- See the player classes page for information on each class.
You start out with only the Hero, but you will almost immediately gain three more members, who can be from among six different classes (seven in the remakes). This leaves you with a lot of options, most of which will leave your party horribly unbalanced. Unless your doing a challenge run, (no magic, magic users only, low level, etc), there are only a few combinations worth using. You need a proper balance of physical attacking, speed, offensive magic, buffs, debuffs, and healing. While the Hero does have very good physical prowess, he is fairly slow. In addition, he possesses very little lMP, levels up slowly in the early game, and takes a relatively long time to learn most of his most useful spells (aside from Sleep). He cannot cover everything on his own.
Further complicating things are the radical differences between the NES version, and all the Remakes after it. The difficulty is 'significantly' lower in the Remakes, for a variety of reasons...
- The bag allows you to carry x99 Herbs at a time (the NES version does not have a bag).
- The Remakes are littered with new items in almost every town and many dungeons; many of which sell for a lot of money. Buying equipment is significantly easier, for that reason.
- Many of these new items, such as the Magic and Dragon Shields, have resistances that you could not easily get in the NES version.
- The personality system, as well as the new seed distribution option at Ruida's Tavern/Patty's Party Planning Place, allows one to exploit the stat formulas in a way you never could in the NES. For example, giving the Tough/Tough Cookie personality (140% Vitality) to all of your created characters gives them obscenely high HP.
- The encounter rate has been radically decreased, especially in dungeons.
- The Thief's Padfoot ability can drive this down even further; to the point where one can get through caves like the "Cave of the Necrogond" with only two encounters.
For this reason, the recommended party composition for the Remakes is very different from the one recommended for the NES.
- 1 Viable Party Compositions for the NES
- 1.1 Hero, Soldier, Pilgrim, Wizard *Recommended*
- 1.2 Hero, Merchant, Pilgrim, Fighter *Recommended*
- 1.3 Hero, Soldier, Fighter, Pilgrim
- 1.4 Hero, Fighter, Fighter, Pilgrim *Recommended*
- 1.5 Hero, Fighter, Pilgrim, Wizard
- 1.6 Hero, Soldier, Soldier, Pilgrim
- 1.7 Hero, Soldier, Pilgrim, Pilgrim
- 1.8 Hero, Fighter, Pilgrim, Pilgrim
- 2 Viable Party Compositions for the Remakes
- 2.1 Hero & Priest (For beginners) *Recommended*
- 2.2 Solo Hero (For beginners)
- 2.3 Hero, Warrior, Thief, Mage (For beginners and speedruns) *Recommended*
- 2.4 Hero, Thief, Thief, Mage (For SNES/Mobile completionists) *Recommended*
- 2.5 Hero, Fighter, Thief, Mage (For SNES/Mobile completionists)
- 2.6 Hero, Thief, Priest, Jester (For GBC completionists) *Recommended*
- 2.7 Hero, Thief, Priest, Mage (For casual speedruns)
- 2.8 Hero, Warrior, Thief, Jester (For casual speedruns)
Viable Party Compositions for the NES
The NES does not have a lot of the conveniences that the Remakes have; and money is extremely hard to come by. In addition, all bosses regenerate HP; killing them is literally impossible if you cannot do enough damage. You will want the Bikill spell to put them down; and it can only be learned by the a Wizard and Sage classes. Finally, there's only one class that's fast enough to consistently outspeed enemies. This is the Fighter; and you will want at least one to help kill troublesome enemies before they can move.
For these reasons, your party should consist of:
- The Hero
- A Fighter (a fast physical attacker that requires almost no equipment)
- A Pilgrim (a healer who also provides valuable buffs, debuffs, and status ailments)
- At least one Bikill user (borderline mandatory for bosses in the NES version)
The last slot does not need to be filled until about 40-50% of the way into the game; so there are roughly three choices on how to acquire it. Firstly, one could always include a Wizard into the initial party, and gain Bikill naturally. However, the Wizard only shines in the mid-game. They start off with single digit HP and almost no spells; getting them into anything resembling fighting shape takes a good amount of time in the NES version. Then, after a while of being helpful in the midgame, they then decline once again in the endgame. Enemies will start spamming spells and breath attacks that hit every person in the party; meaning that the Wizard will have an extremely hard time surviving there as well. Finally, it's high damage spells start to become eclipsed by the healing spells, crowd control spells, and instant-death spells of the Pilgrim. Therefore, it is often preferable to class change the Wizard into a Sage later, once they learn Bikill.
