I’ve always liked zodiac signs – in the astrology spectrum, no horoscope for me. Cause of that, games that insert signs in their plot always caught my attention. When Final Fantasy Tactics came out, and I found out that a portion of the story revolved around the Zodiac Stones, I was instantly charmed and bought the game on the spot – as a good Aries would do. As a Saint Seiya fan, I thought I knew all the signs. Imagine my surprise when Final Fantasy Tactics introduced me to a thirteenth zodiac sign, the constellation of Ophiuchus – or Serpentarius.
Long story short, each Zodiac sign represented a demon, the Lucavi. And do you know what all these denominations have in common with Zodiark? Nothing.
I jest! Serpentarius is the thirteenth constellation that transforms its wielder into a demon of the same name. Said demon can use a powerful summon known as Zodiark. That was the first time this prominent figure appeared in the franchise. Suppose you want to know more about it. Then, I hope this Zodiark guide will enlighten you amidst the darkness of its divine entity.
Like many creatures in Final Fantasy, Zodiark – formerly known as Zodiac – appears in diverse forms in the various installments. Initially, he’s a secret summon from Final Fantasy Tactics, wielded by Elidibius, the keeper of the Ophiuchus Zodiac Stone. This I speak only as a reviewer because I never managed to venture through Midlight’s Deep Dungeon and survive.
In sequence, Zodiark appears as an Esper from Final Fantasy XII. His acquisition is optional and, honestly, quite disposable. After conquering the Esper, I summoned him once just to watch his animations. Not that he isn’t strong, but summons in FFXII stands more like a last resort or a hail mary when shit hits the fan. Not to mention that I am against child labor.
In Revenant Wings’ sequel, Zodiark returns as an Esper but is still optional. In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, Zodiark is an Esper, called Scion in the game just because, summoned by equipping a ring.
Call me a fanboy if you wish, but Final Fantasy XIV did it again and gave Zodiark the dominant role in his life. I said something similar about Midgardsormr and his promotion to a character. But what can I do if FFXIV is one of the best games in the universe and can turn any creature into a divine, menacing, world-shattering entity?
How to Get the Summon Zodiark in Final Fantasy Tactics
In Final Fantasy Tactics, Zodiark is practically inessential, and many players miss it without even knowing its existence.
Known as Zodiac in the PlayStation version, you can learn it as a summon if an allied summoner survives its blast of world destruction beams and then press yes to the prompt that should appear after. I always wondered if someone just said, “Nah, I’m good. No Zodiark for me.”
But first, you need to find Zodiark. You have to access the optional dungeon Midlight’s Deep and reach the last underground level, known as Terminus, or (END) in the original version. Here you face Elidibius, who transforms into Serpentarius and wields the powerful Zodiark.
To use the Sharingan and learn the summon, you need a Summoner in the battle. They need to get hit by Zodiark AND survive the blast. Equipping the Time Mage’s Mana Shield helps with survivability. The character has a 90% chance to learn the summon, and only one can learn per cast. Keep in mind you can only face Elidibus once, so if you don’t steal Zodiark and kill the demon, say bye-bye to the secret boy.
I know what you’re thinking, sneaky one: “Coming out of this ominous dungeon, I’m going to conjure Zodiark on my summoner friends and create a horoscope battalion.” Sorry to burst your bubble, but that doesn’t work. You must get hit by an enemy summoner, or you will just be committing an act of needless treason. This is fitting to Final Fantasy Tactics, to be honest.
There are some workarounds, though. You can find an enemy Summoner, throw Zodiark in his face, hope he learns, and return the favor on an allied Summoner. Or, if an allied Summoner is charmed or confused, they can, eventually, cast Zodiark and teach it to a friend.
A tough love schooling, may I say. Honestly, I don’t think it pays off. Unless you are an ardent completionist and want all your characters to max every job, learning Zodiark just once is enough for you to check your completionist list of getting a star with every job in Final Fantasy Tactics.
How to get Zodiark in Final Fantasy Tactics A2
In the third installment of the Tactics series (hot take: Tactics went from one of the best religiopolitical narratives in gaming to a teenage isekai with no substance, but okay), Zodiark returns as a summon available by equipping the Ring of Precepts accessory.
You need to stay light on the available quests to get the accessory. Do as I do, be a bohemian, and frequent the pub, constantly searching for new quests available. The game rewards you with the Ring of Precepts in the “One Last Memory” quest, unlocked after completing more than 10 quests of the Duelhorn questline. Some quests become available after you finish the game by reloading the complete game save data. I can guide you through where and when they start, so you don’t miss anything in the questline.
