With so many Final Fantasy characters, do you often wonder who the strongest is? Or who the weakest is? It’s a fair question without any direct answers from the source material. The developers rarely mention things like this, so it’s often difficult to gauge the differences in power levels among characters. Despite this, our list will attempt to rank twenty main Final Fantasy protagonists, in ascending order of strength. The weakest is number twenty, while the strongest is number 1.
Other than the main series, we’ve also included a few prominent spin-off titles. You’d be surprised to see how some of the spin-off characters stack up against the main series heroes. Of course, it should be noted that this list is by no means definitive. There has been no official statement regarding the relative strengths of each character (with the exception of one specific example, which you’ll see later). This is simply the speculation of a fan and mostly for fun. The decisions ultimately came down to the specific world a character is from.
Some Final Fantasy games simply have stronger power levels than others. More supernatural beings, more powerful magic, etc. This gives some characters a distinct advantage when making such comparisons. Also, it may be tempting to consider Final Fantasy Dissidia, since it has all of the characters fighting each other. However, all the characters are balanced to make the game fair. So, it’s not a reliable source of information for the purpose of this list. We will stick to the games the characters are from. As an extra disclaimer, this list does not consider any summons. It’s all about the merits of the particular character.
20 Warrior Of Light (Final Fantasy)
The first ever Final Fantasy hero and also the first one this list. Warrior of Light is the standard RPG hero, so isn’t as impressive as some of the later protagonists. He can change into several classes like Knight, Mage, or Thief. Each class has powerful weapons and abilities, but nothing crazy.
The Warrior of Light is strong in his own world, but wouldn’t stand a chance against powerhouses like Cloud or Lightning. He may not be the strongest, but he sure has one of the biggest hearts.
19 Firion (Final Fantasy II)
A continuation of the previous game, Firion is similar to the Warrior of Light. He doesn’t specialize in anything and can take on a number of jobs.
That being said, he also isn’t very impressive in strength.
There isn’t much to separate him from the Warrior of Light. He’s a jack-of-all-trades and extremely versatile. However, he can only use one class at a time, so he can’t make use of his multiple talents. At least this time he has a proper name and storyline, a big step up from the Warrior of Light.
18 Luneth (Final Fantasy III)
Don’t worry, the rest of the list won’t be the games in order of release, I can assure you. Luneth falls into the same old category of an adaptable main character. Final Fantasy III has more jobs than before, giving Luneth greater options.
At this point, you may be getting sick of the standard, bland hero, with no set role or job. Well, we’re not over yet. Regardless, Luneth’s adaptability is great, but not enough to match other Final Fantasy heroes. Once again, our hero has his own name and story, continuing the trend of personalized stories.
17 Bartz Klauser (Final Fantasy V)
Finally, a character with some level of specialization. Bartz has greater strength stats than magic, so you want to make him a physical class like warrior or monk. His higher relative stats means that he can actually make the most of these jobs, making him a greater threat than Luneth or Firion.
Still, Final Fantasy games were yet to feature overpowered heroes. Which is why Bartz is still one of the weakest heroes, despite having a specific role to master. He won’t be able to hold his own against some of the other characters coming up in the list.
16 Ace (Final Fantasy Type-0)
This game doesn’t have a clear main character, but Ace is the most prominent one. He’s on the cover and most of the marketing material. So, he was the best choice. Ace is a mid-range mage. He attacks using magic-infused playing cards that can cut through foes.
On top of that, Ace is an expert at magical attacks.
He’s strong but falls in the lower end of the spectrum. Ace would be able to beat guys like Firion or Bartz, but that’s about it. He's very fast, but can’t hit as hard as some of the upcoming characters. Still, he’s a formidable warrior that shouldn’t be underestimated.
15 Rain (Final Fantasy Brave Exvius)
Rain is from a mobile game, making it harder to compare his power with that of everyone else. That being said, he’s not overly impressive and one of the weaker main characters in the franchise. However, he is strong enough to defeat the previous characters on the list.
