Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

The 5 Worst Units In The Game | Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

Unlike many other games, determining the worst units is rather easy in a Fire Emblem game, after all the games are at their core simply dressed up mathematics. Still, things can get a little messy when you start to consider their joining time, recruitment requirements and the undertaking of optional chapters. In the case of Shadow Dragon then, we’ve decided to restrict ourselves somewhat, to those characters available in the normal course of play; no Gaiden chapters or units exclusively available in Normal mode. Happily there’s still quite the stock to choose from, and after a prolonged period of consideration, the following five sank to the bottom…


5. Est

Est, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

Honestly, having spawned the ‘Est’ archetype for the series, is there any wonder that she makes her way onto this list? This frail and flimsy flyer joins the team at a very late point in the game, no doubt attempting to join what is likely to be a band of superstar performers by now, and her attempt at justification is that she has… Terrible base stats? Yes, it’s possible to make her work and yes, you do have enough chapters left to do so, but you’ll have to funnel experience like never before, and there are much better options for this that join earlier and end up stronger. You could argue that she has flying going for her, but as per the above, a great deal of your other units will also have this by now, rendering her entirely obsolete.

Unit Highlights

  • Est is the progenitor of the ‘Est’ archetype, which describes a weak, late joining unit that requires a great deal of work to bring up to speed.
  • Theoretically, these types of units can be powerful, however it’s almost never worth the effort compared to other units in your team.
  • Base statistics on Est are terrible, and whilst her growths are OK, they’re nothing to write home about, especially in a team that likely features the likes of Sedgar and Wolf.
  • Shadow Dragon is inexplicably filled with late joining flying units, almost all of which work out better than Est thanks to their joining time or higher bases.

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4. Rickard

Rickard, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

The Blazing Blade got it right when they provided you with Legault, a late game Thief that became available. This is ideal because the first Thief in any Fire Emblem game is unlikely to see a great deal of combat, and as such their statistics fall behind significantly. The addition of a higher level version then, helps to mitigate the risk of using a Thief that is so weak they can be killed in one hit.

Sadly the same cannot be said for Shadow Dragon, where your first choice of Thief is joined rather soon after by Rickard, an even weaker version. We understand the theory, that perhaps you did not recruit the first, or they were slain in battle, but handing the player a weaker version of what is effectively a non-combat unit is a little harsh. Then again, this is par for the course when it comes to Shadow Dragon, but that doesn’t make Rickard any less terrible…

Unit Highlights

  • Essentially a backup Thief, and not a good version like later Fire Emblem examples. 
  • Very poor statistically, with limited growths and terrible bases.
  • Unlikely to see battle whatsoever, and whilst that’s not really the point of a Thief, it will eventually become very difficult to have them avoid absolutely everything.
  • Fantastic option for a sacrificial, Gaiden unlocking lamb.

3. Draug

Draug, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

In some ways we can understand the issue that the developers had with the statistics in Fire Emblem. In order to make certain classes worthwhile they needed their own base stats, and to allow customisation the characters must also have their own bases. This also works with growths, combining to define how a unit grows and performs all in one. The problem begins when you must determine where to put your allocations; give most of the stats to the unit and they’ll be too good in any class, but give them to the class and you risk making multiple units overpowered.

In the case of Draug then, his Defence and Speed had to be manipulated in order to make him fit the Armour Knight class, which in itself is pretty terrible in Shadow Dragon. This means you have two choices with Draug; keep him in the very poor Armour Knight and General class, which can only possibly rise to greatness in the hands of uber-growths Sedgar and Wolf, or change his class. Upon changing you’ll get a unit that’s capable of reasonable amounts of speed but… Nothing else. So whilst he’s third in our list of worst units in Shadow Dragon, he’s also somehow present on a list of his own, in which characters are suited to no classes at all. Some will argue that he can be made a Dark Mage, and whilst we agree he can perform to an almost reasonable standard, the game is filled with countless better options than this.