After finishing the main story quest, “Mountain Watch,” and visiting Moorabella, you must accept the “Unfamiliar Folk” quest. Next, after completing the main story quest “Grounded!“, the “Duelhorn” quest should appear in the pub and so on. Whenever you finish one main story quest, stay alert and go and have a few drinks at the pub. Here is the complete questline:
- Unfamiliar Folk;
- Making Port;
- Strong Lady (Need to read the notices Duelhorn and An Invitation From Duelhorn);
- Caravan Cry -> Aid the Serpent (Need to complete the side quest “With a Smile” as well);
- Caravan Cry II (Need to read the notice Sender Unknown);
- Summons (Need to read the notice Duelhorn Suffers Setbacks);
- Three-Point Strategy;
- The Last Duelhorn;
- Lethean Draught (Need to complete the quest “I Want to Forget” and reload a cleared game save data);
- Devil’s Pact;
- One Last Memory and voilá! Grab the Ring of Precepts and unleash the mighty of Zodiark upon your enemies.
How to Battle and Get Zodiark in Final Fantasy XII
Now it is time to get the children out of the room because the adults will play. But not all children, because otherwise Zodiark would be left out too.
First, a bit of lore. Zodiark is considered the mightiest Scion. In fear of Zodiark’s strength, the gods prevented him from growing, forever limiting his development. He’s known as the Keeper of Precepts and exerts punishments in place of his creators.
Nasty, hey? If I had known that I would be mowing down a child, I might have thought twice before giving that greatsword to Basch. In any case, Zodiark is as imposing as his Clan Primer biography indicates.
Facing him unprepared will only secure you a quick death and the giving up of your dreams. But as someone who has defeated him – after fifty-two tries – you can trust my call because I think know what I am typing.
First, to get to the infant, you need to have at least ten Espers in your arsenal. Then, talk to Geomancer Yugelu in Jahara, and he will unlock the gate to the Phase 2 Dig in Henne Mines. This gate takes you to the Special Charter Dig area, a different spot on the minimap.
Zodiark is at the end of this straightforward corridor. However, the path is paved by hardcore monsters that can be more trouble than the Esper itself, so be prepared.
Strategy to Fight Zodiark in Final Fantasy XII
He may be a child, but remember, the Orphan was also one. Scary ass movie. Anyway, don’t underestimate Zodiark. He can kill your group instantly if you are not careful. And still can even if you are.
First, I want you to do a checklist of readiness:
- Level 70+ is recommended;
- Bubble Belts to double your HP and protect against disease;
- Black Mask or Demon Shield on two party members to absorb dark-elemental attacks or Shell Shields;
- Equip the holy weapons initially, but be prepared to switch mid-battle;
- A lot of Phoenix Down, Remedy, and Arise ready to burst;
- (Optional) Bring Reddas as a guest with you.
- (Optional) You can try to steal Serpentarius from him.
Easy preparation, right? Since I don’t know if you will play the traditional version or the Zodiac Age version, I will assume that it’s the Zodiac Age, which I played. In Zodiac Age, magicks are restricted to some Jobs. In the traditional version, all members can acquire everything available on the license board, so it’s easier to adapt.
Before entering the battle, buff your primary team with Hastega, Faith, Bravery, Shellga, Protectga, and Bubble (if not equipped with the Bubble Belt). Then switch to a character you don’t like to serve as a sacrifice for the greater good. Why this depravity, I hear you asking.
Simply because as soon as you look at Zodiark’s face, the kid will inflict a Darkja on your party. This dark-elemental damage can not only do massive damage to your party, which will probably survive if buffed with Bubble but also has a chance to instantly kill anyone and/or cause blindness. If your main, buffed party suffers this attack and dies, all your initial effort will have gone down the drain. So put in a loner and switch to the main party after they die.
It’s a relatively simple battle that relies on your luck a bit, but eventually, you’ll succeed. If I managed to do it, so can you. Once you switch to your main party, unleash hell on the boy with physical attacks. Holy weapons are ideal for this moment. You can also use Decoy and Reverse on a party member to try to better mitigate the damage, preferably on the character without dark-elemental resistance.
In the meantime, Zodiark will randomly cast spells like Lv. 2 Sleep, Lv. 3 Disable, Lv. 4 Break, so make sure you are not at multiple levels with these values. Although I can’t confirm it, legends say that Shell cuts Darkja’s instakill probability in half, so it doesn’t hurt to try.
