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Soul Master Guide - bakaMocha
Disclaimer: This guide is written by u/BAKAResh, NOT by me. I am merely posting this guide for him.submitted by Beeplance to MapleSEA
OpeningHello! bakaMocha here! Welcome to the guide written by a humble Soul Master / Dawn Warrior main (here on out I will dub us as SM). I am from Cass but despite being a small world, Soul Masters are not that rare a find in our world. To start off, SM is a warrior class that utilises the Solar and Lunar stance
Pros:- Can easily hit 100% Crit with a bit of investment into the union
- Has a GAZILLION LINES
- Looks really cool in stance
- Is self-sufficient in bossing (Has bind + debuff + burst)
- Strong iframe skill that allows you to move during iframe
- Primary bossing skill allows you to proc Illium link with just that skill alone
- 2H swords are NOT THAT expensive
- Lotus p1 laser means nothing to you
- Mobbing is sick but only at higher levels
Cons:- Your internet / maple servers needs to be good otherwise you are stuck in one stance
- To fully utilise the class, you need to keep DSI and green pot up.
- Lower level training is clunky cause whoever thought of Inverse Slash needs to be fired
- Debuff must be manually casted and not auto-proc like certain class
- Drinks MP like water
- Primary bossing skill forces you to move which makes you a huge golem magnet in lucid p1.
- Did I mention about the ping issue?
Choosing your weapon:Normally, in majority of classes, the choice is very clear cut. (i.e Pathfinder – Ancient Bow) However, SM is unique because we can wield either 1h Sword or 2h Sword and still utilise our skills to the maximum potential. If that is the case, then which do we choose?
To decide which is better, first we must understand the weapon speed mechanics for SM. Sol Stance is an interesting skill because it allows us to break the soft cap.
1H Sword: (initial speed value: 5) > Speed booster -2 > Sol Stance -2 > Breaks soft cap to 1
2H Sword: (initial speed value: 6) > Speed booster -2 > Sol Stance -2 > Reaches soft cap of 2
So, to sum it up, both 1H and 2H can reach the hard speed cap of 0 (which requires you to use green potion and DSI to hit hard cap of 0). Considering that a 1.34 multiplier on 2H sword will always outdo a 22* perfect shield (multiplier vs flat), we should ALWAYS opt for 2H sword when bossing and 1h sword for mobbing. This is because you don’t need to waste green drugs to reach a higher speed tier when mobbing and you don’t need the 2h sword’s increased output to mob at higher levels. Thus, for mule grinders, just use a 1h sword that you can pass among your mules will work fine.
Sun and Moon:The understanding behind the class is that the hero upgrades himself by understanding the way of the sword (fencing) by learning the dances of the sun and moon. That said, it means that at some stage, the hero will be able to fuse both dance into a new form: Equinox.
Here is a look at how the stances look like! It is important to keep these stances in mind because if you are a henehoe like me, then these stances affect how your gear look and shape your cash purchases! (unless you are like me and end up right clicking our stances away every time I am idling)
Understanding Equinox:Equinox is a unique buff as it 1) requires you to be in either the initial Solar or Lunar stance in order for you to cast it and, 2) allows to automatically swap stances after every attack! For example, let’s say you start off by attacking with Solar Pierce, which would mean you were in the Solar Stance. With Equinox active, you shift into Lunar Stance which allows you to attack with Lunar Divide. Once you attacked with Lunar Divide, Equinox shifts you back into Solar Stance and you attack with Solar Pierce. This cycle continues until you either lag or the Equinox buff duration expires.
Being in Equinox also gives you access Equinox Slash. Which is arguably the BEST mobility skill we got. SM is a class that is chocked full to the brim with smooth mobility during grinding and bossing. We got a dash skill, up jump and an animation cancelling teleport skill that, when used well, makes the whole grinding rotation very smooth and comfortable. Two key notes about Equinox Slash though:
Mobbing:For this section, I will divide it into two sections. The first is 1-200 and the second is 200-250.
Due to the lack of V skills and node enhancements, this phase is pretty much just use whatever resources you must train. Just keep in mind that Equinox slash is an animation cancel and you can use it to cancel Soul cleaving and move up platforms.
On top of that utilizing Cygnus Phalanx as a self-moving summon skill that helps you clear mobs on platforms that you can’t touch, combining it with skills like True Arachnid Reflection (Post level 235) and Lucid’s soul summon, it allows you to clear mobs very efficiently and effectively.
