Since Final Fantasy’s third entry, we’ve witnessed gigantic creatures that lend their power in various ways to our party, the renowned summons. Their aliases are diverse: Aeons, Espers, Guardian Forces, Primals, or simply Summons.
Final Fantasy XVI brings them back but puts them on a stage and under the spotlight. Not just a gameplay element, the Eikons, a moniker borrowed from the Garleans of Final Fantasy XIV, are one of the most critical elements in the Final Fantasy XVI plot.
We have an Eikon for each main element in the game but with two exceptions. The lack of Leviathan, a giant water serpent, while Phoenix and Ifrit share the fire element.
Our protagonist, Clive Rosfield, acquires new Eikonic powers throughout the story from Dominants – humans that hold the Eikon within themselves – and uses a fraction of that capacity for himself, becoming a one-person army and the perfect vessel for a pesky antagonist.
Today’s article will talk about all the Eikons that Clive has in his arsenal and what abilities they bring to the fray. I’ll say right away that Bahamut is my favorite, but the skill tree of Ifrit holds one of the most valuable abilities I have engaged in my journey. Follow me through this Final Fantasy XVI Eikon Guide.
Clive’s Eikonic Powers
As producer Naoki Yoshida constantly reminded us, Final Fantasy XVI is the first in the saga to become a full-fledged action RPG. To create engaging combat and assist Clive in his frenetic combos, we borrow the power of the Eikons.
In addition to Clive’s basic skills, there are eight Eikon skill trees that Shield of Rosaria can tap, with one Eikonic feat and four abilities each (Ifrit only has three abilities). However, Clive can only carry six abilities and three feats in his battle set.
Unfortunately, the UI of Eikon’s abilities leaves something to be desired. They highlight each ability’s damage and stagger effect, but not in raw numbers. Also, they fail to mention the cooldown of each one, which makes setting up a build a more frustrating process than it should be.
Here’s a summary of every Eikon feat and abilities. Keep in mind you’ll eventually get all of them just by completing the main story, so don’t worry about missing one.
- Eikonic Feat: Phoenix Shift
- Abilities: Rising Flame, Scarlet Cyclone, Heatwave, Flames of Rebirth
- How to get: Clive starts with Phoenix.
- Eikonic Feat: Deadly Embrace
- Abilities: Gouge, Wicked Wheel, Rook’s Gambit, Aerial Blast
- How to get: After defeating Benedikta and completing the Main Quest “Headwing.”
- Eikonic Feat: None.
- Abilities: Limit Break, Ignition, Will-o’-the-Wykes
- How to get: After defeating the Infernal Eikon and completing the Main Quest “Buried Memories.”
- Eikonic Feat: Blind Justice
- Abilities: Pile Drive, Thunderstorm, Lightning Rod, Judgement Bolt
- How to get: After defeating Typhon and completing the Main Quest “The Crystals’ Curse.”
- Eikonic Feat: Titan Block
- Abilities: Windup, Upheaval, Raging Fists, Earthen Fury
- How to get: After defeating Hugo Kupka and completing the Main Quest “Capital Punishment.”
- Eikonic Feat: Wings of Light
- Abilities: Impulse, Flare Breath, Satellite, Gigaflare
- How to get: After defeating a crazy-ass Bahamut and completing the Main Quest “Fire in the Sky.”
- Eikonic Feat: Cold Snap
- Abilities: Ice Age, Mesmerize, Rime, Diamond Dust
- How to get: After getting bested by Barnabas and completing the Main Quest “Through the Maelstrom.”
- Eikonic Feat: Arm of Darkness
- Abilities: Gungnir, Heaven’s Cloud, Rift Slip, Dancing Steel
- How to get: After getting revenge against Barnabas and completing the Main Quest “The Last King.”
Eikon’s Abilities Explained
The ability description menu explains in which situations they should be utilized and even the bonuses they confer if you aim for a high score in Stage Repaly.
However, as I mentioned before, the damage and stagger are not broken down in detail, nor is the cooldown, demanding a fair amount of experimentation. But I got you if you don’t have the time or patience for that.
