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Cactuar is a Guardian Force in Final Fantasy VIII. A cactuar, it shoots needles at enemies to deal fixed damage. As a late-game GF, it learns the rare Evasion and Luck junctions and support abilities that enhance these stats. It learns a command ability that nullifies all physical damage while the user is defending, and is the only GF to naturally learn a self-destruct command that deals immense damage that breaks the damage limit at the cost of sacrificing said character. The Cactuar's unique feature is that it learns all support abilities that give permanent stat boosts upon level up; players who want to min-max can avoid leveling up until they gain Cactuar and then equip these abilities for grinding sessions. Cactuar doesn't learn any refine abilities.

The Cactuar esper in GBA and later ports to Final Fantasy VI is based on the Cactuar Guardian Force.


Cactuar looks the same as a regular Cactuar enemy. Though gained from defeating the colossal Jumbo Cactuar, it doesn't have the mustache the jumbo version did and is the same size as a normal cactuar. Cactuars are green sentient plants that live in deserts. They are notoriously fast and flighty.


Jumbo Cactuar pops out of the sand in Cactuar Island.

After defeating the optional boss Jumbo Cactuar on the Cactuar Island, the Cactuar is obtained as a Guardian Force. Jumbo Cactuar appears on the world map by popping out of the sand on the island and moving about. Cactuar Island is an island off the coast of Kashkabald Desert in Centra, and is reached by Ragnarok. Jumbo Cactuar can flee battles on low health, and if that happens the player can re-encounter it but it will have recovered all of its HP. Weak to Water, a good strategy is to Triple-cast Water spells, summon Leviathan, and use Limit Breaks when the message "Jumbo Cactuar is hesitating" pops up.

Obtaining Cactuar in the Steam version earns the player the achievement Cactuar.



Cactuar GF "1,000 Needles" from FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered

The Cactuar Guardian Force uses its signature 1,000 Needles move like the other Cactuars, however, the damage is calculated by the first digit in Cactuar's level times 100. At level 100 it will always do 10,000 damage to all enemies, one of the few attacks that breaks the damage limit. Because the damage is fixed, Cactuar cannot be boosted, and SumMag+% abilities have no effect if taught to it via items.


The charge time for summoning depends on the compatibility between the character and the GF and the Battle Speed. The greater the compatibility, the less time it takes to summon. Compatibility can be boosted with compatibility boosting items. Other GFs are boosted by casting magic compatible with the Guardian Force, but Cactuar is unique in that it has no effect on its compatibility. Cactuar also doesn't have an "opposing" GF whose summoning would deduct from its compatibility the most; summoning other GFs only has a minor effect.

Compatibility Chart
Summon Effect Cactuar +20, Every other GF -1.6
Compatibility Items Cactus Thorn +3.2, LuvLuv G +20.2

The below values are the base compatibility values with all playable characters at the start of the game. Although Seifer cannot junction Cactuar in a normal playthrough, a default compatibility value still exists for him.

Party member Compatibility
Squall 580
Quistis 550
Zell 540
Selphie 700
Rinoa 640
Irvine 560
Seifer 220
Edea 680


The following table represents the base stats:

Level HP Attack Power
20 1,766 2,000
30 2,356 3,000
40 3,314 4,000
50 4,100 5,000
60 4,894 6,000
70 5,696 7,000
80 6,466 8,000
90 7,324 9,000
100 8,150 10,000


Abilities learned naturally by Cactuar are listed below:

Ability AP Prerequisite
FFVIII Junction ability icon.png Eva-J 200 None
FFVIII Junction ability icon.png Luck-J 200 None
FFVIII Command ability icon.png Magic (Already learned)
FFVIII Command ability icon.png GF (Already learned)
FFVIII Command ability icon.png Draw (Already learned)
FFVIII Command ability icon.png Item (Already learned)
FFVIII Command ability icon.png Defend 100 None
FFVIII Command ability icon.png Kamikaze 100 None
FFVIII Character ability icon.png Eva+30% 150 Eva-J
FFVIII Character ability icon.png Luck+50% 200 Luck-J
FFVIII Character ability icon.png Initiative 160 None
Ability AP Prerequisite
FFVIII Character ability icon.png Move-HP Up 200 None
FFVIII Character ability icon.png HP Bonus (Already learned)
FFVIII Character ability icon.png Str Bonus (Already learned)
FFVIII Character ability icon.png Vit Bonus (Already learned)
FFVIII Character ability icon.png Mag Bonus (Already learned)
FFVIII Character ability icon.png Spr Bonus (Already learned)
FFVIII Character ability icon.png Auto-Potion 150 None
FFVIII Character ability icon.png Expendx2-1 250 Eva+30%
FFVIII GF ability icon.png GFHP+10% 40 None
FFVIII GF ability icon.png GFHP+20% 70 GFHP+10%
FFVIII GF ability icon.png GFHP+30% 140 GFHP+20%

Other appearances[]

Dissidia Final Fantasy (2008)[]

Cactuar being summoned.

Anthropomorphic cactus monsters. Usually they seem to be running towards something.

Summon Compendium

Cactuar appears as a summon in Dissidia using its artwork from Final Fantasy VIII. It uses 1,000 Needles on the opponent's Bravery points, reducing them by 1,000. If the opponent's bravery is less than 1,000, their bravery is reduced to zero, without inflicting break. Cactuar can be obtained as a Stage Bonus on the Destiny Odyssey IX storyline.

Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy[]

Cactuar returns as a summonstone, with the same function as in Dissidia. He can be purchased from certain Moogle Shops for 60 KP.

Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade[]

Ability Cards
Legend Cards
Edgar - Chainsaw2.pngThis section about an ability in Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade is empty or needs to be expanded. You can help the Final Fantasy Wiki by expanding it.



Sabotender (サボテンダー, Sabotendā?) is derived from mixing the Japanese word for cactus (サボテン, saboten?) and the English word "pretender" (プリテンダー, puritendā?).