Ideal Magic System of FE Game & Water Magic

I wanted to get the FE community’s opinion on the magic system in Fire Emblem as it has changes so much game-to-game.

First I want to use Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn’s system as a starting point. This game has an anima triangle of Fire -> Wind -> Thunder -> Fire, and outside of that there is a separate triangle of Anima -> Light -> Dark -> Anima. While I enjoyed all the different types of magic in the game, I felt like Light and Dark were represented a lot less and had not much impact within the game.

Now, what if in another game, Radiant’s Dawn magic system was expanded slightly further by adding Water magic (i.e. the anima magic represented the least in the series.). This would be a square of Fire -> Wind -> Thunder -> Water -> Fire, and again, outside there would be the separate Anima -> Light -> Dark -> Anima.


Now for the questions…

  • Would you rather have more magic types and added complexity or a simpler magic triangle?
  • Do you believe the above example would detract from the FE game play experience? Do you think it would add to it?
  • Which Fire Emblem game has the best use of magic in your option?
  • If water magic were added as a regular magic, how do you think it to behave? (Power, Hit, Crit, water walk?)

In my personal opinion, magic on magic encounters are largely pointless. Mages always have sky high res (because being able to throw fireballs makes you also fireproof ig?) so they never really damage each other in the first place. On top of that, you can just attack them with a physical unit, since they die when touched, so what’s the point of attacking with magic? I feel like before you can make meaningful weapon interactions between magic users you kinda first have to make magic battles actually meaningful first. Largely this is because there are only ever about 3 tier 1 mage classes, who are largely identical, minus the different weapon types. If there were actually varied magic users, say, mages with def instead of res, or mages with low def and res but high other stats, then maybe magic vs magic would actually be viable.
As of right now my favorite implementation of magic is in Fates with the dual layered triangle because now you can get weapon advantage on a viable target. On top of magic being condensed to one type so we have more interesting tomes instead of what is essentially iron / steel / silver 3 times for different elements.


The Red →Green →Blue triangle from Heroes is a pretty good compromise, I think. Not only does it already work mechanically in the GBA games with no alteration but graphics/text, but it allows you to be more arbitrary with which element of magic characters use and how they match up to the colours (shamans and fire mages are both green? Give them weapon locks to prevent them from crossing over). Additionally, in an environment where all mages are as sparsely placed as if they were all a single class (this will probably be the case in a fan project unless it’s specifically about mages, too), the overlap with the physical weapon triangle can make them a little more interesting.


Yeah the magic triangle is useless


The magic triangle is useless because mages have homogeneous defensive stat lines. If we had mages with high res & low def, high def & low res or average res & def then you’d get more interesting matchups. I think the magic triangle is a good step forward in encouraging mage on mage action but it isn’t enough, you also need to vary up stat lines and increase the proportion of mages that make up the enemy army for it to be truly relevant.

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I’m implementing an anima triangle in my hack, and I’m adding Ice magic as neutral (Like bows in the weapon triangle)
Also I’m creating a mage for each element (Fire Mage, Thunder Mage, Wind Mage and Ice Mage) with different stat distribution to each one:
Fire Mage - High Magic, Defense and HP. Low Res, Skill and Speed
Thunder Mage - High Skill. Average HP, Speed, and Magic. Low Defense and Res
Wind Mage - High Speed and Res. Average Skill and Magic. Low Defense and HP
Ice Mage - Average Stats.

Also, each anima type will have a different bonus effectiveness:
Fire - Some monster units
Thunder - Wyverns
Wind - Pegasi and Gargoyles
Ice - Dragons

And the mages can only use one anima type, they can use another anima type once they promote.


SRPG Studio actually gives you the resources to do this if you wanted to. Granted, you’d have to go with Ice instead of Water, but it’s fundamentally the same.

Nevertheless, I prefer the simple Light/Dark/Anima Trinity of Magic, but would also prefer a wider variety of defensive stat spreads between magic-wielding classes.

Ironically, though, a Trinity of Magic would probably work best in a game like Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light where nobody has any innate Res and magic damage comes solely from weapon Mt. Ideally, the Trinity of Magic would also affect attack power in addition to accuracy.

I know FE prides itself on simplicity, but the weapon system is one of the main things I struggle to find meaning with at present - it’s usually meaningless enough that it might as well not be there for any type, either physical weapons or magic weapons. (Or you just have to crank the bonuses and penalties for it that much higher, like in Heroes.)

Maybe it’s because I’ve been playing the series for so long now that I just want something fresh, but, in my opinion, bring on the complexity - it’s a Strategy/Tactical RPG, after all. Instead of having a huge list of tomes (and regular weapons, frankly) that are basically just minor variations in damage/hit/crit/weight/uses, spice things up - give things more diverse effects and uses (physical weapons do this a lot more than magical ones (outside of Dark magic), but it should be the case more across the board). Incorporate Water or Ice magic if you want, but have them have some kind of effect, not just an Elwater tome that has 7 Might. Heck, incorporate Maces and Clubs in such a way that they aren’t Axe reskins (like they are in Fates) into the pool of physical weapons and have them break bones or inflict internal bleeding that works like Poison.

