Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age - Best Job Combinations and Builds for your first and second job choices
Final Fantasy XII is defined by its gameplay systems more than its story or visual design, and that's something that makes it rather unique in the Final Fantasy series. This is a game that has always been all about the gameplay and its deeply complex and deep mechanics - and the latest version of the game, The Zodiac Age, doubles down on this rightly deserved reputation. We gave the game a 9 in our review, and much of that is based on its amazing system design.
FF12: The Zodiac Age is based off the International Zodiac Job System, a version of FF12 that originally released in Japan on PS2 well after the original release of the game. This version of the game added traditional FF jobs / classes into the mix, allowing characters to be customised to a far greater level and allowing players thus to build far more versatile and different teams.
The Zodiac Age takes this already rich and complicated system and makes it even better, adding all-new mechanics such as the ability for characters to have two different, unique jobs at once. This allows for even more diversity in your Ivalice-liberating team of heroes - but it can also lead to a crippling amount of choice - and scrolling through license boards to figure out what moves each job has is an even further headache. That's where we come in.
On this page, we go in-depth into some of our favourite job combinations in the game for having the best battle set up. Unsure of what job to pick? What goes well together to make good characters for a balanced party? Well, allow us to explain. Do remember that these are just suggestions - try not to get too hung up on what the best job for each character is or what jobs combine best - it'll all work out. First, some tips...
Best Job Combinations & Builds in Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age - which jobs to pick for your first and second class
Before we get into listing some of our personal favourite combinations, let's get down to the nitty gritty with a few things you absolutely need to know in FF12 The Zodiac Age. It's job system is complex, and once you've picked a job you cannot undo it and you cannot respec, so you need to be careful.
Here is what you should be mindful of:
- Your choice of job should always be about offsetting weaknesses. This means that even though it might make a lot of sense to combine two classes that have similar skill sets, generally speaking you should aim to do the opposite. If one class uses physical weapons but has a relatively low strength stat, you very much should think about combining them with a job that has inherently high strength. A lot of mages benefit most by combining them with tanky physical classes in order to boost their HP and defense to make them more able to survive assaults. Fast jobs should be combined with slow jobs too, and gear should always be a major consideration.
- FF12 is all about the high-end items, and if you want to tackle high-end bosses you should build with them in mind. FF12 has a few high-end items such as the Genji Gloves and the Danjuro that will be defining staples of any team in the late game. Consider these and other high-end items early when you explore your job choices, since gear can only be used by certain classes.
- Any good team should have access to 'Break' moves to weaken enemy stats. Break moves are basically debuffs that lower the stats of an enemy. There are four Break moves in FF12 The Zodiac Age - Addle, Expose, Shear and Wither. You should make sure that your team has access to these for fights, as they really go a long way to weaken powerful enemies. It's important to note, though, all of these abilities are obtained in optional areas or late in the main game.
- Don't feel pressured to use every job - use the ones that make sense. FF12 The Zodiac Age has six characters and twelve jobs - which divides down to a nice, even two jobs per character. This doesn't mean this is how you should build, though - some jobs may be better left behind depending on the type of team you're trying to build.
- Don't get hung up on your picks if you feel you've gone wrong. While there are definitely overpowered or extremely powerful, optimal job picks, there really is no 'wrong' answer ion this system - so enjoy it and experiment.
- Different characters are naturally better at different things. While you have absolute choice over what each character does, characters do have natural skill sets that lend them to certain jobs that are based on their, well, characters. Luckily, we've also got a page which details what the characters of The Zodiac Age are natually good at from their base stats.
The Best Physical Damage Job Combinations in The Zodiac Age
Foebreaker & Shikari (Breaker & Hunter) - The Damage Machine
By combining the Foebreaker and Shikari (also known as Breaker and Hunter) classes you'll end up with a powerful character who has access to license boards that will give you high HP and strength, triple swiftness and all four breaks, vital moves that you use to lower the attack and defense stats of enemies.
On top of that you'll get access to genji gear, ninja swords and the hand bomb - making for quite a decent spread of weaponry at your fingertips. If you want to deal damage, this is a great class combination, with ninja swords great weapons for dealing out an obscene amount of DPS with the right gambit set up.
