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Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
Strategy Guide

Author(s): Nathan Garvin, Jarrod Garripoli
First Published: 30-08-2017 / 00:00 GMT
Last Updated: 16-03-2018 / 13:53 GMT
Version: 1.12 (????) 22-08-2018 / 05:25 GMT

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Strategy Guide

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Character Development

Character Development

Classes

There are a total of twelve different classes in the game and once you assign a character to a class, you will be stuck with that class for the remainder of the game. You’ll gain access to your first class shortly into the game, but you’ll be able to assign another class to each character after advancing the story sufficiently. This is done by purchasing a specific license on the initial License Board you pick, which appears once after you’ve sufficiently advanced the story.

You will have access to all abilities and equipment from the two License Boards, plus all abilities, stats and equipment are shared across both of them. For example, if you purchase one of the Swiftness licenses on one board and the other has it, then it will be purchased on both boards. This is a good thing, as it has potential to bypass having to get certain Quickenings or Espers, which will sometimes have licenses locked behind them. It gives you more versatility and it makes choosing complementary class very important, indeed. You can also choose a class for more than one character if you want, as you don’t need to go with all twelve classes. So, if you wanted to make everyone a White Mage, you could!

Of course, strength often lies in diversity, and being able to utilize multiple types of arms, armor, magicks and technicks will arguably give you the best chance of handling whatever foes lurk in Ivalice. With two classes per character at your disposal in The Zodiac Age, diversity shouldn’t be as much of an issue as balancing your party and picking job combinations that enhance each other. It is to this end this section is dedicated, and every class will be discussed in detail, including what licenses they provide and what other jobs pair up well with them.

Note: Every job has access to the aptly named Essential license, Accessories 1 - 21, Ribbon and ten Gambit licenses. That being the case, they won’t be mentioned in the following class descriptions.

Archer

The Archer is very much a mixed bag, and that’s being generous. As a stand-alone class they have little to recommend them aside from a wide variety of technicks, all the item lores, access to Bow weapons, and three ranks of Swiftness. Their HP are moderate, which is fine since they have access to all the Light Armor (which will boost HP), and their ranged weapons should keep them out of trouble. They can also get the White Magick 4 license (Cura and Raise) if you invest in the 50 LP Quickening. A fine support character, but nothing to really go crazy over. Their poor selection of Battle Lore (x2) and Magick Lore (x1) licenses ensures they’ll never be outstanding from a DPS perspective.

In The Zodiac Age, however, this makes them a fine secondary job. Just pick a job with good access to other weapons and magicks and don’t pick another job that has plenty of item lores and technicks (Machinist and Shikari) and they’ll mix fine. Of all the possible combinations, however, the Red Battlemage/Archer has the best synergy, as not only will this add a great deal of much needed Magick Lore (and a bit of Battle Lore), but it’ll give the Red Battlemage some much needed Swiftness. Better yet, you can purchase the LP 125 Quickening on the Red Battlemage License Board and use that the island hop back to the Archer Board and bypass the Famfrit Esper Gate, scoring the HP 10 license as well, adding a cool 825 HP to the mix. In fact, this combo entirely voids the need for an otherwise attractive-seeming Famfrit allocation (HP 10 - 11, Battle Lore x2), which is better used elsewhere.

While it might seems like a somewhat clumsy synergy that under-utilizes the Archer’s melee prowess… well, you’re right, to a degree. But most jobs with more Physical Lores will excel without adding the Archer, and there’s a good reason to sacrifice the Archer’s melee contribution: it’s simply a more powerful build to focus on Magick Power. There’s another hidden bit of synergy between these two classes in this regard, as well, as the Burning Bow - the 6th most powerful Bow in the game, with a passable 79 Attack Power - augments Fire damage. Since the Red Battlemage is the only job that gets access to the Ardor magick, the most powerful Fire spell in the game, this is a match made in gaming heaven, as you can be a competent, if not stellar Archer with pretty damn good HP, who can also utilize most technicks and low-to-mid-tier Black Magicks, White Magicks and all Green Magicks and Arcane Magicks. It’s the ultimate support character whose utility never really wears off due to Ardor’s potent punch.

Archer Core Licenses
Swiftness Swiftness 30 LP, Swiftness 50 LP, Swiftness 80 LP
HP HP 1 - 8 (1,360 HP)
Battle Lore x2
Magick Lore x1
Weapons Bows 1 - 7, Sagittarius, Dhanusha
Armor Light Armor 1 - 13
Technicks Achilles, Addle, Charm, First Aid, Gil Toss, Libra, Poach, Revive, Shades of Black, Shear, Steal, Traveler
Magicks White Magick 4
Item Lore Potion Lore 1 - 3, Phoenix Lore 30 LP, Phoenix Lore 50 LP, Phoenix Lore 90 LP, Remedy Lore 1 - 3
Passives Focus, Headsman, Inquisitor, Last Stand, Martyr, Spellbound
Archer Esper Licenses
Adrammelech
Belias
Chaos Magick Lore x5
Cuchulainn
Exodus
Famfrit HP 10 - 11 (835 HP)
Hashmal
Mateus
Shemhazai Heavy Armor 10 - 12
Ultima 1000 Needles, Infuse
Zalera
Zeromus
Zodiark 1000 Needles, Infuse

Black Mage

The Black Mage has two roles in combat, at which it excels - blasting foes with magick (usually elemental magick) and inflicting detrimental status effects on them. Despite what seems an obvious knack for blasting foes with powerful magicks, their ultimate magick - Scathe - is not too bad, but not entirely amazing. It’s non-elemental, so you don’t have to worry about any foes negating or absorbing the damage, plus it hits multiple enemies. However, its animation can be a little slow and the area-of-effect can sometimes be a little wonky, as some enemies that should be hit with it might not get blasted. Despite that the Black Mage will likely be your most potent damage-dealer through the mid-to-late game areas, with few exceptions, so you don’t have to rely on something like Scathe to get the job done.

