Final Fantasy Tactics is a fantastic PSX era game that you can still play to this day. It debuted over 20 years ago and despite some story issues the combat system and artwork still holds up. I personally play the original version from the PSN as it still has exploits such as the JP scroll glitch and the Item Duplication Glitch that lets you endure far less grinding. Let’s be honest I am no longer a teen and don’t have endless hours to grind in a game. Nobody has time for that.

So you can find numerous FAQs and strategies on dedicated gaming sites. I personally recommend GameFaqs. They rock. However I wished to write down specifically about the Level Up/Level Down trick. For those unaware you can create characters with better stats by leveling up the character you want in a class with high stat growth and level them down using a degenerator trap or a mindflare’s special ability. I recommend the degenerator trap its way easier and you don’t have to wait for any enemy to use it.

While you will find many sites out there telling you the basics of how it works very few leave you a guide. I’ll be honest I had to figure a lot of it out through trial and error and using a vague value chart of Final Fantasy Wikia. Here is the link in case you want the reference Use the chart labeled Jobs Breakdown as it is the most useful. Also look at the class values on the right side of the chart, basically the lower the number the higher the growth.

Degenerator Traps

These are key to the trick. You can actually start building you a party as soon as the first chapter. Two of them can be found in locations in the first chapter. One is in a trench in the Zeklaus Desert which opens after you beat the Sand Rat Cellar Battle. The other is in the Fovoham Plains which opens after you beat Weigraf for the first time. It’s located on one the stairs on the right side of the map. I actually recommend using this one as it has Lenalia Plateau right next door and takes far less days to level up using. If you don’t care how many days you use in the game Zeklaus Desert will work.

Stat Bonuses on Level UP bonus

The basic formula is Current Stat / (C + Level). C=Class Value on the Right Side of the Job Breakdown Chart. This formula in English basically means the more you have of a stat the more it will grow. So the reason Agrias is the weakest Holy Knight is the game has nothing to do with her class and everything to do with the fact that they start her with weaker stats. Which can be remedied and she can become just as much of a powerhouse as Orlandeau. The formula also means that if you level down in the same class you leveled up in you actually lose overall stats, it’s not that perceptible if it only happened once, but it will stifle your long term growth.

MA Growth

If you’ve looked at the chart, you will realize that only one class grows MA at a slightly faster rate outside of special job classes and that is the Mime class. This is because even though Wizards grow at the same rate as say a Knight they have a different class multiplier. Class multipliers do not carry over. So you cannot grow your MA using a Wizard, Summoner, Time Mage or any other magical class. It also means that raising any stat besides MA will bring down your MA total. In some characters it likely doesn’t matter but for me I’d like to at least maintain my MA by a certain amount so I usually grow it first and try to keep it as high as possible throughout the process.

HP Growth

This is more of a personal choice but I try to limit as much HP growth as possible. It might seem counterproductive but if you just use the Bard class to level down the whole time and let it grow unchecked it pretty much breaks the game for me. As previously mentioned the more HP you have, the more it grows. So you can pretty much render armor useless if you wanted to. This might sound good but it actually makes the game way too easy. Battles like the famous one on one duel with Weigraf in Chapter 3 become insanely easy and hardly worth it. So I try to keep my starting HP in the 60s which still causes a lot of growth but not as insane if it were higher. I mean I still want some challenge.

SP Growth

You have two choices to grow your speed, Ninja or Thief. I typically choose Ninja. Plus Ninja will also grow your PA in your physically weaker characters. It is a win-win situation, especially for female characters which start with lower PA anyway.

Level Down Class

I usually tailor this to whatever stat I happen to be trying to build. Some sites will advocate using the Bard for everything since for Males it has the worst stat growth in the game. I can’t advise this as it will cause insane HP overgrowth and you’ll end up making the game far less fun for yourself. I typically try to choose a class that is a good foil to whatever you are building.

For example I usually build MA first so I level up as a Mime and level down as a Lancer. Mime has better HP, PA and MA growth than a Lancer but the Lancer class will ensure you don’t gain too much HP in the process. It also very much depends on the stats you have now. If you want to build Speed alone and contract HP, (say you have too much HP which is very common) I’d level up as a Ninja and down as an Archer. HP would contract, SP would gain, PA would gain small amounts but still gain (The Archer Class has surprisingly strong PA growth but is not as strong as the Ninja class  so you still gain PA in a level down).

So basically remember to match the level down class to your situation and what you want to do. Refer to the Jobs Breakdown Chart if you are confused.

So that’s pretty much it for the general tips. I’ll try to provide in depth character details on how to make your Special Characters more powerful. My focus will be on the “Big 5” I usually use which are: Ramza, Agrias, Orlandeau, Beowulf, and Meliadoul. I’ll probably also do Mustadio since he is very useful until you unlock someone better.