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Building the Ultimate Party (FFIX)

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Building the Ultimate Party (FFIX)

Post by The Cap'n on Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:57 pm

In nearly every RPG, you always have a mixed batch of unique characters and IX is no exception. Now I’m not telling you to make the party that I use but rather point out all the pros and cons to each of the 8 main characters to help you guys create your own ultimate party that fits everything you like in you battle style by pointing out special abilities and skills that make them useful and useless.


So IX has given you 8 characters to play as but you can only play as 4 at a time and for 90% of the game, Zidane will be in the party so you only really have a choice to pick 3 characters for your party unless you’re in Memoria where you can pick whoever is in your party. Now since IX follows the Job Class system of several classic FF’s, each of the characters have their own unique set of skills and abilities to use in battle that separate them from the rest of the party making sure is little to no cloning of characters. Now we can separate each character into 2 groups with two sub-groups that help easily define the way they fight.

The Warriors
-Light Weight Fighters- Zidane and Amarant
--Heavy Weight Fighters- Steiner and Freya

Mages
-Summoners- Gartnet/Dagger and Eiko
--Attack Mages- Vivi and Quina

PART ONE OF FOUR
Light Weight Fighters

Zidane
The main hero of FFIX, Zidane is quick witted and has quite the weakness for the ladies but that does not outweigh his insane sense of caring and his firm belief to help those in need whenever they need it. Get used to using Zidane because he will be leading the party to fight the ultimate evil set in IX’s world and will be the head of the party for pretty much the entire game. Zidane is the game’s only Thief class character so you can already guess that Stealing is super important for him. In IX, stealing from enemies is extremely important because every single boss in the game carries rare and very powerful items that making your playthrough of IX so much easier.

Statistically, Zidane is a pure Physical character and should be doing just that. MP is never a concern with Zidane since his abilities are strictly for screwing with enemies moral and attacking so don’t worry about overusing skills. Zidane’s highest stat is without a doubt his speed and you’ll want to take advantage of it. Zidane will most likely be the first to make a move in every battle and because of his pretty high attack power, he can take down enemies in a heartbeat. Zidane can be related to a bullet, fast and powerful. He can also take a hit and still be standing, even against some of the toughest enemies in the game. Zidane’s other stats are well balanced, not remarkably high but not low either. His speed separates him from the rest of the characters so make sure you use it.

Equipment Wise, Zidane uses daggers and swallowtails in battle which are light weight weapons and can only equip light armor that focuses on helping keep his Defense, Speed and Strength high. As far as accessory equipment, Zidane can equip everything except female only items.

Skill wise, Zidane’s side abilities are very useful while his battle skills are questionable. In battle, Zidane has access to two abilites, Steal and Skill. Steal speaks for itself. Zidane will leap to a target and steal any of the items off that enemy to use at your pleasure. Like I said earlier, stealing is a major part of the game’s item collection so use this skill as much as you can. Skill however is a little awkward. Zidane has access to some predictable skills that are useful but others that are just plain useless and risky. As a thief, Zidane can use Flee, which can get you out of any fight (except scripted/boss fights) but you will drop some Gil as exchange. The other is Detect, which is super useful because it tells you what items an enemy has on them that you can steal. Sweet huh? Last super useful Skill is Thievery which is Zidane’s ultimate attack but it’s also his weakest. “Say wha-?” Yeah, well Thievery’s attack power is based on how many times Zidane has stolen items from enemies. So it can do damage between 1-9999 points of damage. Good thing is the more you steal, the stronger Thievery is and if you take the time to work on it, you can easily do 9999 every turn with Zidane whenever you please. Awesome. Well those are 3 of his super useful skills. His other Skills are What’s That!?, Sacrifice, Soul Blade, Annoy and Lucky 7. These abilities I recommend not using because they just waste your time and MP. What’s That!? causes an automatic back attack against enemies at any time. Sounds cool but it hardly works half the time so there’s no point in using it. Sacrifice is more risky than useless. Only use this if you are desperate. Zidane will give up all his HP and MP and fully restore the rest of the party. As much as that helps fit his character, there’s never going to be a moment in the game where you will be item deprived so using such drastic measures to help the party is not needed. Soul Blade helps only for a few boss fights. See, whatever weapon Zidane has equipped, if it has a special status effect, Soul Blade will cast that status effect on the enemy. Again, useful against earlier bosses but by Disk 3, pretty much all bosses and enemies become immune to some of these status effects thus making it a useless skill. Annoy is another dumb attack that causes an enemy to have the status effect Trouble. It’s useful for groups of enemies but not for single enemies and it’s also got a low hit rate and again, most enemies are immune to status effects by the end game so it’s a useless ability. Lucky 7 requires nothing but luck. Lucky 7 can do damage between 1 and 7777 but you need some good luck to make sure it can actually to some real damage to enemies. You’re better off just using physical attacks and Thievery to do damage.

