Best Early Abilities To Unlock & Upgrade ASAP

Best Early Abilities To Unlock & Upgrade ASAP

When protagonist Clive Rosfield takes to the battlefield in Final Fantasy XVI, he channels the otherworldly magical power of the Eikons, enormous and incredibly powerful magical entities. This new interpretation of classic Final Fantasy Summons like Shiva and Ifrit is at the center of the game’s story: A single person serves as the Dominant, or host, for each Eikon.

Read More: Final Fantasy XVI: The Kotaku Review

Throughout the course of his journey, Clive encounters various Dominants and unlocks the ability to wield some of their power, giving you new abilities as you play through the 70-hour-long game. Smite enemies with a thunderbolt or summon a tornado to keep them distracted. The possibilities are as varied as they are jaw-dropping.

Screenshot: Square Enix

Between the three active Eikons, Clive can equip three Eikonic Feats and six Eikonic Abilities that, once upgraded with Ability Points earned via battles and quests, can be assigned to any equipped Eikon. Feats typically offer some kind of utility that’s unique to the Eikon, and Abilities are more active combat actions that deal damage by summoning a tornado or calling down a bolt of thunder. Final Fantasy XVI presents you with a lot of options for various builds, but as you play, here are the most important and best abilities to unlock and upgrade ASAP.

Phoenix Shift

Arguably the best and most vital ability in Clive’s toolkit for the entire game, Phoenix Shift is functionally similar to Noctis’ Warp from Final Fantasy XV. Using Phoenix’s Eikonic Feat, Clive teleports to a nearby enemy on the ground or in the air and delivers a flaming Shift Strike. If the enemy is already knocked prone on the ground, attacking will initiate a finisher combo that deals bonus damage. It’s a great way to clean up the battlefield whenever a smaller enemy is knocked back. And, unlike many of the other abilities on this list, it’s mapped to the circle button whenever you cycle to Phoenix as Clive’s active Eikon, which means you can spam it as much as you want.

Rising Flames

Clive’s first active combat ability granted to him by a blessing from Joshua’s Phoenix is a solid staple in any circumstance, whether you’re fighting a single larger enemy or a smaller group. He whips his left hand forward and upward, flailing one or more enemies with a Phoenix wing. It has one of the shortest cooldowns of any ability and deals a decent amount of damage. It also integrates seamlessly into Clive’s basic attack patterns, so in most cases, you can attack a low-level enemy at full health once or twice, then trigger Rising Flames to quickly eliminate them.


Unlocked by default once you unlock Garuda, Gouge is a staple that remains viable even in the endgame. With Gouge, Clive summons twin harpy claws that “relentlessly tear at a target.” Each individual hit is considerably weaker than every other Eikonic ability, but the damage-per-second is serviceable if all of the strikes connect. Plus, you can often catch multiple enemies in its path–not only can it be used mid-air, but because they’re wide, sweeping strikes. Even on stronger enemies and bosses, it’s one of the most consistent and effective abilities at staggering your target.

Rook’s Gambit

The first effective counter-attack you get in the game, Rook’s Gambit is an unlockabe Garuda ability that triggers a jump back followed up by two clawed kicks. The straight-up damage isn’t that good, but if you time it to evade an enemy’s attack, it slows down time and triggers an intense counterstrike where Clive cartwheels into the enemy. That damage is excellent. By the time you unlock Titan, Rook’s Gambit becomes more or less obsolete, but it has a place even in some late-game duels against human-sized bosses where counter attacks are vital.

Pile Drive

Arguably the single best ability in the game for crowd control, Pile Drive sees Clive stab Ramuh’s staff into the ground, triggering an electric burst that hits all enemies within a radius and knocks the smaller ones to the ground. The area of effect is spherical, so it’ll hit enemies behind and above Clive as well. So it’s often best to use the Taunt ability to attract the attention of an enemy or two to get yourself surrounded and then pop it off. Pile Drive also significantly increases enemy recovery time, so it’ll take them longer to stand back up. This is a prime opportunity to execute a Shift Strike for a quick finisher, hurl some smaller lightning balls via Ramuh’s Blind Justice circle ability, or charge up one of Titan’s Eikonic Feats.

Titanic Block

The head and shoulders of a colossal figure who appears to be made of stone are seen with rocky plateaus stretching into the distance behind him.

Screenshot: Square Enix

Every player should channel Titan to one of the three available Eikon slots at all times because of the Eikonic Feat Titanic Block. It’s just that good. Holding the circle button raises a massive stone fist that functions like a shield to mitigate some damage at the expense of movement speed, but it also fills Clive’s Limit Break gauge. A perfectly-time Precision Block, however, can protect you from more powerful enemy attacks, but it also triggers an epic three-punch counterattack and fills the Limit Break gauge even more while doling out some solid damage. Rook’s Gambit is better, but this has no cooldown.

Raging Fists

A versatile ability with one of the coolest animations in the game, Raging Fists has Clive step forward to “deliver a blinding flurry of high-speed punches” with Titan’s massive fists. He delivers more than a dozen right-handed uppercuts like a jackhammer, which looks positively absurd when used against some enemies like wild Chocobos. Raging Fists also doubles as an even better counterattack than Titanic Block. If you time it just right, it blocks the incoming attack, drastically increases the power and frequency of the subsequent punches, and even reduces the ability cooldown by 50 percent. Rather than dodge enemy attacks, consider bouncing between Titan Block and Raging Fists instead.

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