Final Fantasy XII Gambit System [beg]
Version 1.8 <#version>, © 2007, 2008, 2009 by Bill Pringle, all rights
If you like this FAQ, check out my enemy / item / location
cross-reference at http://billpringle.com/games/ffxii_enemies.html
Table of Contents [toc]
* Introduction <#intro>
* Overview <#over>
o Overview of the Battle System <#over-battle>
o Overview of the Gambit System <#over-gambit>
o Overview of License System <#over-lic>
* Gambit Targets <#target>
o Ally Targets <#targ-ally>
o Foe Targets <#targ-foe>
o Self Targets <#targ-self>
* Gambit Actions <#actions>
* When Gambits are Available <#avail>
* Sample Configurations <#config>
o Partitioning Gambits <#parts>
o Using Decoy <#decoy>
o Making Money <#money>
o Using Reverse <#reverse>
o Weakening the Enemy <#weak>
o Dividing Up Your Party <#divide>
* Tips, Guidelines, Words of Wisdom, etc. <#tips>
o Forming Parties <#tip-party>
o Mixing Weapons <#tip-weapons>
o Changing Things on the Fly <#tip-changing>
o Keeping Everyone Alive <#tip-alive>
o Keeping Things in Order <#tip-order>
o Control Other Characters <#tip-nonleader>
o Specific Examples of Gambits for Bosses <#tip-examples>
+ Adrammelech, The Wroth <#tip-ex-adram>
+ Zalera, the Death Seraph <#tip-ex-zalera>
+ Zodiark, Keeper of Precepts <#tip-ex-zodiark>
o Catch-All <#tip-catchall>
The Gambit System for Final Fantasy XII allows a player to configure
their characters to behave in a sophisticated manner. Behavior can be
customized to match a player's personal style (mostly fighting, mostly
magic, stealing, etc.) When configured properly, the player can spend
time watching the fight rather than mashing buttons, while the
characters do pretty much the same thing as when the player is
controlling that character. Each character will perform according to
their gambit settings, which can be changed during fights, if necessary.
It is important to realize that the gambit system is optional. You can
play the entire game by controlling each character manually, if you
want. (Of course, if that were the case, you probably wouldn't be
reading this document. ;^) Also, even while using the gambit system, you
can manually control any (or all) character and have them do things
different than what they would have done through the gambit system.
This document describes the Gambit System for Final Fantasy XII. In
addition to how it works, some tips and suggestions are given to help
the reader configure the AI of their parties to match the player's
This page can be found in two forms: an HTML (web) page at
http://BillPringle.com/games/ffxii_gambits.html, and as a text file on
GameFAQS <http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/ps2/file/459841/46605>. The
HTML page will probably be updated more often, and tend to be the latest
version. The HTML web page will include hyperlinks, so you can click on
a link to find the appropriate section. The text file was created by the
FireFox browser, which inserts hyper-links inside angle brackets
(<like-this>). To find that location with a text editor, use the search
feature to find the target name in square brackets ([like-this]). The
link inside angle brackets will always start with a pound sign (#),
indicating that the target is on the current page. The square brackets
won't have that pound sign. For example, to find the target of link
<#intro>, search for [intro].
If you find any problems and/or have any questions, you can e-mail me at
<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?Subject=Final_Fantasy_XII_Gambits>. Make sure
you have "Final Fantasy Gambits" in the subject. I get a lot of spam,
and will delete things without looking at them if I don't recognize the
sender and the subject line doesn't stand out as legit (for example, a
message with a subject of "a question" will probably get deleted without
me looking at it.)
You might also find my FAQ on what items can be obtained from enemies at
what locations useful. This can be found in HTML format at
http://billpringle.com/games/ffxii_enemies.html as well as a text file
on GameFAQs <http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/ps2/file/459841/56470>.
* Overview of the Battle System <#over-battle>
* Overview of the Gambit System <#over-gambit>
* Overview of License System <#over-lic>
Overview of the Battle System [over-battle]
You can have up to three characters in your active party, and possibly a
guest who you can't control. One of the characters must be the party
leader. If you press the /Triangle/ button to bring up the menu, then
select "Party", you can move characters into (left) or out of (right)
the party. If you move the party leader out of the party, then the top
character that is still in the party will be the new leader. You can
also switch party leaders when walking around by pressing up or down on
the D-pad, then moving up or down to select a new leader.
If you press the /X/ button, the battle/field menu for the party leader
appears. By pressing left or right on the D-pad you can select a
different character to control. Your options are:
Initiates a physical attack with the current weapon.
Magicks & Techniques
Initiate a magic spell or a Technique. The magic spells are grouped
by category (white, black, etc.). Techniques are similar to magic
except that they don't cost any MP.
This is similar to limit breaks and summons in other Final Fantasy
You must first obtain a license for up to three mist charges.
Even if you don't plan to use Mist attacks, you should still
purchase the licenses, since each mist license increments your total
MP. For example, if a character has 100 MP, then with one mist they
will have 200, 300 with a second mist, and 400 for the final mist.
This option merely turns gambits on or off. This can be useful if
you want to prevent the other characters from fighting while walking
You use the "Gambits" option of the main menu to set up the gambits
for each character.
This option allows the character to use an item
If the character is in the process of performing an operation and you
select a different option for that character, they will either finish
the current operation and queue the action you selected, or will
interrupt the current operation and begin the action you selected
instead. (It depends on how far along in the cycle they are, but if you
select the same operation they are performing, the new action will
always be queued.)
Overview of the Gambit System [over-gambit]
Each character has a number of gambit slots that can be programmed as
desired. Each slot has a target (and possibly a condition), and an
action. The target could be an ally or a foe. The condition for a target
can refer to various aspects of the target, and the action can be a
magic spell, a technique, or an item. For example, one possible target
is: "Foe: flying", that will only be performed if one of the foes is a
flying enemy. Another target is "Ally: status=slow", which is true only
if one of the characters in the active party have been afflicted with
If the target of a gambit exists (including any conditional), and the
action "makes sense", then the gambit can be performed. For example, if
the action heals a condition, then the gambit only makes sense if the
target has the condition.
Each character loops through the gambit steps until it finds one that
can be performed. After the gambit action is performed, the character
begins at the top of the gambit steps again. If no gambit condition is
met, then the character does nothing, and it starts back at the top of
the list again. Each character continues to loop through their gambits
until you enter a town.
Here is a sample gambit setup:
1 Ally: Any Raise
2 Ally: Any Phoenix Down
3 Ally: HP < 40% Curaga
4 Foe: Party leader's target Attack
And here is an explanation of the setup:
1. Ally: Any / Raise
If any of your allies are killed, this character will cast a raise
spell to revive them.
If more than one character is dead, the first character will be raised.
2. Ally: Any / Phoenix Down
This gambit will only be executed if an ally is dead, but the
character didn't have enough MP to cast Raise. (If they had enough
MP, then gambit 1 would have been executed, and gambit 2 wouldn't be
looked at.) If this happens, then the character will use a Phoenix
Down to revive the dead ally.
This is a good strategy for important curing conditions: first try
magic, and then try an item. It takes two gambit slots, but at least
you are sure that your characters will be revived quickly when killed.
3. Ally: HP < 40% / Curaga
If anyone is the current party drops below 40% of their max HP, this
character will cast Curaga to heal them. (Early in the game, you
will probably want to use "Cure" instead.)
If one of your characters is below 40% HP, then there is a good
chance that the other characters are low as well. You might also
consider using "Cura" or "Curaja" which heals all nearby allies.
This will cost more MP, but will tend to keep your party healthier.
4. Foe: Party Leader's Target / Attack
If none of the previous conditions are met, and if the party leader
is attacking an enemy, then this character will attack it.
If the party leader isn't targetting a foe, then the character does
nothing and starts at the top of the gambit slots again. This
continues until some gambit condition is true.
No more than one gambit is performed for each cycle, so the order of the
gambits is very important. For example, if the attack gambit was at the
top of the list, then even if the rest of the party was dead, this
character would keep attacking the same enemy. Only after the current
target is dead would the other gambits even get looked at. (If everyone
else is dead, then this character would be the party leader, which means
it would keep attacking the current target. Once that foe was dead, the
party leader wouldn't be targeting any foe, so the other gambits would
Overview of License System [over-lic]
The License System is another innovation in FF XII. The Sphere Grid in
FF X allowed characters to learn new skills or enhance their stats, but
it was fairly linear. Except for Khimari, most characters had a specific
set of skills that they would learn in a specific order. It would be
silly to skip activating any node, since it would be hard to come back
later and activate it. Later in the game, you could break some locks and
allow a character to wander into another area, but for the most part,
you simply enabled all the nodes you encountered.
