Game Breakers in the Fire Emblem series.
Important note 1: Depending on the difficulty level, certain characters may or may not be game-breaking for various reasons note Join time, stats [bases and growths], weapons, supports, and whether or not you already have a character that does the same job as them for starters, especially those of the Est archetypenote An "Est" character, named after the Pegasus Knight in the first game, has high growth potential but joins late in the game and at a low level. On hard, you'll need to ask yourself whether it's really worth it to spend time and experience on a new unit, especially if you've already formed a solid team.
Important note 2: Due to the nature of Fire Emblem game mechanics, it is possible for a player to turn almost any unit into a gamebreaker provided that the unit has good growth rates and has good fortune. The specific examples of Fire Emblem gamebreakers listed on this page will not include units that can only be considered gamebreakers under this assumption. There are numerous methods by which one can create such units in each Fire Emblem game, some of which will be covered below.
Mechanics and Gameplay Examples:
Abusing various mechanics for EXP gain is the most common and accessible method of powering up playable units. The EXP may come from a variety of sources. This is mostly analogous to Level Grinding in other RPGs. Some variants are described below:
In what is commonly called "boss abuse," a unit will attack an enemy (generally a boss enemy, hence the name) that is on a healing tile, such as a throne or a gate. The unit must be weak enough such that the boss will be able to heal back the damage done, but strong enough to do more than 0 damagenote A unit which deals zero damage to the enemy usually gains either 0 or 1 EXP. Upon attacking the boss, the player unit will gain EXP for a round of combat; by repeating this process over many turns, the player can level up a unit until the unit becomes too strong for this exploit to worknote Or the unit's weapon breaks.
There is also "reinforcement abuse," a form of abuse in which a player will intentionally extend the length of a chapter so his units will be able to engage and defeat enemy reinforcements for large amounts of EXP. Although not all maps have this feature, there are some maps where reinforcements will appear indefinitely after a certain number of turns have passed.
Another form of abuse for EXP gain is "arena abuse," a form of abuse where a player will repeatedly use a map arena for an infinite source of combat and EXP. Although limited in scopenote Some games do not have arenas; the ones that do are only available in certain chapters or otherwise restricted in use, each round of arena combat gives a substantial amount of EXP for the participant, and awards money to boot. Barring maps that have a set turn limit, a player can arena abuse ad infinitum.
The final form of abuse is called "staff abuse". Since healers gain EXP through using magical staves, a common practice is to have healers deliberately spending their turn healing Scratch Damage when they would otherwise not need to do so, which allows them to mooch off other forms of abuse as listed above.
Rigging level ups is another common and accessible method of powering up playable units. This method does not require a large source of EXP, but it does require a time investment on the player's part in most cases. Due to Fire Emblem relying solely on an RNG to determine parameter gains from level ups, this method allows for characters whose parameters greatly exceed their expected values at a given level.
One method of this form of abuse involves obtaining knowledge of the RNG sequence and using this knowledge to manipulate a good level up on a player unit.
In FE 6, FE 7, and FE 8, this is done by forcing the game to use random numbers (RNs) in retracing movement paths, which also indicates to the player whether the RNs used were "high" or "low." After suspending and resuming the game, the sequence of RNs is identical and thus predictable. The player will attempt to manipulate a good level up by matching a string of successive "low" RNs with the string used to determine level up gains.
In FE 11 and FE 12, the RNG is seeded by the Nintendo DS clock, and starting the game at certain times on the clock will yield predictable results. This form of RNG abuse is commonly used in FE 11 for players to create wi-fi teams with parameters that are significantly above average.
Another method of this form of abuse involves brute-force resetting of the game until the player obtains favorable results.
In FE 9, this is facilitated by the BEXP (Bonus EXP) system, which allows the player to allocate EXP to player units in the pre-chapter base. The level up gains using this method are not restricted in any particular way, and the player can simply apply BEXP to yield a level up, check the level up gains, and reset if the gains weren't satisfactory.
