Blitzball Mini-FAQ v1.5
by Jim Irwin
lirwin1@columbus.rr.com

********************************
|1. Intro and Table of Contents|
********************************
This is a guide designed to help guide you through the wonderful Final Fantasy X 
minigame that is Blitzball.  I enjoy this game much more than Triple Triad or 
Tetra Master so far, and hopefully this guide can help you enjoy it too :)

7/25/01 - Version 0.5 - Draft that I wrote from memory

7/26/01 - Version 1.0 - First version with the game available.  Fixed several 
errors throughout the guide and added the ability list

8/2/01 - Version 1.5 - Final version until either I buy a Japanese PS2 and FFX or 
it comes out in the US next February, since my friend with the game is going back 
to Japan :(  Fortunately there's not much left to do, just a few abilities left 
to find

*******************
|Table of Contents|
*******************
1. Intro and Table of Contents

2. Learning the Basics
 2a. Player Parameters
 2b. The Blitzball playing field
 2c. Action menu - passing and shooting
 2d. Encounters - offense and defense
 2e. Status ailments
 2f. Team menu - manual play and team formations
 2g. Experience and levelling up

3. Managing your Team
 3a. Blitzball main menus
 3b. Pre-match setup screens
 3c. Special Abilities - how to learn and use them
 3d. Recruiting, scouting and misc.

4. General Team Strategies
 4a. Making a winning team
 4b. Manual play and formations
 4c. Special Ability setup
 4d. Tips for starting your team

5. List of Special Abilities

6. Closing and Copyright


************************
|2. Learning the Basics|
************************
This section basically covers the same stuff as the in-game tutorial, but in 
English for those of you who can't read Japanese.  I suggest you use this in 
conjunction with playing the tutorial since it's easier to see things in action 
than just read about them.  Even if you can't read Japanese, just press the 
buttons along with the things that appear on screen and you should be able to get 
through the tutorial just fine.

2a. Player Parameters
---------------------
Each Blitzball player has his or her own set of stats which determine how well 
they pass, shoot, tackle, etc.  When you play your first game in the storyline 
you won't be able to see these stats until halftime when you gain 
experience...more on that later.  On the player status screen each stat is 
abbreviated with 3 letters, while in the match each is abbreviated with 2 letters 
(listed in parenthesis).

General Parameters
------------------
Hit Points - HP (HP) - HP are best described as a player's endurance during a 
match.  Every action a player takes with the ball consumes HP, including passing, 
shooting, and even just swimming around.  Players regenerate HP automatically any 
time they don't have the ball.  Should HP happen to fall to zero, a player 
becomes basically useless...but that happens VERY rarely (ie never happened for 
me).

Speed - SPD (N/A) - Speed is how fast a player moves during the match.  High 
speed is a HUGE advantage in Blitzball, since if your opponents can't catch you 
it can result in free shots on goal.  So far this is the only stat I've seen 
which does not regularly go up when you raise a level.

Salary - Salary is represented by a number followed by the katakana "giru" (gil) 
and represents the amount of money you must pay the player for each game he or 
she plays your team.  See the Recruiting and Scouting section for more info.

Level - LV (N/A) - The player's current experience level.

Offensive Parameters
--------------------
Physical - PHY (PH) - Physical represents the amount of damage a player can take 
from enemy defenders while he has the ball.  A player with high Physical can 
break through several defenders to get a clear shot or pass if his Physical is 
high enough.  Physical is compared to Attack during an Encounter.

Passing - PAS (PS) - Passing determines how far a player can pass the ball.  The 
higher a player's rating, the further and faster the ball can be thrown.  Passing 
is compared to Cutoff during an Encounter.

Shooting - SHT (ST) - Shooting is a measure of how fast and powerful a player's 
shot is.  Having high Shooting is necessary if you want to stand a chance of 
scoring a goal.  Shooting is compared to the defender's Cutoff and the Keeper's 
Catching during an Encounter.

Defensive Parameters
--------------------
Attack - ATK (AT) - Attack determines how likely a player is to successfuly steal 
the ball from an opponent by tackling him.  High attack can stop an enemy player 
in his tracks and turn the tables for you quickly.  Attack is compared to 
Physical in an Encounter.

Cutoff - CUT - (CU) - Cutoff represents how likely a player is to intercept 
passes or shots from an opponent.  High Cutoff is important for defenders to stop 
shots on goal or intercept passes.  Cutoff is compared to Shooting or Passing in 
an Encounter.

Catching - CAT (CA) - Catching is a stat only used by Keepers, and is the only 
stat Keepers use during a match.  A Keeper with high enough Catching can stop 
incoming shots with ease even if an opponent breaks through the defense.  
Catching is compared to Shooting during a shot attempt.

2b. The Blitzball playing field
-------------------------------
The Blitzball playing field is a huge spherical ball of water, but for all 
intents and purposes of the minigame it's a circular playing field; there are no 
3D elements that I've found yet.

While playing there will be a circular minimap on the right side of the screen 
showing positions of both your and your opponent's players.  Each team has 6 
members: Left forward, Right forward, Middle forward, Left defense, Right 
defense, and Keeper (note that Keepers are not indicated on the minimap).  Your 
players are shown as green arrows while opposing players are shown as red arrows.  
The player who currently has the ball is indicated with an appropriately colored 
circle around him/her, and the screen follows that player around showing his/her 
offensive stats (HP, PH, PS) in the upper right hand corner of the screen.  Other 
notable things on the play screen include the score, time elapsed in the current 
half, and commentary about the match (in Japanese of course).

