Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia Articles RSS Feed | Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Is the Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia DLC Worth It? Tue, 23 May 2017 15:36:16 -0400 David Fisher

While Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia has only been out for a few days internationally, the game was already out in Japan as of April 20th. As a result, the international release is already set for -- as Nintendo calls it -- a "barrage of DLC" over the span of just under a month. But with a price tag for the Season Pass sitting just above the price of the full game, is it really worth it?

In this article we'll be taking a look at the DLC available to see if the content on offer is worth purchasing individually, as a pass, or even at all!

Fledgling Warriors Pack

  • Individual Price: $2.99 - $3.99 USD per map
  • Pack Price: $7.99 USD

The Fledgling Warriors Pack consists of three DLC maps -- The Astral Temple, Band of Bandages, and Wretches and Riches. Each of these maps serves a separate purpose: to gain rare items, experience, and silver coins for forging.

While this might not seem like much, the Astral Temple map can drop Star Shards, which are useful for customizing the growth rates of your units. They do this by increasing the chances of growing a certain stat upon level up, and so it's a must-have for anyone looking to max out the stats of their favorite characters.

That said, none of these are particularly useful for a casual or hardcore run. If anything, it's just there to make the game easier for you.

The Verdict: I would skip on this DLC pack if you don't want it. You're not missing out on anything special, and it doesn't really add anything to the game.

Undaunted Heroes Pack

  • Individual Price: $3.99 USD per Map
  • Pack Price: $9.99 USD

The Undaunted Heroes Pack consists of: The Inner Sanctum, Wealth Before Health, and Lords of the Grave maps. All of these maps offer similar -- but enhanced -- benefits as the previous DLC pack. While this may seem pointless at first, this pack serves as a higher level version of the previous DLC -- and as such your rates of finding rarer items and gaining greater amounts of experience are to be expected.

One of these items is the Starsphere. This item is created after combining all star shards and a black pearl, and grants a permanent boost to all stats by 2.

The Verdict: Considering that there's plenty of places to grind levels in the base game, this pack is only worth it if you want to get Star Shards or the Starsphere. Otherwise, you can once again skip out on this.

The Lost Altars Pack

  • Individual Price: $1.99 USD per Map
  • Pack Price: $14.99 USD

The Lost Altars Pack provides players with a number of new DLC classes that did not exist in the original Fire Emblem: Gaiden title. Each acts as a fourth promotion -- otherwise known as Over Class -- that more or less breaks the game, as they serve no real purpose other than pushing your units to new limits. That said, they do help a lot with the game's post-game, and are by no means invasive aside from their somewhat out-of-place designs in some cases.

The VerdictThis pack is perhaps the first I can safely recommend, but only if you want it. Over Class promotions aren't particularly useful, and they are by no means essential to enjoy the game. This one is purely up to the individual player's' discretion.

Rise of the Deliverance Pack

  • Individual Price: $3.99 USD per Map
  • Pack Price: $12.99 USD

Arguably one of the most controversial inclusions, the Rise of the Deliverance Pack provides players with four new campaign maps, and story content that takes place prior to the events of the game. While they are interesting, and the support conversations within it are unobtainable outside of it, it is by no means necessary to the understanding of the story as a whole.

You also will be rewarded with special unit-specific items upon completion, so it might be worth it for those if you are interested in picking it up.

The Verdict: While it could have been added as part of the base game, this DLC seems to be a second thought as opposed to a planned design. If you are interested in seeing more lore -- particularly behind the Knights of Zophia -- then this pack is certainly for you. The maps also provide a bit of a challenge since unit levels and items are set. So if you're looking for a bit of strategy-heavy gameplay, this might be up your alley as well.

Cipher Companions Pack

  • Individual Price: $3.99 USD per Map
  • Pack Price: $5.99 USD

The Cipher Companions Pack consists of two battle maps that grant you four new allies for use in the main game. These characters include: Lando (Vagabond Knight), Emma (Apprentice Sky Knight), Shade (Dark Saint), and Yuzu (Violet Myrmidon). None of these characters are part of the Shadows of Valentia storyline, as they are merely a cross-promotion with the Fire Emblem Cipher card game.

Each of these characters will come with support conversations, base conversations, as well as special weapons for each character.

The Verdict: At $5.99 USD, this DLC isn't so much content as it is a collector's item. If you're a fan of the Fire Emblem Cipher card game (which only really exists in Japan anyway), then by all means pick it up. Otherwise, it's not worth it unless you're looking for a bunch of characters with exclusive classes or to bump up your ranks by a couple of units.

The Season Pass

  • Price: $44.99 USD

The Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia season pass is a collection of all the aforementioned DLC, as well as any possible DLC that comes later. At $45, this is only worth it if you were planning on getting absolutely every single DLC map -- as it only reduces the price at about 13%. Nintendo advertises the difference at over 30%, but that's only really the case if you decided to buy each map individually.

The Verdict: If you like the idea of Over Classes, Cipher Companions, and so on, then it's worth it. If you only want one or two of these packs, I would just get one of the bundles instead. There is no reason to buy this unless you intend to use absolutely everything included.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I don't really see the point of purchasing each individual piece of DLC. While the Rise of the Deliverance pack is interesting, the grinding levels, Cipher companions, and to an extent the Over Class pack don't really appeal to a person like me who only wants to play the games for the lore and story.

That said, I can totally see someone buying all of these packs together if they want to max out unit stats, build up their favorite characters, or even just get everything they can out of what is otherwise a wonderful game.

At the end of the day, it's clear for the most part that other than the story DLC, there's not much effort put into this -- and so I imagine that Intelligent Systems will pump out similar DLC for future games regardless of what is purchased or not. All that really matters in terms of deciding here is what you believe will make the game more or less fun for you.


Regardless of what you choose, we'll see you out in the battlefield! And to make sure you secure a victory, check out our other Shadows of Valentia guides here on GameSkinny: 

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia - Character Recruitment Guide Sun, 21 May 2017 01:17:22 -0400 David Fisher

A common theme throughout the Fire Emblem series is the brave warrior or lord traveling across the land while amassing an army to take down the forces of evil. Shadows of Valentia is no different, but it does act as a unique title in the sense that characters have to be talked to while in villages or dungeons in order to be recruited.

