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Magic Casting FAQ by PentaroX

Version: 1.7 | Updated: 07/14/01

seiken_densetsu_3_magic_casting.txt - PentaroX's Magic Casting FAQ v1.7

                  PentaroX's SD3 Magic Casting FAQ
          v1.7 | 07/14 | pentarou@NOSHPAMnekonekowai.com
                 (remove "NOSHPAM" before emailing)

You can find this FAQ at GameFAQs, About.com, and ... some other places.
Either way, there's also a copy at http://www.pentarou.f2s.com/faq/.

                        Table of Contents
0.  Updates
1.  Overview
2.  Basic Magic Casting
3.  Magic Casting Techniques (Basic Spam, Basic MST, Spam/MST, etc.)
4.  Credits
5.  Legal Mumbo-Jumbo

0.  Updates
06/04:  First version of this FAQ.  I'm sure I must be missing a lot of
        good Spam/MST info, but this FAQ was rather hastily slapped

06/11:  Section 2.5 updated.  Some credits added.

06/27:  Added proper credits.  Changed some text around.  Added stuff
        to section 3.


03/11:  Revised it a little bit.  Dubbed it "v1.6" =P

07/14:  Slight corrections/etc., but most importantly, MY EMAIL HAS
        CHANGED.  No more emailing px@pentaro.net, 'kay?  It's down.

        I've been considering re-writing the FAQ.  Maybe another day...
        I'm way too busy to do anything major at this point.

1.  Overview
Once upon a time, there was a FAQ.  It was spiffy.  It had lots of stuff
in it.  It was over 300kb.  In fact, it was Magus's FAQ.  (Although I've
forgotten whatever it is that he goes by now.)

I contributed a bit of stuff, but most of what I had written turned out
to be about a particular magic casting technique I'd been working on.
But having tested it so very much, and written so much about it, I
thought that I should write up a FAQ on the subject of casting magic.

Please note that most, if not all, credits are listed at the bottom. I
prefer not to list them in the body of the FAQ, but rather all at once.

And go look at Magus's FAQ, because some of the stuff here is his work,
and because it's big and spiffy.  (Although I don't like the party 
guide, but I suppose that doesn't matter.)

2.  Basic Magic Casting
     The SD3 magic system is quite different from that of Secret of Mana
(SD2).  First off, although the elementals are still in existence, each
of your characters will only gain spells through their classes.  Up to
something like 18 spells per character may be obtained throughout the
course of the game, and those are all sorted out in one single ring.

     Each spell in SD3, much like most other console RPGs, uses an
amount of MP.  However, in SD3 one is only able to carry 9 Faerie
Walnuts, each of which only recover 20 MP.  The only other two methods
of gaining MP are via Angel Grails (i.e. you die) or by using Dryad
spells (Leaf Saber, Pumpkin/Grenade Bomb, Poison Bubble).  Thus MP,
while not exactly *scarce* in availability, still needs to be conserved.

     Furthermore, since SD3 battles are in real-time, all magic spells
also have a delay time (unlike SD2) before casting.  It seems that the
more MP a spell costs, the longer the spell takes to cast, but that may
not be the only factor.  Also, time spent visiting the item/magic rings
count as real time as well, and so this allows for the technique called
Spam/MST (see the next section).  Time spent in the duration of a spell,
such as the Ancient spell which takes aeons to finish casting, is also
counted as real-time, which comes in very handy.

     It is important to note that during the "delay time" of a spell,
no special attributes (poison, et al) will affect the party member OR
enemy casting a spell, but it is still possible for a member to take
damage.  If a member is "killed," the HP goes down to 1, and after the
spell is cast, the party member/enemy dies.

     Level 2 and 3 techs in SD3 count as spells.  This is because like
spells, the screen darkens, the name of the tech is placed on the
top of the screen, and time "pauses" for the duration of the technique.
Items are much like Level 2/3 techniques.   The difference between
techs, items, and spells is that techs have no delay time, but may have
lower priority than an enemy spell (i.e. you may have to wait after 
pressing the "Tech" button - usually B), items have no delay time and
maximum priority (as soon as you select an item, it "casts"), and spells
have delay time and priority increases if the spell's delay time is
"over" - that is, if the spell was supposed to cast but hasn't yet.  All
of this leads to Spam/MST as is described in the next section.

