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    Assault Magic FAQ by durias42

    Version: 0.9 | Updated: 03/09/05 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Star Ocean: Till The End of Time
    Assault Magic FAQ 0.9
    By Roger Pope, March 9, 2005
    Table of Contents:
    II....What is Assault Magic?
    III...Sophia vs. Adray
           ->Basic Attacks
           ->Passive Battle Skills
           ->Support Skills
           ->Tactical Skills
           ->Assault Magic
           ->Active Battle Skills - Non magic
           ->Non-Assault Magic
    V.....General Setup
           ->What Spells should the AI be able to Cast?
           ->Skill Setup - Status
           ->Skill Setup - Tactics
    VI....Short Range Setups
           ->Stun Bomb + Short Major Sophia
           ->Ifrit Sophia
           ->Southern Cross Adray
           ->Southern Cross Sophia
    VII...Long Range Setups
           ->Flare Sophia
           ->Stun Sophia
           ->Flare Adray
           ->Tactics - Setting and Formation
           ->Tactics - Practice
           ->Full Active Mode
           ->Battle Skill Damage Comparisons
           ->Item Creation Primer
           ->Creating Factors
           ->About Decoys
    XI....Terms of Use
    What is Assault Magic?
    Assault magic is a player created term, which refers to those magic spells
    which can be set as battle skills.  Using those spells as assault magic is
    vastly superior to just casting magic from the Symbology menu for two reasons.
    First, and most importantly, you are able to chain assault magic spells
    together for Cancel Bonuses, thereby doing considerably more damage.  The Other
    benefit is that assault magic generally casts much more quickly that plain
    Sophia vs. Adray:
    They are both required in your party, and the both have near identical spell 
    lists, so why would you choose one over the other?  If all you want the 
    character to do is cast healing spells and maybe the occasional stat boosting 
    spell, as I hear many people claiming is all they do with Sophia and Adray, 
    then you're probably better off with Adray.  He has more health than Sophia and
    his spell windups are significantly shorter.  If you want use short range
    Assault magic, then you're probably better off with Adray for the same reasons,
    but in Addition, adray learns the most powerful short range assault magic,
    Southern Cross, much earlier than Sophia does.  If you want to use long range
    Assault magic, which does more damage, stunlocks better, but it a little less
    fun, then Sophia is unquestionably better than Adray, because many of the
    better spells are not available to Adray in assault form.  Adray has only two
    long range assault spells, Firebolt and Ice Needles, neither of which is 
    exactly a powerhouse.
    Basic Attacks:
    Passive Battle Skills:
    These are skills that need to set in the battle skills menu.  They add an 
    effect to the basic attack they correspond to with a set probability, and 
    nothing special needs to be done to activate them.  Because these skills take
    Battle Skill Slots, they are counter-productive to use while employing an
    Assault magic strategy, but can still be useful to Sophia/Adray in special
    Critical Hit - Sophia Level 24 - Adray Level 24
    Requires 2 CP to Set
    Adds the chance that any hit dealt will do critical damage.  Probability 
    increases with proficiency.  Not a worthless skill but is very outclassed by 
    Increase HP Damage and Increase MP Damage.
    Increase HP Damage - Sophia Level 27 - Adray Level 27
    Requires 4 CP to Set
    Adds 50% HP damage to every attack that this skill is set to.  This skill 
    always activates, and increases in damage rather than probability like the 
    description says.
    Stun - Sophia Level 29 - Adray Level 29
    Requires 2 CP to Set
    Adds the chance that any hit dealt will stun enemy.  Probability increases with
    proficiency.  Not very useful for Sophia or Adray.
    Increase MP Damage - Sophia Level 32 - Adray Level 32 
    Requires 4 CP to Set
    Adds 50% MP damage to every attack that this skill is set to.  This skill 
    always activates, and increases in damage rather than probability like the 
    description says.  This will also add a set amount of MP damage to attacks that
    otherwise do no MP damage.
    Fear - 2 CP - Sophia Level 36 - Adray Level 36
    Requires 2 CP to Set
    Adds the chance that any hit dealt will make the enemy attack less.  I have 
    never used this skill, with any character.
    Support Skills:
    These are skills that must be set in the battle skills menu, and are always 
    active once set.
    First Aid - Sophia Level 3 - Adray Start
    Requires 1 CP to set
    Whenever you take damage of any magnitude greater than zero, there is a chance 
    to be healed for value equal to 20% of total HP.  Probability ranges from 5% at
    level 1 to 10% at level 10.  Usefulness of this skill is somewhat lost on 
    Sophia, who will usually be at very long range.
    Standby Healing - Sophia Level 14 - Adray Start
    Requires 1 CP to set
    When not at full health character recovers a set amount of HP at intervals 
    while not moving.  Not a useful skill at any proficiency. 
    Critical Hit HP - 2 CP - Sophia Level 22 - Adray Level 23
    Requires 2 CP to set
    Adds a probability that any physical attack doing HP damage will be a critical 
    hit (physical defined as one that is not a magic spell).  This skill has no 
    effect on physical MP damage. This is not the same skill as the Critical Hit 
    passive skill.  This skill stacks with all other skills, whereas the other was
    limited to the slot it was set to.  This skill is very useful in certain 
    No Guard - Sophia Level 46 - Adray Level 46
    Requires 5 CP to set
    Character will not be disturbed if s/he takes physical less than or equal to 
    1/15 of current HP.  Extremely useful skill that's usefulness is once again 
    lost on Sophia
    Quick Symbol - Learned from Brittle Tome
    Requires 3 CP to set
    Brittle Tome is authored by Sophia, Maria, Mirage and Osman for a difficulty of
    100. Quick symbol allows spells to be cast in one half the time that they would
    otherwise require.  This skill stacks with accessories that reduce casting 
    time, so if Sophia had Quick Symbol and something with 1/2 casting time, the 
    total casting time would be 1/4 of the standard casting time.
