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While RPGs existed before Final Fantasy, and even the tabletop ones have some claim to a lot of the special maneuvers you can see pulled off in the games today, no game managed to make special moves seem more special than the Final Fantasy series.
While many of the games seem to deal with basic characters who seem very real and human, they are able to pull off these fantastic and over-the-top attacks that quickly remove them from reality and let you know that you’re playing a Final Fantasy game.
Throughout the years, each title has shared many of these abilities, and although a lot of them manage to have their own unique ones thrown in each game, plenty of them happen to be recycled from game to game, only to get a brand new coat of paint or possibly even work completely differently than they originally did. The abilities range from basic maneuvers that you can find in any RPG to some incredibly unique ones that rely on specific mechanics that each game has.
As a lifelong Final Fantasy fan, part of what has drawn me to the series time and time again is the presence of abilities from all of the party members. I would wander into each game just anxious to see what the new cool attacks would look like and the damage that they would do. As the years went on, the graphics got better, and so did the character animations, and the explosive nature of some of the abilities in the game really got the chance to take front and center.
There is so much to learn with all of the different abilities of Final Fantasy throughout the years, so let me take you on a tour of the ones you need to check out while playing one of the many games the series has available now. In this Final Fantasy Abilities guide, I will be going over some spells here as they appear as abilities in certain games, but the basic ones of the series, such as Fire, Blizzara, etc., will not be covered here as they are pretty self-explanatory.
- Equippable abilities
- Abilities that are used as spells
- Limit Break abilities
- Item granted abilities
While it’s certainly not flashy, one of the most important things you can do in Final Fantasy is turn tail and get the hell out of there. When you come across a random encounter with an enemy that is far beyond your pay grade at the moment, you can take your punishment if you want, or you can flee.
Each game uses this ability in a different way, and while some games might allow all the characters you use it, others might rely on a specific character to be in the party in order to flee a battle. Figuring this mechanic out early in the game you’re playing will lead to better use of your items and not getting your party wiped out early.
This is an ability that a few games utilize and, when used properly, can shift an entire battle in seconds. This ability siphons a small amount of HP and MP from an enemy and absorbs it onto yourself.
If your entire party uses it, you effectively heal yourself while also creating a huge handicap for the enemy when it comes to casting spells against you. It’s not a bombastic move, but rather a small chess move that can end up paying huge dividends for your party later on in a tough fight.
You can find this ability in a handful of Final Fantasy games and while it isn’t going to deal any damage outright, what it can open up in a tough fight is invaluable. This ability causes the enemy it’s used on to focus on them apart from your party.
This may not seem like much on the surface, but if you use this ability on an enemy such as the Malboro, whose Bad Breath attack can be devastating to the party, you can focus an enemies attacks on you instead of for a small period of time, granting your party the ability to finish the fight before they snap out of it.
When you’re fighting an enemy in Final Fantasy, you always have a chance for the enemy to miss you with its attack. There are certain items and spells you can use to increase the ability of that happening, or you can use an ability such as Reflex. Using this ability raises every party member’s Evasion stat, and that can be stacked 5 times every fight.
If you utilize this correctly, you will be able to dodge most of the physical attacks enemies throw at you. Keep in mind this doesn’t help against magic attacks as those are pretty much impossible to evade, and you’ll instead need to rely on other skills against that.
This is an ability similar to Provoke, but it requires a bit more careful thinking on your part. See, when you activate this ability, the character that uses it will take damage for the character that’s selected. Let’s say you have a particularly strong magic-user in the party, but they aren’t great in the defense or health department.
You can essentially assign them a bodyguard to take all the hits they would otherwise endure. This will require a strong defensive-minded character to make any use of it, but if you have the right party set up, this ability can be a lifesaver during tough battles.
This is a simple ability that has a massive benefit to it. Casting Float on a party member will make it so your character will float above the ground. This might not seem like much at the surface, but having the Float status on your character means they will not take any physical damage while they are in the battle.
That can be a massive help against enemies who do damage with their physical attacks and can turn several tough battles into easy ones if used properly.
This ability is absolutely crucial to success if you’re using a character who has access to it. While not everyone is defensive-minded in Final Fantasy games, you can be certain that the best offense is a good defense more times than not. With Mighty Guard used early in the battle, you will cast Protect, Shell, and depending on the game, Haste on the entire party.
