Table of Contents

Tier Rating

Analysis by GamePress
Tharja - Dark Shadow


Obtainable as a 3 - 4 only

Hero Stats

Max Avg Total Stats at Lvl 40
HP 39
ATK 32
SPD 34
DEF 23
RES 20

Stat Variations

Level 1 Stat Variation
Low 16 7 7 5 4
Middle 17 8 8 6 5
High 18 9 9 7 6

Level 40 Stat Variations
Low 35 29 31 20 17
Middle 39 32 34 23 20
High 42 35 37 26 23

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.


  • +SPD: As is typical for Blade tome mages, Speed is Tharja’s most important stat; securing doubles will maximize her offensive potential.

  • +ATK: If +SPD is unavailable, then +ATK is the next best option. It can potentially be optimal for a high investment one-shot build, to circumvent enemies from whom Tharja cannot survive a counterattack.


  • HP: Tharja can afford to take a bane in any of her three defensive stats, but a -HP bane is best avoided due to it being a superbane (-4 to the stat).


  • -RES: This is slightly preferable to -DEF due to Tharja having enough physical bulk to withstand a single hit from most non-blue physical threats.

  • -DEF: At higher arena tiers, Enemy Phase builds that can instantly activate Specials become much more prevalent (such as Steady Breath/Quickened Pulse Zelgius), resulting in Tharja being unable to survive a counterattack regardless. This makes a -DEF bane ultimately not make much of a difference in her matchups.

Skill Sets

Swift Shadow (Offensive Nuke)

Rauðrblade+ A Fury 3
Reposition B Desperation 3
Glimmer C Odd Atk Wave 3
SP1,485SSpeed +3

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Preferred IV: +SPD or +ATK / -RES or -DEF or -HP
  • Weapon: Rauðrblade+
  • Assist: Reposition / Ardent Sacrifice
  • Special: Glimmer / Draconic Aura
  • Passive A: Fury / Swift Sparrow / Life and Death / Brazen Atk/Spd
  • Passive B: Desperation / Swordbreaker
  • Passive C: Odd Atk Wave / Flexible
  • Sacred Seal: Speed +3 / Heavy Blade

Standard Blade tome set for Tharja; this set can be considered budget thanks to Tharja coming with a Blade tome in her base kit. While she needs a total overhaul for the rest of her kit, most of the options are fairly budget (with the exception of Odd Atk Wave).

Aside from running a movement assist like Reposition, Tharja can make good use of Ardent Sacrifice to drop herself into Desperation range to avoid the risk of getting KO’d in a single hit from strong enemies. If running Tharja with merges and/or Summoner Support, then she will need a -HP bane in order to be able to drop into the 75% HP threshold from Ardent Sacrifice. Running Ardent Sacrifice allows Tharja to consider the more powerful A skill options of Life and Death or Brazen Atk/Spd, which allow her to maximize her offensive power. Otherwise, Fury is generally the best option due to the extra bulk. Swift Sparrow is better with merges and/or support to give her a little bit more defensive cushion, but can work well regardless.

Desperation is the clear choice for any Speed-oriented Blade tome setup, due to allowing for doubles without getting counterattacked. Swordbreaker is a decent option to allow Tharja to double super speedy sword users, but keep in mind that some of the biggest threats to Tharja’s survival are sword users; properly built units like Ayra or Zelgius can completely obliterate Tharja in a single counterattack, making Swordbreaker a potentially dangerous option in higher tiers of arena.

Odd Atk Wave is exceptionally powerful on Blade tome mages, as self-buffing with +6 to Attack grants a massive boost to their offensive power, in addition to freeing up allies from needing to run an Attack buff. It is very high investment though, so any other C skill can work just fine.

For seals, Speed +3 pairs very well with the Speed-focused nature of this build. The Heavy Blade seal is a good option if wanting to run a higher power Special like Draconic Aura, in addition to being worth more for arena scoring. Otherwise, it’s best to run a low cooldown Special like Glimmer if not running Heavy Blade. Both Glimmer and Draconic Aura pair well with Blade tomes due to their damage getting additional scaling from the bonus damage granted by Blade tomes from buffs.