On the side note, when your V skills are on cooldown, you have two options to standard grind with and those are: 1) Crescent Divide / Solar Pierce (CDSP) and 2) Sun Cross / Moon Cross (SCMC). From personal experience, I opted with the former when grinding from 200-250 because CDSP gave more lines and output for me and considering my AF was pretty much always at 100-130% ratio when grinding, there was literally no pros to using SCMC.
However, if you are an old player who accumulated a lot of AF and you can easily mow down the relevant mobs, using SCMC is a very viable option because it has a slightly faster animation and a slightly longer hitbox CDSP
Hitbox of Solar Pierce
Hitbox of Crescent Divide
Hitbox of Sun Cross
Hitbox of Moon Cross
Mobility:Like I mentioned earlier, SM has quite a lot of mobility options. We have up jump, flash jump, equinox slash, dash and extended dash if applied correctly. Let’s look at some of them.
Our up jump is not the updated Adele up jump where you can from the ground > up + jump. Ours require us to initiate the first jump before we can up jump. If you played Adele then came over, I’m sorry but you gotta get used to this. You can control the amount of vertical distance you traverse by controlling the distance between you and the ground before you press jump. The closer to the ground you are before you press jump to initiate the up jump, the lesser distance you traverse and vice versa! Combo this with rope climb (best mobility v skill) and travelling around big maps (Mirrored Light Shrine) is a breeze.
Dash (Sol Rush / Luna Slice):
As the name suggests, it is a skill that rushes forward, allowing you to clear a significant distance despite it being slightly lesser than flash jump. However, what is unique to us SM is that much like every other skill in our arsenal, our dash takes on two forms! The lunar and solar version. The lunar version travels a bit further than solar whereas solar pushes mobs back. This may seem like a bad thing because it means that our dash is also ping reliant, however, it does mean that we have a slightly faster animation than other warrior dashes (i.e – explorer warriors have a slightly slower dash than us) and we have the option of extending the dash by chaining it with Equinox Slash as seen below
This skill is unique as it acts as a teleport-esque skill and it allows you to traverse from a lower platform to a higher platform, provided the height between you and the higher platform is correct. This part is a bit harder to put into words and explain but as an SM you’ll need to go and figure out the distance yourself. I mean, sure this is a guide but where’s the fun if everything is explained?
On top of it being able to traverse platform, it allows you pass through monsters without killing it. This is pretty much what makes the skill exceptionally strong and it shows its effects when it comes to dealing with bosses that spawn monsters that require you to kill them to proceed to the boss. Yes, I’m looking at you Lucid golems.
For the mule grinders, this skill is very important because you can use this skill to bring your mules to higher level places such as Twilight Perion with more efficacy.
Other than that, this skill is very useful in allowing you to return to your original attacking position in certain bosses! I’ll explain more about it in the bossing section.
Mid-air movement cancellation:
What is this and why does it require a section of its own? This is something interesting that I noticed and learned by watching KMS players do Spirit Saviour and that is we can use Sunset Splitter / Swirling Moon (SSSM) as a movement stop skill. How does this work? First, SSSM is a skill that has a ground form and a mid-air form. When you are on the ground, the game recognises you are on the ground and casts the ground version of the skill depending on your stance as seen below.
Now, you will notice that the Solar version of SSSM sends you up into the air into a forced movement. This triggers the mid-air form of SSSM and is where the fun begins. First of all, mid-air form of SSSM is not something that requires you to start from the ground form, which means that if you are flash jumping away or when you get hit with a super knockback that sends you flying, as long as you are mid-air, you will cast SSSM in it’s mid-air form as shown below
When you are mid-air and you cast SSSM, the game instantly forces you to come to a halt no matter which stage of aerial movement you are in because it recognises the “forced movement” skill. Looking at the Solar form of SSSM, you will notice that it looks like a slam down into the ground. That is the only form that will force stop you in mid-air and bring you down to the ground. Lunar form of SSSM only force stop you in mid-air but doesn’t bring you down to the ground. This makes it a very good skill to come to a force stop during Spirit Saviour where precise movements are very crucial to completing your 10k / 20k runs. Also, for those of you training in the big maps like Mirrored Light Shrine, using this to cancel mid-air movement can aid in speeding up your rotations as well as allowing for Celestial Dance’s explosion to activate, clearing out the upper left and upper right side of the map. This does also mean that you will need to have a clear grasp on your Equinox form and manipulating your skills such that you enter the aerial movement with Solar stance so that you can utilise the Solar form of SSSM.
Rope Climb (post 5th job):
Nothing much to mention except that it’s super crucial to master using this skill early if you intend to do Lucid. There are numerous ways to use this skill in tandem with our up-jump, but the best is if you fiddle around it yourself.
