Reach into the past and grab your favorite heroes from bygone games. That’s the central gameplay mechanic in Fire Emblem Engage. Twelve powerful artifacts known as Emblem Rings are divided between the different factions in-game, each one holding a spirit of a powerful Fire Emblem protagonist from other games in the franchise. You’ll need to collect them all across the 26 chapters of the story in order to defeat the Fell Dragon.

With 12 Emblems and 35 characters in Fire Emblem Engage, that means you have a lot of options. So, with all these different possibilities, which allies should get which Emblem Rings? Don’t worry, we’re here to break down the process and make it easy to understand, with a few powerful pairing recommendations to get you started.

Please note that due to how important the rings are to the game’s story, there will be some mild spoilers ahead.

How Emblem pairing works

As you progress through the game, the main plot revolves around finding the Emblem Rings, to the point that it’s basically impossible to miss when you’ve unlocked a new one. While a handful of missions will require you to play with an Emblem attached to a specific character (usually when you get a new unit partway through a battle), for the remaining 95 percent of the game, it’s completely your choice who gets attached where.

When a character wears an Emblem Ring, they are able to activate Engage mode, gaining a new appearance and enhanced form with special attacks and weapons from the Emblem in question. Being paired to an Emblem also allows the character to inherit skills once the bond grows strong enough.

There is a caveat here: While you’ll unlock several rings in the earlier chapters of the game, you will lose all the rings you’ve gathered so far after the events of Chapter 10, The Fell Dragon Sombron. You will eventually get these rings back in later chapters, but this means you’ll have to shift your strategy at different points.

9. Alcryst and Ike

  • Earliest possible chapter: Chapter 13, Heroes of the Oasis
  • Why it works: Alcryst is an excellent archer, but he’s fairly squishy and relies on dodging attacks because if he gets hit he quickly dies. Pairing him with Ike significantly improves his defenses and gives him an option for using axes, making him a threat at all ranges and more survivable at the same time.

8. Alear and Byleth

  • Earliest possible chapter: Chapter 15, Dancer in the Ruins
  • Why it works: Byleth, housed in the Ring of the Instructor, doesn’t focus on dealing damage directly. Instead, his abilities like Instruct and Goddess Dance buff and empower allies around him. This makes him a perfect choice for Alear, who will (likely) end up as one of your most powerful characters by default, allowing you to use other rings on your supporting cast.

7. Celine and Leif

  • Earliest possible chapter: Chapter 9, A Clash of Forces
  • Why it works: Celine is an extremely powerful magic user, but she doesn’t have a ton of health. Leif’s Quadruple Hit ability makes it possible for her to survive getting caught near a powerful enemy, while also giving weapon proficiency in a variety of equipment to make her flexible against anything that pops up.

6. Diamant and Roy

  • Earliest possible chapter: Chapter 8, The Kingdom of Might
  • Why it works: There’s an excellent reason this is a default pairing when you unlock Diamant. Roy empowers Diamant’s sword skills to a near-ludicrous level, taking him from a useful part of your arsenal to a frontline must-have.

5. Ivy and Lyn

  • Earliest possible chapter: Chapter 11, Retreat
  • Why it works: This is another default pairing, and for good reason. Ivy is a Wing Rider (and we recommend upgrading her to the Lindwurm class) with powerful magic attacks and the ability to use Staves for healing. Giving her Lyn means increasing her speed and giving her longer-range attacks through the ability to use bows.

4. Lapis and Marth

  • Earliest possible chapter: Chapter 8, The Kingdom of Might
  • Why it works: Lapis is a Sword Fighter, and as such, she seriously benefits from Marth’s bonuses, which increase avoidance of attacks, which ramps up even further when the bonded character uses a sword. The Corrupted can’t take out Lapis if they can’t hit her!

3. Louis and Celica

  • Earliest possible chapter: Chapter 5, Retaking the Castle
  • Why it works: Louis is an armored tank, cutting down mounted foes with ease and shrugging off or entirely negating enemy attacks. His slow speed is completely fixed with Celica, who enables him to use Warp Ragnarok and zip around the map to wherever he’s needed most.

2. Vander and Sigurd

  • Earliest possible chapter: Chapter 2, Queen Lumera
  • Why it works: Vander is a strong fighter, and keeping him paired with Sigurd gives him access to lances, making him a double threat in the weapon triangle that Fire Emblem Engage uses. It also allows him to move quickly, reinforcing weaker points in your lines as necessary.

1. Yunaka and Lucina

  • Earliest possible chapter: Chapter 12, The Sentinels
  • Why it works: Yunaka is a thief, which means she’s great at dealing high damage through critical hits with her knives. Lucina enhances Dexterity, which can propel Yunaka to the point she’s capable of taking on multiple heavy enemies at once and coming out with nary a scratch.

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