Final Fantasy 16 doesn’t feature the build and skill tree systems that we’re used to seeing in most Final Fantasy games. Instead, you’ll be asked to choose between up to nine Eikon abilities spread across three Eikon slots. At first, choosing between those abilities feels like a simple and sometimes obvious process. Once more Eikon options become available, though, you’ll find that it’s actually surprisingly difficult to properly unlock and test all of your abilities. Obviously, that’s why we’re here to help.
Before we get on with these rankings, though, please note that the best abilities in the game can be combo/situation dependant. Some are certainly better than others, but even “lesser” abilities can be useful in certain parts of the game. As such, don’t ignore certain abilities while you’re waiting to unlock better ones. You can always refund an ability and replace it as needed.
Finally, this article does not include “core” abilities that are available to you at all times. With the possible exception of “Taunt,” you’ll want to buy and upgrade all of those core abilities as soon as possible. You’ll be using them for the rest of the game regardless of which other abilities you select.
Final Fantasy 16: Every Phoenix and Ifrit Ability Ranked Worst to Best
7. Will o’ the Wykes
5. Rising Flames
4. Phoenix Shift
2. Scarlet Cyclone
1. Flames of Rebirth
I’m grouping Phoenix and Ifrit together since they share an Eikon slot. They’re also some of the first abilities you’ll unlock, though you can certainly use most of them for much of the game.
Will o’ the Wykes is clearly the weakest ability of the bunch. It’s a hybrid damage/defense skill that doesn’t excel in either category. Try as I might, I can’t find an excuse to ever run it (even for fun).
Ignition is interesting. Early on, it’s one of your absolute best options against bosses and other big targets. It will save you in some of those fights during the first part of the game. However, it proves to be pretty easy to replace once you unlock more abilities.
Rising Flames is a powerful launch attack that can (and should) be used in many early-game combos. Unfortunately, it too is fairly easily replaced by somewhat comparable options. You should absolutely upgrade this one early on until you’re able to replace/refund it, though.
Phoenix Shift is undeniably useful, but it rarely rises above its humble status as a fine utility option.. It helps you quickly close gaps and offers you a nice charge attack, but there are times when it just feels like a slightly better Lunge (which is still a very nice ability).
Heatwave is one of the more complicated abilities in the early game. In its base form, it’s a decent AoE attack that damages enemies in front of you. However, if you use Heatwave to counter an incoming projectile, it not only blocks the damage but does significantly more damage to enemies when it retaliates. It’s always a little tricky to use this ability properly, but it’s absurdly powerful in the right hands.
At first, Scarlet Cyclone is just a powerful, circular AoE attack that can shred enemies that surround you. Eventually, though, you’ll find that it’s actually most valuable as a Stagger builder that can be very effective against even late-game bosses. This move does fall off a bit in the middle of the game, but it’s a powerful attack early on that eventually becomes a nice combo tool.
However, Flames of Rebirth is the real prize of this pool. Though not the most powerful “Ultimate” ability in terms of raw power, it has a massive attack range, quickly fills an enemy’s Stagger bar, and even heals you while you’re using it. You can justify using this ability from the moment you pick it up until the very end of the game. It’s absolutely worth the investment.
Final Fantasy 16: Every Garuda Ability Ranked Worst to Best
5. Wicked Wheel
4. Aerial Blast
2. Rook’s Gambit
1. Deadly Embrace
Final Fantasy 16 makes it pretty clear that most of Garuda’s abilities are meant to help Stagger enemies and set up combos rather than deal pure damage. Ultimately, that’s exactly what they end up doing.
Wicked Wheel is the least impressive ability of the bunch. It’s there to help set up mid-air attacks, but I’d rather use Rising Flame for that purpose during the early parts of the game. From there, Wicked Wheel is easily replaced by pretty much everything.
Aerial Blast is actually pretty useful early on. It basically summons a Tornado that softly stuns/staggers enemies and lets you follow up with an AoE attack. Unfortunately, it’s not great against bosses, and you’ll eventually replace it with similar enablers that deal more damage.
Gouge is actually quite nice in Stagger situations. It not only quickly depletes an enemy’s Stagger bar, but it sets up Stagger damage multipliers nicely. It’s fairly easy to replace it later on, but you can get a lot of mileage out of it until then.
