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Class Mastery guide/tier list

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I see a lot of people talking about which classes are worth mastering, is it worth mastering classes at all etc. and had the brilliant idea of making a psuedo tier list on how valuable classes are to master. This list is mostly just my views, backed up by experience playing the game on Hard/Classic, but feel free to disagree. I'm sure there's a lot of placements that could change. Since this is just for fun, and I don't have endless time I've decided not to rank within each tier, though if there's interest I suppose that could also be done. I wrote this to both inspire discussion, and be a psuedo guide to what classes are worth mastering - and to be a decent guide, it would definitely help to hear other opinions.

Placement is based on two main factors: How valuable is it to master this class, and how viable is it to master this class. This list was initially based on Hard Classic, but with the release of Maddening mode is now updated for Maddening Classic, New Game, without DLC.

Considering the above two points: Class types which come late in the game are often going to be tiered lower because their mastery abilities are valuable for less time. For example, Quick Riposte may be extremely powerful, but you will likely only have access to it for 2-5 chapters, give or take. On a similar note, how useful a class tends to be will also slightly influence placement - this is because strong classes are much easier to use and master, and less of an issue to spend time using to master. On the other hand, if a class is bad, then diverging into it for a while to get its skill is a negative against the skill as it takes a bigger investment to obtain. But since this is focused mainly on the class mastery skills and not the classes themselves, how good classes are won't be a HUGE factor in general. Oh, and note that this does contain character unique classes, so bear that in mind if you're concerned about spoilers.

 

So without any further ado, here's the list:

Spoiler

Top Tier 

Brigand - Death Blow (Intermediate)

Mage - Fiendish Blow (Intermediate)

Monk - Draw Back, Magic +2 (Beginner)

Pegasus Knight - Darting Blow, Triangle Attack (Intermediate)

Soldier - Reposition, Defence +2 (Beginner)

 

High Tier

Dancer - Special Dance (Unique)

Fighter - Shove, Strength +2 (Beginner)

Myrmidon - Swap, Speed +2 (Beginner)

War Master - Quick Riposte, War Master's Strike (Master)

 

Upper Mid Tier

Archer - Hit +20 (Intermediate)

Commoner/Noble - HP+5 (Unique)

Enlightened One - Sacred Power (Unique)

Mercenary - Vantage (Intermediate)

Warrior - Wrath (Advanced)

Wyvern Lord - Defiant Crit (Master)

Wyvern Rider - Seal Defence (Advanced)

 

Lower Mid Tier

Barbarossa - Wind God (Unique)

Bishop - Renewal (Advanced)

Bow Knight - Defiant Spd (Master)

Dark Bishop - Lifetaker (Advanced)

Dark Knight - Seal Resistance (Master)

Dark Mage - Poison Strike (Intermediate)

Falcon Knight - Defiant Avo (Master)

Grappler - Tomebreaker, Fierce Iron Fist (Advanced)

Great Lord - Paraselene (Unique)

Gremory - Defiant Mag (Master)

Hero - Defiant Str (Advanced)

Paladin - Aegis (Advanced)

Sniper - Hunter's Volley (Advanced)

 

Low Tier

Armoured Knight - Armoured Blow (Intermediate)

Assassin - Lethality, Assassinate (Advanced)

Cavalier - Desperation (Intermediate)

Emperor - Flickering Flower (Unique)

Fortress Knight - Pavise (Advanced)

Great Knight - Defiant Def (Master)

Mortal Savant - Warding Blow (Master)

Priest - Miracle (Intermediate)

Thief - Steal (Intermediate)

Warlock - Bowbreaker (Advanced)

 

Bottom Tier

Brawler - Unarmed Combat (Intermediate)

Armoured Lord, High Lord, Wyvern Master - Pomp & Circumstance (Unique)

Holy Knight - Defiant Res (Master)

Lord - Resistance +2, Subdue (Intermediate)

Swordmaster - Astra (Advanced)

And more detailed, with explanations:

Spoiler

Top Tier - These are classes that you almost certainly want to master when you have them available, and should strongly consider diverting slightly to unlock and master. They give extremely powerful, versatile bonuses for mastery.

Spoiler

 

Brigand - Death Blow (Intermediate)

I think most people are aware of how good Death Blow and Fiendish Blow are. As an Intermediate class, Brigand can be accessed fairly early in the game, and does not need a massive investment into axes to learn either. In exchange, you get probably the best player phase skill in the game, dealing 6 extra damage when attacking, 12 if doubling, and potentially as much as 24 extra with brave weapons. A truly impressive game changer.

 

Mage - Fiendish Blow (Intermediate)

Pretty much exactly the same as the above, but for magic users. There are very few magic users who won't be able to access Mage easily, and again it's incredibly valuable on the offence. While some physical units probably want to go through other classes than Brigand, I don't think a single magic user wants to skip mage unless they're going to be almost exclusively support units.

 

Monk - Draw Back, Magic +2 (Beginner)

The beginner classes offer bonuses that aren't obviously powerful, but are actually really strong. And of those, Monk and Soldier are most valuable. Monk's Draw Back has a plethora of uses. This can include simple things like letting you move an extra tile by drawing back at the end of your movement, a pretty valuable trick considering even advanced magic classes have only 4 movement, making them quickly fall behind if you aren't careful. Mounted mages can use it mid turn to get one extra turn of movement, and give someone else an extra point of move as well of course, at the cost of another action. And of course it can be used to drag people out of danger, or move them away from being adjacent to enemies so you can attack with someone else, and so on. It has a lot of uses. Also, since magic users mostly don't need offensive combat arts, the art doesn't really have much other opportunity cost, which is nice.

