Part 56: Part the EightenthLet's Low-Level Run Final Fantasy 6: Part the Eightenth
The most interesting thing in Thamasa, of course, are the rods. Delicious, delicious rods. You may want to stock up if you're into rod abuse, as this is the only store in the game that sells these and when its inventory changes later, it no longer does.
Also for sale is the Mystery Veil, a women-only headgear that is really really nice. Lots of magic, speed and defense, and an extra 10% MBlock. Just one reason of many that Terra and Celes are going to get extremely hard to kill eventually.
Anyway Strago wakes us up to rescue his dumb granddaughter and Shadow's dog. Strago joins at a +2 level adjustment which is actually good news for him, as it gives him a huge amount of HP and MP. Okay, relatively speaking, that is a lot of HP.
To prep for the boss, make sure to equip Golem, Zoneseek, and Siren. Make sure Locke has the MP to cast whichever esper he's going to summon. I gave him Siren because it's the cheapest.
Everyone also needs Wall Rings. Not optional, unless you spent dozens of hours on something I'll do later. Don't do that.
Flame Eater is a tough boss in a LLG, because Fire Ball penetrates Reflect and hurts quite a lot. Shell does protect us from the worst of it. Work on using Osmose and Rasp to kill Flame Eater's MP after you summon your espers to keep everyone alive. An MP kill is easier than an HP kill.
Many bosses, mostly after this point in the game, have a property called Die if MP = 0. It does about what it says; if they're reduced to 0 or less MP, they will die regardless of how much HP they have. The trick is that you actually can't spend your way into it; someone actually has to damage your MP most of the time to cause death. If you let an enemy expend its MP naturally (this takes a while) and then tap it with one Osmose, that'll do it too.
Interestingly, if a monster has Die if MP = 0, and Gau Rages them, Gau acquires the same property. However, again, Gau will only die if someone actively reduces his MP to 0 or lower. Few enemies even try to do that.
Right, so. We picked up some Magicite in the Sealed Cave, which summons a random esper. Facing off against a Chimera, Strago is reminded of a particular esper which could be of use to us...
Whoa, that's pretty cool.
That wasn't what I was actually looking for though.
This is why we don't let old people drive. Strago manages to summon just about every esper except the one we want.
Aha! Perfect! This strange sword-shaped esper informs the Chimera that it'd be better off a Flame Shield. And then the Chimera becomes a Flame Shield.
Well, eventually. Every time this particular esper is summoned it tries to turn the enemy into one of four items. Tries is the operative word here, as it almost always fails. Also the Flame Shield is only one slot of four and the other three are Tonics. So if you were trying to do this legit... well, don't. Unless you're willing to reload thousands of times.
What esper comes up from Magicite appears to be tied to the clock; pause for a split-second before confirming and you'll summon an entirely different esper. Still, statistically you're looking at a one in twenty or so chance to see the right esper, then a one in four chance it'll want to morph the Chimera into a good item, and then a 47% chance it actually succeeds.
But oh, if it does. We're not supposed to have this little chestnut yet. The Flame Shield has tons of defense, 20% Evade (useless) and 10% MBlock (less useless), and as expected absorbs fire. Also teaches Fire2 at a x5 rate while equipped. Oh and it does one other thing. More on that later.
Off to meet the espers, then. Grab the Heal Rod and give it to Strago; he'll be a great healer with this since his bonks will full-heal our guys, and you want this anyway because you must never sell or dispose of this weapon. At least not until you're supposed to. For now, keep it and guard it well.
Once you get to the statues, load up roughly as follows. Terra needs as much Magic Power as you can spare. A Wall Ring is optional; I used it at first but as you'll see I found a better way.
So we end up fighting Ultros again. He's unpredictable and quite tough. If he uses Tentacle, only Strago will survive it... usually. MithrilGlove can ensure future Tentacles don't kill him, but good luck reviving Terra and Locke with Ultros constantly swinging at you. When that fails, try, try again, and then get mad when Relm fails to Sketch him and you die YET AGAIN.
Right, well, that was aggravating. Fortunately there's two tricks that make this fight... much easier. First, of course, you can break those rods you got in Thamasa to cast instant Fire2 and Bolt2 spells, which Ultros is weak to. More critically, he's also vulnerable to Slow and, surprisingly enough, Stop. Slow him before Relm shows up, then Stop him when she's there, and even her shitty Sketch-flailing will eventually force Ultros into shmeful retreat.
However, I hate this fight and I hate both Relm and Ultros, and as it so happens I have a Flame Shield. Elemental shields are like elemental rods on steroids, and can be broken to cast tier three spells. One Fire3 from a double-Earring morphed Terra and Ultros is hurting even at level 6. While Stopped, Relm won't show up either, so we can happily nuke down Ultros's 22000 HP with Terra and laugh at the octopus and that dumb little girl.
Naturally I'm keeping the Flame Shield, so we won't be going off that last run. But I had to do it. Screw Ultros. And screw Relm. They can both get lost.
Oh and of course you can Vanish/Doom him and likewise skip Relm showing up, as Blastinus does. No matter what you do, Relm joins, so you can't really break anything.
Strago: While he's a lot more useful in the NMG (Natural Magic Game) variant of the LLG, which I am not quite insane enough to do, Strago is still pretty good anyway. With his decent Magic Power, okay equipment selection, +2 level adjustment, and Lore skillset, he's a lot more useful than most. Lore has a bunch of abilities that allow Strago to do things only Gau really emulates easily, like deal Water and Wind damage and heal through Reflect, but unlike Gau Strago can do it on command and on cue. Very helpful. Defense is a bit lacking, but he has a way to get pretty high MBlock%.
Relm: Well, I hate her because Sketch and Control are worthless even if you're not in a LLG, but to be completely fair Relm gets a hell of a lot better once some time is invested in her. She has the highest natural Magic Power, and since nobody but Gau is gaining any that's a stat to be proud of. Inferior to Terra, but still good. She also has some great unique equipment choices which not only allow her to get super-high MBlock%, but also give a bunch of other bonuses everybody else would kill to have. Late-game, she's an extremely good character. The main key to making Relm useful: Never give her a brush over a rod, and never use Sketch or Control. Ever. Treat her like a mage and she'll do you right.