FFIV no64 Guide (Rosa%/Drain%/Excal%)
FFIV no64 Guide (Rosa%/Drain%/Excal%)
Updated 6 years ago by riversmccown

This guide is a living document at this link, and it's easier to link out, so please check for updates: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oLUA9Xt5RGQehK6I8MY7R4qKbhDeR5V9PY8gz7Lz4YI

Final Fantasy IV no64 door glitch notes by Rivers McCown (riversmccown)

Welcome! You have chosen to learn one of the more frustrating SNES RPGs to speedrun. There will be times you question this decision.

OPTIONAL: Beginning on Seed 92

The first thing you will want to do when you begin a speedrun is to hit the appropriate seed (92) so that you won’t have any encounters from the early section of the game to the Mist Clip and reset. The game has 256 seeds, and you will be aiming to hit one, and only one seed, that fits the bill. This can take some time, depending on how you want to go about it. yes64 runners will likely have access to the glitch room, so they can try to set their seed off that. Otherwise, I would recommend making a save outside of Baron on seed 223. This is an advanced video tutorial of how it works from neerrm.

From there you will be trying to hit seed 81, then die in the encounter so that the title screen will load with 92. This sounds complicated, and it may take you 2-3 hours at most to set up. But after that, it’s something you’ll get down. You can use audio cues or a timer to help you figure out where the seeds you are looking for are. I tend to use a timer when setting the initial seed, but I also don’t run yes64 yet and thus haven’t set a glitch room up.

You don’t actually have to do this to start running the game. It just makes the beginning more consistent.

Baron -> Mist Clip

You’ll be given about 3:30 of cutscenes before you gain control. During this time you can either get attacked or not get attacked in scripted Floateye and Raven encounters, which is ~5 seconds difference on what time you’ll end up out of Baron. All you do in Baron is grab the right chest in the hidden hallway door that contains a Tent (for the Mist Clip) and head to bed. You want to take 2 extra steps (a quick back and forth) along the way to skip an encounter you’d get outside of Baron on your first step on the world map. I take these in the bedroom. You can take them in the hall with the chests as well.

Either before exiting Baron or before beginning your walk to the chocobo forest to the southwest of Baron, you’ll want to set the battle speed and text speed from 3 to 1. This requires a quick menu. If you’re familiar with plinking, you can do that here. If you aren’t, this is a great place to practice and get good at it. Here is TheLCC’s video on plinking. Basically, you want to buffer inputs so that one push of down will get you two or three actual cursor moves. Plinking is not necessary and can actually hurt you if you’re too aggressive with it, so don’t think you need to do it to get a good time.

At the chocobo, you should be set up to go up three squares, right two, then meet the chocobo on the right quickly.

OPTIONAL: You can also pick up the Carrot here, if you are going to go for a mimic glitch kill on Milon. It’s above the square hidden in the grass from where the Chocobo goes.

You’ll ride the chocobo up to the Mist Cave. If you hit 92, you’ll have no encounters all the way to the Mist Dragon, our tutorial boss.

Mist Dragon HP: 465 Run buffer opportunities: Doesn’t make this fight any faster, and we haven’t explained the concept yet for a reason. Equipment shuffling: Dupe explained below. No problems turn order: Kain, Cecil, Cecil, Kain, Cecil, Cecil, Kain (turns to mist), Cecil (Parry), Kain, Cecil, Cecil, Kain, Cecil, Kain, etc.

You’ll want to jump immediately with Kain. And I mean immediately, because he needs to have it input before Mist Dragon’s attack for you to get an optimal pattern. Before the Mist Dragon turns to Mist, Cecil should get four attacks in. Kain should get two jumps and an attack (on his third turn, which will be the last thing before it turns to mist.) Hold A whenever you know Cecil is coming up.

Once the dragon turns to mist, you’ll parry with Cecil, and Kain’s turn will come up. From here, you will try to time your jump so that you land as the dragon reforms from the mist. The audio cue is the note before the long high note. Basically any of the top PBs will nail this trick, so I recommend you watch one on the Speedrun.com leaderboard a few times.

Then, when the text box comes up announcing that the dragon is about to reform, you’ll be performing the Dupe Glitch. Whenever possible, we’ll be menuing while an animation or text box is happening, because the ATB is frozen anyway. Your inventory at this point will either be L1 Package, R1 Tent or L1 Package, R1 Tent, L2 Carrot. I will share two different dupe strats because money may or may not be an issue for you.

Edge no64: If you didn’t pick up Carrot, drag empty slot R2 up to Cecil’s Shadow shield, then drag the now-empty shield slot to R2 and push A. If you did, first move Carrot to L3, then follow the previous sentence. After you do that, swap Tent to L1 and Package to R1. This makes it sound more complicated than it is, and it’ll become muscle memory pretty quickly. Rosa no64: Because you don’t need as many Elixirs, we’re duping Kain’s shield because it is a quicker menu. Swap Tent and Package, then move Carrot down to L3, drag the second empty inventory slot up to the shield. From there, you can move the empty glitched out slot to the left (2L) for quicker menuing. On Kain’s first turn, drag the shield (IMPORTANT: DO NOT DRAG THE EMPTY SLOT UP) into the empty slot, then have him jump.

The second phase of this fight really depends on what happened during the first. Damage rolls are everything against Mist Dragon. Kain’s jumps will be around 45-60 most of the time, and Cecil’s attacks can do 20-35 or so. If you’re lucky enough to get a critical hit, the battle timeline moves up. Note that it is possible to time your jump so that Kain lands before Cecil’s first Mist Dragon attack goes off, which means he will get the second attack instead of Cecil. Either way, you will want to continue jumping with Kain and attacking with Cecil unless you feel the Dragon is close enough to death that you’ll trade the certain jump damage for the quicker Kain attack damage. Without crits and with average damage, you’ll typically need a third jump. Crits and/or good damage rolls can try to fight after two jumps.

Once the dragon is dead, you’ll walk outside and begin the Mist Clip. This is another thing that will seem more complicated than it is. Basically you’ll want to move right, then immediately hold left, push X to go to the menu, and use a tent. It will shift the entire world map over one spot. Then, after the tent is used, you’ll take advantage of that spot by holding right and menuing again, so that you can save on the right-most square of Mist, enabling us to enter from the back. Here is how that works in video form, via Myself086. Your fingers may want to try to finesse these presses. Don’t let them. Just hold the left or right cursor and push x.

Once you move over the right side of Mist and are menuing, take off Kain’s Iron gloves, putting them in L1. (They will save time in a later boss fight.) Then re-equip Cecil’s Shadow shield or Kain’s iron shield and immediately unequip it. The item slot will show as completely empty. This is what you want. Then, save the game. If you somehow miss the Mist Clip, there’s a backup Tent in the Mist Cave, though you will eat some battles getting to it.

OPTIONAL: Seed-setting

From here, you can do a couple of things. You can soft-reset (aka reset on a console) and quickly load up your save. This will give you a (mostly) random seed, but cost you no time.

Optionally, you can try to hit a specific seed (in the case of no64, you’ll obviously be aiming for 43 since it is the best seed) off a hard reset (power off the console). Depending on your cart and how good the battery is, you’ll have to wait about 9-12 seconds from the power off to get the cart’s default seeding. From there, you’ll need to do a process of trial and error.to figure out where on your cart 43 is. Use a save over Mist and walk right and up, counting the steps, and note the time that you start it. (For my cart, it’s about 4.31 seconds after power on.) Then, you will simply try to push a on the exact frame as 43. The idea is that this will cost you around 15-20 seconds, but save you 2-3 minutes over the course of a full run.

There are other manips being developed to hit seed 43 off a soft reset, and I will update this section if they become more accessible. Also, if you’re going for Excalibur, you may be trying to hit a different seed.


Walk a space right, then walk into Mist from the backside. (Ohh yeah!) Walk down to the weapon shop, sell the empty L2 slot that used to be Shadow shields for All Of The Money, and use Some Of The Money to buy 10 Dancing Daggers. Then, walk up to Rydia’s house. There’s a hidden passage in the fireplace. Walk through and to the right to grab Tiara from the left-most chest, and then walk further right for another secret passage. There, you can go down, left, and down again to find Change Rod. You don’t technically need either of these items, but Tiara will boost Rydia’s defense and make the next boss and late-game bosses much easier, while Change Rod will help your magic damage be much higher from the middle of the game on. I would recommend grabbing both in no64. I will be writing this guide assuming you did.

Exit Rydia’s house and start a cutscene by heading to the left entrance. (You can exit through the right again if you have a second tent, but the game softlocks at Damcyan without Tellah, so that doesn’t get the speedrun anywhere.)

Story Battle: Titan

You have two chances to menu here, one on Rydia’s initial “NO!” and one on Titan tearing the earth up. You can set up your menu however you’d like. I’ll make some suggestions.

In general, when you’re equipping, it’s easier to have items you’ll later be equipping on the left because you can plink or drag down to them easily. I want the right side to be items. At least for now. At this point, my inventory will look like this: 1L Iron gloves, 1R empty, 2L Dancing daggers, 2R Tiara, 3L Carrot OR Change Rod, 3R Change Rod, Shadow Shield, OR empty. 4L: Change or Empty

My first two menu goals would be a) to move the Iron Gloves down, and b) to elevate Tiara to 1L and Dancing Dagger to 1R. You’ll use both of those items very soon. So, I typically use “NO!” to drag Iron Gloves to 7 or 8L, and then use the quake to move Tiara and Dancing up. If I haven’t messed anything up and wasted the time, I’ll also bring Carrot down to 4L if I have time. An alternate strat is to put Tiara at 2L so that, eventually, a sword you get will be at the top of the inventory.

Don’t sweat it if your menu isn’t optimal right away. There is generally always going to be time to fix it even if it looks ugly early.

Kaipo -> Octomamm

Before you get to this point, you’ll want to have this page open. Aexoden has done all the work for you -- all you have to do is walk perfectly for three hours! I also find this page helpful, particularly if you are a newbie. Your main goal from here until the tent cave will be to figure out what seed you are on. I would encourage you to reach out to the community about better seeding after you have played around with Aexoden’s for a bit. We’re willing to share. The list of seeds sorted by first steps are here. Note that if you randomly land on seeds 74-81, you will trigger an encounter that will lose your dupe glitch before you enter Mist. That’s a reset. It has helped me to have dual monitors for tracking all this information. Either way, just track your encounters and try to narrow down what seed you’re on. From there, you can start taking the optional steps along the way as your seed guide provides them. I won’t go into them in this guide because I’ll assume you’re following them on your own or don’t care. This is also optional.

Entering Kaipo will automatically trigger bringing Rydia to the inn, which will be a decent cutscene to narrow down your seeds on while you mash. From there, you will fight three guards and a captain, which is your intro to the exciting land of run buffering!

The concept of run buffering is pretty simple. As your turn pops up, you will push l and r and trigger a “can’t run!” text box. This will freeze the ATB system for enemies. Which means you will generate more turns. Which is kind of what we are going for in a speed run. Knowing exactly when to do this is half-practice and half-instinct. I mess it up plenty still on some fights. Practice this a lot.

The guard fight itself is not very nuanced. Run buffer, then attack before the text goes away. If you get good starting ATB, you can do this three times and have the officer run away. If you don’t, you’ll get hit and lose ~5 seconds. Either way, keep doing it until the three guards are dead. Let the officer run away. Rydia will join your party.

As you gain control again, go to the menu, equip the Tiara to Rydia, and use the FORM command to move her from the top party slot to the second party slot, where she is in the back row. I’ve also seen some runners place Dancing Dagger on her now. Feel free to do that if it tickles your fancy.

Go the northwest corner of town, learn that Rosa doesn’t want Cecil to leave. Then leave. Make sure to exit Kaipo by taking a step to the right first, so that you appear a step closer to the Watery Pass. I’m going to assume you’re familiar enough with the game that you know the general path to take through here. If not, look at Aexoden’s walking paths.

The only pit stop along the way is to pick up the Darkness sword from the last chest before Tellah talks about using a tent outside, it has a bridge over a chasm and the chest is at the end of a bridge. You’ll likely be taking steps somewhere here. None of the monsters are particularly dangerous, though if you get back-attacked before you fight Octomamm you may want to cure if you’re not running for a PB. Crocs and Jellys can put a hurting on Rydia.

Octomamm -- 2350 HP Run buffer opportunities: Only if you fall behind the script and want to save some time would it make sense to buffer here. (Think: dead Rydia.) Equipment shuffling opportunities: Text when Octo gets down to two tentacles (long), Lit1/Stop from Tellah goes off while you have a character selected (medium), during Dancing Dagger animation while a character is selected (medium), Cecil turns after a Lit/DD that also trigger Octo losing a tentacle (medium) No problems turn order: Cecil, Tellah, Rydia, Cecil, Tellah, Cecil, Rydia, Tellah (stop), Cecil, Rydia, Cecil, Cecil, Rydia, (two tentacles) Cecil, Tellah, Cecil, Rydia, etc.