On top of Draw back, you get Magic +2. Not as exciting, and certainly no Fiendish Blow, but still surprisingly solid. I've had mages still using it right up to endgame, partially because of a lack of other better options, but in general it's more valuable than you first think. It's maybe not as good as the other beginner stat +2 skills because Mages won't be doing as much on enemy phase, so it often ends up being a partial Fiendish Blow that also boosts healing/white magic range, but it's still okay.

 

Pegasus Knight - Darting Blow, Triangle Attack (Intermediate)

Compared to Death Blow and Fiendish Blow, Darting Blow is a little less useful I feel overall, and that's for two reasons: Firstly, there are significantly fewer units who can even access it due to being female only, but more significantly, +6 speed doesn't help you kill enemies in one attack, while Death/Fiendish Blow do. This also means you don't really get much benefit from the skill while using arts - including the Triangle Attack skill the class comes with. Still, it's an effective skill overall, and available early in the game. It does help secure a number of doubles and can be indirectly converted into extra power by letting you wield heavier weapons at times, while still doubling.

Triangle Attack is not a major factor in this placement overall. It's more of a small niche bonus than a significant tool. It's a strong art in theory, but it's difficult to set up for and use consistently, and it's way worse than triangle attacks from previous games.

 

Soldier - Reposition, Defence +2 (Beginner)

Everything I've said about Draw Back above? Pretty much all applies to Reposition, except better. Reposition can let you move someone else 2 extra spaces, which is hugely valuable when it comes to getting people to key locations quickly. It's almost like a mini dancer that can still be on a mounted class in some cases. I've had several cases where I've cut turns off of chapters or dealt with annoying threats by repositioning several times so I can get a boss kill, or moved someone else to reach a dangerous enemy with enough move left over to canto out of range (or at least canto back enough to be repositioned back out of range). Perhaps my favourite use of it is to reposition people across terrain they can't cross - walls, gaps, pillars etc. can all be repositioned over by fliers.

Defence +2 is also nice I guess. Like with Magic +2 it's decent for a lot of game, but unlike Magic +2 it doesn't really get outclassed by an Intermediate skill. Any defensive unit benefits from it, really.

 

 

High Tier - These classes give strong bonuses, if you were planning to use the class anyway it is probably worth mastering for these bonuses. They may not be as worthwhile to go out of your way to master however, unless the mastery skill has a particular synergy with something or fills a niche your team needs.

Spoiler

 

Dancer - Special Dance (Unique)

+4 Speed from dancing is great. +4 Dex/Luk are nice as well I suppose. Really, there's little reason to not use this once you have it, but it's of course limited to one class so there isn't much to say.

 

Fighter - Shove, Strength +2 (Beginner)

You've seen what's been said about the movement skills above, and if you've played FE9 or FE10 you know how useful shoving people around can be in general. It's not quite as good as the above skills though, mostly because it only provides 1 movement rather than 2, and also it's generally less convenient to be behind people to move them forward than in front of them I find.

Strength +2 is also decent, basically see what was said about Magic +2, but it is probably more useful than Magic +2, because physical units see more enemy phase, so it's a bit less outclassed by Death Blow, if that makes sense. Even if you don't use it forever it's pretty solid for the first 50% of the game or more.

 

Myrmidon - Swap, Speed +2 (Beginner)

Last and most definitely least, Swap. It's way less good than all the other movement skills because you can't use it to move forwards efficiently. I would say Myrmidon would be Upper Mid tier actually based solely on Swap, but on the other extreme, Speed +2 is by far the best of the Beginner class stat boosters. Extra speed benefits basically everyone, securing extra doubles, or perhaps being able to let you use a heavier weapon without losing the double.

 

War Master - Quick Riposte, War Master's Strike (Master)

Quick Riposte is one of the best skills in the game, hands down. Quick Riposte not only gives you a guaranteed double attack, but also cancels the opponents double attack - as you may recall if you've fought the Lord of the Lake in Leonie/Lynhardt's paralogue. This basically means you can just pretty much ignore speed on such a character on enemy phase, which is pretty insane. War Master's Strike is also very solid, though (as the name suggests) you do need to stay as a War Master to utilise it. This art deals effective damage to all foes, basically doubling your weapon's might, on top of a hefty +30 hit rate bonus and +3 might extra. It's not the best thing ever, but with a high power axe this can let you get a lot of kills.

In Maddening, it's generally easier to master classes earlier in the game - and as a result, War Master has risen from Upper Mid to High tier. You still won't get QR until late in the game, but it'll probably be a solid 1-2 chapters earlier than on Hard, which is a fairly substantial chunk of time when we're talking going from e.g. 1-3 chapters left, up to 3-5 chapters left.

 

 

 

Upper Mid Tier - These classes give good bonuses for mastery but has flaws or issues - this could be that the skill does not have a huge amount of time to be valuable, or perhaps it's somewhat niche. These classes are often worth mastering when in them, but not always.

Spoiler

 

Archer - Hit +20 (Intermediate)

Extra Hit is good, although not amazing. It's nice to get on Archers, since their hit rates do plummet as they attack from long distances, and attacking from long distances is often a good thing. It's not something most people would want to go out of their way to get, but it's something you probably want to make use of if you do get.

 

Commoner/Noble - HP+5 (Unique)

This is a pretty useful skill early in the game, and it's very low investment to get. Characters in your house will likely all pick this up before hitting level 5 on Maddening difficulty. While 5 HP does get outclassed more quickly than the +2 skills Beginner classes give, you'll probably have space for HP+5 on character builds for quite some time, until better skills become available, so the low investment combined with decent value make it a fairly solid skill overall.

 

Enlightened One - Sacred Power (Unique)

It's a solid aura bonus, basically combining Charm and Lily's Poise. It synergises with Byleth's Professor's Guidance in a way, since they already want to be adjacent to people who are fighting. Basically a nice skill to get that provides extra support for teammates and another way to boost other people's damage.

