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I always use Mao with swords, but that's just because I don't actually use him in fights. I'd lean more towards a Staff and ice magic in the long run. If you're not actually going to use Mao when you get access to the better characters in post game, I'd just stick with a sword.
Yeah I plan to use him in my primary force. I want to be able to capture some of the best monsters and leveling him is the only way to get them since you can't capture anything that is a higher level then him. With access to all the magic spells in the game he has the potential to be a huge powerhouse. Going to level some generic classes for absorption so he can heal as well as deal damage.
I'll be using swords with mine, but I gave him all 6 skills for the 6 weapon types plus all spells (not including Tera) Which I have a question for. How exactly do you get the other Tera spells? (I have ice but that's it)
Valkyria Chronicles is the best RPG this gen! Official Ultimecia of the Dissidia 012: Duodecim boards