Rain is primarily a swordsman who can wield magic. He doesn't have access to multiple classes like some of the others but is a solid knight in his own right. It's possible that Rain is far stronger than I'm giving him credit for. However, there isn't much information to make a decision like that so it would be better to place him lower on the list. Still, however strong he is, he can't match up to some of the warriors in Final Fantasy.
14 Cecil Harvey (Final Fantasy IV)
Cecil was a departure from the main character having an adaptable characteristic. He starts off as a Dark Knight and later becomes a Paladin. Cecil is a powerful warrior and has great physical capabilities. He may not be able to change jobs at will, but specializing in one field can be an advantage.
He is still lower on the list since earlier Final Fantasy characters tend to be on the weaker side when compared to the newer titles. Out of the early characters, Cecil would be the strongest. His Paladin class gives Cecil some defensive capabilities which are fairly unique for a main character. A worthy warrior who can put up a good fight against some of the best.
13 Vaan (Final Fantasy XII)
Vaan is another one of those balanced fighters you can adapt to any role. He has some of the highest attacking stats in the game and is best suited for physical roles. However, he’s no slouch with magical abilities. However, his skills will be restricted by the job he selects to master.
In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, he is a full-fledged sky pirate, with really high speed and evasion. Vaan would be an expert fighter and can be a threat to the other protagonists. The more grounded-nature of Final Fantasy XII means that he has supernatural enhancements to gain an edge in battle.
12 Ramza Beoulve (Final Fantasy Tactics)
It was a close call between Vaan and Ramza. They’re both from the same universe, so it was easier to compare them. Ramza is also able to access a variety of jobs and is adept at physical and magical skills.
So, why is Ramza higher on the list?
Ramza has an edge in the magic department. His magical prowess is greater than Vaan’s, and he can learn one of the best spells in Final Fantasy, Ultima. This is the equivalent of Scathe from Final Fantasy XII. Ultimately, it comes down to which uber spell is better, that’s how close Ramza and Vaan are. Ramza also has more versatility due to his ability to use abilities from different jobs at the same time.
11 Squall Leonheart (Final Fantasy VIII)
Squall’s main asset is his mastery of the gunblade. It’s a unique weapon that can surprise his opponents. Being the main character, Squall has well-rounded stats and his magical abilities are quite good. He’s fairly skilful and would have a slight edge in battle over Ramza or Vaan, despite their versatility.
Still, Squall isn’t powerful enough to reach the top tier of Final Fantasy characters. We still haven’t reached the “overpowered” section of the list. Squall is still a grounded character who depends more on skill and technique than over-the-top magical powers. But don’t worry, we’ll get to that level very soon.
10 Tidus (Final Fantasy X)
In Final Fantasy X, we start seeing an increase in the power levels of characters. Tidus is the result in this shift. He's a skilled swordsman and also able to use both White and Black magic. He's fast, agile, and hits hard. Tidus proves himself to be a powerful warrior and is the ideal midpoint on this list.
From here on out, you're going to see the best Final Fantasy has to offer. As strong as Tidus is, his powers are still a bit limited. He doesn't have pure strength or magic and is balanced in his abilities. This can be a disadvantage, especially against some of the later characters we're about to see in the rest of the list.
9 Yuna (Final Fantasy X-2)
Take Tidus and add to that the versatility of Yuna's dress spheres. You get an ideal mix Of versatility and pure power. Yuna is a powerful magic user and her dress spheres help to make up for the lack of physical strength in Final Fantasy X.
Her dress spheres give Yuna access to a variety of useful spells and abilities. She can adapt to whatever situation is required of her. That’s what gives Yuna a slight edge over Tidus and puts her in the number nine spot. Although Tidus may not appreciate this particular entry.
8 Reynn/Lann (World Of Final Fantasy)
These twins come together since they are two parts of a whole. Their strength comes from the ability to tame and capture the monsters of the Final Fantasy universe. This isn’t summoning, so they are eligible for the list. Reynn and Lann are able to tame some of the strongest beasts of the Final Fantasy, like Behemoths.
