There are 40 different spells available to the player characters in Final Fantasy 2. They can be divided in two groups: White spells, mainly dealing with healing and defense, and Black spells, mainly dealing with attack and debuff.
Every character can learn any spell by using up (reading) the appropriate tome or scroll of the same name. Magic tomes/scrolls can be purchased in shops, found in chests for free, or dropped by defeated enemies.
Every spell has a level, and that corresponds to the Magic Points (MP) necessary to cast the spell itself. Every spell starts at level 1, and the level is increased after repeated use of the spell. The effectiveness every spell depends on the spell level and the Magic attribute of the caster; White spells are also based on the Wisdom of the caster, while Black spells depend on caster's Intelligence.
- Learning magic
- You can purchase spell scrolls from magic shops or find them in treasure chests. Use them in the "Items" menu to learn magic spells. Every character can learn up to sixteen spells at a time. If their spells slots are full and they want to learn another spell, they must first drop a spell via the "Discard" command.
- Use to select a caster, a spell, and a target if applicable. Press to confirm each selection. Note that not all spells can be used via the Magic menu.
- Spells that cannot be discarded are darkened in the menu.
- If you want to drop a spell, select it with and press , then select the "Discard" command and press to confirm.
How to distinguish White and Black Magic
Whenever the players find a new spell tome, there is no direct clue whether it is White or Black. It is important to know it in advance, so that a White spell can be taught to a character with high Spirit (or a character whose Spirit you want to increase), and similarly a Black spell can be taugth to a character with high Intelligence (or a character whose Intelligence you want to increase).
Here's an exhaustive list of hints:
- In the first town, the magic shop sells a "Cure" spell that is obviously White and three offensive spells, i.e. Blizzard, Thunder and Fire, that are obviously Black.
- At the beginning of the second mission Minwu the White Mage joins the party; he's equipped with sixteen White spells, i.e. all except four.
- Later in the game, the Ultima spell is referred to as the "ultimate White magic".
- The last three White spells are Slow, Holy and Mini; they can all be bought in shops after Fynn is re-conquered, moreover Mini can also be found in a dungeon.
- Any other spell is, therefore, a Black spell.
- Magic shops generally sell White spells; there are few "black" exceptions, though: the aforementioned magic shop in the first town, the Vacuum spell, and a secret shop during the last mission.
- On the other hand, Black spells are generally found in chests in the dungeons; the only "white" exceptions are a few chests containing the Mini spell or spells known by Minwu.
- Also, defeated enemies sometimes drop a Black spell; the only exceptions are three white spells already known by Minwu.
- After a spell is assigned to a character, if the character casts a White spell a white and blue energy ring appears around him/her, but if he/she casts a Black spell a yellow and green energy ring appears instead.
19 out of 20 White spells can be bought in shops, but only 8 out of 20 Black ones can be. The twentieth White spell is the goal of a mission, while almost every Black spell can be found in chests or is won from defeated enemies.
|Magic shops||White spells||Black spells|
|Altair||100G: Cure||150G: Blizzard, Thunder, Fire|
|Paloom||300G: Shell, Blink, Protect||-|
|Bafsk||600G: Esuna, Basuna, Silence, Fear||-|
|Salamand||1000G: Life, Teleport, Sap||1000G: Warp|
|Fynn||2000G: Dispel, Fog, Slow, Mini||-|
|Mysidia|| 5000G: Wall, Barrier, Swap
| Jade passage
|-|| 10000G: Berserk, Death|
There are eight elements in Final Fantasy 2, plus the Holy element.
Enemies have different affinites to one or more elements: some may be weak against a given element and get double damage; some may resist and get half damage; some may absorb the element and get healed instead of suffering damage.
On the other hand, many enemies may use elemental attacks, and several pieces of armor give extra protection against one or more elements.
- Fire (spell: Fire)
- Ice (spell: Blizzard)
- Lightning (spell: Thunder)
The three basic elements, that were found already in Final Fantasy 1. Fire and Ice are opposing elements: usually, enemies weak against one are resistant versus the other one. Lightning is the element that water enemies are generally weak against.
- Poison (spell: Scourge)
This element is associated to the Poison and Venom status ailments. A monster or character hit by the Scourge spell not only will suffer poison-elemental damage, but may also be inflicted either the poison or venom status.
It is not clear which spells are associated to these three elements, nevertheless they are listed as such in the in-game bestiary. Since there are four different instant-defeat attack spells (Break, Toad, Mini and Death), it seems logical to assume that they have four different elements (including Death, below), but this is not confirmed. According to the bestiary, the Emperor is the only enemy that absorbs the Matter element; actually, he absorbs any instant-death spell, including Teleport and Warp. No enemy absorbs Body or Soul.
