Festival of Wonder Banner Analysis

December 23rd, 12AM PST / 8AM UTC

There are many ways in which this banner can play out. Unfortunately for us, no configuration has really arisen as a front runner so it’s very difficult to offer any advice or reach any conclusions.

All is not lost though. This is the first lucky so we’re going to find out the true contents before it becomes an issue. Additionally, from what I’ve seen, every configuration of the banner is similar to the last and they’re almost all bad for most players of the game. “BSB+ Medicas” would be the only collection I would say people should potentially pull on if not on a newer account.

Older SSB medicas like Selphie’s Dreamstage and Rosa’s Divine Heal are great to help CM Torment content for those extra 5* motes, but are aged and fail to contribute in newer content enough to warrant dropping 25 mythril for in this era.

Relm, Aphmau, Eiko, and Rosa’s USBs almost certainly being on this banner are going to cause some tunnel vision and make it hard to pass up. I just ask that you take a look at the rest and see if you can find enough good things on there to justify the expenditure.

December 24th, 12AM PST / 8AM UTC

This banner’s contents are less ambiguous, but the expected pool is much more odd than the first. Last festival had a BSB/USB/CSB pool in this slot, which is undoubtedly good. This has what seems to be a pool of nothing but BSBs, which is considerably less desirable.

I’m really not sure why they’d walk back the power level here and the banner does say “drop chance” so there’s a shred of hope that this is more than a pool of BSBs. That’s a good thing, because it may actually turn it into a pullable banner for people other than new players. The ability overhaul we just experienced moved a great deal of BSBs in the game very far down on the list of strength. Many of them are now just SSBs with an added 20% stat boost, which is simply not good enough to drop mythril on in this era without at least the shot of something greater.

If BSB only as expected, avoid unless you’re on a new account and need the burst commands to replace abilities while you accumulate orbs.

December 25th, 12AM PST / 8AM UTC

Pull. Good luck.

December 25th, 5PM PST / December 26th, 1AM UTC

Locke CSB
Krile CSB
Refia USB
Locke OSB (+Holy Dagger)
Papalymo BSB (+Fire Rod)
Yda BSB (+Fire Fist)
Refia BSB (+Fire Bracer)
Krile BSB
Vivi BSB2
Braska BSB (+Fire Staff)
Scott BSB
Locke LMR (+Fire Bracer)
Krile LMR (+Fire Light Armor)

The Fire banner. With a 2/14 fire chain hit rate, this makes for one of the top fire banners we know of. Not only does it have the chains, but it has the two good LMR that belong to those chain holders. Refia’s USB is a good supporter to the chains, but may cause a wince or two since it also holds a place on the deservedly hyped Onion Knight banner coming in less than a month.

Beyond that, the supporting cast of bursts is decent, with still relevant standouts like Papalymo, Refia, and Vivi providing good SBs as well as elemental pieces of equipment.

A mono-elemental banner means you know if you need it or not. From there it’s up to you to decide if the banner itself suits your needs. I suggest comparing it to the first banner of the imminent FFVI event, or the second banner of the two month distant FFV event. See if the strengths of those banners somehow better align with your needs. If not, and you know you need to buff your fire damage, this is probably the place for you.

December 27th, 5PM PST / December 28th, 1AM UTC

Ingus CSB
Galuf USB (+Earth Hammer)
Bartz USB
Tifa OSB
Tifa BSB2
Guy BSB (+Earth Axe)
Bartz BSB3
Maria BSB
Rydia BSB
Gladiolus BSB
Ursula BSB
Ingus BSB
Tifa LMR (+Earth Light Armor)
Galuf LMR

The only festival banner with a single chain, this is probably the weakest banner of the event. Ingus’s chain is very good, but Galuf’s USB is underpowered and Tifa’s OSB doesn’t fit here as well as Locke’s does on the first banner. The top is only saved from utter defeat by the ever useful Bartz USB.

The bursts section has a good array though, with Guy and Tifa providing Imperils, Bartz chiming in with his USB supporting EnEarth, Maria’s still powerful 6 hit mage command, and Ingus’s better than it should be Oathsworn Espada“Oathsworn Espada [ID:6007]”
ATK and DEF +30% for 25 seconds

Tifa’s LMR is good, nice elemental armor, and works well with both her BSB2 and OSB which are both on the banner. Unfortunately, I don’t think highly of Tifa as an FFRK character. Her USB is underpowered and she hasn’t risen in the ranks versus other earth characters at any point. She’s also held back by being an earth monk, which does not have access to a good 5* ability with which to deal damage. I single her out because a chain is a chain and Bartz is Bartz, but it’s a tall task for them to carry a banner by themselves. Galuf certainly isn’t helping.

