Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bravely Default: My End-Game Team

With the amount of boss fights in the last four chapters, you'll need a solid team to take them on.  This one fits the bill quite nicely.  It would be a "glass cannon" build were it not for the rock solid support it carries.

Because, as a friend of mine put it, I am a "power-player", this build requires mastered jobs across the board.  You want to have all your options open to you.

We deal lots of damage with this build, and that's accomplished by having two Vampires with Swordmaster as their job command.  The genome abilities White Wind, Firaja, Blizzaja, Thundaja, and Aeroja are what they'll be using most.  That's right, our damage dealers are also our healers.  White Wind is simply the best healing spell in the game, and it's too good to pass up.  These guys use the Swordmaster's Free Lunch to make all their spells free, so that 99 MP cost of Firaja, Blizzaja, Thundaja, and Aeroja (collectively, the -ja spells) is completely a non-issue.  In fact, this build uses zero MP whatsoever.  It uses BP, free abilities (including those which have become free via Free Lunch), and items.

As for support abilities, the only real requirement is Monster Ability Up, but a close second is Pierce M. Defense.  Other useful ones are Drain Attack Up (for BP-denying non-boss, non-undead enemies), Status Ailment Amp (a fair number of the genome abilities inflict status conditions), and both Absorb P. Damage and Absorb M. Damage.  Stop Immunity also comes in handy towards the end of the game...

Equipment is simple.  Boost that M.Atk as high as you can.  I have two Magic Knives on each, with a Circlet, Black Robe, and Heike Gloves.

To make this party build not a "glass cannon" build, it needs a lot of support to make it survivable, and we gain rather high survivability from a Salve-Maker whose job command is Spiritmaster.  Whether you're compounding things together, protecting the whole party from elemental damage or status conditions, or boosting the Vampires' elemental attacks, you'll want this character doing something every turn.  What exactly needs to be done is entirely dependent on the enemies you're facing.

Compounding up some Giant's Drafts is incredibly useful, both for increasing survivability, and boosting the heal from your Vampires' White Wind.  Inducing an elemental weakness on enemies adds extra damage.  Some enemies are weak to Dark, so making some Shadowflares would not be a bad use of your time.  One item you can make through Compounding is called Resurrect, and resurrects the target with 5000 HP.  This 5000 HP is subject to Healing Lore and Holy One, making it handy if someone gets knocked out.  Just remember to follow it up with a Giant's Draft if the battle necessitates them.  Last but not least, if you truly need them, Resurrect (the ability, not the Compounding item) and First Aid are great for recovering from an adverse situation.  Widen Area is of use as well.

As for the Spiritmaster side of things, Enigma, Fairy Ward, and Fairy's Aid are your go-to abilities.  Stillness comes in handy in the odd fight, like against anyone who uses Reflect.  Use it after Reflect goes up, and wait it out while buffing and healing the party.  Reflect usually only lasts three or four turns, sometimes five.

Support ability-wise, Holy One is useful because it stacks with Healing Lore, although your primary source of healing will be from the Vampires.  This character can make use of any amount of extra Speed you can afford to give them.  Also helpful against the Time Mage is Stop Immunity.

As far as equipment goes, speed is key.  You want this character to be able to set up something on each turn, before anything else happens.  Thus, I have two Falcon Knives, a Red Cap, a Kenpo Gi, and Hermes Shoes on this character.

Last but most certainly not least: This build is far more powerful if you can spend lots of BP.  Thus, I have a Performer with the Freelancer job command.  Basically, every turn, this character will use My Hero followed by Mimic, to give the rest of the party 2 BP.  In some cases, you'll want to Examine before starting things up proper, so having Freelancer around covers that as well.

One absolutely critical support ability for this character is Hasten World.  The My Hero + Mimic combination doesn't work without it.  Other than that, you can bring whatever you want.  I took the decidedly odd route of Shield Lore, Dual Shields, and then one slot that I rotate between things depending on what I need it to be.  If I don't need anything in particular, I slap on Speed 10% Up.  This is also a good place to put Dungeon Master to avoid environmental damage and traps.  Just remember to change it out before a boss fight.  The same note about Stop Immunity applies here as well.

