Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII – Farming Tips & the Rare Merchant

Farming tips including the Special Schemata, Head Accessories, Bosses, EP, and Gil as well as tips for the Rare Merchant

Special Farming Schemata

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  • Weak Ravager: This is useful to farm abilities such as Beat Down from Desdemona and other weak enemies who will only yield their best items when staggered, but are liable to suffer defeat before you can stagger normally. To deliberately stifle your damage output before staggering, equip a spear to increase your Stagger Power and the Ghostly Hood, Preta Hood, or Sparrow Comb to reduce your stats.
  • Beggar: Create a basic sub-schema for the sole purpose of equipping the Beggar’s Beads. Swap this in and out as desired while spawning any specific enemy you’re hunting. This minimizes loss of gil when fighting other enemies and doesn’t waste your good inventory on a part-time Schema. Of course, you’ll essentially have to be able to complete fights efficiently with only two optimized Schemata if you opt for this approach.

Farming Head Accessories

  • Once you completed the game on Normal but prior to a full Hard Mode playthrough, you can optionally start a New Game+ and make a whistle-stop tour of all four regions to acquire key head accessories found in treasure spheres to obtain automatic upgrades. After doing this, you can start your “true” playthrough via the Crystal of Atonement on the Ark, knowing that you only need obtain the corresponding head accessories once more to receive their maximum third-tier incarnations.
  • The amount of effort you put into this optional preparation is purely at your discretion. Obtaining a second Locket Necklace from Yusnaan, in order to then pick up a third and unlock the mighty Locket Pendant a little later? That’s clearly a worthwhile investment of your time. Taking the time to open every last relevant treasure sphere, including those in the depths of the Temple Ruins in the Dead Dunes? Less so.

Farming Bosses

On Hard Mode, main quest bosses drop top-tier Components in high quantities. By rushing straight to them and restarting new playthroughs via the Crystal of Atonement, you can actually defeat some of them repeatedly in very little time.

  • Noel: You can reach Noel very quickly. Complete chapters 1-1 and 1-2 on the evening of Day 1, then sleep at the North Station inn until 00:00 on Day 2. Sprint to the phone booth without bothering with the codes, enter any four digits, then fight the Dreadnought that appears to open the gate. You can then run to the Graveyard monument, and finally to Noel in the Warren in mere minutes. Defeating him rewards you with the rare Tornado spell, 30 guaranteed Holy Forgefire items, and one to three guaranteed Crystal Malistones if you equip the Beggar’s Beads.
  • Caius: Assuming you have extra chocobo healing items from a previous playthrough (which should be the case if you follow the Complete Official Guide’s recommendations), saving and healing the chocobo takes only a few minutes. You can then head straight to the Temple of the Goddess and defeat Caius to obtain the rare Flare spell, 30 guaranteed Demonic Forgefire items, and one to three guaranteed Crystal Malistones if you equip the Beggar’s Beads.

Farming EP

  • The easiest way to farm EP, most commonly to freeze time continuously with Chronostasis or recharge a Teleport, is to pick fights against large-scale enemies or, less commonly, enemies in Chaos Infusions.
  • While some large-scale enemies are less difficult than others, you should familiarize yourself with efficient strategies (and accompanying Schemata setups) to defeat any species with relative ease, so as not to shy away from them when it would benefit you greatly to restock your EP. This is particularly useful when you must use Chronostasis continually in the middle of a time-sensitive task.
  • On the other hand, EP is plentiful if all you are doing is fighting large-scale enemies on the connecting highways between continents or progressing through the Ultimate Lair, in which many of the Last Ones surrender large quantities of EP when defeated. Under these circumstances, feel free to spend EP to expedite your fights. In the Ultimate Lair, Overclocking efficiently can actually help you to save many precious minutes, as time does not stop for battles.
  • Once you activate the “Death Game” side quest, it presents a natural opportunity to refill your EP whenever you like while in Yusnaan. This makes it very convenient to freeze time and complete all outstanding tasks during a visit.

