Follow TV Tropes


Game Breaker / Shin Megami Tensei

Go To

Just because Shin Megami Tensei is infamous for being Atlus Hard doesn't mean you can't break it. Hell, in some cases, these breakers just might be your only chance at victory.

In General

  • Fusion in general can get you some hilarious results, if you get lucky with the save scumming. Most games since The New '10s have adopted the "pick-and-choose" skill inheritance system. Signature skills are usually restricted, and certain games also add in restrictions on which skills demons can inherit, but barring those restrictions, anything is fair game. If you cultivate your fusions correctly, it is possible to fuse a demon that, with the combination of their natural immunities and Null/Absorb/Repel skills, is invulnerable to anything that's not Almighty-elemental. That being said, most of the top-tier Bonus Bosses in the series are programmed to insta-kill your party if you have something that repels their attacks.
  • Advertisement:
  • Fusion Accidents, while normally something unwanted, it can sometimes spit out some unbelievable demons that the player might not be meant to have at the point in the game they might be in. That includes demons that might be way above their current level. Stories range from players getting demons with every resistance in the book, to others such as getting endgame demons while having barely left the starting zones.
  • Skill mutations can have some incredibly powerful results, depending on what's being mutated. If you're lucky, you can mutate a mediocre skill into something you wouldn't even begin seeing for at least 10 more levels. This gets really strong with anything that raises the chance of skill mutations. It's much riskier in the older games, though, as they don't tell you what's changing and what it'll change into.
  • Advertisement:
  • Most games have Victory Cry (sometimes with another name, such as Auto Soma), a passive skill that completely heals the character who has it after every battle. While these may not be much help during combat, they make grinding and regular dungeon exploration quite easy. In games where SP healing is rare or expensive, the game might as well be over as soon as you get these skills.
  • Luster Candy and Debilitate are by far the most sought-after buffs and debuffs, respectively, in any game that they appear in. The former boosts your entire party's attack, defense, and hit/evasion, while the latter reduces them for the entire enemy party. While the MP/SP cost is often relatively high, it's still more efficient than casting individual stat buff/debuff spells. That said, they do get nerfed in the Persona series as their durations are reduced to 3 turns, and further so from Persona 4 onwards where buffs and debuffs become single-target skills. They are also nerfed in a different way in Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse where their MP costs are greatly increased to encourage use of the Affinity system.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Charged Attack skills: Focus / Charge / Power Charge for physical attacks and Concentrate / Mind Charge for magic attacks (the names vary by game). They force you to wait until the next turn to do damage, but causes that next attack to do at least double damage. In most cases the damage multiplier is 250%, allowing you to do more damage than if you just attack every turn, even more if you can get some multiplicative damage buffs on top of that. Even in games where these skills only multiply damage by two, they're still useful for conserving MP; using 75 SP to cast a Mind Charged Megidolaon is still 60% more efficient than using 120 SP to cast it twice in a row. Some games have the charge effects expire after one turn, but the more recent games make the charge last indefinitely until expended, meaning you can charge first before taking the time to prepare buffs that might get countered or dispelled.

For examples from the Persona sub-series, see here.

    open/close all folders 

    Shin Megami Tensei 
Shin Megami Tensei I
  • In Shin Megami Tensei I the Zio line of skills stun almost everything in the game. With high enough speed, the heroine can immobilize pretty much everything before it even has a chance to move. The Bufu line of spells works just as well, but you need demons for those.
    • Marin Karin works on the vast majority of bosses. Get it to stick, and you can sit back and watch the boss beat itself to death.
  • One of the best swords in the game, the Hinokagutsuchi, can be acquired about halfway through if you know the proper fusions. One attack is usually enough to kill anything short of the final boss and his lackeys.

Shin Megami Tensei II

  • In Shin Megami Tensei II, its damage and defense buffs and debuffs, which stack with themselves and last until they are dispelled, something that not every boss is capable of. But more-so is the Divine Retribution spell. It tears off a quarter of an enemy's health with an alignment opposite to to the spell's caster, and it works on bosses with no reduction.
    • Speaking of stackable stat buffs, there is a passive Game-Breaker that can, if one is not averse to Level Grinding and item farming, turn your main character into a stat buffed tank. This is achieved by farming gemstones from demons until you have nine of each type, whereupon stats buffs are applied to your permanent stats as long as you don't reduce the gemstone count, and this condition is stupidly easy to honor, since the only two ways to lose gemstones is to spend them as currency at a certain store (which can make the game easier for some gamers but never need to be visited) or use them as trade items in demon negotiation, which, again, need not be done because all demons can be bribed with other materials. This doesn't mean that the stat buffs make passing the skill check for the bonus dungeon easier (the check goes by your natural skill level, ignoring buffs), but this can be used to make certain story event skill checks effortless.

Shin Megami Tensei if...

