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After you have beaten the game storyline, watched the credits and saved, when you next restart your game you'll find yourself in the hallways of Orphan's Cradle, right before you fight the final boss. You can fight the end fight as many times as you want, and you can also use the warp to back to the beginning of Orphan's Cradle where you'll find warps to both Eden and Gran Pulse. In-game reasons for continuing to play would be to finish the Missions, complete your Crystarium, unlock other areas of the game or max out your Weapons. Outside of the game, you may also be attempting to earn achievements or trophies, some of which can only be obtained after beating the story portion of the game.

Your priorities for post-game play are to obtain the Growth Egg and get your party to the point where they can most efficiently farm Adamantoise. There are a few spots where you can effortlessly grind for CP, but none of them can compare with the drops you'll receive from Adamantoise, namely Platinum Ingots worth 150,000 Gil apiece and Trapezohedron's, the catalyst needed to upgrade all weapons to their ultimate forms. The Growth Egg, obtained from completing Mission 55, will double the CP awarded to your party, which results in 80,000 CP for each Adamantoise.

Outlined here will be explanations on the remaining optional areas and sidequests you embark upon, and strategies for getting your party to the point where they can handle what comes, as you'll be facing the hardest battles at this point.

Chocobos[edit]

You will need to complete two Cie'th Stone missions to unlock Chocobos on the map. The first is Mission 12, which removes the red barrier in the west blocking the path to the Chocobo area. The next is Mission 14, which provides the Gysahl Reins key item as a reward, letting you ride Chocobos. Chocobos are marked on your map with a feather, and you simply approach them and press Cross button to ride them. While riding a Chocobo you will be able to access otherwise unreachable places by jumping from the yellow circles found scattered around Gran the Archylte Steppe. You can also interact with item spheres, save points and Cie'th Stones while riding. You have limited options in the menu; pretty much only the map and game options will be available.

When on a Chocobo, you will see a meter on the bottom of the screen with three feathers representing the bird's morale. If you run into an enemy, you'll lose a feather, although they do regenerate over time. When all three feathers are gone, your mount will drop you and run away. You will also be dumped if you try running outside of Archylte Steppe or you run into one of the large roving Oretoises. Whenever you dismount yourself with Circle button, the Chocobo will return return to its starting position and you will have to walk to find another one.

Treasure hunting

In addition to speeding up your travel time on Archylte Steppe and getting your to inaccessible places, you are also able to dig up treasure with your mount. Throughout the area are 20 possible dig locations, and ever time you re-enter the Steppe, five are populated randomly with treasure. While riding, an exclamation mark thought balloon will pop up over your Chocobo's head, indicating it has sensed some treasure nearby. Follow the direction the Chocobo is looking and you know you're close the faster the exclamation mark shakes. Treasures are found in the brown dirt patches, and when you come to the right one you'll receive the option to dig by pressing Cross button.

The treasure you find is based on percentages, and they are never ending, meaning you can re-enter the map to reset them or reload from a save point and continue collecting items. In addition to the normal treasures, you will get special treasures based on how many normal treasures you've dug up.

Normal treasure
Treasure Rate
Millerite 12.84%
Rhodochrosite 12.84%
Cobaltite 12.65%
Chocobo Plume 10.19%
Chocobo Tail Feather 9.94%
Gold Dust 9.52%
Dawnlight Dew 8.40%
Dusklight Dew 7.55%
Gold Nugget 6.32%
Moogle Puppet 5.00%
Plush Chocobo 4.75%
Special treasure
Treasure Digs
Gold Nugget 1
Tetradic Crown 5
Tetradic Tiara 10
Entite Ring 15
Ribbon 20

Secrets[edit]

Secret Optional Cutscenes[edit]

This is an awesome reward that actually makes playing through this game multiple times fun. I found the optional scenes to be the best in the game, and they are easy to miss so here is a guide. (I especially like the Dahaka one since I have a 360, reminds me a lot of Lost Odyssey secret zone scenes)

Yaschas Massif: Cutscene 1 : Can be done anytime you reach Gran Pulse and beat Alexander. Once you arrive in Yaschas, head up the hill to your right and in the very corner you'll find this scene. It has a very touching scene between Hope and Vanille.

Yaschas Massif: Cutscene 2 : Can only be completed upon first arriving in Gran Pulse. You can NOT go back to get this scene after Chapter 11, its gone forever! Head into Yaschas and go all the way around the map to the left until you reach Paddra Archaeopolis. Walk into it heading towards left corner and this scene will play. It reveals Vanille talking about the structure there, her past, and has a touching scene between the party. Ragnarok is discussed.

