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Infinity Minus One Sword / Final Fantasy

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  • In the original Final Fantasy I, at least in the PS and WSC versions that aren't afflicted with bugs, it is better to keep the Knight class equipped with the Excalibur instead of the Masamune due to the former's damage bonus to every enemy type in the game making it the stronger weapon in practice.
    • Also, the Masamune is actually the Infinity Plus One Sword for the White Wizard.
  • Final Fantasy II has an ultimate weapon for each weapon type, with the Masamune and the character-exclusive weapons added in the remakes as the game's Infinity+1 Weapons.
  • In Final Fantasy IV there's the Excalibur. It isn't too hard to get—you need to visit a blacksmith in a very easy to reach location, he needs Adamantite, also obtained from an easy to reach location. The single catch is you have to trade a Rat Tail for it, which isn't a problem because it's in an optional area you're likely to visit anyway (the area provides access to two good Summons) and the chest holding it is right out in the open at the entrance. Cecil's ultimate weapon Ragnarok is found deep in the final dungeon only accessible via an invisible pathway, guarded by a strong optional boss, while Excalibur can be gotten before you attempt said dungeon.
  • In Final Fantasy V there are the twelve legendary Weapons Of Plot Advancement. Only three of the twelve are actually the strongest weapons of their type in the original game, and in the Advance remake there are many weapons better. In the literal sword category there's the Excalibur again—the actual strongest sword (not counting the two in the Advance bonus dungeons), the Ragnarok, is obtained in an area roughly three screens before the final boss, and is guarded by Shinryu, a Bonus Boss famous for being incredibly difficult to defeat if you try and face him in a head-on battle of attrition.
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    • But if you choose to never run away throughout the entire game, you can pick up the Brave Blade for free with no necessary fights as soon as World 3 becomes explorable (in other words, before you can even get the Excalibur). At max power, the Brave Blade has 150 Strength, stronger than even the Ragnarok. The only thing that beats it is the Ultima Weapon, which can only be obtained by killing Neo Shinryu at the end of the remake's tedious postgame bonus dungeon.
    • Alternately, you can run away a bunch and pick up the Chicken Knife. It's as powerful as the Brave Blade, does more damage, and since it's a knife, can be wielded by a larger variety of classes. However, as a trade-off, it has a 25% chance of causing the party to attempt to flee instead of attacking. However, this is only if you use the standard Attack option. The Ranger class in particular has the 4x-Attack action that negates the effect and does four slightly-weaker attacks, essentially turning the Chicken Knife from an Infinity -1 Sword into an Infinity +1 Sword.
  • Final Fantasy VI has the Enhancer. Its attack power is only average, but it gives +7 magic power, the highest stat boost to magic power of any equipment piece in the game—even the ultimate weapons in the bonus dungeon in the Advance release don't give more than that. The Enhancer also gives +20% Magic Block, so with a Genji Glove and two Enhancers, your magic power is +14 and you have roughly a 33% chance to block any blockable magic attack. And if you're playing the SNES version, where evasion of physical attacks is mistakenly tied to the Magic Evade stat, the Enhancer can help make some characters nearly invulnerable. And to top it off, the Enhancer is buyable in a normal town and is actually pretty cheap.
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    • For Edgar and Mog, the Holy Lance. High power, boosts magic, randomly casts Holy, and only outperformed by spears acquired in the final dungeon and bonus dungeon.
    • There's also the Infinity Minus One Hat, the Circlet. Its defensive stats are only a few points lower than the top-grade helmets, but it gives a boost to all other stats, is buyable and is very cheap, and everyone can equip it.
    • Locke's Valiant Knife is not the strongest knife in any version of the game, but its ability to ignore defense and increase in damage the lower Locke's HP is, a bonus which ignores the damage penalty from the Offering/Master's Scroll's, makes it more useful than any of the knives that are stronger on paper.
    • The Game Boy Advance version introduced several new Infinity-1 weapons while turning some former Infinity+1 weapons into Infinity-1 weapons.
      • Terra's Apocalypse and Celes' Save the Queen are essentially weaker versions of the Lightbringer.
      • Edgar's Longinus and Mog's Gungir lose out to the classic Radiant Lance since, in spite of being stronger, they don't have the bonus to jump damage usually given to spears, although the Gungir is a true ultimate weapon if Mog is used as a mage.
      • Sabin's Godhand loses out to his old Tiger Claws since the former give no bonus to magic power, and therefore does nothing to improve Sabin's best Blitzes.