2c. Action menu - passing and shooting
--------------------------------------
Now that you know what the screen looks like, let's go into the action menu.  
When one of your players has the ball, pressing the Square button brings up the 
action menu in the upper left corner of the screen.  If an enemy player is too 
close to you when you press Square an Encounter will occur, but more on that 
later.  Assuming noone is near you, the menu presents 3 options from which to 
choose (from top to bottom): pass, shoot, or dribble.

Choosing pass prompts you to pick one of your teammates to attempt to pass the 
ball to and shifts the stats in the upper right corner of the screen to focus on 
your player's PS parameter.  The player you're attempting to pass to will have a 
circle around him on the minimap indicating his location.  Press the Circle 
button to confirm target selection and the pass will begin.  As the ball moves 
toward the target your player's PS will start dropping until the ball arrives.  
If the player's PS reaches zero before the ball reaches his teammate, the pass 
will fail and the ball will bounce away.  Usually the opposing team will recover 
the ball in such a case, but if noone is nearby your team can recover also.  The 
only real way to judge how far a player can pass is to just play the game and try 
passing around a few times.

Passing consumes an amount of HP equal to your player's PS parameter.  If you 
attempt to pass with less than that amount of HP, the player's PS will drop to 
the amount of HP he has left.

Choosing shoot moves your player's ST parameter into view in the upper right and 
also brings up the opposing Keeper's stats underneath with CA highlighted.  Once 
a shot starts your player's ST will decrease until the ball reaches the Keeper, 
at which point the remaining ST is compared to the Keeper's CA.  The amount of ST 
a Keeper takes off varies from 50% to 150% of his CA.  If any ST is left after 
subtracting the modified CA a goal is scored.  If the ST is reduced to zero, two 
things may happen; the Keeper may catch the ball, in which case he will throw it 
to one of his teammates automatically, or the Keeper may block the ball, sending 
it flying away much like a failed pass.  Again, the Keeper's team is more likely 
to recover the ball, but if noone is around your team may recover.  ST reduces at 
the same amount per distance as PS, so use that as a gauge of where to shoot 
from.  Try to get as close to the goal as possible to ensure a high chance of 
scoring.

Shooting consumes an amount of HP equal to a player's ST parameter.
If you attempt to shoot with less than that amount of HP, the player's ST will 
drop to the amount of HP he has left.

Choosing dribble allows your player to continue moving without taking any actions 
or consuming HP.

2d. Encounters
--------------
When an enemy player is close to yours when you open the action menu, or an enemy 
player makes contact with one of your players, an Encounter will happen.  When 
that happens all enemy players within the circle surrounding your man with the 
ball will jump in front of him and the Encounter menu will appear in the upper 
left corner.  In the upper right corner all opposing players' stats will apear 
below your player's stats with the stat currently being compared highlighted.

The first part of the encounter menu will have at least 2 choices and as many as 
6 depending how many opponents your player is facing.  The top choice moves you 
directly to the Action menu (see above) while the lower choices attempt to break 
past each enemy in sequence.  After choosing how many opponents to try to break 
past the action menu will appear prompting you to shoot, pass or dribble.  If you 
did not attempt to break past all opponents dribble will not be selectable.  
After choosing your option all HP costs are paid and your player will attempt to 
break past the selected number of opponents.  When you attempt to break through, 
your player's PH is compared to all enemy ATs one at a time up to the number of 
players you chose to break past.  The amount of PH taken off by an enemy is 50% 
to 150% of that player's AT.  If your player's PH is reduced to zero the opposing 
player takes possession of the ball and play continues.  Also, no HP costs are 
refunded if the ball gets taken...ie if you chose to shoot or pass you still lose 
that HP even if your player doesn't get to perform that action.  Note that when 
the opposing players are listed, the player with highest AT is listed first, then 
the next highest AT and so on.

If you chose to pass and your player broke past the defenders successfully the 
pass menu works like normal.  You need to choose who to pass to and your player's 
PS is compared to any remaining defenders' CU (see below).

While passing or shooting without breaking through defenders, their CU is 
compared to your player's PS or ST depending on whether you choose pass or shoot 
respectively.  The amount of PS or ST taken off by each defender is again 50% to 
150% of their CU, although it IS possible for a defender to miss and take off no 
PS or ST at all.  If your player's PS or ST is reduced to zero the opposing 
player takes possession of the ball and play continues.  If there is any PS or ST 
left the ball continues and the pass or shot resolves normally with your player's 
remaining PS or ST.

2e. Status ailments
-------------------
Sometimes during an Encounter your player may become affected by a status 
ailment because of an enemy ability.  There are 3 status ailments in 
Blitzball; Venom, Nap, and Wiser

When affected by Venom a player does not recover HP and cannot use any 
shooting abilities until the venom wears off or the half ends.  Passes, 
tackles, and other automatic abilities still work however.  A player 
affected by Venom will have a green blob around him and his HP will also be 
green instead of yellow.

When affected by Wiser a player's stats will be reduced.  Any lowered stats 
are colored blue instead of yellow, and the reduction lasts a certain 
duration of time or until the end of the half.  A player affected by Wiser 
will have a yellow blob around him.

When affected by Nap a player will stop moving and become unusable, and his 
marker on the minimap will turn black to indicate he's asleep.  A player 
affected by Nap will have a blue blob around him, and cannot do anything 
until he wakes up.  Players wake up after a certain amount of time, if any 
goal is scored, or after a pass is made to them.  The pass will fail but 
the player will immediately wake up.  Note that if a Keeper is put to sleep 
he will NOT apply his CA to any shots attempted even though his CA appears 
when you go to make a shot; ie shooting from just about anywhere on the 
playing field will score.  I currently know of no way to wake up a sleeping 
Keeper other than scoring a goal or waiting the sleep out.