The basic train of thought with this fight is: Cecil attacks, Rydia throws Dancing dagger from her weapon slot, and Tellah casts Lit1 twice, then uses Stop on himself. (He does way less damage than Cecil or Rydia, the early Lit1s are mainly to decrease Octo’s speed.) You’ll need to equip the Darkness sword on Cecil on his first turn, and the DD on Rydia’s first turn if you didn’t equip her when you equipped Tiara.

Octo can put a hurting on Rydia, with damage rolls up to 18 of her 30 HP with Tiara on. If this is the case, it’s recommended you throw Blink (at her) or Cure2 (on the party) with Tellah for casual/marathon-safe run purposes when she dips under 8 HP. For PB attempts I’d probably just roll the dice that she survives. You have Life1, it just breaks the turn order up.

Other than that, this fight isn’t very complicated. I don’t believe I’ve seen any runners run buffer here. If you can manage to hold a turn when Octo shrinks to two tentacles, you should get a chance to manipulate the menu. You should be able to move both Rod and Shadow sword down all the way to the bottom. Replace one of them with Trashcan if you are going to attempt to stuff Milon Z in it. I like to relocate Trashcan to 3R and Carrot to 4R at this point, as well as move Change rod to 2L. I’ve also seen some runners dupe Change rod during this fight and get the extra damage on Tellah, but that’s not time-optimal because of the menu.

Parry Tellah after stop when he gets a turn and nobody needs curing. With good damage, Octo will die after two Tellah parries. If he doesn’t, keep pounding away, he won’t have much left.

Damcyan -> Antlion

At some point between now and the beginning of the Antlion fight, you’ll want to adjust the party order. You’ll want your new character, Edward, in the middle slot. Rydia on the top, and Cecil in either second or fourth position. Then you’ll CHANGE the rows so Cecil is in front. I like to do this before Damcyan.

Damcyan is a giant cutscene, though you may have to take extra steps in the corridor. After that, no more Tellah. You get Edward, spooniest of bards. Drive the hovercraft over the shallows to Antlion Cave. Antlion Cave is very straightforward. Rydia may eat it on a back attack, especially if she has low HP. There’s also a chanced Edward does. There’s a safety Life potion in a chest on the path. If you do pick that up, pick Rydia/Edward up in the actual Antlion battle rather than from the menu, as it is faster. If both of them die, welp.

Antlion -- 1000 HP Run buffer opportunities: If you buffer Edward’s last turn, you can skip Antlion’s second attack. Equipment shuffling opportunities: Any dancing dagger animation (medium) No problems turn order: Cecil, Edward, Rydia, Cecil, Edward, Rydia

This fight will end in four dancing daggers or less. Good damage rolls can get it to you in three. Parry with Cecil, equip Edward mid-fight and let it loose.

The only new item in the inventory will be Edward’s Dreamer harp, which will go as far down as you can get it. But don’t stress about it, you’ll be able to guarantee a move for it in Fabul.

Otherwise, not a whole lot to say about this fight. Dancing daggers completely neuter the Antlion’s counter, which is the only reason to fear him. If you count enough damage, you can attack with Cecil on his second turn for a quicker kill than four daggers.

Antlion Cave -> Kaipo -> Mt. Hobs

At this point, as long as you survive the back attack, you don’t care about them for Antlion Cave. You’re about to get a full heal. Head back to Kaipo. You can read the mountains jutting in from above Kaipo as a good sign to ride the hovercraft down if you’re not sure. Park left of Kaipo, walk in, walk up to Rosa (you won’t be stopped by the game this time) and feed her SandRuby. She’ll feel better and join.

Waterhag -- Hold A. Edward will gain a few levels. This is a Good Thing.

Exit Kaipo by walking to the left-most square, so that you are directly on top of the hovercraft and save a step. Drive all the way to Mt. Hobs, where you’ll get another cutscene.

Depending on the seeds it is possible you’ll have up to 3 or 4 attacks before MomBomb. It’s very unfortunate if you take a back attack that damages Rydia or Edward at this point, as they really need to be in top shape for MomBomb. Heal if this happens and you are playing it safe. On a PB attempt I might just risk that MomBomb doesn’t hit them and cure in battle.

You’ll run into Yang fighting some Imp Captains. The results of this are random and can be anywhere from 2-6 turns based on damage rolls. I’ve never seen 2, but I know that it’s theoretically possible. 3 is good. I would consider 4+ unlucky. There’s a table for this, and in theory you can pause on a 4-roll fight and save it, but ask me for it if you’re interested because it’s not online right now.

Mombomb -- First form 800 HP, Grey bomb 100 HP (x3), Red bomb 50 HP (x3) Run buffer opportunities: buffer Edward’s first attack to skip the first form’s second attack. (Barring bad damage rolls.), buffer out of the menu on Edward’s first DD post-explosion to get a chance to skip a GrayBomb attack Equipment shuffling opportunities: Dancing dagger throws (medium), Explosion (medium, though it will seem longer. You need to let the damage rolls appear on screen by being out of the menu.) No problems turn order: Edward, Cecil, Rosa, Rydia, Yang, Edward (parry or throw), Cecil (parry), Rosa (cure or parry), Yang (wait and kick), (explosion), Edward, Rydia, Cecil, Rosa, Yang, Edward, Cecil, Yang, Rydia, etc.

You’re aiming for that 800 number, so be counting early in this fight. I’d say it’s uncommon to not get 800 HP of damage in the first five turns but it still happens occasionally. Attack with Cecil and Yang, DD with Edward and Rydia, parry with Rosa.

After healing Rydia/Edward if they’ve been hit, so they’ll survive explosion, you’ll want to move to Yang and wait for the text box “Exploding!” to appear. From there, wait two seconds, then queue up a Kick. (Note: If you run on a 1.1 cart, you may need to be quicker on the kick input.) The bomb will explode and damage your party heavily. Rydia and Edward will DD the two Grey bombs closest to the front row. The kick should go off either before or after Rydia’s turn, you’ll want to scope the damage to see who Rosa and Cecil should target.

I tend to have bad luck asking Cecil to attack a backrow bomb, because he’s not super accurate at this point of the game. So I would usually just have him attack the front row red bomb regardless of damage. Either way, Cecil targets one red bomb, Rosa targets the one with the lowest remaining HP. Hope you get lucky on those rolls.

Assuming you do, Edward will then take out the last grey bomb. That will leave Cecil and Yang to clean up the mess with basic fight commands. If you get back to Rydia, you can attack with her from the back row to save a DD animation. Just note that, again, she can miss pretty easily with the basic fight command.

BTW -- It is technically possible to kill MomBomb before it explodes, but the second form has 11,000 HP and your best damage dealers do 400.

Mt. Hobs -> Fabul

This is one of the longest walks in the game. There are a ton of bad enemy formations along the way. Step-routing will save you a lot of time here. (As well as possibly ask you to take extra steps on Mt. Hobs East.) Don’t get flustered if you eat a back attack. Happens to the best of us.

If you are inexperienced, save when you arrive at Fabul. This is a common death point for people who aren’t used to run buffering.

Walk up a lot of stairs, talk to the King, begin to defend the castle. It’s a shame you don’t get Rydia to make this segment much easier. But at least she gets “the office of relief.” (??)

Fabul Gauntlet -- Officer (326 HP), Fighter (65 HP) x3 | Weeper (132 HP), Waterhag (64 HP), Imp Cap (37 HP) x2 | Gargoyle (160 HP) x1 Run buffer opportunities: Buffer Edward’s first attack every single round Equipment shuffling opportunities: Gargoyle/DD/end of fight (long) -- you’ll get some medium windows when Officers run away as well. No problems turn order: Depending on your levels, it will be either Edward/Cecil/Yang/repeat or Edward/Yang/Cecil/repeat. If everyone was alive for MomBomb’s experience, Edward and Yang will level up after the second fight and Yang’s turn will be before Cecil from then on.

OK, this is one of the most execution-heavy parts of the run. The three officer-fighter fights demand it. You will want to freeze the ATB with a run buffer, and then immediately throw a dancing dagger at a fighter BEFORE the “Can’t Run!” text box goes away. This requires you to input: L+R, up, up, a, up, and a again. In a very short window of time. Practice this until it becomes second nature to you. You will probably need at least 2 of 3 to go off to not have to sweat the end.

Edward will always DD on the first turn here. It’s actually possible for him to hit the officer and kill him immediately, which speeds those fights up, but it requires a high damage roll and isn’t something I’d recommend unless you’re trying to manipulate experience. He can attack in the second round if he is finishing off something that already took a hit, or an Imp Cap. Otherwise, more DD. Against the other formations, DD will target Weeper and Gargoyle.

Cecil and Yang will always fight. Cecil does less damage at this point. He will basically need a crit to one-shot a fighter. You always will want Cecil to attack Waterhag, because the Darkness sword does extra elemental damage to them. Yang can take the Imp Cap. Against Fighters, Yang can actually one-shot them with a good roll, so make sure to wait on Cecil’s attack if that happens so you don’t waste a fight animation.

Menuing on the Gargoyle fight is your last chance to move up Trashcan if you want it. Otherwise, it’s a good place to move down Dreamer. We’ll go over the larger inventory again in a second.

Edward is very squishy at this point. Fighters can one shot him into critical status, which will trigger “Hide.” You would actually rather have Edward dead at that point, because he is going to be eating ATB and turns without doing anything. It also ruins your shot to run buffer the start of each fight. Edward in crit mode after the first fight will lead to about a 70-80% chance of a death. It’s more normal for him to be able to absorb two fighter hits, so as long as you are killing one fighter with a first-turn run buffer, you will have good odds here. Even the best players can get tripped up by bad Fabul luck.

Kain will fight Cecil at the end of the sequence. You will want Cecil to attack himself to end the sequence quickly. If Kain doesn’t get Cecil into critical health after the first round, you will take about a 20-second loss on extra dialogue and the “Perished’ text box.

Fabul -> Mysidia -> Mt. Ordeals

After the cutscene, you will trigger yet another cutscene in the inn after (likely) some extra steps. This ends with you in the King’s bedroom, where he gives you the Black sword. (Kinky!) De-equip the Tiara and put Cap back on Rydia. I like to menu the Black sword on Cecil immediately here, but you have other chances.

Get on a boat. Lose the boat and the party. Wander into Mysidia.

Let’s talk about the state of your inventory at this point. If you’ve been following my advice, it’ll look like this: Tiara (1L), Dancing (1R), Change (2L), Black/Darkness (2R), Empty (3L), Trashcan (3R), Empty (4L), Carrot (4R). Everything else should be at the bottom or in the process of being moved there. This leaves you with your next three purchases heading into the left-hand column.

To begin your spending spree, go to the item shop at the right of the town. Buy 60/70/80 Cure2, Life, Heal, Ether1. You don’t actually need all of these, but I am going to treat you like a beginning player for the moment. You can pick up an Ether leaving Kaipo, and you only technically need one. You don’t technically need any heals to finish the run, though they are helpful. You only technically need about four Cure2s, but since you may need to heal along the way, pick them up. You absolutely need at least 20 lifes to finish. On my runs I’d go at least 50/50/50/Kaipo Ether1 as of this writing, but I usually just do the easy thing and get 50/50/50/50.

Walk up to the Elder, talk and gain Palom and Porom. Head into the armor shop and begin to spend more of your ill-gotten Mist cash. Traditionally, you are to buy 10 Gaea Hats, 10 Gaea Armor, and 10 Silver Rings, as well as Paladin shield and Paladin gloves. Gaea helm raises magic damage, so we consider that mandatory. Gaea armor is optional, but helps against Milon Z in trashcan fights. I’ve seen Any% runners skip Paladin Gloves, but I wouldn’t for no64. My current runs have me buy: 10 gaea helms, 1 silver ring, 1 paladin shield, 1 paladin gloves, but I also don’t want to menu before Milon if I can help it. If you are newer and dead set on a menu before Milon, go to the armor shop first so that those items are stacked on the left of your inventory and easy to access.

So the inventory then slots in with: Cure2 (3L), Life (4L), Heal (5L), Ether (6L), Gaea Helm (6R), Silver ring (7L), | Paladin shield (7R), Paladin Glove (8L). Bump everything after the ring to the left a spot if you didn’t pick up Carrot.

