Shin Megami Tensei 5

5 Powerful Physical Demons | Shin Megami Tensei 5

No other game polarises the physical attacker like Shin Megami Tensei. In one playthrough they can go from feeling absolutely useless to positively essential. Generally speaking this is by design, but this combined with the benefit that comes from generating press turns can mean that a demon favouring physical attacks may become a forgotten member of the team. Ignore them at your peril however, because the mid and late game will be filled with enemies without a weakness to exploit, and you’ll rue the day you ignored any of the following physical powerhouses.

5. Daemon

Daemon, Shin Megami Tensei 5

Early portions of SMT games tend to be where physical attacks perform by far the worst. It’s not that they’re weak, but rather there’s a great deal more value in attacking elemental, spell weaknesses for press turns, and an opponent with weakness to physical skills rarely appears. That said, we did find a good deal of success with Daemon, which should be very easy to find given that it’s the subject of a very early subquest of sorts.

Its main benefit is the unique attack Hellish Slash, which can hit up to 4 times for regular physical damage, but has a 50% accuracy rating. Unreliable for sure, but 2 is often a good amount of damage and against a demon with otherwise inaccessible weaknesses, it might be the best option you have. Hell, it even has access to fire and dark through Agi and Mudo respectively, and will eventually learn the attack buffing Tarukaja spell, which can be useful in a few early situations.

Demon Benefits

  • Innately knows the unique physical skill Hellish Slash, which hits 4 times but has 50% accuracy. Thus it should average out at 2 hits for 4MP, which is pretty valuable for one round of combat.
  • Also has access to both Agi and Mudo, for some weakness targeting support.
  • Eventually learns Tarukaja, which buffs the attack of one party member for 3 rounds. Useful for the protagonist in the early game.
  • Especially good against the first main boss, due to resisting Fire and having a reasonable HP total by that time.


4. Setanta

Setanta, Shin Megami Tensei 5

You know, it’s not the first time that we’ve written about Setanta, and every time it seems to herald the true beginning of physical attacks awakening. Persona 3 Portable finds it in a similar position, but we’d argue he’s even more powerful here in SMT 5. Interestingly, its power here doesn’t come from the sheer power of its attacks, but rather the breadth of those available and their usefulness in almost any situation.

Should you have a group of awkward opponents for example, Setanta can fire off a Deathbound to damage them all. Perhaps a difficult boss is dealing too much damage to you? Setanta can use Fang Breaker to reduce their attack power. Hell, you might even be struggling to generate that one extra press turn to swing the tides of a hard battle, and Setanta can even contribute here, by using Acrobat Kick for a guaranteed critical strike! All of this backed up with a high Strength stat and a bonus group Wind spell for good measure? Consider us sold on Setanta, probably one of our favourite, well timed demons in the entirety of SMT 5, no matter your difficulty level.

Demon Benefits

  • Innately knows Deathbound, a powerful group physical skill.
  • Innately knows Fatal Sword, a strong single target physical skill that has an additional 30% chance of a critical strike.
  • Learns Fang Breaker at level 36, which deals good damage and debuffs the target’s attack power.
  • Learns Acrobat Kick at level 38, which is a strong physical hit that has 100% critical strike chance, meaning a free press turn!

3. Yoshitsune

Yoshitsune, Shin Megami Tensei 5

Yes, we too were quite surprised to see Yoshitsune become available so early in SMT5, however we were even more surprised to see that its infamous Hassou Tobi attack remains intact, albeit somewhat balanced out by a huge MP cost. The problem is… He’s still too strong. Much like Alice is for Dark, Yoshitsune is an incredibly powerful physical demon that can last you until the absolute end game, predicated on its remarkable unique skill. 

Hassou Tobi, whilst technically dealing ‘small’ amounts of damage, will hit 8 times and each hit has 100% critical strike chance. Not only does that equal a large amount of damage, but it’s also a guaranteed press turn against anything that doesn’t null or repel physical, which is most of the roster of enemies out there. Backing this up too are some of the best physical skills on offer, including the defence reducing Pierce Armour and Puncture Punch, which has the Pierce effect and ignores any defence! With a massive Strength stat and a huge +5 Affinity in Physical, you’d almost be silly not to take this guy all the way to the end game. We gave ours Fang Breaker and found it useful in almost every fight until the very end of the game, even at high difficulty levels. Yes Hassou Tobi costs 45 MP, but not only does Yoshitsune come with the Restore passive, which gives 10 MP back for hitting a weakness (or critical strikes…), but there’s plenty of ways to deal with MP issues in this game, and most people tend to settle on leaving Magatsuhi maxed to restore it passively each round too.

