Although relatively absent in the early game, fire-weak enemies play a prominent role in Shin Megami Tensei 5, particularly the mid game portion. You could of course argue that all skill types are important, though Ice and Dark tend to bookend both the beginning and end of the game specifically, but fire in particular seems to find a groove in the mid game thanks to a spate of opponents being weak to it. Besides, it always pays to have a specialist of sorts in your team, because you never know when a boss will turn up that requires a massive damage dealer and guaranteed press turn, so let’s get into it shall we?
It’s almost always the case with a Shin Megami Tensei game, that the first experience a player will have with a powerful demon will be to suffer at its hands. The same is true of SMT5, and it’s specifically true in this case with Aitvaras. This is a painfully annoying demon that occupies a rather small path around a mountain in the early portion of the game. Thankfully, it’s just as adept at dealing with your enemies too.
Simply put, it has a very powerful unique single target fire skill in Mirage Shot, and soon learns the group damage fire skill Maragi. Mirage Shot in particular will deal as much damage as the next tier of fire spell – Agilao – but is available 4 levels earlier than the lowest demon that learns it. Plus, it features a 75% chance to inflict the Mirage ailment to your target, which significantly decreases their accuracy, assuming they survive the hit. Technically speaking, Aitvaras also has access to Concentrate, but given that it only increases spell damage by 80% in this game, it’s almost always better to simply cast an attack each round.
- Innately knows the powerful Mirage Shot skill, which deals as much fire damage as the Agilao skill, but is available 4 levels earlier.
- Learns the group fire skill Maragi at level 18.
- Learns the (useless) Concentrate skill at level 19.
If you’re anything like us, you’ll probably keep Aitvaras around for a fair while, especially once you learn that unique skills cannot be transferred from demon to demon. That being the case, we didn’t really find a worthy upgrade until we reached level 30 onwards, at which point Quetzacoatl made complete sense. This particular demon has everything you could possibly want from a fire perspective in the mid game.
First up, it has access to both the single and group target medium fire spells, Agilao and Maragion, which is essential at this point for an elemental specialist. Building on this however, is the Fire Pleroma passive skill, which increases all fire damage by 20%. This is the skill that sets it apart from others, and indeed the skill that manages to give this particular demon a huge amount of longevity; the only other non-dlc demon that has access to this is level 43, and even then it has the same fire skills as Quetzacoatl, so there’s not much point really.
- Innately knows Agilao, the single target fire spell.
- Innately knows Zanma, the single target force spell.
- Innately knows Fire Pleroma, which buffs fire damage by 20%.
- Learns Maragion, the group fire spell, at level 36.
Having levelled Quetzacoatl up for quite a while, and indeed still finding that its Fire Pleroma passive ensures superior fire damage, we really didn’t bother with an upgrade until the storyline presented one, in the form of Surt. Having the ability to fuse a demon that is this good at both fire and physical skills was irresistible, and seeing how well it performs in battle makes it completely worthwhile. Being the victim of its attacks you’re likely familiar with it already, but we’ll get into them anyway.
First up is the Fire Dracostrike, which deals a huge amount of strength-based fire damage, and is something that finally eclipses our prior demon choice. Building upon this, Surt also has access to Maragidyne, which is the heavy version of group fire damage, which will be very useful in the late game. These two skills are essentially all you need from a fire demon at this point, but Surt does back it all up with a bumper crop of physical skills for opponents that aren’t weak to its fire based skills.
- Innately knows Brave Blade, a 30% crit physical skill.
- Innately knows Fire Dracostrike, a strength-based fire skill.
- Innately knows Maragidyne, the group fire spell.
- Learns Hades Blast, a strong group physical attack.
- Huge +6 fire affinity to reduce costs.
For those that thought Adramelech got the short end of the stick back in Shin Megami Tensei 4: Apocalypse, he’s back with vengeance here in the fifth instalment. Admittedly the battle with him isn’t exactly difficult in this game, especially for those that have prior knowledge of the series, but either way once you’re able to you absolutely should fuse yourself everyone’s favourite fiery horse-peacock.
Anyway, when it comes to skills, Adramelech is the perfect mixture of fire skills for the late-to-end game period of SMT5, much like Quetzacoatl was for the mid game. It has access to the best standard fire spell in Agibarion, which it pairs with the dark version Mudobarion, however it’s main benefit is the unique skill Hellish Brand, which deals massive fire damage to the entire enemy team and has the added effect of applying Dekaja, which removes all buffs. It’s unusual for this secondary effect to be useful, but it’s nice to have and the skill does great damage regardless. Oh and finally there is the small matter of Adramelech learning High Fire Pleroma, which buffs fire damage by a massive 40%. We do have a fifth option on this list, but with enough levels you can make this choice last until the end should you wish.
- Innately knows Agibarion, which is the heavy single target fire skill.
- Innately knows Hellish Brand, a unique group fire attack that deals big damage whilst also removing any enemy buffs.
- Innately knows Mudobarion, the heavy single target dark skill.
- Learns High Fire Pleroma at level 75, which increases fire damage by a massive 40%.
- +6 fire affinity, to significantly reduce spell costs.
To be honest, it took us an inordinate amount of time to settle on Mada as the final choice, and even then we’re not 100% sure. It was between Mada and Amon, both of which will do the fire job better than any others in the end game, but in the end Mada won out due to its higher magic stat and as such, overall damage. Plus, it has access to some very useful skills alongside powerful fire spells, so it’s useful in almost every situation.
There is however, one particular omission: Any type of fire pleroma. This is a big loss to be honest, and you could argue that levelling a lower demon like Mithras, Adramelech or Khonsu Ra might make sense, however they do not have the adaptability that Mada does, which is very valuable in the late game. Happily it does have access to some of the best skills in the game, fire or otherwise, to make up for it. Chief among these is Trisagion, which is a high damage fire skill that completely pierces defence, and Ragnarok, which is a very powerful multi-hit fire spell that deals a huge amount of damage. Still sad about the lack of Pleroma? How about Mada also coming with access to a full party heal in Mediarahan? Or the best debuff skill in Debilitate? Honestly, there’s no pleasing some people…
- Innately knows Trisagion, the high damage fire spell that pierces defence.
- Innately knows Mediarahan, the 100% HP team heal.
- Innately knows Debilitate, the triple-debuff skill.
- Learns Ragnarok at level 85, which is a multi-hit fire spell.
- Great all round demon for the end game, covering fire, support and healing and even some physical skills for the end game.
Categories: Shin Megami Tensei 5
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