Five Tough Games That I Needed Guides to Beat

So often are games becoming more and more straightforward or full of modern conveniences that guides are becoming unnecessary. Through each of these five games, we’ll explore how many games are meant to be punishing and test a gamer’s willpower and patience. Game start!

Continue reading Five Tough Games That I Needed Guides to Beat

Prometheus’ Viability in SMT Liberation Dx2

I would really let ol’ Prommy play the part of mall Santa, but I don’t think he has anything on under his red bathrobe.  Except those fly kicks.  Respect.

Grade 67 Deity Prometheus
StatsHPStMaViAgLuAI
Base474202814916Attack
Max690116322611278133Attack
Resistances
Element
physfireiceelecforceexpeldeath
nullweakresist

Vitality: Below average

Strength: Average

Agility: Low

Luck: Above average

Magic: High

How Do Prometheus’ Stats Compare?

Prommy is a caster.  Don’t ever forget it.  His higher than usual luck will help his auto attacks to crit on his non-casting turn.  His physical attack isn’t horrible either.  Mine does between 100-125 on his auto-attack off-magic turn.

As for his resistances, getting resist ice is about as costly as resist dark.  You’ll have to fuse yourself an Odin which requires fusing two medium level four-star demons to accomplish.  I doubt you’ll be fusing down one of your five star demons just to make an Odin to cover Prometheus’ blind spot.  I did, though.  Worth it?  That’s up to you.  Prometheus is one of those demons that if you put the effort in, you’ll be greatly rewarded.

Innate Skills
ElementNameCostEffectTarget
PassiveFire BoostAutoFire damage +15%Self
PassiveMakaraka ShiftAutoBegin battle with Makarakarn when ambushedSelf
FireAgidyne6 MP160 DmgOne Foe

Prometheus is one of those demons where his skills all work together perfectly.  He’s slow, so he works well with slow teams.  He’ll pop a magic repel shield at the start of battle.  Makaraka shift is not as good as Huang Long’s Five Elements in that Almighty skills can still pierce Prommy’s shield.  I’m looking at you Megido and Pralaya.

Well folks, Agidyne is a hard hitting single-target spell in the first place.  You add fire boost and an arse load of %mag brands coupled with Prom’s huge bon…..magic stat, you have yourself an effective nuker.  

Archetype Skills
ElementNameCostEffectTargetLevel
PassiveVitality Amp IIIAutoVitality +15SelfClear
FireMaragidyne7 MP120 DmgAll FoesRed
RecoveryRecarmdra8 MPRevive with all HP, User diesAll AlliesYellow
PassiveInfinite ChakraAutoMP recovery per turn +1SelfPurple
PassiveDrain FireAutoDrain Fire damageSelfTeal

Which Archetype Makes Prometheus Burn?

Clear’s Vitality Amp III is silly.  You aren’t making a gucci grandpa to survive.  Even if you were, get you some life brands, not +15 VIT.

Red’s Maragidyne is a great skill to have around.  You turn from single-target nuker to boni-fide sweeper material.  One less mana for Maragidyne is always welcome.  He’s still a one-element man, however, and Fire is one that is often nulled.  Be on the lookout for other Proms, Surt, Shiva, Zaou-Gongen and of course Feng Huang.  Other lesser used demons like Yata, Asherah and Thor have Null Fire as well.  In higher level PvP, it isn’t uncommon to meet at least one fire resistant bugger in a match. Red Prom is of better use in AG and Brands of Sin.

Yellow’s Recarmdra is for when you’re gearing Prometheus for your defense team.  Always pair with Endure.  Your bearded mage dies quickly, so let that 1HP be of use to you.  I run a double Recarmdra team, where Prometheus Recarmdras after Rangda has expended hers.  He is not recommended as being the only Recarmdra user on a defense team due to low HP and no physical resistance.

Purple’s Infinite Chakra gives you another 1mp per turn, bringing your natural total per turn to 4mp.  Give yourself some divine brands and you have 5mp/turn.  Not enough for an Agidyne per turn, but do remember you start out with 3 base mana if going second in PvP.  3+5 = 8, which will allows for an Agidyne with two mana remaining.  Next turn you’ll be at 7 before casting.  Agidyne.  Next turn 6.  You can shoot off three Agidynes before having to rest.  If you’re looking for consistent DPS, Purple is for you.  You’ll just have to keep your Prom alive for three turns to take full effect of Infinite Chakra, however.

Finally, Teal’s Drain Fire is really redundant.  Isn’t nulling something good enough?  Nooo…you have to take the health for yourself?  Well let me tell you, if your opponent is dumb enough to hit Prometheus with a fire spell, even multi-target, he’s clearly not as smart as you.  Draining his attack will make so very little a difference in your life and his. Forget Teal and move on.