  • Having save data from other Atlus games when you reach the Appraisal Shop in the Domain of Sloth will get you 18 extra stat points (effectively letting you reach level 117 in a game with a 99 max), increases all of your demons' HP permanently by 25%, gets all of the buff spells on your partner, Sabbatma, and ten somas. That's ten party-wide full-HP and MP healing items, a spell that lets your partner summon demons, and the three most useful spells in the game!
    • The Domain of Sloth is also the first place you can buy Dolphin Helms, which reflect Curse attacks in a game where the Curse-elemental Mudo is That One Attack.
    • The Domain of Envy sells the Skull Keikogi, which reflects physical attacks. The only downside is that it's only equippable by men (and the two male partners don't visit the Domain of Envy).

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne

  • Fog Breath drops the accuracy and evasion of every enemy by two stages and can't be blocked. You can get this skill from a common Magatama as early as Level 21, and although the MP cost is steep at that level, Fog Breath retains its value right up until the endgame.
  • Focus: Raises the damage of the next physical attack by around +150%, and can be learned as early as lv23. It's not hard at all to hit 4 digits as early as against Matador (who only has 1000 HP), or 5 digits later in the game due to this.
  • Multi-hitting physical moves can mangle anything not immune, only impeded by it's random targeting nature. Bosses are mostly solo. Taken with the above Focus skill and most powerful enemies are in for a beating. Best part, Berserk is an early skill that can be gotten from the first Magatama you get, and it will see a lot of use.
  • Bright Might and Dark Might give the character guaranteed critical hits during a Full or New Kagutsuchi respectively. Spread it around your team a little and do a little Phase stalling before engaging a boss, and you can easily get a lot of free turns with it. Add buffs and debuffs to this and you get to auto-attack a boss to death! Add Pierce (makes attacks ignore all resistances except Repel) and you get to do this to most random encounters as well!
  • Recarmdra, with proper exploiting and fusion, you can create an infinite cycle of healing or one powerful mage. When the HP/MP of your party is low, have that demon use Recarmdra, Blammo; your party gets back all their HP and MP, next have another demon use Samrecarm to resurrect it, and summon it again. Mana Drain also is useful, give it to a powerful magic user and let them do all the damage dealing; it is even better if they know Megido class magic.
  • Hoo boy, Black Frost. Where to start? He's one of few demons that can be recruited outside of fusion, he has ridiculously high stats, comes with a Ma-Dyne spell, and has no weakness. And his resistances? He absorbs ice, reflects fire and darkness, is immune to light, and takes negligible damage from physical attacks. This means the only attacks effective against him are electricity and force.
    • Even though he joins the party outside of fusion, he can still be fused and/or have Mitamas fused to it to make him even stronger.
  • Atropos. When you get her she has Element Boosts, which amp up damage of a specific element by 50%. In other words, she is optimal for being a Quad-dyne-spell user.
  • Daisoujou. Immune to every status ailment in the book in some way, has a good Magic stat, and can restore its own HP and MP during boss fights with Meditation, and also learns Prayer, which makes him a stellar support caster, especially if you sacrifice demons to level him up and/or give him skills like Dekaja and/or Debilitate.
    • Really, any of the Fiends can be this because they retain their Contractual Boss Immunity to One-Hit Kill spells and Standard Status Effects when you unlock them for fusion. The Hell Biker, Red Rider, and Mother Harlot really stand out thanks to the above-mentioned combination of Null/Absorb/Repel skills and their natural immunities letting them become immune to everything except Almighty and still have slots for other skills.
  • Hell Gaze has a very high chance of killing anybody not immune to Death, and it's relatively common among recruitable demons. God's Bow from the Fiend White Rider is even better; either the enemy is immune to Expel, or they die; simple as that.
  • Beelzebub (Fly form) has Death Flies, a skill which will kill all enemies unless they are immune to Death like God's Bow above. The kicker is, even if they are immune to the instant kill they still take an amount of damage equivalent to Megidolaon. The catch is, he can only be fused after defeating him in the Labyrinth of Amala.
  • Dante, though he can only be recruited near the end of Labyrinth of Amala. He may not learn Pierce if you're not playing the HD Remaster, but he does learn Son's Oath, which increase his offensive output by 50%. He possesses a freakishly high crit rate in 'Rebellion' and his 'Showtime' is basically a cheap Megidolaon with more flash. Sure, you don't get him till near the very end of the game, but then you can watch him wipe out any Demonic Spiders with style and ease. The updated re-release buffed this more granting Son's Oath the Pierce effect to all his moves, meaning that nothing is safe from him anymore.
  • Surt. He's the only demon in the game with a Fire-type normal attack, making it the only normal attack capable of being boosted by Fire Boost. Because it's physical, however, it can also be enhanced by Pierce, Focus, and either Bright Might or Dark Might. Giving Surt these skills, as well as any skill that covers his Ice weakness, makes Surt capable of dishing out tons of damage from his normal attacks.
  • The end-game Masakados magatama gives you immunity to everything but almighty attacks and a whopping +10 to all stats except Luck. This game's stat cap is 40, by the way. As you gain levels with this magatama, you also pick up passives for repelling each element, so you can become immune to everything without needing it. That said, this magatama is only available after you beat the Four Devas, which is not an easy task.
  • Freikugel: Almighty damage, very high critical chance, and abnormally high damage output. It's simply the strongest damage skill in the game, and useful even as late as you could get it. In addition, on the True Demon Ending, due to it being an odd mix of Physical and Almighty, you can combine it with Pierce to break one of the last bosses in the game, who is a Barrier Change Boss resistant to Almighty.
  • While it took a while to be discovered, Kamikaze is in a similar boat. It's classed as its own form of damage, which scales off of Strength but also isn't entirely Almighty, meaning the only bosses immune to it are the ones with gimmicks built around self-destructing minions (Spectre 2 and Pale Rider). Backed by Tarukaja and Focus, this attack can one-shot most mid to late-game bosses, and the only price to pay is one Demon missing out on the exp.