Shadow Blade (Offensive Nuke)

Rauðrblade+ A Death Blow 4
Alternate: Death Blow 3
Reposition B Def/Res Link 3
Alternate: Vantage 3
Glimmer C Odd Atk Wave 3
SP1,695SAttack +3

Show Explanation/Analysis
  • Preferred IV: +ATK / -DEF or -RES or -HP
  • Weapon: Rauðrblade+
  • Assist: Reposition
  • Special: Glimmer / Draconic Aura
  • Passive A: Death Blow / Fury
  • Passive B: Def/Res Link / Chill Res / Vantage
  • Passive C: Odd Atk Wave / Flexible
  • Sacred Seal: Attack +3 / Heavy Blade

Despite Tharja being an infantry mage with only 32 base Attack, she can still make effective use of a one-shot build thanks to the strength of a Blade tome fueled by powerful +6 buffs. The recommended optimal set for this build assumes a minimal amount of team support, but many skills can be swapped out if +6 buffs are available from the team (such as from the Tactics skills).

The basis of this set is pumping Attack whenever possible. This means a +ATK IV, Death Blow, Odd Atk Wave, and the Attack +3 seal. Stacking all these sources of Attack will allow Tharja to one-hit KO the vast majority of non-blue threats, including major threats like Ayra and Zelgius. This also means that Specials like Glimmer and Draconic Aura work exceptionally well due to their scaling off the bonus damage from Blade tomes. Glimmer is generally better due to the lower cooldown, but Draconic Aura is acceptable if opting to replace the Attack +3 seal with Heavy Blade.

Death Blow is the most consistent source of a high boost to Attack, but can be replaced with Fury for budget purposes if running Vantage.

Def/Res Link is an incredibly high-investment skill that gives Tharja a massive +6 to Defense and Resistance when targeted by or using a movement Assist skill. However, it can be difficult to utilize properly unless also running a Refresher unit on the team. Chill Res is another incredibly high-investment skill that allows Tharja to inflict a heavy -7 Resistance debuff to the enemy, allowing her to break through enemies with high Resistance. On a budget, pretty much any other B skill can work; Vantage is a good choice for a one-shot build (run Fury over Death Blow in this case), while Wings of Mercy or Escape Route can drastically increase Tharja’s mobility to help get her into the right position.

Odd Atk Wave grants Tharja a powerful +6 Attack buff that is vitally important to her one-shot capabilities. This can easily be replaced if an ally is running it or Atk Tactic.


Tharja is a decent red Blade tome user that has unfortunately been almost completely overshadowed by her Bride counterpart, adding yet another to the ranks of units that have managed to powercreep themselves. Thankfully, Tharja still has perks of her own, including good availability (3-4 star summon) and having a Blade tome as part of her base kit.

Tharja’s decent offensive stats and base Blade tome suggest that she play a heavily offensive role. As per the nature of Blade tomes, she needs some support from her team to maximize her power, though powerful skills like Odd Atk Wave can help alleviate her need for support. Thanks to her decent HP, Tharja has enough bulk to survive a single attack from most enemies, but she struggles in her matchups against the strongest threats like Ayra and Zelgius, whose potentially instant Special activations can make it nearly impossible to survive.

When properly built and supported, Tharja can become an offensive powerhouse potent enough to take out entire teams.


Decent Offenses

32/34 Attack and Speed allow Tharja to function as a strong offensive unit, particularly when given the proper support needed to utilize her base Rauðrblade tome.

Just Enough Bulk

While Tharja’s Defense and Resistance aren’t particularly impressive, her decent HP increases her mixed bulk enough that she can typically survive a single hit from non-blue threats, barring enemy Specials.

Rauðrblade in Base Kit

While Tharja requires nearly a full overhaul of her base kit for an optimal build, she does come with the most expensive portion right out of the box. Everything else can be obtained from 3-4 star summonable units, excluding Odd Atk Wave which can be easily replaced by any other C skill.

Great Availability

Thanks to her demotion into the 3-4 star summoning pool, Tharja is easier than ever to obtain. This means that not only is it easy to pull multiple copies for merges, but it is also easy to fish for optimal IVs.



Tharja joins the ranks of units that have been powercrept by themselves - her Bridal version’s 35/35 offenses outshine her 32/34 offenses from her regular version, and even comes with a unique tome for alternative playstyles to boot.


While being infantry isn’t as much of a problem as it used to (thanks to skills like Tactics buffs and Odd Atk Wave), it is still harder to gain access to the powerful buffs simply due to availability. Buffs like Hone Cavalry will always outshine the likes of skills like Atk Tactic due to buffing multiple stats. Furthermore, infantry lack the superior mobility of fliers and cavalry.