2f. Team Menu
-------------
Pressing the Triangle button during a match brings up the team menu.  If your 
team has the ball the menu will offer 3 options (from top to bottom): Auto, 
Manual A, and Manual B.  Auto is the default setting and lets the computer 
completely control the movement of all your players.  Choosing Manual A or B 
allows you to control the player with the ball.  The difference between the 2 
appears to be how the camera works with movement; in Manual A pushing left on the 
controller always moves you left from the perspective of the minimap, while in 
Manual B it seems that you move left from the perspective of what's on the game 
screen.  I personally find Manual A much easier to use.

After choosing that option (or if your team doesn't have the ball) the formation 
menu will appear.  Your team starts with 4 formations and can earn more as your 
team level increases.  The 4 standard formations are Normal (default), Mark mode, 
Right side and Left side.

Normal is basically a zone defense where your players go after the man with the 
ball within a certain area.  Note that your forwards will chase the ball just 
about anywhere while the defenders tend to stay on your half of the playing 
field.  This formation works just fine most of the time.

Mark mode has your players cover only the opponent you chose to have them Mark in 
the pre-match setup screen, regardless of whether that opponent has the ball or 
not  See section 3b for details on setting up Marks.  Mark mode can be very 
effective if you match your players with the enemy players carefully.

Right or Left side has your players play a zone defense on that respective side 
of the playing area leaving the other side relatively undefended.

You can also earn other formations by playing a lot of games and levelling your 
team up.  The new ones I've learned so far are:

Center Attack sends everyone towards the middle leaving the sides relatively 
unprotected.

All Def sends everyone back on your half of the playing field for a solid 
defense.  This makes scoring very hard for your team as well since your forwards 
will never have any support if they manage to steal the ball.

Flatline sends everyone on a suicide offensive run leaving no defense at all.  I 
would only recommend this if you are losing and desperately need a goal, or if 
your Keeper's CA is so high that the other team can't score.

Counter is a type of zone defense that has your defenders and middle forward 
patrolling in front of your goal while the other forwards patrol on the enemy 
side.  This seems to be a very effective formation if you're winning since it 
combines strong defense with an offense that can score if the opposing team makes 
a mistake.

Double side has everyone but the middle forward move along their side of the 
arena leaving you open for a central charge, but making a pincer attack on the 
enemy goal very effective.  Passing back and forth is required but you'll almost 
always have someone open.

2g. Experience
--------------
Players gain experience by doing just about anything; passing, shooting, breaking 
past or tackling opponents, etc.  After each half players receive experience 
points based on their performance and gain levels depending on how much 
experience they earned.  Each level up will raise HP and may raise other skills 
as well.  Try to keep your team members at similar levels or you may find it hard 
to earn experience with the weaker members of the team, especially defenders.


***********************
|3. Managing your Team|
***********************
After finishing with the story Blitzball match and exiting Ruka you will be able 
to choose a new option at save spheres letting you manage a Blitzball team.  As 
manager you can enter the team in tournaments, leagues or exhibition matches and 
hire and fire new players.  The better your team does the better items you can 
earn, so try to do your best!

3a. Blitzball main menus
------------------------
To access the Blitzball menus either choose the second option at a save 
crystal or talk to the attendant at the shop in the town where you played 
the Blitzball match.  Note that at certain parts of the game you will not 
be able to choose Blitzball at save crystals :(

Once you bring up the menu the following choices are available:

League - start or continue a 10 game league season
Tournament - (not always available) enter a 3 game tournament
Exhibition - Play an exhibition match
Tutorial - Look through the ingame tutorial
Team Data - Look at your team members stats and special abilities
Cancel
Reset Data - resets the entire Blitzball minigame

In league and tournament play you compete for prizes which are awarded to 
the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams at the end of the season or tournament.  
There is also a special prize if someone on your team scores the most goals 
for that particular season or tournament.  If 2 or more player on your team 
tie for most goals, you get one of those prizes for EACH player!  These 
items are usually very good and unattainable otherwise.  Tournaments are 
not always available, but if you play a few league games a new tournament 
should open.  Note that sometimes in a tournament you can get a bye in the 
first round and end up playing only two games.

Some of the good prizes you can win from leagues/tournaments include:
One of the crystals required to upgrade Wakka's best weapon
Wakka's 3 other Overdrives
Various random Abilities (see Ability list)
Continuous Abilities (only learnable as prizes)
Several types of spheres for the sphere map
Rare items for customizing weapons/armor
Miscellaneous rare items like Elixirs, Megapotions, etc.

Tournaments take a few league matches before a new one appears, but when a 
tournament is first available the prizes are randomly generated, so if you 
don't like the prizes when you see a tournament for the first time it's 
possible to generate new ones.  Note that for this to work you must ALWAYS 
choose to continue after a match (top option) and THEN exit out of the main 
Blitzball menu.  What will happen is that when you choose continue, the 
tournament will NOT be selectable on the main menu, but after exiting, 
saving your game, and returning to the Blitzball menu it will magically be 
available for some odd reason.  At this point either save to keep the 
tournament prizes as they are, or reset and reload for new tournament 
prizes.

Exhibition matches don't count towards your league record, but your players 
can't gain experience while playing.  They can still learn abilities 
however, which makes exhibitions a good way to get skills without the other 
teams levelling up on you.  When you choose Exhibition you will be prompted 
to pick your opponent before proceeding to the pre-match setup screens.  
You will also win a minor item as a prize for winning an Exhibition match.

Tutorial allows you to see the ingame tutorial again to brush up on your 
Blitzball skills.

