One of the biggest draws of Three Houses is the three separate routes that players have access to. The multi-route system opened the door for more characters than usual in a Fire Emblem game. Three Houses also added the ability to recruit allies to their current house, allowing them almost always to use their favorites from prior playthroughs. My first playthrough of the game was with the Blue Lions, and Sylvain quickly became one of my favorite characters. Like how many players repeat their favorites throughout their subsequent playthroughs, I used Sylvain in almost every route.
Getting key party members early in a game like Three Houses is essential because the skill system in Fire Emblem lets characters get stronger the longer you have them, regardless of the level cap. The concept of infinite growth is why Sylvain is so high on my personal tier list. You can recruit Sylvain faster than other characters, is available on every route and have a huge payoff for the time invested.
He may not be as crucial to the story as Byleth or the house leaders, but Sylvain also has a solid story. Fans can see most of Sylvain’s story in the Azure Moon route. However, the incredible support conversations with Sylvain let fans learn about his story even in the routes that don’t focus on him. Players can also learn to appreciate his multi-faceted personality, far more profound than it first appears.
Overall, Sylvain is useful in an incredible number of ways. He’s great for gameplay, fits well in the story, and has a fun design to top it all off. After reading this guide, I hope you’ll make Sylvain an essential member of your party for at least one playthrough of Three Houses.
Sylvain in a Nutshell
Sylvain is one of the most charming characters in Three Houses. Although, perhaps he’s a little too charming. The second son and heir of a noble family, Sylvain is by far the most “girl crazy” member of the cast. Unfortunately, this often gets him into trouble in his support and the story.
Gameplay-wise, Sylvain is a powerhouse cavalier who can fill various roles. Primarily, Sylvain is a player phase unit. Player phase units typically specialize in engaging in combat with enemies and don’t do as well with counterattacks. I’ll cover Sylvain’s ideal gameplay strategies later, but he performs his role exceptionally well.
Whether a veteran or a newbie, anyone starting a new playthrough of Three Houses must seriously consider Sylvain for their party.
Who is Sylvain?
Sylvain is the second son of a very important family in Fodland: House Gautier. Sylvain has a minor Crest of Gautier, while his older brother does not. The Crest led to Sylvain becoming the heir of the Gautier family over his elder brother, whose parents disowned him once they discovered Sylvain’s Crest.
Sylvain lived his entire life in great privilege, but he also had to endure his brother Miklan’s hatred. Regardless, Sylvain developed a charming personality and made three very close childhood friends: Dimitri, Ingrid, and Felix. Since they were all of a similar age, the quartet ended up in the Blue Lion’s House at Gerrag Mach under Dimitri’s leadership.
Sylvain begins the game as an immature skirt-chaser, though he has the potential to grow up depending on his support. His playboy attitude lands him in the bad books of many female characters, including Flayn and his childhood friend Ingrid. Despite how he appears on the outside, Sylvain genuinely wants to form a deep connection with someone but is too scared to try. According to supports, Sylvain’s flirtatious personality results from that fear of genuine romantic love.
While Sylvain may appear as a flirty airhead, he’s surprisingly among the brightest students at Gerrag Mach. He holds his own in conversations with the prodigy geniuses Lysithea and Annette, even in magic: a subject that doesn’t even match Sylvain’s natural talents. Sylvain has even pretended he’s less intelligent to lower people’s expectations of him.
Like many other students, Sylvain has been blessed and cursed by his Crest. Much of Sylvain’s critical dialogue is about his contempt for Crests. His Crest was undoubtedly the source of his privilege, but it also caused a massive divide between Sylvain and his brother. Sylvain also notes he generally detests dating noble women, as they are often more attracted to his Crest than to him or his personality.
Sylvain is recruitable in all four routes. If the player chooses the Blue Lion house, Sylvain will begin under their tutelage. Be warned: any routes Sylvain isn’t recruited in, he’ll become an enemy later on. Thankfully, the smooth-talking troublemaker isn’t all that loyal to the Blue Lions. If the player wants him, they can convince Sylvain to join their house reasonably quickly.
