5 Things I Want to See in the Next Pokemon Game

It’s been a few weeks now, but we finally got confirmation that a new main series Pokemon game — effectively generation 8 of the series — will be coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2019. Even though the entry-level games Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Let’s Go! Eevee will be coming later this year, I would argue that most long-time players of the series are much more excited about the next generation game than they are a game that is essentially a remake of Pokemon Yellow with a lot more bells and whistles1I feel like I’m an exception to this rule, as I think that there’s a lot of potential with the Let’s Go! games. That said, I recognize that my opinion is largely biased by the fact that I play Pokemon Go regularly..

There is, of course, potentially a lot to be excited for with a new main series Pokemon game. In the past two generations, we’ve seen The Pokemon Company introduce mega evolutions, Z-crystals/Z-moves, replace the gym system with the trial system, ride Pokemon, plus the addition of a new typing to create additional game balance. Some of these changes are for the better, some are for the worse, but the one thing that’s for sure is that the games will continue to experience change.

With that in mind, I thought I’d present five changes I’d like to see in the next generation of Pokemon games. Since we don’t know a ton about what’s coming in a true next generation Pokemon game2As most of the focus is on the two Let’s Go! games at this point., all of the items on my list will be what I truly would like to see added to those games, rather than any thoughts based off of speculation or rumors about the games found online. If the changes you’d like to see in a coming game aren’t in this list, tell me what you’d like to see in the comments.

1. Reintroduce Competitive, Non-Friendly Rivals

There’s a lot that Pokemon Sun and Moon did really well while trying to rethink how a core series Pokemon game should be played. One of the biggest areas where it fell short was Hau being your primary rival for the series. I get that he’s supposed to be this happy-go-lucky character whose story intertwines with yours as you’re going through the game. That’s great. Lillie is kind of like that too and she’s a great character. But you don’t battle Lillie. And she’s not the main person you have to battle over and over again while being presented with little to no challenge. If Hau was even a little competitive, it’d be fine. That said, Sun and Moon make beating Hau feel like you’re curbstomping your likeable little brother. No one wants that.

We need the jerk rival to return. We need a rival on the level of Gary Motherfuckin Oak. The rivals have been getting progressively easier while also getting nicer. But…why? Make the next rival the schoolyard bully. Or an adult who hates kids because he resents not being able to go on his own Pokemon journey. Just stop giving me this as a rival I’m supposed to take seriously.

2. Revive the Gym System, But Not Fully

While there was a bit of an uproar about the fact that Sun and Moon replaced the traditional 8 gym system with the trial system, I will say that I didn’t mind it. The trials were (mostly) better at difficulty scaling than gym leaders were at their place in the game, so it was a bit more of a challenge3Particularly if you went into the trials blind as I did for most of my run through Moon.. The only problem was that the reason the trials were as difficult as they were was because of the SOS mechanic, which forced you to fight the trial’s totem Pokemon two-on-one rather than one-on-one.

From a nostalgic standpoint, I love the gym leader system. My favorite characters in the first three games — Sabrina, Whitney, and Flannery — are all gym leaders whose battles I enjoyed taking on. That said, if the gym system could be re-instituted where you have a gym leader you take on after completing a trial-style battle, that would be the ideal situation. It would certainly make for a more climatic encounter than the Captain-less trial in Sun and Moon.

3. Make Ice Types Matter

I recognize that this is 100% personal bias. I love Ice types. They’ve been my favorite type since Generation I. But good lord are they garbage defensively.

There was clearly an effort to try to remedy this with the introduction of Aurora Veil in Generation VII, but one of the major threats to Ice types — fighting type moves — has a direct counter to Aurora Veil in the form of Brick Break. It’s not a soft counter either, it’s the hardest of hard counters, as Brick Break not only removes Aurora Veil, but it also deals super effective damage.

So…how do we address it? Perhaps having Ice types resist something other than their own move type4Water and Bug come to mind here.. Maybe give a bulky Ice type an ability like Thick Fat which reduces damage from certain types. There’s also the option of removing the weakness to Rock or Fighting or pairing the Ice typing up with Fire as we’ve discussed before on this blog. Just give me an Ice type that doesn’t have to set up screens or get baton passed stats to death in order to survive.

4. Give Expansive Move Tutoring Options Before Part Two of the Generation

If you’ve only bought the original games in each of the generations of Pokemon5Or if you’ve only played Gen I., you’re likely only lightly familiar with what a move tutor is. The move tutor characters in the main games teach moves to certain Pokemon, either for free or at a cost. The massive problem with this mechanic is that you’re almost forced to wait until the second part of a generation of games comes out in order to take advantage of this feature. Sun and Moon were the main series releases that had the most move tutor moves to date, with 11 possible moves to teach certain Pokemon. Their follow ups, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, had move tutors for those same 11 moves, plus an additional 67 moves. SIXTY-SEVEN. Why. Why not have this in the original games?