Being a magick-user, they abstain from physical combat and instead focus on Staves, which can be used to deal Strength-based melee damage, but their attack power is quite poor compared to most other weapons. You’re far better off using them for the boosts they give to Magick Power and, in some cases, to elemental damage. Ignoring the relatively negligible Magick Power boost (ranging from +2 to +8, depending on the weapon), elementally-attuned staves will increase the damage of said element by 50%, so don’t sell all of any staves you get. You never know when you’ll need to exploit an elemental weakness.

As for licenses, there’s nothing terribly surprising about the Black Mage. Being a magick-user they have a relatively poor selection of HP licenses and two Swiftness licenses (LP 30 and LP 50). When you take into consideration their license islands… well, they’re not a secondary class. You pick a Black Mage for their massive single-class upsides - their Black Magick - and pick a support class that covers for their weaknesses.

To this end, it’s hard to beat the Monk, as it’ll add a great deal of HP licenses, and you’ll be able to purchase the Black Mage’s 50 LP Swiftness license and island hop to the Monk License Board and buy the 80 LP Swiftness license. Invest some Espers into the Monk and they’ll also be able to access a treasure trove of White Magick - including the Holy spell - which will prove a potent addition to the Monk’s arsenal thanks to the Black Mage’s high Magick Power. Frankly, it’s one of the most absurdly over-powered class combinations in the game, and a team with a Monk/Black Mage in it is probably more powerful than one without.

Black Mage Core Licenses
Swiftness Swiftness 30 LP, Swiftness 50 LP
HP HP 2, 4, 7, 10 (880 HP)
Battle Lore x0
Magick Lore x16
Weapons Staves 1 - 5, Staff of the Magi
Armor Mystic Armor 1 - 13
Technicks Charge, Charm
Magicks Black Magick 1 - 13, Green Magick 1 - 3
Item Lore Ether Lore 1 - 3, Remedy Lore 1 - 2
Passives Headsman, Inquisitor, Martyr, Serenity, Spellbreaker, Warmage
Black Mage Esper Licenses
Adrammelech Hand Bombs 2
Belias
Chaos
Cuchulainn
Exodus Heavy Armor 8
Famfrit HP 5, 6, 8 (830 HP)
Hashmal Hand Bombs 4
Mateus Hand Bombs 3
Shemhazai Heavy Armor 7
Ultima Telekinesis
Zalera Poach, Steal
Zeromus Heavy Armor 9
Zodiark

Bushi

The Bushi is an interesting class, as it’s the only class that gets access to Katanas, including the ultimate Katana, the Kumbha. Katanas use both Strength and Magick Power to determine damage, and suitably the class has access to both Magick Lore and Battle Lore licenses. Your first instinct may well be to pair the Bushi with a magick-user, but this is less than ideal, as if a character is a potent mage, they should be casting magicks and not swinging a sword - pick one way of dealing damage and stick with it. On the other hand, when paired with jobs that can access support or healing magicks, the Bushi will perform somewhat better at those tasks thanks to their ability to wear Mystic Armor.

On the Bushi License Board you’ll find all three ranks of Swiftness, making it an ideal boost for slower jobs, but trying to split focus between Strength and Magick Power has its downsides - the Bushi has access to only six Battle Lore licenses (plus two more behind Quickening Gates) and twelve Magick Lores (plus two behind the Zeromus Esper Gate). This imbalance is yet another reason not to pair with a mage job, given the inevitable Magick Lore redundancy and Mystic Armor redundancy. Fortunately the Bushi has access to a fair amount of HP licenses, having access to HP 2 - 8, while HP 9 - 11 are behind Quickening Gates.

With all that out of the way, there are two excellent pairings for the Bushi. Well, three, really, as Monk/Bushi works well, but Black Mage/Monk is arguably better, and only one Monk in any given game will get all those lovely White Magicks. That out of the way, the two remaining are Shikari/Bushi and Knight/Bushi. The Shikari/Bushi will get access to both Ninja Swords and Katanas, making it the clear winner for sheer ninjamurai nerdfest potential. On a more serious note, this combo will make the Yiazmat battle much, much easier thanks to being able to use the Yagyu Darkblade while wearing Dark Robes and Genji Gloves. On the other hand, that’s mixing up two of your jobs that have access to all three ranks of Swiftness, and if you’re going for a twelve-job party, that may complicate things.

The Knight/Bushi has a whole lot going for it, too, as the jobs synergize incredibly well. Bushi has a good bit of Magick Lore, but for a melee-focused character, relatively little Battle Lore. The Knight will improve that somewhat, while benefiting greatly from the Bushi’s three ranks of Swiftness (compared to the Knight’s one rank). The Knight’s Heavy Armor will further boost the Bushi’s Strength score, while the Bushi’s Magick Lore licenses will increase the potency of the Knight’s White Magicks, if you’re willing to invest an Esper or two to the task. Speaking of which, pairing with the Knight and assigning Ultima will get you yet another Battle Lore and the Telekinesis technick, the latter of which provides a much-needed ranged solution for both the Knight and the Bushi. This combo can also make use of Excalibur (Holy elemental Greatsword) while wearing White Robes (+50% Holy damage) to make short work of undead. If a badass paladin strikes your fancy, Knight/Bushi might be the combo for you.