The twins themselves aren’t overly powerful.
They rely mostly on the power of the monsters they summon into battle. Which is why it wouldn’t be fair to put them up higher on the scale. They are also limited to summoning two monsters each at any time.
7 Zidane Tribal (Final Fantasy IX)
Zidane is a great physical attacker, but what sets him apart is the Trance mechanic from Final Fantasy IX. Whenever he experiences a surge in emotion, he’s able to activate this power-up. Zidane’s Trance form increases his base attacking stats, but that’s not all.
He is able to use a new set of “Dyne” abilities. These are some of the best attacks in the entire game and only Zidane can use them. Also, the more skills he learns in his base form, the stronger his Trance form becomes. It’s an endless cycle of leveling-up that makes Zidane one of the strongest Final Fantasy heroes.
6 Vincent Valentine (Dirge of Cerberus)
Vincent is quite the powerhouse. His base powers aren’t that great, he only wields a gun and wasn’t the best magic user from Final Fantasy VII. However, he has the ability to transform into a beast form. Of which, his strongest is Chaos. This was present in Final Fantasy VII but plays a major role in Dirge of Cerberus, where Vincent is the main character.
Chaos is the reason why Vincent is high on the list. He gets a massive power boost and new skills while in this form. By the end of the game, he also learns to properly control the form, making him stronger than before.
5 Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII)
Cloud has become very popular among the fanbase because of how strong he is. Cloud’s appearance and giant Buster Sword suggests he’s a pure attacker. However, he has excellent magical capabilities as well. He is one of the best mixed-attackers you’ll find in a Final Fantasy game.
His Limit Breaks are extremely powerful as well. Attacks like Cross-Slash or Omni-Slash were good enough for Sephiroth, much less the other character's on this list. And yet, there are four characters who are stronger than Cloud. They’ll have to bring something truly unique to the table for that to happen.
4 Zack Fair (Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII)
Zack and Cloud are quite similar in strength, having both been injected with Jenova Cells. What gives Zack a slight advantage is his limit break, Digital Mind Wave. This allows him to learn the abilities of others and use them for himself.
This ability has a lot of potential and should give Zack an edge in combat.
On top of that, he has more experience as a SOLDIER than Cloud. There are some points of contention though since Cloud gets much stronger by Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Whichever way you go, both Zack and Cloud are two of the most powerful Final Fantasy characters.
3 Terra Branford (Final Fantasy VI)
Terra also has a Trance, but it’s different from the one in Final Fantasy IX. She turns into a pure esper, a powerful being full of magical energy. In this form, Terra is easily one of the strongest Final Fantasy heroes ever made. Her magic would be at the top level and could easily disintegrate the others.
Just to be clear, Final Fantasy VI does not have an official “main character.” Many of the characters play important roles in the story. However, Terra is often at the front of the cover and other promotional material. She seemed the best choice for the purpose of this list.
2 Noctis Lucis Caelum (Final Fantasy XV)
At first, the characters of Final Fantasy XV don’t seem too overpowered. Noctis can warp around yes, but his magic abilities are extremely limited. They mostly fight using weapons with very little signs of augmentation or supernatural abilities.
Then comes in Noctis’ armiger abilities and the Thirteen Royal Arms. Using this ultimate power, Noctis gains the ability of flight while also being able to shoot laser beams at will. He also wields thirteen ancient weapons at the same time. He owns Leviathan by himself, which is an enormous feat. He would be the most powerful character on the list, if not for one caveat.
1 Lightning (Final Fantasy XIII)
The most boring and easy entry on the list. Lightning is the strongest character in Final Fantasy as confirmed by Square Enix. That’s right, the developers of Final Fantasy revealed that Lightning is the strongest protagonist in the entire series.
During Lightning Returns, she gains new powers and strengths. She attains a new level of power that was unattainable by every other character on this list. There’s a small possibility that Noctis is stronger since the information pre-dates Final Fantasy XV. But until something is said on the matter, Lightning will remain the most powerful Final Fantasy character.