Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Schema and Character Builds Guide

The combat system of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII revolves around a novel class setup based on 3 Schemata. With these Schemata, Lightning is able to use different Physical Attacks, Magic Attacks, and ATB.

For more help on Lightning Returns, read our Garbs Unlock, Head Accessories Locations and Side Quests Guide.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Schema


During the battle, you can switch between three Schemata at a given time. Switching between Schemata do not cost you anything and is determined by ATB Gauge. Each Schema has its own ATB Speed Gauge.

You can also create up to six Sub-Schemata which can be selected from the Main Menu. It is a good idea that you create all of these so that you can be prepared for all sorts of battle.

Each Schema is customizable with a number of options. A Schema contains:

  • Garb
  • Weapon
  • Shield
  • Head Accessory
  • Arm Accessory
  • Adornment
  • Four Abilities

All these slots are fully customizable and can be changed as per your will.

How to Obtain: You can either purchase them or obtain them as a Treasure.

A Garb can easily be considered as the most important slot in your Schema. This will allow you to execute unique auto-abilities that cannot be changed. Furthermore, it also determines your maximum ATB Gauge. Make sure your current Garb always complements other slots for the best results.

How to Obtain: You can obtain Weapons by buying them, getting them from Treasure, and pick them up off fallen enemies.

You can have a specific Weapon for your Schema which can be increase your Strength and Magic; your damage, in other words. Some of the Weapons also come equipped with Auto-Abilities.

How to Obtain: You can obtain Shield by buying them and receiving them from Treasures.

Shield and Schema’s HP are directly related. However, the most important feature – as you may have guessed it – is Guard Defense.

Head Accessory
How to Obtain: You can obtain them from Treasures.

Head Accessories are exclusive to the Schema they are equipped to and tend to enhance Offensive and Defensive statistics of your Schema.

Arm Accessories
How to Obtain: You can obtain them from Treasures.

Unlike the Head Accessories, Arm Accessories have their effects on all Schemata. Most of these tend to enhance both Status Effects and resistance to Status Effects. Some of the Arm Accessories also provide resistance against Elemental Attacks.

How to Obtain: You can obtain Abilities from fallen enemies and Treasure Boxes.

Your actions are solely determined by your Abilities.

Your Schemata can also be customized in terms of Abilities. There are a total of four abilities slots and those are:

How to Obtain: You can obtain these from Outfitters for a price.

Like the name suggests, Adornments tend to change the appearance of your Schemata. These provide you with colorful clothes so that things do not get too stale.

Physical Damage Build

Key Attributes: The Key Attributes of this ability are Strength and ATB Speed.

This is your best bet if you cannot seem to stagger strong enemies or cannot do enough damage. This ability will allow you to deal decent amount of Physical Damage; especially after staggering enemies.

You should have at least two Physical Attacks abilities; one to directly damage the single for and other to attack multiple enemies. The third one can be the Guard as for the last one; it can be of your choice.

The Schema Build provided below will make you immune to Physical Damage. I will also share a build which will make you impervious to Magic Attack. Switch between these two and you will be practically immune to everything.

Garb: Cyber Jumpsuit
Accessories: Ghostly Hood and Guard Glove

Magic Damage Build

Key Attributes: The Key Attributes of this ability are Magic and ATB Speed.

This ability will allow you to deal decent Magic and Elemental damage. It can also be used to find enemy’s weaknesses and stagger them. With this ability, you will have to have access to all four elemental spells. Other than this, an Elemental Garb is a good choice.

Refer to the Schema Build below which is completely impervious to Magic Attacks. It will surely reduce your Physical and Magic Attacking Power, and you will be vulnerable to damage after a strong De-Buff. Anyhow, here is the build:

Garb: Quiet Guardian
Accessories: Preta Hood and Runic Ring


Key Attributes: The Key Attributes of this ability are Guard Defense and HP.

This ability will make your defense super-strong by counter moves. And since it grants you with HP, you can hope to come victorious out of battle without losing much of your HP.


Key Attributes: The Key Attributes of this ability are Magic and Auto-Abilities.

This ability will allow you to reduce most of enemy’s attributes by de-buffing.

Most of people out there tend to neglect the status ailments but these can prove to be really helpful. It can not only negate various effects but also increase the amount of damage you can deal. In some cases, it can even reduce the damage dealt to you.

You need to have De-Protect, De-Shell, Imperil, and Slow are really good choices.

Customizing Schema

Like I have mentioned above, it is a good idea to choose the slots which tend to complement the other things in your Schema.

The first thing that you need to ask yourself is, ‘what exactly do I plan on doing with a particular Schema?’ Do you plan on dealing Physical Damage, Magic Damage, Defense, or anything else? Once you have cleared your mind, you will have a clear vision.

It solely depends upon you when it comes to customizing your Schema, but you should ALWAYS have Defensive Attributes. Furthermore, keep an eye out on your Schema’s auto-abilities and your chosen abilities.

And finally, make sure that your current schema complements the other two Schemata; especially in terms of ATB Gauge Speed. Another thing to note is whether your Schema starts with a full ATB Gauge or a half-one.

Share your own Character/Schemata Builds with us in the comments below!

Haider is a freelance contributor, who loves video games, playing guitar, and aviation. He is a competitive FPS player and also enjoys exotic RPG games like Diablo and Xenogears (his favorite game of all time) ...