The character classes present in the series also embody tropes, both in gameplay and in the mythology, story role, and recurring tendencies present in them.
The LordThe class to which The Hero always belongs, the Lord class functions like a King in chess in that the death of a Lord character yields a Game Over. The specific traits of the Lord class vary wildly depending on the game or the specific character in question. Lords are typically sword-wielders and typically have blue hair, or failing that, something equally outlandish.
Some games give their main characters classes which are Lords in all but name, often having different specialties. Alm and Celica's base Lord classes in Gaiden are Fighter and Priestess respectively * , and the class is known as Junior Lord in Genealogy. Ike's initial class is Ranger in Path of Radiance and Hero (a second-tier class) in Radiant Dawn; Micaiah's initial class in Radiant Dawn is Light Mage. Fates has Corrin's Nohr Prince/Princess* class.
Most Lords who can class change have their own specific classes. Marth does not class change at all in any of the games he stars in, instead getting a higher level cap of 30 instead of 20 in the DS remakes. Alm and Celica class change to Hero and Princess * , respectively, and also get a pair of paid DLC third-tier classes: the Conqueror and Rigain Overclasses, respectively. Seliph and Eliwood class change into the Knight Lord, while Sigurd starts as one. Leif class changes into the Prince in Thracia * . Roy class changes to Master Lord * . Hector, Eirika, Ephraim, Chrom, Lucina, and Dimitri class change into the Great Lord, which function differently depending on the character * , with Dimitri also having High Lord as intermediate class between Lord and Great Lord. Lyn class changes into a Blade Lord. Ike is an odd case in that Lord is actually his advanced class in Path of Radiance; in Radiant Dawn, he starts as a Hero and can class change into the third-tier Vanguard class. Micaiah class changes into the Light Sage class, then again into the third-tier Light Priestess class. Corrin is a special case because they class change into either the Nohr Noble or Hoshido Noble classes.* Edelgard class changes into the Armored Lord and Emperor classes, while Claude into the Wyvern Master and Barbarossa class* . Byleth gets an advanced class called Enlightened One halfway into the story.
Related are the Prince and Princess classes in the Jugdral games, exclusive to Leif of Leonster and Lachesis of Nordion, respectively. In Genealogy, they're not true Lords in that their death does not end the game, but are otherwise quite similar gameplay-wise; they class change into the Master Knight, which can use every weapon type except dark magic. In Thracia 776, the Prince is Leif's advanced class. In his DLC appearances in Awakening, Marth has the unique Lodestar class; he can use Rapiers and the Falchion, but does not act as a true Lord. Also related is the Tactician class, explained on their own separate folder below.
At various points in Radiant Dawn, Elincia, Geoffrey, Lucia, Nephenee, and Tibarn all act as the Lord character of certain chapters but their classes don't apply here.
- Anti-Frustration Features: For sword-locked Lords, the Anti-Cavalry, Anti-Armor properties of their Weapons Of Choice are so that they can stand a fair chance against Cavaliers and Knights respectively, whom otherwise possess a weapon triangle advantage over them by virtue of being lance-wielders.
- Blue Blood: The Lord is almost always a prince or princess of some nation, or discovers themselves to be one over the course of their journey. Exceptions are Ike and Byleth, whom both are Badass Normal mercenaries (later becoming an academy professor for the latter).note
- Competitive Balance: They fall all over the place on this one. Robin is notable in this regard, as they can be anything, depending on the player's choices, but starts as a Magic Knight.
- Experience Booster:
- Nohr Prince/Princess can learn Nobility which raise the amount of experience earned by 20%.
- The Three Houses' main characters have the same personal skills under different names* .
- Expy: Most character-specific Lord class variants are based on other classes:
- Marth starts out technically not having a promotion, but gains a mini-promotion like bonus upon restoring the Fire Emblem. Nevertheless, he fits the mold of a partial mix between the more balanced Mercenary and the Thief class, being a Jack-of-All-Stats sword-wielder with poor defenses and the ability to open locked chests without using a key. His later exclusive Lodestar class as a DLC character in Awakening and Fates more closely fits the mold of a Myrmidon, having higher speed and skill at the cost of relatively lower Strength and Defense while being locked to swords.
- Lyn is a Myrmidon in all but name with her Fragile Speedster stat spread and getting to use the Myrmidon-exclusive sword Wo Dao. She advances into the Blade Lord class, which is essentially a Swordmaster who can use bows as a sidearm.
- Eirika follows the mold of Rapier Lords, but with the additional ability to use a Myrmidon-exclusive sword (Shamshir in her case). Her version of the Great Lord class is a sword-locked Paladin.
- Ephraim starts off as a lightly armored lance infantry, much like Soldiers. His version of the Great Lord class is a lance-locked Paladin.
- Hector is heavily armored like the armor Knight line while Eliwood gains a horse and a lance rank like Paladins once he Class Changes into Knight Lord. This is a Call-Back to their appearance in The Binding Blade, where they are a General and Paladin respectively.
- Sigurd and Seliph are also based on Paladins as Knight Lords due to their sword and lance rank in addition to getting a mount.
- Alm, Roy, and Ike are derived from Mercenaries based from their balanced stats and being sword infantry units, only Alm gets to use bows once he class changes and Roy is sword-locked.
- Celica and Micaiah are in magic classes in addition to swords and light magic respectively. Celica actually matches the female Mages in Gaiden, as they can use swords in addition to offensive and healing magic once they Class Change into Priestess. Micaiah essentially acts as a more offensive Bishop once she promotes to Light Sage, and as a Light Priestess she functions as a Saint with improved stats across the board.
- Chrom, Lucina and Dimitri's Great Lord variants mix both aspects of the Mercenary and Soldier, being able to wield swords and lances on foot while having balanced stats all around.
- Robin and Byleth are a lesser-armored, infantry version of the Dark Knight, owing to their access to swords and tomes.
- Corrin mixes the Lord and the Manakete class, gaining aspects from both (sword use and a legendary sword from the Lord, dragonshifting from the Manakete).
- Edelgard* and Claude's* advanced and master lord classes are ostensibly the Knight and Wyvern Rider classes respectively with a focus on Authority (with Claude's being notable in that they focus on Bows, not Axes, as regular Wyvern Riders do). Edelgard can also be considered to mix the Lord with the King/Emperor class given the name of her final promotion.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Only Ephraim, Sharena, Dimitri, Hector, Edelgard, Micaiah, and Claude don't (and Hector gains them as a secondary weapon after class change while Edelgard and Claude start with them as a secondary option). While Robin and the Three Houses lords are always capable of being a class that can use swords, they are associated moreso with other weapons - magic tomes, particularly Thunder tomes for Robin, lances for Dimitri, axes for Edelgard, and bows for Claude.
- HP to 1: Lords in Three Houses can learn the Subdue combat art for swords upon mastering the class. It lets them deal an attack that cannot kill enemies.
- Master of All: Robin and Byleth, thanks to the ability to change into any class in the game, except for special classes and those exclusive to the other gender. Since skills are tied to classes and all skills can be equipped regardless of class, this allows them access to a ridiculous range of skills, letting the character do almost literally anything. Corrin can also reach this point, although s/he needs to unlock classes through A rank supports in order to make it happen.
- Master of None: The more difficult the game is, the more likely this archetype is to fall into this trope, the reason being that the player is obligated to use them regardless of their actual fighting ability.
- Royal Rapier: The traditional Weapon of Choice for Lord characters, Rapiers are effective against cavalry and armored units that make up most of The Empire's forces.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Lords are generally characters of royal, or at least noble, descent, and they are all willing to get their hands dirty fighting on the front lines of the battlefield.
- Secret Art: Starting from Path of Radiance, they get skills that are exclusive to their class. The exception is Marth who didn't get one due to the Archanea remakes not having the skill system.
- In Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, Ike has exclusive access to Aether, at first through an occult book, then as part of his promoted class.
- Micaiah's Sacrifice skill is notable that it is support-oriented instead of boosting her damage in combat. It is her only method of healing allies in Part 1 before she could use staves. While she does have access to the Corona skill in her final promotion, it is also available to the Saint and Chancellor classes.
- In Awakening, Chrom and Robin have access to Aether and Ignis respectively in their promoted classes, and can pass it down to their children, Lucina and Morgan, (again, respectively) as well as their sibling. If paired with each other, this can result in Lucina and Morgan having access to both of their signature moves.
- In Fates, Corrin has access to Dragon Fang as a Nohr Prince/Princess and could pass it down to their children.
- Shadows of Valentia grants Alm and Celica exclusive Combat Arts (Scendscale for Alm and Ragnarok Ω for Celica) as long as they equipped their respective ultimate weapons.
- In Three Houses all three lords learn an unique Combat Art upon mastering their unique Master class. Along with Byleth, they can also get another unique Combat Art when using their Infinity Plus One Sword/Axe/Lance/Bow, though they can use it regardless of class.
- Status Buff:
- Lodestar and the Lord gains Charm, which gives a boost in hit/avoid (Awakening) and damage (Fates).
- The Enlightened One gains Sacred Power, which allows adjacent allies to deal 3 extra damage and take 3 less damage during combat.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: Most class changes of Lord characters are story-tied events which can't be avoided, often even if the character isn't at the optimal level to class change. Sometimes they're tied to obtaining a literal Sword of Plot Advancement. The leading characters of the 3DS titles (barring Shadows of Valentia) are the exceptions, as Chrom, Robin, Lucina, and Corrin all follow the normal rules for class change. Zig-Zagged in Three Houses, as while Byleth, Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude can assume common classes (and regular Lord) the same way other characters do, they can only unlock their unique classes via story progression.
- Walking Armory: The Master Knight can use all weapon types but Dark Magic.
- Weapon of Choice: Traditionally, all Lords have exclusive access to a personal weapon before gaining the legendary ones, typically a Rapier which is effective against cavalry and armored units. Those who don't use Rapiers tend to use a functional expy like Hector's Wolf Beil, Lyn's Mani Katti, Ephraim's Reginleif, Ike's Regal Sword, and Micaiah's Thani.
- We Cannot Go On Without You: The death of a Lord is an instant Game Over; in some games, other ally characters will invoke this trope almost word-for-word when the Lord is dying. The only exceptions are Lucina (though she won't die, as she has storyline importance), Alfonse, and Sharena.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Almost every Lord has blue, or otherwise unnaturally-colored, hair. Robin and Corrin take it Up to Eleven because their looks are up to the player. The only exceptions are Celica, Roy, and Eliwood, who have red hair, Leif and Claude, who have brown hair, and Dimitri, who has blond.
The "trainee classes" are a set of six classes which embody Magikarp Power. They start out much weaker than other classes, but have excellent potential for growth and have incredible versatility in their main draw: their ability to Class Change to a wide range of classes, allowing the player to bolster their forces specifically to their tastes.
In Gaiden, the only trainee class is the Villager, which has the ability to Class Change to any of five classes: Mercenary, Soldier, Archer, Mage, or Cavalier. If the Mercenary route is taken, the third-tier Dread Fighter class can Class Change right back around to Villager, allowing for an effective infinite stat-gain loop. Villagers start out wielding swords, though they will likely lose this proficiency depending on what they Class Change into. Shadows of Valentia introduced Faye, a female Villager. While Mage and Cavalier are unisex options, female Villagers swap out Mercenary, Soldier and Archer for Pegasus Knight and Cleric instead.
In The Sacred Stones, there are three trainee classes, each exclusive to one ally character: the Pupil, the Journeyman, and the Recruit. Each has two Class Change options: the Pupil can go into Mage or Shaman, the Journeyman to Fighter or Pirate, and the Recruit to Cavalier or Knight. In accordance with the branched class progression system of The Sacred Stones, each thus has three or four options for their final class.
The Villager class returns in Awakening, this time wielding lances. It oddly cannot Class Change in and of itself, instead relying on Second Seals to become another class.
In Fates, Villager is a Hoshidan class that acts like any other in terms of Class Changing. They can go into Merchant, which uses lances and bows and has a Skill that nets you extra gold, or branch into the Master of Arms class, a Mighty Glacier that can use all three main weapon types.
In Three Houses, trainee classes return in both the Noble and Commoner classes. They can wield any weapon in the game and some magic.
Genealogy of the Holy War features the Princess and Prince classes, unique to Lachesis and Leif respectively. While they are not quite 'true' trainee classes, they fit a large majority of the tropes- they start as very weak classes, but eventually promote into Master Knight which has access to every weapon type in the game other than dark magic.
- An Axe to Grind: Journeymen specialize in axes. This carries over to their advance classes: Fighters and Pirates.
- Blade on a Stick: Recruits, as well as Villagers in Awakening and Fates wield lances.
- Boring, but Practical: Commoners and Nobles get HP +5 as their mastery skill, which is very valuable early-game as most of your units are not sturdy enough yet to survive hard hits, especially in Maddening where the enemy will always outpace you in damage.
- Bucket Helmet: Male villagers in Awakening wear pots as makeshift helmets.
- Expy: Recruit, Amelia's trainee class in The Sacred Stones is a variant of the Soldier, and is even called Trainee Soldier in Japan.
- Fire, Ice, Lightning: Pupils are aspiring mages that are capable of using anima magic, which are comprised of the three elements.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Villagers in Gaiden start out with swords.
- Magikarp Power: They start out weak, but they come with the Aptitude skill which increases their growth rates, or the ability to "gain" more levels than normal in one way or another, which give them more chances to proc their growth rates. Both cases increase their chances of capping more stats and/or become more powerful than the average FE unit does over the course of a game.
- New Game+: Kind of. In The Sacred Stones, once one completes both Eirika and Ephraim's stories at least once, the trainees have the option to class change to "Super Trainees": that is to say, class change to the trainee classes again and again. The final-tiered versions of these classes gain special bonuses; the super Journeyman and Recruit gain increased critical rates, while the super Pupil is the only class in the game which can normallynote use all three types of offensive magic.
- Power Up Letdown: Constitution is the only stat that doesn't grow with the Super Trainees, leaving them to be slowed down with the more powerful and heavier weapons. This particularly hurts the Journeyman, who not only uses the heaviest weapons in the game, but has a counterpart in the Berserker which has the necessary constitution and a similar critical hit bonus.
Cavalier (Social Knight)
One of the most common and basic of classes, Cavaliers are horse-mounted knights that have been in the series since the beginning. They tend to have balanced stats and almost always wield swords and lances. Cavaliers usually Class Change into Paladins, which occasionally gives them access to another weapon such as axes while also providing a Movement buff. In The Sacred Stones, Awakening, and Fates they have the alternate Class Change option of Great Knight; this increases their Defense and gives them the ability to use axes, but comes at the cost of lower Speed, reduced movement and a weakness to Anti-Armor weapons. In Gaiden and Radiant Dawn they can Class Change once again into Gold Knight, which only uses lances in Gaiden and swords and axes in Radiant Dawn, and also the Silver Knight, which uses lances and bows.
The Judgral and Tellius games split the Cavalier class into four separate horseback classes, each specializing in a different weapon type: the Blade Knight note , Lance Knight, Axe Knight, and Bow Knight note . The Tellius games have them all class change into Paladins (in Radiant Dawn, the Paladin class is split similarly), but the Jugdral games give them all their own advanced class: the Forrest Knight note , Duke Knight, Great Knight, and Bow Knight note .
Distantly related is the bow-wielding Nomad class of the Elibe games (see the Archer section), which is pretty much a Bow Knight with a tribal flavoring and slightly different stat distribution. They Class Change to the Nomadic Trooper class, which gains the use of swords as well. Also related is the Mage Knight of the Jugdral gamesnote , and the Dark Knight of Awakening, which wield both magic and swords. The Awakening incarnation of the Conqueror class, a class exclusive to Walhart, is also related to this line, being similar to the Great Knight and even using the same weapons.
- Achilles' Heel: Horse-slaying weapons, like the Poleaxe and Longsword, along with a majority of the lords' starting exclusive weapons, can deal effective damage to them. Whether or not mounted archers are affected by Horse-slaying weapons varies by game.
- Action Initiative: Cavaliers in Three Houses learn Desperation upon mastering the class. It allows them to use up both of their attacks if they can follow-up under half of their HP.
- Always Male: Strangely, female units cannot reclass to Cavalier in Shadow Dragon, despite Paladin being unisex with Midia starting as a Paladin. This is retified in New Mystery as female can access Cavalier with Cecil starts as one.
- An Axe to Grind:
- In the Jugdral and Tellius games, there are the Axe Knights, who exclusively use axes.
- Paladins get to use axes alongside swords and lances in the Elibe games. The Great Knights in The Sacred Stones, Awakening, and Fates follow suit. Great Knights in Three Houses gain Axefaire as a class skill.
- Armor-Piercing Attack: Awakening and Fates' Great Knights can learn the Luna skill to halve the opponent's defense.
- Automaton Horses: There's no sign that the horses used by Cavalier variants ever need rest; odds are they do after battles, but it's never discussed. There was a pseudo exception to this with the dismount feature in Mystery of the Emblem and Thracia 776 (only Seliph can do this in Genealogy), but the feature proved unpopular until it was refined in Three Houses.
- Blade on a Stick: Cavaliers has been often associated with lances, even in games where they could wield both swords and lances. In some games, there are Lance Knights that are cavaliers that exclusively use lances, while Gaiden exclusively use lances. In Three Houses, Paladins gain Lancefaire.
- Bow and Sword, in Accord: Typical for the advanced bow-using variation, whether it is part of the Cavalier line or not.
- The Cavalry: Many enemy armies treat them as thus, bringing in waves of cavaliers and related classes as mid-level reinforcements; this is particularly effective given their high movement rate, allowing them to quickly sweep in and potentially catch the players by surprise.
- Choice of Two Weapons: Typically, Cavaliers are the only base class to wield two weapons (usually swords and lances). In Three Houses, Great Knights specialize in axes and lances.
- Cool Horse: Their horses give them greater movement than your units on foot, and most of their attack animations show that the horse is rather in-tune with its rider.
- Critical Status Buff: Cavalier in Three Houses gain Desperation, a skill that allow the unit to deal follow-up attack before the enemy could counterattack when under 50% HP, upon mastering the class.
- Great Knights in Three Houses gain Defiant Defense, a skill that boosts defense by 8 while under 25% HP, upon mastering the class.
- Crutch Character: Cavaliers, and their promoted classes, tend to serve this role in the series due to their ability to use multiple weapons, having good movement, and the fact they use almost every stat save magic. Later games used the Great Knight for this role instead, giving them a access to the three main physical weapons to counter most enemies early on.
- Damage Reduction: Paladins in Awakening and Fates have Aegis, which on activation halves damage taken from enemies equipped with Bows, Tomes, and Dragonstones, and only in Fates, Breaths, Shurikens and Boulders. Great Knights in Fates have Armored Blow, which on initiation, grants the user +10 Defense.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- For a good portion of the series, Cavaliers could only promote to Paladin. This meant all Cavaliers were similar, and thus meant growths were often more important to determining which character was better than the other. The creation of the Great Knight helped clear this issue up by making it possible for more unique options for Cavaliers.
- In some games, there were weapon based Cavalier classes instead of one Cavalier classes. For example, you would have Axe Cavaliers, Sword Cavaliers, and even Bow Cavaliers, which meant their promotion was a variant of the Paladin, but focused on the same weapon. The Great Knight also addressed this by making Paladins focused on swords and lances, while Great Knights were focused on weaponizing the weapon triangle.
- In Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, the Ridersbane is effective against Cavaliers, and only against cavaliers. It does normal damage against Paladins.
- Experience Booster: Only in Awakening, but Cavaliers learn the skill Discipline, which doubles weapon experience gained.
- Foil: To Knights. Both classes are heavily tied to knighthood (Cavaliers moreso than Knights), frequently enlisted by The Empire and class change with the Knight Crest in the earlier games, but Cavaliers focus on chasing down enemies with their high movement and are encouraged to fight on the open field, while Knights make use of terrain bonuses and block chokepoints due to their lower movement and high Defense. Some skills they get in Awakening and Fates also contrast each other and may help with their specializations.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: In the Jugdral and Tellius games and Three Houses, Cavaliers can move again with their remaining moves after performing an attack. In the GBA games, it is only limited to non-attacking commands.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: They tend to be the most balanced of the mounted/flying units and is typically the only unit who is capable of wielding more than one type of weapon before class change.
- Lightning Bruiser: Really, really common. Cavaliers generally have balanced growths in all areas and amazing base stats. Paladins especially become this if the unit has even remotely decent physical growths, by end game Paladins can practically hold off most enemies with ease.
- Life Drain: The Gold and Silver Knights' mastery skill, Sol.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The Cavalier class family is easily the most populous in the franchise, with there being more recruitable cavalier-esque characters in any given game than of any other class.
- Mage Killer: Paladins are one of the few physical-fighting units with passable resistance, making them decent against mages. In Awakening and Fates, they even get the Aegis skill, a skill similar to Pavise, which reduces damage taken from most ranged weapons, including magic.
- Mighty Glacier:
- Great Knights focus more on HP and Defense, making them very tanky, but often very slow as a result.
- Cavaliers and Paladins in Three Houses, though still very mobile, lack speed compare to other units or even other games.
- Multi-Melee Master: Cavaliers are usually the only non-advanced class that can wield multiple weapon types. Additionally, Paladins in Elibe games and Great Knights in The Sacred Stones, Awakening, and Fates can use all three melee weapons, and the Paladins of Fates is the only normal class capable of getting both of its usable weapon types up to A Rank, enabling them potential use of every Sword and Lance-type weapon in the game except for the Legendary weapons.
