Greatest Final Fantasy Villains

Inspired by the Dissidia Duodecim roster, who do you think deserves to be called the best antagonist in the Final Fantasy franchise?
The Top Ten
1 Sephiroth (FF7) Sephiroth is a fictional character and main antagonist in the role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII developed by Square.

Better villain than kefka because no one makes a better villain than a fallen hero. Kefka is certainly the more evil villain, the more lively, but that's about it. Kefka destroyed the world, and Sephiroth managed to survive, and to an extent become apart of the lifestream even after his defeat in ff7, which was his original goal - not to destroy the world but to become one with it and control it. If director Nomura's words are of any substance, then he is even more powerful after doing this. Sephiroth can't be killed entirely. After ff6 Kefka is, with the exception of dissidia, dead, and he dies in dissidia too (sephiroth does not). Despite all this, I vote for him here just because he's always been my personal favorite. THE *greatest* ff villain is Mateus. In ff2, Planned to be defeated so he could split his soul in two, and conquer both heaven and hell, which he did. For a brief period, he ruled heaven, hell, and the mortal world. In dissidia, outlasted nearly every other villain ...more

I agree that sephiroth is entirely and completely overrated. Search the word up online and you'll see his face laugh out loud

But I must say in a contest of kefka and him, sephy wins. His insanity actually STANDS for something. It has MEANING. And also because of the fact that sephiroth is selfless in his evil and kefka is stereotypical "evil for myself" that I don't like. Sephiroth's insanity also isn't stereotypical like the classic way to display it. Like the joker or the penguin. He actually seems like he is in his right mind (if you never played crisis core). The only thing that puts him in the category of crazy is that he randomly laughs like all crazy villains do. And I don't mean to be cliche but he IS very gorgeous and he IS the first bishounen of Final Fantasy. I have witnessed multiple straight men admitting that sephiroth is "very good looking or wish they looked like him so they could "pull the girls". But I find that most people who played the game back in '97 ...more

It ALWAYS comes down to Sephiroth and Kefka. Two different characters from two different games that were released in the same decade. Kefka is someone that you hate because he kills and destroys mindlessly but because of his funny quotes, you can't help but sort of like him. And he dresses up like a clown. And his theme is battle theme is good, if not long. Sephiroth is that kind of person who shows that you shouldn't mess with him due to his reputation of being the best SOLDIER in Shinra. He does unforgivable things such as killing a much loved character and burning down an entire village full of innocent people. But even so there are just some people (like me) who can't help but like him from his looks, love is somewhat overglorified theme and pity him from his backstory. But he's probably at No.2 becasue he hasn't achieved as much as Kefka has. Sorry Seph, but you're still number 1 in my view

I thought Sephiroth is a very interesting character. He is well-spoken, calm, collected, and always in control. Furthermore, he is not a one dimension antagonist like most antagonist. He actually has a very tragic background. So pretty much everything about him (his handsome face, his personalitities, his background) make him stand out more than other antagonist.

There are many other FF villains out there who are "well-spoken, calm, collected, and always in control" as you say.

2 Kefka Palazzo (FF6) Kefka Palazzo is a character in the Final Fantasy series of video games. Originally designed by Yoshitaka Amano, he appears in the 6th installment of the series - Final Fantasy VI.

Come on, how is sephiroth ahead of him? I see you Sephiroth and Ultimecia fans rolling your eyes. “Oh, Kafka is so overrated.” I mean all he did was start as a nobody with no powers and worked his way to being the freaking god of magic. Nothing special. Totally overrated. Sorry to say, I honestly think he’s the best written villain in the series. (Well, him and Kuja.) and yes, I am taking into account that Sephy did destroy the universe in one move. But really, I just feel like Kefka’s descent into madness is more relatable than people give him credit for. The feeling that without power, you don’t matter, and slowly your world crumbles and nothing matters BUT power anymore. Also, 6 was a better game. Just saying

Kefka did something none of the others did: He destroyed the world, became a god and ruler. And he actually remained in that position for quite some before the band of heroes rallied back together. He may not have killed any of the playable characters, but he didn't need to. Even with a dozen heroes he STILL trumped them until the very end. Kefka is pure evil: a being that needs no reason for his actions. He simply wishes to see everything destroyed in order to feed his sadistic desires. He is the snake in the grass, seeing his chance to strike when people are at their weakest and taking what he wants. Sure, that may not be the most badass way to go about it, but it is effective.

