Tips and Tricks to Make Life Easier
Welcome to the Final Fantasy 13 Weapon Upgrade Guide! This guide sets out to give you instructions and item lists that you may find useful for upgrading every weapon in the game. It's sorted by character, as well as giving you plenty of information; item exp, gil costs, and weapon names, for example. To begin with, here are a few tips to make your life easier, whether you're trying to upgrade just one character's weapon or you're going for everyone's Ultimates. Just remember, no matter what, the total upgrade achievement is going to take a lot of grinding.
The number one thing you're going to need
when attempting to upgrade is money. Since you're most likely going to be taking advantage of the upgrading once you reach the final chapter, if not postgame, there are two ways to farm money. One of them is available before you fight the final boss, and the other is mostly just for postgame.
 Perfumes and Scarletites. These drop from Sacrifices in the final areas of the game. You can farm these as soon as you find the monster, but it's still late in the game.
 Platinum Ingots. These drop from the giant turtles you see wandering Pulse. In Chapter 11 you may be able to kill the weaker turtles, but they only drop gold, not platinum. For platinum, you need to kill the bigger ones, with individual legs.
Some other general tips:
 Don't Sell Anything. The only things worth selling are the components expressly labeled as money components, like perfumes and incentive chips. The Exception is if you don't care about the Treasure Hunter achievement. In that case, sell anything you like.
 Plan Your Upgrades. Always try to have a 3x multiplier before you use exp components, and use components suited for the amount of EXP you need to gain. How much is that? You'll find that later.
 Keep Catalysts. In order to upgrade every weapon for every character you will need: 15 Perovskite, 14 Uraninite, 12 Scarletite, 6 Trapezohedrons, 3 Adamantite, 3 Cobaltite, and 1 Dark Matter.
How To Upgrade Most Efficiently
If you're following this Final Fantasy 13 Weapon Upgrade Guide, you'll want to avoid wasting components. To do this, you'll want to abuse the exp multipliers for upgrading. How do those work? Simple. Each type of component you get has a different effect; some can be used for exp, some for money, and others for transformation.
There are six levels of exp gains for items. 1x, 1.25x, 1.5x, 1.75x, 2x, and 3x. How do you increase this? Skillful component use. You can carefully measure out doses of components for maximum exp gain, or you can dump them all at once to leap through the multipliers.
There are four types of components in Final Fantasy 13. Organic, Sy
nthetic, Money, and Catalyst. Organic components give very little exp but will increase your multiplier. They have a bonelooking emblem. Synthetic components will decrease your multiplier, but give a lot of exp. They have a screw icon. Money components will do almost nothing for an item, but can be sold for money. All of them say 'can be sold for a premium' in their description. Catalysts will evolve a maxedlevel weapon from one tier to the next. Their icons look like rocks.
If you want the best use of components there are two ways to do it. Both of them involve using Sturdy Bones, Vibrant Oozes, and/or Barbed Tails. 36 of these items will increase the multiplier from 1x to 3x. Why are there two ways? One is faster, while the other gives a slight exp bonus. If you're the type of person who wants to squeeze every single possible experience point out of your items, you can do it the long way.
 Dump all 36 components on an item at once. This will immediately make the multiplier 3x, but will waste a small amount of exp.
 Add 4 items, then 4, then 7, then 3, then 18. This takes more time, but ensures the maximum exp gains.
The second method means that the second 4 will have a 1.25x bonus to their small exp, the next 7 have a 1.5x, and so on. Note: This is only useful for the first tier of weapons. After that, when you're dealing with tens or hundreds of thousands of exp, the extra 500 or so exp won't matter. You could also drop them in one at a time, but there's no benefit to doing so over method 2 — it just takes more time.
