Follow TV Tropes


Game Breaker / Fire Emblem

Go To

"So, if you've been around any discussion involving Radiant Dawn, you've probably heard of Haar. In the last game, he was simply an average late-game prepromote; in this game, he may as well be a god. Haar is an almost perfect combination of everything that can make a Fire Emblem character good. His bases are amazing, his growths are amazing, his availability is amazing [...] he uses the best weapon type in the game, his class is amazing, his movement is amazing as a consequence of that, he's only weak to a weapon type that sucks, he gets transfer bonuses... really, the only thing that could make him more perfect is if he had Earth affinity."
BigKlingy, Haar bio

Game Breakers in the Fire Emblem series.

Important note one: Depending on the difficulty level, certain characters may or may not be game-breaking for various reasons note , especially those of the Est archetypenote . On hard, you'll need to ask yourself whether it's really worth it to spend time and experience on a new unit, especially if you've already formed a solid team.

Important note two: Due to the nature of Fire Emblem game mechanics, it is possible for a player to turn almost any unit into a gamebreaker provided that the unit has good growth rates and has good fortune. The specific examples of Fire Emblem gamebreakers listed on this page will not include units that can only be considered gamebreakers under this assumption. There are numerous methods by which one can create such units in each Fire Emblem game, some of which will be covered below.

These games have so many ways to break them, they needed their own pages.

    open/close all folders 

    Mechanics and Gameplay Examples 

  • Abusing various mechanics for EXP gain is the most common and accessible method of powering up playable units. The EXP may come from a variety of sources. This is mostly analogous to Level Grinding in other RPGs. Some variants are described below:
    • In what is commonly called "boss abuse," a unit will attack an enemy (generally a boss enemy, hence the name) that is on a healing tile, such as a throne or a gate. The unit must be weak enough such that the boss will be able to heal back the damage done, but strong enough to do more than zero damagenote . Upon attacking the boss, the player unit will gain EXP for a round of combat; by repeating this process over many turns, the player can level up a unit until the unit becomes too strong for this exploit to worknote .
    • There is also "reinforcement abuse," a form of abuse in which a player will intentionally extend the length of a chapter so that playable units will be able to engage and defeat enemy reinforcements for large amounts of EXP. Although not all maps have this feature, there are some maps where reinforcements will appear indefinitely after a certain number of turns have passed.
    • Another form of abuse for EXP gain is "arena abuse," a form of abuse where a player will repeatedly use a map arena for an infinite source of combat and EXP. Although limited in scopenote , each round of arena combat gives a substantial amount of EXP for the participant, and awards money to boot. Barring maps that have a set turn limit, a player can arena abuse ad infinitum.
    • Yet another form of abuse is called "staff abuse". Since healers gain EXP through using magical staves, a common practice is to have healers deliberately spending their turn healing Scratch Damage when they would otherwise not need to do so, which allows them to mooch off other forms of abuse as listed above.
    • The final form of abuse is "Dance abuse". Dance abuse is also synonymous with "Sing abuse". Much like how healers gain EXP through using staves, Dancers, Bards, and Songstresses can gain EXP and eventual level-ups. This is much easier to do on maps where the enemies do not attack the characters until they are in range. Most effective when the dancer/bard/singer in question can actually attack, and their level-ups increase their strength.
    • One counterpoint, at least from Genealogy of the Holy War to The Blazing Blade: Some Fire Emblem games feature a "Ranking" mechanic that scores the player's performance as tactician. Taking a ton of turns to grind up units and having a lot of battles that don't end in a kill will send these rankings into the gutter, so if you care about good rankings, the above XP-grind strategies can only be used in moderation.
  • Rigging level-ups is another common and accessible method of powering up playable units. This method does not require a large source of EXP, but it does require a time investment on the player's part in most cases. Due to Fire Emblem relying solely on a RNG to determine parameter gains from level ups, this method allows for characters whose parameters greatly exceed their expected values at a given level.
    • One method of this form of abuse involves obtaining knowledge of the RNG sequence and using this knowledge to manipulate a good level up on a player unit.
      • In the GBA games, this is done by forcing the game to use random numbers (RNs) in retracing movement paths, which also indicates to the player whether the RNs used were "high" or "low." After suspending and resuming the game, the sequence of RNs is identical and thus predictable. The player will attempt to manipulate a good level up by matching a string of successive "low" RNs with the string used to determine level-up gains.
      • In the DS games, the RNG is seeded by the Nintendo DS clock, and starting the game at certain times on the clock will yield predictable results. This form of RNG abuse is commonly used in Shadow Dragon for players to create wi-fi teams with parameters that are significantly above average.
    • Another method of this form of abuse involves brute-force resetting of the game until the player obtains favorable results.
      • In Path of Radiance, this is facilitated by the BEXP (Bonus EXP) system, which allows the player to allocate EXP to player units in the pre-chapter base. The level-up gains using this method are not restricted in any particular way, and the player can simply apply BEXP to yield a level up, check the level-up gains, and reset if the gains weren't satisfactory.
      • In Radiant Dawn, a character leveled up by BEXP always gets three parameters increased. This allows a unit with a spread of high and low growth stats to maximize both. Explanation  Additionally, the introduction of mid-chapter battle saves in Radiant Dawn Easy and Normal Modes allows for this sort of manipulation during the course of gameplay.
  • The final common method of powering up playable units is by stacking stat-boosting resources on them. Typically, these resources are not freely available; but there are exceptions in some games.
    • In Genealogy of the Holy War, there exist numerous rings that confer +5 to a particular parameter, and a unit can hold as many of these as the inventory will allow.
    • In certain games, there exist secret shops near the end of the game that have buyable stat-boosting items; in combination with the abusable arenas, the player can purchase a virtually unlimited quantity. The same applies for The Sacred Stones after the main game has ended. Some even let you buy Boots, the item which increases Movement; in such games, it's not unheard of for players to sell every item they own, buy a few dozen boots, and then enjoy their units zipping across the battlefield like rockets.
    • In the DS games, these secret shops near the end of the game only sell a maximum of 3 of each kind of stat-boosting item instead of an unlimited amount. In addition, in New Mystery of the Emblem, the various shards of the Star Orb increase the holder's stats.
    • In Awakening, it is possible to abuse a trick with the Avatar Logbook to use these items infinitely on any bonus character until they hit their stat caps. note  While this only works on bonus characters (who can't build supports and thus are inferior to the main cast in the long run), the boosted stats are more than enough to turn the game prior to the Brutal Bonus Levels into a complete joke.
    • An extension to this includes items that greatly augment a unit's growth rates, which exist in Mystery of the Emblem, Thracia 776, and in Path of Radiance on the second and subsequent playthroughs, and a unit can hold as many of these items as the inventory will allow. Unlike stat-boosting items, these can also be traded around on a whim so that essentially every deployed player unit can make use of the augmented growth rates.

    Character and Game-Specific Game Breakers 

  • As a general rule, dancer and bard units (units that give other player units an extra action) are very powerful, and can break the game when used effectively. Their simple ability makes possible a diverse array of quick strategies. Some dancers can even do it to multiple characters at once—which, needless to say, breaks the game's action economy into tiny little pieces.
  • Mounted and flier units tend to be similarly dominant, due to the sheer versatility that comes from both high mobility and often the ability to carry other units. On top of that, series traditions tend to mandate you get at least four cavaliers and three Pegasus knights, meaning you have a lot to choose from.
  • While you can't use them in the main storyline, Ashnard in the Trial Maps of Path of Radiance and Gharnef in a DLC chapter of New Mystery of the Emblem are playable. Both men retain their inability to be damaged by anything other than a few specific weapons, and since said weapons are player-exclusive, both men are completely immortal while under your control.

