Flare and Meteor
Now that you're back in control of Squall, check out those new spells you got. You may have scored stocks of Flare and Meteor from the Ruby Dragon in the last Laguna dream, and while it was possible to acquire those spells elsewhere, this is the by far the easiest, fastest way you've encountered of acquiring full stocks of them thus far.
Flare is certainly not new, but who had the time to bother with refining all those Ruby Dragon cards into Inferno Fangs? Now that you've (hopefully) got a significant stash of Flare, it's time to really get into where you should assign it. Flare junctions well enough into HP-J (6th+), Str-J (5th) and Mag-J (6th+). Great for the early and mid-game, but it only performs slightly better than Tornado in HP-J, and Ultima, Triple and Meteor all out-perform it in both Str-J and Mag-J. Suffice to say, at this point in the game you hopefully won't see Flare as an improvement for those stats. Where Flare really shines, however, is junctioned to Elemental Defense, as a full stock of Flare will boost your resistance to fire, ice and thunder by +80%. Combined with other spells like Protect, Shell, Life and possibly even Full-Life, you shouldn't have to worry about those three elements any more.
Meteor is another spell you may have seen before, and while refining one Red Giant card into five Meteor Stones wasn't so bad of a trade-off, you yet lacked the ability to further refine those Meteor Stones into actual Meteor spells. If you drew some Meteor stocks from the Ruby Dragon in the Laguna dream, however, you need not worry so much about this spell. Meteor junctions well into HP-J (3rd), Str-J (2nd), Mag-J (4th), Eva-J (4th) and Hit-J (5th), putting it up there with Triple and Full-Life in contention for second-best junctioning spell in the game. Meteor can also be junctioned to Elemental Defense to give a +150% increase to the earth and wind elements, which, along with Flare, will protect you from five the game's eight elements. We prefer to use Full-Life in that capacity, instead, however, and let Meteor be our go-to HP-J spell, as the two are close enough (4,800 HP for Full-Life and 4,600 HP for Meteor) to make the difference negligible, at best.
In fact, now that you have so many top-tier spells at your disposal, something approaching an end-game setup can be cobbled together:
|Elemental Defense||Flare, Shell, Life, Full-Life|
|Status Defense||Pain, Holy, Reflect, Esuna|
This will get you - together with the HP+80%, Str+60% and Mag+60% abilities equipped, (roughly) the following stats with a level 10~ party:
|Hit||150% (highly dependent on weapon)|
|Elemental Resistances:||Fire 170% -- Ice 170% -- Thunder 170% -- Earth 90% -- Poison 90% -- Wind 90% -- Water 90% -- Holy 90%|
|Status Resistances:||Immune to Poison, Blind, Silence, Curse; Berserk 85% -- Death 40% -- Drain 40% -- Petrify 45% -- Sleep 85% -- Slow 45% -- Stop 45% -- Zombie 40%|
There are still some changes to be made, and not all your characters will have all these spells, but it's certainly possible that one of them does - or rather, has most of them (Full-Life and Aura have yet proven elusive, as have Eva-J and Luck-J). You'll also get ways to break the game by boosting your core stats without junctioning - one involving leveling, another involving tedious refinery via menus, and a third by hunting down and... well, let's not obsess over something we can't do just yet. Unless you played Chocobo World, of course, but we digress... Suffice to say, some changes may yet be made, especially if you don't mind some grinding (read: a lot of grinding). Those, however, are stats you can beat the game with, and handily so.
The White SeeD Ship
Anywho, junctioning time over. Return to the bridge of Balamb Garden, set this tub down and return to Edea's House again and talk to everybody's favorite Matron. She'll tell you that the White SeeD ship you're looking for is likely "by an inlet somewhere on the Centra continent", and she'll give you a Sorceress' Letter to help facilitate a warm reception when you do find them.
That taken care of, return to Balamb Garden and fly/sail to the north, taking a moment to take a gander at your map so you know where to go. The White SeeD ship is very low profile, shorter than the land around which it hides. Suffice to say, you won't see it from afar, so you'll need to know where to look, and considering that Centra is full of blasted fragments of land forming many inlets, there's plenty of places they can be hiding. North and slightly east of Edea's House is a small, U-shaped island, where you'll find the White SeeD ship on the interior of this "U". Sail up there and locate the ship (see the provided image for a visual of what you're looking for, then run into it to board the White SeeD ship.
After a rather discouraging bit of diplomacy, head up and to the right to reach another screen of the ship, where Watts and Zone will pester you. You remember Watts and Zone? The super minor characters who were part of Rinoa's incompetent Forest Owls resistance group? Yeah, nobody does. Anyways, endure their foolishness and after Zone runs off, note where he goes, then challenge Watts to cards if for some reason you didn't win his Angelo card earlier. No good reason whatsoever that he should still have this now, and even less that you should leave him with it again if he still does.
Once you're done with Watts, follow Zone upstairs. Up here you'll find Timber Maniacs #, which should be the final issue of this magazine. Huzzah! Next talk to Zone three times and if you picked up the issue of Girls Next Door from the Timber Maniacs HQ you'll get some options. Zone covets his porn, and you can try to sell it to him for a whopping 25,500G, give it to him for free, or keep it for yourself. Hey! It has really good articles! Don't be a porn-hog and give him the magazine for free and in return he'll give you a Rename Card and the Shiva Card. Best not to wonder what he used it for, but since he doesn't play Triple Triad... Best not to wonder!!!
The Shiva Card can be refined into 100x North Wind items via Card Mod, which in turn can be refined into 20 Blizzaga spells each. Since you can get North Winds from Snow Lion cards (and you can simply use LV Up to get Blizzaga from a variety of foes now) there's little incentive to refine the Shiva card. That said, with the point spread on the Shiva card she's really not worth playing either. Chubby Chocobo, Quezacotl, Ifrit, Siren, Sacred and Minotaur are all arguably easier/better to play with than Shiva - and that's just counting the Level 8 GF cards! Oh well, at least you've (hopefully) obtained all the Level 8 GF cards now, for what that's worth.
When you're done dealing with Watts and Zone, return downstairs and continue through a doorway to the right to reach the White SeeD leader, whom he'll finally present with the letter Edea gave him. After some chatter, use a nearby draw point to score some Holy spells, then talk to the White SeeD leader again to learn what happened to Ellone. Looks like it's finally to visit Esthar.