Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon :: Recruitment and Character Guide
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon has a huge cast of playable characters, over 50 in fact! The large cast really helps to make you feel like you are running an army. However, while it is fun to look for characters and recruit them into your army, the game itself only lasts 25 chapters. There is not enough time to properly level up every character without the use of arenas, so you will need to pick and choose who you use very carefully. This walkthrough will show you how to recruit all the characters, point out the best ones, and give tips on how to level up quickly.
Before you start...
It might be tempting to recruit everyone that you see. However, if you're following this walkthrough, you should know which characters are worth your time. Instead of making thing complicated, these wasteful characters can give your favoured characters more experience.
For characters that automatically join your team, focus only on the recommended ones. When selecting your team prior to a battle, don't bother bringing anyone that is not recommended, even if this means that you'll be going into a fight with a smaller army. This way, all your good characters will get more experience, which will make them even better!
Note that, if you are playing Hard Mode, you won't get Frey or Norne. All the characters below, with the exception of Gordin, will join your army automatically.
Marth: As the main character, you're forced to use him. Luckily, Marth is a great character and is capable of leveling up to level 30.
Frey: Frey is probably the best Cavalier/Paladin in the game, you should definitely use him all the time.
Abel: Abel is also a very decent Cavalier that should be on your team if you have room for him. If you're playing hard mode, then replace the missing Frey with Abel.
Cain: While Cain isn't bad, he's not as good as Frey and Abel. As long as you have either Frey or Abel in your group, you do not need to spend any time with Cain.
Jagen: Jagen starts off really good because you get him "pre-promoted", meaning he is essentially at the level of a general. While this is good to start, pre-promoted units do not gain experience very quickly and suffer from poor stat growths. This means that, after a few chapters, Jagen won't be so good to use anymore. Instead of keeping him, let the other characters gain experience and select Jagen to be sacrificed at the end of the Prologue.
Gordin: You can recruit Gordin in the very last prologue level (just before you sacrifice one unit) by moving Marth next to him and selecting "talk" instead of killing him. Gordin is an incredibly good archer, so it is definitely recommended that you recruit him instead of killing him.
The final boss of this level can only hit people standing next him, which makes it safe and easy to hit him with Bows and Javelins. Any time you come across such a boss, it is recommended that you take advantage of the situation to level up. Simply attack the boss with your range units and end your turn. On the opponent's turn, the boss will heal and you will be able to attack him again on your following turn. You can easily get Gordin to level 10 this way on the first chapter, giving you a nice head start. Just buy an extra Iron Bow or two from the Armory at the start of the level and you're good to go.
Norne: If you finished the prologue with four units or less, you will start Chapter One with Norne in your group. Norne isn't as good as Gordin and, to be honest, you should not be sacrificing Frey or Abel just to get Norne because she isn't worth it.
Draug: You start with Draug on your team and he will be the only Armored Knight on your team for a long time. In general, Armored Knights are not that useful since you will be required to travel across the map quite a bit on most chapters. The best Armored Knight character comes much later in the game, so if you do want to have one on your team, you ay want to level up Draug. Otherwise, ignore him until the chance to recuirt Horace comes up.
Caeda: You also start with Caeda, who is probably the only Pegasus/Draco Knight that you will ever need in this game. Keep her away from arrows and she will help you a lot on the battlefield.
Wrys: If you visit the village with Marth, Wrys will join your team. You will get Lena in your group in Chapter three, so don't bother using him. Instead, have him join so that you can steal his heal staff to give to Lena later on.
Ogma: You start with Ogma automatically joining your team. He is a pretty good character. You will do well to use him, but don't bother restarting the game if you lose him since he is not that important.
Barst, Bord, and Cord: Of the three axe-users that join your army at the start of Chapter Two, Barst is the best. However, you will quickly get Darros in this chapter and it is recommended that you use him instead of Barst.
Castor: You can recruit Castor by having Caeda talk to him. However, if Gordin is already on your team and you spent last chapter leveling him up against the boss, then don't bother recruiting Castor. Instead, just take him down and get some experience points.
Darros: Talk to Darros using Marth and he will join you. As mentioned before, you should be using either Barst or Darros for the rest of the game, but not both.
Julian: Julian is playable right from the start of the chapter. The only time you need a thief in this game is when you want to pick locks. So keep him around for that, but don't let him get any experience points.
Lena: Lena is also playable right from the start but, unlike Julian, she is definitely worth using. Lena is, without a doubt, the best healer in the game. Give her Wrys's Heal Staff and make sure that she heals every turn so that she can gain experience quickly. Don't worry about the Heal Staff breaking, you will be able to buy more later.
Navarre: If you talk to Navarre using Caeda, he will join your team. Navarre is even better than Ogma and Darros and his sword gives him a great crit rate. There will be more Killing Edge swords later on in the game, so don't worry about using it a lot.
There is another boss with a short attack range on this level. You can use this opportunity to level up Caeda or someone else. There is also an arena to the right of the Seize point, however it is difficult to use it as a leveling tool at this point since none of your characters can reliably survive more than two fights.
Merric: If you visit the village on the bottom left with Marth, Merric will join your team. He is the best mage you can find in this game, which means you should definitely use him. In fact, if he dies, it is recommended that you restart the chapter so that you can keep using him.
