Strategy Session – Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, Part III

This week, we’ll be talking about the various skills and abilities available to your demons, and which to use. There’s a lot to digest here, so let’s get started!

We’ll start with the simplest skills first; the Physical and Gun skills. Like most of the moves available in Strange Journey, these skills follow a predictable pattern. Single-target skills over here, multi-hit over there, and in the corner wearing a dunce cap with the lowest damage potential, the skills that target all enemies. There are a few variations, mostly in the form of status changing side effects, but for the most part, the power level of skills is pretty rigidly set. This isn’t terribly surprising, given that this kind of regimentation also extends to magic, but for the most part, the best physical attacks available to you are going to be single or randomly-targetted skills, such as Mortal Jihad or Madness Crush. One notable exception is Occult Flash, a rare skill that has a 50% chance of outright killing any foe on the field, which is the highest probability for any move that causes death as a secondary effect.

Similarly, magic-based skills are set up in easily recognizeable tiers. Three tiers of single and all-targeting spells with base power that starts at 110 and works its way up, with the all-target spell ending up about 40 points weaker than the single target spell. Each element has their quirks, of course; Fire has the most powerful single-target spell, Trisagon, which has a base power of 250. Ice has a powerful random-target spell in Cold World, which even has a slight chance to cause instant death, and Wind shares attributes of Fire and Ice, with the ability to cause powerful single or random-target damage. Electric is probably the most vanilla, with its only real claim to fame being a fairly weak spell with a high chance to charm.

Light and Dark are far less flexible than the more common elements. There are three ranks to these two elements; the base level, with a 30% chance to cause instant death, which comes in single target and all targetting flavors; the -on level, with a 55% chance to cause instant death, with targeting options likewise; and a final all-target spell with an 80% chance to wipe the battlefield clean, no questions asked. Naturally, this last spell is the one you want, though it isn’t easy to get. Die For Me! is the Dark version, while Light’s version is known as Judgment Light. The main difference is that Die For Me! is only available from Alice’s Demon Source and cannot be fused onto a creature normally, while Judgment Light can.

As usual, a lot of the most powerful offensive skills in the game are Almighty. This time around, the most powerful skill is definitively Jihad, a combination of raw damage and crippling debuffs. The ability to degrade the opponent and damage them all in one go makes Jihad not just the strongest offensive spell, but pretty much the strongest skill just in general. There are a handful of other Almighty skills to be aware of, such as Babylon Goblet, a skill unique to the Mother Harlot and her associated Demon Source, which causes decent damage and has a moderate chance to charm, and Energy Drain, a peculiarly strong HP and MP draining move.

The stat altering -kunda and -kaja class skills don’t play quite as large of a role in Strange Journey as they did in other games, but they remain a big part of most player’s strategies. Since how fast the player can set up is a big deal in fights late in the game, the skills Luster Candy and Debilitate are the most often used, as they buff or debuff all three categories at once. Thankfully they aren’t too difficult to find, as a lot of easy to find demons learn the skills, particularly late in the game. Strange Journey did add a new way to clear stat changes with Silent Prayer, but since it completely wipes the board clean without regard for positive changes to the player, Dekaja and Dekunda are still probably the best way to go.

Another set of skills that underwent a shift in Strange Journey is the shield spells, Makarakarn and Tetrakarn. Normally very powerful skills, in some cases almost game breakers, they’re actually quite weak in this game. The reason is fairly simple: in Strange Journey, they only last one turn. And at 45 MP a pop, keeping a Makarakarn or Tetrakarn shield up throughout a battle is extremely expensive. So, unfortunately, they’re usually just not worth it. Oddly, the often overlooked third spell in this class, Tetraja, is actually fairly useful in this outing. While it only blocks Light or Dark spells, it has no time limit and only costs 15 MP a shot. And given that many demons have a habit of randomly firing off instant death spells, Tetraja’s not a bad thing to have lying around.

At any rate, those are some of the most useful skills out there. If you’d like to practice your fusion skills, Atlus released the passwords for the Fake Demonicas in Law, Neutral and Chaos flavors. Since these demons are more or less blank slates and cost practically nothing to summon from the Compendium, they’re great for using the password exploit we talked about last week, especially with repeated Mitama fusions. Happy fusing!

Fake Demonica-L
Special Password / +Law

Fake Demonica-N
Special Password / +Neutral

Fake Demonica-C
Special Password / +Chaos

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