The Definitive Fire Emblem Heroes Non-Inheritance Tier List

Gameskinny's definitive Fire Emblem Heroes Non-Inheritance List. Find out who the best characters are and what makes them so good (or bad).

If you’ve ever played an RPG, then you know not all characters are cut from the same cloth. This is especially true in a game like Pokemon, where developers feel the need to diversify each iteration of a particular unit. Fire Emblem Heroes is no different.

We humans love ranking things. Turn on any sports game and people will be talking about the greatest QB of all time or debating which team is currently the best. Turn on the news and people discuss policies and legacy -- No one wants to be the worst president of all time. And video games are similar in that regard. Give people a large cast of characters, like Fire Emblem Heroes does, and its a ripe breeding ground for opinions.

But it's not just our love of lists that make us vulnerable. People want to know why certain units are good -- or better than others so that they make efficient use of their play time. When you randomly draw a 5 Star Peri, you want to be able to understand what type of treasure you just unlocked. So for the love of lists and Fire Emblem characters throughout the ages, I present to you GameSkinny's very own tier list.

Tier List Basics

Before we get to the tier list, there are a couple things to go over. First, each unit is notated with their weapon type and movement type next to their name. Below is a key to help you decipher it better.

Weapon Types

  1. Sw = Sword
  2. La = Lance
  3. Ax = Ax (duh!)
  4. Bt = Blue Tome
  5. Rt = Red Tome
  6. Gt = Green Tome
  7. Bd = Blue Dragon
  8. Rd = Red Dragon
  9. Gd = Green Dragon
  10. Da = Dagger 
  11. Ba = Bow & Arrow
  12. St = Staff

Movement Types

  1. I = Infantry
  2. H = Horseback
  3. A = Armored
  4. F = Flying

Note that each tier has a spectrum and that units are not necessarily in any particular order within a tier.

Fire Emblem Heroes Tier 1 Heroes

The best of the best, these units are down right game breaking. They literally change the fundamental rules of the game, imparting a huge advantage upon your team. 

Hector (Ax/A), Takumi(Ba/I), & Ryoma (Sw/I)

There is one thing these first three units have in common: they can effectively counter at melee and range. There are two other units that can counter at range -- Nowi and Old Tiki -- but they are both slow and dragons. Dragons are not only weak to falchion users, which are common in arena mode but they also deal magic damage, which most mages can withstand.

Hector is one of the sturdiest, hardest hitting units in the game. His ax, Armads, ensures that he will counterattack with two hits when he is at high health. Only very specific units have an advantage over him, like Young Tiki. He firmly holds title of best ax user.

Takumi is not only an archer -- thus meaning he can attack at range -- but is such a powerful unit that he alone makes flying units significantly less viable in arena play. 

Ryoma is extremely fast and hard hitting. His Defiant Attack makes it so that he only gets stronger after falls below half HP. His special allows him to hit even harder. 

Ninian(Bd/I), Azura (La/I), & Olivia(Sw/I)

These three units also have something in common: they are the game’s three dancers/songstresses. Dancers in and of themselves are not truly all that powerful. But their Dance/Sing ability lets a unit have an extra action for that turn.

The absolutely absurd amount of versatility they add to a team makes up for their shortcomings. Almost any team can be made better by adding in a dancer because it allows you to utilize the unit on your team that best matches up against your foe at any give time.

That being said, all of them can hit for decent damage. They’re just generally squishy.

Ninian has access to Escape Route, which lets her teleport to the side of any ally when she is below 50% and has a unique ability in Fortify Dragons, which gives any dragon ally that starts the turn next to her plus 6 Def & Resistance. Her attack, gives any adjacent allies +4 Def and Resistance after she attacks, meaning that she is a good defensive buffer.

Azura's Sapphire Lance helps give her a niche role on the team as someone that can help deal with sword wielders, which can be really helpful. She also has a Resistance buff, but it is not particularly useful.

Olivia suffers from being a sword user, which there are way too many of. This reduces her offensive utility. That being said, her buff is offensive oriented, which is useful for offensive minded teams. She is also the only F2P option amongst these top 6 units. While this doesn't mean make her any better, it certainly makes it easier for you to be better, which is awesome.