The walk from Mysidia to the top of Mt. Ordeals is one of the biggest RNG swings in the game. Back attacks here can be super costly, especially if you happen to get one from a 6- or 7-enemy formation. In some cases, you will see players having Cecil attack Porom -- this is to make carrot more consistent without having to equip anything. Eventually, you are going to make it to a bridge on the fourth screen of Ordeals. Here is where we’ll menu. Cure Palom, Cecil, and Tellah, if necessary and life any Twin that fell on the way. (Moving Cure2 into Tiara’s spot in-menu is recommended.) You will absolutely want Change Rod, Gaea Helm, Gaea Armor, and Silver on Palom. You will absolutely want Gaea helm and Silver on Tellah. If you haven’t equipped the Black sword on Cecil yet, here is another chance. If you had Cecil in Slot 2, move him to Slot 4 here.

Note: From here, a lot can change with this run based on experience routing and turn order. In an effort to not have three straight pages of MIlon strats and to keep it current, I am going to move strats I deem empirically slower to the very bottom of this document in a bit called Beginner/Marathon Strats.

From here, the routes diverge. If you are going for the carrot kill on Milon, do not heal or equip Porom. If you are going for the Twincast kill, heal her up and give her Gaea and Silver as well. Traditionally you would menu Change, Gaea Helm, Gaea Armor, and Silver on Palom and Gaea helm and Silver on Tellah here. There are more strats for this fight in the Beginner/Marathon section.

Milon 1 -- 3,100 HP. Ghasts x4 (HP irrelevant).

Carrot version Run buffer opportunities: You will need to get two of them on Porom. Equipment shuffling opportunities: During Cure2 animation (medium), During Lit1 animation (medium), during Ghast drain animations (medium-long), during “Oh … My Body!” text (long, but you probably won’t get it.)
No problems turn order: Cecil, Palom, Porom, Tellah, Cecil, (Palom), Cecil, Tellah, Porom, Cecil

Throwing the carrot involves a bit of threading the needle. It’s not impossible, but you need to check a lot of boxes along the way. Cecil will start by throwing a Cure2 out on a ghast. Palom can make a quick inventory swap during the animation, then he needs to target Porom with Fire1 or Ice1, I use this opportunity to put Change Rod onto Palom in this strat.

Porom will immediately need to trigger a run buffer and cast Twin. With Change Rod on, Palom should one-shot Porom most of the time with this, but it isn’t guaranteed. It’s why you’ll see some players bop Porom on the way to Milon. If Porom dies before Palom can begin casting Twin, then his Mimic command will glitch out and he will begin targeting other party members to mimic. (This is called the Mimic glitch.) This glitch will only work on version 1.0 carts of the game. If you have a 1.1 cart, use a different strategy. Same with trashcan.

Tellah will life Porom. Cecil will Cure2 another Ghast. The remaining two Ghasts will attack, and you will need one of them to not target Porom. Glitching Palom will mimic Cecil and throw a Cure2 out. From there, Cecil can parry. Tellah will need to wait about 3 seconds, then cast Stop on Cecil. Porom will draw the next turn, and she needs to run buffer and Fight targeting Milon. Ideally, during the attack animation, have Cecil swap Black sword with Darkness sword again for the next fight. Cecil will then need to go to item, confirm a consumable item to target on someone (Cure2, Life, Ether1) and cancel out of it, then swap it for the Carrot and exit the menu while Stop goes off. Stop can miss and squelch the whole thing at this point. If all of this is done correctly, Palom will use (throw?) the carrot on Milon, which will one-shot him. Clean up the Ghast with a Cure2, but make sure Porom survives the battle or Milon Z turn order will be borked.

There are a lot of different points where this strat can fail. Practicing this and recovering from this heavily are both good ideas. There are some ways to do the strat after you fail once, but they all involve some ATB luck. It’s probably quicker to just start playing the Twincast game.

A note: You can technically have Porom throw Cure2 at the last Ghast in place of attacking Milon, but the window is very tight.

Fathlo Twincast Version Run buffer opportunities: n/a Equipment Shuffling opportunities: during Cure2 animation (medium), during Twin/Lit1 response animations (long), during “Oh … My Body!” text (long)
No problems turn order: Cecil, Palom, Tellah, Cecil (kills Tellah), Cecil, Twin, Cecil, Cecil, Twin, Cecil, Palom

If you are running on 1.1 carts, Twin will get off too fast for this strat to work, go down to Traditional Twincast Version in the Beginner/Marathon Strats section.

Parry immediately with Cecil. Have Palom cast Twin. Have Tellah cast Cure2 on all of the zombies. As it goes off, you can menu a bit. Have Cecil attack Tellah with the Black Sword, which should swoon him. If not, replace all future Cecil parries with Tellah attacks. You’re hoping for Comet to come up on the first turn because it has no damage split, but this should kill all the zombies.

After the first Twin, parry back around to Palom unless one of the twins is in critical (heal them if so), then select Twin again. Repeat this process.

After three twins, there are a number of things that can happen based on the damage rolls. Milon will trigger “Oh … My Body!” and kill himself off at ~2,100 HP.

If you’ve done enough for three twins to end the fight, consider yourself very fortunate. If you’re at about 1,950 damage, a Cecil fight will probably end the battle. If you’re at about 1,800 damage, you can equip a Dancing Dagger on Palom to end the battle. Otherwise, you are going to cast Twin again. In that case, you probably got Comet twice (the bane of our existence) or Twin failed (1/256). Continue Twinning (Ether1 both twins after two comets or three total Twins) until he dies or is close enough for you to attack.

Phew. And now, the MilonZ fight. This one can go a few different ways. Cure at least Palom and Porom if you’re attempting to put the can on Z. Then change rows, and swap Porom and Tellah in the turn order. Make sure Palom has enough MP to cast Ice2.

If you’re throwing Cure2s, Piggy the entire party with Palom (keeps you from getting poisoned), cure everyone, and change rows. I would recommend going for Trashcan unless you are playing it safe for a marathon, can’t for cart reasons, or are very new to the run.

Milon Z -- 3,523 HP

Neerrm’s Trashcan Run buffer opportunities: You’ll likely have to hit at least one to get this to work. Equipment shuffling opportunities: After trashcan goes off, you should have a whole Tellah turn to play with No problems turn order: Cecil, (Cecil if Black sword is still on), Palom, Tellah, Porom, Cecil

On Cecil’s first turn, see what Milon does. If he hits a Twin, throw Cure2 on them immediately. If he hits Cecil or Tellah, wait until the damage number dissapears, then parry.

On Palom’s turn, target Ice2 on Porom. On Tellah’s turn, wait about a half second, run buffer, and then cast Stop on Cecil. Finally, on Porom’s turn, run buffer and cast Twin. If this lines up correctly, what will happen is: Palom will Ice2 Porom, Cecil will have his turn as Tellah is casting Stop, and then you go ahead and swap the trashcan with any consumable item just like Carrot. As long as Stop lands, Palom will throw the trashcan and you will win.

If it misses, you go into Old Trashcan mode: hope Cecil dies to Z attacks, and keep bringing Palom back to life if he falls. If Palom does fall, you’ll need to have one character life him, the other reset the target to Milon Z, and the first character do the item swap again.

This is so much easier than the old way to do this, but it can still blow up from time to time. The reason to unequip Black for Darkness is that it alters Cecil’s agility, and if Cecil has lower agility, the attack that Z does that can potentially set poison at the start of the battle won’t trigger 5 seconds of waiting. Be thankful you didn’t grow up at a time where this could happen.

Note that there is technically a way to do this without the run buffers. It’s scary.

When you get Tellah’s menu, your main goal will be to clear the items out of the left side of the menu. You want three empty spots. Swap Cure2 and Tiara, move Lifes near the top right column, move the Pal Shield into one of those three spots (since you’ll soon equip it in battle), and move down Palom’s old rod and black sword if you didn’t get a chance to.

Ideally you’d want: Cure2 (L1), Dancing (R1), Pal Shield (L2), Life (R2), Empty (L3), Tiara (R3), Empty (L4), Gaea Helm (R4), Heal (5L), Iron Glove (5R), Ether1 (6L), Empty (6R), Silver Ring (7L), Empty (7R), Paladin Glove (8L)

Cure2 version Run buffer opportunities: n/a Equipment shuffling opportunities: On Cure2 animations (medium), On death (very long) No problems turn order: Cecil, Cecil, Palom, Porom, Tellah, Cecil, Palom, Cecil, Porom, Tellah, Cecil, etc.

Cecil will attack. Everyone else will lob Cure2s at Milon. This is not a fun or intriguing fight to watch. But it is effective. You should be able to do some inventory management during the animations and death. If anybody dies, let them be dead and keep the plan going.

Now he’s in the deep ravine. Go to the grave. It’s time fulfill your destiny, Simba err … Cecil, and become a Paladin.

Dark Knight -- 1000 HP Run buffer opportunities: turn 1, turn 2, turn 4 Equipment shuffling opportunities: On turn 3, move Paladin shield into the first inventory slot. No problems turn order: You have one character.

Run buffer, swap Dancing Dagger for Legend sword, and throw it. Repeat. On turn three, move the Paladin shield into your off-hand and throw the dagger. Throw it a fourth time if you need to. Congratulations, you learned how not to fight. Or something.

You’ve become a Paladin. Congratulations! We had a whole tournament about this at one point. If you are under 1:03:00, you’re on pretty good pace right now.

Ordeals → Mysidia → Baron → Baron Castle

Walk back down the mountain, catch a chocobo in the chocobo forest back to Mysidia. Talk to the Elder and watch scrolling text. Go into the serpent road. Walk to Baron, trigger a fight with two guards. Run buffer with Cecil and use Dancing Dagger. Exchange Dancing Dagger for Palom’s Change Rod if you haven’t already, and have him throw a second one. With the menu time on Tellah while Palom’s DD is going off, equip change rod, then move Tellah’s staff down the inventory.

Then you fight Yang. During Yang’s first kick, move Cure2 down to create room for the Baron Key. During the second, make sure you have two empty slots under 3L/4L, then attack with Cecil to end the fight. (You missed, ouch!)

Use the key to open the Baron shop. Here is the second big buying spree of the game. You’ll want 10 Headbands, 10 Karate armor, a Thunder claw, Ice claw, and Thunder rod.

Wander through the Old Waterway back to Baron Castle. There are some devastating back attacks along the way here. If you’re very lucky, Porom will die before you reach the castle. Don’t revive her if this is true.

When you reach the castle, we’ve got a big menu to do. Start by performing the MP underflow glitch on Tellah. This just means you’ll Cure4 the surviving party twice, then push a on Cure4 again, move the cursor to either a spell Tellah has the MP to cast or an empty space, and hit a and go back to Cure4 on the same frame. If you do it right (this isn’t a hard trick), you’ll be able to cast Cure4 a third time and your MP counter will read something like “boomerang12/90.” You can also move Meteo up to the top of the black magic menu if you’d like. Some runners do this.

These next boss fights all follow a similar pattern, so I’m going to explain basic strategy, and then afterwards go into the optional section. Formation is a matter of runner preference at this point. I like to leave this party as is because I’d rather change formations all in one big swoop before Dark Elf.

Equip Tellah with Gaea helmet. Equip Cecil with Headband, Karate, and Paladin gloves. Equip Yang with Thun Claw, Ice Claw, Headband, Karate, and Silver. (You can also equip his claws during the battle, which I do.) Go forward into the castle until you meet Totally Not A Monster

Over the next five battles you fight, you’ll (at the very least) be trying to limit surviving party members to pool experience for Kain to come back at Level 19. (Party members not in the party get all the experience you get at the end of each battle.) I recommend doing it like so: 2 (Cecil Tellah) for Baigan, 3 (Cecil Tellah Yang) for Kainazzo, Dark Elf, and Flame Dog, then 2 (Cecil Tellah) for Magus Sisters. This threads the needle between getting Yang to level 17 before Lugae and getting Kain to level 19 before Valvalis. Alternately, if that goes wrong or you want a different plan, you can have Yang alive for Baigan and try to make him and Cecil survive Dark Elf.

Baigan -- 3500 HP. Arms: 350 HP a piece. Run buffer opportunities: at the very beginning of the fight, buffering with Cecil should save one Baigan fight command. Equipment shuffling opportunities: During animations for Entangle (medium), dancing dagger, and vampire (medium), Meteo at end of fight (long) No problems turn order: Depends on your formation. My preferred one goes: Cecil, Yang, Palom, Tellah, Cecil, Yang , Palom (dies), Cecil, etc.

Cecil will run buffer and DD the left arm. (For n00b safety I’d recommend having him Cover Tellah instead.) Yang can attack himself if he’s in the front row and able to do good damage, attack the left arm if Cecil’s DD didn’t do enough damage, or parry. (This is where you slide on one of his claws, too.) Palom DD’s his sister unless he’s dead. Tellah casts Meteo. Cecil has the option to DD Yang, Porom, or Palom depending on who is alive and who you want to be alive. In my set up, he kills Yang. During the Cecil DD animation, put Yang’s other claw on and have him attack himself if he’s still alive. If Palom gets a second turn, have him kill himself. Otherwise just wait for Meteo.

