Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Enemy Skill Guide: Beat every Biological Intel challenge and unlock every ability

Final Fantasy games are no stranger to making an enemy's power one's own. From Blue Magic to Pictomancy, copying and adopting the skills of monsters is a staple of the series. In Final Fantasy VII Rebirth this takes the form of the exotic Enemy Skill Materia, a special sort of Materia that one improves and unlocks new skills by acquiring Enemy Intel through the world. Our Enemy Skill guide will show you just how and where to unlock all the available abilities for the Enemy Skill Materia, as well as give you tips on how to beat the challenges needed to earn them.

How the Enemy Skill Materia works in FF7 Rebirth

In a nutshell, the Enemy Skill Materia is a special Materia that allows you to use abilities based on the skills of certain enemies. This is pretty typical to the FF series and the same as how the Enemy Skill materia worked back in FF7 Remake - but the way the mateira works has been changed in one crucial, small way which is worth explaining.  

While other versions of this mechanic in other Final Fantasy titles involved baiting out monster attacks and getting hit by them to "learn" them, this version of Enemy Skill ties ability unlocks to Chadley's Combat Simulator.

All you have to do to learn new skills is clear the special "Biological Intel" series of challenges. There are seven challenges in total. Once unlocked, all seven Enemy Skill abilities appear as Weapon Abilities in the menu of the character equipping the Materia. They also don't cost MP to use, making them powerful substitutes for certain spells.

Unlocking & Acquiring the Enemy Skill Materia

To claim the Enemy Skill Materia for your own, all you have to do is clear the Biologicial Intel: Know Thine Enemy challenge. Each challenge has sub-objectives that must be cleared in order to consider the challenge a success.

From there, the Materia is yours. More Biological Intel challenges unlock as you explore the different regions, clearing Fiend Hunts and Classified Intel Fiend Hunts.

Completing Biologicial Intel both gives you the skills they demonstrate, while separately from this the Enemy Skill Materia will level up like any other. Each level up brings buffs, rather than new skills. Each level added to the Enemy Skill materia adds a buff to a core stat of the character with it equipped - HP, MP, Strength, and Magic. 

Take your foes' strengths for yourself by mastering the FF7 Rebirth Enemy Skill Materia.

FF7 Rebirth Enemy Skill List

  • Sonic Boom: Unleash a wind magic attack, also granting the caster bravery and faith buffs. Can also be used in the air.
  • Plasma Discharge: Temporarily imbue the caster's attacks with the lightning element. Deals damage in the area surrounding the caster each time an ATB charge fills.
  • Soothing Breeze: Gradually restore HP to allies in the surrounding area - but you'll stop moving and be vulnerable while the skill is in use.
  • Self-Destruct: Deals a large amount of damage to enemies in the surrounding area, but also knocks out the caster. Costs 2 ATB charges.
  • Mind Blast: Deals damage to a target, but also inflicts paralysis.
  • Rancid Breath: Covers a wide area with a rancid mist that randomly inflicts Pertification, Poison, SIlence, Sleep, or Stop status effects on enemies caught in it.
  • Gorgon Shield: Conjures a shield that fires off magical shots that inflict Petrification when the caster is damaged.

How to Beat Every Enemy Skill Challenge

Each Enemy Skill challenge presents you with a 'Biological Intel' mission to complete in Chadley's Combat Simulator. Each is unlocked in progression by completing two key pieces of side content in FF7 Rebirth. First, there's defeating classified foes, which are unlocked by completing each region's expedition intel hunts. Second, you have to keep assessing enemies as you encounter them - ideally, you should assess every enemy you come across.

Biological Intel: Know Thine Enemy

This first Biological Intel is available right away when you first get access to the Combat Simulator from Chadley. It unlocks the 'Sonic Boom' enemy skill.

Challenge Objectives:

  • Defeat the enemy without any party members being KO'd.

