Fire Emblem heroes is a free-to-play tactical role-playing game available to download on mobile devices. While Nintendo has proven to be more than capable of adapting their franchises for the mobile market, they arguably perfected the formula with this spin-off. Heroes does not feel like a thread-bare alternative to a main entry Fire Emblem game. It is a robust experience that brings over some of the best elements of the popular franchise, allowing players to amass an array of iconic characters to form teams capable of beating the challenging campaign. Despite dumbing down the mechanics, the gameplay remains engaging and addictive.
Fire Emblem has been around for awhile. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light launched over two decades ago, with the franchise proving popular enough to warrant 14 sequels. While Mario and Link continue to serve as Nintendo’s main mascots, Fire Emblem has consistently delivered dozens upon dozens of characters worth loving.
Here are our picks for the best characters in Fire Emblem Heroes.
Originally introduced in Fire Emblem Awakening, multiple versions of Cordelia are available in Fire Emblem Heroes. As the free-to-play RPG does not prioritize character introductions or development, with the meat of the experience focusing on the battle system, some prior knowledge of the cast is required to get the full experience. Within the franchise’s universe, Cordelia is hailed as a genius who is practically infallible, with her seniors constantly describing her as such. At first, the Pegasus Knight thought they were mocking her, but that was not the case.
Heroes’ standard version of Cordelia is a force to be reckoned with, as she is one of the best attack-minded characters in the game. While her defense and resistance are on the low side, she more than makes up for it with her weapon of choice. Equipped with a lance, Cordelia is capable of taking out multiple enemy units with a single swing. For a limited time, Heroes released a unique version of Cordelia that fights with a bow and arrow. While her strengths and weaknesses are similar, this alternative is an even better offensive option.
9. Black Knight
Otherwise known as Zelgius, the Black Knight was a boss character in both Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn. Ranking among the most powerful generals in Daein, the Black Knight was a really mysterious character in Path of Radiance, with his identity only being revealed in the follow-up game. In terms of personality, there is not too much happening under his massive armor, with Zelgius primary goal in life being to find someone capable of challenging him at the art of swordsmanship. Still, when someone looks that cool, they don't really need a personality.
The Black Knight is arguably the best tank unit in Fire Emblem Heroes, although he is rather vulnerable to magic spells. Due to his extremely low resistance, an army of mages can probably take him down. Otherwise, anyone unlucky enough to face Zelgius has to find a way to contend with his impressive attack, defense, and speed. The Black Knight’s special attack is also quite effective, and his mere presence is enough to intimidate the opposition's forces.
Calm and collected, Ryoma ranks among the most charismatic heroes ever introduced within a Fire Emblem game. The eldest son of the Hoshido royal family, the sword-master served as a major playable character in Fire Emblem Fates. Ryoma proved popular enough to warrant an appearance in both Fire Emblem Heroes and Warriors, ensuring that he is not forgotten anytime soon. With the faith of a nation resting on his young shoulders, Ryoma is required to constantly be at the top of his game.
Using his intelligence and experience, the hero proved to be capable enough to lead Hoshido into battle against the opposing Nohrian forces. Unsurprisingly, Ryoma is a powerful unit in Fire Emblem heroes. His greatest strength is arguably his ability to inherit new skills, allowing for a fair amount of customization. While he is vulnerable to magic attacks, there are passive skills available that take advantage of that weakness. For example, Vantage allows Ryoma to counterattack when his HP is below a certain level.
If there is one criticism that cannot be leveled at Seth, it would be that he is overly emotional. Classified as a Paladin, the capable Knight is known for his stoic personality and unwillingness to disobey orders. Seth is someone you can trust, even if following an order goes against his own best interest. A playable character in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones; Seth's skill and loyalty was rewarded when he was elevated to the status of General. Fado, the King of Renais, trusted Seth with protecting his daughter after the kingdom was invaded by the Grado Empire.
Depending on the luck of the draw, Seth is either a fantastic or average unit. His default rating is not terrible, but he ranks a level below other top tier heroes. Eventually, a superior version was released that can challenge nearly anyone in Fire Emblem Heroes. His resistance is slightly better than some of the other attacking units, making Seth a better all-around option.
Nino's backstory is devastating. Coming from a family of mages, she lived a generally peaceful life until the sinister Sonia made an appearance. After interrogating the entire family, she killed Nino's parents and brother; but, seeing potential in the young girl, she decided to adopt Nino. Obviously, this proved to be a stressful situation, with Sonia treating her daughter like trash. With barely anyone to teach her, Nino ended up illiterate but managed to form a bond with her stepbrothers.