However, Wizards are not one of the pre-requisites needed for class changing into a Sage. All one needs to do is get the item known as the "Book of Satori". Get that, and you can use it to change anyone but the Hero into a Sage. So one could also simply fill the 4th slot with someone more helpful in the early game (such as a Soldier, or another Fighter), change them into a Sage later, then grind them up to LVL 21 and learn Bikill that way. You could even just change your one Pilgrim into said Sage, though the Sage levels slowly enough that you'll be lacking some crucial Pilgrim spells if you don't grind later on.
So, there are multiple valid choices for the 4th slot, depending on your play style. If you want the best balance between safety and efficiency, choose a 2nd Fighter. If you want a harder early game in exchange for what is arguably the most efficient party (as-in, it can beat the game the quickest), choose a Wizard. Finally, a Warrior makes for an incredibly easy early game, in exchange for a slightly harder mid-game.
A Warrior will allow you significantly better defense, and a far easier time during the early game; however, you will suffer later in the game for lack of access to the Bikill spell; a spell that doubles a person's attack. In the NES version, each boss in regenerates a range of HP every turn. Killing them will become literally impossible if you cannot do enough damage per round. Besides that, you will also find it hard to hit groups of enemies with AoE spells (such as Firebane, Iceblast, and Boom).
Some of the mid-tier offensive spells can be used via magic-casting equipment); but you'll never have access to the highest tier spells with a magic user. In addition, Bikill cannot be used unless you class change someone into a Sage (which is recommended, especially for beginners). One Bikill user will be enough if this is the way you choose to go; just be aware that Sages level more slowly than any other party member. They will not gain access to the higher level Cleric and Wizard spells without a lot of grinding.
One could, then, try to use a 2nd Fighter; but that will backfire if you stick to that party too long. It's amazing up until the very end of the game; but then the Fighter's poor equipment pool will catch up with it. Magic Armor, for example, reduces all magic damage by 2/3, and is an essential part of reliably surviving enemies who cast powerful spells. Fighters cannot wear that armor, and the enemies are too strong for him to easily kill at that point. You will have problems if you try to fill the party with two Fighters.
Finally, a Wizard will afford you significantly better offense at the cost of durability. Wizards have extremely low HP growth, and they don't gain access to a lot of their most useful spells until the mid-game. Additionally, most bosses have high resistances to most every kind of magic attack; so pure Wizards will also run into the same HP Regeneration issues as a party without Bikill would.
However, Wizards can also be class changed into a Warrior or Fighter later on. In effect, you will be getting a second physical attacker that can also cast Bikill, Increase, and whichever offensive spells you want to use. So if one decides to class change the Wizard at LVL 21, then change their Priest into a Sage, they will gain two Bikill and offensive magic users without sacrificing the durability of their party.
There are, therefore, many choices a person could make; and making this choice is exactly what this page is here to help with. View the potential options below, and choose wisely...
Hero, Soldier, Pilgrim, Wizard *Recommended*
- Soldier >>> Sage
- Pilgrim >>> Warrior
- Wizard >>> Fighter
- Pros - The Soldier's high durability, less grinding required, faster grinding where it is required, early access to Wizard spells, slightly easier final dungeon
- Cons - The Soldier's low speed, moderate cost to equip, the Wizard's low HP and Defense may cause problems early on
- Overall - 10/10
This is the classic party, and the one recommended by the game designers. In fact, it is actually one of the more efficient parties in the game, thanks to learning Bikill early. However, it does have it's weaknesses.
First of all, you'll have to grind a while to get the Wizard into something resembling fighting shape in the early game. Secondly, the Fighter is the only class fast enough to consistently outspeed enemies without the help of the Starry Ring/Meteorite Bracer. Thirdly, the Fighter is also incredibly powerful in the early game, meaning that he is immensely useful for killing troublesome enemies (such as Hunter Flies, Demon Toadstools, King Froggores, and etc). Fourthly, the Fighters have a higher chance of scoring critical hits than the other classes; meaning that Metal Slimes and Metal Babbles will be slightly easier to kill. Finally, money is extremely tight in the NES version. You will almost never have the money needed to buy everything you would want to buy. Fighters are extremely inexpensive to equip compared to the other classes; put one in your party, and you're basically paying for three party members rather than four.
