The Final Fantasy series is made up of numerous different RPGs, which means that each character's abilities can be broken down into numbers.
It doesn't matter whether the game is an action RPG, a strategy RPG, or a turn-based RPG, as it all still breaks down to stats being bashed against each other.
The protagonist in each Final Fantasy title is usually the strongest member of the party, which makes sense, considering that they are the hero of the game and the events of the story are usually based around them.
The fact that almost every Final Fantasy game uses its own unique combat system means that not every protagonist is equal in terms of their abilities on the battlefield. A character may be the best warrior in their world, but their skills may be worthless in a different game in the series.
When it came to ranking the Final Fantasy protagonists, we felt that it was important to stick to the games where the lead was a set character, rather than one you created yourself or was just a bare-bones selection of stats. We also disqualified the protagonists who were the only playable character in their game.
We are here today to rank the Final Fantasy protagonists in terms of their combat ability; from the poor warrior who will never reach level fifty to the ring-bearer with a magic spell that will pulverize anything that gets in his way.
Here is Every Final Fantasy Main Character Ranked From Weakest To Strongest!
20 Benjamin (Final Fantasy Mystic Quest)
Poor Benjamin. He is the protagonist of one of the most disliked Final Fantasy games in the history of the series, which means he gets about as much respect as Cait Sith or Mog from Final Fantasy XIII-2.
Benjamin was the main character in Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, yet he is almost always ignored during the Final Fantasy crossover events.
It's telling that Ariana Grande is in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, but Benjamin isn't.
Benjamin is a let-down in the combat department compared to the other Final Fantasy protagonists, which is partly due to the fact that he can only get to level forty-one.
This means that Benjamin's health cannot exceed two-thousand hit points and his other stats are equally weak compared to the other protagonists in the series.
19 Ceodore Harvey (Final Fantasy IV: The After Years)
Ceodore Harvey is similar to his father, in that he is outmatched by the other available party members in his game. While Cecil can at least hold his own in combat, his son has to rely on one of the worst abilities in the series.
Ceodore's special ability is called Awaken and it fully heals his hit points, as well as doubling his stats for a few rounds. When Awaken runs out, it knocks Ceodore's hit points down into the single digits, leaving him wide-open to be revenge KO'd by the enemy.
Awaken might have been a good ability if Ceodore's stats were impressive to begin with, but he is average in every aspect except for Speed.
This means that Awaken just barely puts him ahead of the other characters in the game, before leaving him as weak as a kitten.
18 Marche Radiuju (Final Fantasy Tactics Advance)
Marche Radiuju is a polarizing figure among the Final Fantasy fanbase, due to how he forced his friends to return to the real-world, even though they were able to live out their dreams in Ivalice, such as Marche's brother being able to walk and his best friend being reunited with his mother, who had passed away in the real world.
It's a shame that Marche doesn't have much to offer in terms of combat ability, as he is little more than a regular hume unit with some boosted stats, which means that he doesn't gain access to some of the best jobs in the game.
The only reason people use Marche in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is that they have to.
17 Luso Clemens (Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire Of The Rift)
Marche may be a polarizing figure, but there is at least some interesting discussion to be had over whether his choices in the game were morally sound.
Luso is on the opposite end of the spectrum, as he is so boring in terms of character motivation that most people forget that he even exists when discussing the series.
In terms of his combat ability, Luso's stats are focused towards physical combat over spellcasting, which gives him a defined role in battle.
He shares Marche's weakness of being restricted to the hume job list, but he at least has a few more options to choose from, such as the powerful Parivir and Seer jobs, which weren't available in the original Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.
16 Luneth (Final Fantasy III)
The Onion Kids from Final Fantasy III were essentially blank slates who were defined by their jobs and the abilities they could use in battle.
The remake of Final Fantasy III on the Nintendo DS gave each of the four leads some character development, with Luneth being the protagonist of the game.
Luneth is actually weaker than the Onion Kids from the original version of Final Fantasy III, due to how all of the jobs were changed.
The Ninja and Sage were the most powerful jobs in Final Fantasy III, but they were weakened in the DS remake of the game in order to make them balanced so that they were roughly on the same level as the other jobs.
Luneth has access to the Onion Knight job, which gains some amazing stat boosts, but they don't kick in until level ninety-two, at a point when they have become redundant.
15 Cecil Harvey (Final Fantasy IV)
Cecil Harvey undergoes a personal quest of enlightenment in Final Fantasy IV, where he casts off the sins of his old life and is reborn in a new form that allows him to become the hero that he is always meant to be.
In mechanical terms, this means that Cecil changes from a Dark Knight into a Paladin.
It's a shame that there isn't an option for Cecil to remain a Dark Knight, as he was far more interesting in battle when he could tap into his darker side.
The problem with Cecil's transformation into a Paladin is that he is totally outclassed by the other members of his party; Edge and Kain were far more effective in physical combat, while Rosa and Rydia were better at spellcasting.
