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The Zodiac Escutcheon is a high-ranked shield in Final Fantasy XII. In the original version it only boosts the wearer's physical evade by 50, but in the updated Zodiac versions, it offers both physical (+75) and magickal (+45) evade. In all versions it makes the wielder immune to Lightning damage. The Zodiac Escutcheon is metallic for the purposes of the magnetize debuff present in the Vinuskar and Ultima boss battles.

Though it gives less evade in the original, it can still be considered the ultimate shield in that version, as +50 physical evade is still the best player can get bar the various handicaps that come from equipping the Ensanguined Shield. Its stats are even better in the Zodiac versions, but these versions have a new ultimate shield, Gendarme.

The Zodiac Escutcheon is heart-shaped and mirror image of the basic Escutcheon, the weakest shield in the original versions which was removed from the Zodiac versions. The Zodiac Escutcheon is a complement to the Zodiac Spear ultimate spear, though the same character can't wear both at once.

Obtain[]

Original[]

In the original PlayStation 2 version, the Zodiac Escutcheon cannot be bought from shops and can't be sold. It is found in a treasure in Barheim Passage's optional West Annex area, the dead end with the traps (30% chance to appear, 40% chance for gil, 10% chance the item treasure is the Zodiac Escutcheon with the Diamond Armlet equipped Map 02 Barheim Passage) and in Great Crystal's Uldobi Phullam Pratii (20% chance to appear, 50% chance for Zodiac Escutcheon without the Diamond Armlet, and 100% chance with the Diamond Armlet Map 46 The Great Crystal). If the player opens both treasures and does not get the Zodiac Escutcheon, the shield is missed, as the treasures do not respawn; it is this imperative to equip the Diamond Armlet for the Great Crystal chest where it is the easiest to procure, though if the player is willing to try repeatedly and reset if the treasure is something else at the Barheim Passage, they can get the Zodiac Escutcheon fairly early in the game.

Zodiac[]

The Zodiac Escutcheon treasure.

In the updated Zodiac versions, the Zodiac Escutcheon is not sold in shops, but sells for 20,000 gil. It is found in a treasure in Sochen Cave Palace's Hall of the Wroth God. This is where Hell Wyrm is fought. The chest has only 1% chance to appear per entry to the room, to the opposite side from the door the player enters, so it is easy to see if it has appeared. The player can zone in and out of the room waiting for it to appear; the 4x mode in The Zodiac Age makes it faster.

To get to the Hall of the Wroth God, the player needs to open the Ascetic's Door at the westernmost wall of Destiny's March. The player enter the easternmost chamber from the caves to the east, then proceed clockwise around the diamond shape until one arrives again at the eastern chamber. Completing the route once will give the message "You hear a door open in the distance". Entering the chamber in the end, the player needs the Age Worn Key from the Wyrm Philosopher side quest on the Cerobi Steppe to open it. The hall contains the tough Hell Wyrm optional boss.

The Zodiac Escutcheon is also available from the Hunt Club sidequest on the Phon Coast. By giving Atak, Blok, and Stok ten Rare Game trophies each, the player can buy the Zodiac Spear and Zodiac Escutcheon set for 999,999 gil from the Shifty-Eyed Merchant nearby. This is the most convenient way to get the Zodiac Spear in the Zodiac versions, as it is no longer available in the Necrohol of Nabudis. In addition, depending on whom the player gives the most trophies to, there will be an additional reward after trading in all 30 trophies. The final rewards are buyable at the merchant's store. Giving Blok 16 or more trophies, rewards the Zodiac Escutcheon.

Use[]

The Zodiac Escutcheon is a high-ranked shield. In the original version it only offers physical evade, but in the Zodiac versions it helps the wielder evade both physical and magickal attacks. It also nullifies Lightning damage to the wielder, making it potentially good against some tough marks like Behemoth King. At this late point in the game two-handed weapons surpass one-handed ones, and most times it is not worthwhile to sacrifice the increased damage from a two-handed weapon to be able to equip a shield, but Zodiac Escutcheon is good for offering both types of evade in one equipment piece. In the Zodiac versions, the Zodiac Escutcheon can be used by the jobs Red Battlemage, Knight, and Foebreaker; the Foebreaker, with their axes and hammers, can keep equipping shields until endgame, though in The Zodiac Age each character can unlock two License Boards, and so the Foebreaker may also have access to a better two-handed weapon by this point.

As an alternative to the Lightning protection, the player can also equip Rubber Suit, or the Diamond Armlet or Gendarme in the Zodiac versions.

The Zodiac Escutcheon can be equipped by characters with one-handed weapons or no weapon in their available hand. It adds to the wearer's physical evasion, and also to their magickal evasion in the Zodiac versions. Shield Block augments also add +5% to both physical and magickal evasion per augment purchased. Magick evasion does not block status effect spells (the player needs to use Shell to halve their chance unless they can get immunity from equipment). Equipping a shield negates the Brawler augment, even if the character is still attacking bare-handed. Some enemies, especially all the toughest bosses and marks, have Ignore Evasion as a passive ability, which causes their attacks to ignore all blocking and parrying. However, no enemy ignores Magick Evasion, making Zodiac Escutcheon a worthwhile equipment piece to wear still, although many of the most powerful magicks are set to always hit.

The chance to block granted by gloves and shields and Shield Block licenses is checked separately to, and before, the evade from one-handed weapons. If the shield block fails, the game checks for the weapon block, and if that fails, the game checks for parry.[1]

Etymology[]

In both astrology and historical astronomy, the zodiac is a circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude that are centered upon the ecliptic: the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year.

The term zodiac derives from Latin zōdiacus, which comes from the Greek ζῳδιακὸς κύκλος (zōdiakos kyklos), meaning "circle of animals", as half of the signs of the classical Greek zodiac are represented as animals (besides two mythological hybrids). Zodiac signs are a recurring motif in games taking place in Ivalice; the naming is in juxtaposition to the normal Escutcheon shield, which was removed from the Zodiac versions.

In heraldry, an escutcheon is a shield which forms the main or focal element in an achievement of arms.

The zodiac equipment's original names are 最強の矛, "Strongest Spear", for Zodiac Spear and 最強の盾, "Strongest Shield", for Zodiac Escutcheon, referring to the Chinese idiom 自相矛盾 and the story behind it from the philosopher Han Feizi in his eponymous book of a man selling weapons. To convince people to buy his shield and spear he claimed them to be the sturdiest shield nothing could pierce and the sharpest spear able to pierce through everything. Someone asked what would happen if they tried to pierce the seller's shield with the seller's spear and the man couldn't answer, picked up his wares and left.

References[]

  1. Maltzsan (January 30, 2007). Final Fantasy XII Game Mechanics FAQ. Neoseeker. Archived from the original on 1st September 2020.
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