    The Archanea Games (Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Gaiden, Mystery of the Emblem, Shadow Dragon, New Mystery of the Emblem, and Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

  • Marth is a ferocious Game-Breaker in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. High defensive stats, best weapon class in the game, three great weapons (Mercurius, Falchion, Rapier) that are exclusive to him, one of which is buyable everywhere, and on top of it all, he has the ability to draw in all enemies capable of attacking him. Have a healer you can't get out of danger? Just place Marth within range, and no one will attack the healer unless they can't get to Marth. At the end of the game, the Falchion negates all close combat attacks made by non-dragons.
  • Cain and Abel started out a long trend of the Christmas Cavaliers being some of the best units in their respective games. Their growths are among the highest in the game, and their bases are just barely behind the local Crutch Character Jagen. Low stat caps and weak enemies mean their theoretical Jack-of-All-Stats nature quickly turns into Master of All, with them effortlessly one-rounding just about anything by the time they've promoted. With their high Movement, they can snowball fast, and even Marth, broken personal weapons and all, can be outclassed by their level lead. Hardin is the only other cavalier to even approach their overall competence, and he shows up at a point where they're at least on par with him. They suffer somewhat in the DS remake due to much stronger enemies and Cain having some weapon rank issues, but they are still considered very reliable units, and the only one to ever be regarded as anything less than very good is the Book 2/New Mystery version of Abel, who suffers from Late Character Syndrome.
  • Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light is the debut of Warp Staff. While limited due to the awkward trading system of the game, it's still just as overpowered as it is in the later games in the series, with its ability to Warp a unit to any point of the map, and comes with a generous 7 uses each, more than making up for its inability to be fixed by the Hammerne staff that is introduced in Shadow Dragon. By extension, this turns all potential staff users into Game-Breaker, but three stand out due to their availability, and general potential of usage: Lena, Boah, and Wendell.
    • Wendell is an example in and of himself. Recruited at chapter 5, Wendell comes with insane base stats, including a ridiculously high base speed of 14, and access to every single non-exclusive tome and staff in the game. Defensively, he starts with fairly high HP and Defense stats, which is enough for him to take on a lot of punishment during the enemy phase all the way into the late game. Offensively, due to the mechanics of Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Wendell is capable of at worst 2-rounding every single standard enemy in the game, including a notable performance of being able to go toe to toe with Gharnef at base stats. For a Mage to be as good as Wendell, they basically need to promote, something that is only achieved very late into the game due to the availability of the item, and the promotion mechanic of the game. While there are better Bishops later on in the game (such as Boah, who is essentially Wendell, but with slightly better bases and worse growths and availability, and Gotoh), the combination of his early join time, combat, and utility of Wendell ended up defining the ridiculous standard of prepromote in the entire series, which ended up with him getting nerfed in every single one of his future appearances, with lower base speed, higher enemy stats, changes in the weapon rank mechanic, and the revamp towards promotion mechanic all being done just to make him less of a dominant unit. He's still really good in most of them.
  • A glitch in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light gives Crutch Character, Bantu, 15 defense anytime he uses a promotion item. Keep in mind, Bantu's unbreakable firestone already gives him 15 defense. The promotion item doesn't even get used up when it's used by Bantu, and can be used until Bantu's defense reaches 99, breaking the stat cap. This means Bantu can be rendered invincible to physical attacks, even without his firestone, as early as chapter 10! Tiki can do much the same, as well.
  • The Starsphere is often overlooked in this category, mostly because normally you need to trade it and the Lightsphere in order to create the Starlight tome, which, despite its underwhelming appearance, is the only thing that can damage Gharnef, carrier of the Falchion. However, if Tiki is in your team or if you're playing Shadow Dragon, you'll still have a Divinestone to deal effective damage to Medeus, so creating Starlight isn't exactly necessary- and that means you get to keep the Starsphere, which essentially negates durability usage. Weapons that were previously Too Awesome to Use, such as the Regalia or a particularly damaged Wing Spear, become infinitely usable.
    • On a related note, the Lightsphere negates enemy terrain bonuses. While this doesn't come up often, using it on a particularly tough boss, such as Camus, will make your life that much easier.
  • Caeda and Lena are gamebreaking characters in Shadow Dragon due to their ability to exploit certain gamebreaking mechanics.
    • Caeda is the sole user of the Wing Spear, a multipurpose effective weapon. Her low str is circumvented by forging extra MT onto the Wing Spear note  and her high spd lets her reliably double attack boss enemies for ORKOs. Her default class, when promoted, is one of the few classes in the game that possesses flying and is also tied for the highest movement in the game.
    • Lena is the earliest user of Warp and the only user of Hammerne (a staff which restores weapon durability), thereby facilitating the Warp skip strategies. In Shadow Dragon, Warp has no range restrictions, and it is possible to warp Caeda to the boss, ORKO it, then warp Marth there and have him seize, clearing the map in a single turn.
  • Forging in general becomes this once you realize that you can forge effective weapons. While the Wing Spear is the most infamous one, pretty much any Situational Sword turns into a one-hit-kill machine once forged... especially when you realize that Shadow Dragon's enemy variety is awful and a Ridersbane can usually kill about 70% of the units on a map. Plenty of lance-wielding characters have their viability mostly determined by how quickly they can pick up that all-important C-rank.
  • Ballisticians were pretty useless in the original NES game (comparable to the later Bow Armor, if not a bit worse). This meant the DS remake of Shadow Dragon saw little problem with reworking them to be more fitting with the later conception of ballistae—upping their range from the javelin-sized 1-2 to an artillery-sized 3-10. It worked, and then some. Due to the mechanics of the ballista, they can reach out and snipe enemies from frightfully long distances. Some ballista types also include effective weapon varieties (which, as mentioned, is key in Shadow Dragon, and one of them happens to counter other ballistas) and come in both physical and magic varieties, so even on very high difficulties, they can manage some hefty damage—and since the users have little reason to move, they can simply park next to each other and pass their weapons back and forth before shooting, changing things up for the optimal strategy at will. They can be used to focus fire and delete an enemy off the map, soften up targets for your other units, or simply nuke them one by one with effective damage, all while never risking a counter. It's very common in high-level play to see Jake, Beck, and Xane sitting on the backlines, playing hot-potato with their forged weapons and clearing the way for their melee fellows. While the removal of the class in New Mystery probably had something to do with the original users also changing class in Mystery, its sheer power probably didn't hurt the argument.
  • Book 2 of Mystery of the Emblem has several extremely powerful characters, but none stand out as much as Palla, a Pegasus Knight who joins in chapter 3, with amazing growth in every area except for speed, where she had 17 in a game where 20 is the speed cap, and insane base stats all around, including enough weapon rank to wield Silver weapons from the get go. With some fairly reasonable exp gains, Palla can one round almost every non-boss humanoid enemy in the game after her promotion. The closest thing to a check on her power is the dismount mechanic, forcing Palla to lose her superior mobility advantage in indoor maps, but her stats are high enough to make her fairly competent in that area as well, and doing so ironically improves her combat capability since it also gave her access to swords, which is the best weapon class in the game thanks to the sheer variety on the weapon class. Palla can promote as early as Chapter 7, and she can get access to the Delphi Shield, nullifying her only weakness to bows in her debut chapter. This incarnation of Palla is so overpowered, the game is jokingly called Mystery of Who Balanced Palla. It's quite telling that even after getting some nerfs, her New Mystery incarnation is generally seen as the only unit in the game who comes close to standing up to Kris.
  • A handful of great units exist in New Mystery of the Emblem: Heroes of Light and Shadow, but it's no surprise that the best unit in the game is, by a mile, the player-created My Unit (typically known as Kris). My Unit's base parameters, growth rates, and starting class can be customized to a degree, and some builds of My Unit are better than others, but he is in general vastly superior to the rest of the cast. My Unit only has average base parameters and growths, but the game's forced prologue ends up channeling a lot of EXP into My Unit, whether the player intended to or not, and the end result is an overleveled juggernaut. On the hardest difficulty, a My Unit created with the proper build has the potential to turn the enemy units into complete jokes.
  • Gaiden features a few:
    • Warp returns from Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, but given that magic is no longer limited by charges but is Cast From Hit Points, this means that a Warp/Physic user can cast the spell as many times as they have the HP needed for it. Getting Warp is also much easier given that the first cleric you get learns it at level 8, which may be as early as the first act of the game.
    • Falcon Knights possess the Slayer/Banish ability, which triples their attack power versus Terrors. Given that you get three potential Falcon Knights on the route which features a lot of Terrors, this is a powerful ability indeed.
    • The Angel Ring restores 5 HP per turn, automatically increases Luck to 40 (which increases accuracy, physical evasion, and magical evasion), and best of all, doubles stat growths on level ups (i.e. characters now gain 2 in a stat upon level, though their growth rates remain the same).
    • The Villager loop. A unit in the Mercenary class line may promote to Myrmidon and then Dread Fighter, which can then promote back to Villager and then to Mercenary or any other class. It's worth noting that promoting back to Villager does not make the unit lose stats (except for the Resistance bonus inherent to Dread Fighter), so this pre-figures the Second Seal usage in Awakening.
  • Shadows of Valentia nerfs most of the above, but introduces a few Game Breakers in its place:
    • Forging is introduced as a mechanic after having been present in games since Path of Radiance, and given that Breakable Weapons is not in play, this leads to some creative scenarios, like a max-forged Ridersbane having +9 Attack and thus +27 Attack versus mounted units, which makes it a Disc-One Nuke. The Ridersbane can then be upgraded to the Rhomphaia, which not only provides the Armorcrush and Knightkneeler weapon arts, but also teaches the Dragonhaze weapon art, which adds the user's Speed to their attack power. Given that Cavaliers tend to be Jack-of-All-Stats at worst and Lightning Bruisers at best, giving one this weapon will allow them to deal heavy damage.
    • The Killer Bow Took a Level in Badass compared to its previous incarnations. Not only can it attack at close range, like bows in this game and unlike its counterparts in other games, it also teaches the Hunter's Volley weapon art, which attacks an enemy twice with increased accuracy and Critical Hit rate. Given that the Killer Bow still adds Critical Hit percentage, the chance of getting a crit with Hunter's Volley is very high.
    • The Star Jacinth, though only available with real cash and a fair bit of Item Farming, increases the growth rates of the holder by 30% in every stat (except Resistance, which still gains 5%), and can be passed around from unit to unit throughout the game so that effectively every unit can make use of these buffed growth rates. Judicious use of this item can effectively create an army of Master of All-type characters, and it's even possible to create multiple Star Jacinths due to the nature of the DLC level in which you get it. Said level also can provide access to almost literally every item in the game, making it a Disk One Nuke as well.
    • Mila's Turnwheel. It's a magical pocket watch given to Alm and Celica that gives the player unfettered mastery over the fabric of space and time, allowing them to play god and send visions of the future into the past, effectively rewinding time, not just to any previous turn of the battle, but to any previous move of any previous turn of the battle. And you can even use this after you've already lost to salvage your run. It does have limited uses per battle - starting at 3, but upgrades to 12 over time - which don't recharge in dungeons unless you pray at a shrine, but this is barely a limitation at all for how much use you can get out of it.