      • Strago's Stardust Rod, Relm's Angel Brush, and Gogo's Scorpion's Tail have much less useful bonuses than the classic Magus Rod. An argument can be made for the Angel Brush's speed boost being more useful, but it's obtained so late that Relm will still be using a Magus Rod in the interim.
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  • Pretty much all of Final Fantasy VII's ultimate weapons have some sort of limiter that makes them less than ideal choices, primarily that they have zero Materia growth. Thus you're more likely to equip those mid-game Double growth weapons, rare Triple growth weapons, or weak 8-slot normal growth weapons for a fair chunk of the game if you ever want to level up your Materia at a reasonable pace (or at all). The Infinity Minus One Swords tend to be those one or two weapons with high attack power and normal materia growth that you can use until you're ready to switch over to the ultimate ones-Vincent's Outsider/SuperShot ST, Tifa's God Hand, Barret's Max Ray, Yuffie's Oritsuru, Nanaki's Behemoth Horn/Spriggan Clip, Cait Sith's Starlight Phone, Cid's Spirit Lance/Flayer, and Cloud's Ragnarok.
  • Subverted in Final Fantasy IX by Steiner's Ragnarok sword. His "best" weapon, Excalibur 2, is difficult to obtain to the point of being a Bragging Rights Reward—it is found only in one single spot in the final dungeon, but only if you can get there in under twelve hours. This means a lot of missed content and rushing through the entire game for a weapon that is simply not worth the hassle. If you play the game normally, the Ragnarok will be the most powerful sword you can get for Steiner, making it his real Infinity +1 Sword.
    • Zidane has The Tower and the Masamune, if for some reason you skipped the chocobo hot and cold sidequest, both of which have debatably better Soul Blade abilities and decent attack stats.
    • Steiner's Excalibur sword is something of an Infinity Minus Two sword, if such a thing exists. In terms of stats, it's third-best overall, but as noted above the Ragnarok is Steiner's true Infinity +1 Sword. If you skipped out on Chocobo Hot and Cold and didn't get the Ragnarok, you can obtain the Excalibur with enough gil, a Chain of Deals and a Fetch Quest. The Excalibur is an excellent weapon on its own, is Steiner's real Infinity -1 Sword, and teaches a very good ability in Climhazzard. Shock, the ability Steiner gets from the Ragnarok, is quite frankly overkill in most situations, and since the damage cap doesn't go past 9999 and Shock will do that to almost any enemy unless Steiner is horribly underleveled, the only benefit Excalibur 2 would give him is maybe saving some MP in the long run, which isn't an issue by the time you have access to Shock. The Excalibur can also have its regular attack boosted by equipment that powers up the Holy element, pushing its attack power above the Ragnarok and even Zidane's Ultima Weapon.
    • Freya's Holy Lance is similar to the Excalibur in that it is only her third best weapon on paper, but can be improved by using it alongside armor or accessories that power up the Holy element, making it stronger than her intended ultimate weapon. However, this does not apply to Freya's Jump attack or Dragon skills. It's also store-bought instead of requiring the player to search for a crack in a mountain for their chocobo to dig into.
    • Amarant is another character whose third strongest weapon, the Kaiser Knuckles, can end up stronger than his nominal best weapon because it is elemental, in this case by powering up the Wind element. The Kaiser Knuckles can also be obtained much earlier as part of the Chocobo Hot-and-Cold sidequest, while the Rune Knuckles can be obtained partway through the final dungeon. Like the Excalibur, the Kaiser Knuckles end up even stronger than the Ultima weapon this way. Unfortunately this does not apply to Amarant's No Mercy ability.
  • The Brotherhood in Final Fantasy X - you get it early in the game, and at that point it has only one effect (Strength +5%). However, when you reach Guadosalam and visit the Farplane, it gets an upgrade, gaining a total of four effects (Strength +5%, Strength +10%, Sensor and Waterstrike). These effects are are nothing to scoff at—if you want a stronger weapon for pure power you're looking at expending several rare items to customize Strength +20% onto a different weapon. Furthermore, due to Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors water attacks are effective against lightning-elemental enemies, and you power up the Brotherhood just before you enter an area full of lightning enemies. The only drawback of the sword is that it heals enemies that absorb water attacks, but thanks to Sensor you'll be given advance warning of them.
    • In the first temple right at the beginning of the game, you can find a Rod of Wisdom. It has the abilities Magic +5%, Magic +3%, and Sensor. It is used by Yuna, a White Mage and Summoner who thus will be using a lot of magical abilities. Considering you don't get to customize weapons and armor until the midway mark of the game, and even then you need a lot of rare items to customize the better abilities, odds are this will be Yuna's best weapon for most of the game.