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

  • The way Strange Journey's reflection equation works (damage is calculated entirely based on how much it would have done to the target of the attack, not how much it would do to whoever it's reflected back onto) a smart enough player could have a team of low level demons reflecting attacks back for THOUSANDS of damage, only having to heal their Main Character occasionally and watch out for Almighty moves.
  • There are several guns that allow you to cause the Stone element. This counts as instant death. Almost everything except bosses are vulnerable to this attack. Your Main Character gains 4x the EXP he would normally get if you have no demons out. The Manshonyaga is the easiest gun you can obtain that contains the Rock Bullet skill, and will allow you to gain levels every 2-3 fights for a while.
    • The 4x EXP bonus can also be gotten by softening up an opponent with your demons then giving them the return order and finishing the battle on your own. This makes it trivial to break the game in a different way.
  • The Eternal Rest spell in conjunction with any sleep spell is also effective, as status ailments work quite often on a surprising amount of enemies, and the combo can lead to a near Disc-One Nuke if you get it early enough.
  • Victory Cry + Jihad (Megidolaon-level of almighty damage + Debilitate debuffs) or any powerful almighty-type spell on a demon - you get to annihilate enemy formations with devastating damage, and receive full healing at the end of the battle to recoup the losses.
  • While Jihad is commonly considered the ultimate skill, it isn't necessarily the most damaging. That falls to the ultra-rare skill Desperate Hit (only naturally on Demonee-ho, and can only be passed on via demon source), which does a random number of almighty hits. If it does 3 or more to a single enemy, that enemy takes more damage than it would from Jihad. VERY useful against bosses for just 40 MP (half the cost of Jihad).
  • Grand Tack (Grand Piercer in Redux) is an abnormally strong Gun skill, hitting as hard as a Zan-ei on a New Moon, but without any conditions tied to it and costing a humble 10 MP. It's accessible as early as level 26, off Pabilsag's D-Source. At level 55, you get Kresnik's D-Source, which contains Riot Gun, that's almost twice as strong.
  • The Double Down Sub-App guarantees a skill mutation whenever your demons level up. You can get very impressive results like Mamudoon becoming Debilitate or Megidolaon becoming Big Bang, gaining access to powerful skills before you can fuse demons that innately have them.
  • Shiva as well as The Demiurge appear as the demons with the highest starting level for the Chaos and Law alignments respectively. Both naturally start with the aforementioned Victory Cry + Jihad combo and have respectable resistances (both are immune to expel and curse and have a good spread of other resistances and immunities). Additionally Shiva has Enduring Soul (a full revive after death once per battle) and The Demiurge has Luster Candy (boosts all stats for the party). Shiva gets bonus points here for being considerably easier to summon (he only requires the player to be level 91 and is created in special fusion with his traditional recipe, while The Demiurge is the bonus boss and must be beaten, only in the second playthrough and later, before you can fuse it from 3 specific demons.)
  • Huang Long qualifies in a magical vein, being able to learn Megidolaon and Victory Cry, being strong to all elemements and physical skills, and immune to Light and Dark skills outright. Doesn't hurt that he can be fused way earlier than Shiva, as a special fusion at level 78, rather than Shiva's 92.
  • Several accessories become available in New Game+, but none stand out quite like the Solomon Ring. It grants the protagonist immunity to Expel and Curse on top of reflecting all other magic elements! Slap this on with the Armor Vest (which resists phys and gun, but has an elec weakness that's automatically covered by the ring), and the protagonist is now Nigh-Invulnerable.
  • Forneus from Redux has Death Bite, which deals "light" physical damage but always hits 4 times. Compare this to Megaton Press or Madness Crush, which deal stronger individual hits, but strike randomly between 1 to 4 times — the former will need roll its maximum of 4 hits to match Death Bite, and the latter will only surpass it at 3 or more hits. As far as consistency is concerned, Death Bite stands among the strongest physical skills in the game. Forneus also comes with Charge and Acid Breath to let him hit even harder. Impart Phys Boost and Phys Amp via D-Sources, and watch him lay waste to anything not resistant!
  • Redux also adds the Lucifer equipment set, all of which are exceptionally powerful but must be obtained by defeating the new Bonus Bosses. To note:
    • The Lucifer Sword, a single-target sword that pierces through any resistances to physical damage. This trivializes any enemy that resists, nulls, absorbs, or reflects physical.
    • The Lucifer Gun, a multi-target gun that has the obscenely-powerful Final Seven skill.
    • The Lucifer Mail, a vest that gives Curse immunity and resistance to Fire, Ice, Elec, and Wind.
    • The Lucifer Ring, a ring that nulls all status ailments when equipped, even Rage (which normally cannot be protected against).

Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE

  • Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE has Erosion Hex, a skill that can hit paralyze, poison, amnesia and stone all at the same time, and has a huge area of effect. When combined with the soulstones of Mothman (+50% Amnesia rate) and Catoblepas (+50% Stone rate), this skill can make everything not immune to mystic/amnesia and death/stone easy targets. It has such low requirements to be learned that nearly every build in the game can incorporate it with minimal effort.
  • Magic Bullets have the Enchanting Bullet Hole, which has a base 40% chance of hitting charm. Then there's the nekomata soulstone that raises that chance by 50%. And then there are dozens of different ways to get the 10% remaining to have 100% charm. Considering Magic Bullet skills completely ignore enemy resistances for calculating ailment chances, anything that doesn't null mind/charm will become charmed when shot by this.

Shin Megami Tensei IV

  • Shin Megami Tensei IV also (ahem) inherits the "pick and choose" skill system of Devil Survivor mentioned at the top of the page, but instead of selecting only a few, it gives you full customization of the result. This means you can toss aside undesirable innate skills from the demon's base skill set and fill it up with whatever you want from its fusion components. Anything you want can become a quad-dyne user with buffs and heals, for instance, and your only limiting factor would be the demon's HP/MP pool and stat spread.note  This customizability got nerfed in Apocalypse as it introduces demon affinities that influence skill efficiency, encouraging you to play to the demons' preferences instead of just slapping the same skills on everyone.
  • The MP recovery apps. You know it's broken when you can use Megidolaon every battle and have no shortage of MP by the next battle.
  • The Skill Augment app. It makes demons more likely to mutate skills. With a little luck, it's possible to get useful skills early in the game and get even more powerful skills as you proceed.
  • Odin's Thunder Reign attack is a Severe-level, all-targeting Thunder skill...that costs only 22 MP. To compare, Maziodyne is one tier lower, also targets everyone on the enemy team, and costs 32 MP. While Odin himself has a pretty bad Magic stat, Thunder Reign can be passed on either via Demon Whisper if you have a high Magic stat, or to a new, magic-oriented demon via fusion. This was, ahem, reined in in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, where it instead costs 70 MP before affinities.
  • Demonee-Ho's Desperate Hit is back... which is now more useful considering that it can be passed onto your character. Basically, it's an Almighty attack that hits enemies multiple times, but it also has physical attack attributes. Not only does it bypass all weaknesses, but it can also be charged and can get critical hits. Combine with the MP recovery apps and you'll find it hard to use any other skill.
  • Judgment Light can also qualify. Yes, its MP cost is huge, but it's an all-target Light instant kill with insane chance of hitting. If you cast this, it's pretty much all but guaranteed to kill every enemy or all but one... and that's when they are not weak to Light. And since in this game humans have natural immunity to Light, passing it via Whisper means that you can spam it with all day with no fear of Reflection as long as your MP holds. Mix it with the aforementioned MP recovery app and you can destroy nearly every random encounter with the press of a button.
  • Remember Jihad from Strange Journey? It's back in this game as Antichthon. Antichthon received a couple of nerfs in the transition to Apocalypse to make it less spammable — it's MP cost was greatly increased and the debuff effect only applied if its user was Smirking.
  • For a different kind of Game-Breaker, Streetpass Exploit. Want to increase a certain demon's stats without level grinding, (or if it's already at level 99) or using up Incenses? Just have at least another 3DS with Streetpass enabled on both of them, attach the demon to your DDS card, and insert the cartridge from one system to the other when you get the data from either of them. If done correctly, the attached demon's stats will increase (along with a possible gift) when you access the Streetpass feature on your gauntlet. Just save afterward (This is very important in order to keep the increased stat), and go back to the menu where you can then receive more Streetpass data from the other 3DS. This even works with demons only available through DLC, even if only one 3DS has the purchased data required. Without said data on the SD card, the DLC demon attached will appear as a question mark and be unplayable (with the possible exception of the Archangels, whose names still appear as "???") but will still get the stat boost(s). Meaning you can get something like Masakado's Shadow with maxed out stats before or after it reaches Level 99 in a much easier fashion that doesn't require using up a single Incense or waiting to receive Streetpass data from more players.
  • Kannuki-Throw is already a very unbalanced skill —it hits from 1 to 15 times for Physical damage, and it's the signature skill of Uriel, a demon who has very high HP, extremely high natural Str and Dx, and a good propensity for Critical hits. But if you take some time to build him up, you can give him Phys and High Phys Pleroma (multiply natural Phys damage by 1.20 and 1.50), Pierce Physical, and your pick of Beastly or Draconic Reaction (increases accuracy+evasion, therefore, number of hits), Speed or Haste Lesson (increase agility, ergo, accuracy), and Bloody Glee (increase Crit chance). Uriel can already deal obscene amount of damage per hit on base with this skillset, but if during battle he is further buffed with Charge + Dark Energy (increase damage of the next Physical attack by 150 and then by 200% respectively, and they stack), then an Archangel's Law on him for the Smirk multiplier (or three Tarukajas to specifically buff Physical attacks, since Smirk and Tarukaja doesn't stack), along with potentially three Rakundas (reduces enemy physical defense); there is absolutely nothing in the game who can survive a 15-hit Kannuki-Throw doing over 2000 HP of damage per hit. Pair him up with a demon with Guardian's Eye, and your only concern for the rest of the game is activating the combo before a Fiend or Sanat Kumara can knock out Uriel.

