Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age - Best Party Composition and Party Builds: how to pick the right party members
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age makes use of the International Zodiac Job System version of FF12 as its base, and that means it has some pretty complicated stuff going on with the process of building your party.
First of all not all characters are created equal - and neither are all jobs. Some characters and jobs go better together than others, and once you've made that hard decision you're than faced with the difficult decision of giving each of the six party members in FF12 a secondary job that both works with and enhances the ability set of their first. It all gets complicated, and that's why we've been putting out a few guide pages to help lessen your headaches.
Once you've decided on your job combination make-up, decided what characters will get what roles and even applied Espers to characters and done all manner of other license board juggling, only then can you get stuck in to one of the last but most important aspects of preparing for FF12's combat: party composition.
Before you think about setting gambits, you need to decide exactly what your party make-up will be like - who's in it, in what roles, and what classes and jobs work best together to create a good party. If you're scratching your head, we have a few different suggestions for builds, with the classes shown based on several of the class combinations we advised elsewhere. Below, we get into a few recommedations for how to structure your party - but we recommend you consider your own based on our advised class combinations.
While here we've put together three-man parties as recommendations, you should level up all six characters evenly. Consider options to ensure even leveling such as switching between two different teams of three, or having a powerful A-team party for bosses and then a more quirky B-team party you can grind with later.
Party Build & Party Composition: Our Suggestions for FF12 Party Setup for Classes and Characters
Remember that these are just suggestions, and as with our other guides there isn't necessarily a right or wrong answer. With that said, we do have some strong recommendations for a powerful three-character party...
The FF Classic Team: Bushi/Knight, Black Mage/Red Battlemage, White Mage/Time Battlemage
This team is the closest you can get to a 'classic', typical Final Fantasy party. This is very much a 'run of the mill' three-man setup, but it'll definitely get you through the game comfortably, and you can experiment with more outlandish job combinations with your remaining three cast members.
- With the Bushi (samurai) & Knight combination character you get a holy knight with extreme attack power and strong HP and strength values. If you give the Esper Mateus to this character they'll also get access to some White Magic. This role is ideal for Vaan, Basch or Balthier.
- The Black Mage & Red Battlemage combination is a classic too. Pick these two jobs either way around, but put them together and you get a brutal spellslinger who also ends up with a few decent melee options at their disposal too. This role is ideal for Ashe.
- The White Mage & Time Battlemage go together perfectly, creating a character who'll have access to all manner of buffs and debuffs with a powerful magic stat that can turn them into a devastating attacker against undead enemies, who are weak to holy and plentiful in many FF12 dungeons. Penelo is our recommendation for this slot.
The Destroyer: Monk/Bushi, Knight/Bushi, White Mage/Time Battlemage
If you want to focus down on physical assaults, this is absolutely the class combination for you. You'll have two absolutely devastating attackers plus a powerful healer - but you'll be without magic attacks and limited in ranged options. Just remember that with this set up you'll do major physical damage but eschewing many of the benefits of offensive magic, which are many in this game.
- The Monk & Bushi character will be focused on using katana, since katana damage stats are calculated using both strength and magic, and the Monk brings some great magic stat boosts to this combination. You'll also get some white magic, but this character should be focused on attacking. This one is perfect for Vaan, Balthier or Basch.
- Combining Knight & Bushi will give you another strong attacker, though this one will - as mentioned above - be more of a typical tanky type than the monk-driven combination. Again, physical strength is the king here, but you'll also get some white magic with the Mateus esper. This role is great for Vaan, Basch or Balthier.
- The final combination of White Mage & Time Battlemage is well covered above, but it's the ultimate healer class with access to licenses for all white magic plus a bunch of time-based buffs to speed up your physical attackers - just keep this squishy character away from the front line! This is suitable for Ashe or Penelo.
Versatility is King: Foebreaker/Shikari, White Mage/Machinist, Black Mage/Monk
This trio allows for a fairly versatile team in that while it contains two mages, both have a second class that'll help them to get up to more than just cast spells. This means you can adjust on the fly if you need and not be limited and forced to switch party members.
- The Foebreaker & Shikari (Breaker & Hunter) classes go together brilliantly, resulting in a tanky character that has access to all four breaks, allowing you to weaken enemies significantly. Give this to Vaan, Basch or Balthier and bequeath them with Genji Gear to create a beast.
- Pairing the White Mage & the Machinist gives you a relatively hardy white mage who can get stuck in to battles some with gun-type weapons when they're not healing. You'll still have access to all of the white mage abilities too, but this won't be a boring healing-only mage. Penelo in particular is ideal for this role.
- Finishing off this team should be a Black Mage & Monk combination - this too creates a hardy, buff mage with increased speed and HP on their license boards. You'll have powerful black and green magic, but when your MP runs low you'll be able to fight like a Monk if you really need to. We'd recommend Ashe for this role.
The Mage Crew: Shikari/White Mage, Uhlan/Archer, Black Mage/Monk
This crew is a little more off-beat, but almost all of your damage output with these guys will be based on magic, with your sole physical attacker weakening the enemy in a support role. This is a strange set up, but if you want something different, it's worth some experimentation.
- Shikari & White Mage don't seem like a natural fit together, but Shikari is an incredibly tanky, powerful class, and so if you then make them your mage with your second job choice you can have a healer who can really take a beating so you can put them on the front line with heavy armor, shields and even swords.
- While the above tanks and heals, the Uhlan & Archer combination can stand back and do some serious damage. This class combination has access to a slew of breaks to reduce enemy effecitveness, and they can stay back and out of trouble with both a long polearm and a bow. This is ideal for Fran.
- We've used it before, but the Black Mage & Monk combination is a strong one that creates a mage that can get up close and personal while dishing out impressive spell damage thanks to the Monk's decent magic stat. An ideal role for Vaan or Ashe.
Balanced Books: Uhlan/Time Battlemage, White Mage/Machinist, Red Battlemage/Archer
This combination was personally used by one of the team (as were a few on this page), and it provides you with a versatile party that has a good balance between physical attack, magic attack and healing without aiming to be too focused on any one area.
- Uhlan & Time Battlemage combine to create a sold attack and buff combination, a character that can get in close to deal damage but also duck back to buff the party with a decent magic stat.
- The combination of White Mage & Machinist has been covered before, but to reiterate this results in a powerful mage that also is able to take a bit of a beating as a tank-like character, meaning if other characters need to duck back they can briefly take the punishment.
- Rounding this team out with Red Battlemage & Archer gives you a strong amount of magic support but also with the option to switch to bows and a bunch of very useful Tecknicks - the most of any job.