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About Baldur

  • Title
    The Gaijin Samurai
  • Birthday 12/14/1984

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  • Guild Name
    Jacob's Ladder

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  1. Baldur

    [PP - F4] Warmth

    "Life happens wherever we are, whether we want it to or not." The words were more powerful than he expected, though they weren't directed at Lessa, the emotion with which he spoke them made them appear to be. "The life you're running away from here, is the one I'm running away from out there. If you're doing it alone, that's a choice you're making. In order to keep going, I have surrounded myself with a new family, and a new community, and with you. Otherwise I wouldn't have the ability to push myself to the limit every day." The tears were coming again, but he needed to get this out. "And don't get me wrong. I am out there doing this for you. For Tyger. For those kids. For everyone in in the Town of Beginnings. I am seeking to destory the world I feel more comfortable in because I see the suffering it causes others, but I don't see the difference, other than that I feel like I belong here more. I have a life here. Friends that I never would have met elsewhere. Pets, friends, a family. I have friends and family out there too, and I fight to get out so that they don't have to live in fear of losing me, but to them they probably already have. It's been years, and they have learned to live in a world without me, with only a threadbare hope that someday we might pull ourselves out of here." He shook his head and paused, turned away from her for a moment to wipe tears away from his eyes he didn't want her to see, though she already had. "It breaks my heart, but just because we were comfortable out there, doesn't make the world any better, we just happen to live somewhere where the risk isn't to us. In the outside world, we're the people that never left the Town of Beginnings. It's incredibly selfish of me, but in this world, the goal is simple. It's right in front of me. And that lizard part of my brain chose fight instead of flight. I know, that in order to make the world a better place for you and everyone else, I have to clear the next boss. Get stronger, and clear the next boss. That kind of clarity gives me peace. But make no mistake... I will get you ou-" he hesitated for only a split second, almost imperceptibly," all out of here, and I will labor with every breath to do it." He took another deep, ragged breath and turned to face her, all sign of tears gone. "I know you hate it here. I will never excuse what Kayaba did. But I would be lying to you and to myself if I didn't admit that this world didn't draw me in and give me a clarity I couldn't find out there."
  2. "Well, it's hard to improve upon perfection." He joked when she mused why there hadn't been another snowy floor. He stood up from the fountain and faced her, "You wanna go? I happen to quite enjoy the fourth floor. Though outside the establishments it can be pretty cold." He turned as if he expected her to join him on the way to the teleportation plaza. "I wish it were that easy, but I have to get people to cooperate. I may want to give someone a chance, but if the person they murdered was their best friend, it doesn't work out so well. And then there are the people who want to look out for others, but their best intentions don't have boundaries. And then there are those that just seem to want to disagree with whatever everyone agrees with. If Nine out of 10 people said that the sky was blue, that 10th person would have to say that they other nine were idiots and completely wrong. I don't know why that is, but it's like chaos has to slip in there somehow and make everything more difficult. And then there's resource disparity, even among the highest level there are haves and have nots. People who are used to being on top becoming usurped. People who are used to commanding respect, suddenly finding none. Ego after ego after ego, not the least of which is mine." He gave her a playful, knowing smile. He did not exclude himself from his judgement. He was also one whose ego made things harder than they needed to be. He was working on that though. "I will say, one of my favorite European style pubs in on floor uh..." Baldur tapped in chin in thought. It had been a while since he had been there. And there were so many floors now. Was it 19? "Floor 19."
  3. Baldur

    [F10 - PP] Sōke & iemoto «Leeching Nightmare»

