Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On the Cheap #2: Samurai.

So, now that the On the Cheap's first installment is complete I am going to move on quickly to my other main job, which is Samurai. Now, I like Samurai but it is not as straight forward as Monk is for deciding what to use and what gear is an isn't that cheap and easy to get. I am going to use a wider range of gear here, but remember in the end, this is a guide for people just reaching end-game on these jobs. It is not intend to be an ultimate guide on how to play Samurai, it is a guide on how to be a good Samurai in the quickest and more efficient way possible.

In all my On the Cheap guides I will include the basic rules that you have to accept before this guide can be of any use.

1. You can't be dumb. Sorry, if you are dumb, I can't help you. If you are the kind of person that hears something and then sticks to it no matter what, just quit now. If you can't adapt to changes in the game, quit. If you refuse to do something because you don't think that should be the play style of the game, then just fucking die in a fire. Flexibility is key, the more we learn about things in the game, the more we improve the play style and the more things change.

2. You have to really be an end-game player. I am not expecting you to have every title in the game, and have done ever mission everywhere, but I do expect you to have done main story-line content. This should be a goal of an end-game player at the very least. Zilart should be finished up to at very least Sky, CoP should be finished up until the end, and Aht Urhgan up until the end. If you don't have these, or at least most of it and trying to get to the end, then you aren't an end-game player, you are just lazy or your are just making pretend.

3. You have to be able to do some end-game events. I am not demanding that you be in a full-time HNM LS or anything, but you should have access to a LS that does at least some of those end-game areas/events. If you don't then you really aren't an end-game player, you are just a player with a job at 75.

4. You have to be willing to spend at least a little bit of gil. Sure, this series is called "On the Cheap" but it is not called "On the Gimp" so you will need to spend some gil getting some of the gear that you need. I am not going to tell you to get all HQ gear unless it is cheap, and I will also indicate expensive items that you will need anyway, or cheap items that are good replacements. This is like the Frugal Gourmet for FFXI. Yes, I know, none of you got that reference. :(

So, basically, don't be stupid and try your hardest.

Oh, a very, very important precondition for this guide. This guide is based on the idea that you already have 5 Store TP merits so that you can get to a 6-hit build. You need and must have 5 Store TP merits on SAM. Once you hit 75 on SAM, you should only merit Store TP until it is complete, then you can go on to other things. A 6-hit build on SAM is critical to everything it does and should be the immediate goal of any 75 SAM. There are three basic set-ups that you can use for this (1) Askar Korazin, Chivalrous Chain and Brutal Earring, (2) Hachiman Sune-ate, Chivalrous Chain and Brutal Earring, and (3) Hachiman Kote. I will go into more detail, but these are the basic choices you have to maintain a 6-hit set-up. Alternatively, the Ecphoria Ring can take the place of the Chivalrous Chain depending on the quality of your neck piece. The goal is to try to get to at least +7 Store TP from the optional gear during TP phase so that you don't need any of it for your WS build. There is also a fourth option which removes the Chivalrous Chain (or Ecphoria Ring) from the first two scenarios but requires using Hachiman Sune-ate during WS's to make sure you get enough TP on the WS to complete the 6-hit build. Honestly, no matter which way you go you will do fine, but do what is best for you.

Weapon. Alright, on the very first slot I am already throwing the "On the Cheap" heading right out the window and I am telling you to buy an incredibly expensive piece of equipment, the Hagun. Now, this is one of those places where you can see the difference between being cheap and being frugal. If this really were a guide to just doing things the cheapest then you would avoid a Hagun at all costs, but this is a guide designed to help people find the best way to get to an acceptable level of gear as fast as possible. The problem with the Great Katana selection is that there just isn't anything close to how good the Hagun is in terms for straight damage output. Save, borrow, whore yourself out to Shantoto if you have to, but make sure you get one. If you need a Great Katana in the mean time, there are several decent selections. The Onimaru is a decent pick, with some nice added bonuses, as is the Shinsoku because of the additional STR. Also, the Ushikirimaru is a good pick, high base damage and some additional STR too. In the end though, any alternative is just filling a pretty wide gap until you get a Hagun and thats it.