This left Cecil as a jack-of-all-trades character that was outshined by the other playable characters in the game.
14 Firion (Final Fantasy II)
When Firion debuted in the Dissidia Final Fantasy series, he was presented as a weapon master who could fight with a varied arsenal of blades and bows.
This is meant to represent the fact that the player was allowed to develop the characters in Final Fantasy II in any way that they wanted, due to how there were no limits on who could equip items and cast spells.
Firion is let down by the limitations of what could be accomplished in Final Fantasy II, due to the fact that the magic and combat system was similar to the original Final Fantasy in what could be accomplished in battle.
Firion can cast any spell and use any weapon in Final Fantasy II, which isn't saying much considering how limited they are in what they can do in combat.
13 Ramza Beoulve (Final Fantasy Tactics)
Ramza Beoulve is different from his contemporaries in the Advance series in that he does possess some unique abilities, which are tied into the Squire job.
The two most important unique abilities that are available to Ramza are Shout and Tailwind, as they both increase his Speed stat.
This means that Ramza can hide from the enemy and repeatedly boost his Speed, to the point where he can take multiple turns before the enemy can react.
Ramza is outclassed by some of the unique characters in Final Fantasy Tactics (like T. G. Cid) but he still belongs in the easily broken job system within the game, which at least makes him more impressive than the protagonists of the Advance games.
12 Terra Branford (Final Fantasy VI)
The entire cast of Final Fantasy VI possesses unique abilities in combat. Terra starts out as the only party member who can cast spells, but this ability quickly becomes available to everyone.
Terra eventually gains the Trance ability, which allows her to transform into an esper, which doubles her stats and halves the magic damage dealt to her in combat. Trance only lasts for a brief period of time before Terra returns to her original form.
Trance is a useful ability, but it doesn't last long enough to cause much of an impact in battle.
It doesn't help that the best abilities and attacks in Final Fantasy VI are based around physical combat, which means that the player might be tempted to leave Terra in Mobliz and take a different party into the final battle with Kefka.
11 Ace (Final Fantasy Type-0)
Final Fantasy Type-0 has more of a focus on timing in the battle system than other entries in the series. This is due to the Killsight system, which allows the player to instantly dispose of an enemy if they strike at the right moment.
The Killsight mechanic is meant to emulate the chaotic nature of war, which is fitting when you consider that the protagonist uses a deck of cards in battle.
Ace has some of the worst stats in Final Fantasy Type-0, but his evasion skills are some of the best in the game, meaning that a skillful player can overcome his disadvantages.
Ace can also add various different effects to his playing cards, giving them a wide-range of uses in combat.
10 Zidane Tribal (Final Fantasy IX)
Zidane Tribal was the final protagonist of the original PlayStation era of Final Fantasy titles, which some fans consider to be the high point of the series.
The player is forced to use Zidane throughout most of Final Fantasy IX and he is an excellent party member, with his ability to steal items being one of the most important in the game.
Zidane is one of the best physical attackers in Final Fantasy IX and his speed makes him indispensable for keeping the group alive.
Zidane isn't quite as powerful as his contemporaries in the series, as his Trance/Dyne ability doesn't provide the same kind of damage potential as the other Limit Breaks, and his total lack of access to magic limits what he can accomplish in combat, but Zidane is still a potent threat on the battlefield.
9 Serah Farron (Final Fantasy XIII-2)
The early Final Fantasy games rarely allowed boss monsters to be susceptible to status effects, due to how easy they would make the battle. The meanest monster in the world isn't going to pose much of a threat if it can be paralyzed with a single spell.
Serah Farron is lucky enough to be a spellcaster in one of the Final Fantasy games where debuffs and status effects are vitally important when taking down a boss.
It's also possible for her to fire off multiple different spells in a single action, due to how the ATB meter works in Final Fantasy XIII-2.
Serah may lack the sheer damage output of the other characters in the game, but she is unparalleled in her ability to shut the enemy down before it can take a move.
8 Bartz Klauser (Final Fantasy V)
Bartz Klauser has a ton of different options available to him when it comes to his abilities, due to how the job system works in Final Fantasy V.
It's possible to bring in abilities from several different jobs into battle when becoming a Freelancer, which allows for a lot of different combinations of moves.
The most infamous combination used by Bartz involves using abilities from the Ranger, Paladin, and Ninja jobs, which allows him to unleash a barrage of powerful physical attacks on the enemy during every round of combat.
Bartz also has access to the Alchemist job, which can be used to inflict almost every status effect in the game.
The Alchemist can be used to inflict rage upon most enemies in the game (including Shinryu) which prevents them from using their special abilities and forces them to keep spamming physical attacks.
7 Vaan (Final Fantasy XII)
Vaan has the misfortune of being one of the most annoying characters in the series, who just happened to star in a game that allowed you to dump him out of the party for most of the story.
