JohnFuklaw

Some thoughts on Stamina builds

80 posts in this topic

I know it's just brainstorming, but I'm honestly not too keen on the idea of nerfing the Gem/Soul boxes mp reduction when it's already a late game item that you only get one of, especially if it's only for the sake of trying to make Chakra more appealing.
Though if too much MP is really a problem I guess nerfing the Circlet to +25% mp could work to also make the Magic Cube a little more special, but then that creates a problem of why would you use the Circlet over the Red Cap in many instances.

Another thing I wanna comment on is that I notice items are being considered as a factor of how MP self sustaining a character is, but many casual players including myself are going to prefer the free option when possible even by KT at least for randoms, so that right there is why I would consider using Chakra with someone like Terra or Celes so that way I could save my supply of items for the bosses.
(And totally not also because I end up forgetting to stock up on items before going to KT and I'm already half-way through so I don't wanna have to go back, nope. :poker:)

I think the main issue is it's just that Chakra and Mantra are all Stamina Sabin really have to offer with an added bonus of being able to decently hit a Holy weakness with Aura Bolt which can be nice.
Maybe if Mantra leaned more heavily on Stamina instead of HP that would probably help, as it sounds like part of the problem is that Terrato Sabin steals some of Stam Sabin's thunder by being better at using Mantra, maybe change the its formula to 1/10 (Users Current HP + ((Stamina * 2) * Level))?
Another thing that could indirectly buff Stam Sabin is maybe buffing Sonic Boom to more appropriate end game power levels to like 42 or even 45, about the same power as Setzer's pre-nerf Airship Slots, which I think is fair considering even with Magic gear on and the Nirvana Band Sabin ends up with around a whopping 39 magic and doesn't get it until level 30 besides, while Setzer has access to a +2 Mag esper and starts with his Def Ignoring wave clear option that also sets Sap and doesn't have to level up for it so it made sense there why 45 power was too much.

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Casual players forgetting to dip into their Ether / tincture supply is definitely a thing. It means that stam Sabin is valued more heavily by players who don't dip into this stuff, but because stam Sabin is also the oddball Sabin build who lacks for HP, he's also anti-synergistic with casual player use.

I'm not going to comment on which MP nerf is most fair for all players. Simply presenting ideas. I will comment that I think more could be done to make Strago appreciate Chakra a little more, like Relm does: not totally dependent on it, but it's still a nicety, whereas right now, he almost doesn't care.

Even if Mantra and Air Blade get modified or buffed (they should), stam Sabin still ain't the best attacker or HP healer. In fact, by Chakra supporting magic users, he's supporting other people who are better at healing and attacking. So, as ya'll touched onn, the core problem of being defined solely by Chakra is still there. Only two solutions exist for that though: another stam-based Blitz (replacing something currently there), or another (actually good) universal use for stamina. Only ideas I've had are status related, and I and some other (seibaby, I think) mentioned some ideas in Discord. Guess I forgot that my Force Robe idea does give stam Sabin some identity as being bulkier magically than vig Sabin, though, like Mantra and Air Blade, it's still not going to be enough if Chakra support, his core, isn't perceived as useful.

I'm not totally convinced that Chakra spam, in and of itself, is bad, as it sounds great to have an infinite MP supply in a jRPG. But I can see the other side, too, and I do support giving stamina a better identity with actually good universal uses, instead of what it currently is. Also, hyb Sabin exists.

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Every turn Sabin uses chakra is a turn one of your other characters doesn't need to use a ether/osmosis and can instead use high cost spells with reckless abandon.

Relm doesn't need him because osmosis, but never having to spend a turn casting osmosis(which can miss) passively increases her dps and support utility. This applies to everyone obviously. Sabin using chakra indirectly gives other players "additional turns" so to speak.

Terra can equip MP+ gear and gem box making stam sabin weak, or she could equip other stuff and give the gembox to someone else while she is on a team with Sabin.

Strago can get by just fine by leveraging cheaper spells and osmosis, or he could cut loose and nuke everything.

The common theme I'm getting at here is that getting use out of stam Sabin requires you to fundamentally change how you build/equip/play the other characters on his team. Maybe I read wrong but it seems like the power of characters cutting loose with builds/gear optimized for infinite mp pools is being underestimated. Sure you can work around the mp costs in a few ways, but what if you don't have too? This is especially good for casual play and players who don't like using items very much. Expanding his usefulness outside of Chakra spambot seems the way to go imo. This kinda already happened with the stamina cover/counter update.  Sure he isn't super tanky on his own, but there is no reason not to buff the hell out of him with infinite mp. Put him on a team with re-raise and you have an undying zombie party guardian.

