Secret Of Mana Magic Guide: Full Spell List & Where To Grind Levels

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Secret of Mana’s magic and spell system is a little different than the typical RPG fare, since the game doesn’t offer a lot of clear information about what each spell does. Not sure which of Primm and Popoi’s spells are the best, and which you simply shouldn’t bother with? Wondering how to quickly boost your magic levels? Our guide to the basics of spellcasting in SoM will have you slinging Fireballs and Lucent Beams with the best of them, blasting bosses and baddies to dust in no time.

Only two of your party members—Primm the girl and Popoi the sprite—can use magic. Particularly in the early hours of the game, magic points are a precious resource. Faerie Walnuts are expensive at 500 GP a pop from an item store in a town (or 1000 from Neko’s), and it isn’t usually convenient to leave a dungeon to go to an inn. It’s tempting to let your magic levels languish, but powerful magic can be a deciding factor in squeaking past tough bosses and long dungeons later in the game.

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Wondering which spells are best in Secret of Mana, or looking for an area to grind for magic levels? Check out our complete spell list and guide to magic basics. Photo: SQUARE ENIX

Secret of Mana spiky tiger
Magic levels and spell selection can play a major role in winning boss battles in Secret of Mana. Photo: Square Enix

Secret of Mana Complete Spell List

From the in-game menus, it’s not always entirely clear what a particular spell does. So we’ve put together a more detailed list of spells for each Elemental, in the order you (typically) encounter them, with Undine first and Dryad last.

Undine Offensive Spells (Sprite / Popoi)

Freeze (2 MP)

This is a straight-up elemental damage spell. Damage increases along with Popoi’s Undine level. It’s easy to forget about Freeze later in the game, as you acquire flashier stuff like Darkness and Lunar magic. Still, it’s a nice all-arounder capable of dishing out real damage for a cheap price. Many bosses are weak to this attack.

Acid Storm (3 MP)

The spell does water-based damage and lowers physical defense. This might be useful for occasional one-off use at the start of boss battles, if you’re letting the boy and girl focus on physical attacks while sprite lobs spells. Nothing outstanding.

HP Absorb (2 MP)

This is handy in a pinch, especially if you’re surrounded by a lot of tough enemies in a dungeon and things are a bit chaotic. Sprite will absorb HP equal to the amount of damage done. This can be cast on multiple enemies at once for more healing power. Don’t use it against undead enemies, though, as sprite will end up taking damage.

Undine Defensive Spells (Girl / Primm)

Cure Water (2 MP)

Your HP healing spell, which can be used for one or all party members. Cure Water is indispensable and should be one of your go-to hotkeys for boss battles. This alone justifies leveling up Undine as much as you can tolerate.

Remedy (1 MP)

This spell heals all detrimental status effects, except death. You’ll use it to grind levels for the girl. It can take a bit longer to work than items, but its good if two or more members of your party have status afflictions.

Ice Saber (2 MP)

This spell adds the water element to your physical attacks, which makes it a nice alternative or supplement to attacking with sprite’s magic when taking on a boss weak to Undine. Your attacks also have a chance to inflict Snowman status on regular enemies, making them easier to escape from (though they’ll take no damage).  

Gnome Offensive Spells (Sprite / Popoi)

Gem Missile (2 MP)

Similar to Freeze, this is an earth-elemental offensive spell. It’s a safe bet for dungeon crawls and will come in handy in several boss battles, too.

Earth Slide (3 MP)

For the added MP cost, this spell should be more powerful than Gem Missile, but it really isn’t. The two are rather similar in that they are purely damage spells with no debuffs.

Slow Down (1 MP)

This lowers enemies’ speed, accuracy and evasion. Given the pace of standard enemy fights in this game, it’s rarely useful other than as a cheap spell to grind experience for Gnome.

Gnome Defensive Spells (Girl / Primm)

Defender (2 MP)

The spell raises your party’s defense. It lasts longer at higher levels and on a single target, but even then doesn’t last very long. Defender might be worth occasional use at the start of a boss fight if you’re a little underleveled, but it’s mainly useful for leveling up Gnome. It’s pretty much useless once you have Lumina and Lucid Barrier.

Speed Up (3 MP)

It boosts party’s evasion, single or multi-target. Like Defender, the short duration of the effect limits its usefulness.

