I swapped Primrose with Tressa. This party will be what I roll with for the remaining three bosses, as Tressa is key to two of these bosses, and the other is more laziness.

I go Cyrus for Sorcerer, as the others need the versatility for these fights, while Cyrus is more than content being the nuker. I don't need the Lightning skill as much, so I went Wind and Dark. I don't know if I'll go Light or with Elemental Break next, but it honestly probably won't matter by the time I'm done with these, as I'll be taking a break from Cyrus after I finish his Chapter 4 anyway.

Otherwise, Ophilia stays Hunter because Leghold Trap and wrecking bow weaknesses, while Alfyn gets Dancer solely to buff. Tressa with Warrior helps hugely for this next fight, though I could also do Olberic with Merchant (and the first time I beat this fight, I went with both).

Our next boss is in the Highlands. The region around Everhold has quite the lighting going for it.

Music: Battle III

Lots of birds and wyverns around.

Though these encounters take a lot less time thanks to Sorcerer. Another reason to get these jobs early!

Like the other regions, there are eight dungeons for these eight new regions, and the shrines aren't included in this total.

I love how overly elaborate the designs are for the end-tier beastkin.

And there's Demon Goats. What more could you want?

Like the first time I went hunting for this shrine, it took me forever to actually find it. The terrain can be a pain to navigate around.

Music: The Trees Have Eyes

Eventually, I do find the dungeon, and it's pretty straightforward and linear, which is a nice change of pace for a cave dungeon.

More remnants, but nothing else really stands out.

The shrine itself has a really nice view overlooking the Highlands. It's great scenery, if nothing else.

But, as before, we're here to obtain power. And first we have to earn it.

Video: Boss - Balogar, the Runeblade

Music: They Who Govern Reason

Meet Balogar. He can be a tricky foe if you're not prepared, and moreso if you are.

First off, you want Balogar to focus-fire on one character. He primarily uses physical attacks, and they're nasty ones you don't want spreading around your party. The good news is he doesn't use any party-wide attacks yet.

You can probably see why I'm having Tressa as the target.

Balogar starts out with three weaknesses locked.

Luckily, I did unlock Sorcerer first, so breaking him is trivial.

This is more a stalling tactic while I try to get things set up. And honestly, I don't know how useful it is.

You see, Balogar uses physical attacks, but they're all elemental.

And the kicker is, most of them inflict status effects. Ice will inflict sleep, while Thunder inflicts Unconscious. It seems Fire foregoes a status effect in favor of more damage.

At any rate, I don't let this interfere with my plan, and after throwing an herb on Tressa...

...it all comes together. They may be elemental attacks, but they're still considered physical attacks, so they can be Sidestepped.

And don't forget that Sidestep is considered a self-buff, meaning we can't spread it with Sealticge's Seduction.

I manage to break Balogar, giving me time to shore my defenses.

After the first couple breaks, Balogar gains a couple more shields. His weaknesses don't become unlocked yet, however.

Thanks to Some Numbers for keeping me on track while I was streaming this and reminding me to poison this jerk.

Meanwhile, I do uncover a couple more weaknesses. They're locked, but still, good to know!

I break Balogar again, and then start shredding him.

Thankfully he only does this twice, I believe.

And hey, I find another weakness! One I can actually hit, no less!

As long as Tressa has Incite and Sidestep set up, she doesn't need to do much else. Might as well get paid.

Sometimes he'll shuffle his exposed weaknesses. This would be annoying if I didn't already whittle him down to one shield. And, you know, he didn't expose a bow weakness.

With Aelfric's Auspices, a max-boosted ElemAtk-buffed Cyrus is dealing close to 30k damage a turn. Even with Balogar's massive HP (around the same as Dreisang's), that tears out a good chunk.

So, the good news is around halfway into the fight, all his weaknesses get exposed.

Which I absolutely do not hesitate to take advantage of. Don't forget Cyrus still has AA, which means that's six hits of Dark damage, in addition to the minimum of three guaranteed hits that Rain of Arrows grants.

He had no chance.

That said, I know what's about to happen, which is why I have Tressa use Hired Help. You probably know what's about to happen, too.

In addition, I have Alfyn use Dohter's.

For the second half of the fight, Balogar will use his rune attacks on the entire party.

...which can be catastrophic if you're not prepared.

And this signals Balogar's ultimate attack.

Worry not, as turn order is on my side. Tressa wakes Alfyn, and Alfyn can use this concoction to wake everyone else up and heal HP. It even adds the Rehabilitate buff for a turn or two to block status effects.

And here's why Dohter's Charity is so nice. This isn't the Curious Bloom mix, but the Purifying Seed + Essence of Grape mix I used last battle. It's normally single-target, but not so with Dohter's!

Runelord's Resolve deals six hits, one of each element, upon one target. It rips through all of Tressa's remaining Sidesteps, so she takes a couple hits, but luckily it's not too bad, and she's able to get to Sidestepping all over again.

And also I break his face in.

This time we're really going to buff up Cyrus.

...though I completely forget that Balogar was gonna recover from break and thus send my team to snooze town.

It all worked out, though.

At which point, it's a matter of fighting fire with fire.

Until, in the end, we come out on top.

Music: The Trees Have Eyes

And this unlocks our next job, Runelord.