 

Mercenary - Vantage (Intermediate)

If you can kill someone on the first attack, Vantage is great. If not, it's worthless. In most cases, you can't kill on the first attack. Vantage is best when it has synergies with ways to kill quickly - high damage, critical rate etc. Or things like Wrath, Defiant Crit etc. - but we'll talk about those a little later. It's decent, but unfortunately the Mercenary (and swords in general) line leans towards higher speed, less towards high damage, which is not ideal for Vantage. As an aside, if Vantage and Desperation swapped places in where they were learned, I feel like both would be more valuable.

 

Warrior - Wrath (Advanced)

Wrath is a pretty solid enemy phase skill, which sadly doesn't synergise with Quick Riposte above due to (almost) mutually exclusive activation conditions. Good luck staying at exactly 50% HP to make use of both if you're into that I guess. Wrath works best when combined with Vantage, but unfortunately the two classes have quite different progression routes. Not impossible but a little bit awkward. And as mentioned, one nice thing about using skills like this in 3H is that Divine Pulse exists, so they're less risky than in other FE games. You can set your character up with them, put them in enemy range and if you don't get the luck you were hoping for on enemy phase, divine pulse back and try something else. Can't do it TOO much, but it's a very solid safety net that turns "awesome but impractical" into "awesome and practical".

 

Wyvern Lord - Defiant Crit (Master)

See Gremory for an overview of Defiant skills.

Defiant Crit is basically worse Wrath but with potential to activate on player phase. Wrath is really good though, and you can use both at the same time for insane crit bonuses, effectively 100%. Probably best used with Wrath and Vantage together for (near) guaranteed crits before enemies can even hit you. Perhaps add Defiant Str if you can get it in time. It helps that this is a good class as well, but it's still tough to get until very late in the game. Even on its own, Defiant Crit can be a decent skill - any time you drop HP, you get a very respectable crit rate until you get healed up - though it does excel when combined with other skills. Add in that Wyvern Lord is, in general a very solid class, you'll often end up just picking this up on a few characters, and may have space for it without really needing to build into it.

 

Wyvern Rider - Seal Defence (Advanced)

On Maddening, Seal skills became a whole lot more valuable - many enemies can be tough to OHKO, and Seal Defence makes it that much easier to secure a kill on the second attack. It really shines against giant beasts, who will often take a large group to take down. -5 Def on one of these quickly adds up, increasing the damage of many attacks and making it easier to deplete entire health bars in a single round of combat.

 

 

Lower Mid Tier  - These classes give fairly good bonuses for mastery but have bigger flaws or issues than those in Upper Mid. They are classes you may not feel like you need to master, or which give skills that are somewhat more niche or harder to access, but are often still at least decent.

Spoiler

Barbarossa - Wind God (Unique)

Wind God is a very good combat art by stats, a big damage boost, big hit boost and 2-5 range, covering one of Barbarossa's one weaknesses (no extra range). Of course it's unique to Claude, so it does have very limited accessibility, but Barbarossa is a great class for Claude, and while you'll probably master Barbarossa quite late in the game, it'll give enough time to take advantage of this powerful art.

 

Bishop - Renewal (Advanced)

Healing isn't a massive issue in 3H, but with Renewal it's a bit less of an issue. Can be nice to have, but it's rarely something to go out of your way for.

 

Bow Knight - Defiant Spd (Master)

See Gremory for an overview of Defiant skills

Defiant Spd is probably most useful combined with Desperation + Defiant Str for player phase nuking. Unfortunately that's a pretty awkward progression line, but at least Cavalier and Bow Knight have overlap. Not an especially useful skill on enemy phase, since if you're below 25% HP you probably want to kill the enemy before they can attack, not after with a double. On Maddening, generally higher enemy speed makes Defiant Spd more useful overall - +8 speed doesn't just let you secure a few extra doubles but really lets you actually start doubling consistently. Being available on Bow Knight is also great, as they're an ideal class for staying out of danger, dealing consistent player phase damage. While I haven't personally tried it, I can imagine Bernadetta would work well with Defiant Speed - if you can get her HP low enough you can get +5 Atk, +8 Spd from this and Persecution Complex.

 

Dark Bishop - Lifetaker (Advanced)

Lifetaker is a solid enough skill, letting you be a little bit more aggressive with your mages than otherwise. It's not amazing (especially with how prevalent ranged healing is in 3H, making it fairly easy to top people up even when distant), but it has uses. It doesn't help that Dark Bishop isn't a great class, being male exclusive and generally less good than Warlock unless your name is Hubert.

 

Dark Knight - Seal Resistance (Master)

Seal effects are more useful on Maddening than they were on Hard, but sadly Seal Resistance will come quite late in the game. If you have several mages, this could be useful to run on at least one for taking down monsters, but sadly most bosses very late in the game are immune to debuffs.

 

Dark Mage - Poison Strike (Intermediate)

Male only, not a great effect but has some use against bosses and some giant beasts. As others have noted, the -20% damage can tick after a giant beast loses a health bar, knocking off a significant amount of health. Unfortunately it's rather awkward to get in practical situations as it competes directly with Fiendish Blow, both needing the same Reason C rank to get, but if you overlook that it's not a bad skill.

 

Falcon Knight - Defiant Avo (Master)

See Gremory for an overview of Defiant skills

+30 avoid when very low on HP has some use - on an avoid centric build, this can make you near invulnerable on low HP. It's not a completely foolproof strategy, but if you can get the skill and some avoid bonuses set up on your character, it definitely has a solid niche. Even without a build around it, enemy hit rates late in the game are not too amazing, even on Maddening - +30% avoid could well be enough that you survive a fair bit more often just on its own.

