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The Basics

Your goal in upgrading weapons (and accessories, but this guide is about weapons
) is building up EXP so that the weapon gains levels. You do this through using
organic and synthetic components, which have differing properties. Every weapon
has a maximum level, at which point its level is replaced by a star. When it rea
ches this point, you upgrade it with a transformational catalyst, and this will
change its form. Fairly simple, yes?
---EXP Multipliers
You will find that certain components--specifically, organic components--will gi
ve a weapon an EXP multiplier that will increase the EXP it receives from future
components. Other components--synthetic components--will decrease this multipli
er. The maximum EXP multiplier is x3, or a 200% bonus.
---Organic Components
Any component that comes from a plant or animal is an organic component. These g
ive very little EXP, but are the only way to build up an EXP multiplier, which i
s necessary for efficient upgrading. I'll be talking about three specific organi
c components in this guide: Sturdy Bones, Vibrant Oozes, and Barbed Tails. These
all are sold at the Creature Comforts store (which you will gain access to thro
ugh progressing the storyline) for 80 gil.
---Synthetic Components
Any component that is a piece of machinery, or a part for a machine, is a synthe
tic component. These give much more EXP than organic components, but cause the i
tem to gradually lose its EXP multiplier. I'll be talking about three specific s
ynthetic components in this guide: Crankshafts, Particle Accelerators, and Ultra
compact Reactors. Crankshafts are sold at Lenora's Garage (which you will gain a
ccess to through progressing the storyline) for 840 gil; Particle Accelerators a
nd Ultracompact Reactors are sold at R&D Depot (which you must complete Mission
7 to unlock, in Chapter 11 at the earliest) for 10,000 gil and 50,000 gil respec
The Process
You've likely surmised by now that the basic process is this: build up the EXP m
ultiplier to x3, then use synthetic components to give the item a whole lot of E
XP all at once. You would be correct. There are specifics to this process, thoug
h, that differ depending on where you are in the game. I'll divide this section
by the two most popular times for weapon upgrading: Chapter 9, and Chapter 11 th
rough the endgame.
---Upgrading in Chapter 9
Chapter 9 is the first time you have access to abundant gil due to Credit Chips
and Incentive Chips that drop in plentiful amounts from the PSICOM enemies you f
ight. This makes it a natural time to focus on upgrading your weapons somewhat,
as you finally have some gil to burn. You won't yet have access to R&D Depot, bu
t that's fine, because those components are overkill. All you need are Crankshaf
ts. Each Crankshaft provides 215 EXP with no multiplier. That means that with a
x3 multiplier, each Crankshaft will give an item 645 EXP. Here's how to go about
--1. Use 36 Sturdy Bones, Barbed Tails, or Vibrant Oozes. This will bring the mu
ltiplier from zero to x3.
--2. Use as many Crankshafts at once as you like. If you use them all at once, t
hey will all take advantage of the EXP multiplier--it only lowers after the upgr
ading is done. This means that you can save yourself organic components by using
synthetic components en masse.
At this point, the highest you truly should need to go is the maximum level of a
tier 1 weapon, which will be either level 21 or 26, depending on the weapon. Fr

