Black magic is simply great to have, because even if you have strong attackers a physical attack (no matter how strong) can only kill one enemy at a time. Black Magic can debuff enemies, e.g. stun, confuse and weaken them. This buys time for the party, that can attack without suffering too much damage.
Black magic can also be used to augment your attackers, letting them deal hundreds of points in damage to even the strongest bosses.
Finally, Black Magic is the main weapon for Black Mages. A mid or high level spells can hit every thing at once, and once you start finding items capable of casting spells, you don't even need physical attacks for many fights.
Many mid and high levels spells are not unique, but are improved versions of low levels spells. Each "family" of spells usually contains three versions, though some have two or four.
- Elemental families: Casts Ice, Fire, or Lightning spells, 2nd and 3rd levels can hit all enemies.
- Death family: Kills enemies instantly. Low chance of success, some target all enemies.
- Sleep family: Put enemies to sleep until they are hit or wake up
- Slow family: Reduces the number of hits per attack
There are several other spells that do not belong in a specific family, but cause status ailments, such as darkness, stone, or stop. Black magic also includes the spells Temper and Saber, which raises the targets strength and the spell Haste, which increases the number of hits per attack.
- See also: spell recommendations
- Black mages: Uses any level 1 - 6 spell (except Teleport) and Blizzaga
- Black wizards: Uses any spell
- Red mages: Uses level 1 - 4 spells, Firaga and Slowara
- Red wizards: Uses most level 1 - 5 spells, Thundaga and Blizzaga
- Ninjas: Uses level 1 - 4 spells
Spells are listed under the Dawn of Souls and Anniversary names. These may differ from the original names given to the spells in the NES version, and from the updated names in Origins. Spell MP cost refers to the amount of MP required to cast a spell in the Dawn of Souls and Anniversary editions. All versions prior to that simply require one allocation of spell casting for their respective levels.
All Level 1 spells are sold in Cornelia and cost 100 Gil to purchase (or 50 Gil in the Easy Mode and GBA versions).
All Level 2 spells are sold in Pravoka and cost 400 Gil to purchase (or 250 Gil in the Easy Mode and GBA versions).
All Level 3 spells are sold in Elfheim and cost 1500 Gil to purchase (or 1000 Gil in the Easy Mode and GBA versions).
Fira can be cast for free by using the Mage staff as an item; it can be equipped by the Ninja, the Black Mage and the Black Wizard.
Thundara can be cast for free by using the Gauntlets or Thor's hammer as an item; the gauntlets can be equipped by the Ninja, the Knight and the Red Wizard, the hammer by the Ninja, the Knight and the White Wizard.
All Level 4 spells are sold in Elfheim and cost 4000 Gil to purchase (or 2500 Gil in the Easy Mode and GBA versions).
Blizzara can be cast for free by using the Black robe as an item; it can be equipped by the Black Wizard.
Confuse can be cast for free by using the Wizard staff as an item; it can be equipped by the Black Wizard.
All Level 5 spells are sold in Melmond and cost 8000 Gil to purchase (or 4000 Gil in the Easy Mode and GBA versions).
Scourge can be cast for free by using the Bane sword as an item; it can be equipped by the Ninja, the Knight and the Red Wizard.
All Level 6 spells are sold in Crescent Lake and cost 20,000 Gil to purchase (or 13,000 Gil in the Easy Mode and GBA versions).
Saber can be cast for free by using the Giant's gloves as an item; it can be equipped by the Ninja, the Warrior, the Knight and the Red Wizard.
