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The Myrmidon is one of the oldest character classes in the Fire Emblem. The perennial sword user class, the Myrmidon, has appeared in every Fire Emblem except Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem.
Full of fan-favorite characters, the Myrmidon class has a rich history.
In Spirit, if not in name.
While Myrmidons did not officially exist in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, the game did have an important character: Navarre. Keep that name in mind.
The Myrmidon’s First Official Appearance
The first appearance of the Myrmidon in the series came with the release of the second game, Fire Emblem Gaiden. However, it did not exist as the Myrmidon class that we know now. In Gaiden, the Myrmidon was the second-tier promotion class of Mercenary units. Myrmidons could then promote into the Dread Fighter class.
As a promoted class, Myrmidons were pretty good units in Gaiden. The weapon triangle did not exist yet, eliminating their future weakness to lance users. Myrmidons in Gaiden were just in name only, as their bases, growths, and functionality were akin to that of the Hero class.
Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776: The Middle Road
Genealogy of the Holy War made some changes to classes. The Mercenary class doesn’t exist in this game, replaced as a first-tier class by the Myrmidon.
The Myrmidon class still wasn’t fleshed out in this game, however. Most Myrmidon characters leaned towards Mercenary-like stat spreads and growth rates. The Myrmidon had two promotions in Genealogy of the Holy War: Swordmaster and Forrest. Marking the debut of the Swordmaster, Genealogy of the Holy War made great strides in making the Myrmidon stand out as its own class.
Thracia 776: Furthering the Divide Between Myrmidon and Mercenary
Thracia 776 continued the thread set in Genealogy of the Holy War, with Myrmidons faring much better than in the previous game regarding viability.
Thracia reversed the previous design choice of Mercenaries promoting to Myrmidons. Instead, Mercenary was a promotion choice for Myrmidons, alongside Swordmaster.
Binding Blade: Introduction of the Real Myrmidon Class
The sixth game in the series, Fire Emblem: Binding Blade, marks the introduction of the modern-day Myrmidon. Post Binding Blade, there have been some buffs, nerfs, and other modifications to the class, but generally speaking, Myrmidon characters function roughly the same.
But wait, what is the Myrmidon class, exactly? I suppose that now would be the best time to delve into those details.
What Makes a Myrmidon?
Myrmidons are sword-locked infantry units. They generally have high Speed and Skill growth rates and cap out those skills quickly. They also have respectable to good luck growths.
Their Strength growths typically range from average to poor. This can become problematic if you get screwed over too much, as your Myrmidon will struggle to deal damage against high Defense units.
What Myrmidons lack in raw power, they make up for in crit potential. With high accuracy and the ability to double most enemies in the game, their high crit rate makes them great boss killers and dangerous foes. Many Myrmidons come with a Killing Edge, making them great damage dealers from the start.
Myrmidons are glass cannons. They have very high HP growth rates but atrocious Defense and Resistance, which cancels out their respectable HP. Myrmidons have access to swords like Light Brand, which gives them a ranged attack option. However, these are rare and usually come late in the game. As a result, Myrmidons are extremely vulnerable to ranged and magic users.
Myrmidons have low Constitution stats and suffer speed penalties when using heavier swords like the Steel Blade. They still maintain the ability to double slow enemies, even with these penalties. Against faster enemies, their ability to double is inconsistent.
Because of their low Constitution, Myrmidons are terrible at rescuing other units. Conversely, their poor Constitution means you can rescue them with nearly any unit. Something that comes in handy in a lot of scenarios.
Myrmidons can make for solid early promotion units (Particularly lower-tier Myrmidons in the franchise). The immediate stat bonuses and crit chance increases from promoting can help alleviate their Strength issues.
The Myrmidon’s traditional promotion (Not including Shadow Dragon’s ability to re-class units) is the Swordmaster. The primary benefit of promoting a Myrmidon to a Swordmaster is the critical rate increase, as critical hits make up the brunt of their offensive potential.
The Navarre Archetype
Remember how I said keep the name Navarre in mind?
Navarre is a Mercenary in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and stands out from the other Mercenaries and Heroes in the game. While the others function like typical modern-day Mercenaries and Heroes, Navarre was more fragile and focused on speed. In other words, Navarre unintentionally set the foundation for what would become the modern-day Myrmidon class.
But this isn’t the only reason the Navarre Archetype exists. Myrmidons that fall under this archetype are early-game (Usually your first) Myrmidons, usually equipped with a Killing Edge. They start as enemy units who defect to your side by specific characters speaking to them on the battlefield.