    "I was trying not to scare anyone away, and at the same time convince them of the danger. The issue with aspiring frontliners is that they all end to be stubborn and arrogant. At least, until they lose someone close to them, or almost die themselves. If we try to scare them, they're going to dig in their heals and press on into the fight, but if you give them requirements, they'll rise to meet them. The scope of the danger we presented is probably why Yuki decided to throw her hat in. She saw a need, and pushed on into it, but since I had placed a requirement on it, she's not working towards meeting that requirement." He smiled in thought at the young woman working so hard to join them in a role they desperately needed, even if everyone seemed to have an opinion on what she was or wasn't allowed to do. "Hopefully by being prepared, and giving everyone some goals, we can direct the energy of the new frontliners into heightening their odds of survival, even if they don't realize what they're doing." Baldur bent down and picked up a rock, throwing it into the river instead of trying to skip it, just to give his hands something to do. "My goal with Jacob's Ladder was to help supply the frontline, with players, and resources, and organization. We accumulated the resources to comission 100 perfect heal crystals, I also commissioned a masterpiece set of performer buffs and debuffs. We also have set aside a stipend of resources to outfit rising stars with new equipment at each tier, and plan to help them know what skills they need to take and when, to optimize their leveling, and what their goal should be to hit by the time they want to join the frontlines. I'm trying to use the wealth of the high levels, both in terms of materials and knowledge, and empower those of lower levels. My dojo is seperate, but the guild is built around the concepts of my school." He was surprised to see so many people starting up schools. Now there were 3. There was still the guild that Lessa and Cordelia belong to, that Baldur knew nothing about, but he saw that Bahr had the same guild symbol. They would be an interesting contender in the front going forward, Baldur just had to let go of his ego and let the new blood take the lead without fighting them as the previous old blood had done. Sometimes you were the top, and sometimes you weren't. There was an ebb and flow to the frontlines and the new blood would learn that eventually as well. "I look forward to dropping by and seeing your school."
  4. Baldur gave Lessa an amused smile as she reenacted every Jennifer she had come across before. It was an interesting, almost karenesque painting she acted out before him. He could definitely see her asking to speak to the manager because her starbucks order wasn't prepared just the right way nor fast enough to not inconvenience her. Then, after a heavy moment, she opened up to him. "It's, uh, Alyssa." Of course it was. Lessa. Alyssa. It made sense. It made so much sense that Baldur probably never would have guessed it. It was too obvious, and Baldur was not good with obvious. Convoluted he had down pat. Advanced mathematics he could work with. Guessing Alyssa from Lessa, or seeing what was always right in front of him? Impossible. "But that doesn't mean anything. Just because you know my name doesn't mean I'm going to die, just like my knowing yours doesn't-" So that's what it was. Baldur knew how she felt about his name. The burden she didn't want to bear, and likely didn't want him to bear for her. But he would make sure Lessa got out of here and could return home to her family. There was a very, very short list of things he wouldn't do to make sure she saw her family again. But if knowing his real name meant that she had to accept the very real possibility that he might die, as Alkor had done before him, than it made sense. 1+1. It had been right in front of Baldur the whole time. So of course, he had to make a joke. "Well, UhAlyssa, it's nice to make your acquaintance." I really can't believe you did that just now. Like, I realize you're a punster, and you like bad jokes. But there should be a limit. Even for me. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! As Baldur mentally berated himself and tried to let none of it show on his face, he continued. "I mean, I can't really argue that every Jen I've ever known doesn't like Pumpkin spice latte, but I don't think I've lived in a climate quite as cold as yours for all the puffy jackets. Though I'll maybe trade you that for ugg boots." His smile came back, but didn't quite touch his eyes. He started walking up the hill back towards the settlement and put his hands into the sleeves of his haori as respite from the chill. "Neither of us is going to die, Lessa, but I won't give up, and neither should you." He turned to look at her as they walked up the hill side by side. His smile had a gentle sadness to it, but his eyes held all the steel in the world. The fire that had always burned there, continued to burn just as bright. If there was a way, the gaijin samurai would find it.
