Final Fantasy XIII

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5-Star Mission Guide

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*                                                                             *
*                           Final Fantasy XIII                                *
*     Reliable Techniques for Earning 5-Star Ratings on All 64 missions       *
*   Without Tier 3 Weapons or Eidolons and with Minimal (1) Use of Shrouds    *
*                                                                             *
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Version   Completed          
1.00      30 June 2010
          
1.10      28 July 2010
          *  Added section about Managing Your CP and finding gil for Upgrades.
          *  Fixed a couple of places where I mistakenly used secondary roles 
             prematurely.
          *  Replayed all Missions that were recommended for postgame play and 
             re-wrote the strategies to (hopefully) improve them. 
          *  Begrudgingly acknowledged Sazh as a legitimate, contributing 
             member of the team and included him in some Missions.
          *  Added more information on Random: Instant Chain ability and 
             consolidated this information into a separate section.
          *  In particular, I added a strategy for 5-starring Mission 60 
             without using Deceptisol, thus avoiding its use altogether on all 
             64 Missions.  Yay!

2.00      08 August 2010
          *  Finally got around to attempting Missions 1-14 and 17-26 before
             the events in Oerba.  The suggested strategies on these Missions 
             have essentially been completely re-written.  I added information 
             about how to 5-star almost all of these Missions early in Chapter 
             11 and added MANY other tips and hints on these early Missions as 
             well as related topics such as managing CP, Accessories, and 
             sequencing Missions.           
          *  Added LOTS of new hints on how to get Preemptive Strikes in 
             the first 26 Missions.

2.10      20 August 2010
          *  Did a "quality assurance" runthrough of all postgame Missions and 
             made many changes in addition to the ones described below.
          *  Described a less expensive way to make Sprint Shoes.
          *  Described a way to 5-star Mission 51 in Early Postgame play.
          *  Improved strategy for Mission 45, allowing the team to stay alive 
             longer while waiting for RIC to hit.
          *  FINALLY found and described a greatly improved strategy for 
             Mission 62 that works more often than not.
          *  Re-wrote Mission 61 to be consistent with Mission 29, since they 
             are essentially the same.
          *  Described how to get a Preemptive Strike in Mission 22.
          *  Modified the strategy for Mission 63 to improve chances of 
             surviving the big turtle's stomps.
          *  Added a method for getting a Preemptive Strike in Mission 9.
          *  Clarified the conditions that make the Long Guis appear.
          *  Expanded the Accessory list to include every Accessory recommended 
             for use in this guide.
3.00      11 December 2010
          *  Re-wrote Mission 7 strategy to detail the damage that the Mark can 
             do to you and how to deal with it.
          *  Revised suggestions for farming CP when you first arrive at the 
             Archylte Steppe and gave a specific example of CP and gil yields.
          *  Revised strategy for Missions 47, 51, and 54.
          *  Added specific information about secondary roles to prioritize 
             developing.
          *  Included information about Lightning's Axis Blade/Enkindler and 
             its ATB Charge synthesized ability.
          *  Finally made mention of the revered Aurora Scarf as a possible 
             Accessory to use.
          *  FINALLY found a strategy for Mission 62 that works virtually every 
             time, and described it.  You never need dread this battle again!
          *  Re-worked Missions 2, 4, and 6 using Sazh as a Synergist instead 
             of Hope.
          *  Revised Mission 15 strategy to facilitate 5-starring this Mission 
             before going to Oerba.
          *  Revised strategy for Mission 25, cutting the battle time in half.
          *  Re-wrote Section IV in light of my diminished dependence on 
             shrouds.
          *  Fixed a mistake about the elemental weakness of Uridimmu in 
             Mission 19.  (I can't BELIEVE that no one wrote to me about this!) 
          *  Added some detail to recommended equipment for Mission 55.
          *  Re-wrote Mission 34 using Random Instant Chain to avoid having the 
             Tonberry heal itself.
          *  Revamped the strategy for Mission 51 for about the 600th time, 
             this time putting Hope as leader to minimize time lost on casting 
             worthless buffs.
          *  Re-wrote the strategy for Mission 47 to be consistent with the 
             strategy for Mission 62 (since the enemies are the same), and re-
             wrote Mission 62 -- again -- to avoid repeating information 
             that I had already included in Mission 47. 
          *  Added a method for 5-starring Mission 58 without using Random 
             Instant Chain.
          *  Purged all "Post-Oerba" information from early Missions, since 
             there is no earthly reason to wait until then to fight these 
             battles.

3.10      29 May 2011
          *  Added the Aurora Scarf to the list of possible Accessories to 
             equip.
          *  Added some detail to the section on farming CP before undertaking 
             Missions.
          *  Added some information about 5-Starring Mission 16 before Oerba.
          *  Added an alternate method for Mission 32 that uses a Preemptive 
             Strike.
          *  Added a note about the Flowering Cactuars near Mission 42.
          *  Added some notes about winning Mission 54 without using Random 
             Instant Chain.
          *  Added a tip for speeding up Mission 55 slightly.
          *  Undid the changes that I made to Mission 34 in the last revision.
             (Sheesh! Why can't this guy make up his mind?)
          *  Added a low-level strategy for beating Zirnitras.
          *  Described use of the "High HP:  Power Surge" ability in Mission 
             51.
          *  Added information about getting Uraninites for converting 
             Siltstone Rings to Gaian Rings.
          *  Updated map information necessitated by the disappearance of the
             "Two Brothers and a Sister" web site.  

3.20      30 June 2011
          *  Added some brief, general information to Section XII about the 
             Ci'eth Stones and Marks, since the previous source for this 
             information seems to no longer be available.
          *  Added a section about completing the Missions prior to unlocking 
             Stage 10 Chrystarium.
          *  Added some information about Mission 64.
          *  Corrected one darned misspelling. 

3.30      14 August 2011
          *  Revised Section X to accommodate an earlier upgrading of weapons.
          *  Described my choices of weapons to upgrade and provided a link to
             a GameFAQs site that can provide additional information.
          *  Added some information to the character profiles, considering 
             qualities other than raw Strength and Magic.
          *  Added information about the primary and secondary rewards for 
             completing each Mission.
          *  Added comprehensive information to help the reader navigate from 
             one Mission to the next.
          *  Revised my position about the merits of using Strength and Magic 
             boosting Accessories. 
          *  Revised my position about trying to debuff Neochu before casting 
             Death in Mission 55. 
          *  Completely revised my strategy for Mission 54.  Hopefully, this 
             will work more consistently.
          *  Added a strategy for Mission 54 that does not rely on RIC. 
          *  Added some tips for readers having trouble with time on Mission 51

3.35      20 August 2011
          *  After spending countless hours fighting Mission 54 over and over 
             again, I scrapped my previous RIC and Sentinel strategies and 
             replaced them with a more straightforward method that is 90% 
             effective in postgame play.  You need never dread this Mission 
             again!
          *  Made the necessary revisions to other Sections of this guide to 
             reflect the strategy change for Mission 54. 

3.40      14 January 2012
          *  Added some information about defeating Zirnitras at low levels.
          *  Described my default team and Paradigm settings, despite my better 
             judgment that tells me that it will spur a plethora of emails in 
             which readers argue why their default setups are superior. I 
             console myself by resolving to ignore any such missives.
          *  FINALLY got a tip for reliably getting a Preemptive Strike on 
             Mission 09 and added a description of that technique.

             

Written by Bill Russell

Final Fantasy XIII is (c) 2009, 2010 Square Enix Co. Ltd.

This FAQ is copyright 2010 -- Bill Russell

This publication is protected by United States copyright law.
It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly 
without advance written permission of the author. Use of this guide on any 
other web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a 
violation of copyright.  If you wish to post this FAQ or any portion of it to 
any other site, please write to me at the email address that appears in Section 
XIV of this guide.  

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*                                                                             *
*                                  Contents                                   *
*                                                                             *
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   I. Introduction -- Why I Am Writing This                         [I01]
  II. What This Is and What This Isn't                              [W02]
 III. About YouTube                                                 [Y03]
  IV. Shrouds, Instant Death, and Other "Cheats"                    [C04]
   V. Who Should Be on Your Team                                    [T05]
  VI. Accessories and Weapons                                       [A06]
 VII. The Importance of Libra                                       [L07]
VIII. A Couple of Quick Tips                                        [T08]
  IX. Random Instant Chain (RIC)                                    [R09]
   X. Managing Your Gil and CP                                      [C10]
  XI. Sequencing the Missions                                       [S11]
 XII. Numerical Listing of Missions                                 [N12]
XIII. Adding Some Challenge                                         [C13]
 XIV. Conclusions and Credits                                       [C14] 

To access a specific Mission, simply search by the 2-digit Mission number 
preceded by the letter "M".  Thus, to go directly to Mission 8, search for M08.

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*                                                                             *
*               I.  Introduction -- Why I Am Writing This [I01]               *
*                                                                             *
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The Ci'eth Stone Missions are essentially the only sidequest in Final Fantasy 
XIII, and completion of these Missions can earn the dedicated gamer rich and 
plentiful rewards.  On my first run through the game, I was very much surprised 
to find only one FAQ on GameFAQs dedicated to these Missions.  So, when I 
undertook these Missions myself, I found myself spending a lot of time 
searching the Boards for more detailed information about how to beat certain 
enemies within the given time limits.  I also found that there seem to be as 
many opinions about how best to complete each Mission as there are gamers 
online.  Some of these posted methods worked for me but others didn't.  
Ultimately, I took what I thought to be the best elements from several 
strategies and used them to synthesize something that would dependably work for 
me.  

Eventually, I managed to earn 5-star ratings on all of the Missions and 
was feeling pretty good about myself.  That feeling lasted until I faced these 
same Missions on my second run through the game and found myself having the 
same problems as before.  It was then that I realized that perhaps it would 
have been a good idea to write down some of my findings.  I further reasoned 
that if I took the time to articulate my findings in writing that I might be 
able to allow other gamers to revel somewhat longer in their own 
accomplishments.  So, to facilitate my next passage through the games -- as 
well as to ease the journeys of others -- I decided to invest the time 
necessary to create this guide.

Each Mission description is the result of at least an hour or two of trying 
and retrying that particular Mission.  I tried to observe what the enemies were 
doing, what my allies were doing, and how my actions were affecting the 
enemies' health and actions.  I would guess that I played through each Mission 
at least 4 -5 times, trying different strategies and seeing how they influenced 
the outcome.  As much as possible, I tried to keep strategies simple and 
repeatable and made minimal use of special weapons and accessories so that this 
guide would be of use to as many FFXIII enthusiasts as possible.

I understand that a lot of these Missions are very easy to 5-star, especially 
if you come back later in the game to undertake them.  This might cause you to 
wonder why I bothered describing these battles in such detail.  At least in 
part, this was to satisfy my own curiosity and to document my findings as I 
played through these battles.  However, spend a few minutes on the Final 
Fantasy XIII boards and you will find questions about how to 5-star just about 
each and every one of the 64 Missions.  However obvious these answers may be to 
you, rest assured that there are people out there who have questions that 
hopefully are answered in this guide.  

Let me say up front that I am neither the most skilled gamer nor the most 
knowledgeable.  I believe my personal strength to be the clear communication of 
information.  As I will emphasize throughout this guide, I do not claim that my 
method is the only way or even necessarily the best way to achieve the desired 
result.  I only claim that it will work fairly consistently and that a gamer of 
average skills should be able to read and understand my descriptions and 
duplicate my results in at most a couple of tries.  I hope that you find this 
to be the case.

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*                                                                             *
*                  II. What This Is and What This Isn't [W02]                 *
*                                                                             *
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This guide does not pretend to cover everything that there is to know about the 
Missions.  Here are a couple of things that I am specifically NOT addressing:

*  How Target Times are calculated and other inner workings of the game.  If 
   you want this technical information, please refer to the excellent Game 
   Mechanics guide on GameFAQs:

   http://www.gamefaqs.com/ps3/928790-final-fantasy-xiii/faqs/59246

   In Section VIII, I will give you some important information that you need to 
   know about Target times, but if you are interested in the mathematical 
   manipulations behind battles, I promise that the above guide will tell you 
   everything that you want to know and then some. 

*  How to upgrade equipment to create the accessories that I recommend.  There 
   are several very good guides available on this topic, my favorite of which 
   is

   http://www.gamefaqs.com/ps3/928790-final-fantasy-xiii/faqs/59357


Having established what I am NOT trying to cover, let me now address what I AM 
trying to cover.

*  BRIEF descriptions of how to get from one Mission to the next.  See Section 
   XII for details.

*  Rewards earned for both the first and subsequent completions of each 
   Mission.  

*  Conditions that unlock each Mission.  This information is generally brief 
   enough that I will include it in hopes of keeping the reader from having to 
   jump around quite so much.

*  The name of each Mark and its strengths and weaknesses.  In an effort to 
   keep things brief, these descriptions will be less than comprehensive.  I 
   will merely present you with a quick summary of what I deem to be the 
   enemy's most annoying characteristics and leave it at that.

*  A quick description of how to address the Mark's specific attributes.

*  Detailed instructions that hopefully can be followed to get a 5-star result 
   by anyone with good familiarity with the game.

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*                                                                             *
*                         III. About YouTube [Y03]                            *
*                                                                             *
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On YouTube, you will find a multitude of videos showing how to defeat the 
toughest enemies in FFXIII.  If you are curious, I encourage you to watch 
these, but I also caution you to take these videos with several grains of salt.
Personally, I have had limited success trying to duplicate the results that are 
displayed in these videos, as many seem to represent the "best-case scenario" 
rather than a typical one.  An obvious example is one in which an enemy 
succumbs to Vanille's Death spell in the first casting and the battle is over 
in about 5 seconds.  In over 200 hours of gameplay, I have never had the Death 
spell work the first time.  Never.  While such a result is possible, I would 
hardly deem it to be likely.  I recall watching a video about defeating a 
Shaolong Gui in about 2 minutes.  After the opening Quake, the turtle only used 
stomps and Ultima, so it went down with relatively little effort, making the 
battle look easy.  Imagine my surprise when I tried to mimic that battle and 
got hit with Bay, Dazing my entire team.  As I watched helplessly while Quake 
and stomps swiftly and mercilessly wiped out my team, I quietly cursed the 
person who posted that video for omitting a rather important aspect of the 
battle. 

My point is that YouTube videos can give you some solid ideas about strategies, 
but trying to carbon copy their results can be a frustrating experience.  The 
methods that I describe in this FAQ are intended to be strategies that the 
average gamer can use to get a 5-star rating on any Mission.  It may take a 
couple of tries, but I am confident that these strategies will ultimately lead 
you to success.  
   
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*                                                                             *
*            IV. Shrouds, Instant Death, and other "Cheats" [C04]             *
*                                                                             *
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In my original version of this FAQ, I went to great lengths in this section to 
justify the use of shrouds on a few of the Missions.  I have to admit that this 
was because I wasn't very skilled at FFXIII, and at that point in my gaming 
development I found the use of shrouds to be necessary to keep me from pulling 
the disc out of my Playstation and pounding it with a sledgehammer out of 
frustration.

In the past few months I have learned much about the game and now find that 
with one possible exception, all Missions can fairly easily be undertaken and 
5-starred without using any shrouds whatsoever.  It is a point of pride for me 
that I have cast aside these crutches from my past and can now stand up and 
fight these battles on my own.

This does not mean that you must follow my example.  I will describe for you 
how to 5-star each Mission without use of any shrouds (or Eidolons, for that 
matter), and I hope that you will find my directions clear enough that you can 
duplicate my success.  If not, you are certainly free to use shrouds as you 
deem necessary.  If you do find yourself using shrouds, I would like to suggest 
that you should make it a long-term goal to be able to master all Missions 
without them.  Believe me when I say that I am far from the most skilled gamer 
in the community, and if I can win these battle without shrouds, then so can 
you. 

Sadly, I have not yet reached the point in my skills where I can do without 
some other devices that might be deemed "cheating."  I recommend the use of 
Instant Death on one Mission; Random Instant Chain on 6 other Missions; and a 
rather cowardly "Poison and Tank" strategy on Mission 64.  In almost all cases, 
I have won and 5-starred these 8 Missions without use of these devices. 
However, doing so usually took considerable patience and many failures.  

My purpose in writing this FAQ is to describe repeatable methods for earning 5-
star ratings on all Mission battles, and sometimes that means using relatively 
obscure tools that the game makes available.  If you are ethically opposed to 
using these tools, then don't.  I encourage you to use whatever devices your 
conscience allows and to experiment and find your own ways of defeating 
enemies.  In fact, much of the fun in FFXIII is in experimenting with the 
available tools and finding a new path to success.  I encourage you to use your 
imagination and find methods that work for you.  However, if you are seeking a 
method that works consistently in a certain battle, I believe that you will 
find that I have one for you here. 

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*                                                                             *
*                       V. Who Should Be on Your Team [T05]                   *
*                                                                             *
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For each Mission, I will suggest a team of characters to use.  You should, of 
course, feel free to experiment with different combinations of characters and 
choose the team members that work best for you.  You do, however, need to be 
aware that since different characters learn different decks abilities, making 
substitutions might undermine the specific strategy that I outline for you.

My default setup is the following team and set of paradigms:

     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #4 *  Med  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #5 *  Rav  *  Sab  *  Com  *
******************************
* #6 *  Rav  *  Rav  *  Rav  *
******************************

With a team of Hope, Fang, and Lightning, you have access to all 6 roles even 
before developing secondary roles.  Once Chrystarium Stage 9 is opened, Hope 
knows the all-important Haste ability in addition to the main offensive and 
defensive buffs.  Fang, your most powerful character, is primarily a Commando, 
but she is also a decent Saboteur.  Lightning works equally well as a Commando 
and a Ravager.  If necessary, Fang is also a Sentinel, but usually we will 
bring in Snow to play that role when necessary.  Thus, this team can buff, 
debuff, Stagger enemies, and whittle away an enemy's HP very efficiently.

Here's a breakdown of why I like these particular paradigms:

Paradigm #1 gives you up-front buffing and attacking, and the presence of a 
Commando will slow the depletion of the Stagger Gauge if there is a pause in 
your attack.  Paradigm #2 is good for Staggering and then Launching one enemy 
at a time, and #3 gives you more attacking power against enemies that you 
probably won't Stagger anyway.  Remember, though, that if you are facing 
multiple enemies, two Commandos will, by default, attack different enemies 
rather than focus their attacks on a single enemy.  If healing is necessary, #4 
lets you recover HP while maintaining offensive pressure on a single enemy.  
For enemies with a lot of HP, #5 provides simultaneous debuffing, attacking, 
and elevating of the Stagger Gauge of a single enemy.  Finally, #6 give you the 
quickest method of Staggering an enemy.  Although #6 requires developing one of 
Fang's secondary roles, the CP cost is modest and well worth the investment.

Many Missions will require adjustments to the default team and Paradigms, but 
this is my basic setup for just walking around and for many Missions as well. I 
am not suggesting that the above represents a "best" setup, only that it is my 
personal favorite.  Please don't write to tell me what setup you prefer and 
why. I'll preemptively agree with whatever you have to say on this matter and 
spare you the trouble of writing.

Now let's examine the individual strengths and weaknesses of your six 
characters.

Fang -- For most battles, Fang is an obvious choice.  She has the highest 
Strength stat of all the characters, and her Highwind attack is one of the most 
devastating offensive weapons in the game.  She can learn the best abilities in 
the game, such as Haste, the four ramped-up buffs (Bravera, Faithra, Protectra 
and Shellra), the fundamental debuffs (Deprotect and Deshell), and some special 
abilities such as Slow.  She is easily the best character in the game, and I 
rarely enter a battle without her in the lineup somewhere.

Lightning -- Lightning is a good all-around character.  Although her HP total 
is a bit low, she hits hard and can learn most major Abilities, such as Haste 
and Enfire.  With good stats in both Strength and Magic, Lightning is possibly 
your most balanced character.

Hope -- Before I started writing this guide, I generally preferred Vanille to 
Hope as my Magic-slinger.  However, the more thought I gave to the battles, the 
more I see the advantages of Hope.  In terms of primary roles, Hope is a 
Synergist and Vanille is a Saboteur.  With Fang on the team, you already have a 
Saboteur, so a lineup of Fang, Hope, and Lightning has all 6 roles covered.  
Hope knows most of the best Synergist abilities -- Haste, Bravery, Faith, and 
best of all the En- spells to instill an elemental attribute to weapons.  
Although he can't learn the more powerful Bravera and Faithra spells, the ones 
that he knows will generally suffice.  On the down side, his HP are the lowest 
of any character, but he also has the highest Magic stat.  Overall, if we're 
considering the portion of the game prior to the point where your characters 
move beyond their 3 primary roles, Hope seems to be the support member of 
choice.

Vanille -- After Hope, Vanille is your best support person.  Her strength is as 
a Saboteur, and when constant debuffing is necessary she is your go-to person. 
Vanille is a top-notch Medic, and she is the only character who can learn the 
Death spell, for which there is no substitute.  So, although I tend to use her 
less than I use Hope, she can be an invaluable member of your team.  Especially 
in the first few Missions where your support person is only doing attacks 
anyway, feel free to use Vanille and Hope more or less interchangeably.   

Snow -- Snow's best function is as a Sentinel.  He has more HP than any other 
character, and he draws enemy attacks readily.  In fact, his character is so 
obnoxious that even I want to hit him.  I call Snow off the bench when the 
battle calls for a dedicated Sentinel, but his modest Strength and Magic stats 
make him a poor candidate for a starter on the team otherwise.

Sazh -- In my initial version of this guide, I dismissed Sazh as essentially 
useless because of his ridiculously low base stats.  As I have learned more 
about the game, I reluctantly have to admit that there are times that he is 
useful.  Early in Chapter 11 (before you have Sprint Shoes for your 3 main 
party members), he is your best Synergist because he alone can cast Haste, and 
he also knows the other useful buffs (the En- spells, Bravery, and Faith).  So, 
for Missions 2, 4, and 6, he is your go-to guy for buffing.  Once everyone has 
Sprint Shoes, casting Haste becomes less important, making Hope a better choice 
because he can also act as a Medic and his higher Magic stat makes him a better 
Ravager.

Sazh's indisputable claim to fame is his unique Cold Blood Ability.  With it, 
he can hit an enemy more times in one turn than any other character can.  
Although each hit will do little damage, the number of hits per round is the 
most desirable trait when using the Random: Instant Chain ability, and it is in 
these situations where Sazh will be especially useful.  On at least one 
Mission, we will also make use of his particularly effective Blitz attack.  So, 
although Sazh will spend most of his time riding the pine, we will call him in 
to help when the situation warrants use of his particular talents.  

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*                                                                             *
*                       VI. Accessories and Weapons [A06]                     *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Although the game offers an incredibly wide assortment of accessories, I find 
that I can get by with a very few.  Here is a short list of the accessories 
that I recommend and the reasons that I use them.

Sprint Shoes -- For battles with a very short Target Time, these are absolutely 
indispensable.  They allow you to execute more actions in a fixed amount of 
time without making you take the time to case Haste, and their use does not 
lower the Target Time.  This allows you to finish those easy battles quickly 
enough to earn 5 stars. However, if the battle is going to take more than a 
minute or so, the effects of the Sprint Shoes will wear off before the battle 
is over, and you may need to cast Haste manually anyway.  (Geez -- whatever 
happened to Sprint Shoes that kept the wearer permanently in Haste?)  In these 
cases, you may have a better use for the Accessory slot.  The bottom line is 
that if the Target time is less than a minute, you should almost ALWAYS equip 
Sprint Shoes.  

For the record, you can get Sprint Shoes by upgrading and then dismantling 
Tetradic Crowns and Tetradic Tiaras.  I strongly recommend that as soon as you 
reach the Archylte Steppe, you take the one Tetradic Crown that you have in 
your inventory, max it out with a mere 1000 Exp and dismantle it.  You will get 
a pair of Hermes Sandals, which you can then convert to a pair of Sprint Shoes 
with a mere 600 Exp and an inexpensive Perovskite.  Equip them on Fang 
immediately and watch how much faster your battles end.  

You have two primary options for making Sprint Shoes early in Chapter 11.  As 
soon as you finish Mission 14, you can dig for Chocobo Treasure.  On your 5th 
and 10th digs, you will get a Tetradic Crown and a Tetradic Tiara which can be 
converted to Sprint Shoes.  Alternatively, you can repeat Mission 7 multiple 
times for Tetradic Crowns (common drop) and Tetradic Tiaras (rare drop).  The 
Mission 7 Ci'eth stone and the Mark are so close together that this is quick 
and relatively easy to do.  (Thanks to alert reader David Hay who reminded me 
of this source of Tetradic Accessories as well as the less expensive method for 
getting Sprint Shoes described above.)

For what it's worth, repeating Mission 7 is not a bad way to farm some gil.  
Including the time necessary to run to the Ci'eth Stone and back to accept the 
Mission and fight the battle, 2 minutes or so per cycle is about all the time 
necessary.  Each battle win guarantees you 5 Bomb Cores that can be sold for 
600 gil each, which is 3000 gil per battle for starters.  You also have chances 
for the Mark to drop Tetradic Crowns (15,000 gil each) and Tetradic Tiaras 
(40,000 gil each).  There are certainly gil-farming methods with higher gil-
per-hour production, but at this stage of the game, this really isn't that bad.
However, I digress -- back to Accessories.   

Morale Talisman and Blessed Talisman -- I almost always equip the Morale 
Talisman on Fang and the Blessed Talisman on my designated Magic-slinger. (The 
Morale Talisman is made by upgrading a Hero's Talisman, which you should have 
found in your wanderings.  It can also be purchased at Magical Moments for a 
paltry 5000 gil.)  For relatively short battles (under a minute or so) 
these accessories can be very helpful in lowering your battle time without 
lowering the Target time (see items 2 - 4 in Section VIII of this guide for 
more details.)  When I first began playing FFXIII, I remember being irked that 
the effects of these accessories wear off the same way that spells wear off. 
However, as I spent more time with the game I realized that since most battles 
are over quickly anyway, you will usually get the benefits of the Talismans for 
the entire duration of a battle.  Moreover, these accessories actually do more 
to boost attack power than stat-raising accessories such as Kaiser Knuckles do 
without the down side of decreasing Target time.  Let me give you an example.  

Suppose a character has a Strength stat of 1200, a fairly modest number after 
Oerba.  If you can somehow upgrade a Power Glove to Kaiser Knuckles (unlikely 
at this stage of the game), that accessory will boost your Strength by +300 to 
1500.  It will also decrease battle Target times by roughly 7%, but let's 
overlook that for now.  Replace those Kaiser Knuckles with a Morale Talisman, 
and your attack power is increased by a whopping 40%, effectively making your 
Strength 1680 WITHOUT altering the Target times!  Also, since the Talisman 
increases attack power by a percentage rather than a fixed amount, it actually 
becomes increasingly effective as your character powers up.  The down side, of 
course, is that the Bravery effect of the Talisman will wear off and can be 
removed by especially obnoxious enemies, but in general the Talisman is one of 
your best tools for boosting offense.   The bottom line is that we will usually 
be using these accessories, so it is worth your time and gil to make yourself a 
Morale Talisman or two and keep it (them) and the Blessed Talisman close by at 
all times.

Incidentally, in case this isn't obvious, if directions tell you to, "Have Hope 
cast Brave and Enfire on both Fang and Lightning," you clearly don't have to 
cast Brave on a character who is wearing the Morale Talisman unless, of course, 
it is late enough in the battle that the effect of the Talisman have expired.

Power Glove -- First of all, don't EVER waste 840,000 gil buying a Dark Matter 
to beef your Power Gloves up to Kaiser Knuckles.  The difference is only +50 
Strength, and you will get plenty of Dark Matters for free later on.  Likewise, 
do not buy Scarletites to upgrade Warrior's Wristbands to Power Gloves.  You 
will get plenty of Scarletites for free in Chapter 12.  

Strength-boosting Accessories are probably the most over-used Accessories in 
the game.  Until Stage 9 of the Chrystarium opens up, these can make a real 
difference in battle times.  When a character has a Strength stat of, say, 400, 
a +120 Brawler's Wristband provides a 30% increase, and a +180 Warrior's 
Wristband provides a 45% increase.  However, later in the game when a character 
has a Strength stat of 2000 for example, these increases shrink to 6% and 9%.  
Even a maxed out Power Glove (+250 Strength) would only provide a 12.5% 
increase.  Keep in mind that ANY increase in Strength (assuming that the 
character's Strength stat is higher than her Magic stat) is going to result in 
a corresponding decrease in Target Time, which is never a good thing.  My point 
is this:  The earlier in the game you are, the more benefit you are going to 
received from Strength-boosting Accessories.  However, once you have upgraded 
your weapons and filled out Stage 9 of the Chrystarium, you can probably find 
better uses for those Accessory slots.

If you still have your doubts about this, try this experiment.  Once you have 
Stage 9 mostly filled in for primary roles, and have upgraded your weapons to 
maxed out Tier 2, try a certain battle with and without stat-boosting 
Accessories and compare your scores (NOT battle times -- scores.)  You will see 
that there is very little difference.  For very short battles, you should see 
your scores actually go up, especially if you give your two non-leaders Aurora 
Scarves instead of stat-boosters.

Having said all of that, I alert you that you will encounter advice in this 
guide that contradicts this philosophy.  This will mostly be because I haven't 
found and corrected all of those contradictions.  All in good time.  

Weirding Glyph -- Use these or their earlier versions to boost Magic in the 
same way that Power Gloves are used to boost Strength.  For details, see the 
previous section on Power Gloves.

Aurora Scarf -- The Aurora Scarf can be a great assistance in battles with very 
short Target Times.  The Aurora Scarf is a cheap (350 Experience plus a 
Rhodochrosite) upgrade from the Whistlewind Scarves that you find along the 
way, and it gives the wearer a full ATB Gauge at the beginning of the battle.  
This means that one character can execute a full queue of attacks while 
everyone else is waiting for the ATB Gauge to charge.  As you can imagine, this 
can be a HUGE advantage.  Also, when paired with another Accessory or weapon 
with the ATB charge ability (such as Lightning's Axis Blade), it also acts like 
a Lite version of Haste, causing the ATB Gauge to charge faster.  Overall, for 
Target Times of a minute or less, the Aurora Scarf is a highly efficient way to 
get in more attacks per unit time without altering the Target Time.  However, 
don't waste an Accessory slot on the Aurora Scarf in battles in which you are 
going to get a Preemptive Strike, since you begin those battles with a full ATB 
gauge anyway.

