We’ve covered Wyvern Riders, so now it’s time to delve into the history of their older siblings, the Wyvern Lords.
Wyvern Riders have received quite a few promotion options over the years, but the Wyvern Lord class is the only option that has stuck around. And I can see why Intelligent Systems got attached to Wyvern Lords. Aside from the fact that Wyvern Lord is a pretty BA name for a class, Wyvern Lords quickly found their groove and place amongst promoted units. Better to stick with something good than to continue experimenting and never having consistency.
But how good are Wyvern Lords? How much of an improvement are they over Wyvern Riders? How do they stack up against the other promoted mounted classes in the series? All good questions. And while I’m not a crystal ball, at least not that I know of, I have all the answers.
History of the Wyvern Lord
The Wyvern Lord class got off to a somewhat convoluted start. The Wyvern classes have had consistent name confusion throughout the series.
While not the first time a Wyvern class served as a promotion option, Genealogy of the Holy War is technically the first appearance of the Wyvern Lord class. Here, it is called the Dragonmaster class and serves as the promotion for Dragon Knights (Often a second-tier class but actually the first-tier Wyvern Rider in Genealogy of the Holy War). Dragonmasters can use Swords and Lances, a tradition that continues until the Tellius Saga. Unlike most classes, there is no Wyvern Lord unit in the game the class first appears.
The follow-up to Genealogy of the Holy War, Thracia 776, uses the Dragon Knight instead of the Dragonmaster as the second-tier Wyvern class. The Dragon Rider serves as the first-tier Wyvern option. Despite being the promotion for what would become the Wyvern Rider class, the Dragon Knight in Thracia 776 is not the Wyvern Lord.
Wyvern Lords finally caught a break in The Binding Blade, establishing themselves as the de facto promotion for Wyvern Riders. The Blazing Blade introduced the first playable character to start as a Wyvern Lord, Vaida. Wyvern Lords serve as a promotion option for Wyvern Riders in The Sacred Stones, alongside the short-lived Wyvern Knight class.
Wyvern Lords received their first notable change in the Tellius Saga games. They no longer have access to Swords. Instead, they use Axes and Lances as their weapons of choice. Intelligent Systems likely made this change to differentiate Wyvern Lords from the other staple promoted flying unit, Falcoknights. Radiant Dawn took Wyvern Lords back to their roots, referring to them as Dragonmasters. Wyvern Lords could promote in this title and could become Dragonlords. I know I can’t be the only one that thinks Dragonmaster sounds like a higher tier class than Dragonlord.
The Wyvern Lord class sticks with the formula set in the Tellius Saga games. It reappears in Awakening, Fates, and Three Houses, with Axes and Lances as the weapons of choice. Wyvern Lords serve as a Master class in Three Houses. A unit needs to pass the Certification Exam with an A rank in Axes and Flying and a C rank in Lances to become a Wyvern Lord.
Skills of the Wyvern Lord
Wyvern Lords have garnered a respectable number of skills over the year, with their current skill count standing at 8.
Mounted and flying units have access to the infinitely useful Canto skill. Wyvern Lords are no exception.
Like Wyvern Riders, Wyvern Lords make for fantastic rescuers because they can rescue an ally, then take them to terrain where most units cannot travel, like mountains or oceans.
Stun is the occult skill of the Wyvern Lord class in Path of Radiance. It allows your Wyvern Lord to paralyze an enemy unit for two turns. Being unable to move for two turns is an easy death sentence and a great way to neuter, then neutralize a dangerous foe.
Quick Burn is what happens when I try to eat my pizza rolls too soon after taking them out of the microwave. It’s also one of two skills that Wyvern Lords have access to in Fire Emblem Awakening.
Learnable at level 5, Quick Burn increases their Hit Rate and Evade by 15 points. To balance the skill out, their Hit Rate and Evade decrease by -1 every turn until turn 15.
With Axes as their primary weapons by Awakening, Wyvern Lords need to be concerned about Swords. Swordbreaker is their answer to their weapon triangle disadvantage.
Learnable at level 15, Swordbreaker gives your Wyvern Lord +50 Hit Rate/Evasion if the enemy has a Sword equipped. Swordbreaker can save your life if faced against someone with a Wyrmslayer.
Rally Defense gives some support utility to the primarily offensive-oriented Wyvern Lord class in Fire Emblem Fates.
Learnable at Level 5, Rally Defense increases the Defense of all allies within a three-tile radius by +4 for one turn. With Wyvern Lords often serving as vanguard units, Rally Defense is a good way of buffing up your frontline units so they can absorb more damage.