Inner Ability:Inner ability is actually a very unique aspect for SM. For most jobs out there, IA is pretty clear cut. If you don’t cap attack speed, get Attack Speed +1, otherwise get Boss Dmg + 1X% or Crit Rate %. However, for us, we actually have two unique way of playing SM and that actually affects the IA that we roll for.
The two ways of playing SM is either you play under the assumption that your internet is never going to get good ping (i.e – playing in single stance because of poor internet) and the standard Equinox SM. If you intend to play in single stance, the best stance to use is always Lunar Stance as it gives you increased Crit Rate and as such, we will need the following IA as it allows us to cap attack speed with DSI and Green Pot:
I get a lot of friends who wanted to submain SM ask me how the passives should be spread out. My answer to that is always “er bro, you want to boss, or you want mob”
What’s the difference? We have 3 primary hyper skill passive, and they are separated cleanly by their roles. 1 debuff (True Sight), 1 mobbing skill (Divide and Pierce), 1 bossing skill (Swirling Splitter). If we are focusing on grinding, then we need to focus on mobbing whereas if we are going all out on bossing, then we will need to focus primarily on the bossing passive skill
With regards to the debuff, there is almost zero use of it during mobbing because our debuff is not an auto casting skill and the animation for the whole debuff takes a clean full second or so which makes it very annoying to keep uptime so it’s mainly only used for bossing and since the only bosses you will have to deal with when mobbing is Elite Champions / Monsters / Bosses, there is no need to worry too much about the debuff passive and just focus on making grinding more efficient
True Sight – Enhance
Swirling Splitter – Ignore Guard
Swirling Splitter – Boss Killer
Divide and Pierce – Reinforce
Divide and Pierce – Extra Target
Divide and Pierce – Bonus Attack
Swirling Splitter – Boss Killer
Our active skills do not really need much introduction. We have the attack buff at lvl 140 that gives 50 wa and we have the lvl 190 standard skill that KOCs get. However, unlike majority of the other classes who get iframes in their hyper skills, we get a very interesting lvl 160 skill!
Prior to the recent update, Soul Cleaving’s main pro was that it could cut through Ignore Attack /Damage Reflection (IADR) and hit mobs on IADR, allowing you to speed up certain boss runs like Pink Bean and Horntail. However, with this new update, this skill’s utility has improved by leaps and bounds! Currently, this skill has two primary niches. 1) It is a charge skill that gives you SUPER stance and 2) It is a skill that gives you the ability to position yourself as you are charging. The first niche is very important because in instances such as Lotus, being able to prevent being knocked back is key to ensuring you do not accidentally get knocked off platform as the laser is casted and the second niche is that you can cancel the skill charge by using any other skill. Obviously, with the way the skill is worded, this should be pretty obvious! However, the importance of this cannot be understated for several reasons: 1) by cancelling the skill charge using our skills, the skill itself does not get used and therefore allows you to charge again and 2) it is able to be chained to Equinox Slash! The utility this skill brings about is unparalleled and cannot be understated and is extremely useful when dealing with Will / Lotus.
V Matrix and Nodes
Ah yes! V skills! We are entering the juicy bits of the guide! For SM, being a pretty linear class, our nodes aren’t that linear. We need a total of 4 / 5 skills to boost and they are:
Therefore, we can split our tri-cores into two primary functions! One is all around purpose (bossing and mobbing) and we use the first 3 bolded skills for that since those are considered mandatory. The other tri-core is for eased mobbing and mobility. I opted with Luna Slice / Sol Rush (LSSR) for the last slot to round off my tri-core because there are really not much other skills to combo it up with. Some other SM use our bind skill as the last piece of the puzzle but because the increased damage of our bind only increases the bind duration from 10s to a maximum of 11s and honestly if you are capping damage, you should be using Erda Nova in tandem with our personal bind to maximise the output so having a higher output Rush is much more beneficial for grinding. Hence, here is an example of my nodes!
5th Job nodes!
When it comes to V skills, there are a huge array of weapons to choose from. So which nodes are the best bang for their buck for an SM? From my V Matrix you can see a couple of new toys to work with so before I go into the juicy bits about SM’s proprietary V skills, let me run through the other useful and relevant V skills that you should get as well! They will be listed in order of priority to get so that you can decide for yourselves which ones you want to get first, considering that the journey to unlocking the skill node slots is an arduous journey.
