Final Fantasy V - Solo White Mage

And now for the moment I've been anticipating ever since embarking on this crazy venture. My little solo white mage has quickened into her full powers of godhood. I needed a target worthy of White's first strike of godly Holy retribution.

That will do.

Holy and Flare are seen as equals, but Holy can actually crank out a lot more damage, thanks to being an "element" and gaining an elemental-up boost from the Sage Staff. The magic defense piercing of Flare never comes out ahead; the target would have to have over 120 magic defense for Flare to beat a 50% boosted Holy. Omega is the only such monster and moot because it absorbs the holy element anyway. Holy is also twice as efficient on MP consumption.

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White demolished the foes in Istory Falls like an angry Old Testament God smiting the sinners of Gomorrah. She could even annihilate a Tonberry before it reached her there in that left picture. Leviathan lasted about thirty seconds against this newly ignited divine incarnation.

She did even better in Great Sea Trench, although that's nothing unusual, there's plenty of ways to abuse the undead enemies. For the piggy bosses, hit them once each with the Sage Staff's 8x damage against undead, then Cure 3 to kill them together. (That 6973 is not Holy, it's the weapon!)

She also blew up a Shield Dragon just because she could, bouncing Holys off her own Wall.

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Finally I took White up Phoenix Tower for kicks, shredding every enemy with Holy along the way. And I wanted to pick this particular fight for some revenge. White did lose once to a Roulette spell but made it all the way up and down the tower on the second attempt. Used one Elixir for a magic refill, but made enough gold back to replace it at the Mirage shop.

White gained one last level to 68 here, exactly as Jesse the Thief did! I felt a cosmic kinship between these two characters, as the two solos with the least offense and the most effort invested. They both grinded Cure Beasts to exactly level 64 for Atmos and would finish at 68. They both faced their biggest challenge at Atmos, needing to win head-on through the Comets unlike any other characters, and the rest of the game flew by after that. And they both had to pass on the Odin fight as the one challenge they could not win. (Odin absorbs Holy element. So do both Omega and Shinryuu so White isn't going there.)

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Into the Void went White, and, well, this section of the report is going to be brief because the game was brief. To entertain ourselves, who is who in that screenshot of the boss sprites? Catastrophe and Calofisteri are obvious; I guess the center one must be Necrofobia; but I'm not sure which of the rightmost two is Twin Tania or who the others are...?

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Calofisteri dropped in three Holy spells. Apanda in four. Apocalypse in five, just ahead of that Condemn clock, having ignored the damage from a Level 4 Graviga since White would win on the next hit. Catastrophe in four, White having enough HP to simply withstand two Earth Shakers.

Halicarnassus in eight Holys. Twin Tania in six 9999 damage hits into his elemental weakness, White ignoring damage again since the win was inevitable. (Goto overflow! You broke the game! Would be close to 15,000 without the limit.)

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Gilgamesh in three hits, although apparently he can't count. smile.gif - 1kb The Cleft random encounters were actually faster to simply win with Holy nukes rather than waiting to run away.

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Necrofobia's Barriers in two Holys each (reflected off White herself after a Reflect spell), then the boss in four more 9999s. (I lost once to the barriers by overconfidently thinking I could skip Shell.) I found it amusing how Krile is too short to fit into the sunglasses icon for blind status - they're on her forehead and she can see fine!

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Tree Exdeath landed a White Hole on the first try (even through Shell status cutting its chance in half), but White beat it on the second try after two White Holes missed. Took eight Holy spells. No Meteors launched.

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White eliminated the back part of Neo Exdeath with Magic Lamp Odin as usual for a solo character, then started launching Holy into the Grand Cross part. I was hoping White could deliver enough power into it to continually reset its AI routine and avoid Grand Cross ever firing at all.

Didn't quite work. Six Holys knocked it under 500 HP but I timed it incorrectly and it managed to launch the deadly move. Still, there's a chance to survive it... nope, it inflicted Berserk status on White, see that red face in the picture. She actually killed the Grand Cross part immediately after by attacking while berserked. But she wasn't going to knock down the other two remaining parts before running out of HP.

Until Neo Exdeath DISPELLED THE BERSERK STATUS FOR ME!!! I fell over laughing at that one! Evil incarnate just sealed his own end!

As Sullla says, you should never lose against the physical and Almagest parts. That goes double for a white mage packing Armor and Shell. I didn't even bother setting up the Magic Lamp Syldra finish, because both of the parts ended up with 6000 HP left (one Holy would kill each) and I didn't feel like working them down to Syldra range with weapon attacks. (Afterwards I realized the easy answer: unequip the Sage Staff to make Holy hit for 4000.) I figured that either I could hit the timing to kill both parts with Holys, or Exdeath's last part wouldn't roll its 1/3 chance to cast Meteor, or White should simply survive the meteors with Shell on. (Or subconsciously maybe I even wanted to do the fight over again, to enjoy the payoff of having invested so much into building this now-godly character.)

The Meteors did not come and White blasted one last Holy for the final victory.

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And so White defeated Neo Exdeath on the first try.

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So there's the grand tale. It actually wasn't quite so hard as I might have thought. The only seriously difficult fights in terms of retrying were Karlabos (as always), Sol Cannon and ArchaeoAvis. Everything else could be handled by accumulating the right supplies and levels ahead of time (Purobolos, Atmos.) The Byblos and Gilgamesh-Enkidu fights each lasted over five hours of game time, but actually weren't difficult, just lengthy grinds to run them out of magic points. And Atmos was the last fight of any difficulty; once you get the spells in Moore, the White Mage controls almost everything on the battlefield, and that Morning Star weapon is actually surprisingly close to fighter swords and is plenty to get to Holy. I do have to say that nuking everything with Holy was a blast; shame it was over so quickly.

And I finally see the light in playing solo challenges in this game. There's just enough answers for a solo character of a single class to be able to beat each boss, and there's a huge variety in how they do it. Ok, a few answers like the Magic Lamp and Reflect Ring do repeat themselves, but that's the minority of situations. Restrictions breed creativity, and a solo single class is about as restrictive as you can get while remaining both interesting and possible.

And in the difficulty department, being a solo character is addicting. With a full party, even death and stone spells are as harmless as Mini or whatever, just pull out an item and you're right back in business. (The FF1style party garnered most of its challenge from taking that off the table.) If speed is the killer stat, then four is the killer number of characters, collectively acting four times as often as a single character. Once you know the game and the jobs, you almost need to be a solo character to create any level of challenge.

I do have another variant in mind, but I'm not going to steal any more of Sullla's remaining solos, at least just yet. I have some interest in the Red Mage solo; he would be the opposite of the White Mage, steamroll through the first two worlds (he can sleep Atomos and break Light Staffs on Exdeath) but then fall off a cliff in effectiveness. Geomancer is weird enough that Sullla deserves to have it. Berserker really is nigh-impossible, unlike the white mage. Mime has a hilarious solution to many boss fights: drink one Elixir and Mimic it until the boss runs out of magic (ha!) but otherwise the solo is a lot of boring dagger-poking and rod-breaking.

Thanks for reading and there will be another variant here soon! Footnote: see the Realms Beyond thread here for comments and discussion.