Yaschas Massif: Cutscene 3 : Can only be completed BEFORE beating the boss of Taejin's Tower, afterward it will not play. Head into Yaschas and travel to the Paddra Archaeopolis. Take a few more steps forward to the right and this short scene will play. It reveals Snow worried about what lies ahead, massive foreshadowing of story to come.

Aggra's Pasture/Haeri Old Road: Cutscene 4 : As far as I know this cut scene will be gone forever if you visit here after Taejin's Tower is defeated. An interesting scene between the party foreshadows more of story to surely come.

Aggra's Trough/Pasture: Cutscene 5 : If you are doing missions you will normally trigger this short scene that introduces the Ochu, it swats all its allies out of the way and is entertaining.

Haeri Archaeopolis: Cutscene 6 : There does not seem to be another way to trigger this, so don't complete the Tower or caverns before you go here. The only way to get to Aggra's Pasture early is to complete Missions 1-4, then 7 and the final three missions 12, 13, 14 before continuing to the caves. None of these missions are tough except for 12. A scene will play where Vanille speaks about the Archaeopolis, very nice moment between party. Foreshadows coming fall of fal'Cie.

Font of Namva: Cutscene 7 : This one you can always get as long as you complete mission 12. Introduces you to the Chocobos with a funny scene between Sazh and Fang.

Cactuar Comes: Cutscene 8 : This one is easy to miss. You have to take a Chocobo up to the top of the High Plains. As soon as you do, a Cactus may show up. Once it does this funny scene between Sazh and them will play.

Haeri Archaeopolis: Cutscene 9 : Use the Chocobo to head to the Archaeopolis for your first time after Chapter 11. In this scene, Lightning is basically daring her friends to explain what happened here. The area was abandoned it looks like, but highly dangerous. Fang says a few things, this scene can be played anytime you first get to the Archaeopolis. If you already visited once it might still play, right hand side of the map/save points.

Sulyya Springs Bismarck: Cutscene 10 : If you are running through the game, this is easy to miss. You can see it anytime by approaching the water and pressing "X/A" where the arrow lights up. Bismarck will literally leap out of the water and it is enormous, larger than Leviathan from FF9.

Aggra's Sheep Pasture: Cutscene 11 : This can only be activated if you take Vanille to the sheep and begin the sheep mini game. It shows a small funny scene where Vanille makes wool out of their coats.

Zenobia Bringer of Ruin: Cutscene 12 : This scene is funny to watch at least once. Upon getting to the Archaeopolis, attempt Mission 34 to watch this scene play early in the game. Tonberry will make quick work of the Ci'eth and it will show its death.(Suggest running away if level is low)

Missions: Various Missions 1 through 4, 7, 12, 13 and 14 all have very brief cut-scenes that are easy to miss. Mission 7 has the best cut-scene as after it is over, you see the boss turn into a huge glowing ball possibly foreshadowing. Mission 12's scene involves a major boss fight. Mission 30 has a long cut-scene involving a boss, which you must defeat to reach Haeri Archaeopolis before leaving the chapter.(Use SAB/SAB/SAB on him) Other scenes may play in Gran Pulse if you get started early enough. So remember to explore as much as you can in order to trigger them before leaving to Taejin's Tower. After you leave, any chance for viewing a lot of the scenes is gone forever.

Ultimate Limit Breaker Moves[edit]

In Final Fantasy XIII there is also at least one super special limit breaker attack for each character. To do these all the time, you will need the Instant Chain ability. You can acquire Instant Chain by equipping both a Hunter's Sash and Lionheart, or using a Hunt Catalog and Unsinkable Sun armor. Lightning's Special Limit Attack Army of One can do up to 999,999 damage with Genji glove for example, so these are without doubt the strongest special moves in the game.

Note: To use the Ultimate Attack, you need to manually select it in the ability menu once chain gauge is full. With Instant Chain you will be able to easily enter these commands. It's in the same area you normally find the Summons attacks in Gestalt Mode.

Character Name Effect Paradigm
Lightning Army of One Non-Elemental combo/Physical Attack Ravager
Sazh Cold Blood Conditionally affects Chain efficiency Ravager
Snow Sovereign Fist Ultimate Attack resets foe's break and Chain Commando
Vanille Death Causes instant death. Should it fail, foe takes large magical damage Saboteur
Hope Last Resort Large area Non-Elemental Magical multi-attack effects chain efficiency Ravager
Fang Highwind Ultimate attack resets opponent's Break and Chain Commando

Oerba Village Portrait of Memories[edit]

In Oerba village on one of the main floors of Vanille's house, you can see Fang and Vanille sharing some time together. This is more of an easter egg.

Lightning of Frustration[edit]

If you toggle your analog stick back and forth really fast, you will see Lightning get upset and stamp her feet making a sound. This also works if someone else is leading the party.