The License Board allows the player to pretty much customize each
character in whatever way they want. Each time you defeat an enemy, you
gain license points. Each square on the license board has a cost; if you
have enough license points, you can purchase that cell, which gives you
to skill, spell, stat enhancement, etc. associated with that square. You
can only purchase squares adjacent to squares you have already
purchased, so there is some amount of control, but since similar skills,
spells, etc. are grouped together, you can progress in a fairly normal
way (e.g., Shields 1, Shields 2, etc.)
Early in the game, you need to be careful and make sure you buy the
licenses that you need the most. All characters have the same license
board, although there are a few cells that, when one character enables
the cell, it is removed from the boards of all the other characters. One
such type of cell are the mist cells, and the other are the espers.
While only the active party gains experience points, all characters earn
license points. The more time you spend wandering around and fighting
enemies, the more experience and license points you gain. The experience
points vary among different types of foes, but the number of license
points for most enemies is about the same, regardless of the enemy.
Early in the game, almost all foes will be one license point, but later
on you will encounter some with two license points. Bosses and espers
are more. So, if you want to gain license points, you can wander around
some easy areas, take out monsters with one or two swings, and rack up
license points fairly quickly. When you get a Golden Amulet, then the
character who has it equipped with get double the number of license
points. I would have Golden Amulets on my inactive characters, and
Embroidered Tippets (which doubles experience) on the active characters.
There are a number of different kinds of license cells. Which ones you
want depend on what kind of strategy you tend to use, and how you plan
on using each character. If you plan to use magic for a character, then
you want to purchase mist charges, even if you never plan on using any
quickenings. Each mist charge allows you to increase your MP by your max
MP. If you have one mist charge, you double your MP; if you have two
charges, you triple your MP. You can have up to three charges, which
means you would quadruple your max MP.
If you like to level up like I do, and if you keep your parties evenly
balanced (contrary to the official guide), you will want to eventually
purchase all the licenses. It doesn't make sense to purchase a license
for items that you don't have yet. If you want a license but don't have
enough points, you can go back to the early sections of the game and
wander around taking out enemies with one or two hits. Once you have
racked up enough license points, you can buy the license and go back to
where you left off.
Decide which licenses you want to purchase early in the game, and then
buy the other ones later. By the end of the game, you will have
purchased all the licenses available on the board for all characters.
Gambit Targets [target]
Each gambit consists of a target, possibly with a conditional, and an
action. This section identifies the various gambit targets.
* Ally Targets <#targ-ally>
* Foe Targets <#targ-foe>
* Self Targets <#targ-self>
Ally Targets [targ-ally]
Ally gambit targets apply to the current party.
This target applies to any character in the active party
If the action "makes sense", then this gambit will be executed.
You would use this gambit for certain conditions (e.g., "Ally: Any /
Remember that for critical actions (like raise), you might consider
using two gambit slots: the first uses magic, while the second uses
items. That way, if your character doesn't have enough MP to raise
or cure an ally, they will use items: "Ally: Any / Raise", followed
by "Ally: Any / Phoenix Down".
Ally: HP/MP < X%
This set of targets apply to any ally whose HP (or MP) is less than
If you use more than one of these targets, put the lower values
first. (If you put < 90% before < 10%, the second will never be
executed, since if the character is 5%, the < 90% will be executed
instead of the 10%.)
This gambit tests to see if anyone in your party has a specific
status effect (good or bad).
You can use this gambit to set or reset the status of someone in
your party (including this character). For example, "Ally:
Status=slow / Haste" will cancel the slow status by casting haste on
any character in your party that is afflicted with "slow".
Remember that you don't always need to specify the status of a
character. For example, "Ally: Any / Raise" will raise any character
that has been killed off, so you don't really need to use: "Ally:
Status=KO / Raise".
You can specify an individual in your party.
For example, if you want Basch to be beserk when fighting, you can
use the gambit: "Ally: Basch / Beserk". Whenever his beserk spell
wears off, this character will cast it again. (You probably don't
want to have Basch cast beserk on himself since the spell misses
sometimes. By having another character cast beserk, Basch can
continue to attack enemies, even if he isn't beserk.)
Ally: lowest HP / Strongest Weapon / Lowest Defense / Lowest Magick Resist
These are some odd-ball gambits that you can use for special
occasions. These are most useful if you don't keep the same group
most of the time. (I had two groups that I switched between, so I
didn't really see any use for these gambits.)
Presumably you could cast bubble (or reverse) on the lowest HP,
protect on the lowest defense, shell on the lowest magick resist,
and beserk on strongest weapon.
Ally: Item >= 10
This gambit can prevent you from running out of an item
automatically. For example, suppose you are in a tough fight, with
people dropping left and right. If you are low on magic, you could
easily run out of phoenix downs if you aren't careful.
By using this gambit, once you have less than ten items, this gambit
will no longer be used. You can still use the items manually, but at
least you don't have to worry about some character wiping out your
inventory when you aren't looking.
Self Targets [targ-self]
These gambits allow a character to perform actions upon him/her self
under certain conditions.
This gambit will perform the action if it makes sense. For example,
"Self: Libra" will turn Libra on whenever it wears off.
Self: HP/MP < X%
These gambits allow your HP or MP level to trigger a gambit.
One gambit you should probably have on each character is: "Self: MP
< 10% / Charge". This will allow your characters to gain back some
MP when they are low. This gambit isn't available until you get to
Balfonheim Port, so until then you want to pay attention and
manually have the characters charge when appropriate.
Another way to gain back MP is to run around between fights. If
somebody is low on MP, you can have the party run around in a circle
until their MP is back. Put the character with the lowest MP as the
party leader, since they will be running more. (If you run around in
too tight a circle, the other characters will just stand there and
wait for you to move further away.)
These gambits allow a character to perform an action when the
character has the given status value. Usually you will want to undo
any negative status effects. It is less obvious what to do for any
You probably don't want to use one of these gambits if other
characters have a similar condition for any ally to prevent two or
more characters trying to cure the same status ailment for a
character. You can set up your gambits so that one character cures
poison while another one cures slow, etc.
Foe Targets [targ-foe]
These gambits can target various foes under certain conditions.
Foe: Party leader's target
This gambit targets whoever the party leader is attacking. If the
character is the party leader, this gambit will cause them to keep
attacking the same enemy until it is killed.
If you use this gambit with each character, then the entire party
will concentrate on one enemy at a time. Once that enemy is
defeated, the party leader should have a gambit to choose the next
Foe: Nearest visible
This gambit causes the character to attack the closest enemy.
This is a good gambit to include after the above gambit for the
party leader. After the current enemy is defeated, this gambit will
cause the party leader to attack the next closest enemy.
If this gambit is used instead of the above gambit, then the
character will always attack the closest enemy, which might be a
different enemy each time. This will tend to fragment your attack,
rather than concentrating on a particular enemy.
This gambit would target any enemy that corresponds to the action.
For example, "Foe: Any / Poison" will cast poison on any enemy that
is not already poisoned.
Foe: Targeting leader / self / ally
This gambit will target any foe that is attacking the specified
character (or, in the case of "ally", any character).
Foe: nearest / farthest
These gambits target the enemy that is closest or furthest from the
character. Notice that "nearest" is slightly different than "nearest
Foe: Highest / Lowest HP, MP, Max HP, Max MP
These gambits allow you to target an enemy based on either their
current or their max HP/MP.
You could use one of these gambits to let the party leader pick the
next target. If you are fighting a boss that has a lot of small
minions around, this can allow a character to concentrate on either
the boss or the minions, depending on which gambit you choose.
Foe: Highest / Lowest level, strength, magick power, speed
These gambits allow you to target an enemy based on one of their
There are a number of ways you can use these gambits. If you have
fighters and magicians, you can start with the lowest / weakest and
work your way up, or start at the strongest and work yourself down.
You can cast slow on the fastest enemy, cast wither on the
Foe: HP>X, HP<X, HP>X%, HP<X%, HP=100%
These gambits allow you to perform different types of actions
depending on their current HP.
One possible use of these gambits would be: "Foe: HP=100% / Steal"
If the party leader has this gambit, they would try to steal from an
enemy until they receive damage. (If the other characters have the
"Foe: Party Leader's target" gambit, then the enemy would shortly
receive damage.) This approach would allow you to attempt to steal
items for each enemy in the attacking party. Once every enemy has
received damage, then the other gambits would take over. You should
only use this gambit for weak enemies. Each time you attack a
different enemy, they will attack your party. If you aren't careful,
your party could be overwhelmed by too many enemies attacking at the
same time. See the discussion about making money <#money>.
