Four characters posing in Trails of cold Steel: NW
Image via Nihon Falcom

Trails of Cold Steel Northern War Tier List

Picking a squad that can win the war.

Fans of mobile gacha-style games have been flocking to Trails of Cold Steel NW, the latest party-based combat game in the Legend of Heroes Trails series. If you’re getting into the game but feel a little overwhelmed by the wide array of characters, read on for my complete Trails of Cold Steel Northern War Tier List. 

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Tier List of all Heroes in Trails of Cold Steel Northern War

TCS NW official art featuring the four main characters: Lavi, Martin, Iseria, and Talion
Image via Nihon Falcom

Note that, in general, heroes in-game marked as SSR are better than SR heroes and in most cases, you should avoid putting any time and resources into R heroes. However, depending on your play style, synergies will often outweigh individual abilities - this is a squad-based game, after all. Also, as is always the case with gacha games with many characters, there are no right answers. Play the way you want to play, as putting together a full team of S-rank heroes is not going to be necessary for success until you start hitting mid to late-game content.

Best heroes in Trails of Cold Steel NW

visiting town to go gacha shopping in Trails of Cold Steel: Northern War
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

I’ve listed some of the best heroes in each tier below, highlighting their strengths to show why you might consider adding them to your squad.

RankHero Name 
SAgate Cosner, Alex Dudley, Alissa Reinford, Ennea, Lloyd Bannings, Olivert Reise Arnor, Rean Schwarzer, Ries Argent, Rufus Albarea, Sigmund Orlando
AAlan Richard, Alfin Riese Arnor, Duvalie, Elie MacDowell, Fie Claussell, Garcia Rossi, Joshua Bright, Julia Schwarz, Klaudia von Auslese, Laura S. Arseid, Mireille, Mueller Vander, Tio Plato, Wazy Hemisphere
BAeolia, Anelace Elfead, Claire Rieveldt, Elliot Craig, Estelle Bright, Kevin Graham, Kirika Rouran, Lechter Arundel, Randy Orlando, Renne, Rixia Moa, Rogan Mugart, Scherazard Harvey, Scott, Shirley Orlando, Towa Herschel
CGilbert Stein, Grant, Josette Capua, Lynn, Martin S. Robinson, Michel, Morgan, Noel Seeker, Tita Russel, Toval Randonneur, Zin Vathek
DDouglas, Ernest Reis, Gareth, Imperial Army, Iseria Frost, Lavian Winslet, Mishy, Northern Jaegers, Red Constellation, Talion Drake

S-Tier

Checking out Rean in Trails of Cold Steel: Northern War
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

All the heroes in the S-Tier are worth investing in as soon as you get them. They’ll be stars of your squad right up to the end game content and you’ll see them in the teams of the most successful players. 

  • Alissa Reinford: Crowd control is a massive part of playing Trails of Cold Steel NW well, and Alissa is the queen of it. She also buffs her own already strong magic attacks, making her one of the best magic users in the game. 
  • Ennea: A good squad needs a top ranger putting out massive DPS damage and they don’t come much more lethal than Ennea. She’ll put out a constant stream of damage, allowing your tanks and support characters to do their thing alongside her. 
  • Rean Schwarzer: Rean is generally considered to be one of the best heroes in the game thanks to being so well-rounded. Who doesn’t love a character that has no weaknesses, and who is also the best assassin in the game with high DPS?  

A-Tier

Checking out Laura in Trails of Cold Steel: Northern War
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

The heroes in the A tier are either just a step down from their counterparts in S-Tier or are the best in their field but have a niche skill set that not every player, or every situation, demands. Investing in them is rarely a bad idea, but your personal squad choices may mean you can overlook some of them.  

  • Elie MacDowell: It’s rare that you’ll find the best healer in a squad game outside the S tier, but that’s where Elie has landed. Her problem is you need a strong supporting cast to keep her alive, as she’s squishy if unprotected. If the rest of your squad can keep her alive, she’ll return the favor!
  • Fie Claussell: You’ll see Fie in many top-tier squads thanks to her excellent speed and evasion stats, which complement her ability to have high strength (if you put the effort into raising it). 
  • Laura S. Arseid: Many players will stick with Laura right up to the end game, as her tanking ability is up there with the best of them. Lloyd and Sigmund are probably better on points, but Laura’s Life Leech and sustain abilities help her keep herself and her teammates upright. 

B-Tier

Checking out Noel in Trails of Cold Steel: Northern War
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

These characters will do a job for you and will get you through much of the game’s content. However, there will always be a better option so invest in them wisely and be sure to look out for a replacement from the A and S tiers above.  

  • Elliot Craig: Some players will be surprised to see Elliot so far down on my list, as he is a solid hero with strong support abilities. However, the fact he can heal and buff you end up with a hero that is a jack of all support skills, but master of none. He is a great option if you feel that you can live without a top-tier healer.
  • Renne: Rene is a nice example of a hero that will massively appeal to some players and be ignored by others, depending on your style of play. She is complicated to play, being a magic user with Inhibit and Life Leech skills, but in the right squad setup, and played well, she can shine. 

C-Tier and D-Tier

Checking out Gareth in Trails of Cold Steel: Northern War
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

These are the heroes that we suggest you avoid investing in at all, if possible; they are all replaceable with better heroes that do a similar or the same job and that are also relatively easily accessible. You would only invest in these guys if you really love the character and are happy to enjoy the roleplay side of the game rather than worrying about having the best possible team in terms of performance. 

  • Douglas
  • Ernest Reis
  • Gareth
  • Gilbert Stein
  • Grant
  • Imperial Army
  • Iseria Frost
  • Josette Capua
  • Lavian Winslet
  • Lynn
  • Martin S. Robinson
  • Michel, Morgan
  • Mishy
  • Noel Seeker
  • Northern Jaegers
  • Red Constellation
  • Talion Drake
  • Tita Russel
  • Toval Randonneur
  • Zin Vathek

For more on the Legend of Heroes series here at Pro Game Guides, check out What order do I play The Legend of Heroes (Trails) games?


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Author
Image of Chris Marling
Chris Marling
Chris Marling is a writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience across newspapers, magazines, and websites. Based in the UK, he has written professionally on everything from tech to tearooms. But his real passion is gaming, going right back to the Atari 2600 - and especially RPGs and MMOs. He cut his teeth on games such as The Realm and Anarchy Online. But 20 years on still gets excited about exploring each new world. When not online, you'll find him gaming analog-style around the table. Chris has had five of his own board games published, including Pioneer Days and Armageddon.

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Trails of Cold Steel Northern War Tier List

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