Penance is one of the superbosses in Final Fantasy X, and is widely considered to be the hardest boss in the game.
To unlock Penance, you must first defeat every Dark Aeon. Once you’ve beaten them all, you will see a cutscene where Penance will fly over the Calm Lands. Once you see this scene, there will be a new location you can see on the airship named ‘Penance.’ Fly there to begin the battle.
You will want all of your important stats maxed out for this fight. If you broke the HP Limit, have your max HP at 99,999. If you didn’t break the HP Limit, you will want a set of armor specifically made for this fight to boost your defenses and survive Penance’s attacks. Also, buy as many X-Potions as possible. You will also need all of characters in your party to have their Celestial Weapons.
Penance consists of the boss itself and its two arms. It is a two-phase fight, and it only uses one main attack in each one:
Its attack in phase 1 is Obliteration, which hits the entire party and inflicts Slow
Its attack in phase 2 is Immolation. This attack hits one character, brings their MP to 0, and inflicts Armor and Mental Break.
When phase 2 begins, Penance will gain Haste, but it will only last for one turn.
The two arms have various attacks, and can be more dangerous than Penance itself. The Left Arm can use a physical attack, Tera-Graviton, and Slowga. The physical attack will Dispel the character that’s hit, and Tera-Graviton deals 75% of the party’s max HP. It also inflicts Doom, Slow, Sleep, Darkness, and Silence.
The Right Arm has access to a physical attack, Calamity, and Mighty Guard. Its physical attack inflicts Stone on whoever is hit, and Calamity will inflict Poison, Curse, Full Break, Darkness, and Silence on one target. Mighty Guard will give itself, Penance, and the Left Arm Protect, Shell, and Regen.
While both arms can be killed, they will respawn after a few turns at full health.
Ultimate Attack: Judgement Day
Penance’s ultimate attack is Judgement Day, which can only be activated while both arms are present. The attack hits the party for 99,999 HP and 999 MP.
There is a hidden counter for when it uses the attack, which increases by one every time it’s hit, and every time it uses Immolation. Penance will cast Judgement Day on its next turn when the counter hits 19 (and both arms are alive).
Penance has a massive 12,000,000 HP, while the arms have 500,000 HP each. As you will have to kill both arms multiple times on top of defeating Penance itself, this is by far the longest fight in the game, and a huge endurance test.
Dealing with Penance and the Arms
The main way of managing this fight is making sure neither arm ever gets a turn, so that you will not have to deal with the many status effects that they can inflict. You also want to prevent Judgement Day from being cast. While you can survive the attack with Auto-Life, the arms and Penance itself will get a turn immediately after and likely wipe out your party.
Each arm will take six Quick Hits to kill. While you can use Overdrives that damage both arms and Penance (such as Attack Reels, Nova, and Tornado), you want to make sure that you don’t kill both arms with the same attack. If you do, they will both regenerate at the same time, which won’t leave you enough time to kill them again before they get an attack.
The most efficient way to kill them is to hit them five times, then finish them off just before they get a turn. This will allow you to land the most hits on Penance before you have to take out the arms again. Cheer or Rikku’s Ultra NulAllMix will help reduce the damage from Penance’s attacks. During the first phase, as long as you have enough damage reduction to survive its Obliteration, the fight will go smoothly if you’re keeping track of the arms.
Getting Through the Second Phase
Once Penance loses 3,000,000 HP, it will begin its second phase, and you will need to Dispel its Haste immediately.
For this phase, you’re going to want to use a Three Stars to reduce everyone’s MP cost to 0. When a character gets hit by Immolation, you must Dispel them or else they will get killed the next time they’re hit.
Since Immolation is a single target attack, you can take advantage of the Sentinel ability with a character that has a counter attack with their Celestial Weapon (Tidus, Wakka, Kimahri, or Auron), giving you a lot of free damage. The same strategy will work for this phase, as long as you stay on top of Dispelling party members hit by Immolation.
This is going to be a very long fight, but if you keep track of the arms and don’t let them get a turn, it should go smoothly.
Penance will give 60,000 AP (65,000 on Overkill), and the arms give 10,000 AP (10,000 on Overkill) each. Neither give any gil.
You will earn the achievement ‘Perseverance’ for defeating it.
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