An Introduction to the Monster Arena and How it Works
The Monster Arena is perhaps the most expansive sidequest of Final Fantasy X, and, barring the Dark Aeons (to some), the most difficult. Hence, I have left it for near-last, not only because it’s a pain in the ass to scroll through abougt 150 KB of text (just a guess), but because you should do it last (or second before last). The bosses here are the most difficult ones of the original US FFX, and second to just one, really, in other releases, including HD.
The Monster Arena is located in the Calm Lands at the east side. The manager there appearently had all sorts of monsters within his small room in the back, and they’ve (surprisingly!) gotten loose! He also happens to be old and lazy and thusly tasks you to get them back. In return, he will let you fight them (albeit not for free), let you buy Capture weapons (albeit not for free), and give you tons of valuable items for capturing ever-so-many (which makes it all worth it - really, it does!).
To Capture a monster you find in battle (you can capture most of them), you need a weapon with the Capture ability, and must defeat an enemy using that weapon. This means Attack or Skills (Overdrives don’t count). It kinda sucks, though - these weapons have only one slot (Capture), and you cannot Customize Capture onto weapons … I really wanted Deathstrike…
You can capture up to ten of any enemy, and any random-encounter enemy (barring a few) from every area. As you capture all the enemies of a particular species or from a particular area, special new monsters called "Creations" will be made available for you to combat, the strategies for which comprise the majority of this section, mostly because they’re so hard. As time goes on, you’ll also have to Capture, say, five and ten of every enemy to unlock the biggest bad boys (such as the 10,000,000 HP Nemesis) - ever-more time-consuming, but is it worth it?
Perhaps. Whatever the case - whether you’re here simply for a few Celestial Weapon thingies or here to slaughter Nemesis in twain - good luck!
Unlocking Unique Creations
As described in the previous section, your capture of particular enemies (by area and by species) will be tracked by the game. After meeting milestones in that regard (all from an area or all of a species), new monsters will be unlocked at the Monster Arena for you to fight, and you will also be given a special set of items! Below discusses details on the unlocking these Creations and the rewards for doing so.
By the by, the Sunken Cave is really the Cavern of the Stolen Fayth.
|Area||Area Creation||Prize||Monsters To Capture|
|Besaid||Stratoavis||Stamina Tonic x99||Dingo, Condor, Water Flan|
|Kilika||Marlboro Menace||Poison Fang x99||Dinonix, Killer Bee, Yellow Element, Ragora|
|Mi'ihen Highroad||Kottos||Soul Spring x99||Mi'ihen Fang, Ipiria, Floating Eye, White Element, Raldo, Vouivre, Bomb, Dual Horn|
|Mushroom Rock||Coeurlregina||Candle of Life x99||Raptor, Gandarewa, Thunder Flan, Red Element, Lamashtu, Funguar, Garuda|
|Djose Highroad||Jormungand||Petrify Grenade x99||Garm, Simurgh, Bite Bug, Snow Flan, Bunyip, Basilisk, Ochu (south Moonflow)|
|Thunder Plains||Cactuar King||Chocobo Wing x99||Melusine, Aerouge, Buer, Gold Element, Kusariqqu, Larva, Iron Giant, Qactuar|
|Area||Area Creation||Prize||Monsters To Capture|
|Macalania||Espada||Shining Gem x60||Snow Wolf, Iguion, Wasp, Evil Eye, Ice Flan, Blue Element, Murssu, Mafdet, Xiphos, Chimera|
|Bikanel||Abyss Worm||Shadow Gem x99||Sand Wolf, Alcyone, Mushussu, Zu, Sand Worm, Cactuar|
|Calm Lands||Chimerageist||Farplane Wind x60||Skoll, Nebiros, Flame Flan, Shred, Anacondaur, Ogre, Coeurl, Chimera Brain, Marlboro|
|Sunken Cave||Don Tonberry||Silver Hourglass x40||Yowie, Imp, Dark Element, Nidhogg, Thorn, Valaha, Epaaj, Ghost, Tonberry|
|Mt Gagazet||Catoblepas||Blossom Crown||Bandersnatch, Ahriman, Dark Flan, Grenade, Grat, Grendel, Bashura, Mandragora, Behemoth, Splasher, Achelous, Mael Spike|
|Inside Sin||Abaddon||Light Curtain x99||Exoray, Wraith, Gemini (club), Gemini (sword), Demonolith, Great Marlboro, Barbatos, Adamantoise, King Behemoth|
|Omega Ruins||Vorban||Designer Wallet x60||Zaurus, Floating Death, Black Element, Halma, Puroboros, Spirit, Machea, Master Coeurl, Master Tonberry, Varuna|
|Species Creation||Prize||Monsters To Capture|
|Fenrir||Chocobo Feather x99||3 each of: Dingo, Mi'ihen Fang, Garm, Snow Wolf, Sand Wolf, Skoll, Bandersnatch|
|Ornitholestes||Stamina Spring x99||3 each of: Dinonix, Ipiria, Raptor, Melusine, Iguion, Yowie, Zaurus|
|Pteryx||Mega Phoenix x99||4 each of: Condor, Simurgh, Alcyone|
|Hornet||Mana Tonic x99||4 each of: Killer Bee, Bite Bug, Wasp, Nebiros|
|Vidatu||Mana Spring x99||4 each of: Gandarewa, Aerouge, Imp|
|One-Eye||Stamina Tablet x60||4 each of: Floating Eye, Buer, Evil Eye, Ahriman, Floating Death|
|Jumbo Flan||Twin Star x60||3 each of: Water Flan, Thunder Flan, Snow Flan, Ice Flan, Flame Flan, Dark Flan|
|Species Creation||Prize||Monsters To Capture|
