Final Fantasy VI copyright Square Enix.
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Cultists’ Tower

Located in the midst of a small mountain range on the Serpent Trench, the Cultists’ Tower comprises one of the weirdest, and potentially toughest, dungeons in all of Final Fantasy VI. Occupied by a group of Kefka worshipers, the Tower is a straight climb up to the roof, forcing you to loop flights of stairs over and over and over. The enemies, predictably, get stronger as you climb the Tower, starting at a very low level and getting insidiously powerful near the top.

Sound normal enough? There’s a deadly caveat: You can only use the Magic and Item commands in combat. No Attack, no special moves. Your MP will quickly get drained as you climb the Tower, and the enemies have such weird attack patterns that you may be hard pressed to keep up. You also can’t run from fights, which is juuuuust peachy. Here are some hints for reaching the top of the Cultists’ Tower the hard way:
  • Bring along a buttload of Ethers, Hi-Ethers, and X-Ethers. There are no save points, so you won’t be able to use Tents or Sleeping Bags. Hi-Potions, X-Potions, and Elixirs can also be quite useful.
  • Bring a team that’s powerful in Magic. This not only means those who know a lot of spells, but characters with high magical stats (Terra, Celes and Relm are all good choices). Odd as it sounds, Umaro makes a decent choice here, as he ignores the Magic-only restriction and carries on as normal.
  • Use non-elemental spells. Most of the enemies in the Tower range wildly in strengths and weaknesses, and it’s best to simply bypass said problems with neutral spells. Flare is good for single targets; Ultima will take everybody down (and ignores Reflect, to boot, which is a common status for the higher-level enemies).
  • Equip Reflect Rings and rely on items for healing over magic. Not only will this save you MP, many of your opponents may accidentally kill themselves by trying to bounce spells off of your Reflecting characters.

Too difficult? Too annoying? The easy way up is to bring Mog along. Equip him with Molulu’s Charm, found in the wall he’s facing when you locate him in the World of Ruin, and you can completely bypass all of the random battles you’d otherwise be forced to face. You’ll be in much better condition when you have to meet the area’s boss at the top of the Tower, as well.

Along the way you’ll find several treasure rooms. They contain the following items:
  • A Safety Bit - and if you investigate the wall to the right of the chest you’ll reveal a room directly below containing an Air Anchor
  • A Genji Shield
  • A Kagenui - this room also contains one of the Eight Dragons, the Holy Dragon
  • Force Armor

At the top you’ll find a chest containing a Soul of Thamasa, a fantastic relic that allows you to cast two spells in one round. Grab it, though, and you’ll doom yourself to a battle before you can leave the Cultists’ Tower again.

Magic Master

Embodying the might of everything you’ve faced up to this point, the Magic Master is a cruel boss. He possesses a wide range of powerful magic attacks, all of which will inflict large amounts of damage on anyone without a decent magic defence. True to his sprite, he also has a barrier-changing attack which shifts his current elemental weakness every freaking time you hit him with a spell. You’ll have to use Libra to figure out his current weakness and act accordingly (or just use a non-elemental spell, as mentioned earlier).

You can fight the Magic Master the hard way, if you wish. That said, there are two alternative ways to bring him down that are much easier:
  • Equip Reflect Rings on everybody. Magic Master’s spells will fly right back at him, and eventually he’ll kill himself. Magic Master also won’t change his weakness if he hits himself with magic.
  • Use Berserk on Magic Master. If / when it sticks Berserk will force him to only use physical attacks, which in this case are much less painful than his magic. Combine this with Protect or Vanish and he won’t stand much of a chance.

Regardless of your approach, there’s a caveat to this fight: Magic Master always uses Ultima upon death. If you don’t have Ultima yet, it’s an all-hitting, non-elemental attack that does ridiculous amounts of damage. If you do have Ultima, well, you know what to expect. Unless you equipped the Force Armor you found on the way up on somebody with an already-high magic defence, or unless your characters are just way overlevelled, the best way to survive this spell is to use Reraise on one or more of your characters. They’ll die, but the spell will bring them back in time to receive the rewards. (A Megalixir, in case you were wondering.)

Beat the Magic Master, and… well… you get to walk back down the Cultists’ Tower again, since Teleport doesn’t work here. Isn’t this game fun?

Part Thirty-Six: Kefka's Tower