Note that this guide assumes the player is starting from a New Game. While these strategies will also work for subsequent cycles, the viewer must take level discrepancies into account. This also assumes you have read the "Controls" and "Battle Basics" sections. Of course, should you be unable to, the in-game "Help" menu does a decent job of explaining basic mechanics.
Once Axel is in your control, head to the brown Golem near Axel's starting position (A hammer symbol is floating above his head). Press to talk to him and enter the Assembly. Axel is the only soldier you have right now, so select him, and choose the "Create a Character" command. The basic classes will available to create. Using Axel's 20 Mana, make two "Incompetent" characters, one of which is preferably, a Healer.
Note: If the player has "Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness" save data on their Memory Stick, the Female Samurai class will be ready for use. It costs slightly more Mana to create her, but she can be quite the heavy-hitter for a player just starting out.
Note: Many of this Episode's enemies take no damage to certain elements. You may want to save Mages and Skulls for later.
Before you head out, run around the area and talk to the local demons, and find the three Treasure Chests scattered about. Finally, talk to one of the Nekomatas standing near the Director (Specifically, the one with a Sword symbol on her head).
The player will get a brief tutorial about Weapon Mastery. Mastery boils down to how good a character is with one of the six Weapon types. For example, Axel's "A" grade with Fists means that he'll garner Fist weapon Mastery quick as long as he keeps using them. In contrast, his "D" grade with Guns makes them a poor choice. He can still use Guns and earn the skills, but learning Mastery will be slow. The higher your Mastery grade, the quicker new skills will be learned. The higher a character's Weapon Mastery level is, the greater the stat bonus weapons of that type will grant. It's best to use one weapon per character, to maximize efficiency. Monsters can't use Mastery or the six types, but weapon bonus strength is determined by the Monster's level.
Once equipment has been brought....or not, talk to the Director to bring up the Stage Select screen.
Stage 1-1: Rehearsal
|Red: Evil Ranger||Black: Evil Ranger||Yellow: Evil Ranger||Pink: Evil Ranger||Blue: Evil Ranger|
|Weapon||Paw Glove||Paw Glove||Paw Glove||Paw Glove||Paw Glove|
|Special 1||Electrifying Shock||N/A||N/A||N/A||Tie Down|
Axel Mode's first battle is so-so, difficulty-wise. Rangers Red and Blue will be the ones to watch out for, the rest are pretty straightforward. Axel will be your clutch in this battle.
The key to this battle is relying on Axel for most of your offense, as the generic characters the player may or may not have with them will probably be overwhelmed if Red or Blue get a Special attack in.
Red and Blue's Special attacks both inflict Paralysis. Paralysis disables the Move command temporarily and reduces the afflicted's SPD to 1. This makes it impossible to evade attacks. Paralysis is catastrophic for Fist-users, as it cuts their power by half since SPD is calculated for some of their damage.
A good strategy here is to have Axel act as a scout, and start the first round on his own, rushing right towards the enemies. The Rangers will converge upon him en masse with regular attacks (Red and Blue may use their Specials). Axel's high Counter lets him retaliate, and perhaps take a Ranger or two out if he's strong enough. Any generics the player may have are best used to take potshots, or enter into Team Attacks with Axel if they can.
This map is best for going all out, as enemy set-ups further down the line will punish approaches like that in the future. Upon completing this map, Evil Ranger Pink will join the party.
Tutorial 1: Monster Throw
After the player goes to the Stage Select, "Practice Map" will appear in the list. Seeing as how it's required to advance, choose it. Ranger Pink will introduce a new mechanic: Monster Throw.
If you look at a monster's status, the attribute "TM" will appear after "JM." If a character is thrown to a Monster, the character will bounce off of the Monster in the direction it's facing by a certain number of Panels. (Example: Mage A throws Warrior B to Dragon C. Dragon C has a TM of 4 and is facing to the right. The Warrior will be bounced four Panels to the Dragon's right.)
Tutorial 2: Magichange
After teaching Monster Throw, Pink will introduce Magichange. Magichange involves the converting an allied monster into a weapon for a Human to use, with skills unique to Magichange being an incentive. Magichange uses 2% of the Monster's innate stats (IE: Not factoring equipment boosts) to factor stat boots/decreases. Magichange is useful early on in the game, but once characters start using equipment with 100 attacking power and beyond, it becomes little more than a novelty, as the weak stat boost applied from the monster will end up decreasing the Human's stats as a consequence; as the Monster replaces the Human's equipped weapon. The "Magichange" section goes into much more detail.
Stage 1-1: Rehearsal: Revisit
Entering this map the second time replaces the Evil Rangers with generic versions of the Ranger classes. These enemies are weaker than the ones you fought previously. Aside from that, the map plays exactly like the previous. This is best used as a grinding map for Mana-gathering. Once a character reaches 10 Mana, its best to create a new generic.
Defeating these generic Monster classes unlocks them for your own use.
Stage 1-2: Meeting the Fans
|Ghost (x4)||Red Skull (x2)||Blue Mage (x2)||Green Skull (x2)||Star Mage (x2)|
|Weapon||N/A||Training Staff||Training Staff||Training Staff||Training Staff|
Geo Symbols - Red, Green, Blue Yellow (Disperse Damage)
This map is much better for grinding than the last one. Four Geo Symbols add the Disperse Damage effect to eight hapless Magic-casters. (And the Ghosts) Disperse Damage divides damage inflicted on an enemy (or ally) among others of the same side standing on same-colored panels. This works for Healing magic, too.
