With Three Hopes being announced, I finally got into gear to finish my Golden Deer/Verdant Wind maddening playthrough.
The reward is kinda lame.
Took 101 hours according to the in-game timer but it was probably more. My first playthrough was 71 hours for Crimson Flower hard mode.
Maddening starts off super difficult, but it evens off a bit later on. Chapter 14 in particular was, well... maddening with it's infinite enemy reinforcements. poor Hilda had to tank a lot of hits so the other could pick them off during the player phase, but it meant I had to turtle up at the start of the map. The terrain helped with enemy units that start nearby, but I was pretty much stuck to the start position. You have to protect a single green unit who appears at the North East of the map who will trigger a Secret Scheme™ if you guide them to a specific spot which will cause the enemy to start retreating giving you a chance to push forward. A lot of enemies drop some good items so you want to try and kill them. I almost did where the green unit died, but Byleth got in a spot I couldn't escape from.
Chapter 13 was also tough as you start with only Byleth and Claude, and you don't any battle preps so you only have what you ended the last chapter with (apart from Claude who gets a couple of new toys). I thought I had finally cleared the map, and then I scrolled right and saw there was anther half of the map to go. The second half wasn't as bad though.
Maddening made me appreciate gambits a lot more. There ability to stop enemies was moving is very useful. Speaking of gambits, Falcon Knight Leonie + Alert Stance+ + Retribution is broken. Retribution gambit grants the Counterattack ability which allows you to as the name implies, counter attack but you can do so from any range. Annoying when the enemy has it, amazing when you have it. There's a chapter where you need to move a unit to specific spots to stop reinforcement. Leonie was able to fly around the map and either dodge physical attacks and/or take very little magic damage and able to kill on the counter attack. Also useful for long range spells (she killed Hubert this way). Sadly doesn't work ballistae though.
Battle data screens are in the spoiler tag.
I'm probably going to NG+ Azure Moons and I want to play the DLC story, but I think I'm going to take a break and play Kirby first. Although I doubt I'll finish that before Three Hopes.