Bushi Core Licenses
Swiftness Swiftness 30 LP, Swiftness 50 LP, Swiftness 80 LP
HP HP 2 - 11 (2,505 HP)
Battle Lore x8
Magick Lore x12
Weapons Katana 1 - 5, Masamune, Kumbha
Armor Mystic Armor 1 - 13, Genji Armor
Technicks 1000 Needles, Bonecrusher, Gil Toss, Infuse, Shades of Black, Sight Unseeing
Magicks
Item Lore Remedy Lore 1 - 2
Passives Headsman, Inquisitor, Last Stand, Martyr, Serenity, Spellbound, Spellbreaker
Bushi Esper Licenses
Adrammelech Souleater
Belias Libra
Chaos Brawler
Cuchulainn Stamp
Exodus HP 12 (500 HP)
Famfrit
Hashmal
Mateus
Shemhazai Shield Block
Ultima Stamp
Zalera Bloodsword, Karkata
Zeromus Magick Lore x2
Zodiark Heavy Armor 9 - 11

Foebreaker

The Foebreaker has one major selling point - they gain access to all four stat-lowering technicks: Addle, Expose, Shear and Wither. For most of the game, these technicks will be of dubious value, but against late-game foes they can prove very handy ways to increase your damage output while lowering theirs. Otherwise, the class comes with a few perks, including HP 1 - 10 licenses (a respectable 2,100 HP), twelve Battle Lore licenses, three ranks of Shield Block, Heavy Armor, access to all Shields, and the Genji armor license. All in all, it’s a warrior class that offers a lot of stats, staples, and technicks, but little else of interest.

On its own, it’s arguably the least impressive of the warrior classes (Bushi, Knight and Uhlan being the others). Axes & Hammers are just not a great weapon category due to their wildly fluctuating damage (which are influenced by a character’s Vitality, as well as their Strength), they only gain one rank of Swiftness without making use of Espers, and they get nothing comparable to the Knight’s excellent Esper licenses. Their technicks and HP make them an interesting secondary class, however.

In particular, the Shikari - another melee-focused class that could use some help - makes for a fine pairing. The Shikari isn’t doing terrible as far as HP are concerned, but adding Addle, Expose, Shear and Wither to its arsenal will make it a useful contributor in some of the most difficult battles in the game, and the extra Battle Lores and Heavy Armor provided by the Foebreaker turn the Shikari into a tank with high DPS potential. The Foebreaker, on the other hand, benefits from the Shikari’s three ranks of Swiftness and Ninja Swords, which, when combined with the Foebreaker’s ability to equip Genji Gloves is just gravy.

Another passable combination is the Foebreaker/Machinist, which allow for all three ranks of Swiftness and a decent ranged option (Guns) thanks to the Machinist. More importantly, you’ll add the Machinist’s Time Magicks (hidden behind the Famfrit Esper Gate) to the Foebreaker’s arsenal, allowing them to buff their allies and debuff their foes, making for a convincingly competent character. This combo also allows you to free up other problem jobs and make use of the Knight/Time Battlemage and Bushi/Shikari combos.

Foebreaker Core Licenses
Swiftness Swiftness 30 LP
HP HP 1 - 10 (2,100 HP)
Battle Lore x12
Magick Lore x0
Weapons Axes & Hammers 1 - 7, Vrscika, Hand Bombs 1 - 4
Armor Heavy Armor 1 - 12, Genji Armor, Shields 1 - 7, Shell Shield, Ensanguined Shield, Zodiac Escutcheon
Technicks Addle, Expose, Infuse, Shear, Sight Unseeing, Wither
Magicks
Item Lore
Passives Adrenaline, Focus, Headsman, Inquisitor, Last Stand, Martyr, Shield Block x3, Spellbound
Foebreaker Esper Licenses
Adrammelech Battle Lore
Belias Horology
Chaos
Cuchulainn Shades of Black
Exodus Magick Lore x4
Famfrit Magick Lore
Hashmal Swiftness
Mateus
Shemhazai
Ultima Swiftness
Zalera Traveler
Zeromus Magick Lore x4
Zodiark

Knight

The name really should give it away. Swords, Shields, Heavy Armor, good HP, a selection of Battle Lore licenses (10)… the Knight is your bread-and-butter melee warrior. At this, it excels, and if you’re willing to do the work, there’s a good chance this will be your strongest character for around half the game, as you can nab a Karkata and a Deathbringer rather early on. Their only real versatility, however, is switching between sword and board and Greatswords, and for almost the entire game they’ll have no real way to contribute at a range.

Despite that, the Knight is one of the stronger jobs in the game, if properly augmented by Espers, anyways. Behind the Mateus Esper Gate you’ll find the White Magick 6 - 7 licenses, while the Hashmal Esper Gate blocks White Magick 8 - 9. Invest these two Espers to the Knight (easily done, as no other job arguably benefits more from them than the Knight) and you’ll have turned your brute melee character into a white Knight, or paladin, if you prefer. Access to the buffs Bravery and Faith and healing magicks like Esuna, Cleanse, Curaga and Curaja will make them useful characters in almost any party, against almost any foe. Assigning Ultima to them is somewhat less important, but it will give them another Battle Lore, as well as the Telekinesis technick, which will overcome one of their greatest weakness - the lack of a ranged option.

