Fire Emblem: Awakening vs. Birthright (Characters)
Miss the introduction explaining why I’m writing these posts? Click here. Looking for other comparison posts in this series? The storyline and game mechanics posts are found at the preceding links.
Within this post, I’m going to take a bit more of a detailed look and comparison into the characters between my favorite game within the Fire Emblem series, Awakening, and Birthright, one of the three parts of the most recent iteration of the Fire Emblem series, Fates. As you can probably guess, there will be spoilers in mass quantities.
Introduction and Format
As I’m going through the various characters in both Awakening and Birthright, I’m going to break each game’s character sets down into two sections — first generation characters and second generation characters. While I recognize that there are some additional side characters you’ll recruit either naturally along your story path (Anna and Tiki in Awakening, Scarlet and Izama in Birthright), I’m 0nly going to address characters that are either first generation characters that can have children with a unit other than your avatar and any second generation character in the game. This is mostly for space and character count.
For each character, I’ve broken out my analysis into three sections. These areas pros, cons and my takes. Since there’s approximately a metric fuckton of characters in each game, I’m going to limit my analysis for each character to two sentences per section with a couple of notable exceptions.
Awakening Character Analyses
Quick overview for the non-Fire Emblem fans out there. In Awakening, your main character (or avatar) is a customizable character named Robin. You team up with Chrom, the Crown Prince of Ylisse, his liege, Fredrick, his younger sister, Lissa, and a host of other characters to win a war against undead soldiers, win another war against an invading tyrant general, then defeat a dragon bent on destroying humanity. All good? If not, just assume every Fire Emblem game ever ends with you needing to kill a dragon.
Oh…and in most editions of the Fire Emblem series (pre-Awakening), if a character dies in a level, they’re dead for good. As a filthy casual, I was happy when this practice was ended.
All pictures below come from my copies of the respective games. Characters are presented in the order you recruit them in the main story, or by chapter number if certain chapters can be done out of order.
First Generation Characters
Your avatar unit. Can be made male or female, given a custom name, and can marry any opposite gender unit in the game. Tactician class that wields tomes and swords by default. Father/mother of Morgan and potentially one other kid.
Pros: Wildly customizable character that can do pretty much anything in the game. Arguably the one of the few first generation characters that can be used reliably in the end game.
Cons: Not enough scales to tip.
My Take: I love customizing units and Fire Emblem is no exception to that rule. Robin is one of the better units in Awakening in terms of usage, storyline, and supports.
Prince of Ylisse and the game’s other protagonist with Robin. Lord class that wields swords by default. Brother to Lissa and Emmeryn, father to Lucina and at least one other character.
Pros: Great early game unit without being an experience hog.
Cons: You have to take Chrom in every chapter in the game, which is annoying as he becomes a fairly weak character by end game. Also, he wasn’t awesome enough to make it into Smash Bros.
My Take: One of the least entertaining protagonists in a Fire Emblem game ever. That said, he’s useful in game for a while and Emmeryn’s death make him instantly likeable.
Princess of Ylisse. Cleric class who heals by default. Chrom’s little sister and mother to Owain.
Pros: She can become a dark flier class, which gives her access to the overpowered Galeforce skill. That’s really it.
Cons: Levels up more slowly of the two staff wielders at the beginning of the game, making her very hard to keep alive at higher difficulties. Arguably has the most boring support convos in the entire game.
My Take: Lissa is only important because she’s Chrom’s sister and because her son is one of three character’s that’s in both Awakening and Fates. That’s it.
Chrom’s bodyguard/retainer. Great knight who wields swords, lances, and axes by default. The first advanced class unit you get in the game.
Pros: Pick a god and pray.
Cons: An experience vacuum in the early game that keeps your units from leveling up, arguably the worst end game unit once he’s appropriately leveled.
My Take: You have the most badass critical hit quote in the entire game and you’re the shittiest unit in the game. This is why I don’t like you, Frederick.
One of Chrom’s shepherds. Cavalier that wields lances and swords by default. Mother to Kjelle.
Pros: She’s a well-written strong female character, even in (most of) her S supports.
Cons: Despite being a strong female archtype, she’s one of the worst end game units out there, rivaling Frederick and Virion. The worst possible mother for Lucina.
My Take: Sully’s inconsistency in her portrayal versus her skill bother me. Either make her a kickass woman who actually kicks ass or make her weak across the board.
Archduke of the neighboring nation of Roseanne. Archer who wields bows by default. The JRPG equivalent of the cowardly heel archetype in pro wrestling.
Pros: There are no pros to Virion. Nobody likes him.
Cons: Let’s see…can’t defend himself in melee combat, weak stat growth with one exception, is outclassed as a ranged combatant by chapter 8 at latest, is essentially the same character as Inigo, and runs away from hard times at least twice. Also, his hair is ugly.
