[Top 15] Fire Emblem: Three Houses Best Abilities

Hapi Fire Emblem: Three Houses using their abilities with a monster.
Does Hapi have this under control?

Every character in Fire Emblem: Three Houses has a personal ability that helps them in battle or experience and distinguishes them from other units. Here are the top 15 personal skills to help you decide who is worth recruiting and who you can leave alone in other houses. 


15. Lorenz - Distinguished House 

My partner named Lorenz Turnip.

Most people do not like Lorenz upon first meeting him. Not only does he have the worst haircut possible, but he thinks too highly of himself and womanizes too much. Personal feelings aside, you might want to consider using him because of his personal skill.

Distinguished House gives Lorenz an extra 2 strength when he has a battalion equipped. Unlike Felix, who is later on this list, Lorenz thrives off being the center of an important army.

The best way to use Distinguished House is to simply set Lorenz up with a battalion. As soon as you unlock them, pay for one and give it to Lorenz. They’re not too expensive, and when the game prompts you to pay for the battalions that withdrew, do it! You’ll make the money back by successfully completing the battle, so it’ll be worth it.

Why Distinguished House Is Great: 

  • Lorenz doesn’t need to be in formation with a certain battalion, so Distinguished House helps you try out different battalions to see what you like the most. It’s fun!
  • This skill helps Lorenz in any class that you choose to put him in and will be effective because of it. 
  • Extra strength is extra strength. Two might not sound like a lot, but I promise you, it’s really helpful! 

Distinguished House details: 

  • Unit deals 2 extra damage while in formation with a battalion.


14. Cyril - Aptitude

Cyril is determined to learn.

Unless you go the Silver Snow route, you might completely miss out on Cyril, but you’re going to want to take notice of him. His personal skill, Aptitude, is going to make him an absolutely stacked unit. 

Aptitude gives Cyril an extra 20% possibility to increase all of his stats when he levels up. For instance, instead of his HP growth being at 35%, Aptitude brings it up to 55%. While his growth rates might seem a bit low, you have to tack on that extra 20%! Dexterity and speed increase to 60%, which is great!

To get the most out of Aptitude, recruit Cyril as early as you can. You can recruit him as early as Chapter 5, and do so so he has a chance of leveling up and increasing his stats more when you have him. Next, put him out into battle as much as you can. To level up units, have them finish off higher level enemies. This will be the most effective way to see Cyril’s aptitude!

Why Aptitude Is Great:

  • Aptitude increases Cyril’s growth rates and makes him a stronger unit. 
  • You can give Cyril a lot of kills so he will level up faster and build into a better unit with high stats.
  • Cyril is similar to a trainee, so his personal ability Aptitude shows how much he wants to learn and how much he takes to heart. You really are the best professor!

Aptitude details:

  • Makes each stat 20% more likely to increase on level up.


13. Dedue - Staunch Shield 

What about your strength, Dedue?

Dedue wants to serve His Highness, Dimitri, so it is fitting that his personal skill is Staunch Shield. He will be Dimitri’s shield if he has no other! Of course, we’re not going to let Dedue take damage for Dimitri. Both of them are valuable units you’ll need during your Blue Lions run. Yes, unfortunately you can only have Dedue and his personal skill on your Blue Lions run, but it is still something to be aware of. 

Staunch Shield gives Dedue an extra four defense if all he does is wait for a turn. While Dedue is very powerful and you’ll want him fighting, sometimes in the beginning of a battle you waste turns getting close to the enemies. But, this works out perfectly for Staunch Shield. After Dedue waits, his defense will increase, so when he gets to the enemy, he will take less damage! 

If Dedue is coming up on a difficult enemy, one tactic is to wait before going right in for the attack. While he’ll likely be able to handle it, depending on his HP, having that extra defense boost can really help! He will take less damage when he does attack.

If you find you need the extra stats again, get Dedue out of the danger zone and have him wait or use other units to cover him. You can always see who will plan on attacking with the red lines arcing between enemies and your units!

Why Staunch Shield Is Great: 

  • Dedue will immediately start the battle with extra defense, assuming he has to wait on the first turn. Depending on his class, he doesn’t have high movement, so he might not make it to an enemy unit yet.
  • Plus 4 defense is great when dealing with strong foes, so that buff will make Dedue stronger against them.
  • Staunch Shield also fits Dedue’s personality and shows that he wants to defend Dimitri and his fellow Blue Lions best he can. Abilities like this that speak to the character are great!

