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Tier Rating

Analysis by GamePress
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
Middle 16 8 10 5 6

Level 40 Stat Variations
Middle 38 30 34 27 23

This unit has no access to IVs.

Skill Sets

Imhullu! (Support)

Imhullu A Fort. Def/Res 3
Alternate: Fury 3
Reposition B Chill Atk 3
Alternate: Iceberg
C Spd Ploy 3
SP2175SQuick Riposte 3

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Weapon: Imhullu
  • Assist: Reposition
  • Special: Bonfire / Iceberg / Moonbow
  • Passive A: Fort Def/Res /Fury / Mirror Stance
  • Passive B: Chill Atk
  • Passive C: Spd Ploy / Flexible
  • Sacred Seal: Quick Riposte / Res Ploy / Distant Def

Gharnef’s unique tome, Imhullu, has an interesting effect in that it doesn’t really do much outside of a specific turn (turn 3). As a result, Gharnef is best delegated to a support role while wielding it as his combat performance isn’t particularly impressive otherwise.

Gharnef’s choice of Special is dependent on player choice. Bonfire and Iceberg will do nearly the same amount of damage due to Gharnef’s defenses being nearly identical while wielding Imhullu. They are best utilized if using the Quick Riposte Seal in order to ensure that Gharnef will be able to double. However, if Gharnef is able to avoid getting doubled then Bonfire/Iceberg will not activate. This is more likely to happen if Gharnef is able to land Spd Ploy and/or receives buff support from his team; in this case, Moonbow is the best choice.

Fort Def/Res is a high-investment choice that capitalizes on Gharnef’s decent bulk while also boosting his Resistance high enough that he can be a suitable candidate to use Ploys. If Fort Def/Res is unavailable, then Fury is a good budget option since it also increases his Resistance for Ploys. Otherwise, Gharnef’s base Mirror Stance is acceptable, though it makes him a poor user of Ploys; it’s best to use a different C skill (and possibly Seal) in this case.

Chill Atk and Spd Ploy are both fantastic debuffs that can both increase Gharnef’s own combat capabilities as well as offer team support. Spd Ploy can easily be swapped out for any other C skill to suit the team, however. For Seals, Quick Riposte is excellent for ensuring that Gharnef can double if he ever gets into combat; otherwise, a Ploy like Res Ploy is a good option. If Ploys are not being used, then Distant Def is a good choice to make Gharnef even more tanky against ranged threats.

Blades of Darkness (Offensive Nuke)

Rauðrblade+ A Atk/Spd Solo 3
Alternate: Fury 3
Alternate: Ardent Sacrifice
B Desperation 3
Alternate: Chill Atk 3
Alternate: Draconic Aura
C Odd Spd Wave 3
SP1995SSpeed +3

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Weapon: Rauðrblade+
  • Assist: Reposition / Ardent Sacrifice
  • Special: Glimmer / Draconic Aura
  • Passive A: Atk/Spd Solo / Fury / Swift Sparrow / Life and Death / Brazen Atk/Spd
  • Passive B: Desperation / Swordbreaker / Chill Atk
  • Passive C: Odd Spd Wave / Flexible
  • Sacred Seal: Speed +3 / Heavy Blade / Flashing Blade

Statwise, Gharnef is fairly similar to Tharja; he has slightly less Attack and no access to IVs, but does have slightly higher bulk. This means that he can run a standard Blade tome set for maximum damage output. Any Assist skill will work, but Ardent Sacrifice may be worth considering to more safely drop Gharnef’s HP to reach thresholds for skills like Brazen Atk/Spd or Desperation.

Glimmer is an excellent Special for Blade tome users due to its damage scaling off the bonus damage gained from buffs. Alternatively, Draconic Aura is a bit more reliable at the cost of having a higher cooldown; it’s best paired with either the Heavy Blade or Flashing Blade Seals to help mitigate this.

Gharnef’s A skill is very important source of stats for a Blade tome build. Atk/Spd Solo is generally the best option for offensive units due to offering a strong +6/+6 boost to Attack and Speed with little downside - the lack of adjacency requirement is easy to meet for an offensive unit. Fury is a good budget option that also works well with Gharnef’s decent bulk by bolstering it further. Swift Sparrow is a decent option if available since Gharnef doesn’t really need the extra bulk from Fury to survive a single hit from most non-blue enemies. Life and Death or Brazen Atk/Spd are both aggressive options that are best combined with Ardent Sacrifice in order to safely circumvent their downsides, both of which make it significantly more dangerous for Gharnef during his first combat.

Desperation is the standard B skill for Blade tome sets to maximize offensive power. Alternative options include Swordbreaker to help ensure doubles against speedy sword units (watch out for units with instant Specials like Ayra or Zelgius as they can easily KO Gharnef in one hit) or Gharnef’s base Chill Atk for a bit more utility.

