This post may contain spoilers, so read at your own risk.
When I first discovered this job, I was not a huge fan of it due to the poor aim of axes (think Stone Edge accuracy but only slightly better), but if you patch that up with Hawkeye* (Ranger specialty or job level 12) and get all the pirate abilities until Skull Bash (job level 11), it becomes a helpful addition to the party, reducing stats while dealing decent damage. Torrent (job level 13) is really destructive, dealing anywhere up to 4.8 times a conventional attack in water damage at the cost of 2 extra BP. At high levels, this will always do over 1000 and sometimes 9999 (or higher if you have the capacity/craziness to use Bravely Second). Early game, Berserk with Attack spam can be used to deal some pretty hefty damage, and if you really don’t like the inaccuracy of axes (I personally was not that averse, but at least averse enough to give up leveling up as a pirate at job level 10), you can always use swords (rank A). The pirate’s stats are not to die for, though—unparalleled Strength and some physical bulk with average Agility and subpar everything else. Given the choice between pirate and ranger, I would choose ranger stat-wise (but pirate abilities are better).
*Side note: Hawkeye is such overkill that even a Giant’s Axe can be wielded without much worry.
2. White Mage
No solid team is complete without a healer. I always make it a point to have at least one character with healing capabilities (for which purpose I chose Agnès). It is imperative that this healer gets silence immunity ASAP, either through the White Cape accessory or through Black Mage job level 6 (I use the former). White Mage abilities are especially effective with the Spiritmaster support abilities Save WM MP (specialty or job level 6) and Holy One (job level 9), but those are not available until after the fire crystal (side note: Spiritmasters trump (or tie with) White Mages in every stat but Strength). White Mages also get a handy support ability in Angelic Ward (job level 8), which has a 50% chance to halve damage taken for the low cost of 1 point, a blessing for that rank E defense (whether White Mage or Spiritmaster). Wind spells are also helpful, ensuring that white magic is not strictly limited to support roles.
This is a job that I rate not so much for its capability but for its style. It is really grueling to unlock, at least before the earth crystal (you have to fight 6 dragons just to enter the dungeon, the dungeon takes no prisoners, and the asterisk bearer is difficult as well), but I am glad to have discovered it because it is pretty darn cool. The ability to use monsters’ abilities to your advantage has always interested me, ever since Final Fantasy Tactics A2 with the Blue Mage class. A few Genome abilities in the game that I find particularly appealing are Firestorm (from Flame Moth), Gastric Juices (from Gastric Worm), Sandstorm (from Sand Worm), Toxic Whirl (from Kaiser Cobra), and Hellfire and Deep Freeze (both from Orthros; the former can also be obtained from Cerberus). To make things better, even though Genome abilities cost plenty of MP, vampires have the command ability Magic Thirst (job level 6) to gain some MP for free.
Tip: in Bestiary entries in D’s Journal, if a move is surrounded by <>, that move can be absorbed through Genome Drain.
Honorable mentions to the following:
- Performer support abilities Buff Up (job level 9) and Support Amp (job level 6) for being such a dastardly combination.
- Salve-Maker with Attack Item Amp (job level 4) for dealing solid, consistent damage at not much cost. (Compounding recipes that inflict elemental damage only cost 400 pg for each use and deal 2250 or 3375 to all foes depending on elemental affinity of the target(s).)
- Templars for Rampart (job level 7) and Spiritmasters for Fairy Ward (job level 11).
- Freelancers for Examine (job level 1), JP Up (job level 10), and Flee (job level 11).