While we’re at it, can we bring back the move tutor mechanics from Black and White 2 where you could purchase move tutor moves with shards rather than needing to rely on doing the battle tree? The battle tree is my least favorite part of Sun and Moon’s post game, as if I want to do competitive battling, I’ll just play online. I get that some people like the feature. That’s great. Don’t tie move tutoring to it. That’s all I’m asking.

5. Region Lock the Pokedex Until the Post Game

I can hear the rage coming from the internet now about this item’s inclusion on the list. As much as I liked Sun and Moon, the fact that I could catch so many Pokemon from previous games in the series made me care much less about using Pokemon from Alola, save for my starter, on my first playthrough. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as knowing the intricacies of my team allowed me to beat the game (Moon) a bit more smoothly. When I did a playthrough of Sun, however, I made an effort to take only Alolan Pokemon as my primary team.

The major reason to this change of strategy was that I played Pokemon Black in the middle of these two playthroughs. Generation V forces you to use its regional Pokedex until you beat the main game, only then allowing you access to Pokemon that aren’t native to Unova. I truly think that this forced me to think more about my game experience, which made my run of Pokemon Black much more enjoyable. I’d love to see this brought back in Generation VIII, even if that means Pokemon I love aren’t unlockable until I beat the game’s Elite Four. While we’re at it, if we could have every Pokemon ever in Generation VIII without needing special events to get mythical Pokemon, that would also be nice (though likely very unrealistic).

 

What features would you like to see in a new generation of Pokemon games? Hate or love my ideas? Let me know in the comments.

Pokefusions Are Hilariously Dumb

As you can likely tell from the high volume of Pokemon posts I’ve done over time on this blog, I love the Pokemon series of games. One of my favorite ways to kill boredom while sitting at an airport is to play around on Pokemon fusion sites and see what inane monstrosities I can create to amuse myself.

Pokemon fusion sites take two or more Pokemon and mix their features together in order to create a whole new Pokemon. There’s quite a few sites devoted to this out there, such as Alex Osanger’s site, which is believed to be one of the original sites for this practice. My current favorite site6Read: The one my wife reminded me of the existence of. to play around with is Japeal’s fusion generator, which features Pokemon through Gen IV.

With the help of this generator, I’ve come up with ten of the funniest Pokefusions I could and decided to share them with all of you. These are obviously my personal opinion, so if you find one that you find hilarious, create it and share it in the comments of this post. I’d love to see what all of you come up with.

Honorable Mentions

Before I get into my actual list, I wanted to call out a few honorable mentions that came up when I was making these lists. When Japeal’s generator creates a fusion, the new Pokemon is named by making a portmanteau of the names of the two Pokemon in the fusions. For example, a fusion of Scyther and Crocnaw because Scynaw. In doing so, some great names occur. While the Pokemon designs for most of these fusions weren’t great, honorable mentions going to naming for:

  • Monster (Monferno/Cloyster)
  • Mario (Mareep/Lucario)
  • Hoooone (Hoothoot/Linoone)
  • Fartle (Farfetch’d/Grotle) [Pictured Above]
  • Mr. Cash (Mr. Mime/Whiscash)

10. Mr. Krow (Mr. Mime/Honchkrow)

Let’s lead off with the Psychic/Dark dual type Mr. Krow. This bubblegum bird caught my attention not just because of the opportunity to give a beard to Mr. Mime7And make him less creepy., but also because of how the tail feathers are essentially a lightened inversion of Honchkrow’s color scheme. It was between this and Fartle for the 10th spot on the list, but Mr. Krow gets the edge thanks to its pepto-colored cowboy hat.

9. Celekoal (Celebi/Torkoal)

Have you ever wondered where matcha tea comes from? The internet and science might tell you it’s from ground up green tea leaves, but in reality, it’s from the smoke rolling out of the body of a Celekoal. When the natural tea in Celekoal’s body is heated to a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit8The metric system is for lazy people and people who use base 10. This is America. We don’t us….wait. We do use base 10? What the fuck? Next you’re going to tell me we use Arabic numerals. Oh….that too, eh?, the tea changes into a powdery smoke useful for making tasty Kit Kats.

8. Aeropix (Aerodactyl/Vulpix)

I have a confession to make. I hated all of the Jurassic Park movies. All of them. Ever. Even the original with the awesome music. Dinosaurs just aren’t my thing. That said, if there’s a way you could make a dinosaur cute9Spoiler: there isn’t., it would be to put a dinosaur head on the body of something cute. So I took the cutest Gen I Pokemon in existence and slapped the head of a heartless monster on top. And it’s…passable? If only Alolan Ninetales had a shiny form with purple tails.