My Take: Objectively, Virion is useful early in the game. But I don’t use him any longer than I need to.
Male Sully. Another one of Chrom’s shepherds, also is a cavalier. Literally a red oni/blue oni thing going on here.
Pros: Generally a slightly more capable unit than Sully. At least he’s not Virion.
Cons: Pairing him with Sully — who seems to be his natural wife — yields you an exceptionally worthless Kjelle. Since Kjelle is one of the best second gen units in the game, you don’t want to hamstring her with a dad that weakens her.
My Take: Arguably one of the few first gen male characters that shows character development in the game outside of Chrom/Robin, as he becomes a more confident and complex individual in his supports. That in itself makes me like him.
A shepherd and Chrom’s teacher/fighting instructor/childhood best friend. Fighter class who wields axes by default.
Pros: His strength is off the charts, making his kids hit like trucks.
Cons: Imagine a pot smoking surfer who was unemployed but thinks highly of himself and teaches teenagers how to knife fight in his spare time. Congratulations, you’ve created Vaike.
My Take: Great dad, terrible teacher.
A shepherd. Mage who wields tomes by default. My headcanon wife for Stahl and mother to Laurent.
Pros: Her post S-support interactions with Stahl are some of the most endearing conversations in the game. If you can level her up to an advanced class, she’s pretty tanky.
Cons: Joins so ridiculously underleveled that it’s not even funny. Laurent is such an annoying prick that there are games where I won’t even level Miriel up just so his paralogue doesn’t show up.
My Take: Miriel is essentially your high school librarian if your high school librarian wore a witch’s hat and puritan collars.
A shepherd and Chrom’s canon wife. No. Really. Read their support chain. Look at the fact that the way Chrom builds support with females that she’s almost always the default choice for marriage unless you actively avoid her. See that Sumia is the only female that can’t marry almost every other guy. I get that nothing is supposed to be canon in Awakening, but this one is the exception.
Oh, and she’s a pegasus knight who wields lances. Mom to Cynthia and possibly Lucina.
Pros: Despite being lesser known, probably the best true pegasus knight/dark flier in the first generation. One of the few first gen units you may use in end game.
Cons: If you don’t marry her to Chrom, her supports essentially make her a clumsy, female version of Stahl.
My Take: Her kids are awesome, she’s a sweetheart, and she’s naturally on track for the best class in the game. Sumia’s not my favorite unit, but I spent a lot of time using her.
Shepherd who is ignored or not noticed by literally everyone in the game except Frederick and whoever Kellam marries. Knight who wields lances by default.
Pros: Is the only unit that can be recruited for the purpose of being ignored. The end credits of the game will only acknowledge Kellam if you marry him to a female Robin.
Cons: The I’m invisible gig is only really funny at the two points listed above.
My Take: Useful as a wall and a dad, but not much else. Has the best armor in the game.
Sellsword from neighboring Regna Ferox. Myrmidon class that wields swords by default.
Pros: Do you like critical hits?
Cons: Is essentially Dirty Harry, only he carries a sword instead of a gun.
My Take: Despite being one of only two characters in the game that can make Tharja seem human, Lon’Qu is pretty boring when you pair him up with anyone else. Except Cherche. Then there are feels…many, many feels.
Lissa’s best friend and a Ylissean socialite. Troubadour class who heals by default. Mother to Brady.
Pros: If you can keep her alive long enough to promote her to the Valkyrie class, she becomes insanely overpowered in a hurry. Makes for a nasty dark flier for the same reasons.
Cons: Really doesn’t do Brady a lot of favors other than giving him Galeforce, making him one of the few children more reliant on his dad than his mom.
My Take: Trashy celebrity meets video game royalty. Tries to wear drills, but isn’t Misha.
Shepherd who looks at Chrom as a big brother/childhood hero. Mage who uses tomes.
Pros: Is slightly less terrible as a mage when joining than Miriel was.
Cons: Still woefully underpowered when joining. Really should have been a child character as the canon child of Donnel and Miriel.
My Take: Just make him a dark knight and get it over with. You know you’re only training him so his kid (likely Owain or Brady) can get Lifetaker.
Shapeshifting bunny/rat/rodent mercenary hired to protect Emmeryn from an assassination attempt. Taguel class wielding a beaststone, which allows her to shapeshift, by default. Mother to Yarne.
Pros: You can reclass her. Has the most unique support conversations in the game.
Cons: Beaststone wielding characters are shit in Awakening. At least they fixed that in Fates.
My Take: If Panne was literally any other class, I’d love her. But she’s a taguel, and taguels are terrible in Awakening.
Thief who is part of a raiding party sent to kill Emmeryn, but Chrom talks him out of it. Thief class wielding swords by default.
Pros: His diet is essentially the same as mine was in middle school. Is one of only two dads that can pass down the ability to get Galeforce to his daughters.