4 commands after Darkja, Zodiark will cast Banish Ray, which deals dark damage to party members not immune to the element. If all party members are immune, he will throw Darkja more often. Considering the instant kill souvenir, we don’t want that. (An alternative is to switch your party to another sacrificial lamb when he readies Darkja).
Try buffing the character not immune to dark with Shell or hope that Reverse works. When Zodiark casts Piercing Graviga or Scathe, heal everyone. I suggest you keep party members far away so Scathe can’t hit more than one target.
Also, the bad boy will constantly buff himself with Greater Barrier, Bravery, and Faith. Should you dispel it? I suggest not. Zodiark will use Magick Wall and become immune to magicks if you use Dispel too often. He’ll use Battle Cry eventually, which protects him against physical attacks. Then, my amigo, the Esper will have two full minutes of immunity while you try to hang in there and exploit his tiny frame of vulnerability to cause harm. Opt to use Protectga and Shellga to counter his buffs.
At 20% HP, the battle turns into a slugfest, and the difficulty spikes insanely. Zodiark will cast Shift, changing his elemental resistance. At this point, it’s ideal to swap your holy weapons for a non-elemental ones. He will Shift his element to absorb the last he was weak to. Simultaneously, Zodiark will use Battle Cry and become immune to physical attacks.
If you heard me before and didn’t use Dispels, he will be vulnerable to magicks. Time to stop his tantrum with a load of Scathe and Scourge. The boss will enter a cycle of buffs, physical attacks, Scathe, and Darkja.
Among the buffs, there will be Reflect, so keep your eyes peeled. I will give you two options: a) cast Reflect on someone on your team and Scathe his head off, or b) equip the Opal Ring accessory to pierce the Reflect.
Zodiark will cast Darkja more often, and depending on your luck – or the lack of it – he may end your dreams of victory on the spot. Should he wipe out your entire party, you can swap out the reserves while reviving your primary group. But keep in mind that Zodiark’s physical attacks on an unbuffed party member will hit harder than taxes. Try to survive until he refreshes his buffs and gives you a breathing room.
Unfortunately, the final moments of the battle will depend more on luck than skill. You’ll have to keep your party members healthy, constantly unleashing magicks at him and hoping that Darkja doesn’t instakill your party members. As long as everyone stays alive while you Kamehameha his face off, it’s just a matter of time before the child gets grounded in your arsenal of Espers.
Obtaining Zodiark as an Esper in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
Since Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings is a relatively obscure game. Due to that, I feel I need to tell you a little bit about the Espers system. In its real-time battle strategy gameplay, in addition to our characters, we can choose up to five Espers – or Yarhi – to take with us and make up our mini-army.
They range from common enemies to the summons we are well-acquainted with, like Shiva and Ifrit and the Espers of Ivalice, Belias, and Zalera. The more powerful Espers, such as Zodiark, are conquered after defeating them in battle. It’s not an easy ordeal, but one that pays off.
Unlocking Zodiark is very straightforward. New side missions will appear after you finish Chapter 9-4 and start Chapter 10. Mission 80: Keeper of Precepts is the one you’re aiming for. It’s one of the most formidable battles in the game, so bringing a high-level group with your best Espers is recommended.
The enemies have a base level of 94, but if you play it safe – or cheese it with Bombs like I usually do – you can complete it at lower levels. The mission before that, Wings of Midnight, unlocks Bahamut, who is a powerhouse in any situation. If you can take him, defeating Zodiark will be easier, though still challenging.
For this battle, the strategy is to be coolheaded and patient. Take Basch with you to protect your Espers – assuming you unlocked his Quickening by completing Mission 74: Dance of the Dead. You start with an active summon gate, so bolster your rank by summoning as many Espers under Basch.
As for these, I suggest taking Carbuncle, some melee rank II, like Golem, and of course Bahamut. Once the battle starts, you will see three summon gates dominated by the enemies. Steal one at the sides, the middle one, and leave one occupied. You don’t need to convert them to your side; just neutralize them.
Now, I am not very confident about the following strategy I will talk about, but that’s how this game plays out. Technically, Zodiark should never actively pursue you. That means you can wait in the center summon gate while enemies from one of the sides assault you.
You can use them to build up your Quickening and level up your Espers. But, and I am 95% sure that if you steal the last summon gate, the big boy will come after you, and that is not what we want. Or it is if you are at an incredibly high level and assured of your skills.
Suppose he didn’t pursue you and, like me, you no longer have the patience nor drive to grind and are on a low level. In this case, I want you to send a Quickening-ready Basch and his family of eight Espers (Bahamut included) to confront Zodiark. At the same time, the party just stands by in the center of the map.