Initially, a skill exclusive to Berserkers, Wyvern Lords (Among other classes) gained access to Axefaire in Three Houses.
Axefaire is a class skill of Wyvern Lords in Three Houses and gives a bonus of +5 Might when you have an Axe equipped.
A pretty self-explanatory skill, Avoid +10 gives a flat bonus of 10 to your Wyvern Lord’s Avoid stat. Wyvern Lords have always been better at absorbing damage than avoiding it, so this isn’t a skill that plays into the class’s advantages.
Something of a final stand skill, Defiant Critical is the Wyvern Lord’s Mastery Ability in Three Houses.
When their HP is at 25% or below, your Wyvern Lord gains +50 to their Critical stat. Wyvern Lords already have excellent raw damage. Combined with Defiant Critical, they will deal some massive blows to enemies.
Defiant Critical can be a double-edged sword if you’re not careful. If enemies surround your Wyvern Lord, Defiant Critical likely will give them the power to kill them all. But eventually, all the attacks your Wyvern Lord takes will kill them as well. Sometimes, it’s better to leave enemies alive.
What Makes A Wyvern Lord?
A good indication of how good a class the Wyvern Lord is is what it improves upon from the Wyvern Rider and what it doesn’t.
Wyvern Riders boast high HP, Strength, and Defense, and as expected, that only gets better with Wyvern Lords. Alongside Generals, Wyvern Lords will likely be your first character to reach that glorious 60 HP territory. Alongside their high HP, Wyvern Lords have above-average Defense. Even though most Wyvern Riders have mediocre Defense growth rates, their high base Defense and promotion gains make up for it.
Some items can protect flying units from their weakness to arrows, but you always have to choose between a Wyvern or Pegasus/Falcoknight. And my recommendation is to give it to a Pegasus/Falcoknight. Not because they are necessarily the better unit, but because Wyvern Lords have so much HP and Defense that they aren’t nearly as susceptible to arrows as Pegasus/Falcoknights are (Though they still need to be mindful of strong Bows like Silver Bows or Brave Bows).
Strength is where Wyvern Lords do the best. In most of my playthroughs, my Wyvern Lords reach their Strength cap with no issues. Not only will Wyvern Lords start one-rounding most enemies, but they will start one-shotting them. If you want to conserve the uses of limited weapons that do supereffective damage to certain enemy types, hand it to a Wyvern Lord (When applicable, of course). A Wyvern Lord with a Horseslayer can stand alone against a cavalry charge and end up on top.
Changing Wyvern Lords’ weapons of choice from Swords and Lances to Axes and Lances was one of the best decisions made for the class. Fire Emblem is a Lance-heavy series, so Axes will always have value with the weapon triangle system in place. With Paladins losing access to Axes in the same game where Wyvern Lords gain access, Wyvern Lords become even more invaluable. Speed and Skill growth rates tend to be average, so Wyvern Lords won’t be the fastest or most accurate but are above-average in both categories. It won’t really matter if they aren’t the fastest or most skilled, though their usage of Axes might give them accuracy problems if you get screwed while leveling up.
Now we come to the biggest weaknesses of Wyvern Lords: Resistance and Luck.
Most promotions tend to fix or alleviate issues of the base class up for promotion. When Knights become Generals, they gain some much-needed Movement and Speed. Falcoknights get a nice Strength promotion bonus to help out the often pitiful Strength of the average Pegasus Knight.
Wyvern Riders have poor Luck and Resistance, and guess what happens when they become Wyvern Lords? They still have horrible Luck and Resistance. Most Wyvern Riders gain zero Luck when they promote and only 1-2 Resistance at most. Remember what I said about Wyvern Lords being able to tank arrow shots despite their weakness to arrows? I meant regular hits. If you see a Sniper with a Killer Bow or a Killer Ballista nearby, maybe stay out of range.
Wyvern Lords at their worst sport Resistance on the level of non-promoted physical infantry units like Mercenaries. Even the most basic of spells will do big numbers, and their poor Luck means any magic crits will do massive damage. They’re weak against wind-based spells and should be kept away from them at all costs. It isn’t worth feeding your Wyvern Lord Talismans, as their Resistance starts too low. You’d have to spend a small fortune of gold on Talismans to get their Resistance to respectable levels. However, I recommend giving them a Secret Book or two to improve their Luck. A couple of Secret Books can get their Luck to average territory, which is a considerable improvement and an investment worth making into a frontline unit.