Cons: Unless you marry him to Maribelle (who doesn’t need help giving Galeforce to Brady), you’ll never find out about one of the most intriguing side plots of the game.
My Take: Tied with Donnel and Chrom as being the most useful non-avatar fathers in the game. Gives nicknames to every character. He might be one of the best characters in either game for entertainment value (non-Setsuna division).
Sumia’s best friend and the golden child of the Ylissean military’s pegasus knight division. Might be the most tragic character in the entire game outside of Emmeryn. Pegasus knight wielding lances by default. Mother to Severa.
Pros: Her story starts at a 10 on the intensity scale and really doesn’t calm down until the second generation units arrive. Is probably the most unexpected closet intellectual in the game.
Cons: Ends up being the weakest pegasus knight in the game, especially if you reclass Lissa, Olivia, or Mirabelle. Can’t pass down her awesome red hair.
My Take: People either think Cordelia is unimportant to the game or love her. I lean towards the latter. I mean, her entire military division gets mowed down in battle and she has to flee for her life while hearing the sound of everyone dying as she runs away. And then her former commander gets killed right in front of her during an ambush attack. And then you realize that her unrequited love for Chrom will always go unfulfilled because Chrom cannot marry her. And then she has the most rebellious teenage daughter known to man. Cordelia is a cheating husband away from being a Lifetime movie.
Manakete who joins Chrom and company while fleeing from bad guys. Uses a dragonstone to shapeshift into dragon form. Mom to Nah.
Cons: You have to reclass her to make her anything beyond an above average unit. Also, despite being over 1,000 years old, she looks like she’s 12. Terrible at naming children.
My Take: TANK.
Sellsword who tends to break contracts if the person he’s set to kill causes an ethical quandary for him. Mercenary class that wields swords by default.
Pros: His lines are spoken with the combination of Rickey Henderson’s third person prose, Dikembe Mutombo’s syntax, and Ivan Drago’s accent. I would play an entire game with him as the main character.
Cons: You’ll want to marry him to Nowi because they join together, but I assure you they’re both better with other people.
My Take: I’m not convinced that Gregor isn’t just Lt. Surge from the original Pokemon games in hiding.
Priest who has a serious devotion to the dragon Naga and to Emmeryn. War monk class wielding axes and healing by default.
Pros: One of the few characters who you can recruit midchapter who can stay alive without your help.
Cons: Looks a lot like a girl. Not quiet to the extent of Forrest in Fates…but Virion hits on him.
My Take: Libra is the worst dad in the game stat growth wise, but he can pass down some of the best skills in the game, particularly Renewal, Tomefaire, and Lifetaker. He’s a preference character as to if you want to use him.
Dark mage in the Plegian army who defects to the Shepherds because she is infatuated with Robin. Dark mage class wielding tomes. Mother to Noire.
Pros: Literally the only useful first generation mage unit.
Cons: One of the worst human beings in the game. Stalker, unethical spell tester, and child abuser are just her three most common problems.
My Take: I could write a small novel on Tharja. First off, she’s the one unit who made looking for pictures for this post hard because of the fact that about one-third of the stuff about her on the internet is porn. Second, she’s all kinds of creepy stalkery, even after she marries most of her S supports. She routinely tests curses on her loved ones and her daughter, giving her daughter a complex that is essentially a very violent form of bipolar disorder. And yet…in one of the xenologues of the game, she sacrifices herself to save her daughter’s life. She’s also one of the most helpful units in the game, ridding Lon’Qu of nightmares, helps Stahl realize his modesty is his greatest strength, creates a charm to help Kellam protect his family, and helps Gregor find closure for his brother’s death. Tharja is both really hard to like and really hard to hate all at the same time.
A dancer. Seriously. Dancer class who wields swords and dances to give units another action that turn. Mother to Inigo.
Pros: The dance function is useful. You know, if you could keep Olivia alive longer than two turns after you recruit her.
Cons: Depending on when you acquire Donnel, Olivia might be your lone weak late-joining character. Probably the weakest written female character in the game.
My Take: I honestly don’t understand how you’re expected to keep Olivia alive and marry her to Chrom on any difficulty higher than casual. At least her kid is useful?
Pros: Cherche’s has one of the more entertaining backstories in the game, as she tamed her wyvern as a child. Her support track with Lon’Qu is the closest thing to a redemption path that you get in developing Lon’Qu’s character.
Cons: She’s essentially Hiccup from How To Train Your Dragon, only female, redheaded, and wearing slightly more revealing clothing.
My Take: Cherche gets overshadowed by the fact that peagsus knights/dark fliers are so stupid overpowered, but she’s a really good blitz attack unit, especially as a griffon rider. Should have died to stay consistent with her son’s backstory, however considering we’re not introduced to Alfred, this may be before she dies.