Decent Speed Infusion – Very important to have because it is necessary for you to use this to hit hard cap. It speeds up the grinding process as it works with 1h Sword + Sol Stance.
Decent Holy Symbol – Nothing much to say here because drop rate + exp is always amazing.
Aura Weapon – This is additional output that is very useful for dojo runs (1-10F easy one shots) and it’s also very good to clear areas in front of you so that you can increase the speed of your rotations during training.
Decent Sharp Eyes – Of course nothing can beat crit rate and crit damage, even though it’s the watered-down version. However, the most ideal is that you have 100% crit rate before this skill so it’s only really useful for the additional crit damage.
Cygnus Phalanx – The birds of continuous damage! They continuously push back the mobs and inflict damage in an attempt to pass through them and they are stupid useful for grinding in big maps. They are also useful for bossing / dojo when you want to attempt to maximise DPS.
Spider in Mirror (True Arachnid Reflection) – This skill is only available post lvl 235 but is such a strong full map attack + persisting damage over time on the mobs on the field, making it a very valuable skill to have in your arsenal when grinding. You get it upon completing Esfera’s questline!
Erda’s Will – We don’t have Hero’s Will, so we have to take what we are given.
Cygnus Blessing – Additional bonus / final damage is always appreciated and should be used only when bursting bosses during early periods or binded bosses. This skill gets upgraded at lvl 245 and is very very important to have to ensure DPS maximisation during late game bossing. Not very useful for grinding in my opinion.
Rope Connect – This skill is good for us to do more vertical traversing but is usually used for maps that are larger or if you are planning to do Lucid.
Steadfast Core – This skill is only really useful for bosses such as Will and Lotus since it provides 30s of super stance. We got our own super stance skill as well but that doesn’t deny the utility of this skill which is why this skill on the bottom of the list of V Skills.
Erda Nova – This is the bind skill that all the classes will have access to. It is pretty useful for SM late game when you are attempting to solo bosses such as Lotus or Damien and the likes. Not a very mandatory skill so you should only worry about it when your progression is further in the game.
SM V SkillsNow that we got the fluff out of the way, it’s time to explore our own unique V skills! On the surface, each skill looks pretty simple! Soul Eclipse is a full map attack with in built iframe while Celestial Dance is shadow partner and Elysion is just a burst skill. However, there are a bit more finer details hidden within them so let’s go into them individually and analyse!
Starting off with arguably the most braindead skill we get, Celestial Dance is a skill that creates a shadow partner that attacks the opposite stance that you are currently in. So, if you attack in Luna Stance, the shadow partner will attack in Solar Stance and vice versa! On top of that, every 5 seconds it creates a Solar / Lunar explosion that deals damage to 10 monsters. The bread and butter of our offense because of the fact that it is one of the rare V Skills out there that increases duration with level. Making it imperative that we max this skill as quickly as possible.
This skill also ties in usage with the newest V Skill coming in AWAKE (Flare Slash), hence making it very very strong in general.
Elysion is an overwhelming burst skill that converts Soul Cleaving into a no cooldown continuous attacking skill. On top of that, Elysion cleaves a hole in the dimension that when continuously struck 4 times, explodes, and does a full map attack. What is interesting is that hit box recognition for the cleaved dimension is pretty wide, meaning that as long as you hit your Elysion powered soul cleaving into the hit box, it registers as a “successful cleave”. The approximate registration range of the soul cleaving is seen in the picture below. This hit box range is important to know for mobile bosses such as Magnus and especially for Lucid since she’s one of the rarer bosses that are still mobile despite being binded. Understanding where the registration for the hitbox will be important in keeping up your DPS against the boss.
Hitbox for Elysion Detection
Soul Eclipse is arguably the most important skill to understand. It is your full map AFK skill that allows you to sit back and relax and it’s also a 2 in 1 iframe that allows you to maintain mobility while the iframe is being casted. Next, what does “2 in 1 iframe” mean? Very simply it means that upon casting the skill, you get a 3 second iframe and then by pressing the skill button again, you get another 3 second iframe! That’s a total of 6 seconds of iframe! Isn’t that neat? However, you cannot get 6 successive seconds of iframe.
You can see that at the 29 second mark when the skill begins, you get an iframe lasting 3seconds.
The next earliest time in which you can press the skill again to activate the second iframe is at the 23 second mark. This means that there will be an approximate 6 second duration in between initial casting and second casting and that there will be a 3 second of gap in which you are vulnerable. Keep this in mind when you are bossing and don’t be silly mocha like me and end up dying to minion because I forgot to jump during the duration of the minion breath.