7. Ledytortle (Ledyba/Wartortle)

At the bottom of Japeal’s fusion page, just below where my screenshots cut off, there’s a random button that allows you to randomize the Pokemon you’re fusing together. Ledytortle was the result of clicking that button a lot. There’s two things you need to know about Ledytortle.

  1. It’s objectively horrifying.
  2. I can’t take my eyes off of it.

Those two things, particularly when combined, mean that this bug turtle gets a spot on this list. If I had to deal with it, so do all of you.

6. Swadabra (Swalot/Kadabra)

We now go to a conversation at Game Freak’s headquarters.

Developer 1: We need a new Pokemon. What can we do?

Developer 2: Okay. Hear me out on this. What if we had Kadabra…

Developer 1: Okay…

Developer 2: …then dyed it purple…

Developer 1: …go on…

Developer 2: …and made its majestic mustache look like something out of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon?

Developer 1: BRILLIANT!

5. Hippotic (Hippopotas/Milotic)

Basically the same conversation in #6 happened here, only Pendelton Ward is doing the designing. That said, we’ve reached the point in this list where I start actually liking the random designs that were thrown out by the generator. This isn’t awful. I mean, the brown coloring isn’t ideal, but it’s not the worst thing either. Hippotic looks the part of a Pokemon. It gets bonus points for that.

4. Wurmdoom (Wurmple/Houndoom)

In a stunning turn of events, Wurmple made making this list really hard. It’s a testament to how well Wurmple is designed when nearly everything I fused Wurmple with that had an animal body looked good. Of all the Wurmple fusions I did, Wurmdoom was the most ridiculous looking, but it also grew on me like no other fusion on this list did. And considering there’s never been a dual type Bug/Dark Pokemon, this might be the result from this list I’m the happiest with how it turned out.

3. Waillee (Wailmer/Hitmonlee)

This is the sequel to Wall-E. It’s a whale that can kick your ass. I would watch it on Netflix10Which is like most people saying they’d see something in theaters. I don’t like going to movies..

2. Weepinckle (Weepinbell/Shuckle)

So let’s say you’re new to Pokefusions or you’re trying to show one to someone who has never seen them before. Where do you start? My suggestion is to put Weepinbell’s face on literally anything and you’ve got gold. Don’t believe me? Do you think Weepinckle is an isolated case? Here’s Weepinbell with Dratini. And Beedrill. And Togekiss. And Tyranitar. The constantly shocked look on Weepinbell’s face is wonderful. That said, the design and angle of Weepinbell’s face can look weird on certain Pokemon. And the number one fusion on this list manages to hit everything on the nose.

1. Shellcor (Shellder/Gliscor)

How is this so perfect? I mean, I get that it’s partly because Shellder and Gliscor are similar colors. And I know it’s partly that Shellder’s head isn’t terribly different in terms of size and shape from Gliscor’s. But come on. This is perfect.

 

What are the best Pokefusions you can come up with? Which of the fusions I shared do you like the best? Sound off in the comments.

My Fire Emblem Awakening Head Canons

This post is a shitpost. Just warning everyone of that right now. In fact, this post was caused by a bit of nerding out I did on Twitter with Evey and Dem11Though mostly Dem, as she’s finished Awakening.. I recognize that I’m going to lose a lot of you very early on in this post — even more than I do with a typical Fire Emblem post and especially because I just did one on Monday — but we’re going with it.

In the more recent games within the Fire Emblem series, you have the option of pairing many of your first generation units off and marrying them. This is done mostly for the purpose of creating stupidly overpowered child units, though the parent units do get benefits from being paired together. The parent units also tend to get some of the best conversations and backstory in the game, which is to be expected as you spend over half of the game using them12Sometimes longer on higher difficulties. This is particularly true in the Fates games, where the children aren’t as overpowered.. That said, since there are numerous pairings of parents you can make in the game, all of which impact their future children in various ways, there really aren’t any canonical pairings of adults in either Awakening or Fates13A lot of people will make the argument that Sumia and Chrom are as close to canon as you can get in Awakening. While I see where they’re coming from — and I do tend to pair them — I don’t know that I consider it canon..

In doing multiple playthroughs of Awakening, I’ve developed my own mental pairings, or head canons, of the parent units in spite of the lack of rigidity in that regard that Awakening provides. As a result of my aforementioned Twitter discussion, I was inspired to write a post about this. Three things before I do though.

  1. Spoilers ahead. If you care about that.
  2. Again, these are my own head canon pairings. Clearly there’s nothing set in stone in Awakening, not to mention a few of the pairings I mention below aren’t even the most logical ones in my mind (for reasons you’ll see below). If you disagree with these, or if you have your own head canons for the game, please share them in the comments.
  3. I’m basic this list off of the female units in Awakening, as they control the children. That said, you’ll see at least one male repeat for reasons that will become clear below.

