The Last Remnant army construction FAQ -ShinesmanOffWhite, May 29, 2009 (version 1.0.2) ------------------------------------------------------------------ ****5****1****5****2****5****3****5****4****5****5****5****6****5****7****5** Table of contents: I. About this guide. [I] II. "Big picture" construction. [II] -A. Large unions vs. many unions [IIA] -B. Union construction [IIB] -C. Formations [IIC] III. Character selection guidance [III] -A. Common arts [IIIA] -B. Unusual arts [IIIB] -C. Rare arts [IIIC] -D. Special arts [IIID] -E. Arcana [IIIE] -F. Availability [IIIF] IV. Specific characters [IV] -A. Characters that should generally be avoided ("Quick Fail") [IVA] -B. Characters that should generally be included [IVB] -C. Other leaders worth considering [IVC] --1. Basic recommendations [IVC1] --2. Advanced recommendations [IVC2] --3. Second tier [IVC3] --4. Not recommended [IVC4] V. Tables and lists [V] -A. Quick version of section IVC [VA] VI. For the record. -------I. About this guide. [I]------- The guide starts with some basic discussions on how to put together a battle party (sections 2 and 3). This is built from my experience having played through the game, from discussions on the GameFAQs message board, and from research on the wiki. I have not played through the game a thousand times and I do not claim to be an expert. This guide is primarily written for newer players on their first playthrough. This guide is meant to answer some frequently asked questions about constructing a battle party in the game The Last Remnant (TLR). I count 165 possible leaders and there are a similar number of soldiers, so picking eighteen is a mindnumbing task without some basic guidance. This guide was written for the PC version of TLR. The general advice may be applicable, but the specifics of the characters are sometimes quite different, so check the wiki first. This guide mentions of a "low BR game." There is more detail on this in other FAQs. Unlike low level runs in some other RPGs, this is a strategy for making the game easier by working with the dynamic difficulty system. While annoying to do, it is highly recommended. This guide has been given flags for quick searching. Search for the bracketed text. For example, to jump to the list of recommended characters, you would search for "[VA]" without the quotation marks. **NOTE** This guide should not contain any spoilers other than the names of potential party members and their abilities. -------II. "Big picture" construction. [II]------- Before we address specific characters, it's probably best to address the army as a whole. This partially sets the basis of what we are looking for in our characters. The first objective is to set up a group that will survive. Without precise control over actions, you will routinely run into situations where things do not go as you plan, so the first priority is keeping your unions alive or at least being able to restore them if they fall. There are two fights in the game which have strict time limits and there are some enemies which will constantly call reinforcements. At these times pure offense is important, but generall taking it slow is a better strategy. -A. Large unions vs. many unions [IIA] Once you have the skills to bring back dead unions, more unions is generally better than large unions. Early in the game, you will want larger unions because you will not have the ability to raise ones that fall and it may as well be "all or nothing." Later, once you have 15 members or so, a union should have at least three members. With less characters, AP will accumulate too slowly to use any but the most basic skills and the union will simply die too quickly. Most of the harder fights later in the game will have enemies with area attacks. Against these kinds of enemies, having big unions is meaningless since the union will take damage proportional to the number of members. In these cases, you should spread out your characters as thinly as possible, since in some cases only one union is targeted and you will take a lot less damage. Having more unions also helps control flanking, which helps control morale. Later in the game, especially if you choose to use the Enlightened Seven, there are several formations that have ludicrously powerful bonuses but require you to use five people in the union to unlock them. These may bring you back to a 5/5/5/3 setup to take advantage of these abilities. Picking characters to make these unions work is an incredibly complex task worthy of a separate guide unto itself. Without the seven, the bonuses from a properly constructed union aren't big enough to lose sleep over, and I beat the game on the first playthrough with everyone in Batwings formation, though Melee Stance probably would have worked just as well. -B. Union construction [IIB] Unions should be put together based on the skill they will use to attack. While 18 characters may seem like a lot, it's still not a large enough number that you can draw some away exclusively for special tasks like healing. It's generally better to mix those skills in with the rest of your army, since a dedicated support group will often get dragged directly into a fight they're not prepared for because the command to stay out of combat isn't guaranteed to show up. Unions should generally be either mystic attack or physical attack groups. Giving the unit consistent skills raises the likelihood that you'll get multiple arts when you tell them to attack with combat, mystic, or item arts. Item attack arts are a perplexing subset of the attack commands, and they can be very expensive to use. The only real benefit is that they do not require AP, which is sometimes helpful but rarely critical. Mystic attack unions should be capable of casting at least one arcana, and it is possible with certain leaders, such as Rush and Wyngale, to have a single union able to cast all of the arcana. This is not particularly useful. Blackout, the simplest attack arcana, is often capable of clearing the battlefield of all weaker enemies just as well as Crimson Flare, and it is substantially easier to execute. Crimson Flare does better damage, which is important for single powerful targets, but Blackout typically does the job on all weaker enemies and there are better ways to do damage to single powerful targets. Every union should, if possible, have at least one character with Vivification Herb or Hartshorn, and the union should also have a separate character capable of real healing. At late game, only Moonlight and Revitalize are powerful enough to restore a union to full. A common situation in harder fights is that the enemy will use an area of effect attack that will kill some unions and hurt others substantially. If each union has a reviver and a healer, the union can break out of the fight, raise a dead union, and then either top off the other union or heal itself. This way, more unions can be brought back into the fight the next turn without risk of them just dying again. Careful attention should be given to the person at the head of the