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A Berserk Perspective: Shadow

Discussion in 'Unit Reviews' started by Berserkologist, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. Berserkologist

    Berserkologist Retired and Permanently Inactive VIP

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    One of the franchise's most "true-to-form" mercenaries can be found in Final Fantasy 6, he looks like a ninja, but he's really more of an assassin, and at times, he's a ninja-cowboy, I'm talking about Shadow!

    SHADOW REVIEW BY BERSERKOLOGIST
    [​IMG]

    ROLE: ATTACKER
    WEAPON TYPE: [​IMG]
    CRYSTAL TYPE: [​IMG]

    ATTRIBUTESMAX STATS
    HP:3656
    Initial Brave:831
    Max Brave:1227
    ATK:500
    DEF:367

    ABILITIES:
    Shadow Stealth (5 USES)

    BRV x1.2 + HP attack ; Self: 3 turns SPD Up I ; Self: 8 turns ATK Up II when target is KOed ; High turn rate.​

    Wild Throw (3 USES)
    Random 3-hit ranged BRV attack.​

    PROS:
    So Shadow's another HP attacker like Terra... only where Terra's trick is about gargantuan HP damage done at once after non-damaging setup Shadow does it a little differently: frequency. Shadow is blisteringly quick and his initial BRV is top tier. He can set himself up for consistent HP damage through the use of Shadow Stealth which gives him a 20% (40% if you're using Fuma Shuriken) bump in his present BRV--which leverages that high initial BRV--and then after using this ability, his already high speed goes up even more! He also has a very hard hitting BRV attack in Wild Throw to either be used defensively (chunking down an enemy's BRV) or to set himself up for better Shadow Stealth usage.

    If he kills a target with Shadow Stealth, the buff that he receives from the ability gets a little upgrade by increasing the turns the *huge* ATK buff will be in effect. This is great because he actually will hit much harder than most of his peers when this buff is in place (assuming he's equipped well).

    I know a bunch of meta-purists will turn in their seat and get a frustrated shade of red in their face when I say this, but sometimes Shadow's the better choice than Terra. His BRV output is considerably higher than Terra's and his maneuverability is more productive.​

    CONS:
    Unfortunately, while Shadow has top-tier initial BRV, he also has bottom-tier MAX BRV. He will never come remotely close to what a Terra can do in terms of single-turn HP damage (again, he can make up for this through consistency). His defensive stats are also bottom-tier (HP and DEF), so he's a touch squishy.

    COMBO POTENTIAL:
    There are a lot of ways you can use Shadow; you could play very aggressively and try to dispatch targets as soon as possible with Shadow Stealth--if that's your goal, I'd pair him with BRV batteries like Yuna and Hope so he'll get an even greater increase in the initial BRV boost. He can pair beautifully with a fellow HP attacker like Terra for aggressive HP assaults. If you're more into "balanced" strategies, pair him up with a Warrior of Light or Galuf to ensure that his windows of vulnerability after a HP attack are covered.​

    EQUIPMENT AND PASSIVE REVIEW:
    FUMA SHURIKEN REVIEW
    MORE COMING SOON!

    BERSERKOLOGIST'S CHARACTER ANALYSIS:
    **SANS SPOILERS
    The beauty of Final Fantasy 6's writing is that a lot is said in what isn't said. If you're a keen reader and sharp, you can "read-in-between-the-blanks" and glean so much more (and it's not head-fiction, it's real... the writing is on the walls). Each of the characters have layers and layers of depth and thought put into them. In fact, often the characters they say less about have even more to them to be discovered. Shadow is the quintessential example of this.

    At first, you would think that he's just a fan-servicey-filler-esque character where the thinking in his creation might have been something like, "We need a ninja in this game! Quick draw one up! OK! Now put him in the game!" But oh man, that is so not the case... want to know more? Open the SPOILER which contains spoilers:

    I said in the opening of this review that Shadow is the purest "mercenary" that has ever emerged from a Final Fantasy. I meant it. The guy supported whoever paid him for a good chunk of the game. In the beginning, if you pay him, he'll join you. If the Gestahlian Empire paid him, he joined them. Friend one second, foe the next. He also would leave the party (literally) on a whim.

    Again, at a glance, he would seem like a quirky non-ally that would come and go.... but if you visit inns with him in the party, you might get to see some of Shadow's dreams, which provide fragments of his more complicated story.

    His real name is Clyde. He started off as a thief who pulled off an extremely rewarding heist with his partner Baram. One of the earlier dreams shows Baram and Clyde retreating from the authorities. Baram gets injured and begs Clyde to kill him to avoid capture. Clyde couldn't kill his friend and left him there to meet his fate--a lot of Shadow's personality is a reflection of his guilt.