Shin Megami Tensei IV: ApocalypseDue to this game very similar mechanics, most examples in the original Shin Megami Tensei IV will also apply here.

  • Steel Bazooka + Mute Shot, not so much for damage, but for stunlocking capabilites. The former, eventually rewarded to Nanashi by the Hunter Association for completing 60% of the Challenge quests, hits for a maximum of six times, and the latter causes the Mute status, which only a fifty of the enemies, bosses included, can resist against. Watch the difficulty dropping with each successful Mute proc, signalling your target being forced to waste their turns!
    • Pair this gun with the Bind Shot, and you can instead bind entire groups of enemies, leaving them free for you to fundraise.
    • Conversely, there's the Mist Rush skill. Inflicts Daze, which carries the same advantages from Mute above, and hits for 2~4 times per use. Stack both at your heart's content!
  • Matador is one of the earlier Bonus Bosses you can find in Twisted Tokyo. Defeating him unlocks him for fusion, and he carries his Signature Move, Andalucia. This hits a tremendous number of times (4 to 12) and he innately learns Phys Pierce to make the attack completely unblockable. Combine this with Pleromas, Charge, and maybe even Bloody Glee, and you can lay waste to bosses with a good chance of any one of these hits becoming a critical. For players of Nocturne who had to deal with his incredibly hard boss fight, this is pure catharsis.
  • Trumpeter's unique skill is Evil Melody, an Almighty skill with nearly-guaranteed instant kills when used while Smirking. It's not very useful for boss fights, but when you're making runs through Twisted Tokyo and have to contend with hordes that have mountains of HP, a Smile Charged Evil Melody can simply vaporize them in two turns tops.
  • Once defeated and the method discovered, Krishna can be fused for you to use. His Raga skills can each inflict three possible ailments at once with 2 applications of an attack or defense debuff, making him useful both against random encounters and bosses, and Combat Tara is his own, cheaper version of Luster Candy. Keep him alive and he becomes a fantastic support party member.
  • Nanashi's Awakened Power is obtained near the end of the game, once you've made your decision to take the Bonds or Massacre route. It powers up all his attacks and lets them bypass all forms of resistance. Since the player can fully control his stat growth and dump a lot of stat points in his main attacking stats, this makes Nanashi an outstanding attacker.
  • Your allies can border on this too once their final skills are unlocked.
    • Navarre gains access to the immensely helpful Doping and Debilitate skills, which have had their costs dramatically increased as compared to the previous game, thereby saving you hundreds of MP as you won't need to cast them yourself.
    • Asahi, at her full power, has her healing output dramatically enhanced, allowing Mediarama to heal for upwards of 800 health, keeping your party consistently fresh. When she doesn't need to heal, she can provide free Smirks as well.
    • Once Isabeau stays in your partner list permanently, she becomes less of a Jack-of-All-Stats and more like a straight-up Master of All. Once she reaches level 82, and you and your entire partner list will on the two neutral routes, she has all four standard -dyne spells and Megidolaon for offense, Mediarama and Diarahan for healing, and Luster Candy for buffing. And her AI is smart enough to prioritize healing, Luster Candy, and attack in that order, meaning she's rarely ever useless. You can lose her on Massacre by picking another final partner, but let's be real, you'd be hard-pressed to not pick her. She doesn't get an Awakened Power like everyone else does, but she doesn't need one.
  • From the Demon Market, one can purchase several custom-built demons, thereby skipping the process of needing to fuse them oneself. An example includes Demiurge with the highest-strength single target inheritable elemental spells, Concentrate, and Antichthon. While his low MP and middling Magic stat puts him at Cool, but Inefficient despite his great attacking affinities, he becomes valuable fusion fodder for other Magic-oriented demons as well as passing and augmenting these skills to Nanashi via Demon Whisper.