Female Robin

Because female Robin can be paired with any male in the game, regardless of generation, there are so many more options opened up to Robin than any other character. Even beyond that, she does take away a potential father from someone else in the game if you use her as a unit14Unlike Birthright which all but requires you to play as Female Corrin to get all the child units.. That said, if you’re playing as a female Robin, the most logical marriage in my mind is RobinxChrom15All marriage pairings will be notated in this post as Female Unit, then an x, then the male unit.. It just adds to the depth of Lucina’s character once she does join the game, not to mention that Chrom has the best written supports with Female Robin. While Female Robin isn’t the best person for Chrom16Probably Sumia? Or village girl., he is the best pairing for her.

Lissa

As I was mapping out my post, I wrote down who my head canons were for every single female unit to help structure things. Except Lissa. I just wrote “fill” for her. I kept going through the possible pairings with her in my head, only for all of them to sound lackluster. Then it hit me. I had forgotten Henry exists. Think about it. Both Lissa and Henry are a bit childish without being too whiny about it. Owain already has a dark streak running through him, not to mention a weird sense of humor that only Henry has. LissaxHenry might be the most logical pairing in the game. I have no idea why I couldn’t think of this.

Sully

I like Sully much more for her character in cut scenes and her introductory chapter, as well as her interactions with her daughter, Kjelle, than I do in any of her support with her potential spouses. Yeah, Stahl gives the red/green cavalier trope that Fire Emblem has, and yeah, pairing her off with Libra gives Kjelle double honorable parents to develop her personality. But I enjoy having SullyxDonnel as my pairing the most because of the amount of respect the two of them give each other throughout their support. Donnel is one of the males that’s a pretty good pairing with most of the females, but he’s particularly well paired with Sully’s brash mannerisms.

Miriel

The only support I enjoy because of the way they talk about combat and training with one another, I find that MirielxFrederick happens in most playthroughs of Awakening for me. Laurent’s personality is so much a mirror of his mother that nearly anyone could be his dad. But Frederick is such a good pairing with Miriel in terms of how they learn from each other on the battlefield that I feel like they’d naturally end up together anyway. Granted, that could be as battle partners more than lovers, but I think they have a weird chemistry to them anyway.

Sumia

Sumia’s so bland and has so few supports that there’s not really any good options. In reality, I nearly always pair her off with Chrom. But I do that because I want to give Lucina the Galeforce skill and because Chrom’s conversations with Cynthia in her recruitment chapter are genuinely some of the funniest in the game. That said, Sumia doesn’t have a good pairing available to her with any of the adults. My true head canon here is SumiaxInigo, as not only would Sumia totally swoon for Inigo’s charming ways, Inigo would be a hilarious dad for Cynthia.

Maribelle

Maribelle, like Panne below, is a character whose child plays a bit more into my head canon of them than most units. Maribelle’s son, Brady, is a common speaking behemoth of a man with the sophistication of a noble musician. Clearly his class came from his mom, but who did the uncouth ways17As Maribelle terms them. get inherited from? Considering our available options, only MaribellexVaike makes sense for a pairing. You might be able to make a small argument for Gregor or Stahl as Brady’s dad, but neither one of them is quite as perfect of a fit as Vaike.

Panne

Panne is one of the most underappreciated units in Awakening, largely because she starts out with the terrible Taguel class. Her offspring, Yarne, is also one of the more annoying characters in a cast of children that can be one-dimensional at times18Outside of Lucina and MAYBE Gerome…but unless you pair Lucina and Gerome, that’s hard to see.. For whatever reason, Yarne’s scaredy cat tendencies lead me to believe that PannexRicken is the only acceptable head canon. Like his dad, Yarne has to go through the whole ugly duckling phase, only he also has to do it as a member of a race that’s in single digits. It’s a big, awkward family.

Cordelia

Chrom. It’s fucking Chrom. But it can’t be Chrom. Because you can’t pair CordeliaxChrom even though it’s the most logical pairing in the entire game. Princely dad, heroic prodigy mother, heir to the throne prodigy older daughter, spiteful younger daughter who resents everyone else. WHY ISN’T THIS PAIRING A THING? I usually marry Cordelia off to Stahl or Henry, but I don’t like it.

Nowi

God. They’re all pretty creepy. Nowi’s support are so cringeworthy that I skip them. That said, I feel pretty strongly that NowixKellam is the only logical answer here. Since Nowi is pretty much immortal and since Kellam is lost to the annals of history in nearly all of his endings, it’s a sad though apt way for Kellam to be married off. He becomes a forgotten blip, even in the extremely long life of a manakete.

Tharja

Tharja is sadistic. In nearly all of her supports she’s cruel to her potential mate or she’s busy stalking Robin. This is the case with TharjaxGaius too. Yet with her supports with Gaius, it almost comes across like Tharja — oh evil dark mage who’s just cruel to everyone — can’t get the upper hand on the happy-go-lucky bandit. And that amuses me to no end. I’m also of the thinking that this is the parent set of Noire for another head canon of mine, NoirexMaleRobin.