  5. "I don't know if the sexy samurai pub has enough of a single theme to work as a draw, but it would certainly have character." He laughed at the thought. "That's not a bad personal philosophy. I was always a follower of Wil Wheaton's law of the internet, 'Don't be a dick.' That one seems to be about as hard as you can expect form most people. Unfortunately, the life we face in Aincrad outside these walls requires a bit more nuance. There are orange players out there, and while all of them deserve their orange status, there are green players who have a higher kill count than orange ones. Technicalities and all that. There are some people worthy of redemption, and some that aren't. And I get the burden of deciding that sometimes." He waved away the grave though for a moment and tried to refashion a smile on his face. "Sorry, I get teased about trying to teaching philosophy too much. Unintentionally." He laughed again. He never would have thought it would become such a big part of his life, for something he never even took a class in. "You could definitely open a pub. I know a lot of players are trying to find places they can go to to relax. Somewhere with good food and drink and an atmosphere to relax. That sounds nice." She had mentioned typically only having a few close friends, and that resonated with Baldur. "I never had a big social circle until much later in life. Well after college. I had a lot of aquaintences, but not many real friends. And then when I left college, I lost touch with almost all of them anyways. Thankfully, here in Aincrad, I have quite a few friends. Something about being in life and death situations with one another means you build a bond of trust quickly. There are several people I would expect would risk their life for me, and I them. It certainly puts things in perspective, but it can still make for dull dinner conversation." He gave her a playful smirk, "Have you visited the other floors? Maybe picked out a settlement for your pub?"
  6. Baldur suddenly felt his palms get a little clammy as she started to fire on all cylinders when it came to puns. I didn't expect to be fighting two battles today, I better stop floundering. Still he flashed a grin. If this was a fight she wanted, she would soon find out she was swimming in the deep end. We'll see if she can keep her head above water. "Alright, I guess we'll head over to the dock. It seems to be swimming with people. Hopefully they'll let us through and not be too shellfish. I'd rather not rent a boat if we're going to be fighting something, even if they have a nice boat like a barracuda or stringray. They're just too small." As they walked down the the beach towards the dock, Baldur saw the sign for some kind of restaurant or sand bar that seemed to specialize in seafood. "I'd ask if you're hungry, but the place looks like a real dive ." His eyes twinkled as they began to head out onto the deck. They may have food buffs, but Baldur never fought water battles for an hour after eating. The pier was packed with both players and NPC's. It seemed to be a very popular fishing spot. He knew that it had to be an unfathomably good one in order for players to be packed in like sardines, but at the very end, the pier widened out into a large fishing platform. Conveniently large for having a battle on. There, an NPC was waiting for them with a bucket full of fishing rods.. "Oh my cod, you have got to be kidding," Baldur laughed as he approached, his eyes targeting the NPC, "They named him Marlin? That's a bit on the nose, don't you think? I bet they did it on porpoise. Surely it wasn't just for the halibut." Baldur smiled once more and addressed the NPC, "Alright Marlin, throw me a line. This quest should only take a few minnows." "Listen, shrimp." The old fisher replied to Baldur, and the samurai's blue eyes went wide. "Mōretsuna isn't just any old fish. Ee's the king of the ocean. Show 'im some respect, else he'll tank ya down into the deep end, where even a sturgeon can't save ye." Baldur's eyes were still wide as Marlin handed him a rod. Once Mari had hers, he walked her over to the edge. "Man, what a crab. He really feels defensive about this fish, I could see the anchor in his eyes. But if we alpha strike this thing to death, I'm going to eel over in laughter." He gestured for Mari to go first, "Shall we make a bet to seal the deal?" The bemused expression never left his face, "Whoever gets the killing blow gets bragging rights back at bass."
  7. Baldur

