Final Fantasy VIII differs from other RPGs in that its system of character progression isn’t centered around equipment, classes, or acquiring EXP. While your characters can craft new weapons and level up, these do not increase your characters’ stats significantly enough on their own.
Each of your characters’ abilities are determined by the GFs that are junctioned to them and what abilities the GFs have currently learned by acquiring AP. This includes Junction (J) abilities which in turn govern what stats can have magic junctioned to them for a certain increase.
Junction abilities don’t need to be set or equipped but the GF with the Junction Ability must be junctioned to a character in order for the ability to be used.
For the purposes of explaining the junctioning system, equipping and junctioning will be used interchangeably in this section of the guide.
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As magic behaves like a consumable item, You can think of junctioning magic as equipping a quantity of consumable items to each stat to increase them. The quantity of the magic stocked and the type of magic being junctioned will affect the amount a stat increases by.
The higher the quantity of the type of magic being equipped, the higher the increase. The max number of casts of any type of magic is 100. This means you will ideally be junctioning 100 of the selected magic (or as close to 100 as you can get). Generally speaking, the most efficient way of acquiring magic for junctioning is by refining items using Refining Abilities (RF) which are a subset of Menu Abilities.
Each type of magic increases each stat by a unique amount. A general trend is that the more closely the magic is associated with the stat and the more powerful it is, the more it will increase the stat it’s being junctioned to. However, there are numerous exceptions to this trend. Therefore, it’s worth experimenting with this for yourself by comparing two or more magic types with each other to see the different increases each provides.
Elemental and Status Junctions
You can both attack with, and defend from various elements and status effects with these abilities:
- Elemental Attack Junction or “Elem-Atk-J”
- Elemental Defense Junction or “Elem-Def-J”
- Status Attack Junction or “St-Atk-J”
- Status Defense Junction or “St-Def-J”
Much like the Junction abilities that allow stats to have magic equipped to them, these abilities serve to allow certain magic to be equipped. Here, however, the magic being junctioned also directly determines the attribute being defended from or attacked with.
Elemental Attack and Defense
For Elem-Atk-J and Elem-Def-J, junctioning elemental magic will increase the proportion of the elemental damage dealt or absorbed, respectively. The amount the proportion increases depends on how powerful the magic being junctioned is. For example, junctioning Fire is less effective than junctioning Fira, which in turn is less effective than junctioning Firaga.
For Elem-Atk-J, junctioning an elemental spell will raise the percentage of the damage output that is comprised of that element. This means if your Elemental Attack is at 100% for a given element then 100% of the damage from the physical damage would be converted into Elemental Damage of that element.
This can be useful against certain enemies but be wary of junctioning magic to the Elem-Atk-J indiscriminately. If you come across an enemy who resists or absorbs a given element, then you’ll actually end up doing less damage or even healing your enemies with Elem-Atk-J.
If you’re unsure of what enemies you’ll be up against, then it’s generally best to leave the Elem-Atk-J slot empty. Keep in mind that if you automatically set up your junctions, that it will junction an element to Elem-Atk-J if it has been learned by the GF that has been junctioned.
For Elem-Def-J, junctioning an elemental spell will raise the percentage of damage absorbed from that element. At 100% you will take no damage from that element.
It’s possible to increase this percentage further so that you are healed by the element. At 200% (As shown by 100% and the green star), all of the elemental damage from that element will instead heal your character.
Status Attack and Defense
Status junctions work by raising the chance a status effect is inflicted or resisted.
St-Atk-J allows for a status inflicting spell to be junctioned to it. This results in the character’s physical attack having a certain chance to inflict the status of the spell. If the magic junctioned increases the Status Attack percentage to 100%, then it has the highest chance of being inflicted.
Note that a 100% Status Attack won’t guarantee that a Status will be inflicted as enemies each have their own resistance to each Status Effect in addition to this.
St-Def-J allows characters to have a chance to resist certain Status Effects. At 100%, Status Defense will always prevent a Status Effect from being inflicted, bar a few exceptions.
1. To junction stocked magic to a stat, you must first junction one or more GFs to your selected character by selecting “Junction” on the Junction screen and selecting an available GF. The GF will need the relevant Junctioning Ability in order for the stat in question to have magic equipped to it.
Note: If a GF is already junctioned it will be shown by . If a GF is junctioned to a different character, then you’ll have to unequip the GF from that character first.