In FE 10, a character leveled up by BEXP always gets three parameters increased. This allows a unit with a spread of high and low growth stats to maximize both. Explanation Characters in Fire Emblem are subject to stat caps based on their class; unlike many other games, units can and will reach these caps, sometimes at a low level. A unit with high growths in one or more statistics can reach his/her cap at a low level, then apply BEXP for the later levels. Since that unit cannot gain in his/her high-growth stat, the game forces increases in lower-growth stats. Some units can reach the cap for all of their stats. Additionally, the introduction of mid-chapter battle saves in FE 10 Easy and Normal Modes allows for this sort of manipulation during the course of gameplay.
The final common method of powering up playable units is by stacking stat-boosting resources on them. Typically, these resources are not freely available; but there are exceptions in some games.
In FE 4, there exist numerous rings that confer +5 to a particular parameter, and a unit can hold as many of these as the inventory will allow.
In FE 5 and FE 6, there exist secret shops near the end of the game that have buyable stat-boosting items; in combination with the abusable arenas, the player can purchase a virtually unlimited quantity. The same applies for FE 8 after the main game has ended.
In FE 11 and FE 12, these secret shops near the end of the game only sell a maximum of 3 of each kind of stat-boosting item instead of an unlimited amount. In addition, in FE 12, the various shards of the Star Orb increase the holder's stats.
In FE 13, it is possible to abuse a trick with the Avatar Logbook to use these items infinitely on any bonus character until they hit their stat caps. note Save the same game in two save slots, use one to put every stat-up item in the inventory on one character, save the buffed-up character to the Logbook, then load the other save slot (which has the items still in inventory) and buy the character back. While this only works on bonus characters (who can't build supports and thus are inferior to the main cast in the long run), the boosted stats are more than enough to turn the game prior to the Brutal Bonus Levels into a complete joke.
An extension to this includes items that greatly augment a unit's growth rates, which exist in FE 3, FE 5, and in FE 9 on the second and subsequent playthroughs, and a unit can hold as many of these items as the inventory will allow. Unlike stat-boosting items, these can also be traded around on a whim so that essentially every deployed player unit can make use of the augmented growth rates.
Character and Game-Specific Game Breakers
As a general rule, dancer and bard units (units that give other player units an extra action) are very powerful, and can break the game when used effectively. Their simple ability makes possible a diverse array of quick strategies.
Caeda and Lena are gamebreaking characters in Shadow Dragon due to their ability to exploit certain gamebreaking mechanics.
Caeda is the sole user of the Wing Spear, a multipurpose effective weapon. Her low str is circumvented by forging extra MT onto the Wing Spear note Because effective damage triples weapon MT, each point of MT forged onto an effective weapon such as a Ridersbane, Hammer, or the Win Spear adds 3 damage when used on a vulnerable enemy and her high spd lets her reliably double attack boss enemies for ORKOs. Her default class, when promoted, is one of the few classes in the game that possesses flying and is also tied for the highest movement in the game.
Lena is the earliest user of Warp and the only user of Hammerne (a staff which restores weapon durability), thereby facilitating the Warp skip strategies. In Shadow Dragon, Warp has no range restrictions, and it is possible to warp Caeda to the boss, ORKO it, then warp Marth there and have him seize, clearing the map in a single turn.
A handful of great units exist in New Mystery of the Emblem: Heroes of Light and Shadow, but it's no surprise that the best unit in the game is, by a mile, the player-created My Unit. My Unit's base parameters, growth rates, and starting class can be customized to a degree, and some builds of My Unit are better than others, but he is in general vastly superior to the rest of the cast. My Unit only has average base parameters and growths, but the game's forced prologue ends up channeling a lot of EXP into My Unit, whether the player intended to or not, and the end result is an overleveled juggernaut. On the hardest difficulty, a My Unit created with the proper build has the potential to turn the enemy units into complete jokes.
