TagFire Emblem Three Houses

What Pro Wrestling Finisher Would Each Three Houses Character Use?

I’m not quite to the point where I’m ready to proclaim the second Monday of each month Shitpost Mondays yet. That said, I really enjoy how weird some of the stuff I’ve been able to write — and that I have planned for the future for these posts — has been.

Back in early February, I came across a tweet that greatly amused me. I’ve shared the tweet, as well as my reaction to it, below.

As someone who is both a fan of pro wrestling and of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, this seemed like a natural crossover for me. What better way to do some insane theorycrafting than to try to think through what as many of the Three Houses characters would use for finishing maneuvers as I can.

In an effort to keep this post from getting absolutely insane, I’ve chosen to group this post by the type of finishing move being used. The groups I’ve divided the moves into are strikes, submissions, aerial/high-risk moves, throws, and other. Since the DLC came out between when I started writing this post and when I finished writing it, I’ve included the six DLC characters. Minor spoilers ahead, but I’ve tried to keep the spoilers to personality spoilers rather than story spoilers where I can. That said, there are a few characters1Jeritza, Edelgard, Yuri, Rhea, Hapi where story spoilers are unavoidable.

As a quick note, I’ve tried to link out to video of as many of the moves as I can, where possible. That said, I wasn’t able to find short videos just showing the move in all cases, so I did one of two things (typically).

  • Found a short video with just the move in it
  • Found a compilation video of the move being done several times

There were a couple of moves I couldn’t find good videos of, so if someone has one of those, I’ll happily link it.

Strikes

One of the most basic wrestling — or more generically, fighting — finishing maneuvers is a strike of some kind, be that a punch, a kick, a knee, an elbow, or whatever. Considering the existence of the Brawler and War Master classes, it’s not shocking that a lot of our characters fall into this category. This includes all four of the characters who are heavily implied to use one or both of these classes, Raphael (KO Punch), Caspar (a short arm elbow based on Wade Barrett’s Bullhammer), Alois (a discus clothesline)2You may also notice that, where possible, I have linked videos of wrestlers using these moves on Dolph Ziggler. This is because when Ziggler takes nearly any move, it always looks like his soul is leaving his body., and Balthus (the Superman punch). This grouping also includes another character with a boon to their brawling stat, Felix, though he strikes me as more of a kicker than a puncher, meaning he gets a Buzzsaw Kick as a finisher.

This group also contains three characters that fancy themselves to be concepts of nobility in various ways. Two of them — Ferdinand and Lorenz — get finishers inspired by William Regal as a result, using the Knee Trembler and a brass knuckled-aided punch, respectively. Yuri is more of the ‘he’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole’ type, but he’s also willing to betray people, so he gets the Backstabber.

This leaves us with two of the more curious inclusions in this category, Annette and Bernadetta. Annette is a bit more straight-forward, as though she’s a magic machine in-game, she’s not afraid to mix things up in hand-to-hand combat. That said, she needs to rely more on her speed and dexterity than her raw strength, so a running corner high knee makes sense for her. As for Bernadetta, her supports with Felix reveal that she’s incredibly good at disarming people when she’s afraid. I imagine this to look something like a gamengiri — a kick that relies on misdirection and surprise as much as anything else.

Submissions

The goal of a submission move is to get your opponent to give up, pass out, or otherwise be unable to continue due to a concentrated focus of pain on one (or more) parts of their body. The comic linked at the top of this post shows Ingrid performing a cross-armbar on Felix and what looks like a kneeling version of a Sharpshooter. Based on that, I’d give her Edge’s version of the move, a kneeling, inverted sharpshooter, as a finisher, as the knee to the legs seems consistent with Ingrid’s capability for inflicting pain.

As for some of the others in this category, it’s a bit of a mix between characters whose finisher ties in with their personality and/or class line, as well as characters I think it’d be hilarious to use submissions. In the former category, you have direct personality fits in the form of Hubert (Ankle Lock), Byleth (Dragon Sleeper)3Technically it’s not a Dragon Sleeper until :40 into that video, but it’s the clearest video of a good one I could find., and Jeritza (Hell’s Gate). Additionally, I could see Shamir (Bow and Arrow Hold due to her sniper gimmick), Seteth (Peruvian Necktie because he’s a weirdly sadistic dude), and Hanneman (Bear Hug because he’s old fashioned) also busting out submissions.

This brings us to the final three characters in this category — Ignatz, Mercedes, and Marianne. In one of Ignatz support conversations with Petra, we learn that not only does Ignatz need glasses, he’s almost blind without them. This led to a lot of I can’t see you/you can’t see me jokes in my head, so Ignatz gets John Cena’s STF finisher. Mercedes gets the lone amateur wrestling move in this category, with a guillotine pin/submission as her finisher (aka a Twister in MMA). Finally, I gave Marianne the crossface4Ignore Michael Cole calling the move wrong. as her finisher, as it’s been long associated with quiet, brutal wrestlers — a trope I could see Marianne fulfilling easily.

