The Ballistician (シューター Shūtā, lit. Shooter in the Japanese version) is a combat physical class that is first introduced in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. Soldiers who operate either Ballistae or Bows as their weapon of choice, Ballisticians are defined by high Defense and attack range that are offset by low Movement.
History in the Series
In Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Ballisticians have very high Defense, and their weapons are exclusively 2-range, like Archers' Bows. They could be considered something of a spiritual precursor to the Bow Armor class. Ballisticians may participate in Arena battles in this title.
Starting from Mystery of the Emblem, Ballisticians are revamped as a non-playable class with an attack range of 3-10 and zero Movement. This trend is continued in Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776, both of which feature variations of the standard Ballistae weapons that include the Poison Arch and Iron Ballista.
In TearRing Saga: Utna Heroes Saga, Ballisticians are split into Quick Rain (クインクレイン Kuinku rein) and Stonehedge (ストーンヘッジ Sutōnhejji), each of which are confined to attacking with the weapons that they are eponymously named after. Both classes are near enemy-exclusive; their playable counterpart, the Wood Shooter, assumes the classes when equipped with Quick Rain and Stonehedge weapons.
The onset of Shadow Dragon sees Ballisticians once again revamped as a combination of all versions of the class that have thus far manifested. Ballisticians retain their long range from the SNES titles, alongside their low Movement from the NES titles.
In TearRing Saga: Berwick Saga, Ballisticians are extremely similar to the ones in Shadow Dragon, possessing an unrivaled attack range along with poor Movement stats. The sole playable member of the class is Burroughs.
The class was again made enemy-only in the sequel Shin Monsho no Nazo.
In Vestaria Saga: The Holy Sword of Silvanister, the Ballistician is an enemy-only class. Like their Mystery of the Emblem incarnation, they're completely immobile and have a lot of range. Some Ballisticians start as Transporters. They become Ballisticians once they reach a certain point on the map.
Ballistician typically wear the same uniforms as Soldier units. The exception is in the original Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Genealogy of the Holy War, where they wore a similar uniform to Cavaliers: soldiers did not exist in either Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light or Genealogy of the Holy War.
In TearRing Saga: Berwick Saga, Ballisticians wear very similar uniforms to Crossbowmen and even use the same generic portraits.
TearRing Saga: Berwick Saga
In this title, Ballisticians operate very differently from other combat units.
For starters, no unit is able to carry more than one ballista in their inventory, unless the second ballista is the Scorpion. Ballistae cannot be stored in bags, nor can they be traded to units that possess a ballista in their inventory already, even if it's swapping out a ballista for another ballista. This means that Ballisticians are restricted in their inventory; if the player wishes to change the ballista they use in the middle of a map, they will need to set up a trade triangle with other units.
Unlike other units, Ballisticians can change the direction they face on the map. This is of critical importance because Ballisticians can only target hexes that they directly face. If they wish to change their facing, they must use the Turn command, which requires them to be stationary and uses up their turn. While Burroughs is able to rotate freely when using the command, AI controlled Ballisticians only turn in 60 degree increments. The player can change the direction Burroughs faces in the map preparations screen by pressing the L2/R2 button.
Ballisticians are also more limited in their actions than other units, in that they cannot move and attack in the same turn: they must do one or the other. However, this can be worked around using a glitch. If a ballistician unequips his weapon before moving, he is able to attack any enemies in range after moving. Interestingly, this very trick is exploited by the AI but only for a Berserked Burroughs and not with any other AI controlled unit.
Ballistas are very similar to crossbows in that they ignore the wielder's strength in their damage calculation and are affected by the Bowbreaker skill. Furthermore, a ballista uses the wielder's Crossbow skill for determining hit rates. Despite this, Ballisticians cannot use Crossbows in battle.
Much like in other titles, Ballisticians are extremely slow due to the weight of their weapons. However, they also possess low defense, and can usually be killed in two hits by a unit with semi-decent strength. As enemy units, they are not to be taken lightly, as they can inflict large amounts of damage at a long range with high accuracy. Elbert is the best defensive counter against them, since he has Bowbreaker, access to shields, and Provoke. Larentia is the best offensive counter against them, as she can reach them faster than anyone else and take them out before they can do much damage. However, she may want to use a Vanishstone to prevent being targeted by more than one of them. Burroughs is also a good offensive check, as he can kill other Ballisticians in a single hit even in the lategame with the Medium Ballista and New Ballista Bolts equipped.
Despite the weaknesses of the class, the player can get extensive mileage of Burroughs if they set him up properly. He is at his best during the final maps in the game though, due to the presence of Ballisticians and Black Meteor armed Raze Priests positioned in places that Burroughs can immediately attack but are out of reach for most units for several turns.
Ballisticians, like Archers, are able to deal effective damage against Flying Units, owing to the existence of a common ballista weapon that is known as the Arrowspate. The Thunderbolt also makes them useful for taking other Ballisticians.