Plegian dark mage who likes crows. Uses tomes by default.
Pros: Hey! A second not sucky mage! Plus he’s arguably one of the nicer people in the game from Plegia.
Cons: Pretty much everything else. He joins too late for you to use him as a fighter, he’s rather average as a character by that point, his entire gimmick is essentially Optimistic Emo Kid, and even though he’s a better dad than some of the other men, he joins so late that you’ve likely married off all of the women with the possible exception of Cherche.
My Take: Had Henry joined around the same time as Libra/Tharja, he’d be awesome. But he joins in the same chapter your first child unit (Lucina) joins…so no…
A scrawny villager that joins the Shepherds after his village is attacked. Villager class that wields lances by default.
Pros: Starts out as the weakest character in the game, but his unique skill, Aptitude, gives him the best growth rates in the game. Oh, and he’s the only other guy besides Gaius who can pass down access to Galeforce.
Cons: He can be killed by a semi-powerful sneeze. The pot on his head sadly isn’t a Pastafarian religious headdress.
My Take: Other than the fact that Donnel sounds like he’s from the backwoods of Appalachia, he’s pretty awesome to have around. Just keep his talking to a minimum and you’re fine.
Second Generation Characters
Princess of Ylisse and eldest child of Chrom. Lord class that wields swords by default.
Pros: Pretty much shows up in every other chapter’s video cut scenes before she joins in chapter 13, making her the only child you don’t need to complete a side quest to recruit. Like her father, seems to have one of the few strongly hinted at desired relationship partners in the game.
Cons: Her support conversations make her seem childish to a fault despite the fact that every other video/interaction with her in the game makes her appear wise beyond her years.
My Take: I main Lucina in Smash Bros. I like her. A lot. To the point where there’s only one character from Awakening that I’d even consider using over her if they were in Smash.
Swordsman son of Lissa. Wields swords. He’s…unique.
Pros: If the cast of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann were put in the Fire Emblem world, they’d all be best friends with Owain. After all, you have to name your weapons and your moves.
Cons: Since almost all weapons in Awakening break after a certain number of uses, you need to constantly buy new weapons. Unfortunately, Owain’s unique weapon also breaks.
My Take: The BBC recently referred to Fire Emblem as a “tactical role-playing game that users control of a small anime army“. Realistically, only Owain would fit into most animes.
Womanizing swordsman who is the son of Olivia. Wields swords.
Pros: He’s a useful version of Virion.
Cons: He’s essentially Virion, only useful.
My Take: If you make Virion his dad, it’s a like father, like son situation. Otherwise, I’m very confused how Inigo turns out the way he does.
Tough looking priest who fights by healing. Mirabelle’s son.
Pros: Amuses me greatly with the juxtaposition of his rough exterior and his love for playing the violin and making tea.
Cons: Probably the closest thing to a crappy unit in the second generation. Is the one character I’d hope would have called Severa out on her self-centered attitude, but instead encourages it.
My Take: Just reclass Brady to a Sage and you’ll be fine. That said, Brady is a wasted opportunity in Awakening, as they should have brought back the Bard class from Thracia 776 just for him.
Fair-fighting knight who doesn’t understand that she’s weak to magic when she chooses to accept a dual. Daughter of Sully. Wields lances by default.
Pros: She’s Sully if Sully was written correctly or consistently.
Cons: Seriously though…does she not understand the fact that knights are weak to mages? I understand wanting to avenge someone, but think this through.
My Take: Her personality fits better into the first generation characters than the second generation, but her stats say I’m a child character. A surprisingly useful person to pair with Owain.
Sumia’s pigtailed daughter. Wields lances as a pegasus knight by default.
Pros: Statistically one of the best child units in the game, all while getting to be a falcon knight while still getting Galeforce.
Cons: The single most annoying plot hole in the story occurs with Cynthia if you marry Chrome to Sumia. In Cynthia’s recruitment chapter, Cynthia is fighting for a group of bandits whose leader has convinced them that he is Chrom. For most of the bandits, the fact that their leader looks nothing like Chrom is a non-issue. But to Cynthia, who has very strong and vivid memories of her father, you’d think she wouldn’t fall for this ruse. Yet, she believes some guy who looks nothing like her dad is her dad, then struggles to believe that Chrom is actually her dad. I get that Cynthia’s gimmick is to charge headlong into things without thinking, but this is just stupid.
My Take: Giant plot hole aside, Cynthia’s one of the more adorable characters in the story, particularly if she’s Lucina’s sister. Their support actions as sisters are absurdly believable.
Cordelia’s very angsty mercenary daughter. Fights initially as a mercenary class wielding swords.
Pros: Normally support convos don’t give you hints about how to build characters, but Severa’s insistance on not being like her mother saves you from reclassing her as the ridiculous dark flier class. She’s better served as a mercenary/hero or a dark mage.