Aerial/High-Risk Moves

Considering how many characters in Fire Emblem: Three Houses are subjected to the horrors of war and of losing close friends, this is a group that’s decidedly low-risk. That said, I see this group as being the group willing to do things with style and flair because it suits them, or because they’re very finessed fighters. Mostly. That said, two quick notable exceptions here. Both Edelgard and Hilda, who would be very risk-prone and stylish, respectively, both appear in the next category. It’s more of a personality choice in both cases.

First off in this category, we have those characters who would take to the top rope because of their athleticism, style, or both. In that vein, we have Petra — who would absolutely do something insane like a Shooting Star Press or Starship Pain — as well as Claude with a 450 Splash, Dorothea with a Moonsault, Ashe with a smooth elbow drop, and Anna with Val Venis’ Money Shot. Manuela would try to be in this category as well, but her diving headbutt is more of a drunkenly fall off the top rope than anything else. Finally, a character with as much power as Rhea needs something suitably violent, hence going with a top rope Poisonrana.

Throws

Aside from the strike, throw/drop/slam based moves are the largest group of professional wrestling finishers in existence. Rather than split them into their own individual categories, I’ve grouped all of them together for sake of organization in this post. That said, we’ll take a look at them in two groups, suplex moves and other throws.

I personally see three of our characters having some variation of the suplex as their finisher. Paying homage to her love of fish, Flayn would end matches with a Fisherman’s Suplex, while Constance would use the Perfectplex5You’re going to want to watch that one on mute. The music is horrid.. For those trying to argue that’s literally the same move, you’re right. But because Curt Henning did it, it was perfect. And Constance does have a bit of a Mr. Perfect vibe to her, so I’m going to roll with it. Speaking of rolling, I would absolutely see Leonie finishing matches with the Hat Trick, aka a triple rolling German Suplex, both as a show of strength and as a way to show off to Jeralt.

Next, we have four characters that would have absolutely brutal looking finishers. Dimitri’s love of breaking necks is best given a nod to with a two-handed chokeslam, as an actual neck snap is dangerous. Similarly, Gilbert would use a chokeslam backbreaker, because he’s secretly scary. Dedue, meanwhile, doesn’t need to scare you. But if he NEEDS to bring you harm, what better way to do that than a gorilla press spinebuster?6Horrid video quality, but you get the point. The gorilla press would be terrifying enough at his height, never mind getting hit with the spinebuster after. We’ve also got Edelgard in this group. I originally had her doing a bridging Northern Lights Suplex, as when it’s hit well, it’s the most beautiful wresting move to watch, full stop. But considering Edelgard’s ending in one of the routes, the One-Winged Angel seems most fitting.

We end this group with three characters whose moves are still throws, but don’t fit in one of the previous categories neatly. Considering Sylvain is always fighting for the attention and affection of the ladyfolk around Garreg Mach, an inverted atomic drop seems like it’s a good way to help him in his plans. Hilda strikes me as some who would have a swift and brutal looking finisher, but wouldn’t want to get bloody in the process, hence going with a snap DDT. As for Catherine, the wielder of Thunderbrand would have a devastating finisher, so I went with the nastiest looking move I could think of, the Burning Hammer.

Other

Even with all of that written in the previous three sections, there are still four characters whose finishing maneuvers (in my mind) wouldn’t fit into one of the above categories. The simplest of these is Cyril, who would likely use the O’Connor Roll to try to finish off those bigger than him. Linhardt is lazy but brilliant, so he’d likely use a move that would trick his opponent into doing something dumb. The best example of this may well be the Lady of the Lake, hence picking that for him.

Lysithea’s finisher requires a bit of trickery too. She’d likely try to have her opponent put her in the Giant Swing, as she’s still a kid at heart and would find it fun. That said, the second her opponent makes fun of her for it, she’d turn the tables and use it on them. Finally, Hapi’s entire thing in the game is that she can summon evil monsters with just a sigh. That certainly sounds like all of her matches will end via outside interference.

 

One Sneaky Good Unit For Each Fire Emblem Three Houses Master Class

Good lord. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a good word vomit title on this blog. You’re all welcome.

I’ve been continuing my various playthroughs of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, desperately hoping that the next round of DLC gives us new classes1Dark Flier, please., a golden path2A path where all of the primary characters of the story live…or at the least have the potential to., or the ability to remove gender locks from certain classes3Is War Master Ingrid or Falcon Knight Hubert so much to ask for?. In doing so, I’ve decided to do a run where I play on Casual mode with the intent of grinding every character I have to level 99. Why? Why not.

In one of my previous runs, I made an effort to try to hamstring my run by making my units fill classes that they would otherwise struggle in. This led to predictably poor results. For example, Gremory Petra is not the most useful magic-user, considering she’s got a handicap in both reason and faith magic. That said, it did lead to me accidentally discovering a couple of units that were shockingly in the classes I stuck them in.

Thus comes the premise of this post. I’m going to take a look at each of the game’s master classes — Mortal Savant, Falcon Knight, War Master, Wyvern Lord, Great Knight, Dark Knight, Holy Knight, and Gremory — as well as the Dancer class and talk about units that are surprisingly good in that end game class. Perhaps you’re playing Classic Mode and need to fill some spaces with some non-class-optimized units. Maybe you’re trying to do a run where your units aren’t in the same class as your last three runs. Maybe you just want to have fun. This list is for you. The units this list are not units in their ideal or even second-best class. But they will be fun to use and surprisingly useful.

