Fire Emblem Engage Beginner’s Guide: The Stuff I Wish I Knew

Fire Emblem Engage is a much more tactical experience than Fire Emblem Three Houses, and many of the mechanics it adds are fresh to the series. It’s almost inevitable then that during your first playthrough you’ll notice more efficient ways to take advantage of the game’s systems and see how certain choices may have helped or hurt you. This was certainly my experience, so today I’m going to take some of the lessons I learned playing Engage and include them here to help you along on your own journey.

Hey, fish are a resource!

Resource Management


When I read the early previews and reviews for Fire Emblem Engage, one of the themes I noticed was folks saying that you don’t get a lot of money in this game. I found during my run that I didn’t truly appreciate just how true that was. In most Fire Emblem games you have set chapters where you bring in large amounts of funds at once, but multiple in-between chapters where you are collecting tons of small pickups called bullion that you can sell for quite a bit of money as well. Skirmish chapters that grant bullion help you maintain a steady income even when you’re not getting a lot of money from other sources.

Engage removes bullion as a mechanic, which makes you significantly more dependent on the large chunks of money you get from specific chapters for cash. In other words, when you get a bunch of money at once you need to spend it carefully because you won’t be getting much more for a long time. Part of why this is such an issue is the introduction of the donation mechanic, where you give money to different kingdoms in exchange for rewards. Most of the donation rewards are front-and-back loaded – the first donation gets you some useful supplies and the last gets you an S-rank weapon. Everything between is mostly focused on clothes and multipliers for rewards or skirmishes. Donations are easily the most expensive mechanic you can engage with but the returns are diminishing – I’d personally recommend not going past donation level one for any given kingdom so that you can instead focus on using your money for weapon purchases and upgrades.

Bond Fragments

While this game is not particularly generous with your financial rewards, it will throw bond fragments at you left right and center. It may feel like you’ve got more bond fragments than you know what to do with, but I legitimately still found myself needing to grind some in order to train my characters with Emblem Rings so they could pick up useful skills for the late game. What would have helped me in my situation was more consistently doing activities at Somniel. If you’re not the kind of player who loves minigames, it can be really tempting to drop all the Somniel activities once you realize they’re not as mechanically necessary as the ones at Garreg Mach back in Three Houses. However, over time the 100-200 bond fragments you can get from any given activity every single time you visit Somniel really adds up. In my case, it would have reduced between an hour and ninety minutes of bond fragment farming towards the end of the game if I had spent those extra few minutes each Somniel visit.

The most effective way to earn bond fragments in meaningful quantities is through achievements. This game slaps an achievement on your for pretty much everything, but when you need 8000 bond fragments it suddenly matters which ones you’ve been building towards and which ones you kind of just let happen. Using the achievement board to help you see which achievements you are close to and actively work towards them can help you gradually progress to achievements that have bigger payoffs instead of cramming them in when you realize you need more fragments. Things like the number of items you are buying and selling, the number of times you refine or engrave your equipment, the number of activities you do each time you visit Somniel – all of these can slowly build up over time to some decent bond fragment rewards if you invest in them.

Character Building

Skill Inheritance

This feels like a logical next topic from the concept of resource management because skill points (SP) are certainly a resource to be managed carefully. Each character will collect SP at different volumes based on how often they are taking action and what those actions are. I would say generally that by the very end of the game, my core party members all had accumulated somewhere between 3-5K SP depending on how long they had been in the party and how often they got kills. This is enough for one or two expensive skills from Emblems or a larger smattering of cheaper, more niche effects. Generally speaking my recommendation is to scoop up cheap, beneficial skills early game when SP gain progresses slower and then save for the big stuff later on when you have all the Emblems and know what your options are. Some examples of useful cheap skills to pick up would be Freeze Immunity from Sigurd, Healing Light from Micaiah for your healers, and Advance from Roy for your melee attackers.

One helpful tip to keep in mind is that you won’t actually need to inherit skills from the Emblem you intend to use long-term. For example, I made the mistake of having Boucheron pick up the Advance ability from Roy, and then just ended up pairing Boucheron with Roy for many of the late-game chapters. That’s 500 SP that could have gone into another beneficial ability for Boucheron instead, like a higher rank of Sigurd’s Hit+ ability. You can’t always anticipate who you’ll have where, of course, but for this reason it can be helpful to save the bulk of your SP for when you’ve decided your endgame setup. That way you can make informed decisions about what skills to pick up based on how you’re using the character by the finale.

