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Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
Strategy Guide

Author(s): Nathan Garvin, Jarrod Garripoli
First Published: 30-08-2017 / 00:00 GMT
Last Updated: 16-03-2018 / 13:53 GMT
Version: 1.12 (????) 22-08-2018 / 03:29 GMT

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Strategy Guide

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Chapter 6 - Sidequests after Archades

Chapter 6 - Sidequests after Archades

Cerobi Steppe (Part 1)

Bandercoeurl • Charybterix • Shield Wyrm • Undin Entite
Items In This Area
Arc Scale • Arcturus • Ashura • Black Mask • Black Robes • Caldera • Caliper • Chaos Mace (Steal from Charybterix) • Cleanse • Cloud Staff • Cross Scale • Dark Shot • Dragon Helm • Durandal • Eight-Fluted Pole • Fumarole • Gaia Gear • Gold Hairpin • Golden Axe • Hornito • Iga Blade • Kagenui • Minerva Bustier • Multiscale • Muramasa • Perseus Bow • Maximillian • Multiscale • Ninja Gear • Rod of Faith • Rubber Suit • Sakura-saezuri • Sapping Bolts • Stone Shot • Stoneblade • Sweep • Water Bombs • White Mask • Winged Boots (Steal from Shield Wyrm)• Zephyr Pole • Zephyr Pole (Poach from Bandercoeurl) • Zeus Mace • Zwill Crossblade

The Cerobi Steppe is a very, very interesting place for a number of reasons. The enemies you’ll find dwelling here are roughly as strong as the critters in the Feywood, so they should provide a fair challenge for you right now, but are by no means insurmountable.

Even more interesting than the monsters that populate the Cerobi Steppe is the loot you can find here. While generally less impressive in the southern-most zones, the treasure in the center and northern areas can include some very fine items indeed, including new magicks, technicks and some of the best weapons and armor in Ivalice. The quality of this loot is offset by the sheer mind-numbing effort it takes to get, however, as the spawn rates for urns with the best loot can be as low as 10-20%, and when they do spawn they can contain Gil up to 80% of the time. When these treasure urns do contain an item, they will always yield a Knot of Rust… unless you’re wearing a Diamond Armlet with the looting character. Yep, that’s right, as long promised, you will finally need a Diamond Armlet equipped to get this treasure. As a universal rule, with a Diamond Armlet equipped otherwise unimpressive treasure containers like the ones in the Cerobi Steppe will now possess two items, a common item (90%) or a rare item (5%). The common item is always a Knot of Rush, while the rare item are the goodies you’re interested in.

So, let’s crunch these numbers. At best these urns will have a 20% chance to spawn, and again at best they’ll contain Gil a mere 50% of the time. Factor in the 5% chance to get something other than a Knot of Rust and you’ll end up with a 0.5% (1-in-200) chance per zone-in of getting an item from any of these urns. At worst they have a 10% chance to spawn, an 80% chance to contain Gil, and a 5% chance to contain an item other than a Knot of Rust, for a whopping 0.1% (1-in-1,000) chance to contain the item you want per zone-in. Brutal. Even with x4 speed it could take half an hour or longer to get a single item.

You can significantly reduce the amount of effort required to get this treasure by clearing out a single area in the Cerobi Steppe. Run through it several times, clear out the monsters that spawn each time, and when you’re certain the enemies have been temporarily eradicated, equip your Diamond Armlet(s) and go hunting for treasure. Once you’ve searched and looted what you want, zone out and immediately zone back in and the enemies should stay gone, allowing you to repeatedly respawn the treasure without respawning the enemies. Given the scarcity of the items in this zone and the time and tedium that goes with learning the locations of urns and sweeping the area for them, it may be easier to focus on a single treasure at a time, or a group of urns in a small area. Run short, repeatable routes until you get the treasure(s) you want, then move on. Naturally this will be easier with visual aid (which will be provided above each map section), as given the aforementioned abundance and scarcity of the urns, simple text directions seem wanting for this endeavor.