Rook’s Gambit is quite simply one of the best defensive abilities in the game. At worst, it allows you to step back and deliver a pretty powerful follow-up attack. However, if you use this ability to dodge an incoming attack, Rook’s Gambit delivers a devastating counter that can delete lesser enemies and punish bosses. Learning to time this ability correctly is tough, but given how powerful dodges and counters are in Final Fantasy 16, it’s worth mastering this ability’s mechanics and making the most out of it as soon as possible.
Deadly Embrace is honestly one of the best reasons to run Garuda longer than you probably should, though. This “pull” ability is a fantastic enabler that also unlocks a soft, second Stagger phase during boss fights. It’s not the most impressive ability in the game, but it’s useful enough during most fights to give you a reason to retain the Garuda form long after you’ve stopped using other Garuda abilities.
Final Fantasy 16: Every Ramuh Ability Ranked Worst to Best
5. Blind Justice
4. Lightning Rod
3. Pile Drive
1. Judgment Bolt
Ramuh’s lightning-based abilities are visually impressive, but successfully using them is a tricky prospect.
Blind Justice is the biggest offender of the bunch so far as that goes. It’s fairly weak, it’s slow, and it’s just kind of awkward to use during too many fights. It can be used to punish slower single targets early on, but there’s not much room for it beyond that. I can’t imagine relying on this ability once clearly better options soon become available.
It’s equally difficult to find a home for Lightning Rod. In practice, generating a lightning ball that chains between enemies as soon as someone runs into it sounds pretty good. In reality, this ability is just too passive compared to other AoE attacks, and it’s just shy of useless in many boss fights.
Pile Drive is actually a pretty powerful AoE ability. It strikes quickly, it deals respectable damage, and its knock-back effect makes it surprisingly valuable against tough single targets. However, it doesn’t really transition well into the late game, and it’s not even the best AoE attack in Ramuh’s arsenal.
That honor goes to Thunderstorm. Thunderstorm is just a fantastic AoE attack that also performs remarkably well against single targets. You’re going to be using this ability a lot when you first unlock it, although its usefulness starts to fall off once you unlock a couple more Eikons.
Judgment Bolt is the clear winner of this bunch. The attack’s description tells you that it does “massive” damage against single targets, and that description does not lie. It’s pretty much your best single-target damage option early on, and you can work it into late-game rotations if needed.
Final Fantasy 16: Every Titan Ability Ranked Worst to Best
4. Earthen Fury
3. Raging Fists
1. Titanic Block
True to its name, Titan’s abilities typically rely on raw strength and pure power. It’s a notable deviation from the abilities we get up until this point, though Titan’s skills certainly have their uses.
Having said that, Windup is probably one of the worst abilities in Final Fantasy 16. It’s one of several “charge” abilities in the game, which means that it can be difficult to maximize this ability’s damage output during a fight. Even if you can charge this ability up, you may find that its overall damage output just isn’t significant enough to justify the awkwardness of using it.
Earthern Fury is just…there. It’s a visually impressive super attack that lacks the Stagger, raw damage, and additional benefits that similar attacks offer. Again, I just don’t see how you justify running it over other options.
Raging Fists isn’t quite a strictly better version of Gouge, but it’s close. This multi-strike ability comes with a built-in block that you can easily use as both a defensive tool and combo enabler. Trying to get the most out of this ability can be awkward during some fights, but the potential is certainly there.
Upheaval is an amazing ability. It’s not quite as powerful as an AoE attack as the ability’s description would lead you to believe, but it is one of the better stun/Stagger abilities in the game. You’ll find a home for this ability early on, and you’ll probably use it well beyond that point.
However, Titan Block is one of the absolute best abilities in Final Fantasy 16. At worst, it allows you to mitigate a ton of incoming damage at the press of a button that isn’t even limited to a cooldown. If you time that block right, though, you’ll unleash a devastating series of counters that will instantly punish every enemy in the game. It’s just so good.
Final Fantasy 16: Every Bahamut Ability Ranked Worst to Best
4. Flare Breath
2. Wings of Light
Bahamut is the first in a series of Eikons that aren’t necessarily strictly more powerful than the Eikons that came before but do offer some undeniably strong abilities that are pretty hard to replace.
Satellite is not one of those abilities. Summoning companions that deal damage to enemies when you use magic sounds nice, but magic attacks are generally kind of weak in Final Fantasy 16, especially if you need to spam them at the cost of combos. Satellite can be used to quickly stagger some minibosses, but it doesn’t have much to offer beyond that.
