Characters having their own Personal Skills is quite unusual in the Fire Emblem series. There have always been skills and abilities to learn, but for each and every unit to have their own singular feature such as this is quite the anomaly. We’re not complaining of course, after all this is a series that takes joy in peeling away layers of complexity and sucking the player in, but adding these skills does raise a question: Which characters gain the most from their innate ability? Today then, we’ve put together a list of those that, in our opinion, stand out from the crowd.
- Hunter’s Boon: +20 crit when your opponent has less than 50% HP.
Honestly, it’s probably for the best that Petra’s persona skill isn’t near the top of this list, after all she’s a hairs breadth away from approaching Felix levels of performance. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, after all it’s tenth on our list, it’s just not quite up there with the very best. We tend to view it as a bit of a bonus, an addition to an otherwise excellent unit that helps push her a little further forward from the pack. Obviously it has limited uses, but when you start coming up against very high health units and monsters, you’ll start to notice it doing some work.
- Useful against high health opponents, which become more frequent as the game progresses.
- Monsters and boss units generally have high HP, giving Petra even more opportunity to crit.
- As Petra grows she’ll often gain a high critical chance naturally, meaning an extra 20 can push it into very high territories.
- Perseverance: Any Rally cast on an ally will also grant +4 Strength.
As a unit Annette seems destined to struggle. Pushed in her canon direction, that of a mage or hybrid mage type, she never seems to perform well, seemingly held back by poor statistical growths and ill-advised skills. She does have one very good selling point however: Rally skills. Levelling her Authority skill will open up a variety of Rally buffs, which temporarily increase the given statistics of a target unit. Interacting with these is her personal skill, which flatly applies a Strength Rally to any unit that she uses the skill on. By the time the late game rolls around she’ll be able to apply a staggering 4 buffs (STR, RES, SPD and Movement) all in one! So whilst she clearly has some shortfalls as a unit, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better option for a purely supporting role.
- Brings purpose to an otherwise middling unit.
- Useful skill for those mid battle movement sessions.
- In a flying role of sorts Annette can service units in a great radius.
- King of Grappling: When Balthus’ HP is below 50% he gains +6 Strength and Defence.
If we’re honest, it’s quite unusual to find us recommending a skill that requires a unit to have a given percentage of HP. Abilities such as these tend to become tertiary considerations, considered only in the rarest of circumstances. In the case of Balthus however, we find a character that is ideally suited to spend a great deal of time on low HP, especially if you consider shifting him into a defensive role. Should you follow our advice, it’s not unusual to find Balthus scampering across the map, taking on whole swathes of physical enemies alone. His propensity for brawling only emphasises this, to the point where we’re often shocked just how much damage he can pump out.
- Ideal for a defensive Balthus build.
- 6 Strength is one of the best personal buffs possible.
- Effectiveness is increased further by the power of brawler weapons.
- Confidence: When Ferdinand is at full HP he gains +15 Hit and Avoid.
Much like our first entry, Ferdinand has a persona skill that manages to augment his use without pushing him into overpowered territory. As a unit he’s perfectly viable in almost any role, likely to do a good amount of damage and be a reliable rock in the middle of your team. The skill in question is actually better in practice too, since continued avoidance of attacks will allow him to remain at full health, thus extending it’s use. Additionally, should you decide to explore some higher difficulty levels then the additional hit chance will come in very handy, albeit against more accurate opponents.
- Builds on an already strong unit.
- It’s effectiveness multiplies for every attack dodged early in battles.
- The additional hit gains in effectiveness as the difficulty rises.
- Persecution Complex: When Bernadetta is not at full HP she gains +5 Attack.
To the uninitiated, Bernadetta’s personal skill can seem like such a strange choice. She’s shuffled into the archer role by most, which does make sense given her statistics, and as such it makes even less sense that you need her to be below full health to make this work. Happily the developers have provided quite a few opportunities to make this activate, like levelling up for example, or using a health increasing consumable. You can even use a cursed weapon for one round to take damage before switching it out. It may take a little more work than usual, but a free +5 damage for an otherwise fairly powerful unit is nothing to sniff at.
