Dark magic is one of the three elements of magic, along with Light Magic and Anima Magic, in the Fire Emblem series. Powerful yet inaccurate, it is also one of the rarest classes of magic in the series.
Dark Magic is referred to as "elder magic" by some involved in its use. These practitioners prefer to call it '"elder magic", because they believe the word "dark" suggests that it is evil. These users like to remind the world that it is the wielder, not the magic itself, that is typically the source of evil. In fact, In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, the shaman Knoll points out that dark magic's power comes from knowledge, not the desire to harm others. On the other hand, in Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken, it is stated by Canas that Dark Magic comes from darkness and that one must invite the darkness into oneself to use it; he also states that one must not allow the darkness full control. The hero Bramimond, however, allowed darkness full control over himself to obtain the power of the Silencing Darkness, which made him devoid of personality while instead mimicking the personality of others. Canas also has three brothers who met a similar fate. Despite the common view that dark magic is not evil, in Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu, the dark magic tome of Loptous is a tome of pure evil, as it possessed its wielder.
Playable Dark Magic users are often very rare in the Fire Emblem games. For instance, in Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken, aside from Athos, who can use all magics and is obtained only in the final chapter, only one Dark magic user is playable, Canas, and he can only be recruited by entering a house in a Gaiden Chapter. Another good example is in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. The only usable Dark Magic users, Pelleas and Sephiran, can only be unlocked after the game has already been completed once.
There are fewer Dark Magic Tomes as compared to Light and Anima Magic, though most Dark Magic Tomes have very unique as well as tactical uses. Flux, for instance, is the basic Dark Tome, while Luna deals direct damage regardless of the defender's Resistance as well as having a high critical rate. Nosferatu leeches enemy Hit Points, recovering the user's lost Hit Points equal to the damage inflicted. The tome Eclipse, depending on the game's variation, can either cut enemy Hit Points in half, or reduce enemy Hit Points to 1; in both cases, the spell negates the defender's Resistance.
Dark Magic is the most powerful magic and is likened to Axes in the physical weapon triangle. Dark Magic typically deals the most damage but is the least accurate. In addition, Dark Magic tomes are often the heaviest to wield, making it extremely difficult for Dark Magic users, especially those with a low Constitution, to execute consecutive hits against enemies. However, these are usually not insurmountable weaknesses, as Dark Magic users generally have high enough accuracy to hit consistently.
In the majority of the Fire Emblem games, only two classes can use Dark Magic. Shamans are the basic class, and Druids are their promotion. Druids have amazingly high growths among magic users. A few other classes can use Dark magic; however most of these are classes unique to a single character. The Necromancer class is unique to one of the main antagonists in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (Lyon), while the Dark Druid and Archsage classes from Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken are unique to the characters (Nergal) and (Athos) respectively. An additional class, the Summoner, is present in both The Sacred Stones (as a possible class change for the characters Knoll and Ewan) and in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (as the standard class for the enemy character Izuka). The other Dark Magic user in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Pelleas, is a Dark Sage and promotes to an Archsage with a specialty in Dark.
The Sacred Stones
In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, certain monster attacks are considered Dark Magic attacks, such as Evil Eye, Demon Surge, and Crimson Eye, making Light Magic Users a very useful class in that game.
Also in the Sacred Stones, a new dark Magic Class was introduced, the Summoner. Summoners could use Dark Magic, Staves, and have the ability to summon Phantoms. The class is unique to The Sacred Stones, although one non-playable Summoner appears in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn as a third-tier unit.
Path Of Radiance & Radiant Dawn
Dark Magic is notably absent from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. This is mostly attributed to the re-introduction of the 'Anima' Magic Triangle with Wind, Fire, and Thunder magic (which appeared previously in Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu). With all the new spells created, Dark Magic was omitted as to not overwhelm the player. Meanwhile, Light Magic took up a position outside of the Anima triangle, much like bows for the weapon triangle.
Dark Magic was reintroduced in Radiant Dawn. It is particularly useful as the 'original' Magic Triangle was re-introduced alongside the Anima Magic Triangle, meaning Dark magic trumps all Anima Magic, but is weak against all Light Magic.
There are only 9 Dark magic users in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, including enemies and allies.
List of Dark Magic Tomes
- Nosferatu (in some games this was switched to being a Light Magic Tome, as it was originally in Fire Emblem: Monshō no Nazo)