Staunch Shield details:

  • If unit takes no action except for waiting, they are granted defense +4 for 1 turn.


12. Lysithea - Mastermind

Mastermind isn't just a Taylor Swift song.

Lysithea really is a mastermind for someone so young! Not only is she one of the strongest units, especially magic units, in the entire game, but aside from her pure talent, that can be attributed to her personal ability, Mastermind. 

All Mastermind does is make it so that Lysithea earns double experience points when she is in battle, but this is incredible. You might notice that because of this, Lysithea will be on a higher level than your other units after battle! It’s fine, you can just bench her for some practice battles while you get everyone else up to her.

The best way to use Mastermind is to use Lysithea in battle. That might sound like a no-brainer, but make sure you do it! Don’t not use her in favor of someone else since Lysithea will be fine leveling up later. Get her more experience fast so that she’s strong and can power through a map. But keep her out of trouble! Her defense isn’t great.

Why Mastermind Is Great:

  • Lysithea will level up really fast because of all the extra experience points.
  • Leveling up more will increase Lysithea’s stats and make her an all around stronger unit as varying stats will increase upon leveling. 
  • Mastermind is also great if your other units aren’t as powerful yet, so if they start dying or retreating, she will be good towards the end so she can deliver fatal hits!

Mastermind details:

  • Doubles her skill experience that was earned from battling.


11. Annette - Perseverance

The feeling is mutual, Annette.

Annette has a very clumsy side to her, so perhaps that’s why she needs Perseverance to push through! Although, that’s not entirely true, since Perseverance is more of a supportive personal skill.

When Annette stands next to a unit, she will have the option to Rally, or to encourage that unit to give them some kind of buff. Annette’s personal skill, Perseverance, will temporarily give whoever you choose to rally an extra 4 tacked onto their strength. This is great when you need one extra push from a unit, or to make a less strong unit stronger, even if just for a moment! A lot can happen in one turn. 

The best way to use Perseverance is to not hold back! Give it to units when you think they need it, or just because. If Annette doesn’t have anything else to do, like no fighting or healing, and she happens to be nearby, have her rally them up! I also recommend leveling up Annette’s Authority so that when she rallies her units, she can also momentarily increase their resistance, speed, and movement. 

Why Perseverance Is Great:

  • It gives Annette another purpose if she is just waiting or if she is too far in the back to fight.
  • It adds to the way she can support her allies, along with some white magic healing if you train her in those.
  • You can never go wrong with extra strength on an ally if they need to take down a demonic beast or a monster. Perseverance will give that to them!

Perseverance details:

  • Use Rally to grant strength +4 to an ally.


10. Felix - Lone Wolf

Felix is a lone wolf through and through.

Felix likes to be alone, save for finding someone remarkable to train with. So, it makes sense that his personal skill is called Lone Wolf. 

Lone Wolf thrives when Felix is, well, alone! When Felix is alone, meaning he has no battalion assigned or the battalion endurance is at 0, he will deal an extra 5 damage. This is great almost as a last resort in battle. Not that Felix needs the extra strength, but a little can always go a long way!

The best way to use Lone Wolf is to either send Felix out without a battalion, which I often do, or to use and deplete his battalion quickly or as needed to get that extra strength boost. However, you might not want to waste battalions on easy enemies at the front of the battlefield.

Whatever you choose is up to you depending on your endurance strategies. Felix doesn’t always need that boost as he’s already one of the strongest units in the game, but there’s not any downsides to it. 

Why Lone Wolf Is Great: 

  • The extra 5 strength can make all the difference when fighting tough enemies.
  • This is a personal skill you don’t even have to do anything for, since if you leave Felix unequipped with a battalion, you’ll automatically get that stat boost.
  • It gives you the chance to play with battalions and how and when to use them, adding some extra strategy into the game.

Lone Wolf details: 

  • Unit deals 5 extra damage when no battalion is assigned or when battalion endurance is 0.


9. Ashe - Lockpick

Ashe comes through with his ability. 

Rather than a special skill that makes Ashe more powerful, he has Lockpick. 