Grip. Grips have in general gotten to be pretty cheap, so I don't really see a reason why anyone shouldn't be looking to pick up a Pole Grip. It can proc even if you don't sub a job with double attack and it can proc on WS. I suppose you can use the Axe Grip as an alternative because of the additional STR, but I doubt that the bonus STR will out damage the occasional bonus swing on a WS. I would avoid the Claymore Grip, because it appears that WS's can not crit unless they are forced to crit like with SA or Might Strikes or they are a crit-hit WS, and since none of the good SAM WS's are crit-hit ones, it's best to just avoid it.

Ammo. At least this spot is easy to deal with, it's either Tiphia Sting or Smart Grenade again, just like with Monk. Again, I use the Tiphia Sting because I prefer Accuracy in an equal trade off with Attack, but the both don't do much and they both are pretty close, so the choice is up to you.

Head. The default, simple and plain, is the Walahra Turban. That much haste can't really be beaten, except for a few cases. One of those cases is the Askar Zucchetto which is comparatively easier to get than the other option, but just because you can control the situation for which it will drop. The Askar Zucchetto comes from Floor 100 of Nyzul Isle, so with a small skilled group and a little bit of persistence this is an achievable goal. Now, I have derided most of the gear from Nyzul Isle in the past but this is one of the exceptions. 4% Haste, and an additional 4 STR, DEX and VIT makes it a pretty good option. Nyzul Isle takes some skill and more importantly a good combination of jobs, but it should be achievable for anyone that puts their mind to it. For me, the trade off of tags for Salvage makes getting one of relatively low priority for now, but I do get in an occasional Nyzul run to help out friends so I might get one eventually, and when I do I will give more information on its quality.

Neck. Ok, things get a little bit tricky here because this is one of the slots that you might be using to get to a 6-hit build and you may or may not need the Store TP from the Chivalrous Chain. If you are going with set-up one or two that I listed above then Chivalrous Chain is the way to go, but if you are going with set-up number three then as with Monk, I think the neck slot is a good place to pick up some accuracy so the Spectacles are the way to go with set-up number three. I would avoid using the Chivalrous Chain if you already have your requisite 7 additional Store TP, because the Accuracy is going to help you more than the STR.

Earrings. Ok, the most fundamental earring that you need for Samurai is a Brutal Earring. The Brutal Earring not only has Double Attack on it but it is also a key component to the first two Store TP build options. Yes, again, I am assuming that you have Sea and that you do Limbus at least somewhat, but like I stated in the introduction is that I believe that is a minimum that you should have to be able to use this guide to it's fullest. If you don't have Sea, then get it, and stop complaining that no one ever helps you, because people are out there that will help you if you just ask and hey, why don't you get off your ass and try to arrange it yourself. Anyway, after a Brutal Earring is the other easy choice for any Samurai, the Bushinomimi. Divine Might is very simple now if you have an even semi-competent LS to help you out with it. I do understand that people may not have a Bushinomimi because they have another earring that can better utilize another earring, so as an alternative, the Coral Earring and Merman's Earrings are decent options to fill the gap. You could also use a Fowling Earring but in general I would steer clear of it, because the Accuracy is nice but the STR is next to nothing in general, and I just don't see the cost justifying it's purchase over the attack earrings.

Body. My main suggestion is a Haubergeon the balance of Accuracy and Attack, DEX and STR just can't be beaten. I have to say that I do not have an Askar Korazin so I am hesitant to say that the Haubergeon is the best with out testing (and I don't need it anyway with the gear that I have), but the logic behind using the Askar body is that it has Double Attack and lets you use more haste, the knock against it is that it is a big hit in accuracy. The problem I have with this piece is the same problem I have with many end-game people that want to listen to the top-geared people without thinking about how it affects them and their our equipment builds. The bottom line is that if you can use the Askar Korazin without having accuracy problems then you are freeing up another slot that can be used for haste, but think of it this way, the reason that you use a 6-hit build is because it is the equivalent of having an additional 15% haste in getting to the next WS, but if you miss one time in your TP phase just so that you can have 3% more haste you will actually have -12% haste in getting to that next WS. So, use the Askar Korazin if you have the accuracy to justify using it, but don't kid yourself if you think there is a question, get the Haubergeon and be happy when you outparse those that haven't figured out that you need to be able to hit the mob to be able to get off the next WS. Another alternative that you could use is the Byrnie which has a huge amount of attack on it, but no accuracy and not much else to justify it's use, again, it is another situation where if you have enough accuracy to justify using it then it is great, but until that time I just don't know if it is worth it. Outside of those options, the only thing that I can tell you is that there are a bunch of things you shouldn't be TPing in like Kirin's Osode, Hachiman body, and just about anything else that you could come across.