Each ability has three levels: learned, upgraded, and mastered. Learned is its most basic form. Upgraded adds some effects, like more hits, range, or duration. Mastered doesn’t change the ability but allows it to be assigned to any Eikon, vastly widening the scope of strategies.
First of all, a clarification. Although it’s a Final Fantasy, the sixteenth entry has no elemental weaknesses. Therefore, using fire abilities against fire enemies, or even against a boss called Liquid Flame, will deal the same damage.
Clive’s brother, Joshua, is the Dominant of the Phoenix and grants the protagonist a parcel of the firebird’s power. These are the first abilities that Clive has possessed since the start.
Among these, props to Heatwave, a powerful ranged attacks counter, and Flames of Rebirth, the only ability that recovers Clive’s HP besides potions.
After a character development in the narrative, Clive unlocks new abilities from Ifrit that are shared within Phoenix’s skillset. In my humble opinion, it has one of the best abilities in the entire game in Will-o-the-Wykes.
A robust defensive measure that can counter even a Behemoth’s meteor – the sole reason why I survived it.
Benedikta Harman is Garuda’s dominant, a wind-aspected Eikon whose skillset thrives in aerial combat as proficiently as on the ground.
Her skills deal less HP damage to the enemy but cut their stagger bar quickly. Not my favorite ability set. Still, Aerial Blast can swipes enemies all around, albeit at the cost of a visual pollution in your screen.
Ramuh is the Eikon of Cidolfus Telamon, one of the best characters in Final Fantasy XVI. With its electrical powers, this skill set favors ranged magical attacks and is one of the few without a direct defensive ability.
Lightning Rod, however, is one of the most effective abilities in the game when well leveraged. Its Eikonic Feat has one of the game’s best potential, but the delay in casting it makes it flawed.
The immense Eikon in Final Fantasy XVI and the most kick-ass. Titan is the earth-aspected one belonging to Hugo Kupka. Its abilities are predominantly melee and inflict heavy damage, especially if charged up.
Raging Fists is the most gratifying counter in the game. It also teaches Clive how to defend, an incredible powerful Eikonic Feat in case you’re not confident in your dodging skills. However, against aerial enemies, well, earth sucks.
My favorite Eikon, summon, creature, and all in-between in the RPG World. The King of Dragons returns with a bang, proving that the crown belongs to him once and for all. Unlike other Final Fantasy games where his attacks are non-elemental, this Bahamut is light-aspected.
His abilities are very unique, but two of them I barely touched. However, Gigaflare is so visually striking that I would still add it to my set even if it were bland.
PS: Bahamut in Final Fantasy XVI also recovers, or at least shares, the position of Square Enix’s strongest magic caster alongside Donald Duck in Kingdom Hearts. I won’t spoil it, but it’s interesting to see how the two have an unimaginable but endearing association.
My least favorite Eikonic abilities. Clive learns Shiva’s power set after a heartwarming scene with Jill, learning all the Lady of the Frost freezing abilities.
Besides Diamond Dust, most abilities are pretty meek, despite the frozen debuff effects they may offer. Shiva’s Eikonic Feat can freeze even bosses, but the execution window is quite hard.
The Knight of Darkness’s powers are absorbed after Clive defeats Barnabas. Every ability deals minimal damage, both to HP and Stagger bar. However, don’t let their potency fool you.
They all have only one purpose: fill the Zantetsuken bar, a variation of Odin’s Eikonic Feat and one of Clive’s most powerful moves.
Top 10 Eikon Abilities
I finished Final Fantasy mode, the hard playthrough of Final Fantasy XVI, basically wearing the same skill set throughout my entire journey.
While I’m not the advocate of truth nor the best player out there, these abilities did the trick and allowed me to finish the game again and kill all the S-Rank hunts rather safely.
1. Will-o-the-Wykes (Ifrit) – Damage: ★☆☆☆☆ / Stagger: ★★☆☆☆
- The perfect defense. Will-o-the-Wykes summons several fireballs surrounding Clive, dealing minor but sustained damage. However, this ability’s potential lies in its second effect. The standard and upgraded versions of Will-o-the-Wykes protect against two and four attacks, respectively.