    Increase MP - Learned from is learned from Fading Tome, authored by Osman, for 
    a difficulty of 99.
    Tactical Skills:
    These are skills that are either set tactical skill menu outside of battle, or 
    used in the tactical skill menu in battle.  I realize there are more skills she
    can learn through item creation, but I feel most of them are unnecessary for 
    Scan Enemy - Sophia Level 13 - Adray Level 42
    Allows character to see current/maximum HP and MP of enemy, what enemy is 
    strong/weak to, and what enemy can drop.  Does not show HP/MP values of bosses.
    Taunt - Sophia Level 21 - Adray Level 20
    Character says something to draw enemies' attention towards himself and 
    hopefully away from another character.  Not useful for Sophia as pretty much 
    the only reason for any character to ever use taunt is to get an enemy off 
    Sophia!  Should you be using both Sophia and Adray, then you might have
    occasion to use it to protect Sophia.
    Berserk - Sophia Level 42 - Adray Level 35
    Fury use is halved.  Physical damage is up 30% and defense is lowered 30%.  
    This skill is a must for Sophia.
    Convert Damage - Learned From Tattered Tome 
    Convert Damage is learned from the Tattered Tome, authored by nearly all 
    authors (Fayt can do it for you) at a difficulty of 40.  What convert damage 
    does is allows damage dealt to either HP or MP be diverted, depending on the 
    setting.  For Sophia, because of her low HP, you'll want to set this to 
    Preserve HP, which means that every 7HP damage she would have taken is changed
    to 1 MP damage.  This will roughly double the total damage she can take.  
    This will still be an improvement for Adray, but not as much so.
    Assault Magic:
    This is what this guide is all about! These are spells that can be set as
    battle skills, which should be chained together for Cancel Bonuses.  Assault
    Magic is a variation of normal attack magic, and using them as battle skills is
    preferable to casting them from the Symbology menu.  Keep in mind that a spell 
    cast as a strong skill will simply do 1.3 times the weak damage, which is the 
    same as the Symbology menu damage.  Sophia's repritoire of assault magic is
    much more vast than Adray's, and includes every assault spell that Adray has,
    so I'll be referencing her the default.  If I put {Adray Level} in braces, that
    means he learns the spell at the specified level, but is unable to use it as
    Assault Magic.
    The expected damage info is taken from Echang's FAQ, but has been reinterpreted
    so hopefully it'll be easier to understand.  Basically the damage done by every
    spell is the sum of three factors:
    INT * Multiplier
    Proficiency * Multiplier
    Innate Spell Constant  
    So, without further adieu, here are the skills:
    Fire Bolt - Sophia Level 5 - Adray Start
    Requires 2 CP to set
    Fire Elemental
    MP-Minor: 10   MP-Major: 5%
    Fury Use: 20/42
    Damage: (0.5I + 2.5P + 20)*n
    Fires 1-4 bolts towards target, depending on proficiency.  Has homing 
    capabilities, but can still miss.
    Ice Needles - Sophia Level 10 - Adray Start
    Requires 2 CP to set 
    Water Elemental
    MP-Minor: 10   MP-Major: 5%
    Fury Use: 20/42
    Damage: (0.3I + 4.5P + 15)*n
    Fires 5-10 icicles towards enemy, depending on proficiency, each with a chance 
    to freeze the enemy.  Can be used at long range, but loses much effectiveness.
    Lightning Blast - Sophia Level 15 - Adray Start
    Requires 3 CP to set
    Wind Elemental
    MP-Minor: 10   MP-Major: 5%
    Fury Use: 20/42
    Damage: (0.4I + 10P + 8)x8
    Fast, decent damage, but limited to close range.
    Earth Glaive - Sophia Level 19 - Adray Start
    Requires 3 CP to Set
    Earth Elemental
    MP-Minor: 10   MP-Major: 5%
    Fury Use: 20/42
    Damage: (0.5I + 8P + 30)*3
    Fast, decent damage, but limited to close range.
    Efreet- Sophia Level 25 - {Adray Level 21}
    Requires 5 CP to set
    Fire Elemental
    MP-Minor: 35   MP-Major: 8%
    Fury Use: 30/60
    Damage: (0.4I + 70P + 70)*4
    Rather damaging spell when first aquired.  Affects large area in front of 
    caster, but limited to short range.  I don't understand why Adray doesn't learn
    this in Assault form, as it seems more consistant with his other skills than it
    does Sophia's.
    Thunderflare - Sophia Level 30 - {Adray Level 27}
    Requires 4 CP to set
    Wind Elemental
    MP-Minor: 40   MP-Major: 8%
    Fury Use: 30/60
    Damage: (0.4I + 12P + 5)*5
    The best stunlocking spell in the game, and the core of the Stun Sophia 
    strategy.  The expected damage reflects the big hits, but there are several 
    weak hits in between each big hit, although the damage is negligible.
    Deep Freeze - Level 35 - {Adray Level 30}
    Requires 6 CP to set 
    Water Elemental
    MP-Minor: 80   MP-Major: 10%
    Fury Use: 30/60
    Damage: (0.4I + 45P + 150)*4
    The only Assault magic I ever recommend casting from the symbology menu.  
    Has a good chance of freezing enemies, thus is good for shatter skills.