Luckily, the Symbols are positioned right next to the Base Panel. You only need to pop one to initiate a massive Geo Chain that will destroy all of the Mages and the Ghosts in a single turn. However, having multiple characters destroy more than one of the four Symbols in a Combo will greatly increase the Bonus Gauge. (Once the player has enough Generics, add the Ghosts into the starting Combo to further the Bonus boost!) This is especially useful for leveling new troops, as EXP prizes frequently find themselves at the top of the Bonus list.
The player can also opt to simply charge in and attack. This strategy requires use of the Healer, as her high RES and her ability to heal herself makes great for defense here. It's best to engage a single group of two at a time, as standing in the middle of the fray will provoke all four groups to attack whoever is there. The Ghosts shouldn't be any trouble for units with weapons, though Team Attacks work just fine otherwise.
Stage 1-2: Meeting The Fans: Revisit
This map functions the same way upon revisit, as is best for grinding characters up to Level 7.
Stage 1-3: Never-Starting Show
|Staff : Warrior (x4)||Cu Sith (x2)||Petite Orc (x2)||Dragon||Manager|
|Weapon||Broadsword, Cheap Axe||N/A||N/A||N/A||Replica Spear|
|Special 1||Blade Rush, Boulder Crush||N/A||Orc Combo||Dragon Flash (Magichange)||Impaler|
|Special 2||N/A||Wheelie Blades (Magichange)||Pork Special (Magichange)||N/A||N/A|
Geo Symbols - Yellow (DEF +50%, No Lifting)
This map teaches the practical mechanics of Magichange, as well as an enemy exploit. While Magichange has a time limit of two turns for allied characters, enemies have the added benefit of permanent Magichange. Luckily, Magichanged enemies grant the combined EXP of both Human and Monster when defeated.
This is the game's first strategy-heavy battle. Almost all battles from here-on will follow this approach. Make sure all characters are level 5 before coming here.
Four Male Fighters, each with Monsters next to them that will become Magichange weapons the following turn. Geo Effects increasing the DEF of all that step on them by 50% as well as the inability to Lift anything in them.
There are two vastly different ways to go about this map. The first is to simply let the enemies Magichange, then engage them. The benefit from this strategy is that the enemies will not move in to attack you during this turn. Thus, the player has a free turn to move into position, or launch an "ambush." Once the enemies Magichange, they will receive benefits. The Sword Warriors become immune to Wind attacks, while the Axe-Fighters have increased ATK once their health is reduced to 1/3. The Manager becomes immune to Fire attacks.
The second approach is to attack the Monsters first, defeating them first so the enemies have no access to Magichange. This is a viable strategy for defensive characters, as prevents the enemy from using Magichange skills against the party. Magichange skills are very powerful at this point in the game, and enemies using them makes a moderate fight hard.
Seeing as how the Dragon and the Manager are located on the opposite side of the map, and No Lifting hampers your ability to move to that area without sacrificing the actions of a unit that could be attacking, ignore them.
Once the first turn is spent, regardless of how you approach it, the battle becomes a straight-up brawl. Axel, Pink, and the Healer (If you have one) will be the VIPs in this fight. The enemy's inconsistent Elemental immunity prevents Mages/Skulls from being effective here, (As the player usually has no access to Star Magic yet at this point) keep them in the Base Panel. As all of the enemies operate up-close, long range weapons such as the Gun and Bow are heavily recommended here. The only exception to the rule is the Manager, who will try to close the distance with Dragon Flash.
The normal enemies can be engaged easily enough with one to two characters, but the Manager requires three or more, due to his high HP. Thieves, Healers, and Mages/Skulls should stay as far away from the Manager as possible, as their low HP makes them fodder for one-hit kills, especially if he uses Dragon Flash. Leave the Manager for last, with Axel leading the charge.
With persistence, the Manager will fall, and the Stage will be cleared.
Stage 1-3: Never-Starting Show: Revisit
The Manager and his goons are no longer here, leaving a few basic monsters to defeat. Geo Effects still apply.
Stage 1-4: An Unwelcome Guest
|Black Dog (x4)||Garm|
|Weapon||Goblin Claw (Red)||Wolf's Fang (Red)|
|Special 1||Wild Rush||Wild Rush|
Geo Symbols - Green, Red (Enemy Boost +50% (x2), DEF +50%)
The final map of the Episode is a doozy. Four Wolves with advanced equipment, further augmented by an Enemy Boost +100% effect. The only positive thing in this map is the DEF +50% Panels surrounding the Base Panel. The broadcasted strategy is to lure the Wolves near the Base Panel, so that they attack from Panels not boosting them, while allied characters have increased endurance.
However, the Garm is on par with the latest equipment in terms of attack power, (Making the DEF boost measly at best) while the Black Dogs will frequently use Wild Rush, which may place them inside the DEF +50% Panels, which makes killing them harder.
Therefore, take the DEF +50% Symbol and toss it onto the Red Enemy Boost Panels. (A character with 5 TW such as Axel can do this) Have a character destroy it, which will spark a Geo Chain. (The thrower will also take Chain damage, though a Healer's presence mitigates this) The Chain should reduce the Wolves to 1/3 of their initial HP. Now, the player can send their army in.
It's best to take the Garm out first, so that it can't one-hit your weaker characters. The Wolves' low DEF makes them easy prey for physical attackers.
From here, it's a simple matter of clean-up. Thus concludes the game's first Episode. Note that characters are automatically healed upon completing an Episode, at no charge.
Stage 1-4: An Unwelcome Guest: Revisit
Geo Symbols - Yellow, Aqua (EXP +50% (x2))
The Enemy Boost +100% becomes EXP +100% as this stage becomes a leveling ground. The Symbol for DEF +50% is gone. One less symbol means a slightly weaker Geo Chain should it be necessary. Aside from these changes, the stage stays the same.