My Fire Emblem: Awakening Character Tier List

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

While I truly don’t believe there’s a completely terrible unit in Awakening in terms of usefulness, it’s clear that some units are better or worse than others. Both Say’ri and Anna have their place in the game from a storyline standpoint, but unless you’re planning on marrying them to a male avatar unit, there’s not a lot of use to bringing their units into the game. Neither one passes down any particularly amazing skills that can’t be acquired elsewhere, nor are they so broken they can’t be ignored. Virion stands ever so slightly above the two of them, if only because he’s an early game ranged unit and you have to play a few chapters with him. You can’t get a ton of archers in Awakening, but Virion is easily the worst one you could get.

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

If Maribelle and Lissa didn’t give their kids access to the Galeforce skill, they’d likely be down in the B (Lissa) or C (Maribelle) tiers. That said, because of this fact and because of the fact that you have to level grind them to get this skill — making them competent in battle — they’re the bottom of the A tier for me. Gaius is essentially Donnel, only useful in fighting. Cordelia is the best first generation pegasus knight you’ll get, plus the class diversity she passes down to Severa is amazing. We then start getting into the bulk of the children, who are either good units who become great when reclassed (Yarne9Any taguel reclassed to an assassain is fun to use. and Noire10Oddly enough, I would argue archer is Noire’s worst class line. Making her a dark mage or knight line unit makes her beastly, if not a bit light hitting.) or are great units who are missing something keeping them from being top tier (Owain11Lissa’s inherited growths hold him back. and Inigo12If you’re planning on Chrom being his dad to give Inigo access to Rightful King, he becomes amazing. That said, the leg work you have to go through to make that a reality is pants on head dumb.). Nowi is easily the most underrated parent unit, particularly if you reclass her to a dark knight. The fact that my nickname for her on playthroughs is Nowi the Tank should give you some indication of her usefulness in that role. Robin is the best first generation unit both as a parent and in terms of usefulness, though they still fall short of the top tier thanks to how broken some of the kids get.

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..

The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Play Through Ever: Chapters 3 and 4

The following post is part of my series “The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Playthrough Ever”. Spoilers ahead for a six year old game.


Welcome back to the worst Fire Emblem Awakening play through ever. When we last left the Shepherds, we had just gained several useful new units to our party, and also Virion. Sumia saves Chrom from a pegasus being angry at him, Frederick is still tired of everyone’s shit, and Miriel is squishy enough to die from a stiff breeze. We’ll work on that last one once we get access to reeking boxes16The reeking box is an item that allows you to call a small amount of lower level enemies to a map for sake of experience and money grinding. We will be taking full advantage of this because A) I’m a filthy casual. B) It’s fun. and C) Certain units are going to die quickly if I don’t do this. I will not be writing about reeking box levels..

In this post, we’ll be playing through chapters 3 and 4. Chapter 3 is the last formal tutorial-ish chapter, while getting to chapter 4 allows us to access the last menu area we’ll need to play the full game. After this post, I’ll toggle between playing one and two chapters per post, depending on how much I feel like writing.

Chapter 3: Warrior Realm

It’s snowing in Ylisse, which should be a happy time. Instead, Lissa is complaining that it’s cold outside. The Shepherds have arrived at the Longfort, which straddles the border of Ylisse and Regna Ferox. Frederick warns us that such a situation calls for diplomacy. Chrom stresses that he isn’t good at diplomacy, but he’s going to try anyway. We’re fucked.

The scene ends and immediately transitions to Frederick telling Chrom that the Feroxi troops are mobilizing. We don’t get to see what Chrom said to the Feroxi, however we can faintly see a Feroxi soldier drumming on his helmet in the background. We finally get to pick our units this map, which is convenient, as we drowned Virion under the bridge in chapter two.

As we go to start the level, we get yet another cut scene where the Feroxi commander orders his soldiers to attack. Chrom thinks it’s a good idea to try to deflect a barrage of spheres with his sword, clearly not understanding how the weapon triangle works. Sumia flies in for what would be a meet cute in literally any other story, but since we met her a chapter ago, I’m just annoyed. I hit Start and skip the rest of their conversation out of spite.