Fire Emblem Heroes Tier 2 Heroes

These units are still great, but they aren’t quite as game-breaking as the above units.

Young Tiki (Rd/I)

Young Tiki is a very good unit. She has great stat distribution, with solid stats in all 4 categories. She has an AoE that, while slow and hard to activate, can turn the tide of battle. Her Armored Blow also makes her an exceedingly tanky frontline unit. And her magic damage helps destroy some of the best tanks in the game. She absolutely demolishes Hector like no one else and for that alone she deserves to sit at the top of this tier. 

 
Catria (La/F)

Catria has some of the best synergies in the whole game. Armored Blow increases her def by 6 when she initiates combat. Seal Attack reduces her foes’ attack by 5-7, thus meaning she will take less damage if her foe lives to attack back. Her special, Luna, reduces enemy defense by 50% for an attack and is activated often thanks to her killer lance, which reduces the cooldown from 3 to 2. This results in her being stealthily tanky, a low-key debuffer, and a tank killer. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Lucina (Sw/I)

Lucina is just a great unit. She hits hard and fast while having just enough HP to offset her meager defenses. Her Falchion also restores 10 HP every 3rd turn while being strong against dragons. Defiant Speed makes her speed INSANE. And her specials-- Aether and Luna-- are both among the best since they both lower enemy Defense by 50% for one attack with the former restoring half of the damage dealt from said attack (while also taking longer to charge).

Kagero (Da/I)

Kagero’s greatest strength is her weapon which is super effective against infantry. This, in particular, makes her useful in the arena since infantry units are so common. However, this can also be bad when facing foes that aren't infantry.

She also has incredibly high natural damage.

She is exceptionally fragile, however, with low defense, decent Resistance, and one of the worst HP stats in the game.

Linde(Bt/I), Nino(Gt/I), & Tharja(Rt/I)

These 3 are by no means interchangeable, but they are all similarly fast, hard hitting, extremely squishy mages. Linde is the best of these 3 almost singularly thanks to her blue coloring making her extremely powerful against all the extremely common red units. Tharja has good skills but is slightly slower than the other two. Nino can be just as destructive as either of the other units but suffers from kinda crappy skills. Despite that, she is still a great unit.

Julia (Gt/I)

Much like the above mages, Julia falls into a "mold". In this case, her two bedmates are Lilina and Sanaki; however, Julia has the best skills/ coloring of the 3. These 3 all do exceedingly high damage paired with low speed, low to mid HP, low Defense, and most importantly very high resistance. This effectively makes them capable of trading blows with, and eventually killing the above more lethal, yet squishy mages. Julia can help bait and kill Linde. Moreover, her weapon is super effective against dragons.

Effie (La/A)

Effie is one of the BEST tanks in the game. She has incredible bulk and strength while her Wary Fighter ability, which means you can not double attack her until she falls below half health, makes her extremely hard to kill in some situations. She also has Death Blow, which gives extra damage when she initiates a battle, which boosts her already incredible damage stat.

 
Cordelia (La/F)

High attack, speed, and her special, Galeforce (which allows her to take a second action in a turn when activated), make her great. Combining her with a dancer can make her downright lethal. In fact, I once had a Cordelia+Olivia combo wipe my whole team. Not a fun day.

Of course, like any flying unit, she must put up with being weak against archers.

 
Karel(Sw/I) & Lyn(Sw/I)
 

These 2 units are incredibly similar in many ways, although there are some significant differences. They are both extremely fast with decent attack. Lyn has great resistance while Karel has great HP. They both also are strongest when below 50% thanks to their Defiant Attack skill. They also both get to have their follow-ups occur immediately after their first attack once below 75%/50% HP respectively thanks to Desperation(Karel)/Sol Katti’s weapon skill.

Their specials are the main difference between these two units. Karel’s synergize slightly better thanks to +10 damage to specials from his sword and his reprisal, which gets more powerful from lower HP. Lyn, however, has access to Astra (+150% damage upon activation) and Galeforce. Both solid skills.

