Strategy and Hints

I recommend reading the general strategy before going to the hints for specific levels below.

General Strategy:

Hints and Strategy for Specific Levels:

Medium Levels

Hard Levels

Bonus Levels

Why not post videos for each level?

I have a few recordings of me completing the levels, but I feel that it ruins the satisfaction and enjoyment if you are just copying someone else’s moves from start to end (more on this under design philosophy). With hints, I provide the solution for a few key challenging areas, and otherwise try to push you in the right direction, so that in the end, it’s still your effort and thinking that got you through the level.

Medium – 5

There are many solutions to this level. My preferred path begins with moving right first, then up, clearing the top area until you get to the below position:

Then clear the row below, getting to this position:

The rest should be fairly straightforward. You can use the principle of working from the outside in, looping around the outside first.

General Strategy – Rules of Thumb

This section is more applicable for time trials where speed is paramount, and the levels are generally a bit less tricky, but these are good rules of thumb anyway. Unlike the “do not create 2 ends” rule, these are not always correct.

Work Outside -> In

The general idea here is that when you have a big blob of tiles, the easiest way to avoid getting stuck is by doing circles around the edges first, then working towards the centre.

A related idea is to keep things as round (or square) as possible, and have just one blob of tiles. This is an aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-follow way to reduce the chance of creating extra ends, and otherwise identify problem areas where you may be forced to create an end.

Clear Red Tiles First

When I see big blotches of red, I like to go only red first, unless it conflicts with the general idea above to work outside -> in. The idea is that by removing red tiles, you simplify the situation, making it easier to see what you should do next.

Be careful with this general idea, and try to keep it localized. Always prioritize the first rule of thumb, working from the outside in and keeping round/square shapes. Personally, I like to combine the two, where I clear all the red tiles along the outside first, work outside -> in, then clear the next set of outer red tiles, rinse and repeat.

Below is an example putting these rules of thumb into work, on a random level:

Hypothetical starting position

Red tiles first, and only on the outside first

Clearing more red tiles and on the outside (L shape of yellow tiles and the 6 red tiles box cleared)

Note: this move is a bit tricky. I had to move down (shown here) in order to avoid creating extra ends

More working around the outside – I make sure to clear the red tile at the bottom first, as it can be problematic later. At this point, I have kept things tidy and won’t really be liable to being tricked and getting stuck anymore

Continuing on the outside and clearing red tiles…

And in a relatively clean and simple way, we can finish the level!

Back to Strategy and Hints

General Strategy – Ends

This page introduces a simple concept of “ends”, intended to provide a framework to improve your general speed and ease of gameplay.

Ends

An “end” is what I call any tile that must be stepped on last, because there is only one path that leads to that tile and no paths back once you have gone to that tile. The simplest example can be found in Easy – 3:

The circled square is an “end”; it must be completed last, as there is only one tile leading to it (and you cannot go back on that one tile). If you decide to step on that tile before the end, you get stuck (as below).

How is this useful for gameplay? A rule: never create 2 (or more) ends. Any time you have 2 or more ends, you know that you cannot complete the level. With this knowledge, you can use the process of elimination to get rid of certain potential moves, making it easier to find the right move. For example, in the below situation, you have two ends, and are already stuck, so you can rule out this path:

The one block sticking out, as above, is the easiest type of end to recognize. There are some other formations that are a bit harder to recognize as ends. One example below:

In the above, the entire 6-block section is an end – there’s no way to clear this level from the position shown above.

One formation I want to point out in particular is the below, where you have one orphan yellow tile sticking out, but attached to a red tile; this pops up very frequently. This is not an end (by itself), because you can step to the yellow tile and step back. Recognizing this, you can make it a rule of thumb to leave these formations around, treating it as if the two-tile formation is a single yellow tile where the red tile is.

By the way, guess which level this is from. It’s a puzzle game, so I have to give you some puzzles on this website too 🙂

The circled, as above, will not become an end when you take the path starting from the left, while the left tile will become an end if you move right first. The solution? Move left.