Bushi & Knight (Samurai & Knight) - The Ultimate Holy Knight
While we have an amazing support-driven Knight job combination build listed below, this is also one of the best uses for the white magic wielding Knight class (with the right Esper) in FF12 The Zodiac Age. This class combination is all about synergy - the Knight's low magic power is offset by the Samurai's comparatively high magic power, while the Samurai's lower strength is offset by the Knight's muscular build. Note, a Knight's White Magick is locked behind the Mateus and Hashmal Esper nodes, which you should definitely give to your knight if you are using this set up.
This basically enhances everything about both classes - the Samurai will be able to use Katana better than as a solo class and deal more damage thanks to high strength stats both of which are used in calculating katana damage, while the Knight side of the job combination will be able to utilize its White Magic far better and exploit enemies that are weak to Holy particularly well. Undead, who are fairly common in FF12, won't stand a chance.
Bushi & Monk (Samurai & Monk) - The Katana Master
The damage dealt by katanas in FF12 is pretty brutal to begin with, making the Bushi (also known as Samurai) one of the stronger jobs for dishing out a high amount of damage quickly. This class can be effectively combined with that of the Monk in order to boost your strength stats significantly thanks to the layout of the Monk's license board.
Monk has access to some magic but actually has pretty average magic stats. Samurai doesn't but has a decent magic stat - making them another good combination. Monk will let you unlock a range of white magic, but the real benefit of this class is the vast increase to Katana damage you get.
Bushi & Foebreaker (Samurai & Breaker) - The Skillful Samurai
We wouldn't say this is as good a Samurai-driven class as the 'Katana Master' Samurai/Monk build above, but by combining Bushi (Samurai) and Foebreaker (Breaker) you do get a less damage-centric Samurai that also has some foe-debilitating skills to go along with their katana.
Specifically, you'll have access to all of the break moves allowing you to reduce and debuff enemy stats. You'll also have a ranged back-up weapon in bombs and access to heavy armor, which goes a long way to make an already tanky class even more survivable.
Shikari & Bushi (Hunter & Samurai) - Slaying the ultimate boss
FF12 contains one particular boss fight that's incredibly memorable - Yiazmat. This boss is ridiculous, taking hours to defeat in the original version - and it'll probably take quite a long time even with The Zodiac Age's fast forward options.
Yiazmat is weak to dark damage, and this class can put together some absolutely brutal dark damage boosting gear. You have access to the powerful genji gloves, but on top of that you can equip the dark-elemental Darkblade weapon and the dark boosting Black Robes. This boosts dark damage massively - making this job combo very, very useful for Yiazmat - but this is a very specific use case.
The Best Magic Damage Job Combinations in The Zodiac Age
Black Mage & Red Battlemage - The Elemental Boss
Our pick for the best mage build in FF12 The Zodiac Age goes to the rather obvious combination of the Black Mage job and the Red Battlemage job. These are the two main offensive magic users in the game, and thus combining them will give you an incredibly powerful black mage.
You'll get access to high-end magic staff gear and robes in order to boost your damage, and you'll even have access to the most powerful single elemental spell in the game in the form of Ardor. There's not much else to say about this class other than that it is a magical beast.
Black Mage & Monk - The Buff Black Mage
FF12's Monk job has access to some serious upgrades to speed and HP, and when combined with the Black Mage job this makes for a faster and more survivable, buff offensive magic user than your average Black Mage. This ultimately means slightly weaker magic than the Black & Red Mage combination above but still makes for a Black Mage so powerful and versatile that it rivals that job combination.
The Monk will also give you access to some White Magic, meaning you can use your magic stats to hit enemies weak to Holy, usually a weakness for Black Mages. You also get access to some incredibly magic-boosting gear - and the Monk's boost to physical strength means that you'll be able to hold your own at least a little even when the MP runs dry.
Archer & Red Battlemage
Thanks to the gun-wielding Machinist job the Archer job class seems a little more redundant, but it still absolutely has its uses - and it can be combined effectively with a Red Mage to make a character that can become the king or queen of the mid-range encounters in the game thanks to access to both powerful bow moves and offensive magical spells.
