Comprehensive Rules of FE Cipher

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This page was last updated on the 16/01/2017.
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Fire Emblem 0 (Cipher)

In Fire Emblem 0 (Cipher), two players go in a turn-based battle between their Lords (this is also known as the main character). Each deck must at least contain 50 cards, including a player's Lord / Main Character (there is no upper deck limit, so you can have any number of cards in your deck as long as you have at least 50 cards). A deck consists of numerous different characters and the Insignia(s) that they play (there’s no limit to the amount of insignias that can be played). Characters can fall into many different Affinities, from the kind of Weapon they use, what gender they are, or the kind of specific type of unit they are (this is explained later). As of now, there is only one way to win the game. You win by defeating your opponent’s Lord while they have no cards in their Orb Zone (Orbs and what not will be explained later).

What exactly is on a Fire Emblem 0 card?

CardExplaination.png

[What's on each card]
  • Anything marked with a * is further explained below, each number below corresponds to the number in the above image (hover your mouse over the affinities and you can see which is which).


  • 1 - Deployment Cost*
  • 2 - Promotion / Class Change Cost*
  • 3 - Colour / Insignia* (So far, there are 7 Colours - Red, Blue, White, Black, Green, Purple and Yellow)
  • 4 - Affinities* (Each card has numerous affinities: Gender - Male / Female, The type of Weapon held - Sword / Lance / Axe / Bow / Tome / Staff / Dragon Stone / Shuriken / Fang and the type of unit they are - Armor / Flying / Mounted / Dragon and Sharp )
  • 5 - Skill*
  • 6 - Support Skill*
  • 7 - Attack*
  • 8 - Character’s Title* (A fancy title that each character is given. This distinguishes each character (yes, even the same character with a different title), as you can play any number of different cards for that character as long as it has a different title)
  • 9 - Character’s Name (The specific character that is shown in the picture on the card. Character’s names can matter in some cases, especially when it comes to Formation Skills)
  • 10 - Character’s Range (The range indicates where a unit can attack from. This will be explained in further detail when it comes to the phases of the game.)
  • 11 - Character’s Class (Unit Type) (This is also more in aesthetics or for the sake of putting it there to make it descriptive, but a character’s class pretty much determines the attributes they get)
  • 12 - Support*

General Terminology

[Common Terms and the Explanations for them]

---Lord / Main Character---

  • This is the main unit that each player begins the game with. Both players choose one Cost 1 Character before the start of a game, which is designated as your Lord. Your Lord is the only unit that does not go to your Retreat when it is or defeated by battle or by a Skill. Instead, you must take an Orb each time your Lord is defeated (by an attack or a skill).
  • When you have no cards left in your Orb Area to take after being defeated, you lose the game.


---Bonds---

  • These are cards that are set aside from the field, which acts as a limit to the specific symbol in relation to the units you can play down and the amount of units you can play down in a single turn.
  • They also act as a separate system for using skills (you have to flip these cards face-down to activate the skills of cards if the skills require bonds to be flipped as a cost).
  • **Please note that face down bonds are colorless and do not have a color or any other attributes besides being a bond.**


---Orbs---

  • Before the game begins, these are 5 cards that act as your life (or hit points) for your main character. Each time your Lord is defeated by an attack or skill, you must take one of these cards, and if you can’t take any more Orbs, you lose the game.
  • At any time during the game, you cannot look at any of your Orbs unless you activate a skill that allows you to do so.


---Affinity---

  • The symbols in a column on the upper left side of a card, notifying the different types of weapons and characteristics that specific card has. This can be important to some particular effects.


---Colour / Insignia---

  • This is the first symbol you will see on each card (in the top left corner), and each card belongs to only one Colour unless it has an skill that states otherwise.
  • This is important when it comes to deploying your units each turn and important for particular unit's skills.


---Attack---

  • The strength of a unit when initiating a battle or defending in battle. The amount of Attack a unit has is represented by the big number on the bottom left side of the card.
  • This goes hand in hand with the Support number from cards in the Support Zone.


---Support---

  • The support of a card that is supporting an attacking/defending card. The amount of support a unit has is represented by the big number on the bottom right side of the card.
  • When a unit attacks or is attacked, the Attack of the unit attacking or getting attacked and the Support of the unit placed in the Support Zone from the top of the deck are combined to become the total attack for that battle.
  • The addition of Support only occurs if the unit successfully supports. A support CAN fail if the character currently in battle is supported by another copy of themselves, in which the support card is instantly sent to the Retreat Area.
  • A failed support does not give any Support value to the unit and any support skills that unit has are nullified.