Especially humorous is a unique Sylvain mechanic that no other character possesses: the player can recruit Sylvain as quickly as chapter 2. If Byleth is female, Sylvain will instantly say yes to any recruitment endeavors. If Byleth is male, things will be a little trickier. First, the player must train their Charm and Reasoning, the required levels for which go down depending on how close Byleth is with Sylvain.
Players should recruit Sylvain as early as possible (before chapter 5) so that he can battle his brother. There’s intensity and dialogue that no Sylvain fan would want to miss.
Sylvain’s Key Info
Sylvain will start as a level 1 Noble with his Minor Crest of Gautier. His combat arts will be Tempest Lance and Smash. Sylvain’s learning strengths are in Lance, Axe, and Cavalry. His weakness is in Bows, while his budding talent is in Reason.
Sylvain’s base stats and growths are the following:
- HP: 27 (55%)
- Str: 9 (45%)
- Mag: 5 (30%)
- Dex: 5 (35%)
- Spd: 8 (50%)
- Lck: 6 (35%)
- Def: 6 (40%)
- Res: 2 (25%)
- Charm: 7 (40%)
Despite his budding talent in Reason, Sylvain’s default growth rates don’t lend himself to being a magic user. Instead, the community favors using Sylvain as a Paladin or Great Knight. However, that shouldn’t detract those who want to send Sylvain down the arcane path, as he does learn some decent magic. In that case, Dark Knight is optimal to make use of Sylvain’s strength as a Cavalier. If players want to make Sylvain a Dark Knight, they should swap him to a magic class early to help with his poor magic growth rates. For the fans interested in a magical Sylvain, these are his potential spells:
Ultimately, Sylvain can accel as any Cavalier in the game. His growth rates are distributed well, with his Res being his weak link. Thankfully, his poor resistance to magic attacks will be outweighed by his high Speed and HP, allowing him to survive single magic attacks that aren’t usually super effective. Not to mention that, if piloted well, Sylvain will rarely be taking magic attacks in the first place.
Food and Gifts for Sylvain
Sharing meals is an efficient way to bond with characters in Three Houses. Sylvain has a pretty diverse palate, but he seems to love fish and pastries especially:
- Fish and Bean Soup
- Spicy Fish and Turnip Stew
- Sweet and Salty Whitefish Sauté
- Sweet Bun Trio
- Fruit and Herring Tart
- Garreg Mach Meat Pie
- Pheasant Roast with Berry Sauce
- Cheesy Verona Stew
- Fish Sandwich
- Super-Spicy Fish Dango
- Two-Fish Sauté
- Sautéed Pheasant and Eggs
There are also four gifts Sylvain appreciates. Giving him any of these gifts will increase the player’s bond with Sylvain. These gifts are:
- Dapper Handkerchief
- Owl Feather
- Landscape Painting
- Board Game
Sylvain has plenty of great supports. Some are romantic, while some feel more platonic, but players will learn about something deep and personal to Sylvain regardless. The characters Sylvain can have support conversations with are the following:
- Byleth (S-Support with female Byleth)
In particular, Sylvain has great support conversations with his three childhood friends: Dimitri, Ingrid, and Felix. Although Flayn may be Sylvain’s best support outside his inner circle, the two have an amusing report due to Sylvain’s reputation and Flayn’s innocence.
Sylvain as an Enemy
Players can encounter Sylvain as an enemy for a variety of reasons. First, he can be a friendly rival in the “Battle of the Eagle and Lion.” In this battle, he will be a cavalier at levels 14, 15, or 21, depending on difficulty. He’ll have access to annoying skills like Canto and Death Blow, making him a powerful unit when attacking.
Byleth can also encounter Sylvain in the Verdant Wind arc in “To War at Gronder” or the Crimson Flower arc in “Combat at Tailtean Plains.” If the player recruited Sylvain in act 1, they wouldn’t need to fight him regardless of whether or not he’s an active party member. However, he’s scariest in “Combat at Tailtean Plains,” where he has his signature weapon: The Lance of Ruin.
Sylvain’s mission will be the same in all battles: attack and fall back using Canto. Players will need to take the initiative and attack Sylvain out the gate, as his counterattack isn’t nearly as strong as the blows delivered when he’s the one attacking.