union. Many skills, such as David's Gae Bolg or Rush's Omnistrike, can only be used if the person is the leader. The leader also has a strong inflence over what commands will be available. For example, if the leader is a Paladin, the "Defend" command may be available. It is a special command that only unions led by certain classes can use. A character in a mystic class, such as a Thaumaturge, will almost always get the option to "attack with Mystic arts!" and other appropriate basic commands. -C. Formations [IIC] There are simply too many formations to go into great detail here, but in general, a formation will have effects based on the placement of the characters, as listed in the description. If there is a formation that is "effective against" an enemy you are fighting, such as Cup of Celapeleis for Beastmen, then give it a whirl. It's not specified, but the expectation is that it gives a 20% damage bonus. One formation is worth specifically mentioning because it is unusual and very useful for learning skills. The Mystic Seal formation is not easy to get, but it reduces your attack and magic attack to zero. Your basic attacks do not do damage, and all of your other attacks (except items) are weakened. This is useful for prolonging fights and learning skills in low BR games. Especially if you are using a small union setup, such as 4/4/4/3/3 at 18, the focus of formation choice should be on avoiding penalties rather than on maximizing bonuses. Especially with the smaller unions you can choose setups where none of your characters are in a location that gives a penalty, such as Wedge for three member combat arts unions. Wedge gives bonuses to characters in the first three positions, but penalties to the characters in the last two positions, so if there is no one there to be penalized it only gives bonuses. Very late in the game, there are formations available that have powerful effects. These work off of formation modifiers, which I will mention briefly but do not plan to dwell on. Many of these setups require use of the Enlightened Seven, characters that are only available at the end of the game. They can be ignored for the initial playthrough, but might be worth considering on hard mode. Trident formation is one of the few "power" formations that does not require the Seven. Formation attributes are simply flags on a character that let them activate the more advanced forms of formations. For example, Mystic Henge III requires that the formation have at least four members with the mystic attribute, three members with the special attribute, and one Sovani. There are five basic flags: Special, Mystic, Recovery, Physical, and Speed. Many characters have all five. The Seven have a distinct flag, and race and gender also act as flags for some formations. You could construct Mystic Henge III with David, Emmy, Blocter, and Torgal, since there's one Sovani and all of the characters have all of the attributes. If you replaced Blocter with Jager, who doesn't have the special attribute, it would still work fine. You could even use McGrady, since he has the Mystic attribute. I haven't listed the character's attributes here, but they're all on the wiki if you need them. -------III. Character selection guidance [III]------- There are more playable characters in this game than Chrono Cross and Shining Force combined, and that's saying something. Like those venerable games, though, the vast majority of characters in TLR are pretty useless, and separating the excellent from the humdrum takes some time. This section goes into some detail on what you should consider when selecting a group of 18 to work with for the long haul. As a helpful rule of thumb, characters that have a little "background story" on their status screen are almost always worth considering. These are generally referred to as "unique leaders." Unique leaders tend to get new skills as the BR increases and tend to be just plain better than the "vanilla" leaders and soldiers. There are 51 leaders that I list as "worth considering." While some of them are just better than others, in many cases there are tradeoffs and there is no consensus on which characters are ideal, though there are some characters that rarely get left out. Instead of saying which characters to use or not, this guide will give guidance on what you should look for when picking those characters. -A. Common arts [IIIA] These four groups of skills are very easy to find, but they are all quite useful. Almost all of your characters will have two or three of these to start. Combat arts Pretty much every character in the game learns combat arts based on the weapon they have equipped. These include things like Emma's "Knee Splitter" attack. They are mundane, and they never do anything but raw damage unless the weapon itself has a bonus, but they will be the source of most of the damage you do during the game. They rarely have any effect on the decision whether to use a character, because everyone either has them or will get them. There are some characters in the game that only have these basic combat arts. They are more or less worthless. An example is the leader Albert, a Pirate. While he may be useful for maintaining pirate/ninja equilibrium he is basically worthless as a character and can be ignored. There are several other arts which are almost as common and are similarly useful. While boring, they are include some of the most important skills in the game and you will want the majority of your characters to have these basic abilities. Herbs The first "staple skill" is herbs, which is the only one that Rush starts with. This skill can be used for healing and raising, two of the critical tasks mentioned above in the union construction section. If a character had herbs and attack skills and nothing else, they would still be a reasonable character to include in the battle party. There are probably better choices than Oakes, a character who has only herbs and combat arts, but you could use him to the end of the game without substantial complaint. The final herb art is an attack skill, Frost Tincture, which is not as good as any of the other high level item attack skills. Herbs is also solid healing at low levels. At high levels it is still useful, but pales in comparison to Revitalize and Moonlight. Remedies The second "staple skill" is remedies, which is usually first encountered as a potential recruit with McGrady. While remedies can't be used for raising reliably (120 AP and a high level skill), it can be used for healing and removingstatus ailments. Again, McGrady could be used until the end of the game without complaint, but there are probably better choices in the long run. Remedies becomes much more important near the end of the game, where Revitalize is the only commonly available skill that can fully heal a union with one action. Invocations The last "staple skill" is invocations, which Rush learns very early in the game. Unlike herbs and remedies, a character with only combat arts and invocations is still pretty worthless. Nora and Loki, unique