This gives your party physical and magic defense while speeding them up at the same time, essentially preparing themselves for anything an enemy can use against them. I was never a big defensive ability guy growing up, but now, whenever I play a Final Fantasy, I make sure that my defenses are up to snuff before taking on any big battle, and Mighty Guard is easily the best defensive ability out there.
While you may encounter the same enemies a lot of the time in certain areas of Final Fantasy games, sometimes you might come across an enemy that’s completely new, and when that happens, you’ll likely have no idea what you’re up against.
This is also true for boss encounters where you’re completely in the dark about what you’ll need to do to defeat them. When this is the case, Libra becomes an incredibly useful ability as it lets you see an enemy’s HP, MP, and even weaknesses to certain elements. Analyzing your foe can give you a huge edge on what’s needed to defeat them a lot of the time.
When your party is struggling big time, it’s time to do whatever you can to save the day. Full Cure is one of the best abilities around as it completely cures the entire party when used. Some games utilize this as a Limit Break attack, but regardless of how it’s used, this is an incredibly important ability that will usually cost a bit of MP to use, but is always a huge boon in big battles and can be the turning point a lot of the time.
If you’ve come against a particularly tough enemy or boss, you might find that your Phoenix Downs are running pretty thin, and when that happens, it can be incredibly helpful to have a character with the Revive ability on hand.
Although it usually costs a healthy amount of MP to use, Revive will bring one knocked-out party member back at half or more HP. This can be useful in keeping a valuable party alive, and if you’ve got this ability on a character in Final Fantasy, you better bring them along for every tough fight as you’ll never know how valuable it is until you really need it.
This is an ability that is generally used by the legendary Cactuar in Final Fantasy games, but there are a few games in the series that let you use it as well. This attack does exactly 1000 HP damage no matter what an enemy’s defenses are.
Final Fantasy X has a 10,000 and 100,000 Needles attack, though those are reserved for the summon attacks only. If you acquire this ability early on, whether through summon or otherwise, you will find yourself at a most advantageous position in most battles.
Not every character is able to use magic, and when that happens, they are usually constrained to attacking enemies one at a time. This can be frustrating, but there are usually abilities that can help remedy this. Shock is one of those abilities, and when used, you will unleash a huge attack on all enemies in the fight.
This is non-elemental, but it can deal a ton of damage and usually costs a bit of AP to use, depending on the game it’s in. For the warrior characters, this can be a very important attack to keep on your mind if you’re the last one standing.
Are you feeling lucky? Well, if you choose to leave your fate to the hands of the behind-the-scenes number gods, you can use the ability of Roulette in several Final Fantasy games to eliminate a character in the battle at random. That means your party and the enemy are on equal ground when this ability is used, so while you might luck out and kill an enemy in one hit, it could also mean curtains for one of your own teammates.
I tend to stay away from this one as the risk is too great, but if it’s down to just you and an enemy one on one and things aren’t looking too good, you might want to roll the dice and see if you can luck out with a win this way.
Several characters use this ability throughout the series, and it’s one of the more random abilities in the game. It’s usually used as a Limit Break, and that means it’s got some very extreme effects. It can cause random status effects, cure the entire party, or even kill the enemy instantly.
What makes this great is that it usually affects FF Bosses as well as normal enemies, so you can definitely luck out and end an incredibly tough encounter early in the fight if the stars favor you while using the Slot ability.
Throw is an ability that is specific to several characters throughout the series. It allows you to throw shurikens or other weapons as a form of ranged attack. This can come in handy when you come against flying enemies that you can’t seem to hit, and you’re without any magic attacks to back you up as well.
You can throw pretty much any weapon you have in your inventory, and the strength of your attack relies on the strength of the weapon. Depending on the game, this can cause you to lose that item that you throw, so make sure you’re confident that it will be worth losing something before throwing it.
It’s only available in a few Final Fantasy games, but if you’re able to cast X-Zone, do it and do it often. This attack just completely obliterates one or more enemies when cast and usually leads to an instant victory for your party. It costs a healthy amount of MP to pull off and doesn’t always work, but when it does, it can completely end a battle immediately, so the tradeoff is worth it.
This ability is an interesting one because, depending on the situation, this can be used as an offensive or defensive depending on the situation. Zombie is an ability that can turn your characters or your enemies undead. Doing this means they are now highly vulnerable to healing spells, which now will do incredible amounts of damage.
