Part 60: Part the TwelventhLet's Low-Level Run Final Fantasy 6: Part the Twelventh
Our first stop, and one I'm surprised wasn't taken ASAP, is to zip over to this suspicious area north of South Figaro (and technically near Narshe) to follow up on that claim from Duncan's wife that he is not, in fact, a dead martial arts mentor as initially believed.
I'll skip the story but suffice it to say Sabin learns the Bum Rush, which can't be stopped. Literally; it's a 128 base power Blitz that ignores defense. The only, and I mean only downside to a free defense-ignoring attack keyed off the Sabin stat you should be raising is that it's single-target and you can't control Sabin's choice of targets, but who cares when up against bosses, which are pretty much the only hard part of the game? Incidentally 9999 Bum Rushes (what you'd be doing if you'd leveled up by now with Zoneseek on Sabin) make no part of this game the hard part.
Then it's off to the Coliseum for the Minerva trade. As Blastinus observed, Sky Base loves to cast Doom on itself, and in fact it was the very first move it used when I tried it.
An interesting side effect of the Minerva is a 25% boost to MP. This is minor, but still helpful. At higher levels, it's really nice, especially since Terra and Celes tend to be heavy casters.
The Minerva is some crazy shit. Massive defense boosts, boosts to every other stat of consequence, and a MBlock% jump. Still, at 59, Celes is still not properly invincible yet.
We can correct that in Zozo. The game really steers you here first, but there's no reason to ignore that suggestion because Mt. Zozo is stuffed with great treasure.
Notably three elemental shields, which may be the first ones you ever see if you didn't Morph a Flame Shield in the WoB. Note that the Flame and Ice Shields both have a weakness, where the Thunder Shield has none. I don't know why not, should've had an Earth weakness or something, but it doesn't. This makes the Thunder Shield strictly better unless the enemy uses fire/ice extensively since absorbing or nullifying damage is more important than halving it in a LLG.
Also an Aegis Shield. There's nothing wrong with the Aegis Shield, it's just a bit vanilla. Vanilla actually works well with the Minerva because the Minerva already provides a bunch of elemental protections (including nullifying Fire/Ice/Thunder/Wind). So the Aegis is a good choice for Magic Defense and MBlock% on Terra and Celes.
As we can see, 99 MBlock% is quite high. A couple White Capes puts Celes within 10 points of her goal. That makes her evasion rate extremely high; I'm not good at the math but the base rate is based on MBlock * 2 subtracted from 255 so you can see why 128 is the cap. Anyway she's reliably evasive.
So now we can go to Mobliz and chase off Phunbaba. Terra of course is even more screwed than usual, but we can do much better. I forget to do something important during this fight, but I remember it for next time. Anyway Phunbaba has a Bio weakness and if you have high MBlock% on Celes you're fairly safe. Make sure someone has the Thunder Shield; I gave it to Setzer which was dumb, should've gone on Sabin. I also should have learned that Bum Rush is L L U U R R D D L; only one L at the end.
Anyway Phunbaba runs off, Fenrir magicite, whoopie-doo. I could immediately walk right back in and fight him again, but I don't feel quite immortal enough. If you're playing at a normal level there's really nothing to fear from occasional damage, but for a LLG all occasional damage is fatal. Let's fix that by going somewhere special.
Yeah, let's raid the final dungeon! Wait hold on what did I just say now?
Yep. Go to Kefka's Tower. Final dungeon. Kefka's house. Just fly over and go in there. Nothing stops you from leaving. So go there, get the easy treasure (the stuff that doesn't require fighting any bosses), and warp right out. It's not like Kefka gives a shit.
I'll minimize spoiling what you actually see here. I'm only here for loot.
Strike Team Alpha is go! You need at least three characters because the tower forces a three-group split. This is why Celes/Edgar/Setzer is forced on you; if you were going to beat the game with zero re-recruitments, you'd still be able to go into the final dungeon. I don't recommend doing this, but it's not that hard if you actually level up.
The left path has an okay hat and a weapon for Setzer. This is a weapon which gets much love but I'll leave it for Blastinus to show it off. Basically this is a good way for Setzer to deal damage regardless of Vigor and is the primary reason it's better to level him up as a mage. However, it's based in part on level and our level is low, so Setzer isn't exactly fantastic with it. It does ignore defense though, and we all know how good that is.
That's all we can get there. Strike Team Beta is go!
This one's really sad. On pretty much the first three screens you get a second Minerva, a Force Shield, and Force Armor. All of these things have one major factor in common, and that factor is insane MBlock%.