Random Instant Chain Accessories -- These include Survivalist Catalogue, 
Hunter's Friend, Speed Sash, Energy Sash, and Champion's Badge.  Many of these 
items are rewards for completing Missions, some are found in Treasure Balls, 
and some can be purchased.  For more information on how these items are used, 
please refer to Section IX below. For now, just make a mental note not to sell 
any of these Accessories because we will be using them.

Black Belt/General's Belt -- In situations where you are using a dedicated 
Sentinel, it can be useful to equip him with a couple of these Accessories for 
additional protection against physical attacks.  They really aren't necessary, 
so I would avoid spending a lot of money upgrading them.  I certainly would not 
spend the 220,000 gil each to buy Adamantites to turn them into Champion's 
Belts.  A maxed out Black Belt offers 20% protection, meaning two of them give 
36% protection, which is plenty good enough.  (In case you're wondering how 
that math works, 20% reduction in damage means that you only take 80% of the 
original damage amount.  80% of 80% of the damage would be 64% of the original 
damage, which is a 36% reduction.)  The next Upgrade from a Black Belt is a 
General's Belt, which can be purchased for 12,000 gil, and a pair of General's 
Belts will provide 44% reduction in damage.  The best that you can hope to get 
from 2 maxed out Champion's Belts is 51% reduction, which really isn't worth 
the gil, especially since, as I mentioned before, you can do without these 
Accessories altogether.

Witch's Bracelet -- Witch's Bracelets reduces damage from Magic attacks the 
same way that Black Belts reduce damage from physical attacks.  They will be 
absolutely crucial to success in Mission 62, one of the most difficult Missions 
in the game.  However, we will use them to our advantage in Missions 47 and 64 
as well, so keep them on your radar.

Genji Glove -- You will win your first Genji Glove in Mission 51, and we will 
use it precisely thrice.  With the exception of the very toughest and longest 
battles, it is rare that you need to -- or have the opportunity to -- inflict 
more than 99,999 damage to an enemy with a single hit.  Most enemies will die 
long before you Stagger them, and even those that you Stagger will generally 
die very quickly after being Staggered even without the Genji Glove.  I will 
notify you when using this Accessory is appropriate, but otherwise leave it on 
the shelf and fill your slots with the above-mentioned accessories instead.

Gaian Ring (Upgrade from Clay Ring and Siltstone Ring) -- Defeating the big 
Turtles such as the one in Mission 63 is much easier when each team member is 
equipped with a maxed out Gaian Ring.  We will only use these Rings on this one 
Mission, but you will find them equally useful when you start farming turtles 
for Platinum Ingots, Trapezohedra, and Dark Matters.  You will get the 
necessary upgrading catalysts (Uraninite) from completing Missions 29, 30, 36, 
and 57, conserve these and you can avoid buying them for 45,000 gil each.  
There is also one in a treasure ball in Sulyya Springs, protected by the first 
group on the left as you enter the area from Atomos. 

Pain Deflector/Efflugent Cape -- Mission 54 will go a lot easier if you build 
yourself 3 maxed out versions of each of these.  These are upgrades from Pain 
Dampeners and White Capes, a few of which you will find in your wanderings.  
Others can be purchased for 3000 gil from B&W Outfitters.  Each Deflector gives 
60% protection from Pain, and each Cape gives 60% protection from Fog.  In 
Mission 54, this will be a huge plus.  No hurry making them -- we'll only use 
these Accessories once.     

That's really it!  Although we will tweak our equipment for certain battles, 
the short list above will be sufficient to earn all 5-star ratings.

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

Regarding weapons -- If you have studied FFXIII at all, then you are aware that 
upgrading weapons is one of the most expensive and time-consuming undertakings 
in the game, especially if you want maxed out Tier 3 weapons.  Let me assure 
you that in terms of 5-starring all of the Missions, you simply don't need Tier 
3 weapons.  In fact, in your attempts to 5-star all of the Missions, use of 
Tier 3 weapons can be counterproductive.  Allow me to explain.

We are all seduced by the incredible Strength and Magic boosts provided by Tier 
3 weapons.  However, the game designers went to great lengths to ensure that 
raw power alone would not be sufficient to master the battles in this game.  
Unless you get a Preemptive Strike, achieving a 5-star rating requires 
completing the Mission within a time frame of 70% of the assigned Target time.  
(If you get a Preemptive Strike, you can 5-star a Mission as long as your 
battle time is no more than 92% of the Target time.)  

If you use Tier 3 weapons, you can clearly complete most battles in less time, 
but that does not necessarily facilitate a 5-star rating.  It turns out that 
you pay a double penalty for using a Tier 3 weapon.  First, the extra Strength 
(or Magic) added by the upgraded weapon will always reduce the Target time. 
While it is not strictly true that doubling your attack power cuts the Target 
time by half, this is a pretty good approximation, especially for longer 
battles.  However, a less well-known formula in the game lowers the Target time 
by an additional 7% (or so) based on the addition of another ATB segment.  That 
is, the Target time for a battle in which each team member uses a Tier 3 weapon 
and has 6 ATB slots is roughly 7% less than it would be if each team member had 
a Tier 2 weapon with identical stats and only 5 ATB slots!  This assessment is 
slightly misleading because there is a third factor to consider.  It turns out 
that this decrease in Target time is roughly offset by the fact that each ATB 
slot fills about 15% faster when a Tier 3 weapon is equipped than when a Tier 2 
weapon is equipped.  I'm sure that you can see that the math gets rather 
complicated quickly!  My point is that those huge Strength and Magic increases 
that you get from Tier 3 weapons ultimately don't make nearly as much 
difference in your battle ratings as you might initially think. 

One of my goals in writing this guide is to make the strategies accessible 
without forcing the gamer to spend hours raising gil to purchase or upgrade 
exotic equipment.  No technique described in this guide requires any weapon to 
be upgraded beyond Tier 2.  Upgrading weapons to Tier 2 takes a little time and 
effort, but compared to making Tier 3 weapons, this effort should be minimal. 
You should be able to 5-star all 64 Missions without having to spend countless 
boring hours grinding for gil or CP.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                     VII. The Importance of Libra [L07]                      *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

When fighting a new and powerful enemy, always remember to Libra the enemy 
first.  Since you are only able to control the Leader of the party, the actions 
of the other two members are more or less random unless they have specific 
intel on the enemy's weaknesses.  For example, an enemy may be weak to Fire but 
absorb Water.  Before using Libra, your team may unwittingly cast Water spells 
since they don't "know" any better.  Once you scan the enemy with Libra (or a 
Librascope), though, they will use the best spells -- in this case, Fire-based 
ones -- thus optimizing the attack.  Likewise, if an enemy is weak to a debuff, 
your team will prioritize that spell as soon as it has been determined to be a 
weakness.  If an enemy is immune to a spell, your team won't waste time casting 
it.

If you aren't sure how much intel you have on an enemy, you can always hit the 
R1 button during battle to see what is known.  If your teammates' AI seems to 
defy logic, check and see how much information you have about the enemy.  Libra 
takes a few seconds to execute, but on difficult enemies it is always time well 
spent for it helps you optimize your attack. 

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                      VIII. A Couple of Quick Tips [T08]                     *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

1.  This may seem really obvious, but unless the Mission battle is very close 
    to its corresponding Ci'eth Stone, always use the Save point that is 
    closest to each Mission battle before attempting the battle.  That way, if 
    you don't get 5 stars on your first try, you can start again from the Save 
    point rather than having to hike all the way back to the Ci'eth stone.  
    Always assume that you are going to have to try the battle more than once.

2.  You need to become proficient at sneaking up on enemies for a Preemptive 
    Strike (PS).  A PS leaves all enemies at 95% Stagger for a period of 10 
    seconds, making most enemies very easy to finish off.  This is especially 
    useful if the enemy is difficult to Stagger or has a lot of HP or both.  
    When a Mission strategy depends on a PS, I will try to give you some 
    guidance on how to obtain a PS in that particular battle, but generally the 
    method is the same. You need to approach an enemy slowly from outside the 
    field of vision of all enemies in the battle so that you engage any one 
    enemy without being detected.  If there is just one enemy, this is usually 
    not that difficult, but if you are approaching a team of 5 or 6 enemies, a 
    PS can be tricky to achieve.  Often (but not always), use of Deceptisol 
    before battle will gain you an automatic PS, but if you can duplicate my 
    setups and results, use of Deceptisol should never be necessary.

3.  Remember that getting a 5-star rating is all about how your battle time 
    compares to a Target time.  For most battles, the magic number is 70%.
    That is, to earn a 5-star rating (without getting a Preemptive Strike), 
    your battle time must be no more than 70% of the Target time.  (If you get 
    a Preemptive Strike, that 70% figure climbs to almost 93%.)The calculation 
    of the Target Time involves a lot of variables, but you should be aware 
    that for each team member, only the larger of the two attack power numbers 
    (Strength and Magic) is one of these variables.  For example, if a 
    character has Strength = 2000 and Magic = 1500, the 1500 will be ignored 
    and the 2000 will be used to determine Target time.  The higher that number 
    is, the lower the Target time is.  However ...

4.  Bravery and Faith increase damage without changing Strength or Magic stats 
    and therefore do not affect Target times!  The tradeoff is that it takes 
    time to cast these spells.  Therefore, buffing your characters is generally 
    counterproductive if the Target time is especially low, but can often help 
    you win a higher star rating if the Target time is high (say, a minute or 
    more.)  

5.  Likewise, Haste gives you more actions per unit of time but does not factor 
    into the calculation of Target time.  This is why Sprint Shoes are your 
    best accessory for short battles.  In longer battles, Haste is almost 
    always beneficial but you are going to have to spend some time casting it.  
    However, I would be very reluctant to spend the time casting Haste if the 
    battle is about to end anyway.

6.  Another item that will increase the number of actions per unit of time is 
    Lightning's Axis Blade/Enkindler.  When equipped along with specific 
    Accessories such as Sprint Shoes and Aurora Scarf, this weapon will 
    actually reduce ATB charge time noticeably and give Lightning more actions 
    per minute.  To see what I mean, equip Lightning as described above, put 
    her as the team leader, and watch how fast her ATB Gauge charges!  The 
    tradeoff is that this weapon boosts Strength by less than some more obvious 
    choices (such as the Lionheart/Ultima Weapon), but it more than compensates 
    by giving Lightning more hits.  Since this is a synthesized ability, it 
    lasts for the duration of the battle and cannot be removed by enemy actions 
    the way that Haste or Bravery can.  On the down side, promoting this weapon 
    to Tier 2 requires an Adamantite which can only by purchased for an 
    exorbitant 220,000 gil.  Even so, this weapon should be another of your 
    tools for increasing damage without reducing Target time, thus facilitating 
    5-star ratings.

7.  Remember that Ravagers make the Stagger gauge rise more quickly but 
    Commandos generally do more damage per unit time.  If your enemies are    
    going to die before or immediately after they are Staggered anyway, you 
    want to use Ravagers less and Commandos more.  Use Ravagers against enemies 
    that, for one reason or another, need to be Staggered.  However, remember 
    that a Chain Gauge that is elevated but doesn't reach the Stagger point 
    will still result in increased damage.  For example, if the Stagger point 
    is 200, pushing the Chain Gauge up to 150 won't Stagger the enemy, but it 
    will cause each attack to do 50% more damage.     

8.  Finally, remember that although Commandos cause the Stagger gauge to rise 
    more slowly than Ravagers, their attacks also stabilize the gauge by making 
    it fall more slowly when you stop attacking to heal, buff, or debuff.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                     IX. Random Instant Chain (RIC) [R09]                    *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Back in Section VI (Accessories) I made reference to this ability, but I 
didn't really explain it.  Random Instant Chain is a very useful "passive" 
ability that will facilitate 5-starring several Missions, so let's take a 
moment to examine what it is and how it works.

Certain combinations of equipment will give your characters the ability to fill 
the Stagger Gauge of some enemies immediately.  To impart this ability to a 
character, you need to equip that character with at least two items (two 
Accessories or one Accessory and a weapon) from the following lists:

Accessories: Survivalist Catalogue, Hunter's Friend, Speed Sash, Energy Sash, 
and Champion's Badge.

Weapons:  Hauteclaire*, Durandal*, Lionheart, Ultima Weapon, Rigels*, Polaris 
Specials*, Procyons, Betelgeuse Customs, Unsetting Sun*, Midnight Sun*, 
Alicanto*, Caladrius*, Heavenly Axis*, Abraxas*, Taming Pole*, Venus Gospel*.

******************************************************************************
*                                                                            *
*  Special Note:  You will observe that the vast majority of these weapons   * 
*  (those marked with a *) inherently have the seemingly contradictory       * 
*  "Stagger Lock" ability.  This means that although you can fill an enemy's * 
*  Stagger Gauge when this weapon is equipped, you cannot actually Stagger   * 
*  him.  The actual Staggering must be accomplished by a team member who is  * 
*  NOT hampered by the Stagger Lock ability.  Thus, when trying to employ    * 
*  the RIC ability, you will never Stagger your enemy if all 3 team members  * 
*  are equipped with weapons that have the Stagger Lock ability.  That is,   *
*  make sure that at least one team member is actually able to Stagger the   * 
*  enemy.                                                                    *
*                                                                            *
******************************************************************************

So, for example, if Fang is equipped with the Venus Gospel as a weapon and has 
a Survivalist Catalogue in one of her Accessory slots, she will have this 
ability.  When you are on the Equipment screen, look at the list of "Passive 
Abilities" on the right and you should see the words, "Random: Instant Chain."

Interesting observation -- A character equipped with RIC gear doesn't even have 
to attack an enemy to fill its Stagger Gauge.  You can get an RIC by casting 
debuffs on an enemy as well!

The probability that RIC will work on any given hit is low (0.5%), but since 
each character executes multiple attacks per round, it works far more quickly 
than that 0.5% figure leads you to believe.  In fact (quick math lesson):  If 
each of 3 team members attacks 5 times per round, the probability of an Instant 
Chain in one round of attacks is 1 - 0.995^15 or about 7%, which doesn't 
sound that bad!  Here is a table of values for the probability of RIC working 
as a function of the number of hits landed.

****************************** *
* # of hits  |  Probability    *
*------------------------------*
*       10   |      4.9%       *
*       20   |      9.5%       *
*       40   |     18.2%       *
*       60   |     26.0%       *
*       80   |     33.0%       *
*      100   |     39.4%       *
*      120   |     45.2%       *
*      140   |     50.4%       *
*        n   | 100*(1-.995^n)% *
********************************
          
Notice that as the number of hits increases, the probability of success 
approaches 100%.  Although many battles are over in just a couple of rounds, 
longer battles (like some Missions) will go many rounds.  Hitting the target 
over 100 times happens more often than you might think.  Since more hits means 
more chances of succeeding with RIC, you want to maximize the number of times 
that you hit the enemy in each round to get the quickest possible Instant 
Chain.  This naturally suggests two characters' special abilities:  Lightning's 
Army of One (which hits 11 times per turn) and Sazh's Cold Blood (which lands a 
whopping 17 hits per turn.)  Personally, I have had very limited success 
getting a RIC with Lightning's Army of One attack. It almost seems as if each 
turn counts as 1 hit instead of 11.  I say this because it has often taken 30 - 
40 rounds or more to get RIC to hit.  I will let you be the judge here, but 
there will be no Missions in which I recommend using Army of One to get a RIC.  

This leaves Sazh as the undisputed King of Random Instant Chain.  However, this 
does not mean that he is always the best choice when this method is needed.  
Although Sazh lands a lot of hits, he lacks attacking power.  He is a good 
choice for battle in which you need a very quick Stagger and the enemy has 
relatively few HP to shave off once it is Staggered. However, if the length of 
time it takes to fill the Stagger Gauge is less important than what you do once 
it is filled (for example, with an enemy with lots of HP that you need to kill 
in one Stagger), your best option is generally to have a stronger team (i.e., 
include Lightning instead of Sazh) and have multiple allies equipped for RIC.

Please note that when RIC hits, it does not Stagger the enemy -- it only fills 
the Stagger Gauge completely.  The next hit after the one that fills the Gauge 
should Stagger the enemy unless, of course, the character that does so is 
equipped with a weapon that carries the Stagger Lock ability.

Random Instant Chain doesn't work on any enemy whose level is 50 or above, but 
when it does work, it is a nifty ability that can make a seemingly impossible 
battle manageable.  In fact, since my default weapons for Fang and Lightning 
are both Random Instant Chain weapons (Venus Gospel and Ultima Weapon) and 
require only one additional RIC item each to activate this ability, I often 
keep an RIC Accessory equipped on them pretty much all the time.  This will 
generally just mean equipping each with one less Power Glove, but as I've 
mentioned multiple times, this will increase the Target time while providing 
that chance -- however small it may seem -- of filling the enemy's Stagger 
Gauge instantly.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                       X. Managing Your Gil and CP [C10]                     *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

When you first arrive in the Archylte Steppe early in Chapter 11, you may be 
prepared mentally to undertake Missions, but your team is likely to be ill-
prepared to confront these tough enemies at this point.  Thus, I strongly 
recommend that you spend an hour or two farming CP before proceeding. Although 
CP farming can be tedious and is generally a poor use of your time in FFXIII, 
this is one of only a couple of places in the game where it makes a certain 
amount of sense.  There are two main reasons for this.  First, you are going to 
want that boost in stats before proceeding with the storyline anyway.  Second, 
these stat boosts will allow you to 5-star many Missions early in Chapter 11, 
thereby preventing you from having to go back and re-attempt them later.  This 
will save you considerable time, especially considering that many of these 
early Missions involve significant amounts of travel.  

Having accepted the idea of dedicating some time to farming CP, the following 3 
questions naturally arise:  

1.  How much CP should you farm before proceeding?
2.  Where should you spend your CP once you have earned it?
3.  Where can you earn maximum CP in minimum time with minimum tedium?

Before proceeding with the storyline, you will probably want to nearly fill 
out Stage 8 of the Chrystarium, but for undertaking Missions you can certainly 
get by with less.  My advice is to find the role in which each character gets 
an additional Accessory slot and move towards that point in the Chrystarium as 
directly as possible.  While you are doing so, you will get lots of good 
upgrades in attacking power and HP, and that extra Accessory slot will give you 
the opportunity to further improve your characters' readiness for battle.  Once 
each character has that third Accessory slot, you should be strong enough to 
proceed.  Any further CP you amass can be directed towards earning that fifth 
ATB slot.  The ATB slot is highly desirable because adding that 5th slot makes 
each ATB slot fill roughly 20% faster, sort of like a weaker version of Haste 
except that it cannot be Dispelled.  You should also consider developing Fang 
as a Saboteur until she learns Deshell -- it will come in handy in Mission 7.   

When you finally fill out Stage 8, I would advise you to resist the temptation 
to develop secondary roles for your characters.  The CP cost is simply too high 
compared to the increases in stats, and you will be able to get much better 
returns on your investment towards the end of Chapter 11 when Stage 9 opens up. 
The new nodes in Stage 9 will require roughly 1.2 million CP to activate, so 
the more CP you have saved up for the event, the better.

This leaves the question of where to farm your CP.  The traditional choices are 
the Behemoth King that lopes around the southeast area of the Steppe (4000 CP), 
and the Behemoth King/Megistotherian combination at the northern area (6600 
CP).  Both of these are guaranteed Preemptive Strikes, and to win these battles 
you mostly need to be strong enough to finish the Behemoth King in one Stagger. 
Doing so when you first arrive is easier said than done, but feel free to 
attempt these battles if you wish.  I find that fighting the exact same battle 
over and over again gets very monotonous very quickly.

My personal choice is to proceed into the Mah'habara cave at the northern end 
of the Steppe as if you were continuing with the storyline.  There you will 
meet basically two enemies -- Hoplites (mechanical guards) and Cryohedra 
(bombs).  The former are weak against Thunder, and the latter are weak against 
Fire.  Since Sazh is your best Synergist at this point, make him the leader 
and have Fang and Lightning both act as Commandos. Have Sazh act strictly as a 
Synergist, first casting the appropriate En- spell on both Commandos before 
adding Haste and, if necessary Bravery, and watch how fast those enemies go 
down!  These battles will yield anywhere from 1500 CP to over 5000 CP, and most 
are over in just a few seconds. As a plus, it is very easy to get Preemptive 
Strikes on most of these battles, especially when approaching from the other 
direction (going towards the Archylte Steppe) because the enemies' backs will 
be towards you and Hoplites are not what I would call overly perceptive.

When you first get to the Steppe, you may be too weak to take on the Cryohedra. 
I suggest that you follow the main path until you alert the Boxed Phalanx. You 
don't want to fight him yet because he is definitely too tough for you at this 
point.  However, alerting him will cause the 4 Hoplites you just fought to 
respawn.  Fight you way back to the Save Point, spend your CP(prioritizing new 
Accessory and ATB slots), and Save.

When you get a bit stronger, you can venture into the branch to the right after 
alerting the Boxed Phalanx.  After defeating the 5 Hoplites in the dead-end 
room, there is a Juggernaut behind Door #3, and you really don't want to fight 
it yet.  However, walk up to the door, skip the animation, and, when the battle 
begins, choose Retry.  When the screen reloads, the Juggernaut will be gone but 
the 5 Hoplites will be back for you to slaughter again.  Repeat until you get 
bored, then backtrack to the Save point just past the first set of Hoplites.  
When you get back to the Save Point, cash in your CP, Save, and repeat.  At the 
very least, I would continue this process until all 6 characters have earned a 
third Accessory slot and an additional ATB segment.  You can do this in an hour 
or two tops, and you'll be surprised at how much stronger and better prepared 
for the challenges ahead your characters will be.

Although this method may (or may not) yield fewer CP per hour than the 
traditional options, there is a big advantage to fighting Hoplites and 
Cryohedra -- they drop Components that are actually worth using.  You will 
quickly accumulate Solenoids, which you can either use to upgrade equipment or 
sell for 420 gil each.  You will also get several Bomb Cores (which sell for 
600 gil each) from the Cryohedra.  Behemoth Kings, on the other hand, drop 
nothing of value.  Thus, fighting Hoplites is quicker and easier (especially 
when you first arrive in the Steppe) and also addresses your needs for both CP 
and gil.

Here is a quick example.  When my team got strong enough to beat the Boxed 
Phalanx, I made a round trip from the Save Point to the left branch, fought the 
5 Hoplites, did a Retry on the Juggernaut battle to reset the Hoplites, fought 
my way back to the branch, turned left and fought the Boxed Phalanx, and fought 
my way back to the Save Point.  This round trip took me just under 12 minutes.  
The battles yielded 47,670 CP, and the combined value of the items dropped was 
8340 gil.  The CP gains are roughly equivalent to fighting the Behemoth 
King/Megistotherian combination 7 times, meaning that to earn the same CP per 
hour you need to be able to win those battles in 1:40 cycles (don't forget to 
include the time that it takes to reset the battles!)  Even if you can match 
those times, you would not get anywhere near the gil that you can earn in the 
cave (remember that the scarcest commodity in FFXIII is gil).  Moreover, since 
you are constantly moving and fighting different battles, the battles in the 
cave don't seem nearly as repetitive.  
  
Speaking of gil, while you are in Oerba, you should repair Bhakti and receive 
items worth roughly 500,000 gil!  This is a good time to upgrade a couple of 
weapons.  You can certainly build maxed out Tier 2 weapons for Fang, Hope, and 
Vanille.  Building a weapon for Lightning now is optional, as you may want to 
wait until early Chapter 12 when you find her Lionheart.  Snow doesn't really 
need a weapon upgrade (since we use him mostly as a Sentinel), and Sazh doesn't 
have many good options for weapons, so he can wait also.  Upgrading weapons is 
very expensive and is therefore a significant commitment.  Before undertaking 
this, I encourage you to refer to the following FAQ which does an excellent job 
of outlining the advantages and disadvantages of each weapon:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/ps3/928790-final-fantasy-xiii/faqs/59331

I will summarize for you my weapon choices, but keep in mind that these are 
personal preferences and that you should feel free to make your own decisions. 
(I would like to give credit to Drogan13, who authored the above FAQ from which 
I got the information below.)

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

Fang -- Taming Pole -- Yes, it carries the dreaded "Stagger Lock" ability, but 
it also has the RIC ability, at least until it reaches Tier 3.  This means that 
you can endow the RIC ability on Fang while tying up only one of her Accessory 
slots.  At +921 (!) boosts to both Strength and Magic, this one is hard to 
resist for your best offensive character.

Lightning -- Blazefire Saber -- It has no special abilities, but neither does 
it have any liabilities.  The Lionheart is a good choice, with its RIC ability, 
but at Tier 2 it lags the Blazefire Saber by 110 points on both Strength and 
Magic.  Also, the Blazefire moves up to Tier 2 with an inexpensive Perovskite 
instead of a more expensive (before Chapter 12) Scarletite.  This is a close 
call, but generally I get impatient and upgrade the Blazefire Saber so that I 
can use it in Chapter 11.

Vanille -- The Belladonna Wand is the most natural choice for Vanille.  It 
gives your best Saboteur improved debuffing, and at Tier 2 it boosts her magic 
by +335.  Don't think too hard on this one -- just do it. 

Hope -- Hawkeye -- The catalyst for Tier 2 is again a cheap Perovskite, and 
maxed out at Tier 2 it boosts Hope's Magic by +506.  It carries no adverse 
abilities and seems a pretty obvious choice.

Sazh -- ?????? -- This is a tough one because almost all of Sazh's weapons have 
liabilities.  Sazh has two weapons with the RIC ability, and since RIC is his 
primary offensive function, I looked there first.  The Rigels are no good 
because they have Stagger Lock which, paired with Fang's Taming Pole, make it 
too hard to Stagger an enemy.  The Procyons only give boosts of +94 Strength 
and +49 Magic at Tier 1, and promoting to Tier 2 requires a ridiculously 
inaccessible Dark Matter.  One option is to max out the Procyons at Tier 1 and 
just leave them there, accepting the reality that Sazh doesn't do much damage 
anyway.  Unfortunately, for Mission 60 you are going to want for Sazh to be 
able to do some damage.  This might push you towards the Denab Duellers.  They 
have no adverse abilities and upgrade pretty easily to Tier 2 with a 
Perovskite.  Max them out and get +373 Strength and +636 Magic, which is pretty 
good.  The down side is that to equip Sazh with the RIC ability, you'll have to 
use two of his Accessory slots for RIC Accessories.  Then again, with the stat 
boosts these guns provide, Sazh won't need Strength or Magic boosting 
Accessories so much.  It's a tough call, and I'll leave it up to you.

Snow -- Paladin -- The Paladin is the obvious choice for Snow.  It gives 
him the Improved Guard ability, which reduces damage by 8% when he acts as a 
Sentinel, his usual role.  If you upgrade this weapon to Tier 2, you can up 
this damage reduction to 16% (!)  In any Mission in which he is a Sentinel, 
this can be helpful.  However, since we don't want to increase Snow's Strength 
or Magic stats any more than necessary (since this would decrease the Target 
Times), upgrade this weapon to Tier 2 and then STOP.  Don't add any more 
Experience than necessary.

We now return you to your originally scheduled programming . . .

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

One specific step that you can take to conserve gil is to never EVER buy 
Scarletites.  Each Scarletite costs 100,000 gil, but if you can wait until you 
get to Eden, you will fight enemies that drop them rather generously, and you 
can get as many as you need for free.  So, when upgrading your Strength 
Accessories, hold off upgrading your Warrior's Wristbands to Power Gloves and 
your Sorcerer's Marks to Weirding Glyphs.  You can easily get by without doing 
this last Upgrade, and you will be grateful later on when you need that gil for 
other purposes.  Perform these upgrades when the Sacrifices that you will fight 
in Chapter 12 drop some Scarletites for you.

When you complete the events in Oerba, Stage 9 of the Chrystarium becomes 
available to you.  Unless you squandered your CP on developing secondary roles 
for your characters, you should have a good savings account of CP to spend. I 
would advise you to use your CP to max out Stage 9 -- prioritizing the paths 
that lead to each character's special attack, e.g. Vanille's Death spell -- and 
then undertake some Missions (see Section XI below) before proceeding with the 
story line.  You will get some additional CP in the normal process of pursuing 
these Missions, but if you feel the need for more immediate gratification, you 
can always return to the Northern Highplain of the Archylte Steppe and fight 
the Behemoth King/Megistotherian combination ad nauseum for 6600 CP per battle.
By now, these battles should be quick and easy.  Since you are going to max out 
the Chrystarium LONG before you satisfy your need for gil, you probably want to 
spend a minimum amount of time farming CP, but this is the one other time prior 
to the end of the story line where it makes a certain amount of sense.  The 
stat increases that you will get from Stage 9 should get you through the end of 
the game when Stage 10 opens up.

As you fight your way through Chapter 13 on your way to the game's end, you 
will find yourself nearing your maximum capacity for CP, which is 999,999.  
Since you have maxed out Stage 9 Chrystarium for all of your characters' 
primary roles, you are faced with a dilemma here.  If you don't spend your CP, 
you are going to exceed your storage capacity and basically lose the use of 
some CP that you've earned.  However, once Stage 10 opens up after the final 
battle, you are going to be able to get much more bang for your buck spending 
your CP there rather than developing secondary roles.  Here's my advice.

Try to keep a reserve of about 750,000 - 800,000 CP as you fight through 
Orphan's Cradle.  If your CP total gets above 900,000 or so, spend about 
100,000 of them on secondary roles.  Item 10 in the next section will give you 
some advice about prioritizing secondary roles to develop.  Mostly, just keep 
your CP total below 900,000 so that you don't lose any hard-won CP.

Once Stage 10 opens up, you are going to need roughly 700,000 CP to fill out 
each primary role for each character.  If you look at the nodes that you are 
activating, you will find that the vast majority of Stage 10 CP go towards 
increasing HP.  Each character will get a little added Strength, a little added 
Magic, and a bunch of HP.  Oh, yes -- and one more very important ability -- an 
extra Accessory slot.  So, when you start spending all that stockpiled CP, be 
sure to locate for each character the one primary role that has a node for a 
new Accessory slot and fill out that role first.

You are now in the same situation that you were in Post-Oerba.  You are ready 
to take on new Missions, but you need a lot of CP to fill out your Chrystarium. 
Since you're mostly just getting HP from the Chrystarium anyway, I advise you 
to avoid farming CP and go directly to the Missions.  Again, you will get CP 
fighting your way to the Marks and fighting the Marks themselves, and you avoid 
fighting the same enemy over and over again, which get boring.  And repetitive.
And repetitive.  And boring.  You get the idea.  Just keep your Growth Egg 
Equipped, and you will be amazed at how quickly Stage 10 fills in for you.

