A better idea for defeating one of the toughest enemies in the FF series.
This is a tough one and googling the game forums like GameSpot and others, they give mostly the same advice: Get the Catnip (9999 hit every attack hit), use Trigger Happy 3 (which allows multiple hits per turn, usually 10-15) using the Gunner Garment Grid and hope you get in 3-4 turns before you get killed.
But the Concherer sometimes attacks with its basic physical attack 3 times in a row, quickly killing off all 3 of your girls. Also, what if you don’t have CatNip? Or what if you just think this is a cheap way to beat him (and other monsters in the Via Infinito).
Well, I have a few suggestions, some of these are alluded to elsewhere but here’s my take:
Use the Ray of Hope GG (Garment Grid) and a Rabite’s [sic] Foot for every char for high Luck. Use Berserker DS (Dress Sphere) for at least 2 of your chars. This will make you nearly invulnerable to physical attacks, which are the most deadly and hardest to defend of the Concherer’s attacks. No amount of Protect or Defense is enough to save you, sometimes his physical attack hits for for well over 20k, higher than any HP level you can attain, and anyway, breaking the HP limit is useless because it takes so long to re-heal all that HP you waste a lot of turns or items, plus you’ll steadily lose ground as his attacks continue (he seems to focus on critically injured chars, exacerbating the problem).
Rabite’s Foots are easily gained by fighting MegaCactuars (I hope you don’t have problems with these, if you do you aren’t going to last long in the VI anyway). They increase the chance of a critical hit, speeding up the battle, and decrease your chance of getting hit (Evasion) and some sources claim it also raises Agility (battle speed), not as dramatically as Haste, but some. Most sources deny it, but I also believe it decreases your chance of getting a major magic spell cast on you. I fought the battle hundreds of times doing tests (I’m using an emulator, which is really cool because unlike on the actual PS2, you can “savestate” at any time, up to 10 times during a battle, so you can replay from many different aspects and try different spells etc.) and I found this to be true.
You will get hit with physical attacks very rarely with this set-up, but dramatically less than normal, using the very high Luck of the Rabite’s Foot and the Ray of Hope GG.
The 2nd Accessory spot offers a variety of strategies. Playing a normal game I acquired 2 Speed Bracers, casting constant Haste, so I used these on 2 chars.
For the 3rd char, I had the best luck with either a Star Bracer, which casts perma-Reflect, or a White Lore, which allows you to use White Magic, including Reflect. If you have Reflect cast on a Berserker with high luck you have a well-nigh invulnerable character, not only in this battle, but against 90% of the enemies you’ll encounter in FFX2. If you elect to go with the Star Bracer (Reflect), one char will almost always stay alive, even after a mass Flare attack, which is about the only thing that’s really going to faze your Berzerkers. Thundaga is a pain, but it rarely does more than 2k damage max, and Berserkers have constant Regen going on, so you’ll reheal faster than he can damage you. The automatic Counter the Berserkers enjoy also multiplies your attacks, speeding up the process further.
However, in running many many battles to check out different attack strategies by the Conch, I found he can poison/confuse/silence your girls, which sometimes rendered my sole survivor impotently casting Howl over and over until he picked her apart with Slurp, which does about 700 damage. Not a lot, but with the basic 5k HP of a Berserker so attired, it will kill you often before Confuse wears off. The Poison effect also lowers your Defense and renders you even more vulnerable. It may even damage your Luck and/or Evade, because Paine (my Star Bracer wearer) sure got hit a lot more than the Rabite’s Footers with their high Luck.
So, to forestall this, the other strategy is to equip a girl with White Lore, so she can cast Reflect first thing. Then you have 3 killers ready to go, nearly invulnerable to physical damage and totally invulnerable to magical damage and the Conch won’t cast status effects on more than one girl at a time, so you won’t be helplessly stuck with one Confused, Howling Berserker after a mass Flare. In fact, you pray for Flare because it will do 4-5k x 3 damage to the old Conch, speeding things up considerably. The downside is that Reflect wears off, but if you cast it about every 20 rounds (with Hasted girls) you’ll be OK. You don’t even need to check to see if it’s worn off or worry about casting it early, it will just Reflect off and cast Reflect on the Conch: since you’re not casting any magic, you don’t care if he’s got Reflect on or not. And Reflect only bounces once, so if he Flares/Thundaga’s you, it won’t bounce off you, off him and back to you or any such infinite loop, so no worries there.
If you use the White Lore or the White Magic Garment Grid (I didn’t get one, I friggin’ hate Spheretoss or whatever it’s called, nearly as badly as I do Blitzball), you also allow one of you Berserkers to use Full-Life, saving a turn if you do have to Revive someone, you don’t then have to Heal them up. It also gives you Ecuna so you can cure any status ailment the Conch throws at you. You only have to be careful you don’t let Reflect wear off and get caught with a mass Flare, and you cannot possibly lose.
You can equip just one girl with a Speed Bracer, and cast Hastega every 20 rounds or so when you also re-up your Reflect (don’t forget, cast Hastega first before you Reflect your girls or you’ll bounce it off and Haste the darn Conch! Same if you do use a Star Bracer on one girl!), leaving another slot open. I found you do more damage with the constant Haste, but you may want to substitute a Strength enhancer like the Champion Belt or a Power Glove. Even without any Strength power-up, a normal Berserker attack is going to do 2.5k-5k damage, meaning your averaging about 3.6k (very very roughly) each hit, and the Conch has 360k HP. So, which elementary maths we can see you need to hit him about 100x to kill him.