Because I took the dual shields route, this character wields two shields.  I use a Bloody Shield alongside an Aegis Shield.  Keeping with the theme of defense, we round out the equipment with a Royal Crown, a Crystal Vest, and a Barrier Shroud.

With this setup fully in place, you'll be able to use 4 BP with all characters on every turn.  This equates to 28 uses of the -ja spells in two turns.  Assuming they all deal 9999 damage, that's 279972 damage, which pleases me greatly.  However, because of defenses and having to debuff the enemy and buff ourselves, we'll pretty much always not get that damage figure.  Still, it should be relatively high and well worth it.

The main weakness of this party is physical damage.  Even with the defense-oriented setup, the Performer/Freelancer will still eat damage.  Our only real recourse is to use Giant's Drafts to make the party be farther from death at any given point in time, and then use copious amounts of healing, which White Wind is quite proficient at doing.

Choosing a -ja spell to spam is fairly simple.  Look at the enemies.  Assuming you've been using Examine on everything the first time you encounter it, boss weaknesses should already be known by this point.  If there are no weaknesses, or the weaknesses are Light and/or Dark, pick the one you like best.  Otherwise, go with what exploits an already present weakness.  For Orthros, since one of its heads is weak to fire and the other is weak to water, you'll want to induce one of those weaknesses in the other head, and then spam the matching spell.

One of the best things I've been doing with the Vampires is staggering their use of Free Lunch in fights with physical damage that I have to worry about.  This way, on every turn after the first, one of them uses Free Lunch, while the other still has it active from the previous turn.  The Vampire with Free Lunch still active uses White Wind followed by three of whichever -ja spell you've chosen, and the Vampire using Free Lunch follows it up with three of whichever -ja spell you've chosen.  This builds a potent source of party healing into your actions on every turn, while still maintaining a high damage output.  The result is that enemies have to really try to get your health down low, and most of them aren't up to the challenge.

As far as what to lead off with on the Salve-Maker, it's entirely dependent on the battle.  If the enemy has lots of physical damage, one Giant's Draft per party member.  If they have elemental damage, Enigma.  If you're worried about status conditions, Fairy Ward.  On the second and third turns you should generally use one of the remaining ones that I've mentioned, unless you know for sure you can take the enemy down quickly.  You can use Fairy's Aid twice in one turn to boost both Vampires' damage output.  Try to induce an elemental weakness either just before or just after that.  Then, it's down to using what's right for the situation, refreshing buffs/debuffs as necessary.

One boss to watch out for is the Swordmaster.  If he uses Know Thine Enemy and he's by himself, your group-cast-only -ja spells will count as a single-target attack and he'll counter if he chose one of your Vampires.  To deal with the inevitable, throwing Reraise onto your Vampires would be prudent.

During the boss gauntlet of Chapter 8, two battles stand out among the rest.  The one with the Salve-Maker, Conjurer, Summoner, and Spell Fencer is tough because the Salve-Maker will use Fire Bane on your entire party just before the Summoner uses Promethean Fire, which can result in an instant party wipe.  The solution I found was to use Giant's Drafts on the first turn.  You'll be way down on health on turn 2, but use two White Winds from the same character (the second one will be twice the power of the first), and Enigma, and you'll claw your way back up in relatively little time.  Keep the damage output as high as possible and you'll prevail.

The second battle that stands out is with the Red Mage, Arcanist, Spell Fencer, and Vampire.  Your success here depends entirely upon using Fairy Ward on the first turn.  Do so, and you win.  Omit it, and you lose.  It's your call.

With support ability modifications and adapting your strategy to the situation, this build works for a good number of the nemeses as well.  The level 99 version of Mammon is a bit tricky since you have to use Stillness at the right time to avoid Death Claws, but assuming you manage that, it's possible.

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