With the level formally started, we run into our first allied unit, the disembodied suit of armor from the cut scene before chapter two. Chrom goes to talk to the suit of armor and HOLY FUCK BALLS THERE’S A HUMAN IN IT. Apparently the human’s name is Kellam and he says he’s been with us for a while now. That said, we didn’t see him at all last chapter. Kellam is clearly a powerful warlock and we will use him accordingly.

For the first time, we’re battling other humans rather than risen17We’re ignoring the fact that Garrick might have been human.. I’m typically a conscientious objector, however, these fools are trying to kill me. I set everyone’s medieval weapons to stun and charge forward, gaining XP for kneecapping Feroxi. Christopher Robin suggests pairing up units to make battling easier, apparently forgetting that I’ve been doing this since the premonition chapter.

It takes a couple of turns to finish taking out everyone in front of the fort and gathering keys, mostly because I’m trying to build up some experience for underleveled units like Chrom, Lissa, and Miriel. Sumia is underleveled at this point too, however there’s far too many archers in the lower level for me to risk leaving her out there at this stage. After healing and picking up items from the ground, we advanced toward the two sets of doors leading to the fort proper.

Once we open the doors, we’re greeted by a highly defensive knight on the left. While Christopher knows that friendship is magic, he realizes that magic is also magic, taking out the knight in one shot with Thunder. Vaike kills things but takes a ton of damage, because that’s his thing. We thin the opposing forces out to a single unit, which we should be able to defeat mathematically. As much as I want Sumia to get the experience, she hits about as hard as using a room temperature brown banana as a hammer. So we let Vaike get the knockout with an actual hammer.

I say knockout rather than kill because after the level, the Feroxi commander apologizes for the attack. If she thinks she’s getting off this lightly for acceptable war reparations, she’s likely right, as Chrom is also shitty at negotiation. Lissa wants us to get a move on, so we end the chapter.

Chapter 4: Two Falchions

Our intrepid heroes have arrived at Arena Ferox just in time for a grand battle between the champions of Regna Ferox. This battle occurs between a champion selected by the East Khan and the West Khan of the empire. Christopher makes the mistake of assuming the East Khan’s gender, but instead of it being a broadchested, chiseled man like Christopher thinks, we get the woman with the best official art in the whole goddamn game, Flavia. The world is better for it.

Flavia tells Chrom that the dust up at the border was Plegia’s fault. Chrom still sucks at diplomacy, but that amuses Flavia, so she says that the Shepherds should be her champions in Khan Bowl XXVIII. If Chrom wins, Flavia will lend military assistance to Ylisee, but if Chrom loses, he’ll have to spend years answering why he didn’t run the ball on the one yard line when he had Marshawn Lynch in his backfield18FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PETE CARROLL, WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?.

Chrom agrees to fight for honor, but also for hustle, loyalty, and respect. We get to pick six units, so we’re going to take in Chrom19Who is required in most every chapter., Sumia, Miriel, Frederick20Frederick and Miriel will be marrying later in this play through, so Frederick will show up quite a bit until Miriel can hold her own in battle., Kellam, and Stahl. It appears the West Khan, Basilio, has recruited none other than the masked fighter themselves, Marth. Who is, again, clearly not male from all of the art. Chrom and Marth have a sword off where Chrom notices that not only does Marth have a copy of his personal sword, Falchion, but that Marth’s father happened to teach her to fight in a style suspiciously similar to Chrom’s. The foreshadowing in this game is so thick you’ll have to cut it with a flamethrower.

We let Stahl and Kellam be our scout and bait units in this level, as it’s much easier to bait out Marth’s teammates than to deal with her head-on21Apply directly to the forehead.. Doing so allows us to pick a couple of units off with Sumia and Miriel, albeit at the expense of Stahl ending up on dangerously low health. Kellam gets in a stalemate with another knight in the process, but as a whole, taking out all of the not-Marth units goes quickly and smoothly. Sumia even says sappy shit to Chrom in the process22Their support levels grew from a random event space. I hate Sumia’s support event space dialogues. They’re rough, even by her standards..

Miriel gets to be the first to engage Marth because swords are not throwing devices, yet fireballs are. Because she’s paired up with Frederick, dual support kicks in and Frederick gets the knockout. I’m too busy laughing to read the rest of the dialogue of the chapter, however Basilio gives us the quiet swordsman Lon’qu to help us on our journey to the west.