- Death (spells: Death, Drain, Osmose)
- Holy (spells: Holy, Cure, Life)
Enemies that absorb the Death element are also known as Undead; they include skeletons, zombies, vampires and the like. These enemies are the only ones that, in turn, are damaged by the Cure and Life spells; the "Holy" spell deals damage to any enemy, and increased damage to the Undead.
- Non-elemental offensive spells: Ultima (white), Flare (black)
These two spells are the only offensive ones that have no associated element, therefore they will deal full damage to any enemy.
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Temporary statuses: Sleep, Paralysis, Confusion, Venom, Mini, Silence, Slow.
Permanent statuses: Blindness, Curse, Toad, Poison, Amnesia, Stone.
- Sleep and paralysis (spells: sleep, stun, stop)
- Mute and amnesia (spells: silence, fog)
- Venom and poison (spell: scourge)
- Mini, toad and stone (spells: mini, toad, break): when the spells are used on the enemies, they are instantly defeated; when used on the party, Esuna or other items are used to cure the status.
Maximize effectiveness of spells
In order to maximize the effectiveness of spells, it would be advantageous to have characters with White spells only and characters with Black spells only. Every character can learn up to 16 different spells, but there are 20 spells per alignment. Considering the three main characters, one example of strategy could be the following:
- assign 16 black spells to Maria, because she starts with higher Intelligence and equipped with a bow/sling, and the final bow in the game can cast a black spell;
- assign 4 Black and 4 white spells (hereafter referred to as "leftovers") to Firion, because he's a balanced character; moreover, he starts equipped with a sword, and the final sword in the game can cast a black spell;
- assign 16 White Spells to Guy, because he can rely on his physical attributes to attack; moreover, he starts equipped with an axe, and the final axe in the game can cast a white spell.
The eight "leftover" spells should be spells that are found somehow early in the game, so that the later and more powerful spells can be assigned to the characters with more advanced Wisdom or Intelligence. Furthermore, the "leftovers" can also be some spells with effect very similar to other spells of the same alignment, in particular either Silence or Fog (white spells that prevent enemy magic), either Stun or Stop (black spells that paralyze the enemies), either Toad or Break or Death (black spells that instantly defeat enemies). Also, Thunder can be included in these, because the same spell can be cast in three other ways: by Leila and by using two weapons from the item menu. (Example: Protect, Fear, Sap, Fog, Thunder, Blind, Stun, Toad.)
Improve magic level
In order to get a high level of magic proficiency, your characters should use their magic as much as they can. As soon as you saved enough money, buy three Ethers for 1000 Gil each. Then, have your characters use their magic until they deplete all their MP: now it's time to use weapons. When a character's Health Points (HP) are low, give one Ether to your White magic user; right before the boss, give the other two Ethers to your other two main characters. The temporary fourth character generally doesn't need Ether, either because he has lots of MP (Minwu) or because he has no spells (almost everyone else).
Debuff spells are defined as "battle spells that target the enemies, but deal no damage". They are generally underestimated by beginners because they miss quite often. Truth is, a leveled-up debuff spell becomes very effective in preventing the enemies from damaging your characters, i.e. a black spell becomes sort of a defensive spell. A support white spell like Protect or Shell reduces the damage your party suffers, but a successful debuff spell like Sleep or Stun prevents damage completely!
Soul of Rebirth
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Minwu starts with sixteen white spells; Scott starts with three black spells, plus two white ones already equipped by Minwu; during the game, seven more spells can be found in chests or purchased in shops, and eight more are won from defeated enemies.
It could be useful during the main game to teach Ricard the spells that cannot be found in Soul of Rebirth; such spells are listed as "missing" in the table below. He could also be given any spellcasting or special weapon, e.g. the Thunder Spear.
|Starting||16 (on Minwu and Scott)||3 (on Scott: Fire, Blizzard, Thunder)|
|Find or buy||3 (Holy, Mini, Ultima)||4 (Aura, Berserk, Haste, Flare)|
|Win from enemies||0|| 8 (Warp, Blind, Curse, Stun,|
Sleep, Confuse, Scourge, Toad)
|Missing||1 (Slow)||5 (Stop, Osmose, Death, Break, Drain)|
- White magic
Minwu is the white mage. He could sacrifice a few spells to make room for Holy, Mini and Ultima (e.g. he could give up Silence and Sap, that are weaker than Fog, plus any one spell that can be bought back in Machanon).
If every character has Cure and Life the game becomes a bit easier.
- Black magic
Scott starts with some proficiency in black magic, and he could be assigned all the black spells that can be found.
- Missing from Soul of Rebirth
- Slow: not a big loss, it has small effect even at high levels.
- Stop: not a big loss, the similar Stun and Sleep are available.
- Death & Break: not a big loss, the similar Mini and Toad are available, not to mention Warp and Teleport.
- Drain & Osmose: yes, this is a loss, because these two spells make the game much easier; therefore, you'll have to stock up Ethers instead.