Fire, ice, and lightning are the three principle elements. They are represented by the spells Fire, Blizzard, and Thunder, respectively.
Elements (属性, Zokusei?, lit. Attribute) are special properties based on energy that are present in many attacks in almost every Final Fantasy game. Characters and monsters may be weak to, resistant to, immune to, or absorb these special properties.
Elements play an important role during battle. They hold sway the survival of player characters against certain enemies. Manipulating elements often times mean life or death. Most games in the series have eight; which are usually Fire, Ice, Lightning, Wind, Earth, Water, Holy, and Dark. Many of these elements have a recurring summon based around them.
Most games feature Fire, Ice, and Lightning being in a trinity of sorts, as there are three or four levels of magic usually associated with them, although some games may have three or four levels of magic of another element. Some games, notably Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy X, have fewer than eight elements. Final Fantasy IV does not feature a Water element, although several spells, such as Flood and Tsunami, have water-based graphics, these spells are Ice-elemental or non-elemental. Final Fantasy X does not feature Earth or Wind.
One of the three standard elements. Most plant or undead enemies are weak against it, as well as beasts. Fire is its standard elemental magic. Fire-based attacks are usually shown to be effective against Ice-based enemies, most notably in Final Fantasy X where Fire and Ice are opposed. Ifrit is the main summon of the Fire element. In Ivalice, the recurring summon of fire is Belias.
Ice is one of the three standard elements, and is easily defeated with Fire, and vice versa. Blizzard is its standard spell. Ice spells are typically effective against Fire-based enemies, particularly in Final Fantasy X, in which the Ice and Fire elements are diametrically opposed, while in Final Fantasy XII, Ice-based attacks are effective against enemies with Lightning affinities. In Final Fantasy IV, Ice spells are effective against reptiles and amphibians. Shiva is a recurring summon representing this element. In Ivalice, the recurring summon of ice is Mateus.
Lightning is also one of the three standard elements. Thunder is Lightning's most basic spell. Machines are known to be damaged greatly when struck with Lightning-based attacks, but depending on the game they could sometimes greatly absorb it. Lightning is often effective against Water-based monsters, as is the case in Final Fantasy X. In Final Fantasy XII, Lightning-based attacks are effective against Ice-based enemies. While Lightning is typically effective against aquatic enemies, many games have a few lightning-using aquatic enemies which absorb the element instead. Ramuh is usually the summon for this element. In Ivalice, the recurring summon of lightning is Adrammelech.
Manipulates the ground, and will usually not work with airborne enemies, and those imbued with Float are normally immune to this element. Most plant enemies absorb the earth element. Quake is the standard magic carrying this element. While most games of the series have only one Earth spell, Final Fantasy VII has introduced three levels of Earth-elemental spells, while Final Fantasy X neglects Earth and Final Fantasy XII has no normal Earth-based attack or spell for the player's use until late in the game after the party obtains the Esper Hashmal. Titan is usually the summon for this element. In Ivalice the recurring summon of earth is Hashmal.
Wind-elemental attacks are often effective against aerial enemies, though in some games, aerial enemies may absorb them. Earth-based enemies are usually weak against this element. Aero and Tornado are some of the spells that belong to this element. The (mostly) usual summon for this element is Sylph, but only in some games like Chocobo's Dungeon 2. In many games in the series, it doesn't affiliate with any elements (non-elemental), although it does wind attacks. In Ivalice, the recurring summon of wind is Chaos.
All Water-based enemies will absorb this element. Water is the basic elemental spell for this element. Fire-based enemies are greatly affected by this element. In Final Fantasy X, wherein Water-based attacks are very effective against Lightning-based enemies, three levels of Water-elemental spells appear. Leviathan is usually the summon for this element. In Ivalice, the recurring summon of water is Famfrit.
A higher level element, Holy is also known as Light. All healing spells such as Cure are affiliated with it, with exception of the first Final Fantasy, in which the Dia spell line is used. The spell Holy is the only recurring offensive spell of this element unless healing spells are used on undead targets, in which case they also cause damage. Greatly inflicts damage to undead and Dark-based enemies. In Final Fantasy IV, several weapons, including most of Cecil's Paladin swords and Kain's Holy Lance, are holy-elemental. Alexander is usually the summon for this element. In Ivalice, the recurring summon of holy is Ultima.
A higher-level element, Dark is also known as Shadow. Dark is most prominent in Final Fantasy XII as it features three levels of dark-elemental spells—Dark, Darkra, and Darkga—all of which are very effective against Holy-based enemies. In Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy Dimensions, dark-elemental weapons (Katanas in III and Dark Blades in Dimensions) are effective against dividing enemies (which otherwise split in response to physical attacks), furthermore, Dimensions includes numerous dark-elemental abilities. In Final Fantasy IV, all of Dark Knight Cecil's Dark Blade weapons are darkness-elemental, and most undead monsters are resistant to the Darkness element, causing his attacks to inflict minimum damage. Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XII, and Final Fantasy XIV are the only main-series titles and spin-offs to include it. It is, however, a common staple of the Ivalice Alliance. The only recurring summon of the Dark element is Zodiark, who has appeared in several titles set in the world of Ivalice (although the recurring summon Diabolos is darkness-elemental in Dimensions).
