I’ve successfully made it to Galbadia and been turned away at the Presidential Mansion; now I get to face my first real dungeon in the Tomb of the Unknown King. But before that, allow me to venture a few thoughts on what has occurred so far.

First off, WOW it’s a long time before Cure magic! Since all spells come from item refinement, early on I’m severely limited by what GFs are available. I can’t cook up any Cure spells before Siren learns L-Mag RF, which means that through X-ATM092 all I’ve got are potions and phoenix down. Thankfully the Occult Fan I sells for something like 17,500 gil, and I spent almost all of it on those two items.

Second, cure magic is the only thing worth making for awhile. Low-level offensive/status magic is crap for junctioning, and there really aren’t that many encounters between obtaining Rinoa and where I am now. Stocking up on Cure spells and giving them to Quistis as an HP junction seems to be the best plan early.

A brief aside: currently the challenge uses a tiered system for more than just magic. Passive abilities and elemental/status junctions are in there as well, but I’m wondering if the game does enough of that on its own (by limiting what GFs can learn and how much AP it takes). If so I could drop the stringency there and make the challenge that much easier to understand. For now I’ll keep things as they are and be glad I’m completing a test run first, but if people have an opinion they should feel free to share it.

Third lesson learned: Diablos is beatable early, but a pain without Blind. Like the Siren example, you can’t obtain Blind beforehand since Diablos has the ability you need. It took a mind-numbing degree of item healing and reviving before he finally fell, but he can be sandbagged. And since you’ve got a salary at that point, replenishing supplies isn’t a big deal. The important thing is that with Diablos you can start creating status magic and eventually Mugging monsters.

All in all it hasn’t been too hard so far. X-ATM092 is a pain but with skill you can avoid him entirely after the first encounter, Diablos falls to item spam, and Gerogero croaks with a single Phoenix Down (I am not too proud to win that way). But I think the Tomb will be tough since I do crap damage and can’t obtain Float spells.

That’s another thing learned – some spells are literally unobtainable. You can’t refine Scan or Float spells, which means with draw banned you will never use them. For fighting the Brothers, this will be a pain. I’m counting on some Thrustaevises (sp?) to drop Shear Feathers that can become Aero magic and be wielded by Quistis and Rinoa. Since Quistis can use Cure as well it seems like a good party.

Last thing I’ve noticed is that there are some crazy long stretches without a fight. I know that’s heaviest in Disc One, but still there’s no way I’m showing all the scenes on my official run. Covering the battles and dungeon crawling should suffice, I think.

That’s all I can think of for now. On to the Tomb of the Unknown King!

UPDATE: Brothers acquired! Aero spells worked wonders, though Minotaur was a pain to take down. But I was never in serious jeopardy – even the Mad Cow Special only dished out 300-350 damage a person, and that’s without Protect. No problem!