Choosing a class for each of your characters is critical in Fire Emblem: Awakening. Well, it’s critical in any Fire Emblem game if we’re honest, but it’s particularly relevant in a game that has 43(!) of them available, not including DLC units. The wrong class can render a unit completely useless and with Second Seals resetting your levels, and Master Seals in relatively short supply, it’s worth making sure you pick correctly the first time around.
Your class choice however, is just that: Yours. Fire Emblem: Awakening is malleable enough to deal with whatever you pick, so don’t feel like these are your only options, they’re just the best that we could find during our time with the game. You might want to use your browsers ‘Find’ feature here… This is a long one.
We’ve committed a whole article to this subject, so we won’t go too deep. Suffice to say that we like to keep our lord quite safe, yet able to contribute wherever possible, after all he’s going to be forced into your team at every turn, might as well make use of him. We keep him on the outskirts of the fights, picking off units and maybe firing the occasional Rally off.
Yes, we’re aware that this is the base class for Sully, but we don’t tend to have much success pushing her elsewhere. Her stats aren’t the worst, so she’s pretty malleable and she’ll be able to turn her hand to anything physical related, but in the end we always end up coming back to the Paladin. With he advent of the second generation part way through the game, this class keeps her relevant for as long as possible.
Full disclosure here, we’re not huge fans of Virion. He’s an early archer, which is a bit of a death sentence for a Fire Emblem unit, yet even if we overlook this he still performs poorly. We’ve progressed through 7 – 8 chapters without him growing by any significant degree, and often lose patience with him. That being the case, the best bet tends to be sticking him in his base class, occasionally getting some chip damage.
Robin, or the Avatar, is another character that we’ve committed a full page article to – check it out HERE. There are so many options for your character that really, you can do whatever you want, but we often find them to be ideally suited to the Sorcerer route, with the caveat that you go through the Grandmaster class first.
Grab yourself some Nosferatu tomes and watch the entire enemy team march toward their demise.
Stahl is another early game unit that we don’t really get on with. He’s not a bad Great Knight, hence why we keep him that way, but we’re never really impressed with how he turns out statistically speaking. His Speed is the major concern, and on higher difficulties it can be a real problem, so we found it best to load him up with defensive capabilities and let him block a few choke points before his stats fall off too far.
We love the Berserker class as much as the next player, but it’s far too hard to ignore the balanced statistics of the Hero class. Vaike can suffer, specifically in the defence department, so we like to bolster that as much as possible, and the Hero specifically comes with good additions to both Skill and Speed. Aside from a few difficult early chapters, our Vaike turns into a bit of a world beater thanks to this.
Despite her early pigeonholing into the healer archetype, Lissa is actually very versatile. She’s never going to become a heavy physical attacker, nor a defensive powerhouse, but she can pick up a few bits of attacking magic to help you out in a bind. Versatility is always key for us, and we’re aware that there are more optimised options for the second generation of ‘broken’ units, but we like our Lissa as a Sage.
If we’re honest, our Robin tends to occupy the ‘tanky mage’ archetype in our army, and whilst we’re happy to front load our team with powerful classes, Miriel doesn’t tend to feature too much. She can make a great Sorcerer, though she will lack the background in Grandmaster of course. We do tend to find that units like Henry and Ricken end up with better statistics, but the difference is quite negligible.
Movement has always been the bane of the armour knight archetypes, and Kellam is no different. Happily, you can promote him into the Great Knight class, rather than the General. Should you wish to have any General at all, he’s certainly the best option, but we can never bring ourselves to commit to one. There is potential for grabbing movement increasing skills before bringing him back to the General class, but it requires significant resource and commitment.
Regular readers may already understand our love for Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, and fans of that game will probably recognise our choice here. It’s become a bit of a tradition for us to turn our early game, ‘Jagen’ unit into a flyer where possible. It extends their usage and helps to cover up their poor statistics in the middle portions of the game. Frederick is no different, and we often feel like we owe him a swansong of sorts after the amount of carrying he does in the early game.