- Not So Similar: There are two versions of Great Knights. While they are known for being horseback units who wield axes, their gameplay traits vary:
- The Axe Cavalier: Exclusive to games with cavalry class separation by weapon types, they wield axes exclusively and focus on Strength.
- The Armored Cavalry: Exclusive to games with branching class change options, this variant mixes traits of both Paladins (mobility and weapon usage) and Generals (high Defense, poor Resistance and anti-armor weakness), functioning as an in-between of the two classes.
- The Paladin: Averted; the Paladin class has nothing to do with holy warriors and cannot use any sort of magic. They're generally upstanding, moral, and loyal knights, but not holy by any means.
- Status Buff: Great Knights in Fates get Armored Blow at Level 15, which reduces physical damage by 10 when attacking.
- Walking Armory: The Great Knights of Sacred Stones, Awakening, and Fates cover the weapon triangle completely with lances, swords, and axes.
Knight (Armor Knight)
Knights (or Armored Knight in Three Houses) are heavily-armored footsoldiers. They usually wield lances and tend to be very bulky, but this comes at the cost of their Speed and Movement on top of giving them a weakness to Anti-Armor weapons. Their Resistance also tends to be very low, making magic an effective way to take them out.
Knights generally Class Change to Generals, which occasionally grants them a secondary weapon such as axes. Third-tier Knights are known as Barons in Gaiden, and Marshalls in Radiant Dawn. In The Sacred Stones, Awakening, and Fates they have Great Knight as an alternative Class Change option.
The Jugdral games and Radiant Dawn split the Knight class into four separate armoured classes, each specializing in a different weapon type: the Sword Armor, Lance Armor, Axe Armor, and Bow Armornote . They all class change into similarly weapon-specific variants of the Generalnote . In Gaiden, the Armor Knight serves as a second-tier class for the Soldier (see below).
Related to this class is the Emperor class and its variants (detailed below). Also related is the Black Knight of Radiant Dawn, a class which is exclusive to the Black Knight. The enemy-only Baron class of the Jugdral games (not to be confused with the third-tier Baron of Gaiden, which is basically a General) is also related to the class, but is able to use every weapon type except for Light and Dark Magic.
- Achilles' Heel: Anti-armor weapons, like the Hammer and Heavy Spear, and, again, most of the lords' starting exclusive weapons. Their low Resistance also makes them vulnerable to magic-based attacks (though Jugdral's Barons and the Tellius armored line lack the latter weakness). Ironically, they have weapon triangle advantage in Fates since Tomes are in place with Swords, which are bad against lances. In addition, Armorslayer is paradoxal as an anti-armor weapon as Knights initially wield lances that gives them weapon triangle advantage over sword-wielding units.
- Adaptational Comic Relief: Awakening uniquely depicted them as much goofier with nipples on their armor, and they frequently tripped in their battle animations.
- Adaptation Name Change: Generals are known as Barons in Gaiden and its remake; later, this would become the name of a separate class. In Three Houses, regular Knights are known as Armored Knights and Generals are known as Fortress Knights.
- An Axe to Grind: Typically, Generals can wield axes upon class change. The Jugdral games and Radiant Dawn have specialized axe-wielding Knights. Armored Knights in Three Houses are more proficient with axes, rather than lances in previous games, with Fortress Knights gaining Axefaire as a class skill.
- Annoying Arrows: The Barons in Shadows of Valentia gain the Heavy Armor skill, which halves all damage from bows.
- Always Male: The Soldier line, which extends to the Knight and Baron class, is exclusive to males in Echoes.
- Armor-Piercing Attack: The General and Marshall's mastery skill, Luna, in the Tellius games. Black Knight has the special version of Luna, known as Eclipse, in Radiant Dawn.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Many Generals are powerful authority figures, often Generals of a large army.
- Generals in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Sacred Stones wield massive claymores when wielding swords. In fact, General's swords in Shadow Dragon are curved.
- Generals in Path of Radiance can wield swords, though the way they swing their swords make it look clumsy. Of course, not the case if you were the Black Knight.
- Blade on a Stick: In the mainline Fire Emblem games, they always wield lances, though sometimes they appear alongside weapon-specific variants, such as in the Jugdral games and Radiant Dawn. Generals get a secondary weapon type (or three!) which varies depending on the game in question, though they usually gain an axe or sword.
- Chain Pain: In the GBA games, the General has chains attached to their lances and axes.
- Damage Reduction:
- Barons in Shadows of Valentia have Heavy Armor as their inate skill, which lowers damage taken by bows by half of the damage inflicted.
- Generals and Fortress Knights can learn Pavise, which can lower damage from swords, lances, and axes by half of the damage inflicted.
- Armored Knights in Three Houses can learn Armored Blow, which reduces physical damage by 6 when attacking, upon mastering the class.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- Knights couldn't class change in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light despite the fact that Generals exist. This is remedied in Mystery of the Emblem, where Knights class changed into Generals with a Knight Crest.
- Knights could also use swords in addition to Lances in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light but Generals can only use swords.
- Knights could class change in Gaiden, but were a second-tier class advancing from Soldier. While Generals were an advance class of Knights, they were a third-tier class and had been renamed Baron, whose name would later be re-used for a Boss class in Jugdral.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Knights and Generals spin their weapons when their attack is a critical hit. Generals in Fates spin their lances following a kill.
- To Cavaliers. Both classes are heavily tied to knighthood (Cavaliers moreso than Knights), frequently enlisted by The Empire and class change with the Knight Crest in the earlier games, but Knights make use of terrain bonuses and block chokepoints due to their lower movement and high Defense while Cavaliers focus on chasing down enemies with their high movement and are encouraged to fight on the open field. Some skills they get in Awakening and Fates also contrast each other and may help with their specializations.
- To Soldiers. Both classes are lance-wielding soldiers that serve as the backbone to the army of The Empire, but Knights are lot more durable and stronger than Soldiers, while Soldiers are generalists in battle with slightly more speed and movement than Knights.
- Heavily Armored Mook: Knights boast the highest defense of any class, but are known to be slow and are weak to anti-armor weapons like Armorslayer and Hammer.
- Mage Killer: In Radiant Dawn, Generals has unusually high resistance that they even rival Falcon Knight for their resistances.
- Mighty Glacier: Two defining traits of this class category are great Strength and minimal Speed. The skill Wary Fighter improves their tanking capabilities, as it prevents them from being doubled regardless of the enemy's speed (unless they have a Brave weapon); this comes at the cost of preventing them from naturally double attacking as well, which doesn't matter because they have low speed anyways.
- Multi-Melee Master: Generals in the Jugdral games and Sacred Stones is capable of wielding swords, lances, and axes (though Generals can also wield bows as well), allowing them to control the weapon triangle. Especially since Armor Knights come in different variance with one specializing a weapon type in the Jugdral games (though you only control a Sword and Axe-wielding Armor Knight in Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776, respectively).
- No-Sell: Great Shield (translated in later games as Pavise), a skill belonging to this class in the Jugdral games and The Sacred Stones which completely protects the unit from any damage whatsoever when it randomly activates. In Awakening, Fates and Three Houses, it only reduces the damage by half taken from enemies equipped with Swords, Lances, Axes, Beaststones, Monster weapons, in Fates, Puppet weapons, and in Three Houses, Gauntlets and Gambits.
- Pink Means Feminine: If there's a female Armor Knight, chances are, they are wearing pink-colored armor, as seen in Sheena, Gwendolyn, Meg, and Effie. Though any female units can be an Armored Knight in Three Houses, the one female character to have a pink palette is Hilda.
- Shield Bash: The Knights in Fates and Shadows of Valentia use their shields as rams in some attack animations. Generals in Fates also bash their shields at the enemy if they are going to kill someone with an axe.
- Shoulders of Doom: To match with their high defense, they are often seen with large pauldrons. The Generals, Barons and Emperors in the Jugdral games, however, takes this to an exaggerated extent.
- Status Buff: Generals in Awakening gain Rally Defense, which gives a boost to defense to allies when commanded.
- Stone Wall: If not this trope statistically, then they definitely play this role in terms of gameplay style. Because of their dismal movement, they're best suited for holding down either chokepoints, so that the enemy hordes can't pass; or terrain tiles with high defensive bonuses, to lure out enemies and put them in a more vulnerable position for other units. The skills Wary Fighter, which prevents either the attacker or defender from doubling, and Pavise, which randomly cancels out the attacker's attack, further enhance their defensive capabilities.
- Sword and Fist: Knights and Barons in Shadows of Valentia have several attacks in which they kick their foes.
- 24-Hour Armor: Like the Cavaliers' Automaton Horse, possibly. The only time a Knight variant is ever seen without their armor is Brom's first appearance in Radiant Dawn, and that's only because he was out farming before the fight came along.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Traditionally, a General will appear as the first advanced boss, and will accordingly serve this role. A good amount of them tend to be Climax Bosses as well.
- Walking Armory: They can use the entire weapon triangle in Jugdral, in Sacred Stones, and in Radiant Dawn as Marshalls. In the former game, they even get bows. Barons and Emperors take it Up to Eleven by being able to wield every single weapon type in the game except for Light and Dark magic.
- Weak Against Magic: Knights tend to have a low Res stat, so magical attacks easily take them out.
Soldiers are lance-wielding footsoldiers that are typically treated as a mook class in most games. It makes its first appearance in Gaiden, where they are the first tier class that can Class Change into the Knight class. In Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, they are a proper player class that functions as the lance-wielding counterpart of the Fighter, Myrmidon, and Archer. There, they Class Change to the Halberdier class, then again in Radiant Dawn to the Sentinel class. Soldiers also return in Three Houses.
In Fates, the Soldier class is called the Lancer, is part of the Nohr kingdom, and is unplayable outside of using the Capture command. However, an expy of the playable version called a Spear Fighter appear as units from Hoshido, which Class Changes into Spear Master note or branch into the Basara class, a class that relies on high skill activation rates and utilizes lances and tomes.
- Always Male: The Soldier line, which extends to the Knight and Baron class, is exclusive to males in Echoes.
- Armor-Piercing Attack: The Halberdier's mastery skill, Luna, in Path of Radiance.
- Ascended Extra: The class started off as the starting class for the Knight class in Gaiden, and only appeared in a few games as generic enemy glasses. Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn gives more spotlight to Soldiers, as not only are they a playable class again (for the first time since Gaiden), but they have a unique class line. Fates would bring them back in full and make them a more fleshed-out class, as well as a counterpart to the Nohrian Knight class.
- Blade on a Stick: The pure-lance infantry class, much like Myrmidons are to swords. Spear Masters in Fates gain Lancefaire, which boosts their damage output for wielding lances.
- Critical Hit: Up to Eleven with the Sentinel's Impale mastery skill, which deals four times the damage.
- Critical Hit Class: Halberdiers and Sentinels in Radiant Dawn and Spear Masters in Fates gain a critical boost, while the latter also decreases enemy critical rate.
- Damage-Increasing Debuff: The Spear Fighters in Fates have Seal Defense, which reduces the enemy's Defense by 6 after combat if they survive. The Spear Masters in Fates also have Seal Speed, which reduces the enemy's Speed by 6 as well.
- Demoted to Extra: Soldiers went from a mainline tier 1 class in Gaiden into an unplayable class in Mystery of the Emblem. Thracia 776 even made them extremely weak, just like the Archer class, except Soldiers had no comparable player counterpart, as regular lance-using Armor Knights were unplayable.
- Divergent Character Evolution: Started out as a 1st tier of the Knight class, they became a proper class in the Tellius games. Fates further separates Soldiers into the playable version in Hoshido & the mook version in Nohr. Since the Tellius games, they went from being Mighty Glacier or Stone Wall due to this, to being often Jack-of-All-Stats or Lightning Bruiser depending on the stats and growths.
- Dummied Out: There's evidence that Soldiers were once intended to be playable in Mystery of the Emblem. This also applies to Genealogy of the Holy War, where they don't appear at all in the final game.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In Gaiden, they're essentially Armor Knights, and are playable. While unplayable in Mystery of the Emblem, they aren't any weaker than any other tier 1 class, and can even be powerful. In Genealogy of the Holy War's Dummied Out data, the Soldier class was going to be included with an additional Lance variation with higher stats, as well as a Sword and Bow variation. The Mook type was introduced in Thracia 776.
- Expy: The Spear Fighter is pretty much the Soldier except more eastern-themed.
- Foil: To Knights. Both classes are lance-wielding soldiers that serve as the backbone to the army of The Empire, but Soldiers are generalists in battle with slightly more speed and movement than Knights, who are a lot more durable and stronger than Soldiers.
- The Goomba: Serves this role in some games, especially when they're enemy-exclusive. In these games, they have very low stats and a Weapon of Choice spears that's also found on the superior knights and cavaliers; they mainly serve to keep sword-locked characters in check, as well as give axe-wielders something to smash through. The ones that appear in the early chapters of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones have 0s in several of their stats, even on Hard Mode.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: The playable versions, with generally a slightly higher focus on defense.
- Mighty Glacier: Soldiers in Gaiden have stats geared towards defense, as they share the class line with the bulky armored Knights. As mentioned in Jackof All Stats above, the other versions still have an unusually high defense compared to other infantry.
- Mook: Their role when unplayable is usually sparsely-trained and sparsely-equipped foot soldiers since Thracia 776.
- Non-Indicative Name: Even though the promoted variant of Soldiers is called Halberdiers, they cannot wield Halberds due to them being classified as axes.
- Put on a Bus: For a long time, they were often pushed aside in favor of Knights, Trainees, or Cavaliers. It wasn't until the Tellius games that they reappeared, and they would sit on the side for a few more years before returning in Fates.
- Status Ailment: Their skills Seal Defense and Seal Speed, which reduces the enemy's defense and speed after battle, available for Spear Fighter and Spear Master, respectively.
- Stone Wall: In most games where they were mooks, they have uncharacteristically high HP. In Three Houses, they learn Defense +2 upon class mastery.
- Took a Level in Badass: Naturally, when they're playable and not just mere mooks. Soldiers have been buffed up and able to class change, so later on enemy Soldiers/Halberdiers/Sentinels remain as threatening as other enemies too.
Mercenaries are one of the basic sword-wielding classes. They are generally defined as what their name suggests soldiers-for-hire. Compared to the Fragile Speedster build of the Myrmidon, Mercenaries tend to be overall well-rounded and balanced when it comes to stats.
They Class Change into Heronote , which usually gives them the ability to wield axes. In Gaiden, they Class Change into Myrmidon, and can Class Change again into the third-tier Dread Fighter. The Mercenary class was technically replaced by the Myrmidon class in Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776; the equivalent class there is called Swordfighter, which is quite similar to the Myrmidon class of later games; some Swordfighters Class Change to Forrest (aka Hero), while some Class Change to Swordmaster, depending on the character.
In Path of Radiance, the Hero class is exclusive to the NPC Greil, while Radiant Dawn has Ike as the only one who assumes this class. Ike can class change into the third-tier Vanguard, allowing him to use axes alongside swords. In The Sacred Stones, Awakening, and Fates, they can branch into a mounted classnote which can use Bow and Sword, in Accord.
Related are the aforementioned Myrmidon class and Ike's Lord class in Path of Radiance, which are functionally Mercenaries.
- Action Initiative: Heroes in Three Houses gain the Vantage skill, which allows them to act first when their health is low, as a class skill while Mercenaries can learn the skill upon mastering the class.
- Always Male:
- The Mercenary line is exclusive to males in Shadow Dragon. Malice was originally a Mercenary in BS Fire Emblem (though Myrmidon didn't exist until Genealogy of the Holy War and Binding Blade and in that game, animation are off by default to both save time for its limited duration and to hide a class that only had male characters), but was made into a Myrmidon in New Mystery of the Emblem.
- The Mercenary line in Gaiden is locked to male units, so Faye or other female units that used the Pitchfork item cannot get Mercenary.
- The Hero class in Three Houses can only be accessed by men.
- An Axe to Grind: In Thracia 776 onward, Heroes can wield axes upon Class Changing, further separating them from the weapon specialist Swordmasters. In addition, Fighters in several games that allowed branched class changes can become Heroes, allowing them to specialize more on axes than swords. In Three Houses, Mercenaries also specialize in axes.
- BFS: The swords wielded by the Mercenary class in the GBA and DS games are depicted as large swords. They also possess a high enough Constitution in order to effectively wield heavier swords such as blades, Longswords, or Armorslayers.
- Critical Status Buff: Heroes in Three Houses gain Defiant Strength, a skill that boosts strength by 8 while under 25% HP, upon mastering the class.
- Combat Parkour: Awakening's Heroes backflip when they dodge attacks, while Mercenaries and Heroes flip to attack in the GBA games.
- Healing Factor: Mercenaries in Fates get the Good Fortune skill, where they have a chance (based on their Luck stat) to recover 20% of their max HP at the start of the turn.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: In a literal example of this trope, the Hero class can wield and oftentimes specializes in swords. However, the Hero class can also be promoted from the axe-wielding Fighter class in some games, making this more of a Downplayed Trope. Heroes in Three Houses gain Swordfaire as a class skill.
- In a Single Bound: Older games seems to like having Mercenaries and Heroes leap massive lengths into action.
- Item Amplifier: In Awakening, Mercenaries have Armsthrift, which grants a (Luck*2) chance of not degrading their weapon.
- I Shall Taunt You: The Mercenary's crit animation in the GBA games begins with a taunting motion, and transfers into an enormous forward flip.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Mercenaries have high and well-balanced stats all-round, in contrast to the other infantry classes, though like most sword-wielding classes they tend to have high speed above all else.
- Life Drain: Heroes in Awakening and Fates can learn Sol, a skill that allows them to regain health equal to half the damage dealt.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Their critical animations often involve tossing their weapon into the air, then jumping after it while somersaulting several times before catching it and coming back down for the strike.
- Unorthodox Sheathing: In the GBA games, Heroes sheathe their weapon into their shield while in midair. Their critical hit animation has them throwing their shield in the air before jumping after it, unsheathing their weapon, and hitting their opponent.
- Weapon Across the Shoulder: Often their default pose.
Myrmidon (Swordfighter, Blade)
A class closely related to the Mercenary, originally deriving from Mercenaries with specifically different gameplay constitutions; whereas Mercenaries are balanced, Myrmidons turn up the Speed to near-ridiculous levels at the expense of Defense.
They Class Change into Swordmaster, and in Radiant Dawn can go further into the Trueblade class. The Myrmidon class technically replaced the Mercenary class in Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776 (and thus, some could Class Change to Hero/Forrest), but was functionally a bit of a mix of the two; the full, separate Myrmidon class in and of itself as we know it today debuted in The Binding Blade.
In The Sacred Stones and Awakening, Myrmidons can also branch into Assassins; the latter game allows them to use Bow and Sword, in Accord. In Fates, Myrmidons are called Samurai (a Hoshidan class), which also Class Changes into the Swordmaster. They also can branch into the Master of Arms, which cuts down on their Speed for some bulk and utilizes all the basic weapons of the weapon triangle. Three Houses also introduces the Mortal Savant class, a Swordmaster with inclinations of magic.
- Action Initiative: In Awakening and Fates, they gain Vantage, which allows them to attack first when their HP is below 50%.
- Critical Hit Class: They have high Skill and Speed to help them inflict critical hits more easily. In the GBA games, Tellius games, and Fates, they gain a critical boost, especially in the Elibe games, where it is possible to stack up all methods of increasing critical hit rate to exceed 100%!
- Damage Reduction: Mortal Savant learns Warding Blow, a skill that reduces magic damage by 6 when attacking, upon mastering the class.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Astra skill; it's the mastery skill for Swordmasters and Trueblades in the Tellius games, and is pretty much exclusively associated with the Isaach royal family (all of whom are Swordfighters, Swordmasters, and Forrests) in the Jugdral games. In Three Houses, Astra is a Combat Art exclusive to Swordmasters and doesn't get carried over to other classes.
- Divergent Character Evolution: The Myrmidon class originated as the Gaiden equivalent of the Hero (as "Hero" was Alm's advance class). In the Jugdral games, the class was a functional mix of the Mercenary and Myrmidon classes, class changing into either Swordmaster or Forrest depending on the character. Starting from The Binding Blade, the two classes have become distinct from one another.
- Doppelgänger Spin: GBA Swordmasters move so fast that they leave behind illusions of themselves in their critical animation.
- Dual Wielding: Fates' Swordmasters are capable of dual wielding some, but not all, swords. This is merely aesthetic and doesn't affect gameplay.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: With the exception of Archanea (because they didn't exist at the time until the remake) and Tellius, most myrmidons hail from a fictional version of an East Asian culture like the Mongols (Sacae) and Japanese (Chon'sin, Hoshido). Jehanna (a Middle Eastern-inspired desert nation) and Isaach don't follow this theme, although Isaach is described as an Eastern kingdom, are known to train Swordmasters and their Ancestral Weapon loosely resembles a katana. The Swordmasters and Mortal Savants in Three Houses retain the samurai aesthetic despite the lack of their version of Japan.
