Analysis by StanTheWoz
Gharnef - Dark Pontifex

Hero Stats

Max Avg Total Stats at Lvl 40
HP 38
ATK 30
SPD 34
DEF 27
RES 23

Stat Variations

Level 1 Stat Variation
Low 15 7 9 4 5
Middle 16 8 10 5 6
High 17 9 11 6 7

Level 40 Stat Variations
Low 34 26 31 23 20
Middle 38 30 34 27 23
High 41 33 37 30 26

IV Sets

Key stats worth increasing through nature if possible.
Complementary stats that matter, but not to the point of picking them over key stats for nature increase.
Relatively worthless stat that can safely be decreased through nature.

Skill Sets

You can’t win against Gharnef. (Offense)

Build by StanTheWoz
Imhullu (+Eff) A Sturdy Impact
Alternate: Mirror Impact
Positional Assist B Null Follow-Up 3
Alternate: Lull Atk/Res 3
Alternate: Glimmer
C Fatal Smoke 3
Alternate: Pulse Smoke 3

+Atk or +Spd / -Def or -Res

SBlade Session 3
Alternate: Sturdy Blow 2

Show Explanation/Analysis

Weapon: Imhullu (+Eff)

Assist: Positional Assist / Fflexible

Special: Moonbow / Glimmer 

IVs: +Atk or +Spd / -Def or -Res

Passive A: Sturdy Impact / Mirror Impact / Flexible

Passive B: Null Follow-Up / Lull Atk/Res / Flexible

Passive C: Fatal Smoke / Pulse Smoke / Flexible

Sacred Seal: Blade Session / Flexible

  • Imhullu’s ability to deny counterattacks, both as a status applied at the start of turn 3 and in any combat against foes that do not wield tomes, can make Gharnef a threatening unit. The 30% damage reduction also allows him to survive a counterattack somewhat more reliably. The other skills here are chosen to improve his ability to survive combat with various units, as well as apply annoying status effects such as Fatal Smoke to prevent tanks from healing or Pulse Smoke to slow their Specials. 
  • The choice of boon is flexible, with +Atk being useful to improve Gharnef’s damage and +Spd for improving his ability to follow-up and deny follow-ups. 
  • The A skill is flexible, with Sturdy Impact and Mirror Impact being solid choices. Sturdy Impact is best against foes like Ascended Fjorm or other physical units using Null C-Disrupt. Mirror Impact is better against tomes. In both cases, denying an enemy follow-up can allow Gharnef to survive the combat much more reliably. Other skills like any Atk/Spd Boosting A Slot can also work. 
  • Null Follow-Up is a great B skill that disables any effects that prevent Gharnef’s follow-up attack or guarantee his foe a follow-up attack. This can allow him to both get an extra attack and deny one of his foe’s attacks. Lull Atk/Res is also a good choice to decrease his foe’s Atk and Res, allowing him to deal more damage and take less. 
  • The seal is flexible. Blade Session provides a large potential power boost, up to +9 Atk and Spd if two allies have ended their turns before Gharnef. Other options like Swift Sparrow and Sturdy Blow are also good choices. 

Your Life Ends 3 Turns From Now (Support/Arena)

Build by StanTheWoz
Imhullu (+Eff) A R Duel Infantry 4
Alternate: HP +5
Positional Assist
Alternate: Rally Atk/Spd+
B Sudden Panic 3
Alternate: Sabotage Atk 3
Alternate: Luna
C Infantry Pulse 3
Alternate: Inf. Hexblade 3

+Atk or +HP or +Res / -Def

SHP +5
Alternate: Distant Guard 3

Show Explanation/Analysis

Weapon: Imhullu (+Eff)