Before I get into this list, here are a few honorable mention unit/class combinations I want to talk about.

  • Great Knight Bernadetta – It takes a LOT of work to get her there, but Bernadetta can hold her own in this class. Keep a bow on her and suddenly you have a wall of death. But Bernadetta appears on this list for a different class.
  • Ingrid – Ingrid is so good at so many classes that it was hard to slot her in this list. The classes where I’d consider her are all ones where there’s a clear sneaky good unit that already exists, while all the weaker classes are the classes where Ingrid is a more natural fit.
  • Felix – Has the same problem as Ingrid, with the key difference being he actually has one sneaky good class — Dancer. Too bad there’s three or four units ahead of him for that distinction.
  • Catherine, Anna, and Linhardt – All three of these units suffer from the same problem, in that they all fit better into an Advanced class than a Master class. This may well change with coming DLC, but none of them can really be sneaky good at a class when they’re all forced fits in the existing classes.

Mortal Savant – Marianne

It’s always bothered me how some of the students in the game don’t have a logical class pairing that goes well with their crest’s associated relic. For all practical purposes, Marianne has zero business being in hand-to-hand combat. She has the lowest strength cap in the game, the second-lowest strength growth, and one of the lowest defense growths in the game. Yet pair her relic sword, Blutgang, with Marianne’s shockingly strong reason magic list and you’ve got an adept Mortal Savant. Why not Lysithea here? Because everyone is already using Lysithea as a reason magic class thanks to her access to Dark Spikes. Marianne might be best suited as a healer, but her magic-based attacking is nothing to scoff at.

Honorable Mention: Ingrid

Falcon Knight – Shamir

Shamir is broken. She is the only reason I wish the Kinishi Knight class from Fates had made its way over to Three Houses. Throwing her on any flying mount makes her one of the most dangerous units in the game thanks to access to the Alert Stance skills. The most powerful stat trifecta in Three Houses is, in my opinion, the Dexterity/Speed/Luck trio. This set of stats is particularly important for flying classes thanks to the abundance of bows in the game, as it’s kill or be killed. Shamir has the 5th highest combined growth rate in these three stats and third highest among female units (who Falcon Knight is locked to). The only ones with a higher combined growth rate are Petra — one of the two units you could argue are canon fliers — and Leonie, who is the best flying unit in the game aside from Claude. Shamir has better growths here than Ingrid! Just try her out as a Falcon Knight. You’ll thank me.

Honorable Mention: Manuela

War Master – Ferdinand von Aegir

Did you realize that Ferdinand von Aegir and Caspar have nearly identical stats in both growths and max stats? You know how Caspar is an awesome War Master? Ferdinand von Aegir is pretty good at it too, even if it is beneath his noble station. Unlike Felix, he isn’t an obvious choice for this class, nor is he gender locked out of it like Petra, Catherine, and Hilda are. Granted, nothing will be as funny as when I made Cyril a War Master, but he was predictably terrible. Ferdinand von Aegir as one though? That worked really well.

Honorable Mention: Felix

Wyvern Lord – Raphael

First off, the Wyvern Lord class is overpowered. Literally anyone who is even passable with an axe wrecks nearly everything in this class. Raphael — despite all of his limitations in terms of mobility — does not have a bane to his flying stats. This shocked me when I noticed it. Considering he has the single highest HP cap and growth in the game, along with his otherworldly strength, you can beast he’s a beast in this class. It’s hard to have a sneaky good Wyvern Lord, so why not go with the loudest character in the game.

Honorable Mention: Annette with a Bolt Axe

Great Knight – Petra

Part of the appeal to Petra as a unit is that her speed growths are so high that she can double pretty much enemy unit in the game by the fifth or sixth month of the game. It’s impressive. Her biggest problem is that if anyone gets in close on her and she doesn’t double them, her defense is low enough that she’s one relatively easy to take out. The Great Knight class takes Petra from a very good glass cannon to an every-so-slightly slower, but much tankier death machine. It reminds me a little bit of Frederick in the early game of Awakening, only she doesn’t drop off. In terms of utility, she’s arguably the most natural fit into the sneaky good class of any unit on this list. It’s just that she’s so much better at so many other things that Great Knight goes overlooked.

Honorable Mention: Ashe

Bow Knight – Lysithea

Okay, let’s be serious. You’re not using Lysithea as a Bow Knight. You’re just not. The goal here is to get Lysithea some HP and Defense growths in the classes that’ll take her through to get her to a Bow Knight. The Cavalier class and Paladin classes give +20 HP/+5 DEF and +30 HP/+5 DEF growths, respectively. Slap a Magic Bow on Lysithea and she’s a decent Bow Knight. You’re not doing this. I know so. But it’s not going to be as bad as you might think.

Honorable Mention: Hubert

Dark Knight – Claude

Did you know Claude’s spell list includes both Cutting Gale and Excalibur? In fact, he has the exact same Reason spell list as the best non-Dark Magic-user in the game, Annette. Sure, his growths in magic aren’t the best. But with that spell list, he’s going to be hitting a lot harder than you might think. I do also want to call out the fact that the honorable mention unit in this list, Hilda, is one of only two units that can learn the long-range nuke spell Bolting. Who knew the Golden Deer were such a good magic house?

