The whole cast of Final Fantasy IX is well-developed to a point where they all become very lovable by the end... even if some of them were annoying as blazing sins at the beginning of the game (looking at you, Steiner). However, this will not be a ranking of the characters by personality, likability, or character development, but instead based off of their pure usefulness in battle! Since all of the permanently playable characters in this game are very well balanced, do not be too offended by my choices: all the permanently playable party members are very viable! This list is also solely based off of how good each character is during the endgame, as otherwise, this list would have way too many variables. Last but not least, I will also be including the temporarily playable characters on this list... if just to bash on how much they suck in battle ;) Anyway, without further ado, RPG Ranked presents... Final Fantasy IX: All Characters RANKED!
This character is in your party for the least time of any character in the game... and he's just terrible. He can Attack and Steal... that's it. Since he's only in your party for a couple of battles, it'd be stupid to put Cinna any higher on this list. Heck, I couldn't even get a picture of his stats screen because you never even get to see it! The only thing this buffoon is good for is that his Hammer can be made into Steiner's Tin Armor. Otherwise? F Tier.
Just like Cinna, but at least he is in the party long enough you can actually equip him and stuff! I would've loved to see him as a permanently playable character in some form because, story-wise, he is pretty dang cool! Now if they did that, they would obviously have to buff him, because as it stands, he is terrible in battle. F Tier.
Marcus is in the party for longer than Blank. But that isn't what separates him from being part of the F Tier... it's the Marcus/Eiko stat bug. If you grind Marcus extensively, his stats will carry over to Eiko, making her easily the best character stat-wise if this trick is utilized! Because of this bug, Marcus is an okay character... D Tier.
Beatrix is one of the most fun playable characters to use, but since she is only temporarily available, she can not go any higher on this list. Unlike the previous characters on this list, Beatrix is actually an absolute beast in battle: she has the best of Steiner's Sword Art abilities in the form of her Seiken skillset, and she also has eight powerful White Magic spells: Cura, Life, Full-Life, Esuna, Silence, Reflect, Blind, and Holy! Her Save the Queen weapon's damage is based on her level, so if fore some reason you grinded her up to level 85 or higher, she would deal the most damage of any character in the game! It is too bad she's only temporarily playable, or she would easily make the top of B Tier! But as it is... she is C Tier material.
8. Adelbert Steiner
This is going to infuriate some of you: but just remember, this list is solely based off of the endgame! Steiner can deal insane amounts of damage... but literally so can every other character at the end of the game. Sure, his powerful armor and high HP are very nice, but not enough to save him from last place. As much as I love Steiner, his Sword Art abilities cost much more MP than abilities like Dragon's Crest, Thievery, or Frog Drop... which deal just as much, if not more damage! Though MP is not that big of an issue by the end of the game, the characters with those abilities also have useful support skills. Steiner does not have useful support skills, he only has one thing: damage. Even his Trance ability is basically worthless by the endgame, as he will be doing 9,999 damage anyway! If the developers would have given Steiner the ability to break the damage limit, his pure damage would be much more useful, but as it stands, even the White Mages of this game can deal 9,999 damage with their abilities! Overall, even though Steiner can deal a ton of damage, his very one-note role in battle makes him pale in comparison to the rest of the characters in the cast... all of which can support the party in one way or another!
7. Garnet Til Alexandros XVII
Garnet's damage is the most pitiful of any permanently playable character in the game. For such a long animation, extreme MP cost, and the need to buff her summons with Jewels and/or the Boost ability for them to be useful, and for what? Maybe 9,999 damage depending on your level? I'd rather use any other character to deal damage over Garnet! However, as Garnet is also a White Mage, at least she is not just a one-trick pony like Steiner is! Her useful spells include the Cure series spells, Life, Shell, Protect, and her only useful exclusive spell: Berserk. Though White Magic is not necessary in this game because Auto-Regen is such a dominant ability, her White Magic still has a use in some situations! Her Trance ability is also one of the better ones in the game, as after you summon an Eidolon, it comes back multiple times later in the battle without having to use extra MP or turns! However, her most useful perk is actually centered around the Auto-Regen ability—said perk is her extremely long summon animations! These long animations can be exploited to replenish all of your health via Auto-Regen, which is honestly completely overpowered! However... Eiko can do this too. Sure, Eiko's summon animations are not as long, but the other advantages she has over Garnet outweigh this small detriment to her character. Overall, Garnet is still a bit more useful than Steiner during the endgame, I'll admit that. But due to the fact her damage potential is really annoying to access and hardly tends to be worth it, and the fact that her White Magic is outclassed by Eiko's, I just don't see why you would choose Garnet over a more impactful mage like Eiko or Quina.
