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|*****************Seiken Densetsu 3**********************|
|*****************Team Formation FAQ*******************|
|*****************By APolaris82*************************|
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Contact info:

AIM: Anfernee82
MSN/email: Anfernee82@hotmail.com
Yahoo: the_final_task82
Webpage: http://ic.sunysb.edu/Stu/ajperez

Legal stuff:

Don't really care. Publish this anywhere, more power to you if 
you can
actually profit from the use of an FAQ anyone could find online 
for free for a game that only about 500 people in the English-
speaking world are aware exists. Any risks involving Squaresoft 
on the other hand are your own to face. As for me, anything 
pertaining to the game is copyright Squaresoft/Square-Enix.


Please read the earlier segments of the FAQ before going on to 
the explanations of teams and classes. The information in section 
3 is particularly vital to understanding the FAQ, and contains 
some info not found in section 4.

If you want to jump to a certain section of the file, use Ctrl + 
F keys to use the find function, then type in any keywords.


*********************Table of Contents*************************

1. Introduction - what this FAQ is about, and no, you probably 
don't know
2. My philosophy on team formation, and why you should care
3. Factors worth considering, or miscellaneous crap
4. Analysis of classes in context, or, why the Sage doesn't suck
5. And now for something entirely different: a fun team for every 
class! ^_^
6. Ranking your team - how your team should be fighting
7. The dispelling of popular myths, or, stuff you probably don't 
think about unless you post on the boards

*************************************************************

1. Introduction - what this FAQ is about, and no, you probably
don't know

I'm going to begin with a frank assessment: this is not like any 
other FAQ you
have ever read on this game. If you are reading this FAQ to find 
out what the
best class or best team is, go read someone else's. If you like 
"flame warz" on why "ur clas totali ownzorz!!!111" then don't 
even contact me, please, for the love of God; your typing is 
painful to read. If, on the other hand, you want to read about 
how each class should be used and for what teams each is optimal, 
then by all means continue on!

I am assuming you have at least a basic knowledge of how Seiken 
Densetsu
3 is played and who the characters are. If not, consult a 
walkthrough, there are
plenty on GameFAQs.

*************************************************************

2. My philosophy on team formation, and why you should care

My philosophy can be summed up as thus: team formation is an art, 
and there is no best class for any character, or best character, 
because a class's usefulness depends entirely on a within-team 
context. To wit: there is no individual "great" class that can 
work at full potential on its own merits. That said, there are 
definitely teams that go well together and teams that don't. In 
my opinion, the ideal SD3 team can be described as follows: all 
three characters have abilities that are in and of themselves 
useful, but the team furthermore acts to strengthen the offensive 
and defensive abilities of one another as well as themselves. 
Three characters each simply doing their own thing doesn't 
constitute a team. You begin to see now why I say there is no 
"best class." No class is worth using of its own virtue without 
considering what it will do for the others, but each team should 
also have characters who, after helping each other out, are all 
still efficient in some way. Consider: a team of Death Hand, 
Lord, and Rogue. These are all wonderful and useful classes. in 
the right team. But each is acting only on his own defensive and 
offensive virtues, and nothing is strengthened. As a result each 
class is performing at its minimal efficiency. Or consider 
Wanderer, Dragon Master, and Bishop. Again, all useful classes 
with two good support characters. But after the counter magic, 
transhape, stat downs, and sabers are cast, what's anybody 
actually doing? Contrast this with a team of Star Lancer, Ninja 
Master and Grand Divina. All three characters already have 
powerful MT magic, but after MT stat ups and MT stat downs all 
three are essentially doubling their damage and taking half 
damage from enemy attacks, and each can still contribute strongly 
in terms of damage-dealing. An analysis of the game essentially 
reveals three "focus characters" (Duran, Kevin, and Angela) whose 
primary purpose is to deal damage, and three characters (Hawk, 
Carlie, Lise) whose primary purpose is to help the others perform 
their jobs better, then do fairly well themselves. For the above 
reasons I generally feel that one - and preferably only one - of 
the focus characters should be on nearly all teams, and at least 
two of Carlie, Lise and Hawk form the most efficient. However, 
there are plenty of fun exceptions.

I believe the following essential rules should be followed when 
forming an original party:

1.	Never, or very rarely, repeat the same support skills 
twice. Examples include combining dark Lise with dark Hawk 
or combining the Lord or Warrior Monk with Carlie. 
Exception: if you have sabers or healing on your party, 
it's perfectly tolerable and even a good idea to repeat 
this if they are single target.
2.	Avoid selecting a party without any form of stat magic, 
unless you want a challenge. Whether it's Lise, dark Hawk, 
or dark Carlie, stat magi are the key to unlocking any 
class's full potential. Your Duelist or Grand Divina will 
never deal as much damage as they are capable on their own 
merits, and likewise their defensive weaknesses are fully 
exposed without help. Ensure likewise that the stat magic 
you get is useful for your party: Evil Shaman's Demon 
Breath, which lowers enemy magic attack and defense, is 
less than idyllic on a physical team like Duelist and Death 
Hand.
3.	Select one purpose to be the focus of your party and build 
support abilities around enhancing that purpose. I cannot 
emphasize how poor taste it is to take a dark class of 
Duran's for elemental sabers, only to place Evil Shaman and 
Grand Divina to deal out the same elemental magic damage. A 
much better setup would have the Star Lancer in Duran's 
place, as this would enhance Carlie's and Angela's magic 
damage, while bringing in a third decent magic user and 
providing a party in which MT mind up almost instantly 
brings all three characters to full potential. Or if you 
prefer to use sabers, form a team around their use, a team 
of fighters: God Hand and Fenrir Knight would work ideally 
in this case.
4.	Take quest into account. Two classes in particular to focus 
on this are the Bishop, who can deal 999 damage for 1 MP 
against her own final boss, and the Wanderer, who can make 
your party virtually invincible for some of the tougher 
battles of Duran's or Angela's quest. If you plan to fight 
the black rabite, make sure you have a team with which you 
can win that battle.
5.	Do not feel tempted to make up for one character's weakness 
with another character that fills that weakness, especially 
with focus characters. For instance, do not under any 
conditions throw Kevin onto a team with Angela and Carlie 
because you feel you need to make up for the lack of 
physical attack power. Likewise, do not throw Angela onto a 
team with Kevin and Duran. It sounds nice making up for 
what a party lacks, but frankly it distracts from the flow 
of teamwork and forces you to lack particular focus on any 
tactical use. Instead, form a team with a common goal in 
mind and use them entirely in pursuit of that goal. Take 
quest into account: a team focused entirely on using magic 
will perform pretty sadly against Duran's or Angela's final 
bosses.
And finally.
6.	Make sure your support abilities are helping anything. You 
can take the supreme support team of Wanderer, Star Lancer, 
and Bishop. All those abilities they have aren't going to 
mean jack if the team has nothing to boost. Just as a 
physical team is only as good as its power ups and sabers, 
a saber or power up spell is only as good as the character 
it's being cast on. Make sure your team has at least one 
focus class.

**************************************************************

3. Factors worth considering, or miscellaneous crap

Here is my method for analyzing the classes and in which teams 
they belong:

1.	List of skills and final stats
2.	Analyzing strengths: this is a listing of the abilities in 
which each class is most noticeably useful. In essence, why 
you should choose this class. For most classes this will 
include their abilities individually as well as good stats.
3.	Analyzing weaknesses: trouble you can expect with the use 
of this class. Why you should avoid putting it on certain 
teams. This will often include limited abilities as well as 
weak points in the stats.
4.	Affiliates: with whom should you group this character? This 
will explain.

These will all be based on a class's unique individual abilities, 
how these interact with other characters, and the character's own 
stats. For purposes of simplicity I will only be listing the 
final classes.

There is one issue I will include up here rather than repeating 
it six times within the FAQ: the Light-Dark classes, post-class 
change, can obtain the dark class change items from ??? seeds, 
giving them an additional purpose. The classes that can do this, 
and what they can use the items for, are as follows: Archmage 
brings in DeathSpell and MT Dark Force, Sage brings in Black 
Curse and Anti-Magic, Lord brings in MT Diamond Saber and MT Dark 
Saber, Rogue brings in MT Fire Jutsu and MT Thunder Jutsu, 
Warrior Monk brings in Energy Ball and Moon Saber, and Star 
Lancer brings in MT Protect Down and MT Mind Down.

I will also give a small meter under the name of each class. I 
call it my compatibility analysis graph. Basically, the graphs 
will show support to the left and focus to the right. As I 
believe there are no "better" classes, but just classes that 
perform differently, this will be used to sum up whether the 
class performs primarily as a support or focus character. Those 
near the center aren't necessarily bad at one or the other; 
rather, these generally can use skills to support themselves and 
the other characters, then jump into the fray themselves and 
continue to contribute throughout a battle. A second meter will 
do the same with the character's physical vs. magical potential, 
but - read this part - this second meter is meant to reflect 
whether the class fits best on a physical or magical team, not 
necessarily what the class itself is best at. Again, being near 
the middle means the class does equally well with both. Finally, 
a third meter will indicate whether (for focus characters) the 
class performs best against single enemies (including bosses) or 
groups of enemies. For support characters this will represent a 
mix of the above plus whether the class boosts a party quickly 
(such as Star Lancer) or one at a time (such as Wanderer). A 
class leaning towards groups isn't necessarily bad at fighting 
bosses (Grand Divina is an excellent example of a class good at 
both), it's just that their skill at fighting groups is much 
better. My advice is to try to form a team with at least one 
character on the focus side, at least one on the support side, 
and try to keep the team all towards the same end magically or 
physically for best results and focus on their gifts. I also 
recommend you have at least one class leaning towards groups of 
enemies or the center.

Attack power is given in terms of both single and double hit 
attacks. I have a reason for this; see my closing section on 
popular myths for details.

You will notice I place more emphasis on HP and MDF than on DEF. 
This is because there is not really a significant difference 
between characters in DEF. The characters with the weakest 
Vitality scores also have the strongest armor, such that Angela 
with a CON of 8 might have the same DEF as Kevin with a CON of 
12. Furthermore, all characters and all classes are capable of 
eventually reaching 300 DEF, and without significant difficulty 
or even maxing out CON in all cases. On the other hand, 
differences in INT are not made up by armor, and there is no 
maximum score to be reached. Hence, Kevin's MDF will never match 
Angela's in the way her DEF will match his. This is where HP 
comes in as a factor, since HP and MDF follow a nearly inverse 
distribution in this game.

The stats' usefulness is rated as follows:

STR: used for dishing out physical damage on a per-hit basis.
DEX: in theory, helps you hit more often and be hit less often. However,
it doesn't work because of a bug. It also determines how quickly or 
slowly the trap wheel moves when opening chests, and determines the
damage for many of Hawk's skills.
CON: determines your physical defense and plays a less 
significant role in max HP.
INT: most spell damage is affected by this, including most 
elemental magics. It also determines your magic defense for all 
characters.
PIE: this determines how well you cast holy elemental magic, how 
well you cast healing magic, and how quickly you cast spells.
LUCK: this is used in four areas: 1. the number of traps on the 
wheel when opening chests, 2. how frequently you get better items 
from chests (including seeds!), and 3. how often you 
survive an attack that might have killed you with 1 HP remaining. 
(This does happen sometimes and it is in fact based on luck!)

***************************************************************

4. Analysis of classes in context, or, why the Sage doesn't suck

Notes: STR = strength, DEX = agility, CON = vitality (contrary to 
unpopular belief, it is not Hawk's smooth thiefly charms), INT = 
intelligence, PIE = spirit (or banana creme ^_^), LUCK = luck, * 
after a spell name denotes MT or after a tech denotes FST, MT = 
multitarget, ST = single target, FST = full screen tech.

Angela

How to use her:

Angela is one of a few characters in this game who has but one 
purpose, and for her that is to cause massive damage with the use 
of (mostly elemental) magic. Her classes are designed to perform 
this task with varying degrees of efficiency in various teams. 
From the Rune Master's ability to massively damage individual 
targets without stat magic to the Grand Divina's ability to rock 
the entire screen, Angela has a class designed to fit nearly any 
offensive team. Just give her a try sometime. You will not regret 
it.
Angela's high scores for Intelligence, Spirit, and Luck make her 
an ideal magical combatant, as she can dish out the most magic 
damage of any character in the game, especially when MTing spells 
against normal enemies. Her magic defense is the best of any 
character, which makes up for her low HP. However, her attack 
power is pretty sad even in her best attacking class, the Grand 
Divina. This is hardly a fault in boss battles, but it does 
affect the tactics you should be using. And it forces her to use 
MP-conserving spells in most dungeons, lest she run out and 
become useless.


