Final Fantasy VIII GF guide: locations to get every Guardian Force summon, missable GFs, abilities and more
Summons are of course a staple of Final Fantasy, but in Final Fantasy VIII they take a significantly different form: GFs, aka Guardian Forces. GFs are a major part of combat and character growth in FF8 - not only can they be summoned to deal massive damage, but they help to determine your character skills, stats and abilities via the Junction System. GFs are the heart of FF8's RPG mechanics.
One thing that's interesting about this is that many GFs in FF8 are entirely optional - you can easily miss them, as they're hidden away behind bosses or side quests with little to hint that they're there. If you're a completionist and want to get every GF in FF8, you'll need to know where every GF is so you avoid losing out on some of the missable GFs in the game.
On this page we're going to list every GF in FF8 plus how to get them, including those with more complicated side quest related recruitment requirements. If you need more help with some of FF8's slightly more obtuse systems, check out our guide on the SeeD Exams and SeeD Rankings and our page on getting the ultimate weapons via the weapons monthly magazines and magazine locations for Combat King, Pet Pals, Occult Fan and Timber Maniacs.
Final Fantasy VIII GF Abilities explained
There are two types of Guardian Force in FF8 - those that can be equipped and junctioned to a character directly, and a handful that are 'passive' GFs that can appear in battle randomly. All must be unlocked, either through events in the story or through optional side actions or content. The advantage to having more GFs at your disposal is simple: you can then equip multiple GFs on each of your party members, in turn allowing you to equip more abilities and junction more stat-boosting magic.
As the game will explain, you can junction different types of magic to different stats, and you can also prioritize GFs to learn certain abilities. The ability list of each GF is different, and will include active abilities that get added to your combat menu when equipped, passive abilities, abilities that you use in the menus, and abilities that unlock the ability to junction to more specific stats. Abilities are learned through obtaining AP, which is earned when enemies are defeated in one way or another, and earned in larger amounts from boss encounters.
All GFs have different stat-adjusting magic junction abilities, though which depends on the GF. We won't list those, as they're more common - but below on our GF guide you'll find the key, unique abilities each GF has listed for posterity and so you can plan to prioritize your unlocks. Some abilities, such as those that let you turn enemies into cards or refine rare triple triad cards into even rarer items, are far more useful than they appear at first glance.
Final Fantasy VIII GF Compatibility explained
As if the Guardian Force system in Final Fantasy 8 wasn't deep and complicated enough already, there's also a whole 'compatability' system beneath the hood of the game where each GF is more compatible with certain members of the cast than others. The charge time of a GF when you cast to summon them in battle is determined by the compatibility between the character casting and the GF they're trying to summon.
This means somebody with higher compatibility will be able to charge and summon the GF more effectively. GF compatibility is determined by a base value per character, but then various modifiers are applied.
The modifiers for GF compatibility are designed in such a way that it's impossible to please everyone. Because Ifrit and Shiva are opposite elements, for instance, things that raise Ifrit's compatibility will lower Shiva's and the reverse.
Compatibility is raised a few ways. Summoning a character will raise compatibility (and lower it with the opposing element). Using magic of the same type will have the same effect - so using Ice Magic or summoning Shiva will raise her compatibility, but lower that with Ifrit. The same is true of elemental items and so on.
While compatibility is a major mechanic in FF8, the truth is that it doesn't have a huge impact on how the Guardian Force system works or how combat plays out in general - so don't sweat it too much.
Final Fantasy VIII GF locations, GF abilities and how to unlock every Guardian Force
So, here's a full list of every GF in Final Fantasy VIII, plus how and when you can obtain it - which will help you avoid missing any. We've also listed the summon attacks and some of the key abilities of each junctionable GF so you have a good idea of why each is worthwhile.
On the topic of missable GFs, there is a neat touch here: there isn't really such a thing as an entirely missable Guardian Force in FF8. While some show up attached to story bosses that you can't encounter again, those that you miss will be made available a second time during the game's final dungeon. With that said, you really want to grab them the first time around.
This is your first GF, and is unmissable. Early in the game, you can either obtain it by using Squall's study panel to see the GF tutorial, or you'll automatically obtain it before the Fire Cavern SeeD Exam mission.
- Summon Attack: Thunder Storm (Thunder damage on all enemies)
- Key Abilities: Card, Card Mod, T Mag RF, Mid Mag RF, MAG +20%, MAG +40%
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Rinoa & Irvine. Least compatible with Squall & Selphie.
Also unmissable, you can obtain Shiva one of two ways: by using Squall's study panel and engaging with the GF tutorial, or by leaving for the Fire Cave, when Quistis will gift her.
- Summon Attack: Diamond Dust (Ice damage on all enemies)
- Key Abilities: I Mag RF, Doom, VIT +20%, VIT +40%, SPR +20%, SPR +40%
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Quistis and Rinoa, least compatible with Zell
Found at the Fire Cavern as part of the story. Cannot be missed - he must be fought as a boss and then is fully obtained after that.
- Summon Attack: Hellfire (Fire damage on all enemies)
- Key Abilities: Mad Rush, F Mag RF, Ammo RF, STR Bonus, STR +20%, STR +40%
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Zell and Rinoa, least compatible with Irvine and Quistis
The first missable GF. This GF is held by one of the bosses during the Dollet SeeD Exam mission - the flying beast Elvoret, that blows Biggs and Wedge away. Simply Draw Siren from the boss. If you miss it, you get a chance to Draw it again from another boss, Tri-Point, in the game's final dungeon.
- Summon Attack: Silent Voice (Non-elemental damage & Silence status effect on all enemies)
- Key Abilities: Treatment, Move-Find, Tool RF, L Mag RF, ST Mag RF
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Selphie, least compatible with Squall
Talk to Cid before leaving Garden for Timber, he'll give you a magical lamp. He warns you not to use it until you're powerful; using it will summon Diablos, and you must fight and beat this GF for it to join your cause. This is missable, as Cid doesn't hand over the lamp unless you talk to him.
Despite Cid's advice, it's better to tackle Diablos early: his strength scales with yours as you level up, and he has great skills that are useful from early on. The key for this fight is Blind: if you can Blind Diablos, you can stand a chance at beating him early as his most devastating physical attack won't land.
- Summon Attack: Dark Messenger (Non-elemental damage, determined by enemy HP)
- Key Abilities: Darkside, Enc-Half, Enc-None, Mug, Ability x3, Time Mag RF, ST Mag RF, HP +20%/+40%/+80%, MAG +20%/+40%
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Squall, least compatible with Zell
Found in the Tomb of the Unknown King, a largely optional and therefore easily missed side area. You must visit the tomb for the story, but do not need to venture deep inside. The tomb is accessible once you first reach Deling City.
To navigate the tomb, you'll want to go right at every fork in the road until you reach a statue that looks like a minotaur; interact with it to battle Sacred. Sacred then runs away.
Leave that room and now go straight ahead and then right once again at every opportunity after that. Eventually you'll be in a room with cogs and gears on the wall. Pull the lever on the left-hand side of the room.
Leave the cog room and go straight ahead and then right repeatedly again, keeping going until you're back outside the temple. Now turn around, re-enter and go straight repeatedly until you reach and end up in a fight Sacred and Minotaur, the Brothers. Defeat them to get them as a GF. Be sure to cast Float on your party and the Brothers; it'll make the fight much easier.
- Summon Attack: Brotherly Love (Earth Damage on all enemies)
- Key Abilities: Cover, Move-Find, L Mag RF, ST Mag RF, Tool RF, HP Bonus, HP +20%/+40%/+80%
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Zell and Rinoa, least compatible with Irvine
This is another GF obtained via draw that can be missed. During the Deling City Parade, you fight two Iguions (lizard-like monsters that come alive from statues). Draw Carbuncle from one of them. If missed, it can be drawn from the Krysta boss in the game's final dungeon.
- Summon Attack: Ruby Light (Reflect status on all party members)
- Key Abilities: Auto Reflect, Counter, Ability x3, Recov Med RF, VIT Bonus, HP +20%/+40%, VIT +20%/+40%
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Selphie, least compatible with Squall
Another draw-based GF that is thus missable. When you return to a Garden in the midst of a Civil War, you will eventualyl fight a boss, NORG. Draw Leviathan from NORG. If missed, the Trauma boss in the final dungeon will also have it to draw.
- Summon Attack: Tsunami (Water damage on all enemies)
- Key Abilities: Auto Potion, Supt Mag RF, GFRecov Med RF, Recover, SPR Bonus, SPR +20%/_40%
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Rinoa, least compatible with Irvine
In a return to Balamb Garden, you'll end up fighting Rajin and Fujin, Seifer's disciplinary squad friends. Fujin, in the blue, has Pandemona; just draw it. If missed, it can be drawn from the Red Giant boss in the final dungeon.
- Summon Attack: Tornado Zone (Wind damage on all enemies)
- Key Abilities: Absorb, Initiative, Supt Mag RF, GFRecov Med RF, SPD +20%/+40%, STR +20%/+40%
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Rinoa and Selphie, least compatible with Irvine and Quistis
When the Gardens go to war, you'll be back in Galbadia Garden. Cerberus is an optional boss here, found in the middle of the yellow beam that's shining down in the Atrium. If you beat Cerberus it joins you as a GF. If missed, Cerberus can be drawn from the Gargantua boss in the final dungeon much later on.
- Summon Attack: Counter Rockets (Casts Double and Triple)
- Key Abilities: Ability x3, Alert, Auto Haste, Initiative, Expendx2-1, SPD +20%/+40%
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Selphie and Rinoa, least compatible with Zell and Quistis
During the same Garden war subplot, you'll fight Edea inside Galbadia Garden. You can draw Alexander from her. If missed, this holy GF can later be drawn from Catoblepas in the final dungeon.