 

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Posted (edited)

The problem with "cutting loose" is it hits on the problem that Nowea pointed out. Because the game's magic users have such easy access to MP+ and MP management options, they don't really sacrifice a lot of power or turn efficiency to manage their MP. (Also, the efficiency and power of the team has to be account for having one guy who ain't contributing anything power-wise and is also probably a net negative turn-wise because of his single-mindedness). Therefore, the difference in power / efficiency between cutting loose and managing MP is fairly small, or at least, much reduced from what you'd expect for a jRPG. Therefore, since the difference in power is small, the reward for cutting loose is small, which means that it's probably not worthwhile to dedicate a whole character build so that the other three members can cut loose. It's perhaps a decent argument for hybridizing a vigor Sabin with some stamina, but it means there's no reason to actually run stam Sabin proper.

In terms of building or equipping a character for cutting loose, there's really not much of a difference at all between "MP management" and "cutting loose." Much of the same equipment you use for beefing up your magical power is also the same stuff you use to increase MP pool or MP efficiency: Soul Saber, Circlet, Magic Cube, Soulgem Box, Crystal Orb, Sage Stone, Hero Ring (did I miss any?). Red Cap is really the only outlier. Also, a handful of MP ELs is immensely rewarding for any given character, whereas sacrificing those MP ELs for a little extra magic power is generally not very rewarding. Perhaps it's maybe, kinda-sorta rewarding for mag+2 folks come endgame (Celes, Strago), but Terra? Nope. Relm can't even de-couple her magic growth from her MP growth.

And this only concerns the 4 main mages. X-Mages? Two of them (Mog, Strago) are seen as below average set-ups to begin with, so why dedicate a whole 'nother character to them? It's only X-Locke. Course, there's still Setzer and Shadow, who have strategies that prefer Chakra support.

Tactically, for randoms & dungeon crawls, you have to judge whether or not there's a benefit to cutting loose vs. simply spamming status spells. (And then there's Strago, whose go-to mid-WoR move, Raze, is pretty cheap). If you can kill the enemy quickly, there's a benefit, but some enemies just plain need to be status'd, in which case, the benefit is much reduced.

On top of all of this, remember that Mana Battery exists, works even better for a single-target, and Edgar has more to him other than Battery spam. So, having Sabin not be so single-minded (better Mantra, stam-based Air Blade even if ST, Force Robe) is definitely something that needs to happen, but even still, you're specifically setting up a team of 2-3 mages for stam Sabin to really shine.

Edited by thzfunnymzn
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I wonder if the issue is less that stam Sabin sucks, but rather that Chakra sucks? Maybe he doesn't need or shouldn't have MP healing. I get that there's a cool synergy with Mantra (which, also isn't very good compared to almost all other healing options), but maybe it needs to be replaced with something totally different, but based on stamina?

Maybe the trade-off can be that vig Sabin is really awesome at single target damage and stam Sabin can be good at AoE damage (Fire Dance, Wind Whatever, and some replacements to Chakra and/or Mantra).

I also do agree with the idea that a general buff to stamina may be in order. Maybe making it more effective at the things it already does: tightening/reducing certain kinds of damage, higher regen ticks (so that it outpaces HP growth's boost to regen), more status evasion.

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What if Chakra had MP healing over time? Have the power/number of tics based off stamina.

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9 hours ago, thzfunnymzn said:

Because the game's magic users have such easy access to MP+ and MP management options, they don't really sacrifice a lot of power or turn efficiency to manage their MP. (Also, the efficiency and power of the team has to be account for having one guy who ain't contributing anything power-wise and is also probably a net negative turn-wise because of his single-mindedness).

This also means stam Sabin doesn't actually need to single mindedly spam chakra and can still contribute at least every other turn. The question is: what does he contribute on non-chakra turns? Aura Bolt and Mantra, which the community consensus on seems to be "meh".  Increasing his impact on non-chakra turns like with a change to air blade or buffed aurabolt/mantra seems the most needed.  Bigger picture problem is that any mp usage that doesn't empty a character mid battle can be healed between battles with ether/tincture. That's a play style that maybe not everyone enjoys, but it does exist and kinda negates chakra outside of long single battles.

Not that you can't change chakra. By all means it might be right. I haven't played stam Sabin with the new cover yet, but I suspect its a small buff.