 

Grappler - Tomebreaker, Fierce Iron Fist (Advanced)

Fierce Iron Fist is probably the best of the class exclusive combat arts, especially on high strength characters like Raphael, Dedue, Alois and Gilbert. A guaranteed three hit combo is extremely powerful, getting a whole lot of kills on even bosses from full health, and add in that its durability cost is negligible (5 durability for 3 hits, on a weapon type with very high durability) and you'll probably find yourself using it every player phase, or close enough. On the other hand, being exclusive to Grappler is frustrating - you probably want to advance to War Master for Quick Riposte, meaning you may have to delay and come back for Fierce Iron Fist later (which also comes with a small stat drop compared to War Master) - or you have to give up the opportunity to get Quick Riposte at all. Still, this is a powerful art that helps a lot against the durable late game foes on Maddening.

Tomebreaker feels very niche. Mages are squishy and easy to kill on player phase, and on enemy phase you don't really want your gauntlet users facing mages - but I suppose +20 avoid against them is something.

 

Great Lord - Paraselene (Unique)

Has similar issues to Wind God in that it's only going to be available late, and this one is a little more suspect overall - Great Lord is a decent class, but there's more argument to do other things with Dimitri, and while Paraselene is very strong in terms of raw damage it isn't anywhere near as versatile as Wind God. Still, it's a strong art if you do pick up it - but this one is straddling more on the edge of Low Tier.

 

Gremory - Defiant Mag (Master)

The Defiant skills are all kind of similar in their issues, so to avoid repeating myself here's a short summary: They are VERY powerful effects, but 25% HP is low. That's "almost certainly dead if hit" low. So using these skills requires a lot of care. On top of that, they're mostly unlocked from Master classes, with a few from Advanced classes. This makes it almost impossible to pick up several at once, and so it's difficult to stack more than one - but if you want to make good use of them you really want several. As a result it's hard to actually make good combinations outside of NG+ without grinding - and those are two things I noted this list assumes we aren't doing.

Defiant Mag in particular is one of the more useful ones, but it's also on a Master class which means it's difficult to master. Worse, that master class is female only, so those defiant stacks for mages only work for females. It's okay, but it will come very late. It can synergise with Vantage for enemy phase kills, or with Desperation on a fast mage for player phase nuking.

 

Hero - Defiant Str (Advanced)

See Gremory for an overview of Defiant skills.

This is probably the single best Defiant skill, mainly because it's in a strong stat and unlocked by an advanced class. It can synergise with Vantage and either Wrath, Defiant Crit or Defiant Speed for a powerful enemy phase, or perhaps with Desperation and Defiant Speed for player phase nuking.

 

Paladin - Aegis (Advanced)

Halved damage every now and again is nice. Helps to increase reliability of surviving. Unfortunately, it does become available a little bit late. I don't have too much else to say honestly - this is probably bordering on Lower Mid tier actually.

 

Sniper - Hunter's Volley (Advanced)

A very nice art that's sadly locked in to a class you'd probably rather move on from. Hunter's Volley definitely has a niche if you do stay as a Sniper, guaranteed double attacks is functionally similar to a Brave Bow - but with better stats if you use a good Bow. It's definitely a useful art and if you stay as a Sniper, you'll get value out of it - but it does come with a tough choice of giving up the extra +1 range, +3 move and Canto you could get as a Bow Knight, if you want to take advantage.

 

Low Tier - These mastery skills are generally mediocre. They can have some uses on occasion, but generally struggle due to significant issues - either the class giving the skill is not good, or the skill is weak, or the classes are Mastery classes, giving you too little time to benefit significantly. They are often not worth planning around unless the skill is critical to a build idea you have.

Spoiler

Armoured Knight - Armoured Blow (Intermediate)

Not an especially useful blow skill. When you're attacking you want to kill the enemy, not take 6 damage less.

 

Assassin - Lethality, Assassinate (Advanced)

Lethality is a very RNG skill, not the best when you can often kill in one round anyway with other options - having a low% kill chance is okay. I'm not entirely sure how Assassinate works, I'm guessing it's a high chance to activate Lethality (maybe Dex% or 2xDex%?) but it's exclusive to Assassin, so meh.

 

Cavalier - Desperation (Intermediate)

Perhaps the biggest issue with Desperation is that, in 3H, Cavaliers and Paladins are a bit slow, both having a negative speed modifier while mounted and a negative speed growth, while Desperation is a skill which only has benefit if you're fast. So to benefit from Desperation you need to be careful with your class progression, or just get it on a naturally very fast character like Ingrid. This problem has become even worse on Maddening, where it can be tough to double many enemies even for faster characters. As a result, Desperation is a pretty niche skill overall - it's pretty good on paper but just very awkward to make work in practice.

 

Emperor - Flickering Flower (Unique)

A very strong art, but plagued with issues - being exclusive to Edelgard who has the shortest route, you may only get very few chapters to take advantage. It's also locked to the Emperor class, which is often not considered a good class for Edelgard to use.  However, if you do stay the path you will be rewarded with a very valuable art, both high in power and with nice utility as well.

 

Fortress Knight - Pavise (Advanced)

Pavise is a small Dex based chance to reduce damage taken. It's certainly nice to have, but not something hugely reliable, not to mention the characters most likely to learn Pavise often have very high Def anyway - making it slightly redundant in a way. Okay, but not amazing.

 

Great Knight - Defiant Def (Master)

See Gremory for an overview of Defiant skills

One of the less useful Defiant skills. If you're facing all physical enemies +8 defence could be a bit deal, but generally if your Great Knight is getting weak, I'd say it's more likely to be mages causing issues. Add in that this isn't a very good class to begin with and I don't see much value in it.