- When I say protect, it means completely nullifying any incoming attack. This allowed me to prepare other abilities without the risk of being interrupted or combo it with Lightning Rod for maximum stagger damage. While I’m unsure which, some few enemies’ attacks can trespass Will-o-the-Wykes.
2. Lightning Rod (Ramuh) – Damage: ★★☆☆☆ / Stagger: ★★★☆☆
- One of the most discreet and powerful abilities I keep in my battle set. At first, Lightning Rod seemed to me to be underwhelming. Clive places a ball of thunder that works like a trap. Every time an enemy hits it, they take damage. However, we can also hit this electrified ball and do decreased but substantial damage in large doses.
- This is where Ifrit’s Will-o-the-Wykes combination comes in. By placing a Lightning Rod near an enemy and activating the flaming shield, the fireballs will do constant damage to the thunder trap, dissolving the enemy’s stagger bar. Lightning Rod can be paired with other abilities, turning it into one of the most mighty basic Eikon abilities.
3. Arm of Darkness (Odin) – Damage: ★★★★★ / Stagger: ★☆☆☆☆
- Akin to Bahamut’s Wings of Light, Odin has a gauge that gradually increases as more hits are landed with the Eikon of Darkness abilities. Arm of Darkness replaces Clive’s sword with Odin’s, and while every strike inflicts puny damage, it fills the Zantetsuken gauge.
- When equipped with the Arm of Darkness, you can hold Square to unleash Zantetsuken. At level 5, it’s the most brutal and damaging ability ever. I don’t know the exact range, but it can hit almost every enemy on the premises, even if they aren’t on the screen. So far, I’ve yet to encounter a small minion that survives a level 5 Zantetsuken.
4. Dancing Steel (Odin) – Damage: ★☆☆☆☆ / Stagger: ★★☆☆☆
- This is the ability I use to build my Zantetsuken gauge to the max in one go. Clive summons a second blade, prepares a strike in a highly vulnerable stance, and then if he hits someone, a barrage of slashes will persist, stopping time and building up Odin’s gauge.
- Usually, Dancing Steel will build up to the third level of Zantetsuken. If you equip the accessory Pull of Darkness +1 – available in the Final Fantasy Mode –, a single Dancing Steel will fill up the gauge to the fifth level. If you don’t want to equip the accessory or don’t have it, here’s another Zantetsuken-filling method.
- When facing a boss or a great monster, I usually lead them up to a 50% stagger bar, where they get briefly stunned. Then, I grab the fella with Garuda’s Deadly Embrace, extending their stun time. When they are most exposed, I shove a Lighting Rod in their face and trigger Dancing Steel. The flurry will hit both the enemy and the rod, increasing the Zantetsuken gauge by twice as fast, guaranteeing a level 5, and destroying the stagger bar simultaneously. An overwhelming combo and my personal recommendation for all battles.
5. Gigaflare (Bahamut) – Damage: ★★★★★ / Stagger: ★★☆☆☆
- Clive semi-primes into Bahamut, growing wings and firing a gigantic Kamehameha at the enemy. The massive beam of light bursts the enemy into smithereens. My favorite Ultimate ability ever.
- After staggering an enemy, my go-to strategy is placing a Lightning Rod beside it and bursting up a Gigaflare. The flare will hit both the enemy and the rod, elevating damage to the maximum. Also, the cooldown is relatively low for an ability this strong, so I also use it to kill annoying minions.
6. Impulse (Bahamut) – Damage: ★★☆☆☆ / Stagger: ★★★☆☆
- In the upgraded version, four orbs of light are distributed among enemies. If there is only one enemy, he earns them all. The spheres hit the enemy repeatedly and grow in size. If you press the ability button again, they explode.
- Impulse is also a regular part of my skillset because I could explode the spheres at any time, either with Clive knocked down or during the animation of another skill, like Wings of Light. It’s a tad difficult to keep track of their growth, but a shrill audio cue warns you when they are at their maximum state for the explosion, as well as an orange hue.