Stone Saber (4 MP)

A hidden gem that adds Petrify to your attacks, which is essentially instant death to standard enemies. Stone Saber is great for plowing through hordes in tough dungeons. You can’t inflict the status effect on bosses, but it can still be handy against bosses weak to earth.

Sylphid Offensive Spells (Sprite / Popoi)

Air Blast (2 HP)

An air-elemental attack that’s almost as effective as the more expensive Thunderbolt. It’s pretty comparable to Gem Missile, Freeze or Fireball, but it doesn’t inflict any status ailments.

Silence (2 HP)

Regular enemies will move opposite to how they would normally, and forget to use spells.

Thunderbolt (4 HP)

The spell looks pretty spiffy, but it’s not that much better at dealing air-based damage than Air Blast.  

Sylphid Defensive Spells (Girl / Primm)

Analyze (1 HP)

It tells you an enemy’s weakness and lets you know which spells to use on orbs in dungeons. If you’re particularly cautious, you can also scan treasure chests to make sure there’s no traps. A good pick for raising Sylphid’s levels.

Balloon (2 HP)

This is more useful than you might expect, especially in tough dungeons. You can immobilize all enemies on the screen for a short time, making it impossible for them to attack or defend. It’s great if you find yourself outmatched and want to get some experience or make a hasty escape.   

Thunder Saber (3 MP)

It infuses weapons with Thunder / Air element and raises your critical hit rate. There are more interesting Saber spells, honestly. Meh.

Salamando Offensive Spells (Sprite / Popoi)

Fireball (2 MP)

The cheapest of these three straightforward fire-elemental spells, this one does the second-most damage for minimal MP. A good one to keep in your rotation, and also good for leveling.

Lava Wave (3 MP)

Slightly easier to chain together than successive Fireball spells, this is pretty comparable in every other way.

Exploder (4 MP)

Like Thunderbolt, don’t be dazzled by the MP cost. You won’t do double the damage of Fireball per cast, not even close. It’s not worth the price.

Salamando Defensive Spells (Girl / Primm)

Fire Bouquet (3 MP)

Lowers attack and does damage. It’s comparable to the Sprite’s Acid Rain, but more notable as it’s one of the girl’s only offensive attacks. This is nice to have in fights against bosses weak to fire.

Flame Saber (2 MP)

Imbues weapons with fire element and can inflict Engulf status, basically a combination of paralysis and poison. Those affected cannot attack and their HP will steadily drain until the effect wears off.

Blaze Wall (4 MP)

Basically a combination of the other two spells that’s less appealing in practice: an offensive spell that does less damage than Fire Bouquet, but can inflict Engulf status. Stick to the other Salamando offerings.

Shade Offensive Spells (Sprite / Popoi Only)

Dark Force (2 MP)

This is comparable to Fireball, Freeze and the other 2 MP basic elemental spells. Good for leveling up Shade. Be aware that more late-game enemies may be strong against darkness than when you first acquire this elemental.

Dispel Magic (4 MP)

Dispel comes in handy against mid to late-game bosses who will use Wall to bounce back magic used against them. It can also remove status buffs. You won’t need it all the time, but you’ll be happy it’s there when you need it.

Evil Gate (8 MP)

With a price like that, you’d expect it to be awesome, right? This spell sucks, doing damage based on the enemy’s HP. Guess what, it doesn’t work on bosses at all! Leave this one in the drawer.  

Lumina Defensive Spells (Girl / Primm Only)

Light Saber (5 HP)

Your melee attacks will do light-elemental damage. It doesn’t have any of the status effects of some of the other Saber spells, and it’s more expensive.

Lucid Barrier (4 HP)

This awesome spell blocks all physical attacks for a short time. Duration increases for single-target casting and at higher levels. It’s a total life-saver in end-game dungeons, where you’re gonna see a lot of cheap shots from enemies and the occasional OHKO when your back is turned.

Lucent Beam (8 HP)

One of the girl’s few offensive spells, Lucent Beam is overpriced for its damage output. You’ll use it a fair bit in boss fights as it’s the only option against those weak to light / Lumina, but it’s far too expensive for regular casting.

Luna Offensive Spells (Sprite / Popoi)

MP Absorb (1 MP)

This spell allows the sprite to absorb MP from a single enemy or all enemies on-screen. You’ll draw more MP with higher Luna levels. Say goodbye to Faerie Walnuts, at least for the sprite, because this one’s a game-changer.