6. Zidane Tribal
Sorry... I really do love Zidane as a character, and he is decent in battle, but I don't see any good reasons to place him above the following characters. In fact, I tend to take Zidane out of my party right at the start of Memoria because I simply find him to be outclassed! Okay. I'll explain myself now. His Steal ability is easily his most useful asset, as many amazing items can only be obtained via stealing! However, many of Zidane's other attributes are not quite as good as his Steal command. His Skill skillset (yes, there is a skillset called Skill... I can't get over it!) only has four notable abilities: Flee, Soul Blade, Sacrifice, and Thievery. Flee is good for escaping if you overestimated your abilities in battle, but I mean, I have a pro tip for you: don't overestimate anything. Never ends well. Anyway, I digress. His Soul Blade ability is a really cool ability, and one of his best abilities, as it inflicts a status ailment based off of the Thief Sword equipped with a 99% success rate... which is insane against some enemies such as Yans! Sacrifice is another neat ability, especially for boss fights! It kills off Zidane, but restores the party to full HP and MP at the cost of his own HP and MP! Sounds worth it to me... he's usually the worst person in my party anyway... overall, a good ability. And last but not least, Thievery is a really cheap ability that allows you to do 9,999 damage really easily! However, when matched up to Freya and Amarant... Zidane just seems mediocre to me. So overall, his Steal, Skill, and Dyne abilities are pretty good, but, outside of dealing damage, stealing, and inflicting status ailments, he doesn't bring much to the party. And because of this, I don't think he deserves to be any higher on this list.
5. Vivi Ornitier
Sure, you can ask why Vivi is placed higher than Steiner, Dagger, and Zidane because he is simply a DPS character and nothing else... but honestly, I find like that could not be further from the truth. Why? One word: Doomsday. Casting Doomsday with Shadow-absorbing equipment on all of your party members will end up dealing near-max damage to all enemies, as well as heal a ton of health to your entire party! Not only this make him one of the most damaging characters, but also the best healer in the game! In fact... I think this is a more effective way of healing than Auto-Regen. Oh, I love being controversial! Outside of Doomsday, his Trance is the most damaging thing in the game, as he can do guaranteed 19,998 damage in one turn! Overall, spamming Doomsday, especially during Trance, is game-breaking, and with Amarant's Chakra ability or Freya's White Draw ability, you can sustain this indefinitely! However, being reliant on one ability (one ability that is a hassle to work around, at that), as well as offering less support than other characters, Vivi ranks at the bottom of the A Tier.
4. Freya Crescent
What causes a character to be a great character in Final Fantasy IX is versatility. And I would argue that Freya is the first truly versatile character on this list! First of all, dealing 9,999 damage with Dragon's Crest is extremely easily, as well as insanely powerful! It is also much less time consuming to power up than Thievery or Frog Drop, making it the easiest and most reliable way to hit the damage limit. Second of all, like Steiner, she has high health and also has heavy armor! On top of her heavy armor, she can also equip female-exclusive equipment, as well as deal huge basic physical attack damage with the Mythril Helm & Holy Lance comb! My third point is what sets her apart from Steiner and actually makes her versatile—her powerful Dragon skillset! With this skillset, she can restore MP with Lancer, Six Dragons, and White Draw, deal huge amounts of damage to multiple enemies with Cherry Blossom and Dragon Breath, cast Regen on the entire party with Reis's Wind, and as I said previously, deal 9,999 damage with Dragon's Crest! All of these factors make already make her better than Steiner, but I'm still not done! She can also Jump to not only do huge damage, but also to avoid attacks if things go awry! She has one of the weaker Trance abilities, but I still think it is more useful than Steiner's or Zidane's during the endgame! Overall, with powerful equipment, highly-damaging abilities, and abilities that restore HP and MP to the party, Freya lands in the fourth position on my list.
