Church of Seiros
Gilbert is among the strongest soldiers of the Knights of Seiros at Garreg Mach Monastery. He is a deeply religious, serious and polite person as he is reserved about speaking about his own past. He can be a hard person to get to know from this, though he does seem to be fond of fishing and cooking.
|Guardian Moon 26|
Imperial Year 1124
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Base Stats (Level 26 Fortress Knight)
This analysis was written by MotherHorse.
Gilbert joins the player in Chapter 13 of the Blue Lions route, coming in with the first wave of reinforcements as a Level 26 Fortress Knight. Upon first glance the older man will look like an overall inferior version of Dedue; a placeholder as you wait to reobtain the man of Duscur. While their roles may be somewhat similar, this is far from the truth. While he may not seem appealing at first with his incredibly low speed, solid but not outstanding stats, and his good but not amazing Combat Arts, Gilbert is a character who, with the help of the rich customization offered by the Three Houses class system, can become just as good as many of the units in your army.
When he joins you he will start off with pretty good bases in HP, Strength, Defense, Dexterity, and Charm, but terrible Magic, Resistance, Luck, and Speed. As for his growths, he has pretty good HP, Strength, Defence, and Dexterity growths that will allow him to land solid physical hits and take them as well, but he finds himself to be lacking in every other category of growths, meaning his critical hit avoidance and ability to deal with mages will never grow any better, both of which will hinder his overall survivability. He will also start out with a B+ in both Axes and Lances, a D+ in Authority, a B in Heavy Armor, and a C in Riding, with proficiencies in all except for Authority. His Personal Ability, Veteran Knight, decreases the amount of damage he takes by 2 when he has a Battalion with him, which is great at allowing him to more easily defeat enemies that rely on more hits to kill, such as Grapplers. With his stats and proficiencies, it will immediately stand out that the game seems to be pushing you to keep him as an armored class unit.
For his Combat Arts, Shatter Slash is definitely the one that sticks out the most for him as it lets him use his great bulk to break down a durable enemy for another unit to finish off, allowing him to assist greatly against the bulkier bosses if he can take the hit from them, which usually is the case, in the earlier parts of the game. Glowing Ember allows him to utilize his great Defence to dish out a more powerful move. However, Tempest Lance is overall a more powerful Combat Art until you obtain a good amount of growth in his Defence. Spike will be a less-accurate and less-crit happy but more powerful version of Smash, making the two rather interchangeable depending on one's personal preference of either higher power or higher crit and hit, respectively. Smite is excellent to start off with as it allows him to push a unit two tiles, far surpassing many of the other positioning-Combat Arts in versatility due to how great it can be for positioning units, especially when he is mounted. His access to Battalion Wrath is interesting in certain builds, but his access to Rally Defence can be quite useful earlier on as it can let him save an ally by granting them a +4 in Defence for a turn. His spell list is laughably bad and, along with his terrible Magic, makes it evident that you will not want him in any magic class whatsoever.
When all of his stats, proficiencies, and abilities are compiled together, it becomes clear that Gilbert is aiming to be a good, bulky unit that assists his allies in battle, be it by weakening the opponent, being their shield, or by pushing them a good distance into/away from battle, and then tries to grow into someone who can hit as well as he can take hits.
Before discussing what class Gilbert should attempt to go down, one should focus on mastering Intermediate classes first to obtain crucial skills that will be needed to maximise his usefulness. No matter the path the seasoned knight will take, he should obtain Hit +20 and Death Blow from the Archer and Brigand class, respectively. These will allow him to output good damage and become more consistent when attacking, both of which are extremely useful in Maddening mode where you will need to hit an opponent and kill them before they can do the same back to you. Getting into the Brigand class will be guaranteed due to his B+ in Axes, and one simply needs to set one of his learning goals to Bows for a few chapters until they get it to D+ and minimum, as it will allow him to qualify for the Archer exam. There is a situation in which gaining Vantage from the Mercenary class may be beneficial which will be touched upon in a bit, but overall one will want to stick to just the two mentioned classes, as both Death Blow and especially Hit +20 will be crucial to have.