Collecting Shrouds[edit]

One of the biggest objectives post-game, should be collecting the shrouds which are found across Gran Pulse. These incredible items offer you amazing bonuses in battle, such as highly increased defense and speed (Fortisol) total first-strike invisibility (Deceptisol) or auto-shell and protect before the battle begins (Aegisol).

Collecting shrouds however is not easy, and you must have already acquired the Survivalist Catalog. Equip this Catalog to all three of your characters, or at least your party leader. Make your party consist of Ravager, Sentinel, Saboteur. Then start the hunt.

Tough Fight 1

The moderately challenging way to acquire some high grade Fortisol, is encounter a group of two Behemoth Kings on the Steppe. You will usually find these in the High Plains area. (Note that Humbabas will also drop shrouds, however, they are much tougher. Only go after them if you're ready.) Start the battle and use Lightning, Sazh and Snow. Sazh should do his Blitz attack and Lightning should immediately summon while Snow debuffs the Behemoths. Watch out for his claw attack, and use Sazh to kill it quickly. Upgrade your gun for Sazh if you have not, as he really needs to have the multi shot attack. Each group of Behemoths will drop Fortisol, and sometimes they will drop a couple of Aegisols. The group that wanders the Highplains is best for this technique. You should sell any components you don't need after battle, and upgrade the weapons.

Tough Fight 2

The other way to collect some real shrouds, is to go after the Adamanchelid that roams the mountains. This particular group is usually found right at the base of Eastern Tors. Avoid the Adamantoise that is in this area and run directly for the Adamanchelid to begin the battle. First, have Snow turn into Sentinel role and defend like crazy. This should keep damage to minimum. Now have Sazh Blitz it, and Lightning immediately summon Odin. Use the previous Fortisol you just acquired. Knock the Adamanchild down and if he does a bad attack, switch Sazh to medic right away and then shift right into Saboteur. Debuff it and then use Sazh's summon to call up Driving Mode. Knock it down and then finish it off with Lightning's Axis Blade or the upgraded Ultima Weapon if possible. Once it is dead, you will get incredibly valuable Gold Dust and the Deceptisol. Repeat this method for the other two Adamanchelids, sell all the Gold Dust and extra components to immediately upgrade Sazh and Snow to Tier 3. Then return to the Steppe, as you can get a whole lot of Deceptisols by killing these enemies while Survivalist Catalog is equipped.

Secret Signs[edit]

FF13Alphabet.jpg

If you have some time to burn and aren't in a hurry, there is an actual alphabet to Gran Pulse you can learn that allows you to read the signs. Some of them are quite interesting such as the signs that read "CARGO" and "SCHOOL" in Oerba village. These are pointing you towards the school in Oerba. Also on the front of Lightning's weapon you see the words "LIGHTNING". Other buildings show you the names of shops, or landmarks.

Try using the Ci'eth alphabet below to discover words for yourself.

 0           1             2          3            4
    *****       ***        ******       ***         **    **      
  ***  ***        **            **        **        **    **
  **    **        **            **        **        **    **
  **    **        **                                **    **
  **    **        **        *****           **      **    ** 
  **    **        **       ***              **       *******
  **    **        **       **               **            **  
  **    **        **       **               **            **
  **    **        **       **               **            **
  ***  ***        **       **               **            ** 
   ******         **        ******     ******             **    


 5           6            7           8            9
  *******     **              ****      ******       ******   
  **          **                **     **    **     **    **
  **          **                **     **    **     **    **
  *                             **     **    **     **    **
  ******      *******          **            **      ******
       **     **    **        **       ********           
       **     **    **       **        **    **           **
       **     **    **      **         **    **           **
       **     **    **      **         **    **           **
       **     **    **      **         **    **           **
  ******       ******       **           *****            **


A               B             C               D             E
                                    
  *******              **                     **    ***    ***** 
 **     **           **       ****              ** *           **
**       **          **      **  *              ****            * 
**  *****  **    **   ****    *                   **             **
 **     **     ** *  **      ***********        ** *            ***** 
 *       **       *  **               **      **    **              **
 **               *  **                *     **       *              * 
  ********        *  **                *     *        **             *
         **       *  **               **     *         *             *
 **      **       *  **              *       *        **            **
  ********         **             ***         *********    **********

F                G             H              I                 
     *  ***          *              **    *     **  **  ** 
     ****        *********          **    *              
   ****         **   *    *        **    *                
  ** *          *    *    *     *  **    *          *    
***   *          *         *     *********           *       
 ******        **** **** ***    *  **               *  
    ******      *         *     *  **              ***    
     *  ***     *         *     *  **             *****
     *  ***     *    *    *     *  **            **   ** 
    ****        **   *    *     *  **           **     **  
 *****           *********       *             **       *** 
***   *               *                           