All that remains to be determined, then, is what job to pair them with? The White Mage is out, for obvious reasons. There are, in fact, two great combinations the Knight works with: Knight/Time Battlemage and Knight/Bushi. Both get all three ranks of Swiftness, which the Knight sorely needs (the Knight shares shame with the Red Battlemage as being one of the two jobs that get only a single rank of Swiftness), both will add Magick Lore to the Knight’s arsenal (buffing up their White Magick). The Time Battlemage utilizes Heavy Armor, though, which is a redundancy, but makes up for it by adding Crossbow licenses, giving the Knight a ranged option besides Telekinesis. The Bushi, meanwhile, adds Mystic Armor, potentially further enhancing the Knight’s Magick Power, and allowing them to wear White Robes while wielding Excalibur - armor that boosts Holy damage by 50% and a Holy elemental Greatsword, respectively.

Ultimately the Knight/Time Battlemage is an awesome melee tank and support caster, having access to magicks like Curaja, Esuna and Hastega, while the Bushi is the ultimate swordsman, utilizing Swords, Greatswords and Katanas, as the need fits, while alternating between Heavy Armor and Mystic Armor, depending on the weapons used. Arguably the Knight/Bushi has more synergy and more interesting equipment options, but it’s really hard to go wrong, either way.

Knight Core Licenses
Swiftness Swiftness 30 LP
HP HP 1 - 8, 10 (1,750 HP)
Battle Lore x10
Magick Lore x0
Weapons Swords 1 - 9, Blood Sword, Karkata, Greatswords 1 - 4, Exalibur, Excalipur, Tournesol
Armor Heavy Armor 1 - 12, Genji Armor, Shields 1 - 7, Shell Shield, Ensanguined Shield, Zodiac Escutcheon
Technicks First Aid, Infuse, Sight Unseeing, Souleater
Magicks
Item Lore
Passives Adrenaline, Focus, Headsman, Inquisitor, Last Stand, Martyr, Shield Block x3
Knight Esper Licenses
Adrammelech
Belias Potion Lore 1
Chaos Excalipur, HP 10 (390 HP), Revive
Cuchulainn Battle Lore
Exodus HP 9 (350 HP)
Famfrit
Hashmal White Magick 8 - 9
Mateus White Magick 6 - 7
Shemhazai Potion Lore 2
Ultima Battle Lore, Telekinesis
Zalera
Zeromus
Zodiark Excalipur, HP 10 (390 HP), Revive

Machinist

The Machinist is the job for technophiles, making use of Guns and Hand-Bombs to provide supplemental, ranged, combat support, much like the Archer. Just by looking at what this class offers, it should be readily apparent that as a stand-alone class, it leaves much to be desired, but it makes a fine secondary job. Its HP licenses on are par with the Archer, it gets more Battle and Magick Lores, has three ranks of Swiftness and a variety of technicks and item lores. The damage of its key weapons, Guns, aren’t affected by any attributes, but also ignore defense, and are hence capable of dealing reliable - if not impressive - damage. Their Light Armor leaves something to be desired, however.

While almost any class can potentially benefit from being paired with a Machinist, its greatest single benefit are probably the licenses locked behind the Famfrit Esper Gate, which include Time Magicks 8 - 10. The real winner magick here is Hastega, without downplaying other goodies like Reflectga and Slowga, and these few spells here are a great boon to any job… save, obviously, the Time Battlemage, which can be safely eliminated from consideration. Since these Time Magicks aren’t terribly reliant on your Magick Power, there’s no real need to pair Machinist with a mage, but given the fact that Guns don’t require Strength, and the fact that the Machinist will give whatever mage class it’s paired with more HP, technicks, and Swiftness, it’s not a bad idea, either. Mostly, however, you’ll come to this decision via a process of elimination, as better pairings (Knight/Bushi, Black Mage/Monk, Red Battlemage/Archer) narrow the field considerably.

Out of what’s left, White Mage/Machinist, Foebreaker/Machinist and Uhlan/Machinist are all fine choices, as the White Mage could really use the HP, Swiftness, and use of Guns, while the Foebreaker and Uhlan will mostly benefit from Swiftness, technicks and item lores. They will all also make great use of the Time Magicks, however, so it’s really a choice of whether you want a Foebreaker or Uhlan with a little extra utility, or a White Mage that serves as the ultimate support/healer.

Machinist Core Licenses
Swiftness Swiftness 30 LP, Swiftness 50 LP, Swiftness 80 LP
HP HP 1 - 8 (1,360 HP)
Battle Lore x3
Magick Lore x6
Weapons Guns 1 - 6, Mithuna, Measures 1 - 4
Armor Light Armor 1 - 13
Technicks Achilles, Charm, Gil Toss, Horology, Libra, Numerology, Poach, Stamp, Steal, Traveler
Magicks
Item Lore Ether Lore 1, Phoenix Lore 30 LP, Potion Lore 1 - 3, Remedy Lore 1 - 3
Passives Headsman, Inquisitor, Last Stand, Martyr, Spellbound
Machinist Esper Licenses
Adrammelech
Belias
Chaos HP 9 (350 HP)
Cuchulainn Magick Lore
Exodus Green Magick 1
Famfrit Time Magick 8 - 10
Hashmal
Mateus
Shemhazai Hand-Bombs 3
Ultima Magick Lore x3
Zalera
Zeromus Hand-Bombs 4
Zodiark HP 10 (390 HP)