Honorable Mention: Hilda

Holy Knight – Leonie

Speaking of sneaky good magic users in the Golden Deer, Leonie has a surprisingly good set of utility Faith spells. Her natural affinity for Lance and Riding means you can focus her on Faith from super early in the game, allowing you to build magic stats in the Mage or Priest classes. I’ve used Leonie as a Holy Knight in two playthroughs so far and find her to be one of the best secondary clerics in the game.

Honorable Mention: Ignatz

Gremory – Manuela

I know what you’re thinking. Manuela’s canon class by outfit is the Priest class. How is she a sneaky good Gremory? While Faith is one of her boon stats, the think is that the rest of her growths make her a much more natural Falcon Knight. Combine that with the fact that her Reason skill receives a penalty and you’re going to have to put a lot of work into making Manuela a Gremory. But considering she has access to Bolting, Warp, Silence, and Ward, she has a unique spell set that no other unit in the game has access to. I’d argue it’s worth your time, even if she isn’t a top-tier Gremory.

Honorable Mention: Anna

Dancer – Bernadetta

You want to know why so many people like Olivia as a Dancer in Awakening4Other than the fact that she has some of the most revealing official art of any unit in the game. This fact blows a lot of people’s minds when they first notice it.? She’s a Dancer unit that also has access to the Pass ability, allowing her to ignore enemies blocking her path to get to other units. You know who the only unit is that can learn Pass in Three Houses? That’d be Bernadetta. Combine that with the fact that Bernadetta gets access to Physic and Rescue — all while still being able to use her insane bow skills — and you have a unit that can stay way out of everyone’s way AND charge into the frey when she needs to. I personally prefer her as a Dancer to the canon Dancer unit, Dorothea.

Honorable Mention: Ferdinand von Aegir, Edelgard

Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Ranking the Main Cast

Warning – Fire Emblem: Three Houses spoilers will abound in this post. While I’ll try to avoid this in general for most characters, there are some characters (Dimitri, Edelgard, Rhea, Hubert, Mercedes, Dedue, and Byleth come to mind) where spoilers are nearly unavoidable in order to explain why I like or dislike them. This is especially true for Dimitri and Mercedes.

I’ve finally done it. I’ve beaten all four paths of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. While I’m waiting on more DLC to come out1Including a rumored fifth path., I figure it’s as good of a time as any to write some of the posts I’ve been meaning to about the game. I’ll have some deeper, more thought-provoking posts on the game in the future, as there’s a massive list of topics I want to write about exploring the various intricacies of Three Houses. That said, I’m not in a position to write most of those posts right now, so you’ll see them trickle out over the next few months, mixed in with less serious posts like this one.

I decided that my first non-review post of the game would be a tier-list of how much I personally like each of the characters. My tiering system is loosely based off of the S-D tier system that TierMaker uses, though I’ve added a few tiers to help make sure that no single tier is too large. Even with that in mind, there are a ton of characters in Three Houses, so I’ve decided to only have characters that Byleth can S-support with in this list. This isn’t a ranking of how much I like each of the S-supports, but I did feel it was a useful place to draw the line. In addition to that, I’ve added Byleth (both male and female) to this list as they’re the main character, as well as Jeralt…for reasons you’ll see as we go through this list. Also, this isn’t a usefulness tier list like my Fire Emblem: Awakening tier list. Three Houses allows way too much customization of units for me to do just a single post about unit usefulness, as you can make nearly any unit as awesome or as terrible as you want2Great Knight Bernadetta is shockingly good, though Dancer Bernadetta might be better than any class for her except Bow Knight..

UPDATE 11/15: I’ve added in Anna and Jeritza to the list below following their DLC releases.

UPDATE 2/20: I’ve added in characters from the Cindered Shadows DLC.

F: Just Go Away Already

Units: 44. Manuela, 43. Cyril

Let’s get these two out of the way quickly as the rest of the list is much more interesting. Manuela is Mallory Archer’s less-interesting, slightly nicer younger sister. She’s here for fan service/fan disservice3Depending on your view of her., getting kidnapped, and annoying Hanneman. Cyril marks the first time in a long time that the token villager unit is actively bad and annoying to have around. He gets the nod over Manuela because of his slightly better utility.

D: STOP TRYING TO BANG MY DAD AND/OR ME

Units: 42. Yuri, 41. Alois, 40. Rhea, 39. Leonie, 38. Sylvain

Yes. Everyone in this class wants to get with Jeralt. Even Sylvain. Sylvain will hit on anything that moves. He and Leonie get slightly higher rankings than Rhea and Alois because Rhea is essentially non-playable, while Alois is just Cyril with a better starting class and better growths. Thing is, I really wanted to like Leonie. I made her the first character I S-supported in my very first run of Three Houses. But she just won’t shut up about Jeralt. She’s like the boy who got close to Stacey just so he could try to score with her mom4As an aside, I recognize that Leonie doesn’t have any sort of romantic feelings toward Jeralt directly expressed in the game. And many Leonie fans will be quick to point out that she sees Jeralt as a father figure and an idol. All of these things are true. But she also scream obcessive fan girl who will take things too far to me. So while saying she wants to sleep with Jeralt is a bit meme-y…it’s only slightly less creepy than the alternative.. Even her fantastic post-timeskip hair and outfit can’t save her from this tier. I actually somewhat like Sylvain — especially as a Dark Knight — but he just fits in this tier.