|Nega Elemental||Star Curtain x99||3 each of: Yellow Element, White Element, Red Element, Gold Element, Blue Element, Dark Element, Black Element|
|Tanket||Gold Hourglass x99||3 each of: Raldo, Bunyip, Murussu, Mafdet, Shred, Halma|
|Fafnir||Purifying Salt x99||4 each of: Vouivre, Lamashtu, Kusariqqu, Mushussu, Nidhogg|
|Sleep Sprout||Healing Spring x99||5 each of: Funguar, Thorn, Exoray|
|Bomb King||Turbo Ether x60||5 each of: Bomb, Grenade, Puroboros|
|Juggernaut||Light Curtain x99||5 each of: Dual Horn, Valaha, Grendel|
|Ironclad||Mana Tablet x60||10 each of: Iron Giant, Gemini (club), Gemini (sword)|
|Original Creation||Prize||What To Do|
|Earth Eater||Three Star x60||Unlock two Area Creations|
|Greater Sphere||Supreme Gem x60||Unlock two Species Creations|
|Catastrophe||Door to Tomorrow x99||Unlock six Area Creations|
|Th'uban||Gambler's Spirit x99||Unlock six Species Creations|
|Neslug||Winning Formula x99||Unlock every Area Creation|
|Ultima Buster||Dark Matter x99; Clear Sphere sold at Monster Arena||Capture five of every monster|
|Shinryu||Megalixir x30||Capture two each of Splasher, Achelous, and Maelspike|
|Nemesis||Master Sphere x10||Capture ten of all monsters and defeat all other Creations|
Preparing To Fight
When it comes to fighting any of the Creations here, you’ve got a handful to deal with - unless you’ve fought some of the Dark Aeons already, these will be the hardest bosses you’ll fight in the game, and are among the hardest I’ve ever fought. Then again, I didn’t intentionally grind myself to 255 in all stats, although … that would work. Here’s a general level of what I think you ought to have:
- **Sphere Grid** : Likely a good 75+% completion rate or so should give you statistics like the below. Having all abilities is highly recommended, especially in the case of everyone having White and Black Magic and some other similar skills. Essential skills include Doublecast, Holy, Flare, Ultima, Curaga, Auto-Life, Full Life, and Quick Hit, for the most part. Copycat can help reduce MP costs and is nice just when looping stuff your other characters don't have. Quick Pockets on the Expert Sphere Grid is also really helpful for item usage.
- **Overdrives** : Simple enough - have the best everyone can get. If they get better ones. That means Blitz Ace for Tidus, Attack Reels for Wakka (yes, not the best in order, but definitely the best anyhow), Tornado for Auron, Nova for Kimahri, some stuff to do some crazy Mixing with Rikku, and ... well, you REALLY ought to have the Magus Sisters by now, but your use of them will likely be limited.
- **Items** : As many you can get of Remedies (if you don't use the Ribbon ability on everyone), Phoenix Downs (for Auto Phoenix), X-Potions (for Auto-Potion - trash all other Potions!!), Elixirs, and Megalixirs. Plus, there are a ton of good Mix combos for Rikku.
- **Statistics** : Likely around 150+ for Area Creations, 200+ for Species and Original Creations for your base stats like Strength and Defense. You do not need to exceed 9,999/999 on HP/MP - if you do, fine by me, but it's not needed, for reasons explained later. You'll want 9,999 HP/999 MP without breaking their limits. With, you'll want 15,000~20,000 HP for the Area Creations, 30,000~40,000 for the Species Creations, and as high as you can get it for the Originals. MP is basically estimated at 1/10 HP, by the way. Granted, those are pretty exorbitant estimations - to be honest, I went by these without Break HP/MP Limit.
- **Weapons** : The Celestial Weapons can suffice for this set of battles, but, to be honest, they're rather inferior except in the case of Auron - with him, having a lower percentage of HP can provide a damage boost of just over 210% at its lowest levels. (See the section A Bit About The Weapons for details.) With your self-made weapons, you'll likely want Break Damage Limit, Triple Overdrive, One MP Cost, and something else for the fourth slot. I'd go for Evade & Counter, Magic Counter, Magic Booster (works well with One MP Cost!), or Strength/Magic +20% (whichever your character will specialize in).
- **Armor** : Ribbon by far would be a great ability, though its use would be limited - plus, 297+ Dark Matters are hard to come by, but, damn, is the ability effective when you need it. Auto-Haste is also great, as is Auto-Potion and Auto-Phoenix. (Just be sure to trash all your Potions/Hi-Potions with the former!) Ultimately, those four abilities are the ones I recommend for a superb armor: Auto-Potion (with X-Potions only), Auto-Phoenix, Auto-Haste, and Ribbon - you'll be taking away every status but a few (but including KO), always halving physical damage (which comes a lot), always at doubled Agility, and healing for 9,999 HP when you take damage. Whether you want Break HP/MP Limit is up to you. Honestly, I got by without Break HP Limit (but 9,999 HP) - plus,NO attack exists that will exceed 9,999 damage that you cannot predict or counter or send in Aeons as cannon fodder for. One MP Cost defeats the purposes of Break MP Limit (unless you're casting over 1,000 spells per battle - what?), too.