More so than most other RPG games, Final Fantasy 6 is filled to the brim with possible party members. We’re not quite approaching Suikoden or Fire Emblem numbers here, but for a regular turn-based JRPG, especially in the FF series, it’s pretty bloated. Magic users, physical attackers and supportive members are all accounted for by powerful characters in their own right, but what about the mysterious and evasive ninja known as Shadow? Surely there are better options than he for party members, right? Well, don’t go discounting him just because he dumps the team on a few occasions – you might be surprised just how malleable the lad clad in black can be…
4. Elemental Coverage
Now, we’re not about to claim that our first point is exclusive to Shadow, but rather that it’s a sorely underappreciated part of his kit that most players seem to completely ignore: He has fantastic elemental damage coverage thanks to the Throw command. Sure, you can spend your time throwing as many Shuriken as you want, which we’ll certainly get into a little later, but if you invest in some Scrolls you will also be able to deal big chunks of Fire, Lightning and Water damage to every enemy, and these scale with Shadow’s magic stat too, so some smart equipment and Relic choices can make him a random battle deleter.
This gets even better when you consider that he can use weapons with the Throw command, including elemental versions. Swords, Knives, Katanas and the like can be thrown, and each will apply their element to the damage done. These, much like the Shuriken that we detail below, do scale with Strength however, so you’ll likely need to equip yourself somewhat differently to make the most of them. There is of course the cost associated too, but this is less of an issue in the late game. Then again, if you’re not looking for elemental damage in particular, you may want to opt for a simpler solution…
- Scrolls give Shadow some magic scaling group elemental damage. Fire, Lightning and Water Scrolls are available to be purchased, and these scale with Shadow’s magic stat.
- Elemental weapons can also be thrown, which increases Shadow’s options for hitting weaknesses. These scale with Strength however, so be aware of your equipment choices when switching from Scroll to weapon or Shuriken focus.
- Relics can be a great boon to either of these options, with Earrings in particular being a great choice in the World of Balance.
Probably Shadow’s most well known and appreciated party contribution is to throw Shuriken, which is to say one of various types of ‘Stars’, namely the Shuriken, Fuma Shuriken and Pinwheel. Each of these will provide straight physical damage to one target when thrown, and along with elemental weapons these provide Shadow’s primary single target damage options. Throughout the game these are very powerful, to the point where they’ll easily keep up other party members and often outperform them.
Moreover these items are very cheap to stack. Buying 99 Shuriken at the start of the game is absolutely worth it for 30 gil a piece, and the 500 gil price tag for the Fuma Shuriken is easily accounted for in the World of Ruin. The latter of these will get Shadow close to dealing maximum damage in the late game, so they’ll often replace pretty much anything else he can throw, turning him into a guaranteed high damage bot for the party.
- ‘Stars’, which is the name for thrown items like Shuriken, allow Shadow to deal great damage at any point in the game.
- Shuriken are a cheap way to deal thousands of damage in the World of Balance – at 30 gil a pop they’re great value and they keep Shadow relevant.
- Fuma Shuriken will replace these in the World of Ruin, bumping his damage up to a very high level.
- These scale with Shadow’s strength stat, so if he’s built accordingly with equipment and Relics, his damage will scale up super well.
2. Equipment Choices
One of the lesser known benefits to Shadow is his equipment which, combined with his hidden Interceptor passive makes him a very good defensive party member. Said passive grants a 50% chance to evade incoming physical attacks, which applies before any equipment chances take place, so you’re effectively getting evasion for free. Further to this, Shadow also has some fantastic equipment choices, where someone like Sabin might be restricted. Genji Armour is a great example of this, and outside of some heavy helmets and shields, in which there are better options available anyway, he can equip pretty much the same gear as other, more favoured team members.
One huge additional benefit is that Shadow can equip the Thief Knife. Unlike another certain Thief Knife user, who happens to rely on their weapons in combat, equipping it doesn’t cripple Shadow’s damage, thanks to Throw. You can simply bring him into battle and decide if you need extra damage, in which case Throw will do the job, or would rather take a chance at stealing an item via a normal attack. In Final Fantasy 6, traversing a dungeon tends to be quite tricky at first, however most encounters soon become easy to deal with, making them ideal candidates for some passive Gil gathering via thievery.
- Shadow has a hidden passive provided by Interceptor, his dog. This provides an innate 50% evasion to normal physical attacks.
- Furthermore, he has excellent equipment choices, with only heavy helmets and a few shields restricted from use by him.
- Shadow can also equip the Thief Knife, and make better use of it thanks to the damage provided by Throw. Struggling with the encounter? Use Throw for damage. Not struggling with the encounter? Have him attack regularly for some Gil generating thievery!
1. Back Story
Warning, do not read further if you’re interested in learning Shadow’s secrets yourself. It’s worthwhile not to spoil in our opinion, so get him in your team and stay at some Inn’s to reveal them.
Did you know that Shadow’s real name is Clyde? You may have missed this fact, because to learn about his backstory you must pay close attention to him during Thamasa scenes, and also fall asleep at an Inn with him in your party multiple times. In the former, you may be able to pick up on some subtle clues about his links to other party members, which we’ll elaborate on below, and in the latter you’ll learn about his past. Turns out he has a seriously chequered history as a bandit, where he formed a duo with his friend Baram, and the information you learn watching this will make his ending scene all the more poignant.
Have we moved far enough away from the spoiler warning do you think? Well in that case here goes: It is heavily implied that Shadow is the father of Relm. Not only does he act rather unusual during the Thamasa scenes, but the dream sequences reveal that he retired from Banditry and met a lady in Thamasa, with whom he has a child. He also turns up to save Relm and your party when the fire takes place, and even Interceptor can be seen regularly questioning his master leaving her side.
Look, we could go on all day about Shadow’s story points, but suffice to say they’re truly a highlight of the story in FF6 and absolutely make it worthwhile having him in the team whenever possible. He’s designed to dip in and out of the team until the latter half, and you’ll have to do a little legwork to get him to stay in the party, including saving his life on the Floating Continent, but in our opinion it’s absolutely worth it.
- Shadow has some of the best story points in the entirety of Final Fantasy 6, but they’re easy to miss for those not paying attention.
- Pay close attention to both his lines of text and body language during scenes in Thamasa.
- In the World of Ruin, make sure you sleep at an Inn multiple times whilst he is in the party. This will reveal a great deal of his past.
- Honestly, he has the most poignant and best ending scene of any character.
Categories: Final Fantasy 6