As anyone who has played Pyre for more than a couple hours can tell you, it’s not all hunky dory among your party, walking linked-armed down the Yellow Brick Road back to Kansas. Sure, the camaraderie is real and the adventures in the form of 3-on-3 Basketball-esque “Rites” are indeed fun, but those two facts alone avoid the harsh truth of Liberation Rites.
You see, your ultimate goal is to get everyone in your party to escape from the Downside and return to the Commonwealth, after each were exiled. But, the only way to do that is through Liberation Rites, and, unfortunately, only one Exile can be liberated at a any one time. So, during each of six Liberation Rites, you’ll have to choose one of the members of the Nightwings to leave in a bittersweet parting.
While this is certainly an emotional decision, it must also be a tactical decision. You need to decide which Exiles will benefit you in the long term more than another. This requires a thorough examination of their skills and a passing knowledge of what Talismans might bolster them.
One thing to know about Liberation Rites is that you can only choose to Liberate one of your top-three highest-leveled characters. Only the three most-Enlightened will be eligible to Anoint, so you can’t simply Liberate your least-used or weakest Exiles. It can only be one of your best.
What that means, though is that your first two choices will be your most difficult. Because you start out with only three available Exiles, and soon after gain a fourth. That means that they will automatically have the most experience by the time you get to your first Liberation Rite. The full list of Exiles can be found here, but your first choice is likely going to be between Hedwyn, Jadariel, Rukey and maybe Fae (or Chae, or Tae, of Shae, etcetera). Once you’ve narrowed down to your top three, you’ll again have to make a tough choice in your second Liberation Rite, which will still likely be a choice between one of your top three most-Enlightened Exiles.
Rather than go through who to get rid of, it might be easier to tell you who not to get rid of. You may have some emotional attachment to one or the other, but remember that this should first and foremost be a tactical decision. Without further ado:
Keep: Jodariel and Fae
Hedwyn is cool, for sure. He’s got that classic hero sense about him, and even the grumpiest people out there would have to like him. And Rukey? What’s not to like about a talking dog-like creature with an attitude? Think Rocket Racoon and you’re pretty close.
That said, they just don’t scale all that well, never going on to do anything amazing. That and their relatively lackluster overall stats should be enough, but, if you want more, you just need to look at the capabilities of Jodariel and Fae.
Jodarial at level three, Jodariel can unlock a Mastery that give your Pyre a base +35 health. That is invaluable, especially because it can be paired with Talismans that do the same thing. This will undoubtedly increase your win rate through the mid-game, which is a crucial time period for gaining levels on your Exiles.
And Fae should be one of the last you set free, if not the last. Fae has OK Masteries for the most part, but her max level Mastery on the right side of the tree makes her a must-have. Whenever Fae has the Orb, she has infinite stamina, allowing her to move and jump forever. Many strategies in the game will be built around creating a situation where some Exiles have max stamina for a short while, but this is as simple as that.
After that, you’ll have a pretty well-defined top-two, and you might even find someone you like more than Jodariel. (I certainly did). The point is, though, these decisions will get a lot easier because you’ll just anoint someone for Liberation who isn’t in your Top Two.
Others you may want to consider for your Top Two include Sir Gilman (he has a combination of skills and Talismans that will make him a scoring machine) and Bertrude (she’s a character with high Pyre damage but who also can sprint and jump great distances, making her especially deadly.
You may also develop a liking for other Exiles, and that’s OK. But it’s best to max out at least two Exiles and stick with them until end game. Keep in mind, though, that repeated use of Exiles might give them Banishment Sickness, which will keep them out of one Rite, so you should still rotate these two around whenever you get the chance (just not in those critical Liberation Rites).