Dark Magic is one of the three elements of Magic, along with Light Magic and Anima Magic, in the Fire Emblem series. Powerful yet inaccurate, it is also one of the rarest classes of magic in the series. It can be seen as the magical equivalent to the Axe.
Dark Magic is sometimes referred to as "elder magic". These practitioners prefer to call it '"elder magic", because they believe the word "dark" suggests that it is evil. These users like to remind the world that it is the wielder, not the magic itself, that is typically the source of evil. In fact, In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Knoll points out that dark magic's power comes from knowledge, not the desire to harm others. On the other hand, in Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken, it is stated by Canas that Dark Magic comes from darkness and that one must invite the darkness into oneself to use it; he also states that one must not allow the darkness full control. The hero Bramimond, however, allowed darkness full control over himself to obtain the power of The Revealing Darkness, Apocalypse, which erased his personality, instead mirroring others speaking to him. Canas also has three brothers who met a similar fate. While Dark Magic as a whole is not evil, some specific tomes do have negative effects; for instance, in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, the dark magic tome of Loptyr is pure evil, as it transfers the will of its namesake to overcome and control its wielder.
Playable Dark Magic users are often very rare in the Fire Emblem series. It was not until Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 that the first playable Dark Magic user, Salem was introduced. In Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken, Canas is the only dedicated Dark Magic user, and appears in a side-chapter, Athos is also able to use Dark Magic, as well as every other kind. Another example is in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. Both playable Dark Magic users, Pelleas and Lehran, can only be unlocked after the game has been completed once, even then, Lehran has additional conditions that must be met before he is recruited (and even then he is only available for the last chapter and must be given a Dark Tome).
There are also fewer Dark Magic Tomes compared to Light and Anima Magic, though most Dark Magic Tomes have very unique and tactical uses. Flux, for instance, is the basic Dark Tome, while Luna deals direct damage regardless of the defender's Resistance, as well as having a high critical rate. Nosferatu leeches enemy Hit Points. The tome Eclipse, depending on the game's variation, can either cut enemy Hit Points in half, or reduce enemy Hit Points to 1; in both cases, the spell negates the defender's Resistance.
Dark Magic is generally the most powerful magic available. Dark Magic typically deals the most damage, but is the least accurate. In addition, Dark Magic tomes are often the heaviest to wield, making it extremely difficult for Dark Magic users, especially those with a low Constitution, to execute consecutive hits against enemies. However, these are usually not insurmountable weaknesses, as Dark Magic users generally have high enough accuracy to hit consistently.
In most Fire Emblem games, the classes that use Dark Magic are specialized. Shaman and Druids, their promotion are the only classes to use it in the GBA games. In other games, those roles are often replaced by the Dark Mage and Sorcerer classes. A few other classes can use Dark magic, most of these are character specific. The Necromancer class is unique to Lyon, and the Dark Druid and Archsage classes from Rekka no Ken are unique to the characters Nergal and Athos, respectively. In The Sacred Stones, a new Dark Magic Class was introduced, Summoner. Summoners could use Dark Magic, Staves, and have the ability to summon Phantoms. The class is unique to The Sacred Stones, although one non-playable Summoner, Izuka, appears in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn as a third-tier unit, who instead summons Feral Ones.
The Sacred StonesEdit
Path of Radiance & Radiant DawnEdit
Dark Magic is notably absent from Path of Radiance. This is mostly attributed to the reintroduction of the 'Anima' Magic Triangle with Wind, Fire, and Thunder magic, last appearing in Genealogy of the Holy War. With all the new spells created, Dark Magic was omitted, as to not overwhelm the player. Meanwhile, Light Magic took up a position outside of the Anima triangle, much like Bows for the weapon triangle.
Dark Magic was reintroduced in Radiant Dawn. It is particularly useful, as the 'original' Magic Triangle was reintroduced alongside the Anima Magic Triangle, meaning Dark magic trumps all Anima Magic, but is weak against Light Magic.
There are only 9 Dark magic users in Radiant Dawn, including enemies and allies. It is seemingly implied that Dark Magic users are likely to be Spirit Charmers, as Dark Magic is "too difficult for most mages", which explains their rareness.
List of Dark Magic TomesEdit
- Nosferatu (in some games this was switched to being a Light Magic Tome, as it was originally in Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem)
- Aversa's Night
- Imhullu (only usable in Assassins)