The following tables are for quick reference, once you got familiar with the contents above. The class abbreviations are as follows: bB = Black Mage and Black Wizard; rR = Red Mage and Red Wizard; N = Ninja.
|Lv|| Spell names
|MP||Type & Target||Effect||bB||rR||N||Item|
|1||Fire/Fire1/Fire||5||Attacks one||Element: fire||bB||rR||N||-|
|1||Lit/Bolt1/Thunder||5||Attacks one||Element: lightning||bB||rR||N||-|
|1||Lock/Focus1/Focus||3||Debuffs one||Lowers evasion||bB||rR||N||-|
|1||Slep/Sleep1/Sleep||3||Debuffs all||Inflicts "sleep" status||bB||rR||N||-|
|2||Ice/Ice1/Blizzard||8||Attacks one||Element: ice||bB||rR||N||-|
|2||Slow/Slow/Slow||5||Debuffs all||Lowers hit rate||bB||rR||N||-|
|2||Dark/Dark/Dark||5||Debuffs all||Inflicts "blind" status||bB||rR||N||-|
|2||Tmpr/Steel/Temper||10||Supports one||Increases strength||bB||rR||N||-|
|3||Fir2/Fire2/Fira||15||Attacks all||Element: fire||bB||rR||N||Mage staff|
|3||Lit2/Bolt2/Thundara||15||Attacks all||Element: lightning||bB||rR||N||Thor hammer, Gauntlets|
|3||Hold/Bind/Hold||10||Debuffs one||Inflicts "paralysis" status||bB||rR||N||-|
|3||Lok2/Focus2/Focara||10||Debuffs all||Lowers evasion||bB||rR||N||-|
|4||Ice2/Ice2/Blizzara||18||Attacks all||Element: ice||bB||rR||N||Black robe|
|4||Conf/Muddle/Confuse||15||Debuffs all||Enemies attack each other||bB||rR||N||Wizard staff|
|4||Slp2/Sleep2/Sleepara||15||Debuffs one||Inflicts "sleep" status||bB||rR||N||-|
|4||Fast/Haste/Haste||15||Supports one||Increases hit rate||bB||rR||N||-|
|5||Fir3/Fire3/Firaga||30||Attacks all||Element: fire||bB||rR||-||-|
|5||Slo2/Slow2/Slowara||18||Debuffs one||Lowers hit rate||bB||rR||-||-|
|5||Bane/Poison/Scourge||28||Attacks all||Instant-kill attack||bB||R||-||Venom sword|
|5||Warp/Warp1/Teleport||5||Field||Teleports one floor up in dungeons||B||R||-||-|
|6||Lit3/Bolt3/Thundaga||35||Attacks all||Element: lightning||bB||R||-||-|
|6||Rub/Reaper/Death||30||Attacks one||Instant-kill attack||bB||-||-||-|
|6||Qake/Quake/Quake||32||Attacks all||Instant-kill attack (petrify)||bB||-||-||-|
|6||Stun/Stun/Stun||20||Debuffs one||Inflicts "paralysis" status||bB||-||-||-|
|7||Ice3/Ice3/Blizzaga||40||Attacks all||Element: ice||bB||R||-||-|
|7||Blnd/Blind/Blind||25||Debuffs one||Inflicts "blind" status||bB||-||-||-|
|7||Sabr/Saber/Saber||25||Supports self||Increases strength||B||-||-||Giant's gloves|
|7||Brak/Break/Break||30||Attacks one||Instant-kill attack (petrify)||B||-||-||-|
|8||XXXX/Doom/Kill||40||Attacks one||Instant-kill attack||B||-||-||-|
|8||Nuke/Flare/Flare||50||Attacks all||Non-elemental attack||B||-||-||-|
|8||Zap!/Banish/Banish||38||Attacks all||Instant-kill attack||B||-||-||-|
|8||Stop/Stop/Stop||30||Debuffs all||Inflicts "paralysis" status||B||-||-||-|
The following table shows spell prices and magic shop locations for each level of Black Magic:
|Lv.||Cost (NES)||Cost (remakes)||Shop|
- * denotes the bare minimum spells to get
Black Wizards can be incredibly powerful, especially later in the game. They can cast spells that do elemental damage (great against the Fiends), cause status aliments, and enhance your characters' physical power. They can also learn a number of instant-death spells (these are not particularly useful since they only work a small percentage of the time). The debuff spells (status ailment) and support spells (allies' enhancement) are very useful throughout the game.