---Deployment Cost---

  • The amount of Bonds that are required to place down a unit directly onto your field. This is signified by the larger number in the top left corner of the card.


---Promotion / Class Change Cost---

  • The amount of Bonds that's required to class change a card. This is represented by the number right below the Deployment Cost.
  • If you want to play down a unit with a promotion cost without promoting, you must pay the normal deployment cost instead.


---Class Change---

  • A Class Change is when you place a card with the same name on top of a character you control paying the Promotion cost instead of using the normal Deployment Cost.
  • Cards that are played this way are considered class changed and each time you class change a unit, you draw a card as a bonus for class changing.
  • Units that are class changed are also considered "Levelled Up".
  • Class Changing is NOT the same as deploying a unit.


---Level Up---

  • A Level Up is when a card without a Class Change Cost is placed on top of a unit you control with the same name on top of a character, using the normal cost.
  • Unlike a Class Change, when you perform a Level Up, you do not draw a card.
  • Levelling Up is NOT the same as deploying a unit.


---Growth---

  • The term used when placing / stacking a card with the same name underneath a unit.
  • This is always done via the use of Skills, where Growth is referred as a specific term in certain skills.
  • A unit that has performed a “Growth” is considered to be a levelled up unit which can use it’s Class Change Skills.
  • A 'Growth' is usually used to assist in helping a unit gain access to it's Level Skill 2 (LvlS) skills.


Skills

Each unit has a set of skill(s) that determines what that unit is able to do. Skills are similar to Monster Effects in Yu-Gi-Oh!. There are currently six different types of skills in the game, and may come with specific conditions / requirements to activate them. These are the current types of skills:

[The Different Types of Skills]

---ACT/Activate--- ACT

  • The Activate icon represents a skill that you can only activates during your Action Phase.


---AUTO/Trigger--- AUTO

  • The Trigger icon represents a skill that activates in response to an action that occurs or when a specific condition is fulfilled.


---CONT/Continuous--- CONT

  • The Continuous icon represents a skill that is always active as long as the unit with the skill stays on the field (the card can specify otherwise if not) as long as their condition is fulfilled.


---BOND/Bond--- Bond Skill

  • The Bond icon represents a skill that can only be activated while the card itself is in the Bond Zone.


---SPEC/Special--- SPEC

  • The Special icon represents a skill that doesn’t belong in any of the above categories.
  • Basically anything else that isn’t possible that isn't covered by the other type of skills, like having an effect that activates while in the hand or the unit itself also counting as another unit's name.


---SUPP/Support--- SUPP

  • This icon is on every single Support Skill in the game. A support skill is only activated when the card is in the Support Zone.


A majority of the cards in the game have requirements or restrictions placed on their skills. Some skills even have more than one requirement to activate it. Below is a list explaining what each requirement / restriction is:

[The Requirements / Restrictions on Skills]

---Tap--- Tap This Unit

  • Switching the card to a Horizontal Position (or turning a card 90 degrees clockwise) to show that the card has performed an action (Tapping to activate a skill is quite common, note that you have to Tap to perform an attack or move in Cipher).
  • You also cannot use a skill that has Tap as a requirement if the unit in question is already tapped.


---Once Per Turn--- Once Per Turn

  • A condition that indicates that the skill can only be used in one instance each turn.


---Flip (X) Bond--- Flip 1 Bond

  • Where “X” represents a number, sometimes a skill may ask you to flip-down a certain amount of face-up bonds to activate said skill (the image shows Flip 1 Bond).
  • Note that a face down bond cannot be returned face-up without performing a skill (no skill in the game does this as of now).


---Send a card from your Hand into your Retreat Zone---

  • This type of requirement is on a skill that asks you to send a copy of a certain character from your hand to the Retreat Area (or Discard it basically) in order to activate it (For example, Cost 5 Marth).
  • There have been skill requirements where you just flat out send any card in your hand to the Retreat Area, but not as common as sending a specific character from your hand.
  • A majority of these types of skills have the outcome to potentially grant you victory in your games.


