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Tier Rating

Analysis by CCZeroFire
Matthew - Faithful Spy

3-4

Obtainable as a 3 - 4 only

Hero Stats

Max Avg Total Stats at Lvl 40
148
HP 41
ATK 25
SPD 34
DEF 30
RES 18

Stat Variations

Level 1 Stat Variation
5★
4★
3★
HP ATK SPD DEF RES
Low 16 5 9 5 4
Middle 17 6 10 6 5
High 18 7 11 7 6

Level 40 Stat Variations
5★
4★
3★
HP ATK SPD DEF RES
Low 38 22 31 27 14
Middle 41 25 34 30 18
High 44 29 37 33 21

IV Sets

Key stats worth increasing through nature if possible.
Complementary stats that matter, but not to the point of picking them over key stats for nature increase.
Relatively worthless stat that can safely be decreased through nature.
HPATKSPDDEFRES

Boons

  • +ATK: On a heavily offensive set, he will likely find the most success in boosting his Attack with his 4-point superboon.

  • +SPD: A Speed boon helps deny enemy follow-ups and enables him to perform his own, helping him charge up his Special faster, his biggest source of damage.

Neutral

  • DEF: Though boosting it is not as much of a priority boosting his Attack or Speed, most of Matthew's sets utilize his good base 30 Defense, making it a poor choice for a bane.

Banes

  • -RES: Generally -RES will be Matthew's easiest to swallow bane, Resistance clearly his weakest stat. However, it is a 4-point superbane, leaving his magical bulk at just 57 after a weapon refine.

  • -HP: An acceptable alternative to -RES in order to try and keep his magical bulk up and give him a small niche over the similar unit Saizo, who otherwise completely outclasses him.

Skill Sets

Faithful Assassin (Offensive)

Recommended
Barb Shuriken+ (+Spd)
Alternate: Lethal Carrot+ (+Spd)
A Swift Sparrow 2
Alternate: Life and Death 3
Reciprocal Aid
Alternate: Draw Back
B Desperation 3
Ignis
Alternate: Bonfire
C Hone Spd 3
Alternate: Threaten Spd 3
SP1410SSpeed +3

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Preferred IV: +ATK or +SPD / -RES or -HP
  • Weapon: Barb Shuriken+ (+Spd) / Lethal Carrot+ (+Spd)
  • Assist: Reciprocal Aid / Draw Back
  • Special: Ignis / Bonfire / Luna
  • Passive A: Swift Sparrow / Life and Death
  • Passive B: Desperation 
  • Passive C: Hone Spd / Threaten Spd / Flexible
  • Sacred Seal: Speed +3 / Attack +3

While not his main forte, Matthew may opt to change from a helpful spy into a full-on assassin. Benefiting from his 4-point Attack superboon, the 12 might of a Speed-refined Barb Shuriken or Lethal Carrot, the boost of Swift Sparrow, and a Speed +3 seal, Matthew manages to reach an acceptable 45 Attack and 43 Speed when initiating attacks. When attacking an enemy already debuffed, this Attack increases to an effective 52, which can really hurt when paired alongside a 24 damage Ignis proc (34 with Lethal Carrot). An Attack +3 seal changes that to 48/40, if one finds 45 Attack too low for comfort.

Life and Death can be used to add an extra point to his Attack and Speed, plus allow him to retain the Speed on Enemy Phase, though this does weaken the burst power of his Ignis. In such a case, Bonfire or Luna should be used to take advantage of their quicker cooldowns.

Desperation allows him to attack twice without retaliation, and can be set up by taking an advantageous physical hit or with his native Reciprocal Aid. 

For his C slot, any Hone (such as his native Hone Spd), Spur, or Drive can work well to suit his team's needs. While Matthew is not at all a frontliner, Threaten Spd can be safely applied to melee targets, complementing his job as a debuffer and helping him out against speedier targets. 

Smoke on the Water (Full Support)

Smoke Dagger+ (+Spd) A Darting Blow 3
Alternate: Armored Blow 3
Ardent Sacrifice
Alternate: Reciprocal Aid
B Watersweep 3
Alternate: Renewal 3
Bonfire
Alternate: Miracle
C Drive Spd 2
Alternate: Spur Spd 3
SP1545SDrive Atk 2

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Preferred IV: +SPD / -HP or -RES
  • Weapon: Smoke Dagger+ (+Spd)
  • Assist: Ardent Sacrifice / Reciprocal Aid / Draw Back
  • Special: Bonfire / Miracle
  • Passive A: Darting Blow / Armored Blow
  • Passive B: Watersweep / Windsweep / Renewal
  • Passive C: Drive Spd / Drive Def / Spur Spd / Flexible
  • Sacred Seal: Drive Atk / Drive Def / Spur Spd

An all-in support set that aims to cripple his opponent's stats and absolutely ensue that matchups are incredibly skewed in the favor of his teammates.The crux of this set is the refined Smoke Dagger, which reduces all four stats of his target and their allies within two spaces by 6. Matthew's goal here is to push this advantage as far as he can by also boosting an ally afterwards with a Drives or Spurs allowing them clean up with relative ease.

