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The Hardest Bosses in Final Fantasy IX (Ranked)

Final Fantasy IX is often touted as one of the easiest games in the series. However, let’s not forget that despite not being as difficult as FFV could be, IX still offers some challenging bosses.This list covers the most challenging bosses in the game from my personal experience. I will also list some strategies that I personally use against these bosses because it is absolutely painful to try to blindly handle them.

Note: I will not include Tantarian, Friendly Yan, Ozma, or Hades in this list as they are completely optional and are expected to be difficult.

11. Black Waltz 1 and Ice Sealion

Yes, it speaks of a wake-up call. You are forced to fight these two enemies only with Zidane.

To make matters worse, Sealion has a phenomenal weapon to steal that will make the next couple of bosses a piece of cake, and he has the ever-useful Bandit ability.

To further complicate matters, Black Waltz 1 will constantly heal the sea lion unless it is defeated.

The final kick in the monkey tail for poor Zidane is that later in the fight, as his health declines, Sealion will start taking two turns.

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 robbery and don’t care about Bandit’s ability, hit the Waltz until the Trance fills up.

If you’re a thieving bastard like me, you may have obtained the Mage Masher from the beginning of the first fight. If not, even Trance only offers a lot of help.

Assuming it’s a blind race and you’re stuck with just the daggers, do everything in your power to end the waltz as soon as possible. You don’t want me to heal the sea lion. And if you take Sealion out first with Free Energy, BW1 will just summon a new one and you’re back where you started.

The most important thing is that you do not hesitate to recover, even with half HP. Because the Sealion gets absolutely ruthless later in the fight.

10. Gizamaluke

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

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

Assuming you haven’t gone crazy over the Blue Magic gods, this guy has some really bad tricks up his sleeve.

First of all, if Vivi casts Thunder, Gizamaluke retaliates with Silent Voice. So magic spam is not really recommended.

Second, he counters physical attacks and hits hard. For example, make sure your equipment is up to date or suffer a lot.

At the end of the fight, he will throw water all over the group, and your team probably won’t be able to handle more than a couple of these brutal spells.

The best solution you have for this is to pitch a tent at Gizamaluke at the start of the fight. With any luck, you will be bitten by dark/poisonous snakes. That he is missing in those physical attacks is a total game-changer.

Ideally, Zidane would already have El Ogre. If so, you can use the Soul Blade to silence Gizamaluke and that fixes the problem with 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 she’s silenced, as neither of them is particularly useful for this fight otherwise.

9. Hilgigars

Also called “Hill Gigas” if you want to use translations from other games.

This guy is a brute. It looks like it was really designed to keep players awake after a mostly easy Disc 2.

It has earthquakes, it hits like a train, and it will literally sit on your party members. It’s 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 want to go for that flute, I have no advice that can make it less painful. Except you may file your tax return between shifts, it will take about that long.

Stupid heists aside, the only way to truly counter tremors is to keep an eye out for healing with both Dagger and Eiko.

If you have Phoenix Pinions on hand, you can equip one on Eiko to learn Phoenix Summoning. This is awesome as it revives your entire team and deals respectable damage to the boss.

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

Other than that, keep whining for him and should eventually give up on the ghost.

8. Soulcage

Ok so you can fool this boss and almost everyone does.

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

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

The problem here is that he is not dead, so naturally, the fire would be effective against him, right?

Well yeah, but set it on fire and it’ll spend the next few turns hitting your entire party with Fiery Leaves.

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

Vivi – could – toggle between Fira and Blizzara if you think Dagger and Eiko can keep up with the Burning Blades. All Zidane can do is hit him and pray for Trance.

Truth be told, if you choose to fight this guy the way it was intended, then good luck. I’ve only done it once.

7. Ark

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

This guy fights in Oeilvert, where magic cannot be used.

To reiterate, magic cannot be used. Without Vivi, without Cure, without White Wind… Chakra and Reis Wind are your only healing elements.

He likes to throw tornadoes at his team that causes confusion, and he likes to float the team to make tornadoes more effective.

