The magic tier system is used throughout the Final Fantasy series, adding suffixes to the name of a spell to denote its position on the hierarchy of power. The most common tiering of spells is the three-tier line of power, seen in almost every game with the Fire, Blizzard and Thunder spells. The three-tier system usually denotes its levels with the suffixes -ra (ラ, ra?) and -ga (ガ, ga?), for example Fire, Fira, Firaga.
Traditionally, the system features only three tiers, though occasionally a fourth tier using the -ja (ジャ, ja?) suffix is featured, in this case Firaja, but spells with four tiers of power are rare, usually confined to the three basic elemental spells and the Cure family. Some other spells use a two-tier system. The suffix used for the second tier spell in these cases varies.
In earlier titles, Cure was split into four spells: The second stage being -ra, the third being -da (ダ, da?), and the fourth being -ga. -da is also used in the Japanese version of Final Fantasy IX for a damageless spell.
Some of the spells have slightly different names in Japanese. The Japanese system always either replaces the last mora, or adds it to the end for each type of spell. In the case of Fire (pronounced in Japanese as
In translations of older games, rather than the suffix system a numerical value was assigned to spells to denote their power, for example Fire 1, Fire 2, and Fire 3. Beginning with Final Fantasy VIII, all games have used the suffix system. Remakes of older games have replaced the numerical system with the suffix system as well. Some spells have different tiers but do not use the suffix system, for example Raise, Arise, and Reraise.
All Japanese releases have used the suffix system with exception to the Easy Type release of Final Fantasy IV which used numbers for the tiers.
Occasionally, there have been inconsistencies when changing the numerical system to the suffix systems. For example, the second tier spell of Haste was originally called Haste 2. When the change to the suffix system occurred, in most games Haste 2 became known as Hastega, but in Final Fantasy Tactics Haste 2 was renamed Hasteja. Similarly, Demi and Demi 2 became Gravity and Graviga, skipping the -ra tier. In the Gravity family of spells, Graviga is considered the second tier spell, and Gravija is the third tier. Only Final Fantasy VII and its spin-offs have contained the Gravira spell (though it also appears in Kingdom Hearts).
This page describes the tiering of spells in the series by game, using several examples.
The first Final Fantasy presented the standard hierarchy seen in the series. In terms of power levels, spells may have two, three or four tiers, when it applies. In the NES and PS versions, the numerical tier system was used, while in the GBA and PSP versions, the suffix system was used.
However, Final Fantasy also presented another hierarchy which did not catch on. This alternative hierarchy, used for some but not all white magic, consisted of prefixes rather than suffixes: (no prefix), a- (ア, a?), da- (ダ, da?), and ga- (ガ, ga?). This hierarchy was used for Dia and higher spells, the Raise spells (Raise and Araise), and the white magic Teleport spell Dateleport (which was stronger than the unprefixed black magic Teleport). While all of these usages were grandfathered in to successive games in the series, no new spells were created that used this prefix hierarchy. Indeed, it seems to have faded from the knowledge of translators (witness the common mistranslation of Araise as Arise). The Advance and PSP translations of the Dia spells renamed the spells to use the standard hierarchy, Dateleport was called Exit, and Araise was called Full-Life. Previous to this, the alternative hierarchy was translated to use numbers just like the standard hierarchy.
All spells have 16 levels of power, which are marked by the corresponding number. Roman numerals are used for tiering enemy abilities and item effects. A spell's MP cost is equal to its level. Spells gain levels with usage, and are maxed out with 10000 uses. The following spells have their animations changed at level 3, 6 and 10: Fire, Thunder, Blizzard, Scourge, Flare, Cure, Holy and Ultima.
Final Fantasy IV used the numerical tier system in the original North American Super NES release and reverted to the suffix system for the Game Boy Advance and later releases. Power levels continue exclusive to the Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, Cure and Raise families.
Final Fantasy VI does not add many changes to the tiering system of the series, other than adding a third level to the Raise spell, in this game known as Reraise. Other than this, the same as Final Fantasy V applies here.