Wyvern Lords frequently compete with Falcoknights for promotion items, and it typically boils down to what qualities you value most. If you want a flyer that can deal with magical foes, the Falcoknight is your pick. Alternatively, you can consider how their respective base classes can perform in the late mid-game. A level 20 Wyvern Rider will hold up better than a level 20 Pegasus Knight. For that reason, it might be worth holding off on a Wyvern Lord. But at the same time, a maxed-out Wyvern Lord will dominate much more than a Falcoknight.
How Many Playable Wyvern Lords Exist In Fire Emblem?
The Fire Emblem series could definitely do with adding in more playable Wyvern Lords in future installments. Excluding Trial Map-only characters, we have seven playable Wyvern Lords.
- Vaida (The Blazing Blade)
- Haar (Path of Radiance, Radiant Dawn)
- Minerva (Awakening)
- Altena (Awakening)
- Ashnard (Awakening)
- Travant (Awakening)
- Scarlet (Fates: Birthright, Revelation)
Is The Wyvern Class Good?
Yes. Despite having notable weaknesses, they remain a top-tier class. In fact, those weaknesses are likely left in place to keep Wyvern Lords from being absolutely broken.
Wyvern Lords are the best users of the Canto skill and are great at rescuing or simply ferrying other characters across the map. They have the best Movement in the series, and if you really want them to terrify the entire map, give them a pair of Boots.
Wyvern Lords can quickly snowball on maps thanks to their overwhelming raw Strength. They’re great for taking on boss enemies who have hefty Defense bonuses from thrones or gates. They have enough Speed to double all but the fastest enemy types, like Swordmasters, and enough accuracy to have no issues landing blows. You can remedy their Resistance issues by having a Staff user use a Barrier Staff on them before sending them away or have Wyvern Lords carry Pure Water. Their low Luck is a problem, but watch for Killer weapons, plan accordingly, and you’ll be fine.
Wyvern Lords have massive HP pools, so this isn’t a regular occurrence, but if they’re ever in a pinch, they can easily flee to somewhere most if not all enemies are unable to attack them.
Warriors and Berserkers are the most commonly known Axe-wielding classes in Fire Emblem, but Wyvern Lords are the most reliable (post-Tellius Saga). You won’t get many during your playthroughs, but all are worth fielding.
Who Is The Best Wyvern Lord In Fire Emblem?
The list of potential number ones is shorter than I would’ve liked, and I think Haar from the Tellius Saga easily snags the top spot.
His availability is pretty bad in Path of Radiance but gets much better in Radiant Dawn. He has excellent base stats outside of Luck and Resistance, and his growth rates are pretty solid for a pre-promoted unit. His weapon ranks are sufficient for him to use most Axes and Lances at best, and he has a perfect support partner in the Wyvern Rider Jill. He can contribute well as soon as he joins in both games and remains a stellar unit for the rest of both campaigns.
Question: Which class is better, Wyvern Lords or Falcoknights?
Answer: I would say Wyvern Lords. Falcoknights will likely be better purely as support, primarily because Pegasus Knights have much better availability than Wyvern Riders. But once you start getting well into the campaign, Wyvern Lords can take on entire maps by themselves.
Question: Which is the better mounted physical class, Paladins or Wyvern Lords?
Answer: Paladins. Wyvern Lords will likely have more Strength, HP, and Defense than your Paladins (Except Defensive ones like Lowen or Trec, maybe), but Paladins are more well-rounded. Paladins will still have above-average HP, Defense, Strength, and moderately good Resistance. Their Luck will definitely be better than Wyvern Lords as well. And, of course, Paladins have better availability.
Question: Are any of the alternative promotions for the Wyvern Rider better than the Wyvern Lord?
Answer: Not in my opinion. Wyvern Knights in The Sacred Stones can only use Lances, and I don’t think the Pierce skill makes up for that. Griffon Riders look cool but can only use Axes. Malig Knights using Tomes is a unique choice, but a physical magic-user class isn’t really needed. I prefer smacking people in the face hard with Axes and Lances.
If someone asked me for my top five favorite promoted classes, Wyvern Lords would definitely make the cut. They’re almost like a reward for getting past the first major leg in the campaign. It’s like Intelligent Systems is telling you, “Good job, now go have some fun with this dragon thing.”.
Believe it or not, Three Houses may be one of the weaker showings of Wyvern Lords in the series. Their steep certification requirements and class skills that don’t stack up amongst the best ones in Three Houses make them rank lower as a class than usual. But even with a little bit of flaws, Wyvern Lords are still very powerful characters. I think that speaks to how solid the class is overall.
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