Final Fantasy V - Solo Red Mage

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Wing Raptor is never a problem. Karlabos took about 10 tries, Merlin only needing to survive long enough for four lightning spells to win. I took him up to 3 Elixirs and level 12, though it could have been done sooner than that; on the successful attempt Karlabos never even hit with a Tail Screw and Merlin never needed an Elixir. Siren went down to Fire spells on the undead form though I had to redo the fight a couple times after getting overly risky on Elixir timing.

Merlin smashed Magisa and Forza like no other class can: Mute Magisa to block everything she can do, cast Sleep on Forza, kill off Magisa, empty the rest of his magic casting Fire at sleeping Forza, and finish him off with a sword. Garula was also no problem, easily outraced with Cure spells.

Merlin blasted through the Steamship dungeon as if he had Reflective Super Shot. nuke.gif - 1kb Like Black, he could blow up any enemy with an elemental weakness, which was everything except "Poltergeist" monsters... and unlike Black, he could eliminate those undead monsters too with the Healing Staff. LiquidFlame lasted about thirty seconds against Frost Rod powered Ice 2 spells. And Merlin easily looted every chest in the Karnak escape with over a minute to spare; none of those enemies have elemental weaknesses but a boosted Fire 2 would still kill Sorcerors in one hit and Gigases in two.

Like a red mage at this stage of the game in FF1 (say Elfland and Marsh Cave), Merlin operated best as a black mage in most encounters. His low life total made it a risky proposition to slug in the front row, but casting spells from the back row worked fine. It might be worth going into the math of a Red Mage's damage power compared to a Black Mage. The RM has much lower magic power, 33 to 55. But early in the game, there's actually not much difference there. The multiplier for magic damage is (Level*Magic)/256 + 4. At low levels, that last constant +4 term actually accounts for the bulk of it. At level 18, Merlin's multiplier was 6, as compared to just 7 for the black mage. The BM pulls ahead later, but for now the RM is just a shade behind him.

Merlin next trounced Ifrit with the combined power of white and black magic, Confusing him then slamming him with rod-boosted Ice 2 while confused. Nice reversal from when IFRIT usually paralyzes and fries a solo warrior! Byblos was beaten on the first try with Fire 2 spells, conveniently tuned to exactly 900 damage. That knocked Byblos 3600 - 2700 - 1800 - 900 - 0, completely bypassing his AI routine of Drain responses that kicks in under 800 HP. Yes, both library bosses are cake for characters that can attack their elemental weaknesses.

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Sandworm is never difficult. Mid tells you not to use magic on the Sandworm, but that really means not to use all-targets magic that will hit the Holes and trigger their Demi spell response. Single target magic works fine. Merlin proceeded to blow away CrayClaw with two Bolt 2 spells and Adamantimi with five Ice 2s.

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Merlin's dominance of the first world continued on the Ronka entry guardians. He could beat Rocket Launchers in a way no other class could: equip the Healing Staff so he would self-heal when confused, and cast Bolt 2 on the rockets whenever he did get a turn. (White couldn't do this because he couldn't deal damage holding the Healing Staff and had to swap it out for a damaging weapon. And Merlin did lose a few times to self-spellcasting when confused, including that amusing result above right when he cast Sleep on himself. The Rockets would never kill him but he would never wake up forever!) Merlin could also beat Flameguns just like White, by repeatedly Healing Staffing until they ran out of MP. (Needed a Bard's Clothes/Sage's Surplice armor for enough magic defense to make that possible.) No Flame Ring needed.

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Merlin further proved his dominance by taking down Sol Cannon WITHOUT AN ANGEL RING! Breaking a Thunder Rod dealt 600 damage to the Launchers, not quite enough to finish them off in one round. But then Merlin just needed both missile attacks to miss just once. He did that by maximizing the available equipment for the magic evade stat, a Bard's/Sage's armor (17%), Elf Cape (5%), and Plumed Hat (5%). Merlin needed two 27% evasions just one time, and probability came around to his favor after about fifteen tries which went fast at about ten seconds per try. So Merlin destroyed the Launchers with a second Thunder Rod without ever getting Aged! From there it was easy just as for White, the Healing Staff able to outrace Surge Beam for eternity while Merlin took down the boss with his Coral Sword.

That was the first time I resorted to rod breaking. Was it cheesy? Maybe, but no more so than to disable the boss's entire danger by wearing an Angel Ring. And totally worth it to skip an hour of wage slaving. By avoiding both ring gold grinds, Merlin preserved his status as the lowest level character yet to get this far, only level 23!

A footnote: I didn't have the mechanics right for the Launcher missile attack in White's report. It's not 75% accurate because it's not actually the Blue Magic Missile spell. It shows no name in-game at all. The Algorithms Guide calls it "Valiant Attack" and says it has 99% accuracy, making the formula 99% + 50% for the Launchers' level - 23% for Merlin's level. This is over 100% so it always hits except for the Magic Evade stat. With this knowledge, any character who can deal 400 damage to both Launchers or 800 to one can do Sol Cannon this way without an Angel Ring.

(Sullla, is that enough red mage min-max twinkery for you? wink.gif - 1kb Magic Evade isn't shown in-game at all so we only know about it from the algorithms guide. A Red Mage is supposed to use out-of-universe mechanics knowledge, right?)

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Merlin gained two levels in the Ronka Ruins, adding a physical attack multiplier at level 25 for ArchaeoAevis. He played black mage against the first four forms of this boss, since the fastest way to deal damage (besides rod breaking) was Fire/Ice/Bolt 2 with an appropriate elemental rod. The last form is immune to those three elements, so must be taken down with physical attacks, as Black discovered. Merlin busted out his physical skills for the first time in a while, hacking at ArchaeoAevis with the time-tested (literally) Elf Cape and Guardian Dagger combination. It took ten attacks at 280 damage (one extra since Merlin cast a cure spell on the boss while Confused) and about five tries at the battle and about four elixirs, but Merlin triumphed.

Merlin yet again dominated the Purobolos. They are vulnerable to Sleep, so Merlin simply hit them with that then Bolt 2 until they all died at the same time. By the way, I keep mentioning Bolt 2 whenever a damage spell is called for but there's no preference on which element. I liked Bolt 2/Thundara as the quickest one to scroll to and find in the Red magic menu, all the way at the bottom of the left column.

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Titan went down to spells after using Earth Shaker only once in the battle. And Chim.Brain/Manticore dropped easily too: he's vulnerable to Aging status so one Ancient Sword hit and he was history.

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What a powerful character! Merlin smashed his way through the first world at level 25 and 6 hours of game time. Both are certainly records for our solos. No other character got into Ronka skipping BOTH the Flame and Angel Rings. (A few characters could but Sullla didn't; anyone can do Flameguns with farmed Elixirs; a Black or Time Mage or Bare could do what Merlin did on Sol Cannon and the Launchers; or a Samurai could just GilToss everything.)

In fact, that was so fast that he hasn't collected much treasure for world two. He's only got the money for 30 rods to break and no Flame Ring. Should I go farm some of that... nah. This red mage is an unstoppable force, we don't need anything else. Right?

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