Landsknecht Overview

Do you like going fast? That's what this class is about. Landsharks are the game's premier Gofast class, having at least some ability to hit all six elements, solid damage output (especially as the game goes on and with a dedicated team,) and my lovechild, the Link skills. They're also rather frail and have a bit of an odd balancing game to play with defense and utility versus speed and offense, but they're janky and weird in a surprising manner considering how plain and dull the class with the same name was in 1 and 2 (and it's a completely different class.)

I had to go look up who the Landshark in our party was because there's like four different characters in the cast whose classes I can't remember off the top of my head. I can remember them, but just what classes they are is like whoooosh out of my brain. I think that's so much of a joke on its own that I don't need to make a character-specific joke. I will probably have something better by the time of the next overview. So thanks... *reads smudged writing on hand* Sharlhu.

So, you might've noticed the extra column on the stat table! That would be DS, short for "disable score." Disable score is the invisible stat that is calculated whenever an entity attempts to inflict a disable, or has a disable targeted at them. This value is calculated thus: (TEC + (LUC * 2)). LUC's the main stat for anything disable-related, but TEC does play an important part, too. I decided to include this in both class writeup stat tables, as well as enemy writeups, because while the formula may be simple, having it immediately visible makes it a bit easier to get an idea of how well any direction of disable infliction or resistance will go.

With that out of the way, let's talk about landsknecht stats. Landsknechts have very high physical stats (HP, STR, VIT), and their AGI is not bad, either. Their TP's fairly low, but if you're primarily using the Link skills, it's not a huge issue, though they definitely will need some Amritas for longer battles.

Then there's their TEC and LUC, which are just the absolute pits. It doesn't really hamper the actual attacks landsknechts use, but it does mean they'll take more damage from enemy TEC attacks, and probably worst of all, their DS is awful, meaning they're more vulnerable to having disables inflicted on them than any other class, to a significant degree.
Equippable Weapons:
Equippable Armor:
Equipment is actually something worth discussing in specific for landsknechts! Landsknechts want to go fast, and when I say fast, I mean "preferably before everyone else in the battle." They have two primary methods of accomplishing this: Vanguard, which you'll see below, and stacking as much speed-boosting equipment as they can. While Vanguard does give guaranteed priority, it also comes with the opportunity cost of having to apply and maintain the buff.

Stacking speed-boosting equipment, such as rapiers, cloth armor, and boots, will give landsknechts the speed they need to act before everyone else, and remove the opportunity cost of Vanguard. However, this does come with the caveat of speedier defensive equipment having less DEF, and rapiers generally having less ATK than swords. How much of a detriment those factoids are is...debatable, due to the wonky internal math behind them, but that is the designed intent, in any case.
Have you considered that Rapiers are more based and epic than Swords
Common Passives
Class Skill

When the user damages an enemy, for the rest of the turn, all further attacks against that enemy will deal increased damage, and have increased accuracy.
Here's reason #1 why landsknechts like to be speedy. Going before the rest of the party means, with their class skill, that everyone gets a free damage boost. The accuracy boost is nice, too, since even with attacks with normal accuracy, it can remove the slight chance of the character missing.

Even if you're not going for a Link-focused build, you may still want to opt for either using Vanguard or making your landsknecht speedy, so that they can still provide the benefit of their class skill. Any damage increase that does not use a buff slot is valuable.
Novice Skills

Sonic Raid

Deals melee STR-based damage to one enemy. Has priority.

The most basic attack available to landsknechts. Its primary purpose is to give you a cheap and easy way to guarantee activation of the landsknecht class skill, as well as deal some minor damage. Additionally, it also provides a method for landsknechts to guarantee that they will outspeed an enemy, no matter what. Some enemy skills have such incredibly high speed modifiers that result in even a speed-specced landsknecht being unable to act before them, which can be a problem in random encounters, where you might not want to spend a turn setting up Vanguard. Sonic Raid completely bypasses that.