    The Jugdral Games (Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776) 

  • Sigurd in the first generation of Genealogy of the Holy War is considered a top candidate for the strongest Lord in the franchise, if not the strongest unit, period. He blows every single unit in the first generation out of the water, and his strengths are all over the place, with the game being seemingly designed to hand him as many advantages as possible.
    • Sigurd is the only Lord to start prepromoted, in the Knight Lord class. This is entirely beneficial to him, as he still has 25 levels to grow and does not have his XP gain reduced for being promoted. In exchange, he starts out wielding the best weapon type in swords, with lances for backup if he needs to toss a javelin sometime, capped by 9 Movement that makes him the speediest unit of the first generation, exacerbated further by the presence of road tiles that can jump it up to 12. Also, he has Re-Move/Canto, and due to Genealogy's completely broken take on it, it is possible for Sigurd to seize a castle on the same turn that he kills its boss, which also kills all nearby enemies.
    • Sigurd's bases are such that the vast majority of enemies in the first few chapters barely even threaten him. Quan is the only unit early on that even approaches Sigurd's bases, and he has a much more troublesome start due to being stuck with lances. One might expect Sigurd to have poor growths, but as he has Major Holy Blood, his growths are excellent, with his only somewhat low points being 30% Speed (which is barely a problem, because Sigurd uses the lightest weapon type and starts with high Speed anyway) and 5% Resistance (when most melee units have crap Resistance and Sigurd is so tanky that mages still don't kill him easily).
    • Sigurd has two leadership stars, buffing everyone around him. With his innate Pursuit skill, he not only performs double attacks without needing to work for it, unlike most other units, but doubles if he leads in Speed at all (which makes his shaky Speed growth even less of a problem). Over the course of normal play, he receives a Silver Sword at the end of the prologue, which hits phenomenally hard and can carry him for the rest of the first generation, until he gets Tyrfing near the end, a Sword of Plot Advancement that boosts his stats by ridiculous amounts (+10 Speed and Skill, +20 Resistance), meaning he now doubles everything in existence and even the remaining mage bosses struggle to damage him.
    • Most importantly, Sigurd snowballs insanely easily. Due to Genealogy's mechanics, units hold onto items unless you specifically sell them at the pawn shop and buy them back or have them trade with their lover. Because Sigurd is so fast and strong, he will likely be the first person to reach villages and castles, kill the enemies there, and rescue or capture them to reap the rewards. This means that on top of all of the above good points, he's also accumulating whatever rings or weapons the bosses were carrying, which can patch his few weaknesses or make his strengths even more ridiculous, along with tons of gold to buy things he might want from your other characters. Oh, and weapons in Genealogy gain a unique 'Critical' skill if you kill at least 50 enemies with it, which has a very abusable formula, letting already strong weapons like the Silver Sword, Light Brand, or Brave Sword crit with every other attack. And with the Inheritance system in mind, you're even encouraged to let Sigurd snowball so Seliph can start out with tons of strong rings and swords. At that point, soloing the game with Sigurd goes from a Self-Imposed Challenge to something you do by accident.
  • All the children characters in Genealogy have the potential to be formidable if the player maximizes the benefits units get from their parents. The stats the parents have at the end of the first generation affect their offspring. Additionally, children characters inherit items and weapons from their parents, allowing the player to obtain good items and weapons relatively early compared to other Fire Emblem titles. Players can make use of stat-boosting rings, ability-granting rings, and powerful weapons such as a Hero Sword immediately from the beginning of the second generation.
    • Seliph can inherit Sigurd's Silver Sword (or other weapons should the player desire) and some incredibly beneficial stat-boosting rings such as the Leg Ring, which grants +3 movement to the holder, and the Elite Ring, which doubles the holder's EXP gains. Seliph's relatively weak base stats are offset by this inheritance mechanic, and letting Seliph inherit many of these items is beneficial because it lets the player make use of them from the beginning of the second generation. The optimal inheritance setup will have Seliph reaching promotion quickly, effectively becoming a copy of Sigurd from the previous generation; however, Seliph still has to overcome the short period in which he is rather mediocre, even if the first chapter makes for an excellent training ground for him.
    • Arthur can become this, if his father was Lewyn and he inherited the Forseti tome. Forseti is an exclusive weapon that possesses 30 MT note , 1-2 range, and grants +10 to the wielder's skill (increasing hit) and +20 speed (greatly increasing dodging ability) to its user, making it an excellent weapon both defensively and offensively. Although not the easiest pairing to achieve note , Arthur with Forseti can turn the first half of Second Generation into a complete joke.
      • On that note, this trope applies to Ced even further, whose stats get boosted so high they've been known to literally break the game and loop around back to the lowest scores on his character screen. Thankfully, this is only a visual glitch, and his stats work properly in gameplay proper. The downside to him is that he comes about two chapters later than Arthur, so it's the player's choice of as to whether they want a Disc-One Nuke Game-Breaker or an Infinity -1 Sword Game-Breaker.
    • However, one of the best examples of broken kids is simply handed to you regardless of pairing: namely, Ares. Eldigan's heir shows up in the second chapter of the generation. As a cavalier, he's one of the most mobile of the second-generation kids, and is easy to train and use, with no problems keeping up with the army. He has very serviceable bases, along with the excellent offensive mix of Pursuit, Adept, and Vantage. With his Hezul blood, he has the game's highest Strength growth at 90%, along with an impressive 40% Defense and a colossal 130% HP, making him into a very tanky unit with great mobility—even his Resistance isn't too shabby. But what defines him above all is his Mystletainn, which provides him with +20 Skill (meaning his 20% Skill growth is utterly irrelevant), +10 Resistance (making him basically immune to mages), and the Critical skill. That last one means that, at his base level, Ares has a 32% crit rate, on a weapon with 30 Might, which he can attack multiple times with, and which will basically never miss. When promoted into a Paladin, Ares is one of the few characters who can somewhat reliably defeat Julius when you fight him for the first time. And on top of it all, as a mounted unit, he is likely the most mobile holy weapon-wielder for three chapters, meaning unlike Faval, Ced, or Shannan, you don't have to slow down for him to put his blade to use.