These gambits allow you to target enemies based on their status. For
example: "Foe: Status=Oil / Firaga" is a good combination, since a
status of oil increases the damage from fire-based attacks.
Foe: X-weak, X-vulnerable, undead
These gambits allow you to target enemies based on their weaknesses
(Undead are weak against cure spells.)
If you are fighting a group of enemies that have different
weaknesses, you can use these gambits to make the most out of your
If an enemy is weak against an elemental, it will sustain more
damage than if it is vulnerable against the same elemental.
Vulnerable merely means you can do damage (i.e., not immune), even
if the damage is minimum. Weak against an elemental means the enemy
will receive more damage than most other elementals.
This gambit allows you to do something special for any flying
enemies. This is very important for characters with short range
Once you get telekenesis, you should have the "Foe: Flying /
Telekenesis" gambit for all your melee fighters. Earlier in the
game, you can use this gambit to cast magic against flying foes.
Foe: character HP=100%, Item>10, HP/MP </> X%, Status=/status/, HP Critical
These gambits allow a character to change strategy depending on the
character's status. For example, if their MP is low, a character can
try to steal magic, or when their HP is low, steal HP.
This is similar to the "Self" gambits, except that the target is an
enemy rather than the character. For example, "Foe: character MP>70%
/ Firaja" will continue to cast a high-powered fire spell against a
group of enemies as long as you have lots of MP, but then stop when
your MP drops below 70%. (You could follow this with something like:
"Foe: character MP>50% / Fira" to switch to a lower fire spell.)
Gambit Actions [actions]
The actions associated with any gambit can be using an item, casting a
spell, or performing a technique. The first time you obtain an item, it
will be added to the list of possible gambit actions. Likewise, once a
character purchases a magic spell, the use of that spell gets added to
the list of possible actions. Finally, once you have a technique
available, it is available as a gambit action.
When Gambits are Available [avail]
Since I first posted this FAQ, I have been getting a fair amount of
e-mail asking when and where gambits become available. Where is an easy
question to answer - once a gambit is available, it is available at all
shops. This section explains the earliest you should be able to get a
gambit. It is possible that you can find some gambits earlier than I
have listed, since you can sometimes find gambits inside treasure
chests. (What you find in a chest can be one of several possibilities.)
The gambit system isn't really available until after you get
Balthier and Fran. You will get a quick tutorial, and an initial set
of gambit slots and gambits. As mentioned above, the available
actions depends on the items, magic spells, and techniques you have
acquired. The action "Attack" is also available initially.
You start with the following gambit actions:
* Ally: any
* Ally: Vaan
* Ally: Fran
* Ally: Baltheir
* Ally: Penelo
* Ally: HP < 70%
* Foe: party leader's target
* Foe: nearest visible
I suggest you experiment with the gambits right away, staying close
to the save crystal. That way, if you mess up, you can simply reload
the game and try again.
Find Gambits in Treasure Chests
You can find some gambit targets in treasure chests. If you don't
find them, they should be available at stores when you get out of
* Foe: targeting self ? Garamsythe Underground Waterway after
* Foe: targeting leader ? Nalbina Dungeons after getting your
equipment back (Be careful, that chest might be one of the
ones you shouldn't open if you want the best weapon.)
Buy from Burrough in Barheim Passage
Burrough is the merchant you get the fuse from, and who tells you
how to get through the passage. The following gambits can be
purchased from him:
* Ally: HP<50%
* Ally: HP<30%
At this point, you can have the two backup characters healing at
different thresholds. For example, in my second party I will set
Ashe's healing gambit at a higher precentage than Basch, since he is
the better fighter (I have him using a heavy axe or hammer). For
example, for Ashe I will set *Ally: HP<70% / Cure*, and for Basch
*Ally: HP<50% / Cura*. This means that Ashe will do most of the
healing, letting Basch pound the enemies, but if she gets behind on
her healing (like when she runs out of magic), then Basch will help
out. Notice that if Basch is healing, the party is in bad shape,
which is why I have him use *Cura* instead of *Cure*.
Find Gambits in Treasure Chests
Between the time you meet Burroughs and when you finally get back to
the world map, the following gambits can be found in treasure
chests. If you don't find them, they should be available in stores
once you get out.
* Ally: party leader ? Barheim Passage fighting Battery Mimics
* Foe: character HP >=50% ? Barheim Passage after North-South
* Foe: nearest ? Dalmasca Esterland after leaving Barheim Passage
Buy in Shops after Escaping Barheim Passage
Once you make it back to the world map, head towards Nalbina
Fortress or Rabinastre and you can buy the following gambits:
* Ally: any (should already have this one)
* Ally: HP<80%, HP<60%, HP<40%, and HP<20%
* Ally: MP<80%, MP<70%, MP<60%, MP<50%, MP<40%, MP<30%, and MP<20%
* Ally: status=sleep, confuse, and HP Critical
* Foe: any
* Foe: targetting ally
* Foe: HP=100%, HP>70%, HP>50%, and HP>30%
* Foe: status=sleep, oil, disable, immobilize, reflect, and HP
* Foe: flying
Find in Treasure Chests
Between the time the above gambits are for sale and the time you
complete Raithwall's tomb, you can find the following gambits. If
you don't find them, they should be for sale at shops after you
complete Raithwall's tomb.
* Several magic spells become available on Leviathan in the Brig
* Ally: item AMT >=10 ? Find in tomb of Raithwall
Buy in Shops after Completing Raithwall's Tomb
Once you finish Raithwall's Tomb, the following gambits can be
purchased in shops:
* Ally: HP<90%, MP<100%, and MP<10%
* Ally: status=stop, reverse, slow, lure, reflect, and beserk
* Foe: furthest
* Foe: HP>1000 and HP>500
* Foe: HP<1000 and HP<500
* Foe: status=blind, silence, reverse, and undead
* Foe: character HP=100%
Find in Treasure Chests
After the above gambits are for sale, the following can be found. If
you don't find them, they should be available once the list of
gambits for sale has been updated.
* Foe: lighting-weak ? Giza Plains (Tracks of the Beast)
* Foe: character status=HP Critical ? Giza Plains Wet Season
Buy in Shops at Balfonheim Port
This is where you get most of the "self" gambits. There are still a
few outstanding, but this should finish out most of the gambits that
you don't have yet. At this point, you should add a gambit: *Self:
MP<10% / Charge*. This will help them regain their MP automatically
during long battles.
* Ally: Status = KO, Stone, and Petrify
* Ally: Status = Doom, Blind, Poison, Silence, Sap, and Oil
* Ally: Status = Disable, Immobilize, and Disease
* Ally: Status = Protect, Shell, Haste, Bravery, and Faith
* Ally: Status = Invisible, Regen, Float, and Bubble
* Foe: HP >= 10,000 and 5,000
* Foe: HP < 10,000 and 5,000
* Foe: Status = Petrify, Stop, Confuse, and Doom
* Foe: Status = Poison, Sap, Slow, or Disease
* Foe: Status = Regen and Beserk
* Foe: Character status = Bravery and Faith
* Self: HP < 100%, 90%, 80%, 70%, 60%, 50%, 40%, 30%, 20%, and 10%
* Self: MP < 100%, 90%, 80%, 70%, 60%, 50%, 40%, 30%, 20%, and 10%
* Self: Status = Petrify, Doom, Blind, Poison, and Silence
* Self: Status = Sap, Oil, Reverse, Immobolize, Slow, and Disease
* Self: Status = Lure, Protect, Shell, and Haste
* Self: Status = Bravery, Faith, Reflect, Invisible, and Regen
* Self: Status = Float, Bubble, and HP Critical
Buy in Shops after Giruvegan
These gambits handle foes with higher HP, as well as specific
weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Remember that vulnerable simply
means they can receive damage, while weak means that they will
receive additional damage from the specified elemental.
* Foe: HP ? 100K, HP ? 50K
* Foe: HP < 100K, HP < 50K
* Foe: Fire, Wind, Holy, and Dark weak
* Foe: Ice, Earth, Wind, Holy, and Dark Vulnerable
If you go to the hidden shop in Necrohol of Nabudis at this point,
you can buy the Maximillian Armor and the Demon Shield, along with
Telekinesis and a Ring of Renewal.
