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Few classes in RPGs are as iconic as the Warrior. It’s a simple class to include, after all. And most importantly, typically the most accessible. In some games, like Arcanum, being a Warrior on your first playthrough is much easier than being a Magic or Ranged user.
But while the Warrior archetype is present in nearly every RPG, its functionality varies from game to game. Some specialize in using swords and shields, while others use great weapons like greataxes or warhammers. So, how does the Warrior in Fire Emblem stack up? Can the Warrior solo maps, or is this a unit best kept in the barracks? Let’s dive right in and find out.
History of the Warrior
The Warrior class got something of a late start and first appeared in Genealogy of the Holy War as the promotion class of the Axe Fighter, which temporarily replaced the Fighter class. Promotion granted them access to Bows to go alongside their axe usage.
In Thracia 776, the Warrior class returned, but as the promotion for the seldom-playable Brigand class. The Axe Fighter was still around but promoted to Mercenaries in this installment. The first pre-promoted Warrior in the series, Dagdar, also appears in Thracia 776.
The Modern Warrior
The Warrior class is one of the most consistent classes in Fire Emblem in that it has seen very few changes over the years. I suppose that’s fitting for the archetypical melee character. With the release of The Binding Blade, the Warrior established itself as the de facto promotion for the Fighter class. Until Fire Emblem Fates, the Warrior’s functionality was steady. There are two notable exceptions.
Intelligent Systems implemented a branching promotion system in The Sacred Stones. With it, Pirates, who traditionally promote to Berserkers, could also promote to Warriors. And Fighters, who traditionally promote to Warriors, could opt to promote to Heroes. In Radiant Dawn, Warriors lost access to Bows for the first time and picked up the ability to use Crossbows instead. Players could strengthen their Warriors further by promoting them to the tier 3 Reaver class.
In Fire Emblem Fates, the Warrior class would be absent for the very first time in the series. In its place was the Oni Chieftain class. A Hoshidan-only class, you could consider the Oni Chieftain to be the Warrior’s spiritual cousin. Only Oni Chieftains use Clubs instead of Axes. The Warrior was again absent in Echoes: Shadow of Valentia, but that makes sense since it was also not present in Fire Emblem Gaiden.
The Warrior class returned in Three Houses with two notable changes. The first is that it was no longer a male-exclusive class, with characters like Hilda serving as the first female Fighters in the series. The developers also decided to turn Warriors into exclusively Axe users in Three Houses, striping their promotional access to Bows. Instead, they gave Warriors some additional critical bonus to keep up with the Berserker, Fire Emblem’s other infantry Axe user class.
Skills of the Warrior
Does anybody remember that old Planet Fitness commercial where the guy constantly says, “I lift things up and put them down.”? That’s mostly how the Warrior works in Fire Emblem. Just replace things with axe and put with swing, and that’s the gist of it.
Throughout the series, Warriors have had access to just seven skills.
In Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, non-mounted units can shove units one adjacent tile away from them. It comes in handy with pushing a fragile or nearly-dead unit out of harm’s way or an offensive powerhouse into attack range of an enemy.
In Path of Radiance, the Colossus skill increases your damage by 25% if your Constitution is higher than your enemy’s Constitution.
In Radiant Dawn, the Colossus skill offers a flat 3X to the user’s Strength when used. As you would expect, that made Colossus much more potent.
Fire Emblem Awakening gave Warriors some support utility in the form of the Rally Strength skill. Your Warrior must be at least level 5 to use it.
When used, Rally Strength increases the Strength levels of allies within a 3-tile radius by 4 for a single turn. Rally Strength made Warriors great to pair with characters with Strength issues, like Archers or Pegasus Knights.
Awakening also gave Warriors a skill to help them survive longer.
Learnable by level 15 Warriors, Counter will dish back all the damage of an adjacent enemy back onto them. It doesn’t completely solve the survivability issues of the Warrior class, but it helps a great deal.
Axe Critical +10
In Three Houses, Warriors gain a flat +10 to their Critical Rate when they achieve S rank in Axes. With the removal of the ability to use Bows, the developers needed to give Warriors something to improve their performance now that they are Axe-locked.
Axefaire is a skill in Three Houses that gives Warriors a flat +5 to their Attack when using an Axe. A simple but effective skill.
Wrath is Three Houses’ way of giving significantly wounded Warriors more kill potential. When your Warrior’s HP is equal to or less than 50%, their Critical Rate increases by 50 when enemies attack them. But be cautious, as this can actually get Warriors killed sometimes.
When you have a wounded unit, an easier way to ensure they survive is for the enemy not to die so that other enemies cannot enter attack range to finish you off. If bad guys surround your Warrior and Wrath keeps OHKOing them with critical hits, there’s a high possibility your Warrior will eventually die.
Now that we’ve discussed the skills of the Warrior, how about we talk about their performance.
What Makes A Warrior?
You can count on Warriors for two things: lots of Strength and lots of HP. They will regularly be some of your hardest-hitting units and have the most HP. Early on, their high HP allows them to take a decent amount of hits so they can be your tank if necessary.
As for Speed and Skill, their growth rates tend to hover around the 40-50% region at best and 20-30% at worst. How well they turn out largely depends on their bases and join time. Warriors who join early (Or Fighters who promote to Warriors in the early game) shouldn’t have any accuracy issues. Their Speed is usually sufficient for doubling every average or below-average Speed enemy types like Fighters, Soldiers, and Cavaliers.