    Dark Sphere - Sophia Level 40 - {Adray Level 35}
    Requires 8 CP to set
    MP-Minor: 200   MP-Major: 8%
    Fury Use: 40/70
    No Damage
    This spell has a chance of instantly killing enemy, but I don't feel it's 
    useful at all, since any enemy that could be killed by it would be faster 
    killed by other spells.
    Stone Rain - Sophia Level 45 - {Adray Level 42}
    Requires 5 CP to set
    Earth Elemental
    MP-Minor: 80   MP-Major: 10%
    Fury Use: 40/72
    Damage: (0.5I + 30P + 150)*6
    A decently damaging skill that stunlocks pretty well.  It can be a decent 
    alternative spell in for the Stun Sophia Strategy.  Unfortunately lots of 
    enemies seem to be immune to earth.
    Explosion - Sophia Level 50 - {Adray Level 45}
    Requires 7 CP to set
    Fire Elemental
    MP-Minor: 300   MP-Major: 10%
    Fury Use: 40/72
    Damage: (0.5I + 250P + 200)*5/2 + (0.5I + 250P + 200)*5
    This is the most damaging skill in the game, with decent stunlocking potential
    and the core of the Flare Sophia strategy.
    Laser Beams - Sophia Level 54 - {Adray Level 54}
    Requires 7 CP to set
    MP-Minor: 150   MP-Major: 12%
    Fury Use: 40/72
    Damage: (0.5I + 100P + 200) * 6
    Pretty good non-elemental damage with a rather long windup.
    Lightning Strike - Sophia Level 60 - {Adray Level 57}
    Requires 8 CP to set
    Wind Elemental
    MP-Minor: 300   MP-Major: 12%
    Fury Use: 50/86
    Damage: (0.5I + 12P + 350)*8
    Rather weak spell considering MP and CP use, but stunlocks rather well.
    Southern Cross - Sophia From Scroll - Adray Level 40
    Requires 6 CP to set
    MP-Minor: 120   MP-Major: 8%
    Fury Use: 30/60
    Damage: (0.5I + 25P + 200)*6 + (MP Damage = 0.16*HP Damage)
    This is one of the best Assault spells that Adray can learn, and a decent
    reason to choose him over Sophia, who must learn this from Puzzling Scroll.
    (Puzzling scrolls is found on floor 108 of Sphere 211.)  This is one of the
    few spells that does MP damage.  Affects large area around caster.  Limited to
    Short Range.
    Blood Scylla - Sophia From Scroll - {No Adray}
    Requires 7 CP to set
    MP-Minor: 300   MP-Major: 12%
    Fury Use: 40/72
    Damage: (0.4I + 20P + 320)*3 + (MP Damage = 0.35*HP Damage)
    Must be learned from Abstruse Scroll, found on floor 1 of the Maze of 
    Tribulations.  Drains enemy HP/MP to heal Sophia.  Affects very large area 
    around caster.  More effective at short range, but still very usable at long 
    Gremlins - Sophia from Scroll - {No Adray}
    Requires 6 CP to set
    Earth Elemental
    MP-Minor: 50   MP-Major: 6%
    Fury Use: 30/60
    Damage: (0.3I + 15P + 120)*n + (MP Damage = 0.2*HP Damage)
    Must be learned from Recondrite Scroll, found on floor 209 of Sphere 211.
    Summons 6-10 critters to attack enemy once, depending on proficiency.  
    Potential usefulness is greatly reduced by the fact that it is learned so late,
    and that it is earth elemental.
    Meteor Swarm - Sophia From Scroll - {No Adray}
    Requires 10 CP to set - Limited to Strong Skill Slots
    Fire Elemental
    MP-Minor: --   MP-Major: 15%
    Fury Use: --/96
    Damage: (0.5I + 350P + 300)*(3n)
    Sophia's "Ultimate" Skill.  Must be learned from Profound Scroll, found on 
    floor 210 of Sphere 211.  Summons 12+ meteors to strike random locations on the
    battle field, number of meteors increases with proficiency.  You can probably 
    expect that any one enemy will be struck by 3-5 meteors per swarm, and that 
    each meteor will hit 3 times.  Does incredible damage by itself, but it 
    consumes so much CP and Fury that it can only be chained with Firebolt, which
    is not impressive.  Overall, Explosion -> Explosion chains are much more useful
    than Firebolt -> Meteor Swarm chains.  This skill was fire elemental in the
    original version, then non-elemental in the Directors cut, then made fire-
    elemental again in the NA/PAL releases.
    Active Battle Skills - Non Magic:
    These refer to the physical skills that characters learn that have nothing to
    with magic. They are based off of physical attack power rather than INT, 
    but are still chainable with Assault magic.
    *Exapanded Info Coming Soon*
    Pure Spells:
    These are spells that can only be cast from the Symbology menu.  Even though
    these spells are the opposite of Assault Magic, I'm including them for
    You must have the requisite fury in order for the spell to besuccessfully cast.
    Unfortunately, the game will allow you to attempt to cast a spell when you 
    don't have enough fury.  When this happens, you will simply see a "Miss" and no
    MP will be drained, but you will have still lost the time it took you to cast.
    Healing - 20 MP - Sophia Level 3 - Adray Start
    Basic healing spell.  Good healing at low proficiency and only gets better.
    Antidote - 10 MP - Sophia Level 4 - Adray Start
    Cures poison.  Enough Said
    Silence - 10 MP- Sophia Level 5 - Adray Start
    Prevents enemy from casting spells.  Kinda useful, but not very.
    Acid Rain - 15 MP - Sophia Level 12 - Adray Level 19
    Lowers enemy defense.  The only place I can think of where this would be really
    useful is in the Urssa Laval Caves, where the enemies have ridiculous defense
    compared to your attack power.