Without a Fighter, this party will take more damage, and be more expensive to equip in the beginning. The Warrior does eventually overtake the Fighter in usefulness right before the final dungeon, as that's when the Fighter's poor equipment pool finally catches up to it...but until then, the Soldier will never be able to handle troublesome enemies the way the Fighter can. It can provide some added safety against physical attacks; but there's nothing it can do about the multitude of multi-target breath and spell attacks that various enemies can use.
That said, the end result still isn't too bad. The Wizard will at least allow you to learn Bikill early on. It is recommended to change a Warrior to a Sage, a Pilgrim to a Warrior, and the Wizard to a Fighter as this will allow for a very strong party. They will do massive damage and can also use magic, aside from the Warrior and Fighter who can't learn any magic after the change. The solution is to learn some useful magic before the change (for example, have the Pilgrim learn buffs and Healing All magic and the Wizard learn magic like X-Ray or Safe Passage). Magic like Blazemore or Snowtorm will become useless, but the good Attack and Defense of the Warrior and the Agility of the Fighter will compensate for this.
Besides that, the Soldier does have stratospherically high HP, and magic resistant armor that the Fighter cannot wear. You'll still take more damage overall for most parts of the game; but the Soldier himself won't be in any danger of dying. If nothing else, this is a great party for defeating the final boss.
Hero, Merchant, Pilgrim, Fighter *Recommended*
- Merchant >>> Sage
- Pros - Incredibly easy early game, Merchant gets to LVL 20 faster than anyone, will kill enemies very quickly, Fighter can quickly heal with Herbs, slightly more Gold in early game, can investigate weapon and armor properties without a walkthrough
- Cons - Moderate equipments costs, slightly harder final dungeon, grinding takes slightly longer without Wizard, and more of it is required
- Overall - 10/10
This party...is surprisingly great. The recommendation for Merchant over Soldier flies against years of conventional wisdom; but it actually works out extremely well, for the following reasons:
- The Merchant is an excellent "jack-of-all-trades" character in the early game, and levels extremely fast. He has more HP, more Agility, will wear everything the Soldier can wear, and spends the vast majority of his time 2-3 levels higher than everyone else.
- He generates a small amount of extra gol (roughly 3% per fight, on average).
- By the time his stats start to deteriorate, you've already changed him into a Sage.
The Merchant IS extremely poor in the endgame, for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, he can't wear the Iron Mask, the Magic Armor, the Silver Shield, or any of the strongest pieces of endgame equipment. His weapon selection is slightly better, but he still can't wear anything stronger than the Zombie Killer (a midgame weapon).
Secondly, he's the only one who's statline is NOT set up to where his level ups improve over time. For example, the Hero's stats start off fairly bad; but then start getting better at around LVL 10. The Fighter's HP starts off fairly low, but then gets significantly higher starting at LVL 13. The Soldier's Strength starts off growing Strength at around the same rate as the Merchant; but then far surpasses him at LVL 7. Everyone, except the Merchant, is set up to where their level ups and statlines get better and better as the game progresses. This means that while everyone else improves, the Merchant stays stuck with the same single digit increases as he was in the early game.
However, his low level requirements, more than make up for those deficits in the early game. He'll surpass everyone but the Fighter in Agility, everyone but the Soldier in HP, and will hit almost as hard as the Hero. In that way, he's actually more useful than the Soldier as far as safely killing enemies. He'll have most of his durability without any of his Agility woes. His attack won't be quite as high, but it will still be enough to kill everything he needs to kill.
Finally, by the time his statistical advantages have gone away, you'll have already changed him into a Sage. He is an incredibly useless unit by the time you've gotten to the endgame; but you're never going to use him long enough to get to that point! You'll simply take advantage of his great early game, and switch him up once you're past that point!
Of course, there is also the Merchant's ability to gain some extra gold. However, that's irrelevant when all is said and done. The Merchant only gets extra gold 25% of the time; meaning that only 1 out of 4 battles will give an increased amount. Furthermore, even when you do get extra gold, you only get 12.5% more than you would have without the Merchant. 8 gold will become 9 gold, 160 gold will become 180 gold, 300 gold will become 337-338 gold, and etc. Furthermore, the Merchant is going to stay with you for about the first 40% of the game.
