Hardest Bosses in Final Fantasy XIII (Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Players come to Final Fantasy expecting many things – including a challenge.
While not famous for its difficulty, Final Fantasy 13 is still among the most challenging games in the franchise.
Several of the main story bosses are bottlenecks that’ll take many tries to beat, and if you’re still hungry for combat after clearing the game, optional bosses are even tougher.
Different play styles will find different boss fights difficult, but some of them are more likely to put a stop to your triumphant stride. Let’s take a look at some of the most universally challenging bosses in FFXIII.
Cactuars have been a staple of the Final Fantasy fauna since Final Fantasy VI, and they’ve changed very little since then. This somewhat cartoony design looks the same in FF13 as it did seven games ago, except it looks much more absurd in high-detail 3D form.
To marvel at this giant Cactuar with a mustache and best it in battle, you must first have met a regular Cactuar anywhere on the Archylte Steppe.
It will make Cactuars a common sight in the area and unlock Cie’th Mission 54 – defeating a colossal Gigantuar.
Be sure to equip Pain Dampeners and White Capes before the fight to avoid debuff effects of its signature attack, 10,000 Needles (which deals exactly 10,000 damage).
Persevere, and you’ll eventually defeat the bizarre beast, earning you the Floraphobe Trophy/Achievement.
Vanille may look like a cute young gal on the outside.
But if her Eidolon is anything to judge her by, she’s hardcore.
Hecatoncheir is based on the Hecatoncheires – giants with a hundred hands mentioned in Greek mythology. It looks menacing, and its Gestalt form resembles a Magitek Armor from Final Fantasy VI. That’s bad-ass.
But to gain its respect, you’ll have to defeat Hecatoncheir in the Mah’habara Subterra – one of the hardest battles in the game.
Lucky for you, it’s Vanille and Fang fighting the beast – so at least you’ve got a competent team.
The same can’t be said about your team for fighting Brynhildr – Sazh’s heavy-metal Eidolon.
This fight gave many players trouble back in the day because Sazh isn’t such an excellent complement to Vanille – especially if you’ve got them very specialized in a way that makes sense with a whole team, but not so much by themselves in Nautilus.
To make matters worse, Brynhildr will cast Doom on you at the beginning of the fight, putting a time limit on depleting her HP.
Casting Haste as soon as possible, as well as Enfrost, can go a long way toward staggering it faster.
7. Cid Raines
We’re used to characters with the name “Cid” being a helpful, guiding force in Final Fantasy games – but FFXIII decided to break with tradition, making Cid Raines an anti-hero as well as a boss.
The Commander of the Sanctum’s cavalry transforms into a Cie’th after defying his Focus of aiding the party so they may destroy Coccoon as per the fal’Cie’s plans. What follows is one of the most challenging fights in the game.
Cid will use devastating physical attacks and powerful magic throughout the fight – and he can take some severe damage before going down.
He’ll also cast Doom 20 minutes into the fight, so chip damage isn’t going to cut it.
I’d recommend using Cid’s susceptibility to Slow against him for an easier fight.
Despite Cid’s best efforts, our heroes would eventually reach Orphan, the fal’Cie tasked with providing the power used by Eden to keep Cocoon afloat.
Being the last boss fight in the entire game, it’s no surprise Orphan can prove a little bit challenging.
The Wheel fal’Cie has some oppressive moves at his disposal and is not scared to cast Doom on your party if the time seems right.
Keep trying, and you’ll eventually beat the wheel fal’Cie.
Some things that may speed up the process are competent healers and at least one Saboteur to keep Orphan under control.
5. Aster Protoflorian
While on their way to Palumpolum, Lightning and Hope pass through the Gapra Whitewood, where they must defeat one of the Sanctums bio-weapons – an Aster Protoflorian.
This sentient plant can employ powerful magic, and it’ll change its own affinities every couple of minutes. It can be tough to make sense of and react to at first, leading most players to lose at least a couple of times during this fight.
Just remember that the game wouldn’t put you in this predicament if Snow and Lightning didn’t have the tools to defeat this garden weed, and you should be fine.
It’s much easier once you understand its patterns.
Not to be confused with the Prince of Persia boss of the same name, Dahaka is one of the first things you see when arriving in Pulse, and he’ll continue to stalk you as you make your way through these wildlands.
This fal’Cie is finally fought atop Taejin’s Tower in Gran Pulse in the form of a dragon on a pure white ball.
Moves like Fulminous Firestorm and Diluvial plague can debuff your characters into oblivion while keeping up the damage, making Dahaka a relentless boss.
That said, the fight shouldn’t be so hard as long as you bring a character with Dispelga into the ring.
A medic who knows how to use Raise can also be vital in surviving Dahaka.
3. Two Raktavija
This might look weird at first, but it’d be unfair to ignore one of the most challenging fights in the game just because it isn’t a single enemy.
These two Raktavija can be fought as part of the optional Cie’th Stone Mission 62, though you’ll need a flying Chocobo if you wish to reach them.
You can only hurt them while staggered, and their Chain Bonus accumulates at a snail’s pace. That would be manageable against a single Raktavija, but two can easily overpower most parties.
As FF13’s main antagonist, it’s only fitting that the fight against Barthandelus is definitely among the hardest.
This oppressive fal’Cie is fought several times throughout the game, and it’s always pretty challenging.
That said, the fight during Chapter 11 is easily the most difficult.
Like Cid and Orphan, Barthandelus will also cast Doom on your party members if you take too long to beat him, which doesn’t help.
But the title of the hardest boss fight in FF13 goes to Attacus, the Soulless – one of the Undying Cie’th that roam Gran Pulse.
This Cie’th is fueled by pure rage, which you’ll feel as he delivers destructive physical attacks.
If you’re not careful, he may knock out most of your characters in a single hit.
If you wish to try your might against Attacus, you’ll have to clear all other Cie’th missions so you can enter the final one of the Titan’s Trials.