After the release of the Cindered Shadows DLC, I had to edit the title of this group to better encompass why both Yuri and Sylvain belong in this group. For Sylvain, it’s simple. He hits on anything that moves. As for Yuri, his dialogue and supports make him feel like an extremely forced romantic option for Byleth — to the point where it’s just annoying. I know that A LOT of the FE fanbase adores him and that’s fine. That said, the only thing that keeps him out of the F tier is his usefulness in battle.

D+: Character Development That Makes No Sense

Units: 37. Gilbert, 36. Hanneman, 35. Lorenz, 34. Dimitri

We’ll get to the entry in this tier that’s going to induce a lot of rage from the Three Houses fanbase in just a moment. Before that though, we have a guy who abandoned his daugther5An unforgivable sin in my eyes for reasons I’ll touch on later in this post, even if their supports do slightly redeem him, keeping him out of the F tier., a guy who only cares about Byleth because of their crest, and the character who makes the worst hair choices in the game6If you want to argue Linhardt or Bernadetta’s timeskip hair is worse, I’ll buy that, even if I don’t agree. You could also convince me that Mercedes chopping off her hair was another poor choice.. But these three have character development that ranges from non-existent (Hanneman) to poorly explained (Gilbert) to wait…what (Lorenz’s solo ending).

And then there’s Dimitri. For all of the good writing that goes into Dimitri pre-timeskip, his post-timeskip PTSD is jarring. It makes a lot of sense too, even if it is hard to watch at times. But then he just randomly gets over it after Felix’s dad dies. Because…reasons? It’s so frustrating because he has the potential to be one of the best characters in the game, only to not even be a top-three story in his own storyline. I’d make a strong argument that Dedue, Felix, and Mercedes all have deeper stories in the Blue Lions arc — and you could even make an argument Annette and Ashe’s stories having more coherence. I’m going to examine Dimitri in much more detail in one of the future posts I have planned, but until then, I’ll just say that he’s easily the most disappointing Lord character of this game. The only thing that saves him from being the most disappointing character in the game as a whole is Leonie’s existence.

C: Forgettable, Except For That One Thing

Units: 33. Ignatz, 32. Anna, 31. Lysithea, 30. Sothis, 29. Jeralt, 28. Flayn, 27. Hapi

These characters all bore me, so let’s lightning round the one reason why they’re memorable. Ready, go!

  • Ignatz – Really good painter than may or may not make an erotic painting of Ingrid in their A-support.
  • Anna – Anna’s here! And she has an awesome new outfit! But she has no supports. And no unique class7At least as of 11/15.. And no major bonuses to her actually being playable other than gifting you a stat-boosting item every so often. If her new outfit wasn’t awesome, she’d just be Mr. Krabs.
  • Lysithea – The Death Knight fears no man. He does, however, fear a 15-year-old who learns the only anti-cavalry magic spell in the game8While I realize that Hubert also learns Dark Spikes, Lysithea is the only unit that gets it early enough to use in the first battle against the Death Knight. Even then, you’ll need to either feed her battles or grind free maps to death to get it in time..
  • Sothis – The cutscene where Byleth becomes the Fell Star is fucking amazing. Sothis is boring otherwise.
  • Jeralt – (To the tune of Everybody Wants to Be a Cat) EVERYBODY! EVERYBODY! EVERYBODY WANTS TO BANG YOUR DAD!
  • Flayn – She, like Manuela, gets kidnapped, but at least there’s a reason for her abduction.
  • Hapi – Sigh. And she has the best outfit in the game9Non-Shamir edition.. I guess she has two things, which puts her atop of this group by default.

C+: Characters Held Back By a Character or Gameplay Trait

Units: 26. Caspar, 25. Marianne, 24. Seteth,  23. Jeritza, 22. Ferdinand Von Aegir, 21. Ingrid

Lightning round 2: electric boogaloo!

  • Caspar – Strong unit that does well in melee combat but is so forgettable that I didn’t get him an A-support until the last minute in my Church run.
  • Marianne – Frail but very good mage unit that I’d like a lot more if everything she did didn’t remind me of Fluttershy.
  • Seteth – Even in the run where he’s supposed to matter (the Church run), Seteth feels like a background character. Which is a shame, because he’s one of the most memeable characters in the game.
  • Jeritza – Jeritza is broken as all hell. And he SHOULD be higher on this list. But he sounds like Richmond from The IT Crowd and I can’t un-hear it. I can’t take him seriously.
  • Ferdinand Von Aegir – I want to love Ferdinand Von Aegir because the memeiness of Ferdinand Von Aegir is off the charts. Sadly, Ferdinand Von Aegir is arguably one of the weaker mounted units you’ll end up with, especially if you recruit everyone. At least Ferdinand Von Aegir and Marianne make a cute couple.
  • Ingrid – The jack-of-all-trades who can fill most any role you need her in within Three Houses and be at worst above average at it. Too bad she’s a walking Avenue Q song.