Cons: Fits every stereotype of teenage girl that would make me dread having a daughter one day.
My Take: Severa is one of three characters from Awakening to show up in Fates, yet is the the only one to reverse how I like her. In Awakening, she’s an annoying personality with great skills and class. In Fates, she’s a decent, though fiery personality with a rather annoying class set. The hell, Nintendo?
Cherche’s mask wearing, anti-social son. Wyvern rider class who wields axes by default.
Pros: He’s fucking Batman on a dragon.
Cons: Plays the dark, mysterious soul to the point where he’s annoying.
My Take: Pair him up with Lucina and let her become the Selena Kyle to his Bruce Wayne. You know, if Catwoman wielded an all powerful sword and Batman rode dragons.
Robin’s son or daughter who may or may not be from the same timeline as the other second generation kids. His starting class and weapons capabilities vary depending on who Robin’s spouse is.
Pros: Can be literally any class in the game. Considering Robin can marry any of the second generation characters, this makes Morgan a gamebreaker. As in he or she could solo most maps.
Cons: You can only let him/her have five skills at once.
My Take: Remember how I said Nowi was a tank? Morgan is a giant death robot.
Panne’s taguel son. Runs from everything, but wields a beaststone to shapeshift into taguel form if he must fight.
Pros: At least he’s not as squishy as Panne? His supports with Cynthia are mildly amusing.
Cons: He’s still a taguel.
My Take: If it weren’t for the Shepherds, the taguel race would be extinct.
Miriel’s magic using son who is somehow even more nerdy and socially awkward than she is. Starts off as a mage class wielding tomes.
Pros: Is the one person who actually makes Severa a relatively decent person, not to mention a productive one.
Cons: His recruitment level is complete and total bullshit if you go into it blind. The entirety of the conversations in and surrounding the level talk about a mirage village that you need to find, and you’d assume it’s to recruit Laurent. Nope. It’s to get a single use item (which is useful, but still). Laurent is the only second generation character that cannot be recruited by Chrom, meaning not only that you have to know (or guess luckily) which village to send Miriel to, but you have to keep Laurent alive after the fact. At least he’s not as weak to start off as his mom is.
My Take: A surprisingly useful character, especially if his dad passes down Armsthrift. Still weird when he talks though.
Timid, anemic daughter of Tharja. Archer class by default who wields a bow.
Pros: Has the most unique personality in the game…
Cons: …but it’s because her mother abused her and used her as a lab rat as a child.
My Take: I love Noire as a character. She’s very likable, particularly in her bashful yet aggressive interactions with Inigo. Her supports with a female Robin are downright heartbreaking as Noire just wanted a mom who actually cared about her. Even Tharja in the story’s timeline becomes likable with Noire eventually. Noire brings out the best in people, hence why she’s my favorite character in any of the Fire Emblem games.
Nowi’s oddly named daughter. Manakete that uses dragonstones to shapeshift.
Pros: Tank…plus one.
Cons: Pretty much every one of Nah’s support conversations leads to her calling her eventual husband her “big brother”. It’s just as creepy as it sounds.
My Take: Probably the second most powerful unit in the game behind Morgan.
Birthright Character Analyses
First off, apparently I’m at 5,000 words and I’m only halfway through this post. Time to shorten my analyses. In Fates, your avatar is a man or woman named Corrin who was born into royalty in the Kingdom of Hoshido, but was kidnapped at a young age and raised in the Kingdom of Nohr. If you play the Birthright path, you side with your birth nation of Hoshido and fight against Nohr.
First Generation Characters
Your avatar unit. Manakete that wields swords and a dragonstone to start (though also staves for healing later). Can be the father or mother to Kana and possibly to other children.
Pros: Significantly stronger than Robin was, plus is actually the main character in this story. All nobles including Corrin have access to a special power known as Dragon Fang that lets you change the maps you’re on or do other ridiculous actions mid-battle.
Cons: If you want to get all of the kids in Birthright, you’re either required to be a female or marry a non-storyline character such as Scarlet. Dragonstone is significantly weaker in Fates, so you’re better off using your swords most of the game.
My Take: One of the few characters that destroys his/her Awakening counterpart straight up. The kidnapping angle is far more interesting than Robin’s “hey…I woke up in a field and don’t know who I am” story.
Your butler and one of your two retainers from when you were a Nohrian noble. Wields daggers and heals with staffs by default. Father to Dwyer — all children except Kana and Shigure are tied to their fathers in this game rather than mothers. Joins at different times depending on if Corrin is male or female.
Pros: If he joins early, Jakob is incredibly useful. Arguably the best non-ninja base class dagger user in the game.
Cons: If he joins late in the game, his only usefulness is to be Dwyer’s dad.