    [F10 - PP] Sōke & iemoto «Leeching Nightmare»

    "You probably know more about our potential than me." Ariel did not seem to believe Baldur's optimistic words, but she also seemed to appreciate that he had the ability to be so. Baldur's chief weapon had always been hope, not the katana. "I do, but not by much. The biggest concern was not having enough people due to attrition. Now the biggest concern is all the new people that have come to fill in the ranks. They need to know how to fight and survive. While they don't have the experience, they also don't have the bad habits. If we can train them to have good ones, then the front will be even more powerful than it was before." There had been many new faces he hadn't seen before the meeting, and apparently quite a few of them newly tier 3. He was optimistic, they would just need to spread them out with a smattering of more experienced frontliners, for those who were left at least. "It sounds like we're still at that point. I was hoping things would have improved. Seems it's unavoidable that there's bound to be a Zelrius or Ariel disrupting these meeting. I had hoped that things would improve in my absence but are always going to be clashing factions." "It does seem that those who would rather disagree and insult always find their way to the meetings, but there is little we can do about it but hope that maturity wins out. I would love to make the meetings by invitation only, but that comes with its own set of problems. Jacob's Ladder will not become an Azure Brigade part 2." There was a bit of fire in those words, but he had lived with the comparison long enough simply because it was a frontline guild headed by frontliners. "I feel if we are lucky, we will have 3 full teams. Perhaps 4 smaller ones if the tank and off tank numbers work out, but I would settle for 3 full, strong teams."
  8. Baldur smirked as she sat besides him and mentioned that he hadn't hit on her, but then wanted to dress up like a sexy samurai. "You mean, you'd wear one of those anime outfits that's like a samurai ran out of fabric about mid thigh?" he gave a soft chuckle, and a bemused smile, "That seems little... college frat party, don't you think?" Baldur adjusted the swords as he turned to face her more, the blades now resting on the edge of the stone fountain instead of letting the dip into the water. "I never really considered it fun.." he plucked at the sleeves of his haori, "but I suppose it is. Haven't you ever felt out of place in your own skin before? Or like you had to be different in order to fit in? I would never have had the courage or the audacity to dress like this in the real world... it has a lot more connotations, but here it is a statement about who and what I am. In an instant, someone can tell what I am about. Heritage is less important when every day is the day that we could die. If I were in America there would be ideas of cultural appropriation, and they would be right. But here in Japan, they welcome people to adopt their style and heritage. The Japanese believe that culture survives by being adopted, and if people adopt it, that means their culture is superior." He looked up from the sleeve of his haori and back to the girl. "I've always felt a kinship with the eastern philosophy. So when I found out this was going to be a game to death, I took up the katana. Originally... I had planned to go with a tank. But I'm used to using a katana in the real world, so I figured I should give myself the best chance I had." He tilted his head to the girl, "I think considering that we aren't getting alcohol, that I'd be just as happy without Kayaba tinkering artificially with my head to induce the effect of being drunk. Though I can definitely see the attraction for many given our state of affairs. I bet a pretty bartender could make quite the living doing that as well. Were you a bartender outside the game as well?"
  9. Baldur smiled at Yuki as she told him of her home and offered to cook for him. "I had meant for us to relax and I would treat for dinner so that you could relax as well, but I can't say no to such a generous offer." His smile was true and earnest, "But please, Chef's choice. Make your favorite meal and I will enjoy it." Crozeph once again mentioned there was something they wanted to talk about, and that raised Baldur's suspicions. She had been helping him wake up? He had been spending fewer and fewer nights at Baldur's house after he had given him a room. What could the two of them be up to? Hopefully they weren't trying to set him up too. Crozeph was one of the few people around that still knew about Tyger. "I appreciate the sentiment Crow, but I still feel like I'm twice the age of most of the frontliners, and I'm probably not that far off."
  10. Baldur saw the large, ugly ogre's health dip into the red and knew this was the moment. He rushed up to the mob, his sword radiating the white light as it threatened to blind them all and then Baldur simply vanished. He appeared again high above the monster and came slashing down, his blow cutting the thing in two, and the ground beneath them cracking from the wait of the blow, and while Baldur was held there for a moment, after images of Baldur's form streaking around the creature, slashing it all around and then leaping into the air resolved into one form, where he had begun his descent. Once the system had released him from its control, the samurai turned to face his party, whirling the sword around and then sliding the blade back into the saya. For a moment, it seemed as if the Ogre didn't know what was going on, and then as Baldur's katana clicked home into the saya... nothing happened. And just a breath later, Ugzeke the Mighty exploded into a summer storm of luminous polygons, shards of light raining down around them. Baldur made a tsk of annoyance. He didn't get the timing right. "Well then, who's up for something to eat? I personally feel starving right now, and I'd like to get to know Yuki a bit better too, if an old man doesn't cramp your style." Baldur winked at the two playfully. ID#156163 BD: 3+5=hit San Ge: 21x15=315 RAW - 35 DMG = 280 DMG Dealt Ugzeke, the Mighty: 0/1500 | DMG: 200 | MIT: 35 | ACC: 2 | [7] Zajčica | HP:1090/1090 | EN: 88/100 | DMG: 3 | MIT: 209 | ACC: 2 | BLD: 36 | H.M.: 2 | REC:1 | THRNS: 84 | TAUNT | BH: 58 | DoT -25% [2] Crozeph | HP: 720/720 I EN: 33/72 I DMG: 14 I MIT: 44 I ACC: 4 I EVA: 1 I FRZ: 1 I REC: 2 [5] Baldur | HP: 1430/1430 | EN: 106/140 | MIT: 79 | DMG: 21 | Absolute ACC: 5 | EVA: 2 | BH: 72 | Conc (1/3) | Parry (2/2) | QChange (3/3)
  11. Baldur

