The other day1Read: The other day as of when I wrote this in late January. By the time this goes up, this statement will not be true from a time standpoint., I came across a thread on Reddit where a person finished their five-year long playthrough of Fire Emblem: Awakening. In their post, they created a tier list of how useful they found the characters that you could recruit in the story, ranging from “actively broken” to “didn’t use lol”2Yes, I’m aware there’s another tier below that, but the user’s comments explain why..
This got me to thinking. I’ve been writing posts on this blog with Fire Emblem: Awakening as a topic for nearly three years now. I’ve got an entire blog series dedicated to sarcastically playing through the game that I consider to be far and away my favorite video game of all time. But I’ve never really done a true character tier list for the game. I’ve looked at the skills and tiered them, but never the actual characters themselves.
So, inspired by /u/WritersBlah’s post, I’m going to write a Fire Emblem: Awakening blog post that’s sure to piss off Fire Emblem purists. Maybe not as much as the shipping post I wrote, but it’ll be up there. Unlike the original thread, I’m going to go with a more traditional S through F tier list style. I’m only going to have characters you can pick up in the main story or the paralogues on my list, so no DLC characters. I’ll be considering these characters both in terms of their end game usefulness, as well as their usefulness as parents (if applicable).
Additionally, I am not going to add any of the SpotPass characters3Gangrel, Walhart, Emmeryn, Yen’fay, Aversa, or Priam. to this tier list, as I feel like it’s hard to objectively rate characters that join so late into the game — and are intentionally overpowered because of this. While I’ve used a couple of the SpotPass characters in playthroughs before4Aversa is a good mom for Morgan stats and skill wise., I’m excluding them from this list for that reason.
F: Units That Will Never See The Light of Day
Units: 43. Anna, 42. Say’ri, 41. Virion
D: Trophy Units or Trophy Parents
Units: 40. Miriel, 39. Basilio, 38. Vaike, 37. Sully, 36. Flavia
Miriel and Vaike suffer from the same problem that manifests itself in different ways — they die way too easy in the early game, especially at higher difficulties. Whether it be Miriel’s squishiness or Vaike’s insistence on not hitting anything, you can’t rely on them to stay alive. Basilio and Flavia are late game trophy units with decent stats, but unless you’re marrying one of them to Robin, you’re likely not using them5Which is a shame because goddamn Flavia.. Sully is a possible wife for Chrom, but is easily the worst possible wife for him, including village girl. At least Kjelle is worth getting, but you almost have to marry Sully to Chrom, Donnel, or Gaius to make it worth your time.
C: Average, But Flawed
Units: 35. Tiki, 34. Ricken, 33. Frederick, 32. Olivia, 31. Libra, 30. Laurent
Tiki suffers the same problems as Anna/Say’ri/Basilio/Flavia, though at least she does have the advantage of being part of the broken as fuck manakete class. Ricken is just a harder hitting version of Miriel, though at least he does become somewhat tanky if you make him a dark knight. Frederick is amazing in the early game on harder difficulties, though using him heavily kneecaps the rest of your team. Olivia is polarizing, as her Dance skill essentially means you get to use your best unit twice in a turn. That said, you also have to keep her alive for this to be a worthwhile strategy, which wastes the time of other units or your healers. Libra is an odd promoted unit to get when he does arrive. He can hold his own, but is held back by being a relatively terrible parent unit. Laurent is objectively the worst of the child units, in part because of how much he’s like his mother. You can make Laurent usable, but it comes at the sacrifice of other, more useful child units.
B: Truly Average in Some Way
Units: 29. Kellam, 28. Stahl, 27. Brady, 26. Tharja, 25. Donnel, 24. Henry, 23. Panne, 22. Sumia, 21. Lon’qu, 20. Cherche, 19. Gregor, 18. Chrom
Before we get to the elephant in the room of this group, let’s hit some of the lower units on the list. Kellam and Stahl are just Frederick with better growths, hence bumping them up a tier. While Brady does get access to the all-powerful Galeforce skill, he’s hamstrung by his healer focused stats. Tharja, Henry, Donnel, and Panne are all interchangeable in terms of spots on this list, with Donnel being the best parent out of the group, but the other three being serviceable fighters — even good in the case of Panne if you reclass her. Sumia, Lon’qu, and Cherche are here because they are both useful (though not amazing) fighters and pass down good skills6In the form of Galeforce, Vantage, and Deliverer, respectively.. Gregor is one of the few parent units that gets Armsthrift without much effort, so he becomes a critical first generation unit. And then there’s Chrom. He’s important because you have to take him in levels and because he gives Aether/Rightful King to his kids. But…he’s objectively not that amazing of a unit. Better than everyone below him? Probably7I’d argue marrying him to Sumia makes him a better paired fighter, but doesn’t that mean Sumia’s the good unit?. Better as a parent? Also probably8Again, there’s a counter argument to be made here thanks to Donnel’s Aptitude access, Sumia and Donnel’s Galeforce access, and Gregor having Armsthrift.. But I find Chrom to be the weak link in most of my end game teams. That keeps him from the top two tiers.
A: Super Subs and Supporters
Units: 17. Maribelle, 16. Lissa , 15. Gaius, 14. Cordelia, 13. Yarne, 12. Owain, 11. Inigo, 10. Noire, 9. Nowi, 8. Robin
S: Look Upon Our Works and Despair
Units: 7. Gerome, 6. Kjelle, 5. Cynthia, 4. Severa, 3. Nah, 2. Lucina, 1. Morgan
Gerome’s high strength and access to several -Breaker skills make him a formidable unit regardless of who you make his father. Meanwhile, Kjelle’s utility pretty much dictates that you have to make Donnel or Gaius her dad, lest you miss out on a physical tank that hits twice per turn. Cynthia shares the positives of the first generation flying units, but without many of their stat limitation13Not to mention access to Aether if you make Chrom her dad like I tend to do.. Severa is a jack-of-all-trades unit who excels in a game that usually punishes that type of unit. Combine that with her inherent access to Armsthrift and you have a unit capable of using whatever legendary weapon you choose. With the right dad — even if that dad isn’t Robin — Nah can become your most powerful unit in the game, though she’s limited by the fact that Galeforce is better passed down to Kjelle, Gerome, and Noire than her. Lucina is broken because of her class access and all that comes with it, especially since she’s just a harder, better, faster, stronger Chrom. Morgan, however, is the strongest possible unit you can get in the game, being that Morgan can be the lone third generation unit if you marry Robin to one of the second generation units14Morally: ew. From a game play standpoint: This is absolutely the right call.. This becomes particularly true if their mom is Lucina/Chrom’s other possible daughters or if their dad is Inigo or Brady15Here’s something to think about: Inigo and Robin as Morgan’s parents passing down Galeforce and Rightful King to a Morgan that knows Sol, Vengence, and Ignis..