 

Mortal Savant - Warding Blow (Master)

This comes very late and gives a blow effect that is not very good. Basically see Armoured Knight with Armoured Blow, but worse.

 

Priest - Miracle (Intermediate)

Not the best skill ever, but it's a little more useful in 3H thanks to the inclusion of Divine Pulse. Rather than it only triggering in situations you probably don't want to be in because it might mean losing, it triggers in situations that maybe you're willing to try since it's only a minor inconvenience if it fails.

 

Thief - Steal (Intermediate)

Steal/Thief utility has always been somewhat debated, but in 3H there just isn't enough of value to steal. A few maps do have nice things - an extra anti-effective damage shield for your fliers or mounts is pretty nice (even ignoring the effective damage negation, they're 0 weight with +3 def) but overall, there's just not enough to really justify going out of your way to get Steal. If you do go through thief, take advantage where possible, but don't worry about missing out on valuable steals if not - you won't miss much.

 

Warlock - Bowbreaker (Advanced)

Perhaps one of the best in Low Tier, this has some value - mages are decent for luring archers and taking them out due to also having good range (especially with various relics that increase it), but it's not something incredible that you want to do regularly.

 

Bottom Tier - these are skills that are in most cases either nearly worthless, or extremely niche. They may be unreasonably hard to get, of very little value when obtained, very restricted to who can get them or some combination.

Spoiler

Brawler - Unarmed Combat (Intermediate)

I can't see any real good reason to use Unarmed Combat. It basically trades one skill slot for a weapon slot. A really bad weapon. If you have any other gauntlets, Unarmed Combat is useless. If you don't have any other gauntlets, you probably don't have Brawling Prowess, and so this still feels like a dubious choice. Just give your character Iron Gauntlets, they're a lot more accurate, still really light and have +1 might as well. And use that extra skill slot for something useful.

 

Armoured Lord, High Lord, Wyvern Master - Pomp & Circumstance (Unique)

Clumping all of these because the reward is the same, and it's bad regardless. The lords all have very high charm, so +4 charm almost never helps with extra gambit hit (there's a cap on it, I think based on having enough charm over the enemy). +4 Luck is also not much, 2 crit, 4 crit evade. No hit for physical attacks, and no avoid in 3H. Combined, you still get barely anything. They have better skill options by this point.

 

Holy Knight - Defiant Res (Master)

See Gremory for an overview of Defiant skills

Even less useful than Defiant Def due to mages being less common than physical units, and generally easy to kill. Plus, very few if any characters are best as Holy Knights. This is a skill that has very little application, and it's hard to get.

 

Lord - Resistance +2, Subdue (Intermediate)

Resistance +2 is not especially useful, way less good than the Beginner class skills. Subdue is pretty niche, especially as it's a sword skill - and the three characters who can get the Lord class are better focused on other weapons than Swords. It's a bad class, with bad mastery bonuses, what a combination.

 

Swordmaster - Astra (Advanced)

If Astra weren't locked to Swordmaster, it would maybe have some use. It's not a great art, but being a multiplier on damage means it can at least do something even if it's very expensive. Unfortunately, there are better classes even among advanced classes for a sword user to take, so there's not much incentive to stay in Swordmaster - a mediocre art is not very convincing. As a result, mastering Swordmaster doesn't really give anything of value.

 

 

And that's everything. Hope that this was either helpful or interesting.

Edited by Tables
V3 Tier list, updated for Maddening

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Good write-up.

Kind of wish class mastery was a study option in addition to weapon / movement.
It's very possible to miss early-game abilities, while late-game abilities can come too late.

With late-game in particular, you're probably not going to branch into other weapons by that point.
B's usually the highest you'll go for Authority, and S+ for your favourite weapon is nigh impossible.
Studying as a mechanic feels a bit pointless by then.

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Nice list, and I agree with almost all of it. I would bump Desperation down a tier though. Cavalier isn't exactly a super high demand class to begin with as many of the units who end up in a horseback Master class would rather take different progressions towards their Master classes. Dark Knights will always want Fiendish Blow, and Bow Knights will probably want Hit +20 to counteract range penalties later on. Sylvain and Ferdinand are some of the better choices for a Cavalier if you want one, but they both gain Swift Strikes at A. This renders Desperation mostly useless on them as you don't need high Speed to use Swift Strikes or be <= 50% HP.

There's only maybe five units outside of these who would consider Cavalier (Cyril, Leonie, Dimitri, Lorenz, and Ingrid). Cyril, Lorenz, and Ingrid probably would rather have one of the Blow skills and generally have endgame classes that incentivize this (Wyvern Lord, Dark Knight, and Falcoknight respectively). That leaves Dimitri and Leonie, both of which lose Hit +20 as a result. Cavalier is a decent class but not because of Desperation. It just seems outclassed by most other skills and useful for a small section of the mid-game at best. 

I'm not sure whether I would rate Darting Blow a tier higher, but it can be very nice late game where certain enemy units, i.e. War Masters, have a rather high AS while having a large enough HP pool to usually avoid dying from Combat Arts. 

Edited by LegendOfLoog

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Isn't Quick Riposte supposed to be very good since it takes away the opponent's ability to double? It's not mentioned in the skill description but people were studying it. Other than that good list.

Miracle might be worthier of Low Tier rather than Low Mid. Though there's an interesting conversation to be had about whether Divine Pulse makes Miracle more or less useful. Obviously less since you can rewrite mistakes, but also more since you can frivolously attempt to let your unit stay in danger and see if it procs. And if it does proc you save a Divine Pulse usage.