Team Data brings up a list of your current team members and allows you to 
view their stats and what abilities they've learned, as well as their key 
abilities (more on that later).

Reset Data basically clears everything from your current Blitzball world.  
The only time you should use this is if your team is SERIOUSLY underpowered 
and the other teams are so strong that you stand no chance of winning at 
all.  Remember you can always hire new people or even other team's 
members...don't give up on your team easily.

3b. Pre-match setup screens
---------------------------
Once you've chosen to play in a league, tournament, or exhibition match the 
game will go to the first of the pre-match setup screens, the Team setup 
screen.

On the Team setup screen you choose what players play which position 
starting with Left forward, then Right forward, Middle forward, Left 
defender, Right defender, and Keeper.  The game will ask for confirmation 
and then proceed to the Ability setup screen.

On the Ability setup screen you can assign Special abilities to each of 
your players that are level 3 or above.  As your levels go up you can 
assign more abilities per player up to a maximum of 5.  To assign an 
ability choose a player and pick from his/her list of abilities.  To remove 
an ability pick the 2nd choice from the bottom on the lower right of the 
ability subscreen.  To access the second page of abilities choose the 
bottom right choice on the ability subscreen.  Once you've set everyone up 
pick OK to continue to the Mark setup screen.

On the Mark setup screen your players will be on the left and the opposing 
players will be on the right.  Once you choose one of your players you can 
scroll up and down the list of opposing players looking at their stats and 
abilities.  Any abilities listed in green are abilities your player can 
learn.  If you hit Circle on an opposing player's name, your player will 
"mark" that player and can learn his/her abilities listed in green during 
the match.  (See next section for details).  Each of your players can mark 
one enemy player per half, and can switch their mark at halftime.  If you 
don't want to mark an enemy player, or want to cancel a mark choose your 
player and then pick the option at the bottom to cancel the mark.  Also 
note that when you choose "Mark mode" from the Team menu during the match, 
your players will follow the player they have marked whether or not that 
opposing player has the ball until you choose a different team formation.  
Once you've finished all your marks choose the bottom option to begin the 
game.  The game will ask for confirmation and then the match will begin.  
If you choose cancel it will take you back to the Team setup screen so you 
can reset your team, abilities and marks.

3c. Special Abilities - how to learn and use them
-------------------------------------------------
Now that you know how to setup your team and play a game I'll discuss 
Special abilities.  First of all a player has to be level 3 to even use 
abilities, so you may need to play a few games to meet that requirement.  
After reaching level 3 a ---- will appear below that player's name on the 
Ability setup screen (see above) and indicate that they are ready to use an 
ability.  Some players will already know abilities (like Tidus) and some 
will have to learn them all from scratch.  To check a player's abilities go 
to the Team data screen from the main Blitzball menu.

Once on the Team data screen choose one of your team members and press 
Circle, which will bring you to their stat screen.  There will be a green 
line of text in the lower right with 3 abilities listed below it.  These 
are that player's KEY ABILITIES.  Key abilities are very important, becase 
each time a player learns one of his Key abilities it unlocks many more 
abilities for him to be able to learn.  Key abilities must be learned in 
order, as the 2nd key ability will not be available to learn even if an 
opponent has it (ie it wont be green on the Mark setup screen) until the 
first Key ability is learned.  If you press Circle again it will bring up 
the player's Ability subscreen.  The subscreen has 2 pages which are 
accessed by pressing Circle.  Any abilities currently known will be listed, 
along with several ---- which indicate abilities that can be learned.

Learning Abilities
------------------
As mentioned above, if you mark players with abilities listed in green on 
the Mark setup screen your players can learn those abilities during a 
match.  To learn an ability, first the opponent you marked must perform it.  
While he's executing the ability, the word "Capture!" will appear in the 
upper left corner of the screen.  If you press the Circle button while 
"Capture!" is on the screen there is a chance for a player who marked that 
opponent to learn the ability.  If there is a rising intonation sound you 
have successfully captured the ability and will be able to set it the next 
time you're on the ability setup screen.  If the sound is a low monotone 
beep you have failed to learn the ability.  Capturing it not always 
successful, and if your player is too far below the opponent in level it 
may be impossible to learn the ability at all.  
Please note that you do NOT have to be in the Mark mode formation to 
capture an ability.  In fact, the player learning the ability doesn't even 
have to be remotely close to the player performing the ability to learn it.

Tips for successful captures:
First off, try to not set more than 2 of your players to mark an enemy as 
only one player can learn an ability per successful capture.  Remember who 
you marked on the other team and try to go after them.  If you marked a 
forward trying to learn his "xx shot" make sure to let him shoot once or 
twice or you'll never get a chance to learn it.  In addition remember to 
take level into consideration...if you have a level 5 player trying to 
learn from a level 12 player, it's not going to ever work.   Also don't 
forget that the 6th player on the opposing team is the Keeper; Keepers 
don't use any abilities other than Keeper abilites even if they have them 
equipped, so don't mark an opposing Keeper expecting to learn some new 
tackle or pass.  And vice-versa, don't expect to learn Keeper abilities 
from a forward or defender.  Finally, note that the timing when "Capture!" 
appears on the screen is different for each ability, so pay attention.  At 
the end of each half any abilities your players have learned will be listed 
on the experience screen.  Any Key Abilities your players learned will be 
listed in yellow.

Using abilities
---------------
Once you have abilities learned and assigned you'll be able to use them in 
the game.  Different abilities do different things and are used in 
different situations.  Some are automatic, some are continuous, and others 
are defensive or offensive in nature.