There are a few levels that can be solved entirely by identifying ends and using a process of elimination. The below is one example: it’s a lot easier once you figure out where the end is:

I was nice enough to circle the end for you

When you get really good at identifying ends, you can make observations as follows: in the below screenshot, after only two moves, I already know the player is stuck. One end has to be created as the player moves from the left through the top circle (or you create the end on the left) and the other end is created at the bottom. By the way, since there’s no way to clear all the tiles at the bottom in one go, that has to be the end – a pretty big key to solving this level.

Dead Ends

This is sort of a subset of the above. In brief, there are certain formations that simply cannot be cleared. Avoid these at all times (and undo or reset if you ever see one). One of the most common ones is the orphaned red tile with only one yellow tile leading to it:

By the way, there’s another unclearable formation where the other red block is… And yes, it might be more challenging to replicate this screenshot than to properly clear this level.

Next: Rules of Thumb

Fire Emblem Heroes Strategy

While the strategic depth of Fire Emblem Heroes doesn’t quite match that of the original series, there is still a fair bit of room for thinking and strategizing. In this post, I hope to share some strategic insights and help you improve your gameplay, particularly if you are not a veteran to the turn-based strategy game genre.

Positioning

I’m a big fan of heroes with repositioning abilities, particularly ones that let you draw your heroes out of the way of harm. Consider the following situation (taken from an advanced arena battle):

Battle position after first turn

First, I use Tharja to attack.

Note: I actually misplayed here. I should have used Jakob (bottom character’s) Rally Resistance ability, so Tharja would have taken 0 damage). More thinking needed!

I then use Nino’s Draw Back ability to keep Tharja out of harm’s way:

What was a 4v4 is now a 4v3! Being able to recognize plays like this can allow you to pick off (or heavily damage) one enemy at almost no harm to your own characters.

Note: Be Careful with “Danger Area”

On a related note, be careful with relying on “Danger Area”. It can mask the true attack range of enemies. In the above screenshot, the space directly above Tharja is not safe, as the wall in front of the enemy Takumi can be broken, so it would not be wise for me to move Lyn there.

Positioning abilities such as shove also pose a potential problem. In my experience, the AI is extremely stupid when using repositioning abilities (and in the movement order in breaking obstacles). Still, I prefer not to take any chances; I like to calculate the possible moves the AI could make and stay out of the range of any potential attack.

The most dangerous is when the enemy has units with Sing or Dance (Azusa or Olivia). Because these units allow other units to take an extra turn, what was a 2-movement unit suddenly becomes a 4-movement unit. In these situations, be extra careful with your positioning, and keep an extra 2 spaces away from the danger zone if needed.

Example: in the below screenshot, Tharja can actually be attacked because of Olivia’s Dance ability.

Attacking is not Always a Good Idea

This might be obvious to some, counterintuitive to others. There are many reasons why you might not want to attack an enemy unit, even if they are within attacking range. I’ll start with the simplest. Imagine that you and your opponent are each down to only one hero – the same hero with the same stats. This hero has 40 hp and can attack for 20 damage. If you attack first, after combat resolves and the enemy has counterattacked, both units will be down to 20 hp. On the next turn, the opponent attacks and defeats your unit. Whichever unit attacks first loses.

On a more more high level basis, consider the following situation:

I can attack with Nino and/or Tharja, or I could even attack with Jakob by using Nino’s Draw Back ability to move him in range. However, I won’t be able to KO any enemy unit, and I would lose at least 1 unit on the next turn when the enemy attacks. Even if I could KO an enemy unit, it would end up being at best a 1 for 1 trade. Given that you generally want to keep as many units alive as possible (you’re not getting a very high arena score if you only end up winning by 1 hero each match), I’d prefer to do better than go for 1 for 1 trades.

So here’s what I did:

And, being stupid, the AI charges into battle:

I have a much better attacking position here compared to the first opportunity where I could have attacked. At this point, I can easily KO one unit, and damage a second.

