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“Deep within an underground temple in the Other World, foul sorcerers have created strange and unnatural soldiers.”
Death's Embrace (Border between Life and Death in the Japanese version) is Xenologue 19 of Fire Emblem: Awakening.
This map is geared towards expert players, pitting them against a floor of dangerous tiles that reduce the HP of friendly and enemy units alike to 1 at the start of the player's turn.
Arriving at an Outrealm village, Chrom and the Shepherds discover that all of the villagers there are dead - victims of a recent massacre. Frederick gathers information from a nearby village, learning that an "evil cult" has been ransacking local villages, killing any weak villagers while kidnapping the strongest of their warriors and bringing them to a local temple. Confounded by this seemingly-backwards way of thinking, the Shepherd arrives at one of the cult's temples. There, they find Algol, who has turned the strongest of the villagers into Risen assassins to do his bidding. The temple is lined with spiked floors and walls, making this a treacherous battlefield for the Shepherds. Disgusted by his lack of humanity, Chrom vows to take Algol down.
After finishing the battle, Chrom voices his regrets not arriving sooner to save the villagers. However, Frederick reminds him that they had no control over the time in which they arrived in this realm. Chrom wishes to go through the Outrealm Gate again in hope of eventually arriving earlier, but Frederick tells him to accept that they were killed and they have no control over what has happened, to which Chrom bitterly agrees.
If Algol is defeated before he escapes in Turn 10, the Avatar will find an Einherjar card for "Little Sister Est". Lissa will in turn give this card to Chrom, who hopes that the "Little Sister of the Whitewings" will help them in the battle ahead.
When the map is started, 10 of your 15 units will start off with 1 HP. The 4 starting on very the top of the map with Chrom will be spared this first turn strike. With your other units starting off with 1 HP they already are in danger because any small hit can kill them. Of course this also applies to the enemy as well. However every turn after, if any unit, friend or foe, is standing on a spiked tile, they will be reduced to 1 HP at the end of the Enemy turn. Keep in mind the 1 HP reduction also applies to both units in a Pair Up. There is a healing spot in the center of the map on a small 3x3 shining tile. Any unit on there can regain health and will be spared the 1 HP reduction so long as they remain on those tiles. Some Sorcerers come with Mire and most Snipers have Longbows, so it's best to take these guys down as soon as possible to prevent non-punishable ranged damage. Several enemies have Breaker skills except for Tomebreaker so Mages can really shine on this map, with proper caution of course. The enemies will not attack you unless you're in their range so you will need to keep some units on the spiked tiles until they are all dealt with since the enemies spawn on certain tiles. Having units with capped stats helps greatly. Healers with Fortify are also a great idea to heal the entire army, especially Emmeryn who, at max Magic, has a whopping 25 tile area, perfect to place her in the center of the map to keep her well healed while keeping everyone fresh. However if your units have Renewal or Lifetaker to heal on their own, they should manage well outside of the Fortify Range.
With HP reduced every turn any unit with Vantage should manage well under enemy fire especially those who can wield 1-2 ranged weapons which can allow them to kill an enemy attack before they even attack. Renewal and Lifetaker also prove useful since you can protect your units from taking a chip hit on the enemy turn by having enough HP to survive. Vengeance is also a really great skill for your units to have to pile damage since you'll have, most likely, around 79 HP difference in damage allowing you to kill enemies with full health. Other skills that affect Hit/Avoid is also really useful, and for once Slow Burn can really shine on this map since this map can take anywhere from 10-25 turns. Breaker skills may serve well but it's best to limit this to Bowbreaker and Tomebreaker if you want to avoid those pesky Mire and Longbow damage.
If you wish to obtain Est's Einherjar Card, you must defeat Algol within 10 turns. At the end of Turn 10, if Algol is still alive, he will escape the battle, and you will lose your chance at recruiting Est.
Keep in mind that Algol has two abilities: Vengeance and Vantage. That means after losing enough health, he can deal a preemptive Vengeance-fueled hit to your units. Fortunately, he uses a Brave Axe on Normal difficulty, and a Silver Axe on Hard and above, so he'll be limited to attacking units adjacent to him. Algol is closely accompanied by his Risen Chief. This monstrosity packs a Brave Lance on top of the Counter skill. Try to attack the Chief from a distance as well; by the time your units reach him, they will be heavily damaged. If you can, take out the Risen Chief as soon as possible to prevent a Counter finish. If you quickly rush to the southern portion of the map staying on the spiked tiles, it should take roughly 4-5 turns to reach the safe grounds, then another turn to get in range. Once those two are taken care of, you can finish eliminating the remaining Risen.
Another viable strategy is to bring one or two Sorcerers, each with Mire in their arsenal. You can position them in the middle on the healing panels and protect them while they attack Algol and the Chief from afar.
- The arcane panels on the spiked floors will spawn Berserkers, Warriors, Snipers, Heros, Swordmasters or Assassins at turn 4.
- In this chapter, Basilio and Inigo's pre-battle text does not display properly due to a glitch. Press the Right shoulder button to view the text on the bottom screen.