—Alm's description of a Dread Fighter in Lost Bloodlines 2
The Dread Fighter (魔戦士 Masenshi, see below) is a combat physical and magical class that is introduced in Fire Emblem Gaiden. In all its appearances, the Dread Fighter is a powerful Sword-wielding class noteworthy for high Resistance and skills that further boost their Resistance.
History in the Series
In Gaiden, the Dread Fighter is the third-tier class in the Mercenary line, possessing high HP, Strength and Resistance. Characters of this class can further promote into a Villager, which allows looping of the promotion chain.
The class later reappears in Awakening, where the class is DLC-exclusive, requiring the use of Dread Scrolls in order for male characters to access it. This iteration of the Dread Fighter class is widely considered to be the male counterpart to the DLC female-only class, Bride.
The Dread Fighter returns in Fates as a unisex class, and is again DLC-exclusive, but treated as a Hoshidan class. Usage of Dread Scrolls are again necessary for characters to access the class, and this time it is considered the Hoshidan counterpart to the rechristened Dark Falcon (itself being a unisex Nohrian Class only accessible through the Ebon Wing item).
The Dread Fighter reappears in Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, the remake of Gaiden, where it retains both its status as the third tier Mercenary and the ability to naturally promote back into Villager. With DLC, it can instead promote further into the newly introduced overclass, the Yasha.
In Awakening, the Dread Fighter is treated as a base class in terms of its Experience Point gain calculation when fighting and defeating other units, despite the class having the stat caps of an advanced class. This enables a unit promoted into the Dread Fighter class to gain levels at a much faster rate than other advanced classes when fighting units of the same caliber, while allowing them to be on-par with advanced classes stat-wise.
Additionally, a unit promoted into the Dread Fighter class can only reclass into a base class at lower levels. However, like the Villager, Manakete, Taguel, Lodestar, Conqueror, Bride and Dancer classes, if a character is reclassed at Level 30, they can then reclass into promoted classes as well as base classes.
The class cannot be obtained through the inheritance system in Awakening. The Dread Scroll item must be used to transfer a character into the class.
Combat-wise for its Awakening incarnation, the stat caps the Dread Fighter possesses are below average Magic and Defense, average Skill above average Strength and Speed, and high Resistance (tied with the War Monk/War Cleric) that is only beaten out by the Sorcerer, the Valkyrie, and a Manakete wielding either the Dragonstone or Dragonstone+; its resistance stat can be bolstered even further with its Resistance +10 skill. Its growth rates are respectable in that they are all either the third or second best in their category. Wielding the Sword, Axe, and Tome weapon categories gives it a wide array of opponents to successfully deal with; it is tied with the Paladin and the Hero as one of the strongest sword-wielding class (only weaker than the Great Lord, the Conqueror, and the Great Knight) and tied with the Griffon Rider and War Monk/War Cleric as the third fastest axe-wielder (behind the Hero class and behind the Berserker class).
The Dread Fighter is among one of the decently powerful sword-wielders on the field, posing a particular threat the Berserker, an axe-wielding Hero, the Warrior, the Griffon Rider, and the War Monk/War Cleric thanks to the classes' average-to-low defense stats. Many other sword-wielders may best the Dread Fighter in skill and/or speed (and strength and defense for the Great Knight and Paladin), but the Dread Fighter still possesses a good resistance compared to the generally poor resistance that most other sword-wielders are plagued with (exceptions being the Great Lord, Paladin, and Trickster). As an axe-wielder, there is also some competition in where there are more powerful (Great Knight, General, Warrior, Berserker, Wyvern Lord, and Conqueror) or more accurate options available (Hero, Warrior, Griffon Rider), but the Dread Fighter's well rounded stats allow them to face many different scenarios with little issue that would trouble the other axe-wielders, the case-in-point being able to punch through magically powerful (and often poor in defense) users such as the Sage, Sorcerer, Valkyrie, and Dark Flier with ease while the other axe users sans the War Monk/War Cleric could face a very quick death because of their poor resistance stats. Lastly, the Dread Fighter is capable of wielding magic; it is definitely the weakest when compared to all of the other tome-wielders but its magic is not as weak compared to many other classes that cannot use a tome at all (the exceptions being the War Monk/War Cleric and the Trickster), and with this ability to use physical and magical weapons with stats not far from the average it is one of the few classes that can competently take on virtually any opponent they face (a trait shared with the low number Grandmaster, the War Monk/War Cleric, and the Dark Knight). If raw power is ever an issue in case the Dread Fighter is being outperformed by other naturally stronger attackers, the Dread Fighter is capable of learning Aggressor which grants +10 atk to it while it's on the offense, turning it into one of the deadliest warriors usable without reclassing involved. It also provides a decent boost to strength and resistance with minor magic and speed boosts. The only clear weaknesses the Dread Fighter seems to have is a lack of specialty in stats outside of their resistance and their below average defense (which is still better than many other sword wielders), meaning that it must be absolutely careful around high strength units such as Generals (who can wield lances to deal with a Dread Fighter's sword), Great Knights (who also wield lances in addition to swords that can deal with a Dread Fighter's axe), and the other high strength axe-wielders who will take advantage of a neutral coverage towards the Dread Fighter's axe and tome. With this low amount of weaknesses aside, the Dread Fighter is certainly one of Awakening's strongest units.
