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How to Beat: Fallen Edelgard

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Fallen Edelgard is one of the most oppressive units ever released in Fire Emblem Heroes. With extremely high Attack, Defense, and Resistance; a weapon that gives the ability to act again after attacking and blocks follow-up attacks and the effects of Distant Counter when transformed; a unique B slot that includes the effects of Special Fighter, 40% damage reduction once per phase, and 7 after-combat healing; and neutral matchups across the board due to being colorless, she can be incredibly difficult for many units to deal with. However, there are ways to deal with her reliably even using very accessible units such as Legendary Ike, Boey, or one of many sword, axe, or lance units you might have merged to +10 to use in Arena.

Arena

Beating Fallen Edelgard in arena can be particularly difficult due to the way arena scoring works: due to the importance of using highly merged units and assist skills such as Dual Rally+s, build flexibility is much lower within the context of what scores well. But there is a way to beat her using a generic build on many different specific units you might have: what I call the ABCDEs of FEdelgard:

  • Armor Effectiveness
  • Buffs 
  • Chill Def
  • Drives
  • Enemy Phase 

Armor-Effective Weapons such as Armorsmasher, Slaying Spear, and Slaying Hammer do bonus damage against Edelgard, and are usable on any sword, lance, or axe unit. On all three, the +Eff refine is generally the most useful, since it nullifies any buffs Edelgard might have, which are very common in Arena as many units run rallies for scoring. 

If attacking Edelgard on player phase, she can take one hit and immediately counter by activating Bonfire, doing extremely high damage; allowing her to initiate on enemy phase removes this problem unless she survives the first combat. Quick Riposte also allows any unit to double Edelgard so long as they have at least 5 higher speed than her, and her speed is terrible at base 14. This is particularly important since Armored Wall reduces the damage of the first hit she takes by 40%, while the second hit can do full damage. Null Follow-Up also generally achieves the same result, but it is much less accessible. And of course, if the unit you are building is armored, skills like Vengeful Fighter or Slick Fighter are a strict improvement on Quick Riposte. The important thing is to either guarantee a follow-up or disable Edelgard’s blocking of follow-ups, and that can be done through several different skills. 

Buffs and Drives are useful to improve your unit’s stats, while Chill Def can lower Edelgard’s Def. Her base Def is quite high at 44, so she will usually be the skill’s target, unless she is on a team with a unit with even higher Def. 

In order to survive a hit from a +10 merge, +5 dragonflower, +Atk Fallen Edelgard, receiving 6 extra HP from two Legendary Heroes, that is transformed, with both conditions of Atk Def Ideal active, and using Atk Def Solo seal, a unit needs at least 87 physical bulk (HP + Def). That is, the unit’s HP value plus their Def value in combat must be at least 87.  That can be obtained from their actual stats, their skills (Sturdy Stance and Atk/Def Solo in the build pictured above), visible buffs (obtained from skills such as Def Tactic, Even Def Wave, Rally Atk/Def+, and so on), or drives (Drive Def, Close Guard, etc.). Defensive terrain tiles (fortresses and the like) also boost a unit’s effective Def by 30%, so this can help; however, not every map has defense tiles. 

Then, in order to KO a +10 merge +5 dragonflower +Def Fallen Edelgard transformed with both conditions of Atk Def Ideal active and using Atk Def Solo seal, a unit needs at least 74 effective Atk, or 70 if Edelgard is affected by Chill Def or another -7 Def debuff. That value includes base Atk, weapon might, a unit’s skills, buffs, and drives. 

In order to achieve these numbers, you might build the unit in question with skills such as Sturdy Stance A, Quick Riposte B, and Atk Def Solo seal. Chill Def can be used on another unit on the team. Likewise, you might have a support unit run skills such as Rally Atk/Def+, Atk Tactic, Def Tactic, Odd Atk Wave, Odd Def Wave, or others to achieve a +6 visible buff in Atk and Def on the armorslaying unit. You can also use skills such as Drive Atk, Drive Def, and Close Guard on a support unit to improve the armorslaying unit’s in-combat stats. Multiple visible buffs in one stat do not stack - using Atk Tactic and Odd Atk Wave still only provides a visible buff of +6 Atk, for example - but multiple Drives in the same stat do. So Close Guard C and Close Guard seal combine to provide +8 Def and Res to any units within two spaces while those units are in combat with melee opponents. 

The full build could look something like this:

astram

Assist, Special, and C slots are left blank to show that they generally do not impact the build, not that there is any benefit to leaving them blank.