Just kidding. I can’t help but mention who part of the post chapter dialogue is Lissa talking about how dreamy Marth is. Don’t worry. I’ll be linking back to this down the line. Chrom snips at Lissa, which I’ve never caught before this run, but it’s MUCH funnier having played the game before than it would be playing it blind. Also, Lon’qu says, and I quote, “He gives orders. I stab people. I think our roles are clear”. Spoken like a man who understands his place in a video game plot.

We end the chapter with a seperate cut scene of Chrom sharing the good news of Regna Ferox’s help with Emmeryn, only for them to find out that Plegia is invading. Maribelle has been taken and, despite my best judgement, we’re going to have to save her. Emmeryn tries to be diplomatic and remind everyone that one spoiled brat is not worth starting a war over, however Lissa, Chrom, and Phila23The head of Emmeryn’s royal guard. are off to save Maribelle. Some middle schooler is coming to join us. His name is apparently Ricken and because Chrom tells him he’s too young to join the mission, that’s a sure fire sign that we’ll likely have to save his ass too at some point.

End of Level Recap

Going forward, this section will have two areas — Units and Supports. Units will be where I share what level and class units are, while Supports will highlight any support growths between units, regardless of whether or not those units can marry. For those not familiar with supports, they go by letter grades — C to B to A, with level S available as marriage.

Units

  • Christopher – Level 5 Tactician
  • Kellam – Level 5 Knight
  • Lissa – Level 5 Cleric
  • Vaike – Level 5 Fighter
  • Stahl – Level 4 Cavalier
  • Miriel – Level 4 Mage
  • Lon’qu – Level 4 Myrmidon
  • Chrom – Level 3 Lord
  • Sully – Level 3 Cavalier
  • Frederick – Level 2 Great Knight
  • Sumia – Level 2 Pegasus Knight
  • Virion – Level 2 Being Dead to Me

Supports

  • Chrom & Christopher: None to C
  • Chrom & Sumia: None to C
  • Frederick & Christopher: None to C
  • Frederick & Miriel: None to C
  • Stahl & Sully: None to C
  • Stahl & Kellam: None to C
  • Stahl & Miriel: None to C
  • Lissa & Vaike: None to C

 

The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Play Through Ever: Chapters 1 and 2

The following post is part of my series “The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Playthrough Ever”. Spoilers ahead for a six year old game.


Welcome back to the worst Fire Emblem Awakening play through ever. When we last left Chrom, Christopher Robin, and the rest of the Shepherds, they were busy saving a burning village from a man with an axe and a match. We’ve learned that Chrom is a prince and his home kingdom, Ylisse, is at war with its neighbor, Plegia.

In this post, we’ll be going through chapters 1 and 2 of the game. Pretty much everything through chapter 4 is — like last post’s chapters — a glorified tutorial, so we’re going to somewhat breeze through these chapters while still giving the shitty text play through you’ll come to know and love.

Chapter 1: Unwelcome Change

Chrom, Lissa, Frederick, and Christopher are venturing down a dark road when Lissa realizes a change to an insect based diet might give us more protein, but at a terrible cost. The group clears a campsite with limited background objects, a la RWBY season 1, wherein Frederick feeds everyone but Lissa bear meat, all while being smart enough not to eat it himself. The group dozes off, only for Chrom and Lissa to wake up and realize THE WHOLE GODDAMN FOREST IS EXPLODING. A cut scene from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood drops in and Chrom and Lissa are attacked by extras from The Walking Dead. A masked figure who in no way will be central to the story’s plot saves Lissa’s life, beginning the chapter itself (though our masked friend is no where to be found).

We learn that the zombies are called Risen and we’re going to have to kill them to get out of Smokey the Bear’s worst nightmare. Fortunately, we can hole up some of our units in conveniently placed forts that would totally be in a forest in any other situation besides learning the game. Chrom finds a fancy staff that Lissa will be able to use later in the game as our first turn ends.

Our second turn begins with the introduction of two new characters. The first is Sully, a woman who fights better than any man and speaks like an angry white pensioner from Tennessee. She’s quickly followed by Virion, a shitty ladies’ man wannabe who we’ll be benching as soon as I can select units because good fucking god he’s annoying. Sure, he’s not as annoying as Azama in Fire Emblem: Birthright, but he’s also not as useful. Virion tries to flirt with Sully, only to get shut down faster than a sixteen year old’s internet browser when their parents walk in to him watching porn. And yet, this dialogue still goes on for way too long.