Leveling up Angela:

As a mage, Angela's first and foremost priority should be raising 
Intelligence and Spirit, but this depends on just how weak she is 
in other areas. Because Angela has the lowest HP of any 
character, she may have some difficulty surviving dungeon battles 
if her Vitality is not raised frequently. As her primary purpose 
is multitargeting magic to wipe out rooms of monsters, she will 
not be physically attacking frequently, so her Strength should be 
raised as a last resort only. Agility and Luck, while useful, are 
somewhat overshadowed by Angela's uses for the mental stats and 
her desperate need to raise Vitality.


Angela's final classes:


Light-Light: Grand Divina

Support  --------------x- Focus
Physical --------------x- Magical
Single    ----------x----- Groups

1.	List of skills: Holy Ball*, Diamond Missile*, Air Blast*, 
Evil Gate*, Ice Smash*, Fireball*, Saint Beam*, 
Earthquake*, Thunderstorm*, Mega Splash*, Explode*, Double 
Spell*
Starting and final stats: STR 14/17, DEX 14/17, CON 14/18, 
INT 17/21, PIE 17/19, LUCK 14/16

2.	Strengths: The Grand Divina has Angela's best overall stat 
total, and is her only class with no significant weakness, 
statistically at least. She can hold her own in a fight 
should it come to that; her physical attack power is the 
highest of Angela's classes. Her ability to multitarget 
elemental spells combined with the (tied) second highest 
INT in the game makes for the ultimate screen-clearing 
spellcaster, and she can dish out multitarget damage in any 
element, with dark being the only one below level 2! It 
just so happens the GD is also a capable boss fighter - in 
the right team. On a team with both Mind Up and Mind Down 
skills she can easily surpass 800 damage with one spell 
casting for 4 MP! Assuming you can figure out the right 
spell to cast. If you can't. well, you probably shouldn't 
be playing this game.
3.	Weaknesses: The Grand Divina is an excellent class, but 
like most classes, her efficiency relies on that of her 
teammates. Without at least one form of stat magic, the 
GD's ability to dish out damage, particularly to bosses, 
noticeably diminishes. She does fall behind in terms of 
dishing out dark-elemental damage, and since Shade spells 
bypass the Magic Counter barriers cast by some enemies, 
this can be an issue. She is also not a character for the 
lazy; her Double Spell is her only non-elemental magic, and 
it costs 9 MP per casting. Hardly the kind of cost-
efficiency you seek with Angela, unless you've got a 
character with Tree Saber.
4.	Affiliates: I recommend putting the Grand Divina on teams 
with stat magic and preferably healing, to make up for 
Angela's generally lacking HP (ditto for all of her 
classes). Lise's light classes, Hawk's dark classes, and 
Carlie's dark classes are all good teammates for the Grand 
Divina. I highly recommend against putting her on a team 
with both Duran and Kevin (especially at the same time), as 
you'll find her contributions minimal and no character will 
be able to support her magic, so you'll more or less be 
using her on her own merits.


Light-Dark: Arch Mage

Support  --------------x- Focus
Physical --------------x- Magical
Single    ----------x----- Groups

1. List of skills: List of skills: Holy Ball*, Diamond 
Missile*, Air Blast*, Evil Gate*, Ice Smash*, Fireball*, Saint 
Beam*, Earthquake*, Thunderstorm*, Mega Splash*, Explode*, 
Rainbow*
Starting and final stats: STR 14/16, DEX 14/16, CON 14/18, INT 
17/20, PIE 17/20, LUCK 14/17

2. Strengths: The Arch Mage's use of abilities is virtually 
similar to those of the Grand Divina; however, they are not 
the same class. You'll notice they have differing stats; this 
does in fact affect how she is used. Because of her higher 
spirit, the Arch Mage is ideally suited to quests in which you 
plan to use Saint Beam and Holy Ball frequently, and because 
there are so many dark elemental enemies near the end, this 
may well be the case, especially if Carlie or Kevin is your 
main character. Her highest spirit also makes her the ideal 
Poto Oil thrower, should you lack another method of using Heal 
Light. She also has Angela's highest luck score, making her 
the best treasure hunter.
3. Weaknesses: She has many of the same weaknesses as the 
Grand Divina, with a few extra. She cannot fight physically 
like the GD can, as that 1 point of STR and DEX do make a 
difference. Her lower INT than the other characters results in 
less magic defense and less cost-effectiveness than the other 
classes (when using the same spells anyway), and since Saint 
Beam is the costliest of level 2 spells, that's a slight 
issue. She is also less capable of dishing out damage with a 
variety of elements outside of holy. Her ultimate spell, 
Rainbow, is quite expensive, so the Arch Mage is likewise not 
ideally suited to a team without stat magic.
4. Affiliates: I recommend putting the Arch Mage on any team 
in which the Grand Divina would fit, with the contention that 
you'll be using her holy magic more often than her other 
elements, or teams that lack a healer.


Dark-Light: Rune Master

Support  -------------x-Focus
Physical -----------x---- Magical
Single    -x-------------- Groups

1. List of skills: List of skills: Holy Ball*, Diamond 
Missile*, Air Blast*, Evil Gate*, Ice Smash*, Fireball*, Dark 
Force*, Stun Wind, Stone Cloud, Cold Blaze, Blaze Wall, 
DeathSpell
Starting and final stats: STR 13/15, DEX 13/15, CON 14/18, INT 
18/21, PIE 16/19, LUCK 13/16

2. Strengths: You may have noticed how few stars exist in her 
list of spells. That is because the Rune Master excels in a 
unique form of combat for Angela: single-target massively 
damaging magic. The Rune Master is Angela's fastest damage-
dealer under the right conditions. Her DeathSpell will deal 
999 damage against anything at a lower level than her, making 
the Rune Master the ideal class for a team without stat magic, 
provided you know enough about RPGs to level up enough. Her ST 
level 3 spells cast status effects such as silence, 
petrification, and snowman in addition to dealing slightly 
more damage than level 2 spells. This comes in handy if you 
plan to fight the Black Rabite, as the level 99 great demons 
it summons are vulnerable to petrification.
3. Weaknesses: If you care about having the statistically 
ideal character, the Rune Master is the one class you should 
avoid. This is because its stats are identical to the Grand 
Divina's - with 2 points lower in STR and DEX! Granted, these 
are two less than significant stats for the class, but 2 
points is a lot in this game, and she has nothing to make up 
for it. On a team with stat magic, level 2 spells deal out 
nearly as much damage as level 3 spells, and with most classes 
are also MT. Her cost-efficiency is perhaps the worst of any 
class; unless you have her on a team with a Tree Saber user, 
she will run out of MP in the final battles before taking off 
a fifth of the boss's HP no matter which spells you try to hit 
it with. Since her only spells that aren't level 3 or 
DeathSpell are level 1 spells and Dark Force, this is bad. She 
also suffers through long dungeons in which the Magus's 
ability to dish out strong damage with level 1 spells is more 
useful.
4. Affiliates: Because DeathSpell deals 999 damage without 
stat magic, the Rune Master's ideal team has none (on a team 
with stat magic, her other classes approach this figure using 
half the MP or less), but does have Tree Saber, and plans to 
level up a lot. For this reason, the Warrior Monk is her ideal 
counterpart. This is the one class that fits on teams with 
physical characters, the likes of Duran or Kevin, which 
explains my choice on the 2nd meter. It should also be your 
choice if you plan to fight the Black Rabite, for reasons 
outlined above.


Dark-Dark: Magus

Support  --------------x- Focus
Physical ---------------x Magical
Single    --------x------- Groups

1. List of skills: Holy Ball*, Diamond Missile*, Air Blast*, 
Evil Gate*, Ice Smash*, Fireball*, Dark Force*, Earthquake, 
Thunderstorm, Mega Splash, Explode, Ancient*
Starting and final stats: STR 13/16, DEX 13/16, CON 14/18, INT 
18/22, PIE 16/18, LUCK 13/15

2. Strengths: This class is often derided as a class for 
people who want a challenge. This is only true if one has no 
clue how to use the Magus, as it's actually useful in many 
parties. As Angela's most cost-effective magic user, the Magus 
has the best magic defense in the game, and since bosses 
generally use magic over physical attacks, this is good. She 
also gets the same level 2 spell set as the light classes, but 
replacing Saint Beam with Dark Force, and her spells are only 
single target. This makes her superior for fighting bosses and 
less skilled at fighting common enemies with these spells. 
However, since Dark Force bypasses Counter Magic, this 
somewhat makes up for it. The Magus also has a very easy time 
getting through dungeons without wasting her MP down too 
quickly, as she is the most effective MT level 1 spellcaster 
in the game. Since these spells are the most cost-effective, 
this makes her strong. Ancient is also a fun spell, even if it 
is way too expensive, and it does approach the damage barrier 
even without stat ups or downs, and it makes leveling up near 
a gold statue very easy.
3. Weaknesses: Unfortunately, the Magus' superiority lies with 
her weaker spells. Ancient, though fun, is too expensive to 
use as your primary attack in protracted boss battles or long 
dungeons, leaving her to choose only level 1 or 2 spells. This 
is not a problem in boss battles if you have stat magic; she's 
actually the best boss fighter in these parties of Angela's 
classes. Her level 2 spells approach the damage of the Rune 
Master's level 3 spells in such parties, for half the MP cost. 
However, if you're not in such a party, you'll likely find the 
Magus resorting to Ancient in order to pass even the 500 
damage mark, as her other spells are too weak to do so. In 
real-time, this is an issue. The Magus also as a tradeoff has 
her lowest luck and spirit scores, meaning slower spell 
casting, but since you should be casting mostly weak, quickly-
cast spells at a strong damage rate with the Magus, this isn't 
as much of an issue as you might think.
4. Affiliates: I recommend the Magus as a boss fighter on the 
same teams as the light classes. However, if you do not plan 
to use her level 1 spells constantly, I strongly recommend you 
put a strong stat magic-using fighter, such as Nightblade or 
Vanadies, on her teams. Otherwise, you may not find yourself 
reaching the bosses. A good tactic may be to quickly cast an 
MT level 1 spell in a screen to weaken the enemies, knocking 
the enemies back quickly, then having your fighters rush in.


Carlie (or Charlotte)

How to use her:

In terms of primary purpose, Carlie has a tendency during her 
first two classes to be essentially "ahead" of the others in some 
ways. Before anyone can heal without using an item, Carlie can 
use Heal Light and Tinkle Rain. Before anyone else can 
multitarget anything (except Angela's level 1 spells) Carlie can 
already multitarget her heal light and is well on the way to 
developing her later abilities. Her final classes however tend to 
rely on specific purposes that vary given class and team, 
rendering Carlie one of the more diverse characters in SD3. Along 
with Hawk she's the character for an advanced player who wants to 
use neat tricks a less skilled tactician wouldn't look at. Bottom 
line: no matter what your team is, there's a Carlie class for it, 
if you know how to use it.
Carlie's attack power is as low as Angela's, and her DEX and HP 
are nearly as low. But she has the game's strongest total mental 
stats, with the second highest INT (for magic defense) and LUCK 
and the highest PIE (her final classes all instantly cast Heal 
Light and the Sage has the game's strongest holy magic). All of 
her classes are useful, but each really depends on who's on your 
team.


Leveling up Carlie:

Carlie is like Angela in that she needs to raise Vitality 
frequently to stay alive. However, she doesn't have as desperate 
a need for Intelligence, as her spells are based on Spirit. So 
Intelligence provides only magic defense, and Carlie's base MDF 
for her final classes is higher than the best MDF some other 
characters can obtain. I recommend raising her Spirit whenever 
the chance arises, and raise Vitality whenever it doesn't. If her 
magic defense begins to lag then raise Intelligence. It's 
possible that she may be your luckiest character; if so, raise 
that sporadically too.


Carlie's final classes:


Light-Light: Bishop

Support  ---x------------ Focus
Physical ------x--------- Magical
Single    ------x--------- Groups

1.	List of skills: Heal Light*, Tinkle Rain*, Flame Saber, Ice 
Saber, Thunder Saber, Diamond Saber, Saint Saber, Holy 
Ball, Magic Shield, Turn Undead
Starting and final stats: STR 13/16, DEX 14/16, CON 14/18, 
INT 16/18, PIE 18/22, LUCK 16/18

2.	Strengths: The highest spirit score in the game coupled 
with instant-cast MT Heal Light makes this class a prodigal 
healer. Coupled with the possession of every elemental 
saber except Dark Saber, this makes her an ideal support 
character for fighting parties. Other perks include Magic 
Shield, which helps to cut down the damage to characters 
with sad magic defense (read: Kevin and Duran) and Turn 
Undead. The latter has the game's best damage:MP ratio 
(999:1), with the condition that you be at a higher level 
than the target and the target is specifically undead. 
Fortunately, Carlie/Kevin's final boss, the Dark Lich, is. 
Combining this with Saint Saber sees her finest hour set on 
her own quest with a strong party of fighters. Add in Holy 
Ball for dishing out damage after her support skills are 
finished, and you have a well-rounded holy character useful 
throughout an entire protracted battle.
3.	Weaknesses: Like her other classes, the Bishop cannot 
attack physically and expect to deal damage. Since she 
lacks multitarget attack spells, this puts her at somewhat 
of a boring role while dungeon crawling, as her only 
purpose is to cast ST sabers and heal the others. This is 
not a bad role. but it IS somewhat limiting. She also has 
Carlie's lowest Luck and Intelligence scores, which 
somewhat contrasts her status as a primarily mental 
character.
4.	Affiliates: This class should typically have Duran or Kevin 
as a teammate to take maximum advantage of her sabers, 
especially Saint Saber. Any of Lise's or Hawk's classes 
also make a good teammate, as stat magic + Magic Shield can 
create a defensive powerhouse of a team. I recommend the 
Bishop more strongly on her own quest than on the others.