What this ultimately means is that you're only making an average of 3% extra gold per battle; and only for as long as your Merchant stays a Merchant. His stats only fall further behind as you progress, so he'll have to be the one who becomes a Sage. Once he does, your gold income will drop back right when you want it most.
In conlcusion, the Merchant's gold isn't what you want. What you really want are his great early game stats, and his fast level ups. This, combined with the Fighter and Pilgrim, gives you the perfect combination of reliability and efficiency, and is highly recommended for beginners!
Hero, Soldier, Fighter, Pilgrim
- Soldier >>> Sage
- Pros - Incredibly easy early game, will kill enemies very quickly, Fighter can quickly heal with Herbs
- Cons - The Soldier's low Agility, more overall damage taken, moderate equipments costs, slightly harder final dungeon, grinding takes slightly longer without Wizard, and more of it is required
- Overall - 9/10
This team is pretty much the best of the two previous ones; except, the Soldier trades half his Agility in exchange for more Strength and HP. Unfortunately, this means he will almost never go first in battle; meaning more overall damage taken from enemies.
Still, it doesn't make too much of a difference in the long run; the Soldier is still the one who is going to be a Sage in this party. He does not gain levels quite as quickly as the Merchant; but he still gains them faster than everyone except the Merchant and Jester. In essence, this is basically the same party as the last one; the early and midgame fights will just be slightly more irritating till class change.
Hero, Fighter, Fighter, Pilgrim *Recommended*
- Fighter >>> Sage
- Pros - Will very quickly kill enemies, Fighters can quickly heal with Herbs, very low cost to equip
- Cons - Slightly harder final dungeon, Fighter takes longer to get to LVL 20 than most other classes
- Overall - 10/10
The reason this also has a 10/10 is because it also has a great combination of efficiency and reliability. In fact, the game is even easier with this class than it is with the Hero, Merchant, Fighter, and Priest party!
Make no mistake; the early and midgame is where the Fighters shine the most. And even at the end, you will be fine if you class changed one of them into a Sage. In fact, the Fighter is one of the best candidates for the job. Neither the Sage nor the Pilgrim are too fast on their own; so the Fighter's leftover Agility stat will go a long way into compensating for that.
That said, Fighters level up slowly compared to classes like the Soldier and Merchants. That isn't a problem in regards to their ability to perform in battle, but it IS a problem when trying to get one to LVL 20. This is the reason it shares the 10/10 spot with the the Merchant party, despite it's superior offense and speed. Grinding already takes a while even with the Merchant or Wizard in your party, so the 2nd Fighter makes things even worse in that regard.
However, what it sacrifices in efficiency, it makes up for with reliability! Dangerous early and midgame enemies will fall before they can use their attacks; and the Fighters' natural Strength and Agility are more than enough to make up for their equipment shortcomings. Besides that, killing metal monsters is always troublesome. The higher chances you have at a critical, the better!
Hero, Fighter, Pilgrim, Wizard
- Wizard >>> Sage
- Pros - Less grinding required, faster grinding where it is required, early access to Wizard spells, low cost to equip, Fighter can quickly heal with Herbs, will very quickly kill enemies
- Cons - The Wizard's low HP and Defense may cause problems early on, slightly harder final dungeon
- Overall - 9/10
This is very similar to the first setup; but is arguably the most efficient party in the entire game. This is because the Fighter is advantageous for all the reasons previously discussed.
The Fighter is more frail than the Soldier, but that doesn't matter much. All of this game's most dangerous encounters involve enemies that target all members of your party, not just the two people in the front. The Soldier's high HP and Defense won't make a bit of difference against a Hologhost with Defeat, an Archmage with Explodet, or a Salamander "breath[ing] gales of fires". All of your weaker party members will be hit just as hard by those as they would have if a Wizard had been in the 1st slot instead.
Hence, a truly "defended" party is one that can take out said enemies before they can do their worst; and the Fighter helps do exactly that. Even as you draw near to the endgame, you can have him use the Staff of Thunder to cast Firebane for free. That won't be enough to offset it's equipment selection at the very end; but it is more than enough for the rest of the game. And when you DO reach that point at the end (i.e., right before the final dungeon), you will have plenty of other options.
Finally, this party can also change it's Wizard into a Sage like the other parties can. Unlike all of those other parties, this one will NOT need to grind for Bikill afterwards. This is why it's slightly more efficient.