Sully, Chrom, and Christopher do some zombie slaying, while Frederick hits a Risen archer so hard with a critical hit that he’s demoted to a bit part in World War Z. We don’t get the best critical hit line in the game on this hit, but when we do, you can bet your ass I’ll be showing a video of it. Lissa gains some XP solely by stepping on a shiny space, making the grind of leveling up a healer slightly less painful. As was the case in the last chapter, we’re going to let Frederick kill the boss, because I like watching the heads of Fire Emblem purists explode for giving kills to The Jagen of this story.

The chapter ends with Zorro — who is clearly a girl — being referred to by everyone as sir and insisting they be called Marth. Even though Fire Emblem is progressive as a game series, something tells me this isn’t a matter of gender identification and instead may lead us to a plot twist. Marth gives a warning that the world is about to go to shit before walking off into the still burning forest all dark and brooding like.

We arrive at the Ylissian capital of Ylisstol where the peasants walking around the streets are unaware of the fire just outside of the city. Chrom’s older sister, Emmeryn, begins walking through the streets. Considering she’s both the leader of a nation and a spiritual leader, you’d think she’d be in an armored car like the Pope. Instead, she’s just walking around with the equivalent of the medieval Secret Service at her side. Christopher finally makes the connection that Chrom and Lissa are royalty.

Chrom introduces Christopher to Emmeryn, both he and Lissa praising Christopher’s help. Frederick says that Christopher could be a spy, but Emmeryn shrugs him off because this cut scene really needs to move along already. Chrom runs off to join Emmeryn at a council of leaders, mercifully ending my endless mashing of the A button.

Chapter 2: Shepherds

We’ve unlocked Support Conversations, but have none to do at this point. In future posts, I’ll have a section of the post dedicated to that feature, for reasons that’ll become clear when we get there24Spoiler: I’ve already called this Fire Emblem: Shipping Simulator once.. That said, we’re not going to dive into the support conversations in great detail, as I don’t want to permanently scare off all my readers.

We start chapter two with Lissa in a room with a bunch of people we haven’t met yet, telling Christopher to feel comfortable around strangers. I personally find this strange, but our amnesiac friend clearly hasn’t forgotten how to make small talk with strangers. Rarity from My Little Pony is here, only her name is Maribelle and you will quickly learn that we’ve been sent the Equestria Girls version, not the Friendship is Magic version. We’re also introduced to Vaike, who has the IQ of a bag of hammers, and Sumia, who nearly everyone hates despite the fact that Intelligent Systems basically preordains her to be Chrom’s wife. Sumia is the stereotypical horse-loving country girl from a romance novel, only she doesn’t speak like it. It’s very confusing, but will come in useful down the road for about three seconds. Vaike burps.

Chrom enters the scene and Sumia tries to run toward him, only to fall flat on her face. Chrom then asks if Sumia has tripped and fallen again because of her boots, which would make total sense if any character in Awakening actually had feet. Seriously. Look at this shit.

Image courtesy @AustinEruption on Twitter

We’re off to Regna Ferox, which is another kingdom that isn’t Ylisse or Plegia. Everyone’s excited to go on this trip, as is an empty suit of armor that begins talking and is promptly ignored by everyone. The suit of armor is apparently named Kellam, which is weird, because his name should be Alphonse or John Cena.

After even more talking, we leave the bunkhouse and are introduced to Stahl, who is a fat man in a skinny man’s body. Vaike has forgotten his axe because he’d forget his own head if it weren’t attached. Frederick teaches us about the game’s weapon triangle, which is basically rock paper scissors for 14th century warfare. Our first turn is spent baiting out some of the forward enemies while we wait on the Shepherd’s mage, Miriel, to bring Vaike his axe. We have to waste an entire turn on her giving him his axe, which is extra annoying because Miriel is already squishy and underleveled compared to the rest of the team. Lissa starts going around healing people because I’m going to get tired of her not being able to attack pretty soon.