Lockpick is exactly what it sounds like—Ashe can pick locks of chests or doors without a key. While it does make me think about a poor young Ashe picking locks to steal, it doesn’t linger in my mind too long as I use it. Maybe it doesn’t sound like anything special compared to the personal abilities that increase stats, Ashe’s Lockpick is a life saver sometimes!

Ashe can open anything that requires a key, both doors and chests. If you keep an eye on the layout of the map, you can position Ashe near chests if you want. Chests have valuable items that can be worth money or increase stats of your characters.

There are also doors that usually a nearby enemy will have the key to, but Ashe can bypass them. Ashe’s lockpick helped me out the most in the DLC story, Cindered Shadows. Before I realized his personal skill, I kept losing on one map, but he helped me out greatly!

Why Lockpick Is Great:

  • Ashe can use Lockpick to get through doors without having to wait for an ally to defeat the necessary enemy and get to the locked door. This saves turns and time!
  • With that in mind, Ashe can also bypass enemies by going straight to a locked chest and helping you out. There is bound to be something valuable in there!
  • You won’t have to risk a key taking up space in Ashe’s inventory. For that matter, no one needs a key taking up inventory! Instead, you can use that space for extra weapons, vulneraries, shields, rings, or more!

Lockpick details:

  • Allows units to open doors and chests without keys.


8. Balthus - King of Grappling

Balthus is about to show his enemies who is the KoG.

Balthus is a member of the Ashen Wolves from the DLC. Like all of the Wolves, he is a very powerful character. He is very full of himself, both in looks and power, so it makes sense that he would call himself the King of Grappling which happens to be the same name as his personal ability. 

The King of Grappling ability helps Balthus when his HP is less than or equal to half of his max HP. It’s not often that you want to lower HP so much, but that’s just the kind of guy Balthus is.

Most of the time, I wouldn’t recommend getting your unit’s health to less than half full, but that is the case to put King of Grappling to use! There aren’t any ideal strategies to this, other than to just put Balthus out in front of a bunch of enemies and go to town. If his HP gets too low, you might want to heal him, but since he’ll have the extra strength and defense, he’ll be just fine! Balthus is a great fighter and can easily take out a bunch of enemies by himself, so you won’t have to worry about sending him off too much. 

Why King of Grappling Is Great:

  • This ability makes Balthus, an already strong and high defense unit, stronger when he needs it the most.
  • Having a higher defense will help Balthus when his HP is lower so he does not take as much damage and can fight until the battle is over. 
  • With King of Grappling, Balthus can prowl around the map and fight anyone who gets in his way!

King of Grappling details:

  • Grants strength and defense +6 when unit’s HP less than or equal to 50% of their max HP.


7. Ferdinand - Confidence

His confidence comes in handy.

As soon as you meet Ferdinand, you will immediately notice his overflowing confidence in everything he does. He will claim to be the best at every single thing, yes? Naturally, his personal skill is Confidence!

Confidence adds 15 to both Ferdinand’s hit and avoid! However, he only gets that boost when he’s at full HP. This will help him harm those hard-to-get enemies, while also dodging many attacks. This is genuinely a great skill, because Ferdinand is a very strong and useful unit. Since he also has a higher chance to avoid attacks, this can help keep his HP at its max, so he can continue to use his personal ability. 

Since you need Ferdinand to be at max health, the best way to take advantage of Confidence is to give him an item such as a Goddess or Prayer ring that restores HP on each turn. That way, he can gain back some if he lost it on a round. Also, it might be nice to keep a healer with Psychic nearby if the ring doesn’t give him enough. 

I wouldn’t recommend using too many vulneraries or elixirs, as you don’t want Ferdinand to waste a turn trying to heal himself. He needs to be fighting with that big hit bonus!

Why Confidence Is Great: 

  • Confidence encourages you to be careful with Ferdinand and strategic about where you place him instead of throwing caution to the wind and just seeing what happens. 
  • Confidence has a boost for both hit and avoid, so the dodge helps him keep his HP at max. 
  • You can look into items to help boost his HP on each turn or try to teach him new skills. 
  • The idea of Ferdinand’s overwhelming confidence helping him is incredible. It shows that he deserves to be so confident, right?

Confidence details: 

  • Grants Hit/Avo +15 when the unit is at full HP.


6. Ignatz - Watchful Eye

An artist has an eye for specialties. 