When Meteo goes off, you have another big menu opportunity. From Cecil, equip him with the Legend sword, then move as many of Cloth armor, Leather armor, and Staff down the menu as possible.

Cure if Tellah can’t withstand 300 damage. Only cure Cecil or Yang if you actually want them to survive wave (150-190 damage depending on how much damage Kainazzo takes). Walk to the throne room and meet …

Kainazzo -- 4000 HP Run buffer opportunities: Cecil can buffer start of fight to potentially skip wave. (explained further down) Equipment shuffling opportunities: During wave (long), during death animation (extra long) No problems turn order: Cecil, (Yang if alive), Tellah, Cecil, (Yang if alive), Tellah, etc.

The simplest of all the fiends. Cecil and Yang will fight. Tellah will cast Lit3. This will either kill (what you want) or severely wound (ugh) Kainazzo. If Kainazzo is wounded, he’ll head back into his shell. Count the damage done so far. If you can kill him with 200 more damage, I’d attack with Cecil (and Yang). If you can’t, you’re best off parrying around to Tellah to cue up a Virus or Lit3.

Note that if you life Yang up after a death in Baigan, and he’s level 13 or lower, you can skip Wave entirely with a run buffer.

During the death animation, move down anything you didn’t get to during Baigan. Move Ether1 in place of the Baron Key, then move Thunder Rod up.

Baron Castle → Toroia → Cave Magnes

Lot of cutscenes here. Eventually you gain control over Baron minus the twins and plus an airship guy you’ll never want alive. Fly northwest to Toroia and stick the landing. Talk to Edward, get a TwinHarp. Use Ether1 on Tellah to cure the MP underflow glitch, then cast Exit. Make sure Cecil can withstand a little punishment here. Walk out to the north so you get a patch of castle that won’t up the step count, then up to the chocobo forest. Try like hell to actually catch a black chocobo. (There’s a manip for this, but it’s a document that requires practice.) Ride it over the ocean to the forest-covered island. Land two tiles in front of the door. Go inside.

In Magnes, nobody can move except Cid. So, uh, don’t let Cid die. (Somehow Cecil can cover for Cid if he’s low on HP, though.) This is where the back attacks will really start to pick up. You’re at about at least a ⅕ shot to get back attacked on every encounter from here until Cat Claws time.

When you make it to the room of the Dark Elf, finally equip those Iron gloves on Cid, as well as a headband and karate. Then change formations. The two common ones at this point are Cid-Tellah(Back)-Cecil-Empty-Yang or Cid-Tellah(Front)-Empty-Cecil-Yang. I choose the second one of those because it provides less movement I have to do later on.

Walk into Dark Elf and immediately perish.

Dark Elf -- 2000 HP pre-change Run buffer opportunities: Cecil can buffer start of fight, and if you miss this one it can be painful. Equipment shuffling opportunities: During ME CHANGE textbox (long), during weak animation (medium), during death (medium) No problems turn order: Cecil, Yang, Cid (dies), Tellah, Cecil, Yang, Cecil, Tellah, Yang, Cecil

The first part of this battle is simple. Everyone will attack as quickly as possible. Tellah will Virus Cid to kill him on his first turn. Two more Cecil attacks will put Dark Elf into his next phase. On Tellah’s second turn, you’ll draw the ME CHANGE. This is a good time to swap Change Rod out for Thunder Rod. Then cast Weak.

While Weak is going off, this is the best time to set up the catclaw dupe. Target your second-highest menu spot, move it up to take the place of the ice claw, then bring that empty claw spot down to that menu spot again. Then fight to end it.

However, there’s a chance you’ll want to have fewer survivors here.

If you want 2 survivors, Yang will attack whoever Dark Elf weaked. If that misses, you’ll wait out D. Breath before ending the fight. And, if Dark Elf’s weak failed, parry over to Cecil and DD someone else after D. Breath/ get Tellah to Virus Yang.

If you want 1 survivor, you likely want it to be Cecil, which can be painful. Stack Cure2s on Cecil if he’s weakened. Otherwise, your goal is to use Virus to finish the job that D.Breath started. This can be a serious time loss if it goes wrong.

Failing the run buffer at the start of this fight opens up a whole nother set of problems. Dark Elf will get Whisper off, which can make Tellah a pig and render him unable to use spells besides Piggy. Additionally, Weak can miss Dark Elf, which can also cost you time. This isn’t a hard battle, but it can go off the rails in a hurry if you’re clumsy or unlucky.

Cave Magnes → Toroia → Tower of Zot

Retrieve the Earth Crystal (replaces the TwinHarp in inventory for all intents and purposes), then walk out of the Crystal Room and cast Exit with Tellah. The black chocobo takes you right back to the forest. Grab a yellow (or black if it’s somehow closer) and ride back to Toroia. Enter in the northeast corner for step route purposes. Talk to the eight head women in charge.

This is where I typically do my menu to prepare for FlameDog. For me, that involves changing rows to put Cecil and Tellah in the back, and then curing Cecil, Yang, and Tellah. Cast Exit. Walk out through the castle and town to avoid extra steps unless that’s part of your route. Get on the airship, Kain will whisk you away to the Tower.

Zot is where the back attacks start to get evil. It is entirely possible that you’ll have to menu four or even five times if you get unlucky here. Halfway through the second floor you’ll stumble upon a chest, cure up Cecil and Tellah if necessary, make sure Tellah is back row, and open it.

Flamedog -- 1,221 HP Run buffer opportunities: Cecil can buffer start of fight, and if you miss this one it can be painful. Equipment shuffling opportunities: During Ice 2 animation (medium) No problems turn order: Cecil, Yang, Tellah, Cecil, Yang (if alive), Tellah, etc.

Run buffer with Cecil at the first opportunity and cover Tellah. There is still a slight chance that Tellah gets one-shot by the Flamedog if he took Fire damage, but it isn’t likely. Yang can parry, or fight himself if you want him to die and he’s not already dead. Tellah casts Ice 2. Cecil needs to run buffer a dancing dagger to kill Yang sometimes for experience. Otherwise, Cecil waits for the Ice 2, and then pulls up an empty item slot to Dancing to start a half-dupe for the Fire sword, which you get after the battle.

Time for another menu! Cure up Tellah by underflowing Tellah’s MP again. Assuming Yang is alive, I like to do my menu here to dupe the Fire sword, so that I can DD Yang in the next fight. If he’s dead, you can wait until pre-Valavlis menus.

As for Cecil? It depends. Berserk route is usually very dependent on solo Magus sisters. Solo Magus Sisters means you want him at low HP -- 600 or less, and ideally 300 or less. That means walking up Back Attack Tower with no safety net. Otherwise, use Cure4 to break Tellah’s MP and cast it on Cecil.

At this point, my ideal menu looks like: Ether1 (1L), Cure2 (1R), Dancingx1 (2L), Life (2R), Headband (3L), Gaea helm (3R), Silver (4L), Dancing Stack (4R), Change (5L), Tiara (5R), Karate (6L), Earth Crystal (6R), Ice Claw (7L), Legend (7R), Fire Sword (8L)

Continue walking up the tower until you’re right before the Magus Sisters. If you survived the back attack squads, consider yourself lucky and step forward. If not, Cure2 time for Cecil and Tellah.

Magus Sisters -- Who cares amount of HP Run buffer opportunities: Cecil can buffer start of fight, and if you miss this one it can be painful. Equipment shuffling opportunities: During Magus Sisters text (medium), during Magus sisters spell animations (medium), Meteo to end of fight (long) No problems turn order: Cecil, Yang (if alive), Tellah, Cecil, Yang (if alive), Tellah, etc.

Two survivors version: Run buffer immediately with Cecil and Cover Tellah. If Yang is alive, he will be trying to off himself. Tellah will Meteo. (But menu Thunder Rod on if you didn’t do this during Dark Elf first. Do not expect naked Tellah to Meteo them to death. He needs a Thunder Rod here.)

From there, the battle depends on who is alive. You will get two Cecil turns before Meteo goes off. Your priorities are 1) Cure Tellah if he took damage, and 2) Bop Yang for the Kain experience.

If you’re lucky, a living Yang will die to Magus Sisters and/or Cecil will get the damage. Then you’ll get a chance to menu during Meteo. If that’s the case, move down Ether1 for Fire Sword, and move Ice Claw and Legend down as far as you can. You should always have time to Cure Tellah, then DD Yang. You just won’t get a menu at the end of the fight if it plays out that way.

One survivor version: If Cecil has 450+ HP, open the fight with a DD to Cecil off a run buffer. If he doesn’t, run buffer and cover Tellah. Tellah casts Meteo.

Cecil will have two turns to work with here, and you need some risk reward calculus running. If Tellah takes the first Magus delta attack, Cure2 him, then use Cecil’s next turn to self-DD. If Cecil takes it, have him either DD himself or die. From there, hope Tellah can fade what can be a close HP call on the last two attacks.

More cutscenes! Goodbye Tellah. I really wish we’d been able to Meteo the Calbrena dolls, but you had to get greedy. Incidentally, if you see someone PAUSE over the death animations, it looks cool and has a purpose in Any% but only saves about a frame. Don’t worry about it.

Kain rejoins. Rosa rejoins. Cecil and Rosa “get cozy” on one tile.

Now it’s time to menu for Valvalis. Life both Yang and Cid, and Cure2 Cecil. Complete the Fire Sword half-dupe if you haven’t already by equipping Fire Sword, then equipping the single Dancing Dagger on Cecil. Kain will equip a Fire Sword, a Karate, and a Headband. Rosa will equip a Karate, Headband, and Silver. When you’re done, step forward and receive the whirlwind.

Valvalis -- 6000 HP Run buffer opportunities: None that I know of. Equipment shuffling opportunities: Cure2 animation if Cecil needs a second (short), Jump/Counter sequence.(medium), death animation (long) No problems turn order: Kain, Cecil, Yang, Rosa, Cid, Cecil, Kain, Yang, Rosa, Cecil, Cid, Kain, Yang, Rosa (Spin Cycle), Cecil, Cid, Kain, Yang, Rosa, Cecil, Cid, Kain, Yang, Rosa, Cecil (Spin Cycle)

This fight is on a very tight timeline. You can’t get stuck thinking about anything here. It needs to be almost impulsive. I’d recommend practicing this one a lot.

Kain jumps to start the fight. Cecil will Cure2 himself, mostly because if Val hits him with Weak he can’t block everyone else’s damage. Yang will then wait until Kain is landing his jump, then attack. Rosa will cast slow, Cid will attack, and Cecil will throw dancing dagger. Kain will jump, Yang will hold-a attack (important), and Rosa will wait until Kain is in the air before casting slow (very important) -- the timing is very tight on this fight because you are trying to stack it up so that Valvalis never gets to Weak you a second time and Kain never has to stop jumping.

From there, Cecil throws DD, Cid attacks, Kain jumps, and then Yang run buffers and kicks -- this is another thing we do to get Kain more turns earlier. Rosa waits until Val heads to tornado, then either parries or Cure2s Cecil.

From there, repeat the following: Cid/Yang attack, Kain jump, Cecil throw DD, Rosa parry. On Kain’s fifth attack, if you’ve done enough damage, you can opt to have him attack rather than jump to gain some frames.

If you can’t get the quick kill, the fight becomes a lot less structured. Just get Kain in the air and repeat the same basic formula and you should be fine. She won’t have much HP left at this point. The only real disaster is if her petrify attack gets Cecil.

Inventory wise, you’re about to have one of the biggest clear-out sections in the whole game. Don’t feel too bad if you’re not able to do much here. But, if you do get a chance, move down whatever is in 1L so that the Magma key you’re about to obtain goes right in there. Otherwise, my priority would be to move down Ice Claw, Legend Sword, Silver Helm, Silver Armor, Wind Spear, Headband, Karate, and Silver Rings. You won’t get all of that down here. Just do what you can.

Baron→ Agart→ Dwarf Castle.

You get a full heal in Cecil’s room. (Obdajr says this is kinky.) Leave, go south to the island town of Agart, land in the patch to the right of the two towns. Go up to the well in the center of town, drop the magma key down the hole, follow it with your airship.

After these next cutscenes, you’ll gain control outside of the Dwarf Castle. Switch your formation so Cecil is in the top spot and Rosa is in the fourth. The order you want walking in is Cecil-Cid-Kain-Rosa-Yang. Then walk in and directly up to the throne room for more cutscenes.

Cal, brena, and Calcabrina -- Cals -- 300 HP, Brenas -- 1000 HP, Calcabrina -- 5000+ HP Run buffer opportunities: If you buffer Kain at the start of the fight, there’s a slight chance that Cecil will DD a doll before it attacks, meaning you skip an attack -- this requires the best ATB. Equipment shuffling opportunities: Cure2 animation if Cecil needs a second (short), end of fight (medium) No problems turn order: Kain, Cecil, Yang, Rosa, Cecil, Kain, Yang, Rosa, Cecil, Yang, Kain, Cecil, etc.