Despite such a challenging childhood, Nino learned to cast spells by mimicking Sonia's incantations and slowly developed into a fantastic mage. This is reflected in her stats for Fire Emblem Heroes, as she comes equipped with a powerful weapon that provides a substantial boost to her attacks. While Nino's low defense and health makes her a vulnerable character, she is capable of wiping out pretty much any unit. At the end of the day, Nino is worth the risk.
One of the three main protagonists in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Hector stands out among other in-game lords due to his preferred weapon being an ax. Loud and brash, the young fighter quickly gained notoriety due to his rash fighting style, which was self-taught. As the RPG's story progresses, Hector develops quite a lot as a character, going from an annoying teenager to a respectable leader of men.
As with most physical units in Fire Emblem Heroes, Hector's main weakness is magic. Unless the opposition has a red mage deployed, they are unlikely to be able to survive a battle against a team with Hector. Using his trusty ax, Hector has high attack and defense, with a special skill that guarantees a follow-up attack when HP is below 80%. This loud lord is one of those units that decide whether a battle is lost or won.
Okay, Reinhardt is a glass cannon, but his insane attack power makes him a deadly combatant. Harboring back to the earlier entries in the franchise, 2000's Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 was released on the SNES. Yes, that is not a typo, games were still being released on the Super Famicom during that time period. Thracia 776 never received an international release, so most Western gamers are probably not familiar with Reinhardt.
Reinhardt was a non-playable character in the original game, but Fire Emblem Heroes has finally given him an opportunity to shine. As a cavalry unit, Reinhardt is quite mobile and benefits from an attack boost. The unit's strongest asset is his unique weapon, Dire Thunder, which allows the player to attack twice when initiating combat. He even has a special skill that damages nearby units, making Reinhardt beyond powerful.
There are very few all-rounder units available in Fire Emblem Heroes, but Roy is among the best. In this case, we are referring to the limited edition 'Brave Heroes' version, since the original is rather average. Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade's protagonist, Roy was popular enough to warrant being included in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Idealistic to a fault, Roy is your typical hero who wants nothing more than to help those around him without having to resort to bloodshed. Almost like taking a page from any shōnen manga ever, Roy is incredibly dense and constantly fails to notice when a woman is interested in him.
While Roy is well-rounded, that does not mean he is great at everything. The unit's defense, resistance, and HP are hardly impressive, but they are okay enough to survive most battles. Roy is among the fastest cavalry units within Heroes, and very few other characters can match his offensive output. Equipped with Blazing Durandal, this weapon automatically increases Roy's attack by three and, if the stat is higher than the enemy's, Roy's special skill cools down quicker.
Inigo's personality is contradictive. The son of the dancer Olivia, Inigo makes an appearance in two separate entries of the franchise. After being introduced in Fire Emblem Awakening, the Mercenary reappears in the sequel. Due to his introverted personality, Olivia forced Inigo to interact with any many women as possible, turning him into somewhat of a womanizer. Inigo still remained shy and withdrawn, but he would also flirt with any woman that he happened to come across. Thankfully, Olivia's son matured quite a bit once he had a daughter of his own.
Taking only stats into account, Inigo is far from an impressive unit. Speed is his best quality, but that is still rather mediocre and he should be kept as far away from the frontlines as possible. Inigo is meant to be used exclusively as a support unit, as his weapon and skills greatly enhance the rest of the team. Whenever Inigo attacks, any adjacent allies automatically recover HP, and his assist ability allows another party member to make a second move. Inigo's passive skills are also worth employing since they grant stat boosts to his allies.
Not counting Heroes, Lyndis appears in three separate Fire Emblem games, including the Dynasty Warriors spin-off released recently on the Nintendo Switch. Suffice it to say, this swordmaster is quite a popular character. Prior to the events of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Lyn's entire tribe was wiped out by a group of bandits, turning this humble and kind-hearted girl into an orphan. While Lyn tries to maintain a positive outlook on life, she will not hesitate to kill anyone who proves to be a threat.
Lyn's default version is a jack of all trades that works well in most situations. While Roy suffers a bit in the defense department, Lyn has no weak spot. When it comes the best unit in the entire game, Lyn's limited edition 'Brave Heroes' alternative takes the cake. As the only long range cavalry unit, Lyn can attack from a safe distance, and she even has a passive skill that protects her from counterattacks. If that was not enough, Lyn's special grants a 30% boost to her already high attack stat, making it near impossible to survive a hit.
As a free-to-play mobile app with an online component, Fire Emblem Heroes is a work in progress. In February, the tactical RPG will mark its one year anniversary, so, Nintendo could very well release a handful of new heroes. By the end of the year, this list might need to be updated and we hope that is the case. Fire Emblem is a fantastic franchise and Heroes should serve as an example of how to properly adapt an RPG for the mobile market.
Which is your favorite Fire Emblem game? Please let us know in the comment section below.