Synthetic Components
The next step in the Final Fantasy 13 Weapon Upgrade guide is the EXPgiving components and the catalysts you'll need to evolve weapons. There are many of each, but only a few are necessary for weapons. In the case of Synthetic components, only a few of them have an efficient costtoexp ratio, while in the case of catalysts, only some of them are necessary for weapons. The rest are used for accessories. Don't worry too much about the other components; you rack up a lot of them while fighting random monsters, and you can drop them for a minor exp boost whenever you like. This guide just focuses on the most efficient items.
The best Synthetic components, the EXP they g
ive to an item at 1x, and their costs in the shops are as follows:
 Ultracompact Reactor – gives an item 40,000 EXP – can be bought for 50,000 gil
 Supercharger – gives an item 774 EXP – can be bought for 1,600 gil
 Particle Accelerator – gives an item 4,800 EXP – can be bought for 10,000 gil
 Turboprop – gives an item 768 EXP – can be bought for 1,600 gil
 Superconductor – gives an item 400 EXP – can be bought for 840 gil
 Perfect Conductor – gives an item 751 EXP – can be bought for 1,600 gil
You'll want to use the lowexp items for tier 1 weapons, while the higher exp items should be saved for tier 2 and 3. You'll end up needing to grind money in order to afford all the Ultracompact Reactors you'll need for the Ultimates. Obviously you don't want to use an ultracompact reactor on an item that only takes 23,000 exp to level up to the max. That would be a waste of extra experience. Once your weapon hits the Star level, any extra experience given to it disappears. When you use components, try to be as close as possible to the number needed, and finish it up with random extra components.
Catalysts
This next part of the Final Fantasy 13 Weapon Upgrade Guide deals with transformational Catalysts. Each catalyst you'll need is listed here, with it's cost in the shopes and which shop you can buy it from, what monsters drop it, if you can find it from chocobo treasure hunting, and if it's a reward for a mission. If it's a reward for a mission, it's only the first time you complete it; most missions have worse rewards for repeat clears. The number needed is for upgrading every weapon. For example under cobaltite below, it says you need three; that's in total, not for each weapon.
Cobaltite (You'll need 3 of these.)
 Buy from: The Motherlode – 17,000 gil
 Drops from: PSICOM Reaver (The Palamecia) – 5%
 Find: Chocobo Treasure Hunting – 12.65%
 Reward from: Missions 2, 13, 19, 25
Perovskite (You'll need 15 of these.)
 Buy from: The Motherlode – 30,000 gil
 Drops from: Sanctum Templar (Orphan's Cradle) – 5%
Uraninite (You'll need 14 of these.)
 Buy from: The Motherlode – 45,000 gil
 Drops from: Havoc Skytank (Palumpolum) – 100%
 Reward from: Missions 29, 30, 36, 57
Scarletite (You'll need 12 of these.)
 Buy from: The Motherlode – 100,000 gil
 Drops from: Adamanchelid (Archlytte Steppes) – 1%
 Drops from: Sacrifice (Eden/Orphan's Cradle) – 5%
 Reward from: Mission 50
Adamantite (You'll need 3 of these.)

Buy from: R&D Depot – 220,000 gil
Dark Matter (You'll need 1 of these.)
 Buy from: R&D Depot – 840,000 gil
 Drops from: Shaolong Gui (Archlytte Steppes) – 5%
Trapezohedron (You'll need 6 of these.)
 Buy from: R&D Depot – 2,000,000 gil
 Drops from: Adamantortoise (Archlytte Steppes) – 1%
 Drops from: Adamantoise (Archlytte Steppes) – 1%
 Drops from: Long Gui (Archlytte Steppes) – 5%
So there you have it; the list of the various catalysts you'll need to upgrade every weapon in Final Fantasy 13. So what else is there to the story? You know how the organic and synthetic components work now. You know how to squeeze every last drop of exp out of each component if you so desire. You know what catalysts you need and where to find them. So what do you do now? use the charts in the next few pages for each character, that's what! They will give you all the information you need for each character and each weapon. It will tell you the weapon name and where to buy it, if you can. It will tell you the experience needed to level it to Star, and then it will tell you what catalyst transforms it. Finally, it lists what it turns into, so you can reference the higher tier chart.
