Learn enemy skill.Description
Eat is Quina's unique command ability in Final Fantasy IX, and the method by which they learn Blue Magic from regular enemies. In Trance, it transforms into Cook with the same result which works on enemies with more health remaining.
Eat defeats the enemy if the target's health is 25% or less of its maximum value. If it is an enemy Quina can learn a Blue Magic spell from, they will learn it. Eating subsequent enemies of the same type will not affect Quina's magic, but will kill the enemy. Cook has the same effect but works on enemies at 50% or less HP. The target cannot evade or block the Eat/Cook attempt; the command will work or fail depending on if the requirements are met.
Eat and Cook fail on human-type enemies and enemies that are "Heavy". Usually this means it does not work on bosses, but the Earth Guardian is an exception, as are the "crystal versions" of the Chaos guardians. Undead enemies can be eaten.
Unlike the similar Devour command in Final Fantasy VIII that the Eat command in Final Fantasy IX was likely inspired by, eating enemies in Final Fantasy IX has no effects on Quina beyond learning new spells; it does not replenish health or have the capability of infecting Quina with ailments.
When Quina uses Eat or Cook, the enemy is surrounded by giant cutlery and disappears in a flash of light if the command succeeds. Eat is used to both defeat low health enemies, and to learn new Blu Mag spells. Quina may opt to use Eat to defeat low health enemies instead of using Attack or their Blu Mag, as the power of their Attack is random and they have a dearth of straight-up damaging spells. Eat also never misses. Quina can eat the Earth Guardian in the Earth Shrine, but Eat is useless against any other boss or special encounter, like the friendly monsters or Ragtime Mouse.
Dagger's Scan can be used to determine how much health enemies have remaining. Undead enemies are easily eaten by using a Phoenix Down on them first, reducing them to single-digit HP most of the time (10% of the time, this kills them outright, however). Matra Magic is supposed to make enemies easy to eat by reducing them to 1 HP, but its success rate (20%) is too low to be useful. It usually works better to wipe a good chunk of the enemy's HP with the party's physical attackers' regular attacks, then whittling away the rest via Dagger, Eiko, or Vivi's weak physical attacks. Vivi also has Demi for fractional damage, and Quina has Aqua Breath, but both have poor hit rates. Vivi can also lower the damage from his Blk Mag by multi-targeting his spell with if there are multiple targets. The party can also attack from the back row and equip weak weapons to avoid killing the enemy before Quina can eat it. Quina themself can use Pumpkin Head, whose damage is precise. When Quina has 1,000 Needles, it can be useful in reducing enemies' health to the required threshold for Eat.
Quina could make more use of Eat and Cook in Ipsen's Castle if the player does not want to equip them with a low-powered weapon. Quina could use it on enemies with high Evasion like Cactuar, as Eat cannot be evaded, or when Quina has Darkness or Silence. Quina can make use of Eat while in Oeilvert when their Blu Mag is sealed, but it is more worthwhile to bring them to Desert Palace instead.
Quina says "I can no eat until weaker" if the enemy can be eaten but has too much health. Quina says "I no can eat" if the command fails because the enemy cannot be eaten at all. Quina says "Taste bad" when the command succeeds but no new Blu Mag is learned.