Dragon Quest VIII

Powerful Team Build Variations | Dragon Quest 8

Writing about the possible build variations in Dragon Quest 8 might initially seem like an unusual prospect. In both versions of the game there are four main characters for the majority of it, and only four party slots available in which to place them. Dig a little deeper however, and indeed progress in the 3DS version, and you’ll find that a great degree of creativity is available to you. In fact, different skill choices can wildly change the role of any given character, and whilst this is much more true of some than others, committing to altered skill variations can make a variety of differing builds come to life. Without further ado, the following are a few of our favourites.


Ultimate Utility Build

  • Hero – (Courage, Spears)
  • Yangus – (Fisticuffs, Axes)
  • Jessica – (Staves, Whips)
  • Angelo – (Bows, Staves)
Hero, Dragon Quest 8

We may call this the ultimate in utility builds, but in reality this is plainly a great build to go through the entirety of DQ8. We do realise however, that this is relatively controversial due to the absence of Swords, which are a categorically fantastic weapon in DQ8. We’ve chosen to go for Spears with the Hero because well, this is a ‘variations’ article and we suspect that more than 90% of players will have opted for the Sword in the first place. It’s a great choice without doubt, but we’re looking at things a little differently here.

To the build then, and this one is all about providing as many options as possible to help you cope with everything that DQ8 throws at you. It has excellent all round damage, but tends to focus more on dealing with groups of opponents rather than single targets. It grabs perennial favourites such as Thin Air and Shining Shot to accomplish this, which will do the job very well alongside spells from the Hero and Jessica. The build will still perform well versus single targets, and the sustain offered by a Courage focused Hero and Omniheal will ensure the late game is covered, but it’s unlikely to reach the heights offered by a more focused boss slaying build.

Outside of it’s slightly muted single target damage, the only other issue that we’d note is that the Hero feels rather odd during the early and mid portions of the game. You’ll need to invest significantly into his Courage tree to unlock Omniheal early, and Spears require a reasonable investment to reach good damage levels, which combine to leave our protagonist offering support and little else, at least until later on. Still, he’ll be much more inclined to help you take down the higher versions of Metal Slimes when he gets there.

Build Benefits

  • Excellent healing and sustain. Angelo will have MP regeneration and healing through Bow skills and his natural spells, and the Hero will eventually learn Omniheal and an MP reduction skill to keep you going.
  • Good group damage through Yangus, with Thin Air specifically coming from Fisticuffs. Jessica will also contribute with powerful spells, and Angelo will eventually learn powerful Bow skills like Shining Shot that accomplish the same in the latter portions.
  • Metal Slime skills will be learned by the Hero and eventually Yangus, thanks to the critical skills learned through Spear and Axes respectively.
  • This build can suffer somewhat when it comes to single target damage. The Hero will do well with Multithrust, and both Yangus and Jessica will have good options with their choices, but this will not hit the peaks of damage available to other builds.

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Boss Bashing Build

  • Hero – (Courage, Swords)
  • Yangus – (Axes)
  • Jessica – (Whips)
  • Morrie – (Claws, Passion)
Morrie, Dragon Quest 8

Well now, perhaps you’re more interested in mashing single targets into dust than supporting the overall survivability of the team? Then look no further, this build is entirely for you. What it lacks in preparedness it more than makes up for by reducing boss health to nothing in record time. It’s also a return to warm familiarity for those out there that are incapable of having a Hero that doesn’t wield a Sword.

Touching on the Hero first, he is still likely to provide support from a healing perspective through his Courage skills, because no matter how much damage you inflict, no boss is dying in one or two turns, so incoming damage is very likely. Outside of this he will support with his Sword skills, Falcon Slash and Miracle Slash, which deal reasonable damage whilst also offering a small form of sustain for your one supportive member.

Things get a little more interesting when we approach the actual damage dealers. Yangus will primarily reduce an opponents defence through Helm Splitter, before following up with Parallax or Typhoeus’ Maul. Jessica will provide single target spell and physical damage, through a combination of her natural skills and Twin Dragon Lash. However, the real meat of this team comes with Morrie, who will use his Tension boosting skills to heavily influence the amount of damage done by others and himself, whilst also contributing massive single target damage through his Hand of God Claw skill.

Build Benefits

  • Morrie being included in this team will allow you to abuse the Tension system, thanks to skills in his Passion tree. This will buff most other attacks and cause them to deal massive damage, including his own epic defence-ignoring Hand of God Claw skill.
  • A source of Sap is crucial with this build, and our favourite way to make this happen is through Yangus and his Helm Splitter skill. 
  • Support in the form of healing is still required, so getting to Omniheal with the Hero is ideal. He can still contribute single target damage through Sword skills.
  • As far as is reasonably possible, this is quite an ‘all or nothing’ build, that prioritises damage over anything else. Don’t expect a huge amount of sustain or buffs, but do expect massive single target damage numbers.

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Money Making Build

  • Hero – (Courage, Boomerangs)
  • Yangus – (Scythes, Fisticuffs)
  • Morrie – (Boomerangs)
  • Red – (Roguery, Fans)
Red, Dragon Quest 8

Before going into our final build, which is absolutely and unashamedly greed based, we should note that it’s still perfectly viable to complete DQ8 and all of its additional content with this team. You may struggle a little more with post game content, and some boss battles will likely give you a bit of trouble, but it’s entirely doable even with these unusual choices.

The whole point of this build is to smash your way through regular encounters as much as possible, collecting loot, gold and experience points as you go. Yangus will opt for his Scythe skills, which will allow him to attempt to steal items whilst dealing damage, and Red’s Roguery tree means that you’ll passively gain both gold and items at a quicker rate. The remaining members have one job remaining: Kill groups of enemies as soon as possible, so that we can reach the next encounter for more money and loot! They achieve this by primarily bringing Boomerangs and abusing their ability to damage entire enemy teams. Morrie in particular will eventually access ‘Swing Both Ways’, which is probably the most powerful Boomerang attack in the game, because it strikes all enemies for a total of 240% damage.

Build Benefits

  • This build focuses entirely on earning loot, gold and experience, and quickly mashing those that own such things into the ground.
  • Yangus will actively attempt to steal items whilst dealing damage, thanks to his Scythe skills, and Red will passively earn you more gold whilst increasing the chance for loot to drop.
  • Remaining members are quite fluid, but you’ll want to prioritise dealing damage to groups as much as possible. Take Courage with the Hero if you’re still looking for healing, which you will be, but the fourth slot is up for grabs.
  • Angelo is a reasonable option for balancing the team out somewhat, and providing more support from a healing and buffing perspective. Jessica works too, though she can be a little more MP intensive depending on her build.

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