Your main goal in this fight is to not create the big doll. These bits turn into Calcabrina if there are zero Cals or zero Brenas and they get a turn. And, should that happen, and should you not kill the big doll, all six of them appear again. Don’t let this happen.

The fight is designed to pick off one of each at a time. Kain is jumping blue dolls, Cecil uses dancing dagger on orange dolls, and Yang kicks. The kicks will buffer damage so that you only need about an 850 HP Kain roll to kill a blue doll. Kain can one-shot the blue dolls, so don’t queue up anything after him on one of them or you may target someone you weren’t wanting to. Cecil’s low DD rolls will be taken care of no matter what. If Kain rolls a 700 damage on a blue, though, you may need Cecil or Yang to intervene there. This fight requires some on-the-fly damage routing.

Rosa will a) Slow the dolls, b) mute the party (to prevent paralysis next fight) and c) lob Cure2 at Cecil if he gets low on HP.

The end of this fight can be a little tricky sometimes. You want to time it so that the last two dolls die within a turn of each other. Usually this will be Kain jumping the back row and Cecil DD’ing the surviving red doll. The main thing to look out for here are the doll damage rolls. They can put a hurting on Cecil, and since he is again blocking for the whole party, you’ll cringe on every 200 HP roll from the dolls.

If the big doll comes out, change rows, jump, use dancing dagger, and Cure2 Cecil every turn unless you need to life Kain.

Golbez -- 3000 HP Run buffer opportunities: Kain’s first attack to help get jump off Equipment shuffling opportunities: This whole fight is an equipment shuffling fight. No problems turn order: Kain, Cecil, Kain, Cecil, Rydia, etc.

You will need to learn your optimal timing for yourself, but the most important part of this fight is getting Kain to jump before Golbez starts shouting script. Hold down and a as the screen turns black and the jump should get off. But, if someone died in the last fight, you’ll need to run buffer to make it happen

Then we get to the part of the fight where Cecil will be menuing everything useless in your inventory to the bottom while Golbez talks a lot. You will want the duped Fire Sword on Cecil to hopefully kill Golbez quickly before Rydia appears. Everything we talked about in the last few sections: Ice Claw, Legend Sword, Silver Armor and Helm, Wind Spear, Headband, Karate, Silver Ring, and Legend -- move it. At this point you should have plenty at the bottom of the inventory, so start stacking the right side. Your final task is to set the menu for equipping Rydia later. That means Tiara and Change Rod on the right.

My ideal inventory after the fight will look something like this: Dancingx1 (1L), Cure2 (1R), EMPTY (2L), Life (2R), Change (3L), Gaea (3R), Prisoner (4L), Dancing Stack (4R), Tiara (5L), Anything (5R), Empty (6L), Anything (6R), Empty (7L), Anything (7R) -- Anything can literally be anything else, it will be helpful for quicker tower menus.

Oh, the fight. If you’re really lucky, Kain will one-shot Golbez. Normal luck would be Cecil finishing him with the Fire Sword. Bad luck would be needing another Kain attack. If you somehow miss the first jump, you can recover and jump again, you’ll just lose a lot of time. If Kain dies because he didn’t get off the ground, life him with Cecil rather than attacking Golbez. He needs to get in the air. If Golbez is allowed to wake up he’ll spam Virus and Lit3, which will tear the party apart quickly at this point.

Dwarf Castle → Tower of Babil

After the fight and ensuing cutscenes, use Warp with Rydia to get back into the crystal room and snag the crystal. Guess Golbez didn’t want it that bad! #WorstThiefEver Walk out and begin the world of no64 steprouting -- there are 20 optional Dwarf Castle steps in all and you’ll need to figure them out. I recommend practicing before you attempt this in a run. Or be prepared for some slow times. Stop at the top of the right tower to pick up the Strength ring.

This is our first major divergence between Rosa route and Edge route. Rosa route will be picking up the Elixir across the hall from the Strength ring. Then, in the armor shop back downstairs, Rosa route will want a Wizard Robe as well as 10 Rune Rings. Edge will only want the Rune rings.

Head down and use the restoration pot to bring everyone up to full health.

It’s a long walk to Bab-il. You’ll see Dwarf tanks bombarding it as you enter. On the third floor, stop and pick up the Catclaw chest. Otherwise, follow the winding road up to the very top of the tower. We are at peak back attack hell, and it’s recommended that you keep Cecil above 700 HP if you’re new. If you wind up in a back attack with a Chimera it will eat your party’s lunch.

At the top, equip Rydia with Change Rod, Tiara, and Rune. Equip Kain with the Strength Ring. Finish the long-awaited Cat Claw dupe on Yang and equip him with one. Walk forward and deal with the odd doctor. Full heal the party as well if they need it. Swap the party order so that it goes: Cecil, Rydia, Yang, Rosa, Kain.

Dr. Lugae and Balnab -- 4416 HP for Lugae, 3,927 for Balnab Run buffer opportunities: If you get desperate towards the end of the fight. Equipment shuffling opportunities: Mid-battle cutscene (long), Titan (medium), end of fight (medium). No problems turn order: Kain, Cecil, Yang, Rydia, Rosa, Cecil, Yang, (Titan goes off), Kain, Rosa, Cecil, etc

Yang will hold-a attack Balnab, Cecil will menu dancing dagger back on for his fire sword, then chuck it at Lugae. Kain will jump Lugae. Then we get a long cutscene during Rydia’s turn where Lugae gets beat up by his own creation. You want to see that damage roll, and you want to move the duped cat claws near the top of the inventory. You also want an open spot at the very top left of the inventory for the tower key. Otherwise, move down as many of Fire Sword, Dark Crystal, Whip, Gaea Armor, Silver Gloves as you can.

So here’s where the expert player can make a decision. Yang will get his turn, hover his attack over Lugae. If Kain’s jump, Cecil’s DD, and Balnab’s hit did north of 1700 combined damage, you should have Yang attack Balnab. If not, you should have Yang attack Lugae.

Rydia’s Titan will go off as Kain gets his turn. If you had Yang attack Balnab twice, he’s probably dead and you should hold-a attack. If you had Yang attack Lugae, have Kain jump Lugae. Titan can KO both of them, technically. It’s just not likely. The problem is, if you separate one of them from the other, you’re about to take damage. If you kill Lugae and leave Balnab, he’ll self-destruct and possibly take down one of your characters. If you kill Balnab he “operates Lugae manually,” which is codeword for “run train and probably kill three party members.” Thus, I would recommend only strong players attempt to quick kill. +

Dr. Lugae II -- ~6600 HP Run buffer opportunities: None that I’m aware of Equipment shuffling opportunities: Titan (medium), end of fight (medium). No problems turn order: Kain, Cecil, Yang, Rydia, Rosa, (Laser), etc.

Lugae has exactly one attack that will pose a big threat to you: his laser will kill anyone in the party right away. Well, I have seen Cecil survive before, but rarely. Attack with Yang, Cecil DD, Jump with Kain, Rydia summons Titan. Rosa will wait to toss a life on the newly deceased. Since Laser will hit while Kain is in the air, here’s a quick list of how things work if you can play fast:

Laser hits ... Ro: Ya attack, Ce Life Ro, Parry Ka, Ya attack Ce: Ro life Ce, Ya attack, Ce parry Titan, Ya wait for heal, attack Ry; Ro life Ry, Ya attack, Ce DD, (Ry lit2 if not asleep), Ro parry, Ce DD, Ya attack, Ka attack Ya: Ro life Ya, Ce parry or heal yang, Ya attack, Ka jump, Ce parry, Ry parry, Ya attack

It’s the same basic interactions, unless you think Lugae’s HP is low enough for Kain to attack rather than Jump. Cecil should life on his first turn if someone was dead coming into the fight. Unless you’re worried about Cecil’s level for Rubicant, you’d ideally have everyone alive after this fight for the experience, so spend Cecil and Rosa turns doing that. Everyone else will deal damage. Yang will deal it the fastest.

It is possible to kill Lugae quickly enough that some of your party members are still poisoned. This has no real effect on the run other than looking annoying walking around with it. Rubicant will cure you of it before you fight him. But having poisoned party members is a) super annoying because you’ll have extra menus and b) actually wastes time when you fight Edge’s parents. You don’t have to cure it immediately, but I’d recommend you heal the next time you menu, or at least before you fight Edge’s parents.

Walk back down to the long bridge on the fifth floor, use the tower key, and fight some Dark Imps.

Dark Imp x3 -- 199 HP a piece Run buffer opportunities: If you run buffer and get lucky with Kain at the start of the fight, you can skip all three attacks Equipment shuffling opportunities: End of fight (medium) No problems turn order: Kain, Cecil, Yang, Rydia

Run buffer the first attack, hold A, move down anything I recommended you move down in Lugae/Balnab that you didn’t already when Rydia’s turn pops up.

Tower of Babil → Baron → Eblan → Cave of Eblan → Tower of Babil (again)

Now walk all the way out of this tower. Congratulations, you’re almost done with (most) hurtful back attacks. One more area to go. There will be cutscenes. You’ll fly to Baron, get the ability to pick up the hovercraft, then drag it near Eblan Castle.

This is where the routes diverge a bit. There are three different routes from now until the end of the game. One of the Edge routes is built around duping the Excalibur sword, and the other one is built around duping the Drain Spear. Drain Spear is faster, though Excalibur can come pretty close and has a much easier time with a few bosses. Rosa route is the fastest, but has some boss fights that can go south in a hurry. All purely Excalibur strats will be at the very end of this document from here on out.

If you’re going for the Drain Spear, you’re heading into Eblan Castle, so drop the hovercraft on one pixel and the airship on another. If you’re not, skip this section and go over the water to Eblan Cave.

Drain Route: Walk through Eblan Castle to the right tower, and in the very top there are some hidden chests, one of which is a treasure chest that contains a fight and the Drain Spear. Cure everybody before entering this fight if you haven’t already.

Blackcat x2, Lamia -- Black Cat 593 HP, Lamia 1200 HP Run buffer opportunities: If you run buffer the start of the fight you can skip some attacks Equipment shuffling opportunities: End of fight (medium) No problems turn order: Kain, Cecil, Rydia, Rosa, Kain

Parry to Cecil, have Cecil cover Rydia, then cast Titan. As Titan is going off, begin the Drain Spear dupe by duping Kain’s weapon spot. It’s possible that the enemies here kill Rydia before you can get Titan off, and I’ve seen some runners change spots to make that less likely. I just don’t think there’s much of a chance that happens, so I ignore it. After the fight, cast Exit and hit the hovercraft. /end Drain Route

If you aren’t going for Drain, you can park the hovercraft and airship much closer to the rocks, in the middle of the Eblan landscape. Walk through the cave to the Eblan weapon/armor shop, where you’ll purchase Ice Shield, Blizzard Spear, and Ice Brand sword. Walk through the cave. If you’re on Rosa route, you’ll want to pull over in a hidden path with two chests, both containing Elixirs, and grab them. At the end of the cave, you’ll see Edge get whipped by Rubicant. (Was it Flame? I will show you how!) After more cutscenes, Edge joins you. Equip him with two cat claws. Goodbye, problems with back attacks! Dupe the Drain Spear if you got it, then change formations. The two I think work best are Cecil-Rosa-Rydia-Kain-Edge and Cecil-Rydia-Kain-Rosa-Edge. The latter is more consistent, the former puts more damage on Rubi.

Our third tower dungeon of the game is actually a little easier because of the claws. No chests to pick up here, just follow the straight path to Edge’s parents. Excalibur routers may want to flip their order to Cecil-Rosa-Rydia-Kain-Edge before continuing.

Queen and King Eblan -- Doesn’t matter Run buffer opportunities: Doesn’t matter Equipment shuffling opportunities: This is an equipment shuffling fight, yes. No problems turn order: Edge, Cecil, Rydia, Rosa, Kain, Edge

Your first priority in this “fight” is to get the IceBrand and Ice Shield on Cecil and the Blizzard spear on Kain. Then, it’s time to get the inventory ready for the end game. Drain Spears go into 1L if you’re using them. Life, Dancing Dagger x1, Dancing Dagger Stack, Gaea helm, and Rune are the only other things that need to stay in the upper inventory at this point. Heal should stay near the top as well. You can also put Kain’s single equip drain into 2L and just throw it at the start of Rubicante. If for some reason Kain or Cecil are dead before you can get Ice stuff on them, you can menu before the Rubi fight.