    Protection - 30 MP - Sophia Level 17 - Adray Level 23
    Raises defense by 50% for about 60 sec. Duration goes up with proficiency.  
    Very useful spell.
    Cure Condition - 15 MP - Sophia Level 20 - Adray Level 29
    It's like an uber antidote.
    Restoration - 60 MP - Sophia Level 22 - Adray Level 32
    Raises incapacitated ally.  Restores little HP/MP in the process, but improves
    with proficiency.
    Power Up - 30 MP - Sophia Level 25 - Adray Level 25
    Raises attack by 50% for about 60 sec. Duration goes up with proficiency.
    Useful in the main game, but has no effect once characters obtain maximum
    Crush - 25 MP - Sophia Level 29 - {No Adray}
    Damages enemy.  Only damaging spell that Sophia cannot set as assault magic, 
    thus making it worthless.
    Faerie Light - 40 MP - Sophia Level 32 - Adray Level 37
    Heals all allies.  Amount healed is much less than with the heal spell, but 
    good when everyone needs healing.
    Reflection - 20 MP - Sophia Level 37 - Adray Level 39
    Cuts magic damage in half, lasts about 60 seconds.  Decent spell, but there are
    usually better ways of preventing magic damage, such as wearing a Blazing
    Gravitation - 30 MP - Sophia Level 47 - Adray Level 48
    Slows enemy movement and occasionally disrupts enemy action in a large area.
    Not incredibly useful, but handy if the enemy is immune to the spell element
    you have set.
    Angel Feather - 30 MP - Sophia Level 57 - Adray Level 60
    Raises all stats by 20%.  Generally speaking, much inferior to Protection and
    Power Up, though could be useful on higher difficulties to improve HIT, thus
    less enemy parries.
    General Setup:
    What Spells should the AI be able to Cast?
    In order to get the most out of your mages while AI controlled, you 
    need to prevent them from casting extraneous spells from the Symbology menu, 
    thus forcing them to use their Battle Skill Spells (aka, the Assault Magic).
    The only spells you want enabled are:
    Cure Condition
    Fairie Light
    Deep Freeze (depending)
    Gravitation (depending)
    Deep Freeze is nice for the shatter kills.  It's your call as to whether or not
    you enable it.  Gravitation is a nice spell when enemies are immune to the
    spells she has set.  Once again, it's your call as to whether or not to want to
    use it.
    Skill Setup - Status:
    I'll come out and say it up front:
    There is no reason whatsoever for any character to not have an attack rating of
    10.  There is arguably reason to let defense lag, but all characters,
    ESPECIALLY SOPHIA AND ADRAY, want a high attack rating to get the most out of
    Cancel Combos.  Having a high attack rating does not make them run into the
    melee.  They'll find a way to do that regardless of their attack rating.  Bump
    their HP/MP/Defense up to 10 also.
    Skill Setup - Tactics:
    Berserk is on.  Whether you like it or not, it's on.
    Her AAA doesn't really matter.  Ideally she's staying out of the fray so it's
    irrelevant.  You might also want to include Convert Damage, set to preserve HP.
    This makes it so she's a little more likely to survive in the event she is
    smacked around.
    Short Range Setups:
    You'll want Sophia/Adray to have the right weapon setup, which will generally
    be the first thing covered.  I assume you know how item creation works.  If you
    don't you can check my appendix (which has a crash course to IC), or check
    another FAQ.  Please don't email me about IC general questions.  I cover the
    specifics of Item Creation for in great detail later in the appendix, so don't
    worry if you don't know where a certain factor comes from.
    Stun Bomb + Short Major Sophia:
    This really isn't "Assault Magic"  But it's handy info regardless.
    This "strategy" was originally developed for aquireing the "Defeat Luther at 
    Level 1" Battle trophy.  What you do it take a Laser Weapon, and load it up 
    with 8 (ATT +500) factors from Orichalcum (see the appendix on how to make 
    orichalcum), or you could go all out and use the Imposing Scroll won from the 
    battle arena so they're (ATT +1000) factors.  Once you have your weapon, go 
    into battle with some 20-40 stun bombs.  Your formation should be loose line 
    and all characters should be set on manual.  As soon as the battle starts use a
    stun bomb on the enemy.  Run Sophia over to the enemy and position her in
    close/mid-range, and use her short major attack.  Now switch to another
    character and use another stun bomb.  If you timed this right, the item
    timer will have just worn off after the second hit from Sophia's staff has hit,
    thus you can keep the enemy perpetually stunned, meanwhile sophia is dishing
    out major damage.  You can use this strategy on Luther and Gabriel, getting the
    time related trophies and the no damage trophies at the same time, but I
    wouldn't try it on any other post game bosses.
    Ifrit Sophia:
    *Exapanded Info Coming Soon*
    Southern Cross Adray:
    *Exapanded Info Coming Soon*
    Southern Cross Sophia:
    *Exapanded Info Coming Soon*
    Long Range Setups:
    There are basically two ways to go about making Sophia really effective in
    Long Range Applications.  Adray doesn't get very effective long Range.  You 
    can go the Flare route, or the Stun Route.  With Stun Sophia, you're using 
    Thunderflare, Lightning Strike, and/or Stone Rain to keep the enemies 
    stunlocked as much as possible and to prevent as many enemy attacks as 
    possible.  With Flare Sophia, you're chaining Explosion for major damage. 
    Explosion does more damage against an enemy strong against Fire than the non-
    elemental Laser Beams does to that same enemy; explosion is also better at 
    stunlocking, making it definitively better than Laser Beams.
    As with short range setups, in long range setups...