Lightning’s Weapons – Tier 1
Lightning uses a spectacular weapon with showy flips and transformations; it's a collapsable gunblade. Next to each weapon is detailed with it's tier, the exp needed to maxlevel it, and what catalyst it needs to transform. If you're curious, check out the image for pictures of each of her blades in the gun and blade form. Each of Lightning's Tier 1 weapons has a unique strength and weakness, but you can see those in game.
Blazefire Saber: Buy: "Up In Arms" EXP: 24,600 Catalyst: Perovskite Tier 2: Flamberge
Axis Blade: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 66,7
50 Catalyst: Adamantite Tier 2: Enkindler
Edged Carbine: Buy: "Up In Arms" EXP: 33,000 Catalyst: Perovskite Tier 2: Razor Carbine
Lifesaber: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 70,850 Catalyst: Scarletite Tier 2: Peacemaker
Gladius: Buy: "Up In Arms" EXP: 54,800 Catalyst: Uraninite Tier 2: HelterSkelter
Organyx: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 20,100 Catalyst: Cobaltite Tier 2: Apocalypse
Hauteclaire: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 54,800 Catalyst: Uraninite Tier 2: Durandal
Lionheart: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 63,060 Catalyst: Scarletite Tier 2: Ultima Weapon
Lightning’s Weapons: Tier 23
Lightning's Tier 2 weapons are all much stronger than their Tier 1 counterparts, once you level them up a little. However they also take a vastly higher amount of exp to level. Every Tier 2 weapon requires a Trapezohedron to evolve into Tier 3. Lightning's Ultimate weapon is the Omega Weapon. Listed below is the Tier 2 weapon, how much EXP it takes to max level it, and how much it takes to maxlevel it's variant of the Omega Weapon. Each Omega Weapon takes a different amount of EXP to max.
Flamberge: EXP to Max: 445,950 Omega Weapon E
XP: 1,296,897
Enkindler: EXP to Max: 280,830 Omega Weapon EXP: 1,419,867
Razor Carbine: EXP to Max: 437,550 Omega Weapon EXP: 1,296,897
Peacemaker: EXP to Max: 236,350 Omega Weapon EXP: 1,460,247
HelterSkelter: EXP to Max: 332,560 Omega Weapon EXP: 1,380,087
Apocalypse: EXP to Max: 233,220 Omega Weapon EXP: 1,514,127
Durandal: EXP to Max: 332,570 Omega Weapon EXP: 1,380,087
Ultima Weapon: EXP to Max: 221,900 Omega Weapon EXP: 1,482,487
Vanilla’s Weapons – Tier 1
Vanilla uses staves, but they aren't like the typical staves of Final Fantasy. They have wires that fly our should she use them to attack; something you're likely only to see when you first get her. With each weapon is the shop you find it in, the EXP to max it, the catalyst that transforms it, and it's tier2 form. Check out the picture to the right to see what each of them looks like… and then just go with the Malboro wand, because the debuff enhancement is excellent.
Binding Rod: Buy: "Up In Arms" EXP: 24,600 Cata
lyst: Perovskite Tier 2: Hunter's Rod
Tiger Claw: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 44,760 Catalyst: Cobaltite Tier 2: Wyrmfang
Healer's Staff: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 63,750 Catalyst: Adamantite Tier 2: Physician's Staff
Pearlwing Staff: Buy: "Up In Arms" EXP: 33,000 Catalyst: Perovskite Tier 2: Brightwing Staff
Rod of Thorns: Buy: "Up In Arms" EXP: 33,000 Catalyst: Perovskite Tier 2: Orochi Rod
Mistilteinn: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 66,750 Catalyst: Scarletite Tier 2: Erinye's Cane
Belladonna Wand: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 38,040 Catalyst: Uraninite Tier 2: Malboro Wand
Heavenly Axis: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 54,800 Catalyst: Uraninite Tier 2: Abraxas
Vanilla’s Weapons: Tier 23
Vanilla's Tier 2 weapons are all much stronger than their Tier 1 counterparts, once you level them up a little. However they also take a vastly higher amount of exp to level. Every Tier 2 weapon requires a Trapezohedron to evolve into Tier 3. Vanilla's Ultimate weapon is the Nirvana. Listed below is the Tier 2 weapon, how much EXP it takes to max level it, and how much it takes to maxlevel it's variant of the Nirvana. Each Nirvana takes a different amount of EXP to max.