If you can look past Vaan's annoying voice and lack of purpose within the story, then he is one of the best party members in Final Fantasy XII.
Vaan has the best stats in the game, which means that he can fit into any role that you want him to.
Vaan has the ability to fire off multiple attacks per round, thanks to the high combo rate of weapons like katanas and ninja swords. He can also summon any Esper in the game and keep them on the field for several minutes as a powerful ally.
6 Lightning (Final Fantasy XIII)
Serah may specialize in spells, but her sister is one of the heaviest hitters in the entire series.
Lightning is notable for her speed and the fact that she can fire off multiple attacks in the space of a single ATB bar, rather than only performing one action per round like most other Final Fantasy characters.
The ability to shift Lightning's role in combat also gives her access to a wide range of abilities, which allow her to change her tactics with the press of a button.
Lightning also has access to her own personal Transformer, in the form of the Odin Eidolon.
Not only can Lightning summon a powerful ally to the field for a short period of time, but the act of summoning itself acts as a Mega Phoenix/Megalixir to the whole party, meaning that Lightning always has a powerful restorative ability that she can call upon when needed.
5 Tidus (Final Fantasy X)
Tidus is often mocked by the Final Fantasy fanbase, due to the infamous scene where he forces a laugh, along with the general shoddiness of the Final Fantasy X when it came to localization, especially in regards to lip-syncing and the numerous pauses in the dialogue.
YouTube may have turned Tidus into a joke, but he is still one of the most powerful characters in the whole Final Fantasy series.
The Sphere Grid gives Tidus access to almost every ability in Final Fantasy X, with the notable exception of summon magic.
This gives Tidus a huge range of actions to call on combat, which are helped by his blinding speed & strength, and a final Limit Break that is on par with the likes of Lion Heart and Omnislash.
4 Yuna (Final Fantasy X-2)
If Yuna had been the protagonist of Final Fantasy X instead of Tidus, then she may well have placed #1 on this list, thanks to the awesome power of the aeons of Spira.
She would lose access to her summon magic in Final Fantasy X-2, but that doesn't mean she was a slouch in the combat departments, as Yuna gained the ability to use Dresspheres, which gave her access to the abilities of numerous different jobs.
Yuna's default Dressphere was the Gunner, which was notorious for an exploit in the original version of Final Fantasy X-2 that allowed her to perform over twenty consecutive attacks (using Trigger Happy and the Cat Nip accessory) which each dealt 9999 points of damage.
Yuna also had access to the Alchemist Dressphere, which allowed her to use an infinite amount of Elixirs and Mega Phoenixs, while the Mascot Dressphere offered amazing stat increases and constant buffs that made Yuna almost unstoppable in combat.
3 Squall Leonhart (Final Fantasy VIII)
When you play Final Fantasy VIII for the first time, you are given the impression that the Guardian Forces will be your most useful asset in combat throughout the game.
As time goes on, you eventually realize that Limit Breaks are the key to an easy victory, due to how easy they are to pull off.
Squall Leonhart has access to the Lion Heart Limit Break, which is similar to Cloud's Omnislash in that it performs multiple different strikes in the same action.
It's a lot easier for Squall to pull off multiple Limit Breaks in a single battle, due to the fact that a Limit Break can come up anytime when a character's health is low, or if the Aura spell is cast on them. This means that it is easy for Squall to pull off his devastating final Limit Break during every round in combat.
2 Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII)
The characters in Final Fantasy VII are differentiated by their stats and Limit Breaks, as most of the abilities in the game are linked to materia gems, which can be equipped by anyone.
Cloud Strife has access to Omnislash, which is easily the best Limit Break in Final Fantasy VII, due to the incredible amount of damage that it can inflict upon the enemy.
The ability to equip any materia also gives Cloud access to some amazing combinations of abilities, such as the famous Final Attack & Phoenix combo, which allows him to survive several attacks that would normally end the game.
Cloud also has access to the Knights of the Round materia, which is still one of the best summon spells in the series.
1 Noctis Lucis Caelum (Final Fantasy XV)
Final Fantasy XV has been receiving content updates since it was released, some of which drastically changed how the game is played.
Prince Noctis is the only character on this list who received a buff from a patch, as the power of the Ring of the Lucii was vastly increased due to updates to the game.
The 1.06 patch for Final Fantasy XV drastically increased the chances at which the Alterna spell activates its OHKO ability. This means that you can breeze through the post-game with ease, as most of the enemies in the game will be consumed with a single shot from the Ring of the Lucii.
This effect even works on some of the secret bosses in the game, like Adamantoise, which normally has over five-million hit points. The downside is that it drains Noctis' MP fairly quickly, but items like Elixirs are incredibly cheap in Final Fantasy XV and take only a moment to use.
Who do you think is the strongest Final Fantasy character? Sound off in the comments!