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This article is designed to give tips for the usage of a commander.

For information on how to recruit a commander, see Walkthrough.

For information on what stats and Skills the commander has when encountered or recruited, see Commanders.

For how to clear the commander when recruited (if possible), see Character Clears.

You may notice that the Animal units have not been mentioned, there is one reason for this—the best tip is to not use them.

Warrior (武士/Warrior) Edit

Warriors are the classic samurai. They are swordsmen focusing on offensive skills. At lower difficulties, they are a typical player's main source of damage. However, as they often receive counterattacks from enemies, their usage dwindles when the enemy outnumbers them, which is often the case on higher difficulties.

Important Skills:

  • 力を貯める (Charge) — Passive skill raising damage by 70%. By spending one action, all your future attacks become stronger (unless debuffed by enemy Tacticians). Also, it has less delay than standard skills.
  • 迂回突撃 (Side Attack) — Special attack preventing enemy counterattack. Although it costs two actions, it keeps your troops unharmed to perform the next attack. Useful for slow commanders who can't expend all their actions anyway.
  • 手加減攻撃 (Light Attack) — Special attack dealing a fifth of the normal damage; massively increases capture rate. Any enemy hit by this attack will likely be captured. Light Attack does not have to be the final blow, but the target must still be defeated.
    • The exact mechanics of Light Attack are not known, but it appears that if your prison is not over 20 people full, and you've Light Attacked, and then annihilated a capturable unit without using an insta-kill attack on that unit, it will be captured. If the unit is not captureable, but not critical to the story either (e.g. the unit is a generic with Assassinate 2 or something like a Monster), the unit will be killed. If you did use an insta-kill move on the unit, it appears that the effect of Light Attack is negated, and whether the unit is captured, killed, or simply routed is left to chance. Interestingly, Light Attack also seems to let you capture or kill more than two units per battle.
  • 武将突撃 (Commander Charge) — Special attack preventing enemy counterattack. The first hit (initiated by the commander) deals 20 damage plus 3 damage per commander's level. And then the entire troop attacks regularly. If the enemy is guarded by Shikigami, the commander's attack will be blocked. But the follow-up attack will not. Unfortunately, the initial attack doesn't reduce a Foot Soldier's guard rate.

Important Commanders:

  • ランス Rance: The main protagonist. His passive skill "Auto-Heal (Sill)" initially regenerates 30 troops every turn. Also, there are Satisfaction bonuses to increase his actions and stats. Besides Kentarou, only Rance can reach level 99. In army battles, his Rance Attack is the same as Commander Charge. And in dungeons, the skill deals 2x damage. Moreover, a character cleared commander deployed with him gains 1 Affection point. (If Rance's unit is defeated, it's always a game over.)
  • 乱丸 Ranmaru: Probably the best starting commander. However, she is quickly outclassed by others. If character cleared, she gains ATK and DEF buffs when deployed alongside Katsuie.
  • 上杉謙信 Uesugi Kenshin: A useful commander with Commander Charge. Her passive skill Power of the Goddess of War (軍神の威光) takes away 1 action from enemies in army battles (to a minimum of 1 - it won't render Musket units moveless). And it increases battle rating. Furthermore, her high level makes her great in dungeons. Hence she's a good candidate for action increasing items.
  • 小川健太郎 Ogawa Kentarou: He's somewhat similar to Rance. For instance, he's the only other character able to reach level 99; he's the best damage-dealer in dungeons. Also, after he becomes a demon, he cannot be harmed by almost all enemies. And therefore, it's wise to deploy him troopless in defending battles.
  • 徳川家康 Tokugawa Ieyasu: Incredible in dungeons—he has a piercing charge-attack, costing 1 action, which deals 2.0 damage. In army battles, he has Charge, Full Power Warrior Attack 2, and 5 actions. Only available in second games. But to recruit him, you must forgo Senhime.
  • 明石風丸 Akashi Kazemaru: Although he starts weak, he has potential in army battles. He can acquire Hibachi, a skill increasing damage by 50. Acquiring Hibachi increases his below-7 combat stats by 2 so it's recommended that you trigger this event when he has 6 in all 4 combat stats. His level cap is 40 but his starting level is 11.
  • 毛利元就 Mouri Motonari: He has high stats and Commander Charge. But when character cleared, he will return to his cursed form in which his only attack deals a fixed 200 damage (although since he forgets Commander Charge, he can learn moves likes Full Power Warrior Attack which do their expected damage). Additionally, he'll keep his previous troop size, which cannot be increased, so (if you desire) raise his troops to 1,000 beforehand for using a battle permit.
  • 独眼流政宗 Dokuganryuu Masamune: Has 6 actions, and can reach level 70. He has high stats, but comes with no special attacks, which may be good or bad; he's less useful before you teach him skills like Side Attack. Unfortunately, having him prevents character clearing his wives. So you'll often fire him regardless of his strength.
  • ノワール Noir: An ideal Warrior with Commander Charge and high stats. Keep her, and fire Masamune if you wish. In addition, she has Auto-Heal. Sadly, she's not as powerful as Masamune in dungeons.
  • Daidouji Komatsu: Has the unique skill Fan Club, which gives her 20 troops every turn. Therefore, she may be useful in lengthy playthroughs. Her stats are quite average though.
  • 森田愛 Morita Ai: A decent bonus character slightly better than Ranmaru. Starts with Shouting Charge and 5 actions. Don't expect her to survive magic attacks though; she's as thick as two short planks (INT 2). A good candidate for early access to Battle Permits.
  • Ouka Toki: Another bonus character. Begins with less combat stats and less troops than Morita Ai. But she has better Search/Negotiation/Construction and level cap. Bugged character who can not converse with Rance, therefore no chance to get happiness bonus. Though a useful utility/dungeon character, players often change her with a another utility generics or another unique character.
  • Kuge Kyouko: Obtained early in Kyo. Fairly average commander, but starts with Light Attack.