Flare Breath is also pretty awkward. It’s a straight-ahead “fire breath” attack that would be far more useful if it didn’t leave you so vulnerable. Such as it is, this ability isn’t nearly powerful enough to justify sacrificing your mobility.
Impulse is kind of interesting. Much like Sattelite, you can easily use Impulse to trap miniboss-type enemies and quickly deplete their Stagger meter. Unlike Sattelite, Impulse is a lot easier to trigger and weave into your other ability rotations. While it’s not powerful enough against the toughest bosses to find a permanent home, it can be useful in certain situations.
Wings of Light is one of the most intriguing abilities in the game. It’s basically a “charge” ability that powers up a Megaflare attack while active. However, while you’re charging Megaflare, Wings of Light allows you to float just above the ground. That float not only offers a little extra mobility but actually allows you to avoid some ground-based attacks. All the while, you can still dodge normal attacks via the Dodge button. While the Megaflare attack itself isn’t always worth the effort, the wings are actually pretty powerful and will help trivialize certain fights against enemies that rely on ground-based abilities.
However, Gigaflare is the most powerful Bahamut ability by a considerable distance. Simply put, you’ll want to trigger this ability the moment that you deplete a boss’ Stagger meter. The amount of damage Gigaflare does during the Stagger phase is nearly unrivaled yet still quick enough to allow for a few follow-up strikes. It’s a must-have ability for every boss fight in the game.
Final Fantasy 16: Every Shiva Ability Ranked Worst to Best
5. Ice Age
4. Cold Snap
1. Diamond Dust
While I’m a little disappointed in Shiva’s overall kit, the fact of the matter is that Diamond Dust is the absolute best Stagger ability in Final Fantasy 16. That also makes it one of the most powerful overall abilities in the game.
Diamond Dust is an AoE ability that freezes all enemies within its considerable range. If that enemy doesn’t have a Stagger bar, it basically leaves them helpless for a surprisingly long time. If that enemy does have a Stagger bar, Diamond Dust will melt that bar at a rate that honestly feels a little broken. There is no ability in the game that will stagger a boss as quickly as Diamond Dust. You should master it right away and use it for the rest of the game.
The rest of Shiva’s set is underwhelming. Ice Age is awkward, Cold Snap is one of the weaker mobility abilities, and Mesmerize too often feels like a worse Scarlet Cyclone. Rime offers a fairly nice way to trap enemies and deal continuous damage, but it’s just nowhere near as powerful as it needs to be given how many other abilities you’ll have access to at this point.
Final Fantasy 16: Every Odin Ability Ranked Worst to Best
5. Rift Slip
4. Heaven’s Cloud
2. Dancing Steel
1. Arm of Darkness
Odin’s abilities are as unique as they are enjoyable. The vast majority of them exist to fill your Zantetsuken meter. When you reach Level 3 (or Level 5, when fully upgraded) of your Zantetsuken meter, you unleash a powerful series of strikes that will tear through anything that gets in your way. It’s certainly worth investing in.
So far as that goes, Arm of Darkness is actually your best Zantetsuken enabler. That innate ability simply replaces your sword with a special blade that fills your Zantetsuken meter whenever you land a strike. Arm of Darkness makes the Odin Eikon slot arguably the most valuable Eikon slot in the game. There’s very little reason to not use it once you have it.
Dancing Steel is actually your best cooldown-based Zantetsuken enabler, though. That ability unleashes a rapid series of strikes that quickly fill your Zantetsuken meter while dealing an impressive amount of damage. Between Dancing Steel and Arm of Darkness, you should be able to fill your Zantetsuken meter with little trouble.
Gungir can help you fill that meter a little faster, but it’s not necessary. It has the ability to hit more enemies than Dancing Steel, but it doesn’t deal nearly as much damage to them (especially against single targets). It’s there if you want to fill your Zantetsuken meter as quickly as possible, but you can replace it.
Heavean’s Cloud allows you to chain a series of successful strikes in order to fill your Zantetsuken meter, which sounds nice until you realize that Gungir and Dancing Steel accomplish something relatively similar with fewer restrictions. It’s a fine ability that is just hard to run over better competition.
Finally, we have Rift Slip: one of the strangest abilities in the game. Rift Slip lest you instantly recover from any ability or action. In other words, it basically allows you to eliminate the natural cooldown period every ability is governed by. That would be nice…if this was an innate or core ability. As an ability that you have to find a slot for, though, Rift Slip is almost impossible to justify.