Before embarking on postgame Missions, you are probably going to need some gil 
To finish upgrading weapons and Accessories.  There are certainly plenty of 
ways to earn gil now, but I usually march through Eden to Leviathan Plaza and 
back again.  On the way, you can beat up on the following enemies:  Sacrifices 
(who drop Perfumes at 12,500 each and Scarletites at 7,000 gil each); Sanctum 
Inquisitrix (who drop Credit Chips at 500 gil each and Perfumes); and Sanctum 
Celebrants (who drop Credit Chips and Incentive Chips at 2500 gil each).  You 
probably want to avoid fighting the Juggernaut, but if you lure him out of his 
hallway, you can get past him without a fight.  Alternatively, he is pretty 
easy to Preemptively Strike.  The run takes a while, but it is a not-so-boring 
way to earn the gil that you will want for Upgrading weapons.  With the Growth 
Egg equipped, a round trip can net you roughly 150,000 CP and over 100,000 gil.
By using my Bhakti proceeds sparingly and avoiding the purchase of Scarletites, 
I had enough resources after one such run to do finish all 5 weapon upgrades as 
well as upgrade all of my Warrior's Wristbands and Sorcerer's Marks.

By the way, doesn't it irk you that Scarletites sell for 100,000 gil each 
earlier in the game, and now you have an overabundance of the things and can 
only sell them for 7,000 gil each?

Anyway, when you return to the Archylte Steppe, you will find that you are now 
prepared to beat the two Adamanchelids (big turtles with no tusks) that are 
guarding Treasure Balls, each of which contains a Gold Nugget worth 60,000 gil. 
If you need help beating them, look up Mission 33.  There is also a third 
Treasure Ball containing a Gold Nugget on a hill just above one of these 
Adamanchelids.  And, of course, if you are feeling really tough, you can start 
trying to farm Platinum Ingots from the big turtles with tusks, but you are 
probably going to need a Genji Glove before you can do that very efficiently, 
and you won't get one of those until you complete Titan's Trials.

Once you max out Stage 10 Chrystarium for all 6 roles for all 6 characters, you 
can sell off your hard-won Growth Egg for 250,000 gil! 

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                      XI. Sequencing the Missions [S11]                      *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

The first Mission becomes available when you arrive at the Archylte Steppe in 
Chapter 11.  From then until the end of Chapter 13 (and beyond!) you can 
undertake Missions.  Many Missions can be 5-starred more or less immediately, 
while others are better postponed until your team is stronger.

You must complete Missions 21 - 26 to advance the storyline, and you definitely 
want to complete all Missions that activate Waystones before moving far beyond 
the areas in which they reside.  On my first run through the game, I was 
unaware of the importance of activating the Waystones, and after completing the 
events in Oerba I wanted to return to the Archylte Steppe to fill out the Stage 
9 Crystarium.  Believe me when I tell you that it was a LONG walk back and that 
I'll not make that mistake again!

The following guidelines are not set in stone, but here is how I recommend that 
you proceed:

1.  When you first reach the Archylte Steppe, spend some time accumulating some 
    CP as described in Section X.  I CANNOT OVEREMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF 
    THIS!  This should give you enough oomph to complete Missions #1-17 and 
    earn 5-star ratings on every one of them.  Missions #15 and 16 might be 
    iffy at this point, but 5-star ratings on them is definitely doable. 

2.  Prioritize making 3 sets of Sprint Shoes. You have at least two choices for 
    how to accomplish this.  One possibility, as described earlier, is to farm 
    Mission 7 for Tetradic headwear.  Alternatively, once you have completed 
    Mission 14 and can use chocobos, you can ride around the Archylte Steppe 
    long enough to do 10 successful digs.  You will get a Tetradic Crown on 
    your 5th dig and a Tetradic Tiara on your 10th dig, and you already got a 
    Crown for defeating Cid Raines.  Either way, you may need to buy some 
    Perovskites to complete the upgrades.  Feel free to sell off all of your 
    Bangles, which you won't be needing any more.  Believe me when I tell you 
    that no single item will make your life easier than having a set of Sprint 
    Shoes for each active team member.

3.  Continue with the storyline and complete Missions #18-26 inclusive as you 
    encounter them.  All of these either activate Waystones or advance the 
    storyline.  Again, if you took my advice and farmed some CP, you should be 
    able to 5-star all of these Missions now.  You are going to want to skip 
    Mission 27 for now -- you simply don't have the HP to survive it -- but do 
    Mission 28 when you get to Oerba to activate the Waystone there.  You 
    should have no trouble 5-starring it.

4.  Repair Bhakti and upgrade some weapons as outlined in Section X of this 
    guide.  After you beat Barthandelus, go to the rooftop of the schoolhouse 
    in Oerba to initiate Mission 55.  Then use the Waystone in Oerba to warp 
    back to the Archylte Steppe.  This is a good time to spend all of your 
    stockpiled CP (as per the guidelines in Section X) and to upgrade 
    Accessories, being as miserly as possible with the gil you made in Oerba.  
    Remember that it is not wise to buy Scarletites to upgrade Warrior's 
    Wristbands and Sorcerer's Marks.  

5.  Saddle up a chocobo and ride up to Aggra's Pasture to tackle Mission 55 in 
    hopes of earning a Growth Egg.  It won't be easy, but it is definitely 
    possible.  Once you have your Growth Egg, you can work on five-starring any 
    Missions on which you originally got less-than-perfect ratings from 
    Missions #1-17. 

6.  If you failed to 5-star any of the Missions in Taijin's Tower, return there 
    now and 5-star them.  If you want some money to upgrade accessories, you 
    can do Mission 24 ad nauseum while you are there.  If you do return to 
    Taijin's Tower, be sure to congratulate yourself for having the foresight 
    to activate the nearby Waystone, thus avoiding the tedium of walking all 
    the way there. 

7.  I would advise you to leave the rest of the Missions until postgame, at 
    which time you can complete them pretty much in numerical order.  I can 
    tell you from personal experience that it is entirely possible to 5-star 
    all of the Missions in Chapter 11 (with the possible exception of Mission 
    64).  However, there is generally little need to, and they are considerably 
    less frustrating when you have more HP and more abilities.  When you 
    complete Chapter 13 and Stage 10 of the Chrystarium becomes available, you 
    should have nearly a full 999,999 CP stockpiled.  Spending these should max 
    out all of your characters in at least 1 of their 3 primary roles.  This 
    will give you the extra HP and other stat boosts necessary to 5-star most 
    of the remaining Missions.  Also, if you conserved your money as 
    recommended, the gil that you accumulated in Chapters 11 and 12 should be 
    enough to build a maxed out Tier 2 weapon for each of your 4 primary 
    characters which will also speed up future Mission battles.

8.  Missions 51 and 62 - 64 inclusive are designated as "Late Postgame" 
    Missions, which means that 5-starring them is easier if you have those 
    extra few HP and abilities obtained by developing secondary roles.  Mission 
    51 can be completed with only minor additions to your existing abilities 
    and HP, and doing so will earn you a Genji Glove.  Once you have a Genji 
    Glove, you should consider doing some farming of the Big Turtles to earn 
    some gil (from Platinum Ingot drops) and CP (at 80,000 per victory) to fill 
    out your Chrystarium.  This can be done either in the Archylte Steppe or by 
    repeatedly battling the one Big Turtle in Leviathan Plaza of Edenhall.

9.  Be aware that when you complete Missions 56 - 62 inclusive, all of the 
    relatively docile Big Turtles except two will be replaced by the much 
    stronger Long Guis and Shao Long Guis.  Therefore, if you still have turtle 
    farming to do, you should postpone completion of at least one of these 
    Missions.    

10. Since maxing out a character's 3 secondary roles requires a total of 
    roughly 7 million CP, it is likely that when you get to the last 3 Missions 
    your Chrystarium will not yet be completed.  Be sure to read the strategies 
    for these Missions to see the particular abilities and equipment 
    recommended for undertaking these especially challenging battles so that 
    you spend your CP from the "Early Postgame" Missions wisely.  As of this 
    writing, the following are suggested as your priorities in developing 
    secondary roles:
    
    a.  Fang as a Ravager for Missions 51 and 63.
    b.  Sazh as a Medic for Mission 54.
    c.  Fang as a Synergist for Missions 62 and 63.  This can also expedite 
        Mission 51.
    d.  Vanille as a Sentinel for Mission 64.
    e.  Snow as a Saboteur for Mission 64.
    f.  Lightning as a Saboteur for Mission 63.
    g.  Snow as a Medic for Mission 64.
    h.  Fang as a Medic for Mission 64. 

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                  XII. Numerical Listing of Missions [N12]                   *
*                                                                             *
*  To access a specific Mission, simply search by the 2-digit Mission number  *
*  preceded by the letter "M".  Thus, to go directly to Mission 8, search     *
*  for M08.                                                                   *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

                            IMPORTANT -- PLEASE READ!

The following descriptions of how to 5-star individual Missions will be based 
on the sequencing described in Section XI above.  That is, I attempted Missions 
#1-26 before reaching Oerba and after I had spent some time farming CP as 
described in Section X.  These are categorized as "Early Chapter 11" or 
"En Route to Oerba." Missions #28 and 55 were undertaken after Oerba, hence the 
name "Post-Oerba." All other Missions were attempted postgame.  Postgame 
Missions are divided into two categories -- "Early Postgame" and "Late 
Postgame."  Here are quick descriptions of default equipment and approximate 
Crystarium advancement for each of these 4 categories:

Early Chapter 11/En Route to Oerba -- All characters have attained Level 3 in 
all 3 primary roles and each character can equip 3 Accessories.  Each 
character is equipped with a non-upgraded Tier 1 weapon.  (Since all base 
weapons are more or less the same -- except for passive abilities -- it makes 
little difference which weapons you choose.)  As previously described in 
Section VI, one of these Accessories for Fang is a pair of Sprint Shoes.  
Otherwise, Accessory slots were generally filled with Blessed Talismans, Morale 
Talismans, Brawler's Wristbands, Warrior's Wristbands, Shaman's Marks, or 
Sorcerer's Marks, depending on what Accessories I found and could afford to 
upgrade.  These battles require only abilities available through Crystarium 
Stage 8 in each character's primary roles.

Post-Oerba -- All characters are equipped with non-Upgraded Tier 1 weapons and  
Sprint Shoes.  Strength Accessories have been upgraded to Warrior's Wristbands, 
and Magic Accessories have been upgraded to Sorcerer's Marks.  Stage 9 
Crystarium is partially filled in, and any CP gained is applied toward 
advancing characters' primary roles.  These battles require only abilities 
available through Crystarium Stage 9 in each character's primary roles. 

Early postgame -- Maxed out Tier 2 weapons on all characters and Stage 10 
Chrystarium mostly or completely filled for all characters' primary 3 roles.  
Strength Accessories have been upgraded to Power Gloves, and Magic Accessories 
have been upgraded to Weirding Glyphs.  These battles require only abilities 
that accompany each character's primary roles (well -- except for Mission 47. I 
cheated a little on that one.) 

Late postgame -- Accessories are the same as early postgame.  Maxed out Tier 2 
weapons on all characters and Stage 10 Chrystarium nearly filled for all 6 
roles for all 6 characters.  This is only a requirement on 4 Missions (#51, 62, 
63, and 64).  Mission 51 is only in this list because Fang needs abilities that 
are not available in her primary 3 roles.  

Finally, please keep in mind that Target times are approximate and will vary 
depending on where you are in the Chrystarium and what equipment you are using. 
However, the usual standard applies -- to 5-star a Mission, your battle time 
must be no more than 70% of the Target time without a PS and no more than 92% 
of the Target time with a PS.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*           A Couple of Notes About Ci'eth Stone and Mark Locations           *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

It was my original intention to give detailed directions to each Ci'eth Stone 
and Mission battle location, but ultimately I decided that we could make do 
with less verbiage.  A general map of all the Stone locations can be found at:

http://dl.gamesradar.com/photos/ffxiii_ciethstone_map_large.jpg

This map is sketchy at best, but it will provide a good starting point.  
Remember that you can always use the game's map (accessed by pushing the Square 
button) to help you.  The Ci'eth Stone markers that are PULSING show the 
locations of stones that activate Missions you have not yet completed.  The 
markers that are lit up SOLID represent stones for Missions that you have 
already completed.  

Once you undertake a Mission, a star will show up on your map.  This star sort 
of gives you the location of the Mark, but you have to take this information 
with a grain of salt.  If the Mark is in an entirely different area of Pulse, 
the star basically just shows you the DIRECTION that you need to go.  For 
example, the Ci'eth Stone for Mission 3 is in the Archylte Steppe, but the 
battle itself takes place in the Yaschas Massif, many screens away.  The star 
will appear at the EXIT that you will need to take from the Archylte Steppe to 
reach the Yaschas Massif.  Once you exit from the Steppe, the star will show up 
on the new map to indicate the general direction in which you need to proceed.  
When in doubt, follow the star and/or read the directions I will give you.

Overall, I figure if you can find the Stone to activate a given Mission, you 
should be able to find the battle itself.  Therefore, I'll give you some basic 
directions to the Stones (labeled, "Finding your way") and rely on you to use 
the map to find the actual battles.

OK -- Let's get started!

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                        Mission 01 -- Ectopudding [M01]                      *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Stone for Mission 1 is right in front of you when you 
first enter the Archylte Steppe.

Unlock condition -- Arrive at Archylte Steppe.

Reward (First Win) -- Energy Sash

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 3

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11.

The Problem -- Physical attacks aren't as effective as Magic.

The Good News -- He is very easy to Preemptively Strike.  You can 5-star this 
Mission right away.  

Times -- Early Chapter 11 Target Time is about 30 seconds.  With a PS, I 
finished him off in 6 seconds flat for an easy 5-star.

Paradigms

     *************************
     *  Fang *  Van  * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- It isn't very hard to get a Preemptive Strike, and with a PS you 
can 5-star him without changing equipment or pushing the limits of the timer.  
Walk a big circle around him, just outside of his radius of detection, so that 
you are directly behind him.  As long as you do not show up on his radar, he 
shouldn't rotate or move.  If you can do this without being detected, you can 
just walk up behind him for a PS.  If you get detected, just engage the Mark 
and then Retry.  If you are really lucky, he will be facing away from you when 
the screen reloads and you can just walk (or run) up behind him for a PS.  If 
you are less fortunate and he is not facing directly away from you, stay 
immobile and wait.  Often he will turn away from you and give you a chance to 
PS him.  Once you get your PS, the rest is easy.

If you are having trouble getting him in a favorable position when the screen 
reloads, try engaging him from different directions and see if that doesn't 
affect his position relative to you.

For what it's worth, this is a decent place to earn gil early in Chapter 11. 
Every time that you win this battle (after the first time), you will get 3 Bomb 
Shells, which sell for a combined 1260 gil.  This entails spending a certain 
amount of time running back and forth to activate and then complete the 
Mission, but the gil production is 100% dependable if a tad slow. 

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                 Mission 02 -- Uridimmu (+ 4 Gorgonopsids) [M02]             *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Stone for Mission 02 is right next to where you fought 
Mission 01.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 01.

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11.

Reward (First Win) -- Cobaltite

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 3

The Problem -- Crowd control.  All enemies are capable of inflicting Poison, 
but who really cares?  

The Good News -- The Gorgonopsids will go down quickly, allowing you to focus 
on the Uridimmu.

Times -- Target time was just under a minute.  Once I beefed up my characters a 
little, I completed this in about half that.

Paradigms

     *************************
     *  Sazh *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************               
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Start with #1 and have Sazh cast Enfrost and Haste on both 
Commandos.  Uridimmu is immune to Ice spells, but you can still damage him with 
an Enfrosted weapon.  The girls will Blitz away the Gorgonopsids while Sazh is 
buffing.  Switch to #2 and finish off the Mark with time to spare.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                           Mission 03 -- Ugallu [M03]                        *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Stone for Mission 03 is right next to where you fought 
Mission 02.  However, the next six Missions are NOT located in the Archylte 
Steppe.  After activating Mission 03, take the southern exit from the Steppe -- 
the one through which you first entered the Steppe near the Stone for Mission 
1. From there, follow the star to locate the Mark.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 02.

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11.

Reward (First Win) -- Platinum Bangle

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 3

The Problem -- Extremely short Target time necessitates a Preemptive Strike.  

The Good News -- You can -- and should -- get a PS without Deceptisol.

Times -- Early Chapter 11 Target time was 0:42.  Once I got the PS I was able 
to finish him off in one Stagger and 5-star the Mission in 22 seconds.


Paradigms 

     *************************
     *  Fang *  Hope * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- To get a PS, approach him from his right (the side with the 
Waystone, NOT the side with the Save Point.)  Walk very slowly, all the way up 
against the side of the ledge and you should be able to sneak up to his 
backside for a PS.  From my experience, this method of getting a PS is 
virtually foolproof -- my success rate on this is pretty much 100%.  Once you 
get a PS, your Commandos will do the rest.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                   Mission 04 -- Adroa (x4 + Verdelet x2) [M04]              *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- Your next Ci'eth Stone is in the same clearing where you 
fought Mission 03.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 02.

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11.

Reward (First Win) -- Pearl Necklace

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 3

The Problem -- You start with a total of 6 enemies to take out.  If you don't 
take these guys out fast enough, they will Summon other enemies for you to 
fight, including the Ugallu that you just fought in Mission 03 (who has about 
as many HP as the other 6 enemies combined). 
 
The Good News -- Even if the marks summon a Ugallu, you can 5-star the Mission 
without a PS.

Times -- Target time was around 1:48.  Even with no PS and having to kill of 
the Ugallu, I flattened them all in around a minute.

Paradigms

     *************************
     *  Sazh *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************

The Battle -- This is a perfect example of a Mission that is MUCH easier after 
you boost your stats a bit.  Before farming CP in Chapter 11, you have to be 
very lucky to eliminate all 6 enemies before one of them can Summon.  With the 
boosts from Stage 9 Chrystarium, it's a snap.  Moral -- invest the time and 
effort necessary to beef up your characters before undertaking the Missions.  
It is time well spent.

You can get a PS about 50% of the time by just jumping up onto the ledge and 
running up behind an enemy.  If you do, there is a very good chance that you 
can avoid dealing with a Summoned enemy, so you might want to give this a try.  
Whether you go for a PS or not, start with #1 and have Sazh cast Haste and 
Bravery on both Commandos while they Blitz their way through the masses.  
Quickly switch to #2 to get Sazh involved in the fray.  Somewhere in here, 
there may be a successful Summon, but don't let that bother you.  When 
there is just one penguin left, switch to #3 so that all 3 team members attack 
it.  When it is dispatched, return to #1 and have Sazh cast Enfrost on both 
Commandos, since Ugallu is weak against Ice.  By the time you do this and 
return to #2, Ugallu should be history.

After the battle, don't forget to open the Treasure Ball, which contains 2 
nuggets of Millerite.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                          Mission 05 -- Edimmu [M05]                         *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Stone for Mission 05 is the one that you passed on the 
way to Mission 04 (lower level, near the Save Point.)

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 03.

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11.

Reward (First Win) -- Sorcerer's Mark

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 5

The Problem -- The enemy hits quickly with status ailments such as Poison, 
Imperil, and Deprotect.  He evades physical attacks very effectively.
 
The Good News -- Magic seems to hit him reliably, and his HP total is low 
enough that he doesn't last long.

Times -- Early Chapter 11 Target time was 1:40.  That was a minute more than I 
needed.

Paradigms

     *************************
     *  Van  *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Med  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- First, remove any Accessories that increase Strength.  You won't 
be using physical attacks, and these will only reduce the Target time.  You can 
give your Magic-boosting Accessories to Fang and Lightning since Vanille won't 
be attacking.  Remember to Libra this Mark so that you don't waste time on 
physical attacks that will miss.  Starting with #1, have Vanille spam Imperil 
and Deshell (Deprotect isn't an issue, since you won't be using physical 
attacks.)  Once she sticks both of those, switch to #2 and have her heal while 
Fang and Lightning attack.  I 5-starred the Mission without ever making Vanille 
attack.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*              Mission 06 -- Munchkin Maestro (+4 Munchkins) [M06]            *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stone for Mission 06 isn't on your map yet. 
Backtrack towards where you fought Mission 04.  When you get to the group of 3 
Munchkins, you will see a path to your left.  Follow that path to the end, and 
you'll find the Stone for your next Mission.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 03.

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11.

Reward (First Win) -- Fulmen Ring

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 3

The Problem -- Five enemies to eliminate.
 
The Good News -- Four out of 5 have very few HP and will go down quickly.  They 
are usually clustered close enough to each other that Blitz will damage 
multiple enemies.

Times -- Target time was 54 seconds.  I took them out in 22 seconds.

Paradigms
     
     *************************
     *  Sazh *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- You will notice that by default you target the Maestro last in 
this battle.  That is because if you kill off the Maestro first, one of the 
Muchkins will "Rise to Power" and take his place, thus prolonging the battle. 
Therefore, make sure that you wipe out the Munchkins before attacking the 
Maestro.  

All enemies are weak against Ice, so have Sazh cast Enfrost and Haste on both 
Fang and Lightning before switching to #2 for all-out attack.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                          Mission 07 -- Bituitus [M07]                       *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Stone for Mission 07 is in the ruins just past the Save 
Point and the Stone for Mission 06.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 03.

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11.

Reward (First Win) -- R&D Depot

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 5

The Problem -- The enemy moves fast, effectively evades physical attacks, and 
slaps a bunch of pesky status effects (Poison, Deshell, Deprotect, and, worst 
of all, Daze) on your entire team.  A Preemptive Strike is not possible.  

The Good News -- Deshell can increase the effectiveness of your Magic attacks.  
His Daze wears off pretty quickly.

Times -- Target time (with equipment adjustments made) was a generous 2:36.  I 
was able to take him down in 45 seconds. 

Paradigms
     
     *************************
     *  Van  * Light *  Fang *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Com  *  Com <------- OR Sab (see text)
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #3 *  Med  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************


The Battle -- You will notice that as soon as you accept this Mission, all 
other enemies in the area disappear.  Use this opportunity to collect the 2 
Treasure Balls on the upper level while they are unprotected, one of which 
contains a Whistlewind Scarf.  After the battle, you can access another 
unprotected Treasure Ball in the lower area near where you fought the Mission 
battle.  This one contains a Rhodochrosite, which, perhaps coincidentally, is 
precisely the catalyst necessary to upgrade the Whistlewind Scarf you just 
found into an Aurora Scarf.

Remove all Strength-boosting Accessories and give Fang and Lightning Magic-
boosting Accessories and Blessed Talismans instead.  Vanille won't be attacking 
much, so you can equip her with Rune Bracelets for defense. Be sure to Libra 
the Mark right off to avoid attempting fruitless physical attacks.  If Fang has 
learned Deshell, set her up as a Saboteur in Paradigm #1.  This basically 
doubles your chances of sticking Deshell on the Mark, which will greatly 
expedite the process.  

Before your team has a chance to act, the Mark will hit you with Miasma, which 
inflicts some combination of Deprotect, Deshell, Poison, and Daze on your 
entire team.  There is no sense in trying to heal these afflictions, since the 
Mark will recast them regularly, so I advise you to just live with them or, in 
the case of Daze, wait for it to wear off.  However, these debuffs make your 
team very vulnerable to the ensuing attacks, so be sure to watch your health 
meter carefully.

Have Vanille (and Fang, if she has learned Deshell) spam Deshell for a round or 
two.  If it doesn't stick after two rounds, move on to #2.  You can win this 
battle without Deshell, but if Deshell sticks, the battle goes much faster.  
Stick with #2 for no more than 2 more rounds before switching to #3.  The 
combined effects of Poison and the attacks on your vulnerable team are going to 
be steadily sapping your team's HP, so you have to be proactive about healing.  
If the Mark lives long enough to perform Levinbolt (which he usually does after 
6-7 rounds), your team may have trouble surviving if you are not near full HP.  
Switch between #2 and #3 as necessary to stay alive while blasting the Mark 
with enough Magic to finish him off.  Once you learn how to survive, you will 
almost certainly earn the 5-star rating.

Once you get enough gear to make Sprint Shoes for everyone, this battle is MUCH 
easier. Of course, to get the Tetradic headwear you need to make Sprint Shoes, 
you need to win this battle repeatedly, so this is one of those chicken-and-egg 
situations.   

If you haven't already done so, please read my suggestion in Section VI about 
farming this Mission for Tetradic Crowns and Tetradic Tiaras to make two more 
pairs of Sprint Shoes. Mission 13 in particular is going to be MUCH easier if 
you do this now.  Once you have 3 sets of Sprint Shoes, you might want to 
rotate Sazh back to the bench and replace him with Hope, who is a much better 
Ravager and Medic than Sazh.
  
*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                    Mission 08 -- Rakshasa (+ Flans x3) [M08]                *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- Use the Mission 06 Stone to teleport (you only have one 
possible destination at this point).  From there walk back toward the Vallis 
Media Base Camp.  You will see the next Ci'eth Stone on the left just where the 
path splits.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 05.

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11.

Reward (First Win) -- Collector Catalog

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 3

The Problem -- If you don't kill the Flans quickly enough, they will merge into 
a Dire Flan, which will take you much longer to terminate.  The battle is a 
LONG ways from a Save Point or the Ci'eth Stone, meaning that if you complete 
the battle but fall short of a 5-star rating, it will take a while to attempt 
it again.
 
The Good News -- The Mark itself is little or no threat to you.

Times -- Early Chapter 11 time (with equipment adjustment) was 1:22.  I 
finished them all off in 53 seconds (4 seconds to spare!)

Paradigms

     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light * 
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Again, Hope won't be attacking all that much, so I took off one 
of his Magic-boosting Accessories to nudge the Target time up a few (4) 
seconds.  For me, this made the difference between a 4-star rating and a 5-star 
rating.  If you worked Mission 7 enough to make Sprint Shoes for everyone, you 
should have plenty of time even with Hope's Magic boosted.

Rakshasa mostly debuffs you with spells like Deprotect, but you should have 
enough HP that it isn't an issue.  Your only worry is that two of the Flans 
(with 28,800 HP each) will merge into a Dire Flan with 169,200 HP.  You simply 
won't have enough time to 5-star the Mission if that happens, so if the Flans 
successfully merge, Retry the Mission.  Oddly, the Flans only seem to merge 
when their HP get low.  If you leave them alone and don't hit them, they won't 
merge.  Of course, you can't leave them alone because you need to take them out 
to complete the Mission.  My point is that you need to give full attention to 
any Flan that is getting low on HP, because that is when it is likely to try to 
merge.  

Have Hope case Enfire on both Fang and Lightning.  I have Lightning as a 
Commando so that she will do maximum damage with her Enfired weapon.  Remember, 
though, that two Commandos will always attack different targets if possible.  
Switch to #2 so that Hope can help out with the attack for a turn or two.  When 
there is just one Flan left, one Commando will attack it and the other one will 
attack the Mark.  When this happens, go back to #1 and cast Enthunder, first on 
whoever is attacking the Mark and then on the other Commando when she finishes 
with the Flan.  Then return to #2 so that Hope can help finish off the Mark.

Completing Mission 8 gives you access to a handy Waystone near the Vallis Media 
Base Camp.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                       Mission 09 -- Kaiser Behemoth [M09]                   *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stone for Mission 09 is back in the Archylte 
Steppe, on your left against the mountain wall just after you enter the area.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 04.

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11.

Reward (First Win) -- Rhodochrosite

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 3

The Problem -- Besides disabling your Magic with Fog and Dispelling your buffs, 
his Hurl attack flings one member of your team into the air, taking her out of 
the attack for several crucial seconds.  Like most Behemoths, when his HP get 
down to about half, he will stand up, heal all of his HP (and then some!) and 
become much more powerful.  
 
The Good News -- With a little practice, you can get a Preemptive Strike and 
finish the Mark off before he heals himself.

Times -- Early Chapter 11 Target time was 2:34.  With a PS, the Mark went down 
in 11 seconds.

Paradigms
                                 
     *************************     
     *  Fang *  Hope *  Van  *                    
******************************                
* #1 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Com  *                
******************************               

The Battle -- The whole trick here is getting that PS.  Once you accomplish 
that, the rest of the battle is pretty automatic.  Historically, my problem has 
been finding a repeatable way to get a PS.  Initially, I didn't even think that 
a PS was possible, but an alert reader with the colorful name "Wazzy" -- who 
clearly is far more persistent than I am -- wrote and informed me that a PS is 
indeed possible in this Mission.  This motivated me to pursue the matter 
further, and for the next year or so, I don't think any Mission has generated 
more mail for me than this one.  Readers sent me descriptions on how to get a 
PS on this Mission, but I could never make their methods work reliably.  
Finally (January 2012), I received an email from Derek Tower who accurately 
described what I'm sure everyone else was trying to tell me all along.  I got 
Derek's method to work about half the time, which represented a major 
improvement over my earlier efforts.  However, in investigating his strategy, I 
came across one that worked for me every single time.  It is that method that I 
present to you here, although I must give credit where credit is due and say 
that without Derek's suggestion, I never would have discovered this.

Start by getting rid of the two nearby Gorgonopsids so that you don't 
accidentally initiate battle with them at an inopportune moment. 

The Behemoth is originally positioned with his back to the pond, facing away 
from the water.  You will not get a PS while he is standing there because there 
is insufficient room behind him to engage him without being detected.  What you 
need to do is get him to move into a position that will allow you to approach 
him from behind undetected.

To the Mark's left (your right as you face the water), there is a small ridge 
that runs more or less perpendicular to the water's edge.  Go over there close 
to the water and jump up onto the ledge with the Mark.  Move until he detects 
you (look for the (!) above his head).  As soon as this happens, immediately 
jump back down from the ledge.

For now, STAY WHERE YOU ARE!  The mistake that I made in the past was trying to 
run around behind him too soon.  Just stay put and be patient.  Rotate the 
camera so that you can keep a careful watch on what the Mark is doing.  
Eventually, the (!) will go away, and the Behemoth will settle into a new 
position.  This will take about 10 - 15 seconds, and you will know that he is 
settled in when you see him standing in place roaring.  More often than not he 
will be essentially facing you, but, from my experience, he rarely returns to 
his initial position with his back to the pond.  That is, he will almost 
certainly be in a position that will allow you to get a PS.  Simply run a WIDE 
path around him (wide enough that you are not on his radar) until you are 
directly behind him.  In my experience, this never caused him to move, as long 
as I stayed off his radar.  Once you are DIRECTLY behind him, simply walk 
towards him from behind for a PS.  