In this guide we'll take a look at how to get the party all together in order to unite the continent of Valentia once more! Note that this guide will contain spoilers, and will not discuss characters who join you without option, so read on at your own discretion!

How to Recruit Character's for Alm's Army in Shadows of Valentia

A total of 16 characters can join Alm's army throughout the acts in Shadows of Valentia. The characters are listed in order of their recruitability:

The Villager Quartet

Alm's childhood friends are all available for recruitment in Act I. While Gray and Tobin will join automatically, Faye and Kliff must be recruited manually.

You can do this by talking to them before leaving Ram Village. If you forget to recruit them before leaving, make sure to get them before reaching the end of the Act -- otherwise you won't be able to recruit them afterward.


Silque is met very early on in Act I of Alm's journey. She is the one who gives him Mila's Turnwheel, and is the first character other than the villagers whose recruitment can be skipped. Once you save her from the bandits, speak to her before leaving the Shrine Room to add her to your party.

Forsyth and Python

Forsyth and Python are both members of the Deliverance and can be found in the Deliverance Hideout when you meet Clive in Act I. Once Clive has joined you, talk to Forsyth in the Shrine Room, and Python at the entrance to the hideout.

Both can be easy to miss if you aren't the type to talk to everyone, and neither are characters you'll want to miss out on -- especially if you didn't change Tobin into an Archer.


In Act III of Alm's route you will come across a mage by the name of Luthier in a place called Forest Village. Speak to Luthier, and he will request your aid in saving his sister. After he makes his request you will get the chance to recruit him.


Mathilda -- the Female Zofian Knight -- is found in Alm's route near the end of Act III. To recruit her, you will need to ensure her survival during the mission in which she is set to be executed. After she's been saved, you will be able to enter the castle and open her cell. Once free, she will speak to Clive (or Alm if Clive is dead), after which you can decide if you would like her to join or not.


Delthea is the youngest member of Alm's party, and is the younger sister of Luthier.  She is a glass cannon mage, and so training her can be worth your while -- provided you can protect her. 

She can be recruited after dispelling the mind control cast upon her by Tattarah in Act III. Speak to her within the floodgates to do so.


Tatiana is a Saint class character who is met in Act IV. While her stats may be abysmal, and her growths questionable, Tatiana is oddly enough one of the strongest Saints in your potential roster. She will join your party once you save her from Nuibaba, and is essential to recruiting the next character.


Although many won't know this, Zeke is also known as Camus and Sirius depending on the game he is in. He has been an enemy to the Hero King, Marth, and stands in your way in Shadows of Valentia until Tatiana is at your side. To recruit him, simply have Tatiana alive, and he will be recruitable once you meet again.


It won't be until Act IV that Mycen finally rejoins Alm's ranks. He may not be the most powerful unit in the world, but it's nice to know that he will finally join you after Rudolf is defeated.

How to Recruit Characters for Celia's Army in Shadows of Valentia

While Alm's Deliverance grows by the day, Celica's Pilgrimage grows as well! Here are the characters you will meet on Celica's journey and how you can bring them into the fold!


Your first recruitment on Celica's path is in Act I, and happens right away. After meeting with Boey and Mae, speak to Genny in the Parish. She will bashfully ask to join you -- and if you say yes, then you will get an indispensable cleric. It is heavily recommended that you add Genny to your team, as her skills as a healer and summoner are essential to surviving Act II.


The mercenary, Saber, is an essential character to progressing in the plot of Act II for Celica. While it can be slightly confusing to do so, simply travel to the port, then speak to the Old Man on the Wharf who tells you that he will lend you his ship if you can defeat the pirates on the sea. After speaking to the Old Man, go to the Tavern and speak to Saber. He will join your party in exchange for Celica's Golden Dagger.

Valbar, Leon, and Kamui

The trio of Valbar, Leon, and Kamui will all join you after defeating the Pirate King, Barth in Act II. You can only recruit Kamui and Leon if you recruit Valbar first, so be sure to do that before leaving the Pirate's Fortress. Each character has their uses in Celica's path, so be sure to recruit them if you want to add some extra muscle to Celica's otherwise very mage-centric team.


Jesse is the second mercenary you can recruit to Celica's party. He is found in Act III, and is recruited after Catria and Palla, but before Est. Rescue him, and he will join you to help save the youngest Whitewing sister, Est.


Recruitable before reaching the Desert Stronghold, Atlas is a villager class character, and the only one you can get in Celica's Act III. To recruit him, travel to the Desert Stronghold, and then go past the Smithy. Speak to Atlas, and he will tell you about his brothers who were kidnapped by Greith. Sharing a common goal of taking down the Pirate, Atlas will request to join you.

He is a bit of a late addition, especially for a villager, but training him may be worth it if you choose the right class.

The Pegasus Sisters

The Whitewing Sisters of Shadow Dragon are available in Shadows of Valentia as well. Catria and Palla will join you at Zofia Harbor after you save them from bandits in Act III, while Est must be rescued from Greith the Pirate in order to recruit her. Recruiting all three Whitewings will allow you to perform the Triangle Attack, which guarantees a critical hit at the cost of some health.

Sonya and Deen

In Act III, you will eventually stumble upon Deen and Sonya on your way to Greith's Fortress. In this mission, once you kill either Deen or Sonya, the other will retreat. Whichever survives the battle will be recruitable after you defeat Greith. The other will be dead.

Depending on what you think you need more of on your team -- Hero or Mage -- you should pick accordingly. Once you have defeated Greith, speak to the survivor and they will request to join your group.

And there you have it!

Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia may not have the biggest cast in Fire Emblem history, but it does have its fair share of interesting characters.

Be sure to be on the lookout for other characters along your journey as well, as these are only the characters who do not join you by default. Train everyone as much as possible, and take advantage of every chance you get to create the strongest army possible for the sake of the continent of Valentia!