Looking forward, Flare Slash is the next v skill that we are getting, and it is absurdly phenomenal. How Flare Slash works is that when you attack in either stance, it will explode and hit 7 times on up to 10 enemies. Upon activation, it takes 15s for it to cooldown before it gets reactivated automatically on the next attack. However, if you are on Soluna Stance / Celestial Dance, the cooldown will decrease. This is a PASSIVE skill, which means that we don’t need to stuff our keyboards with more buffs and skills. This skill is incredible for the MSEA players because our ping issues isn’t as bad as the GMS / KMS players which means that we are able to fully utilise the combination of Celestial Dance + Flare Slash, pushing our bossing and mobbing up another tier.
Bossing!First off, let’s begin with some simple fundamental bossing strategies to keep in mind.
VideosSoul Master 200-250 Training Video
Hard Lotus Solo
Hard Will Solo
Hard Lucid Solo
Spirit Saviour 20k Run
Shoutouts to my squad (Rocketmankim, YuukiHaku, Xelty, THEXARAN, SElevees, PikaRachu) for giving me the experiences with these bosses. Otherwise I sure no chance to experience them. Maple isn’t as fun as it would be without you guys and I am certainly glad to impart the knowledge of what I know to others about the class! (:
That Scenery: why I think it's yet to come, the Alliance will fail and the Rumbling will be completed
What I will try to do here is explain my thoughts about SnK's story so far and what is to come. For that, I divided the text into 4 topics, each about an aspect of the story. It is in the last topic where they will all come together. I may be preaching to the choir here, but I think I can offer some interesting ideas for you guys. All of this is just my interpretation. Even if you don't agree with one of the topics, I believe that the others still have valid points.
I was fearful about the way things were going after the last 3 chapters, but chapter 134 rekindled my love for the series and inspired me to write this post. It's not a lot of text, but I highly recommend to read it on PC because I put some links within it and they must be read in order to better illustrate my thoughts. I'll warn you that English is not my first language, so forgive me if I make some mistakes. Without delay, let's move on to the first topic.
Memories of the FutureIn chapter 121, Eren uses the power of the AT to influence Grisha to kill the Reiss family. Eren seeks the realization of the memories he received when he kissed Historia's hand, his greatest wish is "that scenery", which he quotes with a hopeful look. Grisha, however, is horrified by what is to come, and begs Zeke to stop Eren. If he didn't want that future to happen, why did he pass the AT and the FT to Eren anyway? “That scenery” is, in the end, Eren's view of the clouds, symbolizing the freedom he achieved, as shown in chapter 131? In my opinion, no, and here I will explain why.
My first point is that, right after Grisha embraces Zeke and begs him to stop Eren, they leave Grisha's memories. Eren then says "You haven't got to the part where I eat our old man yet". What looks like just a provocation from Eren may have a different meaning, containing the key to understanding Grisha's actions. As Eren says just before his iconic line, he saw the memories of a future Eren, who sent his memories to the past. This Eren had memories of the Rumbling, so the present Eren knew that he would triumph over Zeke to achieve the power of the Founding Titan. This detail is important, because we have not yet seen Eren sending his memories for the “See you later” moment of chapter 1.
Later, in chapter 131, Eren apparently reaches his goal and sees a scenery over the clouds, remembering what Armin said when they were little. The fulfillment of his childhood wish is shown through a child Eren, ignoring all the destruction occurring below. This Eren summons Armin to Paths, but the connection between them is suddenly severed. At the end of the chapter, we see the current Eren with his eyes closed, within what appears to be his titan. This division is what draws the most attention: if what the child Eren saw was finally everything he was looking for, why did the current Eren seem so down? Why did Isayama use this device to represent Eren? This may mean that what the child Eren sees is not what the adult Eren seeks, nor what gives him hope. What the adult Eren is looking for is beyond the hell happening at that moment. Something that Grisha would approve of.From the face he made when he received the memories in chapter 90, Eren probably saw the same memory that terrified Grisha, and he himself was terrified, so he tried his best to prevent it from happening. He eventually resigned himself to his fate, but does that mean that even after gaining a deeper knowledge of the world and people during his time in Marley, Eren decided to kill them all just to fulfill his wish as a child? It is obvious that his desire to be free is his main characteristic, but would he pay such a high price just for that? Well, not only for that, and that’s why Isayama decided to show Eren in two ways.
The child Eren is like Reiner's Soldier personality: they were created to cope with the act of killing innocent people. Both are lost in their own reality, ignorant of what is really happening while their true selves are in the backseat. This adds a new layer to Eren's phrase for Reiner, “I’m the same as you”. We can see that Eren saw Reiner act like a different person in Clash, so he may have connected the dots.
