11 of 20
10. Knights of the Round: At a point in time where Squaresoft was likely trying to show off how impressive summons could be on 3D hardware, there were the Knights of the Round. Taking around a minute and twenty seconds to execute, countless time of my life was lost to watching this summon play out, not even counting the mad folks who glitch the game to use it multiple times in a row. Thirteen knights all strike the enemy, with King Arthur delivering the climactic blow in an extravagant show of force. Still, those eighty seconds became a piece of Final Fantasy culture, and even became a nice callback in Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward as a final boss fight for the expansion. The Knights are certainly a spectacle, but hopefully the Final Fantasy VII remake will rein it in a bit when it comes to the summon theatrics.
12 of 20
9. Carbuncle: I have a lot of love for this little guy, both for being an adorable companion and a useful defensive summon to heal up and protect the battle party. A cheerful sprite with a penchant for healing and supporting, its appearance in Final Fantasy XV's Platinum demo helped reinforce its role among the pantheon of summons, and also set it apart as a creature less focused on annihilation. Where others use fire, ice and thunder, Carbuncle uses rainbow light to protect its friends, and comes in handy more often than not.
13 of 20
8. Phoenix: Like the last entry, Phoenix is a healer as well as a damage dealer, though the fiery bird does its job with a little more gusto. Bringing down massive waves of fire, Phoenix is unique in being able to revive fallen allies while also damaging enemies. This one-two punch made Phoenix a staple in boss fights through VIII and IX. The big bird hasn't shown up in many recent games as a summonable ally, but it still remains one of the most useful and effective summons in any Final Fantasy.
14 of 20
7. Anima: Given Final Fantasy X's focus on summoning, Anima is one of the few aeons that gets a proper backstory. Summoned by Seymour Guado to annihilate the invading fiends in Luca, Anima's horrific appearance belies her tragic past, and the actions that led to her becoming an aeon. In this aspect, Anima's presence is hauntingly memorable, as she's drug up by a chain from the murky depths, and unleashes death upon enemies while bound. The first battle against Anima is one of the more iconic bosses in X, and of all the summons in the game, Anima remains one of the most interesting characters among the stable of mythic beings.
15 of 20
6. Alexander: Characterized as a massive floating fortress, Alexander is less a singular person and more a sentient being, a weaponized platform of destruction. Ranging in scale from a tall robot to an actual city, Alexander is often the grandest of summons, and usually there is a great cost associated with summoning it. That scarcity keeps it from being one of the top entries on this list, but the scale of Alexander is frankly incredible, best captured by the Alexander raid in Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, where a significant group of players have to scale the castle and destroy its inner workings to even stand a chance against the behemoth.
16 of 20
5. Leviathan: The water-elemental staple of Final Fantasy summons, Leviathan has been a commanding presence in almost every Final Fantasy game, bringing a tidal wave of destruction with him. In IV he gets a little bit more room to exist outside of combat, as he's the king of the eidolons and trains Rydia in the ways of summoning. A serpent of spectacular scale, Leviathan is an imposing presence, so much that a section of the upcoming Final Fantasy XV seems to be set around Leviathan's appearance in a city, and will be one of Noctis' summons. Regal, intelligent, imposing and all while being a giant sea serpent, Leviathan is easily one of the coolest creatures in Final Fantasy canon.
17 of 20
4. Odin: The all-father of Norse mythology also has a significant legacy in Final Fantasy games, dating back to III and the introduction of the Summoner and Evoker classes. Riding his steed Sleipnir, and alternating between blades and his lance Gungnir, Odin is an unstoppable force whose attacks commonly inflict instant death on enemies. Yes, when Odin hits people, he usually kills them in a single blow, and this is reflected in game mechanics. He also has some of the best out-of-combat appearances, like showing up during the Seifer battle in VIII and as a boss in XIII. Some of the best summons in Final Fantasy are those acknowledged outside of just battle, and used as actual story elements, and Odin shines both on and off the battlefield.
18 of 20
3. Ifrit: The closest thing Final Fantasy has to a poster-summon is Ifrit, a creature who seems to make an appearance in literally everything Final Fantasy-related. From the proper series to Chocobo Dungeon and even Super Smash Bros., it's hard to separate summons like Ifrit from the series that created him. A fiery demon resembling a Djinn, Ifrit is most well-known for spitting fire and spiking flaming chunks of earth like a volleyball player at the net. The horns, the claws, the fiery appearance and hot temper all make Ifrit one iconic beast you're guaranteed to always run into during any Final Fantasy, as a reliable fireball of a summon.
19 of 20
2. Shiva: Another Final Fantasy summon of both seemingly clear and ambiguous religious origin, Shiva is a mainstay of summoners in the series and the physical embodiment of ice magic in the Final Fantasy universe. In most games, Shiva is a kind spirit, often earned as a part of the story rather than through a sidequest or extremely tough boss fight. That's not to dismiss, though; Shiva's Diamond Dust attack is destructive, making quick work of enemies and executed with a simple snap of her fingers. Though the XIII version is a little odd (still getting around the whole Shiva Sisters Turn Into Motorcycle You Can Ride thing), her other incarnations are of a strong, beautiful woman with immense power over ice. Her intro and Overdrive from Final Fantasy X hold a special place in my Final Fantasy fandom, and not just because I had to replay that first battle using Shiva a ton to beat it.
20 of 20
1. Bahamut: While other summons on this list like Odin, Shiva and Leviathan make story-related appearances and sometimes act as side-cast, Bahamut is and always has been his own character in Final Fantasy. Even before summoners existed in the series, Bahamut was there in the original Final Fantasy, allowing players to upgrade classes to higher forms. Characterized as a dragon of incredible might, it's typically the most powerful summon you can have without grinding or working hard to max out others. Even as the series progressed on and a groan-worthy list of Bahamut species began to emerge like permutations of Godzilla (seriously, Neo Bahamut?), this grand dragon is more than iconic. It's difficult to find any game with the words "Final Fantasy" in the title that doesn't have Bahamut in it, and even in completely tangential games like Bravely Default, the dragon makes a guest cameo as an optional side-boss. He even has a game named after him, a precursor to Final Fantasy Tactics called Bahamut Lagoon.