Change Form (5 MP)

This allows you to change an enemy into a weaker enemy for a short time. Not terribly useful, but okay.

Lunar Magic (8 MP)

This causes random status effects on enemies or the party. It can also restore HP to allies and baddies. Not recommended for use very often, because it’s really just an expensive novelty.

Luna Defensive Spells (Girl / Primm)

Lunar Boost (2 MP)

This raises your attack for a short period of time and can also be a handy supplemental spell in a boss fight.

Moon Energy (2 MP)

This buff ensures a party member will have a 100 percent critical rate for a small number of attacks. That number increases along with Primm’s Luna level.

Moon Saber (3 MP)

Among the better Saber spells in the game, this one boosts your damage output and allows you to absorb that damage as HP. Moon Saber works well combined with Moon Energy to ensure you’ll keep HP levels high while still dishing out some pain.

Dryad Offensive Spells (Sprite / Popoi)

Sleep Flower (2 MP)

Similar to Primm’s Sylphid spell Balloon, this puts one or all enemies on-screen asleep for a short period of time. It’s mostly useful for raising Popoi’s Dryad level, because you won’t get this elemental until pretty late in the game.

Burst (4 MP)

This decent offensive attack can also be used against enemies weak to Lumina. It’s not dramatically better at dealing out damage than 2 MP spells like Freeze or Gem Missile though, especially at low levels. When targeted at multiple enemies, it also tends to miss one or more targets with greater frequency. Burst is pretty middle-of-the-road.

Dryad Defensive Spells (Girl / Primm)

Wall (6 MP)

Like in some of the early Final Fantasy games, Wall reflects magical spells back at the enemy caster. This also means if you have an active Wall and cast healing magic on your party, it will reflect and restore health to your opponent instead. Its effects can last quite a long time at higher levels, so beware. It can be a bit more trouble than it’s worth.

Revivifier (10 MP)

The spell basically works like a Cup of Wishes, but doesn’t restore full HP.  If you’re getting your butt kicked consistently, you’d be better off toggling your inventory capacity in the settings menu up to eight or 12 of each item instead of the standard four (or grinding some levels) than wasting MP on this. Revivifier is for emergency use only.

Mana Forest of Seasons
The delightfully bright Forest of Seasons in Secret of Mana. Photo: Square Enix

Where To Grind Magic Levels In Secret of Mana

First rule of magic grinding: make sure your party’s weapons are out and / or there are enemies around. This may seem like a no-brainer for the sprite’s spells, but you can actually cast many of the girl’s spells in towns. Don’t bother doing this though, because you’ll only get half the experience per cast if your weapons aren’t out.

Second rule of magic grinding: experience gained isn’t tied to MP cost. So a 1 MP spell counts as much toward leveling up as an 8 MP spell. Casting more, cheaper spells is the way to go if you’re looking to boost your levels fast.

Third rule of magic grinding: any spell cast earns nine experience points, minus your current spell level. So if you’re leveling Sylphid from level two to three, each cast will earn seven experience points. Advancing levels requires more time and more spell use as you go.

If you’re in a pinch early on in the game, anywhere near a cheap inn can do the job for gaining a level or two. However, if you’re looking to max out your stats, or bring a new elemental up to speed fast, here’s where we recommend.

  • The mountain pass from Mandala to Sage Joch’s cave is close to a inn and yields decent experience for raising your party members levels. It’s also a place you’ll need to go several times anyway.
  • The area around the Wind Palace and Forest of Seasons in the Upper Land is great for boosting offensive and defensive magic levels quickly. Sprite/Popoi’s grandad will heal you for free and let you save inside the palace. The enemies don’t offer great experience if you’re looking to raise your character levels, though.
  • For all-around grinding, any of the late-game dungeons like the Mana Palace or Pure Land work well and allow you to increase character levels and earn cash for fancy new armor. Be warned though, these guys are tough, especially if you’ve sprinted through a few earlier palaces.

Fun fact: if you max out your spell levels up to eight with 99 experience points, you’ll see enhanced animations and do more damage with each of the spells.

Any magical tidbits we left out? What’s your favorite elemental in Secret of Mana? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!  

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