    • While growth units in the franchise have a lengthy history of not paying off, Leif (and to a lesser extent, Lachesis) is a very different story. Despite his initially mediocre start, Leif's Master Knight promotion is the best in the entire franchise, providing him with gigantic statboosts on top of his already good growths, the Pursuit skill, a mount, and most importantly, an A-rank in all weapon types, all types of anima magic, and staves. This translates to Leif being able to do just about anything. Even in low-turncount runs, a style of play otherwise anathema to growth units, Leif sees a lot of use for being by far the best user of the Rescue Staff, which synergizes with his great movement to let him pop allies around the battlefield.
    • Oifey, though not as absurdly broken as some of the later characters sharing his sub-archetype, still set a pretty big standard when he arrived in the second generation's first chapter. Oifey shares many traits with his old master, including sword access, excellent weapon ranks, Pursuit and 9 Movement at base, and extremely high base stats with no real weak points—he even boasts rather good Magic and Resistance, and absurdly high Defense. His growths, though actually somewhat low by second-generation standards, are also decent enough to keep him going, meaning that he only grows stronger as the campaign runs on. The ridiculous potential of the second-generation kids will cause them to outclass Oifey eventually, but he will be one-rounding enemies to the end of the game, and though he doesn't handle bosses quite as well, by the time they can threaten him, you have other options to deal with them.
  • Although many great weapons and items exist in Thracia 776, the true gamebreakers in this game are the Warp, Rescue, and Repair staves. Staff range for ranged staves is unlimited in Thracia 776, so for the Warp and Rescue staves, the player is able to move a unit to anywhere else on the map or retrieve a unit from anywhere else on the map, respectively. This allows for gamebreaking strategies that, for example, essentially allow the player to defeat a boss and seize a throne or gate to end a chapter in 1 turn. Warp is useful in maps with a seize objective; Rescue is useful in maps with an escape objective. Repair allows the player to repair any weapon to its original state, which means that the player can exhaust all 5 uses of Repair on a single Warp or Rescue staff to obtain 6 times as many uses out of that staff. By extension, since Safiya is the only unit capable of using the Repair staff, she is also a gamebreaker. The list of units who can reliably be assumed to be able to use Warp and Rescue is larger but still limited: Safiya, Salem, Tina, Linoan, Sleuf, Sara, Saias, and Ced.
  • Aside from Safiya, the most infamous staff-user in the game is probably Sara. Starting with a B-rank in staves, which turns into an A-rank on promotion, is extremely good. Starting with rather good bases for your level is better. Having 80% growths in multiple stats is better still. Having Wrath, Paragon, and Miracle to ensure you gain EXP ridiculously fast, crit anything that looks in your direction, and have a free dodge chance is when you start getting into "silly" territory. And once you add five Movement Stars to give a free 25% shot to take a second turn, one starts wondering if Sara isn't the game's debug mode.
  • Thracia has a unique critical formula, where the critical rate on the first hit is capped at 25%—but if the attacker gets in an additional hit, the critical formula is multiplied by their FCM, a value from 0-5 specific to the character. Characters like Fergus, Mareeta, Olwen, and Osian are infamous for being able to use this formula to achieve critical rates well above 100%, and utilizing it properly will pretty much let them one-round everything in the game. For added benefit, all support relationships provide a +10% boost to critical rates, making it rather easy to pull off.
  • And speaking of criticals, Wrath. While most versions of Wrath merely provide enhanced critical chance and/or only activate if the character is at low health, Thracia's version of Wrath is on all the time, and has a 100% activation rate. Add in that criticals are remarkably powerful here, and facing a character with Wrath who can reasonably dodge or survive the hit and strike back will pretty much be a death sentence for any enemy that so much as looks at them. While not every character with the skill is a Game-Breaker, those who can abuse it absolutely will, especially if they have access to Life Drain abilities. There is a very good reason it can't be combined with Vantage in this game.
  • Status staves in Thracia do not wear off, have infinite range, and boast a 100% activation rate if the user's Magic beats their target's and their skill is 10 or higher (a fairly easy benchmark to reach). This makes them pretty scary to deal with in enemy hands... and even scarier in the hands of the player. Sleep or Silence can totally disable non-boss enemies, and it also means they can be captured with no effort at all (which, if the enemy in question also had a status staff, means smart status use can pay off in dividends). And then there's Tina's Thief staff, which uses the same mechanics and can simply rob items straight out of an enemy's inventory, even a boss's weapons. With a bit of luck with Movement stars and some dancer use, it's not implausible to disable half the enemies on the map on the first turn. Combine that with Warp, and late-game Thracia is often referred to as "Staff Emblem" due to how easy it is to snap entire maps in half, even supposedly difficult challenges like the battle with Reinhardt.
  • Having trouble with a boss? Here comes Asbel. Asbel's stats may not look like much initially, and he has a somewhat clumsy start, but once he's gained any amount of XP, he takes off like a rocket. His gigantic 75% Speed growth, coupled with showing up right when you pick up the Speed-boosting Ced Scroll, means that Asbel will start doubling almost instantly, even with unfavorable tome weights to deal with. More importantly, he also has an FCM of 3, a support with Leif, and the Grafcalibur, a personal tome with a naturally high crit rate, meaning if he doubles anything, it's probably going to die. Bosses on thrones gain boosts to Defense, but not Magic, which lets Asbel rip through them easily. And when he promotes to a Sage, he gains a huge statboost and the ability to use D-rank staves, letting him access some of Thracia's broken staff catalogue. Asbel's only significant weakness is being somewhat fragile, which means he may need a Life Ring or some time with the Hezul Scroll to ensure his survival, but other than that, he's a top candidate for the series's best mage.
  • Dagdar, the local early prepromote, is meant as a Crutch Character who falls off over time—and in the long tradition of the series, he doesn't. While his growths are genuinely awful, Dagdar's raw starting statline is so high that he can continue one-rounding enemies and surviving their attacks even in very late chapters—in particular, his 43 HP won't be surpassed until well into the endgame, 9 Speed doubles reliably for a while, and when it doesn't, the Brave Axe patches things up. What's more, his massive Build, Charge skill, and very early access to said Brave Axe mean that Dagdar is among your best picks for capturing enemies, crushing them easily before they can even counterattack. And even then, his weakness in low growths can be easily resolved through various Crusader Scrolls that help boost his growths to tolerable levels, meaning that it's entirely possible to hit the game's strength cap at 20, meaning that he will likely hit hard after a few levels. Dagdar's only significant weakness is that Charge makes him vulnerable to long-range magic and ballistae, which can make deploying him a bit dicey on certain maps, though even that sometimes sees use for pure utility reasons, as he can soak up their shots if healed well.