Hunter's Rod: EXP: 445,950, Nirvana EXP: 1,393,818
Wyrmfang: EXP: 233,872, Nirvana EXP: 1,864,368
Physician's Staff: EXP: 281,160, Nirvana EXP: 1,591,920
Brightwing Staff: EXP: 437,550, Nirvana EXP: 1,408,440
Orochi Rod: EXP: 470,550, Nirvana EXP: 1,408,440
Erinye's Cane: EXP: 218,210, Nirvana EXP: 1,579,408
Malboro Wand: EXP: 153,000, Nirvana EXP: 1,673,328
Abraxas: EXP: 332,560, Nirvana EXP: 1,477,008
Fang’s Weapons: Tier 1
Fang uses perhaps the most straightforward weapon in the game; a spear. Except her spear can break into three sections, and has blades on both ends. Next to each weapon is detailed with it's tier, the exp needed to maxlevel it, and what catalyst it needs to transform. Whether you classify her weapon as a spear, a threesection staff, or some other combination of the two, you may be interested in the image of it posted to the right. Many of the spear points also collapse down or fold out for combat, because FF13 is obsessed with hinges.
Bladed Lance: Buy: "Up In Arms" EXP: 24,600 Catalyst: Perovski
te Tier 2: Glaive
Dragoon Lance: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 38,040 Catalyst: Uraninite Tier 2: Dragonhorn
Partisan: Buy: "Up In Arms" EXP: 33,000 Catalyst: Perovskite Tier 2: Rhomphaia
Shamanic Spear: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 38,040 Catalyst: Uraninite Tier 2: Heretic's Halberd
Punisher: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 70,850 Catalyst: Scarletite Tier 2: Banescissor Spear
Pandoran Spear: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 70,850 Catalyst: Scarletite Tier 2: Calamity Spear
Taming Pole: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 54,800 Catalyst: Uraninite Tier 2: Venus Gospel
Gae Bolg: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 70,850 Catalyst: Scarletite Tier 2: Gungnir
Fang’s Weapons: Tier 23
Fang's Tier 2 weapons are all much stronger than their Tier 1 counterparts, once you level them up a little. However they also take a vastly higher amount of exp to level. Every Tier 2 weapon requires a Trapezohedron to evolve into Tier 3. Fang's Ultimate weapon is the Kain's Lance. Listed below is the Tier 2 weapon, how much EXP it takes to max level it, and how much it takes to maxlevel it's variant of the Kain's Lance. Each Kain's Lance takes a different amount of EXP to max.
Glaive: EXP: 445,950, Kain's Lance EXP: 1,299,375
Dragonhorn: EXP: 152,640, Kain's Lance EXP: 1,588,125
Rhomphaia: EXP: 274,350, Kain's Lance EXP: 1,462,275
Heretic's Halberd: EXP: 153,000, Kain's Lance EXP: 1,578,585
Banescissor Spear: EXP: 215,520, Kain's Lance EXP: 1,484,665
Calamity Spear: EXP: 236,350, Kain's Lance EXP: 1,462,425
Venus Gospel: EXP: 334,656, Kain's Lance EXP: 1,382,265
Gungnir: EXP: 214,110, Kain's Lance EXP: 1,484,665
Sazh’s Weapons: Tier 1
Sazh uses weapons almost as basic as Fang's: A pair of pistols that he keeps in hip sheaths. But Final Fantasy needs to make everything more complex, and this is no exception. His pistols are capable of merging together to form a rifle for a shot in his normal attacks. Next to each weapon is detailed with it's tier, the exp needed to maxlevel it, and what catalyst it needs to transform.