                  
K              L             M              N              O
                     *                                           
    **  ****         **        **              *******        ******* 
   ***               **       ** **                  **      **     **
  * **              **        *  **                   *      **      ** 
 *  **              *         *  **                   *      **      ** 
**  ******         *  ***      * **   ****          **       **      **
    **           **  **  *      ****  **        ** **        **      ** 
    **           *  **   *       *******         ***          ********
    **           *  *    *       **   ****&       *                 
    **            **     *       **   **        ** *        *         *
    **                ***        **   **       **  **       **       **
    **          *******           *****                      *********
                   
                   
P               Q              R              S             T  
                                   *             *         
 ***********      *********        **  *         **  *      *********
      *    **    **   *   **      **  ****      **  **              **
      *     *    **   *   **     **  ** **     **  **         *      **
     *      *    **   *   **    **  **   **   **  **  ***     *      ** 
    **     **    **   *   **   **  **     *      **  ** **    *      **
    **     *     **   *   **      **     *      *****    *    *     **
   **     **      *********      **     **      **       *  *********  
   *      *           *          *     *                **    * 
  **     **      *    *    *          **               **     * 
***    ***        *********         ***              ***      * 


U V W Y

  ********                                       **     *******
 **      **      *********     **        **       **   **  
 *        *     **       **    **   **   **        ** ** ** 
**        **    **       **    **   **   **         **    **
                 *********     **   **   **        ** ** 
***        **      *****         ******   **       **   **      
 *        *      **   **             ******      **     ** 
 *        *       *****                         **       ****** 
 **      **                                       
  ********                               


Z
****
 **
****
  *    **
****    **
 **     **
  **   **
   *****

Perfect Defense[edit]

When working with a Ravager/Sentinel based party, it is possible to get Snow into a perfect defense mode. Equip him with the Winged Saint, or conversely upgrade it and use the Save The Queen. Your three characters need to have reached Role 5 for Sentinel usually. Now switch paradigms to Tortoise (SEN SEN SEN) and have Snow use Mediguard or Steelguard. Any attack that hits him will do 1% damage or less, which is perfect for fighting Juggernaut or Long Gui.

Secret areas[edit]

Mah'Habara[edit]

To gain access to Mah'Habara optional areas, just ride Atomos like you were heading to Sulyya Springs and then jump on his back again. It should take you to a whole new section of Mah'Habara caves. Run around and interact with the environment to obtain treasure.

Also wandering this area is an optional boss, so if you decided to do some Hunts or in the late game, look for him to be wandering on a platform. Juggernaut is pretty tough, so make sure to use Synergist Role and Debuff him as many times as possible. Then be sure to switch to Ravager and get him into stagger early. If you have Axis Blade equip that, it will counter his defense. It will be a long fight because he has a ton of HP during any encounter. Your reward is any items he was guarding.

Vallis Media: Yaschas Massif/Paddra Archaeopolis[edit]

Not completely accessible in Chapter 11. Come back here after Chapter 12 when your Crystarium is much higher. To get there, run south from Vallis Media or get on a Chocobo if you can to make this easier. Then travel into the area past where you killed Alexander.

This area is quite large so consult a map for assistance. If you have changed the weather outside, the enemies here will not be easy, so do not attempt to encounter the enemies. Grab any of the treasure chests that you can find here, and watch the cut scenes before you leave. Many of them have a high Gil value and also help tremendously with forging tier 3 weapons.

Font of Namva Chocobo Chick Game[edit]

This secret area is opened if you complete Mission 14, which also gives you access to the Chocobos that you can ride all over the Steppe. Once inside the Font of Namva, examine the strange looking Chocobo Chick that runs around near the water's edge. If you changed the weather this game can be quite challenging. Watch for these birds, and grab him/her when it comes into view. After Lightning examines it you'll get a Chocobo Plume. Exit the area and change the weather using the Ci'eth circle's stones again, return to chase the Chocobo Chicks. You will then receive another Plume and can keep repeating this until you have a huge assortment. Combine the Chocobo Tail Feathers/Plumes with other items like the Reactor Core, and you can increase the agility/power of your weapons by a huge amount. Farming these doesn't take that long if you stay right near the Font. Do this before tackling other missions or attempting to kill Juggernaut/Adamantortoise.

Haerri Archaeopolis[edit]

You can only reach this secret area by riding a Chocobo, and you also have to complete a Ci'eth stone mission to take down the barrier. It's not a very tough mission though, so make sure to open this area up in the late game. Once there, avoid the Missions and just ride as far as you can without hitting anything. You should be able to acquire nearly every treasure chest in this area and have enough components to forge really good weapons. Make use of this before going any further.