This challenge is effectively an intro the Enemy Skill Materia and isn't particularly challenging. You'll fight Velociwings. They're fliers, and thus you'll need a bit of anti-air firepower or some Wind-element spells and attacks to pressure them with.

Enemy Skill: Sonic Boom

The Enemy Skill Materia comes with Sonic Boom. Sonic Boom fires a long-range Wind projectile that applies Bravery and Faith to the caster. It's an excellent opening move, as it buffs the user with two powerful boosts.

Biological Intel: Blinded By Light 

Challenge Objectives:

  • Defeat the enemy within the time limit.

Blinded By Light is a rematch against the Classified Fiend Quetzalcoatl. As in that fight, you'll want to use Ice-element attacks to pressure the miniboss and get it to stagger quickly. Back away or block when it transitions between air and ground. Characters with the ability to cast Manawall or Shell can protect your melee-range fighters when Quetz activates Electrodiffusion or Fulmen, which saturates the area with lightning attacks.

Enemy Skill: Plasma Discharge

For your trouble, you'll learn the Plasma Discharge ability. Plasma Discharge is a good semi-passive ability for melee fighters, as it infuses your attacks with Lightning damage, and unleashes a strong lightning shockwave whenever you gain an ATB charge, damaging everything nearby.

Biological Intel: Breath of Life

Challenge Objectives:

  • Stagger all enemies.

You'll face Quetzalcoatl a second (or third) time but the big bird has help in the form of a pair of Archdragons.

As in that fight, you'll want to use Ice-element attacks to pressure and stagger the miniboss, while using Wind-element attacks to eliminate the Archdragons (the Sonic Boom ability you learned is good to counter them with).

Depending on your level, you may need to be careful about accidentally killing the Archdragons before they stagger, so consider using an elemental "tickler" ability unlocked from the Folios to do the work of pressuring them.

Enemy Skill: Soothing Breeze

Soothing Breeze is your prize from this challenge. It's a little on the slow side compared to a Magnify-enhanced healing spell, but it heals faster than Regen and affects every ally near the caster. It also costs just 1 ATB charge, making it easier to cast in a pinch than Prayer.

Combine it with a defensive Synergy Skill like Bodyguard, Iron Defense, or Combat Savior to keep the caster safe while the spell does its work.

Biological Intel: At Any Cost

Challenge Objectives:

  • Defeat the enemy within the time limit.

In this challenge you'll face the Mindflayer, a tough miniboss that's hard to stagger. The Mindflayer is resistant to magic damage, most debuffs, and is immune to Silence, Petrification, and Gravity.

Furthermore, it can only be pressured by landing Synergy Abilities. That's Abilities, not Skills, so you'll need to spend ATB first to build up your party's Synergy. Use a Party with a good selection of offensive Synergy Abilities. You may also want to favor physical attackers like Cloud, Red XIII, Tifa, and Barret over casters for the fight, as well.

Enemy Skill: Self-Destruct

The signature skill of the Bomb family of enemies, Self-Destruct does as advertised: The caster creates a massive explosion that does great damage to surrounding enemies, at the cost of all their health. It's not terribly practical to use, not least because it knocks out a party member, but also because it takes 2 ATB to use, meaning you'll need to plan ahead a bit before using it. Try to have Revival Earrings or a revival item handy to get your caster back in the fight if you try using it.

Biological Intel: Head Case

Challenge Objectives:

  • Kill the Mindflayer first.

This might be the trickiest challenge in the Enemy Skill line. You'll face the Mindflayer again, assisted by a pair of Experimental Varghidpolis. As before, the Mindflayer can only be pressured by Synergy Abilities.

The Varghidpolis aren't much of a threat, but they're terribly irritating enemies in the context of the challenge rules: You must kill the Mindflayer first. Killing the Varghidpolis, even by accident, fails the challenge immediately.

To make things tougher, the Varghidpolis cannot be pressured or staggered, and they have a suicide move: Self-Immolation, which damages a party member causes them to die, failing the challenge. On top of all that, the challenge design actively works against the party AI, which tends to target the closest enemy, so there's a chance that your allies will kill a Varghidpolis while you focus on the Mindflayer. Switch members regularly to make sure they're focusing where you need them to.

