Welcome to our character guide, focusing on Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon characters. We’ll be breaking down each of the characters and their classes, and providing our verdicts on which of them deserve to be in your team!
As you may know by now, we love ourselves some Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. You may not know however, that we’ve always loved Archers in our Tactical RPG games. There’s just something so satisfying about using them well in spite of the risk that comes along with it.
Said risks are rarely higher than those present in Shadow Dragon, after all it’s hard enough keeping your melee units alive, never mind those that cannot counter attack from close range. Join us then as we take a look at the archers the game offers you, determine exactly who is the best Archer in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, and why?
Should you choose to play through the game on Normal mode you’ll experience the recruitment of Gordin, which is certainly quite novel, however on any other mode you’ll automatically have him in the group. Here he is, the progenitor of all archers within Fire Emblem, we’re not sure whether to love him or hate him, either way he’s the first one you’ll have access to.
In terms of actually using Gordin, well, you might struggle. He will manage to get a good amount of chip damage on enemies, more so on the lower difficulties of course, but it’ll take a good while before he can take any out on his own, if ever. His main problems are those shockingly low base stats and the fact that, inexplicably, his defence grows more than usual, leaving you with a unit that could probably take a hit or two, which is exactly the situation you want to avoid with archers. This is compounded by his lack of strength and speed, leaving him unable to contribute any significant damage at all, a problem that only gets worse the later into the game you get.
On the highest difficulty levels you’ll certainly be glad to have the help, but once a few chapters are completed and you start to rack up some real units, he’ll likely be making your bench extra warm. If you absolutely must use him, be sure to forge an Iron Bow with as much damage as you can afford.
VERDICT: Kind of useful early, little else.
Perhaps they were feeling generous when they introduced the Gaiden chapters, though if they were then we’re not exactly sure why they gave us Norne. Should you be unaware, if you complete certain chapters throughout Shadow Dragon with very few party members left – meaning quite a few have died – you’ll unlock either a secret level or, in this case, a new party member in Norne.
Though to unlock this one you’ll have to lose at least one along with the sacrifice in the Prologue… Which is only available on the easiest mode, making it highly unlikely that players would ever meet the second available archer, which is a shame really.
To play with Norne is to realise, essentially, a sightly faster and less defence blessed version of Gordin. Those base stats are slightly worse, especially that ‘1’ in Skill, though on average she will end up being faster than him. This being the case, she’s likely to double attack more often, however her low strength tends to leave her in a similar situation – can’t quite kill a unit, so she’s relegated to doing single bits of chip damage. Either that or she helps Gordin warm the bench.
VERDICT: Quicker, but still limited and normal mode only.
Tomas, by the time he joins you in chapter 12, occupies a rather strange spot in Shadow Dragon. You’re likely to have several growing units by this time, each clamouring for your attention and more importantly, exp points. You’re also very likely to have units that perform much, much better than him in almost any situation; a cavalier with a javelin for example, or Sedgar and Wolf doing well.. Anything. He also performs much worse than a certain sniper that may have joined you in chapter 9, which is probably the most damning argument against him.
Should you decide to put time into developing Tomas, you will most likely end up with the most statistically superior unit – his speed will be on par with the earlier joiners, and he’ll hit harder to due to a higher average strength. The only real loss he’ll suffer is when comparing his defence rating to Gordin. To get him there however just feels like it’s too much trouble, too much hassle in a period of the mid-game that throws plenty of it at you, never mind training an archer.
In essence he’s a victim of circumstance more than anything. You’ve recently happened upon a unit that does his job better, doesn’t require a great deal of effort to use, can move further and use better equipment. All of these problems are only worsened as you rise through the difficulty levels, to the point where he’ll do little to no damage upon his recruitment.
VERDICT: Great capped stats, but a tad too awkward.
If we’re honest here, playing Shadow Dragon on normal difficulty really allows you to raise whoever you want, much like almost any Fire Emblem. You can pick and choose to your hearts content, making even the most useless of units work. When the difficulty levels rise however, you’re often forced to ditch those that fall behind, leaving you with a bench full of un-promoted late joining units and – you guessed it – Archers.
It’s in these situations that those most useful of units make themselves known: The pre-promotes. They join you at opportune moments, often making your base level units shrivel in comparison, immediately proving invaluable. Such a unit in Shadow Dragon is Jeorge, a Sniper that joins in chapter 9, just before the game starts to introduce you to promoted enemy units, themselves sporting higher defence and speed ratings.
We’re not about to argue that his stats are amazing, far from it. We’ll also happily admit that an end game Jeorge will easily be eclipsed by the others. To dismiss him due to this however, is a huge mistake. What Jeorge is, essentially, is a unit that functions that little bit better than your other archers, exactly when you need it. He does more damage, mainly due to his weapon rank and respectable stats. He also moves further than them due to being a Sniper, proving eminently useful on increasing map sizes. And his promotion is free, allowing you to use those precious Master Seals on units more worthy of your attention.
He’s the right unit, in the right place, at the right time. Popping up just when you need a strong 2-range unit, putting his class brethren to shame and contributing where they cannot. Also, unless you’re willing to plow huge resources into forging, he’s by far your best option for an archer type in a Merciless H5 difficulty run.
VERDICT: The perfect example of a mid game pre-promote, and the best Archer in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon.
Categories: Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
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