See you on the battlefield! And to make sure you secure a victory, check out our other Shadows of Valentia guides here on GameSkinny: 

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia -- Defeating the Seabound Shrine Necrodragon Sat, 20 May 2017 21:14:51 -0400 David Fisher

During Celica's path in Act II of Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentiayou will come across an island where a Necrodragon has taken roost. While the creature is about as nasty as it looks, it's not impossible to defeat -- provided you come prepared.

In this guide we'll show you a two-phase process of two possible ways to defeat this beast, so that you can reap the rewards!

How to Beat the Necrodragon in Shadows of Valentia

The first thing you will note about the Necrodragon -- aside from its ridiculously high defense and offense stats -- is that it has a massive movement range. That said, it won't move until something enters its aggression zone. Since most of Celica's army won't be able to close the distance, you will need to find a method to trigger its aggro. There are two ways to go about this.

Method 1: Tank It with Valbar

Knights were designed with one thing in mind: physical defense. The benefit of fighting the first Necrodragon is that it only has physical attacks. As such, you can get away with using Valbar to take the first hit.

Keep in mind that even Valbar's defenses won't be able to fend off the creature for long -- he will take at least 3 or more damage unless you got good level rolls or you grinded levels at the graveyard -- so keep Genny nearby to heal him.

Method 2: Use Genny's Spirit Army Attacks

Provided you have leveled Genny to Level 4, you will gain access to a spell called Invoke. This ability is one of the best spells in the early game for Celica's route, since she can summon up to six phantom soldiers to assist you.

These soldiers are treated as NPCs, and as a result they will move on their own; however, they will easily take a hit or two from the Necrodragon, thus luring it out of its den. 

As an added bonus, they easily surround the beast, making room for the next phase of the plan!

Once the Necrodragon is out in the open, it's time to lay on the pain. The question One again, there are two ways to go about it.

Method 1: Use the Seraphim Spell

Necrodragons are counted as Terrors, and Terrors are "allergic" to the almighty powers of Mila! As such, using the Seraphim spell will spell a premature demise for our not-so-friendly undead dragon.

This method is absolutely necessary unless you spent hours grinding in the Graveyard level at the start of the game. Since most players don't have the patience, this is the go-to method for defeating the creature.

Note: If Genny doesn't have Invoke, it is highly recommended that you use this method, or else suffer the consequences.

Method 2: Beat it with Metal (and Ethereal) Sticks

Assuming you have the patience -- and the levels to back it up -- there is absolutely nothing wrong with going savage on this creature. Using Genny's Invoke, take out the creature by summoning as many soldiers as possible to surround it. Once that is done, use magic to strike it from afar while maintaining your distance using your spirit soldier shields.

If you don't have Invoke, prepare for a living nightmare -- as you will need to keep everyone alive using Genny's Recover spell. If you really have no choice, and you're honestly too bothered to level Genny to 4, then stock up on food items and prepare for the long haul.

If you don't want to do this, and you're already this far without Seraphim, just avoid the creature for three turns and sound the retreat.

To the Victors Go the Spoils!

Winning this battle will earn you a Blessed Ring which heals HP over time, and is a great item to give to Genny if you want to abuse her Invoke spell.

It also grants you access to the Seabound Shrine dungeon, which is a serious step up from the graveyard for grinding levels and finding some sweet loot to help you on your journey. On top of all that, the Seabound Shrine is the first Mila's Servant Statue on Celica's journey -- aside from the Priory -- and so this will help you change classes if and when the time comes, without needing to backtrack through the Graveyard.

Now that we've given you the strategy, it's up to you to put it into action. See you on the battlefield! Need more help with playing Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia? Check out our other guides:

Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia Guide -- Gameplay Mechanics Explained Fri, 19 May 2017 09:37:09 -0400 David Fisher

While Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia is still very much a Fire Emblem title at its core, there are a number of changes to the formula that international fans might not be used to because the game emulates much of the original NES title. Even veterans might be confused by certain elements, such as the missing Weapons Triangle, Effective Damage, no pair up features, and more.

But never fear: this guide is here to help you tip the scales in your favor!

Features Unique to Gaiden and Shadows of Valentia

There is no Triangle

While this will undoubtedly confuse even long-time fans of the series, it wasn't until Genealogy of the Holy War that the Weapons Triangle Fire Emblem is known for came to exist. Since Shadows of Valentia is based off of Fire Emblem: Gaiden, which was very much before Genealogy of the Holy War existed, the Weapons Triangle does not exist here.

Instead, all weapons are equal in the world of Shadows of Valentia. As a result, there is no need to account for advantage and disadvantage while playing through the latest Fire Emblem title. That said, it does mean that you will have to pay much closer attention to individual unit stats as they play a much bigger role in this game than they did in more recent entries.

Effective Damage Works Differently

Unlike previous titles, a bow will not necessarily deal extra damage on Pegasus Knights. Instead, equipped weapons (as mentioned later in this guide) will have preset Effective Damage that will determine whether or not they deal extra damage to certain unit classes. These weapons include:

Unit Category

Effective Weapons


Rapier and Ridersbane


Most bows, except for Rusted Bow, and Venin Bow




Blessed weapons, Falchion, and the Seraphim spell.

Great Terror

Same as Terrors, although they are immune to “Expel”

There are also a number of skills that can be used to the same effect, but they are typically tied to weapons or classes. These include Knight Kneeler (mounted), Wing Clipper (fliers), Armor Crush and Armor Crusher (armored), and Blessed Arrows (Terrors).

While Dragons and Gods have their own categories, the base game does not feature any weapons or skills that can deal effective damage. However, effective damage is key to gaining victory in the majority of late-game battles because it serves as one of the few sources of bonus damage, dealing an extra 3 times damage.

Spells Cost HP and are Learned

Hated having to replace magically disappearing spell tomes? Still trying to figure out how Nino uses new spells despite not knowing how to read her tomes? Wish overpowered Mages would disappear? Fear no longer: all of these issues have been solved!

In Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia, spells rely on Gaiden's level up system, where they are only acquired after reaching a certain level. And even then, they are only learned by particular characters. If that's not enough, they also now cost HP to cast. This means mages are now doubly vulnerable to melee attacks, and while they are ultimately still some of the most powerful units in the game, they aren't nearly as broken as they were in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade.

Another thing to consider is the fact that mages are not affected by anything other than their own attack stat to determine damage when it comes to magic. Hit and Critical rates are set per spell, not based on stats! As such, units that have low defense and skill, but have high attack stats make for powerful mages. Be sure to look out for units like that on the enemy line, but also make sure any villagers with similar stats are among your candidates for a promotion.

Class Changes are Linear and Don't Need Items

Unique to the NES Fire Emblem: Gaiden title, its remake shares a distinguished method of changing classes. Unlike other Fire Emblem titles where classes need seals to change, units in Gaiden need only visit one of the many shrines scattered about Valentia to change their class. The best part? No items are required, only levels!

If you'd like to find out more about when to change your classes, and how the class changes work in Shadows of Valentia, be sure to check out my guide on villager reclassing for more.

Weapon Durability Has No Place in Valentia!

Much like FatesShadows of Valentia has no weapon durability. However, unlike Fates, whether it be a shield, healing item, or weapon, only one item can be carried at any given time. That said, many weapons will unlock hidden skills and abilities for use in battle after they have been used by a character. Keep in mind that the weapon itself is not leveling up, but rather the unit's proficiency in using it. As such, keeping a weapon on one unit for extended periods is optimal -- provided you don't have something better.

Changes Made From Gaiden in SoV

Amiibo Warriors Save the Day!

Amiibo summons is a feature unique to Gaiden's remake. These spiritual assistants will only last the duration of the battle, and they cannot be controlled. But they can help turn the tide if you so desire. They are by no means necessary to beating the game, but they are a neat little feature for anyone who owns any amiibo in the Fire Emblem line of Super Smash Bros. amiibo.

Alternatively, the Alm and Celica amiibo unlock special dungeons for exploration. These contain challenge missions for you to complete, and once you prove successful, you can summon a copy of your Alm or Celica to assist you in battle.

Je suis fatigué!

Pardon the French, but as we look once more to our pal Clive, you can see that I have boxed a small area with a light blue outline. Just to the right of the health bar is a smile -- a smile that slowly turns into an exhausted frown as battles go on. The more times a single unit has been used in combat during a skirmish, the faster this frown develops. This is called unit fatigue.

Unit fatigue isn't particularly new to Fire Emblem, but it hasn't seen the light of day since Thracia 776, and even then it was the only time it has ever been used.

Essentially, fatigue works as one might expect: the more a unit fights, the more tired it gets, and the sloppier it fights. Over time, this will mean having an entire party of units that will hit less, get fewer criticals, and will likely suffer the inverse from the enemy. To avoid this, rotate your characters on the front lines while in dungeons, and be sure to have a roster of trained characters beyond your typical cast of heroes.

A Modern Touch

A slew of features from modern Fire Emblem titles have been added to Shadows of Valentia to assist new and casual players alike. These features include:

  • Mila's Turnwheel: Allows players to take back turns/moves to correct their mistakes, but is limited in uses per battle.
  • Casual Mode: Characters do not die, but are lost until the end of a battle or dungeon.
  • Healing EXP: Healing now gives the healer EXP.
  • Dungeons and Towns: These are now in 3D and Point-and-Click respectively.
  • Support Conversations: These are similar to those in the GBA and GameCube/Wii titles have been added to the game.
  • Post-Game Dungeons: These extend gameplay past the original 5 Chapters of Gaiden.
  • Auto-end: The ability to activate auto-end of turns is now available.

That's all for now!

Hopefully, this list of changes will help you get better accustomed to how Shadows of Valentia works if you're coming from other Fire Emblem titles. If you're completely new to the series, be sure to check out my guides for Fire Emblem Fates, as the game still shares many overlapping features.

Now that we've given you the strategy, it's up to you to put it into action. See you on the battlefield! Need more help with playing Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia? Check out our other guides:

Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia - Villagers and Unit Promotion Guide Fri, 19 May 2017 10:17:38 -0400 David Fisher

In previous Fire Emblem titles, class promotion was as simple as grabbing a Seal and dropping it on any unit level 10 and above. However, due to the more JRPG-influenced gameplay of Shadows of Valentia, simply changing classes at level 10 might not be the best option. Furthermore, the ample amount of villager class units that you get from the very beginning can make or break your playthrough on higher difficulties.

In this guide, we'll take a look at when you should change classes, as well as what classes each villager you come across should change into for the best effect.

Understanding Class Changing

In Shadows of Valentia, class changes can only happen at shrines. These shrines will allow characters to change to the next class in their class tree. Each class will have improved stats over the last one, and has unique base stats that the unit will match upon changing.

Knowing what the base stat is for each class is important, as units will only gain the bonuses of class changes if their current stat is lower than the one they would have in the new class. As a result, it is still viable to level a unit to 20 before changing. However, the way that Shadows of Valentia is balanced may result in a much more difficult run than if you simply change classes as soon as possible.

As a general rule: level up characters as much as you can prior to changing classes -- provided it does not hinder your progress. Once progress has slowed down, consider changing classes, as it is not necessary to level characters to 20 for playthrough purposes.

Lessons in Villager Classes

The Class Tree

Upon reaching level 3, the villagers that Alm and Celica recruit along their journey will be able to change class into one of the 7 classes. The class trees for villagers (and by extension any units already promoted into a particular tree) are as follows:

  • Cavalier > Paladin > Gold Knight
  • Soldier (Male Only) > Knight > Baron
  • Mercenary (Male Only) > Sword Fighter > Dread Fighter
  • Archer (Male Only) > Sniper > Bow Knight
  • Mage > Sage (Male Only) or Priestess (Female Only)
  • Pegasus Knight (Female Only) > Falcon Knight
  • Cleric (Female Only) > Saint

It should be noted that all classes reset to level 1 upon promotion. From there, most classes will change into their secondary classes at level 7, and then again at level 10. The exceptions are the following:

  • Male mages can change into sages at level 12
  • Female mages can change into priestesses at level 20
  • Pegasus Knights can change into Falcon Knights at 12
  • Sisters can change into Saints at level 12
The Exception...