Olivia

I don’t know that there’s really a good pairing for Olivia in the game. My head canon for her is OliviaxStahl, but I recognize that it’s not a good pairing. It’s basically Lon’qu’s supports, only Olivia is scared of Stahl. Mind you, Stahl is as imposing as a piece of bread. But they just belong together. I say this even though Inigo has a much closer personality to Vaike or Virion than he does to Stahl. Maybe it’s the hair? Maybe I just like Stahl and want to see him happy, even if he does have to hide his engagement ring in a letter? I can’t really justify this one. It just is.

Cherche

There aren’t a ton of feelings in the support conversations of Awakening once you get outside of the main characters19For this, I’m going to classify main characters as Chrom, Robin, and Lucina, as well as Chrom’s immediate family of Emmeryn and Lissa.. And in many of the supports, Lon’qu’s entire gimmick is that he’s afraid of women. But do a playthrough with CherchexLon’qu and try to tell me that you’re not immediately 100% more invested in both of them as characters. Cherche has some great supports with many of the male characters20Frederick, Henry, and Stahl come to mind.. But…fuck. The first time I read their supports, I wasn’t expecting the hard left turn into murdered ex-best friend/lovers.

Special Honorable Mention – Flavia

You should be able to marry Flavia to any male adult in the game. She’s that kickass of a character. Since you can only marry her to male Robin, clearly that’s her pairing. But might I present Flavia’s true pairing: FlaviaxFrederick. Think about it. You have the man with the single most badass line in any Fire Emblem game and you pair him with a woman who looks like she could rip your head off with her bare hands in the morning before ruling from horseback in the evening. How isn’t this a pairing?

Assessing Fire Emblem Birthright Personal Skills

Around six months ago, I did a post where I assessed the various skills21Well…when I originally wrote this, it was 6 months. Now it’s closer to 10 months. that units could obtain in the main story of Fire Emblem: Awakening. Even earlier last year, I theorycrafted some personal skills for FE: A characters as if they were in the Fire Emblem: Fates edition of games. That said, I realized a few weeks ago that I had never gotten around to writing a post I’d meant to create along with either (if not both) of those posts. What are the best personal skills in the Fire Emblem: Fates trilogy of games?

In the Fire Emblem: Fates games — Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation — each unit gets a skill that’s exclusive to them. This skill cannot be inherited by child characters, nor unequipped by the character that has it. The intent is to give each character their own quirks, so that even units of the same class has slight advantages or disadvantages over one another depending on the situation.

Instead of doing Fire Emblem: Revelation as a whole game22Revelation is essentially the combination of both Birthright and Conquest, the two main storylines in the Fates series., I decided to look at Birthright and Conquest as separate entities with separate character rosters. After all, the two games play very differently. What’s good in Birthright and its more casual play style might not be as good in Conquest and its more objective based maps.

As was the case with my analysis of Fire Emblem: Awakening’s mainline story skills, I’ve broken the 41 personal skills from Fire Emblem: Birthright down into tiers. In this case, however, I’ve gone with six unbalanced tiers, as I do think there drastic differences in the quality of some of the personal skills, especially at the lower end of the quality spectrum. The largest tier features 10 personal skills, while the smallest tier features only 4 skills. Like the last skill assessment post, I factored my own personal preference and the activation rates of these skills into my thoughts, as well as the usefulness of the skill in the main storyline of the game. Since each of these skills can only be accessed by one unit, accessibility and inheritance were not considered.

Tier 6: Worthless in the Main Story

The Skills: Capture (Orochi), Sweet Tooth (Asugi), Pyrotechnics (Saizo), Born Steward (Dwyer), Divine Retribution (Azama)

The Why: Let’s lead off with the most polarizing skill in the Fates series: Capture/Kidnap23In Conquest, Niles has an identical skill to Orochi’s Capture skill called Kidnap.. If you could capture the main story units from the other kingdom, this would be a great skill. If you could capture units that you could support your units with so that you’re not forced to play female Corrin to get all the kids, this would be a great skill. But all you can capture is fodder. So no. Of the Wait skills24Skills that require your unit to use the Wait command instead of attacking/healing/rallying., Asugi’s is the least useful, not because recovering HP is bad, but because you recover so little HP that it’s pointless. Pyrotechnics requires the already squishy Saizo to be at low health for it to activate, while Azama’s skill requires you to unequip all your weapons. In a war game25I get that you can stack Divine Retribution with Counter for MASSIVE damage if Azama survives, but I’d rather he just be able to defend himself.. And then there’s Dwyer, whose Born Steward skill is nearly exclusively used in online play. Congratulations, Dwyer! You made me not think everything about Azama is the worst.