Using Spur Spd, Matthew can create a Speed swing of up to 14 points, though Drives are usually preferred for their looser positioning requirements. The choice of stat for his Drives/Spurs is actually rather flexible, with Atk, Def, Res, and any dual Spurs also being great choices to help allies hit harder or tank up.

For his assist, Ardent Sacrifice or Reciprocal Aid can be utilized to give Matthew the ability to heal his allies in cases when he is unable to attack. Elsewise, a standard movement assist can be taken to shuffle allies into good positions and attack while in range of his buffs.

Bonfire is Matthew's Special of choice to add some burst damage. Miracle is a gimmicky alternative that can give Matthew strong bait potential once it is charged, surviving anything on Enemy Phase and inflicting debuffs for the following turn.

Darting Blow is the preferred A skill, helping ensure the success of Watersweep even against super fast mages like Nino. Watersweep lets Matthew prevent counters from the largest number of ranged enemies as possible, including the increasingly popular dragons. Windsweep can be taken instead to secure matchups against Distant Counter units, though typically Matthew is not as uncomfortable taking physical hits, so long as they do not retaliate twice.

If one is not a fan of sweep skills, instead consider Renewal to give Matthew some longevity and nice synergy with Reciprocal Aid. This can be paired with Armored Blow to more safely brush off Distant Counter hits and give him a fair chance to live even when doubled back.

Tinker, Tailor, Tanky Spy (Budget)

Rogue Dagger+ (+Def) A Fury 3
Alternate: Defense +3
Draw Back
Alternate: Reciprocal Aid
B Quick Riposte 3
Alternate: Poison Strike 3
Bonfire C Atk Smoke 3
Alternate: Hone Spd 3
SP1545SSpeed +3

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Preferred IV: +SPD / -RES or -HP
  • Weapon: Rogue Dagger+ (+Def)
  • Assist: Draw Back / Reciprocal Aid
  • Special: Bonfire / Ignis
  • Passive A: Fury / Defense +3
  • Passive B: Quick Riposte / Poison Strike
  • Passive C: Atk Smoke / Hone Spd
  • Sacred Seal: Speed +3 / Defense +3 / Poison Strike

A low investment set that requires no inherits from heroes unable to be obtained as 3 star units.

Here Matthew's Defense is prioritized so that he can toss back hard hitting Specials, similar to budget Felicia builds that do the same with her Resistance, with his Speed given just light attention for the purpose of denying enemy doubles.

Quick Riposte ensures that he is always throwing out two attacks on Enemy Phase. Matthew wants to make sure to proc his Special on Enemy Phase in order to make the most of his Rogue Dagger buff, as it wears out at the beginning of every Player Phase, regardless of when it was applied.

For an even cheaper B slot alternative, Poison Strike can be kept to ensure steady chip damage between Specials. Paired with a Poison Strike Sacred Seal, Matthew can really wear on high-Defense tanks.

Atk Smoke helps him debuff enemies further and tank up quite well. His default Hone Spd is already quite useful, of course.

Introduction

Matthew, Faithful Spy, is a dagger unit defined by his high Speed and decent Defense, quite comparable to Saizo, but at the end of the day mainly inferior to him. Matthew receives higher HP and Resistance, two stats he doesn't really need, in return for decreased Attack and Defense stats, both of which are quite critical. Matthew actually possesses one of the lowest Attack stats in the game, making it exceedingly difficult for him to pull actually take on his enemies alone, often relegating his role almost entirely to that of a support or niche counterpick.

Matthew's main use will be trying to make the best out of whatever weapon he is given, shutting down enemies by lowering their stats as much as possible, and setting the stage for allies handle the rest. To aid this mission he comes with a decent Speed stat that can be useful in preventing enemies from doubling him, and it is his Speed that he most invests in to keep himself alive. His Defense is also a useful asset here, making him actually fairly hard to take down with physical damage in a single round of combat. Unfortunately, most mages will make short work of him unless he can debuff them first.

While Matthew can actually pull off this mission at a modest level, these successes are rarely merits of his own, with most other dagger units likely to have the same or greater success here when given the same weapons or builds. As said himself in-game, Matthew is "really more of a behind-the-scenes kind of guy", truthfully best left out of the spotlight, and not designed to act as a team's core.

Strengths

Good Speed

Though far from the fastest in the game, his decent Speed can be helpful for escaping doubles. Doubling slower enemies also aids his ability to charge his own Special procs.

Decent physical bulk

In conjunction with his Speed, sluggish physical attackers can have trouble taking him down. With a refined dagger, it would require 73 damage to take him down in one physical hit, a hard task for even the highest Attack units.

Weaknesses

Terrifyingly low Attack

His Attack is nearly unusable. Without an Attack boon, it can be difficult for Matthew to reach an Attack of even 40, even with a refined weapon.