Foot Soldier (足軽/Ashigaru)Edit

Foot Soldiers constitute the main force of most armies. They are the most cost-effective troops to heal/recruit, and have the fastest growth; they are weak individually, yet strong in numbers. More importantly though, they're able to simultaneously self-buff their defenses and guard allies. Building the training school in Mamushi Oil Field lets all Foot Soldier units grow by 5 per turn, and 5 more per visit to the school. Foot Soldier units are generally lead by spear-wielding commanders who retain their ability to guard in commander battles. There aren't many named Foot Soldiers, so beginners may find worth in hiring generic Foot Soldiers who serve as cannon fodder in army and commander battles.

Be warned: It is often the case that Foot Soldiers have worse stats that other types of units, which often makes people fall into the trap of dismissing units like Gon or Shibata later in the game - don't do this, as Foot Soldiers are vital to success in this game, they should be rated in comparison to other Foot Soldiers, just because you'll start to see Warriors with 8 Def, does not mean that Foot Soldiers with 7 Def should be dismissed.

Important Skills:

  • 味方ガード (Ally Guard) — Support skill increasing the chance of support-defending an ally (in the same row) by (INT*20)%; also while guard is active, all physical attacks taken will be halved. This skill defines a Foot Soldier unit's role.
  • 味方ガード改 (Ally Guard+) — Support skill increasing the chance of support-defending an ally (in the same row) by (INT*30)%; also while guard is active, all physical attacks taken will be halved. An improved version of the previous skill. With this, even Foot Soldiers with low INT may become decent defenders.
  • 全体ガード (All Guard) — Support skill increasing the chance of support-defending an ally by (INT*10)%; also while guard is active, all physical attacks taken will be halved. This skill allows Foot Soldiers to protect all rows. Due to this skill's low guard rating, it needs several supports to be used efficiently. Along with having high INT and equipping Protection Paper, a Foot Soldier with All Guard may want the next skill.
  • 強化初期ガード (Enhance Initial Guard) — Passive skill. A unit with this begins the battle with 120% guard rate instead of 50%.
  • 反撃率アップ2 (Counterattack Rate Up 2) — Passive skill raising counterattack damage, which deals 30% of normal attacks, by 60%. With this skill, high ATK units will essentially attack and defend at once; enemy Warriors will easily charge themselves dead. Only two unique commanders have this skill.

Important Commanders:

  • 柴田勝家 Shibata Katsuie: A reliable commander with 7 DEF and 6 INT. He's your initial Foot Soldier, so he may possibly be your largest Foot Soldier unit. Incidentally, his stats may be improved through a Satisfaction bonus. And in /Ran/Kenshin routes, he can gain Kouhime as a sub-commander increasing his total troops by 1000. Alternatively, deploying him with character cleared Ranmaru buffs their ATK and DEF.
  • 前田利家 Maeda Toshiie: Another initial Foot Soldier, but useless compared to Katsuie. If you spend two Satisfaction bonuses on him, he'll gain 3 to ATK and DEF. But due to his low INT, he'll be decent at best. Investing two Attack Textbooks and two Defense Textbooks, he'll have 9 ATK and 9 DEF after applying the two Satisfaction bonuses. However, he'll still be underpowered without stat increases to INT and SPD.
  • 戦姫/千姫 Senhime: Has fairly good stats, particularly for the time you recruit her. She also has Auto-Heal, which some would replace with Enhance Initial Guard, and she has All Guard. However, as she doesn't appreciate peace-time, she will leave if she doesn't fight for 3 turns. This can be avoided by character clearing her. A fair choice for Brute Photo/Rance's Love due to her high level cap.
  • 野菊 Nogiku: Has the highest starting stats. Comes with All Guard and Auto-Heal like Senhime. To recruit make sure that Akashi Kazemaru, obtained by conquering Akashi, is recruited and that he has the passive ability Hibachi. To get Hibachi as a passive skill for Kazemaru, lose three times against the Nuhes when fighting the Akashi house. Next, conquer Akashi and recruit Kazemaru. Do the green event in Himeji, and then talk to Kazemaru once. Finally, talk to Kazemaru one more time when he is at "normal" with 7/7 affection for him to get Hibachi. Akashi Kazemaru does not need to be in the fight against Nogiku but he needs to be in your army roster.
  • 毛利てる Mouri Teru: Eldest of the Mouri sisters. Comes with Ally Guard+, Loot, and Counterattack Rate Up 2. A good candidate for the Dragonfly Cutter, which adds 45% to counterattack damage.
  • 島津ヨシヒサ Shimazu Yoshihisa: Eldest of the Shimazu brothers. Comes with Ally Guard+, Loot, and Counterattack Rate Up 2. But he has much better stats than Teru.
  • Moscow Fuyushogun: Youkai Foot Soldier with massive troop size, but only with two actions. Worth capturing to avoid fighting him. Not worth using though; his stats are low.
  • ゴン Gon: A sturdy commander with 7 ATK/DEF, Ally Guard+, and Fellow Troops Revenge. His INT/SPD are low though, thus making him ineffective as a defender.
  • ターバン Tarban: A decent bonus commander with All Guard, 7 DEF, and 5 INT. Has 0 ATK, which may be negligible if he's only defending (like Foot Soldiers are meant to). Not good as the named commanders, but noticeably better than say Maeda Toshiie.

Miko (巫女) Edit

Mikos, the only units able to heal others, are crucial to every army wishing to minimize healing costs. They are also useful in outnumbered battles; Miko Storm will likely outdamage most other attacks in such situations. Unfortunately however, past the early game, you'll be far better off just bringing another serious combatant to a fight than you would be bringing a Miko - if you must use an excessive amount of defensive units, bring a Ying Yang/Diviner with All Guard Shikigami - they will serve you much better.