Hands. This is another slot that is effected by the Store TP build that you choose, if you choose to go with Store TP in the hands then Hachiman Kote are the way to go. They give enough Store TP by themselves that you don't need any of the other optional pieces like the Chivalrous Chain, but they do require giving up what I believe to be the slightly better option, Dusk Gloves. Dusk Gloves have a bit of Attack on them and a bit of HP too, while the Hachiman Kote set up still has the haste in the feet slot but not the Attack or the HP. The comparison is close and it's a very close call either way. To me, this is an either or situation, so their really aren't any alternatives to go into here.

Rings. There is a requirement for Samurai here and it may cause consternation for some people because it requires changing a CoP ring, but you really must have a Rajas Ring to make Samurai work in end-game. The simple reason is that all of the 6-hit build options that I have listed above include the requisite 5 Store TP from the Rajas Ring. This added to the fact that it also adds 3 or 4 Accuracy and Attack in addition to the 5 DEX and 5 STR makes it a completely required piece for Samurai. The other optimal ring for Samurai is Ulthalam's Ring just because the stats are so good in it in general and that it is amazing in Salvage. Other options include the Blood Ring, Sniper's Ring and Woodsman Ring. Alternatively, you can use the Ecphoria Ring, which is in general below my accuracy threshold for a ring slot but if it allows you to free up the neck slot for something better then it may be a good option.

Back. This slot is pretty easy, just go with an Amemet Mantle +1. There are better options but cost/benefit ratio of them puts them well outside the scope of this guide.

Waist. The Swift Belt is the best reasonable option for this slot, the haste is great, and it even has a little but of accuracy. Sure, there is a hit to attack on it, but the haste, especially when it is stacked with more and more haste, will far outstrip anything you lose from the reduction in attack. The NM for the Swift Belt isn't all that difficult and the pop items can be farmed pretty easily. I have heard about some horrific drop rates but it can be done with just a few friends. In the mean time there are a couple of options that a Samurai can use, but most of them are pretty far off of the Swift Belt. They include: Swordbelt +1, Life Belt or even a Warwolf Belt could work.

Legs. Well, the stand out here, like it is for pretty much any job that can use them, are the Byakko's Haidate and if you are in pretty much any end-game LS or group you should be able to get them eventually. If you don't have them yet the Shura Haidate are a very good option. The Accuracy is great and the STR adds a little attack, too. Askar Dirs are another decent option, some Accuracy and some Attack is always good. All three of these options are items that usually takes some time to get, so lets look at some other options that could work: Myochin Haidate +1, Galliard Trousers. None of these are AH options, but there aren't very good AH options for SAM in the legs slot anyway.

Feet. The final Store TP slot that needs to be considered. Now, if you had already chosen to go with the Hachiman Kote option then the best option here is the Fuma Sune-ate for the haste, and followed closely by the Fuma Kyahan or the Sarutobi Kyahan. If you are going with other options then you will need a pair of Hachiman Sune-ate. Those are the two good, cheap options for you, and that wraps up the TP build for SAM.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way the WS gear for Samurai is actually much easier to go through than the TP gear because you don't have to worry about Store TP anywhere near as much. A few words on Samurai WS's to start. Unless there are some hidden stats to the Samruai WS, which has been suggested but never proven, all three of Yukikaze, Gekko and Kasha have the same 75% STR mod and should, in theory, do the same exact damage. This is a huge STR mod and makes a lot of the choices for gear much more simple. Also they all have massive increases in damage as TP increases, and this is the reason, even with a much lower base damage than many other end-game Great Katanas, that Hagun shines. Also, it should be noted that there is some evidence that single-hit WS's get a rather large boost to Accuracy and I have made some of the gear choice options with this assumption in mind. Ok, on to the gear.