In Fates, the Dread Fighter is similar to its Awakening incarnation when it comes to experience points, that being comparable to an advanced class stat-wise while earning exp similar to a base class. Class changing is also similar in that at lower levels it can only reclass into base classes and at higher levels it can reclass into advanced levels. It still cannot be obtained through the inheritance system in Fates, requiring use of the Dread Scroll to change into it.
Combat-wise, the Dread Fighter received some notable nerfs to fit along with the lower stat caps and growth rates of Fates compared to Awakening—including the rebalancing of the HP and Luck stat caps, all the while retaining much of its statistical layout from Awakening. The Dread Fighter still possesses below average Mag and Def, above average Str and Spd, and high Res as before, but now it comes with below average HP and Skl with poor Lck. It's weapon usage is also slightly different than before, now excelling in swords/katana out of it, the axes/clubs, and the shuriken/daggers it can wield. Its growth rates still see decent HP, str, spd, and great res but now carry poor mag, skl, and def with nonexistent lck.
Just as before the Dread Fighter is one of the more damaging sword-wielders as its strength has not diminished in the transition, coupled with the wider variety of powerful swords at its disposal (such as the Brave Sword, the Venge Katana, the Ganglari, etc.) and there is no shortage of poor defense units. When serving as a pair-up unit, they grant decent boosts to str and spd with a high res boost. Its competition with other fast axe-wielders has decreased somewhat, with the War Monk/War Cleric and the Griffon Rider not making the transition; however, the Blacksmith—a new class that can wield axes/clubs and swords/katana, has equal speed with the Dread Fighter but has higher HP, str, skl, lck, and def stats with superior or equal growths in those areas. The two classes are evenly matched in sword power thanks to the difference in str cap and sword proficiency bonus when capped being the same. While the Dread Fighter retains its status as a reasonably powerful unit with high res, Fates has introduced an unusually high amount of physical units with decent to good resistance as well as increased the res stat through a lower res stat cap for all classes (the lowest being a 25 to the average 30 instead of the lowest being 30 to the average 40 in Awakening). Such examples of classes with better resistance include several other returning classes (including the Swordmaster, General, Bow Knight, Dark Knight, and especially the Falcon Knight) and newly introduced classes/restructured returning classes that possess decent if not excellent resistance themselves (Oni Chieftain, Basara, Great Master/Priestess, Master Ninja, Nine-Tails, Adventurer, Malig Knight, etc.). The Dread Fighter finds itself facing much greater competition functioning as the go-to "mage-killer" (a role somewhat taken up by the Falcon Knight) that can also tackle many different enemies with physical and magical weaponry, made worse by its loss of being able to use tomes; the magic weapons that the Dread Figther can use (Levin Sword, Leo's Iceblade, Bolt Axe, Flame Shuriken, and Felicia's Plate) are saddled with a variety of counterbalancing weaknesses that will not allow it to tear through low resistance units as easily as it used to compared to the tome-users in Fates, not helped by the class's and many characters' lower magic growths. Also, with the reintroduction of offensive staves in Fates that rely on the user's mag and skl targeting the enemy's res and lck, the Dread Fighter may find itself frequently hit by offensive staves such as Freeze, Enfeeble, and the infamous Hexing Rod more than other high res units thanks to having one of the lowest lck growths and caps out of all of the classes with high res. The low lck also hampers the previously average if not excellent evasion and hit rate that the Dread Fighter possessed in Awakening, and more bad news for the class is the reintroduction of innate class boosts exclusive to the S-ranked classes barring the Butler/Maid, all of whom have an increased critical hit ratio; the Killer weapons and similar weapons now deal increased damage for their critical hits (times four instead of times three), and the Dread Fighter's below average health and defense will spell its doom against these kinds of weapons in the hands of such classes, especially against the Berserker who with their unmatched str, first-time decent skl, and +20 crit bonus means very frequent and very painful critical hits.