We advance on the bridge in the middle of the map, only for Frederick to talk about the auto battle feature that I’ve never once used. I’d genuinely forgotten it’s in the game. We bait some more enemies out with Sully and Christopher, Chrom and Stahl kill some people, and Vaike get swole from some XP laying on the ground. Risen go down quickly and easily and, as is tradition at this point, we let Frederick kill the boss. Just kidding. Stahl actually gets the kill this time.

The chapter finishes up with a cut scene with Chrom, Lissa, and Christopher encountering a pegasus. It’s angry, but Sumia is there to calm it down because of course she is. Sumia falls on her face yet again for reasons that still don’t make sense when you take science or logic into consideration.

End of Level Recap

  • Christopher – Level 4 Tactician
  • Lissa – Level 4 Cleric
  • Vaike – Level 4 Fighter
  • Sully – Level 3 Cavalier
  • Stahl – Level 3 Cavalier
  • Chrom – Level 2 Lord
  • Virion – Level 2 Archer
  • Frederick – Level 1 Great Knight
  • Miriel – Level 1 Mage

The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Play Through Ever: Premonition and Prologue

The following post is part of my series “The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Playthrough Ever“. Spoilers ahead for a six year old game.


Hi! If you’re here, you’re likely here for one of three reasons.

  1. You’re a new school Fire Emblem super fan and want to geek out about Awakening.
  2. You’re an old school Fire Emblem super fan and want to shit on Awakening.
  3. You’re looking for a walk through of Awakening and took a very wrong turn.25You could also be here for the shipping and shitposting. That’s fine.

Welcome to my play through of of Fire Emblem: Shipping Simulator…er…Awakening. We begin by creating our avatar unit for the game. I’m choosing to do this play through as the male version of the avatar as unlike in Birthright, you’re not essentially forced to play as one gender just to obtain all the child units.

The default name for your avatar is Robin, but that’s a last name, not a first name. And if our character’s last name is Robin, it’s clear his first name must be Christopher. I’m setting Christopher Robin’s asset26The stat that you get bonus growth to. to Resistance and his flaw27The stat that you have the weakest growth in. to Magic. Since Christopher is a tactician class, it might not make sense to limit our magic growth, but My Little Pony has taught me that friendship is magic. If Christopher develops enough friendship in the game, he’ll overcome his magical limitations and become the Princess of Friendship.

Once we save, we’re taking to our first chapter, Premonition.

Premonition

We’re treated to a cinematic cut scene of a blue-haired man who is clearly a protagonist and Christopher fighting Jafar from Aladdin’s spiky-haired brother. Following the cut scene, we learn the blue-haired man is named Chrom. Chrom is telling Christopher how this is their final battle. I really hope the chapter title is right about being a premonition, otherwise this game is going to be much shorter than I paid for.

Chrom and Christopher move towards dollar store Jafar (whose name is Validar), but he doesn’t attack our heroes. Whether it’s because he realizes he’s outnumbered two to one and he’s taking up defensive positions or if it’s because Premonition is a glorified tutorial mode is irrelevant. Validar clearly went to the Action Movie School of Bad Guy Strategy, which means none of the bullets from his gun can hit us. Also, because Fire Emblem uses medieval weaponry with magic as its combat tools, Validar’s guns are so bad at hitting us that they’re not even invented yet.

Our heroes advance on Validar, with Chrom dealing a strong blow with his signature weapon, Falchion. Validar rambles something about how we can’t change what’s already written, but he must not be aware of the invention of the erasable pen. Christopher deals a critical hit with a strong lightning magic attack, killing Validar and ending the level. Magic flaw, my ass.

We get another cut scene with Validar crumbling to the floor before exploding into a ball of gas. Chrom comes over to congratulate Christopher when — SHOCK AND SURPRISE — Christopher turns on Chrom and impales his intestines with what appears to be a literal lightning bolt. Chrom crumples to the ground dead and we get a save screen.

No. I don’t want to save this, Awakening. I’ve played three minutes and you’ve already killed off the main character. Just who in the hell do you think you are, Gurren Lagann?

Prologue

Nope. Just kidding. Chrom is back, this time with some girl with pigtails. Chrom helps a very unconscious Christopher Robin up off the ground, unaware that Christopher just gutted him like a fish moments ago. Chrom is concerned about the well-being of Christopher, but doesn’t seem to know him, confirming that everything we witnessed was, in fact, a dream. The theme song to St. Elsewhere briefly starts playing as the conversation continues.

