- Fire Emblem Wyvern Rider - June 23, 2022
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There are two iconic flying base classes in Fire Emblem: the Pegasus Knight and the Wyvern Rider. Pegasus Knights and Wyvern Riders have been franchise staples since the beginning, with unique advantages and disadvantages over the other. You can always find healthy debates about which is the better of the two.
But let’s face it; it’s hard for anyone to resist using units that ride atop a giant flying lizard. Not dragons since they don’t breathe fire. Regardless, you at least owe it to yourself to give Wyvern Riders a try. You might find yourself in love with the class.
Just don’t try this at home. Your Komodo Dragon is not a Wyvern.
History of the Wyvern Rider
The Wyvern Rider first took flight in Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light but as the Dracoknight. Get used to this. Despite being a staple class in the series, the name for the Wyvern Rider flip flops more than a fish out of water throughout the series. Dracoknights have no promotion in the first Fire Emblem. Oddly enough, the Dracoknight serves as a promotion for the Pegasus Knight in the first game. Flying lizards are better than flying horses, I suppose.
Princess Minerva (Who is not to be confused with the SNES Princess Minerva RPG. Japanese game developers seem to love the name Minerva, though) is the first Wyvern Rider in the series. She has access to Swords and Lances. Despite her initial inability to promote, Minerva is easily one of the best units in the game. Wyvern Riders are absent in Fire Emblem Gaiden but return in Mystery of the Emblem. Despite the third title being an enhanced version of the first game, Wyvern Riders still received no promotion class.
That changed with the release of Genealogy of the Holy War. Wyvern Riders are called Dragon Knights in Genealogy of the Holy War and received their first promotion: the Dragon Master. Modern-day Fire Emblem fans will recognize this as the Wyvern Lord class, which would go on as the de facto promotion for Wyvern Riders. Both Dragon Knights and Masters return their usage of Swords and Lances.
In the follow-up Thracia 776, Wyvern Riders return and are now called Dragon Riders. The Dragon Knight serves as their promotion in this installment. But the Dragon Knight is the actual Wyvern Rider, and the Wyvern Rider is a .5 Dragon Knight. I told you the names would flip flop a lot.
Wyvern Riders finally got some consistency in the GBA era of games. They are Wyvern Riders in all three games, and the Wyvern Lord serves as its primary promotion. Wyvern Riders can also become Wyvern Knights in The Sacred Stones. Wyvern Riders received a slight nerf, losing access to Swords (They regain Sword access after becoming Wyvern Lords). But to be fair, there are tons of Lance-wielding enemies in the GBA games, so it’s not a huge deal.
The Tellius Saga makes the first significant change to the Wyvern Rider promotion line. Wyvern Riders are once again called Dracoknights and promoted into Dragonmasters. But instead of gaining access to Swords upon promotion, they gain Axes. The change was a good one, in my opinion. Previously, Wyvern Lords and Falcoknights (The de facto promotion for Pegasus Knights) used Swords and Lances. With Wyvern Lords now using Axes and Lances, there’s another significant difference between the two flying classes, and it makes complete sense. Wyvern Lords boost significantly more Strength than Falcoknights, so using the hardest-hitting weapon type suits them.
Remember that class consistency I was talking about in the GBA games? Well, it’s gone again. Shadow Dragon and New Mystery of the Emblem, remakes of the first and third games, have Wyvern Riders as Dracoknights again. They have no promotion, but they have their modern weapon preferences of Lances and Axes.
Wyvern Riders return in Fire Emblem Awakening and have Axes as their primary weapon for the first time. They now gain access to Lances when they become Wyvern Lords. They also gained a new promotion option in the form of the Griffon Rider. Intelligent Systems loves shuffling animals for their flying units. I won’t complain about flying atop Griffons, though.
The Wyvern Rider serves as a Nohrian class in Fire Emblem Fates. The Griffon Rider is out as a promotion option. But along with the Wyvern Lord, Wyvern Riders can become Malig Knights in this title. Malig Knights are a more physical version of the Dark Flier class and use Axes and Tomes.
The Wyvern Rider is one of the numerous Advanced classes in Three Houses. A unit needs to pass the Certification Exam with at least a B rank in Axes and a C rank in Flying to become a Wyvern Rider.
What Makes A Wyvern Rider?
For the first several games in the series, Wyvern Riders are a second-tier class, even serving as the promotion for Pegasus Knights. From Genealogy of the Holy War onward, Wyvern Riders are a base class just like Pegasus Knights. Wyvern Riders are the most durable flying class in the series. They boast high Strength, HP, and Defense and have above-average Speed and Skill (Though not on the levels of Pegasus Knights).
Wyvern Riders will become some of your hardest-hitting units as soon as you acquire them and are great as vanguard units. The weaker physical classes like Soldiers and Thieves will do minimal or no damage to them. Give your Wyvern Rider a Javelin, and they can solo entire platoons of enemies. Because of their meaty HP pool and above-average Defense, Wyvern Riders are great walls to put between your weaker units and the enemy. Funnily enough, I like supporting my Wyvern Rider with an Archer.
Flying units have the best mobility of any class in the series. Along with outstanding Movement, Wyvern Riders completely ignore annoying terrains like oceans and mountains. They can also use these terrains to their advantage. Mountains give notable Avoid and Defense bonuses, and you can safely park your Wyvern Riders there and have them pick off enemies with a Javelin. If your Wyvern Rider ever gets into danger, they can fly into territory 99% of enemies can’t follow and safely recover.