      Most spells do relatively little damage for the MP usage, except
for those which the enemy is weak against (i.e. using Evil Gate on
Bucca Island).  Thus, it is generally a better idea to whack enemies
with weapons, which do more damage, or else to cast spell-ups or
saber magics.  In other words, I don't like Angela at all.  So why am I
writing a FAQ on magic casting?  Because this is how I play when I use

3.  Magic Casting Techniques (Spam/MST et al.)
     Having said all of that stuff in section 2 about spell delay time,
one would think that spells can turn out to be pretty ineffective.  And
they are.  Most attack spells take too long to cast, and don't do quite
as much damage as using a saber-spell / power-up spell and simply
whacking an enemy in the meanwhile.

     However, there are a bunch of techniques which will come up to be
very handy, and often will make spells particularly effective.

  Minor Table of Contents

     1.  Basic MST - Magic Succession Trick
     2.  Basic Spam Magic - Magic Delay Reduction
     2.5.Spam Magic with Techs/Items
     3.  Spam/MST - the Kill Everything in your Path combination
     4.  Spamming Aura Wave (yeouch)
     5.  Death-Defying recovery Trick (DDT ^_^)
     6.  Additional Comments

     1)  Basic MST - Magic Succession Trick

     Originally 'discovered,' or rather reported, by Articuno3476346 
(I don't know what the exact numbers are and I'm too lazy to repeat
them.  Pretty much, the credit is simply for coining the term MST),
the MST allows you to cast several spells at once.  Here, I elaborate
on the nature of said trick.

     In Basic MST, you select a main party member which has the worst
spells in the party (usually the fighter).  Then, you cast a spell with
one party member, then during that delay time you cast a spell with the
second party member.  If necessary you can cast a spell with your main
party member.   Since you've taken all that time accessing your menu,
real time has been passing by and the first two spells will be cast.  At
this time, if you have selected a third spell, that will also be cast.

     However, in using Basic MST it is advantageous only to cast two
spells, because this way your hero character can sit there and lay down
the shmack in the form of lots of physical attacks on, say, a boss.

     Furthermore, when used in conjunction with spam-magic, you either
want a main character so that you can quickly tap the X (menu) button
or so that you can quickly tap B (tech) and cast a level-2 technique.

     2)  Basic Spam-Magic - Magic Delay Reduction

     For those of you who have played on MUDs, you know what spamming
magic is - simply keep entering "cast attack spell" again and again and
again.  Those of you who have played SD2 (Secret of Mana) should
remember spamming Thunderbolt again and again as well.  Originally, this
was the idea behind Spam-Magic for SD3, however since having played and
experimented a lot, it seems that the main idea behind Spam Magic is to
reduce delay time on spells to zero.  This comes in extraordinarily
handy with support spells like Heal Light and Power Up.

     Basic Spam-Magic involves hammering with only one spell.  Advanced
Spam-Magic is covered under Spam/MST.

     In Basic Spam-Magic, you select one spell and cast it with your
support party member.  After selection of a spell, quickly tap the X
button to go back to your own menu.  Since spell delay time passes in
real-time, simply allow time to pass while watching your item ring or
whatever.  In fact, hold right if you wish to watch your item ring spin
'round and 'round and 'round.  When you feel that enough time has passed
(allow extra time, say 20-30 seconds, for spells like Ancient and such)
you may cancel the menu ring.  The spell which you have selected will
instantaneously cast. 

    [Note:  If you are using an emulator, save state before cancelling
your menu ring.  If the spell doesn't cast because a boss's spell is
taking higher priority, simply load state, and sit for another ten to
twenty seconds (the fastforward key helps here).  Then save state again
and NOW cancel the menu ring.  It may take several save states if you
are having trouble with a particular high-priority spell, like a magic
counter-spell which a boss is using against you.]

     If you are quick enough in tapping your X button, you can repeat
the basic Spam trick.  This allows you to cast lots and lots of spells
without taking *ANY* damage whatsoever.  Most bosses become a joke if
you have the patience (I don't) to repeat this continuously with a very
powerful spell.  This is even more true with the Spam/MST trick.