While it might be tempting to focus on the Cerobi Steppe and complete it entirely as laid out in the walkthrough, extracting the choicest bits of loot to be found in this area is a monumental undertaking. It’ll make you significantly stronger if you’re willing to put in the time, but it can be extremely tedious and draining. Consider perusing the following section and grabbing the gear you really, really want or need, as the situation demands, tackle it in sessions, and when you tire of the effort, take a break and go clear out an optional dungeon, complete some hunts, or otherwise refresh yourself by making progress elsewhere. For most of the sections between the Cerobi Steppe page and the Feywood page, gear from the Cerobi Steppe will make an appreciable difference… but it’s not yet mandatory.

With all that out of the way, let’s assume you reach the Cerobi Steppe by heading north from Balfonheim Port’s Sea Breeze Lane area, which will put you in the South Liavell Hills zone.

South Liavell Hills

There are enemies both old and new in the Cerobi Steppe, and while the latter will get their own little bestiary paragraph, as is the norm, the former are worth a mention, too. The Silver Lobo is here, mostly unchanged, from the Phon Coast, as is the Bellwyvern, previously seen in the Tchita Uplands. The real standout is the Adamantitan, which you may have encountered in the Barheim Passage. In the case of the Adamantitan, the Cerobi Steppe variant has around 35,000 HP, significantly higher Attack Power, and different items you can get via drop/steal/poach. In the Cerobi Steppe they can drop an Earth Crystal, a Hi-Potion, an Aged Turtle Shell or an Ancient Turtle Shell, you can steal 200 Gil, an Aged Turtle Shell or an Aries Gem, while they can be poached for an Aged Turtle Shell or Adamantite. Adamantine is used in two very fine Bazaar bundles (Ultimate Blade and Chain-link Belt) and is worth going after. Fortunately it’s also a monograph drop (18% chance, Hunter Monograph), so it shouldn’t be hard to get the two required units.

In addition to these old foes you can encounter the Undin Entite in the Cerobi Steppe, but only during rainy weather (there are three weather conditions in the Cerobi Steppe, sunny, cloudy and rainy). Like other Entites, this foe is passive unless you attack it, or cast magicks near it. It’s best avoided for now.

As far as the South Liavell Hills specifically is concerned, you’ll only encounter Bandercoeurls and Bellwyverns here.


Yet another palette-swap of the Panther/Coeurl, these being the strongest such foes you’ve yet encountered… although they’re arguably weaker than other similar foes you’ll fight later. As is common with these types of beasts, expect them to use the always annoying technick Blaster, this time in tandem with Hawk Glare, Mind Lash, Rake and Stone Gaze. They also have access to Silence and Thundaga magicks. They can drop a Quality Pelt, a Storm Crystal, a Teleport Stone or a Libra Gem, you can steal a Storm Crystal, a Phoenix Down or a Prime Pelt, and they can be Poached for a Quality Pelt or a Zephyr Pole . They are weak to Ice.

Treasure-wise, this area isn’t too impressive compared to what you’ll find in later zones. You can find some decent items like an Arc Scale , an Ashura , Dark Shot , a Fumarole , Gaia Gear , a Gold Hairpin , a Hornito , a Perseus Bow , a Multiscale , Ninja Gear , a Sakura-saezuri , Sapping Bolts , or a Sweep . Most of these items can be found much more easily later, or you can skip them to invest your precious time into getting superior items - only completionists really need to worry about these. Still, while the spawn rate of these urns is low, the Gil drop rate is also noticeably low (usually 20%), so your odds of getting choice loot isn’t nearly as low here as it will be in other areas.

The Arc Scale (Measures 2) is a Water elemental weapon that grants Shell to the target, the Multiscale (Measures 2) is a Fire elemental weapon that bestows Bravery and the Cross Scale (Measures 3) is a Lightning elemental weapon that makes its target Invisible. Naturally, Measures are meant to be used on allies to bestow buffs, at the small cost of whatever damage they do… just another way for your Machinist to applies buffs.

The Ashura and Sakura-saezuri are both Ninja Swords which you could have obtained earlier, and neither of them are more powerful than the Kagenui, which you could have obtained from the Bazaar earlier. The Hornito (Hand-bombs 1) and Fumarole (Hand-bombs 2) are both low-tier Hand-bombs, neither of which are as powerful as the Tumulus Hand-bomb weapon you could have obtained during the "Cockatrices Across Ivalice" quest. The Sapping Bolts can inflict Sap and Dark Shot can inflict Blind, both of which serve to enhance and diversify your ranged weapons.

Rounding out the weapons is the Perseus Bow (Bows 7), which is the third strongest bow of the game (not including Seitengrat), and since you’ll be able to try for the second most powerful bow soon, you may want to question whether it’s worth your time to get this one. The Sweep (Poles 6) is the fourth most powerful Pole in the game, but like with the Bows you’ll be able to find two superior weapons deeper in the Cerobi Steppe, and if you continue the story you’ll get a guaranteed drop of this item.

As for armor, in this area you can find a suit of Gaia Gear (Mystic Armor 8), a Gold Hairpin (Mystic Armor 8) and Ninja Gear (Light Armor 9). All of this armor you can find later as guaranteed drops, and more importantly, you can invest your precious time hunting down better armor in the very next zone.

North Liavell Hills

When you’re done with the South Liavell Hills make your way to the western end of the area to find two area transition, both of which lead to the North Liavell Hills. The monsters and the loot are both more interesting in this zone, but to go after the latter you’ll have to deal with the former. Here you may encounter more Bandercoeurls, the flying Charybterix, Shield Wyrms, Silver Lobos and, if the weather is rainy, the Undin Entite. With the correct gear you can take down the Undin Entite without hardly any trouble at all, so it’ll suitably get a bestiary entry.

Charybterix :

Possibly the most annoying foe on the Cerobi Steppe, these creatures have two things going for them - they’re flying, and they’ll use the Kamikaze technick when they’re low on HP. Since they have over 20,000 HP, there’s a very good chance that - unless you’re incredibly powerful - they’ll kill themselves before you get the chance, doing a hefty bit of damage to a character in the process. Otherwise they only have access to a Lunge attack, and their attacks may inflict Slow. They’re not immune to Doom, Sleep or Petrify, however, so you have options that might avoid Kamikaze if you’re willing to bother. If you managed to pick one off before it kills itself they might drop a Wind Crystal, an Antidote, a Windslicer Pinion or a Taurus Gem, you can steal a Windslicer Pinion, a Taurus Gem or a Chaos Mace while they can be Poached for a Windslicer Pinion or Split Armor. Fortunately all these treasures can be obtained from easier-to-dispatch foes.

Shield Wyrm:

The king of the Cerobi Steppe, at least as far as common foes go, the Shield Wyrm is a massive beast that boasts around 60,000 HP and a slew of offensive magicks and useful technicks. As for the latter they can use Breath, Fireball and Rake to attack, and Greater Barrier and Restore to keep themselves in the fight longer. Their magicks include Blizzaga, Firaga and Thundaga. If that’s not bothersome enough, their attacks can inflict Petrify on their foes. Defeating them can earn you a Ring Wyrm Scale, an Earth Crystal, a Chronos Tear or a Leo Gem (their Monograph drops include a Ring Wyrm Liver), while you can steal a Ring Wyrm Scale, Hi-Potion or Winged Boots from them. They can be Poached for a Ring Wyrm Scale or Ring Wyrm Liver. They are weak to Earth.