And lets not forget how powerful he truly becomes when he becomes the God of Magic. Look at his size when you fight him and how much of an abomination it is. That goes to show that all this magical energy is being let loose and give you sense of how much potential he really does have. Think about what ...more

Come On No one but Kefka and Sephiroth Deserve to even be on this list. Kefka Became A GOD not god like A GOD! And He killed a Hero, hmm who else can Claim that they actually killed someone with there own hand in there Game? He is a lying cheating Cruel Hateful maniacal Psychopath with more emotion and pure Hate then any other Final Fantasy Villains, while many Villain if not all in the Final Fantasy franchise where stoic and down right emotionless Kefka was Dancing Mad 24/7 year round. Sure he didn't have a over sized sword or looks but he was the only Final Fantasy main Villain that became stronger as you did. At the begin of the game he just a Joker with a morning Star and no magic but by the End of the Game he is GOD. And lets face it he did Kill Countless people during the game. He literally was the most insane and non-mundane final fantasy Villain ever created.

Kekfa in FF6 didn't simply become the "main antagonist", instead he literally became the source of all magic in the world of FF6. A villain so heinous that we would slaughter any and everyone who got in his path. A villain so maniacal that he was his own comic relief. A villain so intent on his goals that he actually succeeds. Yes, one could argue that Kefka actually was successful, opposed to the other FF villains who simply attempt and fail.

Additionally, it helps that Kefka is hands down the best written villain with dialogue that can be taken both seriously and can make you laugh. While the concept may not be the most original (Joker! ) square certainly ran with the idea to make the most successful villain in their franchise.

3 Kuja (FF9)

Forget Sephiroth and Kefka! Kuja (and other villians) deserves much more credit than he gets.

1. He was created to bring about war, death, and destruction. Like Exdeath and CoD, Kuja was meant for destroying the world.

2. He brought something new to the villain archetype in Final Fantasy: poetic speech (speaking in rhymes, using metaphors, so on... ). Before 9, the only villians I remembered being different (at least a little) from the rest were Kefka (his goofy, insane, and childlike behavior), Rubiccante (honorable, instead of ruthless or manipulative), and Ultimecia (calculating; her plan worked form the very start, although ultimately, that was her downfall). Also, he's the only major villain that reforms by the end of the story (Golbez doesn't count, he was being mind controlled).

3. Recent villians were motivated to do most things by either revenge or power. Kuja wanted to destroy the world for one simple reason: he didn't want the world to exist without ...more

Kuja... What can I say about him that hasn't already been said? Besides being one of the few Final Fantasy villains that isn't purely evil, he is, as previously stated, never beaten by the party. He packs powerful magic, and there's always "that" moment that every male player experiences. In the words of one of my friends "When I was first playing Final Fantasy IX and saw Kuja, I thought 'Wow, that chick's not bad looking. Wait, THAT'S A GUY?! '"

I really loved all the main villains but Kuja has a special place in my heart. He's extremely badass and powerful! I mean he destroyed Terra, killed Garland, manipulates Brahne into war, and even kills your party! You never actually defeat him! Kuja redeems himself at the end which shows his "human" side which every villain needs! Like I liked Sephiroth and Kefka but they didn't have humanity in their insanity like Kuja did.

When you compare his character to the others, he has way more depth then some of the others. Personally I believe he's not really 'evil' in the way others think of the term becuase he just doesn't really want to die and be replaced by his 'younger brother. '
The fact he loves everything to do with the arts just goes to prove Villains can have class and the guts to get away with wearing hardly anything and keep it PG

4 Ultimecia (FF8)

I honestly love this character. From her design to her cold calculated nature, she is truly a villain for the ages. Though others may have raw strength, powerful magic, guile or all of the above. Ultimecia stands above all others in terms strategy. Not only was she incredibly powerful in terms of sheer magic prowess let alone access to the single most powerful magic. That of time. She was also a cunning intellectual. Pitting nations, allies and even your friends against you. Manipulating those who's wills she couldn't break to do her bidding she was incalculably powerful. Her manipulation of time and past events leaves most players,let alone characters in the story reeling. Even in defeat, she can leave you wondering if Squall and company had or even SHOULD have defeated her. It's for this reason that she gets my vote. Her 32 bit ass made me question the main character's sanity, and at times even my own.

You Kefka-Freaks and Sephiroth- (particularly to the latter with all their fangirl/boy-orgasms) don't realize the full potential of sorceress that can manipulate time nor does anyone else that votes for someone other than Ultimecia realize the threat she poses to the existence of all life itself.

Sure Kefka's maniacal pyscopath that killed several hundred thousand people in a matter of years, sure Sephiroth is a One Winged Angel bishie whose looks alone garner him the greatest attention span of all FF villains, sure Kuja prettier than everyone else...