Eventually I ended up winning. I might have misplayed a bit later down the line, but still, winning with 2 units is not a bad outcome given that:

  • My opponent’s team was all Lv. 40 save for 1 hero, while I had 2 level 35 and under characters.
  • They were all 5-star compared to me having 2 4-stars.
  • It was 1 SS-Tier and 3 S-Tier heroes, compared to my team of 1 S-Tier, 2 A-Tiers, and 1 B-Tier.
  • I had a relative color disadvantage with Nino.

Part of the reason I wanted to highlight this battle in particular is that, with good tactics and taking advantage of the relatively dumb AI, you can win even when faced with a stats disadvantage.

Watch for Synergy Between Characters

This applies to both teambuilding and within battle. For example, I can use Jakob’s Rally Resistance ability to give an extra 4 damage to Tharja or Nino because their weapons incorporate any stat bonuses. Though this is generally subpar to attacking directly, there are instances where it can be useful. See below:

The extra 4 (8 over 2 attacks) damage is exactly what I need for a ORKO on Ogma.

And then to top it all off, I use draw back to prevent Tharja from getting destroyed.

Always Keep in Mind Passive Abilities

When I first started playing Fire Emblem Heroes, I often overlooked passives, particularly the Spur X passives, because they have no animation and no visual cues. However, when used properly the Spur X passives can be incredibly useful. Always keep these in mind when positioning your characters. Pay attention to attack and movement order to maximize the use of these passives. For Spur Defense or Spur Resistance, try to use these passives when using a character to tank an attack.

Putting it All Together

Consider the below situation. Obviously I am winning, but I want to win with all 4 units alive, for maximum arena points.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Lyn can only attack if I use Nino’s draw back. Even doing so, she can only attack the enemy Lyn. This will not be a KO. So, I can’t really do much with Lyn.
  • With Vengeance (special attack), Tharja can KO Jeorge (the archer). However, Tharja can only KO Lyn with 2x attacks, which Tharja cannot get unless I take advantage of Lyn’s Spur Speed.
  • Nino can 2x attack and KO the archer Jeorge, without any buffs, but does minimal damage to Lyn thanks to color disadvantage.
  • Jakob can attack to reduce Def and Res by 7, but only does about 10 damage to the relevant targets (ie not Nino). If I attack Lyn, I still have to use Tharja to KO Lyn. Then Nino can only KO one of the two remaining enemies.

So what’s the best case scenario here? It looks like the solution would be:

  • Use Nino to KO Jeorge
  • Use Tharja with Lyn support to KO Lyn
  • Use Jakob to KO Nino

Here’s how I play it out:

Nino KO’s Jeorge

Get Lyn in position

Tharja KO’s Lyn, thanks to speed buff from my Lyn

A butler throws knives at a young girl. See anything wrong with this picture?

Jakob cleans up

So – even though this game feels pretty simple, there can be a surprising amount of thinking involved to play optimally!

A Final Note on AI Manipulation

When faced with two heroes the AI can defeat, I noticed it often tends to go for the closest one first. So, if you have a case where you are in a 2v1 and one of your heroes is useless (for example, due to color disadvantage), I like to throw that one in front of the other ally in the hopes of absorbing attacks that would otherwise KO the more useful hero.

I also notice that when the AI approaches, if it is faced with two heroes out of its reach by the same range (ie two of your heroes are each 5 squares away), it will prefer to approach the hero that it has a color advantage against. You can use this knowledge to help predict AI movement patterns, and also structure the positioning of your colored units to get the AI to move where you want it to.

And of course, the AI always attacks when it can, even if it does 0 damage. My favourite way to take advantage of this is by placing my dagger user (or archer) within the attack range of only the enemy cleric, and watch the AI throw away its clerics.

There’s probably much more that can be done to take advantage of bad AI. This is just scratching the surface.

Feedback

Hopefully you gained some insights from this. I’d be interested in hearing any feedback, including any tactics you use.