- Summon Attack: Holy Judgement (Holy damage on all enemies)
- Key Abilities: Revive, Ability x3, Initiative, Med Data, High Mag RF, Med LV up, SPR +20%, SPR +40%
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Selphie, least compatible with Irvine
This giant demonic train is summoned using clues found in the Occult Magazines, but you can also just do it without if you know how. You'll need the following items:
- Solomon's Ring, found at Tears' Point in Esthar
- 6x Malboro Tentacles, which can be stolen off or are dropped by slain Malboro, or can be refined from Malboro cards
- 6x Remedy+, which are refined using Alexander's Md Lev. Up skill, using 10 regular Remedy per Remedy+, so 60 total.
- 6x Steel Pipes - these items can be stolen from Wendigos, which are most commonly found in a forest area near Dollet
Once you have these items, use the Solomon Ring and Doomtrain will be yours.
- Summon Attack: Runaway Train (Bad Breath, Petrify, Doom & Vit 0 on all enemies)
- Key Abilities: Darkside, Absorb, Auto Shell, Junk Shop, Forbid Med RF
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Rinoa, least compatible with Irvine
The King of Dragons is found in the Deep Sea Research Center. You can access this onec you have the Ragnarok Airship - just fly to the bottom-left corner of the map and land there.
Once inside, there's a blue light in the middle of the room. You need to reach and examine the light (there will be fights along the way), and then answer three questions correctly. Here's the answers:
- Question 1: "It is not our will to fight"
- Question 2: "Never"
- Question 3: There is a 'hidden' third option - choose that.
After answering these questions and battling an enemy each time, the third question will summon Bahamut. Beat it to obtain it as a GF.
- Summon Attack: Mega Flare (Non-elemental damage on all enemies)
- Key Abilities: Auto Protect, Mug, Ability x4, Rare Item, Mov HP up, Forbid Med RF, STR +60%, MAG +60%
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Rinoa, fairly even among everyone else
Defeating Bahamut opens the option to go deeper into the Deep Sea Research Center. Eventually, deep within, there is the powerful optional boss Ultima Weapon. This is a very tough fight, but Eden can be drawn from Ultima Weapon during it. Alternatively, Edan can be drawn from the Tiamat boss in the final dungeon.
- Summon Attack: Eternal Breath (Non-elemental damage on all enemies)
- Key Abilities: Darkside, Devour, Mad Rush, Luck +50%, GFAbl Med-RF, Expendx3-1
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Rinoa and Selphie, least with Irvine
Once you have the Ragnarok Airship, go to the desert island to the east of the Centra Ruins. Something green can be seen on the island every now and then. Come into contact with it to start a fight with Jumbo Cactaur; beat it to get it as a GF.
- Summon Attack: 1000 Needles
- Key Abilities: Kamikaze, Auto Potion, Luck +50%, Eva +30%
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Selphie, least with Quistis
Odin is not a junctionable GF; once he joins you, he will have a random chance of showing up in any given battle and instantly killing the enemies. Odin is found in the Centra Ruins, and can be obtained as soon as you can go there with Garden or Ragnarok. Once you enter the ruins, you have only 20 minutes to reach and defeat Odin. To make this easier, a random encounter reducing ability (Enc-Half or Enc-None from Diablos) is recommended.
To reach Odin, you'll need to place eyes into a statue to open a door. This involves some basic environmental puzzles and without encounters 20 minutes should be more than enough time. Fight Odin once the door is open and beat him to have him join you as a GF. If you're struggling, we have a full Centra Ruins Odin sidequest guide that details how he's unlocked.
Tonberry King is also found in the Centra ruins, like Odin, but you'll want to get this one after you have Odin and so after the time limit in the area is removed. To get Tonberry King, defeat 20 Tonberry in the ruins' random encounters. These are all difficult fights. After your 20th kill, the King will appear. Defeat it to have it join you.
- Summon Attack: Chef's Knife (Non-elemental damage on a random enemy)
- Key Abilities: LV Down, LV Up, Haggle, Familiar, Sell-High, Call Shop, Auto Potion, Mov HP-up
- Base Compatibility: most compatible with Selphie, least with Zell
Like Odin, Phoenix cannot be junctioned, but can be summoned by using a Phoenix Pinion item in battle. Once summoned for the first time, Phoenix has a random chance to appear, and also has a random chance to prevent a Game Over. You can find Phoenix Pinions via the Shumi Tribe Sidequest, the 5th Floor Card Player in the Prison, from the Vase Pieces sidequest in Winhill, or through refining Mega Phoenix items with Med Lv. Up skill, then refining those Mega Phoenix into Pinions with the Tool-RF skill.
FF5 villain Gilgamesh is another non-junctionable GF, but has a random chance to appear once obtained. To get him, you must obtain Odin before entering Lunatic Pandora and fighting Seifer there. If you have Odin, this causes an event - and give another turn after that event for Gilgamesh to appear. Like Odin, Gilgamesh has a random chance to appear, but has multiple potential attacks - some more useful than others.
Chocobo World Summons
All of these summons are obtained through the Chocobo World mini-game, which isn't available in all versions of the game. All are non-junctionable. They are:
- Boko the Chocobo - a FF5 reference summoned by using Gyshal Greens during battle
- Minimog - obtained using the Mog's Amulet item obtained in Chocobo World
- Moomba - summoned using the 'Friendship' item, also obtained via Chocobo World.