Fire Emblem Sacred Stones: 7 Best Units
The "Weapon triangle" refers to the rock-paper-scissors style of fighting in the game. Swords have an advantage against axes, which best lances, which beat swords. Similarly, light magic trumps dark, which defeats anima, which strengthens against light. Bows aren't part of a traingle, but inflict extra damage against flying units (some characters ride pegasi or wyverns).
The Sacred Stones
Fire Emblem fans are familiar with how brutal the strategic fantasy series can be. Whenever one of your characters falls in battle, they're gone forever. No revives, no healing, nothing.
Sacred Stones, for the Game Boy Advance, continues this trend, but was unique from other Fire Emblem titles: players could explore a world map, and freely level up their characters, contrary to past entries in the series. Your array of combatants include warriors who wield swords, lances, axes, or bows, and mages, who harness several types of magic.
Sacred Stones has several characters available to play as; which ones were the most useful? Today, we'll countdown the seven strongest units available in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones!
Don't worry, no major story spoilers are ahead.
Ephraim is the green-haired protagonist of the game, along with his sister, Eirika. Ephraim is a great warrior and tactician, both in the story and in gameplay. He can only use one type of weapon, even when he upgrades to his Great Lord class, but his strength, defense, skill, and speed stats are all high. Additionally, his defense against magic (resistance) is good for a non-mage. To top things off, he can form support bonds (*see below) with many excellent units, including Eirika, Tana, and L'Arachel. Ephraim also obtains a formidable legendary lance in the story.
* Support is a characteristic of many Fire Emblem games. Compatible units eventually develop bonds as they fight side-by-side. When this occurs, the two units have a conversation and receive various attribute bonuses when fighting within 3 grid squares of each other.
Quotable: (Ordering an attack against an entire enemy base using four men): Every soldier in this area is trying to find us. The enemy has us vastly outnumbered. Attacking the castle is a ridiculous idea. If the enemy thinks the same... then we may have our opening.
6. Cormag/ Tana
Weapon (both): Lance
Sixth place is a tie between Cormag and Tana, both lance-wielding and animal-riding fighters. Both are fast and powerful; Cormag has slightly better strength and stamina, while Tana excels in skill (chance to hit) and speed. Both are powerful units who are granted extra movement due to their mounts; Cormag rides a wyvern (a dragon-like creature), Tana controls a pegasus. Like all flying units, keep these two away from bows and arrows, which inflict extra damage to them.
If you're having trouble deciding whether Cormag or Tana is superior, why not use both? There's infinite experience in Sacred Stones; you can train them each to reach the max level. Additionally, Cormag and Tana can form a support bond with each other; if you get the bond to A-rank, the two will spend their lives together. Hey, what good is being a master tactician if you don't get to work as a matchmaker, too?
Cormag: War itself is madness, even more so if it's for greed or the fantasy of power.
Tana: I hope our efforts end this war quickly. I don't want to see anyone else die.
5. Joshua/ Marisa
Weapon (both): Sword
Last tie in the countdown, I promise. If you're looking for a fast and precise unit who will often inflict critical hits (which do triple damage), the Myrmidons Joshua and Marisa are your best options. Like most Myrmidons, Joshua and Marisa have weak defenses - but their awesome speed allows them to dodge many attacks, then counterattack with numerous strikes. Use either (or both) to harness some lethal swordplay.
In Sacred Stones, whenever a unit upgrades to the next class, they pick between one of two choices. I recommend changing Joshua from Myrmidon to Swordmaster, allowing increased strength and critical chance, and turning Marisa into an Assassin, which makes her faster and grants an ability to one-hit kill foes. Like Cormag and Tana, if you can't decide between the two, use both: you can have them support each other, and potentially fall in love.
Quotable (Upon meeting):
Joshua: When two swordsmen meet, they should duel to test each other's skills.
Marisa: ... You want me to kill you?