    Other Shin Megami Tensei 
Digital Devil Saga
  • Cocytus in the first game. It's a random-hit ice spell that has an absurdly high rate of inflicting the Freeze status, which makes the target lose all their resistances and turns any physical attack on them into a Critical Hit. Also, if it hits the same target twice, it deals more damage than Bufudyne, the top tier ice spell. Slap Ice Boost and/or Ice Amp, and the game will be a walk in the park for the most part. It's especially useful against the Boss in Mook Clothing Arahabaki enemy, which nulls everything but Ice (which it's weak to), Expel, and Almighty. It was nerfed in the second game, though.
  • Null Sleep, especially in the first game (in which it’s learned on the same Mantra as Cocytus above). That title is a misnomer; it doesn't make the user immune to sleep, it makes them dodge all attacks if they're asleep, causing the enemy to waste precious turns. While it is rather unreliable (it requires party members to be afflicted by the Sleep ailment), the fact it can pretty much neutralize any sort of attack makes it an excellent skill to ensure party members survive a turn. Enforced in the first game, as it's part of a strategy which makes the Ultimate Boss of the game, Demi-Fiend, even possible to take down, because it enables the user to dodge even the strongest Almighty attacks.
  • The Death Flies skill from Nocturne makes a comeback in this duology: Guaranteed insta-kill if targets don't null Death, and Almighty damage equivalent to Megidolaon if they do.
  • The Null Attack skill nulls everything except Almighty attacks. This makes you effectively invincible for 90% of the game as only the last two dungeons have random encounters that make use of Almighty attacks and none of the storyline bosses (except for the last boss) use Almighty as their main form of attack. It won't help you against most of the bonus bosses however since they generally have unique Almighty attacks. In particular, the aforementioned Demi-Fiend will rip you to shreds on his first turn if you dare to have immunities equipped, and the second game’s Ultimate Boss Satan will simply negate any resistance you have which are imparted by passive skills in his first turn.
  • As for Serph, pump up his Magic stat all the way till 99, then pump up his Vit. Congratulations, now Serph can be your primary healer and damage dealer rolled all in one.

