Important note 1: Depending on the difficulty level, certain characters may or may not be game-breaking for various reasons note , especially those of the Est archetypenote . 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 . 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 .
- There is also "reinforcement abuse," a form of abuse in which a player will intentionally extend the length of a chapter so that playable 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 , 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.
- Yet another 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.
- The final form of abuse is "Dance abuse". Dance abuse is also synonymous with "Sing abuse". Much like how healers gain EXP through using staves, Dancers, Bards and Songstresses can gain EXP and eventual level ups. This is much easier to do on maps where the enemies do not attack the characters until they are in range. Most effective when the dancer/bard/singer in question can actually attack, and their level ups increase their strength.
- 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 a 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
The Akaneia Games (FE 1, 2, 3, 11, and 12)
- Marth is a ferocious Game Breaker in FE 1. High defensive stats, best weapon class in the game, three great weapons (Miracle, Falchion, Rapier) that are exclusive to him, one of which is buyable everywhere, and on top of it all, he has the ability to draw in all enemies capable of attacking him. Have a healer you can't get out of danger? Just place Marth within range, and no one will attack the healer unless they can't get to Marth. At the end of the game, the Falchion negates all close combat attacks made by non-dragons. All this combines to make Marth as powerful as Sigurd is, if not more.
- 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 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.
The Jugdral Games (FE 4 and 5)
- Sigurd in the first generation of Genealogy of the Holy War (Seisen no Keifu in Japan) is a prominent, and infamous, 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 that outclasses the enemies for quite awhile 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.
- Sigurd's strengths go beyond just that. In Genealogy, Sigurd is a prepromote (In the only game where there is no downside to being one), uses the best weapon type and gets access to a Silver Sword in the prologue, has major holy blood meaning his growth rates are very high, has the pursuit skill so he doubles everything, and has a horse in the game infamous for extremely large maps. Sigurd literally has every possible advantage gameplay-wise in the game. In chapter 5, he gets the Tyrfing which gives +10 Skill, Speed, and +20 Res, making him effectively invincible. The only major point against Sigurd is the fact that he is not available throughout the entire game; for the portion where he is still available, however, the general consensus is that he's the best unit in the series or tied for best unit with Seth.
- All the children characters in Genealogy have the potential to be formidable 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.
- Seliph 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. Seliph's relatively weak base stats are offset by this inheritance mechanic, and letting Seliph 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 Seliph reaching promotion quickly, effectively becoming a copy of Sigurd from the previous generation; however, Seliph still has to overcome the short period in which he is rather mediocre.
- Arthur can become this, if his father was Lewyn and he inherited the Forseti tome. Forseti is an exclusive weapon that possesses 30 MT note , 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 , Arthur with Forseti 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 Nuke Game Breaker or an Infinity–1 Sword Game Breaker.
- One method to obtain such a character for the endgame involves a specific glitch note . If Ayra was paired with Holyn, their children will have Major Odo holy blood, and therefore can use the Balmung. Since Larcei, and to a lesser extent, her brother Ulster, have better stats than their cousin Shanan, abusing this glitch can turn Larcei 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, Saias, and Ced.
The Elibe Games (FE 6 and 7)
- Although there are no units in Binding Blade 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. To top it off, Seth has the highly desirable Anima affinity, notable among other affinities for granting both offensive and defensive bonuses to any unit he supports with. Seth is considered to be the best unit to exist in any Fire Emblem game.
- Seth is so good that top efficiency run Tier List base the placement of all other character on what they can actually do to support Seth, or whatever minor thing they can chime in.
The Tellius Games (FE 9 and 10)
- 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 speed 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 Earth/Earth support pairing in Radiant Dawn, especially due to supports being much simpler. (It's useful in Path of Radiance as well, but there's only one pair of Earth units that have a support in that game.) Earth's boost in support is pretty simple; 7.5% avoid per support level. However, it doesn't need to be complex because two earth characters together doubles the boost, giving both characters in the support a 45% boost to avoid at A rank if they're close to each other. At that point, even a Sniper would have a hard time hitting them.
Fire Emblem Awakening (FE 13) More examples on this page.
