The Fire Emblem series is perfect for Tier Lists. The games are full of characters with different specialities, classes, strengths and weaknesses, each accompanied with their own visual style. All of this means that players will gravitate towards those that they enjoy, either for their look and feel or their individual power. This leads to a fan base filled with differing opinions, sparking conversations, the occasional argument and yes you guessed it, Tier Lists.
Fire Emblem: Awakening is blissfully full of characters on which to form opinions, almost too many in fact. This is why we’re breaking our Tier Lists down into three; the first generation of characters, a subsequent second generation based on the pairs you create, then one overall list that will finalise our thoughts and focus on the end game. Phew, we better get started then! Below you’ll find our First Generation Tier List, followed by a little write up about each tier!
- My Unit / Avatar
Our Fire Emblem lists, Awakening included, tend towards the higher difficulty levels. We like a good challenge because this is a how we believe tactical RPG games are designed – right on the cusp between victory and failure, with only your skills in between. That being said our S Tier units are those that we found immediately useful, and those that retain their use throughout the game.
The Avatar is an obvious choice, being a powerhouse of a unit in almost every way. Sumia is a flying unit which has tremendous utility in Awakening, and she can promote into the Dark Flier class, home to the most broken ability in the game: Galeforce. Tharja and Panne we found to both be super powerful when they join, mainly due to their statistical prowess and Chrom is just a fantastic supporting unit with the ability to grow into a wildly powerful battler.
These five all featured in our Top 5 First Gen article for good reason. They’re the five that we return to each time we fire up a Lunatic run, and they retain their places even late into the second gen, where some others drop off rather spectacularly.
Our A Tier of units are still a selection of fantastically powerful characters. Each of these tend to feature in our ‘first team’ of units during our runs through Fire Emblem: Awakening. They can hold their own no matter what portion of the game we’re currently in and whilst they don’t quite reach the heights of S Tier, they’re still great units.
Why don’t they reach S Tier? We’ll give a few examples: Frederick is super powerful and essential for the early game, but we’d argue that quite early on he starts to get overshadowed by your growing selection of units, eventually falling off completely. Vaike eventually reaches a great level of power for us, but only if we nurse him through an awkward early game.
Regardless of why, each of these characters has a very small concern that stops them reaching our peak. They’re still very good and we’d encourage that you use them, they’re just not quite untouchable.
The best way for us to summarise the B Tier of units would be that they plug the gaps in our team. Early on in the game, or when your units are restricted, we will pick from these to fill empty spaces in our team. They’re respectable units that are likely to do their job, but don’t expect them to do much more.
Lon’qu for example, can occasionally jump into battle and take out an enemy in an opportune moment, but you’ll soon have to scuttle him behind your ‘good’ units for him to survive. Virion too may have some early use, but his class and statistics just see him fall off far too quickly.
In the end these units are what we would consider ‘acceptable’. They’ll serve a purpose and with a good deal of work you might be able to craft a great unit, but that’s kind of the problem – they require more work than others, and as you rise through the difficulty levels, the time available for such work in more and more limited.
Trash bags at the ready. This group of characters are the absolute bottom end of our choices, hence the C Tier rating. They’re weak when they join, or weak compared to your units when they join, and require significant work to bring them up to speed.
Of course you can make Donnel into a fantastic unit, and you can second seal pretty much anyone into anything in Awakening, but this group either suffer with availability or sheer poor stats to such a degree that it’s really not worth it. Gaius is a bit of an outlier here really, and tends to suffer simply because Thieves just aren’t that good in this game, and you get another person that’s much more capable very early in the game.
That’s the end of our First Gen Tier List for Fire Emblem: Awakening! Let us know what you think about our choices in the comments below. As we mentioned up above we’re going to be doing more of these, along with various other articles around this game, so keep an eye out for more. We update three times a week and at least one of those each week will be Awakening based!
Categories: Fire Emblem: Awakening
Sometimes a unit in one of these games annoys me so much that I stop using them no matter how good they are. Henry was useful, but he also irritated the hell out of me. But definitely agreed on guys like Donnel; I respect his drive but I’m left wondering what I’m supposed to do with this kid wearing a tin pot on his head and carrying a pointy stick.
It’s good to see Tharja in the S tier, though; she’s still my absolute favorite in Awakening.