I tried this probably 20 times in a row, and this method worked for me every 
single time.  There is pretty much no way to go wrong as long as you stay put 
until the Mark settles into his new position and you stay off his radar from 
then on.

Completing Mission 9 gives you access to the Waystone that you will probably 
use most often, located near the southern entrance to the Archylte Steppe.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                       Mission 10 -- Ambling Bellows [M10]                   *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stone for Mission 10 is very near where you 
fought Mission 09, a little to the southeast at the base of a hill surrounded 
by Flans.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 05.

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11.

Reward (First Win) -- Superconductor x 4

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Thrust Bearing x 3

The Problem -- Um, he's ugly?  Seriously, he poses you very little threat at 
all.
 
The Good News -- It is fairly easy to get a Preemptive Strike and 5-star this 
Mission early on.

Times -- Early Chapter 11 Target time was 1:22.  My team took him down in less 
than 40 seconds.


Paradigms 

     *************************
     *  Fang *  Hope * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- This Ambling Bellows appears alone and is very easy to PS.  

When you first engage him, he will probably be facing you and you probably 
won't get a PS.  However, when you Retry the battle, he will be turned sideways 
and you should get an easy PS.  From there, even a modestly powerful team can 
5-star this Mission with a quick Stagger, Launch, and beat-down using only 
Paradigm #2.  A somewhat more elegant approach is to start with #1 and have 
Fang Deprotect and Deshell the Mark before switching to #2 to finish it off. 
For me, this cut the battle time roughly in half, but either way you should be 
able to 5-Star this Mission easily.  Of course, if Fang hasn't learned these 
debuffs yet, this strategy isn't for you.   

Since the PS is the key, keep Retrying until the Mark is positioned favorably 
for a PS and the rest is more or less automatic.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                         Mission 11 -- Adroa (x6) [M11]                      *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stone for Mission 11 may not show up on your map 
because you probably haven't explored there yet.  It is north and east of the 
Mission 10 battle, in a foggy area inhabited by Behemoths and Gorgonopsids.  As 
you return to the large open area after Mission 10, just follow the left wall 
and you'll get there.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 05.

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11. 

Reward (First Win) -- Frost Ring x 2

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 3

The Problem -- Crowd control issues, especially if they call for 
reinforcements.
 
The Good News -- Each Adroa only has 21,600 HP, and a couple of good Blitz 
attacks will take them out.  A Preemptive Strike is quite easy to achieve.

Times -- Target time was 1:26.  With a PS, I wiped them out in 12 seconds.  
Even without a PS, the battle only took 18 seconds, but a PS is so easy, why 
not use it? 


Paradigms 

     *************************
     *  Fang *  Hope * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- To get a PS, engage the enemies and then Retry.  When the screen 
reloads, you should have an Adroa directly in front of you and facing towards 
you.  For me, he always turned away within a couple of seconds, allowing me to 
engage him from behind for an easy PS.  My success rate on this was very nearly 
100%. Once you get the PS, your Blitzing Commandos will finish them off tout de 
suite.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                           Mission 12 -- Geiseric [M12]                      *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stone for Mission 12 is the flashing symbol that 
appears to be on a peninsula just a bit southwest of your last battle.

Unlock conditions -- Complete Missions 05 and 07.

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11.

Reward (First Win) -- Royal Armlet

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 5

The Problem -- He has over 700,000 HP and hits pretty hard.  Preemptive Strike 
is not possible.
 
The Good News -- He is easy to debuff and is inherently weak to most elemental 
Magic even without Imperil.  All in all, he Staggers very easily and has a very 
generous Target Time.

Times -- Early Chapter 11 Target time was 4:30 (!)  I finished him off in one 
Stagger in 1:10.


Paradigms

     *************************
     *  Fang *  Van  * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Sab  *  Med  *
******************************
* #2 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Geiseric is a big, slow lug with a bunch of HP.  Although many of 
his attacks do a lot of damage to your whole team, they are few and far 
between.  Best of all, once you get him Launched, he can't do you any harm.

No one is going to attack him physically, which would normally suggest getting 
rid of all Strength-boosting Accessories.  However, when I did that, Fang 
didn't seem to have the Strength to Launch him, leaving him on the ground to 
wreak havoc with my team's HP.  Thus, I advise spreading out the Magic-boosting 
Accessories to everyone, but keep at least one Strength booster on Fang.  It's 
not like the Target time is going to be an issue here.

Start with #1 and have Fang spam Slow while Vanille tries to stick Deprotect 
and Deshell.  You probably don't really need any of these debuffs, but you have 
the time, so why not cast them?  Switch to #2 and watch how quickly you can 
Stagger him!  If you are fighting him early in Chapter 11, stick with #2 for a 
full round after he is Staggered to push up him Stagger Gauge a bit, allowing 
your Commandos to do more damage.  Switch to #3 to finish him off quickly while 
he is Launched and you're home free.  

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                Mission 13 -- Goblin Chieftain (+ Goblin x3) [M13]           *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stone for Mission 13 is at the base of a large 
hill, just northeast of the "peninsula" where you found the Stone for Mission 
12.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 12.

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11.

Reward (First Win) -- Cobaltite

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 4

The Problem -- Combined, the 4 enemies have a lot of HP to deplete.
 
The Good News -- They tend to cluster, so Blitz damages multiple enemies.  
Their attacks really don't put you in any danger.

Times -- Target time was 2:20, giving me 1:38 to 5-star the Mission.  It took 
me 1:30.

Paradigms 

     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Goblins work very much like the Munchkins in Mission 6.  If you 
take out the big one first, one of the smaller ones will "Rise to Power" and 
prolong the battle unnecessarily. Moral:  Take out the little guys first.  
Happily, they are the default targets.

You will find this battle to be a WHOLE lot easier if you went to the trouble 
to make yourself 3 sets of Sprint Shoes.  If you didn't, you can still 5-star 
it, but the time will be a bit closer.  I tried this battle many different 
ways, but I got the fastest time from the most direct method.  Have Hope give 
Bravery to the Commandos (I assume that he already has Faith from a Blessed 
Talisman), then switch to #2 and fight.  Don't stop to rebuff, and don't try to 
second-guess the Auto-Battle.  The time is close, but you can certainly 
complete the Mission now, even if you have to come back later to 5-star it.

For what it's worth, if you Retry the fight you might get an advantageous 
position for a Preemptive Strike, thus further expediting an already manageable 
battle.  I don't advocate this because your success doesn't depend on a PS, and 
I was only able to make this work maybe one time out of 10.  It can happen, but 
it certainly isn't the easiest way to 5-star this relatively simple Mission.

Before moving on, you might want to consider doing Mission 17 now.  The Ci'eth 
Stone is very close to your current location (it is near the entrance to 
Mah'habara and should be flashing on your map), and the battle itself is only 
slightly out of your way, so you can save yourself a little bit of hiking by 
undertaking this Mission now.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                 Mission 14 -- Sahagin (x2 + Certosaur x2) [M14]             *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The next Ci'eth Stone is on the south side of a small lake 
in the northern part of the Steppe, just south of where you fought Mission 13.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 13.

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11.

Reward (First Win) -- Gysahl Reins (Use of Chocobos)

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 3

The Problem -- Four total enemies and a short Target Time.  Sahagin can cast 
Slow.  A Preemptive Strike seems very unlikely.
 
The Good News -- None of these guys call for reinforcements.

Times -- Target time was 51 seconds.  It took me half that.

Paradigms

     ************************* 
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *                
******************************                

The Battle -- First of all, Save before you enter this new area.  Once you 
enter the clearing, you will automatically be thrown into the Mission battle. 
Of course, you can always Retry if you need to set up your Paradigms, but you 
cannot Save until after the battle.

Considering the reward for this Mission (access to chocobos), you would expect 
a tough battle here, but in fact winning this battle is a breeze.  All of the 
enemies are weak against Fire, so have Hope cast Enfire on the two Commandos 
before switching to #2 and attacking like crazy.  You should have plenty of 
time

You can now use chocobos to traverse the huge Archylte Steppe, which is 
definitely appreciated after all of the running around that you had to do to 
complete the first 14 Missions!

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                Mission 15 -- Goblin Chieftain (+ Goblin x6) [M15]           *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Stone for Mission 15 is on top of a hill just northwest 
of the lake in the southeast portion of the Steppe.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 12.

When to undertake -- Immediately after the events in Oerba.

Reward (First Win) -- Survivalist Catalog

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 4

Note:  If you are so inclined, there is no reason that you cannot undertake -- 
and 5-star -- this Mission before departing for Oerba.  The strategy is as 
described below, and the Target time will be around 3.5 minutes.  Your buffs 
will run out, and the battle will seem to last forever, but the Target time is 
generous enough that you should be able to 5-star it.

The Problem -- A lot of enemies to eliminate.  If they spread out, you can't 
Blitz them and have to deal with them one at a time, which takes time that you 
may not have.  The battle is long enough that you may lose your Haste.
 
The Good News -- In postgame, this is a breeze.  Immediately after Oerba, it is 
close.  A Preemptive Strike is possible if you are willing to Retry multiple 
times.

Times -- Before going to Oerba, Target Time was 3:45, and the battle took me 
less than 2 minutes.  Right after Oerba, the Target time is about 110 seconds 
and you can do this in about a minute.

Paradigms

           Before Oerba                                    After Oerba 
     *************************                     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *                     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************                ******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Com  *      OR        * #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************                ******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *                * #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************                ******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************

The Battle -- Remember (from Mission 13) that you need to kill off the Goblins 
first, but the AI will take care of this for you.  Since this battle runs a bit 
long, it is worth bringing Hope in as a Synergist.  Open with #1 and have Hope 
cast Bravery on both Fang and Lightning and then Faith on himself. While he's 
doing this, your Commandos will be doing some serious damage.  When everyone 
has one buff, switch to #2 and attack until only the Goblin Chieftain remains. 
Since he has a lot of HP, I recommend switching to #3 to Stagger him before 
returning to #2 to finish him off.

If you undertake this Mission immediately after returning from Oerba, you may 
find that it is faster to Stagger each Goblin individually, using the second 
set of Paradigms listed above.  In this case, trade one of Lightning's Power 
Gloves for a Weirding Glyph and have Hope cast Faith on her instead of Bravery. 
My times for the two methods were pretty close to the same, but the enemy 
forces seemed to be reduced faster (thus causing less damage to my team) using 
the second method.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*               Mission 16 -- Sahagin (x2 + Ceratoraptor x 4) [M16]           *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Stone for Mission 16 is atop a hill in the Eastern Tors 
of the Archylte Steppe.  It looks as if the entrances to this area are blocked 
by big Turtles, but you can get past them without incident.  The Stone can be 
accessed without a chocobo.  While you're up there, walk around until you get 
introduced to Cactuars, and be sure to open the two Treasure Balls, which 
contain a Cactuar Doll and a Clay Ring.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 12.

When to undertake -- Immediately after the events in Oerba.

Reward (First Win) -- Rhodochrosite

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 4

The Problem -- Total pandemonium.  Each Ceratoraptor will almost immediately do 
a "Courtship Dance" which summons a Certosaur.  That makes a total of at least 
10 enemies to take out.  Remember that Sahagin can cast Slow, something that 
you really don't need in a battle this hectic.
 
The Good News -- The Ceratoraptors stagger easily, and the Certosaurs go down 
easily with Blitz.  Best of all, all enemies are weak against Fire.

Times -- Before going to Oerba, the Target Time was nearly 4 minutes.  I died 
several times before somehow wiping out all the enemies in 46 seconds.  After 
Oerba, the Target Time was just over 2 minutes.  Even taking time to heal, I 
managed to 5-star it in 1:05.

Paradigms
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Med  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
****************************** 

The Battle -- This battle is long enough that it is worth using Hope as a 
Synergist.  Open with #1 and have Hope cast Brave and Enfire on both Fang and 
Lightning.  This will really increase the damage that they can do to the Fire-
vulnerable enemies with each hit.  Have Hope give himself Faith before 
switching to #2 and healing while Fang and Lightning thin the population.  When 
things get manageable, switch to #3 and let Hope help finish off the 
stragglers.

As mentioned above, before Oerba I had trouble with this, getting overwhelmed 
by the sheer number of enemies.  When I was finally victorious, I think that I 
got lucky and didn't have to endure many "Courtship Dances." My point is that 
if you have trouble with this Mission, be patient.  Give it a couple of Retries 
and things should go your way.  Remember that the Target Time is fairly 
generous, so even though the battle seems to take forever, it is relatively 
easy to 5-Star this Mission once you learn to survive.  If anyone dies, you may 
want to Retry since dead allies -- and for some mysterious reason, their 
equipped weapons -- lose their buffs and you probably won't have the 
opportunity to rebuff.  Moral:  Err to the side of caution and you will be 
victorious. 

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                      Mission 17 -- Pulsework Champion [M17]                 *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Stone for Mission 17 is just outside the entrance to 
Mah'habara, the cave where we farmed CP when we first got to the Steppe.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 12.

When to undertake -- Early Chapter 11.

Reward (First Win) -- Perfect Conductor x 3

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Piezoelectric Element x 4

The Problem -- You can't do much damage until he is Staggered, and he is hard 
to Stagger.  His attacks can knock you down and take you out of the fray for 
several seconds.
 
The Good News --  It is pretty easy to get a Preemptive Strike.  Once he is 
Staggered, he goes down quickly.

Times -- Early Chapter 11 Target time was 1:15.  With a PS, my team took him 
down in 22 seconds for an easy 5-star.

Paradigms  

     *************************
     *  Fang *  Hope * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #2 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Fighting this guy straight up, it just takes too darned long to 
Stagger him.  I got my best results starting with #1 until he was Staggered 
before finishing him off with #2, but it took around 40 seconds -- too long for 
a 5-star rating.  With a Preemptive Strike, he went down in 13 seconds.  Moral: 
If you want to 5-star this Mission, you will need a Preemptive Strike.

To get a PS, you want a situation where his side or back is towards you and he 
begins to move away from you.  Walk up behind him and you're in.  Don't move 
when he is facing you or he will see you.  If he starts chasing you, engage him 
and Retry again because you won't get a PS.  With a little practice, you can 
get a PS almost every time.  Once you do, just stick with Paradigm #2, and he 
will go down in a hurry.

Completing this Mission will activate the Waystone at the north edge of the 
Archylte Steppe at the cave's entrance.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                Mission 18 -- Ambling Bellows (+ Hoplite x4) [M18]           *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The next Ci'eth Stone is in the Mah'habara cave on the way 
to Oerba.  It is on a platform with a couple of Hoplites, tucked away in a 
corner behind some (boxes? machinery?)

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 12.

When to undertake -- En Route to Oerba

Reward (First Win) -- Sorcerer's Mark

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Piezoelectric Element x 4

The Problem -- You start with 5 enemies, and Ambling Bellows hits really hard 
and can call other Hoplites to join in.  Really low target time makes this one 
tight but doable.
 
The Good News -- The Mark is susceptible to Pain.  The Ci'eth Stone is very 
close, so if your battle takes too long, it is relatively quick and easy to try 
it again.

Times -- Attempting this on the way to Oerba, my Target time was 2:02, giving 
me 1:25 to 5-star it.  With a little practice, I consistently beat him in under 
a minute.

Paradigms

     *************************
     *  Van  *  Fang * Light * 
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *                
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #4 *  Med  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************

The Battle -- It would be really nice if you could get a PS on this one, but I 
was never able to do so.  Instead, we have to do a straight-up fight and take 
advantage of the Mark's weakness.

Lightning is going to be primarily a Ravager, so you want her Magic stat to be 
greater than her Strength stat if at all possible.  If not, at least make them 
as close as possible by adjusting Accessories.

The biggest problem I had in this Mission was that the Bellows would ignore 
Fang and Lightning, march right up to Vanille (my weakest character) and pound 
on her until she died.  His attacks disrupted Vanille's attempts to heal, so 
even when Vanille was a Medic, she wouldn't survive.

I finally noticed that the Bellows is susceptible to Pain, which prevents him 
from attacking and allows your team to go about their business.  This is the 
key to an easy 5-star.

Begin with #1 and have Vanille spam Pain onto the Bellows.  Notice, however, 
that the Ambling Bellows is NOT your default target -- you must choose it 
manually.  If Pain hasn't stuck after 2 full rounds, Retry.  When it does 
stick, have Vanille spam Deshell, which should stick very quickly.  As soon as 
it does, switch to #2 and pound the Bellows with Magic until he disappears.  
With the Bellows immobilized, your team is only being hit by the numerous but 
relatively wimpy Hoplites, and you can conceivably accomplish all of this 
without stopping to heal.  Paradigm #4 is there if healing is needed, but on a 
good day you won't need it.  Once the Bellows is gone, switch to #3 and wipe 
out any remaining Hoplites.    

Completion of this Mission activates the nearby Waystone, allowing you to 
teleport to this point in the cave from now on.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                        Mission 19 -- Uridimmu (x4) [M19]                    *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stone for Mission 19 is in Sulyya Springs where 
you disembark from Atomos.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 18.

When to undertake -- En route to Oerba.

Reward (First Win) -- Cobaltite

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 5

The Problem -- Getting to the Mark(s) is a pain in the neck because you have to 
pass through all those darned Ceratoraptors.
 
The Good News -- Compared to the Ceratoraptors, the Marks are a breeze.

Times -- En route to Oerba, Target time was 1:07.  I leveled them in 14 
seconds.

Paradigms 

     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Each Uridimmu has only about 46,000 HP, and they are weak to 
Thunder. Have Hope cast Enthunder on Fang and Lightning, then switch to #2.  
Your Commandos will make short work of them, especially if they are close 
enough together to get Blitzed.  Seriously, you won't believe how quickly they 
go down.  Even without Enthunder, there is plenty of time to 5-star this one.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                Mission 20 -- Goblin Chieftain (+4 friends) [M20]            *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stone for Mission 20 is in the Palisades outside 
of Taejin's Tower.  You will pass it on your way, and it is hard to miss.

Unlock condition -- Reach Taejin's Tower.

When to undertake -- En route to Oerba

Reward (First Win) -- Rhodochrosite

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 5

The Problem -- Multiple enemies with no common elemental weakness.  Very 
difficult to get a Preemptive Strike.
 
The Good News -- You shouldn't need to heal, so you can concentrate on offense.

Times -- En route to Oerba, Target time was 2:17, giving me 1:36 to 5-star the 
Mission.  My times ran from 50 seconds to about 1:15.

Paradigms

     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Rav  * 
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- You are battling a Munchkin, a Munchkin Maestro, two Goblins, and 
a Goblin Chieftain.  The usual rule applies -- kill the little guys first or 
they will promote themselves and turn into the big guys, but the AI will take 
care of that for you.

Since Lightning is mostly going to be a Ravager, switch out one of her Strength 
Accessories for a Magic Accessory.  Her Strength and Magic numbers should be 
just about equal.

Start with #1 and make sure that Fang has Bravery and Hope and Lightning have 
Faith.  Switch to #2 and concentrate on one enemy at a time.  Generally, you 
should be able to Stagger them and then finish each off in a couple of hits. 
Leave the Munchkin Maestro until last.  He is weak against Ice, so if you want, 
you can switch to #1 long enough to put Enfrost on both girls' weapons before 
switching to #3 to finish him off.

Completion of this Mission activates the nearby Waystone, allowing you to 
teleport to Taijin's Tower Palisades from now on.

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stones for Missions 21 - 27 are all in Taejin's 
Tower.  In every case, the Stone for the next Mission is in the same area where 
you fought the previous Mission.  If you are ever uncertain about how to 
proceed, simply press the Square button to bring up your map and proceed 
towards the yellow exclamation point (!).  Since navigating won't be a 
problem,for the time being, I'm going to suspend giving directions.  I'll 
return when you actually need guidance again.
*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                           Mission 21 -- Gelatitan [M21]                     *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Reach Taejin's Tower.

When to undertake -- En route to Oerba.

Reward (First Win) -- Speed Sash

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 4

The Problem -- The enemy has a lot of HP (679,000+) and is difficult to 
Stagger, and you aren't given much time.
 
The Good News -- It is relatively easy to get a Preemptive Strike.

Times -- En route to Oerba, the Target time was 1:52.  With a PS, my team 
finished him off in 35 seconds.

Paradigms 

     *************************
     *  Fang *  Hope * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Only Fang is going to use physical attacks in this fight, so swap 
out one of Lightning's Strength Accessories for a Magic Accessory.  Once you 
get a PS, you can just let your team Stagger Gelatitan and beat him down.  

Now let's look at how to get a PS.  When you enter the room where Gelatitan is, 
he will probably be quite a ways away and will see you and chase you.  Retreat 
to the stairs, where he can't engage you.  Eventually, he will turn his back 
and slime away from you.  As long as he is moving directly away from you, you 
really don't even have to be that careful when getting behind him -- I've won a 
PS approaching him with a full run.  As usual, if you don't get a PS, you can 
always Retry, but with a little practice, you can get a PS almost every time.

Once you get your PS, you can start with #1 and have Fang cast Deprotect while 
Hope and Lightning stagger the Mark for a round.  Switch to #2, Launch, and 
beat the snot out of this slithering pile of goo.  Paradigm #1 is actually 
optional, but it makes the fight go a little faster.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*               Mission 22 -- Ambling Bellows (+ Cryptos x2) [M22]            *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Reach Taejin's Tower.

When to undertake -- En route to Oerba.

Reward (First Win) -- Particle Accelerator x 3

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Electrode x 3

The Problem -- Ambling Bellows calls allies into the battle, so you can easily 
get overwhelmed.  He is also very difficult to Stagger. 
 
The Good News -- The Ambling Bellows is still susceptible to Pain.  With a 
little practice, you can get a Preemptive Strike. 

Times -- En route to Oerba, Target time was 1:54.  After getting a PS, the 
battle was over in about 15 seconds.

Paradigms 

     *************************
     *  Van  *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************

The Battle -- Keep your same equipment from Mission 21.  All of these enemies 
are weak to Thunder, but even if you put Enthunder on your Commandos' weapons, 
they will choose Ruin over physical attacks against the Mark.  Thus, you need 
to emphasize Magic over Strength.  At this point, I had two Blessed Talismans, 
and I equipped one each on Vanille and Lightning.    

Your first option is to fight this one just like we fought Mission 18 -- stick 
Pain on the Bellows and everything else will fall into place.  Have Vanille 
spam Pain for 2 rounds.  If it doesn't stick, Retry.  (If you are attempting 
this Post-Oerba with a shorter Target time, you may want to Retry if Pain 
doesn't stick in the first round.) When it does stick, have Vanille cast a 
round of Deshell before switching to #2.  Pound the Bellows with Magic (while 
it stands helplessly by) until it falls, then finish off the Cryptos.  If you 
can disable the Bellows within two rounds, this is an easy 5-star, and I would 
consider this to be your primary strategy.

If you want to get a PS, stand in the entrance to the room and wait.  The 2 
Cryptos should be closer to you and marching toward you, and the Ambling 
Bellows should be farther away.  The Bellows apparently is nearsighted, because 
it seems unaware of your movements here as long as you proceed with stealth.  
When the Cryptos turn and begin marching away from you (hopefully in unison), 
walk slowly up behind the one closer to you.  The Cryptos march rather slowly, 
and you should be able to engage it from behind for a PS.  Once I got the hang 
of this, it worked for me nearly every time.

Once you get your PS, have Vanille cast Deshellga on the enemies while Fang and 
Lightning Stagger the Bellows.  From there, it's just a 10-second beat-down.

Thanks to alert reader NEO102 who informed me that, contrary to what I 
expressed in my original version of this FAQ, a PS can be had with repeatable 
success.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                          Mission 23 -- Gurangatch [M23]                     *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Reach Taejin's Tower.

When to undertake -- En route to Oerba.

Reward (First Win) -- Warrior's Wristband

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 4

The Problem -- The Target Time is absurdly low for an enemy who must be 
Staggered to be significantly damaged and who is so resistant to being 
Staggered.  A Preemptive Strike is your only hope. 
 
The Good News -- With a couple of Retries, you can get a PS without Deceptisol.

Times -- En route to Oerba, Target time was 1:12.  With a PS, my team took him 
down in 20 seconds flat. 

Paradigms 

     *************************
     *  Van  *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Again, this is all about getting the PS, so let's look at how to 
accomplish that.  

To get a PS, watch the Mark's movements carefully.  Get as close as you can 
without setting off his radar (this is usually easiest on a Retry), and then 
hold still. Eventually, he will turn away from you.  You need to move 
stealthily and as parallel to his motion as possible.  This will take a couple 
of tries, but keep in mind that getting the PS is really all there is to this 
"battle." 

Once I got the PS, I had Vanille cast a round of debuffs so that Fang and 
Lightning could do more damage once the Mark was Staggered.  It probably wasn't 
necessary, but there was plenty of time, and she managed to stick 4 debuffs in 
one round!  From there, I just switched to #2, and the battle was over in 2 
more rounds.


*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                   Mission 24 -- Mushussu (+ Yakshini x2) [M24]              *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock conditions -- Complete Missions 21, 22, and 23.

When to undertake -- En route to Oerba.

Reward (First Win) -- Moonblossom Seed x 6

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Moonblossom Seed x 1

The Problem -- This Mission lacks challenge. 
 
The Good News -- You can easily 5-star this Mission the first time through 
Taijin's Tower AND get a reward worth 6000 gil every time you win the battle!


Times -- En route to Oerba, Target time was 1:37.  My team needed less than 
half that time -- 47 seconds flat.

Paradigms 

     *************************
     *  Fang *  Hope * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Rav  *
******************************

The Battle -- You can actually Stagger Mushussu, so I'm advising you to use two 
Ravagers and just one Commando.  In fact, I tried it with Lightning as a 
Commando instead of a Ravager, and my time was identical.

Useful note about Mission 24 -- It is no secret that this Mission is one of the 
most dependable ways to earn gil, even in postgame play.  The Mark is easy, 
there is very little distance between getting the Mission and fighting the 
battle, and the reward of 6000 gil per battle is 100% guaranteed.  With 1-
minute cycles (allowing 30 seconds for the battle and another 30 seconds to 
restart the Mission), you can earn 360,000 gil per hour.  It is really boring 
and repetitive, but, as you probably know, the scarcest commodity in this 
game is gil, and this is far and away the most productive source of gil up to 
this stage in the game.

Unfortunately, once you complete this Mission you cannot undertake it again 
until you ascend to the spire and defeat Dahaka.  So, if you are going to use 
this Mission to farm gil, you are going to have to complete the events in the 
Tower and then return here.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                            Mission 25 -- Vetala [M25]                       *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock conditions -- Complete Missions 21 - 24 inclusive.

When to undertake -- En route to Oerba.

Reward (First Win) -- Cobaltite

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 6

The Problem -- Un-Staggered, Vetala is immune to physical attacks and is 
practically immune to Magic.  In other words, you have to Stagger him to do any 
significant damage to him.
 
The Good News -- Once he is Staggered, your Commandos will shave away his 
480,000 HP pretty quickly.


Times -- En route to Oerba, Target time was just over 3 minutes.  It took my 
team just over half a minute to finish him off.


Paradigms 

     *************************
     *  Van  *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Rav  *  Sab  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #2 *  Sab  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Start by redistributing you accessories like you did for Mission 
22, emphasizing Magic and downplaying Strength.  Open with #1 and have Vanille 
cast Libra.  Since Fang's physical attacks won't push up the Chain Gauge much, 
have her cast debuffs (that won't stick) to help Stagger the Mark while Vanille 
and Lightning hit Vetala with Magic.  When the Mark does Stagger, change to #2 
long enough for Vanille to cast some debuffs that WILL stick, then switch to #3 
to finish off Vetala.  Piece of cake!  

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                   Mission 26 -- Penanggalan (+ Conchon x4) [M26]            *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock conditions -- Complete Missions 21-25 inclusive.

When to undertake -- En route to Oerba.

Reward (First Win) -- Diamond Bangle

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 6

The Problem -- Trying to figure out why a battle this easy is considered a 
Mission.
 
The Good News -- You get to use your weapons again.

Times -- En route to Oerba, Target time was 1:34.  I pushed the X button a few 
times, and the battle was over in 37 seconds.

Paradigms 

     *************************
     *  Fang *  Hope * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Com  *  Med  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Don't worry that all the smoke and confusion make it difficult to 
discern who is doing what to whom.  Just trust your Commandos and the AI and 
this battle will be over before you know what happened.  Paradigm #2 is really 
only in there in case Hope (your weakest team member) gets attacked 
disproportionately and needs healing.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                          Mission 27 -- Mithridates [M27]                    *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stone at the Apex of the Tower is for Mission 
27, but you probably want to skip this Mission until you can fill in Stage 9 of 
the Chrystarium a bit.  Proceed to the next Mission description for now.

Unlock condition -- Defeat Dahaka in Taejin's Tower.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Blaze Ring

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 6

Special note on Mission 27 -- To make the Mark appear, you have to ride the 
central elevator nonstop all the way from the Apex to the ground tier.  You 
won't be able to do this until you activate the elevator to do so.  Interact 
with the statue on the Apex, and he will make a new elevator appear.  Take this 
elevator down to the Seventh Tier (the only place that it goes).  Interact with 
the stone statue there, and it will rotate the building, allowing the central 
elevator to reach all tiers.  Go to the inner ring on the seventh tier and you 
can pick up a Collector Catalogue on your way to the central elevator, which 
will take you back up to the apex.  From there, ride all the way to the ground 
tier and the Mark should engage you.

The Problem -- He hits you with bad status effects like Poison, Deprotect, and 
Deshell.  He is immune to debuffs.  When you first get to Taijin's Tower, his 
attacks are far too strong for your HP levels.

The Good News -- By early postgame, you won't need to worry about removing his 
debuffs and can bring him down efficiently.


Times -- Early postgame time was around 2:40.  I took him down in about 1:20.

Paradigms

     *************************
     *  Hope * Fang  * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Med  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #4 *  Med  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************

The Battle -- Even your Commandos are going to use Magic exclusively, so if you 
are having trouble with the Target time, you can use the setup from Mission 22 
to de-emphasize Strength and get the Target time up.  Start with #1 and have 
Hope cast Faith and Barthunder on everyone.  The latter will give your team 
added protection against the Mark's Lightning-based attacks.  Have Hope restore 
Haste on anyone that got it removed, then switch to #2.  Fill the Mark's 
Stagger Gauge and then switch to #3 and polish him off.  Use #4 as necessary 
when you need to heal.

