FF5 Four Job Fiesta • Brick’s Tips for First-Timers

In about a week pre-registration will open for this year’s Final Fantasy V Four Job Fieta. The Fiesta is an annual community event in which players complete Final Fantasy V under some randomly-assigned restrictions. It’s a truly excellent way to enjoy the game and I frequently tell new players that it’s a fine introduction to the game. The Fiesta is such a treat that FFV has supplanted FFIV as my yearly go-to Final Fantasy.

That said, Final Fantasy V is not an easy game to complete on your first run through, Fiesta rules or no. As a 5-year Fiesta veteran, I thought I would share some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned with first-time runners, or for people who are on the fence about signing up.

Should I play FFV before trying the Fiesta?

Most Fiesta players have completed the game many times, but I think the Fiesta is fine for FFV newbies for one specific reason: Fiesta rules help alleviate Decision Paralysis.

There are lots of jobs, abilities, equipment, magic, and combinations of all those things in FFV. The game does very little to explain how any of this works or where the good synergies are. It isn’t like Final Fantasy III, which clearly signposts what jobs to use with gimmick dungeons. It isn’t like Final Fantasy Tactics where you constantly see your jobs in use by enemy opposition, cluing you into strengths and weaknesses. I’ve known several players who stalled out on the game because the prospect of exploring 20 jobs’ worth of mechanics was too daunting a task.

In the Fiesta, you are locked into your jobs. Rather than a huge, expansive puzzle of “find the good abilities”, the game is reduced to a series of smaller, more meaningful puzzles involving using and combining abilities from the small pool you’re allowed to use.

Playing by Fiesta rules is technically a challenge run, but it’s a very different kind of challenge than playing the vanilla game, which is what I think makes it appropriate for new players. Instead of the nagging feeling that you could be blitzing the game if only you knew the ins-and-outs of your big massive list of jobs, you have a focused series of challenges involving knowledge of only a very few. It’s not, “what on this huge intimidating menu is helpful to me right now, and will it be helpful again later?” But rather, “here are the eight things I can do, what combination of those things will get me through this next boss fight?”

You’re Not Alone

Final Fantasy V is not a game you can figure out based on feedback alone. It is an old 16-bit RPG with a million little things, designed for a pre-Internet world. You do not get big obvious pop-ups when your status spells miss enemies, and there is no big in-game encyclopedia leading you to make good decisions. If you’re going to learn the game, you’re going to have to lean on people.

Fortunately, during Fiesta, there are thousands of enthusiastic people playing the game on pretty much every corner of the internet. When you get stuck — and you will get stuck — ask for advice! My own stream chat and Discord server can cheerfully answer any question you might have about the game, and mine is just one of the hundreds of communities that will have some active Fiesta involvement.

If you need help but don’t like talking to people, there’s the Four Job Fiesta Support Program, a helpful little app that sits in your system tray and helpfully provides pages and pages of easily-accessible, accurate data specifically tailored to clearing the Fiesta.

How Jobs Are Unlocked

If you’re new to Final Fantasy V, here’s a brief explanation on how new jobs are unlocked.

There are three worlds in the game, and the first world involves shattering four crystals. Each time a crystal shatters, several more jobs become available to use. This divides the job pool up by crystal; there are “Wind Jobs” and “Fire Jobs” and so on. This doesn’t mean that the Fire Jobs are jobs that use fire abilties, or whatever, just that they’re the jobs that happen to open up when you shatter the fire crystal.

When a crystal shatters (or, if you know the story, a few minutes ahead of time so you can allow for Twitter lag) you tweet at Gilgabot (@FF5ForFutures) to see what your next randomly-assigned job is. From that point on, that job is added to the ones you’re allowed to use.

The basic structure of a Fiesta run is something like this:

  • Play through the first dungeon and unlock your #wind job.
  • Assign that job to all your heroes, and play like that until you unlock your #water job. (We’ll call this the “single-job slog”.)
  • Figure out what combination of #wind and #water jobs you want to use, keeping in mind you must use at least one of each.
  • Play until you unlock the #fire jobs. These are broken up into two sets, so you might not be allowed to use this job right away.
  • Play to the end of the first world, where you unlock #earth jobs. One of your heroes leaves the team for a while, so one of your jobs will be momentarily unused.
  • Shortly into the second world there’s a solo section with the character who left earlier. He can any of the jobs you’ve unlocked.
  • Shortly after that your party is whole again, and from that point on you must make sure to always have one of each of your four jobs assigned at all times.