Dread Fighters have an interesting niche in Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia, as they are the only class that can actually return to the Villager class. As such, they can be considered a "grinding class" if you would like to do so in the post-game. That said, it might not be recommended for a practical run unless you want to break conventional gameplay methods and spend your entire time gaining experience.

Deciding Classes for the Villagers

Every villager has their talents, and playing to them can make your playthrough easier or more difficult depending on the classes you choose for them. From the very beginning of your journey with Alm, you will have access to Faye, Grey, Kliff, and Tobin. Later you will find Atlas in Celica's story, who is the villager for her route.

Plot over Practicality

If you're simply looking for character classes from a pure story standpoint, the general consensus for each of the villagers are as follows:

  • Tobin: Archer
  • Gray: Mercenary
  • Faye: Pegasus Knight or Cavalier
  • Kliff: Mage
  • Atlas: Mercenary or Cavalier

While these look great on paper considering the characters' personalities, they don't always work in the game itself due to factors varying from stat growths, to spell lists, and more. With this in mind, if you are looking for a purely canon run, these classes aren't exactly bad -- they fill in most of the holes in Alm and Celica's armies.

I would nevertheless recommend Cavalier for Faye to avoid an overload of Pegasus Knights in the late game, and Mercenary for Atlas -- unless you would rather have him act as a Cavalier to balance out Celica's abundance of mercenaries.

Practicality over Plot

When it comes to building a competent team, the general recommendations are as follows for each character:


In Shadows of Valentia, Tobin has the benefit of no longer being outclassed by literally every other villager due to his poor growths outside of skill and luck. Now that he has been rebalanced, Tobin is actually much more effective as an Archer since his defense is still poor -- but he's also quite functional as a Mage if you want to use him that way.

The reason why you might want to consider making Tobin a Mage is that he gets access to much more powerful skills early on -- with Excalibur being gained at level 6. He also has a higher speed than the other Mage candidate, Kliff, and so he has a higher chance of attacking twice.

In the end, it is up to the player to decide which role Tobin fits best into. But due to his lack of defense the ranged classes should be higher on the list of priorities.


Gray has the benefit of his recommended class lining up with his pseudo-canonical class. Thanks to his initial base stats, as well as his growth rates, it's difficult to recommend him as being anything other than a Mercenary. His low speed is buffed by the Mercenary class, which makes him considerably more viable.

Alternatively, you could turn him into an Archer or Cavalier. However, the Cavaliers and Archers you get later in Alm's story in the same chapter will quickly outpace him in terms of reliability. As such, Mercenary is the best way to go. In fact, you can even class up Gray right away at the first shrine to take advantage of that early stat boost -- unless you're looking to make him much more reliable for the post-game.


Considering the fact that the fandom has turned this Shadows of Valentia exclusive character into a Yandere, it's ironic that the Cleric class is perhaps the best fit for Faye. While Pegasus Knight and Cavalier classes do fit her well, Faye's Cleric spell list includes important spells such as: Physic (at level 6), Rescue (at level 10), Seraphim (Saint level 1), and Again (Saint level 14).

While this might seem like gibberish to most, these spells are extremely valuable to Hard Mode players. Physic is a ranged healing spell. Rescue allows you to withdraw units that have overextended. Seraphim kills off Terrors like no tomorrow. And Again serves the same role as "Dance" or "Sing" in previous titles.

The alternative is to set up Faye as a Mage, as she is the only one who can get Seraphim as a Mage. She will still learn Recover upon class changing to Priestess, and is the only unit in the game who learns Freeze -- a powerful late-game spell. If you really want to go with a physical class instead, it is recommended that you go with Cavalier for Faye -- so long as you level her up enough to be ready to promote to Paladin at about the same time as Clive.


Kliff was one of the best villagers in Gaiden, but has since been nerfed to the ground. While he still functions well as a Mage thanks to his long repertoire of spells, he suffers from heavy HP and Speed bases and growths. HP is essential to casting spells, so unless you want to pump the HP into him via fountains found at the end of shrines, then you might want to consider otherwise.

Overall, Kliff has been nerfed to the point where he is virtually outclassed in every single possible promotion. That said, with careful investment he can still be a useful Mage. Otherwise, change him into a Soldier. His base resistance can assist him as a Knight, but is still generally not recommended.

While Kliff is fine in a Normal difficulty run, I would suggest dropping him in favor of other units as soon as possible.


Atlas is a very difficult character to decide on due to his overall lack of a niche. While his stats scream Mercenary, Celica has far too many to make it worthwhile. Meanwhile, Archer isn't exactly a good fit due to his poor skill rating, while his defense stat isn't good enough to fit the role of Soldier.

Cavalier could work as a valuable spot for Celica's army as she lacks high-mobility units aside from Pegasus Knights. Other than that, Mercenary should be considered in higher priority despite the abundance of them, due to Atlas' stats alone. That said, Archer might be viable provided you spend some time buffing his skill rating with fountains.

And there you have it!

Hopefully this guide will help you make more informed decisions on what to do with your villagers. Remember, in a Normal difficulty playthrough it doesn't really matter which you chose. However, it will make your game a lot easier if you play each character to their strengths instead of throwing them into random classes. That said, feel free to experiment as fooling around with classes is a great way to set up more exciting runs.

Now that we've given you the strategy, it's up to you to put it into action. See you on the battlefield! Need more help with playing Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia? Check out our other guides:

Review: Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia Thu, 18 May 2017 10:47:40 -0400 David Fisher

While most of the world first heard of Fire Emblem through Super Smash Bros. Melee, the series has a long history in Japan, dating all the way back to 1990 on the Famicom. Since then, the series has gone through a number of remakes, revisions, and even great departures in areas such as core gameplay mechanics. Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia seeks to bring the series back -- albeit temporarily -- to its roots by completely overhauling a cult classic in the vein of the original NES lineup: Fire Emblem Gaiden.