- Fragile Speedster: Myrmidons are very weak and fragile compared to other infantry however, they have very high speed, meaning that they double attack more often and often rely on dodging to avoid damage. In Fates, Samurai learns Duelist's Blow, which raise their evasion by 30 when attacking, and Swordmaster passively gain an evasion boost. In Three Houses, Myrmidon gain Speed +2 upon mastering the class.
- Glass Cannon: Masters of Arms get Life or Death, which boosts their attack tremendously, but also decreases their defense drastically, making them easy to kill but at the same time giving them greater potential to kill.
- Flash Step: A general tendency of Swordmaster animations.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Swords with high critical rate, such as the Killing Edge and the Wo Dao are typically shaped like one and are the preferred weapons of this class family to complement their high Speed and Skill. In the Elibe games, the Wo Dao is exclusive to Myrmidons, Swordmasters and Lyn (whose Lord class is Swordmaster in all but name).
- Magic Knight: Mortal Savants in Three Houses can use swords and magic.
- Master Swordsman: The Swordmaster especially, as they are usually the best duelists in terms of speed and evasion. Swordmasters in Awakening, Fates, and Three Houses gain Swordfaire, which boosts their damage output for wielding swords.
- Multi-Melee Master: Masters of Arms wield swords, axes, and lances to cover the entire weapon triangle.
- Status Ailment: Masters of Arms get Seal Strength, which reduces the enemy's strength by 6 after battle.
- Sword and Fist: Fates' Swordmasters kick and follow up with a downward slash when they perform a critical hit.
- Warrior Monk: The Master of Arms resembles the Buddhist warrior monks known as sōhei, especially Musashibō Benkei, who collected the weapons of defeated challengers.
- Weapon of Choice: Due to being a Critical Hit Class locked into swords, Swordmasters are most often seen carrying the Killing Edge, which boosts a character's Critical Hit chance. They also have exclusive access to special swords such as the Wo Dao and the Shamshir.
Fighters are axe-wielding infantry practically defined by their wild fighting style relying primarily on power; it's quite common to receive at least one at the start of the game. They Class Change to the Warrior class which gives them bows, and in Radiant Dawn Class Change again to the Reaver class. In Thracia 776 and one of their options for class change in The Sacred Stones, Awakening, and Fates they also have the option to Class Change into Heronote and gain the ability to use swords. In Fates, Fighters become Berserkers, rather than the usual Warriors. In Three Houses, Fighters can also wield bows and gauntlets.
Related is the Oni Savage introduced in Fates, which are more defensive compared to Fighters. They either Class Change into the Oni Chieftain, which uses axes and tomes or branch into Blacksmith, which uses axes and swords.
- An Axe to Grind: They can only wield axes as their weapons. Fighters class change into Warriors, which use Bows as well. Warriors in Three Houses gain Axefaire as a class skill.
- Always Male: All the playable and non-playable Fighters were male for fourteen games. Charlotte in Fates is the first female to be a Fighter in the series. Until Three Houses, Warriors remained male-only due to being left out of Fates.
- Attack Reflector: Warriors in Awakening and Oni Chieftains in Fates get the Counter skill, which reflects all damage back to the adjacent enemy. In Awakening, Counter would reflect damage in battle, which makes enemy Warriors that spawn from reinforcements in higher difficulties very frustrating. In Fates, it was Nerfed in that it could only activate when the enemy starts the attack, not the user.
- Bandit Mook: As Brigands and Pirates are absent in Fates, enemy Fighters take their role in representing the criminal axe-using classes and even class change into Berserker. This is further reflected by their increasingly thuggish appearance in that game.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: The Fighters in Three Houses have a focus on Brawling weapons, alongside Axes and Bows. Meanwhile, Warriors specializes in Axes and Brawling, especially in Axes.
- Bigger Is Better:
- The basis of the Warrior's mastery skill, Colossus, in Path of Radiance it deals more damage if the user's Constitution is greater than that of the enemy. This was changed in Radiant Dawn, where Colossus merely triples the user's Strength.
- Fighters and their related classes are typically fairly large as well, reflected in their inherently high Constitutions.
- The Blacksmith: One of the advanced classes for the Oni Savage. They have a skill, Salvage Blow, which allows them to gain an Iron weapon of any type depending on their Luck stat.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Traditionally, playable Fighters are large, loud, and strong men.
- Boring, but Practical: They may appear as an inferior option to Berserkers at first glance, neither possessing their passive critical hit chance or ability to traverse water and peak tiles. However, their greater Constitution and Skill allow them to wield heavier weapons with greater reliability, and - as explained under There Is No Kill Like Overkill - could easily One-Hit KO certain lance-weilding units even without a Critical Hit. In place of the Berserkers' promotion bonuses, Fighters gain access to the bow upon promoting to the Warrior class, which could provide them with a more reliable, versatile, and powerful option for ranged combat than the Hand Axe.
- Bow and Sword, in Accord: With axes instead of swords for Warriors, as they can wield both axes and bows. The bow is an guarantee to kill any fliers with their high strength, even deal damage to Wyvern Riders, who have more defense than Pegasus Knights. Fighters in Three Houses have specialization in bows, alongside axes and fighting.
- Carry a Big Stick: While any units can wield clubs with their axe rank, the Oni Savage line are largely seen with clubs.
- Cool Mask: The Oni Savage and Oni Chieftain all wears masks that resemble the oni demon. Though the Blacksmith wears a smithy's face shield instead.
- Critical Hit Class: The Oni Chieftains, to an extent. Though they lack a passive critical boost, clubs, the Hoshidan equivalent to axes and their primary type of weapons, typically have 5 critical (with one club known as the Great Club giving 55 critical at the cost of 45 hit) and their Death Blow skill giving them 20 critical when attacking, they can inflict critical hits more likely.
- Warriors in Three Houses gain 10 bonus critical hit for axes as a class skill and can learn Wrath.
- Critical Status Buff: Warriors in Three Houses gain Wrath upon mastering the class. Like most iteration, it increases their critical rate upon reaching below 50% of their HP, but it must when the enemy initiates the attack for it to activate. To compensate, it give a massive boost of 50 critical.
- Damage-Increasing Debuff: The Oni Savage in Fates have Seal Resistance, which reduces the enemy's Resistance by 6 after combat if they survive. However, since they're mainly physical attackers, beside reclassing into Oni Chieftain who can also wield tomes or using the Bolt Axe, only other magical attackers can exploit the Resistance debuff.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- Fighters were unable to class change in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Mystery of the Emblem; it wasn't until Genealogy of the Holy War where Fighters were able to class change into Warriors.
- Despite the class roll in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Mystery of the Emblem describing them as having low defense, the Fighters in your army have high defense growths that allow them to be Mighty Glaciers (in fact, they have a higher defense growth than Draug), likely compensating for their inability to class change.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Warriors' criticals in the GBA games, and the Reaver's mastery skill Colossus in Radiant Dawn.
- Gladiator Games: Warriors in Awakening has a gladiatorial appearance, complete with the cassis crista.
- Glass Cannon: Fighters and Warriors have massive strength, often the highest out of all physical-based classes, but their similarly huge HP pools are usually offset by low defense and especially low Resistance. In addition, Fighters in Three Houses learn Strength +2 upon mastering the class. They could only be true Mighty Glaciers with sufficient Dragonshield (and likely Talisman) investment. Averted with the Oni Savage line, which are more defensive than Fighters.
- Gonk: They have a tendency to be this or to avert Generic Cuteness.
- Horns of Barbarism: Warriors are usually depicted wearing horned helmets.
- Magically Inept Fighter: While most physical users typically have little magic, Fighters are the worst in that they have no benefits with magic, Bolt Axe notwithstanding. Averted with Oni Chieftains, as they can use tomes and Bolt Axe with decent magic and have a skill to lower the enemy's resistance.
- Magic Knight: Oni Chieftains can wield both axes and tomes, which helps with their magic stats and Seal Resistance.
- Mighty Glacier: The Oni Savage introduced in Fates is slow, but with high defense.
- Oni: Oni Savages and Oni Chieftains are based on the youkai.
- Ranged Emergency Weapon: What the bow amounts to for Warriors, given that they could only promote from axe-weilding classes, and thus will always have an inferior ranking in bows.
- Status Ailment: Oni Savages get Seal Resistance to lower their enemy's resistance to magic.
- Status Buff:
- Warriors in Awakening and Berserkers in Fates gain Rally Strength, which gives a boost to strength to allies when commanded.
- Oni Chieftains get Death Blow, where their critical rate increases by 20 points whenever they initiate an attack.
- Stone Wall: The Oni Savage/Chieftain line in Fates, in contrast to the normal performance of axe units.
- Stripperiffic: Fates introduces female Fighters, which wear what are effectively chainmail bikinis made of cloth. Even the male Fighter doesn't fare much better, with half their butts hanging out of what is basically a loin cloth.
- Strong and Skilled: Many playable Fighters have passable Skill, allowing them to hit more accurately than the comparatively Unskilled, but Strong Brigands and Pirates. To compensate, these Fighters have lower Speed, meaning that they will likely only be able to hit the opponent once per round, but have a greater guarantee in being able to do so.
- There's No Kill Like Overkill: They can easily One-Hit KO Cavaliers and Knights with halberds and hammers, respectively, as the effective properties of these weapons are further bolstered by their weapon triangle advantage over the lance-using Cavaliers and Knights, and the inherently high Strength of Fighter units. However, the shaky accuracy of these weapons makes them Awesome, but Impractical, an option to fall back on only when the player absolutely needs to dispose of a dangerous enemy immediately.
Imagine Fighters, except even more thuggish and disreputable; the end result is basically what Brigands and Pirates are in the franchise. Brigands, sometimes known as Barbarians, are a recurring bandit class that are known to pillage and rob villages of their contents (and also burn the village to the ground, just to add insult to injury). Brigands' stats are much like the Fighters, except theirs are more exaggerated, with more HP and Strength but even lower Skill and Defense; since the sixth game. However, one major difference between the two is that Brigands and Pirates tend to be much faster. Brigands often have the ability to cross mountains and peaks, typically when appearing alongside pirates.
Thracia 776 is the first game to have playable Brigands and the appearance of the Berserker, except the latter are an enemy-exclusive class. Brigands instead class change to the Warrior class. In Binding Blade, they Class Change into the Berserker, which boosts their already high offense and gives them a critical boost.
Pirates are similar to the Brigands, except they swap the ability to move across mountain with water. Like the Brigand, they Class Change to Berserker as well as the Warrior class in Sacred Stones and Awakening. Though their stats are mostly the same as brigands, pirates tend to have a little more Speed in exchange for less Strength.
These classes are almost always characterized as overly muscular thugs with wearing bandanas and ragged clothing that shows off their intimidating physique. Their faces tend to be rather homely in appearance. The first opponents within the game are almost always Brigands or pirates who end up at a disadvantage against the sword-wielding lord they just can't hit.
- Always Male: Until Three Houses, the Brigand class was only exclusive to males. Averted with the Berserker, since Fighters can Class Change to that in Fates unlike other games.
- An Axe to Grind: Like Fighters, they can only wield axes as their weapons. But Pirates and Brigands class change into Berserker, which is an Axe specialist much like the Swordmaster is to swords. Berserkers in Awakening and Fates gain Axefaire, which boosts their damage output for wielding axes.
- Badasses Wear Bandanas: Pirates always wear bandanas. Brigands and Berserkers often wear them as well.
- Bandit Mook: Brigands and Pirates, when in the service of the enemy, destroy villages which give out items and money.
- The Berserker: Guess. That said, playable members of the class are normally an aversion, bearing no such tendencies beyond their class name.
- Butter Face: Brigands tend to have very muscular physiques that put a bodybuilder to shame, but with ugly faces.
- Critical Hit Class: The Berserker outside of Thracia 776, Awakening, and the Japanese version of Path of Radiance, has an innate critical rate bonus, making them very capable of killing anything in one hit because of their high strength. With that said, their relatively poor Skill means they dont crit quite as reliably as Swordmasters. Berserkers in Thracia 776 instead have Wrath, turning all of their attacks into Critical Hits when it isn't their turn.
- Critical Status Buff: The Wrath skill in the Jugdral games as well as Awakening, which increases their critical rate when under 50% HP (under 30% HP in Radiant Dawn, whenever the unit is attacked in Thracia 776).
- Dressed to Plunder: Pirates wear the usual garb.
- Dual Wielding: Pirates in the GBA games attack with two axes in hand, although they're purely aesthetic. The map sprites for pirates in FE4 did this early, but again, it was only aesthetic.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- Pirates were unable to class change in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Mystery of the Emblem: it wasn't until Thracia 776 that allowed Brigands to class change, but Binding Blade was the first game to allow Brigands and Pirates to class change into Berserkers.
- Like the fighters, the Brigands/Pirates had stats more along the line of a Mighty Glacier in the original Shadow Dragon, despite the class roll in the first and third games describing them as having low defense. It is likely to compensate for Darros not being able to class change.
- Pirates and Barbarians can't destroy villages in the Archanea games, a trait that appears in later games. Only Thieves could destroy villages in those games.
- Berserkers first appeared in Thracia 776, except while still associated with criminals, it was an enemy-exclusive class, as the only brigand in the game (Marty) class changes into Warrior. This also makes Dagdar technically be a Brigand, as the Fighter Class Changes to Hero in that game.
- Face of a Thug: Several members have scary and ugly faces, but a good heart behind it, the most prominent being Gonzales.
- Gonk: Both classes tend to have grotesque appearances, though pirates are comparatively more likely to be handsome such as the rugged Geese in Binding Blade.
- Glass Cannon: The Pirate/Brigand/Barbarians and Berserkers have good speed on top of their massive strength, but have even worse defense than the Fighter and Warrior, and are almost always more inaccurate as well.
- Fates Berserkers are much riskier, as while they gain +20 critical rate, the highest critical rate gain in the game, they lose -5 critical avoid (the only class which has a negative boost), which makes enemies score critical hits more easily on them.
- Gonk: Even moreso than Fighters. Due to the vast majority of them being enemies, they tend to be among the ugliest characters that players will cross paths with. Even playable Brigands like Gonzalez aren't saved from this.
- The Goomba: Brigands or Pirates are almost always the first opponents of the game, starting all the way to the first game. Unlike most examples, Brigands/Pirates have good HP and Strength, and their ability to climb "peak" terrain (and gain immense defense/evasion bonuses) might make them very difficult to take down, but their inability to hit spells their doom. The ones in Gaiden have weak stats all around.
- Horns of Barbarism: Like Warriors, most portrayals of Berserkers have them wear horned helmets.
- Irony: Berserkers come with a passive critical hit chance, but often possess an atrocious Skill stat (which governs a character's chances of a Critical Hit). The former works almost like a compensation for the latter, as it guarantees that they still possess a fair chance of landing a Critical Hit even if they can't reliably strike their enemies.
- Nemean Skinning: Berserkers in Path of Radiance wear wolf skins. Berserkers in Fates also wear wolf pelts under their armor.
- Paper Tiger: Enemy Brigands and Pirates, whose mighty Strength and HP pools are undermined by every other stat, including Skill, which prevents them from hitting player characters at all. This cements them as The Goomba, in spite of their fearsome look. Averted with Berserkers, whom are dangerous with their passive Critical Hit chance.
- Roar Before Beating: The critical hits of Brigands in the GBA games. Berserkers do this when Colossus is activated in Path of Radiance.
- Status Buff: Brigands in Three Houses gain Death Blow upon mastering the class. It is more similar to Heroes iteration of Death Blow, which increases strength when initiating the attack.
- Truth in Television: Pirates and Berserkers can swim with axes in hand. This is surprisingly feasible with certain types of real-life axes: wooden handles give the axe buoyancy, while bearded axe heads can be used as a makeshift paddle.
- Turning Red: Berserkers in Awakening can get the Wrath skill, which increases their critical rate when under half of their max HP.
- Unique Enemy: There's a class called "Corsair" that appears in one chapter of Blazing Blade (on one route of a path split, no less) that is essentially a re-skinned Pirate.
- There is a "Berserker" in Mystery of the Emblem, except it was just a renamed Hero and only existed in one chapternote . In the remake, the "Berserker" was replaced by a Swordmaster.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Their stats are much more exaggerated than the Fighter's, typically higher HP, Strength and Speed but even lower Skill and defenses (which is funny, considering that critical hits are a huge part of the Berserker's shtick). Averted in Fates, where Berserkers have decent Skill by Fates standards.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Often applies, especially with Berserkers.
- Warm-Up Boss: Typically, most of the early-game bosses are Brigands and many Lords often use swords, allowing them to easily defeat the bosses.
- Weapon of Choice: The Killer Axe adds to the passive Critical Hit chance of Berserkers, and is just light enough that they can wield it without any penalties to Skill or Speed.
Lightly armored soldiers wielding bows. Archers don't have much in the way of defense or other related stats, but that's the thing that's not why they exist. They're supposed to take down the enemy from afar using their bows, and if you're throwing them into the thick of things, you're doing it wrong. They Class Change into the Sniper class, then again to the Bow Knight class in Gaiden or the Marksman class in Radiant Dawn.
Also introduced alongside Archers are the Hunter class, exclusive to the Archanea games and as an enemy-exclusive class in the Jugdral games. Hunters are shady bowmen with higher speed but lower defense and who have the ability to traverse forest terrain easier; they Class Change to Horsemannote , the mounted, near-identical progenitor of an endless line of bow-and-sword-using mounted classes like the Ranger, Bow Knight, and Nomadic Trooper. The DS remakes allow Horsemen to wield swords in addition to bows.
In Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776, Archers are demoted into a mook class, and replaced by Bow Fighters who fulfill the same role.
Exclusive to The Binding Blade and The Blazing Blade are the Nomad class, which is basically a Bow Knight endemic to Sacae, a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of various Eurasian steppe tribes, making them quite distinct from the knightly and European-esque Cavaliers. Like Hunters, they have no movement restrictions in forest terrain. They class change into the Nomadic Trooper, where they can use swords as a secondary weapon.
In The Sacred Stones and Awakening, they can alternatively choose to Class Change into Ranger and Bow Knight respectively, gaining the ability to wield Bow and Sword, in Accord as well.
In Fates, Archers can Class Change to the Sniper class or branch into the flying mounted Kinshi Knight class. It also got a slower-but-stronger variant named the Apothecary, which can Class Change into Merchant (gains use of lances in addition to bows) or Mechanist (see the below class category) classes respectively.
- Achilles' Heel: Whether or not mounted archers are affected by Horse-slaying weapons varies by game. The only ones with a clear reason to not get this weakness are Mechanists, because their mounts are artificial.
- Always Accurate Attack: Deadeye/Sure Strike, the Sniper and Marksman's mastery skill. It's a bit of a Power-Up Letdown, in that by the point they have access to it, a Sniper/Marksman will have such high Skill that they don't need an accuracy boost. Skills like Hit Rate +20 (which increases hit rate by 20) and Certain Blow (increasing hit rate by 40 when the user attacks first) were more useful in Awakening and Fates, as they allow units to dip into other classes for their skills.
- Always Male: Archers in Echoes is locked to males so Faye and female units that used the Pitchfork cannot get access to it.
- Anti-Air: The role they excel greatly at is punishing enemy fliers that try to rush into their territory with their high movement range.
- Archer Archetype: Archers are far-ranged combatants who could pick off any foe from a distance but require buffers so that they won't be attacked from close-range. In addition, archers have high skill so that they hit their target most of the time.
- Blade on a Stick: Bow Knights in Three Houses wield lances as well as bows.
- Cast from Money: Merchants get Spendthrift, a skill that increases the damage they deal and reduces the damage they take at the cost of a Gold Bar in the user's inventory.
- Crippling Overspecialisation: By design, they can only attack over distances, and as such are incapable of retaliation when attacked at close-quarters.
- Some games tried to alleviate this. In Gaiden, they are allowed to perform regular attacks and counters at melee range, while in Radiant Dawn, crossbowsnote and the Double Bow can be used both in close-quarters and over a distancenote . Three Houses grants Close Counter for those with C rank in bows.
- For this reason, Archers and Snipers functioning as bosses are extremely rare; one of the few, in Radiant Dawn, wields a crossbow. On other occasions, such as in Blazing Blade, they're bosses in siege maps with lots of walls and a need for the player to stay put while the enemy comes to them. In the Conquest route of Fates, Takumi, a Sniper, is fought several times with Point Blank (which allows user to attack at 1 range with bows), while other enemy archers can carry 1-2 range bows that are enemy-only, especially in harder difficulties. As the final boss in the Conquest campaign, Takumi wields a bow that can hit from 1-4 range.
- Critical Hit Class: Snipers in the Tellius games and Fates gain a critical boost, while the latter also increases hit rate.
- Critical Status Buff: Bow Knights in Three Houses gain Defiant Speed, a skill that boosts speed by 8 while under 25% HP, upon mastering the class.
- Demoted to Extra: Archers are an enemy-exclusive Mook class in Thracia 776. Bow Fighter, however, fulfills the same role, and class changes to Sniper.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- In Gaiden, Archers start with 1-3 range, and can improve it even further by class change or using a non-basic bow, reaching a maximum of 5 spaces. To make up for this, Bows usually have a low hit rate and the playable Archers also tend to have poorer stats.
- In Thracia 776, Archers are a Mook class with terrible stats, while Bow Fighters are the playable class that class changes into Sniper.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: Bow Knights can move again with their remaining movement after performing an action (including attacking) in the Jugdral and Tellius games and Three Houses. In the GBA games, they can only move again if they use a non-attacking command.
