useful for grinding EXP, of course. Seems a bit silly to have it on a late-game job, but otherwise as useful as it sounds.

Stalwart Defense - Enhances Physical Defense by 50.

While stat boosts are useful in the early game, they lose out to more useful passives by the time you get these jobs. On top of that, PhysDef is probably one of the least-useful stats to devote a support skill to. Not really worth it at this stage of the game.

Fortitude - Deal more damage the lower your current HP is.

This kicks in at under 1/3 Max HP, and only factors in for physical damage. It multiplies physical damage by (2*((MaxHP - 3*CurrentHP)/MaxHP) + 1), meaning at 1HP you'll be roughly doing triple the physical damage. Of course, that involves playing very dangerously and would involve a lot of careful set up, but it can give a really huge damage boost. Too risky for my tastes, but it's interesting for sure and I appreciate having a support skill like this, situational though it may be.

Physical Prowess - Augments physical attack and defense during battle.

Your character always has the PhysAtk and PhysDef buffs. Like the Runelord's Elemental Edge, this is a great convenience support that will save plenty of turns down the line. Perhaps not as useful as Elemental Edge due to the various options to buff PhysAtk and the myriad of ways to guard against physical attacks, but still a solid option for your physical attackers.

That's three down! Next time, we enter the last shrine and fight for our final job. And unlike the others, we won't have any good cheese strats this time!