- Pushes Bernadetta’s damage into a good territory.
- May seem difficult to activate, but there are actually a lot of options.
- Powerful in the early game, especially when levels come easily.
- Watchful Eye: Ignatz innately has +20 Hit at all times.
He might be a rather unassuming lad, and we might add not exactly a powerful unit in the grand scheme of things, he does have one thing going for him: His personal skill. See, as the difficulty levels rise in Three Houses, so too do the statistics of your opponents, and a key output of this is that their avoidance will increase. You’re probably putting two and two together here already, but it’s worth bearing in mind that some units are already difficult to hit, even at a base difficulty level. As such we have a rather strange unit that starts out as quite unnecessary, but gains in value as you take on greater and greater challenges, all thanks to this personal skill.
- Increased usefulness at higher difficulties.
- Allows for more accurate ranged combat arts.
- Brings a weak unit up to speed somewhat.
- Distinguished House: When Lorenz has a Battalion equipped he deals +2 damage.
Any player familiar with Lorenz will no doubt know that his statistics and growths push him into a hybrid type of role. His magic stat will grow just as much as his strength stat, and this often results in a unit that can be considered a jack of all trades. It’s possible to push him in either direction of course, thanks to the durable class system in Three Houses, but he’s unlikely to outperform more ‘focused’ units. All that being the case, we’re always super appreciative for his personal skill – 2 extra damage is not to be sniffed at, and tends to keep him relevant no matter the situation.
- A nice and easy passive buff to Lorenz.
- Works with any build you choose to go for.
- Like the opposite of Felix… Only not as good.
- Mastermind: Lysithea gains double the usual amount of experience.
For those unaware, Lysithea is the epitome of a glass cannon mage in Three Houses. Her sheer magical might can make even the most hardy of opponents crumble. This being a Fire Emblem game, and as such a game inclined to balance things out a little, her faults come from a defensive standpoint: She has little to no defences. There are ways around this of course, chief among which is to shuffle her into bigger and better classes each replete with better movement or utility skills. Suffice to say then that her skill, which essentially just doubles all skill experience points, is a fantastic one. Whether you’re looking to push her into one of the new DLC classes or just pushing for those elusive ‘S’ grades as early as possible, it’s a delight to watch those bars move up that quickly.
- Allows Lysithea to quickly gather powerful skills.
- Enables some late game class changes to grab an even greater skill variety.
- Early access to more powerful spells if you focus on a single spell type.
- Monstrous Appeal: All of Hapi’s attacks deal extra damage to monsters, but she’s more likely to be targeted by them.
Upon initial inspection, both Hapi and her personal skill don’t seem like anything special. As a unit she appears to be a rather generic caster type, destined to join the queue for another hybrid healer and damage role. Dig a little deeper however, and a fantastically powerful unit is revealed. Not only does Hapi have access to some fantastic skills, particularly in her offensive arsenal, but her personal skill also rises in relevance and the game progresses. Demons and monsters become commonplace as the game takes a tour around the supernatural, and the ability to do increased damage becomes more and more critical.
- Rises in usefulness as monsters become more prevalent.
- Her increased chance to be targeted can be a benefit, especially against magic damage based enemies.
- The increase in damage rises along with Hapi’s spell damage.
- Lone Wolf: Felix deals 5 extra damage when he has no Battalion equipped, or if his Battalion has zero endurance.
We’ve spoken at length previously about the qualities of Felix, as have many others. Were we to consider power levels in a Fire Emblem title, then he surely approaches those of the house leaders, perhaps even surpassing some of them. Physical attackers come no better than Felix, and his personal skill only adds to this. It is likely that, by the time the end game rolls around at least, it becomes defunct, but for the majority of any route through Three Houses this is just free damage on top of an already highly damaging unit.
- Builds on an already tremendously powerful unit.
- Felix will not have a Battalion… But he’ll likely kill whatever he attacks anyway.
- Some late game Battalions may give him more benefits, but refer to our previous point when weighing up your options.
Categories: Fire Emblem: Three Houses