The next chapter of My Obsession with Fire Emblem: Three Houses has officially begun upon the release of the Cindered Shadows DLC.
For those who are aware of the original post I made back in September, this follow-up will not be nearly as long. It shall only serve as an update to my character rankings with the added characters available in the DLC (including Jeritza and Anna). Any additional information will be reserved for those that had major movement within the tiers (three or more spaces, or just bumped up or down individual tiers) and why it occurred. Not playing the game for five months, with additional DLC and general updates waiting, can change some things.
And as a reminder, a quote from the first post:
“For preventative measures, some clarity details shall be assigned prior to the actual posting of my tier list. By “tier list,” I simply mean how much I like each character. It has little to do with how they do in battle or any practical matters. My list is only based off how much I adore a character and the effectiveness of their supports. I did not include characters that did not play a substantial role in the story or, if they did, were not featured for more than two chapters or so. Rodrigue, Judith, Death Knight, etc., are not on this list. Basically, if they had support conversations, they made it. And Jeralt. [And Anna.]”
Behold! The updated list!
The differences offhand from the original is that the text isn’t as bold. Very irritating, but my resources were limited. Otherwise, the number of those in the “Indifferent” tier decreased, while every other tier save “Wife” (formerly “Why the Fuck Do I Love You So Much?”) increased in volume. Considering the ranking, I can only see this as a good thing. More good characters means a more good game. Well, it’d help if a third of those new characters weren’t irrelevant, but nevertheless. Let’s begin with the first major change:
One of the four new characters within the “secret” fourth House, the Ashen Wolves, Hapi is described as blunt and apathetic. Perhaps it was because of this description that I was taken aback by how affectionate she can be. Various times throughout the story, she has dialogue that is more sincere than most others, including those with generally caring demeanors. Despite how aloof she comes across, her interaction with others can be fairly heartwarming, and I wonder if part of that is from the prior perspective fans were given of her. You expect verbal stabs and instead get a straightforward, but ultimately kind woman. On a personal note, her distrust for the church is also a petty plus. I couldn’t quite put her into my top 10, as Shamir ended up being too powerful, but the fact that I considered it is impressive for a late-stage DLC additive.
My previous entry regarding Edelgard admitted a personal bias that kept her somewhat lower on my personal tier list. She was simply too popular, and I’m a hipster, so those are the rules and I cannot break them. Except I just did for this updated list, and now she’s as high as she should’ve been all along. While Claude will always be my favorite House leader, Edelgard stakes her claim by being far more complex as an individual than any of the three leaders. Claude’s just a meme-y pure boy while Dimitri starts off with a superhero mindset and eventually becomes a hilarious edgelord. Edelgard has stakes that put her moral code to the test, which lead to some interesting takes on perspective history. She makes the story more interesting, which is a definite strength in her favor.
The second of four new characters that make up the Ashen Wolves, Balthus was, on first impression, expected to be my least favorite. Joy, another meathead fist-fighter, only this one looks juvenile to boot. It took a little while to shake that stereotype off of him, and once settled, I began to appreciate his secretive motivations. Indeed, he’s a drinking, fighting, and penny-pinching (bullion?) fiend that describes himself as the “King of Grappling,” which can be a bit much. Having the joke repeat ad nauseam throughout general exploration also doesn’t help. What got me to like him was his support conversations with fellow Ashen Wolves members, along with Byleth, of course. His kindness is done through actions rather than words, and his personality behind the egotism is respectable enough. I still like Raphael a little more if only because he’s charming in an oblivious sort of way, though Balthus is a nice interpretation of a self-aware meathead.
Poor Flayn. She took quite a tumble as time went on, seeing as she’s more of a support character that’s a tad hard to take seriously. With each passing run, my desire to use her in my main battle group, or to converse with her, as begun to dwindle, perhaps from impatience. She’s only available after Chapter 6, and by that point (thanks to Renown spending and obsessive insight) I’ve already recruited most other students and have established my main force. She kind of gets dragged along, only seeing action if I feel like it. This isn’t an insult to her character, though, as I adore her enthusiasm and she still has great supports with others. She’s just… not as nuanced as others in a memorable way. To be frank, I think her giant green locks and humorous fish-out-of-water act is more memorable than her development as a person.
Unlike his sister, Seteth got a boost in steam primarily because he seems like a cool dude. The overbearing possessiveness of Flayn gets tiring, which probably hurt him early on. What makes him likable, though, is in a small detail called “good writing,” where he remains one of the only characters viewers could probably take seriously in other mediums. Make his hair and clothes different, of course, but I could see Seteth in some crime drama as a higher-up of some sort, managing various people and overseeing the general happenings of the workplace with a calm composure. Really, he just seems like a cool dude. I almost never use him in battle, which is a shame, because he proved useful in my very first run. Seems like he would make a good father, too.
