Hardest Bosses in Final Fantasy IX (Ranked)

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Final Fantasy IX is often touted as one of the easier games in the series.

However, let’s not forget that despite not being as hard as FFV could get, IX still offers a few challenging bosses.

This list covers the most challenging bosses in the game in my personal experience. I’ll also be listing some strategies I personally use against these, bosses because they’re absolutely painful to try and handle blind.

Note: I will not be including Tantarian, Friendly Yan, Ozma or Hades on this list, as they’re completely optional and it’s expected that they’ll be difficult.


11. Black Waltz 1 & Ice Sealion

Black Waltz 1 & Ice Sealion from FFIX

Yeesh, talk about a wakeup call. You’re forced to fight both of these enemies with only Zidane.

To make things worse, Sealion has a phenomenal weapon to steal that will make the next couple bosses a cakewalk, and has the ever useful Bandit skill.

To further complicate things, Black Waltz 1 will constantly heal the Sealion unless he is defeated.

The final kick in the monkey tail for poor Zidane is that later in the fight as its health lowers, Sealion will start getting two turns in.

The best way to handle this fight is to have Zidane sit in the back row and steal until you get the Mythril Dagger from the Sealion. Or if you’d rather skip the thieving and don’t care about the Bandit skill, pound away at the Waltz until Trance fills up.

If you’re a thieving scumbag like me, you might have obtained the Mage Masher early on from the first fight. If not, even Trance only offers so much help.

Assuming it’s a blind run and you’re stuck with only the daggers, do everything in your power to take the Waltz down ASAP. You don’t want him healing the Sealion. And if you take Sealion out first with Free Energy, BW1 will just summon a new one and you’re back at square one.

Most importantly, do not hesitate to heal up, even as early as half HP. Because the Sealion becomes absolutely relentless later in the fight.


10. Gizamaluke

Gizamaluke boss battle in Final Fantasy 9

If Black Waltz 1 and Sealion were an alarm clock, this guy is a punch in the face after hitting snooze.

You may or may not have Quina for this fight, and should they have 1HP and Limit Glove, feel free to disregard this entry entirely.

Assuming you’ve not lost your mind to the Blue Magic gods, this guy has a few really really mean tricks up his sleeve.

Firstly, should Vivi cast Thunder, Gizamaluke retaliates with Silent Voice. So magic spamming isn’t really advisable.

Secondly, he counters physical attacks and he hits hard. Like, make sure your gear is up to date or suffer hard.

Late in the fight he’ll cast water on the whole party, and your team likely won’t be able to handle more than a couple of these brutal spells.

The best solution you have for this is to toss a tent on Gizamaluke at the start of the fight. With any luck, he’ll be bitten by Dark/Poisonous snakes. Him missing on those physical attacks is a total game changer.

Ideally Zidane will have The Ogre by now. If so, he can feasibly use Soul Blade to Silence Gizamaluke and that remedies the problem of his Water spells.

Freya should Jump every turn to keep her out of harm’s way as much as possible, and Vivi should Focus and use Thunder. Quina or Vivi could spend a turn using Echo Screens on Vivi if he’s Silenced, as neither of them are particularly useful to this fight otherwise.


9. Hilgigars

Hilgigar in FF9 boss

Also called “Hill Gigas” if you wanna go by other games’ translations.

This guy is a brute. It feels like he truly was designed to keep players awake after a mostly easy Disc 2.

He has earthquakes, he hits like a train, and he will literally sit on your party members. Not cool.

What makes this guy almost unforgivable is that he has the rarest steal in the game: a flute for Eiko that won’t otherwise be obtained until Disc 3.

If you wanna go for that flute, I have no advice that can make it any less painful. Except maybe file your tax return in between turns, it’ll take about that long.

Stupid steals aside, the only way to really counter the quakes is to be vigilant about healing with both Dagger and Eiko.

If you have any Phoenix Pinions handy, you can actually equip one on Eiko for her to learn the Phoenix summon. This is amazing as it revives your whole team and deals respectable damage to the boss.

Vivi can sit back and spam spells, Thundara is my go-to around here.

Other than that just keep wailing on him and eventually he should give up the ghost.


8. Soulcage

Soulcage FFIX boss

Ok, so you can cheese this boss and nearly everyone does.

I’m not here to talk about that, everyone else already has.

What I’m here to talk about is fighting him fairly, as he’s one tough son of a Chocobo.

The rub here is that he’s Undead, so naturally Fire would be effective against him, right?

Well yes, but it lights him on fire and he’ll spend the next few turns hitting your entire party with Fiery Leaves.

This attack just plain hurts. And it’s really hard even with two healers to keep up with the damage.

Vivi -could- alternate between Fira and Blizzara if you think Dagger and Eiko can keep up with the Burning Leaves. All Zidane can really do is hit him and pray for Trance.

Truth be told, if you opt to fight this guy the way he was intended then good luck. I’ve only ever pulled it off once.


7. Ark

Ark Final Fantasy 9 boss

I’m now going to certify that Disc 3 absolutely hates you.

This guy is fought in Oeilvert, where magic cannot be used.

To reiterate, magic cannot be used. No Vivi, no Cura, no White Wind… Chakra and Reis’ Wind are about your only healing items.

He likes to cast tornadoes on your team that inflict confusion, and he likes to make the team float so the tornadoes are more effective.

Your only hope with a confused team is that they don’t kill each other when they attack, because your party will likely consist of physical attackers.