Magic Materia either feature two or three-tiered spell families, or a multitude of different spells similar in nature. This game also adds the Quake, Bio and Comet families to the power level system. Quake and Bio use a three-tier system while Comet uses a two-tier system. The higher levels of these three spells are mostly exclusive to the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.
There is a short magic list which is basically composed of a hand-full of three-tiered spell families. The game used a different naming system for Comet's second tier spell, calling it Cometeo, a conjunction of Comet and Meteor.
Tiering is present in the Cure, Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, Drain and Osmose families alone. A subset of the Fire, Blizzard and Thunder spells is the "Dark" spells, like Dark Fira, Dark Blizzara, etc. These spells have the chance to inflict status ailments on enemies. In addition, there were the "Hell" spells Hell Firaga, Hell Blizzaga and Hell Thundaga, which inflict more status ailments than the "Dark" spells.
The localization revolutionized the series' magic spells by introducing the suffix tiering system for the first time. Only the Cure, Fire, Blizzard and Thunder spells featured more than a single power level.
The spell Gravija is first seen here as well, however the basic Gravity spell was instead translated as "Demi".
The Slots spell Rapture would be more accurately translated as Levitaga (レビテガ, Rebitega?), while the Float would be Levitate (レビテト, Rebiteto?). These spells concepts are only thematically related and have unrelated effects.
The suffix system is used for the Fire, Blizzard, Thunder and Cure spells. The Blk Mag ability Water (which has a spell power between the other -ra and -ga elemental spells) has two -ga variants named Waterga. They are used by the two versions of Kraken, having slightly different spell powers, both being more powerful than the other elemental -ga spells.
The SFX ability Pyro is named ファイダ (Faida?) in the Japanese version of the game, "Firada" if it were localized like the other Fire spells. -da has been used as a suffix for Cure spells in other Japanese versions of games, however this spell is unrelated to them.
Haste and Slow's second tier spells are called Hastega and Slowga, skipping the -ra tier. In these cases the -ga variants improvement over the original is that it targets an entire party rather than a single target.
Otherwise the suffix system is used normally for Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, Water and Cure.
A different hierarchy for spells' power levels is featured. A spell is added a roman numeral ranking its strength (from I to VI, much like the suffixes' power levels), so for example Fire V is stronger than Fire II. The -na, -ga, -ja, and -ra suffixes broadly indicate the different effects and Area of Effects (AoE) of spells. This allows for players to quickly ascertain a spells general effect by it's name, and is used in tandem with the roman numeral power system—allowing players to instantly know a spells effect and power at a glance.
- The -na suffix applies to spells that remove a negative effect from a player, such as Blindna, which removes Blind from the target (while the spell Blind would inflict the effect).
- The -ra suffix indicates the spell affects targets within an area of effect, centered upon the caster. For example, Protectra grants the Protect status effect within an AoE of whomever cast the spell, with Protect as its single-target equivalent. The enhancing spells of the "Bar" line show the -ra suffix for multi-target spells, while the basic forms are single target. Black Magic -ra spells were introduced with the Seekers of Adoulin expansion and the Geomancer job, and deal damage to enemies within a certain distance of the caster.
- The -ga suffix indicates the spell affects targets within an AoE instantaneously. For example Curaga and Stonega II effect an area, while Cure and Stone II are single-target.
- Similar to -ga, the -ja suffix indicates the spell affects targets within an AoE instantaneously, however in addition, -ja spells increase in potency with each sequential use on a target. For instance, when Firaja is cast three times in a row on a monster, the spell will inflict more damage each time.
Suffixes are again used, and as in Final Fantasy XI may denote if a spell can affect multiple targets or not. The basic Fire, Blizzard and Thunder spells only hit one enemy, but their upgraded forms using the -ra and -ga suffixes hit multiple targets. The exception to this is the Cure line, where both Cura and Curaja heal multiple targets, but Cure and Curaga heal single targets. Aero and its upgraded form Aeroga both hit multiple targets. Dark and its upgraded forms Darkra and Darkga also hit multiple targets at all levels of power. Fourth-tier versions of elemental spells exist, but are only used by Espers during fights with them. They use the "-ja" suffix, and have animations identical to Concurrences of the corresponding elements, but with the Esper shown casting the spell.