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

Having Freya in the last row and using Jump repeatedly is your best bet here if only to avoid her tornado and have her wake everyone else with a reduced risk of accidentally killing them.

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

Reis Wind is really your best friend here.

The regeneration effect is a boon against this guy.

For Zidane, again, just pray for Trance and keep stealing/hitting in another way.

6. Guardian of the Earth

This guy isn’t the worst on his own. You can even make it float automatically to mitigate earthquakes.


Zidane could also be alone in this fight because his partner is Quina.

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

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

Getting this far here is more difficult than you’d expect without a lot of potions and grinding.

5. Disc 3 Finale Boss Extravaganza

Grouping these 3 together as an entry, as the game decided to do it.

Cancel your plans for the afternoon, because this will take longer than the tax returns I mentioned earlier.

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

The dragon also tends to hit hard.

Bring Dagger, because you will need the healing. Shiva doesn’t hurt here either. You can put him to sleep with the Night of Quina …

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

He also possesses Flare, who absolutely sucks getting hit.

Kuja is the last boss in this lineup, reaching level 64 with 42,382 HP.

Whatever you do, don’t reflect on your entire group. Kuja will cast Flare Star and ignore Reflect and Shell, hitting the entire party.

Outside of this, Kuja will also choose Thundaga and Demi. That they are not so punishing.

Coral Ring soaks up Thundaga if you have one, which helps.

Demi, thankfully, it’s just a gravity spell.

These fights individually are not too difficult. But if you’re low on items they quickly turn into a war of attrition with around 110,000 HP in total for you to cut down on.

It’s even more irritating since if Kuja defeats you, you can hear Garland’s entire speech again… After defeating the Silver Dragon again.

4. Nova Dragon

What does that name translate to again? Something-ryu?

Anyway, this guy really does shed the band-aid for Disc 4. The ending is a real step up in boss difficulty here.

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

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

There is also the attack of the whole group, Shockwave.

Once again, it hits really hard.

If you have four Ribbons, you only need to worry about counterattacks, although they still hurt quite a bit.

If you don’t have the tapes …

Well maybe grab a Crystal Bracelet or two and a crown.

Having Eiko using Holy, Steiner using Shock, Vivi launching Blizzaga, or Dagger summoning Shiva are all reliable ways to deplete his staggering 54K HP, but this fight is a rocket brand DPS race.

3. Tiamat

A clothesline halfway to Memoria.

Tiamat is noticeably more defiant than the other of the four demons.

Tiamat will inflict buoyancy on party members. If an ally with floating status attacks, Tiamat will respond with Snort. This removes the ally from the fight completely.

To be more cruel, Tiamat also has Jet-fire. Body temperature is recommended for this fight, as Jet-fire inflicts a state of heat on the entire 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 are hardly a footnote here, because the previous attacks are much more threatening.

Having Eiko or Dagger Dispel Float and going in with Body Temp are my recommendations as they can remove the threat of instant elimination from the equation.

2. Deathguise

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

He doesn’t waste time either.

The fight will start with Deathguise launching Meteor. Meteor deals random damage from 50 to almost 5,000.

Realistically, this could mean cleaning up before the fight starts, and you just have to deal with it.

Assuming your entire team survives that spell, it still has Twister, Death, and Lvl5 Death.

If you have someone with Return Magic, Meteor and Twister can be sent back to Deathguise, and Twister will melt their otherwise terrifying HP.

Protect is also recommended to have because this guy has a mediocre tail bump.

Other than this, if you can get Eiko to summon Carbuncle and give the whole team haste, that helps astronomically.

1. Necron

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

Grand Cross is purchased in bulk from Neo Exdeath. It inflicts random status ailments and essentially works like bad breath taken beyond reason.

After this, Necron will almost always use the Neutron Ring, which hurts a bit more than seeing “Rent Due” on his calendar.

His only real hope is to come up with as many resilient abilities to the state as possible.

I highly recommend Auto-Haste and Auto-Regen as they make Neutron ring charges more manageable.

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

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