Gacha Worthiness

Gacha Skills
ElementNameCostEffectTargetLevel
PassiveResist ElecAutoResist Elec damageSelfRed Gacha
ForceMazanma6 MP100 DmgAll FoesYellow Gacha
PassiveMadnessAutoAilment success rate +10%SelfPurple Gacha
PassiveResist PoisonAutoPoison resistance +50%SelfTeal Gacha

Red’s Resist Elec is amusing.  You’re going to overwrite it or create a cheaper Throne is find your Resist Elec.

Yellow’s Mazanma is actually quite nice.  Having a second element for Prom to play with is helpful in many cases.  It’s lower mana than say, Rangda’s Mazandyne, so you can cast Mazanma as often as you can cast Agidyne.  In the end-game of yellow Prometheus, you’ll want Endure and Ice Resist.  That’s just how it goes.  Use your Mazanma when Null Fire opponents appear or until you can afford a throwaway Odin.

Purple’s Madness doesn’t help Prometheus and isn’t anything that your Sick brands or %ail inflict non-sick brands can’t duplicate.  Look elsewhere.

Finally, Teal’s Resist Poison is laughable.  Who’s worried about poison?  Really?  Email me right now if that’s something you’re worried about. nightfallorion@gmail.com  🙂

Skills to Transfer to Prometheus

For most specs, you don’t really need Ice Resist.  Only your Recarmdra/endure really needs Ice Resist to cover all his bases.  There are more ice users now that Bufula L is a handy transfer to most casters.

If you have a yellow archetype, I heartily recommend Endure. It’s like a warning bell when you see that 1 HP and means you should get your ass building MP for Recarmdra.

For red Prom, I recommend throwing yourself a Megido mixed with a Concentrate for funsies.  Blow ’em up.

As for Purple, you’ll want something non-fire with six or seven MP cost. Mamudoon from Succubus is a good choice. Bufula L is nice too, even though single target.  It’ll make non-ice-resisted Prometheus’ shudder.

Other Decent Skill Transfers

  • Mamudoon (4* Succubus)
  • Concentrate (5* Trumpeter)
  • Megido (3* Arahabaki)
  • Endure (3* Horkos)

Equipping Prometheus With Proper Brands

You need to figure out where and when and what archetype you want to use Prometheus.  That will decide your brand types.

Yellow gets Life Brands to stay alive until Recarmdra.  Guard brands help to offset his god-awful physical resistance.  I use this setup myself.  It takes two ZK hits to pop Prom’s endure.  A geared ZK too.  That’s all you can really hope for, to be honest.  This is your defense team Prometheus.

Red gets Spell brands to dish out maximum one-round carnage. Maximise your %mag attack on left arm, right arm and leg slots.  Settle for at least 5% spell % on your head and chest.  You can use your other stats as you see fit.  HP.  Phys Defense.  A good two-set is ward if you’re worried about your Prometheus being charmed.  I recommend running a Kinmamon group to allow you total freedom with your two-set branding.  Red is useful as a PvP offense sweeper and AG/Chaos Signal PvE sweeper.

Purple gets Divine brands.  Let the MP flow! Cast everything!

Why are you running Teal or Clear?  Honestly.

Where Prometheus Fails

Health and low physical resist.  Dies so easy.  Tsukuyomi makes you transfer phys resist, so he has a leg up as a pure caster.  Prometheus is essentially an Alice sort, except a grandfather titan with a burning heart.  He can’t take a hit, so make sure you make the most of his talents while he yet lives.

If you’re building a Prometheus for your defense, do make sure you’re running a very slow team.  Sub 10000 is preferable.  Prometheus is fine with Makaraka-shift, but that’s one of his biggest perks.  Don’t lose out on that.  My team is 12275 and is slower than 80% of teams I face.  The closer you get down to 10000, the better.

Demons That Ruin Prometheus’s Day

  • Zhong fucking Kui.  Without life brands, you will be one-shotted.
  • Any physical attacker.
  • Aforementioned demons with Null/Repel Fire.
  • Prometheus (if you’re red archetype)

Demons That Prometheus Wrecks

  • Ose, Alilat, Siegfried and anyone without fire resistance.
  • Physical opponents without much magic resist.

Demons That Pair Well With Prometheus

  • Slow demons.  Don’t put Prometheus on your Jack Bros sweeper team.
  • Other Recarmdra/endure demons for defense.

Final Scoring

Physical attacker: D

Magical attacker: A

Tank: F

Gacha skills: C

Innate Skills: B+

PvP Attack Team Viability: B

PvP Defense Team Viability: B

Overall Score: B

Rangda’s Viability in SMT Liberation Dx2

My…what long fingernails you have, grandmother…  For a Balinese Demon Queen, she really does have fetching…eyes.  No matter, you came here to find out if your Femme Rangda is any good in your favorite SMT experience.