B: Amusing One-Note Characters…and Hubert

Units: 20. Raphael, 19. Hilda, 18. Ashe, 17. Hubert, 16. Catherine

Okay, I get it. Raphael just eats. Hilda is lazy and cunning. Ashe just screams LORD LONATOOOOOOOO mournfully. Catherine kills people for the Church. They’re all boring on the surface. But they’re much more than that if you get into their supports. Raphael is a giant (literally) sweetheart who just wants to eat and train his muscle so he can protect those he loves. Ashe is a former orphan and thief who is kind and pure to everyone he meets. Catherine kills people for the church, but she does so with nails painted whatever color her secret life-partner Shamir asks her to10My ranking of non-Byleth same-sex relationships in Three Houses is 1. Petra/Dorothea, 2. Shamir/Catherine, 3. Everyone else.. Hilda is lazy and cunning and…well, it’s funny how much she can convince other people to do work for her11The internet also seems to like Hilda because puberty hits her like a truck post-timeskip. Thing is, she didn’t need the help.. Plus the fact that she chants for herself after winning a battle won me over. Hubert is evil. That’s his gimmick. Except when he’s not, which you don’t really learn about unless you play routes other than the Black Eagles route. I really like the way Three Houses chooses to limit what you know about characters based on what story you’re playing. Hubert is interesting in that you actually learn more about him if he isn’t part of your team than if he is. I can’t say I’ve ever encountered a non-villain character whose story we learn quite like that in a game before.

B+: Child Abuse is Wack

Units: 15. Bernadetta, 14. Edelgard

Full disclosure: If I liked Lysethia more, she’d 100% be in this category too.

Holy fuck, Three Houses does not shy away from child abuse as backstories for characters. Bernadetta’s was dark enough that the most recent DLC patch actually had to tone it down some. Meanwhile, Edelgard is essentially a massive science experiment gone right…and yet it basically destroys who she is. The tragic backstories make Bernadetta and Edelgard who they are, both for better and for worst. While they aren’t my favorite characters in the game, they are two of the best-written characters. They’re a major reason why I’m glad I played the Black Eagles route as my first run, as it made me much more understanding of how the rest of the game’s routes played out.

A: I Don’t Have a Good Title for This Tier

Units: 13. Linhardt, 12. Felix, 11. Balthus, 10. Male Byleth, 9. Female Byleth

Linhardt is basically the one-trait character turned up to 11. The dude’s sleepy. He has so much he wants to learn, but he just needs a nap. He’s my entire mood some days. Felix is a tsundere Domino’s delivery driver trapped in a medieval swordsman’s body. Balthus is Raphael if Raphael had character depth, insane debts, and kind of looked like a cross between Roman Reigns and Gaston. The two Byleths also make this tier because they’re so important to the story and some of the best units in the game. The thing is, they’re basically wordless characters. Yes, their story is interesting, but their character itself isn’t, keeping them from a higher ranking. Bylass gets a slightly higher ranking than Boyleth because her pre-timeskip outfit is attractive. I’m not above being pandered to12Hi Shamir..

A+: More Than Meets The Eye

Units: 8. Mercedes, 7. Constance, 6. Petra

Major spoilers for Mercedes here. Her brother is the Death Knight. You don’t learn this fact unless certain conditions are met. But if you do learn it and you’re playing the Blue Lions route, holy hell does it add a ton of depth to her story. One of the weird things about Three Houses is that you can have quite a few characters fight/potentially kill people they’re close to over the course of the run. And while many of them are torn about it, most of them do it without questioning it, only having second thoughts after the battle. Mercedes has her mental blue screen of death IN BATTLE with the Death Knight…potentially several times over, depending on how you play each level where he appears. This really sold me on a character I started out not liking. Constance is arguably the best-written character in the Cindered Shadows DLC, though this really doesn’t come out until her supports in the main game. Yeah, she’s weird, but her strange and grandiose nature is more of an outcome of her upbringing and the constant effort by her family to hide her crest over the years than it is anything else. She reminds me a lot of a combination of L’Arachel from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones and The Great and Powerful Trixie from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. It makes for an incredibly entertaining character. Petra is basically a hostage who could kick the asses of everyone she needs to in order to get free. The thing is, she stays at the Officers Academy as a way to help keep the peace between Adrestia and her home nation of Brigid (which is a vassal state of Adrestia). Many of her endings make her queen of an independent Brigid, which is one of the best feel-good endings you can get in the game.

S: The Ideal Buddy Cop Film

Units: 5. Dedue, 4. Claude

Dedue is the straight-laced behemoth of a man who just wants to protect Dimitri from all harm in the world. Claude is the joking trickster who loves nothing more than a good prank. I would watch the hell out of Fodlan 911 with these two on the police force. Plus both characters are more complex characters than you’d think. Dedue is an amazing chef. Claude just wants to go full Aladdin and show you the world. Dedue struggles with direct racism being a foreigner in a land he’s less than welcome in. Claude is hellbent on breaking the walls down between Fodlan and the outside world. Dedue’s sacrifices in every non-Black Eagles path make me wonder whether Dimitri is the deserving leader of his nation. Claude’s voice actor has the best Twitter account…and he writes books with the best taglines ever. You cannot go wrong with either of these two.

