The Lightning Round is a mini-game from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. It is available after learning Lanayru's part of the "Song of the Hero". Located in Lanayru Gorge, this challenge allows Link to win prizes by reliving previously played Silent Realms and major battles.
Link can take on bosses in up to twelve consecutive battles. Initially, only the bosses that have been encountered are available. In Hero Mode however, all twelve bosses, including Demise, can be fought at once. The first boss that is fought can be chosen while all subsequent bosses are in random order. The bosses that can be fought are:
- Demon Lord Ghirahim at the Skyview Temple
- Pyroclastic Fiend Scaldera at the Earth Temple
- Thousand-Year Arachnid Moldarach at the Lanayru Mining Facility
- The Imprisoned, first battle in the Sealed Grounds
- Ancient Automaton Koloktos at the Ancient Cistern
- Abyssal Leviathan Tentalus at the Sandship
- Demon Lord Ghirahim at the Fire Sanctuary
- The Imprisoned, second battle in the Sealed Grounds
- The Imprisoned, final battle in the Sealed Grounds
- Horde Battle in the Sealed Grounds
- Demon Lord Ghirahim in the Sealed Grounds
- Demise (only in Hero Mode)
Link's Adventure Pouch is denied him, though he can use the shield he currently has equipped. This includes fairies, and they will not save him, should he run out of hearts. Any health Link loses and any damage his shield suffers will be carried over to subsequent rounds. Any Medals in the pouch have their effects negated, limiting his maximum Heart Containers to 18; however, potions with lasting effects, such as the Stamina Potion and Guardian Potion, can be taken before beginning and will remain in effect for an extended time period longer than the normal three minutes. Also, as Link is using the Master Sword at this point, he can inflict more damage to the earlier bosses than he did during their original encounter, making the battles easier.
After each successful battle, Lanayru offers Link the choice between a prize or the option of taking on yet another boss for the chance at a better prize. If the boss battle is lost, no prize will be given. The prizes for each consecutive win are as follows:
- 20 Rupees
- Common Treasure
- 100 Rupees
- Piece of Heart (afterwards 200 Rupees)
- 300 Rupees
- Rare Treasure
- 500 Rupees
- Hylian Shield (afterwards 1,000 Rupees)
- 2,000 Rupees
- 3 Rare Treasures
- 3,000 Rupees
- 9,900 Rupees
Additionally, Link receives 50 extra Rupees when he re-fights a boss for the first time or when he beats his record time for a given boss.
Link can replay any of the Silent Realms he has already completed before. He can receive a prize of up to 100 Rupees or a rare treasure depending on the time he completes the trial in. Additionally, Link receives 50 extra Rupees when he replays a Silent Realm for the first time or when he beats his record time for a given trial. The records Link must break to receive the best prize for each Silent Realm are as follows:
- Faron Woods must be completed within 3:00 minutes.
- Eldin Volcano must be completed within 6:00 minutes.
- Lanayru Desert must be completed within 4:15 minutes.
- Skyloft must be completed within 4:00 minutes.
The locations of all Tears of the Goddesses are marked on Link's map from the beginning. Like in the original Silent Realms, Link can acquire additional Dusk Relics on each replay. Unlike in the battle portion of the Lightning Round, potion effects do not carry over to the Silent Realm trials, preventing Link from using Stamina Potion to gain an advantage.
If Link is caught by one of the Guardians, however, unlike the real Silent Realms where he is sent back to the beginning, he is booted from the trial entirely with only one heart remaining. In order to continue, he must recover health. There is a small stool not too far from Lanayru where Link can sit and recover.
Despite it being stated that evil beings are incapable of touching the Master Sword, Ghirahim can wield the Master Sword when repaying his first boss fight from Skyview Temple. One possible explanation for this contradiction, is that it is simply an oversight by the developers, as Link originally wielded the Goddess Sword during that fight and Ghirahim simply retains the same strategy from that fight as a gameplay mechanic. One in-universe explanation is that the bosses and enemies, that Link fights are not the real ones and/or were created by Lanayru to test Link and help him hone his combat skills further. If they were creations or illusionary entities designed to test Link, they may lack any evil alignment possessed by the originals, thus the Ghirahim that Link faces in the Lightning Round, lacks an evil heart and thus capable of wielding the Master Sword. Another possibility is that Lanayru granted him the ability to wield it as a way to test Link and play out similarly to their first encounter.
Another possibility is that evil beings cannot access the Master Sword's true power, meaning that Ghirahim would be incapable of using its full power and/or is no different from an ordinary sword when wielded in the hands of one with an evil heart.