The Garuda is a bird type enemy from Final Fantasy IX found in Oeilvert and Esto Gaza, and early in the game in Popos Heights where the player can exit from Gizamaluke's Grotto. Single Garuda attacks in the "bridge" area of Oeilvert containing the first unlockable hologram generator. In Esto Gaza they appear in pairs in the front plaza, and on the path to Mount Gulug. At Popos Heights they only appear in the forested areas on the world map, but can be found alone or in pairs; this is also where the friendly Garuda can spawn.
Garuda's Maelstrom, reduces a targeted party member's health to a single digit without fail and ignores Reflect. It uses the Stop spell. Its Firaga can target one or multiple party members. Aerial Slash will target all party members, but occasionally misses. Garuda is weak against Wind and Shadow attacks.
The Garuda at Popos Heights can be encountered early, during passage through Gizamaluke's Grotto. Compared to what players have faced thus far, the 3,521 HP of these level 35 Garuda eclipses any boss yet encountered, including Gizamaluke in the next chamber of the grotto. A fight against a single Garuda may be considered an optional boss, and one may want to soft reset until a lone Garuda is encountered.
This early in the game Freya is the only party member who can possibly access Locomotion, learning it from an Anklet, an extremely rare treasure from the Chocobo Hot and Cold minigame in Chocobo's Forest (a 1 in 1,024 or ~0.1% chance). Locomotion negates Stop. Garuda are weak to the Wind and Shadow elements, but the party cannot exploit these weaknesses at this stage. The party also cannot mitigate the Fire-elemental damage from its Firaga.
It is advised to equip the Bird Killer support ability to Zidane and Freya, who can learn it from Yellow Scarf or Bronze Armor, respectively. Yellow Scarves can be synthesized in Lindblum and Bronze Armor may be purchased in the Dali weapon shop or taken from Steiner, who begins the game wearing one.
Another method is to attempt to inflict the Sleep status on Garuda and have Quina utilize Matra Magic to lower Garuda's HP to 1 digit, which can be learned from eating a Trick Sparrow. Quina can then successfully eat Garuda to learn White Wind. Vivi can also cast Slow on Garuda whilst it is asleep.
Maelstrom leaves party members near death so they may be easily picked-off by Aerial Slash or Firaga on Garuda's next turn. Players will have to rely on Potions for healing. Having Vivi cast Slow will reduce Garuda's potential damage over time.
Because Quina will eat to end the fight, Garuda's HP only needs to be reduced to 880. If Quina Trances, Garuda can be Cooked with 1,760 HP remaining.
Location: Treno, Card Stadium "Straight Shooter Shak"
Garuda is a large, birdlike creature that appears in both Hinduism and Buddhism. It serves as Lord Vishnu's mount and is the Hindu name for the constellation Aquila. Contemporary representations of Garuda are the brahminy kite and phoenix.