Later in the game you'll be able to get some bows that have elemental affiliation, which in turn can boost magic spells such as fire attacks when cast with it equipped. This is no Black & Red Mage combination, but the ability to use bows and the bow move set might make this attractive in its own way.
The Best Support Job Cominations in The Zodiac Age
Knight & Time Battlemage - All-around Support King
If you want a clas that can do a little bit of everything to keep your team afloat, the combination of Knight and Time Battlemage is the perfect one to go with. The Knight is a decent damage dealer with access to some white mage skills to begin with, but the Time Battlemage (Time Mage) job augments that class nicely.
This build will generally be focused on the Knight job abilities, but from the Time Mage you'll get access to swiftness, Bowgun type weapons, and a boost to your magic power to help your use of the Knight's natural white magic - plus a slew of support abilities associated with the Time Battlemage job. It's a useful, powerful support setup.
Uhlan & Time Battlemage - Spearing Support
FF12's spear-wielding class isn't actually a dragoon, surprisingly, but instead the longarm weapon type is represented in the International Zodiac Job System in the Uhlan class. The Uhlan also has the ability to sacrifice its own HP to revive fallen allies - but crucially, the Uhlan does not have the white mage abilities of the Knight, so is no replacement for a healer.
The combination of the Uhlan and Time Battlemage (Time Mage) jobs will work out very similar to the Knight & Time Mage job combination above - but there's a loss of the healing powers and an increased focus on damage dealing as a result. Instead, they can cast magicks like Bubble (double max HP) and Haste while other mages can focus on healing or damage.
Uhlan & Archer - Enemies at Arms' Length
Combining polearms and spears with a bow and arrow allows you to keep enemies at a distance - and this is the best skill of the Uhlan job and Archer job when the two are combined together. This will enable you to make a speedy, mopbile class that can dance about the battlefield and pick off enemies in a reliable fashion. The Knight's strength greatly benefits the ranged attacks of the Archer, and while this shouldn't be your first choice, it's a great class set up for a second-string member of your Ivalice liberation team.
The Best Healer Job Combinations in The Zodiac Age
Shikari & White Mage (Hunter & White Mage) - The Healing Tank
One of the biggest problems with your traditional Final Fantasy white mage healer class is that they're pretty squishy. They can't take much punishment from enemies and have to be held back from the rest of the battle - and that, of course, is by design. The International Zodiac Job System allows you to step back and create a different type of healer, however, and this is one such class combination that for our money is one of the best healer options in the FF12 The Zodiac Age.
From the white mage class you get all of your healing abilities, of course, but the Shikari/Hunter class will give you access to license board squares to boost your HP and offer shields - and you can even gain the ability to equip Main Gauche, a dagger with 50 evasion(!) that is one of FF12's best weapons period. This mage will be able to take some serious damage, meaning you can worry and micromanage less.
Machinist & White Mage - Ranged Healer and Gunner
If you don't want to massively boost your White Mage's survivability and you're okay with keeping them at the back of your battle formation, this combination of the gun-using Manchinist class and the white mage class will work extremely well for you. The natural bonus here is that the Machinist job has access to guns, and guns can be used to dish out a world of hurt while you're not casting white magic.
On top of the guns, the Machinist job also gives you access to a license board that will allow some significant HP boosts (though not as much as the Shikari & White Mage combo above), swiftness, plus access to some Time Mage buffs like Hastega. You'll have access to a range of gear as well.
White Mage & Time Battlemage
If you really want to go all in on having a dedicated healer, this is the only job combination to consider. By combining the White Mage class and the Time Battlemage class you won't necessarily gain access to a wider range of gear, but you'll instead have absolute access to all of the spells you can use to help out the rest of your party.
This includes all of the time-based buffs and debuffs, all of the important white magic, plus unlocks for all the high-level mage gear you'll need. The con of this build compared to the two above is that you won't have the damage dealing capability or the survivability of the Shikari or Machinist combinations, but this will instead be the ultimate white mage with actual white magic abilities surpassing the other two.