Light-Dark: Sage

Support  ----x----------- Focus
Physical -----x---------- Magical
Single    -----------x---- Groups

1.	List of skills: Heal Light*, Tinkle Rain*, Flame Saber*, 
Ice Saber*, Thunder Saber*, Diamond Saber*, Holy Ball, 
Saint Beam
Starting and final stats: STR 13/15, DEX 14/17, CON 14/18, 
INT 16/19, PIE 18/21, LUCK 16/19

2.	Strengths: Like the Bishop, the Sage has great healing 
skills, but she replaces some of the Bishop's skills with 
others. For starters, she gets the game's strongest Saint 
Beam, one of the game's most useful attack spells, instead 
of Saint Saber, one of the game's most useful power up 
spells. While limiting her support, this allows her to 
become a better damage dealer herself. She also replaces 
Turn Undead and Magic Shield with MT sabers. This makes her 
a slightly more efficient character against the God-Beasts 
in a party with strong fighters than the Bishop, as it 
allows fighters to get into the action more quickly and 
conserves valuable MP. Her magic defense is also quite 
good, and despite being derided as the game's worst class 
in many an FAQ, the Sage is actually a useful combination 
of support and self-sufficiency when used -properly-. 
3.	Weaknesses: The Sage has the dubious distinction of being 
the game's weakest physical attacker when maxed out. This 
sounds like it shouldn't be an issue for a healer. but it 
does somewhat cost her ability to help out when not 
healing. Saint Beam, while it does have a purpose, is only 
ST, and while it can propel your party's total damage rate 
higher than Saint Saber can, it does cause counterattacks 
from some bosses, particularly the Black Rabite. (Ditto for 
Angela.) The worst thing about the Sage is that she has to 
be in the same party she's supporting, so her MT sabers are 
only helping two characters attack anyway. This somewhat 
causes her to suffer in a party without Mind Up or Mind 
Down, which helps her Saint Beam gain value.
4.	Affiliates: I recommend putting her in a party with Lise, 
particularly the Fenrir Knight or Star Lancer, and another 
strong attacker such as Nightblade or Dervish. This will 
maximize the benefits her sabers confer while assisting her 
in dealing damage as well. Cast Mind Up on her at the 
beginning of boss battles and cast whatever sabers are 
necessary at the same time. Like the Arch Mage, this class 
also makes for a good "Holy Focus" party if teamed with the 
Paladin, so Saint Saber is not lost. I recommend strongly 
against teaming this class with dark Duran, even the 
Duelist, since if he can already cast one saber you only 
need ST sabers to cast one more (Carlie herself should 
rarely be on the receiving end of sabers).


Dark-Light: Necromancer

Support  ----x----------- Focus
Physical --------x------- Magical
Single    ---x------------ Groups

1.	List of skills: Heal Light*, Tinkle Rain*, Dark Saber, 
Black Curse, Unicorn Head, Machine Golem, Ghoul, Ghost
Starting and final stats: STR 13/16, DEX 14/15, CON 13/18, 
INT 17/19, PIE 17/21, LUCK 17/20

2.	Strengths: The Necromancer is first and foremost a profound 
support character with one of the hardest spells in the 
game to duplicate: Black Curse. This neat ST spell 
simultaneously casts Mind Down, Power Down and Protect Down 
on the target for 6 MP, saving time and counterattacks. 
This sees a fine role against the Black Rabite, since the 
best tactics for fighting it consist of casting as few 
spells on it as possible. The only other access to this 
spell is through the game's rarest non-unique item, the 
Shadowzero's Eye. Her healing ability also approaches that 
of the light classes, and her summons enable her to deal 
adequate damage should her role come to that. It seems 
shallow to base praise for an entire class on one spell. 
but Black Curse just sees enough use on various teams to 
warrant selection of this class. She also carries a 
profound luck score combined with mostly good stats 
otherwise, and does get Dark Saber, which in all fairness 
is useful against Heath (Carlie's toughest boss).
3.	Weaknesses: The Necromancer unfortunately sees little use 
beyond Black Curse. While her summons see adequate use in 
battle, they just don't really compete with the other 
classes' attack magic. It's probably her weakest class if 
what you're looking for is to deal damage after she's done 
supporting, but it's her best for helping the other 
characters' damage and survival. Dark Saber is also a less 
than useful spell, unless you happen to be fighting Heath 
or Lightgazer with fighters in your party.
4.	Affiliates: The Necromancer is a good addition to virtually 
any team. Combining her with Lise's light classes creates a 
team of complete ownage no matter who the third character 
is. I recommend however that you put her on a team with 
damage dealers such as Angela or Kevin, as she herself 
doesn't do so well at that.


Dark-Dark: Evil Shaman

Support  ------x--------- Focus
Physical ------------x--- Magical
Single    ---------x------ Groups

1.	List of skills: Heal Light*, Tinkle Rain*, Antimagic, Demon 
Breath, Unicorn Head, Machine Golem, Gremlin, Great Demon
Starting and final stats: STR 13/17, DEX 14/16, CON 13/18, 
INT 17/20, PIE 17/20, LUCK 17/19

2.	Strengths: The Evil Shaman is a class of abilities, most of 
which are poor on their own, that happen to combine in ways 
that make each other excel. Demon Breath is a multitarget 
dark or fire magic (see note below) that also comes with MT 
mind down status. This sounds bad because of the dark 
element, which most later enemies absorb. However, she also 
comes with Antimagic, which cancels elemental properties as 
well as powerups. This spell is perhaps the game's best 
against the Black Rabite, since it likes to heal itself 
with Dark Force. Cast this spell, and it's suddenly 
damaging itself instead. Cast antimagic at the beginning of 
a boss battle, follow it with demon breath, and what do you 
have? The same spell but essentially non-elemental! This 
makes her the ultimate companion to a magic party, since 
demon breath is itself actually a fairly powerful MT spell. 
Her Great Demon summon likewise is useful after these are 
cast, and she has Carlie's best attack power, and every 
little bit helps in the parties to which the Evil Shaman 
should belong. Finally, she paradoxically has Carlie's best 
magic defense, but her weakest healing powers.
3.	Weaknesses: The Evil Shaman is Carlie's weakest healer, and 
while it doesn't make her a weak healer, it does make her 
somewhat less preferable - in the healing role at least - 
to other classes. However, in the hands of a skilled 
player, her other roles are fully realized. Her best spells 
are also quite costly in MP, particularly those meant to 
deal damage. Finally, she is confusing for beginners to use 
without experience, and her role is limited to certain 
parties, however ideal she may be in those.
4.	Affiliates: The Evil Shaman belongs on a team of magic 
users. Demon Breath can help lower an enemy's magic damage 
to a fighting party, but why limit its role to that when 
you can have a team that takes advantage of the enemy's 
decreased magic defense as well? In my opinion her ideal 
team is all-female with an advanced player at the helm.

Note: Apparently, some members of a board have performed trials 
with Demon Breath and have found it to contain fire element. 
However, I have also seen dark enemies absorb it. This leads me 
to believe either one of us has a foggy memory, or the spell can 
be both dark and fire elemental simultaneously, much like Final 
Fantasy 7's Magic Breath is fire/ice/lightning.


Duran

How to use him:

Of the three focus characters, this mercenary of Forcena is the 
one who sees the most use as a party member rather than as an 
individual powerhouse. His specialty is in dealing massive 
physical damage, and he's so good at it that even the strongest 
non-Duran class (the Vanadies) doesn't compete with his weakest 
class (the Paladin) in terms of attack power. This makes him the 
strongest single-hit attacker (see my section on popular myths 
for a dispelling of the two most popular myths that cause people 
to dislike Duran). He also has the widest swing, which means that 
if enemies are approaching him from north, south, and west, he 
can hit all three with one swing if a skilled player is 
controlling him, while other characters lack this potential. But 
as strong as he is, Duran also sees use in helping the other 
party members, either through healing, sabers, or both. Between 
the two fighters who can learn to heal (Duran and Kevin) if they 
become a light class, Duran is the one who sacrifices less 
strength by choosing his. This, plus his sabers, makes him a good 
addition to a physical focus team like Fenrir Knight + Dervish.
Duran is the opposite of Carlie: highest STR, second highest HP 
and CON, but low magic defense, casting speed, luck, and healing 
power. As a result, he performs ideally on a team that can help 
magic defense and attack power, as well as one with sabers (which 
most of his own classes have).


Leveling up Duran:

As a physical fighter with the lowest luck in the game, you most 
likely won't be using Duran for his luck or magical capabilities. 
Raise his Strength whenver possible to maximize his advantage in 
attacking. I advise staying away from Luck and Spirit, unless 
he's your Heal Light user in which event you may occasionally 
wish to raise Spirit. However, his magic defense does need 
desperate help, so whenever you can't raise Strength, raise 
either Vitality or Intelligence.


Duran's final classes:


Light-Light: Paladin

Support  -----------x---- Focus
Physical ----x----------- Magical
Single    -------x-------- Groups

1.	List of skills: Heal Light, Saint Saber
Starting and final stats: STR 17/21, DEX 15/17, CON 17/21, 
INT 13/15, PIE 14/17, LUCK 14/16

2.	Strengths: The Paladin is Duran's only class to learn Saint 
Saber. This makes him a uniquely useful character in 
parties focused on holy damage as well as battling the 
Black Rabite. It can also heal, even though the healing is 
single target, and learns an FST. His sacred shield is also 
meant to protect against all magic; unfortunately, due to a 
glitch in the game, it doesn't work. Since Duran's purpose 
is mass damage, this class allows you to fulfill that 
purpose without sacrificing a healer. He's a balanced class 
that allows you to have a party with both three strong 
classes and three good supporters.
3.	Weaknesses: He has the game's weakest magic defense, tied 
with the God Hand. He sees little use beyond the healing 
power and the occasional use of Saint Saber that any other 
class of Duran's can't fulfill more efficiently. A common 
myth claims that he has weak attack power; in fact, his 
attack power is within 4 points of any other class save the 
Duelist, and he has the same strength as the other two. 
However, his shield is broken, so its magic properties 
don't take hold. Because he's a balanced class, he doesn't 
really excel in anything specific (except Black Rabite 
killing).
4.	Affiliates: The Paladin fits well on most teams that the 
Bishop fits on, but he's better balanced for all three 
quests. He provides a good counterpart to the Sage, since 
he is himself a good physical attacker and he has the one 
(important) elemental saber the Sage lacks. He also makes a 
good teammate for the Ninja Master or Fenrir Knight; just 
try using his FST after an MT protect down or Thunder Jutsu 
and you'll see what I mean. If you plan to fight the Black 
Rabite on his own quest, he is part of perhaps the ultimate 
team designed expressly for this purpose (Paladin, 
Necromancer, Star Lancer).


Dark-Light: Lord (or Warlord)

Support  ---------x------ Focus
Physical -----x---------- Magical
Single    -----x---------- Groups

1.	List of skills: Heal Light*, Tinkle Rain
Starting and final stats: STR 17/21, DEX 15/18, CON 17/21, 
INT 13/16, PIE 13/16, LUCK 14/17

2.	Strengths: The Lord is Duran's healing class, but this 
doesn't mean he's incapable of fighting. His strength is 
every bit as high as the other classes (except Duelist), 
which (as with Paladin) many seem to forget. The ability to 
MT Heal Light is good not only for faster healing, but MP 
conservation. This makes him ideal for taking the role of 
party healer, leaving other characters to seek newly 
unrestricted classes. The Oath Shield empowers the Lord 
with immunity to most status changes!
3.	Weaknesses: The Lord is the only class of Duran's that does 
not have any FSTs. While this is not reason enough to shy 
from selecting him, it does somewhat limit his fighting 
credentials on the wrong team. Although his healing is 
multitargetable, his point less in spirit than Paladin 
means he'll be healing somewhat less per casting, although 
this is easily offset by the benefits of MT. He is the only 
class of Duran's which gets no sabers, which means that if 
you don't like using Stardust Herbs, you have to hope 
someone else has sabers or that the boss you're fighting 
doesn't use a saber on your party.
4.	Affiliates: As a character whose main role is to provide MT 
healing without sacrificing fighting ability, the Lord fits 
on virtually any team. However, some teams are better set 
to help his performance than others. I recommend against 
selecting the Lord on any team with Carlie or light-classed 
Kevin, as these only repeat his skills and limit your team 
to little more than healing abilities. You might want to 
put him on a team with someone who has a strong FST 
(Vanadies, Nightblade, dark Kevin) or powerful multitarget 
magic (light Angela, Ninja Master, any Lise). Otherwise you 
may find yourself killing enemies just one at a time.