Tier 5: Waiting For Death

The Skills: Perspicacious (Yurimara), Competitive (Takumi), Perfect Pitch (Shigure), In Extremis (Scarlet), Optimist (Kiragi), Calm (Hisame), Shuriken Mystery (Kagero)

The Why: Yurimara’s skill is super useful, but you’re likely never slotting him into your team at the expense of a better unit. Similarly, while Competitive is amazing, Takumi is all but guaranteed to outlevel whoever he’s partnered with unless it’s Ryoma, Hinoka, or Corrin26And let’s be real. None of them need Takumi.. Scarlet’s skill is Wrath on steroids, which would be great if she wasn’t extremely weak to bows. Kiragi and Hisame’s Wait-procced skills give them needed stat boosts, but it’s almost like they should be receiving the other’s boost. Kagero’s anti-dagger abilities are great when you need them, but by the time she arrives in the game, you’ve likely got other ways to deal with dagger users. Finally, Shigure’s skill heals anyone nearby when he uses Rally, but his Skill and Strength growths make him a much better fighter than a cleric.

Tier 4: Playthrough Dictated Skills

The Skills: Devoted Partner (Felicia), Evasive Partner (Jakob), Vendetta (Rhajat), Highwayman (Shura), Perfectionist (Subaki), Pride (Hayato), Vow of Friendship (Silas)

The Why: If you’re using Felicia, Jakob, or Silas as Corrin’s S or A+ support, their skills are amazing. If you’re not, they have zero use in that playthrough27M-Corrin/Felicia is my OTP for Birthright. Unlike Awakening, where I have very strong feelings about shipping, this is the only one in Fates I feel strongly about.. Like Yurimara in the previous tier, Shura has a good skill, but he’s hard to slot on a team since he has limited supports. He’s at least a better unit than Yurimara, so it’s easier. Subaki and Hayato’s skills require you to keep them at full health and underleveled, respectively. If you can do that, great, but it’s not as easy as it seems. Finally, while Rhajat’s skill looks great on paper, she’s not tanky enough to keep battling the same units over and over again on a map to get Vendetta’s boosted damage.

Tier 3: (Mostly) Situational Skills

The Skills: Mischievous (Sophie), Fiery Blood (Rinkah), Optimistic (Setsuna), Supportive (Corrin), Morbid Celebration (Reina), Forager (Mozu), Haiku (Mitama), Reciprocity (Kaden), Triple Threat (Hinata)

The Why: Mischievous is the only true defense dropping skill, making it pair well with Luna. That said, it doesn’t drop defense enough for it to be great if Luna doesn’t proc. The remaining skills here all require you to meet certain conditions for them to work right. Most of these skills, save for Supportive, require your unit not to be at full health in order for them to trigger. Reciprocity provides some support to your healers, but not enough to set it apart from this tier. Similarly, the healing amounts you get in this tier are either too small (Haiku, Forager) or so far overkill (Optimistic) that they’re frustrating to use. Triple Threat, Morbid Celebration, and Supportive are all good skills, but all have something holding them back. For Triple Threat, it’s the low HP threshold, for Supportive, it’s the fact that Corrin will usually be a lead unit, and for Morbid Celebration, it’s the fact that it’s on Reina. Fiery Blood is the best skill in this tier, but is held back slightly by the fact that you have to take a hit to get it to kick in. And considering Rinkah’s low resistance growths, that’s not always a good thing.

Tier 2: Great, But Not Overpowered, Skills

The Skills: Miraculous Save (Kaze), Noble Cause (Shiro), Lucky Charm (Midori), Fearsome Blow (Hana), Bushido (Ryoma), Draconic Heir (Kana), Peacebringer (Izana), Prodigy (Caeldori), Healing Descant (Azura)

The Why: Miraculous Save is a skill you never hope you need to have, but you’re happy when it’s there. It’s major downfall is that it’s trigger is based on the Luck stat of the unit that’s hit, not Kaze’s. Ryoma and Shiro’s skill are perfect for the father/son duo’s roles as protectors of their group, as they’ll generally be paired with lower-level and full HP units, respectively, anyway. Midori’s Lucky Charm skill is a more limited version of Rightful King from Awakening, and though it’s not as good, it still stands above many other skills. Hana’s personal skill works well if she’s leading the charge into battle as a Master of Arms, though Vantage users can give her teammates trouble if Hana accidentally triggers that threshold. Kana and Azura’s healing skills are much more reliable than lower tiered healing skills, so they get the bump to this tier. Izana’s damage reduction skill is the best skill you’ll encounter in a support limited unit, not to mention it stacks really well with Sakura’s tier 1 skill. That said, since it lowers your own units’ damage output too, it gets stuck in tier 2. Finally, Caeldori can get one of the biggest damage boosts in the game at nearly all times, so long as she’s careful about picking her opponents. The fact that she has to be careful at all is the only thing that keeps Prodigy from the top tier.

