You can’t have a Final Fantasy game without summoning. It would be like having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the jelly. The sunless sunrise, or leafless trees. Well, maybe not that serious, but you get the idea: you can’t really have one without the other. However, there are times when summoning plays a more relevant role in the story.
Case in point: Final Fantasy 6 puts summoning, or Espers as they’re called here, at the forefront of story and lore – most Espers went into hiding after being hunted down and killed or used as weapons. Although they have remained hidden for a long time, they are slowly being revealed and used in experiments. While some are more powerful than others, each has a place in the hearts of many.
If you know the Norse mythology story of Ragnarok, you will know that his name represents power and strikes fear into the hearts of many as the bringer of the end of the world. However, in Final Fantasy 6, the Mighty Sword (or Magicite, depending on your choices) serves a completely different purpose.
When summoned into battle, he, like many others on this list, does not actively cause damage to enemies. Instead, he has the ability to turn an enemy into an item. That’s all. The item depends on the monster you use it on, with potions being the most plentiful. You don’t want to miss the jerky provided by beast type monsters.
Another non-attacking summon is Quetzalli, the Esper of Haste. Unlike Ragnarok, this beautiful bird casts Haste on the whole party, speeding up your attacks against your enemies. The purple-feathered summon lifts you up and away, awakening the fiery speed demon hidden within your characters.
However, this is not the only benefit of this summon. If you equip it, you will not only learn Haste and its party-targeting Hastega, but also Slow and Slowga to stop enemies’ combat gauges. This is very useful if you need to quickly turn the tide of battle.
Of course, our ice queen has to make an appearance. Shiva has appeared in every Final Fantasy title since FF3 and gained popularity in the titles that followed. Her appearance changes with each game, and in FF6 she is seen with a shorter punk rock style hairstyle – a stark contrast to her long hair in previous games.
Diamond Dust is his ultimate move and deals cold damage to all enemies in the field. Although she is useful in the early game, her damage is insufficient to carry you through the end game. Spells you learn from her, such as Blizzard and Osmosis, can be useful, and you have better chance to learn the stronger versions of these spells. This makes Shiva’s versions of spells inferior.
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Spells can be troublesome and leave you vulnerable to extra damage – and even death – in the game. That’s where Zona Seeker comes in. When summoned, Zona throws Shell at the entire party, halving magic damage from incoming attacks. This is especially useful when fighting bosses, as most of them use magic damage without stopping.
Rasp is the most interesting of the spells he teaches you. It deals non-elemental MP damage to the enemy, which means not only do you drain its ability to use magic, but some mobs are defeated that way – draining them to zero MP kills them. You learn his spells quickly, with only one other Esper, Alexander, beating his spell learning speed.
Golem isn’t the most epic summon in the series. His body is rusty and he doesn’t have much to offer in terms of offense. But none of that matters, because this golem is powerful. His ability, Earthen Wall, shields the party from incoming attacks up to the caster’s maximum HP when cast.
Depending on who throws it, it could be three to four hits without taking any damage. That might not seem like a lot, but when you’re taking on The World Of Ruin’s Clown Prince, any chance of saving health is worth it. Cura can also be learned from him, but not as quickly as Seraph.
While Golem’s Earth Wall is based on the caster’s max HP, Fenrir’s similar summon ability, Image, is powered by chance. For every hit you take while Image is cast, there’s a 25% chance to lose your protection – but you also have a chance the spell will be much more than that, maybe even the entire battle.
That makes sense, considering Fenrir’s etymology points to him being a powerful and terrifying wolf whose lineage includes being Loki’s son and becoming the World Eater once Ragnarok begins. His summon name is Howling Moon, and the form is quite literal on screen as he casts Image on the party.
Anyone has heard of a unicorn – a legendary wild, horned horse that can’t be found by mere mortals like you and me. However, it seems that the Gestahlian Empire has certainly found one. They held him captive for sixteen years and drained him of his energy to power their Magitek weapons. By the time the party reached Unicorn, it was too late – the creature was lost, transformed into Magicite to be used in battle.
And what power! Not only does Unicorn’s healing horn ability heal the party for a moderate amount of damage, but it also casts Esuna, ridding them of most ailments outside of Doom and Death.
The great Phoenix of legend is said to bring back to life what was once dead. This Magicite has been hidden by the Empire, deep in a cave, and the party sets out to find it. Once they do, they bring Phoenix back with them to try to return a wife to her husband, but the Magicite cracks and is destroyed.
Despite the damage done to the Magicite, a miracle happens – the woman wakes up after all. However, this is only temporary; she wakes up just long enough to tell her husband not to feel guilty about her death. After their farewells, she offers herself to Magicite, and he is reborn. Phoenix doesn’t have an attack like in other Final Fantasy games, but it still revives the whole party with 25% of their total HP.
Let me say unequivocally: Odin is Raiden. They are of the same flesh, but Odin’s long-dead Magicite was transformed into Raiden by his queen’s forbidden love. Raiden serves the same combat purpose as Odin, but with a Zantetsuken upgrade to Shin-Zantetsuken. Raiden has a better chance of instantly killing enemies on the other side of the field, except those who are immune to death.
During the Mage Wars, the queen had a long-standing crush on Odin. Because she was human and he was an Esper, their love was forbidden. She decided to confess her love after the war ended, but the castle fell, and she and her love became petrified and lost in time.
This massive Holy powerhouse, which first appeared in Final Fantasy 6, allows the party (apart from Terra and Celes) to learn both Holy and the coveted Dispel spell, which removes all positive status effects from enemies. With an attack power of 114, his Holy-based attack, Divine Judgment, is not to be overlooked.
Have you seen what divine judgment looks like? A massive, towering, and most likely sentient castle opens its mouth and fires a laser from it. It might not seem like a big deal at first, but once he finishes aiming his laser, the entire screen erupts with pure holy magic, dealing massive damage to anyone vulnerable to the element.
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