Final Fantasy XII also has several two-tier spells, all of which use the -ga suffix to denote their strong forms hit multiple targets. These spells are Esuna, Dispel, Haste, Slow, Reflect, Protect, Shell, Blind, Silence, Sleep, Gravity and Vanish.
Spell tiering can be divided by Roles:
- The Commando role's only spell, Ruin, has only a second tier: its area-of-effect version, Ruinga.
- Ravager spells use the standard tiering system of -ra and -ga. Both power levels include area of effect, but distinct effectiveness. Their effects on staggered enemies is distinct as well: -ra spells deal more base damage on staggered enemies, and -ga spells have a small launch effect. Aerora also has a small launch effect to staggered enemies.
- The Medic's Cure line is quite distinct from the one seen in previous games. Cura has exactly the same function as its Final Fantasy XII appearance, while Curaga is exclusive to Eidolons, being a massively powerful healing spell. It's spiritual replacement is Curasa, which heals a percentage of the difference between the max and the current HP. Curaja works as an area-of-effect Curasa.
- Synergist's spells use a two-tier power system, which applies to Faith, Bravery, Protect and Shell. Their second-level versions are marked by the -ra suffix and consist of a status increase of 50%, instead of 33%, but have a shorter duration.
- Saboteur's spells again use a two-tier power system, which applies to all the spells but Death. Their second-level versions are marked by the -ga suffix and add an area of effect.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 reuses the entirety of its predecessor's magic system, and adds a new tier to Synergist spells. The new -ga-suffixed Synergist abilities affect the entire party at the expense of shorter duration.
In The War of the Lions remake, the spells Fire, Blizzard, Thunder and Cure have the four typical tiers, while some status-adding spells from the White and Time Magick schools (for example, Protect and Haste) have a second tier, designated with the -ja suffix, and the Time Magick Gravity, which progresses to Graviga. However, in the PlayStation version, spells use the numerical system.
This game marks the first appearance in the series of the -ja suffix, which here indicates a number of things:
- An increase in horizontal effect by 1 over the next highest tier spell for most spells.
- Vertical effect of 3, which is an increase over the next highest tier for most spells.
- The spell ignores Reflect.
- The spell cannot be used with Arithmeticks.
- The spell's target has a chance of learning it, provided that they have a suitable job unlocked, in the same way that Summon magic can be learned.
Some enemies also have exclusive access to other tiers of some spells. Examples are Zalera, who has the -ja-rank for Flare, Blind, Confuse, Sleep, Gravity and Toad; Cúchulainn and Dycedarg, who have the rank three spell Bioga; and Ultima, who has the -ja-rank Dispel.
A character can use Magicite to cast spells in an area. By stacking multiple spells at an area, more powerful versions of basic spells can be used, as well as new spells with effects distinct from the stacked ones'.
All spells but Stop have at least a second tier, but their suffixes may vary. The traditional Fire, Blizzard, Thunder and Cure have a third tier marked by the traditional -ga suffix.
Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, Cure and Clear gained a fourth tier; while every other spell family has a second tier, marked by the -ga suffix, with the exception of Raise and Barrier, whose second-tier version are Arise and Barriera.
All Black Magic spells but Desolator and the White Magic Cure have three tiers. In this game, tiering uses the -ra and -ga suffixes.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearancesEdit
Kingdom Hearts seriesEdit
The Kingdom Hearts series utilizes the tier system used from the Final Fantasy series to denote its levels of power with the same suffixes -ra and -ga for its spells. The exception is the fourth level, which tends to vary across the series, typically using -gun or -za, but later using -ja in later installments.
The Japanese version of Chrono Trigger uses the -ga suffix for the second and last tier of its spells. The English version used the number 2 for the SNES version while the Nintendo DS version used the roman numeral II.