Long story short, I finally found a use for Dohter’s Charity,
and it was all that I needed.
Last time on Whimsical Weekend #29, I expressed a bit of frustration over not being able to beat Galdera, the de facto final boss of Octopath Traveler. Four attempts since then, I finally managed to succeed, as evidenced in the screenshot above. This made me so excited, especially considering I really didn’t have to do any more grinding like I thought I would, that I felt like deviating from my normal schedule to write a follow-up about the method behind the madness.
Galdera is the sort of boss that can screw you over in the blink of an eye, and you have to have the right sort of team formula to even stand a chance, especially against the second part of the fight. And to make matters worse, it’s not the sort of fight that you can grind easily; there is an eightfold boss rush between the nearest save point and the beginning of the fight.
The bosses specifically are more difficult versions (fortunately not too difficult, but rather tedious) of various boss fights within the travelers’ stories, namely:
- Mattias (from Ophilia’s Chapter 4)
- Yvon (from Cyrus’s Chapter 3)
- Venomtooth Tiger (from Tressa’s Chapter 3)
- Werner (from Olberic’s Chapter 4)
Simian Simeon (from Primrose’s Chapter 4)
- Miguel (from Alfyn’s Chapter 3)
- Darius (from Therion’s Chapter 4)
- Dragon (from H’aanit’s Chapter 3)
And each boss leaves behind a little note that sheds light on the backstory behind how the travelers came to experience the boss fights and how they are connected to things like Lyblac, the Crossford family, and Galdera. Fortunately, you are able to change the party formation between bosses, which allows you to test strategies right before the main event.
Speaking of, the full Galdera fight does indeed come in two parts. Uniquely, the game has you split the travelers into two different teams, one for each part. And considering each part on its own is exponentially more difficult than any other fight in the game (except maybe Steorra, Dreisang, Balogar, Winnehild, and the direwolf in the Scaredy Sheep sidequest), you’d be hard-pressed to have any semblance of a deadweight traveler lying around. It also doesn’t help that the “Secondary Party” is used to combat the hardest part of the fight.
The parts of the Galdera fight are radically different in nature. Part 1 involves a central foe (Omniscient Eye) that summons reinforcements at a quasi indefinite rate. Part 2, on the other hand, has a central foe (Galdera itself) with three allies that disappear for good when KO’d, but the remaining parts get stronger the fewer there are on the field. And another thing: The central foe cannot be affected by any moves if any of its allies are on the field (except Omniscient Eye below half HP). It’s not like some of the boss battles where the enemy simply has its weaknesses guarded; no, it’s a complete invulnerability.
So. Now begins the story of forming the ideal party formation. In the spirit of every other bit of my playthrough, I started out with Apothecary Ophilia (82), Dancer Therion (77), Sorcerer Cyrus (76), and Warmaster H’aanit (73). I’ve always been able to get past the boss rush without a hitch, but I’ve only been past the Eye once, and Galdera itself had no trouble annihilating my secondary party of Runelord Olberic, Starseer Tressa, Merchant Alfyn, and Cleric Primrose (all 70). I did try swapping the parties, but then the Eye battle was a war of attrition that I could not win.
Needless to say, it didn’t take long for me to figure out that something had to change, and the easiest thing to change was the party formation. After trying out a number of adjustments, I ended up with…
Primary Party: Apothecary Ophilia, Sorcerer Cyrus, Starseer Tressa, Runelord Olberic
Secondary Party: Thief Primrose, Merchant Alfyn, Hunter Therion, Warmaster H’aanit
Yeah, my best formation just so happened to be a perfect Octopath formation. (I love how the travelers’ names spell the title.) Details are laid out on a two-page spreadsheet document linked above. (Disclaimer: The stats factor in the experience gained from the save point to the end.)
First off, it was obvious that Primrose’s secondary job had to change. I had her as a Cleric to provide buffs of all varieties, as a backup healer, and for a tiny pinch of elemental offense, but that means jack diddly squat against Galdera. So, since I have long known the sheer power of Aeber’s Reckoning and came to discover how speedy Primrose is, I figured she would make a phenomenal other user. Having Panther Dance on top of that is also helpful.
As for Therion, the Enchanted Sword is essential for Dancer-Thieves (the speediest possible job combo, therefore the strongest Aeber’s Reckoning users) to be worth their salt in elemental prowess (because the dagger must boost Speed for optimal damage), and since Therion’s elemental prowess is underwhelming anyway, Primrose had to be the one to wield it. So, I figured Therion would be better off as a Hunter for an alternative Speed boost, more diverse weapon choices (including the Bow, which is his go-to element-boosting weapon), and also having a backup Leghold Trap user. This and more will be explained later, when I get to talking about Team PATH in detail.
