Final Fantasy V - Four Job Fiesta 2017: Run #1, PureChaos + FifthJob

Intro

So begins FJF 2017. I decided to try a few new things this year: the GBA version, PureChaos, and Fifth Job. For those uninitiated, FifthJob flips your Earth job to a new job when you get Krile after the crystals fight. You lose the old Earth job and gain a new one. You cannot carry over any abilities you unlocked. Having played with this now, I have some thoughts that I'll go into after the write-up. PureChaos was a ruleset added in the middle of FJF 2016. It's Chaos, but duplicates are not allowed and Freelancer and Mime are in the mix. I expected a mess, and I think I got one...

First Session: Start to Crescent Island

I did the opening a bit more methodically this time. I meandered a bit, took a few extra fights, etc. The reason for this is once I finished the Wind Shrine, I took a separate save to use in the future. I've done the opening 30 minutes for 4 Fiesta runs now, I'm ready to join the ranks of the "Unclean" who start off after the shrine. Conveniently I finished the shrine at exactly 00:30, so in the future I can load that save and just start my timer at 00:30 to get an accurate time. I'm fine with this.

After the semantics, I rolled my first job and got Ninja. This is fine, Chaos and PureChaos usually leave you running Freelancer for a bit longer than a normal run. Freelancers actually bring the pain on Karlboss and the Ship Graveyard though you do have to buy them gear and enough potions to spam on Siren when she's undead to make a quick and clean go of it. On the downside, there's absolutely nothing worthy of reporting as a result until Walse. I went into the Magisa fight planning to snap the Frost Rod and then whip Garula. I couldn't remember the exact HP and damage figures so I decided to hit Magisa a few times before snapping the rod. Well... I hit her once too many times and she summoned Forza. After a good several minutes of trying to survive he handed me my first game over. The second time I just snapped the rod and oneshot Magisa. Oops.

With the rod gone, I had concerns about Garula, but felt somewhat confident due to having Freelancers. My confidence was not misplaced when, as I was ascending the tower, I dropped a Flame Rod from one of the mages. Garula was a pushover as I beat on him until I began to lose the race to keep my party healed, then broke the rod for the win. Part of me had wanted to win without breaking the rod, but my loss to Forza already had me a bit cross and I didn't want a repeat.

The Water roll, I was dreading Berserker as it would mean Quad-Zerk for LiquidFlame. Fortunately, Gilgabot handed me Beastmaster. Unfortunately it meant one more crystal of Freelancers. Boring! On the plus side, once I arrived in Karnak I was able to acquire a golf bag of Frost Rods. I was also a level or two ahead of curve as I had to say hello to the Wild Nakk family to get the money to outfit myself properly. Freelancers are expensive!

The fireship was a joke with my combination of melee might and the ability to break rods. Since I would very soon lose the latter, I didn't have to worry about conserving rods, so I went nuts. LiquidFlame died under a barrage of blizzards without a fuss. I still had enough rods left to use them for every mandatory fight in the Karnak 600, and a few non-mandatory ones besides. Ironclaw I skipped with a little more finese, snapping a rod then meleeing him to death before taking care of his dogs. I grabbed everything except the fire scroll and shuriken-- in retrospect a mistake seeing as I had Ninja coming in moments!

One way or another I'd finally have jobs this crystal. The third roll came in as Thief. Ugh. So I loaded out two Ninjas, a Beastmaster, and a Thief and went to refit myself with mostly daggers. I actually received a decent damage increase from the change. Sure I was slinging around swords and axes as Freelancers, but with no stat bonuses and definitely no dual wield. Fortunately grabbing the Main Gauche turned out to be a good idea. Also since I now had Smoke, and back attack immunity, I headed back to Walse to get the Elf Cape and cash from the basement. Easily done.

The library posed a small problem. Not Ifrit; I just ran him over with physicals. Byblos on the other hand was irksome as I had no good form of burst and no elemental damage to bypass his auto-Drain. The fire scrolls I could have picked up in Karnak I let burn because I wasn't thinking. After dying to him 2 or 3 times because I simply couldn't out-damage his drain, I ended up swapping Beastmaster to someone else so I had two !Captures; capturing two Page 64s in the stacks and unleashing them both when Byblos got low. This did the trick but I was starting to see the weaknesses of this party composition already; not good.