An element present in Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, and Final Fantasy VIII. When inflicted with the status ailment Poison, a poison-elemental enemy will heal itself with an effect similar to Regen; poison is sometimes absorbed by undead enemies. The most common poison-elemental spells are Bio and Poison.
Final Fantasy VII featured three levels of Poison-elemental spells, while Final Fantasy XII featured an Esper with the affinity of Poison, Cúchulainn, despite not being a recognized element of the game. Final Fantasy VIII featured the summon Doomtrain as the elemental summon for this element, which also inflicts all the negative status in the game.
Restorative is also sometimes considered an element, and usually associated with either healing or reviving abilities. Other times they are classified as Holy-elemental in some games despite the Holy spell damaging enemies which Cure would heal.
Gravity appears as an element in Final Fantasy VII, Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, and Final Fantasy X-2, it is related to the spell Gravity, also known as Demi. These spells deal damage based on the target's current or maximum HP. The recurring summon Diabolos usually uses gravity-based attacks, although gravity doesn't always function as an element. In the Ivalice Alliance games, Zeromus is the Scion associated with the element of Gravity.
Physical is an element that appears in Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest and The Final Fantasy Legend subseries for the Game Boy and it was known as both Weapon and Damage. It is one of two basic elements in Final Fantasy XIII, the other being Magic. In the games that this element appears, all physical attacks fall under this element including all damage caused by weapons and special physical attack skills. Usually, the spell Protect can reduce the damage received from physical attacks.
An element exclusive to Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, it is one of two basic elements along side of Physical. The Magic element applies to all spells which fall into categories such as Medic's restoration magic spells and Ravager's offensive magic spells. The spell that can reduce the damage received, as well as also reduces potency of received healing through magic, is Shell.
In the original Famicom/NES versions, Dia does not function as an element. Instead, the spell is scripted to check whether the target has the Undead type. If so, it deals non-elemental damage to the target, otherwise, it has no effect.
This element seems to be used by status-inflicting spells which don't fit into any other category, including the Sleep, Blind, Slow, Hold, Confuse, Sleepra, Slowra, Stun, Blind, Mute and Fear spells and various enemy abilities. Resistance is provided by the NulDeath and NulAll spells and Ribbons.
This element is used by abilities associated with poison and/or petrification, including the Scourge and Break spells and various enemy abilities. Resistance is provided by the NulAll spell, the Aegis Shield and Ribbons.
This element is used by abilities associated with space and/or time, including the Stop and Warp spells and various enemy abilities. Resistance is provided by the NulAll spell, the Black Robe and Ribbons.
An element exclusive to Final Fantasy II. It is primarily the element of instant death attacks, with the exception of the Death spell itself. Besides Death, abilities that KO or change a character's form fall under this element such as Warp, Teleport, Mini, Toad, Break as well as Swap and Stop. All Undead enemies are immune to this element.
An element exclusive to Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II. It contains only one spell, Death. This limits the spell's effectiveness in battle, as enemies will often be immune to the Death element.
Comet appears as an element in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-. The eponymous spell is usually a non-elemental attack in the Final Fantasy series, but the damage dealt to certain enemies through Comet and Cometeo in Before Crisis is unrelated to the damage dealt by other non-elemental attacks. Notably, the Typhon summon is Comet-elemental.
Hidden is an element exclusive to Final Fantasy VII. It does not have much of an explanation, and only applies to a handful of Enemy Attacks and Aeris's Limit Breaks. By junctioning an Elemental Materia with a regular Materia (one that does not have a normal Elemental property), Hidden elemental attacks can be absorbed.
An element exclusive to Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, there are only three enemy abilities possessing this element. There is also an unused special protection related to drain, called Reverse Drain.
An element exclusive to Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. Benjamin and Kaeli's axes have this element, so does Reuben's Morning Star. Useful against the tree-type, crab-type, turtle-type and worm-type monsters.
An element exclusive to Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time.
An element exclusive to Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time.
The spell Quake and a Lilty's Hammer/Spoon attack possess this element. It can be boosted by equipping the Siver Essence bonus on a piece of equipment. This will increase the chance of stunning an enemy.
Classical elements typically refer to ancient concepts similar to the modern states of matter: earth (solid), water (liquid), air (gas) and fire (plasma). Classical elements are the simplest form of existence, of everything in existence. Many philosophies and worldviews believe in classical elements.