Tier 1: Burn Nohr to the Ground

The Skills: Nohr Enmity (Oboro), Playthings (Selkie), Quiet Strength (Sakura), Rallying Cry (Hinoka)

The Why: Sakura and Hinoka give damage reduction and damage boosts, respectively, to those close by them, meaning you want them in the middle of your army at all times. For Sakura, this is much easier, though Hinoka is a bit more flexible, given that her mobility allows you to use her damage with other mobile units to outflank your enemies. Selkie’s Playthings ability is a more reliable, albeit less powerful, version of Hana’s personal skill. The fact that you don’t have to put any guesswork into if a kill will happen to know if you’ll get Selkie’s splash damage is great. And then there’s Oboro. Nohr Enmity is not only one of my favorite skills in the game28My favorite skill is Haiku. I know it’s not great. But it’s just so well thought out with Mitama’s character., it’s also the one skill that’s going to come into play in nearly all situations in Fire Emblem: Birthright. Takumi may have a grudge against Nohr, but Oboro is the true vengeful being.

My Top 10 Favorite Fire Emblem: Awakening Official Arts

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite YouTube channels, Ghast, made a video talking about his favorite official art pieces from Fire Emblem: Awakening. If you’re interested in watching the video to get his thoughts, you can check it out below.

Awakening is, as I’ve said before on this blog, far and away my favorite video game. Despite its shortcomings and plot holes, it’s an incredibly fun game with an insanely high replay value. Beyond that, the art in the game is breathtaking, even now with the game just having passed the six-years-old mark29I unintentionally started writing this post on April 19th, which just happened to be six years to the day after FE:A was released in Japan.. My brother-in-law got me the Fire Emblem: Awakening official art book for Christmas a few years ago, and I’ve gone through it a few times since then. In addition to having some wonderful art in the book30Which will be part of the focus of this post., the cover is pretty stellar too.

In the book, you get to see the official character art for all of the characters in the game itself. Much like how some of the characters in the game are written much better than others, there are definitely some characters whose official art is more striking than other characters. It’s worth pointing out that there isn’t necessarily overlap between these two lists, as two of my favorite characters in the game – Noire and Morgan — have some of the worst official art.

With that, I decided to follow Ghast’s lead and write a post sharing my ten favorite official character arts from Fire Emblem: Awakening. I likely will get into spoilers here, so if you don’t like those, don’t read. All official art comes from fireemblemwiki.org. Except for Virion’s which comes from a different Fire Emblem wiki which I won’t link to as it tends to have scummy ads.

Before I hit my actual top ten, I’d like to point out that this list was difficult to cut down to just ten. My final cuts from this list were Kjelle31Let’s talk about how inconsistent the official art work for the children characters is for a moment. For some characters like Cynthia, the official artwork has their mother’s hair color. Which totally makes sense, considering all children characters are tied to their mother in Awakening. But for other children, they have seemingly random hair colors. If you go off of official art, it seems like SullyxKellam or SullyxLon’qu is canon because of Kjelle’s hair color. Be consistent. Also, I’m fairly sure a major reason I don’t like Noire’s official art is because in my headcanon, she’s a redhead thanks to TharjaxGaius., Basilio32Good art, despite being the warrior class, which I can’t stand the look of. Ghast calling out the fact that Basilio is basically wearing a wrestling championship belt made my day., Sumia33Arguably the best fit of character to official art in the whole game.Sadly, it’s because Sumia’s character is basically the Mary Sue trope that dreams of love and horses., and Chrom34Chrom’s amiibo is badass. His art is good, but not quite as good., in that order. Think of them as 11-14 on this list.

10. Gregor

As long as you don’t support him with Nowi, Gregor is one of the most entertaining characters in Awakening. He’s fun, he’s lighthearted, and he’s a flirt without being obnoxious about it like some other characters35Looking at you, Inigo and Virion.. Gregor’s official art captures his easygoing nature really well between his baggy clothes and his mid-laughter smile. He’s not my favorite art by a long shot, but he is one that I think anyone who has played the game can look at and go “yep…typical Gregor”.

9. Lon’qu

Lon’qu is very much the silent assassin archetype with a heart of gold underneath36I would have gone with tall, dark, and handsome, but Lon’qu is decidedly pale. Though he almost qualifies as tan by Awakening’s standards. There’s not a ton of racial diversity in Awakening, but we’ll get to that later in the post.. His paralyzing fear of women combined with the fact that he’s a hell of a swordsman keeps people from getting too close. But when you read into his supports, Lon’qu is just a gentle protector who never wants to fail at keeping someone he loves safe ever again. The butterfly on his scabbard is a nice touch, as it symbolizes the kindness Lon’qu has without overtly stating it.