7. Raging Fists (Titan) – Damage: ★★★☆☆ / Stagger: ★★★☆☆
- Raging Fists has two instances. First, Clive raises a Titan hand, which acts as a block. Then he launches a satisfying hail of punches toward the enemy. If you block an enemy attack with the first instant of the ability, time will slow down, and a delightful counter will occur, pinballing the enemy down while Clive stands in a small invincible frame.
- Raging Fists hasn’t left my skillset since acquiring it. Blocking an attack increases the punching power, destroying the enemy stagger bar and reducing the ability’s cooldown. However, mistiming the block can lead to some severe injuries.
8. Deadly Embrace (Garuda) – Damage: ☆☆☆☆☆ / Stagger: ☆☆☆☆☆
- Garuda’s Eikonic Feat is only usable in a specific moment against bosses, but it’s essential to prepare the scene for a destructive combo. When employing it against a large enemy, Clive is launched into the air in a claw pirouette. However, using Deadly Embrace when the enemy is briefly stunned by reaching 50% of their stagger bar will drag the enemy down, extending their stun time.
- That’s when the Lightning Rod and Gigaflare or Dancing Steel combo comes into play. When the enemy’s stagger bar is massive, I prefer to use this setup preemptively and melt their will.
9. Ignition (Ifrit) – Damage: ★★★☆☆ / Stagger: ★★☆☆☆
- I prefer to equip Ignition when fighting hordes of monsters before Zantetsuken, but it’s still valid when they come in waves. Clive turns into a flaming ravaging bull, dragging small enemies around and rounding them all up for an onslaught. Putting everyone in the same spot is neat to follow up with another area-of-effect ability, like Upheaval.
10. Wings of Light (Bahamut) – Damage: ★★★★☆ / Stagger: ★★☆☆☆
- Clive’s very limited when casting Megaflare. He can perform a precision dodge, triggers Impulse’s detonation, or fire away with Satellites. However, getting hit when building the gauge is annoying. But there are a few ways to make Wings of Light easier to handle, such as casting Will-o-the-Wykes beforehand.
- After conjuring Megaflare, beams of light will fall from the sky, hitting all enemies in Clive’s immediate area. The higher the level cast, the greater the power and duration. Since the ability will deal damage continuously, I can carry on with my strategy while the rain of draconic light pokes my enemies.
Best Eikon Abilties to Fight Mobs
I will describe the best abilities to face common minions in action-focused or Final Fantasy mode. I’ll start with Final Fantasy mode because it’s faster: use Zantetsuken.
That’s because we have all the Eikons available at the outset in hard mode. But in the first playthrough, we only get Odin in the last portion of the game, and I would be a terrible guide if I didn’t guide you on which skills are good pre-Zantetsuken. So here we go.
- Blind Justice (Ramuh)
- Ignition (Ifrit)
- Upheaval (Titan)
- Scarlet Cyclone (Phoenix)
- Pile Drive (Ramuh)
- Gigaflare (Bahamut)
- Rime (Shiva)
Blind Justice is enough. The other Eikonic Feats aren’t as big a deal, and while Wings of Light is devastating against multiple enemies, the casting bar is bothersome. Also, start every battle by pressing R2 + Touch Pad to taunt enemies and focus their attention on you, an ability in Clive’s skill tree.
As soon as you start the combat against multiple enemies, the intention is to gather them all in one space so that you maximize the effect of the area-of-effect abilities.
Ignition is excellent for pulling enemies along the way as long as the game’s camera operates in your favor. Then, with every enemy cozy and mingling together, Upheaval them all. If they don’t die, follow up with a Pile Drive.
However, the abilities will enter the cooldown, and sometimes more waves of enemies will join the party. That’s when you use Rime to suck them all into one place and follow up with Scarlet Cyclone. On the off chance they survive, engage a Gigaflare and watch your enemies evaporate.
If facing pesky flying enemies, activate Ramuh’s Blind Justice and use charged magic, allowing the chain lightning to do its job and knock them all to the ground. You can risk an Ignition on air, but using the ability like that is a waste of cooldown.
