Final Fantasy Wiki

Counter-attacks when physically attacked.


Counter is a support ability in Final Fantasy IX for physical attackers, and is Amarant's "signature ability" as it is present in most of his weapons. When hit by a physical attack, the user retaliates with their own physical attack. Counter can be initiated by missed hits. Counter costs 8 Magic Stones to equip.

There is also an enemy ability called Counter. Grimlock counter-attacks when in its Physical Attack Red status. The Nova Dragon and Scarlet Hair bosses counter all physical attacks, as does the Troll enemy. The Sand Golem counters every attack towards it while its Core is out of play.

Counter's magical counterpart is Return Magic.


Counter is learned from numerous equipment pieces for variable amounts of AP; Quina learns it the fastest at 55 AP, while Amarant learns it the slowest at 240 AP. However, Amarant does not without access to Counter until his ultimate weapon, as all of his previous claws have it, and therefore the actual AP requirement does not matter. Equipping multiple equipment pieces that all teach Counter, masters the ability faster.

Counter is learned from numerous equipment pieces. Amarant starts with it, but everyone can learn it from the Power Belt obtained for free in Treno: during Garnet and Steiner's stay, the player can view an Active Time Event called "Treno Tradition", in which Garnet is mugged by a pickpocket called Four-Armed Man. During this event an exclamation mark will appear, and if the player presses X when the ! appears, Garnet loses 500 gil. The sum is 1000 gil if the player misses. After witnessing the event, Steiner can go to the same location (right outside the Synthesis Shop) where he meets the Four-Armed Man who hands over a Power Belt. Zidane, Amarant and Quina can also learn Counter from the Ritual Hat sold in shops on the Outer Continent, and from the Power Vest sold in Esto Gaza later on. Anklet and Venetia Shield can also be found in Desert Palace.


Counter allows a user to counter-attack physical attacks while taking damage from those attacks should they hit, without using up a turn. Its trigger rate is doubled with the support ability Eye 4 Eye that every Counter-user but Quina can learn.

Whether Counter initiates is decided by a check, performed regardless if the attack connects.

If Spirit >= A random number 0...99, Counter attack is initiated.
With Eye 4 Eye, if (Spirit * 2) >= A random number 0...99, Counter attack is initiated.

Counter-attacks use the same process of checks and damage calculation that are used for the Attack command, and so Killer abilities and MP Attack and the currently equipped weapon's element count. Amarant should not equip Healer and Counter simultaneously unless the enemy is undead.


Counter is excellent for characters who are expected to be hit in battle, to immediately retaliate with an attack of their own without using up their turn. The higher the character's Spirit stat, the better the chance they will counter-attack. Zidane has the highest base Spirit, and Quina the lowest, but it is possible to max out everyone's Spirit to the highest possible value of 50. With maxed out Spirit, Counter will initiate every time the character is physically hit if they equip Eye 4 Eye.

Counter complements Distract/Vanish and Cover/Protect Girls nicely. Abilities that enhance Attack are great on a character with Counter, including Accuracy+ and Killer abilities and Add Status if the character's weapon has a status effect. As Final Fantasy IX lacks multi-hit attacks bar Steiner's Charge! and Vivi and Eiko's Trances, Counter is great for getting some extra hits in outside of the character's own turn. Against enemies who do not use physical attacks, however, it is pointless to equip.