Monk

At a glance, the Monk doesn’t seem to have too much going for it - Poles aren’t terribly exciting weapons (other than their high combo rate and ability to hit flying creatures), and while they get access to the Expose and Wither technicks, that just makes them a poor man’s Foebreaker. The Monk has all three Swiftness licenses, although two are on a license island. This isn’t as terrible as it seems, however, as you only need pick a second job with either the 50 LP or 80 LP Swiftness license and you’ll be able to island hop and get the other… so basically any pairings save Monk/Knight or Monk/Red Battlemage will get all three Swiftness licenses without having to use an Esper. Other than that, however, their key selling point is that they have access to every HP license. These two things alone are enough to make it an interesting support job.

All that build up serves only to intentionally under-sell the Monk, however, as it’s far better than the sum of its core licenses let on, as it can - with the help of Espers and Quickenings - gain access to a wide variety of potent White Magicks. Behind the 75 LP Quickening you’ll find White Magick 9, which will give them Curaja and Bravery. If the best party-healing magick and an attack buff aren’t good enough, Hashmal opens up White Magick 4 (Cura and Raise), Zodiark can unlock White Magick 13 (Renew), Famfrit will give White Magick 10 (Dispelga and Arise), and best of all Chaos allows you to access White Magick 11 and White Magick 12 (Holy, Esunaga, Protectga and Shellga). If you merely gain access to White Magick 9, 11 and 12 you’ll have turned the Monk into a competent healer, buffer and debuffer.

With all that in mind, the Monk as a stand-alone job is easily a match for jobs like the Knight, but like most jobs, where the Monk really shines - and what determines its ultimate utility - is how it works in combination with other jobs. At this the Monk is downright broken, as the Monk’s HP licenses make it a welcome addition for any mage, and its addition of White Magick will further expand a mage’s magick arsenal. Since the White Mage doesn’t need any more White Magick, and the Red Battlemage is one of the few jobs which will not get all three ranks of Swiftness, this leaves only the Black Mage. The Monk/Black Mage combo is simply one of the best in the game, having access to all Black Magicks, a health store of HP, all three ranks of Swiftness and a fine selection of White Magick.

Monk Core Licenses
Swiftness Swiftness 30 LP
HP HP 1 - 12 (3,035 HP)
Battle Lore x16
Magick Lore x0
Weapons Poles 1 - 6, Whale Whisker, Kanya
Armor Light Armor 1 - 13
Technicks Achilles, Bonecrusher, Expose, First Aid, Libra, Numerology, Revive, Shades of Black, Wither
Magicks White Magick 9
Item Lore Phoenix Lore 30 LP, Phoenix Lore 50 LP, Potion Lore 1 - 2
Passives Adrenaline, Brawler, Focus, Headsman, Inquisitor, Last Stand, Martyr, Spellbound
Monk Esper Licenses
Adrammelech
Belias
Chaos White Magick 11 - 12
Cuchulainn
Exodus Souleater
Famfrit White Magick 10
Hashmal White Magick 4
Mateus
Shemhazai Potion Lore 3
Ultima Swiftness x2
Zalera
Zeromus Sight Unseeing
Zodiark White Magick 13

Red Battlemage

Red Battlemage is the jack-of-all-trades of mages, having access to Black Magick 3- 6, Time Magick 1 - 3 and White Magick 2 - 6. They also have access to all Arcane Magicks and Green Magicks, the former of which will allow them to cast the most powerful Fire elemental magick in the game, Ardor. Throughout most of the game, this versatility is wonderful, as it’ll take quite a while to accumulate the high-tier magicks that’ll finally allow your more specialized mages to surpass the Red Battlemage. Eventually, however, Cura just doesn’t cut it, and by the time your other mages gain access to the -ga and -ja magicks, the Red Battlemage will start to transition into more of a supporting role.

For when magicks aren’t sufficient to the task at hand, the Red Battlemage also has access to Maces, which are reliable, if not spectacular weapons. In addition, they have more HP than the other mages and access to all Shield licenses. Don’t be fooled into thinking this makes them a viable late-game melee class, however, as they truly excel at magick. That this is their true calling is made clear by the amount of Magick Lores (12) they have access to compared to Battle Lores (1), and the fact that they wear Mystic Armor to further keep their Magick Power high.

The merits of mixing this job with the Archer has been gone over in great detail under the Archer section, but to summarize, you’ll get a healthy influx of technicks, Light Armor licenses, much more HP, all the item lores, and more importantly, all three ranks of Swiftness. This is very nice, as the Red Battlemage is one of two jobs that only has one rank of Swiftness, otherwise. Best of all you’ll be able to use the Burning Bow, which will make your Ardor spell much, much stronger. If your heart is set on using all twelve classes, it’s hard to find a better pairing for the Archer and Red Battlemage than with each other. It’s also a role that seem tailor-made for Fran… if you care about lore, that is.