Trainee units have become a ‘thing’ in Fire Emblem games really, to the point where Three Houses is almost entirely comprised of them. We quite enjoy using them, though we’ll preface that by saying it’s mostly during casual playthroughs. We’re also fans of the Warrior class, but we’re all too aware of it’s shortfalls in terms of statistics. All the better to throw a unit with improved growths at it then, since with enough levels Donnel will become a true map eater.
** Thanks to Michael for the correction, we wrongly identified the sprite as a Berserker!
It’s hard to overlook Lon’qu’s statistics; his strength is middling, speed and skill are super high and his defence is poor – very much the Fire Emblem Myrmidon. That being the case, as the game progresses he’s less able to take on multiple enemies or rounds of combat at once, mainly for fear of counter attack. The Assassin class is perfect then – he can hop in and fish for a big crit with his swords, or chip from the outside with bows when the going gets too tough.
We may not enjoy just how broken Galeforce is as a skill, but there’s no denying that it’s tremendous fun. That being the case, we like to turn at least a few of our characters into a Dark Flier, mainly to pass the skill down to the next generation. The class itself isn’t too bad either – who doesn’t love a flying mage? – and whilst we’d argue a class with such good movement doesn’t really need a longer range option, it’s certainly comes in handy from time to time.
For us, Ricken occupies a strange place in our teams. His role always seems so… Superfluous. His join time and the units already available tend to relegate him to a backup role. That being the case, we tend to make him into a Dark Knight. He’s never going to light up the map with physical damage, but the versatility and increased move distance afforded by the class mean he can serve a good purpose. He’s perfectly capable of taking on the more focused Sorcerer role, but this is where he always lands for us.
Often our Maribelle never escapes the ‘mounted healer’ thing for us, so why not just lean into the role? Yes the Valkyrie class gets her access to attacking magic, but the force behind those tome attacks isn’t exactly going to be impressive. Still, its nice that she can muck in and at the very least maybe deal with some spell casters on the enemy turn.
If you’ve read our tier list or top 5 article on Fire Emblem: Awakening, you’ll know we like Panne. Her great statistics and the ability to produce a fantastic child unit keep her high in our regards, and this is exactly why we tend to make her a Griffon Rider – to pick up the Lancebreaker skill, ensuring that both her and the child unit can avoid the deadly ‘beast’ damaging weapons. Happily, Panne can turn her hand to pretty much any physically attacking class, so she’s fantastic in this class in her own right.
We’ve played through Awakening countless times, and we’ve always wound up being underwhelmed by Gaius’ damage in the Assassin role. No matter what we do he tends to be out-performed by countless other units in our troop. That being said, we’ve had great success recently in pushing him into the Trickster class – he’s never going to heal for huge amounts, nor destroy enemies in a single turn, but he can do a bit of both, and we’ve enjoyed him being useful as such.
For some reason, Gregor’s joining statistics just shout ‘Warrior’ at us every time, and the voice is far too loud for us to ignore. The class itself is great fun, albeit not quite up there with those in prior ‘Emblem titles, and it manages to perform well into the late game. With no unit limits on the classes, players tend to opt for as many Hero units as they can, but why not mix it up a little – Gregor will perform well either way.
Being a relatively early joining unit, and one that flies in her base form, we’re actually going to recommend that you go for another class before returning to Falcon Knight with Cordelia. It’s very popular to make her a Hero to grab Sol, then move her back to a final flying class. Similarly, some like to grab Galeforce and do the same. Either way, the Falcon Knight class is a great one to end on, retaining the fantastic movement and even offering some basic staff utility.
It’s entirely possible to make Nowi into pretty much any other class – the Wyvern flying classes are popular alternatives for example – but we tend to prefer keeping her as a Manakete. She’s very powerful in her transforming class, and whilst it can be useful to shift her around to grab some skills, this is a pretty big investment for one single unit. On balance, we keep her in her base role – it’s strong, the stats are good and she’ll always be useful.
Upon finding Libra for the first time, we were all impressed by the War Monk, after all its a class with both magic and axes, what’s not to like? Well after a few chapters, it becomes clear that he’s not quite the world beater we expected. War Monk certainly has potential, but Libra is much more suited to slinging heals and spells from afar. You could keep him in his base role and reset his stats, but those physical attacks are never going to match up to others in your team, besides which the magical options available will likely do even more damage in the Sage role.
