The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy X

by The Dark Id

Part 32: Episode XXVI: How to Blitz My Ball

A door opens off-screen...


"Yeah. Geez. Nice to see you too..."
"Where's Wakka?"
"At the match-up draws."
"We had to play the Goers in the first match last year. The year before that, and the one before that, too!"
"Well, we would've lost to anyone anyway."
"This is SO the wrong attitude. Man, do I have to make a big morale boosting speech every time I see you guys...?"

Wakka shuffles into the room...

"Cap'n Wakka!"
"We're playin' the Al Bhed Psyches first. If we win, we're in the finals! That's right, we got seeded! Two wins and we're the champions!"
"How tiny is Spira's blitzball league?!"
"We're up to six whole teams."
"...Only six...?
"Ya. There are us. The Luca Goers and the Kilika Beasts rode the last ferry, you know. We're playing the Al Bhed Psyches. They're a buncha Al Bhed."
"Gathered as much."
"Then there are the Guado Glories and the Ronso Fangs."
"...Ronsos...? Like big blue Kimahri guys? THEY play blitzball?!"
*nods* "There also used to be the Hypello Hellions but they got kicked outta the league for doping. Big scandal a few years back."
"...Uh huh..."
"Why? How many teams did they have back in Zanarkand?"
"...More than six. There was enough for an entire month of tournament games with a catchy alliteration name like 'April Anarchy' or 'May Mayhem' and everything."
"Uh... huh."

The Aurochs cheer their luck...

Yeah, okay. I suppose we could use a small tutorial for this upcoming mi--

GEEZ! That was a bit more than I bargained on... Indeed, there's a solid 15 minutes of tutorial here. A rather dry tutorial with absolutely no music to go along with it. And a bit... premature at that. Not to spoil anything, but the next segment of the game is NOT playing blitzball. We've got a slew of cutscenes and a bit of other crap to occupy a good twenty minutes or so before we get to play our first real game...

All that aside, let's takes a look at the basics of blitzball...

Music: Tidus' Theme (Piano)


So welcome to blitzball. Remember that chaotic fast paced FMV of blitzball from the very beginning of the game? FORGET ALL OF THAT! Gameplay Blitzball is NOT a fast paced game. The word "fast" and "blitzball" do not even belong in the same sentence. Nor does chaotic. Or skill. But we'll get to that in a minute.

Let's talk about moving first. You know how we have this huge sphere as a playing field for this game? Guess what? There is no vertical movement in gameplay blitzball. The game plays entirely a horizontal plane and the only movement allowed is north, south, east or west. As such, the little 2D mini-map at the bottom is quite accurate as it does not have to account for any sort of Y-axis.

The player holding the titular blitzball is denoted on the map by a white arrow with a circle around it. Everyone on our team is blue arrows. The opposing team will be in red arrows when they're on the field. That sounds like it would be hard to keep track of the character you're currently playing as, right?

Don't worry. The game will mostly be deciding on player movement. By default, the player with the ball will automatically dribble (move) the ball vaguely in the direction of the opposing team's goal. By pressing triangle, we can switch that to manual movement. The tutorial says "Manual movement is for expert blitzers only". The tutorial is rubbish. You're gonna want that shit set to manual at all times.

As for movement when we do not have the ball? We're at the whims of the automatic AI. No manually setting up defensive placements or anything of the like for a team on the defense. Later on we will be able to adjust where everyone hangs out on the field. But that is a while off. For now, we will just hope the AI will do a decent enough job sticking with the player holding the ball...

Even the tutorials know they're a bit too long, so they all come with a TLDR post at the end of 'em. That's kind of nice, actually.


Now let's talk about actually playing the game. When having possession of the ball, we can press Square at any time to trigger Action Commands. The world freezes when we do this, so we can take as long as we want to decide our next step. I warned you, fast-paced and blitzball are alien terms. The three options are all fairly self explanatory. Though the actual mechanics of 'em are... Well, you'll see...


Right, then. Let's talk about passing. As earlier said, we can pass the ball at any time by pressing Square.

From there, we can choose to toss the ball to any of the other four players on the field. The one we select will get a little circle around their arrow on the mini-map. It's best to consult that rather than the awkward ass camera angles for dudes across the map.

When selecting a receiver, their stats will appear beneath those of the person currently carrying the ball. I mentioned before that no skill was involved in blitzball. That is because it is NOT a skill based game. It is a statistic and basic mathematics based mini-game with a healthy pinch of that cruel deity of probability and suffering, the Random Number Generator.

