Overview – The Lancer is a popular class in the Final Fantasy series of games, even if it is difficult to use in Final Fantasy Tactics. The main benefit of the Lancer is the ability to Jump. This special attack deals significantly higher than normal damage and makes the Lancer immune to attacks until it completes. It, unfortunately, has the disadvantage that it fails if the target moves before the attack completes, a problem that doesn’t exist in any other Final Fantasy game. The following guide to the Lancer job in Final Fantasy Tactics will help you best take advantage of the job benefits and spend your job points wisely.
Prerequisites – Unlocking the Lancer job requires a level 3 Thief. This is a strange progression, because neither Thief nor Archer is particularly synergistic with Lancer. Only Squire abilities are likely to meaningfully help, which means you should generally skip past Thief and Archer as quickly as possible while building up to a Lancer.
Advancement – A Lancer is required to unlock three different jobs, but can’t unlock any on its own. You need a level 4 Lancer for either a Mime or a Dancer and a level 2 Lancer for a Samurai. The latter also a level 3 Knight and a level 4 Monk and is the most synergistic advanced job that a Lancer can progress to.
Equipment – A Lancer can equip a spear, an armored helmet, a shield, cloth, and armor. The heavy armor combined with the Jump attack makes a Lancer very difficult to kill. Unfortunately, the only other jobs that also wear heavy armor are not prerequisites for becoming a Lancer, so it requires a lot of effort to get this character to a point that the character can easily switch jobs without needing new equipment.
Jump: Level Jump2 (150 JP) – In order to use the Jump attack your Lancer needs to have at least one Level Jump. This dictates how many squares horizontally the Lancer can Jump during the attack. Because it is dirt cheap, you might wan to pick up this skill just to unlock the feature, but it is mostly a waste of JP. Every further distance jump completely negates the benefit from all lower distance jumps you have learned.
Jump: Level Jump3 (300 JP) – One extra square is not worth double the cost in job points.
Jump: Level Jump4 (450 JP) – If you are very impatient, you may decide to learn this skill, but you will have essentially increased the time to getting the skill you really need by 50%.
Jump: Level Jump5 (600 JP) – There is absolutely no good justification for getting this skill. Once you have 600 JP, you only need half again as many to get the optimal Level Jump8 skill.
Jump: Level Jump8 (900 JP) – Unless you give in and buy an earlier skill just to slightly unlock the usefulness of this job, this is the first skill you should pick up for your Lancer. This is the longest Jump a Lancer can make.
Jump: Vertical Jump2 (100 JP) – This isn’t critical for the Jump attack, but it does allow your Lancer to attack enemies that are at a slightly different height. Just like the Level Jump skills, you are better off waiting to get the highest option and ignoring all others, but the cost for this is so low that you might grab it early.
Jump: Vertical Jump3 (200 JP) – You should never learn this skill and Vertical Jump2 on the same character. And, just like the last skill, the only reason to learn this is for a slight early benefit while working up to Vertical Jump8. At 200 job points, you aren’t losing too much time if you pick this up, but it is still wasted JP in the long run.
Jump: Vertical Jump4 (300 JP) – A Lancer already has a good enough natural jumping ability that one of the previous two abilities should cover almost any need you have except in cases where you need incredible vertical. This middle ground is basically worthless.
Jump: Vertical Jump5 (400 JP) – If you have earned 400 JP, you are practically halfway to Vertical Jump 8. Don’t waste those job points.
Jump: Vertical Jump6 (500 JP) – This is even worse than the last skill because it only helps in an incredibly small number of extra situations more than Vertical Jump5 and costs even more.
Jump: Vertical Jump7 (600 JP) – There is a very small argument for picking up Vertical Jump7. The next skill in this chain costs 50% more and only grants one more square of jumping skill. If you actually don’t intend to keep this character as a Lancer, despite all the effort you have put into is so far, you might as well stop, but since you will usually earn at least another 300 JP before leaving this job, you should ignore this skill completely.
Jump: Vertical Jump8 (900 JP) – This is the best vertical Jump you can get. You should be patient and build up to learn it, but only after learning Level Jump8.
Reaction: Dragon Spirit (560 JP) – Dragon Spirit has a chance to resurrect your Lancer immediately after taking lethal damage from a physical attack. A Lancer with a very high Brave score is nearly impossible to kill, due to this. If you don’t intend to take advantage of Jump skills, this should be the first skill you learn from this job.
Support: Equip Spear (400 JP) – Except for a few rare items, spears are not notably better than swords. There is no good reason to equip a spear on a character that isn’t a Lancer unless you also intend for that character to have Jump as a secondary skill.
Move: Ignore Height (700 JP) – There are a few battles in the game that have absolutely ridiculous walls or cliffs. This ability allows a character to completely ignore the normal movement restrictions that the game expects during those battles and can give you a huge edge. It is a great skill to learn, though you are likely to not equip it until you engage in one of those battles and lose. Just reset your game, equip Ignore Height, and you can usually set up an easy win. Also, Archers love this skill for attacking from unassailable positions.
Strategy – The Lancer requires an incredible amount of patience. Until your Lancer has learned both Level Jump8 and Vertical Jump8, you basically need to treat your Lancer like a Knight. This is frustrating because it means you will basically be relying on secondary skills until then and neither Thief nor Archer offers amazing secondary skills for a warrior character. If you are only progressing a character to Lancer for the purpose of moving to advanced jobs, have the character pick up Dragon Spirit and Ignore Height and ignore everything else. Jump skills are nearly worthless if you don’t focus a lot of effort on them. The Lancer can be an amazing member of your party, especially if you can put the Lancer on a high wall or cliff and attack with any fear of retribution, but you need to spend 1800 job points before the character can do its job properly, which is very frustrating.