Crisis Core Best Materia Setup & Build Suggestions
The Materia system makes a return in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, though it doesn't function in exactly the same way as in the original FF7. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is that some Materia are just flat out better than others - which leads to a fun debate about the Best Materia setup and the best possible Materia build and load-out.
One of the great joys of Crisis Core is just how breakable various mechanical elements of the game are - and a lot of that breakage can come from having the best Materia for a given situation. The right equipment and materia loadout can break the back of all but the most difficult encounters in the game.
On this page, we've got a bunch of Best Materia setup suggestions for Crisis Core - listing some of the best and most powerful Materia in the game you should consider equipping.
Crisis Core FF7: Best Materia Setup & Combination Suggestions
As is always the case with such suggestions for a role-playing game, we have to stress that you can make any Materia setup work in Crisis Core. In fact, Crisis Core is one of the more malleable entries in the Final Fantasy series, in part thanks to how you can increase Zack's stats to be ludicrously high, making just about any move hit super hard.
However, there are some moves and abilities that are naturally very powerful, making for great materia load-outs for tackling the late-game content and the hardest side missions. But, you should treat this as a suggestion rather than outright fact. The best thing to do is really to possibly use our Best Materia setup suggestions below as a starting point, and then work out from there to customize it to better fit your play style.
In Crisis Core Reunion, the remastered version of the game on modern consoles, the core action combat has been vastly improved. This actually reduces reliance on Materia for much of the game - but for later content, you'll still want the Best Materia equip setup possible to survive.
Instead of giving you a full Materia load-out, we instead want to highlight a selection of top-tier best Materia that every build should at least consider using. So here goes:
Curaga - for keeping that HP Up
Curaga is probably the earliest-obtainable Materia on this best Materia list, and you might be wondering why we list this instead of Full Cure. Well, the answer is all about efficiency: while Full Cure fully restores HP, Curaga has much lower MP usage, and when your stats are properly aligned, Curaga might get close to fully healing you in one cast anyway.
Plus, Curaga can be dualcast, which will almost certainly be a one-cast heal. Bonus!
Fuse Curaga so it has a massive HP boost - preferably all the way up to HP +999%, if you've broken the HP limit - and then never un-equip it. You'll need this all game.
Costly Punch - the Best Damaging Command Materia
Costly Punch is a fairly unique attack, and it's one that is actually now most commonly associated with Zack and Crisis Core - in part because of how useful it is as an attack for that late-game content. It's arguably the best all-around Command Materia in the game.
Costly Punch costs a percentage of Zack's HP (the percentage varies between Reunion and PSP, but caps out at just over 15%) in order to deal a huge amount of non-physical, non-magical damage - ignoring the enemy's defense stat. This makes Costly Punch one of the easiest attacks to deal 99,999 damage per hit with, so long as you've Broken the Damage Limit.
Costly Punch ignores the ATK stats, meaning you can skip improving those in favor of other stats and it'll still deal huge damage. There's a bug on PSP which prevents it from working properly if your HP is too high into 'Break' status - but this is fixed in the Crisis Core Reunion remaster.
The correct method to use Costly Punch is to use it, heal up, and keep using it. As a downside it only hits one enemy at a time, and you'll need to be careful with fast enemies or groups, as Zack can be knocked out of the attack's long wind-up animation by incoming attacks. Despite the drawbacks, if used well this single move can make much of the game trivial.
Quake - Huge Magic Damage, Fast
The race to be the best Magic Materia in Crisis Core is a little more complicated than other classes, but without a doubt one of the best spells in the running is Quake. Quake's brilliance is largely down to the attack's nature - it's a fast-acting, powerful spell with a wide area of effect that can obliterate huge groups of enemies.
Honestly, Quake is pretty comparable to a lot of other attacks, but that rapid cast time makes a huge difference, and makes up for how difficult it can be to max out at 99,999 damage - that'll come much sooner with other attacks. You can also Dualcast Quake, increasing the potency of each casting.
The AOE nature of the spell also makes it deal crowd control, even on that 1000 Shinra Soldier training mission. It's best used in tandem with other materia, however - and is an ideal materia to fuse to raise Zack's MAG stat.
Quake can be quite commonly found or easily fused, and is also sold in the Wutai Secret Shop (unlocked by following the Wutai side quests, including the Wutai Spies quest) for 18,000 gil.