leaders available early in the game, start with just these two. The point of invocations is that it is the basic mystic attack skill. Spark isn't that different from a combat art, but later arts like Caustic Blast can do incredible damage against large groups and arcana like Blackout can be key to victory. -B. Unusual arts [IIIB] The next set of skills you won't see quite as often, but in many cases they are only useful in certain situations. In many cases they are actually not as good as the basic skills or are simply too specialized to even want your entire army to have them. Evocations This is the other basic mystic attack. All of these arts are long range, meaning they can be cast without engaging the enemy. Some evocations, hexes, and psionics also work this way. Most of the higher evocations also cause status effects, but they tend not to do as much damage as the invocations. In general evocations is not very useful since invocations does more damage and hexes is better for status manipulation. The Whiteout arcana does more damage than Blackout, but it requires four people instead of three. Hexes The lower level hexes inflict some status ailments and deal damage that is weaker than invocations, but it is the high level hexes that make these arts worthwhile. Cachexia, the final art in the group, is the cornerstone of several strategies for some of the hardest bosses in the game. Hexes includes some morale modifiers, but they are not as good as psionics or traps. Many characters learn this skill later, which is extremely unhelpful when trying to learn the final art. Players planning on using Cachexia strategies should start with a character that already knows a lot of hexes, such as Yuniver, instead of building from the bottom, such as Blocter or Gaou who learn hexes later in their careers and start at the bare minimum. The "token hexers" like Blocter and Gaou can, however, be used to support the arcana Animalculae. Potions Overall, not a very useful group of skills. The effects of the stat boosts that they provide are not particularly impressive, and this skill is not generally very useful in itself. The one positive note is that using stat boosts is a way for a unit to avoid engaging in combat, and so long as you can afford to keep buying them, the potions are very easy to skill up. The final skill is an attack item art that is on par with the best explosives attack art at higher skill levels so grinding these to the top is not a wasted effort. Lotions This is in essence a combination of remedies and herbs once it is fully operational. The various skills heal various status ailments and hit points and the second to last skill raises a union. The problem with lotions is that it is difficult to learn from scratch, as a character has to use the cure poison lotion five or six times to learn the healing lotion and not that many enemies inflict poison status. Once operational, though, it is the most versatile healing art. Like potions and herbs, the final lotions art is an attack. While not incredible, it does good damage at high skill levels and 0 AP skills that pack a punch are critical in some fights. Eye Cream does heal party members, but it is one of the weakest healing effects in the game. -C. Rare arts [IIIC] It is entirely possible that you could build a solid 18 character group that does not include characters with any of the following skills. Many of them are found on only a handful of characters to start. Two of them, Psionics and Traps, are primarily used for morale control. Psionics This group has only one worthwhile effect, which is morale control. Three of the effects affect morale: bluff, addle, and mixed messages. Some of the other arts in this group are fun to play with, but the morale control is all this skill needs to be extremely useful. Only four characters of the 39 practical choices start with this skill. There is an arcana that uses psionics as an attack and some of the psionics inflict damage but this is generally not an attack skill. Wards Only two characters in the game start with this skill. One of them is not available until extremely late in the game and is impractical to use, and the other starts with none of the basic skills. That said, it's not that great a skill set for general running around and is only important for detailed strategies against hideously powerful enemies. Explosives The basic item attack skill is found on two of the 39 to start. Rush can learn it fairly early in the game, but the other two who use it are not available until well after the start. With some work, it can do damage on par with Evocations and like all item arts it does not cost AP. It is slow to level, the ingredients are expensive, and dedicated item attack art groups are inconsistent with actually using the command. All in all, though, this skill is not a big selling point since it is just damage, and not a spectacular amount of damage at that. The final lotions and potions item attacks are cheaper and almost as good, not to mention being easier and cheaper to skill up and having other useful effects. Shards Khrynia is likely the only character that will ever use this skill, as the only other character that starts with it is not available until extremely late and it is simply impractical to level it when each use can cost 3-4k gold. Moonlight is an extremely powerful healing spell and the attack shards do reasonable damage, especially against groups, but the healing effect is the only use of this skill set that is actually better than other abilities. Traps There are several characters that learn this skill, and like lotions this is awkward to get started. The basic trap is a single target knockout, and "Slam them with status effects" doesn't seem to come up very often unless you turn everything else off. In many ways, traps is like psionics in that the primary value is in the morale control skills. Land Mine also does decent but unremarkable damage. -D. Special arts [IIID] Unique abilities These two are lumped together because the distinction between them is minimal. The specifics of the arts vary somewhat, and they are discussed in the specific sections on the characters. The most obvious example of a unique ability is David's Gae Bolg, which is an attack that affects every enemy on the battlefield. The game uses a variety of terms to describe these abilities, but there are two basic types: abilities derived from an item and abilities specific to a character. A union that includes a character activating a unique ability or remnant art has unnatural evasion and will very rarely get hit. Summons (Character-specific) The first group of unique abilities is summons. Rush gets one during the storyline, and Jager and Emmy each get one during a quest. The summons themselves are virtually identical: they have 9999 hp, are not affected by status ailments (except enthrall), and do minimal damage. They are primarily important for battles where you need a tanking union. You can only have one summon out at a time. They die and are raised like any