Assist: Positional Assist / flexible

Special: Flexible

IVs: +Atk or +HP or +Res / -Def

Passive A: R Duel Infantry 4 / HP +5 / Fortress Res / Flexible

Passive B: Sudden Panic / Sabotage Atk / Flexible

Passive C: Infantry Pulse / Inf. Hexblade / Flexible

Sacred Seal: HP +5 / Distant Guard / Drive Atk / Flexible

  • Imhullu’s turn 3 Flash and out-of-combat damage can also be a valuable support effect in some modes like Arena. This build aims to capitalize on that by including other useful support effects. 
  • Gharnef has many options available for support skills. Sudden Panic or Panic Ploy can be used to Panic enemies. Infantry Pulse or Inf. Hexblade can grant valuable effects to Infantry allies. Or, more generic stat boosts like Drive Atk or Distant Guard can be used to support teammates of any type. 
  • The choice of boon largely depends on the skills used. +HP is a great choice if using HP-reliant skills like Infantry Pulse and Sudden Panic. +Res can be used with skills like Sabotage Atk. +Atk is a good option if Gharnef does not need more HP or Res for other skills, as it improves his combat slightly. -Def is generally a safe choice of bane. 
  • R Duel Infantry 4 is the ideal A skill for use in Arena, or any mode with similar BST-based scoring. Otherwise the optimal choice depends on the other skills used. 



The refined version of Imhullu has a number of useful effects, including out-of-combat damage to nearby foes on turn 3 and applying a Flash effect on those foes, preventing counterattacks. It also provides some useful effects in combat, including up to +10 Atk and Spd for Gharnef, as well as 30% damage reduction and denying counterattacks against foes that do not use tomes. 

Tome Infantry

Gharnef’s status as a tome infantry allows him to use good skills like Lull Atk/Res and Infantry Pulse

Decent Spd and HP

Gharnef’s base 34 Spd is decent, especially when boosted by Imhullu and other passive skills. His base 38 HP is also decent and allows him to use HP-based effects like Sudden Panic well in some modes. 


Gharnef is available as a Grand Hero Battle unit, and purchasable in the Heroic Grail shop, allowing him to be obtained and merged more easily than many other Heroes without spending any Orbs. 


Mediocre Atk, Def, and Res

Gharnef’s base 30 Atk is mediocre, even when boosted by Imhullu, and means he cannot always deal enough damage to KO many foes. His base 27 Def and 23 Res are also mediocre, with the low Res in particular meaning that he may struggle to use Res-based support effects like Sabotage Atk

Null C-Disrupt

Much of Imhullu’s utility is based on denying counterattacks, but these effects do not work in combat against a foe with Null C-Disrupt or a similar effect like Nifl’s Bite, so Gharnef is much less useful against those foes. 


While Imhullu’s ability to apply damage and Flash over a large area is relatively unique, he still competes for a slot on a team with many other units. Outside of Imhullu, he is a generally mediocre unit with few strengths. 

Weapon Skills

Weapons SP Rng. Mt.
Red Tome Users Only
50 2 4
Learns by default at 3 ★
Unlocks at 2 ★
Red Tome Users Only
100 2 6
Learns by default at 4 ★
Unlocks at 3 ★
Red Tome Users Only
200 2 9

Grants Res+3. At the start of turn 3, deals 5 damage to non-magic foes within 5 columns centered on unit, and inflicts status on those foes preventing counterattacks through their next actions.

Learns by default at 5 ★
Unlocks at 5 ★
Non-Inheritable skill.
400 2 14
Weapon Evolution
Weapon Upgrades
Weapon Upgrades

Special Skills

Special Skills SP Turns
Glowing Ember

Boosts damage dealt by 50% of unit's Def.

Learns by default at 4 ★
Unlocks at 3 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
100 4

Boosts damage dealt by 80% of unit's Def.

Unlocks at 4 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
200 4

Passive Skills

Passive Skills SP Slot
Warding Stance 1

If foe initiates combat, grants Res+2 during combat.

Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
Mirror Stance 1

If foe initiates combat, grants Atk/Res+2 during combat.

Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
Mirror Stance 2

If foe initiates combat, grants Atk/Res+4 during combat.

Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
Unlocks at 4 ★
Chill Atk 1

At start of turn, inflicts Atk-3 on foe on the enemy team with the highest Atk through its next action.

Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 3 ★
Chill Atk 2

At start of turn, inflicts Atk-5 on foe on the enemy team with the highest Atk through its next action.

Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 4 ★
Chill Atk 3

At start of turn, inflicts Atk-7 on foe on the enemy team with the highest Atk through its next action.

Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 5 ★

Other Info

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
Fire Emblem Heroes

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