Dark-Light: Swordmaster

Support  ----------x----- Focus
Physical x--------------- Magical
Single     -----------x---- Groups

1.	List of skills: Fire Saber*, Ice Saber*, Thunder Saber*, 
Diamond Saber*, Moon Saber, Tree Saber
Starting and final stats: STR 18/21, DEX 16/18, CON 17/21, 
INT 14/16, PIE 13/16, LUCK 13/16

2.	Strengths: The Swordmaster combines power with the ability 
to support a good fighting party. On top of having the 
game's second highest attack power per strike, the 
Swordmaster can also multitarget every elemental saber, 
much like the Sage. However, while he cannot heal, he can 
use Moon Saber and Tree Saber, which restore HP and MP 
respectively per hit, and is the only class in the game to 
combine these spells into the same class, and the only one 
to have either in addition to elemental sabers. His FST is 
more than adequate for battling, and his ability to MT 
sabers means the Swordmaster will get into battle action 
quicker than the Duelist will and conserve MP through long 
dungeons.
3.	Weaknesses: The Swordmaster has Duran's most useless stats, 
making him a less efficient character than the Duelist 
individually, particularly for a single character 
challenge. He sacrifices points in Strength, Dexterity, and 
Intelligence for Spirit and Luck, neither of which he uses 
much. If you plan to make Duran the focus of your party, 
the Duelist outshines him. It is when finding a balance 
that allows Duran to fight well while also helping the 
other party members that makes the Swordmaster worth 
choosing.
4.	Affiliates: Since his main benefits are multitargetting 
sabers and using Tree Saber, the Duelist ideally belongs on 
a team that can fight and also use magic, but needs MP 
restoration frequently. For this reason he makes an 
excellent teammate for Hawk's dark classes, particularly 
the Nightblade, as well as Lise (particularly Star Lancer) 
or light Kevin. I recommend on the other hand against 
putting him on a team with Angela, because while Tree Saber 
would help her, it comes at the expense of the efficiency 
his MT sabers grant. Give her the Warrior Monk instead.


Dark-Dark: Duelist

Support  -------------x-Focus
Physical -x-------------- Magical
Single     ---------x------ Groups

1.	List of skills: Fire Saber, Ice Saber, Thunder Saber, 
Diamond Saber, Dark Saber
Starting and final stats: STR 18/22, DEX 16/19, CON 17/21, 
INT 14/17, PIE 13/15, LUCK 13/15

2.	Strengths: Many people look at the Duelist and see Eruption 
Sword. This is a completely valid perspective, but there is 
much MUCH more to the Duelist than the game's strongest 
FST. He also has the game's highest single-hit attack power 
(to give you an idea of where he stands, if an enemy 
somehow had 340 Defense he'd be the only class capable of 
dealing damage in the double digits), and he still has the 
capability of lending saber support to himself and other 
fighters in his party. He does learn Dark Saber, which, 
while useless in most dungeons, is strong against 
Lightgazer (one of the tougher God-Beasts) and Heath (the 
toughest boss on Kevin/Carlie's quest). He also has Duran's 
highest magic defense, which for Duran is big, because this 
means his best damage-dealing class is also the one best 
capable of surviving enemy spells. At heart the Duelist is 
a quintessential "focus character."
3.	Weaknesses: The Duelist does fall short of being a fully 
contributing member of a flowing team. His casting of ST 
sabers is fairly stagnant, and on a team of fighters, 
somewhat slows down how quickly he can get into the action. 
Outside of mass strength and the battles in which he has 
the appropriate elemental saber, the Duelist has literally 
no purpose, so he relies on a team of characters with 
purpose to make up for that. If you want any form of 
healing for your team, this class forces you to take Carlie 
or light classed Kevin as a teammate. Oh well, you could 
always take the God Hand and spam Aura Wave..
4.	Affiliates: The Duelist should have good support characters 
by his side. Good companions include Lise, Hawk (the 
Wanderer proves a great ally, particularly for Duran's own 
quest), or Carlie. Aura Wave is a good companion ability to 
the Duelist, so try pairing him with God Hand (if you don't 
have the Wanderer) and a stat mage (Lise, dark Hawk). 
Speaking of which, MT stat downs are great for the Duelist 
(Ninja Master anyone?), as is Power Up. Likewise, he makes 
a very poor teammate for dark classed Kevin, as it forces 
your third character to be Carlie if you want a healer and 
you must sacrifice that possibility. Saber users, 
especially the Sage, are also somewhat redundant, as 
Duelist himself can cast most sabers anyway.


Hawk (or Hawkeye)


How to use him:

Hawk, venerate of the Navarre Thieves' Guild, is, along with 
Carlie, the character least suited to being a "focus character." 
Every character that does less damage than him physically is 
capable of learning some kind of spell that does more damage than 
his do. However, Hawk is the game's most diverse character in 
terms of support abilities, making him the best contributor to 
good parties. Depending on his selection of class, Hawk can do 
anything except heal. From the essential combination of Fenrir 
Knight and Sorceress that forms the Ninja Master to the jack-of-
all-trades Wanderer, Hawk is capable of filling nearly any hole 
your other two party members might have left open.
Along with Lise, Hawk has the game's best overall stats. Unlike 
Lise, however, he has defined strengths and weaknesses. Hawk 
tends to have the highest Luck and Agility in a party (he is the 
only character to begin with two stats set to 6; on the flip 
side, he's also the only one to start with four scores of 3 or 
less). Depending on the selected class, Hawk can also make up for 
disadvantages in magic defense or physical strength. Keep your 
team's abilities well in mind when selecting a class for Hawk.


Leveling up Hawk:

Paradoxically, having the best stats, Hawk needs to raise the 
most as well. To learn many abilities, and to raise his trap 
damage, Hawk will need to raise his Agility often. As his HP, 
magic defense, and physical defense are on the weak side, he will 
also need to raise Vitality and Intelligence (the latter is also 
required for some classes' skills). The Wanderer requires a raise 
in Spirit to learn some skills, and as Hawk is most likely going 
to be your chest opener, you'll need to raise Luck too. As much 
as he could use it, therefore, his Strength tends to be best 
neglected until other stats are raised, unless you want him to 
double as a fighter (i.e. as Nightblade).


Hawk's final classes:


Light-Light: Wanderer

Support  x--------------- Focus
Physical  -------x-------- Magical
Single     ---x------------ Groups

1.	List of skills: Change Form*, Sleep Flower*, Arrow, Spike, 
Aura Wave, Transhape, Counter Magic, Energy Ball, Lunatic, 
Half Vanish, Life Booster, Poison Bubble
Starting and final stats: STR 14/16, DEX 17/20, CON 15/19, 
INT 14/16, PIE 15/18, LUCK 18/21
2.	Strengths: The Wanderer is the most diverse character in 
the game in terms of abilities, and hence uses. He can put 
all enemies to sleep with MT sleep flower, use Aura Wave to 
help your fighters unleash FSTs, use attack magic and 
replenish his own MP with Poison Bubble, cut an enemy's 
remaining HP in half, and even raise a party member's max 
HP by 1/5 with Life Booster or lower a boss's by 1/5 with 
Lunatic. (That means 10,000 instant non-restorable damage 
to the final bosses!) But his most significant use in most 
teams is also his most overlooked: he can make the party 
nearly invincible against 80% of the game's attacks, by 
using Transhape (a spell that makes the target clear; he 
cannot be hit by physical attacks unless they are techs of 
at least level 2) and Counter Magic (the character reflects 
any non-Shade attack spell that can be single-targeted back 
at the caster; think Reflect from the Final Fantasy series 
minus the reflection of beneficial magics). These two 
spells see particular use respectively when battling the 
Darkshine Knight and Koren, as they actually DO make you 
invincible during these fights (unless Koren casts Ancient, 
and provided you don't use magic or techs on the DSK.)
3.	Weaknesses: Remember how I said Duelist is almost entirely 
a focus character? Well, Wanderer IS entirely a support 
character. He literally has no capacity to do anything that 
doesn't involve disabling the enemies or helping other 
members and himself to perform better. His attack power is 
weaker per hit than most of Angela's and Carlie's classes, 
and his only tenable attack spell (Poison Bubble), while 
useful for MP restoration, doesn't remotely compete with 
the attack spells of Angela or the Rogue in terms of damage 
or elemental uses. Arrow and Spike barely count as attacks, 
since by the end of the game you'll be doing more with 
physical hits than these spells. He also has poor stats for 
a Hawk class, leaving him with many weaknesses that must be 
helped by another support character. The Rogue is equal or 
better in every single stat except for Spirit, the least 
useful for Hawk.
4.	Affiliates: The Wanderer can fit on any team. I'm not even 
kidding. But I do advise putting him on a team with at 
least one heavily focus character such as Death Hand or 
Magus, and the multiple stat mage/healer combination that 
is Carlie as a Necromancer would round out such a party 
quite well. Aura Wave places him slightly better on a 
physical than magical team. Because of the abovementioned 
advantages against Duran's and Angela's bosses, the 
Wanderer performs exceptionally well during the later 
phases of their quest.


Light-Dark: Rogue

Support  -------------x-Focus
Physical -----------x---- Magical
Single    -x-------------- Groups

1.	List of skills: Change Shape*, Sleep Flower*, Rock Fall, 
Cutter Missile, Land Mine, Crescent, Rocket Launcher, Land 
Mine, Axe Bomber, Silver Dart, Grenade Bomb
Starting and final stats: STR 14/17, DEX 17/21, CON 15/19, 
INT 14/17, PIE 15/17, LUCK 18/22

2.	Strengths: The Rogue defies convention by making Hawk into 
a focus character - and quite the focus character he is, 
too. The most balanced focus class, the Rogue can serve 
multiple purposes simultaneously. Its primary use is with 
magic, but don't make any mistakes. the Rogue is *not* 
Angela with better stats, as many make him out to be. For 
starters, where Angela's focus is on the ability to take 
advantage of elemental weaknesses, the Rogue focuses on a 
more general type of damage-dealing: he specializes in 
single-target magic use with mostly non-elemental magic 
spells. At first, this sounds bad because he can't take 
advantage of elemental weaknesses, but consider: many 
bosses, such as Koren or Dark Lich, like to change their 
weaknesses around. This means any given elemental spell you 
cast may heal them, while a non-elemental spell is 
guaranteed to deal damage. The Rogue's Grenade Bomb enables 
him virtually infinite MP, given that you have more than 7 
remaining to cast it. And he gets the game's most useful 
Holy elemental spell, Silver Dart, which is essentially ST 
Saint Beam for 2 MP and a shorter casting time. He also 
gets spells in fire, dark, and tree elements. He has the 
highest luck in the game, and can fight better than any of 
Angela's classes, due to his double-hit. Finally, he can 
multitarget Sleep Flower and Change Shape like the 
Wanderer. While the Rogue will never reach the mass damage-
dealing of Angela, he does sacrifice only a little in 
exchange for being the most multi-dimensional of focus 
classes.
3.	Weaknesses: The biggest problem with a multi-dimensional 
character is that they are rarely exceptional in any field. 
The Rogue is the textbook example of this. He can fight, 
put enemies to sleep, deal non-elemental damage, and deal 
some elemental damage, but doesn't really stand out in any 
one area. His attack spells are only single-target, which 
somewhat restricts his activity to bosses or single 
enemies. Finally, you also have to be careful using Grenade 
Bomb (ditto for Wanderer's Poison Bubble): if you use it on 
the wrong enemy. well, let's just say you won't like the 
results.
4.	Affiliates: The Rogue will fit in on most parties. When 
forming the party, try to keep a particular goal in mind. I 
recommend using him as the basis for a strong magic party, 
joining with one of Angela's light classes (for MT magic 
capabilities) and the Evil Shaman or Necromancer. This does 
somewhat abandon the party's capacity to fight physically, 
but it doesn't much matter when this isn't what your team 
is meant to do. If you want to attack physically all game, 
why are you selecting a magic-using class for your team?