As far as Espers go, Famfrit is interesting, as it hides two Battle Lores behind its Esper Gate, but you can island hop those with the Archer, and use the Red Battlemage’s HP 11 license (behind a Quickening Gate) to island hop behind Famfrit’s license on the Archer License Board. The two most interesting Esper Gates remaining are Zeromus, which will give you access to the LP 80 Channeling license and Cuchulainn, behind whose Esper Gate you’ll find Black Magick 9 - 10. Putting these magicks on the Red Battlemage will allow them to function as a secondary Black Mage and dramatically increases their offensive utility in the late-game. Ardor is, with the right gear and against the right foes the most powerful magick in the game, but it’s also an expensive cast, using around 50% more MP than the -ga spells do, and of course, there are enemies who negate or absorb Fire.

Red Battlemage Core Licenses
Swiftness Swiftness 30 LP
HP HP 3, 5 - 7, 11 (1,235 HP)
Battle Lore x1
Magick Lore x12
Weapons Maces 1 - 5
Armor Mystic Armor 1 - 13, Shields 1 - 7, Spell Shield, Ensanguined Shield, Zodiac Escutcheon
Technicks Charge, Souleater
Magicks Arcane Magick 1 - 3, Black Magick 3 - 6, Green Magick 1 - 3, Time Magick 1 - 3, Whtie Magick 2 - 6
Item Lore Ether Lore 1
Passives Channeling x2, Headsman, Inquisitor, Serenity, Spellbound, Spellbreaker, Warmage
Red Battlemage Esper Licenses
Adrammelech
Belias
Chaos Greatswords 3
Cuchulainn Black Magick 9 - 10
Exodus Heavy Armor 8 - 10
Famfrit Battle Lore x2
Hashmal Steal
Mateus
Shemhazai White Magick 7
Ultima Greatswords 1 - 2
Zalera
Zeromus Channeling
Zodiark Greatswords 4

Shikari

The Shikari, or "hunter", is a Dagger-wielding, Light Armor wearing melee fighter who eventually gains access to Ninja Swords. They’re not quite up to snuff as a front-line warrior, however, as they suffer from a conspicuous lack of Battle Lores (6) and access to Heavy Armor and high-tier Shields. Their HP are quite good, however, since they can purchase HP 1 - 10 licenses (2,100 HP), and this will likely be further enhanced by the Light Armor they wear. Other things going for them include all three Potion Lore and Remedy Lore licenses, the Telekinesis technick, three ranks of Swiftness and the aforementioned use of Ninja Swords.

Ninja Swords are universally high damage weapons with high combo rates, many of which also apply status effects on hit. Simply put, they’re great weapons and beg to be paired with Genji Gloves - a license for which the Shikari doesn’t have direct access to on its own. It should also be noted that the Shikari is the only job which has licenses behind all four Quickening Gates, all of which are Ninja Sword licenses. It doesn’t matter so much which ones you get, so long as one of them is the Yagyu Darkblade & Mesa, two of the most powerful Ninja Swords, which are behind the LP 125 Quickening license.

Given all that info, it should be easy to narrow down criteria by which to select a good companion job for the Shikari. Heavy Armor or Mystic Armor will both boost damage, although Heavy Armor will increase it universally and Mystic Armor will allow the Shikari to use Black Robes (boosts Dark elemental damage by 50%) and the Yagyu Darkblade (Dark elemental Ninja Sword). Ideally the other job will have more Battle Lores to further boost damage, and bonus points for pairing Shikari with a job that needs Swiftness ranks.

Given those goals, three excellent possibilities emerge: Foebreaker/Shikari, Bushi/Shikari, and White Mage/Shikari. The last might sound the most bizarre, but it’s based on a simple premise: the Shikari has access to Daggers, one of which, the Main Gauche, has an incredibly high Evade rate. Combined with a shield and you can make your White Mage quite tanky, indeed, and this does also meet the requirements of furnishing the Shikari with Mystic Armor, as well as giving the White Mage more HP and three ranks of Swiftness. On the other hand, this might be trying to do too much at once, as you can hardly expect to be a good tank, damage-dealer, and healer all at once. Unless you’re a Knight, anyways. Plus, a lot of late-game bosses and optional enemies are able to ignore evasion, so a shield/Main Gauche combo will be useless.

Bushi/Shikari is the previously mentioned ninjamurai who can also utilize the Yagyu Darkblade/Black Robes combo, but it is somewhat of a waste doubling up their Swiftness, and the HP and Battle Lore differences between the two are marginal. This leaves Foebreaker/Shikari, which have the same HP, gives the Shikari more Battle Lores, a variety of useful technicks (Addle, Expose, Shear and Wither), and Heavy Armor, while the Shikari makes up for the Foebreaker’s lack of Swiftness ranks. Both of these jobs have access to the Genji Armor license, too, which will help turn the Shikari into a whirlwind of destruction. If you went with a Knight/Bushi and a White Mage/Machinist, the decision here is easy, and frankly, given other possible mixes, Foebreaker/Shikari is probably the best possible option, all things considered.