ankly, you don't truly need this to progress, but if you really want to upgrade
at this point, this is the best method.
---Upgrading from Chapter 11 Onward
This process is almost exactly the same, except that transformation catalysts wi
ll enter into the equation, and you'll be using mostly Ultracompact Reactors fro
m R&D Depot. Each Ultracompact Reactor will cost 50,000 gil and provide 40,000 E
XP That means with a x3 multiplier, each Ultracompact Reactor will give an item
120,000 EXP. This is by far the best item for upgrading weapons in the game.
I mentioned Particle Accelerators earlier. These cost 10,000 gil at R&D Depot an
d provide 4,800 EXP each. With a x3 multiplier, that's 14,400 experience each, a
nd that's not nearly as efficient as Ultracompact Reactors. Particle Accelerator
s are best for upgrading accessories and tier 1 weapons, as accessories require
less EXP to max out than weapons; Ultracompact Reactors will almost always go to
waste on accessories.
Here's the exact process:
--1. Use 36 Stury Bones, Barbed Tails, or Vibrant Oozes, just like mentioned pre
viously, to give the item a x3 multiplier.
--2. Use as many Ultracompact Reactors on the item at once as you need to. Remem
ber, you get the most EXP for your gil by using them all together, as you will s
ave organic components.
Weapon Analysis
This part comes from a combination of personal experience and message board cons
ensus. It does not contain numerical data on weapons--I tried to format that her
e, but it was clumsy and took up far too many posts. If you want this data, go h
It's a good idea to go there, as well, because it will tell you how much EXP you
need to max each weapon, which lets you know how many Ultracompact Reactors to
use on each one.
As for the analysis of which weapon is best for each character, most of it is my
own opinion. I don't wish to present this as the end-all, be-all guide to choos
ing a weapon for each character, but from my own experience and reading, these s
eem to me to be the best choices. I will include analyses of each character's be
st roles, as well, as my reasoning for which weapon is the best.
---Transformation Catalysts
Every weapon has a specific transformation catalyst, and I'll make sure to indic
ate which those are. You'll find many fo these as you progress through the game,
and all of them can be purchased from either The Motherlode or R&D Depot.
---Ultimate Weapons
Let's talk a bit about ultimate weapons. Every one of a character's weapons will
reach the same form in the end--at least, in name and appearance. In reality, e
ven though all of Lightning's weapons will become the Omega Weapon when fully up
graded, every Omega Weapon is different. An Omega Weapon upgraded from the Blaze
fire Saber will be a balanced weapon, while an Omega Weapon made from the Lionhe
art will be weaker but have the Quick Stagger ability. Every character's ultimat
e weapon will also give them a sixth and final ATB level.
It's also important to note that upgrading a weapon to its ultimate form will ma
ke it lose its synthesis group. I would discuss synthesis groups in detail here,
but frankly they deserve their own guide. For now, just note that every item be
longs to a synthesis group, and equipping multiple items with the same synthesis
group will provide special bonuses. The only items that do not belong to any sy
nthesis groups are the ultimate weapons.

One more note: every weapon, without exception, uses the Trapezohedron as its tr
ansformation catalyst to become its ultimate form. Unfortunately, Trapezohedrons
are very rare (they drop from Adamantoises and their cousins) and very expensiv
e (they can be purchased at R&D Depot for a whopping 2,000,000 gil each). There
are other guides available as to the best ways to acquire Trapezohedrons for the
purpose of making ultimate weapons.
On with the character-specific information:
Lightning is the best Ravager in the game. While Hope has more spells, and is th
e only character who can learn every tier 3 elemental spell, Lightning is more v
ersatile. She gains every tier 2 elemental spell, along with Thundaga, as well a
s every elemental strike, and this makes her useful against both magic-resistant
and physical-resistant enemies. Hope cannot boast that level of versatility. Li
ghtning also makes a fantastic Commando, but due to her abilities as a Ravager,
it is best to have another character be your primary Commando.
As a result of this, Lightning needs a balanced weapon. Because of this, I'm cou
nting the Gladius out of consideration. The Gladius is a popular weapon for her,
and it's a great choice in the early game, when she and Hope are together and L
ightning is your only possible Commando. Later on, it's a bad idea to focus too
heavily on one statistic for her. Other weapons that are ruled out: Organyx, bec
ause it drastically slows down Lightning's attack speed; Lifesaber, because its
bonus is nearly useless and doesn't even remotely offset the weapon's weakness;
and Hauteclaire, because Lightning is possibly the worst character to have Stagg
er Lock.
This leaves the Blazefire Saber, the Axis Blade, and the Lionheart.
The Blazefire Saber is a great choice throughout the game, and is most likely th
e best option until Chapter 12. It allows Lightning to be equally effective as a
Ravager, Commando, and Medic.
->Blazefire Saber (Lv. 26, 24,600 EXP to max) + Perovskite
--->Flamberge (Lv. 61, 445,950 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Omega Weapon (Lv. 100, 1,296,897 EXP to max)
The Axis Blade has very low stats. However, it has the Attack: ATB Charge specia
l property, which is exactly what it sounds like: it will slightly charge your A
TB every time you land an attack. This, combined with other speed-boosting acces
sories, will turn Lightning into an incredibly fast character. In my opinion, ho
wever, this is not her best weapon. Nonetheless, I'm including it here because i
t is a popular choice for her.
->Axis Blade (Lv. 21, 66750 EXP to max) + Adamantite
--->Enkindler (Lv. 41, 280,830 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Omega Weapon (Lv. 100, 1,419,867 EXP to max)
The Lionheart again has lower stats than the Blazefire Saber, but higher than th
e Axis Blade. However, this is likely the best choice of weapon for Lightning. T
his is because of the Quick Stagger ability, which will allow you to stagger an
enemy 10% earlier than normal. This is a fairly small boost in staggering speed,
but it is noticeable, especially against enemies with high stagger percentages.
->Lionheart (Lv. 21, 63,060 EXP to max) + Scarletite
--->Ultima Weapon (Lv. 41, 221,900 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Omega Weapon (Lv. 100, 1,482,487 EXP to max)
Sazh is likely the best Synergist in the game. He wins over Hope because he lear
ns Haste earlier and because he learns Vigilance. Unfortunately, that's all that
Sazh really has going for him. He's a terrible Commando and lacks elemental ver

