Our first war battle and our first duel!
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Stars of Destiny
Chikatsu Star - Lorelai
Despite her belittling you for being "weak", Lorelai is only average herself. She has pretty good attack and speed for a long-ranged fighter, so she's certainly not a bad pick, but there's nothing all that outstanding about her either.
Chison Star - Rock
He's hanging around in Lepant's house and pretty much joins you on a whim. He serves an invaluable purpose by letting you store items (and quickly remove equipment from characters you're not using), but isn't a fighter.
Chisyun Star - Juppo
Created the security system for Lepant's house, but apparently got bored of that or something because he joins your army on a whim. Sadly, his combat skill is almost nonexistent - while he has a lot of MP, he can't cast any spells with it (his Trick Rune is non-removable), and high Skill and Luck are worthless when his attack power is abismal. Overall, just not a good character to use.
Chikei Star - Meg
Meg fares better than her uncle, having considerably better attack power and a very high Luck score, meaning she'll get criticals often. She's one of two that can use the Trick Rune, though you'll have to grind in the Dwarf's Vault for one. A passable, but mostly unremarkable long-range fighter.
Tenkou Star - Eileen
Eileen is an archetypal mage - low attack, HP and defense, but has lots of Magic and MP to take advantage of. She has a long-ranged attack as well, which makes her useful in normal fights. Not the best character of her type, but certainly a good choice for the middle stages of the game.
Chiyou Star - Giovanni
Lepant's servant proves handy in war battles, letting you spy on the enemy and predict their next attack. He's no fighter, though, and won't be of any help in smaller fights.
Chizoku Star - Krin
A thief, but wouldn't you know it, that makes him useful in war fights where he can predict enemy attacks. Sadly, he's almost worthless in a small-scale fight, having generally awful stats (save for high Speed and Skill, but those only get you so far).
Tengou Star - Lepant
While he is quite a burly dude, his stats overall leave something to be desired. None are particularly bad, but none are outstanding either. Just a relatively average fighter type overall, which means he'll be outclassed pretty quickly.
Tentai Star - Pahn
McDohl's old buddy finally sees the light and joins us. A good thing, too, as he's a very solid front-line fighter. High stats all around and a non-removable Boar rune make him a force to be reckoned with. Power him up, as we'll need him to win a duel later on.
Chisyu Star - Gaspar
Gaspar's a fun one, as he lets you play Chinchirorin anytime you want in the convenience of your castle (within easy reach of your shops and a save point, which makes him quite abusable). That's about all he does, though.
Tenkoku Star - Sydonia
Fights at long range, and does a pretty good job of it with high Speed and Skill complementing his ability to stay out of harm's way and deal crits. He even has decent HP for a long-range fighter. Not a drastically powerful character, but a good choice if you're looking for a ranged character in the midgame.
Tenbou Star - Varkas
A decent fighter with high Attack and Defense, though his low HP can be a bit of a detriment. Still, he does have the benefit of being Mid-range, and giving him a Hazy or Counter rune can prevent him from taking too many hits in the front row. A worthy mid-game fighter.
Tenbi Star - Kirkis
Good stats all-around for a long-ranged character, even having a decent Magic stat for the occasional spell-casting shenanigans. One of the game's better long-ranged fighters.
Chimei Star - Sheena
Sheena is surprisingly good; having well-rounded stats and a non-removable Lightning Rune make him respectable both as a short-ranged fighter and a mage. He may not be the strongest of characters you'll get, but he's a very worthy choice for the mid-game.
Chitatsu Star - Viki
Viki is another castle staffer, letting you immediately teleport to towns you've already visited and save yourself some travel time. Unlike the other Suikoden games, though, she does not join your travelling party.
Chihi Star - Meese
Meese is another blacksmith character, with stats barely distinguishable from Maas. Having them both lets you upgrade your weapons to Level 9, which is much more useful than actually having him on the field.
Tensyo Star - Valeria
As story-related characters go, you can certainly do worse than Valeria. She has respectable stats for a fighter, and her non-removable Falcon rune lets her deal extra damage without being Unbalanced. She gets outclassed later, but for the early to mid stages, she holds her own.
Chimou Star - Templeton
He gives you the mini-map, which of course comes in handy, but he's no fighter.
Chitan Star - Kuromimi
An okay fighter, and that's about all there is to say about him. You won't rue having to use him, but you're probably not going to use him much outside of his story-required stages either.
Tenyu Star - Humphrey
Basically a slightly toned-down Viktor, having similar (but slightly worse) stats across the board. However, he can equip heavier armor, which may give him a slight edge in some situations. Regardless, he's another worthy front-line fighter who can dish out damage as well as take it.
Tenmou Star - Kwanda
Kwanda is a tank with his high HP, beastly defense (complemented by heavy armor) and solid attack power, though his relatively low Speed and Skill stats can be a detriment. He can also attack from the back row, but why would you do that? Put that defense to work!
Tensoku Star - Stallion
For all of his boasting, Stallion is a pretty mediocre character. Yes, his Speed stat is incredible (far and away the best in the game), but his low HP and Attack power, as well as his non-removable True Holy Rune, means he isn't much use in a fight. Still, you may use him from time to time just because you travel faster with him in your party (both on the overworld map and in towns/dungeons by pressing Circle) and can always run from battle thanks to his rune's effect.
Chisatsu Star - Sylvina
Sylvina is basically a less-impressive Kirkis, having lower stats all-around but slightly more MP to cast spells with. I never used her much, but some people might like her.
Tensatsu Star - Fu Su Lu
An all-or-nothing fighter type, with very high HP and Attack and strong Defense, but abismal stats everywhere else. I personally prefer a slightly more well-rounded character, but he's not a bad pick for the mid-game.
Chikaku Star - Gon
He's got great Luck, but that's about all he has going for him. His stats are not very good at all for a short-ranged fighter, and the occasional critical hit won't make up for that shortcoming at all.
Chifuku Star - Apple
Mathiu's student comes in handy in war battles, where she lets you do double damage with Charge attacks. She's no fighter, though.