As you can see, putting Force Armor on Celes would push her over the cap. But we want to avoid doing that because the Minerva has neat elemental blockage and Force Armor can be worn by men, notably Edgar (but also Cyan and Setzer and Locke). At 30% MBlock%, the Force Armor is quite nice. It also halves Fire/Bolt/Wind/Ice/Earth. However as you can see its defenses are not as good as the Minerva's and it doesn't offer as much Magic Power either.
By giving the Force Armor to Edgar instead, we can get him pretty close to invincibility too. I can bump him about where I need him with the Force Shield. The Force Shield is the one that got hit hardest by the Evade bug fix in FF6A, as it pretty much provides MBlock% exclusively. However, it offers a whopping 50% of that, plus auto-Shell. Needless to say that makes it one of the best shields in the SNES version.
After that little fun, Strike Team Beta grabs another Ribbon and...
You know what? I said I wasn't gonna show much, but there is this boss here. He's one of the eight dragons and he's just so tempting. After all, no point showing off being invincible if we're not gonna videotape it. Unfortunately Gold Dragon is a poor example of this because he, like a couple other dragons, is vulnerable to a crippling status ailment that trivializes him. In his case, it's Berserk, so that + Phantom guarantees a win. For fun, I have Edgar use the Debilitator and give the Gold Dragon an amusing weakness. Then Sabin ignores the weakness and Bum Rushes repeatedly, which is pretty much what he'll do forever now.
(Also this setup is not quite perfect; give Sabin the Thunder Shield. Though it won't really matter.)
Strike Team Gamma is go!
Not showing most of the enemies, but I want to point out the GrBehemoths in the back. They are inescapable. You can just kill them and run from the other enemies, but I don't recommend bothering.
There's a very obscure hidden path in the next area which is hard to navigate.
Unless you have an emulator that can toggle layers, then it's pretty easy.
An easily-forgotten and extremely handy Aegis Shield!
And this. You could've gotten one in Jidoor but really it doesn't matter at all.
Oh, and there's also a Gauntlet on this same screen, but who cares about a Gauntlet? Stressing a second time though: The supply of Gauntlets in this game is not infinite like it is for some other relics, so technically speaking this is a rare and valuable find... if anyone used Gauntlets.
To get Terra back for good you need to go beat Phunbaba again, twice. After the first fight he'll blow two party members out of the battle Chupon-style, and Terra will join you for the rest of the fight. Terra auto-equips based on Optimum, and through cleverness, I ensured she auto-equipped a Minerva and Aegis Shield. She made a poor weapon choice (a Man Eater, really?), so I quick-swapped in an Enhancer during the fight. This kept her pretty safe. Terra's perma-Morphed during the fight, so use her to unload on Phunbaba.
And as we can see, the second phase (but not the first) of the Phunbaba fight opens him to a hilarious status vulnerability. While it's not an ideal one, it's fine as long as you use nothing but magic. Since Bum Rush happens to be magic... yeah.
I hadn't planned on Sabin staying in since his weaker defenses concerned me, but it's totally worth it to have him around because of Bum Rush. In fact, I'd venture to say that unless and until you get better offensive options you need to just suck it up and give Sabin a spot because Bum Rush really is that good even at this level. Sure, you have to revive him if he gets physically attacked, but there's little risk if invincible Celes decides to revive for a turn. What's the enemy gonna do, kill her?
If they have Meteor, yes. Some of them have Meteor.
And now that we have three invincible characters (and Sabin, and I guess Cyan and Setzer too), we can do... this place. Blastinus will show you what a huge pain in the ass this place is at appropriate levels. It's not a whole lot better at low ones, but at least you can survive it now.
That's pretty much the silver lining of the WoR: With proper gear gathering, at least you won't get instantly wiped out most of the time. That fixes difficulty, but it doesn't really fix tedium. There is... a way... that we can fix the tedium, but that requires some true sorcery. Metaphorically and literally. The first step along that road is of course going here, so fuck it.
New Old Characters
Cyan: Upside: He can use the Force Shield and Force Armor. Downside: He has no really good weapons that grant MBlock%. This frustrating missing puzzle piece really hurts him, combined with SwdTech just not cutting it anymore. He's most useful as a warm body with decent defense. That's about all he can hope for in a LLG.
Terra: If Celes is just about the best character in the game, Terra is the best. They have basically the same equipment options, so it comes down to Runic vs. Morph. Runic is not useful most times when you have 128 MBlock% (exception: Meteor). Morph is a massive damage output boost. Terra wins this handily. That said, it's trivial to get them both to 120+ MBlock% and there's more than enough Minervas for both of them.