- Horse Archer: The Bow Knight and its variants, the Nomad and the Ranger, get to shoot from horseback. Games featuring branched promotions usually will have this as an alternative to the Sniper, who makes up for the lower mobility with higher stat caps and the ability to use Siege Engines.
- Long-Range Fighter: Archers and Snipers can only attack from range and are defenseless in close quarters. Exceptions include Gaiden (where archers can attack both in melee and from extreme range), crossbows and the Double Bow in Radiant Dawn, various special bows and yumis in Fates, and archers with the Point Blank skillnote and Close Counternote .
- Echoes and Three Houses give Archers and Snipers Bow Range +1 as a class skill, while Bow Knights get Bow Range +2. This means that they will always outrange any units (except for magic units wielding extreme-range spells such as Meteor), avoiding being counter attacked by other ranged options like Javelins, magic, or non-Archer bow units.
- In Radiant Dawn and Three Houses, bows lose accuracy when they attack units from a very far distance. As archers in those games can potentially have longer range than 2, they'll receive a massive accuracy reduction from said further distances. Three Houses, however, compensated with Archers getting Hit Rate +20 upon mastering their class.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: They generally have well-balanced stats, albeit with an emphasis on Skill to complement the high hit rate of bows.
- Master Archer: Snipers are seasoned archers known for their high marksmanship. Snipers in Awakening and Fates gain Bowfaire, which boosts their damage output for wielding bows. Snipers and Bow Knights in Three Houses also gain Bowfaire as a class skill.
- Mechanically Unusual Class: The Apothecary and Merchant are very gimmicky classes. Their stat build makes them Mighty Glacier compared to Snipers and their skills are based on their profession. The Apothecary's skills, Potent Potion and Quick Salve, increases the effectiveness of vulneraries and tonics, and allow the unit to perform another action after using such items, respectively. And the Merchant's skills, Profiteer and Spendthrift, gives them a Gold Bar based on their Luck stat and allow them to spend them to increase their attack and defense, respectively.
- Mooks: The role of Archers in Thracia 776 is weak enemy soldiers while Bow Fighters take their playable spot.
- No "Arc" in "Archery": Until Shadows of Valentia, no Fire Emblem game depicted archers or other bow users as arcing their shot. Could be considered a subversion, however, in that generally units are too close for arcing to be needed: the ballista users, who do fire at that kind of range, are generally shown firing at an angle. In addition, since arrows can be shot over walls in all games, one can only assume that, while it's not shown in the animation, their shots are being arced there.
- Secret Art: Snipers in Three Houses get Hunter's Volley, a mastery Combat Art exclusive to them. It allows them to strike twice consecutively with an increased chance to deal critical hits.
- Siege Engines: In several games, usually when Ballisticans are absent, there are ballistae and similar weapons on the field in certain maps which only archers can use. In Fates, anybody who can use bows can use these map ballistae, and other siege weapons are available to units with other weapons.
- Status Buff: Bow Knights in Awakening and Fates gain Rally Skill, which gives a boost to skill to allies when commanded.
- Weak, but Skilled: Bows are usually much weaker than other weapons, but make up for it with very high hit rates. Averted in Gaiden and its remake, where they have very low hit rate to balance out their massive range, and Fates where they received a massive buff to their might, only beaten by axes, while still remaining fairly accurate.
Ballistician (Shooter) and Mechanist
Ballisticians are a class which appears mainly in the Archanea and Jugdral canon. This class exclusively uses Siege Engines, an ability which in other games is available just to Archers (who can temporarily make use of siege engines that are available in certain maps, and generally restricted to certain areas due to having their movement stifled by advanced terrain such as forests).
In the Archanea titles, Ballistician is a playable class that can use a wide variety of different ballistas to bombard opponents from afar. In the Jugdral games, Ballisticians are split into weapon specific variants that each only wield the ballista they are named after (such as killer Ballisticans only using a killer ballista). All these variants are immobile and enemy exclusive.
Ballisticians reappear in Fates as a male-only DLC class, riding in what is essentially a medieval tank.
Mechanists are a class introduced in Fates, serving as a class change option for Ninja and Apothecary. They are archers riding on a puppet mount that are able to use shuriken in addition to bows. Mechanists also have the strange ability to duplicate themselves, somewhat similar to a Summoner, except that the duplicate is a direct extension of the Mechanist rather than a separate unit.
- Crippling Overspecialisation: Ballisticians are unable to counterattack at all in all but the NES version of Shadow Dragon and Fates.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first incarnation of Ballisticians in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light have the same attack range as archers, but with more bulk, making them essentially Bow Armors with exclusive weapons.
- Long-Range Fighter: Ballisticians are an exaggerated version of this, as they can attack from 3-9 squares in a game where other ranged units have 2 range.
- Marionette Master: The Mechanist rides a Karakuri and use barely visible strings to make them both move and fire projectiles from their mouth.
- Self-Duplication: The Mechanist class has the Replicate skill, which creates a completely identical clone of the user. Both units affect each other, like sharing the same HP and the same equipped weapon; should one die, the other will disappear as well.
- Siege Engines: While other classes can use ballistae and similar weapons, Ballisticians and Mechanists are always using a siege engine. The Ballistician class in Fates ride in their own personal medieval "tank", which functions as a mobile ballista.
- Tank Goodness: The Ballistician in Fates' rides a giant wooden tank that fires arrows.
The basic offensive magic class, dealing in the three "anima", or nature, magic types. Mages almost always Class Change into the Sage class, and in Radiant Dawn, go further to the third-tier Arch Sage class (which also exists in The Blazing Blade as the exclusive class of Athos). The Sacred Stones also allows Mages to Class Change into the mounted Mage Knight class. In the original Archanea games, Mages Class Change into Bishops like every other magic user; the Sage class was implemented in the remakes.
The Jugdral games and Radiant Dawnnote split the Mage class into three variant classes, each specializing in one of the three anima magic types: the Fire Mage, Wind Mage, and Thunder Mage. In Radiant Dawn, they class change into similarly split Sage variants; in the Jugdral games, all four variants class change into one of two other advanced classes: the Mage Fighter and Mage Knight, which are generally identical in that both wield swords alongside three anima magic types, differing only in that the Mage Knight rides a horse and the Mage Fighter stays on foot. Female Mage Fighters can can also use staves.
In Sacred Stones, they can choose to class change into Mage Knight, but unlike the Jugdral version, this particular Mage Knight can only use magic and staves, making them more similar to the Valkyrie class. In Awakening, they can instead choose to class change into a class similar to the Jugdral one: the Dark Knight. In Fates, Mages are called Diviners, which class change into Onmyoji, which can use tomes and staves, like Sages, or into the Basara class, a Magic Knight class that uses tomes and lances. Female Mages in Gaiden and Shadows of Valentia do not Class Change into Sage; they Class Change to Priestess instead, who are capable of using swords alongside their magic.
Related is the Bardnote , a class exclusive to the Jugdral games which wields all three types of Anima Magic and Light Magic and also class changes to Sage, and the enemy-exclusive Queen class which can use all three types of Anima Magic and Staves. Also related is the Empress class, exclusive to Sanaki in Radiant Dawn, which also can wield all three types of Anima Magic and Light Magic, but does not class change to or from anythingnote .
- Adaptation Name Change: Sages in Three Houses are called Warlocks.
- Armor-Piercing Attack: The Archsage's skill Flare negates enemy resistance before dealing damage.
- Badass Cape: Most Mages wear capes, with the occasional hood attached to it.
- Black Mage: They usually have access to all three types of offensive elemental magic, and depending on the character they tend to specialize in one. Once they class change, they normally become Red Mages. The high-tier mages (Sage, Onmyoji, Warlock) gain (Black) Tomefaire as a skill. (Note that Black Tomefaire only affects non-dark magic; the dark equivalent is called Dark Tomefaire.)
- Blow You Away: They can use wind magic. The basic Wind tome is sometimes among a lower-level mage's starting tomes; depending on the character, it may be substituted with the basic Thunder tome.
- Cast from Hit Points: Mages in Gaiden use their HP to cast spells due to the game having no weapon durability.
- Combat Medic: Sages can wield staves to heal allies.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In the original Archanea games both Mages and Clerics class change into Bishops. Gaiden introduces the Sage class as an advance form for Mages which stays in most future games, including the Archanea remakes.
- Experience Booster: Diviners get the Future Sight Skill, where the user has a chance (based on their Luck stat) to gain double the EXP value after initiating a battle and defeating an enemy.
- Fire, Ice, Lightning: Mages have access to the three "anima" classes of magic fire, thunder, and wind. The Archanea, GBA games, DS games, and Three Houses lump them into one magic type, whereas Jugdral and Tellius split them into three separate types.
- Fixed Damage Attack: Due to Early Installment Weirdness, magic only deal as much damage based on the spell's might since magic cannot be improved by strength and unit's resistance is a flat 0 for both you and the enemy, unless you use the Barrier staff, a rare Talisman, or is Gotoh.
- Geo Effects: With the exception of Gaiden and Genealogy of the Holy War, Mages can traverse through deserts without any problem.
- Glass Cannon: In the GBA games, where their Defense cap, and especially their Resistance cap, are lower than the Bishop. However, outside of Sacred Stones (where you can grind for stat boosters to reach their caps), you will not see this often.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: Mage Knights in the Jugdral games can attack and move with their remaining movement. Mage Knights in Sacred Stones can only move again if they use a non-attacking command.
- Holy Hand Grenade: In the Archanea games, all magic types (staves aside) are one and the same, meaning that Mages also wield ostensibly "light" and "dark" tomes like Starlight and Swarm. Sages in Sacred Stones also learn light magic naturally and can be taught dark magic by exploiting a bug in the game.
- An Ice Person: Several games had ice-based spells, like Blizzard and Fimbulvetr. Some were either in games where tomes and magic are not divided into groups, like the Archanea games, Fates, and Three Houses, or are part of the Anima or Wind magic in other games, like the GBA and Tellius games.
- In the Hood: Mages typically wear hooded cloaks if they're not wearing hats.
- Knife Nut: In Path of Radiance, Sages can choose knives instead of staves.
- Life Drain: The Arch Sage's mastery skill, Flare.
- Magic Knight: Gaiden's Priestesses as well as Jugdral's Mage Knights and Mage Fighters are capable of using swords and magic. Mage Knights from The Sacred Stones doesn't fall under this trope however, as it is just a mounted mage and doesn't use physical weapons. Path of Radiance grants Sages the ability to wield knives instead of staves. Awakening also features the Dark Knight, which is similar to the Jugdral Mage Knight, while Fates features the Basara, which wields lances in addition to tomes.
- Playing with Fire: They can use fire magic; the basic Fire spell is normally among a lower-level mage's starting tomes.
- Red Mage: Typically, after class change, being able to attack and heal. The exception is usually if you class change to a Magic Knight class.
- Robe and Wizard Hat: Awakening forsakes the tradition of hooded capes for Mages in favor of some enormous wizard hats. The Warlocks in Three Houses also wear very enormous wizard hats.
- Shock and Awe: They can use thunder magic. The basic Thunder tome is sometimes among a lower-level mage's starting tomes; depending on the character, it may be substituted with the basic Wind tome.
- Squishy Wizard: Mages and Sages are very frail physically, making them unsuitable for the very front lines against physically-oriented armies, and they generally have lower Resistance than Monks and Bishops and Dark Mages/Shamans and Sorcerers/Dark Bishops/Druids, making them the Glass Cannon to the light magic classes' Stone Wallnote and the dark magic classes' Mighty Glacier. Averted with Dark Knights, who have Defense as their highest stat.
- Status Buff:
- Sages in Awakening and Onmyoji in Fates gain Rally Magic, which gives a boost to magic to allies when commanded.
- Mages in Three Houses gain Fiendish Blow upon mastering the class, which increases their magic by 6 when initiating the attack.
One of two medic classes, Priests only wield magical staves which can heal allies, inflict status effects on enemies, teleport allies, grant Status Buffs, or serve other utility functions (such as repairing weapons, opening doors, or expanding vision in Fog of War). The class can be either gender, but some games split female Priests into the separate but otherwise identical Cleric class. In Shadow Dragon, male priests are instead known as Curates. Priests and Clerics both class change into the Bishop class, whereupon they gain access to offensive Light magic; in Gaiden and Radiant Dawn, their final form is the Saint class. In Sacred Stones, they can also class change to either Sage (for priests) or Valkyrie (for Clerics). In Awakening, Clerics and Priests can instead choose to class change into War Cleric/Monk, which gives them the use of axes, or the Sage class, which gives them the use of magic tomes.
In the Tellius games, the Cleric variant is exclusive to Mist. She is generally identical to normal Priests (which still exist), but does not have the association with religion, and in Radiant Dawn can also use swords. She class changes to the Valkyrie class, which in Path of Radiance allows her to use swords as well. In Fates, the class is again split up by gender and are referred to as Monks and Shrine Maidens. Both class change into the Onmyoji class, similar to Sages, but their branch class is determined by gender; Monks can class change into Great Master, which uses staves and lances, and Shrine Maidens can class change into the Priestess classnote , which uses staves and bows instead.
Related is the Monk class, an offensive magic class exclusive to male characters in The Blazing Blade and The Sacred Stones which uses light magic; they also class change into Bishops (and branch to Sages in The Sacred Stones), and so are considered part of this class tree. Also related is the Light Mage and its advance classesnote , which is Micaiah's Lord class in Radiant Dawn, and the Light Priestess (Shaman)note , Deirdre's and Julia's class in Genealogy (which class changes to Sage), as well as Micaiah's personal third-tier class in Radiant Dawnnote . Also related is the Chancellor class of the Tellius games (which uses dark magic in addition to light magic and staves), which is exclusive to Sephiran/Lehran.
- Always Female:
- Oddly, Echoes is the only game where only females can become Cleric (no, there is no Priest class line for males).
- Mystery of the Emblem also made the Priest line exclusively female. Not only are all of the basic healers Clerics, but also Wrys was removed from the game. Anytime the game would include enemy healers, they would always be Bishops but with no weapons.
- Attack Reflector: The Great Master and Priestess learn Countermagic, which is a magical counterpart of the Counter skill. The key difference is that Countermagic reflects all type of magical damage and range isn't factored into the skill, unlike Counter requiring an adjacent enemy to attack.
- An Axe to Grind: The War Monk/Cleric gain axes as their secondary weapon. Because of their high magic, they can take advantage of the Bolt Axe.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: The War Monk/Cleric class in Three Houses specializes in brawling. War Monk/Cleric gains Brawl Avoid +20, which increases their avoid when equipping brawling weapons, upon mastering the class, as well as Unarmed Combat (which is the only way for female units to get the skill due to Unarmed Combat otherwise belonging to the exclusively male Brawler and Grappler classes).
- Cast from Hit Points: Like Mages, they use HP to use white magic in Gaiden. Thankfully, they have Nosferatu to compensate for their limited supply, but it has a low hit rate, so they may not hit as well.
- Combat Medic: Upon class change, Clerics and Priests gain offensive light magic, or have it from the start for Shamans in Genealogy. For GBA Monks and Tellius Light Mages, it's the other way around they start out with access to offensive light magic, and only gain access to healing/status/utility staves when they class change.
- Distaff Counterpart: Besides the name, the Priest (or Curate in the Archanea games) and Cleric classes are practically alike. Monks and Shrine Maiden in Fates are similar to each other and although Great Master and Priestess share Renewal and Countermagic as learnable skills, Great Master focuses on physical combat and lances while Priestess focuses on healing and bow. The only time the class shares the same name regardless of gender is the Jugdral games and Three Houses as Priest.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- Staves do not give them experience in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Gaiden, meaning that it is difficult to even train them. In the first game's case, in order for them to gain experience, they must get attacked (and survive), which is not something you want to try to do due to their Squishy Wizard stats.
- Also oddly, in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Priests are slowed down by deserts unlike Mages, as though they were not magic units.
- Geo Effects: Like Mages, Priests can traverse through deserts without any difficulties.
- Good Hurts Evil: Light magic has often been associated with destroying monsters. In Sacred Stones, the Bishop has Slayer which allows light magic to deal effective damage against monsters, while in Gaiden and Three Houses, a light spell gained from learning Faith, Seraphim, inherently deals effective damage against Demonic Beasts and similar units.
- Healing Factor: Renewal allows them to regenerate 30% of their max HP at the start of each turn in Awakening and Fates, and 20% in Three Houses.
- Healer Signs On Early: You typically get a Priest/Cleric either at the start of the game or a few chapters in the early part.
- Holy Hand Grenade: In Thracia 776, the GBA games, the Tellius games, and Three Houses, the Bishop or the Monk class specializes in Light magic.
- Kamehame Hadoken: War Monks/Clerics in Three Houses learn the Pneuma Gale combat art upon mastering the class. It deals magic damage and can attack at 1 or 2 range.
- Last Chance Hit Point: The Miracle skill, which allows the user to survive a hit that would be fatal to them as long as they have more than 1 HP left. Its activation rate depends on the user's Luck stat.
- Life Drain: In games where Nosferatu is classified as Light magic, it is naturally usable by this class family. It absorbs the enemy's HP, damaging them in the process.
- Light Is Good: Light magic comes from Faith and is extra effective against dark magic.
- Light Is Not Good: In all games, Light magic can be used by the enemies, including very evil characters such as Riev and Lekain. This is most prominent in Radiant Dawn, in which the major villain force all use light magic.
- Light 'em Up: Tend to be the only light magic users in most games.
- Magically Inept Fighter: Downplayed for the War Monk/Cleric in Three Houses; they can use magic, but to a limited degree compared to other magic users of comparable tiering, likely because they specialize in at least two other physical weapons somewhat more than they do magic. Along with Trickster, they are the only magic-using classes besides Noble and Commoner with this distinction.
- The Medic: They're mainly used to heal weakened units.
- Miko: The Hoshido version of the Cleric, which is called Shrine Maiden. When class changed, they can use bows.
- Red Mage: Typically, after class change, being able to cast offensive spells and heal. The exception is if you class change them into War Monk/Cleric.
- Religion Is Magic: Light magic, at any rate. In most canons, light magic has a strong association with the dominant religion of the world (which more often than not has some connection with one of the world's legendary heroes who also used light magic). Light-wielding units not affiliated with the clergy are rare, with Micaiah being the only one in Tellius. Discussed by Knoll and Natasha in The Sacred Stones, pondering the differences between the roots of their magic of choice (light/religion for Natasha, dark/knowledge for Knoll).
- Simple Staff: Normally, they don't have offensive use in line with this trope, but Radiant Dawn allowed staff-wielding units to use them to strike back when attacked. Some staffs have a 100% critical rate, but almost no-one has the strength to actually deal any damage in such a situation.
- Sinister Minister: Bishops who support the enemy, are morally questionable, or are outright evil and heretical are a recurring feature throughout the franchise the most prominent examples are Gharnefnote , Riev, Oliver, and Lekain.
- Squishy Wizard: Significantly more so than the Mage line, as they have terrible Defense, but they tend to have the best Resistance of the magical classes (making them magical Stone Walls in contrast to the tendency of Mages to be Glass Cannons and Dark Mages to be Mighty Glaciers. This is technically averted by the War Monk/Cleric class in Awakening and Three Houses, as that class is physically-offensive in nature and therefore is significantly more robust, but the characters that class change into it by default in the former title tend to fall into this anyway by virtue of rather poor Strength and Defense growths.
- Status Buff: War Monks/Clerics in Awakening gain Rally Luck, which gives a boost to luck to allies when commanded. Monks/Shrine Maidens in Fates gain the skill earlier.
- Support Party Member: Before they class change, Curates and Clerics can do nothing but heal or grant status buffs with staves. Inverted with the Monk class in earler titles, which can attack with light magic, but cannot heal until they class change to Bishop.
- Warrior Monk: The War Monks/Clerics in Awakening and Three Houses, and the Great Masters/Priestesses in Fates. They use physical weapons alongside staves instead of offensive magic (or limited magic in general for Three Houses).
- White Mage: They're frequently female (though some of them are male-but-effeminate; examples include Libra, Rhys, and Lucius).
- White Magician Girl: Early Clerics (often called "Sisters") in the series were almost exclusively kind women in white dresses. Later games gave more variety.
A somewhat uncommon offensive magic class, Dark Mages (also known as Shamans in the Game Boy Advance titles The Binding Blade, The Blazing Blade, and The Sacred Stones) are a slower, somewhat bulkier counterpart to Mages that debuted in Mystery of the Emblem. They specialize in Dark magic, which is usually exclusive to them, but are also sometimes capable of using Anima magic. Originally an enemy-only class, Dark Mages became playable on a semi-recurring basis starting in Thracia 776.
Dark Mages usually Class Change to Sorcerer (Druid in the GBA titles and Radiant Dawn), while in Genealogy of the Holy War and Three Houses, they can become Dark Bishop (only accessible in Three Houses). They can also become the Summoner class in The Sacred Stones, giving them the ability to wield staves and granting access to Summon Magic. In Awakening and Fates, they can potentially Class Change into Dark Knight, which allows them use of swords and grants them a mount at the cost of losing their ability to use Dark magic (though their ability to use Anima magic remains intact).