If you're making use of the Link skills: while Sonic Raid does have some utility, even when you have the Link skills in your repertoire, I would not level it up past rank 3, which unlocks the Link skills. While rank 5 does offer a slight increase in damage, the two skill points you'd need to take Sonic Raid to rank 5 are most likely better invested elsewhere. If you are planning on building your landsknecht purely for their physical damage skills, however, feel free to max out Sonic Raid. You won't be starved for skill points if you go that route, so invest away.

Deals melee STR-based damage to one enemy. For the rest of the turn, each time the enemy suffers damage, they will be dealt another attack of the same damage type as the initial Link attack, but with reduced damage.

Don't be intimidated by the size of the notes section, most of it is very unlikely to matter to you if you're just playing EO4 normally.

Links are intended to be the core of the entire landsknecht skill set. You don't have to make use of them, but the way skills in later tiers are designed heavily encourages it. Early on, Links are just good early attack skills. At rank 5, assuming they activate a follow-up attack, they start dealing more damage than a maxed-out Sonic Raid, though with a slightly higher TP cost. The important part here, though, is that Links deal elemental damage, and can therefore benefit from attacking weaknesses. Even if an enemy does not have any natural elemental weaknesses, as long as they are neutral to the elemental damage type of the Link, a runemaster can use their vulnerability-modifying skills to create artificial weaknesses, which Link skills can then exploit.

The Link skills end up being so much more than they initially seem, once later tiers of skills are unlocked, but we can discuss that once we get to them.

I will say, early on, if you can't create artificial weaknesses for the Link skills to exploit—in shorter terms, if you are not using a runemaster—then you may want to hold off on leveling the Link skills until you gain access to Improved Link, and spend your skill points on Sonic Raid, or even the Break skills. Once you get access to Veteran skills, you can then rest your landsknecht, and reallocate the skill points as necessary. Resting only costs two levels, it's not really a significant penalty.
I ran a Landy without Links once, actually. It was bad.

Deals melee STR-based bash damage to one enemy. If the attack hits, reduces the target's physical attack (Power Break) or elemental attack (Mind Break) for a set amount of turns.

I am trying my absolute hardest to give every skill a fair shake in these class writeups, but... I'm sorry, I can't think of a plausible use for the Break skills. If you're using a landsknecht in a speed kill party, then their defensive support capabilities do not matter much, because you are going for a fast skill, only needing as much defense as is necessary. If you're not going for a speed kill party...then, like, you're probably still going to want to use your landsknecht for damage.

Even if I'm charitable and assume that you might want to keep these skills around, just in case an enemy hits hard but can be brought down to manageable levels with the debuffs, you still have to equip a shield to use them! If you're not making use of Vanguard, that's going to tank your landsknecht's speed, both because shields have a negative equipment speed modifier, and because you're using an equipment slot that, in all likelihood, was going to be used for boots!

If you really want me to stretch for reasons to use the Breaks, then... Well, they're the only source of bash damage available to landsknechts. There are only two enemies in EO4 that have conditional drops that require killing them with bash damage, though, so that doesn't matter too much.

For a set amount of turns, increases the damage the user deals with physical attacks, increases the damage the user takes from physical attacks, and gives the user priority.
As mentioned above, Vanguard is one of two ways to make a landsknecht move quickly. It's perfectly fine in the earlygame, and even provides a significant damage increase. If you're opting for a no-Links build, it will remain good after the earlygame, owing to both the speed increase, and the damage increase. You can get away with loading your landsknecht down heavier armor and swords in that case, they'll still get priority.

However, if you're opting for a Link build, Vanguard becomes problematic once Improved Link enters the picture. See, if you're relying on Vanguard for the speed part of a Link build, once you get Improved're going to have to start spending two turns setting up your necessary buffs at the start of battle. Oh, and you also lose out on the final turn of Vanguard, since Improved Link will have fallen off by then. It's by no means impossible to run a combined Vanguard and Improved Link build, that's what I did on my first run of the game. It's just clumsier than you'd probably want, especially given that other damage dealers can be ready to go by turn 2, or even turn 1.