    • Also, once you get the airship, Wantz will sell a variety of weapons for each character. They are all at 100 000 gil (unless you lent some money to Oaka early on) and they don't have any auto-abilities whatsoever. However, they also have 4 empty slots. With some dedication, they will be on par with the Celestial Weapons. And you won't even have to catch butterflies, play chocobo minigames, dodge lightning or going all around Spira trying to catch fiends; so you may as well go with them.
  • Final Fantasy XI has the elemental staves, each of which grants a variety of massive boosts to spells of that element. Despite only being level 51 weapons, mages will carry a collection of them all the way to level 75 and beyond thanks to their versatility and crafted, auctionable nature. Even supposed "ultimate" staves are completely ignored. The game eventually introduced entire branching family trees of Infinity Minus One Swords (and daggers, and clubs, etc) with the Trial of the Magians system. Time, patience, and perserverence translate directly into progress towards upgrading the weapons created for this system, which is more than can be said about earning relic and mythic weapons—not to mention that the completion of each stage only takes a few days' investment. (Relics and mythics can be upgraded via this system too, but at a maddeningly slow pace—and you have to earn such a weapon first.)
  • In Final Fantasy XII the Orochi is acquired from the Bazaar by selling fairly common loot and is the second-strongest ninja sword by 8 attack points. The strongest ninja sword, the Yagyu Darkblade, is a very rare drop from the Bombshell, a powerful enemy deep in a dangerous optional dungeon, and besides the fact that there's a very slim chance it'll drop the weapon at all, there's only a 20% guarantee of the Bombshell itself appearing in the first place.
    • Final Fantasy XII has many Infinity Plus One Weapons, most of them hard to get, so it only follows that many players "make do" with others—the interesting thing is that some of them are, technically, Infinity Plus One Swords—for example, if the player cannot be bothered to go after the Zodiac Spear or the superior greatswords and katanas, there's always the top-tier hammer, the Scorpion Tail. Sure, it requires rare loot, yes—but from particular (relatively) weak enemies available very early in the storyline. Determined players can have it immediately after the first visit to Henne Mines, and it will remain useful throughout the entire main storyline. The best and second-best guns, Arcturus and Fomalhaut, are in a similar position. And even players who plan on getting and using the best weapons will often get these as well, to tide them over until the good stuff is unlockable.
    • This "making do" occurs because any character can equip any weapon, and this technicality also does some very weird things with the Infinity +1 Sword designation. The Infinity +1 Sword is most definitely the Zodiac Spear - it has the strongest attack power in the game at 150. The second-strongest, the traditional Infinity -1 Sword, is the Tournesol, which has an attack power of 140. The problem is that the Infinity +1 Sword, if you know what chests to avoid, is relatively easy to get by the time you hit the Salikawood and available long before that. Meanwhile, getting the Tournesol is absolutely infuriating and can take well over six hours of item hunting. Geeze.
    • It also has this with its armor—the best stuff tends to be either one-of-a-kind from Guide Dang It! chests, ridiculously hard to get drops from the Rare Game, or both. Hence, gamers who can't or don't want to chain Helvinek for Grand Armor survive with the Maximilian, fill the empty slots left by only two possible Circlets with Golden Skullcaps, and so on and so forth. It doesn't hurt that the Maximilian is actually better in some ways: it has weaker defense and physical attack power than the Grand Armor, but it gives a large bonus to speed, making the Grand Armor something of a Penultimate Armor.
    • If you simply can't be bothered at all to grind for the materials needed to forge various weapons, or you're playing the game without a guide or FAQ of any kind and don't have the faintest idea what to look for to get the best stuff, it's entirely possible to complete the game with almost exclusively store-bought equipment.
  • Final Fantasy XIII also features a version of this in a more wide term, rather than a single weapon it applies to a rank of weapons, as it is better to keep your weapon of choice in "Tier 2" rather then upgrading it to the ultimate one, as the ultimate ones not only require expensive materials with a absurdly low drop-rate, but also lose their ability to create Synthesized Skills with other equipment, and due how battle rank and the ATB cost for the "ultimate" attacks are calculated the higher attack and magic stats and additional ATB bar do not compensate for losing those, even after players have capability to make ultimate weapons for the whole party they are still likely to use Tier 2 ones instead.