But come on people!

Ultimecia's very name signifies that she is superior to all these jokers, experiements and narcissists combined.

She's smart, meticulous, manipulative, deadly, hot and all powerful.

Ultimecia also has the ability to manifest and give life to subconscious thoughts and inanimate objects. This includes giving life to Guardian Forces and powerful monsters that did not exist before she ...more

Okay, so I think Kefka's one of the very best, but my vote goes to Ultimecia since I can't believe she's so far down. She was an AWESOME boss fight and I loved all of the levels of fighting her (Griever-junctioned and final, true version especially). Genuine amounts of panic first times fighting her and trying to figure it out (especially how to deal with that awful, reduce-you-to-1HP Hell's Judgement). I find something about the character very sad and moving, the idea for an all powerful lonely existence beyond time; her going crazy ultimately because she has huge amounts of power and "no knight", so she lures a teenaged boy who wants to be a man like Seifer away... it's just sad. She's mysterious, viscious and very creepy and sinister... also tragic and pathetic. Her tune is better than Sephiroth's (the "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec"/ "Procession of Witches" one)... and... her castle... , her castle! Marvelous game design! Ultimecia proves control over time could be a terrible thing. ...more

She is the most powerful Final Fantasy villain in my opinion

5 Ardyn Izunia (FF15)

A witty man of "no consequence". Ardyn is the most well written character in the series, his charm and mysterious behavior is what made FFXV all the more interesting in it's middle stages and as he reveals his true identity and backstory in the finale, you can't really hate the guy but love him more. A fallen hero, forced to become a monster.
Betrayed by the Gods even after rightfully doing their bidding, he absorbed the starscourge, the plague that was destroying all of humanity and turning them into daemons, this power makes him immortal and gives him the power to spread the plague at will and infect anyone he wishes, he also wields the power of the kings, the very same that noctis works so hard to get throughout his journey. He is the strongest FF main villain yet, capable of causing worldscale destruction simply by sitting on his rightful throne.

One of the best villains in the series for sure. One of my favourite villains in a long time, too. There's a lot of oily charm to him, yet his unnerving friendliness serves as a mask for the twisted individual he really is underneath. He has a great design, clear motivation, personality, and steals every scene he is in. I also think he is by far the most intelligent villain in the series due to the detail and thought he put into his plan of revenge.

Ardyn serves as the perfect opponent for our four main heroes to take on, and Darin De Paul's performance sells it completely.

I was really impressed by Ardyn, as I was initially worried he would end up being a cheap knock off of Kefka, but I was wrong, and I am so glad I was, turns out this guy is like the riddler as like kefka being the joker, but he was a fresh of breath air, and haven't had a villain as compelling as Ardyn, focusing strongly on the games antagonist you will get to see much of Ardyn and is definitely no kefka ripoff, maybe inspired but Ardyn is clearly coherent, humorous, and well spoken, kefka would be psychotic, silly, and completely narcissistic. Ardyn shows a great performance through the story and what makes him such a fresh of breath air is for his shrewd, humorous, and riddled tales he often talks in, Honestly not only did I enjoy the design for Ardyn, they really nailed an ominous looking man, with the triats Ardyn shows it comes off as something we never had before, the first antagonist ever quite exactly likr Ardyn, most known for his shrewd comedic demeanor, and acts for the ...more

In time Ardyn will be known as the best Final Fantasy villain. Very mysterious and compelling story. It's a little unfair of a contest as square Enix was really able to bring him to life with amazing graphics and voice acting but it's hard not to be completely drawn in to this antagonist. If FF6 is redone maybe Kefka would still be the best but in dissidia he was just really annoying.

6 Emperor Mateus (FF2)

"Kefka did something no one else did, succeeded with his plan" and all that crap.

Mateus did this before Kefka was even created.
He pretty much destroyed the world, he let's your party kill him, defeats whatever Final Fantasy's version of Satan is to be become the master of Heaven and Hell. He also took control over one of your party members brother and made him the new Emperor after he himself died.

While not the strongest, that'd be Exdeath or Chaos, he had the best plan out of any of the villains.
So terribly underrated

Because he debuted in a game that didn't see a US release for many years, Emperor Mateus Palamecia is a wrongfully underrated villain. Between his fashion sense and classy delivery, fans have nicknamed him "Emperor Bowie. " And why, do you ask, is Emperor Bowie a contender for top villain?

1: He was the first villain to totally kill off not only one party member, but four.

2: He successfully destroys many cities in the world--you can't even enter them after he's taken them down. And even when the city is still burning, and there's cheerful music in the background, you know something is even worse when you see the wreckage in the streets and hear the townsfolk's reports ("He killed them all... ")

3: He wipes out an army by poisoning the water supply of its wyverns--then takes down the people. It's an act later aped by Kefka Palazzo.

4: When you kill him, it just gets worse--he comes back from the dead, and then his light side (you mean ...more

He's not enough loved even if in my mind, he's the best villain simply because I did all of what it is said here. He's intelligent and quiet, he know how manipulate others and is the only one villain I know of all game I played who killed so many friends of the heros! ! And more, I know it exist a novel about the history in FF2 (called Final Fantasy II Muma no Meikyū) who give better approach of this character gicing more credibility than lot of villains of FF

The emperor killed 4 of your party members (Ricard sacrificed himself a poor horrible death by his hands). Turned firion's best friend/brother ( firion was adopted) against you for most of game, which emotionally crushed them all. Basically almost killed every single person in the world. Ruled both hell and heaven! What more could you ask for? Loved this game.

7 Seymour (FF10)

Seymour is the most incredible villain in the FF series in my opinion. He starts off good (ish) and plots to end spira's pain and in order for this to happen he plans to marry my... FAVOURITE female character in the ff series. After that you see his true colours. I love the way you have a lot of boss battles with him in different situations. There is even a point where you play as him. And man is he over powered. I beat a boss with him in 2 minutes where as it took me a million tries to beat the same boss with the original man character. Oh ya and his mom kicks ass.

'His dignity never faltered. Come on, you've got to be pretty bad ass if you kill your own father. Seymour's Ambitions were actually honourable. He wanted to end Spira's eternal pain. Also his mom is kick ass too...

Sorry Seph, but Seymour's got MY first villain spot... mostly because I don't think of Seph as a villain, more of a controlled poor soul. The REAL villain is Hojo and Jenova ya know?

This man/guado has a face that was carved by angels!

8 Hojo (FF7 Compilation)

Very underrated villain who, unlike sepiroth, cannot be at all excused for his evil deeds as they were all made with a clear mind. The only problem was the writers really didn't make him intimidating enough, and at points he even seemed comical in his indifference to the party, whereas every time sepiroth showed up and his music hit you knew some badassery was about to go down!

He pretty much started the plot of FF7. Experimented on, and injected Jenova cells into his own son, Sephiroth, and many others, including Cloud and Vincent for science, and (SPOILER WARNING) turns out to be the main villain of Dirge of the Cerberus.

To be honest he was a much better villain than Sephiroth.

9 Exdeath (FF5)

No one gives credit to the great Exdeath...
He was seriously created from a thousand beings of pure evil being sealed inside a tree...
How is that not BA?
Not to mention his lines "Turtle! " as well as "It's time for your viscera to see the light of day! Now die! "

Also: Gilgamesh worked for him... GILGAMESH who has since become one of the most recurring characters next to Chocobos, Moogles and people named Cid... the only difference is Gilgy is the same dude each time...

Sorry Exdeath fans, but I personally think he sucks. After Garland, a time-paradox villain who is the embodyment of Chaos, Enperor Matheus, who took over heaven and hell, can't comment on cloud of darkness, haven't played FF3, Zemus, a Lunerian who manipulated Golbez and Kain to help him seize the power of 8 crystals, and who came next. A tree. Really? A tree, obsessed with the void who boasts, monologues and laughs, the 3 biggest villain cliches.

Exdeath is maybe not the greatest villains because of the plot. But actually, he is one of, (if not) the most wicked, evil, sick baddie of the entire franchise.
About his abillities, no need to tell you he is on a whole another level compared to sephiroth and kefka

Exdeath might not be as super popular are Kefka and Sephiroth, but I always enjoyed how hammy and over the top he was. A very cliche villain but somehow he made it work and I enjoyed him.

10 Garland / Chaos (FF1)

People! This is Garland! He knocks everyone down!

He's the original baddy, and more so, the original goody -turned- baddy. Forget Sephiroth, this 8-bit mastermind paradox metaphor had it all.

Remember back in the days of Mario and Zelda, where the whole game was about finding the captured princess in a castle, saving her and getting the end credits? Well, Final Fantasy I STARTED your adventure, doing all that. Little did they know that Garland wasn't some two bit villain wannabe like Bowser or Gannon. He DIED, was transported 1000 years into the past, BY HIMSELF IN THE PAST'S FUTURE, to wreak havoc in the present, and destroy the world! For a knight of Cornelia he sure had some badass armor to boot, which kept getting more and more badass in the subsequent remakes, and he still holds up his rep in Dissidia, with a sword that makes Cloud's look like a toothpick.