Sigurd in the first generation of Genealogy of the Holy War (Seisen no Keifu in Japan) is a prominent example of a gamebreaker in Fire Emblem. Although he is weak in a few respects (e.g. no strong 2-range weapon), the combination of high availability, excellent base stats, good growths, a mount, and early access to a good weapon are responsible for his domination of the entire first generation. Sigurd is widely considered to be the best lord unit to have ever existed in any Fire Emblem game.
All the children characters in Genealogy have the potential to be broken if the player maximizes the benefits units get from their parents. The stats the parents have at end of the first generation affect their offspring. Additionally, children characters inherit items and weapons from their parents, allowing the player to obtain good items and weapons relatively early compared to other Fire Emblem titles. Players can make use of stat-boosting rings, ability-granting rings, and powerful weapons such as a Hero Sword immediately from the beginning of the second generation.
Celice can inherit Sigurd's Silver Sword (or other weapons should the player desire) and some incredibly beneficial stat-boosting rings such as the Leg Ring, which grants +3 movement to the holder, and the Elite Ring, which doubles the holder's EXP gains. Celice's relatively weak base stats are offset by this inheritance mechanic, and letting Celice inherit many of these items is beneficial because it lets the player make use of them from the beginning of the second generation. The optimal inheritance setup will have Celice reaching promotion quickly, effectively becoming a copy of Sigurd from the previous generation; however, Celice still has to overcome the short period in which he is rather mediocre.
Arthur can become this, if his father was Levin and he inherited the Holsety tome. Holsety is an exclusive weapon that possesses 30 MT note Many good weapons, such as the aforementioned Silver sword, have only 18 or fewer, 1-2 range, and grants +10 to the wielder's skill (increasing hit) and +20 speed (greatly increasing dodging ability) to its user, making it an excellent weapon both defensively and offensively. Although not the easiest pairing to achieve note Levin/Tiltyu is more difficult than Levin/Fury or Levin/Sylvia, Arthur with Holsety can turn the first half of Second Generation into a complete joke.
On that note, this trope applies to Ced even further, whose stats get boosted so high they literally break the game and loop around back to the lowest scores on his character screen. Thankfully this is only a visual glitch and his stats work properly in gameplay proper. The downside to him is that he comes about two chapters later than Arthur, so it's the player's choice of as to whether they want a Disc One NukeGame Breaker or an Infinity–1 SwordGame Breaker.
One method to obtain an such a character for the endgame involves a specific glitch note See "Buy the Balmunk" on this page for details. If Ira was paired with Holyn, their children will have Major Odo holy blood, and therefore can use the Balmung. Since Lakche, and to a lesser extent, her brother Skasaher, have better stats than their cousin Shanan, abusing this glitch can turn Lakche into the single best swordmaster in the series.
Although many great weapons and items exist in Thracia 776, the only true gamebreakers in this game are the Warp, Rescue, and Repair staves. Staff range for ranged staves is unlimited in FE 5, so for the Warp and Rescue staves, the player is able to move a unit to anywhere else on the map or retrieve a unit from anywhere else on the map, respectively. This allows for gamebreaking strategies that, for example, essentially allow the player to defeat a boss and seize a throne or gate to end a chapter in 1 turn. Warp is useful in maps with a seize objective; Rescue is useful in maps with an escape objective. Repair allows the player to repair any weapon to its original state, which means that the player can exhaust all 5 uses of Repair on a single Warp or Rescue staff to obtain 6 times as many uses out of that staff. By extension, since Saphy is the only unit capable of using the Repair staff, she is also a gamebreaker. The list of units who can reliably be assumed to be able to use Warp and Rescue is larger but still limited: Saphy, Salem, Tina, Linoan, Sleuf, Sara, Cyas, and Sety.
Although there are no units in Sword of Seals who can be considered gamebreaking over the entire course of the game, there are a handful of units that can break substantial portions of the game. These include Marcus, Rutger, Zealot, Miledy, and Percival; the former 3 are of the Disc One Nuke type and the latter 2 fall under Last Disc Magic.