Team Options

  • Buffers: As a Blade tome mage, Tharja is reliant on buffs to fuel her offensive potential. Eirika, Ephraim, and Performing Azura all provide the field buffs needed thanks to their weapons, while other buffers like Marth and Sanaki can provide a strong boost in stats (that doesn’t directly contribute to the Blade tome’s effect).
  • Debuffers: While debuffs don’t provide a direct boost to Tharja’s damage output via her Blade tome, they do provide a significant boost in her combat ability, much like Spur/Drive buffs. Some good allies are Lute, Spring Sharena, and Gunnthrá.
  • Refreshers: As an offensive unit, Tharja receives a massive benefit from Refreshers’ ability to allow her to attack multiple enemies as well as the added versatility that an additional turn will provide. Performing Azura and New Year Azura are the best options, due to the former’s ability to buff while Singing and the latter’s ability to provide Guidance support for extra mobility.
  • Strong Greens: While Tharja can sometimes overpower blue units through raw offensive potential, she still struggles against strong blue threats. Units like Myrrh, Kana (F), Dorcas, and Raven can all deal with the blue threats that Tharja struggles with.


  • Strong Blues: Despite Tharja’s offensive potential, strong blues like Nowi, Fallen Hardin, Micaiah, and Delthea can stop her in her tracks.

  • Exceptional Reds: One issue Tharja has to contend with is that some red units are so powerful that she can struggle to deal with them; this includes Sigurd (Divine Tyrfing and Crusader’s Ward make him decisively difficult to take out with magic), Ayra, and Zelgius (both of whom tend to run instant Special activations builds).

  • Debuffers: Tharja’s low defenses leave her vulnerable to all types of debuffs; units like Gunnthrá, Spring Sharena, Spring Catria, Arvis, and Lute can heavily debilitate Tharja’s ability to output damage.

  • Negating Buffs: A huge portion of Tharja’s power comes from her allies’ buffs powering her Blade tome; units that can negate those buffs like Brave Lyn and anyone running Dull Ranged remove Tharja’s advantage and can wipe her out.

    • Panic Ploy: In a similar vein, units with Panic Ploy can not only negate Tharja’s buffs, but also turn them into debuffs. Some common users include Zelgius, Effie, and Nowi.

  • Offense: Due to the nature of her Blade tome setup being a glass cannon-type build, Tharja is very frail and cannot withstand sustained offensive pressure. Units with overpowering offenses (such as with Brave weapons or Bold Fighter) like Tana, Effie, Cordelia, Ephraim, and Reinhardt can easily take out Tharja if allowed to engage properly.

Weapon Skills

Weapons SP Rng. Mt.
Red Tome Users Only
50 2 4
Learns by default at 3 ★
Red Tome Users Only
100 2 6
RauðrbladeSlows Special Trigger (cooldown count +1). Adds total bonuses on unit to damage dealt.
Learns by default at 4 ★
Unlocks at 3 ★
Red Tome Users Only
200 2 9
Rauðrblade+Slows Special Trigger (cooldown count +1). Adds total bonuses on unit to damage dealt.
Learns by default at 5 ★
Unlocks at 5 ★
Red Tome Users Only
300 2 13
Weapon Evolution
Weapon Upgrades
Weapon Upgrades

Special Skills

Special Skills SP Turns
RetributionBoosts damage dealt to foe by 30% of damage dealt to unit.
Learns by default at 4 ★
Unlocks at 3 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
100 3
VengeanceBoosts damage dealt to foe by 50% of damage dealt to unit.
Unlocks at 4 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
200 3

Passive Skills

Passive Skills SP Slot
Darting Blow 1Grants Spd+2 during combat if unit initiates the attack.
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
Darting Blow 2Grants Spd+4 during combat if unit initiates the attack.
Unlocks at 3 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
Darting Blow 3Grants Spd+6 during combat if unit initiates the attack.
Unlocks at 4 ★
Non-inheritable by Staff-wielding units.
Spur Res 1Grants adjacent allies Res+2 during combat
Unlocks at 3 ★
Inheritable by all units.
Spur Res 2Grants adjacent allies Res+3 during combat
Unlocks at 4 ★
Inheritable by all units.
Spur Res 3Grants adjacent allies Res+4 during combat
Unlocks at 5 ★
Inheritable by all units.

Other Info

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Banners Featured In

Official Hero Artwork


Show Comments