In Gaiden and its remake, Shadows of Valentia, an enemy-only variant of the class appears, called the Arcanistnote ; this class belongs to people who have sacrificed themselves to Duma in exchange for powerful dark magic. It also has a male-only variant, called the Cantor, which is capable of conjuring forth many types of monsters, though what type of monsters are summoned is dependent on the Cantor in question.
Related is the Dark Sage, a second-tier classnote which also wields thunder magic, exclusive to King Pelleas in Radiant Dawn; it Class Changes into a variant of the Arch Sage. Also related are the villain-exclusive dark spellcasting classes: Dark Prince Julius from Genealogy of the Holy War, Dark Druid Nergal from The Blazing Blade, Necromancer Lyon from The Sacred Stones, and Agastya, a class exclusive to Thales in Three Houses. A Dark Knight variant also appears in Three Houses in the form of the Death Knight, exclusive to the character with the same name as the class.
This class is not to be confused with the Shaman class of Genealogy, which is a light-wielding class exclusive to Deirdre and Julia, or with the third-tier Light Priestess class, which was called "Shaman" in the original Japanese version of Radiant Dawn.
- Always Male: Dark Mages and Dark Bishops in Three Houses are male-only.
- Armor-Piercing Attack: The Luna spell in Blazing Blade, Sacred Stones, and Three Houses negates the enemy's resistance at the cost of fully requiring the unit's magic stat to be high in order to be effective, as the spell has minimal to no intrinsic might of its own (making it outclassed by literally any other dark tome when being used on enemies with low resistance, but absolutely invaluable to the point of being a Game-Breaker against enemies with high resistance). Glower in New Mystery of the Emblem negates resistance instead of inflicting HP to 1.
- Black Knight: The Dark Knight class, which is basically a new version of Mage Knight.
- Blade on a Stick: Dark Knights in Three Houses mainly focus on lances instead of swords, although they can still wield the latter.
- Casting a Shadow: Dark magic is essentially this. Also, while they have often been portrayed as the magical equivalent to axesnote , dark magic in the GBA games and in Awakening and Three Houses have effects on their general weaponsnote that other magic will never have. Dark Knights in Three Houses gain Dark Tomefaire as a class skill, though they also gain Black Tomefaire as well.
- Cool Helmet: Dark Knights typically wear menacing-looking helmets. Awakening gives them a visor that resembles the Fell Dragon Grima, Fates gives them skull-faced helmets, and Three Houses features a four-horned demon on theirs.
- Cool Mask: Dark Mages and Dark Bishops in Three Houses wear crow masks modelled after plague doctors.
- Critical Hit Class: In Fates, Sorcerors have a small critical hit bonus.
- Critical Status Buff: The Vengeance skill, which increases the user's damage based on half of the user's missing HP, making it very powerful when the user is nearly dead. It also has the highest activation rate at Skill x2 (x1.5 in Fates), so it is easy for it to activate.
- Damage-Increasing Debuff: The mastery skill for Dark Knights in Three Houses is Seal Resisitance, which inflicts -6 Resistance to the enemy after combat if they attack and damage them during combat.
- Dark Is Evil: Commonly, the Dark Mage is used as an enemy-only class, like in Gaiden, Mystery of the Emblem, Genealogy of the Holy War, and Thracia 776, and many antagonists in the series are of the Evil Sorcerer-type. Even in games where Dark Mages are playable, there is rarely more than one playable Dark Mage (Binding Blade, Awakening, and Fates are the only exceptions), while the enemy faction will have no short supply of Dark Mages. In addition, the playable Dark Mages in Awakening are creepy Token Evil Teammates.
- Dark Is Not Evil: And Canas will make a point of reminding you of that fact. However, Dark magic users still tend to be major enemies in several games in the series nonetheless. Gaiden, both Jugdral games, Awakening, and Three Houses feature an evil magic cult as one of the main antagonist factions. Furthermore, even if it's not inherently evil, dark magic is frequently hazardous to its users in-universe if used improperly (as Canas's brothers and Brammimond could attest to if they weren't Empty Shells).
- Deal with the Devil: Often, to gain the ability to use dark magic, particularly if it's of the powerful kind, the user has to sacrifice something in return, often with severe consequences.
- Discard and Draw:
- Dark Mages promoting into Dark Knights gain the ability to use Swords, as well as gaining a horse mount for mobility, at the cost of (ironically) no longer able to use dark tomes.
- Compared to the Dark Knight, the Death Knight in Three Houses emphasizes more on its Lance rank, swapping out Black and Dark Tomefaire for Lancefaire. Mastering this class grants Counterattack (allows the user to counterattack regardless of range), further encouraging the usage of melee weapons.
- Expy: Dark Druid Nergal and Necromancer Lyon's classes are based upon the Druid and Summoner classes, respectively, but more powerful. Dark Druid also serves as an expy and foil to Athos's Archsage class.
- Gathering Steam: Dark Knight in Awakening has the skill Slow Burn, which gives them hit and avoid after a turn has pass, up to 15.
- High Collar of Doom: Dark Knights have these to add to their menacing appearances.
- HP to 1: Several dark magic across the series can cause this effect (sometimes from a very long range) namely Medusa, Dulam, Hel, Eclipse, and Bohr X. With the exception of Eclipse in Binding Blade (it was changed to a Percent Damage Attack for the rest of the GBA games), these spells are exclusive to the enemy.
- In the Hood: Almost every similar unit wears a heavy hood completely obscuring their face.
- Life Drain:
- In the games where Nosferatu isn't Light magic, Dark Mages are instead able to wield it, enabling them to absorb their enemies' HP.
- Dark Knights in Awakening and Fates and Dark Bishops in Three Houses get Lifetaker, which heals 50% of their HP after defeating an enemy.
- Mighty Glacier: Dark Mages are significantly slower than Mages and have worse Skill, but generally have relatively equal magical attack and much better defense. Technically averted by Dark Mages in Fates, where the class is basically just the Nohrian counterpart to the Diviner, itself an Expy of the standard Mage, with the added ability of wielding the game's sole dark magic tome, Nosferatu.
- Nonindicative Name: Despite their name and appearance, Dark Knights are not actually capable of using dark magic unless they have the Shadowgift skill, instead being just another name for the Mage Knight. The only exception to this might be Leo, as his Brynhildr tome is stated to be dark magic, although he still can't use Nosferatu unless he reclasses into a Sorcerer. Finally remedied in Three Houses where Dark Knights has Dark Tomefaire as their class skill and dark magic is based on character instead of being restricted to the class itself.
- Poisoned Weapon:
- Jormungand in Thracia 776 inflicts the target with the poison status, but only when used by enemies.
- Dark Mages in Three Houses learn Poison Strike upon mastering the class.
- Power of the Void:
- Apocalypse, one of the Divine Weapons of Elibe, emits a rune which summons a black hole.
- Ginnungagap in Fates, where the spell covers the enemy in a black vortex, then suffocates them with a blinding light.
- Red Mage: Typically, after class change, being able to attack and heal. The exception is if a Dark Mage class changes into the Dark Knight class. Done weirdly with the Sorcerer from Awakening onward, who gets to use Black Magic in addition to normal magic, but cannot use healing staves to differentiate themselves from Sages.
- Shoulders of Doom: The pauldrons of the Dark Knights in Three Houses are not only large, but have large intimidating spikes on each of them.
- Stripperiffic: Dark Mages and Sorcerers in Awakening and Fates wear some of the most revealing and downright skimpy outfits in the entire series.
- Summon Magic: The Cantor, Summoner, and the Necromancer can summon units to fight for them.
- Status Ailment: Seal Magic, which reduces the enemy's magic, is available to Dark Knights in Fates. In Three Houses, they instead learn Seal Resistance, and in Maddening Mode, enemy Dark Mages have Seal Strength by default.
- Status Buff: Dark Bishops in Three Houses gain Fiendish Blow as a class skill, which increases their magic by 6 when initiating the attack. However, you cannot stack Fiendish Blow with another instance from mastering Mage, as the skill will just remove itself when two similar skills are included.
- Unique Enemy:
- Inverted in Sacred Stones, as you never encounter enemy Summoners. In addition, Necromancers (read: Lyon) never use their summon ability as enemies, while they can summon Phantoms in the player's hands.
- Zigzagged with Radiant Dawn, as there are enemy-only Druids that appear sporadically in the game, usually Part 3 and 4. However, you can get Pelleas as one of two potential Dark Mages (that can only be playable in a second playthrough), though Pelleas is still of a separate class line from the Druidnote .
- Zigzagged with the DS remakes, as while Etzel is a playable Sorcerer (the advanced version of Dark Mage), you never encounter a playable Dark Mage without reclassing one of your units. In addition, in Shadow Dragon, you never encounter any enemy Dark Mages outside of side chapters, besides Gharnef.
A female-exclusive White Mage class introduced in Genealogy of the Holy War which makes occasional, if inconsistent, appearances. The Troubadour is basically the mounted equivalent of the Priest with slightly lower stats to compensate for having higher movement.
The Troubadour class is one of the most variable in the series in terms of Class Change progression and weaponry. In most games, they wield only staves and start off purely as a support class, but they additionally wield swords in Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776. They normally Class Change into the Valkyrie like the Priest, which turns them into a Combat Medic that gains the ability to use offensive magic (Anima or Light depending on the game) in every game except Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn; in those games, where the class is exclusive to Mist, Valkyrie gains the ability to use swords. In Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776, Troubadour instead Class Changes into Paladin (not to be confused with the normal Paladin) and gains the ability to wield lances alongside swords and staves.
In The Sacred Stones, they can choose to Class Change into the Mage Knightnote , which is effectively a Valkyrie that uses Anima magic instead of Light magicnote . In Awakening, they can instead choose to discard their mount and Class Change into War Cleric, which gains the use of axes. In Fates, Troubadours are unisexualnote . They Class Change into the Strategist class (effectively the Valkyrie with a different name to reflect the fact that they're no longer Always Female) or branch into the Maid/Butler class, which substitutes offensive magic for knives/shuriken, ditches the horse, and has the best staff rank in the game. In Three Houses, the Troubadour class itself is absent, but the master class, Holy Knight, is reminiscent of The Sacred Stones' Valkyries and Jugdral Paladins. They specialize in Faith, Lances, and Riding. The Valkyrie class would later reappear in the game as part of the Wave 4 DLC, specializing in both Black and Dark magic alongside Riding.
- Achilles' Heel: Like Cavaliers, they are vulnerable to Horse-slaying weapons except in Binding Blade and Path of Radiance, where they are unaffected by Horse-slaying weapons, presumably due to an oversight.
- Always Accurate Attack: Valkryies in Three Houses gain Uncanny Blow upon mastering the class. It gives 30 extra hit when attacking.
- Always Female: Except in Fates, all troubadours/valkyries were female. Female-exclusive Valkyries are entirely consistent with Norse mythology constantly referenced in the series, but "troubadour" was a name for a male bard historically.
- Automaton Horses: Their horses are only seen in combat.
- Battle Butler: The Butler class.
- Black Mage: Unlike most depictions of the class, Three Houses grants the class skills that focus on the strictly offensive black and dark magic spells. They can still use white magic and it is one of their proficiencies, but this incarnation is meant to be the offensive mage rider in contrast to the Holy Knight. Interestingly, this makes them a female counterpart to the Dark Knight, which also focuses on black and dark magic (the Tomefaire variants specifically).
- Casting a Shadow: Of a sort. In a first for the series, Three Houses grants them a skill to extend the range of the user's dark magic spells, making them the only other class that females can access besides Gremory with some sort of dark magic skill.
- Combat Medic: Valkyries have offensive magic/the use of swords in addition to healing with staves. In the Jugdral games, troubadours can use swords from the start. In Fates, they gain shuriken/daggers as their weapons as Maids and Butlers. In Three Houses, Holy Knights can wield lances and have native access to White Tomefaire.
- Cool Horse: Troubadours are always mounted on them.
- Critical Status Buff: Holy Knights in Three Houses gain Defiant Resistance, a skill that boosts resistance by 8 while under 25% HP, upon mastering the class.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Valkyries were called "Paladins" in Jugdral. They were wisely renamed Valkyries with the GBA installments to avoid confusion with regular Paladins, especially female ones like Midia.
- Gender-Blender Name: Despite the class being all-female until Fates, actual real-life troubadours (who were poets, not magical mounted staff users) were exclusively male, and the female term is Troubaritz. Strangely, these sorts of real-life Troubadours actually exist in the Fire Emblem universe as well, at least in the Tellius seriesnote , as the ending of Path of Radiance mentions troubadours and one of the early chapter narrations for Radiant Dawn includes the phrase "or so the troubadours sing".
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: Troubadours and Valkyries in the Jugdral and Tellius games can attack or heal and then move again with their remaining movement. Troubadours in the GBA games can only move again if they use a non-attacking or non-healing command.
- Light 'em Up: The Valkyries in Sacred Stones and Holy Knights in Three Houses excel in light magic. Holy Knights are highly specialized in Faith magic, as they can gain White Tomefaire, which increases their damage by 5.
- Mage Killer: Their high Resistance stat allows them to deal with enemy mages. Maids and Butlers get the Tomebreaker skill and the ability to use shuriken/daggers, the latter being effective against tomes in Fates' Weapon Trianglenote and targets their usually weak defense stat.
- Magic Knight: The Holy Knights excel in faith magic and lances. In addition, they have White Tomefaire as their class skill, increasing their damage by 5 when using faith magic like Nosferatu and Aura.
- The Medic: Their main battlefield role.
- Ninja Maid: The Maid class, exemplified with their combat style and shurikens as their Weapon of Choice.
- The Paladin: An actual depiction of the Paladin in the form of the Holy Knight, who are horse-riding knights that specialize in Faith (white magic).
- Red Mage: Typically becomes a mounted version after class change, being able to attack and heal. The exception is if you class change into a War Cleric or Maid/Butler, which lose the horse and use physical weapons rather than offensive magic.
- Squishy Wizard: They have high Magic and Luck to aid in their healing abilities, but they're defensively weak physically and typically can't fight back at first.
- Status Buff:
- Troubadours have Demoiselle for females in Awakening and Fates, and Gentilhomme for males in Fates; Demoiselle in Awakening grants all males within 3 tiles of the user +10 Avoid and Critical Dodge, and both skills in Fates grant -2 damage taken to all allies within 2 spaces, depending on what skill is equipped and the recipient's gender.
- Valkyries in Awakening and Strategists in Fates gain Rally Resistance, which gives a boost to resistance to allies when commanded.
- Strategists in Fates gain Inspiration, which grants all allies within 2 tiles of the user +2 damage given and -2 damage taken.
- Support Party Member: While they were originally sword-wielders in their first tier, later games relegated them solely to healing and buffing allies before class change.
- Unique Enemy: Inverted. There are no enemy Butlers in Fates, making Butler a player-only class.
- White Magician Girl: This is a very common archetype for the class.
One of the two flying mounted classes, Pegasus Knights are female-only knights who fly on pegasi. They're defined by their excellent Speed and Resistance at the cost of having pathetic Defense and HP; they're generally great for eliminating mages. They usually Class Change into the Falcon Knight class, which adds the ability to use either swords or staves depending on the game, and in Radiant Dawn Class Changes further to the Seraph Knight. In Awakening, Pegasus Knights gain the alternate Class Change opition of Dark Flier, which allows them to use magic. In The Sacred Stones, they had the alternate Class Change option of Wyvern Knight (see below): in the Archanea games, Dracoknights were their only advance class (though the remakes allowed them to class change to Falcon Knights through a DLC item). In Fates, they were changed into the unisex Sky Knight, which class change into the Falcon Knight or Kinshi Knight, the first aerial class that can use Bows. The Dark Flier reappears as its own separate class in Fates renamed Dark Falcon, accessible via an item that can be obtained either by owning all three campaigns or as a reward from a DLC map.
Pegasus Knights can be considered among the most iconic classes in the series, and Intelligent Systems currently has their name trademarked.
Related are the Princess Crimea and Queen classes, exclusive to Elincia in Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, respectively; both classes wield swords and staves, but are otherwise identical to the normal pegasus classes.
- Achilles' Heel: Pegasus Knights suffer additional damage from bows and (sometimes) wind magic due to their status as flying units. In Awakening and Fates, they are also weak to anti-beast weapons.
- Always Female: Playable Pegasus Knights are always female, though as mentioned in Early Installment Weirdness, enemy ones were male in Mystery. Fates averts this, although the explanation is different depending on the version of the game: the Japanese version calls them Tenma (the Japanese word for Pegasus, confusingly used for regular Pegasi in the past), while the English version simply says that they are a different breed from the traditional depiction. However, it's still played with, as the men who have this class, Subaki and Shigure, are known to be very pretty. Pegasus Knights go back to being female-only in Three Houses.
- Blade on a Stick: The starting and main weapon for Pegasus Knights. Falcon Knights in Awakening and Three Houses gain Lancefaire, which boosts their damage output for wielding lances.
- Choice of Two Weapons: Falcon Knights in most games can use swords and lances.
- Combat Medic: Falcon Knights in the Jugdral games, Awakening, and Fates can use healing staves.
- Critical Status Buff: Falcon Knights in Three Houses gain Defiant Avoid, a skill that boosts avoid by 30 while under 25% HP, upon mastering the class.
- Damage Reduction: Falcon Knights in Fates gain Warding Blow, which boosts Resistance by 20 if the user initiates combat.
- Difficult, but Awesome: Pegasus Knights are among the (physically] squishiest classes in the series, which gives them relatively poor matchups against most other physical units (especially archers), but any seasoned veteran will tell you that they are worth the effort of training, as flying mobility is more often than not the best type of mobility and their high speed rates make up for their occasionally lacking strength and durability, not to mention the rescue and pair-up shenanigans that one can perform with them.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- Pegasi become dragons in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Mystery of the Emblem, in contrast to the two classes being foils to each other later on. It's Hand Waved in some supports of New Mystery of the Emblem, where Minerva releases her old pegasus for a more powerful wyvern mount. In addition, the DS remakes have the Elysian Whip, which allows Pegasus Knights to Class Change into Falcon Knights.
- Pegasus Knight Mooks were male in Mystery of the Emblem. The stat interface also suggests that they're male in the GBA installments as well, as their "Rescue" stat (which is pretty much irrelevant to enemy units since they never use the rescue command unless you use the enemy control glitch to take control of them) is 25 minus their Constitution (same as your male mounted units; your female ones are only 20 minus their Con).
- Pegasus Knights could use both swords and lances at base in the earlier games, a trait that was given to Falcon Knights in the GBA games, Tellius games, the DS remake, and Three Houses.
- Energy Absorption: Dark Fliers in Three Houses have the skill Transmute, which grants them boosts to all stats when hit by magic attacks during the enemy phase. The stat buffs last until the end of the next player phase.
- Extra Turn: The Galeforce skill exclusive to Dark Fliers allows the user to take another action upon initiating an attack that defeats an enemy unit. Fates nerfed the skill so that it only activates when the user isn't supported by Attack and Guard Stances.
- Females Are More Innocent: As a result of being female-exclusive classes and the series lacking in high-ranking female villainsnote , Pegasus Knight factions are usually depicted more sympathetically and protagonist-friendly. The few times they are assigned to antagonize the players, it is usually fringe rebels revolting against their own respective kingdoms (Silesse and Ilia) or the players are intended to conquer them (Hoshido in Conquest). Three Houses, ironically, makes the Pegasus Knights the go-to enemy flier used by the Adrestian Empire, as Wyvern Riders are largely associated with the foreign Almyra.
- Fragile Speedster: Their high Speed typically allows them to get in at least two hits. However, they're vulnerable to arrows and wind-related magic.
- Geo Effects: A class-limited aversion; flyers completely ignore terrain bonuses and penalties, because after all, they can fly. They still get healed by forts and thrones, though.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: Pegasus Knights in the Jugdral and Tellius games can move again after attacking, moving them to a safe distance to compensate for their low durability. In the GBA games, it is limited to non-attacking commands.
- Hunter of Their Own Kind: Kinshi Knights are specialized in attacking other flying units, because they can wield bows and have the skill Air Superiority, which gives them a hit/avoid boost against flying units.
- Kryptonite-Proof Suit: In many games, there are shield items which, when held by a flyer, negates their weakness to bows. In Awakening, Iote's Shield is a skill instead, acquired through clearing the Smash Brethren 3 DLC. Fates has the same skill under the name Wing Shield, which is exclusive to Hinoka as an enemy in the Conquest route.
- Mage Killer: They're frequently lauded as such, given their high Resistance and access to physical weapons. Falcon Knights in Fates gain Warding Blow, which boosts their resistance by 20 when they initiate an attack.
- Magic Knight: Dark Fliers use offensive magic and lances.
- Noble Bird of Prey: Kinshi Knights ditch the pegasus for a gigantic mythical bird known as a Kinshi.
- Nonindicative Name: Like Dark Knight, Dark Fliers cannot use dark magic, despite their name, with the exception of Aversa, who has an exclusive skill named Shadowgift. This is remedied in Three Houses, as dark magic is not locked in class, but they don't have Dark Tomefaire as one of their innate skills.
- The Paralyzer: Falcon Knights and Seraph Knights in the Tellius games have the Stun mastery skill, which prevent the enemy from moving for one turn (if they survive).
