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Final Fantasy V Walkthrough

Written by  Djibriel

2.19: Exdeath's Castle; Ascension and the Fight with Carbuncle

Enemies: Twin Lizard, Blind Wolf, Hellraiser, Reflect Mage, Magic Dragon, Black Warlock, Adamantite Golem, Bandercoeurl, Iron Fist, Blue Dragon, Red Dragon, Yellow Dragon, Imp, Oisearare, Jackanapes, Abductor (2), Carbuncle, Gilgamesh (4), Exdeath

Treasures: 8000 Gil, 9900 Gil, ShieldDiamond Shield, Elixir x2, Ether, Fuma Shuriken, ShieldIce Shield, BowHayate Bow, SwordIce Brand, KatanaKotetsu, SpearPartisan, BoomerangTwin Lance

Blue Magic: OWhite Wind, OAeroga, OOff-Guard, OLevel 2 Old, OMagic Hammer, OMoon Flute, OLevel 3 Flare, OLilliputian Lyric, OPond's Chorus, OTime Slip, OFlash, ODoom

As soon as you enter, you'll notice that the armies of Surgate lie defeated before you. None of them posed any challenge to Exdeath. However, your powers have improved greatly since the last time you got whipped by a band of pirates, so you shouldn't count this situation as proof that you stand no chance either. In the basements, Shell Bears and Tarantulas still roam the place. If you never got that Spear from the Shell Bears, get one now or forfeit it forever. That water past the Save Point still functions as a Recovery Spring, which might aid you. If you go up, new monsters will start appearing. Ready for this?

The Twin Lizards you encounter here are exactly like their counterparts you met on Crescent Island all these millennia ago, only a bit stronger: weak to Ice-elemental attacks, no special properties.

The Blind Wolf is inherently affected by Darkness; these wolves are, in fact, blind. However, they do manage to land a hit on occasion, and when the hit in question is their !Tusk attack it'll set Darkness on you as well. They only have 900 HP and are weak to Fire-elemental attacks; any serious attempt at multi-target violence will kill them.

Hellraisers are restorative bunnies like the Cure Beasts you encountered earlier. However, they will simply attack physically until they die, at which point they'll cast OArise on a random target that isn't them. If the target in question was Dead, they'll be revived with full HP. If not, OArise will do nothing. Hellraisers can be Silenced, Stopped, Paralyzed and Berserked to prevent OArise from being cast.

Reflect Mages use OFire, OFira, OBlizzard, OBlizzara, OThunder and OThundara on themselves. These attacks are weak, and the Reflect Mages themselves are frail. Just don't try to attack them with magical spells that bounce off. Also, make sure never to OConfuse them (which basically means, never whip out Alluring Air), as the Reflect Mages will start casting OSlowga and OThundaga on the enemy party, which bounces off unto you. Gaia's Wrath and physical attacks are grand against them. They have a rare AccessoryReflect Ring steal, which is a much more reliable source than the Reflect Knight's rare drop. Make sure to get four of them!

This dungeon is awesome, seriously. A lot of interesting and tough monsters, and all Jobs (much like in the flying ruins) are pretty much balanced so there's no quick way to defeat. In addition, all enemies here give really notable amounts of Experience and ABP so you may actually want to go for abilities such as !Rapid Fire and Dual Wield.

Heavy Armor characters will notice that the Dragoon and Berserker both haven't gotten any better since you left Bartz' homeworld; you're still wielding the HammerGaia Hammer and the SpearPartisan is not much more powerful than the SpearJavelin you stole before you even got a Dragoon in the first place. This makes them noticeably less powerful than the Knight (whose SwordIce Brand and SwordFlametongue swords can be swapped around mid-battle for elemental might) and the Samurai class, which catches up just before the final boss of this dungeon.

Mage characters will see !Black reclaim the title of ultimate offensive force. Titan is still very useful for crowd control, Golem is a good idea even versus some random encounters (such as fighting dragons) and Catoblepas will likely see a few uses in the dungeon.

Going up will get you to the second floor. Two chests are here; the left one contains an Ether, the right one a ShieldDiamond Shield. Both should be pretty useless by now.

On the third floor, you'll run into a dead end. An old friend helps us out, showing us the true form of Exdeath's Castle, which is disgusting.

Magic Dragons are neat. They're sturdy (with 2900 HP) and cast three Blue spells you may not have at this point: OAeroga, OOff-Guard and OLevel 2 Old. Learn all three if you haven't. Magic Dragons are weak to Poison- and Wind-elemental attacks, so OBio and OAeroga (both can be boosted) kill them off relatively quickly. OLevel 3 Flare and OLevel 4 Graviga also work like a charm.

Black Warlocks are your source for neat staves, and are quite dangerous in addition. They have a rare StaffJudgement Staff you can steal, and they drop a rare StaffPower Staff when killed. They largely use annoyance tactics when they're not alone; OConfuse, ODrain, OStop and OSlowga are what they'll cast in addition to using physical attacks. When alone though, the Black Warlock will tap into its darkest arts and start using ODeath, OBreak and OBanish. OBanish sets Death, by the way. These vile mages can be confused, Stopped and Silenced, all of which are good ideas; OTime Slip, OSleep and OStop can be used when stealing to keep the Black Warlock subdued and prevent it from casting instant death spells all the time. OLevel 3 Flare can be used for damage.

You really want that StaffJudgement Staff. It's a better weapon than the StaffStaff of Light since it boosts Magic Power by 3 instead of 2, and it can be used as an item to cast ODispel, a sixth tier white spell that, well, dispels enemy status buffs. When used in this fashion, it does not break, effectively giving you free access to the ODispel spell. It can be used to remove the inherent Protect and Shell status on Gil Turtle (or anyone else who has it, for that matter), making hurting it twice as easy. The StaffPower Staff sets the enemy's Battle Power to 0 and casts OBerserk instead of dealing damage. Maybe useful?

On the fourth floor, there's a metallic switch on the wall you'll need to flip in order to get to a chest containing an ShieldIce Shield, the best normal defensive shield so far. It matches the ShieldFlame Shield in every way, except that it absorbs Ice rather than Fire (big surprise there). It is better for random encounters than any other option, though I'd still go for ShieldAegis Shield when facing bosses. This is also the first floor you can encounter Black Warlocks.

Adamantite Golems are what you'd expect. They attack physically with great strength and take hits well. They're weak to Lightning-elemental attacks (which is odd: adamantite in our world equals diamond, and Diamond equipment halves damage done by Lightning) and can be instantly dispatched by a Gold Needle like all stone-based monsters. They make this dungeon's best Catch/Release monster for random encounters as well, performing a powerful physical attack.

On the fifth floor, there's a hidden passage which is nothing but a shortcut. It is featureless in all other regards.

Bandercoeurl... hey, did you know that the Coeurl is a fictional alien race of predators created by the late science fiction novelist A. E. van Vogt (1912-2000)? It's true. Within the Final Fantasy series, they're feared for their spellcasting abilities, most notably their tendency for Death-setting attacks which they employ with their large whiskers. These Bandercoeurls don't have visible whiskers, but they do have a Blaster attack they can use. This attack targets a single character and either sets Paralyze (good-ish) or Death (bad). They're weak to Fire-elemental attacks.

The sixth floor has lava! You can access the chest containing an Elixir without much problems, but to get to the hidden chest containing a BowHayate Bow you need to cross the lava. Using the Geomancer's Light Step ability or casting OFloat on the entire party will save you from pain and ridicule. Get into the lava at whatever point is closest to you and get into the bottom-right corner. There's a hidden passage that will take you straight to the chest.

You've met the Red and Yellow variety (probably), but the Blue Dragon is a new one. This Ice-elemental dragon has no elemental weaknesses but uses and absorbs Ice-elemental attacks. Frost and Ice Storm are both powerful multi-target Ice-elemental attacks, and the Blue Dragon may also attack physically. With 6900 HP, it'll be a while before you can kill it with straight attacks. However, the Blue Dragon is vulnerable to Death, Petrify and Stop and lacks a Heavy nature, so while you can keep them at bay with Romeo's Ballad and the like, Catoblepas casting Demon Eye, OBreak and Break spellblade effects can instantly kill them. You can steal common Dragon Fangs from them.

The Red Dragon was a powerful guardian of two Barrier Tower chests earlier, but even now that they're random encounters they haven't weakened in the slightest. You'll be a bit more fit to take them on head-to-head, but they can still pose a good amount of problems. If you haven't learned OLevel 3 Flare yet, a combination of !Control and the OReflect spell (see the Barrier Tower section for more info) can net it for you. Boosted OBlizzaga spells are extremely powerful against the Red Dragon, else Requiem and Gaia's Wrath also get the job done. As you should still know, they attack with physical attacks and Atomic Ray, a multi-target Fire-elemental attack.

Iron Fists simply attack physically and may counter your Attacks with a 33% chance of using !Counter, which is unblockable, ignores Defense and sets HP Leak, so don't let them. For all their impressive looks, they're kinda weak when it comes down to it. They also take double damage from the big three, Fire, Ice and Lightning. You can occasionally steal WhipBeast Killers from these cretins, stronger Whips for your Beastmasters. Like many whips, WhipBeast Killers can randomly paralyze a target, but they are unique in that they will always deal a critical hit to creatures with the Magic Beast nature, which include (in this dungeon) Twin Lizard, the Blind Wolf, Hellraiser, Magic Dragon, Bandercoeurl and Carbuncle.

The seventh floor: a mini-game! But first, know that from the 7th to the 9th floor, you'll be encountering the elemental dragons. You can't really do anything against the Yellow Dragon's Lightning, but the AccessoryFlame Ring absorbs Atomic Ray and nullifies Frost and Ice Storm, so you should swap to those if you have the items. As for abilities and such, !Sing, !Control and !Summon are all grand.

Anyway, there are two chests here, one path you'll need to take to continue and walls. Stand on the skull tile to send the bridge hurrying across the hole. Press the action button to stop the thing. When you hit a wall, a monster comes out! The left chest contains an SwordIce Brand (an Ice-elemental Knightsword) and the right chest contains a KatanaKotetsu Katana. Both are nice to have. Note that the SwordIce Brand can be used in tandem with an ShieldIce Shield to heal a target.

Consider the wall tiles numbered from left to right one to four. If you hit them, you get this:
  1. Abductor (2) or Imp
  2. Oisearare or Abductor (2)
  3. Jackanapes or Abductor (2)
  4. Abductor (2) or Imp

Note that these are not the exact same monsters you encounter someplace else in the game; Oisearare, for example, won't have that awesome rare steal you'll be able to get later, nor will any fight you complete here make an addition to your Bestiary. They perform much like their counterparts, though. Should you want to walk back, standing on the skull tile on the other end will instantly put the bridge in the right position for you to walk over.

There's a Save Point here, leading you to a room where dragons roam. There are powerful creatures you'll definitely want to prepare for. !Control is awesome, and equipping AccessoryFlame Rings helps protect against Blaze, Frost and Ice Storm. To the right is a hidden passage leading to a chest with an Elixir; to the left is a chest with 9900 Gil.

Yellow Dragons lack elemental weaknesses, but they also lack the Heavy property. Make sure you can exploit this weakness, as the fact they can continuously spam Lightning is a recipe for disaster (though those with Diamond equipment will only take half damage). Throw Death Potions, Dark Elixirs, ODeath Claw, OMissile, !Flirt or OGraviga around like it's nobody's business. Romeo's Ballad can Stop them, which is nice. Yellow Dragons make a grand !Catch versus the final battle of this dungeon, by the way; Lightning deals 25% maximum HP, and the boss has quite a lot of it. If you can pick up a AccessoryCoral Ring after the fight that'd be grand, but in my opinion shooting for four AccessoryCoral Rings is simply too bothersome (fighting Gil Turtle so you can buy four later is less of a bother).

ScreenshotThis next section will require you to alternate a bit between the ninth and tenth floors. This is where Iron Fists start appearing. Go up and down again to find yourself in a room full of lava. Again, Light Step or OFloat are a must here. Walk to the far right and go up the stairs to grab the chest containing 8000 Gil. Go back and go up the other stairway open to you. To the left lies a field with skull tiles, rigged with trap floors. The Geomancer's Find Pits is the only thing that allows you to spot them before you tumble down. As you enter from the left, there are some other tiles worth noting. At the very top of the diamond of floor tiles, you can warp to Carbuncle. At the bottom is a tile that will enable you to move on. To the far right is a chest containing a BoomerangTwin Lance. If you want to continue, take the bottom skull tile; if you want to get your hands on a new summon beast, take the top one. You'll be warped straight to Carbuncle, whose form may surprise.

"I'll join you - if you're stronger than me. Come on, show me what you got!"
Bestiary #283
Magic Beast
Attack Mult.
Magic Atk.
Mag. Def.
Mag. Evade
Stolen Items
Dropped Items
Common: Turtle Shell
Command Immunities
Elemental Immunities
Catch, Control
Elemental Absorb
Elemental Weakness
Blue Magic
Status Immunities
Carbuncle starts in a reflective state and bounces spells off of itself onto you. After three turns of this, it will switch to a healing phase; at this point its defenses go down, including reflect, and you can pound on it until it starts casting offensive spells again. The lower its HP gets, the more dangerous its offensive spells get.

Carbuncle will cast any of the Black third-tier elemental spells for three turns... on himself. Since these spell bounce off, they'll hit one of your characters instead. After three offensive spells, he'll turn into another monster. There will be no visible evidence of this change; it's just the AI that transforms. This other form - I'll call it his healing form - will cast OCura on himself with rather pitiful effects. In this form, he stops Floating, his Reflect barrier disappears, he becomes weak to all elements and vulnerable to a lot more status ailments (as described above). The turn after OCura, he'll change back into his normal, hard-to-damage self and he will start casting three more offensive spells. When below 10000 HP, he'll cast OBio, OStop and OConfuse. When below 3000 HP, he'll cast OBreak, OBanish and ODeath, easily the most dangerous spells he could use.

Here's the deal. Carbuncle is almost impossible to damage by any large extent. His Defense and Magic Defense are both extremely high, he has no elemental weaknesses, is immune to Titan's Gaia's Wrath and is inherently Reflective. However, his healing form is when the getting's good. He'll drop a lot of status immunities, his Heavy nature, his Reflect status and his defensive and evasive properties will plummet; he'll just keep 10% Evasion and a bit of Defense.

You'll just have to sit back and heal and buff up when Carbuncle is in his offensive mode. Casting OShell on all characters really helps. AccessoryFlame Rings protect against OFira and OBlizzara, so that's a good thing. Silence spellblade effects will keep Carbuncle from casting spells, but, since his Evade is rather high, you might want to combine !Aim or !Rapid Fire with !Spellblade to make sure it hits.

Once Carbuncle has cast OCura, act quickly. If you have the options available to you, Carbuncle should never reach his offensive state again. OMissile, OGraviga, ODeath Claw and Dark Elixir all suddenly work. You can use Romeo's Ballad, Alluring Air, OStop or OSleep to prevent Carbuncle from ever leaving this weakened state. Now, pound on him. OBreak and Break spellblade effects end the battle instantly. Now that Carbuncle lost his Heavy nature and has gained a weakness against all elements, the Spellblade effects of OBio and the -aga spells also kill him instantly. A Dark Elixir or ODeath Claw followed by the slightest of attacks should kill him. Boosted third-tier black elemental spells deliver massive damage. The battle should be over as soon as you saw OCura appear.

When you're done, descend. You'll get onto another skull warp tile. Get back to the skull tile platform, avoid the pitfalls, stand on the bottom tile and continue.

Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy V
Version 6
©1997–2019 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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