Grade 67 Femme Rangda
StatsHPStMaViAgLuAI
Base4781521151819Attack
Max6948122174122146152Attack

Vitality: below average

Strength: below average

Agi/luck: average

Magic: above average

Innate Skills
ElementNameCostEffectTarget
AilmentMahajuon7 MP50% CurseAll Foes
DeathMudodyne6 MP160 DmgOne Foe
ForceMazandyne7 MP120 DmgAll Foes

Mahajuon isn’t particularly useful, in patch 1.50 or perhaps I never built my Rangda to be an ailment inflicting….perky boobed creature.  Come global patch 1.60, Jaki race demons all come with increased ability toward cursed targets.  This will certainly make Rangda’s stock go up.

  Mudodyne is a hard hitting spell, and not one that is nulled very often.  For the times that it is nulled, there’s Mazandyne.  It’s always fortuitous to have a caster with more than one element.  I’m looking at you, Alice.

Archetype Skills
ElementNameCostEffectTargetArchetype
PhysVorpal Blade7 MP140 DmgAll FoesClear
DeathPurgatory5 MP50 Dmg 2-4 hitsMulti FoesRed
RecoveryRecarmdra8 MPRevive with all HP, User diesAll AlliesYellow
PassiveEndureAutoRevive once per battle with 1 HPSelfPurple
PassiveNull ForceAutoNullify Force damageSelfTeal 

Skill Talk

Clear’s Vorpal Blade is similar to a Hades Blast, so you’ll want to be stacking %phys brands onto her.  Vorpal Blade is useful in PvE as long as you work a bit toward accuracy.  It is, however, not useful in PvP, as teams usually carry a physically immune demon.

Red’s Purgatory is another one of your random-based attacks that is the same element as Mudodyne.  There’s very little argument for using Purgatory over Mudodyne except for if you’re not sporting 6MP and need a quick damage fix….on random enemies.  Paired with the proper Dx2, you can get more bang for your random buck, but is it worth it?  No.

Yellow’s Recarmdra is a very useful in increasing the longevity in your teams.  Paired with endure as a transferred skill, Rangda can bring back the rest of your teammates and not die.  Further paired with Seiran Saikawa’s resurrection healing auto, Rangda can turn the tide in your battle.

Purple’s Endure is a great skill to have, except for the fact that it can be transferred in for a measly 6 skill points from Horkos.  There is no reason to make a purple Rangda.

Finally, Teal’s Null Force is a decent choice if you’re worried about force-based attackers or don’t want to think about your own Mazandyne being repelled back at you.  The prime force user, Cu Chulainn can hit for 700-900 with his Mazandyne, so it’s helpful to have a counter for him.  That is, unless they are using the purple version with Force Pierce.  Teal Rangda is Susano-o proof.  Susano-o’s Kusanagi will be nulled as well as his physical attacks repelled.  I would know, my Susano-o hates teal Rangdas.

Gacha Worthiness

Gacha Skills
ElementNameCostEffectTargetArchetype
ForceWind Breath4 MP40 Dmg 2-4 hitsMulti FoesRed Gacha
IceMabufula6 MP100 DmgAll FoesYellow Gacha
SupportDekaja5 MPRemove all -kaja effectsAll FoesPurple Gacha
AlmightySpirit Drain6 MP100 Dmg Drain 1 MPOne FoeTeal Gacha

Red’s Wind Breath is in the same boat as Purgatory above. Just isn’t that helpful.

Yellow’s Mabufula is a nice addition to a pure caster but tends to be overwritten by the Endure + Resist Elec combo.  Some may elect to keep Mabufula so as to have three elements to play with.  Your choice.

Purple’s Dekaja is a nice skill to have in PvP.  Couple with its innate Endure, this can make for leveling the playing field after all the auto-sukundas and tarundas have happened to start the battle.

Finally, Teal’s Spirit Drain isn’t a bad spell and can put the damper on a healer that you’re worried about resurrecting his team.  It is hard, however, to upgrade this spell as it only appears on this Rangda or a 3* Berserker (red).  If you’re looking for an almighty spell that is easier to level up, you should look at Megido via 3* Arahabaki. Easy to fuse too.

Skills to Transfer to Rangda

Since Rangda has electric weakness, it’s imperative to transfer him Resist Electric from 4* Divine Throne. High level PvP and level 46-50 Aura gate enemies use lightning often.  Throne is a lower level 4*, so it isn’t too horrible to fuse.  His other ability to purely up to where you plan to use your Rangda.

If you have a yellow archetype, I heartily recommend Endure.  It’s like a warning bell when you see that 1 HP and means you should get your ass building MP for Recarmdra.