So, let’s run through an example with Astram above, to show how you might build him to hit these numbers. A +10 neutral Astram using Armorsmasher (+Eff) has 54 Atk, and needs to hit 70 in order to beat Edelgard if someone on his team has Chill Def. He has 52 HP and 40 Def, which is 92 physical bulk - already higher than the necessary 87, so we don’t need to invest any skills into improving his Def. You can run Atk/Def Solo or Fierce Stance seal to improve his Atk by 6 when their conditions are active, which would put him at 60. Likewise, Sturdy Stance 2 A is a cheap option that improves his Atk and Def by 4 on enemy phase, putting him at 64. You can run a rally on a teammate such as Rally Atk/Spd+ to buff Astram’s Atk by 6 before Edelgard initiates on him, or another skill such as Atk Tactic (so long as you have 2 or fewer infantry units on the team) or Odd Atk Wave, which could even be Astram’s C slot. This puts us at 70, enough to KO Edelgard in two hits, so long as one of his teammates is using Chill Def B or seal. If a different unit is used that needs more Atk, Drive Atk C and/or seal can be used on teammates for additional punch. 

Buff Astram’s Atk, put him on a tile where Edelgard will attack him from a normal terrain tile (or a forest, trench, etc., anything that isn’t a defense tile), and end turn, and he should get the KO every time. There may be rare instances where Edelgard receives in-combat stats or Astram gets hit by a Chill Atk or other debuff, so in those matches you may need to KO other units on the team first before dealing with Edelgard, or bait her in a particular way to draw her out of the range of Drives. 

Of course, the skill setup required to hit the necessary Atk and Def values will vary based on the particular unit you’re building - so you might need more Drive Atks or a way to improve Def like Close Guard. But if you follow the above steps, Edelgard should fall every time. 

The above build template is not the only way to beat Fallen Edelgard within the context of scoring well in arena, but it is one of the most reliable and easiest to pivot to on a unit you might already have built at +10. The downside is that it relies on armor effectiveness to do high damage, so the rare Edelgards that use Svalinn Shield in the A slot do not have this weakness and will generally win against this Armorslaying type of build. Edelgard’s effective Def is so ludicrously high that it is difficult to deal good physical damage to her without some kind of Effective Damage, and Beast-Effective Damage is much harder to obtain, particularly while scoring well in arena. However, there is one unit available at 3-4 stars with a Beast-Effective weapon, and she even scores decently well in Arena.

petrine

If you already have or want to invest in a +10 Petrine, she can also use the Quick Riposte build very effectively - since Flame Lance is Beast-Effective and targets Res as long as Petrine has at least 50% HP, +10 Petrine can actually 2HKO Edelgard at using something as simple as Sturdy Stance A, Quick Riposte B, and Atk Def Solo seal without any extra Atk buffs, drives, or Chill Res support. Her physical bulk is a bit shaky, so using bulk-boosting skills like Atk Def Solo are important in order to survive a hit from every variant of Fallen Edelgard, but her damage is great and she generally needs no support to 2HKO. She is a more reliable option compared to any Armor-effective unit, since unlike Svalinn Shield, Edelgard has no way to remove her Beast weakness, so Petrine will always deal bonus damage with Flame Lance. If you want a unit that can beat Fallen Edelgard essentially every time, she’s one of the best choices. 

Another option is to build an extremely high Atk and Def unit with Pulse Smoke, as Edelgard is much less threatening if she cannot activate Bonfire; if she initiates onto a unit with Pulse Smoke, she will attack, your unit will attack, and then after combat Pulse Smoke will activate and reduce her Special charge by 1. In this way, so long as she always initiates, she can never activate a Special, since she is also too slow to double practically every unit in the game, and on top of that her weapon prevents her own follow-up attacks. However, very few physical units can hit the extreme levels of Atk and Def that would make this build work. 

Magical units such as dragons fare somewhat better, since Edelgard’s Res is much lower than her Def, especially when considering the effects of Atk/Def Ideal and possible Atk/Def Solo seal; Atk Res Solo seal does not exist at the time of this writing. A dragon using the same QR-style build pictured above with Astram needs to hit 93 physical bulk in order to survive a max Atk Edelgard with a +6 Atk buff (since most breaths do not have the ability to nullify buffs like the Armor-Effective weapons do), and 88 effective Atk to 2HKO a max Res +10/+5 Edelgard with a +6 Res buff, including buffs, drives, and skills, in one combat, if a teammate is using Chill Res. This Atk value may be beyond the reach of most dragons without extreme Drive support. However, depending on the units you have available, it may be an option. Dragon’s Ire is a superior option to Quick Riposte, as the combination of nullifying follow-up prevention and a guaranteed enemy phase follow-up allows even the slowest dragons to attack twice on counter. 