Head. Ok, two basic options here. The cheaper and readily available Wyvern Helm which is great for the STR, and the much more expensive but still not that difficult to get Shura Zunari Kabuto. The Shura Kabuto is obviously better because of the Accuracy and equal STR. Another potential option if you have it already is the Askar Zucchetto. A little bit less STR for a little bit more Accuracy, but overall I would still favor the Wyvern Helm over it.

Neck. This is going to take some time, but go out and farm your Sea organs because the WS Gorgets are amazing for Samurai. You will need a Flame Gorget for Kasha, a Snow Gorget for Gekko, and a Breeze Gorget for Yukikaze. If you haven't gotten the gorgets yet, go get them! And in the mean time you can use a Chivalrous Chain or other STR neck pieces, but they will all pale compared to the Sea gorgets.

Earrings. The same answer here for WS as for TP, go with the Brutal Earring and the Bushinomimi. The Brutal is great because a double attack on a Samurai WS can do 500 damage or more, and you might need it for the Store TP on the WS attack to make sure that you make it too 100 TP in 6 hits, depending on the 6-hit build that you choose. If you do not have a Bushinomimi because you have another DM earring or just haven't gotten one yet, there are several other good options the most expensive being a Triumph Earring, but other good options are Fowling Earring and Minuet Earring. I know the Triumph Earring has more STR but if it is just going to be a placeholder item until you get the Bushinomimi or Brutal Earring, then I would say that it would be acceptable to save the cost on it and go with one of the cheaper options in the mean time.

Body. I used to have a little bit of a personal dispute on this one and I still occasionally second guess myself, but in the end I am going to suggest Kirin's Osode based on the assumption that single hit WS's do get a bonus to accuracy. Now, the weird thing is that when this was discussed in was in the context of what hands to use, but that was with the Gigas pieces that actually had a reduction in DEX and thus Accuracy, while the Osode actually still has some Accuracy on it and a bunch more STR. The problem that I am having with the whole thing is that I do feel like the Osode is a decrease in Accuracy over Haubergeon but I have absolutely zero proof of that observation whatsoever. I am going to do some parsing with Omoi in the near future and I hope to have some comparative results. But for now, as I already mentioned the Haubergeon is a well balanced pick for WS's, a lot of Accuracy, STR and Attack all rolled into one. Another very good option is the Askar Korazin, although it lacks Accuracy in any form, it has good Attack and STR, with some double attack for more damage on WS, and also the Store TP which can help to free up more Store TP space during your TP phase depending on your 6-hit build choices. Finally, for those that are new to melee jobs and need something else, I would suggest a Hachiman Domaru. Shut up, Skur. This is actually quite a good WS piece for Samurai, good accuracy and STR, a little Store TP to help out with your TP phase gear and it's cheap as hell. I would still use a Haubergeon over it, because I already have a lot of STR in my WS build and the extra attack helps a lot, but if you don't have as much STR then this can be a good slot to make it up.

Hands. This is one slot that I tend to vary from the masses on, because I prefer to use Myochin Kote +1 over Gigas Bracelets. Even when I am making trade offs in gear I still hardly like to use negative stats, especially stats that may effect my ability to hit a WS. And this is where the people that make the claim that single-hit WS's have more accuracy confuse me, as they say that it is ok to use Alkyoneus's Bracelets but they still use Haubergeon over Kirin's Osode. That doesn't make much sense to me at all. If you want to use Gigas bracelets I would go with them much cheaper Pallas's Bracelets because I can't see a 2 STR increase and a loss in accuracy as justifying the huge jump in cost up to the Alkyoneus's Bracelets.

Rings. The obvious first choice is the Rajas Ring. Since I already said that this is pretty much required for Samurai you should know that you should already have it. The question then becomes what can you use for the second slot. A Flame Ring is at the upper limit for what I would pay for this slot. The +5 STR is very good, but I think that going with an alternative +4 STR ring like the Ruby Ring can fill the gap nicely until you can afford something more expensive but with more STR. There are other more expensive +4 STR rings but I can't see the slight benefits justifying the cost difference.