Constance is the third member of the Ashen Wolves, and boy, did her split personality get some mileage. You see, under the sun, Constance becomes ultra pessimistic and self-depreciating. When not, she’s a haughty and boisterous youth whose energy rivals that of a petrified Bernadetta. This kind of switch is, logically, very dumb, as I see no reason as to why the sun affects this (bad UV rays or something messing with her crest?). Yet, this essentially gives her two characters to criticize, and they both made it easy. I like her energy when she’s full regal mode, but I don’t like her arrogance. I like that her pessimistic side is more heartfelt, only at the expense of the constant running joke of “Haha, she finds elaborate ways of putting herself down.” She’s almost like a more cartoon-ish Bernadetta, only with two sides of one coin and without any reasoning. Some may find that worse. I found it more entertaining. And on the topic of—
—she’s among the highest “leapers” on this list, going from the bottom of “Okay/Decent” to near the top. This is also noteworthy with the context that, initially, I hated her. Time has been very kind to her, and the development she has later in the game is becoming more important to me than the over-the-top scaredy-cat game she pulls as a youth. Full disclosure: I still don’t find it charming at all, and her character would be better suited if she wasn’t treated as a joke (her B-support with Byleth is super cute). If anything, I like how much she tries to change, especially when the player chooses the Black Eagles route. It’s among the more noteworthy changes a character actually showcases in-game as time passes.
Man, I once put Catherine over Edelgard. Must’ve just come off of a run where I used her often. She suffered one of the worst drops of anyone, falling from the end of “Like” to the middle of “Okay/Decent.” Why? To tell the truth… I’m not sure. When I look at her, I don’t get that sense of warmth I get from most of the characters within higher tiers. Perhaps I did when I made my first list, but characters need to hold onto that feeling even after time has passed. Marianne? Love her. Dorothea? Amazing. Hilda? My undisputed wife. Catherine? Ehhh… That hesitation proved devastating, as when considering how I felt about others, I kept putting her lower and lower and lower. Is she boring? Not really; her story’s kind of interesting and she has a likable personality. What’s the reason? It may be lost to the mind, just not the heart.
This one won’t be long. Jeralt suffers from having the same lines repeated with every run, with the same events occurring in the same fashion. He tends to feel more ingrained in the story’s progression than as an individual force. Still a decent character, and I like that stoicism he has. He’s just… not that interesting, mostly because the game doesn’t let him.
The final member of the Ashen Wolves and its leader. I am going to make a stupid statement that is the basis for my underlying disdain for him: He reminds me of “nothin personnel kid.” That edgy, arrogant OC-type character with a flashy design and a dagger-like tongue. Yuri checks most of the boxes, with the only exception being his Robin Hood-esque motivations of helping the needy. In general, he acts like a dick and is untrusting of others, only unmasking himself in trusted company. He’s fine, if only for the moments where he’s being genuine and making fun of Constance’s attitude.
Good for you, Ashe! You made it just enough up the ladder for me to care even a little bit about your existence! I complained before that Ashe was simply too pure to be interesting, and he still is. And for those reading the previous statement and looking at my tier list and seeing Ignatz in my top 10, don’t question it. What eventually got him out of the hole was my increased tolerance for said pure characters, especially in the face of non-pure characters a la the Ashen Wolves. I’ve always liked his supports with Dedue and Ingrid, specifically, and his place within the story gives him a bit more leverage to assert himself. Admittedly, I’m also getting somewhat fond of his hair… for some reason.
Wow, I’m so sleepy. I’m gonna take a nap. Ahhhhhh, beddy-bye time! Drowsy and drifting and driven by dreams. This will never get old ever. That, combined with him being a general asshole once put Linhardt in the “Don’t Care For” tier. With a full additional playthrough since the DLC dropped, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t really dislike him. He’s just there, with good and bad parts that equal out to an equilibrium of indifference. Some supports are good, some are bad. Some lines are good, some are bad. It’s a Thanos-like character without the giant purple muscles. Perfectly balanced.
When I first played Three Houses and saw that Anna was the shopkeeper in the battle menu, I was like, “That’s a cute wink to Awakening fans.” Then it was announced that she and Jeritza would be available as free DLC to recruit in-game, and I was like, “Dang, Anna fans are really spoiled.” So, with my return, I made it a goal to use her in my main party and to see how she affects the story. And… she doesn’t. She doesn’t have any supports, and 70% of the time she’s in the same spot, says the same lines, and offers the same sidequest to Byleth with every chapter. So, uh, she exists. Yeah, it’s cute that she’s a merchant and she really likes money and you can put her into her outfit from Awakening. Okay, but why do I care about her? I wasn’t super fond of her in Awakening, why should I here? It’s basically just fan service, and for that… I don’t really apply.
When I think about characters I give zero shits about, Cyril comes to mind. His incessant Rhea obsession is bad enough (helps that I don’t like Rhea), he’s just a really dull character that brings nothing to the table. He has a cute support with Lysithea, amazing. That’s pretty much it for me. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even bother conversing with him in the monastery anymore (but I’ll recruit him anyway), as I know what he says isn’t interesting or entertaining to me. Probably the only character whose memorability is tied to how boring I find them.
So, we have come. The grand finale of the updated tier list. Who do we have? Jeritza. The biggest, most absurd edgelord in the game whose every line (especially when exploring) is so over-the-top that I find him hilarious. I aM qUeLlInG aN uNcOnTrOlLaBlE uRgE tO DeStRoY yOu! What the hell? This character is hilarious. I literally quit a run because I did not want to have this thing associated with me—I shit you not. Going through all of his supports with Byleth out of sheer curiosity (and a couple with Mercedes, for spoiler reasons), I could not take any of them seriously. His dialogue is so edgy that it hurts to even listen to his tryhard voice deliver it all, and I feel bad for the actor. I don’t just not care for Jeritza, I don’t even take him seriously. He’s a joke. And I laughed quite a bit.
That was fun, and much longer than I expected it to be. If you’ve played the game, what do you think of my tier list? And which characters do you like or dislike the most?
Thank you for your time. Have a great day.