You’re thinking of pulling on this banner because you’re desperate for earth relics. I understand the struggle. I was in a similar hole prior to the last festival. This may be the best place for mono-earth from now until March’s festival, but I do offer an alternative in the first banner of the FFV event in a couple months. I have an open suggestion that everyone pulls here at least once for the chance at ageless elemental armor(9/14 relics on the banner are elemental, including two 6* swords), and most of that is earth. Dorgann is one of the best earth characters in the game but this festival banner does have it beat in the sheer amount earth SBs. Also worthy of note, Ingus’s BSB2 is on the Onion Knight banner in January. A strong possibility many of us will be sporting that once the event hits.

If it were up to me I’d rather not be forced into settling, but you may have little choice and I wish you all the best trying to unravel the mysteries of earth scarcity.

December 29th, 5PM PST / December 30th, 1AM UTC

Tidus CSB
Zack CSB
Kimahri USB
Cloud USB
Yuffie BSB2
Cloud BSB2
Alphinaud BSB
Bartz BSB2
Fujin BSB (+Wind Thrown)
Edge BSB
Tidus BSB2
Zack BSB
Yuffie LMR
Zack LMR

Despite Kimahri trying to spoil the party, this banner is a great find for anyone out there looking for Water and Wind in combination. Tidus’s chain is spectacular and Zack’s is good and made better used with Cloud’s USB for the overlap in Critical Chance and Critical Damage buffs.

The middle portion of the banner is a place of pairings, other than one important omission. Zack, Cloud, and Tidus all have access to bursts here that work well with their big guns on the top. Unfortunately, for some inexplicable reason, Kimahri does not. His USB, a tri-buff Water Radiant Shield“Water Radiant Shield 75%” [ID:28101]
Returns 75% of the damage taken to the attacker as Water damage
, is actually pretty good. His issue is there are no water abilities accessible to him, which could have been remedied with the availability of his decent BSB. Since it’s not here it makes his USB a bit of a dud, especially considering our foresight has shown that dragoons still don’t have any water abilities in the far future.

Beyond the matches with the top, the bursts have Yuffie, Alphinaud, Fujin, and Edge as standouts, and Bartz BSB2 for those looking to add that to your Bartz USB Infinity Gauntlet. Yuffie’s is an instant Imperil entry and honestly pretty damn nice in the hands of a water ninja, Alphinaud’s uses a timeless instant SUM command, Fujin’s has never been a huge damage dealer without mixing in her SSB but the MAG+RES debuff is so strong it’s still powerful for a lot of content, and finally Edge’s BSB is EnWater for a water ninja. Yuffie, Edge, and Shadow are all fairly obscene characters due to their LM2 access to 35% dualcasting of Ninja abilities, which is likely the highest DPS skill set in the game.

Zack’s LMR looks like a dud, but at least it’s additional damage, and it’s a way for him to contribute to his own chain until we get the Wind Celerity ability during the next festival three months from now. Unfortunately, I’m going to side with his +15% Celerity damage LM1 in all scenarios except if he’s capping all of his Celerity damage. Unlikely, but hey it could happen. Yuffie’s, in my estimation, is very good for her. In the next festival she gains a unique Flash Tech SB that opens her up to being a strong ninja of all three physical elements(Earth, Water, Dark), and this LMR works with all three as well so it’s a great pickup for her. No need to specifically pick it up here though, as it will almost certainly be with her USB2, UOSB, and FT on the same banner in three months.

This is a good banner, but having one of the power three at the top would cause me to reassess and compare to future banners that might better suit my needs. For example, I have Tidus’s chain and I’m generally pleased with where my Water is at for the near future, but I’m in the market for physical Wind. Since this banner has water and magical wind on it, I can look ahead and see that there’s a strong likelihood of an all physical Wind banner in the next festival due to the debut of Zack’s USB and Luneth’s UOSB. It’s a ways out, but with this banner’s strengths being a mixed bag for me and the next being specifically what I’m looking for, I’m okay with the wait.

In the reverse case, say you pulled for Cloud and ended up with one of those and you’re really in the market for Water. It’s been mined that there’s a strictly water banner in early January, likely headlined with Tidus’s USB and Edge’s USB that might be to your liking. The allure of Tidus’s CSB is strong, but with its pairing on this banner the drab Kimahri USB it may just be a crap shoot you’re not willing to subscribe to, so that Water banner is an alternative.

December 31st, 5PM PST / January 1st, 1AM UTC

Kain CSB
Snow CSB
Rinoa CSB
Lightning USB (+Lightning Sword)
Lenna BSB2
Squall BSB2
Edea BSB
Desch BSB
Shelke BSB (+Lightning Spear)
Lightning BSB2
Rinoa BSB2
Kain BSB (+Lightning Spear)
Squall LMR
Shantotto LMR

This banner has a very interesting top end. Chains are always desirable unless you have them. Two of these are new(Kain and Snow) and one is the rare Rinoa CSB which was robbed from our last festival. These 3CHAINZ are likely very desirable to a grand majority of players. Supporting them is little ol’ Lightning’s USB, which is a high tier Lightning option, as well as being one of the better dupes in the game since it’s a 6* native Lightning sword. If there’s a wrinkle to be found, it’s in Snow’s CSB since he actually has no way to deal Ice damage without a BSB command until the next festival when Monks get an Ice skill. Omega Drive would be your best alternative.

