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

Vitality: below average

Strength: below average

Agi/luck: average

Magic: above average

Innate Skills
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
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
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-

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!


** 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.