Ideally for me it would go: Drain (1L), Life (1R), Empty (2L), Dancing Dagger stack (2R), Empty (3L), Cure2 (3R), Gaea (4L), Empty (4R), Rune (5L)

Rubicante, Rosa/Excal Version -- 25200 HP Run buffer opportunities: Very important run buffer on Kain’s first turn. Equipment shuffling opportunities: They’re here, especially at the end, but at this point you’re almost undoubtedly done menuing. No problems turn order: Edge, Kain, Cecil, Rydia, Rosa, Edge (and then we see who dies)

Edge casts Flood on the first turn instead of Darting here. (When Rubi’s cape is closed, he can heal survivors or dart Dancing for minimal damage.) Hold-a attack with Cecil, Run buffer and Jump with Kain, then run buffer out of Rydia’s Ice2. You should be able to have Ice2 go off before Glare. Glare will kill everybody but Cecil, and will probably kill Cecil. Here are my recommendations for what to do next based on who dies:

Glare kills: Ro: Ce Cover Ry | Ka Jump | Ed WAIT until Kain in air, then Flood | Ry Ice2 | Ce Life Rosa | Ka Attack Ce: Ka Jump | Ro Life Ce | Ed WAIT until Kain in air, then Flood | (Ry Ice2 if not sniped) | Ce Attack after Ice2 | (Ro Life Ry or Parry | Ka attack) Ed: Ce Cover Ry | Ka Jump | Ro life Edge | Ry WAIT until Kain in air, then Ice2 | Ce attack | Ed Flood | Ka Jump Ry: Ce Attack | Ka Jump | Ro life Ry | Ed WAIT until Kain in air, then flood | Ce attack | Ry Ice2 Ka: Ce Cover Ry | Ro Life Ka | Ry Shiva | Ed Flood | Ka Jump | Ro Parry | Ce attack

The toughest fights are where Kain gets sniped, because you’ll need to make up extra damage. Thus, Shiva comes into play on that one. Otherwise, you’ll jump, wait on Kain to get up before bringing out the big guns, and finish.up before the second glare. You can lose about 20-25 seconds if Rydia or Kain get sniped. They’re the main damage dealers.

Rubicante, Drain Spear Version -- 25200 HP Run buffer opportunities: Very important run buffer on Kain’s first turn. Equipment shuffling opportunities: They’re here, especially at the end, but at this point you’re almost undoubtedly done menuing. No problems turn order: Edge, Kain, Cecil, Rydia, Rosa (and then we see who dies)

Edge darts Drain to begin the fight. Kain will then run buffer -- a very important run buffer for the purposes of speed -- and jump. Cecil attacks. Rydia will queue up an Ice 2 that will land before Rubi closes his cape, which is the point of the Kain run buffer. Rosa will wait to see who Glare targets. From there, you’ll want to attack with Cecil, Jump with Kain, dart with Edge, and Ice 2 with Rydia until the fight is over.

The best glare targets, in order, are Rosa, Kain, and Rydia. Rosa’s death means nothing to the grand scheme of this fight. Kain can be lifed up and regain his spot in the turn order easily, and he won’t fall victim to a multi-target Fire2. Rydia’s death may cause some Rubicante text if you’re unlucky, but otherwise won’t be felt. (You can try to life her up before Fire2, but Fire2 may kill her.)

Cecil may survive the Glare, but if he does he’s weak and won’t be able to block a one-shot of Rydia. Rosa can toss a Cure2 on him if he does survive. Losing Edge will severely mess with your speed since he gets the most turns. Here are the basic orders:

Kain Glare: Edge, Cecil, Kain, Edge, Rydia, Rosa, Cecil, Edge, etc. Rosa Glare: Edge, Cecil, Kain, Edge, Rydia, Cecil (probably life here if you value turn order) Rydia Glare: Edge, Cecil, Kain, Edge, Rosa (probably life if Fire2 is already out), Cecil, Edge, etc. Cecil Glare (survives): Edge, Cecil, Kain, Edge, Rydia, Rosa, Cecil, Edge, etc. Cecil Glare (dies): Edge, Cecil, Kain, Edge, Rydia, Rosa, Edge, Cecil, etc. Edge Glare: Cecil, Kain, Edge, Rydia, Rosa, Cecil, Edge, Rydia, etc.

Alternately, you can also try to run buffer with Rydia’s first turn as you let go of Ice2. If that happens and you also get the Kain run buffer, this fight can go even faster if Rubi plays nice and glares Rosa.

You will probably have Rubi dead at that point in the turn order. Depending on the damage rolls you’ll want Cecil’s last turn to be wasted so you don’t trigger slow dialogue.

If you miss the run buffer, Rydia is going to either be a Life-tossing mule or cast Shiva so she doesn’t heal Rubi’s cape. Your choice. I’ve also seen runners stack the order here so that she goes more quickly. The way I present it is faster, but it also involves quick fingers on the Kain Can’t Run.

Tower of Babil → Dwarf Castle → Sealed Cave → Dwarf Castle → Mysidia → Excalibur Runaround (optional) → Moon → Giant Robot

Fall down the crystal chute after cutscenes, find your new airship. Go to the Dwarf Castle. Talk to Cid. Unequip the Strength ring off of Kain in Drain route.

Go to the Sealed Cave, lose Kain. Go back to the Dwarf Castle. Get the drill on the airship. Burrow up to the surface again.

Head to Mysidia, start a cutscene where the Big Whale is revealed.

Take the Big Whale to the Moon. If you’re playing with Edge, depending on your seed and step route, you may either go to the Hummingway Cave or to recruit FuSoYa first. At the Hummingway Cave, run into the one Hummingway who sells things and spend the rest of you ill-gotten money on 50 Elixirs. Rosa route already has three Elixirs for the final boss.

Once all that’s done, head back to the Big Whale, go back to Earth, and enjoy a solid four minutes of cutscene.

You’re inside a robot! It’s everybody’s dream. Wind along the path until you hit your grind fight on the seed. If you are off-route and nobody is around to help you, it’s probably reset time. Head for the save point in the room before the Four Fiends fight, then reset. Follow this encounter chart to your grind fight.

Before your grind fight, you’ll want to change the party order to Edge-Rosa-FuSoYa-Cecil-Rydia. Equip Rydia with a Dancing Dagger. Optionally, you can equip FuSoYa with the Change Rod, a Gaea Helm, and a Rune Armlet. (This is why they were high in our theoretical inventory for so long!) You can give Rosa the Wizard Hat, Wizard Robe, Rune Armlet and the Lunar Staff. She’ll need the staff to guarantee killing Weak D.Machines as a backup strat. The armor will raise her defense for the Four Fiends fight and her magic power if you go that route. Everything on FuSoYa is also about increasing his magic power. I strongly recommend you equip all these things, because the Grind Fight is not a gimme to reproduce perfectly. Finally, perform the MP underflow glitch on FuSoYa. You’re all set.

Grind Fight -- Searcher, 5000 HP, Beamer who cares HP, D.Machine who cares HP

I can tell you all about this battle but it is still very random. Accept that you will make mistakes here.

The first part of this fight is about setting up the correct turn order for the rest of it. Normal fight: Edge parries, FuSoYa casts Quake, Rydia parries as Quake is going off. Surprise or Back attack: Edge casts Flood, FuSoYa casts Quake as Flood is going off, Rydia parries as Quake is going off. First strike: FuSoYa casts Lit 3 on a beamer, parry to Rydia who parries as Lit 3 goes off. Parry around to FuSoYa, cast Quake. Rydia parries as Quake is cast.

From there, the first turn is usually set up well. Parry with Rosa, Cecil, and Edge. Cast weak on the D.Machine with FuSoYa, have Rydia Hold A to attack, Rosa throw a life on D.Machine as Weak resolves, and Cecil throw a life on D.Machine as Rydia attacks. Edge will attack again to start the cycle. If you’re using Edge, you’re trying to kill 5 D.Machines and have 2 lifes thrown on each for a total of 15 D.Machine deaths. (Life on a dead enemy will revive it momentarily, then kill it.) If you’re boosting Rosa, the number is instead 6 and 18.

Cycle: FuSoYa Weak, Rydia (avoiding text box) fight, Rosa life, Cecil life, Edge attack Searcher

Unfortunately, a lot of this revolves around the timing of a little message that pops up from the Searcher. A textbox that says something like “Identifying object..” Rydia’s attack needs to pop up before this. If they go at the same time, you’ll need to time an attack to save things.

There really is no safe strat for the second turn. Hold A attack with Rydia on it anyway, because it sets up the rest of the fight better. From then on, you’ll be waiting with Rydia on every turn, in case Rydia and D.Machine get their turns at the same time. If they do, you’ll need to time your attack to fit it in after Rydia would jump FuSoYa, but before D.Machine casts Flame. This can be a problem for even the best runners. Practice this one if you can. And if this happens, just keep holding A. There’s nothing you can do at that point.

Recovery strats: kill the d. Machine, have FuSoYa Cure4 the party, accept that this fight will be slow.

Once you are done with 15/18 dead D.Machines, you’ll want to kill off the entire party sans Edge or Rosa, depending on who you want to level.

Rosa leveling: Fu should Weak the Searcher, Rydia should DD Edge, Fu should Virus Cecil, Rosa should change rows. Rydia should DD Edge again or DD herself, Fu should Virus himself. Then, attack and end the fight.

Edge leveling: If you kept a perfect turn order, I would use Edge’s turn to equip Dancing Dagger and kill Rosa, use FuSoYa’s turn to Virus Cecil, use Rydia’s turn to DD herself, parry Edge, and then have FuSoYa virus himself. As Virus is going off, re-equip the Cat Claw on Edge and then dart with the Drain Spear to kill Searcher and claim all the experience. If everyone is low HP, though (600 or less), you can have Edge Elixir himself and then Virus the party.

Alternate 12 D.Machine strategy: This worked for nocashnocash in his PB and he swears by it as the future of the strategy. It does save about 30 seconds here. It will change damage amounts in upcoming fights, and I’ll let you know about those as I test them.

Right here, Rosa route should take a menu and move her magic around. Move Wall to the top left spot, White to the spot to the right of it, and Cure4 to the spot under it. Then change Edge for Rosa and Cecil for Rydia, then change rows. Continue down the corridor until you are suddenly surrounded by guys who should’ve already been dead. No need to heal -- they’ll take care of that for you.

Four Fiends Rosa -- 57,000 HP (+47,000 HP if you botch things) Run buffer opportunities: None that I’m aware of Equipment shuffling opportunities: End of battle (long) No problems turn order: Edge, FuSoYa, Rosa, Cecil, Rydia, Edge, FuSoYa, Rosa, Cecil, Rydia (if alive), Edge (if alive), FuSoYa, Rosa, Cecil, Rosa, Cecil, FuSoYa, Rosa, Cecil, etc.

There are two numbers you want to keep in mind as you do this fight: 17,000 and 7400. You’ll start the fight parrying with Edge, and then have Fu Nuke and Rosa Cure4 MilonZ. If you don’t do 17,000, the fight is cake. You shouldn’t do that much damage, but it does happen.

So, the strategy of this fight is for FuSoYa to cast Wall on himself, and then you bounce spells off his wall until you can directly kill Milon Z. After the Wall, FuSoYa will cast Fire3 off it. Rosa will have time to cast 3 Cure4s off the wall before it goes off. You want the average of the Nuke and the 4 Cure4s to be 7400 HP. If that’s the case, cast Fire3 directly to kill Milon Z. If you are under, FuSoYa’s turn after the first Fire3 will instead be to Nuke himself, and then Rosa will Cure4 Z for the win.

You should use Cecil’s first turn to equip dancing dagger and attempt to snipe Edge, Rydia should try to kill herself with DD if she gets a turn. You may want to life Edge up near the end of this fight for the experience if you want to guarantee he survives Big Bang..

In theory this is a very easy fight. The only thing that can go terribly wrong is doing more than 17,000 on those first two spells.

Four Fiends Drain -- 57,000 HP ( +47,000 HP if you botch things) Run buffer opportunities: None that I’m aware of Equipment shuffling opportunities: End of battle (long) No problems turn order: Edge, FuSoYa, Rydia, Rosa, Cecil, Edge, FuSoYa, Edge, Rydia (if alive), Rosa (if alive), Cecil, Edge, FuSoYa, Edge, Cecil, FuSoYa, Edge, Cecil, Edge, FuSoYa, etc.

There are two different schools of thought on how to play this fight, and it kind of centers on Rydia’s first turn. The older school way is to cast Nuke with FuSoYa and have Rydia cast Fire2. In theory, you get more damage out of this. In my experience, doing this puts you more at risk of messing up the end of this fight. It may be slightly quicker optimally, but if Rydia gets sniped you’re behind. And if the damage is more or less than you expect, you can also fall behind.

If you do try this method, and you are uncertain of your damage, you can reflect a Nuke off the Wall before it goes away and before Edge darts again, and that should put your damage total in a safe territory. The reason Wall is used in this fight is we are bypassing a script which reloads the HP for the Four Fiends -- as long as you can do enough damage to bypass the HP amount that triggers that reload, you will skip the last two fiends and 47,000 HP of damage.