It's possible to quickly take down the Mindflayer before the Varghidpolis either interfere so much they get killed or kill themselves at your expense, but a more reliable strategy is to use status effects like sleep from the Binding Materia or stop from the Time Materia to disable them, then eliminate the Mindflayer before they can recover.

Couple the Status Materia with Magnify Materia to ensure you hit both Varghidpolis with one casting. Equip Accessories that extend the duration of debuffs on enemies like Tarot Cards or the Malboro Orb to maximize the length of time you can keep the small fry under, then focus the rest of the party on beating the Mindflayer to death.

Cait Sith can be useful for this challenge, as he has weapon skills that extend enemy debuffs, and has fairly high physical stats, making him a good matchup against both the Mindflayer and the task at hand.

Enemy Skill: Mind Blast

Mind Blast takes a full 2 ATB charges to deploy, but it does possibly the most Stagger damage out of any single ability in the game. Just about anything you hit it with will immediately be Staggered or be very close to it. Sadly, Mind Blast can only be used once in a fight.

Biological Intel: That's The Smell

Challenge Objectives:

  • Defeat the enemy without recovering HP.

In this challenge you'll face the Great Malboro, a famous Final Fantasy staple. As in other games, the Great Malboro can use Bad Breath to inflict what feels like the entire slate of debuffs on you at once. The trick is targeting the Malboro's mouth as it winds up to use Bad Breath, stunning it briefly and opening it up for close-range attacks.

That said, getting close enough to attack the mouth opens you up to being hit by status effects, the most irritating of which are Frog and Sleep. The Ribbon accessory can defend you from most status effects, but there aren't enough to equip a full party. Similarly, accessories like the White Cape and Headband can't defend against both Frog and Sleep at the same time.

Thus the best strategy to to pair a maximum-level Cleanse Materia with Magnify Materia and cast Resist on the whole party. Accessories that extend buff durations like the Malboro Orb and Enchanted Ring will lengthen the time Resist will keep the party safe from debuffs. That bubble of safety will allow you to target the Great Malboro's mouth and interrupt its Bad Breath attacks.

The challenge conditions can also be a problem. Bring tough party members like Red XIII and Barret to ensure the party has enough HP to withstand a long fight. Barret's Lifesaver ability does not count as a heal, so you can use it to let Barret tank the incoming damage, too. You can also cast protective spells like Barrier and Protect to keep the party safe. Don't forget to pack some Ice Materia to exploit the Malboro's elemental weakness with.

Enemy Skill: Rancid Breath

Rancid Breath is a potent status-based attack that takes 2 ATB to unleash, but inflicts Silence, Poison, Sleep, Stop, and Petrification on everything in a large area. It's a debilitating technique to use on most non-boss enemies, and while it's usually quicker to just kill them, inflicting status effects can keep them down long enough to set them up for a Steal or Mug attempt.

Biological Intel: Stony Stare

Challenge Objectives:

  • Defeat the enemy within the time limit.

The last Enemy Skill challenge is a rematch against Jabberwock, the legendary dragon. Jabberwock has a host of abilities that can inflict Petrification on the party, and its Gorgon Shield skill can defend it against attacks while petrifying attackers. Equip Safety Bit accessories and the Ribbon to defend against Petrification, or cast Resist on the party as you fight Jabberwock with Fire spells and powerful techniques.

Jabberwock can be pressured by hitting it hard while the Gorgon Shield is active.

Enemy Skill: Gorgon Shield

Passing the Biological Intel challenge will earn you the Gorgon Shield ability, which is more useful for its defensive augmentation than for its petrifying side-effect. Cast Gorgon Shield on yourself when anticipating incoming damage to reduce its effect, similar to Protect or Barrier.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is available on PS5. Check out more of our guides to make your time in the game easier!