The main flaw of the Miko class is that they are dependant on multiple factors:

  • Spd, so that they can heal often, and before anyone's unit is annihilated.
  • Int and troop size, so that they heal for a high amount (annoyingly, Mikos are also some of the most expensive troops in the game, 3 times as much as Foot Soldiers)
  • Def, and the sheer luck of not getting hit, to protect that troop size
  • Having a good healing move to maximise healing speed and magnitude (see below, Miko Dance/Wind is the best, and only practical one)

Sadly, almost every Miko unit in the game lacks in one or more of these regards, the only real exceptions are Chinu and Natori, but they both have extremely powerful offensive skills that they would be better off using immediately to reduce the troop sizes of the opponents, meaning that your units take less damage.

To demonstrate this point, look at the page where all of the Mikos are listed - ignoring Chinu and Natori for the reasons already mentioned, Kanae is the only Miko in the game that starts with Healing Mist and has more than 6 Int and yet, she has a pathetic Def stat meaning that if she gets hit, she could lose most of her troops, rendering her a useless healer. Scrolling further down the page, you should quickly realise that all of the Mikos in the game, unless you somehow get extremely lucky with a captured generic, aren't worth the investment they'd need to be useful - with less investment, you could give a Diviner All-Guard Shikigami which particularly on higher difficulties will prevent more damage that a Miko will ever heal (which is also better for your battle rating, since healing does not move the meter in your favour, but losing troops moves it against you) or you could give a Tactician or Cavalry unit the second version of their meter manipulating skills, which is game-breaking.

Important Skills:

  • 巫女の舞 (Miko Dance) — The standard healing skill.
  • 治癒の霧 (Healing Mist) — Heals all troops with as much healing 'power' as Miko Dance but the amount of healing is divided between all of you troops. While this sounds good on paper, it should be noted that most of the damage in any battle will be taken by one or two units - your Foot Soldiers, making most of the effort wasted. Annoyingly, this move also takes two actions and it takes longer for your next move to happen if you used this move than if you used Miko Dance
  • 巫女の舞/風 (Miko Dance/Wind) — Heals twice as powerfully as Miko Dance, and the recovery time is a quarter of Miko Dance's, making this move so fast that it might even be used twice in a row. It is without doubt the best healing move in the game, but sadly you can only obtain it by upgrading from Healing Mist (not Miko Dance+), and since the vast majority of Mikos only start with Miko Dance, this sadly often requires as much investment as the near game-breaking move Battle Rating Up/Down 2.
  • 巫女の嵐 (Miko Storm) — A devastating, and very quick to happen attack dealing damage equal to 10% of the opponents' max troop size. This skill is most effective on higher difficulties. This skill does not affect Hannies or Rizna.
  • 巫女の嵐2 (Miko Storm 2) — Unique to Natori, 3 times as good as Miko Storm, obviously game breaking.
  • 出張巫女 (Outcall Miko) — Male units start battles with ATK buffs because—if you catch the drift—Miko sell their services as "working girls" (each 250 Mikos buff 1 male unit). This skill is decent when you lack Tacticians, although if you're going to invest in passive skills, Initial Battle Rating is better.

Important Commanders:

  • 玉籤風華 Tamagushi Fuuka: Distinctly average, but quite possibly your only Miko for some time. Give her Miko's Dance+ or Healing Mist if you want to make her less generic. Also, she's necessary to open the dungeon to the game's (arguably) most powerful boss.
  • 足利超神 Ashikaga Choushin: A completely worthless commander with 0 in ATK/DEF/INT. However, he's required for Akihime's character clear. And he possesses the Emperor Ring, which Rance can steal. Fire him once you acquire the Emperor Ring; he costs 4 National Powers for nothing.
  • 名取 Natori: She has the exclusive skill Miko's Storm 2 (巫女の嵐2), which deals damage equal to 30% of the opponents' max troop size; she's crucial in castle sieges. An vital commander to have in higher difficulties. Also,every time she's H-ed in Rance's room, Rance gets an Affection Bonus, although she seems to appear extremely rarely.
  • 雪姫 Yukihime: Comes with Healing Mist, but has less stats than Fuuka. However, she's worthless in dungeon battles.
  • 小早川ちぬ Kobayakawa Chinu: The only Miko with the skill Poison (毒殺), which deals damage equal to 50% of the opponents' current troop size. Her weakness is speed (Poison is a slow move, she'll actually pretty good if you want to give her Miko Dance/Wind), but, in redemption, Poison requires two preparation-cancelling moves to be cancelled. In addition, Poison unfortunately counts as a physical attack. Hence Foot Soldiers with guard active will receive reduced damage. Finally, in non-Ran/Monkey routes, she will be lost permanently.

Musketeer (鉄砲/Teppou) Edit

Musketeers are the most offensive unit and can only attack from the front row, because of their incredible power, even low ATK Musketeers easily reach the damage cap, although against highly defensive enemies, such as a 9 DEF Foot Soldier with guard active, high ATK Musketeers reign supreme.

Sadly, although they often strike first, Musketeers suffer either from having one action and/or long delays between attacks. They are also extremely vulnerable without protection. Finally, Musketeers are expensive, and grow slowly often meaning that Yuzumi is the only Musket unit worth recruiting.

Building an academy in Tamba (requires Tanegashima Shigehiko) lets all Musketeers grow by 3 per Turn, and this can be expanded to let them grow by 5 per Turn instead. In addition, each visit to the academy adds 3 more. Since it raises their troops size, and therefore their damage cap, the Commander Defense Team complements Musketeers well.

Important Skills:

  • 引き付け (Lure) — Support skill boosting ATK by 70%. This skill doesn't spend an action.
  • 貫通射撃 (Penetration Shot) — Special attack costing 1 action. Hits front and back rows for 50% damage. So the net damage is the same, but penetration helps bypass Foot Soldier guard. The upgraded version, Penetration Shot 2, deals 70% damage for 2 actions; it's a worse deal.
  • 必殺 国崩し(Special Cannon) — Special attack exclusive to Ootomo Sourin, a Shimazu Muskteer. Hits all enemies for 100% but takes all of his actions.