  • ---Keyword Skills---

A keyword skill involves more advanced requirements to activate specific types of skills:
---CCS/Class Change Skill--- Class Change Skill

  • A Class Change Skill is a skill that is only active when a unit is class changed. This requires a card with a class change cost with the same name as the unit below it.


---FS/Formation Skill--- Formation Skill

  • A skill that requires specific other characters to be tapped in order to activate it. These are mostly Triangle Attacks.


---LvS(X)--- Level Skill 2

  • Where “X” represents a number, LvlS is a requirement where your unit’s entire stack needs to be a certain number.
  • Stack refers to the amount of cards that unit has in total, counting the top card as well. If a skill requires LvlS2, then you need a total stack of 2, which means one card under the unit, so basically the number of cards you need under the unit is the stack required minus 1.
  • Even if the unit's stack is raised, that unit still has it's previous LvlS skills active (e.g, if your Ike is LvlS5 (4 cards stacked underneath), it can use it's LvlS3, LvlS4 and LvlS5 skills (all of them are active).


---US / Union Skill--- Union Skill

  • A skill requires a specific colour bond to be in the Bond Zone to make the skill active (So far this skill is exclusive to black and white cards, the opposite of what color the card is.). **Please note that face down bonds are colorless and do not have a colour or any other attributes besides being a bond.**


---CF/Carnage Form--- Carnage Form

  • This skill is exclusive to the Tokyo Mirage Sessions Mirages in Cipher. It requires the Mirage to be in the same area as it’s Mirage Master (both units need to be in the front line or rear line), which allows the Mirage to be unbeatable by battle with an enemy unit (the skill is only active while the Mirage Master is still on the field).


---BS/Bond Skill--- Bond Skill

  • A skill that requires the specific unit with this skill to be in the bond zone to be active.


The following icons represent the ( SUPP Support Skills) , which only activate while that card is in the Support Zone.

[The types of Support Skills]
---Attack Support---
Attack Support
  • Symbol used for skills that activate during your action phase while you’re attacking.


---Defence Support---
Defense Support
  • Symbol used for skills that only activate during your opponent’s action phase while you’re defending.

Overall View of the Gameplay Area

You don’t have to copy this Gameplay Area completely, but it’s highly recommended you do as a general consensus because everyone will probably be using it. Play Area.png

[What the Gameplay Area consists of]

---Deck---

  • Your deck goes here.
  • The instant when you have no cards left in your Deck, your Retreat Area is then shuffled and then placed back here (This action happens instantly, and takes priority before the next action in the game, e.g When the last card in your Deck is placed in the Support Area).


---Retreat Area---

  • The Retreat Area is where all cards go after being checked in the Support Area, when a player activates a skill that requires a card to be sent here, performs a critical hit / god speed evasion and when a unit is defeated by an attack.


---Support Area---

  • This is where cards that are supporting your units go.
  • After each battle, a card that was used as Support is sent to the Retreat Area.
  • When a Support is considered a failed support, that card instantly goes into the Retreat Area.


---Orb Area---

  • The Orb Area is where the Orbs from the beginning of the game go.
  • At the start of a game after each player has a starting hand, you place five cards here face-down.
  • Each time your Lord gets defeated by an attack, you take a card from this area. The order in which you take your cards from this area does not matter, which means you're allowed to take any card from your orb area in any order you want (this means you can leave a face-up card in there if you want to).
  • If there are no cards remaining here while your Lord gets defeated once more, you lose.


---Bond Area---

  • The Bond Area is where you optionally place your Bonds during the Bond Phase.
  • They are used for costs of effects which state it and are in relation to deploying your units.
  • The common way to place bonds down is overlapping each other, either horizontally or vertically.


---Vanguard Area---

  • The Vanguard Area (also known as the Front Line) is one of two areas you may place your units down.
  • This is where both player’s Lords are placed down at the beginning of the game.
  • There is no limit to the number of units that can be placed down here.


---Rearguard Area---

  • The Rearguard Area (also known as the Back Line) is the other area where you may place a unit down.
  • Note that you cannot have a unit in the Rearguard Area without having any units in the Vanguard Area, otherwise a Forced March (more about that later) will occur.
  • Just like the Vanguard Area, there is no limit to the number of units that can be placed down here.