Unfortunately Donnel struggles like his series forebears (Ross, Nephenee etc) – can be a good unit if you put the work in, but as you climb the difficulty levels it’s harder to give them time. Also yes he has drive and he’s not worldly, but that’s kind of where his character ends.
Tharja is just an amazing unit as soon as she joins, and remains so throughout, helped mainly by the great tomes in Awakening. She often gets a bad rap because of the whole ‘eye candy’ thing, but she’s a fantastic unit either way.
You know what? I do agree with you about the injustice in this tier list. On my first play through I originally thought that Stahl was a bad character and that he was just in there to fill in the blanks at the start of the game and that henry even though I didn’t stop playing him like you did I still thought he was there as a good backbone in my last fight against Grima but then I started playing more and more *and with a little help from this website* I figured out that for one Stahl isn’t a bad character and right now he and Frederick are the tank’s of the group and that with help using him in the main story *and a LOT of reeking box’s I was able to turn Henry into a neer’do’well tank and it help’s that now I know that you can use Master Seal’s and Second Seal’s however many times you want.
And I did my research now can look this up yourself and see if I’m wrong and you might not change your style at all after knowing this but Henry has a 30% higher rate of EXP than Tharja and also a higher chance of landing critical hit’s than Tharja so there’s that.
Man, you guys are really making me feel like playing & writing more about Awakening. It’s been a year since I have written this and even I am considering multiple changes!
I’m not exactly sure why you’d put Nowi before Tiki. She’s an extremely powerful unit, you get her much earlier, and you can’t use the excuse of “you need to use dragonstones sparingly,” because you put Panne, another transforming unit, in S tier. I feel Nowi should at least be in A tier.
I agree with Basilio and Flavia’s placements, as Flavia is just outclassed by Gregor and Donnel (If you put the work into him), whereas Basilio, aside from Vaike, is the only warrior you’ll get without using second seals.
Anna and Say’ri are touchy subjects. Say’ri is arguably a bit worse than Anna, because you get Lon’qu much earlier, and you may have Owain at this point in the game, so Say’ri should be a bit lower in my opinion. I’d agree with Anna’s placement for the most part, as you only get one other thief in the game (aside from SpotPass), that being Gaius, who is just much better off as an assassin.
Stahl, Kellam, and Gaius are by no means good units, but they’re not bad either, and I don’t think they really deserve the C tier spot. Stahl and Kellam are useful in the early game, and Gaius may not be the best combat unit, but he’s great for picking locks and such. Ricken is essentially bulkier Miriel, and Donnel starts bad but gets super good and is an incredible parent. You don’t even have to use him, just pair him with somebody like Nowi or Olivia to get support bonuses.
Hi Baked Beans,
Thanks for the feedback. I am personally going to fire up Awakening again this weekend and see how it feels, paying more attention to some of the units you’ve mentioned, particularly Nowi. I am guilty of pairing up some units and forgetting about them, since it’s hard not to favour some of the second gen unit combinations that we enjoy and just race to the side quests. I will come back and edit this once completed if anything needs changing, and reference your feedback.
When it comes to Stahl though, we’ve tried to make him work quite a few times and his low Speed really holds him back. It always seems like such a good idea, another early joining Cavalier, but he always struggles in our hands.
What do you think of Virion? I have seen quite a few people talk highly of him, difficulty dependant of course. His stats remind me of Wil from Blazing Blade, and he tends to perform similarly badly.
will you do one for FE Fates?
Yes Fates is on the list, though we’re not sure whether to write about that or Sacred Stones first.
Also not sure if we should write about each Fates version separately, or all together in one ‘Fates’ type of article!
1 Birthright, 2 Conquest and 3 Revelation.
I say to put it in this order because I played through birthright first and revelation has what is similar to awakenings descendants but you can do it any order you see fit.
*I’m not picky*
Alright, I’ll look into doing some Fates next. I’ll have to fire them up and decide what to write about 😀
Hi there but i’d like to point out that unless you marry Panne with someone than you end up paying more for dragonstones anyway wait scratch that let me do my math again…if you marry Nowi than there is more manakete’s in the game anyway.
But also I do side with you in the aspect that Nowi is an incredibly powerful unit but let’s be honest Panne is a beast!
Thank you, Your a peach