— A villager in the prologue of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
The decoy (囮 Otori) is a unit chosen by the player to be sacrificed during the final chapter of the prologue of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon in order to progress in the game. The option is only available in Normal Mode, as the prologue is automatically skipped in Hard Mode.
During this chapter, after Gordin has been recruited, the main force of Gra, accompanied by the Sable Order of Knights, arrives in pursuit of the escaping Altean prince. Their chances of routing them or slipping away being all but impossible, Malledus suggests to Marth that they leave someone behind at the southern fortress, disguised as the prince, in order to lure the Gra force away. If Gordin was killed instead, the player is not forced to make this decision. The player is allowed to sacrifice one of Jagen, Abel, Cain, Frey, or Gordin, while Marth alone is exempt (although an extra scene in the Event Recap can be unlocked if the player attempts to sacrifice Marth). After sacrificing one of them, the one that was chosen will not be playable again for the duration of the game.
The canon sacrifice was speculated to be Frey because he was never playable in the earlier games, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light or Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem and is also absent in the harder modes of difficulty of Shadow Dragon. This was later confirmed in Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, the remake of Mystery of the Emblem, where it was revealed that Frey had indeed sacrificed himself in order to let Marth escape to Talys safely. Miraculously, he survived despite being gravely injured and was able to reunite with Marth at the end of the War of Shadows. Subsequently, he became an instructor of new recruits for the Altean army.
Interestingly, the Aum Staff cannot be used to revive the decoy unit, although all other playable units that were killed in the prologue can be brought back to life. Since Frey, who was the canon sacrifice, had survived though, it can be assumed that the Aum Staff couldn’t work because the decoy had not actually been killed by the enemy.
Event Recap quotes
—Spoken by the selected character
Marth the Decoy?
—Malledus chiding Marth
—Jagen’s farewell quote
—Cain’s farewell quote
—Abel’s farewell quote
—Frey’s farewell quote
—Gordin’s farewell quote
- If the player uses a hacking device to control an enemy, they can use any of the Generic enemies that appear in the bottom part of the map as a decoy when the Sable Knights appear. A generic Knight can also be used if the player accidently killed off all the enemies prior. Doing so will allow the player to keep every character alive and progress with the story.
- It should be noted that doing this won't allow the player to use Caeda in Chapter 1. If Wrys is recruited, she will not appear in Chapter 2 either, meaning that the player will not be able to recruit Castor.
- However, they will still need to kill off two units if they wish to recruit Norne. They can be brought back later with the Aum Staff, if players are aiming for an all unit recruit playthrough.
- When any Generic enemy has been chosen as a decoy, they will have a DUMMY portrait with their name based on what class they are, while saying the following of not failing the prince.
- When the event has concluded as well as the chapter, the generic enemy will always be revealed as Gordin as the sacrifice. However, this does not mean they will lose Gordin since he wasn't selected as the decoy.