In chapter 133 we see again the child Eren in Paths, and he speaks like the current Eren. Perhaps this means that there is no differentiation between them, but it is probably because Eren received the Founder when he was still a child. To corroborate this idea, Ymir herself is represented in this way as well. Honestly, there is not much to talk about, we have to wait for more information from Isayama. However, if that is not the case and the two Eren are the same person (mentally, in this case), why then is his POV still hidden? Why did Isayama draw that Eren with his eyes closed at the end of the chapter 131? If he has already achieved his greatest goal, why continue to shroud his thoughts? Since the core of all of them, “that scenery”, has been revealed, why have the other memories he received not yet been revealed? He says he won't leave it to fate to define Paradis' future, but he still lets his "friends" transform and try to stop him. Why is Eren acting paradoxically? Well, he probably already knows he's going to win, but there's still something missing ...
All of this indicates that we still have something important to come, and is inextricably linked to the next topic ...
Death and (Re)birthIn chapter 134, right at the beginning, we are bombarded with impacting panels. Historia giving birth, people fleeing, being crushed by the Colossals and throwing themselves off a cliff in a futile attempt to survive and, finally, a baby being saved and lifted into the air after his mother fell off the cliff. The first example and the last are full of symbolism, linked with each other through the antithesis between death and birth.
Historia's POV, hidden since the beginning of this arc, is closely linked to that of Eren. As has been said several times in the history of this sub, Eren Yeager is the father of Historia Reiss's baby (this is probably the R + L = J of SnK), and the evidence you find by reading the theories out there. This last chapter just overturned the last pillar supporting the MP’s theory, Levi's speech on the time remaining until Historia gives birth. Everything indicates so far that she lied about the time of conception of the baby, in the same way that she lied about being prepared to inherit the Beast Titan. This lie was told to mask Eren’s true intentions and keep him free from any possible suspicions. Eren was then able to continue his plans without worrying about the safety of Historia and their child. There is also no reason to wait months after she gives birth to make her inherit the BT, since her body would regenerate after the process, nullifying any complications during or after giving birth.
When their baby is born, it will be the first person free from the hatred against Subjects of Ymir, the cost of which is the life of all people outside Paradis. A parallel, then, is made with the baby on the precipice, who will lose his life so that another can live. As is said several times in this arc, children are the future, and it is the duty of adults to prevent them from suffering for their parents' sins. The baby is the main symbol of a free world. So, nothing more appropriate than the final panel being Eren holding his child.
Before going to the final topic, I'll take a detour to talk about our Hero Antagonists, the Alliance ...
Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. CynicismFirst, I must show you this article, which contains a link to Isayama's blog. It was made while GoT was still in its sixth season (before everything went to shit). In it, Isayama says that the work would influence him in the chapters to come. While most of this influence can be found in the similarities between the powers of Bran Stark and Eren Yeager, I would argue that a part of it is in the way he leads Eren and the members of the Alliance, even if unconsciously. They have many points in common with the characters Jaime Lannister and Ned Stark, respectively. I'm not saying that Isayama simply thought “oh, now I'm going to copy these characters”, but that the writing of Eren and that of the Alliance as a concept coincides with part of the journey of these characters, and it is possible to draw parallels that can help us understand their philosophies and assume what will happen from now on.
I will start with the parallels between Eren and Jaime. Here is a quote by Martin (creator of GoT) about an action that Jaime took early in the story:
[What] Jaime did [to Bran] is interesting ... Remember, Jaime isn't just trying to kill Bran because he's an annoying little kid. Bran has seen something that is basically a death sentence for Jaime, for Cersei, and their children ... So I've asked people who do have children, "Well, what would you do in Jaime's situation?" They say, "Well, I'm not a bad guy—I wouldn't kill." Are you sure? Never? If Bran tells King Robert, he's going to kill you and your sister-lover, and your three children ... Then many of them hesitate. Probably more people than not would say, "Yeah, I would kill someone else's child to save my own child, even if that other child was innocent." These are the difficult decisions people make, and they're worth examining.Here, then, we can draw a parallel between the actions of these two characters: the two decided to kill innocent people to maintain the well-being of themselves and those who are important to them. This pragmatism guides these characters during part of the plot, and in the case of Eren, it is in this final arc. On the other side, we have the Alliance, made up of some people who want to save their homeland, but most of the members are there because they are attached to a sense of morality, they do not want to sacrifice innocents to save their own skin. These characters do not want to abandon their honor and pride, even if it costs a lot. This is the defining character trait of Ned Stark, the protagonist of the first season of GoT.