Hero, Soldier, Soldier, Pilgrim
- Soldier >>> Sage
- Pros - The Soldier's high durability, incredibly easy early game, slightly easier final dungeon
- Cons - Abysmal speed, high equipment costs, slow to kill enemies, more overal damage taken, grinding is slightly slower without Wizard, and more of it is required
- Overall - 7/10
This is an incredibly powerful party in the very early game. However, it's weaknesses become more apparent after you get to Romaly.
First of all, this party is incredibly slow. While you can absorb a lot more damage, you're going to need to; the enemies will always attack before your team can. Secondly, this is one of the most expensive parties in the game; your 2nd Soldier will often need to use second-tier equipment just to keep up on money management. While there are some free weapons and armor that you get in dungeons and the like, it's not enough to offset the costs. So, if you go with this party, you will want to turn one of the Soldiers into a Sage. This way, you will at least be able to get Bikill while disabling enemies with spells like Expel, Limbo, Sleep, and Defeat.
Besides; party members keep half of all their original stats upon class change. Whichever Warrior you turn into a Sage, they will enjoy an enormous advantage in HP compared to other sages!
Hero, Soldier, Pilgrim, Pilgrim
- Pilgrim >>> Sage
- Pros - The Soldier's high durability, lots of healing, easier to land debuffs, slightly easier final dungeon
- Cons - Moderate equipment costs, slow to kill enemies, more overall damage taken, grinding is slightly slower without Wizard, and more of it is required
- Overall - 6/10
Healing will certainly be a non-issue. But, you will NEED more healing too; the Pilgrims aren't fast enough to consistently disable all enemies without the Fighter's help. While that's not too big an issue for most of the early to midgame, it DOES make for an incredibly hard Kandar fight in the Kidnapper's Cave. You can't put him to sleep, he regenerates almost as much HP as you take off, and the Priests have a hard time keeping up with his attacks.
Besides that, the party is also slow in efficiency. More time taken to kill enemies equals more time taken to clear the game. Granted, it all evens out once you turn one of the Priests into a Sage; but why deal with the added tedium in the early game?
Hero, Fighter, Pilgrim, Pilgrim
- Pilgrim >>> Sage
- Pros - Lots of healing, easier to land debuffs, low equipment costs, Fighter can heal with Herbs in addition to your two Priests
- Cons - Slow to kill enemies, more overall damage taken, slightly harder final dungeon, grinding is slightly slower without Wizard, and more of it is required
- Overall - 7/10
Again, not much different than the previous party. Equipment costs are much less, you're a bit better at killing enemies quickly, and Kandar 2 is slightly easier since the Fighter can consistently outspeed him. However, most of the aforementioned problems are still there; they're just not quite as bad with this party.
Viable Party Compositions for the Remakes
NOTE: The following analyses assume that you choose the "Tough/Tough Cookie" personality for everyone you make. That grants 140% Vitality, making for much more durable characters.
As mentioned before, the Remakes are far more lenient in their difficulty. Priests aren't a hard requirement anymore, Mages have more HP, there are many new armor pieces available for each class, grinding is much easier, and Thieves can be an exceptionally powerful class with the right gear. As a result, there is a lot more variability on how one can choose their party.
For that reason, this section will not have the "ratings" that the NES section did. It will be less an analysis of how good some parties are compared to others, and more an examination of what parties are better suited for which tasks. Some are better for just clearing the game quickly, some are better for power-gamers, one is designed specifically for accessing the GBC-exclusive Ice Cavern, and etc.
Hero & Priest (For beginners) *Recommended*
- Priest (preferably Female) >>> Thief
- Pros - Very simple and easy for those new to RPGs, money is plentiful, Experience will be divided two ways instead of four, AoE attacks aren't that deadly anymore, will only need to revive one party member after death, Thief skills are useful for finding all items.
- Cons - Slower than other viable parties, slightly more grinding is required than other viable parties, stunning attacks can be dangerous, cannot kill the first post-game boss quickly enough to access the second bonus dungeon.
RPGs tend to have a higher entry barrier than most other genres. They contain a lot more text, demand a much higher reading level, require a lot of math, require resource management skills, and otherwise call for a lot of higher-level thought processing that other games don't require. New players can become easily intimidated, when attempting to play an RPG for the first time.