To use offensive abilities like xx pass or xx shot simply choose the 
appropriate command from the action menu as usual, and an additional menu 
will appear with a varying number of options depending on your equipped 
abilities.  Any abilities available to use will show up with an HP cost 
next to them on this new menu.  If you want your player to just pass or 
shoot normally choose the uppermost option.

To use defensive abilities (tackles) a new menu will appear when an 
opponent tries to break past your player if you have xx tackle.  You can 
select to have your player use the tackle or not with the HP cost 
displayed.

Automatic abilities trigger by themselves with a given % chance of 
activation and take HP away upon activating (if there is an HP cost).

Finally, Continuous abilities are always active and cost HP to equip at the 
Ability screen but cost no HP during a match.  Note that this also means 
they're impossible to capture since they do not activate during a match.

For a list of special abilities and their effects see section 6.

3d. Recruiting, scouting and misc.
----------------------------------
Now that you know all about Blitzball it's time to make a team.  There are 
several players you can recruit in the first city to add to your team (listed in 
section 4d) as well as many others scattered throughout the world.  To recruit 
new players press the Square button instead of the Circle button when facing 
them.  If you can recruit them a screen will show up listing their # of games 
still under contract (if 0 it will say "free agent") along with their name and 
salary.  If the player is available you will be given the option to hire him or 
her and then asked how many matches you wish to hire them for if you choose yes.

When the contract with a player runs out after a Blitzball match (league, 
tournament, or exhibition) you will be given the opportunity to rehire them on 
the spot.  If you decline but decide to rehire them at a later date you will have 
to walk back to where they are and press Square again.  Opposing teams also have 
to rehire players when the contracts run out, so pay attention if there's a good 
player you want with a few games left on his contract.  Teams don't always resign 
players and you can pick up premium ones if you pay attention to free agents.

Team Level
----------
After winning a 5 matches your team level will go up.  Sometimes when your team 
level goes up you get a new formation for the Team menu (see section 2f) or your 
Scout level goes up.  Each time your Scout level goes up the amount of 
information shown when you attempt to hire a player will become more detailed.  
At level 2 you can see the player's stats, and at level 3 you can see what 
abilities he has equipped.  Level 4 is MAX, and you can see all the abilities he 
has learned and is capable of learning as well (as if you were looking at him on 
your own team data screen).


****************************
|4. General Team Strategies|
****************************
This section will hopefully help you to make an unbeatable team to win the 
Blitzball leagues and tournaments...and grab some great loot in the process 
:)

4a. Making a winning team
-------------------------
The first thing to do when making a winning team is to know what it takes 
to win.  You win by scoring goals.  LOTS of goals.  So, I suggest you get 
at least 2 forwards on your team with high SHT.  Fortunately Tidus fills 
one of those roles, so you really only need to find one more high SHT 
forward.  High PHY helps a great deal as well, because it's much easier to 
bash down defenders instead of trying to shoot through them.  For Tidus 
this is not an issue, since his Jekt shot ability completely removes 2 
defenders which usually results in a free shot on goal anyway.  I suggest 
putting these 2 players at the left and right forward positions.

For the 3rd forward I recommend someone with very high PAS.  If you charge 
in with this player to draw off the defense and then pass right around 
them, your other forwards will be open for a free shot on goal.
I suggest putting this player as middle forward so he can pass almost 
anywhere on the map.

On defense ATK and CUT are the stats of choice, in that order.  If your 
players can't take out an opponent with your ATK, CUT isn't going to do any 
good since your defenders will just get blown past.  You'll always have the 
Keeper to back your defenders up, so CUT isn't anywhere near as important 
as ATK on defense.  Make sure at least one of the 2 defenders has a decent 
PAS as well, since stealing the ball is all well and good but if you can't 
dish it out to the forwards the ball will just get taken right back.  The 2 
defenders won't ever be shooting the ball, but a decent PHY is nice if you 
need to beat down the opposing forwards to get a clear pass out of your 
end.  I suggest one defender have high PAS and the other high PHY...in 
addition to high ATK and CUT of course.  It also helps if your defenders 
have a higher than average speed to catch any forwards who might break 
through.

Keeper is pretty much a no-brainer...find the guy with the highest CAT and 
get him on your team.  The sooner you get Keeper skills for him the better, 
they can only help him do his job.  If you have a good defense your Keeper 
shouldn't see much action after your first 5 games or so.

Once you have a team set up make sure to spread the experience out.  Your 
shooting forwards are going to get a lot with all the goals they score and 
defenders they blow past, so make sure to spend some time with the 
defenders passing around or let the other team get the ball and tackle them 
to death.  Even let a few shots go here and there if you're sure the Keeper 
can stop 'em.  If you only level up the shooters you'll be sorry when enemy 
teams with high level forwards come and beat up your low level defenders 
whom you've been neglecting.

To get a lot of experience quickly try finding an enemy with low ATK and 
repeatedly try to pass/shoot by him when your player has the ball.  Choose 
to break past him and then dribble every time...since breaking past takes 
no time off the clock, you can do it literally hundreds of times in a half 
and gain a TON of experience.  This is extremely boring, but if you really 
need to level one of your guys up it's a good way to do so.

Now other than these recommendations I have one more:  Get fast guys!  
Speed is by far the biggest advantage you can have in this game.  If the 
other team can't catch your players, your guys can pass and shoot around 
all day with no resistance at all.  Do not under ANY circumstances play 
anyone under 60 speed (except Keeper of course).  At least one of the teams 
in the league will have a fast shooter, and if you can't stop him you'll 
lose.  For a lesson in how important speed is, watch how well your team 
does against the Ronzo guys (the race Kimari is) when you play against 
them.