    You'll want Sophia/Adray to have the right weapon setup, which will generally
    be the first thing covered.  I assume you know how item creation works.  If you
    don't you can check my appendix (which has a crash course to IC), or check 
    another FAQ.  Please don't email me about IC general questions.  I cover the
    specifics of Item Creation for in great detail later in the appendix, so don't 
    worry if you don't know where a certain factor comes from.  
    Flare Sophia:
    Adept Staff:
    ->INT +1000
    ->INT +1000
    ->INT +1000
    ->INT +1000
    ->INT +1000
    ->6% MP recovery at intervals during battle
    ->-3 Fury use
    ->+50% damage for fire-based spells
    Accessory: Bangle of Intellect (Fully Refined)
    Accessory: Varies
    Short X: None
    Long X: Explosion
    Short O: None
    Long O: Explosion
    This setup will not maximize her intelligence initially, but it will eventually
    max out in her later levels... around level 220.  Just a little historical
    note, previously I recommended using 4 (INT +1000) factors and a (+30% INT
    Increase) factor, but I did the math, and it turns out that 5 (INT +1000) will
    max your INT a few levels earlier.  It should be noted that magic damage,
    especially Explosion, is heavily influenced by proficiency, thus missing a few
    points of INT isn't too great a sacrifice.  Your first Accessory will be a
    Bangle of Intellect, which has (+30% INT increase) and (30% INT increase).  I'm
    not entirely sure what difference the "+" makes in that factor, but from what
    I've observed, the combined effect is really close to 60%, so it's a moot point
    Your varied accessory will be a fully refined Ring of Mental Power (6% MP
    Regen), a Victory Trophy (6% MP Regen, 1/2 casting time, -2 Fury), or an
    appropriately refined Blazing Pendant (Earth and Wind HP absorb).  The reasons
    to use a Ring of Mental Power or a Victory Trophy are obvious enough, as they
    let you keep casting Explosion without resorting to Mental Enhancers; the
    Victory Trophy just has more perks but is harder to get than a Ring of Mental
    Power, and there is only one in the game.  The Blazing Pendant is necessary to
    get the No-Damage Trophy against post game bosses Lenneth and Freya.  Both of
    these bosses cast Stone Rain and Lightning Strike and your chances of not being
    hit are really slim, so the blazing pendant nulls the damage while keeping you
    on the track for no damage.
    Additionally, you might consider making your varied accessory a Wind Ring,
    because occasionally you may want to go the Stun Route, and make use of the
    stunlocking power of Thunderflare, even if your setup is primarily for
    Explosion.  When you do use Thunderflare, you're not going much damage, but an
    extra 50% damage can always help... I just don't feel that it's important
    enough to make it a permanent part of her weapon.
    Stun Sophia:
    Adept's Staff:
    ->+1000 INT
    ->+1000 INT
    ->+1000 INT
    ->+1000 INT
    ->6% MP Recovery 
    ->-3 Fury use 
    ->+50% Wind (or Earth) Damage
    Accessory: Bangle of Intellect (refined) 
    Accessory: Varies 
    Skill Setups:
    Pure Stunning:
    Short X: None
    Long X: Thunderflare
    Short O: None
    Long O: Thunderflare
    Support 1: Quick Symbol
    Support 2: Increase MP
    Stunning with Damage:
    Short X: None
    Long X: Lightning Strike
    Short O: None
    Long O: Thunderflare
    Support 1: Quick Symbol
    Support 2: None
    Stunning with Stone Rain:
    Short X: None
    Long X: Stone Rain
    Short O: None
    Long O: Stone Rain
    Support 1: Quick Symbol
    Support 2: None
    You can really go several different ways with this and everyone has their own 
    opinions, but this is the way I would set up a Stun Sophia, though I personally
    prefer a Flare Sophia.  Your varied weapon factor is going to be either 
    INT +1000 or 1/2 Casting Time.  What it boils down to which do you prefer
    while you're wearing a Blazing Pendant during the Lenneth/Freya fights: 1/2
    casting time or max int?  I would choose the 1/2 casting time myself, as the
    hit to your int won't be too bad, and 1/2 casting time can come in really
    handy.  When you're not fighting those two, your varied accessory should be a
    Victory Trophy to compliment INT +1000, or another Bangle of Intellect
    to compliment 1/2 casting Time, whichever you have on your weapon.
    If you're going the Lightning Strike route, you need Lightning strike on weak
    in order to pull off a 250% Cancel Combo.  And just in case you're wondering,
    yes 1/2 casting time and quick symbol do indeed stack, for a net casting time
    of 1/4.
    Stone Rain is like a halfway point between explosion and thunderflare. It 
    stuns better than explosion, but not as well as Thunderflare, or even lightning
    strike. It does have an advantage over thunderflare, however, that one Stone 
    Rain bleeds into the next, like explosions do, and it does more damage than 
    even LS -> TF.  Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of non-boss enemies (and
    probably a few bosses) are Earth Absorbing, thus I can't whole heartedly advise
    you go the Stone Rain route, unless you're just doing it for fun, and know the
    Flare Adray
    *Exapanded Info Coming Soon*
    Tactics - Setting and Formation
    Sophia's AI is best set on "Concentrate on Healing/Recovery".  It's even more 
    effective than Concentrate on attacking.  I don't know why, but that just seems
    to be the way it is.  You want the formation to be Loose Line (Sophia at the 
    bottom of the screen),  Guard, or Escape, depending on the situation.  Loose 
    Line most useful when leveling or getting money when you're fighting the same 
    enemy repetitively and you know that she'll be farthest away from enemies in 
    that position and the other characters will be very close in those positions.
    Guard and Escape are used under the notion that the other two characters will 
    intercept enemies leaving her to cast at will.  Escape is preferable when both
    character are short-range fighters.  Guard is preferable when one or both
    characters are long-range fighters or have skills set such that they are
    intended as long-range fighters.