Sample Configurations [config]
* Partitioning Gambits <#parts>
* Using Decoy <#decoy>
* Using Reverse <#reverse>
* Making Money <#money>
* Weakening the Enemy <#weak>
* Dividing Up Your Party <#divide>
When setting up gambits, try to envision what you want the various
characters to do in given situations, and then set up the gambits to
mimic your strategy. Next, you should get into a number of easy fights
and pay attention to what each character does. Are they doing what you
think they should be doing? If not, then find out why and adjust the
Once you think you have your gambits in good shape, you are ready to try
some harder battles. If you are using a good strategy, you should be
able to sit back and watch a boss fight, and only need to pick up the
controller when things get too far out of hand. I was able to beat a
number of bosses without ever touching the controller. Some people might
think that takes all the fun out of the game, but the characters were
doing the same thing I would have commanded them to do if I weren't
using gambits. This way, I'm able to keep an eye out for the big
picture. Often when I'm in the middle of a fight, I'm looking around to
see where I want to go after this fight is over.
Partitioning Gambits [parts]
When setting up gambits, divide them into the following segments:
High-priority support / recovery actions
The block of gambits at the top of your gambit lists should be the
high-priority actions. These gambits will be performed before the
character attacks any of the enemies. This means that only
high-priority actions that only fire under certain conditions should
Some example gambits for this group would be: "Ally: Any / Raise"
and "Ally: Any / Esuna", which will make sure that all party members
are alive and not suffering most status problems.
After the critical gambits, you should but the gambits for fighting.
These gambits should continue to fire as long as there are enemies
All the characters should have: "Foe: Party Leader's target", while
the leader should then have something like "Foe: Nearest" as a
second attack gambit.
Post-battle recovery actions
After the combat gambits you should place your clean-up gambits.
These gambits only kick in once there are no enemies in the area.
These can be used to recover the party. For example: "Ally; HP<100%
/ Cure". Once all the foes have been killed off, this gambit will
cause the character to cure everyone in the party until they are all
Another gambit you should use once you can is "Self MP < 30% /
Charge". If any characters have lost all (or most of) their MP
during a battle, they will continue to charge until they reach 30%
of their MP. You usually don't want to charge during a battle. Each
time they hit or get hit, they should gain a little MP. After the
battle, they can charge if they are out of MP. If, during this time,
an enemy appears, then the battle gambits will kick in, suspending
the charging until after the new enemy is defeated. Since the Charge
command sometimes miss, and when it misses, the MP is set to zero,
you want to strike a balance between getting enough MP to be useful,
but not so many that it will take you forever to get there.
The high priority gambits should be at the top of your list, followed by
the battle actions, and finally the post-battle recovery actions. It is
important to remember that each character cycles through the gambits.
The first one it finds that matches the current situation, it will
excecute that gambit and start the next cycle at the top of the list. So
the order of the gambits should reflect your priorities. Anything above
the attack gambits should be super-high priority.
For your fighters, the only gambits that should be above the attack
gambits would be gambits to revive falled allies (probably with a
Phoenix Down if you have plenty), and maybe a high cure (like Curaja) if
any ally is HP Critical. For your support characters, you probably want
to have more spells to heal or fix status ailments. What I usually do is
have two support characters, but one with primary responsibility for
healing, and the other to normally fight, but heal whenver HP drops too
far. My main healer would cast Cure around HP<70%, and the backup would
cast a Curaga at around HP<40%. Further in the game, you will want to
change these to Curaga for the main healer and Curaja for the backup
healer. (The reasoning being that if the HP of a character dropped well
below the threshold for the main healer, you probably want to take more
Using Decoy [decoy]
This approach causes the enemies to concentrate on the party leader,
while the other members provide backup and only attack when the
targetted character is in good condition.
The gambits for the party leader could be:
1 Ally: Any Raise
2 Self Decoy
3 Foe: Party Leader's target Attack
4 Foe: Nearest visible Attack
5 Ally: HP<100% Cure
6 Self Libra
The other characters could have the following gambits:
1 Ally: Any Raise
2 Ally: HP<40% Curaga
3 Ally: Any Esuna
4 Ally: HP<70% Cure
5 Foe: Party Leader's target Attack
6 Ally: HP<100% Cure
Notice that both sets of gambits start the same way: to raise any fallen
The party leader puts him/herself into decoy status and then attacks the
enemy. If one of the other characters die, then he/she will revive them,
but otherwise he/she will continue to attack.
The back-up characters make sure that everyone (especially the party
leader) is in good health. As long as the party leader is in decent
health, the backup characters will attack. As soon as his/her health
drops to 70%, they will resuming healing.
Notice that both backup characters have the same gambits, which mean
they will often be doing the same thing. You can change this a bit by
reversing gambits #3 and #4 so that if the party leader is both below
70% and has a status anomaly, each character will be working on a
different problem. Another approach is to have each backup character
heal different status ailments, and possibly use different HP levels for
If both characters are casting "curaga" because the party leader is less
than 40%, as soon as the first character casts their spell, the HP of
the party leader will increase. If the new HP is above 40%, the second
character will cancel their spell, since the gambit condition is no
After the fight is over, the characters will continue to cure everyone
until everyone is at 100% HP.
This approach works best if you are attacking a single enemey, and the
two backup characters are using long-range weapons. (Vaan, Balthier, and
Fran with their default weapons are good examples) The party leader
should have a melee weapon, and keep up close to the enemy. That way the
backup characters stay out of harm's way.
If the party leader gets killed, you might have to pick a different
leader (depending on how quickly he/she is raised). If that happens, as
soon as the original party leader is revived, make him/her the party
leader again. The party leader will cast Libra (which makes traps and
extra targetting information visible) whenever it times out. If it times
out during a fight, the character will wait until after the fight before
it casts it again.
Using Reverse [reverse]
This approach is tricky, but can make difficult battles fairly easy if
you can pull it off. The status of reverse does the opposite of what is
normal: attacks heal the party member, and restorative items/spells give
damage. Part of the problem is that the reverse status doesn't last that
long, and so if you aren't paying attention, those hits can change from
healing to killing the party member off before you notice it.
You probably want to cast both reverse and decoy on the party member.
You also want to make sure that the healing gambits of the other members
are turned off, or changed from *Ally: HP<X%* to *Self: HP<X%*. If you
have enough money, use Phoenix Down instead of casting Raise, which will
take less time.
If done correctly, the enemy will concentrate on the party member who
has decoy and reverse, which means the other party members can attack
without receiving damage. Each attack on the character with Reverse will
actually heal the decoy, which means they will probably be at 100% HP
during the entire battle (or until Reverse wears off.) You want to cast
reverse (and decoy) as soon as they wear off. You can do that with a
gambit for the specific character. For example, if you decide to try
this with Vaan, the other party members can have gambits like: *Ally:
Vaan / Reverse* and *Ally: Vaan / Decoy*, or add "*Self / Reverse* and
*Self / Decoy* to the decoy's gambits.
Making Money [money]
The following set of gambits can maximize the amount of money you
accumulate. Remember to equip Thief Cuffs if you have them to increase
how much stuff you steal from enemies.
The party leader could have the following gambits:
1 Ally: Any Raise
2 Foe: Party Leader's target (normally turned off) Attack
3 Foe: Party Leader's target Steal
4 Foe: Nearest visible Steal
5 Ally: HP<100% Cure
I normally have gambit #2 turned off, which causes the party leader to
steal instead of attack. For weaker enemies, this doesn't matter much
because you will probably only get one chance to steal, since your other
party members will finish the enemy off before you get a second chance
to steal. For a harder boss, I will manually control the party leader by
clicking the "X" button to perform attacks after they have stolen an
item from the enemy, or turn on gambit #2. I generally only turn gambit
#2 on for boss fights or really hard enemies, since it is easier to
click "X" a few times than to turn a gambit on and off.
If you are more interested in money than experience, you can use the
1 Ally: Any Raise
2 Foe: HP Critical Poach
3 Foe: Party Leader's target Steal
4 Foe: Nearest visible Steal
5 Ally: HP<100% Cure
The difference here is that when the HP of the foe becomes critical, the
party leader will attempt to poach, which results in more money but at
the cost of no experience.
Make sure at least one party members continues to attack instead of
poaching. Some enemies are immune to poaching, and your party can get
killed off if they continue to poach instead of attacking.
Weakening the Enemy [weak]
The following gambits can be used by one of the backup characters
(probably your weakest fighter or your best magic caster). Their purpose
will be to lower some stat of an enemy: either the defence, the magic
defence, or the strength of the enemy. Which one you want to use depends
on the nature of the enemy.