Demon Benefits

  • Innately knows the unique skill Hassou Tobi, which deals 8 hits to random targets, each of which has 100% critical strike chance.
  • Innately knows Pierce Armour, which hits hard and reduces the target’s defence, akin to any other debuff.
  • Learns Puncture Punch at level 46, which hits hard and has the Pierce effect, which ignores defences to physical.
  • Learns the passive Restore at level 48, which returns 10 MP when a weakness is struck, or a critical strike lands… Which Hassou Tobi always does.
  • Massive Strength stat and a huge +5 Physical Affinity. 
  • If we’re honest… A little bit too good for a SMT title, at least at this early level.

2. Odin

Odin, Shin Megami Tensei 5

Yes we’ve touched on him before, likely in multiple articles by now, but this is all testament to just how good Odin is in this game. We will admit that he’s slightly less powerful as a physical demon than purely focusing him into physical, which is almost entirely down to having High Elec Pleroma, however his unique skill always drags us back in, mashing enemies into pieces with a single thrust of it’s lance and reminding us why we include it in every late game team.

Said unique skill is Gungnir, which is a massively damaging physical skill that has the Pierce passive, meaning it’ll ignore defence against physical attacks. Combine this with Hades Blast, which deals heavy physical damage to all enemies, and completely ignore the 50% accurate Figment Slash, and you have a great late game physical attacker. Load it up with your best physical skills, like perhaps those known by Yoshitsune, and you have yourself a great late game choice for the team, replete with great Elec skills!

Demon Benefits

  • Innately knows Figment Slash, which is a 50% accuracy, 100% critical strike skill. You can work with this around ailments etc, but it’s not worth the effort, rather spend it using…
  • Innately knows the unique Gungnir skill, which deals massive physical damage and has the Pierce effect, ignoring defences to physical.
  • Innately knows Hades Blast, which deals big physical damage to every target.
  • +6 Physical Affinity and a good Strength stat.
  • Also a host of Elec benefits, including Maziobarion, High Elec Pleroma for 40% more Elec damage and the wonderful Thunder Reign, multi hit Elec skill.


1. Asura

Asura, Shin Megami Tensei 5

We finish our physical list with one that may seem like a rather strange proposal. You could level your Yoshitsune all the way up and yes, it’ll do very well, but having gone through that process, we must admit that there’s not all that much difference when compared to a well managed Asura. You will need to do some work to get it there, however the same is true with any other option, outside of some route specific choices that, to be fair, we cannot in our right minds recommend.

It is a rather strange proposition at first. No doubt some will be drawn to it’s learning of Freikugel, which is a Strength based Almighty attack, but be warned that this doesn’t scale with it’s frankly fantastic passive, High Physical Pleroma, which boosts physical damage by 40%. By far the better option here is to build yourself around that passive. Keep it’s Hades Blast and Power Punch, then build yourself something with all of the best physical skills that you can, readily taking advantage of a free 40% boost. Be sure to grab some immunity to Ice and go hog wild on all of the physical skills you can essence into this beast.

Demon Benefits

  • Innately knows Hades Blast, a strong group targeting physical skill.
  • Innately knows Power Punch, a strong single target physical skill that scales with current HP (%).
  • Learns Megaton Press at level 85, which is a useless group targeting physical skill, because it has 50% accuracy,
  • Learns High Physical Pleroma at level 88, which boosts physical damage by 40%, and is essentially the whole reason why you should grab this for an easy starting point to make the ideal end game physical demon.
  • Yabusame Shot, Akashic Arts, Catastrophe etc. The choice is yours.
  • … Alternatively you can give it’s High Physical Pleroma to a certain fan favourite orange samurai.

Shin Megami Tensei 5

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