Freya being in the back row and using Jump repeatedly is your best call here, if only to spare her tornado hell and have her wake everyone else up at a reduced risk of accidentally killing them.

If you have some weapons lying around that you don’t want the skills from, or have learned all the skills from(and don’t need them for synthesis), Amarant can go ahead and throw items at Ark for some solid damage.

Reis’ Wind really is your best friend here.

The regen effect is a godsend against this guy.

For Zidane, again, just pray for Trance and keep stealing/hitting otherwise.


6. Earth Guardian

Earth Guardian in FF9

This guy isn’t the worst on his own. You can even get auto-float to mitigate the Earthquakes.


Zidane might as well solo this fight because your partner is Quina.

Quina, unless you somehow found Whirlwind, is only good for Mighty Guard and White Wind, and throwing potions like it’s going out of style. (Actually it is, Hi-potions are the in thing by the time this fight comes around.)

If you don’t have auto-float, all you can really do is attack, steal, and hold out for Trance.

Making it that far here is harder than you’d expect without an abundance of potions and grinding.


5. Disc 3 Finale Boss Extravaganza

Disc 3 Finale Boss Extravaganza from FFIX

Grouping these 3 together as one entry, since the game decided to.

Cancel your afternoon plans, because this will take longer than those tax returns I mentioned before.

Silver Dragon isn’t terrible, being weak to Ice (Blizzaga is the answer here). But he has a mountain of HP. 24,000 or so, to be more specific.

The dragon also has a tendency to just plain hit hard.

Bring Dagger in, because you’ll need the healing. Shiva also doesn’t hurt here. He can be put to sleep with Quina’s Night…

Garland is quite a bit worse, throwing Stop around and he has a staggering 40,728 HP.

He also possesses Flare, which absolutely sucks to get hit by.

Kuja is the last boss in this lineup, and he comes at level 64 with 42,382 HP.

Whatever you do, do not cast reflect on your whole party. Kuja will cast Flare Star and it ignores Reflect and Shell, and hits the entire party.

Outside of this, Kuja will also cast Thundaga and Demi. Which aren’t as punishing.

Coral Ring absorbs Thundaga if you have one, which helps.

Demi thankfully is just a gravity spell.

These fights individually aren’t too hard. But if you’re low on items they very swiftly turn into a war of attrition boasting around 110,000 HP total for you to whittle away at.

It’s even more aggravating since if Kuja defeats you, you get to listen to Garland’s entire speech all over again… After defeating the Silver Dragon again.


4. Nova Dragon

Nova Dragon Final Fantasy 9 boss

What’s that name translate to again? Something-ryu?

Anyway, this guy really rips off the band aid for Disc 4. The endgame is a true step up in the difficulty of bosses here.

Twister and Aerial Slash are wind-elemental attacks and they hit really hard.

Nova Dragon will also counter all physical attacks and he has the Tidal Wave spell, the big brother of Sealion’s Tsunami.

There’s also the party-wide attack, Shockwave.

Again, hits really really hard.

If you have four Ribbons, you need only worry about the counterattacks although they still hurt pretty badly.

If you don’t have the ribbons…

Well, maybe grab a Glass Armlet or two and a coronet.

Having Eiko use Holy, Steiner use Shock, Vivi cast Blizzaga or Dagger summon Shiva are all reliable ways to deplete his staggering 54K HP, but this fight is a rocket tag DPS race.


3. Tiamat

Tiamat boss in Final Fantasy 9

A clothesline midway through Memoria.

Tiamat is noticeably more challenging than the other of the four fiends.

Tiamat will inflict float on party members. Should an ally with Float status attack, Tiamat will respond with Snort. This ejects the ally from the fight entirely.

Just to be extra mean, Tiamat also boasts Jet-fire. Body-temp is recommended for this fight, as Jet-fire inflicts heat status on the whole team. Anyone who acts will drop dead.

She also has wind attacks. But while they were a serious threat from the last two dragons on this list, they’re barely a footnote here, because the above attacks are far more threatening.

Having Eiko or Dagger Dispel Float and coming in with Body Temp are my recommendations, as they can take the instant-elimination threat out of the equation.


2. Deathguise

Deathguise from FFIX

How kind of Square-Enix to give us the EX bosses of 5 and 6. Death Gaze is back for blood.

He doesn’t mess around, either.

The fight will open with Deathguise casting Meteor. Meteor does random damage anywhere from 50 to almost 5,000.

This could realistically mean a wipe before the fight starts, and you just kind of have to deal with it.

Assuming your whole team lives through that spell, he still has Twister, Death, and Lvl5 Death.

If you have anyone with Return Magic, Meteor and Twister can actually be sent right back at Deathguise, and Twister will melt its otherwise terrifying HP.

It’s also advisable to have Protect because this guy has a mean tail hit.

Aside from this, if you can have Eiko summon Carbuncle and grant haste to the whole team, that helps astronomically.


1. Necron

Necron FF9 boss

Here it is, the Grand Finale. Or more likely, Grand Cross.

Grand Cross is taken wholesale from Neo Exdeath. It inflicts random status ailments and essentially functions like Bad Breath taken beyond reason.

Following this, Necron will nearly always use Neutron Ring, which hurts slightly more than seeing “Rent Due” on your calendar.

Your only real hope is to come in with as many status-resistant skills as possible.

I strongly advise Auto-Haste and Auto-Regen, as they make Neutron ring loads more manageable to deal with.

Having Zidane use Grand Lethal will trash this guy’s HP, but it really is just a war of attrition to last until Trance procs.

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