Now, I'm not saying this setup is the end all be all of teams, but mine is 
undefeated through 70+ games.  My best game so far was 11-0 against the 
Ronzo team, so I do know a little of what I'm talking about :)

4b. Manual play and formations
------------------------------
Now, for playing the actual matches.  Rule #1 is always use Manual.  If you 
watch the computer play it does some dumb stuff...don't let auto ruin a 
game for you.  I personally prefer Manual A because your control is based 
on the minimap (ie push left, you go always go left on the minimap no 
matter what the screen looks like), but if you're used to it Manual B can 
be just as effective I suppose.

As for the formations, Normal is just fine 99% of the time.  It's nothing 
special, but your guys cover their zones well and it works adequately.  
Some of the ones you earn from team levels seem kind of interesting but are 
mainly specific to a certain situation.

But, for the 1% of the time that Normal won't work, you have to set up a 
Mark mode defense.  This requires very specific setup but works GREAT 
against teams with only 1 good shooter (who usually has SHT much higher 
than your Keeper's CAT).  Basically just find thier super shooter on the 
Mark setup screen and have 3 guys mark him.  Make sure to leave your other 
2 players unmarked so they will be open when you get the ball.  In the 
match once you set your formation to Mark mode, that opposing player will 
become useless.  With 3 people covering him at all times he won't ever get 
a clear shot or pass off, and the rest of his team cant score on you 
anyway.  As long as one of your shooters isn't covering him you should 
still be able to score relatively easily and win.

Another form of Mark mode worth using is if the opposing team doesn't have 
any abilities you want/need.  Just match up your team one by one with 
theirs and you can shut down their team quite well.  Stick one of your 
shooters on a defender with low ATK and you'll almost always get a free 
shot if you pass to him.  Stick your guy with high PAS on a low CUT 
opponent and you'll be able to pass anywhere in the arena with no problems.  
But, don't do this at a sacrifice to learning new abilities...only if you 
don't need the ones the opposing players have.

4c. Special Ability setup
-------------------------
Setting up and learning the right special abilities is just as important as 
having a team with good stats.  If your shooters dont have any xx shots, or 
your defenders don't have any tackles...what's the point?  Get the right 
skills for the right people and your team will be much more effective.  One 
note, get everyone to level 3 ASAP.  That should take about 1 game if you 
do it right, but remember people can't equip abilities until they're level 
3.  Then get everyone to level 7 ASAP to be able to equip 2 abilities.  
After that it's not such a big deal, as 2 abilities is usually enough under 
normal circumstances.

Learning
--------
First, write down all the Key abilities for every player on your team and 
keep that list next to you when you play a game.  Always check on the Mark 
setup screen to see if you can get a Key ability.  If so, only use the 
player who needs the ability to mark the opponent who has it and note the 
name.  For most of the game go after that player to have him use the 
ability until you learn it.  Key abilities open up SO many more good 
abilities to learn they're worth losing a game to get, if you have to go 
that far.  Other than that, if there aren't any Key abilities to be stolen 
try to spread out your marks so many people can learn things.

If it's tackles you need send your high PHY shooter and run over the target 
a few times back and forth until you learn it.  Not only does this get you 
an ability but it gives experience to the shooter too.  If you need a pass, 
find the opponent with it and let him steal from you a few times.  Usually 
he'll try to pass away immediately and you can get it that way.  For shots 
I usually say skip 'em.  Unless it's an S or X level, or Sphere shot, I 
wouldn't let the other team shoot enough to learn it...work on getting 
other abilities instead.

Nap
---
Okay, Nap is the best thing ever.  Get everyone you can Nap tackle, even 
your forwards, unless their ATK is pitiful (like Tidus).  The next thing to 
do is get Nap pass on your high PAS player.  To start the match get him the 
ball and take him into a crowd of opponents.  Even if their CUT is huge you 
should be able to hit at least 2 of them with the pass, and if you're lucky 
it could even take 3 people out of play right off the bat.  3 people asleep 
= instant goal.  Lastly is Nap shot...while not bad, the point of shooting 
is to score, not to put the Keeper to sleep.  But, if the opposing Keeper 
has really high CAT that's the only thing you can do sometimes.  Since a 
Keeper hit by Nap can't defend, any open shot is sure to go in.

Shots
-----
Obviously, the only people who need shots are your 2 shooting forwards, and 
Tidus already has 2 of the best shots in the game in Jekt shot and Sphere 
shot.  Jekt shot is almost overpowered, removing 2 defenders AND adding 5 
to SHT.  Just charge to point blank range and blast away...easy goal.  If 
you manage to get Tidus in the open, Sphere shot is even better since it 
can add an insane amount to your SHT and evens you out against Keeppower 
that almost all Keepers get very early.
As I said before Nap shot is ok if you have to use it, but Wiser shot isn't 
that great unless you have S or X and Venom shot against a Keeper is 
totally useless except for the SHT bonus.  Your forwards shouldn't need 
shots to disable Keepers, they should be using GOOD shots to score goals.

Tackle
------
I suggest giving everyone on your team a tackle, no matter what one it is.  
Anything that makes the other team think twice about breaking past your 
players is a good thing, and all 3 status tackles are worth it.  For Drain-
type tackles, Drain tackle X is good, but the other 2 don't drain enough hp 
to be worth it since none of them add a bonus to ATK.
The longer you play though, even Drain tackle X and its 500HP steal isn't 
worth it since players will have 1500HP or more.

