Shiva is accompanied by three Ice Commanders who can easily kill an underprepared team. She will be using spells like Blizzara, which will likely decimate the party if they approach her as soon as she can be found. Shiva can only target a single row with her Blizzara spell. Shiva will always cast Blizzara on the party (~90 damage), then Blizzara on an individual (~200 damage), then repeat.
Having half the party in the front row and half in the back helps. The best time to battle Shiva is after returning from Karnak as the party will be able to use Fira and summon Ifrit. The player can also break a fire Rod to deal around 1200 damage to the entire enemy group, killing the Ice Commanders instantly and bringing Shiva down to critical health.
If the player does challenge her as soon as the battle becomes available, they should have two Black Mages cast Fire while the Knights and Monks keep on attacking. The Ice Commanders should be defeated first and once they are gone, the party can fully concentrate on Shiva.
"Paladins" can also make the fight possible early on. If the player has all four characters learn !White (level 1 works fine), use them as Knights equipped with Mythril Swords (stealable from Ice Soldiers), and wear the best buyable armor, they will be able to alternate between Cure and attack to win.
It is also possible to acquire Fire Rods as soon as the Shiva battle is available, rather than wait until Karnak to buy them. The Ricard Mage in Walse Tower occasionally drops them, which can be used as an item in the Shiva battle to win with little effort, even with a low level party.
Another possible strategy when battling Shiva before going to Karnak is using Blue Magic. Since Shiva is a level 11 boss, one can use Goblin Punch with any character at level 11 since Goblin Punch deals eight times the normal damage when used on an enemy with the same level as the caster. It is also possible to frog the Ice Commanders using Pond's Chorus to greatly reduce the damage they can deal.
A good idea is to bring a Thief into the fight, since they can steal Mythril Swords from the Ice Commanders.
[view·edit·purge]Shiva (also spelled Śiva) is a Hindu god. The Hindu Shiva once saved the world by consuming poison, giving him blue skin around the area of the neck and throat. Shiva is a male god, but can merge with his consort Parvati to become Ardhanari, an androgynous Hindu god of duality. Shiva is the god of destruction along with Vishnu, who is the god of preservation, and Brahma, the god of creation. Together they are the three principle deities of the Trimurti (Hindu Triad). It is believed he periodically destroys the world, then recreates it.
Shiva has different human forms, males and females. When he was in his avatar form, he spent most of his times in the Himalayan snow mountain. Shiva in the Final Fantasy series is likely inspired by one of his female avatars.