When looking at what class Gilbert will want to work towards, there are two viable options: embracing his proficiencies and turning him into Great Knight or keeping him as a Fortress Knight, or getting him off of the ground as a Wyvern Lord. Let's start with the first one as it is the one many people will consider taking him down first, and with good logic as he has proficiencies in all of the required skills needed to obtain the classes and stats that fit perfectly with them. The first question one will need to choose is whether to keep Gilbert as a Fortress Knight or as a Great Knight. The prior gives him 2 more points of Defence and Weight -5 over Great Knight, while the latter gives him a great 7-movement Canto which can be boosted up to 8 if you equip Movement +1 over Fortress Knight's very limited 4-movement (though keep in mind that maps with rough terrain will nullify this advantage), Lancefaire, 4 more points of Speed (which makes the Weight -5 advantage that the Fortress Knight has mostly pointless), and 1 point of Strength. Becoming a cavalry unit is overall great in general, especially on the Azure Moon route as it is overall much kinder to cavalry units compared to other routes by giving them less rough terrain to run on (though it will still be a notable problem for the class). Both classes pair really well with Gilbert's strengths, the Great Knight class letting Gilbert enjoy an increase to mobility that allows him to protect and assist his allies far easier and lets him unleash some pretty solid damage on the opponents earlier on in the run, and the Fortress Knight making him capable of taking more damage for his frailer allies. Great Knight does allow him to be able to reach his allies with a Rally Defence and get in front of them far more easily which helps him get more utility out of Smite then what he would normally get out of being a Fortress Knight, but the less mobile class will still be capable of enjoying these great boons when supporting allies. It comes down to personal preference on whether the advantages of the Great Knight class are worth building towards, or if staying as a Fortress Knight and honing his skills in that class is overall better. Either way, both classes seem to be excellent endgame classes on paper. However, while the armored classes pair well with his strengths, they also pair well with Gilbert's massive weaknesses: being completely incapable of taking magic damage and having a problem avoiding critical hits, both of which greatly hinders his bulk. Not only that, but the knight will also need to look out for weapons strong against armor and/or cavalry in the case of the Great Knight, which can greatly hinder his usability in certain situations (he will need to have a way to both nullify cavalry and armored-effective weapons or completely avoid those enemies all together when he is mounted, or get off and face the disadvantages of not being mounted). Plus, his damage, while good enough at the beginning, will not be effective enough later on in the game. It will be enough to KO a weak mage or maybe even an Assassin, but it is extremely underwhelming at the point of the game where good damage will be crucial in surviving. This lack of damage was fine earlier when he could be used to set up kills for others, but when every character is capable of taking down opponents in one turn without too much of a hassle, it makes it look as if age is catching up to the old man. Maps start to become littered with mages with massive range that will demolish him in one turn due to both his extremely low Speed and his equally low Resistance, and bulky, powerful armored foes that will eventually be capable of doubling him in due time due to his horrendous speed regardless of what class you chose for him, which can push him into range for an enemy or a magic ballista shot to take him out (this problem can be solved by utilizing armor-effective weapons though). As a whole, going down the Great Knight or Fortress Knight class is an overall good idea as it allows Gilbert to be quite a useful unit in a number of scenarios. However, he will start feeling the pain of just not having enough damage and having his bulk become less and less useful overtime as his exploitable Resistance and Luck becomes a massive nuisance to him, and he eventually sees his role as a tanky, supportive unit become less and less viable as time goes on.