Once I got access to the ship, I went straight to Crescent Island, hopped a chocobo, and flew to Nix. There I stocked up on scrolls, finally giving me a form of elemental and hit-all offense. I had several things I wanted to buy at this point: more scrolls, Mage Mashers, and eventually a Flame Ring. Since I was looking at a grind, I decided to end my session here.

Second Session: Crescent Island to Val

This part of the game, between Karnak and Regole, can be rough. Your only healing item access is Potions unless you want to grind stealing Hi-Potions in the Fire Ship, HP is beginning to balloon, and enemy difficulty suddenly spikes once you have access to the entire world. I decided to grind on Black Flames for a bit to make sure I had the money and levels I needed. Initially I wanted FOUR Flame Rings, but decided that was simply not practical after getting the cash for the first. I ended this grind session an hour later with one Flame Ring, a small library of scrolls, and five Mage Mashers.

With a bunch of Water Scrolls in tow, Sand Worm was a joke. Sure he still used Gravity twice per scroll, but he was dead in 3 or 4 casts, so he didn't even get to Quicksand me to capitalize on my ailing health. I headed into Catapult to get the Airship and triggered the Flying Ruins and the Adamantoise fight. I didn't have access to a source of Ice damage, but what I did have worked just as well. With my party in the back row I was able to just scroll him down to gain access to the Flying Ruins.

Now, anyone who's read these knows Soul Cannon is a source of ire for me. I had extreme trouble with it with one of my early runs due to being stuck with a four Beastmaster team. So I tend to come in with guns blazing and just overkill the thing in a flurry of revenge. I did the same this time; Thunder Scrolls. It takes 8 of them to kill the main cannon and two to kill the side-encounters. Most of them didn't even get to fire a shot. Ninja is OP.

Though I'd spent a good amount of time grinding, my cash and scroll supply wasn't that great. I had to buy a lot of stuff after all! So I had to be careful when I used scrolls. I determined most of the fights in the Ruins could be handled without them and proceeded to clean the entire place out. ArcheoAvis couldn't do much as I spammed Water Scrolls, which damage all of his phases equally except the last. A few stabs for good measure put him down.

So now time for the Earth job. Gilgabot cheerfully chimed in with Freelancer. Huh! I was happy actually. It was some form of access to healing: the Tycoon Healing Staff at least. I went to snag it, and the Katana. I was holding out hope that my Fifth Job (which would replace Freelancer) could still be White Mage or Summoner at this point. Freelancer meant nothing was lost from the pool that I would actually want to keep. Though then again, Freelancer at the end could be neat if you master the other three jobs on your designated Freelancer character... Hmm.

Seeing as I didn't want to waste Ability Points, I left Freelancer off the dance card while Galuf was gone. Hard choice, I know!

The World 1 ending gauntlet was trivial thanks to my scroll loadout and access to !Control to get Float from Galacats. I had a minor hiccup with the Bomb Ring in that I threw a Water Scroll that killed three, then when I threw a second the three dying Bombs resurrected the first three. Fortunately Mage Mashers came to the rescue as I silenced the living three, then finished them off. Titan whiffed his Earth Shaker thanks to my stolen Float, and Chimera just died to an elemental onslaught. I had trouble with Chimera last year, so that was also cathertic-- though not as much as the Soul Cannon.

At this point, I had a minor problem. I had one more job unlock coming, and didn't know what it was. Did I really want to grind the cash to buy every spell, get every summon, get a bunch of gear, all the pianos...? This is probably the biggest downside of Fifth Job. If you want to be ready for whatever you get, you could easily add another hour or two here doing nothing but getting ready to end the world. I dove right into the portal. Screw it! If I'd gotten Bard for Fifth Job I probably would have been screwed as a result, but after 2 extra grind sessions I'd hit the 6 hour mark just in World 1. I wanted to go go go.