My method, which I consider more consistent, starts the fight with a FuSoYa Fire3 and Rydia killing herself with DD. You could also just parry but her turn might intercept Rosa later in the fight and impede you from getting off a second Slow.

Outside of that, this is a pretty simple fight for me. Edge will dart six times. Count them. Do not throw seven until Ice3 reflects off the Wall. This turn order should have that happen optimally. FuSoYa will, in order, cast Fire3, Ice3, Wall on Edge, and Ice3 off the wall. Rosa will cast Slow until she dies. Cecil can cover Rosa or throw Elixirs. Ideally he survives the fight for the experience, but don’t get caught up in it at the expense of the battle itself.

If you face only 12 DMachines, you’re basically lowering Edge’s total damage output here by about 1200 damage. This cuts it pretty close.

If your damage amount isn’t correct, and you make Kainazzo appear, things get tricky. Change rows. Have Edge heal if possible. Spam Nuke or Lit3 on Kainazzo and Val. (9999 always from Lit3.) Other than staying healed, remember that Val has an attack that will spin both characters to single-digit HP. Watch out for it.

Drain route: Elixir if either Edge or FuSoYa is under 1000 HP, then walk up to the second-to-last boss of the game. You may need extra steps on a step route.

Rosa route: Go into Fu’s menu, life up everybody that died, and then underflow Fu’s MP on Cure4 to heal the party.

CPU Rosa: -- 20,000 HP -- Defender 2000 HP, Attacker 2000 HP Run buffer opportunities: Out of Fu’s Meteo for consistency. Equipment shuffling opportunities: End of battle (long) No problems turn order: Edge, FuSoYa, Rosa, Cecil, Rydia, Edge, Rosa, Cecil, Edge

This is another fight where the damage rolls need to not fail you. The basic gist of this fight is pretty simple: queue up 20,000 damage at the same time. To do that, you’ll need Meteo, White, and Titan, as well as maybe a little buffer damage. Here’s how we set that up:

Edge will change rows, FuSoYa casts Meteo, Rosa puts a Wall on herself, Cecil parries, Rydia casts Titan. On Edge’s second turn you can either parry or throw a dart at the defender to make sure it dies. I prefer the latter. On Rosa’s second turn, cast White off the Wall. On Cecil’s third turn, re-equip IceBrand if you de-equipped it before, then attack CPU.

If you timed it all correctly, Edge will have his turn and watch the carnage unfold as everything hits at once. He may need to dart Dancing Dagger if the damage is low.

If you get an exceptionally unlucky White roll from Rosa (~6800 or so), CPU will survive and start killing people. The best thing to do at that point is have Fu rush a Quake for the kill. If Fu gets Globe199’ed, Rosa should be able to get White off before the heal. And if both of them are gone, you’ll have to rely on Titan. Ideally everyone survives this fight, but that’s not always feasible.

You can and should use Edge to menu around while all these spells are going off. Elixir/Cure2/Heal/Life close to the top, with room for a few other things to pop in to the inventory.

CPU Drain: -- 20,000 HP -- Defender 2000 HP, Attacker 2000 HP Run buffer opportunities: Each of Edge’s first three turns, and if you miss the first one it will cost you some time here. Equipment shuffling opportunities: End of battle (long) No problems turn order: Edge, FuSoYa, Cecil, Edge, Edge, Cecil, Edge, etc.

There are two ways to play this fight, and they depend on how confident you are in run buffering. If you run buffer with Edge turn 1 and can dart the defender orb in the right amount of time, FuSoYa can immediately cast Meteo. From there, you only need one more successful run buffer/dart on CPU to get the timing right to win the fight.

If you miss that buffer, or if you aren’t confident in buffering, have FuSoYa parry his first turn. The fight will take a little longer, but it will be safer. You’d rather Cecil be alive than dead here, but it isn’t important enough to alter turn order.

12 D.Machines will have no impact on this battle.

If you mistime this fight, Globe199 will deal about 9000 damage to two party members and the odds are very slim that you’ll survive. (Basically, Cecil needs to be alive and Edge needs to be the party member not targeted by it.)

Lunar Surface → Lunar Subterranae ---> Zemus

Women aren’t fit to save the world until they cry about it. What a weird cutscene. Anyway, go back to where you met FuSoYa, go on down to the Lunar Subterranae. The next stop you’ll have will be your final menu of the game.

Drain spear route: The first time you break the pace will probably be at the chest where you pick up a Protect Ring. This is the last equipment menu of the game.

Put Protect and Samurai stuff from Kain on Edge, Bandanna, Black Belt, and Strength ring on Kain. Rosa-Kain-Cecil-Rydia-Edge formation, with Kain in the front row.

You also need to decide if you’re going to throw the Gungnir Spear or Drain in the final battle. I prefer Gungnir, which comes equipped on Kain. I usually dupe it on the way down to the Protect Ring chest in any old random battle. Alternately, you can attempt to dupe it in an Ice Dragon or Red Dragon fight if you find one, but I like to just batch my menus together. If you’re duping, make sure to complete the dupe and move Gungnir up to the (1L) menu spot.

Rosa route: You may opt to pick up Protect Ring for safety, you will pick up the White Robe in a room shaped like a Y. Put that on Rosa (raises her magic damage), and if you picked up Protect ring, put it on Edge. Rosa-Kain-Cecil-Rydia-Edge is still the formation.

Welcome to the final descent. Rosa routers on their way down will pick up a Ninja Star for Edge to throw.

Now it’s time for the long cutscenes and the ultimate villain of the game: a supernatural abstraction of a being. No Final Fantasy has ever used this trope again.

Zeromus Rosa -- 61,000 HP Run buffer opportunities: Ideally you’ll have a few after Big Bang 2. I’ll talk about them in the main section Equipment shuffling opportunities: During Rydia’s turn when Zero Big Bangs (medium), during Edge’s dart turn (short) No problems turn order: Cecil, Rosa, Edge, Rydia, Cecil … see Nuke Chart below. This is a very finnicky fight. ATB is very tight, and you’ll need to be on your game to finish. I’ll try to spell out everything that can go wrong and the known warning signs. The idea behind this fight is to get Zeromus to about 45,000 damage before he casts Black Hole, then finish him with reflected spells. Any direct attack between 45,000-61,000 damage will cause him to refill his health completely. (The reason we always reflect White is that Zeromus will counter with Weak, which is basically instant-kill with Big Bang’s HP Leak.)

OK, first part: Cecil throws the crystal (you want to get into this menu quickly), Rosa berserks Kain, Edge throws the Ninja Star, Rydia throws dancing dagger, Cecil uses a Cure2 on Rosa.

After Nuke, Rush into Rosa’s menu and have her wall herself. This absolutely must take place before Zeromus is done shaking. If Edge is alive, he’ll get another turn here. If Edge is alive and Cecil was nuked, throw a life on him. Otherwise, he can parry. Then, use Rosa’s next turn to cast White off the Wall. If Rydia is alive, she’ll get her turn here. Have her dancing dagger herself for safety, in case Zero’s Big Bang roll is awful.

From here, it depends on who you have alive, but your goal is to reflect one more White on to Zeromus and Elixir Kain and Rosa. Here’s the various ways that can play out:

Edge and Cecil Survive Nuke + BB1: Phase 2 -- Cecil parry, Edge wait until Rosa casts White, then Elixir, Rosa White, Cecil Elixir Rydia nuked and Edge dies to BB1 -- Delay in menu for Cecil's first elixir so White 2 goes off before BB2 No Rydia Nuke, Cecil, Kain, and Rosa survive: Delay in menu on Cecil's second elixir until Kain finishes attacking Cecil nuked and dies: Edge should have already lifed Cecil, from there, Rosa White, Edge/Cecil Elixir, Rosa White Cecil and Edge both dead: Skip straight ahead to “Zeromus screwed me”

Then, Big Bang 2. From here, try to think about your damage rolls. I usually only have time to pay attention to White rolls. If they were high, you’ll want Rosa to hold on so you get only one extra Kain attack. If they were low, you’ll want Rosa to parry so Kain gets two attacks before Black Hole.

On Black Hole, you’ll want to have Rosa cast Wall on herself ASAP (or as soon as the text disappears if you held on her turn), Kain run buffers and Elixirs Rosa, Rosa casts White off Wall, and then Kain quickly gets in the menu and throws a heal at Zeromus. This will trigger his counter, which nerfs Big Bang damage. If you’re lucky, it’ll bounce off Wall.

Then, you’ll get Big Bang 3. If Kain is alive, run buffer his turn and parry. If not, run buffer Rosa’s turn as soon as you get it before Zeromus casts Black Hole. You should have already had White hit Zeromus, and you should have also had Virus bounce back at him. If you nail this run buffer, you can directly hit him with White. If he gets Black Hole off before the buffer, you’ll have to Cure4 Rosa, then cast White. This should end the fight. If it doesn’t...

Zeromus Screwed Me: Your first step will be to make sure Rosa’s HP is fine, your second step will be to Life up Kain, and your third step will be to get him healed up. After that, wait until Black Hole, then have Rosa attach berserk on Kain. From there, keep curing, and putting berserk back on Kain until you see Meteo. At that point, if you have enough MP left for White, use it. If not, let Kain finish the job. Unfortunately, we can’t quite guarantee a quicker strat yet, but I’m working on it.

Zeromus Drain -- 122,000 HP Run buffer opportunities: None that I’m aware of Equipment shuffling opportunities: This is the last fight, but if you botched something, Rydia can maneuver the menu if she survives Nuke 1. No problems turn order: Cecil, Rosa, Edge, Rydia, Cecil, etc.

The key to success in this fight is having enough repetitions of it to notice when things are going wrong and to quickly be able to react on them. Zeromus can be finnicky. He will not be fair. If you are unsure of where you are, pumping the breaks is usually the right call.

The beginning of this fight is always the same. Cecil uses the crystal, Rosa casts Berserk on Kain, Edge darts, Rydia throws DD at Zeromus, and Cecil parries. From there, the strategy shifts based on a) Zeromus’ initial nuke and b) the damage rolls

Here are the turn orders post-Nuke:

Rosa nuked: Edge, Edge, Rydia (BB goes off) Rydia nuked: Edge, Rosa, Cecil (elixir in advance of BB), Edge (BB goes off) Edge or Kain nuked (or Cecil nuked and somehow survives): Edge, Rosa, Cecil (elixir in advance of BB), Edge, Rydia (BB goes off) Cecil nuked: Edge, Rosa, Edge (BB goes off)

Edge keeps darting. Rosa will Elixir nuke survivors or parry. Cecil will Elixir Edge in advance. Rosa getting nuked is ideal because you get an extra dart off here. Cecil getting nuked is quite unfortunate. The other three are in-between. After the BB, you will have Kain, Edge, and maybe Cecil alive. Here’s how that works:

Anyone else was nuked: Elixir Kain only with Cecil. Cecil was nuked: Elixir both with Edge.

From here, things shift again based on damage rolls. The second Big Bang will go off and be much more powerful. If Edge darts again to lead off the second post-BB scoring, there’s a chance Zeromus will jump cycles if you’ve done enough damage. This is the main reason I use Gungnir -- Berserked Kain alive for a few more rounds is a more efficient damage dealer than Edge. There’s a very slight chance this will happen before the second Big Bang. If it does, play it as safe as possible until Black Hole comes out. Keep Kain and Edge healed with Elixirs.

If you use Drain, this is more unlikely, and you’ll usually be facing a Black Hole that’ll end Kain’s berserk status. If you killed just 12 D. Machines, use Gungnir, but play this fight like you’re using Drain to compensate for the extra damage.

If you draw the empty Black Hole after BB2: Edge and Kain will elixir, Edge will dart, and Kain will wait until BB number three goes off to Elixir Edge. You can usually Dart here and have the timing work out to where Kain’s turn goes off before Zeromus Black Hole/Nukes somebody. After that, Zeromus will alternate Big Bang with empty turns and Big Bang followed by Black Hole/Nuke again. Your goals are a) make sure Kain is Elixiring as BB goes off and b) try not to let Edge heal if you can avoid it. If Zeromus gets to a second Black Hole/Nuke combo, though, make sure to use Edge’s first turn to heal -- Kain will not get a chance to. Follow this until you get to Meteo.

If you skip empty Black Hole after BB2: Edge will need to baby this fight while Kain puts in the big boy work. Every turn should be an Elixir on somebody up until you see Black Hole for the first time. Make sure that Edge heals himself first on every BB up until that point. The first Black Hole will not be empty -- it’ll be followed by an immediate Nuke. Edge will react by either Elixiring himself (if hit) or lifing Kain (if he is hit). At that point, heal up and the fight is handled just like it would be with empty black hole.