Edited by Glennstavos

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2 minutes ago, Glennstavos said:

Isn't Quick Riposte supposed to be very good since it takes away the opponent's ability to double? It's not mentioned in the skill description but people were studying it. Other than that good list.

Miracle might be worthier of Low Tier rather than Low Mid. Though there's an interesting conversation to be had about whether Divine Pulse makes Miracle more or less useful. Obviously less since you can rewrite mistakes, but also more since you can frivolously attempt to let your unit stay in danger and see if it procs. And if it does proc you save a Divine Pulse usage.

It's very good in the same way gotho is very good. By the time you get it the game is over. It should have been on fortress knights.

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10 minutes ago, LegendOfLoog said:

Nice list, and I agree with almost all of it. I would bump Desperation down a tier though. Cavalier isn't exactly a super high demand class to begin with as many of the units who end up in a horseback Master class would rather take different progressions towards their Master classes. Dark Knights will always want Fiendish Blow, and Bow Knights will probably want Hit +20 to counteract range penalties later on. Sylvain and Ferdinand are some of the better choices for a Cavalier if you want one, but they both gain Swift Strikes at A. This renders Desperation mostly useless on them as you don't need high Speed to use Swift Strikes or be <= 50% HP.

There's only maybe five units outside of these who would consider Cavalier (Cyril, Leonie, Dimitri, Lorenz, and Ingrid). Cyril, Lorenz, and Ingrid probably would rather have one of the Blow skills and generally have endgame classes that incentivize this (Wyvern Lord, Dark Knight, and Falcoknight respectively). That leaves Dimitri and Leonie, both of which lose Hit +20 as a result. Cavalier is a decent class but not because of Desperation. It just seems outclassed by most other skills and useful for a small section of the mid-game at best. 

I'm not sure whether I would rate Darting Blow a tier higher, but it can be very nice late game where enemy War Masters have a rather high AS while having a large enough HP pool to usually avoid dying from Combat Arts. 

I suppose there's one Bow Knight who wouldn't mind missing out on HIt +20 for Desperation in Bernie.
Her game plan is to get hit for her personal to kick in, so if someone can knock her into sub-50% HP, she's golden.

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21 minutes ago, Flere210 said:

It's very good in the same way gotho is very good. By the time you get it the game is over. It should have been on fortress knights.

Still would be very good and maybe broken in New Game + though, though is it exclusive to War Master classes or can any unit use it if they mastered War Master?

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13 minutes ago, charcoalswift said:

Agreed, Fiendish Blow and Death Blow are the only skills worth getting really

Brigand > Wyvern Rider > Wyvern Lord is optimal for any physical unit

Mage > Warlock > Dark Knight for magical

You forgot Archer > Paladin > Bow Knight for any physical that isn't good at flying or axe, or those that just lean heavily towards Bow and Riding. (Dimitri/Leonie/Shamir for example)

Also Hit +20 is worth sticking a little in Archer for to make sure your 5 range bows actually hit stuff.

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7 minutes ago, Jakkun said:

You forgot Archer > Paladin > Bow Knight for any physical that isn't good at flying or axe, or those that just lean heavily towards Bow and Riding. (Dimitri/Leonie/Shamir for example)

Also Hit +20 is worth sticking a little in Archer for to make sure your 5 range bows actually hit stuff.

I don't recommend Paladin because it has a SPD growth penalty of 10%, so everyone (except for Leonie who has base 60% growth) should stay away from it

Archer > Sniper/Assassin > Bow Knight is better 

agreed, Hit +20 is good if an archer like Bernadetta has Deadeye

 

Edited by charcoalswift

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43 minutes ago, Technoweirdo said:

I suppose there's one Bow Knight who wouldn't mind missing out on HIt +20 for Desperation in Bernie.
Her game plan is to get hit for her personal to kick in, so if someone can knock her into sub-50% HP, she's golden.

Ah, I forgot about Bernie. Yea, she could make good use of it for sure. Would probably need to give her an Accuracy Ring to help with range penalties though. 

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29 minutes ago, charcoalswift said:

I don't recommend Paladin because it has a SPD growth penalty of 10%, so everyone (except for Leonie who has base 60% growth) should stay away from it

 Archer > Sniper/Assassin > Bow Knight is better 

agreed, Hit +20 is good if an archer like Bernadetta has Deadeye

 

Out of curiousity does anyone know how this game calculates accuracy from range?

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This was an interesting read. Is there a chance you're gonna do a combat art tier list?

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8 minutes ago, OCDbox said:

Out of curiousity does anyone know how this game calculates accuracy from range?

I am not sure if range affects accuracy but here's the accuracy formulas

Physical accuracy: Hit + (Dexterity) + (Support bonus) + (Ability bonus) + (Equipment bonus) + (Battalion bonus)
Magical accuracy: Hit + [(Dexterity + Luck) / 2] + (Support bonus) + (Ability bonus) + (Equipment bonus) + (Battalion bonus)

Physical hit rate: [(Unit's base physical hit rate) - (Opponent's physical avoid)]%
Magical hit rate: [(User's base magical hit rate) - (Opponent's magical avoid)]%

https://fireemblemwiki.org/wiki/Hit_rate

Edited by charcoalswift

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1 hour ago, Flere210 said:

It's very good in the same way gotho is very good. By the time you get it the game is over. It should have been on fortress knights.

Yeah I understand that much, and I was still curious if the OP was aware of how QR works. I guess it's more of a question of "how high on the list can a master class reasonably be?". Because once you have it, Quick Riposte is the best ability in the game, no question. You'd need a gross amount of speed to never see use from it even when using the heaviest, most powerful weapons.