Ned was always an honorable man, considered fair and good by his peers, friends and family. Living life like this is not a problem in itself, it is admirable, but the flaws in its ideology are revealed during the final stretch. Ned had several options on how to proceed, but he preferred to tell Cersei what he found and give her and her children a chance to escape, since he did not want children to die. And he even refused to tell the truth to the king on his deathbed and at least taking the children hostage, eventually culminating in his arrest, accused of treason, and his death. Thanks to his hesitation to act, a war broke out and spread tragedy across the continent. Even his children were caught in this tragedy, they were all separated and their homes were destroyed. His eldest son, Robb, took his place as lord and was one of the leaders during the war, but for trying to emulate his father's behavior he was also betrayed and killed.
Even if the Alliance could stop Eren, the only victory to be granted to them is that they have remained true to their strict code of honor while everything they love and that once fought collapses in a sea of blood. Quoting the wise words that a man said, "Pride is not worth dying for". And as with Ned Stark, who chose honor over reason, they will pay the price with their lives.
Many feel that, with the current development of the manga and the speech of the Marleyan commander, Isayama is setting the stage for a Peace Ending. I disagree with that thought, and argue that the end of the Alliance's members will be like the end of Oberyn Martell, fast and unexpected, when everyone thought they would win (c’mon guys, nobody expected that to happen).
What lesson can we learn from this? Now, it is necessary to have ideals. Through them we seek to improve our lives and the world around us, but a man cannot live only by ideals. Why keep it resolute if it will only bring you suffering? I know that this is a matter of moral principles, from which people are not easily swayed from. The real question is: do you recognize your bias or do you pretend your way of thinking is the only true and correct path? I recognize my bias, and I don't think it's worth becoming a martyr for people I don't even know, or who hate me. And as Martin said about Jaime's action, most people would make that decision.
I believe that all of this will happen because of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. Many people may disagree, but I believe that Shingeki no Kyojin is a work that is on the “cynical” part of the scale. This does not mean that the series does not promote an ideal, however, but that the work accentuates the negatives of that ideal. We take as an example the Basement Reveal. While everyone thought they would find the truth about the world and be one step closer to freedom, no one thought that the truth could be so appalling. Eren expresses the feeling well at the end of chapter 90, when he says that although he thought the ocean was freedom, he just discovered that there were more enemies beyond it. That is the tone that Isayama has been maintaining in the series, even at this moment. After all, many bad things are happening. What he wants, in the end, is to leave us asking one thing: "Was the price that was paid worth it?"
End this world!In most of the arguments and theories involving the defeat of Eren and the success of the Alliance, I note that Ymir's character is always forgotten, minimized or otherwise completely bastardized. Ymir, even with little shown so far, is the biggest evidence that things will go in Eren's favor. Let's recap the moment when the alliance between the two was formed.
In chapter 122, at the very end of the flashback about Ymir's past, King Fritz gives a speech on how his titans will reign over the world as long as his “world” (Paths) exists. Right after the speech is over, Eren says “It ends now”. He says he will end the world and asks Ymir for her power. Zeke despairs completely with reason (Eren is destroying the world after all), and continues to order Ymir. Then Eren asks Ymir if it was she who brought him up to that moment, and notes that she was 2000 years alone, waiting for someone. She opens her eyes, accepting his proposal, in the only moment in the manga so far when we are shown her full face. The result we are seeing now.
The first important detail that we can notice is Eren's speech. When he says, “I'll put an end to this world”, the first reaction we have is the same as Zeke's. However, following the sequence of the panels, his speech comes directly in contrast to the speech of King Fritz, who wanted the Titans to dominate the world forever. So while the speech can be interpreted the way Zeke interpreted it, it takes on a new meaning in relation to Eren's question and Ymir's choice of freedom. Paths must end so that the world is finally free of the titans, and for that to happen, Ymir must be free.
Anyway: what she wants is entirely linked to what Eren wants. All scenarios in which the Alliance succeeds fail to take into account Ymir's role in the story, or else they think she is controlling Eren, making her the great villain to be defeated. Ymir, who was never able to fulfill her own desires during her life, being used as a slave until the moment of her death and then imprisoned in a timeless dimension, was offered freedom, and she accepted. She was shown looking at Rumbling in action at 131, and maybe it was she who cut off Eren's communication with Armin (or it was Eren himself, who didn't want to show Armin what was going on down there. I prefer this interpretation). Once again she appeared side by side with Eren at 133 during her speech to the Alliance. And she will remain on his side until the Rumbling is completed and she is finally free.
