Cactuar Guide

Cactuar Guide -The Worst Acupuncturist

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The enemy known as Cactuar is a short, green, cactus-like enemy with two stubby arms and two stubby legs. It is almost always found in a desert and commonly uses its trademark 1,000 needles attack.

Cactuar came into life in Final Fantasy VI(FFVI) on the SNES system under a different name. Cactrots then reappeared in FFVII as a Cactuar for the first time. Interestingly enough, the Cactuar in FFVII was a lesser version of an enemy called a Cactuar in that game.

That was enough for someone to decide it would be known globally as Cactuar from there on out. It has appeared in multiple titles and become one of the mascots of the Final Fantasy Franchise.

This plucky, needle-throwing, evasive little green fiend even sneaks into titles outside of the Final Fantasy franchise due to its popularity.

The evolution of the Cactuar is one of the many things we’ll cover in this Cactuar Guide.

Essential Info on the Cactuar

  • First Appearance: FFVI, 1994
  • Signature Move: 1,000 Needles. It always does 1000 damage.
  • Common Location: Desert
  • Usual Bonus: Use them to learn their skill, 1000 needles.
  • Problems: Usually high evasion and/or high fleeing rate.

Final Fantasy VI

Final Fantasy VI Cactuar


  • HP: 3
  • Defenses: MAX
  • Evasion: MAX
  • Attack: Ice Rod, Mindprick
  • Skill: 1000 Needles
  • Immunity: Darkness, Zombie, Poison, Magitek, Imp, Petrify, Doom, Critical, Image, Silence, Confuse, Sap, and Sleep
  • Weakness: Ice, Water
  • Rage: Attack, 1000 Needles
  • Sketch: Mindprick, 1000 Needles
  • Metamorphose: Reed Cloak, Saucer, Tortoise Shield or Impartisan
  • Steal/Drop: Gold Needle
  • Location: Desert south of Maranda

If they hit you six times with 1000 needles, these little villains will change their pre-attack warning to, “Workload increases tenfold!” Then they will do 1,000 Needles ten times in a row. Remember, this damage ignores defenses so that it will be a guarantee of 10k damage.

They give ten magic when defeated. Equipping a Sniper Eye or any attacks that ignore defense are helpful, but ignoring defense doesn’t ignore evasion. Ensure a hit is the most important, as they only have 3 HP, three hits should do. Strago’s 1000 Needles Lore will always hit, as well as Relm’s sketch of the move.

Final Fantasy VI Advance

Final Fantasy VI Advance Gigantuar

They renamed the Cactrots to Cactuar here and introduced a giant form of the Cactuar based on Jumbo Cactuar from FFVII.


  • HP: 30,000
  • Defenses: Super
  • Evasion: Super
  • Attack: Unarmed, Knockdown
  • Skill: 1000 Needles
  • Immunity: Darkness, Zombie, Poison, Invisible, Imp, Instant Death, Petrify, Doom, Critical, Image, Silence, Confuse, Sap, Sleep, Slow, Fractional Damage
  • Weakness: Fire
  • Rage: Attack, 1000 Needles
  • Sketch: Knockdown, 1000 Needles
  • Metamorphose: Antidote, Green Cherry, Eyedrops, Gold Needle
  • Steal/Drop: Nothing
  • Location: Desert south of Maranda after Cataclysm

It doesn’t have perfect Evasion or Defenses like the smaller ones. However, the stats are still high, so using a similar strategy isn’t bad. It will do the 10 x 1000 Needles assault upon being defeated no matter what. You will need reraise most likely to survive its final attack.

Boost your defense to avoid being knocked back from its counterattacks. Then use any unblockable attacks you have to whittle it down. Defeat it, and you will get the Cactuar Magicite. That will give you the Cactuar Summon in-game.

Cactuar Summon

  • Attacks with 1000 Needles(VS all enemies). Teaches Teleport(x20), Vanish(x10) and Hastega(x5). Grants Two magic at level Up.
  • Occasionally will appear as Gigantuar and do: 10,000 Needles(VS all enemies)!