Half the players on my team have Wiser tackle S, and it's great to see 
enemy players swimming around with 5 SHT or 4 PAS when they had 20 or 30 
just a second ago...and when you have over 1000HP a piece, spending 120 is 
nothing :)

Pass
----
Like I said above, Nap pass of any kind with a high PAS guy is deadly.  As 
for the rest of the team I suggest giving the defenders a decent pass if 
possible so they can get the ball to your forwards ASAP once they steal the 
ball.  As for Tidus and the other forward I wouldn't waste a slot with a 
pass unless you have a free one, since guys with high SHT and PHY tend to 
have a very low PAS stat...and should be shooting instead of passing 
anyway.

Keeper
------
Get your Keeper Keeppower as soon as humanly possible.  It adds a lot to 
CAT and basically has unlimited uses since Keepers don't use HP for 
anything else.  The other Keeper skills help too, but Keeppower is the top 
one I've seen so far by miles.  I also suggest Antinap (X) if you can learn 
it; not falling asleep is always a good thing.

Others
------
I really haven't found many of the other skills that useful, but there are 
a few.  Anti-status skills are ok if you have extra room, especially 
Antivenom on your forwards, who need to use their xx shot Abilities.  
Tackle kaihi (avoid) is VERY useful, and annoying as hell when the other 
team uses it on you :P  I have it equipped on every single team member 
(except the Keeper of course) and it absolutley ruins defenses.  Even 
against 4 people with a little luck you can get through for a 
shot/pass/whatever.

Most of the other skills aren't that useful but if you have extra slots 
feel free to mess around with them and find something that works for you.  
Especially once you get to 5 skill slots, defenders don't need much besides 
an S/X tackle and a pass.

4d. Tips for starting your team
-------------------------------
Well, the very first thing is to make sure you got the Jekt shot in Tidus' dream 
sequence.  If you didn't, reload or restart the game and get it...seriously.  It 
is THAT good.  If you're having trouble learning it, what you need to do is use 
the center of the screen as a reference point and push towards the words that 
appear and press Circle at the same time.  You only need to get like 15 presses 
correct which is NOT hard, keep trying until you get it...but it is an excellent 
Ability which is one of, if not THE best shot.

Now other than that, I've given tips on building a team and how to advance it, 
but who to use on it?  Below is a list of the people available to recruit right 
when you can play Blitzball for the first time in the town.  I don't know if 
their stats are different from game to game, but these were their starting stats 
in mine:

I personally recommend getting Wedge (17 SHT!), Zarits, and Jumaru to replace 3 
of your original team.

Name		HP	PHY	PAS	SHT	SPD	ATK	CUT	CAT	$$	LV
----		--	---	---	---	---	---	---	---	--	--
Nida		100	12	3	10	30	2	2	3	60	1
Zeb=Ronzo	230	12	7	11	52	7	7	1	150	1
Biggs		80	10	3	11	57	5	2	1	100	1
Shermie	100	11	5	10	58	4	2	2	100	1
Zarits	100	6	5	3	59	15	11	1	150	1
Jumaru	100	8	5	1	60	1	4	14	200	1
Shu		215	10	4	10	60	4	9	1	80	3
Wedge		80	9	3	17	65	6	5	2	160	1

These players are scattered throughout the town (and I don't remember where), but 
a short searching around should turn them all up with no problems.  Even after 
you hire them they don't move so you can always come back to find them easily.  
There are also two of the opposing teams' players at two of the ports in town, 
but you can't recruit any of them for like 20 games or more.  Also, your original 
team players are still in the room you prepared for the match in, if you ever 
need to rehire them.

Now, obviously the team stats of Tidus' team will differ based on what you did in 
the story match, but here's what mine were:

Tidus		166	11	4	11	60	3	2	1	1000	3
Letti		125	7	11	4	60	5	5	1	40	2
Josh		167	9	8	1	63	10	5	1	10	3
Kippa		173	4	2	1	54	2	4	7	60	3
Dat		90	12	4	8	60	2	2	1	30	1
Pots		203	3	6	1	10	6	1	3	50	3

I replaced Kippa, Dat, and Pots with Wedge, Zarits and Jumaru to start out 
and kept that team for quite a while.  Wedge is an absolute monster as he 
levels up...starting with 17 SHT is good enough but on my team now he's at 
level 66 with 55 PHY and over 5000 HP.  He's 20 levels above everyone else 
on my team and learned Tackle Kaihi S among other abilities.  I can't count 
the times he's gone through all 5 players on the other team to score a 
goal.  Oh did I mention he has 36 ATK and 26 CUT too so he can steal the 
ball to boot?

Ok enough bragging...good luck with your team and keep your eyes out in new 
areas for Blitzball recruits.  If you pay attention during league play you 
may be able to snag up another team's good player if they don't rehire 
him/her.


******************************
|5. List of Special Abilities|
******************************
Starting in the upper left of the first Ability subscreen page and 
continuing down the columns from left to right.  All shots, tackles, and 
passes are activated in the corresponding menu during a match.  Other 
Abilites with an HP cost activate automatically or have a fixed % chance to 
active; when they do so the HP cost is applied.  Abilities with an "HP cost 
to equip" reduce the player's maximum HP by that amount but do not cost HP 
during the match to use and are always active.