    Tactics - Practice
    Against general enemies, set the formation as you see fit and have at it.  
    There is really nothing special to worry about.  Against bosses on the other 
    You pretty much have to rely on making the action happen in one corner of the 
    arena, and setting Sophia in the opposite corner.  If you're controlling 
    Sophia, your other characters must be able act as decoys.  This means being 
    able to stay alive for about one minute by themselves without your 
    intervention.  Having high defense layered with the Protection spell is a good 
    way to go.  Your Formation is going to be Escape.  Start off the Battle with 
    all your characters set to Manual, and Sophia should be wearing a pair of Bunny
    Shoes.  Have one of the other characters use taunt, then hold out until the 
    boss moves towards you. Once the boss is within attacking range, use a stun 
    bomb, and have Sophia start running to the opposite corner.  When she is able 
    halfway across the battlefield, turn your other characters off manual.  Get to 
    the other end of the battlefield, and equip whatever it was you took off to 
    wear Bunny Shoes.  At this point you get to start bombarding with Explosions, 
    Thunderflares, and Lightning Strikes like a madwoman.  You can control other 
    characters for short periods of time but don't do if for too more than a few 
    seconds at a time (preferable right after she's started a combo), because she 
    is kinda stupid and tends to run in with manual attacks when it's not needed.  
    Full Active Mode:
    If you happen to unlock Full Active mode, you can do even more damage by 
    starting with a weak attack, then starting the cancel chain at 175% rather than
    100%.  This means your final spell will be at 300%.  To do this, you'll need a
    total of -4 fury reduction.  I recommend you get it from the -3 built into your
    Staff and the -2 from Victory trophy.  Also, you might as well ditch the
    Blazing Pendant and live with taking damage from Freya and Lenneth, as if
    you've unlocked FAM, you probably already got those trophies.
    Well, that's about it.  I think I've covered all the basics.  If nothing else, 
    I hope I've convinced you that Sophia (and magic in general) is not as totally
    worthless as it first appears to the casual observer.  I would like to include
    in my thanks the author of the original "Abusing Sophia Guide on 4D" so if you
    know who that was, let me know.
    Contact Information:
    I can be reached via email at sifian42@yahoo.com. Please use a subject line 
    that explicitly refers to this guide.
    Tri-Ace for making the game
    Square-Enix for publishing the game
    GameFAQs, for being a great repository of knowledge and a gather point for like
    minded people.
    AIex, for the IC tables that helped me immensely.
    randomstuff, for the incredicle item creation calculator
    Ladysoalluring, Kaiyan Wang, Marty81 and Hotaru, for all the feedback they gave
    me while writing this guide.
    Battle Skill Damage Comparisons:
    Here is how the damage of some of Sophia's Better spells stack up.  This is 
    totally based off of 9999 INT and max proficiency.  The numbers given is the 
    sum total of the expected damage done by a cancel combo chain, starting from 
    100% and chaining up to 250% (300% in the case of TF->TF).  The first list is 
    what can be expected against an average enemy.  The second is the what can be 
    expected against an enemy strong to the element in question, but you're using 
    an accessory that increases spell damage of that type by 50%.
    Raw Damage Comparisons
    Thunderflare -> Thunderflare: 175811 -> 237680
    Ltn.Strike   -> Thunderflare: 245210
    Stone Rain   -> Stone Rain:   278742
    Laser Beams  -> Laser Beams:  317104
    Explosion    -> Explosion:    492287
    Damage to Enemy Strong to Element + 50% damage
    Thunderflare -> Thunderflare: 131858 -> 178260
    Ltn.Strike   -> Thunderflere: 183907
    Stone Rain   -> Stone Rain:   209056
    Laser Beams  -> Laser Beams:  317104
    Explosion    -> Explosion:    369215
    This would mean that it would take Sophia 162 chains to whittle down 4D Freya's 
    HP.  At roughly 2 chains per minute that would be 81 min.  It took me about 30 
    min to kill 4d Freya, meaning that Sophia probably did on the order of 3/8 of 
    the total damage, my maria did 5/8, and my third character was a dummy 
    character who helped out more by being kept alive doing nothing than he did on 
    Item Creation Primer:
    This is not supposed to a full item creation FAQ, but rather a primer to help 
    you with a few things I mentioned in the guide.
    Your best general resources on item creation are:
    Item Creation FAQ - by A I e x (general info)
    Item Refining FAQ - by Demonfayt (descriptions of items and how they refine)
    Item Creation Calculator - www.crashedweb.com/so3
    Once you unlock the use of workshops, you can do item creation.  Original 
    creation creates new items based on price, and requires nothing but time and 
    money to do.  When doing original invention you will see a progress and quality
    meter.  Progress is the current progress on one item.  Quality refers to how 
    well your characters are working.  It will decrease with each iteration and the 
    likelihood of creating another item successfully also goes down.  Specify plan 
    will refine certain factors and requires materials corresponding to the type of 
    item creation you wish to do.  Synthesis requires synthesis materials and is 
    used to transfer properties from one item onto a weapon.  You can see if a you 
    have had any success based on the character's reactions.  Happy = Success, Sad =
    Failure.  To get items created through original creation, you must request 
    submission.  To get specify plans to work, you simply wait until you get a 
    notice that item creation is complete (but don't let your money or quality run 
    out or you'll get nothing).