Shikari Core Licenses
Swiftness Swiftness 30 LP, Swiftness 50 LP, Swiftness 80 LP
HP HP 1 - 10 (2,100 HP)
Battle Lore x6
Magick Lore x5
Weapons Daggers 1 - 6, Shikari Nagasa & Mina, Ninja Swords 1 - 3, Yagyu Darkblade & Mesa
Armor Light Armor 1 - 13, Shields 1 - 7
Technicks 1000 Needles, First Aid, Libra, Revive, Telekinesis, Traveler
Magicks
Item Lore Potion Lore 1 - 3, Remedy Lore 1 - 3
Passives Adrenaline, Brawler, Focus, Headsman, Inquisitor, Last Stand, Martyr, Shield Block x2, Spellbound
Shikari Esper Licenses
Adrammelech Shades of Black
Belias
Chaos
Cuchulainn White Magick 12
Exodus Stamp
Famfrit
Hashmal Bonecrusher
Mateus Gil Toss
Shemhazai Guns 5 - 6
Ultima Phoenix Lore x2
Zalera HP 11 (435 HP)
Zeromus
Zodiark

Time Battlemage

The Black Mage is the damage-dealer, the White Mage is the healer, the Red Battlemage is the jack-of-all-trades, and the Time Battlemage is the ultimate support mage. As such, they tend to focus on buff and debuffs, boasting incredibly useful magicks like Haste, Slow, Immobilize, Reflect, Disable, Stop, Float and Berserk, among others. Since most of their spells don’t deal with damage (either healing it or dealing it) or deal set amounts of damage (like with Gravity magicks), Magick Power isn’t as important for them, which is fair enough, since they oddly use Heavy Armor instead of Mystic Armor. In addition to Time Magicks, they, like every other mage, have access to all three Green Magicks licenses, which will give them access to Decoy and Bubble, which can increase their survivability a good bit. They also have access to Crossbows - uniquely unimpressive weapons, but at least they’re ranged - as well as all three ranks of Swiftness.

On their own, they’re not that special, especially since the Machinist can gain most of their best spells. They do, however, have a respectable number of Battle Lores (9) and Magick Lores (9), meaning there’s a good chance they’ll be a boon to the damage-dealing potential of other jobs. Also, considering their Heavy Armor and Swiftness, they might seem like a good mix with another sort of mage, but one should be wary of the lack of HP such a resulting combination may have, as the Time Battlemage only brings an atrocious 450 HP to the table. This being the case, the Time Battlemage really, really begs to be paired with a sturdier job. Frankly, the best asset the Time Battlemage has are its Time Magicks, and these should really be the selling point (along with Swiftness, if possible) for what this job ends up paired with.

By far and away the best combo possible is the Knight/Time Battlemage, as the Knight gets the much-needed Swiftness and the addition of the Time Magicks, making the Knight the ultimate front-liner warrior, healer and support mage. It’s a lot of hats for one character to wear, but it makes for an incredibly powerful one, too. Failing that, by sheer process of elmination the Uhlan/Time Battlemage is an acceptable mix, the differences between the Knight/Time Battlemage and Uhlan/Time Battlemage more owing to the Knight’s overwhelming superiority over the Uhlan more than any difference in synergy potential between the two.

Time Battlemage Core Licenses
Swiftness Swiftness 30 LP, Swiftness 50 LP, Swiftness 80 LP
HP HP 3 - 5 (450 HP)
Battle Lore x9
Magick Lore x9
Weapons Crossbows 1 - 4
Armor Heavy Armor 1 - 12
Technicks Charge, Horology, Poach, Numerology, Stamp
Magicks Green Magick 1 - 3, Time Magick 1 - 10
Item Lore Ether Lore 1 - 2, Remedy Lore 1 - 2
Passives Channeling x2, Headsman, Inquisitor, Last Stand, Martyr, Serenity, Spellbreaker, Warmage
Time Battlemage Esper Licenses
Adrammelech White Magick 4
Belias
Chaos HP 7 (270 HP)
Cuchulainn
Exodus Battle Lore
Famfrit Battle Lore
Hashmal Channeling
Mateus HP 6 (230 HP)
Shemhazai
Ultima Swords 7 - 8
Zalera Ether Lore 3
Zeromus Addle, Shear
Zodiark Swords 9

Uhlan

What would you get if you took a Knight, gave them a Spear instead of Swords, and took away their awesome White Magick Esper Gates? An Uhlan, more or less. Okay, that’s not entirely fair, both jobs have around the same HP, access to Heavy Armor and the Uhlan is actually superior in Battle Lores (13) and Magick Lores (4). In addition, the Uhlan has a relatively good selection of technicks and item lores, and even a few Black Magicks (Blizzara, Fira, Poison and Thundara) which, while interesting, won’t be terribly useful for long.

All in all, the Uhlan is well-equipped to serve as a front-line warrior, and Spears are fine weapons that can even deal with flying foes. All that said, however, they don’t have the White Magick the Knight has, the synergy of the Bushi, or the stat-reducing technicks of the Foebreaker, nor do they have access to Genji Armor. This makes them the least dynamic of the warrior classes, even though on their own they’re arguably better at the role than the Foebreaker… mostly due to the undesirable properties of Axe & Hammer class weapons as compared to the Spear.

While the Uhlan is a fair class on its own, it’s generally a poor prospect for combination with other jobs. Most mage classes will benefit from the extra HP, but they probably won’t use the Heavy Armor, nor are the likely to use - or if they do, to be terribly competent with - Spears. The one (somewhat) exception to this rule is the White Mage, who sorely needs those HP. While you’ll still find yourself caught between focuses - using Heavy Armor to increase Strength will lower Magick Power, and using Mystic Armor to increase Magick Power will lower Strength - Rods are pretty easy to give up, and being a less-than-ideal front-liner is forgivable for a White Mage.

If you understandably want the White Mage to stay out of battle as much as possible and fulfill a more supporting role (presumably going with White Mage/Machinist), there’s an arguably more syngergetic combo for the Uhlan, the Uhlan/Time Battlemage. Sure, Heavy Armor goes to waste, but you pass on the HP to the Time Battlemage, you get the extra rank of Swiftness, you can make use of all the Time Battlemage’s spells, and since it’s a support caster you’ll get plenty of use of your Spears. Since your Magick Power doesn’t really matter too much, you’ll want to focus on the benefits that Heavy Armor gives you, namely higher Strength.

