Like many RPGs before it, Final Fantasy adopts the system of an ability tree that players can use to upgrade their character’s skills in-game.

As the game progresses, you can actually unlock skills in multiple ability sets when you defeat certain bosses. For instance, the Garuda ability set is unlocked when you defeat Benedikta.

That said, the abilities that you choose to unlock within these sets and consequently master significantly affect your performance in battles. There are specific skills that make things much easier, and it is beneficial to learn these first.

To help you with that, this guide discusses the best abilities to learn and master first in Final Fantasy 16. All the skills discussed can be unlocked in the first quarter of the game. But first, let’s clarify the difference between learning and mastery in this game.

Learning vs. Mastery

Learning a skill in Final Fantasy 16 enables Clive to use that skill in-game. For instance, learning the Heatwave move gives you the option to assign it to your Phoenix Eikon Wheel as indicated in the image below.

Most of the time, after learning a particular ability, you can also upgrade it to increase its effectiveness.

Mastering an ability further enhances its effect and makes it assignable to any Eikon in your arsenal.

You can view all of this information (impact of upgrading and mastering) for any ability by hovering over it in the menu and pressing the Triangle button.

Learning, Upgrading, and Mastering skills and abilities in Final Fantasy 16 are done with ability points. These ability points are earned naturally as you progress through the game, defeating enemies and collecting loot.

The good thing is that you can reassign ability points after spending them on any upgrades/mastery. So, if you’ve previously spent points on a particular ability and you change your mind, you can reset the ability and assign those points to something else.

As I said in the introduction to this guide, I’ll only discuss abilities that you can unlock in the first quarter of the game.

The idea is to give you a good head start to figure out which types of attacks suit your playstyle the most. Consequently, you can then decide on which abilities to unlock for other Eikons that you earn later in the game.

Now, let’s talk about the best abilities to unlock early.

Best Combat Abilities

The combat wheel offers the highest number of attacks, but they’re also the most basic ones. All of them will come in handy often (except Taunt, perhaps) so you should plan to unlock them all.

However, if you must prioritize to manage your ability points, unlock and master these first:


This is great for quickly closing the gap between yourself and a target. It doesn’t just close the gap, it also deals an attack which, if properly timed, can even parry the enemy’s attack if they were building one up.

Mastering this ability increases the distance that Clive can cover when you execute it.

Charged Magic

Pressing Triangle launches a magic spell at the enemy. With Charged Magic, the potency of that spell is increased. This enhanced magic can break the guard of an enemy and lift lighter enemies on the ground or in the air.

When mastered, the time it takes for the magic to charge is reduced.

Burning Blade

Burning Blade permeates Clive’s sword with fire. When you learn the skill, you can hold the Square button to activate it in battle. This leads to a more powerful attack than the regular one done by tapping Square.

When facing weaker enemies, there are multiple use cases for this attack and you may not have to worry about the charge-up time.

However, you need to master the attack to use it effectively against stronger enemies. This is because you leave yourself open while charging up the blade and may find yourself having to dodge attacks before you can do anything with it. Mastering the ability reduces the time required to charge up the sword.

If you want to use Burning Blade against stronger enemies, the best time to do so is when you’re temporarily in a blind spot, or when the enemy is staggered. This gives you more time and you can deal heavier damage compared to regular melee attacks.

Precision Dodge

This is an extremely important ability to master as early as possible, especially if you’re not great at defense in games like this.

Precision Dodge gives you a longer window to make an escape from potentially fatal attacks. It is done by pressing the right trigger button when the enemy launches an attack. If timed correctly, you can then counter with a magic or sword attack.

Mastering the Precision Dodge increases the time that you have to hit the right trigger button.

Swift Recovery

Even with the Precision Dodge, you’re still going to get hit a lot of times.

Swift Recovery helps you to recover quicker than normal and get back into the thick of things whenever that happens. It is also activated with the right trigger button, right after you’re hit by the enemy.

If there is an enemy in close proximity to you when you get back up, Swift Recovery also deals a quick melee attack on them.

Best Eikon Abilities

Eikon attacks deal significantly more damage than the standard combat attacks and understandably so. For the purpose of this guide, I’m covering Phoenix and Garuda abilities because of how early you gain access to them in the game.

In the “Gear and Eikons” menu, you can only reassign two Eikon attacks to the corresponding wheel at a time. So, let’s have a look at my recommendations for the Eikon abilities to unlock as early as possible.

Flames of Rebirth

This ability requires a fairly high number of ability points to learn and master, but it is completely worth it.

It is a multi-pronged attack that deals serious damage to multiple enemies surrounding you and that alone is reason enough to go for it.

But, when you add on the fact that it also restores some HP to Clive when used, then it’s a no-brainer.

Phoenix Shift

The Phoenix Shift is super useful for moving quickly toward the enemy and dealing damage to them, especially the airborne ones that try to attack you from a “safe” distance.

The attack comes by default with the Phoenix Eikon, but it is worth spending ability points to increase the distance that you can cover with each shift.

Rising Flames

This attack is very handy for dealing damage to a strong enemy or multiple weaker ones. The fact that it has a relatively short cooldown period also makes it even more useful in the earlier stages of the game when you have fewer Eikon wheels to cycle through during battle.

When mastered, you can assign this ability to any Eikon. If you’re managing points, I would wait and learn/upgrade other important abilities first before coming back to master this one.


Gouge is available to use by default once you attain Garuda’s abilities, but you need to spend points to upgrade and master it. It’s a wild attack that relentlessly tears at the enemy with long claws, and it is even more effective if you can execute it when you have multiple enemies in close proximity to you.

I recommend upgrading this ability as soon as possible to increase the speed of your strikes and consequently, the amount of damage dealt with each round, but you can wait on mastering this one as well if you’re managing points.

Aerial Blast

A good number of the attacks available rely on proximity to the enemy, so it’s a reasonable idea to have one like this that does not.

Aerial Blast is a Garuda ability that tracks enemies and traps them inside a swirling tornado, dealing damage while doing so. It is a very powerful attack but undeniably has a relatively long cooldown period which makes it important for you to upgrade it as soon as you can.

Upgrading the ability increases the length of the tornado so you have more time for a repeat attack.

It is also one of the most expensive attacks discussed so far, so you may have to save up a bit.

I recommend checking out our guide on how to farm ability points in the game so you can learn and master these abilities as quickly as possible. Best of luck!