    Creating Factors:
    It's not entirely obvious where the various factors needed on Sophia's weapon 
    come from, so I'll explain the easiest way to get each.  I'm assuming you 
    understand the basics of item creation and synthesis, and that you also know 
    where to get all the inventors.  If you don't, please refer to item creation 
    guide by A I e x.  Just a note, the teams I suggest are not picked for their 
    high creation skill, but rather to eliminate overlap.  I advise you use them, 
    because while it may be harder to make an item, you'll be saved much 
    frustration by not making heaps of items you don't need.  I would also like to
    add that pretty much all of this info is taken directly from the item creation
    guide, by A I e x, and from the item creation calculator, by randomstuff.
    -->Adept Staff
    While not exactly a factor, this is the best base weapon for Sophia, as it has 
    all 8 factor-spaces free, and it gives an innate INT boost.  It can be 
    purchased from the Retail Rabbit in western Peterny, or Rumina and Ruddle in NW
    Aquios.  The retail rabbit only stocks the Adept staff on disc 2, and requires
    that you speak to him less than 3 times in disc 1.  The Rumina and Ruddle shop
    is available only after returning from Sphere 211, and is inside of what
    appears to be a private residence.
    -->+1000 INT
    This factor is derived from the Dark Crystal, which is created by alchemy 
    exclusively by Ansala. The best team for this is:
    Ansala + Misty Lear + Sophia at 3340-3390 
    The factor on the Dark Crystal is +500 INT, which needs to be refined.  You can
    choose to refine it directly via alchemy, or you can synth it onto the weapon
    in unrefined form and refine via smithery.  I prefer the latter, as you can
    refine multiple factors at a time that way.  One last note is that when
    synthesizing, you MUST synthesize for only one pass of the synthesis, because
    you don't want the second factor on the crystal, Chaos (attack Effect).  +1000 
    INT does not duplicate, so you must do a separate synthesis for every +1000 INT
    that you want.
    -->+30% INT Increase
    This factor comes from a refined Bangle of Intellect.  There is a very good 
    chance that this has already been invented by the time you're ready to settle 
    down and make Sophia's weapon, so check the invention list first.  If it hasn't
    been invented, I recommend you use one of the following teams, in order of best
    ability to least.
    Aqua & Evia + Peppita + Roger at 331-365
    Aqua & Evia + Cliff + Roger at 304-334 
    Aqua & Evia + Cliff + Adray at 386-426
    Beware of item overlap on the edges.  Yes, I know how badly Cliff and Adray 
    suck a crafting, but these teams eliminate all items with values identical to 
    the Bangle of Intellect.  Just a forewarning, this still includes some overlap 
    with the Ring of Might, which is very hard to make.  If you fail more that 3-4 
    times consecutively, give up and try again.  Like with the Dark Crystal, only 
    let the synthesis bar fill as many times as you which to transfer factors onto 
    the weapon, as you may or may not want both of them on your weapon. Also like 
    with Dark Crystals, you can choose refine them directly, or refine the weapon 
    -->6% MP recovery at intervals during battle
    This factor comes from a refined Ring of Mental Power.  The ideal teams are:
    Chilico + Peppita + Mirage at 199-219
    Chilico + Mirage + Sophia at 168-184
    There is still a lot of overlap in this one that you can't do anything about.  
    These teams at least eliminate the loathable "Feline Guardian" and "Adorable 
    Kitty Doll", both of which I have seen crafted FAR too many times.
    -->-3 Fury use
    Comes from refined Ring of Animosity.  Your ideal team is:
    Chilico + Mirage + Fayt at 566-624
    Thankfully, you can eliminate ALL overlap on this one.
    -->+50% damage for fire-based spells
    Comes from refined Flare Ring.  Your team is:
    Sophia + Chilico + Aqua & Evia at 813-897
    This overlaps will all 4 elemental rings, so you could get it on the first try
    or the 10th try depending on your luck.  Depending on your play style, you may
    want to hang onto a Wind Ring in addition to the Flare Ring.
    -->1/2 Casting Time
    Comes from Star Pendant.  Your team is:
    Chilico + Aqua & Evia + Sophia at 3700-4100
    You can also get this factor from a refined Emerald Earring, but this is just
    -->Blazing Pendant
    This accessory is not meant to be synthesized onto a weapon.  It comes with
    Recover HP of 1/20 dmg from fire attacks.  When you refine it, evolves in a
    succession of:
    Recover HP of 1/20 dmg from fire attacks
    Recover HP of 1/20 dmg from water attacks
    Recover HP of 1/20 dmg from earth attacks
    Recover HP of 1/20 dmg from wind attacks
    Recover MP of 1/10 dmg from fire attacks
    Recover MP of 1/10 dmg from water attacks
    Recover MP of 1/10 dmg from earth attacks
    Recover MP of 1/10 dmg from wind attacks
    Now... the next stage in each evolution can occur in two ways, it can either 
    change the existing stage into the next, or it can add the next stage without 
    changing it.  Put in simpler words, you could refine it 7 times and depending 
    on how your luck went, you could end up with all 8 factors, or you might end up
    with just "Recover MP of 1/10 dmg from wind attacks".  Depending on your level 
    of patience (with saving and resetting), you want at most HP recovery from all 
    4 elements, or at least HP recovery from Earth and Wind.  As has been mentioned
    several times, Earth and Wind are essential for getting the no damage trophies 
    vs. Lenneth and Freya.  Just a note, it must be Recover HP in order to null the
    damage, because with recover MP, the damage is still dealt, you just gain MP 
    while being hurt.  To create the Blazing Pendant, you want the following party:
    Chilico + Peppita at 360-400 (this group has no overlap!)
    Chilico (solo) at 325-360
    Every other crafter has massive overlap in this price range so these are 
    basically your only options.  Chilico solo with the cherubic bust still has a 
    50% chance of making it, so it's really not a bad deal.
