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I'm having some trouble with the dragon-type enemies in the latter part of the game. The dragons' breath attacks tend to be "Game Over" for me. So that I can be prepared with Protect or Shell, are these breath attacks physical or magical?

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The dragon breath attacks are physical based, with an element. What that means is that it can be both evaded (e.g. by ninja's Utsusemi or templar's Rampart) and stopped by spiritmaster skills. If you want to to use the white mage spells, go with Protect.

Just note that the dragons also use a skill that makes your party weak to its element, so you will take a LOT of damage, unless you somehow prevent it.

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    And that debuff skill will ALWAYS make you weak which is kind of frustrating. All Equipment buffs are NOT permanent states and can be appropriately debuffed. If you use dispel (to make the weakness go away) any equipment buffs that you have will come back though. So unfortunately I would suggest focusing on stats rather than elemental defense.
    – Reafexus
    Mar 21, 2014 at 17:51
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    But you can also overwrite by spiritmaster skills (Enigma or Greater spirit ward). Or just evading, either by utsusemi or rampart. This also opens up a way to cheese all dragons with a single ninja. He/she just has to know Utsusemi and transcience, and always be faster than the dragon. Then spend most of the fight just by using utsusemi and retaliating through transcience.
    – Humungus
    Mar 21, 2014 at 18:04

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