other union. To summon, a character must be the union leader, must not be engaged, and must have enough AP. The command does not come up very frequently, and having all three possible summons and summoners increases the chance of getting one. Special Attacks (Character-specific) This includes Rush's Omnistrike. There are several other abilities that have similar effects, including Lugh's Revenge, Hundred Flowers, and such. To activate these attacks, the user must be the union leader, must have enough AP, and must meet union morale conditions (either very low or very high). Other abilities (Character-specific) Some of the characters have powers that don't fit neatly into any of the broad categories and will be discussed below in the specific character descriptions. In general, though, they have the same "user must be union leader" requirement, and give the evasion bous. The most obvious of these is David's Gae Bolg ability. Weapon Arts (Item-specific) Some high level weapons have their own distinctive attacks. These can be best described as high level combat arts. Many characters, such as Blocter, never learn them because they do not have the right kind of weapon. The weapon arts from Remnants require the user to be the leader, but the weapon arts from normal weapons work from any position in the formation. A few weapon arts, such as Soulshield, give defensive bonuses instead of attacks. -E. Arcana [IIIE] Arcana are combinations of mystic arts that replace the original effects with a different effect. They can be quite powerful, but they can also be unfortunate when they trigger at the wrong time. Once they have been triggered once, they will sometimes come up as a specific option for a union's action. "High power" for this means the lowest level skill at rank V, the basic version of one of the three top skills, or a middle skill at middle rank. Any skill literally means any skill of that skill tree, however weak. For example, if Irina uses Revitalize II, Rush uses Restore, Maddox uses Refresh, and Paris uses Restore, the union would instead use Rejuvenating Water I if Irina is the leader. If anyone else were the leader, the members would just do the individual skills. If Gaou were in the union as a 5th member and was planning on attacking, his attack would not happen while the union did the arcana. Rejuvenating Water: Leader uses high power remedy, three supporting member use any remedy. Heals all friendly unions, removes all status effects except death, enthrall, and curse, and gives AP boost. (Minimum four characters) Animalcule: Leader uses high power hex, three supporting members use any hex. Deals damage and inflicts poison, silence, and paralyze on all enemies on the battlefield. (Minimum four characters) The rest just do damage to every enemy on the battlefield, listed in increasing order of damage: Blackout: Leader uses high-power evocation, two supporting members use any invocation or evocation. (Minimum three characters) Whiteout: Leader uses high power invocation, three supporting members use any evocation or invocation. (Minimum four characters) Fatal Eclipse: Leader uses high power psionics, one supporting member must use a hex, one supporting member must use an invocation, and one supporting member must use an evocation. (Minimum four characters) Crimson Flare: Leader uses Grenade Impact, one supporting member must use a hex, one supporting member must use an invocation, and one supporting member must use an evocation, and one supporting member must use a psionic. (Minimum five characters) -F. Availability [IIIF] While a secondary concern for making the ultimate team, when a character becomes available is important simply because the higher your BR goes, the slower your characters will grow. The later characters tend to have better starting stats, but they are generally much weaker than the early characters which have grown with your party. For comparison, at BR 80 when I beat the Enlightened Seven, Blocter had 2502 hitpoints and 163 strength in comparison with Zuido's 2051 hp and 113 strength (starting stats) and Milton's 1071 hitpoints and 96 strength (again, starting stats). While both of the members of the seven have unique abilities and in Milton's case a better weapon, Blocter outclasses both in raw numbers. Additionally, Blocter has mastered many of the skills available to him where Zuido and Milton are just getting started. In short, if two characters are otherwise similar, the earlier character is a better choice. -------IV. Specific characters [IV]------- The rest of this guide is simply building up to this section, which is intended to ask the basic question of "what characters should I use?" Most of the rest of this guide is simply a reference for making the decision of the final cut down to 18 members from the 300+ candidates. This section is split into several big subsections. For lists, see section V of the guide. -A. Characters that should generally be avoided ("Quick Fail") [IVA] Since there are literally hundreds of choices, the first stop in filtering characters is getting rid ofthe ones that simply don't pull their weight. Most of the characters in the game have very limited options in skills. While this isn't tragic in itself, it's usually pretty easy to find a character that does have more options. McGrady could easily be compared with Irina. Neither hits very hard and both have remedies. Irina also has traps, lotions, psionics, special abilities and so on. While 85% of the time the two characters are interchangeable, Irina has options where McGrady does not. It's generally easiest to just ignore all of the "vanilla" characters, but there are two that are worth listing (Ynfry and Aquarius). The soldiers can also generally be ignored. There is a second group of characters that should be avoided which are not QF, and those are the ones that are simply not available at the right time. Eight characters (the Enlightened Seven and Leucetius) are not available until very, very late in the game and by the time you get them your other characters will likely have developed beyond them. The last character that should generally be avoided is Emma, for reasons that will become obvious when playing through the game. -B. Characters that should generally be included [IVB] While many of the 18 choices are difficult, there is a core group of characters which are obvious winners and should almost always be included. For the skills, the notation "(learned early)" means the character learns it before BR 30 and the notation "(learned late)" indicates that they learn it after BR 30. In the end, the 18 choices should include: * At least five characters with "leader", one for each possible union. * At least five characters with "healer", one for each possible union. * At least five characters with "reviver" who are not also healers, again one for each possible union. This controls at least 10 of your character choices, since leaders could also be healers or revivers. The other eight could literally be anything at all. The following are also