Setzer is a playable party member in Final Fantasy VI. He is the first playable Gambler in the series, and his attacks and abilities have a strong element of chance. Setzer brings a mix of physical and magical prowess to the party, leaning more to the former.
Setzer has average stats. His Strength, Stamina, Speed, and Defense are good, but he has poor Magic and Magic Defense. Although Setzer is intended as a physical fighter, his most powerful weapon does not use Strength for damage calculation while his Slot attacks deal magical damage, which means it is more beneficial to train up his Magic than his Strength.
Setzer joins equipped with Cards, a Mythril Shield, a Mythril Vest, and in the SNES and PS versions he is also equipped with a Bandana. His weapons are limited to gambler's items and daggers, and his armor draw consists of shields, light armor, heavy armor, hats and helmets. His ultimate weapon in the Dragons' Den is the Final Trump, won from Ice Dragon. He also has a secondary ultimate weapon, the Fixed Dice.
Setzer's equipment draw, save for his ultimate weapons, is subpar. The Gladius allows him to use holy attacks, and two of his late-game weapons, the Viper Darts and the Death Tarot, have a chance to inflict Instant Death.
The Fixed Dice, however, make Setzer one of the most powerful attackers in the game. The dice do damage based on Setzer's level multiplied by each roll of the three die, ignoring defense and Setzer's Strength. They deal several thousand damage on even a mediocre roll and on higher rolls can hit the damage cap. The damage of the Fixed Dice is unaffected by the penalty from equipping the Master's Scroll. The Fixed Dice are located in the final dungeon, but are in one of the first rooms—risking a trip into the tower early in the World of Ruin to get the Fixed Dice is a common strategy among players.
In the late game, the random nature of the Fixed Dice makes Setzer undesirable compared to other characters who can deal comparable damage without relying on chance. The Final Trump consumes Setzer's MP to deal an automatic critical hit and boosts his Strength, Speed, and Stamina, making him a more consistent fighter. He also has the advantage that the Ice Dragon is located near the entrance of Dragons' Den, so players can acquire the Final Trump for him early.
Setzer's special ability is Slot. It opens a window to spin three slot reels. The confirm button stops them one at a time, and a fourth press closes the window and Setzer will use an attack based on the results of the reels. When the reels are spinning Slot can be canceled, but not once the first reel is stopped.
If Setzer lines up three random symbols he uses Mysidian Rabbit, restoring a small amount of HP to the party and curing Darkness, Poison, and Sleep. If three symbols line up, Setzer uses an attack determined by the symbols. Setzer's Slot attacks are magical and hit all enemies, with the exception of the three Bar and three 7s combinations. Three bars summons a random esper, and three 7s uses Joker's Death, which kills all enemies ignoring immunity to Instant Death. A "bad" version of Joker's Death occurs when two 7s line up with a Bar, killing the party instead of the enemies.
Setzer's Slot attacks are a gamble to use, but are very effective—they deal non-elemental damage and have high power, and some ignore defense and/or split damage. There exist methods to manipulate the reels to produce favorable results and thus make Slots more consistent, giving Setzer access to attacks equivalent to high-tier magic spells for no MP cost and inability to be reflected, as well as the ability to kill enemies instantly with Joker's Death.
Setzer's Desperation Attack is Red Card that deals non-elemental magic damage to one enemy. The attack depicts Setzer throwing three volleys of cards at an enemy, but only deals one hit of damage. Red Card is the only instance in the game of an ability sharing an animation with a weapon's attack and is coded differently from other ability animations.
In the World of Balance, Setzer joins the party after completing the Magitek Research Facility, during the fight with the Cranes. He is available as a party member for the rest of the World of Balance.
In the World of Ruin, Setzer is recruited in Kohlingen's pub. He is required to finish the game, along with Celes and Edgar. Because only these three need to be recruited to acquire the Falcon, the player could immediately enter Kefka's Tower and defeat the final boss using only them. This is known in the fan community as a "CES challenge", from the initials of the characters.
After the Imperial Banquet, if the party returns to the crashed Blackjack and enters the engine room, Setzer and Professor Cid discuss repairs to the airship. Terra and Locke speak to Setzer about his attachment to the Blackjack, and Setzer mentions his deceased friend Darill.
When meeting Gau's father, Setzer has dialogue when the party takes Gau to Jidoor to teach him manners and to buy him proper clothes. Because Setzer must be recruited by the time the scene is accessible, his dialogue will always trigger, where in the clothing shop he suggests dressing Gau is an outfit identical to his and is rebuffed by the party.
Setzer has the final line of dialogue in Final Fantasy VI before the credits roll, when he responds to Terra thanking him for catching her as she fell from the sky.