Ballisticians (called Shooters in the Japanese version) are soldiers who operate catapult weapons. They typically have high defense and attack range, but possess low movement. They are the only unit able to use the Ballistae weapons which often have elemental properties.
History and Role
In Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi, Ballisticians were quite different from their present form as they functioned as high defense archers, somewhat like the later Bow Armor class. They can use arenas in that game only.
Starting from Mystery of the Emblem, Ballisticians were revamped as an unplayable class with an attack range of 3-10 and zero movement. This continued in Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776 where Poison Arch and Iron Ballista where introduced.
In TearRing Saga: Utna Heroes Saga, Ballisticians are split into Ballista and Stonehenge, each of which can only use their own weapon and is exclusive to the enemy. The playable counterpart of these two is the Wood Shooter class equipped with Quick Rain and Stonehedge.
In the remake, Shadow Dragon, Ballisticians were once again revamped as a combination of both versions of the class. While Ballisticians had their long range from the SNES games, the playable Ballisticians and many enemy Ballistician units had their low movement from the NES games.
Ballistician typically wear the same uniforms as Soldier units. The exception is in the original NES game and Jugdral game, where they wore a similar uniform to cavaliers. It should also be noted that soldiers did not exist in either Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi or Genealogy of the Holy War.
Ballisticians, like archers, can be very effective versus air units because a common ballista, called Arrowspate, has Weapon effectiveness against Pegasus and Draco Knights. Recruitable characters belonging to this class are Jake and Beck. Ballisticians are one of the classes that cannot visit Arenas. Because of this, they cannot reach insanely high levels using Arena Abuse.
Ballisticians are usually best for outdoor maps, but are good in smaller ones, due to their range. However, they cannot do damage well enough to kill enemy units without help from other units, especially with Fortify Curates in later levels. However, they are very useful in taking out far-off Curates, therefore greatly damaging the enemy's healing options. The strength of Ballisticians can be greatly increased by leveling and especially forging their ballistas.
They are not very useful in multiplayer, since they cannot defend themselves, except from Longbow attacks if these attack from a range of three spaces. An exception to this can be in the Fog Of War stages, where the Ballisticians can remain hidden from the enemy units.
In Fire Emblem Fates, Ballisticians are very helpful in multiplayer. Their attack range is extremely deceiving; even though they have low movement and can only use bows, their ballista attack can launch projectiles into enemies far away for high damage, especially against fliers. All of their class skills only work in the said class, as they are not compatible with other classes if the player decides to reclass them.
Like in the old Fire Emblem games, Ballisticians are plagued by poor speed growths, which can allow most enemy units to double them if they are left in the open. This poor speed can result in them being killed instantly in battle, especially if they are equipped with powerful weapons and/or abilities. Their movement is also akin to that of a Knight unless Surefooted is given (which gives them extra movement), in which their movement is akin to the other non-promoted units.
However, these disadvantages should not have players avoiding the Ballistician class. They have slightly more strength than a Sniper, and their worthiness comes from their cannon. Unlike the set ballistas found in the storyline which deal a set amount of damage and accuracy, the damage and accuracy of the "cannon" is based on what bow the Ballistician is using. Normally, the attack radius is 5 tiles (in a cross formation); with Rifled Barrel, this is increased to 13 tiles as it adds an extra layer of attack. 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 make matters more complicated for the opponent. Players should still 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 such bows like Silver Bows are used.
Out of the four Ballistician skills available for them, Surefooted, Rifled Barrel and Opportunity Shot are perhaps the most useful to use. 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 your own units. The remaining two skill slots should be used for something to benefit the Ballistician such as Movement +1 or Rally skills as their speed prevents them from doubling most enemies in battle.
Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi / Shadow Dragon
Mystery of the Emblem / Shin Monshō no Nazo ~Hikari to Kage no Eiyū~
- In Shin Monshō no Nazo, Beck tells the Avatar in his first support conversation that to move around, ballistae require the oil from a special fruit. This fruit supposedly died out after the War of Shadows, explaining why there are no recruitable Ballisticians in the game, and why none of the enemy Ballisticians in Shin Monshō no Nazo are capable of movement.
- Despite this, if the class is hacked on 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.