very helpful: * One to three characters with a strong morale control ability (i.e. high level psionics or traps). * One to three characters who will eventually be capable of casting the highest level hex, Cachexia. * As many characters as possible with non-remnant weapon arts. Again, these could overlap, so Paris is both a healer and a morale controller. It's generally best to not try to use the same character to meet more than two roles, so even if Emmy is potentially a leader, healer, morale controller, and Cachexia user, it's best to have her just do two of those things. Rush can, in theory, do any and all of this, but it's best to choose limited roles for him to work in. Having these basic abilities met is more important than choosing the "best" characters. Almost all of the characters listed as recommended can fit at least two roles, some many more. A "*" indicates that to use that role they will eventually learn a skill set that includes that role but don't start with it. All of these lists are in alphabetical order. *** Baulson (Physical, Reviver, Healer*, Weapon Art) *** Skill sets: Herbs, Remedies (learned early), Potions (learned late) Pro: Baulson is one of the earliest characters you can recruit in the game. He gets both herbs and remedies and hits hard. Con: The main problem with Baulson is that you can either have his final weapon or stick with the second best weapon and have a weapon art, so he's a little gimped either way. *** Caedmon (Physical, Mystic, Reviver, Healer*, Morale*) *** Skill sets: Invocations, Herbs, Potions, Remedies (learned early), Traps (learned late). Pro: With strong physical attacks, good healing abilities, and (like all Sovani) evocations, Caedmon is flexible enough to fit into any union. He's available early in the game. Con: His final weapon isn't very good. *** Emmy (Leader, Healer, Physical, Cachexia*, Morale*) *** Skill sets: Remedies, Hexes (learned late), Traps (learned late) Pro: Emmy gets powerful physical attacks, healing, a summon, and a unique attack (Hundred Flowers). Con: The frustrating question with Emmy is that if you plan to use Irina, both can make good use of the Nightbloom. Emmy also has to use 1-handed arts instead of focusing exclusively on dual-wield arts if you do give her the sword, since Snowpetal is a 1-handed art. *** Gaou (Physical, Leader, Reviver, Cachexia*, Morale*) *** Skill sets: Lotions, Hexes (learned late), Traps (learned late) Pro: Gaou has good stats, hits hard, and uses Obsidian which gives him a remnant weapon art. Unlike most lotions users, he starts with most of the arts and doesn't require skill grinding to be functional. Con: Eye Cream, his only direct healing ability, just doesn't cut it at the end of the game. *** Jager (Leader, Physical, Morale*) *** Skill sets: Psionics (learned late), Explosives (learned late) Pro: Jager uses Schiavona and does extremely good damage with it. He also gets access to a summon and has a unique attack ability (Beowulf). Con: Special abilities aside, Jager doesn't do much other than hit stuff. Then again, he hits for so much damage with Schiavona that you probably don't want him doing anything else anyway. *** Pagus (Leader, Healer, Reviver, Mystic) *** Skill sets: Invocations, Remedies, Herbs (learned early), Wards (learned late) Pro: Pagus gets access to both Remedies and Herbs (at BR 25) and can fill a large variety of roles within a union. He also gets Megalore, which is basically a one man Arcana, and access to Wards at BR 50. He's also available extremely early in the game. Con: Unlike many of the other mystic leaders, Pagus only gets Invocations and is somewhat lacking in offensive options. His physical attacks are pathetic. *** Paris (Healer, Mystic, Morale*) *** Skill sets: Remedies, Psionics, Invocations (learned late), Traps (learned late), Wards (learned late) Pro: Paris has been beefed up from the 360 version and is now a much better character. He is the first big psionics user available and gets access to wards at BR 50, so he gives access to some of the more exotic abilities in the game. Con: While good at meddling and healing, Paris is somewhat lacking when it comes to actually killing things and is limited to arts like Maledict which don't do much damage. *** Rush (All) *** Skill sets: Herbs, all others learned through quests. Pro: Unlike the 360 version, you can actually choose not to use Rush. He can do anything and be anything. He also learns a summon, has two innate special abilities, and can choose to learn many different weapon and remnant arts. Unlike the rest of the characters, his equipment can be directly modified. Con: Actually paying to upgrade equipment is annoying. He also learns some skill sets very late in the game, so he's less useful than he could be. Even though he can theoretically learn all skills, you must focus on just a few sets of skills so that he's actually good at something rather than bad at everything. *** Torgal (Leader, Physical, Morale*) *** Skill sets: Evocations, Potions (learned early), Psionics (learned late) Pro: Torgal has lots of health and does lots of damage. He's also available very early in the game. He can actually end up with two weapon arts, one of which is actually a unique ability (Lugh's revenge). Con: For a Sovani, Torgal doesn't have many skills. His lack of healing or raising abilities is a drawback, but not a crippling one. The main problem is that his weapon progression can get bugged and he can get stuck with subpar equipment. Do not give him weapons other than axes if he asks for them! -C. Other leaders worth considering [IVC] All of these lists use the same format as above. #1. Basic recommendations [IVC1]# These characters are solid picks that will get you through the game. In some cases, they are not the absolute best at what they do and there are better choices if you pick through the mechanics in detail, but these will get you through the game. Many of them are available early and may be worth using just to tide you over to the better characters if you don't plan on using them all the way through. *** Allan (Healer*, Physical, Mystic, Morale, Cachexia*) *** Skill sets: Invocations, Explosives, Traps, Shards (learned late), Hexes (learned late) Pro: Like most Sovani, Allan hits hard in physical combat. He also has a variety of item arts. Con: His only healing skill is Moonlight, and he doesn't learn shards for a long time. For the most part, he's just a physical attacker. *** Blocter (Reviver, Physical, Morale*, Cachexia*) *** Skill sets: Herbs, Hexes (learned late), Traps (learned late) Pro: Blocter is available early and is the only one that can equip the Wonder Bangle, a remnant that changes the duration of all ailments on the union to 1 turn. Worth using as a placeholder if nothing else. Con: Lack of a weapon art and a less than super final weapon mean that Blocter will never be a powerhouse attacker. *** Darien (Reviver, Healer*, Physical) *** Skill sets: Herbs, Lotions, Remedies (learned late), Potions (learned late) Pro: Available fairly early, Darien is an