Marcus from Blazing Sword is a gamebreaker in every sense of the word. High base stats allow him to trivialize the early chapters, and his growths, although subpar, are just good enough to allow him to crush enemies all the way until the end of the game (even in Hector Hard Mode). Access to 3 weapon types gives Marcus a weapon for every situation, and high movement allows Marcus to quickly defeat chapters. The only point against Marcus being a gamebreaker is that he is reliant on gaining around 2-3 points of spd throughout the game at a 25% growth, something that he has a non-negligible chance at failing to do even if his average stats at a certain level indicate that he is expected to do so; regardless, he is still by far the best unit in the game even when failing to gain spd.
Seth in The Sacred Stones is the most powerful unit in the beginning of the game and has stats rivaling your trained units even in the endgame. Unlike Marcus, Seth also has a high growth total with a good growth distribution, which means that he is much less likely to slow down in performance later in the game. He's pretty much essential for fast, efficient clears and it's often said that the game is even easier than if it's just Seth and a lord. Seth is arguably considered to be the best unit to exist in any Fire Emblem game.
Titania in Path of Radiance is similar to Seth in FE 8 with respect to parameters and growths, and has the potential to trivialize the entire game equally easily. Their surrounding environment makes a big difference; the presence of a glut of BEXP in FE 9 to easily and effortlessly power up growth units means that FE 9 Titania is not nearly as dominant as FE 8 Seth. Although Titania is a good unit over the course of the entire game and can easily beat the game, sans the final boss, on her own, the existence of other gamebreakers lessens her value.
Marcia and Jill are the other notable gamebreakers in FE 9. Though both have rather mediocre base stats, the player can pump them full of BEXP to instantly turn them into excellent combat units. The element that makes Marcia and Jill superior recipients of this BEXP (since any other character can be elevated to the status of a combat god with BEXP) is that they are able to fly over all sorts of terrain impediments and easily bypass large portions of many chapters. With their augmented stats, neither are vulnerable to enemy attacks and both are extremely capable at killing most boss enemies in a couple of rounds of combat.
No unit is capable of trivializing the entirety of Radiant Dawn due to how the game is structured, but in the context of the game, the most obvious gamebreaker is Haar. Haar has excellent base parameters and growth rates that are well distributed; on top of that, he is in a flying class with some of the best movement in the game. Haar also boasts great availability and enjoys some exclusivity as well, being the only flying unit for a significant portion of the game. This is not to say that Haar doesn't have weaknesses; Haar's spd base and growth are somewhat mediocre and require a Speedwings or 2 to adequately fix, and low resistance coupled with weakness to thunder magic make some enemy types extremely dangerous for Haar.
Ike boasts insane base parameters coupled with good growths, but he is not as gamebreaking as Haar due to a sword lock for a portion of the game and unspectacular mobility. Transfers from FE 9 will improve Ike's bases, but do not fix his lesser mobility or his poor resistance.
The Nosferatu dark tome has the effect of Life Draining half the damage it inflicts, and can be bought from quite early in the game. A reasonably powerful character with Nosferatu will have the healing they receive outpace the damage they take, making them effectively immortal. On top of that, Sorcerers (which are the only advanced class capable of using dark magic to begin with) learn the Vengeance skill as early as level 5. This skill has a very high chance of activating, and when it does, it adds half the damage the user has taken into its attack's power, which is unaffected by the enemy's resistance, and increases the healing Nosferatu provides. A paired-up Sorcerer with Vengeance and Nosferatu can effortlessly take out an entire army with essentially no risk to themselves.
It gets even more egregious with Aversa's Night, which trades half its durability for being just over twice as powerful and having 10 points more accuracy. Paired with Armsthrift and a forge, its user is effectively invincible.
The Avatar is generally considered the single most broken character in the game, for a number of reasons:
Customization. Unlike the other characters, who start with only three base classesnote While children characters can get more, they are restricted to their parents' classes or the gender-based replacements they get, meaning most children can get no more than six potential base classes., the Avatar can change into any class in the game, except for special classes and those exclusive to the other gender. Since skills are tied to classes, this allows the Avatar access to a ridiculous range of skills, letting the character do almost literally anything.
