Given the large roster of characters, there are some that are bound to stand above the rest. Fittingly enough, there are some characters that were overpowered in their home games and they continue to be so here.
- Vanguard Ike is essentially a superior version of his regular self. While both regular Ike and Vanguard Ike mostly perform the same role of being a powerful infantry swordsman with Distant Counter, the only thing that regular Ike has over his Vanguard self is a single point of HP and Spd. Aside from that, Vanguard Ike is much better in every single aspect, boasting higher Atk and much more Def, an exclusive Special, and some better natural skills. Like his Brave variant, he comes with a Breath skill, only this time it's Warding Breath, which helps bolster his Res and helps charge his Special faster. With Warding Breath, and higher Res than his regular counterpart, he won't fold as fast when it comes to fighting mages or dragons. He also comes with Radiant Aether, a Special exclusive to him. It is variant of Aether that has a charge of 4 rather than 5, letting him activate it pretty quickly. He can also be obtained at anytime for free by clearing Xenologue 3, meaning he's a unit that everyone has access to. A popular set up for Vanguard Ike is to give him Quick Riposte which allows him to proc Radiant Aether on the double in the very first combat should he got initiated on
- Ike's main rival, the Black Knight is also a powerful contender in combat, and also received a superior, stronger variant.
- The Black Knight has high stats all around aside from low Res. His Alondite has Distant Counter built in, which frees up his A slot to be a combat buff. Thankfully, he comes with one already in Steady Stance, granting him a +6 Def boosted when attacked. He could be given Steady Breath instead, letting him charge his Special much faster. What makes the Black Knight incredible is his unique Special: Black Luna. It has a charge of 3, just like Luna, but it pierces through 80% of his foe's Def, which can outright annihilate a lot of units. He was available for free as a Tempest Trial reward, making him quite accessible. He was also available as part of a special deal that only cost a few dollars. Because of this, he's quite a common threat in the Arena.
- Zelgius takes the Black Knight's strengths and magnifies them. While he has slightly less HP and Spd at the base, he can also have stat variance and more merges on account of the fact that he can be summoned like any other unit. He retains the Alondite and Black Luna, and he also comes with another unique skill: Warp Powder, a B skill that lets him warp to an adjacent spot next to any ally within two spaces as long as he's healthy enough. This helps improve his mobility greatly. He also has a higher stat total than his former self and has one of the highest stat totals in the game, along with having two exclusive skills and a Distant Counter sword.
- Ayra. She comes with a unique Special in Regnal Astra, which adds 40% of her Spd to her attack. What's notable is that it has a charge of 2, unlike other stat based Specials that are usually at 3 or 4. Ayra has the stats and the base kit to take full advantage of this skill. She boasts a good 33 Atk and 37 Spd at the base, gets another +3 Spd from her weapon Ayra's Blade, and if she's faster than her foe, she gets another Special charge per attack. Regnal Astra has the same charge as Moonbow, but at minimum it will deal at least 14 damage, which will outdo what Moonbow has to offer, while allowing Ayra to carve up any neutral targets better than Glimmer could. Her damage will just increase the faster she is. This is all before any Elite Tweak too: With a +Spd Slaying Edge+, Wrath, and skills that complement her combat performance like Distant Counter or Swift Sparrow, as well as Quickened Pulse, she'll be able to activate her 1 charge Regnal Astra basically every other attack, adding at least 16 to 26 damage, which is even capable of breaking through some blue opponents. With Wrath, as long as she's injured enough, she'll have Regnal Astra ready and charged for her next victim, and she actually has pretty decent physical bulk to take a hit and exchange blows. Her only real weakness is her low Res.
- Karla. She's quite similar to Ayra, but instead of a busted Special, she instead has a busted weapon: the Vassal's Blade. If she's faster than her opponent, whatever the difference in Spd is, 70% of that will get added to Karla's damage, capping out at 7 per attack. It also reduces Karla's Special charge by 1, and like Ayra, she has the right stats and skills to exploit it. She has 35 Atk and 40 Spd at the base, which outdoes Ayra herself, on top of what is basically a 23 Mt weapon. Her Even Spd Wave gives her (and any adjacent ally) +6 Spd at the start of every other turn, which would boost that 40 Spd to 46. She even has a Spd superboon, meaning she can get another +4 Spd, which could let her reach 50 Spd all by herself, making her an absolute speed demon. Without a skill like Swordbreaker or Wary Fighter, the prospect of preventing Karla from doubling is simply just not easy. She also has Wrath in her base skillset, and while she doesn't have Regnal Astra, she can still hit pretty damn hard with Glimmer or Moonbow instead, and her weapon can make up for the rest of the damage. This is all before any other Elite Tweak, too. Karla's only real weakness is her low bulk, so exchanging blows could be a bit dangerous for her, though it's a far better showing than her original self.