Along with in-game functionality and stats, the Navarre Archetype also refers to characters’ personalities and story beats. Most of them are mercenaries (As in the job, not the class), who may or may not be working with bandits at the start. They’re usually quiet and reserved, and one of their closest affinity partners is a loud and upbeat female companion.
Navarre Archetype Myrmidons are skilled swordsmen and swordswomen lore-wise and aim to be the best of all time and actively seek out strong opponents. Many of them end up disappearing after the conclusion of their game’s events.
Not every Myrmidon that falls under the Navarre Archetype matches every characteristic (Like Joshua or Guy), but all have distinct similarities to the original Myrmidon.
How Many Playable Myrmidons Exist in Fire Emblem?
There has been a total of 28 Myrmidons in the Fire Emblem series thus far.
- Deen (Gaiden, Echoes: Shadow of Valentia)
- Ayra (Genealogy of the Holy War)
- Chulainn (Genealogy of the Holy War)
- Larcei (Genealogy of the Holy War)
- Creidne (Genealogy of the Holy War)
- Scáthach (Genealogy of the Holy War)
- Dalvin (Genealogy of the Holy War)
- Machyua (Thracia 776)
- Shiva (Thracia 776)
- Mareeta (Thracia 776)
- Troude (Thracia 776)
- Rutger (The Binding Blade)
- Fir (The Binding Blade)
- Guy (The Blazing Blade)
- Joshua (The Sacred Stones)
- Marisa (The Sacred Stones)
- Mia (Path of Radiance)
- Zihark (Path of Radiance)
- Edward (Radiant Dawn)
- Navarre (Shadow Dragon, New Mystery of the Emblem)
- Athena (Shadow Dragon, New Mystery of the Emblem)
- Radd (Shadow Dragon, New Mystery of the Emblem)
- Samuel (New Mystery of the Emblem)
- Malice (New Mystery of the Emblem)
- Lon’qu (Awakening)
- Owain (Awakening, Warriors)
- Anna (Three Houses)
- Yashiro Tsurugi (Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE)
How Many Playable Swordmasters Exist in Fire Emblem?
There has been a total of 25 pre-promoted Swordmasters in the Fire Emblem series so far.
- Shannan (Genealogy of the Holy War)
- Eyvel (Thracia 776, Awakening)
- Shannam (Thracia 776)
- Karel (The Binding Blade, The Blazing Blade, Awakening)
- Karla (The Blazing Blade)
- Ismaire (The Sacred Stones)
- Stefan (Path of Radiance, Radiant Dawn, Awakening)
- Lucia (Path of Radiance, Radiant Dawn, Awakening)
- Zihark (Radiant Dawn)
- Mia (Radiant Dawn)
- Say’ri (Awakening)
- Yen’fay (Awakening)
- Navarre (Awakening)
- Deen (Awakening)
- Athena (Awakening)
- Ayra (Awakening)
- Seliph (Awakening)
- Larcei (Awakening)
- Mareeta (Awakening)
- Lyn (Awakening)
- Marisa (Awakening)
- Lloyd (Awakening)
- Ryoma (Fates: Birthright, Revelation, Warriors)
- Catherine (Three Houses)
- Byleth (Three Houses)
Post Binding Blade: More Ups and Downs than a Rollercoaster
Unfortunately for Myrmidon fans, Binding Blade was the absolute peak for the class. Since then, it’s been a rocky road with no marshmallows.
In Binding Blade, Myrmidons get a massive 30% boost to critical hit chance after promoting to Swordmasters. Swordmasters received an immediate nerf in Blazing Blade, now only getting a 15% boost instead of 30%. Even with hard mode bonuses, Blazing Blade’s resident Navarre archetype, Guy, fails to be anything higher than a mid-tier character.
Karel from Binding Blade returns as a Gotoh archetype. He has ludicrous growth rates and great bases, but he shows up several chapters before the game’s finale. He is also one level beneath the level cap, so his growth rates don’t matter much.
In The Sacred Stones, players can get their hands on two Myrmidons: Joshua and Marisa. Joshua is a typical Myrmidon; strong in the early game and can double nearly everyone, but falls off a little later due to possessing all the Myrmidon’s weaknesses.
Marisa shows up midway through the story, under-leveled and worse than Joshua in every way. It will take serious babying and arena grinding to turn Marisa into a unit worth using.