Both Teal and Purple are similar in that neither Endure nor Null Force require a specific secondary skill to be added like the Yellow archetype.  I can definitely recommend bringing over a low MP option like Bufula/Agilao L or simply an upranked Megido to counteract Makaraka-shifting Apis/Prometheus/Beezlebub or support-style Makarakarn Fenrirs.

Other Decent Skill Transfers

  • Dark Boost (4* Anubis)
  • Madness (3★ Jatayu (Yellow Gacha), 3★ Gui Xian (Teal Gacha), 3★ Baihu (Red Gacha), 3★ Arahabaki (Yellow Gacha), 3★ Ose (Teal Gacha)) (for when 1.60 drops and you want to Mahajuon opposing teams)
  • Megido (3* Arahabaki)

Equipping Rangda With Proper Brands

Divine brand three-set with Ward two-set is a standard PvP offense or defense setup.  I, myself, have set up Rangda with spell brands with %mag increase with a two-set of wards for an offset.  Rangda’s magical prowess isn’t as far up there as a Cu Chulainn or a Prometheus, so I find that the extra 20% magical attack from spell brands seals the deal on Rangda becoming a real magical sweeper.

If you want to build your clear Rangda for physical attack, be prepared to stack war brands with your option of a two-set complementing brand.

Besides a physical or magical build, you have your option of building your Rangda around its Mahajuon.  Since in 1.60 you’ll have complementing Jaki races, you’ll want to increase your ailment infliction.  You can either use Sick brands for an extra % ailment infliction, or stack up %ailment infliction with life, spell, or I suppose physical brands.

Since Rangda’s vitality is lacking overall, life brands with %spell power can be a welcome addition to her arsenal.  50% extra health is nothing to sneeze at, folks.

As for a two-set bonus, Shield brands can outrank Ward brands in terms of overall usefulness in PvE.  The only aura gate demon worth fearing when using Shield brands is Lilim.  Be sure to bring other warded folks or lose that fight entirely.

Where Rangda Fails

Randga doesn’t fail at much, but do be careful of demons with Phys Pierce.  Purple Mara, Purple Cu, and Zaou-Gongen can all ruin Rangda’s Repel Phys in moments.  Her health isn’t usually all that high, so Mara can sometimes one-shot her.

Her auto-ai prioritizes Mazandyne and Mudodyne when crafted with %magical damage increases.  Be aware that she will not pass her turn to preserve or retain mana.  This will mean that in-between magical attacks she will melee.  Do try to give her a measure of %physical accuracy so she isn’t losing you too many press turns during auto combat.

For yellow Rangda, she will only prioritize Recarmdra after two of her teammates have fallen.  That is why Endure is so helpful in ensuring Rangda has time enough to cast it to save the day.  On the flip side, if you’re facing a Rangda team, you can feel confident in killing one of his teammates before taking out Rangda herself.  Someone like Cu Chulainn.  

Demons That Ruin Rangda’s Day

  • Demons with Phys Pierce
  • Siegfried rebounding attacks to gain himself health
  • Demons with Null Force (Cu Chulainn, Teal Sieg, Teal Rangda, etc)
  • Pazuzu.  Null Force and Dark.  Fffffff…..

Demons That Rangda Wrecks

  • Anyone weak to force or dark.  Don’t count on that in later-game PvP.
  • Purely physical foes like Ose, Abaddon, and Siegfried.  Their AI knows not what to do with the likes of Rangda.

Demons That Pair Well With Rangda

  • ALILAT!  Get an Alilat.  Repel Pierce ensures that no one will ever break through Rangda’s Repel Phys
  • Jaki race demons.  Curse increased damage is nice

Final Scoring

Physical attacker: C-

Magical attacker: B+

Tank: C

Gacha skills: B

Innate Skills: B+

PvP Attack Team Viability: A

PvP Defense Team Viability: A

Overall Score: A-

Ose’s Viability in Shin Megami Tensei Dx2

First of all: that bulge.  He’s a strong cat man, purrr.  Oses are everywhere, but are they any good?  Let’s investigate.

Grade 54 Fallen Ose
StatsHPStMaViAgLuAI
Base378219161515Attack
Max6106518983148139138Attack

Vitality: above average

Strength: above average

Agi/luck: average

Magic: below average

Innate Skills
ElementNameCostEffectTarget
PhysHades Blast6 MP120 DmgAll Foes
ElecMazionga6 MP100 DmgAll Foes
SupportCharge6 MPNext physical attack +125% damageSelf

Hades Blast + charge + accuracy buff = massive damage.

