Best builds in Final Fantasy 16: what abilities to use and master?

Patrick Dane
Clive using Gigaflare in Final Fantasy 16

Final Fantasy 16 has a complex combat system, offering a bit of a learning curve. But what are the best builds in the game, you may ask? Worry not, as we’re here to help and offer some suggestions.

The combat in Final Fantasy 16 is a deep and complex system. There’s a near-infinite amount of customization choices to make throughout the game, with abilities you can move from one Eikon tree to another.

There are different kinds of abilities you can use too, with some stunning enemies more, and some built for multiple or single targets. There’s a lot to keep track of and a lot of various elements you need to get your head around before you can have a competent build.

If you’re feeling a little lost in the game, worry not. We have you covered with a build we used ourselves in the latter portions of the game. This should help you begin to understand what you need for a complete build, or elements to bake in to create a style that’s all your own.

Final Fantasy 16 Clive abilities: What build should you use? 

Clive fighting a big bull in Final Fantasy 16

There are many ways to build out your Clive when it comes to which abilities to use. Some are better at staggering enemies rather than outputting lots of damage. Others are more focused on multiple enemies and some are for single targets with a lot of health. 

On top of that, there are a lot of complexities to Final Fantasy 16’s combat system. For example, every Eikon tree has an intrinsic ability, three normal abilities, and one ultimate ability.

However, if you invest enough ability points into one move, you can then take them from one Eikon’s tree to another. That’s why it can become important to master your abilities. 

With that in mind, what’s a build you should use, and what did we find best? Here’s how my build ended up after my 40 hours of play, and what I found worked for me: 

  • Shiva: Impulse (Bahamut, Mastered), Satellite (Bahamut, Mastered)
  • Garuda: Mesmerize (Shive, Mastered), Ignition (Ifrit, Mastered)
  • Pheonix: Windup (Titan, Mastered), Gigaflare (Bahamut, Mastered)

I chose Shiva, Phoenix, and Garuda over the other Eikons as these three have mobility-focused intrinsic abilities. Or, in the case of Garuda’s Deadly Embrace, and ability to move enemies to you. This mobility is important because it allows you to jump around the battlefield quickly and potentially keep your combos alive. 

Final Fantasy 16 ability rotation

Clive using a fire move in Final Fantasy 16

Here’s how I would generally use my abilities against enemies, and the order I would use everything. 

  • Starting on the Shiva Eikon tree, I would cast both Impulse and Satellite. This allows for a lot of damage over time that happens automatically. 
  • I would then swap to Garuda and use Mesmerize to pull enemies in. 
  • After that, I would cast Ignition and scoop up as many enemies into my path as possible
  • Then, if there was a tough enemy, I swap to the Pheonix and would use Windup, remembering to hold it down until the meter is in the red.
  • If you are against a really resilient enemy or a boss, I would then finish with Gigaflare as my finisher.

This build is versatile and allows you to do a lot of damage both to single and multiple targets. I’d regularly do over 60k damage during a boss’ Stagger phase.

It performs even better against mobs of enemies though, as Ignition is a devastating move, especially when paired with Mesmerize, as well as Satellite and Impulse. I’d tear through rooms of enemies in seconds while holding my own against bosses too. 

Further considerations

This build only comes together in the latter half of the game, when you have access to both Shiva and Bahamut’s abilities, and you’ve also gotten enough points to master all these abilities. However, if you build towards it throughout your playthrough, you will get there and be able to devastate enemies. 

This might not be the most optimal setup in the game, but one that has oodles of utility. You could potentially switch out Sattelite in favour of a different Ultimate ability. Investing in too many skills is expensive, and they take a long time to come off cooldown, so you may find yourself in long periods of not being able to cast an ability.

However, as more players get their hands on the game and create builds with this amazing combat system, we will be sure to update the article with the ones we think are best.

Want some more help? We have a whole host of Final Fantasy 16 guides to help you with here:

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About The Author

Patrick Dane is Dexerto's Gaming Editor. He has worked as a professional games journalist for over eleven years, writing for sites like TechRadar, IGN, PC Gamer, GamesRadar, International Busniess Times and Edge magazine. He has over 2000 hours in both Overwatch and Destiny 2, though has a wide and diverse appreciation for a variety of genres.