satility as a Ravager. Plus, his natural stats are the lowest of any character.
Luckily for Sazh, he has the strongest weapons, which help to offset his low sta
As a result of this, Sazh is best served with a weapon that has high stats. This
immediately rules out the following: Vega 42s, Antares Deluxes, and Procyons. T
hough the last two have interesting special properties, Sazh's stats are low eno
ugh that he needs higher stats more than he needs special properties. This leave
s us with several options, but I'm going to immediately rule out Aldebarans beca
use of the painfully slow attack speed and complete lack of strength and Pleiade
s Hi-Powers because they dramatically lower his maximum HP and completely lack m
agic. This means I'll be discussing the following: Spica Defenders, Deneb Duelle
rs, and Rigels.
The Spica Defenders have the lowest stats of the weapons I'll be discussing. The
y favor magic over strength, which is fine, because Sazh is a terrible Commando.
That said, they have the Augment Maintenance special property, which will incre
ase the duration of Sazh's offensive buffs, such as Enfire, by quite a bit. This
makes the Spica Defenders a good choice for a Sazh focused primarily on being a
Synergist. Unfortunately, they lack the versatility of the other two choices.
->Spica Defenders (Lv. 21, 66,750 EXP to max) + Scarletite
--->Sirius Sidearms (Lv. 41, 218,210 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Total Eclipses (Lv. 100, 1,737,313 EXP to max)
The Deneb Duellers are focused entirely on having a high magic bonus. Since Sazh
relies on magic more than strength, this is great. They have no special propert
y other than this, but in my opinion, they tie with the Rigels for the best weap
on choice for Sazh. (By the way, did anyone else notice the subtle nod to Ogre B
attle? While all of his weapons except the Total Eclipses are named after tradit
ional star names, like Balthier's guns from Final Fantasy XII, Deneb and Canopus
are also both characters from the Ogre Battle series, of which several develope
rs have joined the Final Fantasy team. I thought it was a nice touch!)
->Deneb Duellers (Lv. 26, 33,000 EXP to max) + Perovskite
--->Canopus AMPs (Lv. 61, 437,550 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Total Eclipses (Lv. 100, 1,551,723 EXP to max)
The Rigals are your best option if you want a more versatile Sazh. The problem i
s that they have Stagger Lock, which will prevent Sazh from landing the staggeri
ng blow on an enemy. This is fine only if you have another Ravager in the party-if not, the Rigels are a terrible choice. However, if Sazh is not your primary
Ravager, I believe that the Rigels tie with the Deneb Duellers as the best weapo
n choice for Sazh.
->Rigels (Lv. 26, 54,800 EXP to max) + Uraninite
--->Polaris Specials (Lv. 61, 332,560 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Total Eclipses (Lv. 100, 1,634,913 EXP to max)
Snow is the best Sentinel in the game due to his incredibly high HP score. Fang
is a great Sentinel as well, but she doesn't come anywhere near Snow's sheer end
urance. Snow is also a capable, if limited, Ravager, and a fantastic Commando, t
hough he loses out to Fang. This means that Snow tends to require fairly balance
d weaponry if you wish to make use of all of his capabilities. Nonetheless, one
can be forgiven for focusing on strength for Snow, as he will likely be a Comman
do and a Sentinel more often than he'll be a Ravager.
As a result, I'm counting out the Feymark,
nd the Sacrificial Circle, because it will
tinel due to dropping his HP. The Umbra is
d special property to be worth the lowered

as it makes him a useless Commando, a

greatly lower his capability as a Sen
too situational with its Improved War
stats, as is the Paladin. Frankly, Sn