Playing the Game

A player’s deck must contain at least 50 cards (The Lord character you set aside from your Deck is also included in the Deck), and there is no upper maximum limit for a Deck. Decks may contain no more than 4 copies of the same card, and there is no limitation on the amount of different characters you can play, as long as there aren’t more than four cards with the exact same character and title (You can play up to four copies of the same character as long as their character title doesn’t match, e.g 4 copies of Marth, Crown Prince of Altea and 4 copies of Marth, Lodestar in your Deck).

[Before Starting the Game]
  • Before starting a game, decide which player will start in a method that both players deem fair (Coin toss, rolling a dice, rock-scissors paper, etc).
  • The player that wins via agreed method may decide whether to go first or second in the duel.
  • The player who takes the first turn skips their Beginning Phase and cannot declare an attack for that turn.
  • This means missing out on drawing a card for the first turn.
  • However this also means being faster in terms of Bonds and Deployment.
  • If you're the player deciding on whether to go first or not, make your decision wisely. This can have an impact in the game, depending on each player's decks.


  • Set aside one cost 1 unit from your deck face-down as a "Lord" (or referred to as Main Character (or MC)).
  • Note that a Lord absolutely must be a cost 1 unit (there are no exceptions).
  • You don’t have to do this, but it’s easier to keep up with the game: Place a card underneath your Lord (it can be any card, it doesn’t even have to be from Cipher, it could be from another TCG entirely) to signify that it is the Lord (FE Cipher Starter decks come with a marker card you can use, or you can purchase a Marker Character Card online).
  • This allows players to distinguish other units from the Lord.
  • General Tip: Most Cipher decks are built around a specific Lord to begin with, so the Lord that a player chooses is the same every time they play that deck.


  • Both players shuffle their decks and draw six cards as their opening hand.
  • Both players are also allowed the option to Mulligan (where a player places the whole opening hand they drew back into the deck, shuffle it, and draw six new cards), but only one Mulligan is allowed.


  • After each player has drawn their hand and are ready, each player puts the top 5 cards of their deck face-down into their Orb Area.
  • Each player flips their Lord face-up. Now begin the game!

The Phases of The Game

When playing the game, both players goes through five different phases of the game each turn. As mentioned before, the player who takes the first turn must skip their Beginning Phase, and cannot declare an attack during their Action Phase.

Beginning Phase - The start of a player’s turn
Bond Phase - The optional placement of a card into the Bond Zone
Deployment Phase - The optional deployment of units to perform battle
Action Phase - The actual phase of combat, which includes Battle, the use of Skills, and moving units
End Phase - The end of a player turn, which signifies the next player turn

Beginning Phase

[The Beginning Phase]
  • Activate any skills that have a requirement at this stage of the game. This is seen on all units with the skill text “At the start of your turn”.


  • “Untap” all of your units back to the pre-action state. You do this by turning your horizontal cards vertical again. In short, it makes any unit that performed an action last turn be able to perform an action this turn.


  • The current turn player draws a card from the top of the Deck. If you are going first, skip this.


  • The order of the actions that take place in this phase does not matter in the slightest, you can do them in any order you want.

Bond Phase

[The Bond Phase]
  • The Bond Phase is the option of whether or not you want to place a card from your hand into the Bond Zone (turning a card into a Bond).


  • This is important for the first few beginning turns, as you want to deploy more units later on.


  • Bonds are also required to activate the skills of units with bond flip costs on them.


  • You do not have to Bond a card during this phase, it is optional (it can be good to not bond a card in the later parts of the game)

Deployment Phase

[The Deployment Phase]
  • During the Deployment Phase, the turn player may place units from their hand into the front line or back line (it’s up to the player’s choice) or class change their units. A player may also "level up" their units, but this is rarely done. More about Class Change / Level Up listed below.


  • The cost of amount of units you are able to play for each turn is dependant on the amount of bonds you control (You cannot play more than one 1 cost unit if you only have 1 bond, more than two 1 cost units / one 2 cost unit if you have two bonds, etc)


  • You do not have to deploy the maximum amount of units you can deploy for that turn.
[The Rules of Deployment]
  • To deploy a unit, simply place that unit from your hand to either the front line or the back line, but only if you have the bonds remaining to deploy that unit.


  • You cannot control two of the exact same character, regardless of the card’s title (you cannot deploy a character with the same name as a character you already have on the field). For example, you cannot deploy another copy of Marth if you already control Marth on your field.


  • There are also colour restrictions when it comes to deploying, class changing or levelling up your units:


  • You can only deploy, class change or level up a unit if you have at least one face-up card of that unit’s colour in your Bond Zone (you can’t deploy Shiida if you do not control at least one Red Bond).