Reaching Zodiark, use Basch’s Quickening, making everyone under his umbrella immune, and place your bets on the cockfighting. Technically, Basch’s Quickening should refill during the clash, and you can reuse it until Zodiark dies. If not, keep resummoning the Espers and sending them with Basch to face the bad boy. With patience, focus, and faith, you should be able to win the battle.
Zodiark as the Boogie Monster in Final Fantasy XIV
First of all, spoilers from Final Fantasy XIV incoming. Second, I assume you are already familiar with most of the game’s terms, like tankbuster and stack indicators. If not, stop reading high-end content about FFXIV and go play!
The Primal of Darkness
When the Ancients were about to face doom in the Final Days, they sacrificed half of Etheirys’s population to summon Zodiark, their God of Darkness, who they believed could balance the aether flow and protect the world. Zodiark indeed halted the Final Days by creating an aether shield around the planet, preventing Dynamis from entering.
Later, when the Amaurotines wanted to sacrifice the lesser races to resurrect those used in Zodiark’s summoning, Venat and a group went against them. She sacrificed herself to become the core of Hydaelyn, binding Zodiark and sundering the world into thirteen shards reflections of the Source.
From that point on, the Ascians plotted behind the scenes to bring back their true god, Zodiark, and restore the glory days of Etheirys. This would mean sacrificing countless lives across the shards through the Calamities. The Warrior of Light initially jeopardized their goal unintentionally. After the Ascians began to show themselves and illustrate their mission as most antagonists do, the WoL started to stop them by will.
After failing numerous times, Fandaniel, with his nihilistic tendencies, used the power of a sundered Zodiark to confront the Warrior of Light, knowing that his defeat would occasion the fall of the planet’s aether shield and the return of the Final Days. And so it was because, like me, you are an expert warrior who beat the crap out of Zodiark and unwittingly brought the apocalypse back to the planet.
Zodiark Primal Fight – Normal
Zodiark is a level 84 trial fight. You unlock the duty, titled The Dark Inside, by progressing through Endwalker’s Main Scenario Quest. In the MSQ “The Martyr,” your goal is to trounce the Ascian god.
Like every synched trial in Final Fantasy XIV, your party will consist of 2 tanks, 2 healers, and 4 DPS. Enter the Duty Finder or assemble your own party and queue for The Dark Inside. The regular Zodiark battle can cause death to the unwary since the arena has no walls, and you can fall out of it quickly.
Also, one particular mechanic can be uber-confusing to grasp. Honestly, to this day, I struggle to dodge the meteorites. However, as long as a healer and tank stand alive, the battle is remediable within conformance.
Zodiark is massive, and his target box is stationary during the battle – except when he gets untargettable due to some mechanic. He opens the fight by casting Kokytos, which reduces the HP of all members to 1 HP.
After everyone is properly healthy, Zodiark will cast Exoterikos, a mechanic that will last throughout the battle. Notice the beam of light coming out of his hands and the direction. It can target three places, right side, left side, or behind the party. Then identify the symbol inside the circle.
A triangle-shaped AOE will appear in front of the circle if it’s a triangle. You can avoid it by standing beside the sign. If it’s a rectangle, you guessed it, a rectangle-shaped AOE will cover the arena near the symbol, and you can easily avoid it by staying away.
Next, Zodiark casts Ania, a tankbuster. The next mechanic is Paradeigma, another recurring one during the battle. There are two variations. In one, Zodiark will conjure snakes at the side of the arena, and after a while, they will attack in a line in the direction they are facing. The other version is Behemoths, which will create a wide AOE circle below them. Avoid getting close to the creatures, and evasion will happen naturally.
When Zodiark uses Phlegethon, he spawns small circle AoEs below each party member. I recommend the group stack first and then spread, as the circles will generate three times, following each member. Soon after, he starts to cast Styx, and a stack marker appears on an unfortunate one. So group up, people, and chunk that damage together as only true friends do.
So far, so good, right? Pretty easy. However, Zodiark will cast Complete Control, and madness will take over the combat. He will use the same abilities as before but combine them with Astral Flow. Arrows will appear outside the arena, indicating which direction the entire platform will turn 90 degrees. Just thinking about this mechanic is enough for my headaches to come back.
Astral Flow Phase
Let’s suppose Zodiark casts Paradeigma and calls up two Behemoths. Then, he prepares Astral Flow, and the arena will spin 90 degrees clockwise. You will have to stand above a Behemoth when he finishes casting Astral Flow. The arena will spin, taking the monster and its AOE away from you.