Even the Dread Fighter's powerful skills that, while still powerful, have been weakened from the transition to Fates; Resistance +10 has been replaced with Even Keel (a skill that reduces magic damage by 4 during even numbered turns) and Iron Will (a skill that reduces magic damage by 4 during the user's defending phase) while Aggressor had its power lowered from +10 to +7. The Dread Fighter does get a new skill that helps it out in the new battlefields: Clarity—while not reducing oncoming stat drops from shuriken/dagger weapons, does allow the user to recover from them twice as fast. This is especially useful against the weak but highly accurate shuriken/dagger-wielding Master Ninja and the Butler/Maid class (which can wield not just the accurate shuriken/daggers but can wield offensive staves with the highest accuracy too).
Despite these changes, Dread Fighter does have a few advantages over its Awakening incarnation, most of which stem from the change from Tome to Shuriken. Normally, Shurken/Daggers are weak offensive weapons wielded by low strength classes whose main advantage is their ability to lower stats, but on a Dread Fighter, this changes considerably. Dread Fighter's strength is more than enough to make up for Shuriken's lack of power, particularly once you take the Dread Fighter's speed and the potential speed bonus from Shuriken into account, which will allow it to double attack many enemies. Shuriken retain the 1-2 range of tome, keeping the class able to safely attack it's more dangerous foes, and the stat debuffs let Dread Fighter function as a backup support unit, in addition to a powerful offensive force. The change also fixes Dread Fighter's offense to a single stat, compared to the Awakening version which not only split it's offenses between strength and magic, but had an extremely low magic cap for a Tome user. But perhaps the most important benefit to the change is that it gives Dread Fighter command of the weapon triangle, allowing it to always have an advantage over the foes it attacks.
Ultimately, the Dread Fighter in Fates still possesses the attributes that made it a force to be reckoned with in Awakening, but now it must be even more careful thanks to the new balancing system in play. With its ability to operate as a mixed offensive unit nerfed to a noticeable degree, its main focus should primarily be tackling the powerful magic-users that have low HP and physical stats such as the Onmyoji, Sorcerer, Strategist, Dark Falcon, and the Witch to keep them from taking out its poor-res allies. All characters in this class should always be on the lookout for enemies with high skl and crit ratios to avoid an early death, moreso the physical ones. Against these enemies, a Dread Fighter is best using shuriken to attack from safety, softening up the enemy so a more durable ally can move in for the kill (and or to take the counter attack if the enemy would survive both attacks). Though this incarnation of Dread Fighter has no particular talent for magic, (it has the same magic growth as Swordmaster and Outlaw) and has limited magic weapons available to it, characters with good magic shouldn't discount magic weapons' ability to create openings in a physical army—a job best suited to the Flame Shuriken and Felicia's Plate thanks to their debuffs, or finish off physical units with poor res using any of the other magic weapons mentioned above. In the end, if the Dread Fighter in Awakening was a versatile front line fighter, the Dread Fighter in Fates is a scalpel. It very effectively takes out many units that are problematic for other physical units, and can also break through the enemy line, either by itself, or by enabling other allies to do so.
In Gaiden's remake, Shadows of Valentia, Dread Fighters are no longer a DLC-exclusive class, regaining their status as the third tier promotion of the mercenary class-line. Much like in Gaiden the class is an extremely potent one notable for its unsurpassed base skl and spd, with decent HP and atk bested only by the other third-tier classes (Gold Knight, Baron, and Bow Knight) and def bested only by said gold knights and barons. Growth rate-wise, they lean toward skl and spd boosts but come with an atk and def penalty. These statistics mark them as similar to the hero, swordmaster, and particularly the master ninja classes from other games.
In this installment they are locked to swords much like the aforementioned swordmasters, but without weapon rank being present they have free access to all swords available to playable cast (barring exclusive swords such as Alm's Falchion and Royal Sword, and Celica's Beloved Zofia). As always their main caveat is that of a physical unit who is deadly against mage-types of enemies (Sages, Priestesses, Saints, etc.), and while their base res has been weakened in the transition from Gaiden to Echoes it is effectively meaningless thanks to two skills that boost its potential to be mage-killers: Resistance +5 and especially "Apotrope", a new skill that halves damage from black magic on top of the boost given by Resistance +5. Though none of the characters that can naturally access this class have a res growth and their base res tends to be low at that (keeping in line with the older games' low to nonexistent res potency), these two skills will all but assure that they will still be among the least threatened units at the hands of black magic. With the reduced amount of classes in Echoes there is no competition for the dread fighter's coveted title as the end of all mages. Weapons that would be particularly favored by those in this class are the brave swords—effectively killing edges in all but name, the Zweihänders for their skills Sunder (a skill that grants mt+4, hit+10, and crit+30) and Tigerstance (a very deadly skill that adds the user's skl stat to their atk power along with granting mt+5 and hit+30), and the coveted Astra (weapon). The dread fighter's naturally high skl stat in combination with these weapons can turn them into horrifically powerful machines of death that can punch through even some of the more physically sturdy opponents, either to soften them up for weaker physical units or to make the kill themselves.
