There's a lot of materia in Final Fantasy VII Remake so here are the most worthwhile ones to seek out and level up.
Before getting to the top 10, there are a couple of noteworthy materia to acquire that didn't quite make the list:
Some weapons and armor contain linked materia slots which allows you to place one support materia alongside a compatible materia in order to enhance it in useful ways. When paired with fire, ice, lightning, wind, poison, enemy skill, deadly dodge, or parry, the HP Absorption materia makes you absorb HP when attacking with the linked materia. There are better support materia out there but you don't get very many thus making HP Absorption still useful. By the way, you can buy it from Chadley's Secret Research.
- Absorb 20% of damage dealt
- Absorb 30% of damage dealt
- Absorb 40% of damage dealt
Barrier materia can be bought from materia shops and it lets the wearer cast various buff spells. Needless to say, the ability to take only half damage will make your party survive for much longer.
- Barrier: reduces a character's physical damage by half (lasts 60 seconds)
- Manaward: halves magic damage taken (lasts 60 seconds)
- Manawall: a combination of both Barrier and Manaward
Time materia lets you use time-altering spells. One can be found in chapter 14 during the Missing Children side-quest and another is found in The Drum during chapter 17. Barrier is similarly useful and you get it earlier but it's not as good because it lasts 60 seconds instead of 100. I recommend stealing an Enchanted Ring from the Type-0 Behemoth to increase Haste's duration.
- Haste: increases a character's ATB charge rate (lasts 100 seconds)
- Slow: decreases an enemy's ATB charge rate
- Stop: halts an enemy's actions
Pray allows you to restore HP to your whole party and it restores much more health than in previous Final Fantasy games. It may be an MP-free way to heal but the trade-off is that it costs 2 ATB bars. It can reach up to level 5 and each level enhances the healing. It is Aerith's starting materia and you can find a second one in Corneo's stash just north of Sector 5 Slums.
- Slight HP restoration
- Modest HP restoration
- Moderate HP restoration
- Great HP restoration
- Significant HP restoration
HP Up increases your maximum HP. It's underwhelming at level 1 but gets much better and is a great way to prepare for powerful attacks on Hard difficulty that you'd otherwise not be able to survive. It's bought from materia shops and found in chapters 2, 11, and 16.
- HP +10%
- HP +20%
- HP +30%
- HP +40%
- HP +50%
Magic spells are very powerful and your Magic stat both increases damage with attack spells and boosts healing spells. You can find it in chapter 7 in a room of discarded Airbuster parts and in chapter 14 by playing the pull-ups mini-game in the Wall Market gym.
- Magic +5%
- Magic +10%
- Magic +15%
- Magic +20%
- Magic +25%
First Strike materia gives you ATB at the start of each fight. The amount of ATB is about half a bar at level 1, 1 bar at level 2, and almost 2 bars at level 3 so it's quite powerful against weaker monsters as it lets you set up Haste right away. However, it's less powerful against bosses. Chadley will create it after you use abilities on staggered enemies 10 times.
- Small ATB boost
- Medium ATB boost
- Large ATB boost
Steadfast Block is very useful as it further reduces your damage while blocking and gives you valuable ATB. Buy it from Chadley's Secret Research after you assess 10 unique enemies.
- Slightly less damage + small ATB boost when guarding
- Take less damage + medium ATB boost when guarding
- Take even less damage + large ATB boost when guarding
Magnify is a support materia that makes the linked materia hit more targets. When paired with healing materia, your healing spells (including Regen) will target the whole party. When paired with offensive spell materia, those spells will damage multiple enemies. Finally, when paired with Barrier or Time, those spells will target all allies which can be very helpful. I used it with my Time materia which is great because it's like casting Hastega in Final Fantasy X. However, the spell also suffers a penalty depending on the materia's level. Anyway, you can find it in chapter 9 in the hidden passageway during the second mechanical arm puzzle.
- Effect reduced by 60% when expanded
- Effect reduced by 45% when expanded
- Effect reduced by 25% when expanded
Elemental is also a support materia and can be paired with fire, ice, lightning, or wind. When placed on a weapon, it adds elemental damage to it. When placed on armor, it reduces or absorbs the damage taken. One can be found in chapter 6 after taking a detour down a ladder (Barrett will say, "We taking a detour? Alright then"). You can get a second one in chapter 14 near the Sector 7 wall but only after completing all other side-quests in the game.
When attached to a weapon:
- Adds 8% elemental damage
- Adds 15% elemental damage
- Adds 23% elemental damage
When attached to armor:
- Halves damage from linked element
- Prevents damage from linked element
- Absorbs damage from the linked element and heals you
XP Up / Gil Up
Both of these incredibly useful farming materia are found in the same location: The Shinra Battle Simulator in chapter 16. Equip them and earn double gil as well as double XP for the corresponding character.
Pedometer / AP Up
The Pedometer materia is right outside Aerith's house at the start of chapter 13. Take 5000 steps with it equipped and it turns into the AP Up materia which can be paired with any materia to increase the AP it earns, making it gain levels much more quickly.