- Brave Celica. Rounding out the terrifying trio of female swordmasters, this variant of Celica brings a busted skill: Double Lion, which applies a Brave weapon effect if she initiates (she attacks twice in a row, like using a Brave Sword or Brave Axe). Brave weapons are usually offset by having a Speed penalty, but Celica doesn't have that; in fact her Royal Sword weapon increases her Speed, putting her at 42 neutral before buffs or a boon. Royal Sword also has a cooldown reduction effect if she's within two spaces of an ally, so she can possibly hit an enemy four times and rapid-fire specials in the same round of combat, bolstered even further by the new Death Blow 4 skill she comes with which gives +8 Atk if she initiates. She even comes with Astra and Galeforce to take advantage of this crazy offensive power, and she can still inherit low-cooldown specials and a Firesweep Sword+ to blow up enemies with no fear of counterattack. Fortunately, her absurd player phase power comes with a catch: Double Lion only works at full HP, and deals a single point of damage to her after combat, so she can't spam it without dedicated healer support (and a refresher if she drops Galeforce). While her player phase is phenomenal, she suffers a bit of Crippling Overspecialization, as her enemy phase is pretty lacking. Like the other Brave units, she is available for free, making her accessible to most players.
- Summer Young Tiki is the third flying dragon to be released, complimenting Myrrh and Female Grima. And like Myrrh, Tiki's broken-ness comes from her weapon, Summer's Breath, which has a whopping four special effects: it grants Defense +3, is effective against enemy dragons, has adaptive damage versus ranged units, and lastly - and most importantly - grants extra special cooldown if she is attacked. This is noteworthy because it's the first instance of Steady/Warding Breath on a flier, which can't normally inherit it. Summer Young Tiki's stats also don't disappoint; aside from mediocre Res, her numbers are high across the board. Especially important is her base 37 Speed which means she can avoid and dish out a lot of double-attacks, which fellow broken dragons Myrrh and Male Grima needed a valuable B slot skill to do. This means that between her weapon and her stats, and Iote's Shield in the Seal slot to remove her Bow weakness, her A and B skills are free for whatever the player wants.* Her Dragon weakness is also harder to exploit than it first appears as she is a Red unit, so she can potentially survive the similarly-red Falchion/Binding Blade with her high Defense, and she has Weapon Triangle advantage over the green Naga tomes.
- Reinhardt. He wields the Dire Thunder Tome, which strikes twice consecutively, but reduces his already low Spd. Those two strikes are all he needs. He's a fantastic Glass Cannon, as while he has zero enemy phase presence, his player phase presence is so dominating that the meta revolved around how to stand up to him for quite a while. Since he's both mounted and ranged, he has a huge attack range and can seek out foes from across the map with ease. With the right team buffs (like a Hone Cavalry buff) and skills (like Death Blow), he becomes a unit that would make his original boss incarnation proud. He was such a threat that the developers introduced units like Sigurd (who is, ironically, also a cavalry unit) and Deirdre, who could shut him down with just their base kits, and even brought in trench tiles to slow down cavalry like Reinhardt. Every player is expected to have an answer to Reinhardt, like high Res green units such as Fae. He's also a common unit, being both 3* and 4* available, and while this means it'd take a large feather investment to bring him to 5* to wield the Dire Thunder, it's absolutely worth it. While the devs did everything in their power to try and introduce countermeasures to Reinhardt, he's still a powerful threat that players must watch out for, especially since he can still decimate powerful sword wielders like Ayra and Zelgius without breaking a sweat.
- Brave Hector embodies everything that makes Armor Units impressive in a single Lance Armor pack. He possesses the exclusive A skill Ostian Counter, which combines the effects of Distant Counter and Sturdy Stance (gain +4 Attack and Defense during combat if an enemy initiates), has natural access to Bold Fighter, and most notably, his lance Maltet. In addition to lowering his special cooldown by one, it also allows him to perform a guaranteed follow-up attack if he has at least 50% HP and the foe initiates combat, making it a superior Quick Riposte. This notably gives Brave Hector the ability to perform follow-up attacks on both player phase and enemy phase just with his natural skill set. That's not to mention he can still use a Sacred Seal for even more options such as Heavy Blade, which allows Hector to double charge and activate his natural Ignis on either phase, or Distant/Close Defense to make him even tankier. This is on top of actually having a decent Res stat of 28 and Odd Res Wave to boost it higher, meaning Brave Hector can handle magic much better than the other Hectors. Finally, he's a free choice, making him available to many players.