Important Commanders:

  • 柚原柚美 Yuzuhara Yuzumi: The only Musketeer with Aim & Shoot (射撃+狙撃), which has a chance to instant-kill enemies. Recommended items are Action Textbook 2, Popularity Staff, and Working Bee. The latter gives her three chances to instantly kill enemies.
    • If you're extremely lucky, you might capture a unit with 'Commander Snipe', these units are basically identical to Yuzumi.
  • 島津トシヒサ Shimazu Toshihisa: A Musketeer with 2 actions. He has high stats, but they're mostly irrelevant—DEF/INT is pointless on his unit, and his 8 ATK is negligible unless facing heavily fortified enemies; otherwise, even generic Musketeers will match his damage.
  • 種子島重彦 Tanegashima Shigehiko: Leader of the Tanegashima House. He has 2 actions, and lesser stats than Shimazu Toshihisa, which doesn't mean much. He's noticeably slower, but hits as hard as Toshihisa until late-game—when enemy Foot Soldiers become quite sturdy. Even then, the difference isn't dramatic.
  • 大友 宗麟 Ootomo Sourin: A generic Musketeer with a devastating move, which expends all actions. Good defenses against him are All Guard Shikigami and Accurate Shot. Only capturable in Free for All.

Monk (僧兵/Sohei)Edit

Monks are utility units. They are cheap to expand, and they completely heal each turn; Monks are very cost effective. In battle, Monks are somewhat weaker than Warriors, but the former can heal themselves in combat and Monk Charge removes a buff from the target enemy. Also, even from the back row, they can handily remove the enemy's Foot Soldier guard, or restore action(s) of an ally. Monks are weak combatants in commander battles, but their Convert Action is valuable. Monks are very slow to act in troop battles.

Sadly, as seen here, most Monks have poor stats, particularly compared to Warriors, so with the exception of the extreme utility of the move Convert Action, Monks are often seen as useless.

Important Skills:

  • 活動転換 (Convert Action) — Support skill restoring one action for an ally. This is especially effective on units with powerful skills, which consume all action(s). With this in mind, the 'upgraded' version, Convert Action 2, is less desirable.
  • ガード解除 (Remove Guard) — Special attack removing the Foot Soldier's guard from all enemies.
  • 妖怪退散 (Youkai Ward) — Deals triple damage to Youkai. Also, it prevents enemy counterattack.
  • 延長戦 (Extend Battle) — Prolongs the battle. Effective for slow ally units like Miko or Mages.

Important Commanders:

  • 性眼 Seigan: His unique skill, Death's Scythe (死神の鎌), reduces all enemies by 25% of their max troop size. However, like all other monks, he does almost no damage in commander battles and sadly, Death's Scythe is a lot slower than Miko Storm 2, often making him seem outclassed by Natori.
  • 卑弥呼 Himiko: A generic Monk in Miko Institute. Has 7 in all combat stats and 6 actions. In dungeons, she has three shots of Convert Action 2. She is likely the earliest and also most useful Monk in the game. With the Guts Armour, she can win almost every fight by herself early on.
  • 朝倉義景 Asakura Yoshikage: His stats are mediocre. However, his character clear increases the National Power of all your provinces by 1 and allows him to give 1 Affection to 3 random commanders when talked to. Uses a spear, which makes him hardly stronger than generic Monks, in commander battles.
  • 魔窟堂野武彦 Makutsudou Nobuhiko: Has 9 ATK, 8 DEF, Youkai Ward, and can use Convert Action 2 in army battles. He's a little slow, but essentially performs like a late-game Warrior. Arguably the most offensive bonus character.
  • 油娘道三 Aburako Dousan: A Monk earned through a Satisfaction bonus. Has Youkai Ward and can use Convert Action 1 in army battles, which is effective on units with all-action skills like Uruza or Natori. Unfortunately, she costs 4 Action Fans to recruit.

Tactician (軍師/Gunshi)Edit

If there is a single unit that can turn the tides of an entire battle, here it is. While relatively weak in every aspect, tacticians are able to make your troops exponentially stronger through buffs. In offensive battles, they can also push the morale meter in their side's favour and capture victory even if the entire enemy force is untouched. In defensive battles, they can strip away the time and make full use of the home-field morale advantage before being overrun. Friendly troops start combat with random tactician buffs already cast when a tactician participates in combat. While this is also true in dungeon battles, it tends to be less useful there, not counting the fact most tacticians wield war fans in dungeon battles, which might as well be feather dusters. Equipping +damage items like Ouichi Fang prior to an important dungeon can help mitigate this. The Tacticians are also among the slower troops to move.

Important Skills:

  • 合戦戦術 (Battle Strategy) - The buffing skill. It originally buffs the entire team, and can be upgraded to either have greater effects on all units, or buff a single target fully, usually the later version is redundant since, for example, if you give 1,000 troops and Battle Strategy 3 to Naoe Ai, she will give out 8 buffs just by entering the battle due to her 8 Int, and then she'll out 12 more buffs when she uses Battle Strategy 3, which is 20 of the 24 total possible buffs (if you have 6 commanders), meaning that she's already guaranteed to give all 4 buffs to at least 2 of your commanders.
  • 状態解除 (Remove Status) - Takes All buffs from a certain number of units.
  • 時間経過 (Time Advance) - Used to shorten the length of the battle, thus saving you from additional pain. Although it is made redundant by the more powerful and versatile Battle Rating Down.
  • 戦果ダウン (Battle Rating Down) - Boosts the battle meter in your side's favour. If you can't manage to kill your enemies, this is a good alternative to winning in attacks, in fact, the power of this move, particularity its upgraded form, can not be understated, in higher difficulties, one use of this move will often move the meter more than your strongest attack. Often, this means that as long as you can prevent your commanders from dying, you can win even the hardest battles, without even caring about who the enemy is, having more than one unit with this, or combining it with moves like Miko Storm 2 or Initial Battle Rating (which stacks, meaning that you can enter castle battles having already won, essentially meaning that your goal is to not lost, rather than win), can make even the hardest battles of 5 Star difficulty easy. Annoyingly, this move alone is probably the best reason that Mikos and Monks are never fully exploited - why bother investing in making a unit good, when for just as much work, you can make a Tactician game-breaking?

