Fire Emblem Cipher: First Thoughts

Hey everyone! I’m here with a cursory glance at the Fire Emblem Cipher game if you wanted to pick up another card game or are an avid card collector looking for sick art!




This game plays like a hybrid of Cardfight Vanguard with a Pokemon win condition and Naruto TCG-like mana cost plus a few unique mechanics. The art on the cards is stunning and an absolute must for those who are fans of the video game series! I would highly recommend it but be warned that you either need to know Japanese or remember translations and the community is fairly small here in America. For all the information you need about this game, check this website out:

A Foreword:

It should be noted that I am a huge Fire Emblem fan so I am fairly biased. It all started in middle school with Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. For those that don’t know, this is where Ike, who is in the Super Smash Bros. series of games, came from. All in all, the video game series is filled with great gameplay, story, and lovable characters so when this card game was announced, I was hyped as all get out.

The Video Game Series Origins:

Fire Emblem is first and foremost a tactical RPG game franchise in the form of turn-based combat developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo. There are 15 different titles but only 7 ever graced our American shores + a Shin Megami Tensei crossover in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. Currently, there are 7 booster sets and 8 starter decks which  span 8 of the titles and Tokyo Mirage Sessions.

The Card Game:

  • Card Size – Standard sized (MTG, Pokemon)
  • Factions – Each video game realm has its own color besides Tokyo Mirage Sessions which is in Blue and Red and Fire Emblem Fates which separates Hoshido and Nohr into White and Black.
  • Deck Size – 49 Cards + 1 Main Character. Most meta decks incorporate 2-3 colors.
  • The Board
    • Units are placed in vanguard and rearguard areas. Main character starts in vanguard zone (like Cardfight Vanguard).
    • Retreat Pile = Discard Pile. This is shuffled back as your deck when you deck out.
    • Bond Area is is effectively like chakra in the Naruto TCG or mana in Magic.

Fire Emblem Cipher Board.png

  • Mulligan – Yes. You may mulligan your 6-card hand once with no detriment
  • Mana – Similar to Magic. Must use at least one “bond” card of the same color to pay cost
  • Win Condition – Like Pokemon. Game starts with 6 “orb” cards taken from your deck and placed face-down. When your main character is defeated in battle, you draw one of your orb cards and when you run out and your main character is defeated, it’s game over
  • Combat – Like Cardfight Vanguard with a support check but with more varied “trigger” effects and the checked card is not added to your hand

More About the Product:

Each wave of starter decks includes:

  • 50 cards, many of which appear in their corresponding booster sets, plus some starter deck exclusive foils
  • A nice paper playmat
  • An in-game item download code for owners of the Japanese Fire Emblem Fates.


Each booster box is 16 packs of 10 cards. The rarities in this game are as follows: Normal, High Normal, Rare, Rare (+), Super Rare, and Super Rare (+).

  • Normal and High Normal look exactly the same
  • R – Foil
  • SR – Textured Foil, approximately 4 in every box
  • (+) – A very accentuated border around the card art and some are signed

Each box includes 5 sleeves and a promo card which is an alternate art of a card in the next set. Each set includes 2 colors besides Booster Set 3 (shown below) which has 3 colors.

Here is the product and a sample of one of my packs:

It looks like I got lucky since I pulled this gorgeous signed Azura card which is approximately 1:4 per case.


Where to Buy:

  • (cheapest for sealed product)
  • (cheapest singles I’ve found so far)
  • Cipher Facebook Group or Serenes Forest Forum (probably actually the cheapest)
  • Ebay
  • and

Everything you need to know about the game:

Final Words:

  • The card arts in themselves made me want to play the game as they are created by various well-known video game artists. They have combined art cards like legion cards in Cardfight Vanguard!
  • As a card game, there are a few mechanics that I have never seen which are neither here nor there. But it is really cool that you can make a deck focused around your favorite character
  • The cost of cards is technically low if you get it in Asia but goes up due to lack of US localization so you have to import everything
    • Booster Box – (Imported) $42-$70
    • Starter Deck – (Imported) $14-$18
  • You have to learn Japanese, remembering effects, or constantly pull up translations

I want to be able to play this game in English one day, but until then I guess I will have to cope with these gorgeous cards being only in Japanese.

I hope this was comprehensive but not too long! I will get around to describing the meta at some point, I’m sure.

Thanks for reading :)!

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