     Most of the time when using Basic Spam Magic, you'll probably find
that you're casting Heal Light and such spells - in which case you only
cast a single spell with spam-magic.  If you're casting attack spells,
Spam/MST is likely to be far more effective.  But single-spam with Heal
Light is a really good idea, because this eliminates delay time, which
means that a single dose of Heal Light is essentially like using an item
(remember that normally, it takes time to cast Heal Light and so your
weakened party member has a chance of getting killed before you cast the
heal spell).  On the other hand, though, this is why Carlie is so good:
at high levels, she has VIRTUALLY NO LAG TIME when casting Heal Light.
You won't even need Spam/MST.


     It should be noted that many bosses have a counter for each magic
spell/level 2+ tech/attack-magic item that you cast.  Examples are the
infamous Bill and Ben [Shadow Dive], the Dark-Shine Knight [Random dark
sword techs], Jagan [DeathSpell], and others.  So be careful when using
Spam and/or MST.  Save state often.  If you get caught off-guard, you
could potentially be hit with tons upon tons of party-destroying spells.

     Some enemies randomly counter, but others (Bill and Ben) are almost
guaranteed to counter each and every spell/tech you use.  And Shadow
Dive %@$#ing HURTS.  Turn off your allies' level two techs before you
fight them the second time.

     2.5)  Delay Reduction with Items/Techs

     Remeber, since techs and items have no delay time, you may wish to
have your main character save up for a tech or something, use MST to
cast two spells, and then use your tech/item very quickly after having
selected your two spells.  Since techs and items have a duration of
their own which passes in real-time, they will help the magic delay time
to go down, after which your two party members's spells will be cast.

     A fairly simple example of this is to cast attack spells during
battle as soon as you have saved up a Level 2/3 technique for your main
fighter character.  This comes in handy for those who prefer to deal
damager rather than 

     A much more useful example of this, is to save up a level 1 tech
with the character you're controlling.  Press B to use the tech, and
then immediately afterwards press X and pick out a spell for general
consumption.  The time spent performing the tech counts as part of the

     3)  Spam/MST - the Kill Everything In Your Path combination

     Ah, now something really useful.  Since Spam-Magic is essentially
the removal of delay time, this allows for some pretty amazing spamming
of magic when you use the MST in conjunction.  In other words, Spam/MST
is the savior of those who don't level up enough. :)

     Simply cast one spell, then another, then access your main party's
menu ring.  Use your little Blaster Master trick *grin* and wait for a
few seconds.  Let go and you get to cast two spells.

     Now if you have time, after the first spell casts, quickly access
the menu ring and use that first party member to cast a spell...again.
Do this with the second and third and fourth... et al. spells.  This is
simply a much-more-efficient version of Spam Magic.  But since it 
incorporates ideas from MST, I'm calling it Spam/MST.

     If you really want your main char to be casting spells, you can
actually do so.  Instead of cancelling the menu when you feel that your
spells are ready to cast, go and select a spell instead.  Thus your
third spell should cast sometime soon after the first two.  The
disadvantage, and it's quite a big one at that, of this technique is
that you no longer have the ability to access your menu button from the
main character.  IMHO this is most definitely not worth it, as you have
to *wait* before you can start another round of spells.

     However, more often than not, you will only be using Spam/MST for
a single round of spells.  For example, if you're beginning a boss
battle, you want to cast things like Lunatic, Power/Mind/Speed/Def-Up,
AND any sabers - all as quickly as possible.  Do so with Spam/MST. ...
wait, actually that requires several shots of spells.  But during the
middle of a battle, you probably want to only use single shots of your
Spam/MST spells so that you can continue whacking away with your weapons
-- since we impatient people hate waiting for spells to cast, and
besides, weapons tend to do more damage in less time.

     An important note to keep in mind when using Spam/MST is that you
want to cast LONGER-DURATION spells, i.e. Ancient, first.  Longer
duration means that you can waste more time waiting for your other
spells to cast - which gives them higher priority with regards to the
enemy and/or boss's own spells.  This isn't always possible, however,
because if you cast Ancient, and then Heal Light using Carlie, using
Spam/MST will probably result in Carlie casting Heal Light first.

     Another important note is that with those bosses which counter
spells/level 2+ techs -- if you stop for even one second while doing your
little Spam/MST trick, chances are pretty good that you'll be TOAST and
then some.  I forgot to mention this, but I think the Dragon Emperor 
counters with Ancient.  Although that isn't half as bad as Bill and Ben,
or Jagan.

