Having already detailed recommended builds for each individual character in Dragon Quest 8, we’ve decided to put together one single article that singles out those that we feel are the ‘ultimate’ build for each of them. This is going to be subjective of course, and pretty much every build can be used to some degree of success, however we’re pretty confident in saying that these are the best that any one character can achieve, at least for their given role in the team. It’s also worth noting that, in order to gain access to these full builds, you’re going to have to play a great deal more than just the story portion of DQ8, and probably familiarise yourself with the EXP granting Metal Slime enemies a great deal.
- (Courage) – 100 Points
- (Swords) – 100 Points
- (Spears) – 59 Points
- (Fisticuffs) – 11 Points
Before starting to build your Hero out, it’s worth noting something that often takes at least half of the game to realise: He’s not a huge damage dealer. Now, that doesn’t mean that he cannot dish it out with the best of them at times, but he’s much better positioned to support the team from almost every other angle. Swords and Spears will give him some excellent damage options, albeit tilted more in the group direction than single target, and he’ll be able to take down Metal Slimes in both the early and late game respectively, which will be crucial if you’re looking to get enough points for an ultimate build of sorts.
The real highlight however, is his Courage tree, where he’ll unlock both Omniheal and the ability to half his MP costs. It’s possible to get other characters and indeed equipment that will contribute to health restoration, but nothing will beat a cheap full health heal for the entire team, especially in the late and post game. Pairing this with 11 points in Fisticuffs, which unlocks Defending Champion and its 90% damage reduction, will grant you everything you need to keep the team alive in any situation DQ8 throws your way.
- Access to the best healing in the game, thanks to the Courage tree featuring Omniheal and the ability to passively reduce MP costs.
- Great damage options through Swords and Spears. The Hero will likely be outdone on single targets, but will feature a huge amount of group damage choices.
- Spears offer the ability to slay Metal Slimes at a higher level, whilst Swords cover the earlier versions. Earlier investment into Spears may be a good idea
- Maximising both Courage and Swords will eventually grant access to Gigagash, which is only accessible by reaching 100 points in both.
- (Humanity) – 42 Points
- (Axes) – 82 Points
- (Fisticuffs) – 77 Points
- (Scythes) – 100 Points
It’s fair to say that Yangus’ kit matches his bruising personality, so you’re going to get damage and little else out of him, even with an ultimate build of sorts. That’s not to say that he can’t do anything else, after all skills like Kabuff from his Humanity tree can be very helpful, and having an additional heal from the same is very useful in the early game, however pretty much everything else is about doling out high damage numbers, albeit with one slight addendum.
We’ll focus on the standard weapons first, being the Axe and Fisticuff options. These are both great choices for Yangus, but we’d advocate picking Fisticuffs in the early game for Thin Air and then pivoting into Axes, for those sweet Metal Slime slaying critical skills, which you’ll need to take down their higher level versions. Ultimately however, you’ll want to swap Yangus over to his Scythes in the very late and post game. Once he reaches level 55, and has Scythes at level 100, Yangus will unlock the Big Banga skill, which deals absolutely huge damage to all enemies, and will likely replace pretty much anything else he does outside of boss battles. Well, aside from using said Scythe skills to steal crucial alchemy items from enemies, of course.
- Early game coverage is provided by Humanity, which will grant a heal and the powerful Kabuff spell, and investing into Fisticuffs alongside this will grant the excellent Thin Air skill.
- Next, putting some time into Axes will give Yangus fantastic Metal Slime killing skills, and even just a few points will let him strip away the defences of a single target, which is great when versing difficult bosses.
- Finally, mastering the Scythe will not only grant him some great loot stealing abilities en route, but also allow a level 55 Yangus to upgrade into the Big Banga skill, which is up there with Gigagash for one of the highest group targeting damage skills in the entire game.
- (Sex Appeal) – 100 Points
- (Whips) – 100 Points
- (Staff) – 84 Points
- (Fisticuffs) – 52 Points
At first glance, Jessica seems to be a damaging spell caster and very little else, designed to be the glass cannon of the team that must be protected at all costs whilst she grinds your opponents into dust. Whilst this is mostly very true, there is actually a great deal more to her than initially meets the eye. She is primarily a magic damage dealer, sure, but her skill choices do offer you a chance to get a little more creative than that.
Somewhat similar to Yangus, her power tends to come from her weapon choices rather than her personal skill, which tends to feature RNG based chances to charm and inflict ailments to opponents rather than contribute something reliable. We do advocate that you eventually max her Sex Appeal, because 100 points will net you a powerful free group heal, however this is strictly a late and post game thing, because the skills inbetween aren’t worth prioritising over her other options.
Of course, staves should always get some attention here, if only for the free MP restoration and emergency single target heal in the form of Caduceus, and Fisticuffs will allow her to eventually bolster her defences greatly, which is crucial when taking on post game content. However, investing into Whips early is probably one of the best options that you can take, because it opens her up into a world of physical damage that she would otherwise miss, and allows her to take on spell resistant enemies and conserve MP as much as possible. Hell, they even offer her the best single target damage she can possibly do for much of the game, through Twin Dragon Lash.
- Whips naturally compliment Jessica’s powerful spells with good levels of physical damage. Their mastery will also unlock a very powerful group attack that helps her contribute to group damage without spending oodles of MP.
- Sex Appeal is worth investment, but only in the late game. There’s goodies elsewhere that require investment early on, but once the Metal Slimes start falling and the exp starts truly flowing, maxing this for the free group heal is a great choice.
- Staves obviously compliment her kit very well, however maxing them really isn’t worthwhile. Take them up to the point of MP restoration each round, and move on. The resurrection spell just isn’t worth it when powerful items are available and other characters have better choices.