Devil Survivor

  • Petra Eyes is extremely useful, at least on the first run, since petrified targets can be killed in one hit with luck no matter the HP or level. Seeing as this is an Atlus game filled with Goddamned Bats where a huge part of them aren't resistant...
  • Drain. It does Almighty damage (which means that 99.9% of enemies can't resist, null, deflect, or absorb it), is surprisingly damaging, and robs the enemy party of their HP and MP while replenishing yours. To make it even more lethal, 2 and Overclocked give high-level Tyrants the Blood Treaty Racial Skill, which triples the effectiveness of all healing and draining skills.
  • Holy Dance, which does multiple hits of almighty damage to random targets. While it is much more expensive than your elemental Dances, bear in mind that in Devil Survivor it is fairly common to encounter enemies and bosses with resistances to multiple, if not all, elements. Holy Dance gives reasonable damage output (especially on bosses, where all the hits focus on it) without worry of losing Extra Turns.
  • Pierce bypasses resistance to, nullification of, and draining of physical attacks, unless the demon's name starts with "Bel" and ends with "dr". Pair this up with Deathbound and you can demolish bosses that would otherwise make a physical assault hopeless, such as Belzeboul and Naoya. The only limiting factor is that you can only have one team leader using Pierce, until Overclocked introduces the Pierce+ Auto Skill which makes fielding a second physical user viable.
  • Anti-Most gives resistance to elemental damage and Mystic/Curse all at the cost of one passive slot. It's not as effective as an immunity passive for covering a targeted weakness, but it conveniently lets you give anything a good well-rounded defense and is perfect for demons with multiple weaknesses. Anti-All turns up later and gives resistance to everything that isn't Almighty.
    • If you have Battle Aura, attacks that do 50 or less damage will not harm your team at all, and it comes with a very low cost of 10 MP per skirmish. Pair this with Anti-Most or Anti-All and you can No-Sell most attacks barring Pierce-enhanced ones.
  • Some skill combinations for demons certainly count. For example, usually the biggest weakness of a Squishy Wizard demon is their physical defense. No problem, pass on Phys Repel to one via fusion, and you now have a magic user immune to Phys attacks and also has high resistance to magic because of their stat focus. This allows demons of all kinds last a LOT longer past their normal practical use because of the skills you give them. This is easier still in Overclocked with the addition of the Demon Compendium. The only problem, thus, is how deep your pockets go.
  • Not every race was created equal, and some racial skills are significantly stronger than others:
    • Flight passively increases your movement range and ignore any terrain restrictions, letting you dart across the battlefield without needing to circumvent obstacles so you can chase down rogue enemy teams or even ignore certain level gimmicks. The movement range bonus also helps with leaders with less mobility, like Yuzu and Amane. Phantasma comes close, exchanging the movement range bonus for reduced delay between turns.
    • Tyranny basically gives you regenerating MP based on how much damage you dealt. When you're throwing out Megidolaons with their costs halved from Magic Yang, you will be able to cover its hefty cost. If you have Awakening, that temporarily raises your magic damage, the MP regen will also cover that too!
  • The aforementioned skill combinations can be further enhanced with an effective party member composition.
    • Beast and Kishin demons on the same team. Beasts let you move again after you attack, and Kishins let you attack twice. With Kishin and Vile / Dragon type demons, As long as your opponent doesn't have a demon of the same type, you can attack for two turns without the other team even touching you. This does come with a drawback, as taking more actions during a turn also means the team has to wait even longer for their next turn, and Viles or Dragons further increase the turn delay in exchange for being able to strike at range. Still, it might hardly matter if you can annihilate one or two enemy teams in one fell swoop.
    • Two Berserkers on the same team as a Magic-heavy leader with healing spells makes that team very difficult to defeat. Berserkers always have Endure as one of their passive abilities and although they are weak to ailments, it's easy to cover that gap in their defenses if you know what you're doing. You can alternatively give them Paladin Soul so that they will take damage for the team leader if the attack will be lethal and reduces the damage taken. This team setup gets used against you a couple of times in the first game and can't be used in Devil Survivor 2 because Berserker is a unique demon in that game.
    • Phys Rise + Phys Jump + Pierce + Rage Soul. Sure, it limits the team it's equipped on to just its basic attacks, but when that team is, say, Atsuro's, and he's rocking extremely high Strength demon partners, 3.6x physical damage magnification gets kind of nuts. He can tear through pretty much anything not reflecting Physical in one or two rounds, maybe three rounds for bosses. And yes, Bels are included in the three-round maximum, as are some final bosses.
    • Drain Hit + Pierce results in physical attacks that bypass most forms of resistance, on top of healing their user which compensates for their HP cost. This makes it possible to spam Deathbound without losing out on damage output and without worry of putting its user in danger of dying.
    • The Auto Skill Grace + Drain. Grace has your character cast Prayer at the start of every battle, which heals your party to full and cures any status ailments. If you give Drain to someone with a high Magic stat, the MP stolen from enemies will both offset Prayer's high cost AND heal the player if they still need it.
    • Rolling Recarm chains. Especially effective against the Bonus Boss. Each squad has two demons faster than their human and the human faster than their targets; both have Recarm or Samarecarm. Demons do whatever, human does something that gets reflected which kills them. The next human revives the first one, then does the same demons do whatever, human suicides thing. Since a character that's just been resurrected acts immediately after their reviver, this creates an infinite chain of revivals that keeps enemies from ever getting their turn, which can only be broken if your team gets wiped out in one go during a skirmish.
  • Multi-Strike is an extremely powerful attack in Overclocked. It costs less HP than other physical abilities and deals additional hits with higher Agility. Put this on a physical-oriented MC and work on boosting his agility, and he'll almost always go first and pretty much instantly kill all three enemies in one turn. Combined with Pierce, you can kill almost everything instantly. Combined with Phys Drain instead, and you'll heal yourself to full against anyone with Phys Repel (fairly common near the end).
  • Overclocked adds in Extra Charge and Extra Savings, two moves that, when cracked, make the rest of the game a joke. Extra Charge doubles the damage of your attacks on Extra Turns, while Extra Savings reduces the cost down to zero during that time. Combine the two with Magic Yin, and you can destroy nigh on everything in one turn while rarely ever needing to replenish your magic.
  • Also in the Overclocked remake, the combination of Makajamon + Grimoire + Death Call. Makajamon has a high natural chance of success (higher than Petra Eyes) but just mutes the enemy. Grimoire boosts the chance of status effects working. Death Call kills all muted/stunned enemies. The result? Instant death to anything that isn't immune to Curse/Mystic.

Devil Survivor 2Due to this game having very similar mechanics, most of what applies in Devil Survivor above will also apply here.