- Hector has been an incredible unit since the game's launch, and has been able to adapt to the game's changes as it went on. If it wasn't enough, he also received a seasonal variant in February 2018, a Legendary variant in June 2018, and a Brave variant in August 2018, but all of them are formidable units to either use or face off against. Generally speaking, all four Hectors share the Distant Counter skill and similar stats, namely high HP, Atk, Def, with low Spd and Res, and low mobility on account of being an armored unit.
- His regular self comes with Distant Counter, which lets him retaliate against ranged foes. At launch, this was to ensure that no mage or archer could take advantage of their ability to fight at a range, but even to this day, this remains a very useful skill for him or for any other unit that needs it. His Armads has Quick Riposte built-in, allowing him to perform a follow-up attack when he's attacked above 80% HP. Given that this is built into his weapon, he can then take advantage of a completely different B skill. With Vantage, he can strike first if he's at 75% HP or less, meaning if he's not in his Armads HP threshold, he's in the Vantage HP threshold. He's either going to strike twice, or strike first, which are both dangerous prospects for his enemies, especially if he has a Special ready. With Bold Fighter, he can double on either phase, and when he's initiating, he also charges his Special much faster. Alternatively, he could opt for Wary Fighter and run the Quick Riposte Seal. This combination lets him prevent foes from doubling him while he'll be able to double his opponents when he's attacked. If this wasn't enough, he's also able to wield the Berserk Armads like his variant can, which gives him extreme amount of nuking potential. This versatility allows regular Hector to remain a powerful threat, even as the meta continues to change.
- Meanwhile, his Love Abounds variant plays a little differently, but is still incredibly powerful. He also comes with Distant Counter, and he actually has better stats than Hector in everything but HP and Spd. His HP is still pretty good, and his Spd becomes more of a Dump Stat so it's not too much of a loss. His Berserk Armads loses the Quick Riposte effect, but instead, its strength is all about Special charges. It reduces Hector's Special charge by -1 like a Killer/Slaying weapon, while also having the Wrath effect built-in, letting him do +10 damage if he's at 75% HP or less, while also charging his Special at the start of the turn. This setup allows him to annihilate his foes with powerful Specials, and the best part is, it stacks with Wrath as the B skill. Meaning he can potentially do an additional 20 damage with his Special, while also being granted 2 Special charges at the start of the turn if both effects are active. He can also run Bold Fighter just as well as any armour can. This variant of Hector's claim to fame is Special charging and he's got all the tools to pull it off.
- Legendary Hector has a stat total one point higher than Love Abounds Hector, having lower HP and Defense in exchange for higher stats in everything else, along with a super boon in Attack, meaning he can reach a whopping 60 Attack in total with his weapon. His Thunder Armads increases his Defense by 3 and prevents the enemy from making follow-up attacks if Hector has more allies within 2 spaces than enemies. Combined with having natural access to Vengeful Fighter, this makes Hector an incredible unit on defense, allowing him to attack twice while the enemy can't. He also has the exclusive C skill Ostia's Pulse, which accelerates every ally's Special charge by 1 if there are two or less of that ally's movement type on the team, making Hector a perfect fit for mixed teams. Finally, he's a Fire Legendary Hero who grants an Attack boost to his allies if they have a Fire Blessing, making his team even more dangerous during Fire Seasons.
- Brave Ike, Ike's axe wielding variant, is a great physical tank. His Urvan has a Deflect skill built in, which reduces the damage taken from consecutive attacks by 80%. This lets him deter wielders of Brave+ weapons, while also deterring faster melee opponents on the player phase, making him quite sturdy. Urvan also reduces Ike's Special charge by -1, letting him fire off his Special faster. He comes with Steady Breath, which grants him extra Def and more Special charges when he's attacked, which pairs perfectly with both his weapon and the Quick Riposte skill. With his bulk and a variety of tools as his disposal, he can be quite tough to take down. He was also available for free, just like Brave Lyn.