That sounds so easy, doesn't it?  I have to admit that I had problems a couple 
of times with the Mark attacking Hope almost exclusively and surprising me with 
a "Game Over", which got really annoying after a while.  However, once I 
learned to have Hope cast Barthunder, I didn't have this problem again.  There 
is actually plenty of time to 5-Star this battle, so make sure that everyone is 
prepared before you go on the offensive with Paradigm #2, and this battle will 
go your way.

If you invested the very few CP necessary to make Fang a Ravager, have her take 
on that role in Paradigm #2 to speed up the filling of the Mark's Chain Gauge. 
This can speed up the battle considerably.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                       Mission 28 -- Ceratosaur (x10) [M28]                  *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Stone for Mission 28 will be in Oerba and is very 
difficult to overlook.  It is straight ahead just before you make a right turn 
down some steps.

Unlock condition -- Reach Oerba.

When to undertake -- When you arrive in Oerba

Reward (First Win) -- Giant's Glove

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 5

The Problem -- You are being attacked by TEN enemies.

The Good News -- None of them are Ceratoraptors, so the mob doesn't get any 
bigger.  All are vulnerable to Fire. 


Times -- When I first arrived in Oerba, the target time was 56 seconds.  Even 
though Lightning died in battle, I still finished off all 10 enemies in 22 
seconds.

Paradigms 

     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- This is all about speed, and since the enemies are all weak to 
Fire, it is worthwhile to Enfire your Commandos' weapons.  You aren't trying to 
Stagger anyone -- just go for maximum damage in minimum time.  Start with #1 
and have Hope put Bravery and Enfire on Fang and then on Lightning.  Switch to 
#2, and the battle will be over in another round or two.  Easy!

A couple of notes before you proceed:  

First of all, before fighting Barthandelus, you should repair Bhakti and 
upgrade weapons for your 3 primary characters.  It will make that battle go 
much easier.

Secondly, remember that after beating Barthandelus, you are not going to 
undertake Mission 29, but rather Mission 55.  Jump to the description of that 
Mission now.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                          Mission 29 -- Juggernaut [M29]                     *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stone for Mission 29 is in the Mah'habara cave, 
just beyond the 5 Hoplites that you fought repeatedly to earn CP at the 
beginning of Chapter 11.  You will need to defeat the Juggernaut behind the 
wall to access the Stone.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 20.

When to undertake -- Early postgame

Reward (First Win) -- Uraninite

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Mobius Coil x 3

The Problem -- You can debuff Juggernaut, but he can remove your debuffs.  The 
real problem is that he has nearly 1.6 million HP, he takes forever to Stagger, 
and you have a relatively short Target time.

The Good News -- You can get a PS without using Deceptisol.

Times --  Early postgame Target time was 1:10.  That gives you roughly 46 
seconds to finish him off for a 5-star rating.  Good luck doing that without a 
PS.

Paradigms
     *************************
     *  Van  *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- The key to success is getting a Preemptive Strike.  Juggernaut 
perceives you pretty readily, but he will only follow you so far before 
stopping.  Lure him to that limit and wait while standing right in front of 
him.  Eventually, he will turn around and stomp away.  If he is walking 
directly away from you, you don't even have to tiptoe -- you can run up behind 
him and still get a PS.

Unfortunately, there is more to this battle than just getting the PS.  
Juggernaut is very resistant to damage, and it is possible for him to survive a 
Stagger.  This is why I put Vanille in the lead -- I have her debuff him while 
Fang and Lightning Stagger him.  In one round, I got Vanille to stick him with 
4 debuffs!  Once he is Staggered and debuffed, switch to #2 and your Commandos 
can easily finish him in one Stagger. For me, he went down in about 25 seconds.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                           Mission 30 -- Syphax [M30]                        *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- Return to Aggra's Pasture (where you fought Neochu for your 
Growth Egg) and enter the passage at the far end, just past the Ochu.  You will 
reach a dead end with the Ci'eth Stone for this Mission.

Unlock condition -- Reach Sulyya Springs.

When to undertake -- Early postgame

Reward (First Win) -- Uraninite

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 6

Special note about Mission 30 -- The mark for Mission 30 is located in a branch 
of Mah'habara that you may not be able to access.  Remember when you first left 
this place and proceeded to Sulyya Springs?  You rode in an earth-digging 
transport called Atomos.  To access the area where the Mark resides, you have 
to go back to Sulyya Springs and ride in Atomos back to Mah'habara.  If you 
completed Mission 19, you activated the Waystone in Sulyya Springs and can 
simply warp there and ride Atomos back.  Once Atomos returns to Mah'habara, it 
will form a bridge across the gap that you need to cross in order to reach the 
Mark, and you can proceed from there.  

The Problem -- With accessing the Ci'eth Stone, retrieving Atomos, and hiking 
to the Mark, you will walk roughly the circumference of the earth doing 
everything necessary to complete this Mission.  You have to kill probably 30 
enemies.

The Good News -- None of them except the Mark itself have many HP, and the Time 
target is generous.

Times --  This was one of my first Missions postgame, and Stage 10 Chrystarium 
was a long ways from complete.  My Target time was 5:13, and I cleaned out all 
these flying pests in 1:33 for an easy 5-star. I also 5-starred this Mission 
Post-Oerba with a Target time of 7:11 and a battle time just under 2 minutes.  

Paradigms
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Syn  *  Sab  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- When the battle begins, Syphax disappears immediately and calls 
lesser bats for you to fight 5 at a time.  Your Blitzing Commandos should make 
short work of them since each only has 17,600 HP.  When Syphax is ready to 
fight you himself, switch to #2 because he has enough HP (about 2.2 million) 
that you are going to want to Stagger him.  Just about the time that you 
Stagger him (which, by the way, is very easy), your buffs will wear off.  You 
can finish him off with #1 or switch to #3 to restore Haste on everyone, Faith 
on Hope, and Bravery on the Commandos (while Fang debuffs the Mark) before 
returning to #1 until the battle ends.  I tried it both ways, and my times were 
nearly identical.

I really couldn't believe that I trekked so far to fight such a ridiculously 
easy battle!  The only thing that made the trek worthwhile was finding a Moogle 
Puppet on the way.

BTW, before you leave the area, remember to open the 2 treasure balls, both of 
which contain very useful upgrading components.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*               Mission 31 -- Pulsework Champion (+ Seeker x3) [M31]          *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- Completing Mission 30 unblocked the dead end from Aggra's 
Pasture.  Proceed from there into the next open area.  The Ci'eth Stone is on 
your left atop a small hill, guarded by a Strigoi (Ci'eth that looks like a 
Vampire).

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 30.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Perfect Conductor x 3

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Crystal Oscillator x 2

The Problem -- As before, the Mark takes a while to Stagger and can't be 
significantly damaged until he is Staggered.  Insanely low Target time makes it 
unlikely that you will get a 5-star rating without a Preemptive Strike or a 
quick Random instant Chain.

The Good News -- As detailed below, you actually have 3 options for 5-starring 
this battle.  Oh yes, and the Seekers pose little threat to your team.

Times -- Even with most of my stat-boosting accessories removed, Target time 
was only 41 seconds.  That gives you 29 seconds to Stagger the Mark and 
eliminate all 4 enemies.  You are going to have trouble achieving that time 
without some kind of advantage.

Paradigms
     *************************
     *  Sazh *  Hope *  Fang *
******************************
* #1 *  Rav  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- As mentioned, the Target time is absurdly short, especially 
considering that the Mark's first attack "Headspin" knocks your entire team to 
the ground and makes you lose at least 5 seconds recovering.  Realistically, 
for a 5-star rating, you only have 3 options here:  Deceptisol, Preemptive 
Strike, and Random Instant Chain.  The first option is the easiest was, but 
using Deceptisol makes me feel so guilty.  We haven't needed shrouds yet, and I 
see no reason to use them here because they just aren't necessary.  Let your 
conscience be your guide.

A Preemptive Strike is possible, but will probably take you several tries.  You 
would think that if you hide around the corner so that only the one Seeker is 
in your line of sight that a PS would be easy.  I was never able to get a PS 
this way.  It seems that the enemies can actually see through the wall.  I 
found it best to just run around the corner and get in the middle of them, 
engage, and then Retry.  When the screen loads, you have a decent chance (maybe 
10% - 20%) of getting a quick PS, depending on the positions of the enemies.  
When I did the battle this way, my Target time was 35 seconds and I finished in 
16 seconds.

The third option is to make use the Random Instant Chain ability described in 
Section IX.  We haven't tried this one yet, and it will be our best option 
for several future Missions, so let's take it for a test drive and see what you 
think.

So, start by getting at least Sazh equipped with gear to give him this 
ability.  If Fang is using the Taming Pole or any upgrade from it, she only 
needs one other relevant Accessory, so you may be able to give her this ability 
as well.  This will probably mean unequipping some of your Power Gloves, but 
remember that this is a good thing because it increases the Target time.

Now just run around the corner and engage the enemies.  Have Sazh use his 17-
hit Cold Blood attack on the Pulsework Champion (who, you will notice, is NOT 
the default target, so you need to select him manually.)  If he is not 
Staggered after one round of attacks, Retry.  It shouldn't take more than a few 
Retries before he Staggers in the first round.  From there, the rest is easy -- 
your Commandos should make short work of the disabled Mark and his slimy 
minions even with the pathetically weak Sazh involved.

August 2010 update -- I tried this battle again and had a lot of trouble 
getting the RIC to hit.  Even with both Sazh and Fang equipped for this 
ability, I had to replay this battle at least 20 times before I Staggered the 
Mark in time to meet the time limit.  Meanwhile, without even trying, I managed 
to get a Preemptive Strike (which led to an easy 5-star rating) at least 2 - 3 
times.  In retrospect, I'm beginning to think that the PS is the way to go.  My 
advice, then, is to equip yourself for the RIC and then keep Retrying until you 
get either a PS or a timely RIC.  Either will lead to an easy 5-star.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                            Mission 32 -- Amam [M32]                         *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- Teleport to the Vallis Media Base Camp and head into the 
small cave that leads back to the Steppe.  You will see the Ci'eth Stone for 
Mission 32 on your right.  The closest teleport point to the Mission battle is 
the Northern Highplain.

Unlock condition -- Reach Mah'habara.

Whe to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Glass Buckle

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 5

The Problem -- Enemy heals itself with HP it takes from your team.  Its attacks 
can disable a team member's Physical or Magic attacks temporarily.

The Good News -- You only have to fight half as many of these as you fight in 
Mission 36.  It is pretty easy to get a PS.

Times -- Target time was around 1:20.  For me, the battle lasted about half a 
minute.

Paradigms
     *************************
     *  Fang  * Hope * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- I pretty much guarantee that after Amam's first attack, at least 
one member of your party will either have Fog or Pain.  For the most part, you 
can just wait this out.  If hit with Pain, your Commandos will just cast Ruin 
while waiting for it to wear off.  If the time limits were tight, this would be 
a problem, but even in the worst case scenario, you shouldn't have any trouble 
5-starring this one.  So, you can actually just use Paradigm #2, wait out any 
status ailments, and pound the Mark with time to spare.

If you are looking for a more elegant approach, it is very easy to get a PS. 
The Mark's vision is actually very good, but you can approach from an angle 
that prevents him from seeing you.  Start at the north edge of the water and 
slowly follow the pond's edge until you are directly behind Amam.  Turn and 
walk up behind him to get the PS.  This worked for me nearly 100% of the time.  
From there, if you start with #1 so that you can get the Mark Deprotected while 
Hope and Lightning Stagger it, you can then switch to #2 to Launch and finish 
off this bozo in roughly 10 seconds total.  Much more satisfying, don't you 
think?


*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                        Mission 33 -- Adamanchelid [M33]                     *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Stone is in the Haerii Archaeopolis.  Teleport there 
and look in the nearest fallen structure.  You will see the Stone among all the 
Goblins. 

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 30.

When to undertake -- Early postgame

Reward (First Win) -- White Cape

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 5

The Problem -- Relatively short Target Time.  His stomping attacks damage your 
entire party.

The Good News -- He is inherently weak to Ice.

Times -- Target time was 1:10, giving you 46 seconds to 5-star the Mission.  
For me, he went down in less than 30 seconds.

Paradigms
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Sab  *  Med  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- You should be getting the hang of this by now.  Start with #1 and 
have Hope cast Bravery and Enfrost on both Fang and Lightning.  While he is 
doing this, Fang is debuffing the Mark with Deprotect and Deshell and probably 
Imperil, which you don't need.  Switch to #2 and pound the round mound into the 
ground.

Since you're already equipped to take on these baby Turtles, you might as well 
head north and defeat the two Adamanchelids that are protecting Treasure Balls 
containing Gold Nuggets.  

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                         Mission 34 -- Tonberry [M34]                        *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stone is in the Haerii Archeaopolis, just uphill 
from the Teleport Stone.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 30.

When to undertake -- Early postgame

Reward (First Win) -- Hermes Sandals

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 7

The Problem -- He removes your buffs.

The Good News -- Target time is insanely high for such an easy Mark.

Times -- Early postgame Target time was a whopping 8:22.  If the battle lasts a 
full minute, you're doing something wrong.

Paradigms
     *************************
     *  Van  *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #3 *  Med  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Notice that the Target time is ridiculously generous, largely 
because Tonberry is ranked as level 49.  The good news is that he has less than 
800,000 HP, debuffs fairly easily, and has no attacks that are especially 
damaging as long as you dispatch him fairly quickly.

I've gone back and forth several times on my strategy for this Mission.  In the 
end, I've decided that unless your levels are extremely low, the 
straightforward approach is the best. If you let Tonberry linger overlong when 
his HP are low, he will restore all lost HP, effectively making you start over. 
However, except at very low levels, this should be avoidable.

I would keep Sprint Shoes (to get the team off to a good start), but don't 
bother with Talismans (Talismen?) because Tonberry's Knife attack will remove 
your buffs.  Fill the rest of your Accessory slots with Warrior's Wristbands 
and Sorcerer's Marks.  It's not like you have to worry about lowering the 
Target Time a little.  

Start with #1 until Vanille sticks Deshell, Deprotect, and Poison.  Switch to 
#2 and pound away.  Paradigm #3 is only there in case someone needs to be 
healed, which should be unlikely.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*  Quick interjection -- Missions #35 - 51 constitute a special set of        *
*  Missions known as Titan's Trials.  They work slightly differently than     * 
*  conventional Missions because of the unusual way that you have to access   * 
*  them.  The map that the is displayed when you access a Ci'eth Stone gives  *
*  you a good picture of how to navigate these Missions.  Consequently, I     * 
*  will suspend my "Finding your way" comments until Mission 52.              *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                         Mission 35 -- Gurangatch [M35]                      *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 34.

When to undertake -- Early postgame

Reward (First Win) -- Witch's Bracelet

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 5

The Problem -- The Target Time is absurdly low for an enemy who must be 
Staggered to be significantly damaged and who is so resistant to being 
Staggered.  It is virtually impossible to get an "honest" Preemptive Strike.

The Good News -- We have two options for Staggering him quickly:  Preemptive 
Strike by using a Deceptisol and Random Instant Chain.

Times -- Target time is around 35 seconds.  That gives you 24 seconds to 
Stagger him and shave away his nearly 250,000 HP.  Yeah, right!

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Sazh *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Com  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- We fought this same enemy in Mission 23.  From that battle you 
may recall that you can't do much damage to this enemy unless you Stagger him, 
and he is very resistant to Staggering.  Last time we got around this by 
getting in a Preemptive Strike, but this time getting a PS is much more 
difficult.  Even if you run behind him, he immediately turns to face you and 
refuses to turn back around and walk away so that you can PS him.

This leaves us two choices. Deceptisol is always an option, but I prefer to use 
that as a last resort.  I prefer the Random Instant Chain ability described 
in Section IX.  Somehow I don't feel quite so guilty about using that as using 
a Deceptisol.  Since the Target time is short and the enemy's HP are relatively 
low, it makes sense to use Sazh to try to get RIC to hit as quickly as 
possible.  

Equip your team as previously described, bestowing the RIC ability on all 3 
characters if at all possible.  This gives you roughly a 13% chance of a 
Stagger in the first round.  When you are equipped and ready, just walk up to 
the Gurangatch and have Sazh execute Cold Blood.  If the Mark doesn't Stagger 
in the first round, Retry.  If he does Stagger, switch to #2 (or just continue 
with #1) and just keep whacking him until he dies, which should happen pretty 
quickly.

For the record, you are going to have to fight this particular battle at least 
7 times to complete all of Titan's Trials.  However, keep in mind that you only 
have to earn a 5-star rating once.  After that, if you get a lower rating, the 
records will still reflect your best result.  So, in subsequent battles, don't 
worry about your rating.  Just Stagger Gurangatch the traditional way before 
Launching and finishing him, and marvel at how much more quickly you ended the 
battle with Random Instant Chain on your side!  Knowledge is power!

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                         Mission 36 -- Amam (x2) [M36]                       *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 35.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Uraninite

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 6

The Problem -- Enemies hit you with status ailments such as Pain and Curse. 
Their Storm Conduction allows them to absorb the HP that you lose, making them 
difficult to finish off.

The Good News -- Marks are weak to Ice.  Rather long Target time makes for an 
easy 5-star.

Times -- Target time of 2:40.  This is generous -- a minute or so should be 
enough.

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #4 *  Med  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The battle -- This is the same enemy that you fought in Mission 32, except this 
time there are two of them.  Don't take these guys lightly.  They look easy, 
but since they constantly heal themselves with your HP, they hang around longer 
than you expect.  

Open with #1, but have Hope wait for a moment.  The enemies' first move will be 
Accursed Breath, which will more than likely make most (or all!) of your team 
unable to attack or use magic.  You can wait this out if you want, but I would 
advise you to use the Displega technique instead.  This will remove all of 
those nasty status effects, but it will also remove all of your buffs.  You can 
now have Hope cast Haste on himself, and then Haste, Enfrost, and Bravery on 
each of the ladies.  This will take a while, but meanwhile Fang and Lightning 
should be beating up on one enemy.  After rebuffing, switch to #2 and finish 
off the first Amam.  You can now switch to #3 and make short work of the second 
Amam. If Hope gets short on HP, you can use #4 to heal, but hopefully that 
won't be necessary. 

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                       Mission 37 -- Rafflesia (x5) [M37]                    *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 35.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Star Pendant

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 5

The Problem -- The enemies can take away your buffs.  You have to do a lot of 
damage in a short period of time.

The Good News -- The enemies are vulnerable to Fire.  It is very easy to get a 
Preemptive Strike.

Times -- Target time was 45 seconds.  It took me about half of that.

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- The first time that I fought this battle, I just went with 
Aggression and attacked with everything that I had.  The enemies took away 
Fang's Haste, and I wound up with a 4-star rating.  Next time, I de-equipped 
everything from Hope except his Sprint Shoes and the Blessed Talisman, figuring 
he wasn't going to do much damage anyway.  I started with #1 and had Hope cast 
Enfire on both Fang and Lightning before switching to #2 to finish the battle.  
Even though Fang again lost her Haste, the increase in the Target time and the 
extra damage caused by Enfire got the rating up to 5-stars.  Beware, however -- 
the enemies can also remove Enfire from your weapons, in which case you may 
want to Retry.

One minor irritation about this battle is that you can't Save prior to fighting 
it.  There is no Save Point between Mission 35 and here.  If you let the battle 
end and your rating comes up short, you have to either reload your game from 
prior to Mission 35 or just march on.  If the battle goes poorly -- e.g., Fang 
loses Enfire early on -- you may want to Retry rather than risk a low rating. 
On the plus side, you will likely fight this battle more than once while going 
through Titan's Trials, so even if you don't 5-star it on your first try, you 
will get another chance.  

For what it's worth, without even trying, I got a Preemptive Strike in this 
battle about 50% of the time.  It might be easier just to try to get a PS and 
not worry about buffing or meeting time limits.     

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                  Mission 38 -- Verdelet (x3 + Adroa x1) [M38]               *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 36.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Diamond Bangle

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 5

The Problem -- If you are slow enough to let these things Summon, they will 
bring a Juggernaut (!) into the battle.  That will pretty much preclude a 5-
star rating.

The Good News -- That will only happen if you fall asleep.  Actually, even if 
you're asleep you could keep that from happening.  This battle is that easy. 
This is a Mission -- why?

Times -- The Target time was a ridiculously high 1:35.  Without ever touching a 
single button on the controller, my Commandos finished the battle for me in 5 
seconds flat.

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- One person who undertook this Mission in Chapter 11 described it 
as a game of Whack-a-Mole.  As soon as you knock one enemy down, another is 
summoned to replace him.  Fortunately, in postgame play, this isn't an issue.

Besides Hope and Fang, it really doesn't matter who your third party member is 
in postgame.  Hey, bring in Sazh for once!  You'll still get 5 stars unless 
you're crazy enough to forget to put someone in an attacking role and you let 
the Juggernaut appear.

Again, you may want to consider backtracking to the Save Point before 
proceeding to the next area.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                    Mission 39 -- Ochu (+ Microchu x2) [M39]                 *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 36 or 37.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Siltstone Ring

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Moonblossom Seed x 2

The Problem -- Ochu calls allies into battle.

The Good News -- All enemies are weak to Fire.

Times -- My Target time was 2:00.  Even dealing with the summoned Microchus, I 
laid all enemies to waste in just over a minute.

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************

The Battle -- Starting with #1, have Hope cast Enfire on both Fang and 
Lightning.  (I am assuming that they are both equipped with Morale Talismans 
and don't need Bravery.  If this is not the case, give each of them Bravery as 
well.)  Switch to #2 and focus the attacks on Ochu.  By the time I changed 
Paradigms, my Commandos had wiped out all Microchus and they were attacking the 
Mark.  Ochu will probably do "Seed Dispersal" which will bring several 
Microchus into the fray, but there doesn't seem to be much way to avoid it.  
When he does, switch to #3 or your Commandos will waste time on the Microchus.  
Keep everyone focused on the Ochu until it expires.  When it does, you can 
switch back to #2 and whittle away at the Microchus.  With their Enfired 
weapons, your Commandos will make short work of the mob.

If you have trouble with this Mission, try putting in a Med-Sab-Rav Paradigm to 
allow Fang to Deprotect Ochu.  He will fall much more quickly if you do this.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                       Mission 40 -- Verdelet (x2) [M40]                     *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 37.

When to undertake -- Early postgame

Reward (First Win) -- Zealot's Amulet

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 5

The Problem -- If you don't finish them off quickly enough, they will Summon 
a Mushussu, prolonging the battle.

The Good News -- If you are sufficiently strong, they won't get a chance to 
Summon.

Times -- The Target Time is 33 seconds.  As long as neither enemy successfully 
Summons, you should be fine.    

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Your Commandos will automatically attack different targets, so 
have Hope wait and attack the first Verdelet to Summon.  That way, there will 
be minimal chance of a successful Summon and an almost guaranteed 5-star.  Just 
slash and stab and don't blink or you'll miss the whole battle.  For me, it 
lasted all of 6 seconds.

Free Advice:  You might consider backtracking to the Save Point before 
proceeding since there is not another one prior to your next challenge.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                       Mission 41 -- Tonberry (x3) [M41]                     *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 38.

When to undertake -- Early postgame

Reward (First Win) -- Doctor's Code

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Tonberry Figurine

The Problem -- Their "Knife" attack removes your buffs.  Their attacks get 
increasingly powerful.  They can heal all of their HP.

The Good News -- Generous target time.  You only have to fight this battle 
once.

Times -- I got a Target time of 24:42 -- WOW!  All three went down in 2:29.  

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Fang *  Hope * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Syn  *  Med  *
******************************
* #2 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Com  *  Med  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #4 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- I cannot count how many times I've fought this battle, and I'm 
still guessing about a lot of what goes on with the AI of Tonberries. You will 
forgive me, then, if some of my statements below prove to be less than 100% 
accurate.  I will also say that I have never lost this battle or failed to 5-
star it when undertaking it postgame.  

Your buffs will do you minimal good since each time a Tonberry hits you, it 
will remove one of your buffs.  In light of this, you may as well ditch the 
Sprint Shoes, Blessed Talisman, and Morale Talismans, since their effects won't 
survive the first round.  I gave each of the girls another Power Glove for some 
extra attacking power, and a RIC Accessory to go with their RIC weapons as well 
(see Section IX).  Tonberry's level is 49, the maximum level that is vulnerable 
to RIC, and I figured that equipping for that ability couldn't hurt.  I tried 
the battle equipped this way many times, and I never failed to instantly 
Stagger at least one Tonberry.  About half the time, I instantly Staggered 2 
out of 3, which, as you can imagine, really speeds up the battle.

The key to this battle seems to be focusing your attack on one Tonberry at a 
time.  As soon as you attack one Tonberry, it shifts its attacks from the 
relatively harmless Knife to the increasingly devasting Grudge attacks.  So, 
keep a close eye on which enemy Fang is targeting in every turn.  For example, 
if she sticks even one debuff on Tonberry C (the default target), the AI will 
target a different enemy in the next turn unless you manually override this.  
Likewise, once you start attacking, I would advise you to manually put in 
"Attack" commands rather than defer to the AI, which might choose Blitz, an 
attack which is likely to damage multiple enemies.  

Start with #1 and have Fang debuff ONE Tonberry until you have Deprotect and 
Deshell on it.  Imperil is a plus, but it is probably not worth waiting for it 
to stick if it hasn't already.  Hope will be applying some buffs (that won't 
last, but what the heck) while Lightning heals.  Switch to #2 and pound that 
Tonberry until it dies.  Return to #1 and repeat this process, switching to #3 
if healing is necessary.  If you have 15,000+ HP, healing may not be necessary 
as long as you don't tick off more than one Tonberry at a time.  When the 
second Tonberry goes down, go back to #1, debuff, and this time switch to #4.  
With only one foe remaining, you don't have to worry about your Commandos 
targeting different enemies.

I tried this battle using Hope as a Synergist in all paradigms except #3, 
figuring that he could do more good by keeping Fang and Lightning buffed than 
by pushing up the Stagger Gauge which will never fill up without a RIC anyway.  
I was very much surprised to find that this method nearly doubled the battle 
time.  Even though the Stagger Gauge doesn't fill, everyone seemed to do more 
damage with Hope constantly nudging it upwards.

Twice I observed a Tonberry that was nearly dead recovering all of its HP, but 
I could not discern what caused it.  One reader suggested that whenever a 
Tonberry's HP get low (below about 25%), they automatically try to heal 
themselves completely.  Based on this, it is extremely important to focus your 
attacks on one enemy at a time and to finish off a damaged Tonberry ASAP.

Finally, it isn't that hard to get an honest Preemptive Strike in this Mission. 
If you do, follow it with Quake to Stagger all 3 Tonberries, and then skip the 
buffing and debuffing and just use #2 to Launch and finish off the Marks one by 
one.  

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*               Mission 42 -- Borgbear Hero (+ Borgbear x4) [M42]             *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 38 or 39.

When to undertake -- Early postgame

Reward (First Win) -- Witch's Bracelet

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 7

The Problem -- Lots of enemies.

The Good News -- All of them are weak to Fire.

Times -- Target time was 2:45.  I finished them off in 1:10.

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Just like you did with Munchkins earlier, you are going to 
eliminate the lesser enemies first and save the Mark until last.  If you don't, 
then a Borgbear will Rise to Power and become the new Borgbear Hero.  Overall, 
the AI will take care of this for you -- just remember not to override it.

Start with #1 and have Hope cast Bravery and Enfire on both Fang and Lightning. 
You can then switch to #2 and concentrate on Staggering and then wiping out one 
enemy at a time.  Once the Borgbears are down, Stagger the boss and then switch 
to #3 to finish the boss off more quickly.  With their Enfired weapons, the 
Commandos will make short work of this Mark and earn you an easy 5-star rating.

BEFORE MOVING ON:  In the north and northwest branches of the area where this 
Mission culminates you will find a total of 8 Flowering Cactuars, an enemy that 
resides exclusively in this area.  Each Cactuar that you can defeat will net 
you 7500 CP (that's a whopping 15,000 CP each with the Growth Egg equipped!) 
They can also drop Ribbons which, in any other Final Fantasy game, would be a 
real prize.  Sadly in FFXIII, the Ribbon is pretty much useless, but hey -- the 
CP yield is still good, right?  These prickly enemies are not that easy to 
access or defeat, but every time you pass through here you should definitely 
engage them in battle.

On the plus side, these enemies are weak against Fire and they Stagger very 
easily. On the down side, you only have a few precious seconds to defeat them 
before they flee from battle.  Equip everyone with Sprint Shoes and an Aurora 
Scarf so that you don't have to cast Haste or wait for the ATB Gauge to fill. 
Set up an Aggression Paradigm with Hope, Fang, and Lightning, and hit them hard 
and fast.  You can probably average about 5 kills out of 8 enemies, for a total 
of 75,000 CP -- not bad for a few seconds' work.    

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*              Mission 43 -- Borgbear Hero (+5 other enemies) [M43]           *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 39 or 40.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Speed Sash

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 7

The Problem -- Six different enemies with two different elemental weaknesses to 
keep track of.  The lesser enemies Rise to Power if you kill off their 
corresponding Boss first.

The Good News -- The AI will generally attack the enemies in the proper order 
for you.

Times -- Around 2:30.  It took me just over a minute to take them all out.

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************

The Battle -- This is kind of a "greatest hits" of this genre of enemy.  You 
get one each Goblin, Goblin Chieftain, Munchkin, Munchkin Maestro, Borgbear, 
and, oh yes, Borgbear Hero.  The first two have no elemental weaknesses, the 
second two are weak against Ice, and the last two are weak against Fire.  None 
of the enemies are immune to Fire and the enemies that are weak to Fire have 
the most HP.

Start with #1 and have Hope cast Bravery and Enfire on both Fang and Lightning. 
The Enfire won't do any good against 4 of the enemies, but it won't do any harm 
either.  Switch to #2 and be sure to monitor what enemy the AI is having you 
target.  You will recall that you need to take out the little guys first, but I 
encountered situations where the AI had me targeting the bosses first.  You 
will Stagger and finish off the enemies one at a time with time to spare as 
long as you take them out in the correct order.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*   Mission 44 -- Corrosive Custard (+ Hybrid Flora + Monstrous Flan) [M44]   *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 40.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- General's Belt

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 7

The Problem -- Three enemies with two different weaknesses and lots of HP each.

The Good News -- A Preemptive Strike is not easy, but it is possible.