- One Manning or using few units in general. Fire Emblem is a massive case of quality over quantity, however, thanks to a lot of factors such as massively buffed growth rates and high stat caps, you can snowball your character MUCH easier than every other game in the series, even on Lunatic and sometimes, Lunatic+. Which means all you need to do is to pick 2 pair of characters who, for optimal decision has early availability, grows fast enough, and performs well at its base level, hopefully have Chrom support to make the game even easier, throw in some Frederick assistance and watch as your one and only pair breaks the entire game in half.
- 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.
- The Avatar is generally considered the single most superior character in the game, for a number of reasons:
- Customization. Unlike the other characters, who start with only three base classesnote , 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 convenient 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 great 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 massive 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 very effective. 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 superior 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.
- There is also a Water Trick for chapter 1 where you can put the Avatar on an unreachable water tile and snipe every single enemy on the map gaining tons of experience in the process, which, when done properly completely breaks Lunatic Mode in half. Lunatic+ aside, this game is by far the easiest game in the series, and every abuse of Avatar's advantages is one of the biggest reason.
- Except that doing the water trick is almost the only viable way to get past the Prologue in Lunatic/+, and you absolutely NEED that experience for the Avatar to carry through the first four chapters. And the water trick isn't always reliable either; the mage with Elthunder can have Focus, giving him rather high crit, and in Lunatic+ he can have Luna+ too.
- In addition to this, the player can download streetpass teams and if they win they can recruit the members of older games, this doesn't seem like much until you realize that they are all avatars and have access to everything the avatar would, letting you literally get an army of Avatars, and therefore gamebreakers.
- 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 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 truly brings her effectiveness Up to Eleven is the Avatar, who can pass down Veteran and combine everything that makes her great to begin with with everything that made the Avatar so great. 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.
Fire Emblem Fates (FE 14)
- The Replicate skill summons an exact duplicate of the character who uses it, thus allowing you to break the army limit, double the damage output of your strongest characters, create a wall of your tankiest characters, and just overwhelm your opponents with sheer numbers. While there is some balance in that the original unit and its replica share an HP count as well, this can be worked around fairly easily by just letting the enemies come to you and annihilating them with your massive army in Player Phase - and due to the nature of the game's class-change system, every single playable unit can potentially gain either the Apothecary or Ninja class and therefore the Replicate skill. While not every unit can gain these classes in a single playthrough (as the options are mutually exclusive of each other), with the ability to buy skills from other players who acquired them for those other units in their playthroughs, this becomes a mere technicality.
- For added value, get Replicate and Galeforce (which is only available via the Ebon Wing item exclusive to DLC) on the same unit. Provided the unit can fend for itself in combat(i.e an Avatar), suddenly Galeforce's nerf in Fates(can only be activated when a unit kills an enemy alone) becomes moot and maps become easier to sweep through.
- The Avatar's royal siblings. All eight of them have excellent stats and growths, the four girls all come with powerful multi-unit buffs, and the four boys all come with very powerful weapons that, unlike most of the other high-tier weaponry in the game, have no acutal downsides. Only exacerbated by the fact they can all support with each other, and really the only flaw is that some of them don't join until decently late in the game. The ability to recruit and field all eight of them in a single army turns the Revelations route from tense tactical action into a hilarious Curbstomp Battle basically as soon as you can pull it off.
- Proper usage of Logbook and My Castle features would pretty much break the game into million pieces if you know how to use it properly. The online feature in Fates is much more diverse than Awakening, due to the much easier early game levels compared to Awakening, and its wide level of usage from the ability to buy skills, and items much sooner than intended.
- Not as useful as the other skills, but still an amazing skill in its own right, we have Wary Fighter. Given to Generals at level 5, at first glance, it sounds useless; neither you nor your opponent can perform follow up attacks. Considering the increase in enemy HP and reliance on follow-up attacks in this game, this skill looks horrible at first glance. Except it is a GENERAL Skill. Generals are, bar none, the slowest promoted unit in the army. If they are doing follow up attacks, it is on an unpromoted unit. Their inability to do follow up attacks and the fact it's easy to follow up on them is supposed to be one of the main drawbacks of using a General. With Wary Fighter, however, speed doesn't matter anymore; both you and your enemy get one strike. If you pair common Generals (IE Effie and Benny) up with characters possessing high Resistance, your Generals will become unkillable Gods of death. Since Magic using units can't follow up on Generals anymore, it takes a lot more effort on their part to down you, while you can still easily massacre them. Really, once you get Wary Fighter on a General, all they have left to fear are armor slayers and hammers.