- Myrrh gets a special mention for being the first flying dragon, the first dragon with a unique weapon, and she also has a monstrously high stat total that rivals armour units (for reference, Hector and the Black Knight have a stat total of around 168 or 169, while Myrrh has a stat total of around 167). Her weapon, the Great Flame, gives her even more Atk, targets the lower defensive stat of a ranged opponent like all of the enhanced dragon breaths, and most notably, it gives her a sort of Wary Fighter effect. If her opponent has 5 less Def than her, then they will be unable to double her. This can help save her from powerful swordsmen and red mages who would normally one-round her by doubling. Myrrh also comes with Hone Dragons, allowing her to be a powerful team player for an all-dragon team. Since she's also a flier, she can fit in perfectly onto a flier team and take advantage of their buffs too, or she can use Guidance to help her fellow dragons move around, making her a versatile unit as well. She can also put Iote's Shield to good use to help patch up her archer weakness, and when combined with Distant Counter, she can actually be a good answer to archers, especially Brave Lyn. The only thing that Myrrh does have to fear are Falchion wielders, as she can't protect herself from them. Even with her weapon's effect and her incredible bulk, she's still going to be in peril after facing one of them. She also has to fear Naga tomes, although if she can reach them first, she can usually one shot them by hitting their low Def stat.
- Male Grima, known as Fallen Robin ingame, is the first armoured dragon. While armored units with Distant Counter built into their weapon aren't unheard of (Black Knight, Zelgius, Hardin), Grima takes it even further by also having the adaptive damage of dragonbreath in his unique Expiration weapon. Being able to reach a monstrous 60 base power with an Attack boon before any buffs, there's not a lot that can take a hit from him. And as an armored unit he has access to Breath and Fighter skills, one of which (Vengeful Fighter) even comes in his base kit along with the Ignis special, so he's an Enemy Phase monster right out of the box. And as far as teamplay goes, he has another unlockable skill unique to him: Ward Dragons, which is the less potent but ranged variant of Fortify Dragons. Combined with any other dragon, this makes Grima a priority target, but attacking him nonlethally means supercharging his Special. The opponent's saving grace is, as a green dragon, Grima is fittingly obliterated by Falchions (and Armorsmashers), and without movement skills it takes him a while to reach his targets.
- Brave Ephraim. This Ephraim, like the other two, has access to follow ups through his weapon. His Garm axe which allows him to perform a follow up attack if he is under any buff effect. Rally, Odd Atk Wave, Def/Res Link, Armor March, and so on; all of them work, and this is even emphasized by him coming with Armor March in his base kit. Coupled with his 57 base Atk (60 with a boon), those double-attacks are going to hurt regardless of phase. His defenses aren't lacking either, with a high 37 Defense and decent 26 Resistance augmented by Close Def 3. But what really sets him apart is his B skill, Special Fighter: regardless of phase, if his HP is above 50%, this skill not only grants the user extra cooldown charge per attack, but decreases the cooldown charge of the enemy per attack. Ephraim already gets doubles from his weapon and doesn't need Bold/Vengeful Fighter or Quick Riposte to achieve it, so can abuse Special Fighter freely, completely shutting down anyone that is over-reliant on their special (which is arguably most of the cast). This Ephraim is geared to be a duelist, one that deters enemy Specials and overpowers his foes with his own. And like the other Arrival of the Brave units, Brave Ephraim is potentially free for any player to summon.
- Bridal Cordelia, an archer variant of the regular Cordelia. She's got excellent offensive stats, namely 35 Atk and 35 Spd, and she can put powerful bows to good use. She can use the Brave Bow+ to strike twice consecutively, potentially four times if she's fast enough even with the Spd drop, or the Firesweep Bow+ that prevents her and her foes from counterattacking, letting her engage enemies without fear. She can also augment her offense further with skills like Death Blow, Swift Sparrow, or Life and Death. As she's colourless, only -Raven+ tome wielders have an advantage against her, especially if they also have Triangle Adept, although Cordelia can then equip Cancel Affinity to reverse that. She's a Glass Cannon through and through, as while she's got excellent offensive prowess, she has almost no defensive capabilities, meaning she'll fold pretty quickly.