It’s easy for these stats to get screwed over by their growth rates, and they might fall off hard later in your playthrough. It’s not uncommon for their Hit Chance to stay in the high 60s to mid-70s. And that isn’t horrible, but not great either. Luckily, they hit very hard, which somewhat makes up for it. They can quickly fall behind on Speed and find themselves unable to double anyone except the slowest of enemies and frequently get doubled themselves.
The Warrior’s biggest weaknesses are Defense and Resistance. As is almost always the case with Fighters and Warriors, their starting Defense is slightly above average but can become insufficient in the late game. Their Resistance is typically comically bad, with Fighters and Warriors having the worst Resistance growth rates in the series. Their shaky Defense, possibly Speed, and terrible Resistance will begin to offset the advantage of their high HP pool as they will get hit hard and often. It’s highly recommended to give them some Resistance buffs via Barrier staves or Pure Water.
Warriors are not units you should send off on their own (Except for the early game) but work very well in a group. They can do exceptional damage with supereffective weapons like the Halberd or Hammer, and in a series full of Lance users, Axe experts won’t be short on work. They’re more accurate with Bows than with Axes, and they can effectively use them to kill weaker enemies or set up kills for other units. For most games in the series, Warriors have the ability to use Bows which are super effective against flying units. And thanks to the Warrior’s massive Strength, it arguably makes them situationally better at dealing with foes like Wyvern Knights/Lords than classes like Snipers.
Unfortunately, with the exception of the Warrior’s first appearance in Genealogy of the Holy War, there is a major drawback to the Warrior’s ability to use the Bow. In Genealogy of the Holy War, Warriors get a B rank in Bows upon promoting. In every other game in the series where Warriors can use Bows, they only get an E rank after promotion. This means they’re stuck with using Iron Bows. They already have access to Hand Axes, and there will be few situations where the Bow is the better attack option.
Sure, you could grind up their Bow rank to at least C to get access to Killer Bows at the least, but you’ll essentially have to give Warriors every kill to get them a respectable Bow rank. And while the Strength of the Warriors somewhat makes up for their limited Bow access, that doesn’t change the fact that promoted Warriors can’t really make full use of their secondary attack style.
The only exception to this is pre-promoted Warriors. Geitz and Basilio start with B ranks in Bows, and Jake joins with a C rank. Even Bartre and Ymir have salvageable Bow ability as they start with D ranks, and it isn’t too terrible grinding them up to C for Killer Bow access.
How Many Playable Warriors Exist In Fire Emblem
So far, the series has had nine playable Warriors.
- Dagdar (Thracia 776, Awakening)
- Bartre (The Binding Blade)
- Geitz (The Blazing Blade)
- Boyd (Radiant Dawn)
- Ymir (Shadow Dragon, New Mystery of the Emblem)
- Basilio (Awakening)
- Alois (Three Houses)
- Hilda (Three Houses)
Is The Warrior Class Good?
No, it is not. One of the Warrior’s immediate problems is sharing promotional items with classes far superior to them, like Heroes and Swordmasters.
Their secondary attack style has problems that make it less an upgrade and more of a sidegrade. As pure Axe users go, the Berserker is the better option. Intelligent Systems has tried to help the Warrior compete in Three Houses, but the Berserker is still significantly better. Not only are Berserkers more accurate, but they have better crit potential. Berserkers also have Defense and Resistance issues, but their better offensive capabilities make up for it.
The general shakiness of the Warrior’s Skill can make accuracy a problem, and you want to avoid misses as much as possible in the late game. Other classes like Heroes and Paladins can serve as your Axe users when Lance-wielding enemies are present, and both have superior secondary attack styles and utility. If your Warrior’s Speed is lacking, the risk of them getting doubled constantly alone is enough to make them unviable. Combined with the typical movement issues of an infantry unit and the Warrior is unfortunately unimpressive outside of the early/midgame.
Who Is The Best Warrior In Fire Emblem?
The best Warrior in the series is probably Boyd from Radiant Dawn. His bases are great for his join time except for his Speed, but it isn’t too bad. With the understandable exception of Resistance, none of his growth rates are below 45%. In fact, he has above-average growths for a pre-promoted unit. His A rank in Axes gives him immediate access to most of the strongest Axes in the game, and he is a unit you can rely on for most of Radiant Dawn.
Question; Who is the worst Warrior in the series?
Answer: It’s probably Bartre from The Binding Blade, but to be fair, it’s not entirely his fault. The main problem with Bartre is recruiting him cuts off your ability to recruit the Hero Echidna. Her performance will bet better than Bartre’s in the long run, so there’s hardly a reason to recruit him over her.
Question: When should I use my Warriors?
Answer: If you want to be extra safe on maps with a high density of flying enemies, feel free to bring them. They also aren’t bad if you place them at a choke point on maps with a lot of mounted units so long as they have a Halberd.
Question: How would you fix the Warrior class?
Answer: Intelligent Systems needs to tone down the disadvantages of the class. Low accuracy? Fine. Low accuracy, bad Defense, and bad Resistance? That’s overkill. I’m okay with Warriors continuing to have poor Resistance, but a slight buff to their Skill and Defense growth rates to make them more consistent would be nice. If you want to keep their growth rates somewhat low, give them better bases. I would also bring back their Rally Strength skill.
The Warrior class is to Fire Emblem what the Hunting Rifle is to Fallout 3; Quite useful early on but falls off hard after the midgame. Too frequently do they lack survivability, and they’re always lacking in utility.
There are vastly superior classes out there, and it’s hard to justify bringing along a Warrior when you can only field so many units. And that’s a real shame since a lot of the Warriors are cool characters. Until Intelligent Systems does something to buff them, Warriors will remain a bottom five combat class in Fire Emblem.
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