Speaking of skills, the Avatar gets an exclusive class with some of its own, none more broken than the one it starts with: Veteran. This skill multiplies the Avatar's experience point gain by 1.5X when s/he is Paired Up with another unit, turning the character into an overleveled juggernaut very, very quickly. Combined with Frederick, it is quite possible to solo the entire game with the Avatar, even on the hardest difficulty - especially as the Avatar can simply class change to a Sorcerer and abuse Nosferatu, as listed above.
On top of that, there's another broken skill exclusive to the the Avatar's class line: Rally Spectrum. Rally skills add 4 points in a single stat to all allied units within 3 spaces of the Rally user, but these boosts last only one turn and don't stack with other units using the identical Rally skill; not exactly broken by itself, as 4 points is a noteworthy boost, but it's only in one stat and has a tendency to fall short of being really broken. Until you add Rally Spectrum into the mix; it gives the 4-point boost to all stats. And because Rally Spectrum and the individual stat rallies are different skills, they do stack. An Avatar with Rally Spectrum and other Rally skills gives enormous +8 boosts to key stats of the player's choice and +4 stats to everything else all at once, resulting in a full army of gamebreakers.
If all of this is somehow not enough, consider that the Avatar is capable of having children. Child units inherit all class options available to their parents, which means that the Avatar's child Morgan becomes basically a copy of everything that made the Avatar so broken almost from the moment of recruitment, except slightly better due to higher stat modifiers and maximums. Pairing the Avatar with someone also capable of having a child themselves effectively results in two "Morgan" units. Alternatively, since the Avatar is capable of supporting with every other character in the game, you can have the Avatar support with a child character to give Morgan obscenely good stat modifiers, or a character like Aversa so that Morgan can inherit the amazing ability otherwise exclusive to them, Shadowgift, which in Morgan's hands can easily break the hardest DLC maps into a million pieces. And to cap it all off, since Morgan is always the opposite gender of the Avatar, the Avatar can easily pass down a gender-exclusive skill that Morgan could not obtain otherwise.
The Rescue Staff makes a return for this game, and it's just as good as it's ever been...but this time around, it's buyable in stores. This means it's easily possible to spam it endlessly and eliminate any risk whatsoever to your attacking units by taking them out of harm's way after they've taken out an enemy. On top of that, Rescue is an E-rank staff, meaning even a unit with no experience in staff use whatsoever can use it, as long as they have a reasonably good Magic stat. With enough Rescue staves in the hands of a few staff users (or in the convoy, since Chrom always has access to it), even the most challenging maps can be reduced to "kill something, use Rescue, repeat until everything is dead".
On top of this, allied units can be targeted with Rescue staves as well. This means you can recruit potential allies far earlier than you're expected to, or ensure the units being protected in an Escort Mission avoid any danger. Using multiple copies of Rescue quickly eliminates the need to split your army for the sake of protecting the allies, since you can easily corral them all together inside a wall of your strongest units.
Lucina comes with a personal weapon, the Parallel Falchion, which is one of only two Unbreakable Weapons in the game and by far the better of the two, with more than double the power of Chrom's Falchion, among other benefits. She is also the only child unit to join automatically via the storyline, which means she gets the benefits of child units note better stats, better stat caps, more classes, and better growth rates without needing to go through the trouble of recruiting her through a Paralogue. On top of that, she joins with a semi-unique class and an excellent skillset, and due to being a child unit, you can choose one of the skills she gets, potentially increasing her power even further. Almost all of her potential parent units can give her very good benefits, but one that really brings her brokenness Up to Eleven is the Avatar, who can pass down Veteran and combine everything that makes her broken to begin with with everything that made the Avatar so broken. The only real downside to Lucina is a fairly late join time; however, most of the game's harder chapters occur after she joins and when she is most useful.