8. Cherche

As Ghast said in his video, Cherche is muscular as all hell. While many of the female characters in Awakening are demure or have relatively petite builds, Cherche is one of two female characters in the game to be well-toned. Even the notorious tomboy Sully isn’t as muscular as Cherche, which is goes to show how much better the writing in the game could have been had the built out the fact that Cherche looks like she could complete an American Ninja Warrior course without breaking a sweat. The goofy wyvern wing collar is offputting to me, which is really the only thing that keeps Cherche outside of this list’s top five.

7. Cordelia

Let’s start with the frustrating thing — this isn’t even Coredlia’s best official art. Her Warriors art, while clearly designed for a higher power system, is so much better. Maybe it’s because she’s less pink-themed in the Warriors art. That said, of course the prodigy of the game is going to have a Brave Lance in her default art. She can do everything perfectly, so why wouldn’t she carry the lance that takes the most experience to use. Cordelia’s story pre-child is one of the most frustrating of Chrom’s army37Her unrequited love for Chrom wouldn’t be so bad if Chrom’s supports with all of his marriage partners aside from Robin weren’t garbage. That said, the what little bit of the Cordelia/Severa relationship we get once Severa is born is amazing., but her art and usefulness in the game more than makes up for it.

6. Say’ri

I get that at a certain point you have to stop having marriage-capable characters. And yes, Say’ri joins three chapters after you get your last marriage-capable adult character (Cherche). But that art though. It’s like a L’Oreal ad spontaneously started in the middle of Mulan. The gale force winds that Say’ri has to be standing in during this shot are clearly not pushing enough hair into her face to be realistic…but come on. This is art is a main character waiting to happen. Instead, we’re stuck with Say’ri being a character that moves the plot along because she just happens to be yet another minor-role noble that isn’t Chrom38Between Say’ri, Virion, Flavia, and Basilio, you recruit a surprisingly high number of nobles from other kingdoms besides Ylisse..

5. Gerome

I get it. He’s Batman. Clearly he’s a walking, talking Batman motif39Just like Batman, he doesn’t talk much.. But good lord, do I love it when good guys wear black in films and video games. It really messes with people who expect good guys to wear white while bad guys wear black that was once a huge deal. Gerome was going to make this top 10 anyway because he’s well designed, but that fact by itself vaults him over some of the other art on this list. Even if he’s forced to wear his backup mask because he gave his real one to Lucina for her Marth cosplay.

4. Lucina

Lucina has a lot of official art. Not only that, she has a lot of good official art. That said, of all of the art that’s been officially released of her — and even if you include most of the fan art I’ve seen — this is still one of my favorites of her. Despite the fact that you have to use Chrom on every map and despite the fact that your avatar character is in the game, Lucina is the real hero of Awakening. This pose manages to combine the regal nature of Lucina’s background and status as heir to the Ylissean throne with the innocence of her youth at the time of the game. It’s not my favorite official character art for the game, but it is one of the most emblematic.

3. Virion

Virion is a TERRIBLE character. He’s almost Azama levels of bad40And Azama is cringeworthy. Seriously though, Azama’s only redeeming factor is that he has the most entertaining kid in Birthright.. I mean, yeah, he’s a fine archer, blah, blah, blah. But I skip every dialogue where he talks. He’s just that grating of a personality. And yet his official art is amazing. He’s a pompous nobleman who thinks he’s god’s gift to women who deserves a date for tea with any attractive woman he sees. And you know what? This art captures that. Bravo on the art. Still skipping his dialogue.

2. Cynthia

Of all the official art for Awakening, Cynthia’s feels the most real to me. I could definitely see this ball of energy young woman bounding around on a pegasus acting like a super hero trying to save the day. She’s just so happy at all times and that comes through in the art. Beyond that though, she’s one of the few characters that really still feels like she’s trying to cling to whatever little bits of her childhood she has left, if only because it keeps her sane. You know you have great art when all of that can come through from your official photo. Yet, it wasn’t quite enough to get the top spot on my list.

1. Flavia

Flavia can kick your ass. Period. Remember how I said earlier that Awakening doesn’t do a terribly good job of having a racially diverse cast? I mean that in the sense that their main characters really aren’t. Yes, you have the taguel and manakete species represented, but they’re not human. And you do have some minority race villain characters. But the only two minority race characters that have any positive importance to the story are largely NPCs for most of the game. Yes, you can get Flavia and Basilio in Chapter 23, but you’re limited to marrying them to your Avatar then. And that’s unfortunate. Wouldn’t you want your main character’s child to have a mother who looks like she can kill a dragon with her bare hands, yet still uses her sword just because it’s fun? Her art practically screams hero41And not just because she is part of the Hero class either.. It’s so good. How isn’t Flavia a bigger part of Awakening?

What’s your favorite character art from Fire Emblem: Awakening? For that matter, who’s your favorite character from the game? Drop by the comments and talk Awakening with me…it’s a damn good game.