Unfortunately, the faithful Great Knight doesn’t exactly have a great history in the Fire Emblem series. It all started with Draug of course, the original Shadow Dragon armoured knight that was no doubt named with tongue firmly pressed into cheek, and his poor performance unfortunately set the precedent for the series as a whole. From there the class has seen a few changes and updates, but the basic premise remains: A class with a huge physical defence, lower than usual resistance and a woeful ability to transport itself around the map. Happily Three Houses does manage to correct this somewhat, mainly thanks to open weapon choices and a Master class which mounts your chosen tank on a horse. As per usual however, the default class choices for each character aren’t exactly inspired, so who should you make your chunky, choke point holding ham hock?
Before you completely dismiss our first choice, which we’ll admit is unusual for a variety of reasons, consider that Lorenz never really feels like he belongs in any particular class. On the one hand his statistics lend himself to some kind of hybrid role, like a Mortal Savant for example, or a Dark Knight. Even occupying these classes however, Lorenz often fails to impress, regularly dealing less damage than others whilst also taking more. Nothing he seems to do quite manages to reach the heights of the very best; Felix, Petra, Sylvain and the like… So why an Armour Knight then?
The main reason behind this choice is Lorenz’ specific statistics. It’s worth noting that whilst he doesn’t have the best growth in any stat, almost all of them are not bad, and specifically his Resistance is very good – a rarity, at least compared to the canon choices of Raphael, Dedue and such. The actual class growths that Lorenz will experience during levelling will compliment these existing personal growths, and what you gain is a unit that has enough Defence to laugh at physical enemies, and more than enough Resistance to tank those deadly, armour slaying magical attacks.
Great Knight Highlights
- High Resistance growth, great for patching up the gap that armoured units have.
- Riding Boon will help to unlock the later armoured classes.
- No Bane in any of the other requirements, though they will take a little more time to level.
- Personal skill is a nice bonus, especially when armoured Battalions are quite powerful late on.
- Not really built for weapons other than the Lance, but this can be worked around.
Would it be rude to call Sylvain a budget Dimitri? Is that even an insult given the power of the Blue Lions’ leader? Either way the orange haired flirt is a very powerful unit, capable of turning his hand to almost any physical-based unit that Three Houses has to offer, which is slightly ironic given his single track mind outside of battle. He’s not without weaknesses; you’ll struggle to get him to take up a Bow for example, and his lower than usual Resistance can be a bit of an issue, but otherwise he’s a fantastic team mate. It’s also worth noting that he’s a breeze to recruit, to the point where players even report accidentally bringing him on board by dote of simply speaking to him a few times.
As an armoured unit his benefits are multiple. His Boons in both Axes and Riding mean that he’ll easily be able to qualify for the requisite classes, and his strong Strength, Speed and Defence growth mean that he’ll always be relevant no matter the situation. Things are improved further by his learning of strong Axe skills such as Spike and Lightning Axe, the latter of which deals magic damage, making him useful in defeating pesky armoured units. Much like Lorenz above, having Sylvain as Great Knight isn’t going to win him any damage awards, but he’ll be able to tank for days, choke plenty of points and throw out some very useful abilities.
Great Knight Highlights
- Good all round physical growths.
- Boons in both Axes and Riding means he’ll easily unlock classes.
- Good variation of Axe skills can make use of levelling it up.
- Very easy to recruit, ideal for the Black Eagles house, since their ‘canon’ armoured choice is Edelgard.
She’s brash, loudmouthed and almost certainly designed to be a scrappy, Fighter-like unit in the mould of Barst. In fact, during play we’d argue that Hilda reminds us most of Hector, and much like her outspoken brethren she performs fantastically well as a defensive unit. During the early game she plays very much like the Fighter moniker; she hits very hard, might double slower opponents and tends to take more damage than you’re comfortable with. Things don’t exactly improve in this regard either, with her limited defensive growths being paired with a lack of female brawler class to hit her with a double whammy of disappointment. You can of course just throw her up into the air, but if you’re anything like us you’ll be a little bored of the flying classes, so why not slap a huge amount of metal on her?