At this point you’re about 30%-ish through the story, so you do get to play the bulk of the game with all your jobs. There is a “secret” job that can be unlocked in the third world, and a few more in the GBA and Steam versions of the game, but those aren’t considered as part of the Fiesta.

Three Ways to Roll

There are lots of variants and modifiers on the standard Fiesta rules, based on what hashtags you include in your registration tweet to Gilgabot. I think first-timers should stick to one of these three:

#reg is the normal ruleset. Each time you roll for jobs Gilgabot will select one from the crystal you just shattered. This has the potential for a very sticky early game, depending what you roll, but also just about guarantees smooth sailing by the time you’re in the second world. This is because two of the #wind jobs (Thief and White Mage) are notoriously tricky during the single-job slog, while all of the #earth jobs are good enough to carry a team by themselves. It’s not possible to roll multiples of any job. If you can’t wrap your head around all the other fiesta jargon, just go with #reg and don’t sweat the small stuff.

#regrand is the random ruleset. Each time you roll for jobs, instead of getting one from the crystal you just shattered, you pull from a list of crystals you just shattered plus all previous crystals. This means the same potential for a sticky early game, as your #wind roll is unchanged. It also biases your party towards #wind and against #earth, since #wind jobs are in the pool for all four rolls, and #earth for only one. Without having crunched a spreadsheet on the topic, I’m betting the difficulty is about even here; you potentially lose the carry of a guaranteed #earth job, but you increase your chances of getting multiple #wind jobs, all of which are pretty good at supporting a team. Because three of your crystals are in the pool more than once, you might end up rolling the same job multiple times. If that happens, just make sure you have that many of that job in your team. If you roll, say, Thief for both #wind and #water, well, first of all, I’m sorry that happened to you. But you then need to have two
thieves in your party for the rest of the game.

#regchaos and #regpurechaos put all the jobs into the pool for all four rolls. The difference between the two is #regpurechaos includes Freelancer (the base “job” of not having any job) and Mime (the secret third world job). This does mean you might roll a job you don’t have access to yet; if you get an earth job on your #wind roll, you just have to use Freelancers for a little longer until you get to the proper point in the story. (This is basically okay since Freelancers are actually really good.) The worst case scenario here is if your #wind roll gives you something you can’t use yet, then your #water roll gives you Berserker, which brings us to…


Most jobs in Final Fantasy V are good, or at least “good enough”, but there is one in particular that is a real dud: the Berserker. The Fiesta event organizers know this, and created the #BERSERKERRISK tag. The way this works is, for every $x they raise for charity (oh, the Fiesta is a charity event, I guess I hadn’t mentioned that before) one Berserker is added to the #BERSERKERRISK pool. If you add #BERSERKERRISK to your registration tweet, one of your rolls is replaced with a Berserker from the pool. The more cash they take in, the more Berserkers they spit out, and there are a couple unlucky souls who end up running the dreaded QUADZERKER.

Berserkers can’t be controlled, can’t use abilities, are super slow, miss a lot, and waste lots of turns targeting the wrong enemies. They’re also a water crystal job, which means they appear pretty early, and there are several places in the first world where they are pure liability.

In general, having a Berserker on your team isn’t that bad. It’s just that Fiesta rules introduce a few edge cases where you end up using only Berserkers as your main source of damage, and that’s problematic. These edge cases don’t really make the run more challenging in any meaningful sense; the solution is always to either grind out levels or retry the fight until you get lucky. Most people who quit the Fiesta do so because of situations like this, so if it’s your first go-round, you might want to consider avoiding it.

There are still a few cases where you might find yourself saddled with a Berserker at lousy times. The worst possible #reg start is Thief/Berserker, which almost caused me to quit during my first year, and I’m an absolute Final Fantasy maniac. #regrand puts Berserker in your pool for three out of the four rolls, which means you may end up with multiples. #regchaos and #regpurechaos puts Berserker in your pool for all your rolls.

If you end up in one of these unlucky situations, though, you do have a remedy.

Buy Your Way to Victory

If you find yourself with an untenable party, and the expert feedback is something like “you can steal Hi-Potions from a rare monster in a forest halfway across the map”, you still have a way out: the Job Fair.

Job Fair is where you go to “buy away” bad jobs with cash money, in the form of charity donations. It’s $3 to re-roll a crystal, if all you want to do is get rid of your #water Berserker, or a set price to replace that Berserker with another job. Prices vary from $1 for “bad” jobs to $5 for the unquestionably best ones.