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2 does away with the upgrading system to go back to the more typical system of buying weapons or having Chocolina craft them. The "Ultimate" weapons of the game are more of a Bragging Rights Reward, as their stats are tied to how many Fragments you have collected. Players are more likely to use the weapons just underneath them which give useful bounses, such as an extra ATB slot, a faster ATB charge rate, or an improved stagger rate.
    • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII has weapons with unique auto-abilities that can only be obtained from defeated bosses and Last Ones. Weapons like Chaos's Revenge and the Shard Blade/Flesh Render can be obtained early in the game by a skilled player and will carry them all the way to the Final Boss.
    • Final Fantasy XIV has weapons obtained from exchanging tomestone currency with a specific NPC. They are usually second best compared to weapons obtained from difficult raids or the more time consuming relics, which are the game's Infinity +1 Sword. Sometimes weapons made by crafters and putting a lot of materia on them can also serve as a suitable second best weapon.
  • Final Fantasy XV has the Ultima Blade. Normally, this would be the Infinity +1 Sword in any other Final Fantasy game. However, in XV the Ultima Blade is the ultimate form of the Engine Blade which is actually given to the player as Noctis's starting sword. Transforming it into the Ultima Blade is anything but easy. First, the player needs to have it upgraded to the Engine Blade II. Then, the item itself needed to transform the Engine Blade II into the Ultima Blade is a rare drop that requires the player to break the horns of a rare monster. Even then, breaking the horns doesn't guarantee the drop. Luckily, the game's freeform save system allows the player to save scum until they get it. Once obtained however, the sword is the strongest ones Noctis can use during the main questline, before going into the post game, and combines big damage with a fast attack speed, making the grind, worth it. This plus the fact that the Ultima Blade is the strongest sword the player can get before completing the game's story, would normally qualify it as an Infinity +1 Sword. However, an even stronger blade exists - the Balmung, which can only be obtained after finishing the main questline.
  • The Excalibur in Final Fantasy Tactics. Not the most powerful sword when it comes to pure stats, but the fact that it automatically buffs the wielder with Haste means it was probably duplicated more than the stronger swords. Not to mention, it comes free when a certain character joins your party, whereas the other swords have to be caught from high-level ninjas in a specific area of the game's most difficult dungeon, or dug up from specific coordinates in the same dungeon with a character with low Brave.
  • Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles and its following titles have this. The best weapons in the game require obscure and rare items that only might be dropped by bosses or uncommon and/or powerful mooks. You'll often stick with something a few steps short of best. In the later games, you may find yourself skipping on better head gear since it looks so tacky when combine with your latest armor.
    • With enough defensive artifacts, it pays for the player to get armor that resists status effects rather than get armor for sheer defensive bonuses.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, everyone has a Level 100 Infinity +1 Sword that gives them unique status boosts reflective of their fighting style. However, several generic Level 99 weapons are better depending on your character build. For example, Excalibur II gives Exp +100% (a requirement weapon for Exp -> Brave builds), the Nirvana gives EX Mode Duration +40%, and the Stardust Rod and Ragnarok give +25% damage to magical/physical attacks.
    • The prequel turns the Lufenian equipment, a set of Infinity Plus One Equipment in the original game, into this in the Bonus Storyline. Once you rescue the mured moogle, Lufenian equipment can be farmed easily in treasure chests in several gateways, but aside from its stat boosts isn't that useful due to the effect tied to the equipment being split into two different ones from the first game, and odds are you won't get three matching pieces to trigger that effect in battle. However, the equipment bought in the shop is absurdly expensive, reaching into several hundred thousand gil when you total up the cost needed to trade for low level weapons to trade for better ones, etc, and the trade accessories needed for them are acquired from multi-floor gateways or require trading rare Elixir items to get one at a time.
  • Oddly enough, SaGa 3 (aka Final Fantasy Legend 3) forces you to get the Infinity +1 Sword, but you have to quest to find the other three mythic weapons. The #2 blade would be the Masamune, which is found as the Muramasa and misses every time you use it until uncursed by your party's smith back at your time-travelling stealth jet. The game also features spell synthesis: the best spell is Flare and requires two Fire Stones, but there are only 4. Combining a Fire Stone with any other stone gives you an elemental spell that's almost just as good, but lets you get enough spells for everyone.
    • The reason the Mythic Swords are worthwhile is because they have no element, even "Weapon", and the final bosses have blanket strengths against every element, including "Weapon". So on a similar note, the element-free White spell, otherwise three tiers from the top, becomes your only spell casting option.
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