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A big problem of Chakra is Stam Sabin's main draw is also build flexibility.
Of the ones who always appreciate medium/light chakra support on any build, we'd probably have Shadow and Relm(Thanks to Osmose nerf)... That's it. Shadow only for rerise spam, naturally.
Most other character either really don't need the support(Setzer, Strago), have easy and strong MP options or have different builds that don't care for MP as much.
For example, I run an Omega Weapon Terra and an Illumina Celes. Celes, even without Soul Box and rather few MP ELs, just does not need her MP a whole lot. Terra, on the other hand, has such easy access to big MP that I picked some up and, as she doesn't at all need to spam expensive spells thanks to Omega, she has little need for Chakra regardless.
Now, as I neither use X-Locke nor X-Mog... My toons need no chakra - Mana Battery does its job just as well.

So not only MP management options reduce Chakra's usability, but also build options of other characters. The AoE effect also makes Chakra feel like a glorified tincture or ether at times.

So yeah... Chakra can't stand as the main draw of Stam Sabin.

Using what we currently have for Stamina in general, C/C seems a strong options, yet greatly hampered by both equip needs and his low defence. Would there be an option to create an ability that gives Cover+Counter temporarily in battle, maybe paired with a damage reduction? Or maybe an item for Sabin that gives him at least Cover+reduced damage while covering(But not at other times). C/C naturally works with Stamina and feels like THE draw of Stamina in this game(Aside from special interactions).

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Posted (edited)

I don't understand how Stamina Sabin is so consistently underrated.

I really need to get around to streaming a run of BNW to show off how good it can be.

I do agree that Fire Dance / Air Blade should be Stamina-based. They don't make sense to be Magic-based, and they almost never get used because of that.

Edited by Reiker
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C/C is definitely the good, universal use of stamina. Unfortunately, it's limited in application to peeps like Cyan, Celes, Umaro, Locke, and maybe Shadow. Excepting Terrato Sabin, Sabin just doesn't strike me as a useful Cover guy. My Force Robe suggestion certainly ain't helping stam Sabin be any better at C/C.

***

OK, being fair to the people who like stam Sabin, I'm trying to understand the tactical & strategic situations in which you do want him so that I can better pinpoint where I think the problem is.

To me, it seems like, painting with broad strokes, that there are three situations in which you want dedicated or semi-dedicated MP support.

  • Using high-end, expensive, powerful magics without actually building the MP for it.
  • Liberal use of said magics in long dungeon crawls, even on builds that build MP or manage their MP.
  • Tech-switching a non-magic build over to magic spam for a particular (mini-)boss fight.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think for most any other situation (such as an occasional re-charge in a boss fight), the answer is usually better MP management or using Ethers, maybe a slight bit of Chakra / Battery from a Figaro who didn't build for it. I don't mention X-Locke or X-Mog as their own thing because they fall into #1 or #2 by default.

#1 is probably the theoretical use for a dedicated Chakra / Battery specialist, but it also depends on whether or not the particular build in question is worthwhile, as well as how much is actually gained from going all-in, extreme magic power. X-Mog, for example, is the poster child for a character that "needs" MP support but just doesn't reward the player much for using him, whilst Mog has at least two other magical damage options (Dance, Rods) that are perfectly viable without stretching his MP at all. Terra benefits very little from even building Maduin to begin with, except for the semi-extreme scenario of building (semi-)pure Maduin for endgame Ultima spam, so she's also out. Relm can't even build her magic without building her MP, and Locke can only build MP. spd Relm counts, but then you have to factor in, what's the loss / gain of grabbing just a handful of Bahamut ELs. Setzer can build pure magic, but why? Rerise Shadow and Magic Gogo like the MP support, but I'm doubtful as to whether or not they're going completely all-in with spamming expensive magics. (Correct me if I'm wrong). Celes and Strago strike me as the only two characters with major potential benefit from going all-in with magic, although doing so for Celes turns her into a mini-Relm, sacrificing Celes' HP advantage. Oh, X-Locke likes MP support too.

#2 is definitely a solid use. It's an absolute game-changer for Terra, Locke, and Mog, and very helpful for Celes and Relm. Strago likes it for AoE, but he's also got strong & cheap ST damage options, a cheap AoE status setter, and X-Zone is somewhat inexpensive too. Other characters don't really care.