Galuf had almost mastered Ninja at this point, so his solo battle with Gilgamesh consisted of: Gilgamesh missed me, Galuf one-shot him. With the party re-united I made my official Ability Point dumping ground (Freelancer) Galuf and shuffled up my jobs to spread some Ability Points around. Everyone but Lenna had !Throw though only she had !Capture. Faris had !Mug but no one else did. Long story short, I needed to distribute the goods. At this point I was also darn close to Level 30 thanks to the cash grinding. Considering my last run of 2016 finished at 32, this was shocking and a little disappointing.

The battle with Gilgamesh on the bridge was probably the closest, fairest fight I had so far. I don't know if you can silence cheese him in the GBA version but either way I didn't even land a silence before I knocked him into panic zone. He killed Faris and almost killed Bartz before I brought him down with dual wield spam. I was getting dangerously low on scrolls at this point, scarily enough.

I skipped Sealed Castle despite having a Beastmaster; I was holding my own well and didn't feel a need to grind. Besides, I needed to get to Quelb before my scroll stock ran out. There was a rather embarassing situation with the T-Rex boss in that I forgot the trick to him is Elixir, not Phoenix down. He actually killed me the first time. Oops. Beyond that though, I cleaned out both Moogle Village and Val. Again, I skipped the grind in the basement as I had far more Ability Points than I usually do here. This is where I ended this session.

Third Session: Val to The Meatcastle

Ending at Val is probably a bad idea. The start of the next session was 20 minutes of cutscene with one short dungeon. I grabbed the Gourd from Quelb, bought 50 of every scroll, and ran over the Dragon Pod roughshod with !Throw on everyone. My Freelancer had turned into a one-shot artist thanks to !Throw with an elemental rod equipped. It's like breaking but 550 gil cheaper!

Boat Gilgamesh was pretty funny all told. He summoned Enkidu and I immediately blew him up with a rod-boosted scroll. Meanwhile my Ninja was carving Gilgamesh up with the dual Kodachis I bought in Quelb. I actually wish there was more to that fight, !Throw spam was starting to get boring.

Barrier Tower at least presented one challenge: I wanted more than one Flame Ring. First to make Crystals easier and second to sell for gil when it was over. I actually have the perfect team for Flame Ring farming between the chance for First Strike, !Smoke, !Control, and !Steal. Unfortunately after 30 or 40 chest openings a Flame Ring still hadn't surfaced and I was getting bored, so I just finished the Red Dragon battle by !Control-ing it into L3 Flare on itself. A few floors up I tried to farm a Reflect Ring but luck wasn't having it. Another 20+ minutes of farming and no ring. I again got bored and moved on, thinking this would almost surely bite me later.

Atomos was a bit tighter this time than my prior runs. I hadn't bothered to capture Yellow Dragons so I went in with Scrolls blazing. He actually dragged Lenna all the way to him and I resurrected her with one foot on Atomos's sprite. Then he killed Bartz and tried to drag him in. He got about half way there before going down. The last fights I had with him, it was over much, much quicker than that I assure you.

Ghido's cave, I didn't have an interest in the staff, so I just !Smoke'd away from Metamorphs. A single Flame Scroll bopped the puddle creatures for free Ability Points. Not a problem. Moore had more (haha) of the same: One good rod-boosted Flame Scroll from my Freelancer killed any pack that didn't contain a Galagel. I hit 32 before rolling into Crystals-- and the first real challenge of the run.

I had a Flame Ring, but even with that, Thief, Ninja, Beastmaster, and Freelancer is not a tanky team, nor an effective one for single target damage on high-defense targets. I wanted to do Flame Ring cheese, but every time I got close to winning, the last surviving crystal before the fire crystal would double-cast and kill me. I simply couldn't whittle down the crystal before RNG won out and I got bopped. I had chosen to give my Freelancer Bone Mail and the Flame Ring since all my other jobs had negative Magic modifier and I wanted to open with scrolls, but eventually I swapped over to using my Beastmaster. This had slightly better results: I killed Water and Earth and had Air down to a handfull of HP before it double-casted. Dangit.