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII Cactuar

This is where the name Cactuar first truly appeared. It was the name of the fake version of the enemy Cactuer.


  • HP: 200
  • Defenses: Decent
  • Evasion: Evades 8/10 physical attacks on average.
  • Attack: Mystery Kick, Escape(often runs from battle)
  • Immunity: ALL Status, ALL Elements except Wind, Immune to Gravity
  • Weakness: None, but damaged normally by Poison.
  • Steal/Drop: Nothing.
  • Morph: Hi-Potion
  • Location: Corel Desert (The Endless Desert)

This Cactuar gives 10,000 gold, but it appears very rarely, and it’s a little hard to kill it before it runs off. If you have Matra Magic Enemy Skill or Poison Materia, you should be able to kill them quickly.


  • HP: 6,000
  • Defenses: Very Good
  • Evasion: Evades 8/10 physical attacks on average.
  • Attack: Mystery Kick(x2), 1,000 Needles
  • Immunity: None
  • Weakness: None
  • Steal/Drop: Nothing.
  • Morph: Tetra Elemental
  • Location: North Corel Area in the Desert(Cactus Island).

This version is a little challenging because they can come in threes, meaning you could be taking up to 3000 damage to a party member a turn until you kill them. Using magic to kill them is the most effective way and even makes them easier to defeat than their weaker forms. Putting them to sleep or stopping them will hinder their chance at evasion.

Final Fantasy VIII

Final Fantasy VIII Cactuar

Enemies in Final Fantasy 8 level up with the player, so bear that in mind as you traverse the world map, hunting rare enemies for magic, items, and each hidden Guardian Force(GF).

Both enemies can be found on Cactuar Island. You can reach Cactuar Island with the Ragnarok airship in the late game. It is possible to fight the smaller Cactuar as a piece of the desert peaks out on Kashkablad Desert.


  • LVL 1-30: HP-Poor Magic Defense– High Uses-1,000 Needles. Strong to Poison Weak to Water
  • Drops/Steal: Cactus Thorn (Rare Lightweight drop)
  • Immunity: Death, Berserk, Zombie, Eject, and Confuse
  • LVL 31-100: HP-Maxes at only 1400. Defense Increases. No other notable changes
  • Draw: Haste
  • Massive Evasion

The Cactuar often just escapes. It grants 20 AP upon defeat, making it great for GF skill growth. Use Leviathan to ensure hits. A fast Squall works because he has a 255% accuracy, ignoring the evasion issue and their high magic defense.

It is possible to get high accuracy with other characters via GF junction boosts. Selphie’s final weapon gives her 255% accuracy as a late-game alternative.

Jumbo Cactuar (BOSS)

  • LVL 1-100: HP- Good to Huge Stats- Poor to Good. Weak to Water
  • Immunity: ALL status except Slow
  • Drop/Steal: Gaea’s Ring/Cactus Thorn
  • Draw: Meltdown, Demi, Tornado
  • Uses: 10,000 Needles, KerPlunk, Hesitates, Escapes
  • Gravity will always miss

This boss will escape if you can’t kill it when its HP is below 5%. Meaning it is not a good idea to wait until you’re at a high level to fight it. Its counterattack, 10,000 Needles, will one hit you at any level, so bring phoenix downs and life magic.

Boost your magic stats and hit it with high water magic, Leviathan, and bring Squall. KerPlunk will hit everyone, so keep the health high on your Healer.

Squall gets a special animation if he uses Renzuken against it and always gets seven hits. Get slow on it as well to give you more time to kill it when it flashes the message “hesitating…” and you’ll be fine.

Defeat it to acquire the Cactuar GF and get Gaea’s Ring.

Cactuar GF

  • Attack: 1000 Needles. It does fixed damage equal to its levels first digit x10. LVL 100 will always do 10,000 damage, counting its first digit as ten, not one.
  • It comes with all the LEVEL UP permanent stat abilities. You can hold your level back as much as possible before getting this GF to maximize a character’s base stats.
  • Grants an Immune to damage ‘Defense’ ability.
  • Grants Evasion and Luck boosts.
  • Allows the character its junctioned to self-destruct via ‘Kamikaze,’ which kills them but does damage that breaks the damage limit.
  • Selphie has the highest base compatibility.
  • Increasing this GF’s summon magic is not useful as it does a fixed amount of damage.

Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy IX Cactuar


  • HP: 1940
  • Defenses: Low
  • Attack: Decent
  • Abilities: Head Attack, Confuse, Haste, 1,000 Needles, Appearance, and Hide.
  • Eat: Learn 1,000 Needles.
  • Steal/Drop: Hi-potion, Phoenix Down, Ether, or Tent.
  • Elements: Absorbs Water, Weak to Fire
  • Immunity: Virus, Silence, Confuse and Berserk, Float, Vanish, and Gravity.
  • Location: Outer Continent-Donna Plains, Forgotten Continent-Mainland

A good source of EXP and AP; outside of learning the 1000 Needles attack for Quina, it’s not a fight you should go out of your way for. After getting hit, it will hide underground, so try to kill it in one blow. Steiner and Vivi on the team should handle them easily.

Final Fantasy X

Final Fantasy X Cactuar


  • HP: 800
  • Defenses: Magic-MAX, Physical-Armored but poor.
  • Attack: Low.
  • Abilities: 10,000 needles, Run Away.
  • Steal: Chocobo Feather or Chocobo Wing
  • Drop: Speed Sphere, Good Equipment
  • Elements: Normal
  • Immunity: Everything except Slow, Provoke, and Doom. (This includes Demi).
  • Location: Bikanel Island must finish a mini-game to enter their area.

Do not Provoke. They run away fast and can one-shot you. So, why fight them? They give you 8,000 AP. Holy goodness, grind the hell out of these things. At the very least, get all of your -aga spells for Lulu before you leave the area.

Our advice: Use Wakka with a piercing ball as he usually has the highest accuracy stat at this stage of the game. Have Tidus cast slow and bring in Lulu to do anything(Focus or use a special sphere to teach her Aim) so she can get some of that AP.

Mini-Game: Locate and defeat the Cactuar “Guardians” around the desert to quell the sandstorm and enter “Cactuar Sanctuary” within the Bikanel Island Desert.


  • HP: 500
  • Defenses: Magic-MAX, Physical-Armored but poor.
  • Attack: Low.
  • Abilities: 1,000 needles, Run Away.
  • Steal: Chocobo Feather
  • Drop: Speed Sphere, Decent Equipment
  • Elements: Normal
  • Immunity: Silence, Darkness, Breaks, Zombie, Berserk, Demi, and High Resistance to Sleep.
  • Location: The Thunder Plains must be released from Qactuar Stones.

Kill them fast; at this point in the game, you may find using an Electro Marble the easiest way to do so.

What is essential with these enemies is making sure to unleash all three Qactuar stones. Follow the Qactuar Ghost in the Thunder Plains so you can acquire Kimahri’s Celestial Weapon.

Cactuar King

  • HP: 100,000
  • Defenses: Magic-MAX, Physical-High.
  • Attack: MAX.
  • Abilities: 10,000 needles, 99,999 Needles, Run Away.
  • Steal: Chocobo Wing or Designer Wallet
  • Drop: Blessed Gem or Dark Matter. Strong Equipment.
  • Elements: Immune to ALL.
  • Immunity: ALL Status and Demi.
  • Location: Monster Arena once one of each fiend in the Thunder Plains has been captured.

It counters with 10,000 Needles. You can rarely hit it without a high Luck stat, so use Luck and Aim often in early turns or focus on attacks that never miss, such as Overdrives. You will probably need auto-life spells or equipment if you don’t have Break HP on your characters.

Lulu Weapons: Many Lulu’s dolls will be cute Cactuar Dolls.