awesome-possum placeholder character since he has vivification herb when you recruit him. He's also rather easy to recruit and has both healing skill types. Con: The failboat arrives for Darien later in the game, when he is left hanging for lack of better weapons or really anything special. *** David (Leader, Healer, Reviver, Physical, Mystic) *** Skill sets: Herbs, Invocations, Remedies (learned late), Shards (learned late) Pro: Gae Bolg is a powerful weapon for winning early to mid game mass battles like Nest of Eagles. "Dave" also has a large variety of skills at his disposal. He has a weapon art and a unique attack, Ex Machina. Con: David is a "Jack of all trades, master of none." He has lots of basic skills, but doesn't have the focus to make any of them good. This is fine for the healing skills, but he lacks offensive punch. Unique Art, Gae Bolg: Dave must be leader, must have 80 AP, and must not be deadlocked. Hits all enemies on the battlefield with a physical attack. *** Gabriel (Leader*, Reviver, Physical) *** Skill sets: Herbs, Potions, Invocations (learned early), Lotions (learned late) Pro: Solid skills and the potential to become an Assassin, which allows back attacks without full flanking. Relatively early availability. Can have weapon arts for both sword and shield simultaneously. Con: One-handed weapons tend to do limited damage. *** Glenys (Healer, Reviver*, Physical) *** Skill sets: Remedies, Evocations (learned late), Herbs (learned late) Pro: Solid healing skills and relatively early availability make for a solid character. The one-handed katanas do better damage than the one-handed swords. An excellent placeholder if waiting for something better, or a decent character in her own right. Can have a weapon art. Con: The herbs skill is learned a little too late to be very useful. One-handed katanas have the worst defense rating of any weapon. *** Irina (Leader, Healer, Reviver, Morale) *** Skill sets: Remedies, Lotions, Traps, Psionics (learned late), Shards (learned late) Pro: Irina starts with excellent remedies and lotions and is an excellent defensive character. She learns Omnistrike, which doesn't do incredible damage but does give her an offensive option that gives special art dodging ability when used. Con: Land Mine is the only offensive skill she starts with. She doesn't do much combat damage, and psionics is learned late in the game and is very limited as an attack to begin with. Until she gets either Cyclone Cream or Shards she's more or less helpless as an attacker. You could give her the Nightbloom instead of giving it to Emmy and give her attacking power, but Emmy is a far better character in the first place. *** Jorgen, Adventurer (Healer, Reviver, Physical) *** Skill sets: Herbs, Remedies, Lotions (learned late) Invocations (learned late) Pro: A strong variety of healing skills and fairly early availability make this one of the better Jorgen variants. More useful as a placeholder than a long-term character. Con: One-handed weapons tend to do limited damage and he just doesn't do anything special. Raider version or warrior version are better if you plan to use him in the long run. *** Maddox (Healer*, Reviver*, Mystic, Cachexia) *** Skill sets: Invocations, Hexes, Remedies (learned late), Herbs (learned late) Pro: Maddox is an early hex user and mystic attacker that also gets both remedies and herbs early enough to be useful as for healing by late game. Con: He can do many things, but he doesn't start with much and he takes a lot of grinding to get to full speed on any of his abilities. *** Nora (Reviver*, Mystic, Physical, Cachexia*) *** Skill sets: Invocations, Hexes (learned late), Lotions (learned late) Pro: Gets to use Flachonelle, a remnant that prevents silence status. You have to recruit her anyway for her quest. Has a weapon art. Con: Rush can also use the remnant, and Nora learns Lotions late in her career (BR 45). Her abilities are also split between mystic arts, where the remnant is useful, and physical attacks since she has a weapon art and a fairly beefy attack rating. *** Roberto (Leader, Physical) *** Skill sets: Potions, Invocations (learned late), Explosives (learned late) Pro: Roberto has exactly one good thing, which is the ability to use Frostblade, a remnant weapon with an associated weapon art. Con: See pro. Learns invocations too late to be useful as a mystic union leader and there are simply better choices for physical attack union leaders. *** Violet (Healer, Mystic, Cachexia*) *** Skill sets: Remedies, Hexes (learned early), Explosives (learned late) Pro: Starts with healing arts and gets hexes at 26. Does learn one weapon art, but only with Imperator's Staff. Can use the remnant accessory Liafort, which appears to have some effect on frequency of unique arts. Con: Her weapon art weapon is not her final weapon. Does not start with any mystic attack arts. *** Ynfry (Healer, Reviver, Physical) *** Skill sets: Remedies, Herbs Pro: Unlike many characters with both healing and herbs, he starts with both. Using Demonblade gives him a weapon art. Con: He's stuck forever in the Street Perfomer class. It isn't an awful class, but it's not as good as most late-game options. *** Yuniver (Mystic, Morale*, Cachexia) *** Skill sets: Invocations, Evocations, Hexes, Psionics, Potions (learned late) Pro: This yama gets access to all of the offensive mystic arts, which is great for playing with Arcana. Most notably, he starts with high level Hexes and is a great starting point for learning Cachexia. He also gets a weapon art, though he's not likely to use it since he won't spend much time hitting people. Con: Like many of the mage types, he doesn't get any healing skills at all. ##############2. Advanced recommendations [IVC2]############## These characters are good, and in some cases better than the basic recommendations, but they are either available late in the game, require the player to beat hard optional fights, or are otherwise inconvenient or awkward. Casual players may want to skip this section and head to the second tier recommendations below in subsection C3 if they want more options. In many cases, these characters can simply be ignored if you do not plan to play a strict low BR game. *** Duke of Ghor (Leader, Physical. Morale*) *** Skill sets: Psionics (learned late), Potions (learned late) Pro: DoG has lots of hp, hits very hard, and has a weapon art. If you're running a low BR game, his starting stats are quite impressive. Con: He eventually gets Psionics and Potions, both of which tend to get in the way more than actually helping since he's a one trick canine, err... pony. Torgal does similar damage and is available much earlier, and Jager has a summon. DoG is similar, but just not as good. *** Hannah (Leader, Healer, Physical, Mystic) *** Skill sets: Remedies, Explosives, Shards (learned late) Pro: As a member of the seven, Hannah can be used to unlock the full power of certain formations. Can use the combined skill of Twin Snowpetal with her sister, Hinnah, if they are in the same union. Like all