Important Commanders:

  • 明智光秀 Akechi Mitsuhide: Your starting tactician. He's pretty awful. You'll probably be forced to use him until someone better like Naoe Ai can join.
    • One strategy is to tease him twice using the satisfaction bonus, he will then run away from your army and his daughter Gracia will join instead and take on his stats with +2 to his atk/def/int/spd. As such, boosting all applicable stats to 7 by using a combination of basic atk/def/int/spd textbooks and affection level-up bonuses beforehand will cause Gracia to join with 9 atk/def/int/spd. However, he only has 2 action points though so this is not entirely recommended (as action textbooks are rare and should be reserved for other commanders). Not to mention the fact that with 2 SAT bonuses, you could've got Uruza and Rizna, or even with 1 SAT bonus, for all of those textbooks, you could've made Rance into a fantastic warrior unit.
  • ウルザ Uruza: She is the sole user of a blowgun, and consequently, the extremely powerful 精密射撃 (Accurate Shot), a skill that attacks all enemies, cancels preparations and removes one of their actions (even if they're at one, preventing some units from even getting a move - game-breaking if combined with Kenshin) at the cost of all of her Actions. Her blowgun also amounts to massive damage hits in dungeon battles. Also has a level cap of 75, the highest in the game next to Rance and Kentarou. A fair choice for Brute Photo/Rance's Love due to her high level cap.
  • 真田透琳 Sanada Tourin: Comes with the passive skill, Fuurinkazan, which grants him all 4 buffs at the start of every battle (Dungeon or Troop battle). He also starts with Battle Strategy A/3 and Battle Rating Down 2. The latter can be abused if used well. Uses a bow (and is fairly good at it) instead of the standard issue tactician fan in dungeon battles.
  • 一休 Ikkyuu: His stats are not that impressive, and his level cap is pathetic, but in battle he is the only one who can use "Witty Comeback", which inverts the current state of the battle rating (can only use thrice in the entire playthrough).
    • Since he is very easily cleared, and sending him into a battle with Rance when he is cleared will give him +1 Affection, some like to make him useful by sending him out to random battles, slowly but surely getting him to the stage where he can be cleared and given Battle Rating Down 1 when he is cleared, then after that, sending him to battle with Rance until he gets Battle Rating Down 2, making him an outstanding unit... provided that you can keep him alive.
  • Kurosaki Ichiya: One of the more useful bonus commanders, specifically for early game Battle Rating Down 2 and Battle Strategy Single.
  • 直江愛 Naoe Ai: Comes with second highest stats for any tactician. Also starts with Remove Status 2 and Battle Strategy B/2.
  • 島津イエヒサ Shimazu Iehisa: Basically, stronger stats than all generic tacticians but less than most other top tier tacticians. Has a level cap of 49 however. No special skills worthy of mentioning, by the time you get him, he's usually redundant.

Diviner/Yin Yang(陰陽師/Onmyouji) Edit

With the ability to hit one or all enemy units at once and to create a barrier to protect one or all your troops, the Diviner/Yin Yang is probably the most versatile troop you can have. Their attack being magic means Haniwa are immune, a fact of note when fighting the Imagawa House and in dungeons. Unlike some unit types, generic Ying-Yang commanders tend to be as useful as special ones in dungeons (assuming they are same level), as they retain their shikigami ability as well as guard shikigami in dungeon battles. They tend to be among the first units to move, but since their primary attack requires preparation, you will likely not be able to use them to deal significant damage first.

All Diviners/Yin Yangs do extra damage vs Ogre type enemies. A level 25 Diviner/Yin Yang can one shot a level 25 ogre for example.

Important Skills:

  • 防御式神 (Guard Shikigami) - When used, a barrier is created on one unit, allowing the unit to take no damage from the next attack that hits it, but note that the second part of a Commander Charge will still hit, the reason for this is that the first attack by the commander will break the barrier and then the troops attack, will hit you. It should also be noted that Insta-kills moves skills will also go through the barrier.
    • This skill should not be underrated, the most useful aspect of it is that when used on a Foot Solider, their Guard Rate will not go down when the barrier is broke, meaning that if they had a 100% chance to block an attack when the barrier was up, they'll still be guaranteed to block the next attack and they'll still have the troop count to take the hit.
  • 全体防御式神 (All-Guard Shikigami) - This skill creates a barrier for all the troops, but costs all Actions (usually a better deal than the regular Guard Shikigami, and with this you don't have to worry about issues like what to do if the first Guard Shikigami you used never got broken - this is a fire and forget move).
  • 式神 (Shikigami) - A spell that hits all enemy troops, and is a magic attack (i.e. intelligence is counted for damage calculations). This is very useful as damage isn't reduced when a Foot Soldier has his guard up. The major weakness is that if a Diviner/Yin Yang is slow, it will take a long time before his/her turn comes again, meaning that they may have lost a lot of troops while they were waiting for their turn.
    • Warning, the similar skill, Advanced Shikigami (not Shikigami 2), should be avoided - it only does 1.5 times the damage of Shikigami, but it takes all of your Actions, and is actually slower than Shikigami, making it tied with Fire Blast for the title of 'slowest move in the game'.
  • 鬼を召喚 (Summon Ogre) - An attack that hits one unit. A useful magic attack, but can be diverted by Foot Soldier guard and is often seen as a waste since most Diviners don't start with it and due to the low average Int score of Diviners, most other units are better used for one-on-one offensive attacks.