Lastly, there’s Boey:

boey

It’s hard for me to recommend an entire +10 project for the purposes of countering one unit, especially when he’s a unit that doesn’t score particularly well unless using G Duel Infantry (and even if he does use it, is giving up effectiveness by losing Triangle Adept). However, he is a good option, especially if you already have him built, since Inscribed Tome (+Eff) gives the extremely useful combination of triangle advantage against colorless units and Close Counter. With both of those effects in the tome, he can run Triangle Adept in his A slot to vastly improve his Atk and decrease Edelgard’s, and he doesn’t need any expensive skills to do his job well. 

The Boey build pictured above: +10, +Atk, no dragonflowers, Inscribed Tome (+Eff), Triangle Adept A, Quick Riposte B, Atk Def Solo seal - beats essentially any Arena +10 Fallen Edelgard easily so long as he is buffed by 6 in Atk and she is affected by Chill Res or another -7 Res debuff. In fact, she can only hit him for 5-10 damage on a normal hit, though if she survives the first combat she can initiate again and potentially KO him with Bonfire, provided she’s using that Special and not something that scores better like Galeforce. If using Pulse Smoke C, the Special cooldown +1 prevents Edelgard from charging her special to activate when attacking on a second initiation, so the Atk buff and Chill Res become unnecessary, as Boey can simply survive two hits easily and KO Edelgard in the second combat. 

Of course, the skills commonly seen on Fallen Edelgard in Arena may change over time - for one, she generally should not be running Bonfire for scoring purposes, since it only costs 200 SP while other Specials like Aether and Galeforce cost 500 and thus score significantly higher. Without exception, the higher-scoring specials are generally less dangerous than Bonfire; Aether can be threatening but she can’t activate it until a second combat under most circumstances, while Galeforce adds no extra damage, so it makes her significantly easier to tank for high Def units. Rarer options like Blue Flame or Ruptured Sky generally add less damage than Bonfire. In theory, Edelgard should also be using a 300 SP C slot such as Hone Res 4, A/D Near Save, or Atk Def Menace for optimal scoring; however, it remains to be seen whether many players will want to give up the utility of Armored Stride for a slight increase in unit score. Skills like this could affect her matchups compared to what’s been discussed here, but in ways that will vary depending on the particular skill used.

whatthef

We can only speculate on what terrors the new meta may bring.

Aether Raids Defense

Beating Fallen Edelgard with player-controlled units can be difficult. Beating her with AI controlled units in the context of Aether Raids defense is often even harder. Particular counters are hard to recommend, since teams vary quite a bit and what works for or against one player’s team may not work for another. However, there are some general principles you can consider when designing a team to not lose to Fallen Edelgard. 

One of the easiest ways to beat offense teams using Fallen Edelgard is to bypass her entirely and attack the other units on the team. If you can KO one, two, or three of them, the offense player may surrender to avoid losing lift, and even if they don’t, the lift loss will be significantly reduced. To this end, teams that force turn 1 initiations can perform well. Examples of this could be cavalry lines: teams that involve roughly four ranged cavalry in the second row of the defense keep, so that they threaten the starting tiles of the offense player and may deny space to the point that the offense player is forced to leave some units in threatened positions.

reinispog

Reinhardt is always here when you need him most!

Teams that begin acting on their own also work; “dance traps” involving a 7th slot unit in the slot provided by a slot-boosting defense mythic like Nott or Seiros can automatically dance that unit, and depending on the particular construction of the keep, may be able to structure the team so that the AI will rally the dancer and then dance the rallier to threaten a gigantic area of the keep. 

Restore traps, in which a healer with Restore or Restore+ will act to cure a debuffed unit, and can then be danced afterwards, can also force a turn 1 initiation if the offense player is using the right debuffs, such as Bright Shrine or Chill Atk. However, it should be mentioned that all of these teams will not work very well if Fallen Edelgard is using a skill such as A/R Far Save that allows her to substitute for any allies within two spaces that are attacked by ranged units. 

More specific things that work against Edelgard include beast effectiveness, denying counterattacks, and precharged specials. Something like Kempf or a staff unit using Flash+ can attack Edelgard, apply Flash, and then set their teammates up to attack her without fear of being countered. If these are not available, Windsweep also works, though it naturally comes at the cost of using a different B skill. This combines well with units that do high damage, such as those that use Specials charged before combat such as Ophelia or other units receiving the effects of Infantry Pulse. Fatal Smoke is also a highly useful effect against Edelgard, as it denies her healing during combat, such as from a Special such as Sol, and if the unit with Fatal Smoke survives it applies a status after combat that prevents any healing until Edelgard’s next action. That naturally includes the healing from Armored Wall or a potential Mystic Boost seal. 

