Overview – The Chemist job in Final Fantasy Tactics is one of the two most basic jobs in the game. It is designed to give your characters a solid starting ground before entering more advanced jobs, but it is also good enough overall that you may keep a character as a Chemist for long periods of time. The following guide to the Chemist job in Final Fantasy Tactics will help you best take advantage of the job benefits and spend your job points wisely.
Prerequisites – There are no requirements to switching a character to a Chemist other than the character existing.
Advancement – Once a Chemist has reached level 2, the character can directly switch to either a Priest or a Wizard. Before switching to a Wizard, you will want your Chemist to have a few Item skills and you definitely want the character to learn Auto Potion before switching to either job.
Equipment – A Chemist can equip knives, guns, hats, and clothes. The ability to equip a gun is the main reason you may return a character to a Chemist late in the game. It is a very good weapon for keeping a character safely in the rear while also saving MP.
Item: Potion (30 JP) – Unlike most other RPGs, characters can’t just inherently use items. You need to teach each character to use each type of item in the game. The Chemist is the job that teaches those skills. Potion is critical during the early portion of the game when you will primarily use potions for healing. At about the mid point of the game you will cease using potions altogether and even completely remove them from your inventory. At that point, this skill becomes worthless.
Item: Hi-Potion (200 JP) – This skill will be your workhorse skill for much of the game. Eventually you will need to switch to the next level of healing, but until you reach that point, this is the main way to heal. Just like the Potion skill, Hi-Potion eventually becomes useless when you stop having high potions in your inventory.
Item: X-Potion (300 JP) – X-Potion is the best single target healing skill in the Item set. While it is a great skill that you will use for the entirety of the game once a character learns it, don’t waste JP on it early. You won’t even find an X-Potion in the early portion of the game and you have absolutely no reason to start using this skill until at least one character has more than 70 hit points. Even then it is pretty much a waste until a character has at least 100 hit points.
Item: Ether (200 JP) – This is another skill that only really helps in the early portion of the game. Ethers restore enough MP for weak spells, but don’t do much for higher level spells. You won’t need this skill at all until you have at least one character that actually uses MP for a skill or spell.
Item: Hi-Ether (300 JP) – Once you actually start using hi-ethers in combat, this skill will be useful for the remainder of the game. There are very few skills that restore MP in the middle of a battle, so once this item becomes available in stores, you should pick up this skill immediately.
Item: Elixir (900 JP) – Near the very end of the game you may find yourself using nothing but elixirs to heal hit points or MP. But, until then, this is basically a desperation skill. It is worth getting for that desperate situation, but it isn’t critical by any means.
Item: Antidote (70 JP) – Esuna is so costly that Antidote is a much better option when you need to remove poison from an ally. This is another skill that only really matters in the early game. As the game progresses, it is more efficient to heal the hit point damage of poison rather than to remove it.
Item: Eye Drop (80 JP) – This skill is nearly critical. Darkness absolutely devastates your characters, especially in the early portion of the game when you will have a lot of characters who have no options except to make a basic attack. You should learn this one of the first skills for just about every Chemist you have.
Item: Echo Grass (120 JP) – Until you have a spell caster in your party, this skill is completely meaningless. Once you do get one in your party, you should learn it immediately. Silence completely disarms any spell casting units you have.
Item: Maiden’s Kiss (200 JP) – Maiden’s Kiss is one of the least useful Chemist skills. By the time you start to need it you should have at least one Priest and at least one Wizard. Both jobs can remove this effect and the Frog spell from Wizard is just more effective than using a Maiden’s Kiss.
Item: Soft (250 JP) – Petrify is a common enough effect in this game, and devastating enough, that you should make sure that every Chemist in your party knows the Soft skill. It isn’t more critical than healing, MP restoration, Eye Drop, or Echo Grass, but if you already have those abilities covered, then definitely pick up this skill.
Item: Holy Water (400 JP) – Holy Water is almost never critical and is basically completely unnecessary until later in the game. At the point that you start running out of things to buy from this job you might as well pick it up.
Item: Remedy (700 JP) – Despite the very high cost of this skill and the high cost of remedies in the store, you should try to get this skill on at least one Chemist early. Besides the fact that it is the only way for a Chemist to cure Oil, Confusion, and Sleep, it also cures multiple status effects at the same time. Esuna from Priest is better, but this is a good backup option that doesn’t cost MP.
Item: Phoenix Down (90 JP) – The only skill worth learning before Phoenix Down is Potion. Resurrection skills from other classes are costly and often prone to failure. Phoenix downs never fail and are comparably cheap.
Reaction: Auto Potion (400 JP) – Every single Chemist should learn this skill before leaving this job. The skill uses a potion on your Chemist when your Chemist takes damage. If you don’t have any normal potions, it will use the weakest of a Hi-Potion, X-Potion, or Elixir. After a certain point in the game you will intentionally get rid of all weak potions just to make this skill even more useful.
Support: Throw Item (350 JP) – This Support skill is completely worthless if you don’t also have Item equipped as a secondary skill on the character. If you do, it essentially allows the character to use items at range. It is generally better just to give the character a movement boost and use a better Support skill.
Support: Maintenance (250 JP) – Enemy characters have a frustrating predilection for using Break skills. This isn’t too bad if the enemies break an easily replaceable item but it can be devastating when an enemy breaks an item like Save the Queen. If you have an ally with a lot of unique items, you may want to learn this skill to prevent Break skills from working on that character.
Support: Equip Change (0 JP) – The skill is free. Learn it immediately upon creating a Chemist. The ability to change equipment in battle is pretty much just a weak version of Maintenance, but you might as well teach it to every character and equip it on every character until they have learned something better.
Move: Move-Find Item (100 JP) – This ability allows your character to automatically search locations that the character moves to. Only a few locations per map have items, so unless you rely on a guide, this requires a lot of patience and luck to find items. If you do look at a guide, you can find some unique items with this skill that can’t be obtained any other way in Final Fantasy Tactics.
Strategy – Chemists are similar to Samurai, in the sense that you should never learn an Item skill with a Chemist until that item is available, unless you have so many JP available that you can learn every skill in the job. Start off quickly by teaching every Chemist Potion and Phoenix Down and then pick up whatever skills you think will be most useful. If you are training multiple Chemists at the same time, which you should be, have them learn Item skills in a different order for a better variety of available items. Auto Potion is the one skill that every Chemist should learn before becoming a Priest or a Wizard. Also, since Chemists can use guns, this is a very good job to switch spell casters to when you are not directly trying to level the spell casting job. Guns will let you save MP during longer fights.