The Sniper class is undervalued in Fire Emblem: Awakening. In fact, the archer class in general is looked down upon in Fire Emblem games – they’re squishy, often have low damage potential and require more thought than strong melee attackers.
The existence of SpotPass however, means that you can get your hands on quite a few Longbows, which resurrect this forlorn class. We’re never short on staff users, so we like to make Anna our Sniper. Her stats mean she’ll always be at least somewhat useful, and our front lines are full already, so why clog it up with more Hero fodder?
It’s quite rare that a unit is ideally suited to the role that they come with, but in this case Tharja is an ideal Sorcerer. Her starting statistics are fantastic, and whilst you can stop off in another class to get some more skills, she’s ideally suited for the class. Her defences are more than capable of dealing with any ranged attack going, and her attacks, counter or otherwise, will likely completely finish anything dumb enough to challenge her. Things get a little ridiculous when she gets her hands on Nosferatu tomes – it’s almost unfair.
The Dancer class in Awakening, just like every other Fire Emblem game in which they appear, is almost too good. Their ability to give your units another turn is just too much to pass up, and when you start adding skills like Galeforce into the mix, the possibilities for abuse just keep totting up. Olivia will always be squishy as all hell, so you’ll obviously have to be very careful when using her, but this is something that can easily be covered with the Pair Up command.
Lucina is one of the main ‘power’ units in Awakening, and if we’re honest she can turn her hand to pretty much anything. She comes ready made as a Lord, and we recommend that you max her out as a Great Lord first. This should be easy enough thanks to her great statistics. Once this is done, we like to move her over to the Assassin role. It’s super powerful, her stats will be fantastic and the skills she’s gotten her hands on will compliment her already high combat potency.
Late joining flying units always occupy a strange position in a Fire Emblem title. You’ve already committed to your main squeezes, so it feels like there’s little room in your troop for another to pop in. This is true of Cherche too, so we tend to push her into the more unorthodox Valkyrie class. The staff access is useful, and the availability of powerful tomes mean she’ll still be able to contribute some damage where required.
Given that Henry starts out somewhat grown, we like to push him into the Dark Knight role. Our theoretical army is going to be chock full of Sorcerers, and we find that Henry performs well in the Knight role. His sword skills will suffer at first of course, but his mounted versatility means he’ll be able to deliver damage from a greater distance, which more than makes up for his lack of melee skills.
Say’ri turns up with some good statistics and reasonable damage output, both of which are nice benefits. Unfortunately she turns up roughly when all of the child units do, most of which have much more potential than she does. For this reason, and the limited experience available for the remainder of the game, we keep her as a Swordmaster. She’ll do well at the fringes of the front line, and whilst she’s unlikely to win any awards for damage, she can do a job and chip in where needed.
Basilio suffers from the same issue as Say’ri, and indeed Flavia below, in that they join when a deluge of superior units are available. Most players tend to bench this chap, which we feel is quite a shame. We’re not going to claim he’s amazing, or indeed anywhere near as good as the child units can be, but we actually found that he makes for a passable General. He can choke a few points and keep on giving, albeit in a limited factor at the end game.
Thankfully, despite falling into the same bracket as Basilio and Say’ri, Flavia has some good growths and a good amount of Speed to work with. Hero then, is a natural progression for her. She’ll be able to put up some good damage and take a few hits where necessary. Late game she’ll fall off, but that’s kind of expected for a late joining, first generation unit.
Much like Nowi earlier, we find it best to keep Tiki in her base Manakete role. The class is very versatile and the weapons available mean that damage won’t be in short supply. With all of the units available by the time Tiki joins she’s not going to see that much use by most players, but keeping her as a Manakete will at least make sure she can contribute when needed.
Thanks to one of his parents, Owain is always going to excel when it comes to a magic using class, despite that which he arrives in. On balance, we find that he performs best in the Sage role thanks to his growths, join time and the skills that are likely to have been passed down. Owain soon becomes one of our ‘star’ units, and should you choose to push him down the same route, he’ll likely worm his way into your permanent starting positions too.
