Vanguard Dawn (神将の試練場 Shinsō no Shirenjō lit. The Divine General's Trial Grounds) is Xenologue 9 of Fire Emblem: Fates. It is so named because it marks the return of the stage from Elincia's Gambit in Radiant Dawn. The player must fend off against a group of shades intent on capturing the fortress by either defeating their commanders or holding off the enemy for enough turns.
Victory grants a Vanguard Brand, used to have a male unit access and change into the Vanguard class. The bosses also drop skill scrolls that units can use to learn Heavy Blade, Veteran Intuition and Aether.
The script for this chapter can be found here.
On harder variants of this map, the enemy will be numerous and massed greatly in the south central and western areas of the map. The Onmyoji and Swordmaster bosses have Veteran Intuition and Heavy Blade respectively while the General boss has Wary Fighter and Vantage. On Hard, the General also has Divine Shield, which halves damage and negates lethal, poison and counter skills. The several Merchants on the map will also be carrying Spendthrift (this is a one-time use, as they only have one gold bar). On harder difficulties, some may have two gold bars.
Players have two methods to beat this map; they can either hold out the waves or fight their way through to the enemy commanders. There are three 1x1 heal tiles on the map, although two are placed in a way that they are not viable if the enemy is close to the gate. The DLC is lost if the enemy seizes the green tile in front of the gate. Although turtling in can be used, if the player's units are strong enough they should rush the enemy commanders so the skill books can be used for units that cannot access the Vanguard class or just need the skills without having to change into Vanguards.
- Vanguard Brand, Upon chapter completion
- Veteran Intuition scroll (Dropped, Onmyoji/Diviner boss)
- Aether scroll (Dropped, General/Knight boss)
- Heavy Blade scroll (Dropped, Swordmaster/Samurai boss)
- The placement of the enemies is exactly the same as those from Elincia's Gambit. The Knight/General boss in the bottom central of the map represents Ludveck. The General also comes equipped with Vantage, one of Ludveck's personal skills.
- The Diviner/Omyoji and the Samurai/Swordmaster bosses represent Maraj and Tashoria respectively.
- "Bearer of Hope" from Radiant Dawn's soundtrack, plays during the map.