Zeromus begins spamming Meteo: This is when he’s close to death. If you have good HP at this point, you can just run to the end. It usually takes 2 darts and a Kain attack or three darts to kill him at this point. If you’re caught low on HP, you can Elixir to start the phase. Don’t panic if Kain dies. You should be able to limp Edge to the finish with Elixirs if you have to.

Zeromus used Virus on me: You didn’t do enough damage early in this fight and you’re going to have to dig out of a hole to win it. Tough luck. Here’s me digging out of a hole on what would’ve been (at the time) a PB.

Congratulations. You did it. You beat the game. You survived the trolling. Submit your time to Speedrun.com’s leaderboard.


Experience Routing

This is a spreadsheet (save your own copy) you can use to figure out the different ways to get your characters to the right levels. The main use right now is getting Berserk for Rosa earlier, but I’m hopeful more can come from this. In some of the strats I recommend, you’ll have fewer party members finish the fight -- this is to save experience points for the shadow party.

Milon Traditional twincast version Run buffer opportunities: n/a Equipment shuffling opportunities: During Cure2 animation (medium), During Lit1 animation (medium), during Twin/Lit1 response animations (long), during “Oh … My Body!” text (long)
No problems turn order: Cecil, Palom, Porom, Tellah, Cecil, (first twin), Cecil, Tellah, Cecil, Palom, (second twin), etc. -- Fire 2 Variant: Cecil, Palom, Tellah, Porom, Cecil, (first twin), Tellah, Cecil (attacks Tellah), Palom (attacks Cecil), Porom, Palom, etc.

This fight doesn’t require as much precision, but you still need to be quick. Cure2 a Ghast with Cecil, Cure2 a Ghast with Palom, Twin with Porom, Cure2 a Ghast with Tellah, and Cure2 a Ghast with Cecil. You should be able to move inventory around with Palom and Cecil during Cure2 animations.

When Twin goes off you get a golden opportunity to menu. My priorities are as follows: move Darkness sword, Rod, Leather helm, and Leather armor all the way down the inventory. Flip Rod or Darkness with Paladin shield if you can, on the way. You can usually get one down and move an empty spot to replace one on the way back up. (You should still be moving items around in a carrot attempt, but you won’t get as much done.)

After the first Twin, parry back around to Palom unless one of the twins is in critical (heal them if so), then select Twin again.

After two twins, there are a number of things that can happen based on the damage rolls. Milon will trigger “Oh … My Body!” and kill himself off at ~2,100 HP.

If you’ve done enough for that to end the fight, consider yourself very fortunate. If you’re at about 1,950 damage, a Cecil fight will probably end the battle. If you’re at about 1,800 damage, you can equip a Dancing Dagger on Palom to end the battle. Otherwise, you are going to cast Twin again. In that case, you probably got Comet once (the bane of our existence) or Twin failed (1/256). Continue Twinning (Ether1 both twins after two comets or three total Twins) until he dies or is close enough for you to attack.


If you are going for the Fire2 strat, give Porom Tiara and move her to the middle, then heal her up.

Fire 2 Variant: Same strategy, but kill off Tellah and Cecil prior to the fight ending. This is slightly dangerous, but you should survive. You may want to have Gaea armor on Palom if you’re going for this. Cecil’s Black sword will often “Swoon!” Tellah quickly, so all you need to do at that point is bop Cecil with a Dancing Dagger. After this fight you will level Palom up so he has Fire2, which is helpful in bopping MilonZ.

Milon Z

One-Man Trashcan Run buffer opportunities: No Equipment shuffling opportunities: No No problems turn order: Cecil, (Cecil?), Palom, Porom, Cecil, Cecil, wait

Putting this first because on average I think it will be faster. Faster to die, or faster to beat him. Either way, faster!

If you use this strat, leave Tellah dead. This fight is very dependent on Milon Z being a good boy, so your Cecil moves must be reactive to start this fight. Wait on Cecil’s first turn. If Milon Z bops a Twin, toss a Cure2 to avoid a trolly death. If it hits Cecil, wait until Milon’s second attack (Cecil will get a second turn before Milon’s second attack either way.)

On Milon Z’s second attack, have Cecil fight himself if he’s been attacked one or zero times. If Cecil has been hit twice, instead have him attack Milon Z.

Have Palom target Ice 2 on Porom, have Porom go to Twin and start casting. This should set the mimic glitch. On Cecil’s third turn, if he hasn’t attacked Milon yet, he attacks Milon. If not, he targets a consumable (Ether1/Cure2/Heal/Life) and flips menu spots for the trashcan.

And then you wait. If Milon Z’s in a good mood, he’ll kill Cecil and Palom will put him in the trash. If he’s not, well, gg. You can technically recover but it’s insanely difficult at that point and usually involves a miss.

Traditional Trashcan version Run buffer opportunities: You can buffer on Cecil’s second turn to save one attack, but you have to plink to make up for it. Equipment shuffling opportunities: On death (very long) No problems turn order: Cecil, (Cecil?), Palom, Porom, Tellah, Cecil, wait.

Let’s talk strategy here. Cecil can do anywhere from 70-180 damage to himself in my experience. You want him to be low enough to get killed by Milon Z with one or two hits. So, your strategy in turn 1 depends on what his HP is. I like to wait Milon’s first attack out, then cure a twin if he targets them. (If Porom gets bopped before the glitch gets off, you aren’t getting it off.) If he doesn’t, have Cecil attack himself if he is over 170 HP. If Cecil is under that threshold AND he targeted Tellah or Cecil, wait a few seconds -- up until you see the HP counter change -- and parry. That should bring up Palom. If you fight early with Cecil, you can run buffer his second turn.

Palom will cast Ice 2 on Porom. If you run buffered Cecil, you will need to plink to Twin on Porom’s turn. Otherwise, just push down twice to get to Twin. Tellah will hold a to attack Z, and Cecil will again select a consumable, cancel that selection, then swap it with trashcan.

If all goes right, Cecil will get killed by Z, and Palom will use trashcan to one-shot Z.

If it doesn’t, you can still save it, but it might take a bit of luck.

--Palom deaths are common and easy enough to get around, just life him with Cecil, hold-a fight with Tellah, and get into Cecil’s menu before the next attack registers to re-target the trashcan. (You may need to do this last part quickly.)

-- If Cecil dies without the can going off, Cecil and Tellah’s roles will switch. Cecil will need to attack, Tellah will need to target the can in the inventory, and you may want to cure Cecil.

-- If Tellah dies without the can going off, you have lost your safety net. Start praying for Cecil to get bopped, because if he’s not the next one down, he’s probably taking your run with it.

Inventory wise, if you haven’t moved down Leather stuff, rod and darkness, that’s priority one. Otherwise, move Gaea and Tiara to the right (we won’t need those again for some time), and Paladin gloves to the left. In an ideal world, my inventory would look like this: Cure2 (1L), Dancing (1R), Life (2L), Paladin shield (2R), Empty (3L), Gaea Helm (3R), Silver (4L), Empty (4R), Paladin gloves (5L), Tiara (5R), Empty (6L), Empty (6R), Iron Glove (7L), Ether1 (7R)

If you’re going with Twin or Fire2 strats, Piggy just Cecil and Tellah, cure all and ether the Twins, and change rows. (Fire2 participants may also move Porom from middle to the top slot to get Palom more damage.)

Twincast version Run buffer opportunities: n/a Equipment shuffling opportunities: On Cure2 animations (medium), On Twin animation (medium), On death (very long) No problems turn order: Cecil, Cecil, Palom, Porom, Tellah, Cecil, Palom, Cecil, Porom, Tellah, Cecil, etc. | Fire 2 variant: Cecil, Cecil, Palom, Porom, Tellah, Cecil, (Twin goes off), Cecil, Tellah, Cecil, Palom, Porom, Cecil, etc.

Cecil will attack. Tellah will throw Cure 2. The first Twin up in a sequence will also throw Cure 2. The second one will use Twin. In this specific instance, it probably makes sense to life and cure a twin if it dies. However, if you’ve already gotten off two Twins, I’d just lob Cure2s until the fight is over.

Fire2 variant: Cecil attacks twice in a row. Palom re-equips Change Rod and casts Fire2. Porom uses Cure2. Tellah Cure2s, Cecil attacks. Unless you get bad damage rolls, this fight should be over as a second Fire2 goes off. Alternately, you can have Porom wait on Fire2, then cast Twin in an attempt to finish the fight more quickly … you just might get Comet.

Excalibur Strats: Tower of Babil → Dwarf Castle → Sealed Cave → Dwarf Castle → Mysidia → Excalibur Runaround (optional) → Moon → Giant Robot

Fall down the crystal chute after cutscenes, find your new airship. Go to the Dwarf Castle. Talk to Cid. Unequip the Strength ring off of Kain.

Excalibur Route: Head to the Cave of Summoned monsters, walk down to the bottom and find the Rat Tail. Cast Exit. Pray that you are on step route so that an Archne does not wreck your world.

Go to the Sealed Cave, lose Kain. Go back to the Dwarf Castle. Get the drill on the airship. Burrow up to the surface again.

Excalibur Route: Fly back to Eblan, change airships, pick up the hovercraft and head for Silvera, ride the hovercraft into the grotto, receive Adamant. Head back to the airship.

Head to Mysidia, start a cutscene where the Big Whale is revealed.

Excalibur Route: Head to Kokkol’s forge, give the sleeping old man his Adamant, receive the Excalibur sword. Fly back to the Big Whale.

Take the Big Whale to the Moon. If you’re playing with Edge, depending on your seed and step route, you may either go to the Hummingway Cave or to recruit FuSoYa first. At the Hummingway Cave, run into the one Hummingway who sells things and spend the rest of you ill-gotten money on 50 Elixirs. Rosa route already has three Elixirs for the final boss.

Once all that’s done, head back to the Big Whale, go back to Earth, and enjoy a solid four minutes of cutscene.

Excalibur Grind Fight: You’ll want to set a dupe on Cecil’s spot to dupe the Excalibur as you’re killing off the party. You’ll also want FuSoYa to Weak the Searcher so Edge can attack it rather than using Dart. Complete the dupe after the fight and move Excalibur to the (1L) spot of your inventory.

Excalibur Four Fiends variant: Dart Ex, Fire3, Dancing kill, Slow, Cover, Ex Dart, Dancing Kill, Wall on Edge, Parry, Parry/Elixir, Dart Ex, Dart Ex, Ice 3 off wall, Dart Ex, (Ice 3 goess off), Dart X

The turn order will be the same. The only difference is that the extra Excalibur damage means you will skip an Ice3 on FuSoYa’s cycles and go Fire3-Wall-Ice3 off wall. Edge will throw four Excaliburs, wait for the Ice3, then throw five to finish the fight.

Excalibur CPU variant: Can’t run Dart Attacker, Meteo, Can’t run Dart CPU, Can’t run Dart CPU,

Edge darts Excalibur at attacker (to save frames), then can’t run/darts CPU twice. Meteo will go off. The heals from defender won’t do enough and the battle will end. You can also do the regular Drain strat here, but it’s slower and Excalibur will be doing almost double the damage of Drain spear.

Excalibur pre-Zeromus menuing: Protect and Samurai stuff from Kain on Edge. Headband and Karate on Kain. Bandanna, Black Belt, Strength ring on Cecil. Rosa-Edge-Cecil-Rydia-Kain formation with Cecil in the front row.

Excalibur Zeromus Variant -- 122,000 HP Run buffer opportunities: None that I’m aware of Equipment shuffling opportunities: This is the last fight, but if you botched something, Rosa can maneuver the menu while waiting to Elixir. No problems turn order: Cecil, Rosa, Kain, Edge, Rydia, Kain, Rosa, etc.

Cecil uses the crystal, Rosa casts Berserk on Cecil. Kain will hold a attack, Edge will dart Excal, and Rydia will DD. Kain will hold A attack, and the DD will go off during Rosa’s turn. Rosa can Elixir whoever the Nuke lands on if they survive. Edge will dart Excal, Kain will hold A attack and the BB will go off before it lands.

If Cecil didn’t get nuked: This is a race to the finish, and you’ll be skipping the empty Black Hole almost assuredly. Kain should Elixir Edge on his first turn after the first Big Bang. But otherwise, he should attack through BB3. Edge just keeps darting Excals. After BB3, if Kain is alive, have him elixir Edge, then Elixir Edge again if he survives the Black Hole/Nuke. Edge should … keep darting. He should be able to get enough darts off before Zeromus dies.

If Cecil got nuked: Play this fight like you would without Excalibur, running through the phases and trying to get as many Edge darts off as possible. You’ll be quicker than you would with Drain/Gungnir, and almost assuredly won’t deal with five Big Bangs. Here is Aexoden’s optimal strat on that, with a few run buffers.