Ignatz doesn’t seem like his passion is in fighting, but rather lies elsewhere… Like the arts. Maybe it is because of his eye for painting, beauty, and art, that he developed Watchful Eye as his personal ability. 

Ignatz’s personal skill is simple, but very, very effective. Instead of requiring certain circumstances, Watchful Eye simply gives Ignatz an extra 20 to his hit stat. With this added buff, Ignatz will be hitting most of his enemies. In late game, the enemies’ stats are stacked against you and they can avoid easily, but Watchful Eye will help Ignatz get that unassuming hit in. 

The best way to put Watchful Eye is to simply use Ignatz! Before you start battles, you can always take a gander at the battlefield and the enemies you’ll be fighting. You can peek at their stats and if some of them look hard to hit, make sure you’re deploying Ignatz! He will do his best to ensure you get all the hits that you can. 

Ignatz is often a bow-user, so having him attack from a space away can save him from getting hurt as well!

Why Watchful Eye Is Great: 

  • Watchful Eye will help Ignatz hit enemies that your other allies may not be able to if their hit chance is too low.
  • Some foes are normally near impossible to hit, but Ignatz makes it look easy!
  • Watchful Eye gives you the chance to really pay attention to who you’re fighting and depart your best units.

Watchful Eye details: 

  • Grants Hit +20.


5. Raphael - Goody Basket

Don't eat too much, Raphael!

Raphael loves food, which must be why his personal skill is a Goody Basket! What’s better in one than some snacks? Goody Basket gives him the chance to recover up to 10% of his max HP at the beginning of a turn. His personal skill is perfect for Raphael because he is the kind of guy that you want to have a really high HP! 

Raphel’s fighting technique is essentially to hit people and monsters really hard. That involves getting right up in the foe's face and he doesn’t have an outstanding high avoid. Raphael is the kind of unit that is going to get hit by enemies. Having a skill like Goody Basket helps him recover some of that HP if you’re lucky. Considering his HP growth is very high, his HP itself will likely be high enough that ten percent is meaningful. 

There is not much advice I can give to use Goody Basket at its best. All I can say is try to raise Raphael’s luck if you can with items or meals at the dining hall. Since the chance of triggering Goody Basket is based off of his luck stat, this is your best bet to take advantage of it!

Why Goody Basket Is Great: 

  • The ability to recover lost HP is always meaningful as it helps your healers or your units if you don’t happen to have a healer nearby or any vulneraries on hand.
  • Raphael’s HP is high enough that a small percentage can make all the difference.
  • Since Raphael will be in the line of fire, having this small chance can come in handy when you most need it.

Goody Basket details:

  • Chance to recover up to 10% of max HP at the start of each turn. Trigger % = Luck stat.


4. Petra - Hunter’s Boon

Petra easily crits with her personal skill.

As a hunter, it makes sense that Petra’s skill is called Hunter’s Boon. I’m sure she’s picked this up in Brigid, which is why she has the ability to enhance her critical skills. Depending on how you build her, Petra will likely have a high crit rate, but her personal skill gives an extra 20 crit when your enemy is at half their max HP or less. 

Petra’s personal skill is great! You can never go wrong with an extra chance of crit, especially in boss battles. It’s always nice when they strike and finish off an enemy unexpectedly. 

Petra is the best to finish off almost dead enemies. While she can kill enemies from their full HP too, her personal ability shines when an enemy has less HP. With an increased chance to crit, she will kill them and make your battlefield easier for your other allies. 

Why Hunter’s Boon Is Great:

  • Killing gives your units higher experience than a regular hit, so Petra’s ability also allows her to level up really quickly. For instance, in my most recent FE3H playthrough, I recruited Petra and she was at level 9, compared to my other units at levels 14-18. Petra matched them in no time!
  • Hunter’s Boon helps you finish off any enemies, especially really tough ones. 
  • This prevents these enemies from bombarding your other allies.
  • If your other allies have departed the battlefield or are too weak to go on, Petra is great to save until later to help finish up.

Hunter’s Boon details: 

  • Grants Crit +20 when foe's HP is less than or equal to 50%.


3. Bernadetta - Persecution Complex

We're here for you, Bernie.

As difficult as it is to get Bernadetta out of her room, it’s worth it when you get her out on the battlefield. She’ll complain, but her crest and special skill, Persecution Complex, might keep you from completely benching her. 