- Pegasus: They come in two different species as well. The one commonly seen in the series are known as Pegasus, but incorporate an aspect of the unicorn: the myth that unicorns would only accept pure-hearted maidens as their riders, though this isn't the case in Mystery of the Emblem. A support in Fates claims that the Pegasi in the game are actually Tenma, which are similar in appearance but do not care about gender (despite FE3 depicting male Pegasus Knights). Though this is made confusing, as past games in Japan have used Tenma to refer to regular Pegasi. The English version of the same conversation changes this, saying that the Pegasi of Fates are a different breed.
- Retcon: Male Pegasus Knights may have been retconned as impossible based on a Support in Fates. In the original Mystery of the Emblem, enemy Pegasus Knights were explicitly male and Karin's explanation in Thracia 776 left elbow room for potential exceptions.
- Rule of Three: Traditionally, there are three available pegasus-riding units, often related to each other either through family or through job, who can execute a "Triangle Attack" when together. The Jugdral games are the only exceptions; the player never gets more than two Pegasus Knights in the same game, and in Genealogy, the two are in different generations. Genealogy actually has a trio of enemy Falcon Knights who can Triangle Attack! The attack was absent in Awakening and Fates, but was brought back in Shadows of Valentia, albeit as a combat art. Pegasus Knights in Three Houses can get the Triangle Attack Combat Art when mastering the class.
- Spell My Name with an "S": "Falcon Knight" has been variously rendered as "Falcoknight", "Falconknight", and "Falcon Knight" in the English games.
- Status Buff: Falcon Knights in Awakening and Fates gain Rally Speed, which gives a boost to speed to allies when commanded.
- White Stallion: Their pegasi almost always have marble white coat, with the obvious exception of the Dark Fliers.
- Winged Unicorn: Normally, their mounts look like this after class changing to Falcon Knight, though it's entirely possible that the horn is just part of the pegasus' head armor.
Wyvern Rider/Dracoknight (Dragon Knight)
Wyvern Riders (sometimes known instead as Dracoknight) are the second of the two recurring flying mounted classes, this time riding into battle on the backs of dragons. Originating as the Class Change for Pegasus Knights in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Mystery of the Emblem, Wyvern Riders were later were spun off into their own entirely separate class family, starting in Genealogy of the Holy War. Compared to their pegasus counterparts, they tend toward hardier, bulkier compositions at the expense of Speed and Resistance, with a weakness to anti-dragon weaponry on top of the standard flier weakness to bows. The Wyvern Rider's weapon selection has varied over the course of the series, having used all three main weapon types at different points, though from Radiant Dawn onward, they primarily use axes.
Wyvern Riders generally Class Change into the Wyvern Lord (Dragon Master in Japanese), which usually gives them access to a secondary melee weapon. In The Sacred Stones, they can alternatively Class Change into the Wyvern Knight, which only wields lances, but compensates for the lack of weapon diversity with a unique skill. In Radiant Dawn, they can Class Change again into the third-tier Dragonlord class (Lindwurm in Japanese). The Jugdral games feature the weaker Dragon Rider class, which was made the first tier to the (now second-tier) Dragon Knight in Thracia 776. In Awakening, they gain the alternate Class Change of Griffon Rider, a generally well-balanced class. In Fates, they gain the alternate Class Change of Malig Knight, a Magic Knight class that uses axes and tomes.
Related is the King Daein class, exclusive to Ashnard in Path of Radiance and the class family Wyvern Master and Barbarossa, exclusive to Claude in Three Houses.
Not to be confused with the "normal" dragons which figure heavily into the plots of most games, though in Archanea, these dragons are degenerate wild relatives of those dragons called Wyverns.
- Achilles' Heel: Bows and wind magic, being flying units, as well as Wyrmslayers or any other anti-Dragon weapons. Radiant Dawn changed their weakness from bows and wind magic to thunder magic, the same weakness as Dragon Laguz.
- An Axe to Grind: In Path of Radiance, axes became their secondary weapon upon class changing, replacing swords, and from Radiant Dawn onwards, it is their primary weapon instead. It even carries over to the Archanea remakes, giving Minerva a signature axe in the process. Wyvern Riders and Wyvern Lords in Three Houses gain Axefaire.
- Anti-Infantry: The Malig Knight's Trample skill deals 5 bonus damage to unmounted enemies.
- Armor-Piercing Attack: The Wyvern Knight's skill, Pierce, in The Sacred Stones. Its usefulness is offset by being linked to a nasty glitch which locks up the game under certain (rare) circumstances which, oddly enough, only occurs in English copies of the game.
- Blade on a Stick: Traditionally, this is the family's primary weapon.
- Breath Weapon:
- Averted; most of the time the wyverns do not breathe fire. It becomes odd when fighting against feral wyverns in Mystery of the Emblem which breathe fire, implying that they lost their ability to breathe fire in domestication.
- Played straight with Malig Knights in Fates. They learn Savage Blow, which was called Deathly Breath in the Japanese version, which implies that the undead wyvern is exhaling a poisonous gas.
- Cool Helmet: Wyvern Lords and Malig Knights wear helmets that resemble dragons, while Griffon Riders wear helmets resembling a griffon.
- Cool Mask: The Wyvern Riders in Awakening wear masks that resemble a dragon's jaws on the lower halves of their faces.
- Critical Status Buff: Wyvern Lord in Three Houses gain Defiant Critical, a skill that boosts critical hit rate by 50% while under 25% HP, upon mastering the class.
- Depending on the Artist: There's pretty much no consistency with the appearance of the dragon mounts between games; it's pretty much justified by the different universes.
- Divergent Character Evolution: The dragon-riding family slowly evolved from the pegasus family into the distinct class tree with different strengths it is today.
- Dracolich: Malig Knights ride on undead wyverns.
- Dragon Rider: You don't say. Averted with the Griffon Rider in Awakening.
- Gathering Steam: Inverted for the Wyvern Lord in Awakening, as they get the skill Quick Burn, which gives them 15 hit and avoid at the start of the battle but loses effect for each turn.
- Geo Effects: A class-limited aversion; flyers completely ignore terrain bonuses and penalties, because after all, they can fly. They still get healed by forts and thrones, though.
- Giant Flyer: In the GBA games and Radiant Dawn in particular, they're downright enormous.
- HeelFace Turn: Typically, the dragon mount species is associated with an/the enemy kingdom (Macedon, Thracia, Bern, Grado, Daein, Nohr) and dragon riders are a mainstay of the respective army, and so almost every allied Dragon Rider is recruited from the enemy. The only exceptions to this in the series are in the Archanea games and The Sacred Stones, where your Pegasus Knights can class change into them, and Awakening, where the "recruited" dragon rider is from a different nation than the "enemy" dragon riders earlier in the game. In cases like Macedon and Begnion where they have both pegasus and wyvern armies, there is a notable infighting between the two and the wyvern side would be the more hostile one. Three Houses also subverts the antagonistic role, as Wyvern Riders are rare among the Imperial ranks and "those who slither in the dark", though the one nation that specializes in wyverns is Almyra, a nation neighboring Fodlan with minimal involvement in the conflict (though it does have a history of picking fights with Fódlan for fun) and was the home of Cyril and Claude.
- Herd-Hitting Attack: Malig Knights can learn the Savage Blow skill, which applies a 20% HP reduction to all units that were within 2 spaces of their range.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: Like Pegasus Knights, they can move again to a safe distance in the Jugdral and Tellius games. In the GBA games, it is limited to non-attacking commands.
- I Work Alone: Only in Awakening, but Wyvern Riders gain the skill Tantivy, which grants the user +10 Hit and Evasion if there are no allies within 3 spaces of them.
- Kryptonite-Proof Suit: They can remove their weaknesses to bows by equipping specific shields if there is any. Averted, however, against anti-dragon weapons save for the Full Guard in Path of Radiance.
- Lightning Bruiser: They are one of the strongest physical classes thanks to their high Strength, Skill, Defense, movement range, and decent Speed. This is especially prominent in the Archanea duology and Three Houses, where they can gain high Speed growths as Pegasus Knights before class changing. Enemy factions would sporadically deploy them early-game to serve as Boss in Mook Clothing, and then field even more of them in the late-game chapters. Most playable Wyvern Riders join mid-to-late game because of their powerhouse status.
- Magic Knight: Malig Knights specialize in both axes and tomes, in addition to their magic stats. It is one of the few classes that can reliably use the Bolt Axe.
- Mighty Glacier: What the class has slowly evolved into. While in their earlier incarnations, they were basically stronger Pegasus Knights but without their Mage Killer capabilities, more recent titles have settled for making them aerial tanks with high Attack and Defense but low Speed and Resistance, in order to make them more of a Foil to the Pegasus Knights.
- Mythology Gag: The Wyvern Knight class in FE8 rides a mount identical to the DracoKnights of FE3 and can be class changed from Pegasus Knights.
- Our Dragons Are Different: The appearance of the Dragon/Wyvern Mounts vary wildly across different universes. What varies most are whether they stand on two legs or four and if they have no arms like a wyvern or their arms are like a western dragon.
- Our Gryphons Are Different: The Griffon Riders that appear in Awakening.
- The Paralyzer: Wyvern Lords and Dragonlords in the Tellius games has the Stun mastery skill, which prevent the enemy from moving for one turn.
- Spell My Name with an "S":
- There is one hell of a naming inconsistency with this class family. For The Blazing Blade, the first English release, they were renamed "Wyvern Rider" and "Wyvern Lord" to distinguish them from the proper dragons that are not domesticated as mounts and figured heavily into the plot of the game; Sacred Stones and Path of Radiance stuck to this. The Japanese version of The Sacred Stones introduced the "Wyvern Knight" class, part of the Wyvern family of dragons, and looking more like traditional wyverns from Mystery of the Emblem; they were still called "Wyvern Knights" in the English version and the matter of their physical difference wasn't addressed. Radiant Dawn's translation discarded the "wyvern" name for the classes themselves, going with variations of "Dracoknight"; however, in dialogue, the species are still called wyverns, again to differentiate from the game's fairly important actual dragons. This remained the case for Shadow Dragon, though the Japan only remake of the sequel shows the dragon mounts are indeed named Wyverns. Then in Awakening, it's back to Wyvern Rider and Wyvern Lord. The Switch port for Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light then renames it "Wyvern Knight".
- The Japanese version alone isn't much better. The base class is called Dragon Rider in most games, but the Jugdral games and Radiant Dawn call it Dragon Knight. The advanced class is called either Dragon Master or Dragon Lord depending on the game, which becomes really confusing when you consider the name of the third-tier advanced class from Radiant Dawn: Dragonlord (Lindwurm in Japanese).
- Status Ailment: Wyvern Riders in Three Houses learn Seal Defense, a skill that reduces the enemy's defense by 6 defense after combat, upon mastering the class.
- Status Buff: Wyvern Lords in Fates gain Rally Defense, which gives a boost to defense to allies when commanded.
- Weak to Magic: In contrast to Pegasus Knights, Wyvern Riders tend to have a high Defense but poor Resistance.
Dancer and variants
The Dancer is a recurring utility and support class that puts on a magical performances to allow adjacent units which have already moved in a turn to move again. The most common iteration is a female dancer, hence the name, with variants including Bards (males that play musical instruments) from The Binding Blade and The Blazing Blade, the Heron laguz (Bird People of either gender that can sing Magic Music called galdrar) in Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, and the Songstress (a female singer) in Fates. Outside of their unique ability to provide Extra Turns, Dancers are notable for being one of the few classes exclusive to the player in most games they appear in.
The Dancer and its variants tend to either be completely unarmed or are lacking in combat prowess due to their focus on being support, though when they can fight, they almost always use swords. As far as stats go, they tend to be on the frailer side, but make up for it with high Speed and Luck stats to help them dodge attacks.
If a game has multiple Dancers, only one of these characters will usable at any given time for balance reasons. This is because having two of them on one map would allow them to continuously grind for experience by being able to indefinitely dance for each other.
The Bard class mentioned here is not to be confused with the Bard from Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776, which is a magic-wielding class exclusive to Lewyn and Homer in their respective games. Dancers exist in their normal function in those games, though.
- Always Female: The default Dancer class has almost always been female-only. Three Houses is the first game in the series where the Dancer is available to both males and females.
- Belly Dancer: Most Dancers are designed with an Arabian Nights-theme in mind.
- Dance Battler: In the Jugdral and Archanea games and Awakening, in which they also wield swords just not very well. The Fates version, the Songstress, wields lances/naginata instead.
- Extra Turn: Their abilities grant units that have already acted during the player phase a second action in the same phase.
- Fragile Speedster: Dancers are characterized as fast and dodgy with their best stats being speed and luck. However, because of their nature as support units, their terrible durability, and, in some games, inability to fight, they must be protected and should not be in the front line.
- Magic Dance: Averted; the ability of Dancers to grant other units an extra turn is mundane, although it functions like magic. The only exception is Ninian.
- Magic Knight: Dancers in Three Houses use swords and magic.
- Magic Music: Nils, the Heron Laguz, and Azura can all play Magic Music. Although Elphin plays music as well, he's more like other dancers in that he has no magical ability.
- Ms. Fanservice: Dancers tend to be this to some extent, thanks to their minimal clothing and sultry dances. The only one who doesn't solidly fit this description is Ninian.
- Mutually Exclusive Party Members: If there is more than one Dancer in a single game, circumstances will conspire to ensure that they can never be in the party at the same time. The sole exception, Fire Emblem Heroes, has an Obvious Rule Patch to have them unable to refresh each other if the other unit has Dance or Sing equipped. Subverted in Three Houses where they can be refreshed with a Dancer Battalion, but it only works once per map.
- Quirky Bard: Actually not that spoony. It's true that they have (depending on the game) little or no means to defend themselves and low-to-average defense/HP, but a well-trained character of this class can have massive Speed and Luck, thus they will dodge a good part of the attacks thrown at them. (Additionally, Tethys has good HP growths.)
- Spear Counterpart: In Binding Blade and Blazing Blade, you get the Bard class, which are male dancers with the same ability to "sing" which refreshes an ally like Dancers. Though the Bard class exists in the Jugdral games, there are just glorified version of Mages.
- Status Buff:
- In Blazing Blade, there are special rings that can raises a unit's stat by 10 for a single turn. Filla's Might increases attack, Ninis's Grace increases defensive stats, Thor's Ire increases critical, and Set's Litany increases avoid.
- In Radiant Dawn, Herons has five different galdrar which are gain through level ups. Vigor functions like dancing (which they start by default but its effect differs for each Heron), Bliss raises the unit's biorhythm to its highest while Sorror lowers enemy's biorhythm to its worst, Valor instantly raise Laguz's transformation gauge to its maximum, and Recovery instantly restores HP and remove conditions.
- Awakening onwards has a skill called Special Dance, though in Fates, it is called Inspiring Song. In Awakening, Special Dance increases +2 to Strength/Magic/Defense/Resistance while Fates and Three Houses increases +3/+4 to Skill/Speed/Luck. Unlike the earlier examples, the stat buffs stack with giving other units Extra Turn instead of being mutually exclusive.
- Support Party Member: Dancer variants from the GBA and Tellius games can't attack enemies at all, and rely solely on their refreshing abilities. And even in the games where they are capable of fighting, their refreshing ability is so valuable that they'll rarely see combat.
- Wandering Minstrel: Most of them come across as this initially.
A class specializing in stealing things. Generally not too impressive in combat, they are designed to be used for their utility; Thieves can unlock chests and doors with lockpicks (or sometimes a Skill) instead of keys and occasionally have the ability to steal items right off of enemy units. If they do get caught in a fight, they'll defend themselves with swords or occasionally knivesnote .
The Thief's options for Class Changing have varied over the course of the series. In Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776 they Class Change into the Thief Fighter (though Lara can optionally Class Change into Dancer in Thracia 776), which upgrades their combat prowess. Many games from The Blazing Blade onward allow them to become the Assassin, turning them into a powerful offensive class that has a chance to One-Hit Kill enemies with the Lethality skill often at the cost of becoming unable to steal from enemies. The Sacred Stones and Radiant Dawn alternatively have the Rogue, which bumps up their combat ability slightly without losing the capability to steal. In Radiant Dawn they can Class Change once again into the third-tier Whisper class that once again boosts their combat prowess, while Assassins are treated as a separate third-tier class exclusive to one character. In Awakening they gain the alternate Class Change option of Trickster, which gives them the ability to use staves. The Trickster class makes a return in Three Houses as part of the Wave 4 DLC, which allows them to use some Reason and Faith magic.
Fates split and retooled the Thief into counterparts of the Archer and Cavalier classes. The Archer counterpart, found in Nohr, is referred to as the Outlaw and uses bows instead of swords. They can Class Change into Bow Knight and Adventurer, with the former gaining a mount and the ability to use swords and the latter gaining the ability to use staves. The Cavalier counterpart is called Ninja as a result of Hoshido having a strong oriental theme: Ninjas play more like the classic Thieves with the ability to use knives/shuriken similar to their Tellius incarnations. They can class change into Master Ninjas (Fates' Assassin) and Mechanist, which gains bows and a mount.
- All Swords Are the Same: A particularly amusing exaggeration: in the Archaneanote , Jugdralnote , and GBA games, all swords look like knives when used by members of the Thief class family!
- Animal Motifs: Assassins in Three Houses wear scorpion-themed outfits reflecting their stealth and efficiency as surprise killers.
- Arm Cannon: Not in the conventional sense, but to go along with launching magic with Finger Guns, Tricksters in Three Houses have their critical animation use their right arm ending in a fist as one to fire off magic as well.
- Bandit Mook: When they're enemies. Usually they target treasure chests, though in some games they can destroy villages which give out items and money, which is a role sometimes shared with Brigands/Pirates/Barbarians.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Awakening's Assassins has three blades attached on each arm. Ninjas have one on every wrist, and Master Ninjas attach them all over their arms; from shoulder to wrist.
- Bow and Sword, in Accord: Assassins in Awakening and Bow Knights in Fates. Thieves in Three Houses also wield bows and swords.
- Combat Medic: Tricksters and Adventurers gain the use of staves with swords and bows respectively.
- Damage-Increasing Debuff: In Fates, all knives and shuriken have the added effect of lowering the target's defensive stats.
- Deep Cover Agent: The thieves which are not Gentleman Thieves or Classy Cat Burglars tend to be working for some noble family.
- Defog of War: With the exception of Thracia 776 (the first game to introduce fog of war, mind you), Path of Radiance, the DS remakes, and Three Houses, thieves have really high vision in fog of war, making them good asset to bring them in. Combine it with the Torch item, they'll likely uncover most of the map.
- Experience Booster: Killing thieves in most games typically give you more experience than other enemies. Also, for some reason, whenever Lethality is activated in the GBA games, you gain double amount of experience.
- Finger Gun: For some inexplicable reason, Tricksters do this in Three Houses for some of their magic casting (as far as anyone can tell you firearms have yet to see the light of day in the franchise)note . Heck, even their critical animation fires off spells as if they have an Arm Cannon.
- Flash Step: Assassins and Ninjas are practitioners of this art.
- Fragile Speedster: Thieves have horribly lackluster defenses, but make up for it with their immense Speed, allowing them to dodge practically everything not backed by a weapon triangle or terrain advantage.
- In addition, Tricksters in Three Houses learn Duelist's Blow upon mastering the class. Duelist's Blow raise evasion by 20 when attacking.
- Gentleman Thief: Most allied thieves tend toward this (except for Heather, who's more of a Classy Cat-Burglar); the only real exception is Lifis.
- HP to 1: Bane, the mastery skill of Whispers.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: When allied.
- Knife Nut: Almost every one of their appearances draws their swords as knives for some reason; they didn't become full-fledged knife-wielders until Tellius, when knives became a weapon type. Master Ninjas in Fates gain Shurikenfaire, which boost their damage output for wielding shuriken/daggers. Heroes has a tendency to change sword-wielding Thieves and Assassins to wield daggers.
- Instakill Mook: Inverted. In cases where Assassins are encountered as enemies, they never utilized Lethality. In the GBA games, a boss is always equipped with a magic sword that cannot deal critical hits and in games where skills can be randomized, Assassins or Master Ninjas will never get the Lethality skill, no matter how much RNG is manipulated. Because having an enemy that can kill anyone in one hit in a game with permadeath is a big fat "NO!"
- Lucky Seven: The Trickster in Awakening and Adventurer in Fates get the Lucky Seven skill at Level 5. The skill gives them 20 extra hit and avoid for the first 7 turns. In Three Houses, Lucky Seven became the Trickster's class skill and it functions differently. It increases one of seven stat by 5: strength, magic, speed, defense, resistance, hit and avoid, at the start of the unit's turn.
- Mage Killer: Ninjas in Fates have high Resistance to complement the modified weapon triangle, in which knives/shuriken are effective against tomes, making them even more effective than Sky Knights in this role.
- Magic Knight: Tricksters can use magic staves in Awakening, allowing them to function as a Combat Medic of sorts. In Three Houses, they can use a slew of Faith and Reason magic spells, making them more akin to a Red Mage.
- Magikarp Power: You'd be mad to put a thief in the thick of combat. Then they become Assassins. Shit starts dying en masse. Averted in Fates. Ninja are fast and extremely useful debuffers throughout the game, while Outlaws are the only unpromoted Nohrian unit type that can use bows.
- Master of Unlocking: Locktouch, their innate skill, allows them to unlock doors and chests without the use of keys. In Path of Radiance and onward, they removed Lockpicks and gave the ability to open doors and chests as a passive ability.
- Nice Hat: Generic Tricksters and Adventurers wear fancy, wide-brimmed hats.