Vega 42s: Buy: "Up In Arms" EXP: 24,600 Catalyst: Perovskite Tier 2: Altairs
Spica Defenders: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 66,750 Catalyst: Scarletite Tier 2: Sirius Sidearms
Deneb Duellers: Buy: "Up In Arms" EXP: 32,580 Catalyst: Perovskite Tier 2: Canopus AMPs
Rigels: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 54,800 Catalyst: Uraninite Tier 2: Polaris Specials
Aldebarans: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 20,100 Catalyst: Cobaltite Tier 2: Sadalmeliks
Pleiades Hi–Powers: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 33,000 Catalyst: Perovskite Tier 2: Hyades Magnums
Antares Deluxes: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 38,040 Catalyst: Uraninite Tier 2: Fomalhaut Elites
Procyons: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 63,060 Catalyst: Dark Matter Tier 2: Betelgeuse Customs
Sazh’s Weapons: Tier 23
Sazh's Tier 2 weapons are all much stronger than their Tier 1 counterparts, once you level them up a little. However they also take a vastly higher amount of exp to level. Every Tier 2 weapon requires a Trapezohedron to evolve into Tier 3. Sazh's Ultimate weapon is the Total Eclipses. Listed below is the Tier 2 weapon, how much EXP it takes to max level it, and how much it takes to maxlevel it's variant of the Total Eclipses. Each Total Eclipses takes a different amount of EXP to max.
Altairs: EXP: 470,550, Total Eclipses EXP: 1,551,723
Sirius Sidearms: EXP: 284,960, Total Eclipses EXP: 1,737,313
Canopus AMPs: EXP: 437,550, Total Eclipses EXP: 1,551,723
Polaris Specials: EXP: 332,560, Total Eclipses EXP: 1,634,913
Sadalmeliks: EXP: 233,872, Total Eclipses EXP: 1,768,953
Hyades Magnums: EXP: 437,550, Total Eclipses EXP: 1,551,723
Fomalhaut Elites: EXP: 153,000, Total Eclipses EXP: 1,831,233
Betelgeuse Customs: EXP: 243,740, Total Eclipses EXP: 1,715,473
Snow’s Weapons: Tier 1
Snow doesn't even use weapons, he uses his fist. So what do you equip on him? You would think you give him boxing gloves or gauntlets of some kind, but no; all you do is change the emblem on his trenchcoat. Next to each weapon is detailed with it's tier, the exp needed to maxlevel it, and what catalyst it needs to transform. If you wonder how exactly an emblem on his coat works to enhance his attacks, supposedly it has something to do with AMP technology that discharges when he punches. Or something. One could also just assume it's magic.
Wild Bear: Buy: "Up In Arms" EXP: 24,600 Catalyst: Perovskite Tier
2: Feral Pride
Paladin: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 66,750 Catalyst: Scarletite Tier 2: Winged Saint
Rebel Heart: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 38,040 Catalyst: Uraninite Tier 2: Warrior's Emblem
Power Circle: Buy: "Up In Arms" EXP: 89,700 Catalyst: Scarletite Tier 2: Battle Standard
Feymark: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 38,040 Catalyst: Uraninite Tier 2: Soul Blazer
Sacrificial Circle: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 84,024 Catalyst: Scarletite Tier 2: Indomitus
Unsetting Sun: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 33,000 Catalyst: Perovskite Tier 2: Midnight Sun
Umbra: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 66,750 Catalyst: Adamantite Tier 2: Solaris
Snow’s Weapons: Tiers 23
Snow's Tier 2 weapons are all much stronger than their Tier 1 counterparts, once you level them up a little. However they also take a vastly higher amount of exp to level. Every Tier 2 weapon requires a Trapezohedron to evolve into Tier 3. Snow's Ultimate weapon is the Save the Queen. Listed below is the Tier 2 weapon, how much EXP it takes to max level it, and how much it takes to maxlevel it's variant of the Save the Queen. Each Save the Queen takes a different amount of EXP to max.