As for what to buy from the Job Fair, that’s going to depend largely on what the rest of your jobs are. In general, you’ll be replacing a job you don’t like with something you need. This is the kind of thing the great and knowledgable Internet hivemind can help you with. That being said, I feel like I can offer these useful tips:

  • The best buys for early Job Fair-ing are probably Knight or Red Mage. These are both classes that cost less than the price of a blind re-roll that can get you through the first world easily.
  • If you’re just buying away a class you hate, and don’t really care what else you get, consider a Thief. For $1 you get a job that prevents back attacks, quickly runs away from random encounters, gives you access to Steal, and doesn’t fall apart in the late game as long as you give him the Chicken Knife. (If you’re rolling away your Berserker because you have the dreaded Thief/Berserker combo, well, Monk is also $1.)
  • The best “easy job” in the game, hands down, is Samurai. They’re more expensive than a blind re-roll but they will also win the game for you without needing to learn a lot of the obscure claptrap FFV is famous for.
  • If you’re Job Fair-ing to solve a specific problem (e.g. not enough healing, not enough damage output, etc.) consider checking with the Internet hivemind to see if there’s some obscure claptrap solution you might be happier with. This is especially true if you already have one of the weirder jobs, like Blue Mage or Bard.
  • Any party with Bard can defeat Omega. Any party with White Mage can defeat Shinryu. There’s no easy one-job solution that defeats both, so far as I know. (Maybe Beastmaster.)
  • It’s for charity, so if you’re enjoying the Fiesta and like your team, maybe throw a dollar or two in anyway!

The Single-Job Slog

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about some of the more specific troubles you might have. The first of these is in the very early game, in between your #wind and #water rolls, where you’re forced to use four heroes with the same job. You have to get through four boss fights with your single-job team, including a dungeon that blocks you off from visiting town to re-stock. Kind of a mean trick, so here are some tips:

Thief has the hardest road. There are no good Thief weapons in the first town, so stock up on A LOT of Potions. There’s a free healing pot in the Wind Shrine; consider camping out there and gaining enough ABPs to learn !Flee. Once you’re in the Ship Graveyard (with A LOT of Potions!), the Skeletons there will drop Daggers for you to use. You can damage them with Potions, and !Flee from everything else. You can !Steal more Potions from the water weird guys and the rock golemn guys. Your next upgrade is in Walse Tower, where you can !Steal Mythril Knives from Wyverns. Hope your #water job isn’t Berserker!

White Mage is a slow start, but thanks to early Cure magic, not a particularly difficult one. You’ll find a Flail in a treasure box early in the Ship Graveyard, which is the best damage output you’ll have until #water. Your worst #water job is probably Time Mage, because that will mean going through the middle of world one with very little damage output, but take heart in the fact that both of these jobs are absolutely excellent in the late game.

Monk is a straightforward job; just punch things until they die. (Alternately: !Kick things until they die.) Keep in mind your only source of early healing is Potions, and you have no way to get more of them in the Ship Graveyard.

Knight is probably the easiest of the single-job slogs. You won’t have any major difficulties. The only top that makes sense is to make sure all four of your Knights are equipped before entering the canal, since that’s when you’ll lose access to shops for a while. (You can treat Freelancer like Knight in the early game, in case you rolled #regchaos and got a job you can’t use yet.)

Black Mage is one of the undisputed strongest jobs in the game, start to finish. As long as you buy the Fire, Blizzard and Thunder spells in the first town, you should breeze all the way to your #water job.

Blue Mage is like a slightly weaker Knight, and can clear the early game just on the strength of their equipment set. That being said, it’s a bit of a weird claptrap job, and will take some work to develop properly. In particular, make sure to get the Aero spell from Moldwynds in the Wind Shrine, and Vampire from the bats in the Pirate Cave. These two spells are excellent and can largely carry the job through the whole game if you can’t be arsed to go spell-hunting ever again.

Some Sticking Points

As awesome as the Fiesta is, FFV was obviously not designed with the challenge in mind. There are a few notorious points in the game where certain party configurations can stall out. Here’s some general tips for the most common ones:

Byblos makes use of Protect, Dischord, and countering attacks with Drain to make him a big roadblock for low-damage parties. The longer you can stay in this fight, the greater your chances of running him out of MP so he can no longer Drain for more damage than you can deal. Thieves can !Steal Hi-Potions on the steam ship, White Mages can make use of the Heal Staff to stall. Knights, Monks and the like may find themselves on the losing end here if they get their levels chopped too much with Dischord. There’s no clever “Aha!” solution to this fight, it’s just long and you may have to retry it a couple times.

Sand Worm isn’t a terribly tricky fight, but it’s the first major one where Berserkers are a huge liability. Attacking empty holes in this fight causes a Gravity counterattack, which will sap your HP much faster than you can heal it back. The way to deal with this is to go into the fight with your Berserker already dead.