    The Elibe Games (The Binding Blade and The Blazing Blade) 

  • Although there are no units in The Binding Blade who can be considered gamebreaking over the entire course of the game, there are a handful of units that can break substantial portions of the game.
    • Rutger can be recruited very early and combines solid bases (which go up significantly on Hard Mode) and growths with a Killing Edge that he can wield at base. He will usually be one of the few units with 100% hit rates, which is especially important in a game where many enemies have high Avoid. Promote him to Swordmaster and his already high crit rate goes up by 30%. When properly specced and leveled, he will crit on almost every attack, and with a full Critger setup (A support with Clarine, B support with someone else, given the Wo Dao), he can reach more than 100% crit. In a game where mounted units rule the roost, Rutger stands out for being able to one-round even bosses sitting on thrones, and some consider him arguably the best on-foot combat unit in the entire franchise.
    • Marcus is among the only things making the harder difficulties survivable. Though he falls off due to bad growths and XP gain (Binding Blade being one of the very few games where a Jagen-type unit actually does struggle past a certain point), his ability to either one-shot most enemies or soften them up for your trainees guarantees him a high spot in the tier lists. Few players hold his habit of falling off against him, as by the time he's stopped one-rounding, you have powerhouses like Perceval and Melady in the party, or even Zelot, who is essentially Marcus with a couple extra points here and there.
    • Melady only joins in the middle of the second act, but combines solid bases and growths with the incredible Wyvern Rider class. Her mobility is rivalled only by Pegasus Knights, and unlike them, she also hits hard and can shrug off arrow fire. With her base lance rank of C, she can wield Killer Lances to crit and one-round basically anything. But what really makes her this is that the game pretty much hands you everything needed to abuse her. You're given multiple Elysian Whips in prior maps and she joins at level 10, meaning she can be promoted immediately, but if you want her to gain some levels first, her joining chapter is a massive bridge level where fliers excel, and contains a ton of Paladins for her to gank for XP, a shop that sells those broken Killer Lances, and an Arena in case she had a few levels left before promoting. Then the next three maps all involve rough terrain (water, mountains, sand), meaning she can trivialize them, and the one after that contains a stealable Delphi Shield that removes her one weakness. On top of all this, she boasts some of the best Hard Mode bonuses in the game (she's effectively level 20 despite joining at 10), such that she ends up with more Defense than an Armor Knight and can cap most of her stats even if promoted early. And she's the one unit to receive these bonuses that doesn't need any work to recruit! Her brother Zeiss is a little better in some ways, but joins later during a harder section and lacks most of the above strengths, meaning he isn't nearly as broken.
    • Niime shows up with a mixture of A-rank Staves and 21 base Magic, right when you start getting powerful staves like Warp. No other character can manage this combination without insane Level Grinding. On top of that, she's a Druid with A-rank Tomes, meaning even a little combat will bring her up to S-rank and allow her to wield Apocalypse to boost her magic to an unrivaled 26. Simply spamming staves would be enough to make her good, but she can even become a strong fighter with almost no effort; despite her terrible base HP, her status as a Nosferatu-user means that she can shrug off basically anything that doesn't one-shot her, so a simple Angelic Robe and Body Ring (both of which are in very low demand) makes her largely immortal to standard enemies. She has bad growths and joins severely overleveled, but at that point, who needs either?
    • Due to what is probably a bug (that would later ascend to official feature), some units in The Binding Blade Hard Mode get huge stat bonuses—specifically units that start as enemy units that appear on turn 2 or later, but can be recruited. Needless to say, some units that are already good on Normal Mode get even more crucial on Hard.
    • Chief among the units rendered ridiculous by Hard Mode is Perceval. On Normal, he's a very standard lategame Crutch Character, with good stats that make him an adequate substitute if Lance and Allen turned out badly. On Hard? He outright squashes them in every stat, even assuming you managed to get one of them to his level and they didn't get stat-screwed. His growths are kinda bad, but that hardly matters when the stats he has are so great that he can get Empty Levels for the entire rest of the game and still be viable. To reiterate, Hard Mode Perceval can trivialize the entirety of the second half of the game almost single-handedly at his base stats, given some healing support and a continual resupply of weapons.
  • The Blazing Blade is one of the easier games in the series, much of which owes to the overall higher power level of its playable cast and comparatively weak enemies. Even then, though, there are some standouts.
    • Marcus. High base stats allow him to trivialize the early chapters, and his growths, although subpar, are just good enough to allow him to crush enemies all the way until the end of the game (even in Hector Hard Mode), barring perhaps the final map where you'll have access to the likes of Athos anyway. Access to three weapon types gives Marcus a weapon for every situation, and high movement allows Marcus to quickly defeat chapters. The only point against Marcus being a gamebreaker is that he isn't as favored on ranked runs due to his effects on your EXP rank, and he is reliant on gaining around 2-3 points of speed throughout the game at a 25% growth, something that he has a non-negligible chance at failing to do; regardless, he is still the best unit in the game even when failing to gain speed.
    • Lyn Mode in general has this effect on the characters available during it, due to the enemies being very weak and the XP formula being unusually favorable compared to Hector Hard Mode. For an even semi-skilled player, this turns it into a massive pool of free experience that can enable its cast to join at rather high levels in the main campaign, particularly Sain, Kent, and Florina, who boast very strong classes but can have some trouble getting off the ground otherwise. There's even a number of strong statboosters and a Knight Crest, which can either be freely expended to make those characters even stronger (particularly Sain and Kent, who can reach Paladin to essentially become a backup Marcus), or saved up to gain a White Gem, which will pretty much eliminate early money troubles. Proper XP distribution in that period can yield the player three Disc-One Nuke characters, who will only snowball from there.
    • A bonus disc available with Mario Kart: Double Dash!! allowed the player to add a heap of free statboosters to their inventory, along with a Silver Card. Statboosters are very rare in Blazing Blade, and often units just need a tiny push to their stats to push them into one-rounding, giving the player a ton in the way of free resources (to say nothing of the Silver Card's obvious advantages, in a game with a notoriously stingy Funds rank).
    • The Luna Tome ignores Resistance, is very accurate for a Dark tome at 95 Hit, and has an enhanced crit rate of 20. It's pretty weak for most of the game, as it's quite heavy, has 0 Might, and can only be wielded by Canas, who already has some doubling issues, giving it limited utility outside of killing the very small handful of high-Resistance enemies in the game. However, in the final map, you have a character practically built to use it—namely, Athos. With capped Magic and very high Speed and Skill, Athos boasts a frankly ridiculous crit rate, and with a Body Ring, he'll double almost everything there. The combo of Athos and Luna turns the entire boss rush, Final Boss included, into a relative cakewalk. The spell was pretty much nerfed into the ground in The Sacred Stones and Three Houses.
    • While most of the mid-to-late-game prepromotes are fairly strong, with Harken, Hawkeye, Geitz, and Louise all performing well throughout their availability, Pent still stands out. His bases are positively bonkers, with 18 Magic and 17 Speed meaning he already doubles nearly all enemy types and likely one-rounds as well. The mixture of A-rank tomes, an automatic support with Louise, and high Skill gives him near-Swordmaster-like crit rates. But most importantly, he starts with A-rank staves and enough Magic to put them to good use. Whether he's in combat or a Support Party Member, Pent excels almost as much as Marcus, if his somewhat later join time can be forgiven. His growths are poor, but when the game's Magikarp Power character only catches up to him upon promoting, that's a very forgivable sin.
    • There is a glitch in the game where, if you reset the game while an enemy is taking damage from a Mine then resume the chapter, it is possible to control the enemy units for a turn. It is possible, with this method, to make the enemies discard all their items or transfer enemy-exclusive items to your party. The latter can be particularly game-breaking when used in Unfulfilled Heart to transfer Vaida's "Uber Spear" to the player - a special Spear that grants absurd stat bonuses (+17 HP, +5 Strength, +4 Skill, +9 Speed, +4 Defense, and +14 Resistance) and will turn anyone who can use it into an absolute monster.