- Ninja: The Ninja/Master Ninja class in Fates.
- One-Hit Kill: Lethality, the mastery skill of Assassins and Master Ninjas, and also Assassinate, the mastery Combat Art of Assassins in Three Houses. However, its activation rate is lower compared to other skills.note
- Note worthy is that enemy Assassins or Master Ninjas will never have Lethality, with exception of one map in Awakening and in Blazing Blade, an Assassin boss always carry a magic sword which can never deal critical hits. This is so that these enemies doesn't kill your unit in one hit in a game with permadeath.
- Poisoned Weapons:
- The Poison Strike skill learned by the Ninja class inflicts damage equal to 20% of the enemy's maximum HP after every combat should the skill's wielder survives, regardless if the attack hits or not.
- In Three Houses, Assassins in Maddening Mode will have the Poison skill, which may let them inflict poison to your units.
- Reverse Grip: They typically wield their bladed weapons like this, from daggers to swords.
- Secret Art: Lethality.
- Status Buff: In Awakening and Fates, Bow Knights gain Rally Skill.
- Swap Teleportation: Tricksters in Three Houses learn the Foul Play combat art upon mastering the class. Foul Play allow the Trickster to swap position with an ally within 1 to 5 range. This combat art is exclusive to Trickster.
- Thief Bag: The Thief and Rogue sprites in the GBA games are depicted carrying sacks.
- Unique Enemy: Inverted. Assassins in the GBA games and the Tellius games are exclusively a player-only class, because having an enemy class that can one-shot your units can be very unfair. Averted with Awakening, Fates, and Three Houses as Assassins are used but will never generate Lethality (or Assassinate in Three Houses).
- Video Game Stealing: Depends on the game, but they can typically steal either gear or gold from enemies. But in all of the games, they have the ability to open chests to steal the content in them.
- Weak, but Skilled: They usually have very low Strength which makes them not great for combat, but they typically have very high Skill which, coupled with their equally high Speed, can make them quite deadly if properly trained.
- Weapon of Choice: Assassins rely on the Critical Hit-boosting Killing Edge to increase their chances of activating Lethality.
The Witch is a very rare class, only appearing in Gaiden (and Shadows of Valentia by extension) and Fates. They are powerful female spellcasters that have the unique Warp ability, which allows them to instantly travel anywhere on the map (Gaiden) or teleport adjacent to any ally (Fates).
In Gaiden and Shadows of Valentia, Witch is exclusive to NPCs. Here, they are said to be women who sacrificed themselves to Duma for power, either willingly or unwillingly, which also gives them a pale complexion. SOV also introduces the similarly-themed Vestal class, which are flaming spirits.
In Fates, Witch is a special playable class only obtainable via DLC. Using an item called a Witch's Mark, any female character is able to Class Change into Witch. They can use Dark Magic (otherwise exclusive to Dark Mages and Sorcerers) via the "Shadowgift" Skill and are capable of getting S-Rank in Tomes/Scrolls.
While the Witch class does not return in Three Houses, it introduces the Gremory class, which shares traits of the Witch class, including being exclusive to female units and the use of Dark and Black Magic (along with White Magic).
- Always Female: Witch is a female-only class.
- Artificial Stupidity: Witches' behaviors in Gaiden are... sporadic to say the least. A Necessary Weasel as making them "smarter" on top of having the ability to move anywhere at will would make them very unbearable to face.
- Deal with the Devil: In Gaiden, Witches are the result of women sacrificing themselves to Duma for power. Not always, some of them (Rinea, Sonya's sisters, Delthea, and Celica) didn't necessarily exactly want to become such.
- Empty Shell: In Gaiden's lore, Witches are women who offered their souls to Duma in exchange for great magical power, but lost their free will and became living husks.
- Evil Redhead: In Gaiden, with the exception of the brainwashed Delthea, all Witches are redheads and happen to be antagonistic.
- Faceless Mooks: Generic Gremories in Three Houses have veils covering their faces.
- Fan Disservice: The Witches from Shadows of Valentia are beautiful women whose looks appeal to many fetishes, but their actual situations make them less appealing.
- Nerf: In Gaiden, their signature Warp ability lets them travel to any spot on the map. Fates changes it so they can only teleport to squares cardinally adjacent to allies.
- Power Crutch: In Fates, Witches channel their magic through a lantern instead of having their equipped tomes visible in their battle model.
- Power Floats: The witches in Shadows of Valentia are seen levitating to show their power given to them by Duma.
- Red Mage: Gremories are skilled in both offensive and supportive magic.
- Robe and Wizard Hat: While in Gaiden they were just recolored female mages, their outfit in Fates gives them a large pointed hat and a sleek robe.
- Squishy Wizard: The Witch is the strongest magic-using class in Fates, though its Defense is also less than stellar. This is especially prevalent in Gaiden and its remake, where they also have extremely low HP and can often be downed in a single physical attack.
- Standard Status Effects: Fates' Witches get the skill Toxic Brew, which has a chance of 1.5% times the Skill stat to freeze an enemy unit in place for a turn whenever the skill's wielder initiates an attack.
- Teleport Spam: Witches have this as a a Signature Move, enabling them to warp to any tile on the map, making them extremely dangerous to units with low resistance. Their playable incarnation can only warp to tiles adjacent to allies, however.
Dread Fighter is one of the rarer classes, only appearing in Gaiden, its remake Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Awakening, and Fates. It is part of the Mercenary line in Gaiden and its remake, acting as the line's third and final Class Change before allowing a loop back into Villager. In Awakening and Fates, Dread Fighter is a standalone class that is only available via DLC. Echoes: Shadows of Valentia adds an Overclass called Yasha, which is also only available via DLC. Most incarnations are exclusive to male characters.
Dread Fighter is defined by its ninja-esque costume design and anti-magic build. The class sports Skills designed to mitigate magical damage, allowing for safe approaches against mages.
For weapon specializations, Dread Fighter only has access to swords in Gaiden and its remake. Awakening adds axes and tomes, while Fates replaces tomes with knives/shuriken.
- Always Male: Outside of Fates, Dread Fighter is exclusive to male characters.
- An Axe to Grind: In Awakening and Fates.
- Knife Nut: Dread Fighters in Fates uses knives instead of tomes to go with their ninja motif. Fittingly, knives and shuriken beats tomes in the game's version of the weapon triangle.
- Mage Killer: They are designed to take little damage from magical sources and slay magic users.
- Awakening gives a massive boost to their Resistance with the Resistance+10 skill.
- Fates has Iron Will-which causes them to receive 4 less damage from magic attacks when attacked, and Even Keel-where the user receive 4 less damage from magic attacks during even-numbered turns.
- Shadows of Valentia provides the class with Resistance+5 and Apotrope skills. Apotrope is a more powerful version of Iron Will, as it halves damage taken from magic attacks.
- Magic Knight: Dread Fighters in Awakening use tomes in addition to swords and axes.
- Ninja: They appear to have ninja-like aesthetics, and even fight like them with Teleport Spam and Flash Steps.
- Reverse Grip: While in Fates they wield swords and daggers like the Ninjas and Master Ninjas, they also wield axes and clubs in the same way.
- Spiritual Successor: Mortal Savants in Three Houses are easily accessible by continuing down the Swordmaster line, but aside from being non gender-exclusive, everything else matches with the Dread Fighter. Combining sword with spells, Warding Blow to better weather magical assaults, and the distinctly oriental aesthetic.
- Sword and Fist: Dread Fighters in Shadows of Valentia have them incorporate kicks alongside their sword strikes against the enemy.
- Walking Armory: Dread Fighters in Fates use swords, axes, and knives, allowing them to fully cover the weapon triangle (with knives sharing their spot with lances).
- Weapon Across the Shoulder: They have a tendency to rest their weapons on their shoulders.
Tactician and GrandmasterThe Tactician and its Class Change, Grandmaster, are a class line introduced in Awakening. They are more or less made specifically for the Avatar of Awakening and their children, though SpotPass, StreetPass, and DLC characters are capable of using Second Seals to reclass into the line. The Tactician and Grandmaster are powerful Magic Knights that use swords and tomes, have overall high stats, and can support allies thanks to a couple of exclusive support Skills such as "Solidarity" and "Rally Spectrum".
The Grandmaster returns in Fates as a special class obtained by using a Fell Brand (received from completing Hidden Truths 1 DLC or using the Robin amiibo) on a male unit. It does not Class Change to or from anything, but otherwise functions the same as it did in Awakening.
- Always Male: In Fates, Grandmaster is a male-only class.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Their stats in Awakening are generally high in all areas, though not necessarily the best possible.
- Magic Knight: They use both swords and tomes and have good Strength and Magic. In Awakening they are equally proficient with Swords and Tomes (both top at "A"), while the Fates Grandmaster leans more on the Magic side with a higher max Tome rank (Swords go to "B" while Tomes go to "A").
- Spell Blade: In both appearances, the class line is capable of learning Ignis, a skill that uses half of their Strength or Magic to boost the other stat when they attack, depending on whether they're using a physical or magical attack.
- Status Buff: Their "Rally Spectrum" Skill gives a one-turn boost to all stats for every ally within 3 (Awakening) or 4 (Fates) spaces.
- Support Party Member: They get a number of Skills to buff or otherwise assist allies. "Solidarity" increases Crit rate and Dodge by 10 for adjacent allies, "Tactical Advice" provides a Hit rate bonus for the lead unit of an Attack Stance, and "Rally Spectrum" provides a one-turn Status Buff to all allies within 3/4 spaces.
A new class series introduced in Three Houses. Brawlers and their Advanced and Master Class promotions, the Grappler and War Master, primarily use axes and gauntlets.
- Action Initiative: Upon mastering War Master, they gain Quick Riposte, allowing them to deal follow-up attacks if they are attacked and above their HP threshold. Also, unlike in Heroes, the attacker will not follow-up attack if the unit is equipped with Quick Riposte.
- Always Male: Brawlers, Grapplers and War Masters are male-only.
- An Axe to Grind: Brawlers and War Masters can use axes alongside gauntlets.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Their primary weapon as indicated by the skill "Unarmed Combat". Grapplers also gain the skill Fistfaire, which increases their damage when wielding gauntlets.
- Chained by Fashion: Grapplers in Three Houses have chains attached to their armor.
- Choice of Two Weapons: Brawlers and War Masters can use axes and gauntlets.
- Critical Hit Class: War Masters get Crit+20 as their class ability. As they are proficient in axes, this makes them very similar to Berserkers in the other games.
- Lightning Bruiser: War Masters have stats and growths on par with Wyvern Riders, paired with an addition of a Crit+20, making them one of the more dangerous footlocked units. Fighting one with Killer Knuckles is just asking for trouble.
- Mage Killer: While the class does not offer Resistance growth bonuses, Grapplers can learn Tomebreaker, which increases their Hit and Avoid against Tome-wielding users.
- Secret Art:
- Grapplers have Fierce Iron Fist, a mastery Combat Art exclusive to them, where they deal three consecutive attacks.
- War Master's Strike, a mastery Combat Art exclusive to War Masters. It grants effective bonus damage against all foes.
Manakete (Mamkute)A common feature of most titles is the existence of the Manakete tribe, a species of sentient dragon shapeshifters who appear as humans with a few differences. They fight using dragonstones, rare gems which allow them to transform into their dragon form to attack.
Related are the Dragon Laguz of the Tellius canon, which are pretty much the same thing but fitting into the laguz concept of that universe, and by extension the rest of the laguz. Another related group are the Dragons of Fates, which are not called Manaketes, but have a similar, if slightly different history to them.
- Playable characters of this class: Bantu and Tiki (Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Mystery of the Emblem); Fae (The Binding Blade); Myrrh (The Sacred Stones); Ena, Nasir (Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn); Gareth and Kurthnaga (Radiant Dawn); Nagi (Shadow Dragon and New Mystery of the Emblem); Nowi, Nah and Tiki note (Awakening); Corrin and Kana note (Fates);
- Achilles' Heel: They are vulnerable to anti-dragon weapons like Wyrmslayer. Myrrh in Sacred Stones is also weak to bows as she is also a flying unit. in In the Tellius games, Dragon Laguz are vulnerable to anti-Laguz weapons and thunder magic. In Awakening and Fates, even if they reclass outside of Manakete, they are still dragons because of their heritage and are still vulnerable to anti-dragon weapons and skills.
- Armor-Piercing Attack: In Mystery of the Emblem, dragon's breaths completely ignores defense so any fragile units need to watch out for them as their attack will directly target their already low HP.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Most dragons did this in Fates by becoming spirits. The ones that didn't either went insane or have been able to escape such a fate.
- Breath Weapon: Dragons tend to attack with their breath. Averted with Fates where they physically maul their enemies.
- Casting a Shadow:
- Cute Monster Girl: Only five recruitable Manaketes are not little girlsnote . This is excluding the Dragon Laguz, who, while they can transform into dragons, aren't called manaketes. Of the four playable ones, 3 are male and the youngest male looks at least 14.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
- The other Manakete Tribes are nowhere to be found in Awakening despite major roles in the Archanea series.
- Fates contains an odd example in the form of the term "Manakete" - the avatar, and any child they have will fall under this archetype, but they are never referred to as such. In fact, the term only appears once in the entire game, in an extremely well hidden support conversation, and the context given by said support implies that the word may have an entirely different meaning in the world of Fates.
- Dark Is Evil: None of the Earth Dragons has remained friendly since they either allow themselves to degenerated like most dragons or are indulged in dark powers as a sign of rebellion against humankind. Kaga's plans would've averted this, though.
- Divergent Character Evolution: The Tellius games introduced three types of Dragons the player could use in the game, each one being slightly different from the other in terms of damage and stats. Notably the White Dragons deal damage using magic instead of strength.
- Dying Race: Almost all of them are on their last legs, their glory days clearly over. Averted with the Dragon Laguz, whose kingdom is isolated, but still rather powerful.
- 11th-Hour Superpower: While they usually become available earlier than this, games in which there are only a finite number of uses to the dragonstone tend to lend themselves to using them on the final couple of levels, which are usually filled with enemies that the dragonstone does massive damage to (dragons in the Archanea games and Binding Blade and monsters in Sacred Stones.)
- The Four Gods: The Four Dragon symbols for Dragon Veins in Fates are based on them. The Fire Dragon is birdlike, similar to the Vermilion Bird, the Water Dragon has a snake for a tail like the one that accompanies the Black Tortoise, the Ground Dragon has fur and is vaguely feline in shape like the White Tiger, and the Wind Dragon has a lean appearance much like the Azure Dragon.
- Gold and White Are Divine: Divine Dragons have this color scheme.
- Half-Human Hybrid: A number of them have appeared in the series, including Nils, Ninian, Nah, the Avatar of Fates, etc. Tiki mentions that Nah is the only one of her kind seen in Ylisse, while all Manaketes with dragonstones in Fates are shown to be hybrids.
- Hidden Elf Village: Normally, their civilizations are hidden from mankind — if they still exist, that is.
- An Ice Person: Ice Dragons/Icestone-wielding Manaketes use ice based attacks.
- Light 'em Up: The Divine Dragons, the strongest of the dragon tribes.
- Lightning Bruiser: In and of themselves, Manaketes tend to have rather poor stats, but with a dragonstone, they shoot through the roof and turn them into this, almost to the point of game-breaking.
- Light Is Good: Every Divine Dragon that shows up in the series has been friendly.
- Magic and Powers: Mage Dragons and the Magestone.
- Making a Splash: The Silent Dragons have this as their main power.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Enemy Manaketes (other than in Heroes) and Manakete villains are always male. No Manakete female has been a true villain, although the closest the series has come to it is Idunn from Binding Blade.
- Mighty Glacier: To contrast the Taguel in Awakening, Manaketes hit harder and take hits better, but are slower.
- No-Sell: Mage Dragons is known to either have high resistance or completely resist magic.
- Our Dragons Are Different: They're dragons capable of taking on human form. In battle, they can transform back to dragons with the use of their dragonstones.
- Playing with Fire: Fire Dragons, or when wielding a Firestone.
- Pointy Ears: One of the manaketes' most defining physical characteristics, though a few are depicted without them.
- Support Party Member: The dragons in Radiant Dawn have skills that can increase certain stats of adjacent allies during combat, making them useful against the endgame bosses in that game. Blood Tide raises Strength and Skill, Night Tide raises Defense and Resistance, while White Pool raises Magic and Speed.
- Too Awesome to Use: Often, there's only one dragonstone with finite uses available in the course of the game. While it's often enough to level a Manakete to level 20, you're not going to get all that much use out of them once you start, so it's quite common to hesitate to use Manaketes.
- Averted in Awakening, where you can buy Dragonstones (although they are not cheap).
- Averted in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Fates, where Dragonstones have infinite durability.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Divine Dragons who are always friendly are either non-reptilian or at least less so than the other Dragon Tribes.
- Were Dragon: They alternate between humanoid and dragon forms.
- Winged Humanoid: Divine Dragons tend to have feathery wings similar to Angels, while the other Dragon tribes have dragon wings in Manakete form.
When Manaketes were re-imagined as Dragon Laguz in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, other similar tribes of animal shapeshifters were introduced.
In new titles since, these units use Beaststones to transform in contrast to the Manaketes' Dragonstone, and can be seen as a counterpart to the class.
So far, beasts of this kind have included Lions, Tigers, Cats, Wolves, Hawks, Ravens, Rabbits (Taguel), Foxes (Kitsune), and Werewolves (Wolfskins). Dragon Tribe Laguz are covered by the Manaketes, and Heron Laguz function as Bards/Dancers.
- Achilles' Heel: Laguz are weak to anti-Laguz weapons and Fire/Wind magic. In Awakening and Fates, they are weak to anti-beast weapons and skills, even when outside of their beast class.
- Animorphism: Using beaststones, or the natural ability of the Laguz, they can take on an animal form for combat.
- Dire Beast: Their animal forms are huge compared to regular animals. Small Cat laguz are the size of real life Big Cats. Lions and Hawks tower over human beings. Rabbits are similarly the size of Big Cats, and it's taken to the extreme with Wolfskins, who are literal monsters.
- Divergent Character Evolution:
- In games where multiple types of beast units exist, they typically are given differences to make them each distinct from each other.
- In the Tellius games, the Beast tribes are split between the Cat, Tiger, Lion, and Wolf. The Cat is a Fragile Speedster, the Tiger is a Mighty Glacier, the Lion is a Lightning Bruiser, and the Wolves are more of a Jack-of-All-Stats.
- Also in the Tellius games, the Bird tribes are split between the Hawks, Ravens, and Herons. The Hawks are more akin to Lightning Bruiser, the Ravens are Fragile Speedster, while the Herons are Dancers.
- Dying Race: The Wolf Tribe in the Tellius games have lost much of their numbers; nevertheless, they recover in the epilogue. The Heron Laguz are even worse, since the few remaining ones are the Last of Their Kind. The Taguel are also the Last of Their Kind, with only one full-blooded Taguel (Panne) left.note
- Expy: The Tellius games make the various species of Laguz effectively animal copies of their Human counterparts in terms of class. To elaborate:
- Beast Tribe: Cats are essentially Myrmidon's (high speed and luck but almost no bulk), Tigers are either Fighters (high strength and hp, but lower defense), or Knights (high hp, strength, and defense, but slow), Lions are similar to Paladins (use virtually all physical related stats well with high damage), and Wolves are Mercenaries (balanced offensive stats, with solid bulk).
- Bird Tribes: The Bird Tribes are airborne and can also move after attacking, making them similar to the flying classes. Hawks are essentially faster Wyvern Riders (focus on strength with average physical bulk), Ravens are essentially Pegasus Knights (High Speed, Resistance, and Luck but low bulk and Strength), while Herons are Dancers.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: The Bird Tribe in Radiant Dawn can move again after attacking or singing. The exception is Rafiel as he is grounded by his clipped wings.
- Kitsune: The Kitsune and Ninetails class. They also have foxfires that surround them when transformed.
- Lightning Bruiser: While they have different specialties depending on species, compared to human units, they are all extremely fast and strong. The Tiger Laguz are the only ones lacking in this area.
- Little Bit Beastly: They all exhibit some traits of their beast form even in human form. Usually ears and tails, or wings in the case of the bird tribes. Dragons/manaketes in contrast are usually much more subtle.
- Magically Inept Fighter: Beasts are more physically-oriented, while their dragon counterparts have better magic stats. This translate into almost all Beast units, save the Kitsune, having poor Resistance stats.
- Natural Weapon: The Laguz uses their own claw, talons, and beaks when fighting in their beast forms. In Radiant Dawn, they have a special weapon rank called Strike which improves their attacks upon raising their weapon rank. Averted with Beast classes since Awakening as they wield Stones like Manaketes.
- No-Sell: The Hawk Laguz's mastery skill in Path of Radiance was Cancel (or Wing Guard), which lets them nullify damage based on their skill.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: The Wolfskin and Wolfsegner look less like wolves and more like gorrilas with koala and wolf traits.
- Panthera Awesome: The Tiger and the Lion Laguz of the Beast Tribe, especially the Lion Laguz as one is their king.
