Box art - Fire Emblem: Awakening

Fire Emblem: Awakening Tips & Tricks Guide

Fire Emblem Awakening can be a very unforgiving game, especially if you have classic mode enabled or are playing on a higher difficulty. Below are some tips for getting through the epic adventure successfully.

Position yourself for success

Before each battle you are given the option to customize the spawn location of each of your units (except for Chrom). Although the start locations are predetermined, which unit you place in each is completely up to you. In order to change spawn locations, select View Map before battle. If you place your units carefully, your first turn can net several kills and give you the momentum needed to conquer the battlefield.

Patience is a virtue

Don’t let the enemy battle on its terms. Set the ground rules. Place your units in a manner that punishes the enemy for approaching, and let the destruction begin once they come close enough. Don’t force your way into the enemy unless you’re confident that you have the upper hand. Some of your most powerful units aren’t able to move very far, and therefore letting the enemy approach your attack range is a better choice in most cases.

Pair ‘em up

Pair-up is a new feature in Fire Emblem Awakening and allows you to stack a unit on top of another. Not only does this guarantee that the primary unit of the stack has a teammate to help counter and attack, but also adds stat bonuses from the secondary unit. Pay attention to what type of unit you’re stacking on, and make sure the added stats benefit that character (i.e. Magic for a caster class, or Strength for a melee class).

The uses of Pair-up are infinite, and range from defense to offense. If an enemy is approaching and you have a low HP unit that is susceptible to damage, stack it onto another character so it’s safe. If you’re about to attack an enemy that can counter with a lot of damage and you’re unable to finish it in one blow, stack two units so you hit harder. Truthfully, Pair-up is overpowered in its current state, so exploit it if you’re having a hard time.

Support is underrated

Going into combat without at least one dedicated healer is asking for a trouble. Healers, such as the Cleric and Troubadour, are experts at keeping your team running at optimal health. If you’re playing on Classic mode then any unit of yours that is felled by the enemy is permanently dead. Don’t chance it, bring a healer. 

Don’t place all your eggs in one basket

Although it might feel tempting to make a couple of your characters absolute powerhouses, it’s in your best interest to level as many units as possible. The wider your library of powerful units, the less prone you are to being countered. Every enemy in the game has its own strength and weakness, so going into battle with a group of units that can handle the situation will make the tougher fights much more manageable. Having units that are competent in all archetypes will make you unstoppable, and will probably make the game more fun to play as well.

Sword, lance, axes!

If there’s one advantage you can constantly take advantage of it’s Fire Emblem Awakening’s weapon triangle. Put simply, axes beat lances, lances beat swords, and swords beat axes. Before approaching an enemy you should check which weapon type it has equipped and attack with either the counter or an equal weapon type. Attacking with a weapon that counters the enemy’s grants you more damage on attacks, and also reduces the damage taken from an enemy. If the enemy is a bow or magic user, then just get up close and personal with a melee weapon.

Save your big guns for big moments

You’ll collect several weapons while playing that can be considered “special”. These weapons usually come with fewer charges (the number next to the weapon name), but hit devastatingly hard. The trick is to use the weapon only when it’s necessary since they run out of chargers quickly and then are rendered useless.

Tread lightly

Before moving your units you should always consider where the enemy can move and who it can attack. By pressing X you can see the entire range of the enemy’s attack range for the next turn, and by selecting an enemy unit and pressing A you can see the unit’s movement and attack range. Use this to your advantage to place units just outside the attack range of the enemy. That way, after they approach you’re able to swoop in for the kill.

Protect the squishies

Some of your most potent units are also your most fragile. Think of them as a queen in Chess where they hit extremely hard but must be taken care of. Keep your support and range attackers, such as Mages, behind your front line. The moment they are caught out of position they’re likely toast, so be very aware of enemy unit distances on each turn.

To see how fragile a unit is you can select the unit and check out its stats. A low Defense rating makes it susceptible to physical damage (i.e. swords) while a low Resistance rating makes it vulnerable to magic damage (i.e. dark magic).

Self-reliance is your best defense

Your healer can only heal one unit per turn, and bringing more than one or two healers isn’t a good idea. Furthermore, you should bring health potions on every character. That way, each of your units is able to sustain during turns where the healer is out of range or busy helping others. While the Vulnerary is your best bet in the early stages of the game, later you’ll want ot move onto other items such as concoctions and elixirs which heal a much more substantial amount.

Advanced classes are cool, but save them for later

Almost all basic classes are able to promote to an advanced class at level 10, but it is in your best interest to avoid the temptation. Stats are incredibly important for each of your units, and when you promote a unit it’s treated as a level 21. Consequently, the stats you miss out on by jumping from level 10 to 21 are significant. It’s better to get as close to 20 as possible so when you upgrade the unit it’s far more formidable.

Don’t fly near bows

Your flying units, such as the Pegasus Knight, are extremely mobile. To offset that, they take significant damage from bows. Actually, in many cases an Archer, Sniper, or other bow user can kill your flying unit in one shot if it comes into range. If you’re going to attack a bow user with a flying unit, make sure that the first attack is guaranteed to take it out. Otherwise, a single counter-attack can send your unit to the graveyard.

The challenge is what makes Fire Emblem fun

If you’re debating on whether or not to play on Casual or Classic mode, play on Classic. The fear of losing your units and having to be strategic with your decisions is what makes games like Fire Emblem fun.