5 or 6 deaths in, I had a close call: a double cast that didn't actually kill me. It left me with only 7hp on my Freelancer and everyone else dead. In a panic I threw a Shuriken out of my inventory (I'd NEVER used shurikens before) and was shocked to find it actually hit like a truck. Okay! My next attempt I went back to making my Beastmaster the survival guy and took a different approach. Instead of Flame Ring cheese, I picked a crystal down to about 3200 then threw three shurikens at it. Bingo. This actually worked. It did however cost me almost all my remaining gil to buy those Shurikens. Heh. Just in time to maybe have to equip a new job too!

So Fifth Job rolls here, when you get Krile. I'd be losing my Freelancer and its rod-boosted !Throw power. I was hopeful though that I'd get a good job to replace it. But no... very no... Fifth Job, starting with Level 0 and 0 Ability Points, at the end of World 2, was Monk. Monk! Really?!

I was lost, I'll admit. What the hell was I going to do with this team? I went back to Moore and grinding a bit, testing a few possibilities. !Throw on Monk with Shurikens is ridiculous since they use Strength (and Agility). Though I suspect !Focus and a good solid hit would do just as much damage over time. I didn't go far with the grinding; I'd been at it for awhile. I stopped here with the intent to get some Ability Points on the Freelancer-turned-Monk next time.

Fourth Session: Meatcastle to The Void

At this point I had a small list of things I required before continuing. "Meatcastle" as people call ExDeath's castle in World 2 is where Beastmaster cheese starts becoming mandatory if you don't have a solid party otherwise. While I probably could survive Gilgamesh and ExDeath with just scroll chucking, I wanted to streamline things. This meant I needed !Catch on everyone. Additionally I wanted some weapon upgrades, and a Reflect Ring. Several fights use a Reflected fighter as a backup if things go south and one absolutely requires it.

My first destination was Val Castle basement. At this point I could use Lightning Scrolls to kill the Statues before they could act, while getting a steal attempt in every fight. This netted me the Ability Points needed to get !Catch on everyone, as well as 99 Hi-Potions, and enough Twin Lances to outfit everyone with these superior weapons. It took about an hour to make sure everyone in my party could use !Catch. That would be the final party swap I'd need to do, exempting the juggling around party member losses in World 3.

Once I got into ExDeath's castle, I set up a team to let me !Control a Reflect Mage. Once I got one alone and controlled, I put a weight on my A button and had the rest of my team spam !Steal while the controller made the mage cast Reflect on himself. I literally walked away from the game at that point for about 3 minutes to get tea and when I returned I had stolen the ring at some point. It's a rare steal with a 3% chance after a successful steal roll, so I imagine it took a few tries. Fortunately Reflect Mages have no common steal, so you just fail til you win.

At this point I was still level 33, and had all the Ability Points and gil I wanted, so I put !Smoke on my Thief and just ran from everything until I started spawning Yellow Dragons. Once I did, I did the same song and dance to get one alone and controlled, had it cast Hurricane on itself to leave it with 5hp, then used !Catch on it. A few battles and job juggling later I had a Yellow Dragon on everyone's !Catch. Since I had a ton of Twin Lances already from Statue grinding, I skipped it (and everything) in the castle.

The one exception is Gilgamesh. I have plans for Excalipoor, so I had to fight him. He went down to a few Yellow Dragons and some scroll tosses. Then I had to back up and reload my Dragons. I also gained a level here so ExDeath couldn't rock me with Level 3 Flare. It was a measure of excessive caution, because I planned to blow him up immediately.

I opened the ExDeath fight with 3 Yellow Dragons, immediately knocking him down to 1000hp above his final phase. Releasing the last would have ended the fight but I wanted to save it for Antlion so I finished it with scrolls. Everyone but my Beastmaster died (due to Beastmaster having the Reflect Ring), but with her reflected and in the back row, I didn't feel in particular danger. World 2 down.