     Sigh...for something so awesome I don't seem to be doing it justice
by only having a few paragraphs on the subject.  Hehe.

     4)  Spamming Aura Wave (yeouch)

     Since you don't get Aura Wave until your third class change, let's
just forget about anything below that class.  Besides, Aura Wave means
little beneath that point.  I believe Grell Oils cast Aura Wave, as well
as ... Gold Wolf Souls? ... but it doesn't matter all that much.  If you
like, go ahead and collect those items, using them all at once - this is
actually a pretty good idea because it allows for some instant dealing
of large amounts of damage - with potential to do more than DeathSpell,
even at lower levels.

     Frankly, Aura Wave is the most kick-ass spell in existence when
used in conjunction with Spam/MST.  Simply make sure your main party
member has a good, single-target (Lise Star Lancer for example) level 3
tech, and that an alternate party member has Aura Wave.  Two characters
have this spell - Kevin as God Hand and Hawk as Wanderer.  Kevin might
be a better choice because you'll end up using Hawk's MP for other
things, like attacking and such.  No, on second thought, Hawk can sap MP
as the Wanderer if you have Poison Bubble and if the current enemy is
weak enough against it.  Besides...Aura Wave only costs 3 MP.

     Now, in the process of using Spam/MST, make sure one of your spells
is Aura Wave, and that it is cast on your main character.  As soon as
the spells are cast, hold the B button.  Hopefully you will instantly
use your Level 3 tech.  With any luck you may end up casting the level 3
tech a second time (Thanks so much to that guy in Magus's FAQ for
telling us all about that trick) for a net of something like 1000-2000
HP of damage.  If you are sick enough so as to have Angela sufficiently
leveled up (say level 60 or so) with DeathSpell, you can increase the
damage per round to the amount of 2000-3000 HP.  Which, of course, is
utterly and madly sick and terrifying, but anyhow.

     As soon as your tech is done casting (once or twice) quickly begin
the madness again by tapping the X button and making your usual Spam/MST
rounds.  But again, I hate waiting, and so I don't often do this.

     5)  Death-Defying recovery Trick (DDT ^_-)

     This is also listed in Magus's FAQ, and it was added by somebody
or another (I will check all these names at some point...).  It's really
useful... I mean, USEFUL.  It isn't the same as Spam/MST, but it's still
a magic casting technique, and it's important for survival.

     Since your HP remains at 1 if you are casting a spell, when a party
member of yours "dies," quickly have him/her cast a spell, and then use
a healing item on said member.  There isn't really a good way of using
Heal Light in this situation, unless you think you can spam Heal Light
faster than your party member dies.

     However, remember to let your party members who are low on MP die,
as Angel Grails will restore MP.  This comes in handy, simply 'cause you
get another 99 or so MP (ehehe) with which to spam DeathSpell/Marduk
until things die and the sky falls down.

     6)  Additional Comments

   > Non-elemental spells and Aura Wave are extremely useful for most
battles.  If you have them...use them!

   > Marduk, while it doesn't do great damage, silences, which is the
most useful thing you could possibly ask for from a summon spell.  Stun
Wind and Stone Cloud are REALLY handy.  But, for bosses, most effects
(besides Lunatic) are pointless, in which case you want to have Marduk
anyway, in addition to spells like DeathSpell, Double Spell, Rainbow,
Ancient, all that jazz...level 3 elemental spells are fine, but the
problem with final bosses is that they don't like elemental spells all
too much...and most of them change elements from time to time (making
people with sabers spiffy!).

     Okay, admittedly petrify is far superior to silence, because it
rocks (literally and figuratively).  However, note that this has a
tendency not to work on Dark Priests / Mages, because often they'll
be casting spells when you petrify them, which means that they will be
immune to the petrification.  Oh well...nothing's perfect.

   > One should note that level 2+ elemental spells, Angela's final
spells, and Lise's summons, among other spells, are best used with the
Spam/MST trick simply because they take so long to cast.

   > *NEW* and *IMPROVED* and *IMPORTANT*:  If your main character has
an attack spell which you would like to use, save up for a level 1 tech.
When you have your tech, use it to attack, but as soon as you press the
B button, press ... uh ... X for your *own* menu ring.  Cast a spell.
Since you're already performing a tech, you won't stop, however this
cuts down bigtime on the "delay time" since you're invincible during a
level 1 tech.  (hah...I said "Big time."  One day I'll be running for
veep, just you wait Dick Cheney!)

