A common mechanic in tactical role playing games is the ability to recruit monsters to your party. Final Fantasy Tactics is no exception to this rule. One of the weaker monsters you can acquire in the game is the Goblin. While the Goblin is weak, it does have at least one special ability that can potentially serve you well near the start of the game. You are unlikely to be able to acquire a Goblin in the early game, so generally this monster won’t be very useful. The following guide to Goblins in Final Fantasy Tactics will help you optimally use this monster in your party.
How to Acquire – You can acquire Goblins at Mandalia Plains, Sweegy Woods, or Bariaus Valley.
Innate Ability: Counter (All) – All monsters have the ability to counterattack. Tackle damage is high enough that this can actually be rather threatening, but you will likely have more powerful warriors before you first acquire a Goblin.
Innate Ability: Weak to Ice (All) – All Goblins take increased damage from Ice attacks. While this is something you can take advantage of when fighting them in the wild it doesn’t help at all when one is in your party. The AI knows weaknesses and will use them, so be very careful with Goblins against Wizards or Summoners.
Special Ability: Tackle (All) – Tackle is the basic attack of all Goblins. The damage is standard for basic attacks, but the respectable attack power of a Goblin means the damage is at least comparable to a well equipped Knight. Combined with Counter, it is even possible that Goblins will deal higher damage than warriors that don’t have counter abilities.
Special Ability: Eye Gouge (Basic Goblin, Gobbledeguck) – Eye Gouge has a roughly 50% chance to apply Darkness to an enemy. If you can get a Goblin before you get an Oracle, this can be helpful for some fights against mainly warriors, but that is a very limited scenario.
Special Ability: Goblin Punch (Basic Goblin w/ Monster Skill, Black Goblin w/ Monster Skill, Gobbledeguck) – Goblin Punch is the most frightening ability of any Goblin. It has a chance of dealing damage equal to the difference between the Goblin’s max hit points and current hit points. The chance is reasonably low, but it means that a critically injured Goblin can one-shot some enemies even when they are at full health. It is a high risk, high reward ability that has a chance to completely devastate an enemy.
Special Ability: Turn Punch (Black Goblin) – Effectively, this attack is Tackle against all adjacent enemies. If the Goblin has a Brave that is lower than 50, you should use this exclusively instead of Tackle because it will deal more damage. The ability isn’t as great as it sounds because a surrounded Goblin is probably already a dead Goblin.
Special Ability: Mutilate (Gobbledeguck w/ Monster Skill) – Mutilate is the ultimate example of high risk for high reward. You can only use the skill when Gobbledeguck is adjacent to an enemy and an ally with Monster Skill is adjacent to Gobbledeguck. Additionally, the skill has a very high fail chance. But, when it works, it drains a massive amount of hit points from the target and heals Gobbledeguck for the same amount. The failure rate is almost identical to Goblin Punch, so you should always use this attack instead of Goblin Punch. If you have a party member that can increase the magic attack of the Goblin, it is possible to give this ability a high success rate, which actually makes the Gobbledeguck surprisingly useful.
Strategy – The main problem with Goblins is that almost all of the really good abilities rely on the magic attack rating of the Goblin, which isn’t particularly impressive. If you have a character with both the Monster Skill ability and the ability to increase the magic attack of allies, you can potentially create a powerful Gobbledeguck, but that generally takes more effort than benefit gained. Basic Goblins are pretty much useless unless you manage to acquire one very early in the game somehow. Black Goblins do have some modest benefit due to Turn Punch, but even this benefit doesn’t last long as human characters will quickly outpace your Goblins.