Back. As always, the Amemet Mantle +1 is the way to go. Samurai can better justify getting a more expensive back piece later on because of the huge modifier to their WS's but again the price gap is huge.

Legs. With great expense usually comes great reward, and that is definitely the case for the Shura Haidate. Lots of accuracy, and lots of STR make for an awesome WS piece for any Samurai, but again it is very expensive and can take a while to get even with a good end-game LS, so in the mean time you can upgrade to a pair of Myochin Haidate +1 which have equal STR, but lack the accuracy of the Shura. Also, the newly introduced Enkidu's Subligar could work also, with a little bit less in STR, but the DEX does give it a little bit of Accuracy over the Myochin Haidate +1. In a pinch, you could also use the Fourth Division Schoss which have equivalent STR to the Enkidu's Subligar but lack any other redeeming qualities.

Feet. This is the only slot where Store TP might be a concern because in general the feet slot isn't that strong for SAM WS's in general. This slot maxes out at +3 STR on the best items and since the Hachiman Sune-ate are only down 1 STR and even have a little bit of Accuracy on them, they are not a bad option if you are using a Store TP build that only uses 6 additional Store TP during the TP phase (for example not using a Chivalrous Chain or Ecphoria Ring). If you do opt for one of the other Store TP set-ups and don't need the extra Store TP during WS's then the best option is the Rutter Sabatons. Attack and STR are hard to come by in the feet and these Sabatons have them both, and it comes from a very easy NM in Movolpolos that can be beaten with a small group and have a good drop rate. If you don't have your Rutter Sabatons yet the you can use the very easy to get Fourth Division Schuhs or the Askar Gambieras which come from the first boss in Nyzul Isle. Both of these latter options have 3 STR but the lack of Attack does put them a step below the Rutters.

And there you have it, a relatively cheap guide to being a Samurai. Ok, so Samurai is going to take a bit more gil than some other jobs to make it respectable, but as long as you avoid doing things like TPing in a Hachiman Domaru, then you can still look fine while you are building yourself up to the place that you want to be in. A final note, SAM is capable of subbing several different jobs, from WAR to THF to NIN or even DRG, and each one may need a little tweaking in gear, but at the very least this guide will get you to the point where it wont matter what you sub, you will still be able to do your job effectively.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the guide, great read again. Non-equip related question, I'm curious how samurais decide which of their 3 top WS to use at any given time, assuming you don't need to skillchain?

Ringthree said...

Gekko, because its the coolest.

Drac said...

The Frugal Gourmet, by Jeff Smith.


Some idiot Paladin with a job at 75.

_.:esoRose:._ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
_.:esoRose:._ said...

6 hit i believe is 46 store tp, 25 trait, 10 merit, 11 gear. not 7. so askar korazin/rajas/brutal would have the correct store t ammount for most situations, but simply using rajas/brutal+ hachiman hands/feet is just as effective in my experience.

MogKnight said...

I would like to point out that an alternative to the WS feet for Tarutaru would be the Creek Clomps (Note that there is a female and male version). They are dirt cheap now and gives +4 STR. Of course, this is restricted to Tarutaru... and we need all the STR we can get.

Ringthree said...

Esor 46 is a 6-hit if you use additional Store TP during WS. 47 is the goal if you don't want to have to worry about using extra Store TP during WS.

Anonymous said...

Also should consider including Ace's Helm as an option for those in linkshells that camp HNMs.

Ringthree said...

Ace's Helm is definitely outside of the purview of this kind of post.

Yondaime said...

Necrocomment but meh...

You say other options for the back are too expensive and don't return their cost for SAM WS back pieces? Currently using (and loving) my Smilodon Mantle +1, it's pretty cheap, adds 3 STR over an Amemet, and the icon looks pretty cool (imo).

My personal experience says that 3 STR does more for the big 3 than 15 attack will, but your mileage may vary. Not like you're losing accuracy there to begin with :)

Anonymous said...

"My personal experience says that 3 STR does more for the big 3 than 15 attack will, but your mileage may vary. Not like you're losing accuracy there to begin with :)"

Wow... your Samurai must suck.

Anonymous said...

I should digg your article therefore more people can look at it, very useful, I had a hard time finding the results searching on the web, thanks.

- Thomas