I also think Beginner classes all deserve to be on the same tier, whether that be top or high tier. While I agree Shove is not as versatile as the other three, that strength +2 is easy to make space for throughout much of the game for any physical attacker. Ditto for Speed +2

Edited by Glennstavos

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Just now, Tables said:

War Master - Quick Riposte, War Master's Strike (Master)

Raphael late game

seriously, just equip him with a Goddess Ring and throw a few Seraph Robes and Godess Statues his way to scale his trait + for combat arts the self heal and that draining punch skill w/e it's called that he and Byleth get + QR

Just now, Tables said:

Dark Mage - Poison Strike (Intermediate)

An ability that so far I've only seen really benefits Ignatz, since he's generally weak both physically and magically. I give him this, the Seal Strength ability he learns, and by using Break Shot along with these debuffs suddenly he's a good initiator / chip damage-r for demonic beast battles. If it stacks with Venin Bow's poison, I'd like to include that as well. Interestingly, these debuffs and Poison Strike's effect also applies to Balista shots.

Just now, Tables said:

Assassin - Lethality, Assassinate (Advanced)

see: Ignatz

Just now, Technoweirdo said:

I suppose there's one Bow Knight who wouldn't mind missing out on HIt +20 for Desperation in Bernie.
Her game plan is to get hit for her personal to kick in, so if someone can knock her into sub-50% HP, she's golden.

Yes, definitely my first thought as a good unit to take Desperation on, as it also can occasionally have have some crazy synergy with her crest too, no?

Also, I would like to note she's more versatile than I once figured, as I've recently discovered, and that Desperation further helps her unlock her full potential in this regard.

For one, she can take desperation as a Holy Knight (for more sustainable front line fighting, with the aid of empowered Nosferatus) or Dark Knight (for more powerful front line fighting), or the classic Bow Knight for less versatile, purely physical damage, with a more safe albeit generally more Player Phase-focused playstyle. It's not too difficult to unlock all of these Masters on the same playthrough, either, thanks to her proficiency in both Lances and Riding (albeit budding), as well as Bows, allowing you the versatility to reclass depending on what you think will be more valuable, on a map-by-map basis. Her trait does apply to magic damage too, after all, and she does generally get enough Speed to double common threats, effectively doubling its damage bonuses...even tripling, should you activate her crest power.

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An important note about Poison Strike is that on Beasts/Golems it hits AFTER the regenration if you finish an HP stock.  This effect is significant if the character with it gets the kill on the last HP stock.

Is there anything worth Stealing that isn't a drop?

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48 minutes ago, freewaffles said:

Is there anything worth Stealing that isn't a drop?

I remember an Evasion Ring fairly early on.

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8 hours ago, Flere210 said:

I missed it  or there is no pavise. Anyway it should be at bottom just because the mere tought of staying that long in fortress knight is a nightmare.

You're correct. It was going to be lower mid, basically more useful than Pavise but from a more niche class. For some reason I must have failed when copying across from Excel.

8 hours ago, Glennstavos said:

Isn't Quick Riposte supposed to be very good since it takes away the opponent's ability to double? It's not mentioned in the skill description but people were studying it. Other than that good list.

Miracle might be worthier of Low Tier rather than Low Mid. Though there's an interesting conversation to be had about whether Divine Pulse makes Miracle more or less useful. Obviously less since you can rewrite mistakes, but also more since you can frivolously attempt to let your unit stay in danger and see if it procs. And if it does proc you save a Divine Pulse usage.

 

Yes, QR does, but I already talked about that.

With Miracle, I suppose that's true. I can't say I think too much of Miracle, so low tier seems pretty reasonable. For some reason when I started making the list it was in upper mid. Then I started explaining that and was like "why the hell did I put this here" after writing one sentence.

2 hours ago, freewaffles said:

An important note about Poison Strike is that on Beasts/Golems it hits AFTER the regenration if you finish an HP stock.  This effect is significant if the character with it gets the kill on the last HP stock.

Is there anything worth Stealing that isn't a drop?

Hmm, I didn't know about that. That does seem like it's fairly significant. I think it's hard to judge for me since I've never actually mastered Dark Mage - when Mage is an option it's hard to justify, right?

With Steal, several Master Seals before you can get the Secret Shop, a few Elixirs and various accessories. It's probably not THAT much, actually. Does anyone know if you can steal unique item accessories from bosses that have them, such as (ch. 12 Edelgard):

Spoiler

The Shield of Seiros from Rhea?

If you can I think that justifies the placement on the list, even if it's something you only occasionally want to bring. If not, maybe I should move it down.

 

Current movement considerations based on replies:

Cavalier (Desperation) down to Lower Mid (think I agree, the skill is good in theory but I barely used it in my playthroughs)

Priest (Miracle) down to Low (not certain about this one, think I agree)

Pegasus Knight (Darting Blow/Triangle Attack) up to top (I'm 50/50 on this one still, I agree it's either top of high or bottom of top though)

Dark Mage (Poison Strike) up to Lower Mid (I think I probably underrated because it's overshadowed by Mage, but I feel it's fairer to judge on its own merit)

Adding the missing Fortress Knight (Pavise) to Lower Mid or Low. (Niche class, decent skill)

 

Anyone has any additional thoughts on these?

 

8 hours ago, charcoalswift said:

I don't recommend Paladin because it has a SPD growth penalty of 10%, so everyone (except for Leonie who has base 60% growth) should stay away from it

Archer > Sniper/Assassin > Bow Knight is better 

agreed, Hit +20 is good if an archer like Bernadetta has Deadeye

 

The -10% speed growth is massively overstated, honestly. It hurts a bit but really not much - if you're in Paladin for about 10 levels, you end up losing an average of 1 speed compared to a class with no speed penalty. Speed is the most important stat, but it isn't the only important stat. If you look at its other growths, they're decent, better than Sniper for instance - compared to Sniper you get 20% HP, 5% Str, 5% Def and 5% Res extra, while Sniper gets 15% Dex and 10% Spd. Overall I'd say those sets of growths are about equal honestly. Anyway, this isn't really relevant to the thread, but I do dislike people overblowing how important class growths are, and acting like the -10% spd growth Paladin has is a death knell when it's really just a minor inconvenience, a small price to pay for having 8 move in an Advanced Class for 10 levels.