Female Corrin (Bd/I)

Female Corrin is a blue dragon that is deceptively good. She has decent speed, and HP and great Def, but crappy Attack and Res. She is one of the best debuffers in the game. Her attack debuffs any enemies within 2 spaces of her target for -5 Attack/Speed. And she naturally comes equipped with Seal Resistance, which also helps make up for her meager attack. She can potentially debuff people for 3 of the 4 stats. Oh, and she can also boost ally attack at the start of the turn. In short, Corrin’s buffs and debuffs, when in the hands of a strategic player, can completely turn the tides of battle.

Eirika(Sw/I)

Eirika isn’t the best unit, but she is good. Toe- to- toe against many other great red sword wielders she loses. She has good speed, but below average attack. However, she provides great buffs; at the start of the turn, any unit standing next to her gains +4 speed & +3 attack. She also has terrific mobility thanks to Drag Back, which pulls her and a foe backward after combat she initiated and pivot, which lets her move to the opposite side of an adjacent ally. Great support, mobility, and speed plus decent bulk more than overcome her low attack stat.

Tier 2.5

These units are notably better than the ones in tier 3, but they have flaws that are also harder to overcome than the better units in tier 2.

Camilla (Ax/F)

Barring her low HP, Camilla has great all around stats. In fact, only one of her stats is below 30-- def at 28. Her Brave Axe, high speed, and Darting Blow mean that she can even get in some quadruple attacks at times. Her Savage Blow also lets her get in some AoE chip damage, which is useful. Sadly, being a flyer makes her vulnerable to archers. And the propensity of red units makes her hard to use in some cases.

 
Ephraim (La/I)

High def, HP, and Strength make him an effective unit, but his low speed and resistance really hurt him a lot.

His debuffs are also redundant, which hurt his cause some; Seal Def and Threaten Def both debuff the same stat, just in different ways.

His moonbow skill is also exceptionally useful, which helps him become an utter powerhouse when used properly.

 

Eldigan (Sw/H)

Eldigan has very similar stats to Ephraim. He is assisted by a powerful AoE, Fury-- which boosts all stats by 3 at the expense of losing HP after every encounter-- and the inherent mobility of a horseback unit.

Sadly his low speed and horrible resistance leave him exceptionally vulnerable to mages, especially Linde.

 
Male Corrin(Sw/I)

Male Corrin is an exceptionally well-rounded unit. But this ends up hurting him for much the same reason that it hurts Marth. While he has a nice weapon, his skills just don’t really mesh well with who he is as a character. Defense +3 and Obstruct sound like he is supposed to be a tank, but then his weapon provides +4 speed when he initiates combat. It leaves him feeling like a unit without an identity, even if he is good.

 
Jaffar (Da/I)

Life and Death is an odd ability for Jaffar. It helps him deal more damage and double attack many units. Yet he is still too weak to finish off many foes. Meanwhile, L&D makes him even squishier. However, his weapon does 7 chip damage after any combat he initiates while also greatly debuffing his foe. 

However, his weapon does 7 chip damage after any combat he initiates while also greatly debuffing his foe. With the help of a dancer, this can result in major damage. Moreover, his Threaten Speed means he is capable of debuffing 3 of the 4 stats.

Hinoka (La/F)

Hinoka is good, but she’s just not great. She's kinda a worse version of Cordelia. She hits hard, is relatively fast, and has a brave lance. She also has a powerful AoE, which her brave lance helps set up. Her bulk is increased with Defiant Defense.

But she isn't fast enough. And her Defiant Defense is often too little too late since she is so squishy. If she is on a team with other fliers, then she can potentially be great, since she can boost their attack and speed by 6. 

Klein (Ba/I)

Klein is like Hinoka, Raven, and Camilla. A relatively fast unit with a brave weapon that can quad attack some enemies. His special does 80% of his resistance, which would be awesome if his resistance wasn’t shit. Death Blow, which adds +6 to his attack when he initiates combat, is also great for him. Quick Riposte, while a good skill, probably isn’t extremely useful since he is a ranged unit unless it actually allows him to counterattack at a melee range, in which case it is amazing.

Quick Riposte, while a good skill, probably isn’t extremely useful since he is a ranged unit unless it actually allows him to counterattack at a melee range, in which case it is amazing.

Marth(Sw/I)

He’s a damned fine unit. Sadly, the OG Falchion user is trumped by almost all of the other Falchion users. He is notably very well rounded.