Different stats affect different aspects of the game. PA (Pass Accuracy) is the primary stat when passing. Shocking, I know. Datto here has a PA of 10. Now we'll have him toss the ball back to Tidus...

Notice how the PA is now down to 6 (its position on the stat grid moved to the end. I don't know why they do this. It's annoying.) That is because PA ticks down from when it leaves the hands of the passer until it reaches the hands of the receiver. This is apparently due to water friction. Yes, the game actually acknowledges water friction is a thing. Anyway, PA ticks down at a rate of about 1 PA per half second of travel time until it reaches 0.

If the PA is 1 or higher when it reaches the pass receiver, the pass will be good! If PA is a 0?

The pass will be fumbled, at which point anyone close to the fumbled ball will randomly claim it. There is no way to scramble for a fumbled ball. Just the wily whims of the RNG.

So basically, don't toss the ball to dudes clear across the court if they've got a shit PA stat (spoiler: Most all the Aurochs have a shit PA stat.)


Shooting's mechanics are similar to Passing. Just instead of PA, SH (Shooting Skill... off acronym...) dictates the chances of a shot succeeding. When shooting the ball, SH will gradually decrease when the ball is traveling just as PA would for passing.

Except for shooting, we have another factor in the form of the goalkeeper.

When attempting to make a shot, the goalkeeper's stats will appear beneath the shooter. The only stat the goalie has worth mentioning is CA (Catch Ability.)

Now if we try to attempt this shot from across the field, the SH will decrease the longer the ball is in motion.

By the time it reaches the goal, it's down to 1 SH. In order for a goal to succeed, the shooter must have 1 or more SH. 0 SH and below and the goalie will block the shot. However, before the shot hits the goal the total SH is subtracted by the goalkeeper's CA. Which would be -7 if I recall basic arithmetic and last I checked that was less than 0.

Except... the CA applied against a shot is actually randomized because having the goalkeeper, of all positions, being set in their skill would make too much sense. CA gets hit with a randomized calculation of 50% to 150% the actual player's stat. So it could be 4 CA vs. Tidus' 1 SH or it could be 12 CA vs Tidus' 1 SH if the RNG hates you (spoiler: The RNG hates your guts and hopes your mother sucks cocks in hell.)

Regardless, Tidus had fuck all chance of scoring from an entire field away.

So instead, like a real sports game, we optimally want our player to shoot from very close to the goal so all his SH isn't eaten up by ball travel time. If we have Tidus shoot from right in front of the goal, only 1 SH is pissed away from travel and the RNG decided to be merciful with its CA calculation so the goal succeeds.

TLDR: Shoot when near the goal and sacrifice a virgin to the brutal RNG gods to score a goal.


The HP stat is fairly ill-named. It's actually straight up Stamina. A player possessing the ball constantly loses HP while dribbling around the court. It falls at about a rate of 10 HP per second.

Performing actions also uses HP. Shooting and Passing both require at least 10 HP. So basically, we're going to want to shoot/pass before we fall below that. However, the player does not instantly drown or fumble the ball of their HP falls below 10.

Instead, you get a big fat 50% penalty to SH or PA when attempting to finally give up the ball. So quit hogging the ball, loser! When a player gives up the ball, their HP will slowly regenerate. But not as quickly as it depletes when they possess the ball. So keep that in mind.


You know what I was always missing in sports based mini-games? Random encounters.

Whenever the player with the ball encounters an opposing player, an encounter occurs. This pretty much forces the player into an Action Command such as passing or shooting. Like when manually attempting either of those two actions, everything stops and we're allowed to leisurely decide our next action.

During encounters we can have our player either Break or No Break. No Break will force us to shoot or pass the ball immediately.

This time, when deciding who the pass recipient shall be, the stats of the player possessing the ball, the one we're passing to, and the opposing player we are butting heads with are all displayed.

During a normal pass, we just need to worry about the PA decrease from water travel time. But during an encounter, before we even pass the total PA will be subtracted from the other player's BL (Block Ability). Ginger Raiden has a BL of 2 so our first grade mathematics calculation says his total PA will be 8 instead of 10. Though, the actual calculation is slightly randomized because blitzball.

It is worth mentioning that is the BL stat of the opposing player is lopsided enough against our player's PA (i.e. we reach 0 PA after their BL calculation), they'll just straight up intercept the ball instead of taking a hit to our pass ability. Jerks.