  • Watchful and Vigilant are supposed to bestow Leaked Experience onto whoever's using it, but what it doesn't tell you is that if that skill's user is deployed in combat they actually earn more experience. Stacking Watchful and Vigilant on the main character while deploying only him results in him rapidly leveling up, and due to every other team leader experiencing innate Leaked Experience, it's great for mass Level Grinding, especially on a New Game+.
  • Now that racial skills can evolve, previous combinations in the previous game become EVEN more broken than before if you put a good combination.
    • Evil Flow + Matchless = Attack twice from 6 squares away from the enemy AND heal yourself twice if needed.
    • Evil Flow + Chaos Breath for functionally 8 attack range in exchange for barely getting turns.
    • Winged Flight + Chaos Breath gives you a net movement bonus on top of a greatly increased passive attack range.
    • Winged Flight + Evil Flow lets you reach at least halfway across most battlefields to snipe an enemy team.
    • Blood Treaty, the upgraded Tyrant racial skill, adds an option to triple the amount of recovery. This includes the Tyrant's passive MP regeneration to the team, letting you throw out Megidolaons endlessly without needing any cost reduction. This option also makes Drain hit exceptionally hard.
  • While there's several new races with new racial skills available, above them all is the Fiend race. Every single Fiend is a Unique demon and must be recruited by defeating a Bonus Boss, most of whom are only available on New Game+, for good reason: their racial skill Unearthly Form lets you spend MP to immediately make it your turn again. You can only use Unearthly Form once per turn, but this still allows you to travel a staggering 16 squares in one turn if paired with Devil Flash, or twelve squares while teleporting with Winged Flight, or attack four times in one turn with Matchless, or make up for the large MP cost by making your other member a Tyrant or Divine so you can use it over and over. No other racial skill even comes close to the power of Unearthly Form, especially if the Fiend also has Victory Cry and Drain to keep their MP full.
  • With the addition of new skills, there are a number of exceptionally effective skill combinations:
    • A lethal one is a variation on Keita's strategy: combine Rage Soul with Double Strike, Attack All and Ultimate Hit. See how many enemy teams survive that.
    • Grimoire, +Stone, and Multi-Strike. Strength hardly matters in this combination, as you will deal a lot of hits, each with a chance to petrify — and once the petrify lands, every subsequent hit has a chance to instantly kill its target. A viable skill set to use for Joe.
    • Crit Up + Ares Aid + Phys Amp makes any critical hits you land hurt like a truck. You can trade Ares Aid for another passive (like Pierce or Phys Boost) if using Racial or Auto skills that boost crit rate, or Mighty Hit which is a physical attack that's a guaranteed crit.
    • Endure + Rejuvenate makes a team leader very hard to kill — they have a Last Chance Hit Point, and if they're not knocked out in an Extra Turn afterwards, starting another skirmish lets Rejuvenate fully heal the leader. This combo is used against you by Otome, on the 7th Day.
  • Among demons, Da Peng and Lucifer stand out. Da Peng has perfectly placed stats and innate skills for Multi Strike, and best of all, it's not a unique demon and comes with one of the best Racial skill in the game. Additionally, its only weakness, Fire, is painfully easy to fuse over by ranking up Feng Huang, who naturally learns Drain Fire; while Lucifer has all around good stats, and hidden resistance modifier to everything (even Almighty), which stacks with its innate resistance to everything, on top of being a Tyrant. Their downside are they are realistically only unlockable in New Game+ thanks to their high level, that and you need to take Al Saiduq's route to unlock Lucifer.
  • Titania, Purple Mirror, and Metatron in Devil Survivor 2 are immune to all but two elements. Fusing them with the exact right passive abilities makes them invulnerable to everything but almighty attacks. Use the Release Passive add-on to add Hero Soul (take attacks for the leader if your resistance is higher) and their leader is safe from a good 80% of attacks. The former two are actually of low enough level to be used in the endgame without needing a New Game+.
    • In Record Breaker, the Frost Five join the ranks of immune-to-everything demons. They have only one weakness and are immune to everything else, but one of their fusion requirements, Black Frost, already comes with a passive that can cover this weakness. Of course, given the level restriction, you can only feasibly start using them on a New Game+, but there's nothing stopping you from using them against some of the Bonus Bosses.


  • Demikids Dark Version's Fusion system that affects only stats. While it's not as unique as the Light Version's classic system, this is arguably better. With some easy work, and extremely abusable battle arena that gives out mid and high level demon as a prize, this allows you to Elite Tweak your party to ridiculous level.
    • The skill giving items. Oh gosh, the skill giving items. Similar to the Updated Re-release of Persona 3 they allow you to give skills to your demon, except your options in this game are limited to some exclusive moves instead of almost every move in the game. The catch? Wind Robes are available pretty early, are very easy to get with a little Big and Small abuse, and give you Wind Dance, a move that hits 8 times randomly that is available to pretty much every demon in the game with fairly strong base power and sometimes extra effects. This basically renders every other move barring healing moves completely obsolete since you can spam this move to win any kind of fight. Combine with the fusion system above and even the Bonus Boss won't last more than one round.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: