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What happens to Dominants in FF16 when they lose their Eikon powers?

Clive’s handy ability to wield Eikonic abilities is all great fun, but what happens to an Eikon or Dominant when their powers are taken in Final Fantasy 16?

What happens to Dominants when Clive takes power: Clive casting Fira from Final Fantasy 16 in front of a blue and green background

While Clive’s abilities when blessed by the Phoenix are rather enjoyable, having any Eikon’s powers on-tap is a lot more fun. It allows for players like you to have a large arsenal of elemental skills at your fingertips, but you’re not just plucking them out of thin air. So what happens to Eikons and Dominants when Clive steals their powers in Final Fantasy 16?

It was a question we were left with after our Final Fantasy 16 review playthrough, so we decided to dig a little deeper to find the answer. So, while all of Final Fantasy 16’s best abilities come from the various Eikons of Valisthea, here’s what the consequences of Clive’s power-sapping are.

We’re going to be revealing the fates of some characters below, so if you haven’t completed Into the Darkness from the main quests, then bookmark this page and come back later to dodge those spoilers!

What happens when Clive absorbs Eikon powers in Final Fantasy 16?

When Clive takes a Dominant’s powers in Final Fantasy 16, the Dominant can’t use their Eikon’s abilities while in human form. Their connection is weakened, but not totally severed. They can still become their Eikon form if distressed enough but at the cost of succumbing to the Crystals’ Curse when returning.

The first case where we see this happen is with Benedikta Harman, the Dominant of Garuda. After Clive absorbs her powers, she cannot use them while in her human form. However, as she escapes and finds herself in a forest, she is ambushed by bandits, but in a fit of rage and fear, she becomes the Eikon Garuda, hinting to us that she still has a connection to the Eikon. However, after this boss fight, we don’t see the effect of transforming on Benedikta due to the fact she dies due to her injuries.

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We don’t get a full picture of the effects of Clive taking powers until the fight with Hugo Kupka, the Dominant of Titan. In their first fight, Clive cuts Hugo’s hands off before absorbing his powers, but we later see him transform into Titan, again, in a fit of rage. This boss fight proves how strong the Eikon of earth is, with the fight being split into three phases. During the fight, Hugo even becomes Titan Lost, a much stronger version of the Eikon, thanks to absorbing a ridiculous amount of Aether.

However, the outcome of the fight lets us truly see what happens to Dominants and Eikons once Clive takes their abilities. After Clive, as Ifrit, defeats Titan in one last major attack, the Eikon transforms back to a dead Hugo Kupka, who has died from the Crystals’ Curse. If you haven’t been paying attention (we recommend using the FF16 Active Time Lore feature), you’ll probably be confused at this point.

Well, the Crystals’ Curse is a deadly disease that turns anyone who uses Aether for magic into hardened, statue-like people, with their skin turning an ugly grey color and shards of crystal sticking out of them. Bearers are the ones who succumb to this the most, and you see plenty die earlier in the game due to this curse. However, Dominants seem to not be affected by it, or it can at least take a lot longer for the side effects to start developing.

It seems that, with Clive taking Hugo’s powers away from him in human form, the connection is a lot weaker. Therefore, we believe that transforming into an Eikon with a weakened connection can speed up the Crystals’ Curse, as can absorbing lots of Aether as Titan does.

There are some cases where it seems the Crystals’ Curse does affect a Dominant. For example, Cid seems to be in pain and coughs up blood when using Ramuh’s powers, and a similar pain happens to Jill when using her Eikonic abilities. But it definitely seems to us that Clive’s ability to take Eikonic powers speeds up this process, and removes a Dominant’s ability to use Eikonic skills in their human form.

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Much like the interpersonal stories for Clive in the first half of the game, the effects of Clive taking Dominants’ powers aren’t really explored any further after Ultima first pops up. Similarly, the Crystals’ Curse isn’t detailed too often, with the end-of-the-world stakes taking the driver’s seat in the latter half of the story – maybe it’s a concept that could be explored deeper in a Final Fantasy 16 sequel?

While we see the physical consequences of Dominants losing their powers a few times, we only really see the emotional impact fleetingly, thanks to Benedikta. After losing her powers in human form, she becomes distraught, worried about the future. Most of the people in Valisthea use their connection to Eikons as a form of power and control, and while Clive may be focused on taking their powers for his own gain, we see that he’s improving the world by showing that these Dominants aren’t gods; they’re just humans who got lucky.

If you want to learn more about the story and world in one of the best RPG games, check out our FF16 ending explained guide, or find out why Clive’s mother betrays his family in Final Fantasy 16. Alternatively, check out our FF16 walkthrough for any and all guides to help you conquer Valisthea.