   > This is unrelated, but when you level up, there's a significant
delay time before the music starts up again (after you've picked your
stat).  If you have a level 1 tech saved up, just hold down the B button
and whack away several times, because you won't see any damage and the
meter won't go down - BUT the damage will all show up after the music
starts again.  This is crazy with Hawk, Kevin, and Lise - but especially
Lise (surprise!).  If you don't have any tech saved up, then go ahead
and use regular attacks (here Kevin is better).  Whatever it is you're
attacking is dead meat.

   > More notes on sapping MP:
           (1) In increasing power, the Druid attack-sap spells can be
               ranked thusly:

               (weak)   Pumpkin Bomb  [Item: Pumpkin Bomb    ]
               (medium) Grenade Bomb  [Item: ...spell only?  ]
               (strong) Poison Bubble [Item: Assassin Bug Eye]

               It's a very good idea to stock up on Assassin Bug Eyes.
               Don't use them at the beginning of the game, just stick
               them in storage and save them for later bosses:  they sap
               more MP than Grenade Bomb, and of course, it doesn't cost
               MP to cast if you're using the bug-eyes.
           (2) Leaf Saber is much more effective in general, since it
               can be cast on anyone, and weapons hurt, and stuff.

   > Silver Dart is the greatest spell in the game.  It costs 2 MP, has 
a faster casting time than even Holy Orb or whatever that spell is
called, (Holy Ball?!) does more damage than Holy Orb... this is the main
reason IMO that Hawk kicks serious butt as a Rogue.  Run about leveling
up, cast Silver Dart until you're low on MP (save about 30!) and then
continually cast Pumpkin Bomb until you get your MP back...then repeat!
Remember to use this if you're in the Dark Castle level...it costs a hell
of a lot less than DeathSpell, and you don't have to be higher level than
the enemy, unlike Turn Undead.  Don't even bother with Spam/MST when
using Silver Dart...the casting time is so incredibly quick it doesn't
really matter.

4.  Credits
Original FAQ idea by PentaroX, of course.  The great majority of the FAQ
was written by myself.  Lots of ideas, however, come from people listed

Lots of thanks to Magus, for that amazing 350+kb FAQ of his, and for
posting all that crap I emailed to him before writing this FAQ. :)

Thanks to that Articuno guy for being the first to report the MST trick.
^_^  And thanks for arguing in regards to the superiority of MST,
because frankly I wouldn't have written this FAQ about Spam/MST if I
hadn't read your comments.  Hehe, and they say conflict does nothing
for the good of humanity.

Credit for that stuff about the DDT (which is my name for the trick,
btw) goes to whoever is listed in Magus's FAQ.  Go check that FAQ for 
just about anything SD3 which you could possibly wish to know about.

Same goes for the person who mentioned that holding the B button down
will allow you to cast your techs twice in a row occasionally.  This is
what makes spamming Aura Wave so crazy and invaluable.

There's some other really good stuff at GameFAQs.com, which is the
reason I had any idea about SD3 FAQs, and half of the reason for my
writing this FAQ.  Amazing.

Thanks to Pioneer for producing El Hazard, which has kept me occupied
while bored.  Also thanks to Square for producing the Seiken Densetsu
series of games.  Thanks to Microsoft for making this crap operating
system which I'm still using (because I can't get Linux working), among
other things.  Thank you, the reader, for putting up with me.  Thanks
to the number 42.  And many thanks to the Tootsie Pop company for 
creating the post-modern paradox of licks(tm).

Finally, remember that THE CAT IS WIN:

5.  Legal Mumbo-Jumbo
This document is copyright by PentaroX, 2000.  Those who wish to use the
FAQ for non-commercial purposes may do so, but I require that you send
me an email at pentarou@NOSHPAMnekonekowai.com (remove the NOSHPAM)
first simply to inform me of your use of my FAQ.

Portions which have been taken from contributors are copyrighted by the
respective contributors.

Commercial usage is strictly prohibited.  This also includes translating
my FAQs into Swahili and then selling them printed on wee little sheets
of paper.

No, I don't want to join any websites or buy any candy.  I don't talk to
strangers.  They're evil.  Yeah.  Strangers are evil.

Also, if you have anything to do with eFront, go away.

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