It's clear that this return to an old formula has caused some fans to be apprehensive, but it's important to look at Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia from both the perspective of a newcomer and the series veteran.

The Plot is a Stark Picture of War

If it hasn't already been made clear by the dozens of advertisements published by Nintendo since the Fire Emblem Direct PresentationShadows of Valentia's story follows the paths of two characters: Alm and the Princess Celica.

Whereas modern Fire Emblem titles typically start off on lighter notes and grow progressively darker, Shadows of Valentia pulls no punches by immediately setting a dark tone for the game -- something that hasn't really been done since The Sacred Stones.

In the opening cutscene, we see a foreshadowing: Celica being stabbed by Alm. We then move to a prolog where the main cast is threatened with death by a group of knights. And shortly thereafter, the tutorial mission puts you in control of child units as soldiers -- all of whom can be killed.

If that's not dark enough, the game is full of war-like undertones, many suggesting sexual violence, the threat of starvation, and more. Even the gameplay accentuates the game's utterly dire circumstances by adding the fatigue system from Thracia 776, as well as giving the player limited resources -- particularly food items.

In between the gruesome consequences of war, Shadows of Valentia does retain the series' penchant for comedic relief. However, the sense of levity is often overshadowed, taking players on a veritable roller coaster ride through the game's narrative. And of course, the story has many twists and turns, but Shadows of Valentia is one of the more dynamic stories in the Fire Emblem franchise, redeeming the series for those who disappointed by Fates' storytelling.

On top of that, linear support conversations support Shadows of Valentia's plot; rarely are characters shown regressing in the narrative arcs, and the premeditated relationships serve to flesh out characters instead of making them into overbearing tropes. And while some may miss the "Shipping Simulators" that were Fates and Awakening, players who enjoyed those features should still give Valentia a chance. This entry shows how carefully devised support chains can improve the haphazard relationship building of the previous two titles.

And unlike previous titles, where personalities were sometimes difficult to realize from textual conversations alone, characterization is enhanced by Shadows of Valentia's voice acting. Characters much more coherently demonstrate sarcasm, anger, and other personality traits, which were otherwise impossible to convey through text. 

The animated cutscenes done by Studio Khara are also quite entrancing, but at times, they left me wanting more. While in-game cutscenes have improved over those found in Fates and Awakening, the game feels like it could have benefited from pre-rendered animated scenes. But in the end, Shadows of Valentia's story feels like what Fates could have been -- albeit told in a single linear narrative.

Gameplay -- Both the Classic & New Combine

Fire Emblem: Gaiden was a unique title in the Fire Emblem series because it blended classic JRPG elements with turn-based strategy on a gridded map. In Shadows of Valentia, most of your battles begin on the world map. Here, you are given statistics on your enemy's unit count (all the units that will appear on the battle map) and total rank (the stats of each enemy unit). 

Alternatively, exploring dungeons -- such as shrines -- will render a 3D exploration map reminiscent of Fire Emblem Fates' 3D view in My Castle. The difference here is that the area is fully accessible while in 3D mode. There you can find various enemies (which trigger the standard battle maps), items, and more. In essence, the dungeon mode is where Shadows of Valentia feels the most like a regular JRPG.

Battles are much shorter in Shadows of Valentia because skirmishes typically don't see massive hordes of players. Furthermore, the weapons triangle is absent. At first blush, this would imply that taking weapon advantages into account would make strategizing simpler. But in truth, it makes the game much more difficult because comparing and contrasting character abilities against opponent abilities is more crucial than ever before.

Mages and archers have also been reverted to the standards found in Gaiden, with archers being able to attack from anywhere between melee-range and three spaces away. On top of that, mages lose health based on the skill they use. Terrain tiles also take the forefront in strategy because buffs are much more important in the absence of the weapons triangle. This is exacerbated by the fatigue feature. While not getting in the way of gameplay, it forces players to maintain a balanced army -- more so than in previous titles.

And of course, there are plenty of JRPG elements in Shadows of Valentia. For instance, all characters have their own unique stats, as well as learnable arts and talents. As such, two units with the same class may not necessarily learn the same spells -- particularly when it comes to magic-based classes. Furthermore, loadouts and equippable items stack onto planning during a playthrough. While no particular decision can lead to an unwinnable situation, it certainly does increase your odds of victory, especially on harder difficulty settings.

All-in-all, Shadows of Valentia is relentless compared to recent Fire Emblem installments because the difficulty curve starts very early. Even those who have played most of the games between the Gameboy Advance and 3DS eras may find this Fire Emblem a challenge. 

Presentation Could be Better on More Powerful Hardware

With voice talent reshaping the dynamics of its storytelling and characterization and new battle mechanics melding with those tried and true, Shadows of Valentia shows the age of the 3DS hardware, especially in its models. The game reeks of dated graphics. All the fanciful choreography in the world can't hide the game's obvious low-fi textures and polygons. In essence, Shadows of Valentia truly pushes the 3DS to its limits.

Had the game been built solely for New 3DS hardware, maybe there would have been some room for improvement. However, as it stands, the series is at this point begging to be developed for more powerful hardware -- like The Switch.

Another reason the series should move to more powerful and capable hardware is because the music in Shadows of Valentia is wonderful. And I say that with a gritted teeth as it is only so if you force yourself to listen to the game via good quality headphones all the time. The speaker quality of the Nintendo New 3DS is just not enough to capture all of the energy found in pieces such as the standard battle theme or the sweet sorrow of the game's violin pieces.

The talent and capability is certainly there, but until Intelligent Systems reveals its plans for moving the series to the Nintendo Switch, this game's potential may leave a bitter taste in some gamer's mouths.