When it comes to fighting against other physical units without these weapons, however, the story changes. They are not as effective against physical units as they are against magical units with their atk close to the def stats of the gold knights and the barons, so they will not be doing much damage against the other classes even with their superior attacking speed that facilitates follow-ups. The dread fighter could easily equip other swords besides the two mentioned earlier that are still effective against these two classes, but said classes can just as easily equip a powerful shield to negate this somewhat. The gold knights and the barons won't be doubling the dread fighter anytime soon nor will they be dodging their attacks very easily either, and if the dread fighter is all that the other two classes need to deal with a few points of spd loss from the high-ends shields means little to these classes. A lightning sword with its Transmute skill (makes the unit deal magic damage instead of physical damage) is a welcome answer to the decent def but poor res opponents, but the lightning sword kills the dread fighter's great potential to score many critical hits much like its Fates version and ignores the unit's individual atk stat, coming with a +15 mt that will not go higher unless the weapon is forged to its max of +19 mt (and that requires the hard-to-get gold marks to do so). Thunderclap and Foudroyant are very useful skills to help deal with the dread fighter's enemies, but neither capitalize on the dread fighter's excellent spd—and Foudroyant forces the dread fighter to prepare for a counterattack when used thanks to its limited range of one space in front of its wielder. Bow Knights—though lacking in several stats compared to the dread fighter outside of mov, can easily snipe away at the dread fighter with a powerful bow before the swordsman comes for them, and the dread fighter has no chance of avoiding counterattacks from this class unless the bow knight happens to be wielding a Longbow, and even that could be very difficult to facilitate if the bow knight is upon a vantage point from where they cannot be struck. Another point of contention is the dread fighter's ever-present lower defense compared to other third-tier classes; a dread fighter may be incredibly difficult to kill through black magic, but the same cannot be said against physical weapons. Their low def as always should be watched out for since—despite their high spd contributing to their high evasion, all it takes is a few well-placed hits to bring them down. With no base lck either or growth rate for the stat, they are at great risk of critical hits much like their Fates incarnation. Lastly, the dread fighter has actually lost its innate ability to negate the Shadow Sword's infamous Hex skill, therefore losing out on a guaranteed-safe option against other physical units. Should the skill's activation rate base itself upon the user's lck stat like the Devil weapons, then the dread fighter's among the most susceptible to the hex skill. Even with the weapon's new Lifetaker skill added to its skill list, a dread fighter may not see much of the skill itself occurring or activating when the unit needs it most.
With everything taken into consideration about the dread fighter, in spite of their shortcomings they are a very powerful option that should not be taken lightly. Reigning supreme as the ultimate mage-killer but still not quite unstoppable for a physical unit, dread fighters are best suited for destroying magic users to protect their allies (especially from the dreaded Arcanists, Cantors, and Witches with their exclusive spells and abilities), but when it comes to physical units they should play a primarily supporting role instead—opening up holes in the enemy ranks with the swords available to them (especially those that work best with their skl stat) or stealing the kill to boost their stats when their physically superior compatriots give them the opportunity.
Across its multiple incarnations, there are few consistencies between each depiction of the Dread Fighter aside of the feudal Japanese/ninja-influenced attire that includes a tachi sword sheathed on their backs.
In Gaiden and Awakening, Dread Fighters are shown to have a pointed, head-concealing helmet with a thin horizontal visor and braid-like cords down its sides. This helmet is retained in Awakening where the Dread Fighter attire is now depicted with dark-gray fabric and light-gray armor padding worn over dark blue clothing, held together with small ropes and a brown belt. It is in this incarnation that the Dread Fighter also acquires a nebulous red aura surrounding their body (similar to the blue-colored variant of the Einherjar from the same game) as well as a kitsune mask serving as a pauldron; these two features carry over into Fates (but with a fiery blue aura replacing the nebulous red aura), but the Dread Fighter loses the helmet in the process. During this time the outfit is more closely styled after the Ninja of Hoshido: the attire has a face mask for generics, white fur near the elbows and collar, thicker armor pieces adorning the forearms and forelegs (lacking the vambrace blades of the ninja), large kunai strapped to the thighs, and a white faux-fox tail attached to the back of the outfit. This design choice makes it similar in appearance to the Nine-Tails, a white fox with two blue wisps of fire hovering nearby it (both classes incidentally possess high resistance).