Uhlan Core Licenses
Swiftness Swiftness 30 LP, Swiftness 50 LP
HP HP 1 - 9 (1,710 HP)
Battle Lore x13
Magick Lore x4
Weapons Spears 1 - 4, Dragon Whisker, Vrasbha, Zodiac Spear
Armor Heavy Armor 1 - 12
Technicks Achilles, Charm, First Aid, Infuse, Martyr, Revive, Poach, Shades of Black, Souleater
Magicks Black Magick 5 - 6
Item Lore Phoenix Lore 30 LP, Phoenix Lore 50 LP, Potion Lore 1 - 2, Remedy Lore 1 - 2
Passives Adrenaline, Focus, Headsman, Inquisitor, Last Stand, Spellbound
Uhlan Esper Licenses
Adrammelech Battle Lore
Belias
Chaos Black Magick 7 - 8
Cuchulainn Wither
Exodus
Famfrit Battle Lore
Hashmal Bonecrusher
Mateus Magick Lore x2
Shemhazai
Ultima Espose
Zalera
Zeromus
Zodiark

White Mage

The role of the White Mage is obvious, and indispensible. The White Mage is your primary healer, having access to a wide variety of HP restoring spells, status-curing spells (ultimately including the essential Esuna), Dispel (removes enemy buffs) and Holy (one of their few offensive magicks - as well as one of the few ways to inflict Holy damage). While other jobs gain bits and pieces of their arsenal, namely the Knight and Monk, and some are quite competent at it (especially the Black Mage/Monk combo), you’re almost certainly going to want a dedicated healer, if for no better reason than it allows you to also have one of the aforementioned secondary healers when necessary.

As far as other licenses are concerned, the White Mage has many of the expected staples, including Mystic Armor, Rods, various mage-related technicks and passives, Ether Lore 1 - 2, two ranks of Swiftness and a high volume of Magick Lores (14). In addition they oddly get a number of Battle Lores (5), which they likely won’t make much use of. Their native weapons are Rods, which are analogous to the Black Mage’s Staves in that, while they can be used to perform physical attacks, their damage is poor, and instead are mostly useful for the boosts they give to Magick Power and the odd elemental affinity. Their one great liability are their HP, which are the lowest in the game, sitting at a paltry 400 HP.

Esper Gates won’t give them many noteworthy licenses (although they do have an odd affinity towards Greatswords), so to expand their potency and durability you’ll have to consider your secondary class well. Two fine options include the Shikari and the Machinist, as both will ensure the White Mage gains access to all three Swiftness ranks and both will provide much-needed HP. Both also have access to Light Armor, in case you find yourself needing further HP boosts. The Shikari will allow them to utilize Daggers and Shields, particularly the Main Gauche, which will greatly increase their Evade statistic. If you want an incredibly tanky White Mage, it’s not a bad idea.

The White Mage/Machinist, however, ranks near the top of the list when it comes to versatility, sitting comfortably with the likes of the Black Mage/Monk, Knight/Bushi, and Red Battlemage/Archer. The Machinist can use Guns, which ignore defense but also don’t utilize the White Mage’s own stats to boost damage… which is a fine trade-off, since the White Mage is a tertiary attacker, at best, and probably isn’t investing much into Strength. It’ll allow them to do reliable - if unimpressive - damage when the opportunity (or need) arises. Even better, however, is the fact that the Machinist can access Time Magicks 8 - 10 via the Famfrit Esper Gate, which will allow them to utilize magicks like Hastega, Reflectga and Slowga. All in all, it’ll make the White Mage/Machinist a top-tier support character, who excels at standing back and buffing, debuffing, taking pot-shots with Guns, and of course, healing.

Alternatively, if you want to shoot for the Knight/Time Battlemage combo in a twelve-job party, there’s the White Mage/Uhlan combo. Both help each other out quite a bit, as the Uhlan gives the White Mage Heavy Armor and substantially more HP, and an incredibly high combined total of Battle Lores and Magick Lores. A potent white warrior who can heal and dish it out in the front line, they do lose the support magicks provided by the Machinist, but presumably you made this substitution for the Knight/Time Battlemage, greatly reducing the need to have the Machinist - and their Time Magick - in play.

White Mage Core Licenses
Swiftness Swiftness 30 LP, Swiftness 50 LP
HP HP 1 - 3, 5 (400 HP)
Battle Lore x5
Magick Lore x14
Weapons Rods 1 - 4, Rod of Faith
Armor Mystic Armro 1 - 13
Technicks Achilles, Charge, Stamp
Magicks Green Magick 1 - 3, White Magick 1 - 13
Item Lore Ether Lore 1 - 2
Passives Channeling x3, Headsman, Inquisitor, Martyr, Serenity, Spellbound, Spellbreaker, Warmage
White Mage Esper Licenses
Adrammelech Battle Lore, Souleater
Belias
Chaos HP 8 (310 HP)
Cuchulainn Libra
Exodus Battle Lore
Famfrit Daggers 5, Numerology
Hashmal
Mateus
Shemhazai HP 6 (230 HP)
Ultima
Zalera
Zeromus HP 7 (270 HP)
Zodiark Greatswords 1