The Verdict

Despite being held back by hardware limitations, Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia will -- hopefully -- act as a strong last hurrah for the Nintendo 3DS. While the recent reveal of Nintendo's New 2DS XL might herald another few years for the system line, I am hoping that Intelligent Systems's announcement of the next Fire Emblem title on the Nintendo Switch will mean a higher presentation quality for the series from now on.

But should you buy it?

Ultimately, Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia will slightly divide the fandom. While all the charm and character of the newer 3DS titles is certainly there, Shadows of Valentia is ultimately a game that harkens back to the more strategy-intense gameplay the earlier games were known for in Japan.

If you enjoyed Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest's challenge, are a Fire Emblem veteran looking for a return to classic formats, or even just a fan of well-told JRPG stories, then Echoes will be a sure buy for you. If you preferred the haphazard eugenics and shipping simulators that were Fire Emblem Awakening and Fates: Birthright, you might have a hard time getting into the more structured narrative of this game -- but might want to pick it up nevertheless.

[SPOILERS] Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia ROMs Have Leaked Onto the Internet Wed, 05 Apr 2017 11:28:14 -0400 David Fisher

Late last year, Pokemon Sun and Moon ROMSs were leaked onto the Internet a week before release, and Paper Mario Color Splash was leaked not long before that. Now another Nintendo 3DS title has gotten leaked and pirated on the internet, this time almost a month before release -- Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia.

While the leak is of the Japanese version of the game, it has nevertheless showcased a bunch of new information on the game that had not been revealed officially before. We've seen everything from the game's music to character portraits, and even an added sixth chapter that did not exist in the original Fire Emblem: Gaiden game that Shadows of Valentia is based off of.

Other information that has been released at the time of this article's publication include:

Nintendo has yet to make a public statement on the leak. But it should be noted that despite this being a Japanese version of the game, it is believed that the leak was most likely done by a foreign source. This is primarily due to the fact that Japan itself does not have a strong 3DS emulation community, while the United States does (as argued by Reddit user /u/brocopina).

SoV acts as the first Fire Emblem title in almost 10 years to release with the classic formula outside of Japan -- the most recent release being New Mystery of the Fire Emblem (a Japan exclusive). Now that the ROM has leaked and made its way to emulators, some fans are expressing concern that it could affect whether we see more remakes of the classic games and releases of future Fire Emblem titles that don't rely so heavily on the new pairing mechanic. 

More importantly, it should also be noted that anyone who uses these pirated files on their 3DS should expect their systems to lose all online privileges. This means not only the loss of your online account's purchased items, but also your physical device's ability to connect to the Internet. While this might not be important to some, it led to quite a bit of anger and frustration among pirating players who lost hundreds of dollars worth of purchases.

Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia releases on April 20th in Japan, and May 19th internationally. Be sure to check back with for when the official release launches for reviews, guides, and more!

The Three Best Things from the Fire Emblem Direct Thu, 19 Jan 2017 04:45:45 -0500 Bryant Pereira

The Fire Emblem Nintendo Direct on Wednesday surprised fans everywhere with their big plans for the esteemed franchise. After the Nintendo Switch presentation last week, one would assume the majority of the direct would be about the recently announced Fire Emblem Warriors.

Instead, Nintendo decided to blow away fan expectations by announcing three additional Fire Emblem titles -- Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia for the 3DS, Fire Emblem Heroes for mobile platforms, and an untitled game for the Switch.

Other than rewarding fans with a ton of new content, here’s the three best things from the Direct.

Art and Sound


Hearing the familiar Fire Emblem melody gave me chills, and as soon as the first illustration appeared, I was already impressed. The hand-drawn art in the Fire Emblem series always stood out to me. Intelligent Systems even outsourced some of the animation for Fire Emblem: Echoes to Khara Studio, known for the Rebuild of Evangelion films. The vibrant cutscenes give the game an artistic feel found only in Japanese anime.

For a series with such an immense cast, it does an excellent job of making each character unique and shining with personality. In addition to the writing, this is done with excellent character design.

Seeing the character portraits for warriors re-drawn for Fire Emblem: Heroes was enough to sell me on the game. The attention to detail in each character makes them instantly recognizable. The chibi-style character models in the mobile game are cheesy enough to make me slightly uneasy, but the portraits absolutely make up for it.

Although Fire Emblem: Warriors was only briefly shown, it features familiar character models, and the classic battle animations the series is known for.

Fire Emblem: Echoes will also be fully voice acted, which for fans of Japanese games who enjoy hearing characters speak in English, this is big news.

Serious Fan Recognition

For a long time, Fire Emblem had a very small but loyal fanbase in the West. The series was exclusive to Japan until the 7th game, released for the Game Boy Advanced as Fire Emblem. Unfortunately, the games were never hot system sellers.

However, Fire Emblem: Awakening gave Nintendo a whole new perspective on its IP. The game sold more units than any game before it and was supposed to be the last game in the series. The success of Awakening prompted Nintendo to keep supporting its franchise.

With the Switch on the horizon, Nintendo is still releasing two Fire Emblem titles for the system that brought the series to popularity. Echoes - Shadows of Valentia is exclusive to the 3DS and Fire Emblem: Warriors will also be ported to the handheld. This is especially important because although the Switch will be Nintendo’s main focus very soon, it shows that they still care about the 3DS fans who might not switch to the new system so soon.

Echoes is especially heartfelt due to it being a remake. The game is based off Fire Emblem: Gaiden, released for the Famicom system in 1992. Nearly every Japanese Fire Emblem game has multiple fan translations, and Gaiden is generally considered the most offbeat game in the series, adding multiple features not included in later entries. Western fans have been waiting years for official releases of past Fire Emblem games.

Although Fire Emblem: Heroes is catered to a larger mass audience, Intelligent Systems made sure that its core fanbase is in control. They are giving fans the opportunity to pick which heroes from past games they want to be featured in it. This feature even includes official translations of all characters in the Japanese only games, and an official subtitle for the series’ western debut -- Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. Hopefully, after everyone picks Hector, we can move on to adding more beloved characters into the game.

The Bright Future of Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem has been around longer than most people think, and after seeing the recent Direct, we know it’s not going anywhere for a long time.