There are certainly other options that might work depending on a player’s defense team, this is just a brief overview to get some ideas from.

Other Modes

Fortunately, there are more options for smashing Fallen Edelgard in other modes where skills and merges are not restricted by scoring. The same principles discussed in the Arena section also apply outside it, with the caveat that in some modes, such as Aether Raids, Edelgard may have noticeably higher stats because of the stat boosts from Mythic Heroes such as Hel, so the Atk and Def that were previously good enough to 2HKO her will sometimes not be in those modes. One great low-investment option is Bartre; with Fury 3 A, Quick Riposte B (Quick Riposte 2 is fine), Atk Def Solo seal, and a +6 Atk buff, a +0 +Atk 5 star Bartre using unrefined Axe of Virility can enemy-phase KO pretty much any variant of Fallen Edelgard in modes without particular stat boosts. 

One of the most reliable ways of beating Edelgard is to use a ranged unit with an Armor- or Beast-Effective weapon, Windsweep, Reposition, and a dancer. The Windsweep unit attacks, does a decent chunk of damage, can’t be countered due to Windsweep, and then gets danced and can Reposition themselves and the dancer out of Edelgard’s threat range, even if she has extra movement from Armored Stride. In this way, a unit can initiate safely over multiple turns as many times as it takes to KO Edelgard, as long as they’re doing more damage per combat than she heals after combat with Armored Wall (7 HP) and possible Mystic Boost seal (6 HP). The Armor or Beast effectiveness is not strictly necessary, it’s just one of the easiest ways to ensure a unit’s Atk is high enough to do a solid chunk of damage to Edelgard and outstrip her healing. Melee units with beast-effective weaponry like Petrine can also be used for this, but because they attack from adjacent to Edelgard, they cannot Reposition themselves and a dancer to safety if Edelgard is under the effects of Armored Stride or another March-granting skill. 

Some good choices for this include Petra, Micaiah, Hinoka (WF), Selena (Sacred Stones), and Young Merric. The last two do not have Armor or Beast Effective tomes, but do have Null Follow-Up, allowing them to hit twice, and hit Edelgard’s lower Res rather than her exceedingly high Def. All of these units generally want to run as much Atk from skills as possible in order to outdamage Edelgard’s after-combat healing, so skills like Death Blow, Life and Death, and Blade Session seal are highly useful, as well as buffs and drives from teammates. While Windsweep requires a unit to have higher Spd than their opponent in order to activate, Edelgard’s Spd is so low this is a trivial requirement for almost every possible unit. Reinhardt is a surprisingly solid choice for this as well; a max Atk Reinhardt with Death Blow A/Death Blow seal and a +6 Atk buff can KO most Fallen Edelgards over two combats provided she isn’t receiving significant extra Res from an external source like Mirabilis. Fatal Smoke could be used on any of these units to deny Edelgard’s after-combat healing, but it is rare and generally not necessary.

petra

Beast Effectiveness is generally more reliable than Armor Effectiveness, since there is no way to negate it via skills, while Svalinn Shield is a widely available choice of A slot, though it does not seem common as of yet. Precharged Specials are also a way to do high damage to Edelgard, but the amount of damage required to KO her can wildly vary depending on the mode; in a mode such as Aether Raids she could easily be receiving something like +15 HP and +10 Def or Res from Mythic Heroes, making her very difficulty to KO in one hit. 

Flash+ can also be used in place of Windsweep to deny Edelgard’s counterattacks for the remainder of the turn, but this requires more team coordination, and the Flash unit themselves will likely do almost no damage. 

There are also some particular low-investment but highly effective counters that are worth mentioning. One of the easiest is Legendary Ike:

welikelegendaryike

With this build, and a +6 Def buff, Ike can beat almost any common variant of Fallen Edelgard, barring extreme cases of stat gain from Mythic Heroes or other shenanigans. Radiant Aether II charges its cooldown by 2 at the start of turn 1, leaving its cooldown at 2 when Edelgard initiates on Ike. As long as Ike can survive the first hit, Warding Breath allows him to gain 1 Special charge from Edelgard’s hit, and one from his first counterattack, allowing him to activate Radiant Aether II on his second counterattack. In combination with the Armor Effectiveness from Armorsmasher (+Eff), this does extremely high damage and will KO most Edelgards immediately. However, he may not quite get the KO in modes where Edelgard is receiving high amounts of extra HP and Def, such as is possible from Mythic Heroes in Aether Raids. 