Graviga - more than Half Effective
The natural state of Graviga is that it's a spell that lowers the HP of enemies by nearly half - which is powerful on any enemy, but is particularly useful in the late game, where you can routinely face off against enemies with hundreds of thousands of HP - which means that half off will make the attack max out at the 99,999 damage cap.
In an ideal world and at a basic level, you'll pair Graviga with another high-end Materia like Costly Punch or Quake. The idea is simple - you can whittle the enemy health down from a safe distance by casting Graviga, halving their health with each cast. Then, at the end, you can nip closer and knock them out with Costly Punch, Quake, or another similar attack. It takes some of the risk out of combat.
There is a slightly complicated way to also make Graviga capable of outright killing involving the SP Master Materia, but honestly, we think it's best used to weaken enemies, followed up with a finishing move of your choice. That frees up that SP Master Materia slot for something else.
Graviga can be obtained in many places, fused, or purchased from the Bone Village Commerce Shop for 15,000 gil.
Hell Firaga, Thundaga, and Blizzaga - go to hell
You'll likely find the Hell Materia are some of those you naturally gravitate towards as powerful at the mid-point of Crisis Core - and they are powerful, so long as you understand that Hell Firaga, Hell Thundaga, and Hell Blizzaga are really best considered a stepping stone to bigger, better things like the spells we list above.
Each is an elemental spell that's more powerful than the lower levels, but the 'Hell' part also means that they have a chance to inflict Poison, Stop, Silence, or even Instant Death. In Crisis Core, Instant Death procs are more generous than in other games, which means you will one-hit KO a lot of basic enemies throughout missions.
These will eventually be replaced with moves like Quake - but I ended up holding onto Hell Firaga, which fires three fast-moving projectiles, for quite a long time. It works great with Dualcast, too.
Gil Toss - for the monied
A series tradition and a skill usually saved for the Thief Class, the Gil Toss does exactly what the name suggests - it lets you throw gil at enemies and damage them with it. What's unique in Crisis Core is the nature in which it damages - and that's why it's worthy of this list.
If you're struggling with the self-damaging nature of Costly Punch, which requires you to be on the ball with healing, Gil Toss is a good alternative - assuming you're willing to grind to have a lot of money. Gil Toss deals damage based on the amount of Gil thrown, and each usage will toss approximately 1% of however much Gil you have.
This means that if you have absolutely loads of cash, then yes, Gil Toss can deal 99,999 damage. This pairs well with Mug, which can be used to get items to sell in order to have more Gil to toss. As a bonus, Gil Toss also costs no AP to use. It's good, but we do prefer Costly Punch, to be honest.
Death Twister - the mob masher
As you work through the side missions of Crisis Core, you'll have to fight a lot of 'trash mobs', basic enemies whose only real purpose is to keep you busy. The entire 'Twister' family of Materia is useful for taking down these basic mobs of foes, but the best is Death Twister.
Death Twister does what you'd expect - it hits all enemies with that same old Twister animation, which has a wide area of effect and is great for crowd control - but it also has a chance to inflict Instant Death. If the raw damage doesn't get them, the Instant Death proc has a damn good chance of doing so instead. It only costs 20 AP too.
Dualcast - so good a Materia you'll want it twice
With a name like Dualcast, you know what this materia does. The best and most useful of the purple special/independent materia in the game, it allows Zack to cast magic materia spells twice in one go - meaning you can do twice as much damage, twice as fast.
Now, to be clear, Dualcast does also double the MP cost of spells - that second cast does not come free of charge. However, paired with attacks like Graviga or Quake, the damage dealt will be so huge that enemies won't stand a chance, leading you to battles with a perfect SOLDIER rating that'll in turn increase your MP afterwards. Plus, if all else fails, there's Ethers to use. You should also Break the MP limit to give you more to play with.
You can get Dualcast from inside a treasure chest in Mission 9-4-1, or you can buy it from Net Shop Shade, which is one of the unlockable Crisis Core shops obtained in Mission 9-5-4.
SP Materia - especially SP Barrier & SP Master
The SP Materia is a class of materia that dominate the Support (Blue) Materia category in Crisis Core, and they're all pretty useful. What they do is use a chunk of your SP in order to boost various attributes of Zack - be that his attacks, defense, and so on.
These Materia are all really powerful, especially SP Master, which can be found as a reward on Mission 9-6-5, which itself is a fairly late-on mission to unlock. When combined with an unlocked damage cap, this can lead to even weaker attacks dealing huge amounts of damage - but it comes at the cost of SP, which can significant dent how useful the DMW is to you. Still, these materia can be so game-breakingly powerful they bear mentioning here.