Page 1:
-------
*Column 1*
Jekt shot -    120HP cost, +5 SHT, shoots through up to 2 defenders
Jekt shot 2 -  999HP cost, +10 SHT, shoots through up to 3 defenders
               and makes ball invisible
Sphere shot -  90HP cost, +3 SHT, plus random SHT bonus
Invisible -    ?
Venom shot -   20HP cost, +3 SHT, 40% chance of poison
Venom shot S - 35HP cost, +5 SHT, 70% chance of poison
Venom shot X - 100HP cost, +7 SHT, 100% chance of poison
Nap shot -     45HP cost, +3 SHT, 40% chance of sleep
Nap shot S -   ?
Nap shot X -   350HP cost, +7 SHT, 100% chance of sleep

*Column 2*
Wiser shot -   30HP cost, +3 SHT, 40% chance of CUT or CAT down
Wiser shot S - ?
Wiser shot X - ?
Venom pass -   40HP cost, +3 PAS, 30% chance of poison
Venom pass S - 120HP cost, +5 PAS, 60% chance of poison
Venom pass X - 350HP cost, +7 PAS, 100% chance of poison
Nap pass -     40HP cost, +3 PAS, 30% chance of sleep
Nap pass S -   200HP cost, +5 PAS, 60% chance of sleep
Nap pass X -   510HP cost, +7 PAS, 100% chance of sleep
Wiser pass -   40HP cost, +3 PAS, 30% chance of PHY ATK or CUT down

*Column 3*
Wiser pass S -   180HP cost, +5 PAS, 60% chance of PHY ATK or CUT down
Wiser pass X -   ?
Volley shot -    10HP cost, 50% chance of taking a free shot after a
                 ball is deflected (blocked shot or failed pass)
Volley shot S -  40HP cost, 75% chance of taking a free shot after a
                 ball is deflected (blocked shot or failed pass)
Volley shot X -  ?
Venom tackle -   30HP cost, +3 ATK, 40% chance of poison
Venom tackle S - 70HP cost, +5 ATK, 70% chance of poison
Venom tackle X - 160HP cost, +7 ATK, 100% chance of poison
Nap tackle -     40HP cost, +3 ATK, 40% chance of sleep
                 chance of sleep only if enemy PHY is reduced to 0
Nap tackle S -   90HP cost, +5 ATK, 70% chance of sleep
                 chance of sleep only if enemy PHY is reduced to 0

Page 2
------
*Column 1*
Nap tackle X -   180HP cost, +7 ATK, 100% chance of sleep
                 chance of sleep only if enemy PHY is reduced to 0
Wiser tackle -   8HP cost, +3 ATK, 40% chance of PHY PAS or SHT down
Wiser tackle S - 80HP cost, +5 ATK, 70% chance of PHY PAS or SHT down
Wiser tackle X - 250HP cost, +7 ATK, 100% chance of PHY PAS or SHT down
Drain tackle -   40% chance of absorbing 30 HP
                 player must have at least 30HP max to use
Drain tackle S - 70% chance of absorbing 150 HP
                 player must have at least 150HP max to use
Drain tackle X - 100% chance of absorbing 500 HP
                 player must have at least 500HP max to use
Tackle kaihi -   40HP cost, automatic 40% chance of evading tackles 
                 Chance of losing balance after evading a tackle and
                 losing one equipped Ability until end of half
Tackle kaihi S - 170HP cost, automatic 70% chance of evading tackles
                 chance of losing balance after evading a tackle and
                 losing one equipped Ability until end of half
Antivenom -      5HP cost, automatic 50% chance of preventing Venom

*Column 2*
Antivenom X -  50HP cost, automatic 100% chance of preventing Venom
Antinap -      40HP cost, automatic 50% chance of preventing Nap
Antinap X -    210HP cost, automatic 100% chance of preventing Nap
Antiwiser -    30HP cost, automatic 50% chance of preventing Wiser
Antiwiser X -  200HP cost, automatic 100% chance of preventing Wiser
Antidrain -    10HP cost, automatic 50% chance of preventing drain
Antidrain X -  ?
Spin Ball -    30HP cost, automatically increases chance enemy Keeper
               will deflect shot instead of catching it (if shot fails)
Sticky glove - 30HP cost, Keeper ability, automatically raises the
               chance of catching a successfully defended shot
Scout mode -   5HP cost to equip, increases sight range of cpu players
               allowing them to chase the ball more effectively
*Column 3*
More battle mode - 10HP cost, automatic 60% chance of increasing
                   range the player can Encounter
Vile Venom -       30HP cost to equip, increases power of Venom
Vile Wiser -       ? 
Regen -            50HP cost to equip, increases HP recovery
Mezamesukkiri -    180HP cost, automatic 50% chance of parameter up
                   when player wakes up
High risk -        300HP cost to equip, lowers all stats by half,
                   doubles experience gained
Kyouken -          30HP cost to equip, lowers HP cost to pass and shoot
Gamble -           300HP cost, auto 50% chance of all parameters up
                   when player wakes up
Keeppower -        30+(random)HP cost, Keeper skill, 60% activation
                   Random CAT bonus, press Circle to stop the number
????

The only unknown Ability is the last one of the last column now.  I know 
that it exists since some players have a ---- there but noone in my league 
has found it yet, even after 75+ games.

Note that it's impossible to capture skills with an HP cost to equip since 
they never activate during a match; they're always active.  The only way to 
learn those skills is to win them as prizes from a league or tournament.

Also, you can only get Jekt shot 2 as a prize from a league or tournament, 
and only Tidus can learn it after he has learned all 3 of his Key 
abilities...so don't do what I did and win the tournament expecting to be 
able to equip it without the Key abilities.


**************************
|6. Closing and Copyright|
**************************
Well, that's it folks.  I hope you found the guide helpful in playing this 
great minigame.  I've put the a good amount of time into writing this so 
far, and I will probably spend at least that with all the updates to come 
and everything so please don't copy or steal the material in here...that 
would make me upset :(  All material printed within is copyright James 
Irwin 2001.

Unless I magically acquire a Japanese PS2 and FFX this will be the last 
update of the guide for quite some time since my buddy with the game is 
going back to Japan now :(  So until then, hopefully this will be enough to 
lead you to a great Blitzball season and many championships with your team.