The Black Robes is a high-ranked mystic armor in Final Fantasy XII that boosts the wearer's Defense by 56 (Zodiac) or 38 (original), and Magick Power by 12 (Zodiac) or 10 (original), and improves the wearer's Dark damage by 50%. In the Zodiac versions, it also gives 5 Magick Resist (usually only gained from mystic headgear), and 66 MP. It is a contender for endgame gear for its good stats and Dark-potency property, especially against the superboss Yiazmat. Black Robes is the dark counterpart of the Holy-boosting White Robes whose bazaar set requires one of the same items; for best efficiency to unlock both sets simultaneously, the player can make use of the "bazaar glitch".
In the original PlayStation 2 version, the Black Robes is sold for 13,500 gil in Balfonheim Port after Sky Fortress Bahamut appears. It is also found as a treasure in Cerobi Steppe's The Northsward (50% chance to appear, 50% chance for gil, 10% chance the item treasure is the Black Robes with the Diamond Armlet equipped ), Pharos - First Ascent's Wellspring Ravel - 2nd Flight (65% chance to appear, 78% chance for gil, 50% chance the item treasure is the Black Robes without the Diamond Armlet equipped ), and Subterra's Abyssal - South (50% chance to appear, 50% chance for gil, 50% chance the item treasure is the Black Robes without the Diamond Armlet equipped). It is rarely poached from the Mistmare.
The Black Robes is made in the bazaar set "Black Vestments" by selling nine Blood Wools (e.g. from Baritine Croc), seven Prime Tanned Hides (e.g. from Behemoth), and eight Dark Crystals (from various enemies, e.g. Dark Lord). The nine Blood Wools are also used for making the "White Vestments" set, so selling the ingredients for both sets at the same time, with only nine wools, the player can unlock both sets without needing to grind for 18 Blood Wools. However, the ingredients for the White Vestments are acquired late.
In the updated Zodiac versions, the Black Robes is not available in shops, but sells for 6,750 gil. It is a treasure in Cerobi Steppe's The Terraced Bank (20% chance to appear, 50% chance for gil, 5% chance the item treasure is the Black Robes with the Diamond Armlet equipped), and in Necrohol of Nabudis's Cloister of the Highborn (always appears). It is still a the rare poach from the Mistmare and made in the "Black Vestments" set in the bazaar with the same items as before.
Black Robes is a high-ranked mystic armor, giving 56 or 38 Defense and 12 or 10 Magick Power depending on version, as well as 5 Magick Resist and 66 MP in the Zodiac versions. It improves the wearer's Dark damage by 50%, and so is good against Yiazmat, the superboss elite mark that is weak to darkness. Many endgame enemies are undead and thus resist Dark, making the complementary White Robes perhaps the overall more useful robe.
As the Black Robes' Dark-potency boosts all Dark damage the wearer inflicts, it couples excellently with the Dark-elemental ninja swords. In the original PlayStation 2 version, all ninja swords are Dark-elemental, but in the Zodiac versions, only the ultimate ninja blade, Yagyu Darkblade, is. The Shikari board can't unlock any mystic gear, however, and so in the Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Job System the Yagyu Darkblade+Black Robes setup is not possible. In The Zodiac Age versions, each character can choose two License Boards, allowing for the possibility to match one of the mystic gear jobs with the Shikari. In this manner, the Black Robes could also be coupled with a gun-user with Dark Shot, though this is not as potent as with a fast and combo-rich ninja sword.
Mystic armor offer magick-related bonuses that affect all types of magickal actions, from casting black magick to damage an enemy, to casting white magick to heal the party. Magick Power is also a factor when determining damage dealt by katana, staves, and maces.
In the Zodiac versions, White Mage, Red Battlemage, Black Mage, and Bushi can equip it, and so the Black Robes is only useful to look for if the player has chosen any of these License Boards for their party. In The Zodiac Age versions, after fighting Belias the player can choose two License Boards per party member; it is usually a good idea to pair jobs that use two different types of armor for versatility.
As the Black Robes is a good mystic armor and potential endgame equipment. The player could get it a bit earlier from the bazaar, or earliest from the Necrohol of Nabudis in the Zodiac versions; the Necrohol of Nabudis can be visited after the party has the Dawn Shard, but at this point, its foes may be too tough for the party to yet face. If the player does venture there early to nab the Black Robes, they can skip purchasing many mystic armor sets from the shops in favor of it.