- Brave Lyn, a mounted archer variant of the regular Lyn. She has similar stats to Bridal Cordelia, with 33 Atk and 35 Spd, and she can pull off the same builds that she can. Lyn, like Reinhardt, is an incredibly dominating threat, and that's on account of two reasons. One, she's also mounted, letting her take advantage of cavalry buffs and has high Mov to seek out foes easily. And two, she has a unique B skill: Sacae's Blessing. This lets her ignore Distant Counter on physical melee units like Hector, or units who have it built-in like Ike's Ragnell, denying them the chance to counterattack her. This meant that to counterattack against her, you needed to be a ranged unit (which don't often have good Def), or a dragon (as Breath weapons are not affected by Sacae's Blessing). Finally, she often appears on lucrative banners and she was also available for free, meaning she shows up pretty often in the Arena and is another threat that every player will need an answer to.
- Brave Veronica. Following in the footsteps of Brave Lyn a year before her, she's a colourless cavalry unit that has the ability to deny counterattacks. Her personal staff has Dazzling Staff built in, meaning she fears no retaliation, but it also comes with an effect that buffs herself and nearby allies for +4 to all stats and debuffs the target and nearby foes for -4 to all stats after combat, already making her a fantastic support unit. If that wasn't enough, she brings the new healing Special, Windfire Balm+, which grants a +6 Atk and Spd buff to all allies once it activates. With a charge of 1, that basically activates every other turn. She also comes with Close Guard, which helps her allies mitigate damage taken from melee weapons. Veronica is also a good combatant despite her low defenses: with a 14 Mt staff and good 32 Atk / 36 Spd offenses, the buffs/debuffs of her staff, and getting Wrathful Staff naturally to hit as hard as any other mage, it's entirely possible for her to overcomes her foes all by herself which is a novelty among healers. Whether Veronica is healing or attacking, she will be showering her allies with numerous buffs until she is killed. The best part is that she's also a free choice, just like the first set of Brave units, making her available to many players.
- Dragons. Common examples include Tiki, Nowi, Fae, but any of them can be built to be quite powerful. They usually have good stats, whether they're balanced or optimized, and all of them can generally perform a tanking role. Once weapon refinery was introduced, all existing Breath weapons up to that point could be enhanced to hit the lower defensive stat of a ranged opponent. When given the Lightning Breath+, these dragons become some of the perfect answers to the likes of archers and mages, especially Brave Lyn, whose Sacae Blessing does not target Dragonstones. Most mages and some archers have good Res but bad Def, which is what this effect can prey upon. This effect applies to any enhanced breath weapon though, or any new breath weapon introduced starting from Myrrh's Great Flame and onward, and the only requirement is that the opponent is a ranged foe. This means a dragon can just walk up to a mage or an archer and destroy them that way too, or take advantage of other breath skills like Dark Breath+'s debuffs. And, just like specialized teams, there are specialized dragon buffs such as Fortify Dragons and Ward Dragons to make them even more of a threat, although most of them are on 5* exclusive units at the time of this writing, making them quite elusive.
- -Blade tome users. Each colors come with one character packing the tome themselves and have the stats to make it scary: Tharja (Red), Nino (Green) and Tailtiu (Blue).note The tome is so powerful that basically any mage carrying it can become decentnote , because of its effect: bonus damage equal to all of the stat bonuses given to that unit is added. The more stat buffs given to the unit, the stronger they will get. Using supporting characters with Rally or Hone skills to boost the -blade unit's stats and they can hit as hard as nukes. Eirika and Ephraim are noteworthy partners as their weapons boost the Atk of adjacent allies by +3. With their weapons, Hone Speed, and the Fortify Def or Res Seal, they can boost three stats simply by standing adjacent to an ally, or they can boost four stats with the appropriate Rally. Another noteworthy partners are Dancers, with the advent of Sacred Seal forges, who can refresh a unit to move twice(allowing Blade Tome user to target 2 enemies a turn), soft dispels Panic Ploy, in addition to the main buffing role from equipping Hone ATK and Hone SPD which provides the large majority of offensive damage used by Bladetome user.
- Refresher units. These are units who can allow another ally to act again through the use of Sing or Dance. Just like in the main series, the ability for a unit to act again is absolutely invaluable, especially when the player has one of the units listed on this page that can defeat many opposing units. Such units in the permanent summoning pool include Olivia, Ninian, Azura, and Lene, while special, seasonal refreshers were also introduced as well. Some refreshers come with the ability to boost stats upon refreshing a unit through their skills, while Performer Azura and flier Olivia can boost all stats by +3 thanks to their weapons. All refreshers benefit from movement-assisting skills like Wings of Mercy to help give a unit a Heroic Second Wind. Flying refreshers can take advantage of skills like Guidance or Flier Guidance to help their allies reach them, or they can use skills that can help them reach their allies better like Aerobatics and Flier Formation.