But first, Team OCTO. The main attraction here is the triumvirate of Olberic, Ophilia, and Cyrus. Olberic spends 2 turns going for Transfer Rune and a rune of choice (usually Light). This may seem tedious, and Olberic himself doesn’t deal that much damage with runes (15k at best, factoring in Surpassing Power, Rune Glaive, and a target with lowered Elem. Def), but bear with me; the result is well worth it. (Plus the runes last especially long between The Show Goes On and Persistence.) Runes trigger when the affected ally uses an Attack or a weapon-based skill, right? Well, Sorcerers, like Cyrus, have a physical skill called Elemental Break that lowers the target’s Elem. Def upon dealing damage, amplifying the damage of the rune that follows it. And that’s not all! If Ophilia uses Aelfric’s Auspices on Cyrus, then Elemental Break triggers twice, with each hit triggering a separate rune! And the runes in question deal 32k to targets with broken guards, so that’s a whopping 64k damage right there, with not a single BP used. (And even without the runes, Cyrus has a decent damage output and unparalleled guard breaking prowess with the more orthodox Sorcerer spells.) Besides that, Ophilia also serves well as the alpha healer, Apothecary primarily for cleansing status conditions, and does backup rune damage with especially powerful Light Runes thanks to her Bishop’s Staff. As for Tressa, she deals stronger backup rune damage (mostly thanks to Elemental Edge, but also due to Tradewinds Spear, which makes her Wind Runes especially powerful), and she can boost the BP of Ophilia and occasionally Cyrus. Plus, Starsong can come in clutch for manipulating turn order. (By the way, Hired Help sadly does not trigger runes.)
And now, while Team OCTO wreaks havoc with elements, Team PATH is more physically oriented. Against smaller fry like the boss rush fights, they take the first turn to reduce the target’s guard, the second turn to break the guard and set up, and the third turn to destroy lives with their Divine Skills. Alfyn’s Ruinous Seeds (and Ruinous Dust for Yvon’s skeleton minions), Primrose’s and Therion’s Steal SP (and Primrose’s Night Ode for the aforementioned skulltans), and H’aanit’s occasional Second Serving are super helpful for guard reduction. If the turn order looks sketchy, both Therion and H’aanit have Leghold Trap to insure that nothing goes awry. The setup phase consists of Primrose using Panther Dance to boost the damage output of her Aeber’s Reckoning, Therion using Armor Corrosive (or Alfyn using Ruinous Seed + Essence of Grape, or perhaps H’aanit attacking with her bow) to lower the boss’s Defense and augment all their damage outputs. (Even Alfyn is pretty impressive with his Death Cleaver.) For Galdera, however, I had to change strategy to using Alfyn to boost BP and the others to spam Divine Skills. (More on that later.)
I also wish to explain the Support Skills. Ophilia and Cyrus have Second Wind (Dancer SS 3) to keep their SP up and keep cranking out spells. (I also put it on Olberic as a last-minute decision, because the Runes are kinda costly.) Everyone but Alfyn has Surpassing Power (Warrior SS 4) to maximize their damage outputs. Both Ophilia and Alfyn have Divine Aura (Starseer SS 4) for survivability and Patience (Hunter SS 4) to potentially grant more opportunities for their support/attack methods. Cyrus and Tressa have Elemental Edge (Runelord SS 4) to augment their elemental attack power, as well as SP Saver (Merchant SS 4) to make their Sorcerer and Starseer spells (respectively) not cost so much. On Olberic, Persistence (Cleric SS 1) and The Show Goes On (Dancer SS 1) are indispensable for making runes last. Primrose and Therion have literally the same skills: BP Eater (Starseer SS 3), Fleetfoot (Thief SS 2), and Physical Prowess (Warmaster SS 4), all for augmenting the already sheer destructive power of Aeber’s Reckoning (at least I think BP Eater does). H’aanit has a similar build, with BP Eater and Fleetfoot replaced with Inspiration (Apothecary SS 1) and Second Serving (Hunter SS 3) in order to keep her SP up during the boss rush. Tressa also has BP Eater, kind of as a backup source of elemental attacks like Tradewinds and Shooting Stars. Finally, Alfyn’s Endless Items (Merchant SS 1) works exceptionally well with Concoct, and Hang Tough (Merchant SS 3) is another boon to survivability. (I was also curious how Hang Tough would combo with Last Stand.)
Now for more detail on my boss strategies. For the boss rush, I first had the idea of defeating the half closer to the entrance (Simeon, Miguel, Darius, and Dragon) with Team OCTO and the other half with Team PATH. Then, later on, I came up with a plan of attack that plays more to the team’s strengths. Specifically, I use Team PATH to defeat the following four bosses, and Team OCTO to defeat the rest.
- Yvon: Team PATH has more AoE options, which are indispensable for his skeleton minions.
- Venomtooth Tiger: Alfyn is second to none in healing status conditions, which are all too present in this fight.
- Werner: Same as above, but Alfyn needs Soothing Dust + Curious Bloom to cure the party’s dread en masse. (Small issue: Werner lowers all allies’ Phys. Atk and Def on his first turn.)
- Simeon: His only exploitable weakness is daggers, and Team PATH has a lot more of that than Team OCTO. (Among the members of Team OCTO, only Tressa can attack with daggers.)
