Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy Character Basics Guide

The Emperor

First appeared in: Final Fantasy II

Combat proficiency: Mid-range, traps

Strengths: Those looking for a unique approach to decimating opponents should look no further than The Emperor. Instead of attacking head-on, his main damage abilities come in the form of traps. Thunder Crest leaves a trap on the ground that damages and paralyzes opponents unfortunate enough to step in it, leaving them vulnerable to powerful bravery attacks like Mine and Bombard, which deal huge amounts of damage. Flare is a decently quick HP attack while Starfall is great against magic casters due to its magic block capabilities. Opponents will have trouble landing hits when they have to dodge his vast defenses.

Weaknesses: The fact that The Emperor relies heavily on traps means he’s vulnerable to opponents that know how to get around them. Though a powerful choice once mastered, The Emperor initially requires a lot practice and experimentation.

Learning curve: Difficult



First appeared in: Final Fantasy V

Combat proficiency: Any range, blocking


The master of blocking, Exdeath’s fighting style will undoubtedly be strange to those unfamiliar with his abilities. With Omni Block, Turn Guard and Reverse Polarity, Exdeath must first block an incoming attack to deal any damage to his opponent. Playing this character is all about mastering his various blocking skills and familiarizing yourself with each character’s attacks to perfect your defensive capabilities.


Though he can teleport around the stage, Exdeath’s regular movement speed is abysmal. He’s one of the most difficult characters to master, but becomes one of the deadliest characters in the game if perfected.

Learning curve: Difficult



First appeared in: Final Fantasy II

Combat proficiency: Close / mid-range, melee


Firion has great ground game compared to his Dissidia counterpart. Many of his attacks can be used to draw enemies closer to unleash his powerful combos, and he has access to a variety of weaponry. His HP attacks are quick and accurate, making him an attractive choice for those looking to dole out some heavy punishment on the fly.


Unfortunately, Firion’s air game is atrocious. Some abilities like Fire are great for building pressure, but he lacks the necessary offense to be much of a threat in the air -- take the battle to the ground whenever possible.

Learning curve: Easy



First appeared in: Final Fantasy XII

Combat proficiency: Close / mid-range, melee


In his normal form, Gabranth’s bravery attacks are extremely limited. Sentence, Circle of Judgment and Lunge are meant to push your opponent back, giving you time to use his default HP ability, EX Charge -- as the name implies, this simply builds your EX Meter. Gabranth’s power comes from activating his EX Mode. In this state, he has access to a variety of some of the hardest hitting abilities in the game. Once Ex Mode is activated, he can unleash an intense series of quick combos before using his EX Burst to inflict serious damage.


While Gabranth is undoubtedly a powerhouse, his abilities are limited until EX Mode is activated. Even then, you have a very brief window in which you must land your attacks before your gauge runs out, forcing you to repeat the process. It will be difficult to take advantage of EX Charge when playing against skilled opponents who know better than to let Gabranth’s EX Meter top off.

Learning curve: Moderate



First appeared in: Final Fantasy

Combat proficiency: Close / mid-range, melee


He may move slowly, but Garland is brutal in the right hands -- he’s even gotten a bit of a buff since we saw him last. Slightly quicker attack speeds and faster launching HP abilities makes him a powerhouse, not to mention he hits like a truck. Bardiche is one of his strongest bravery attacks -- following it up with Flare will make your friends cry themselves to sleep.


Garland’s a big guy, covered head-to-toe in plate armor -- naturally, he doesn’t move very quickly. His lack of mobility may be difficult for newcomers to handle, meaning you’ll need a bit of practice to tactfully dispatch your foes.

Learning curve: Moderate



First appeared in: Final Fantasy IV

Combat proficiency: Mid-range, melee and magic

Strengths: Golbez’ strength lies in his ground game. Most of his abilities have a good amount of range, deal both physical and magic damage, and are good at keeping constant offensive pressure on opponents. Nearly every bravery attack is linked to an HP ability (Cosmic Ray), so you can easily cut down your foe’s health pool by landing bravery combos. Golbez is well-suited for holding his ground while pressuring enemies into keeping a distance.

Weaknesses: Getting used to Golbez’ non-traditional attacks can be tricky, as learning to combo off of abilities like Glare Hand and Rising Wave takes practice. His air game is pretty awful, so you’ll want to stay on the ground when possible.

Learning curve: Moderate


  • silversunset23 - June 18, 2011 7:55 a.m.

    Am I the only one who plays as Jecht here? He's such a badass...
  • ranzatsu - May 30, 2011 2:14 p.m.

    My bests are Firion (since his ground attacks deal heavy damage), Squall, Sephiroth and (sorry if he's not on the list) Feral Chaos. I use Cloud for emergencies on party battles. Jecht's an awesome Assist, especially after a Wall Rush attack. Laguna is hateable, but his Sticky Bomb and Machine Gun attacks are fun.
  • jacobtussler - May 12, 2011 4:21 p.m.

    Zidane is my fave. Run up close, rumble rush then Meo twister. Works every time. I usually party him with Lightning, Vaan, Cloud & Yuna
  • dimadimadima581 - May 1, 2011 6:37 p.m.

    But golbez + terrible air game makes no sense at all... His Gravity float systems, which have great tracking and link into cosmic ray, EVEN if you block his meele, the magic laser / whatever still hits so block his air attacks is pointless.. My 2nd main after garland. Lack of air game is the least of his worries.
  • dimadimadima581 - May 1, 2011 6:32 p.m.

    Still maining Garland since Dissidia 1, + kuja and seph. Flare just adds to his close range hp attacks :)
  • someonetgsn - April 15, 2011 10:49 p.m.

    @Minxriot Ah, I see... sneaky editing... well at least you are unlike some internet folk who simply complain about thinks they never bothered to check. Then again, it wasn't just you who had made that comment.
  • MinxRiot - April 15, 2011 6:32 a.m.

    @Someonetgsn, Tifa was NOT originally in the list. She was added in later. I checked three times before posting that. Haha.
  • someonetgsn - April 14, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    @MinxRiot & miguju999: Tifa is second from the top on page 5. I am somewhat suprised you think Tifa was forgettable. Despite her apperent lack of involvement in the story, the internet assures me that she is quite unforgettable. Unfortunately I do not have the game personally, but I wanted to see how some of the characters may stack up against one another.
  • Mirako - April 14, 2011 3:48 p.m.

    I want to use Exdeath but waiting for computers to attack can be so boring. Is it just me or is the Ex mode duration shorter in this game? I used to use Gabranth but not as much anymore. Golbez has terrible air game? I wouldn't say so his gravity and float systems are great for grabbing people.
  • MinxRiot - April 14, 2011 4:04 a.m.

    Not surprising though that Tifa was forgotten, in the story it just seems like she was randomly thrown in there at the last minute because they felt like it. Haha
  • MinxRiot - April 14, 2011 3:57 a.m.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe Tifa is missing from this list. And also, the Emperor is not that hard to learn, frankly, none of the Dissidia characters are hard to learn how to play well. But maybe thats just how it is with me. @bigwill1221, At first I HATED playing Laguna but as I leveled him up and got used to him I actually started doing really well with him, so now I don't mind him so much. Is he my first team pick? No. Will that stop me from ever using him? Not really.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - April 14, 2011 12:07 a.m.

    Onion Knight all the way, beaches!
  • ashamaxa - April 13, 2011 11:56 p.m.

    Good Article. Im using Ultimecia as my main character and, is slow, but with a nice build-up can be deadly. Knight's Lance is awesome.
  • McSpermie - April 13, 2011 11:52 p.m.

    @Ryantalj Nice, I actually also switch between Yuna and Lightning as my main as well. I think I'm going to mainly use Yuna though now, thanks again for the article :)
  • TrAnMu - April 13, 2011 11:47 p.m.

    I freaking love using Vaan. With his moves set up right and a good assist character, you control all ranges! XD Zidane was my main character of the first game and he does have some decent long range moves. While they might not land, they do a good job of pressuring the opponent into closer range. Other characters that are fun to use are Lightning, Laguna (if you don't mind taking it slow), Kain, and Kuja.
  • Larinah - April 13, 2011 11:40 p.m.

    Great article. I personally use Lightning and Vaan, because I like how versatile they are. Also, @bigwill1221 I hate playing Laguna too. He feels so clunky, and it's hard to keep control with him. I also liked your comments on Sephiroth, Ryan. I tried using him full offense first time against Jecht, and got my ass whooped. He really does have to take advantage of any blunders your opponent makes, much like he does in Kingdom Hearts 1&2.
  • McSpermie - April 13, 2011 11:25 p.m.

    Very useful, I was hoping to find a character wrap up. Thank you. Who do you use Ryan? Would you recommend using them?
  • miguju999 - April 13, 2011 11:25 p.m.

    where's Tifa???
  • Corsair89 - April 13, 2011 11:02 p.m.

    Yuna and Cloud are the characters that I use most frequently.
  • bigwill1221 - April 13, 2011 10:37 p.m.

    Does any one else hate playing as Laguna? I feel his attacks are too slow and dodge-able to be any good(and whenever I play as him long matches FTL...) On side note.. why are computers god with ricochet shot.

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