Unit Highlights

  • His high starting Defence is entirely due to the Armour Knight class, and it will barely grow, meaning he becomes bad at the role after a few chapters.
  • His Speed will grow fairly well, but not good enough to challenge others, especially with his deliberately ruined Defence rating.
  • Can find uses for his Speed in other classes, but it will be paired with poor additional stats. Most opt for a Dark Mage, since they’re unlikely to see direct combat, but even here he performs poorly.
  • Alongside our number one slot, he’s probably the closest that you’ll get to a ‘meme’ character of sorts.
  • After the aforementioned few chapters he will be completely outclassed by pretty much every other member of your team, with the possible exception of a choice at the bottom of this list.

2. Arran

Arran, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

We’ll preface our judgement of Arran, which you’ve no doubt determined isn’t exactly glowing thanks to his position here, by saying that we absolutely understand the point of his statistics. For those unaware, Arran is best described as a ‘sickly’ character within the lore, which is used to justify his poor numbers. Now, we would readily accept such things were it perhaps one of his statistics that were terrible, however they all are, and in a game that features the knuckle biting Hard 5 difficulty, we’re inclined to be reduce him to the statistical non-event that he is, after all sometimes our powerful units find themselves in equivalent sickly positions and Shadow Dragon certainly doesn’t seem to care about us.

We’d have it no other way of course, so the long story short is that Arran is a late joining, statistically very weak Paladin that is attempting to join the ranks of a team that likely has some early joining, statistically powerful Paladins already present. This was never going to end well now, was it? Happily the chapter in which he joins features two villages to choose from, which allows us the opportunity to give you the very best advice we can: Ignore both of them and move on with your life.

Unit Highlights

  • Very low statistics and growths, albeit with a story reason attached.
  • We should note, his intention is to die in battle, something his stats will certainly allow him to do with ease.
  • Were he to join in the very early game, he might see some use, however when he becomes available there will be countless better options in your team. 
  • Technically speaking, between Arran and Samson we consider the Paladin the better choice. Neither are good, but Arran comes with a Killer Lance that we can pilfer.

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1. Gordin

Gordin, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

To any long time readers of our content, it’ll likely come as no surprise that an early game archer is top (bottom?) of our list for worst units. Then again, the progenitor of said early class and unit combination tends to take the cake all by himself. Not only is Gordin a particularly weak unit, managing to combine poor bases and growths whilst occupying a weak class, but he’s also to blame for spawning a litany of feeble, early joining ranged characters, like Leonardo and Virion.

This is not to say that we don’t understand the premise. Making a powerful early game archer would be difficult to balance of course, but surely something in the statistical growth department could alleviate these issues? Is it really an issue that a ranged character becomes powerful in the mid game, especially when Shadow Dragon features a ridiculously powerful version of the Javelin?

Ironically, the very same game shows us how it should be done with Jorge. He comes along and joins your team at an opportune moment, having just enough levels, equipment and weapon experience to be tremendously helpful for at least a third of the game. By contrast, Gordin has very low bases, limited growth rates, begins in a class with very low movement and immediately becomes outclassed by every other character. Why bother with an archer when your flying unit can safely throw Javelins whilst moving almost twice as far, especially when the unit in question has terrible statistics? We’d accept the argument that he’s a victim of circumstance were it not for that awful stat sheet.

Unit Highlights

  • Low base stats and poor growths mean Gordin never finds a place in the team.
  • You could argue that it’s the Archer class itself, however his base stats are poor no matter the class choice.
  • Were he considered to be useful in any class at all, the archer is not helped by Shadow Dragon, including a powerful version of the Javelin, which can be used by countless others to better effect.
  • As always, you can make any unit work in Fire Emblem, especially on lower difficulty levels, but if you creep upwards into the increments of Hard in Shadow Dragon, he’ll immediately fail.
  • Speaking of difficulty, he’s the optimal choice for a decoy on Normal mode. Every other character will perform better than him, either in the very same chapter or in subsequent battles.

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