(Side note: Pitting Alfyn against Darius is a bad idea because he disables items on his first attack and until his guard is broken.)
As mentioned when I described Team PATH, boss rush fights generally take three turns: the first two for setup and guard breaking, and the third for attacking. In the case of Team OCTO, the consistent part is using Transfer Rune and (one of the opponent’s weaknesses, preferably Light or Wind) Rune on Olberic’s turn 1 and 2 respectively. In the meantime, I use various forms of guard breaking, support with Tressa, heal with Ophilia, and/or use a preparatory Elemental Break with Cyrus, depending on the situation. On turn 3, I want Ophilia to act before Cyrus so that she can use Aelfric’s Auspices before he wreaks havoc. Thus, if Ophilia’s action looks to be way after Cyrus’s on turn 3, I want Ophilia to Defend. (If it’s just a little, I can use Tressa’s Starsong.) That’s about it, really.
Moving on to the Galdera fight, starting with Omniscient Eye. The Eye has a multitude of phases:
- It starts off summoning a single minion to its right. After this minion is defeated, the Eye takes its literal next action to summon minions above it and to its left. If one of them is defeated, it may respawn again. If the top minion is at low HP, a message comes up saying it will prepare to execute a move; the move is Self-Immolation, which does obscene damage at the cost of the minion’s life. (I have lost an attempt to this before.)
- At about 3/4 HP, the Eye summons all three minions, except their weaknesses are revealed instantly, as every element except darkness, and all but one are locked. (The top starts off weak to light, the left weak to lightning, and the right weak to fire.) Every time a minion is hit, its unlocked weakness changes: fire => ice => lightning => wind => light => fire. Here, I make sure to align the elements so that every minion has the same weakness, then I drop a Sorcerer spell as Cyrus, using soulstones as other characters if I feel so inclined.
- At about half HP, the Eye summons the usual three minions, this time with the usual weaknesses, and they each have a counter on them that will take out one ally when it hits 0. At this point, the Eye is unguarded, so you can transition straight from this phase to the next.
- At about 1/4 HP, the Eye summons minions if there are none, and it uses Consume Soul to make them disappear and boost its stats.
The Eye and its minions throw out attacks, mostly elemental, that deal some pretty nasty damage. Definitely be on the lookout for when the Eye uses Galdera’s Temptation, which is Aelfric’s Auspices with a different name, on the minion to its right; that minion has Rend Flesh, a move that deals hefty physical damage. The top minion has Delayed Incantation (prepares a devastating elemental attack for next turn) and a move that inflicts a bunch of status ailments on one target. Another annoying thing about the Eye is two of the field effects that it can activate: noxious fumes that make poison drain SP and BP, and a blinding effect that makes physical attacks less accurate. (The latter isn’t so bad, just that Elemental Break is harder to land.) What makes the noxious fumes especially irritating is that the left minion has Debilitate, which poisons all allies. That’s when I think, “Welp, better have Cyrus and Olberic use Healing Herbs, while Ophilia uses Rehabilitate and Tressa uses Rest.”
The second part of the fight, on the other hand, just goes crazy from the get-go. The three allies summoned are:
- Lyblac, on Galdera’s right, supports the other parts.
- The head, in the middle, casts spells and has only physical weaknesses.
- The blade, on Galdera’s left, uses physical attacks and has only elemental weaknesses.
I tend to go for Lyblac first because she is dedicated to support and happens to be weak to Steal SP. In the attempt where I had Galdera itself left at half HP, I found the blade difficult to take down due to its lack of physical weaknesses, so I figured I’d use Armor Corrosive on it before spamming Divine Skills. (Then it died before the head did.)
Finally, the story behind the ultimate strategy. One attempt between the almost victory and the actual victory, I ended up in a desperate spot where I had to spam Revitalizing Jam and Olives of Life to keep the party alive. (In that attempt, only Galdera remained, but above half HP.) That’s when it dawned on me: What if I took Alfyn’s BP and used it for Dohter’s Charity? And that ended up being just the spark I needed. The victory ended up being a bit rough, especially considering everyone but Alfyn ended up dead by turn 2 (I had to revive them with Purifying Dust + Olive Bloom), but it ended up working out. There was even a point where I had to bank on Patience; the entire party was severely weakened when I decided it was time for Dohter’s Charity. But I was fortunate enough to pull through in that situation, and then I was set to spam Revitalizing Jam and become able to constantly pump out Divine Skills while keeping the entire party perfectly healthy. From there, I had to use Leghold Trap to allow the party to break the guard of the core before it could act. But to my surprise, when the guard broke, it only took one more 53k-damage Aeber’s Reckoning from Therion to finish off the enemy. (No, there was no Panther Dance involved.)
Thus concludes my war story about the obscene final boss known as Galdera. Possibly the most long-winded post I’ve made on this blog in years, but that just shows what a wild ride it was. Now I’m done with the game until I decide to do a challenge playthrough or something to that effect.
À la prochaine! (Until next time!)