I had overestimated how powerful a Yellow Dragon release would be on Antlion sadly. It only did 2,000 of the beast's 8,000 health. A few scrolls fixed that but then I'd wished I'd just used the Dragon on ExDeath and saved myself the drama. In Moore I took the Chicken Kinfe and gave it and !Mug to my Thief. At this point my Thief was hitting as hard as my dual wielding Ninja with two Twin Lances; not bad!

Gargoyles went down easy since I had 3 party members with !Throw and scrolls. Most of the foes in the pyramid went down to the right element !Throw before they could even act. The only real threat was Damned from chest traps. They could get three physicals off before I could kills them, and if all three hit the same target they'd die. I managed, though. Despite the only useful thing for my party in the Pyramid being the Black Garb, I looted everything. I don't regret that though. Valuable gil and experience.

Melosine always starts weak to fire, so I just spammed Flame Scrolls on her until she changed. She went weak to physical, and I'd given my Ninja !Focus, so he smacked her for 9,000 damage instantly and killed her. Hah! After the various cutscenes I made my way to the Sealed Castle and grabbed Sasuke's Katana, Assassin Dagger, and Fire Lash. I mean... Fire lash is junk... but I had no other option given my loadout. I gave my Ninja both stabby things, my Beastmaster the whip, and my Thief the Chicken Knife. I suppose I could have grabbed the sword to throw if I really wanted...

Next on the list was Phantom Village to get shoes. Remember all that junk I grabbed in the Pyramid I didn't need? It all sold to give me exactly enough gil to buy Black Cowls and Garbs, Hermes Sandals, refill my scrolls and potions, and get a few Fuma Shurikens.

Finally, Istory Falls to pick up the lamp. I don't plan to finish Neo ExDeath with Odin this run, but it'll come in handy just the same. There's a few things left here I could do: Island Shrine has the Mirage Vest and the best Thief weapon in the game, but Thief is my Chicken Knifer; Trench has the Kaiser Knuckles but my Monk is going to just throw captures and scrolls all Void... All in all I think this is as ready as I'll ever be. At least !Smoke will make it an exercise in just grabbing the beasts I want and escaping everything else.

Fifth Session: The Void to End

The Void I expected to be straightforward, but time consuming. I put !Smoke on most of my party and ran for every trash fight. Heck at this point Lenna still had a whopping 0 Ability Points on Monk, because since my final swap I was fleeing from everything. So I blasted through the dungeons of the Void and only stopped to catch enemies and fight bosses.

Calofisteri was first, and a pushover. I put Bone Mail and Hermes Sandles on my Ninja and just held down A. Everyone else died, then Calofisteri reverse-drained herself to death. Easy peasy. Someone with Bone Mail and Hermes Sandals is completely immune to her entire kit except for the Sap from Bio, and reverse-drain should keep you topped off.

On the way by Omega I bumped into him and insta-wiped. Oops. Reloaded to the save right before him and ran by to meet Apanda. I had the plan to release Great Dragons on him but wanted to try it once without first. Good thing too; a barrage of Flame Scrolls killed him before he could really do anything to me. Then I went back and caught four Great Dragons to make Azulmagia a giant joke-- he died to their !Release before he could cast a single spell.

I spent 20 minutes in Meatcastle to steal a Reflect Ring then realized I had no good source of Float to cheese Catastrophe with. I had two choices: walk all the way back out of the Void and get Float from a Galacat in North Mountain, or catch some more Dragons and run Catastrophe over. I chose the latter and grabbed four Dragon Aevis in the area prior to the castle. Unfortunately these did half the damage I was expecting and I was left throwing things at Catastrophe to try to make up the difference. I was expecting to die, but somehow barely pulled out a win with all but my Monk dead.

Four more Great Dragons (each of these catching ventures takes about 10 minutes, by the way) and Hali went down before he could cast a single spell or frog me. Good thing, I wasn't sure I could win if he started casting. Then Twintania... I had one source of instant death: My Assassin Knife. So it took a few reloads before death procced during the charge-up. Oh well, that's how that boss goes.