Times -- My Target time was just under 2 minutes.  Once I got a PS, I took them 
out in 46 seconds.

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #2 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- The first trick is getting a PS.  I had zero success trying to do 
this from the side of the area where you begin.  The enemies pick up on your 
motion very easily, and instead of turning their backs on you, they back away 
while still facing you, making a PS very difficult.  As soon as you enter the 
battle area, run towards the enemies and jog to the right and you will see a 
passage that you can follow to get on the opposite side of the enemies.  From 
here, I got in a PS maybe one time out of 10, but that certain beats 0 out of 
10.  You don't have time to creep up on them, so you are going to have to make 
your move quickly as soon as the screen reloads after the Retry.  Again, it 
will take several tries, but persevere until you get a PS.  If you get 
impatient you can always use a Deceptisol, but be aware that in this case it is 
unnecessary.

Even with a PS, this battle is far from being a gimme.  First have Hope use 
Quake, which should Stagger all 3 enemies.  Then have him direct his attack 
towards the Corrosive Custard.  We want to finish him off first since he has a 
different elemental weakness (Thunder) than the other two, who are weak to 
Fire.  Having directed your team to finish off the Corrosive Custard, switch to 
#2 and cast Bravery and Enfire on both Fang and Lightning.  This will greatly 
increase the damage that they can do to the red and yellow blobs.  You can now 
switch to #3 and help the girls finish off any remaining slime with plenty of 
time remaining.

Free Advice:  Before moving on, don't overlook the Cactuar Doll guarded by two 
Borgbears at the end of the long narrow path.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                           Mission 45 -- Neochu [M45]                        *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 41.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Hunter's Friend

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Moonblossom Seed x 3

The Problem -- Neochu is a very tough enemy. His simple attacks knock one team 
member in the air and out of commission for precious seconds; he has no 
elemental weaknesses; his Pollen attack sticks you with a multitude of bad 
status ailments; he can call in Pichochus to pester you; and his Screech attack 
debuffs your entire team and damages them all.  Need I say more?

The Good News -- He is susceptible to both Death and Random Instant Chain.  He 
will focus his attacks on a Sentinel.

Times -- Target time of about 12 minutes (!)  Your time will depend on when RIC 
connects.

Paradigms:

     *************************
     *  Sazh * Light *  Fang *
******************************
* #1 *  Rav  *  Med  *  Sen  *
******************************
* #2 *  Syn  *  Med  *  Sen  *
******************************
* #3 *  Com  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- This is the same enemy that you fought in Mission 55 to earn the 
Growth Egg.  This time, Neochu begins alone without those annoying Picochus 
helping him, but Neochu can call them into the battle.  We're going to try to 
finish him off before he has a chance.

In Mission 55, we beat Neochu by using Death.  This time, let's try our Random 
Instant Chain trick from Section IX.  Because of his 17-hits-per-turn Cold 
Blood ability, Sazh is the man for this job.  Meanwhile, Fang will be our 
Sentinel (who is waiting to Commando the Mark to an untimely demise as soon as 
he is Staggered), and Lightning will be a Medic until the Mark is Staggered. 
  
Start by equipping Sazh to have the Random: Instant Chain ability.  Give 
everyone Sprint Shoes (yes, even Fang.  If RIC hits early, then she will 
already have Haste), give Lightning one Weirding Glyph, and fill in all other 
Accessory slots with Power Gloves.  Target time isn't an issue here, so we 
won't use any Talismans.
 
Open with Paradigm #1, and have Sazh spam Cold Blood while Lightning heals and 
Fang deflects the worst of Neochu's attacks.  Your course of action from here 
depends on when RIC connects.  If it connects early, go directly to #3 and 
pound Neochu to submission.

If RIC takes a while to connect, Neochu will do a Screech.  This will damage 
everyone and remove all buffs.  Since everyone should be near full health, your 
team should survive and Lightning should be able to perform the necessary 
healing.  You can use #2 to restore Haste on Sazh and Lightning now if you 
want, but very soon Neochu is going to do Pollen, which is going to inflict a 
bunch of bad status ailments.  The most direct solution to Pollen is Dispelga, 
which will remove those status ailments, but it will also remove any buffs.  
Thus, you may want to hold off rebuffing until after you Displega the effects 
of Pollen.  You can even be proactive and have Sazh cast Haste and Bravery on 
all 3 team members, just in case RIC hits before the next Screech.  When you 
have done any rebuffing you choose to do, go back to #1 and continue to spam 
Cold Blood.  Once RIC connects, finish off Neochu with #3.

When RIC hit and Neochu was Staggered, I tried having Fang and Lightning attack 
while Sazh buffed the team before joining in.  Unfortunately, when I did this, 
the Stagger ran out before Neochu's HP did, and as soon as Neochu hit the 
ground, he did Seed Dispersal, which called EIGHT Picochus into the battle.  At 
this point, I decided to Retry rather than deal with those annoying enemies. My 
point is that as soon as RIC connects, go directly to #3 and pound the Mark 
with everything that you have.  If you don't finish him off in one Stagger, 
things are going to get ugly really fast.  From my experience, Neochu only does 
Seed Dispersal when he is very low on HP, so as long as you Stagger him early 
and finish him off in one Stagger, you should be home free.  

If you think that using Random Instant Chain is cheating and prefer to fight 
Neochu straight up, I encourage you to read Section IV of this guide and follow 
your conscience.

Special thanks to alert reader Gary James who outlined the basic plan detailed 
above.  Specifically, he suggested using a Sentinel to keep the team alive in 
case RIC does not connect quickly, a solid idea which somehow had eluded me. 

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                           Mission 46 -- Zirnitra [M46]                      * 
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 42.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Gilgamesh, Inc.

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 10

The Problem -- Zirnitra hits you with a bunch of nasty status effects (Slow, 
Poison, Deprotect) and can hit pretty hard.  He also does not allow Preemptive 
Strikes.

The Good News -- He will focus his nastiness on a Sentinel, leaving the other 
two characters free to prepare and pound. The mark is weak to Fire.

Times -- Target time is around 3 minutes.  You can clip his ugly wings in just 
over a minute.

Paradigms:

            Postgame                OR                 Chapter 11
     *************************                  *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang *  Snow *                  *  Hope *  Fang *  Snow *
******************************             ******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Sab  *  Sen  *             * #1 *  Syn  *  Sab  *  Sen  *
******************************             ******************************
* #2 *  Med  *  Sab  *  Sen  *             * #2 *  Med  *  Sab  *  Sen  *
******************************             ******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Sen  *             * #3 *  Rav  *  Rav  *  Sen  *
******************************             ******************************
                                           * #4 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Sen  *
                                           ******************************
                                           * #5 *  Med  *  Com  *  Sen  *
                                           ******************************
                                           * #6 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Sen  *
                                           ******************************

The Battle -- I used to rely on Death to take these things down because I spent 
so much time healing and removing status effects.  I soon found, though, that 
using a Sentinel makes this a relatively straightforward battle.

Equip everyone with Sprint Shoes.  Give Snow his Tier 1 Paladin or Level 16 
Winged Saint if you already upgraded it. If you upgraded your Black Belts for 
Mission 55, equip those on Snow as well.  Equip Fang with the Morale Talisman 
and Power Glove(s) and equip Hope with the Blessed Talisman and Weirding 
Glyph(s).   

Start with #1 and have Hope cast Enfire on Fang.  Switch to #2 and have Hope 
use Esuna as necessary to remove adverse status effects on himself and Fang and 
then have him heal Snow if necessary.  All the while, Fang should be debuffing 
the Mark and Snow should be taking the worst of the attacks.  If necessary, 
switch back to #1 to replace any lost buffs, then switch to #3 and go on the 
offensive.  With only one Ravager, you probably aren't going to Stagger the 
Mark, but with her Enfired weapon, Fang should whittle away Zirnitra's HP 
quickly and put the Mark down in a minute or two.

I tried this battle late postgame so that I could use Fang as a Ravager and 
Stagger the Mark, but my final time was almost exactly the same.  With Enfire 
on her weapon, Fang can do a lot of damage and it just isn't necessary to 
Stagger the Mark.

The most devastating thing that Zirnitra does is hit you with Deprotect and 
then do a "Feeding Stoop" attack that hits your entire team for lots of damage.
Once your Sentinel makes Challenge stick and directs all attacks toward 
himself, your other team members are safe from Deprotect as long as the 
Sentinel stays alive.  You can tip the odds in your favor if you build two 
maxed out Ceramic Armbands and equip them on Snow.  This will give him 84% 
protections against Deprotect, thus making him require much less healing. This 
is especially helpful if you are trying to beat Zirnitra at very low levels 
(i.e., in Chapter 11).

In Chapter 11, Staggering the Mark also seems to work a bit faster.  Using the 
alternate set of paradigms listed above, start the battle as before.  Once 
Zirnitra is debuffed and Hope and Fang are buffed, switch to #3 until the Mark 
is Staggered.  (Please note that this requires that you develop Fang's 
secondary Ravager role, but as mentioned before, this is well worth the CP 
spent.)  If Snow needs attention, you can switch to #5 and heal as necessary.  
Paradigm #6 is there in case buffs wear off after the Mark is Staggered.  Above 
all, keep your Sentinel alive!  If he dies, your other team members are going 
to get spit on and debuffed, pretty much forcing you to try again. 

By the way, this particular enemy is going to show up in 3 other Missions, so 
remember how we won this battle.  

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                          Mission 47 -- Raktavija [M47]                      *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 42.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Mnar Stone

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 10

The Problem -- You can't make significant progress on the Mark's 2 million+ HP 
until it is Staggered, and the enemy is VERY hard to Stagger.  While you are 
trying, the Mark is pelting you with very damaging Magic.  When you finally 
Stagger the Mark, there is a high probability that it will Dispel all of its 
debuffs and all of your team's buffs, making it difficult to do much damage to 
it.

The Good News -- The Mark is susceptible to Slow.  The Target time is generous, 
so even if you have to Stagger it twice, you can still 5-star the Mission.

Times -- The Target time is around 6 minutes.  The battle can take anywhere 
from 1.5 - 4 minutes, depending on whether you have to Stagger the Mark once or 
twice.  

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Van  *  Fang *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Med  *  Sab  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Rav  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Med  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #4 *  Rav  *  Sab  *  Com  *
******************************
* #5 *  Rav  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************
* #6 *  Syn  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- We need 3 Ravagers, so I'm suggesting that you invest the 24,000 
CP necessary to make Fang a Ravager.  Not only does she have more offensive 
punch than Lightning, but she also knows Slow.

This battle is all about Magic. The Mark uses Magic attacks exclusively, so the 
key to survival is equipping everyone with multiple Magic-protection 
Accessories.  You should have a couple of Witch's Bracelets in your inventory, 
and you can purchase more for 12,000 gil each from B&W Outfitters. Get a total 
of 9 of these (Yes -- you read correctly -- NINE!) and invest the 27,400 EXP to 
upgrade each to the * level. Thirty-six Sturdy Bones followed by 12 Perfect 
Conductors or 2 Particle Accelerators each will do the trick.  Do NOT spend the 
money to upgrade them to Magus' Bracelets.  The Adamantite alone costs 220,000 
gil each, and you only get an extra 5% protection for all that money. Nine 
maxed out Witch's Bracelets will do fine, and the upgrades can be done 
relatively economically (22,080 gil each).  Equip 3 Witch's Bracelets on each 
party member, which will reduce damage from Magic attacks by 58%.  In addition, 
give Fang a Power Glove, and give Vanille and Hope each a Weirding Glyph.  

Having equipped the team for Magic defense, our next battle priority is to buff 
the team and Slow the Marks' attacks.  Start with #1 and have Hope give 
everyone Haste and Shell while Fang Slows the Mark and Vanille heals.  Before 
beginning the attack, give Fang Bravery and cast Faith on both Hope and 
Vanille.  Now switch to #2 and pound the Mark with Magic.  Fang's debuffing 
will give you a good start on the Chain Gauge, which, you will notice, fills 
very slowly, and your 3 Ravagers will push it up as quickly as you possibly 
can.  When you need to heal, switch to #3 and have Vanille heal while Fang and 
Hope continue their work on the Chain Gauge.

As soon as you Stagger the Mark, go immediately to #4 just long enough for 
Vanille to stick Deprotect on him.  Then switch to #5 and attack the Staggered 
Mark.  At this point, one of two things will happen.  If you are very, very 
fortunate, you will be able to relentlessly pound the Mark and finish it off 
before the Stagger Gauge depletes.  This is the best-case scenario, and it will 
happen maybe 25% of the time.

It is much more likely that once the Mark is Staggered, it will cast Dispelga 
(thus removing ALL of your buffs and ALL of its debuffs), and one or more 
members of your team may get hit with Slow.  You will not see the word, 
"Displega" on the screen, but you will notice that one by one your buffs are 
slowly melting away and Fang's attacks are doing considerably less damage.  If 
this happens, it is still possible to finish the Mark in one Stagger, but you 
will have to act quickly. Switch to #6 long enough for Hope to restore Bravery 
and Haste on Fang only.  Then return to #4 long enough for Vanille to Deprotect 
the Mark again before returning to #5 and doing all the damage that you can 
before the Stagger Gauge empties.  If the Mark survives, you will need to Slow, 
Stagger, and pound it a second time to finish it off.

Overall, the key to this Mission is stacking on Witch's Bracelets to lessen the 
enemies' attacks.  Without the enhanced Magic protection of these Accessories, 
the Mark's attacks are simply too devastating.  If you can complete the 
Mission, then you should be able to 5-star it.  Originally, I was skeptical 
about this strategy because I feared that without the extra punch of Power 
Gloves, the team wouldn't have enough offense to kill the Mark.  It turns out 
that my fears were unfounded.  Once you get the Mark Staggered and Deprotected, 
Fang can whittle away his HP quite effectively, especially with two capable 
magic-slingers pushing up the Stagger Gauge.

The most devastating action that the Mark can perform is Dispelga.  In my 
experience, the Mark only uses Dispelga when it is Staggered.  Thus, the 
turning point in this battle occurs when you Stagger the Mark.  If you get hit 
with Dispelga immediately, you are going to have trouble finishing the Mark in 
one Stagger.  If Dispelga gets cast late in the Stagger (or not at all!) then 
you are in good shape.  Generally, if you can survive, you should be able to 5-
star the Mission.  

In Mission 62, you're going to have to fight TWO of these things, but we'll 
cross that bridge when we get there.  Hey, at least we'll get some more mileage 
out of those 9 Witch's Bracelets!

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                       Mission 48 -- Verdelet (x4) [M48]                     *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 43.

When to undertake -- Early postgame

Reward (First Win) -- Twenty-Sided Die

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 10

The Problem -- If you don't finish them off quickly enough, they will Summon 
a Tonberry, prolonging the battle.

The Good News -- If you are sufficiently strong, they won't get a chance to 
Summon.

Times -- The Target Time for me was 9:28 (!).  Clearly, this assumes that you 
will not be able to stop the Tonberry Summons.  If you can, the battle is over 
in about 12 seconds.

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Rav  * Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Like the other Verdelet battles, this is just a matter of 
stopping the Summons.  If you made it this far, you should be able to take out 
the 4 Marks before they make things complicated.  Have Hope wait until you see 
which enemy is trying to Summon, then have him attack that enemy.  If the 
Summons succeeds, you can just Retry, but the battle should be over WAY before 
the Summon succeeds.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                            Mission 49 -- Tyrant [M49]                       *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 43.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Particle Accelerator x 7

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Crystal Oscillator x 2

The Problem -- Tyrant calls a Centurion Blade, which will pound you physically 
while you're trying to make progress on Tyrant.

The Good News -- Tyrant is vulnerable to thunder, and when he goes down, the 
Centurion Blade disappears.

Times -- Target time is around 1:40.  For me, 40 seconds was enough.  

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Fang *  Hope * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Syn  *  Med  *
******************************
* #2 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Com  *  Med  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #4 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Don't bother attacking the Centurion Blade.  If you defeat it, 
Tyrant will just forge another one.  The focus here is to take out Tyrant with 
all due speed and be done with it.

First, if you haven't already cast Libra on one of these things, do so now.   
When Hope perceives its elemental weakness (Thunder) he will cast Enthunder on 
the girls.  Meanwhile, have Fang spam Deprotect, which should stick in the 
first round or two.  Switch to #2 until the Centurion Blade puts someone in 
critical condition, then switch to #3.  Stick with #3 until everyone is healthy 
and the battle is nearly over, then switch to #4 to finish off the Mark in less 
than a minute.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                           Mission 50 -- Humbaba [M50]                       *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 44.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Scarletite

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 7

The Problem -- Like the Kaiser Behemoth, when Humbaba loses about half of his 
HP, he stands up, recovers all of his lost HP, loses all debuffs, and basically 
forces you to start over on him.

The Good News -- He is weak against Fire.  With good timing, you can defeat him 
before he heals himself.

Times -- By adjusting equipment, I got the Target time up to 1:03 and finished 
him off in 30 seconds flat, making it with 14 seconds to spare.

                                               
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Sab  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Sab  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- The key to success here is to kill off the Mark before he heals 
himself.  This is largely a matter of timing, so this may take a couple of 
tries.  Start with #1 and have Hope cast Enfire on Fang and Lightning while 
Fang debuffs the Humbaba.  Switch to #2 and push up the Chain Gauge for a round 
or two.  The Humbaba will stand up when his HP are around half depleted, so 
when he has lost about a third of his HP, switch to #3 and attack with 
everything you've got.  When the debuffed Humbaba with an elevated Chain Gauge 
gets hit by two powerful Commandos equipped with Enfired weapons, he will lose 
that last half of his HP in one round, faster than he can stand up and heal 
himself.  If he successfully heals, just retry.  You should get the timing on 
this within a couple of tries, probably faster than you could make RIC hit.  
Try it!

For what it's worth, this works a little better if you are willing to use Fang 
as a Ravager in Paradigm #2.  Just make sure that she gets Deprotect to stick 
when you are in #1.  If you are having trouble with the Target Time, you can 
take off all of Hope's accessories except his Sprint Shoes and his Blessed 
Talisman, and give him the weakest Tier 1 weapon that you have. He isn't going 
to do much damage anyway, and this will raise the Target time a little and give 
you a bit more margin for error.      

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                           Mission 51 -- Attacus [M51]                       *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Complete Missions 35 - 50 inclusive.

When to undertake -- Late postgame, but see below.

Reward (First Win) -- Genji Glove

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 10

Special navigating note -- Mission 51 can be accessed from any of the 4 areas 
that feed into the last area ("Titan's Throne.")  Once you have completed all 
of the other Missions and win the Mission battle in one of those next-to-last 
areas, an additional Ci'eth Stone will be activated in the area you are 
currently occupying.  Thus, you may follow whichever path you choose to fight 
Attacus -- just look for the flashing Ci'eth Stone icon after you complete the 
Mission battle.  

The Problem -- A relentless attacker with over 9 million HP who is resistant to 
magic and physical attacks and is essentially impossible to Stagger.  Oh, yes -
- he can also remove your buffs and his debuffs.

The Good News -- He will focus his attacks on a Sentinel.

Times -- Target time is around 15 minutes.  This gives you around 10:30 to 
finish the battle with a 5-star rating.

Paradigms:

           Early Postgame                                Late Postgame
     *************************                     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang *  Snow *                     *  Fang *  Van  *  Snow *
******************************                ******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Sab  *  Sen  *                * #1 *  Syn  *  Sab  *  Sen  *
******************************                ******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Rav  *  Sen  *                * #2 *  Rav  *  Rav  *  Sen  *
******************************                ******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Sen  *                * #3 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Sen  *
******************************                ******************************
* #4 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Sen  *                * #4 *  Sab  *  Sab  *  Sen  *
******************************                ******************************
* #5 *  Rav  *  Sab  *  Sen  *                * #5 *  Com  *  Med  *  Sen  *
******************************                ******************************
* #6 *  Med  *  Com  *  Sen  *
******************************

The Battle -- Strictly speaking, this battle should be classified as "Late 
Postgame" because Fang needs to be able to act as a Ravager, which is a 
secondary role for her.  However, if you are willing to invest the 24,000 CP 
necessary for her to learn Fire as a Ravager, you can 5-star this battle in 
Early Postgame.

Attacus is a really tough enemy.  He has fast, hard attacks, and it is very 
difficult to damage him.  If he were susceptible to Random Instant Chain, this 
would go much faster, but unfortunately since he is Level 57, he is immune to 
RIC. The good news is that if you set up Snow as a full-time Sentinel, you 
should never have to spend time healing.  Whatever attacks Snow does not Evade, 
he will recover from quickly with his Mediguard ability, and no one else should 
ever get hit.  The problem, then, is one of inflicting sufficient damage in the 
allotted time.

Equip Vanille/Hope with 4 Weirding Glyphs.  Give Snow his weakest Tier 1 weapon 
and the Black Belts that you used in Mission 55.  Fang and Vanille/Hope each 
get a maxed out Tier 2 weapon.  For Fang, you can use a really nifty if obscure 
Synthesized ability by equipping her with 2 Iron Bangles (or Mythril Bangles) 
in addition to a Weirding Glyph and a Power Glove.  The two Bangles will give 
her the "High HP:  Power Surge" ability.  As long as Fang's HP are above 90%, 
she will get +20% (!) attacking power.  Normally, this won't do you much good 
because as soon as she takes damage, the ability disappears.  However, with 
Snow as a full-time Sentinel, Fang should take essentially zero damage and will 
get this power boost throughout the battle.  Of course, should things go wrong 
and she takes damage, just switch to the healing Paradigm long enough to get 
her HP back above 90%.  (Thanks to alert reader James Patrick who made me aware 
of the usefulness of this particular ability in this battle.)

(Early postgame) -- Start with #1, have Hope give Haste to everyone and Faith 
to himself and Fang.  Meanwhile, Fang will be trying to debuff the Mark.  If 
she does, that's great, but it is no loss if she doesn't.  Switch to #2 and 
start working on raising the Chain Gauge.  You won't Stagger Attacus, and this 
isn't going to do much damage to Attacus, but it is essential to getting the 
most out of Fang's future attacks.  Boosting the Chain Gauge will pay dividends 
for the rest of the battle, so it's worth a couple of minutes of your time.  
Stick with this Paradigm until your team's buffs wear off.  The Chain Gauge 
should be around 200.

Return to #1, except now have Hope give himself Haste and Faith and then give 
Fang Haste and Bravery.  While Hope is buffing, Fang hopefully got Deprotect to 
stick on the Mark.  If not, switch to #5 until she does.  Don't' worry about 
Deshell.  Time is short, and most of your offense is going to come from Fang's 
physical attacks anyway.  Your time is better spent keeping Fang on the attack.
When your team is buffed and the Mark is Deprotected, switch to #3, which will 
be your primary attacking Paradigm.  When your team needs buffing, switch to #4 
so that Fang can continue her attack while Hope restores necessary buffs 
(really only Haste on himself and Fang and Bravery on Fang).  When the Mark 
loses Deprotect, switch to #5 long enough to restore it while Hope continues to 
raise the Chain Gauge.  Always take the time to change Paradigms when either 
Attacus loses his Deprotect or when Fang loses Haste or Bravery, then return to 
#3 as quickly as possible. The idea here is to score as many hits as possible 
when Fang is buffed with Bravery and Haste and Attacus is Deprotected.  The 
time can be close on this one, but since you should never have to heal, you can 
concentrate on keeping Fang buffed and Attacus debuffed.  Paradigm #6 is there 
just in case Snow is in danger of dying. 

(Late postgame) -- The only real difference in late postgame is that if Fang 
also knows Haste, you can use her to buff and use Vanille to debuff.  (In fact, 
the optimum strategy is probably to spend Fang's CP on learning Synergist and 
Ravager abilities as early as possible in Postgame play and using the Late 
Postgame setup in an Early Postgame time frame.)  Since Vanille and Fang are 
both Saboteurs, you can set up Paradigm #4 for faster debuffing as well as have 
better control of the buffing in Paradigm #1.  The overall concept, though, is 
identical to the description given above.  I'll let you work out the details.  

Time-wise, this battle is pretty close, so you have to use your time wisely 
even though the Target time seems high.  Since I KNOW that you saved at the 
Save Point, you can always reload and try the battle again if your rating is 
substandard.  Overall, though, health isn't a big concern so you can 
concentrate on the status of buffs and debuffs and making the most of your 
attacks.  Keep on top of those conditions and you can 5-star this Mission even 
without any Tier 3 weapons or a Genji Glove (which, happily, you will receive 
for completing this Mission.)

I have received a certain amount of mail from readers who are having trouble 
defeating Attacus quickly enough to earn 5 stars.  I have fought this battle in 
early Postgame at least a couple of dozen times, and I assure you that the 
above strategy will consistently lead to a 5-star Mission.  If you are having 
trouble 5-starring this Mission, it is most likely because of one or more of 
these 3 things:

1.  Fang is attacking Attacus when Deprotect has worn off or been removed. You 
    MUST keep Deprotect in place as much as possible.  (In case you weren't 
    sure -- the Deprotect symbol is the red icon with a little shield on it.)
2.  Fang is attacking when Brave(ra) has worn off.  This buff is a 40% (or, in 
    the case of Bravera, 80%) boost in attacking power.  You MUST replace it as 
    soon as it wears off.  Brave(ra), FYI, is the blue icon with a sword on it.
3.  Fang took an incidental hit and her HP fell below 90%, thus negating her 
    High HP: Power Surge ability.  You can 5-star the Mission without this, but 
    it is a big plus for relatively little effort.  Keep an eye on Fang's HP 
    and heal her when necessary. 

Keep a very close eye on these three considerations, and a 5-star victory will 
be yours.   

Special thanks to alert reader SakredEvil, who wrote me about some problems 
with my original strategy and helped me find one that probably works more 
consistently.     

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                           Mission 52 -- Zirnitra [M52]                      *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Stone for Mission 52 is in the northwest corner of the 
Steppe, on the peninsula next to where you fought Mission 12.  I'm sure you 
remember where THAT is, right?

Unlock condition -- Reach Sulyya Springs

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Gale Ring

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 7

This is the exact same battle as Mission 46.  Please look there for the 
particulars of 5-starring this Mission.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                   Mission 53 -- Zirnitra (+ Airaune x4) [M53]               *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Stone for this Mission is deep within Mah'habara.  
Teleport to the Twilit Cavern and take the path across Atomos as if you were 
going to Mission 30.  When the path first forks, go to the left and go all the 
way to the dead end.  You will need to defeat a Tyrant to get access to the 
Stone, but if you can't beat a Tyrant, Zirnitra is going to make mincemeat of 
you anyway.

Unlock condition -- Reach Oerba.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Blaze Ring

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 10

Times -- The extra enemies upped the Target time to about 3:20.  It took me 
more like 1:30 to complete the Mission.

Except for the presence of 4 Airaunes -- which really aren't going to slow you 
down much with their 18,000 HP each -- this is the exact same battle as Mission 
52, which was the exact same battle as Mission 46.  Were the designers running 
out of ideas at this point?  I'd advise you to play this just like before 
except open with #3 to get the Airaunes out of the way first.  From there, 
switch to #1 and proceed as before.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                          Mission 54 -- Gigantuar [M54]                      *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stone is in the far north corner of the Steppe, 
just past the Save point in a small area with a bunch of Gorgonopsids. 

Unlock condition -- Find a Cactuar.

When to undertake -- Late postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Cactuar Doll

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Chocobo Plume x 2

The Problem -- His frequent attacks each hit one team member for 10,000 HP AND 
can inflict Fog and/or Pain AND can remove a buff.  You cannot get a 
Preemptive Strike, even with Deceptisol.  This battle can end unhappily in just 
a few seconds.

The Good News -- He is weak against Fire, is susceptible to Daze, and has very 
few HP.    

Times -- Target time is an absurdly low 2:05.  You will either beat him within 
about 1:10 or die trying.

Paradigms:
                              
     *************************               
     * Light *  Fang *  Snow *               
******************************           
* #1 *  Syn  *  Sab  *  Sab  *           
****************************** 
* #2 *  Syn  *  Syn  *  Syn  *
******************************          
* #3 *  Com  *  Com  *  Com  *         
******************************

This can be one of the most difficult and annoying Missions in the game. 
Gigantuar attacks viciously, and since he is only level 6, the Target Time is 
very short.  He can be defeated many different ways, but if your characters are 
completely (or nearly completely) developed, the method that I am about to 
suggest is probably the most reliable.  It works less well the less developed 
your characters are, and this method is iffy at best in Chapter 11, but let's 
assume that you are in late postgame and see how to topple this huge annoyance 
reliably in that situation.

His basic attack is 10,000 Needles, an attack that ignores resistances (meaning 
that Black Belts will do you no good) and hits one ally for 10,000 HP damage.  
In addition, there is a 90% chance it will inflict Pain, a 70% chance that it 
will inflict Fog, and it hits with Dispel 3 times with probabilities of 70%, 
50%, and 30% of connecting.  His profile says that he is "susceptible to Daze."
This is a bit of an exaggeration, since he is 90% resistant to Daze, but it is 
the only debuff to which he is vulnerable, and we are going to capitalize on 
this Achilles heel to bring him down.

The worst thing about Gigantuar's attacks is the status ailments that they 
inflict. We are going to reduce probabilities that his debuffs connect to level 
the playing field somewhat and buy us enough time to take down the Mark before 
he can kill our team leader.

You need to prepare by building a maxed out Pain Deflector (upgrade from the 
Pain Dampener) and a maxed out Efflugent Cape (upgrade from the White Cape) for 
each member of the team.  The base Accessories can be purchased from B&W 
Outfitters for 3,000 gil each, and the experience necessary is modest.  The 
most expensive part of this operation is that you need 6 Perovskites at 35,000 
gil each to do the upgrades.  Believe me when I tell you, this investment will 
turn one of the toughest battles in the game into one of the quickest and 
easiest.

Equip Fang and Lightning each with a maxed out Tier 2 weapon, and give Snow his 
Level 16 Winged Saint.  Give everyone Sprint Shoes, a Pain Deflector, and an 
Efflugent Cape.  You now have 60% protection from both Pain and Fog.  This 
means that Pain will only connect (40% of 90% =) 36% of the time and Fog will 
only connect (40% of 70% = ) 28% of the time, and there is only about a 10% 
chance that an attack will inflict both status ailments.  In the actual battle, 
the percentages seem somewhat lower than this.  Don't equip any stat-boosting 
Accessories (we don't want to lower the Target time), but I will make one other 
suggestion.  When fully developed, Lightning has exactly 20,000 HP and Snow has 
exactly 30,000 HP.  This means that Lightning will die the second time that she 
is hit with 10,000 Needles, and Snow will die the third time he is hit.  
Needle-less to say, we'd like to extend that, and you can do so by equipping a 
Bangle -- any Bangle -- on both characters.  You team can now withstand as many 
as 2 + 2 + 3 = 7 attacks without anyone dying.  This is going to be more than 
enough.

