Dragon Quest IX

Priest or Sage – Which Is Best? | Dragon Quest 9

The debate over the inclusion of either a Priest or a Sage in the team, is one that has plagued Dragon Quest IX players since it’s release. The former is unashamedly a pure healer, designed to restore health, remove ailments and contribute a small amount of damage. The Sage shifts the balance somewhat, by featuring a skill set that focuses more on doling out offensive spells than healing, yet it still retains a significant amount of the latter… So which should you use, and when? Does the Mage factor into the equation? And should I consider taking both, or even all three? These questions and more are answered below.


Priest Summary

Priest, Dragon Quest 9

As noted, the Priest is the de facto healer of Dragon Quest IX, at least in the early and mid game. That’s not to say that other classes can’t contribute, after all the Minstrel and Thief can certainly contribute at the start, but the Priest will gain access to the most powerful and varied health restoration options that the game has to offer.

The first question that most players will ask themselves is whether they need a dedicated healer or not, which in many ways this is both relevant and not at the same time. It’s relevant because well, by it’s normal definition a Priest will not offer a great deal more than healing in an RPG game, but this is countered by the version found in DQIX, which has the ability to wield Spears and a few offensive spells. It’s damage output will eventually be overwhelmed by other classes of course, but these factors keep it surprisingly relevant throughout the story line portion of the game.

In truth, it’s that last sentence that causes the true confusion between Priest and Sage. The story portion of DQIX, excluding perhaps the very last boss, can be tackled by all manner of team builds with neither Priest nor Sage. It’s when the game proceeds to throw a massive post game at the player, where it should be noted that enemy power rises significantly, that healing becomes such a premium that class choices become key. Their power rises so high in fact, that you’re often required to almost fully heal your entire team in every round just to keep up with the damage output. It’s here where the Priest truly shines, mainly thanks to the unrivalled health restoration offered by Omniheal, which fully heals the entire party and is a spell exclusive to the Priest.

Priest Benefits

  • Suitable for healing an entire party throughout the entirety of DQIX.
  • This includes the post game, where Omniheal becomes close to essential for some difficult boss battles.
  • The class is able to keep up with damage in the early and mid game, owing to some offensive spells and the ability to wield the Spear, which is one of DQIX’s most powerful weapons.
  • Said damage will eventually fall off, being overtaken by other classes, including the Sage.
  • It’s rare that you’ll need more than one Priest, because their healing is very powerful and they’ll eventually access Omniheal, which is a full party, full HP heal. This negates the need for more than one.

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Sage Summary

Sage, Dragon Quest 9

By comparison to the Priest, the Sage is a more offensively minded class, seemingly designed to bridge the gap between this and the Mage. It achieves this by pairing powerful offensive magic with a good amount of healing, effectively standing in for both whilst taking up less party slots. Whilst the class itself has some good features, a guaranteed resurrection spell being a highlight, the Sage will effectively operate as a given percentage of both Mage and Priest, which we’d tentatively position as 80% of each.

The Mage side of the equation is a fairly simple comparison, since both classes come with similar damaging spells, with the Mage naturally beating it out towards the higher levels thanks to buffs like Oomph and debuffs like Kasap. If anything, we’d recommend levelling the Mage fully first before heading into Sage, to take advantage of it’s increases to Magical Might. The real meat of the situation, and indeed the subject of our article today, is to compare its health restoration. Compared to a Priest the situation can look rather bleak, given the lack of Omniheal, however they do have a reasonable repertoire, including the tremendously useful Multiheal. The question then becomes, is Multiheal and Moreheal enough to manage party healing throughout DQIX?  

The answer really comes down to timing. For the vast majority of the game, Multiheal and Moreheal will be enough to keep your team going. The 100 HP of Multiheal might not sound like a lot, however the scaling of the Sage and any other passives will boost this up quite far, ensuring that it restores a lot more with each cast. Problems will only begin to arise when the very late and post game roll around. At this point, one single cast will not restore enough health to the team, necessitating either another cast or a better spell… Like Omniheal, the Priest exclusive spell. The choice at the very late game then, is to either bring more than one Sage, or get yourself a Priest.

Sage Benefits

  • A single Sage can heal the entire party quite comfortably for the majority of the game.
  • This changes when the late and post game rolls around, where Multiheal is no longer powerful enough to counter the damage being taken.
  • To overcome the above item, more than one Sage can be taken in the team. This will mean that you can cast the heal twice to cover bad rounds, but this does mean that there’s one less member dealing damage in said rounds. One Priest, in this situation, would allow another member to act. 
  • In the above situation, another Sage could choose to deal damage when additional healing is not required, however a Priest would open the slot for a higher damage dealer, since spells do not scale as well as physical attacks in DQIX.
  • The Sage will always be more powerful than the Priest from an offensive spell perspective.

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Verdict – Priest vs Sage

  • Either can easily heal a team through the story portion of DQIX.
  • In the very late game, versus Grotto bosses, you’ll likely need either a Priest with Omniheal or more than one Sage with Multiheal. 

At the end of the day, these are the two rules that we would settle upon. You can use either, and you can certainly complete the story portion of the game with either of them. Hell you could even make a team of just Sages and Priests to complete the story, however post game content is very likely to require an excess of healing. One Priest, with its ability to fully heal the team with one spell, will be more efficient. Your mileage may vary of course, and adding to the defence of team members may mitigate the amount of healing needed, but some bosses really will not give you any choice.


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