The direct attack spells have the same effect of the direct attack of physical classes (Warrior, Monk, Thief). This is even more true considering elemental swords (for the Warrior/Knight only). Use the Black Mage mostly to debuff the enemies and every now and then to support the allies, but leave the bulk of direct attacks to physical attackers (Warrior, Monk and Thief).
- Level 1: Sleep*, Focus*; Fire/Thunder (either one)
- Sleep affects all the enemies, and it should be the very first Black Spell you purchase. Focus lowers the evasion of the enemies, and is useful too. Fire and Thunder do pretty much the same: choose any one of them.
- Level 2: Temper*, Blizzard*, Dark
- Temper raises the attack power of a character in your party, which makes it a spell that you should use against every boss you encounter. It is also stackable, so the character's attack can go higher and higher. Note: TMPR is bugged in the NES version, and does nothing. Bizzard is quite a bit more powerful than the Fire and Thunder spells, Blizzard will be very useful before you get Bizzara. Dark inflicts the "Blind" status and reduces the likelihood of an enemy attack, however it has little effect when it works. Blizzard deals more damage than Fire or Thunder, but if you cast instead Temper on two allies the party will deal definitely more damage.
- Level 3: Hold*, Fira*, Thundara*
- Hold works against Marilith, and should be very useful. Stopping an enemy in their tracks for a few rounds may give you an edge. Fira and Thundara are useful spells since they hit every enemy on the screen at once. Both of these spells are useful throughout the game since you will often be facing large groups of enemies at once. Fire is better against some enemies, while Thunder is better against others.
- Level 4: Blizzara*, Haste*, Sleepara
- Haste doubles the number of hits your character can do per attack, so it is a spell that is useful for every boss fight. Confuse works a surprising amount of the time. Level 1 Sleep works on all enemies while Sleepara works only on one, but Sleepara has a higher success rate and works on stronger enemies. Late in the game there is an item (a staff for Black Wizards) that can cast Confuse for free. When you find it, focus on Sleepara and Haste. Blizzara is just a stronger direct attack spell, but it can be helpful in the Volcano, which is a relatively hard dungeon.
- Level 5: Teleport*, Scourge*, Slowara
- Teleport is nice as it can pull you out of a dungeon, but you cannot get it until after the class change. Like all instant-death spells, Scourge rarely works, but the chance to kill multiple enemies makes it useful against large groups of opponents. Vice versa, against few or single enemies, Slowara provides a significant status ailment on one target. You might want Firaga before going into the Ice Cavern or before going into the Terra Cave, in which you will fight wave after wave of the undead, but the White Magic is more effective against this enemy type.
- Level 6: Stun*, Quake*, Thundaga
- Stun turns one enemy into a bystander while your physical attackers get rid of the others. Thundaga is the strongest lightning-elemental attack, and it targets all opponents at once. Quake is a petrification spell: it can instantly defeat enemies that are immune to normal instant-death.
- Level 7: Blind*, Blizzaga, Break
- Many enemies are immune to Blind by the time you get it, but it's still worth experimenting with it. Blizzaga is the strongest ice-elemental spell. Break works often, and technically isn't an instant-death spell, so more enemies are vulnerable to it. Saber would be potentially useful, except you can only use it on the caster. Better to cast it using the Giant's Gloves from the Item menu.
- Level 8: Stop*, Flare, Kill/Warp (either one)
- Stop is a must, being the only non-attack spell on this level; it's a version of Lv.6 Stun that affects all enemies at once. Flare is the strongest attack spell in the game, and especially useful against Chaos and WarMech. Kill and Warp are both instant-death spells; Warp works against all enemies, while Kill only works on one at a time but has a higher success rate.