Class Changing

I’ve been playing through Fire Emblem Engage with a buddy who, prior to this, only played Three Houses. And that experience has been interesting in that it showed me a lot of historical knowledge I take for granted that Engage doesn’t communicate all that clearly to new players. Take Vander for example – most FE vets will recognize him immediately as a “Jagen,” an overleveled but underperforming unit who seems strong at the beginning but really is intended to help you train your more promising characters rather than soaking up experience himself. A lot of what is going on with the class system assumes some degree of historical knowledge, so I’m going to really dig deep into this topic compared to some of the others.

There are three types of classes in Engage: base, advanced, and special. Base classes graduate into advanced classes for the back half of the game while special classes are designed to be viable for the whole game. Base and advanced classes begin at level one and max out at level 20; special classes max out at level 40. Advanced classes learn a unique class skill at level 5 and special classes learn a unique class skill at level 25. The most basic approach to class progression is to go to level 20 in a base class, use the item called the master seal to promote to one of your (usually) two advanced class options, and grow to level 20 again. This is the approach that the recommended level for each mission assumes you are taking. But it’s not the only path forward available to you.

Master seals can be used to change a base class into an advanced class as early as level 10. Promoting early gives you a nice stat boost right away and quicker access to your advanced class unique skill, but it does slow down your experience curve. Additionally, you can only master seal into the advanced classes that are accessible to your base class. For example, a sword cavalier cannot promote into a swordmaster just because they have a sword proficiency – only a sword fighter can become a sword master using a master seal. If you want to change a character into a different advanced class than what their base class allows, you’re going to need to get there with the help of Emblem Rings and a second seal.

Second Seals don’t promote your character from base class to advance class – they instead allow lateral movement within the same tier or allow you to reset the tier. For example, if you get your advanced General character to level 20 but they haven’t maxed out all their stats, you can use a second seal to start over from General level 1 and start gaining experience again. Characters reclassed in this way only gain or lose stats based on the base stats of the class they are changing to. In our General example, nothing will change. But if that general decided to change into a Great Knight, stats would adjust up and down based on the differences between those two classes. Second Seals are the key to getting access to new classes for your units – you can either use them at base to change to the base class that graduates into the advanced class you want, or use it at the advanced class level to just laterally change into the advanced class once you’ve reached level 10. However, in both situations you have to pay attention to your weapon proficiency.

This is the part of Engage’s class system that takes a little feather from the hat of Three Houses. You can change any character into basically any class in the game (there are exceptions) by using Emblem Rings to unlock proficiencies. When using a second seal to change classes laterally, you can become any class that you have the proficiencies for. Characters have starting proficiencies based on their canon base class but can gain more from Emblem Rings, unlocking new possibilities. You can essentially ignore this process if all you want to do is use a master seal to make your character go from their base class to their advanced class, but if you have any vision of changing a character into a different class then you’ll need to unlock some proficiencies and get a Second Seal involved.


Break and Smash

These two brand new mechanics to Engage are key pieces of mastering the combat system, so let’s dig into them a bit. Break activates mainly when you attack an opponent with an advantageous weapon in the weapon triangle: swords beat axes, axes beat lances, lances beat swords, and body arts beat tomes, knives, and bows. When you break an opponent, they can’t counterattack you or the next person who attacks them. Breaking is essential to getting kills without suffering retaliation and to creating openings for weaker characters to safely finish off foes. Your goal is to break enemies and to avoid being broken yourself. This means carefully managing your positioning as most characters early on will only have access to a single weapon type.

There are a few important things to note with breaking. For one, you can only break when initiating combat. So while it is theoretically ideal to defend against incoming enemies with an advantageous weapon so you don’t get broken yourself, it’s not going to set them up for defeat on the next turn. This is why armor knights are valuable – they have incredible defense stats and cannot be broken regardless of advantage. For this reason, it may be more useful to bait enemies into range with an armor knight with disadvantage than with, say, a sword fighter that has advantage. The armor knight doesn’t have to worry about being broken and will be much more likely to survive any stray hits that come through. The other thing to note with break is that the effects only last for the next combat. So if you have three characters who are vulnerable that you want to be able to attack a boss without retaliation, you’re going to need to be able to break the boss three times, one for each character, or you’re still going to face retaliation. This is important to keep in mind when planning turn order and deciding your approach.

