Weapon Level (武器レベル) is a gameplay element that presents in almost every Fire Emblem game, except for Fire Emblem Gaiden and its remake. A measure of the proficiency to wield a weapon, weapon level is both a unit's and weapon's stat, in which the unit's weapon level must be at or higher than the required weapon's level to use it in battle.
In the early games of the Archanea Series, a unit's weapon level is a singular stat number which can be increased upon level up. The higher the number, the stronger the weapon that unit can use. There is no distinction between weapon levels, so a Cavalier unit with a weapon level of 9 can use both Silver Lances and Silver Swords at base.
Starting from Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, the weapon level system is standardized, which is commonly referred to as Weapon Rank by fans, the singular stat number is replaced by multiple ranks each with a letter, on a scale of E to S (or SS), from weaker to stronger. For a unit to increase their weapon rank, they have to use a particular weapon type enough, through a stat known as Weapon Experience.
Sometimes, using weaker weapons is a better choice, such as against weak enemies, as a means of conserving money. In most cases, a unit's weapon level cannot advance to S if they have not yet promoted. For example, in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Joshua cannot progress beyond A-rank as a Myrmidon. Additionally, most units cannot reach the highest weapon level in more than one weapon type.
The level of a weapon specifies how difficult it is to wield. In general, weapons with higher Might have a higher level, with a few exceptions such as with the Devil Axe. Weapons with higher level also seem to have a greater weight, making it harder to land more than one hit without a superior speed stat. They also cost more, and generally have fewer uses than lower ranked weapons.
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn introduced the SS ranking, which sits above S and is generally only available to Third Tier classes. Additionally, weapons may be of the Prf rank or have no rank at all. Prf-rank weapons are unique to certain characters and can be the most powerful weapons in the game. Weapons with no rank usually function the same as Prf-rank, although in some games it means they can be wielded by anybody no matter their weapon proficiency (yet it is impossible, without using exploits or hacking, to obtain such weapons for yourself, as only enemies wield them). Weapons ranked SS are generally earned by defeating a boss, having a person join your group, or going to a certain spot on a map. A good example of this is Stefan, who, when recruited, comes with the SS-ranked Vague Katti, which is also a one-of-a-kind weapon, as all SS ranked weapons are. In that same chapter, if you stand near the center of the map, you can obtain the SS-ranked knife, Baselard.
In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, there are a few differences from the succeeding games. Weapon rank begins at C rather than E, and the final rank is * rather than S, that rank being only applicable to the unique Holy Weapons. There is no weapon experience: weapon rank is a class attribute, and classes are stuck with the weapon rank for each of their usable weapon types. This can also be changed, but only by inherited Holy Blood. Minor holy blood will raise the weapon rank of that holy crusader's weapon type by one letter; however, it will do nothing if the character's class already possesses A-rank. This is the same with major holy blood; however, instead of by one rank, it will be automatically raised to *-rank if that class can use that particular weapon.
List of Weapon Levels
- E - The starting rank;Personal,Raider,Brass or Bronze weapons
- D - Steel or Iron weapons
- C - Steel or Special weapons ('Killing' weapons, or strong against X-type of unit)
- B - Silver or Stronger Special weapons
- A - Silver or Brave weapons
- S - Story weapons (also other high-end weapons in Radiant Dawn and Fates only)
- SS - Stronger Story weapons (only appears in Radiant Dawn)
- Prf - Weapons without a skill rank that are usually only usable by one character (Star Rank weapons)
Note that weapon rank is only applied to Swords, Lances, Axes, Bows, Knives/Daggers, Tomes, and Staves. Other weapons, such as Ballistae and Dragonstones (pre-Fates), do not have a weapon rank.
Weapon Rank bonus
Shadow Dragon and New Mystery of the Emblem
In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, a new weapon rank bonus was added. This increases various effective stats in combat when using the weapon type the user has a high rank in. This does not apply if the wielder is also affected by a Weapon Triangle penalty in the combat, e.g.: a user cannot use their Lance weapon rank bonus when fighting an opponent with an A rank Axe. Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem expanded on this mechanic with bonuses to staves also.
|Weapon Type||C Rank||B Rank||A Rank|
|Sword||Attack +1||Attack +2||Attack +3|
|Lance||Attack +1||Attack +1, Accuracy +5||Attack +2, Accuracy +5|
|Axe||Accuracy +5||Accuracy +10||Accuracy +15|
|Bow||Attack +1||Attack +1, Accuracy +5||Attack +2, Accuracy +5|
|Tome||Attack +1||Attack +1, Accuracy +5||Attack +2, Accuracy +5|
|Staff*||Recovery +1||Recovery +2||Recovery +3|
* only in New Mystery of the Emblem.
In Fire Emblem Fates, the weapon rank bonus has been slighty modified and it also adds Weapon Rank Bonuses for the introduced weapons.
|Weapon Type||C Rank||B Rank||A Rank||S Rank|
|Attack +1||Attack +2||Attack +3||Attack +4, Hit Rate +5|
Breath, Puppet, Stone
|Attack +1||Attack +1, Hit Rate +5||Attack +2, Hit Rate +5||Attack +3, Hit Rate +10|
|Axe/Club||Hit Rate +5||Hit Rate +10||Attack +1, Hit Rate +10||Attack +2, Hit Rate +15|
|Staff/Rod||Recovery +1||Recovery +1, Hit Rate +5||Recovery +2, Hit Rate +5||Recovery +3, Hit Rate +10|
Three Houses greatly expands on the Weapon Level into Subject Level as it encompasses more than just weapons and magic, but also skills related to Riding, Heavy Armor, and Flying. In total, there are 11 different types of levels: Sword, Lance, Axe, Bow, Brawl, Reason, Faith, Riding, Heavy Armor, Flying, and Authority. These can be increased in combat like normal as well as using the Tutoring mechanic. Three Houses also has more proficiency tiers, starting from E Tier, then E+ Tier, followed by D Tier and continues in ascending order until a character achieves a maximum proficiency of S+ Tier.
Subject Levels affect not only a character's ability to wield certain weapons, but also their ability to Class Change. Characters must have a certain level of proficiency in a subject in order to have access to these promotions. Raising the Subject Level also occasionally allows the character to learn new skills or Combat Arts. For Byleth, reaching proficiency in certain subjects can also help sway a student to join their house.
All characters have varying degrees of proficiency in some subjects, growing easily in certain ones while growing poorly in another. However, theoretically, a character could reach a proficiency level of S+ in all subjects if given time and effort, though highly unlikely as that would be.
- As a result of the Nintendo DS version of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon switching to the modern day weapon rank system, there is an oversight in Chapter 4 of Shadow Dragon. At the map's end, an Elder awards Marth with a Silver Sword, intending for it to be passed to Hardin. However, unlike the original, Hardin's weapon level of 9 has been split into a rank B in lances and a rank D in swords, preventing him from using the Silver Sword with his base stats unlike the original game.