Undin Entite:

Finally, taking on an Entite! The Undin Entite has only one offensive magick, Aquaga, which makes it very vulnerable indeed. An easy counter is to simply wear Viking Coats (you can buy them at Mt. Bur-Omisace), which will render you utterly immune to all its attacks. It can also cast Dispelga, Fear, Protect, Reflect, Shell, Silencega and Sleepga, and in particular it’s fond of using the defensive magicks (you should therefore avoid using magicks, yourself) followed up by Sleepga, then Aquaga against its helpless foes. If your party isn’t affected by Sleep (Nishijin Belts are a good accessory here) it’ll try to counter with Dispelga. Spice periodically with Silencega. With Viking Coats and Nishijin Belts, the Udin Entite simply has no answer. They can drop a Water Crystal, a Feystone, Electrum or an Ether, while you can steal a Water Crystal, a Feystone or an Undin Halycon. They are weak to Fire and absorb Water.

After dealing with the monsters here, it’s time to turn your attention to the loot. Gear here is generally more useful than in the previous area, but some of it (the Arcturus and the Eight-fluted Pole) have incredibly low drop rates. While other treasures are even more scarce, some of that is top-tier, so it’s hard to make a good argument for why you should feel compelled to waste your time on those items when that all too precious resource can be spent towards obtaining superior weapons later on.

The southeastern most urn can contain Dark Energy, which is the first item that’s not equippable in some way. It, like the Arcturus and Eight-fluted Pole, is incredibly rare, but it’s also a potent combat aid, dealing a whopping 50,000 damage to all enemies within an area. You shouldn’t need such a device to win any battles, but if you snag one… well, save it for a rainy day. As for the other two rarer items, the Arcturus (Guns 6) is the third most powerful Gun in the game, although as with most weapons, you can find up to the second most powerful Gun - the Fomalhaut - deeper in the Cerobi Steppe. If you’re willing to sell a Salamand Halcyon (gained from Salamand Entites, or by talking to July in Charlotte’s Magickery in Archades) you can unlock it via the Bazaar. Finally, the Eight-fluted Pole (Poles 6) is the third most powerful Pole weapon in the game, but like the Arcturus you’ll find a superior weapon deeper in the Cerobi Steppe.

Other weapons include the Caldera (Hand-bombs 3) which, unlike the bombs in the previous area is actually an upgrade over Tumulus bomb, the Caliper (Measures 3) a Wind elemental weapon that grants Haste upon the target, the Cloud Staff (Staves 5), which is a guaranteed drop later on, the Kagenui , which you may have obtained from the Bazaar earlier, and the Zwill Crossblade , which you’ll be able to buy after advancing the story. To go along with all those Hand-bombs you’ve been finding are Water Bombs , which serve as ammunition for other bombs, slightly boosting their power and turning their element to Water.

The armor in this area is perhaps the most interesting of the treasure. The least impressive is the Minerva Bustier (Light Armor 10), which grants 50 Defense and +610 HP. Surpassing this in every way, however, is the Rubber Suit (Light Armor 11) which bestows 53 Defense, +700 HP and makes the wearer immune to Lightning. All elemental-nullifying or absorbing gear can potentially prove useful against specific late-game foes, and may warrant farming several copies of, if you have the will and time. These two chest pieces are joined by Dragon Helm (Heavy Armor 10) which gives 41 Magick Resist, +9 Strength and +70 HP. More interesting, however, is the White Mask (Mystic Armor 10) with 56 Magick Resist, +8 Magick Power, +81 MP and it absorbs Holy damage. Not a bad bit of headwear by any means.

Finally, before you move on, along the northwestern end of the zone you’ll find three… rather inefficient-looking windmills. Just make a note of them for now - they’re involved with a sidequest you’ll start later.

Once you’re done in the North Liavell Hills area, it’s time to turn your attention to the northwestern end of the zone, where you’ll find two area transitions. The eastern-most one leads to the Feddik River area, while the western one will take you to The Terraced Bank. You’ll get to both eventually, but go to the latter, first, as it’s adjacent to a small area with a Save Crystal, which will serve as a fine checkpoint and rest stop in the midst of the Cerobi Steppe, from which you’ll find the task of plundering the northern areas far simpler.