Sadly, much like Mikos, the success of Diviner/Yin Yangs is dependent on multiple different factors, to use them offensively, they must have all of the following in their favour:

  • Their Int stat, if it's too low, they won't do much damage (and sadly, it often is - only 3 Diviners/Ying Yangs in the game have more than 6 Int).
  • Their troop size, again if it's too low, they won't do much damage (their units cost 2.5 times as much as Foot Soldiers)
  • Their Spd, if they're too slow, they'll either never get to the turn where their Shikigami hits, or they'll lose most of their troops when it does, or worse still their attack might come so late that it barely effect the battle rating.
  • Their Def, too low and most of their troops will die.

Fortunately however, this can all be remedied by simply using the good commanders offensively and resigning the bad commanders to being a Battle Permit or a user of All-Guard Shikigami, which doesn't require too much investment.

Important Commanders:

  • 北条早雲 Houjou Souun: 8s in all combat stats. He comes with an attack similar to Ogre Summoning Plus, but with only 1 action cost instead of 2, he is also extremely powerful in dungeons.
  • お町 Omachi: She is the best Diviner/Yin Yang commander, and one of the most broken commanders in the game. She has two Int-based skills which can damage all enemy commanders in battle. Her first skill (50% damage) doesn't require preparation, while the second one requires one turn preparation (but requires 2 ninja attacks to cancel) to deal higher damage (150% damage). To make things even better for her, Large Lightning, her preparation attack, is a much faster move than Shikigami, although weirdly, her non-preparation attack, Lightning has the same speed as Shikigami, making Large Lightning almost always the better choice. She is also extremely powerful in dungeons
  • エリナ Elina: Quite possibly the best bonus starting character you can pick in a New Game +, since you cannot get a good Diviner/Yin Yang for a long time. She is only really outclassed by Souun and Omachi, and in any case starts with All-Guard Shikigami, which is amazingly broken to use in the beginning of a game and always remains useful.
  • 山中子鹿 Yamanaka Kojika: Unavailable until you beat Mouri (must see all her scenes with the different houses). She has great skills: All-Guard Shikigami, Summon Ogre Plus and Healthy Body. She has 0 upkeep cost to start as well. The only downside are her INT and SPD stats which are 4 and 3 respectively, meaning that she's only ever going to be using All-Guard Shikigami.
  • Kuu Hime: A unit with a generic appearance that appears in the All-Out Battle with Mouri, she cannot be captured until after the Mouri House has been conquered, and she has been recruited elsewhere, but strangely, she comes with 7 Int, making her arguably the third best Diviner in the game, if you're lucky enough to capture her.

Knight (騎士/Kishi) Edit

The Knights of Leazas have the offensive strength comparable to the Warrior, and the ability to guard their allies. They only cost 1 gold per unit to heal, making them very cost effective.

Important Skills:

  • 親衛隊突撃 (Royal Guard Charge) - Special attack, when enemy has more troops, it deals double damage. Naturally, this can be abused - all it takes is 1 more unit on the enemy side for the double damage to apply, making this very effective on higher difficulties or against the heads of houses who often have large troop counts.

Important Commanders:

  • レィラ Leila: The only Knight unit in this game. She can be lost if her unit is annihilated or if she loses a large proportion of her troops when fighting against the Demon Army in the True or Isoroku routes.

Cavalry (騎馬/Kiba) Edit

Cavalry are the strongest melee units in the game (and possible the strongest units of any sort in the game), with a base attack of 80, 20 higher than Knight and Warrior while maintaining the same defence. They also have the ability to attack from the backrow (and against opponent's backrow). The downside is that it's attack is treated as melee attack, thus suffers from counterattack damage. Only Takeda starts with Cavalry (except with 2nd game bonuses). They tend to be among the first to move and move often. Just about the only thing that Warriors have that they don't is Light Attack, but to obtain Cavalry units in the first place, you must've already been proficient in capturing enemy commanders.

Important Skills:

  • 突進 (Onrush) - Aside from dealing extra damage, this will remove one move from your target, even if they are at 1.
  • 後衛潰し (Rear Guard Smash) - Double damage to backrow range units. Good way to prevent back support.
  • 追い討ち (Pursuit Attack) - TRIPLE damage if you are currently winning the battle and prevents counterattacks.
  • 戦果アップ (Battle Rating Up) - Takes 2 actions, and per action, is worse than the Tactican's similar skill, but in practice, it's just as good.

Important Commanders:

  • 馬場彰炎 Baba Shouen: While his stats are not particular impressive, he starts with Fuurinkazan, which allows him to start with all 4 stat bonus at full strength. In addition, he is the only cavalry with the move Commander Charge. Furthermore, he starts off at level 50 with an impressive cap at 68. Finally, his Battle Rating Up skill tilts the battle rating bar for your side (extremely useful in higher difficulty games). One of the most overpowered commanders in the game.
  • 山県昌景 Yamagata Masakage: Arguably the most powerful melee commander in the game. Starts with all stats at 8 AND comes with Fuurinkazan to further buff them up at the beginning of a battle, making his first attack possibly an instant death when fighting against him unless you have a colossal footsoldier troop guarding well. Also has battle result 2 to help with difficult castle seiges. His downside is the low level cap at 34, so he's not that useful in dungeon/solo battles.

Ninja (忍者) Edit

Ninja are fast and benefit from being rather good at dealing hit and run damage without retaliation. You need them to prevent preparation by spell-casters (all their shuriken skills have that particularity, even during dungeons), and some Ninja can also attempt to instantly kill an enemy unit with their Assassination Skills. Building the Ninja Mansion in Yamato lets all ninja units of yours grow by 5 per turn automatically, and 5 per special visit to the school. They tend to be among the first to move and move often, but their damage leaves much to be desired.