Plus, let’s say you have (hypothetically) a base level Aran (Lance D) attacking a Level 15 Myrmidon (Sword B) - even though Aran has a weapon type advantage, don’t you think that the Myrmidon’s skill in using their weapon might trump any Triangle Advantage Aran might have and he shouldn’t get any benefits from it at all? And yet, that’s the system we have. (I know that DSFE made you lose your Weapon Rank Bonus if you were at a Triangle Disadvantage, but I’m factoring the regular Triangle in here.) Let the user’s stats and skill with their weapon type be the determining factor, not an intrinsic system that doesn’t really account for that.

The possibilities are endless. Maybe you could still have a Lance that had a stipulation of if the user’s Rank was higher than the Sword rank of a Sword-using opponent, then it got some kind of special bonus on it. But, I really don’t see much of a need for the simplicity of the Rock/Paper/Scissors system any more, for anything.


I rather see the point of having a magic triangle to be rather pointless, it’s it wound be mostly 0 dmg vs 0 dmg battles, if it something likes fates than it wound might look, but I don’t think that GBA FE engine can handle something like that

The magic of FE is not so many.
So, I do not know how much meaning to make a triangle in it.

If you can make the same number of flame magic, water magic, wind magic as the sword, the condition will change.
However, compared to swords and axes, there are too few kinds of magic.

For example, in swords and axes there are a series of Iron, Steel, Silver, Brave, Reverse weapon , Effectiveness Series , and S Rank
However, flame magic, water magic, wind magic, there are not enough kinds to be in these ranks.


I’m a spell junkie, so I felt the necessity to add as many spells as I could to LoA. This means that there’s now an extensive set of anima spells- enough for a whole set of a naming convention like Fire, Elfire, Arcfire, Meteor, Bolganone for fire, thunder, and wind spells. With the release of the spooky water spells, Aqua, Elaqua, Arcaqua, and Fimbulvetr became integrated into the system.
The anima triangle is actually rarely seen in LoA, but with so many anima spells, we felt that an anima triangle would be able to help separate them and add another dimension to the gameplay.

I think that right now magic is pretty stupid. There might as well only be 1 magic type for all it’s worth (so that’s a no to water type).

I like Echoes’ way of doing magic as each spell has different effects, range, crit rate, ect.

One solution is to change the mage/monk/druid classes so that their stats more closely resemble the myrmidon/fighter/knight triangle. This would differentiate the users so that there’s good reason to have more than 1 magic unit.

The Telleus games improve on magic by making each type effective to a particular mounted/laguz unit, and while this helps, it ultimately does not solve the issue.

Even if the magic classes themselves were rebalanced that leaves the issue that most units have very low res. Meaning that if a mage w/ decent defense (Tharja) were to enter the scene everything would die. As things stand currently, it’s a very fragile dynamic.

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Even if the magic classes themselves were rebalanced that leaves the issue that most units have very low res. Meaning that if a mage w/ decent defense (Tharja) were to enter the scene everything would die. As things stand currently, it’s a very fragile dynamic.

The solution in this case is to just give more physical classes higher Res than Def. In my game, for example, Myrmidons have slightly higher Res than Def.


I think we all just need to let the magic triangle die instead of trying to perform CPR on the damn thing.


The way I made the magic work in my (hypothetical) system was that basically every spellcaster has access to two types of magic, even from tier one. Mages use Anima/Light, Arcanists(Shamans) use Anima/Dark, and Scholars(Monks) who are speed focused, use exclusively Anima.

The way I planned it, Anima is basic magic as usual, there isn’t like many types of each element, just different Hits and Weights. Dark magic is how it has been, it has bizarre and dangerous effects that harm the target. Light I actually want to have effects that aid and buff the user, like stat boosts.
I also want Light magic to be the only magic that has a super long-ranged tome, and a brave-effect tome (as opposed to Dark having it).

This I hope would give more of a reason for there to be different magic types. Especially cause each spellcaster gets Anima, then usually has an option to use Dark or Light, which are yes orthodox. I haven’t decided if I want to the Anima>Light>Dark trinity in place yet, it wouldn’t NOT make sense, but I can’t tell if it would either.

Magic Triangles are fairly pointless, but that seems to be an agreed upon point. It’s mostly because, unlike every other weapon type, there is only really 1 class that uses each kind of magic. Each of Mages, Shamans, and Monks exists alone, and they solely represent their weapon type.

I think a more important way to change magic is to make it a single entity, and to make each class that uses it unique in attributes. So similar to the way soldiers, cavaliers, and armor knights all use lances, you can have monks, mage cavs, and shamans all use magic;

Monks act as traditional mages, with high offenses and res but low defense.

Mage cavs are less powerful but are faster and have more balanced, if still low, defenses.

And Shamans (Shamen?) are still slow and hit hard, but exchange their resistance for solid defenses, acting as sort of front line battle mages.

As for magic itself, I like the idea of making magic effective against specific enemy types. Fire against cavalry, Thunder against armor, Wind against fliers. But that can also apply to light and dark magic. Specifically, light can be effective against monsters (if you have them, not sure what else tbh) and dark can be effective against magic users. Combine that with mostly low res across the board, and magic looks pretty well balanced.