Given that I had a safe way to walk to ExDeath I chose to skip Necrophobe. Gilgamesh went down without acting as I beat the tar out of him with Chicken Knife and thrown Shurikens I had left over from long ago. Then it was time for the ExDeath fight.

I had stocked up four more Dragon Aevis already, with the plan to release them, three lamp uses (Bahamut, Leviathan, Odin), and throw Fuma Shuirken and even my legendary weapons to finish the job. Unfortunately that meant none of my big aces in the hole could be used on Tree ExDeath. Double unfortunately, my oops with Catastrophe had drained my supply of Fuma Shurikens a bit. At 25k a pop, getting more would be quite a venture. I decided to use the Fumas on Tree and just hope for the best on Neo. This left me with one person dead and one person White Holed when the phase changed and I died horribly in the final fight.

Attempt two! I kept the Fumas and just threw the last of my normal Shurikens and finished phase one with a healthy party. Sadly I had goofed setting up my skills and Lenna didn't have !Release. I got one-shot by Almagest due to the missing 10,000 damage. By my estimation the Almagest portion was down to 2k or so. Dang.

Attempt three, I got blown up by flare and meteor on phase 1. Ow...

Attempt four. I resorted to Chicken Knife stabs from my Thief, throwing everything not my Fuma Shurikens on my Ninja (including his equipped weapons), and having Krile throw the few normal Shurikens I had. This got me past Tree with everyone up and full health (though ExDeath had a liking for White Holing my Thief). Once Neo ExDeath rose I fired off all four Dragon Aevises for 40,000 but that left my Monk completely useless between the 300 damage punches and lack of other command; they became my item bot.

Once the 40k damage was done I stabbed with my Chicken Knife and had my Ninja and Beastmaster throw Fuma Shurikens at the Almagest portion, then the Grand Cross portion. Both died before either could use its ability. That's a load off! The casting portion dropped Blizzaga on Lenna but she survived with 30 health and just elixired back up to full. With only two sections left, I used the Magic Lamp twice to summon Bahamut and Leviathan for pitiful damage, smacked the head and planned to use the Lamp to Odin the back section though there was a problem: I was out of stuff to throw. I started unequipping my weapons to throw them and with one of my final (normal) Shuriken throws for 1600 damage killed the head. After that it was just a matter of using Lamp for the win.

Summary and Closing

All in all, Ninja let me BS most of Worlds 1 and 2, with Beastmaster only needing to step in for Byblos and ExDeath When scrolls stopped being god-tier, Beastmaster was ready with Yellow Dragons, Great Dragons, and Dragon Aevis. Thief was utility, Monk was useless. On NeoExDeath when Beastmaster alone couldn't get it done, !Throw finished the job. Those two make a good combination.

Now about #FifthJob... I understand its intent. In normal FJF runs, your jobs are locked in at about the 1/3rd point of the game. FifthJob tries to change things up at around the 2/3rd point and make things a little more interesting. I personally find it un-fun for a few reasons and won't be doing it in the future. My short-list of issues:

  1. You lose your Earth job entirely. You cannot use it, you cannot use any learned abilities. It's just gone. I feel fully losing things you invested into goes against the feel of FJF.
  2. Any Ability Points you invest into your Earth job are simply wasted, but at the same time there's a couple of boss fights that may require the extra power between you and the Fifth Job roll.
  3. Where you get the Fifth Job roll almost guarantees a grind in Val castle as you're about to head into the hardest dungeon and boss fight in the game so far.
  4. Since you don't know what job you'll get for the roll, your best option when exiting World 1 is to get EVERYTHING before continuing on. This can present a significant time investment if you previously didn't need any spells, summons, the pianos, etc.
  5. Some of the jobs are just completely deprecated beyond any use by the time you bear Crystals (I'm looking at you Monk).
  6. It's ALWAYS your Earth Job that you lose. Unless you play Chaos or PureChaos, that means some of the strongest jobs in the game are likely to be zeroed out in favor of a completely random pull.

I'm not going to say Fifth Job is awful and no one should do it, but some of those things make the Fiesta less fun for me, so I'll opt out of it next time.