#3 is also a definitely solid use for people like Terra, Celes, Locke, and Mog. Also lets Shadow & Setzer be more liberal with MP usage for a particular fight. On the other hand, this is also definitely a scenario where one could argue for Ether support, or for only a semi-dedicated MP specialist (mag Edgar or hyb Sabin).

So, tech-switching and liberal use in randoms are solid enough uses, but it seems to be that those alone only argue for a semi-dedicated MP specialist; someone whose well-rounded, with various options, but who isn't totally dependent on providing MP support to the team just to justify his existence. IOW, good arguments for mag Edgar and hyb Sabin, but not for stam Sabin. Also, #3 alone is easily a case of "please use your Ethers". This does argue that stam Sabin is better buffed by making him more well-rounded (stam-based Mantra & Air Blade, Force Robe, ??? universal use for stamina ???), instead of any sort of straight buff to Chakra. Though making him more well-rounded still requires that he have some other "main draw" besides just Chakra.

So, it seems the main reason limiting a pure MP support specialist is the fact that few good mages honestly benefit from going all-in extreme with magic power / spamming high-end magic. Pure Shiva Celes / Strago and X-Locke are really the big ones, with Rerise Shadow & Magic Gogo as lesser ones, and X-Mog as the fail example. Also, if there's only one of said mages on your team, why not use mag Edgar instead, whose Battery is significantly stronger for a single-target than Chakra is? (And I haven't even touched on if hyb Sabin's good enough for the job even in these cases).

***

So, it's either do something to make MP-less mages more desirable (Mog especially), create a wider difference in power between "freebie" moves and moves that cost MP (could be either attacking or healing), more high-end magics and/or modifying MP cost on stuff to shift them over to high-end (...Cure 3?), make stam Sabin more well-rounded such that he doesn't need to absolutely spam Chakra just to justify his existence, or make more stuff cost MP (not happening).

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Posted (edited)

Combining stam+Terrato doesn't strike me as a terrible idea anyway, though. But of course, Sabin's not made for covering - but he is really good at countering.
Hence I was asking for some possibilities: Like a Counter and/or Cover relic/equip with a dmg reduction while covering for Sabin. Or an in-battle move that grants Sabin Cover+Counter for a set amount of turns, along with dmg reduction and/or bonus to counter damage.
Naturally, both cover and counter would still be affected by stamina as normal to improve their chances. The dmg reduction or bonus dmg could scale with Stamina as well - making them undesirable for a Sabin that really doesn't want to cover.

Adding this kind of buffed cover for Sabin allows him to fill a more supportive role(Fitting Stam Sabin's Mantra and Chakra), while making him also a lot better at using counters than regular Sabin.
This doesn't need to be the only new thing for Stam Sabin, but it sounds pretty nice to me on paper - pushing him even further into "Support Sabin" territory... And not just "Living Battery".

Edited by Vaylen
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How's this for a whack idea: what if taking damage slows you down (implemented as a small subtraction from nATB gauge, or small increase in action delay if waiting to act), and Stamina reduces the magnitude and/or likelihood of this penalty?

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48 minutes ago, SirNewtonFig said:

How's this for a whack idea: what if taking damage slows you down (implemented as a small subtraction from nATB gauge, or small increase in action delay if waiting to act), and Stamina reduces the magnitude and/or likelihood of this penalty?

That's a fun one. Still would need the DR, just to keep Sabin alive during C/C stance. Difficult to say if that could be implemented, though.

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Stray + Terrato is what I assume when I say stam Sabin. I generally think of a 10/10 split between the two. Terrato Sabin is more 20+ Terrato, maybe 15 Terrato with some minor bit of Stray.

Not liking trying to shoehorn stam Sabin in as C/C. Just doesn't seem to work. Would rather focus on stamina's role as a stat.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, thzfunnymzn said:

Stray + Terrato is what I assume when I say stam Sabin. I generally think of a 10/10 split between the two. Terrato Sabin is more 20+ Terrato, maybe 15 Terrato with some minor bit of Stray.

Not liking trying to shoehorn stam Sabin in as C/C. Just doesn't seem to work. Would rather focus on stamina's role as a stat.

I see.

As a stat itself, changing what it fundamentally does is a big and difficult discussion.
In terms of what it does for Sabin, we have already gone over how chakra could be changed plenty(or others, for that matter). For Mantra, easiest change would be self-heal and/or less HP scaling, more stam scaling. Less sources of AoE heal would work, too.
In terms of offence... He really doesn't need much - if anything at all. Having a Stam based AoE would be nice, but not necessary. Think Aurabolt could use a buff, but just a small one, and he'd be fine offensively.