Farming Gil

  • Death Game: The “Death Game” side quest presents a mindless but slow method to farm gil infinitely. With endless enemy spawns and Chaos Infusions, you’ll never run out of EP, so simply maintain Chronostasis for as long as you want. Unfortunately, Anubys offers only a paltry payout when defeated, even once you sell off its item drops. There are vastly superior methods once your skill as a combatant improves.
  • Large-Scale Enemies: Gil drops from enemies improve dramatically on Hard Mode. Within a single playthrough, the only ways to increase the amount of gil from battle are Chaos Infusions or progression along the timeline. These considerations constitute a perfect example of how the game will reward you for braving its tougher challenges. If gil is all you care about on a Hard playthrough, unlock the connecting highways, then wait until Day 13. At this point, simply traverse the roads and defeat large-scale enemies, each of which surrenders 5,880 gil. If you catch one in a Chaos Infusion, this increases to 7,840 – not a bad haul. Eventually, you’ll start spawning large-scale Last Ones, who will drop 117,600 gil apiece under these circumstances. Better yet, lure one into a Chaos Infusion and vanquish it for a cool 156,800 gil.
  • Cactuars: The most lucrative gil drops by far come from Cactuars, both regular and Last One variants, though they can be difficult to spawn if you don’t know where to look, and obviously represent a much more limited resource than the entirety of the large-scale enemy population. The easiest way to encounter these enemies is to hunt for them in the Oasis Lighthouse area. The fleet-footed Cactuars spawn frequently there and can be cornered with relative ease in its close confines. Each Cactuar that you defeat on Day 13 on Hard Mode will net you 30,000 gil, and this sum increases to 120,000 gil for the Last One. You can maximize your return from Cactuar Ω by fighting it within a Chaos Infusion, specifically the recurring one between Atomos’s Sands and Grave of the Colossi: this will reward you with a whopping 160,000 gil for what can be a relatively easy battle.
  • Meonektons: Though far less profitable than Cactuars, Meonektons can serve as a solid (and functionally boundless) source of additional gil during the closing days of the adventure. Once you reach the stage when you can swat these Chaos Beasts in battles measured in seconds, it’s possible to generate a respectable sum of gil by farming them prior to dawn every morning. Each fallen Meonekton will yield 5,040 gil by default on Day 13 on Hard Mode. Though you can obviously encounter Meonektons throughout the four regions (and hunt them while multitasking), the connecting highways are a prime location to farm them, as they offer the advantage of regular Chaos Infusions that boost your gains. As a secondary benefit, Meonektons drop the Ruin ability, so this is also a convenient way to collect this spell and potentially acquire the Chaos-Infused auto-ability “ATB Recovery +15” on a Hard playthrough.

The Rare Merchant

A rare wandering merchant plies his trade in all four major regions. He will sell you valuable wares, but only if you can find him.

Rare Wandering Merchant: Red Dragon Outfitters




Price (gil)





Default (from Day 3)


Hidden Justice



Witching Hour



Danse Macabre



Shadow Trooper



Lightning’s Shades


From Day 6




From Day 9


Carnaval Crusher


On Hard Mode


Astral Lord


To trigger his appearance, you must first reach Day 3 and have visited at least one Outfitters shop. Then, the game will run a spawn check every hour, using a probability cycle of 25%, then 50%, then 75%, and finally 100%. In other words, he is guaranteed to appear at least once every four hours. However he can appear on any continent, and in one of five places on each continent (see poster maps). Therefore, even if you look for him during an hour when he is guaranteed to spawn, there is only a 5% chance that he will appear at any one location. To minimize frustration, you should plan ahead and keep the necessary amount of gil in your wallet to make as many purchases from him as possible whenever you run into him.

Rare Wandering Merchant: Possible Locations








North Station Plaza

Old Town


Pilgrim’s Causeway (south end)







Glutton’s Quarter (southwest)

Near the Cactuar Statue

Reveler’s Quarter (back alley)

Pleasure Alley

Augur’s Quarter (near the Palace entrance)






Jagd Village

Moogle Village entrance

Grasslands (near the southernmost wreckage)

Eremite Plains

On the slope southwest of Aryas Village





Dead Dunes

Giant’s Sandbox, Giant’s Head

Grave of the Colossi (near the arch to the southeast)

Grave of the Colossi (path leading to Ruffian)

Dry Floodlands (dead end where a Pilgrim’s Crux is found)

Atomos’s Sands (west look-out tower)

The Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Complete Official Guide is packed with farming and progression efficiency tips, and will help you put them into actual practice in optimized playthroughs. It also features all of the game’s maps, including large region maps displayed on a two-sided map poster that shows the exact location of the rare merchant’s 20 possible spawn points. We even suggest a specific method to track him down methodically in no more than a few minutes.

Get your copy of the Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Complete Official Guide and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Game.

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Prima Games Staff
The staff at Prima Games.