Part 64: Strategic Notes: The Fourth StratumStrategic Notes: The Fourth Stratum
We're halfway through the Labyrinth now, and are getting close to the end of the main game. Honestly, not many of the random encounters are a threat here, but the ones that are a threat are the ones most likely to cause a party wipe. For the most part, navigating this Stratum is a bit more of a hassle than actually fighting the enemies.
Damage tiles do make a comeback, but they're only on the 16th and 17th floors. Nothing much really happens in this Stratum. Enemies love making use of status effects, which can be pretty annoying. There's two sets of class specific secret areas, but we can't explore both. That would require 7 different party members, and it would be pointless to explore them without all the required classes. One of them also requires that we bring 4 classes that are suited for the back row, which may not be a good idea to traverse the Stratum with.
Say No to Damage Tiles
: Maverick is a healer and can heal up status effects. Which is good because the enemies here can inflict stuff like Poison and Confusion on us. Unfortunately he's really slow at actually healing people. He also has Patrol so damage tiles can't touch our party. Needed to access a secret area, but Fedot, Aliara, and Bellamy have to come along.
: Pauline has Patrol and 1st Turn. That's about it. Her Stab attacks can do decent damage to the bird enemies in this Stratum.
: Aliara's Poison is still strong, but at this point it stops being a one hit kill. It still does enough damage so that one tap from anyone will kill an enemy. She also has Corrupt which Ferderik can take advantage of to provide infinite TP to the party. Dampen is also very handy for dealing with certain FOEs. She is needed for one of the secret areas, but we need Fedot, Maverick, and Bellamy to fully explore it.
: Nick's actual offense is a bit lacking. He does deal some nice damage with Bait, and he's great for taking down FOEs with Climax.
: Fedot is another good choice. Medishot can help deal with status effects (petrification doesn't show up here, thankfully) and his Stab attacks can deal with some of the bird enemies we'll encounter. Also has some nice elemental coverage. Needed to fully explore a secret area with Aliara, Maverick, and Bellamy.
: Ken has some nice AOE with Kienzan, and can dish out tons of single target damage with Midareba.
: This Stratum is Bellamy's last chance to shine. After we're done here, his only use is to be chaser fuel for Emilia. He has some decently strong AOEs and single target damage, although everyone else is starting to catch up to him. Needed to access the secret area, but Fedot, Aliara, and Maverick have to come with him.
: Emilia has some decent AOE with Tornado, and if a team is built around her, she can deal some decent damage with her Chasers. She is needed to explore a secret area, but Ling and Aegis have to come along.
: Ling is a tank who can't really tank. He's ridiculously suicidal and will probably die a lot, but he can deal a lot of damage with Rampage. He is needed to access a secret area, but Emilia and Aegis have to come along.
: Frederik can heal the party and heavily boost their damage. At this point, a 60% damage boost is really strong. If Aliara's on the team, he can provide infinite TP to the party with Cursecut and Transfer. Unfortunately, he can't do anything about status effects or damage tiles.
: Gilbert can imbue our party's regular attacks with elements, can boost their damage, and can boost their defenses. He can also protect our party from status effects with Health. He has a bow so he can join in on the bird hunt, but don't expect him to do much damage. He is fast enough that he's a better healer than Maverick.
: Aegis' usefulness starts going down here. Enemies have AOEs, and like to inflict status effects on the party. Front Guard can deal with the former, but he can't do anything about the latter. He is needed to fully explore a secret area, but Emilia and Ling have to come with him.
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