Fire Emblem Fates Combat Tips, Strategy and Battle Tactics

Out tips and strategies to help you get better at the combat in Fire Emblem Fates.

Fire Emblem Fates combat is fairly complex, as it is in all strategy games.

However, it’s not the combat mechanics itself that make the game challenging, but understand and implementing the features within the combat system is certainly something that many overlook.

For more help on Fire Emblem Fates, read our Character Recruitment Guide, Marriage Inheritance Guide and Character Stats Growth Rates.

Fire Emblem Fates Combat Tips

Our guide will go through some essential Combat Basic and Advanced Tactical tips for Fire Emblem Fates.

Combat Basics

Weapon Triangle
Aka the medieval Rock, Paper, Scissors. Fire Emblem has always had a weapon triangle that resembles everyone’s favorite friendly method of resolving a conflict. In Fire Emblem Fates, the Weapon Triangle is greatly altered, so to balance it out.

This means bows and arrows are no longer absolutely useless, and magic is not a menacing power that should be trembled at. The Weapon triangle in Fire Emblem Fates goes like this:


Bows & Axes beat Lances & Knives, Lances & Knives beat Swords & Magic, and Swords & Magic beat Bows & Axes.

Simple, right? It’s the basic idea in the game, but some weapons fall outside of these conventional category. What do you do with them? Simple: you see which conventional weapon their icon color corresponds with, and use that rule on them.

For example, you find an unconventional weapon with a red-colored icon background. Swords & Magic have red color, so this means it falls within the Sword & Magic part of the weapon triangle.

Using This Weapon Triangle to Your Advantage
This Rock, Paper, Scissors thing is pretty cool, but what’s the implication?

Well, this is where the strategic part comes in. The knowledge of the weapon triangle will allow you to place units with superior weapon types against enemy units with a given weapon category.

So, if you come across an enemy with a Lance, have your Axe-wielding character move in and take him/her down.

The following are the advantage/disadvantage you get by following the triangle:

  • +5% hit if your Weapon Rank is E/D
  • +10% hit if your Weapon Rank is C/B
  • +1 damage and 15% hit if your Weapon Rank is A

Reverse Weapon Triangle
Sometimes you’ll come across ‘Reaver’ weapons. You’ll wonder what they are for 2 seconds, then continue to use them like any conventional weapon. Don’t make that mistake.

Reaver weapons actually reverse the Weapon Triangle order and provide double the advantages/disadvantages. This makes them extremely powerful, provided you know about them.

There are three types of Reaver weapons: Swordreaver, Lancereaver, and Axereaver. It doesn’t take a genius to spot them because Reaver is literally a part of their names.

Pair Up
Pair Up is a mechanic that allows two units to… well, pair up together. While paired, the units will function as one ‘super unit.’ This will allow the main unit (the one in ‘front’) to attack while gaining several buffs from their partner.

While pairing up, you can use separate stances, described below.

Attack Stance
When two ally units are standing beside each other, both will enter combat together when confronting an enemy, no matter what their support level is. However, the supporting unit (one who was not being played) can only attack once unless he/she is equipped with a “Brave” weapon.

Guard Stance
Guard Stance is similar to the Pair Up mechanic, but has a few difference.

The biggest difference is the attacks of a supporting Attack Stance enemy unit will always be blocked. This is a viable strategy if you notice an enemy unit readying an Attack Stance.

While in Guard Stance, the main unit only gains a stat boost if they have a support level with the paired character.

Fire Emblem Fates Advanced Tactics

Formations are an extremely important part of Fire Emblem titles. What are formations?

Anyone who has played football will know what they are: basically a pattern in which you align your units to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.

There are no hard-and-fast rules to formations, and most players will come up with viable formations through experience. However, there are certain tips you should know to get an idea.

One of the most well-known formation strategies is the ‘Turtle Formation.’ This formation works well against aggressive melee units.

You basically surround a healer (support) and a ranged character (bowman) with multiple melee characters, essentially forming a wall around them, leaving a pace of four tiles in the center out of which two are occupied – one each by the healer and bowman.

This serves two purposes: the healer and bowman (units with typically low defense/res) are protected by a wall of tanky melee fighters, and the healer can reach each and every unit easily to support them.

You can experiment with different formation shapes like these. Formations are an extremely important part of Fire Emblem games, so make sure to use them effectively to minimize losses and maximize your effectiveness in battles. Those who play football or chess will certainly get the hang of this quickly.

Double Advance
The Pair Up function is quite useful in defense tactics. While paired up, the ‘carried’ unit is no longer able to be harmed.

For some added speed, pair up slow units with units with high mobility to reach the other side of the map in no time whatsoever. This is especially useful in missions where you have to escape.

You can also use this ability offensively to put certain types of enemies at a disadvantage. This is also a great way to utilize the Weapon Triangle in the game against units that are slightly out of reach.

If you use this tactic carefully and properly, you can complete certain missions within a few seconds.

Leveling Your Characters
Promoting your characters early isn’t a recommended tactic. In fact, it’s best to re-class into as many classes as possible to diversify a unit’s capabilities.

However, in higher difficulties and during certain occasions, you’ll need to promote your characters before reaching level 20. Although it defies the stat caps, it’s essential to reach certain skills quickly with certain units to have a better chance in the game.

Which skills you need and which unit you should promote early is subjective, and largely depends on your progress and overall deficiencies/requirements.

Weapon Upgrading
Fire Emblem Fates doesn’t have the durability feature for weapons. Instead, the main focus is on upgrades. For this reason, be sure to fight in the arena from time to time to gather resources for crafting and upgrading equipment.

Avatar photo

Ali is a passionate RPG gamer. He believes that western RPGs still have a lot to learn from JRPGs. He is editor-in-chief at but that doesn't stop him from writing about his favorite video ...