Archetype Skills
ElementNameCostEffectTargetLevel
PassiveRetaliateAuto100 Dmg 50% chance of counter upon receiving physical damageSelfClear
PhysMegaton Press6 MP90 Dmg 30% CriticalAll FoesRed
SupportTetrakarn7 MPRepel all physical attacks for one turnAll AlliesYellow
PassiveStrength Amp IIAutoStrength +10SelfPurple
PassiveNull PhysAutoNullify Phys damageSelfTeal

Skill Talk

Clear’s retaliate is moderately useful for low level encounters. 

Red’s Megaton Press is a 7mp skill for 6mp that does a very similar action to his innate Hades Blast with added crit chance.  Red (aragami) archetypes tend to come with duplicate skills that are not favorable for most players.

Yellow’s Tetrakarn is a nice skill to have but seeing as he is an attack-type and not a support-type, his auto-ai will never use tetrakarn.  If you’re in manual-mode, tetrakarn can be helpful, but you would be better off finding a tetra-shift character like Azrael.

Purple’s strength increase is a flat increase and therefore only moderately useful.  With war brands with %phys increase, you’ll probably never notice ten strength missing.

Finally, Teal’s null phys is the main attraction that has made Ose so popular.  When one is immune to physical damage, one does not have to wear any sort of physical resistance.  Not only is is nice to nullify any physical attackers, it’s nice to be able to stack magical resistance to become a true tank character.  His above average health with some %phys increase life brands make for an annoying character to take down.  There are more than a few demons who are able to shut down an Ose, but I’ll get to that later.  Next up is the viability of his gacha skills.  These are what you get as a “premium skill” when you pull Ose from the gem summon.

Gacha Worthiness

Gacha Skills
ElementNameCostEffectTargetLevel
FireAgi4 MP120 DmgOne FoeRed Gacha
RecoveryCharmdi3 MPRemove Charm, Charm resistance +30% for 3 turnsOne AllyYellow Gacha
RecoveryMedia6 MP25 RecAll AlliesPurple Gacha
PassiveMadnessAutoAilment success rate +10%SelfTeal Gacha

Red’s Agi isn’t too useful, seeing as he comes equipped with mazionga which suffices as an anti-ose/siegfried/abaddon ability.

Yellow’s Charmdi isn’t very useful as Mecharmdi can be transferred in and will remove all charm statuses from your entire team.  As I said earlier, he’s a attack-type demon, so it’s exceedingly unlikely that his auto-ai will use Charmdi.

Purple’s Media is another silly choice for Ose.  He should never be built as a healer or any +healing brands be given to him.

Finally, Teal’s Madness is simply a waste of space. Ose doesn’t inflict status ailments unless you give him that skill which is fine, but don’t expect the auto-ai to understand your decision!

Skills to Transfer to Ose

Our Ose does his best when he’s able to do massive physical damage.  The problem we often run into is that in PvP, about 90% of teams also have a physically immune individual.  It’s just a good idea, really, to limit the options of your opponent.  That’s why Teal Ose is so popular.  

My first pulled Ose was actually a red archetype.  I didn’t know Teal existed, so I loaded him up with an another magic attack along with the Agi I received in the first place.  New players will be new.  

Oni-Kagura from Setanta is my favorite skill to transfer in.  It provides Ose with a means of attacking a single target for one less MP than Hades Blast.  It also adds a 30% increased crit rate for that particular attack.  If you level it up to 6/6 from transferring from Setanta, you’ll get a 16% increased hit rate too.

Phys Boost from Fury Wu-kong.  It’s expensive, I know, but 15% increased physical damage is nothing to sneeze at.  Add 15% increased damage to 30% increased crit to 16% increased hit rate, you’ll be doing quite well. 

Other Decent Skill Transfers

  • Bloody Glee (3★ Silky (Red Gacha), 3★ Kaiwan (Purple Gacha), 3★ Koumokuten (Purple Gacha), 3★ Feng Huang (Red Gacha))
  • Savage Glee (4★ Orochi (Teal Gacha), 4★ Sarasvati (Purple Gacha))
  • Good Aim (3★ Kresnik (Teal Gacha), 3★ Isis (Yellow Gacha))
  • Endure (Horkos)

Equipping Ose With Proper Brands

Thankfully, there are quite a few viable options for branding Ose.  Divine brands allow him to recover 4 MP per wave which will help him to get his Charge off right away.  His next turn will have to be a pass, and either Oni-Kagura or Hades Blast on his third turn.  

Finding a way to put Ose in pole-position on your team is important.  If you have him in the second spot in turn order, it’s still doable, but you’re going to need divine brands and a ton of passing.

Another option, and the one that I myself went with is War brands.  If you set your War brands properly on his left arm, right arm and legs, you can achieve great heights of physical damage.  Let’s assume you’re stuck with 4* war brands on those three slots, upgraded to level 12.  Let’s also assume you went with physical% in the first spot.  Each brand should have 15% physical damage increase, for a subtotal of 45%.  Add in the brand set effect and you now have 65% (after 1.5 update).  Ose doesn’t have the most strength of physical attackers, but if you brand him right, that won’t really matter.  