This would take a max of about 30 rounds, but since your Berserkers will be using Counter and occasionally hit for Chains, it will take much less. Add to the the times the Conch damages himself with Thundaga (usually under 1k, but it adds up) or Flare (sometimes 3x 5k for a 15k hit, no effort on your part other than Reflecting it back, nice!!)
It’s easy to count the 3k’s +/- popping up as you play, after 100-120 or them you’ll see green smoke start to emit from the Conch’s shell, meaning he’s a goner. Using these tactics I could defeat him again and again flawlessly. If a girl does die, use a Mega-Phoenix (I always use these in lieu of a Phoenix Down in a hard Boss battle, just in case another girl dies before the turn: I’ve even saved the girl throwing it, if you get hit exactly at the second you throw it you’ll Revive yourself!)- also use those Mega-Elixirs (full party Heal and MP restore, not that you need MP for this method) and X-Potions to quickly completely Heal one or more girls. Nothing is stupider than finishing the game with every rare Restoring Item you ever acquired still in your inventory because you were waiting for that dire battle to use them: you can afford to spend a couple here (although you’ll certainly need some for Trema/Paragon).
Or, you can reserve one girl as an Alchemist and have her throwing Mega-Potions every turn and Reviving and Remedying as needed without using your precious rare items.
However, I tried this a few times and found I wasted a lot of time Reviving the Alchemist’s dead ass, because no amount of Defense/Luck will protect her from the Physical attack of the Conch. He seems to turn to one girl and focus on her for several turns when she’s critical, and he keeps killing her off repeatedly and annoyingly. Then you lose attacker turns/rare items Reviving her and Healing her back up, often just to see her go right back down again. That’s besides the fact that since the other 2 Berserker/Attackers take so little damage, the Megas she throws don’t even do anything most of the time. And, you’re losing her attack potential every turn, lengthening the battle and increasing the chance of a lucky series of hits wiping out your team.
So, in summation, even if you are a “play-it-safe” type of player, a White Mage or an Alchemist is just a weak-ass pain in the butt who will require being helped more than they will help the others. Going with 3 Berserkers for maximum attack power is the best policy, and throw items if you need Heal or Revive, or use the ‘Zerker with the White Lore. Ethers are a dime a dozen, and you can’t possible use that much MP in this now very easy fight scenario I’ve provided.
The contingency and alternate suggestions I mentioned earlier are inferior to the optimum set-up though: don’t bother using a First Strike, high Defense or Magic Defense GG, they won’t save you anyway and First Strike means nada when a battle goes 20+ rounds.
Using a high Strength GG is a possibility, but your main concern is not getting hit, much more important than the negligible increase in damage any Strength accessory might give you. This is why I go for the Ray of Hope with its +30 Luck. It did make a discernible difference, added to the +100 Luck of the Rabite’s Foot. 145 Luck seems to render you nearly impossible to hit: none of my girls took a single direct hit, ever, in all my tries with this set-up. However, without the +30 of the Ray of Hope, sometimes hits did get in. 2 Rabite’s Foots, Berserker and Ray GG (245 Luck, very nearly max) didn’t seem to make any difference in any hit/magic/attack outcome versus using one Rabite’s and the Ray of Hope, with 145 Luck, so I don’t suggest that, even though I had 6 Rabite’s from defeating all the Mega-cactuars you run into in VI. It’s barely possible the Ray GG offers a different aspect of Luck, adding some Evade? I don’t know for sure but that extra +30 seemed to be more effective than 2 Rabite’s (100 Luck each) for some reason.
The very best set-up, in my opinion, is:
All 3 girls:
Dress Sphere: Berserker
Garment Grid: Ray of Hope (+30 Luck passive effect)
Accessory slot #1: Rabite’s Foot
Accessory slot #2:
2 girls Speed Bracers (constant Haste)
1 girl Star Bracer (for constant Reflect on herself) or White Lore for casting Reflect on party.
She can also wear the Star Bracer and throw Star Curtains to cast Reflect on other chars rather than use the White Lore, and then she doesn’t have to worry about it wearing off on her. Again, if she casts Reflect on herself with a Star Bracer it reflects to the Conch, but since you are using no magic at all in this strategy it doesn’t matter. The Conch’s magic attacks on your girls will only reflect once, back onto the Conch.
I preferred Star Bracer to the White Lore so I didn’t have to worry about ever losing Reflect, although you can get caught out if after a mass Flare on an un-Reflected team, your Bracer-wearing sole survivor gets Confused, which cannot be Reflected.
I defeated the Conch fairly quickly and at will with this set-up, I just enabled FrameSkip and kept my finger on the X button (Attack) and watched to make sure no one died, and 90% of the tries they just hacked away and finally killed him.
I counted the 3ks +/- ticking by to see how close he was to dead, just for my own amusement, and to help gauge when to re-cast Reflect (about every 20 turns).
With the Mass Flare/Mass Reflect option you just have to check your Reflect wearing off at about turn #20, otherwise it’s an effortless battle. With the high Luck I also found many battles he never cast Flare at all the entire battle, and even without Reflect, no one ever died, not even once.
So there you have it, an alternative to the Trigger Happy/Cat Nip, method, which I found to be hit-or-miss and pray that he didn’t kill everyone before you got your hits in, where-as with the Reflect/Berserker scenario you are pretty much in the driver’s seat, and personally I like to control my own destiny.
More FFX-2 strategy tips to come.