You probably want to limit this type of setup to a boss. For normal
types of enemies, you would be better off having everyone participate in
1 Ally: Any Raise
2 Ally: Any Esuna
3 Ally: HP<40% Curaja
4 Foe: Party Leader's target Expose, Shear, or Wither
5 Ally: HP<100% Cure
With the above gambits, the character will continue to hit the current
enemy with whatever weakening technique was chosen. Remember that you
can change gambits even during a fight, so you can let this character
switch attacks at various times. For example, some bosses have times
when they are impervious to physical or magic attacks. When this
happens, you can switch the weakening attack as well as the actual
attack from the other party members.
If you have extra gambit slots, you can set up three slots for Expose,
Shear, and Wither. Turn off all but the type of attack you want. If you
want to use a different attack, then turn off the one you were using and
turn on the one you want.
You can use a "Foe:" gambit to control when to weaken and when to
attack. For examaple:
1 Ally: Any Raise
2 Ally: Any Esuna
3 Ally: HP<40% Curaja
4 Foe: HP>50% Expose, Shear, or Wither
5 Foe: Party Leader's target Attack
6 Ally: HP<100% Cure
The above gambit setup assumes that there is only one enemy during the
fight. If there were more than one enemy, you run the risk of the backup
character weakening one foe, with the rest of the party attacking a
different foe. You could get around this by making the caster your lead
character, so that the others will attack whoever the leader is weakening.
Dividing Up Your Party [divide]
There are times when you may want to fight two different sets of enemies
at the same time. This often happens when you are trying to take out a
boss who has a group of minions that keep getting in your face.
Sometimes it is best to simply ignore them and concentrate on the boss,
but if the minions keep being generated, they can eventually overwhelm
In times like this, you might want to divide your forces: two party
members can concentrate on the boss, while the third member is
responsible for the majority of the support (cure, esuna, etc.) and the
minions. There should always be a way to determine within the gambits
which foes a character should attack. Since all party members should
have the first attack gambit defined as: *Foe: Party leader's target*,
as soon as you target the boss with the main character, the second
character will concentrate on the boss.
To have a third party member concentrate on a different foe, determine
how best to distinguish the other foe. If this is a boss fight with
minions, then probably the easiest gambit would be: *Foe: Lowest HP*,
which would almost never be the boss (unless the fight is almost over.)
Notice that if there are no minions around, the third character will
attack the boss, since it would have the lowest HP, but as soon as a new
minion is generated, they would attack the minion. If the HP of the boss
is lower than the HP of the minion, you probably want to finish off the
boss instead of messing around with the minion.
If you have Libra turned on, you can target the different foes and come
up with distinguishing features, such as flying, weak against some
elemental, lowest Max HP/MP, etc. This can be useful if there are
different types of minions, and you want to take them out in a specific
order. Don't forget to reset your gambits after the battle. If you
notice that the party isn't functioning the same any more, check out the
gambits and see if there are any are left over changes you forgot about.
Also remember that you can change gambits on the fly during a battle.
This means that if one approach isn't working, or if conditions have
changed, you can tweak the settings to have to party perform the way you
A good example of the advantages of this approach is when you are
hunting Roblon. He is surrounded by a number of Dead Bones that keep
getting regenerated on a regular basis. If you ignore the Dead Bones,
you will quickly get overwhelmed. For this fight, I found that it was
best to have the leader of the party with *Foe: Lowest HP / Attack* and
have the rest of the party with *Foe: Party leader's target*. Although
this means you are often not fighting Roblon, it works out pretty well
since you keep the distractions down, and you will get a pretty good
chain going, and end up healing the party fairly often. An alternative
approach is to have one of your backup characters with a *Foe: Lowest HP
/ Attack* followed by *Foe: Party leader's target / Attack*. This means
your backup character will attack any small minions that get created,
and then attack the boss. Notice that when the boss gets very weak, the
backup character will concentrate on the boss instead of the minnions if
they are stronger than the boss.
Remember that you can always override any character's actions by
clicking on "X", navigating to the character, and then inputting a
command directly. Usually this will cancel whatever the character was
doing, but if you wait too long, it might queue it up for the next command.
Tips, Guidelines, Words of Wisdom, etc. [tips]
* Forming Parties <#tip-party>
* Mixing Weapons <#tip-weapons>
* Changing Things on the Fly <#tip-changing>
* Keeping Everyone Alive <#tip-alive>
* Keeping Things in Order <#tip-order>
* Control Other Characters <#tip-nonleader>
* Specific Examples of Gambits for Bosses <#tip-examples>
o Adrammelech, The Wroth <#tip-ex-adram>
o Zalera, the Death Seraph <#tip-ex-zalera>
o Zodiark, Keeper of Precepts <#tip-ex-zodiark>
* Catch-All <#tip-catchall>
This section contains a collection of suggestions on how to get the most
out of your game.
Forming Parties [tip-party]
Your party consists of three people. While you can combine characters in
any way, and let any character be the party leader, if you keep changing
party configurations you will have to keep switching gambits. Depending
on how long it takes you to configure a new set of gambits, it might be
best to have more stable party configurations.
I had two groups that I pretty much always kept together. The first
party was Vaan, Balthier, and Fran. The second party was Basch, Ashe,
and Penelo. Vaan and Penelo were the two leaders, and both were
configured for stealing instead of attacking:
1 Foe: Party leader's target Steal
2 Foe: Nearest visible Steal
3 Ally: HP < 100% Cure
Vaan and Penelo use a sword and a shield, and once they steal something,
I take over and keep hitting "X" to attack instead of steal. (I only
have to do that for the stronger foes, since the weaker ones are usually
taken out before the leaders can make a second attack.) I also use the
leaders to perform anything out of the ordinary, like casting dispel on
the enemy. Most of the time, I just let the gambits control the actions
of the group. It is only for bosses or if I'm in a hurry that I will
take over the leader. For bosses, I will usually go in and change the
gambit from steal to attack and then let the gambits take over again.
Balthier uses a gun, and Fran uses a bow, and both have a number of
support gambits to heal and cure status problems before actually
fighting. Ashe uses a one-handed weapon and a shield, while Basch uses a
two-handed weapon and is normally in beserk mode.
The advantage of the first party is that Fran and Balthier tend to stay
out of harm's way, even if Vaan doesn't use decoy. This party has taken
out bosses without me needing to even touch the controller (except for
changing steal to attack). The second party, however, tends to clear out
enemies quicker, especially if they are set up to also cast haste on
Basch (or hastega for everyone). I keep switching between the two
parties to make sure they both stay at about the same level. Once the
first party gets two levels ahead of the other, I will switch parties
until they are all the same level, and then switch back to the first
party again. The official strategy advises against this: it claims once
you get to a high level, you should abandon one of the parties and
concentrate on one. I don't care for that approach, but if you are in a
hurry to finish the game, then that might be the way for you.
Once you get Golden Amulets, make sure they are at least on the inactive
party members. This is because the inactive members gain licence points,
but don't gain experience points. If you have Embroidered Tippets, then
equip them on the active party, which will cause them to level up much
faster (twice as fast, to be exact). I generally let one party gain one
or two levels and then swap them out for the other party. I swap the
embroidered tippets and golden amulets between the active and inactive
party. (After they learn all the licenses, I just keep the embroidered
tippets on them.) This way, all characters are within a level or two of
The advantage of having two parties at about the same level is that if
your party gets wiped out, you can switch to the other party and
continue the fight. When that happens, I have one party member cast
raise (or arise if available) on the inactive party members and maybe
give them ethers. Using this approach, if the backup party also gets
taken out, I can keep swapping parties until I either win or escape.
Since my two parties use different fighting strategies, I have found
that certain parties work better for some bosses than the other. It
isn't simply that one party is stronger or better than the other, but
rather that one approach works better for certain enemies than the
other. This is the advantage of keeping both parties at about the same
level ? you can swap them out whenever you need to. If one party isn't
making much progress, try the other party.
Mixing Weapons [tip-weapons]
You might be tempted to have everyone using the strongest weapons that
are available, but that isn't always the best approach. It is important
to understand how the various weapons behave in order to make an
intelligent decision about what mix to use. For example, some heavy
weapons like axes and hammers have a very high attack power, but they
tend to be slower, frequently miss, and tend not to combo very often. A
weapon with less attack power may get multiple hits, which means the
total damage per turn is more than the other weapon. Some weapons have a
wide variation in the amount of damage. For example, hand bombs might do
a lot of damage or almost no damage; you never know for sure. Watch how
much damage each character inflicts and then try changing weapons and
see what changes to the amount of damage appear.
