|Important Items in this Area|
|Final Attack Materia|
Conquering the Battle Arena
All the ultimate weapons are yours, which means it’s finally time to head off to the Battle Arena in the Gold Saucer. This could have been done much, much earlier, albeit with some difficulty, the use of items, and in general, various complications that made it more appealing to just wait. Now, however, you have all the tools and resources to easily grind out the Battle Arena, hopefully including GP earned during the Chocobo races. If you want to improve your ease of conquering the battle arena, having the following Materia equipped will help:
|Knights of the Round|
|Time + Added Effect (armor)|
|HP Plus (if necessary)|
|Long Range (if necessary)|
A mastered Double Cut will do wonders for your damage output. Enemy Skill is essential for healing, buffing, recovering MP… it’s just great, as you well know by now. Knights of the Round + MP Absorb can be used to bypass difficult fights, which can then be repeatedly Mimed. Keep in mind that you can only summon Knights of the Round as many times as you have levels in it, hence the Mime Materia. Time + Added Effect will prevent the annoying Stop and Slow status effects. Finally, add Elemental and whatever elements you want to protect yourself against, and HP Plus if your HP are on the low side (anything under 8000 HP). Finally, Long Range Materia is a no-brainer; it’ll prevent enemies from flying out out range or taking less damage in the back row, and it’ll also allow you to hide in the back row and enjoyed reduced physical damage. Grinding to level up Materia a bit can’t hurt (at least until Double Cut has 4x-Cut), but isn’t necessary. If you want to keep Mime at its most effective, avoid using Counter Attack Materia.
In addition to all that, equip a character with their ultimate weapon and do your best to ensure it’s charged; Barret’s weapon has a lot of AP-rich Materia on it, Cid and Red XIII have full MP, Cloud and Cait Sith have full HP… Yuffie is good to go by default, Vincent needs to murder tons of foes, and Tifa just isn’t a good choice at all. Remember, each round will cost you 10 GP, so make sure you have enough GP, as leaving the Battle Square will cost you your accumulated Battle Points. 500 GP should be more than enough, which can be earned in one good Chocobo Race, but having more won’t hurt.
The standard procedure for each bout in the Battle Arena is simple; start off with "Big Guard", hit groups of weaker foes with "Beta" or "Trine" and Mime those attacks from round to round to save on MP. Foes that take a bit more damage to put down should be attacked with Double cut, and particularly tough foes might be worth a casting of Knights of the Round, although in the normal Battle Arena this is unlikely. Mystile should cause you to dodge most attacks and between your Ribbon and Added Effect Materia, there are few status effects that can trouble you.
The handicap each round varies, and the perfect storm of bad luck can cause you to lose no matter how well-prepared you were at the beginning of the battle. If defeat seems imminent, don’t be afraid to toss out a Smoke Bomb (stolen from Slalom enemies near Junon’s Underwater Reactor, these can be duped with W-Item to save time) to end the round and escape with whatever Battle Points you can, which isn’t ideal, but it’s better than losing. Counter the various handicaps as best you can; use items to heal when necessary and… well, just hunker down and grind it out. You should win more often than not, and the various handicaps you suffer will increase the Battle Points you earn at the end, growing exponentially as you advance through the rounds. Simply put, enduring the handicaps at the 7th and 8th rounds are where you’ll get most of your Battle Points. A good match can earn you nearly (or over!) 10,000 Battle Points. A list of the various handicaps and their effects can be found below.
|0 MP||Reduces character to 0 MP (can be recovered).|
|1/2 HP/MP||Reduces character to 1/2 current maximum HP and/or MP. Cannot be recovered.|
|x30 Damage||Amplifies damage taken by 30x.|
|Accessory Broken||Accessory no longer functions.|
|Armor Broken||Arnor no longer function, character loses defensive stats, but Materia in armor still functions.|
|Cure||Fully heals character.|
|Item Command Sealed||Character can no longer use items.|
|Level Down||Reduces the character's level by five or ten, lowering some of their attributes.|
|Lucky 7||No handicap.|
|Materia Sealed||Access to a certain color of Materia or all Materia is blocked.|
|Status Effect||Inflicts either Frog, Mini or Poison status effect. Can be blocked by status immunities.|
|Weapon Broken||Character loses Attack value of the weapon and any other boosts (ultimate weapon charges) but Materia equipped on that weapon still functions and the character can attack, albeit with significantly reduced damage.|
Battle Square Prizes
Earning Battle Points to spend on prizes is the entire reason you’re here, and some of the prizes are well worth fighting for. To cash out your Battle Points, interact with the terminal near the entrance to the Battle Arena. To get all the Materia, at least one Championship Belt, and the coveted Omnislash, it’ll cost you a hefty 117,250 Battle Points… optimistically ten good wins, but probably closer to twice that amount. If you leave the Battle Square (not just the arena screen) you’ll forfeit your Battle Points, so save up to buy something before you take a break.
As for the items themselves, Enemy Lure Materia does what the name suggests; it increases the encounter rate, the opposite of Enemy Away Materia. Pre-Emptive Materia has a chance (up to 19% with one mastered Materia or up to 33% with multiple Materia) to allow the character to automatically act first in combat. Speed Plus Materia will increase your Dexterity by 10% per level (up to +50%), which is a fine boost to your ATB fill rate. The Championship Belt gives +30 Strength and Vitality (although Strength is called "Power" on the item description), which makes it a good melee-buff accessory. Omnislash is Cloud’s ultimate Limit Break, and the most stupidly over-powered Limit Break in the game. Finally, W-Summon allows you to cast two summon spells simultaneously which… in conjunction with Knights of the Round and Mime is one hell of a power combo.
|Battle Square Prizes||Cost (BP)|
|Enemy Lure Materia||250|
|Speed Plus Materia||4000|
|*You can only obtain one of these items|
Note: The Battle Arena prizes and their costs change at various points throughout the game, but the prizes are at their most diverse and cheapest right now. Why grind for around twice as many Battle Points to get a Champion Belt or Omnislash with inferior gear when you don’t have to? The optimal time to go through the Battle Arena is right now, which is why it was put off for so long.
Fight until you have enough Battle Points to buy the W-Summon Materia , then go after Omnislash . These are the only two items that you absolutely should get, everything else is optional… although compared to the cost of those two items, everything else is cake. Once you have at least those two items, head to the bottom area of the Battle Square (with the tunnel leading to different squares) and talk to the lady by the stairs. If you’ve won eight battles (a pre-condition for earning those two items) she’ll give you Sprint Shoes . Wee…
After you win the W-Summon Materia and Omnislash (and have Cloud learn Omnislash) you’ll be offered a chance to participate in a special battle the next time you talk to the cashier. The enemies here are static and only Cloud can compete, but you still earn Battle Points and there are still handicaps after each match. Switch to the special battle when you can, as you can win special prizes after successfully completing the fight, the most important of these is the Final Attack Materia which you’ll win after your first victory. The same gear that got you through the normal battles should suffice for the special battles, too, but you might want to try to get some Morph Materia equipped for these, as the enemy you fight in the second round, the Ho-chu, can be Morphed into a Ribbon . You will also earn a Ribbon the tenth time you clear the special battle.
Once you have the Final Attack Materia (and perhaps a few Ribbons) from the special battle, and all the prizes you care to get from the normal Battle Arena, you’ll be good to go. The next thing on the "to-do" list is explore the North Cave, wherein you’ll find some more epic loot, and the best AP grinding spot in the game. Collectively, these new items and a bit of AP grinding will put you in good shape to confront the next two Weapons, which are far, far more dangerous than Ultimate Weapon was. One step at a time, though, right?