Only usable outside of battle. Restores one party member's HP.
Not worth the skill point investment. I'd recommend just buying medicas and using those. They work in battle, unlike Bandage.
Veteran Skills

Double Strike

Deals two instances of melee STR-based damage to one enemy.

Double Strike deals the most damage of the physical Veteran skills, making it decent for helping take out priority targets in random encounters. Even if you're going for a Link build, I'd still put some points in Double Strike, as it requires no setup to use, which is important for random encounters.
Spiral Slice

Deals melee STR-based cut damage to one enemy, with splash damage.
I haven't mentioned it yet, but splash damage in EO4 is universally 50% of the original attack's damage.

I don't have much to say about Spiral Slice, since it's such a simple skill, and I already mentioned the benefits of no-setup attack skills with Double Strike. In Spiral Slice's case, at max rank, it does actually deal a good amount of total damage if you're attacking an enemy with two other enemies adjacent to them—that'd be 460% total damage, spread across three enemies. That isn't terribly common, though.

Deals melee STR-based cut damage that pierces enemy rows.
Penetrate is a more attractive prospect than Spiral Slice, owing to its ability to deal damage to both enemy rows, though it is set back by the fact that the back-row-attacking part of the attack is subject to the usual damage penalty that melee attacks have when attacking a row farther from them. It does deal more initial damage than Spiral Slice, and its pierce damage is comparable to Spiral Slice's splash damage, so that's something.

Gives the user a chance to nullify physical attacks directed at anyone in the user's row.
Now, this is a much better form of defensive support than the Break skills. Swordbreaker doesn't take much SP to max out, and while it does rely on RNG, complete attack nullification is a hell of a positive benefit, since it not only prevents damage, but also additional effects, such as disable infliction or debuffs. This would be pretty decent if it was just user-target, but the fact that it affects the user's row makes it even better. Definitely worth grabbing when your attack skills are in a comfy place.
Improved Link

For a set amount of turns, allows Links to make more than one follow-up attack.

Are you doing a Link build? You're going to need Improved Link. No way around it. Improved Link takes the Link skills from "decent early attacks" to "competitive damage for the midgame-and-on."

A rank 10 Link skill, with rank 8 Improved Link active, can deal a maximum of 700% damage to an enemy. It's remarkably easy to hit the maximum number of follow-up attacks, especially if you have a sniper in the party as well.

Increases the user's damage dealt and accuracy if they attack before any enemy has acted.
A very powerful passive, and one of the best arguments for using Vanguard over high-speed equipiment: you can guarantee that your landsknecht will attack before any enemy can, granting them the huge damage boost from Initiative. That's not to say it's difficult to get Initiative to activate when you're going the equipment speed way of things, it's just that Vanguard makes it an absolute guarantee.
Master Skills

Sword Tempest

Deals melee STR-based cut damage to one enemy.
An attack skill that is somehow even more basic than Double Strike. Sword Tempest does deal a large amount of damage, for something that requires no setup, but it is extremely slow, and has a minor accuracy penalty, to boot.
Swift Stab

Deals multiple instances of melee STR-based stab damage to random enemies.
Swift Stab is capable of dealing some significant no-setup damage to one target, but falls apart as soon as there's multiple enemies in the battle. It's fast, but has a noticeable accuracy penalty. Still, for random encounters with one dangerous enemy, it has its uses.
Weapon Parry

If the user has two weapons equipped, they take reduced damage from physical attacks.
All of the benefits of using two weapons, with very few of the consequences. Hell, Weapon Parry will probably be a far more significant damage reduction than whatever minor piece of armor you replaced with a subweapon would've given. Sure, it might not reduce elemental damage, but landsknechts would still struggle with those, even with a flat 30% reduction.
Link Mastery

Each time a Link skill from the user triggers a follow-up attack, its follow-up damage multiplier is increased.

A completely free damage increase for Links that can take them over the fabled 1000% damage mark. Similar to Improved Link, if you're going for a Link build, there is absolutely no reason to not max this out as soon as you can.

As an added benefit, due to the unique way Link Mastery increases damage, it is not subject to diminishing returns calculations.

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