When Bernadetta is not at full HP, which can be as little as 1 less HP than her max, her attack will go up by 5. Unless you’re a perfect Fire Emblem player, which you may be but I’m not, it is nearly impossible to keep all units at 100% health. When it comes to me, getting them in the line of fire is inevitable! So odds are, Bernadetta won’t be at full HP for too long if you’re using her. 

Having an extra 5 attack might not sound like a lot, but you never know, there are times an enemy is left standing with 1 HP! That extra attack will be what you need to kill enemies in one turn. 

So what is the best way to put Persecution Complex to work, you might ask? There are a couple ways, but here are the most effective. One, look at the possibilities when setting Bernadetta up to attack someone. If it looks like she will take too much damage, it’s not worth it, but if she’s overleveled, it shouldn’t be a problem.

The other option is to give Bernadetta a cursed weapon for a turn or two so that she takes damage, then swap it out with something that won’t continue to harm her. 

Why Persecution Complex Is Great: 

  • That extra 5 attack really does come in handy! Again, it can be the difference between killing an enemy now or being stuck with them for another turn that could cause you more damage. Or, it could even be fatal!
  • That skill will be of use most of the time, since again, it’s unlikely she’ll always be at max HP.
  • You can almost always use this skill since you can use it as long as you lose a little HP. If your Bernadetta happens to have really high avoid, use a cursed weapon!

Persecution Complex details: 

  • Grants attack +5 when the unit is not at full HP.


2. Mercedes - Live to Serve

Mercedes is devoted to her healing.

Mercedes has a handful of defensive and supportive skills up her sleeve. She is a powerful magic user and often revered as the best healer in the game. With her special skill Live to Serve, her power is only enhanced.

Live to Serve helps not only her allies on the battlefield, but Mercedes herself! She will recover the same amount of HP that she heals an ally for. Even if you try to keep Mercedes off of the front lines, which you don’t need to do with her fighting skills, there will be a time that she is attacked or her HP gets pretty low. Rather than wasting a turn on healing herself or using a vulnerary, she will be healed if she also heals another unit. 

You will, without a doubt, need to heal your units at some time or another. While Mercedes does not need to have a lower HP to heal, it is a good idea to keep tabs on your other healers, their HP, and locations. You don’t want to waste Mercedes’ skill! 

Why Live to Serve Is Great: 

  • You can effectively heal two units at once since Mercedes will heal herself.
  • Because of that, it can also allow a unit to use their turn for something other than healing if needed.
  • It speaks to Mercedes’ character and that she really does live off of helping others. She is lovable, on and off the battlefield. 

Live to Serve details: 

  • When healing an ally with white magic, the unit recovers the same amount of HP.


1. Hapi - Monstrous Appeal

A monster is ready to attack Hapi.

Hapi is another member of the Ashen Wolves, but just like the other ones, she is worth buying the DLC. She has one major reason for staying underground: monsters and demonic beasts appear when she sighs. Oh, how she just wishes to sigh sometimes! Luckily for us, that connection to monsters comes in handy with her special ability, Monstrous Appeal. 

When it comes to fighting monsters, they aren’t usually susceptible to all attacks. Sometimes, the monster will be immune to them so they’ll cause no damage. This can be difficult when you need to defeat them but you don’t have any members that can cause serious damage. With Hapi’s personal ability, all of her attacks will be effective against monsters, regardless of what class you put her in. 

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Right. On the other hand, monsters are more drawn to Hapi over other units. 

The best advice I can give you is to put Hapi directly in the line of fire when fighting monsters, but make sure to keep her HP high enough. Have a healer nearby so that if she takes hefty damage, they can heal her before her next attack. 

Why Monstrous Appeal Is Great:

  • It gives you the potential to fight monsters when you have no other high-damage moves.
  • Monsters become nothing more than just a casual enemy to Hapi, despite their extra shields.
  • Killing monsters gives a lot of experience, so Hapi will level up quickly if you need or want her to.

Monstrous Appeal details:

  • Makes all attacks effective against monsters and makes it easier for monsters to target unit.


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After a long day of fighting demonic beasts, shadows, and exploring, Garth likes to sit down with his quil and write about his adventures.
Gamer Since: 2008
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
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