of the seven, her weapon is ridiculously powerful in its final form. Con: Like all of the seven, by the time you get Hannah your characters will already be quite powerful and her starting stats will be pretty pathetic. She is also somewhat lacking when it comes to skill depth (she doesn't start with Kiss of Life) and has a mystic focus weapon but does not have any mystic art attacks. Unique Art, Twin Snowpetal: Hannah must be leader, Hinnah must be in the same union. Deals damage to all enemy units. *** Hinnah (Leader, Healer, Reviver*, Physical, Morale*) *** Skill sets: Explosives, Shards, Psionics (learned late), Herbs (learned late) Pro: As a member of the seven, Hinnah can be used to unlock the full power of certain formations. Has a unique skill, seduction, which can be used to instakill enemies. Her weapon is ridiculously powerful. Con: Like all of the seven, by the time you get Hannah your characters will already be quite powerful and her starting stats and skills will be pretty pathetic. She does start with Moonlight II. She doesn't learn herbs until the 90's in BR, so don't expect her to do much with them. Unique Art, Seduction: Hinnah must be leader. Attempts to instakill a single target union. *** Khrynia (Leader, Reviver*, Healer, Physical, Mystic, Cachexia*) *** Skill sets: Invocations, Evocations, Shards, Explosives, Hexes (learned late), Lotions (learned late) Pro: The witch is the best item attack user in the game, and is really the only character ever likely to use shards. While not as directly powerful as the heavy physical hitters, the item attacks she uses can do tens of thousands of damage without sucking up lots of AP and Moonlight is powerful healing. With a special item, she can do a special attack if Irina is in the union that is both funny and fairly good damage. Con: Reviving relies on lotions, which she learns very late (BR 88) and requires substantial grinding. The item arts are extremely expensive to use. Despite the "witch" title, her mystic arts are unimpressive and she does just fine as a physical attacker. She's also not available until you have access to Undelwalt, which is well into the game. Unique Art, Dual Snowpetal: Khrynia must be leader, Irina must be in the same union. Deals damage to all enemy units. You have to get the Witch's Seal from the Eldritch Dragon to use the ability. *** Ludope (Leader, Healer*, Mystic, Morale*, Cachexia) *** Skill sets: Invocations, Hexes, Remedies (learned late), Traps (learned late) Pro: As a member of the seven, Ludope can be used to unlock the full power of certain formations. His Galaxy special art is similar but better than Pagus and Megalore. Dvergr Virtutis, his final weapon, has among the highest mystic attacks of any weapon in the game. Unlike many of the seven, he actually has fairly deep skills for the groups that he knows and learns a good variety of skills. Con: Like all of the seven, by the time you get Ludope your characters will already be quite powerful and his starting stats will be pretty pathetic. His weapon gives very little physical defense. Unique Art, Galaxy: Ludope must be leader. Hits all enemies for damage. *** Milton (Leader, Healer*, Physical, Morale*) *** Skill sets: Wards, Traps, Remedies (learned late) Pro: As a member of the seven, Milton can be used to unlock the full power of certain formations. He is one of only two characters that start with the wards skill set. His final weapon is one of the strongest in the game in physical attack and in mystic and physical defense. Con: Like all of the seven, by the time you get Milton your characters will already be quite powerful and his starting stats will be pretty pathetic. The version of Iron Will that you get is a pale imitation of the one he uses against you. Unique Art, Iron Will: Milton must be leader. Boosts the union's stats. *** Snievan (Leader, Reviver, Physical, Morale) *** Skill sets: Psionics, Herbs, Lotions, Wards (learned late) Pro: As a member of the seven, Snievan can be used to unlock the full power of certain formations. He is one of the few characters in the game that learns wards, albeit at BR 88. Like the other members of the seven, his final weapon is among the best in the game. Con: Like all of the seven, by the time you get Snievan your characters will already be quite powerful and his starting stats and skills will be pretty pathetic. Unique Art, Phantom Pain: Snievan must be leader. Inflicts damage and lowers morale of target. *** Young (Leader, Reviver, Physical, Cachexia*) *** Skill sets: Herbs, Lotions (learned late), Hexes (learned late) Pro: As a member of the seven, Young can be used to unlock the full power of certain formations. Has a unique attack art, Brawl. Con: Like all of the seven, by the time you get Young your characters will already be quite powerful and his starting stats and skills will be pretty pathetic. He has disturbingly few skills. *** Wyngale (Healer, Mystic, Morale, Cachexia) *** Skill sets: Invocations, Evocations, Hexes, Remedies, Psionics, Wards (learned late), Shards (learned late) Pro: Wyngale has access to every single mystic art, which gives him unparalleled versatility. Like all Sovani, he also hits fairly hard physically. Con: The Fallen is a quest that is only briefly available and it, with Wyngale, is easily missed. It's also a rather difficult fight, so you'll have to do a fair amount of work grinding to get this character, which means you'll have to find a suitable substitute which will, in the end, be lost effort when they are replaced. ##############3. Second tier [IVC3]############## These are characters that you might use for a change in pace or simply for qualifying for a complex formation. They aren't "bad" but in most cases there are simply better choices. *** Haruko (Healer, Reviver*, Mystic) *** Skill sets: Remedies, Invocations (learned late), Lotions (learned late) Pro: Good healing skills, can use the remnant weapon Malystrix. Con: Mystic attacker that doesn't get any mystic attack arts until extremely high BR. Available very late, and similar or better characters have been available for quite some time. *** Jorgen, Raider (Healer*, Physical) *** Skill sets: Potions, Remedies (learned late), Explosives (learned late) Pro: Probably the best of the Jorgens, he gets access to Hawkarang, one of the better weapon arts. He learns healing late, but he does learn it. Con: Available rather late in the game. Warrior and adventurer are available earlier and are better as placeholders. Has very few skills, and his class gives virtually no bonuses. *** Jorgen, Sage (Mystic, Morale*) *** Skill sets: Invocations, Psionics (learned late) Pro: Available relatively early, learns psionics. Class bonuses help resist damage. Con: Extremely limited set of skills. *** Jorgen, Warrior (Reviver*, Physical) *** Skill sets: Invocations (learned late), Herbs (learned late) Pro: An interesting alternative to Jorgen as a Raider, available earlier. Better class bonuses than the raider and eventual reviver instead of healer. Con: If you want a Jorgen as a