S+: The (Un?)Holy Trinity

Units: 3. Dorothea, 2. Shamir, 1. Annette

The gap between the units in the S+ tier and the S tier (at least in my mind) is bigger than you’d think. Don’t get me wrong, Three Houses is filled with some amazing, compelling characters. But these three take the cake. Dorothea, in addition to being the smoothest flirt you will ever come across in a game, manages to deliver the single saddest monologue in the game if Ferdinand Von Aegir dies battling against your army. She is arguably the game’s canon Dancer unit, but she’s versatile enough that you’re not stuck using her that way. Plus her supports are so good that you’ll want to recruit her on every run — not to mention the fact that she’s the only female character that pretty much every female can have a romantic paired ending with. Shamir is more than just an attractive assassin. She’s the best non-student unit you can get in all paths of the game, with only Catherine giving her a run for her money (and you’re locked out of recruiting her in certain paths). Plus her S-support with Byleth involves her coming up with wedding vows on the spot, which goes to reinforce how smart and caring her supports make her. That said, the best character in the game is Annette. She’s everything Shamir is in terms of a fighting unit, only without the over-the-top sex appeal. She’s caring to a fault and makes up the best songs in the game even though she isn’t a particularly good singer. We must protect War Goddess Annette at all costs.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Likes and Dislikes

I’ve held of writing this post as long as I could. For those of you who follow me on social media, you’re likely well aware that around a month ago, I picked up Fire Emblem: Three Houses. As a big fan of the Fire Emblem series, I was excited to see a new game coming out. The early reviews for the game were spectacular, though considering how far the series dropped off from Awakening to Fates (nevermind the trainwreck that was Shadows of Valentia), I was a bit skeptical for how good Three Houses would actually be.

Considering the fact that I’ve been able to get around 110 hours of gameplay in since the game came out, I feel pretty confident in saying it’s a great game. While I haven’t played through enough of the game to give a full-fledged review1Seriously. Without getting too spoliery, I’ve played through two of the games four paths in full, as well as having started a third path. I would legitimately estimate that to truly finish the game, I’ll need around 200-250 hours of gameplay., there’s still quite a few things I’ve been able to develop an opinion on to this point.

In this post, I wanted to give my thoughts on a few things from Three Houses I like, as well as some thoughts on dislikes of the game. I’ll come straight out and say that while the two lists in this post are pretty balanced numberwise, there are far more things I like about the game than I dislike. Additionally, I’m not going to hit on every single feature I have an opinion on in this game, as that would make this post far too long to read. Plus there are a few topics2Unit customization, the lack of child units, the support system, and the entire Edelgard arc, just to name a few. that I want to talk about in deeper detail in other posts.

Spoilers WILL occur from this point forward. You’ve been warned.

Likes

1. Weapon/Class Relationships

I’m going to do a lot of comparison of Three Houses in this post to Awakening for a few different reasons.

  1. It’s the game I have the most comprehensive knowledge of3I’ve played Radiant Dawn, Awakening, Fates, and Shadows of Valentia, as well as translated versions of Mystery of the Emblem and Thracia 776. Of these, the only ones I’ve liked enough to want to replay them were Awakening and Fates. Admittedly, the replay value to Fates is just the differences between the Revelation line and the other two lines, so take that for what it’s worth..
  2. It’s the game that I have the most time invested in to — probably ever. According to my 3DS, I’ve played around 800 hours of Awakening over time4The next closest I can find is Civilization V, where I’ve played about 450 hours over time. Granted, my Xbox 360 doesn’t track play time for games, otherwise I’d think NCAA Football 12 would also be up there.
  3. It was the last great Fire Emblem game before Three Houses.

In Awakening, like most Fire Emblem games, the class that your unit is currently in dictates the weapons they can wield. For example, Noire starts out as an Archer, meaning she can use bows. She also has pretty good proficiency with bows when you recruit her. That said, because her mother is a Dark Mage, you can reclass Noire to a Dark Mage. Doing so means that that Noire can now wield tomes — but that she can no longer wield bows. Even more annoying, there isn’t a class in the game that allows Noire to use both her bow skills and magic, as you’re limited by the class you’re in. On the plus side, you do still retain that previous weapon experience, though it’s still of no use to you.

Three Houses recognizes this flaw and actually builds a way around this in most situations. Weapons (mostly) aren’t locked to a specific class, meaning not only that most classes can use any weapon, you can also build off of your previous weapon experience if you change classes. As an example to this I had intended to make Ingrid a Holy Knight. In order to pass the class certification5Three Houses way of allowing class changes, I needed to level up Ingrid’s skills in Riding, Lance, and Faith. Unfortunately, midway through this process, I realized the unit I wanted to become my Dancer couldn’t actually be reclassed into Dancer6I just wanted Shamir to be a Dancer. Is that too much to ask?, meaning I had to pick a new unit for this on the fly. I chose Ingrid, which would have meant that all of her previous training would have gone to waste in old Fire Emblem games. That said, Three Houses allowed me to retain her skills, meaning that I now had a Dancer running around defending herself with a Lance — and eventually brawling gauntlets, as Ingrid punching people in the face amuses me.

