How to Beat Corvus in Dragon Quest IX
So, I'm sure you stumbled onto this article after wanting to pull your hair out for being unable to beat Corvus' second form, which is also the final main boss in Dragon Quest IX. (Corvus' first form isn't particularly worthy of its own article. :P) I can't guarantee that I can make this fight painless, but I will give you a character setup to strive for, that should work most of the time unless he gets lucky with critical hits or his attack routine. Let's start with the recommended character setup.
The Final Boss of Dragon Quest IX
Suggested Character Setup
There are many ways to set up your party in Dragon Quest IX which can be a source of confusion for many players. While there's no right or wrong way to do so most of the time, I can tell you that for the Corvus fight, you want to have certain constants, even if the rest of your party differs:
- Your party should be at level 35 as a bare minimum. Level 40-45 is preferable if you want to attempt this fight without having skills from other vocations.
- Your whole party should be equipped with Life Bracers. 25 HP regeneration every turn adds up fast, and reduces the strain on your healer. Speaking of healers...
- Your healer MUST have a Wand and 100 Wand Skill. Seriously, the myriad of MP boosters you get from the Wand skill tree become ridiculous, and this is going to be a long fight unless you're incredibly lucky. I had a Level 35 Sage doing my healing for me.
- Your healer MUST have Multiheal. The ability to heal everyone is awesome in this fight, especially if he gets trigger happy with breath attacks. Good luck healing through that if he does it several turns straight and you don't have Multiheal.
- If your healer is a Priest with Omniheal, that's even better, but that may be overkill for this fight.
- A paladin is a recommended boost to your defensive setup. Paladins can Kabuff long before they hit 35, and their Coup de Grace is Knight Watch, which renders him/her invulnerable for several turns, as well as forcing Corvus to attack him/her for 1 or 2 of those turns. If you managed to get Forbearance, then Knight Watch becomes cheese, since the Paladin will absorb ALL attacks until Knight Watch wears off. I didn't have it in my playthrough though.
- I recommend keeping your main character as a Minstrel, since they have the ability to cast Zing. Essential when Corvus decides it's a cute idea to kill your healer in one round.
- My fourth slot was occupied by a Warrior, who was my damage dealer and resident Whipping Boy (as in the skill that shields an ally of your choosing. :P), but the Paladin could easily fill that niche if you don't want to use a Warrior.
- Your party members should have their shield skill as high as possible. Reaching 100 in the Shield skill tree allows you to use a shield with any class and, among other things, gives you a whopping +6% chance to block with a shield. Blocking can also block critical hits, so this is very good indeed. :D
Corvus: His Battle Strategy
I can summarize it in one sentence:
Corvus' battle strategy is completely random.
I wish I were joking.
He does have certain patterns within his battle style but, for the most part, what he'll do in one battle will differ greatly from what he does in another.
Some constants in his chaos:
- He attacks twice per turn. (Although, it's more accurate to say that he acts twice per turn, because sometimes he'll waste an attack on "laughing confidently" which does nothing).
- After he uses Magic Burst, he won't use another attack for that turn. Either you're so unlucky that he Magic Burst you after he had already attacked once, or he does it as his first attack and skips his next action.
- When his health is low, he'll start using Meditate more and more often. This skill heals Corvus for 500 HP. Since it's not a spell, Antimagic isn't going to stop him from using it. In any case, I doubt you can Antimagic him. (Bosses stink like that.)
- He has the ability to land critical blows. His criticals do 210-220 damage, so I recommend dabbling in vocations that have a skill tree with +HP boosters, unless you fancy dying every turn. :P
- He casts Kafrizzle. Since it's the only spell he casts, I don't particularly suggest you use Magic Mirror (a skill in the Shield skill tree) unless you truly feel like it. On the upside, a reflected Kafrizzle does upwards of 200 damage to Corvus, and he's reckless in casting (at times using it on a character he saw use Magic Mirror not more than two turns ago).
- He uses Disruptive Wave at times, especially if you try to use a lot of buffs on your party. If you don't use too many beneficial spells, you may never see him use it. I saw it twice in my winning run.
- He uses Burning Breath at times, but the chances of success are rather low so no worries. On the other hand, he likes to use a Sleep attack ("gleaming eyes") that always connects, so I recommend having some Panaceas in your inventory, just in case.
Suggested Battle Strategy
So, you have a level 35-40 party set up just like I recommended. However, you still need a good strategy to use against Corvus. My best piece of advice for you is to assume the worst. Assume he's going to land a critical every turn. Assume he will use two breath attacks a turn. If you can beat his worst-case scenario, his real attack sequence will probably be much easier to thwart.
Some general tips:
- Have your healer use Multiheal (or Omniheal if he/she is a Priest and has learned it) every turn. I mean this, EVERY turn. You should be able to survive two breath attacks in one turn, but not four in a row.
- When one of your characters is near death, use Whipping Boy with your tank character. This is especially important if it's the healer at death's door.
- Know when to use your Coup de Graces. Just because you're able to use it doesn't mean it's always the best moment to use it. An obvious exception to what I just said is the Paladin Coup; use that one ASAP.
- Stay Kabuffed at all times. Having a high defense prevents his regular attacks from doing too much damage. This won't stop critical hits though.
- Smack Corvus hard with Psyche Up cheese (Use Egg On with your main character on your damage dealer and have your damage dealer Psyche Up. If you're lucky, he/she will be at 100 Tension by the end of the second turn). An attack at Max Tension does from 12x-16x normal damage, so you shouldn't need too many, as long as you don't get overeager and try to finish him off instead of holding back in a crucial moment, getting your damage dealer killed.
This is an insanely hard fight to predict, and as such you should prepare your party as best as possible to withstand his relentless assault. If your party is set up adequately, I have no doubts that you'll prevail!
If you have any questions or suggestions on how to improve this article, feel free to comment on it in the comments sections!
Until the next time, take care and have fun! ;)