My Take: Jakob is essentially the stereotypical butler I’d imagine lives in a house that is on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, only 25 years younger.
Your maid and one of your two retainers from when you were a Nohrian noble. Wields daggers and staffs like Jakob. Also like Jakob, joins at different times if Corrin is male or female.
Pros: Similar to Jakob in that if Felicia joins early, she’s useful to have around. While Jakob is bulkier, Felicia hits a lot harder. The fact that she can change to a hero class gives her kids access to the underrated Sol technique.
Cons: In Birthright she’s a plot device that fights. At least that’s more than her sister, Fiora (NPC).
My Take: I really wish Felicia’s involvement was better written, especially when you have a female Corrin. She just shows up, fights her sister, and has a kid (in some order).
Hoshidian ninja who you originally meet as a prisoner of Nohr. Wields shurikens by default. Father to Midori.
Pros: As the only ranged unit you have until chapter 7, Kaze is incredibly useful in the early game. His access to the mechanist class line gives him a ton of advantages over other characters.
Cons: If you don’t have his support at least at an A level with Corrin by chapter 15, he dies. Even if you’re on Casual or Phoenix mode. It’s bullshit and I’m so happy I read spoilers in advance to avoid this.
My Take: His chapter 15 death mechanic is the biggest piece of bullshit in a video game since one hit and you die platforming games.
Member of the Oni fire tribe native to Hoshido that doesn’t really like either set of royalty. Uses clubs by default.
Pros: Not many until you promote her to either an oni chieftain or blacksmith.
Cons: Until she’s promoted, she’s the most fragile unit you’ll have outside of healers and Mozu. Her personality is essentially Severa from Awakening, only with no good points.
My Take: Generally a disappointment as a character, but at least she can pass down Counter.
Songstress from Nohr who essentially went through the same kidnapping ordeal as Corrin, only in reverse. Mother to Shigure. Songstress class by default who wields lances/naginata and can sing to give characters an additional action.
Pros: The other character who is a straight upgrade to the Awakening character she mimics (Olivia). Her higher end skills make her worth training, even if she is a little squishy earlier in the game.
Cons: You have to play Revelations for her story to make any fucking sense.
My Take: I like her as a character and she adds a lot to the cut scenes. But her story could be written a lot better without spoiling everything that you learn in Revelations.
Shrine maiden and Hoshidan princess. Corrin’s youngest sister. Heals with staves by default.
Pros: Lissa with better stats.
Cons: Lissa with a worse storyline and crappier class access.
My Take: Her Nohrian equivalent — Elise — is so much better than Sakura that it’s almost worth getting Conquest just for her.
Swordswoman and retainer to Sakura. Wields swords.
Pros: Hey! This is what Sully was actually supposed to be like!
Cons: Not all that great of an end game character.
My Take: Awesome character for the first ten chapters or so, not all that useful otherwise.
Sky knight and retainer to Sakura. Wields lances by default. Father to Caeldori.
Pros: At least he’s not Reina?
Cons: His perfectionist gimmick fits his daughter better than it does him.
My Take: Essentially a male version of Cordelia, though not nearly to the level that Caeldori mirrors her. Since fliers are greatly nerfed from Awakening, he becomes a second-tier character.
Nohrian knight who was Corrin’s best friend since childhood. Cavalier class who wields swords and lances by default. Father to Sophie.
Pros: The best written non-noble unit in the game with the possible exception of Setsuna. One of the strongest too.
Cons: Unless you marry him to Azura or female Corrin, he can’t father two kids. Sophie’s that good.
My Take: When considering first generation units, he’s right up there with the nobles in terms of utility.
Ninja who is the retainer of Ryoma and twin brother to Kaze. Ninja who wields shuriken by default. Father to Asugi.
Pros: His Pyrotechnics skill is super useful as a last ditch attack skill.
Cons: Sadly, you won’t use Pyrotechnics much because he’s the bulkiest and most durable of the three first generation ninja units.
My Take: His personality is essentially Lon’Qu, but they serve totally different roles.
Fortune teller who was in the service of Mikoto (Ryoma/Hinoka/Sakura/Takumi’s mom) prior to her death. Diviner class wielding scrolls by default. Best friend to Kagero.
Pros: Decent ranged unit with a competent skill set.
Cons: Her capture skill is worthless unless you’re playing on higher difficulties.
My Take: Her supports with Kaden talk about her fear of rats, yet her primary scroll is a rat spirit. Hooray continuity errors!
Sky knight and Hoshidan princess. Sister to Ryoma/Sakura/Takumi. Wields lances by default.
Pros: The only useful first generation flying unit in the game, unless you plan on marrying Scarlet to a male corrin.
Cons: Has a very odd defensive build that makes it difficult to slot her well to be a mom to a kid who needs defense while not overlapping dragon fang skill.