Faultwarrens: Titan's Trials[edit]

This secret area lies behind Haerri Archaeopolis and you must reach it by Chocobo. If you are up for a challenge, or just want to gain some respectable CP, go back through Faultwarrens and complete all the missions in one pass. Kill each of the monsters except for the final one, then exit the area and re-do Faultwarrens as you can gain some very nice CP and Gil here. Upgrade your Crystarium before you ever kill the last boss in Faultwarrens.

Sulyya Springs Secret Area[edit]

If you return to Sulyya springs after finishing Chapter 12, you can activate a series of secret areas by coming close to the water's edge. The fal'Cie will raise the platforms and open your pathway. Beware though, as it will also raise a number of enemies that will attack upon sight. Either ride the Chocobo to safely get these treasures, or attack the enemies using Saboteur to debuff their defenses. Then use a chain-combo attack with Lightning, and summon Odin to defeat them. Afterwards, it's safe to explore all the islands here and grab each and every treasure. Make sure to explore the area thoroughly and change the weather before coming here.

Taejin's Tower: 7th Level[edit]

If you come back here after Chapter 12, it's fairly easy to access the 7th level. Just complete the missions on the previous floors, and a route to access the 7th secret level in the tower will come up. You can then connect all the floors together, and fight the Mark monster Boss on the ground floor. Grab the high level item you find on top and immediately upgrade it. You want to get at least one tier 3 weapon to kill these bosses. Note: The area might be raining if the weather was changed.

Repairing Bhakti Sidequest[edit]

In Oerba village if you run straight for Vanille's house and kill the Vampire you will find Bhakti. By going into the five locations of Oerba village and grabbing his battery pack/power source/item supply you can then repair Bhakti and talk to it for some rewards.

  1. Kill the mob and pick up POWER CABLE on cart near base of tower in the courtyard.
  2. Inside the Desolate Mill on the left side of courtyard, enter at top and kill Vetala fiend upon entry to gain BATTERY PACK for Bhakti.
  3. Go down the ramp at the side of this Courtyard, kill Vampire lurking here to gain TROCHOID GEAR for Bhakti.
  4. Continue along waterfront to reach Deserted Schoolhouse, then kill Vetala to acquire ASPHERIC LENS from classroom.
  5. Continue from waterfront to the stairs, and go around the top to enter Derelict Depot where you find METAL PLATE waiting at the right of the exit.

Bhakti will always give you a grand prize for the explorer rank you reached. If you walked a huge amount, you get a Gold Nugget and some Deceptisols. If you walked 10,000 steps, you'll get 3 Platinum Ingots followed by Gold Nugget, Perfume Vials and Deceptisol. He will also say you are a Pulsian Pioneer. After you have repaired him, he will tell you hints for the game such as where to find Faultwarrens and the secrets of Sulyya Springs. But if you listen to him carefully, he will also say you can find Sheep on the Steppe. This is part of a mini game.

NOTE: If you return here later, you can still get the prizes. Many of these items sell for over 50,000 gil, so you should do Bhakti's quest in Chapter 12. If you acquire one of every item in the game and then talk to Bhakti, he will give you a Trophy Hunter achievement/trophy automatically. This is one of the best trophies you can get.

Secret Sheep Shearing Mini Game[edit]

There are eight total locations for finding the sheep included them below. Sheep will rarely appear in different places unless the weather is either raining or extremely cloudy. If you harvest sheep a lot, the wool makes extremely good weapon boost enhancers.

Go back to the Steppe and get on a Chocobo. Ride as far as you can into the Haeri Archaeopolis/Old Road area. Right here you should see wandering around, a large fully grown sheep. If you touch the sheep, it will show you grabbing some wool. Now run outside, and touch the Ci'eth stones in the circle. Changing the Weather will change the type of sheep that appear on the Steppe. Note: Changing the weather sporadically may also affect your enemy encounter difficulty, so be careful with this.

There are eight different areas including the place you started.

  • Aggra's Pasture near the hills
  • Middle of island hill directly west of pond with 3 sheep gathering at base of structure
  • On small islands in southeastern pond
  • Top of hill beside Vallis Media entrance, located southwest of the pond that resides directly in front of Aggra's Trough
  • Near Aggra's Trough entrance on the right side ledge
  • Grazing directly next to the large lake in northwest high plains area, found on left hand side during extra stormy weather (Very rare)
  • At the slope facing downwards from the lake in the high plains, north region during foggy weather
  • Inside far north building of Haerii Archaeopolis right before Faultwarrens appears anytime the sky begins to become covered in haze

Large sheep will always randomly appear at any place in Gran Pulse that has small sheep lounging nearby. There are only eight known areas and the appearance always follows some change in weather, so move around often. Scraggly Wool, Rough Wool, Thick Wool and Fluffy Wool are the four types of components you can gain from the sheep at any time. You have to touch the largest sheep, to always get the exact wool. Note that if the sheep are not appearing, they may be somewhere else on the Steppe (such as by the north lake) so approach every area and use the Ci'eth stones to teleport there. After the sheep return to their original location, you can get even more wool.

