—Tiki on degenerating
Degenerated dragons are dragons that have gone insane and lost all reasoning capabilities.
Thousands of years before the events of Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, the society of dragons in Archanea began to collapse. Fertility in dragons mysteriously died out, and soon after the dragons began to go insane. The elders of the dragon tribes, realizing that the end of the Manakete species was at hand, advised their people to seal their true form in a stone and assume a humanoid form instead.
However, most dragons were skeptical of this warning, and pridefully refused to give up their form. As such, these dragons eventually and irreversibly degenerated into madness and ferality. These insane dragons became extremely violent without reason or cause, and were a danger to the entire continent.
The most dangerous of the degenerated dragons, the Earth Dragons, were battled by Naga and the Divine Dragons at great cost. Eventually, they were sealed in the Dragon's Table, with the Shield of Seals securing the seal. In the remake of Mystery of the Emblem, a great deal of other feral dragons are also shown to be sealed with them.
- Earth Dragons - Only the Earth Dragon Prince, Medeus, is known to have lived through degeneration. Due to the tribe's great power, Naga sealed them in the Dragon's Table to protect humanity from the now mindlessly destructive beasts.
- Fire Dragons - Many Fire Dragons fell to madness, with Bantu being the only known survivor. Mad Fire Dragons go to the Flame Barrel, also known as the Graveyard of Fire Dragons, to await their demise. New Mystery of the Emblem shows some Fire Dragons sealed alongside the Earth Dragons in the Dragon's Table.
- Mage Dragons - Insane Mage Dragons are only known to be found at the Dragon's Table's interior, as well as sealed with the Earth Dragons in New Mystery of the Emblem.
- Ice Dragons - No Ice Dragons are known to have escaped degeneration. In Mystery of the Emblem, they are found only at the Ice Dragon Temple, which they still mindlessly guard from intruders.
- Wyverns - It is implied in the original that Wyverns were once a Dragon tribe, and like the Ice Dragons have no members known to have survived with their mind intact. Wyverns are most commonly found at the Wyvern's Dale, and within the Table's seal in New Mystery of the Emblem.
The Divine Dragons are the only Dragon tribe with no members known to have degenerated. However, the dragon elders suspected that Tiki's power imbalance would lead to her going mad, creating an unstoppable enemy for mankind, and thus they put her to sleep for a milennium.
In the original Mystery of the Emblem, degenerated dragons act similarly to transformed Manaketes, but do not start combat in human form (and thus have an unlimited amount of time in dragon form as well).
In the remake, New Mystery of the Emblem, degenerated dragons hold entirely different classes from Manaketes. Degenerated dragons use their species' breath weapon to attack, unlike Manaketes, who rely on their Dragonstones. On harder difficulties, degenerated dragons use 1-2 range breath as opposed to 1 range.
In New Mystery of the Emblem, degenerated dragons generally have higher caps than their Manakete counterparts. A Firestone-using Manakete with max stats has 28 Strength, 24 Skill, 24 Speed, 29 Defense, and 24 Resistance, while a degenerated Fire Dragon caps the same stats at 30 each.