My Take: Would make a far better ruler than Ryoma or Takumi. Yet another thing Conquest got right.
Archer unit and retainer for Hinoka. Likes to fall in pits and holes. Wields bows (yumis) by default.
Pros: Setsuna’s support conversations about her endlessly falling into holes were of great entertainment to me. And archers finally don’t suck anymore!
Cons: The Awakening archer attire was better. That’s really it.
My Take: The most underrated unit in Birthright by a huge margin.
Priest and retainer to Hinoka. Father to Mitama.
Pros: His daughter has the single best gimmick in the game.
Cons: He’s an asshole.
My Take: Literally the only reason to level up Azama is the make sure Mitama gets access to Renewal.
A member of the wind tribe who joins your party after a battle with the wind tribe’s chief. Diviner who wields scrolls by default. Father to Rhajat.
Pros: Has access to the ridiculously overpowered Quixotic skill.
Cons: Don’t wear a pot on his head.
My Take: He reminds me a lot of Donnel, despite the fact that they have nothing in common. Maybe it’s the babyface.
Swordsman and retainer to Takumi. Wields swords. Father to Hisame.
Pros: He’s got the whole idolizing the man he’s protecting thing down.
Cons: Father to one of the most boring units in the game. At least it runs in the family.
My Take: He’s so bland that I forgot about him while writing this. Twice.
Spear fighter and retainer to Takumi. Wields spears.
Pros: Her bonuses against Nohrian units make her damn near unstoppable once you promote her to an advanced class. The only non-noble/non-child unit you’ll consider keeping around in the end game.
Cons: Doesn’t have particularly good growth rates.
My Take: Probably one of the best written characters in the game, especially when you consider how much the game focuses on her two hobbies — fashion and killing the enemy.
Archer and Hoshidan prince. Wields bows by default. Father to Kiragi.
Pros: Takes everything good about Setsuna and does it with better base stats.
Cons: You can see the twist ending involving him in Birthright coming a mile away.
My Take: So. Fucking. Predictable.
Ninja and retainer to Ryoma. Wields shuriken by default.
Pros: The only ninja unit who actually acts like a ninja in their supports.
Cons: If you say you like her as a unit, people will automatically assume it’s because she has giant boobs.
My Take: She joins at an odd time in the game when you really don’t need a third ninja unit, but it’s not bad to have one around either. Just marry her off to Ryoma and make Shiro hit for death.
Shapeshifting kitsune class unit that wields a beaststone to fight. Father to Selkie.
Pros: The gap between dragonstone and beaststone users is still there from Fates, but it’s not nearly as large.
Cons: His evolved form may be called a nine-tails, but it doesn’t fight with fire attacks like the Ninetales from Pokemon.
My Take: The kitsune are everything the taguel should have been in Awakening. Just reclass him to something other than kitsune so that Selkie can stay in that class for herself.
Swordsman, Hoshidan prince, and heir apparent to the throne of Hoshido. Father to Shiro.
Pros: Wrecks everything. Is the best meme to come out of Fates.
Cons: He’s basically Frederick, only he joins at the right time but doesn’t yell ‘pick a god and pray’.
My Take: Once you get Ryoma, you can basically solo the next 5-6 maps with him.
A villager who joins your party after you save her from an attack. Wields lances by default, but makes a surprisingly good apothecary unit.
Pros: Female Donnel.
Cons: Female Donnel.
My Take: Female Donnel.
Second Generation Characters
Son/daughter of Corrin and whoever you married them off to. Nohrian Noble class that wields dragonstone, swords, and staves by default.
Pros: The youngest unit in either of the two games. I’m just happy they don’t let you marry Kana off to anyone.
Cons: Isn’t as stupid broken as Morgan.
My Take: The second generation units as a whole aren’t as powerful as their Awakening counterparts are, but there’s a few of them that are still map wreckers. Kana leads the way in that regard.
Son to Azura. Sky night class by default that wields lances.
Pros: Has a unique skill that allows his rally command to heal surrounding units if they have less HP than him. Considering how I never use any rally command, this finally caused me to start using them.
Cons: Still a flier, which makes him a fast healer, but underwhelming otherwise.
My Take: Meh. His mom is a better unit than he is.
Jakob’s also a serviceman son. Starts off as a troubadour class that can only heal.
Pros: Can make a surprisngly adept Strategist if he has the right mom.
Cons: The troubadour class isn’t anywhere near as awesome as it was in Awakening, but at least men have access to it now. Easily one of the weirdest looking characters in the game.
My Take: Similar to his dad, it’s all about when you get Dwyer in the game. If he’s ready to advance to a higher class, he’s great. Otherwise, he’ll be a bit of a struggle to level up.
Silas’s high-energy daughter who rides around on a stubborn horse named Avel. Cavalier class wielding swords and lances by default.