Final Fantasy X-2

Final Fantasy X-2 Cactuar Nation


  • HP: 2002
  • Stats: Good All Around, Magic Defense-MAX, High Evasion
  • Abilities: 1000 Needles, Escape
  • Blue Bullet: 1000 Needles
  • Elements: Immune to Gravity, Weak to Water
  • Immunity: All Status except Delay and Action-Cancel
  • Oversoul: Kill 15. It gains 5k HP. Evasion Agility Boost. Lots of Abilities.
  • Oversoul Abilities: 3000-Needle Special, Blinding Meridian, Blizzaga, Burning Meridian, Chilly Meridian, Drowning Meridian, Firaga, Maddening Meridian, Quiet Meridian, Thundaga, Tingling Meridian, and Waterga.
  • Location: Bikanel
  • Fiend Arena: 4004 HP. Slight Increase in all Stats. Gains Immunity to Delay and Action-Cancel.
  • Fiend Arean Oversoul: 6006 HP. Increase Stats but less Magic Defense randomly.
  • Fiend Cactuar Abilities: 1000 Needles, 10000 Needles, Fireworks, Meteor, Mighty Guard, Quick Attack, and White Highwind.

The Fiend Arena Cactuar’s drop Sprint Shoes or Cocobo Wings, and you can steal from them.

Jumbo Cactuar

  • HP: 22,222
  • Stats: Good Attacks, Incredible Agility, Terrible Defense, and No Evasion.
  • Abilities: Hastega
  • Elements: Immune to Gravity
  • Immunity: All Status
  • Oversoul: Kill 15 of the small Cactuars in the battle with it. Gains 10k HP and Lots of Abilities.
  • Oversoul Abilities: Absorb, Blizzaga, Blizzara, Demi, Fira, Firaga, Flare, Hastega, Magic Down, Magic Up, Thundaga, Thundara, Watera, and Waterga.
  • Location: Bikanel

The only benefit to not killing before you cause it to Oversoul is that killing it in Oversoul guarantees a Rabite’s Foot as a drop.

The Cactuar Nation in FFX-2 is also a quest you can complete and is how you come across the Jumbo Cactuar. It is worth going through, there’s some interesting story added onto it, and you get the Blue Seed skill, among other things, by fighting the Cactuar. The skill is useful against enemies with high defense due to its fixed damage.

Related read: Comprehensive Final Fantasy Quest Guide

Final Fantasy XI

Final Fantasy XI Cactuar


Can I first say their design in this game creeps me the hell out?

In this first MMORPG title in the series, the enemies you face have varying stats and difficulties depending on random factors, such as job classes, levels, and party size.

That being said, the Cactuar is part of the Sabotender Family of monsters in the game. They will make their signature attack, 1000 Needles, which deals precisely that amount to anyone in the area of effect. Some Notorious Monsters in the Sabotender family will use 10,000 Needles.

Final Fantasy XII

Final Fantasy XII Cactuar

It isn’t a traditional Cactuar in this title, coming in as a Cactoid and a Cactite. They are pretty easy to defeat, usually Docile, so you don’t have to fight them.

They are weak to Wind, Immune to Confuse, and Doom. You can steal some Earth-related items from them, Cactus Fruit and a possible Broad Sword. It is plausible to get a Virgo Gem drop.

Poach a Bundle of Needles at a 5% chance.

In FFXII: Revenant Wings, the Cactoid is a Level 1 Earth Esper that is still pretty weak but gets the signature move 1000 Needles.

Final Fantasy XIII

Final Fantasy XIII Cactuar


  • HP: 777,777
  • Stats: No Magic. Good Attack, Good Stagger.
  • Abilities: Kick, Cactus Dance, and Grow.
  • Elements: Weak to Fire and Earth. Absorbs Water.
  • Immunities: All status except Daze and Provoke.
  • Rare Drop: Cactuar Doll
  • Location: Gran Pulse’s Archylte Steppe

If you let it Grow without attacking it, it will evolve into a Giant Cactuar. If you let this version Dance and then Mature, it will grow into Cactuar Prime. Finally, gaining and using the 1000 Needles ability.

Flowering Cactuar

  • HP: 123,750
  • Stats: Good Magic and no Attack.
  • Abilities: Parting Dance, Adieu, Firaga, Waterga, Blizzaga, and Quake.
  • Elements: Weak to Fire and Earth. Absorbs Water.
  • Immunities: All status except Provoke.
  • Rare Drop: Ribbon
  • Location: Faultwarrens

Kill them before they finish their magic combo after dancing, or they will flee.