Feral Pride: EXP: 445,950, Save the Queen EXP: 1,246,803
Winged Saint: EXP: 218,210, Save the Queen EXP: 1,432,393
Warrior's Emblem: EXP: 154,752, Save the Queen EXP: 1,526,976
Battle Standard: EXP: 476,940, Save the Queen EXP: 1,150,713
Soul Blazer: EXP: 153,000, Save the Queen EXP: 1,526,313
Indomitus: EXP: 477,568, Save the Queen EXP: 1,164,801
Midnight Sun: EXP: 438,600, Save the Queen EXP: 1,251,536
Solaris: EXP: 280,830, Save the Queen EXP: 1,369,773
Hope’s Weapons: Tier 1
Hope uses one of the more ridiculous weapons in Final Fantasy 13: A boomerang. This is odd for many reasons, including the fact that it can fly almost as if by remote control, hit things and keep flying, and not fold up despite the hinge. On top of that, Hope is best suited as a mage. Next to each weapon is detailed with it's tier, the exp needed to maxlevel it, and what catalyst it needs to transform.
Airwing: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 22,440 Catalyst: Uranin
ite Tier 2: Skycutter
Hawkeye: Buy: "Up In Arms" EXP: 33,000 Catalyst: Perovskite Tier 2: Eagletalon
Otshirvani: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 66,750 Catalyst: Scarletite Tier 2: Urubutsin
Ninurta: Buy: "Up In Arms" EXP: 33,000 Catalyst: Perovskite Tier 2: Jatayu
Vidofnir: Buy: "Plautus' Workshop" EXP: 66,750 Catalyst: Scarletite Tier 2: Hresvelgr
Simurgh: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 38,040 Catalyst: Uraninite Tier 2: Tezcatlipoca
Malphas: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 33,000 Catalyst: Perovskite Tier 2: Naberius
Alicanto: Buy: "Gilgamesh Inc." EXP: 54,800 Catalyst: Uraninite Tier 2: Caladrius
Hope’s Weapons: Tiers 23
Hope's Tier 2 weapons are all much stronger than their Tier 1 counterparts, once you level them up a little. However they also take a vastly higher amount of exp to level. Every Tier 2 weapon requires a Trapezohedron to evolve into Tier 3. Hope's Ultimate weapon is the Nue. Listed below is the Tier 2 weapon, how much EXP it takes to max level it, and how much it takes to maxlevel it's variant of the Nue. Each Nue takes a different amount of EXP to max.
Skycutter: EXP: 168,600, Nue EXP: 1,364,042
Eagletalon: EXP: 437,550, Nue EXP: 1,084,532
Urubutsin: EXP: 221,600, Nue EXP: 1,276,352
Jatayu: EXP: 437,550, Nue EXP: 1,084,532
Hresvelgr: EXP: 221,600, Nue EXP: 1,276,352
Tezcatlipoca: EXP: 154,752, Nue EXP: 1,364,042
Naberius: EXP: 438,360, Nue EXP: 1,097,316
Caladrius: EXP: 334,656, Nue EXP: 1,171,016
So that's it. Congratulations: If you followed this Final Fantasy 13 Weapon Upgrade Guide, you'll have upgraded every weapon!
References
 User’s Own Experience
 Weapon images from strategy guides.
 Images from SquareEnix advertisements and wallpapers.
 EXP Information aggregated from various Final Fantasy 13 strategy guides.
This post is part of the series: Final Fantasy XIII Upgrades Guide
 Altered Gamer's Guide to Upgrading Everything in Final Fantasy 13
 How To Upgrade Every Final Fantasy 13 Weapon