The wool is excellent for experience boost, so if you combine all the wool scraggly/fluffy/other you can upgrade into a tier 3 weapon that increases your experience with an at least 200% bonus. Then when you go back to tackle the super tough enemies and use those weapons/items in your fight, you will gain a 200%+ bonus in experience. This makes gaining a lot of experience fast, much easier. Now test it out by going to Aggra's Pasture and fight the Neochu/Neochu mission using your enhancements. You should see that your EXP is going through the roof. Use the Growth Egg to make your stats go even higher, and start selling all the Platinum Ingots/Gold Nuggets you have in order to pay for weapon upgrades.

Difficult Super Bosses: Tyrant and Cactuar Prime[edit]

In Final Fantasy XIII, there is some quite challenging bosses usually always wandering the world.

The first of these is Tyrant, you can usually find him wandering around the dark area of Mah'Habara cavern. Be sure to have your Saboteur trained into their tier 3 weapon, and have Hermes Sandals. Then equip Genji Glove and immediately summon. Your first summon should be Shiva followed by Bahamut. Attack him with everything you have, and use Ravager/Sentinel/Commando roles. One word of warning is he is pretty fast, so make sure to bring some Fortisol. Note that Tyrant can summon his Centaurion Blade, which has up to 70% magic resistance and he uses this to inflict devastating damage. Destroy his Centaurion Blade early using Saboteur to stagger it, then he won't be able to use his very strong attack. No CP is gained from destroying the sword. Killing this warrior repeatedly takes a bit of training, but the experience is worth it and so are the items.

The other one is Cactuar Prime, which actually roams all over the Steppe. To initiate the secret Cactuar Prime battle, go up into the Highplains and run straight into a normal Cactuar. Now just defend, defend, defend and raise your bravery with Fang. Cactuar will grow into a Giant Cactuar. So increase your Bravery and defend. Giant Cactuar will now transform into Cactuar Prime, and he will be even faster using the 1,000 needle attack. This very large boss enemy is dangerous to anyone who's not maxed out a role, so make sure your crystarium is expanded first. Use some Fortisol and attack with your Saboteur before summoning Bahamut. Best party to defeat Cactuar Prime is Lightning, Fang and Snow. Make sure Snow is a Sentinel and have them in Ravager/Commando/Sentinel mode. Summon both Shiva and Bahamut and make sure you have the Growth Egg equipped (gained after winning Mission 55) as he will drop a huge amount of CP and experience. Once you kill him you can kill him again, and max out your tier 3 weapons. Running back and forth the monsters near the Highplains is a great way to rack up extra CP, especially for those planning on killing Long Guis.

Farming[edit]

Farming is the act of constantly fighting an enemy or route full of enemies over and over hoping to gain certain elements, such as CP, high Gil components and catalysts. You will have already obtained all the weapons and most accessories by playing through the story, and you can acquire certain rare accessories through Missions, so these are the three things you'll want to farm in order to level up your characters and equipment. Although there are places where you can find some good farming during the story, you are in inhibited by the capped Crystarium and you don't need to upgrade anything until post-game anyway.

Equipment you will want to maximize your spoils are:

  • Growth Egg: Doubles CP
  • Connoisseur Catalog: Increases rate of rare drops
  • Collector Catalog: Increases rate of normal drops
  • Survivalist Catalog: Increases rate of shroud drops

When you defeat enemies, the game checks your rare drop roll first, followed by the normal drop roll if you don't get a rare drop. Shroud drops are checked independently. In most cases you will want the rare drop more than the normal drop, so you can equip all three catalogs. In the rare instances when you don't want the rare drop, unequip the Connoisseur Catalog.

Mah'habara

Mah'habara is the location of the mines where you rode Atomos on your way to Oerba in Chapter 11. In Mah'habara there are a few places where you can fight multiple Cryohedrons, which at this point can be killed very quickly. The best spot is where you can bounce back and forth between a group of Cryohedrons and Rust Puddings, both of which will have respawned by the time you get back to them. The Rust Puddings (group of two) will drop around 6,000 CP and the Cryohedrons (group of five) will drop around 12,000 CP, assuming you have the Growth Egg. This is a really boring, but is a very easy, low risk way to earn CP and Bomb Cores (Cryohedron rare drop) have a pretty good sell price at 600 Gil.