- It can be hard to justify the points in Fisticuffs, however getting her the huge damage mitigation through defending is ultimately worthwhile, and certainly better than anything else remaining on offer.
- (Staves) – 100 Points
- (Bows) – 88 Points
- (Fisticuffs) – 68 Points
- (Swords) – 66 Points
- (Charisma) – 13 Points
Interestingly enough, Angelo is the only character that we actively recommend should take points in every single skill that he has available. Admittedly, he’s also the character that we recommend taking the lowest amount of points in his personal skill, so he can feel like a bit of a mixed bag of options. It’s by design clearly, because in real terms he performs slightly worse than others at each of their chosen focuses; less healing than the Hero, less spell damage than Jessica, and less physical damage than Yangus. He does however, have some fantastic options all of his own that we must highlight with this build.
His main benefit really, is the Bow. Through this particular weapon choice, a world of excellent opportunities arise. Not only does this grant him MP restoring physical attacks, but also some powerful group attacks that open up later on. Staves will do the former too of course, but the latter is something that goes on to eclipse his innate spell damage, with Shining Shot in particular. Having access to this ASAP really makes Angelo stand out, and allows him to perform on a similar level to other damage dealers in the team.
Outside of this, he’ll benefit from pretty much every other option. Staves mainly grant him MP assistance, Swords allow him to deal with single targets more effectively, and Fisticuffs will, as ever, grant an excellent defensive option in Defending Champion, which offers unparalleled mitigation. Finally, grabbing 13 points in Charisma is not totally necessary, however having a skill that removes Tension levels from your opponent is actually very useful, especially when facing down some tough late game bosses.
- Despite only investing 88 points, Bows are probably the best option for Angelo, all things considered. They offer him a combination of damage and MP restoration that others cannot, making him an excellent hybrid of support and damage dealer role.
- Staves are still an excellent option, granting him MP restoration and general supportive elements. Outside of Bows, there’s little else that’s better for him than eventually maxing out these skills.
- Swords will offer enough utility for mid game damage to bosses, though these will pale in comparison to the overall utility provided by Bows.
- As with almost every other character, taking some points into Fisticuffs will unlock Defending Champion, which makes post game content a breeze thanks to its 90% damage reduction option. This makes more sense when you realise that a great deal of these late game targets will telegraph their big attacks.
- We always recommend taking 13 points into Charisma, and quite early too. Reducing enemy Tension is never a bad thing.
- (Claws) – 100 Points
- (Boomerangs) – 100 Points
- (Passion) – 88 Points
Given that he doesn’t become available until the latter third of the game, and indeed can only be recruited in the 3DS version of the title, we’re kind of glad that Morrie in particular has a very focused set of skills. His entire kit is built around dealing as much physical damage as possible, paired with occasionally taking a short break to shout at either himself or his teammates to build up Tension. This final point is key, because being able to build two levels of Tension on either Morrie or another is a surefire route to dealing massive damage. Our initial point then, for this very reason, is to always invest quite heavily into the Passion skills, if for nothing other than the Tension skills.
Outside of this, Morrie has two choices that will vie for your attention. Claws offer excellent single target damage skills, the apex of which is technically one of the strongest in the game called Hand of God, and Boomerangs offer the same but in group damage form, eventually unlocking Swings Both Ways. This being ultimate builds, you’re going to want to grab everything on the menu, but we’d argue that going with Boomerangs first will help you to grind through the battles on your way to the top.
- Investing in Passion skills is essential for Morrie. These unlock two Tension boosting skills that can be used either on himself or other party members. These build Tension by two levels for one turn in battle, making them very powerful ways to boost damage.
- Claws are the ideal way to deal single target damage for Morrie. They have an equivalent to Falcon Slash in their kit, and he’ll eventually unlock Hand of God, which completely ignores enemy defence to deal huge damage.
- Similarly, Boomerangs should be invested in for group damage. For the most part they function like any others would, however eventually unlocking Swings Both Ways will allow him to deal incredible amounts of group damage.
- (Fans) – 100 Points
- (Roguery) – 81 Points
- (Whips) – 68 Points
- (Fisticuffs) – 7 Points
It’s fair to say that Red, much like Morrie, has a very focused build in DQ8. She too seeks to deal as much damage as possible, but rather than boosting the Tension of others, she adds pure greed, in the form of passively gathering as much loot and gold whilst defeating encounters. It’s this passive nature of the skills that make her so powerful, because you’ll essentially amass more wealth and items by simply including her in the team. Well, you will if you invest into her Roguery skills, which you absolutely should do for this very reason. The late and post game portions of DQ8 revolve around completing difficult alchemy recipes, so you’ll be thankful for the resources that she generates.
Outside of this and indeed any meaningful investment into Fisticuffs, Fans and Whips are really where it’s at for Red. Fans in particular will grant excellent group damage, particularly once completely mastered, and these will make her ideal for taking down random battles, which is kind of why you want her in the team – to generate loot and gold from battles. Should you decide to keep her in the team for boss battles, then her absolute best form of damage is technically Dosh Toss, but if you can’t spare the money then you’ll want to push her towards Whips, where the usual Twin Dragon Lash type skills will serve her well.
- Red is all about the Roguery skills. Here she’ll learn passive gold and loot boosting skills that form the basis of her usage. These can fund her Dosh Toss skill, which technically deals the most damage possible with her, at least outside of Tension boosted criticals.
- Fans will assist her in taking down groups of enemies, which you’ll want to do when generating gold and items. Butterfly Bop in particular will make this process a breeze.
- Whips will push her towards some single target focus, and whilst this is almost always better achieved through Dosh Toss, you’ll save yourself some cash by taking this option.
Categories: Dragon Quest VIII