ow is survivable enough as it is, and he doesn't need to sacrifice strength and

magic to improve that. As a result, I'll be discussing the Wild Bear, the Power
Circle, and the Rebel Heart.
The Wild Bear is Snow's version of the Blazefire Saber. It lacks special propert
ies, but it's his most balanced and reliable weapon. As a result, it's a great c
hoice for Snow to keep throughout the game. In fact, Snow can benefit form the W
ild Bear more than Lightning can from the Blazefire Saber, most likely.
->Wild Bear (Lv. 26, 24,600 EXP to max) + Perovskite
--->Feral Pride (Lv. 61, 445,950 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Save the Queen (Lv. 100, 1,246,803 EXP to max)
The Power Circle is a weapon focused on raw strength. This is a great weapon for
a Commando or Sentinel Snow, but it will limit him as a Ravager to being most e
ffective with elemental strikes. Nonetheless, I believe that the Power Circle ti
es with the Wild Bear as the best reliable weapon for Snow.
->Power Circle (Lv. 26, 89,700 EXP to max) + Scarletite
--->Battle Standard (Lv. 61, 476,940 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Save the Queen, (Lv. 100, 1,150,713 EXP to max)
The Rebel Heart is a risk vs. reward weapon. It has the balance of the Wild Bear
but lower overall stats; however, it has the Critical: Power Surge ability, whi
ch will greatly increase Snow's stats when his HP reaches critical levels. This
makes it an interesting choice for Snow. He'll be taking damage often as a Senti
nel, and his high HP means that critical HP for Snow is more than critical HP fo
r any other character. It might just be worth it, especially if Snow isn't your
party leader, so give it a try for yourself.
->Rebel Heart (Lv. 21, 38,040 EXP to max) + Uraninite
--->Warrior's Emblem (Lv. 41, 153,000 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Save the Queen (Lv. 100, 1,526,313 EXP to max)
Hope is the best Medic in the game, winning out over Vanille due to a higher pot
ential magic stat and his superiority in other roles. He is also the second-best
Ravager as mentioned in the Lightning section: he is the only character who rec
eives Firaga, Blizzaga, Thundaga, Aeroga, and Waterga all together. This makes h
im the best magic-based Ravager, but he lacks elemental strikes, which makes him
less useful against magic-resistant enemies. He is also the second-best Synergi
st, losing out to Sazh only because he learns Haste late and cannot learn Vigila
As a result, Hope has absolutely no need for strength. That means we can count o
ut any of his weapons that sacrifice anything at all for increased strength; thi
s includes the Airwing and the Simurgh. Hope also has the absolute lowest HP of
any character, by quite a bit, which makes the HP sacrifice of the Malphas an un
wise trade-off. As he is such a good Ravager, Alicanto is a waste, due to Stagge
r Lock. Ninurta lacks any distinguishing qualities whatsoever except for balance
d stats, and as stated before, Hope doesn't need balance, he needs magic. The Vi
dofnir looks nice, due to Defense Maintenance, but this pales in comparison to S
azh's Augment Maintenance, as it only affects Protect, Shell, and Veil. This lea
ves the following:
The Hawkeye is for pure magical power. In my opinion, this is the most important
thing for Hope to have, which makes the Hawkeye the best weapon choice for Hope
. It lacks special properties, but it's hard to ignore just how much this boosts
his already-high magic stat. Its second tier form, the Eagletalon, gives him a
whopping 506 magic, and that's only second tier.
->Hawkeye (Lv. 26, 33,000 EXP to max) + Perovskite
--->Eagletalon (Lv. 61, 437,550 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron

----->Nue (Lv. 100, 1,084,542 EXP to max)

The Otshirvani has lower stats than the Hawkeye, but it has a special property:
Siphon Boost. This makes the various *siphon abilities in the Ravager tree more
effective, allowing him to be an even better Ravager and boost the enemy's chain
gauge even faster. I don't personally think it offsets the difference in magic
from the Hawkeye, but it remains a great choice.
->Otshirvani (Lv. 21, 66,750 EXP to max) + Scarletite
--->Urubutsin (Lv. 41, 218,210 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Nue (Lv. 100, 1,270,132 EXP to max)
Vanille is the best Saboteur in the game, winning out over Fang due to increased
magic and the Death spell. She also makes a fantastic Ravager and Medic, though
Hope outshines her in both roles. As a Ravager, she lacks some of Hope's versat
ility, as the only third tier elemental spells she learns are Firaga and Blizzag
a, and as a Medic, she has lower magic, and thus less healing power, than Hope.
Like with Hope, Vanille has no use for strength, so one can immediately count ou
t the Binding Rod, the Tigerclaw (which is also slow due to Leadenstrike/Ironstr
ike), and the Rod of Thorns. As she will likely spend a lot of time as a Ravager
if she is in your group, the Stagger Lock on the Heavenly Axis is unfortunate.
Mistilteinn is interesting, as it will increase her strength and magic if an all
y is KO'd, but as you'd likely rather avoid a KO, especially if Vanille isn't yo
ur party leader, I'm going to leave it out. This leaves the following:
The Pearlwing Staff is Vanille's version of the Hawkeye. If your Vanille is all
about magical power, you can't go wrong with this one. However, Vanille, like Li
ghtning, has some of the best special properties to her weapons, so the Pearlwin
g Staff is less than ideal for Vanille.
->Pearlwing Staff (Lv. 26, 33,000 EXP to max) + Perovskite
--->Brightwing Staff (Lv. 61, 437,550 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Nirvana (Lv. 100, 1,393,818 EXP to max)
The Healer's Staff makes Vanille the best Medic in the game if you equip it. It
has much lower stats than her other weapons, though. Why is it here? It has a ve
ry interesting synthesis group: High HP. Combined with the right accessories, it
will boost her strength and magic if she has over 90% HP. That means that she c
an (somewhat) make up for the Healer's Staff's weakness simply by keeping hersel
f healed and wearing the right accessories! Nonetheless, this may lock you into
certain accessories, limiting her versatility.
->Healer's Staff (Lv. 21, 63,750 EXP to max) + Adamantite
--->Physician's Staff (Lv. 41, 217,410 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Nirvana (Lv. 100, 1,583,205 EXP to max)
The Belladonna Wand greatly increases Vanille's chances to successfully debuff a
n enemy. Combine that with its quite decent magic stats, and the Belladonna Wand
shines as the best possible weapon for Vanille. Plus, this weapon's second form
, the Malboro Wand, is necessary if you wish to use Death to get the Growth Egg
early and farm Adamantoises.
->Belladonna Wand (Lv. 21, 38040 EXP to max) + Uraninite
--->Malboro Wand (Lv. 41, 153,000 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Nirvana (Lv. 100, 1,673,280 EXP to max)
Fang is the best Commando in the game, winning out over Snow because of her incr
edibly high strength and the massive strength bonus she can get from her weapons
. Fang is also a very capable Saboteur and the second-best Sentinel, losing to S
now because he has so much more HP than she does. Surprisngly enough, once she h