- Mounted healers. With the advent of the weapon refinery, all staff users got a boost in viability by having much powerful healing prowess, as well as much stronger weapons with area of effect abilities. Additionally, their weapons can be enhanced to have either the Wrathful Staff effect (which allows for regular damage calculation) or the Dazzling Staff effect (which prevents the opponent from counterattacking). A unit can have both if they have their weapon enhanced with one and they have the other as the B skill, making them quite a threat to face. Maribelle and Veronica are excellent examples, especially thanks to their base skillsets making them easier to build. Regardless, a mounted healer can take advantage of cavalry buffs to heighten their offenses and the vicious area of effect abilities that staffs can use, all while being colorless (and thus, most foes really can't rely on the weapon triangle to mitigate damage taken) and avoiding counterattacks. These staves can actually be quite annoying to even deadly to deal with:
- Candlelight+ inflicts a debuff that prevents the target from counterattacking, allowing the rest of the player's team to safely get some damage in on their foes.
- Gravity+'s range is a bit smaller, only hitting adjacent foes next to the target, but it reduces the foe and any adjacent foe's Mov to 1, slowing them down considerably.
- Pain+ does 10 damage to the target and any nearby foes after combat. Nearby foes can be injured further through the use of Savage Blow, and with it as the C skill and Seal, this is a potential free 24 damage.
- Absorb+ is basically the Sol special on command, restoring 50% of damage dealt to the user's HP with every hit. While Absorb+ builds are expensive, requiring Close Counter and Wrathful Staff to really do work, the result is a self-healing tank that can put meta-level Aether armors to shame.
- Specialized "Emblem" teams. These are teams that consist of units that are only of a specific type. They all use skills that work only for their specific type, having access to powerful buffing skills. Hone and Fortify skills will boost their respective stats (Hone for Atk and Spd, Fortify for Def and Res) by 6 each to any adjacent unit that it applies to, while Goad and Ward skills will boost their respective stats (Goad for Atk and Spd, Ward for Def and Res) by 4 each to any nearby unit within two spaces that it applies to. The regular equivalents to these skills are less effective but more general, boosting only one stat, or only working for adjacent allies. This is why these specialized teams are not only very viable, but potentially very dangerous to face thanks to their benefits. Cavalry units have great movement, armoured units having great stats and incredible offensive skills, and fliers have freedom of movement. Any -Blade tome wielder that can get these buffs will become incredibly powerful, allowing them to devastate their foes. A single Hone boost would effectively grant an extra +18 damage, far greater than any other buffer could provide.
- Full cavalry teams are very easy to form, making them a popular choice for players to build. All of the important team buffs are available from easy to obtain units, as Hone Cavalry is available on the free unit Gunter, while Fortify Cavalry is available from Jagen who is a common unit. On top of that, units like Xander, Camus, Cecilia, and Brave Lyn are all available for free, and those four alone can make a solid team. Reinhardt is also fairly common, being 3* and 4* available, and he thrives on cavalry teams to give him the +Atk buff he needs. Thanks to their high movement range, cavalry units can often perform hit and run tactics, either by using the actual Hit and Run skill on melee cavalry, or by riding out and using the Reposition or Draw Back skill to bring an ally back to safety. Cavalry teams were so dominant that as the game went on, other types of teams just got stronger while the game introduced trench tiles designed to purposefully slow cavaliers down. Still, cavalry teams can be beginner-friendly, and can dominate a lot of PvE content.
- Full flier teams are a bit harder to form, as some of the better fliers are also 5* exclusive, while Hone Fliers is 5* exclusive or on seasonal units. Notably, most mage fliers and refresher fliers are seasonal only. However, common units and skills can still be put to excellent use. Fliers can utilize Goad Fliers stacking instead, granting +4 Atk and Spd to any flier ally within two spaces, just as long as they can all stick together. Their strengths are with offense and mobility. Offensive melee fliers can utilize Hit and Run pretty well, and the more offensively oriented units (such as Est, Cherche, Caeda, and Cordelia) are all fairly common, while Camilla wields a personal weapon that can basically have a weaker Goad Fliers effect that will stack with Goad Fliers itself. All fliers do have a weakness against archers, but the Iote's Shield Seal removes this weakness, while more elusive units have even better countermeasures like a Distant Counter Myrrh, female Grima with Dragonskin (which is both the Iote's Shield and a defensive buff), or Spring Camilla with a -Raven+ tome. In general, fliers are great offensive units and excel in movement freedom, and some of the strongest offensive fliers are easy enough to come by.
- Full armour teams are even more difficult to form, as all of their truly essential skills are all 5* exclusive. Their specialized buff skills are actually all easy enough to obtain, as Hone, Ward, and Fortify Armor are all on common or uncommon units, while Goad Armor became easily available from Love Abounds Eliwood. Between him, Arden, and the Black Knight, these three are good to excellent free armoured units to use. However, the main issue with armours are their lack of range and movement, and while they can function just fine without the fancier offensive and defensive skills, those skills are what allow them to be powerhouse monsters. Distant Counter fixes the range issue, but is available only on the Armads-wielding Hectors (Brave Hector has Ostian Counter, which is exclusive to him). Armor March fixes the mobility issue, but is only available on Amelia, Brave Ephraim, and the seasonal variants of Henry, male Robin, and Lyn. Armored Boots can be an Armor March alternative, but it can only be on one unit at a time since it's a Sacred Seal, and has an HP threshold. However, the truly game breaking skills for armours are the Fighter skills, namely Bold and Vengeful Fighter. Both of them allow the user to perform a follow-up attack on a specific phase (Bold for player phase, Vengeful for enemy phase) and they gain extra Special charges as they attack. They're also quite easy to activate, as Bold Fighter has no HP threshold, while Vengeful Fighter has a 50% HP threshold (more lenient than Quick Riposte's 70%). While armours can only equip either one of these skills at a time due to both of them being B-slot skills, they will still let them tear through their opponents by super charging their Specials. However, Bold Fighter is only available on Hardin, the seasonal variant of Lissa and Brave Hector, while Vengeful Fighter is only available on male Grima, Winter's Envoy Tharja, and Legendary Hector. Armor teams may be difficult to truly form, but with all of these elusive skills to help alleviate their weaknesses, they are an incredible and even versatile force to be reckoned with.
- Bonus stats. Any unit can become a potential Game-Breaker in certain maps if they have heightened stats. Any unit can be Summoner Supported, which grants +5 HP and +2 to all stats, which improves their overall combat performance, letting them hit harder, faster, and take hits much better. In some modes, like the Arena or Tempest, also feature specific units that get a greater stat boost of +10 HP and +4 to all stats instead. Using those units make those modes a lot easier for the player. And should the player use those units and Summoner Support them at the same time, then their stats just go through the roof, meaning the player has to really try to get them to fall in battle. These boosts are only applicable to the player's side out of fairness, but this makes PvE maps potentially a lot easier.
- Distant Counter and Close Counter. Back when the game first launched, there were two names that would strike fear into the hearts of the fresh summoners: Hector and Takumi. Turns out most of the reason why they were so difficult to deal with early was because they came with Distant and Close Counter pre-skill inheritance. While Hector was a good unit on his own merits without Distant Counter, Takumi on the other hand was not, as it was Close Counter that made him so powerful pre-skill inheritance. Since then, these skills could be given to other units, which grant them the great flexibility of being able to counterattack regardless of range. This opens up a plethora of defensive options for any unit running it and great synergy with other enemy phase defensive skills like Vantage, Quick Riposte, and if the unit has Distant Counter built into their weapon, Stance or Breath skills. Armoured units in particular make better use of either skill due their already high BST and defensive stats which naturally favour defensive enemy phase skills.
- The Lightning Breath+ weapon for dragons has Distant Counter built in, although it has some drawbacks, namely lower Mt and a Special charge penalty. But since it can be refined, it can grant the user greater stats to help them tank, and it can also do adaptive damaged against enemy ranged foes, hitting their lower defensive stat. Pair that with it being fairly easy to obtain (being on adult Tiki and Nowi, both available at 3*) and that it can be given to any dragon regardless of colour, and the player can easily build a powerful Distant Counter tank unit.
- For flier units, combine the Iote's Shield Sacred Seal (neutralizes the "arrow" weakness for fliers) with Distant Counter and any enemy phase defensive skills mentioned above, and watch them slaughter numerous archer and dagger units without any effort, alongside units they have an advantage against. Bonus points if the flier in question is a rare Mage Flier which can run a -Raven tome, giving them Weapon Triangle advantage against Colorless (and thus Bows) while they're at it.
