I can vouch for level-capped BCNM battles, that buffs other than food that are above the capped level are removed upon entering the burning circle. Can't use Protectra IV on BCNM40 no more :(
I haven't been able to confirm this for the lvl20 avatar battles because when I thought to test this out on lvl20 Shiva (to get my Ice Fragment for ZM5 ^^;) I forgot that I still had the Whisper of Frost in my key items from the full-level fight at the time which I suppose prevented me from being teleported to the cloister.
I also cannot attest to the exact fame value required as I'd already had max fame in all cities by the time this patch had come out, but from what I hear it is extremely minimal. (which is GOOD for Leviathan >_< omgwtfbbq)
One thing I would like to point out is that the Prime avatars are on the same 1 minute Blood Pact delay timer as your Carbuncle is, and that if its delay is up and Carbuncle is gone, it is VERY likely to pound you or your next Carbuncle with a Blood Pact immediately - and if that next Blood Pact happens to a 2hr, that is very, very bad.
When I got my avatars via the lvl20 method, I pretty much had to treat each Prime BP past the opening Pact as a potential 2hr, and usually in each battle, the Primes got off 3 or 4. The key, I found, was that if the Prime's BP was up or within 10s or so, to - instead of immediately using Searing as soon as Carbuncle's BP timer is up - wait and see what the Prime uses. If it is something that doesn't kill Carbuncle, then go ahead and use Searing again, or if it does, you can easily resummon and immediately use Searing.
Because you pretty much have about 55s leeway to mess around with the Astral Flow duration, I found this to be a lot safer, being a taru. (although I found I could usually survive a 2hr if I mistimed and was too close, though Carbuncle couldn't, so I usually couldn't ^x;)
Also, out of the 10 times I fought the avatars (went 1/1 on three of them, 1/5 on Ifrit, 1/2 on Titan/Leviathan) the 3 Searing Lights method only went off perfectly (i.e. the full 210 damage every time) on 3 of the wins (the losses were mostly due to 2hrs =.=; I practised on Ifrit since he didn't have any status effect attacks). The rest, one of the SLs got resisted partially, so they were pitched battles in the end(i.e. me smacking away with my Mercenary's Pole and Carbuncle trying to melee on low mp) I fought them all on their weak days as I had gotten mauled several times on Lightsday.
With Garuda and her Aerial Armor, you might want to allow Carbuncle to melee a bit until her next bloodpact before starting the 3SL method... Carbuncle hit her 3 times unresisted with Searing Light and she still had a respectable amount of hp left, no doubt because of her using Aerial Armor the times she didn't 2hr.
As for food, I agree that fishkabobs or boiled crab is the best choice ^^ I used melon juice instead of yagudo drinks because yag drinks had this tendency to wear off right after my 3rd Searing Light, which was kinda bad if Carbuncle needed to still be out to melee. Melon Juice has a slightly shorter duration so you can redrink it between SLs... and it's more cost-effective than yag drinks anyway (90mp for melon 600gil, 120mp for yag 1500gil, same refresh rate, 2mp/3s). I also brought a stack of mulsums with me, as well as a bunch of hipots. Mulsums only give back 10mp, but they have the advantage of being very fast and having no spell "downtime" like ethers, and 10mp is usually all you need to pump out the next Searing Light with juice flowing.
Edited, Thu Sep 16 07:19:39 2004 by JeyKama
Edited, Thu Sep 16 07:20:19 2004 by JeyKama