    [F24 - PP/JL] Unexpected Visitor

    Baldur smiled to @Snow as she poured his and Ariel's tea, the warmth rising from the cup and curling in the warm, salty air of the floor. Baldur loved the smell of the ocean and while they were quite high above it, that smell lingered everywhere on the breeze. "Thank you Snow, you did that beautifully." He took the cup and raised it to his lips. He didn't have to worry about burning his tongue because, well, he didn't really have one in here, and the tea was always best when hot. "Thank you, Ariel. You are always welcome in my home, though maybe letting us know so people can finish getting dressed before we entertain company. It seems we have many sleepy heads in the guild." Baldur's blue eyes danced with merriment as he teased @Calrex and the absent black bird. "I am glad to see you back wandering the world and making old connections again as well. I was so happy when I found Crozeph again... we'll have to get him and Oikawa to come join us sometime so we can reminisce about the old days." He set the teacup down gently and gave her a knowing smile. "But come on, what's the real reason you came by here this morning?" He could by that Ariel wanted to come by and see his house, just not that this alone would induce her to come by his house unannounced.
  12. Baldur

    [F10 - PP] Sōke & iemoto «Leeching Nightmare»

    Baldur strangely could identify a bit with Ariel. The gyaru and the gaijin. When he had taken up Kendo and Iaido in Japan, he had also been the only white person there. As an American, and not having a mastery of the language yet, he had to prove himself twice as much as anyone else. He had to work twice as hard as anyone else. Each victory was hard fought, but as a man, each victory validated him. For her, each victory had isolated her. The thought only made his heart go out to his old friend even more. He appreciated her words though, having earned her grudging respect for his fashion choices. Ariel had always been tailor. He had gone to her for everything, including his blue and white haori that had become his signature. Then the conversation took a darker turn. "Do I think we can beat him? Of course." I do think we'll do it cleanly? That's a harder question. While Baldur's thoughts didn't play out on his face, everything locked way behind those steel blue eyes, there was a darkness cast to his features that resembled doubt. "It all comes down to the boss meeting. Either we've done our part, and pulled the frontlines together into some kind of group that can coordinate with eachother, or we devolve into a madness of individuals who all think they know better and act alone, instead of in concert." That was always Baldur's biggest fear, but most of the people weren't there to witness the deaths on the frontline, and were therefore less concerned by it. "If we can pull everyone together, and get everyone buffed, and have full teams to fight this thing, then I think we're going to do it. If we break into factions again... we'll do it... but some people might die."
  13. He was impressed with the blow that Yuki had dealt to the ogre, taking advantage of her momentum and shield bashing the creature for a stunning blow. He could tell that Crozeph and Yuki had been doing a lot of fighting together, as they seemed to have the rhythm that only came from those who had been through those rhythms before. They had built up a trust in one another over time, and it had deepened not just their skill in fighting together, but the strength of the connection they had. Yuki's skill in dismantling the combat ability of the ogre showed that she had quite a bit of experience in fighting quest monsters. They had been used to fighting something like this before. It was a shame the monster wasn't more challenging, but there was a severe gap between quest monsters and labyrthing bosses and floor bosses. Her ability had come into question during the boss meeting, but he could see that she was as prepared as she could be before stepping into the deep end. Or maybe that wasn't quite right. Was there a way to help her take an intermediate step? With Ugzeke the Mighty stunned, Baldur took his time walking up to it, lining up the most powerful attack that he could, bringing warden's fury down on the quest mob, and as he did so, the golden lightning of the blade exploded out, lashing the limbs of Ugzeke, and paralyzing the mob in addition to her stun. The creature was almost dead, and it had only just begun. Baldur was almost sad, as the fight wasn't enough to really let him