- Bold Fighter. While it has gotten a mention in the armour section of specialized teams, it truly deserves its own entry, highlighting just how damn powerful this skill is. One of the biggest problems for most armoured units is their lack of Spd. Bold Fighter lets an armoured unit perform a follow-up attack when initiating combat, regardless of Spdnote , ignoring the concept entirely. That alone would have been fine, but Bold Fighter also grants the user extra Special charges during combat, which can be just completely ridiculous, especially when the Quick Riposte Seal can also allow the user to perform a follow-up attack on the enemy phase, letting them be a terror on either phase. Some examples of Bold Fighter being put to good use:
- Black Knight, Zelgius, Hardin, and male Grima deserve special mention for having weapons with Distant Counter baked in which frees up their A skill slot, which most notably allows for Steady or Warding Breath. These four are the only units who can pull off a combination of Bold Fighter, the Quick Riposte Seal, a Breath skill and a Distant Counter weapon; this allows them to do follow-up attacks on either phase, counterattack regardless of range, and charge their specials ridiculously fast. That's especially dangerous when used on Zelgius or Black Knight because of Black Luna, or any of the four can use Aether and become a self-sustaining juggernaut.
- Brave+ weapons are also perfect with Bold Fighter, as this means the user can quadruple strike any unit, just as long as they can take a hit in-between, but they usually can. Again, another special mention goes to Zelgius and Black Knight: with Bold Fighter and Quickened Pulse, they can activate Black Luna on the second strike. If blows are exchanged and Zelgius/Black Knight is still standing, they can just attack twice again. And activate Black Luna again.
- Ranged units often have trouble charging their Special faster, as they don't have access to Breath skills or Wrath. However, Halloween Jakob and Winter Tharja can take full advantage of this skill due to being armored units. Jakob can run a Brave Bow+ and annihilate most units without worrying about the weapon triangle while blasting them with a vicious Ignis. Meanwhile, Tharja can run a -Blade+ tome, make up for the Special penalty, and just delete a unit with the immense power that armour buffs can provide.
- Some units can perform a single-turn Galeforce. With a Slaying+ weapon (or the Berserk Armads in Hector's case), Galeforce is down to 4. Attack once, it's down to 2. Attack again, and it's charged. With enough raw power, a unit can just destroy a foe and then proceed to destroy the next. Regardless, Galeforce is almost assuredly going to be charged unless the opponent has Guard.
- Or, one could use a Firesweep+ weapon and Quickened Pulse for the same effect. Quickened Pulse will bring Galeforce down to a charge of 4, and the user can burn through the rest of those charges by attacking twice with Bold Fighter, this time fearing no counterattack. Afterwards, the user can just smash through another opponent, retreat, or even finish off the first foe if those two strikes weren't enough, basically getting four free hits in without fear.
- Special Fighter. Introduced by Brave Ephraim, himself a Game Breaker listed above, this armor-inheritable B-slot is a combination of Steady/Warding Breath, Guard, and Heavy/Flashing Blade. If the user is above 50% HP, they will not only gain extra cooldown charge per attack, but their opponent gets decreased charge per attack. This on its own is scary since it allows the armored unit to stop enemy specials while rapid-firing their own, and unlike Bold Fighter and Vengeful Fighter, it works on both phases. But what really makes this so powerful is that, also unlike Bold/Vengeful builds that often require a whole skillset dedicated to them, Special Fighter's skill combination frees up the A slot - and in the case of sufficiently fast armors, also the Sacred Seal - for whatever skill combinations the player can imagine.
- Special Spiral. This B Skill applies an automatic -2 cooldown every time the unit's Special activates before or during combat. Sword Cavalier Ares was once a contender for being a Game Breaker unit for having this effect on his weapon, but was deemed too frail to fully reap the benefits. Special Spiral, on the other hand, can be inherited on any Infantry or Armor, allowing for some insane builds that were previously impossible. Some highlights include regular Lilina/Celica/Sanaki with an Area of Effect special and Heavy Blade,* Black Knight/Zelgius equipping a Slaying Edge and Steady/Warding Breath to spam Black Luna with impunity,* and mixing the Miracle special, Flashing Blade, Distant/Close Counter and one of the first-season Spring weapons to make a nigh-immortal unit.* The only thing that holds the unit back is the initial charge of the special, which can be mitigated by teammates having appropriate skills, and once they get going they are nearly unstoppable.