Within Final Fantasy XII and its enhanced remaster The Zodiac Age the best part of the game is undeniably the hunts. With the story being relatively convoluted and the party often playing a tangential role to many events, Final Fantasy XII without its hunts would be a forgettable experience. Luckily hunts do exist and Final Fantasy XII is better for it, as these hunts provide one of the few challenges of the game. This is especially true for the streamlined and easier Zodiac Age.
Of the 45 Hunts within Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age 13 are known as “Elite Marks” marks only available from our dear friend and Guild Master Montblanc of Clan Centurio. The elite marks are special in the sense they are often considered the most dangerous and powerful, this is both true and not true. Many Elite Marks go down pretty easily if you are suitably leveled and geared, I did not really care about them. No for my challenge I wished to go against the best of the best.
Within the Elite Marks there is a group I collectively refer to as the “Elite Six”. These are: The Trickster, Gilgamesh (and Enkidu), The Behemoth King, Ixion, The Devils of 44 (my name), and Yiazmat. Each providing a unique and oftentimes insurmountable challenge unless properly prepared for the fight ahead. However just going against these beasts would not be enough after all at this moment 5% of players have already beaten Ixion in game as an example.
No the challenge had to be real and I have always wanted to test something, is it indeed possible to beat the strongest enemies in the game without touching your controller? So to test out this old saying I set a few rules for myself to at least make it fair. The rules are as follows:
1) Three tries to kill a mark. Anything more is a failure.
2) You must complete the mark as soon as it is available without advancing the story. Grinding is okay.
3) Retreating from a mark is the same as losing.
4) No cheesing.
5) Bonus Characters are allowed if they are part of the story you need to fight the Mark in.
6) Any touching of the controller is prohibited, save pausing, and changing leaders (if the leader is killed).
While the rules and concept is simple enough in practice the challenge has proved considerable. One thing I did not foresee though it is obvious in hindsight is these rules precluded me from using substantial weapons that were designed to help you best these challenges. They of course include all six members of your party as there is no gabit for switching party members. It also Includes Mist Abilities such as Quickening and Summons. In short I halved my party and robbed them of their strongest attacks... oh joy. Anyways come with me to see how I fared on my Final Fantasy XII Master Quest!
The Trickster is the first and surprisingly not the easiest of the Elite Six on my list. The great Chocobo of legend the Trickster is semi-divine in the world of Ivalice and is a boon to many a travelers unlike many of its fellow Marks. This however my job remains to kill it, so kill it I shall.
An interesting thing about The Trickster is that it totally lives up to its name, as it will often run out of sight and go invisible. Normally this wouldn’t be a major problem except I have no ability to target the damn thing as I could not chase it. Furthermore The Trickster has a very nasty set of abilities one must be aware of to overcome it: Physical Pailing and Elemental Absorption. In layman’s terms physical attacks can not hurt it and all but a select few magics heals it.
Later in the game this would not be a problem as Scourge the ultimate Black Magic could take it down in seconds. However not having access to such a spell just yet I was forced to rely on Bio, a weak but non-elemental spell that was able to do the damage to knock this near invincible Chocobo down a peg or two. The battle was also aided by the addition of a second free White Mage in Larsa who was a guest Character at the time. The Average level of my party was Level 35 (or so). This fight also gave me a good realization these beasts can often be more then just their stats and DPS.
Like all of Gilgamesh’s encounters through the series he is played off more as a joke character, this is the same for him here. However like fellow comic relief character Deadpool (who he really reminds me of) he is still deadly and poses a considerable challenge to somebody no prepared for his fury.
Gilgamesh is unique in this hunt as you have to fight him twice. The first where he sits at Level 45 was incredibly easy, I was able to take him out on my first try with no preparation what so ever being a substantial 12 levels higher then him on average, with one character being 15 higher . This needless to say led me into a false sense of security as I hunted him down for our second encounter deeper in the mines.
The first thing that should have given away the second encounter would not be as easy as the first the average level of enemies jumped by over 10 levels and actually fighting the mobs was proving challenging. Something that had not happened in hours by this point, nor since to be honest.
When I fought him again for the first time I was cocky. This was a mistake. Gilgamesh absolutely destroyed me. Easily being the strongest boss I had faced by this point in the game. I quickly learned with preparations I would not be able to beat him, he was too strong. Luckily I had received a nice gift moments earlier a Treasure Chest dropped the Scathe Spell giving my Black Mages a weapon they would sorely need moving forward. Furthermore I had discovered an interesting use for my sizable fortune - Gil Toss doesn’t suck.
After a little bit of grinding (and lesser hunts) I returned to Gilgamesh with a plan. A party of Vaan tossing Gil, Balthier healing (White Mage), and Ashe blasting with Scathe while healing too (Black/Red Mage combo). While my three characters each died many times and even was forced to recharge Ashes MP with an Elixer once, the plan worked and I came out on top. Unlike The Trickster Gilgamesh was tough but dumb, if you can keep getting up you can put him down. I even got Masamune as a nice parting gift.
Following my embarrassing first encounter with Gilgamesh I endeavoured never to be caught flat footed again. When I began to hunt The Behemoth King I figured he would be a simple foe, however I prepared like any other. Setting my gambits for a standard DPS Healer set up quite similar to how I defeated Gilgamesh. The only difference being I set up a Protectga gambit which I had finally aquired earlier in the game.
This proved fortuitous as The Behemoth King hits very hard as I surmised it would. Taking out more then half a 9,999 HP characters health unprotected. However despite its raw power and health that exceeds 1,000,000 hit points I found The King to be a pushover. It was so strange I looked it up later to see if it had ANYTHING Special. In fact it did an ability to double its level in the last 10% of its health, funny enough I never noticed this as it died too quickly. Furthermore it has the ability to be immune to physical or magic attacks when it is critical, however with Scathe and Gil Toss each doing 9,999 plus damage this was a small hindrance as well.
That being said, I am glad I prepared my bank account as my Gil Toss Strategy is starting to prove pricy. The Behemoth King fight ended up costing over 400,000 Gil...
I hope you enjoyed the first part of my two part series where I recount hunting The Elite Six in the most insane way possible. As it stands I am three for three with The Trickster proving the most challenging so far. However while half are done the worst is certainly yet to come. Also please tell me your stories of the hunt and any experiences with The Zodiac Age.
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