Dark-Light: Ninja Master

Support  -------x-------- Focus
Physical --------x------- Magical
Single    ----------x----- Groups

1.	List of skills: Shuriken*, Water Jutsu*, Thunder Jutsu*, 
Fire Jutsu*, Earth Jutsu*
Starting and final stats: STR 15/17, AGI 18/22, CON 15/19, 
INT 15/18, PIE 14/16, LUCK 17/21

2.	Strengths: The Ninja Master is the game's finest example of 
what happens when you combine party support with individual 
power, and what's more, he does it without sacrificing 
anything significant. Imagine taking the Fenrir Knight 
(Lise's dark-dark class) and adding Sorceress-level 
elemental damage to her spells, and you begin to have an 
idea of how this works. The Ninja Master's jutsus cover not 
only every major stat down spell, but also the four 
"common" elements, and since they can be multitargeted, 
this noticeably decimates the class's need for an FST. His 
physical and magical capabilities are somewhat balanced, 
although his skills tend to overshadow his power. People 
often complain about the lacking FST, but his double hit 
enables him to reach his level 1 tech after just two 
swings, like Hawk's other classes, and the level 1 tech is 
stronger than any of his others anyway. It also enables him 
to take advantage of any sabers cast on him, which is big. 
I cannot overstate the ability to reduce every enemy on the 
screen's physical and magical damage and defense to nearly 
nil; this is one of the few classes that performs equally 
well on a physical or magical team. His magic defense is 
the highest, and his strengthened jutsus dish out the 
second highest base magical damage (after Rogue), of Hawk's 
classes. Finally, if you put Lise on the same team (as I 
highly recommend), this class will enable you to select her 
light classes and have both MT stat ups and downs on the 
same team, doubling every character's damage from all 
sources while cutting damage to your team to 1 in most 
cases! Finally, he also has one of the game's more cost-
efficient spells: MT Shuriken. For 1 MP, this spell will 
dish out damage in the 200s without stat modifications and 
lower the enemy's hit rate. Because of its extremely fast 
casting time, a good tactic is to use this immediately upon 
entering a room and while enemies are being knocked back, 
follow it with a jutsu that would be useful in the fight.
3.	Weaknesses: Despite the fact that the lack of an FST is 
more than made up for by the presence of MT magic and MT 
stat downs, it's still there. Also, while MT jutsus are 
practically all he needs, he doesn't learn any new skills. 
As a result, he is the least diverse (and most focused) of 
Hawk's classes. His skills pretty much extend only to MT 
damage and MT stat downs, as useful as those are. On a team 
that already has stat downs (such as Fenrir Knight) he's 
forced to act as team mage, a field in which Angela easily 
takes him. Finally, being elemental attacks, his jutsus are 
absorbed by some foes (such as Darkshine Knight), which 
forces him to use a specter's eye before casting it or risk 
facing some dangerous situations (Darkshine Knight without 
power down), and they are countered by others (Black 
Rabite), making them barely worth using.
4.	Affiliates: The Ninja Master belongs on any team unless it 
already has stat down spells. He can help Duran or Kevin 
with their FST damage, help Angela with her MT and ST magic 
damage, or help light-classed Carlie to beef up another 
fighter's damage. Perhaps the best teammate for the Ninja 
Master is Lise as a Star Lancer, because this gives you MT 
stat ups, MT stat downs, two characters with multitarget 
magic, two decent fighters, and MT silence - all with the 
third character yet to be determined. You literally can't 
go wrong with this class unless you're a complete imbecile.


Dark-Dark: Nightblade

Support  --------x------- Focus
Physical ------x--------- Magical
Single    ---x------------ Groups

1.	List of skills: Shuriken, Water Jutsu, Thunder Jutsu, Fire 
Jutsu, Earth Jutsu, Fire Breath, Poison Breath, Black Rain, 
Deadly Weapon, Blow Needles
Starting and final stats: STR 15/18, AGI 18/21, CON 15/19, 
INT 15/17, PIE 14/17, LUCK 17/20

2.	Strengths: Like the Ninja Master, the Nightblade is a 
combination of support and focus, but used differently. For 
starters, his physical strength and FST enables him to act 
as Hawk's best fighter, as well as having the strongest 
double hit level 1 tech of Hawk's. His jutsus provide ample 
support for himself and other party members, as well as 
magical attack power. He has no noticeably weak stats (his 
lowest are 17s), which means there's not much he can't do. 
On top of this, he has several new spells you can't access 
anywhere else in the game. Blow Needles makes him one of 
three characters in the game capable of inflicting silence 
(generally accepted as the most universally useful status) 
on enemies, while Deadly Weapon is like Lunatic (see 
Wanderer, above) with the added plus of dealing damage. 
Combined with the jutsus and his raw power, these skills 
make the Nightblade an ideal character, both as a teammate 
and an attacker, for any boss battle.
3.	Weaknesses: The Nightblade is useful almost entirely in 
boss battles. In terms of attacking groups of monsters, his 
FST mostly loses out to the Ninja Master's MT jutsus unless 
you have Aura Wave in your party, his ST jutsus aren't the 
best support for MT magicians or FST fighters, and his 
unique skills aren't much better. The ones you'll ever use 
pretty much extend only to Deadly Weapon and Blow Needles. 
Fire Breath isn't even fire elemental (and Shuriken is more 
effective in every way), Poison Breath is pretty much the 
same plus poison status, Black Rain is a dark spell that 
can't even be single-targeted optionally, and while Deadly 
Weapon is useful, the damage it does is more or less wiped 
out by the decrease in max HP anyway. His ST jutsus can 
create MP problems if used frequently, so while going 
through dungeons he is more or less forced to be a physical 
fighter, and is less than helpful for the other characters. 
Finally, he is the victim of a nasty bug that occasionally 
reduces his physical damage to 1, somewhat negating even 
his power advantage.
4.	Affiliates: The Nightblade belongs in the same parties as 
the Ninja Master but with a focus on fighting bosses. Good 
teammates include the Magus, Lord, and Vanadies. Teaming 
him up with light-classed Lise or a character with 
elemental sabers (light Carlie or dark Duran) isn't a bad 
idea either. Avoid putting him on the same team as dark 
Lise or dark Carlie.


Kevin


How to use him:

Kevin, half-beastman, prince of the Beast Kingdom, is the game's 
quintessential focus character, and being a pure physical focus 
character, he is the antithesis to Angela. No matter which class 
of his you choose, his primary purpose individually remains the 
same: to turn into a wolf and beat the crap out of whatever comes 
your way, hitting twice per attack, and ideally dishing out 
extreme damage with the assistance of the other two characters' 
abilities. That said, what he does for your team can vary greatly 
depending on class and context. Because he almost entirely lacks 
support abilities, no class of Kevin's really stands out from the 
others, although the light classes are worlds apart from one 
another. It really shouldn't be a factor in determining his 
efficiency, but because it exists and cannot be reversed, it must 
be taken into account: On most teams, Kevin is a "broken" 
character (in more ways than one) because of many glitches. Most 
significantly, in wolf form, anything that hits Kevin physically 
automatically affects him as if he'd been hit with a power up or 
pressure point spell. This means that in addition to the 1/7 of 
his attack power he gets upon transformation, he's boosted by an 
additional 1/3, in many cases making him every bit as strong as 
Duran (without stat magic) on the individual hit! He also has the 
most HP of any character, often matching Duran's while two or 
three levels lower.
Unfortunately, Kevin also has to deal with the worst overall 
stats in the game: if one considers that the average level 1 stat 
(rounded off) is 4, Kevin has only one above-average stat: 
Vitality, which doesn't in any way benefit him because of weak 
armor. His magic defense, healing capabilities, and luck are 
overall the saddest in the game, and his untransformed attack 
power isn't much better. But his sheer damage-dealing potential 
makes up for all of that, and on the right team, these weaknesses 
can be filled in.

Leveling up Kevin:

As his uses are so few but focused, Kevin is the easiest 
character to level up. You can spend 10 levels in a row leveling 
up only STR (to help his sole constant purpose, attack power) and 
INT (so that he doesn't take 300-400 damage from a spell that 
should be dealing 200 by the end) and he would in no way fall 
behind in terms of what he does need. Nonetheless, his light 
classes should raise PIE occasionally, especially the Warrior 
Monk, and CON should be raised occasionally as well with all 
classes so that his physical defense doesn't fall too far behind. 
With his HP though it's not as much of an issue as it is for, 
say, Angela.


Light-Light: God Hand

Support  ----------x----- Focus 
Physical ---x------------ Magical 
Single    ---------x------ Groups

1.	List of skills: Heal Light, Aura Wave, Pressure Point
Starting and final stats: STR 15/18, AGI 14/17, CON 18/22, 
INT 13/15, PIE 14/17, LUCK 14/16

2.	Strengths: The God Hand is a strong fighter that doesn't 
sacrifice contributions to the other party members. His 
fighting power is only a few points below the Death Hand or 
Dervish, and he has an FST like them (two, in fact). In 
addition, he can use Pressure Point on himself to increase 
his power if Lise didn't already cast Power Up. He also has 
two more useful spells: Heal Light and Aura Wave. Like the 
Paladin vs. the Lord, he has a stronger Heal Light than the 
Warrior Monk, but it's only single-targeted. Aura Wave is 
great in a fighter party with an FST, as it allows you to 
fill anyone's gauge to maximum level instantly. (If all 
else fails, have him use it on himself.) And again, he gets 
all of this without sacrificing significant amounts of 
power.
3.	Weaknesses: The God Hand has the dubious honor of the 
game's most pitiful magic defense. His maximum is maybe 
half of Angela's, and since magic defense can't be 
compensated like physical defense can, this is a very real 
issue. His ST heal light is not enough to serve as sole 
healer for a newbie's party, and he loses in nearly all 
ways to the Warrior Monk on a team of mages.
4.	Affiliates: The God Hand is good on a fighting party. His 
ideal teammate is the Paladin, who provides a second ST 
Heal Light and has an FST. Other good teammates include 
Vanadies, Nightblade, Swordmaster, and Duelist. Avoid 
putting him on a team with mages; it diminishes the uses of 
Aura Wave and he in no way benefits them with his presence.


Light-Dark: Warrior Monk 
 
Support ------x--------- Focus 
Physical ----------x----- Magical 
Single ---x------------ Groups 

1. 	 List of skills: Heal Light*, Tree Saber, Pressure 
Point
Starting and final stats: STR 15/17, DEX 14/16, CON 18/22, 
INT 13/16, PIE 14/16, LUCK 14/17

2. 	Strengths: Many lovers of Kevin have a tendency to 
hate this class. Judging by the reasons given in many FAQs 
and on the boards, this is because they don't know how to 
use it properly. The Warrior Monk is something of a black 
sheep among the final classes, in that it's more focused on 
helping its party than on being the main focus of it, and 
is a weak contribution to a physical team while nearly the 
supreme contribution to a magical team. He is one of those 
rare cases in which a class can fill in a team's weakness 
while still contributing to said team's skills. He fills 
the role of healer with MT Heal Light, and - more 
importantly - MP healer with Tree Saber. You can't afford 
to underestimate this spell. It enables Lise to actually 
serve as a summoner in boss battles, Hawk to use attack 
spells constantly, and Carlie to use hers as well. Even the 
Rune Master is an extremely good teammate for him because 
of just this spell. Even as he provides these backups to a 
magically attacking party, he also provides some physical 
power, thanks to his Pressure Point spell, double attack, 
and oft-overlooked Level 2 FST.
3. 	Weaknesses: The Warrior Monk is an extremely limited 
class in terms of team diversity. Its performance is in 
nearly all ways inferior to the other classes on any non-
magically focused team. It has Kevin's weakest attack 
power, which means that if you chose a team meaning to 
boost him up and then have him dish out mass damage, you 
can prepare to be disappointed. One of my early teams was 
Star Lancer-Warrior Monk-Nightblade, and I was using Star 
Lancer to do physical damage more often than I was using 
the Warrior Monk. It also holds the dubious distinction of 
having the game's worst overall stats of any class.
4.	Affiliates: As stated above, this class should be teamed 
with Angela, Carlie, Lise, or Hawk and the team should 
focus on its magical attacking capabilities. Avoid teaming 
this class with Duran, as well as weaker magi like the 
Wanderer and Vanadies, at all costs.

 
Dark-Light: Death Hand

Support  ---------------x Focus 
Physical ---x------------ Magical 
Single    -------x-------- Groups

1. 	List of skills: Energy Ball
Starting and final stats: STR 16/19, DEX 15/18, CON 18/22, 
INT 14/16, PIE 13/15, LUCK 13/15

2.	Strengths: Because of a glitch, this is the game's purest 
focus class. There is absolutely nothing this class can do 
that helps other party members perform better, and there is 
no better class at being helped by other party members. 
It's the game's most one-dimensional class, capable only of 
fighting physically, but it's paradoxically capable of 
dishing out more damage than any other class when used this 
way! With Power Up, Protect Down, wolf form with a correct 
saber thrown on him, this class can approach 1000 damage 
per double-hit, and can dish out nearly 2000 with his level 
1 tech, which he builds quite fast I might add. That's all 
without using any MP. He was intended originally to have 
one support spell: Energy Ball, familiar to Secret of Mana 
players as the supremely useful spell that drives your 
critical hit rate to outrageous levels. Unfortunately, 
critical hits barely exist in this game because of a glitch 
- I've never seen one in over 250 hours of gameplay - so 
even this measure is denied.
3.	Weaknesses: Being a fighter and only a fighter, the Death 
Hand has absolutely no variety whatsoever. It's attack or 
do nothing. This means the rest of your party virtually 
needs to be characters who are good at supporting a 
fighter, because otherwise his attack power will never 
reach its potential. His mental stats are on the weak side 
as well, making it tough for him to survive spells 
unsupported. However, his other stats balance out fairly 
well, as the two stats for which he's the game's worst 
(spirit and luck) are nearly useless to him.
4.	Affiliates: This class belongs on a strong fighting team 
with support magic, and preferably including sabers. The 
Swordmaster makes a good teammate, as do the Duelist, 
Paladin, and any of Carlie's classes. Lise is also a good 
teammate. Avoid throwing him in on any team with Angela, 
especially light-classed, unless you want a challenge; the 
lack of compatibility is frankly terrifying and neither 
will perform well as a result.