For his two-set bonus, you need to ask yourself what he will be doing for you.  Is he going to be a PvP Ose or a PvE Ose?  Do you want him to be faster than all the other Oses.  Ward brands win out in my calculations no matter where you plan to take your Ose.  Auto-barrier will protect you from status ailments from any of your attackers for three whole turns.  If you can’t finish a fight in three turns, you’re out of your depth.  Trumpeter in Brands of Sin is a good benchmark of your overall DPS.

If you want to have your Ose in the top slot of your rotation, either pick slower (less Agi) team members, or set up speed brands as your two-set bonus.  If that doesn’t work, then work at getting some of the “lead brands” released in global 1.50.  These will jump your Ose in the rotation by one spot.  If you’re dealing with obnoxiously fast teammates, this may help you get into the position you need.

The last viable option are shield brands.  A good Teal Ose needs two things for a proper living.  Physical attack power and magic defense.  Since he has no innate weaknesses, it’s important to give him some extra robustness against magical attackers.  Shield brands dole out a whopping 30% magic resist for a two-set bonus.  I recommend setting your two-set bonus items on your head and chest slots, as it’s easier to swap them out than other slots.  

Where Ose Fails

His AI sucks.  At one point I put samrecarm on my Ose (for my own manual use) but quickly realized that when putting my furry friend on auto, he almost never used it, even when three of his teammates were felled.  Remember Vile Abraxis on the 35th floor of Aura Gate?  He drains physical but is weak to everything else.  If my Ose had his way, he would keep giving Abraxis health until my phone bursts into flames.

From what I can gather on various forums, it seems that Ose will only prioritize his Mazionga if he thinks that’s his highest damage ability.  So, if you built a magic damage Ose, I’m not talking to you.  If, however, you’re like the rest of us and stacked up his physical prowess, you’ll be greatly annoyed when your Ose gets stuck in his Charge + attack rotation until the cows come home.

This is the singular reason why I don’t recommend keeping any Ose on your defense team in PvP.  Even with the defense boost they added in 1.50, you just can’t count on your Ose to do the smart thing.  He’s best kept for manual use or for auto-ing scenarios where enemies aren’t physically immune.  Use him in good health, or until you find your first Siegfried.

Demons That Ruin Ose’s Day

  • Anyone with high magic attack 
  • Another ose/sieg/abaddon 
  • Rangda (phys repel + high magic)
  • Teal Quetzcoatl (phys repel + high repel + whole team rez)

Demons That Ose Wrecks

  • Hathor in Aura Gate 50
  • Zhong Kui, Metatron and anyone else without innate physical resistance

Demons That Pair Well With Ose

  • Zhong Kui (auto taraka //phys boost)
  • Prometheus (auto makara // magic reflect)
  • Sandalphon (auto sukuka // ev/ac)

Final Scoring

Physical attacker: B+

Magical attacker: D+

Tank: A-

Gacha skills: F

Innate Skills: B+

PvP Attack Team Viability: A-

PvP Defense Team Viability: D-

Overall Score: B

Mastering Your Brands in Dx2

So you want to learn the secrets of using brands to their most effective ends.  I don’t blame you.  Use this knowledge well, and you might be able to take those other PvP teams in SMT: Liberation Dx2 to task. 

Dx2 is one of the most entertaining and yet strategy-minded mobile games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.  While your demons are presented to you within the five archetypes: red, teal, orange, purple and common/gray, they are not really bound to their initial statuses at all.  A 4* Zhong Kui is presented to you as a hard hitting physical single-target who is weak to force, but you could make him into a caster with no weaknesses if you’d like.  It’s not recommended to ignore min/maxing but Dx2 is about making your team how you want to.  Here’s mine below:

How to Use Your Brands To Their Highest Potential

At the heart of the pliability that is inherent in Dx2 demon-customization system is the brand system.  The in-game tutorial likens brands to pieces of armor.  One for each demon’s head, chest, legs, right and left arms.  Each brand comes with a rarity, specialization, and unique stat distribution.

  • Rarity: Brands can be anywhere between 1-star and 6-star, with that largely affecting the quantities of stats and likelihood of better stat types of occurring (for instance +phys atk as primary stat is higher likelihood on a 6-star than 1-star)
  • Specialization: Each brand can be of the following types.  Shield, guard, speed, ward, divine, spell, sick, war, and life.  Those first four have two-set bonuses while the last five have three-set bonuses.  Be sure to have a concurrent 2-set and 3-set bonus going for each of your demons.
  • Stat Distribution: Depending on the slot (chest, head, legs, etc), you can find different types of stats.  Some brand slots like the leg slot only allow HP+ as the primary stat of a brand.  The best brands have their primary stat as a percentage of what you’d like.  For example, if you’re a melee hard-hitter, you’ll be looking for phys% increase to be the first stat listed on your brands.