    Another dream shows him in a more domestic arrangement with a girl (it's never outright said, but it's strongly implied that their daughter is Relm). However, his past haunted him; so he changed his moniker, attire (concealing all his features), and left the village when his dog, Interceptor, followed him.

    Later on, when Terra and Locke are on their way to Crescent Island to try to diplomatically engage the previously-raging espers; Shadow is hired by the Imperials to accompany them. When they arrive at Crescent Island and meet Strago and Relm, Interceptor is especially friendly with Relm (up to this point, the dog isn't exactly friendly with anyone); this is part of the writing on the wall that suggests that Relm is that girl he left behind when he was still Clyde.

    Later on, Shadow saves the party on the Floating Continent, and at this point, you can choose to wait for him (giving you the opportunity to find him again a year later) or jump without him, which results in his probable death. The whole time Shadow is with you, his dreams imply how tortured he is from his past; in the end, he doesn't win that struggle. If you saved Shadow on the Floating Continent and make it all the way to the end of the game; when Kefka's Tower is collapsing, he doesn't join the escaping party. He says something vague about not having to flee anymore (to Baram) and chooses to remain in the collapsing tower with Interceptor; suggesting he never planned on surviving. They don't show up on the Falcon at the end of the game (again, suggesting he perishes).

    When you play Final Fantasy 6, to appreciate Shadow's depth, you have to take the time to witness his dreams. He is surprisingly deep!

    BERSERKOLOGIST'S ANALYSIS MANIFEST (BAM™):
    Character Design①:9 / 10
    DOO Sprite:8 / 10
    Ideally Equipped:7.5 / 10
    BRV Attacker:7.5 / 10
    HP Attacker:8 / 10
    Status Affliction:3 / 10
    Buffs/Debuffs:8 / 10
    Long Battles:7.5 / 10
    Short Battles:8.5 / 10
    Personal Rating:8 / 10

    Character design refers to source material and the personality/vicissitudes of the hero's journey.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
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  2. INMATE 4859

    INMATE 4859 Decided to break free

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    Didnt think he was that good - why is he so low-tier?

    I think tier list take all sort of situations into account?
     
  3. Berserkologist

    Berserkologist Retired and Permanently Inactive VIP

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    All tier-lists are based on user experience (they're biased). My reviews are based on user experience (they're biased).

    I do my best to take time with the characters, experiment, try them out in a bunch of different scenarios and then determine as objectively as possible how useful/niched/specialized/etc. the character is. If you're talking about JP tier-lists, for starts, Shadow's 35CP weapon is more focused on BRV damage than HP damage; I imagine that by not producing more leverage in his already existing niche-benefit, this harmed his ability to keep up with the power creep (I'm speculating). If it's a GL tier-list, I'm not sure why they would rank him low. In our present iteration of the game, he most definitely has a place, and he does what he does exceptionally well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  4. INMATE 4859

    INMATE 4859 Decided to break free

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    Tbh, I did never care about shadow because of his jp ranking. Jp list is what makes me decide if I wanna pull or not. I cant build all units and shadow probably wont be one. That said, I have a mlb vanille - she is very low tier as well, but that was happenstance.

    Is there even a gl tier list?
     
  5. PikaJew

    PikaJew Poster of Screenshots

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    I'd like to use Shadow as I like his character in this game, and enjoyed FF6 a lot, and think he would be useful for fighting mobs. I just don't see how he would be that useful vs bosses, and those are typically who we need to worry about in these turn based RPGs.
     
  6. Berserkologist

    Berserkologist Retired and Permanently Inactive VIP

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    True story. The boss disadvantage was originally a part of the cons section, but this thread was over 10,000 characters long, so I shaved off parts of the review.

    He can still work in boss fights but he's far from the most effective for those situations.
     
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  7. DanT

    DanT Coffeeologist Supreme! VIP

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    While Shadow isn't one of my favorites, he's a character I appreciate quite a bit. Kinda of a pity he seems to get shafted when they add him to mobile games. XD
     
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  8. Steviematic

    Steviematic Support Enthusiast

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    Personal preference (after trying all characters to 50) is that the one copy of his weapon I pulled is going to be recycled for a gem for Hope or Bartz (or Laguna.)
     
  9. Redwing85

    Redwing85 In my airship, on my way to steal your crystal

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    Have one copy of his weapon, currently needed a toon to fill out my Maxed Cloud/ mostly maxed Eiko trio. Got his weapon up to 20, and have to say, he is pretty damn fun. It is a nice change of pace having a character that comes out of the gate as quick as shadow and works via agility instead of brute strength. The key to avoiding boredom (especially running 3 accounts) is trying new combos, and shadow with Eiko and Cloud definitely works well!
     
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