Dark-Dark: Dervish 

Support -----------x---- Focus 
Physical ----x----------- Magical 
Single -------x-------- Groups

1. 	List of skills: Moon Saber
Starting and final stats: STR 16/18, DEX 15/17, CON 18/22, 
INT 14/17, PIE 13/16, LUCK 13/16

2. 	Strengths: Next to the Archmage, the Dervish is 
unquestionably the most overlooked focus character in the 
game. Contrary to popular belief, he is not significantly 
weaker than the Death Hand; he is lower in strength by one 
point, and a stronger final weapon makes up for 2 of those 
attack points. The end result is that that the base damage 
difference between the two is in the single digits. On top 
of this, Dervish has Kevin's strongest magic defense, and 
since this is a supremely important area for Kevin, this 
never-mentioned fact is easily the most misunderstood on 
this entire site. Finally, with Moon Saber, the Dervish can 
act as a limited sort of healer-as-you-go, preventing the 
need to heal. well, as frequently as usual.
3. 	Weaknesses: Like his cousin the Death Hand, the 
Dervish relies on boosts like sabers, Aura Wave, and stat 
magic to help his attack power reach its full potential. 
Some enemies absorb Moon Saber, so you have to be careful 
around these. He also makes a poor contribution to a 
magically focused team, but if you've chosen dark Kevin I'm 
assuming you don't plan on forming one. His is nothing to 
scream about either.
4.	Affiliates: As cousin to the Death Hand, the Dervish is 
what you choose for the same teams as Death Hand if you 
want to sacrifice some attack power for magic defense and 
Moon Saber. In other words, if you want to survive longer, 
pick Dervish and a team with sabers and other support 
magic, and preferably at least one of these belonging to 
some kind of strong physical fighter. I like the thought of 
a Bishop-Dervish-Nightblade team on Kevin's quest.


Lise/Riesz

How to use her:

Princess Lise of Rolante is the game's most balanced character. 
This is reflected by the fact that, in addition to having the 
highest base stat total, she also is the only character to begin 
with only one below-average stat (Luck, and it's a 3), as well as 
the only one to begin with no stats at 6. She has all of the 
basic stat magics for support, can inflict status effects on 
multiple foes, and can use summons and brute strength to continue 
dealing damage after these have worn out their uses. As long as 
it doesn't involve healing, Lise can do it.
Lise is the one character in the game to have literally no 
weakness, as her physical and magical attack and virtually 
equally powerful. She is also the only character in the game to 
be above average in HP, Vitality, and Intelligence, making her 
the ultimate defensive character. It's hard to say much more 
about a character with stats as consistently good as Lise.

Leveling up Lise:

Lise is a well balanced character even from the start with no 
inherent weaknesses. What's more, her abilities are learned by 
reaching a certain Spirit score, and she happens to automatically 
reach that score after each class change. Therefore, Lise is 
always available to raise however you wish. Her main use is in 
support, but stats are pretty irrelevant to her support skills, 
and she needs to be able to contribute after buffing/debuffing. 
So I recommend raising STR (if you want a fighter, particularly 
recommended for Vanadies) or PIE (if you want a summoner, 
particularly recommended for Dragon Master), CON and INT 
periodically. DEX and LUCK are always useful, they just don't 
have many specific applications to Lise.


Light-Light: Vanadies 
 
Support  -------x-------- Focus 
Physical -----x---------- Magical 
Single    --------x------- Groups 

1. 	List of skills: Mind Up, Power Up, Protect Up, Speed 
Up, Freya
Starting and final stats: STR 17/20, DEX 16/19, CON 16/20, 
INT 15/17, PIE 16/19, LUCK 14/16

2. 	Strengths: Often derided by foolish FAQ writers that 
for some reason view Lise's role as first and foremost a 
summoner, then building an analysis of the classes around 
how useful the summons are, the Vanadies is actually the 
class that, particularly statwise, best befits Lise, and is 
meant to be used entirely differently. The role of the 
Vanadies is to take some time beefing up the party members, 
then charge in doing massive physical damage. She is the 
only class in the game to approach Duran in terms of single 
hit power (not counting Kevin after transforming), and with 
two FSTs no less. Take the Paladin, remove saint saber and 
heal light, add stat magic and a summon, and subtract 
miniscule amounts of attack power while adding a lot to 
every other important stat, and you have an idea of just 
what this class can actually be like. The single targeted 
stat ups are ample support, particularly for a team in 
which you want to cast the stat ups one by one anyway (such 
as a team with single-targeted sabers). Finally, two oft-
overlooked facts: firstly, she has Lise's highest spirit, 
which means she casts the fastest spells, and her summon 
has the best base damage-to-MP ratio. Secondly, like her 
dark-light cousin the Dragon Master, the Vanadies learns 
her summon immediately upon gaining her first level after 
class changing, four levels before the Star Lancer or 
Fenrir Knight learn theirs.
3. 	Weaknesses: The Vanadies' biggest weakness is that it 
takes her a while to get into the action on faster moving 
teams; as a result, she makes a poor teammate for MT stat 
down or MT saber types like the Swordmaster or Ninja Master 
that are quicker to jump in. Not that she's a bad teammate 
for these. it's just that she's better paired with someone 
who uses those skills single-targeted. She also has Lise's 
poorest magic defense (although it's still quite good), and 
her summon costs you any experience you would gain if you 
use it on normal enemies. Throw it all over bosses though, 
or to get out of situations where you may die.
4.	Affiliates: Since the Vanadies wants to beef up the other 
characters and then get into the fray, preferably 
physically attacking, team her with other physical team 
members like the Bishop or Duelist. She makes a good 
teammate for the Nightblade as well. Avoid teaming her with 
the Sage or Swordmaster, as these classes are designed 
around getting into the action quickly; team her instead 
with Bishop or Duelist, respectively.
 
Light-Dark: Star Lancer 
 
Support ----x----------- Focus 
Physical --------x------- Magical 
Single ---------x------ Groups 

1.	List of skills: Mind Up*, Power Up*, Protect Up*, Speed 
Up*, Marduke
Starting and final stats: STR 17/19, DEX 16/18, CON 16/20, 
INT 15/18, PIE 16/18, LUCK 14/17
2.	Strengths: The Star Lancer is almost universally the most 
loved class in the game, and for good reason. It is the one 
class in the game with the most irreplaceable skills, and 
the one that fits on literally any team. (Yes, I'm well 
aware that the Rogue's skills among others cannot be 
duplicated either. But I'm also aware that there are plenty 
of other items and/or abilities that duplicate the role of 
dealing damage, while no other class or item in the game 
multitargets stat ups or silence.) You literally cannot go 
wrong with her no matter what team you form. The Star 
Lancer can multitarget stat up spells, which has more uses 
than you can possibly imagine. You can beef up your entire 
party's physical attack power, physical defense power, and 
magical attack and defense power in 3 spell castings for a 
mere 6 MP! In addition, the Star Lancer is a more balanced 
attacker than the Vanadies, lacking 13 of the Vanadies' 
points of physical strength (which does actually matter 
against stronger defenses) but having a useful summon: 
Marduke, which multitargets both high damage and silence, 
widely accepted as the most useful status a summon can dish 
out. It disables foes from using any magic (including 
healing), level 2 techs, and level 3 techs! She keeps her 
level 2 FST, as do all of Lise's classes, and deals out 
strong damage (800s-900s) with her ST level 3 tech. 
Finally, her stats are well balanced in that none of her 
stats is the lowest of her classes (except Agility), and 
all but luck are 18 or higher.
3.	Weaknesses: There really aren't any that will cause 
problems you'll run into with this class on any given team. 
That said, there are teams on which she is not the best 
choice - not so much due to shortcomings as because another 
class is better at something than she is. She also has 
Lise's lowest stat total, and because of her balanced 
stats, she has Lise's highest score in absolutely none of 
them. This means if you're (for some reason that's probably 
beyond me) using her as a focus character, there is always 
another class that can do the same thing better: Vanadies 
for fighting, Dragon Master for summoning, Fenrir Knight 
for agility and magic defense. As a result, the Star Lancer 
is the ultimate in providing a great party setup, but 
weaker than the others in performing -after- this is done. 
Still, she is a neutrally well-balanced attacker (rather 
than a focused one) as well as a great support class, and 
shouldn't be discounted for that reason.
4.	Affiliates: Literally anybody. The Star Lancer can make any 
team efficient. There is no team you can form, even if you 
try, on which it would be a useless class. To form a 
legendary team and experience a Paradise on Earth, pair her 
with the Ninja Master. This gives you MT stat ups, MT stat 
downs together, essentially doubling all damage while 
decreasing virtually all damage to you to 1, and keeping 
two good fighters, each of whom can basically use MT level 
2 magic, one elemental and one non-elemental. This is all 
with the third character yet to be chosen, around which you 
can build a great fighting team (Duran/Kevin/light Carlie) 
or the game's best magic teams (dark Carlie/Angela). Other 
good teams include an all-female team, ideally Star Lancer, 
Evil Shaman, Magus for an advanced player, and Star Lancer, 
Sage, Death Hand/Dervish.

 
Dark-Light: Dragon Master 
 
Support ---------x------ Focus 
Physical --------x------- Magical 
Single ---x------------ Groups 

1.	List of skills: Mind Down, Power Down, Protect Down, Speed 
Down, Iormungand
Starting and final stats: STR 16/18, DEX 17/19, CON 16/20, 
INT 16/18, PIE 15/18, LUCK 15/18
2.	Strengths: Ah, yes, the infamous Dragon Master. Long 
derided as one of the game's "useless" classes, the Dragon 
Master actually plays a uniquely balancing role, depicted 
allegorically by having the game's most balanced stats. Her 
lowest stat is an 18 (highest in the game) and in fact four 
of her stats match that. The only ones that don't are 
Agility (19) and Vitality (20, and in case you've failed to 
notice, each character's classes all share the same final 
Vitality anyway). She also does the most damage as a magic-
user with her summon, which in addition to dealing the most 
base damage, deals additional damage through poison. Since 
summons are better for clearing areas of minor foes than at 
boss battles, this is a good thing. She also learns her 
summon at level 39, whereas Fenrir Knight and Star Lancer 
have to wait until level 43. She is Lise's weakest class 
physically, but still quite strong, and does still have a 
level 2 FST. She can use all the basic stat down spells 
(single-targeted), and unlike Hawk's jutsus these can get 
through a counter magic barrier. The single-targeting seems 
inferior at first glance, but multitargeting for stat downs 
isn't nearly as desperately needed as it is for stat ups, 
since most bosses and tough enemies appear only in one 
part. Also consider that in most dungeons, physical 
attackers are paired with magical attackers. Which makes, 
say, MT Mind Down or MT Power Down less than useful in 
these scenarios anyway.
3.	Weaknesses: Being balanced, the Dragon Master unfortunately 
fails to really excel in any area beyond summoning. She is 
Lise's weakest physical attacker, her other stats, while 
well balanced, aren't really exceptional in any areas, and 
her abilities (ST stat downs) don't necessarily make up for 
this. They're not much less useful than MT stat downs. but 
it is still a matter of balancing benefits. Finally, beyond 
Iormungand she's almost entirely replaceable by dark Carlie 
or dark Hawk, but Iormungand shouldn't be underestimated.
4.	Affiliates: The Dragon Master should not be on any teams 
with dark Hawk and rarely with dark Carlie. She does work 
quite well with Kevin and with saber users, but unless you 
make a fighter team like DM, God Hand, and Duelist I 
recommend continuing the magic focus with the likes of 
Rogue, Wanderer, or Archmage.





