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Edward is the weakest player in the game. I almost used the word "arguably" before "the weakest", but the fact is not even contested. Edward's attacks suck, and his defense sucks even worse. Why in the world would anyone want to use Edward in their party? Aside from the obvious answer (you have to because no one else is available, and the game doesn't let you select your own party until later), Edward creates a challenging, interesting way to play the game. To use Edward well, you have to use him strategically, and that is fun to me. On this page, I want to post some tips, so you can better appreciate Edward, and so that you can get the most out of him when he's in your party.
To start, I want to mention that Final Fantasy IV has been released several times, and not every version plays the same. In some of the later releases, Edward has been buffed up, making his stats not suck quite so much. In the GBA and PSP versions, Edward even becomes playable again near the end of the game, and his stats are completely different by then. When he's available near the end of the game, Edward can have the highest stats in the game. In FF4's first few releases, Edward is only playable for a short while... You basically get him for the Antilion's Den, and for the fight at Fabul Castle. This page should help you no matter which version of the game you play, though.
First off, know Edward's abilities, and use them to your advantage. Edward has the abilities Sing, Salve, and Hide. They are called different things in different versions, but their purpose is the same. Sing will inflict a status ailment on a friend or foe. Salve will allow one item to be used on the entire party, either dividing the item up, or using that item on each party member in one turn if you have enough in your inventory. Hide will take Edward out of battle, protecting him from damage. Edward also has Attack, but we don't talk about that.
I think Edward's most useful ability is Salve. Because of this, I use Edward primarily as a healer when he's first in my party. Rydia is with you at that time, and she has some white magic spells, but I find that Edward's salve is more effective. Rydia at least has some black magic spells that she can use to attack, where Edward doesn't really have anything else to do. It's best to let Cecil and Rydia deal damage, and Edward salve a potion for the group every couple of turns. When you don't need to be healed, you can use Sing, and inflict status ailments on your enemies, making them easier for Rydia and Cecil to kill. This strategy is especially effective in Fabul Castle, when Rydia is not in your party.
Hide is another option you might want to use to your advantage. When you notice your party is in trouble, and your allies are being KOed, make Edward hide! When everyne's out, he'll reappear, and you can Salve a Phoenix Down, reviving your entire party.
Those tactics should get you through the beginning part of the game Edward was originally meant to be playable in. If you have a version that allows Edward to be playable again near the end of the game, you'll want to be more dependent on his Sing ability at that time. Grind Edward and level him up so that he can learn more songs, and be able to afflict more powerful status ailments like Pig and Toad. You can also use his Attack command at this time, because Edward's stats are significantly higher and it'll actually do something unlike at the beginning of the game. Salve really won't be too useful, as you'll have white mages available who can heal faster and better than Edward.
See? Edward's not completely awful in-game. He can be a lot of fun to play.
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