If you stand in a spot initially considered safe, it may be that when the arena turns, you will be graced with a gigantic purple monster on your lap, which would be nasty. Behemoths are easily avoidable, but snakes, oh boy… I don’t know how to help you because the mechanic is quite random.
It depends on which row they appear in and how the arena will rotate. I suggest you use an experienced player as a donut and follow his instructions or abuse your spatial intelligence to understand where the AoE will end after the rotation. Or, in my case, pray to RNGod.
After the first spin, Zodiark will smash the ground with Adikia, two large AoE-shaped attacks avoidable by getting under him or far away from him. Next, Zodiark invokes Triple Esoteric Ray. Notice which one appeared up first and which one came after. If the middle one popped first, stay to the sides, and as soon as the ray blasts off, go to where it was.
Use the same strategy if the side rays appear first and the middle one later. As soon as the three esoteric rays fire, Zodiark will prepare Algedon and move to a corner of the arena. Get out of his way because the entire length in his direction will be marked with an AoE that causes a knockback to the unwary and massive damage.
The next mechanic is Astral Eclipse. I’m embarrassed to comment on this one because I still misinterpret the tell to this day. Zodiark will fly outside the Arena, and a constellation in the sky will indicate where meteors will hit in the arena. Each star is a quadrant in the arena. So if the figure up above is shaped like a cross, you know that the corners of the combat zone will be safe.
At first, it seems simple… the problem is that it repeats this pattern three times. In other words, you will have to read the stars, identify where the attacks will fall, and dodge them all… thrice. You have enough time to move between blasts, but it is still no use if you don’t identify pronto where the meteors will crash.
One important detail, the stars in the sky, indicate the AoEs of the arena, but they are mirrored, and the direction you are looking becomes North. So when looking at the stars in the West, you should consider marking them with the camera facing West. Same thing with South and East.
Confused yet? I know I am, and I am just writing this. Eventually, you might grasp this mechanic. Or not, because I know I didn’t. So I always put a marker on a reliable party member’s head and follow them while they jump around the arena like a kangaroo.
If you survive the Astral Eclipse, Zodiark will cast Trimorphos Exoterikos next. All sides will receive one of the AoE symbols that will occur in the same sequence as they appeared on the wall. Dodge as necessary. An easy way to identify which AoE will unleash is by the color.
Rectangles are pink, while triangles are purple. As soon as the shapes fire off, Zodiark will cast either Phlegethon or Styx, so adapt. From here on, the mechanics will repeat until you defeat the God of Darkness.
Zodiark Primal Fight – Extreme
I don’t want to disappoint you, hardcore raider, but I probably will. The Extreme Battle of Zodiark is the content of the current expansion and, therefore, requires a much more dedicated strategy and preparation worthy of its own article.
As my focus here is to show more about the different backgrounds of Zodiark in all Final Fantasy entries, the guide to an extreme will have to be left out for now.
Question: Are Hydaelyn and Zodiark the same?
Answer: Quite the opposite, actually. If I would summarize, I’d say Zodiark is the Primal of Darkness and Hydaelyn’s the Primal of Light. Both emerged at the same time, but their goals differ significantly.
Question: Is Zodiark from every Final Fantasy the same?
Answer: Nay. Zodiark from Ivalice differs from FFXIV’s Zodiark. In Ivalice, he’s always an optional character and summon-related. In the Final Fantasy Tactics, he’s a summon with no backstory. On Tactics A2 and Final Fantasy XIV, he’s a child Esper with enormous power.
Zodiark from Final Fantasy XIV also hails from summoning. Still, he’s one of the main antagonists in the bigger picture scenario of the plot that started in A Realm Reborn and ended in Endwalker.
Question: Is Zodiark the Moon?
Answer: He is sealed on the moon, but it’s not the satellite itself. Lucky for us because fighting against a giant landmass would be quite a handful.
Final Fantasy did it again. The series managed to take Zodiark, a totally optional and forgettable enemy from Final Fantasy Tactics, and gradually give him more relevance in different installments to the point where he became a pinnacle of darkness. But that’s what we love about the franchise, isn’t it? Fantastic creatures, divine espers, menacing antagonists, and best of all, the franchise’s evolution as a whole.
Considering that his participation in Final Fantasy XIV is already over, Zodiark might restrict his appearances in games set in Ivalice. But if there’s one thing you and I know. If the name Zodiark appears again in any Final Fantasy media, we better brace ourselves because the godlike entity will sure rock the world.