Emperor (and variants)If the final boss isn't a dark magician, a dragon, or a god, this is what they'll be — a king decked out in enormous armour or finery, dwarfing every other unit (except maybe Manaketes/laguz) in sheer size, wielding a huge Ancestral Weapon, and possessing astronomical physical stats. More often than not, though, there'll be a True Final Boss after them. Specifically, this refers to Emperor Hardin of Mystery of the Emblem, Emperor Arvis of Genealogy of the Holy War, Baron Raydrik of Thracia 776, King Zephiel of The Binding Blade, Ashnard, King Daein, of Path of Radiance (who is also similar to a Dragon Rider), Walhart the Conqueror of Awakening, Nohrian King Garon in Fates, and Emperor Edelgard of Three Houses.
- Ancestral Weapon: All of them wield personal weapons.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The majority of them are authority figures who are much more powerful then their troops.
- BFS: As fitting their position, their weapons are often very large. Averted by Arvis, who uses the magic tome Valflame instead (though he does have a Silver Blade, the strongest non-legendary sword, in his inventory, even if he was hacked to not be able to use Valflame, Arvis will not use the Silver Blade).
- Contractual Boss Immunity: To prevent them from being easily defeated, they usually have skills that negate weapon effectiveness against their movement type, or their personal classes don't have those weaknesses in the first place.
- Degraded Boss: Barons are encountered as generic enemies in the final chapter of Genealogy of the Holy War after the more powerful Emperor class is introduced in the story. The final arena opponent of the same chapter belongs to the Emperor class as well.
- The Emperor: The majority of character in these classes are the ruler of a hostile empire or kingdom.
- Expy: Much like the Lords, they have unique classes that are basically based off of existing classes, but individualized to fit the character using the class.
- King Zephiel, Emperor Hardin, Nohrian King Garon, and Emperor Edelgard all have similarities to the General class, be it through similar stat lines, being armored, or both. Zephiel uses a sword while Generals in his game can't, while the Black Knight is also related to the third tier Marshall class by proxy.
- Emperor Arvis is basically a souped up Baron class. The Baron class itself is also similar to the General class but with access to magic, and is used by Raydrik.
- King Ashnard is essentially a better version of the Wyvern Lord class, but Ashnard uses a sword rather than a lance.
- Walhart the Conqueror is very similar to the Great Knight class.
- Final Boss: Often your last opponent, but there'll frequently be a True Final Boss after them.
- Foil: Essentially the opposite of the Lord class, being classes that are mostly exclusive to one particular character in the games they appear in, gets unique (possibly legendary) weapons to wield, and is the leader of their army, but the Lord class belongs to the main playable character while the Emperor class belongs to the game's main villain (or one of them, though typically one that is working in the foreground).
- Large and in Charge: Their sprites tend to dwarf the others in the game. Usually, this is a product of having bulky, intimidating armor.
- Lightning Bruiser: They have fantastic, if not outright maxed, stats across the board. This includes Speed, in spite of their huge size and heavy armor.
- Magic Knight: Barons and Jugdral's Emperors can use anima magic in addition to all physical weapons.
- Promoted to Playable: Twice, first with Walhart in Awakening, then Edelgard in Three Houses.
- Tin Tyrant: They're almost always covered in armor.
- Walking Armory: Arvis can use all weapon types but Dark and Light Magic.
MonstersIn addition to the usual human and draconic enemies, Gaiden, The Sacred Stones, Fates, and Three Houses contain a wide variety of monstrous enemies. They come in the following types:
Introduced in Gaiden and Shadows of Valentia
- Revenants/Entombed: Zombie-like creatures that attack with claws. They have high HP but extremely low stats otherwise. In addition to appearing in both Gaiden and Sacred Stones, they reappeared in Fire Emblem Awakening as a type of Risen and the only monster class in that game. Echoes introduces a stronger and bigger variant for the Revenant known as a Dracul and what has to be the monster equivalent of an overclass for the Entombed called the Tomb Lord.
- Bonewalkers: Skeletal soldiers that wield a variety of weapon types. Their advanced equivalent is known as the Lich in Gaiden and the Wight in Sacred Stones. Echoes additionally introduces two stronger variants: the Titan (a giant and stronger axe-wielding version of the Lich) and the Deimos (an axe-wielding shaman arisen that wields potent purging fire)
- Mogalls (Bigls in the Japanese version): Small floating eyes that wield Dark magic. In Sacred Stones they have an advanced version called Arch Mogalls and in Echoes the Balor appears in the former's place.
- Fiends: Demonic Barons exclusive to Gaiden and its remake. The Guardian introduced in Echoes is a redder, more powerful variant of the Fiend.
- Gargoyles: Flying creatures wielding lances. Their advanced equivalent is the Balrog in Gaiden and the Deathgoyle in Sacred Stones. Stronger than even the Deathgoyle is the Garuda introduced in Echoes.
Introduced in The Sacred Stones
- Baels/Elder Baels: Spiderlike creatures exclusive to Sacred Stones. They attack with deadly claws that may sometimes be poisoned.
- Tarvos/Maelduins: Centaurlike creatures exclusive to Sacred Stones. They wield axes, and the "advanced" Maelduins also use bows.
- Mauthe Doogs/Gwyllgis: Speedy demon dogs that attack with fangs. Exclusive to Sacred Stones.
- Gorgons: Scaly creatures hatching from eggs that wield a variety of nasty dark magic spells. Exclusive to Sacred Stones.
- Cyclopes: Massive axe-wielding creatures exclusive to Sacred Stones. Their HP cap is higher than that of other units.
- Draco Zombies (Dragon Zombies in the Japanese version, Necrodragons in Shadows of Valentia): Like dragons, only deader. In Gaiden and its remake, they have a "advanced" version called White Dragons. Echoes further introduces the Fafnir, a monstrous, ancient dragon that has survived since antiquity.
- Phantom (Spirit Warriors in the Japanese version): A spirit exclusive to Sacred Stones, they are summoned by a Summoner or Necromancer.
Introduced in Fates
- Faceless: Humanoid creatures made from dark magic, debuting in Fates. In contrast to the Revenants/Entombed, they are rather large and bulky, and attack with their fists instead of their claws.
- Stoneborn: Moving statues who debuted in Fates. They attack by launching rocks from afar.
- Automaton: Puppets moving by clockwork who debuted in Fates. They attack with saws and yumi (eastern bows) and is the first monster class capable of using both normal and monster weapons.
- Empty Vessel: Garon's true form in Conquest, it is a slime monster made of water that attacks with axes. Debuting in Fates, it is the first monster class seen since Sacred Stones to only use a normal weapon instead of an enemy-only monster weapon.
Introduced in Three Houses
- Black Beast: A crazed transformed Miklan when the Lance of Ruin's crest stone consumed him for his lack of a crest.
- Wandering Beast: A mad creature that lurks in the wild. A bestial form of Maurice, a forgotten Elite.
- Hegemon Husk: An emperor's corpse hellbent on world conquest. Edelgard's One-Winged Angel transformation on Azure Moon, utilizing her twin crests to their fullest extent.
- Wild Demonic Beasts: A feral Demonic Beast spotted in the wilds. Can breathes poisonous breath.
- Experimental Demonic Beast: A human-transformed Beast by the power of crest stones embedded on their forehead.
- Demonic Beast: Demonic Beasts under the control of the Imperial army. Upgrades of the Experimental Demonic Beast.
- Flying Demonic Beast: Agile flying Demonic Beasts.
- Altered Demonic Beast: Demonic Beasts with an anti-magic armor, granting them immunity to magic damage.
- Giant Demonic Beast: A gigantic version of human-transformed beasts. Dedue takes on this form in the Crimson Flower route.
- Umbral Beast: A powerful monster created by the Chalice of Beginnings in the Cindered Shadows expansion. Aelfric's transformation after he is absorbed by the Chalice and fused with Sitri's corpse.
- Golem: Mechanized automatons in the service of the Church of Seiros.
- Altered Golem: Stronger golems wield by the Church of Seiros. They are immune to magic.
- Guardian Golem: A unique golem tasked with protecting the Chalice of Beginnings in the Cindered Shadows expansion.
- Titanus: A mechanized weapon created by Agarthan technology.
- White Beast: Cardinals of the Church transformed by the will of the Immaculate One.
- Lord of the Lake: A giant tortoise-like monster that lives in the lake. The true form of Saint Indech.
- Lord of the Desert: A giant bird-like monster that lives in the desert. The true form of Saint Macuil.
- The Immaculate One: A giant white-dragon revered in the teachings of the Church of Seiros. The true form of Saint Seiros/Rhea.
- Giant Bird: A bird that grew enormous due to magic.
- Giant Crawler: A worm that grew enormous due to magic.
- Giant Wolf: A wolf that grew enormous due to magic.
- Achilles' Heel: All monsters are weak against the Bishop's Slayer skill, the Falcon Knight's Banish skill, and the Sacred Twin weapons (except for Gleipnir). Giant Crawlers are able to negate this weakness as a latent ability when down to their last healthbars and Hegemon Husk Edelgard negates her monster weakness from the outset of fighting her. In addition, Gargoyles/Deathgoyles/Garuda, Draco Zombies/White Dragons/Fafnirs, Giant Birds,and White Beasts are treated as flying units and are thereby weak to bows and the Wind Sword, and Tarvos/Maelduins are treated as mounted units and are weak to weapons that do additional damage to them. Lastly, all Demonic Beast variants (wild, exp. base, winged, and giant), the Lord of the Lake, Lord of the Desert, White Beasts, and The Immaculate One are all dragons meaning they also share a weakness to anti-dragon weaponry and abilities.
- An Axe to Grind: Tarvos, Maelduins, Phantoms, Titans, Deimoses, and the Empty Vessel.
- Armor-Piercing Attack: Dracozombie's attacks completely ignore defense so watch your units that has less HP than their attack. The Immaculate One's Staggering Blow in Silver Snow, Hoarfrost, completely ignore any defenses.
- BFS: A Titanus carries one called a Giant Katar, wielding it in one hand and it's capable of firing energy beams from it for ranged combat.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Baels and Elder Baels, which are absolutely huge spiders.
- Blade on a Stick: Gargoyles/Deathgoyles and some Bonewalkers/Wights. Golems (and their stronger counterparts the Altered Golems) brandish lances made purely out of light to attack foes.
- Blow You Away: The Lord of the Desert utilizes magical wind to attack his foes, with his bird-like design helping the mofit. Giant Wolves and Giant Crawlers will also make use of this for their staggering blowsquickly spinning or sweeping in place to generate a harsh gust of wind, and Winged Demonic Beasts generate sharp wind crescents for ranged combat.
- Boss in Mook's Clothing: Draco Zombies (and White Dragons in Gaiden). In fact, unless you do the Lagdou Ruins in their entirety as soon as they become available, the first one you encounter in Sacred Stones will actually be a boss, complete with unique sprite! Technically speaking, though, his class is still listed as Manakete...
- Breath Weapon: Draco Zombies usually attack with a dark breath. In three houses, all Demonic Beast variants save for the Giant Demonic Beasts are capable of breathing fire (or poison for the Wild Demonic Beasts), and White Beasts on the other hand sport magic, holy blue flames instead. The Immaculate One can also exple holy blue flames or a vaporizing beam of light).
- Casting a Shadow: Mogalls/Arch Mogalls and Gorgons. Draco Zombies also have wretched air, a stream of fetid dark flames spewed at their target.
- Cyclops: The fittingly named Cyclops in Sacred Stones, which is one of the more powerful monsters. Echoes redesigns the Lich as well as introduces the Titan and Deimos to have this look; the artbook suggests that the Lich and Titan respectively had the heads of one-eyed goats or bulls while the Deimos wore a sone-eyed monster's skull for a mask.
- Damage Reduction: The Titanus and the Lord of the Lake are both outfitted with Pavise and Aegis as long as their barriers are up, making it even more difficult to take them down.
- Draco Lich: The fittingly named Draco Zombies are among the toughest foes in all three of their appearances which consist of Gaiden and Sacred Stones.
- Dishing Out Dirt: A Stoneborn attacks by hurling out giant boulders from the cavity under its mask. Giant Crawlers, Giant Wolves, and Giant Demonic Beasts will also pick up giant rocks and hurl them at their enemies as ranged attacks.
- Evil Counterpart: Several Monster classes have human counterparts. The Titanus can function as one to the Golem and Altered Golem, with the latter two having close ties to the Chruch of Seiros while the former is employed by one of the two church's enemy factionsThose who Slither in the Dark.
- Feather Flechettes: Giant Birds will fire off their feathers as their ranged attack and also unleash a barrage of them as their staggering blow.
- Fragile Speedster: Mauthe Doogs and Gwyllgis are the monster counterparts to the Myrmidon line. Also, the giant animals in Three Houses are considerably faster and harder to hit compared to most other monsters of the Demonic Beast build, but their barriers are more easily broken and they typically do not hit as hard.
- Geo Effects: Phantoms completely ignore terrain bonuses and penalties because they are ethereal beings with no solid, tangible forms.
- Giant Mook: Monsters in Three Houses are large, take up to at least 4 spaces rather than 1 space like most units. Their giant size can either block or be blocked by units, they can be roadblocked by obstacles or units that have only one space gap. Hegemon Husk Edelgard is the exception to this trope, being no bigger than a regular unit map-wise.
- Healing Factor: The Lord of the Lake possesses this ability in addition to its myriad of defensive skills and the Miracle ability.
- Hellhound: The Mauthe Doogs and the Gwyllgis in Sacred Stones. The latter had three heads instead of one and were even called Cerberus in the Japanese version.
- Humongous Mecha: The Golems, Altered Golems, and Titanuses are massive automatons with equally large armaments (lances of light for the golems and giant katars for the Titanuses).
- I Fight for the Strongest Side: Faceless are created with no minds of their own and simply act on primal bestial instinct to attack others. Practitioners of Dark Magic are able to bend and enslave them to their will. Such people include Iago, Leo, and Rhajat.
- Last Chance Hit Point: The Lord of the Lake and White Beasts possess Miracle which may save them from an otherwise fatal blow, ensuring that they will not be easy to take down )especially the White Beasts with their high Luck stat factoring into it).
- The Legions of Hell: Dolth, a boss in the original Gaiden says in his Magical Incantation that he's summoning the Dracozombies from Hell. Fiends are described as from the nether realm in Shadows of Valentia.
- Light Is Not Good: The White Beasts are frenzied dragons that expel holy blue flames as their attack. The same can be said of the Golems and Altered Golems should Rhea descend into insanity. The Immaculate One, whether willingly antagonistic or degenerated, also counts with both the holy blue flames or her vaporizing light breath.
- Making a Splash: The Lord of the Lake utilizes magic water to attack foes and is suitably designed after a turtle, a potentially aquatic creature.
- Me's a Crowd: Mogalls and Balors possess the ability to make copies of themselves in Gaiden and Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.
- Mighty Glacier: Cyclopes, who wield strong axes and has high defenses and bloated HP, they are very slow to which they can be compared to Knights. Although their stat caps tend towards Lightning Bruiser with high speed and skill, few Cyclops enemies get close to those caps. The majority of monsters in Three Houses besides the giant animals are typically like this.
- Multiple Life Bars: The monsters in Three Houses have several health bars. With each depleted bar, they may gain stat boosts and an additional skill.
- Name's the Same: The axe-wielding Tarvos shares its name with Nolan's personal axe in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn.
- No-Sell: Altered Demonic Beasts and Altered Golems have armor that grants them complete immunity to magic damage until the armor breaks.
- Not Using the "Z" Word: Averted in the Japanese version, where Revenants are called Zombies.
- Oculothorax: Mogalls, Arch Mogalls, and Balors are giant eyeballs with tentacles.
- One-Hit Point Wonder: Phantoms have only 1 HP. If they are summoned with a Devil Axe equipped, it is possible for it to die attacking before an enemy attacks.
- Our Centaurs Are Different: Tarvos and Maelduin appear like traditional savage centaurs except with dark grey/black skin. They use axes and bows.
- Our Dragons Are Different: The Demonic Beasts are dragon-like creatures, thus vulnerable to anti-dragon attacks. Indech and Macuil's dragon form is based on a turtle and bird, respectively.
- Our Monsters Are Different: They appear to lack sentience of their own, and mindlessly carry out the bidding of their summoner.
- Permanently Missable Content: Phantoms cannot trade, so if it kills an enemy and obtains an item from it, the item will be inaccessible to other units.
- Piñata Enemy: Revenants and Entombed are fairly unimposing aside from their large stores of HP, but give out great amounts of EXP — the latter is pretty much a guaranteed level-up for an base-class unit. (This has carried over to Awakening.) Also, Gorgon Eggs are immobile and incapable of attacking and give out exactly 50 EXP when destroyed regardless of the attacking unit's level. Also, they start out with only a few HP and start healing every turn at a certain point, and if allowed to heal to full, they turn into Gorgons. Tomb Lords, introduced in Echoes, are more of a downplayed example as while they do give out large amounts of EXP, they're also difficult to take down and are easily capable of killing just about anyone.
- Poisonous Person: Wild Demonic Beasts are poisonous creatures, they have the Poison and Poison Strike skills. Some Tomb Lords may also possess venin claws, which on top of their scary strength makes them more dangerous.
- Roar Before Beating: Monster units in Three Houses do this as they prepare their Staggering Blowa meaty Area of Effect attack that can hit from 8, 10, or 12 squares in two rows of four/five or three rows of four up in front of it and cannot be countered, typically reducing the victims' stats and inflicting various status effects (including against allied units). All opposing factions had best fell the monster, break its barries, or get out of dodge before then.
- Sand Worm: The Giant Crawlers are earthworms jacked up to a huge size and are capable of moving through the much-maligned desert tiles with no issue.
- Sinister Scimitar: Melee Bonewalkers use this in both Gaiden and Sacred Stones.
- Sinister Scythe: Gargoyles and their relatives wield scythes in Gaiden.
- Squishy Wizard: Mogalls and Arch Mogalls.
- Summon Magic: Phantoms can be summoned by the Summoner and Necromancer Classes in Sacred Stones. Certain player and enemy units could also summon units as AI allies.
- Super Toughness: The Lord of the Lake and the Lord of the Desert (as well as The Immaculate One) possess Ancient Dragonskin, naturally halving all incoming damage, and so long as their barriers are up they have access to Dragon-Scale Wall that reduces the damage even further by a whopping 70%.
- Taken for Granite: Gorgon enemies can cast a spell called "Stone" which petrifies your units. Petrified units cannot move and any attack against them will have a 100% chance of hitting and a 30% chance of being a critical hit.
- Was Once a Man: Many of the monster classes in Three Houses were humans transformed by crest stones. Especially, the Black Beast from Miklan, the Wandering Beast from Maurice, the Giant Demonic Beast from Dedue, the cardinals turned White Beasts, and Edelgard as the Hegemon Husk.
- Wolfpack Boss: The Lagdou Ruins end with a stage containing eight Draco Zombies and no other enemies.
OverclassesOverclasses are a new tier of classes available as DLC for Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, accessible when units are at their most powerful: in the highest-tier available class and at Level 20. Among them are:
- Conqueror: An advanced-tier for the Hero class, thus making it exclusive to Alm.
- Rigain: An advanced-tier for the Princess class, thus making it exclusive to Celica.
- Spartan: An advanced-tier for the Baron. The class is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a warrior wearing armor based on what the Spartans wore.
- Enchantress: An advanced-tier for the Priestess class.
- Skogul: An advanced-tier for the Gold Knight class.
- Yasha: An advanced-tier for the Dread Fighter class.
- Harrier: An advanced-tier for the Falcon Knight class.
- Exemplar: An advanced-tier for the Saint class.
- Guru: An advanced-tier for the Sage class.
- Oliphantier: An advanced-tier for the Bow Knight class.
- Absolute Cleavage: The Harrier's uniform has one going past their navel.
- Animal Motifs: Oliphantiers's horse mounts are fitted with pieces of armor that make them resemble elephants, adding to the elephant archer aesthetic the class goes for.
- Badass Cape: All of the Overclasses except for the Oliphantier have a cape.
- Bling of War: They all have gold or silver accents in some shape, form, or fashion.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: They're DLC classes. Granted, the fact that you need to have a character at level 20 and at the highest tier of their class means you'd have to grind to be able to use them.
- Call-Forward: The Alm exclusive Conqueror class shares its name with that of his descendant Walhart's personal class (though Walhart's version is closer to the Emperor class in spirit and in gameplay functions more like an improved Great Knight than a Lord), and even has horns on it's headgear, a feature that Walhart takes to an exaggerated level.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Enchantress can learn Death and Mire, which are exclusive to enemy mages, the Harrier rides a dark horse and the Guru can summon Terrors.
- Easter Egg: The pattern on the Enchantress's cape is derived from Celtic knots, a design motif prominent in Fire Emblem Heroes.
- Holy Hand Grenade: Rigain grants Celica the Aura spell when she class changes to it.
- Magic Knight: Aside from the Rigain and the Enchantress who already class changed from one, the Harrier can learn spells and use their spears in tandem, just like Dark Fliers.
- Meaningful Name: "Rigain" is Old Irish for queen.
- Necromancer: Gurus can learn Lemegeton, allowing them to conjure Terrors of their own.
- No-Sell: The Phalanx skill on Spartans allow the user to have a chance to negate damage taken equal to their Defense/2%, which can also be multiplied for every adjacent ally.
- Poisoned Weapons: The Yasha's skill Tri-Affliction gives them a chance to poison enemies on hit.
- The Power of Friendship: The Spartan's skill Phalanx allows him to negate all damage, the odds of it triggering increasing the more allies are nearby.