feel the thrill of battle. But the point of this journey was to help Crow and Yuki level up, and for the three of them to get to know one another. And for Baldur, fighting side by side was one of the best ways to see what someone was made of. ID#156137 BD:10 (Crit + Paralyze) San Ge: 21+2 = 23x15=345 - 35 = 310 DMG Dealt Ugzeke, the Mighty: 321/1500 | DMG: 200 | MIT: 35 | ACC: 2 | [STUNNED] [Paralyzed] [4] Zajčica | HP:1090/1090 | EN: 90/100 | DMG: 3 | MIT: 209 | ACC: 2 | BLD: 36 | H.M.: 2 | REC:1 | THRNS: 84 | TAUNT | BH: 58 | DoT -25% [2] Crozeph | HP: 720/720 I EN: 48/72 I DMG: 14 I MIT: 44 I ACC: 4 I EVA: 1 I FRZ: 1 I REC: 2 [5] Baldur | HP: 1430/1430 | EN: 117/140 | MIT: 79 | DMG: 21 | Absolute ACC: 5 | EVA: 2 | BH: 72 | Conc (1/3) | Parry (2/2) | QChange (3/3)
  14. “Heeeey, that’s a sweet katana there. What, you one of those wannabe samurai guys wandering around here?” Baldur was pulled out of his thousand mile stare by a young girl asking him a question. She was a cute red head, but seemed to be what he imagined a party girl would look like. It had been a long time since he had been in college, and even then that hadn't been his crowd to run in. Even before he was a gaijin samurai, clubbing was not something the introverted samurai took time out of his day to do. He preferred his social interactions in controlled conditions where they could end when he was done with them. This typically meant having small groups of friends over for dinner and games, but most nights were just he and Tyger gaming from their house in Osaka. "Wanna be samurai guys? I suppose so but --" "Cause if you are before you say it, I’m not interested." "Not... interested? In what? Being a samurai?" He turned slightly from his half sitting position on the fountain to more fully face the girl. Long brown hair tumbled down the wanna-be samurai's back over hie blue haori. The coat was very reminiscent of the meji era shinsengumi, but instead white flamed rose from the hems and sleeves. There were two katana at Baldur's side, one was a pure white streaked with gold, and the other a pure black streaked with an almost blood red crimson. Something about the two swords seemed to mark them as polar opposites. "I like the aesthetic, and the fantasy around samurai as much as I did the knights of romanticized Europe, but the real bushido and the fantasy bushido don't really line up. I fancy myself more of a Paladin in Samurai clothing." He gave her a rueful smile. He fully expected his words would bore her, or challenge her. He wasn't sure which. She may just move on, as Baldur was used to people taking jabs at him for his clothing, but she might also take the bait and drop an act. There was still a different culture here on the first floor than you'd fine in the frontline circles, and that was part of why he came down here. To remind himself of that.
  15. Baldur waited only a heartbeat after Yuki's attack before he crouched down, hand hovering above the handle of his katana, <<Warden's Fury.>> Energy swirled around the gaijin samurai's feet, as he gripped the blade, he let the system take over his movements and he streaked across the distance between him and Ugzeke, a wash of blue in the darkness of the caverns, brilliant white light exploded from the saya as Baldur drew the blade, streaks of golden lightning following along the blade as he struck the brute. Slash after slash rained down on the giant as Baldur seemed to be in more than one place at once, but all the images came together as he leapt into the air and brought the strike down in a massive overhead slash. No lightning paralysis this time, but he took a good chunk out of the monster's HP. As soon as the system allowed Baldur to move on his own again, he began to try and move again to avoid the monster's counter-strikes. He didn't know what this thing was capable of. The gaijin samurai's eyes danced as if he was having fun with this battle. It had been a while since he had been in a fight that wasn't life or death, and that seemed to be incredibly relaxing. ID: 155823 BD: 3+5 +1 -1 = 8 (hit) San Ge + Charge: 21+5=26 x 15 = 390 - 35 MIT = 355 DMG Dealt Ugzeke, the Mighty: 970/1500 | DMG: 200 | MIT: 35 | ACC: 2 [1] Zajčica | HP:1090/1090 | EN:100/100 | DMG: 3 | MIT: 209 | ACC: 2 | BLD: 36 | H.M.: 2 | REC:1 | THRNS: 84 | TAUNT | BH: 58 | DoT -25% [1] Crozeph | HP: 720/720 I EN: 60/72 I DMG: 14 I MIT: 44 I ACC: 4 I EVA: 1 I FRZ: 1 I REC: 2 [2] Baldur | HP: 1430/1430 | EN: 128/140 | MIT: 79 | DMG: 21 | Absolute ACC: 5 | EVA: 2 | BH: 72 | Conc (3/3) | Parry (2/2) | QChange (3/3)