Pros: One of the few units who appears to be an expy on an Awakening unit but doesn’t beat it into the ground and make themselves seem stupid.
Cons: Doesn’t have access to dark magic like the similarly named Sophia from Fire Emblem: Binding Blade.
My Take: While she’s not my favorite unit in the game, I find that Sophie is one of the ones I like using the most. Her supports are so optimistic that it’s ridiculous.
Kaze’s entrepreneur daughter. Apothecary class unit that wields bows by default.
Pros: One of the two units (along with Mozu) who can competently fill the apothecary role. Midori’s luck bonuses make her REALLY hard to kill if you’ve passed Miracle down to her.
Cons: It’s very difficult to tell how old she is. I’d argue she looks younger than Kana, yet you can marry Midori off, but not Kana.
My Take: Hey! A dedicated healer than can defend themselves competently. What a novel idea.
Ryoma’s son. A spear fighter class wielding lances by default.
Pros: If you reclass him to a Lodestar class, Shiro looks like Ike.
Cons: His recruitment chapter is a pain in the ass because Shiro feels the need to charge headlong into enemy troops. Who does he think he is, Blackstar?
My Take: If you can get to him before he dies, Shiro is awesome to have around.
Takumi’s young son. An archer who wields bows by default.
Pros: Probably the only unit that fills the kinishi knight class correctly. His supports with Kana are adorable because they just want to go play in a treehouse all day.
Cons: The only treehouse in My Castle is Corrin’s house, which is unfortunate, as Kiragi just wants a treehouse.
My Take: Will someone please get Kiragi a treehouse?
Okay…here’s where I start to get ragey. First the facts. Asugi is Saizo’s son who wants to be nothing like his father. He’s a ninja class by default and wields shurikens.
Asugi, Caeldori, and Rhajat are all meant to be expy units on first generation units from Awakening, as they are supposed to remind the player of Gaius, Cordelia, and Tharja, respectively. All of the Fates characters’ names mentioned are anagrams of their respective Awakening characters. In one of the DLC chapter, Chrom makes an appearance and actually calls Caeldori out on this if she’s in the map. Since they’re supposed to be character expies, I’ll reference that in my notes for each character.
Pros: Probably the most powerful ninja you’ll have by end game
Cons: Would have made a better first generation character.
My Take: Repeating Gaius’s candy loving gimmick was really unnecessary. Gaius is a fine character, but he’s largely forgettable outside of the fact that he’s one of the two dads to pass down Galeforce. Asugi doesn’t even have that going for him.
Kaden’s playful daughter who doesn’t understand what the concept of hunting is. Since she’s a fox, that’s bad. Kistune class that uses beaststones by default.
Pros: The most well-balanced unit in the game.
Cons: Unless you reclass her, she doesn’t have access to ranged attacks.
My Take: Selkie kills everything. That’s all there is to it.
Hinata’s equally boring son. Swordsman who uses swords.
Pros: One of only two units (Kiragi being the other) who gets a bonus out of using the Wait command. It’s a pretty useful gimmick for a samurai.
Cons: I had to replay the game a good bit just to remember why I liked him. He’s really not all that important.
My Take: He somehow manages to be even more forgettable than his dad, Hinata. The only reason I remembered Hisame was because I was writing Hinata’s entry.
Azama’s daughter who speaks primarily in haikus and loves to take naps. Shrine madien class by default who heals people.
Pros: Her inherent skill, Haiku, heals in a 5-7-5 pattern if she’s in the middle of a vertical line with two other characters. That’s a nice touch that fits her gimmick amazingly.
Cons: Her recruitment chapter is deceptively difficult if you’re not prepared for it. That’s it though.
My Take: I love Mitama nearly as much as I love Noire. She’s pretty fantastic.
Subaki’s daughter and giant Cordelia expy. Sky knight that wields lances by default.
Pros: If you’re playing the Revelations route and make Selena her mother, the support conversations are filled with shoutouts to Awakening.
Cons: She’s just as good as Cordelia, which would be fine if she was a first generation unit, but is less so since she second generation.
My Take: A better written version of Cordelia. The only one of the three expies that I don’t totally cringe at.
Hayato’s dark and twisted daughter. Essentially an expy on Tharja, though less violence, abusive, and stalkery. Diviner that wields scrolls by default.
Pros: HOLY FUCK THERE’S ACTUALLY A LESBIAN CHARACTER IN FIRE EMBLEM. I mean, Soleli in Conquest is, but they didn’t write her to be. Actually, can we just switch Soleli and Rhajat now?
Cons: For being as creepy as she is, you’d think she’d use dark magic. Nope.
My Take: A tamer, less interesting, yet more diverse Tharja.
That’s all for this post. I’ll get into the game mechanics and storyline in a later post. If you made it through this entire post without shutting down your computer or wanting to murder me, congratulations.