If you use a Phoenix Down on an undead enemy, it will die instantly. Poison and other negative status effects will no longer work on an undead party member or enemy, so depending on the arsenal of who you’re facing, it could be beneficial to turn undead.
This ability can be offensive or defensive depending on the circumstance. As suggested by its name, Mime will have the character casting it perform the exact same action that was done by an ally. That means if these cast Firaga, you’ll do the same, and if they cast Protect, you will do the same.
This is a great ability to use if you’re in a pinch and need to either cause a lot of damage very quickly or you need to defend yourself against an oncoming attack.
This is a unique ability that turns an enemy into a tiny version of itself. While it’s hilarious to use, it also has many benefits as well. Your enemy can still attack you at this size, but its physical attacks will do next to no damage to you, although its magic attacks will still hit just as hard as usual, so be on the lookout for that.
In addition to having weak physical attacks, the enemy will also be highly vulnerable to physical attacks itself and will usually take up to double damage from any attack the rest of the time the status remains. This ability doesn’t work on bosses most of the time, so I would use it on normal enemies if you’ve got it.
One of the classic abilities of the series, Mug is usually a move used by Thief class characters and can prove incredibly useful depending on when you use it. Mug does a small amount of damage while performing the Steal ability on enemies.
Stealing can net you everything from more items to new weapons, armor, and pretty much anything else you can think of. If you’re low on items in the middle of a fight, Mug might just be able to grab you what you need when the odds are stacked against you.
Auto is an ability that many of the games have either attached to items or specific equipment. It can have various forms like Auto-Potion, Auto-Haste, Auto-Protect, etc.
This can rely on items you have on you, so you can’t just go around equipping Auto-Potion and expect to have it work if you have 0 Potions in your inventory.
However, spells are different, so unless it’s a game like Final Fantasy VIII, which treats spells as a limited item, you will be able to use them for however long your MP bar supports it.
If you’ve ever come across the Malboro enemy while playing Final Fantasy, you know very well what this attack is and how devastating it can be. Bad Breath is generally used by the Malboro exclusively, but a select few Final Fantasy games let you learn the technique yourself, and using it causes just about every status effect that can be afflicted in the game.
If you use this on a human enemy in most games, it will completely ruin them for the remainder of the fight. Some monsters will also be able to take on various awful status effects as well.
Available in the majority of Final Fantasy games, Berserk is one of the most useful abilities out there for characters who specialize in melee combat. The reason for that is Berserk amplifies the physical strength of a character by a considerable amount, but the catch is that you can’t control them while they are in the Berserk status.
This is usually shown by a bright red tinge flashing over the character, and from that point on, they will attack without hesitation over and over again until the status wears off or the fight comes to an end.
This is a spell that can also be used as an ability in some Final Fantasy games. It does exactly what you think it does, and if it’s against the right enemy, you will completely blind them. This makes it so none of their physical attacks can hit you while the status is afflicted. They can still use manage to harm you, though, so don’t get too cute here. Blind is usually signified by black smoke coming from the character’s eyes.
While it’s obviously not as devastating as its brother Bad Breath, Aqua Breath is usually an incredibly strong attack that characters who can learn other enemy attacks may end up acquiring early on in the game. A lot of enemies harness this attack throughout Final Fantasy, and it’s usually signified by a burst of blue smoke and water bursting from the character’s mouth.
Usually, the heavy hitters of your party in Final Fantasy games come equipped with Armor Break at some point. This unique skill does a little bit of damage, but the big selling point here is what it does to your enemy for the remainder of the battle.
Armor Break can either completely destroy or lower your opponent’s defenses, which will then open them up to receiving huge physical damage going forward. The first few times you see this ability in Final Fantasy, you might brush it off because it doesn’t do all that much damage, but veterans of the series know just how much this can change a fight.
Fighting enemies in Final Fantasy can be a huge time sink. Some of these enemies have tons of HP, and even the normal ones can take a healthy amount of time to beat, depending on where you are in the game. When you’re done wailing away endlessly, I suggest you turn to the ability Break.
This causes an effect called Petrify or Stone in some games, and while it does some damage, the status effect is what you really use this for. Having those statuses afflicted on an enemy will turn them to stone after a few turns, and when that happens, the fight ends if they’re the only enemy in the battle. This is a great way to end fights very quickly, though a lot of enemies are immune to it.