  • HP: 1,111,111
  • Stats: Huge Attack, No Magic, Good Stagger, and Chain Resistance.
  • Abilities: 10,000 Needles. It may inflict Fog and/or Pain as well.
  • Elements: Weak to Fire and Earth. Absorbs Water.
  • Immunities: All status except Daze and Provoke.
  • Rare Drop: Cactuar Doll
  • Location: The Archylte Steppe.

Activate the Cie’th Stone Mission 54 by defeating a Cactuar at the steppe to start this quest. You may notice though it is Rank B, yet it’s one of the harder quests. Utilizing Daze or equipping items to increase chances of Chain and Stagger can get you a win regardless of the difficulties.

For a prolonged fight, have a Healer and a Sentinel in your party and make sure the Healer is focused on healing your party, not the status effects. Do that by making sure to use items to clear up Fog and Pain as soon as they affect you. Remember to take advantage of its weakness to Daze.

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy Cactuar

This game upgrades and increases the types of Cactuars introduced in FFXI. They have varying HP and stats, but now all come with different versions of their signature attack 1000 Needles. The weaker ones are even only shooting out 100 Needles.

You can encounter them pretty commonly in Thanalan. There is a Cactuar minion available in a high-level side-quest in FFXIV.

Cactuar Minion

  • Behavior: Independent
  • Special Attack: Run Amok
  • How to Acquire: Complete the ‘Zombies are People Too” side-quest in ‘A Realm Reborn.’ Talk to Hab to initiate.
  • Requirement: Cactuar Cutting

Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV Cactuar


The Cactuar in this title is not incredibly easy to fight but has some good possible item drops. Including the Elixir or even a Hi-Elixir and Remedy during timed quests. These types have identical stats, just different drops. Fight them in timed quests when you’re confident in your ability to defeat them to stock up on their excellent item drops.


  • HP: 5,000
  • Stats: High attack, decent defenses, Very Fast.
  • Abilities: Dodges Warp-Attacks. Can Cast Stalwart on self and causes Poison.
  • Weapon Affinities: Daggers and Firearms do slightly more damage.
  • Elements: Strong VS Light and Fire.
  • Immunity: None. Resists Alterna and Death.
  • Location: Fought in parts of Leide, Duscae, and Cleigne.

Final Fantasy VII: Remake

Final Fantasy VII Remake Cactuar


  • HP: Between 330 and 1005
  • Stats: Good Attack. Low Defense.
  • Elements: Immune to Fire and Wind.
  • Immunity: Poison, Silence and Berserk.
  • Location: Appears alongside the Fat Chocobo Boss fight. It is very fast.

If you acquired the DLC Summoning Materia of the Cactuar, you can then summon it. It does its signature 1000 Needles fixed damage attack and costs only 1 ATB segment. Because it is so small it can be summoned in more battles than other summons and be used to cause status effects to maximize its helpfulness. Its ultimate attack is10,000 Needles.

Other Final Fantasy Titles

Dirge of Cerberus Cactuar

Cactuar is found in numerous games under the Final Fantasy Umbrella. Here’s an extensive list, but to shorten the read remember that they usually have high evasion, hit 1000 Needles, and are often found in the games deserts.

If any of that varies greatly, I’ll let you know next to the titles listed below.