  • It is only okay to deploy, class change or level up a unit if you control at least one bond that is the same colour as the unit you want to deploy (you can only deploy cost 4 Lucina if one of the four bonds you control is at least Blue).


  • A face-down bond (flipped by the cost of skills) does not count as any colour while it is face down, but still counts towards the amount of units you are able to deploy, class change or level up, however, if all the bonds in your bond zone are face-down you cannot deploy any units (using the same above example, you can deploy the cost 4 Lucina if you control at least one face-up Blue bond, even if the other bonds are face down).

---Class Change / Level Up and Other Deployment Rules---
Promotion Example.png

In the example shown above, Cain (Cost 1) class changes to Cain (Cost 3) [Doing this only requires 2 Bonds of deployment for the turn, as it is a Class Change and not a normal deployment]

[Class Change / Level Up and Other Deployment Rules]

---Class Change---

  • A Class change is the action of placing a unit with a promotion cost on top of a unit with the same character name as a unit you control (this uses the bottom of the two numbers in the top left-corner (the promotion cost) instead of the top number (the deploy cost)).
  • Note - Remember to keep in mind that a Class Change cost also counts towards the amount of units you may deploy in a single turn (in reference to the rules listed above).


  • Whenever you class change a unit, you draw a card as a bonus for class changing. If there are any skills that activate on the instance of class changing, the bonus draw for class changing is prioritised before the skill activates.


  • In the same turn, you can place down a unit and class change that unit, however, you have to pay for both deployment costs as two separate costs (placing down Marth cost 1, and then class changing him into Marth cost 4, these actions count as 4 bonds of deployment for the turn).


  • A promoted unit (a card with a promotion cost) can also be played without using the promotion cost, using the normal regular deployment cost instead.
  • However, they will not be considered class changed (class change skills do not become active) and you do not draw a card when they are played.


  • You are allowed to class change your Lord with another promoted copy of your Lord.


  • You can perform as much class changes as you want to your units on the field as much as you want (even during the same turn) and even draw a card each time you do it (as long as it is the same character with a promotion cost).
  • But you must pay all the promotion costs as per usual for that turn (You can play down Cost 3/2 Ike on top of Cost 1 Ike and then place a Cost 6/4 Ike on top of the 3/2 Ike, but the amount of bonds needed for this is 6).


  • The current card that remains on the top of a unit that is class changed or levelled up can only use the skills from the current card (the skills of the cards below the current unit do not take effect).


---Level Up---

  • Levelling Up is similar to a Class Change, except you place a card with the same name without a promotion cost on top of a unit you control (Cost 1 Tiki -> Cost 5 Tiki).


  • Unlike Class Change, you do not gain a class change bonus for levelling up (you don’t draw a card).


  • You may level up your Lord just like any other unit (if your Lord whose higher level card has no promotion cost, you can only level up to get to that stage, the best example for this is Ranulf)


---Other Deployment Rules---

  • You may also ‘level down’ a unit by placing a unit with a lower cost on top of a unit you have on the field. This does not trigger class change bonus, unless the card itself has a promotion cost.


  • The current stack of a unit you control is equal to the number of cards underneath that unit plus the card on top.
  • If you have 4 Ike cards under your current Ike, his stack is 5, which allows Ike to use LvlS skills that have a requirement of 5 stacks.

Action Phase

The Action Phase consists of using the skills of your units (depending on the requirement and type of skill that a unit has, a Skill could be used in any phase, not just the Action Phase), moving your units from the front line to the back line and vice versa and attacking your opposing player’s units with yours. The player who starts the game cannot declare an attack.

---Notes on this Phase---

[Notes on the Action Phase]
  • While you’re considering what cards in your Bond Zone to flip-down for the cost of Skills keep in mind the following:
  • Colour Restrictions on the kind of units you can play.
  • When a bond is flipped face-down, you cannot return it face-up, without the use of a skill (currently, only Cost 3 Nowi can return a bond, even if face-down to your hand)
  • Both players can look at either player’s face-down bonds at any time during the game.