Another less widely available counter is Nagi. By forgoing Distant Counter in favor of Triangle Adept, using Special Fighter, Iceberg, and Quick Riposte, and if necessary, buffing her Spd to at least 5 higher than Edelgard’s in order to follow-up, a +0 neutral Nagi can easily survive a hit from Fallen Edelgard and KO her with two counterattacks, activating Iceberg on the second. No Atk or Def buff is even necessary to beat most standard +10 Fallen Edelgards, though you may want to buff and otherwise support Nagi’s Atk and Def when using her in modes where Edelgard may receive large amounts of stats beyond her normal potential with merges. 

Another great low-investment counter is Idunn. By switching out her A slot for something that boosts Atk like Fury, using a seal that boosts Atk like Fierce Stance, and buffing her Atk by 6, a +0 neutral Idunn can tank one hit and 2HKO pretty much any variant of Fallen Edelgard that isn’t receiving Mythic or other large stat boosts and isn’t using Svalinn Shield. Spring Idunn functions very similarly. 

A potentially very safe, but variable counter is Hel. By using Mystic Boost B or seal, she can tank a single hit from Edelgard and survive on 1 HP with Hel’s Reaper, then gain 6 HP after combat to do the same thing in the next combat. Since Edelgard is so much slower than Hel and has no way to follow-up, she can never KO Hel, allowing Hel to slowly chip down Edelgard over many combats. However, while Hel is generally a very safe counter, with essentially no risk of unexpectedly being KO’d, her damage against Edelgard is generally low, and in some cases she may not even do 7 damage, thus allowing Edelgard to heal back to full with Armored Wall. Because of the Special-slowing effect of Armored Wall, Hel will not be able to activate a Special unless she uses some kind of acceleration effect, and Heavy Blade is not an option due to Edelgard’s sky-high Atk. So she is completely dependent on normal hits to slowly do enough damage to KO. Thus, if Hel is used as an Edelgard counter, boosting her Atk through buffs and drives is very important.

edelgardishel

Hel asserts dominance over the puny mortal Hegemon!

Lastly, some tanky units with high Atk and bulk can beat Edelgard on the power of their stats alone, particularly those who can activate powerful Specials on her. One example of such a unit could be Brave Hector; with his extremely high physical bulk, guaranteed enemy-phase follow-up from Maltet (+Eff), and a set that uses Special Fighter, he can easily tank one hit from Edelgard and counterattack twice in return, potentially activating a Special like Bonfire to do high damage on the second hit, or Sol to heal most of her damage back. He should generally be able to KO her after one to three combats with this build, especially if supported with extra buffs or drive stats from a support unit like Corrin (M) or Hinoka (WF). If he or another similar unit uses Pulse Smoke to block Edelgard from initiating and activating Bonfire, or can bait an attack from Edelgard while on a defense tile, they should be able to tank her safely and eventually KO. 

There are also several mode-specific effects that can be a great help. In Aether Raids, out-of-combat damage such as from the Bolt Trap or Bolt Tower can be highly useful to lower Edelgard to low enough HP that a unit can safely take her out. Likewise, the Lightning Charm is highly useful in Arena Assault for a free 20 out-of-combat damage, and the Special Blade can be great for high damage single hits, particularly if a unit has already attacked Edelgard to disable Armored Wall’s damage reduction. The Fear Charm could also be used in lieu of Windsweep, but its effects only last one turn, so it is arguably less consistent. Defense tiles are useful when trying to use a high bulk unit to tank and KO Edelgard in any mode.

This is by no means a complete list of possible counters, merely some good options that you might have access to. As with many things in FEH, the units and skills available to players differ in many ways, so you may have another great counter to Fallen Edelgard available in your own barracks that has not been mentioned here - use your best judgment.

Conclusion

What have we learned from this? Hopefully, that beating Fallen Edelgard isn’t impossible, and you may have the tools within your barracks to do it, without needing expensive skills or rare units. In general, any sword, axe, or lance can do it in Arena, as long as they can hit around 87 physical bulk and 70 Atk with an Armorsmasher (+Eff), Slaying Spear (+Eff), or Slaying Hammer (+Eff). In other modes, Windsweep is your friend, especially when used on a ranged unit with Armor or Beast effectiveness, Reposition, and a dancer. Otherwise, you may be able to use particular counters like Legendary Ike, Petrine, or Nagi

Most of all, though, we’ve learned that powercreep, like Fallen Edelgard, may strike at any time without warning.

Reinhardt save us all...

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Faithful of the church of f2p. Praise Reinhardt, blessed be his name

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