- main article: Red magic
Since a Red Mage can only equip three spells of each level you have to pick three of eight (well, of six or seven in many cases) spells. This is why it is not recommended that you replace both a Black and White Wizard with a single Red Wizard. Additionally, there are a lot of white spells that are very useful that the Red Wizard cannot cast (Dias, Heals, Curaja, Full-life specifically). Fortunately there aren't too many instances where there are more than three "must have" spells that the Red Wizard can learn.
Generally the magic that the Red Wizard should learn is the same as the other Wizards, however a lot of it depends on if there is another Black, Red, or White Wizard in the party.
Please see the Red Magicians' magic page for recommendations based on party configuration.
The Ninja can use every weapon in the game, therefore learning direct attack spells would be redundant for him. The best choice for him are the Support spells (like Temper and Haste), especially if cast on himself. Debuff spells can be very useful, too: they do what weapons don't.
- Level 1: Focus*, Sleep
- Few enemies are vulnerable to Focus and Sleep late in the game. On the other hand, the low-level elementals spells are useless, as the Ninja will always do more damage using weapons.
- Level 2: Temper*, Dark, Slow
- Get Temper, especially if nobody else knows it. If it is cast on a reasonably powerful Knight, you can double or triple their attack with a few rounds of Temper. Combined with Haste you can take out a boss in two hits.
- Level 3: Focus2*, Hold*
- Hold prevents an enemy from attacking you. Focus2 makes one enemy more vulnerable, thus upgrading Temper. Fira might be useful since you can clear out multiple weak enemies at once. However, by the time you get a Ninja you will have the Gauntlets, which can cast Thundara for free.
- Level 4: Haste*, Sleepara, Confuse
- Sleepara is similar to Hold. Confuse turns an enemy into an ally. Haste is a must have: it doubles the number of hits per attack a character gets. If "hit & heal" is your game, Haste and Temper will soon be the two black magic spells you use the most. Blizzara can be good to have for minor enemies, since the Ninja is usually faster than the Black and Red Wizards. The aforementioned Gauntlets would do the job, anyway.
Black & Red Mages/Wizards
If you have both a Black and a Red Mage in your party, you have the opportunity of using every Black Spell in a single game, except one (of your choice).
Thumb rule: for every level, give three Black Spells to the Black Mage, and the last one to the Red Mage. Debuff spells should all be given to the Black Mage, because they can miss often if given to the Red Mage. Vice versa, support spells should be given to the Red Mage, because they always succeed anyway. The Red Wizard can only learn one spell from level 6 and one from level 7. You will have to choose and discard one spell from level 8.
For detailed comments, check the sections above.
The following table shows an example of assignment of the spells. The Red Mage/Wizard will also have to learn some White Spells, especially if you don't have a White Mage/Wizard.
|Lv.||Red Mage/Wizard||Black Mage/Wizard|
| Debuff |
|1||-||Bolt1||Fire1|| Sleep |
|2||Temper||-||Ice1|| Dark |
|3||-||Fire2||Bolt2|| Hold |
|4||Haste||-||Ice2|| Sleep2 |
|7||-||Ice3||Break|| Saber |
- Status aliment inducing spells are generally considered useless by beginners. In fact, debuff spells should be used to reduce damage from small enemies, because although small, the damage they inflict stacks up. Therefore, black debuff spells give great relief to the White Mage's healing duties.
- Instant-death spells work almost always on weaker enemies, thus speeding up less challenging (and less interesting) fights.
- Quake and Break, while they instantly kill an enemy, are not members of the death family of spells. As a result many common enemies that cannot be killed by instant-death spells can be killed by one of these. Most bosses are immune to these two spells, unfortunately.
- Haste and Temper are probably the two most useful Black Magic spells. They increase the number of hits and the strength of each blow on a character. They can also be stacked in some versions of the game, which means that in a few rounds you can make a Knight ridiculously powerful, and able to kill bosses in one or two hits. Always open a boss fight by casting these two spells on your physical attackers. Saber fits into the same category but only affects the caster so it is better used from the spellcasting Power/Giant's gloves.