  • There are four different actions a unit can take during the Action Phase:
  • Attack an enemy unit (requires the unit to be tapped to attack)
  • Activate their Skills, if any can be activated
  • Move to a different row (front line to back line or vice versa, which requires the unit to be tapped)
  • Do nothing (you don’t actually have to do anything with a unit, it can be for the sake of being there)


  • In order to move a unit, you must tap (rotate the card to a horizontal position from a vertical one) that unit (to signify that unit has performed an action) and then you may move the unit from the front line to the back line, or from the back line to the front line.
  • You cannot move a unit that is already tapped, unless it is by a skill.


---Rules of Attacking---

[The Rules of Attacking]
  • To conduct an attack, you must tap a unit (just like moving a unit - you cannot attack and move in the same turn unless you use a skill to move that unit).
  • A unit can only attack a row dependant on the range the unit has.


  • A unit with a range of 1 means the unit can only attack the row directly in front of them (Your 1-range unit in the front line can only attack enemy units in their front line)
  • A unit with a range of 2 means the unit can only attack the row two spaces in front of them (Your 2-range unit can only attack the enemy front line from your back line, or the enemy back line from your front line.
  • A unit with a range of 1-2 have the most options to attack, as they can attack an enemy right in front of them or attack an enemy from a distance, from either the front or back line.
  • Note: Without the use of a Skill, you cannot attack from your back line to the enemy back line.


---Battle Steps---
Attack Phase Example.png
[Shown in the example above, Chrom can only attack Shiida in the row in front of him, and Virion can only attack the row two spaces ahead of him]

[The Steps in Battle - Part 1]
  • The Steps of a Battle - Declare Attack -> Activate Skills -> Both players Support -> Activate Support Skills -> Optional Critical Hit -> Optional Evade -> Result (Hit or Miss)
  • To declare an attack, simply tap a unit you wish to attack with, and declare an enemy that your unit can attack depending on the range of your unit.


  • If any of your unit's skills can activate when you declare an attack, activate your skills, then if any of your opponent's skills can activate at this moment, they activate after yours. (This is important as if two AUTO skills activate at the time you declare an attack, you have the priority as you are the one declaring an attack).


Support Example.png

[In the above example, Marth with 70 Attack is battling and gets supported by a Shiida with 30 Support. Marth's total Attack is now 100 for that battle.]]

[The Steps In Battle - Part 2]

---Supporting---

  • Both players flip the top card of their deck and place it in the support area. If any support skills are revealed, the order of skill priority goes to the player attacking first, then the defending player (your Support Skills activate first, then your opponent’s Support Skills activate, if any.
  • Each player’s support is added onto the Attack of the respecting attacking / defending units.


  • A character cannot support themselves.
  • In short, a Chrom card may not support a Chrom, even if they are different cards, as long as the character name is the same, the support will be considered a failed support, which is then sent to the Retreat Zone.
  • A failed support does not add any Attack to your unit and no support skills can be activated if there are any.


---Critical Hit---

  • After supports are added onto attack, the attacking player may choose to perform a Critical Hit.
  • You do this by discarding a card with the attacking unit's name (as long as the card has the same character name but different title you can still use it).
  • If they do so, then the Attack of the attacking unit is doubled (since this is after the Support is added on, everything is doubled, including Support and any skills that boost the units attack) until the end of the battle.
  • Critical Hits are especially useful for giving your low attack units just enough attack to defeat your opponent's high attack units.


---God-Speed Evasion---

  • When your unit is about to be defeated, the defending player may now choose to perform an Evade.
  • You can do this by discarding a card with the defending unit’s name (the exact same rules as when going for a critical attack).
  • If they do so, then the current attack is “nullified”.
  • As a result of doing this, the battle automatically ends and the next unit that hasn’t performed an action can attack, if any.


---Battle Calculation---

  • After all of the above steps, and assuming that the defending unit did not perform an evasion, the attacking unit’s attack is compared to the defending unit’s attack.
  • If the defending unit has higher Attack, then nothing happens and both units are still on the field. Your attacking units do not get defeated if they are not able to defeat an enemy unit (you aren’t punished for not defeating an enemy unit).
  • If the attacking unit’s Attack is greater or equal to the defending unit’s Attack, then the defending unit is defeated as a result of battle.
  • If a unit gets defeated as a result of battle, and if that unit is not the Lord, that unit is sent to the Retreat Area.
  • If the unit being defeated is your Lord, instead of being sent to the Retreat Area, the defending player must take an card from their Orb Area and put it into their hand. If the defending player cannot take an card from their Orb Area because there aren’t any cards to take, then they lose the game.