Sylvain’s Key Skills and Weapons
Sylvain sits alongside units like Lysithea in contention for the title of “strongest student outside the three captains.” That said, he’s an incredibly selfish unit who doesn’t offer much utility. Sylvain’s only goal is to be hit as hard as possible and take minor damage in return. His signature skill, Philanderer, is a perfect example of that. Philanderer works only when a female unit is adjacent to Sylvain. When active, Sylvain takes two less damage and deals two more damage during combat.
Female characters that learn Rescue like Flayn can make great allies for Sylvain. They can Rescue him back to them after taking out a strong enemy. Then, any stragglers left after the player phase will do less damage to Sylvain, and his counterattacks will be enhanced.
Sylvain will naturally get access to his most crucial secondary skill: Canto. Canto allows Sylvain to use any leftover movement after performing his action. Thanks to Canto, Sylvain can constantly reposition himself. However, unlike units that are total glass cannons, Sylvain doesn’t have to hit and run from everything. Sylvain can do a big chunk to other melee weapon users during the enemy phase as long as there aren’t mages nearby. Playing around Sylvain’s great HP and Def while accounting for his low Res is critical, and properly utilizing Canto and Philanderer will support that.
Death Blow is another skill any Sylvain opting into Paladin or Great Knight will need. Sylvain can obtain the skill by maximizing Brigand. The magic version of Death Blow, Fiendish Blow, will be required for any Sylvain going down the Dark Knight path. I recommend that Sylvain go the Paladin path, but playing with different builds is fun.
Skills aside, Sylvain also has a signature weapon: Lance of Ruin. Unfortunately, the weapon is borderline broken at the point in the story where it’s unlocked. Nevertheless, Sylvain can completely run away with maps while wielding Lance of Ruin, and it’s always his recommended weapon. Lance of Ruin also unlocks Ruined Sky, an exclusive anti-flier and anti-dragon Combat Art that Sylvain can only use.
Why Should I Care About Sylvain?
Gameplay-wise, Sylvain is one of the strongest characters in the game. He’s one of the best Blue Lions units and is the most easily recruitable unit in the game. Even if the player doesn’t begin in the Blue Lion house, they can have Sylvain by chapter 2. Sylvain has the same hit-and-run strategy as many Cavalry and Flier units, but he’s so tanky that he only needs to worry about avoiding powerful mages.
Story-wise, Sylvain is a fun character with a unique place in the Blue Lion house. Ingrid and Felix fans will want to get to know Sylvain, as he plays a big role in their story. Due to his hatred of Crests, Sylvain has a lot in common with two of the most popular characters in the franchise: Edelgard and Lysithea.
Throughout the story, Sylvain arguably matures more than anyone else. His development is fantastic to see, and any Fire Emblem fan should at least give Sylvain a chance in one playthrough.
Question: Who Should Sylvain Marry in Three Houses?
Answer: Sylvain has many fantastic potential partners. However, his childhood friend Ingrid is an especially great choice.
Question: Is Sylvain A Good Unit in Three Houses?
Answer: Sylvain is one of the best cavalry units in three houses and is a great choice to invest resources into.
Question: How to Recruit Sylvain?
Answer: Players can recruit Sylvain as early as chapter 2 if they’re female Byleth. Male Byleth will need to focus on training Charm and Reasoning.
Question: What’s the Best Gift for Sylvain?
Answer: The Board Game is Sylvain’s favorite gift in Three Houses.
It’s rare in Fire Emblem to see a character as fun as Sylvain, both in combat and in the story. He may start as an immature playboy, but fans will soon see the maturity and depth behind Sylvain’s character. His best friends, Ingrid and Felix, add a lot to his character and bring out the best in Sylvain. Sylvain is also one of the earliest friends of the Blue Lion’s house leader: Dimitri.
Sylvain is a surprisingly tanky hit-and-run style Cavalier with a budding talent that gives him some fun diversity with his builds. While he’s at his best as a Paladin, Great Knight and Dark Knight are fun options for Sylvain. So if you use him as often as I do, you can check out all three build paths for him. And if you choose female Byleth, you can get started on those builds as early as chapter 2!
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