The Scared Stones introduced the option of promoting Myrmidons into Assassins instead of Swordmasters, but Swordmaster remains the ideal promotion for Myrmidons. All in all, an underwhelming showing by The Sacred Stones Myrmidons.
Path of Radiance introduced the Astra skill for the Swordmaster class. It allows a Swordmaster to attack five times when the skill is activated. However, it’s a flawed skill. Your weapon gets used up five times regardless of whether you hit an enemy five times (If they die in two hits, you still lose five weapon uses). You also only do half the damage when using Astra.
Myrmidons/Swordmasters improved in Radiant Dawn, receiving a third-tier class in the Trueblade. Trueblades have a chance to use Astra at full damage instead of half, and the Myrmidons here stand out more than in Path of Radiance.
Shadow Dragon introduces Navarre (And Radd) as proper Myrmidons, but Navarre is actually worse in the remake than he was in the original. In the follow-up New Mystery of the Emblem, Myrmidons did get better but still weren’t top tier. And that’s pretty much been the formula ever since. Myrmidons constantly go back and forth between pretty good and pretty terrible.
Is the Myrmidon Class Good?
Yes and no.
The Myrmidon is usually great in the early game as a character that can double pretty much any enemy. They function as great boss killers. A standard strategy for maps where the objective is to just kill the boss is to have a mounted unit ferry your Myrmidon to the boss and 1HKO them. At the very least, early game Myrmidons have value by providing your team with a Killing Edge.
However, Myrmidons have a lot of flaws. They are locked to swords in a series with a high density of lance users. Being locked to any weapon is bad. But in some games, swords are arguably the worst weapon type. They have low Con and suffer speed penalties when using heavier blades to make up for their low Strength, which partially negates the value of their high speed.
As any Fire Emblem player can tell you, the RNG gods are real, and they are merciless. If they curse your Myrmidon with poor Strength gains, they may be borderline useless in later chapters. Myrmidons are extremely fragile with terrible Defense and Resistance. Even against axe users, one lucky hit is enough to put a Myrmidon in the danger zone. They’re infantry units with poor movement, and a lot of the maps are quite large. They have terrible Aid and can barely rescue anyone. Outside of combat, they have virtually no utility.
What makes the Myrmidon class so tricky to grade is how inconsistent the class has been in the three decades Fire Emblem has been around. Take the Cavalier class, for example. Are there bad Cavalier units? Yes. But overall, the Cavalier is a dominant class, and in some games, borderline broken. There is a consistency there that the Myrmidon class lacks.
There are good Myrmidons after Binding Blade, but overall, it’s a shaky class. If I had to give it a grade, I would place the Myrmidon class at the lower end of the B-tier.
Who is the best Myrmidon in Fire Emblem?
The best Myrmidon in any Fire Emblem game is Rutger from The Binding Blade. Quite easily.
As I stated earlier, Binding Blade was the peak for the Myrmidon class. Not only is Rutger the best Myrmidon in the series, but he is arguably the best character in The Binding Blade period. A game with a fair share of top-tier units. And despite Rutger having the usual Myrmidon flaws.
The 30% critical hit chance Rutger gets from Swordmaster promotion is immense. With the Wo Dao sword and A/B support with Clarine and Dieck, Rutger’s critical hit chance exceeds 100%. He destroys nearly everyone in the game.
Question: If the Myrmidon class is so inconsistent, are most Myrmidons even worth using?
Answer: Generally speaking, so long as you are a skilled player and aren’t playing on the highest difficulty, you can use any unit you want. I like using an Archer or two in every playthrough, and Archers are as bottom tier a class can get. If you like a character, use them! Just be prepared to give them some TLC to keep them alive.
Question: Who is the best Myrmidon after Rutger?
Answer: Probably Ryoma from Birthright (Though he is a pre-promoted Swordmaster, not a Myrmidon). Not only is Ryoma the second-best Swordmaster, but he is one of the better pre-promoted units in modern Fire Emblem.
Question: Who is your favorite unviable Myrmidon?
Answer: My favorite after Rutger and Joshua would have to be Marisa. Yes, she’s pretty terrible and requires a lot of babying to keep alive, but The Sacred Stones is laughably easy, and I like her personality.
It pains me to be a little hard on Myrmidons, as I like a lot of them, but I can’t lie and say this is a top-tier class. It isn’t. But there are a lot of useful Myrmidons throughout the series. Even if they don’t maintain their usefulness for the entire campaign, every Fire Emblem game is a team effort. And Myrmidons make for good team players (Mostly in the first half).
Do you have a favorite Myrmidon? Let me know!
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