Part 55: Feinne's Notes: BlueprintsIt is time for me to share some of the inner workings of the great art of demon fusion, now that we're starting to move into the point of the game where things will become extremely difficult without care and thought put into them. So now I present to you the Demon Masterclass- Intermediate Level.
Our first goal in crafting a beautiful demon is to select our canvas. To do that, we need to consider what we want our finished demon to do. Do we need a physical attacker, a magical attacker, a healer, or perhaps just a demon that can bring a useful Race Skill without dragging down a team? Some of these give us more restrictions than others, of course. Once we know what we want from our demon, we need to look at what exists in our current level range that can meet that need. Let's look at the main considerations:
1) Stats- We need to have a demon with stats that are appropriate to the role we wish it to perform. There's no point trying to give a demon with shit Magic a bunch of spells or a demon with shit Strength a bunch of physical attacks, it'll just never be worth a damn. At some level we can repair this with stat inheritance, but we'd always rather try to make a demon better at its strengths than patch its weakness to fit it into a role it's never going to excel at. That said, it's not always a bad idea to give a demon that has a decent off-attack stat a skill that lets it switch up. We'll talk about this more when we get to selecting skills.
2) Skills- So, we need to see what skills our demon innately comes with because these can be a problem. We need to use an Add-on to get rid of any skills a demon comes with that we don't want, so in general we need to work with what our canvas has. To me the ideal is a demon that only has passive skills that patch something it's not already resistant (later immune) to and ideally passive skills that patch its weaknesses. Other high-value skills to consider are Boost/Amp skills and Pierce, which can potentially be valuable enough to keep around (especially Pierce, I don't actually like Boosts and Amps but I know some people do). As far as attacks go, you again generally want only things that your demon will be good at. Stack as much power as possible into those slots, and as much as possible cut out demons that have suboptimal skills like status spells and non-dance group magic attacks (except Megidoloan, just to mention that obvious exception). Magic demons should either have all magic attacks or magic attacks and a healing spell, since every demon can Attack it's suboptimal to give them a skill to attack physically. Physical demons, ideally, should get a single-target physical, a group physical, and either a heal (ideally Diarahan) if they're bad at magic or a -dyne level spell if they're okay at it. The goal is to give them something to do when they run up against an enemy they can't hit with physicals, which will start to happen. Support demons ideally have a heal, revival magic, and Drain. Actually if you can get any demon Drain you should do that. Drain is fucking amazing. When you're just after a Race Skill, just give the demon the best skills you can and make sure it won't have weaknesses or any other silly liabilities. Don't worry too much if its ability to contribute could fall significantly in certain situations. For me Innate skills are always best used to make a demon more durable by protecting it from attacks it can still be hit by (unless the demon needs Pierce, in which case you do need to tolerate losing the slot). So, look at your available canvases and see how well the skills they come with fill the needs of what you want your finished product to do.
3) Defenses- Now we want to see how strong a demon's innate defenses are. Our first consideration is Weaknesses. We're hitting the point where an unpatched weakness is an unforgivable sin, so take note of the weaknesses of your canvas and how easily you'll be able to transit a skill onto it to eliminate them (ideally you'll at least Null that attack type, but right now just Resisting it is tolerable). Our ideal for a truly beautiful finished product is to negate all attacks that aren't Almighty, which means we need to Repel Physicals and at least Null everything else. This won't be possible for quite some time, of course, so just focus for now on patching weaknesses and getting as much immunity as you can. Every immunity is more chance to neuter powerful enemy attacks and more ability to eliminate enemy Extra Turns, turning the flow of battle in your favor. It's not wrong to say that in this game's battle system defense is its own form of offense, thanks to Extra Turns.
4) Race Skill- This is important even if we're not designing a demon just for it. Some Race Skills are just plain better than others, and some are enough to tip the scales when considering two otherwise similar demons. It's hard to give any sort of rules when discussing this, because most Race Skills don't really directly compare. Just keep them in mind.
So to summarize, our ideal demon starts with as few skills as possible to allow maximum customization while having as many resistances as possible and as good stats as possible. We won't really be seeing a lot of demons like this for a long time, of course, but let's just take a look at an example of what we can do with demons we'll potentially be seeing soon.
Brigid is a level 35 Megami. As you generally expect from a Megami, she's better at magic than physical attacks. She Resists Fire and Electricity, is Weak against Ice, and Nulls Curse. Her innate skills are Media and Null Fire. Since Megami are 100% awesome, we clearly want to be able to use Brigid. So what's our strategy for getting her skills? Priority one is to negate that Ice weakness by finding her at the minimum Anti-Ice. That's become a common enough skill at this point that we can pretty reasonably do that, either chaining it from Jack Frost or Wendigo (though neither of those is itself a workable component for the direct fusion of a Brigid). Alternatively, we can use an Ice Set to give her Null Ice (there's no demons this low that have Null Ice sadly). I'm going to strongly suggest Wendigo as the start point for Anti-Ice, since he comes with Ice Dance and that's a good bread and butter move for Brigid's offense. Still, we run into the very real problem that we can't even directly fuse a Jaki into a Megami. We also need to make sure that our demons are high enough level that the product won't be Hathor. So, we want to have all demons above level 31 in the end. The easiest Brigid fusion is probably Lailah + Yuki Jyorou, though we could also do Arahabaki + Lailah. We need to get one of those demons Anti-Ice, and since Jaki also can't fuse into Deities that means it's either Lailah or Yuki Jyorou (in that path). Arahabaki has Bufudyne so let's go with that route and give Anti-Ice to a Lailah, even though it does leave her more elementally focused than I'd generally like. So, we need a Snake for this fusion to work, which means we fuse Wendigo+Pendragon into a Lailah with Ice Dance and Anti-Ice. Arahabaki can have pretty much anything, though if you can get it a good non-ice attack to pair with Ice Dance instead of Bufudyne that's not a bad choice. Drain would be lovely and is very possible, since Vile+Snake or Vile+Ghost both output Deities and you have Drain on Baphomet. So, potentially, we can make a great Brigid from two Pendragons, a Baphomet, and a Wendigo. That might seem like a lot of work, but we don't need any of those demons' skills but their basics. Furthermore, we're creating a demon we could potentially buy several of from the Compendium once we've made one and also making a very solid component for later demons.
That's enough for this time, I'll have further details on crafting true beauty once we can finally start making demons that laugh off all but the most almighty attacks.