7 hours ago, OCDbox said:

Out of curiousity does anyone know how this game calculates accuracy from range?

-20 hit for every space beyond 2 range, I believe the rest of the formula was stated above. This only applies to bows, magic doesn't care about range.

7 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

This was an interesting read. Is there a chance you're gonna do a combat art tier list?

No, for several reasons unfortunately. This took a while to write, combat arts are much more varied in where and when they're learned so it's harder to compare fairly, and honestly, they become less important beyond the early game to the point where even after three and a half playthroughs I feel like I've barely used half of them.

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1 hour ago, Tables said:

Anyone has any additional thoughts on these?

I frankly think Darting blow belongs where you originally put it. Maybe lower even, it suffers from redundancy much more often than the other relevant blows, and brave weapons do exist past the midgame whenever doubling is an issue.

I'll have to defend Grappler' case(because who else will?). Warmaster has better stats, but less mobility(Grappler ignores a majority of terrain restrictions outside of sand and water which are fairly rare; Warmaster does not, and if you're primarily using gauntlets you care about mobility a lot); its unique art also can compensate quite nicely on targets neither double, making their combat relatively close still. Also, the Retribution gambit, which gives unlimited counter range, can be used at the start of chapters(it lasts 5 turns) to make gauntlet users really good against mages with tomebreaker+ the 20 avoid from their prowess and accessible doubling. It's niche, but it's perhaps the best counter I've found to siege tomes, that's something. And really retribution is good to use on anyone and highly underrated at the moment, so it's not too big a commitment.

12 hours ago, Tables said:

The lords all have very high charm, so +4 charm almost never helps with extra gambit hit (there's a cap on it, I think based on having enough charm over the enemy)

Gambit accuracy cannot get above or under 30 hit from base; outside of assistant/adjutants and skill bonuses. And indeed, the lords already reach the cap against 99% of targets due to it only requiring +6 Cha over the enemy's.

Someone brought up Poison strike already. Maybe you're a bit tough on poor Astra, too, SM isn't that awful of a final class; I'd also hesitate to put Assassin that high, especially without an Assassinate formula, and Lethality will struggle to reach a 10% trigger rate at the very end of the game, making using up a slot on it at any point extremely questionable. One can see it as a safety net, but it's not exactly a great one.

I think I agree with most of it outside of that. I'm almost surprised how much in agreement we are on beginner classes, if anything.

Edited by Cysx

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55 minutes ago, Tables said:

The -10% speed growth is massively overstated, honestly. It hurts a bit but really not much - if you're in Paladin for about 10 levels, you end up losing an average of 1 speed compared to a class with no speed penalty. Speed is the most important stat, but it isn't the only important stat. If you look at its other growths, they're decent, better than Sniper for instance - compared to Sniper you get 20% HP, 5% Str, 5% Def and 5% Res extra, while Sniper gets 15% Dex and 10% Spd. Overall I'd say those sets of growths are about equal honestly. Anyway, this isn't really relevant to the thread, but I do dislike people overblowing how important class growths are, and acting like the -10% spd growth Paladin has is a death knell when it's really just a minor inconvenience, a small price to pay for having 8 move in an Advanced Class for 10 levels

Let's say a unit has 50% SPD growth but after reclassing to Paladin, it becomes 40%. The unit has less than half a chance to get a SPD level up

Speed is important when you reach midgame and promoted enemies like Swordmasters and Assassins start appearing. I am playing on Hard/Classic, only my fastest units have around the same speed as those enemies. Those who have lower SPD will get doubled

I agree 8 MOV Paladin is really good but compared to Wyvern Riders (flier, also canto, no speed growth penalty), it pales in comparison

Now I'm wondering if Wyvern Rider archers should be a thing....🙃

 

 

 

Edited by charcoalswift

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31 minutes ago, charcoalswift said:

Let's say a unit has 50% SPD growth but after reclassing to Paladin, it becomes 40%. The unit has less than half a chance to get a SPD level up

This is one specific example, and even then, I don't really see why it matters. Again, a 10% drop in speed growth is an average of 1 point lost every 10 levels. Heck, there's a 35% chance (regardless of growths) that you don't even lose ANY speed from reclassing to Paladin for 10 levels. 1 point of speed can make you miss some doubles, yeah. 1 point of strength can also make you miss some kills, 1 point of defence can make you unable to survive an enemy combination etc. It is really not a big deal.

34 minutes ago, charcoalswift said:

I agree 8 MOV Paladin is really good but compared to Wyvern Riders (flier, also canto, no speed growth penalty), it pales in comparison

This isn't really a fair comparison, because Wyvern Rider is by far the best physical advanced class. It also has a completely different skill focus, needing Axe+Flying instead of Lance+Riding. I could say the same thing about Sniper, or Assassin, or really just about any other physical advanced class.

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Personally, I think that Lethality and Assassinate are both low tier - you probably won't see Lethality's activation rate go above 10% by the end of the game, and worse yet, the stuff that is nasty enough to warrant Lethality is immune anyway.

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Lethality down is definitely something I don't really have an issue with. Activation rate is pretty bad, Assassinate is exclusive to the Assassin class - although Assassin is arguably the best sword focused class so there's that but Assassinate isn't great either anyway. I think I've seen one useful Lethality in my time playing, so dropping that down to low I think is fair.

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