In the first phase, the Dark Elf will attack the party with relatively weak physical attacks and magic spells for 3-4 turns, before casting Tornado on the party, reducing each character's HP into the single digits and ending the first phase of the battle. If the player did not get Whisperweed from Edward in Troia, then instead of using Tornado the Dark Elf will cast Quake, causing 9,999 damage points to the entire party and resulting in a game over. If the player wishes to "skip" the first phase, the can equip metallic equipment prior to talking to the Dark Elf to end with the player's party defeated upon the start of the battle and advance the story.
When the second phase begins, the Dark Elf follows a simple pattern of triple-casting Fira, Thundara, and Blizzara for low damage, casting Tornado to lower one character's health into the single digits, and finally using Hex to turn one character into a pig. In the 3D versions the overall AI is much the same, although there is one big difference—the Dark Elf will now cast his Fira, Thundara, and Blizzara spells individually, and they are capable of causing serious damage to the party.
The player should have Tellah heal both the characters in HP Critical and in Pig, while Yang should use Focus, Cid and Cecil simply attack, and Tellah should use a level three spell when he is not healing a character. If the player has enough Ruby Rings, the party should be equipped with them as the Dark Elf will cast Whisper that will turn party members into pigs and the rings will offer resistance to the spell. Soon, the Dark Elf then turns into a Dark Dragon to defeat them, and the real boss battle starts. The Dark Elf is vulnerable to Tornado and is very powerful against the Dark Dragon.
If the player has Tellah cast Reflect on the party, the attacks will simply bounce back onto the Dark Elf. After a few turns of this, the game moves to the cutscene, assuming the party has been defeated.