    -->Skill Tomes
    All skill books have the same base cost of 1500, so it's always a crapshoot to 
    see if you get the one you want.  Quick Symbol is learned from the Brittle 
    Tome, authored by Sophia, Maria, Mirage and Osman for a difficulty of 100.  
    Increase MP is learned from Fading Tome, authored by Osman, for a difficulty of
    99. Convert Damage is learned from the Tattered Tome, authored by nearly all 
    authors (Fayt can do it for you) at a difficulty of 40.
    About Decoys:
    On Galaxy and Universe, the damage dealt by any enemy can be totally nulled by 
    reaching a defense of 5000, though on Universe, it is necessary to cast the 
    Protection spell on them.  The easiest characters to do this with are Fayt and 
    Mirage.  Fayt should have a fully refined Valiant mail, and Mirage should have 
    fully refined Dragon Leather, to be replaced by Valkyrie garb as soon as 
    possible.  Lenneth's attack is low enough it can be nulled without requiring 
    the garb.  Both characters should have their best smithable weapons (Veinslay 
    and Mithril Gauntlet respectively) completely filled with +30% ATT/DEF factors. 
    This factor comes from refining Boots of Prowess, craftable by Chilico.  (check
    another FAQ for more details).  Their accessories should be one fully refined 
    Boots of Prowess and a Tri-Emblem.  The tri-emblem will add 1000 ATT and 50 DEF 
    to the base ATT and DEF, plus it has lots of nice factors, making it much 
    better than using any "Ultimate weapons".  If Mirage doesn't quite reach 5000 
    DEF like this (in one of my games her DEF was only 5012) a couple of Def 
    Berries will for sure do the trick.  Cliff can be substituted for either 
    character, but he will need DEF Berries, and even when giving him all Def 
    Berries in the game, it is possible in some games that he will never reach 5000 
    DEF.  Also, in order to reach 5000 DEF, he must use 10x BoP, thus no tri-
    On 4D you have a different situation, because damage can't be nulled.  I'll 
    just describe my personal setup.
    Sophia (Flare Version)
    Mithril Gauntlets with 8x BoP
    Accessories: Tri-Emblem, Red Talismen.
    Maxxed out HP with Health Berries
    Skills:  Fists of Fury on both short, First Aid and common support symbols
    Using Convert Damage -> Preserve MP
    Main idea of cliff is he's a tank, who will kill as much damage as possible 
    with his defense, and regenerate a lot with first aid.
    Maria (aka the MP tank):
    Dragoon Laser
    -->+1000 ATT
    -->+30% ATT/DEF
    -->+30% ATT/DEF
    -->+30% ATT/DEF
    -->No HP Damage 30% of the time
    -->No MP Damage 30% of the time
    -->6% MP Regen
    -->6% MP Regen
    Accessory 1: Tri-Emblem
    Accessory 2: Star Talisman
    Armor: Valkyrie Garb
    Use all Magi+ berries on her
    Convert Damage -> Preserve HP
    AI: Act in well-balanced Manner, except vs Freya, where it was Attack will all 
    Short X: None
    Long X: Aiming Device
    Short O: None
    Long O: Energy Burst
    Support: Max Fury (learned from Moldy Tome)
    Support: Critical Hit MP
    With this setup, Maria's Mp will be around 32000, and will actually be able to 
    survive Freya's attacks and usually regenerate the MP lost before taking 
    another serious injury.  Just a warning though, she'll still die if hit by 
    Ether Strike.
    Critical Fight Details:
    Gabriel Celesta:
    This is before I made my decoy's weapons, so he was a handful.  What I ended up 
    doing was setting Sophia up with thunderflare, and controlling Cliff to chain 
    Fists of Fury, the combination of these attacks was really good at keeping 
    Gabriel in place, while minimal damage was dealt to my party.  Maria's Skillset 
    was the same as suggested above.
    Super Blair:
    Usually one of the hardest bosses.  She didn't give me any problems using the 
    above setup.  I was controlling Flare Sophia.
    Keeping her in place is more important than doing her damage.  I controlled 
    Sophia chaining thunderflares, while occasionally casting protection on Cliff.  
    Cliff took net damage over time, but healed himself as needed.  I got all 
    trophies at the same time.
    Ethereal Queen:
    Flare Sophia.  She's awkward in the sense that you cannot keep her pinned on 
    one end of the arena.  Just run along when she does move so you keep maximum 
    distance.  I don't think she ever successfully pulled Celestial Star, but if 
    she does just throw a stun bomb at her.
    This is where the tactics change.  There was no way I could keep Cliff from 
    dying instantaneously, so I ended up turning him into Maria's decoy.  I set him 
    on Manual, with AAA set to Standard, and equipped a Blazing Pendant.  The 
    beauty of this is he'll stop Freya in her tracks if she ever pulls a weak 
    attack, and he's a great target for magic.  Every spell cast on cliff is a 
    spell that isn't cast on Maria or Sophia, so he's definitely worth keeping 
    alive for that reason alone.  Occasionally you may have to take Cliff off 
    manual every now and then to get him back into the middle of action, because he 
    can't AAA anything if the action goes too far away from him.  Maria's Energy 
    Burst will disrupt many Ether Strikes, but not all of them, thus if one ever 
    gets out, be prepared to pop an analeptic as soon as possible.  Using this 
    strategy I killed Freya in about half an hour.  It's not quite the 23 min 
    benchmark I've heard, but it's a hell of a lot faster than the 1 hour allotted 
    Urssa Cave Temple:
    Everything was laughably easy.  I controlled Maria, and Fayt died after 3 
    energy bursts, and Luther didn't take much longer.
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    Copyright (c) 2005 Roger Pope

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