A Fire Emblem game, especially one like Awakening, lives and dies by its available classes. Sure the characters are important, and we love romancing pixels as much as the next gamer, but when you’re deep into tense, tactical battles you’ll be deliberating over class choices more than anything. As the series has developed, characters have even grown to resemble class archetypes – there’s always a stoic knight, no matter the title, right?
Awakening comes with a bumper crop of class choices, and whilst they’re not exactly as unusual and varied as something like Fates options, there are still a huge amount to choose from. Choice is great, of course, but such numbers always invite balancing issues, to the point where some classes are just plain better than others. With that in mind we’ve prepared a short list of the classes that we think are, on balance, the best and most powerful choices for your small army.
Side note: We love the Fire Emblem: Heroes icons, but we’re well aware that a certain Lord might be holding the wrong weapon here..
A relatively estranged class, the Great Knight is always the cause of some consternation. Traditionally Cavalier units become Paladins, yet in some titles this alternative choice becomes available, but why? What’s the difference?
In Awakening at least, this class takes the form of a more defensive unit. They generally have higher defence than the Paladin, though lower resistance, and they can wield axes. This alone doesn’t really make them superior to the Paladin, and they tend to give less stats when paired up, so why should you choose Great Knight?
Essentially you’re coming for the skills. As detailed below they have the ability to output some significant extra damage with Luna, and their Dual Guard+ ability comes in very handy, especially if you’re using this particular unit to pair up and defend a more prominent attacker. Whilst we do recommend the class, and due to the skills see it as one of the best available, you may want to just dip in here to pick up Luna for some of your end game units.
- Luna: Reduces the opponents defence & resistance by 50% for the attack. Percentage chance to activate = (Skill Stat)%
- Dual Guard+: Increases the rate of Dual Guards by 10%.
Yes, this is the image we were talking about up there. We’re aware that he has a bow, something he doesn’t have access to by default in Awakening, but it looks good and fits with our page better, so there.
As you might imagine, this class is reserved for both Chrom and Lucina. Upon promoting to this class, each will gain access to Lances, along with their default Sword weapon options. This is a nice benefit, and whilst we’d always like more options for our Lord, especially given the relative risk in battle, this isn’t a bad option. There are plenty of good lances throughout Awakening, so we’re fairly happy in this regard. Of course, we’d have been even happier with a mount, but that’s what Second Seals are for right?
The class really starts to come alive when you consider the skills it gains. Whilst Rightful King is tremendously useful, Aether is the real star of the show. Once gaining access to this, you’ll immediately be more comfortable putting your lord into the mix. The healing and improved damage makes them a super viable late game unit, and each of the skills can be taken forward into any other class choice you may want.
- Aether: Your attack strikes twice. The first strike heals your unit for half of the damage done, the second strikes as if the target has 50% of it’s Defence & Resistance active. Chance to activate = (Skill Stat / 2)%
- Rightful King: Increases all skill activation chances by 10%.
The inclusion of an Avatar into a Fire Emblem game was certainly an unusual choice, especially given just how powerful they are here. Fire Emblem 7 kind of approached this by personifying your unit, but not a controllable unit. In Awakening you’re given a few options, even choosing a predominant statistic to prioritise, then thrown into battle.
You will initially start out as a Tactician, which is a nice enough class in it’s own right, though you’ll soon discover that you can re-class units to your own taste, with the avatar itself being the most malleable in this regard. Why then should you stick with it’s upgraded version, the Grandmaster?
Well, of course it comes with balanced growths, after all barely any class doesn’t in Awakening, but we’re mainly here for the skills. Ignis is a ‘nice to have’ – it will regularly add damage to your attacks and whilst you’re likely to move classes to make use of it, you’re also likely to pick up better skills in doing so. The real star of the show is Rally Spectrum. This skill, when activated with the Rally command, increases every single statistic of your units in a 3 space radius by +4. Plus four! This is an incredible benefit, and whilst we often prefer to use the avatar – and their offspring – to attack, we’d be lying if we said this wasn’t incredibly useful.
- Ignis: Adds half of your magic stat, or strength stat, to the opposing value for your attack. Chance to activate = (Skill)%
- Rally Spectrum: The Rally command will add +4 to every stat, for each friendly unit within 3 spaces.
Veterans of Awakening will no doubt have seen this coming.
The Dark Flier is, as you might imagine, a flying unit. It’s one of the promotion options for the Pegasus Knight, the other being Falcon Knight, though we’d forgive you if you forgot that other one. Playing through the game you’ll naturally gain access to a few units that can promote into this class, though you can increase your lot with some tactical re-classing.
Why would you want more of them? Well, it’s all because of the Galeforce skill. In short, this skill allows you to take a further turn should you successfully kill a unit on your turn. Yes you read that right, you get a free turn when you take down an opponent, on a class that’s already really good at traversing distance and picking off units. It’s exactly as broken as it sounds and you owe it to yourself to, at least once, try to get as many Dark Flyer units as you can in one playthrough. The skill can be passed down a generation, after all.
- Rally Movement: Grants +1 Movement to units within 3 spaces by using the Rally command.
- Galeforce: Upon defeating a foe with an attack (without support) another turn can be taken.
Contrary to the above class, Fire Emblem veterans may not have seen this coming. The Swordmaster is the promoted version of the Myrmidon, something that has been true since the very beginnings of the series. Traditionally they’re incredibly fast, come with an increased critical chance but tend to be pretty squishy, each of which are true here in Awakening.
Outside of these expected statistics are the skills. If you hadn’t figured it out by now Awakening tends to feature respectable growths on most class statistics, so their extraneous abilities – flying, skills and weapon choices – tend to set them apart from the others. Swordmasters only really have one of those things, though we’d argue that this game has a plethora of sword choices.
Yes it’s the skills that again define the class. Astra is a ‘nice to have’ in this regard, since it’s just a nice damage boost that comes at a weapon durability cost, which is again not a problem when Awakening throws nice swords at you throughout the game. Swordfaire is essentially just flat damage boost that gives you + 5 strength for using a Sword (or magic if using a magic sword) – even over the cap for either of these stats. Combined these two stats work well to increase a units damage significantly, and they’re both skills you can translate to other classes should you decide to re-class.
- Astra: Strike 5 times for half damage each. Chance to activate = (Skill stat / 2)%
- Swordfaire: +5 Strength or Magic when wielding a sword (Passive).
Categories: Fire Emblem: Awakening