For distance weapons, I tend to have Balthier and Fran use guns and
bows. Guns tend to be weaker than bows, but guns ignore the defense of
the enemy, which means that for enemies with high defense, a gun will do
more damage than a bow. Both weapons keep the character away from the
enemy, so the amount of damage those characters take tends to be lower.
The other thing you want to pay attention to is the elemental effect of
any weapons. For example, if you have a weapon with a fire elemental,
and if the enemy absorbs fire, you might have one of your characters
actually healing the enemy each time while the others are inflicting
damage. For that reason, I tend to use weapons and ammo that either have
no elemental effect, or inflict things like poison, slow, etc. Pay
attention to how much damage each character is doing. If a character
isn't doing much damage, try changing to another type of weapon, or one
with a different elemental attribute. (Again, this is why the gambit
system is so nice - you have time to watch what is going on instead of
Every character should have licenses for at least one distance weapon.
When you encounter flying foes, short-ranged weapons don't do much good
until you get telekenisis, which is quite late in the game. When you
upgrade Fran or Balthier, don't sell their older weapons, so that they
will be available for the other party members.
Changing Things on the Fly [tip-changing]
You can hit the triangle button during a battle and get into the menu
system. At that point, you can change the equipment and/or the gambits
for any character. You can also go into the License board and purchase
any squares that are needed to equip a particular weapon or accessory,
or to perform a magic spell or technique.
The gambits system allows you to take more time looking at the battles,
since you aren't mashing buttons all the time. Keep an eye out for signs
of problems. For example, if you notice the enemy gets healed every so
often during a battle, check to make sure that one of your characters
doesn't have a weapon with an elemental that the enemy absorbs. If one
character seems to be doing very little damage, consider changing what
type of weapon they are using, or switch them to casting expose or shear
to help increase the damage caused by the other characters. The weaker
of the two backup characters should have the primary responsibility for
healing, but that might change depending on the foe. For example, I
normally have Ashe doing most of the healing since Basche is such a good
fighter. However, if I am fighting a flying enemy, I give Ashe a bow and
let her fight, and have Bashe doing most of the healing. This is because
Bashe is slow and will often miss a flying foe. (The way you change
healing assignments is to change the healing thresholds. If one
character has *Ally: HP<70% / Cure* and another has *Ally: HP<50% /
Cure*, then the first one will do most of the healing. To switch them,
swap the two thresholds.)
If you have Libra turned on, then take manual control of the party
leader and target the current enemy. See if it has some kind of
weakeness; if so, then change the attack of your high magic characters
to match the weakness, or equip a weapon with the matching elemental
affect for your fighters.
If you have all characters with the "Foe: Party Leader's target" gambit,
you can easily change the focus of the fight by manually taking control
of the party leader and attacking whatever enemy you want to target
next. As soon as the party leader targets a foe, the rest of the party
will concentrate on that enemy.
Another trick is to change accessories at the last minute. During a hard
battle, you should equip accessories that counter whatever status
effects the enemy casts. Just before you defeat the enemy, switch out
their accessories for either Golden Amulet or Embroidered Tippet, which
doubles the LP or EXP gained.
Keeping Everyone Alive [tip-alive]
One of the nice features of this game is that the game isn't over until
all of your characters have been killed. Not just your active party, but
all characters. If your entire active party is killed, you will be asked
to change your party configuration.
If your active party dies, switch to your other party. As soon as the
fight resumes, take control of one the party members and cast "Raise" or
"Arise" for each of the original party members. (Press R1 to target the
backup party.) If you use your party leader, make sure they target an
enemy before doing this so that the other members will attack, and then
keep away from the enemies so that your party leader doesn't take
damage. Basically, you want the other characters to keep the enemy busy
while you are reviving the original party.
Once the other party is alive again, you can either continue to attack
with your current party, or switch back to your original party. I tend
to stay with the other party, since the two have different fighting
styles sometimes one group will tend to do better than the other for a
Once you get the *arise* spell, things get extremely easy, since your
other party will be totally restored with all their HP and MP.
Keep Things in Order [tip-order]
The order in which you arrange the gambits is very important. It is very
easy to arrange gambits so that some of them will never be selected. It
is also possible that you can end up getting killed off because you
arranged the gambits in the wrong order.
For example, suppose you want to keep your party healthy, and decide to
cast "Cure" when a character gets below 90% HP. However, if a character
takes a lot of damage, you might instead want to cast "Curaga" if the
character is below 30%. Suppose you set up the following gambits:
The wrong order:
1 Ally: HP < 90% Cure
2 Ally: HP < 30% Curaga
There is a serious problem with the above arrangement: the second gambit
will never be selected. Remember that the first gambit with a valid
condition will be executed, and then starts at the top of the list
again. Suppose a character is at 70% HP. Since 70% is less than 90%,
gambit 1 will be executed. However, if the character is at 20% HP, that
is still less than 90%, so gambit 1 will be executed again. Gambit #2
will never be executed, and your character will probably die, since this
character will only cast "Cure" even when you want them to cast "Curaga".
The correct order:
1 Ally: HP < 30% Curaga
2 Ally: HP < 90% Cure
Now, if a character is at 70% HP, the condition for gambit #1 is false,
so gambit #2 is executed. Since 70% is less than 90%, gambit #2 is
executed. However, if the character is down to 20% HP, the condition for
gambit 1 is true, so the character will cast "Curaga."
Here is another example:
1 Ally: Any Vox
2 Ally: Any Poisona
3 Ally: Any Esuna
The above arrangement will help you save MP. If another member of the
party is Silenced, this character will cast Vox to cure them. Likewise,
if a character is poisoned, this character will cast Poisona to cure
them. The Esuna spell will cure a wide variety of status ailments,
including silence and poison, but it also costs a lot more than the more
specific spells. This means that you can save MP by casting Vox instead
of Esuna to cure Silence.
Notice, however, if you had the above gambits in a different order,
things wouldn't work quite right. If Vox or Poisona appeared /after/
Esuna, it will never get cast, since the character would cast Esuna
instead. However, if you are fighting a foe that casts something like
bad breath, which has a large variety of status ailments, then you
probably want to move Esuna to the front of the list (or temporarily
turn off the Vox and Poisona gambits) so that your backup characters
don't spend a lot of time casting individual corrective spells. Just
remember to restore the gambits to their original configuration when
that fight is over.
A more subtle problem appears below. Suppose you want to make a lot of
money, so you try to poach whenever possible. (You can poach a foe who
is down to critical HP. You finish off the foe and get some loot, even
if you have stolen loot from the enemy earlier.) Before doing this, you
should remember that when you poach a foe, you don't get any experience
or license points.
This gambit setup has problems:
1 Foe: HP Critical Poach
2 Foe: Party Leader's target Attack
There are two problems with the above setup: (a) some enemies are immune
to poach, and (b) stronger foes can be in HP Critical, but still have
too much HP to poach.
If either of the above conditions are true, then this character will
never kill such an enemy. They will continue to try to poach the foe,
and continue to fail. My party got killed once while fighting a mark
when I was distracted and doing something else (not related to the
game). I looked up and was surprised to find the entire party dead!
Fortunately, after I swapped in the second party, I realized what was
wrong and corrected it. Make sure that at least one of your characters
A similar problem appears in the gambits below:
1 Foe: HP < 10% Attack
2 Ally: Any Raise
3 Ally: Any Esuna
4 Ally: HP < 50% Curaga
5 Foe: Party Leader's target Attack
The idea with the above gambit setup is that if a foe is almost dead,
have everyone pile on until it is dead, and then go back to the normal
routine of heal and attack. The reason is that if you hurry up and kill
a weakened enemy, you reduce the amount of damage your party will
receive, since you have one less enemy attacking. (It has never seemed
fair to me that an enemy that is on its last breath will still hit you
with the same damage as when they are at 100%.)
The above gambit works great most of the time. The problem, however,
comes when you are up against a boss, or any other foe with a huge
amount of HP. For normal foes, it doesn't take long to do away with 10%
of their HP. However, you can have the boss below 10% HP, and it could
still be a long time before you defeat it. During that time, other party
members could easily get killed off if you aren't paying attention.
An easy solution to the above situation is that, when facing a boss,
simply go into the Gambit systems for your characters and turn gambit #1
off. After the boss fight is over, go back in and turn it on again.