 
Dark-Dark: Fenrir Knight

Support -------x-------- Focus 
Physical ------x--------- Magical 
Single ---------x------ Groups 

1.	List of skills: Mind Down*, Power Down*, Protect Down*, 
Speed Down*, Lamia Naga
Starting and final stats: STR 16/19, DEX 17/20, CON 16/20, 
INT 16/19, PIE 15/17, LUCK 15/17
2.	Strengths: The Fenrir Knight is the physically stronger of 
Lise's dark classes, which is helped greatly by having the 
strongest of weapons. Her attack power approaches that of 
the Vanadies, and she maintains a level 2 FST as well as 
Lise's strongest magic magic defense. She is also slightly 
more useful for her main role (downing stats) than the 
Dragon Master is, since in the rare situation that you 
actually do need MT stat downs (for instance, you're about 
to unleash an FST or MT spell) they're there to use. As 
before, the stat downs still get through counter magic 
barriers. Her summon, Lamia Naga, is supposed to be the 
strongest on the official cart, adding about half the 
original power instead of a status effect, but in the ROM 
it just does normal damage.
3.	Weaknesses: The FK has Lise's weakest Spirit score. If you 
want to use her as a summoner, this isn't good, because 
Spirit determines the strength of a summoned spell. There 
isn't much else in the way of weaknesses for the FK. but 
she is almost entirely replaceable by a plethora of other 
classes that do her job with additional benefits (Ninja 
Master, Evil Shaman, Necromancer, Nightblade), and unlike 
the DM (above), she doesn't really have anything to offer 
that these classes don't. DM at least has the benefit of 
Poison. Still, the FK is a good mix of summon, stat down, 
and attack power.
4.	Affiliates: Again, avoid teaming this class with dark Hawk 
or dark Carlie. This team works better for fighting teams 
than the Dragon Master does, though like Lise's other 
classes it's quite balanced for all forms of power. I like 
to pair this class with the Swordmaster (sabers provide a 
small power up on their own so stat downs are less 
redundant than stat ups on such teams). FST users and MT 
magic users make good teammates after MT Protect Down and 
MT Mind Down, respectively.


***************************************************************

5.	And now for something entirely different: a fun team for 
every class! ^_^

This section will consist of a fun team for every class. I will 
disclaim that this does not necessarily mean the "best" team for 
every class, or the most efficient. but in general, one that is 
fun to use and takes advantage fairly well of the class's 
strengths. As much of an art as team formation is, there is more 
to this fabulous game than simply having an efficient team and 
trouncing everything.


ANGELA:

Ninja Master, Star Lancer, Grand Divina

You know what that means? No healer - and the ultimate in magical 
abilities! The Grand Divina as it is can dish out well over 500 
MT damage with her spells, against a target with the right weakness.
Add in Star Lancer's virtually instant MT Mind Up, and Ninja
Master's virtually instant MT Fire Jutsu, and that goes up to the
800s - against everything on the screen. This also makes her into a boss
fighter on at least the level of Rune Master. The NM can complement
this with jutsus dealing in the 500-600 range and ditto for the SL
with Marduke. Dishing out about 2000 damage magically at a time,
most with elements attached... you get the picture. You also have
MT silencing, three bearable fighters should it come to that, Double
Spell, and MT Shuriken. No healer, but if I could deal with that
when I was inexperienced (this having been my first party) then you can too.


Arch Mage, Wanderer, Evil Shaman

This team has Angela with MT every element except dark, Carlie 
with MT dark/fire, Antimagic and MT Mind Down, and Hawk with 
Transhape, Counter Magic, and Poison Bubble. All in all you have 
3 magic attackers, the ultimate in defensive techniques, MT 
healing, and infinite MP for Hawk. The biggest trip on this team 
is that should you for some reason ever use physical attacks (for 
instance, against DSK) after the final class change, you'll see 
the girls doing more damage than Hawk!


Warrior Monk, Rune Master, Bishop

The Rune Master takes full advantage of Warrior Monk's Tree Saber 
in this party, which enables both Angela and Carlie to deal 999 
damage repeatedly with DeathSpell and Turn Undead against Dark 
Lich. All without casting one stat up/down spell! You also have 
two MT Heal Lights and sabers to cast on Kevin, meaning you 
virtually can't die. You might want to bring along some drake's 
scales to increase Angela and Carlie's damage, so that they can 
restore more MP per hit.


Star Lancer, Necromancer, Magus

You have Marduke, Ancient, MT Heal Light, and the game's 
strongest MT level 1 spells, making this team ideal for getting 
through tough dungeons. For boss battles, MT Mind Up and Black 
Curse means your Magus is practically reaching 999 with level 2 
spells against a cripple that can barely deal damage anymore. The 
Star Lance's ample power and MT Power Up make this team capable 
of handling itself in physical combat situations, even though 
with Marduke and Magus this need should be virtually nonexistent.



CARLIE:

Bishop, Death Hand, Swordmaster

Two of the three strongest attackers in the game with MT healing 
and every saber except for dark, many of them MT. Turn Undead is 
a powerful ally on Carlie's quest, and having both Death Hand and 
Swordmaster powered up with sabers makes up for the lack of 
powerups or downs. Most importantly, Magic Shield will help the 
two fighters' magic defense, dealing with the only real 
disadvantage this party has to begin with.


Vanadies, Paladin, Sage

I came up with this team as a variant on the classic "Holy Focus" 
party. You get ST Saint Saber and four MT sabers for two very 
strong fighters, stat ups, and on top of that the game's 
strongest Saint Beam. Ideal for dishing out holy elemental 
damage, and also quite versatile for physically fighting 
opponents of various elements.


Paladin, Necromancer, Star Lancer

The team for fighting the Black Rabite. Duran contributes ST Heal 
Light, Saint Saber for when it casts Dark Saber on your team, and 
strong fighting. Star Lancer contributes MT Power Up, MT Mind Up 
and an additional fighter that gets into the fray immediately 
after casting those. Carlie contributes MT Heal Light and more 
importantly Black Curse, the only tenable method of lowering the 
Black Rabite's attack and defense powers.


Nightblade, Evil Shaman, Duelist

One of those rare teams you can put dark Carlie and dark Hawk on 
and have a use for both. Nightblade provides Deadly Weapon to 
lower boss HP, then jutsus and physical attack power for a 
perfectly balanced damage dealer. Evil Shaman's antimagic enables 
the Nightblade's jutsus to work on anything. And the Duelist is 
very strong and can provide sabers for himself and the other two. 
Well balanced team that fits just right.


DURAN:

Arch Mage, Vanadies, Paladin

The much-flaunted Holy Focus party of the board, for good reason. 
I initially didn't expect this team to work when challenged with 
it. Hoo boy, was I wrong. Vanadies can boost Arch Mage's magic 
damage plus her own and Duran's physical damage to obscene 
levels, while Duran can cast Saint Saber on himself and Lise and 
Angela can cast her strongest Saint Beam, as well as many other 
spells. Very good for fighting God-Beasts and Dragon Emperor 
alike, but sees its finest hour against Zable-Fahr. So if you 
hate that fight, try this party and laugh at it.


Lord, Wanderer, Dervish

Nothing affects you. You have Kevin with his 2nd highest attack 
power and highest magic defense, Duran with immunity to all 
status effects, MT Heal Light, and Tinkle Rain to help the other 
party members once they get hit with one, and Wanderer providing 
immunity to everything except level 2 or 3 techs and Shade 
spells. This team can even deal damage, with Poison Bubble 
restoring Wanderer's MP and Aura Wave for the Dervish or Lord.


Swordmaster, Star Lancer, Ninja Master

Contributed by: Duath

Everyone here helps everyone do everything. The Swordmaster 
provides MT sabers so he, Lise, and Hawk all do more damage to 
almost any foe, as well as Moon and Tree Sabers to enable Lise 
and Hawk to act as mages. Star Lancer ups everyone's attack power 
and her own and Hawk's magic damage. Ninja Master helps Duran's 
FST, his own damage and Lise's. well, everything. The only thing 
this team lacks is a healer, and you really shouldn't need one 
with them.


Duelist, Nightblade, God Hand

The ultimate in physical combat. Sabers, stat downs, Deadly 
Weapon, three of the most powerful fighters (two with double 
hit!), a healer, Aura Wave, and the strongest FST in the game. 
Did somebody say WMDs?


HAWK:

Wanderer, Star Lancer, Necromancer

Contributed by TheDarkshineKnight

"For boss battles, all you essentially do is Black Curse, MTSUs, 
and Counter Magic and then just bash away, since you're not 
likely to die during the fight. Against enemies, well, you hit 
stuff and have Carlie heal. In all honesty, that's all I've ever 
needed to do against enemies with ANY party."

My input: Agreed. One of the few teams without a focus character 
that can do anything. It doesn't quite suffer damage-wise either, 
as Poison Bubble, Marduke, and Ghost are moderately powerful 
magics, and Star Lancer can physically attack if necessary. With 
Power Up the Wanderer's double hit should also be decent. MT 
Sleep Flower, Transhape, Life Booster, and Lunatic should also 
not be underestimated.


Rogue, Magus, Evil Shaman

Just try it sometime. Don't attack physically at all after your 
final CC. Instead, use your MT Sleep Flower, Demon Breath and MT 
level 1's to decimate any foes, then Antimagic/Demon Breath 
bosses. Follow this with the Rogue's spells and the Magus's level 
2 spells with INT 22. I dare you to say these are their 
characters' "worst classes."


Ninja Master, Star Lancer, God Hand

In succession, you can use Aura Wave, Thunder Jutsu, Byakko 
Shockwave = 1500 or so fullscreen damage virtually instantly for 
only a few MP. Against bosses, do this after Mind Up then Power 
Up. You also have MT Mind Up and Marduke to protect the less than 
optimal magic defense of this team.


Nightblade, Sage, Death Hand

Sage again contributes MT sabers to two ultra-powerful double-
hitters. In turn, Nightblade lowers bosses' max HP, then uses 
jutsus to lower defense (and attack) which boosts Carlie's Saint 
Beam, and Kevin hits hard helped by both of them. You even have a 
powerful MT healer. What's missing? Nothing really.


KEVIN:

God Hand, Duelist, Bishop

All of the important sabers. Two healers, one with the game's 
strongest instant-cast MTHL. Turn Undead for Dark Lich. Aura 
Wave. Two of the strongest FSTs in the game. Magic Shield for the 
fighters. What's not to like?


Dragon Master, Rune Master, Warrior Monk

An ideal party for the Warrior Monk's Tree Saber. It enables Rune 
Master to actually last boss battles without running out of MP, 
Dragon Master to behave as a summoner, and grants Warrior Monk 
essentially limitless healing. Lise's debuffs should be enough to 
help Iormungand reach high damage figures, and DeathSpell doesn't 
need stat magic to deal the damage cap. You also have a character 
with high MDF, a character with high HP, and one above average in 
both. Coupled with debuffs you should never die.


Death Hand, Fenrir Knight, Swordmaster

Darn near the ultimate in physical teams. Get some Drake's Scales 
and Poto Oils, and you're set. Three strong physical attackers, 
with MT debuffs, MT sabers, and two FSTs. In this party with 
Protect Down, Drake's Scale and the right saber you might see 
Kevin passing 900 damage per strike when using his level 1 tech.


Dervish, Wanderer, Lord

A decent all-male party. Your magic defense shouldn't be bad 
enough to die in one casting of Ancient, especially with Life 
Booster + MTHL, and the Wanderer's Counter Magic can take care of 
any lesser spells. Lunatic and two strong attackers provide ample 
firepower against bosses, and between Moon Saber and MTHL you 
should be hard to kill. Lord is even immune to status effects and 
can use Tinkle Rain should the others be affected by one.


LISE:

Vanadies, Death Hand, Duelist

A supremely physical team without a healer. All three of these 
are the best attackers for their characters, Vanadies' buffs help 
them deal damage and take a hit, and Duelist's sabers help 
against some bosses. If played right you shouldn't really need to 
heal all that much.


Star Lancer, Ninja Master, God Hand

A classic and one of my personally favorite teams. There is 
literally nothing this team can't do. It has MT stat ups + MT 
stat downs so casting just two spells can tip battles so far in 
your favor it's scary. Marduke and powerful Jutsus are good MT 
magic use when boosted, and MT Thunder Jutsu is God's gift to 
Kevin's FST as well. Kevin can heal and even use Aura Wave, and 
his attack power should be really high after buffs and debuffs. 
You've even got two characters with double-hitting level 1 techs. 
What else? Elemental damage? Jutsus. No matter how you play the 
game, you cannot get bored with this team.


Dragon Master, Evil Shaman, Rogue

Probably the game's most powerful magic team that doesn't have 
Angela. Iormungand is Lise's strongest summon, Demon Breath and 
Great Demon deal the most damage of Carlie's classes (excepting 
Turn Undead), and Rogue has a lot of useful and powerful magics. 
ST debuffs are enough support to help them, especially since the 
most important one for this team, Mind Down, is covered by Demon 
Breath, which is MT. MT Sleep Flower shouldn't be overlooked 
either.


Swordmaster, Fenrir Knight, Warrior Monk

Sabers and stat downs make a better combination that sabers and 
stat ups, since sabers provide a mini-power up themselves. All 
three of these character can deal very good damage with that 
combination, even Warrior Monk. If you need magic damage, Fenrir 
Knight can deal it. Warrior Monk also takes care of healing. Best 
of all, all of these abilities are MT!

