Zodiark is an optional boss, and the most powerful Esper in Final Fantasy XII. He is fought in the special dig site of the Henne Mines and defeating him unlocks his license on the License Board. Zodiark is also fought in stage 97 of Trial Mode in the Zodiac versions.
Page 1: ObservationsEdit
Strongest of the scions created by the gods, they feared his growth, and so kept him a child. So indomitable is his strength that all things are by him twisted and pressed into oblivion. He alone fashions the laws governing all things, and administers punishment in place of the gods. So is he Keeper of Precepts, and his authority is absolute.
To gain access to the optional area of the Henne Mines, the player must acquire ten Espers and talk to Geomancer Yugelu in Jahara to have him open the door that leads deeper into the mines. Zodiark is found at the very end. The path to Zodiark is littered with strong foes, but the player can use the Immobilize glitch to avoid them.
As the Immobilize glitch requires the party leader to be a decent distance away from the rest of the party, the trek will still be difficult. Fleeing is not suggested, as certain enemies can transport to the space in front of a character, and if there are many teleporting enemies the player's path may become blocked. Without a correctly trained party, the trek to Zodiark can be harder than the Esper itself.
Once the party enters the battlefield they cannot leave until they defeat Zodiark. As soon as the party enters the area Zodiark casts his special move, Darkja, a powerful Dark-elemental cinematic attack that has a chance to instantly KO a target, and can inflict Blind on a character even if he or she is KO'd.
The Esper starts the battle with Reflect, Protect, Shell, and Haste. Zodiark's Banish Ray will usually inflict 9,999 damage, instantly killing a target without the Bubble status or a Bubble Belt (with Bubble it is possible to break the HP limit, although the screen always displays 9999 as the max).
At half HP Zodiark erects a Magick Wall, making him immune to magick attacks for two minutes. At quarter health Zodiark begins using Shift to change his elemental weakness; once the player figures out his vulnerability (he is initially weak against Holy), he will change it.
When Zodiark's HP is HP Critical, his attacks grow stronger and faster. Darkja is used more often than before. The most dangerous part is when his HP is almost gone. Zodiark's Battle Cry will make his attack stronger. Once Zodiark puts up the physical paling, physical attacks will be useless from then on, as Zodiark will only erect it again as soon as it falls.
It is recommended for the party to be at least level 70. Bubble Belts, strong weaponry and equipment that absorb Dark-elemental damage will be useful. It helps to equip Black Masks for this purpose. Absorbing Dark-elemental damage will not spare a character from an automatic KO from Darkja, and there is no equipment available that can protect against it. Shields are useless in the battle as Zodiark's attacks ignore evasion. The only shields one might want to equip are the Shell Shield for the Auto-Shell, and Demon's Shield for absorbing Dark.
Good weapons to equip are Tournesol, Zodiac Spear, the Masamune, Holy Rod, the Excalibur, or even the Wyrmhero Blade. Good accessories include the Bubble Belts, Hermes Sandals, and Genji Gloves (to the Masamune wielder).
Before entering the map where Zodiark resides, the party should cast Protect, Shell, and Haste. Regen, Bravery, and Faith are also useful. It is possible to use Berserk, although for this battle it may be better to use sober characters.
The player should enter the battle with only a weak character who is not a member of the main party because right at the beginning Zodiark casts Darkja, and there is no reason for the entire party to be exposed to it. After Darkja the player can bring in the main party.
The party should dispel Zodiark's status enhancements and be ready to use Dispel/Dispelga throughout the battle. It may be too risky to use spells as Zodiark keeps changing his elemental weakness, but non-elemental spells like Bio and Scourge can be considered.
The player should plan to react and recover from Darkja: when the main party falls, the player should bring in the reserve party and heal with Arise or Phoenix Downs (preferably the character would be equipped with Pheasant Netsuke to mimic Arise). The reserved party can fight for a bit, but they probably will not be as strong as the main party. At times the main party may need to be switched in to heal the reserved party. This technique is important when it comes closer to the end of the battle when Darkja isn't the only worry. It's good to keep the party spread out so area attacks like Scathe won't affect everyone.
The first part of the battle is simple. One strategy is to cast Berserk and Bravery on the strongest physical attacker. If Holy-elemental weapons are in the player's possession, equipping them is suggested for it is Zodiark's weakness for the time being. The fight becomes more difficult when Zodiark has about half of his HP left and he puts up a Magick Anti-Magick. The party should keep attacking him and try to keep him dispelled, but when the shield is up it is impossible to dispel Zodiark's buffs.
When Zodiark's HP is close to one quarter, he will begin changing his elemental weakness, and the player should change their weapons to non-elemental ones. This is when the player should start to use Quickenings. The battle could end immediately with a long enough Quickening chain. If that doesn't finish him off, Zodiark will begin to use a Anti-Magick and Magick Wall, and the Anti-Magick will never fall making physical attacks pointless. Casting Scourge or Scathe repeatedly is suggested. The player can take away the party's weapons and equip Demon Shields to absorb Dark damage, as magick can be cast just as well without a weapon, although staves can boost Magick Power. Zodiark can cast Reflect and the Magick Wall both.
The player must beat Zodiark by casting preferably non-elemental magick. Scathe is the most powerful one, but takes a while to cast, so one might opt to using Scourge instead. The Opal Ring accessory allows the user to by-pass Zodiark's Reflect status. It is useful to have one character constantly dispelling him, however, to slow him down when Zodiark uses up a turn to re-cast his buffs.
If the party is at a high enough level they can try to power through with a strong party buffed with Protect, Haste, Shell, Bravery, Regen and Berserk on all members. After saving at the Gate Crystal, the player should bring in two members from the reserve party and use the Immobilize glitch to travel to Special Charter Dig and dispel Zodiark, and bring in the main party. Under the barrage of heavy attacks Zodiark will not use Darkja and will constantly try to cast buffs and use Shift, but will be unable to put up the Anti-Magicks.
Defeating Zodiark unlocks its sprite on the Sky Pirate's Den in the PlayStation 2 versions, and awards the "Zodiac Knight" trophy in The Zodiac Age. The player will also gain the ability to control Zodiark as a summoned Esper. As summoning Zodiark uses up all of the summoning character's MP, which may be needed for healing and buffing, one may consider giving Zodiark to Basch as he has the lowest MP.