This attack looks like a baby version of a Limit Break and is usually a super powerful alternative to one. The character wielding this is usually a swordsman, and it shows them delivering one spectacular slash surrounded by some fancy effects. This is a non-elemental attack and usually requires a bit of a recharge period before it can be used again.
This is an ability that can totally ruin your enemy’s plans in a hurry. While some monsters are immune to it, if you successfully use Confuse, you will cause enemies to lose track of who they are supposed to attack, and that can mean everything from their allies to themselves.
They can also completely kill themselves with this affliction, so use it whenever you can. Most bosses will be immune to this status, but some might be vulnerable, so it’s always worth a try.
Counter is an incredibly effective ability that characters can equip in many different Final Fantasy games. This ability makes any character with it automatically attack when they are attacked.
This includes physical and magic damage. This usually doesn’t use a turn for that character either, so there are plenty of opportunities to follow up a counterattack with a more powerful attack if you choose to.
This ability is for the masochistic Final Fantasy player. Darkside does a considerable amount of damage to an enemy at the cost of one’s own HP. That means this is a risky attack that can deal out a ton of damage, but you have to be certain your character will be able to survive whatever attack comes next from the enemy to make it worth it. This is a good ability to have handy for those desperate times in a fight where both you and your enemy are near the end of their rope.
As the name implies, this ability is the end-all of your enemy if you can get it to stick. It’s in almost every Final Fantasy game in some form or another, and if it successfully hits, it will kill your enemy instantly. This usually is supported by a timer that counts down from 10, and when that happens, your enemy will die, and the battle will be over.
There is a catch to this, though, because, in Final Fantasy, you will come across undead enemies from time to time. When you do, you absolutely do not want to cast Death on them. It will cause the reverse effect and heal them completely.
The same goes for characters that are afflicted with the status of Zombie. Death will cure these characters back to full health as well. Bosses are usually immune to this status, but it’s worth a shot because while the odds are very low, sometimes you can get lucky depending on the game.
You want weird, you say? How about an ability that turns your target into a sleeping frog? That sounds like something that might be interesting to you? Good! Because that’s exactly what Frog Song does.
Not every enemy is vulnerable to it, but for the ones that are, this will effectively turn the fight into a cakewalk as you can take the next few turns to wail away on an enemy that is now way more vulnerable to big amounts of damage. With the sleeping effect administered as well, you can also take time to heal your party before going on the offensive again.
While it’s definitely not the most convenient means to deal damage, throughout Final Fantasy, several characters will gain access to the ability Gil Toss or Spare Change. These are attacks used by specific character classes like Thieves or Rogues and what it does is take the amount of money you have and turn it into damage. This might not seem like the smartest idea, but if you have a ton of Gil in a game and have nothing to spend it on, it could turn into a huge source of damage for you in a tough fight.
The time to keep this ability in mind is for the final bosses of Final Fantasy games because, after that point, you likely will have no need for money anymore, so why not spend it causing a whole of damage in the process?
This is one of the strongest abilities in all of Final Fantasy and is typically reserved for a Limit Break and usually the strongest one available. Final Heaven is an attack that doesn’t use weapons, so it’s the brawler type in your party that will be executing it.
It consists of a ton of attacks that hit for massive damage with each strike, and it’s capable of dealing almost 100,000 damage in a game, depending on how powerful your character is at the time. You usually will be able to unlock this by finding a special item or completing a side quest of some sort.
Question: Does every Final Fantasy game have the same abilities?
Answer: While a lot of abilities are shared from game to game, most games have a handful of abilities completely unique to that title.
Question: How do you unlock abilities in Final Fantasy games?
Answer: There are a variety of ways for you to unlock abilities in the series. While some are learned over time, others can be purchased, discovered, stolen, or equipped automatically through wearing certain items.
Question: What is the hardest to acquire ability in Final Fantasy?
Answer: While it varies from game to game, the hardest to acquire ability is generally the final limit break for each character. These are rarely handed out, and instead, you’ll have to complete some sort of difficult sidequest in order to acquire it.
I hope this gave you a glimpse into the type of fun you’re going to be getting into with Final Fantasy’s various combat systems.
While the flashiest moves may be the most fun ones to use, sometimes it’s those defensive abilities that will give you the biggest edge in a battle, so mix and match and see what cool combinations you can come up with.