When it comes to Final Fantasy character classes, few are more recognized than the Warrior class. They generally carry cool weapons, wear outstanding gear, and are often the primary physical damage of the party. They go by several names: Warrior, Fighter, Knight, and Samurai, but they all fulfill the same purpose. These characters wield powerful swords and defeat their opponents with superior strength and style.
However, not all warriors are created equal. There are certainly some Warriors that stand apart from the rest of the pack. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds and combat styles, and while all Warriors are important, not all of them can be the best.
Who stands out as the greatest warrior in the Final Fantasy franchise?
Any Warrior-style character in the Final Fantasy franchise can qualify for this list. The important factor is that they meet the basic criteria of being a Warrior. They have to be a melee range physical damage dealer and have abilities or skills that fit being a warrior.
Even if they can do other things (cast magic, use magical abilities, or heal), the base kit has to be based on a warrior or melee combatant. As long as that requirement is met, they have a potential spot on this list.
Top melee combatants
- Lightning (FFXIII)
- Cyan Garamonde (FFVI)
- Adelbert Steiner (FFIX)
- Auron (FFX)
- Cloud Strife (FFVII)
With the top fives listed, it’s important to note that this is the opinion of the writer, and a reader's opinion may vary. However, there are a few honorable mentions, with Noctis, Squall, and Cecil almost making the list.
5) Lightning (FFXIII)
While Final Fantasy XIII is often divisive, this writer thoroughly enjoyed the game. Even if it felt like one long corridor for the first 12 chapters, the game is generally quite enjoyable. Lightning was the primary protagonist of the FFXIII games, and definitely had strong Cloud Strife vibes. She was cold and aloof, but deadly in battle.
Like Cloud, she had a unique sword, the Blazefire Gunblade. Primarily a melee combatant, Lightning was an incredible fighter, and her various skill trees clearly reflected that fact. Interestingly, she didn’t wear bulky heavy armor, instead opting for a simple white sleeveless jacket number with a red cape.
Lightning was more of an agility-based fighter, quick to dash and dart around a field, striking the weak points of foes instead of just cutting them down with raw power. Lightning may come from a trilogy that is pretty divisive in the fanbase, but she’s rather memorable, and also incredibly skilled as a fighter.
4) Cyan Garamonde (FFVI)
Cyan Garamonde, a retainer to the King of Doma in Final Fantasy VI, may be one of the most tragic characters in the entire Final Fantasy franchise. His entire kingdom was poisoned and killed by Kefka. Furthermore, they were poisoned for no reason other than to hear them scream as they perished.
Losing his family and entire kingdom to a murderous maniac, Cyan still somehow holds true to his moral code of Bushido and pushes all of his anger into defeating Kefka once and for all. His melee damage is incredible, especially in the late game with a pair of Scimitar, Genji Glove and Offering.
The only downside to Cyan is, while the Bushido skill set features exceptional attacks, players have to wait for the meter to fill up and that can be quite a letdown. However, it's definitely worth the wait as all of his attacks, including Stunner and Cleave, are incredibly useful.
3) Adelbert Steiner (FFIX)
Adelbert Steiner, Knight of Pluto in Final Fantasy IX, admittedly starts off as a rather mediocre character. But by the end of the game, he’s a monstrous melee combatant. Steiner is well-meaning, but something of a doofus, and is a stickler for the rules.
While it doesn’t mean much to his combat style, it creates a lot of memorable moments of dialogue between him and Zidane throughout the game. His combat style is similar to that of Knights with heavy armor and heavy weapons. Steiner can dish out incredible damage as well, thanks to skills like Shock.
Steiner may not think for himself very much, but he’s more than capable in battle. He can also perform incredible team-up attacks with Vivi, who is also one of the best mages in the franchise to boot.
2) Auron (FFX)
The mysterious Auron may be the coolest-looking Warrior in Final Fantasy history. It was very difficult to pick between him and Cloud for the #1 spot. Final Fantasy X’s Auron combines the grace and precision of Cyan’s Bushido style with the greatsword combat of Cloud Strife.
With a cool, collected demeanor, he led Tidus to travel to Spira and defeat Sin once and for all. Although he is rather vital to the storyline, one should definitely not sleep on his combat abilities. In fact, Auron might be the most fascinating character in the Final Fantasy X main cast as his skills involve breaking opponents’ stats down, making him invaluable.
Other characters can unlock these skills too, but they default to his Sphere Grid. He also has Bushido as a skill set, but unlike Cyan, Auron’s ability is attached to his Overdrive. If the buttons are mashed correctly, his Overdrive abilities do massive damage to single targets or in an area.
Auron’s swords all look impressive and Auron’s ability to cleave through heavily-armored enemies cannot be underestimated. He doesn’t bother with high agility or evasion, opting instead to have plenty of HP and defenses to soak whatever attack comes his way. There isn’t a swordsman in the franchise with a cooler look than Auron.
1) Cloud Strife (FFVII)
When many Final Fantasy fans think of a warrior, they probably think of Cloud Strife. The blonde character and his gigantic Buster Sword are iconic nowadays. He perfected the "cool, aloof loner" stereotype that many other protagonists tried to emulate. Squall or Lightning? Neither are as cool as Cloud Strife.
Cloud is an interesting character, strangely arrogant and proud, claiming to be a First-class SOLDIER. While this later turned out to be false, he’s still a fighter without equal. His combat style was perfected by the developers of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the Operator/Punisher mode styles.
While he can use a wide variety of summoning and magic-based materia, his dominant style of combat involves the gigantic Buster Sword. He cleaves through his foes in Final Fantasy VII with relative ease. Furthermore, he can deal some of the highest damage numbers in the game with Omnislash, and even with magic materia equipped, he deals incredibly high physical DPS.
Warriors will always be an integral part of Final Fantasy games, and will always play a major role in storylines as well. While many protagonists are Warriors, some simply stand out more than others.
This article reflects the personal views of the author.
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