as access to her non-innate roles, Fang is a very good Ravager. She gets all of
the elemental strikes, as well as Waterga and Aeroga. Simply put, Fang is a fant
astic character all around.
As you might expect, this makes choosing a weapon for her difficult. The Bladed
Lance is good, but not good enough to keep up with the rest of her weapons. The
Partisan is too focused on magic to do justice to Fang's versatility. The Dragoo
n Lance has a similar problem, though it warrants a little more consideration, a
s it is an incredible weapon for a melee-fighting Fang; the problem is, its Stif
led Magic makes her Ruin and Ruinga spells, as well as her Saboteur spells, much
less useful, and so, though this may be an unpopular decision, I'm not counting
it in as a candidate for her best weapon. It simply makes her useless against p
hysical-resistant enemies, and there are enough of those that this is a problem.
The Shamanic Spear is the opposite of the Dragoon Lance, and is, again, counted
out, because it severely weakens her melee capabilities. The Punisher can help
save you time building TP, but there are plenty of accessories that can do the s
ame thing, and it isn't really worth it. That leaves these three choices:
The Gae Bolg lacks raw power, but is great for Fang focused on being a Sentinel.
Its Improved Counter ability will greatly increase the damage Fang does with he
r counterattacks in the Sentinel role, and so it can be a very useful weapon, if
you're willing to live with the decreased stats. Improved Counter isn't as good
or as versatile as Lightning's Quick Stagger, so I don't consider it her best w
->Gae Bolg (Lv. 21, 70,850 EXP to max) + Scarletite
--->Gungnir (Lv. 41, 214,110 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Kain's Lance (Lv. 100, 1,484,665 EXp to max)
The Pandoran Spear is optimized for Fang as a Saboteur. Its Improved Debilitatio
n will increase the chances of her Debrave, Defaith, and Slow spells being succe
ssful, which makes it very nice. It favors magic over strength, but it has almos
t the same amount of strength as the Gae Bolg, making it a fair choice, though s
till not the best.
->Pandoran Spear (Lv. 21, 70,850 EXP to max) + Scarletite
--->Calamity Spear (Lv. 41, 236,350 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Kain's Lance (Lv. 100, 1,462,425 EXP to max)
The Taming Pole has the best overall stats of any of Fang's weapons... but it ha
s Stagger Lock. Remember how I said that Fang is a great Ravager? She's a better
Commando, and a Commando really doesn't need to be able to deal the staggering
blow. Stagger Lock won't prevent her from increasing the chain gauge, nor will i
t hinder the Commando's ability to slow the gauge's falling. I never use Fang wi
thout another Ravager in the party anyway, so Stagger Lock is forgivable for her
; this makes the Taming Pole her best weapon in my eyes.
->Taming Pole (Lv. 26, 54,800 EXP to max) + Uraninite
--->Venus Gospel (Lv. 61, 332,560 EXP to max) + Trapezohedron
----->Kain's Lance (Lv. 100, 1,382,265 EXP to max)

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