He also sports great mobility options via Pivot and Escape Route (when under 50% HP). In fact, the first time I used one, via a Grand Battle, I was impressed by the amount of versatility he had while moving around the map. 

 
Olwen (Bt/H) & Reinhardt (Bt/H)
 

Horseback mages are always useful because they can cover so much of the battlefield. They also both have Dire Thunder, which attacks twice in a row.

Olwen can effectively counter many mages thanks to her decent resistance and Warding Blow skill (+6 resistance when initiating attack). Her high speed also means she can sometimes get in 4 attacks. Olwen’s reposition is also a useful support skill. Sadly, she has low attack.

Reinhardt has better attack, but much worse speed. He will never 4 attack anything that is remotely close to his level. This also leaves him extremely vulnerable to anyone that ends up surviving his attacks or attacking him.

Raven (Ax/I)
Why is he carrying a sword?

Brave Axe, high attack, high speed, and respectable HP make Raven a damned good unit. His defiant speed gives him +7 speed below 50% HP, meaning he can get in quadruple attacks. Top this off with Threaten Def, and he can be an extremely lethal unit.

His Sol potentially restores HP, however, which can result in him losing this bonus. Moreover, the propensity of sword wielders in the Arena can hurt him.

 
Spring Lucina (Bt/I)

I am kinda split on this unit. She is very similar to Linde, one of the best units in the game, which is great. Except she trades in some damage for extra defense. That being said, her Swift Sparrow gives +4 Speed and Attack when she initiates battles, which increases her already great speed.

Her Seal Res also lowers enemy resistance by 7 making up for her smaller damage. And she has Rally Speed, which is one of the best support skills in the whole game. A better weapon would really set her up to shine.

Old Tiki (Rd/I) & Nowi (Bd/I)

Old Tiki and Nowi can both counterattack at range. They are both hardy tanks. They are mainly setback by their abysmal speed. Moreover, unlike Hector and Ryoma, who deal physical damage, dragons deal magical damage. This means that they are not going to often kill any of the mages that are pelting them from afar.

Zephiel(Sw/A)

Zephiel only recently released, but already he has proven to be an extremely powerful unit. He has the highest current HP stat and one of the highest Def stats. Combined with Wary Fighter, he becomes excessively defensive and resilient to physical attackers.

That being said, his skills don't synergize well. He comes with Life & Death, but the boost only helps his attack, as his speed is too slow to ever be able to utilize it. Moreover, Wary Fighter prevents follow up attacks by either unit anyhow, so it's not clear how this would be useful. On top of that, the defensive penalties make him increasingly more vulnerable to Magic damage. This hurts his ability to keep Wary Fighter active as it requires that you be above 50% HP. For this same reason Reprisal, which gains damage as he loses HP, becomes questionable.

Fire Emblem Heroes Tier 3 Heroes

Many of these units are still worth using, but they just might not pack the same punch as the others. Either because their moves don’t synergize very well, their stats aren’t very good overall, there are other characters that do the same thing except better, or they are really niche. Some solid red units, like Seliph, are in this section because SO many other great red units are available ahead of them. Likewise, some good green units, like Minerva, are less useful because the meta leans so strongly towards red units.

  • Abel(La/H)- destroys swords
  • Alfonse(Sw/I)
  • Alm(Sw/I)
  • Anna(Ax/I)
  • Arthur(Ax/I)- destroys lances
  • Barte(Ax/I)
  • Cain(Sw/H)
  • Cecillia(Gt/H)
  • Cherche(Ax/F)
  • Chrom(Sw/I)
  • Clair(La/F)
  • Serra(St/I)
  • Azama(St/I)
  • Sharena(La/F)
  • Sanaki(Rt/I)
  • Lilina(Rt/I)
  • Est(La/F)
  • Fae(Gd/I)
  • Faye(Ba/I)
  • Felicia(Da/I)
  • Fir(Sw/I)
  • Frederick(Ax/H)
  • Gaius(Da/I)
  • Gordin(Ba/I)
  • Gunter(Ax/H) -- Hone Cavalry gives cavalry +6 Attack/Speed; Super OP
  • Gwendolyn(La/A) -- great stats; meh skills
  • Hana(Sw/I)
  • Hawkeye(Ax/I)
  • Jagen(La/H) -- great skills; horrible stats (except Godly resistance)
  • Jeorge(Ba/I)
  • Laslow(Sw/I)
  • Leo(Rt/H) -- horrible stats; great skill synergy
  • Lon’qu(Sw/I) -- best speed in the game
  • Lukas(La/I) -- much more tanky Ephraim with worse weapon/skills
  • Matthew(Da/I)
  • Merric(Gt/I)
  • Minerva(Ax/F)
  • Michalis(Ax/F) -- Iote’sShiled neutralizes “super effective” bonuses. 
  • Narcian(Ax/F) -- Great against lances, meh against everything else. 
  • Navarre(Sw/I)
  • Oboro(La/I) -- great debuffs, support skill, and defense; meh weapon, speed, and resistance.
  • Ogma(Sw/I)
  • Palla(Sw/F)
  • Peri(La/H)
  • Rebecca(Ba/I)
  • Robin Female(Gt/I)
  • Robin Male(Bt/I) -- Oh yeah. I said it. He's not that good!
  • Roy(Sw/I)
  • Saizo(Da/I)
  • Selena(Da/I)
  • Seliph(Sw/I)
  • Setsuna(Ba/I) -- Extremely fast. Hard counters Archers & Dagger users. Low damage sets her back some, however. 
  • Shanna(La/F) -- Solid abilities; High Attack and Speed; Just a little TOO squishy. 
  • Sheena(Ax/A)
  • Stahl(Sw/H) -- Niche Axe crusher
  • Subaki(La/F)
  • Sully(La/H) -- Niche Sword crusher
  • Ursula(Sw/H)
  • Spring Camilla(Gt/F) -- Only flying tome user; also only flying ranged attacker

Fire Emblem Heroes Tier 4 Heroes

Let’s not lie, we all know some characters suck. These are those characters. There is honestly a spectrum in this tier: Some of them are so bad that you shouldn’t ever use them due to such horrible stats, while others could potentially be great through significant inheritance. Many of the units in this rank also suffer from having such low attack stats -- like Niles and Felicia -- that they could never kill anything. Tier 4 is also where healers come to die.

  • Barst(Ax/I)
  • Beruka(Ax/F)
  • Caeda(Sw/F)
  • Niles(Ba/I)
  • Draug(Sw/A) -- Bad skills hurt his cause a lot.
  • Raigh(Rt/I)
  • Odin(Bt/I)
  • Wrys(St/I)
  • Clarine(St/H)
  • Donnel(La/I)
  • Elise(St/H)
  • Eliwood(Sw/H)
  • Florina(La/F)
  • Hinata(Sw/I) -- Great Skills; Odd high-risk Tank
  • Jakob(Da/I)
  • Lachesis(St/I)
  • Lissa(St/I)
  • Lucius(St/I)
  • Maria(St/I)
  • Priscilla(St/H)
  • Sakura(St/I)
  • Sophia(Rt/I) -- One of the worst speed stats in the game sets her back, despite having probably the highest combined defense and resistance of any mage in the game. 
  • Virion(Ba/I)
  • Spring Chrom(Ax/I) -- Has well-rounded skills, but nothing pops out at you. Needs a lot of skill investment to really shine.
  • Spring Xander(La/H)

Tier 5

Henry. That's it.

Henry(Rt/I)

Henry is debatably the worst unit in the game. He has great defense and HP "for a mage". But he only has 23 Attack and 22 Speed! He is bottom 10 in Attack and Speed. Being moderately tanky for a mage isn’t going to save you from that.

Interestingly enough, however, he can still kill some people. His Defiant Defense boosts his already solid defense by 7 when he is below half HP, making him a genuine tank. His ability, Ignis, also does 80% of his def to an enemy when activated, so he can potentially hit people for some real damage.

Synopsis

Ultimately, Henry represents what I love most about this game. Sure he is utter shit, but even the worst characters can find a way to be useful in the hands of a master tactician. And all the characters manage to feel unique; in fact, there are surprisingly few instances where two units feel functionally identical. I think this is best noted by the fact that given Henry's defense, magic damage, and color advantage that he can act as a counter to Hector. An admittedly kinda bad counter, but a counter nonetheless. And that's kinda awesome.

Published Apr. 26th 2017

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