Control Other Characters [tip-nonleader]
While most of the time you will be controlling the party leader and the
other party members will follow, there are times when you want to
control a different character other than the party leader. For example,
if your party is working on a given enemy, and a minor foe wanders into
the battle. Many times you can ignore them and concentrate on the main
foe, but sometimes you want to get rid of the distraction. If you attack
the other foe with the party leader, then everyone else will follow
suit, and that might give the boss a chance to regenerate or perform a
strong attack. Instead, you can take control of one of the back-up
characters (press the X button, then move left or right on the D-pad to
select the character.) and have them attack the other enemy. This will
allow the other characters to continue to fight the main enemy.
Another situation when you might want to take control of the other party
members is when you are fighting a boss that does a lot of status
effects. If you aren't careful, your party might spend most (if not all)
of its time healing and curing status ailments, but not spend much (if
at all) time actually attacking the boss. One possibility is to change
the gambits by turning off the status cures, and dropping the HP
thresholds for healing, or you might want to simply control each
character for that fight. This is quite similar to previous FF games
that didn't have the gambit system.
Specific Examples of Gambits for Bosses [tip-examples]
* Adrammelech, The Wroth <#tip-ex-adram>
* Zalera, the Death Seraph <#tip-ex-zalera>
* Zodiark, Keeper of Precepts <#tip-ex-zodiark>
This section describes how I used gambits to take down certain bosses.
In most cases, the gambits completely controlled the characters. The
only manual intervention involved performing the Nihopalaoa and Remedy
trick, and stealing an item from the boss. My actual gambits also
included healing and restoring gambits like "Ally: Any / Esuna" and
"Ally: HP<60% / Cura."
At the start of most battles, I would use the Nihopalaoa / remedy trick,
steal whatever was available, and then let the gambits take over. I
would monitor the battle, looking for signs of trouble. For example, if
an enemy getting healed every so often - does somebody have a weapon
with an elemental that the enemy absorbs? If somebody doesn't seem to be
doing much damage, experiment by equipping a different weapon and seeing
On rare occassions, I will swap out characters. Normally, I keep the two
teams separate, but for example when fighting Giglamesh, I happened to
have a team made up of my lowest characters at the time: Vaan, Basch,
and Ashe. Basch wasn't doing much damage and of course was as slow as
usual, so I swapped him out for Penelo. The result was a very powerful
team of hard hitters: Ashe had the Zodiac Spear, Vaan had Save the
Queen, and Penelo had Defender. I manually used the remedy trick and
stole during each stage of the second fight with Giglamesh in Site 7.
When he was immune to physical fights, I changed the gambits to cast
something like Darkra or Expose until he could be hit with physical
damage. During most of the fight, the controller sat on my lap while
reading the battle log to see what was going on.
Adrammelech, The Wroth [tip-ex-adram]
This boss spawns small undead minions (Shambling Corpses) periodically.
They aren't that strong, but if you ignore them for too long, they can
become a serious problem. The approach I used was to have the party
leader concentrate on the boss, and have the backup characters take care
of any minnions if they appeared. You can use this approach for many
The gambits for the party leader:
1 Ally: Any Raise
2 Foe: Party Leader's target Attack
3 Foe: Nearest Attack
While the backup characters have these gambits:
1 Ally: Any Raise
2 Foe: lowest maximum HP Attack
3 Foe: Party Leader's target Attack
The backup characters attack minnions as they appear. When there are no
minnions, they will attack the boss.
I also used this set up for Zeromus with the twist of having to use
items, since magic was sealed. In the case of Zeromus, I kept using
Quickenings, and because of all the fighting, was able to build up a big
chain and restore all my magic for several rounds of Quickenings. I set
up the party leader with an extra gambit to attack the lowest HP enemy.
I'm not sure that was necessary, but it helped clear out the minnions.
Zalera, the Death Seraph [tip-ex-zalera]
This boss if a twist on the previous one. You have a strict time limit,
and the boss is invulnerable while any minnions are present. In this
case, all three party members had the same gambits:
1 Ally: Any Raise
2 Foe: lowest maximum HP Attack
With this set up, everyone attacks the boss until a minnion is spawned.
Once that happens, the characters finish their current attack on the
boss and attacks a minnion. If somebody else took it out they continue
to attack the boss. Depending on how the game matches gambits with
enemies, it is possible that each character might be attacking a
different enemy, which is probably better and would probably take less
time than everyone piling onto each minnion and moving on to the next.
Zodiark, Keeper of Precepts [tip-ex-zodiark]
This is a long fight, but except for the last part of the battle, your
normal gambits will work pretty well. It frequently casts Blind, so
using Eye Drops helps save on Remedy and Esuna. Make sure all three
characters use Phoenix Down when an ally falls. We had Penelope, Ashe,
and Basch as the main party. Ashe was set up for magic and did most of
the healing. Penelope and Basch were set up for fighting.
Zodiark casts Darkja often, and it frequently takes out one or more
characters. For this reason, buffs don't help, since they go away the
next time the character is killed. We had Ashe casting Bravery, but took
that off because she was spending too much time doing that and missed
healing in time to save a character.
At the last part of the battle, Zodiark is immune to physical attacks,
and has Reflect. The official guide suggests using Dispel, but Split
Infinity says not to, so I listened to him. What I did was put an Opal
Ring on and changed the gambit from attack to Scathe. The Opal Ring
causes spells to ignore the Reflect status. Scathe does significant
damage, which shortens the last part of the battle.
The fighters would have the following gambits.
1 Ally: Any Phoenix Down
2 Ally: Any Raise
3 Self Eye Drops
4 Foe: Party Leader's target Attack
5 Foe: Party Leader's target Scathe
When Zodiark is immune to physical damage, turn off gambit 4 (Attack) so
that gambit 5 (Scathe) will be used instead. Since the fighters would
likely miss an attack when blind, it makes sense to have them heal
themselves. That way, the healer can concentrate on keeping the party
alive and healthy.
A catch-all of tips, suggestions, comments, etc.
Use Items for Speed
For normal fights, magic and techniques are perfectly fine, but when
you are in a boss fight, you probably want to change your strategy.
You should set your cure spells so they are cast earlier, since a
boss will do a lot more damage than normal enemies.
If you have enough money, consider using items instead of magic
spells for certain conditions. This is especially true for Phoenix
Downs. If a character is down, you want them back up as soon as
possible, which means you should use an item instead of a spell. If
you aren't careful, you can have one character KO'd, and then have
another taken down while they are trying to perform a raise.
Once you have the Thief's Cuffs, there is no reason you can't use
items instead of spells, since you can steal all the potions and
other items you need. You can also sell all the loot you steal and
use the money to buy whatever items you aren't getting from
stealing. The only exception is when you get the "Arise" spell,
which you could use instead of Phoenix Downs.
As soon as you can buy Golden Amulets, equip them on everyone, or at
least on the inactive members of your party. Characters only gain
experience if they are in the active party, but they gain license
points even if they are inactive. Since license points are the only
thing that the reserve characters can gain, always put Golden
Amulets on them.
You can only steal once from an enemy, but if you have thief cuffs
equipped, you can sometimes steal more than one item. The items you
steal with thief cuffs tend to be much better than the ones you
steal without them. This is a great way to earn more money, but you
will also find you can get good equipment that way as well. For
example, I was able to steal equipment before it was available in
stores. Certain characters seem to have more luck stealing, and
other characters tend to get much better items. Experiment and see
who in your party should be stealing.
Remember that you can switch equipment during fights, so for boss
fights or other foes that will take several turns to defeat, put the
thief cuffs on until you steal something, and then switch to the
Embroidered Tippets or Golden Amulents, depending on what you are
trying to gain. For tough enemies, once they are almost dead, you
might think about switching out your protective accessory for Golden
Amulets or Embroidered Tippets.
When you get to the Tchita Uplands, keep stealing from the Coeurl
until you get enough Embroidered Tippets for everyone in your party.
They double the amount of experience you get, and won't be available
until you get to Archades, when you can first buy them.
Until you have filled out the license board, equip Embrodered
Tippets on the active members, and Golden Amulets on the inactive
ones. Once everyone has all the licenses, keep the Embroidered
Tippets on everyone unless you are fighting a tough boss that
requires special protection.
As any fan of Final Fantasy knows, the Ribbon is the ultimate
accessory. It prevents all kinds of status ailments, so a party with
ribbons equipped is great!
There are several places you can get ribbons, but the best place I
found was in Cerobi Steppes, which is north west of Balfonheim Port.
Fly to Cerobi Steppes, which will place you in a small area with an
anchor and a blue save area. Make sure you have the Diamond Armlet
equipped, and save your game. The following assumes you have plenty
of items and money, and are only interested in Ribbons.