Matthis: Seeing how Matthis is Lena's brother, you will need to use Lena to talk to him in order to have him join your army. However, you already have Frey and Abel, so you do not really need Matthis on your team. You can recruit him if you need to replace a fallen Cavalier, or take him down and gain some experience points.
Hardin, Wolf, Sedgar, Roshea, and Vyland: These horse riders will be playable at the start of the chapter. Do not bother giving experience points to Roshea or Vyland. If Frey or Abel died along the way, you can use Hardin to replace them. Both Sedgar and Wolf are great characters, but you only need one of them so pick your favourite and ignore the other.
Wendell: Talk to Wendell using either Marth or Merric and he will join you. However, Merric is much better so you are better off just taking him down and getting some experience points for it.
Rickard: Talk to Rickard using Marth or Julian and he will join your team. However, Julian is a better thief and it isn't even recommended that you use him! It may seem like you will need some thieves for this level, but in reality, the enemy thieves will open the chests for you and you can just take them down in order to get the goodies. Remember that thieves give a lot of experience points, so it is definitely better to just take Rickard down and get experience points instead of recruiting him into your army.
Athena: Visit the village with Marth to get Athena. However, Navarre is much better than Athena, so it isn't really worth the trip.
Bantu: Visit the village in this chapter with Marth to get Bantu. If you beat every enemy in the previous chapters, you should have picked up a Firestone that you can give to Bantu to use. However, Bantu isn't really recommended. Instead, you should get him so that you can get Tiki later on in the game.
Caesar and Radd: These two will join you at the start of the chapter. Ogma and Navarre are much better, so don't bother leveling them up.
Roger: Talk to Roger using Caeda in order to recruit him. If you wanted an Armored Knight, you should be using Draug. Otherwise, ignore Roger and keep waiting for Horace.
Jeorge: This sniper is in the village that Marth can visit. Gordin is much better, so you can ignore him.
Maria: Talk to Maria using Marth and she will join your team. Lena is much better than Maria, but you do need her to get Minerva, so recruit her for that and don't bother giving her experience points.
Minerva: After rescuing Maria, use Marth to talk to Minerva and she will join your team. Minerva is strong to start. However, she is pre-promoted like Jagen was and will quickly become a terrible unit to use.
Linde: To get Linde, just visit the village with Marth. If you lost Merric and accidently saved over your game, then Linde is a good replacement. Otherwise, she isn't as useful.
Jake: Talk to Jake using Caeda in order to recruit him. However, you will be getting Beck in Chapter 13 and he is much better, so you might as well ignore him.
Midia, Dolph, Macellam, Tomas and Boah: You start the chapter with a lot of new people, but none of them are good. Midia and Boah are pre-promoted and you should already have better units in your army than these new characters, so ignore them.
Horace: If you finish the chapter and Horace lives, he will automatically join your team. Horace is the best Armored Knight in the whole game. Even if you have been using Draug up until this point, you should replace him with Horace. If you don't like using any Armored Knights, then don't worry too much about protecting Horace in this chapter.
Beck: Visit the village with Marth to get Beck, he is definitely recommended.
Astram: Talk to Astram with Midia if you want another pre-promoted unit. Not recommended.
Palla and Catria: The sisters will join you at the start of the chapter. Catria is better than Palla and, if Caeda has died, you can use Catria to replace Caeda. Otherwise, just use Caeda and ignore the sisters.
Arran and Samsun: Visit the village on the left with Marth in order to get Arran or visit the village on the right to get Samsun. However, you can only have one of them on your team. In either case, don't worry about it too much since both Arran and Samsun are a waste of time.
Xane: Talk to Xane with Marth and you will get a character that can become an exact copy of your best unit. Definitely recommended.
Etzel: Etzel will join your team automatically at the end of the chapter if Etzel survives. However, don't worry too much since Etzel isn't that good anyways.
Est: Talk to Est with Marth to get a new recruit. Est has good stat growth and would be a good replacement for any fallen units, but she does require a bit of work.
Tiki: Bring Bantu with you in this chapter because you will need him to talk to Tiki in order to get her into your group. Tiki is pretty good, but Nagi, who comes in Chapter 24 is better. However, if you get Nagi, you won't be able to get Gotoh, who is a powerful mage. It is a difficult choice to make, so you might want to keep a save file for a game that is just before the start of this chapter.
Lorenz: Talk to Lorenz with Marth or Caeda to get this useless character. Not recommended.
Ymir: Talk to Ymir with Marth and Ymir will join you at the end of the chapter. However, Ymir isn't very good so don't bother.
Chapter Twenty One to Chapter Twenty Three
There are no new characters in these chapters.
Chapter Twenty Four
Elice: Elice is useful only if you lost a comrade a few chapters ago.
Nagi: If you beat Chapter 24, then Nagi will join your team. Nagi is very powerful and comes in handy for the final battle. However, Nagi isn't as good in multi-player and you won't be able to get Gotoh, who is also a very good unit.
Chapter Twenty Five
Gotoh: If you didn't go to Chapter 24, Gotoh will join you at the start of Chapter 25. Gotoh is much better than Merric and Linde, but comes late so your current mage might still be stronger depending on how you leveled them. Still, a great addition to any team and very helpful for the final battle.