What Kinds of Brands Should I Equip?

Every brand set-up is situational, so I’ll use my own demons as examples.  My Teal Ose 6-star has the following set-up.

As you can see, I have huge bonuses to physical attack and health, with a minor focus on speed, ailment resistances and magic defense.  Since Ose doesn’t take physical attacks, there’s absolutely no reason to have physical defense.  Go all in on magic defense and physical attack, I say.  His set bonuses boost both of those, so it’s important to be consistent.  

Next up is Sandalphon:

+31% health coupled with +55% magic defense makes my Sandy as beefy as they come.  Since he comes naturally with resist physical, it’s unimportant to invest too much in physical defense, as you’ll see I only have 3% extra. His set bonuses give him greater magical defense and spell damage for his Hamadyne and Zandyne.

My other two are Zhong Kui and Odin.  I have Zhong set up with a purist melee set-up coupled with resist physical to make him a harder target to take down.  For Odin, I made him more of a hybrid with equal parts physical attack and magical attack.  His Gungir is nice, but not all that useful with null physical lurking around every corner, so it’s important to buff his Lightning Storm and Bufula.

Flat Bonus vs. Percentage Bonus

You’ll notice very early on that you can find brands with % increases as well as ones with flat + increases.  If you’re looking to increase your health, you’ll have to look into how much you’ll gain from a flat increase versus percentage.  

Flat bonuses with high-level enhanced brands help out low-level not-yet-fully-evolved demons more than they do max-level demons.  A level one pixie with 6* brands with all flat increases will hit like a truck in your quests.  That same pixie with percentage increases will only make her slightly better.  Remember, every time you evolve your demon and increase its level cap by five, you’re increasing it by a level of magnitude.  The higher your demon can go, the better those percentages will work for you.  Think about the long-run.  At level 50, you’ll be wanting as many high-percentage-based brands as you can find.  Don’t ignore the tertiary stats either.

If You Want to Win: Master Your Brands

The end-game of Dx2 is PvP.  You won’t get very far in PvP without brands.  Think of it as running naked onto the battlefield.  Take the time to study up on your different demons and how you could be itemizing them better.  Remember, the top-most stat on each brand will be buffed to a higher extent while enhancing than any of the lower items.  So, while farming Brands of Sin, keep an eye out of brands that have the desired stat in the pole position.  You should have Sloth 7 and Deceit 7 on auto-farm in order to get 5-star brands.  Any of the higher Brands of Sin modes will require an entirely specialized team to conquer.  Also keep an eye out on the black market for that rare 6-star goody.  As always, have a swell day. I look forward to seeing you again.

Microtransactions, Loot Crates and More in SMT Liberation Dx2

**Updated 8/10/2018: see below

Is Dx2 a True Shin Megami Tensei Experience?

That remains to be seen. Even so…finally an SMT on our Android and Apple little handheld wizard devices, and no it’s not a Devil Survivor port.  For so many years we’ve been playing Tensei on the first Nintendo Entertainment System, Playstation 2, and most recently on 3DS with SMT IV: Apocalypse.  My favorite Tensei is SMT:III:Nocturne on the PS2.  It was tough, but not as annoying as other SMT offshoots like Digital Devil Saga.  Ever fight the Demi-Fiend in DDS?  That’s how you learn to truly hate life.

While I had played Strange Journey and Devil Survivor on the original DS, I wasn’t sure there could be a mobile phone port worthy of the series.  Then, many years alter, in June of 2018  a ray of hope entered my tragic and also amazing life.  Before I could get truly excited, I had to remember that Sega had purchased Atlus years ago and this was to be Sega’s first attempt at developing a Tensei title.  Most certainly sketchy.  I had all the trust in the world due to my most recent adventures in Atlus’ domain with its amazing and personality-laden Persona 5.  I loved that game, from the first minute to the last.  Could SMT Liberation Dx2 even possibly compare, or is it just some Gacha game?

loot crates in dx2
My party against Yoma Apsaras

 

 

Is Shin Megami Tensei: Liberation Dx2 the Next Generation?