Important Skills:

  • 暗殺 (Assassinate) - Has a chance to insta-kill an enemy unit (chance increases when the commander has "Assassinate 2" instead although the increase isn't very much {see here}). It also uses all the actions of the Ninja unit, regardless of outcome. Under certain conditions this ability may be guaranteed to fail, such as trying to assassinate units who are critical to the plot. When targeting a unit being guarded by Footsoldiers, the Footsoldiers appear have the same chance of being assassinated as the protected unit. Since Ninjas don't do much damage, this is the go to move for Ninjas in higher difficulties.
  • 音速手裏剣 ([mach speed] Sonic Shuriken in english patch 1.04) - Very effective skill for a Fast Ninja Unit (like Kanami), as theres a good chance you will get two free attacks before the enemy forces can even attack once, as it has practically zero-cooldown time. Hence, extremely handy for eliminating undesirable enemy units quickly or taking out the enemies back line before they can start guarding it with footsoldiers. At higher difficulties this skill is of little use as you won't be damaging much of their troops with this skill, this only helps if you need to cancel charging skills super fast.
  • ちゅんちゅん手裏剣  (Chun-chun Shuriken) - Unique to Suzume, its basically like Yamamato Sweeping Fire, just the Shuriken version (while it's not as "economical", because it requires 2 actions, it does help cancelling charged attacks instantly even if the target is guarded by footsoldiers).

Important Commanders:

  • 鈴女  Suzume: She's basically the only required unit besides Rance, so you may as well use her. That said, she may well be a prodigy as an individual kunochi, but her unit is actually fairly average. She can learn Chun-Chun Shuriken, which consumes 2 Actions when she only has 4 to spare (can be increased with an Action Book 2 or items like the Emperor Ring) but is piercing and can cancel preparing attacks even while their user is guarded. She is good for scouting, she is also decent co-ordinator for dungeon battles to switch out your exhausted forces simply because she's a Ninja. Will cost a lot of money and skill books if you wish to make her useful beyond the beginning of the game. It's best to just have her enter a battle and use Assassinate 2.
  • Kikkawa Kiku - Powerful all-around ninja. Starts with high 7/7/6/7 stats, along with Assasinate 2, her move Leaves Hiding is also quite exploitable if you give her the Guts Armour, she can just sit alone in the front row and take very little damage while your backrow deals damage.
  • Kousaka Yoshikage - Probably the best ninja in the game, and incredibly powerful like his Takeda breathren. He has 7 in all combat stats stats, Assasinate 2, and the awesome Fuurinkazan. Also has highest level cap of all of the unique ninjas in the game with very good utility stats.
  • 見当かなみ Kentou Kanami: She's not that great in other areas, but boy is she fast. She's basically guaranteed to go first unless the foe also has fast ninjas, making her ideal for Sonic Shuriken takedowns. Also a great dungeon co-ordinator because of her speed (she has basically no cool-down time when you use her to make other exhausted units switch... very handy).
  • 犬飼 Inukai: Being the top Ninja of Japan, he naturally has the best combat stats. He also has 101 Doggies, which deals 101 damage to all enemy units. Can be upgraded to 201 damage to all units. Sadly, as he lacks an insta-kill moves, he's not very useful on higher difficulties, outside of his good utility stats.
  • 折女 Orime: Ninja commander with the best starting stats (if you take into account that she has more actions than Inukai), and one of the special few with Auto Heal. She does not come with Assassinate, thus making her a candidate for learning Sonic Shuriken. Also, unlike most Ninja commanders, she has a sword attack in dungeons, and is considered a Youkai. This does not seem to do anything special but does seem to justify the fact that she has the highest HP of all ninjas in the game in dungeons (often about twice as much; the exact same as the other wives of Masamune's at an equal level). This, along with fact that she also has the 2nd highest level cap of all unique Ninjas in the game, makes her one of the best Ninjas for dungeons, since she has the attack power of a Warrior and the speed of a Ninja combined (however this also means she can neither cancel preparation nor attack the rear column in dungeons).
  • 月光 Gekko: You get him from picking the same New Game + bonus as you get Shizuka from. He cut off his left arm and adopted a Loli girl (Shinobu) to be his Right Hand (so to speak). The two appear in battle together (but strangely he appears alone in Dungeons). He has poor defence but is brutally powerful with 6 action points and an attack of 8. His passive skill "Assassination Skill +" gives him 100% chance to kill an enemy that has run out of Actions, provided that they can be Assassinated. When cleared, he can instantly win one battle for you, at the cost of his life.
  • ゴエモン Goemon: He's the only ninja which starts with both Battleground Preparation 3 and Assassinate 2 which makes him very versatile on the battlefield. However he only have 2 action points so he most likely will run out of action points before half the battle time.

Archers (弓兵/Kyuuhei) Edit

Compared to other units, the main advantage of an Archer unit is its ability to strike at eithr row from either row without having to worry about counterattack damage, although due to their weak defence, they are best kept in the back row and protected by Foot Soldiers. Note however that the specialised Archer unit is only marginally better than Miko's and Tacticians at using their bows (although Archers are cheaper, grow faster, and are capable of much larger maximum troop sizes, see here). Sadly, the vast majority of Archer units in the game have very poor stats and hence beyond the early/mid game, you'll probably not want to have many of them. Yamamoto Isoroku is usually the only one worth keeping (due to her unique Whirlwind Shot). Archers are also notably worse in dungeons than most other units such as Ninjas (although they are better than Mikos and Tacticians, who have other purposes).

