Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bravely Default: Strategy with my End-Game Team

I posted a rather lengthy documentation of my end-game team, preferring to say things in paragraphs instead of presenting bulleted lists.  However, I didn't really touch on how to use it, for the most part.  I pointed out specific parts of the game where you'd want to do specific things, but no general advice.  So here, we have general advice.  This will mostly be a guide to the Salve-Maker/Spiritmaster, because party support takes a lot more expertise than beating the crap out of things.

Every turn will begin with the Salve-Maker/Spiritmaster doing something.  What exactly this is, however, depends on the situation.  Generally speaking, there are some go-to actions that you'll want to pick one of to lead off, depending on your knowledge of the enemies and general gamer intuition.
  • Use Compounding and combine a Beast Liver and a Dragon Fang, in that order, to make a Giant's Draft.  Now do this four times, and hit everyone in the party with one.  Doubling max HP puts everyone that much farther away from death.  This is my bread-and-butter first move when I don't know what else to do.
  • Put up Enigma.  If the enemies have potent sources of elemental damage, this will allow you to sidestep it, in most cases.
  • Fairy Ward.  Only a few enemies are bothersome with the status conditions, so this may end up being an action you use either just before or just after removing a status condition from an ally.  Protip: if you're good on health, you can leave Poison on for a little bit before removing it.
  • Fairy's Aid on the Vampires.  Combined with their Monster Ability Up and Pierce M. Defense support abilities, this should be enough to hit the damage cap.
  • Stillness is to be kept around as a "fuck you" button.  Although, to use it properly, you need to anticipate whatever large source of incoming damage it is that you want to completely negate.  Regardless, it's useful because it buys you two turns to heal up and buff the party, should you need them.
There are several Compounding recipes that are of use, after your priorities (whatever they may be, remember this is entirely dependent on the enemies you're fighting) are in place.
  • Potion + Phoenix Down = Resurrect
    • When things are going south, this will get someone up and heal them in one go.  The heal is subject to Healing Lore, so they'll come up with a maximum of 9999 health.  You'd be wise to follow it up with a Giant's Draft if you were using them on the fight.
  • Hi-Potion + X-Potion = Font of Life
    • Some enemies, particularly bosses, can dish out death faster than you can react.  If you can't strategize your way around the damage, hit the entire party with these to induce the Reraise effect.  You'll have to claw your way back into the fight, so having to use these is a sign that you should be doing something else to avoid the damage.  Still, if you use one at just the right time, it can save you some headache.
  • Insect Antenna + (elemental item) = (element) Bane
    • If Monster Ability Up, Pierce M. Defense, and Fairy's Aid combined aren't enough to hit the damage cap, chuck this on the enemy.
  • Demon Tail + Dragon Fang = Shadowflare
    • Some enemies are weak to Dark.  While in most cases you'll use one of the (elemental) Bane items on these enemies so your Vampires will have a weak spot to hit, if you have spare turns with your Salve-Maker, you can throw this at them.  It deals 5000 dark damage, and with the weakness in play it becomes 7500 dark damage, which is pretty decent all things considered.
Then, of the "rarely used, but sometimes comes in handy" class, we have the following:
  • Resurrect
    • This is the Salve-Maker ability, not the compounding item.  It will resurrect everyone who's dead, which is useful if your Salve-Maker happens to be the only one alive.
  • Widen Area
    • Sometimes you'll get hit with a party-wide status condition before you can put Fairy Ward up, so widening a Remedy is one step back to the beatdown train.
    • Widening an X-Potion, with Healing Lore involved, is also of general usefulness, especially if you're having to claw your way back into a fight after taking a particularly bad hit.  3000 health to the entire party!
  • First Aid
    • This is a pretty decent heal, that defers until the end of the turn.  Even if you have other actions set before it, the Salve-Maker will let everyone else, including the enemies, do their actions before using First Aid.  Note: If you queue this up multiple times in the same turn, it will intelligently choose a target and continue to heal whoever needs it most.
I already touched on the strategy I use for the Vampires in the more drawn-out battles, but I'll reiterate it here.  On the first turn, both of them use Free Lunch followed by three of whichever spell you're casting.  On the second turn, however, one of them uses White Wind, follwed by three of whichever spell you're casting, and the other uses Free Lunch (again, intentionally, even though they're already under its effect), followed by three of whichever you're casting.  Now that you have their use of Free Lunch staggered, continue doing that.  Both Vampires will alternate using White Wind, which in the vast majority of cases, should keep your party topped off on health.

The fact that they can keep the party at full health while still being able to dish out large amounts of damage is what makes them so powerful.  In an MMO, such a situation would be deemed imbalanced and patched away in a hurry.  But wait, exactly how much damage are we talking about?  Assuming you're hitting the damage cap, in one turn, one Vampire can deal 29997 damage.  Two of them combined can deal 59994 damage in one turn.  Most of the bosses you encounter during the later chapters only have around 80000 health, so two turns and they're toast.  The final boss has 200000 health, and 9999 damage * 3 uses per Vampire * 2 Vampires in party * 4 turns is 239976, so that means that in four turns, with wiggle room to get Fairy's Aid and potentially an (elemental) Bane up, you can kill the final boss.  It's that powerful.

This party build is also useful against all those high-level Nemeses, with the right strategy and minimal tweaking.  As I've already posted about, it can kill Early Spring; Teddy in six turns, factoring in two turns of Stillness.  That level 25 Mammon that everyone is sending because of the Elixirs?  Once you've got one you keep protected to get money, the rest die to three spells.  Leviathan being annoying with its phase where its M.Def is 9999?  Not an issue, thanks to Pierce M. Defense.  Level 80 Belphegor gets stuck casting Sloth and Diffusion Ray over and over while you use Enigma over and over and your Vampires kill it and heal the party.

There might be more damaging builds out there, involving Dark Knights or whatever, but this one is definitely viable and easy to use.  No matter what's thrown at you, you've either got a counter for it, or a way to deal with it.

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