***************************************************************

6. Ranking your team - how your team should be fighting

If you decide to create your own team, I've created here a rubric 
for roughly analyzing what your team should be focused on, 
magical or physical attacks. This rubric does not claim to show 
how efficient your team is, just which way it should focus. Lower 
scores indicate a team that should focus on physical combat, 
while higher scores indicate a team more fit for magical combat. 
Pattern not only your attack forms around this but also your use 
of support spells (tree saber vs. diamond saber, or power up vs. 
mind up, for instance).
Disclaimer: You will probably notice a disparity between the 
numbers for each class and my ranking in the above sections. This 
is because the number for each class represents what they can do 
individually and how they're helped by other members within a 
party, while the above sections rank how well they contribute to 
each type of party (including helping others' skills). The bottom 
segment of this section will correct for classes in certain 
parties (Sage with Duran & Kevin, for instance). Please no spam 
about how, for instance, Rogue leans more magical than Wanderer. 
I'm well aware he's stronger, I'm also well aware though that 
he's got a lot more attack spells suited for a team with magical 
support, while Wanderer has support spells roughly balanced 
between both types of team.


For this class			Base value

Magus				50
Grand Divina			45
Arch Mage			45
Evil Shaman			40
Ninja Master			40
Rogue				40
Wanderer			35
Rune Master			35
Dragon Master		35
Sage				35
Bishop				30
Necromancer			30
Star Lancer			30
Nightblade			25
Fenrir Knight			25
Warrior Monk			20
Vanadies			15
God Hand			10
Paladin				10
Lord				10
Swordmaster			5
Duelist				5
Dervish			5
Death Hand			0


Add up your totals for the 3 classes in your party first.

Next, modify this base score as follows:

If the class's score is over 25, make the following modifications 
if your team has any of the following:

*Stat Ups: Multiply your score by 1.25
*Stat Downs or Jutsus or Demon Breath: Multiply your score by 1.2
*Tree Saber: add 10 (add 20 if this is going to Rogue or Rune 
Master)
*Any saber other than moon or tree: Take 3/4 of your score
*Finally: if you have Evil Shaman in the same party with Ninja 
Master, Nightblade, or Angela, add another 10.


If your total is below 25:

*Stat Ups: Take 3/4 of your score
*Stat Downs or Jutsus: Take 3/4 of your score
*ST elemental sabers and/or ST saint saber: Take 2/3 of your 
score
OR MT elemental sabers: Take 1/2 of your score
*Aura Wave: Subtract 10 (5 for Hawk or Kevin).

***************************************************************

6. The Dispelling of Popular Myths, or, stuff you probably don't 
think about unless you post on the boards

This is merely a section I compiled of popular myths about this 
game that I felt compelled to dispel, mostly because many are 
popular and actually believed by many who read the game's boards 
or other FAQs.


Myth: Agility raises hit and evade rates, as do Duran's shields.

On paper, it does, and in my opinion any debate about who is 
theoretically the "best" character for a scenario should take 
this into account. However, in practice, the game contains a bug 
much like that of Final Fantasy VI that prevents hit and evade 
rates from working properly. Agility does have some uses, but as 
a result of this bug it doesn't help your hit or evade rates. 
Ditto for Duran's shields.

Myth: Duran's shields protect against elemental attacks.

Another victim of glitches once again, Duran's light classes' 
elemental shields and the paladin's sacred shield do not in fact 
reduce magic damage by 1/3 like they were meant to. The game was 
originally meant to work this way, along with some accessories, 
but elemental protection doesn't work right because of a bug. The 
only accessories or shields that do anything are those which are 
meant to defend against status effects.

Myth: Kevin and even Hawk are better fighters than Duran because 
of their double-hit, with every class.

I felt particularly compelled to address this myth, as it seems 
to be the most popular. The reasoning generally used here is that 
Kevin or even Hawk, because they hit twice, have an effective 
attack power double that in their screens, and as a result deal 
damage more quickly than Duran or Lise. I believed this until I 
played a game with Swordmaster, Fenrir Knight, and God Hand. As 
their second classes, I saw Lise dealing more damage with one hit 
against some demons than Kevin was dealing with his double hit 
(while not transformed). Damage on a per hit basis in this game 
is calculated by subtracting the enemy's defense from your attack 
power, and adding a random insignificant number; thus, whether 
double or single hit fighters are better depends entirely on one 
factor: the opponent's defense.
For instance, suppose the Ninja Master (ATK 277) and Duelist (ATK 
351) are both attacking the same opponent with a DEF of 140. The 
NM will deal 137 per hit for a total of 274; Duelist will deal 
211. However, throw the same two theoretically against an enemy 
with DEF 280, and NM only deals 1 damage per shot while Duelist 
is dealing 71! And I'm well aware already that enemies generally 
don't have 280 defense, but then you're not dealing with maximum 
attack power for 95% of the game either.
Okay, but what if Kevin transforms? That adds 1/7 to his attack 
power. Significant. but not enough to make up for the difference 
in power from Duran against the toughest foes, unless you're 
comparing, say, Paladin to Death Hand. And although abusing 
glitches is hardly something to be used cleanly in a civilized 
debate, I'll consider that too: the much vaunted "Kevin glitch" 
is made up for by a simple Drake's scale or Power Up spell that 
Kevin post-glitch can no longer take advantage of, and if you're 
planning to use sabers on him? I hope you do it before 
transforming. Conclusion: against the enemies with strong 
physical defense, Kevin will not have more damage potential than 
Duran, simply a more convenient method of reaching it.

Myth: (insert class name here) is like totally the best/worst 
class!

If you're even contemplating contacting me with a statement along 
these lines, forget it. You'll only be demonstrating your lack of 
basic reading skills. I addressed this already in the first 
paragraphs of the entire FAQ. There is no "best" class, because 
every class serves a different purpose, and teams exist on which 
any class can provide the best accompaniment. Think Bishop is 
always "better" than Sage? Try putting each on a team with Fenrir 
Knight and Death Hand and think again. Grand Divina is always 
better than Rune Master? Even though GD is my personal preference 
over RM, even I will concede that the RM is much better on a team 
without proper support (mind up/down or demon breath).
Of course, there ARE some classes that fit various teams more 
universally than others. For instance, I used the Star Lancer on 
9 of my first 12 SD3 files, with teammates ranging from Angela to 
Kevin to an all-female team, and it never failed to work well. 
But that doesn't mean it's the "best" class, because there are 
teams on which it doesn't belong as well as other classes do. 
(Can you picture taking Star Lancer over Vanadies on a physically 
focused team with every saber in the game? I didn't think so.)

Myth: HURR HURR I beat the game without leveling up to level 
x/playing through x challenge, I'm better than you at SD3!!!111 
or if you're the same level as your enemies, you're leveling up 
too much.

This one pisses me off to no end. This is a common statement 
made, like in so many other RPGs (see FF7 FAQs) by people who 
seem somehow deluded into thinking SD3 (among other Squaresoft 
titles) is some kind of action game from the Mario series, or a 
fighting game like Tekken. The idea is that it somehow takes more 
skill at playing SD3 to reach and beat the Dragon Emperor with a 
level 30 party than a level 50 party. Being a twelve-year veteran 
of pencil & paper RPGs (not to mention video game console RPGs), 
I happen to take extreme offense on behalf of the name of RPGs 
everywhere whenever someone behaves like this. Of course, it does 
take quicker fingers and better strategizing (not to mention a 
well chosen team), and a strong penchant for dodging every single 
non-boss fight in the game, or the ability to keep your other two 
characters dead. Not to mention a hell of a lot of patience doing 
these exceedingly boring activities. (Speaking as someone who's 
played through a large part of this game with the no class change 
challenge, I know what I'm talking about. And I'm not 
particularly impressed that you have too.) No, this game is not 
an action game, and "skill" at this game isn't measured by how 
quickly you can beat the Black Rabite with one character with 
initial equipment or at what level. This game is an RPG, and I 
happen to know what one is. It stands for ROLE-PLAYING-GAME, not 
beat-em-up-game. Since you obviously can't actually take on the 
persona of a character in a video game, however, you have to 
approximate: to use a character appropriate to his or her own 
skills, in a manner that would constitute how they'd conduct 
themselves in reality, and forming a team that works together 
with a certain flow, is how you comprise skill at playing an RPG. 
And if it means leveling up enough to use your character at 
optimal efficiency with all skills learned. well, I'd say that's 
doing much better role-playing than any "challenge." And for the 
record, the same goes for other RPGs like Final Fantasy 7. So you 
can beat Emerald Weapon with Tifa at level 7? Big deal. With 
Final Attack, Knights of the Round, Revive/Phoenix, HP <->MP, 
Magic Plus and Mime in the right combinations, WHO COULDN'T?!
Then why this FAQ, you ask? Isn't it about who can best be used 
together to beat up bosses or enemies? Yes and no. To me, forming 
a team is about a lot more than the bottom line, and how 
efficiently they can win. To me, team formation is an art. A team 
that truly works together efficiently, with a certain flow that 
can only be found by pairing certain members, all of whom will 
contribute in some way to form a beautiful concerted effort 
beyond simply being 3 characters doing their own thing. well, 
there's a lot more to that than simply increasing numbers. It's 
the one thing that's really great about this entire game.

Myth: A diversified team should be better than one focused around 
one goal!

To flip around my argument from above, this is true in most RPGs, 
but in SD3, a "diversified" team often loses its aesthetic flow. 
SD3 does not in any way require any particular skill - you don't 
need a thief, or a fighter, or a mage, to get past certain areas 
of the game, or even to get certain stuff for your team; they're 
just nice to have. However, putting together a team with a 
fighter and a mage together (unless they have a special flow, 
like the Holy Focus team, or WM + RM) is practically resigning 
your team to being just three individuals and that's it. Most 
sabers become useless as soon as you decide your party's going to 
be using magic a lot, and by taking an otherwise physical team 
without any magic support you're practically resigning Angela to 
be at minimal efficiency.
Suppose you want a diversified team anyway, because you're an 
old-school-RPG purist? Or say you want to pair Angela with Duran 
for storyline purposes? Then here's my recommendation: take Lise, 
preferably as either Star Lancer or Fenrir Knight. Her skills can 
equally help both physical and magical combatants, and all of her 
classes are very much capable of continuing to assist later in a 
battle, whether magically or physically. Vanadies and Dragon 
Master will work just fine, but you'll probably get tired of 
having to cast so many spells, as a diversified team needs more 
than a focused team does.

Myth: Kevin has the best defense because he has the highest 
Vitality.

Again, incorrect. Defense is patterned around a graduated scale 
based on armor that differs between characters. As a result, 
something of an anomaly happens with Defense that doesn't happen 
with Attack or Magic Defense: no character has a real advantage 
in it. Immediately after the first and second class changes, this 
will become evident even if you haven't been raising Angela's or 
Carlie's Vitality (and why not?). Angela or Carlie, the two weak 
characters in terms of CON, will have an equal or higher DEF than 
Kevin, the highest CON. Furthermore, every character can top out 
at 300 DEF. In the end, if you want to select a character for 
survival rather than attack, choose based on HP and Magic 
Defense. Lise has by far the best combination of both, which is 
why I consider her the best character defensively.

Myth: All stat spells are created equal.

This is not to say any are better than others, but rather that 
they are not necessarily interchangeable. As is the general rule 
with video RPGs, SD3 characters generally have significantly 
better stats than their enemies, while the enemies have higher 
HP. This is more evident towards the end than the beginning, when 
you can actually use stat magic. Since the bonus or penalty given 
to a character/enemy is based on the original score, it logically 
follows that a character will gain more points than a monster 
will lose. Stat up spells also stay around the entire battle, 
until "Victory!" flashes across the screen, whereas stat down 
spells, even MT, are only around as long as the enemy you cast 
them on. Stat down spells can also be found in a variety of 
classes, including dark Carlie, Hawk or Lise, while comprehensive 
stat up spells can only be found with light Lise. (In particular, 
MT stat ups are completely irreplaceable.)
So what are some benefits of stat downs? For one, they can be 
paired with stat ups. For another, they can't be bought from 
Byzel, although they're much easier to find throughout the game 
than stat up items are. They pair with sabers (which provide a 
small power up) better than stat ups do. And finally, during the 
second classes, an ST stat down spell is nicer to have around, to 
cast on a boss, than three times as many to cast on characters 
would be.
What are the differences then, between stat down spells? I'll 
explain the benefits in brief:

- Dark Hawk's stat down spells also double as elemental damage 
spells, but likewise can be absorbed by certain enemies (notably 
Darkshine Knight) unless you've paired him with Antimagic or 
Specter's Eyes. They also can't get through Counter Magic 
barriers.
- Dark Lise's stat down spells can get through Counter Magic 
barriers, but deal no damage and hence serve no purpose after the 
first casting.
- Necromancer's Black Curse spell lowers stats more quickly with 
less MP than the others, but can never be MTed. It is also the 
only feasible method of lowering the Black Rabite's stats, as, 
only having to cast it once, you only have to face one counter.