Important Skills:

  • 一斉射撃  (Volley) - Hits all foes, but uses all the archer's actions. Perhaps decent for cleaning up stragglers on low difficulties, although it must be noted that this move only does half damage, which when taken with the usually low Atk stats of Archers and their low base attack, isn't very much. Furthermore, you have to go through Untrained Volley to get it, so for the same effort, you could get far better moves such as Battle Rating Down 2.
  • 山本弓掃射  (Yamamoto Sweeping Fire) - Unique to Yamamoto Isoroku and her two subordinates, its a very nice attack that hits an entire column for 0.9x damage and can't be guarded against for just 1 Action. Probably the best attack usable by a Archer unit on lower difficulties because it brings a vast damage increase over a regular attack, combines nicely with damage increasing items like the Ryuuguu Sword Urashimaru.
  • 疾風点破  (Whirlwind Shot) - Unique to Yamamoto Isoroku. Its the archer version of assassinate, although it has a lower chance of success, it only requires two Actions to use and is the recommended move for Archers on higher difficulties.

Important Commanders:

  • 丹羽長秀 Niwa Nagahide: Ridiculously awful, but he's your starting archer and he does start with lots of troops. Also notably, he starts with Defeated Warrior Hunt, allowing you to capture enemy commanders more easily. You can dump him fairly early. He also has decent utility stats for the point in the game in which you get him.
  • 山本五十六 Yamamoto Isoroku: She has fairly average stats, but she has two skills which are only accessible through her. Yamamoto Sweeping Fire is sufficiently effective to make her the best Archer in the game for lower difficulties (try boosting her attack to 9 and give her the Ryuuguu Sword - she'll demolish enemies with ease, the move also makes her one of the few units able to ignore guard, making her useful against back row units using preparation moves). She also has Whirlwind Shot, which has a 'fixed' chance of instant death to one commander at 2 action cost and because insta-kill chances are based on troop sizes, she is arguably more useful as an assassin than ninjas, due to archers gaining troops so easily.
  • 原昌示  Hara Shouji: You can capture him fairly early, and he does start with Volley, so if you want that without the pains of training for it, then use him. He also has decent utility stats for the point in the game in which you can get him.
  • Inoue Shigemi/Shigeyoshi and Yamaguchi Tamon: Subordinates of Yamamoto Isoroku. Both of them will join your army if you bring Isoroku to trust and have at least 7 spare Nation Power (and 6 spare commander slots. They also can learn Yamamoto Sweeping Fire but unlike Isoroku they had to learn Bow Attack Plus first before Yamamoto Sweeping fire is available. They also have decent utility stats for the point in the game in which you can get them.

Magi (魔法/Maho) Edit

Only available through calling for reinforcements from Zeth and/or new game+ bonuses. Nevertheless, pretty worthwhile if you're patient enough to train them, as they ignore physical defence and the Foots Soldiers guard, and can also hit multiple targets without a charge up time, but you'll once again have to face the fact that with the same effort you could've made Rance an outstanding unit or made some game-breaking Tacticians. Sadly, their defense is quite far below average and their speed is pathetic, not to mention that their units cost as much as Mikos.

Remember that buffing INT is more important than STR in this case. Most mages have high action points but tend to only move once or twice per battle (they, and their moves are very slow - Fire Blast is the joint slowest move in the game), so using them in a battle with fewer commanders on each side may let you move them more often.

Their attack being magic means Haniwa are immune, a fact of note when fighting the Imagawa House and in dungeons. In dungeons they also have relatively low HP despite their high levels, which leads to them being easily knocked out without the help of items.

Important Skills:

  • 白色破壊光線 (White Destruction Beam) - Is a piercing attack that hits an entire column for 1.5x the damage of a normal fireball (hence, deals a total of 3x damage), which can be devastating, however it costs all of your units Actions to use.
  • Aカッター  (A-Cutter) - Unique to Rizna who cannot learn White Destruction Beam. Interesting because it hits all enemy units without preparation. However, unlike the White Destruction Beam, it typically deals a lot less damage (0.5x) to everyone except monks or demons. Since it deals massive damage to those two it is useful against the Demon Army and the Tenshi Sect, however since Rizna has the stats of an early game generic, you can expect her to be dead by the time the Demon Army appears, unless you wasted a lot of resources improving her.

Important Commanders:

  • リズナ Rizna: An old heroine returns. Probably your first mage unit and possibly the worst, even though she can learn her hit all attack. Her speed is one of the worst you can find in the game as there will be fights where she'll only act once. But you must call her to have Uruza and Magic. However she has total immunity to all magic attacks, this includes the hit-all attacks of the likes of Xavier or Suzaku.
  • マジック Magic: Not actually much better than Rizna to begin with, since she comes untrained as well. Though her ability to learn White Destruction Beam is probably better than Angel Cutter.
  • 魔想志津香 Masou Shizuka: The best mage, but only available with a New Game + bonus, and then only after recruiting Maria. Starts with White Destruction Beam and also has the rather useful Sticky Ground, which increases your chance of capturing enemy commanders automatically. Also, always Hates Rance; you can never get her up to Normal/Trust/Love.

Cannoneers (砲兵/Houhei) Edit

Cannoneers combine the power of musketeers with the placement versatility of archers and mages. Hence, they can benefit from a very high power without having to actually sit in the front row and endanger themselves, making them very useful for sniping at enemy units. (Technically, they possess far less base power than Musketeers. So Cannoneers can't deliver capped damage without raising Atk) A few of drawbacks however, include their poor speed and inability to ignore footsoldier guard.

Important Skills:

  • チューリップ連射 (Tulip Rapid Fire) - Double damage, but uses all actions.

Important Commanders:

マリアMaria: The second reinforcement you get from Leazas after Kanami and probably the only Cannoneer you want to use (Kasumi is inferior to her boss). Probably a good choice for any damage boosting items. Due to the extremely high cost of cannon troops (shared highest in the game with the Musket units), you may want to give her the Popularity Staff to make sure she is useful. As expected, she has good utility stats.

See also Edit

While it is full of incorrect information, and the author seems impossible to contact, this is a good place to go to for a second opinion on the game's commanders.

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