Amazingly, we do find ourselves in the next generation.  No longer is a game simply its base price tag.  A game may cost you $60 up-front, as it has been for over a decade, but that is not the last they will likely see of your credit card numbers.  Out there, you’ll find many a “credit card hero” shamelessly swiping their digits to earn boons within their game of choice.  There’s a mobile RPG named Guild of Heroes that my wife plays pretty religiously.  She doesn’t spend any money on it, yet it’s not for lack of trying on the game’s part.  Logging in, logging out, moving from one zone to the next.  The game always, always, always has to remind her that she could be progressing faster if she paid more.  Psychologically, they pit you against other players in a faux-friend-rivals type setup.  Your friends gain X power levels and then you feel compelled to reach their pace, even if it costs you your soul.  Guild of Heroes wants you to know this simple fact: “If you swipe $50 on your credit card with us, you’ll achieve more in that decision that you would playing normally for six months.”

Is Dx2 Just a Bunch of Lotteries and Loot Boxes?

There are loot boxes, to be sure.  The summoning portal uses gems to summon a random demon from three-star to five-star.  There are also lotteries, but rather the kind where there is no entrance fee and most players are winners.  I looked at the prices of gems and other reagents, and honestly with maybe four hours of in-game effort, you could easily eclipse even a payment of $30.  What you get for your money is trivial in comparison, since what you can do in-game is so plentiful.  Sega hands you riches honestly.  Just by showing up, or by playing the game.  Learning its facets.  I get so many free gifts that I lose track.  That’s a good problem to have.  Also….wait for it….

You do not need to spend a penny on this game. For any reason.

Unless you want the highest of the highest summons.  There are talks of those becoming attainable for all, however.  In the normal course of play, you will gain demons at an exponentially high rate, macca, magnetite, aether, rubies, sapphires and all the other fifty-million currencies there are going on in Dx2.  In many ways, Sega quite literally showers you with items, bonus items, gems, and everything you’d need to craft absurdly strong demons.  Everything is right there, at your fingertips.  You just have to open your grimy little hand and take it. I prefer the wait-and-see method to lay eyes upon the ultimate prizes of the best six-star summons.  For the meantime, I’ll continue along with my five-star Thor and four-star Prometheus.  I can handle you, no problem.

On the topic of micro transactions, in an interview with Destructoid, Yamada Riichiro had a few comments to make on their monetization methods.

Destructoid: What type of free-to-play elements or microtransactions can players expect to come across and did you look to other games on how to implement them?

Mr. Riichiro: As it’s a F2P there are, of course, monetization elements. However, regarding the in-app purchases, we see them as just time shortening elements. Although this RPG title was developed in Japan, we are not using the usual format of F2P Japanese titles.

Is Dx2 a Gacha Game?

If you’d like it to be. So what we have here are elements of console-type RPG made for mobile with elements of the ever-pervasive Gacha genre of micro transactions.  As Mr. Riichiro would say, it’s a time-shortening feature.  You can and may use real-world money to bet your luck to find your masterpiece demons.  In a separate article, the developer mentioned that nearly everything in the entire game; all the demons, all the brands and unlocks would be available to someone who has not paid anything at all.  Only the highest of the highest level summons require any level of monetary commitment.

While the game itself is in its first month, it’s important for us to watch closely to see if Sega is planning to ditch their current strategy. For now, it really does work.  I can play the entire game, for free and never even have to face that annoying, inner temptation to shovel my hard-earned dollars toward another online product.  I’m proud to say that Shin Megami Tensei: Liberation Dx2 comes out with a resounding “huzzah” from me.  It’s equal parts fun and time consuming, while also adding in challenges and bonus events to keep my hooked for months to come.  Happy hunting, everyone!

**Update

** After another solid few weeks of grinding through Atlus’ newest Shin Megami Tensei, I am happy to report that it is still Gacha-free.  Microtransations are still entirely unnecessary.  Impractical too.  So much can be achieved in this game just by playing it.  You’ll have a team of base 4-stars upgraded to 5-stars without much effort.  You’ll be working your way through Brands of Sin to equip and enhance your demons, as well as Strange Signal to awaken them.  You’ll have evolved your lowly 3-stars into 5-stars within weeks of playing it.

All of that without having to spend a dime. 

I’ve spent dozens of hours playing PvP and surfing through the Aura Gate.  My current rank this week is 1648 with a team of Teal Ose, Orange Prometheus, Purple Odin, and finally Teal Anubis.  I was, at one point this week, ranked 337 in America.  That’s not too bad for someone who isn’t paying to get ahead.

From what I have read on various forums, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get anything good, even if you were to invest $500.  There’s just no way of knowing what kind of demon you’ll pull in when you decide to try the lottery.  In this way, regular players like myself and credit card heroes are on nearly even footing.  

I have chances to try to lottery, as the premium currencies present themselves through normal gameplay, but my chance of getting a 5-star badass like Susano-o is the same as theirs.  Plus, it’s more rewarding to get those high-level baddies through your own power.  It’s been a fun ride so far and I look forward to where the developers lead this great addition to the SMT universe.