This, then, is where this "party" comes in. It is an option that would never be viable in the NES version; but it works out well in the context of the Remakes. As mentioned before, the Remakes give you the "Bag"; which allows you to carry x99 Herbs at once. Even if the Priest or Hero run out of MP, you will never have any trouble healing up after battle.
In addition, whips and boomerangs are ridiculously powerful. The original game was never designed with the assumption that your two party members would be able to attack entire groups of enemies at once; and the Hero, Priest, and Thief are all able to do that with some of the weapons they can use.
Most important, however, is this. Experience points are usually divided four ways, if you form a 4-person party (as the game expects you to do). However, this group has only two members; which means that both people are leveling up x2 faster than they were meant to. While they will never be able to clear battles as fast as a four-person party could, they will be far more durable than normal.
The idea, then, is this: Instead of having to manage four entire PC's, you will only need to manage two. If your party gets wiped out, you will only need to revive one person, not three. Instead of having to prioritize one character over another when shopping, you can simply choose to deck out two characters in the best gear you can find.
Of course, you will eventually need to do some grinding. However, this is a game where grinding is incredibly easy and fast. All you need to do is go to Muor, buy around 120 Poison Moth Powders/BugPowders from there, grind at Floor Six of the Tower of Garuna till HealAll is learned, class change the Priest to Thief, grind until Level 20, then move on from there. This will combine the Priest's invaluable spells with the Thief's higher HP, great MP growth, superior equipment, and treasure-finding abilities. One will easily crush anything in their way, and quickly find every hidden item in the game as they do so.
That all being said, this is not the party one chooses if they want the strongest team. A two-person team will never be able to accomplish everything a four-person team could; and they will take longer doing the things they can do. Among other things, this means that one will never be able to access the second bonus dungeon in the GBC version, as you will not be able to beat Divinegon fast enough.
In conclusion, a new player will be sacrificing "efficiency" in return for "simplicity" when choosing this party. You will want to choose one of the other "recommended" parties, if you feel like you already know how to play an RPG, or want to see more of the game.
Solo Hero (For beginners)
- Pros - Usually simple and easy for those new to RPG's, money is plentiful, Experience will not be divided, AoE attacks aren't that deadly anymore, will never need to worry about reviving party members.
- Cons - Slower than other viable parties, stunning attacks will cause instant death, the Tough/Tough Cookie personality is a hard requirement, gameplay can become repetitive, some specific items and equipment are needed for specific bosses, cannot kill the first post-game boss quickly enough to access the second bonus dungeon.
What's more, most bosses don't regenerate their HP like they do in the NES. So long as the Hero has HealAll, he will outlast every boss he meets, so long as his HP is high enough. Granted, doing that means you will want to get the Tough personality in the Prologue; and that process is a 12 minute long ordeal. However, you lose more time trying to run with any other personality than you would pushing the 40 boulders.
However, there are some bosses that require specific preparations. Baramos himself regenerates around 100 HP per round; and two other endgame bosses hit you hard enough that you will spend most of your time healing. These can all be beaten, but you will need:
- The Tough/Tough Cookie personality (140% Vitality is vital for getting the most value out of HealAll)
- +3 point boosts on every Seed of Strength you find (required only for Baramos).
- The Starry Ring/Meteorite Bracer from Isis Castle.
- The Noh Mask/Implacable Mask and Orochi Sword from the Cave of Jipang (required only for Baramos).
- The Bladed Armor/Spiked Armor from the Cave of the Necrogond.
- Several Wizard Rings/Prayer Rings (can find up to four, not including those buyable at Elvenham).
The Seeds of Strength and Noh Mask give you enough Strength and Defense to whittle Baramos down, the Spiked Armor reflects all physical attack damage back at the bosses, the Wizard Rings are there for in case you run out of MP during combat, and the Starry Ring's Agility boost is helpful all-around. Without these crucial factors, you will need a significantly higher level to beat the main game.
Besides that, you will need to grind to at least Level 33 at the Tower of Garuna. That's the earliest level that HealAll can be learned; and the grind itself is simple, thanks to the BugPowder/Coagulent items at Muor. Nevertheless, it's still more grinding than what other viable parties require.
Finally, you will not be able to enter the 2nd post-game dungeon on the GBC version. You need to be able to beat Divinegon in 15 turns or less to gain access to it; and that is not happening with just one party member. That said, it's a relatively short dungeon, you need to do several days worth of Monster Medal farming to complete it, and your only reward for beating it's boss is the Rubiss Sword. You will not be missing much if you choose to skip it.