Side skill wise, Zidane learns all the same attack skills and defensive skills all the other characters learn. He has no special “**** Killer” ability to do extra damage to certain monsters and his stat preventing abilities are the same as the other 3 warriors. See the warriors (Zidane, Amarant, Freya and Steiner) learn Bright eyes which prevents blindness and the 4 mages (Dagger, Eiko, Vivi and Quina) learn Loudmouth which prevents Silence. Zidane has a few exclusive abilities however. First, he’s got 3 Stealing abilities which help boost the percent rate of Steal. Mug, which does damage to a target when he steals from them, Bandit which improves the percent rate of Steal and Master Thief which gets Zidane to steal the rarer items from enemies. All three are super useful against bosses so make sure you have all three equipped at all times to help increase Thievery’s attack power. Another special ability Zidane learns is Protect Girls which speaks for itself. It’s basically cover for the female characters. So if Dagger, Eiko and Freya are low on health, Zidane will take the blow for them being the gentleman he is. Some skills you’ll want equipped on Zidane are Auto-Haste, Bright Eyes and the three Steal abilities. Auto-Haste is a great skill that keeps Haste cast on a character for the WHOLE BATTLE. Not even death will slow you down. Since Zidane is already a speed freak, making him even faster will take him from being a pistol to being a machine gun. Bright Eyes speaks for itself because if Zidane can’t physically attack an enemy then he’s useless since he’s purely physical.

Zidane has the most powerful Trance form of all the characters. What happens is Zidane’s Skill becomes Dyne in which his sneaky thief skills turn into ultra high powered physical attacks that can cause an extreme amount of damage to all enemies. His most powerful being Grand Lethal which causes 9999 damage no matter what. Problem is these skills cost A LOT OF MP. Grand Lethal costs around 60 MP and Zidane doesn’t have that high MP so it will be eaten completely by using these skills. Not to mention, later in the game, the other characters gain access to attacks that can do 9999 but for much lower MP making his Trance great for early bosses but useless for end game bosses.

In the end, Zidane is a speedy and well-rounded character. Learning abilities is not hard for him since he’ll be in the party from beginning to end and he’s got some well rounded attacks. You have no choice but to have him in the party but this strong of a character is hard not to use.

Amarant
An unemployed security guard turned criminal with a bad attitude, The Flaming Amarant is a proud warrior who heavily believes in the phrase, “The strong live and the weak die”. A mix of the Monk and Ninja classes, Amarant is a combination of two very deadly and fast warrior classes that make him a severe threat to every enemy on the battle field but also carries some very useful healing spells that can keep the party alive. Amarant is the final party member to join the group making leveling him up a little bit of a hassle since he’ll know nothing while the rest of your party will have about half their skills learned already but worth the end results for his impressive stats and attack skills.

Statistically, Amarant is the second most powerful character in the game compared to Steiner. Boosting high speed and strength, Amarant starts quick on the battle field and hits hard. Although not as strong as Steiner and not as fast as Zidane, he’s a great balance of both allowing Amarant to attack enemies like Steiner but with Zidane’s quick feet. Defensive wise, Amarant is a little higher than Zidane but has lower evasion and magic evasion. Not to mention, Amarant has the lowest Spirit of all the party members, meaning he won’t do that many critical hits compared to the others.

Equipment wise, Amarant uses tough knuckle weapons that rely on his own brute strength to tear enemies apart. Amarant can only equip light armor that helps boost his strength, speed and defense. As far as accessories, Amarant has access to pretty much all of them, even a few female only items that help him with his healing skills.