  • Finally, any skills that activate when the attacking unit defeats a unit in battle (they also activate when a Lord is defeated) and any skills that activate when a character is defeated by an attack activate now (The turn priority rule takes effect, so the attacking unit activates their skills first).
  • After these skills resolve (if any skills are available to activate), regardless of the outcome determined above, both players send the Support card used for this battle to the Retreat Area.

End Phase

[The End Phase]
  • After the player is done performing an action with all their units, they may begin their End Phase.
  • Any Skills that activate now activate, and any Skills that stop being active at the end of the turn now stop being active (such as Attack boosts).
  • You may now proceed to your opponent’s turn, where it is now your opponent's Beginning Phase.

Forced March

A “Forced March” occurs when a player has no units on the front line during their opponent's turn, where all of the player’s back line units are forced to move to the vanguard. This is NOT optional and must occur.

[Forced March]
  • A “Forced March” also taps all of your units while moving them up.
  • “Forced March” does not occur during your turn. If at the end of your turn you have no units in the front line, you must perform a “Forced March” at the start of your opponent’s turn.

Special Notes

[Special Notes]
  • At any moment where a player runs of cards in their Deck, the player takes their retreat area, shuffles it, and uses that as their new deck.
  • This takes priority over everything in the game, and interrupts what currently is going on in the game (e.g, when you draw the last card of your Deck, or when you place the last card of your Deck in the Support Area, you immediately refresh your Deck).
  • Afterwards, the game proceeds as normal.


  • If at one point two Skills activate at the same time, the owner of those units gets to decide the order in which these skills resolve (If both Cost 4 Soren and Cost 4 Elise can activate their Skills at the start of a turn, you can decide which Skill to activate first).


---Skills that Destroy Units---

  • When an skill simply “destroys” a unit, you may select a Lord as long as the Lord can actually be targeted by that skill.
  • For example, Camus can only select cost 2 or lower units, so if their Lord is currently a 3 Cost or higher, then it would not be able to be targeted.
  • However, in the case that a Lord does get targeted by a skill that destroys a unit as a result of battle, then the player who owns that Lord must add an orb to their hand, as if it had been defeated via battle
  • You cannot discard a copy of a character you control when that unit is targeted by a destruction skill. The process is unavoidable, and always goes through (If your lord is targeted this way, and you have no cards remaining in your Orb Zone left, you lose the game).


---Skills that Deploy Units---

  • When a skill gives you the option to deploy a unit (so far it's only from the Retreat Area), you may pick any unit, as long as it's within the restrictions of the Skill.
  • For example, Princess of Altea, Elice allows you to deploy a cost 2 or lower Red ( Red ) unit from the Retreat Area.
  • Another good example is Godly Child of the Final Light Flame, Corrin (Female), where she allows you to deploy any unit as long as it's deployment cost is cost 3 or lower from your Retreat Area after paying the requirement (Tap this unit, flip 2 bonds).
  • Deploying via these skills are not restricted by the Bonds (face-up or face-down) you control, as long as you pay the requirement to activate the Skill, you're good to deploy what you want.

---About Double Orb Breaking---

  • When an attacking unit wins a battle against a Lord and the unit has an skill active that allows the unit to break two orbs instead of one (via support skill or a unit skill), then that player will NOT win if the defending player had one orb left before the attack.
  • The one orb will break as per normal. This is because the skill states that it only breaks two orbs, rather than dealing damage.


---Unavoidable Attacks---

  • While your opponent has a Skill active that causes their unit's attack(s) to be unavoidable, and that unit attacks you and defeats you successfully you cannot perform an Evasion.

If you are still nervous or iffy about the rules, then go and watch a few games on Lackey - you can find information on how to set it up here: [1]
You can also have someone explain the rules to you, and perhaps actually get into a game as playing the game is better than reading the rules.
If you have any further questions, such as something to do with card rulings or how to play the game you may ask them here.
A majority of Fire Emblem Cipher players have a community Discord of sorts here, which you can join by using this link -> You can get an instant response about card rulings or deck building inquires (we also host small tournaments from time to time so it can get busy).
If you have any further messages, or need help be sure to contact me on the Serenes Forest forums. (You can reach my profile here)

This page is constantly updating, so be aware of any changes that may happen. These rules are written by FutureKnightX and polished by TheVinceKnight.