In conclusion, the Solo Hero is surprisingly effective, despite it's obvious shortcomings. It requires some planning to make it work, you can't enter the GBC-exclusive bonus dungeon with it, and it's nowhere near the fastest way of playing the game. However, what it lacks in options, it makes up for in sheer simplicity. Once the Hero has everything he needs, there is virtually nothing that can stop him. Just follow the six steps listed above and be careful of paralysis attacks. There is virtually nothing that can stop the Solo Hero, once it hits it's stride.
Hero, Warrior, Thief, Mage (For beginners and speedruns) *Recommended*
- Thief >>> Sage
- Mage >>> Warrior
Where the previous two parties were aimed at completionists, this one is aimed for those trying to beat the main story as quickly as possible. In that context, the choices here are simple. The Warrior is your meatshield for boss fights, the Thief is for reducing encounter rates with Tiptoe, and the Mage allows you to learn Bikill early. From there, Thief >>> Sage is for learning Sap, Sleep, and Stopspell, and Mage >>> Warrior is what allows the Mage to survive intense endgame fights.
The Warrior's terrible Agility makes it a slow class for fighting random encounters; but it's high HP and powerful equipment makes it amazing for boss fights. If you're not fighting every random encounter you can, going to every optional dungeon, collecting every Mini Medal, or clearing every Pachisi Board, then this party may just be for you.
Money is not a big issue, either. In fact, one can get an instant +13,000G just by raiding the Pyramid early. The encounter rate is low enough that they can simply run to Ashalam and Isis, save their game, and snag the Magic Key. Once they do so, they will have access to a whole litany of valuable gear at both Isis and Aliahan. Grab all the Gold chets and sell off the Wizard Ring, Tiara and Ruby Ring for 13,950G. That will give you enough for a full set of Iron gear for your Warrior, as well as an Iron Helmet and Shield for your Hero. Go to Portoga, buy two Spike Steel Whips for your Hero and Thief, and then do everything you need to do to get a ship.
Be careful to keep the Mist Staff when you find it in Portoga. Don't sell it. From there, everything else should fall into place. Just make sure to buy two Wizard Rings and two Sleep Staves at Elvenham before trading away the Change Staff. That way, your Warrior and Mage/Warrior can use Sleep and Stopspell as well!
That is, of course, a very rough overview of what an ideal run would look like; and there are obviously a lot more details than that to mind when doing speed runs. But in a more casual run, those steps are all you really need to heed. In fact, the early Pyramid raid isn't even necessary; it's just helpful for solving monetary issues in the early game.
In conclusion, the qualities that make it great for speed runs are also what makes it great for beginners, as it is a party that can survive on very little. It's not great at clearing random encounters, but it's incredible for boss fights; and ultimately, those are the only fights that are really required.
Hero, Thief, Thief, Mage (For SNES/Mobile completionists) *Recommended*
- Thief >>> Mage
- Thief >>> Mage
- Mage >>> Sage
One of the other benefits to playing the remakes is the presence of whips and boomerangs. The former hits an entire group of enemies with just one Attack command; and the latter hits every enemy in the battle. In a game where you're just trying to beat the main game, these weapons will eventually fall behind in power. But if you visit every Pachisi Board as soon as possible, buy all the stuff you can get in their shops, and collect all the Mini Medal rewards as you go through the game, you will get whips and boomerangs strong enough that they will never become obsolete. In fact, collecting Mini Medals is all you need to do if you're playing on the Mobile version.
This party is made to take full advantage of that. Thieves are quicker than Fighters, can use all whips and boomerangs, and have the strength needed to take advantage of that. Mages, for their part, now have enough HP to thrive in the early game, learn Bikill at Level 21, and can use whips once they class change into a Sage. By the time you hit the endgame, you will bearly even need to think about what you're doing. Your party will obliterate entire enemy groups just by pressing the A-button.
In addition, they have the ThiefNose and MapMagic abilities. Use those two skills in every place you go, and you will always be able to find and locate each town's hidden items.
As for them becoming Mages, that's exclusively for Divinegon; the SNES version's post-game boss. You need to be able to defeat him in 15 Turns or less before he will grant all of your wishes; and that's excessively difficult without the Mage's Blazemost spell.