Northern Highlands

Just outside the entrance to the mines, you'll find a Behemoth King roving around above a path leading down to another Behemoth King locked in combat with a Megistotherian. When you first come to Gran Pulse, the lone Behemoth King is a great way to grind for CP, as its 4,000 CP prize is unmatched for the rest of the game when you consider how quickly they can be taken down with a pre-emptive strike. Start out by farming this lone Behemoth King by getting a pre-emptive and laying into it with a couple Commandos. A paradigm like Aggression (COM COM RAV) will allow your Ravager to complete the stagger while your Commandos launch the beast and kill it.

Once you have a character with over 2,000 strength (usually Fang), and two others with over 1,200 (usually Lightning and Snow), you can start taking out the two large creatures down the path. You'll want to put your strong character on the far right of your battle team with the Morale Talisman equipped for Auto-Bravery. Due to the AI mechanics, your party leader and the middle battle team member will fight the Behemoth King, while the far left character takes out the Megistotherian. When you enter the battle (automatic pre-emptive, since they're battling each other), you'll put their stagger percentage up so high and they start with half health, that it will only take one round to take them out. You only need the Cerberus (COM COM COM) paradigm, and the battle should only take six seconds. Afterward, run back up the hill past the save point to the Chocobo and then back down to reset them. This will net you around 13,000 CP for very little work.

Paddra's Pasture

This area is only accessible by Chocobo and can be reached by jumping up the cliff behind all the Navidons by the ring of seven C'ieth stones on the eastern side of the map. When you get to the open area with the save point, you can start fighting the Ochu and his Mirochu minions. With the Growth Egg, this group will drop over 25,000 CP and some great components for both trading for Gil and for boosting the experience multiplier when upgrading. The downside to this area is it will take a more complicated strategy. Unlike the Japanese version of the game, you can't get a pre-emptive strike on these enemies, so you'll have to have the right equipment and paradigm deck.

The basic strategy is to buff your high strength character (usually Fang) and let her take out the Ochu and then finish off the little guys. Once you have a lot more HP (over 15,000 on each character), you won't have to worry about healing anymore and can just go in and finish them off quickly. You'll want to use the Moral Talisman on Fang for Auto-Bravery, and Aurora Scarfs on everyone for Auto-Haste so your Synergist doesn't have to spend time on it. Tetradic Tiaras for everyone and strength plus accessories for Fang will also help. To start, have Fang attacking while two Synergists quickly buff your party (Sazh and Hope, since they are Synergist primaries). Once Fang has Enfire and Vigilance, switch to a more offensive paradigm, optionally leaving one character as a Medic if you don't have high HP. Make good use of ATB switching between identical paradigms to speed up the ATB refill.

Here is what your paradigm deck might look like:

  • All For One (COM SYN SYN)
  • Relentless Assault (COM RAV RAV)
  • Relentless Assault (COM RAV RAV)
  • Diversity (COM RAV MED) (optional)

As an alternative method, you can try starting with Bully (COM SYN SAB) to debuff the enemy (with perhaps Fang, Sazh, Vanille) instead of using two Synergists.

Adamantoise[edit]

Special
You can use Vanille's Death ability to kill Adamantoise (and other hard enemies), but it has a very low success rate and should be eschewed in favor of a real strategy whenever possible.

Adamantoise are the large dinosaur/turtle creatures slowly roaming around Archylte Steppe and outside the tower Orphan is in, in Eden. These creatures have a lot of HP, but also give up some of the best rewards in the game. Your strategy for defeating the Adamantoise will differ based on your party's strength. In general, there are three methods you can use based on whether you have a weak or advanced party. The latter two will require you add some abilities in characters' secondary roles, so it's recommended that you unlock those abilities first in the Crystarium before maxing their primary roles, even though you'll miss out on all the stage ten HP crystals. With the Growth Egg, you'll get 80,000 CP for each Adamantoise, and they also drop Platinum Ingots as normal drops worth 150,000 Gil and Trapezohedron catalysts as rare drops needed for upgrading weapons to their ultimate forms.

Eden will provide the quickest turnaround for Adamantoise by running up the steps to the door inside the building, then going back outside to respawn the enemy. If you're using a method that doesn't require TP, kill off the other enemies in the area when you get started so you have an unimpeded path back and forth. The disadvantage of this area is it takes a while to get back to the warps in Orphan's Cradle and it's boring. The other place to farm Adamantoise is on the Archylte Steppe. There are many routes you can put together, with or without fighting Adamanchelids (the weaker version that drops Gold Dust and Scareletite) or doing Mission 63, which is an Adamantortoise that resets the entire Steppe. The benefit of creating a route on the Steppe is that it is more interesting and you're where you need to be when you want to do something else.