3. Amarant Coral
A lot of people hate Amarant... and I really do not understand why! First of all, his physical attacks are the second best in the game, just behind Steiner. Second of all, his Throw and No Mercy abilities can consistently hit for some of the best damage in the game! Third of all, he can revive characters with the aptly named Revive, as well as apply Auto-Life and Regen to characters with Aura! Third of all, his Chakra ability heals up to 40% HP and MP if equipped with the Power Up skill, making him not only a great secondary healer, but also a way of restoring mP that no other character can match! His Elan is arguably one of the most, if not the most, useful Trances because it allows you to do insane things like cast Auto-Life on your whole party, revive your whole party, restore 40% of your parties HP and MP, et cetera. He also has Return Magic, which makes him deal that much more damage! Sure, you get him later in the game than some of these other characters, but overall, I simply find Amarant to be one of the best characters due to his huge damage and amazing Flair abilities.
2. Eiko Carol
Eiko is easily the best support character in the game! With insane White Magic spells like Full-Life, Regen, Jewel, Might, and Holy, Eiko easily outclasses Garnet in terms of White Magic. In fact, this may be an unpopular opinion... but I also prefer Eiko's summons over Garnet's. Whereas Garnet's simply just deal damage that can easily be matched by any other character, Eiko can save the party from a terrible death due to her amazing Phoenix summon, or—using Carbuncle—buff the party with Reflect, Vanish, or Shell, as well as Protect! Besides, Madeen deals just as much damage as Leviathan, Ark, or Bahamut... and even Fenrir can hit 9,999 damage if the Maiden Prayer is equipped! Last but not least, I have to mention the Marcus/Eiko stat bug... because if you utilize this bug, Eiko instantly will become the most broken character in the game since she will have stats unmatchable by the other party members! Since I always grind up my characters anyway, and since you can get Marcus up to level 99 with the use of the Blood Sword and a Turbo Controller, I totally exploit this bug! She can get up to 40 extra points of each stat, the highest Magic Stones in the game, and the highest HP and MP in the game! I mean, even without this bug, I honestly do not understand how people still think that Garnet is better than Eiko... but with the bug? I think Garnet has every single odd not in her favor. Her Trance might not be as appealing as Garnet's for some people, but in my opinion, I still like Eiko's Trance better—Dualcasting Holy is uber powerful! In fact, Eiko's Trance is tied for my favorite Trance in the game along with Vivi's Double Black! Overall, Eiko is a very balanced character overall because she can do high damage with Holy and Madeen, as well as heal and support the party with White Magic spells and her Phoenix and Carbuncle summons! And since she has so much going for her, I think the top of A Tier is a deserving spot for her.
1. Quina Quen
Quina is quite literally the best character in Final Fantasy IX. The biggest flaw of Quina's is their Trance ability, which is only useful in regular encounters. Outside of that, their Blue Magic is simply the most overpowered skillset in the game. Sure, they do have some bad Blue Magic spells like Goblin Punch, Roulette, Doom, Mustard Bomb, and Frost. And they have some mediocre ones like Lv4 Holy, Lv3 Def-less, Bad Breath, 1,000 Needles, Pumpkin Head, Vanish, and Magic Hammer. But otherwise... their other abilities are completely OP! Night can put all enemies to sleep with a 100% success rate! Their Twister and Earth Shake abilities can deal huge damage to all enemies. Their White Wind ability is nice to fallback on if allies are low on health, and since it ignores Auto-Reflect, it can be a nice addition to an Auto-Reflect/Auto-Regen build! Mighty Gurad is easily the best defensive ability in the game... and so is Auto-Life! Lv. 5 Death will own Grand Dragons like no other ability can, which is amazing for grinding! Limit Glove can decimate enemies and bosses for a very long time... until Frog Drop comes along and replaces it for an even more reliable and easy way to deal 9,999 damage! Last but not least is Angel's Snack, the ultimate counter to abilities used by Quale, Ozma, Hades, and Necron! Quina is able to adapt to every situation, and since every character can deal good damage, being versatile in both supporting and attacking is what makes an S tier character in Final Fantasy IX. And Quina is exactly that, making them hands-down the best character in the game.
As a bonus, here are some epic party setups:
The Auto-Regenerators: Quina, Amarant, Freya, Zidane
The Dealers of Doomsday: Quina, Amarant, Vivi, Steiner
The Magical Misfits: Quina, Eiko, Vivi, Dagger
The Show-Stealing Story-Saviors: Vivi, Zidane, Garnet, Steiner
My Favorite Fighters: Quina, Eiko, Amarant, Freya/Vivi
As well as a quick ranking of these characters story-wise and personality-wise :)
Yes... my favorite team in battle are my least favorite character-wise and plot-wise. And vice versa. Gotta love that!
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