There are 3 scenarios in which Ymir can be released:
- Ymir simply ... will go away: this is extremely simple and unlikely, but there is still a chance, even if very small. After Rumbling, with her wish fulfilled, she will simply disappear. As we only have 4-5 chapters left and Isayama wants to finish everything quickly, he can choose this option. Basically what the Tokyo Ghoul author did in the final stretch of the manga.
- Historia's baby will inherit all 9 titans after the users' deaths in the final battle, essentially making the Founder complete again. Here, Ymir will not necessarily reincarnate, but will only be free when the Founder is restored. This is the theory that makes the most sense if we count on everything that has been revealed so far, as we still don't have any hints that reincarnation in the SnK world is possible. However, that would mean that Eren's death is imminent, which makes me have doubts about its realization.
- Ymir reincarnates: a very popular theory, a pillar of E + H = Y. Basically Ymir will be reborn as the daughter of Eren and Historia and will be able to live the life that was never allowed, leaving Paths forever. It is personally my favorite theory. Linked Horizon made a song that has too many coincidences to not be true. You can hear it here.
It is then after the fight, when Eren returns to Paradis, that he will send his memories to the past one last time. The reason why I think this? He needs to be transported by the Titans to return to the island, so the power of the Titans must still exist at this point (after all, the place he is now is a continent away from Paradis). When he is back, Ymir will then be set free forever, and Subjects of Ymir will be able to live free from hatred against the Titans.
Let's go back to chapter 97, when Eren is giving his speech about moving forward. I would like to point out that Eren is not being completely truthful to Falco at the moment when he says "I don't know which it is". If he saw "that scenery", regardless of whether it is 131’s or is yet to come, then it means that he saw "hope beyond hell". This does not shock me, because I doubt Eren would say something like "people look for hope beyond hell, except me, because I saw the future and I know what will happen from now on". Anyway, I do not believe that this speech agrees or disagrees with these two points of view.
So why do I think “that scenery” is yet to come? Let's go back to chapter 121. Right after the Reiss massacre takes place and they leave Grisha's memories, Zeke says that Eren convinced his father to steal the founder even though he knew he couldn't use its power. Eren showed his father a memory of something that is yet to happen, which made Grisha entrust the Founding Titan to him. The current consensus is that his weak will was destroyed by the news of Carla's death and in his last moments he instructed Eren to avenge his mother's death immediately before turning him into a Titan, although he begged Zeke to stop him before that. However, this notion goes against the characterization of Grisha until then. He would not forcibly shorten his son's life and put him on a self-destructive path just for shallow revenge, with no greater meaning. That is, if Eren did not want to or did not know about the power of the titans.
In chapter 88, after Kruger finishes killing Marley's soldiers, he returns to speak to Grisha. There, Grisha begins to show all his regret. He, until that moment, had been motivated by revenge. The result was that there. When he looks at Gross's body on the floor and tells Kruger what he felt at that moment, he didn't feel good. Grisha lost his companions, his wife and son seeking revenge. If he had known that this was the price, he would not have paid it. After that experience, Grisha became a wiser man, and now he understood the value of his family. He even stopped his mission as a Eldian Restorationist to protect them from any harm if he were discovered. As Zeke said, he learned from his mistakes and loved his second son. Grisha, as a family man, could be persuaded with something specific.
But then why did Eren show the destruction to Grisha instead of just showing the good things that would come with it? Since he just wanted to inherit the Titans, he just had to show Grisha what was convenient. It is interesting now, to go back to the moment when Grisha hugs Zeke and asks him to stop Eren. This is possible because Eren stays behind his father, giving him a clear view of Zeke. He did this so Zeke and Grisha could meet one last time and have closure. Eren is not heartless, and as he said earlier, "There is nothing further removed from freedom than ignorance". Chance is that Eren wanted to show his father the necessary price, in the same way that he warned the world that he was going to march.
There is also a literary advantage when Grisha says that from that moment on, things will be going the way Eren wants and the vision was “ghastly”: creating suspense. The reason for Isayama to show “that scenery” as being during the Rumbling, and not later, is to make the audience believe that Eren has already reached his biggest goal and now he can be stopped. Also, he wouldn’t reveal the true scenery before revealing that Eren is the father, since it ties to his main motivation.
“That Scenery” will be the goal that for 2000 years, throughout the history of the Reign of the Titans, the Attack Titan has been searching for.