The Terraced Bank

You’ll find the standard Cerobi beasties prowling about this zone, namely the Bandercoeurl, Charybterix, Shield Wyrm and Undin Entite (only in the rainy weather). Near the southern end of the zone you’ll also find two more windmills, which, again, you need not concern yourself with right now.

While the scenery and the monsters might not be terribly interesting, the loot more than makes up for it. The White Mask from the previous zone is joined in this area by a Black Mask (Mystic Armor 10), which bestows on its wearer 53 Magick Resist, +8 Magick Power and absorbs Dark-elemental damage. It, like all elemental-absorbing gear is worth getting your hands on. In addition to the mask, you can find Black Robes (Mystic Armor 10) in this area, which, while less impressive due to its lack of elemental mitigation, is still likely more powerful than any other suit of mage armor you’ve found so far. It’ll grant its wearer 56 Defense, 5 Magick Defense and +12 Magick Power.

The rest of the zone consists of weapons and ammo, with two exceptions - two chests near the southern end of the zone contain Dark Matter, and one chest nearer the center contains a Megalixir. The healing properties of the Megalixir are supreme in most Final Fantasy games, fully restoring the HP and MP of the entire party. Dark Matter is more of a strange item, potentially dealing staggering damage to an enemy when used upon them. Note the word "potentially" however, as its damage is equal to the amount of damage you’ve dealt by using Knots of Rust and/or the Devour Soul attack, an attack used by an Esper you’ll… encounter… later on. Knots of Rust deal a random amount of damage equal to the user’s current HP divided by a random number between one and ten, so a character with 6,000 HP would deal anywhere between 600 and 6,000 damage. This cumulative damage, then, is how much using Dark Matter will do when used, up to a maximum of 60,000 damage. After using Dark Matter, the damage will reset, meaning you can’t just spam Dark Matter and expect to get very far… at least, not without using Knots of Rust in between.

Onto the weapons, then, starting out with the more common ones first, of which there are several. The Zeus Mace (Maces 4) is arguably the third strongest Mace weapon in the game, behind only the Grand Mace and the Bone of Byblos. The Golden Axe (Axes & Hammers 6) is the strongest axe in the game, although there are superior hammers. The Muramasa (Katana 5) is the second strongest Katana in the game - you’ll find one as a static drop later - while the Iga Blade (Ninja Swords 2) is tied with the Koga Blade for the fourth strongest Ninja Sword. It is a Water-elemental weapon, but you’ll be able to find two superior Ninja Swords in the Cerobi Steppe, not to mention the highest-damage Ninja Sword - Mesa - which is a fairly easy Bazaar bundle. Last is the Stone Shot , Gun ammo that boosts Attack Power by three and gives attacks a chance to inflict Petrify.

There are three rarer weapons here, which can be an absolute chore to get. The Stoneblade (Swords 8) and Durandal (Swords 9) are both one-handed swords with no special properties, and since the Durandal has a damage edge, if you’re going for either of them, you might as well get the Durandal. Both the Simha and Kumbha are superior one-handed swords, and honestly, the Karkata isn’t far behind, and its superior combo rate and chance to inflict Confuse might make it the better of the three. Less controversial is the Rod of Faith , which is the supreme Rod in the game, boosting the user’s Magick Power by +6. In addition, you can smack you allies with it to apply the Faith effect (60%) chance.

Arguably the best item in the area, however, is the Cleanse magick (White Magick 7) which is one of two chests along the western edge of a rock in the center of the area. This magick curse the Disease affliction, going a long way towards mitigating that nasty effect. The chest is not guaranteed to spawn, however, but when it does it will certainly contain this magick - no Diamond Armlet required. It will not respawn.