Weapons: Swords, Axes
Stats: +7% Phys/Elem Atk; +6% Phys/Elem Def; +6% Acc; +8% Crit

Runelord is an interesting job, in that it's a physical-oriented job that specializes in elemental damage. The Runelord can give themselves an elemental rune to do additional damage to a foe, and even give those runes to the rest of the party. Thanks to Transfer Rune and some late-game weapons that boost wind-elemental damage, Tressa is probably the best candidate to be Runelord, though really Runelord can fit with everyone since it loves both high ElemAtk (Cyrus, Primrose, Ophilia) and weapon skills (Olberic, H'aanit, Alfyn, Therion).

Job Skills

Fire Rune (15SP) [Fire] [Buff] - Weapons the user attacks with will deal additional fire damage for three turns.
Ice Rune (15SP) [Ice] [Buff] - Weapons the user attacks with will deal additional ice damage for three turns.
Thunder Rune (15SP) [Lightning] [Buff] - Weapons the user attacks with will deal additional lightning damage for three turns.
Wind Rune (15SP) [Wind] [Buff] - Weapons the user attacks with will deal additional wind damage for three turns.
Dark Rune (15SP) [Dark] [Buff] - Weapons the user attacks with will deal additional dark damage for three turns.
Light Rune (15SP) [Light] [Buff] - Weapons the user attacks with will deal additional light damage for three turns.

Formula: (EA - (0.55*TED)) * 10 ; Damage from runes are unaffected by boosting. EA factors in the EA of the weapon equipped.

Each BP spent adds an additional two turns to the buff. This adds the rune buff to the character, meaning every time that character uses a physical attack with a weapon (including using weapon skills!), that attack is followed up with an elemental attack of the chosen element. This attack is separate from the physical attack, and uses the formula above to determine damage.

This elemental attack is not affected by boosting in any way. Also, unlike every other attack using ElemAtk in the game, runes only factor in the ElemAtk of the current weapon (whereas everything else that uses ElemAtk chooses the stat of the weapon with the highest ElemAtk you have equipped). Thus you ideally want a weapon with high ElemAtk like staves, or ideally, high in both stats like some polearms and axes. Finally, unlike Balogar's runes, the elemental runes do not inflict status effects. They simply do elemental damage.

Overall, the runes are really nice if you're set up for them. With the right gear and passives (and Surpassing Power, of course) you can easily reach five-digit damage from a rune attack. They'll also hit elemental weaknesses. They may end up underwhelming if you're not geared for them, but otherwise they're a valuable offensive weapon and worth the effort investing in them, especially when paired with the next skill.

Transfer Rune (25SP) [Buff] - For three turns, skills that normally target yourself alone will target your allies as well.
Formula: (3 + 2*BP) Turns Duration, maximum of nine.

At first glance, what this means is that someone with this buff can grant runes to everyone in the party, which of course means quadruple the fun with rune attacks. Of course, this is fantastic by itself, for obvious reasons. However, the text isn't referring to just runes, but other self-target skills as well, namely the Warrior's Abide and Iron Wall buffs, and the Merchant's Rest move and Sidestep buff. That last one is key, and the main reason Tressa shines as a Runelord. Remember how many physical-focused bosses we faced and trivialized with PhysDef buffs? Imagine if the entire party could get four stacks of Sidestep a round. Yeah. This combination is key for a few fights, including an upcoming one. Another great skill to have.

Balogar's Blade (50SP) [All Elements] - [Divine Skill] Deal damage from each of the six elements (fire, ice, lightning, wind, light, and darkness) to a single foe.
Formula: (EA - TED) * 5 ; Hits six times, once for each element.

The six hits by themselves are rather weak for a divine skill, but there are six of them, so they add up for a solid amount of damage. It's especially nice if you can buff your ElemAtk enough so that each attack can be incredibly damaging to your opponent. A really nice Divine Skill to cap off a wonderful skillset.

Support Skills

Stat Swap: Elemental and physical attack strength will be swapped with one another.

Only swaps the base stats, not any weapon bonuses. But even if it did, I don't really see a situation where I'd want to use this, especially since it'd take up a valuable support slot. Pass.

SP Recovery: Upon taking damage from a foe, gain an amount of SP equal to 1% of damage taken.

Rounded down, of course, and doesn't proc if the target is KOed by the hit. There's more productive ways to manage SP than taking damage, and really it's at best on par with SP Saver or Second Wind with that gimmick. I'd rather use one of those other two myself.

Dauntless: Gain increased physical and elemental attack when suffering from a status ailment.

Basically gives the PhysAtk and ElemAtk buffs (which add 50% more damage to each) while suffering from a status ailment. The main issue is that status effects are nasty in this game, and two of them shut you down anyway. Also, there's no real reliable way to inflict status ailments on yourself, and if you could do so, it's a turn better spent applying the buff manually. Another weak passive.

Elemental Edge: Gain augmented elemental attack and defense in battle.

Your character always has the ElemAtk and ElemDef buffs. We've finally found a good support skill, as this means not having to relayer the buffs, and this also blocks the corresponding debuffs. The ElemDef buff doesn't boost healing, but even still, this is a nice boost both to your elemental damage output and a reduction of elemental damage you take. Great grab for magic-geared characters.

Two down, two to go! Next time, we put Runelord to good use against our next test as we continue our job hunt.