Overview – The main advantage of the Bard job in Final Fantasy Tactics is that all Bard Songs affect every ally on the map, regardless of position. This benefit doesn’t matter on a lot of maps, but can be critical on some maps where your allies are split by geography. A Bard is essentially incapable of dealing damage, so you need to take really good advantage of these universal buffs if you include a Bard in your party. The following guide to the Bard job in Final Fantasy Tactics will help you best take advantage of the job benefits and spend your job points wisely.
Prerequisites – The Bard is unlocked by having a character that is male and is a level 4 Summoner and a level 4 Mediator. Since these two jobs also require the Bard to have spent time in every other spell casting job, a Bard has a lot of options for a secondary skill and just about any choice is good, except maybe for Yin-Yang Magic.
Advancement – There is no advanced job that requires levels in Bard.
Equipment – Bards can equip harps, hats, and clothes. This equipment set is even more restrictive than most spell casters, in fact more similar to some warrior classes. Since you probably will only have one Bard on your team, just equip the Bard with the best harp you can find.
Sing: Angel Song (100 JP) – Angel Song restores a small amount of MP to all allies. Bards don’t even use MP, so this song is wasted on at least one character on your team, unless the Bard has a secondary skill that uses MP. Even if your Bard does, this ability is really only useful if one of your characters is just a little shy of casting a spell you desperately need to cast.
Sing: Life Song (100 JP) – Life Song grants healing to all allies. The healing is relatively low, but if the Bard is under the effect of Haste, you might be able to spam this fast enough to effectively give your entire party Regen. It isn’t a great Song, but is a good choice when nothing better is required.
Sing: Cheer Song (100 JP) – Cheer Song should be one of the first Song skills that any Bard learns. It increases the speed of every character, including the Bard. This benefit will ramp up over the battle and should easily let your party outpace the enemy.
Sing: Battle Song (100 JP) – The problem with Battle Song is effectively the same problem that Angel Song has, except more so. Battle Song increases the attack power of all allies. But, since your Bard doesn’t attack, this is wasted on at least one character. If you have even one more character in your party that doesn’t attack with weapons, you are not getting enough benefit from this Song.
Sing: Magic Song (100 JP) – Magic Song works exactly like Battle Song, except it improves magic attack power. A Bard is more likely to have an attack spell, but the odds that even the majority of your team has attack spells is very low. You could create an all Summoner team, for example, and this would be incredibly powerful on such a team, but it isn’t likely.
Sing: Nameless Song (100 JP) – Nameless Song should be the first Song that any Bard learns. All allies gain Reraise, Regen, Protect, Shell, and Haste. This is amazing. Start every battle with this and then follow this up with either Cheer Song or Life Song and you have either a super fast team or a super regenerating team.
Sing: Last Song (100 JP) – Last Song is risky but potentially amazing. When used, the CT of all allies is set to 100. This means every ally gets an action. Unfortunately, if any enemies survive the onslaught of attacks you will use, they will all act in a bunch next, which can spell some nasty retaliation. It is possible, though very difficult to seriously abuse this. If you have a Bard and a Dancer in the same party and your team is previously Hasted and affected by Cheer Song at least once, you can use Last Song followed by Last Dance repeatedly to effectively lock the enemy out of actions. The Haste will eventually wear off, but until it does, this combination is brutal.
Reaction: MA Save (450 JP) – When the Bard takes hit point damage, he gains a boost to magic attack. This benefit is almost completely worthless because spell casters can’t absorb a lot of damage before dying. Like every other Reaction ability, this just doesn’t compare to Auto Potion.
Reaction: Face Up (500 JP) – By the time a character becomes a Bard, you should have already been able to give the Bard whatever Faith value you want that character to have by using a Mediator. But, if for some reason you haven’t, you can use this ability in combination with healing or buff spells to increase the Faith of the Bard. It is a corner case benefit, but pretty much the only good reason to take Face Up.
Move: Move +3 (1000 JP) – Move +3 is pretty much the best movement skill in the game. There is no good reason that a Bard should leave this job before learning this skill. Songs are so cheap that you might as well learn them all first, but then Move +3 should be your priority.
Move: Fly (1200 JP) – Fly would be really impressive if you could also have a movement increasing skill with it. Because you can’t, it is just mediocre, though it does allow you to put this character in places where most enemies can’t attack him. Fly also isn’t particularly interesting because Teleport was previously available to the Bard. Still, the Bard has less than 2000 JP worth of interesting skills, not including this one, so you may very well learn it because you just have a lot of spare JP lying around.
Strategy – The trick to using a Bard effectively is never moving, or at most, moving once at the beginning of battle. A Bard that isn’t moving is effectively under Hasted. Add to that actual Haste by using Nameless Song at the start of every battle and a Bard can quickly buff allies. You generally want to equip a Bard with anything that will increase the Bard’s speed and then just spam the same Song over and over again. Which Song you use depends entirely on what you need for a particular battle. If you aren’t interested in Songs, the entire reason to be in this job is Move +3. If that is why you made a Bard, simply equip a good secondary skill, use it during any battles and stop being a Bard the moment you learn Move +3.