Be sure to begin the battle by using a Librascope!  This will alert your 
Saboteurs that the Mark is susceptible to Daze.  (Important note:  Gigantuar is 
resistant to Libra, which means that you have to cast it twice before the 
"Susceptible to Daze" information is revealed.  A Librascope will get the job 
done in one turn.  I'm pretty sure that Librascope will always give you full 
information the first time, but you should probably hit R1 and check the Mark's 
profile before proceeding.)  While Fang and Snow are busy spamming Daze, have 
Lightning cast Bravery and Enfire on any one character -- let's say herself -- 
and check for damage from the Mark's attack.  If the person who was attacked 
got Pain, ignore it; if they got Fog, throw a Mallet at them.  You now need to 
monitor the Mark to see when Daze sticks.  With two Saboteurs casting it full 
time, it should stick in one of the first two rounds, and you need to be ready 
when it does.  Daze is a very delicate condition.  If you Daze the Mark and 
then hit it with Daze again (or anything else, for that matter), the Daze can 
be removed and the Mark will resume his attacks.  We want the Mark to stand by 
idly while we buff the team, so here's how you're going to monitor the 
proceedings and accomplish this:

Cue up paradigm #2 (L1, then Down), but do NOT hit the Accept (X) button until 
you see the Daze icon on the Mark.  (Since he's only vulnerable to one debuff, 
you'll recognize it when it appears.)  As soon as it appears, hit X to switch 
to #2.  If you do this correctly, you can now spend a couple of turns buffing 
without Gigantuar disrupting your rhythm with his attacks.  Have Lightning give 
the other two characters Bravery and Enfire while Fang and Snow restore Haste 
on anyone who lost it and sling a bunch of other fundamentally useless buffs.  

As soon as Lightning casts that last pair of buffs, switch to #3 and attack.  
This is going to un-Daze the Mark, so you're going to have to monitor your 
team's status after each of the Mark's attacks.  Every time that Lightning 
finishes her attacks, have her throw a Painkiller at anyone who got Pain.  You 
can ignore Fog since we aren't using Magic.  Remember that her ATB Gauge will 
continue to charge when she uses an item.  If Fang or Snow dies, you can use 
the Renew Technique, but usually you will be close enough to finishing the 
battle that you're better off just leaving the deceased in the dirt for now and 
continuing to pound away at the Mark.  With Enfired weapons, your team should 
finish the battle in 3 - 4 more rounds in addition to the 1 - 2 rounds that you 
spent getting Daze to stick. 

Your only real danger is that the Mark will attack Lightning 3 times before you 
can finish him off.  On the rare occasions when this happens, just Retry.  
Fortunately, Gigantuar seems to be very judicious about spreading his attacks 
evenly among your team.  Even so, you are going to have to go through the above 
process very quickly to 5-star this Mission, but with a little practice, you'll 
get a feel for the timing of it and prevail.

I would guess that for a fully developed team, this method is 90% successful. 
As such, it is far and away the most reliable of the many strategies that I've 
researched.  This percentage will decrease with your team's development.  In 
Chapter 11, you will be very fortunate indeed to get this method to work, and 
that early in the game, I would recommend a different strategy, probably one 
involving RIC.  For late postgame play, I am convinced that this is the 
strategy of choice, but you should feel free to experiment with other methods 
and find the one that works best for you.  Me -- I'm moving on to the 
considerably less annoying Mission 56.    


*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                     Mission 55 -- Neochu (+5 Picochu) [M55]                 *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stone for this Mission is on the roof of the 
schoolhouse in Oerba.  You will see it (and 2 bobbing Treasure Balls) as you 
descend the exterior stairs with a Vampire and 3 Seekers at the bottom.  The 
Mark is in Aggra's Pasture, an area up in the mountains on the East side of the 
Steppe that is accessible only by chocobo.

Unlock condition -- Complete Mission 14 and defeat Barthandelus in Oerba.

When to undertake -- Immediately after the events in Oerba, although you might 
need to fill out some of Stage 9 of the Chrystarium first.

Reward (First Win) -- Growth Egg

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Moonblossom Seed x 2

The Problem -- Where to start?  Neochu's regular attacks can hit one ally for 
about 4000 HP and knock them into the air and out of the battle for several 
precious seconds.  His Screech can wipe out your entire party.  He is 
surrounded by 5 count 'em FIVE Picochus, each of which has over 260,000 HP and 
attacks relentlessly.  There is no way to get a Preemptive Strike, even with 
Deceptisol.  The difficulty of the enemy is compounded by the desirability of 
the reward, which tempts you to undertake this Mission when your stats are 
really too low.
 
The Good News -- Neochu is susceptible to Death.  The Target Time is huge.  
Thank goodness!

Times -- Target time immediately after completing the events in Oerba is about 
30-35 minutes.  You will either die or complete the Mission in about 5 minutes.

Paradigms
     *************************
     *  Van  * Light *  Snow *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Med  *  Sen  *
******************************
* #2 *  Med  *  Med  *  Sen  *
******************************
* #3 *  Med  *  Com  *  Sen  *
******************************
* #4 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Sen  *
******************************
* #5 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Your reward for completing this Mission is the Growth Egg, one of 
the most desirable Accessories in the game, and you are going to have to work 
to earn it.  As much as I hate to rely on the Death spell, it is the only way 
that I have been able to dependably win this battle at this stage of the game. 
We are going to fight another Neochu using a different strategy later in 
Mission 45, but we should be a little strong and we won't have to deal with the 
pesky Pichochus.     

Be aware that you will have to Retry this Mission many times, and even 
when you get Death to stick on Neochu, there is a very good chance of losing 
this battle.  Proceed with caution and patience, and victory will be yours.

This is the one Mission for which I recommend using a shroud, specifically 
Aegisol.  If you don't, it is literally possible for Vanille to die before ever 
executing a single action.  I have won this battle without Aegisol, but it took 
MANY retries, and I don't recommend this unless you have a lot of spare time on 
your hands and nothing better to do than watch your Leader die time after time 
before your first turn even begins.  You can easily get by without Fortisol, 
but Aegisol is a must if retaining your sanity is a priority.

You should have two Black Belts and two Royal Armlets in your inventory. 
Upgrade all of these Accessories to the * level and equip Snow with the two 
Black Belts and a Royal Armlet.  He will be taking the lion's share of the 
punishment, and this will give him 46% protection from these physical attacks. 
Equip Vanille with the Royal Armlet, Sprint Shoes, and a Sorcerer's Mark, and 
equip Lightning with Sprint Shoes, Sorcerer's Mark, and Warrior's Wristband. 
The Haste from the Sprint Shoes will wear off LONG before the battle ends, but 
we only need it to last until the Neochu dies.  This setup gives Vanille 
maximum castings of Death before Neochu Screeches and allow Lightning quicker 
and slightly more powerful healing.  Believe me, you'll need it!    
  
Start with #1 and have Vanille cast Death until Neochu or one of your party 
members dies.  BE AWARE that Neochu is NOT the default target in this battle -- 
you will have to select him manually.  Your party should survive until Neochu 
does a Screech, which will happen right around the same time that you lose 
Haste.  Keep Retrying until Neochu dies with your party still intact.  This 
might take so long that you will start to believe that your particular Neochu 
is immune to Death, but remember that Death only connects 1% of the time.  This 
means that the probability that you will try Death 20 times without success is 
0.99^20 or about 82%, so keep trying -- it will connect eventually.

For what it's worth, you can increase the probability that Death will connect 
by 1% for every debuff that you can stick on Neochu.  He is immune to most 
debuffs, but he is susceptible to Imperil, which Vanille can reliably stick in 
one round.  This doubles the chance that Death will connect, and using 
Vanille's first round to cast Imperil 5 times may well be worth your time.  I 
can't honestly say that I can perceive the difference between 1% success and 2% 
success, but I offer this to you as a mathematically sound option.

When Neochu goes down, switch to #2 to heal, and then return to the offensive 
with #3.  With only one member of your team actually fighting and 5 crazed 
Picochus hitting your Sentinel (and laughing at you!), it is going to take a 
long time to knock out your first Picochu.  Switch back to #2 as necessary to 
heal.  Be patient -- the emphasis now is on staying alive.  The Target time is 
generous, so you are in no hurry.  When you are down to 3 Picochus, try #4 to 
inflict more damage per unit time, returning to #3 to heal as necessary.  When 
only one Picochu remains, you can switch to #5 and hopefully finish this battle 
and enjoy double CP from now until you max out your Chrystarium.

Alert reader I.Khalaf points out that once Neochu is dead, you can speed up the 
battle against the Picochus slightly by having Vanille use Quake.  Each Quake 
will do 7000 - 9000 damage to each Picochu, so if you use up all 5 of your TP's 
you can shave off about 40,000 HP (or just under 20%) from each Picochu's life. 
For me, this reduced my battle time by about half a minute.  However, I hasten 
to add that staying alive is still your primary objective.  Do not use Quake 
unless your entire team's health is near maximum.  You really don't want to 
repeat the process of getting Death to connect.  Use this strategy as you see 
fit, but make "Safety First!" your guiding motto.  

*******************************************************************************
*  SPECIAL NOTE -- Missions 56 - 62 constitute another special group of       *
*  Missions.  When all 7 of these Missions have been completed, AND you reset *
*  the area, all of the big turtles in the Archylte Steppe execept one will   *
*  transform into much stronger and tougher enemies ("Long Guis").  Resetting * 
*  the area can be accomplished by either Saving and reloading your game or   *
*  by teleporting away from the Steppe and then returning.  Consequently, if  *
*  you intend to farm the big turtles for Trapezohedrons and/or Platinum      *
*  Ingots, you might want to do so prior to completing all 7 of these         *
*  Missions.  The one big turtle in Leviathan Plaza in Eden will, however,    *
*  remain unchanged and available for easy farming even after completing      * 
*  these 7 Missions.                                                          *
*******************************************************************************

One additional note -- If you have completed all of the first 55 Missions, you 
are probably about ready to start taking the down the big turtles with tusks 
for gil and CP (80,000 each if you have the Growth Egg equipped.)  That sounds 
like a lot of CP, but it doesn't go very far when each node in the Chrystarium 
requires 60,000 or 120,000 CP to activate.  To beat the turtles reliably, you 
will need a bunch of HP, 3 maxed out Gaian Rings, and a few secondary role 
abilities (Fang as a Synergist and Ravager, and Lightning as a Saboteur.)  For 
a detailed strategy for beating these big beasts, see Mission 63. 

Finding your way -- Since the Ci'eth Stones for Mission 56 - 62 inclusive are 
all clustered together in one place (Eastern Tors of the Steppe), I'll forgo 
giving directions for the time being.  I'll meet you back at Mission 63.  See 
you there! 

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                   Mission 56 -- Ugallu (+ Munchkin x4) [M56]                *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Reach Taijin's Tower.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Rhodochrosite

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 5

The Problem -- Insanely short Target time and five enemies to down.  

The Good News -- Sprint Shoes give you the necessary edge.  Preemptive Strike 
takes some practice but is entirely possible.

Times -- My Target time was 30 seconds.  That gave me only 21 seconds to 5-star 
the Mission.  I did it in 16.  Whew! 

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- The easiest way to make the time limit is to get a PS.  However, 
getting one takes some creativity. The enemies are waiting for you on a raised 
piece of land.  As soon as you jump up there, they spot you and descend upon 
you.  If you Retry, you begin back before you made the jump, even if you 
position yourself among the enemies before engaging them.  Instead of using 
Retries, then, we are going to jump back and forth between the two bodies of 
land.

Jump up and try to get close enough to Ugallu to lure him towards you without 
coming in contact with a Munchkin.  You may recall from Mission 3 that Ugallu's 
vision and hearing aren't that great, so you want to sneak up on him as opposed 
to the Munchkins.  When the enemies get close to you, jump back down, then turn 
and see where they are.  You want a situation where the Ugallu is the closest 
enemy to you, and he has turned and is walking away from you.  He doesn't have 
to be moving directly away as long as he isn't backing away.  When he is 
walking away, jump back up, run up to his backside, and hope for a PS.  If you 
don't get it, just Retry.  This is a little frustrating because it is tough to 
get the camera pointing properly so that you can see what is going on. I also 
had some problems with getting Ugallu to move out of his corner -- I kept 
getting swarmed by the Munchkins before Ugallu got close enough to me. Once he 
did move close to the jumping point, getting a PS was pretty easy. If you 
choose to use this method, be sure to have Hope target Ugallu first even though 
he is not the default target.  (Special thanks to alert reader "Ryan" who 
notified me that, contrary to what I wrote in the original version of this 
guide, a PS without Deceptisol is indeed possible on this Mission.)  

While a PS makes the battle easy, getting one really isn't necessary.  The 
straightforward approach works just fine.  Go in with Aggression and let your 
Commandos Blitz away all of the Munchkins first.  From there, just hit the Mark 
until he goes down.  If you are having trouble making the time limit, try 
equipping Hope with Sprint Shoes and Blessed Talisman only.  He doesn't do much 
damage anyway, and that may bring your Target time up enough to make the 
difference.

Since all of the enemies are weak to Ice, I tried taking the time to put 
Enfrost on Fang and Lightning.  The battle took 2 seconds longer, suggesting 
that in this case it isn't a good idea. 

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                  Mission 57 -- Sahagin (x3 + Airaune x2) [M57]              *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Reach Taijin's Tower.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Uraninite

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 5

The Problem -- Short Target time.  It takes forever to walk all the way to 
where the Mark is.

The Good News -- Easy enemies.

Times -- Figuring that the Target time would be low, I removed Hope's Weirding 
Glyphs and got a Target time of 30 seconds.  The battle was over in 11. 

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Hit the enemies quick and hard.  That's about it.  Your Commandos 
should Blitz away the 3 Sahagins in one round and wipe out the Airaunes in the 
second round.  End of story.

I have to say that I'm puzzled that such an easy battle appears so late in the 
Missions.  I understand that the challenge is in meeting the time limit, but 
even so this Mission is a joke.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*               Mission 58 -- Humbaba (+ Pulsework Centurion) [M58]           *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Reach Taijin's Tower.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Speed Sash

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Shell x 5

The Problem -- You have a lot to do in a short period of time.  If you don't 
finish off the Humbaba before he stands up and heals himself, you essentially 
have to start over with him.  Preemptive Strike without Deceptisol is difficult 
at best.

The Good News -- Once you Stagger the Mark, Fang can Launch him and prevent him 
from healing himself.  Once again, Random Instant Chain comes to your rescue.  
There is a Save point right next to this battle if you need to try more than 
once.

Times -- My Target time was 1:36, giving me 67 seconds to 5-star it.  I 
finished the battle in 40 - 50 seconds.

Paradigms:

            Using RIC                                    Without RIC
     *************************                     *************************
     * Sazh  *  Fang * Light *                     *  Hope *  Fang * Light *
******************************                ******************************
* #1 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *                * #1 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************                ******************************
                                              * #2 *  Syn  *  Sab  *  Rav  *
                                              ******************************
                                              * #3 *  Rav  *  Sab  *  Rav  *
                                              ******************************
                                              * #4 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
                                              ******************************

The Battle -- The first thing I tried was getting an honest PS, but the game 
designers seemed to rig some of these Missions (like this one) so that a PS is 
highly unlikely.  Try it for yourself if you don't believe me.  I'm not saying 
that it isn't possible -- I'm just saying that it isn't easy.

The next thing I tried was a straight-up battle with buffing my team and trying 
to finish off the Humbaba before he could heal himself.  Time-wise, this was 
really tight and only worked maybe one time out of 5.  When the Humbaba healed 
itself, I kept coming up about 5 seconds short of a 5-star rating.

I have now settled on Random Instant Chain, my new favorite strategy, as the 
best way to 5-star this Mission.  Give everyone equipment that bestows this 
ability if possible.  You now have roughly a 13% chance of Staggering the 
Humbaba in the first round and a 24% chance of Staggering him within 2 rounds.  
Have Sazh use Cold Blood immediately on the Humaba (who, you will note, is NOT 
the default target).  If the Humbaba does not Stagger within the first two 
rounds, then Retry.  If it does, then Fang should Launch it, allowing you to 
finish it off in a couple of rounds.  You can now turn your attention to the 
Centurion, who should Stagger and die in another couple of rounds.  

Realistically, if you can Stagger the Humbaba before he heals himself, you 
should be able to 5-star this Mission.  However, for me this usually happened 
somewhere in the third round of attacks.  This is why I say to Retry after 2 
rounds if Humbaba is not Staggered.

December 2010 Update -- With a little practice, I can now dependably defeat the 
Humbaba before he can heal himself, thus allowing a 5-star rating without using 
Random Instant Chain. Here's how. 

Since the Centurion is your default target anyway, start with #1 to Stagger and 
finish him off first.  This should take 2 - 3 rounds.  Switch to #2 and defeat 
the Humbaba as described in Mission 50.

As was the case with Mission 50, this works a little better if you are willing 
to use Fang as a Ravager in Paradigms #1 and #3.  Just make sure that she gets 
Deprotect to stick when you are in #2.     

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                Mission 59 -- Zirnitra (+ Ceratoraptor x3) [M59]             *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Reach Taijin's Tower.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Energy Sash

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 6

The Problem -- The worst of both worlds -- a thoroughly obnoxious boss matched 
with enemies that call companions ad infinitum.

The Good News -- For once, the Target time is semi-realistic.  Zirnitra still 
gives the bulk of his attention to a Sentinel.  

Times -- I had a Target time of 4:25, which gave me 3:06 to 5-star it.  My 
times varied from 2:00 to about 2:55.

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Hope *  Fang *  Snow *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Com  *  Sen  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Sen *
******************************
* #3 *  Med  *  Com  *  Sen  *
******************************
* #4 *  Syn  *  Sab  *  Sen  *
******************************

The Battle -- Another case of total pandemonium!  Start with #1 just long 
enough to cast Enfire on Fang.  Your first priority is to get rid of those 
stupid Certoraptors, and having Fire on Fang's weapon really speeds that up 
(see below). It is a nice coincidence that Zirnitra is also weak to Fire.  
Switch to #2 and have Hope and Fang Stagger and then finish off the 
Certoraptors one by one.  If Snow's health gets low, you can switch to #3 long 
enough to heal while still doing some damage.  If Hope or Fang loses Haste or 
gets Slowed, switch back to #1 and speed them up again.  Once the Certoraptors 
are gone, you can quickly get rid of the Certosaurs that they called.  Finally, 
you can focus on Zirnitra.  Switch to #4 so that Hope can cast a fresh round of 
Haste on himself and Fang as well as any lost buffs while Fang tries to stick 
debuffs on Zirnitra.  Back to #3 for one round so that you can heal Snow, and 
then back to #2 to pound on Zirnitra.  By the time you Stagger him, his HP will 
be nearly depleted anyway, but Fang can finish him off quickly from there.

If Snow dies or if Fang or Hope gets hit with Zirnitra's first attack (which 
inflicts Daze) you may need to Retry.

I tried this battle without doing the first step of casting Enfire on Fang, and 
it took nearly another full minute to finish the battle!

One last note -- A PS is possible if you use Deceptisol, but I can't imagine 
why you would want to.  The battle is frantic, but you certainly have enough 
time to get the job done without Deceptisol.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                       Mission 60 -- Gelatitan (x3) [M60]                    *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Reach Oerba.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Mnar Stone

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 7

The Problem -- Three enemies with high Stagger points and relatively short 
Target time.  They can stick you with Slow and Pain, thus either slowing your 
attacks or stopping them altogether.

The Good News -- The enemies are weak against Thunder.  For large targets like 
these, Sazh can do a lot of damage with his Blitz attack.

Times -- Target time was 2:30, giving me just 1:45 to take out all 3.  My times 
went from about 1:10 to 1:50 or so.  Usually, I got 5 stars, but sometimes I 
went slightly over time.

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Sazh *  Fang *  Van  *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Sab  *  Sab  *
******************************
* #2 *  Com  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************

The Battle -- If you can get an honest PS on this battle, then you are a better 
person than I am.  You can get the enemies to chase you to the limits of their 
travel, but when they retreat they back away while still facing you.  When they 
finally turn their backs on you, they are hyper-aware of your movements and 
moving stealthily will not cover ground fast enough to engage them before they 
turn and face you again.  You might be able to get a favorable position after a 
Retry (like we did in Mission 31), but I tried probably 20 times and never got 
a PS.

We are going to equip for Random Instant Chain, but we're not going to depend 
on it.  You can 5-star this battle even if you never get a RIC, but if you do 
get one, then so much the better.  Give Sprint Shoes to everyone, and equip 
everyone with RIC Accessories.  For Sazh and Fang, fill in the rest of their 
slots with Power Gloves, and give Vanille a Weirding Glyph.

Before you start, make sure that you have some Painkillers in stock.  If not, 
go to the nearby Save Point and buy some for a paltry 100 gil each.  You'll be 
glad that you did.

Start with #1 and have Sazh give Bravery and Enthunder to himself, Enthunder to 
Fang, and Faith to Vanille.  While he is buffing the team, hopefully the girls 
are sticking some decent debuffs on the Marks.  If not, don't spend any more 
time debuffing -- just get on with the attack as soon as Sazh does his buffing.

Switch to #2 and have Sazh Blitz twice in each turn.  Always aim for the Mark 
in the middle (to inflict maximum total damage on the 3 marks) unless either a) 
one of the Marks is almost finished (in which case, finish him off, making the 
battle MUCH easier; or 2) an enemy gets Staggered, in which case switch to #3 
and focus on that enemy.  As your buffs wear off (or if you get stuck with 
Slow), switch back to #1 just long enough to restore them.  When someone gets 
hit by Pain, administer one of those Painkillers that you just bought.  
Remember that your ATB gauge will continue to fill while you are using Items, 
so you really don't lose much time doing this.

You are probably going to have to try this battle a few times before you get 
the 5 stars.  In battles where I got no RIC, I got 5 stars maybe half the time.
In battles where I got at least one RIC, I got 5 stars pretty much every time.  
Happily there is a Save Point right nearby and you can just reload your game 
and try again if you let the battle play out and get less than 5 stars.  If you 
get an early RIC, you will be on Easy Street.  Otherwise, the time should be 
close but doable.

Special thanks to alert reader Jared Livesey, who gave me the fundamental idea 
for this strategy in response to my original claim that use of Deceptisol might 
be necessary.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                         Mission 61 -- Juggernaut [M61]                      *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Unlock condition -- Reach Oerba.

When to undertake -- Early postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Royal Armlet

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Crystal Oscillator x 2

The Problem -- Low Target time means that you pretty much have to get a PS in 
order to 5-star this Mission.

The Good News -- Juggernaut is by himself.  A PS isn't that hard to accomplish.

Times -- Target time is about 1:10. Without a PS, that gives you 46 seconds to 
earn 5 stars.  Good luck with that.  With a PS, you can take him down in about 
25 seconds or less.

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Van  *  Fang * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Com  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Com  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- I really can't believe that you get to fight a solo Juggernaut 
here.  I was sure that there would be 2 of them or at least that this one would 
have some kind of companion.  Let's count our blessings.

As before, the key is to get a PS.  After that, the rest is easy.  Engage the 
enemy and then Retry as soon as the battle begins.  When the battle loads, 
don't make a move of any kind until he is facing DIRECTLY away from you.  His 
peripheral vision is very good, but his hearing isn't.  If he is not facing 
directly away from you, he will readily perceive your movement and come after 
you.  If he is facing directly away from you, you can run up behind him -- you 
don't even have to tiptoe -- and engage him for a PS.  It may take a couple of 
tries, but it really isn't all that difficult.

Once you get a PS, use Paradigm #1 to Stagger and debuff the Mark.  On a good 
day, Vanille can stick 4 debuffs in one round.  Switch to #2 so that your 
Commandos can Launch the Mark and finish the battle in another 2 rounds or so.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                        Mission 62 -- Raktavija x 2 [M62]                    *
*                                                                             *
******************************************************************************* 

Unlock condition:  Complete Mission 44.

When to undertake it -- Late postgame.  

Reward (First Win) -- Genji Glove

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 10

Special note:  You can only reach this battle via chocobo.  Be careful about 
moving around up there prior to engaging the enemy or you might fall down a 
level.  This won't hurt you, but you will have to go round up another chocobo 
to return up to the battle site, which can be annoying.  Always rotate the 
cameras so that you are facing the Marks before moving when up here.  
 
The Problem -- This can be one of the toughest battles in the game.  Beating 
one of these things was hard enough back in Mission 47.  Now you have to defeat 
two of them.  You are facing essentially the same problems before, but you are 
getting pelted with twice as many attacks.    

The Good News -- You should now have almost twice as many HP as you had when 
you fought Mission 47.  The Marks are susceptible to Slow, which greatly 
reduces the rate at which you take damage.  Once the first one goes down, the 
rest is relatively easy.

Times -- With maxed out Tier 2 weapons, Target time is around 12 minutes.  Once 
I figured out how to stay alive long enough to finish the battle, my times ran 
from about 3 - 7 minutes.

Paradigms:

     *************************
     *  Fang *  Van  *  Hope *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Med  *  Syn  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Rav  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Rav  *  Med  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #4 *  Com  *  Sab  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #5 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #6 *  Syn  *  Rav  *  Med  *
******************************

The Battle -- This is a seriously difficult battle.  I have read literally 
dozens of different ways to win this battle, and even with the benefit of so 
many peoples' experience, it is only recently that I have become able to face 
this battle fearlessly.  The factors cited above definitely hamper your 
offense, but the biggest problem seems to be defense.  The enemies' Magic 
attacks can hit your entire team for big damage and often knock you in the air 
and out of commission for long, crucial periods of time.  Healing the damage 
inflicted by these attacks can take valuable time, so it seems that your best 
offense here is a good defense.

Before I go any further, I would like to credit MasterLL for the basics of the 
following strategy, which he illustrated in a YouTube video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5ktoPhrPMM

Please be aware that this is one of those "best case scenario" videos that I 
described in Section III of this guide.  The single most detrimental (and 
not at all uncommon) thing that can happen is conspicuously absent from this 
video, making this battle appear somewhat less difficult than it actually is. 
Nonetheless, the overall strategy is solid, and I will try to give you guidance 
on how to deal with this setback should it befall you in your battle.

Since this battle is all about Magic, I used Hope where MasterLL used 
Lightning, but the strategy works with either character.  Hope has stronger 
Magic, but Lightning has more HP, so each has advantages.

Equip everyone pretty much as you did in Mission 47 -- 3 maxed out Witch's 
Bracelets on each team member plus Weirding Glyphs on Hope and Vanille.  The 
one change that I recommend is to equip your one Genji Glove on Fang, since she 
should now be powerful enough to do over 99,999 damage once a Mark is Staggered 
and Deprotected.

Your battle procedure will be slightly different with Fang as the leader.     
Start with #1 and have Fang spam Slow while Hope buffs the team and Vanille 
heals.  The only buff we really need right now is Haste, and Hope will cast 
that first.  Once the first enemy is Slowed, turn your attention to the second 
enemy until both Marks are Slowed.  Now switch to #2 and pound one Mark with 
Magic.  When you need to heal, switch to #3 and have Vanille heal while Fang 
and Hope continue pushing up the Chain Gauge.  

If you got Slow to stick quickly, Hope may not have buffed Fang with Bravery.  
If this is the case, then just before the first Mark's Stagger Gauge fills, 
switch to #6 long enough for Fang to give herself Bravera, then return to #2.  
As soon as you Stagger the first Mark, go immediately to #4 just long enough 
for Vanille to stick Deprotect on the Staggered Mark.  Then switch to #5 and 
attack the Staggered Mark.

If you do not get hit with Dispelga, then you should have no trouble finishing 
the first Mark in one Stagger.  You will notice that this is the case in 
MasterLL's video, which is why the battle seems so easy.  As before, if you get 
hit with Dispelga it is still possible to finish the first Mark in one Stagger, 
but you will have to act quickly.  Switch back to #6 long enough for Fang to 
restore Bravera and Haste on herself only.  Then return to #4 long enough for 
Vanille to Deprotect the Mark again before returning to #5 and doing all the 
damage that you can before the Stagger Gauge empties.  A Highwind at the end 
might very well make the difference, which is one reason I advise you to put 
Fang in the lead.  If the Mark survives, you will need to Slow, Stagger, and 
pound it a second time to finish it off. 

Once the first Mark is down, repeat the process (which will be MUCH easier with 
only one of these things pelting you with attacks.)  Use #1 to Slow the Mark 
and buff the team, Stagger the Mark with #2 and #3, and pound it into the 
ground with #5.

This battle definitely takes considerably longer than Mission 47, especially if 
you are unfortunate with the Marks' use of Dispelga.  For the record, I have 5-
starred this Mission even when my team got hit with Dispelga FOUR times, 
forcing me to Stagger each Mark twice.  As before, once you figure out how to 
survive this battle, you should have little trouble 5-starring the Mission.

I have received many emails that provided suggestions about how to win this 
battle. Winning this battle with a 5-star rating isn't really a problem.  What 
I would REALLY like to know is how to keep the Marks from using Dispelga, 
because if you can prevent that, this Mission is a breeze.  I have tried this 
battle without using Slow or Deprotect (figuring that if the Mark has no 
debuffs on it, then it won't cast Dispelga), but even with no debuffs, the 
Marks will use Dispelga when Staggered.  If any of you out there have an answer 
to this, I would be most interested to hear from you.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                      Mission 63 -- Adamantortoise [M63]                     *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Ci'eth Stone for Mission 63 is in Sulyya Springs at 
ground level, just past where the path splits to the right and uphill.

Unlock condition -- Reach the Faultwarrens.

When to undertake -- Late postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Genji Glove

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Gold Nugget

The Problem -- A very tough enemy that takes a while to bring down because of 
its 3.7 million HP.  In order to damage it significantly, you have to take out 
its legs individually, after which it will fall to the ground and be vulnerable 
briefly.  Its attacks hit your whole team and can cause lots of damage.

The Good News -- If you are sufficiently strong and practice a little, this 
isn't that hard a battle.  In fact, it becomes more or less automatic.

Times -- Time is really not a problem here.  The Target time is nearly 10 
minutes and the Mark can be leveled in about 2.