So what he needs is something new. Having a "counter-stance"-like move would be pretty cool in differentiating stam Sabin, give him more supportive qualities and put the focus on his dual-wielded, elemental weapons. To compliment this, maybe more high-tier elemental weaponry could be added(To give him more choice). As he'd have a more unique C/C, this is not as boring as a solution as it seems, while still being strong and useful as a perk of a Stam Sabin build.

If this C/C idea is generally unwanted, though... We'd need something new - either on the stat itself or as an ability of stam Sabin. Do you have any ideas floating around? That "special cover" idea is really just the first that came to mind, thinking of his more supportive role and staminas general uses.

 

Edited by Vaylen
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Posted (edited)

Accidental double post, sorry.

Edited by Vaylen
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An idea for a new blitz is something similar to Cyan’s Retort from vanilla, which if I remember correctly was a guaranteed counter upon being attacked (physically).  Maybe Sabin’s new version of this would counter any form of damage with a stamina-based attack.  Looking here, logical name options are Dharma (truth) or Jhana (mental absorption, understanding), though there are lots of options.  Maybe the Air Blade animation is still used since he spins and that could be thought of as a reversal of the energy of the enemy’s attack.

It would be obscure, but if more of Sabin’s blitzes had meditation-related names, that would be interesting.  For instance, the five spiritual faculties could be used for his attacking blitzes: Faith=Saddha (Aurabolt), Energy=Viriya (Pummel), Mindfulness=Sati (Suplex), Concentration=Samadhi (Fire Dance), Wisdom=Panna (Bum Rush).  

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2 minutes ago, SuperHario said:

An idea for a new blitz is something similar to Cyan’s Retort from vanilla, which if I remember correctly was a guaranteed counter upon being attacked (physically).  Maybe Sabin’s new version of this would counter any form of damage with a stamina-based attack.  Looking here, logical name options are Dharma (truth) or Jhana (mental absorption, understanding), though there are lots of options.  Maybe the Air Blade animation is still used since he spins and that could be thought of as a reversal of the energy of the enemy’s attack.

It would be obscure, but if more of Sabin’s blitzes had meditation-related names, that would be interesting.  For instance, the five spiritual faculties could be used for his attacking blitzes: Faith=Saddha (Aurabolt), Energy=Viriya (Pummel), Mindfulness=Sati (Suplex), Concentration=Samadhi (Fire Dance), Wisdom=Panna (Bum Rush).  

Very cool and fitting naming theme, as well as some good source of inspiration... I like it.
Think a Retort like counter, while simple, could work. However, due its substantial margin of  unreliability(Even with counter all), it needs to pack a serious punch.

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Posted (edited)

Remember though that a 100% counter would pair really well with cover, as long as Sabin has enough HP to survive the attack.  

Slight tweak to the new blitz could be 100% counter, plus normal cover chance (100% for low HP allies, stamina chance for others), but only applies to physical attacks.  Then Sabin can C/C while having both relic slots available, albeit for the hefty price of using up a turn.

Edit: Realized you could equip the Black Belt and get a double counter chance, which would be pretty cool.

Edited by SuperHario
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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, SuperHario said:

Remember though that a 100% counter would pair really well with cover, as long as Sabin has enough HP to survive the attack.  

Slight tweak to the new blitz could be 100% counter, plus normal cover chance (100% for low HP allies, stamina chance for others), but only applies to physical attacks.  Then Sabin can C/C while having both relic slots available, albeit for the hefty price of using up a turn.

Edit: Realized you could equip the Black Belt and get a double counter chance, which would be pretty cool.

The price of a turn is a big one here and Sabin is just... not tanky enough to take multiple hits in a single turn, I feel. Surely, there's some super high HP setup - but that also requires another character being a dedicated healer to him.
Additionally, it would get a lot harder to focus on Stam ELs when you need to scramble absurd amounts of health together.

So~ I do not think traditional cover could work as easily. Too many hoops to jump through to make it work.
I still like the idea of retaliating with a Stamina-Based attack, although, it would be cool if Sabin would have a build that would put his claws into a bit more of a focus(A C/Cing Sabin would use them more than a Vig Sabin, despite the damage difference). A stamina based bonus multiplier to his normal counterattack could be an idea - or maybe just replacing Vig with Stam on the counter attacks.

So~ Would you want a C/C Sabin to be more of a tank for the team with respectable damage, or a damage dealer that happens to take hits for the team(With his counters being especially powerful as a damage dealing tool)?