Christopher introduces himself to Chrom. Well, sort of. It’s clear Christopher is now an amnesiac. Fortunately, Chrom’s cleric sister, Lissa, and his overly protective man-servant, Frederick, are here to help move the plot along and get us moving forward in the cut scene hell that is the first fifth of this game. Chrom and Frederick keep talking about Shepherds, yet there are not sheep around. Considering no one aside from Lissa has a staff and there’s not a sheep dog to be seen for miles, I’m confident Chrom’s true destiny is not as a farm hand.

Chrom and Christopher give some exposition to let the player know they’re in the Halidom of Ylisse which is ruled by Chrom’s older sister, the Exalt Emmeryn. Chrom explains he’s the leader of the Shepherds, which is actually a guardian group. Frederick is his protector and might be the most cautious person known to man. Lissa is also here.

Christopher suddenly remembers his name just in time for Lissa to notice a nearby town is on fire. Great. Christopher his replaced amnesia with pyrokinesis. At this rate, I won’t have to play the game at all, as my avatar is learning overpowered skills just by leveling up through cut scenes. Chrom decides saving the town is important or something, meaning we’re finally taken in to the actual level.

We begin the level by meeting a toothless man with face paint eye marks drawn on by a drunken eight-year-old. His name is Garrick and he wants to burn it down. Some village girl is crying and that’s enough for the blue-haired hero to say someone has to do som…

Wait. Lissa is the first to say someone should do something? Huh.

The level starts and Frederick tells everyone to be cautious, lest you get hurt. In older Fire Emblem games, permadeath was a very real, very terrifying prospect, but with the advancements in modern technology, Nintendo and Intelligent Systems finally designed a turn-based video game that’s more forgiving to someone who doesn’t have the time to invest 400 hours into a video game. Chrom notices Christopher wielding a tome and — instead of having ‘Nam-like flashbacks — decides to encourage him to kill bad guys with it. But since Christopher is only level one, he can only use Thundershock and Tail Whip, meaning it won’t be a one-turn knockout, even on simple baddies. Lissa teaches us how healing works because this is also a tutorial level and our first turn ends.

Our second turn begins with Chrom telling Christopher that he should heal any wounds he has. This is because Chrom has no sense of adventure. So Lissa heals him just to shut him up. Frederick steps on something sparkly and suddenly becomes better at using his weapons. We get more tutorial nonsense as our units move across the map — an action taken slowly because healers like Lissa take far too long to level up in the early game. Chrom doesn’t want me to rush into danger, however I’m being so deliberate in my movements that I never bothered to tell you we’re actually on the fourth turn now and even Frederick thinks we should pick up the pace. This means it’s time for a lightning round.

Lissa heals Frederick. Christopher Robin assumes a defensive position by Chrom. Everyone waits. Christopher kills a guy with lightning. Er. Thunder. It’s basically a lightning round.

Finally, our protagonists advance on Garrick, who is too busy playing with fire to notice we’ve killed his troops. Frederick steps on something else shiny and gains XP. Some people will tell you this is the only useful way to give Frederick XP and those people might be correct. But this play through isn’t being led by our brains. So I let Frederick kill Garrick just to make the lone person who played Thracia 776 who is still reading this slam their laptop shut. The level mercifully ends, but now we have to listen to more expositional talking.

Chrom accepts Christopher into the Shepherds. Frederick is wary, but Chrom is smitten. We get a true cut scene where our heroes stare at a church that’s still smoking, but doesn’t have flames coming out of the windows anymore. I’m very confused how this fire works, as the church seems to be significantly less damaged than when we first saw it.

We get some backstory about how Ylisse is constantly sparring with its neighbor, Plegia. It’s not a war according to Chrom, it’s a police action. Frederick insists they get a move on and Lissa has to be restrained from calling him a poophead.

End of Level Recap

  • Christopher – Level 2 Tactician
  • Lissa – Level 2 Cleric
  • Chrom – Level 1 Lord
  • Frederick – Level 1 Great Knight

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 Dem28Though 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 them29Sometimes 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 Fates30A 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 unit31Unlike 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 RobinxChrom32All 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 Chrom33Probably 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 ways34As 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 times35Outside 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 characters36For 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 characters37Frederick, 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?