The sinister Arcanist uses a mix of powerful dark magic and status ailments to bring ruin upon the enemy. Its MP and Intelligence are sky-high, making it a potent spell-caster. However its Physical Defense is atrocious, so you’ll need to keep a careful eye on its health.
To really make this job stand out, you should pair it with a Black Mage, as it will benefit from the Black Mage’s abilities and vice versa. To simplify things, you could have your Arcanist equip the Black Mage’s job command. Either way, your Black Mage would love the Arcanist’s Black Magic Amp and/or Max Black Magic to up the power of their spells.
Similarly, the Black Mage’s status ailment spells will become more effective with the Arcanist’s Status Ailment Amp. Once you’ve poisoned the enemy or sent them to sleep, you can punish the enemy with the Arcanist’s deadly Extermination or Twilight spells. Is this what they mean about a match made in hell…?
Specialty: Absorb Magic Damage
Recover HP equal to 25% of the damage taken from a magic attack, provided the damage doesn’t cause a K.O. (also not triggered by Poison damage). Effectively, your Arcanist takes 25% less damage from magic, which is very generous. The caveat is that your Arcanist must be able to survive the full damage for this to work.
Level 1: Corpse
Has a 75% chance of inflicting Doom on one enemy, which guarantees death after a certain number of turns (doesn’t work on bosses). Can target all enemies with the Black Mage’s Group-Cast All ability. As an early, low-cost spell, this is decent for what it does. However there are many quicker–and thus safer–ways to defeat enemies than this.
Level 2: Black Magic Amp
Raises the MP cost of Black Magic by 1.5 times and its damage by 1.25 times. When MP isn’t an issue, this ability is a cheap method (in terms of ability cost) of improving your Black Magic spells.
Level 3: Exterminate
Deal massive Dark damage to everyone in the Poison state. This ability is great when combined with Status Ailment Amp, to up the chances of inflicting Poison, and the Black Mage’s Group-Cast All, so you can cast the Black Mage’s Poison spell onto all enemies. Can be used on bosses too, but you’ll need Status Ailment Amp for a decent rate.
Level 4: Absorb Magic Damage
Recover HP equal to 25% of the damage taken from a magic attack, provided the damage doesn’t cause a K.O. (also not triggered by Poison damage). A good way to defend your characters from magical onslaughts, as long as they can take a few blows.
Level 5: Twilight
Kills everyone in the Sleep state (except bosses). A better version of Exterminate against normal enemies; for the same reason, you’ll want Status Ailment Amp to improve your odds and Group-Cast All so all enemies get a dose of Sleep.
Level 6: Save Black Magic MP
Lower the MP cost of Black Magic by 25%. Allows you to cast more Black Magic before needing to replenish MP. Useful until you get the Gold Hairpin, which cuts all MP consumption by 25% for one headgear slot.
Level 7: Sacrifice
Your character gets rids of 25% of their maximum HP to up their Magic Attack by 50% for three turns. For an Arcanist, this move is a bit dangerous considering their low HP and fragile defenses. Not to mention there are many safer alternatives to upping your Magic Attack, like using a Special Move or fielding a Performer.
Level 8: Zero
The damage of the user’s magic attacks is increased by 1.5 times when the last digit of their MP is 0. Unless you go out of your way to ensure your current MP is frequently a multiple of ten, this ability is hit and miss. Fortunately, there are several useful spells whose MP cost is a multiple of ten, such as all of the Summoner’s spells.
Level 9: Convergence
All of the user’s spells that can only be group-cast become single-target spells that deal 1.5 times their original damage. Doesn’t apply for spells that target everyone in the field (such as Exterminate). For example, Meteor originally hits the enemy party, but now you choose one enemy and it does extra damage. Costly, but effective, especially against bosses.
Level 10: Annihilation
Deals Dark damage to all enemies and allies with -1 BP or less; does increased damage the lower the target’s BP. A great way of punishing enemies who Brave a lot and subsequently go well into the red.
Level 11: Status Ailment Amp
Raise the chance of causing a status ailment. Essential if you want to cause ailment hell on the enemy, before nailing their coffins with Exterminate or Twilight.
Level 12: Iniquity
Deals Dark damage to all enemies and allies with 1 BP or more; does increased damage the higher the target’s BP. Helpful for enemies that love to build BP or those with an endless supply of BP.
Level 13: Max Black Magic
Doubles the MP cost of Black Magic and raises its damage by 1.5 times; can be equipped alongside Black Magic Amp. A rather costly ability, on all fronts, but good if you really want to impress the enemy with your Black Magic.
Level 14: Interment
Deal high Dark damage to all enemies. Expensive to cast, but no complaints about the damage. Although, you’re usually better off using Exterminate or Twilight in conjunction with Poison or Sleep, due to their significantly lower MP cost.