Smash is a mechanic attached to heavy weapons like blades, greatlances, and greataxes. Weapons with Smash always attack after the opponent’s attack(s), even when you initiate combat. Smash weapons also are limited to only dealing a single blow. However, when you initiate combat with a smash weapon and land your hit, the opponent will be shoved back one space. If this causes them to hit an obstacle, such as a wall, a boulder, or another unit, this will Break them. Smash is a useful mechanic for breaking someone you otherwise could not, but what I would point out is that you shouldn’t sleep on the benefits of being able to move an opponent to a new tile.

Here are a few potential applications of Smash. One is to remove an opponent from beneficial terrain. Thickets increase a foe’s avoid, forts make them unbreakable, miasma gives them +20 to their defense and resistance – you want to get enemies out of these protective structures. Smashing them allows you to accomplish just that, and then follow up with another unit to finish them off in their new, vulnerable state. Alternatively, you can smash a foe into terrain that gives them a disadvantage, such as pushing someone into a fire so they take chip damage at the start of their turn. Finally, smashing an enemy into formation with others can set them up for powerful Engage attacks. Sigurd’s Override for example charges through a line of foes – if you have a line of enemies that is broken by one of them being just out of position, smashing them into the row so your Sigurd user can Override through all of them can expand your tactical options.


In addition to the weapon triangle, some unit types have vulnerabilities to specific weapons or weapon types that can be essential to your tactics in combat. Armorslayers, poleaxes, bows, and wind magic are all examples of weapons that have effectiveness against certain types of enemies. Effective weapons triple their might before adding your attack power when calculating damage; this can make a huge difference against tough enemies like armor knights, paladins, or wyvern knights and be the difference between chipping away at them vs defeating them in a single exchange. I found these types of weapons to be way more important in Engage than I did in Three Houses, and even a bit more useful here than in more tactically-minded entries in the series.

In addition to just making sure that you have effective weapons, these are also great candidates for refinement and engraving at the blacksmith because of the way in which the benefits multiply. Used against their intended target, every 1 point of might increase on an effective weapon translates to 3 additional points of damage. This makes an engraving like Ike’s for example – which gives +3 might but a whopping 15 additional weight – easier to swallow, because you are multiplying the benefit of the positive increase from the engraving. Slapping that on an armorslayer you’re going to be using against very slow foes for example means you will likely still be getting two attacks despite the huge weight increase, but each of those attacks will be doing 9 additional damage.


The Engage mechanic is perhaps the biggest new feature in Fire Emblem Engage, and using it effectively is important. While it’s tempting to see the overpowered Engage attacks and assume that using them will effectively be a win button, the system is balanced to create an experience where you’ll need those big hits and the other benefits of Engaging in order to overcome the odds being thrown against you. Bosses that can come back two or even three times, some with deadly Engage attacks of their own to unleash if you don’t defeat them in a single round, or hordes of powerful enemies that will overwhelm you with numbers if you don’t find ways to deal with many at once can all be situations where Engaging is necessary. So how do you effectively manage it?

My first piece of advice with regards to Engaging is to actually use it. You may have an instinct that says to save it for when it’s really important, and there will certainly be situations where you may recognize in advance that you want to preserve a certain Engage Attack for that situation. But generally what I’ve found is that between the start of a map and the boss, there are lots of situations where Engaging can be useful to you as well as many opportunities to get your Engage meter back in the form of Emblem energy. Weapons that grant effectiveness or allow you to break enemies you normallt could not, skills that allow you to defeat enemies you’d otherwise leave alive or to endure hits that would normally kill you – taking advantage of these resources actively will help you maintain control of the battle and prevent the enemy from forcing you onto the defensive.

Now for a bit more on Engage Attacks. These are powerful, once-per-Engagement moves that can do big damage to a single target or decent damage to targets in a wide area, depending on the move. However, it’s important to note that a lot of Engage attacks have secondary effects that can really make a difference in certain situations. Ike, Roy, and Corrin for example all have Engage Attacks that can clear or replace terrain effects, making them ideal for maps where your opponents are using, say, miasma as a way to gain an advantage over you. The terrain these moves create can also be a valuable deterrent; the fire tiles left behind by Roy’s attack reduce movement and can make it impossible for a frustrating wave of enemies to approach you, giving you time to shore up your own formation and prepare for them. Engage Attacks always hit and they ignore the benefits of chain guard, so using them in these situations can help you to deal reliable damage against a target who is otherwise protected or has such high avoid that you would almost definitely miss.

I hope this guide has been useful to you! If you have questions about the game that were not addressed here, feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer. And who knows – you might have a question that forms the basis of a future guide!

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