  1. Final Fantasy Tactics S
  2. Final Fantasy Type-0
  3. World of Final Fantasy
  4. Final Fantasy Record Keeper
  5. Final Fantasy Explorers
  6. Crisis Core: Can be fought in large numbers but not hard to kill and called Kactuars. In this title, they are acquired as a Summon if “Kactuer” is defeated in the final mission.
  7. Dirge of Cerberus: Can be fought in extra missions only.
  8. Before Crisis: Fought as Sabotender and Sapotender.
  9. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
  10. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles-My Life as a King: A Jumbo Cactuar Boss is in this title.
  11. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles-My Life as a Darklord: Appears as a Summon that Heals the Party.
  12. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles-Echoes of Time: Only a guest appearance that grants cards.
  13. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles-The Crystal Bearers: Don’t use water on them!
  14. Final Fantasy Dimensions: Four types of varying strength up to the Gigantuar, dangerous in that form!
  15. Final Fantasy Dimensions II
  16. Dissidia Final Fantasy (2008): Appears as a Summon.
  17. Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy: Appears as a Summon.
  18. Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia
  19. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: During BMS scenes.
  20. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call: During BMS scenes.
  21. Final Fantasy All the Bravest: In the Fabul Waterways. Drops a Kotetsu.
  22. Final Fantasy Brave Exvius: Can appear as Metal Cactuars for a lot of excellent experience. Find them in the Cactuar Zone. King Mog will sell the fight with Gigantuars for event-specific currency.
  23. Mobius Final Fantasy: Use their magic weakness to then physically damage them. Low HP.
  24. Chocobo no Fushigi na Dungeon and Chocobo’s Dungeon 2: Uses Gil toss and Poison needle. Drops a lot of Gil.
  25. Chocobo Racing: Unlock the secret Cactuar character by defeating the game six times and holding R2 on your PlayStation controller when the cursor is over Squall.
  26. Final Fantasy Fables-Chocobo’s Dungeon
  27. Final Fantasy Fables-Chocobo Tales: An Earth Element with six different usable cards.
  28. Final Fantasy-Unlimited: Interestingly, in this title, it’s your job to revive them after their destruction, not to fight them. Save the Cactuar Race!

Non-Final Fantasy Appearances

Mario Hoops 3-on-3 Cactuar

The popular creation of Tetsuya Nomura carries over into titles even outside the FF franchise. Not just as a plush toy, either.

  1. Mario Hoops 3-on-3: A secret character unlocked by dribbling the ball on its head in the Glare Dessert arena and then winning the game. It is the fastest character in this game.
  2. Mario Sports Mix: As before, but you can now unlock it by winning 60 matches.
  3. Kingdom Hearts: The blueprints for a Gummi Ship of a Cactuar can be acquired. Plus, there is a large climbable Cactuar puzzle included in the Toy Story world in Kingdom Hearts III
  4. Rise of Mana: They appear as allies in this title.
  5. Sword Art Online II: Appear as an avatar wearing sunglasses.
  6. Monster Hunter World: Being part of the wildlife, they can be caught as pets.

That concludes the in-game evolution of the Cactuar as of this writing, but I’d bet you’ll see it pop up as more titles enter the franchise.

Any Tips?

  • Use attacks that don’t miss.
  • Its weakness is so varied between games I would hit it once with each spell to check if you can’t scan it.
  • Chocobo Wings or Feathers usually help teach you or a Summon a spell or skill like haste. If not increasing speed. Cactuars are good sources of these.
  • Try to win fights quickly with them, as they often escape.
  • Buy a little cactus, name it Cactuar, and water it sparingly.


Question: Are Cactuars Hard to Fight?

Answer: Hard to kill sometimes, but mostly with good aim and remembering to heal, they should be easy enemies.

Question: What Does Cactuar Mean?

Answer: This has a specific meaning in both Japanese and English versions of the name. Combing the words for cactus and impostor or fake. Cactus Impostor. Cactuar. Why an ‘a’ instead of an ‘o’, I imagine just for pronunciation purposes. It was an ‘e’ at first.

Question: Why Does Cactuar Have a Mustache?

Answer: That’s not Cactuar anymore. If it has a mustache, it’s an upgraded, stronger version of Cactuar.

Question: Is 1000 Needles a Good Skill?

Answer: It ignores defenses and means guaranteed damage. If your Blue Mage or whatever the games Blue Mage-like skill can learn this, yes. It’s good.


Cactuar has captured the hearts of fans with its cuteness. It is crafty and different from other enemies. It often requires you to approach combat with it in more fun, thought-provoking methods. Its signature attack is pretty horrifying the first time you face it, and it’s a great Summon when you can acquire it.

Enjoy searching out and encountering this green fiend whenever you can. Make sure not to let it practice its hazardous form of Acupuncture. That’s the kind of malpractice that may have you reloading a save.

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