Hence, the idea is to class change your starting Mage into a Sage after he/she learns Bikill. Afterwards, you would keep your party as-is, until you clear the main story. After that is when you would change your two Thieves into Mages. From there, you level them up high enough so that they both learn Blazemost. After that, everyone in your party will be able to hit Divinegon as hard as they need to.
Hero, Fighter, Thief, Mage (For SNES/Mobile completionists)
- Fighter >>> Mage
- Thief >>> Mage
- Mage >>> Sage
This is not a party that has any significant advantages over the previous "SNES/Mobile Completionist Party". The Fighter is simply there for the sake of variety. Not everyone enjoys having two of the same type of class in their party; and the Fighter is at least slightly better for single-target damage. Plus, this allows you to make actual use of all the claws you can get in the game's various dungeons. With the previous party, you would just end up selling them all.
Hero, Thief, Priest, Jester (For GBC completionists) *Recommended*
- Thief >>> Sage
- Priest >>> Sage
- Jester >>> Sage
SNES completionists only need to worry about beating the main game, and defeating Divinegon in under 15 turns. GBC completionists, however, face a far greater challenge. They will have to go spend a very long time hunting for Monster Medals; long enough that even the Sages will reach Level 60+ when all is said and done.
You need 2 Bronze Medals and 1 Silver Medal of all the game's first 155 monsters just to access the GBC-exclusive dungeon. All of the Silver medals can be exchanged for once you get your two Bronze Medals; and some of the rarest Bronze Medals will be gotten by choosing Divinegon's "Rare Medal" wish three times. However, the vast majority of them have to be gained the regular way.
The exact mechanics of how that all works is covered in the Monster Medals section; but the end result is that one has to spend several days worth of time fighting all the game's different encounters over and over again.
This is where the Jester comes in. For all it's obvious weaknesses, it is the only class that knows "Whistle". This ability costs no MP, and will instantly trigger a random encounter. All you need to do is use the map located on the Monster Medals, figure out which places have the monster medals they need, and then spam Whistle over and over again at those locations.
Plus, the Jester can turn into a Sage without needing a Zen Book. In addition, his early-game performance is not nearly as bad as many would think. His "antics" won't trigger very often until the higher levels; and he can also equip whips and boomerangs. His Strength will never grow high enough for him to use them like the Thief and Hero can; but you will have already class changed him by the time that would've become a problem.
As for grinding, you would do it before fighting any of the game's bosses. You would head to Dhama Temple as soon as you can, head east into Muor, buy around 40-50 BugPowders/Coagulents using the treasure you raided from the Pyramid, and then use those to grind on the top floor of the Tower of Garuna. You can use them to cast the Confusion status on everything except the SkyDragon, allowing you to easily kill the many Metal Slimes you will find there.
In fact, this early trip to Garuna is also why the Priest is here. The Hero will not have as much MP as he normally would; so in addition to some added safety in the early game, the Priest is also there for in case the Hero can't use Expel on SkyDragon anymore. This way, you'll be able to grind until you have class-changed both the Priest and Jester into Sages. The rest of the game will be simple from there.
Naturally, this is not necessary if one is not planning to complete the Ice Cavern. In that case, it is recommended that you simply use the "SNES/Mobile completionist parties" listed above.
Hero, Thief, Priest, Mage (For casual speedruns)
- Priest >>> Sage
- Mage >>> Warrior
To be clear, this is not a part that should be used for serious world record attempts. The lack of a dedicated Warrior can be managed if one actually fights most of the random encounters after Garuna; but that should never happen in a true speed run setting. As a result, the party is simply too fragile to consistently survive against Zoma.
So rather than a hardcore minimalist party, this one is more for those who want to mix it up a bit. Instead of going for world record pace, this party settles for going reasonably fast. Instead of being designed only for boss fights, this party allows one to quickly defeat random encounters as well. Instead of having two copies of the same class, this party allows everyone to be unique.
Besides that, the Priest's extra bit of healing is helpful early on; and the party will appreciate having the Thief around to attack every enemy with the Spiked Steel Whip.
In conclusion, this party will never be good for serious world record attempts; but it is good for those who want to "speed run" the game in a more casual manner. It allows one to beat the game relatively quickly, but in a way that they can still enjoy more of what the game has to offer.
Hero, Warrior, Thief, Jester (For casual speedruns)
- Thief >>> Sage
- Jester >>> Sage