The other, more preferable route that one can take Gilbert is to the skies as a solid Wyvern Lord. Of course, training up his Flying skill will be a more arduous task then his Riding, but it can be done in a few chapters time, especially when considering that he's already nearly met the criteria for Wyvern Lord in Axes and has far surpassed it in Lances. When he finally reaches Wyvern Lord, he will see a massive increase in Speed from around 9-10 (3-4 with Fortress Knight nerfs) all the way up to a much more respectable 24 when including the bonus of the Wyvern Lord (20 without it). This won't let him get anywhere near doubling any unit in the game up to this point, but it will prevent him from being doubled by armored units. While you will see an overall drop in strength in Lances, the growth in power with Axes will be more than worth it with how much more damage you will be capable of dishing out, especially when paired with a Brave Axe and after obtaining Death Blow. Another boon is 8-movement flying Canto, something that Great Knight could only somewhat imitate when equipping Movement +1 (without the flying part of course). This will allow him to do everything that the Great Knight could do, but with less bulk and more punch to his attacks. For the downsides of this class, the new weakness to Snipers and Bow Knights will be extremely annoying, but it can be stopped by either getting an S+ in Flying or, much more easily, stealing an Aurora Shield from Ladislava, which completely nullifies that weakness and helps boost his Defence without weighing him down any more. If you wish to not obtain either of those then there is also the option of utilizing Alert Stance+ to dodge any archer class trying to hit you, especially since it pairs well with the Avoid +10 and extra Speed that he gets from reclassing into Wyvern Lord. He will still have his weakness to mages, but it's far more manageable since he can easily fly away from most of them, or just kill them with his massively boosted Strength. His biggest issue of becoming a Wyvern Lord will be that there are others that seem overall better for the role, such as Hilda, Petra, or even his own daughter, Annette. He differentiates himself from them in a few ways, the first being that he is far bulkier than most of them. His Personal Ability and naturally high Defence allows him to take a solid hit or two before being in trouble, something most of the others can't pull off reliably. The second reason is that he has instant access to Shove, making him one of the best at positioning fellow fliers to safety or to get a kill, giving him an extremely useful niche as a positioning flier that helps other fliers get to safety/the enemy, and not falling off in damage at the same time. When comparing the Wyvern Lord to the Great Knight class, it becomes clear that the flying class will give him overall more utility and firepower that will keep him relevant in the game to the very end as a unique take of the Wyvern Lord.
Something you can also run on him is Battalion Wrath, easily accessible in either of these classes. However, if you wish to stay as either an armored class or a Wyvern Lord, you will need to master the Mercenary class to obtain Vantage first to give it any use as you don't want to be killed before being capable of demolishing your opponent. This can allow him to sometimes clean the enemy team when all are targeting him (with the help of the Retribution Gambit of course), something that looks appealing on paper. If you wish to completely skip obtaining Vantage, you could train his Sword skill level up to C+ and get him to qualify for the Hero class instead. While you lose the extra utility of the three previously mentioned classes and Axefaire along with it, the Hero's innate Vantage will allow you to focus and obtain any other skills that you wish to focus on with, opens up an extra ability slot that Vantage would have normally taken up, and Swordfaire + Defiant Strength (the mastery ability of the Hero class) will make the loss of Axefaire and slight slight drop in Strength in the case of the Wyvern Lord and Fortress Knight more manageable. However, you will want to avoid this type of playstyle as Gilbert usually tends to want to stay healthy in order to tank hits for his allies. Also, using this combo is very questionable when Dimitri will always be on the same team as him considering that they are both locked to the Blue Lions path, and he does it much better without needing to lose any health. Plus, other characters like Bernadetta are capable of doing it overall better due to them not caring that they are at low health, something Gilbert doesn't have the privilege of doing.
Overall, Gilbert is an overlooked character that is just as viable as many of the characters around him. The knight has some very notable flaws like his low Luck, Resistance, and Speed that all hold him back from being one of the better units, but his other good stats and his solid Combat Arts and skills help him blossom into a great support unit. He is one of the best Great Knights and Fortress Knights in the game due to how well he pairs with those classes, and he also has a worthwhile niche as a Wyvern Lord that makes him worth using, and even has a decent niche as a Hero. This old man has yet to go senile as long as you're willing to take him onto the battlefield.
Gilbert will automatically join the party in Chapter 13 of the Blue Lions route.
|A new gambit||Fodlan's future||Someone you look up to|
|I'm counting on you||Strange fish in the pond||A strong battalion|
|Thanks for everything||A word of advice||Monastery rules|
|Books you've read recently||Monastery security||The last battle|
|Overcoming weaknesses||The library's collection||Children at the market|
|Wood carving||Equipment upkeep||Potential training partners|
|Evaluating allies||Reliable allies||Working together|
Walking first thing in the morning is a pleasant way to begin your day. Try it sometime.
I enjoy a bit of fishing. I hear you do as well?
Spear, sword, archery, martial arts, soldiery… I believe I've mastered most things worth mastering.
I've served the royal family for decades, and marched through history by their side.
I am an unforgivable sinner. I do not deserve a peaceful life.
No judge, not even the goddess herself, will bring me to justice. Though I deserve it.
It's true that strength alone will not make you powerful. Yet you will not become powerful without it.
The Holy Kingdom of Faerghus is the nation of proud knights. I love that country… and miss it deeply.
I am sorry, but relaxing is…not a skill I possess.