Purobolos are a big group of gimmick-y bombs. Their HP is low, but if you kill one it will cast a revive spell that brings all the dead ones back to life. If they Self-Destruct they won’t revive anyone, but it will also deal a huge amount of damage. Unless you can kill them all at the same time, you’re going to have to get clever. One way to do it is to wait for one to explode, then immediately revive the hero they killed, and do that until the last one is gone.

Titan will use Earth Shaker when you kill him. If your party doesn’t have enough HP to survive this, chances are they have some way of inflicting Confuse. Go back to North Mountain, confuse a Gaelicat, and it will put Float on your heroes for you.

Atomos is a gimmick fight. He’ll spam Comet at you until someone dies, then slowly drag the dead hero across the map. Pile on damage while this hs happening, then revive the dead hero just before they get engulfed. This maximizes the time you can spend attacking while minimizing the time spent eating Comets. There are some hilariously easy ways to win this fight, but a few teams have access to none of them.

Crystal Guardians are the four nameless crystal monsters you fight at the end of the big tree. Each of these is attuned to a particular element, and will spam powerful spells of that element at below half health. The trick here is to deal about ~4500 damage to one, then slam it with all your most powerful attacks at once to take it out before things get out of hand. (How best to do that is going to vary from party to party.) One trick to keep in mind is none of the crystals are immune to instand death attacks, if you have access to them.

Exdeath is the final boss of the second world. In some ways this is the hardest boss in the game. Except for one strategy involving a Bard, some ridiculous setup, and hours of waiting, there’s no way to win this fight without just piling on the damage and keeping ahead of the healing. Parties which can’t put out damage and can’t heal themselves have a lot of trouble here. This is a case where tapping the hivemind can pay off in spades, although be advised there are some specific setups where the only good advice is “level up and then get lucky”. One thing that’s easy to control is avoiding his L3 Flare spell; simply make sure no hero has a level divisible by three, and these rounds turn into freebies.

World three is where the game opens up quite a bit, and you gain access to a great deal of secondary advantages in the form of new equipment. If you’ve made it to world three, you’re a savvy enough player to go all the way. A lot of the troublesome bosses in this stage of the game are optional, so step one is to make sure you know a boss is gating off something you want to get for the jobs you have. If not, the only reason to fight them is for street cred. The good news is that, with some clever planning, most any party now has access to most forms of status effects, and some universally-good damage options become available. Know what’s available and where to go, and you should be able to navigate to the endgame with only a little fuss.

The Triple Crown

The triple crown refers to the three endgame bosses of Final Fantasy V: Neo Exdeath (who needs to be destroyed in order to complete the game and claim victory), Omega and Shinryu. You don’t have to beat Omega and Shinryu in order to claim you finished the Fiesta, but Gilgabot might think less of you unless you do.

In truth, these bosses are difficult but not implausibly so. It’s very rare for a fiesta party to have literally no answer to these fights, and in some cases they can be won with clever application of just one single ability. For example, any party capable of inflicting Berserk can win against Shinryu, and ten out of the twenty-ish jobs can do this.

As a matter of fact, during one year’s Fiesta, Neo Exdeath was my big problem — not either of the “super” bosses!

I guess my advice here is, give the Triple Crown an honest try. It’s fun to just throw a party against these heavyweights and just laughing at how quickly you get destroyed, but there are ways to fell them and you could explore that. Think of how fun it would be if you got the Triple Crown on your very first Fiesta.

With three Berserkers.

Okay, maybe not that last thing.

3 comments to FF5 Four Job Fiesta • Brick’s Tips for First-Timers

  • SpoonyBard

    One useful resource I’ve found is this site, if you scroll down a bit you’ll find a list of ‘Solo Reports’ which detail a run through FF5 with just a single class (and, indeed, just a single character). While they’re a unique kind of challenge run unrelated to the Fiesta, I’ve found that the strategies outlined in each section can be useful if you wind up with a class you’re unfamiliar with. Don’t know how to Beastmaster? It’ll show you some monsters that are useful to capture for certain bosses.

    The site does use the fan translation of the SNES FF5, so some of the terms won’t match up with the Advance version.

  • Uryxia

    So far, I’ve managed to Triple Crown every Fiesta I’ve participated in, which is to say the two Fiestas I’ve participated in. BOTH of them involved creative application of Bard’s abilities. For Omega, liberal application of the stop song. For Shinryu, liberal application of zombies with Reflect Rings while the Bard hides. What I’m saying is Bard has always been my answer to the super bosses and I’m afraid I won’t get Bard this year and therefore won’t know what to do XD

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