Arguably one of the most underrated Final Fantasy villain. I do still like Kefka and Sephiroth a bit more, but this guy just doesn't get enough credit... Not to mention his huge ass transforming sword.

I for one think that Garland is an awesome villain. He knocks people down, and he was the villain the whole time.

"I GARLAND, WILL KNOCK YOU ALL DOWN"

The Contenders
11 Kadaj (Advent Children: Final Fantasy VII)

I think he's really a good guy. He's sadly Sephiroth's puppet, controlled, and accepts death. He's hot, cute, sexy, yet no one understands him...he's the best character in my opinion bad or good

He's too cute to be evil

12 Rufus Shinra (FF7)

An underrated villain in the Final Fantasy world. Unlike many of the villains in this series, Rufus isn't your usual, maniacal-laughing stereotypical villain. Instead, he has a cold, calculating approach that villains like Sephiroth and Kefka lack. Every decision he makes is a part of a much greater scheme that he has planned, and his ability to manipulate people and events to work in his favor is something you don't see in most villains in this series. If he had been written as one of the main antagonists of the series, he might have gotten more recognition as the villain he is.

13 Nael Van Darnus (FF14)
14 Sin (FF10)

Throughout the entire time you play this game, Sin is a force of nature. Not something that can be stopped or reasoned with. The only thing you can do is point it somewhere else. And [SPOILER] at the very end you learn that Sin is just some frail thing barely holding itself together in the form of Yu Yevon, and despite being an unthinking ball of hate, it almost makes you feel sorry for it.

15 Golbez (FF4)

He's a villain that deserves a higher rank! Wheneverhe meets Cecil he manages to actually defeat him! While other villians have trouble beating their main charatcers, not to mention he took control of Kain, and made him fight his best friend! Not to mention nobody saw the twist near the end!

Maybe not the main villain, but he was perhaps the most competent villain in gaming history. The guy just never loses to the heroes.

...But he isn't the main villain in the game.

The Darth Vader of FF

16 Gilgamesh (FFV)

Best battle theme and funniest villain in Final Fantasy.

Honestly he was better than Exdeath.

17 Gabranth

I have no idea he was a fleshed our antagonist.

18 Lahabrea (FF14:ARR)
19 Cloud of Darkness (FF3)

Greatest Final Fantasy Villain ever in my opinion, shes my favorite FF Villain Ever! The way that she is and hides herself till the end, also part of the greatest FF Game ever, FF 3 was my favorite!

She's the best. who else can look sexy and control the void. The void belongs to us. She's much better then any other character in dissidia. we lust for the void. hahahahahaha

20 Jecht (FF10)

Jecht was a roughneck, drunk, yet abstract villain. He was the FF series' first reluctant antagonist, but from the inside of Sin, he killed many people and destroyed much of the world. His character design is very cool and his aeon form is genuinely terrifying.

Jecht is Sin so it's a double entry for the list

21 Genesis (CC:FF7)

Genesis may not have stood out as a villain, but as a character? Amazing. He wasn't out to destroy the world, rule it, or something generic of that sort, he wanted to help himself. To him, that was enough of a motivation to hurt people. His deep obsession with loveless, while annoying at times, is worth it for the peace and acceptance he finally has when it finally, to him, plays out in reality in a way he never could have accepted. He knows when to stop, and as a villain this is a bad thing, but as a character, it's always interesting to see. His cocky and pretentious nature makes it seem like he knows what he's doing, even when he doesn't, which makes him convincing anyways.

22 Rude (Final Fantasy VII)
23 Vayne (FF12)
24 Caius Ballad (XIII-2)

The fact that he succeeds in achieving his goals and the fact that they're all for Yeul and for to just be happy is why he is the best. And the fact that he sacrificed himself for his plan to work amazed me, as I had never seen any villain do that, then he actually comes back and sees what he has created and is happy (in a malevolent way)

He's such a well written and interesting character. He always has you questioning him and is always on step ahead of you. At the end I truly thought he turned good and was only evil because of his noble cause to protect yuel however after I saw the secret ending of xi-2 he jumped to the top of my list.

He is just a well thought character. You always wonder if he really is evil or good and at the end I thought he was good but doing evil things for a noble cause. Then I saw xi-2 secret ending and that's when he jumped to the top of my list.

Best villain out of them all in the final fantasy games. Has a great back story, fights for cause and in the end he wins even in death. Also best quote "Lose your self in battle and rejoice".

25 Nero (Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII)
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