Among the BSBs, we see value in Squall’s true “USB”, his BSB2, a few strong bursts(Desch, Edea, and Lightning), and a couple lightning spears. Lenna’s inclusion is solely due to its weak Minor Ice resistance medica, and Shelke’s BSB is actually a highly competent instant penta-break outside of Magicite dungeons.

For LMRs we have a couple oddities, but they’re both very good so they can be forgiven for their strangeness. Squall’s provides him with EnIce at the start of the fight, which is powerful in the hands of a Snowspell Strike user. Shantotto’s is a Bartz clone allowing her to triple cast 10% of the time. A great LMR to be sure, just odd since nothing else belonging to the electric potato is present on the banner.

This is, in my opinion, the best banner of the festival for most people, and should be a sure target for those in need of Lightning and Ice Soul Breaks.

Lightning doesn’t really have an alternative banner to take a look at. JP’s next festival had another Lightning+Ice banner which has a higher likelihood of being broken up due to dual elemental, and there’s also the Vayne/Larsa FFXII banner that features Ashe and Reks USBs. The festival banner, if the elements are maintained, is likely to be better than this one but of course it is. The Vayne banner is good but appeals to a completely different crowd along with a bad mix between Reks’s 50% ATK buff USB and Ashe’s mage USB.

For Ice, there’s the same future festival banner, and the only other one I can find of note is the Dorgann FFV banner also mentioned inside my Banner 2 description above. Notable because of its many Earth and Ice relics, it’s a good draw for pretty much everyone and although Xezat isn’t an immensely powerful Ice character, he may hold you off for the power crept future.

January 2nd, 5PM PST / January 3rd, 1AM UTC

Seymour CSB (+Dark Staff)
Warrior of Light CSB
Marche USB
Garland OSB
Seymour BSB2
Ramza BSB2
Cid Raines BSB (+Dark Fist)
Warrior of Light BSB (+Holy Shield)
Golbez BSB (+Dark Rod)
Marche BSB
Shadow BSB
Orlandeau BSB
Seymour LMR (+Dark Rod)
Warrior of Light LMR

Lastly, the Dark and Holy banner. Seymour rocks another Quick Cast 2 chain which is swell, as well as an elemental staff, the only CSB with that distinction. Warrior of Light’s chain takes pressure off your healer with its HP Stock (2000)“HP Stock 2000 [ID:25901]”
Automatically restores HP, up to 2000 HP
, but its most important aspect to me is that it’s held by a knight. With the strength of Holy so focused in physical characters for now and for the foreseeable future, it makes Warrior of Light the right guy for the job even if he does have a suspect Legend Dive. Look no further than Marche’s obscene USB to find out why physical Holy is such a force to be reckoned with since he repeatedly gives High Quickcast to physical damage dealers when he uses Knight abilities. Garland’s OSB spoils an otherwise insane top 4, but Garland himself becomes a bit of a monster later with his USB and BSB2, so perhaps picking up his OSB here wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all if you have plans on venturing into the FFI banners of the future.

In the middle is a mix of useful SBs and elemental relics that soften the blow of chasing the top. Ramza’s BSB2 is a strong buffer that provides him the unique quality of being an entruster that can carry Affliction Break; a useful tool for the coming 4* Magicite dungeons. Raines BSB is legend, and continues to be so for a while yet. Shadow’s BSB is a better version of Edge’s, in that it instantly gives him EnDark, empowering his Dark Ninja abilities for devastating effect.

Down on the bottom are Seymour’s very good LMR that gives him a 25% chance to dualcast abilities that deal Dark damage, and Warrior of Light’s very bad LMR that gives him a few points of damage. Maybe.

Holy and Dark are paired up in many places, which give us some good banners to compare this to. The earliest and most similar banner would be Garland and Warrior of Light’s Banner 2 in the upcoming FFI event. Seems like a fairly simple decision between Garland’s physical CSB and Seymour’s magical.

Next would be the hyped Orlandeau FFT banner, similar to this one due to sharing Marche’s USB and Ramza’s BSB2. Elementally compared because of Orlandeau’s one-man wrecking crew strength with his Holy/Dark USB, it’s a tough decision on whether you value the separate chains or the monolithic ability doubling.

The presence of two chains and a respectable supporting cast makes this banner a target if you’re in the game for next tier Holy and Dark and can’t find a better banner in the near future that suits your needs better.

Limelit Stage Relic Draw

Will be updated when banner information is obtained.