Battle Skills revolve around one for each of his classes. First is Flair, his Monk skills. Amarant’s Flair abilties are super useful for the most part. Amarant’s abilties are Chakra, Spare Change, No Mercy, Aura, Demi Glove, Curse, Revive and Countdown. Chakra is a great healing spell that not only heals HP but MP too making Amarant a human battery for mages. It’s a great way to help recover MP for a mage without using items and it only costs 4 MP. Spare Change is a risky attack. By sacrificing your own Gil stash, Amarant can do some pretty decent damage. It’s MP free, but it costs cash to use it and money is important in this game so it’s best not to use this attack. No Mercy is Amarant’s best attack without a doubt. It’s a pure physical attack and it’s long range allowing Amarant to attack from the back row and still do major damage. No Mercy’s attack depends on his level and weapon. The better the weapon and the higher his level, the stronger it is so it can cause 9999 and it only costs 12 MP so use it at your heart’s content. Aura is a great skill that casts Regen and Auto-Life on a target. It’s super useful to use and is an ability Amarant should cast when the battle starts against tougher bosses. Demi Glove is a little useless, it’s just Demi and Demi isn’t a great spell in IX so it’s best to avoid this skill. Curse is a mixed skill. It changes the weakness of any enemy but you never know the weakness and 9/10 you won’t have access to that element because the mages don’t have access to some elements and the warriors have no elemental attacks really. Revive is awesome. Amarant can revive a party member with a good amount of HP for 20 MP. Very helpful if you make Amarant a healer. Last is Countdown which is Doom and useless. It will hit but you can easily knock out enemies with normal attacks rather than wait for a timer to take them out. The main problem with Amarant’s abilities is that they can only target a single target which is a pain if you need to hit multiple enemies/party members. Power comes as a price with Amarant so he can heal but can only help one person at a time. The other ability Amarant can use in battle is Throw, which is from the Ninja class. What happens is if you’ve got a weapon in your inventory, Amarant can take that weapon and literally throw it at an enemy to do severe physical damage. Problem is if you throw that weapon, you lose it forever so make sure you use a weapon you don’t like. There are some special items out there that are made strictly for throwing so they’re good staples if your uncomfortable throwing actual equipment.

Side Skills that Amarant learns are a mix from each character. He learns pretty much all the “**** Killer” skills and immunity skills. He also has some pretty rare skills that he and only one or two other characters know. Counter is an ability all the warriors learn but Counter is special for Amarant because every single one of his weapons has Counter in it so it’s pretty important that Amarant has Counter equipped because that way he can knock around some punk how tries to mess with him or the party. Return Magic is a pretty amazing skill which causes Amarant to cast the spell the enemy just used on him. So if a monster hits him with Firaga, Amarant will counter with Firaga. It sucks though because some enemies are elementals so he’ll end up healing them rather than hurt them but it’s still a helpful skill against bosses like Trance Kuja and Ozma. He can also use Healer which makes his physical attack heal targets rather than hurt them. He can also learn Cover (A Heavy Weight Only skill) which makes him take damage for weaker characters. His unique skills however are Power Up and Power Throw. Power Up makes Chakra very powerful late in the game. Normally, Chakra can only heal a few hundred HP and double digit amount of MP but with Power Up, Chakra can heal HP in the 4 digit numbers and MP in the 3 digit numbers making helping mages super helpful. Power Throw makes Throw’s attack power higher. So say Amarant throws a Pinwheel for 2000 damage normally. Equip Power Throw and Amarant can do 6000-7000 points of damage. Problem is it costs a lot of crystal points at a whopping 19 points. Eye 4 Eye is another good skill for him because it boosts the chance of using counter. Equip Amarant with Bright Eyes and whatever skills you think will suit how you’ll want to use him as a healer or as a tank. Your choice.

In Trance, Amarant’s Flair becomes Elan which makes all his Flair skills target multiple enemies/party members. As awesome as that is to get everyone to have Auto-Life casted on them, to wait until he trances to do so is a pain in the ass.

In the end, Amarant is a very versatile character. He can hit hard, defend his friends, heal and revive and is the Counter master of the game. His stats are very well balanced but the amount of time it will take him to learn all his skills is a little frustrating since he joins so late in the game. But if you take the time to grind with him, you’ll find a very useful party member. Odd that the Lone Wolf is such a team player, don’t you think?


Next post, Heavy Weights Steiner and Freya. These Tanks may be slow, but holy fuck are they tough.

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Re: Building the Ultimate Party (FFIX)

Post by Archangel on Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:09 am

As I got later on in the story, my party setup was simple. Zidane bc you had too, Steiner bc of his Shock ability, Freya bc of her Dragon's Crest ability, and then either Eiko or Garnet for healing, but I preferred Garnet. Also if I was looking to deal even more damage without healing as much, I could throw in Quina with White Wind, or Frog Drop for a ton of damage

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