Wyvern Riders have access to Canto and make for the best rescuers. You can guarantee the safety of a unit in danger by rescuing them with a Wyvern Rider and retreating to somewhere enemies can’t reach.
Wyvern Riders have above-average Speed and Skill, but that comes with a citation. One of the problems of the Wyvern Riders is their join time. They typically join your army between Chapters 10-15. By that point, they may or may not be underleveled. It may take them a couple of level-ups before they start to damage enemies consistently. In the games where Axes are their primary weapons, their starting accuracy won’t be terrible, but it won’t be top-tier either. Expect these problems to be more significant if you’re playing on the game’s hardest difficulty setting.
Wyvern Riders are very susceptible to arrows and wind-based magic like Cutting Gale and Aircalibur due to being flying units. That makes Archers, Nomads, and Anima magic users like Mages their worst enemies. Archers are generally weak units, so even with their weakness to arrows, Wyvern Riders can typically tank a blow from an Archer (Especially ones using Iron Bows). I’d recommend giving Nomads a wide berth as they hit significantly harder and love to use Short Bows. Short Bows have a high crit chance, and Wyvern Riders have below-average Luck growth rates and average Luck bases, so that’s a no-no.
Wind-based spells will definitely be your worst enemy. Wyvern Riders have horrible Resistance bases and growth rates. Even physical infantry units like Fighters, Mercenaries, and Myrmidons fair better in the Resistance department than Wyvern Riders. Wind-based spells are one of the strongest tomes in every game. One hit will likely mean death for your Wyvern Rider. These Resistance problems don’t get much better after promotion, so unlike arrows (Which you can nullify with something like a Fili Shield or Delphi Shield), this problem will stay with you for the entire campaign.
Despite Wyverns not being dragons, Wyvern Riders are also susceptible to all weapons effective against dragons. The most common weapon of the bunch is the Wyrmslayer. With the Axe becoming the primary weapon of Wyvern Riders in the more recent titles in the series, the Wyrmslayer is the personification of death against Wyvern Riders.
As mentioned earlier, Wyvern Riders have below-average Luck and should be kept away from Killer weapon users (Unless you’re 100% positive you can kill them in one blow on your player phase). I’d also recommend keeping them out of range of long-range spells like Bolting or Purge, which have high crit chances.
How Many Playable Wyvern Riders Exist In Fire Emblem?
If Intelligent Systems wanted to enter the NBA with a team of Wyvern Riders, they could.
If you’re unfamiliar with basketball, that means there are 15 Wyvern Riders in Fire Emblem.
- Minerva (Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light, Mystery of the Emblem, Shadow Dragon, New Mystery of the Emblem, Warriors)
- Altena (Genealogy of the Holy War)
- Deen (Thracia 776)
- Melady (The Binding Blade)
- Zeiss (The Binding Blade)
- Heath (The Blazing Blade)
- Cormag (The Sacred Stones)
- Jill (Path of Radiance, Radiant Dawn)
- Michalis (New Mystery of the Emblem)
- Cherche (Awakening)
- Gerome (Awakening)
- Beruka (Fates)
- Percy (Fates)
- Seteth (Three Houses)
- Claude (Three Houses)
Who Is The Best Wyvern Rider In Fire Emblem?
My vote goes towards Melady in The Binding Blade.
She has the atypical (Somewhat) late join time of her class, but what she brings to the table more than makes up for it. Flying utility is invaluable in The Binding Blade, and the Pegasus Knights of the game have shaky offensive capabilities. She starts with a C rank in Lances and can immediately use Killer Lances. If you give her the Delphi Shield and Pure Water, she can function as a one-woman army with no issues. I’m not a fan of early promoting, but she does join at level 10, meaning you can make her a Wyvern Lord immediately if you want.
Keep in mind that if playing on Hard Mode, Melady gets Hard Mode bonuses as well. Binding Blade Hard Mode is notoriously difficult, and Melady, alongside Rutger, Percival, and Marcus, will be the saving grace of your army.
Is The Wyvern Rider Class Good?
Despite their weaknesses to Bow users and wind-based magic, Wyvern Riders are top-tier units. Their top-tier Movement and unmatched mobility will always be immeasurably useful. Unlike Pegasus Knights, they’re strong enough to swoop down and deal with tough foes before they become a problem for your army.
They may have late join times, but they have enough HP and Defense to keep up with physical opponents, even if they are underleveled. So long as you keep an eye on enemies capable of dealing super effective damage to your Wyvern Riders, there isn’t much that can oppose them.
Question: Are Wyvern Riders the best-mounted base class units in the series?
Answer: I would say no. I think that title goes to the Cavalier. Both Cavaliers and Pegasus Knights have much better join times than Wyvern Riders. Pegasus Knights lack the Strength, HP, and Defense to keep up with Wyvern Riders or Cavaliers, which makes them the top two. Cavaliers don’t have as much HP or Defense but have better Resistance, and their superior availability makes them more useful.
Question: Who is your favorite Wyvern Rider in the series?
Answer: I really like Heath from The Blazing Blade. But that’s because I love Yu-Gi-Oh, and he has the most Yu-Gi-Oh protagonist hairstyle of any Wyvern Rider. Someone give this man a duel disk because he looks like he’s ready to get his game on.
Question: What is the best promotion class for the Wyvern Rider in the series?
Answer: I would say the tried and true Wyvern Lord. The problem with their alternate promotions, like the Griffon Rider or Wyvern Knight, is that they don’t stick around. They’re one-off classes, so they can’t get off the ground. I’d recommend giving these alternates a try once just for fun, but that’s it.
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