Horse Emblem is one of the most common team set-ups, thanks to its availability and how easy it is to make a budget, reliable team for newcomers and f2p alike. Cavalry's extra movement and huge firepower make battles easy, but this composition doesn’t allow for high scores due to low BST. As such, Horse Emblem is more of a casual starting point to the arena. Nevertheless, a full cavalry team will serve you well at all stages of the game with its raw power, versatility, and maneuverability.
This guide is a streamlined version of the original google doc created for the FEH subreddit.
Easy access thanks to many good free or low-rarity units
Easy to setup a basic team since Hone and Fortify Cavalry come from units in the 3-4☆ pool
50% more movement than normal units
Deathless arena streaks are easy
Blade tomes and Dire Thunder are overpowered
Effective weaponry is currently limited to Wolf tomes and 5☆-exclusive weapons
Low BST means you will hit an arena ceiling fast
Cannot go on tree tiles, which can disrupt your formation or prevent you from reaching your enemy
Your units need to be grouped and positioned well for the buffs to be effective
Panic Ploy can make things turn sour very fast on Hone/Fortify-based comps
"Easy Mode" can be a turn-off for some people
Type-based buffs are the cornerstone of every team composition, and for a good reason; they are basically overpowered. If Horse Emblem's only advantage was its superior movement range, it would already be a perfectly viable team comp but the buffs are what truly make it.
There are two types of buffs:
- Hone/Fortify require you to be grouped at the beginning of your turn and last until the beginning of your next turn. The normal version buffs one stat for +4, the type-restrictive version buffs two stats for +6.
- Spur/Goad/Ward require you to be grouped during battle and are "invisible" in-combat buffs. Spurs buff one stat for +4 for adjacent allies, Goad and Ward buff two stats for +4 in a radius of two tiles.
Hone Cavalry comes from Gunter and Fortify Cavalry from Jagen. Both are in the 3-4☆ pool.
Ward Cavalry comes from Eliwood who is also in the 3-4☆ pool,the GHB Berkut at 4☆ and the 5☆-exclusive Olwen.
Goad Cavalry comes from the GHB Camus and the 4-5☆ Reinhardt, who sadly only gets it at 5☆. This makes full-Goad the most expensive buff composition of Horse Emblem.
Offensive buffs go to defensive units, and vice-versa. Give your Blade tome mage either Hone or Fortify since they already start their turn next to two allies. That being said, there is no concrete rule towards buff distribution in Horse Emblem. You don't need to have one of each buff, nor go full Hone/Fortify. Some teams value certain buffs more than others, and it will be up to you to decide which units will carry which buffs.
Buff Stacking and Visibility
With Defiant X, Rally X and Hone/Fortify X, the X stat will be shown in blue in the unit's description. Conversely, if you are debuffed, the stat will be shown in red. If you are both buffed and debuffed, the bonus and the penalty will appear when you tap on the stat, and the color will depend on whether the total change is inferior, equal or greater than 0. Those "visible" debuffs can be affected by the Panic status condition and the Harsh Command assist skill. They are also the ones that affect blade tomes. Only the largest effect is taken into account for these buffs and debuffs.
With Spur/Ward/Goad, the unit's description will not be changed and you will only see the buff effect in the battle forecast. Those buffs are not subject to Panic and do not affect blade tomes' passive. They also stack with each other.
Panic and Harsh Command
Panic is a status effect afflicted by the Panic staff and the (currently exclusive to the 5☆ Luke) Panic Ploy skill. It reverses buffs into debuffs. You would think that Harsh Command, which reverses debuffs into buffs, negates it but sadly Harsh Command is on the same level as debuffs whereas status conditions work on another level.
About Panic Ploy: At the start of the user's turn, it checks if enemies in the same row or column have less HP than the user and applies Panic if yes.
Giving your mage 30 additional ATK? Piece of cake.
Blade tomes are an important part of Horse Emblem because of their synergy with movement buffs and the relatively numerous mages cavalry compared to Flier and Armor Emblem.
How blade tomes work
Blade tomes stack your “visible” buffs into additional attack buffs. As said above, visible buffs mainly come from Hone and Fortify, and type-based versions are way more potent than the regular versions.
One example: A blade tome user starting their turn next to a Hone Cavalry user will get +6 (ATK buff) + 6 (blade effect for ATK buff) + 6 (blade effect for SPD buff) = 18 additional attack. This goes up to 30 if you have both Hone and Fortify applied.
Who gives blade tomes
Red: Tharja, available in the 4-5☆ pool
Blue: Odin, available in the 3-4☆ pool
Green: Nino, available in the 3-4☆ pool
Since we add 30 additional ATK thanks to buffs, the + version of the tome (+4 might, 5☆ locked) is not strictly needed.
Because blade tomes come with a cooldown penalty of 1, their users usually take Moonbow as special. If the battle gets prolonged, the extra damage of Draconic Aura or Iceberg would be welcome. That said, blade tomes are already so powerful you usually do not need a special skill.