The Ensanguined Shield is the strongest shield in the original versions, far surpassing the second-best shield, the Zodiac Escutcheon. Zodiac Escutcheon has better stats in the Zodiac versions, and there is also now a new ultimate shield, the Gendarme, making the Ensanguined Shield less useful to wear.
In the original PlayStation 2 version, the Ensanguined Shield cannot be bought from shops. It is found in a treasure in Henne Mines' Special Charter Shaft (40% chance to appear, is the Ensanguined Shield without the Diamond Armlet equipped ), Balfonheim Port's Canal Lane - Port Villa, East Side (a residence on the right, 10% chance the treasure is Ensanguined Shield with the Diamond Armlet equipped ), and Feywood's The Edge of Reason (25% chance to appear but is always the shield ).
In the updated Zodiac versions, the Ensanguined Shield can't be bought from normal shops. It is a treasure in Necrohol of Nabudis's Cloister of the Highborn (3% chance to appear, but is always the shield), and rarely stolen from Disma in Trial Mode Stage 88. It is also available through the Hunt Club sidequest on the Phon Coast by giving Blok 15 or fewer Rare Game trophies; after all 30 trophies have been distributed, the Shifty-Eyed Merchant's Store is updated with the prizes. Giving Blok 16 or more trophies nets the Zodiac Escutcheon instead, which in the Zodiac version has 75 physical evade and 45 magick evade.
The Ensanguined Shield is a top-tier shield that helps the wielder evade nearly all physical attacks that can be evaded. In the Zodiac versions, the Ensanguined Shield can be used by the jobs Red Battlemage, Knight, and Foebreaker. The drawback is that wearing the shield, the character is slow and constantly losing HP due to the status ailments the shield gives. The wearer can counter Slow by using Hermes Sandals or Haste, and Sap by using Renewing Morion, Ring of Renewal or Regen, but the Poison cannot be avoided even with Ribbon (though Ribbon's Auto-Regen in the Zodiac will cancel out Sap).
In the original version, the Ensanguined Shield may be worth to occasionally use for its superior evade stat, but in the Zodiac versions, the Zodiac Escutcheon and Gendarme are the superior options, and the shield's usefulness is further reduced by it being available to only certain jobs. Besides the status ailments, its other drawback is that it doesn't offer any magick evade, whereas many tough and endgame enemies will ignore physical evade. A character with Kumbha and Aegis Shield can have 53 physical evade and 50 magick evade, which can be obtained around the same time as the Ensanguined Shield, as well (though this setup is only possible in The Zodiac Age versions by combining Bushi with a job that can equip shields). The one boon the Ensanguined Shield has in the Zodiac versions is that it could potentially be obtained quite early, as soon as the Necrohol of Nabudis is available.
If using the shield despite its drawbacks, the player can use Renewing Morion for Regen, and give the shield-wearer Decoy so the enemies will prioritize them. Equipping them with Hermes Sandals lets them also nullify the effects of Slow, and equipping them with the Battle Harness makes for a warrior who draws enemies' enmity but dodges most attacks and also counters them even if they miss.
The Ensanguined Shield can be equipped by characters with one-handed weapons or no weapon in their available hand. It adds to the wearer's physical evasion. Shield Block augments also add +5% to physical evasion per augment purchased. Equipping a shield negates the Brawler augment, even if the character is still attacking bare-handed. Some enemies, especially all the toughest bosses and marks, have Ignore Evasion as a passive ability, which causes their attacks to ignore all blocking and parrying.
The chance to block granted by gloves and shields and Shield Block licenses is checked separately to, and before, the evade from one-handed weapons. If the shield block fails, the game checks for the weapon block, and if that fails, the game checks for parry.
Ensanguined means "bathed in blood", from Latin sanguis, "blood".