Choosing the best selection of skills is of paramount importance in Persona Q. You could argue that this is true of almost any RPG game, especially those set around turn-based battles, but such things are even more critical with the Persona series specifically. This is because it’s designed around striking your opponents weakness in battle, either through elemental spells or other means, in order to take advantage of the 1 More, Press Turn or in the case of Persona Q, the Boost system. Well, until you reach the mid to late game that is, because after this point they tend to turn into Buff/Debuff battles punctuated by massive physical attacks. That said, which of the hundreds of skills on offer should you add to your repertoire? As ever the game is filled with fusion opportunities, so which skills should you do your best to keep a hold of?
10. Healing Breeze / Tide
Slight / Moderate HP restore at end of turn, for 3 turns.
When writing this kind of article we don’t like to recommend a skill that belongs to a specific character, because we don’t want to force the player to pick certain party members, however there are a few occasions in this list when we’ll ignore this rule, the first of which is Healing Breeze / Tide. This is a Navi skill that belongs to one single character – Fuuka – and we know what you’re thinking: This wasn’t even at the top of your Navi skills article, what the hell? Well we like to throw in a skill that’s ideal for beginners in these longer lists, so for those of you out there just starting your Persona Q journey, Healing Breeze will heal your team a little for 3 rounds in a row, freeing you up to concentrate on learning those weaknesses!
9. Runic Shield
Medium chance to nullify Fire, Wind, Ice and Elec versus the user’s row.
More often than not it’s the damaging skills that get all of the fanfare and attention in a Persona game, but things are a little different in Q. This is because it’s roots live in the Etrian Odyssey series, where defensive skills hold their value throughout. Characters such as Aigis can nullify physical and elemental attacks, but what if your team doesn’t include our favourite robot? Runic Shield is your answer. It’s just a passive skill and of course, it’s not fully guaranteed to block attacks, but you’ll be very thankful when it does.
Lower physical defence for 3 turns (all enemies).
It’s probably quite telling that a skill which lowers physical defence makes it to our list. Persona Q is very much like other games in the series, where physical attacks scale very well as the game progresses, however things have been turned up a notch here thanks to the Etrian Odyssey series. Certain buff skills featured there have made the jump into Q, enabling physical damage skills to reach a whole new level of power. Used in the correct combination, it’s not unusual to see physical skills deal damage numbers in the thousands, but you’re not going to see such things if your enemy has their defence intact now are you?
7. Myriad Arrows
6 – 8 light Stab attacks at random, with low accuracy.
So it begins. At first Myriad Arrows might seem like a rather weak attack, especially when you consider the accuracy issue, but if you give it the right setup it can deal massive damage. This is enabled by two things; certain status ailments, such as confusion, will ensure that enemies cannot dodge your attacks, and that the ‘random’ part of the skill description doesn’t matter when you’re attacking a single target. So the recipe is set; inflict an ailment or reduce the opponents dodge, strip away their defence, buff your attacker as much as possible through some of the skills listed below and let the damage fly. It’s available in the early 50 levels too, which can be achieved pretty damned early in Persona Q.
6. Heat Riser
Greatly raise attack, defence, hit and evasion for 3 turns.
Huh, it’s almost like we planned this list out. We’ve just detailed a very powerful physical attack and earlier in the list we noted how to reduce your opponent’s defence, so how might you go about buffing your attacker? Well one of the best options for this is the Heat Riser skill, which is available to the evolved form of the Persona 4 protagonists Persona. Yes, it turns out that we’re recommending a skill from one particular character again, but this thing is so damned powerful that it must be experienced. Oh, and most of its power comes from the fact that it stacks with skills that originate from the Etrian series, something you should bear in mind when you read a few of our later choices…
5. Hassou Tobi
8 medium Cut attacks against random targets.
Another Persona game, another example of Hassou Tobi being tremendously powerful. As per usual it’s housed in the Yoshitsune persona, and as per usual it’s something you’ll want to get your hands on in the late game, though don’t expect there to be much of a challenge left after you do so. It’s worth noting that there are other options in Persona Q that do similar levels of damage, however they often note that they can potentially hit less than the full amount of times, like Myriad Arrows above. No such thing exists with Hassou Tobi; it’ll always hit 8 times and with the right set of buffs and debuffs it’ll do huge chunks of damage with each hit.
4. Mahamaon / Mamudoon
Medium chance of instant kill (all enemies).
We interrupt tonight’s full physical attack proceedings to bring you the following message: Mahamaon and Mamudoon are sincerely broken in Persona Q, and when combined with Impure Reach and a high luck character like Naoto, they’ll often completely delete an entire battle with one skill. Why bother spending multiple rounds buffing physicals for a group of random enemies when you can just remove them and move on? Warning: Use of these two skills may remove most or all of the dungeon exploration challenge that Persona Q offers.
3. Bestial Roar / Dragon Cry
Act first and greatly raise physical attack for 3 turns (self).
You may have noted that we’ve mentioned ‘Etrian’ skills a few times so far in this article, and Bestial Roar or Dragon Cry are a prime example of such. The benefit here is that since it comes from the Etrian series, it stacks with those that do not. Earlier in the list we noted a skill called Heat Riser, of which one benefit is greatly buffing attack and it can be cast on another party member. So if you’re following along, in one round you can massively buff a party member’s attack rating for 3 rounds using two skills, meaning you have 1 more round of buffing left and a final round for an attack like Hassou Tobi. If only we had one more immensely powerful self buff for round 2, and a useful enemy debuff to maximise the damage done…
2. Shura Tensei
Greatly lowers HP each turn but greatly raises attack while active (self).
No, we don’t quite understand how they managed to let this stack with other damage increasing skills, but we’re very happy they did so. Shura Tensei is a tremendously powerful skill that again owes itself to the Etrian series. In those games skills often have a negative portion to them that act as a balance for their power, like reducing defences for multiple rounds in exchange for attack power, or forcing a skill to take place at the end of the round for a similar effect. Here the negatives may seem a little harsh, after all having low HP is a big risk, but the game has great options for mitigating such things, like taunts and defensive buffs, and if you’re using a buff like Heat Riser alongside it you’ll have a good chance to dodge incoming attacks. Again, for those following along, you now have a hugely powerful unit that’s just itching to use a powerful attack, but awaits an ailing and defenceless opponent…
Greatly lower attack, defense, hit and evasion for 3 turns.
Enter Debilitate, the one stop, all encompassing ultimate in enemy debuffs. This isn’t the first time that this ability has made it’s way to the top of our charts, and if Atlus keep releasing games in the series we doubt it’ll be the last either. Being able to strip away every single portion of an opponents statistics in one skill is tremendously powerful, and whilst we’re fully aware that it’s restricted to one particular character in Q, it’s just too good to pass up. In a game filled with powerful attacking options, having a skill that strips everything away in one single round will make your life much, much easier. In the mainline series we consider this skill to be one of the best, but in a game such as Persona Q, which is filled with single target bosses and FOEs, it’s nigh on essential.