In Echoes, the class undergoes another redesign that only keeps the aforementioned tachi from previous iterations and the face mask from Fates. New additions include a shawl with a hood, a gray breastplate worn over the red torso armor, arms covered in sashes and segmented red-and-yellow armor (with the pauldrons and right-elbow pad bearing resemblance to the Master Ninja's bladed sleeve pieces), and most notably the structure on their back that depicts one large flaming halo on top of a half-ring of five smaller flaming halos (the structure itself is alight with a fiery aura during battle). This design piece is likely inspired by Buddhist halos that are sometimes depicted as rings of fire. Only the unique enemies belonging to this class—Grieth, Xaizor, Cerberus, and Naberius—do not have this structure or the shoulder pads in their artworks, having replaced them with long capes for the former two and long cloaks for the latter two.
|FE13||22||8||4||7||9||0||7||10||6||-||-||E E E|
|FE14||19||8||3||6||8||1||6||9||6||-||-||E E E|
|FE13||80||42||38||40||41||45||39||43||6||-||-||A A A|
|FE14||55||32||28||29||31||26||29||34||6||-||-||A B B|
|Learnt at Level 1.|
Learnt at Level 15.
|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 skill of Dread Fighters.|
Base skill of Dread Fighters.
|Base Class||Promotion Method||Promoted Class|
|FE2||Myrmidon||Visit a shrine after reaching level 10.||Dread Fighter|
|FE2||Dread Fighter||Visit a shrine after reaching the appropriate level.||Villager|
|FE13||(Any male character)||Use a Dread Scroll.||Dread Fighter|
|FE14||(Any character)||Use a Dread Scroll.||Dread Fighter|
|FE15||Myrmidon||Visit a shrine after reaching level 10.||Dread Fighter|
|FE15||Dread Fighter||Visit a shrine after reaching level 10.||Villager|
|FE15||Dread Fighter||Visit the Altar of the Ogre after reaching Level 20.||Yasha|
Notable Dread Fighters
- Grieth - The leader of a band of pirates and the major antagonist of Chapter 3 in Celica's route.
- Xaizor- A Dread Fighter in service of the Rigel Empire.
- Cerberus - A Dread Fighter in service of the Duma Faithful.
- Naberius - A Dread Fighter in service of the Duma Faithful.
- Possible Promotions for: Deen, Jesse, Saber, Kamui, Kliff, Tobin, Gray and Atlas.
- Other male characters except for Alm can now promote to Dread Fighters after being reclassed to Villager with the Pitchfork in Shadows of Valentia.
- Alm (DLC)
The exact intended meaning of Dread Fighter's Japanese name is unknown. Because of this, Dread Fighter has gained many names in fan translations, such as Demon Fighter, Magic Fighter, or Slayer. This is possibly due to the kanji 魔 (ma, demon) and its presence in the spelling of magic (魔法 mahou). The similar pronunciations of magic and demon lord (魔王 maou) may also explain the "Slayer" translation.
Unlike most classes, no official transliterated Japanese name exists that would indicate any of the fan translated names as official.
Due to the demonic physical appearance of the Dread Fighter and the naming conventions for classes such as Axe Fighter and Thief Fighter, as well as Nintendo of America's choice of translation, its possible that "Demon Fighter" is the intended or closely intended name.
Alternatively, it is suggested that the Dread Fighter's high resistance points to its name being "Magic Fighter" instead, but the -senshi (Fighter) part of the name reflects the character being a warrior and not a slayer of something.
Similarly, the name "Mage Fighter" has also been suggested, but Dread Fighters did not wield magic in Gaiden and Mage Fighter is alternatively known as Mahousenshi in Genealogy of the Holy War (and not Masenshi). Despite this, the name in the French version is indeed Héros Mage (Mage Hero) in Awakening, although this was changed to Terreur (Terror) in Fates.
- In Awakening, the Dread Fighter class uses the Grandmaster's unused axe animations, as well as the animations for swords and tomes. This is a trait shared by the Bride, which utilises the Grandmaster's bow, staff and lance animations.