Questionable Resistance

With a refined dagger and an HP bane, it takes 58 magical damage to kill Matthew, which is only just in the "maybe he can take one hit" range, and fairly unreliable. This lowers to 49 against a Raven Tome and 42 when paired Triangle Adept.

Outclassed in most builds

Compared to Saizo, Matthew loses 4 Attack and 3 Defense in return for 5 HP and 2 Resistance. Saizo will generally perform all of Matthew's offensive and defensive builds better, only being slightly more susceptible to mages (which Matthew can't even tank confidently anyway).

For offensive builds, other dagger units like Gaius, Saizo, Kaze, Legault, and even Performing Olivia all have strictly better offensive spreads.

Team Options

Matthew prefers being able to set the stage for allies who thrive in the Enemy Phase and can handle a wide range of targets. By first softening the enemy team then having his ally sit in front of him, he can guarantee the enemies they face are easy pickings.

  • Dragons: Powerful Enemy Phase dragon units like Nowi, Young Tiki, Myrrh, and Fae all make great partners for Matthew. They often have mixed defenses, appreciate having enemy follow-ups prevented with Speed, and can raze down debuffed enemies like a village of poor farmers.

  • Armored Tanks: Matthew's lord Hector and similar units like Zelgius, Winter Robin, and Fallen Hardin can become an impenetrable roadblock against diminished foes, especially if Matthew boosts their defenses with skills like Drive Def.

  • Anti-mages: High Resistance allies like Micaiah, Deirdre, or Fjorm that can handle the magical foes Matthew fears most are a great asset.

  • Player Phase nukers: To make up for Matthew's low offense, allies with high offensive presences like Ayra, Mia, Soleil, Nino, and Linde and brave weapon users like Bridal Cordelia, Elincia, and Cherche who can sweep maps can synergize well, having no trouble taking out a field of lobotomized targets.

Counters

Most teams don't have to plan to counter Matthew. The majority of tanks or magic users can do so just fine, and will already be on most teams.

  • Blade tome users: If units like Tharja, Linde, or Nino have any buffs or attack him before he debuffs them first, Matthew is easily gone.

  • Raven tome users: Matthew won't really scratch units like Sophia, Male Robin, Spring Camilla, or Lyon. Even if he neutralizes a Triangle Adept advantage with Cancel Affinity, most units that run this type of set still have high defenses that Matthew will have trouble piercing through anyway.

  • Magical nukers: Units like Sanaki, Lute, Arvis, especially if they can debuff him back with ploys, won't really have to look twice at Matthew. Against Reinhardt, Matthew really has no chance at all.

  • Distant Counter units: Powerful Special procs from an enemy with Distant Counter can ruin his day, such as from those that still often outspeed him like Ayra, Mia, and Soleil, as well as units that often run Quick Riposte and won't have their follow-up stopped by Matthew's Speed like Dorcas or Black Knight.

  • Harsh Command: The skill Harsh Command (or Micaiah's unique Sacrifice ability, which in addition to healing her target also reverses debuffs) puts a complete stop to any of Matthew's support builds, and on offensive builds ends up turning his dagger's effect into a liability.

Weapon Skills

Weapons SP Rng. Mt.
Iron DaggerAfter combat, inflicts Def/Res-3 on foe through its next action.
Learns by default at 2 ★
Dagger users only.
50 2 3
Steel DaggerAfter combat, inflicts Def/Res-3 on foe through its next action.
Learns by default at 3 ★
Unlocks at 2 ★
Dagger users only.
100 2 5
Rogue DaggerAfter combat, inflicts Def/Res-3 on foe through its next action. Grants unit Def/Res+3 for 1 turn.
Learns by default at 4 ★
Unlocks at 3 ★
Dagger users only.
200 2 4
Rogue Dagger+After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Def/Res-5 on foe through its next action. Grants unit Def/Res+5 for 1 turn.
Unlocks at 5 ★
Dagger users only.
300 2 7
Weapon Evolution
Weapon Upgrades
Weapon Upgrades

Support Skills

Support Skills Rng. SP
Reciprocal AidSwap HP with adjacent ally (neither unit can go above their max HP).
Learns by default at 4 ★
1 150

Passive Skills

Passive Skills SP Slot
Poison Strike 1Inflicts 4 damage to foe after any combat this unit initiates.
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
Unlocks at 3 ★
60
B
Poison Strike 2Inflicts 7 damage to foe after any combat this unit initiates.
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
Unlocks at 4 ★
120
B
Poison Strike 3Inflicts 10 damage to foe after any combat this unit initiates.
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
Unlocks at 5 ★
240
B
Hone Spd 1Grants adjacent allies Spd+2 through their next actions at the start of each turn.
Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 2 ★
50
C
Hone Spd 2Grants adjacent allies Spd+3 through their next actions at the start of each turn.
Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 2 ★
100
C
Hone Spd 3Grants adjacent allies Spd+4 through their next actions at the start of each turn.
Inheritable by all units.
Unlocks at 4 ★
200
C

Other Info

Origin
Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade

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