There are some classes that lock you out of using a particular weapon or skill. Obviously non-mounted/flying units won’t use the Riding or Flying skill sets. Similarly, classes like the Paladian class prevent you from using magic while in that class. But this is a huge improvement over previous games.

2. Unbalanced Classes, Weapons, and Skills

One of the biggest complaints about Awakening can be summed up in a single sentence:

Galeforce is broken.

And to be fair, the Galeforce skill was broken as all fuck. And once you knew that, you could choose how hard or easy to make your game by building around (or building for) units with Galeforce. While Galeforce wasn’t the only broken thing in Awakening7The Vengence and Armsthrift skills, killer-type weapons, and the Dark Knight class as a whole all come to mind., it was the one that was the most obviously so.

It’s my personal opinion that not only does Three Houses have broken classes, weapons, and skills, it doubles down on what Awakening did. Here’s a brief summary of how to make an absurdly overpowered unit in Three Houses. These steps are in no particular order, but do try all of them.

  • Start with a unit that has good black magic spells. Think Dorothea, Linhardt, or Lorenz8You could also use Sylvain for this strategy if you want truly hilarious results, as his budding talent gives him an additional +20 avoidance when using black magic. That said he won’t hit quite as hard as some others on this list.. Lysithea or Hubert would work too if you prefer dark magic users.
  • Focus train them on Flying skills until they get to an A+ in Flying to get Alert Stance+. This grants +30 avoidance if all you do with your unit is Wait.
  • Build your unit’s skills up in Lance and Riding until they can pass the Dark Knight certification.
  • Charge into battle and press Wait.

Don’t like to use magic users? Get a bow user up to at least C rank to get Close Counter, follow the same steps above, except using Bow Knight instead of Dark Knight, and counter-kill everything. Prefer directly attacking? Canto might be the most broken single skill in ANY Fire Emblem game. The only downside is that you can’t take advantage of the strategy above. My point is that you can make the game super easy for yourself by doing some of the things I just talked about. Or you can make the game harder by making Ingrid and Bernadetta hand-to-hand combat specialists. This is a good thing.

3. Monestary Exploration

I’m not saying a third of my time on Three Houses has been solely dedicated to exploring the monestary and doing quests/building unit supports therein. But the only reason I’m not saying that is because I haven’t actively kept track of the amount of time I’ve devoted to it.

There’s quite a lot I like about the monestary, even if initially exploring it is a bit of a slow go. As stupid as it is, the fishing minigame can be quite fun when you run into some of the rarer fish. The weapon tournaments in the training grounds require more strategy than you’d think, particularly once you get out of the beginning tournaments. And of course the dining hall is a great way to build up support between units without having to grind up every single one of your unit’s stats for recruiting.

My only real gripe with the monestary is how many rooms you randomly have to check for dropped items — they literally made a room for every single student character. I mean, it makes sense. Good on the monestary for planning student housing appropriately. But come on. Let me find the items I’m looking for already.

Dislikes

1. Weapon Crafting

Even in previous games in the Fire Emblem series, the wepaon crafting system has been tedious at best. It has ranged from fine but annoying (Fates) to objectively annoying (Awakening) to accidentally broken (Path of Radiance). There were attempts to make it better with Three Houses, but to say they fell short would be an understatement. This is because of one primary feature — the Rusted weapons.

They’re EVERYWHERE. They’re rarely good weapons, they can’t be sold for any value unless you forge them, and they don’t get any bonuses from being forged aside from being exactly as good as a weapon you can buy in the shop. They solely exist so you can grind money to by selling them.

You’re also limited to one forge level per weapon, which means that there’s not a ton of inherent value in doing so for most weapons. If it was a situation like Awakening where you could forge an iron weapon up a few times to give it extra might and critical rate, that’d be one thing. But the boosts are minimal. There’s also no renaming of crafted weapons. Somewhere, Odin Dark is crying softly into his trembling sword hand.

2. Lost Items

I don’t like consulting online guides in my first playthrough of games. While I don’t mind being spoiled on the game itself, I do want to figure out how to play it on my own. That said, I had to look up a lost items guide. There’s just so many of them, several of which have very little logic to who they belong to — especially if you’re on your first play of the game and don’t know every character’s backstory. They’re great for little one-off motivation boosts, but as a whole, lost items are more troublesome than they’re worth.

3. The Instruction System

One of the core tenants of Three Houses is that you’re a mercenary turned professor who is enlisted to lead/teach a group of students from one of the continent’s three major countries. You’re apparently a good enough of a mercenary that your father — the greatest mercenary who ever lived according to several people — felt coumfortable letting you be a mercenary with him. And yet, when you instruct your students, even in subjects or weapons you’re well-versed in, the impact you make towards your students’ skills is negligable.

I get it. We’ve reached the point where part of the appeal to Fire Emblem is the story9Easily my favorite part of any Fire Emblem game. and the shipping you can do between the characters. Hell, I’m guilty of it too. But if you’re going to make your main character a teacher — one whose main story purpose for the first half of the game is to teach — at least make their instruction matter.