Ballisticians are usually best for outdoor skirmishes, but can function well in smaller ones due to their superior attack range allowing them to hit hard to reach enemies. In most scenarios, Ballisticans cannot inflict enough damage to kill enemy units without aid from other units, with the exception of magic users. Ballisticians are especially helpful in taking out Fortify equipped Curates located at far-off distances, thereby greatly reducing the enemy's ability to recover HP. The strength of Ballisticians can be greatly increased through level ups and the tempering of their ballistae. Through forging, Ballisticans can deal heavy damage and have a high critical chance.
Ballisticians in this title are very helpful in multiplayer battles. Their attack range is extremely deceiving; even though they have low movement and are locked to using Bows, their ballista attacks can launch projectiles into enemies far away for high damage, especially against flying units. Skills learnt by Ballisticians only work so long as they remain in the class, as they are not compatible with other classes.
Like in the older titles, Ballisticians are plagued by poor Speed, which can allow most enemy units to double attack them if they are left in the open. Their poor Speed can potentially result in them being killed instantly in battle, especially if the enemies are equipped with powerful weapons and/or abilities. Their Movement is also akin to that of a Knight, a problem that can be remedied by outfitting them with the Surefooted skill.
The disadvantages highlighted thus far should not deter players from utilizing the Ballistician class, however. They have slightly more Strength than Snipers, and their worth takes the form of the long-range attacks that they can inflict. Unlike the set ballistae found in the main storylines, the damage and accuracy of the "cannons" that Ballisticians employ are based on the Bow that is equipped. Normally, the attack radius of the Ballistician class is 2-5 tiles (in a cross formation); with the Rifled Barrel skill, this is increased to 1-6 tiles. The "Cannon" ability of the Ballistician is also unaffected by skills like Bowbreaker and Aegis, and when given bows like Setsuna's Yumi, will also stack debuffs on the hit targets to further dampen the strength of the enemy. Players should be aware that user skills do not activate and will not outright kill opponents (instead leave them with 1 health) when "Cannon" is used. In addition, the "Cannon" option will not drain stats post-battle even if Bows like the Silver Bow are used.
Out of the four Ballistician skills available for Ballisticians, Surefooted, Rifled Barrel and Opportunity Shot are perhaps the most useful. However, players who have their Ballistician carry Rifled Barrel should be wary as the increased radius size may make it harder to hit a specific target without accidentally hurting ally units. The remaining two skill slots should be filled with skills to benefit the Ballistician, such as Movement +1 or any one of the Rally skills, as their Speed prevents them from double attacking most enemies in battle.
|Learnt at Level 1 and above.|
Learnt at Level 10 and above.
Learnt at Level 25 and above.
Learnt at Level 35 and above.
|Base Class||Promotion Method||Promoted Class|
|FE14||(Any male unit)||Use a Sighting Lens.||Ballistician|
- Jake - Lover of Anna who shares her dream of traveling to distant continents.
- Beck - An Archanean soldier who took refuge in a village in Grust after his defeat at Castle Deil.
- Grigas - Leader of the Wooden Cavalry.
- Burroughs: A member of the Narvia Ballistician corps. Very reckless in battle but loyal to his friends.
Vestaria Saga: The Holy Sword of Silvanister
- Lazeria - The inventor of the Gigant Ballistas. She is conflicted over spending with her daughter and working on her creations.
- In New Mystery of the Emblem, Beck informs Kris in his first support conversation that in order to move around, ballistae require the oil from a special fruit. This fruit supposedly died out after the War of Shadows, and this stands as the reason for there being no recruitable Ballisticians in the game, alongside enemy Ballisticians being unable to move.
- Despite this, if the class is hacked onto a playable unit, their movements are still coded in the game.
- Ballisticians and their weapons are unusable in Mystery of the Emblem and its remake. If players ever want to use Ballistae, they will have to hack a unit.
- When hacked onto a unit in the remake, their map palette will remain red rather then turning blue. This is because there are no playable Ballisticians in the game, nor are there any that appear as allies during the game's plot. Strangely, when highlighting their map sprites as an ally, they will have a static looking appearance. This does not affect their battle palettes however, as it retains the blue palette like its predecessor, hinting that they might have been playable at some point but were scrapped.
- Ballisticians are the only class in New Mystery of the Emblem not to have the flash effect appear to indicate they are about to perform a critical animation. Strangely, even most non-playable classes have this effect applied onto them.
- Despite being absent from the game, Ballistaes get a brief mentioning in Fire Emblem Awakening between Cynthia and Laurent's A Support. Laurent mentions that Cynthia was once almost run over by a ballista when the army began marching.
- In Fates, if one manages to hack a generic Ballistician into being playable, or if they reclass a captured generic unit, their hair color will become white and resemble the generic Nohrian male's instead of keeping their dark hair color.