    The Sacred Stones 

  • Seth in The Sacred Stones is the most powerful unit in the beginning of the game and has stats rivaling your trained units even in the endgame. Unlike Marcus, Seth also has a high growth total with a good growth distribution, which means that he is much less likely to slow down in performance later in the game. He's pretty much essential for fast, efficient clears and it's often said that the game is even easier than if it's just Seth and a lord. To top it off, Seth has the highly desirable Anima affinity, notable among other affinities for granting both offensive and defensive bonuses to any unit he supports with. He puts in a fairly strong argument for being the franchise's best character.
    • Seth is so good that top-efficiency run Tier Lists base the placement of all other characters on what they can actually do to support Seth, or whatever minor thing they can chime in.
  • Vanessa lies somewhat below Seth on the tier list, but she stands out for being the game's best flier for a long time, in a game where pretty much anything that can't be trivialized by Seth relies on terrain. Like a lot of Pegasus knights, she starts out as a Fragile Speedster that doubles a lot, but when promoted into a Wyvern Knight, she gains an added 3 Constitution (greatly increasing the power of the weapons she can wield and still double) along with the Pierce skill, which gives her a decent chance to ignore defense entirely. Put simply, if Vanessa gets in a hit with Pierce, the enemy is going to die, even if they're a boss. And all this is on top of her superb mobility and versatility as a rescuer.
  • Artur, like Vanessa, has a lot of his power locked behind his promotion; before that point, he's still fairly effective as a magic attacker, but not superb. What pulls him up to here, though, is that upon becoming a Bishop (which he does so well before any of the other candidates), he gains the Slayer skill, meaning all his attacks now deal effective damage against monsters. As in, the monsters that make up about 90% of the game's later enemy roster. Bishop Artur will one-round, if not one-shot any monster enemy he comes across, and with his Light magic, he gains weapon triangle against the dark magic-wielding monsters. And on top of all of the above, Bishop also grants him C-rank Staves, meaning he can use staves like Recover and Hammerne without any training, and he can spam Barrier to gain staff rank even faster. His ability to trivialize large chunks of the game makes him one of the most popular picks for both casual play and speedruns.
  • The Tower of Valni, a map full of weak enemies that can be revisited. After one or two visits, your army will probably be far enough ahead of the game's level curve that nothing in the game can challenge them. Most drafts outright ban the Tower, except to grind up Amelia and Ewan out of their trainee class.
  • In the postgame, you can farm statboosting items from the Lagdou Ruins, which makes capping out your characters hilariously easy. One particularly nasty exploit involves resetting the game to obtain infinite copies of the Swift Soles, which increase Movement. There is a very good reason most games give you only one copy of the Movement-increasing item; having units capable of zipping around the map twenty squares at a time turns theoretically tough maps into an utter joke.

    The Tellius Games (Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn) 

  • Titania in Path of Radiance is similar to Seth in The Sacred Stones with respect to parameters and growths, and has the potential to trivialize the entire game equally easily. Their surrounding environment makes a big difference; the presence of a glut of BEXP in Path of Radiance to easily and effortlessly power up growth units means that Path of Radiance Titania is not as dominant as The Sacred Stones Seth (though conversely, her ability to quickly blow through chapters makes her a great way to get lots of BEXP). Titania is still a great unit over the course of the entire game and can easily beat the game, sans the final boss, on her own, the existence of other gamebreakers makes her a bit less unique.
  • Marcia and Jill are the other notable gamebreakers in Path of Radiance. Though both have rather mediocre base stats, the player can pump them full of BEXP to instantly turn them into excellent combat units. The element that makes Marcia and Jill superior recipients of this BEXP (since any other character can be elevated to the status of a combat god with BEXP) is that they are able to fly over all sorts of terrain impediments and easily bypass large portions of many chapters. With their augmented stats, neither are vulnerable to enemy attacks and both are extremely capable at killing most boss enemies in a couple of rounds of combat.
    • More generally, the Canto ability that cavalry & fliers share in Path of Radiance which allows them to reposition after attacking is extremely good, so really any cavalry or flier can be great in Path of Radiance.
  • The Japanese version of Path of Radiance has a Game Breaking Bug (but not a Game-Breaking Bug) involving forged weapons. Critical hit rates are among the things that can be modified, and if the weapon had an existing critical hit rate, it can be lowered as well as raised. It moves in increments of 3. Slim weapons and Thunder tomes have a natural rate of 5. Lowering this twice... underflows the critical hit rate, making a weapon that always crits.
  • No unit is capable of trivializing the entirety of Radiant Dawn due to how the game is structured, but in the context of the game, the most obvious gamebreaker is Haar. Haar has excellent base parameters and growth rates that are well distributed; on top of that, he is in a flying class with some of the best movement in the game. Haar also boasts great availability and enjoys some exclusivity as well, being the only flying unit for a significant portion of the game. This is not to say that Haar doesn't have weaknesses; Haar's speed base and growth are somewhat mediocre, and low resistance coupled with weakness to thunder magic make some enemy types extremely dangerous for Haar. Even then, though, thunder mages are rare and the presence of BEXP makes gaining speed a non-problem once Haar has capped a stat or two. He's such a well-known game breaker that Tier discussions for Radiant Dawn (or even other games in the series) frequently name the top tier "Haar Tier".
  • The Earth/Earth support pairing in Radiant Dawn, especially due to supports being much simpler. (It's useful in Path of Radiance as well, but there are only 3 Earth units that have a support in that game, and only one of them can support both at the same time.) Earth's boost in support is pretty simple; 7.5% avoid per support level. However, it doesn't need to be complex because two earth characters together doubles the boost, giving both characters in the support a 45% boost to avoid at A rank if they're close to each other. At that point, even a Sniper would have a hard time hitting them.