Edited by Vaylen
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Posted (edited)

As funnyman says, Stam Sabin implies a generous amount of Terrato, and a Royal Jacket or Red Cap (if Force Robe becomes a thing) give +25% to HP, so Stam Sabin will not be lacking HP.  Plus Golem gives the (slight) boost to PDef.  Could also give Sabin the option to equip Snow Muffler for more HP+ possibilities; he is a ‘bear’ after all and certainly a closer physical resemblance to Umaro than Gau or Gogo.

As to losing a turn, the ability to cover potentially saves a revival of an ally (making up for the lost turn), and putting a life bell on him could do wonders for not needing to dedicate a healer to him (even more so if Mantra sets regen, again to save a relic slot).  

With all these skills and using no relics (summon Golem, then self-cast Safe once it expires), Sabin with some status protection relics becomes pretty tanky, with respectable damage  (to answer your question), and is primarily there to facilitate the full activities of his allies.  This is his selfless monk build.  I see him best suited to supporting frail nukers (Relm, morphed Terra, X-mages), if you don’t want to bother with self MP management or using items.

Edited by SuperHario
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2 hours ago, SuperHario said:

As funnyman says, Stam Sabin implies a generous amount of Terrato, and a Royal Jacket or Red Cap (if Force Robe becomes a thing) give +25% to HP, so Stam Sabin will not be lacking HP.  Plus Golem gives the (slight) boost to PDef.  Could also give Sabin the option to equip Snow Muffler for more HP+ possibilities; he is a ‘bear’ after all and certainly a closer physical resemblance to Umaro than Gau or Gogo.

As to losing a turn, the ability to cover potentially saves a revival of an ally (making up for the lost turn), and putting a life bell on him could do wonders for not needing to dedicate a healer to him (even more so if Mantra sets regen, again to save a relic slot).  

With all these skills and using no relics (summon Golem, then self-cast Safe once it expires), Sabin with some status protection relics becomes pretty tanky, with respectable damage  (to answer your question), and is primarily there to facilitate the full activities of his allies.  This is his selfless monk build.  I see him best suited to supporting frail nukers (Relm, morphed Terra, X-mages), if you don’t want to bother with self MP management or using items.

But... Why not use any of the other, better cover users then? But the direction sounds good regardless.
I simply do not think saving a relic slot is worth giving up too many turns. You can easily slap cover on any of the actually tanky characters - and they'll do it well enough.

Having this kind of C/C skill requires it to be actually good. Granted, many options for that. Not to mention, if he could only C/C physicals, he'd be very limited. Having him be able to cover single-target non-physicals would be a new and unique thing. DR while covering to actually make him survive and not go down in a few hits and stam-based claw counters, to put those more into the limelight in terms of the damage output of the build.

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Posted (edited)

Cover Sabin really loves Death Ward(or the relevant Gaurd/Wall ring pre-Death Ward) and Regen, but can't have all three at the same time. I'm dubious whether auto safe & shell +regen would even be enough tankyness, but what that really means is I need to play this game again. Oh the humanity! Thankfully Regen is a fairly common spell so many teams will be able to buff him should he need it. Further proof that the father daughter dynamic duo is great for him with both regen and reraise spells each. Now if only he could get all of the above and counter because obviously Sabin needs EVERYTHING.

Edited by Shax
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I’m not saying the other C/C options are not better, just trying to make Stam Sabin relatively viable since the verdict now is that he’s not.  And his use comes down to Kefka’s Tower, when you have to use nearly everyone, so the question is where would he best fit.  Other places, of course you can use others, that’s the case now and each player is going to have preferences about who to bring, with Stam Sabin being pretty low in the pecking order.

An alternative option to slightly improve Sabin’s cover capability is to put minor PDef and/or PEvade stats on his claws.  You could argue that the claws are like gauntlets, providing some protection, and he’s more agile with them relative to someone with a broad sword.  This latter point gets me thinking - is it possible to start with high PEvade and weapons reduce it by varying amounts?

As to Stam-based claw counters, this does not really fit thematically (Omega being the exception, of course).  But to make the new blitz more unique, I suppose it could be a Stam-based cover chance of any single target attack, and guaranteed counter with Stam-based damage.  If equipped with Black belt, I think it would only offer a claw counter chance in response to physical attacks, though (I.e., current practice).

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For Hario's idea with the Retort-like Blitz, what if while in the "counter-ready" state, Sabin takes reduced damage based on his Stamina?

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