Gharnef’s C skill is entirely up to preference, but the Wave skills such as Odd Spd Wave are fantastic for ensuring that he has access to buffs to fuel his Blade tome.

For Seals, Speed +3 is always a good choice as most of Gharnef’s damage output depends on him being able to double his opponents. Heavy Blade or Flashing Blade are both decent options if wanting to run a higher cooldown Special like Draconic Aura.


The dark schemer Gharnef arrives in Fire Emblem Heroes with an oddly non-synergistic kit and a relatively unimpressive statline, but with an interesting unique weapon in Imhullu. Stat-wise he is essentially Tharja with slightly lower Attack but higher defenses, though Imhullu is what really sets him apart.

Imhullu’s effect is incredibly specific: it only functions on turn 3, only within 5 columns centered on Gharnef, and only on non-magic foes. The 5 damage dealt may seem underwhelming, but it can be quite useful in certain scenarios by deactivating effects that require 100% HP such as Atk/Spd Push, Alm’s refined Falchion, and Brave Celica’s Double Lion. However, the true power of Imhullu is its application of the status effect that prevents counterattacks: playing around this effect can allow a good Player Phase oriented team to completely steamroll an enemy team in a single turn.

Overall, Gharnef is a fairly unimpressive unit whose main distinguishing trait is a fairly gimmicky tome. However, when properly utilized, he can cause an enemy team to be totally crippled. This makes him a decent support unit that fits in well with offensive teams.



Gharnef’s main distinguishing trait is his unique tome, Imhullu. It’s a bit gimmicky, but when properly utilized can allow a player to quickly and easily wipe out an enemy team in a single turn due to how devastating an inability to counterattack can be.

Decent Bulk

Aside from his tome, the only thing Gharnef really has going for him is his decent bulk. This makes him surprisingly survivable, though it takes some work to get his Resistance high enough that he can be a decent Ploy user.


No IVs

As a GHB unit, Gharnef’s lack of access to IV’s hinders his max potential. This isn’t much of a concern for a support setup, but he will struggle to keep up with speedier mages due to his inability to get a +SPD IV.


While Imhullu’s effect can be devastating for the turn it activates, it basically does nothing for every other turn. This means that if the player doesn’t make the most of turn 3 while using Gharnef, then he’s reduced to a mage with unimpressive stats who is using a slightly stronger Bolganone+ tome.

Team Options

  • Buffers: Gharnef benefits much more from buff support if wielding a Blade tome, but even with Imhullu he can benefit from support from units like Ephraim, Linde, Marth, and Sanaki.

  • Debuffers: Debuffing Gharnef’s opponents enhances his combat performance similarly to buffing him directly (as well as freeing up skill slots so he doesn’t have to run debuffs himself), making allies like Lute, Spring Sharena, and Soren good choices.

  • Refreshers: If wielding a Blade tome, Gharnef greatly benefits from Refresher support from units like Performing Azura, New Year Azura, and Bridal Ninian as he can easily take out multiple opponents per turn.

  • Strong Greens: Gharnef is not strong enough to easily take on blue units through color disadvantage (though he may occasionally do so with a Blade tome), so strong green units like Myrrh, Lewyn, and Raven are all good teammates to deal with them.

  • Offensive Units: Imhullu’s ability to cause multiple opponents to be unable to counterattack means that strong offensive units are good choices for teammates to be able to maximize the impact it has. Some examples include Cherche, Reinhardt, Cordelia, Tana, Elincia, Adrift Corrin (F), and Halloween Jakob.


  • Strong Blues: Gharnef will struggle to deal with strong blues like Nowi, Brave Hector, Micaiah, and Legendary Tiki (Young) even with a Blade tome.

  • Debuffers: While Gharnef has decent defenses, he is still vulnerable to getting debuffed by dedicated debuffers like Arvis, Saias, Lute, and Spring Catria.

  • Negating Buffs: If wielding a Blade tome, the vast majority of Gharnef’s offensive power comes from buffs; units that can negate those buffs like Brave Lyn or anyone running Dull Ranged will easy negate Gharnef’s advantage.

    • Panic: Another way of negating Gharnef’s buff advantage is via Panic; Panic Ploy users like Zelgius, Effie, and Gwendolyn can easily apply it due to their HP pools. Also, Aversa can easily apply Panic to Gharnef if he’s not careful with positioning.

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
ImhulluGrants 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 EmberBoosts damage dealt by 50% of unit's Def.
Learns by default at 4 ★
Unlocks at 3 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
100 4
IgnisBoosts 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 1Grants Res+2 during combat when this unit is attacked.
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
Mirror Stance 1Grants Atk/Res+2 during combat if foe initiates combat.
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
Mirror Stance 2Grants Atk/Res +4 during combat if foe initiates combat.
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
Unlocks at 4 ★
Chill Atk 1At the start of each 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 2At the start of each 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 3At the start of each 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 Heroes
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

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