Paradigms:
     *************************
     *  Fang *  Van  * Light *
******************************
* #1 *  Syn  *  Med  *  Med  *
******************************
* #2 *  Rav  *  Rav  *  Rav  *
******************************
* #3 *  Com  *  Med  *  Med  *
******************************
* #4 *  Syn  *  Sab  *  Sab  *
******************************
* #5 *  Com  *  Rav  *  Com  *
******************************

The Battle -- Because they drop the two items (Platinum Ingot and 
Trapezohedron) that are more or less essential to earning all of the game's 
trophies, these enemies are well-known, and there are probably as many ways to 
defeat them as there are FFXIII enthusiasts.  I will describe one way to bring 
down this enemy, but as usual I do not claim that it is the best method, only 
that it works reliably for me.

Tier 3 weapons are NOT needed for this battle.  You can defeat this enemy using 
only the equipment that we have used so far with two exceptions.  First, I 
strongly advise you to get a maxed out Gaian Ring for each member of your team.
The Mark's primary attacks are earth-based, and this accessory reduces damage 
from earth-based attacks by 40%.  You should have found 2 Clay Rings in your 
travels (one on Tier 6 of Taijin's Tower and one on the cliff where you fought 
Gigantuar), and you received a Siltstone Ring for completing Mission 39. Both 
of these accessories can be upgraded rather cheaply to Gaian Rings.  The 
catalyst that you will need is Uraninite, but you should have a few in 
inventory from completing Missions 29, 30, 36, and 57.  You will also want the 
Genji Glove that you got from completing Mission 51.  It probably isn't 
absolutely necessary, but it makes this process go MUCH more quickly because it 
allows you to kill off a Staggered leg in a single hit.

I recommend that you undertake this Mission in late postgame not because you 
need special equipment, but rather because it is very helpful for all team 
members to have sufficient HP and access to all 6 roles and some off their 
attendant abilities. For example, Fang is going to act as a Synergist and needs 
to know Haste.  By the time you get to this stage of the game, you should have 
accrued more than enough CP to max out Stage 10 Crystarium in all 6 roles for 
all 6 characters, so this should not be an issue.

Equip everyone with his/her maxed out Tier 2 weapon, but leave off the Sprint 
Shoes.  In addition to the Gaian Rings, give Fang 2 Power Gloves and a Genji 
Glove; give Vanille 3 Weirding Glyphs; and give Lightning 2 Power Gloves and a 
Weirding Glyph.  Set the Paradigms as listed above.

Start with #1 and have Fang cast Haste and Protectra on everyone while the 
other 2 team members heal.  After a while, this step won't be necessary, but it 
will give you a little more protection while you are vulnerable to the Mark's 
attacks.  Switch to #2 and have everyone attack the default target, which is 
the Left Foreleg.  Instead of using Auto-Battle, you might want to choose to 
fill Fang's ATB with 5 Thunder spells.  Thunder casts quicker than any other 
spell, so this is the quickest way to inflict damage.  Do this for 2 full 
rounds.  Switch to #3 and have Fang do a Highwind on the Left Foreleg while 
Vanille and Lightning heal.  This should kill off that leg.

If the Highwind does not kill off the leg, there can be a couple of possible 
causes.  First, make sure that Fang is equipped with a Genji Glove.  The leg 
has nearly 250,000 HP, and you didn't shave off many of those when Staggering 
it.  Thus, to kill it, you will need to hit for over 100,000 HP, a feat which 
can only be accomplished with a Genji Glove equipped.  Second, if you are a 
little underpowered, it may be necessary to attack the leg with your 3 Ravagers 
for a third round (thus pushing the Stagger gauge up higher) before doing the 
Highwind.  The third possibility is that the timing of your Highwind was bad.  
If Fang's Highwind hits while the Mark is stomping either leg, the damage that 
occurs will be diminished, which is not acceptable.  We want to kill off the 
leg in one Stagger.  So, keep track of the Mark's attacks.  If it just stomped, 
go ahead and Highwind the leg.  If it has been a while, you may want to wait 
until after it attacks next.  Don't overthink this -- more often than not, if 
you just go ahead and attack, you'll be just fine, and if you spend too much 
time waiting for an attack, your Haste will run out.  However, you should be 
aware of this possible reason that your Highwind did not cause the desired 
amount of damage.  

When the Left Foreleg dies, the default target will NOT be the Right Foreleg 
(which we want to attack next) but rather the Adamantortoise itself, which we 
don't want to attack yet.  Therefore, before switching Paradigms again, have 
Fang cast Ruin a couple of times on the Right Foreleg.  This will identify that 
as the new target and also give some additional time for healing.  Now go back 
to #2 and repeat the process -- hit the Right Foreleg with 3 Ravagers for at 
least 2 full rounds to Stagger the leg, switch to #3, and have Fang take out 
the leg with a Highwind.

Switch to #4 and prepare to have Fang buff while the other 2 team members 
debuff.  However, with its legs disabled, the Mark is going to fall down, which 
can cause 2 problems.  First, anyone standing nearby is going to take some 
damage (which is only an issue if a member of your team is already in the red.) 
Moreover, if you are trying to cast a spell when the Mark hits the dirt, that 
action will be disrupted and canceled.  So, execute the following so that they 
do not occur when the Mark is actually hitting the ground:  have Fang give 
herself and Lightning Haste and Bravera, and have her give Vanille Haste and 
Faithra.  Meanwhile, Vanille and Light should be able to stick the turtle with 
Deprotect and Deshell and hopefully Imperil as well.

Now that the Mark is down and debuffed and your team is buffed, it is time to 
finish this battle.  Go back to #2 to Stagger the turtle.  Two full rounds 
should do it.  Switch to #5 and pound the turtle into submission.  Time-wise, 
you should have 3 full rounds to beat on the turtle before he stands up again.  
If the third round completes but the turtle is still alive, have Fang execute a 
Highwind and if you are fortunate, that will finish the battle.  If the Mark 
successfully stands up, you may want to begin again.  You can only do minimal 
damage to it when it is standing, which basically means that you have to start 
over anyway.

If you haven't started grinding turtles yet, it may take you a few tries to 
get the timing of all this right.  Mostly, you need to be aware that once the 
turtle hits the ground, your time is very limited, so make the most of it.   

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                       Mission 64 -- Vercingetorix [M64]                     *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Finding your way -- The Stone for this Mission is in Oerba, WAY out where you 
fought Barthandelus and boarded an airship to return to Cocoon at the end of 
Chapter 11.  Pack a lunch -- it's a long hike.

Unlock conditions -- Complete Missions 27 and 51 (i.e., complete all of Titan's 
Trials) and defeat Barthandelus in Oerba.

When to undertake -- Late postgame.

Reward (First Win) -- Gold Watch

Reward (Subsequent wins) -- Bomb Core x 10

The Problem -- On the surface, this appears to be one of the toughest battles 
in the game.  The enemy hits hard and fast and has an attack (Wicked Whirl) 
that can wipe out your entire party if you are not in Sentinel mode.  He 
periodically goes into a trance ("Impenetrable Aura") that removes all of his 
debuffs, resets his Stagger Gauge, restores lots of HP, and makes him 
invulnerable to your attacks.

The Good News -- You never have to hit him even once.  You can win a 5-star 
rating through use of Poison exclusively.  Really!

Times:  Even with all of your characters fully developed, Target Time is around 
20 minutes.  With a little luck, you can Poison him to death in around 12 - 14 
minutes.

Paradigms:

     *************************
     *  Van  *  Fang *  Snow *
******************************
* #1 *  Sab  *  Sab  *  Sab  *
******************************
* #2 *  Sab  *  Med  *  Med  *
******************************
* #3 *  Sen  *  Sen  *  Sen  *
******************************
* #4 *  Med  *  Syn  *  Med  *
******************************
* #5 *  Med  *  Com  *  Med  *
******************************

The Battle (If you can call it that) -- Make Vanille the Leader and replace 
Lightning with Snow, since you are going to be in Sentinel Mode almost 
exclusively.  Equip everyone with his/her weakest Tier 1 weapon.  We're playing 
defense here, so let's dig out those Witch's Bracelets from Mission 62 and 
those Black Belts/General's Belts that we first used in Mission 55 and get some 
more use out of them.  Equip each team member with 3 Bracelets, and one Belt. 
(I tried this battle with 2 Bracelets and 2 Belts, but it didn't seem to make 
much difference, so we might as well use the Accessories that we have already 
Upgraded.) You won't have Haste for the first round, but that is an acceptable 
tradeoff for the extra protection.  Remember -- we're not trying to out-muscle 
this guy; we're just trying to outlast him.

Begin with #1 and have Vanille cast Poison 5 times.  If it doesn't stick, 
switch to #2 and have her try 5 more times. As soon as it sticks, change to #3. 
The enemy's attacks will do minimal damage, and your Mediguard ability will 
restore some of your HP while you wait for Poison to sap away his HP.  You also 
get a 20% reduction in damage when Mediguard is being used!  When the 
Mark goes into his trance, switch to #4 to have Vanille and Snow restore HP 
while Fang restores Haste.  Before he comes out of his trance, change back to 
#1 and be prepared to spam Poison again (because his trance removed it).  Fang 
will Dispel his buffs, and Snow will try to Slow him.  Continue this pattern of 
Poisoning and Dispelling him, defending while he attacks, and healing and re-
Hasting when he is in a trance.  Eventually Poison will sap away every one of 
his 15,840,000 HP and you will earn a 5-star rating without ever drawing a 
weapon!

Keep a careful watch on how many pairs of wings the Mark has.  Each pair of 
wings adds more punch to his attacks.  You are relatively safe attacking the 
Mark when he only has one or two pairs of wings, because he won't perform 
Wicked Whirl until he grows that third pair.  From then on, however, you need 
to be especially conservative.  Please note that the number of pairs of wings 
is equal to the number of buffs with which the Mark begins each round, so you 
may find it quicker to count buffs than wings.

One last note about Wicked Whirl is that it ignores resistances.  Black Belts, 
Witch's Bracelets, Protect, and Shell are all useless in defending against this 
attack.  The only thing that will attenuate the damage is being in Sentinel 
mode.  (Thanks to Jared Livesy for providing me with this information.) 

There is a chance that he will go into Wicked Whirl before you get Poison to 
stick.  If so, you must immediately return to the safety of #3 or you will die. 
Once the danger is past, you can try to use #2 to stick Poison again or just 
wait until he comes out of his next trance.  As long as you are defending when 
he uses Wicked Whirl, you should survive and be victorious.

I have tried this strategy (with full Stage 10 HP) maybe a dozen times.  I 
never came very close to dying, but once or twice I did get 4 stars instead of 
5.  This was mostly because of bad timing of his Impenetrable Aura.  It seemed 
that as soon as I got Poison to stick, he immediately went into his trance, so 
I didn't get much damage out of several battle cycles.  Otherwise, this seems 
to be a relatively foolproof method of winning an otherwise extremely difficult 
battle.

If you are having trouble 5-starring this Mission, there are at least two 
possible solutions.  One is to let Vanille keep her Tier 2 Malboro Wand.  This 
will reduce the Target Time by a couple of minutes, but Poison will still stick 
with increased frequency.  You can also use Paradigm #5 to let Fang whittle 
away some HP between when Vanille sticks Poison and when the Mark goes into 
Impenetrable Aura.  With a crummy weapon and no stat-boosting accessories, 
Fang can't do much damage, but at the very least she seems to be able to offset 
the HP that the Mark recovers when in a trance. However, once the Mark starts 
using Wicked Whirl (when its HP get down to about 9,000,000), I would advise 
against letting your guard down for these weak physical attacks and just let 
Poison do its work. 

Overall, remember two things:  First, Poison is your offensive priority and you 
need to get it to stick before doing anything else.  As long as the Mark is 
Poisoned, you will gain ground. Secondly, when you see Wicked Whirl begin, you 
MUST go to a 3-Sentinel formation or things will get rather ugly very fast. 

If you think that the above method constitutes "cheating" and you want to fight 
him straight up, be my guest.  I have won this battle with 5 stars without 
using Poison, but it is frustrating because of the relative impossibility of 
Staggering him.  You can definitely 5-star this Mission with a "fair" fight, 
but it will definitely take some trial and error.  Have fun!

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

Now that you have 5-starred all 64 Missions, here is a quick summary of the 
methods that I recommended and when each was used.

11 - Preemptive Strikes (#1,3,9,10,11,17,21,23,29,44,and 61)
 4 - Random Instant Chain (#31,35,45,and 58)
 1 - Death (#55)*
 1 - Poison and tank (#64)
47 - Straight-up fights (all others)
--
64 - Total Missions

 0 - Use of Deceptisol (!)
 0 - Use of Fortisol
 1 - Use of Aegisol(#55)* 

  * Death and Aegisol were used on Mission #55 primarily to allow you to 
    undertake this Mission and obtain a Growth Egg WAY before you have any 
    business battling an enemy this tough.  This battle can be won without 
    using either Aegisol or Death, especially if you are willing to wait until 
    postgame.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                      XIII.  Adding Some Challenge [C13]                     *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

Now that you have 5-starred all 64 Missions with (practically) no use of 
shrouds, Eidolons, or Tier 3 weapons, you can add some challenge by undertaking 
them again without the benefits of Stage 10 Chrystarium.  As I may have 
mentioned before, ALL of the Missions with the possible exception of Mission 64 
can be completed and 5-starred before advancing beyond Chapter 11.  I 
understand that others have 5-starred Mission 64 in Chapter 11, but I have to 
admit that I have never done this personally.

Originally, I had intended to give specific information about how to modify 
each previously described strategy to the conditions in chapter 11, but I 
decided that to do so would take some of the fun away.  What I am proposing is 
a challenge, and the reader, I reasoned, would find it much more rewarding to 
devise his own strategies.  Instead, I will outline below some general concepts 
to keep in mind and leave it to you to use your wiles and knowledge to guide 
you through the process of 5-starring the Missions under more difficult 
circumstances.

Remember, though, that the rules remain the same.  Shrouds, Eidolons, and Tier 
3 weapons are all strictly taboo.

The primary benefit derived from Stage 10 Chrystarium is HP.  Oh, each 
character will get an additional Accessory slot, a few new abilities, and some 
minor bumps in Strength and Magic, but the big difference is HP.  Specifically, 
in Stage 10, each character gets roughly one-and-a-half times as many HP as in 
Stages 1 - 9 inclusive.  For example, if you completely fill out Stage 9 for 
Snow (including secondary roles), he will have around 12,000 HP.  Stage 10 
provides an additional 18,000 HP or so for a total of 30,000!   

The advantage should be obvious.  More HP means that you can withstand more 
damage without having to spend precious time healing.  Since 5-starring the 
Missions is all about speed, this is a HUGE advantage.  Moreover, since your HP 
do not factor into the Target Time, there is no down side to having more HP. 
Conversely, then, 5-starring these Missions with dramatically fewer HP is going 
to present some challenges.  You are facing the same Target Times with fewer 
HP, giving you more to do in the same amount of time.

For some Missions, the additional HP make no difference at all.  Mission 38 
comes to mind.  Since it is over is less than 10 seconds anyway, the extra HP 
are irrelevant.  Other Missions such as 62 and 63 are extremely close when no 
one on your team has more than 10,000 HP.  And, let's not overlook Mission 54, 
in which Gigantuar does 10,000 HP damage to a single character in each turn!  
THAT one is going to be a challenge, for sure, but I assure you that it can be 
done.

Here are some general tips for 5-starring difficult Missions early in the game:

*  Defense becomes much more important.  You simply can't afford to let your 
   enemies pound away at your HP when you have fewer to spare.  It is often 
   worth your while to cast defensive spells such as Protect and Shell rather 
   than spend additional time healing.  Remember that the -ra spells (Protectra 
   and Shellra) offer more protection but also wear off faster.  Of course, 
   these will be of minimal benefit against enemies (such as Zirnitra) that 
   spend their time removing your buffs.

*  You may have to make additional use of Random Instant Chain when you simply 
   can't stay alive long enough for a prolonged battle.  In a Challenge 
   situation such as this, I would not consider RIC to be cheating, but I leave 
   that to your judgment.

*  In otherwise hopeless situations, you may have to use Vanille's Death spell. 
   If you do, remember that any additional buffs that you can stick increase 
   the chances that Death will connect by 1%.  Thus, it may be worth your time 
   to debuff for a round or two before spamming Death provided, of course, that 
   the Mark in question can be debuffed.  For what it's worth, there are no 
   Missions that require the Death spell, so try to find an alternate strategy 
   if at all possible.

*  Above all, keep trying different things.  The game provides a wealth of 
   tools for you to use, and a challenge such as this may require you to dig 
   deeper into that toolbox.  If you try a strategy 10 times and are 
   unsuccessful, it is probably time to try something different.

There are at least two ways to approach this challenge, henceforth referred to 
as the "Purist" approach and the "Practical" approach.  The "Purist" (and 
somewhat wasteful) approach is to undertake and 5-star all Missions before 
advancing beyond Chapter 11.  The more Practical approach is to allow yourself 
to proceed past Chapter 11 and undertake the later Missions in Chapter 13 after 
you reach the point where you can access the portal in Orphan's Cradle that 
returns you to Gran Pulse.  I will compare these for you and offer my 
suggestions.

Either way, you are probably going to want to fill out Stage 9 completely, 
including secondary roles for all characters.  As you can imagine, this is 
going to require earning a LOT of CP.  With sufficient tedious grinding, the 
Purist can actually do this in Chapter 11.  However, here's the problem.  
Between the beginning of Chapter 12 and the opening of Stage 10 Chrystarium, 
you will earn MUCH more than the 999,999 CP that you can stockpile (I'm 
assuming that you've earned a Growth Egg and have it equipped continuously.)  
Since the Purist will have nowhere to spend them (since all available 
Chrystarium nodes are already activated), all of those CP beyond the 999,999 
capacity will be forfeited.  This is why I call this approach wasteful.

The alternative is to earn some of those necessary CP in Chapter 12 and early 
Chapter 13, spend them on Stage 9, and then return to Gran Pulse to undertake 
the Missions.  At first blush, it might appear that this would make the 
Missions easier since you get any benefits of any loot found in those later 
Chapters.  It turns out that this really isn't the case.  There are only a 
couple of minor tactical advantages that are gained in Chapters 12 and 13.  The 
additional Accessories that you find are mostly ones that you can purchase 
anyway, so that really isn't much of an advantage.  Perhaps the biggest 
advantage is the availability of free Scarletites to transform your Warrior's 
Wristbands into Power Gloves and your Sorcerer's Marks to Weirding Glyphs. In 
fact, this is WAY less an advantage than most people think.  Try undertaking a 
couple of Missions some time with Tier 2 weapons but NO Strength or Magic 
Accessories.  You will find that your scores are very nearly unchanged.  
Remember -- this game is more about finesse than brute force.

My point is that completing the Missions in the "Practical" fashion really 
doesn't compromise the challenge.  Moreover, it will save you the trouble of 
grinding CP in Chapter 11, only to earn a surplus in the next 2 Chapters that 
you will end up being unable to use.  Thus, I recommend the Practical approach 
and suggest that if you think that it lacks challenge, then don't allow 
yourself to use the Accessories or any Scarletites earned after Chapter 11 
until after you have 5-starred all of the Missions.

I will provide quick outlines of how to manage the Missions and your CP for 
both methods.  Feel free to make your own choice and customize my suggestions 
to suit your own style.

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                             The Purist Approach                             *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

*  Begin the same as outlined in steps #1 - 5 in Section XI.  Skip Mission 27 
   for now, but you should be able to 5-star all others up to and including 28.

*  Use the money that you got from fixing Bakhti to build and max out a Tier 2 
   weapon for at least your main 4 characters.  Don't worry about Snow or Sazh 
   for now.

*  You should have enough CP stockpiled from your trip to Oerba to make some 
   headway on filling out the Chrystarium for each character's 3 primary roles.
   As described in Section X, prioritize the paths that lead the each 
   character's unique ability, e.g., Fang's Highwind.  This should boost your 
   stats enough for now that you can postpone farming additional CP.

*  Tackle the remaining Missions in more or less numerical order, starting with 
   Mission 27 (which we skipped earlier), then going to 29 and so forth.  You 
   should be able to 5-star all of them except for 54, 59, 62, 63, and 64 
   without farming additional CP.  Rather than teleport everywhere, you might 
   consider walking (especially through Mah'habara) in order to gain some CP 
   without the tedium of grinding the same battle repeatedly.   

*  For now, I would strongly advise against undertaking Missions 54, 62, 63, or 
   64. You might also want to postpone the 4 Missions in which you fight a 
   Zirnitra, especially Mission 59.

*  Once you have maxed out a character's 3 primary roles, start filling in 
   their secondary roles as per the guidelines at the end of Section XI of this 
   guide.  This will go very slowly at first, but that is OK.  You won't really 
   need to fill these out for a while.  When you feel ready, take on the 4 
   Missions with Zirnitras.

*  Once you have completed all Missions except 54, 62, 63, and 64, you will 
   need to start farming some CP to fill in secondary roles so that you can get 
   some more HP.  The best way to do this is by killing big turtles for 80,000 
   CP each.  Initiate Mission 63 and work at it until you can win the battle 
   reliably.  With less than 10,000 HP each, your characters are going to have 
   trouble surviving long enough to win this battle, but with a little practice 
   it can be done. I don't want to tell you how, but I will say that at this 
   point, this battle is all about speed and protection.  Once you can beat the 
   turtles dependably, you can farm the one near the Save Point in the Eastern 
   Tors of the Archylte Steppe to completely fill in Stage 9 relatively 
   quickly.

*  Once Stage 9 Chrystarium is full, you are ready to take on Missions 62 and 
   54.  Neither will be easy, but both are completely doable.  For Mission 54, 
   you will need 3 characters with HP above 10,000.  With maxed out Stage 9 
   Chrystarium, Snow and Sazh will each meet this criterion, and Fang will have 
   precisely 10,000.  This means that she will die as soon as she gets hit with 
   10,000 Needles.  Equip Fang with some kind of Bangle, and she will be good 
   to go.  (Notice that in this battle, 10,001 HP is practically the same as 
   20,000 HP.)

*  I will leave Mission 64 up to you.  I am told that it can be won at this 
   point, but I have never done so.  I CAN tell you that by spending the 
   999,999 CP you should have when Stage 10 becomes available, you will 
   definitely have enough HP to 5-star this battle.  It won't be easy, but it 
   can be done.

*  Regardless of how you deal with Mission 64, you are now prepared to proceed 
   into Chapters 12 and 13.  Keep in mind, as mentioned before, that prior to 
   opening Stage 10, you will amass more CP than you can store, but then you 
   accepted that premise before embarking on this path, didn't you?
   
*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                           The Practical Approach                            *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

*  Begin the same as outlined in steps #1 - 5 in Section XI.  Skip Mission 27 
   for now, but you should be able to 5-star all others up to and including 28.

*  Use the money that you got from fixing Bakhti to build and max out a Tier 2 
   weapon for at least your main 4 characters.  Don't worry about Snow or Sazh 
   for now.

*  You should have enough CP stockpiled from your trip to Oerba to make some 
   headway on filling out the Chrystarium for each character's 3 primary roles.
   As described in Section X, prioritize the paths that lead the each 
   character's unique ability, e.g., Fang's Highwind.

*  Return to Oerba, board the aircraft back to Cocoon, and follow the story 
   line until the portal in Orphan's Cradle that can return you to Gran Pulse 
   is activated.  If you had a Growth Egg equipped for this entire journey, you 
   should have a lot of CP accumulated. Spend these on primary roles first and 
   then on secondary roles as per the guidelines at the end of Section XI of 
   this guide.

*  Use the portal to return to Gran Pulse and tackle the remaining Missions in 
   more or less numerical order, starting with Mission 27 (which we skipped 
   earlier), then going to 29 and so forth.  You should be able to 5-star all 
   of them except 54, 62, 63, and 64 without farming additional CP.  The 4 
   Missions with Zirnitras will be iffy, but they can be won at this point, so 
   stick with them.  As you work your way through the Missions, you will gain 
   some CP, but probably not enough to completely fill in Stage 9 secondary 
   roles.

*  Once you have completed all Missions except 54, 62, 63, and 64, you may 
   need to farm some CP to fill in secondary roles so that you can get some 
   more HP.  Probably the fastest way to do this is by killing big turtles 
   for 80,000 CP each.  Initiate Mission 63 and work at it until you can win 
   the battle reliably.  With less than 10,000 HP each, your characters are 
   going to have trouble surviving long enough to win this battle, but with a 
   little practice it can be done. I don't want to tell you how, but I will say 
   that at this point, this battle is all about speed and protection.  Once you 
   can beat the turtles dependably, you can farm the ones in the Archylte 
   Steppe or the one in Leviathan Square to completely fill in Stage 9 
   very quickly.

*  Once Stage 9 Chrystarium is full, you are ready to take on Missions 62 and 
   54.  Neither will be easy, but both are completely doable.  For Mission 54, 
   you will need 3 characters with HP above 10,000.  With maxed out Stage 9 
   Chrystarium, Snow and Sazh will each meet this criterion, and Fang will have 
   precisely 10,000.  This means that she will die as soon as she gets hit with 
   10,000 Needles.  Equip Fang with some kind of Bangle, and she will be good 
   to go.  (Notice that in this battle, 10,001 HP is practically the same as 
   20,000 HP.)  

*  I will leave Mission 64 up to you.  I am told that it can be won at this 
   point, but I have never done so.  I CAN tell you that by spending the 
   999,999 CP you should have when Stage 10 becomes available, you will 
   definitely have enough HP to 5-star this battle.  It won't be easy, but it 
   can be done.

*  Having completed all the Missions (with the possible exception of 64), you 
   can now use the portal at the Base Camp to return to Orphan's Cradle and 
   continue to the end of the game.  You will gain a LOT of CP, but probably 
   less than your 999,999 carrying capacity.  Thus, you succeeded at 
   essentially the same challenge as the Purists but with less grinding while 
   still having a good stockpile of CP to spend once Stage 10 opens up. 


*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                     XIV.  Conclusion and Credits [C14]                      *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

I clearly remember buying the very first Final Fantasy game when it was first 
issued for the original Nintendo 8-bit system, and I have bought and played 
every installment of the series since.  These are some of my very favorite 
games in the world, and they are the ones to which I find myself returning over 
and over again.

Video games have come a long ways since then.  This game is very different from 
Final Fantasy I, and Square-Enix took a lot of risks with FFXIII.  It threw out 
many of the accepted norms of the traditional RPG -- such as towns, Magic 
points, healing between battles, etc. -- and crafted a bold and beautiful game 
that focused on storyline and battle mechanics.  Whether you agree with all 
aspects of the finished product or not, you have to respect SE for thinking 
outside of the box and for taking some chances in an attempt to come up with a 
new and different kind of RPG.  The extremely linear nature of the plot and 
path tends to put some people off, but many people like myself find that 
although the game starts slowly, their enjoyment of it increases as familiarity 
with the game is gained.  Time will tell what place FFXIII will hold in video 
game history, but I for one have really enjoyed it. 

I have to admit that I was initially intimidated by the idea of writing a guide 
for a game as popular as FFXIII.  My 4 previous guides were all written for 
older games whose popularity had waned or that were never that popular to begin 
with.  I know that there are a lot of people who, like myself, pretty much 
worship the Final Fantasy series but who have knowledge of the game that far 
transcends my own. What intimidated me was the idea of giving advice to people 
who, in theory, might know more about the game than I do.  In the end, though, 
I convinced myself that I am by nature and profession a problem solver.  I 
viewed each Mission as a problem which necessarily had a solution.  If solving 
that problem was merely a matter of learning and applying the underlying 
principles of the game, I figured that I was up to the challenge.

In retrospect, I am amazed at how much I learned from taking the time to write 
this guide.  When I was first playing the game, I would work on a Mission until 
I got a 5-star rating and then move on.  However, when writing this guide, I 
attempted each Mission multiple times and multiple ways trying to find the best 
(which, to me, means the most reliable and repeatable) way of finishing it with 
a 5-star rating.  As I did so, I had to do some research on the formulas that 
produced the important numbers in the Missions -- Target time, score, rating, 
etc. -- and use that knowledge to adjust my strategies.  Often I would write up 
a strategy for a Mission only to go back later and change it in light of 
something that I had learned from working on a different Mission.  It was 
really a lot of fun and very enlightening.

If you wish to contact me, my email address is:

                           brussell15@austin.rr.com

I will do my best to respond to any communications that I receive that are 
clearly and courteously worded.

It is difficult to know exactly who to thank for help in writing this.  The 
strategies that I describe came more from studying and applying concepts than 
from copying strategies directly.  I can, however, say that I couldn't have 
assembled this guide without use of the following resources:

*  The Mission guide from the previously cited "Two brothers and a sister" web 
   site.  Without this guide, I would have spent additional hours trying to 
   track down the locations of all the Ci'eth Stones and Marks.  Sadly, as of 
   late 2011, this site seems to no longer be active.

*  The Game Mechanics Guide posted on GameFAQs.com by ximaus.  The formulas and 
   other information in this guide were invaluable to me.

*  Alert reader Jared Livesey who, in one of his many information-packed 
   emails, gave me the basic idea behind my Deceptisol-free strategy for 
   Mission 60. Jared by the way, firmly believes that all Missions should 
   be completed and 5-starred in Chapter 11.  If anyone can do so, I'm sure 
   that he is the one who can.

*  All other alert readers who took the time to write to me with suggestions 
   for improving this guide.  Hopefully, I remembered to thank each by name in 
   the passage relevant to the Mission for which they provided assistance. I 
   enjoyed hearing from each of you and appreciate your contributions towards 
   making this guide far better than I alone could have made it.   
       
*  All of the many gamers who posted useful and helpful answers to questions on 
   the discussion board of GameFAQs.  All of you who post responses that 
   genuinely try to help others (as opposed to those who post responses just to 
   see their own names on the web) are very much appreciated.  We all benefit 
   when we pool our knowledge.

*  The good people at GameFAQs.com who provide a forum for gamers to share 
   their ideas.  I remember the early days of video games when getting past an 
   impasse in a game necessitated either buying a printed guide (which was 
   often expensive, incomplete, and/or inaccurate) or calling a 900 number and 
   paying by the minute to talk to someone to get help.  GameFAQs is a free 
   resource that contains much more information than any written guide.  This 
   is not a service that we should take for granted.

Thank you for taking the time to read my guide.  I hope that you found it 
useful and helpful.  Happy gaming! 


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