Weapon: Sword (and potentially axes or bows, depending on the chosen upgrade)
Fourth place goes to Gerik, the leader of a mercenary band who will join your forces. Gerik's high hit points and defense allow him to withstand many blows, and his mighty strength provides for awesome counterattacks. Additionally, his skill and speed are quite good for his beginning class (Mercenary), and his abilities earned him the nickname "Desert Tiger".
Eventually, you can promote him into either a Ranger or a Hero. Rangers have better movement and can fight from range with bows; Heroes can wield axes and receive stronger battle stats. Both choices are good, but I'd recommend Hero for the boosted attributes. Gerik is a reliable unit who can work well in any situation, and he has many support options to further increase his usefulness.
Quotable (Upon offending Marisa. Guys, we've all been here):
Gerik: I'm sorry, I didn't mean to laugh. Are you still mad?
Marisa: I'm still mad.
Would you believe me if I told you that three kids are the best fighters in the game?
Weapon: Lance (and potentially swords or axes)
That's right, third place is awarded to this youthful girl. It's pretty hilarious how powerful she can become. First, because she's only a kid, second because she's noted in the story to be incredibly awkward and clumsy.
Amelia is a member of the new "Trainee" class present in Sacred Stones. Trainees start off incredibly weak, but can actually change class twice, unlike every other unit in the game. Thus, they end up with higher stats and more class options. Amelia can ultimately morph into a Paladin, Great Knight, or General. She'll excel in any; pick whichever tickles your fancy. I'd recommend Great Knight, where Amelia will gain heavy armor and a mount, making her a force to be reckoned with.
Amelia is an awesome unit no matter which copy of Sacred Stones you play, but her stats were slightly higher in the original Japanese version. Also note that all three Trainees can form support bonds with each other, further increasing their powers.
Quotable (Upon bumping into Ross):
Ross: Ugh! Hey! Ow! What the heck?
Amelia: I'm so sorry! I'm just very clumsy. Are you all right?
Weapon: Axe (and potentially a sword or bow)
Ross lost his mother at an early age; he covers this tragedy up with an energetic and wild personality. Ross and his father Garcia join your quest early in the game, and Ross in particular can become a deadly unit. Like Amelia, Ross will initially be very weak, but can become the strongest physical attacker in the game.
He's got a variety of upgrade options including Hero, Warrior, and Berserker. Hero provides a sword and Warrior bestows a bow, but I'd take Beserker: it grants amazing strength, critical hit chance, and the ability to cross water tiles (few units can do this). Ross's support options are all useful characters, giving him many worthy partners to team up with. When playing Sacred Stones, pretend you're Rachel from the sitcom Friends; Ross will be there for you.
Quotable (Attempting to get the attention of support option Lute):
Ross: Hey, you!
Lute: I hope that maniac isn't talking to me. I'll pretend I can't hear him. La la la.
Weapon: Magic (anima magic, and potentially light magic, dark magic, and healing staves.)
Today's number one is the young sorcerer Ewan. He'll join you late in the game as a weak character, so you'll need to spend some time on the world map leveling him up. Trust me, it's worth it. Ewan should become the strongest magic-user on your team, and have amazing magic, speed, skill, and luck statistics. He can ultimately upgrade into a Sage, Mage Knight, Druid, or Summoner.
Ewan will excel as any of these; I'd choose the Druid, allowing Ewan to access powerful dark spells. All magic-users in the game can fight at close range and from afar, so they can attack both sword and bow-brandishing enemies. Ewan is probably the best of the bunch, and is highly recommended.
Quotable (Teasing Amelia): I think your outfit's cute. Especially that stain right there.
Which character do you prefer?
Sacred Stones sometimes falls under the radar because of its shorter story, but the game is a well-crafted addition to the Fire Emblem series. It retains many fan-favorite systems, like permanent unit death, but adds in more accessibility by allowing you to level up as much as you need.
And above all, have fun! If none of today's characters are your favorites, feel free to use others - there are many formidable options. Let me know which fighter you prefer, and I'll see you at our next countdown!