    Three Houses 
  • As per later-series tradition, all of the main characters are excellent:
    • Edelgard has no low growths, with her lowest being 30% Lck. She's got unusually decent Res growth with high Spd and Dex to boot, making her a bonafide Lightning Bruiser. Her axe Aymr allows her to use the unique combat art Raging Storm, which is essentially Galeforce on command. As long as it hits, Edelgard will be able to act again. With its low durability cost, Edelgard can perform such nonsensical feats such as soloing entire maps by herself, up to and including her route's final boss in one turn. (You probably don't want to bother with her unique class, though, which is weirdly disappointing. Now a Wyvern Lord Edelgard on the other hand... see the Fliers entry below.)
    • Dimitri has exceptional growths, with 40% Def, 50% Spd and Dex, 55% HP, and a whopping 60% Str. His Mag and Res are low, but he doesn't need magic, and he can rely on his HP and Spd to just tank oncoming damage. His lance, Areadbhar, has the unique combat art Atrocity, which deals effective damage (3x damage) to all foes. He also packs the unique combination of Battalion Vantage and Battalion Wrath, which lets him attack first and with greatly increased Crit on the enemy phase if you set him up with a low health Battalion. Give him the Retribution Gambit for long-range counterattacks, and watch as Dimitri kills every last one of 'em.
    • Claude combines ranged archery backed by solid strength with unmatched mobility. Claude is the maser of cheesy hit-and-run tactics with his unique, flying classes Wyvern Master and Barbarossa which pack Bowfaire, Canto, and high Movement. Fallen Star, unique to his bow, gives him a turn of perfect evasion on his next combat, if it hits, making it safe for him to still be in enemy range.
    • Byleth has amazing stat growths that allow them to excel in whatever role you want to put them in. Their exclusive class, Enlightened One, is Mortal Savant but good, granting Byleth a versatile set of spells and plenty of physical offensive options. Meanwhile, their exclusive Relic is a ranged sword with a high critical hit chance — and because it can be repaired simply by taking a rest, it isn't relegated into Too Awesome to Use territory.
  • Other characters of note:
    • Felix is basically required if you want to have as much as a chance at winning any of the Inter-House tournaments. He has excellent growths in Speed & Strength, always the right stats to pick. But more interestingly, he also has talent in archery, despite his character preference for swordsmanship. Most of the other would-be archers pack subpar Strength growth; Felix is a rare exception, and since ranged attacks are excellent in Three Houses, he makes a surprisingly dangerous archer. He's a very solid assassin packing both Bow & Sword (along with Petra). Also helping his case, are his skills. His personal skill allows him to have a permanent boost to strength if his battalion is either entirely wiped out, or he doesn't have one (seeing as most battalions are optional this is a plus, that and battalions are disabled in the inter-house tournaments) and his crest has a chance to raises his already ridiculous strength even further.
    • Lysithea. While her Glass Cannon nature is there, it's easily forgiven since she has a ridiculous magic growth and incredibly good set of spells. Dark Spikes is essentially an instant "kill cavalry" attack, making her one of the few units capable of taking on the Death Knight long before you're supposed to defeat him, which alone is great; however, her faith line makes it even better by giving her the bane of Demonic Beasts, Seraphim, as well as the ever powerful series Game-Breaker Warp. Did we even mention she's the only character bar Edelgard who learns Luna? Done right, she can outright One-Hit Kill the Final Boss of GD shown here. Her personal skill Mastermind only furthers this by allowing Lysithea to master classes at a faster rate than others, allowing some experimentation in other classes to add to her firepower. Lysithea's hypothetical weakness is that she's locked to 2-range spells. But this is not a weakness at all if you give her the Thyrsus staff which gives her an extra 2 range, letting her engage foes more safely. She'll even get the boost from having the Crest of Gloucester for some free defensive skills. She's probably the most sought-after Mage in the game.
    • After all of the trouble he put you through as the Death Knight, Jeritza does not disappoint when he joins you at the beginning of Crimson Flower. He has a Lightning Bruiser statline and excellent weapon proficiencies across the board right out of the gate, most notably an A+ in lances. He has the Mastermind skill in his skill pool, allowing him to master classes and weapons at an amazing rate. The strongest thing about him, however, is his unique personal class, the Death Knight. It's a mounted unit with the ability to use magic, and its mastery skill is Counterattack, which allows him to counter no matter how far away his enemy is attacking from. Jeritza is perfectly capable of smashing his way through anyone dumb enough to try to fight him.
    • Seteth has great stats and growths, but what truly earns him his spot in this category is the combination of him starting out as a Wyvern Rider, and is quite easy to make him a Wyvern Lord, learning Swift Strike at A rank with spears and being one of the two characters (the other being Flayn) that has access to two Relics, which means that he will be recovering 21 HP per turn.
    • Ingrid, when recruited out of house. On paper, she doesn't seem like she'd be this thanks to her poor Strength growths, something her suggested Pegasus Knight class doesn't fix, and when playing as the Blue Lions, this can easily regulate her to the bench. This changes when you recruit her on routes outside Azure Moon thanks to the way the game calculates stat growths for units you recruit; the game uses enemy stat growths for its calculations, and the Pegasus Knight happens to have excellent growths in this context, including +30% to HP, +15% to Strength, and +25% to both Defence and Resistance. Recruit her late into Part 1, and you will be given a tanky flyer with incredible stats out the gate.
    • Petra has the highest base Speed among the students, and a 60% base growth in the stat (tied for highest with Ingrid, Leonie and Manuela), along with great Dexterity. Together, this more than compensates for her relatively average Strength and low Defence, as she can double just about anything and have no problems dodging. If you keep her in her default classes of Thief and Assassin in particular, they'll get pushed through the roof, and thanks to the massive boost to Dexterity she'll get from being an Assassin, she'll be able to activate Lethality a lot and one-shot even the toughest enemies. With her boons in Axes and Flying, she can become a great Wyvern Lord as well (see Classes below), and once she gets Alert Stance, she'll become an absurd dodge tank that will barely ever get hit. Then there's her personal skill, Hunter's Boon, which boosts her crit chance by 20% if an enemy is at half health or less - and considering that this applies to Demonic Beasts with their massive amounts of HP as well, she can easily become the best Beast killer in the game.
    • If the player chooses the Black Eagles, Ferdinand, especially if the player gets railroaded onto or chooses the Silver Snow route instead of Crimson Flower. While a Jack-of-All-Stats (and even a bit of a Glass Cannon), he compensates with his lack of skill weaknesses and personal skill, Confidence, which grants him +15 Hit and Avoid when at full health. While this ability seems bad on paper, it stacks with other evasion bonuses, which can literally make him impossible to hit. His lack of skill weaknesses combined with four starting proficencies (sword, lance, axe, riding) and budding talent (heavy armor) make him capable of reaching most non-magic classes without much difficulty, and his budding talent ability, Seal Speed, combines with his dodging ability to make him an excellent bait unit. His list of combat arts also includes Swift Strikes (see below), and his axe boon allows him easy access to Brigand and Death Blow. To top it all off, as he has a Crest of Cichol, he has access to two Sacred Weapons, granting him increased HP restoration, which keeps his personal skill active. On the Silver Snow route, he effectively gets the best of both worlds, as he gets the entire pre-timeskip minus the prologue to grow, but his main competition either leaves (Edelgard) or never joins (Jeritza), allowing him to shine. note 
    • For Blue Lions and Golden Deer players, Catherine can be one hell of a Disc-One Nuke, as she can be recruited as early as Chapter 4 with the only requirement being that Byleth is Level 15 (though Chapter 5 or 6 is more feasible unless you do a fair bit of grinding). She comes in as a Swordmaster, an Advanced-tier class when the students will likely only just be getting to their Intermediate classes, has fantastic bases which mean she can one-round almost any enemy at the point where she joins, and has a very similar growth spread to Felix with great Strength and Speed growths. She also comes with Thunderbrand, a Hero's Relic which is simply overpowered for the early game - not only does it have a Brave effect, but her Crest of Charon allows her to use its unique Combat Art Foudroyant Strike, which will destroy any armoured or dragon foes effortlessly. The only thing to really hold Catherine back is her poor skill proficiencies (her only boons are Swords and Brawling), making it hard to get her into a Master class without grinding her proficiencies up, but she'll do fine as a Swordmaster anyway. She's not nearly as broken for Black Eagle players, as she can only be recruited in Chapter 12 if the player sided against Edelgard in Chapter 11, but she still comes in with high bases and can be used immediately with no investment needed.
    • Leonie, especially if the player starts with the Golden Deer. Leonie has comparable offensive growths to Claude and some of the highest base stats of the students, especially once her personal skill, Rivalry (+2 Atk and +2 Def/Res in-combat when adjacent to male ally) is taken into account. She starts with Tempest Lance for immediate damage output, and lategame gets Point-Blank Volley, which allows her to double anything combined with her high Speed for slow enemies. Even if recruited out of house, Leonie grows well in all stats save Magic and Resistance (the former she doesn't need, and the latter is hardly unique), and is fairly easy to recruit, due to at least one lance tutor (Seteth, Gilbert, Shamir, Jeritza) always being available on top of lances being a solid weapon in Three Houses, in addition to her Strength requirement being easy to reach. note  She doesn't even have to play catch-up as hard in skills, as she can already train riding as a Cavalier and naturally trains lances and bows, meaning she only truly needs to focus on riding and authority.
  • Skills & Combat Arts:
    • Death Blow is gained shockingly early off mastering Brigand, but is one of the best skills in the entire game. +6 Strength on attack makes a lot of physical bruisers scarier, and combined with a Brave weapon, a Gauntlet, or a skill that forces a double attack? That's +12 damage, a huge gain for a single ability slot. Nothing else comes close to that kind of efficiency.