Use the north exit. Hold down R2 to avoid fighting, and travel north
west along the ridge until you come to a pot. (The pot should be
just as the ridge turns to the right. Sometimes it isn't there, so
when you get to that spot, turn left.) Turn left and you will see a
tree and behind that, a large rock. Go to the right of the tree and
the rock, then travel around the edges of the rock. If you find a
pot, open it - it might be a ribbon; if you didn't get a ribon, then
reset the game and try again (Start - Square will reset the game.)
Obviously, if you get a ribbon, go back and save, then reset the
game and continue.
The pot appears about half the time, and a ribbon is rare, but if
you keep this up, you should be able to get at least one ribbon per
hour, maybe more. Resetting your game as soon as you don't get a
ribbon saves you time instead of going back and saving before
resetting. Apparently, the existence and content of pots are
determined at load time, which is why you can reset as soon as you
don't see a pot or open it and don't get a ribbon.
This is a neat accessory that you can get from the Clan Provisioner
in the Mutru Bazaar in Rabanastre. It reverses the effect of
Now why would you ever want to reverse curative items? When you are
fighting a boss.
Equip Nihopalaoa on a character and have him/her throw a Remedy at
the boss. This will inflict blind, silence, poison, etc. on the
enemy. Anything that remedy will cure will be given to the target.
You can also throw echo herbs to cast silence, antidote to cast
poison, etc. Don't forget to take off this accessory when you are done.
This accessory prevents a character from gaining experience. Why
would you want to do that? When facing enemies that do "Lv" type
spells. For example, "Lv 4 Disable" will disable all characters
whose level is divisible by 4. If all party members have the same
level, this can cause problems. If you have a character that is
about to gain a level, you can use this accessory to prevent that
Nabreus Deadlands - Hidden Areas
There are two areas that don't show up on the map. The first one is
needed to find Robolon, and once you are there, the solid areas stay
on the map. You get there from The Slumbermead. Keep trying to move
north into the water. Once you find the hidden path, you will end up
on solid ground and the map will be updated.
The second hidden area is at the far north end of the area. Try
moving north along the middle of the top path in Lifeless Strand.
There is a chest at the end of this area, but it still won't show up
on the map.
When you get to Archadia, you need to earn enough chops to take the
shuttle to your next location. You only need 9 chops to get to the
next area, but if you want to get to the upper area, you will need
all 28 chops.
There are other FAQs that tell you what characters you need to match
up, but not too many tell you where to find them. If you have the
official guide, you will find that they have some of the pairs
backwards. The following lists show you who to match and where to
find them. The city is divided into four regions, and all matches
are within the same region, and the directions indicate what area of
that region the character can be found.
In the list below, the person you need to talk to first (and
memorize their story) is followed by the person you need to talk to
second (and relate the story). If you look at the map for each area,
you should be able to locate the desired character fairly quickly.
Some characters walk around more than others, so if you don't find
someone where I tell you they are, either wait for someone to come
walking into that area, or scout around the adjacent areas. (If you
notice any errors, drop me an e-mail, and I will add you to the
"thanks" section.) If you talk to the people after matching them up,
they will tell you the results of your efforts.
* *Misfortune* ? Tarot Reader (west central) and Happy
* *Epistle to Love* ? Lucky Man (central) and Romantic Lady
* *Aerial Gardens* ? Tour Leader (eastern) and Bhujerban
* *Out of Ears* ? Greenseller (eastern) and Vegetable Seller
* *Revolutionary Dish* ? Philisopher of Cuisine (western)
and Dangerous Chef (central)
* *Gambit in the Market* ? Lazy Profiteer (eastern) and
Researchers Wife (west)
* *What She Wants* ? Good Brother (western) and Waiting
Woman (east central)
* *Her History* ? Historian (lower eastern) and Perceptive
Man (lower western)
* *Lutenist* ? Music Appreciator (upper eastern) and
Lutenist (lower western)
* *Architect & Artisan* ? Builder (lower western) and
Artisan Architecht (lower western)
* *Client's Daughter* ? Smitten Man (lower western) and
Smitten Woman (lower eastern)
* *Boutique* ? Boutiquer (upper western) and Moneyed
Gentleman (lower eastern)
* *Tickets to the Farce* ? Farce Goer (upper western) and
Girl on an Errand (lower eastern)
* *Time to Leave* ? Determined Researcher (lower eastern)
and Ex-Researcher (upper eastern)
* *Path to Stardom* ? Aspiring Starlet (lower eastern) and
Faded Star (lower east end - with umbrella)
* *Halved My Wages* ? Worried Husband (lower eastern) and
Materislistic Woman (west end)
* *Grand Line of Gamesmen* ? Athletic Woman (east of weapons
/ armor shop) and Avid Reader (in front of weapons/armor)
* *Working Up a Sweat* ? Gentleman Onlooker (east of
weapons/armor) and Eager Crier (pathway to Molberry)
* *Words of Encouragement* ? Senior Researcher (in front of
armor/weapons) and Failed Researcher (path to Molberry)
* *Anniversary* ? Poor Husband (lower western) and Poor Wife
* *A Knack for Majicks* ? Talented Woman (near west stairs)
and Akedemician (in front of techniques shop)
* *Trinket from Giza* ? Daughter-in-law (lower western) and
Man from Giza (west of Techniques)
* *Master of Disguise* ? Look Alike (outside tech shop) and
Look Alike (in front of magics)
* *Mummer* ? Reminiscing Lady (west of tech shop) and Family
Minded Girl (lower level below magic shop)
* *To Be a Judge* ? Would be Judge (in front of tech shop)
and Judge's Wife (top of west stairs)
* *Traveling* ? Avid Traveler (in front of eastern stairs)
and Traveling gentleman (west of tech shop)
* *Tutor* ? Proud Mother (upper eastern) and Tutor (eastern
* *Eight and Twenty* ? Ardent woman (in front of magic shop)
and Ardent Man (west of tech shop)
If you aren't good at rapid button mashing, then don't even bother
to start this quest, unless you know a 10-year old who can help you.
The first few levels are doable by mere mortals, but then it gets
pretty much impossible unless you are very good. However, the last
section is actually the easiest.
The last section is where you need to catch the King of Nebra. It
involves an 8-button sequence, which is the hardest sequence there
is on this quest. But, since that is the only sequence that matters
on this last section, it makes life much easier. To win this area,
you need to catch the fish nine times (they don't have to be
consecutive.) You can make as many mistakes as you want; each time
you get it right, you are that much closer to winning. As soon as a
sequence appears, start punching in the 8-button code. If you make a
mistake, get ready for the next code and try again.
The sequence is: R1, L2, Up, Square, R2, L1, X, Right. What I did
was practice punching in those keys in that order. I started by
learning the last four buttons: R1, L1, X, R. Keep that up until you
can do it without thinking. Next, work on the first four: R1, L2,
The reason I learned the last part first is because of a trick that
a stage director taught me for a play I was in. If you memorize the
last part of your speech first, and then the section before that,
etc. you will know the last part without even thinking. All you need
is to know how to start it. If you memorize starting at the
beginning instead of the end, the further along you get, the less
well you know it, and as you get nervous, you are more likely to
forget. If, however, you memorized by learning the last part first,
then once you get started, you gain more confidence, and won't get
as nervous and probably won't mess up.
The two sequences are similar, but different: the first two buttons
are mirrors of each other (R1,L2 and L1,R2). The last two buttons
use the opposite hands (Up, Square and X, Right). Associate the
second two buttons with the first two, and you should be able to
punch out the buttons very fast. Use any memory trick that makes
sense to you; you just need to hit 8 buttons very fast without
thinking. You will probably still miss a lot, but you should be able
to do enough to get there within an hour or so.
Version History [version]
1.8 ? 29 August 2009
Added instructions for getting ribbons and winning the fishing quest
to the Catch-All section.
Various content edits, and clean up some HTML errors.
1.7 ? 12 May 2009
More examples for bosses.
Added reference to my Enemy / Items / Locations FAQ.
General revision of content.
1.6 ? 15 April 2009
Added specific examples of gambits for specific bosses.
1.5 ? 4 April 2009
Matching in Archaedia, Thief Cuffs, Nihopalaoa, general edits
1.4 ? 17 July 2007
Gambits after Giruvegan
1.3 ? 30 June 2007
More cleanup and details.
Added "Catch-all" section
1.2 ? June 2007
More on when gambits are available.
General cleanup and expansion
1.1 ? Jan 2007
Started list of when specific gambits are available
1.0 ? 13 Jan 2007