If a GF has a Junction ability learned for a particular stat, then that stat will be highlighted and will open to junctioning. In this example, Ifrit has the Str-J ability (Strength Junction ability) and the Str stat is highlighted accordingly. This means we can increase Squall’s Str by equipping stocked magic to it. As Ifrit hasn’t learned any other junctioning abilities, Str is the only stat we can equip magic to.
2. Now you must compare the different magic types and select one to equip to each of the available stats. To do this, back out of the GF submenu and select the “Magic” option. Once done, you can select which stat to junction magic to. In this case, we can only select Str.
Once you have a stat selected, you can then cycle through the character’s selection of stocked magic. Here, you can preview the stat increase that each stock of magic gives when junctioned to the selected stat.
Here, junctioning 15 Scans gives no increase. Both the quantity and the type of magic are insufficient to have any impact on the stat at all. 15 Blizzards give a very modest increase of 1 Str.
15 Blizzaras increases the Str stat by 2, making it the strongest magic listed in this example for junctioning for the amount stocked. However, as the quantity is low, it has less of an effect than junctioning 30 Fires for an increase of 3. The higher quantity contributes to a larger increase here. From this step, we’ve found that Fire is the right magic to junction for now, given what’s currently available. Additionally, we’ve found that experimenting with different magic will help us to identify better magic to junction later.
Remember that by refining magic from items, particularly items refined from Cards, you can generate large stocks of powerful magics that can greatly increase your stats.
3. Once you’re happy with the magic you have junctioned to your stats, you can proceed to junction magic to your Status and Elemental Attacks and Defenses where possible. This is done by selecting “Magic” and pressing left. Doing so will show the Elemental Attack and Defense junctions (EL-A/D on the menu). Pressing left again from here will take you to the Status Attack and Defense Junctions (ST-A/D on the menu).
In this example, Ifrit has the ability Elem-Atk-J, so elemental magic can be junctioned to Squall’s physical attack. Here, 26 Thunder has been junctioned to “Elemental Attack” meaning that 13% of physical damage done by Squall will be converted into Thunder damage. As Ifrit has not learned Elem-Def-J, magic can’t be junctioned to Elemental Defense and is grayed out accordingly.
Once you’ve finished junctioning magic here and to your stats, you’ll have completed manually junctioning magic to your character.
Auto-junction and Removing Junctioned Magic
You can automatically junction magic to all of your available slots using the “Auto” option. By selecting this, you can choose whether to prioritize “Atk,” “Mag,” or “Def“. These correspond to the Str stat, the Mag stat, and the HP stat, respectively.
Keep in mind that if you do this, magic will be automatically junctioned to your Elemental and Status junctions where applicable.
If you wish to reset a character and remove all of their equipped GFs and therefore unequip the magic that’s been junctioned, select “Off.”
After junctioning your magic, it’s time to set your character’s abilities.
This is done by selecting “Ability” on the Junction Screen. From here, you can set your character’s Command Abilities, Character Abilities, and Party Abilities.
Command Abilities are active abilities that can be used by your characters in Combat. Without junctioning a GF, the only Command Ability set to your character is Attack (which inflicts physical damage on a target).
Attack can’t be removed, which leaves 3 other slots for you to decide which Command Abilities you assign to your character. A description of these command abilities is displayed in the top left corner of the screen.
Most GFs will have the following Command Abilities by default:
- Magic – Allows you to cast your stocked magic
- GF – Allows you to summon your GFs
- Draw – Allows you to draw magic from enemies either to be stocked or cast directly
- Item – Allows you to use certain items in battle.
However, there are many more Command Abilities that can be learned for your characters to use.
It’s advised that you have the “Draw” command set on at least one active party member, especially prior to Boss encounters. This is because Bosses will often have GFs and powerful magic that can be drawn from them.
Character Abilities and Party Abilities.
Character and Party abilities are passive abilities that provide additional bonuses to your character or party. They use different slots to Command Abilities and, by default, each GF has two slots for these passive abilities. It’s possible with additional abilities to have more slots available so that more of these passive abilities can be set and used.
Additional Ability Types
GF Abilities are abilities that take effect whenever a GF is summoned. They don’t need to be set but the GF must be junctioned to the character.
Menu Abilities are abilities that can be used in the menu and aren’t required to be set. They also don’t require a GF to be junctioned to a character. They merely need to be learned.