placeholder, use the adventurer (available earlier). Raider's healing ability is better late game than the warrior's reviving ability, though both have uses, and like the Raider the Warrior doesn't start with much in the way of skills. *** Loki (Reviver*, Mystic, Cachexia*) *** Skill sets: Invocations, Hexes (learned early), Herbs (learned late) Pro: Available early. You have to recruit him anyway for his quest. Con: Doesn't learn herbs until later BR, doesn't get much in the way of skills, and has a weak final weapon. *** Leshau (Mystic, Cachexia, Morale*) *** Skill sets: Evocations, Hexes, Potions (learned late), Psionics (learned late) Pro: Leshau starts with access to Hexes and gets access to most of the offensive mystic arts. Con: No healing arts and starting from the bare minimum on hexes means that Leshau just can't compare with Maddox or Yuniver or Zolean. *** Rhagoh (Reviver*, Healer, Mystic, Cachexia*) *** Skill sets: Remedies, Hexes (learned late), Lotions (learned late) Pro: You have to recruit him anyway for his quest and he's an OK placeholder. Available early. Con: He's a mystic attacker, but gets no mystic attacks until BR 37, so don't expect him to do much other than heal. *** Sibal (Reviver, Physical) *** Skill sets: Herbs, Lotions, Invocations (learned late), Explosives (learned late) Pro: Has access to Daedalus, a remnant weapon with good stats. Con: Isn't available until late in the game. The lack of a weapon art makes him only so-so for damage. *** Zolean (Mystic, Morale*, Cachexia) *** Skill sets: Invocations, Evocations, Hexes, Traps (learned late) Pro: Starts with high hexing skills, has access to many offensive mystic arts. Con: Yuniver does everything Zolean does and does it better, but if you need a second hexer he's not a bad choice. *** Zuido (Healer*, Leader, Physical, Cachexia*) *** Skill sets: Potions, Hexes (learned late), Shards (learned late) Pro: Despite the broken record, I'll repeat for people searching that Zuido, as a member of the seven, can be used to make the best formations do their thing. Zuido has better starting stats than virtually any character in the game. He also has a unique attack art. Con: If there's a #7 in the Enlightened Seven, Zuido is it. He only knows one non-combat art to start, which is potions. His weapon isn't nearly as stunning as some of the others, and his only healing skill is shards with Moonlight that would have to be ground up from the bottom. As a member of the seven, he is only available extremely late in the game. ##############4. Not recommended [IVC4]############## These characters and are worth mentioning, but they're not recommended. Two of them you are virtually forced to use for lack of alternatives early in the game and will likely discard sooner or later. *** Aquarius (Mystic, Morale) *** Skill sets: Psionics, Wards Pro: Gets access to wards and psionics. Plausibly useful in a super-low BR game since other than Rush after the Fallen and Milton, no one has wards until late. Con: Gets nothing else. *** Emma (Healer, Physical) *** Skill sets: Remedies, Potions (learned late), Invocations (learned late) Pro: Fairly good, but... Con: Not available late in the game, so any time spent improving her is a waste in the long run. *** Jorgen, Aristocrat (Reviver, Physical) *** Skill sets: Herbs, Lotions (learned late), Wards (learned late) Pro: Gets access to wards at higher BR and has basic healing skills. Con: All of his weapons are mystic attack weapons, but he has no mystic attack skills. Not available until late in the game. The only plausible reason to use him would be to have as many Wards users as possible. *** Jorgen, Djin (Healer*, Mystic, Cachexia*) *** Skill sets: Invocations, Hexes (learned late), Shards (learned late) Pro: High hp growth rate. Con: Very few skills to start with and very few learned, this character is simply not worth his recruiting cost and is not available until very late in the game. *** Kate (Mystic, Cachexia) *** Skill sets: Hexes, Evocations (learned late), Explosives (learned late) Pro: Starts with relatively high hexes. Con: Her class, Druid, gives a bonus to two-handed weapons, but she's using a one-handed weapon? She can only be recruited very late in the game, and she has very few skills. If you were desperate for people with shields or for as many Cachexia spammers as possible she might have a place. ***Leucetius (Healer, Mystic, Physical, Morale*, Cachexia) Skill sets: Invocations, Evocations, Hexes, Remedies, Psionics (learned late), Explosives (learned late) Pro: Good variety of skills. Con: Can't be hired until BR 80. Assuming you haven't been completely wasting your time, your available characters will have far better stats and far better skills by that point. If you have a character you want to give up on, Leucetius is better than nothing, but that's not saying much since you will have a lot of trouble improving his stats and they aren't excellent to begin with. *** McGrady (Reviver, Physical) *** Skill sets: Remedies Pro: One of the two earliest characters in the game you can recruit (Oakes is the other). Con: Only one skill other than combat arts makes this character a placeholder at best. People can and have played through to the end of the game with him, but there are better options. *** Oakes (Reviver, Physical) *** Skill sets: Herbs Pro: One of the two earliest characters in the game you can recruit (McGrady is the other). Con: Only one skill other than combat arts makes this character a placeholder at best. *** Sheryl (Reviver*, Mystic) *** Skill sets: Evocations, Hexes (learned late), Lotions (learned late) Pro: Starts with strong evocations. Is a mage type with healing skills, albeit not early ones. Con: Given that she's nothing special as mystic arts users go, it's not really worth completing her quest line since the first of the two quests allows you to infinitely respawn Bai Ze, who is both a good place to grind and a good place to make money. -------V. Tables and lists------- -A. Quick version of section IVC [VA] Characters that should generally be included: Baulson Caedmon Emmy Gaou Jager Pagus Paris Rush Torgal "Basic" characters: Allan Blocter Darien David Gabriel Glenys Irina Jorgen (adventurer) Maddox Nora Roberto Violet Ynfry Yuniver "Advanced" characters: Duke of Ghor Hannah Hinnah Khrynia Ludope Milton Snievan Young Wyngale "Second tier" characters: Haruko Jorgen (raider) Jorgen (sage) Jorgen (warrior) Loki Leshau Rhagoh Sibal Zolean Zuido "Not recommended" characters: Aquarius Emma Jorgen (aristocrat) Jorgen (djin) Kate Leucetius McGrady Oakes Sheryl "Quick Fail" characters: Any not listed above. -------VI. For the record [VI]------- This guide may be reprinted by any source that chooses to use it, so long as it is not modified other than for formatting. The author may be contacted by email at: akay225(at) comcast.net Messages sent by carrier pigeon or smoke signal will also be accepted. v1.0.1 This version, 1.0.2, is primarily a reformatting of the original release. A few clarifying comments and this section were added.