The best thing about this skill set is that while you are shifting through all the abilities, the first ones are recharged and set to use again.
Best Eikon Abilities to Fight Bosses
- Deadly Embrace (Garuda)
- Arm of Darkness (Odin)
- Will-o-the-Wykes (Ifrit)
- Lightning Rod (Ramuh)
- Raging Fists (Titan) or Heatwave (Phoenix)
- Dancing Steel (Odin) or Diamond Dust (Shiva) or Aerial Blast (Garuda)
- Gigaflare (Bahamut)
- Impulse (Bahamut)
In this section, I consider bosses and large enemies – those with stagger bars – as the same targets. If you’ve read my top 10 abilities, there’s no secret. However, I will walk you through how I set up each fight and ensure my victory even when facing a King Behemoth.
If it’s a flying or predominantly ranged enemy, I swap Raging Fists for Heatwave. And depending on the available Eikons, I change the ultimate ability. I start with Aerial Blast, then go for Diamond Dust, but stick with Dancing Steel.
I always start a battle using Will-o-the-Wykes to ensure I don’t get unnecessarily damaged. Then I cast Impulse on the enemy and let them build up. The enemy will already be prepared to throw the first blow after these two casts, which I try to counter with Raging Fists. If I miss, no problem, Will-o-the-Wykes got my back.
Since I’m still protected, I try a Lightning Rod and splice a Dancing Steel to hit both targets and destroy the enemy’s stagger bar. Or Aerial Blast, which also deals a ton of damage when it hits the rod. Diamond Dust alone deals a tremendous impact on the stagger.
Then, when the enemy hits 50% of the stagger bar, I knock them down with Deadly Embrace.
If it’s still in play, I reposition the Lightning Rod, reuse Will-o-the-Wykes, and approach the target, triggering the rod damage with the flame orbs while I smack the hell out of my enemy. I can use a Gigaflare if necessary, but I prefer to save it when the enemy is staggered.
When the enemy is finally in stagger – and if the cooldowns are on my side – I throw Impulse again, put a Lighting Rod and use Raging Fist to increase the damage multiplier. Then, I use Zantetsuken, Gigaflare, and Dancing Steel.
If I’ve done all this correctly, Dancing Steel will again fill the Zantetsuken gauge to level five, and I can use a second one. (You must have Pull of Darkness +1 equipped or have a Lightning Rod taking a hit from Dancing Steel).
Rinse and repeat until the sucker is dead.
Question: What Eikons are in FF16?
Answer: We have seen eight: Phoenix, Ifrit, Garuda, Ramuh, Titan, Bahamut, Shiva, and Odin. In a particular cutscene, a character mentions Leviathan the Lost, the water-aspected Eikon, which, at least for now, has yet to appear, maybe in a future DLC.
Question: Who’s the most powerful Eikon?
Answer: Be warned; expect spoilers in this answer. While Final Fantasy XVI features several Eikons, I would dare say the strongest is Ifrit Risen, a fusion between the Eikons of fire: Ifrit and Phoenix.
Clive and Joshua use this power against Bahamut and then Ultima, who also employs an upside-down version of Ifrit Risen.
Question: How many Eikon abilities can you have in FF16
Answer: You can learn all of them. There are 8 Eikons’ skill trees, and each has four abilities plus an Eikonic Feat – except Ifrit’s, which has three abilities. So we have 7 Eikonic Feats and 31 abilities.
Clive can bring 3 Eikonic Feats and 6 abilities to the struggle, allowing several different builds and gameplay strategies.
Wrap it Up
Narratively speaking, the Eikons in Final Fantasy XVI are the protagonists of the most epic and grandiose battles I have ever seen in any media. Whenever I thought I had been stunned, the game proved me wrong and raised the stakes.
Gameplay-wise, Eikons serve as Clive’s skillset. The different abilities ensure diversity in each battle, making it both engaging and amusing.
Everything I have written here is from my experiences with the game. You may find a much more effective combination or playstyle than mine. The main point is to enjoy this wonderful gem of a game that is Final Fantasy XVI, and appreciate everything it offers.