It’s possible to place Inigo pretty much anywhere, class-wise. His great stats, growths and parent mean that he can turn his hand to pretty much anything. We’ve settled on Hero here because he has a great Strength stat, along with respectable stat maximums pretty much everywhere else. He’ll be useful when he joins and likely last all the way to the end game too, providing you give him a little love at the start.
You’ll probably be aware that both Sorcerer and Sage are pretty much the best pure magic slinging classes in Awakening, so it generally comes down to one single decision when you have a good unit available to you: Attacking unit, or more of a supportive role?
That being said, we’ve always had more success pushing Brady into an attacking role. Something about his statistics, or perhaps even his look, just screams ‘likes to throw dark magic spells at enemies’. Your mileage may vary of course, but his stats are good enough to adapt to anything in the end.
Those sneaky eyes couldn’t be anything but an Assassin now could they? The class is of course fantastically powerful, and it’s bolstered even further by being inhabited with a second gen unit, each of which tend to be better statistically speaking. Severa will excel in this role, managing to completely shred your enemies whilst simultaneously being able to take a hit thanks to those stats.
With a mask like that, was there really any other option here? Well yes, of course there is, but Gerome actually suits the role very well. High physical attacking stats are pretty much all that’s required, and his parent can pass down skills useful for the role. Besides, whilst we’re not huge fans of the thematic matching thing when deciding roles, this one just feels too good to pass up.
Were we playing the whole ‘Canon’ thing, which it should be pretty obvious that we’re not, then Kjelle would be a General… But we’ve made our feelings clear there before. Awakening isn’t exactly brimming with ‘Defend’ chapters and most require you to do at least a bit of movement, which is essentially why we pick Great Knight. It’s still very defensively sound, only this time she can join most fights before they’re over, bonus!
Given the parent in question Morgan has tremendous capability, so whilst we’re recommending Grandmaster here, you can really go for anything you want in the end. The skills from this class are fantastic however, so you’ll want to make sure to grab all of them before moving on to anything else. Most tend to go for something like Sorcerer, since those excellent stats will make Morgan fantastic at tanking damage and healing it up with the Nosferatu tome.
Whilst Laurent is clearly destined for a magic based role, it still feels a bit annoying to recommend the Sorcerer class once again. It is a fantastic class all told, and in this case it’s just far too difficult to see such a powerful option without picking it. Again, the powerful dark tomes are just too good to ignore. Their defences might not be as high as some others, but Laurent will put out huge amounts of damage regardless.
For the longest time we struggled to find a home for Cynthia, but in choosing a magic user for her father on the majority of occasions, we have to say that the Dark Flier class is by far the best. Her statistics almost guide her there, and the skills that she’ll inherit means she’ll immediately be fighting for a place in your first team squad. We’re not even too bothered about Galeforce frankly, we just love having a flying magic unit with such high damage potential.
It’s clear that Noire can easily swing towards the magic end of the class spectrum, given some of the parent choices. We tend to take her a different direction however, and lean directly into her base choice. In the latter half of the game, having a powerful Sniper actually has some real benefits – yes we’re aware that having a magic unit would get the ability to counter from all ranges, but when your 1 range areas are packed with amazing units, having a very powerful and fast Sniper can make a big difference, especially when tackling high Resistance units.
Given our choice of father for Yarne – Vaike, for the record – the Berserker class makes a great deal of sense. His statistics will already be focusing in the right direction, and the skills can give him a real foot up. His mother can give him the skills that make him a hyper powerful Taguel, but we always tend to end up making him a Berserker, mainly thanks to the 1-2 range weapons that he can use to counter attack on the enemy turn.
There are a tremendous amount of options for Nah, but we always tend to choose a father that’s tremendously capable from a defensive perspective. Going this direction makes Nah a defensive powerhouse. What becomes of this is a unit that’s capable of taking down entire maps on her own, and one that really doesn’t need any class chance thanks to the power of their weapons. Father Frederick would be proud… Just try not to think about the relationship that cultivated this outcome…
Categories: Fire Emblem: Awakening