Releasing a mobile title isn’t meant to cater to Fire Emblem’s hardcore fans. Those fans will continue to buy new games as long as they keep coming out. However, Nintendo knows that simplifying games for mobile devices can draw new fans into their IP.

Pokemon GO was a cultural phenomenon, Super Mario Run was downloaded millions of times, and as long as people find out what Fire Emblem IS then the potential for a whole new audience is there. Out of all of Nintendo’s popular IPs, Fire Emblem is not one many people are familiar with. If fans enjoy the mobile title, then they might become interested in the more advanced games in the series.

Nintendo further expands this by branching into completely different types of games with its IP. Hyrule Warriors plays nothing like a traditional Zelda game, but it was a game that fans of either series could enjoy, and helped expand the interest in both franchises. Fire Emblem Warriors is geared to do the same and shows that the series is not exclusive to strategy RPG games.

Although not official, the titling of Echoes is suspiciously similar to Fire Emblem Fates, which had three different versions. Unlike the way Pokemon games are released, each version of Fates features its own story and unique gameplay. If Echoes is successful, it could branch off into a separate series of games based on entries previously unavailable outside of fan emulators.

Needless to say, the Fire Emblem Nintendo Direct brought a multitude of unexpected announcements, new ways to play, and one minor disappointment. I’m still waiting for the day Nintendo honors the best Fire Emblem character, Hector, with DLC for Super Smash Bros. Sadly, I’ll have to patiently wait for his debut in the inevitable Smash Bros. for Switch.

What were your favorite parts of the Nintendo Direct? Which title are you most excited about? Was there anything missing you would have liked to see? Can we please keep talking about Hector? Sound off in the comments below!

Nintendo Crams Four Fire Emblem Games Into Their Latest Nintendo Direct Wed, 18 Jan 2017 13:12:35 -0500 David Fisher

Today, Nintendo gave us some insights into their future Fire Emblem titles during their Fire Emblem Direct. Among them are: Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, which is a remake of the Japanese exclusive Fire Emblem Gaiden; a Fire Emblem Switch announcement, Warriors, and more!

Let's check them out!

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia is the name of the upcoming Fire Emblem title for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. Inspired by the story and gameplay of the Japanese exclusive NES title, Echoes will follow the story of two warring kingdoms, each with very opposed methods of ruling their kingdoms.

The story will include two protagonists: Alm and Celica. Both characters will travel over the continent of Valentia to try to achieve peace between the warring nations of Rigel and Zofia.

Fire Emblem Echoes is unique in that units have entire class trees, as opposed to singular classes. Furthermore, units promote by going to special shrines instead of using Master Seals or other special items to change class.

There are various other features that are unique to Gaiden that are recreated in Echoes -- like free roaming, dungeon exploration, flexible character progression, and more. The game will also feature animated cutscenes by Studio Khara - known for Rebuild of Evangelion, and Gurren Lagann.

Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia is expected to release on May 19th, 2017. Also, be on the lookout for the two-pack of Fire Emblem amiibo coming out on release date as well (below).

Fire Emblem Switch

While there was nothing yet to show, Nintendo made sure to announce that there is an upcoming Fire Emblem title coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2018. No details about the game have been revealed as of yet. However, it is interesting to note that this would be the first console Fire Emblem to be released ever since Radiant Dawn on the Nintendo Wii.

Speculation Alert!

It is also possible that the reveal might also hint at the Nintendo 3DS line of systems, perhaps seeing their retirement in 2018 as the focus shifts over to the Nintendo Switch.

Fire Emblem Warriors

Today we also got our first video presentation of Fire Emblem Warriors in action. In it we see Chrom mowing down a horde of enemies in true Warriors fashion, with special skills featuring the cut-in critical lines we've come to expect of modern Fire Emblem titles. How else they will implement Fire Emblem into gameplay has yet to be seen.

Hopefully we'll get to see more characters in the near future. As for now, the game has an expected Fall 2017 release, and will also be coming to the Nintendo new 3DS line of systems.

Fire Emblem Mobile

The mobile game that was announced almost a year ago was also featured during the Fire Emblem Direct. Branded Fire Emblem: Heroes, the free-to-play mobile title is headed to smart devices on February 2nd and will feature a brand new Fire Emblem story, as well as the majority of past characters from the series.

In Fire Emblem: Heroes, players will assume the role of a summoner. As the summoner, you will be responsible not only for basic strategy on a 8x6 grid, but also to summon various heroes from past Fire Emblem games. All of the classic Fire Emblem strategy is there, as well as some typical mobile game approaches.

One example of the mobile transition is the requirement to use orbs in order to summon new Fire Emblem characters. These are acquired by rather playing through the game, or through in-game purchases.

The color of the orb determines what type of character you will get, and the more you use will reduce the required orbs over time. Successive summons will likewise reduce the number of orbs temporarily. Each orb also has varying traits, be it elemental types, weapon types, or otherwise. As such, it is somewhat easier to get the exact heroes you want.

Similar to games such as Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius, summoned characters will have a star rating which determines how powerful they will be compared to other versions of themselves. Characters will also feature various artworks, and so it is possible to get multiple versions of the same character without the two ever being identical.

There are also other modes for players to explore outside of the main story and summoning. The Training Tower allows for experience grinding and rewards, special maps will correspond with various seasonal events, arena duels are a leaderboard style game, and also a separate hero battle game mode will allow players to hire much more powerful units.

What the game essentially boils down to is a simplified mobile version of the franchise. Whether or not it is successful comes down to the individual player, but considering it's an entirely free to play game there's no harm in at least trying it out when it releases next month.

That's it for now!

This Fire Emblem Direct certainly took viewers for a spin as it showcased two announcements that no one expected. While the focus was certainly on Heroes and Echoes, Nintendo has at the very least shown that it is dedicated to its Fire Emblem fans.

But what about you guys? Are you excited about any of the upcoming titles? Still wish Fire Emblem Fates was still coming to the Switch like rumors said? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!