Weak party - Sazh method

With the right equipment, you can start using this method in Chapter 12. This method relies on Sazh's powerful Blitz attack, which hits six times in a wide spray. As large as the Adamantoise is, all six shots will hit him, allowing you to do devastating damage in a short period of time. For equipment, you will need to upgrade the Pleiades Hi-Powers to Hyades Magnums and max them out. This will give Sazh an incredible 1,140 boost to strength, hopefully putting him in the 2,000 strength range with other strength accessories if needed. Other than Sazh, you will need a Saboteur on your team and the ability to quickly stagger. Early on, Fang doesn't have Ravager abilities, so Vanille is a better choice (with Belladonna/Malboro Wand). Lightning is a good choice for the other member.

  • Guerilla (SYN RAV SAB)
  • Tri-Disaster (RAV RAV RAV)
  • Aggression (COM COM RAV)
  • Aggression (COM COM RAV)

Starting out in Guerilla, summon your Eidolon right away to take out the Adamantoise's legs. Cast Haste, Bravery and Faith on yourself, then switch to Tri-Disaster and attack until your Eidolon leaves (don't go into Gestalt mode). When you get up to around 200% on the stagger bar, you can start using Cold Blood if you have it, although trying before then may allow the stagger bar to deplete before you recover. Once your party is back, switch back to Guerilla and buff the rest of your party with Haste/Bravery or Haste/Faith, then back to Tri-Disaster to finish staggering the Adamantoise. When he's staggered, if you're using Aggression you can switch right then and your remaining Ravager will continue building up the stagger percentage. If you're using a Commando instead with Cerberus (COM COM COM), you'll want to use Sazh's Cold Blood ability to quickly build the stagger bar up to 999%. Either way, once you've switched to your offensive paradigm, queue up two Blitz attacks for Sazh over and over, switching to the same paradigm for ATB refresh ever two attacks.

The disadvantage of this method is that it costs three TP to summon your Eidolon, which will have to be recouped before you can fight another Adamantoise. Energy Sashes will help with their Kill: TP Charge property, but you'll still need to fight some normal enemies in between until you've recovered enough for another summon. Post-game, use the CP you acquire to obtain the ability crystals you need in the other characters' secondary roles so you can use a better tactic.

Advanced party - Fang method

In this method you will be using brute force to first quickly take out the Adamantoise's legs, then build the stagger bar up and finally punish the creature with uncapped damage from Fang. Because you'll be open to attack while taking out the legs, Gaian Rings or General's/Champion's Belts will help your party endure. It's also suggested you go do Mission 63 for the Genji Glove, so Fang can do more than 99,999 damage. Essentially you will start out by buffing your party then healing from the damage you take while doing this. Next you'll quickly stagger a leg and build up the stagger percentage to around 450% so you can take it down with Fang's Highwind ability, then heal and do the same to the other leg. Lastly you'll debuff the Adamantoise and let Fang do her thing.

  • Rapid Growth (SYN SYN SYN)
  • Salvation (MED MED MED)
  • Tri-Disaster (RAV RAV RAV)
  • Relentless Assault (COM RAV RAV)
  • Infiltration (SAB SAB SAB)
  • Aggression (COM COM RAV) or Cerberus (COM COM COM)

As you can see, you'll need to teach Fang both Synergist and Medic abilities, and you'll need two other characters that can handle Synergist, Medic, Ravager and Saboteur roles. This method relies on quickly staggering and taking out the legs, so use an Eidolon cancel (call the Eidolon, immediately enter Gestalt mode then send it away with Triangle button), when you have the TP. For weapons, you'll want Fang to have a maxed tier two weapon (tier three is even better) with good strength, either the Glaive or the Venus Gospel.

Advanced party - Daze method

With a slightly stronger party and more time in the Crystarium, you can start using Snow to cast Daze and boost Fang's attacks up to the 300,000 damage range. This method is based on the fact that damage output doubles when you are attacking while the enemy is being hit with Daze. You'll start out normally, although at this point you should be able to take out the legs without stopping to heal, or just healing while Fang takes out the leg. You'll also be able to use Highwind right when the leg is first staggered instead of building up to 450%. Genji Gloves for Fang and the other member (perhaps Lightning so you can use your three strongest characters) will allow you hit for huge damage while Snow spams Daze. When you've taken out the legs, quickly stagger the enemy and use the Devastation (COM COM SAB) paradigm to take kill it. Once Snow has put all ailments on the Adamantoise, he will continue casting Daze over and over again, allowing you to rack up huge damage for the remainder of the fight.

  • Tri-Disaster (RAV RAV RAV)
  • Discretion (COM MED MED)
  • Espionage (SYN SAB SAB)
  • Devastation (COM COM SAB)
  • Devastation (COM COM SAB)

When the Adamantoise first falls, just put the needed buffs on your party: Haste, Bravera and Enfire for Fang, Haste and Faithra for Snow and Haste and Bravera/Faithra for the other member.

Guis[edit]

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