    • What Death Blow is to physical fighters, Fiendish Blow is to magic-users, granting them +6 Magic when attacking, and it can also be gained early on by mastering Mage. Once your Mage of choice gets this, they'll be able to one-shot a whole lot of enemies for a long time - and if it's on somebody with access to siege magic, like Dorothea with Meteor or Constance with Bolting, they can do it from halfway across the map.
    • Swift Strikes is probably the best lance combat art, changing your Silver Lances / Killer Lances / Horseslayers / etc. into better Brave Lances that don't require rare ore to maintain. Sylvain, Ferdinand, and Seteth all learn this one, and all three have boons in axes that allow them to grab Death Blow for even more insane damage.
    • Related is Point-Blank Volley, learned by Leonie and Cyril. Like Swift Strikes, this turns any bow into a better Brave Bow that can be maintained by common material. Notably, Blue Lions and Golden Deer players can recruit Cyril as early as Chapter 5, and with some luck and focus, can get this combat art in time for the mission, as Cyril learns it at C+ Bows.
    • The humble Curved Shot is learned exceptionally early, but is relevant throughout the entire game. Bows are balanced by eating large accuracy penalties at long range; Curved Shot nicely extends your range +1 while offering +30 Hit. Curved Shot lets you safely chip away at enemies outside of counterattack range and ensure the shot actually hits. This is especially helpful on Maddening, as this is the only safe way to attack enemy Mages without risking a retaliatory hit.
    • It's possible to acquire the Lance of Ruin at the end of Chapter 5 if Sylvain is in your house, and with his Crest of Gautier, he can unlock its unique Combat Art, Ruined Sky. This is an amazing Disc-One Nuke for that point in the game, as not only is it a very powerful attack that boosts Sylvain's Avoid in combat, but it's effective against flying and dragon enemies - which can be a huge annoyance in the early game due to their great movement and generally high Speed, but Ruined Sky can eliminate them with no trouble. The only drawback is that it consumes four uses of the Lance of Ruin, and it's quite expensive to repair. As an added bonus, Sylvain can use Knightkneeler to become a very effective Death Knight check if you don't have Lysithea.
    • While only learned by Bernadetta and the route-locked Claude, the Encloser bow combat art can be a massive lifesaver, especially on Maddening. This ability reduces the movement of a hit enemy to zero for a turn, effectively "killing" them for that turn. This can save a squishy unit, or even immobilize a Demonic Spider. Because of it being a combat art, this can be used so long as Bernadetta/Claude has spare weapon durability, and it saves gambits for groups of enemies instead of wasting a charge on a lone enemy.
    • Tempest Lance is learned early at D Lances, and gives +8 Atk and +10 Hit. This effectively doubles damage output early in the game, and is essential for earlygame Maddening. Ferdinand, Dimitri, Sylvain, Ingrid, Lorenz, and Leonie all come with this combat art right out of the box, and Bernadetta, Dedue, and Hilda can learn this as early as Chapter 2.
  • Gambits:
    • Stride boosts the Movement of all your allies in range by +5 for one turn, and with how the maps work, the mobility it provides is massive, allowing your units to cover large areas and secure objectives much faster. The best part is that it's available in an E-ranked Battalion, meaning that it's available as soon as you unlock Battalions for hire.
    • Impregnable Wall is another low-level Gambit that can break the game in half with proper usage. It inflicts a status effect on three allies in front of you that reduces any damage (even from boss units and monsters) they give or receive to 1HP, basically turning them into undefeatable tanks for one turn. That, combined with the AI's inability to work around the buff, opens countless possibilities for abusing the game — from luring in more problematic enemy units to gang up on them on a safe territory, to sending the "walled" unit to distract all the strong enemies and clear the path for attacking their leader in one swoop. Wall comes with 5 usages per battalion, unlike the usual 1-2. The only drawback is that the caster can still be attacked and suffer full damage, but throw it on a mounted unit or a flyer and have them Canto-retreat after using it, problem solved. Good luck baiting Maddening bosses without using this! Even allows for some hilarious cheese strats, like breaking the Death Knight's weapon by smashing him with Wall'd characters repeatedly.
  • Classes
    • Flyers are so OP that hardcore fans have taken to calling the game "Wyvern(/Flyer) Emblem". Flying units have the same Mov as mounted units, but have the benefit of ignoring terrain. The lack of weapon restrictions means that, once certified, any unit can use any non-gauntlet weapon, allowing for insane hit-and-run abilities with bows. The ability to dismount is just icing on the cake, allowing enemy archers to be baited safely without the Aurora Shield. As an added bonus, upgrading a unit's flying ability gives them Alert Stance (and later Alert Stance+), which in exchange for simply waiting on player phase, turns all but the slowest units into dodge tanks. The Wyvern Lord class in particular has the second highest Str class mod, highest Str growth, second highest Spd class mod and growth (and huge base of 20), second highest Def (losing only to Great Knight), a random evade boost, and huge Mov. It's essentially the Lightning Bruiser class, considered to be the best Master class in the game by a wide margin, and the second-best class in the game after Claude's exclusive Barbarossa. Pegasus Knight / Falcon Knight are perfectly fine too for female characters who prefer lances and want somewhat better Resistance, if not quite at Wyvern Lord level.
    • Dancer, as usual, is excellent. Aside from the usual Dance goodness, Dancers can use magic, letting them utility heal and smash armor knights at the very least. Their physical stats are legit as well.
    • Horse-mounted units, while not quite as broken as fliers, are generally considered extremely solid. They still have high movement, and unlike fliers, some mounted classes can use magic such as Dark & Holy Knight. For physically oriented characters, Paladin offer solid hit-and-run options with Canto.
      • Bow Knight is even more broken with the right skills and equipment. Not only are they a mounted unit with Canto (which would make them strong in their own right), their class skill is Bowrange +2. It's just as broken as it sounds. Combine that with a Longbow (which has +1 to range) and the bow's various combat arts, and they can hit anything in a 7 cases range. Then you can combine that with the movement speed inherent to all cavalry classes and various items to get a whooping 11 movement range (one for an A+ in Riding, one when a March Ring is equipped and one from the Shoes of the Wind consummable item), giving them an effective range of 18 cases. Even their poor growth rates don't make up for that, since it's unlikely your units will have the necessary level to promote into the class until the end of the game.
    • War Master is agreed to be one of the best foot-locked class in the game, not because of Axefaire or Fistfaire, but because of its innate Crit+20 skill, which turns anyone into critical-hitting monsters. The War Master class also has growths on par with Wyvern Lords, which means that you can expect some characters' Speed and Strength stat to be boosted up a lot. The cherry on the top, however, is that the War Master's mastered skill is Quick Riposte, which essentially allows a unit to perform follow-up attacks regardless of their attack speed, and never allows them to get doubled unless if it's by Brave weapons or Gauntlets, which essentially eliminates the weaknesses of both Raphael and Dedue. The only downside to that skill is that it will most likely be obtained late, but given a Knowledge Gem, it will be worth it as an Infinity +1 Sword.
  • New Game+ lets you buy crests for characters, buy back previously achieved aptitude levels, support levels, and professor levels, while maintaining statue bonus ranks. Makes even Maddening a lot more tolerable on a replay. Each time you start a New Game+, you also gain 10,000 Renown plus however many you got for starting the previous file (e.g., replay 3 gets you 20,000 Renown), in addition to however much you had unused when you finished the previous playthrough. This means that by your fourth or fifth playthrough, you can start with a substantial boost in skill levels, support ranks, mastered class abilities, and so on.
  • Expansion Pass
    • The item gained from clearing Cindered Shadows, the Chalice of Beginnings, is practically a Infinity -1 Sword. Granting Counterattack to the unit that's holding it would be very good on its own; what makes it amazing is that it also nullifies every weakness an Armored, Mounted or Flying unit would have. This means that various units, such as the aforementioned Wyvern Lords, can go in blazing without fear of any attempt to exploit their weaknesses. And if you put on the aforementioned Game Breaking units such as Dimitri? The game wouldn't be broken, it instantly blows it up into pieces! Granted, this does require you to clear Cindered Shadows and purchase the expansion pass, but it's so good that it's worth your money.
    • Yuri keeps up the game's tradition of overpowered house leaders with flying colours - while he might not have the absurd combat potential of Edelgard, Claude or Dimitri, he makes up for it with sheer utility. He has the highest Speed growth in the game, which easily compensates for his relatively low Strength and defences by making him a ridiculous dodge tank, and he even has a solid spell list to boot. Given that his personal ability Honorable Spirit boosts his attack when fighting without any allies nearby, he can go off on his own and handle himself just fine. In his default Trickster class, he gets access to Foul Play, a combat art which allows him to swap positions with any ally within five spaces, making him invaluable for getting units to safety or pulling off tricky manoeuvres. Then there's his Hero's Relic, the Fetters of Dromi, which grants him +1 movement, Canto, Pavise and Aegis! Taken as a whole, the possibilities for cheesy hit-and-run strategies, especially working alongside a unit or two with Warp, are endless.
    • Out of the four Special classes, Dark Flier gets the lion's share out of them. Why? Because it's essentially a Falcon Knight class with magic. That's as broken as it sounds. The movement range for Dark Flier is high enough that it surpasses the Black/Dark Magic Range +1 of the Valkyrie class. And keep in mind, the Valkyrie class is supposed to be the more ranged option for mages. Furthermore, its usage of Canto allows for various hit-and-run tactics against the enemy. Finally, even though it doesn't offer any growths in magic, most of the magically-orientated characters have a good magic stat and growth anyway, and the 20% HP growth and 10% Speed growth are nice bonuses. The only downsides is that it's exclusive to females, and only few magically-orientated females have a bit of trouble getting into the class note 

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: