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FFX Monster Arena: A conquest journal

Posted: 6th July 2021 05:40

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Felt like jotting down my notes when I found myself pulling out wins at what I felt were low-ish stats. There was also plenty of getting obliterated the first time sure, and sometimes I did need to come back later with a stronger party, but I kept finding ways to win without feeling like I needed to grind. Forget X-Potion Auto-Potion. It is a very safe way of going about things in many cases but restocking after every fight drains resources fast and is grindy. I also avoided any of the AP tricks that involve Overdrive to AP. Partly because I want to see how far I make it without resorting to it and also because I want to wait until after farming One-Eye for Magic Defense Spheres as any Triple AP weapons it drops will be welcome for when that time comes where I do resort to Don Tonberry. I also don't go out of my way to farm materials for customizing. Auto-haste and Auto-Protect would make things a lot easier but I found I made do without it on everyone. I did do quite a bit of stealing as I made my way through the game but never deliberately searched out specific encounters for farming a particular item. I also try not to use tons of items though I will use a few when it makes a big enough impact on winning.

Yuna was my priority for auto-haste and auto-protect with the one-time prize packs from the arena manager and after 28/35 victories, I feel this was a good choice. I did obtain everyone's Celestial weapons and I did do quite a bit of fighting exploring the Omega Ruins.

On with the diary. I'll stick to Area Creations in this post and cover the others in a later posting.

Stratoavis: This one I took out before entering the final dungeon. Preparation: Auron with Banishing Blade and a full Overdrive and Evade & Counter for two people minimum. Start with the fastest people, Haste Yuna, and have Auron unleash Banishing Blade. As much as I can get away with, I want people with Evade & Counter up front when it attacks though regular high Evade is also good. The other important strategy change that allowed me to win making sure the three people who are hit by Praen of the Heavens have Protect status and are defending when the attack comes. Power break (from Banishing Blade), Protect, and defending all stack to reduce what would be a devastating gravity attack into something much more manageable. At my HP levels, it barely did 400. Two uses of Pray can erase that though I also wanted to juggle curing the darkness status on the fighters (Tidus and Wakka for me).

Greater Malboro: This was one of the last ones I beat and left unbeaten for a long while. At one point, looked over and saw that the Magus Sisters had really high offense stats (Sandy capped at 255 Strength and the plan for winning became "let the Magus Sisters handle it" when I felt they were strong enough. Well, First Strike,swap to Yuna, and let the Magus Sisters handle it. I didn't have three Confuseproofs to handle this without Aeons.

Kottos: On it's turns, it smacks the highest Strength standing character for obscene damage. Anything that targets it, it counters with obscene damage to that character. Sure seemed impossible at first glance. Had that brainstorm that by using Stoic overdrive mode (which I ordinarily dump as soon as I can), I would get very frequent Overdrives. Hence a wacky strategy where I want less max HP and lower defense so that an attack will fill up an Overdrive from empty to full in one shot.

Key preparation, along with Stoic on the attackers, is someone with low Strength, 1 MP Cost, and the Life spell. Nirvana Yuna happens to fit all my criteria. Haste her right away and she was getting 2 turns for each of Kottos' As long as there is a standing character with higher Strength, she is safe. Then it's a matter of reviving anyone who falls and depleting its HP before Yuna runs out of MP. 300+ MP at 1 a cast. How do you like those odds? And the attackers generally got to pop an Overdrive every turn they got. Mostly Tidus and Wakka doing the damage though i swapped in Lulu once in a while for variety.

Couerlregina: This one cleaned my clock at first. I got it down halfway with an endgame party but when Drain appeared, lost control of the fight and lost. Around the time my power was climbing, i wanted this one done before my Strength got too high since confused allies knocking people out is bad. Once I had enough HP and magic defense such that Drain wasn't a one-hit kill and a third Esuna caster to clear confusion, it made enough of a difference to win. Oh, and Yuna had auto-haste which does help a bit. Stoic and Comrade are pretty much useless so switched to some other Overdrive mode I had access to. Onion Knight Lulu doublecasting Flare is probably MVP for dealing damage.

Jourmagand: This one I didn't beat until after going through the final dungeon to the last save point and coming out. By then, I had about 4 characters with Stoneproof which was enough. Banishing Blade reduced its damage to "survivable at full HP." Slow on it, Haste on Yuna (and maybe more), have Stoneproof people in the front when it's about to act. That was enough.

Cactuar King: No chance in a straight fight. Party is Rikku, Wakka, Yuna (with auto-Haste) Rikku and Wakka come in with full Overdrives. Mix Quartet of 9999 and hope it lands on Wakka. Yuna swaps for someone to Haste Wakka. Wakka needs that Haste cast to act before king needles. 12-Hit Attack Reels, done. Trio of 9999 would be more reliable but I want that entry on Rikku's status screen.

Espada: Very much in the come back later when stronger column. Preparation: Auron with Sentinel, full Overdrive, fully upgraded Masamune, and armor with Deathproof. I added Poisonproof as well since I had that Poison Fang stack from unlocking Malboro Menace. Conveniently, there is a bracer in the final dungeon that already has Deathproof and a free slot so there's no randomness or farming items involved.
Open with Banishing Blade and then just do whatever needed to stay alive until his next turn. Evade & Counter is very helpful for that. Might as well put Auron is Protect status during this time. Once Auron gets his next turn and uses Sentinael, I'm in business. At my stats (around 40-45 defense) and Power break from Banishing Blade, Hades Claws does around 200-250 and Blade Shower does about 1,000-1,200. Before getting on with the doing damage part, I stacked some uses of Cheer to make the damage even more laughable. I piled on some Aim as well so that Auron could still contribute damage. Heal him as needed and it became a matter of doing damage fast enough. Sentinel Auron protects the party from the counters and their nasty instant death. Had about 65-70 Strength for hitters and higher Magic (75-80) for Yuna and Lulu to fuel DualCast Flares.

Abyss Worm: At the stage I tackled it, the single target damage was usually fatal. (Wakka and Auron at full HP and Protect could sometimes live through the physical) But I had Nirvana Yuna with the 1 MP Life spells. Haste her and she's on revival duty and hides in the back otherwise. When Earthquake is coming, summon Valefor to dodge it and get a free hit in while at it. It was just a matter of whittling down nearly half a million HP. Which took a while since I hadn't entered the final dungeon yet.

Chimerageist: Handled before going to the final dungeon. It has a fixed movement pattern so it was just a matter of keeping on top of things. NulTide if Aqua Breath is next, NulBlaze if Megido Flame is coming. Banishing Blade softens up the other attacks. Thundara/Blizzara won't kill at full HP. The physical hurts but some can survive it with protect and I have three people with Life so recovery doesn't become an issue even if Yuna is the one to go down. Which Auron could prevent anyways.

Don Tonberry: Same approach as Kottos. Anything it does is will overkill whoever it hits so use Stoic/Comrade to gain lots of Overdrive meter and use it a lot and let Nirvana Yuna handle revival. Random targeting so not 100% safe like Kottos but Hasting her and having her hide in the back when Don Tonberry is about to act mitigates the danger to her for the most part. Worst case, I have others with Life to revive her. Also like Kottos, didn't bother with healing. With the damage it's doing, the only value of HP that matters if it's greater than zero.

Cabaltopas: Another dealer of single-target damage that splatters whoever's on the other end. I opened with Banishing Blade anyways since it is armored. Yuna with her auto-Haste armor is the primary reviver. Got splattered by the dying Ultima though still get the item drops and AP for the other four.

Will need to come back for this later and win with someone standing to unlock Nemesis, so I've heard. But b the time that comes up, the party will be stronger.

Abbadon: This creation has both high defense and magic defense. I'm talking about enough to reduce Attack Reels to about 800 a hit when I challenged it. It's also armored and immune to Breaks so tough luck doing damage to it even with Celestial weapons. This one stuck out as a battle where I took off Rikku's Celestial weapon and used one with Alchemy since it ended up key to my strategy. Emblem of the Cosmos is massive magic damage, way more than my max HP of around 4500-5000.
Yuna, Rikku, Lulu ended up as my key party members. By doubling their max HP with a Stamina Tonic and Shell status on all of them, the magic nuke becomes survivable to about 4000-5000 damage. One Alchemy boosted Mega-Potion quickly recovers from it. They also have strong elemental protection from non-random equipment: nulling or absorbing three elements. Crafty application of Nul-spells protect them from the fourth. The plan is doing what damage I can but keeping those three alive is vital to my strategy.
Trio of 9999 would have been great here, had I thought to use it. Would have gone much faster than reflected DualCast Flares which only did 8000-10000 a turn thanks to that magic defense.

Vorban: I unlocked this one late after having conquered the Omega Ruins. (wussy NA original Omega, by the way) Or so I believed. Body Splash still splattered the team with their 45-ish defense. The Magus Sisters were quite buff by then (Cindy at 254 defense, almost there) so I let them handle it.

This post has been edited by DragonKnight Zero on 7th July 2021 01:37
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Posted: 10th July 2021 20:46

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On to Species Creations. Didn't really put much effort into unlocking them until after spending some time in the Omega Ruins so my party is stronger. About 70 Strength for physically oriented characters while Yuna and Lulu were a bit higher in the Magic stats, starting from about 90.

Sphere Grid completion is about 35-40% for my team. Characters like Yuna and Rikku who saw more use in randoms throughout might have reached closer to 45% by the time of the later wins.

Fenrir: At some point, I noticed that Kimahri had the highest Strength in my party (somehow) and that's when I went after this hound for real. Pulled this one off by exploiting its AI. Took a while to reduce its HP to zero given my offense stats and its evasion.
I had enough Musk by this point to give one character Confuseproof and that went to Kimahri. Confuseproof was vital for my strat to work. Celestial weapons on all; Kimahri sets Overdrive to Stoic. Start fight with Masamune Auron in the front and Kimahri in the back. Auron uses his First Strike turn to swap for Kimahri. Kimahri casts Protect on himself. While Kimahri is on the field, Fenrir can only do one of two actions. Fangs of Chaos on Kimahri (gravity damage, can critical but halved by Protect) or Fangs of Hell on a random character (instant death but can be dodged by Evade & Counter or massive Evade). So it doesn't have a way to kill a Kimahri, Wakka, Tidus party.
There's still the matter of dealing damage to it. But since Kimahri, Wakka, Tidus are in no danger of dying, I'm free to pile on Aim and Jinx (every little bit helps) for higher accuracy. Also choose a mode that allows for the most frequent Overdrives. Other characters aren't really needed but I do make the effort to have them act once to get AP after the fight. Auron to unload a Banishing Blade to zero out its defense and magic defense. Rikku steals just because. Yuna comes in occasionally to toss a 1 MP Curaga at Kimahri. Lulu can do very good damage on a Mental Break Fenrir that it can't dodge. As long as I have Tidus or Wakka out along with Kimahri, there is a very good chance that Fenrir will use a useless action. Felt like it took ages but I had placed Doom on it early and it's counter was between 140 and 150 when I beat it through HP damage (started at 200) so it looks like I beat it after 50-60 of its turns in spite of the evasion.

Ormitholestas:I waited on this until after offing Catastrophe and my offense was better. At my defenses, Drain Touch was death (Protected Yuna could survive at full HP and sometimes Wakka with Protect) and Poison Touch is physical gravity damage. So HP didn't really matter as long as it is above zero. It also has massive evasion, very high magic defense, and immune to Mental Break.
With all the damage that it does, having Overdrive set to Stoic/Comrade means I'm getting Overdrives frequently. This was what I based my approach on; pummeling it with Overdrives often enough to outpace what it drains. I had three people with Poisonproof and tried to keep one or two of them on the frontline at all times. Cure poison when it shows up, revive the fallen, and wear it down. Eventually. With all the dying that occurs, Aim isn't really useful but I pile of Jinx several times for that marginal increase in landing physicals.

Pteryx; I unlocked this second-to-last of the Species Creations. It has enough evasion to mock physicals. But I still have dualcast Flare (boosted by Banishing Blade), Overdrives, and Aeons and between those was able to score a win. Only uncertainty was surviving the first turn Beak of Woe barrage since my defense was so low. Ended up relying on favorable variance even with Banishing Blade to soften it up.

Hornet: All its attacks are single-target physicals with statuses attached. Sentinel Auron to the rescue. The same armor with Deathproof and Poisonproof he used at Espada is put to use here. Stacked Protect on him as well. The opening rounds were the most vulnerable since Auron's first turn was Banishing Blade to land the Breaks through the resistance. Once he got his next turn, the other characters are never hit again. With three Esuna casters, simple enough to remove statuses as they appeared and keep him healed freeing up many more turns for Hasting people and offense. Hornet supposedly has Curaga but I never saw it; guess I was lucky.

Vidatu: Banishing Blade, then murder with Aeon Special and/or Overdrive. Banishing Blade is needed otherwise one would be contending with 230 Defense and Magic Defense. It also has massive evasion so physicals usually miss.

One-Eye: Let the Magus Sisters handle it. By the time I unlocked it, Mindy had enough power to one-shot it with Passado.

Jumbo Flan: A job for Anima. I taught it a bunch of spells to pull this off. Haste for more turns. Shell to reduce damage. Reflect and Drain for recovery since it didn't have the HP and magic defense to win without healing (reflect Drain off itself to recover) Slow and Dispel are also worthwhile, one to slow it down and the other to deal with the flan's Regen nonsense. Ultima was strong enough to splatter the characters so they need Aeon power to handle this.

Nega Elemental: It counters physicals and Steal with Ultima. Splat. Magic it is then, thankfully doesn't counter Dualcast. Set up Yuna and Lulu with haste and reflect and pile on the Dualcast Flare. Third can be anyone as long as they know Reflect and Dispel. (I used Rikku) Put Reflect up on the third, he/she Dispels Reflect on Nega-Elemental if it tries. Twiddles thumbs the rest of the time.
Reflect is needed here otherwise Osmose will ruin the victim's MP. Does not appear to use Ultima except as a counter so just wore it down.

Tanket: Rikku, Tidus, and Kimahri all had Quick Hit by the time I was going after this creation. i also activated the Freedom X Mix during the fight. 0 MP Quick Hits! But that's for later. The opening rounds are for getting everyone Hasted and using Banishing Blade to inflict armor and mental breaks. I have three Hasteaga casters (Tidus, Rikku, Kimahri) and auto-haste Yuna so careful party swapping gets everyone Hasted in two casts. Auron's role for the remainder of the fight is Sentinel. With Protect stacked on top, he survives the physicals he's taking for the team so that no one else is getting hit. (and it would kill them at my defenses) The first half of the fight has now been reduced to Sentinel tanking, healing Auron's HP and berserk status after each hit, and attacking otherwise. I did count HP since the second phase is nasty. When Tanket is just over half HP, waited until after its next attack to resume dealing damage, piling on Cheer in preparation. My plan was to pile on lots of damage to bypass the Rush Attack phase but I didn't quite make it, even with 0 MP Quick Hits backing me up to not worry about resources.
Looking back, maybe Yuna and Lulu would have been better choices for the damage rush. They could pile on 50,000 to 60,000 damage per doublecast Flare (after Banishing Blade, it has massive magic defense normally). Strength was still in the 70-75 range so each Quick Hit was only doing in the range of 11,000 to 15,000. I saw quite a few Rush Attacks before taking off the last of its HP. Rikku with 107 Agility and Yuna with 77 Agility both Hasted were just able to keep up. The pattern at this point becomes Rikku Esuna on Auron, Yuna Curaga on Auron, Rikku Quick Hit if she gets another turn before next Rush Attack. Berserkproof on Auron would obviously be ideal but I didn't have the items to customize it. Now Yuna has 1 MP cost and over 600 MP and Rikku has 0 MP cost so I can keep this pattern going for a long, long, time. About 30 rounds later, Rikku squeezes in the last Quick Hit I need for victory.
In hindsight, I would have waited for higher average Strength on my Quick Hitters before doing this fight. Not because the outcome was in doubt but so I could land the Overkill reliably. Winning two Defense Spheres per fight instead of one means half the battles to have enough to max out defense. I only got the Overkill here because of a lucky critical for the finishing blow.

Fafnir: This one was quite a task to overcome. Even with power break from Banishing Blade, the physical from Triple Attack would still send the target into the dirt at my HP and defense levels and the breath would slaughter anyone without elemental resistance. The matching Nul-spells negate the breath and they always come in the same sequence but trying to revive the fallen and having the correct Nul-spell for the upcoming breath with how fast Triple Attack is was a lot to keep up with and my team was usually down by the time it went through all three. And with 32 Light Curtains in my inventory, I had a lot of incentive to Overkill this one before unlocking Juggernaut as it means the difference between one person who can get auto-protect and two.
I had won an Auto-phoenix armor from Greater Sphere (more details in the Original Creations post to document how I pulled that one off, when I write it that is) and it proved to make the difference. I had 99 Phoenix Downs at this point and was definitely ready to spare some for a victory. I also have several armors to null or absorb multiple elements though only Rikku has perfect coverage for fire, ice, and lightning.
Went through the standard opening (standard to me anyways) of getting everyone Hasted up and landing Banishing Blade. Before Fafnir's second turn, I need Kimahri (he's the one with the Auto-Phoenix armor) in the frontline with Nulfrost status. Mighty Guard pulls its weight in this fight since it contains all 4 Nul-spells and with Comrade overdrive mode and Spirit Lance, Kimahri tends to have it ready by the next set of Triple Attacks. So I hope Fafnir doesn't pick on Kimahri too much with its physicals during the Triple Attack chain. Still takes some juggling of people so that the frontline negates whatever breath attack is coming next but the saved turn from Auto-Phoenix is valuable here for keeping on top of the situation.
Went through 10 Phoenix Downs on my winning attempt; i feel it was a worthwhile trade for that second auto-protect without having to grind light Curtains. Still had a shaky moment where I was down to one character after Kimahri was bodied by a Triple Attack physical but sparing a Mega-Phoenix and elemental resist armor kept my team in the fight. Hey, if I'm not using those rare consumables in the monster arena, where? I have the PS2 NA original so no stat-bloat Dark Aeons to prepare for.

Sleep Sprout: Trio of 9999 and a 12 hit Attack Reels.

Bomb King: I didn't have the offense to win in nine hits or less and I didn't have the magic defense to keep tanking Ultimas. Used a variation of the Magic Counter strategy I've seen in guides. Which is a safe way of going about things but other than Tidus, will ram into 200 Defense so felt slow. I went with Sentinel Auron with Masamune. With Protect and Sentinel active, my Auron with about 42 Defense and about 6,000 HP can survive Bomb King physicals. So he would tank the physical and counter with a big defense ignoring hit. Other character stats don't really matter too much. They're there for utility and they're only task is keeping Auron alive. Cheer might help but not necessarily because of the Masamune's damage modifier.

Juggernaut: Banishing Blade comes into play again for inflicting breaks, power and armor break being the main ones (it's armored, really want armor break). Salvo is fire-elemental so take appropriate measures. Everything else is single-target physicals so... Sentinal Auron once again pulls his weight even while being much slower than the rest of the team. With Protect and Deathproof, he can survive the physicals. Even gets to still contribute damage (unlike Tanket where berserk disables counters). Got everyone Hasted in the opening rounds and pound away, healing Auron's HP between attacks. 100% dying-free. Quick Hits optional.

Ironclad: So it turns out that all of its attacks slaughter my party members with 5-digit damage. Reppagaki is evadable with Evade & Counter (only regular evasion will apply when used as a counter though And it counters everything with this, even Steal) but the next attack is a multi-target wipe. 50-ish defense isn't up to this.
Send in the Aeons then. They have much better defense; some of them are even capped at 255. It only uses Reppagaki on Aeons. My Yojimbo has enough evasion to evade tank it forever but I won on the next attempt (after getting pulverized in the free fight) with the Magus Sisters. Used Banishing Blade for the armor and mental breaks and got in another attack or two in between revival then summoned the Magus trio before its second turn. I did get somewhat lucky with Mindy getting off 3 Passados (at 25,000 to 30,000 a hit so around 400k damage each time) and they knocked it out without any of them getting KO'ed.
Yojimbo was my backup plan if the Magus Sisters hadn't worked out for me. Saying he'd shred it for free isn't a fitting phrase given his nature but it is accurate to note that he's in no danger of taking damage so he can safely attack until Ironclad falls.

This post has been edited by DragonKnight Zero on 14th July 2021 03:30
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Posted: 13th July 2021 23:25

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Interesting write up, thanks for sharing. Funny that Kimhari had your highest strength. Usually it's Auron and Wakka with the best, maybe Tidus depending on where he is.

So do you just save up all your sphere grid moves? Or do you not activate most of the nodes? Seems like you've done a lot of grinding so I'm curious why you kept your stats low.

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Posted: 19th July 2021 03:43

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I do activate most of the nodes I come across. My Sphere Grid coverage is generally under half and I didn't start using stat spheres until late when I'm going after Original Creations. Also, Kimahri, Rikku, and Yuna have more grid coverage than the others. Double AP Celestials and being the main users of Steal contribute a lot to this factor.

Haven't beaten all the Original Creations yet and there's a lot more variability in my character stats for the ones I have. I'll note them with each monster entry. Everyone but Auron has passed 62 Agiity with Rikku over 100. And I still haven't had anyone reach 9999 HP at 31/35 wins though that's likely to change by the time I finish all the creations (or get off the postgame train)

Earth Eater: Didn't start making serious attempts at this until after I unlocked Ultima Buster. My fighers' Strength was in the 90-100 range which led to issues dealing damage. Earth Eater has massive defense and magic defense and is armored while standing. It also kills someone anytime it counters at my defense levels. Attack Reels does about 1300 a hit and Blitz Ace barely reaches 10000. Only ways for my characters to deal more than 18,000 in a single attack was Rikku's Sunburst Mix and Kimahri's Nova. Kind of wish I had trained Kimahri's Magic stat more just for this since at 64 Magic, Nova does about 36,000.
Auto-Phoenix works even if a kill is dealt by a counter attack. With my struggle to deal damage though, wasn't confident that I could muscle down the Earth Eater before running out of Pnoenix Down though. I ended up not using Auto-Phoenix on my winning attempt after all. That was when I remembered Aeons. With Bahamut and Ifrit at 255 Defense, they can endure some physical hits. Ifrit has Firaga, Bahamut got Curaga, and both have Cheer so they can last quite a while. Not enough to win on their own though. Aeon offense is also much higher than my characters'. Other preparations include most of the party with Deathproof and Overdrive modes on Stoic/Comrade. With the massive HP damage it does with its counters, meter gets built fast.
This was kind of a cool fight in that it became a team effort between the characters and the Aeons. Neither have the firepower and durability to win on their own but by combining forces, they have what it takes to wear this creation down. Knocking down the Earth Eater was mostly left to the Aeons with character Overdrives adding some damage. When it falls over, dismiss the current Aeon; it's now the party's turn. Celestial weapon physicals are my favored offense and reviving anyone who dies to the counter Flare. Everyone but Wakka has the Life spell and both Yuna and Lulu have over 700 MP and their Celestial weapons so they have the MP for the constant revival. Got the finishing blow with Ifrit's Hellfire which is nice. Two Fortune Spheres are better than one.

Greater Sphere: Won this one with an exploit. Party is Yuna, Lulu, and Rikku. They need enough HP and defense to survive a physical while under Protect. With Rikku, I swapped out her Godhand in favor of a claw with Alchemy as that was key to making my approach work. Under 8000 max HP is best. Also takes a number of Al Bhed Potions and Mega-Potions but I had over 90 of each which is part of what led me to choose the approach I used. For armor, any that include Def+ skills are ideal. I had Dualcast, the level 3 element spells, and Drain on both Lulu and Yuna. Their Magic stats when I won for the first time were Yuna 100 and Lulu 96. More is better though. Protect on at least two of the three recommended. I had it on all three by the time but it's not a strict requirement to do so.
Plan is to get all three under Haste and Protect by the boss' first turn. Heal up from whatever the boss does then put reflect status on Lulu. Bounce elemental spells off Lulu until one does damage. Now if the Greater Sphere has not taken direct damage, from any source (including counters) it won't use its counterattacks. So after reflecting a lot of spells of Lulu, the party will win. More Magic means less spell animations to sit through. I had Lulu pile on Focus for that extra bit of damage since no one is in danger of dying at high HP. With the Magic stats from earlier and full Focus, Lulu hits for about 13000-14000 a cast of an -aga spell and Yuna is doing about 9500 each. Rikku chips in some reflected -ara spells for about 2000 when she's not healing and can spare the MP.
When the boss attacks, it will use its physical on one or Hydraulic Press. Hydraulic Press does damage based on max HP but can be reduced by Protect and Def+ traits on armor will reduce it further. Physical calls for healing the hit character. Either Yuna's 1 MP Curaga or, if Lulu is hit, reflecting Drain off herself and any potions I feel I need. Hydraulic Press can be recovered from with a single Alchemy boosted Mega-Potion. This is why I feel under 8000 max HP is best, otherwise a Mega-Potion may not fully heal Hydraulic Press damage. I'll sometimes use a combo of a Al Bhed Potion and some Pray usage if the party was at full HP beforehand. (My Rikku had Pray) With a full Overdrive on Rikku, I can use Ultra Potion or even Mega Elixir if I feel the need for MP.

After the fact, I realize that I can tweak my strategy a bit for something that will work reliably with 9999 max HP. Rikku should learn Pray for this and have full Overdrive before entering battle. Same setup with Yuna and Lulu. Get up haste and protect on all three like before and Mix Trio of 9999 on the next available free turn. Now every attack from the Greater Sphere can be recovered from by one use of Pray. Conveniently, the boss has Gambler Spirits as its common steal so by using 2 Gambler Spirits for Trio of 9999 and stealing at least 2 total on Rikku's many free turns, the farming of Luck Spheres can be done with no net loss of resources. Even better, Rikku's magic will hit harder and this strat can be done at any level of Magic. For Overkills, count out exactly 150 9999 damage hits, then bring it the huge burst damage (Aeon Overdrive, Attack Reels with sufficient strength) to deal the final attack.

Catastrophe: My fighters' strength ranged from 75-90 or so when I took this one on. Yuna and Lulu were still at the same Magic levels I had at Greater Sphere: 100 and 96. Yuna added Auto-Protect to her auto-haste ring. Rikku has full Overdrive going in and her mode is set to Comrade. Had enough relevant items to use Hyper Mighty G several times and that's about it for relevant preparation.
The shell is armored so at the levels I was at, Piercing weapons hit for more than Celestial weapons. Got everyone Hasted up between my three Hasteaga casters to start and start hacking away. Auron, Kimahri, and Tidus all have Piercing weaponry available to them so they were doing most of the attacking. Summoned the Magus Sisters when Toxic Cloud was about to be used and had them pound it some more. They broke the shell and I had them pound on it some more until Toxic Spray was used, doing as much damage as they could before I brought my party back in.
Catastrophe moves in a fixed pattern and that's what I base my plan to survive on. Bring in Yuna, Lulu, and Rikku with Rikku last to use Hyper Mighty G on the three of them. Go on full offense from this point with the two mages are flinging out Dualcast Flares and Rikku piling on a lot of Quick Hits since that was her good damage. After Demi, Rikku casts Drain once but I don't bother to heal the others because Hundred Thorns is going to massively overkill the party anyways.
Auto-life from Hyper Mighty G revives the ladies. Because Hundred Thorns does so much damage, Rikku's Overdrive went from empty to full so she can use another. I don't do so just yet. Lulu and Yuna both use Dualcast Drain + Flare to recover their HP. Rikku does whatever since her physical is going to suck at 25% HP. Use an attack item, run utility, Steal, just not a physical hit. When Toxic Spray kills someone, revive whoever falls, and then use Hyper Mighty G to refresh auto-life. In my case, it kept going after Yuna who would survive thanks at her 70 Defense, auto-protect, and high HP. In this case, Dispel the Breaks on Yuna and then Hyper Mighty G. I make sure the ladies are on the frontline to take Demi since they're just going to get killed by the next Hundred Thorns anyways. When I can squeeze some actions out of Tidus, Wakka, and Kimahri, I do but this is the ladies' show to dominate. Keep up the loop until I win.
Good offense is desirable as the faster one can kill it, the less items one needs to use on Hyper Mighty G. I used it 5 times in my winning battle which is good enough for me. Starting from 99 Gambler Spirits I wanted to find a productive use for a few and this works nicely.

Th'uban: Not beaten

Neslug: Not beaten

Ultima Buster: Not beaten

Shinryu: I soloed this with Rikku. Stat check. She needs enough durability to survive a physical with Protect or Shining with Shell. My stats, brace for it: 9500 HP, 57 Defense, 35 Magic Defense, and over 100 Agility. I'd won an armor off another creation that gave Defense +20%, Defense +10%, and Defense +5%. Not strictly necessary but I had it which lets me get by with less defense and magic defense.

Other prep: Rikku knows Pray and Quick Hit would be useful, a stack of about 50 gems, and the relevant items for a few key Mixes, and full Overdrive. Full Overdrive for Wakka and Tidus is nice though not really needed. It just lets get more damage in. Rikku's Overdrive mode set to Stoic.

At the start of the battle, Rikku's first turn is on Mighty G or Super Mighty G (not Hyper Mighty G). Wakka and Tidus unleash their Overdrives. Depending on their stats, they may die from the counter even under Protect. This is fine, maybe even ideal as it eliminates the random factor of Eraser removing Rikku (which is about the only way to lose with my strategy). At my stats, Shining does about 8500 to Rikku with Shell and the physical does about 5500 with Protect. Had her focus on keeping her HP up and sneaking in Cheer/Luck otherwise until her Overdrive fills up again. (won't take long with Godhand). When she got a chance to Mix and still have another turn before Shinryu's next action, mixed Quartet of 9999. Now Pray will fullheal her for 9999 every time so she can stall forever.

Defense in place, time to look at her offense options. I used a mix of gems, Quick Hits, and even regular attacks or Mug depending on how the turn order would shift. It was vital that she gets a turn after her attack before Shinryu goes so she can Pray to recover from the counter damage. Sometimes Quick Hit is the only action that will allow her another turn to recover. Sometimes a gem would shift the turn sequence so that one extra turn would become two. (usually awkward). Because she has 9999 power, the gems are doing 5 hits of 9999. The next Mix I used was Mega Mana for the 5x Focus more than the doubled MP. (This was a mistake; Ultra Null-All would have been a better choice for it includes both max Cheer and Focus.) Riku's physicals will be doing 9999 minimum which is why I didn't mention her Strength stat. 5x Cheer reduces the physical enough such that Shinryu needs three to kill a full health Rikku instead of two so I felt it worth the effort to stack.

MP shouldn't become an issue since after Quartet of 9999, the only thing I use it for is Quick Hit. But if any readers want to try my strategy and have MP concerns, Mixing Freedom will take care of that.

I lost a few attempts because I tried getting fancy and using some offensive Mix options when I thought I would have another turn to heal afterwards. Except the game said I didn't and Shinryu's counter plus a followup action ended the attempt. Only time it's safe to use a Mix on offense is if Shinryu's last action was a physical and the CTB bar shows Rikku having a triple-turn. Oh, and the 5x Cheer has already been applied, whether directly or through Mix. Mixing 2x Grenades for Waterfall is probably the most overall useful offense Mix though any of the 9-hit ones do more if one has the spare items for them. With all the buffs I set up, it's a simple matter to attack when I can safely do so and sandbag otherwise until I'm victorious.

This post has been edited by DragonKnight Zero on Today at 02:09
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