As far as encounters ago, is not only a one-on-one affair. Up to three jerks can all rush the player with the ball at once.

And as such, the entire defender line-up BL will stack against our pass/shot when attempting to take an action. This can add up pretty fast. But there is something we can do about jerks ganging up on our guy...


Here we have three of the five Goers on the field all ganging up on Tidus. Tidus has 17 PA while the Goers have at least 19 combined BL if the RNG isn't feeling saucy. Man I'm using a lot of acronyms... Anyway, attempting to pass here would be tantamount to just tossing the ball straight into the other team's hands. Instead of being an idiot like that, we can instead choose to Breakthrough one of the defenders.

Breakthrough allows us to more-or-less have one of the defenders kick our player's ass in exchange for removing him or her from the defense's line-up during an encounter. It is very polite for them to let us decide who we want to be tackled by...

In this encounter, the defender Graav has a BL of 11 that is screwing up our day. So breaking to him would be the best bet. For breakthroughs, two new stats pop up: our player's EN (Endurance) and defender's AT (Attack.)

When we select someone to break through, they will attempt to underwater roundhouse kick tackle our player. The defender's AT is subtracted from our player's EN. If the total EN is 1 or higher after the tackle, the breakthrough succeeds and that player is gone from the encounter's defense. If our EN is 0 then the tackle will result in Tidus losing a few teeth alongside the ball.

With Graav's crazy high BL out of the picture, we only have the two remaining jerk's combined BL of 8ish to worry about against Tidus' PA of 12, resulting in a bunch easier time of passing.

TLDR: When surrounded by jerks, take a tackle from the guy with the highest blocking ability but only if the player is manly enough to successfully endure a wet spin-kick to the teeth.


Some players in blitzball have special abilities. Between games, we can have our players study an opposing player's ability and potentially learn a new trick from 'em.

Bickson here has apparently poisoned his steel-toed blitzball boots (and that is totally legal in blitzball.) If TECHCOPY! appears at the top of the screen when an opposing player performs a special ability, we can potentially learn it by mashing X just as the attack connects.

I cannot really go into more than that because the tutorial kind of sucks and it really isn't relevant at this time.


In case all of those acronyms are tripping you up...

Got it memorized...?


Yes, there are status effects in blitzball. Playing dirty as hell is apparently totally kosher. No stoning anyone, though. That would be mean.

Poison: Poison accelerates the loss of HP while the player has the ball. Poisoned players do not recover HP even when rid of the ball. In time, poison runs its course. Poison also disables techniques. Shooting techs are lost first, followed by tackling techs and passing techs if the poison effects are stacked with Pile Venom.

Seriously, poisoning the opposing team during a game is just a wee bit dirty...

Sleep: A player becomes unable to act when put to sleep. The player will wake after a while, or when he is hit by the ball.

Amazingly, you do not drown when this happens. Spira's water is silly.

Wither: Reduces a single stat by half. The effects wear off over time.


Both these entries are irrelevant at the moment, so let's skip 'em for now. I think we've all heard enough about blitzball for this update and that was with not covering a few more things in-game. But I'm sure you all will want to talk about blitzball (isthegreatestgameever/thedevilsplaything) business quite a bit in the thread.

Back in the locker room...

Even Tidus is over this tutorial malarkey.

Yuna and Lulu burst into the room...

"Yes, Sir Auron! Let's go find him!"
"Yeah, cool. I... really need to ask him what the HELL that was all about back in Zanarkand..."

Tidus gets up and begins to leave with Yuna...

"C-Come back quick, ya?"
"Hey, I'll be back."
"Yeah, okay..."

"Hey, Wakka. You're stiff, man."

"No, no, not your face."
"!?" *covers crotch*
"DEFINITELY not that either..."

*takes deep breaths* "Just breathe out, relax. Like this. Just breathe, yeah!"

Tidus and Yuna leave the locker room. Hopefully Wakka doesn't have a panic attack while we're gone...

*grumble* <Kimahri have no interest in finding anyone who claims nancy boy as their crotch spawn.>
"Huh? How?"
"Sir Auron was also my father's guardian. So, he might know where Sir Jecht is. Let's go now!"

Yuna and Kimahri walk off...

"...and the one I knew from Zanarkand could be two different people. I don't know why, but I knew it was the same guy. I knew it was the same Auron."
"I mean two people sharing the same exact name...? What kind of crazy talk would that be...?"

Video: Episode 26 Highlight Reel

Besaid Aurochs Render