In a suit of heavy armour Hilda really comes to life. She has a Boon in Axes and a Budding Talent in Heavy Armour, ensuring that she’ll be able to adapt to the class quickly, and levelling these reveal some fantastic abilities like Spike and Seal Speed. Her statistics make even more sense in these classes too, since her Strength, Speed and Skill are good enough to perform well, and the classes themselves will lend a hand regarding her defence. Levelling riding can be a bit of a pain, and it’s a shame she doesn’t have a Boon in brawling despite the lack of classes, but otherwise she’s a super solid choice for a defensive class such as the Great Knight.
Great Knight Highlights
- Budding Talent in Heavy Armour, which reveals the fantastic Seal Speed ability, that reduces any attacker’s Speed stat by 6 points for the next turn.
- Supremely worth of levelling the Axe skill, due to fantastic skill selection including the excellent Diamond Axe.
- Good Strength and Speed growth means she’ll stay relevant throughout the game.
- The Great Knight class journey will help to plug her defensive shortcomings.
In many ways our next choice – Ferdinand von something – is the male version of Hilda, at least with regards to becoming a Great Knight. He is different in many ways of course, but he is essentially a unit that is designed to be another class, yet performs tremendously well in the more defensive of roles. You might be fed up of his battle cry, or indeed the millions of memes that it spawned, but it’s hard to deny just how good Ferdinand is on the battlefield.
His benefits in the role are very similar to Hilda, but he rises above slightly due to the inclusion of a few things; a Boon in riding, which makes levelling into the role a great deal easier, and slightly better offensive statistics, particularly Dexterity and Luck. These aren’t huge reasons to pick him over the alternatives, but then the scales do get tipped further by his choice of Axe skills, which include the fantastically useful Focused Strike, learned at ‘C’ Axes. All of this, along with his identical Budding Talent, pushes the meme master above Hilda for us, though we’ll admit it’s not enough of a difference to make us pivot completely when choosing the Golden Deer house.
Great Knight Highlights
- Also has the Budding Talent in Heavy Armour, revealing the Seal Speed ability. Should Ferdinand be attacked, then the enemy will suffer a 6 point reduction in Speed for the next round.
- Excellent statistical spread for a Great Knight.
- Great Boons, including Axe and Riding, mean he can easily quality for the class.
- Fantastic Axe skills make levelling it worthwhile.
- Easier to recruit than our previous choice, Hilda.
We’re not really huge fans of DLC recommendations. The theory goes that not all players are going to buy these expansion packs, so picking a unit exclusively available from their purchase can leave some readers out. When it comes to Great Knights however, it’s hard to ignore a unit that so perfectly fits it’s requirements. Unlike some other games the DLC – Cindered Shadows – is pretty enjoyable, so whilst you do have to complete it to unlock Balthus for your house, it’s not exactly a pain to do so.
Great Knight Balthus is an absolute monster, and it mainly comes down to one thing: Brawler weapons. Any Fire Emblem player that has taken the time to mess with this weapon type will know just how powerful they are, thanks in no small part for their ability to attack more than once. It just so happens then, that our muscle bound rogue has a Boon with such a weapon, and learns the fantastic Draining Blow and Mighty Blow skills. That’s not where the benefits end however, because Balthus’ stats seem to have been built with this class tree in mind; his Strength, Defence and even Resistance are high enough to perform well and whilst his Speed isn’t going to win any awards, it’s good enough for the role.
Look it’s just awesome having a chunky tank with a huge shield and one massive fist taking on the entire battlefield and surviving just fine, alright!?
Great Knight Highlights
- Ideal statistics for the role, being high in all essential statistics and even respectable in Speed.
- Brawling weapons attack twice, covering the classes Speed issues, and Balthus is ideally positioned to use these.
- Minimal recruitment requirements if you’ve completed the DLC.
- Excellent Axe and Brawling skills, the highlights of which are Mighty Blow and Armoured Strike.
- Perfect blend of Boons, Statistics and Skills for the Great Knight line of classes.
Categories: Fire Emblem: Three Houses